• Salon's Matt Zoller Seitz has a fun appreciation, with clips, of TV comedy pioneer Ernie Kovacs. Kovacs is certainly an acquired taste, in that you probably won't find him entertaining unless you already love TV/film comedy and are curious about the origins of many current techniques (such as David Letterman's habit of occasionally walking up to a camera and batting it like a cat would). Poet Percy Dovetonsils (at right), is one of Kovacs's sillier creations.
• Today's local Twitter craze: jokes about "prcmoms," otherwise known as People's Republic of Cambridge mothers. Best one so far, from @ideadrop: "Your mom is so Cambridge she got herself certified organic before she would breastfeed."
• Is it rude to keep looking at your smartphone while you're with other people? David Carr fretted about the phenomenon on Sunday in the New York Times, reporting that while he was at the SXSW conference in Austin, "The wait in line for panels, badges or food became one more chance to check in digitally instead of an opportunity to meet someone you didn’t know."
Andrew Sullivan gave an amen: "When you are actually among people you know, the act of glancing down at your mobile device is simply bad manners. It states absolutely that your current interaction is not as important or as interesting as any number of online connections."
But Kevin Drum sighs and accepts the practice as inevitable: "I will probably go to my grave thinking it's rude, but unlike Andrew, I long ago decided to simply live with it because it seems so obviously to be a value-neutral cultural change, not something intended to annoy people."
I do get annoyed by the practice, but I see it as part of the current fixation on multi-tasking, which most people are not nearly as good at as they think. If it bugs you that a dining companion is texting while trying to hold a conversation with you, it might help to think of that person walking into a lightpole, missing his train stop, or falling into an open sewer while focused on his Blackberry.