Tuesday, January 13, 2009


One difference between Jacobs and me is that he is clearly much more in tune with popular culture than I am. He makes a lot of allusions to reality t.v. shows that I have never seen. I guess it is important to be in touch with pop culture in his work at Esquire magazine. I own a television set, but we haven't been able to get any reception on it since we moved into our house six and a half years ago. We've never subscribed to cable or satellite t.v., so we only watch things we can pick up with "rabbit ears", which is nothing. Our previous home, which was about a quarter of a mile away from where we live now did get reception on the networks and pbs. We don't know why we can't get it here. In any case, we now only watch videos and dvds. I only just discovered Ugly Betty on dvd. Jacobs reminds me somewhat of Betty. He works in a fashion magazine, but says he dresses pretty rattily. I am actually pretty impressed that he is maintaining his day job while he goes about reading the Brittanica.

BTW I don't plan on buying a digital converter box. I think it is important to maintain a certain squareness in my work as librarian and college professor.

Jacobs mentions both coffee and cappuccino as entries. His coffee entry begins where the coffee story always begins, with the legend of a goatherd who discovered coffee when he noticed his charges going berserk after eating the beans, but from there his story just goes off on a tangent.
He is pleased to discover that he knows something about cappuccino that the Brittanica doesn't mention, about its origin and the color cappuchin monks hoods. I checked several other reference sources and was interested to find that bit of information was about the only thing mentioned in them. Why would the Brittanica leave it out?

By the time he gets through the C section Jacobs has two successes with his trivia knowledge, in other words he has learned something that he shared to help someone, rather than just be annoying. He helps his wife with 42 down in a crossword puzzle and he knew coriander and cilantro were the same thing, preventing a friend who dispises cilantro from making a serious mistake when asked if she'd like "coriander" in her soup.

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