Fermilab Statement on LHC Magnet Test Failure:
On Tuesday, March 27, there was a serious failure in a high-pressure test at CERN of a Fermilab-built "inner-triplet" series of three quadrupole magnets in the tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider. The magnets focus the particle beams prior to collision at each of four interaction points around the accelerator.
The shows have been going very well at Yale Rep--two down, and one more to go. Audiences are very young and engaged, and I've been having wonderful conversations after the show--sometimes audience members feel compelled to tell a story back to you after the show, and almost every time they're extremely worthwhile, which I always feel is a good sign for the human race.
Today I'm teaching a workshop and master class on the art of the monologue, and I'm delighted--I love teaching, it's one of my great passions and not terribly different than the monologues in that it is a form of extemporaneous address used to connect with an active audience. I hope to teach a workshop like this while in residence at ART, but I'm not certain when we're going to be able to set that up--that's something I'll have to touch on when I arrive on the ground, which unbelievably is tomorrow.
One of the things that I'm concerned with at ART is the physical relationship between the myself and the audience--I've looked at pictures and schematics for the Zero Arrow Theatre, but it really doesn't mean all that much until I walk inside and stand in the space itself. This is something that very rarely impacts productions at ART--they're principally produced works that are forged and created for that space, and when transferred have ample time to adapt. We'll be moving quickly, and our bare and extremely minimal set (table, chair, water, me) can have a surprising number of variables in it--big decisions have to be made right at the top which dictate a lot of how the show will flow as we move through the run. It's a little like marrying someone you haven't met, but have excellent references for--at some point you close your eyes, trust your experience, trust your skills, and jump. To do anything else is impossible.
Crossposted to the ART blog
The Connecticut Post Online - Daisey's "Invisible Summer" comes to town:
Mike Daisey has turned storytelling into a form of theater that has been amusing and exciting audiences around the country for the past decade.
Daisey explores wide-ranging material drawn from his own life and his observations of American culture in shows that have dealt with everything from his own employment at Amazon.com (during the dotcom boom) to the unexpected links between P.T. Barnum and L. Ron Hubbard.
The 33-year-old performer has been called the heir to legendary New York radio monologist Jean Shepherd, as well as "a cross between Noam Chomsky and Jack Black."
Boing Boing: Melting North Pole sends buried watch to Denmark:
Axlrosen sez, "A wristwatch buried in the ice at the North Pole three years ago was found by a boy more than 1,800 miles away after it floated ashore on the Faeroe Islands."
Niels Jakup Mortensen, 11, spotted a black box near his home on Suduroy, the Faeroes' southernmost island, his mother Anna Jacobsen said. Inside, she said, was a watch that had been buried at the North Pole by Joergen Amundsen, a descendant of Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen.
It's been a couple of years since I blogged in a more conventional sense--I started blogging at mikedaisey.com in 2000, well before blogging had become ubiquitous, and perhaps because of that I grew tired of posting commentary about my life moment to moment. I'm also a professional monologuist, and I discovered that I got my autobiographical impulses fully realized on the stage, and didn't really relish the idea of working them out piecemeal in public. Instead of retiring the blog, I gradually let it take control, and posted what interested me--and over time it has become a virtual online scrapbook, the internet equivalent of bookmarks and dog-eared pages, keeping track of evocative images and articles I see online. The change has been great for the site, and great for me--now when I visit my own site I find inspiration in the juxtapositions, and I can search the archives to find things I might have lost track of, a kind of miniature Google. The Boston Phoenix recently did a preview piece in which they focused on the blog as an integral part of my artistic identity, and while I don't know if that's true, it has certainly been a fascinating project.
So when American Repertory Theatre asked me to blog on their site about my run at their theater I was intrigued--with a contained format, I felt that the entries could be an interesting exercise in following the process Jean-Michele (my director) and I go through developing the work, and since the run at ART covers three very different monologues, all at different places in their developmental life I thought a little hands-on commentary could be intriguing. So here we are.
And where we are today is New Haven, Connecticut, where I'll be opening INVINCIBLE SUMMER at Yale Repertory Theatre this evening. It's a special three-day engagement which will function as a kind of test-bed for the much longer run that immediately follows at ART--we got in yesterday and immediately rushed into tech, where we configured the lights, sound and all the rest in about six hours. My monologues use very particular lighting, with slow, almost imperceptible changes over stretches of time, so that a theatrical effect is achieved that, to my eyes, echoes the nature of story: shifting, chimerical but never overtly plotted or "dramatic" in a conventional sense. It's hell on dimmer systems that run the lighting, and in many spaces a lot of tech is spent coaxing the systems to deal with slow, slow, slow fades and making them graceful. Considering that this short run is the equivalent of a touring production, I'm very happy with what we've achieved--we're working with Melissa Mizell, whom we met at the Spoleto Festival the last few years, and she knows what we look for, which I think helped things enormously.
Tonight's show will be very stressful for me, as it is the first time I will have spoken the show aloud since the Public Theatre run in January. The monologues grow and develop like living things, and as a consequence there is an unpredictability inherent to the process of doing them again--they are never memorized, and due to the passage of time they naturally shift when put down, and I have to figure out where they've moved to. It can be hard to distinguish between what's inspiration in the changes, and what's simple unfamiliarity, but some of the best discoveries in monologues of the past have come on nights just like this, and I think I'm up for the challenge.
I don't do much on opening days--I had an interview this morning, then slept some more, and now we're headed to IKEA, where I'm hoping to find the perfect water glass for this evening's show, along with some meatballs and tiny red potatoes.
Crossposted to the ART blog
thewest.com.au : Flaming space junk narrowly misses jet:
Pieces of space junk from a Russian satellite coming out of orbit narrowly missed hitting a jetliner over the Pacific Ocean overnight.
The pilot of a Lan Chile Airbus A340, which was travelling between Santiago, Chile, and Auckland, New Zealand, notified air traffic controllers at Auckland Oceanic Centre after seeing flaming space junk hurtling across the sky just five nautical miles in front of and behind his plane about 10pm last night.
According to a plane spotter, who was tuning into a high frequency radio broadcast at the time, the pilot "reported that the rumbling noise from the space debris could be heard over the noise of the aircraft.
"He described he saw a piece of debris lighting up as it re-entered (the earth's atmosphere).
"He was one very worried pilot, as you would imagine.
Why to Not Not Start a Startup:
The big mystery to me is: why don't more people start startups? If nearly everyone who does it prefers it to a regular job, and a significant percentage get rich, why doesn't everyone want to do this? A lot of people think we get thousands of applications for each funding cycle. In fact we usually only get several hundred. Why don't more people apply? And while it must seem to anyone watching this world that startups are popping up like crazy, the number is small compared to the number of people with the necessary skills. The great majority of programmers still go straight from college to cubicle, and stay there.
It seems like people are not acting in their own interest. What's going on? Well, I can answer that. Because of Y Combinator's position at the very start of the venture funding process, we're probably the world's leading experts on the psychology of people who aren't sure if they want to start a company.
Hey, Terrific!: Best Show of My Life (part one):
Everything else is a little who fucking cares at the moment: work, Work, home--all a predictable soup; fuck the highs because i live for the lows. My back has been assaulting me for a couple of weeks now, leaving me physically incapacitated for a few days, then forcing me to walk with a cane. The cane is embarrassing in a way, but in another way it looks kind of perfect. Love remains a rude lodger, arriving unannouced and unbidden, pissing in the houseplants, kicking over chairs, blunting knives, threatening like to burn the house down, and I'm all, "thank you, you're so amazing, please don't leave!"
Writing in the free world | Salon Books:
If you make stuff, it is not yours to command its destiny in the world. God help you, you should be grateful if it has one. It's fantastic if anyone cares. Every artist should be constantly reminding themselves how lucky they are if people are even bothering in the first place. If people do something that is not as interesting as I'd hoped with my work, or if they go and make a lot of dough, that's part of accepting that I've made a gesture whose conclusion is not mine to command.
But to be totally obvious, lyrics and even film projects are not novels. One thing I would always retain is the rights to my novels. With my new novel, I'm inviting some filmmaker to take a lover's leap with me, saying that five years after the release of a film, we make it a stage play or a comic book or a musical or make a sequel. I wouldn't probably choose to do that with every one of my novels. With some of them, some degree of control is still appealing to me. With this one I felt I would really enjoy giving that away. And it's my choice. That's the key. This proceeds from my choice. But I don't think 50 or 100 years after my death, someone should still have say over what someone makes of this stuff. It certainly doesn't follow. As Lawrence Lessig likes to point out, you can't provide incentive to a dead creator to make more art by offering him a copyright.
Boing Boing: Happy tapir receives massage -- exclusive video:
I took my 3-year-old daughter to the LA Zoo yesterday and we were treated to the spectacle of a very relaxed tapir receiving a body rub by a gentle zookeeper. I videtaped the procedure with my digital camera.
BlogChelsea » Mike Daisey, Part Two, Chelsea, NY, NYC, New York, 10011:
Daisey, in part two of Modern Living: The Terrors of Literature, a monologue performed at McNally Robinson Bookstore Friday night, told the audience why the written word is so problematic.
Books, he explained, are merely dead tree matter, filled with glyphs that your brain turns into images. They are pinned down in space and time. Words stay flat on the page, when essentially writers would like to “wave their hands over them and have the words rise up and hang in the air like a benediction.”
The written word infiltrates our lives like “a lattice work in front of our vision.” But spoken words are a living breathing aural experience. It can’t be nailed down to an exact time and place. It is also why, when trying to write down your failed love affair, you can’t do it. It can’t be seen from above, like light shining through a prism. Only in performance is it a different experience every time.
The Numbers Guy - WSJ.com:
For $10,000 to $15,000, you, too, can be a best-selling author.
New York public-relations firm Ruder Finn says it can propel unknown titles to the top of rankings on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble with a mass email called the Best-Seller Blast. Popular authors such as Mark Victor Hansen of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series recommend your book in messages to fans, and offer a deal: Buy the book today and you'll get downloadable "bonuses" supposedly valued at thousands of dollars -- such as recordings of motivational speeches and contact information for important people. Orchestrating even 1,000 book purchases in a single day can drive a title from obscurity to the top of the charts.
Rick Frishman, who oversees the campaigns for Ruder Finn's Planned Television Arts, also is a client. His 2004 book "Networking Magic" went from a sales rank of 896,000 on barnesandnoble.com the morning it was published to No. 1 at 4 p.m. He has a poster in his office showing the sales chart he briefly topped. "I'm a nobody, but I was somebody for a day," he says.
A decade after they were introduced, online book-sales rankings remain an object of obsession for authors. Because they're unrestrained by shelf space, the Web stores give millions of books a ranking. These are updated hourly and displayed on the book's sales page and on best-seller lists. This "democratic" potential is celebrated by compulsive watchers of the numbers. Cindy Ratzlaff, vice president of brand marketing for Rodale Books, has noticed that Amazon seems to refresh its numbers 35 minutes after every hour and she makes it a point to check the page soon after, every hour during the workday. "It's really pathetic and extremely addictive -- and we all do it," she says.
The Ecstasy of Influence (Harpers.org):
In a courtroom scene from The Simpsons that has since entered into the television canon, an argument over the ownership of the animated characters Itchy and Scratchy rapidly escalates into an existential debate on the very nature of cartoons. “Animation is built on plagiarism!” declares the show's hot-tempered cartoon-producer-within-a-cartoon, Roger Meyers Jr. “You take away our right to steal ideas, where are they going to come from?” If nostalgic cartoonists had never borrowed from Fritz the Cat, there would be no Ren & Stimpy Show; without the Rankin/Bass and Charlie Brown Christmas specials, there would be no South Park; and without The Flintstones—more or less The Honeymooners in cartoon loincloths—The Simpsons would cease to exist. If those don't strike you as essential losses, then consider the remarkable series of “plagiarisms” that links Ovid's “Pyramus and Thisbe” with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, or Shakespeare's description of Cleopatra, copied nearly verbatim from Plutarch's life of Mark Antony and also later nicked by T. S. Eliot for The Waste Land. If these are examples of plagiarism, then we want more plagiarism.
Most artists are brought to their vocation when their own nascent gifts are awakened by the work of a master. That is to say, most artists are converted to art by art itself. Finding one's voice isn't just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses. Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos. Any artist knows these truths, no matter how deeply he or she submerges that knowing.
Along Those Lines: Beauty Lies in the Eye:
I didn't really get to say everything I wanted to in this 100-word blurb on Mike Daisey. Mainly, I'd like to reiterate here that Mike Daisey is the most ingenious guy in theatre right now, at least in my opinion. Sure, he is slightly lacking in the rugged good looks of Liev Schreiber, but the fact that he maintains the challenging crossover of acting and writing is absolutely astounding. Even more impressive is that he improvises most of his monologues while using the verve of a sweaty, overzealous southern preacher man.
City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention - New York Times:
At the other end of the threat spectrum was Joshua Kinberg, a graduate student at Parsons School of Design and the subject of four pages of intelligence reports, including two pictures. For his master’s thesis project, Mr. Kinberg devised a “wireless bicycle” equipped with cellphone, laptop and spray tubes that could squirt messages received over the Internet onto the sidewalk or street.
The messages were printed in water-soluble chalk, a tactic meant to avoid a criminal mischief charge for using paint, an intelligence report noted. Mr. Kinberg’s bicycle was “capable of transferring activist-based messages on streets and sidewalks,” according to a report on July 22, 2004.
“This bicycle, having been built for the sole purpose of protesting during the R.N.C., is capable of spraying anti-R.N.C.-type messages on surrounding streets and sidewalks, also supplying the rider with a quick vehicle of escape,” the report said. Mr. Kinberg, then 25, was arrested during a television interview with Ron Reagan for MSNBC’s “Hardball” program during the convention. He was released a day later, but his equipment was held for more than a year.
Mr. Kinberg said Friday that after his arrest, detectives with the terrorism task force asked if he knew of any plans for violence. “I’m an artist,” he said. “I know other artists, who make T-shirts and signs.”
He added: “There’s no reason I should have been placed on any kind of surveillance status. It affected me, my ability to exercise free speech, and the ability of thousands of people who were sending in messages for the bike, to exercise their free speech.”
City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention - New York Times:
For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.
From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.
They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.
From these operations, run by the department’s “R.N.C. Intelligence Squad,” the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.
But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in the files. In hundreds of reports stamped “N.Y.P.D. Secret,” the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.
These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports.
TALK OF THE TOWN By MICHAEL KANE - Entertainment - New York Post Online Edition:
Jean Michelle Gregory is 29 and lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. She's a director who specializes in autobiography.
"I was just a regular little straight kid, weepy over the absence of my boyfriend who'd gone off to college, when I fell in love - or was it lust? - with this 21-year-old woman who wore a leather jacket, had just returned from backpacking around Europe, had a wicked tattoo crawling up her wrist that she'd designed herself and who took to calling me 'Jailbait' every chance she got. So what did I do? I invited her to my senior prom, of course. And when it became clear we weren't welcome there, she sweet-talked a bouncer into letting me into my first bar - which also happened to be a gay bar - and we ended up dancing the night away. The evening was ultimately as wholesome as it was sexy."
Al Nye The Lawyer Guy: So What Really Is In A McDonald's Chicken McNugget?:
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is a fascinating book that details the changing eating habits of Americans. I can't recommend it highly enough. It explains how, over the last 30 years, we have become a nation that eats vast quantities of corn – much more so than Mexicans, the original "corn people."
Most folks assume that a chicken nugget is just a piece of fried chicken, right? Wrong! Did you know, for example, that a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget is 56% corn?
What else is in a McDonald's Chicken McNugget? Besides corn, and to a lesser extent, chicken, The Omnivore's Dilemma describes all of the thirty-eight ingredients that make up a McNugget – one of which I'll bet you'll never guess.
Can You Afford to Spend $50 a Month on Birth Control? | Slog | The Stranger's Blog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper:
Neither can I. And I sure as hell couldn’t when I was in college, where I relied on the student health center to provide cheap, effective birth control pills for between $10 and $15 a month. I can only assume that these days, when tuition and book costs are higher than ever before and rising, a $500-or-more annual hike in birth control expenses is a bigger burden than ever before. Which is why it’s such terrible news that Congress is eliminating an incentive in the Medicaid rebate law that encouraged companies to provide low-cost contraceptives to college campuses. The change will boost the price of birth control as much as 300 percent.
Back to Balthazar - Diner’s Journal - Dining & Wine - New York Times Blog:
Arguably the hottest restaurant opening of early 2007 is Morandi, if you bear in mind that Gordon Ramsay at the London opened in late 2006, as did the Waverly Inn, which officially never opened — at least according to the coyly articulated position of the Graydon Carter Fabulosity Institute. It may never open, instead remaining content and profitable in some hyper-exclusive limbo where phones are never answered and hoi polloi are reduced to quivering, pointless supplication.
Morandi’s heat comes not from its chef, Jody Williams, who’s no slouch, but from its owner, the restaurateur Keith McNally, now trying his hand at an Italian venture. His proving ground was French: Odeon (which he no longer owns), Balthazar, Pastis. Especially Balthazar. Above all Balthazar. It represented the three coolest restaurant syllables since Indochine, and it’s still cool, a full decade into its existence.
But how’s the actual experience of it? I stopped by in a gearing-up-for-Morandi mood and frame of mind, and on this visit — and do I emphasize it was just one visit — I didn’t have such a wonderful time at all.
jamYe waXman. seX matters.: Babies.Blood.Period.:
South Carolina's Legislature yesterday approved a bill which requires a woman to pay for an ultrasound, view the picture of the fetus with her doctor, wait an hour after seeing the ultrasound, sign a piece of paper saying she has seen the picture, and then and only then can she decide that she still wants an abortion. There's no exceptions, not even in cases of rape, health or incest. If the house approves this bill (again) it goes back to the Senate and if they approve it, it will pass. This is totally emotional blackmail and beyond the scope of what is choice.
Excerpts from Stephen King's "On Writing" - (37signals):
Even if you’re not a fan of Stephen King’s fiction, his book on writing is filled with insightful advice on the craft. (Btw, it was also the inspiration for the title of the “On Writing” posts we publish here.) Some excerpts below.
BlogChelsea » Mike Daisey, Chelsea, NY, NYC, New York, 10011:
Mike Daisey, in a hilarious and brilliant talk, raved about computers, Steve Jobs and vibrators for about an hour at Tekserve last night.
Not only are we addicted to having the newest technology, but, “There is nothing on earth that works less well than a computer.” He compared computers to the most basic of home appliances, the vibrator. “The Wahl 9000 is a marvelous instrument. It never crashed. It never blue screened. Off, low and high are each what you expect it to be. Every time. And I don’t have a special sleeve for it. We throw it under the bed.” After encouraging us all to get one, he said that computers are basically unstable.
“Computers are not appliances. They are environments, a playground for making shit happen. You can do things the creator of them never even thought of,” he said. He compared them to an abusive relationship, where your partner, who is creative and wonderful, just sometimes, for no known reason, completely freaks out. Computers are so complicated you can’t really know what is going on. And your pour your whole life into them.
Mike Daisey: The Terrors of Literature » McNally Robinson NYC:
Culturebot.org: NYC Theatre Spaces and More:
This just in on the handy-dandy space-finding sites of NYC Performing Arts Spaces.
NYC Performing Arts Spaces has launched nycTheatreSpaces.org, the free online resource of New York City rehearsal and performance spaces suitable for actors, playwrights, directors, producers and theatre companies.
Plays, musicals, literary readings, sketch comedy and other theatrical performances can be accommodated by the many rentable spaces -- large and small -- in NYC Theatre Spaces' extensive browseable database. You can also search for spaces appropriate for auditions, film and photo shoots, special events and parties.
New York Press - CHARLIE ANDERS - Cold Metal Turkey:
Not everyone is excited about Shutdown Day. “My first instinct is to flinch,” says blogger, writer and sex guru Rachel Kramer Bussel. “I just can’t imagine a whole day. I could imagine half a day maybe.” But, she admits, she’d feel better about it if she absolutely knew nobody would be trying to contact her online during her stint of cyber-deprivation. Even then, “I would feel really antsy about it.”
Kramer Bussel has friends who freak out as though she may have fallen down a well if she doesn’t answer their emails within a day. She does all her work online, and productive time is mixed in with messing around.
Five minutes in the “real world” are like 10,000 years online. Civilizations rise and fall, philosophies flourish and collapse under their own contradictions. Most of all, your own reputation can turn from crap to gold and back again—several times. Step away from the Internet for a day, and you may come back to find everybody else’s tag clouds have gone carnivorous. And people are speaking Urdu.
Letter forwarded from a friend with an account of a visit to Clearwater, FL:
Just back from Clearwater, FL -- a wealthy suburb of Tampa/St. Pete -- where the Eckerd Theatre Company was workshopping my civil war drummer boy musical.
Eckerd Hall is a performing arts center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was leased over the past weekend by Scientologists -- (Clearwater is their east coast headquarters) -- celebrating the Birthday of L. Ron Hubbard! What a thrilling coincidence! While we're toiling away in the conference room over scripts and designs, John Travolta was appearing on the mainstage; there was a humongous party tent in the parking lot.
Scientologii snipers were posted of the rooftops; Scientologii bomb-sniffing dogs prowled the halls; Scientologii bodyguards (ineffectual looking guys in black with earpieces) eyeballed the entrances and exits. A very unusual space to be workshopping a new musical for three days! On Saturday morning, the festivities had ended -- and laborers were dismantling the party tent. Scientologii laborers had constructed it and you could tell they were scientologists because they were lean, clean-shaven, close-cropped and dressed like postal workers. Normal laborers were tearing it down and you could tell they weren't Scientologists because they had mullets and beer bellies.
When the coast was clear, we braved trekking across the astroturf carpet to ogle the remains of L. Ron Hubbard's birthday cake -- a triple-tiered affair with yellow frosting and gold roses (ick!) -- it appeared to be vanilla with lemon filling but we didn't take a taste -- it was going stale in the sun -- and it didn't appear to have been a huge favorite at the party. It was pretty well mangled but you could still read "Happy Birthday Ron" on top of the cake -- and someone had swiped a finger through a couple of the gold roses. On the ground next to the cake was a huge and rather tacky photo portrait of L. Ron himself -- long since dead now, of course, but apparently frozen in state somewhere waiting for the Scientologist Judgment Day -- and he was smiling and standing next to a birthday cake that looked exactly like the mangled cake on the table. Like it's somehow the traditional L. Ron birthday cake on Scientology Christmas.
The Gowanus Lounge: Going Postal: Kensington Post Office Redux:
“Why is it so hard to contact a supervisor at the Kensington Post Office?” Rosenblatt asked. “You can’t find a phone number. You can’t find an email address. You can’t even find out where to send a letter of complain.”
In front of him, Brooklyn Postmaster Joseph Chiossone and newly appointed Kensington Station Manager Raymond Schweikle stared into their notes. Finally, the meeting’s organizer and moderator, Assemblyman Jim Brennan, addressed Rosenblatt’s question.
“I used to list those numbers in my monthly newsletter,” Brennan said. “But the post office kept changing the numbers as soon as I listed them.”
A chorus of boos ensued, until finally Postmaster Chiossone promised that supervisor’s phone numbers would be displayed in the Kensington Station within a week.
Such was the mood Thursday, as Kensington residents swapped war stories about what one person called “The Worst Post Office in America.”
Complaints from the feisty crowd of over 200 – many of them senior citizens – included allegations of identity theft by postal employees, and descriptions of lines running out of the Kensington Station and onto MacDonald Avenue. Many recounted instances of rudeness on the part of employees, others described missing packages, two month delivery delays, and chronic understaffing.
Tasting Rachel Ray.
Golden Arches Wants 'McJob' Removed: McDonald's Targets the English McLanguage - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News:
The word has only been in the English language for two decades, but the hamburger chain McDonald's would like to see the word "McJob" McEliminated from the dictionary -- the fast food firm is not lovin' the OED's definition.
It's a bit of job-seeking advice that parents have been dishing out to their aimless, unskilled, post-high school offspring for decades: You can always work at McDonald's.
And many have taken that advice. It is estimated that fully one out of every eight workers in the United States has put in stints behind the counters of the fast-food McGiant. Most of them have been eager to leave as quickly as possible. Low pay, poor prestige, and less-than-haute cuisine combine to make the job of a burger flipper McSpurned.
Spring Awakening - Onstage Seating - Theater - New York Times:
IT doesn’t always take talent to be on a Broadway stage. Sometimes all you need is $31.50.
At “Spring Awakening,” the rock musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, that fee, along with some courage, is all it takes to sit in one of 26 seats arranged on the sides of the stage at every performance.
In some ways these places are the best in the house. The sound and sightlines can be spotty, but there are other, rarer benefits. Seated on a plain wooden chair, you are close enough to the actors to feel the stomping of their feet and hear their natural, unamplified voices. And in what could be the highlight of the evening or its most uncomfortable moment (or both), a stageside seat also offers a chance to see a frenzied teenage sex scene, including some frenzied body parts — the actors range in age from 16 to 24 — in revealing proximity.
At the performance I attended last weekend, though, I was more fascinated by a different bodily function: spitting.
Pharyngula::The proper reverence due those who have gone before:
That's another thing; a bone isn't just beautiful operational engineering, it's a trace of a person. It's a melancholy memento of all that's been lost…here is this human being who struggled and loved and dreamed and hurt for sixty years, and all that I had of her was a few exquisitely patterned swirls of hydroxyapatite. So much was gone, so much lost, and that's the fate of all of us—all it takes is a few generations for all personal memory to fade away, and all that's left is abstractions. For most of us, there won't even be bits of dry bone in a box in a forgotten room, we'll be ash and slime, our existence unremembered.
Maybe, though, while we are personally unacknowledged, there will be some trace left in the genes of several times great grandchildren, or in a few words preserved in a library, or in some tiny nudge we've given history. That's all I aim for, that I can sow a seed that will in turn sow a seed that will sow a seed that…and so it goes. That's enough.
I am not a religious person by any means (that is a bit of an understatement), but I can feel something of the same reverence for the Bible that I do for a piece of bone. It's a record, spotty and incomplete and flawed, of human lives, that leaves out far more than it includes. It's not as pretty as a bone, but then it is representative of some of the ugliness of human history, as well as of some of the poetry. I can appreciate it as a slice of a few thousand years of the events and beliefs of one fairly influential tribe of people. There are a lot of lives and time, mostly unmentioned, bound up in that book.
Gozi Trojan - Research - SecureWorks:
Russian malware authors are finding new ways to steal and profit from data which used to be considered safe from thieves because it was encrypted using SSL/TLS. Originally, this analysis intended to provide insight into the mechanisms used to steal that data, but it became an investigation into the growing trend of malware sold not as a product, but as a service. Eventually it lead to an alarming find and resulted in an active law enforcement investigation.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Google's second-class citizens - Valleywag:
Valleywag Exclusive-1-3Picture 84No doubt the Googleplex in Mountain View, lavishly equipped with massage chairs and snack rooms, is an earthly paradise, at least for engineers who joined early enough to benefit from the company's public offering. Fortune named the search engine giant the best employer in the US, so it must be true. But try telling that to those employees who will on April 1st be recategorized as hourly workers; ordered to take at least 30 minutes off for lunch so that they don't rack up billable time while grabbing a sandwich in their cubicle; and made to get approval for expensive overtime. What?
Gawker, Manhattan Media News and Gossip:
Mike Daisey explains why Apple ≈ crack.
Coming up Daisey - Arts - The Phoenix:
Mike Daisey has a blog. So do millions of other people. But unlike those millions, Daisey has an archive that goes back to 2001. (That’s before Gawker!) He posts excerpts and links to everything that interests him. Subjects range from the FBI’s breach of the Patriot Act to David Eggers to gadgets to the decline in confession among Catholics.
“It was intended to be unfiltered,” he says over the phone from his Brooklyn home. “I make it a point not to edit, just to post things. Over time, it starts to assume its own personality. It’s funny how things transmute into art. . . . I follow a lot of open-source things, and I think it’s interesting to disclose an on-line version of the internal stream of things.”
Daisey’s monologues work the same way. In Invincible Summer and Monopoly!, both of which he’ll perform here courtesy of American Repertory Theatre, he takes seemingly incongruent topics and mixes them with personal experiences to create the dramatic equivalent of a classic cocktail: there’s a balance of strong, sweet, and sour components and a few dashes of bitters.
Curbed: Coney Island Condos vs. Amusements Smackdown Update:
Some interesting info on the first day of Spring about the ongoing condos vs. amusements fight in Coney Island. Developer Thor Equities, which has floated a $2 billion redevelopment plan, continues to say there's no way it can build an amusement park without condos. Its plan is based on drawing 1.4 million visitors a year (compared to Astroland, which gets 350,000). The plan includes four towers on Stillwell Avenue, one of which would be 50 stories tall. Apparently, Thor's purchase of Astroland was a surprise to the Coney Island Development Corporation, which wasn't planning on it buying an operating Coney amusement. This all comes via a long story in the (subscription only) Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which has been posted on the Coney Island Message Board.
Playing with Twitter reminds me of blogging circa 2000. Back then, all weblogs were personal in nature and most people used them to communicate with their friends and family. If I wanted to know what my friends were up to back then, I read their blogs. Now I follow Twitter (and Flickr and Vox).
The reaction to Twitter mirrors the initial reaction to weblogs...the same tired "this is going to ruin the web" and "who cares what you ate for dinner" arguments.
Also like blogs, everyone has their own unique definition of what Twitter is (stripped down blogs, public IM, Dodgeball++, etc.), and to some extent, everyone is correct. Maybe that's when you know how you've got a winner: when people use it like mad but can't fully explain the appeal of it to others. See also: weblogs, Flickr.
Heavy Metal | Theater | The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:
On Friday and Saturday, Mark Boeker will perform his very good Hell Songs from the Floating World (seen at On the Boards' Northwest New Works Festival), a series of sketches that begins with his "Sensitive Zombie" character—a sad-sack, brains-eating romantic who is nostalgic for his pre-zombie days, back when he used to dance and love his girlfriend. Boeker also plays a waiter in hell, a survivor of an alien invasion hiding underground, and other macabre clowns.
"In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day." – F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Most glorious night! Thou wert not sent for slumber!" -- Lord Byron
The Moth invites you to
The Late Late Show: Stories of Life After Dark
Join us for tales of the nocturnal. Discover what happens in the dead of night, when the sun has been down for hours and hours, but a select few are wide awake. Hear stories of people who find comfort in the cloak of night, as well as those who find themselves stranded in a murky world, still hours away from the daylight.
Wednesday, March 21
Sponsored by TNT
Stories told by:
L. Gabrielle Penabaz
7:00pm Doors Open
8:00pm Stories Start on Stage
at The Players
16 Gramercy Park South
$20 tickets available at www.smarttix.com or by calling (212) 868-4444.
Tables are $150 for non-moth members and $135 for members.
Please call the Moth office at 212-742-0551 to reserve.
Artistic Director: Catherine Burns
Senior Producer: Sarah Austin Jenness
Curator and Producer: Jenifer Hixson
Associate Producer: Katie Miller
Executive and Creative Director: Lea Thau
About the Storytellers:
Paul Bacon is a writer and cartoonist whose work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, The Dictionary of American History (Scribner), Inside.com, McSweeney's, Mother Jones, PBS Online, Pindeldyboz, POV, Salon, San Francisco Examiner and Wired. While currently working part-time as a scuba diving and CPR instructor, Paul is also writing a nonfiction book about his three-year tenure as an NYPD patrolman, to be published by Bloomsbury USA. Paul is a former staff writer for Might magazine and Modern Humorist, and has appeared on NPR's "This American Life" (2006), John Hodgman's "Little Gray Book Lecture Series" (New York, 2001 and 2005), and "The Americana Project" drama series (New York and Boston, 2000-01).
Andy Borowitz (host) is a comedian, actor and writer whose work appears regularly in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and at Newsweek.com. He is the first winner of the National Press Club's humor award and has won five Dot-Comedy Awards for his website, borowitzreport.com. He appears on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday, CNN's American Morning, VH1's Best Week Ever and has acted in the films: Marie and Bruce starring Julianne Moore and Matthew Broderick and Melinda and Melinda starring Will Ferrell and directed by Woody Allen. He is the author of five humor books, including Who Moved My Soap?: The CEO's Guide to Surviving in Prison, The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers, a 2005 Finalist for the Thurber prize for American Humor, and the recently published Republican Playbook. His new show, Next Week's News Starring Andy Borowitz, premieres at Caroline's on Broadway on April 26.
David Carr writes a media column for the Monday Business section of the New York Times and also works as a general assignment reporter in the Culture section of The New York Times covering all aspects of popular culture, including film. During Oscar season, David works as The Carpetbagger, writing a daily blog about the movie awards and filming weekly video segments. A writer turned editor turned writer, David has worked at The Atlantic Monthly, New York Magazine and Washington City Paper. David is currently working on a book for Simon & Schuster about the nature of personal narrative and the stories we tell about ourselves. The book will include reporting on his own personal history and he has been traveling and recording video interviews with people from his past. He loves scary stories as long as they end in a hug.
Ted Conover's Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing describes the ten months he spent working undercover as a guard at the famous prison. Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Newjack was initially banned by the state and now is censored before inmates are allowed to see it. Conover's writings are frequently based on first-hand participation: he is also the author of Rolling Nowhere, an account of riding the rails with modern-day hoboes, Whiteout: Lost in Aspen, and Coyotes, a classic tale of life among Mexican migrants. He contributes to the New York Times Magazine and other publications and is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. He is at work on a book about roads.
Mike Daisey has been called "the master storyteller" and "one of the finest solo performers of his generation" by the New York Times for his monologues, including 21 Dog Years, Invincible Summer, TRUTH, Great Men of Genius, Monopoly!, The Ugly American, I Miss the Cold War, Wasting Your Breath, and All Stories Are Fiction which he's performed Off-Broadway, across the country and around the world. He's been a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, his work has been heard on the BBC, NPR and the National Lampoon Radio Hour, and his groundbreaking series All Stories Are Fiction is available through Audible.com. Currently he's a commentator for NPR's Day To Day, a contributor to WIRED, Slate and Salon, and his writing appears in the anthology The Best Tech Writing 2006. His first book, 21 Dog Years: A Cubedweller's Tale, was published by the Free Press and he is working on a second book. He'll be performing two full length site-specific monologues this week: The Pleasures of Technology at the Macintosh store Tekserve, and The Terrors of Literature at the independent Soho bookstore McNally Robinson. For full details check out his site, mikedaisey.com.
L. Gabrielle Penabaz has extracted a multi-media artist's career out of necessity. Avant garde event planning and the theatrical rock band, St. Eve, led to performance art with video. Writing about it is probably the best way to distill it all. Now, able to create unusual liqueurs in fantastical make-up before a show, while rendering files to burn a disc, she can only list herself as "Instigator" on her business card without feeling overwhelmed at other people's parties.
Mazz Swift (violin) made her solo public performance debut at Alice Tully Hall performing alongside members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and later attended the Julliard School of Music. Since leaving in her third year to pursue a more organic approach to music making, she has performed and recorded with artists including Perry Farrell, Dee Snider, Moby, Yhe Yohimbe Brothers, Kanye West, Common, and Jay-Z. She devotes her time to three personal projects: Brazz Tree, Trigger and The Spondoolix. For more information, visit www.mazzmuzik.com.
urbaniak: Actor Emotions:
I also had a voiceover audition today for a radio commercial. It was a humorous scene between a man and a woman. One exchange in the script went like this (dialogue is paraphrased; original punctuation is exact):
WOMAN: Where were you? I was waiting all morning—
MAN: My car broke down. I had to walk here.
When we recorded the first take, the woman I was auditioning with did the following (dialogue is paraphrased):
WOMAN: Where were you? I was waiting all morning for you to arrive! You had me worried sick! Why didn't you call?!
ME (waiting a second to make sure she's finished): ...My car broke down. I had to walk here.
There is a certain school of actor that takes a dash at the end of a line to mean "make up more words." Anyone who has ever taken a college acting class has met the confident young thespian who riffs like crazy at the sight of a dash. When his scene partner is momentarily flummoxed into silence the Dash Riffer breathlessly tells him: "You better cut me off or I'll keep on talking!" (Dash Riffing is always very high energy for some reason.)
Reunited, And It Feels So . . . What?:
At this point, I overrode my usual instinct to never Reply To All, and Replied To All my confession that I did, in fact, still have possession over all four yearbooks from high school days, and offered to provide a list of student names. Another CC'd former classmate then wrote to say, "You have the yearbooks! What spirit!" I did not point out that I didn't keep the yearbooks ("annuals," we called them) out of any sense of lingering spirit or nostalgia, but simply because as comedy qua comedy, they were indispensable. For one thing, since they were created by high school students in rural Idaho, the overall quality of these editions are stunning in their incompetence--and I am also happy to report that I had a hand in their creation. For another thing, the photos are simply shockingly funny: we were all so astonishingly ugly. Most strikingly, me. My freshman year, I resembled some sort of rodent that had been soaked in denatured alcohol and then aggressively combed; my spectacles were apparently borrowed from Martin Mull while he was on break at Fernwood 2Nite. I am also wearing a velour sort of proto-Izod-thing. Collar not up, due to uncoolness. And my senior photo--taken by my father, in an aggressively soft-focus manner, the better to obscure my puzzling, ghastly Richie Rich haircut--is not unlike a portrait of Cybill Shepherd's transsexual doppelganger.
Why I Was Fired - New York Times:
WITH this week’s release of more than 3,000 Justice Department e-mail messages about the dismissal of eight federal prosecutors, it seems clear that politics played a role in the ousters.
Of course, as one of the eight, I’ve felt this way for some time. But now that the record is out there in black and white for the rest of the country to see, the argument that we were fired for “performance related” reasons (in the words of Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty) is starting to look more than a little wobbly.
United States attorneys have a long history of being insulated from politics. Although we receive our appointments through the political process (I am a Republican who was recommended by Senator Pete Domenici), we are expected to be apolitical once we are in office. I will never forget John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, telling me during the summer of 2001 that politics should play no role during my tenure. I took that message to heart. Little did I know that I could be fired for not being political.
Politics entered my life with two phone calls that I received last fall, just before the November election. One came from Representative Heather Wilson and the other from Senator Domenici, both Republicans from my state, New Mexico.
Janice Dickinson is officially banned from all IMG related events, including Fashion Week in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.
The outrageous model and reality TV star took an unassigned seat in the front row of the Ed Hardy show and refused to move - even though the seat belonged to IMG Vice President Fern Mallis, the woman whose team produces all the Fashion Weeks. Smashbox owner Dean Factor had to speak with Janice himself before she would move.
After the show, Janice claimed she'd broken her toe, and stuck her foot into a giant tub of ice reserved for sponsored beverages backstage.
The Women's War - Sara Corbett - Iraq - Soldiers - Women - Abuse - New York Times:
A 2003 report financed by the Department of Defense revealed that nearly one-third of a nationwide sample of female veterans seeking health care through the V.A. said they experienced rape or attempted rape during their service. Of that group, 37 percent said they were raped multiple times, and 14 percent reported they were gang-raped. Perhaps even more tellingly, a small study financed by the V.A. following the gulf war suggests that rates of both sexual harassment and assault rise during wartime. The researchers who carried out this study also looked at the prevalence of PTSD symptoms - including flashbacks, nightmares, emotional numbing and round-the-clock anxiety - and found that women who endured sexual assault were more likely to develop PTSD than those who were exposed to combat.
Hughes H-4 Hercules - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose"), dubbed "The Edsel of Aviation", is an aircraft which was designed and built by Howard Hughes' Hughes Aircraft company. Its first and only flight took place in 1947. Hughes himself detested the nickname "Spruce Goose". The nickname arose as a way of mocking the Hercules project due to Hughes' alleged misuse of government funding to build the aircraft. The Hercules is the largest flying boat, and still holds the record for the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history. Only one was ever built.
Due to wartime restrictions on the availability of metals, the H-4 was built almost entirely of laminated birch, not spruce as its nickname suggests. The aircraft was a technological marvel of its time. It married a soon-to-be outdated technology, flying boats, to a massive airframe that required some truly ingenious engineering innovations to function.
Daring Fireball Linked List: March 2007:
David Chartier at TUAW expounds upon his role covering the MacBook Wi-Fi saga. I just don’t get why George Ou ever was, let alone still remains, so upset about Chartier’s TUAW post or Jim Dalrymple’s Macworld story.
The truth is Maynor and Ellch must have “falsified” something, because at various times, to various people, they both claimed to have an exploit against the MacBook’s built-in AirPort driver and not to have an exploit against the built-in driver. Chartier’s “SecureWorks Admits to Falsifying MacBook Wireless Hack” story wasn’t exactly right, but it was more right than wrong.
Clarification on the MacBook Wi-Fi hack 'conspiracy' - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW):
The reason I bring this all up is that George Ou of ZDNet, perhaps one of the few - or only - valiant defenders of Maynor and Ellch over the months is at it again, after catching up on his X-Files episodes it would seem. Ou's latest on the drama - which, believe me, I wish would go away just as much as you - is a claim that I, and other bloggers, were working with Lynn Fox (Apple's PR director) in a conspiracy against David Maynor and SecureWorks. While I'm flattered at the possibility of Apple even talking to me, the truth of the matter is that the company pretty much ignores TUAW, and most other Apple-related blogs, entirely. Honestly: Fox and I never exchanged so much as a "mwahaha" over email, or any other form of correspondence for that matter. I've never been contacted by anyone from Apple regarding anything besides the fact that one of my older PowerBook's warranties was about to expire, and that AppleCare would be a great way to stay within their graces. If selling that PowerBook on eBay back in the day so I could switch to an iMac denotes conspiracy in my blood, then by all means, Ou himself should probably be the one to strip me of my underhanded blogging credentials.
» How Apple orchestrated web attack on researchers | George Ou | ZDNet.com:
When I finally got Fox back on the phone, I asked her some questions about how MacWorld and the unofficial Apple blog got the information on the so-called confession. I got all my questions answered, but I can't disclose what she said since Fox refused to speak on the record. But the bottom line is that Lynn Fox played Jim Dalrymple, David Chartier, and the rest of the Mac press/blogosphere like a violin, though it was clear they were all willing participants. When I pointed out the flaws in their stories, Chartier and Dalrymple simply ignored me and stuck to their guns and Chartier erased all of my comments on his weblog.
So what was the end result of all this? Apple continued to claim that there were no vulnerabilities in Mac OS X, but came a month later and patched its wireless drivers (presumably for vulnerabilities that didn't actually exist). Apple patched these "nonexistent vulnerabilities" but then refused to give any credit to David Maynor and Jon Ellch. Since Apple was going to take research, not give proper attribution, and smear security researchers, the security research community responded to Apple's behavior with the MoAB (Month of Apple Bugs) and released a flood of zero-day exploits without giving Apple any notification. The result was that Apple was forced to patch 62 vulnerabilities in just the first three months of 2007, including last week's megapatch of 45 vulnerabilities.
Shouts & Murmurs: The Wisdom of Children: Humor: The New Yorker:
A Conversation at the Grownup Table, as Imagined at the Kids’ Table
MOM: Pass the wine, please. I want to become crazy.
GRANDMOTHER: Did you see the politics? It made me angry.
DAD: Me, too. When it was over, I had sex.
UNCLE: I’m having sex right now.
DAD: We all are.
MOM: Let’s talk about which kid I like the best.
DAD: (laughing) You know, but you won’t tell.
MOM: If they ask me again, I might tell.
FRIEND FROM WORK: Hey, guess what! My voice is pretty loud!
DAD: (laughing) There are actual monsters in the world, but when my kids ask I pretend like there aren’t.
MOM: I’m angry! I’m angry all of a sudden!
DAD: I’m angry, too! We’re angry at each other!
MOM: Now everything is fine.
DAD: We just saw the PG-13 movie. It was so good.
MOM: There was a big sex.
FRIEND FROM WORK: I am the loudest! I am the loudest!
MOM: I had a lot of wine, and now I’m crazy!
GRANDFATHER: Hey, do you guys know what God looks like?
GRANDFATHER: Don’t tell the kids.
Flavorpill NYC | Daily Cultural Events across Music, Art, and Film in New York City:
Mike Daisey: The Pleasures of Technology & The Terrors of Literature
when: Thur 3.22 (9pm) & Fri 3.23 (7pm)
where: Tekserve (119 W 23rd St, 212.929.3645) & McNally Robinson Booksellers (52 Prince St, 212.274.1160)
details: Event Info
As a storyteller, monologist Mike Daisey certainly has a keen eye for the unusual, and as a contributor to WIRED, his ability to tap into the zeitgeist is evident in this two-part Symposium on Modern Living. The first day's program, The Pleasures of Technology, at Mac-maniac central Tekserve, addresses topics ranging from the addictive draw of Apple equipment and the maddening void of tech support to the unavoidable influence of technology in everyday living. Tomorrow, follow Daisey to McNally Robinson Booksellers, where he switches gears to discuss The Terrors of Literature, tracing the irreplaceable sway of text throughout our convoluted lives.
Fix - The Rules:
1. I’m not buying new manufactured consumer goods in 2007.
* I already have tons of clothes, furniture, books, etc. that I can use and enjoy.
* I'll fix broken stuff, learn how to make stuff from scratch, or borrow stuff I don't need to own.
* I'll buy used things or refashion old things for new purposes.
* Buying tools and raw materials like thread is acceptable, though I will attempt to recycle or buy used, if applicable.
* When things like tampons and toilet paper run out, I’ll buy the brand with the most recycled content.
300: Racist War Propaganda with Septic Timing | Art Threat | Political Art Magazine:
A.O. Scott dismisses the movie as stupid and violent, but it took in over $70 million during its opening weekend. Scott's dismissal failed to see something a lot of other Americans were quick to recognise. 300 is not a terrible film, its a fantastic film that panders to a fearful America. It is a brand of propaganda I had imagined was a thing of the past. 300 would make Leni Riefenstahl blush . I think this is a smart film, that a lot of thought went into its making, but that its intended audience is not Scott, it is young men and women of fighting age. 300 is following up on the success of Sin City. Both films are adaptations of comic books by Frank Miller, who also is credited as a producer for both films. The films share an aesthetic of digitally abstracted violence, real flesh is turned into the consistency of cartoon ink: it gives way like warm butter, without resistance and without regret or consequence. These are worlds of deep black and white. Sin City pioneered this aesthetic at the service of noir nihilism. With 300 this stylized violence is harnessed to the cause of glorifying total war. 300 is a pornographic vision of power and perfection and has only contempt for the disfigured and unfamiliar. It plays on the contemporary fear that we are facing a clash of civilizations, and stokes that fear with racist imagery. By calling up old Aryan dreams of a classical world peopled by blond haired blue eyed individuals, and threatening that world with an undifferentiated dark-skinned horde, the film panders to the ugliest aspect of America. Race separates good from evil in this film, this is part of the way it promotes total war. 300 would have us believe that no quarter can be given to our enemies because they are sub-human and hideous.
Boing Boing: FBI: terrorists might drive school-buses, but they probably won't:
Bruce Schneier notes that the FBI has sent out an "informational bulletin" about the possibility that terrorists might try to become school bus drivers. The FBI notes that they have no reason to believe that this is actually happening, though -- it's just something someone there thought of.
On the subject of "scary-story-but-nothing-to-worry-about," here are a couple from me:
* Osama bin Laden might recruit suicide bombers who fill their colons with Semtex and undetectable shards of broken glass. These anus-bombers might blow up airplanes with their explosive assholes, killing everyone on board. We should all get a thorough, deep rectal exam prior to boarding, starting right now.
* Terrorists might use rigged laptop batteries to trigger massive inflight lithium explosions. All laptops should henceforth travel in unpadded, unlocked bags. No battery-powered devices of any kind (digital watches, hearing aids, iPods, phones) should ever be allowed on airplanes. People with pacemakers should walk. Or stay put.
* Terrorists might start animal shelters and use them to recruit stray animals that can be trained to serve as superbug vectors, tearing through our cities, spreading weaponized Ebola. No living creatures -- other than (some) humans should be allowed within the city limits of any settlement bigger than 400 people.
* Terrorists could infiltrate the world's car companies and manufacture large, fuel-inefficient vehicles like Hummers. Once America has gone all SUV, the resulting carbon emissions would contribute to polar melting and global warming, causing devastating hurricanes through the southwest, killing and displacing millions of Americans. Ban car companies now, or the terrorists have won.
Moldawer in the Morning Podcast » Blog Archive » Moldawer in the Morning Podcast #33:
On this morning’s episode, I’m joined by hard science horror author Scott Sigler, the man behind the wildly entertaining EarthCore and the upcoming Ancestor, which arrives in dead-tree form at Amazon on April 1st. We discuss high school girls lifting weights, chimp fertility, and mind-reading machines.
Political video smackdown / 'Hillary 1984': Unauthorized Internet ad for Obama converts Apple Computer's '84 Super Bowl spot into a generational howl against Clinton's presidential bid:
But in the weeks since its early March debut, the expertly created video remix -- called a mashup in blogosphere circles -- has "changed the zone" between political campaigns, their followers and the Internet, said Simon Rosenberg, president of the Washington-based New Democrat Network, an influential party advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.
With presidential campaigns now poised to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising that will blanket television before November 2008, this seemingly home-produced video -- created with software and a laptop, and likely without the benefit of a team of expensive political consultants -- opens a new window, Rosenberg said. It has dramatized a brave new world in which passionate activists outside the structure of traditional campaigns have the power to shape the message -- even for a presidential candidate.
The ad is proof that "anybody can do powerful emotional ads ... and the campaigns are no longer in control," Rosenberg said. "It will no longer be a top-down candidate message; that's a 20th century broadcast model."
All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
Slashdot | Scientists Demonstrate Thought-Controlled Computer:
Da Massive writes with a link to ComputerWorld coverage of a unique gadget shown at this past week's CeBit show. The company g.tec was showing off a brain/computer interface (BCI) in one corner of the trade hall. The rig, once placed on your head, detects the brain's voltage fluctuations and can respond appropriately. This requires training, where "the subject responds to commands on a computer screen, thinking 'left' and 'right' when they are instructed to do so ... Another test involves looking at a series of blinking letters, and thinking of a letter when it appears." Once the system is trained, you can think letters at the machine and 'type' via your thoughts. Likewise, by thinking directions you can move objects around onscreen.
BA sat corpse in first class -News-UK-TimesOnline:
A BRITISH Airways passenger travelling first class has described how he woke up on a long-haul flight to find that cabin crew had placed a corpse in his row.
The body of a woman in her seventies, who died after the plane left Delhi for Heathrow, was carried by cabin staff from economy to first class, where there was more space. Her body was propped up in a seat, using pillows.
The woman’s daughter accompanied the corpse, and spent the rest of the journey wailing in grief.
Paul Trinder, who awoke to see the body at the end of his row, last week described the journey as “deeply disturbing”, and complained that the airline dismissed his concerns by telling him to “get over it”.
David Byrne Journal: 3.5.07: Big Love (Spotting session):
These jarring juxtapositions are beautiful. In some ways they make what we consider homes, offices, bars — anything that can be turned into a set — seem completely hollow and superficial; they are mirrors of the real that make the real in turn seem fake. As if our comfortable notions of what constitutes the spaces that make up our lives are just made out of a familiar play of colors and shapes upon our retinas. Well, in some ways of course that’s all our visual reality is, but we think of some of those spaces as “real” and we feel they are filled with the stuff of our real lived lives — but they are no different than these carefully faked copies. Especially out here where the built landscape is made of structures that are barely made to outlast a movie set. The mental dislocation is a wonderful feeling. It’s somehow liberating.
Cold open - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
A cold open (also referred to as a teaser) in a television program or movie is the technique of jumping directly into a story at the beginning or opening of the show, before the title sequence or opening credits are shown. Shows which air some form of titles before jumping into the story and then running a formal opening sequence are also considered cold opens.
Cinematically, the cold open can last anywhere from less than a minute up to ten minutes. In rare circumstances it can be even longer: for instance, in The Departed, the title is not displayed until 18 minutes into the film). Perhaps the best known example is the pre-title "teaser" which occurs in all James Bond films since From Russia with Love.
Science fiction movie review: Sunshine - space - 15 March 2007 - New Scientist Space:
It is 2057, and you're being sent on a mission to the Sun, to save our ailing star from imminent death. Probably the one name you shouldn't give your spaceship in this circumstance is Icarus, after the mythical Greek boy who died after flying too close to the Sun.
So, when we find ourselves aboard Icarus II at the start of director Danny Boyle's glittering new film Sunshine, we pretty well know that the mission won't go as planned.
Unsanity.org: Shock and Awe: How Installing Apple's Updates can Render Your Mac Unbootable and How You Can Prevent it:
When you see the "Optimizing System Performance" phase of a software update, Mac OS X is really updating prebinding. Updating prebinding has a very, very nasty bug in it (look at _dyld_update_prebinding). If multiple processes are updating prebinding at the same time, then it is possible for a system file to be completely zero'd out. Basically, all data in the file is deleted and it is replaced with nothing. This bug is usually triggered when updating Mac OS X and every update to Mac OS X has the potential to render your system unbootable depending on if the "right" file is deleted or not. It's triggered during the "Optimizing System Performance" phase of installing an update. This phase is actually just running update_prebinding. If you launch an application that links to libraries that are not yet prebound, there is a chance one of those files will be zero'd out as dyld automatically redoes the prebinding on that file.
I've been tracking this particular bug for about 18 months now. Most of the real "random" failures reported on various Mac OS X "troubleshooting" sites after a user has installed an Apple software update are actually manifestations of this bug.
This weekend, Liar heads to Pleasantville, NY for its first suburban excursion. They say lying is and art and apparently they know what they're talking about, because the show is being presented by Anna Becker's excellent Insights & Revelations Performance Series. Sounds fancy. Then again, listen to how fancy these people sound:
Mike Daisey has been called “the master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation” by the New York 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 New York Times Magazine, WIRED, Slate and Salon. His newest monologue, “Invincible Summer,” just completed a successful run at the Public Theater in NYC.
James Braly has performed his autobiographical stories on NPR, at The Whitney Museum, The Long Wharf Theatre and The Players Club. He is the only two-time winner of The Moth GrandSLAM and is a featured performer on The Moth National Story Tour. His monologue, “Life in a Marital Institution,” directed by Hal Brooks (“Thom Paine: Based on Nothing"), will be released in book form from Algonquin Books early in 2008.
Michaela Murphy is a featured Moth Mainstage storyteller on The Trio Network. She has performed with Second Stage Theater, The Atlantic Theater (with Lewis Black), and has been heard on NPR's Studio 360 and All Things Considered, at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Lincoln Center. Michaela’s work as a playwright and actor has been featured at Manhattan Theater Club, The Ensemble Studio Theater, LaMAMA Theater, The Aspen Comedy Arts Festival and the Clinton White House.
Peter Lubell has written, produced and directed for many television networks, and for National Public Radio. He's covered film festivals in print, worked as a jazz DJ in radio and told his stories onstage at The Moth and Speakeasy.
Andy Christie is the the creator and host of “Liar.” He is co-author and illustrator of "I Wasn't Kidding" (Random House/Ballantine Books) as well as a featured Moth Main Stage storyteller and four-time Moth Story Slam champion. His short stories & essays have appeared in literary journals and online. Recently, his piece on midlife mortification appeared in the NY Times.
Please come join us. And remember: The truth shall set you free. But a good lie will make sure you don't get caught in the first place.
Saturday, March 17 @ 8pm
Rosenthal JCC Theater
600 Bear Ridge Road
Presented by The Deep End Productions
Tickets and info
Top investor sees U.S. property crash:
Commodities investment guru Jim Rogers stepped into the U.S. subprime fray on Wednesday, predicting a real estate crash that would trigger defaults and spread contagion to emerging markets.
"You can't believe how bad it's going to get before it gets any better," the prominent U.S. fund manager told Reuters by telephone from New York.
"It's going to be a disaster for many people who don't have a clue about what happens when a real estate bubble pops.
"It is going to be a huge mess," said Rogers, who has put his $15 million belle epoque mansion on Manhattan's Upper West Side on the market and is planning to move to Asia.
Nonprofit Show, but Money’s Riding On It - New York Times:
What they’re doing is making enhancement deals.
An enhancement deal, conventionally, is when a commercial producer pays money to a nonprofit theater to help subsidize a production. If a theater decides to stage a big musical, for example, a commercial producer may throw in a few hundred thousand dollars — or a couple million in some cases — to raise the show’s production values and get a sense of how it would look in a bigger theater.
For most participants the deal is a no-brainer. In exchange for the money (which can be tax deductible) the commercial producer gets a research and development lab for the show and the rights to transfer it elsewhere. The theater gets a bigger show and a better chance that it will transfer to a commercial run — and, if everyone is lucky and the show hits, a steady flow of royalties.
“We don’t have out-of-town tryouts anymore,” said Susan Dietz, a producer who enhanced the recent Primary Stages production of “Adrift in Macao.” “This is the way we do it.”
This kind of deal is decades old, though for years it was looked upon as a dirty secret in the nonprofit theater world. Some theaters still fear that widespread knowledge of enhancement could jeopardize their reputations, their donations or even their nonprofit status.
But as money has become increasingly scarce, the enhancement system has become accepted. In fact it is all but essential, even in Off Broadway’s small and midsize theaters.
St. Ann's Warehouse - Susan Feldman - Theater - New York Times:
Ms. Feldman was standing last month in the cavernous lobby of St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Brooklyn performance space converted from a spice-milling factory that she leads as founder and artistic director. It was a big day: The Wooster Group had arrived with the complex, brain-teasing set for its highly experimental, multimedia “Hamlet,” and Ms. Feldman was greeting the members of the cast and crew as they arrived. “Kate, Kate,” she said, enveloping the Wooster Group star Kate Valk in a tight hug.
Yet Ms. Feldman’s mind was already racing ahead, she said, to the visit she was about to make to Amsterdam to figure out how to transfer the Dutch actress and director Adelheid Roosen’s paired plays “The Veiled Monologues” and “Is.Man” to her theater next season.
Slashdot | The Digital Bedouins and the Backpack Office:
"The laptop and wireless revolutions have led to the rise of a new class of digital 'Bedouins' — tech workers who ply their crafts from Starbucks and other locations with WiFi access. Another article describes some strategies and tools for embracing the Bedouin way of life, and even having fun: 'If you have the right kind of job, you can take vacations while you're on the clock. In other words, you can travel for fun and adventure and keep on working. You can travel a lot more without needing more official vacation time. I've done it. In August I took a month long vacation to Central America, backpacking from one Mayan ruin to the next, and I never officially took time off. I submitted my columns, provided reports and other input, participated in conference calls and interacted via e-mail. I used hotel Wi-Fi connections and local cybercafes to communicate and Skype to make business calls. Nobody knew I was sunburned, drinking from a coconut and listening to howler monkeys as I replied to their e-mails.'"
SPACE.com -- Giant Pool of Water Ice at Mars' South Pole:
Mars is unlikely to sport beachfront property anytime soon, but the planet has enough water ice at its south pole to blanket the entire planet in more than 30 feet of water if everything thawed out.
With a radar technique, astronomers have penetrated for the first time about 2.5 miles (nearly four kilometers) beneath the south pole’s frozen surface. The data showed that nearly pure water ice lies beneath.
A reporter and an editor are going through a desert. They're really parched. They come upon a pristine pool of water. The reporter jumps right in. The editor, on the other hand, drops his trousers and begins to urinate.
And the reporter says, "What are you doing? What are you doing?" And the editor says, "It's okay, it's okay. I'm making it better."
Italian Monologues With a Political Message - New York Times:
Interview the Italian actor Ascanio Celestini and be prepared for a torrent of words, a verbal tsunami.
That is, after all, how he makes his living: Alone on a bare stage, bringing to life minor, uncelebrated protagonists of Italian history. Like the man who stoked a smelting furnace in Terni for 30 years, or the Roman electrician deported to work in a German factory during World War II, or the patient who leaves a mental asylum after 35 years and heads for a shopping mall.
There are few sets or props, just Celestini's ceaseless patter concocting vivid characters who tell their life stories - which are usually tragedies - in a semi- improvised form.
Izzle! Izzle pfaff!: GEICO:
But honestly? There is one caveman ad that kills me every time, and that is the caveman party. Two cavemen are outside the party on the balcony, and one is depressed. As he speaks to friend caveman, it is revealed that despite GEICO's offensive anti-caveman ad concept, he bought insurance with them anyway, resulting in his friends ostracizing him for his betrayal of his caveman brethren. "It's my life, all right?" he bridles hilariously. The whole ad is really fraught with the kind of Seriousness that you'd normally expect to see on something like "Law & Order," which is what makes what happens next so great.
A third caveman bursts out onto the balcony, interrupting this heavy dialogue. "Tina's here; we're getting back together!" he happily informs the first two. "Hey! Give us a minute!" cries friend caveman in frustration.
It is awesome, and I am willing to forgive GEICO the other, much lamer spots for the pure nailing of this particular moment.
Advertising Age - AUDIO: Bob Garfield vs. Bill Gates:
GARFIELD: I want to ask you one more thing: Those Mac ads -- how do you feel about the John Hodgman character?
GATES: I can't comment on someone else's ad.
GARFIELD: OK ... but he's you.
GATES: Yeah, I'm not gonna comment on someone else's ad.
GARFIELD: OK, well, Bill Gates, thank you so much for joining us.
GARFIELD: Can I just have a clean goodbye?
GARFIELD: OK, can you just say goodbye? Thank you or goodbye or something like that?
Bruce Sterling at SXSW about why the blogs of today will be gone within ten years, what happens to RFID as it becomes quickly assimilated, the stupidity of video, and a host of other topics. Interesting.
Dave Eggers Desperate To Welsh On Bad Bet - Gawker:
The 'sweensters promise that this is totally optional, but to entice you to give up your right to receive what you paid for long ago, they're offering a year's subscription to the publication, a "CERTIFICATE of LIFELONG GRATITUDE" (please stop with this fucking cuteness already, you're killing us), a Marcel Dzama card game, and a signed copy of Eggers' What Is the What, which, clearly, they cannot give away.
Now, far be it from us to suggest that there's something untoward about the whole thing, but think about it: You pony up a hundred bucks that you probably really needed back then to support a magazine that (given the history of Might) was probably going to fold after a few issues. Now that the magazine has made it, spawned a couple of other publications, and foisted Neal Pollack on the world, they'd like to renegotiate. Dave Eggers is like a character in a bad comedy who thinks that he has six months to live and makes all sort of wacky promises, only to survive and be forced to carry them out. Actually, that might make a great subject for his next novel!
The Village Voice: Sightlines: Play in the Drawer: Sheila Callaghan:
Of this excerpt, she writes, "My play doesn't have a title yet... this scene takes place at a strange dinner party, where the women keep dropping to the floor and rolling into the walls in their gowns for no reason."
Long silence. People eating and drinking.
WENDY reaches for the bread. RODNEY slaps her hand away.
Long silence. People eating and drinking.
Suddenly, RODNEY pushes back in his chair and begins to shout the following.
Slashdot | Stephen Hawking Says Universe Created from Nothing:
"Speaking to a sold out crowd at the Berkeley Physics Oppenheimer Lecture, Hawking said yesterday that he now believes the universe spontaneously popped into existence from nothing. He said more work is needed to prove this but we have time because 'Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.'
Tantek's Thoughts — 2007 February:
Three Hypotheses of Human Interface Design
I'm calling these hypotheses instead of laws because they have yet to be proven out through rigrous scientific study and critique. I've developed them merely from anecdotes and examples. However if these hypotheses survive the harsh critiques of PhDs with larger brains (and attention spans) who subject such assertions to sufficient controlled (reproduceable) experiments, then perhaps future generations may see fit to call them "laws".
Boing Boing: US using psychotropics to keep PTSD'd troops on active duty?:
The use of psychiatric drugs has alarmed some medical experts and ethicists, who say the medications cannot be properly monitored in a war zone. The Army's own reports indicate that the availability and use of such medications in Iraq and Kuwait have increased since mid-2004, when a team of psychiatrists approved making Prozac, Zoloft, Trazodone, Ambien and other drugs more widely available throughout the combat zone.
"I can't imagine something more irresponsible than putting a soldier suffering from stress on SSRIs, when you know these drugs can cause people to become suicidal and homicidal," said Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a patient advocacy group. "You're creating chemically activated time bombs."
I'll be performing this evening at the unfortunately named Comix, though fortunately the company I'm keeping is delightful:
8 pm, March 13th, Fresh Meat with Catie Lazarus at Comix, 353 West
14th Street (East of 9th Ave) $10*. Buy online www.comixny.com
or 212.524.2500. Fresh Meat with Catie Lazarus (Daily Show, Fox) stars
Laurie Kilmartin (Vh1 Best Week Ever, Jimmy Kimmel Live), Mike Daisey
(Late Night with David Letterman, NPR's Day to Day, Author of 21 Dog
Years), Becky Drysdale (HBO, Show One Woman in Several Pieces, UCB,
Second City), Paula Froelich (New York Post) and Sherrod Small (VH1
Best Week Ever). In the first half, the best stand up, stories, short
films, sketch and in the second half, the stars share their worst
experiences in the biz and first jokes (or whatever made them special
snowflakes) Plus, a "press conference" a Q and A with the audience!
Only $5 with the promo code "MEAT313" for BEST FRESH MEAT EVER
Hope to see you there.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Messing and mashing in Texas:
The noise was horrific. Two tall electrical coils charged up to thousands of volts gave off lurid pink sparks that arced and danced to the tunes of popular classical music pieces.
It was a fearsome synthesiser made of Tesla coils straight out of a school physics lab.
It is the kind of madness that typifies the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, held in the Texan capital, Austin.
WIRED Blogs: 27B Stroke 6:
AT&T told an appeals court in a written brief Monday that the case against it for allegedly helping the government spy on its customers should be thrown out, because it cannot defend itself -- even by showing a signed order from the government -- without endangering national security.
A government brief filed simultaneously backed AT&T's claims and said a lower court judge had exceeded his authority by not dismissing the suit outright.
This isn't a computer simulation--it's a scale model of a car made out of wire.
Viacom in $1 bln copyright suit vs Google, YouTube | Tech&Sci | Internet | Reuters.com:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Media conglomerate Viacom Inc. said on Tuesday that it was suing Google Inc. and its Internet video-sharing site YouTube for more than $1 billion over unauthorized use of its programming online.
The lawsuit, the biggest challenge to date to Google's ambitions to make YouTube into a major vehicle for advertising and entertainment, accuses the Web search leader and its unit of "massive intentional copyright infringement."
Daily Kos: Science Friday: Sixty Men from Ur:
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., one the United States' great historians, is less than two lifetimes removed from a world where the United States did not exist. Through Mr. Schlesinger, you're no more than three away yourself. That's how short the history of our nation really is.
Not impressed? It's only two more life spans to William Shakespeare. Two more beyond that, and the only Europeans to see America are those who sailed from Greenland. You're ten lifetimes from the occupation of Damietta during the fifth crusade. Twenty from the founding of Great Zimbabwe and the Visigoth sack of Rome. Make it forty, and Theseus, king of Athens, is held captive on Crete by King Minos, the Olmecs are building the first cities in Mexico, and the New Kingdom collapses in Egypt.
In the Hall, Cutting-Room Floor Edition | Slog | The Stranger's Blog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper:
When I was living in the commune, one day we all decided we were going to go and eat some meat. We had gotten tired of eating nothing but vegetables. So of course, this being a commune, we had to go out to where the cows were and watch the cows get slaughtered. So we set out one day in the morning through the fields—the mist was rising from the ground—and we came up to a field where about eight cows were standing around eating grass. And the guy who was going to slaughter the cows got out his shotgun, and he put the shotgun to one of the cows’ heads. And the cow just looked up at him, kind of curiously. And then suddenly, BAM!—he just blew its head off. And the other cows looked up, and they all looked really freaked out. And then, after about a minute, they all took a few steps backward, and then they all went on eating. That’s about what it was like.
Logotopia, and the Little Twisted Nerve: Truth! - Part 6:
Tarot cards work. They are also fake. Seems contradictory, but resolving the contradiction is where the "magic" lies. Skeptics would have you believe that tarot is completely bullshit, essentially because the reasons that most tarot readers give for it working ARE bullshit, or at least inaccurate. Here is how they work, and it's pretty cool: Tarot occasions deep, introspective conversation. It provides an excuse for this introspection to occur. I liken it to party games like Spin the Bottle, or Truth or Dare. Sexy talk and sexy actions are sometimes difficult for people and have a hard time occurring spontaneously. The purpose of Spin the Bottle of Truth or dare is to provide context within which the sexy stuff can easily occur. Tarot works the same way with intense self-evaluation. The cards themselves mean nothing, they're just paper and ink, but the act of the reading and the psychologically weighty imagery on the cards help trick your thoughts you into a mode of reflection. Examining your life is a good thing, and tarot can go a long way to lubricating that process.
Google’s Buses Help Its Workers Beat the Rush - New York Times:
The perks of working at Google are the envy of Silicon Valley. Unlimited amounts of free chef-prepared food at all times of day. A climbing wall, a volleyball court and two lap pools. On-site car washes, oil changes and haircuts, not to mention free doctor checkups.
Stephen Weis, a software engineer for Google, uses the company’s shuttle bus service. Bicycles can be stored on exterior racks.
But the biggest perk may come with the morning commute.
In Silicon Valley, a region known for some of the worst traffic in the nation, Google, the Internet search engine giant and online advertising behemoth, has turned itself into Google, the mass transit operator. Its aim is to make commuting painless for its pampered workers — and keep attracting new recruits in a notoriously competitive market for top engineering talent.
And Google can get a couple of extra hours of work out of employees who would otherwise be behind the wheel of a car.
Behind The Scenes At The 'Jane' Boob Shoot - Gawker:
I eavesdrop on conversations while waiting for the unfriendly black hotties to finish flashing their boobs to Brooke, the photographer.
Crisis! Heather doesn't want to stay until 5:00. She wants to leave at 3:00.
The plan? Heather calls the remaining girls to ask them to come earlier.
Crisis! There are only "about 30" girls. They may need more.
The plan? Heather, another Jane staffer (didn't catch her name), and Brooke call their friends.
Crisis! Heather is lonely, bored, etc....
The plan? Heather calls her sister, a student at Pace, and asks her to stop by. In this conversation, I learn that Heather's parents "winter" in Miami. Also, that Heather is the kind of person who uses "winter" as a verb.
After the three hotties bare their boobs, it's my turn. The waiting area and the shooting area are small and separated only by mismatched curtains. While sitting in the waiting area, you could catch of glimpse of boobage if you positioned yourself in the right spot.
Oprah's school 'too strict': South Africa: News: News24:
Johannesburg - The rules at Oprah Winfrey's ultra-posh school at Henley-on-Klip near Johannesburg are apparently so strict they make a reformatory look like a holiday resort.
That's the word from upset parents, who say the school rules make it difficult for them to keep contact with their children.
They would have aired their concerns during a satellite link-up with the chat show queen a week ago, but that was cancelled at short notice by the school's management body.
Meanwhile the school seems to have made the rules even stricter. Until now, the girls could receive visitors every fortnight, but parents can now only visit them once a month.
The Brash Lion Roars...: An Anniversary Tale:
The best part of the night? Justin comes on stage again, asks to use my mic (by no means was he particularly nice about it either. I can imagine why, but there was a definite sense of entitlement to his requests with me. He wasn't a dick, I just wasn't a fellow human being in his eyes), and proceeds to speak into the microphone. It was off. So I put my hand on his on the microphone and said, and I quote, "Here, baby, this is how you do it." And I turned it on for him (sweet vindication). And with not even a "thank you" he continues - "HEY EVERYBODY! If you see her at the bar, say hi or get her a drink or something because you know, it's Britney's birthday today!" And I look down and standing not three feet in front of me was, looking as cute as she does in pictures, Ms. Britney Spears. For some reason, this was bigger to me than "the band" even though I wasn't a fan of Spears either. But there's that Madonna syndrome, where it's a solo artist versus a group. I feel more power is had when it's one person taking the helm. Anyway, it must have been past midnight because Britney's birthday is actually the 2nd of Dec.
I’m free – and it’s all because of men like John Inman:
I raise a salute to that lifesaving human compromise, the open secret. I raise a salute to a band of comrades who, each in their different ways, were the keepers through a dark age of an open secret. My salute is to a dying breed: a breed whose ranks thinned again in the small hours of Thursday morning when John Inman passed away.
Hail to them all: the ludicrous old queens; the drag artists; the pantomime homosexuals; the florid epicureans; the indulgent priests; the sensitive young men in tight trousers; and the wan aesthetes. And hail, too, to their quieter cousins: the discreetly confirmed bachelors and “he never married” brigade, the don’t-ask-don’t-tell soldiers, and the dignified loners who just preferred to stay single and wouldn’t say why. Theirs — all of theirs — to protect and guard was a precious thing: the open secret.
GroovyBrew Coffee » Best Coffee Maker:
I think I figured out why. It’s in the way I make and drink the coffee.
I grind the beans. I put them directly in the filter. I put the boiling hot water in. Three minutes or so later the cup of coffee is ready. And… I drink it immediately.
It doesn’t sit in the pot, simmering. There’s no delay between when the coffee is brewed and when I drink it. I don’t set the coffee maker to go then walk away, forgetting about it. When I want a second cup, I’m forced to brew it up fresh — just like I did the last.
The secret is that coffee tastes the best within the first 20 minutes of brewing. After that, the coffee begins to break down, as does the flavor.
I call the shots here:
People have said little things like that all my life. But who’s “they”? I’ve given nobody the authority over me to say I can’t do anything — I can do anything I want or can achieve. I don’t ask permission. I might ask forgiveness, but I won’t ask permission. There is no “they”.
Here’s the thing: they can write a mean letter, they can write a mean memo, but these guys don’t have any real fight in them. If you’re an artist, as opposed to a careerist, and your movie is more important to you than a career in this town, they can never beat you. You have a loaded gun, and you know you’ve got what it takes to put it in their faces and blow their heads off. It’s about never taking the gun out. It’s about never touching the gun, never raising it, never pulling the trigger, never blowing their heads off. It’s about not going there — but knowing you can. So, if you have to flash it, it means something.
For the past five years, artist Jackie Sumell has been... (kottke.org):
For the past five years, artist Jackie Sumell has been helping Herman Wallace, who has been in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary for the last 34 years, design his dream house, a house that will probably never be built. "Traces of a prison mindset crop up. When the placement of his computer meant his back would face the office door, Ms. Sumell said that he asked that a mirror be installed above, so he could see anyone entering the room. A sense of security is important to him, she explained. The master bedroom sits safely above the very center of the house. A wraparound porch adds a layer of perimeter, as does the surrounding garden. There is even a special door leading to an underground bunker, equipped with its own water supply." A book on the project is available for a $20 donation and this PDF gives a good overview of the project.
Boing Boing: Edison and the music biz: nothing's changed:
Not only is it a great profile of Edison, but a crisp look at the formative era of the music industry. Think interoperability became an issue with the introduction of competing digital formats and DRM? Snip:
"Edison was adamant that Edison recordings would be played only on Edison phonographs. His competitors, Victor and Columbia, shared the same playback technique, etching a laterally cut groove that sent the needle moving horizontally as the record played. Their recordings could be played on one another’s machines. Edison, however, adopted his own design, a groove that varied vertically, called at the time a “hill and dale” cut. An adapter permitted Victor records to be played on an Edison Disc Phonograph, but Edison forbade the sale of an attachment that permitted his records to be played on competitors’ machines."
As well, the economics of the record biz were already in place in its earliest days:
"And it was those customers, the “lovers of good music,” whom Edison in 1911 said would be “the only constant and continuous buyers of records.” This was wishful thinking. What was plainly evident to everyone else was that the only constant in the music business was inconstancy, the fickle nature of popular fads. The half-life of a commercially successful song was brief. By the time Edison’s factory shipped the first records three weeks after recording, the flighty public had already moved on.
Seattlest: Donuts for All!:
So when we moved here, we missed having a Dunkin' Donuts on every block, for in the above-mentioned towns they are as plentiful as Thai and Teryaki joints are in Seattle. We quickly resigned ourselves to the notion that Seattle just isn't much of a donut town. Rather, we are much more of a scone town, a place of effete pastries. Seattlest loves all manner of crumbly, buttery, and uppity pastries and we love stumbling upon little places that sell great pastries. Sometimes, however, we just want a god-damned donut. We want to walk into a place that smells of used partially-hydrogenated oil. It has old men installed in the corner talking about The War --dubya dubya two... the Big One-- while wearing their adorable VFW hats. Finally, the parking lot is filled with off-duty taxis as their drivers take a coffee break inside.
Shutting Themselves In - New York Times:
One morning when he was 15, Takeshi shut the door to his bedroom, and for the next four years he did not come out. He didn't go to school. He didn't have a job. He didn't have friends. Month after month, he spent 23 hours a day in a room no bigger than a king-size mattress, where he ate dumplings, rice and other leftovers that his mother had cooked, watched TV game shows and listened to Radiohead and Nirvana. "Anything," he said, "that was dark and sounded desperate."
I met Takeshi outside Tokyo not long ago, shortly after he finally left his parents' house to join a job-training program called New Start. He was wiry, with a delicate face, tousled, dyed auburn hair and the intensity of a hungry college freshman. "Don't laugh, but musicians really helped me, especially Radiohead," he told me through an interpreter, before scribbling some lyrics in English in my notebook. "That's what encouraged me to leave my room."
The California Wars: "We Do So Also Read!" - Gawker:
The uproar comes in the wake of a report in LAObserved saying that the L.A. Times' is planning to shrink their book review, which has been a stand-alone section for 30 years, and fold it into a 12-page opinion supplement that comes out on Saturdays as a tabloid. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the news "set readers on edge."
An article in the Wall Street Journal said the change was a sign of things to come--and that the only book review in the country that will not be affected is the one that comes in the New York Times. The other ones--published by the Chronicle, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the San Diego Union-Tribune--are expected to suffer because publishing houses are spending their promotional dollars on prominent display shelves at Barnes & Noble instead of ad space.
So the Westerners are mad. New York may be the publishing capital of the world, they say, but that doesn't mean the great state of California is illiterate. No, really!
Dave Eggers himself briefly seemed to be our generation’s Andre Breton. Like Breton, he was a provocateur. He gathered allies as Breton had. He revived the institution of the claque as a tool in literary disagreements. He was likewise indefatigable in the generation of new spectacles, and hysterical about his public persona. Like Breton (Nadja), he attempted real literature in the form of memoir. Each man drew on a sentimental topic (parentless children, a woman’s madness) to motivate an apologia for the literary school he had created, and to show how it manifested a practice of daily life. The Surrealists’ preoccupation with the sex of women was Breton’s underlying concern, as Eggers’s subject reflected the Eggersards’ obsession with childhood as a way of life. From raising a child as the treasure house of one’s own moral genius (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), to the editorship of anthologies for teens (Best American Nonrequired Reading), to a writing-tutor program (826 Valencia)—this is the substitute for transcendence in the Eggersard world.
TheHill.com - Obey berates woman over war funding, later apologizes:
“I’m not going to deny body armor. I’m not going to deny funding for veterans’ hospitals and for defense hospitals so you can help people that have health problems. That’s what you do if you go against that bill,” he added.
Asked about passing a resolution to end the war, Obey screamed that they did not have the votes.
“We don’t have the votes to pass [a resolution],” he yelled. “We couldn’t even get the votes to pass a non-binding resolution one week ago. How the hell do you think we’re going to get the votes to cut off the war?”
“You cut off the funding,” an onlooker replied.
“How, if you don’t have the votes?” Obey roared in response. “That bill ends the war! If that isn’t good enough for you, you’re smoking something illegal. You’ve got your facts screwed up.”
“We can’t get the votes! Do you see a magic wand in my pocket?” he continued, opening his suit jacket as if to display an empty pocket. “We don’t have the votes for it. We do have the votes if you guys quit screwing it up. We do have the votes to end the legal authority for the war, that’s the same as de-funding it.”
Gothamist: Mayor Bloomberg And His Lack of Empathy:
# After a bicyclist riding on the Hudson River Greenway was killed by a drunk driver who mistakenly was driving on the bike path, the Mayor said bicyclists should "pay attention... Even if they're in the right, they are the lightweights."
# When the icy Valentine's Day snow made it hard for people to move their cars, yet the Mayor still enforced alternate side of the street parking rules, he said, "This was not a lot of snow. It was easy to move your car. I don't like to get up early in the morning and have to do anything either. I'd like to sleep in, too. But it was the right thing to do." And the next day, he decided to forgive the tickets, after realizing there was a lot of snow in the outer boroughs.
# During Day 6 of last year's Queens blackout, Mayor Bloomberg said, "I think Kevin Burke deserves a thanks from this city. He's worked as hard as he can every single day since then, as has everybody at Con Ed." Of course, later, it was found that Con Ed neglected to maintain the Long Island City network, which caused many of the problems; Con Ed's customer assistance was also faulty in giving people information and in determining how big the problem was.
Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It's his
way of telling whether or not I'm dead.
If I'm not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He'll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It's all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we'd do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it's love that does us in. Over and over
Again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and the pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You're the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.
Boing Boing: DoJ: FBI misused Patriot act in domestic spying activities:
A Justice Department audit released today concludes that the FBI broke the law in its use of the Patriot Act to secretly obtain phone, business, and financial data about people in the US.
The report also found that for three years, the FBI understated to Congress how frequently it forced businesses to hand over that private information.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters today "I am to be held accountable," then added that he has no plans to resign.
The battle epic 300 reviewed. - By Dana Stevens - Slate Magazine:
Here are just a few of the categories that are not-so-vaguely conflated with the "bad" (i.e., Persian) side in the movie: black people. Brown people. Disfigured people. Gay men (not gay in the buff, homoerotic Spartan fashion, but in the effeminate Persian style). Lesbians. Disfigured lesbians. Ten-foot-tall giants with filed teeth and lobster claws. Elephants and rhinos (filthy creatures both). The Persian commander, the god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) is a towering, bald club fag with facial piercings, kohl-rimmed eyes, and a disturbing predilection for making people kneel before him.
Meanwhile, the Spartans, clad in naught but leather man-briefs, fight under the stern command of Leonidas (Gerard Butler), whose warrior ethic was forged during a childhood spent fighting wolves in the snow. Leonidas likes to rally the troops with bellowed speeches about "freedom," "honor," and "glory," promising that they will be remembered for having created "a world free from mysticism and tyranny." (The men's usual response, a fist-pumping "A-whoo! A-whoo!" sounds strangely fratty.) But Leonidas is not above playing the tyrant himself. When a messenger from Xerxes arrives bearing news Leonidas doesn't like, he hurls the man, against all protocol, down a convenient bottomless well in the center of town. "This is blasphemy! This is madness!" says the messenger, pleading for his life. "This is Sparta," Leonidas replies. So, if Spartan law is defined by "whatever Leonidas wants," what are the 300 fighting for, anyway? And why does that sound depressingly familiar?
The Daily Dish: The Faggot-Guy:
If Coulter wanted to call Edwards a wuss, she could have. She chose to call him a "faggot" because she is pandering to bigotry. She has every right to do so; and I would defend her right to it with my last faggoty breath. If her defense is that she is actually not a a bigot - "some of my best friends are closeted gays" - then it is even worse. She simply uses bigotry to earn money, applause and attention. I just don't buy the argument that she had no idea what the word 'faggot" implied. But if she was genuinely that clueless (some mega-rich Republicans have no idea what homophobia actually is), she could always explain that, apologize for being completely out of it, and move on. But she didn't.
"You Are God in a Physical Body" | Books | The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:
They call this the Law of Attraction, under the pretense that the universe wants to shower you with abundance and beauty. Again, Byrne: "The only reason any person does not have enough money is because they are blocking money from coming to them with their thoughts." The Secret protects you from cancer and other diseases: "You are also inviting illness if you are listening to people talking about their illness... If you really want to help that person, change the conversation to good things, if you can, or be on your way." It will even help out that pesky Peak Oil problem: "Belize has become an oil-producing country because an extraordinary team of people believed in the unlimited power of the mind."
A reasonable person might ask: What about starving children in Somalia and elsewhere? What about genocide? What about people who hate America precisely because of its ridiculous abundance and smugly stupid material-spiritualism? The Secret has the answer for that, too: "When I discovered The Secret I made a decision that I would not watch the news or read newspapers anymore, because it did not make me feel good."
I repeat: This is an Oprah-endorsed bestseller.
And do you know to whom The Secret is dedicated? That's right: You.** And can there be any wonder why? "The Earth turns on its orbit for You... Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience is all there, for You... You are the master of the Universe... You are the perfection of Life... the time to embrace your magnificence is now."
And also: You are a lemming, and if You follow the directions in this book, You will be an Asshole of the Highest Order.
BLDGBLOG: Sleep Labs of the Soviet Empire:
In the new issue of Cabinet, we read how, following the implementation of Stalin's first Five-Year Plan – and in the wake of food rationing and extended work hours – "the shock-troops of Communism were edging perilously close to physical and mental exhaustion: what they needed was rest."
Soviet authorities thus "announced a competition to design a garden suburb outside Moscow, where workers could be sent to recuperate from the strains of factory labor."
Without getting into specifics – for that, be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine, issue #24 – one detail about the garden suburb that I particularly love, and that the article's author specifically highlights, was a sort of colosseum of slumber. A dream academy.
Apparently they came up with a name for what it is I've been doing with mikedaisey.com--apparently it's a tumblelog.
What's a tumblelog?
To make a simple analogy: If blogs are journals, tumblelogs are scrapbooks.
You can also look at tumblelogs as slightly more structured blogs that make it easier, faster, and more fun to post and share stuff you find or create.
You can find more information on Wikipedia.
I have to say, I'm not betting that this name takes off outside of rarified GTD-loving geek circles.
Dup's Blog: My new mantra.:
"When you think about your plays, the ones that have been written and the ones that have not don't think of what the world owes you but what you can give the world."
Hil told me this last night after indulging one of my bitch fists about how no one is interested in my plays. I love it, it's simple and immediately changes my perspective on a lot of things not just my writing.
Gummi Bear chandelier:
Monologist Daisey Finds an Invincible Summer at Yale Rep (BroadwayWorld.com):
Yale Repertory Theatre will present Mike Daisey's Invincible Summer for three performances only at The New Theater (1156 Chapel Street), March 29th – 31st at 8PM.
"One of the theatre's fiercest and funniest storytellers, monologist Mike Daisey has performed Off-Broadway, across the country and around the world. He's been a guest on 'The Late Show with David Letterman,' and his work has been heard on the NPR and the National Lampoon Radio Hour. With Invincible Summer, Daisey marries his trademark comedy with insightful observations on crises both national and personal. Contrasting a painful family rift with a backdrop of social upheaval, Daisey brilliantly tells a story of loss and faith in our time," as press notes state. Jean-Michele Gregory directs.
Thank you, Sheila.
Gothamist: Counterterrorism Chief Braced for Subway Attack:
While Falkenrath approved of the $100 million for Penn Station, there were plenty of things he didn't like in the bill:
"Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the field of homeland security has been gripped by a mania for plans, strategies and other mandatory reports. They are of almost no value to operating agencies in the field; and they seem to be ignored by virtually everyone except the government contractors paid to verify that the reporting requirements have been met."
Representative Peter King said that the statements had "a tremendous impact" given Falkenrath's former work with the federal government.
la Ketch: Must Luv Dogs:
I got an e-mail to the dog run address from a dog run user who was very agitated. She had just come from the dog run where a Hasidic Male had approached her and engaged her in conversation about her dog (what breed, age, etc.). Then, as she was leaving the dog run, he asked if he could pet her dog. She said sure. So he was petting the dog and she looked down and he had his hand on the dog's gentiles, fondling them. He was molesting her dog!
Now did anyone catch the typo?
When she sent me this e-mail she wrote "gentiles" INSTEAD of "genitals" but I didn't catch it and I forwarded it on to the entire group, like 80 people. Some people caught it and wrote back accusing me of perpetuating an anti-Semitic hoax.
Can you even believe that this is happening? That I spent like two days in the middle of an anti-Semitic, dog molesting Internet scandal? You can not make this shit up people. I had to send out an apology e-mail explaining the mistake and then it turned into this big deal...
Bog Face: detour:
Yes, the seasons of spring needed you. Some of the stars
made claims on you, so that you would feel them. In the past,
a wave rose up to reach you, or
as you walked by an open window
a violin gave itself to you. And this was your task.
I found this Rilke quote in a book about Frank O'Hara while riding the Shortline bus home from Ithaca after a morning spent naked under a sheet with a bloody squib tied to my head, pretending to get shot in the head by a Chilean TV star for a Bolivian film. Well, a film made by a Bolivian director. After each take I was rushed to the bathroom to wash the red corn syrup out of my hair and then have it dried as quickly as possible with three different hair dryers while someone attached another bloody squib - actually a condom - to my head. Then they would hustle back into the bed shouting "everybody close your eyes!" so I could drop my robe, and jump under the sheet. Two times the condom neglected to break (that's technically its duty,right?), once it leaked backwards all over my hair on the pillow and at least once it dribbled forward onto my face and neck as it was supposed to.
Point, Click, and Tell No One - New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer:
A brief interlude to document (and praise) a discovery we made last night while frittering about on the Times' Website. Double-click on any word in any article and you'll get a pop-up window of reference material: usually a definition and some synonyms, but also, in some cases, an encyclopedia entry, a map, and a weather forecast. There are twenty different categories in all, including entries from Peterson's Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals and the U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. The function is powered by Answers.com, and it was launched last September. (We must have missed that press release.)
Remember, if Google wins the Google Library Project lawsuits, the fair use principle it establishes will benefit everyone, including those who want to scan books to compete with Google. Microsoft's "collaborate" principle, in contrast, will benefit only those companies who are big enough to get big copyright owners to answer their calls -- a world where Microsoft will have an unfair advantage.
So kudos to Google for standing up for fair use. And shame on Microsoft for suggesting that only those who "collaborate" are entitled to innovate.
Gothamist: Will the MTA Raise Fares in 2008?:
While the MTA is still looking at their budget for 2008, a fare hike for next year could be on the horizon. The Daily News talked to MTA CEO Elliot Sander, who said, "I think the whole conversation is a little premature for us to engage in, but at the same time I think it's fair for me to say it's a real possibility." The reason the MTA needs a fare hike? Annual deficits are more than $1 billion and rising and the MTA has been borrowing money to offset decreased funding.
Apple Unveils New Product-Unveiling Product:
The iLaunch runs Keynote-formatted presentations in high definition through a built-in projector while displaying a 3-D rotating image of the product. Voice-recognition software, Apple's most advanced to date, can recite a speech highlighting the features of the device while injecting several clever digs at competitors. Should a product demonstration experience a glitch or malfunction, the iLaunch boasts a complex algorithm that can automatically produce humorous and distracting quips.
Described in its patent filing as a "hype-generating mechanism with fully integrated Mac compatibility," the iLaunch is powered by Intel dual-core processors optimized to calculate a product's gravitas. Apple claims the iLaunch can garner the same amount of press attention as a major scientific discovery, high court ruling, celebrity meltdown, or natural disaster at 200 times the speed of a traditional media-fostered launch.
Slashdot | Microsoft Wanted To Drop Mac Office To Hurt Apple:
"The email complains at poor sales of Office, which it attributes to a lack of focus on making such sales among reps at that time. It describes dumping development of the product as: 'The strongest bargaining point we have, as doing so will do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately.' The document also confirms that Microsoft at the time saw Office for the Mac as a chance to test new features in the product before they appeared in Windows, 'because it is so much less critical to our business than Windows.'"
This Guy Can Get 59 MPG in a Plain Old Accord. Beat That, Punk:
on a midsummer saturday in a sprawling wisconsin parking lot, about a dozen people are milling about a candy-apple red Honda Insight. They're watching Wayne Gerdes prepare for his run in Hybridfest's mpg Challenge, a 20-mile race through the streets of Madison. Wayne is the odds-on favorite to win the challenge, in which drivers compete to push the automotive limits not of speed and power—a desire those gathered here consider old-fashioned and wasteful—but for the unsexy title of Most Fuel-Efficient Driver in the World.
Wayne is believed to be that driver, but he's nervous, because all day long the hypermilers—the term Wayne invented to describe the band of brothers who push the limits of fuel efficiency—have been getting crazy-high miles-per-gallon readings, as much as 100 mpg. For the race, he's borrowed a buddy's Insight and, in order to decrease the car's mass, jettisoned everything that's not screwed down. Car detritus—a pillow, towels, cleaning supplies, a tool kit—sits neatly on a blanket on the macadam.
The Village Voice: Sightlines:
Welcome to a new Sightlines series (I'm sure your anticipation has been furious) wherein we ask playwrights to treat us to an excerpt form a yet unproduced play. We're beginning with the fine ladies and gentlemen of 13P and her to inaugurate the series is Rob Handel. Handel recently won the 2007 Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights and he's using it to develop the play, tentatively titled Captivity Narrative. You can find his first scene, which includes puppets, rope, and duck jokes, after the jump.
WIRED Blogs: 27B Stroke 6:
A Bush-appointed civil liberties oversight board headed up by a former campaign treasurer for the president which refuses to reveal statistics on the number of Americans spied on without a warrant, holds public meetings where it refuses to take press questions and denies government sunshine requests is set to report to Congress that spying on Americans' communications and financial transactions without court orders does not impinge on citizens' civil liberties.
Citizens around the country reacted with deep relief and in a sign of solidarity removed all curtains from their houses Monday night and posted their passwords on their front door, Passover-style, to show their deep appreciation for the committee's diligence.
Laurie Anderson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
She performed in New York through the 1970s. One of her most-cited performances, which she conducted in New York and other cities around the world, involved her playing violin while wearing ice skates and balancing on a block of ice; the performance ended only when the ice had melted away.
The Official Britney Spears Homepage: REAL ULTIMATE POWER :
Hi, this site is all about Britney Spears, REAL BRITNEY SPEARS. This site is awesome. My name is Sean and I can't stop thinking about Britney Spears. This chick is cool; and by cool, I mean totally sweet.
1. Britney Spears is a mammal .
2. Britney Spears fights ALL the time.
3. The purpose of Britney Speakrs is to flip out and kill people.
Britney Spears can kill anyone she wants! Britney Spears cuts off heads ALL the time and doesn't even think twice about it. This chick is so crazy and awesome that she flips out ALL the time. I heard that once Britney Spears was eating at a diner. And when some dude dropped a spoon Britney Spears killed the whole town. My friend Mark said that he saw Britney Spears totally uppercut some kid just because the kid opened a window.
And that's what I call REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wired News: Top Secret: We're Wiretapping You:
It could be a scene from Kafka or Brazil. Imagine a government agency, in a bureaucratic foul-up, accidentally gives you a copy of a document marked "top secret." And it contains a log of some of your private phone calls.
You read it and ponder it and wonder what it all means. Then, two months later, the FBI shows up at your door, demands the document back and orders you to forget you ever saw it.
By all accounts, that's what happened to Washington D.C. attorney Wendell Belew in August 2004. And it happened at a time when no one outside a small group of high-ranking officials and workaday spooks knew the National Security Agency was listening in on Americans' phone calls without warrants. Belew didn't know what to make of the episode. But now, thanks to that government gaffe, he and a colleague have the distinction of being the only Americans who can prove they were specifically eavesdropped upon by the NSA's surveillance program.
Okay, Now What’s Your Top 1000? » Review This Online:
Mike works in our catalog department (managing all the data that helps you find what you're looking for here), and he's been at Amazon long enough to have been a running character ("msmith") in Mike Daisey's Net-boom classic, 21 Dog Years (choice quote: "Smith was the meanest, most sardonic person in the class, so I had naturally gravitated toward him. Mean people keep you warm."). He's my favorite person here to talk about books with outside of our books team, and he has turned me on to recent gems like A High Wind in Jamaica and Father and Son. (And he's not really that mean.) Unlike us, he's not consumed by reading as many new releases as he can, so he's free to wade knee-deep in the classics. He'll be contributing regularly (we hope) to the blog, so welcome, Mike.
“Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives –the power to re-tell it, re-think it, deconstruct it, joke about it, rehearse it as times change…are powerless...” – Salman Rushdie
The Moth invites you to
Stories on Stage
Featuring Graduates of the MothShop Community Program
Come witness power-filled, New York stories by the most recent graduates of The MothShop Community Program. Our outreach staff and members of The Moth community have joined forces with adults in rehabilitation from The Self Advocacy Association of New York State, The Educational Alliance and Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital to craft stories that reflect the gamut of human experience from humor to heartbreak and beyond…
Monday, March 5th
Sponsored by TARGET
Featured story told by:
7:00pm Doors Open
7:30pm Stories Start on Stage
At The Nuyorican Poets Café
236 East 3rd Street (between Avenues B and C)
$6 Tickets sold at the door
Director: Frank Damico
Producer: Julie Booth
About the Storytellers:
Jonathan Ames (host) is the author of I Pass like Night, The Extra Man, What’s Not to Love?, My Less than Secret Life, Wake Up, Sir!, and I Love You More than You Know. He is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has been a recurring guest on the Late Show with David Letterman. His comedic memoir What’s Not to Love? was filmed as a TV pilot for the Showtime network. Mr. Ames wrote the script and played himself, but he didn't quite get his character and the show, alas, was not 'picked up' to go to series. His one-man show Oedipussy was presented off-off Broadway at PS 122 and at various pleasant American colleges. His novels The Extra Man and Wake Up, Sir! are in development as films, with Mr. Ames having written the screenplays. www.jonathanames.com
Mike Daisey, who has been called “the master storyteller” by the New York Times, works completely extemporaneously, always without a script, telling and re-telling stories before live audiences night after night so that every performance is a unique event. His monologues include 21 Dog Years, Monopoly!, The Ugly American, I Miss the Cold War, and Invincible Summer. His latest, Great Men of Genius, weaves together the life stories of Bertolt Brecht, P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla and L. Ron Hubbard to create an epic account of genius and insanity in America, and can be seen this May at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg. Currently he’s a commentator for National Public Radio’s Day To Day, a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, WIRED, Slate, and the National Lampoon Radio Hour, and is writing his second book, Happiness is Overrated, a collection of essays dedicated to the proposition its title asserts.
Uh-oh. The housing bust is just beginning. - By Daniel Gross - Slate Magazine:
As the housing boom comes to an increasingly ugly end, the parallels between the real-estate industry today and the technology industry in 2000 and 2001 are astonishing. Blogger Barry Ritholtz last month posted eerily similar charts of the NASDAQ composite index in the tech-bubble years and the index of housing-related stocks in the real-estate-bubble years. Both show rapid rises, a swift correction, and a subsequent rally when analysts and insiders proclaimed (prematurely) that the worst was over.
WIRED Blogs: 27B Stroke 6:
A clutch of experts warned Congress in two House Appropriations subcommittee hearings this week that the Bush budget plan for 2008 cuts too much money from R&D funding and will impair both innovation and the nation's ability to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and combat global warming.
The Bush budget steers too much science money into weapons programs and costly manned space exploration, said Alan I. Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. According to a budget analysis the AAAS released last month, "The federal investment in basic and applied research would fall 2.0 percent from the likely 2007 total to $55.4 billion in 2008."
The drop off in climate change research funding poses a grave threat, Leshner said: "A continuing decline is, I believe, a path to disaster."
mark’lectic » Blog Archive » Comments on the RIAA’s p2plawsuit.com FAQ Propaganda:
The RIAA’s newly launched site has turned justice into a one-click e-commerce experience. The site has an FAQ section that you might want to read to understand why you’re getting sued. As usual with the record industry, it’s full of half-truths and outright lies.
So, lets see what the truth behind the RIAA facts actually are.
This is the most civilized jury duty I have ever experienced--hell, now that I know where it is, I could come here anytime I needed to, Monday to Friday, to get free wifi and to work. Low ambient noise, no music--if there were tables it would be damn near perfect. ;)
apophenia: a few more thoughts on child abuse, sexual predators, and the moral panic:
Every day, i read more articles about child abuse and online sexual predators. They make me sad but they also make me very frustrated because the more we talk about these cases of strangers abusing children, the less we talk about the real perpetrators of child abuse: adults who know children intimately. Today, i ran across a phenomenal article by Peter Reilly entitled The Facts About Online Sex Abuse and Schools. In it, he shares a lot of data about perpetrators, the state of child abuse in general, and the importance of not buying into the fear. Two of the images that he shares capture my unbearable frustration with our obsession with online sexual predators:
A great short documentary by Max Bluemnthal at CPAC.
Gothamist: Opinionist: Howard Katz:
While filing out of the Laura Pels Theatre after Patrick Marber’s Howard Katz, a woman of a certain age was heard exclaiming, “A tour de force!” Having brandished that over-ripe phrase myself on probably too many occasions, I was amazed to hear it applied to the play we’d just sat through. Had I been misusing it all this time? Was the expression actually French for “a total waste of time”?
cabel.name: Japan Story: Gyoza Stadium:
What is it? Well, let me back up a little. You have to understand that I have a particular fondness for weird, dying, low-budget, or otherwise bizarre theme parks / attractions. I've learned that you should always visit these kinds of things when you have the opportunity, because when these kind of places feel like they're not going to last long, they almost certainly aren't. In Vancouver BC, the primary reason we decided to visit the Storyeum — a strange kind of "living museum" where a surprisingly large number of actors sing jaunty musical numbers about Canadian history in a series of elaborately designed underground rooms — was that we could smell that magic, musty odor of over-ambition with a dash of eccentric-millionaire from a mile away. Our particular audience for the experience: eight people. The actors out-numbered us, and to their credit, they gave it their all — it was actually pretty awesome, and I learned that Canada is weird. The Storyeum closed late last year.
So when I heard that Namco — or at least a division the video game giant, fond business partners of Panic — had their own theme park in Japan, it was an insant one-way ticket on the to-do train in my mind.
And that's before I heard about the gyoza.
Slashdot | DoJ Mulls Tracking Picture Uploads:
Dominus Suus passed us a link to a C|Net article about a disturbing threat to privacy from the Justice Department. According to the article, a private meeting was held Wednesday between Justice officials and telecom industry representatives. With individuals from companies such as AOL and Comcast looking on, the officials continued overtures to increase data retention by ISPs on American citizens. This week, they were specifically looking to have records kept of photo uploads. In this way, and 'in case police determine the content is illegal and choose to investigate,' an easy trail from A to Z will be available. The article provides a good deal of background on the Bush Administration's history with data retention, with ties to events even older than the Bush presidency.
Great video of Mike Pinkerton on the evolution of Camino and the open source movement. Link
The Daily Dish: Coulter In Her Element:
"I was going to talk about John Edwards but these days, you have to go into rehab if you say the word 'faggot,'" - Ann Coulter, cheered to the rafters at CPAC today. No wonder she and Mickey Kaus get along so well.
When you see her in such a context, you realize that she truly represents the heart and soul of contemporary conservative activism, especially among the young. The standing ovation for Romney was nothing like the eruption of enthusiasm that greeted her. One young conservative male told her he was single and asked for her cell-phone number. Other young Republicans were almost overwhelmed in her presence. "When are you going to get your own show?" one asked, tremulously. Then there's her insistence on Christianism as the central message for Republicans: "There are more people voting on Christian moral values than on tax cuts." This from an unmarried woman who wears dresses that are close to bikinis on the morning news. Hey, it's Democrats who are Godless.
Her endorsement of Romney today - "probably the best candidate" - is a big deal, it seems to me. McCain is a non-starter. He is as loathed as Clinton in these parts. Giuliani is, in her words, "very, very liberal." One of his sins? He opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That's the new standard. She is the new Republicanism. The sooner people recognize this, the better.
Joan Didion - The Year of Hoping for Magic - Theater - New York Times:
I AM making these first notes on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007.
Eleven a.m. in a rehearsal studio on West 42nd Street.
New York winter light, floor-to-ceiling glass, a barre, the Bill T. Jones dancers from the next studio taking a break in the corridor.
The theatrical company for “The Year of Magical Thinking” has assembled here for the first of what will be 31 days of work to shape the play for previews beginning March 6 and its Broadway opening March 29.
US Postal Service Solves Long Waits By Removing Clocks From Post Offices - Consumerist:
This sounds like a joke, but it's being reported by the Houston Chronicle: The USPS is removing clocks from post offices in order to allow customers to better "focus on the postal service."
"We want people to focus on postal service and not the clock," said Stephen Seewoester, Dallas spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.
The USPS has removed clocks from 37,000 post offices as part of a "retail standardization program."
Boing Boing: Vancouver Olympics will own words like "winter," "2010" and "Vancouver":
Canadian Industry Minister Maxime Bernier recently introduced Bill C-47, the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, through which the Vancouver Olympics are guaranteed exclusive public use of the following words: winter, gold, silver, bronze, sponsor, Vancouver, Whistler, 2010, tenth, medals, and games.
It's amazing how the Olympics have come to symbolize bullying corporate greed; overreaching, violent "security measures;" drug abuse and destruction of public facilities and low-income housing.
A man talking to his ex-wife on the phone.
He has loved her voice and listens with attention
to every modulation of its tone. Knowing
it intimately. Not knowing what he wants
from the sound of it, from the tendered civility.
He studies, out the window, the seed shapes
of the broken pods of ornamental trees.
The kind that grow in everyone's garden, that no one
but horticulturalists can name. Four arched chambers
of pale green, tiny vegetal proscenium arches,
a pair of black tapering seeds bedded in each chamber.
A wish geometry, miniature, Indian or Persian,
lovers or gods in their apartments. Outside, white,
patient animals, and tangled vines, and rain.
It’s Not Only About Price at Wal-Mart - New York Times:
The new, and so far internal, definition of what Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, stands for will soon become a very public strategy, evident on the shelves of 4,000 stores and in advertisements seen across the country.
In their first interviews since a management shuffle last month, John Fleming, the new chief merchandising officer, and Stephen Quinn, the new chief marketing officer, said that after a year of intense research, the discount giant is seeing its 200 million customers as belonging to three groups.
There are “brand aspirationals” (people with low incomes who are obsessed with names like KitchenAid), “price-sensitive affluents” (wealthier shoppers who love deals), and “value-price shoppers” (who like low prices and cannot afford much more).
The new categories are significant because for the first time, Wal-Mart thinks it finally understands not just how people shop at its stores, but why they shop the way they do.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love Mike Albo?
Not enough. Not nearly enough.
Most Support U.S. Guarantee of Health Care - New York Times:
Only 24 percent said they were satisfied with President Bush’s handling of the health insurance issue, despite his recent initiatives, and 62 percent said the Democrats were more likely to improve the health care system.
Americans showed a striking willingness in the poll to make tradeoffs to guarantee health insurance for all, including paying as much as $500 more in taxes a year and forgoing future tax cuts.
But the same divisions that doomed the last effort at creating universal health insurance, under the Clinton administration, are still apparent. Americans remain divided, largely along party lines, over whether the government should require everyone to participate in a national health care plan, and over whether the government would do a better job than the private insurance industry in providing coverage.
Idioms » Blog Archive » “I gonna bang the bricks!” — I will draw money from an ATM:
Everybody knows how Mario from the Super Mario Brothers is getting money: He bangs against a brick with his head. In real life you can say that you “bang the bricks” if you go to an ATM to draw money from your bank account.
Through this you can not only express your taste in video gaming, but also hint to the fact that ATMs are in fact computers and operate by arbitrary rules. There could theoretically run any software inside. Maybe once you can play Super Mario on them, and if you win your mortgage rates will be lowered.
NewYorkology: A New York Travel Guide:
Among the secrets of the Grand Central Terminal is the "whispering gallery" in front of the famous Oyster Bar & Restaurant. There is no sign marking the gallery or how to make it work. But if you wait a few minutes, a couple will undoubtedly walk up and head to separate corners and elicit its magic.
The low ceramic arches, built for the 1913 opening of Grand Central, are designed in such a perfect way that if two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper into a corner, they should be able to hear each other as if they were face to face – not far across the way.
"I was raised in New York and my father taught me about it when I was just a little, little girl," said Catherine Wiley, who was visiting recently from Brookings, Ore. On this trip, she was traveling with her boyfriend, Ed McDonald, and she brought him to Grand Central to show him the trick.
Slim down your wallet with Just One Club Card - Lifehacker:
Web site Just One Club Card lets you condense up to 8 different discount club cards onto one front-and-back card, meaning your back-breaking wallet is about to go on a big diet.
Just enter the barcode numbers and choose the store for each card you want to get rid of and Just One Club Card will convert them to a printable, one-card format. Fold, laminate, and enjoy.
The Top Five Technologies You Need to Know About in '07:
Chances are you've heard the term Ruby on Rails -- probably from someone on your Web development team lobbying heavily to use it for some or all of your company's Web development.
Ruby on Rails (also known as RoR and Rails) is a Web application framework written in Ruby, an object-oriented programming language known for its clean syntax. Released in 2004, RoR is an open-source project that originally served as the foundation of a project management tool designed by Web development company 37signals LLC. It is easily ported among Linux, Windows and Macintosh environments, and it can have a dramatic impact on the speed at which a Web development team is able to build and maintain enterprise Web sites and applications.
Sleeping-Co-Sleeping-Children - New York Times:
The practice that makes everyone gasp, Ms. Kunhardt said, is this: “After you’ve given them all these nurturing, nighttime routine options — the nightlight, the song — you say, ‘If you stay in the bed, your door can be open. If not, I’m going to have to keep it closed.’ This generation of parents is aghast at that. But it really is up to the kid to keep the door open. Any child worth their salt is going to test that, and then it’s up to the parent to hold firm. There’s so much guilt, like, ‘I can’t do that!’ ”
“We could also talk a lot about how this whole sleep problem is telling about the state of a marriage,” she added. “I think that sometimes parents use their kids to not look at the fact that intimacy is on the wane.”
Slashdot | Academic Credentials and Wikiality:
A prominent Wikipedia administrator and Wikia employee has been caught lying to the media and 'other' professors about his academic credentials. Wikipedia's Essjay has been representing himself as 'a tenured professor of theology at a private university in the eastern United States; I teach both undergraduate and graduate theology. My Academic Degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (B.A.), Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.), Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology (Ph.D.), Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD).' His real identity came to light after Wikia offered him a job: It turns out that he is really 24 years old with no degree living in Louisville, KY.
A New Lifestyle
People in this town drink too much
coffee. They're jumpy all the time. You
see them drinking out of their big plastic
mugs while they're driving. They cut in
front of you, they steal your parking places.
Teenagers in the cemeteries knocking over
tombstones are slurping café au lait.
Recycling men hanging onto their trucks are
sipping espresso. Dogcatchers running down
the street with their nets are savoring
their cups of mocha java. The holdup man
entering a convenience store first pours
himself a nice warm cup of coffee. Down
the funeral parlor driveway a boy on a
skateboard is spilling his. They're so
serious about their coffee, it's all they
can think about, nothing else matters.
Everyone's wide awake but looks incredibly