The Wall Street Journal has a good article about leetspeak, the shorthand text many have adopted for communicating in the digital age (think "LOL" for "laughing out loud").

Leetspeak first became popular in the 1980s among hackers, or "elite" users who developed the coded language to conceal their hacking plans and elude text filters. It has since become a common method of communicating - via instant message, cell phones, and email. Teenagers [allegedly] like the fact that their parents can't read it; adults often find it a useful shorthand when communicating on the fly.

While language purists are outraged at the abandonment of proper grammar, some scholars argue that it's natural for language to evolve in this way. The articles cites examples such as the word "OK" (first appeared in a Boston newspaper in 1839 as an abbreviation for "oll korrect" and is now one of the most commonly used words) and "SOS" (the popular call for help, originated during the telegraph era when people communicated via dots and dashes and abbreviations). The Coyote Blog has a great post (via MarketPower) likening English to an Open Source Language, meaning it evolves based on how ordinary people are using it.

Feeling like a n00b because you don't know the lingo? Microsoft has a handy Parents Primer to Computer Slang and there's a multitude of Leetspeak translators on the Web.

Dunkin Donuts & Vanilla Ice in Copley Square - Tomorrow!

Dunkin If you're in downtown Boston tomorrow and could use a mid-day break, please join us in Copley Square for this very special event!

WHAT: Dunkin’ Donuts Presents: “Dunkin’Iced Coffee-aoke”

Alright stop, collaborate and listen. In celebration of Dunkin’ Donuts Free Iced Coffee Day, Dunkin’ Donuts and pop culture icon Vanilla Ice will search  Boston and  see  who will go “To the Extreme” for a year’s supply of Dunkin’ Iced Coffee, $1,000 and a Nintendo Wii.

“Dunkin’ Iced Coffee-aoke” is a creative karaoke competition that invites everyone to come down to Copley Square Park to remake the Ice-man's timeless song "Ice,Ice, Baby" using Dunkin' themed lyrics, and be judged by the man who made it famous, Vanilla Ice.

Contestants who do not perform up to Vanilla Ice and the other judge’s standards will be gonged by an oversized Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee character. The following day, March 21st, Dunkin’ Donuts will hold their first-ever all day, nationwide “Free Iced Coffee Day.” Word to your mother!

WHY:    Dunkin’ Donuts, the largest coffee and baked goods chain in the world, wants to help customers put winter “on ice.” On Wednesday, March 21st, the official first day of spring, Dunkin’ Donuts will host its’ first-ever all day, nationwide “Free Iced Coffee Day.”

For 24 hours on March 21st, customers can visit any participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in the country and receive a free 16 oz. cup of Dunkin’ Donuts’ premium iced coffee, which is double-brewed to ensure full flavor with every cup.

WHEN: March 20th, 12pm to 2pm

WHERE: Copley Square Park On March 20th  (Corner of Boylston St. and Dartmouth St.)

Free Admission and Open to the Public.

Please come down if you can - it's sure to be good time :)

[Disclaimer: Although my agency Hill Holliday  works with hometown fave Dunkin Donuts, I only *wish* I could take credit for this one.]

Global Warming & Human Rights

This is fascinating:

(1) Global warming is making it difficult for residents of the Arctic Circle to live in their traditional igloo housing; and Cloutier

(2) Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier is trying to raise attention to the issue by bringing it to court, before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States in Washington. She maintains that it constitutes a violation of human rights of the indigenous people who live in self sustaining, low-lying environments throughout the world.

While actually "winning" anything in terms of a settlement seems difficult (and a slippery slope - no pun intended) in this case, it was definitely a shrewd PR move. The hearing itself got press attention (I am, after all blogging about it), and if the committee chooses to investigate and write a report on their findings it will only gain more attention for the issue.

Read the full story.

Fox News 10th Anniversary

You may not have heard, but today was Fox News Day in Boston, in honor of the network's 10th anniversary, which they're celebrating with a roadshow across the country.Bill_oreilly_001

Today's festivities included a live taping of The O'Reilly Factor in Fanueil Hall, with Bill O'Reilly himself and special guest Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. O'Reilly was particularly excited to be taping here, since he attended Boston University and Harvard and did some early broadcast work here in town.
The taping was followed by a cocktail reception at Plaza III Steakhouse, where Bill, Mitt (and his wife) and NewsCenter 5's Susan Wornick all made appearances.

Check it out: Steph_and_bill_2

Coney Island Sideshow School

Shecky's culture & lifestyle newsletter shows us how we can indulge our inner carnie: by enrolling at the Coney Island Sideshow School (who knew?!).

For $600 one can learn all the secrets of the sideshow trade, including snake charming, sword swallowing, and magic!

It's a little unnerving that they have a Hold Harmless Agreement (indemifying instructors from any and all claims, actions, suits, etc., arising out of participation in the school) prominently displayed on the home page, and a requirement for any enrollee.

Fire eating anyone?


Hornby Island Eagle's Nest

My Mom alerted me to this great web cam postioned over an eagle's nest on Hornby Island, British Columbia.


The nest is tended by two adult Bald Eagles, and contains two eggs. If you are patient (leave a browser window with the cam on in the background) you'll see one of the parents return to the nest with dinner and trade off sitting duty. Be sure to keep your audio on...the birds make quite a ruckus during the changing of the guard and you'll know when to tune back in. And be sure to check it the week of April 26th, when the hatching is due!

Here's the really amazing part: this pair of eagles has been nesting in this same nest for 19 years; they produce 2 eggs per year.

Note: the cam runs live during daylight hours Pacific Time; other times it may run a repeat of the previous day.