A regular roundup of stuff that wouldn’t necessarily make it on the blog, but is worth noting:

• If nothing else, Google knows how to name its projects. Zeitgeist is the web search engine’s survey of the most popular searches conducted for the first 11 months of 2008, ranked by how much the search term’s frequency increased compared to 2007. No real surprises: obama and sarah palin were among the most popular in the U.S., and sarah palin was the most popular worldwide. The worldwide list was the most interesting, I think, since it gives us an idea of what others are thinking. Two of the most popular terms worldwide were nasza klasa and wer kennt wen, Polish and German versions of Facebook.
• Anyone who has seen Kurt Kleinmann’s black and white plays – which are designed to look like old black and white movies — will be glad to hear that the long-time Dallas actor, writer and producer may take the black and whites on the road. The Observer reports that Kleinmann’s Pegasus Theater is in negotiations for a tour of medium-sized Texas towns, which would start in Dallas and travel to smaller cities.. Because one can’t have too much of Harry Hunsacker.

• Rich people are feeling so guilty about shopping in this recession that they’re doing it privately, in Tupperware-like home parties. Or so says the New York Times. Notes one consultant: “People don’t want to be as public about shopping for luxury goods as they were in the past. [Private parties are] a feel-good way to buy, and this is a time for feel-good things.”

• When people say the economy could be worse, they aren’t kidding. Forbes has a list of the 10 fastest dying towns in the country, places like Hamtramck, Mich., with a 36 percent unemployment rate. The No. 1 town on the list is Bensenville, Ill., where Incomes have dropped by 11.4 percent since 2000 and poverty has more than doubled.

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