Blogging since 1998. By David Wertheimer

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 3)

 The Year in Cities 2023

Nineteenth year. I almost forgot to do this—I did, actually; it’s May 20 as I type. But through the magic of back-dating this is living in its rightful place and chronicling the march of time, and my travels, such as they were last year. Repeat visits starred as always.

New York (home base) *
Palm Beach Gardens, FL *
New City, NY *
Peru, VT
Lenox, MA *
Edgewater, MD
Gloucester, MA *
Edgartown, MA *
Buffalo Grove, IL

Leaving Twitter

Benedict Evans, on his decision to stop using (f/k/a) Twitter:

Until recently, though, the bullshit was mostly about cars or tunnels. It wasn’t repeating obvious anti-semitic dog-whistles. It wasn’t telling us that George Soros is plotting to destroy western civilisation. It wasn’t engaging with and promoting white suprematists. It wasn’t, as this week, telling us all to read a very obvious misinformation account, with a record of anti-semitism, as the best source on Israel.

And Dan Sinker, on his same conclusion:

That Twitter still exists, hollowed and hateful, feels like an insult. It’s just a flimsy facsimile of itself now too.

I largely stopped engaging with Twitter back in May; I haven’t created, replied, retweeted or faved in months. And I don’t plan on doing so again; as Evans notes, any business that endorses anti-Semitism is not a business worth patronizing (and certainly not worth creating content for). But I am also faced with the same problem Sinker clarifies—nothing has replaced it, and nothing really will.

The workhorse

I’m typing this blog post today on a 2013 MacBook Air.

I have to say, this little machine has fit me like a glove, however unintentionally. It was bought hurriedly, to replace an aging PowerBook with a dying battery, and at the time I overbought because the tricked-out model was in stock at the Apple Store.

Since then, it’s been a trusty partner for our household. For most of its life, it was the shared home computer for my wife and me, as well as for our children as they began to get online. Between that and our work machines it did good broad duty.

Last year, we got two new computers in rapid succession—a family replacement for this computer, and a new Macbook Air for our older son—and this became our disposable unit that I’d bring to work, coffee shops, etc. When covid-19 hit, our younger son took over the new laptop, leaving me on this machine full-time.

With the exception of a command key that popped out (I popped it back in, poorly but effectively; one corner has been sunken into the body for years) and a midlife battery replacement, it’s been reliable and productive. In this year of remote use, it’s finally starting to falter under heavy use: the trackpad isn’t clicking well, and I’m wearing off the coating on the other command key.

With the specter of more remote learning ahead, I’m probably going to buy yet another laptop, so my fourth grader and I don’t have to bicker over the “good” computer. If the 2013 Air died midstream I’d be in for a long week.

But I have to say I’ve been very content. This computer just goes and goes. When it crashes—there’s a lot of cruft on my machine after 7 years—restarts are quick and save states respected. The Magsafe power cord has saved me many times. Staying on an old OS (I’m still on Sierra! That’s borderline embarrassing) has allowed me to keep old software humming along (I’m looking at you, Photoshop CS 5.1). And while I’m not fussy about such things, I do find that the old school keyboard is more comfortable than the chiclets on the 2019 Airs in our possession.

It’s been a good machine. I’m sure it will linger (for the Photoshop, mostly). And that will be fine.


The 7 train conductor, over the loudspeaker: “Step in, stand clear of the closing doors.”

The same 7 train conductor, to himself immediately afterward, loud enough for our car to hear: “Stop holding the doors! Jesus fucking Christ.”

DJ memories

My post from yesterday on F&M has me thinking more about the radio station. I loved being at the studio, being on the air, hanging around with people on the air, finding new music and sharing it, toggling between records and CDs, trying to hit perfect transitions between songs, coming up with pithy things to say when the mic was live, looking out the huge picture window onto the quad while queueing up promo carts. I miss that environment terribly.

When I was a 24-year-old postgrad listening to Vin Scelsa late at night I considered volunteering at WFMU. But I had just moved into the city, and getting on the air would have meant committing to a 4 a.m. weeknight timeslot in New Jersey, and I didn’t have it in me to pay those dues. I’ve never really listened to podcasts, and as such I never got into making my own, so my dreams of being a radio personality are, for now, just a memory from my time in Lancaster. It was a blast.

Herewith, some anecdotes worth preserving in writing.

—I came to WFNM a highly skilled 18-year-old, having founded my high school radio station out of the TV studio senior year. The general manager of WFNM gave me a quick on-air test (only telling me after that we were live) and gave me a timeslot and an FCC broadcast license without having to go through training, which was apparently unprecedented, and that was fun. I made sure I had a lunchtime broadcast all four years of college, as WFNM was broadcast in the campus cafeteria, and I knew I’d be reaching my core audience each week. (Also, the news came on at noon, which I enjoyed, and on occasion I read the news, and once in awhile the AP news feed would break down—it was a dot-matrix printer directly connected to “the wire” back then—and I’d get to freestyle the news from my copy of the New York Times. I have a recording of one of those moments somewhere, it was great.)

—I was a first-semester freshman doing my radio show in the fall of 1991 when my friend Rich Schultz came into the room, said “listen to this” and played me “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” I remember thinking it was good not great; Rich insisted it was going to be major. A few months later it revolutionized the music industry. College radio let me in on the secret ahead of the masses, which is exactly what it was meant to do.

The world doesn’t work quite like that anymore, which is a shame. But a liberal arts college is all about those shared moments. I cherish them and hope future generations have them, too.

—The radio station had a good old-fashioned music library, two closets filled floor to ceiling with records and CDs. I volunteered as a librarian and helped keep things organized and tracked. DJs could check out music as though it was a real library. Senior year, I watched a sophomore friend of mine, also on library duty, cavalierly pocket a few CDs for his permanent personal use despite my overtures and his own radio participation. It was a blunt introduction to how people like to behave when no one’s looking. Disappointingly, I believe he handed me a Rusted Root CD as he was taking for himself, and I took it. At least I still have it.

—In addition to the sheer joy of being on the air, I got a kick out of meeting a couple of bands in the studio, notably the guys from Live. They were from York, Pa., 20 minutes down the road, and WFNM helped break the band. When I met them it was before they released “Throwing Copper” and experienced a No. 1 record; they were your basic music dudes, cooler than us DJs, since they had a record deal, but pretty normal and nice, and roughly our age, too.

Still, I was a huge Live fan. I still have their autographs in my “Mental Jewelry” CD jewelbox (remember them?), along with ticket stubs (remember those?) from when I saw them at the Chameleon, their hometown club in Lancaster, as well as at CBGB (remember that?) before “Throwing Copper” came out, the night Ed Kowalczyk shushed me from the stage with a smile for calling out to them to play “Susquehanna” because it didn’t make it onto the album. This was all before their self-righteousness got the best of them and before Ed was offering to make you a video message for five hundred bucks, but oh well.

—For several semesters, I volunteered for the Saturday night, 1- to 3- a.m. timeslot. I did it with my friend Chris for a semester, then with our buddy Norm. We thought it would be an amazing chance to do whatever the heck we wanted on the air (and if we were too tired or having too much fun, the station would just shut down for the night, no biggie). I remember two things about this: one, that I only managed to make it into the booth two or three times, blowing off the rest of my weeks; and two, that Norm really, really loved it, and made the show his own. Which was awesome.

—I still have numerous cassette tapes of my shows, one of which I believe is in my car (which is old enough to still have a tape deck, but never mind that). They’re still fun to listen to. I should convert them to digital audio at some point before the tape degrades.

Ideapad’s new photos

Curious about the images atop this blog? The Twenty Eleven WordPress theme includes a randomizer, which I’ve populated with my own photos. As of summer 2013, this is the batch on display:

  • On the Li River, China, November 2004
  • Looking out my old bedroom window, New York, sometime in 2007
  • Sunset in the U.S. Virgin Islands (I believe the picture is of St. Thomas, although our fun was had on St. John and at Jost Van Dyke), February 2008
  • The last day game at the old Yankee Stadium, New York, September 2008
  • The deli on the corner of 21st and Broadway, New York, sometime in 2010
  • Inside a cafe in Buenos Aires, January 2012
  • Motif No. 1, Rockport, Mass., August 2012
  • Outside a boulangerie in Roussillon en Provence, France, April 2013


Separated at birth

Separated at birth, originally uploaded by netwert.

I knew Fergie’s Super Bowl halftime show costume looked familiar.

Happiness is

Happiness is, originally uploaded by netwert.

Levain Bakery and sunflowers. Miss you, Amy.

The geeks have inherited the earth

The geeks have inherited the earth, originally uploaded by netwert.

Steve Jobs of Apple makes a public stand against Flash, which has become the lead story on

Think about that: the head of a mobile phone manufacturer (responsible for just 16% of the smartphone market, which in istelf is 18% of the mobile phone market–roughly 3% of all phones) put in writing the company’s disinclination to use a piece of software from another company. And it’s front-page news on the Wall Street Journal, America’s final word on what matters in business.

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