Hello and Happy Sunday from the Mid-Atlantic. I write to you mostly refreshed from our vacation, even if we ended up shaving the length of it back on both the beginning and the end of the trip. You see, in a wonderful twist of fate, my wife and I both ended up sick over the course of our intended getaway, with me having a cold turn into a lovely respiratory issue (meaning we left on Monday morning, as opposed to Sunday), and my wife getting that same cold, and having it turn into a full blown sinus infection.
Thankfully — after we both headed to our local CVS and swabbed our noses with Q-Tips — I can affirm that neither one of us had COVID, but it certainly was a touch-and-go, worrisome moment for us both.
Which reminds me! I’ve been doing some remarkably depressing reading about the Delta variant of COVID, and I’m thinking I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment with my soapbox here and mention…
Now, onto the things…
For years and years, I was an aggressive collector of media. CDs. DVDs. Blu-Rays. Books. Comics. I bought and rebought countless albums and movies, with racks which filled walls upon walls first of my parent’s house, then later of my apartments.
At some point within the past 6 years or so, I broke, and moved completely to digital. My movies are in iTunes. My books are on my Kindle. My music is on Apple Music.
So what do I do if one of these companies dies?
It’s a scary thought, especially for someone who loves having access to all “my stuff” right at my fingertips. Joe Pinsker digs into it for The Atlantic.
Just as remarkable as this rate of change is how useless previous iterations of my music library are today—my first iPod is unresponsive, and I have no idea where my poor Baha Men CD is. Losing some of that music has felt like severing lines of communication with versions of my former self, in the sense that hearing even a snippet of an old song can conjure up a first kiss, a first drive, or less articulable memories of inner life.
The music I’ve salvaged from earlier times is now part of my collection on Spotify, which I’ve been using since it launched in the United States, 10 years ago this month. But as I look back on the churn of the past couple of decades, I feel uneasy about the hundreds of playlists I’ve taken the time to compile on the company’s platform: 10 or 20 years from now, will I be able to access the music I care about today, and all the places, people, and times it evokes?
Unfortunately, the experts on media preservation and the music industry whom I consulted told me that I have good reason to fear ongoing instability. “You’re screwed,” said Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, after I asked him if I could count on having my music library decades from now.
An aspect of my life which I once wore on my sleeve, but I am increasingly embarrassed by, is how easily I can be convinced by a fast food restaurant to try their newest, latest and greatest thing. You show me an ad showcasing something new and tasty? Chances are, I want to give it a shot.
But where did this start? If I think back, it was the massive launch of one of McDonald’s biggest boondoggles of all time, the 1996 release of the “upscale” burger, the Arch Deluxe.
What went wrong? What did they learn? Jeremy Glass looks back for Eater.
The year is 1996. Charles and Diana are divorcing, Jerry Maguire tops the box office, a Finn Dorset sheep named Dolly makes a friend made from her own mammary gland, and America’s favorite sitcom is a show about nothing in which four neurotic New Yorkers debate life’s finer points. Such sophisticated times, McDonald’s had determined, called for a sophisticated sandwich, one that would appeal to the urbane, discerning, and diet-conscious tastes of Gen X: the Arch Deluxe.
It was bold and upscale, featuring spices like pepper (ooh) and mustard (not yellow, but the stoneground kind — quelle magnifique). It was also the biggest marketing flop in McDonald’s history, with the brand spending an estimated $200 million to advertise a sandwich that very few people — especially not sophisticated urbanites — wanted to order.
From August 2020 until June 2021, Stephen Colbert made a show in a storage closet. It wasn’t The Late Show, it was A Late Show, but the comedian / host did his best to make it just as watchable as the lively, post-Letterman heir-apparent it had followed.
How did he and his team make it work? And what has he learned as he returns to a live crowd at the Sullivan Theater? Cynthia Littleton from Variety sits down with the late show host as he gets back to some sort of normal.
Colbert felt vulnerable during the pandemic months without the “forgiveness” an audience provides. But he had no choice but to be himself as his family lived through the fearful months of the COVID-19 pandemic like the rest of nation.
“I’m glad to have relaxed into that vulnerable feeling because it makes you less nervous in general about being a public figure, let alone a public performer,” Colbert says. “It’s like you’re saying, ‘Well, this is really what I’m like, and I hope that’s OK with you.’ And to find out that was OK was another level of becoming myself, of which this entire show has been a journey to.”
Colbert marvels at the feats of engineering and technology it took to keep “Late Show” on the air during the COVID lockdown conditions. And he is full of gratitude to “Late Show” showrunner-executive producer Chris Licht and the show’s staff for the hard work and dedication that made it happen. Colbert backed up his words by paying out of his own pocket to cover the salaries of an undisclosed number of crew members during many months of the pandemic after CBS said it could no longer keep idled workers on the payroll.
“Stephen is a quality human being,” says Conan O’Brien, a friend and fellow late-night veteran. “You take away the suits and the noise on these shows, and you’re left with just the person. That’s something that shows Stephen in a really good light.”
Time to load up the NBC Sports app and dig into another competition as the Tokyo Games continue on.
That’s right, the Day Household has turned into the living embodiment of this tweet.
Love the Olympics spots where I watch seven sports in an hour I know jack nothing about and find each one extremely important
See you next week. Go Team USA!