Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The best infographic I've ever seen

We get Parents magazine here at the house. That's because we're parents, even though the magazine isn't really aimed at all parents, just the lady kind. There's an article in the latest issue about kids without siblings. You know the kind of story: "The only child: Is it an advantage or a disadvantage?" (Useful answer: Both!).

There's an infographic with this story. In my day, I've seen good graphics and bad graphics. I was on hand for the famous "How to Ride an Escalator" graphic at the Register. In another job, I saw someone try to illustrate a story about the proliferation of grand slams in baseball with a graphic about -- I swear this is true -- how many Grand Slam breakfasts were sold at Denny's. So I'm no stranger to WTF graphics. But this piece in Parents is a serious masterpiece:

This is one of the most beautiful, random lists ever assembled. It's like the old "Spy List" feature in Spy magazine. You'd like to say they pulled names out of a hat ... except who would have even thought to put some of these names in that hat in the first place?

Daniel Radcliffe and Shawn Johnson, I understand. They're totally relevant right now, both to grown-ups and kids. Lance Armstrong? Well, OK, but I think he's getting pretty close to his sell date, with the Parents crowd if not everyone else. But here's where it starts going off rails. Alicia Keys is cool -- we saw her in person at the Letterman show -- but ... really? Condoleezza Rice? "Familiar" back when they were planning this feature, maybe, but kind of yesterday's news.

Then at the end, they hit us up with Blake Lewis. Blake Lewis! The runner-up from the hands-down worst season of American Idol. That beat-boxing guy who was on the show three years ago. Him.

I'm not criticizing. This is awesome.


OK, we're gonna try to get this thing going again. I've learned a few things about blogging since I launched my first blog, the moderately successful but currently dormant football site Down and Distance:

1. It's hard to find time to maintain a blog when you've got a full-time job doing something besides maintaining a blog.
2. It's even harder to find time to maintain a blog when you're self-employed doing something besides maintaining a blog.

I used to write these long, long analytical posts with research and pictures and statistics and whatnot. I don't have time for that right now, because every minute I'm blogging (or playing Spider Solitaire, or cleaning the house, or Googling cheesecake photos of Kellie Pickler*) is a minute I'm not earning income. And I like income.

Nevertheless, there are a still dumb things to say and dumb pictures to post. I'm on Facebook, and it's a great platform for interaction, but there's a certain lack of permanence to it. I'm on Twitter, but, as more and more people are saying, "Twitter is for old people". I'm on MySpace, but ... well, no, I'm not on MySpace. Are you kidding me? So we're going to turn the lights back on at XIOA.


Oh, and look: You can go through the archived posts if you want, but a lot of 'em are dumb, and some of 'em take cheap shots at the local newspaper. I feel bad about that. People down there are doing the best they can under punishing circumstances.