It is better to be mad than cool

by cfmullen • Cool is no longer cool. Cool is now mad. However when used in combination with the word mad, followed by the word cool, cool is acceptable. In fact, it is mad cool. But let me reiterate, cool is not mad, anymore. • For as long as I can remember, cool was my go-to word. "That's cool," is the expression I used at every memorable moment of my life. It was the way I described everything from the edgy and iconoclastic, to the cute, charming or funny. "Cool." It was a word that even made me cool because I used it. • Truth be told, (and that's what we do here at DOT) I've done as much to destroy this once excellent word as any suburban housewife describing her new kitchen to her girlfriend: "You should see it, Carol. The granite counter is really cool." • Somewhere in heaven, Miles Davis flinches every time someone utters that word and marginalizes the expression that he and his coterie of jazz masters invented. They made cool, hot. • If I close my eyes, I can see a young Miles Davis dressed in a sharp, sharkskin suit, holding his trumpet, listening as Gerry Mulligan solos on his baritone sax. Mulligan, suave and serious, finishes. Miles nods and in his hushed, raspy voice, says one word: "Cool." Then he puts his trumpet to his lips and blows. And the world listens. His groundbreaking, The Birth Of The Cool, becomes one of the albums that will spin on the turntable in my brain forever. • Last week, I was on a bus when three young girls, high-schoolers, got on. Frenetic energy began flying everywhere. Loud conversation and exuberant shouts bounced off the windows. And there was that word. It punctuated every conversation. "Mad." "That math class (I swear they said this) was mad fun." "That lunch room was mad crazy yo."  "Did you check out her sneakers - those are mad laces.”  Everything was mad.  Except for me. I was cool, which as we have established, isn't. • It took fifty or so years to utterly obliterate the coolest word of the 20th century. So, the question is: When will the balding, middle-aged stockbroker, standing on line at Starbucks, turn to his friend and say, "You have to try one of those new pineapple cheese frozen Lattes. It's mad tasty."


Air today. Gone tomorrow.

by cfmullen • Ever since it went on sale, I have been walking around with a pretty bad case of MacBook Air envy. So light, so thin, so cool, and oh so hard to justify buying - especially when you already own an almost brand new PowerBook and iPad. • But as things will happen, my son's six-year-old laptop died while he was writing his senior thesis at Princeton. So, of course, I gave him my MacBook Pro. And at the same time, I gave myself the excuse I needed to buy a MacBook Air.  Apple crack. It’s an addiction. You just have to have it. • Just as I was about to skulk out the house and head down to Apple store, my wife staged an intervention. She blocked the front door and handed me a box. • I thought, at first, she had surprised me and bought me a new Air. But the packaging was far too mundane and brown to be from the design mafia at Apple. And besides, there was a Big Z on the outside of the box. • "It won best in show at MacWorld 2011," she said in the most tech savvy, condescending manner possible. "You'll see." • When I opened the box, I found the best accessory ever made for an Apple product (that wasn't designed by Jonathan Ive): the all-in-one ZAGGMate keyboard and iPad case. ZAGGMate’s deftly engineered case is made of the same techno-metal as my iPad. When I put my iPad on top of my new case, it seemed to disappear, morphing into a smooth aluminum rectangle.  And, I swore I heard my iPad say, "You complete me." • Besides protecting my iPad in the coolest way possible, the ZAGGMate has turned my amazing iPad into a more amazing iPad. • The ZAGGMate unleashes the true potential of Apple's IOS. Now I can type and write on my iPad as easily and comfortably as I did on my Powerbook. Switching between apps is a breeze and incredibly useful. Plus, I can use all the standard keyboard shortcuts to cut and paste, undo or copy. Not to mention the arrow keys. Zoom-Zoom. • Could I write a novel on my iPad? Yes. But I would need a good idea, a lot of discipline and a gullible publisher. (Also, I would have to manage the files with my iMac.) A big plus to writing with IOS is you don't have to worry about saving your work. I am using iWriter now, but Pages works great, too. So from here on out, I will be writing all my emails and my blog posts on my iPad with ZAGGMate. And I am still able to use all those amazing Apps that make iPad so special and versatile. • So for my needs, dare I say it, I don't really need a MacBook Air. Sorry Steve. • PS: Two days after I wrote this post, Apple came out with the NEW iPad. • After gnashing my teeth and feeling terribly obsolete, I took a deep breath and pulled out my ZAGG and wrote this addendum. So for the 15 million folks who bought the first iPad (and can’t rationalize buying a new one ) check out the ZAGGMate. It’s still awesome.





The Silver Streak

by cfmullen • It was 8:52 am. I was on the 1 train heading south. It was a typical rush hour crowd: brusque, impersonal and oblivious to everything but their combined tardiness. The doors opened at 14th street and the throng exited en masse. Like a scene out of Metropolis, they converged at the staircase, leaning forward, nudging, and pushing each other inexorably upward. ••• It was then that I saw her, her long silver-white hair shining above a sea of hats and boring hair hues. She was holding something long, shiny and metal in her right hand. She seemed to thrust it into the air. It looked more like a scepter than a sword. “Onward brave souls. Onward,” I wanted her to shout. But she didn't. ••• I hurried to catch up to her. I wanted to get a better look at what she was carrying. And I did. It was a scooter. You know, one of those folded-up preteen skate boardish things. A scooter! ••• When she reached the top of the stairs, she flicked open her shiny device and mounted it. With one strong push, she shot down 7th avenue, twisting, turning, expertly avoiding the limitations of age as well as the plodding pedestrians. ••• She was a Silver Streak. And she is the kind of person who inspires me – a person who refuses to take old for an answer. If you look, you will see people like her all around you. ••• I caught a final glimpse of her as she zoomed down the street. Yes, she was doing other things, but she was doing them on top of a Xootr Mg. ••• If you are inspired by this woman too, check out the link Xooter Urban Transport. Their scooters aren’t flimsy and they are built to fly. This spring, I am going to buy myself one. And if I see that woman on 7th avenue, I’m going to thank her, and suggest that even though her hair looks great, she should really wear a helmet.


The Cool Hunter

By Jeanne Chinard & cfmullen ••• One of our favorite sites ever (and we've been fans since it started) is now acknowledged as one of the coolest places on the internet planet to find the coolest things. Of course, it’s Cool Hunting which just completed its first bricks and mortar retail experiment. Located in Gap’s concept space on Fifth Avenue during the holidays, Cool Hunting’s shop proved to be as quirky and eclectic in the real world as their site is in the virtual one. This isn’t the first time Gap has hosted a pop-up store - they have also hosted them for other creative companies like Pantone & Keds x. ••• One of the things we liked most about the shop was that it exemplified what modern luxury has become. Hopefully we are done with all of those Ian Schrager aggressively minimalist or faux baroque interiors that have populated all too many retail spaces and hotels in the last decade. The Cool Hunting shop didn’t feel slick, or controlled. Raw wood wall panels and oriental rugs warmed up the small space. Everything in the store was accessible and inviting to explore. There was a small, well-edited collection of interesting objects, many the result of a collaboration between Cool Hunting and independent artists in the New York area. ••• Some of the things that caught our eye were the Pop Culture pencils printed with quotes like “Why I love John Hughes” movies and “Why Alec Baldwin is so cool.”  A small, but interesting collection of books that ranged from “Stickers: from punk rock to contemporary art” to “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. A few tasty treats like Brooklyn Salsa and Mast Brothers Chocolate.  And twenty skateboards covered in antique kimonos and handmade in Tokyo by Zillion. ••• The thing that we bought on was a charming brown coat with no sleeves. Not for us, but for Bert, our incorrigible chocolate Lab. Made exclusively by Zoomies, it was chocolate brown with red piping, a water repellent outer layer, velcro closures for a comfortable fit, an ultra-soft fleece lining for warmth, and a sharp looking stand-up collar. We thought it would be perfect for a lab who does his own form of cool hunting. ••• We asked a friendly, low-key guy who was standing in the middle of the store about our find. He was very nice and helped us look for Bert's size. We asked how he came to work at the Cool Hunting pop-up, and as it turned out - he is Cool Hunting.  It was Josh Rubin, Cool Hunting's founder and Editor-in-Chief. Unassuming and with a great eye, he was really enthusiastic about his new venture. And so were we. ••• His pop store reminded us of this little place we used to shop in a long time ago on Columbus Ave and 78th street. (If you can believe it, in those days Columbus Avenue was considered fairly dicey and you had to be adventurous to live there.) There was always something in that shop to peak your interest: a book, a scarf, a vase, a small painting, new things, flea market things – all wonderful things. And what was there was constantly changing. The two guys who owned the store had style and taste and grace. They were Cool Hunters long before Malcolm Gladwell coined the phrase. It was a fun place to go and you didn’t have to spend a zillion dollars to get your money’s worth. ••• The Cool Hunting store epitomizes the way the world is changing. You can see the shift. At one time, those in the know wanted to sit in Philippe Starck transparent Louis XV chairs at the Hudson and knock back Grey Goose martinis. But today, luxury is savoring a slow latte from Stump Town while sinking into a weathered comfy chair in the rough-hewn lobby of the Ace Hotel. ••• Cool is never fixed in time. It isn’t subtle and it always announces itself as a moment of change. Where we once sped towards cool high-tech materials and modern interpretations of the past, we now seem to be craving reminders of a pre-tech world with natural materials and deep roots. ••• So congrats to Josh and his team for creating such a creative store and hip site. ••• Cool is always in flux. Our generation has lived through many evolutions of it. And it will be interesting to see where our cool hunting takes us next. 


Libeskind’s fantastic flying machine?


by c mullen ••• I was buzzing through the interwebs one day last week ( when I spotted this unidentified flying object. It easily could have been an invention of Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks - designed to fly between the twenty-three known and suspected dimensions. But it wasn’t. It was a building, solid and connected to the ground. ••• The building is The Frederic C. Hamilton Building, and is an extension of the existing Denver Art Museum. Yes Denver. Take that you Chelsea gallerists, curators and snobs. (By the way, how boring is the Museum Of Modern Art in New York? My wife says it looks like an upscale retail space. And she was being kind.) ••• I was surprised to find out that Denver’s frenetic building was completed in 2006. (What rock have I been under?) But I wasn’t surprised to discover that the architect responsible for this dynamic structure was none other than Daniel Libeskind. Sometimes the good guys do win. ••• I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when those morons who are in charge of rebuilding of the World Trade Center eviscerated Libeskind’s genius design and forced an unacceptable compromise on us all. What a loss. ••• So take a couple of clicks and head over to Libeskind’s site and marvel at his talents and his accomplishments. And if you can, go to Denver and see how this building moves the real world. It’s on my list of to do(s) other things list.