Posts tagged “obituary”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Waldo Hunt, 88, dies; repopularized pop-up books in 1960s – "He was such an important publisher of pop-up books who really advanced them technically. The pop-up designers who worked for him were amazing creative engineers," said Cynthia Burlingham, director of the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at the Hammer Museum of UCLA.

    The first golden age of movable books began in the late 1800s, when European publishers crafted elaborate books for children, and ended with the onset of World War I. With Mr. Hunt's epiphany, the second golden age was about to begin.

    "I knew I'd found the magic key," Mr. Hunt said. "No one was doing pop-ups in this country. No one could afford to make them here. They had to be done by hand, and labor was too expensive."

    He started Graphics International, and produced a series of pop-up ads featuring zoo scenes as part of a magazine campaign for Wrigley's gum. Soon, his company was creating pop-up table decorations and greeting cards for Hallmark.

  • Electronic Popable Books from MIT – Electronic popables integrate paper-based electronic sensors that allow amazing interactivity — turning on lights and moving images at the touch of a finger. Will it catch on or will the line between printing on paper and electronic media become so blurred that consumers will opt to watch the story on a screen?
  • StoryCorps: National Day of Listening – On the day after Thanksgiving, set aside one hour to record a conversation with someone important to you. You can interview anyone you choose: an older relative, a friend, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood.

    You can preserve the interview using recording equipment readily available in most homes, such as cell phones, tape recorders, computers, or even pen and paper. Our free Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide is easy to use and will prepare you and your interview partner to record a memorable conversation, no matter which recording method you choose.

    Make a yearly tradition of listening to and preserving a loved one’s story. The stories you collect will become treasured keepsakes that grow more valuable with each passing generation.
    (via BoingBoing)

  • London 2009 – a set on Flickr – My London pictures from our recent visit
  • Every year, The Harris Poll asks a cross-section of adults whether they think about 20 leading industries do a good or a bad job of serving their consumers. – Note that the cable industry regularly appears on this poll as doing a bad job.
  • Time Warner insincerely and manipulatively asks customers to "vote" if it should "get tough" or "roll over" – Facing expiring deals with a number of key programmers, the nation's second-largest cable operator is launching a Web site,, which it says is designed to give its subscribers a voice in what it calls unfair price demands by content suppliers. Time Warner says those who operate broadcast and cable networks are asking for "incredible price hikes," as much as 300%. Customers will be able to vote on whether the operator rolls over, or should get tough, about price increases.

    "You're our customers, so help us decide what to do. We're just one company, but there are millions of you. Together, we just might be able to make a difference in what America pays for its favorite entertainment."

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Drowning in Data in Kathmandu – Exchange between me and Dave Robertson about how to process the overwhelming amount of experiential and visual stimulation that comes from spending time someplace very foreign.
  • Obituary: Ray Browne / Scholar who pioneered the study of popular culture – Ray Browne, an Ohio university professor who was credited with coining the phrase "popular culture" and pioneering the study of things such as bumper stickers and cartoons, has died. He was 87.

    He developed the first academic department devoted to studying what he called the "people's culture" at Bowling Green in 1973.

    "Culture is everything from the food we've always eaten to the clothes we've always worn," he said in a 2003 interview.

  • Disney offers refunds for Baby Einstein DVDs – Canadian and U.S. parents who feel duped by claims that Baby Einstein videos were brain boosters for their infants and toddlers can now get a refund for old merchandise from the Walt Disney Company.

    The company agreed after a lengthy campaign by a coalition of educators and parents, who complained Disney's marketing materials implied their videos for babies under 2 years of age were beneficial for cognitive development.

    The move to compensate some customers comes after Disney's Baby Einstein stopped using some claims following a complaint lodged with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

    The group alleged deceptive marketing.

    "Disney took the word 'educational' off of its website and its marketing, but we felt that parents deserved more," child psychologist Susan Linn, co-founder of the organization, said yesterday.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • An Anthropology of Everyday Life by Edward T. Hall, A Review by Bobby Matherne – In his childhood in New Mexico he studied impressionist painting and soon learned that "every part of a painting affects every other part." The adding of a dab of color to a painting can change the color of the dab and all the other colors already on the painting. It was a metaphor for what happened when he was later assigned to build earthen dams with the Hopi and Navajo tribes. This dab of white skin on a field of red skins were both changed by his presence. On a trip to Europe to visit his mother he noted how the German trains ran tightly and smoothly on the track and were always right on time. The French trains, however, swayed from side to side and ran late. He was far more observant about the hidden cultures of the continent than the French who confiscated German trains after World War II only to find them useless on the French tracks.
  • Edward Hall, Expert on Nonverbal Communication, Is Dead at 95 – Mr. Hall first became interested in space and time as forms of cultural expression while working on Navajo and Hopi reservations in the 1930s. He later developed a cultural model that emphasized the importance of nonverbal signals and modes of awareness over explicit messages.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Core77 launches a product: a limited edition "curated" bike with a $1500 price tag – Core77 has been insanely brilliant at facilitating design discourse and ultimately design itself for a very long time. They've experimented before in launching their own product, I think, (I seem to recall a shoe) but this is a big leap, with this fancy-shmancy bike. To those that know what makes for a great bike, it may be a truly wonderful object, but it seems to manifest the worst part of design: elite hipsters making artificially cool stuff for other designers who revel in the semiotics of exclusivity, rather than what I believe Core77 can better champion: the design field of talented passionate people solving tough problems in unique, beautiful and successful ways. I challenge Core77 to take this (hopefully successful) experience in Launching Products (no doubt an insanely difficult thing) and apply it next to Launching Products That Make A Difference To Everyone (or at least Helping Others To…). The MoMA design world doesn't need Core77, but the real design world so badly does.
  • R.I.P., Oscar Mayer – The 95-year old retired company chairman dies. He was actually the third Oscar Mayer to run the company, co-founded in the 1890s by his grandfather, Oscar Mayer. "They began using the Oscar Mayer brand name in the 1920s, stamping it on the country's first packaged, sliced bacon, which the Mayer brothers introduced in 1924 — an innovation that earned them a U.S. government patent."

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • 'Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed' inventor dies at 92 – The inventor of the "Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed," which brought weary travelers 15 minutes of "tingling relaxation and ease" for a quarter in hotel rooms across America during its heyday as a pop culture icon in the 1960s and '70s, has died.
  • Vending machines for Gold? – While it's just a plan at this point, it seems that the idea is more about disruption and promotion than simply "vending."
  • Let’s Embrace Open-Mindedness – My article published at Johnny Holland, considering the challenges in living up to the standard we set for ourselves. And there's a story about cheese, too!
  • Why some cultural products and styles die out faster than others – To investigate how cultural tastes change over time, Berger and Le Mens analyzed thousands of baby names from the past 100 years in France and the US. (Because there is less of an influence of technology or advertising on name choice, baby names provide a way to study how adoption depends on primarily internal factors.) The researchers found a consistent symmetry in the rise and fall of individual names; in other words, the longer it took for a name to become popular, the longer it took for the name to fade out of popularity, and thus the more staying power it had compared to names that quickly rose and fell. The effect was robust, occurring in both countries and across various time windows.

    According to the results, the quicker a cultural item rockets to popularity, the quicker it dies. This pattern occurs because people believe that items that are adopted quickly will become fads, leading them to avoid these items, thus causing these items to die out.

    (via Lone Gunman)

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Harley-Davidson: You Can File Our Obituary Where The Sun Don't Shine – Passionate and 100% on-brand response to rumblings about Harley not making it through 2009. Seen as full-page ad in today's New York Times and presumably elsewhere
  • Very slight story on how and why we use lines from movies in regular conversation – It also turns out that using movie quotes in everyday conversation is akin to telling a joke and a way to form solidarity with others, according to a researcher who has actually studied why we like to cite films in social situations.
    "People are doing it to feel good about themselves, to make others laugh, to make themselves laugh," said Richard Harris, a psychology professor at Kansas State University.
    Harris decided to ask hundreds of young adults about their film-quoting habits after he and his graduate students realized it was a common behavior that no one had looked at closely before.
    He found that all of the participants in his study had used movie quotes in conversation at one point or another. They overwhelmingly cited comedies, followed distantly by dramas and action adventure flicks.
    As for horror films, musicals and children's movies, "fuh-get about it." They were hardly ever cited.
    When asked about their emotions while quoting films, most people reported feeling happy.

Peter F. Drucker, a Pioneer in Social and Management Theory, Is Dead at 95

Peter F. Drucker Dies

Peter F. Drucker, the political economist and author, whose view that big business and nonprofit enterprises were the defining innovation of the 20th century led him to pioneering social and management theories, died yesterday at his home in Claremont, Calif. He was 95.

Mr. Drucker thought of himself, first and foremost, as a writer and teacher, though he eventually settled on the term ‘social ecologist.’ He became internationally renowned for urging corporate leaders to agree with subordinates on objectives and goals and then get out of the way of decisions about how to achieve them.

He challenged both business and labor leaders to search for ways to give workers more control over their work environment. He also argued that governments should turn many functions over to private enterprise and urged organizing in teams to exploit the rise of a technology-astute class of ‘knowledge workers.’

Mr. Drucker staunchly defended the need for businesses to be profitable but he preached that employees were a resource, not a cost. His constant focus on the human impact of management decisions did not always appeal to executives, but they could not help noticing how it helped him foresee many major trends in business and politics.

Amazing how productive and influential he remained for so very long. I know only a little about him, but have been struck by what I have read or read about.

Obit for Scott Young

From Canadian Press

Peterborough, Ont. Canadian journalist and author Scott Young has died at the age of 87. Mr. Young, father of pop music icon Neil Young, died Sunday in Kingston, Ont.

He travelled the world covering the Second World War, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and nearly every major sporting event in North America.

“He was someone who preferred to be at home,” Margaret Hogan, his wife of 25 years, said Monday from Kingston.

Mr. Young began his journalism career as a sports reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press. He moved to The Canadian Press in Toronto at the age of 23 after the paper refused to give him a raise. Mr. Young told CP in 1994 that Free Press managing editor George Ferguson told him, “You will never be worth more than $25 a week to the Winnipeg Free Press.”

Mr. Young covered both news and sports for CP, and covered the Second World War from London. In 1957, Mr. Young joined The Globe and Mail as a sports columnist.

He covered Grey Cups, World Series, Stanley Cups, the Olympics and even appeared on Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. Mr. Young also worked for Maclean’s magazine and the Toronto Telegram. He gave up newspapers in 1980.

Apart from his accomplished newspaper career, he also wrote 45 books. His novels and non-fiction work included The Flood, the two Arctic thrillers Murder in a Cold Climate and The Shaman’s Knife, and 1984’s Neil and Me, about his relationship with his famous rock ‘n’ roll son.

Ms. Hogan said her husband hadn’t written anything in years. Peterborough Mayor Sylvia Sutherland said Mr. Young, who owned a farm in nearby Cavan, left a void in the landscape of Canadian journalism.

“He was one of the outstanding journalists of his time,” she said. “He had an incisive intelligence. He knew how to get a good story. I love Scott. I miss him a lot, everybody will. He’s one of the great legends of Canadian journalism and it’s a loss to those of us who love journalism.”

Charles Dupuis, 84, Publisher Who Introduced the Smurfs, Dies

Charles Dupuis, a pioneering Belgian publisher of French-language comics best known in the United States for introducing the blue-hued, hedonistic animated characters called Smurfs, died on Nov. 14 in Brussels. He was 84.

An influential editor, he published other popular characters, including Lucky Luke, in his comics magazine, Spirou, named for the cartoon about a mischievous bellboy. The company he founded sells more than 10 million comics a year, a third of the French-language comics market.

The magical, gnomelike Smurfs were created for Spirou in 1958 by the Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford, who signed his work Peyo. A Smurf fad swept the United States after they were turned into a Saturday-morning cartoon program by Hanna-Barbera in 1981.

At the peak of the Smurfs’ popularity, there was a break-dance-style step called the Smurf, as well as the catchphrase “feeling Smurfy,” Smurf mugs, figurines, baby rattles, cigarette lighters and a Smurf computer game by Atari. In the 1980’s a trio of diminutive wide receivers for the Washington Redskins were known as the Smurfs.

Dressed identically in white trousers and caps reminiscent of mob caps from the French Revolution, the Smurfs are only “three apples high.” They live in mushroom houses and are led by a bearded, 542-year-old patriarch, Papa Smurf. Their nemesis is the evil wizard Gargamel, who macabrely wants to make Smurf stew.

They are known as Schtroumpfs (a nonsense word coined by their creator to mean thingamabob) in Belgium, as de Smurfen in Dutch and as Die Schl?ºmpfe in German. The program ran on NBC for more than 250 episodes over nine seasons, and is currently seen in 30 countries.

Mr. Dupuis published the first issue of the children’s magazine Spirou in 1938 at the age of 20, for the printing company founded in 1898 by his father, Jean Dupuis. The elder Dupuis felt that Belgium needed its own comics magazine to compete with the cultural imperialism of a certain American rodent in Le Journal de Mickey, published by Disney.

Charles Dupuis selected the Flemish team of Robert Velter, who signed his work Rob-Vel, and his wife, Davine, who created the character of a red-suited bellhop named Spirou. In his homeland, Spirou is as much a multigenerational hero as his countryman and rival, the tousled teenage adventurer Tintin, created by Georges Remi, known by the pen name Hergé, in 1929.

Mr. Dupuis had a nose for discovering cartoon talent. Lucky Luke, a taciturn American cowboy who could draw a six-gun faster than his own shadow, was created by Maurice de Bevere, known as Morris, for Spirou in 1946. Lucky Luke’s sidekicks include his horse, Jolly Jumper, who can talk, cook and play poker, and a dumb dog named Rin Tin Can.

Lucky Luke has been translated into 30 languages and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Under the guidance of Mr. Dupuis, the family owned company expanded into animated films and television. Mr. Dupuis retired in 1985, when the family sold the business to Groupe Bruxelles Lambert.

Spirou, which has been in continuous publication except for a 13-month interregnum during World War II, celebrated its 3,000th issue in 1995 and sells more than 85,000 copies a week.


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