Unsound &

Pointers (March 2024)

Who Killed the California Burrito?” is, at the risk of alienating my Northern California friends, absolutely correct in its assessment that the standard Mission burrito is torturously dry. San Diego and Santa Fe get it right with their generous allocations of guacamole and salsa.

Nineties web design, as displayed on Web Design Museum, was fascinating in its variety. Browsers of the day had severely-limited page layout features and there were no established conventions for what constituted “professional” web design; everyone was, in their own unique way, MacGyvering their pages as well as they could out of table tags and image maps, just trying to make something that looked reasonably similar on both Internet Explorer and Netscape. The results were a few hits and a lot of disasters; it wasn’t uncommon for a Fortune 500 company to have a homepage right out of Geocities.

By the end of the decade, though, page design norms were established that are still followed now. For example, check out Apple’s homepage from 2000: the above-the-fold portion of the page is fundamentally the same today, almost a quarter of a century later, down to the menu bar on top with the Apple logo on the left and “Support” on the right. (Alas, the “lickable” Aqua buttons are long gone.) Apple’s copywriting is also remarkably consistent over the years; taglines like “Rip. Mix. Burn.” would work fine today in a hypothetical world where the Apple Vision Pro has a CD slot on the side.

I lived in New York on the nineties, I was on BBSes, and somehow I still had never heard of ECHO and its founder, Stacy Horn.

I was, to be fair, at least a decade too young and not in the relevant social circles—that is, I didn’t hang with JFK Jr. Anyway, what a thing to run out of your apartment; NYNEX had to rip up the street to accommodate all the extra phone lines she needed. It’s still going!

This discovery courtesy of Joanne McNeil’s Lurking.

While we’re still mentally in the nineties, I would love to live in an alternative universe where “Toxic” appeared on the Sonic 2 soundtrack. Also, Doom would have been backed by The Downward Spiral.

What makes a champion Scrabble player? Apparently, about an hour of study a day and an utter disregard for the meanings of words.

The Pudding goes deep on what makes an album the greatest of all time, and why an album that was the greatest of all time twenty years ago might no longer be the greatest of all time today.

All I want to do / is get drunk with my wife.”