Wednesday, May 31, 2006

1:50 PM

Turbine hall
12:46 AM

party at the dead soul cafe
12:45 AM

Dressed with light
12:06 AM

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just a heads up--in advance of the Spoleto Festival we've given the other pages at a decent scrubbing and sprucing, so if you haven't checked them out in awhile, now might be a good time to kick the tires.
10:34 PM

Preludio sepia

5:01 PM

2:59 PM

Foggy tree
11:32 AM

Monday, May 29, 2006

11:26 PM

11:25 PM

Phonecam Photoessay #2

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A sign in one of my favorite local supermarkets—I admire the typography. I have no idea where they get these made, but they always look like a million bucks.

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My dog destroying an empty dog food bag, showing his contempt for the natural order between Man and Beast.

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Sam and Dave, a mated human couple.

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Lawrence Lessig giving a brilliant talk before and after an insipid documentary.

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A massive IKEA advertisement threatens a lowly human worker, who has been paid in Swedish meatballs and is beginning to regret that salary negotiation.

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An improbable IKEA device, probably called a STARKOMEMKA, that absolutely no real human would buy and mount in their home. Nevertheless, it is attractive.

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When I am performing MONOPOLY! and talking about corporate rule, this is sometimes what I think of.

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An attractive groomsmen at the most lavish wedding I have ever attended.

10:39 AM

3:17 AM

The Night Wind
1:58 AM

1:19 AM

On Simple Human Decency:

Am I allowed to write that I would like to hunt down George W. Bush, the President of the United States, and kill him with my bare hands?

Let me be clear that I have no wish to perform such a deed in fact…. I seek only to gauge what level of discourse is still acceptable in this country by asking, in the hope that I might someday participate in that discourse, whether I am free to posit that it would probably be great fun, and a boon to all mankind, if i were to slaughter the president of the United States with my bare hands?

….In place of the initial question I might ask instead, “Am I allowed to write that I would like to kidnap George W. Bush and fly him to a prison in some faraway land where his ‘rights’ are no longer an issue, there to put a bag over his head and making him stand for hours on one leg while I defecate on his New Testament before chaining his arms to the ceiling until he dies of a heart attack, after which I will claim that he never existed?”

1:17 AM

Very nice mention in the Charleston City Paper:

12:38 AM

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Do you like my hi-lights?
11:57 PM

11:56 PM

9:17 PM

last one
9:16 PM

9:13 PM

9:08 PM

9:05 PM

Namibia 'bowed to pressure' from Pitt and Jolie over birth - 29 May 2006 - Lifestyle & Leisure:

The Republic of Namibia - the impoverished country of 1.8 million known for its wild remoteness - not only welcomed the movie stars, it handed over control of its international land borders and airspace to them.

As the world awaited the birth of the child at a luxury villa complex on the coast, Namibian authorities said they had bowed to pressure from Jolie and Pitt and granted them the right to ban foreign journalists from entering the country - a remarkable move for the Government of any sovereign state.

9:00 PM

8:49 PM

Saturday, May 27, 2006

plasma squared circle
1:29 PM

Croatia apologizes to Tesla for not recognizing his talent:

Zagreb's city councillors have delivered a posthumous apology to their compatriot Nikola Tesla, one of the pioneers of modern electrical engineering, for failing to recognise his genius, officials said Thursday.

The city council met on Wednesday, exactly 114 years after Tesla presented Zagreb's then mayor with the idea of introducing electric street lightning to the city.

The city authorities told the young inventor they did not understand his vision and turned down his project, before introduced electric lighting 15 years later.

1:27 PM

12:04 PM

Friday, May 26, 2006


(Come early—standing room and wait list available at the door, and we'll seat as many as we can!)





Friday, May 26 ~ L. Ron Hubbard

"No man who is not himself honest can be free — he is his own trap."

Bigamist, occultist, and charismatic science fiction author-turned-guru who took 1950's popular psychiatry by storm and went on to create the Church of Scientology: the most celebrity-driven and litigious organization on Earth.

Located at 70 North 6th Street between Kent and Wythe
In Williamsburg--take the L train to Bedford

For tickets and information call 212.868.4444 or click here.
12:35 PM

12:12 PM

Your New American Idol:

Last night’s finale to the fifth season of American Idol was like some Croation’s television-fueled image of the United States, where bouncing bubbles of cleavage harmonize with quakey fat men who hold hankercheifs; where singers-turned-psychics-turned singers again are serenaded by the morbidly obese and the nearly illiterate; where the only thing rewarded more than mockery of the socially disenfranchised is the cultural advancement of soullessness, marketed with the knowing phrase “Soul Patrol,” and brought to you by Coca Cola.
12:02 PM

Happiness Is A Warm Plasma Rifle
11:51 AM

Enter Stage Right: Live Advertisements - New York Times:

The advertisement, which is itself advertised as the world's first live theatrical commercial, is a creation of Visit London, a tourist organization. There have already been performances of the live commercial on stages in Dublin and Hamburg, said Ken Kelling, Visit London's communications director, and there is to be another on Friday in Pittsburgh. "They're a captive audience," Mr. Kelling said. "They can't switch channels or change over or walk out once the thing is started."
11:41 AM

Thursday, May 25, 2006

8:09 PM

8:08 PM

Only 22 Years in the Making.....
8:08 PM

Another of Beauty
4:36 PM

A new interview with me is up at Souldish, focusing on L. Ron Hubbard and the GREAT MEN OF GENIUS series.
2:01 PM

1:43 AM

Salt Pond N1
1:42 AM

1:42 AM

1:40 AM

And now, 25 different covers of Joy Division's LOVE WILL TEAR US APART.
1:37 AM

1:31 AM

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

THE PUBLIC EDITOR; There's No Business Like Tony Awards Business - New York Times:

UNLESS I acquire some unexpected clout around here in the next 48 hours, Times readers will wake up on Tuesday morning to read a prominent story announcing the nominees for an artistically meaningless, blatantly commercial, shamefully exclusionary and culturally corrosive award competition.

Let me put it another way: unless Times editors have overcome several decades of their own inertia, readers on Tuesday will find a prominent story serving the pecuniary interests of three privately controlled companies whose principals have earned the right to convene in what Damon Runyon once called ''the laughing room.'' That was Runyon's term for the sound-proofed chamber where he imagined that the proprietors of the ''21'' Club gathered to set the day's menu prices. Today's version would be the sanctum where the men who run the Shubert Organization, the Nederlander Organization and Jujamcyn Theaters gather to toast The Times and its generous support of their efforts.

5:16 PM

4:08 PM

"Don't you wanna play with me now ?", she asked.
11:30 AM

11:28 AM

Best. Ringtone. Evar.
11:03 AM

Got The Time
9:30 AM

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hastert tells President Bush FBI raid was unconstitutional:

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) told President Bush yesterday that he is concerned the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) raid on Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-La.) congressional office over the weekend was a direct violation of the Constitution.

Hastert raised concerns that the FBI’s unannounced seizure of congressional documents during a raid of Jefferson’s Rayburn office Saturday night violated the separation of powers between the two branches of government as they are defined by the Constitution.

10:54 PM

With a thickness of only 9.9mm, compared to the 11.5mm of a Motorola SLVR L7, this LG is thinner than Nicole Richie after a three-day hobo-killing, dog-strangling, Herbie-the-Love-Bug-stealing coke binge.


9:51 AM

1:45 AM

train from the future?!
1:44 AM

LA Daily News - Seller hopes model behavior will give homes lived-in appeal:

SANTA CLARITA - The scent of baking scones wafts through the house as children's feet pound the floors.

"Dad" rushes to get things ready as "Mom" lounges on the couch.

It's a birthday party for Camille Chen. "Husband" Jaason Simmons has breakfast in the oven and there's about to be a surprise: He and the kids remodeled the den into a game room and won't Mom, a notorious poker fiend, be pleased.

Except Chen and Simmons aren't married, the kids aren't theirs, they don't really live in the house and they're all Centex Homes marketing director Amanda Larson's employees.

They've been hired to lounge around a model home, read magazines and occasionally pretend like they're having breakfast.

Welcome to the new reality of real estate.

1:27 AM

Monday, May 22, 2006

7:14 PM

12:28 PM

12:27 PM

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Howard Thurman

2:25 AM

Florence Nightingale
2:24 AM

A Look at the 2006 Broadway Musical Season:

A LIVING ghost walks on Broadway. Colorless and thin to the point of transparency, it is far scarier than the make-believe ghouls — the vampires and phantoms in opera cloaks — who sometimes occupy the stages around Times Square. Though its guises are many, it always exudes the same damp aura of unconvincing jollity, like that of a superannuated party girl who lost her confidence with her youth and has taken to wearing her daughter's trendy clothes. Such is the face of the American musical in the year 2006.

12:53 AM

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Snow Silk
7:20 PM

6:49 PM

6:46 PM

4:19 PM

Poker Threesome
3:58 PM

3:52 PM

you can leave your hat on
12:05 PM

my horse, the zebra!
12:04 PM

10:45 AM

The Stranger | Seattle | Slog: The Stranger's Blog | I Think I Need A New Heart, And Some Fancy Dog Food:

Watching TV last night, my attention was caught by a commercial, whose soundtrack was instantly recognizable—“I Think I Need A New Heart,” one of the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs, whose jolly acoustic strum underscored an ad for Cesar Canine Cuisine, “Sophisticated Food for Sophisticated Dogs.”
10:13 AM

Saturday, May 20, 2006

9:24 PM

The fishy memoir of Howell Raines, press critic. By Jack Shafer:

Establishing himself as the Sen. Joseph McCarthy of press criticism, Raines names no underperforming reporters or dimwitted editors in his sweeping critique of the Times. He cites no specific dull, tedious, or ossified coverage in the underperforming paper. He scalds "brainless bloggers," too, but doesn't name any. He only gets specific about the various species of fish he's stalked, tortured, slaughtered, and eaten on four continents and a few oceans: salmon, sailfish, snapper, bonefish, marlin, crappies, sunfish, striped bass, bluegill, pickerel, walleye, catfish, carp, shad, and brook, brown, and rainbow trout, among others.

Raines blames "militant traditionalists" and "lifers" inside the Times—also unnamed—for preventing the paper from achieving its potential: They "didn't want to see the old hulk change its heading by so much as a single degree." A "heretic minority" of "subversives," of whom Raines is the only one named, opposed the lifers and were "salted away on all the [Times] building's fifteen floors, a kind of secret society."

I haven't observed this kind of self-service up close since the last time I pumped my own gas.

8:25 PM

The fishy memoir of Howell Raines, press critic. By Jack Shafer:

Establishing himself as the Sen. Joseph McCarthy of press criticism, Raines names no underperforming reporters or dimwitted editors in his sweeping critique of the Times. He cites no specific dull, tedious, or ossified coverage in the underperforming paper. He scalds "brainless bloggers," too, but doesn't name any. He only gets specific about the various species of fish he's stalked, tortured, slaughtered, and eaten on four continents and a few oceans: salmon, sailfish, snapper, bonefish, marlin, crappies, sunfish, striped bass, bluegill, pickerel, walleye, catfish, carp, shad, and brook, brown, and rainbow trout, among others.

Raines blames "militant traditionalists" and "lifers" inside the Times—also unnamed—for preventing the paper from achieving its potential: They "didn't want to see the old hulk change its heading by so much as a single degree." A "heretic minority" of "subversives," of whom Raines is the only one named, opposed the lifers and were "salted away on all the [Times] building's fifteen floors, a kind of secret society."

I haven't observed this kind of self-service up close since the last time I pumped my own gas.

8:25 PM

Angry Budha
11:31 AM

The Best Albino Code on

Q: Have you ever gotten flack from the albino community for the types of roles you've accepted?

A: I have. On my web site ( I still maintain that I am the best albino comedian in the world, but some other people with albinism take offense. Sure, I've received some letters that were inflammatory from other people with albinism. But who hasn't?

Q: What's the biggest misconception about albinism?

A: That most people with albinism have pink eyes. Most people look for pink eyes and then they are disappointed. Albinos without pink eyes are servants to those that have pink eyes. They are our kings.

11:23 AM

May 18 Carved Icons 138/365
10:50 AM

10:45 AM

Vultures at E3:

The booth babe up on stage at E3, the big video-game expo in Los Angeles, finally lost it. The throng of gamers with their cameras snapping pictures of her in a revealing fantasy costume, grabbing from the floor below at the T-shirts she was giving away, was just too much. "Vultures, VULTURES!" she yelled at them. "You're all a bunch of vultures!"

It was an awkward moment—the kind of moment where time slows down and everyone has the same thought:
Did she really just say that? Except for her, since she was thinking, Well, there goes that gig at the Detroit Auto Show. She recovered with a clenched-teeth titter, a curious noise humans make that means I'm very uncomfortable with what I just said.

10:43 AM

Lisabon EXPO space
10:03 AM

Friday, May 19, 2006






Friday, May 19 ~ Nikola Tesla

"Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more."

Mad genius, brilliant scientist and visionary who sparred with Thomas Edison and died insane and penniless writing love sonnets to pigeons after bringing the world electricity as we know it.

Located at 70 North 6th Street between Kent and Wythe
In Williamsburg--take the L train to Bedford

For tickets and information call 212.868.4444 or click here.
12:26 PM

drive-by shoot
11:05 AM


11:04 AM

Iran eyes badges for Jews:

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

11:04 AM

9:27 AM

9:25 AM

148762304 69Ec56Fac4
8:40 AM

8:39 AM

Very cool looking stone golem outfit made from hot glue and mattress foam.
8:37 AM

Dock of the bay

12:38 AM

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lee Siegel on Culture:

Enough already. I mean, enough. Is there anything this guy writes about that doesn't shill for business values? Is there any aspect of existence he hasn't transformed into a strategy for coming out on top in a meeting? Is there any business strategy that he hasn't converted into a universal way of living?

In The Tipping Point, Gladwell turned a banal business-concept--that moment when an idea, trend or style of conduct "tips" into a craze--virtually into an explanation of how history unfolds and society works. In Blink, he argued that the artist's creative intuition is something everybody possesses, something that can be used for practical purposes in any situation. (The Power of Positive Blinking.) One of the book's central dramas is the role intuition played, according to Gladwell, in the battle between (successful) Pepsi and (failed) New Coke. Businessmen, Gladwell wants to tell us, have the instinct of poets. That was a thrill.

8:49 PM

8:46 PM

4:54 PM

4:52 PM

Steve Almond, talented author and all-around good guy, has resigned his safe and warm position at Boston College for a cause he believes in. That takes balls, my friend--best of luck.

Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I quit - The Boston Globe:

I am writing to resign my post as an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.

I am doing so -- after five years at BC, and with tremendous regret -- as a direct result of your decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.

Many members of the faculty and student body already have voiced their objection to the invitation, arguing that Rice's actions as secretary of state are inconsistent with the broader humanistic values of the university and the Catholic and Jesuit traditions from which those values derive.

But I am not writing this letter simply because of an objection to the war against Iraq. My concern is more fundamental. Simply put, Rice is a liar.

4:50 PM

Let there be Light
3:51 PM

A very nice review today for GREAT MEN OF GENIUS in the Village Voice:

Like a coked-up History Channel biography, Mike Daisey’s new “bio-logues” ruminate on brilliant men and their piteous pitfalls, interspersed with Daisey’s personal experiences. Each night explores a new subject, from Bertolt Brecht to L. Ron Hubbard—it’s like hearing a lecture by your favorite professor while drinking beer in a comfortable lounge chair. You might even walk away smarter than before.

Ah..."coked-up History Channel biography". I think that's a keeper.
3:48 PM

1:24 PM

12:27 PM

11:57 AM


10:48 AM

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Impeach Adbust
9:12 PM

9:11 PM

8:30 PM

8:23 PM


My sister Ruth on the trapeze, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
8:08 PM

7:14 PM

2:50 PM

2:49 PM

2:08 PM

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dandelion Drops
11:08 PM

9:45 PM

6:15 PM

4:06 PM

Monday, May 15, 2006

Guy Kewney was late for an interview, so the BBC grabbed his cabbie instead of him for a talking head commentary on digital downloading--suddenly the cabbie is live on TV in front of millions, commenting on technology. Considering the situation he does a great job--here's the video. The look on his face at the top is priceless.
8:08 AM

Group F: Light Players
7:50 AM

gute reise
7:49 AM

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Final performance at Portland Stage Company's LITTLE FESTIVAL OF THE UNEXPECTED this evening—

Tesla, Edison, Microsoft, Wal-Mart and the War for Tomorrow

Friday, May 13th
Portland Stage Company's
Little Festival of the Unexpected
Full details

8:15 AM

5:26 AM

Friday, May 12, 2006






Friday, May 12 ~ P.T. Barnum

"The people like to be humbugged."

Gifted entrepreneur, showman, raconteur, hoaxster, freakshow and circus promoter who changed the face of nineteenth-century America through blatant, shameless lying.

Located at 70 North 6th Street between Kent and Wythe
In Williamsburg--take the L train to Bedford

For tickets and information call 212.868.4444 or click here.
2:56 PM

Swallow tin can
2:49 PM

Miss Grace's Salon: Interview with Mike Daisey, part two:

EM: So tonight is your second segment of GREAT MEN OF GENIUS here in New York at Galapagos. Who's up for tonight and what can we look forward to in the monologue?

MD: P.T. Barnum, legend of the American imagination—supreme huckster, shyster and raconteur. I'll also be talking about hot bachelorette parties, the New York downtown performance scene and a particularly horrifying encounter I had as a young man with a Star Trek uniform. Also there are mermaids, sideshow freaks and a talking vagina.

2:48 PM

1:48 PM

Light's Most Exotic Trick Yet: So Fast it Goes ... Backwards? | Science Blog:

Boyd recently showed how he can slow down a pulse of light to slower than an airplane, or speed it up faster than its breakneck pace, using exotic techniques and materials. But he's now taken what was once just a mathematical oddity—negative speed—and shown it working in the real world.

"It's weird stuff," says Boyd. "We sent a pulse through an optical fiber, and before its peak even entered the fiber, it was exiting the other end. Through experiments we were able to see that the pulse inside the fiber was actually moving backward, linking the input and output pulses."

11:21 AM

10:23 AM

Article in this month's Brooklyn Rail all about the GREAT MEN OF GENIUS series, and our work in general.

The Brooklyn Rail - A Great Man Of Genius: Mike Daisey at Galapagos:

“I love technology,” declares actor Mike Daisey, “but I love even more the definition of technology which is not complicating things, but using the tools to do what you actually want to do.” That might explain why, though Daisey has an abiding fascination with the technological (he writes for Wired and has examined the dot-com boom, the New York City subway system, and inventor Nikola Tesla in his solo performance shows) he sees no contradiction in performing on a nearly-bare stage with no props to speak of. His vision of technology, he says, is simply “tools that are used to do a job effectively.”
2:12 AM


The 2 photos above were taken at Volkswagen's new storage facility in Wolfsburg, Germany. The actual space that the facility occupies is approximately only 20% of a comparable facility with the traditional design that is used primarily in the US. Not only is the German structure less expensive to build, but vehicles are also "retrieved" in less time and without the potential of being damaged by an attendant.  Collecting your new car is an event in itself. "In a fully automated procedure, your new car is brought down to you from one of the 20-story Car Towers. Large signboards in the Customer Center show you when your turn has come. Then, you're handed the keys, your picture is taken, the glass doors open and your brand-new car appears. You're all set to go".
12:18 AM

12:04 AM

Thursday, May 11, 2006

11:45 PM

4:57 PM

4:41 PM

Bwog - Meter Money:

The New Yorker poetry department receives over 1,000 submissions every week. Each of these is destined to be lovingly rejected by an intern, usually a Columbia grad student, with a carefully handwritten note. It's understandable then that sometimes things get backed up. Really backed up. According to one of the interns, there has been a box of unanswered submissions that have been languishing in the office since 2003. Like a girlfriend who's worn out her welcome, it just sits there, increasingly hard to ignore, but even harder to get rid of.

So it was with much fanfare that the interns were told that they were finally going to throw out the box. But first wouldn't they be so careful as to go through the submissions and remove all the self-addressed stamped envelopes? Why? To save the stamps, of course. Yes, the poetry editor of the New Yorker had her interns cut out each and every 37 cent stamp they could find, even though these stamps on their own were useless without a two cent supplement to compensate for the 2006 cost of postage.

Midway through their task she stopped them. Touched by the hand of reason? Of common human decency? "I just wanted to make sure...neither of you has a blog, right?"

4:40 PM

New York Overheard: The City Speaks:

Hipster girl: They monitor my email, my MySpace, everything! I don’t know why! They know I’m a girl who stays out ’til 2AM; that’s what they hired me to be! A girl who stays out ’til 2AM!

–Creperie, Ludlow & Rivington

4:38 PM

4:38 PM

And David Mamet Is Telling You He’s Not Fucking Going - Gawker:

Playbill reports that foul-mouthed artiste David Mamet’s first-ever musical with have its world premiere this June. A Waitress in Yellowstone, “the story of the title service worker who, on the eve of her trip to the national park to celebrate her son’s 10th birthday, discovers a Congressman stealing her tips and reports him to the police,” will close the Los Angeles Center theater Group’s season. No word yet on any Broadway action, but with songs like, “Could I Have The Fucking Check, Please?” “Everything’s Coming Up Fuckin’ Ruthie,” and “You Know What You Get When You Steal a Tip? You Get Fucked in the Ass (Reprise)” how could it not be a candidate?

3:42 PM

Spacegrinder! - MPAA training police dogs to sniff out DVDs:

The dogs, Lucky and Flo, faced their first test at the FedEx UK hub at Stansted Airport. sniffer dogs

"FedEx was glad to assist in Lucky and Flo's first live test in a working situation. They were amazingly successful at identifying packages containing DVDs, which were opened and checked by HM Customs' representatives. While all were legitimate shipments on the day, our message to anyone thinking about shipping counterfeit DVDs through the FedEx network is simple: you're going to get caught."

Kinda makes me thing twice about shipping anything through FedEX. Seriously, this is like training drug dogs to find plastic bags.

7:16 AM

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

11:33 PM

Fire poi - Letters
9:16 AM

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

For those in Maine, we have a  performance this evening:

Tesla, Edison, Microsoft, Wal-Mart and the War for Tomorrow

Tuesday, May 9th
Portland Stage Company's
Little Festival of the Unexpected
Full details

See you there!
2:12 PM

Julia Eye
12:47 AM

Monday, May 08, 2006

Little Festival of the Unexpected started today, and we're up to our eyeballs in MONOPOLY!—it's harrowing to be remounting a show just days after doing the first part of GREAT MEN OF GENIUS, and we'll get even crazier at the end of the week when we have to travel back to NYC while loading the Barnum monologue from GREAT MEN OF GENIUS, then the very next morning drive back up to Maine and perform MONOPOLY! one more time on Saturday. Whew.
11:51 PM

silent is better
11:44 PM

A journey into the most savage war in the world:

The Rwandans had one motive, right from the beginning: to seize Congo’s massive mineral wealth, to grab the coltan mine I am standing in now and thousands like it, and to sell it on to us, the waiting world, as we quickly flicked the channel away from the news of this war with our coltan-filled remote control. The other countries came in not because they believed in repelling aggression, but because they wanted a piece of the Congolese cake.

Oh, and the reason why this invasion was so profitable? Global demand for coltan was soaring throughout the war because of the massive popularity of coltan-filled Sony Playstations. As Oona King, one of the few British politicians to notice Congo, explains as we travel together for a few days, “Kids in Congo were being sent down mines to die so that kids in Europe and America could kill imaginary aliens in their living rooms.”

12:48 PM

142462715 7A9B4Fa634 O
12:30 AM

Saturday, May 06, 2006

My heartfelt appreciation to everyone who came out for last night's show—I think we're off to a great start, and it's only going to get better and weirder. Highlights outside the performance included a spirited discussion of wedding etiquette over pierogies and learning that a member of the audience had seen my aura, and wanted to tell me what it looked—and felt—like.

Slightly belatedly, an interview is up at the Grace Reading Series blog—here's the first part.
2:04 PM

1768300646 Davidsprunepalm
1:56 PM

1:54 PM

Lonely ride home
9:07 AM

9:07 AM

8:58 AM

7:44 AM

Friday, May 05, 2006


The birds are shining, the sun is singing—and tonight we have a show. What could be better?


Friday, May 5 ~ Bertolt Brecht

"Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."

Playwright, poet, lover of women and certifiable cad who escaped Nazi Germany, sympathized with the Communists, failed in Hollywood, was persecuted by McCarthy, and redefined world theater.

Located at 70 North 6th Street between Kent and Wythe
In Williamsburg--take the L train to Bedford

For tickets and information call 212.868.4444 or click here.
11:12 AM

12:42 AM
12:41 AM

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ecb Ny 89T
9:02 PM

A Movie That Will Blow Your Mind:

For, if nothing else, M:I3 is state-of-the-art franchise filmmaking. So as not to alienate potential international markets, it takes place in a world denuded of obvious national symbols, such as the American flag, and the only products onscreen are those that have paid for their placement. The cast is designed to appeal to a wide range of demographics, from Teenage Boys (Maggie Q) to Matrix Fans (Laurence Fishburne) to Women (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). When Billy Crudup, Keri Russell, and Ving Rhames show up, it's corporate overkill. And like most franchise movies, M:I3 is a calculated response to the art form's two challenges: How efficiently can we make you care about these characters, and how awesome can we make the action scenes?

8:59 PM

8:56 PM

8:52 PM

2:51 PM

1:33 PM

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Q. What could this boarding pass tell an identity fraudster about you? A. Way too much:

It said Broer had flown from Brussels to London on March 15 at 7.10am on BA flight 389 in seat 03C. It also told me he was a "Gold" standard passenger and gave me his frequent-flyer number. I picked up the stub, mindful of a conversation I had had with a computer security expert two months earlier, and put it in my pocket.

If the expert was right, this stub would enable me to access Broer's personal information, including his passport number, date of birth and nationality. It would provide the building blocks for stealing his identity, ruining his future travel plans - and even allow me to fake his passport.

It would also serve as the perfect tool for demonstrating the chaotic collection, storage and security of personal information gathered as a result of America's near-fanatical desire to collect data on travellers flying to the US - and raise serious questions about the sort of problems we can expect when ID cards are introduced in 2008.

1:31 PM

at attention
11:32 AM

Making Colbert go away |

Three days later, the MSM is catching on to Grove's tin-eared take on Colbert's performance. Belatedly, it's getting covered, but the dreary consensus is that Colbert just wasn't funny. On Tuesday night, Salon's Michael Scherer, whose tribute to Colbert is everywhere on the blogosphere (thank you, Thank you Stephen Colbert), got invited to chat with Joe Scarborough and Ana Marie Cox, who showed themselves to be pathetic prisoners of the Beltway by passing along the midweek conventional wisdom: The lefty blogosphere can argue all it wants that Colbert was ignored because he was shocking and politically radical, but the truth is, he wasn't funny, guys! And we know funny!

It's silly to debate whether Colbert was entertaining or not, since what's "funny" is so subjective. In fact, let's even give Colbert's critics that point. Clearly he didn't entertain most of the folks at the dinner Saturday night, so maybe Scheiber's right -- he wasn't "entertaining." The question is why. If Colbert came off as "shrill and airless," in Lehman's words, inside the cozy terrarium of media self-congratulation at the Washington Hilton, that tells us more about the audience than it does about Colbert.

Colbert's deadly performance did more than reveal, with devastating clarity, how Bush's well-oiled myth machine works. It exposed the mainstream press' pathetic collusion with an administration that has treated it -- and the truth -- with contempt from the moment it took office. Intimidated, coddled, fearful of violating propriety, the press corps that for years dutifully repeated Bush talking points was stunned and horrified when someone dared to reveal that the media emperor had no clothes. Colbert refused to play his dutiful, toothless part in the White House correspondents dinner -- an incestuous, backslapping ritual that should be retired. For that, he had to be marginalized. Voilà: "He wasn't funny."

12:08 AM

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

is there anybody up there?
4:03 PM

Hills, Ocean
4:02 PM

My friend Curtis is producing the Poetry Foundation of America's podcasts, and he turned me on to this very nice episode that features the Bert Brecht poem, "Of Poor B.B." Listen to it here.
1:20 PM

1:19 PM

"Any idiot can face a crisis. It's this day-to-day living that wears you out."

Anton Chekhov

12:56 PM

10:16 AM

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

8:16 PM

Seeing the Forest: Colbert Affair Exposes Loss of Rights:

In 1987 Ronald Reagan ordered the FCC to abolish the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcast media to provide balanced coverage of issues. Majorities in the Congress voted to restore the Fairness Doctrine and were blocked by Republican vetoes and filibusters. (Any time you hear a Republican complain about the "liberal media" ask them why it is Republicans, not Democrats, who oppose the Fairness Doctrine.) Following that, Republicans began to allow fewer and fewer large corporations to control more and more of these information channels. (PLEASE click the links. More here and here.)

Before these changes you would see representatives of Labor, Democrats, anti-war, religions other than far-right Christianity, and other now-banned viewpoints. One particular viewpoint you would see expressed was a concern that concentrated corporate ownership of the channels of information would harm democracy. That viewpoint is also banned now.

7:51 PM

5:28 PM

yellow field
5:28 PM

5:26 PM

Boing Boing: Sen Stevens tries to sneak the Broadcast Flag into law:

One element of the broadcast flag proposal is that is prohibits the use of free and open source software in digital TV applications (including PC operating systems, video drivers, etc). That's because the Broadcast Flag requires that devices be built to be "robust" -- that is, to resist the attempts of their owners to modify or improve on them. It's as if Senator Stevens is trying to pass a law requiring the hood of every car to be welded shut when it leaves the factory, to make sure that no driver ever gets to change his own oil.
6:11 AM

6:11 AM

The accused Harvard plagiarist doesn't have a photographic memory. No one does:

This seems like as good an opportunity as any to clear up the greatest enduring myth about human memory. Lots of people claim to have a photographic memory, but nobody actually does. Nobody.

Well, maybe one person.

In 1970, a Harvard vision scientist named Charles Stromeyer III published a landmark paper in Nature about a Harvard student named Elizabeth, who could perform an astonishing feat. Stromeyer showed Elizabeth's right eye a pattern of 10,000 random dots, and a day later, he showed her left eye another dot pattern. She mentally fused the two images to form a random-dot stereogram and then saw a three-dimensional image floating above the surface. Elizabeth seemed to offer the first conclusive proof that photographic memory is possible. But then in a soap-opera twist, Stromeyer married her, and she was never tested again.

5:51 AM

4:03 AM

3:58 AM

3:40 AM we clap on the downbeat:

I didn't get a chance to see last night's episode of The Sopranos and, though I don't want anyone to spoil it for me, I can't stop thinking about all the toughguy mafia action I might have missed.

Did Silvio Dante have an asthma attack? Did he lose his inhaler, and get winded on a broken escalator? Did Johnny Sacks cry again? Did Paulie cry? Did Tony cry? Christopher? Tears? Did Christopher accidentally hit a deer with his SUV and then sob hysterically while standing over the expiring creature, its broken body a symbol for Christopher's own fractured, feral sense of morality.

3:34 AM

3:34 AM

Monday, May 01, 2006

The truthiness hurts |

For Colbert, the punch line is just the addendum. The joke is in the setup. The meat of his act is not in his barbs but his character -- the dry idiot, "Stephen Colbert," God-fearing pitchman, patriotic American, red-blooded pundit and champion of "truthiness." "I'm a simple man with a simple mind," the deadpan Colbert announced at the dinner. "I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there."

Then he turned to the president of the United States, who sat tight-lipped just a few feet away. "I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."

It was Colbert's crowning moment. His imitation of the quintessential GOP talking head -- Bill O'Reilly meets Scott McClellan -- uncovered the inner workings of the ever-cheapening discourse that passes for political debate. He reversed and flattened the meaning of the words he spoke. It's a tactic that cultural critic Greil Marcus once called the "critical negation that would make it self-evident to everyone that the world is not as it seems." Colbert's jokes attacked not just Bush's policies, but the whole drama and language of American politics, the phony demonstration of strength, unity and vision. "The greatest thing about this man is he's steady," Colbert continued, in a nod to George W. Bush. "You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday."

8:23 PM

8:22 PM

12:42 PM

In Focus | November 2005 | Ramis On ‘Ice’ Uncut:

My editor is begging me to ask you three questions about “Ghostbusters 3.”
The non-existent film?

Yes. He would like to know about the non-existent film. My understanding is that it would have sent Peter, Ray and Egon to Hell.
Yes. “Ghostbusters go to Hell” was Danny Aykroyd’s concept for it.

What was your favorite scene from that script that we'll likely never see?
Well, we never really got down to an actual scenario. We had a story. Part of the fun of “Ghostbusters” was developing some kind of lamebrained scientific explanation for what was going on, and I take credit for this:

What Danny had originally conceived was sending us to a special-effects Hell — a netherworld full of phenomenal visual environments and boiling pits and all that stuff.

He does tend to think big when he’s writing these, doesn’t he?
Oh, he’s amazing. [laughs] But my thought was that what works so well about the first two is the mundane-ness of it all. So my notion was that Hell exists simultaneously, and in the same place as our consensus reality. But it’s like a film shutter — it’s the darkness between the 24 frames. When we’re blinking on, they’re off — so we blink alternately with this other reality, which is Hell.

So all the Ghostbusters would need to do [to go to Hell] is take themselves “out of phase” one beat. And we create a device to do it, and it’s in a warehouse in Brooklyn. And when we step out of the chamber, it looks just like New York — but it’s Hell. Everything’s gridlocked — no cars are moving, no vehicles are moving, and all the drivers are swearing at each other in different foreign languages. No two people speak the same language. It’s all the worst things about modern urban life, just magnified.

And Heaven was across the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey — which was irony. The Ghostbusters had to make this journey from lower Manhattan to the George Washington Bridge.

It sort of makes me sad that I’m not gonna see that.
12:15 PM

12:47 AM

Cracked Ice
12:38 AM