Music and Film

Older Bond Girl. Divorce Rates Down

Curated by CLAI

BOND GIRLS – AND JAMES BOND: Over the course of the Bond films, only 3 times has a female co-star been older than the actor playing James Bond. That includes Monica Bellucci (50) and Daniel Craig (46).

As a woman ages, she finds attractive the photos of men in her age range, or perhaps a few years younger. But it’s much different for men, who prefer women in their early 20’s even if the man is 30, 40 or 50.

Read more: James Bond Finally Falls for a Woman His Own Age (Washington Post)

James Bond and Bond Girls: Italian actress Monica Bellucci (R), French actress Lea Seydoux (L) and British actor Daniel Graig (C) unveil the next James Bond Film, 'Spectre' at Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Britain.

James Bond and Bond Girls: Italian actress Monica Bellucci (R), French actress Lea Seydoux (L) and British actor Daniel Graig (C) unveil the next James Bond Film, ‘Spectre’ at Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Britain. The movie will be released in Britain theaters October 2015. (EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA)

DIVORCES FALL: It is no longer true that the divorce rate is rising, or that half of all marriages end in divorce.

  • 70% of marriages that began in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary (excluding those in which a spouse died), up from about 65 percent of those that began in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Of college-educated people who married in the early 2000s, only about 11% divorced by their 7th anniversary. Those without college degrees, 17% were divorced,
  • If current trends continue, nearly ⅔ of marriages will never involve a divorce.
  • The median age for marriage in 1890 was 26 for men and 22 for women. By the 1950s, it had dropped to 23 for men and 20 for women. In 2004, it climbed to 27 for men and 26 for women.
  • There are many reasons for the drop in divorce, including later marriages, birth control and the rise of so-called love marriages.

 

Read more: The Divorce Surge is Over, But the Myth Lives On (New York Times).

Christmas Hits Stuck in the 1940s & Santa’s Evil German Twin

Curated by CLAI

HOLIDAY HITS STUCK IN MID-CENTURY: There hasn’t been an enduring holiday song released in the 20 years since Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (1994). Most lyricists of classic Christmas songs are dead. “Christmas in Hollis” was originally released in 1987, during a 10-year span that produced two other classics, Wham’s “Last Christmas” (1984) and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You”.

No one, not even such superstars as Taylor Swift, Coldplay or Beyoncé, has managed to turn a temporary seasonal hit into an evergreen since Carey’s tune. Some recent songs that showed promise, like Faith Hill’s “Where Are You Christmas?” or Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe,” couldn’t survive their singers’ waning popularity. Others, like Christian group NewSong’s tearjerker-turned-novel-turned-TV-movie “The Christmas Shoes,” flamed out early.

Krampus in Munich (Gordon Welters, NYTIMES)

Krampus in Munich (Gordon Welters, NYTIMES)

KRAMPUS: Long before parents relied on the powers of Santa Claus to monitor their children’s behavior, their counterparts in Alpine villages called on a shaggy-furred, horned creature with a fistful of bound twigs to send the message that they had better watch out.

Besides visiting homes with St. Nicholas, the Krampus has for centuries run through village and town centers spreading pre-Christmas fear and chasing away evil spirits. That tradition dwindled across much of Bavaria during the 1960s and ’70s, as postmodern society moved away from its rural past.

40 years, 40 portraits, 4 sisters, & Hello Kitty’s 40th Birthday

Curated by CLAI

4 SISTERS, 40 PORTRAITS, 40 YEARS: Who are these sisters? The human impulse is to look for clues, but soon we dispense with our anthropological scrutiny — Irish? Yankee, quite likely, with their decidedly glamour-neutral attitudes — and our curiosity becomes piqued instead by their undaunted stares. All four sisters almost always look directly at the camera, as if to make contact, even if their gazes are guarded or restrained.

The Brown Sisters: Forty Years (Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie) 1975, New Canaan, Conn. (Credits: Nicholas Nixon, NYTIMES)

The Brown Sisters: Forty Years (Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie) 1975, New Canaan, Conn. (Credits: Nicholas Nixon, NYTIMES)

HELLO KITTY TURNS 40! Hello Kitty is celebrating a big birthday this year. In the time since the first simple coin purse was sold in Japan back in 1974, Hello Kitty has become a multi-billion dollar empire — $8 billion worth of products bearing her image sold internationally in 2013. The Japanese company that created the cartoon cat now oversees the production of products ranging from backpacks to lunchboxes to picture books.

Simone Legno's 2014 sculpture Kittypatra is on display at the Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. (NPR)

Simone Legno’s 2014 sculpture Kittypatra is on display at the Hello Kitty exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. (NPR)

Geeks Win! CDs Still Reign in Japan

Curated by CLAI

What’s out may stay be in and what was out is now in. It sounds like fashion, but today we are talking about CDs and geeks.

The CD is still popular! In Japan. Maybe I’m nostalgic, but in such an intangible world of SnapChats and Vines, I love flipping through a book or admiring a CD cover (because someone actual put thought behind creating the art). It’s real and touchable. Though let’s see how long the CD will last compared to the cassette tape.

And geek culture is now in??? Movies like 21 Jump Street where Channing Tatum doesn’t get the girl and 17-year old millionaires who built and sold apps have made being smart and intelligent something to aspire to. Will magazines now start focusing on brains instead of brawn? Probably not. Sex sells.

GEEK CULTURE MAINSTREAM: Never before has the boundary between geek culture and mainstream culture been so porous. Becoming mainstream is the wrong word; the mainstream is catching up. Growing up, pre-Internet, possession of knowledge was such an identifier. That is no longer true; the Internet flattens things out. From gadgets to social networks to video games, the decision not to embrace the newest technology is a choice to be out of the mainstream.

  • With millions watching via computer, Tim Cook, the Apple chief executive, who has an industrial engineering degree, unveiled three versions of the watch, hoping to broaden the appeal of a fashion accessory traditionally worn by the calculus crowd.
  • With millions watching via computer, Tim Cook, the Apple chief executive, who has an industrial engineering degree, unveiled three versions of the watch, hoping to broaden the appeal of a fashion accessory traditionally worn by the calculus crowd.
Don't That Geek

Don’t That Geek

CDs STILL ALIVE IN JAPAN: Japan may be one of the world’s perennial early adopters of new technologies, but its continuing attachment to the CD puts it sharply at odds with the rest of the global music industry.

  • While CD sales are falling worldwide, including in Japan, they still account for about 85% of sales here, compared with as little as 20% in some countries, like Sweden, where online streaming is dominant.
  • Japanese consumers’ love for collectible goods. Greatest hits albums do particularly well in Japan, because of the elaborate, artist-focused packaging.

Bye Bye iPod. Bye Bye Cereal.

Curated by CLAI

1,000 SONGS IN YOUR POCKET: $400 was more than my car payment, but I didn’t care. This iPod — whatever that meant — was beautiful, and I wanted it bad. It promised the never-ending mix tape, the opportunity to program a radio station that served a market of one: Fountains of Wayne to Janet Jackson to Nirvana to Alan Jackson to the Pretenders? No problem.

Breakfast (Catherine A Cole, NYTimes)

SNACK CRACKLE POP: Cereal, that bedrock of the American breakfast, has lost some of its snap, crackle and pop. For the last decade, the cereal business has been declining, as consumers reach for granola bars, yogurt and drive-through fare in the morning.

  • The drop-off has accelerated lately, especially among those finicky millennials who tend to graze on healthy options.
  • Birthrate is declining — and children traditionally have been the largest consumers of cereal.
  • Many surveys have shown that Latinos and Asians prefer other breakfast foods.
  • General Mills is marketing its iconic cereals as family brands in an appeal to nostalgia: Adults account for almost half of the consumption of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.