Longenbaugh on Theatre: Off the Chain (Seattle Weekly):
When I first met Mike Daisey in 1998, he gave me a lap dance. It wasn't a pleasant experience.
I'm pretty sure he didn't realize I was a reviewer, there to critique his first solo show in Seattle, Wasting Your Breath; he was just picking some poor sucker in the audience to writhe his considerable frame against as he recalled an unfortunate moment during the cross-country road trip that took him from a pregnant girlfriend on the East Coast to a new life in Seattle.
But I don't think it would have slowed him down even if he had known. Daisey's outstanding quality as a performer is his fearlessness, as demonstrated by Stories From the Atlantic Night Cafe, which he's bringing to Seattle for one night only at the Capitol Hill Arts Center on Sunday, Feb. 4. It takes guts to do a solo show. But it takes a deep foolhardiness to draw up an outline for a story only an hour before curtain, then use that as the guideline for an evening of extemporaneous entertainment.
tiny nibbles - violet blue:
I am friends with many pornographers and porn stars; they often want me to blog about their newest movies, etc. Late last year I said, sure, I like the video, can I have some still images for a blog post? They sent them in a FedEx pack of disks. Included was the 2257 CD -- and on it were scans and photos of each performer's state ID (or passport), Social Security cards (often held in a photo next to their faces), and forms including their real names and real addresses. I became the proud owner of everything someone would ever need to steal their identities, stalk and harass, blackmail, whatever. It freaked me the fuck out to even have that in my house. And the performers have no idea I have that -- they probably have no idea how many people have access to their personal information under this bizarrely executed law. But hey -- think the DoJ cares about what happens to porn stars? Most vulnerable, of course are female performers -- when 2257 went into effect, performer Kami Andrews got a pile of fan mail at her home and a few lurkers in her driveway. Can't they come up with a better way of "protecting the children"?
The Believer - Interview with Todd Solondz:
TS: Yes, but that’s different from liking comedies. All I mean is, I’m not the kind of audience comedy directors want at a test screening because I seldom laugh, and if I do, it’s not very loud. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the movie. On the other hand, when it comes to violence, I can be a bit too audible. When I was making Storytelling, I couldn’t watch while the violent sex scene between the student and the professor was being shot. It was too intense.
SN: Well, we here in America didn’t get to watch it either, of course, because it was blocked by that famous red rectangle. But in the end you weren’t entirely displeased with that, right?
TS: Well, needless to say, I would have preferred the scene to be shown untouched. But I was not entirely displeased with the block for a very specific reason. In the contract, I had stated that I would not cut anything or change any lines in order to get an R rating. I would agree only to boxes and bleeps. As a result, what the audience sees in my movie is a pure example of censorship. Usually the audience has no idea that the censored version of whatever movie they’re watching isn’t the original. Storytelling is the only studio movie where the censorship is perfectly clear, the only studio movie with a big red box covering up a shot. I take pride in that—and, of course, in having avoided the fate of Eyes Wide Shut.
Notice, by the way, how nobody uses the word censorship. Instead, everyone talks about “the rating system.” But most Americans have no idea how abridged the work they end up seeing on screen really is, how different from what the director originally intended. With Storytelling, at least, it’s explicit: this is what the censors say American citizens, no matter what age, are not permitted to see, even though it can be seen by other people all over the world. I suppose you could call it a political statement.
China censorship damaged us, Google founders admit | Business | Guardian Unlimited Business:
Google's decision to censor its search engine in China was bad for the company, its founders admitted yesterday.
Google, launched in 1998 by two Stanford University dropouts, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, was accused of selling out and reneging on its "Don't be evil" motto when it launched in China in 2005. The company modified the version of its search engine in China to exclude controversial topics such as the Tiananmen Square massacre or the Falun Gong movement, provoking a backlash in its core western markets.
Where Work Is a Religion, Work Burnout Is Its Crisis of Faith -- New York Magazine:
People who are suffering from burnout tend to describe the sensation in metaphors of emptiness—they’re a dry teapot over a high flame, a drained battery that can no longer hold its charge. Thirteen years, three books, and dozens of papers into his profession, Barry Farber, a professor at Columbia Teachers College and trained psychotherapist, realized he was feeling this way. Unfortunately, he was well acquainted with the symptoms. He was a burnout researcher himself.
Being burned out on burnout—now that was rich. Madame Curie died of radiation poisoning; Joseph Mitchell famously developed a 32-year-long case of writer’s block after writing a two-part New Yorker series about a blocked writer; now Farber was suffering the same self-referential fate. He jokes about it today (who wouldn’t?) but hardly felt sanguine as it was happening (who would?). Colleagues tried to persuade him to stick it out. “But for the most part, I’ve resisted coming back,” says Farber. “I’ve never been able to find that same sense of satisfaction.”
From my sketch comedy youth in Seattle, doing local television:
The days of wine and roses!
Cheney Shoots You In The Face :
EVERYWHERE, Jan. 25, 2007--For the second time in one year, Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in a gun-related incident once again after shooting you in the face with a shotgun earlier today.
Reportedly enraged with the media and public reaction to President Bush's recent State of the Union address, which was described as "imbecilic", "insulting" and "full of tainted meat" by its nine viewers, Cheney embarked on an ambitious project to shoot every American in the face, including you.
Say Hello To Alpha Kitty:
"What I want to do is gather my tribe"—yes, Rubenstein actually says things like this—"the ones reading Seventeen, and the ones who were, and grew out of it." This tribe is 13 to 30, female, thoroughly digital, and, in Rubenstein's view, lacking an "alpha kitty" addressing their concerns and sensibility. What she brings is her big-sister, geek-gone-glam persona. She honed this act editing Seventeen and teen title CosmoGIRL, and now shows it in full plumage in her MySpace blog entries, which are a riot of excessive capitalization and estrogenic display. The ultimate shape of Atoosa Inc. is inchoate, but Rubenstein is certain of one thing. "The next Oprah will not be born on TV," she says. "I left to launch my brand."
These days Rubenstein's parent company is her own Big Momma Productions, which explains the enormous ring that emblazons "big momma" across three fingers, (a gift from her husband, she explains). In a meeting, she says about her audience, without apparent irony: "They are unborn to me, but they're mine." Still, her sense of ownership and her furiously fashionista exterior is often punctured by glimpses of the homespun and deeply idiosyncratic. At a meeting with potential investors she skips PowerPoint in favor of construction paper decorated, grade school project-style, with a crazy-quilt of colored pencil notations. Her first offering may be what she terms her "art project," Psychic Kitty, a series of psychedelicized videos on her MySpace page. They will star her cat Thurston spouting, in Rubenstein's electronically processed voice, brief inspirational tidbits. Rubenstein calls Psychic Kitty "the cat in the family," and she's mum on a debut date: "You know how it is with cats."
Mike Daisey’s life before wartime:
Mike Daisey has a gigantic head. In his new one-man show at the Public Theater, his expressive face, glowing baby pink or flamingo red, mirrors his explosion of ideas on everything from the sensation of his wife in his arms to the “ecstatic dirtiness” of the New York City subway system. Playing this week as part of the Under the Radar festival of new theater, “Invincible Summer” is ostensibly about Daisey’s life during the summer before September 11, 2001, but it also includes digressions about the dreams of cities, Polish wedding toasts, and the history of the MTA to create a story that is bigger, messier, and far more rewarding than mere autobiography.
Half the fun of Mike Daisey is watching him spin out a tangle of ideas and wondering how he’ll lasso them into a coherent story. He works from an outline, not a script, and he free-forms the words in each performance, a method that gives him the loose spontaneity of great standup and the kinetic force to fill a room as large as the Public Theater.
Invincible Summer: nytheatre.com:
Armed with only a table and a chair, a glass of water, and a few sheets of paper, monologist/solo performer Mike Daisey takes the audience on a funny and profound journey in his extraordinary new show, Invincible Summer. The title refers to an Albert Camus quote about discovering the invincible summer in oneself, but just as easily applies to the rich tapestry of events that occur one particular summer and shake the author to his core.
Mr. Excitement News: Panel Report-Out: Changing Mindsets:
Richard Nelson, whose missive on "the damage this culture of 'development' has done and continues to do to my profession" ignited a dialogue that continues to reverberate throughout the blogosphere, called playwriting “a glorious and wonderful profession” that “supported myself and my family”. Over his 30-year career, Nelson said he’s seen the profession “come under siege” and the role of the playwright questioned in “unfortunate” ways. Development “implies that something outside of ourselves is going to tell us what to do.” Nelson railed against “this terrible word called ‘text’”, which is employed, he said, to “push the playwright aside.” In fact, he said, “Words are only an indication of the play that I have written.”
Morgan Jenness, the dramaturg on the panel, agreed with Nelson’s assessment of the situation. “I totally agree”, she said, offering that “the way the institutions are structured” was to blame. Something has happened “across the board” in the regional theaters, she said. Previously (Jenness worked for Joe Papp at the Public), there was a “core attitude that everyone in the institution was responsive to the work”, but “now it really feels like the institutions are these factories”, lacking “real dialogue with the audience”. Also, “Institutional artists are not honest with themselves about their prejudices or desires.”
Following the money trail is one way to assess what’s happened, Nelson said. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the new play move from the mainstage to the second stage and now into non-production situations. 13P and SPF are the way to go, he said. “Pure production for young emerging writers. It is the answer.”
A piece I did for WIRED Magazine on Peter Weller is up on the web:
THE CELEBRITY SECOND ACT HAS BECOME a staple of pop culture. The press releases almost write themselves: Comedian becomes reality TV host, reality TV host becomes actor, actor releases mediocre rap album. But those second acts don’t always sink to the level of cliché. Take Peter Weller. He’s had a long, meandering Act I. After a vibrant movie career in the 1980s that included playing the lead in cult hits like RoboCop, he fell into the far less glamorous world of direct-to-video and straight-to-cable. Then last year, he came back big, in a riveting turn as a bad guy on 24.
In the interim, though, Weller started getting into character for Act II. He spent much of the past two decades in Italy and, on a lark, enrolled in classes at the Syracuse University program in Florence. He soon discovered he had a thing for the aqueducts of long-dead civilizations, and now he’s working toward a PhD in Italian Renaissance art history from UCLA. This is no vanity degree; Weller teaches courses, writes papers, and is doggedly climbing the academic ladder. Buckaroo Banzai, the polymath who was arguably Weller’s most famous character — acclaimed neurosurgeon, race car driver, particle physicist, and, of course, rock star — would be proud. “I’ve always followed my passions,” Weller says, “even when it didn’t seem to make much sense.”
Final chances to catch INVINCIBLE SUMMER--when it's gone, it's gone.
Read the feature here, and order tickets here.
Bog Face: Cathedral:
When I was in Moscow this summer my sister-in-law was eating what I would refer to as a honeydew melon for dinner and when I asked her what it was called she said "dyinya" - which just means melon. There's nothing for the honey dew part. This ended up causing some tension between us because the "y" in that first syllable represents a horrible vowel called a "Yery" and after all these years of trying I still can't fucking make this sound correctly - even though it's all over the Russian language. So she kept saying "dyinya" and I kept saying "dyinya" and she kept saying NO! NO! DYINYA! and so on. And then I wore black to her wedding. The yery is a "close, central unrounded vowel" which means you pretend like your throat is closing up after a deadly allergic reaction to say a bee sting, and then, with your throat in that position, you try to make the sound "ee." Even though I'm an actor, it takes me a really long time to imagine the bee sting part and by then everyone has moved on they don't care about me anymore.
What's weird about the "close, central unrounded vowel" is that it's rare in Indo-European languages - mainly it's used in Polish, Russian, and Romanian - but it's used in almost all the indigenous languages of the Americas. They even think the Aztecs used it. So I guess that walking over ice thing or whatever is true.
Goodness I'm digressing.
Boing Boing: LACMA's Magritte exhibit: This is not fair use:
Inside, they've hung many of Magritte's famous works, and, accompanying these works, they've placed dozens of contemporary sculptures and paintings that riff off of Magritte, making fun of him or paying homage to him or commenting on him. These are canonical fair uses -- an artist who takes from another artist and uses his work to make new work. In these other works, from the likes of Warhol and Antin, there are instances of Magritte's work being duplicated in photos and paint.
So far so good -- there's a clear message from the paintings in the exhibit: culture is well-served by liberal rules that let one person remix another's creation.
But that message is undermined by the exhibition policy on photos: no photos are allowed in the exhibit. If you take out your camera, one of the bowler-hatted guards will come up to you and shout at you (literally shout at you!): "No photos allowed!" They won't even let you take out a phone or PDA and make notes with it, in case you're sneakily taking photos on the premises.
This is a riddle: does the Magritte exhibition celebrate fair use, or deny it? Does it want to inspire us to remix Magritte, or warn us off the idea of reproduction without permission?
Schneier on Security: "Clear" Registered Traveller Program:
The truth is that whenever you create two paths through security -- a high-security path and a low-security path -- you have to assume that the bad guys will find a way to exploit the low-security path. It may be counterintuitive, but we are all safer if the people chosen for more thorough screening are truly random and not based on an error-filled database or a cursory background check.
I think of Clear as a $100 service that tells terrorists if the F.B.I. is on to them or not. Why in the world would we provide terrorists with this ability?
We don’t have to. Clear cardholders are not scrutinized less when they go through checkpoints, they’re scrutinized more efficiently. So why not get rid of the background checks altogether? We should all be able to walk into the airport, pay $10, and use the Clear lanes when it’s worth it to us.
Slashdot | US Attorney General Questions Habeas Corpus:
"In yet another attempt to create legitimacy for the Bush Administration's many questionable legal practices, US attorney General Alberto Gonzales actually had the audacity to argue before a Congressional committee that the US Constitution doesn't explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights on US citizens. In his view it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the rights are granted. The Attorney General was being questioned by Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18. THe MSM are not covering this story but Colbert is (click on the fourth video down, 'Exact Words')."
From the Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel commentary:
"While Gonzales's statement has a measure of quibbling precision to it, his logic is troubling because it would suggest that many other fundamental rights that Americans hold dear (such as free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to assemble peacefully) also don't exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative. It boggles the mind the lengths this administration will go to to systematically erode the rights and privileges we have all counted on and held up as the granite pillars of our society since our nation was founded."
NOT FOR TOURISTS - Mike Daisey:
Google “monologuist” and appropriately the fifth entry that pops up is a mention of the late (and great) Spalding Gray. Well, look for a new name to be inching it’s way up the Google hierarchy very soon—Mike Daisey. To see what the buzz is about, go catch his new monologue Invincible Summer at the Public Theater as part of the Under the Radar Festival. I saw the show opening night and it was hilarious. And touching. And disturbing. His honest stories never revert to sappiness, and he keeps the pace brisk by jumping back and forth between various plotlines. He talks about some of the best things in life (Brooklyn, the subway, joyous weddings) to some of the worst (9/11, family betrayal, Paris Hilton).
Invincible Summer: review on TheaterMania.com:
He has a knack for detailed descriptions and keen observations that provoke laughter of recognition amongst his audience. His stories are often raucously funny, but the solo performer also probes more intense and painful subjects in a compelling manner. He captures the complex and contradictory feelings that many Americans had after 9/11 and isn't afraid of expressing some of his own less-than-politically-correct emotions.
KadmusArts - where culture speaks » Blog Archive » Interview: Mike Daisey:
In this interview, Mike talks about the genesis of this latest work, how he develops the converging story lines, and what’s on the sheets of paper he brings on stage.
Sundance opens with call to speak out against war | US News | Reuters.com:
Redford, whose Sundance Institute for independent film backs the annual festival, said in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks he, like many others, showed a "spirit of unity" with President George W. Bush and others who backed the war on terrorism and led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
"We put all our concerns on hold to let the leaders lead," Redford told a packed audience for the opening night documentary film, "Chicago 10."
"I think we're owed a big, massive apology," he added.
There's a feature in Sunday's New York Times about my work, the monologues and Jean-Michele and my collaboration.
Click on the above to read it full-size.
Tickets are still available for Saturday and Monday's performances of INVINCIBLE SUMMER--you can find all the show details here.
A rather extensive interview is up at Gothamist about my work and INVINCIBLE SUMMER. You can read it here.
CitySpecific: Invincible Summer:
I haven't seen a whole lot of monologues performed live, but Daisey's proved to me it can have all the drama of an ensemble piece. His narrative embraces weddings, Seattle, subways, the New York summer, one horribly memorable New York summer day, the Jersey shore, his parents' divorce, New York's obsession with itself (which prompts a very funny bit about Paris Hilton), and general existential dread (hence the Camus reference in the title). The work is paced like a great memoir should be.
olamina: don't go to bed angry...stay up and fight. OR this week's cultural event #1:
I'd seen Mike do a short monologue in the summer of 2005 at The Harlem Shakes' really great Pianos residency, but it was a rowdy night in a hot and sweaty nightclub. Not the right place to get into a riveting monologue. SO I was really glad to get the chance to see him again.
Hello, APAP Conference Attendees and Under The Radar Symposium Participants!
Here are some quick links to INVINCIBLE SUMMER to make it easier for you to get around:
INVINCIBLE SUMMER performance times, description and ticket information.
An interview on Public Radio International's FAIR GAME about INVINCIBLE SUMMER.
A short biography about me and my work.
A comprehensive list of the monologues I perform, including reviews, features, excerpts and more.
The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street, and full directions may be found here.
I'll be coming out to the bar in the lobby after performances, and will be around the symposium on Thursday, the speed dating event on Friday, and all over the Public through the weekend--if you have trouble reaching me for any reason, simply send me an email.
Be seeing you,
He speaks the truth softly, at a show called Talkingstick:
Known by his friends as William Lee, this tall, long-haired Chinese-American has been a fixture in the Village for 20 years. He started doing street shows in Washington Square Park when he was in college, first as a juggler, then as a kung-fu comic incorporating jokes, fire tricks, and martial arts. Thousands of NYU students, drug dealers, tourists, and neighborhood grifters undoubtedly remember his immortal words: “Ladies and gentlemen! I, Master Lee, will break this board” (dramatic pause) “with my HEAD. But first!”
For five years he did standup in comedy clubs, garnering spots on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Showtime at the Apollo, but returned to street shows because they gave him a visceral jolt he couldn’t find anywhere else. Eventually Master Lee and Washington Square Park outgrew each other: he wanted to evolve artistically, and the Giuliani administration wanted to ban open flames from the park.
He immersed himself in the alternative comedy scene on the Lower East Side, especially Faceboy’s Open Mic and Reverend Jen’s Anti-Slam. In these free-for-all art spaces, he took creative risks that were impossible in street shows or comedy clubs. He experimented with playwrighting and created new performance characters, the boldest and strangest being a uber-surrealist Salvador Dali who pulled fish out of his pants and played kickball with squid (to the delight of alt-comedy audiences and the horror of his girlfriend).
Then he turned 40, and had a mid-life crisis in reverse: instead of buying a sports car and escaping into a macho fantasy world, he retired his hyper-masculine, over-the-top stage characters and started performing as himself, William Lee, with no props and no jokes — just true stories about his life.
Scrubs - TV - New York Times:
Most amazing to the composers was the speed at which the production came together. “It took us five years to write ‘Avenue Q,’ ” Mr. Marx said. “There were a million readings and previews and staged readings. With this thing, we wrote the songs in a week. They rehearsed for a week. They filmed it in a week, and it was done. It was liberating, and a collaborative effort that created a much more feel-good way of working.”
NBC gave its approval for the episode, Mr. Lawrence said, and Touchstone Television and its parent, Disney, spent nearly twice the normal amount to produce the episode, including hiring a 50-piece orchestra to punch up the musical numbers.
Mr. Marx was so enamored of the process, in fact, that he has decided to move to Los Angeles. During a telephone interview last week, he said he was packing his things, giving up his New York rental apartment and dreaming of more television song-and-dance numbers.
He is nothing if not confident. “I got a one-way ticket,” he added.
Reason Magazine - Illuminated Manuscripts:
The novelist, satirist, journalist, and philosopher Robert Anton Wilson passed away last Thursday, just a week shy of his 75th birthday. When he was alive he sometimes complained -- or maybe it was a boast -- that his books were never reviewed in The New York Times. The paper of record did pay its respects when he died, though, with a brief piece about his life and work. It wasn't entirely accurate, but the author of Illuminatus! would have enjoyed that. When a rumor of his death spread on the Net in the early '90s, complete with a fake Los Angeles Times obituary that got several details of his life wrong, Wilson wrote that he "admired the artistic verisimilitude of the Gremlin who forged that obit....Little touches of incompetence and ignorance like that helped create the impression of a real, honest-to-Jesus LA Times article."
Weekly - Played out:
After 30+ years of personally subsidizing this art form through low-wages, we need to get these cheap labor liberals off of our Boards of Trustees. These board members well know what it costs to obtain quality civilian workers (I'm talking department heads, here) at their not-for-profits. But they continually, year after year after year after year exploit and take advantage of the artists.
Case in point: This summer TAG posted a notice of employment for a new head of marketing and development. The starting salary was $35,000 annually plus benefits and vacation. A first-hire staff member at the moribund TAG makes more than I do at the Intiman - a larger theatre - after 30 years and 42 productions. And nobody pays a dime to see a theatre staffer onstage. I make less than $30K a year. I rent. At 53, I make so little, I quality for and am on the waiting list for subsidized housing in Seattle. And frankly, it's not like I'm a wannabe; I'm in the top 15% of work weeks in AEA and have been for a quarter century. Even with those stats, my annual pension at retirement is still under $20,000.
Ben Moore at the Rep makes a six-figure salary; the head of development at the same institution receives upwards of $80,000. I'm clearly working on the wrong side of the footlights.
In 1991 the top salary at the Seattle Rep was between $800 - $900 dollars weekly - GOOD pay at the time. In 2007, the top salary at the Rep is between $800 - $900 a week. Do you think any staffers at the Rep, or the Rep's Board members in their respective civilian jobs went for a decade and half without a pay raise? Doubtful.
Actors have no effective advocacy within the present system. There is no meritocracy. No home. We are migrant artists. Hired to prepare and pick an eight week crop of performances and then move on. Good actors have been so cheaply obtained for so long that our boards of trustees have forgotten us. These people create the budgets we labor under. And they know damned well that the pay they scrape up for the ACTORS is a sum they themselves couldn't or wouldn't accept.
Truly, only the young can afford to be in American not-for-profit theatre.
Ironic Sans: Have your own millionaire Picasso experience:
The anonymous buyer who purchased Le Reve sold it to casino magnate Steve Wynn in 2001. He in turn sold it to hedge fund mogul Steven Cohen for $139 million, setting a new record for the most money spent on a painting. All the formalities of the deal were finished, but the handover of the painting had yet to take place when a terrible event occurred. Just a few months ago, before turning the painting over, Wynn had several famous friends over to show it off. Among the guests were Barbara Walters, Nicholas Pileggi, and Nora Ephron, who described on Ariana Huffington’s blog what happened next:
The Ganz collection went up for auction in 1997, Wynn was saying — he was standing in front of the painting at this point, facing us. He raised his hand to show us something about the painting — and at that moment, his elbow crashed backwards right through the canvas.
There was a terrible noise.
Wynn stepped away from the painting, and there, smack in the middle of Marie-Therese Walter’s plump and allegedly-erotic forearm, was a black hole the size of a silver dollar - or, to be more exactly, the size of the tip of Steve Wynn’s elbow — with two three-inch long rips coming off it in either direction. Steve Wynn has retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease that damages peripheral vision, but he could see quite clearly what had happened.
“Oh shit,” he said.
What's in My Journal
Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
Things, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can't find them. Someone's terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mine.
the gallivanting monkey, or, tina's blog: nobody call me between 6 & 11 pm:
No, I'm talking about the Golden Globes and the Oscars. And the Golden Globes are great because they've got such a quorum of famous people. They're rockin' it movie-style AND tv-style. Plus all the celebrities are drunk and wander around from table to table schmoozing. (I far prefer watching people schmooze, even fleetingly from a great distance, to schmoozing myself which I find a holy terror. I wish I could watch a whole show of actors schmoozing, skillfully and unskillfully. I wouln't be able to take my eyes off of it. It fascinates me because I find it so difficult.)
I was on FAIR GAME, Public Radio International's news program, yesterday with an interview about and excerpt from INVINCIBLE SUMMER--feel free to listen to it:
FAIR GAME interview and INVINCIBLE SUMMER excerpt
Gadgets as Tyrants - New York Times:
THE 40th annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week was packed, as usual, with cool new technology. New devices included ultra-thin/ultrawide TV displays, networked entertainment systems and innumerable gadgets that bring music, movies and television to our hands and homes in new ways.
But many of these new products limit our freedom to use and share the music, movies and other content they are intended for.
It wasn’t always like this. Decades ago, audiocassette and videocassette recorders gave consumers the power to copy audiotapes and videotapes — a power previously reserved for a locked world of retailers and distributors.
The 1984 Betamax case, in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that technology companies aren’t liable for copyright infringement when people misuse their products, encouraged still more innovation. There was a flood of gadgets that enabled us to copy things, including personal computers, CD burners and TiVo.
Since then, the entertainment industry has put pressure on electronics manufacturers to limit the consumer’s ability to make copies. And as a result, many of the tens of thousands of products displayed last week on the Vegas expo floor, as attractive and innovative as they are, are designed to restrict our use.
The Twilight Years of Cap'n Crunch - WSJ.com:
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Underneath a highway bisecting this Silicon Valley town, home to Google Inc. and other tech giants, John Draper crammed his bulky frame through the door of a friend's home: a battered 1978 Chevy diesel bus.
Radio parts, a wrench set, arthritis medication and a book on robotics cluttered the dashboard. A padded bench for sleeping and a greasy stove filled the back.
"What do you want for lunch?" asked Dave Bengel, a self-taught engineer.
"Salmon," responded Mr. Draper, 63, who has few teeth and wears the same clothes for days. He is better known in Silicon Valley as "Cap'n Crunch," a legendary figure who 25 years ago epitomized the freewheeling, prank-filled culture that gave birth to high tech.
"Salmon, all right!" cried Mr. Bengel. He set about preparing the meal -- obtained free from a Whole Foods worker who leaves outdated products near a dumpster at a prearranged time.
In the decades since Mr. Draper gained fame for his hacking skills as a "phone phreak" -- he once claimed to have gotten then-President Nixon on the phone -- Silicon Valley has aged and matured. Pioneers that Mr. Draper worked with, such as Apple's Steve Jobs, have gone on to become wealthy members of the business establishment.
Quantifying the Pointlessness of the Golden Globes - New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer:
As well publicized as the mechanics of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are, every year someone is shocked to hear that the second-most-fussed-about award in Hollywood is being handed out by a cagey club with membership in double digits. So, in honor of tonight's event, we present Daily Intel's quick tutorial on the HFPA, lovingly garnered from CNN, Luke Ford, and other sources including our acquaintance on the inside (voting member Serge Rakhlin).
Estimated number of actual full-time journalists: About two dozen
Entry rules: Nearly impossible to crack — any applicant can be vetoed by any one member
Trademark privilege: Allowed to be photographed with the stars after the junket (originally, to prove to the overseas editor that the interview took place)
Other perks: Two paid trips to any film festival each year
Status among U.S. film critics: Extremely low (colleagues, from David Denby to Richard Schickel, describe HFPA members as "fawning," gift-addicted flacks)
Arguable low point: 1982, naming Pia Zadora "New Star of the Year" weeks after enjoying a weekend in Vegas courtesy of her wealthy husband
Arguable high point: 2006, awarding Best Drama to Brokeback Mountain; 2007, reluctantly renouncing $62,000 goody bags
I Blew It on Microsoft:
I was one of those reluctant regulators. As the evidence of Microsoft's practices became clear, I remember well thinking, "Of course the government needs to do something." And I remember very well the universal impatience with the notion that the market would solve the problem. How could it, when any other company was likely to behave just as Microsoft did?
We pro-regulators were making an assumption that history has shown to be completely false: That something as complex as an OS has to be built by a commercial entity. Only crazies imagined that volunteers outside the control of a corporation could successfully create a system over which no one had exclusive command. We knew those crazies. They worked on something called Linux.
I wanted to believe that Linux would prevail. But I'm a lawyer, and lawyers aren't programmed to see how profitable innovation might happen without commercial control. I didn't like the idea of regulation; I just didn't see any alternative. The suits would always beat the rebels. Isn't that why they were so rich?
Slashdot | Submitting Federal Proposals Requires Windows:
"The US federal government is requiring that proposals for grants etc be submitted using a common system at http://grants.gov/. That's a good idea, except that effectively, you must use Windows and Explorer. See To operate PureEdge Viewer, your computer must meet the following system requirements: Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP... PureEdge on Grants.gov will not run within the Firefox browser. They do have a Citrix substitute for non-Windows users. However the site goes on to say "Note that a limited amount of users can access the Citrix Server at any one time... Finally, you will find the best time to work and submit an application via Citrix is during off-peak hours, usually between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m., EST. Finally, if your organization has more than 10 non-Windows users, they want you to add a dedicated Windows box to handle the traffic. For National Science Foundation clients, this is a big step backwards. NSF has had an excellent online system, http://fastlane.nsf.gov/ for years. Fastlane has no bias towards MS. However, by federal edict, NSF people must also use grants.gov."
Respectful Insolence: Stomping free speech flat in Europe:
I realize that Europe has a different history and that many European nations place different values than we Americans do on the right to free speech compared to the desire to restrict incitement, but these sorts of lawas are scary stuff to me. One big problem with the proposed law is that it seems to criminalize all Holocaust denial but says that it won't be "prosecuted" if it doesn't result in incitement. Who decides what is and isn't "incitement" in Holocaust denial? I have to wonder: What if someone simply says that the Holocaust never happened? Would that be legal, as long as he didn't say the Holocaust was some sort of Jewish conspiracy? Another problem with the description of the laws that are being proposed is that they seem frighteningly vague on defining what constitutes "incitement to racial hatred." Let's say someone starts ranting about how "Jews control the world" and that whites must "resist Jewish domination," adding, for example, some canards from The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion or the Blood Libel to spice things up. In the U.S., as disgusting as this sort of speech is, in the U.S. it is protected under the First Amendment, as long as it doesn't include speech that a reasonable person would consider to be likely to incite imminent lawless action or harm to another person. Under the "harmonization" of incitement laws, it sounds as though these vague sorts of expressions would be illegal.
Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: The Conscience of Rod Dreher:
As President Bush marched the country to war with Iraq, even some voices on the Right warned that this was a fool's errand. I dismissed them angrily. I thought them unpatriotic.
But almost four years later, I see that I was the fool. In Iraq, this Republican President for whom I voted twice has shamed our country with weakness and incompetence, and the consequences of his failure will be far, far worse than anything Carter did.
The fraud, the mendacity, the utter haplessness of our government's conduct of the Iraq war have been shattering to me. It wasn't supposed to turn out like this. Not under a Republican President.
I turn 40 next month - middle aged at last - a time of discovering limits, finitude. I expected that. But what I did not expect was to see the limits of finitude of American power revealed so painfully. I did not expect Vietnam. As I sat in my office last night watching President Bush deliver his big speech, I seethed over the waste, the folly, the stupidity of this war.
I had a heretical thought for a conservative - that I have got to teach my kids that they must never, ever take Presidents and Generals at their word - that their government will send them to kill and die for noble-sounding rot - that they have to question authority.
On the walk to the parking garage, it hit me. Hadn't the hippies tried to tell my generation that? Why had we scorned them so blithely?
Will my children, too small now to understand Iraq, take me seriously when I tell them one day what powerful men, whom their father once believed in, did to this country? Heavy thoughts for someone who is still a conservative despite it all. It was a long drive home.
Big Brother could slow British motorcycles down, track routes - Engadget:
Most would argue that the UK certainly doesn't need one more piece of surveillance equipment watching its citizens, but regardless of the naysayers, it just might be getting another anyway. The latest implementation of Big Brother in our everyday lives comes courtesy of the Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), which are devices (presumably GPS-based) that will purportedly track motorcyclists' speeds and throttle things down if they attempt to break the posted speed limit(s). Moreover, the ISA could even be used to track bikers' journeys, and if things "prove successful," could eventually find its way into cars and other vehicles (like Segways beefed-up wheelchairs) in a reported attempt to "drastically cut the death toll on the country's roads."
24-Hour Newspaper People - New York Times:
Independent bloggers can laugh all they want about the imperious posture of the mainstream media, but I and others at The Times have never been more in touch with readers’ every robustly communicated whim than we are today. Not only do I hear what people are saying, but I also care.
Sometimes I wonder whether I care to the point that I neglect other things, like, oh, my job. Tweaking the blog is seductive in a way that a print deadline never is. By the time I am done posting entries, moderating comments and making links, my, has the time flown. I probably should have made some phone calls about next week’s column, but maybe I’ll write about, ah, blogging instead.
“We are living through the largest expansion of expressive capability in the history of the human race,” said Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor in the graduate interactive telecommunications program at New York University. “And it wouldn’t be a revolution if there were no losers. The speed of conversation is a part of what is good about it, but then some of the reflectiveness, the ability for careful summation and expression, is lost.”
Even as Mr. Shirky is saying this, I peek at the comments section of my blog, and he goes on, “There is an obsessive, dollhouse pleasure in configuring and looking at it, a constant measure of social capital.”
Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S. - New York Times:
The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.
The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.
Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions receiving the letters usually have turned over documents voluntarily, allowing investigators to examine the financial assets and transactions of American military personnel and civilians, officials say.
The F.B.I., the lead agency on domestic counterterrorism and espionage, has issued thousands of national security letters since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provoking criticism and court challenges from civil liberties advocates who see them as unjustified intrusions into Americans’ private lives.
But it was not previously known, even to some senior counterterrorism officials, that the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been using their own “noncompulsory” versions of the letters. Congress has rejected several attempts by the two agencies since 2001 for authority to issue mandatory letters, in part because of concerns about the dangers of expanding their role in domestic spying.
Frank Castorf - Volksbühne - Theater - New York Times:
Mr. Castorf got the job, and the following year he opened at the Volksbühne, or People’s Theater, with a series of brash productions. Under his direction, actors ignored huge portions of the classical texts they performed, stripped naked, screamed their lines for the duration of five-hour productions, got drunk onstage, dropped out of character, conducted private fights, tossed paint at their public, saw a third of the audience walk out as they spoke two lines at an excruciatingly slow pace, may or may not have induced a theatergoer to drink urine, threw potato salad, immersed themselves in water, recited newspaper reports of Hitler’s last peacetime birthday party, told bad jokes, called the audience East German sellouts and appeared to but did not kill a mouse. After their first season the prestigious magazine Theaterheute (Theater Today) named the Volksbühne Theater of the Year.
Mr. Castorf and his troupe were famous.
Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs - New York Times:
IN the long view, Mr. Goldberg said he believes that today’s copy-protection battles will prove short-lived. Eventually, perhaps in 5 or 10 years, he predicts, all portable players will have wireless broadband capability and will provide direct access, anytime, anywhere, to every song ever released for a low monthly subscription fee.
It’s a prediction that has a high probability of realization because such a system is already found in South Korea, where three million subscribers enjoy direct, wireless access to a virtually limitless music catalog for only $5 a month. He noted, however, that music companies in South Korea did not agree to such a radically different business model until sales of physical CDs had collapsed.
Pointing to South Korea, where copy protection has disappeared, Mr. Goldberg invoked the pithy aphorism attributed to the author William Gibson: “The future is here; it’s just not widely distributed yet.”
SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids:
Comet McNaught is now visible in broad daylight. "It's fantastic," reports Wayne Winch of Bishop, California. "I put the sun behind a neighbor's house to block the glare and the comet popped right into view. You can even see the tail."
This trick is best performed around local noon: Go outside and stand in the shadow of a building. Face south. The comet lies 5 degrees to the left of the sun. (Five degrees is the width of your fist held at arm's length.)
Get Your War On: review on TheaterMania.com:
While the laughs come fast and furious, the pace also slows down for more serious reflections. For example, reacting to the firing of linguists specializing in Arabic for being homosexual, a cast member reads out an open letter to the Pentagon from one of Rees' cartoons that asks how you would say "I can't believe we're paying you one billion dollars a day to piss on the grave of Mark Bingham -- I feel safer already, you sick motherfuckers" in Arabic. The entire company then turns to face upstage and silently stares at projected text which identifies Bingham -- who happened to be gay -- as one of the heroes on the September 11 United 93 flight. The moment is quietly effective.
I, Cringely . The Pulpit . What's in a Name? | PBS:
The iPhone is this amazing connectivity quad-mode device that can probably make use of as much bandwidth as it can get, so making it suck through the little straw that is EDGE makes no sense from a user perspective. But remember that the parties involved here are Apple and Cingular, neither of which is 100 percent allied with user interests. Cingular has a 3G network called BroadbandConnect or "MediaNet" if you buy Cingular's associated Cingular Video service.
And there's the problem -- Cingular Video, which is based on RealVideo, NOT QuickTime or H.264.
Apple wants the iPhone to get its content primarily through iTunes, ideally by syncing with a Mac or Windows PC. Apple doesn't like Cingular Video and doesn't want its customers to know it exists, much less use it. But it would be very hard to introduce a true 3G iPhone, have Cingular promote it strongly, only to say that it can't be used to view the mobile carrier's own video content. So instead Apple falls back to the slower EDGE network, which can support email and widgets and surfing, but which also forces iPhone users to get most of their higher-resolution video through iTunes, where Apple makes money and Cingular doesn't.
It comes down to an accommodation. Cingular wants an iPhone exclusive and is probably paying Apple money for that privilege. Apple doesn't want Cingular Video. So the only elegant way around that problem is to make the iPhone incapable of operating on the 3G network. If you watch his Macworld keynote you'll notice Jobs says that Apple may eventually make 3G iPhone models. Yeah, right: I'm 100 percent convinced that all it would take to turn an EDGE iPhone into a 3G iPhone is a firmware upgrade, if that.
Warren Etheredge's Blog:
Forget Grunge. Embrace Munge, Seattle’s punk rock movie-making revolution.
Like the undeniable musical riot, Seattle’s re-awakening of independent cinema reveals a similar streak: sentimentally anarchic. Munge is an odd mix, DIY shooting juiced by urban angst and gritty artfulness. Though not christened by Robert Redford, the Sundance Film Festival has taken the Munge Plunge, as it were, championing the fledgling counter-genre for the past eight years. This de facto endorsement culminated in 2006 with Seattle films winning the top prizes at both Sundance and Slamdance.
Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once. There is another sort of blow that comes from within—that you don’t feel until it’s too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again. The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick—the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.
F. Scott Fitzgerald,
TPMmuckraker January 11, 2007 01:26 PM:
Nearly a month ago, we reported that the Defense Department was refusing a routine request from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to declassify statistics on enemy attacks in Iraq. As long as GAO has produced periodic reports on the war for members of Congress -- GAO's boss -- the Pentagon had provided those numbers. But despite repeated requests, DoD wouldn't budge on making public the figures for September, October and November 2006.
They still won't. On Tuesday the GAO released a new report on Iraq, but its data on attacks is incomplete. Why? The Pentagon has continued to keep the attack numbers an official secret, GAO official Joseph A. Christoff told me. "They did not officially declassify the information," he said.
putative.com: FedEx refuses shipment of made-up stuff, empty cans:
FedEx guy: Nope. You can't ship these either.
Me: But... they're empty! It's just air. And... nitrogen? It's, like, almost 80% of the atmosphere. There's nothing dangerous about nitrogen, even if it were pure.
FedEx guy: They look too much like bomb-making materials.
Me [going into dumbfounded mode]: Bomb... Neon? What? Is there anything here I can legally ship? How about this bottle of tap water?
I hand him a bottle of Certainty (tagline, "For when it's preferable to think you know more"), which looks like this:
FedEx guy: Nope. It still looks too suspicious, too much like bomb-making materials.
Me: But it's "Certainty." That's not even a thing. I just made that up. [That's not strictly true. It's a scientific term/idea, and we sell it alongside bottles of "Uncertainty." But it's like having a bottle labeled "Friendship."]
FedEx guy: It's just too suspicious.
Me [going into post-9/11, TSA-style super-dumbfounded mode]: So what you're saying is you can't ship any sort of containers, even if they're empty? You know that we originally ordered these empty cans and jars from a company, and *they* shipped them to *us*.
FedEx guy: They must have used a different vendor ["vendor"? I can't remember, some word like that, like a "service"].
Which I imagine he said because he couldn't bring himself to say, "It's the *words* that are *on* the containers that are dangerous"—even after I had opened them all and demonstrated the utter harmlessness/emptiness of the containers themselves.
A Selection of Obscure Robert Anton Wilson Essays - 10 Zen Monkeys (a webzine):
I was prompted by yesterday’s news of the passing of RAW to scan the pieces he wrote for his 1999 column on GettingIt.com, the progenitor of this webzine. It was a casual act, under the assumption that they would be somewhat dated. But as I reread the articles, it became clear that admirers who are unaware of them might in fact find them enjoyable.
At the pundits' table, the losing bet still takes the pot:
So we selected the four pundits who were in our judgment the most influentially and disturbingly misguided in their pro-war arguments and the four who were most prescient and forceful in their opposition. (Because conservative pundits generally acted as a well-coordinated bloc, more or less interchangeable, all four of our hawks are moderates or liberals who might have been important opponents of the war—so, sadly, we are not able to revisit Brooks's eloquent and thoroughly meritless prognostications.)
Then we did a career check ... and found that something is rotten in the fourth estate.
The Brooklyn Paper: 94 years old & homeless: He’ll sleep in his Buick before he leaves Carroll Gardens:
Meet Dominick Diomede. He’s 94 years old. He’s lived in Carroll Gardens for almost every day of his life. He’s sharp as a tack, pays his rent on time, does free electrical work for anyone who asks, and is the cleanest person this side of Tony Randall.
And next week, he’ll be homeless.
Happy New Year, Dom.
The story of how Dominick Diomede will up without a roof over his head is more than a tale of an old man whose landlord wants him out so he can get more rent, but a larger story about what happens when a city chews up and spits out one of its own.
Why DRM's best friend might just be Apple Inc.:
Yes, there are plenty of signs that DRM as we know it is changing, perhaps even withering on the warm California grapevine where it's been growing for so long. Yahoo has conducted several experiments in the last year, selling MP3-encoded versions of selected popular songs. The Sony rootkit debacle showed the general public what a bad idea some of these schemes could be. Every P2P company still in existence seems to be moving towards some kind of paid-downloads model, and some hope to do this without adding DRM. And Amazon is rumored to be eyeing the online music store market, but only if it can offer MP3s (though recall that Amazon's last attempt at whipping iTunes, its Unbox music service has hardly managed to unseat the leader). Et cetera, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
And while it's certainly possible that the music labels will collectively find salvation like a late-70's Dylan, we're (reluctantly) going on record with the opposite prediction: it ain't going to happen in 2007. Sure, there will be plenty of experimenting. Labels have certainly realized that DRM isn't the answer to their many woes, and with declining overall album sales, they'll be more willing to take chances. Great! But there's a powerful force standing in the way of this DRM-free panacea, and it might not be the one you expect: Apple, Inc.
The Art of Storytelling
Once upon a time there was a shocket,
that is, a kosher butcher,
who went for a walk.
He was standing by the harbor
admiring the ships, all painted white,
when up came three sailors, led by an officer.
"Filth," they said, "who gave you permission?"
and they seized and carried him off.
So he was taken into the navy.
It wasn't a bad life nothing is.
He learned how to climb and sew,
and to shout "Glad to be of service, Your Excellency!"
He sailed all round the world,
Was twice shipwrecked, and had other adventures.
Finally, he made his way back to the village ...
whereupon he put on his apron, and picked up his knife,
and continued to be a shocket.
At this point, the person telling the story
would say, "This shocket-sailor
was one of our relatives, a distant cousin."
It was always so, they knew they could depend on it.
Even if the story made no sense,
the one in the story would be a relative
a definite connection with the family.
Jim Allchin's Mac message: The full text:
From: Jim Allchin
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 8:38 AM
To: Bill Gates; Steve Ballmer
Subject: losing our way...
This is a rant. I'm sorry.
I am not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers (both business and home) the most, but in my view we lost our way. I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems [our] customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that doesn't translate onto great products.
I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft. If you run the equivalent of VPC on a MAC you get access to basically all Windows application software (although not the hardware). Apple did not lose their way. You must watch this new video below. I know this doesn't show anything for businesses, but my point is about the philosophy that Apple uses. They think scenario. They think simple. They think fast. I know there is nothing hugely deep in this.
http://www.apple.com/ilife/video/ilife04_32C.html [Note: link no longer works]
I must tell you everything in my soul tells me that we should do what I called plan (b) yesterday We need a simple fast storage system. LH is a pig and I don't see any solution to this problem. If we are to rise to the challenge of Linux and Apple, we need to start taking the lessons of "scenario, simple, fast" to heart.
Electronista | Microsoft: keep "craplets" off Windows PCs:
Microsoft is worried that unwanted software bundles could affect the success of Windows Vista, a senior Microsoft executive has told CBC News. Choosing to remain anonymous, the official says that many of the pre-installed third-party programs included with new Windows PCs -- nicknamed "craplets" by the official for their small and often irritating nature -- may be incompatible with Vista and could create unintentional ill will towards Microsoft through bugs or even a complete failure to run.
"If someone buys a Vista PC and has a problem, they're going to blame Windows," he said.
Fluke - Review - Theater - New York Times:
There are of course a few avant-garde clichés, like shining a spotlight in the audience’s faces. But as with every Radiohole show, there are also some vivid theatrical ideas. Early on, each performer paints an eyeball on an eyelid, and they spend much of the show with their eyes closed. (They put on sunglasses when they need to see.)
It’s a nicely creepy effect, making them appear like cartoon characters or dolls whose eyes have popped out of their sockets. And by performing most of the show with their eyes closed — no mean feat — the stars of Radiohole show how easy it is to stage an ocean: all you need to do is to close your eyes and imagine.
greg.org: the making of: A Day In The Office In The Gallery:
For the 2006 Turner Prize exhibition, artist Phil Collins had Tate Britain set him up with an office in the gallery, where he and two hired researchers worked every day on Phil's next project: "finding people who feel their lives have been ruined by appearing in reality television shows."
Collins used the media hype around the Turner competition itself to garner the attention of his intended subject/collaborators. And according to the firsthand account of Lena Corner, one of the researchers, the strategy succeeded brilliantly.
Rice 'loves' Fox News; CBS anchor 'decent guy' - CNN.com:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice let slip her news media preferences Thursday, saying, "I love every single one" of Fox News network's correspondents and also favors CBS anchor Harry Smith.
In comments overheard on an open microphone between morning television interviews, including one with Fox, the top U.S. diplomat said: "My Fox guys, I love every single one of them."
The Neo-Futurists Give America What It Wants With You Asked For It! - Theatre News - Theatre In Chicago:
Beginning in 1993, Russian emigrant artists Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid conducted surveys to determine Americans' taste in art. The survey data was the basis for two paintings: America's Most Wanted featured landscapes, the portrait of a historical figure, wild animals, children, and the color blue. The companion piece, America's Most Unwanted, is a small geometric abstract composition. Both paintings were exhibited in New York at the Alternative Museum under the title "People's Choice." Komar and Melamid later surveyed more than a dozen countries and created paintings for each country, then applied their techniques to music with the help of composer David Soldier. (The least-wanted song included bagpipes, children singing, religious lyrics, and wild tempo changes.)
Allen says, "I spoke with Alex Melamid and he thought it was a fantastic idea to translate his process into the realm of American theater.” Since then, The Neo-Futurists have surveyed 2,200 individuals across the country regarding what they most and least want to see in a play. According to Allen, “Surprisingly, the responses were very consistent. Despite testing subset after subset, such as gender, age, location, or profession, the public's preferences are pretty much the same. What does this mean for a country that prides itself on individuality and freedom of expression?"
The Stranger | Seattle | Slog: The Stranger's Blog | Our Long National Nightmare:
Everyone had their scripted roles: Bush played Churchill, the Democrats played the loyal opposition, the press acted portentious, as if this was some kind of truly momentous turning point, the protesters outside the White House screamed as if their hoarse shouts made any difference. The only thing interesting about the whole ritualized charade was what Bush did not say.
He did not say “Sadr”—though he hinted that we would soon be fighting house-to-house in the endless slums of Sadr City. He did not say “escalation,” or even “surge.” Our commitment, apparently, is open-ended. He did not say, as was expected, that the US would invest $1 billion in a new jobs program to pacify angry Iraqis. He did not say “Democrats”—though he denounced “pessimists.”
Most importantly, he also didn’t announce any tangible benchmarks to measure—at some point—the success of his plan.
Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: The Speech:
Under these circumstances, I favor withdrawal, while of course, hoping that a miracle could take place. But make no mistake: a miracle is what this president needs. And a miracle is what we will now have to pray for.
He will do what he wants, of course. Even if the bulk of his own party balks, along with the Democrats. Even if the casualties mount, and the civil war intensifies. Even if failure becomes more and more entrenched. The logic of his speech is that we can never let go of this disaster, that it is our fate for the rest of our lives, and that his job is merely to pass it on - deadlier than ever - to whichever unlucky sap gets to inherit his office.
To back this anemic reponse to the escalating civil war requires us to abandon our empirical sense and the lessons of the past four years. To back it requires us to trust this president as a competent, deft and determined leader. Do you? Can you? At this point? After all we have seen?
MACWORLD: When did Steve start showing vaporware? - Valleywag:
Here's what's really going on. Apple isn't competing with Microsoft anymore, or with Dell or with white-box PC makers. The former Apple Computer is now just Apple , a consumer electronics company. The consumer electronics industry already has its own calendar. Sales are geared up for Christmas, followed by next year's new product previews first week of January. Even His Steveness can't buck the schedule.
If Apple were starting from scratch in 2007 we'd have gotten the iPhone demo onstage in Vegas today. But over the years Jobs has garnered a hugely disproportionate mob of fanboys in the tech press (guilty as charged, Jack) who'll fly to Frisco for the occasion, at the expense of skipping part or all of the consumer electronics industry's Super Bowl.
Why unveil the iPhone today instead of June? Because the competition are doing the same thing, same day as they've done every year with their own infurating "sign up to learn more" preview campaigns. By holding his own mini-CES 500 miles away, Jobs literally stole the show. As I sit here typing in a sulk, an NPR stringer in Vegas just messaged, "CES is dead because iphone is all that mattered today. there is a mood of -- like everyone here went to the wrong party."
I hate to say it, but: Genius.
Boing Boing: Apple TV device doesn't use DRM:
An anonymous friend at an MPAA member-company sez,
Now that my NDA issues are gone, a little tidbit for you.
The Apple TV device has HDMI and component outputs. As of the launch, it doesn't have the HDCP anti-copying technology.
As you might imagine, this is an issue to media companies and they aren't sure if they'll supply HD content. They want money but they want 'security'.
Consider that the Xbox 360 has video component HD out (no HDCP) and the Apple TV will have HDMI and component out (no HDCP).
Is the de facto standard now set by Apple & Microsoft?
Queens Man Now Down to Three Lives - New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer:
Rasputin was, notoriously, poisoned and shot before being drowned — and they still found water in his lungs. On Tuesday, 24-year-old Anthony Albaricci did the Mad Monk one better. He was choked with a belt, stabbed with a knife, slashed with a razor, beaten with a chair, and twice run over with an SUV — and survived.
Apple's New Calling: The iPhone -- Tuesday, Jan. 09, 2007 -- Page 2 -- TIME:
Apple’s arrogance can inspire resentment, which is one reason for some of the glee over Jobs's stock options woes: taking pleasure in seeing a special person knocked down a peg is a great American pastime. (Jobs declines to talk about the options issue.) But there's no point in pretending that Jobs isn't special. A college dropout, whose biological parents gave him up for adoption, Jobs has presided over four major game-changing product launches: the Apple II, the Macintosh, the iPod, and the iPhone; five if you count the release of Pixar's Toy Story, which I'm inclined to. He's like Willy Wonka and Harry Potter rolled up into one.
A note from my friend James Wallis--it bears noting that the caption on the photo is not mine, and came with the copy of the image I found.
A quick note about that "Secure beneath the watchful eyes" poster you put up on your blog today.
It's not a "British government" poster, it was issued by London Transport and the Mayor of London. It says that on the poster.
It is from 2002.
It relates specifically to security cameras on London buses. You know, like the one that those Islamic terrorists blew up. Because it would be nice if that happens less often. (The IRA blew up a London bus in 1996, killing 3. Don't forget that the IRA detonated three bombs in London in 2001, the last one a month before 9/11. We have good reason to be wary of nutters with bombs.)
Other than that, spot on.
All said, I still thinks its a strange choice for a subway poster, as it evokes 1984 so clearly it seems almost to be a poorly-timed joke. Hint: If anyone wants to get me a copy of this poster, it'd make a very welcome present.
O'Grady's PowerPage - Your Mobile Technology Destination:
The iPhone, as presented in the keynote speech for Macworld 2007, just makes it into the realm of the barely possible, much like the original Macintosh. Barely enough memory, barely enough battery, barely enough screen, barely enough processor power, priced just a bit too high and almost too small. The original iPod was like this. Just 5GB because of the tiny drive, only working with Firewire Macs, not as small as contemporary flash based players and the most expensive MP3 player made. They eventually turned that big old 1G iPod into the 1G nano as the price slowly fell, the product shrunk and the feature set expanded over a five year stretch. Just look at how the sweetest Apple products manage to mature as the technology opens up without ever pushing the price too low.
They could not have done this phone any sooner and pulled it off. It is ground breaking in a way that integrates everything mobile computing has to offer. This product is a home run and they only want to sell 10 million of them to start, one percent of the market. Mark my words, in five years, the iPhone will come to define hottest segment of the personal computer market. The iPhone is first and foremost a wireless connected computer running a mobile version of OS X that supports iLife software. Eventually, it will also support iWork and become a full fledged connected PC.
Gizmodo iPhone Hands-On: I Called My Mommy - Gizmodo:
gizmodoiphonehands.jpgApple just gave us 15 minutes with the iPhone. To be frank, I was surprised -- Apple doesn't usually grace us with this kind of love. I guess they liked our iPhone posts from last month. The legends say Woz and Steve love to pull pranks.
What do I really think of it? Well CD players and iPods both play music. But elegant design at the fundamental level of how it plays tunes is what helped it transcend the category. From what I saw, first hand, I think the iPhone is going to do this for cellies. I have a bit of sympathy for our friends at RIM and Nokia
First thing I did? I called my mom.
All Is Not So Bad in the State of Denmark - New York Times:
Sweden has more blond beauties per capita, Italy and France have far better cuisine, and most of the free world can boast of better weather. But over the past 30 years, the citizens of Denmark have scored higher than any other Western country on measures of life satisfaction, and scientists think they know why.
In a paper appearing in the Dec. 23 issue of the medical journal BMJ, researchers review six likely and unlikely explanations, and conclude that the country’s secret is a culture of low expectations. “It’s a David and Goliath thing,” said the lead author, Kaare Christensen, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. “If you’re a big guy, you expect to be on the top all the time and you’re disappointed when things don’t go well. But when you’re down at the bottom like us, you hang on, you don’t expect much, and once in a while you win, and it’s that much better.”
Jan 8th: Four Horsemen Of The Apocryphal:
It won't be the first lie you hear in 2007 (that would be your new year's resolution), but it will be the first one you pay to hear. Come help us dig out the January snow job with these fine people. (By the way, this morning's gas attack was a flash in the panic. Chelsea is back to smelling like a petunia and the show will go on.)
Mike Daisey has been called “the master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation” by the NY Times for his acclaimed monologues, 21 Dog Years, and The Ugly American, among others. He’s a commentator for NPR’s Day To Day and a contributor to the NY Times Magazine, WIRED, Slate and Salon. His new monologue, Invincible Summer, will be running at the Public Theater from Jan 18 though Jan 28.
Chasing Artist and Downtown Legend Dash Snow -- New York Magazine:
The artist Dash Snow rammed a screwdriver into his buzzer the other day. He has no phone. He doesn’t use e-mail. So now, if you want to speak to him, you have to go by his apartment on Bowery and yell up. Lorax-like, he won’t come to the window to let you see that he sees you: He has a periscope he puts up so he can check you out first.
Partly, it comes from his graffiti days, this elusiveness, the recent adolescence the 25-year-old Snow spent tagging the city and dodging the police. “He’s pretty paranoid about lots of things in general, and some of it was dished out to him, but others he’s created himself,” says Snow’s friend, the 27-year-old artist Dan Colen, who—like so many of their friends—has made significant artistic contributions to the ever-expanding mythology of Dash Snow. Colen and Snow went to London together this fall for the Saatchi show in which they both had work. (Saatchi had bought one of Colen’s sculptures for $500,000.) Saatchi got them a fancy hotel room on Piccadilly. They had to flee it in the middle of the night with their suitcases before it was discovered that they’d created one of their Hamster’s Nests, which they’ve done quite a few times before. To make a Hamster’s Nest, Snow and Colen shred up 30 to 50 phone books, yank around all the blankets and drapes, turn on the taps, take off their clothes, and do drugs—mushrooms, coke, ecstasy—until they feel like hamsters.
NYPD Shocker: Recruiting Drive Plus Salary Slash Equals Bad Idea - New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer:
• Number of new cops Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said they would put on the streets during 2006: 800
• Number they actually ended up adding to the force in 2006: 0
• Number by which NYPD's ranks in fact shrunk in 2006: 307
• Starting pay for NYPD officers in 2005: $39,000
• Starting pay for NYPD officers in 2006: $25,100
• Last time starting pay for NYPD officers was $25,000: 1986
• The dropout rate among last year's NYPD cadets, with whom the $25,100 salary went into effect: 16 percent
A Father’s Grief, a Father's Rage - New York Times:
ONE day this winter, on a pilgrimage that will be either blessedly cathartic or unbearably painful, a retired telecommunications worker and graphic artist named Dom Caruso will make his first visit to two gravesites at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.
Mr. Caruso, a 70-year-old grandfather in fragile health, will begin by bowing his head at the final resting place of his brother Joey, who died in childhood from the ravages of diphtheria. Then he will stop at the partly submerged burial vault of Dr. Casper Pendola, the young physician who attended to the boy in his final, feverish hours.
At the visit, Mr. Caruso will grapple with how these two departed souls, whose paths crossed by chance, ended up linked forever in a saga of anger and murder. The case turned the state against an individual, the medical establishment against the immigrant community, and family against family, while plunging Mr. Caruso into torment for most of his adult life.
This is the old country,
A land of statuary herons,
Where chevron squads of pelicans patrol
The glittering green shallows of the gulf.
Where color schemes are chiefly melon,
Flamingo pinks, and tropical pastels.
Where all day single-engine planes buzz by.
Their block red-letter advertisements scroll
Across those beefy, milk-white cumuli:
EAT SHRIMP AT RUBY'S-BY-THE-BAY.
RAW BAR AT JACK'S. ALASKA KING CRAB CLAWS.
ENJOY WORLD FAMOUS KEY LIME PIE.
Ponce de Leon, is this that paradise
You sought, whose tonics might restore
The potency and thrust of youth? The truth
Is that the old grow older here.
Their bones go frail as balsawood.
Strokes slur their speech. Their eyes become
Diminished lakes. We watch them dodder
Down grocery aisles. We see them heft
Their chronic coughs and aches along the beach.
Their sorrows all metastasize they must
And yet we seldom say a word
Or spend much time imagining ourselves
In thirty years. Shivering and sweating.
A lukewarm spittle on the chin.
Wide-open hours of waiting and regretting.
The air-conditioned room of our hotel
Looks out on swimming pool and sea.
We've paid good money for the view.
We seek the boredom that they know so well.
Back home, it's thirty-three degrees,
The March rain changing steadily to sleet.
We're only here another day. And if tonight
We eat at Ruby's-by-the-Bay
Or Jack's what difference will it make?
The beach boy, having closed up shop,
Has faced his bath chairs to the west
In regimented rows. Beside
The ponderous and receding tide
Three toasted, golden teenage girls relax.
They're sitting cross-legged in the sand
And posing for a picture that a fourth
Intends to take. Each tosses back her hair
Then feigns a fashion model's runway stare.
Cotton blouses. An almost chilly breeze.
That blush reflection of the sinking sun.
Just listen to them shriek and laugh.
Let memory and love arrest them there.
Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation - Los Angeles Times:
In Ebocha, where Justice lives, Dr. Elekwachi Okey, a local physician, says hundreds of flares at oil plants in the Niger Delta have caused an epidemic of bronchitis in adults, and asthma and blurred vision in children. No definitive studies have documented the health effects, but many of the 250 toxic chemicals in the fumes and soot have long been linked to respiratory disease and cancer.
"We're all smokers here," Okey said, "but not with cigarettes."
The oil plants in the region surrounding Ebocha find it cheaper to burn nearly 1 billion cubic feet of gas each day and contribute to global warming than to sell it. They deny the flaring causes sickness. Under pressure from activists, however, Nigeria's high court set a deadline to end flaring by May 2007. The gases would be injected back underground, or trucked and piped out for sale. But authorities expect the flares to burn for years beyond the deadline.
The Gates Foundation has poured $218 million into polio and measles immunization and research worldwide, including in the Niger Delta. At the same time that the foundation is funding inoculations to protect health, The Times found, it has invested $423 million in Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total of France — the companies responsible for most of the flares blanketing the delta with pollution, beyond anything permitted in the United States or Europe.
Indeed, local leaders blame oil development for fostering some of the very afflictions that the foundation combats.
STEVE JOBS: Is that a phone in his pocket? No, something bigger - Valleywag:
There's no business like show business, especially for Steve Jobs. While other execs don suits and read from slides, or hire superstars to mask their own dullness, Jobs takes the stage like a leopard in jeans and black turtleneck. He strides the full stage front to back, side to side. He never seems to be reading his lines, yet rarely fumbles a word. Jobs invites Hollywood celebs onstage as his pals, and makes clear other CEOs are mere understudies. His energy and fervor are contagious: In an hour, he'll have you shuffling mortgage payments to buy the new Mac. If you've never caught his act, it's worth the campout.
What's Steve going to show this time?
Attack of the Zombie Computers Is Growing Threat - New York Times:
With growing sophistication, they are taking advantage of programs that secretly install themselves on thousands or even millions of personal computers, band these computers together into an unwitting army of zombies, and use the collective power of the dragooned network to commit Internet crimes.
These systems, called botnets, are being blamed for the huge spike in spam that bedeviled the Internet in recent months, as well as fraud and data theft.
Security researchers have been concerned about botnets for some time because they automate and amplify the effects of viruses and other malicious programs.
What is new is the vastly escalating scale of the problem — and the precision with which some of the programs can scan computers for specific information, like corporate and personal data, to drain money from online bank accounts and stock brokerages.
“It’s the perfect crime, both low-risk and high-profit,” said Gadi Evron, a computer security researcher for an Israeli-based firm, Beyond Security, who coordinates an international volunteer effort to fight botnets. “The war to make the Internet safe was lost long ago, and we need to figure out what to do now.”
HOW TO: Move To New York City Sane And Not Broke - Consumerist:
DON'T MOVE BACK. A lot of people quit New York less than a year after moving. That's a personal choice, but if you're trying to be in New York, obviously leaving it is not a viable solution. If things get so hard you want to move back, ask for help from family and friends. Evaluate the choices you're making, the things you're buying, and see where you can cut back. Realize you're not going to get that super-star job right off the bat (see: BECOME AWESOME). Stiffen that upper lip. Or cry. Whatever you need to do, just don't move back. Life is hard. Welcome to it.
Do Not Go Gentle — Poetry & Cancer, Life & Death: 5.15.06, Check the Warranty, We're Going to Restage:
Something noticed last week: No, Warranties are not “boring,” Princess. When I went to buy my new coffee grinder recently, I was comparing two grinders, different brands, similar prices, and I wanted to see the warrantee information, right? This is the logical next step, it’s smart shopping, it’s informed consumption. Style is somewhat important, function-wise they are all about the same, color's rather limited, but the consumer-report-ish side of things, that’s what guides this smart shopper. Until I realize--and have to chuckle--I no longer have to bother myself about warranties because any product warrantee I find is going to last longer than I do. Shit. If a salesperson starts to explain service protection plans, Apple Care, x-years and just-so-many miles to go, I no longer pay any attention. Back in the grocery store, I shake my head at this, and then grab the grinder in the color I like best and get the hell out.
Boing Boing: Ads on bins will boost traveler delight during TSA screening:
The TSA is planning to inflict commercial advertising on travelers passing through its checkpoints. Apparently it's a swap: advertisers provide "divestiture bins, divestiture and composure tables, and [...] return carts" (gotta love that terminology) and in return they get to display ads on the bins. The question becomes: which advertisers wish to associate their goods and services with this fiasco?
Tonight is the first preview of INVINCIBLE SUMMER, and I'm as pregnant as all get-out, and it's the beginning of an intense toboggan ride through January that sees us opening at the Public on the 18th, and performances continuing through to the end of the month.
I'm nervous and excited and extremely full of the story; if you're on the list to come to the show this evening I'll see you on the other side.
I saw this at the Whitney last year, and it is awesome:
A great NYC panorama.
Would somebody send Gladwell back to cool-hunting?:
In the current New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell proffers what he calls (at his blog) a “semi-defense of Enron.”
Insofar as “defense” implies an argument or justification for something, the article is nothing of the kind. Rather, it is a perfect specimen of the sort of fuzzy-headed, attention-mongering contrarianism that frequently pops up at Slate, and that has, for the past several years, leaked from the pens of Caitlin Flanagan and David Brooks into the pages of our nation’s most esteemed periodicals.
The article is so patently ridiculous, in fact, that I was prepared to ignore it. Until I noticed that the libertarian sector of the blogosphere has erupted into a chorus of hosannahs. Did anyone even read this thing?
Nice mention for INVINCIBLE SUMMER in Paper Magazine--
Boing Boing: Bush OKs opening your mail in US without warrant:
The president has used the recent postal code reform, much of which from what I understand is very beneficial to the employees and to the system overall, to push through a nifty bit of law to allows him to open mail. The only catch is that the president can only open the mail when the president says it is necessary to do so and will only be overseen by... you guessed it, the president himself.
The Shophound: Alex K Goes Shopping: Boozy Breakfast Edition:
That story explains all sorts of things.
She manages to tenuously connect this anecdote with Té Casan, the new Spanish based shoe retailer we wrote about a few weeks ago. In her loopy way, Alex chooses to translate the store name from Spanish as "They marry you" despite the fact that it is actually meant to be a Gaelic phrase meaning, more appropriately, "a woman's path".
How Viewers OD'd on ‘The O.C.’ -- New York Magazine:
There are concrete reasons for the show’s quick decline: Schwartz became distracted by other projects, and lead-character Marissa (Mischa Barton) was killed off last year. But in hindsight, these seem like symptoms, not the disease. The O.C.’s main problem—what took the show from phenomenon to failure—was that it became too cool too fast. Its hipster audience, initially seduced by the show’s self-referential wittiness, was repelled by its mainstream success. And mainstream fans, drawn in by the soap opera, were turned off by increasingly absurdist plot twists. Ironically, the super-hip O.C. failed where Aaron Spelling’s less-intelligent shows succeeded—it was too ironic to be a soap, but too soapy to be a parody.
Played Out (Seattle Weekly):
Here it is: Seattle is a theater town.
I know this because I've read it for years in airline magazines, tourist brochures, and every local guide book (including one I wrote back in 2002). Recent figures from Seattle's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs reveal that our Creative Vitality Index Score is a full 5.2 times the country as a whole! (The index measures things like arts organization income and employment.) "Obviously, this is a community that values and supports the arts sector," said the office.
Knowing all this, surrounded by happy theatergoers in a holiday mood, and having watched, worked in, and thought about Seattle theater for the past 12 years, why was I so melancholy? Why did I find myself again questioning that civic truth that we're a great town for theater? Why is it that every theater person I talk to, administrators, artistic directors, and artists, all feel the same thing—that it's getting harder to produce theater in Seattle?
It could be because our theaters keep closing.
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Production Rider for Kate Kershner's Holiday Visit Home Tour.:
Please note the following points that shall be adhered to on Kate Kershner's Holiday Visit Home Tour. It is in the best interest of the VENUE (i.e.: JIM and CAROL KERSHNER'S rancher on 34th St. and the inhabitants therein) that these demands be strictly followed, if the VENUE ever wishes to see the TALENT (i.e.: KATE KERSHNER) come back after the 2006 Tour. This written agreement must be agreed upon and given no amendment unless specifically addressed with the TALENT.
Please also note that this rider would be unnecessary were it not for the now-canceled OPENING ACT (i.e.: Mike Kershner, brother and ultimate betrayer of TALENT), who got a little too popular (i.e.: a little too married) to come on Tour this year. TALENT, who no longer trusts anyone after OPENING ACT left for his own fancy TOUR and new VENUE, feels it best to have everything on paper. Although this document is not legally binding, it does work in accordance with the strict legality of the OFFICIAL CONTRACT (i.e.: Kate Kershner's birth certificate, verifying JIM and CAROL KERSHNER as Parents, and thus responsible for all future happiness).
Gothamist: Details About The Daring Subway Track Rescue:
I had a split-second decision to make. Do I let the train run him over and hear my daughters screaming and see the blood? Or do I jump in?
...He landed between the track. Do I let the train run over this guy? I saw the ladies had my two daughters, so I hopped over on the tracks...
...I saw the two white lights and said "'Whoa, you ain't got no time.' I just grabbed him. I just dove on top of him and held him down because I knew there would be enough clearance for us...
...I was trying to pull him up, but his weight, he was fighting against me. He didn't know who I was. The only thing that popped into my mind was go into the gutter. So I dove in, I pinned him down, once the first car ran over us, then my thing was keep him still...
...He was fighting and pushing against me, so I laid on top of him. The train was probably 2 inches off my back...
Lawrence Lessig: Dems to the Net: Go to hell:
So is there any hope for such reform from the Democrats? Word from Washington so far: Fat chance. As reported in the LA Times two weeks ago (registration required but hey, it’s LA), the crucial House IP subcommittee will be chaired by Hollywood Howard (Berman) — among the most extreme of the IP warriors. It is this committee that largely determines what reform Congress considers. It is the Chairman who picks what voices get heard. And while Berman is a brilliant man — whose brilliance could really have been used in the problems facing the mid-east — his brilliance has not yet been directed towards working out the problems of IP and the Net with any view beyond the narrowest of special interests.
This is like making a congressman from Detroit head of a Automobile Safety sub-committee, or a senator from Texas head of a Global Warming sub-committee. Are you kidding, Dems? The choice signals clearly the party’s view about the issues, and its view of the “solution”: more of the same. This war — no more successful than President Bush’s war — will continue.
No doubt, there are Net issues beyond copyright — surveillance, net neutrality, etc. But I suggest this choice is an important signal about this party (and I’m afraid, any party). I once asked a senior staffer of a brilliant Senator why the Senator didn’t take a stronger position in favor of Net Neutrality. “No Senator remains a Senator opposing an industry with that much money” was his answer.
Esquire:Feature Story:WHAT I'VE LEARNED: James Watson:
The cost of DNA sequencing is going to change the world much faster than I would have thought. We can resequence someone now for $150,000. Can you reach the $1,000 genome? I'm skeptical of that. But just $15,000 would change the world. You'd do a thousand Greeks and a thousand Swedes and find out what's different about them. Anytime a child has problems school or something where you worry something is wrong, you'll do a DNA diagnosis.
How to Cook a Turkey, by Charlie (Age 6)
(This was for a class assignment)
1. Find a turkey. Kill it, of course.
2. Cook at 100 or 110 degrees for an hour and two minutes.
3. Add salt.
4. Make all the bones stick out.
5. Eat it!
Have something to say? I don't care - Los Angeles Times:
That address on the bottom of this column? That is the pathetic, confused death knell of the once-proud newspaper industry, and I want nothing to do with it. Sending an e-mail to that address is about as useful as sending your study group report about Iraq to the president.
Here's what my Internet-fearing editors have failed to understand: I don't want to talk to you; I want to talk at you. A column is not my attempt to engage in a conversation with you. I have more than enough people to converse with. And I don't listen to them either. That sound on the phone, Mom, is me typing.
Can Google Come Out to Play? - New York Times:
From lava lamps to abacuses to cork coffee tables, the offices may as well be a Montessori school conceived to cater to the needs of future science-project winners. The Condé Nast and Hearst corporations have their famous cafeterias designed by, respectively, Frank Gehry and Norman Foster; but Google has free food, and plenty of it, including a sushi bar and espresso stations. There are private phone booths for personal calls and showers and lockers for anyone running or biking to work.
The New York tradition of leaving the office to network over lunch or an evening cocktail party has no place at Google, where employees are encouraged to socialize among themselves. There are groups of Gayglers, Newglers and Bikeglers (who bike to work together). Every Thursday afternoon there is a gathering with wine and beer called Thank God It’s Almost Friday (originally it was a T.G.I.F. event, modeled after one in Mountain View, but Googlers in New York didn’t want to stick around late on a Friday).
US Copyright Office grants abandonware rights - Joystiq:
Here's something abandonware enthusiasts can be thankful for: the Library of Congress yesterday approved six exemptions to US copyright. The one most pertinent to gamers is that, for archival purposes, copy protection on software no longer being sold or supported by its copyright holder can be cracked.
What does this mean? Well, those retro games -- classic or otherwise -- that you can't seem to find anywhere can now be preserved without fear of ramifications. Although it is still unlawful to distribute the old games, free or otherwise, rarely do any abandonware cases go to court. The ruling is more symbolic than anything, but a step in the right direction.
America the Overfull - New York Times:
It seems to me that my generation was defined by the open road, and the accompanying hope that a promise lay at the end of it. The almost trance-like experience of driving down the soft tunnel of a dark highway at night was something I relished. At most, there would be the distant red lights of a car far ahead, and always the murmur of the glowing radio, the hiss of the tires and, at a certain speed on narrower roads, the fizzing past of telephone poles with their rhythmic whiplash.
Late at night, in most places I knew, there was almost no traffic and driving, a meditative activity, could cast a spell. Behind the wheel, gliding along, I was keenly aware of being an American in America, on a road that was also metaphorical, making my way through life, unhindered, developing ideas, making decisions, liberated by the flight through this darkness and silence. With less light pollution, the night sky was different, too — starrier, more daunting, more beautiful.
Bog Face: dispatch from Omaha:
Dodge street has changed a lot. When I was twenty-one - before I even knew of such people as FW or Blade or Herbert or Aaron or Mark B or Jay Rice - I had to drive up and down Dodge in a pickup truck day after day. In the back of the truck I was carrying Shylock from the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival's production of The Merchant of Venice . He rode in the back so he could go over his lines and also, I suspect, so he could dream up increasingly grander gestures for his final exit from the Trial Scene. By the end of the run he would start to leave, stop. Turn. Shake his fist. Stop. Turn. Spit at Portia. Start to leave. Stop. Tear off the cross they had forced around his neck. Bellow. And so on. More and more each night. At least this is how I remember it. Then he would go back to Creighton and make himself a bowl of spaghetti.
RIAA sues AllofMP3 for $1.65 trillion // Zeropaid.com:
As I previously reported, technically AllOfMP3 does obey the law-Russian law. It pays the standard 15% Russian licensing fee that applies to online music to ROM, the Russian Organization for Multimedia & digital systems. ROM is the Russian equivalent of the RIAA, and according to their website they are "...the national Russian organization providing professional collective management of authors’ property rights and protection of interests of rights holders in cases of use of their works in digital interactive networks, including the Internet." But, unfortunately for AllOfMP3 the RIAA doesn't recognize ROM's legitimacy, perhaps out of fear that it would help legitimize AllOfMP3 and erode their position against it.
Slashdot | Flying To the US? Pay In Cash:
pin_gween writes to point us to a report in the Telegraph that British travelers using a credit card to purchase their ticket may now have their credit card and email accounts inspected by US authorities. This has been true since October, when the US and the EU agreed about what information the US could demand from airlines and how this information would be handled. But details of the agreement only recently came to light following a Freedom of Information request. The US says it will "encourage" US carriers to reciprocate to any requests by European governments. From the article:
"[T]he Americans are entitled to 34 separate pieces of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data... Initially, such material could be inspected for seven days but a reduced number of US officials could view it for three and a half years. Should any record be inspected during this period, the file could remain open for eight years...'It is pretty horrendous, particularly when you couple it with our one-sided extradition arrangements with the US,' said [a human rights activist]. 'It is making the act of buying a ticket a gateway to a host of personal email and financial information. While there are safeguards, it appears you would have to go to a US court to assert your rights.'"
Telegraph | News | US 'licence to snoop' on British air travellers:
Britons flying to America could have their credit card and email accounts inspected by the United States authorities following a deal struck by Brussels and Washington.
By using a credit card to book a flight, passengers face having other transactions on the card inspected by the American authorities. Providing an email address to an airline could also lead to scrutiny of other messages sent or received on that account.
The extent of the demands were disclosed in "undertakings" given by the US Department of Homeland Security to the European Union and published by the Department for Transport after a Freedom of Information request.
Nice mention for INVINCIBLE SUMMER in New York Magazine as they choose their picks for Under the Radar:
PS: I am drunk and filled with steak. Happy new year!