Check out this pleasantly haunting Flash visual poem:
Why Do You Stay Up So Late?
Interesting WIRED piece on hacking hotel infrared systems.
Perhaps it is just me, but it seems patently absurd to me to make a 9/11 miniseries in the first place, and even more absurd to film the goddamn thing in Toronto. Do they think that will pass without notice? Perhaps they believe that everyone is so anesthetized to 9/11 that they believe that one place is the same as another as viewed through a camera lens, but I think it is an astonishing insult.
Further adventures in the world of the absurd--a Las Vegas developer is building an East Village themed shopping complex.
You can see a faux Washington Square Arch in this architectural drawing, along with images of innocent morons who, like a very questionable acquaintance of mine from a few years back, will say, "I don't need to go to <insert name of place> now--they have it in Las Vegas!" I remember staring, slack-jawed, at this answer. I think the only thing we can hope for is that Vegas attracts all of these people like flies to a honeypot, and that once there they go visit the Las Vegas Jewish Holocaust Parking Garage and Casino where they can be mercifully put down for the good of all humanity.
As I write this Jean-Michele is still in bed--I can just see her feet peeking out from under the covers from where I'm typing, if I crane my head back and check for her. She'll be up soon, and then the day will begin, as it always does, but today is our fifth wedding anniversary. Five years--a heady chunk of time, but it's been no prison sentence: I've loved these days, surprising as they've been, and there's no one better than she. We're bad at enforced relaxation and ceremony, so I doubt we'll "celebrate" the way other couples might, but I bet we'll have a notes session, drink coffee together, work on our respective books, take the dog to the park and laugh a lot--and for us, that's a blessing.
Five years. Nice work, love.
When I wake up earlier than you and you
are turned to face me, face
on the pillow and hair spread around,
I take a chance and stare at you,
amazed in love and afraid
that you might open your eyes and have
the daylights scared out of you.
But maybe with the daylights gone
you'd see how much my chest and head
implode for you, their voices trapped
inside like unborn children fearing
they will never see the light of day.
The opening in the wall now dimly glows
its rainy blue and gray. I tie my shoes
and go downstairs to put the coffee on.
John Tynes writes:
My boss Rusty just walked in from a trip to 7-11 where he inexplicably bought a sack of RAP SNACKS, a potato chip brand that features various hip-hop cover stars. The sack he chose featured DirtMcGirt, aka Old Dirty Bastard, along with the motto: "ACT RESPONSIBLY".
ODB, of course, served two years for drug possession, was involved in several shootings, and arrested for shoplifting, drugs, and threatening an ex-girlfriend. He died last November of a drug overdose.
His namesake potato chips are still on the market, however, and his unheeded advice to salty-snack fans lives on.
From an IP standpoint, I find this interesting:
This was, originally, an Hiernomyous Bosch image posted on someone else's blog--in fact, it's his painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights". Check it out at Google Images, or dead tree it--it's a neat picture.
The host site has decided it doesn't like "hotlinking", which I personally have never understood well--it seems unlikely that my site's modest traffic is damaging their ability to host images--but the text in the box makes it clear that this is an IP issue--they want credit for hosting this image.
But why? Isn't the URL, visible on all browsers when the image is clicked, "credit" enough? And why is the simple act of hosting an image credit-worthy anyway? It's not as though this is actually Bosch's site, and I've linked to his image, nor is it misattributed--I didn't claim that *I* painted it, after all.
It's also patently absurd that once we've moved onto the web, and are living in an era when we put images there that can be instantly downloaded to any location on earth and duplicated digitally millions of times we're arguing about credit. Not credit for creating the artwork, mind you, but "credit" for hosting--a shared act that every server on the WWW performs every day or you'd never be able to even read this site. Sure there are examples when folks can be linked to and cause massive traffic problems, but I doubt that's happening today, and if it were a possibility I would exercise some natural diligence.
In closing, I'm not generally a dick about these things--in the past, on the few occasions that anal-retentive webmasters have emailed me about so-called "hotlinks", I take them down immediately. But this is the first who snarkily changes the image to a chiding instead of simply emailing, so this is my response.
Jean-Michele reports on happenings in the Ukraine, where often physical facts are subordinate to official histories:So, they've discovered this amazing series of tunnels and catacombs beneath the city of Rivne, Ukraine. This article--which is an admittedly weak translation--says that the historians and geophysicists are in disagreement over this discovery. Not over what it means or when they were built, but over the very *fact* of their existence. Since it doesn't correspond with the official history of the regions, the historians don't seem to believe that these tunnels are man-made, even though the picture that comes with the article shows something that nature would never have tunneled (see link below).
The part that's most appalling, though, is that they are considering filling in all the tunnels with concrete for fear that the city above will otherwise be susceptible to sinking. What a great loss that would be!
These tunnels are likely to be 400 years old, probably built when the Polish Lubomirksy family essentially ruled Rivne as its private kingdom. All of that old splendor was destroyed in the war, and then the Nazis moved in and made Rivne their administrative base in Ukraine.
I hope that those in charge choose to preserve the tunnels and, as the article puts it, "save the unknown sheet of the Rivne history".
It looks like a joke, but its real: the world's smallest mp3 player.
Yes, it's a Russian site that collects images of blank audio cassettes. Yes, really. Here it is.
Peter: Have they ever shown him doing somebody in and then feeding on him?
Brian: You're asking if they've ever done a Sesame Street in which the Count kills somebody and then sucks their blood for sustenance?
Brian: No, they've never done that.
So much for opening day--another opening bites the dust, and the show is up. Many thanks to all the great folks who came tonight to see us off, and to the good people at BRT for their fine, fine work. We couldn't have asked for a better opening for this monologue in the Bay Area, we really couldn't.
Eli Sanders at the SLOG was saying that the measure of a good scandal is how clearly and compellingly you can unfold its events--if that is indeed the bar, check out the Sunday Times article on the Valerie Plane affair. Sadly for Mr. Bush, it is pretty damn good reading.
The Hazzards are a fun, fun band--check out the video for Gay Boyfriend and Shut Up and Make Out. Of special interest is the behind-the-scenes page on making the Gay Boyfriend video--it's quite fun to see how much you can create on a shoestring.
Sold-out, beyond-capacity house for the preview last night, and what a great bunch they were: excited, engaged and totally present. I hurt my voice a bit halfway through act one, because I hadn't calibrated for BRT's space--a rookie mistake, made all the worse because I made the very same mistake last year with 21DY. Nothing critical though--throat seems better today and we'll soldier on.
Tonight is opening night, and today is opening day: I'm really enjoying this monologue, in a way that I never really got to with 21DY, and I think that's because we're older and wiser now, and with a little distance sometimes you can immerse yourself more fully into each moment. I'm really looking forward to the show this evening, and I'd like to take a little time out to thank everyone who's made our work possible over the last few years--the theaters that book us, the colleagues with whom we share our work, and of course, the audiences.
If you're coming to the show this evening I'll see you afterward.
There's a committee looking into the air,
my supervisor said,
when someone complained
about our stuffy office.
Can't you just see them up there,
sitting around a conference table,
looking into the air.
That's all. Just looking.
There's a committee looking into the air.
I must get elected to that committee
because I care about the air too
and I would love to look into it,
all of it,
and I would love to look into it
with others also.
We would be this committee,
to look into the air.
People would send us complaints about the air
and we would send memos back to them
describing what we saw when we looked into the air
and if something needed to be done about it
we would fix it.
We would be the committee that looks into the air.
Pressure Mounting To Put Cameras All The Fuck Everywhere:
Privacy advocates say the London bombings should persuade policymakers to stay away from surveillance rather than invest in it. It doesn't prevent terrorism, and at best only encourages terrorists to shift their target, they argue.
"Let's say we put cameras on all the subways in New York City, and terrorists bomb movie theaters instead. Then it's a total waste of money," said Bruce Schneier, author of "Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World."
It's not much more likely to catch a terrorist than the random searches that New York officials have begun conducting on subways, he said. Better to spend money on intelligence resources to prevent attacks and emergency training to respond to them, he said.
Yesterday was spent in the most remarkable way possible--flying on board my brother-in-law's airplane.
It's a beautiful machine--gorgeous detailing from the sixties, when people still cared about industrial design.
Jean-Michele is enjoying our ride around the Bay--above the Golden Gate Bridge, up to Stinson Beach, then down the coast to Half Moon Bay. We would have taken more pictures of the landscape, but the view was so amazing that mostly we just stared, agog.
Erik is flying the plane, but at one point he turned control over to me--no autopilot, nothing--and I actually FLEW THE GODDAMN PLANE. It was totally, absolutely awesome, and I was even more glad after a few exhilarating minutes when I turned control back over to Erik and no one had been killed.
A good preview piece hit this week for the show in the East Bay Express--check it out.
Great interview with The Tricky Part's creator, Martin Moran.
"It's very upsetting to say, yes, Bob is a human being who cared in some ways," he admits. "It's deeply upsetting. And there are a lot of people for whom that is not acceptable. And I get that, too. All I can do is render as honestly as I can my own personal experience, and in this experience I'm saying here's a guy who had sex with kids and was a criminal, and it was unquestionably wrong—and, in addition, it was many other things. It was an awakening and it was pleasure and it was horror and it was trauma and it was a clue to who I might become one day. It was all of these things."
Going flying over the SF Bay!
Senator Robert Byrd condemns American cities with a quasi-racist comparison in his memoir:
"One's life is probably in no greater danger in the jungles of deepest Africa than in the jungles of America's large cities," he writes. "In my judgment, much of the problem has been brought about by the mollycoddling of criminals by some of the liberal judges who have been placed on the nation's courts in recent years."
Recruiters Doing What It Takes To Close The Deal:
Sometimes recruiters, anxious to meet goals, improvise the script. This spring in Colorado, 17-year-old David McSwane went undercover for his school newspaper, posing as a high-school dropout with a major pot habit. He made tapes of a recruiter promising him a rigged drug test if only he agreed to enlist right away. According to the Rocky Mountain News, the recruiter urged McSwane to take his GED, and when he failed, the recruiter told him to send in for a phony diploma: "It can be Faith Hill Baptist or something," he said. Soon McSwane had a $200 diploma from the very school the recruiter suggested. News outlets around the country picked up McSwane's exposé. On secretly recorded audio tapes, the recruiter sounds worked up—impatient to close the deal.
A great piece by Emily White.
Just finished writing an essay for The Stranger, under an intense deadline after tech rehearsal, and I think I'm discovering that deadlines are truly essential for me--perhaps because I am a creature of the theater, I don't respect any deadline that doesn't have actual teeth to it, and for me those teeth have to be sharp, deadly and ready to sink into my leg for it to actually matter.
By the way, I am really loving the SLOG, The Stranger's experiment in blogy-ness. It's made it onto my must-read list, and this is not a paid endorsement.
I'd almost forgotten about this picture from the Seattle Weekly from 2002--I ran across it this evening. I should use this for something on the site.
I have apparently moved from the most overpriced city to the second most overpriced. This is progress? From what I can tell, many of the most overpriced cities are where all the interesting things are--i may, however, be biased in this assessment.
Slate on the latest Harry Potter tome:
It is hard not to wonder, though, whether making the books more timely will make them less timeless. Critics have been atwitter about Harry Potter lately. Some believe the books belong alongside the classics of children's literature. Others scoff that Hogwarts is no Narnia—that the world Rowling has imagined is narrowly conceived and filled with too many cheap references to our own. Reading the Half-Blood Prince today, Rowling's references to terrorism don't feel cheap. They feel terrifying. But how will they read in 50 years?
It's probably bullshit, but here's a piece on the snowflake method of writing organization.
(I do like the idea in theory, but I hate systems.)
Sending a shout out to Sheila for linking to the most over the top Flash ad for a binder I've ever seen.
New York's #1 Escort Reveals All - The $2000 an-Hour Hooker and the Sex Mogul Who Loved Her:
In the bedroom, Natalia was a superstar, an escort in demand by Wall Street traders and NFL quarterbacks alike. Her boss, Jason Itzler, who called himself the “King of All Pimps,” wanted to turn his brothel into a Playboy-style national empire, with Natalia as its crown jewel—and his wife. A love story.
The best parts of the stories are the priceless schemings of Jason Itzler, self-proclaimed King Of All Pimps.
Now Suzanne Sommers responds to the critics in her inimitable way.
THESE men are curmudgeons, and maybe I went too close to the bone for them. I was lying there naked, and they decided to kick me and step on me, just like these visions you see in Iraq," says Suzanne Somers of her treatment at the hands of New York's drama critics.
It may be the height of celebrity hubris to compare your bad reviews to Abu Ghraib, but Somers — an exaggerated entertainment personality if ever there was one — is not backing down.
Scotty has been beamed up. R.I.P., James Doohan.
Status report: tech begins in earnest this evening, and the show is really starting to look good: we've worked over the first act with a finetoothed comb, pulling sections, tearing things apart and generally leaving no stone unturned. We do Act Two this afternoon.
Thanks to all who have already written about my maladies. The good news is that the hives are pretty much gone, and my neck is no longer cricked, but is instead "incredibly sore, but functional" which should make it a lot easier to get through the day.
Haven't had a chance do digest my views on Roberts--that's the perils of tech week for you.
Now we're off to Berkeley Bowl, which in many ways is one of the meccas of Berkeley--I think they have 20 kinds of each type of produce, I swear to God.
So, we've been on the ground in Berkeley for five days, and it's been hellaciously busy. It's funny--the weather here is so consistent and bucolic, totally at odds with my experience of pulling the show back up to speed in the midst of illness.
Yes, it's true--I think my lifestyle caught up with me. Just after recording THE UGLY AMERICAN for the BBC I have come down with a truly awful case of hives--some kind of aggravated histamine reaction from what I can tell, brought on by stress and lack of sleep. I flew in to Berkeley in rough shape and it got rougher over the weekend before finally kicking the hives Monday...whereupon I suddenly, and inexplicably, cricked my neck.
It sounds so simple--a crick. How could that be so bad? But man oh man, it's been killer--there are few things sadder than a monologuist who can't turn his head. We've been getting a lot of dramaturgical work done while I do gentle exercises and we hope for improvement. We're cautiously optimistic, though we had to cancel photo call today lest all the pics look like I am Tobor the Monologuing Robot.
Berkeley rocks--the apartment we have is rustic but familiar, and its fun to be working with a team that we know and who knows us, letting us shorthand lots of things that took so much longer last year--it feels like within 24 hours we were as settled as we were a week in last time, which is helping with a condensed tech schedule this season.
Well, I'm off for some alternating cold and hot compresses and running Act Two. What better life could there be? I dare not ask.
(You don't think I'd leave you without a link? No, I would never do that--please check out this review of Suzanne Sommers one-woman show:
If you see Suzanne Somers' one-woman autobiographical musical extravaganza, "The Blonde In the Thunderbird" - and I am not suggesting you should - you'll no doubt find a favorite moment.
It might be when she struts around the stage with a miniature car around her waist. Or the time she gleefully rolls out a cart containing all the merchandise she sells on the Home Shopping Network.
My special moment comes early on, when Somers, backed by atmospheric musical underscoring, relives a traumatic girlhood moment, when her drunken father ripped up her prom dress and she retaliated by whacking him over the head with a tennis racket, mistakenly thinking she had killed him.
Oh. My. God.)
God bless the New Media--the Styles section does a puff piece on a woman who gets kind of obsessed with her nanny's blog:
The New Nanny Diaries Are Online
Naturally, the nanny in question writes a fairly devastating rebuttal of the piece, complete with references to her archives and evidence of exactly how she was misconstrued:
Instructions to the Double
A wonderfully concise history of L. Ron Hubbard. I have always been fascinated by Hubbard, and I intend to do a show about him one day--in fact, it was preparatory work on that monologue which led me to meeting Les Freres Corbusier, those maverick theatre dogs, and working with them last winter. Anyway, it's a good article, if necessarily brief and missing some of the tastiest stories.
BTW, we're in Berkeley--I'll post more soon, but work calls.
The little elf is dressed in a floppy cap
and he has a big rosy nose and flaring white eyebrows
with short legs and a jaunty step, though sometimes
he glides across an invisible pond with a bonfire glow on his cheeks:
it is northern Europe in the nineteenth century and people
are strolling around Copenhagen in the late afternoon,
mostly townspeople on their way somewhere,
perhaps to an early collation of smoked fish, rye bread, and cheese,
washed down with a dark beer: ha ha, I have eaten this excellent meal
and now I will smoke a little bit and sit back and stare down
at the golden gleam of my watch fob against the coarse dark wool of my vest,
and I will smile with a hideous contentment, because I am an evil man,
and tonight I will do something evil in this city!
Weird clouds over Nebraska.
Andrew Sullivan on the Schmidt report:
Maybe you still remember the shock of seeing the photographs of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. More gruesome images are on their way, and may well be released within a month. What we saw - the use of barking dogs, people shackled to the floor, sexual abuse, a man dragged around on a leash like a dog, simulation of gay sex, references and threats to relatives - was indeed shocking. But we were emphatically told by the administration that none of this was policy, that all of it was dreamed up by some nutjobs on the night shift who got their ideas from bad television or their own demented psyches.
One great merit of the Schmidt report - which is otherwise riddled with worrying euphemisms, dismissal of troubling facts, exoneration of almost all commanders - is that we now know that almost every one of the Abu Ghraib techniques was practised and innovated at Guantanamo. These were not improvised out of nowhere. They were what the report calls "the creative application of authorized interrogation techniques," and the interrogators "believed they were acting within existing guidance."
Feature article on Yours Truly is up on Theatermania. Funny moment from the article:
Even though he's been a lifelong liberal -- one reviewer described him as a mix between Noam Chomsky and Jack Black -- he felt obligated to defend certain American policies time and again during his stay abroad.
I was a lifelong liberal? Hmmmmmm. Honestly, I don't know how the interviewer got that idea--in my time I think I've been all over the political ideological map, though I do think that I've reversed the standard tropes: I was most conservative when I was young, and steadily getting more liberal as I grow older, tempered by experience.
Karl Rove Death Watch:
Why aren't the major newspapers running editorials calling for Karl Rove's resignation? The Washington Post is silent. So is the Los Angeles Times. Maybe they're waiting for more information. But what more do they have to know? The White House deputy chief of staff revealed the identity of an undercover CIA employee to Time magazine. He did this solely for the purpose of attacking the credibility of an administration critic. He did not check first to find out whether said CIA employee was undercover. Or perhaps he knew and didn't care. Either way, such reckless behavior is a firing offense. Next case.
Chocolypse Now--After the Chocolate Factory.
What's the sound of a blog staring in on itself? This guy creates the blog Gawkerist to comment on Gawker for the sole purpose of getting a job writing for the company...it'd all be somewhat amusing except for the queasy, self-congratulatory tone and rapid descent into narcissism.
Do Not Try This At Home: One Man's Harrowing (And Slightly Ironic) Attempt to a Media Gig
The other unanticipated development was the fevered speculation about my identity. Former GM editorial director Choire Sicha, at that time still blogging for Sploid (and now an editor at the New York Observer), noted amusingly about Gawkerist, "it's well-written, so it has to be someone we know."
If the Gawker Media people were interested in finding out who I was, Krucoff became positively obsessed. Over the first two weeks of Gawkerist posting, I exchanged over 200 e-mails with Krucoff, most of which cycled between him accusing me of being either his friend Chris Gage or mediabistro's anonymous "foreign correspondent" blogger "Sacramento is the New New York".
Pope Opposes Harry Potter Novels - Signed Letters from Cardinal Ratzinger Now Online:
In a letter dated March 7, 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger thanked Kuby for her "instructive" book Harry Potter, Harry Potter: Good or Evil?, in which Kuby says the Potter books corrupt the hearts of the young, preventing them from developing a properly ordered sense of good and evil, thus harming their relationship with God while that relationship is still in its infancy.
"It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly," wrote Cardinal Ratzinger.
Last night's event was a real success--many thanks to Cintra, for pulling it all together, giving us great material to read and for being dressed as though she was headed to a Caligula afterparty for copious ass-sex with native boys.
SummerShakesNY: The Harlem Shakes Perform With Ne'er-do-wells
July 12th at 7pm
Pianos, free until 8pm, a few dollars more after that
158 Ludlow between Stanton and Rivington
I'll be reading with the unstoppable Mr. Ames, Ned Vizzini, Will Leitch and many more, with musical performances by The Harlem Shakes and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Expect virtuosity and musicology.
Full details available here.
Good lord that's disturbing.
A guide to touring Nevada nuclear test craters.
A Codex Insulting To Nature:
New York's Finest Performing Literati Read Works By Cintra Wilson
July 11th at 9:30pm
Joe's Pub, $15
425 Lafayette Street between East 4th and Astor Place
I'll be performing with Jonathan Ames, Edward Hibbert, Mike Albo, Julie
Halston, Heather McGowan and a cast of thousands, performing pieces
selected and created by Ms. Wilson. Expect hilarity and vulgarity.
I am looking at trees
they may be one of the things I will miss
most from the earth
though many of the ones I have seen
already I cannot remember
and though I seldom embrace the ones I see
and have never been able to speak
I listen to them tenderly
their names have never touched them
they have stood round my sleep
and when it was forbidden to climb them
they have carried me in their branches
"We should have done our thinking and praying before that happened, Bill..."
In honor of our trip to Coney Island today, have fun with carny vocab.
Deron Bos has a blog, and in it he details plans for a wonderful day in Seattle--I heartily endorse his views on what to do an see on Capitol Hill, and reading this entry actually made me nostalgic for a place I just spent six weeks in, which is a difficult thing to manage.
Tomorrow JM and I are going to Coney Island, which I haven't been to in two years, for some sun, relaxation and hot dogs. Looking forward to it immensely.
Here is a kind of disaster, my dear,
Next to it walks yet another
Do you hear the light dry step?
And which is my voice and which is the echo—
Who is sobbing who is drunk with laughter—
And which disaster is the shadow of the other?
Now this is multimedia done right--a pictoral guide to the making of Barcade, a great new bar in Williamsburg dedicated to good beer and classic arcade games.
Among other topics, Virginia Heffernan talks about STELLA:
In fact, each of these comics acts as though the other two are the only ones who really get him. The trio's easy rapport is appealing. But the impacted surrealism of their undertaking makes it seem more like performance art than comedy. And it's run so tightly, and to these guys' idiosyncratic and inaccessible rhythms, that it is nearly impossible to find breathing room to laugh. Not to mention the jokes: where are they? Watching "Stella" is even a little alienating, like listening to stoners crack themselves up at the mere thought of bagels or bears.
Signs your neighborhood is getting dangerously trendy: Claire Danes is eating at your favorite neighborhood sushi place, looking dangerously thin.
Wolfgang Puck self-heating can hacking.
Awhile back I wrote about the new Wolfgang Puck self-heating coffee containers that took 10 years and $24 mil to develop. Well, I managed to find them in a local store and bought them to take apart to see how they work. Once activated, they reach 145 degrees in about 6 minutes. This isn't a review of the beverage, it's all about the stuff that makes the liquid hot, how it works, pictures and links to patents....
I was going to post about how JM and I are pissed about Cardinal Schönborn's statements, but then Annie Wagner went and said everything I wanted to say, so I'm doing the bloggy thing and linking to her well-wrought words.
Aaron Landsman, man amongst men, writes:
I am hoping you can come see a version of a new monologue I’m working on. It features a live videotaped confession by a sympathetic stalker who falls in love with a newly engaged couple at Uncle Nick’s. Hijinks ensue.
Expertly spoken by David Brooks (not the NY Times columnist).
The artists usually known as T. Griffin Coraline will mix sounds in the moment.
Love Story (in-progress)
written and directed by Aaron Landsman
performed by David Brooks
original sound mixed live by Todd Griffin and Catherine McRae
Assistant Director: Laryssa Husiak
Technical Consultant: Mr. John Collins
Reservations: 718-302-5552 or aaron (at) thinaar (dot) com
Saturday ‘n’ Sunday
146 Metropolitan Ave
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
(L train to Bedford Ave.
Out of the subway, left on Bedford
Several Blocks then Right on Metropolitan
Three blocks. On your left.)
Knisely writes:They started tearing down the old Speakeasy building today.
They brought in a big ass backhoe and ripped a hole in the side so you could look right in and see the charred remains of the old theater space.
Via the Polenblog
A Primer of the Daily Round
A peels an apple, while B kneels to God,
C telephones to D, who has a hand
On E's knee, F coughs, G turns up the sod
For H's grave, I do not understand
But J is bringing one clay pigeon down
While K brings down a nightstick on L's head,
And M takes mustard, N drives into town,
O goes to bed with P, and Q drops dead,
R lies to S, but happens to be heard
By T, who tells U not to fire V
For having to give W the word
That X is now deceiving Y with Z,
Who happens just now to remember A
Peeling an apple somewhere far away.
More from the Fez farewell party/show here.
If you're an average person with a regular attitude you're halfway to the bottom.
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
Rilke, Duino Elegies
The Fantastic Four movie has skywriters writing inverted fours in the sky--the full story from Choire:
"This is the thing; you have a lot of people at the studios in the promotions and marketing departments, and they get paid big salaries. They have to justify them with things like this. A regular campaign isn't going to earn them promotions. When ABC promoted Lost, they littered the beaches with bottles with notes in them."
SF and Bay Area Free WiFi Guides and Sites:
Free Berkeley WiFi Cafes
Free San Francisco WiFi cafes
WiFi Day Trip through SF
Free WiFi spots in the East Bay
"I think it important to try to see the present calamity in a true perspective. The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun... The insects have chosen a different line: they have sought first the material welfare and security of the hive, and presumably they have their reward. Men are different. They propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds, discuss the latest new poem while advancing to the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermopylae. This is not panache: it is our nature."
--C.S. Lewis, 1939 sermon at St Mary the Virgin, Oxford
William Gibson on God's Little Toys:
Today, an endless, recombinant, and fundamentally social process generates countless hours of creative product (another antique term?). To say that this poses a threat to the record industry is simply comic. The record industry, though it may not know it yet, has gone the way of the record. Instead, the recombinant (the bootleg, the remix, the mash-up) has become the characteristic pivot at the turn of our two centuries.
We live at a peculiar juncture, one in which the record (an object) and the recombinant (a process) still, however briefly, coexist. But there seems little doubt as to the direction things are going. The recombinant is manifest in forms as diverse as Alan Moore's graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, machinima generated with game engines (Quake, Doom, Halo), the whole metastasized library of Dean Scream remixes, genre-warping fan fiction from the universes of Star Trek or Buffy or (more satisfying by far) both at once, the JarJar-less Phantom Edit (sound of an audience voting with its fingers), brand-hybrid athletic shoes, gleefully transgressive logo jumping, and products like Kubrick figures, those Japanese collectibles that slyly masquerade as soulless corporate units yet are rescued from anonymity by the application of a thoughtfully aggressive "custom" paint job.
To all in London; may you have hope and peace in these hours, from another city who understands the terror of that first day and the long walk home.
A Letter To The Terrorists, From London
What the fuck do you think you're doing?
This is London. We've dealt with your sort before. You don't try and pull this on us.
Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever you're trying to do, it's not going to work.
All you've done is end some of our lives, and ruin some more. How is that going to help you? You don't get rewarded for this kind of crap.
And if, as your MO indicates, you're an al-Qaeda group, then you're out of your tiny minds.
Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we've got news for you. We don't much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We'll deal with that ourselves. We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.
And that's because we're better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we're going to go about our lives. We're going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we're going to work. And we're going down the pub.
So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the fuck out of our city.
The original Starlet.
Luke's lightsaber, up for auction.
The Long Way Home:
We have settled in Brooklyn, where, of all the places I've been, I feel most myself. I understand Brooklyn in my bones: the juxtaposition of so many voices, so many souls, so many foods, so many cultures. It is in this most American of cities that I have chosen to set down roots -- because it seems to me no other place better embodies the world. When people ask me where I am from, I say I am Persian, born in Iran. I write and dream in English, I curse in Spanish and, after a few pints of Guinness, I dance a mighty Irish jig. And when people ask me where I live, I tell them Brooklyn is my home.
CHILDREN WRITE ON WHERE THEIR NAMES COME FROM—
My parents were going to name after my dad, Alexander. But they didn't because a lot of Jr.'s died so the had a little fear. I don't blame them but I sort of like that name but I do not want to die!
Brian. Its meaning is "one with strength and nobility." I don't think I suit my name, for one, I'm weak, not strong. Another reason is that I'm not very noble. Also, It's and Irish anme, and I'm not Irish. I guess my sister, who picked my name, thought it was an English name. My Vietnamese name is Teo (Tao). Even though my name doesn't fit me, I wouldn't change it. All the other names I think of sound unusual and don't fit me. Also, I'm already used to my name, thanks to my brother yelling it at me, especially when I was his slave for a month. My name may not fit me, but it sounds okay. Nevertheliess, I still do not like my name.
I know what you're thinking; you're wondering how I got my name. Well it all started when I wasn't even born and my parents wanted to name me Nick. Sadly, my cousin took it before I was born. So my parents thought and thought and thought. Suddenly it hit them like a big giant brick, maybe I should be named Michael Alexander Zenti. I mean they really like it and it sounds good. So they did decide to name me Michael Alexander Zenti.
I have heard of other people with my name, maybe two or three times, that's why I love it! My name means a lot to me, I might not show that, but it does. My name means "Valorous, brave, watchful." So if I'm afraid to do something, like sail to Mexico, I'll think of my name, "be brave." Not like that would happen.
You can read more of their classmates' essays here.
The Complete New Yorker--every issue, from 1925 until February 2005, on 8 DVDs. I want it...or at least, I want to BitTorrent it.
Brought to my attention by my brother: now eminent domain extends to use by private companies. Unbelievable--the tentacles of corporate reach grow, foot by foot, year by year.
By way of Pace--other performers who use electricity and other means to bombard live audiences.
Sleepwalker rescued from crane:
Emergency services were called to a building site in London after a passer-by spotted the 15-year-old girl curled up on top of a concrete counterweight high above the ground. The teenager, who has not been named, had climbed up the crane and walked across a narrow metal beam while fast asleep during the incident, which happened on June 25.
...down in flames! London takes it, and now NYC is left to weep and curse. I have to say, I am totally and completely delighted--like many New Yorkers, just about the last thing I wanted here was the Olympics, an international money pit for a series of athletic events I honestly couldn't give two tin-plated shits about. Hopefully this helps bury Bloomberg's plans.
Terrifying and infuriating to know that the BID ALONE cost NYC over 50 million dollars. Sickening.
From a Ukranian/Canadian Newsletter:
Canada's relationship with Ukraine this year began on a sour note, after Canada's Foreign Affairs Ministry sent Ukraine's vice-consul in Toronto, Oleksander Yushko, home on December 24, 1996.
The 32-year-old diplomat was declared persona non grata after he was charged with impaired driving, possession of stolen property, offering a bribe to a police officer, and allegedly trying to lure two teenage girls into his car with the intent of administering a noxious substance (a handkerchief soaked with the anaesthetic solvent, xylene). Compounding Mr. Yushko's troubles was the fact he had no official diplomatic identification when Metropolitan Toronto Police arrested him.
On a brighter note, a group of Ukrainian Canadian bands from Toronto released a CD titled "I Am Alive" in mid-January, with proceeds from the disc's sale going to the Help Us Help the Children fund.
This is deeply messed up: someone got arrested for using someone else's unsecured WiFi network. Yeah, I know...Glenn does a good job poking holes in the whole thing.
"A world in which we are poised on the edge of eternity, a world which has deeps and shadows of mystery, and God is anything but a sleeping partner."
Christopher Fry, dead at 97
And now, A history of the vibrator.
Astrologer Sues NASA Over Comet Probe - Yahoo! News:
NASA's mission that sent a space probe smashing into a comet raised more than cosmic dust — it also brought a lawsuit from a Russian astrologer.
Marina Bai has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact probe that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 late Sunday "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe," the newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday. Bai is seeking damages totaling $300 million — the approximate equivalent of the mission's cost — for her "moral sufferings," Izvestia said, citing her lawyer Alexander Molokhov. She earlier told the paper that the experiment would "deform her horoscope."
The review of the original Macintosh from BYTE magazine from August 1984.
There will be a leap second at the end of 2005--see the cable.
I Wrote Bush's War Words -- in 1965:
President Bush's explanation Tuesday night for staying the course in Iraq evoked in me a sense of familiarity, but not nostalgia. I had heard virtually all of his themes before, almost word for word, in speeches delivered by three presidents I worked for: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. Not with pride, I recognized that I had proposed some of those very words myself.
Drafting a speech on the Vietnam War for Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara in July 1965, I had the same task as Bush's speechwriters in June 2005: how to rationalize and motivate continued public support for a hopelessly stalemated, unnecessary war our president had lied us into.
Looking back on my draft, I find I used the word "terrorist" about our adversaries to the same effect Bush did.
Be Still My Beating Heart:
While rejecting any "quid pro quo" on climate change, Bush nevertheless acknowledged that human activity is at least partly behind the apparent warming of the planet in recent years.
David Cross on his new book deal:
I am quite chuffed with myself to be honest and I hope all of this goes to my head. I suspect I will start wearing Chads and Dillupsworths and eating sticks of pure butter. What’s that? You say you don’t know what Chads and Dillupsworths are? Haha you fucking loser! My class is a better class than yours! I also hold great hope that this will finally (finally! Ed.) take the edge off of my “bitterness” (or rather “cynicism”, or “skepticism”, as I would call it, but that’s a debate I can have with all you Young Americans out there at a later date when you can learn to differentiate between bitter and cynical as applicable adjectives). It’s very telling that the first thing I wrote after I had the meeting was my fake biography for the back page. I don’t want to give it away but apparently I live in Vermont and I have an English Sheepdog. Fake, fake, and fake. All I do is make fun of stuff!
Nightmare on Orchard Street:
Mary said I was the 17th person to arrive. Shortly after, a man banged up the stairs, carrying a laundry basket of shoes. He was the 18th. We had identical subleases, which clearly stated how much we had given ($2,850) to Rita—who had never lived in this apartment.
Twenty people showed up that day and 13 more throughout the course of the week. We had all responded to the same uninformative Craigslist posting: "STUDIO APT TO RENT LOWER EAST SIDE MANHATTAN—BELOW HOUSTON." Mary was not particularly helpful or hostile, but explained the situation—"There's been a fraud," she said—then sent us to the police station. She had been friends with Rita and lent her a spare set of keys months before. While Mary was at work, oblivious, Rita let herself into the apartment and gave us all tours. She flitted about the room, opening cabinets and bragging about closet space.
He Says He Owns the Word 'Stealth' (Actually, He Claims 'Chutzpah,' Too):
Over the last few years, Leo Stoller has written dozens of letters to companies and organizations and individuals stating that he owns the trademark to "stealth." He has threatened to sue people who have used the word without his permission. In some cases, he has offered to drop objections in exchange for thousands of dollars. And in a few of those instances, people or companies have paid up.
Mr. Stoller owns and runs a company called Rentamark.com, which offers, among other things, advice on sending cease-and-desist letters and Mr. Stoller's services as an expert witness in trademark trials. Through Rentamark, Mr. Stoller offers licensing agreements for other words he says he owns and controls, such as bootlegger, hoax and chutzpah.
Fun fact about the fireworks spectacular:
Over 35,000 shells, over 1,000 shells per minute--55 times more fireworks in this show than any other in the country.
The founder of NYCWireless just moved, and when he fired up his PowerBook in his new apartment he discovered that he was in the midst of a wireless propaganda war via network names.
For Her Part, Actress Plays Audition Odds
I arrived at 4:50 a.m. That made me first in line, which was lucky because the day before, some guy had stayed all night. Soon, others were queuing up behind me outside the Round House Theatre in Bethesda in what resembled an employment line.
In a scruffy, faint-hope sense, it was. This was a line for a shot at an opportunity for an appointment to try out for a chance to apply to compete for a job of unknown nature at an uncertain time in a location yet to be determined, for negligible pay or none at all.
GEORGE ORWELL'S SIX RULES
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Intellectually Bankrupt: Slate dissects the myth that all people filing for bankruptcy are overspending consumers.
So, the recently enacted bankruptcy reform may seem like a classic case of ensnaring dolphins in an effort to catch tuna. America's economic system is exceptional in part because it encourages, pardons, and excuses failure. Nobody starts a business intending to go bankrupt, but it happens. And when it does, the nation's bankruptcy system—and its general tolerance of failure—has enabled people to pick up, move on, and try again with relative ease. In today's economy, which affords people unprecedented opportunities to start their own businesses, credit cards are frequently the preferred method of financing. So, while the new bankruptcy law might deter some people from overborrowing, it might also deter some people from leaving their dreary jobs and opening a store, or selling on eBay, or importing T-shirts. At the margins, lots of mundane businesses, and perhaps even a few great ones, may never get off the ground.
Bad keystroke leads to $251 million stock buy
A Taiwan stock trader mistakenly bought $251 million worth of shares with a misstroke of her computer keyboard, meaning her company is looking at a paper loss of more than $12 million and she is looking for a new job. The trader with Fubon Securities miskeyed in a small order from Merrill Lynch on Monday. Fubon said that the trader was unfamiliar with new computer systems and will be fired. The company will also examine its procedures of placing orders, it said.
Ah, yes--the latest talking head show from VH1--I Love The '30's!
Darth Vader fetish chick.
How Ice Melts: Longstanding Mystery Solved:
Until now, scientists could not explain why ice cubes in your drink melt. They've known the basics, but the details remained elusive. A breakthrough new study, announced today, supports a leading theory that melting starts when the fundamental structure of matter begins to crack.
One more note--here's a way to remap a PowerBook's useless enter key to anything else, including the much more useful option key. Very nice!
Woke up this morning and one of the Supremes tendered her resignation. Fuck.
On the upside, we're back in NYC, cooling our heels in Carroll Gardens, our old stomping ground. It feels wonderful to be home--the neighborhood is beautiful and hot, just the way it should be in summer, and having just performed Invincible Summer a few nights ago made it even more nostalgic to see it all again.
A few links, as I've been remiss in posting while the weird "floating table problem" afflicted us via Blogger:
• A great post on Panopticist about the wonderful work and legacy of Joe Frank. Joe is in the hospital now--if you don't know his work, read the article, check out the links and get on the train. Ever since Andrew brought him to my attention last year I've been voraciously devouring his work, and he's deeply inspiring to me as a storyteller and monologuist.
• Great Gothamist interview today with Bill Irwin, an inspired physical comedian, clown and actor par excellence. He has wonderful things to say about acting and comedy, including this gem:
How much of your acting technique is embodied through the physical versus mental and emotional?
I think they're completely connected, and even maybe beyond symbiotic they really are the same things. Our emotional lives are our physical lives, and we'd love that not to be the case because we'd love to think we're not quite so transparent, but as human beings walk around we're radiating our strengths and our weaknesses and our insecurities. So when you take on a role that's the delicious – challenging but delicious part of that as a storyteller. You tell the story of this person.
I couldn't agree more--the mind/body dichotomy, especially when performing, a physical act--is often thinner and more transparent than people expect.
• Here's some software I've been using, for Mac OS X--
Latest optimized for G4 processor build of Camino. This is a wonderful browser--when tweaked with CamiOptions it blows even Safari away in terms of speed and compatibility, except for spellcheck--but they say that will drop in any day now.
Latest nightly build of VLC for OS X. Not using VideoLAN Client, known everywhere as VLC? Get it now--it rocks on toast, and plays just about anything under the sun. Except for DVDs and QuickTime content, this is how I watch just about every video I download.
At night the dead come down to the river to drink.
They unburden themselves of their fears,
their worries for us. They take out the old photographs.
They pat the lines in our hands and tell our futures,
which are cracked and yellow.
Some dead find their way to our houses.
They go up to the attics.
They read the letters they sent us, insatiable
for signs of their love.
They tell each other stories.
They make so much noise
they wake us
as they did when we were children and they stayed up
drinking all night in the kitchen.