Saturday, March 31, 2007

Flatbread ROCKS!

Thomas and I decided to brave the Saturday crowds and go to the most fearsome place on earth, the mall. With several gift cards evaporating due to non-use, it was time to suck it up and park the car near other cars (met a nice man who was courageous enough to park his Porsche Cayman near Sears...) and encounter people with children. Lots of children. Sticky, loud, plentiful children (and the related monster strollers, wheelie sneakers and other obnoxious modes of transport.***See below) I could feel the headache coming on.

Smart enough not to bring me to the bad place without lunch, Tom drove toward to the mall but diverted and we ended up at a spot where I had never been before - namely, Flatbread located in Bedford, Mass.

In a word: OMG! OMG! OMG! Tremendous! No word of a lie - the best pizza I've had in years (and there is a lot of great pizza in Boston.)

The restaurant is hidden in business park not far from the Sun Microsystems campus. The exterior shows you nothing that would cause you to enter, but the interior is delightfully, organically nice. The centerpiece of the room is a large wood-fired oven and we naturally gravitated there as Spring is still lagging somewhat.

The crunchy, organic thing is not just a concept - it's a way of doing business. Our delightful server Claudia gave me the "first time visitor" intro to Flatbread. The food is cooked using only fire. The tomato sauce that they prepare is cooked in a cauldren over a wood fire and the pizza is cooked in the unique oven that was built by "members of the community" as it was described to me. Cool. I can totally dig that.

Visit the Flatbread company online and check out their purpose & values page. Yeah, that purpose and those values that are written out somehow permeate the place. The service was delightful, I enjoyed watching three young men stoke the fire, chop wood, toss dough, and make for me the Jay's Heart pizza. The pizza that arrived about ten minutes after it was ordered was transcendent. The crust perfectly cooked, the cheese perfectly melted and the balance of ingredients was just right. I enjoyed the organic lemonade sweetened with maple syrup. I don't usually drink lemonade, but this beverage was unique in its delicious, not overly sweet/not too tart lemonadeness. Flatbread has a full bar and a nice wine and beer list, but it was a wee bit early for me (and me+alcohol+proximity to children = probably yelling at parents who are busy ignoring the wails of their spawn.)

To fully review the restaurant for you I had to order dessert and the brownie sundae was a little slice of heaven. A brownie that was warmed in the wood fired oven served with two scoops of Crescent Ridge vanilla ice cream and their own whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup and drizzled with chocolate sauce. The dish is 80% organic, but 1000% delicious. Another "not too sweet" treat and somthing I'll look forward to again.

(Someone's quiet spawn enjoying the warmth and view of the oven.)

On top of lovely service, great food and a nice atmosphere - every Tuesday is benefit night (for a local community group or charity.) $3.50 of every pizza is donated to the group of the week. How totally kind is that?

Get on down to Flatbread and and get your slice of heaven.

(Any place, in any mall that requires STROLLER PARKING is not a place that I will be visiting. I'm glad the parents have a place to take the little ones, but I'm really glad I don't have to go.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Doesn't Everyone Need a Poet Laureate?

When I woke up to WBUR (my local NPR station) the story that was in progress was about the City of Boston discussions about naming a Poet Laureate. I thought "that's cool" - why not? Who doesn't need a Poetry Czar? Especially the highly literate City of Boston!

Then I got to work and and my astoundingly literate friend Pete mentioned the story too, so that confirmed the need to discuss. The story can be heard HERE.

What do you think? Does your city need a Poet Laureate?

Image: Lyric Poetry by Henry O. Walker - Jefferson Building, Library of Congress.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Welcome Back Rialto

Just home from a spectacularly wonderful dinner at the newly re-launched Rialto in Cambridge. A perfect visit, from the greeting to the service (mega bonus points for gracious and friendly service- thanks Michael and Tiffany and everyone else that visited our table!) to the lovely wine list (amazing choices available by the glass) and the food, oh my the food was simply delicious. This was our first visit since a fairly disastrous 10th wedding anniversary dinner 2 years ago. From a surly hostess to a new waitress, the wrong food and a red wine spill - just the sort of epic disaster that only I could plan to celebrate my anniversary. I was not loving Rialto.

Well, all is forgiven now.

The menu is clean and simple - but with plenty of variety. We started with roasted asparagus with stracciatella cheese, and artichoke with prosciutto. A perfect portion to begin the meal and beautifully presented. Tommy moved onto the Orange-dusted scallops and I indulged in the Grilled rack and roasted leg of lamb with sheep’s cheese crespelle (with the addition of the Potato basil purée - a fabulously beautiful dish of bright green potato!)

At no time did an unused fork or plate linger on the table a moment longer than it was needed, no glass went unfilled - and yet I never felt that anyone was hovering. We were asked in appropriate moments if we needed or wanted anything. (Appropriate = asked a question NOT when my mouth was full, you waitstaff know the drill...) Chef Jody Adams was present in the packed dining room making her way from table to table - it was a comfortable and warm feeling in the and relaxed room.

Dessert, oh dessert. Tommy ordered the Ricotta, poppy seed and almond crostada with grappa, figs and kumquats and I strayed from my straight and narrow chocolate path and took a chance on the Apple strudel with candied walnuts, dried plum sauce and cider zabaione. Without any overstatement, the apple strudel is the best dessert I have ever eaten - and I have eaten a lot of desserts during my life. Pastry Chef Tal Shofman-Schejter should have songs written to him for that strudel. Divine little bites of happiness they were.

We received a "thank you for visiting" and "we look forward to welcoming you again soon" from everyone we passed as we departed the dining room. You shall welcome us again soon Rialto - you can count on it. Special thanks to General Manager Chrystyna Kassaraba, you rock.

Lindt Shows Boston the Love

Walking back from lunch at the Good Life with Peter and Janet on the first Spring-like day we encountered the Lindt gold bunny Smart Car. Utterly cute (and environmentally friendly.) The nice man in charge of the promotional event was handing out little foil wrapped bunnies. What a treat on this treat of day.

Our new friend laughed as I said I was snapping his photo so I cold blog the event, then he thought he would photograph me and Janet. I wonder where we'll turn up...

Cute, cute, cute car! I need some bunny ears on my vehicle. I wonder if Audi makes them.

So cute and so completely delicious.

Handbag Advertising from a Bygone Era

Walking back to the hotel on Friday evening, high above Madison Avenue.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Really Coke? Really Altoids?

"Tastes so much like Coke we should sue ourselves?" Ad agency people - do not bring crack into the brainstorm sessions. That is lame. Lame, lame, lame. (Shot from car driving home from NYC on Saturday.) LAME!

Altoids ad on the way back to my hotel in NYC - presented without comment (but this is not lame, though I'm not sure what it is.)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spent the Day in Church

Tom had an assignment to shoot the Erol Beker Chapel of the Good Shepherd - also known as the Louise Nevelson Chapel at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in New York.

I have visited St. Peter's many times, but have never spent any time in the chapel as it has always been in use when I visited. If you are in NYC you should stop in for a look. The church is located at the base of the Citibank Tower at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 54th Street in Manhattan.

What a unique opportunity to spend the day in the space that Louise Nevelson created. She not only created the art, she designed the altar fabrics and the vestments for the clergy. According to the Saint Peter's website "The Chapel of the Good Shepherd is the only permanent installation of a Nevelson environment in New York City." One more reason to find time to go and see the 30-year old installation.

Some snaps from the day.

Tom discusses the shot with Watson Bosler of Saint Peter's.

There is a small, portable pipe organ in the chapel.

Tom was too busy to object to my photographing him working.

Way too busy.

A view of the chapel from the doorway. It is a lovely and calm space.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Last Post Before Coma

BlogHer Day 2 - awesome and smart and funny and loaded with wicked cool people at every turn. They day which couldn't have been any better was enhanced by a special post-conference throw down arranged by the amazing Christina Kerley. My summary of the day is below - all jumbled, as the day was. I ran from conference room to ballroom to hotel to lounge to dinner - in sassy shoes to boot!


CNN anchor Carol Lin is seen here being interviewed by Roxanne Darling for her video podcast. Carol joked that she isn't usually on the receiving end of questions and was really good-natured about answering everyone's questions (for podcast broadcast or otherwise.) The interview about Carol's really cool social network/cancer support program can be seen HERE.

I caught these two kissing in the hallway. Love that! The dynamic Lisa Jones of BlogHer and Surfette and her lovely and charming partner.

The super fabulous Michelle Madhok of SheFinds blog. She was part of a breakout session that turned into a group discussion about the best ways to reach out to bloggers who might be interested in your product. Idea #1 - don't send a form letter that leads with "Dear Blogger" - and don't ask for the sample panties back!

The divine Diva Toby Bloomberg hosted a session called "Should You Blog?" featuring Roxanne Darling, Remi Adams and Penelope Trunk of the Boston Globe. Toby is terrific and started the session by having everyone in the room introduce themselves, the name of their blog (or not) and a question for the panel.

Megan Garnhum pretends to live blog for the camera. She lived blogged day two for BlogHer. You can find links to her notes on three sessions here.

Cisco put chocolates on the table in my afternoon session. Clearly they know the audience in the room.

Cynthia Skyeberg (AKA Cyn Linden) of Linden Labs was so kind to answer my impertinent question "Why do I want to have a Second Life?" As someone who is stilling looking for an answer to that question, I really appreciated her honest and direct answer.

What the sound guy was reading during one of the sessions. Couldn't resist the photo or stifle my laughter when I saw it.

Jory Des Jardins, Elisa Camehort and Lisa Jones - the talented trio repsonsible for BlogHer.

Toby Bloomberg, Alex Gaena, Fard Johnmar, and Marianne Richmond at Flute.

Matt Dickman and Christina Kerley.

Toby Bloomberg, C.B. Whittemore and Valeria Maltoni.

Copyranter and Georgina (aka Archeress.)

BlogHer was amazing - I'll decipher my 12 pages of single spaced notes and write something concise tomorrow and Sunday. The Blog World collided at Flute when Christina Kerley invited a number of us to gather at Flute for champagne and introductions. It was also the first international "Shoe Down."

This photo is for Paul McEnany at Hee Haw Marketing in Dallas (who introduced me to CK online months ago) - and here we are drinking Champagne in New York City - ain't life grand! Thanks Paulie!

Caption: OMFG - I got to meet the Copyranter. F*ing unbelieveable. It's like meeting the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy or Johnny Appleseed - I got to meet a frigging legend. And I got to meet Ranter's fabulous girlfriend the Archeress.

First International Cute Shoe Down. Tough luck if you don't get it.

Megan Garnhum in Times Square on the way to Joe Allen for supper. Joe Allen is next to Orzo and is superb. What is better than scrambled eggs and Sauvignon Blanc at 10 pm? The only downer (which can be fixed) is that they don't take American Express. Hey AMEX - fix that!

Complete coverage of BlogHer and CK's Blogger Meet Up tomorrow. Now I slumber (If the machinery in front of the hotel will stop digging long enough to let me sleep.

BlogHer - The Powerful Ladies Panel

BlogHer = AWESOME! I've been too busy taking notes to upload - I'll do it this weekend. An amazing experience, I've learned a lot. Am sitting in the closing keynote but wanted to post this photo.

No fluffy chicks here:

(L-R) Marissa Mayer-VP of Search, Google; Debi Fine- President of iVillage; Caroline Little-President & CEO of WashingtonPost. Newsweek Interactive; Stacy Morrison- Editor in Chief, Redbook Magazine.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'll Take Manhattan

Day One at BlogHer - start at the bottom and read up!

Flowers on the bar at Palma Restaurant.

Thomas Magno contemplates something.

8:30 - Dinner reservation at Palma Restaurant with friend Watson Bosler and talented husband Thomas Magno (who is in NYC to shoot for Watson.) Palma is spectacularly good for a first time visit. Lovely greeting when we enter, no wait at the bar, excellent cocktail, promptly seated, terrific menu and fantastic service (thanks Zara.) Nice mediterranean menu - I can totally recommend it. Watson, Zara and Thomas in front of the restaurant as we departed.

6:00 - Yahoo is hosting a cocktail party for us at a venue across the street from my hotel, so I wander down to mingle with the attendees and have a Yahootini or three. Yahoo, you know how to throw a party.

Me, Megan Garnhum and Allison Clark of Text100.

Aedhmar Hynes (CEO, Text 100), Megan Garnhum of Wee World and Allison Clark.

4:30 - After a break we re-form in small groups featuring an expert in their field. I stuck around to listen to Caroline Little because she was willing to answer questions about newspapers and bloggers - the Washington Post has hired several writers to blog on particular topics recently with good success so far. She is not afraid of where blogging is headed. Cool. I swing by Megan Garnhum session on "blog bling" to get some good tips on making the space look better and potentially revenue worthy. Megan knows whereof she speaks. Totally.

3:00 - Case Studies session: Shirley Frazier of the Gift Basket Business blog has us cracking up about the gift basket industry ($4 billion dollar industry!) Caroline Little, CEO and Publisher of WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive was outstanding. What a smart, sharp lady - I feel like she has a handle on the expanding and changing interactive space. Carmen VanKerckhove from New Demographic and Racialicious was really interesting and funny. Staci Shiller of Wells Fargo was fantastic. The Student LoanDown blog is really smart and funny.

2:45 - Megan Garnhum came and found me! Yay!! So nice to put a face (a real one) with a blog. I ran into Toby Bloomberg (the Diva herself!) in the lobby on the break - how fortunate I am to be in this room with all these smart people! *Note to the peeps: Type quieter...

2:30 - Excellent guided tour by the founders of (Elisa, Jory and Lisa) of the buzzwords we know (mostly) and use (or don't) and then Q&A session that showed the attendees are a pretty smart group.

1:30pm - Lively discussion about social media and interesting case studies. Dove Real Beauty with their Superbowl commercial was called out. Twitter - is it worth anything? (Paul McEnany - that was not my question...) Do PR peeps, ad peeps and "professional" journalists need to call themselves out on blogs (resounding yes.)

11:30am - I'm here! Somehow managed to drive from Boston to the hotel in 4 hours flat. It would have been 3 and a half but FDR was totally backed up. By some miracle the hotel had a room ready for me. *BONUS! The room looks like the photos online! Yay! I plopped my stuff and dashed off to the Affinia Manhattan for the conference.

I've already met a handful of lovely people (Hi Alicia! Hi Emily at Weber Shandwick! Hi Jeremy! Hi Annie - go Philly!), had a quick lunch and will report back later. I did leave my camera in the room. Bummer.

BlogHer Business Conference '07 logo

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'll Be Blogging That

My shoes are packed, I'm ready to head off to the BlogHer Business Conference in NYC tomorrow. I am so excited I'm not sure I'll get any sleep tonight (considering addtional shoes.)

I may do a little liveblogging both here and at the Digital Hive blog as time allows. There will be a photo round up at the end of each day. After the Yahootinis tomorrow night and after the Christina Kerley (CK!)-arranged Bloggers Take Manhattan event on Friday night.

Stay tuned.
BlogHer Business Conference '07 logo

Best Line From a News Show

MSNBC's Chris Matthews had me rolling on the floor with his spittle-laden wordsmithing last night - to wit, the best line from Hardball with Chris Matthews 3/20/07:

[It shows things]..."In their least competitive disadvantage"

Matthews referring to George Bush at a press conference speaking about the war and anything else to keep the subject off the fired-for-political-reasons US Attorneys General.

Least competitive disadvantage. I totally love that one.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

He'd Rather Watch Tobacco & Liquor Ads

Tom and I watched the news on MSNBC last night through to the 10 o'clock hour. Between 9pm and 10pm the advertising goes all crazy pharmaceutical. Like disgusting-warning pharmaceutical. It starts to make me itchy.

It made Tom say out loud "I'd rather watch tobacco and liquor ads, at least people were having fun." That's my man.

Jeff Flemings wrote an interesting post at the Digital Hive blog about copywriting in pharma ads. It's totally worth a read.

BoingBoing had a 2005 post that linked to a set of awesome vintage ads (which appear to be from medical trade mags.) I must say that as an agitated, beligerent senile, I may need some Thorazine.

Some sample warnings from the television are below - are your issues bad enough to deal with the potential side effects?

Don’t take Rozerem if you’re taking LUVOX® (fluvoxamine) or have severe liver problems. Avoid taking it with alcohol. Don’t drive or operate machinery until you know how you’ll react to Rozerem. Rozerem may affect certain hormones. Consult your doctor about how this may affect you, or if your insomnia doesn’t improve. Take Rozerem right before bed. Side effects may include drowsiness, fatigue, and dizziness.

CIALIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. Tell your doctor about your medical conditions and all medications, and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. Don't take CIALIS if you take nitrates, often prescribed for chest pain, as this may cause a sudden, unsafe drop in blood pressure. Don't drink alcohol in excess (to a level of intoxication) with CIALIS, as this may increase your chances of getting dizzy or lowering your blood pressure. CIALIS does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

The most common side effects with CIALIS were headache and upset stomach. Backache and muscle ache were also reported, sometimes with delayed onset. Most men weren't bothered by the side effects enough to stop taking CIALIS. As with any ED tablet, in the rare event of priapism (an erection lasting more than four hours), seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term injury. In rare instances, men taking prescription ED tablets (including CIALIS) reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision. It's not possible to determine if these events are related directly to the ED tablets or to other factors. If you have a sudden decrease or loss of vision, stop taking any ED tablet and call your doctor right away.

Prescription Requip Tablets are not for everyone. Requip may cause you to fall asleep or feel very sleepy while doing normal activities such as driving; or to faint or feel dizzy, nauseated, or sweaty when you stand up. If you experience these problems, talk with your doctor. Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol or are taking othing medicines that make you drowsy. Side effects include nausea, drowsiness, vomiting, and dizziness. Most patients were not bothered enought to stop taking Requip.

AVODART is used to treat urinary symptoms of Enlarging Prostate. Only your doctor can tell if your symptoms are from an enlarged prostate and not a more serious condition, such as prostate cancer. See your doctor for regular exams. Women and children should not take AVODART. Women who are or could become pregnant should not handle AVODART due to the potential risk of a specific birth defect. Do not donate blood until at least 6 months after stopping AVODART. Tell your doctor if you have liver disease. AVODART may not be right for you. Possible side effects, including sexual side effects and swelling or tenderness of the breast, occur infrequently

Monday, March 19, 2007

He Was Only 20

Lowell soldier killed in Iraq (From

By Michael Naughton, Boston Globe Correspondent

Pfc. John Landry, Jr., 20, had just spent more than two weeks in Florida with his parents, far away from the violence in Iraq and the cold temperatures of his native Lowell.

Landry, who graduated from Lowell Catholic High School in 2005, said goodbye to his mother and father on March 7 and headed back to Iraq. He was killed in combat on Saturday, his mother, Pamela Landry, said today.

Standing in the family kitchen in Lowell, Pamela Landry remembered a line from a letter that her son had written recently as he bragged about hitting a perfect 6-for-6 score on a marksmanship test. "'Don't worry about me, mom,'" Pamela Landry said, quoting from the letter as she broke down in tears. "'I'll be okay.'"

Landry was a rifleman with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

US Representative Martin T. Meehan released a statement Sunday and called Landry a "courageous, brave young man."

"John was a patriot, who answered his country's call to duty and made the ultimate sacrifice. He is a true American hero and we all owe John and his family a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice," Meehan said.

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Lowell Catholic High School spent part of last week assembling a care package for Landry that they had planned to send this week.

"A lot of it was sports magazines, different snacks he requested, some Lowell Catholic t-shirts, and the football team signed a football jersey for him - things meant to entertain him," said Donna Deveau, the director of advancement at the school. "This is very shocking to us."

How many more? Why?

Five Years and Counting

Today is the fifth sad, sorry anniversary of the War on Iraq. I support our troops - I want them home where they belong. They didn't start this mess, they can't solve this mess with guns and bombs. Grown up political men need to get off their asses and get off their high horses and solve the problem. Send a prayer for the soldiers and their families enduring this hardship.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Annals of Not Aging Well

Tom and I watched "To Live and Die in L.A." on FLIX tonight. It does not hold up well. It actually made me kind of achy. I used the Wang Chung album cover because it more closely matches the opening title than the revisionist history version for sale on poster sites. Willem Dafoe is perfectly villainous - so is the soundtrack. It's a film set in L.A. that never uses Los Angeles and that's a shame. Tom always confuses it for "8 Million Ways to Die" - Hal Ashby's underrated final film. Maybe I'll rent that and do a 22 year out viewing. The 1980s, it's not possible they'll come back, right?