Allen Salkin Finds Trends Where Lesser Reporters See Only Bullshit Allen Salkin is the Times ' designated kitschy trend specialist and author of a book about fake holiday Festivus , which sums up his sensibility very well. When we last encountered him he was sending out email blasts looking for travel companions to the Olympics, dinner companions to a barbecue joint, and sources for a story about ukeleles. You'll be happy to know that his aggressive pursuit of ukulele players has paid off! But you've tipped your hand, Salkin. We're onto you : Salkin's story on the hot ukulele trend is out, and fits perfectly in his oeuvre. His past investigations have exposed chicks who eat meat , revealed how no one goes on vacations any more, and uncovered prepsters who hang out downtown -as well as their rival hipsters who hang out in Atlantic City . We're now prepared to reveal Salkin's journalistic method to the public: He solicits you to hang out with him in casual settings and mines you for minutiae, which he then seasons with his patented significance-inflating sauce: "I see you're no vegetarian!" "Downtown is getting so preppy." "Can you believe my dumbass roommate bought a ukulele?" Lately I've been tying my shoelaces inside the shoe, to prevent those floppy strings on the outside. Others in Brooklyn are doing the same. Call me, Allen. [NYT ]