When Money Buys Happiness

Do we shop compulsively, and if so, how can we stop? It seems that most of our shopping behavior is in fact quite sensible. Geoffrey Miller’s new book, “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior” seems to prove that.

My generation of dummies

I’m an early Generation Xer, born 1961. Like Obama. Neil Howe compares us very unfavorably to the Millennials (those born in the 1980s and 1990s). He calls us “The Dumbest Generation: The Kids are Alright. But Their Parents….” According to Howe, we “have performed the worst on standardized exams, acquired the fewest educational degrees and […]

Bring home the bacon

It’s Thanksgiving? Forget turkey. Bacon is better. Bacon? Have a closer look. Dolce tipped me off to The iPhone Bacon Case. It’s hand-felted in one piece and is available on dawanda.de, a site that lets artisans sell their handiwork as presents. Handmade, homespun, unique, precious, affordable, marvellous, well-designed. Maybe the Bacon Case is no longer […]

Bicycling in DC

Biking is still dangerous in Washington, especially with the huge cars that take up so much of the street, but it’s nice to see this project. Smartbike DC is the first public bike rental service in the USA. It’s available by subscription, with docking points around the city. Clear Channel first initiated a program like […]

Planet Oktoberfest

Once a year this city goes totally nuts. I know enough people who can‘t stand the madness that is the Wiesn, as the Oktoberfest (www.oktoberfest.de) is known here. A Wiese is a meadow, and that’s what the Theresienwiese, as the fairgrounds are called, once were, years ago, when King Ludwig and Queen Therese decided to celebrate their wedding here in 1810. In the first years the Oktoberfest was modeled on the ancient Olympics and was actually a sporting event. Today the only sports involved are raising a liter of beer in a glass mug (that‘s just over three pounds) and keeping your balance while you dance on the table (which is not allowed, but everybody does). Oh, and there’s finger wrestling, or Fingerhakln, of course, and running hurdles to get to the restrooms. So the disciplines aren’t too challenging.