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Post Week in Review: September 28–October 4

Published: October 3, 2014

Hello, Ello

ello

Don’t look now, but there’s another social network you just have to join.

It’s called Ello. and it’s the site that people are predicting could topple Facebook.

That’s not going to happen, but people seem interested in this social network for some reason, even more than Google Plus. Maybe it’s the minimalist black-and-white design, maybe it’s the promise that there won’t be ads, or maybe it’s the fact that people like saying the word “ello” in a Cockney accent.

Right now it’s invite-only, so get on over there and give them your email so you can get one of those invites. The question remains though: At this point, with Facebook and Twitter taking up so much of our time, do people really want to start posting to yet another site?

Brian Williams Has 204,000 Twitter Followers, Still Hasn’t Tweeted

Brian Williams

Brian Williams
(Everett Collection/Shutterstock)

Speaking of social networks, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams received the Lew Klein Award at Temple University last weekend, and during a Q&A session he was asked about Twitter. Williams has had a Twitter account since 2010 but he has never tweeted, and he joked to the Temple University audience that “my Twitter account was accidentally activated by NBC.”

Williams isn’t exactly a fan of the social network and doesn’t see any reason to start tweeting now. This makes him an anomaly in 2014, when media people endlessly promote their stuff, so right now he’s my news hero. I hope he sticks to his guns and stays off of it.

I’ve been rethinking social media myself lately and I’ve decided that it’s too distracting, too exhausting, and I don’t need to know everything right now. (But please feel free to share this column via social media if you like!)

Single = Healthier?

Happy Couple

(bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock)

If being single makes you healthier, I should be the healthiest person in the galaxy. Yet I’m having a problem with this story.

Bella DePaulo, a researcher at the University of California Santa Barbara, wrote Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. Her book includes research on studies that found singles less likely to gain weight (ha!), more likely to exercise regularly (ha! ha!), and less likely to stress about money (ha … actually, no, I’m crying).

There are some things that may be worse for single people though, including heart health and the fact that surgeries may be more dangerous. I guess you take the good with the bad.

What Do Women Want, Anyway?

As a man, I’m not qualified to answer that question. Or, in this case, I’m not qualified to question that answer. The people behind the scenes at Jeopardy! got into a little hot water this week when they included the category “What Women Want.” People thought the category was sexist because it centered around vacuuming the house, jeans that fit, doing Pilates, and drinking decaf tea.

Of course, people were outraged, and they were outraged in the place where most people are outraged now, Twitter. Some sample tweets:

I wonder what a “What Men Want” category would have had in it, and would that have attracted as much controversy? I’m assuming it would have centered around football, the best way to burp, and Playboy Magazine.

Are ATM Fees a Ripoff?

ATM

ATM
(sanjagrujic/Shutterstock)

Everyone hates ATM fees. If you don’t use the machine at your own bank, you’re not only charged by your bank, you’re charged by the other bank too. Get enough charges and it will make you remember to always use your own bank’s ATM (or take out all the money you need for the week during one trip).

The Wire reports on the annual Bankrate Checking Survey. It finds that the other bank charges you an average of $4.35 per transaction. Your bank takes $1.58 and the company that made the ATM takes the rest (and no, I didn’t realize that either).

I used an ATM in a convenience store once. When I got my statement for the month I saw that the machine had charged me $8.00 for the transaction. Plus I was charged a few bucks by my own bank. I think the total of the fees was more money than I took out.

The Equalizer

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington
(Photo Works/Shutterstock)

The new big-screen version of the 1980s CBS series was No. 1 at the box office last weekend. In fact, it was the fourth largest September opening ever. Looks like Denzel Washington could have an action franchise on his hands, a la Liam Neeson with the Taken movies.

What bothers me is that the new movie really has nothing to do with the series starring Edward Woodward. Other than the title and the name of the main character (though he’s called “Bob” McCall in the movie — no one would have called Robert McCall Bob in the series) there’s no connection to the show. The music, such a big part of the show, is different. The backstory is different, the supporting characters are different, even the setting isn’t the same —changed from New York to Boston.

Big-screen versions of old TV shows always baffle me. People who liked the previous version won’t understand why this new one has the same title, and people too young to remember a show from 30 years ago that isn’t shown anymore [Available on DVD] won’t really care about the connection. But I guess if you have a big star attached and cut the trailer a certain way it’s going to make some money.

National Taco Day(s)

Tacos

Tacos
(Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock)

If you like tacos, this is your week. Not only are we celebrating National Soft Taco Day today, we’ll celebrate National Taco Day tomorrow! I’m not sure why there are two different holidays for two foods that are pretty much the same thing, but people who love tacos won’t complain.

For the record, hard-shell tacos are better than soft. You need that crunch, the taco falling apart as you eat it. Otherwise you’re just eating a sandwich.

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