Last image of the year, from Peter Luger's, the World Citadel of Steak.
Nintendo Wii hacked -- homebrew games ahoy! - Boing Boing:
During yesterday's Why Silicon-Based Security is still that hard: Deconstructing Xbox 360 Security presentation at the 24th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, hackers Michael Steil and Felix Domke demonstrated a blown-wide-open hack for the Nintendo Wii. They've extracted the keys for signing Wii code, and now you can run anyone's code on your Wii, not just programs that Nintendo has sanctioned. Incredible as it may seem, there are still companies that think that they should have the right to tell you what you can and can't do with your hardware after you pay for it.
Why Starbucks actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses. - By Taylor Clark - Slate Magazine:
So now that we know Starbucks isn't slaughtering mom and pop, the thorny question remains: Why is Starbucks amplifying their business? It's actually pretty simple. In contrast to so-called "downtown killers" like Home Depot or Wal-Mart, Starbucks doesn't enjoy the kinds of competitive advantages that cut down its local rivals' sales. Look at Wal-Mart. It offers lower prices and a wider array of goods than its small-town rivals, so it acts like a black hole on local consumers, sucking in virtually all of their business. Starbucks, on the other hand, is often more expensive than the local coffeehouse, and it offers a very limited menu; you'll never see discounts or punch cards at Starbucks, nor will you see unique, localized fare (or—let's be honest—fare that doesn't make your tongue feel like it's dying). In other words, a new Starbucks doesn't prevent customers from visiting independents in the same way Wal-Mart does—especially since coffee addicts need a fix every day, yet they don't always need to hit the same place for it. When Starbucks opens a store next to a mom and pop, it creates a sort of coffee nexus where people can go whenever they think "coffee." Local consumers might have a formative experience with a Java Chip Frappuccino, but chances are they'll branch out to the cheaper, less crowded, and often higher-quality independent cafe later on. So when Starbucks blitzed Omaha with six new stores in 2002, for instance, business at all coffeehouses in town immediately went up as much as 25 percent.
I write from the fifth circle of Hell:
Choosing A Dog
"It's love," they say. You touch
the right one and a whole half of the universe
wakes up, a new half.
Some people never find
that half, or they neglect it or trade it
for money or success and it dies.
The faces of big dogs tell, over the years,
that size is a burden: you enjoy it for awhile
but then maintenance gets to you.
When I get old I think I'll keep, not a little
dog, but a serious dog,
for the casual, drop-in criminal --
My kind of dog, unimpressed by
dress or manner, just knowing
what's really there by the smell.
Your good dogs, some things that they hear
they don't really want you to know --
it's too grim or ethereal.
And sometimes when they look in the fire
they see time going on and someone alone,
but they don't say anything.
The Airport Security Follies - Jet Lagged - Air Travel - Opinion - New York Times Blog:
Yet that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. The three-ounce container rule is silly enough — after all, what’s to stop somebody from carrying several small bottles each full of the same substance — but consider for a moment the hypocrisy of T.S.A.’s confiscation policy. At every concourse checkpoint you’ll see a bin or barrel brimming with contraband containers taken from passengers for having exceeded the volume limit. Now, the assumption has to be that the materials in those containers are potentially hazardous. If not, why were they seized in the first place? But if so, why are they dumped unceremoniously into the trash? They are not quarantined or handed over to the bomb squad; they are simply thrown away. The agency seems to be saying that it knows these things are harmless. But it’s going to steal them anyway, and either you accept it or you don’t fly.
But of all the contradictions and self-defeating measures T.S.A. has come up with, possibly none is more blatantly ludicrous than the policy decreeing that pilots and flight attendants undergo the same x-ray and metal detector screening as passengers. What makes it ludicrous is that tens of thousands of other airport workers, from baggage loaders and fuelers to cabin cleaners and maintenance personnel, are subject only to occasional random screenings when they come to work.
How we got to this point is an interesting study in reactionary politics, fear-mongering and a disconcerting willingness of the American public to accept almost anything in the name of “security.” Conned and frightened, our nation demands not actual security, but security spectacle. And although a reasonable percentage of passengers, along with most security experts, would concur such theater serves no useful purpose, there has been surprisingly little outrage. In that regard, maybe we’ve gotten exactly the system we deserve.
nytheatre mike’s Favorites of 2007 « nytheatre mike 2.0:
Invincible Summer (The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival): The solo show of the year, hands down. Author and performer Mike Daisey brought together such seemingly disparate threads as 9/11, his own life, and the history of the MTA in a dazzling display that beat the late Spalding Gray at his own game.
NPR : The Story of the Family that Couldn't Sleep:
Science writer D.T. Max talks about a family that suffered from a disease called fatal familial insomnia. Upon onset of the disease's symptoms, typically around middle age, sufferers become unable to sleep. They die within months. We'll talk with the author about one family's case, and their efforts to find a cure.
The Death of High Fidelity : Rolling Stone:
Over the past decade and a half, a revolution in recording technology has changed the way albums are produced, mixed and mastered — almost always for the worse. "They make it loud to get [listeners'] attention," Bendeth says. Engineers do that by applying dynamic range compression, which reduces the difference between the loudest and softest sounds in a song. Like many of his peers, Bendeth believes that relying too much on this effect can obscure sonic detail, rob music of its emotional power and leave listeners with what engineers call ear fatigue. "I think most everything is mastered a little too loud," Bendeth says. "The industry decided that it's a volume contest."
Producers and engineers call this "the loudness war," and it has changed the way almost every new pop and rock album sounds. But volume isn't the only issue. Computer programs like Pro Tools, which let audio engineers manipulate sound the way a word processor edits text, make musicians sound unnaturally perfect. And today's listeners consume an increasing amount of music on MP3, which eliminates much of the data from the original CD file and can leave music sounding tinny or hollow. "With all the technical innovation, music sounds worse," says Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, who has made what are considered some of the best-sounding records of all time. "God is in the details. But there are no details anymore."
BBC NEWS | Technology | Web icon set to be discontinued:
The browser that helped kick-start the commercial web is to cease development because of lack of users.
Netscape Navigator, now owned by AOL, will no longer be supported after 1 February 2008, the company has said.
In the mid-1990s the browser was used by more than 90% of the web population, but numbers have slipped to just 0.6%.
In particular, the browser has faced competition from Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), which is now used by nearly 80% of all web users.
Threat in Maine, the Whitest State, Shakes Local N.A.A.C.P. - New York Times:
BANGOR, Me. — In October, the N.A.A.C.P. chapter for northern Maine got shocking news. A man from a nearby town had threatened to shoot “any and all black persons” attending the group’s meetings at an old stone church here, and state prosecutors were worried enough to seek a restraining order.
Such remarks are not unheard of in Maine, the nation’s whitest state, which has fewer black residents — 10,918 in 2006, or less than 1 percent of the population, according to the Census Bureau — than some neighborhoods of Chicago or New York. But nor are they usually so blunt.
Slashdot | Alexander Graham Bell - Patent Thief?:
"MSNBC is carrying an AP article reviewing a book, due out January 7, that claims to show definitive evidence that Bell stole the essential idea for telephony from Elisha Gray. Author Seth Shulman shows that Bell's notebooks contain false starts, and then after a 12-day gap during which he visited the US Patent Office, suddenly show an entirely different design, very similar to Gray's design for multiplexing Morse code signals. Shulman claims that Bell copied the design from Gray's patent application and was improperly given credit for earlier submission, with the help of a corrupt patent examiner and aggressive lawyers. Shulman also claims that fear of being found out is the reason Bell distanced himself from the company that carried his name. And if Gray Telephone doesn't seem to roll off the tongue, Shulman also noted that both of them were two decades behind the German inventor Johann Philipp Reis, who produced the first working telephony system."
The Gift-Card Economy - New York Times:
The financial-services research firm TowerGroup estimates that of the $80 billion spent on gift cards in 2006, roughly $8 billion will never be redeemed — “a bigger impact on consumers,” Tower notes, “than the combined total of both debit- and credit-card fraud.” A survey by Marketing Workshop Inc. found that only 30 percent of recipients use a gift card within a month of receiving it, while Consumer Reports estimates that 19 percent of the people who received a gift card in 2005 never used it.
Considering that two-thirds of all holiday shoppers in 2006 planned to give someone else a gift card, you most likely received one yourself in recent weeks. Perhaps you are among the exceptional minority, and you have already spent it, or soon will. But the odds say that it has instead wound up in your sock drawer.
Does this mean that a gift card is a bad gift? The answer depends on whom you ask, and it also requires the asking of a separate question: What is gift-giving meant to accomplish in the first place?
Straight Dope Message Board - I waterboard!:
Next up is saran wrap. The idea is that you wrap saran wrap around the mouth in several layers, and poke a hole in the mouth area, and then waterboard away. I didn't reall see how this was an improvement on the rag technique, and so far I would categorize waterboarding as simply unpleasant rather than torture, but I've come this far so I might as well go on.
Now, those of you who know me will know that I am both enamored of my own toughness and prone to hyperbole. The former, I feel that I am justifiably proud of. The latter may be a truth in many cases, but this is the simple fact:
It took me ten minutes to recover my senses once I tried this. I was shuddering in a corner, convinced I narrowly escaped killing myself.
Here's what happened:
The water fills the hole in the saran wrap so that there is either water or vaccum in your mouth. The water pours into your sinuses and throat. You struggle to expel water periodically by building enough pressure in your lungs. With the saran wrap though each time I expelled water, I was able to draw in less air. Finally the lungs can no longer expel water and you begin to draw it up into your respiratory tract.
It seems that there is a point that is hardwired in us. When we draw water into our respiratory tract to this point we are no longer in control. All hell breaks loose. Instinct tells us we are dying.
I have never been more panicked in my whole life. Once your lungs are empty and collapsed and they start to draw fluid it is simply all over. You know you are dead and it's too late. Involuntary and total panic.
There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It would be like telling you not to blink while I stuck a hot needle in your eye.
At the time my lungs emptied and I began to draw water, I would have sold my children to escape. There was no choice, or chance, and willpower was not involved.
I never felt anything like it, and this was self-inflicted with a watering can, where I was in total control and never in any danger.
And I understood.
Sometimes when I phoned
my mother back in Tulsa, she would
say, "Hold on a minute, Ron, let me
turn this thing down," the thing
her TV, and she would look
around for the remote and then fumble
with its little buttons as an irritation
mounted in me and an impatience
and I felt like blurting out "You watch TV
too much and it's too loud and why
don't you go outside" because I was
unable to face my dread of her aging
and my heart made cold toward her
by loving her though not wanting to give up
my life and live near her so she
could see me every day and not
just hear me, which is why she
turned the TV down and said,
"Okay, that's better," then sometimes
launched into a detailed account
of whatever awful show she was watching.
The Conical Glass: Theatrical genius:
Overall, I saw a lot of incredible stuff in 2007 and except for my #1 choice, the rest of the top 10 could be fairly fluid.
1. "Great Men of Genius," Mike Daisey (Berkeley Rep): If I may quote myself, back on June 11 of this year: "Is it too early to declare 'Great Men of Genius' the theatrical event of the year?" Why, no; it wasn't too early at all, as it turns out. This was a genuine tour de force by the young, prolific monologist, five absolutely riveting hours. I'm on Daisey's mailing list and I keep getting notices of new monologues he's performing in places like New York and Seattle; his latest is called "How Theater Failed America." This is a guy with ambition and big ideas to spare. I hope the Berkeley Rep invites him back again in 2008, 'cause even after five hours, I want more.
FAQ | dooce ®:
Q:“I’m surprised you haven’t been reported to child welfare with how public you are about some of the things you think and do regarding your daughter. Paper towels are very dangerous for your daughter to chew on. She could suffocate. don’t let her be alone with them. I’m amazed at how foolish you can be sometimes.”
A: When you call DCFS, please get the story straight. Not only do I leave her alone with paper towels, I set her in the middle of a flea-infested floor and surround her with sharp objects and porn. Then I turn on a wood-burning stove in the corner of the room and seal all the windows. Before I leave the room and lock the door, I stick a bottle full of vodka in her mouth, to muffle the screaming.
Diana Athill on aging and sex | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited:
That acceptance was sad. Indeed, I was forced into it at a time when our household was invaded by a ruthless and remarkably succulent blonde in her mid-20s and he fell into bed with her. There was one sleepless night of real sorrow, but only one night. What I mourned during that painful night was not the loss of my loving old friend who was still there, and still is, but the loss of youth: "What she has, God rot her, I no longer have and will never, never have again." A belated recognition, up against which I had come with a horrid crunch. But very soon another voice began to sound in my head, which made more sense. "Look," it said, "you know quite well that you have stopped wanting him in your bed, it's months since you enjoyed it, so what are you moaning about? Of course you have lost youth, you have moved on and stopped wanting what youth wants." And that was the end of that stage.
Preview video for UNDER THE RADAR 2008
There's really some thrilling work coming this January--check out the complete guide here.
A young blonde Icelandic woman's recent experience visiting the US -- Signs of the Times News:
The story of Eva Ósk Arnardóttir:
During the last twenty-four hours I have probably experienced the greatest humiliation to which I have ever been subjected. During these last twenty-four hours I have been handcuffed and chained, denied the chance to sleep, been without food and drink and been confined to a place without anyone knowing my whereabouts, imprisoned. Now I am beginning to try to understand all this, rest and review the events which began as innocently as possible.
Last Sunday I and a few other girls began our trip to New York. We were going to shop and enjoy the Christmas spirit. We made ourselves comfortable on first class, drank white wine and looked forward to go shopping, eat good food and enjoy life. When we landed at JFK airport the traditional clearance process began.
We were screened and went on to passport control. As I waited for them to finish examining my passport I heard an official say that there was something which needed to be looked at more closely and I was directed to the work station of Homeland Security. There I was told that according to their records I had overstayed my visa by 3 weeks in 1995. For this reason I would not be admitted to the country and would be sent home on the next flight. I looked at the official in disbelief and told him that I had in fact visited New York after the trip in 1995 without encountering any difficulties. A detailed interrogation session ensued.
I was photographed and fingerprinted. I was asked questions which I felt had nothing to do with the issue at hand. I was forbidden to contact anyone to advise of my predicament and although I was invited at the outset to contact the Icelandic consul or embassy, that invitation was later withdrawn. I don't know why.
I was then made to wait while they sought further information, and sat on a chair before the authority for 5 hours. I saw the officials in this section handle other cases and it was clear that these were men anxious to demonstrate their power. Small kings with megalomania. I was careful to remain completely cooperative, for I did not yet believe that they planned to deport me because of my "crime".
When 5 hours had passed and I had been awake for 24 hours, I was told that they were waiting for officials who would take me to a kind of waiting room. There I would be given a bed to rest in, some food and I would be searched. What they thought they might find I cannot possibly imagine. Finally guards appeared who transported me to the new place. I saw the bed as if in a mirage, for I was absolutely exhausted.
What turned out was something else. I was taken to another office exactly like the one where I had been before and once again along wait ensued. In all, it turned out to be 5 hours. At this office all my things were taken from me. I succeeded in sending a single sms to worried relatives and friends when I was granted a bathroom break. After that the cell phone was taken from me. After I had been sitting for 5 hours I was told that they were now waiting for guards who would take me to a place where I could rest and eat. Then I was placed in a cubicle which looked like an operating room. Attached to the walls were 4 steel plates, probably intended to serve as bed and a toilet.
I was exhausted, tired and hungry. I didn't understand the officials' conduct, for they were treating me like a very dangerous criminal. Soon thereafter I was removed from the cubicle and two armed guards placed me up against a wall. A chain was fastened around my waist and I was handcuffed to the chain. Then my legs were placed in chains. I asked for permission to make a telephone call but they refused. So secured, I was taken from the airport terminal in full sight of everybody. I have seldom felt so bad, so humiliated and all because I had taken a longer vacation than allowed under the law.
They would not tell me where they were taking me. The trip took close to one hour and although I couldn't see clearly outside the vehicle I knew that we had crossed over into New Jersey. We ended up in front of a jail. I could hardly believe that this was happening. Was I really about to be jailed? I was led inside in the chains and there yet another interrogation session ensued. I was fingerprinted once again and photographed. I was made to undergo a medical examnination, I was searched and then I was placed in a jail cell. I was asked absurd questions such as: When did you have your last period? What do you believe in? Have you ever tried to commit suicide?
I was completely exhausted, tired and cold. Fourteen hours after I had landed I had something to eat and drink for the first time. I was given porridge and bread. But it did not help much. I was afraid and the attitude of all who handled me was abysmal to say the least. They did not speak to me as much as snap at me. Once again I asked to make a telephone call and this time the answer was positive. I was relieved but the relief was short-lived. For the telephone was setup for collect calls only and it was not possible to make overseas calls. The jailguard held my cell phone in his hand. I explained to him that I could not make a call from the jail telephone and asked to be allowed to make one call from my own phone. That was out of the question. I spent the next 9 hours in a small, dirty cell. The only thing in there was a narrow steel board which extended out from the wall, a sink and toilet. I wish I never experience again in my life the feeling of confinement and helplessness which I experienced there.
I was hugely relieved when, at last, I was told that I was to be taken to the airport, that is to say until I was again handcuffed and chained.Then I could take no more and broke down and cried. I begged them at least to leave out the leg chains but my request was ignored. When we arrived at the airport, another jail guard took pity on me and removed the leg chains. Even so I was led through a full airport terminal handcuffed and escorted by armed men. I felt terrible. On seeing this, people must think that there goes a very dangerous criminal. In this condition I was led up into the Icelandair waiting room, and was kept handcuffed until I entered the embarkation corridor. I was completely run down by all this in both body and spirit. Fortunately I could count on good people and both Einar (the captain) and the crew did all which they could to try to assist me. My friend Auður was in close contact with my sister and the consul and embassy had been contacted. However, all had received misleading information and all had been told that I had been detained at the airport terminal, not that I had been put in jail. Now the Foreign Ministry is looking into the matter and I hope to receive some explanation why I was treated this way.
(English Translation: Gunnar Tómasson, Certified translator)
Macenstein | 10.5.2 fixes Stacks!:
It seems that our daily e-mails to Apple just might have gotten to someone on the Leopard development team! According to a source familiar with the latest Leopard build seeded to developers, in addition to all those meaningless “little” fixes (like Data Detectors, the Mac OS X Dock, the Finder, grammar checking, iCal, iChat, Mail, Parental Controls, Quick Look, Rosetta, Safari, Time Machine, and AirPort), our source tells us that Apple has fixed Stacks by adding the missing “list view” option that should have been there all along!
Onward and Upward with the Arts: Demolition Man: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker:
Over the years, Pinter’s work has inspired a journal (The Pinter Review), added words to the English language (the Oxford English Dictionary lists “Pinteresque,” “Pinterism,” “Pinterian,” and “Pinterishness” as acceptable terms), won dozens of awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 2005, and made him an object of perpetual public fascination in Britain. (His recent performance in Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape,” at the Royal Court—he began his career as an actor—sold out its entire run in sixteen minutes.) No other British playwright since Noël Coward has so dominated and defined the theatrical landscape of his time. Even Coward, who hated the New Wave that put him out of fashion, considered Pinter an exception. “Your writing absolutely fascinates me,” he wrote to Pinter in 1965 after seeing his third full-length play, “The Homecoming.” “You cheerfully break every rule of the theatre that I was brought up to believe in, except the cardinal one of never boring for a split-second. I love your choice of words, your resolute refusal to explain anything and the arrogant, but triumphant demands you make on the audience’s imagination. I can well see why some clots hate it, but I belong to the opposite camp—if you will forgive the expression.”
I am rarely in agreement with Mitt Romney, but I am today.
Romney ‘disgusted’ by Time choice:
GLENN: No, I'm serious. It is Vladimir Putin, Time Magazine Man of the Year. A guy who, you know, with all of the KGB stuff in the past, Time magazine says has transformed the country and congratulations. Time magazine man of the year, Vladimir Putin.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, he imprisoned his political opponents. There have been a number of highly suspicious murders. He has squelched public dissent and free press. And to suggest that someone like that is the man of the year is really disgusting. I'm just appalled. Clearly General Petraeus is the person or one of a few people who would certainly merit that designation and I know Time magazine makes a distinction. They say, well, people who had an impact, whether it's good or bad, is the man of the year. I think that's a --
GLENN: No, no, hang on.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: -- a false --
GLENN: Before you go too far down this road -- wait a minute. Before you go down this road, this is the quote why he's the man of the year, "For bringing stability and renewed... what was it, impact? Status. Renewed status to his country. That's why.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Isn't that something. So a good dictator -- I guess Raul Castro will get it next. A good dictator that imprisons or murders political and media opponents and therefore brings stability, I mean, there's nothing like the stability that martial law provides or dictatorship provides. I find it a truly appalling designation.
Poynter Online - Forums:
There is a saying: The more time you spend in Russia, the less you understand it. I still marvel at the contradictions: how Russians are at once sticklers for rules and adept flaunters of them. They will uncomplainingly stand in three separate lines to select, pay for and pick up an ice cream, yet they drive on the sidewalks and embrace a casual recklessness with such vigor that it's actually driving life expectancy down.
They admire strength and a strong hand -- witness Putin's popularity -- but believe that their own fate is beyond their control. They love things vast and colossal, but speak in a language filled with dimunitives. They can seem dismissive and cold on the surface, but are generous and warm to the core. In 2005, I interviewed a mother in the North Caucasus after her son was wounded by police who had accused him of taking part in a violent anti-government raid. At the end, she handed me -- a complete stranger 30 minutes earlier -- an entire watermelon, as a sign of thanks and respect.
Vasiliy Arkhipov - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
On October 27, 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of 11 United States Navy destroyers headed by the aircraft carrier USS Randolph entrapped a nuclear-armed Soviet Foxtrot class submarine B-59 near Cuba and started dropping practice depth charges, explosives intended to force the submarine to come to the surface for identification. Allegedly, the captain of the submarine, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, believing that a war might already have started, prepared to launch a retaliatory nuclear-tipped torpedo.
Three officers on board the submarine — Savitsky, Political Officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and Second Captain Arkhipov — were entitled to launch the torpedo if they agreed unanimously in favour of doing so. An argument broke out among the three, in which only Arkhipov was against making the attack, eventually persuading Savitsky to surface the submarine and await orders from Moscow. The nuclear warfare which presumably would have ensued was thus averted.
At the conference commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis held in Havana on October 13, 2002, Robert McNamara admitted that nuclear war had come much closer than people had thought. Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, said that "a guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world."
I know everyone else has done this already, but I am totally over Rachel Ray. The sound of her voice is a shrill, nasal buzzsaw that cuts straight through my frontal lobe every time I see her, and I see her EVERYWHERE. Are the congenitally retarded housewives of America so retarded that they actually need a recipe for complex dishes like this one, featured on her show RACHEL RAY MAKES STUPID, SHITTY FOOD WITH A MICROWAVE BECAUSE AMERICA DEVOURS ITS OWN YOUNG THROUGH STUPIDITY:
Iceberg Lettuce Chopped Salad with French Dressing Recipe
Seriously--it's a fucking recipe for ICEBERG SALAD WITH FRENCH DRESSING. Some of her other recipes include
A GLASS OF WATER
REHEATING LEFTOVER HOT POCKETS
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL DRIZZLED ON SOME MORE SHIT
Then there's this:
Do you see that? She's wearing a T-SHIRT WITH HER OWN "CATCH PHRASE" ON IT. On her own shirt. Only a candidate for retroactive abortion does that.
I'll end with this comment from a post that set me off:
Last night, Anthony Bourdain's show took him to Charleston, South Carolina, shortly after Rachel Ray had been through. Eating at one of the restaurants she recommended in her $40/day book, he asked the waitress how much Ray tipped. Any guesses?
And that's low even if you haven't created a logistical nightmare for the place by filming there.
Deeply unsurprising, but appalling all the same.
I've begun working closely with STUDIO 360, which has been tremendously rewarding. On this week's program I'm featured with Miranda July and other artists, talking about the MacDowell Colony, a life in the arts and much more.
Studio 360: Daisey Does MacDowell:
A hundred years ago in New Hampshire, Edward and Marian MacDowell opened the doors of America’s first official artists colony. Aaron Copland wrote "Billy the Kid" there. Willa Cather worked on Death Comes for the Archbishop. And earlier this year, Mike Daisey went to work on a monologue. He has this to say about his month in a cabin at the MacDowell Colony.
Death Penalty Repealed in New Jersey - New York Times:
Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law a measure repealing New Jersey’s death penalty on Monday, making the state the first in a generation to abolish capital punishment.
Mr. Corzine also issued an order commuting the sentences of the eight men on New Jersey’ death row to life in prison with no possibility of parole, ensuring that they will stay behind bars for the rest of their lives.
In an extended and often passionate speech from his office at the state capitol, Mr. Corzine declared an end to what he called “state-endorsed killing,” and said that New Jersey could serve as a model for other states.
“Today New Jersey is truly evolving,” he said. “I believe society first must determine if its endorsement of violence begets violence, and if violence undermines our commitment to the sanctity of life. To these questions, I answer yes.”
‘News’ I Team Says ‘Eff U’ to MTA - New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer:
• Overhiring for Capital Projects: "Division was formed in 2003 to handle big construction projects, like the Second Ave. line and the expansion of the 7 line. It employs 68 — by next year that number is expected to rise to 150. There are 640-plus employees already working on capital projects at other agencies who pocket $38 million in salaries."
• Too Much Help Where We Don't Need It: "There are 21 bathroom attendants at Grand Central making $16,270 to $53,867 a year. Says Metro-North: '700,000 pass through each day, 10,000 meals are sold and they all have to pee.'"
•Too Many Bosses: "Eight agency chiefs make a total of $1.8 million a year, including hefty housing allowances even though many live within commuting distance."
• For the Love of God, They Have Lawyers: "The MTA couldn't fit all the lawyers it employs on a city bus. Dredging through last year's records, The News found a total 112 lawyers with a $12 million payroll. Many of them are hidden in a sub agency practically no one has ever heard of: the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority. In that agency alone, The News found 35 lawyers. There were 39 more at NYC Transit, 19 at MTA headquarters, 11 at the LIRR and eight at Metro-North. Even that was not enough. MTA headquarters has spent millions on outside counsel from some of New York's most prestigious —and expensive — law firms."
Gothamist: Jay-Z Raps With Charlie Rose:
In November, Charlie Rose sat down with rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z. The musician is originally from Brooklyn and late in the interview Rose queries about the expected success of the Nets once they move to Kings County. Jay-Z is very enthusiastic about the potential of the team and the virtues of the borough, as he prefaces every statement about Brooklyn with the words "we" and "ours." It is unintentionally comedic then when Rose immediately follows up with the question "And where do you live now?" The answer is a terse "In Manhattan, uh." The exchange begins around 48 minutes and 45 seconds into the interview and a quick transcript is available at the Atlantic Yards Report site here. It reminded us of the first time that we heard that director Spike Lee had moved to the Upper East Side.
Icelandic tourist to US held for two days, shackled, deported -- over a ten-year-old visa mistake - Boing Boing:
An Icelandic woman who came to the US as a tourist was arrested and held without charge or a phone call for two days at the border because she had overstayed a US visa more than a decade ago. She was held in shackles, denied food, and then deported from the US back to Iceland.
She contended she was interrogated at JFK airport for two days, during which she was not allowed to call relatives. She said she was denied food and drink for part of the time, and was photographed and fingerprinted.
On Monday, Lillendahl claimed, her hands and feet were chained and she was moved to a prison in New Jersey, where she was kept in a cell, interrogated further and denied access to a phone.
Mike Daisey @ the Brooklyn Public Library « Thischris:
Daisey, as usual, was hilarious and thought-provoking. In his performance, he relates his experience as a youth living in, as he put it, “a fucking desolate wasteland” in northern Maine and attending a school that was Catholic in all but name. His story about the time his school decided to put the annual Christmas Pageant into the hands of the students is both laugh-out-loud funny and also insightful.
He also talks about the first time he took his wife to his parent’s house for Christmas and the ensuing weirdness that everyone experiences when they see their family through somebody else’s eyes.
"Culture, which we put on like an overcoat, is the collectivized consensus about what sort of neurotic behaviors are acceptable."
First-person account of CIA torture survivor - Boing Boing:
The CIA held Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in several different cells when he was incarcerated its network of secret prisons known as "black sites." But the small cells were all pretty similar, maybe 7 feet wide and 10 feet long. He was sometimes naked, and sometimes handcuffed for weeks at a time. In one cell his ankle was chained to a bolt in the floor. There was a small toilet. In another cell there was just a bucket. Video cameras recorded his every move. The lights always stayed on -- there was no day or night. A speaker blasted him with continuous white noise, or rap music, 24 hours a day.
The guards wore black masks and black clothes. They would not utter a word as they extracted Bashmilah from his cell for interrogation -- one of his few interactions with other human beings during his entire 19 months of imprisonment. Nobody told him where he was, or if he would ever be freed.
It was enough to drive anyone crazy. Bashmilah finally tried to slash his wrists with a small piece of metal, smearing the words "I am innocent" in blood on the walls of his cell. But the CIA patched him up.
So Bashmilah stopped eating. But after his weight dropped to 90 pounds, he was dragged into an interrogation room, where they rammed a tube down his nose and into his stomach. Liquid was pumped in. The CIA would not let him die.
Brooklyn Public Library presents
Comedies and Tragedies: Stories for Adults
CHRISTMAS: FRIEND OF FOE?
In this pensive and antic riff on the collision of mania, decadence, and celebration that marks the end of every year, Mike Daisey deploys his off-kilter sensibility to help us see ourselves and the traditions we take for granted through a microscope, the wrong end of a telescope, and perhaps a kaleidoscope. Not for nothing has the New York Times labeled him a “master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation.” Daisey's been a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, and his work has been heard on the BBC, NPR, and the National Lampoon Radio Hour.
Tickets available here or at the door.
Gothamist: Pencil This In:
The Nature Theater of Oklahoma – named after a passage in Kafka’s Amerika – have taken over a former indoor playground in Tribeca and filled it with their must-see idiosyncratic epic No Dice. Staged as a sort of cheeky homage to dinner theater, with sandwiches before the show and wine and dessert during intermission, the hilarious and remarkably unique production tweaks dialogue transcribed from over 100 hours of tape recorded telephone conversations between the actors and their friends and family. Performed in outlandish costumes, with jerky, absurd gestures and melodramatic intensity, the effect is sort of like a podcast of Overheard in New York remixed by Danger Mouse – if such a thing was possible.
The Playgoer: Brantley Slept While Broadway Struck:
Roberts: What does a theatre critic do when there's a Broadway strike?
Brantley: I went to a lot of movies. I went to my house upstate. And I found myself sleeping ten hours a day because it had been a really hard pressed schedule for a while.
Well, so much for expanding non-Broadway theatre coverage during the strike. Hey, I don't blame Brantley for catching some z's. But what kind of editor just puts your chief critic on vacation during the strike?
The kind who thinks there's no theatre outside of Broadway, that's who.
HOWTO defeat the shoe-scanner at Heathrow - Boing Boing:
Bruce Schneier just passed through Heathrow Airport and noticed that they're speeding up the shoe-scanning process by having you go through a metal detector first and then have your shoes scanned at a second system. Being a security guru, he gave it ten seconds' thought and figured out how to defeat it.
Here's how the attack works. Assume that you have two pairs of shoes: a clean pair that passes all levels of screening, and a dangerous pair that doesn't. (Ignore for a moment the ridiculousness of screening shoes in the first place, and assume that an X-ray machine can detect the dangerous pair.) Put the dangerous shoes on your feet and the clean shoes in your carry-on bag. Walk through the metal detector. Then, at the shoe X-ray machine, take the dangerous shoes off and put them in your bag, and take the clean shoes out of your bag and place them on the X-ray machine. You've now managed to get through security without having your shoes screened.
MS: I'm speaking to David Foster Wallace, the author of Infinite Jest. This may be hard to do, but can you find a way of saying what the difference is between that kind of involution and the complexities of this novel?
DFW: [Whispers]: Boy. [Pause, whispers]: Boy. [Speaks] I probably can't do it and sound very smart or coherent, but I know that -- I guess I, when I was in my twenties, like deep down underneath all the bullshit what I really believed was that the point of fiction was to show that the writer was really smart. And that sounds terrible to say, but I think, looking back, that's what was going on. And I don't think I really understood what loneliness was when I was a young man. And now I've got a much less clear idea of what the point of art is, but I think it's got something to do with loneliness and something to do with setting up a conversation between human beings. And I know that when I started this book I wanted-- I had very vague and not very ambitious...ambitions, and one was I wanted to do something really sad. I'd done comedy before, I wanted to do just something really sad and I wanted to do something about what was sad about America. And there's a fair amount of weird and hard technical stuff going on in this book, but, I mean one reason why I'm willing to go around and talk to people about it, and that I'm sort of proud of it in a way that I haven't been about earlier stuff is that I feel like whatever's hard in the book is in service of something that at least for me is good and important. And it's embarrassing to talk about because I think it sounds kind of cheesy. I sort of think, like all the way down kind of to my butthole, I was a different person coming up with this book than I was about my earlier stuff. And I'm not saying my earlier stuff was all crap, you know, but it's just it seems like I think when you're very young and until you've sort of [clears throat] faced various darknesses, it's very difficult to understand how precious and rare the sort of thing that art can do is.
The Brooklyn Paper: Santa claws:
Much like Santa Claus himself, comic storyteller Mike Daisey is bringing Christmas cheer to Brooklyn for one night only, so you had better not pout and you’d better not cry. Here’s why:
“It will be a perverse but ultimately hopeful story of the holidays,” the Carroll Gardens resident said of “Christmas: Friend or Foe?,” his Dec. 15 show at the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
Man Nearly Dies Downing Vodka at Airport:
A man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after quaffing two pints of vodka at an airport security check instead of handing it over to comply with new rules about carrying liquids aboard a plane, police said Wednesday.
The incident occurred Tuesday at the Nuremberg airport, where the 64-year-old man was switching planes on his way home to Dresden from a vacation in Egypt.
New airport rules prohibit passengers from carrying larger quantities of liquid onto planes, and he was told at a security check he would have to either throw out the bottle of vodka or pay a fee to have his carry-on bag checked.
Instead, he chugged the vodka — and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function, police said.
Hacks: Kindle DRM Hacked (That Was Easy):
The Kindle only allows the reading of Amazon DRM-protected content. So how do you load other eBooks onto the Kindle? Just add Amazon DRM. That's one solution hacker Igor Skochinsky has used to load Mobipocket books onto his Kindle. Using a series of scripts, he's able to convert eBook files to Amazon's AZW format and then add the necessary serial number DRM, specialized per an individual's particular Kindle.
Oh, and now you can too since his scripts are available for download. Should you feel bad about reading your non-Amazon eBooks on the Kindle? For $399 I wouldn't feel bad loading it with the souls of Amazon's first born children.
Tesla Coil Artist Sparks Up for Christmas:
Peter Terren loves toying with Tesla coils. The 51-year-old Australian doctor bailed on his physics major during his first year of college, but that didn't stop him from pursuing his passion for electricity. In his free time, he engages in what he calls "the holy art of electrickery."
From small-scale physics experiments to big-and-dangerous Tesla stunts, Terren meticulously documents his projects on his website, Tesla Downunder. Terren's most recent creation is a 15-foot-tall Tesla coil Christmas tree. Here's a look at some of his supercharged masterpieces.
Will The Wall Street Journal Become USA Today?:
[He] said the Journal could begin to look like USA Today, featuring shorter articles, more pictures, graphics and human interest stories.
"What he will be hoping to do is to attract the television and Internet generations, who are reading less and less newspapers anyway, but who are interested in business," Levinson said.
"Right now The Wall Street Journal has almost a Victorian, New Yorker, magazine flavor to it," Levinson said. "That's like nothing that Murdoch does."
Newsday's Richard J. Dalton Jr. also helpfully notes that within months of News Corp.'s purchase of The Times of London, the newspaper's front page pieces started including "eye-catching photos unrelated to the stories" and news of babies being killed by dogs and jet wings cracking in midair.
Conclusion: We can be pretty sure there will be changes at the Journal.
Mike Daisey Presents "Christmas: Friend or Foe?":
Lauded by the New York Times as a "master storyteller," Mike Daisey weaves intricate tales for adults. This Saturday he questions the traditions that surround the holidays with a monologue that is sure to make even the most Scrooge-like Brooklynite laugh.
Rudy Giuliani: New York's Own Oskar Schindler:
Much as Peter denied Jesus three times, so do some anti-American types deny Rudy Giuliani. Specifically, they deny that HE AND HE ALONE was personally responsible for making New York livable (fun fact: the only people who lived in New York before Rudy were criminals and victims of criminals, most of whom were also criminals) and for saving the entire world on 9/11 by walking uptown with some tv cameras and shooting down that one plane in Pennsylvania that was headed for a school full of orphan children learning to be firefighters.
I think this is my favorite video of all time--probably from familiarity, as I am friends with the VIDS dancers--Dickie has in fact lit a number of my monologues at Ars Nova, and Amelia and I go way back. Strangely I also know Moby, who has a long association with the Moth, and I love Debbie Harry with an unhealthy intensity...so for me, this is a very special collision of worlds.
The typos really make this work.
Perhaps I Should Call Them "Ratjamas":
We also got to know our newest friend, who occasionally hangs out on the deck with me! He's a rat. And you know what? He's adorable. I like to call him "Rat." The wife has noticed me peering out the windows lately and plaintively hooting, "Where's my rat?" Or, when I'm feeling affectionate, I might coo, "Where's my ratter?"
"You're spending too much time in your pajamas," said my wife. "And he tried to eat our brined turkey." (This is true.) More on my rat later, that gorgeous little fucker. I'm kind of in love with him.
It's probably best that I had to go back to work.
Why was GMC taking all his money? Because he bought a vehicle but the engine quit working. He took it back. They said they’d have to replace the engine for a lot of money he didn’t have. He told them that wasn’t right, they should fix what they sold him. They didn’t see it that way. He quit making payments. Later, he bought another vehicle, but his wife crashed it. “She almost died.” The insurance wouldn’t pay. So he quit making payments on the second vehicle, too. Pretty soon, GMC was calling him telling him he owed them money. “I don’t think so,” he told them. They garnished his wages. “Cleaned me out.” So he quit work to cut them off.
RIAA: you aren't authorized to rip your CDs - Boing Boing:
The RIAA has told a court that ripping your CDs to MP3 format is "unauthorized" and illegal, in a brief filed with the Arizona US District Court where Atlantic Records is suing Jeffrey and Pamela Howell. The last time this issue came up, in the Grokster Supreme Court case, the RIAA's lawyer said that ripping CDs was not illegal and was implicitly authorized by the record labels.
The Extreme New York Childhood of Alex Goldberg -- New York Magazine:
Next up: Jamie Foxx. The actor was near the bar, giving a woman a massage, and saw the crowd now gathered around Alex. Foxx offered to buy him a drink. What do you want, little boy? “A piña colada,” Alex said. The crowd laughed, and he got one, virgin.
Alex’s adventure ended hours later, at Nobu, where the pool crowd had migrated to feast on junket sushi. He had been chatting up Venus and Serena Williams at a nearby table, and mugging for cameras with a cigar hanging from his lips while eating a bowl of ice cream. Then the faces at his table went blank. Alex looked up and saw what they saw. His mother.
Slashdot | Copy That Floppy, Lose Your Computer:
Over the weekend we posted a story about a new copyright bill that creates a new govt. agency in charge of copyright enforcement. Kevin Way writes "In particular, the bill grants this new agency the right to seize any computer or network hardware used to "facilitate" a copyright crime and auction it off. You would not need to be found guilty at trial to face this penalty. You may want to read a justification of it, and criticism presented by Declan McCullagh and Public Knowledge." Lots of good followup there on a really crazy development.
Tension in Hillaryland Grows as Plan Goes Awry:
When Hart pushed the group during a two-hour conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of the two candidates, a different picture emerged.
Obama, they worried, can't win the nomination; voters aren't ready for an African-American president (a point expressed most directly by the two black women participants), and he may not be sufficiently experienced.
A couple of victories in Iowa and New Hampshire would cure most of those problems.
The concerns about Clinton, 60, a New York senator, are that she is devious, calculating and, fairly or not, a divisive figure in American politics.
Those are a lot tougher to overcome.
The above is a train interior, if you can believe that. GO JAPAN! (Thanks, Pat...check out Pat's amazing video site!)
Monkey Disaster: Huckscuses:
I had no chance for a direct interview so I had to settle for lobbing questions wherever I could. I got in something about campaign finance, other reporters got things in on health care and torture. And, knowing Huckabee played bass, I asked him who he preferred: McCartney or Entwistle. He stopped shaking hands, looked right at me, and was at a loss for words. Finally, he said that he would go with McCartney narrowly just for the overall musicianship although he was a huge Entwistle fan. As executives lined up to meet him, Huckabee told me about this one time in LA when he got to play Entwistle's bass and how awesome that was. "Mitt Romney can't play bass," I pointed out. "Not as good as me," Huckabee boasted.
Great status update:
TimesSquare.com - Mike Daisey's Many Faces of Genius:
Though each performance focuses on a separate individual, the first being Bertolt Brecht, then P.T. Barnum and so on, and can be viewed independently, all four together form an epic account of triumph, failure, disaster and hope marked with Mike Daisey's signature style of dark, comic intensity.
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory, this is theatre you cannot get anywhere else. A rare and treasured opportunity, this is a must see.
The Brooklyn Rail - September 2006 - Revolution at the Gates: Mac Wellman and Young Jean Lee’s New Downtown Now:
...one might argue that, in its very presentation, it presents a certain type of play as emblematic of the current movement—that is, plays that are cerebral, language-driven, that defer narrative or symbolic “meaning” as we usually know it in favor of authorial impulse and whimsy, and that are by and for a smart and self-selected group.
Katrina, 9/11 and disaster capitalism | Salon Books:
The movie, which caused a stir at the Venice Film Festival, dramatizes the arguments of the book: that disasters -- unnatural ones like military coups (Pinochet's Chile) and war (Iraq) as well as natural ones (the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina) -- allow governments and multinationals to take advantage of citizen shock and swiftly impose corporate-friendly policies. The result: a wealthier elite and more-beleaguered middle and lower classes. Sri Lankan fishing villages become luxury resorts; public schools along the Gulf Coast become corporate-run "charter" schools.
Unafraid of controversy, Klein goes one step further in her new book than most progressive economists. She contends that in the aftermath of these various disasters, not only democracy but also human rights fall by the wayside -- all in the name of freedom and the free market. Klein compares economic shock therapy to the horrific experiments conducted on psychiatric patients in the mid-'50s by a CIA-sponsored Canadian doctor, in which patients were subjected to drugs, electroconvulsive therapy and sensory deprivation in an effort to replace their problem behaviors with a more compliant personality. If a personality can be remade, so, too, a nation. The film, with its stark images of ECT, excerpts from CIA torture manuals, footage of Nobel economist and shock-doctrine promoter Milton Friedman glad-handing Pinochet, Thatcher and Reagan, and images of natural disasters (the Asian tsunami, 9/11) makes her message visceral: Be informed, be shock-resistant.
This Is A Banana Republic:
What defines such a republic? How about an executive that ignores the rule of law, commits war-crimes and then destroys the actual evidence? Today's bombshell is that the CIA has done just that with respect to tapes made recording the torture of enemy combatants. Read the whole story. We live in a country where the government can detain indefinitely, torture in secret, and then secretly destroy the tapes of torture sessions to protect its own staff.
Some Airlines to Offer In-Flight Internet Service - New York Times:
Passengers may soon hear a new in-flight announcement: “You can now log on.”
Starting next week and over the next few months, several American airlines will test Internet service on their planes.
On Tuesday, JetBlue Airways will begin offering a free e-mail and instant messaging service on one aircraft, while American Airlines, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines plan to offer a broader Web experience in the coming months, probably priced at about $10 a flight.
“I think 2008 is the year when we will finally start to see in-flight Internet access become available, but I suspect the rollout domestically will take place in a very measured way,” said Henry Harteveldt, an analyst with Forrester Research. But “in a few years time, if you get on a flight that doesn’t have Internet access, it will be like walking into a hotel room that doesn’t have TV.”
C.I.A. Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations - New York Times:
The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.
comes out of the sky
like bleached flies.
The ground is no longer naked.
The ground has on its clothes.
The trees poke out of sheets
and each branch wears the sock of God.
There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
I bite it.
Someone once said:
Don't bite till you know
if it's bread or stone.
What I bite is all bread,
rising, yeasty as a cloud.
There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
Today God gives milk
and I have the pail.
Slashdot | Non-Competes As the DRM of Human Capital:
"Techdirt has an interesting look at how non-compete agreements are like DRM for people, doing just as much damage to innovation as DRM has done to the entertainment industry. It includes links to a lot of research to back up the premise, including some studies showing that Silicon Valley's success as compared to Boston's can be traced in part to the fact that California does not enforce non-compete agreements."
Well, She Must Have A Lot To Say!:
"Natascha Kampusch, the Austrian teenager who was held prisoner for eight years in a basement, will have her own television chat show, her media adviser confirmed to CNN Thursday."
Universal Music CEO Doug Morris Speaks, Recording Industry in Even Deeper Shit Than We Thought -- Vulture -- Entertainment & Culture Blog -- New York Magazine:
In the December issue of Wired, Seth Mnookin sits down with Universal Music Group CEO/supervillain Doug Morris for a pretty excellent profile. In it, Mnookin paints the 68-year old Morris as a crotchety executive who's upset that he can't focus more on simple product and artist development because he's too busy worrying about iPods, MP3s, and his company's digital strategy (which was never really supposed to be part of his job description when he took the gig in 1995). In a way, he almost comes off as cute, like if your grandfather were accidentally hired to run Google (at one point, Morris hilariously compares his embattled industry to a character in "Li'l Abner," a comic strip that stopped running in 1977).
As for his actual digital strategy, it's pretty much what we expected — Morris's singular goal these days is to limit the power of Steve Jobs and iTunes. He puts most of his energy into designing Universal's own Internet music store (Total Music, which is definitely doomed to fail), cutting deals with Apple competitor Microsoft for a piece of those massive Zune profits, and heroically doing all he can to make it even more difficult for consumers to justify paying for music online. But then he says something so ridiculous it sort of blows our minds.
"My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does... Writers are always selling somebody out."
A reminder to all: I'll be performing at SPEAKEASY STORIES this evening, as will my lovely director, collaborator and wife, Jean-Michele Gregory.
Jean-Michele will be telling A HEARTBREAKING TALE OF LANGUAGE AND LOVE.
and I will be telling A BIZARRE STORY OF WRITERS, WRITING AND THE WRITTEN.
The Gowanus Lounge: Shot-Up Car Parked at Carroll Gardens Bus Stop for Two Weeks:
If you take a walk by Mazzolla on Union and Henry you will see parked in the bus stop a silver Audi SUV with a smashed rear window. If you walk around the car you will see that it is riddled with bullet holes on the drivers side, each one labeled and numbered, and inside you will see it is blood spattered!...It is right in front of the bus stop that all the Brooklyn New School kids take and of course Mazzolla is a big magnet for kids.
Waiting for Godot—and Much More—in New Orleans:
There is perhaps no more fitting backdrop for a production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot—whose main characters, Didi and Gogo, spend two acts waiting for a man who never arrives—than New Orleans, where some residents died waiting for rescue after Katrina struck and others still have yet to see their neighborhoods rebuilt.
Earlier this month, the Classical Theatre of Harlem, together with Creative Time, a New York-based art collective, wrapped up a two-week run of Beckett's most renowned work with a final production in the Gentilly neighborhood. The play's organizers had to turn people away the weekend before, when Didi and Gogo did their waiting in the still-decimated Lower Ninth Ward.
Parabasis: Rebuilding Justice:
The exact opposite has happend in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. An "opportunity" has been discovered and exploited. The same contractors and companies responsible for our disasterous occupation of Iraq (and all of the fraud, waste, abuse and thievery that goes with it) have been awarded similar contracts to "help" rebuild New Orleans. Over one billion dollars of money is currently unaccounted for. New Orleans is now a majority white city.
Why is this happening? For many reasons. But chief among them is that corporatist America, including both parties, see an opportunity to rebuild New Orleans as a kind of Capatalist Dream World, a Disneyland on the Mississippi.
Robert Reich's Blog: Why is HRC stooping So Low?:
Yesterday, HRC suggested O lacks courage. "There's a big difference between our courage and our convictions, what we believe and what we're willing to fight for," she told reporters in Iowa, saying Iowa voters will have a choice "between someone who talks the talk, and somebody who's walked the walk." Then asked whether she intended to raise questions about O’s character, she said: "It's beginning to look a lot like that."
I just don’t get it. If there’s anyone in the race whose history shows unique courage and character, it's Barack Obama. HRC’s campaign, by contrast, is singularly lacking in conviction about anything. Her pollster, Mark Penn, has advised her to take no bold positions and continuously seek the political center, which is exactly what she’s been doing.
Daisey's never dull- Syracuse.com:
It has been said that the single most difficult type of theatrical presentation to pull off successfully is stand-up comedy. It's the ultimate crucible for the live performer.
What Mike Daisey does in "Tongues Will Wag" is akin to the stand-up monologue, except Daisey gives us generous slices of his life experiences, and they're not all funny.
Oh, there's plenty of the comic, so don't worry about being trapped, intermission-less in your seat while one performer drones on about man's place in the universe or the uselessness of it all. Daisey is funny. He's also very poignant, sensitive, sometimes critical, but above it all, a sense of honesty permeates the performance.
Mistress Matisse's Journal:
Monk and I were talking together, with some passion and intensity, about business strategies. After watching us for a little while, a man sitting nearby said, “You guys sound like you’re mad.”
Monk and I looked at each other, surprised at his interpretation. I shrugged. “It’s not that. But business is war, baby,” I said.
“Your business sounds like war,” he replied.
Monk shook his head. “All business is war.”
“What do you do?” I asked him curiously.
“I work at Microsoft.”
ruhlman.com: Guest Blogging: A Bourdain Throwdown:
RACHAEL RAY: Complain all you want. It’s like railing against the pounding surf. She only grows stronger and more powerful. Her ear-shattering tones louder and louder. We KNOW she can’t cook. She shrewdly tells us so. So...what is she selling us? Really? She’s selling us satisfaction, the smug reassurance that mediocrity is quite enough. She’s a friendly, familiar face who appears regularly on our screens to tell us that “Even your dumb, lazy ass can cook this!” Wallowing in your own crapulence on your Cheeto-littered couch you watch her and think, “Hell…I could do that. I ain’t gonna…but I could--if I wanted! Now where’s my damn jug a Diet Pepsi?” Where the saintly Julia Child sought to raise expectations, to enlighten us, make us better--teach us--and in fact, did, Rachael uses her strange and terrible powers to narcotize her public with her hypnotic mantra of Yummo and Evoo and Sammys. “You’re doing just fine. You don’t even have to chop an onion--you can buy it already chopped. Aspire to nothing…Just sit there. Have another Triscuit…Sleep….sleep….”