Today’s eGullet kerfuffle on the riches of New Jersey cuisine is exactly the kind of thing that makes us love New York all the more. eGullet co-founder Steven Shaw started a thread in which he berates New Yorkers for their neglect of the Jerz's fine food: The argument goes that with the Japanese market in Edgewater (hm), Newark's inherent awesomeness (um), and the fact that 60 percent of New Yorkers have a car (wha?), we've got no excuse not to visit our neighbors. His conclusion, therefore, is that New York foodies are “lazy” and “lack a fundamental element of cultural literacy about food in the New York metro area.” We're not going to say anyone's got a chip on his shoulder, but … wow.
The responses poured in — but true to our reputation for self-obsession, the only part of Shaw’s post that made any impression on New Yorkers was his rather dubious assertion that a majority of us own cars. As one commenter put it:
Barack Obama is in Brooklyn for a fund-raiser tonight, and we were curious who — in addition to Caroline Giuliani, of course — might be turning out. So we looked to mybarackobama.com, where we discovered all sorts of affinity groups for supporters of the Illinois senator. There's Burners for Barack (for Burning Man attendees) and Octogenarians for Obama ("We are never too old to back Barack"). There are groups for Final Fantasy fans (they plan to "fight back against the Shinra companies of our world" via Obama) and flight attendants vowing to harness their "unique ability to fly around easily" to spread the word. There are spiritualists and psychic mediums who "emphatically believe" that Barack's the man for the job and Prince Fans for Obama, who believe he "upholds the ideals" of the singer and that "if Prince wasn't apathetic towards voting due to his religion, he would vote for Barack Obama." Ballers for Obama are planning three-on-three basketball tournaments to help raise cash for the campaign, and Canadians like him, even though they can't vote. And then, of course, there's NYC 4 Obama. "We have a lot of really serious supporters here as well," insisted Molly Lombardi, spokesman for that group. —Janelle Nanos
A day after the Times debuted its new, slimmed-down format, the Post today reports that the Gray Lady is set to shed something else: TimesSelect. As soon as some technical kinks are worked out, Murdoch's paper says, the two-year-old experiment will end and your Maureen Dowd will, once again, be gloriously free. So what to think of its brief life? Is TimesSelect slightly random in its border delineation, unfair to op-ed columnists, and above all annoyingly orange? Sure. But is it a failure? Not exactly.
We were glancing over New York Sun editor Seth Lipsky's panegyric to convicted felon Conrad Black on the Sun's Website — "Conrad Black is one of the greatest newspapermen of his, or any, time," and so on — when our eye was drawn to the right side of the screen:
New York's crush on Whole Foods may only grow with the revelation that the organic-grub juggernaut is run by a complete nerd. The Journal's Website uncovered, and today's Times reports, the dark, dark secret of company co-founder John Mackey. Mackey, it turns out, has spent the last seven years hanging out on the Yahoo Finance message board anonymously talking up his own stock. Even better, Mackey used the same forum to talk smack about a rival under the login name Rahodeb. Here's a sample: "OATS has lost their way and no longer has a sense of mission or even a well-thought-out theory of the business." Um, oh, snap? Best of all, though, is that the board's other users appeared to know Rahodeb's identity and were merely humoring the guy. Mackey hasn't yet been caught shilling on Citysearch or running up the Amazon ratings for Cooking the Whole Foods Way, but we assume that's forthcoming.
Whole Foods Executive Used Alias [NYT]
Okay, yeah, this is cool. Our friends at Vulture notified us that on the promotional site for the coming-soon Simpsons movie, you can create your own Simpsons character. We share Vulture's frustration that there's no option for eyeglasses, rendering it impossible to create our own Simpsons likeness. But, still, we just managed to kill twenty minutes with thing. Go. Have fun. Just be sure to put in your contacts.
Build Your Own 'Simpsons' Character [Vulture]
Simpsons Movie [Official site]
It's no secret that enterprising Webtrepreneurs often buy Web addresses just a few characters away from popular ones, counting on typos to deliver you to their penis-enlargement pitches or AdSense agglomerations. But, as we discovered this morning, those seeking the Website for the New York Daily News, which is at www.nydailynews.com, should make especially sure to get the full address in. A sleepily typed www.nydaily.com took us not to our Hometown Paper but to 123 Escorts, which offers Kim ("Just arrived in town!") and Evian ("Here for a short time!") among its "extraordinary conglomeration of bright, amiable, multi-functional personnel." It's not that we think such things will offend News readers' delicate sensibilities. We're just concerned they won't be able to handle the porn site's vocabulary.
Everyone has his own personal milestone for when the Lower East Side was, irrevocably, over. Maybe it was when the Hotel on Rivington went up, or when Tonic closed, or when you first overheard one I-banker telling another about the Annex. Two new options now present themselves. First, there’s VLES, a Second Life–esque “virtual version” of the neighborhood wherein you, via your own hipster avatar, can walk from “Katz’s” down “Ludlow” and “watch” “bands” “play” “clubs.” And then there’s HBO’s Lower East Side–set new series, The Flight of the Conchords (which is likely being advertised inches from this item). Think Tenacious D with the added deadly touch of Wes Anderson/Demetri Martin/Eugene Mirman deadpan. (Robot obsession? Check.) Yes, it sounds like the perfect TV embodiment of the neighborhood — but it also makes us want to never, ever set foot there again. Thankfully, we don’t need to; we’ve got it on our desktop.
Virtual Lower East Side [VLES.com]
Flight of the Conchords [HBO.com]
So you want to be an editorial assistant to Seventeen magazine's editor-in-chief? Before you commit yourself to long days of low-paid work, you can now try the experience on for size with Editor's Assistant, an online game offered on Seventeen's Website. We asked two New York editorial assistants to take a spin and evaluate how closely the game tracks real life.
The Webby Awards insist that acceptance speeches be only five words long. This proved something of a challenge last night for Lifetime Achievement winner David Bowie. "I only have five words — shit, that's five," quipped the Thin White Webmaster. "Four more … there, that's three … two…" and then he was whisked away. The Beastie Boys, who won Artist of the Year, were more accessible, walking the red carpet (which is more than can be said for YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, Persons of the Year winners), sitting at a central table at Cipriani, and yukking it up onstage when accepting their award. "I'd like to apologize to David Bowie," said Mike D. "I CC'd him on an e-mail that I sent to a lot of people, and he was really mad at me." Third-time host Rob Corddry started the awards on a lowbrow note, asking fellow Soho Grand lodgers if they had used the hotel's peppermint shampoo on their nether regions ("It tickles!") and claiming that he had hit on 19-year-old Jessica Lee Rose, a.k.a. Lonelygirl15. Some speeches were quickly ridiculed. "Yelp is useful, funny, and cool," said a rep for the site. "Except in their five-word speech," amended Corddry.
Prefer your awards galas a bit dorkier and more virtual than the glossy CFDA awards? You're in luck: Last night was also the first-annual Webby Film and Video Awards, held at New World Stages. The big winners were apparently the Ninja from Ask a Ninja, who won Best Actor, and Jessica Lee Rose, a.k.a. Lonelygirl15, who won Best Actress. Virginia Heffernan is no doubt kvelling.
11th Annual Webby Awards Nominees and Winners [WebbyAwards.com]
Related:Hey There, Lonelygirl [NYM]