Sarah Pappalardo and Beth Newell both have backgrounds doing sketch comedy. Newell also did a stint at The Onion. Now, together, they’re using their powers for good.
In May, the pair launched Reductress, a web site that satirizes all that’s ridiculous about so-called women’s media. With headlines such as, “You Don’t Do Yoga? You Obviously Hate Yourself” and “’How to Break Your Promotion to Your Man Without Emasculating Him,” the Reductress goes where The Onion, Saturday Night Live, and Jon Stewart fear to tread -- and makes you wonder why no one thought of this sooner.
Pappalardo and Newell spoke with One Thing New about satire, women and media, cute puppies, and Adele.
When work’s got me stressed out, I reach for my orange plastic bottle and blow bubbles.
The shimmering spheres float over my computer screen or bounce around my desk before drifting out and about the room.
While it’s fun to see the smiles of my co-workers, I don’t do it for them. I do it for me. It reminds me to slow down and, most importantly, to take a breath, which you need to do before you can blow a decent stream of bubbles. It’s a rare person who doesn’t feel better after blowing bubbles.
It’s not the only toy I have handy.
How long does the average museum-goer look at the Mona Lisa? Leonardo DaVinci's masterpiece, hanging on the wall at The Louvre in Paris, gets about 15 seconds of attention, on average, from each viewer.
It's not the only artwork given short shrift. A study by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art found that, on average, visitors look at a piece of art for 18 seconds before moving on. Arden Reed, a professor at Pomona College and author of the forthcoming Slow Art, says other research shows that most works of art get only five seconds each.
Phil Terry thinks these numbers are way too low. He's the founder of Slow Art Day, a celebration of a downright turtle-like approach to art appreciation taking place in 261 museums and galleries (and counting) worldwide on April 27.
So this is how the the story goes. Stanton Delaplane, a prize-winning travel writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, first had an Irish coffee at Shannon Airport in Ireland. When he returned home, he convinced Jack Koeppler, the owner of the Buena Vista Café near Fisherman’s Wharf, that he should serve it.
The only problem was that Delaplane and Koeppler weren’t sure how to make the drink -- a mixture of hot coffee and Irish whiskey topped with whipped cream. So one night in November 1952 they set out to create the perfect recipe. After much experimentation, Koeppler figured it out, including crucially how to get the cream to float gently on the surface instead of sinking to the bottom of the glass.
Sixty years later, the Buena Vista Café is still the place to go for an Irish coffee in San Francisco. They serve as many as 2,000 a day in specially-designed six-ounce glasses, and I can assure you they taste as good as they look. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I spent a few hours experimenting with the recipe kindly supplied by the folks at the Buena Vista.
I come up with some of my best ideas when I’m driving or doing the dishes.
While part of my brain is on autopilot, allowing me to get from Point A to Point B safely or to scrub my way through the stack of pans from last night’s dinner without even looking at my hands, another part of my brain wanders freely. That kind of unfocused focusing helps me break through my writer’s block or find the solution to a problem that’s been bugging me all day.
There a lot of ways to describe the mental state I’m talking about: in the zone, in the groove, on fire, wired. Call it whatever you like. All I know is that whenever I hit a mental roadblock, I hit the road or grab the dishwashing liquid. If that doesn’t sound appealing, not to worry. I just got back from a long drive and I’ve got eight suggestions on how you can find your own creative groove.