Nell Boeschenstein



Disc men

Music snobs are the worst; usually, I’ll stay as far away from music blogs as I do from rabid wild animals. In both cases, I fear for my safety: Make the wrong move, say the wrong word and—bam!—there goes that needed limb. Regardless, the Spanish site El Diablo Tun Tun is different. There is no […]

Gelekhter is the best medicine

Gentlemen, there are two easy ways to impress me. The first is to do things I can do way better than I can do them, even though I can do these things reasonably well (like ordering just the perfect item on the menu or laughing at inappropriate times). The second is to do things that […]

Bail of rotten

I will admit that even though my father gave my sister and me each a copy of Suze Orman’s The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke this past Christmas, reading about finance has never been something that I have taken to with relish or—on a more elementary level—comprehension. The words themselves don’t process […]

Support system

The other week I read that ad pages at The New Yorker are down 26 percent and that in the last issue there were only 10 pages of ads in the entire issue. This news hit me in the gut because I was suddenly faced with the prospect of what our reading landscape would look […]

Car talk

I am not in the habit of hawking the commercial sites of major companies. But times are so tough that I am even feeling a little pain for The Man, and don’t feel as bad about giving AutoZone a shout-out as I might have in the past. Plus, AutoZone has a pretty great website. Especially […]

Sing out!

I think that it is fair to say that amidst all the wonderfulness that was the week of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, one of the single most moving moments was that of Pete Seeger (along with Pete’s grandson Tao Rodriguez Seeger and Bruce Springsteen) at the “We Are One” concert on the steps of the […]

Oh, goodness!

I haven’t done the math, but my best guess is that the odds of starting a successful new magazine are about a kajillion times worse than the odds of starting a successful new restaurant. And that’s in a good economy. The odds are probably even worse now that long-established magazines are folding and nobody reads […]

Close encounters

The moments I most love the Internet are not when I laugh at a stupid something or come across an odd fact or find yet another something I want to buy, but when—against all logic and intuition—I feel as though the Internet has somehow brought me closer to understanding the human condition. Really good sites […]

Drink up

So, it’s the day before New Year’s Eve and, frankly, I am dreading tomorrow night. It is supposed to be an evening of wild debauchery and revelry, but if I see another alcoholic beverage within 20’ of me, I feel like I’m going to want to run screaming in the other direction. I am holiday-ed […]

Mind games

Trivia is a highly valued commodity in our culture. Just think of all the pastimes that revolve around it: “Jeopardy,” trivia nights at bars, Trivial Pursuit, um…yeah. Regardless, I firmly believe that we prize random facts if for no other reason than to satisfy the basic desire within us to impress the people we want […]

Manning up

I recently saw the documentary Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29. As I sat in the dark theater watching aging white men dissect, play-by-play, a 40-year-old Ivy League football game, I laughed and cried and wondered how the hell it was happening that this movie about something that I couldn’t care less about was sucking me in […]

Present tense

I have written here before about the design blog Poppytalk because the site has a fabulous and whimsical eye for everything from stationary and Christmas ornaments to shelving and chairs, with a focus on items that are handmade and often organic. Well, in case you hadn’t heard, times are tough and, if you haven’t walked […]

Turn your radio on

Like the cliché I am, the only real radio I listen to these days is NPR or WTJU. Even so, there are inevitably days at 8am when I don’t really want to be listening to Steve Inskeep or various Bach cantatas; sometimes, I just want to get up and get dressed to Levon Helm or […]

Quiz show-off

I remember how, back in the day, at Charlottesville High School in Mrs. Ruffner’s ninth grade World History class, my favorite part of every week was our current events quiz. Whereas most everyone else would groan and make generally painful expressions, nine times out of 10 I aced those quizzes; nothing felt better to my […]

Weather or not

If there is one underrated pastime in the book of life, it is that of talking about the weather. I could talk about it all day long to anyone who wanted to talk about it. The subject often gets mocked as boring, but to those weather-haters, I say, “Nay! But what could be more fascinating […]

Change we can take pictures of

The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. The question I then want to know the answer to is, how many words are 52,938 pictures worth? 52,938,000 words? I ask because as of November 12, that was how many photographs had been posted to Barack Obama’s Photostream on Flickr. The madness began […]

Yes we did

I’ll be honest: I am writing this thing the day after the election and I can’t concentrate. All I want to do is read the news and look at all the pictures from around the world of all the happy people and just revel in this moment, which really is, just, wow. While I realize […]

Word play

Despite the fact that words are one of the things I am supposed to be good at (a conclusion that might have been made by process of elimination due to the fact that I am certainly no good at numbers), I have never had a mind for word games. Scrabble, puns, riddles, crossword puzzles, Boggle, […]

Thinking of you

The holiday season is fast approaching. This means one thing: The annual time to feel the pressure to say the things you feel in your heart to the people you care about is upon you. Soon, a stroll through the cards aisles of CVS or Hallmark or Harris Teeter—a stroll that might, at other times […]

Money matters

My parents were visiting over Columbus Day weekend when the inevitable question arose. “So, Nell, have you been following the crisis on Wall Street?” my father asked. “I’ve been trying. I’ve been reading the paper but…” “But what?” “But that doesn’t mean I understand it!” My father then proceeded to summarize what I already knew […]

Music man

We at C-VILLE like to give our little birds that have flown props when those little birds land, as they sometimes do, on wire worth noting. Former C-VILLE music writer and online editor John Ruscher, also the founder of Nailgun Media, flew the coop after spending over more than a year writing nerdy-but-still-cool reviews, columns, […]

Fighting words

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll say right now that while I am not in the habit of plugging my friends’ websites (if my memory serves me correctly, in all the years I’ve been writing these 300 words per week, I have never done so), I’m going to break with tradition here and make […]

Table manners

So, apparently some nerds at the University of Nottingham convinced someone out there to give them a grant to make YouTube videos about the Periodic Table called Periodic Videos—one YouTube video about each element on the Periodic Table. The results, let me tell you, are grant money gone to excellent use. Picture this: An older […]

Number crunching

So, there’s no question that people have begun freaking out. I was talking to my dad on the phone the other day and when I asked him how he was doing, he answered my question by saying simply, “I’m worried about Obama, Nell.” I tried to cheer him up by saying that there’s still time—that […]

Housing works

There’s nothing like some good house porn. Flipping through the pages of Dwell or Cottage Living or scrolling through DesignSponge or Apartment Therapy is just as fantasy-inducing as I’ve heard the other more controversial forms of porn can be. I had begun to believe that I had exhausted the house porn world library in terms […]

Somewhere out there

For me and, I am sure, for millions out there like me, Woody Allen’s movies have long served as confirmation that the neurotic thoughts running through our minds like a ticker at the bottom of a TV screen are not a lonely affliction—that they are not associated with a private screening, but rather with some […]

Art in place

The public debate that pitted the suits against the street kids in an argument about whether or not graffiti art is, well, “art,” has long since been settled—it is, deal with it—but the recent unmasking of the graffiti-artist-to-the-stars, bona fide celebrity and truly talented Banksy has brought graffiti art back into the headlines for a […]