Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Phone Home

Guest post by Ellen Pritsker

Last week a girlfriend and I took a road trip through southeast Wisconsin, stopping at a spa resort, great local art museum and then in Door County.  Driving back down towards Chicago, we spent a night at a renovated, turn-of-the century hotel in Algoma—a lightly gentrified little lakefront town.

The hotel was pleasant and felt far from the madding crowd. We savored the thick walls between rooms—a bonus of elder construction.  No hearing side conversations, creaking bed springs or late-night television--impromptu messages from neighboring guests in most contemporary motor lodges.

The cozy hotel lobby featured a restored relic of our near-past-- a working phone booth. Memorialized by Hitchcock in The Birds, they were once as common as fire hydrants.  Of course, I pulled out my ‘phone-in-a-handheld-booth’ and captured an image of this iconic and vanishing cultural artifact.

Days later and back in Chicago, I was sharing vacation photos off my I-Phone with my very sophisticated 15-year-old granddaughter. 

She scrolled past the interior art gallery shots and the one of me standing on a lakefront causeway with a red lighthouse in the background.  She came to the photo of the front of the phone booth:  “What is that,” she inquired.

“It’s a phone booth!”

“You mean, you sit inside and talk on your cell phone?”

“Not exactly, you sit down on the little bench inside, close the glass doors and talk on the pay phone.”

“What is a pay phone?”

“It is a phone mounted on the wall and you put coins in it to make your call.”

“You mean, that’s the thing where they say—please deposit more coins?”



I remain uncertain what is weird—the phone booth, the notion of actually having coins to deposit or that fact that her grandmother comes from a world of the past—where people sat down in a designated sanctuary to concentrate on just a phone call.

© Ellen Pritsker

Monday, February 3, 2014

Are you so Beautiful?

During the Super Bowl yesterday, Coca-Cola aired a 60 second commercial featuring a rendition of the song, “America, the Beautiful.” Starting off with the familiar English line 'Oh beautiful for spacious skies,' the production delivers the next line in Spanish. I'm not the linguist I wish I were, but I suspect the third line is in Hawaiian. From there, I could only guess, although I think one or two lines are delivered in Hebrew. According to Allan Brettman of The Oregonian, there are seven; I can count five although I can't name them.

If you want to give it a try, the commercial is up as a UTube (and has apparently already been viewed a couple million times). If you missed it altogether, you can see what people are talking about here:

How did you feel when you heard it? FEEL??

It was designed to move and touch you.

But I knew it wasn't going to go down well with everyone. Instantly, my Facebook newsfeed binged up with conflicting reactions. (Right way, the old market researcher in me wanted to ask the reactors on both sides if they knew what product was advertised.)

But one of the great things about controversial ads is -- pretty soon the brand is being mentioned over and over. If you missed it initially, shortly you'll know the answer.

So, again -- how did you feel? And then -- what did you think? ('Cause first we feel and then we think.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Just Might Be My Fav

Signs Go Up Clowns Abound!
Pumpkin Time Decor Galore
Fall Begins Witches Arrive
Nature Delights and Delights!
Spooky! Spookier!
Pumpkin Headed Spookiest!
Good Better
Best! Stores Get in Act
Streets Dress for Season and Dress ...
More Pumpkins -- and Hay! and Gourds!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One Full Year of with a new Pal

One year ago today, I downloaded MyFitnessPal to my cellphone.  At the time, I was unhappy with my weight and casting around for some help.  The app is an Internet food journaling mechanism.

I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about the idea of journaling my food and drink consumption or counting calories.  I knew it was, in fact, a very effective support for weight loss.  I'd done it for several times in my life – for a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months at a time.  It 'works.'

But it's a huge hassle!

Done the old way, counting calories involved writing down everything you ate and then looking up calories in a reference book or list.  Within a few weeks or a couple of months at the most, I'd begin to imagine I could drop the record keeping while still hitting approximately the right calorie intake.  I've never been able to keep it up the journaling beyond the initial weight drop:  just too much nuisance.

Enter MyFitnessPal.

I chose this app because it came with good recommendations and seemed as good as any other.  I cannot make any comparisons, but I now consider the choice pure serendipity.  I really like this app!

My cellphone is almost always near at hand.  And for back up, I also have the app on my IPad and can access it from any computer.

I find it so low fuss, so manageable, that I have tracked my calorie count -- along with calorie expenditure estimates -- every day for the past year.  Though family health crises, my own included, and through travel and holidays and the numerous ordinary and extraordinary events that make up a year, not one day did I find any particular difficulty recording information about my diet, exercise and weight status.

I've dropped 25 pounds and in recent months have actually been using the application to help me maintain my present weight, the weight I was given as my lifetime ideal about the time I reached my full adult size over 45 years ago.

After so many years of wanting and trying to lose weight, the experience of trying to hold a stable weight – that is, to NOT lose more weight -- is a whole new thing.  I hope a year from now I can say I've mastered this phase!