Friday, September 30, 2005
Seth Hammes was filming in the woods when his camcorder recorded the crack of gunshots, the 17-year-old's screams and the voice of the alleged shooter, promising help that never came.
Authorities say they might never have learned what happened to Hammes, who later died in the woods.
"But right next to him was the videotape," Monroe County Sheriff Pete Quirin said Thursday. "That's when we knew we had a homicide on our hands."
After viewing and listening to the tape, police tracked down 24-year-old Russell Schroeder, who now faces charges of reckless homicide and reckless injury. Schroeder was being held on $250,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 85 years in prison.
The Philadelphia Inquirer accomplished quite a feat: It scooped The New York Times -- on its own story, no less.
The Inquirer not only broke the news involving New York Times reporter Judith Miller's release from jail, but also disclosed that her source was the vice president's chief of staff.
At 6:40 p.m., the Inquirer posted a story written by staff writers John Shiffman and Steve Goldstein that said Miller was released from jail at 3:55 pm. Miller had been incarcerated at the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia since July 6 for refusing to identify a source.
That source, the Inquirer was first to reveal, is I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.
The other day I was re-visiting my original impulses for making a career out of theatre, and I thought of myself sneaking out of class and breaking into the tiny theatre in my highschool and sitting on the empty stage in the darkness and just swelling with joy at all the possibilites to be carved out in that darkness. I still have that feeling sometimes, like the first time I enter a rehearsal room with a stunning group of actors, or when I walk into a theatre as the set is being built, wood sawed, flats painted... it's like falling in love. But that feeling is so fleeting, while this gnawing feeling of low-grade failure is pretty constant.
I'm trying to come to terms with it. The art of this business is not in the making of art, which is chiefly instinctual. It's in the aggressive re-discovery of one's love of magic. Because quite often there isn't much else to go on.
We fight for hours, through dinner, through the endless evening,
who even knows now what about,
what could be so dire to have to suffer so for, stuck in one
craws like fishbones,
the cadavers of our argument dissected, flayed, but we go on with
it, to bed, and through the night,
feigning sleep, dreaming sleep, hardly sleeping, so precisely never
touching, back to back,
the blanket bridged across us for the wintry air to tunnel down, to
keep us lifting, turning,
through the angry dark that holds us in its cup of pain, the aching
dark, the weary dark,
then, toward dawn, I can't help it, though justice won't I know be
served, I pull her to me,
and with such accurate, graceful deftness she rolls to me that we
arrive embracing our entire lengths.
C. K. Williams
Yen for fine steak? Dish out top dollar:
Along Las Vegas Boulevard and off the Strip, the $20-something steak has gone the way of the $1.99 buffet.
A survey of top eateries reveals the most expensive steaks this side of New York City, if not even higher than there.
Granted, many of the jaw-dropping prices are the result of more Kobe beef being served. Take Shintaro, the Japanese eatery at Bellagio, where the 10-ounce Washugyu Kobe tenderloin is going for $190. Shintaro's 12-ounce sirloin commands $170.
Over at Bradley Ogden, the high-end restaurant at Caesars Palace, the 8-ounce Kobe steak goes for $175.
Also cracking the $100 barrier: Craftsteak at the MGM Grand, with a 10-ounce Kobe filet mignon price at $100. On the cusp: a 14-ounce Kobe ribeye for $98.
So much U.S. beef has topped the $50-a-steak mark that we couldn't count them. Among the highest: Michael's at the Barbary Coast offers a 20-ounce New York prime aged Black Angus sirloin for $75, and filet mignon for $68.
Goodbye, lady in Bangor, who sent me
snapshots of yourself, after definitely hinting
you were beautiful; goodbye,
Miami Beach urologist, who enclosed plain
brown envelopes for the return of your very
Clinical Sonnet; goodbye, manufacturer
of brassieres on the Coast, whose eclogues
give the fullest treatment in literature yet
to the sagging-breast motif; goodbye, you in San Quentin,
who wrote, "Being German my hero is Hitler,"
instead of "Sincerely yours," at the end of long,
neat-scripted letter demolishing
I swear to you, it was just my way
of cheering myself up, as I licked
the stamped, self-addressed envelopes,
the game I had
of trying to guess which one of you, this time,
had poisoned his glue. I did care.
I did read each poem entire.
I did say what I thought was the truth
in the mildest words I know. And now,
in this poem, or chopped prose, not any better,
I realize, than those troubled lines
I kept sending back to you,
I have to say I am relieved it is over:
at the end I could feel only pity
for that urge toward more life
your poems kept smothering in words, the smell
of which, days later, would tingle
in your nostrils as new, God-given impulses
you who are, for me, the postmarks again
of shattered towns-Xenia, Burnt Cabins, Hornell-
given away in poems, only their solitude kept.
Harvey Danger - Why We're Releasing Our New Album for Free on the Internet:
In preparing to self-release our new album, we thought long and hard about how best to use the internet. Given our unusual history, and a long-held sense that the practice now being demonized by the music biz as “illegal” file sharing can be a friend to the independent musician, we have decided to embrace the indisputable fact of music in the 21st century, put our money where our mouth is, and make our record, Little By Little…, available for download via Bittorrent, and at our website. We’re not streaming, or offering 30-second song samples, or annoying you with digital rights management software; we’re putting up the whole record, for free, forever. Full stop. Please help yourself; if you like it, please share with friends.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
The needs of the Giant Squid:
If man is to live in harmony with nature we must respect nature's needs, and the needs of the giant squid are simple:
a) three (3) metric tons of small fish per week, or one (1) sperm whale;
b) if giant squid is to make more than two appearances in one day, giant squid must be supplied with a rest area equipped with Bose sound system and six large, clean towels;
c) no flash photography.
We have violated our contract with the giant squid. Will any of us ever feel safe in the water again?
brooklynvegan: Across the Narrows Set Times | Listen Outside:
Quick Tip: Keyspan Park in Coney Island is like Summerstage in Central Park. You can you can hear the concert outside the venue. In Central Park you get nature. In Coney Island you get Coney Island. Right next door to the ball park is a bar called Peggy O'Neils. You can sit there and drink outside (and for instance listen to the Pixies from 8:40-10:10 PM on Saturday).
Save the Flowers: Science News Online, Sept. 24, 2005:
"Pigment compounds are derived from the same biochemical precursors [as scent compounds are], so it makes sense that if you make more of one you get less of the other," notes floral-scent biochemist and geneticist Eran Pichersky of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Floral scent may be dwindling because breeders for the $30 billion ornamental-flower industry pay scant attention to this most emblematic attribute of flowers. "In order of [commercial] priority, color is number 1 through 10," says Alan Blowers, head of flower biotechnology for Ball Helix, a biotech company in West Chicago, Ill., devoted to the ornamental-plant industry. Beyond color, breeders have been targeting improvements in flower longevity, shape, size, disease resistance, and other traits likely to improve the growers' bottom lines.
Fragrance is different. It's invisible, and its sensory impression is as subjective as taste.
NY1: Top Stories:
If you like to drink your morning coffee on the subway or stretch out on the seats, beware - that kind of behavior could soon cost you.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted Thursday in favor of tighter restrictions on behaviors that many New Yorkers see and do every day on the subway.
"If you're walking around with a steaming hot coffee on the 5 or the 4 train at 8:30 a.m., I would hope to hell the cop would give you a summons because you have no right to do that. It's not right and it's not courteous to your fellow passengers," said MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow.
Sarah Michaelson and the dangers the uninsured face every day:
Over the last decade, New York City–based choreographer Sarah Michelson has established a name for herself in downtown dance circles with her daring work. She’s won two Bessie Awards and created dances for Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project and the Lyon Opera Ballet. In January of this year she was set to premiere Daylight, a new and highly anticipated work, at PS 122. Four days before its scheduled opening she cracked a bone in her right foot, which led not only to the cancellation of the show’s three-week run but also lost income, uninsured medical bills, and a very public reconsideration of her chosen career in a New York Times pro?le before the show was rescheduled for June.
Curbed: What Danger Lurks in Mysterious Smith Street Boxes?
I've been wondering about these for weeks.
Last year, I stumbled upon the Web site of a Catholic parish church, the pastor of which has been a friend of mine since we were in seminary together in the 1980s. Among the sermons on the site was one dealing with the sexual abuse scandal that roiled the church in 2002. In this sermon, the priest repeated the conservative line that the scandal was largely the result of homosexual men failing to keep their vows. This did not surprise me because I knew my friend was conservative.
But I also knew he was gay.
The torture end-game is approaching - and Rumsfeld and Cheney know it. What is now being done to the hero, Captain Ian Fishback, who braved 17 months of obstruction, threats and intimidation by military brass to keep quiet, is a national disgrace. Fishback has now been sequestered at Fort Bragg under orders restricting his contacts (the pretext is that he is a key witness in a criminal investigation and that he should not be in contact with outsiders while it continues). My sources tell me that he has been subjected to a series of long, arduous interrogations by CID investigators. Predictably, the CID guys are out to find just one thing: they want to know the identities of his two or three NCO corroborators. The CID folks are apparently indifferent to the accounts of wrongdoing - telling him repeatedly not to waste their time with his stories. Fishback knows if he gives their identities up, these folks will also be destroyed - so he's keeping his silence, so far. The investigators imply that he failed to report abuses, so he may be charged, or that he is peddling falsehoods and will be charged for that. They tell him his career in the Army is over. Meanwhile the peer pressure on him is enormous. I'm reliably told that he has been subjected to an unending stream of threats and acts of intimidation from fellow officers. He is accused of betraying the Army, and betraying his unit by bringing it into disrepute. His motives are challenged. He is accused of siding with the enemy and working for their cause. And it goes on and on.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The Show Must Go On: Stories about the Biz
From big break to heartbreak, from top billing to B-list, showbiz ain’t for the queasy. The Moth returns to its home at The Players Club for an evening of true tales about fortune and fame, schtick and ick. Come hear it from those who have fallen down seven times, but gotten up eight.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Stories told by:
7pm Doors Open
8pm Stories Start on Stage
at The Players
16 Gramercy Park South
$20 Tickets available now at http://www.smarttix.com/
or by calling 212-868-4444.
Artistic Director: Catherine Burns
Producer: Sarah Austin Jenness
Executive and Creative Director: Lea Thau
About the Storytellers:
Jonathan Ames, a writer and performer, is the author of I Pass Like Night, The Extra Man, What's Not to Love?, My Less Than Secret Life, and Wake Up, Sir! He is the editor of the recently published Sexual Metamorphosis: Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs and he is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a recurring guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, and 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, which was a stretch but he pulled it off. His novels The Extra Man and Wake Up, Sir! are in development as films with screenplays by Mr. Ames. Visit his website at www.jonathanames.com.
Mike Daisey's monologues, including 21 Dog Years, The Ugly American, Monopoly!, Wasting Your Breath and I Miss the Cold War have been performed Off Broadway and around the world. His latest, The Ugly American, was seen at the Spoleto Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, ACT Theatre and will be on the BBC this fall. More conventional jobs he has held include stints as a security officer, web porn-sniffer, high school teacher, blood plasma seller, archivist, telemarketer, roofer, cow innard remover, law firm receptionist, cold-caller, rape counselor, DJ, freelance writer, accountant, night janitor in a home for the violently mentally ill and dot-com wage slave. Currently he’s a commentator for National Public Radio’s Day To Day, a contributor to the New York Times Magazine, and writing his second book, Happiness Is Overrated, which is dedicated to the proposition its title asserts. He lives with his wife, director, and collaborator Jean-Michele Gregory in Brooklyn.
Rick McKay is an award-winning filmmaker who lives in New York City, and who made the documentary feature film Broadway: The Golden Age which is on over 17 Best Films of 2004 critics’ lists and was honored at over 15 film festivals. In addition to being an award winning print journalist, Rick was a segment producer on the PBS series City Arts, which won over 30 Emmy awards, and has produced for the PBS series Egg: The Arts Show, A&E’s Biography, HBO specials, and the annual network opening of the Tony Awards. Rick has also been honored at Sundance and much of his footage was used to create the HBO documentary Elaine Stritch at Liberty, which won the 2004 Emmy award.
Moby is a critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated musician. His 1995 album Everything is Wrong was named Spin’s “Album of the Year,” his albums Play and 18 have sold 14 million copies and he is currently on tour with his 2005 album Hotel. Moby also owns Teany, a teahouse on the Lower East Side, and is an outspoken environmental and animal rights activist.
Andy Borowitz 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 four humor books, including Who Moved My Soap: The CEO’s Guide to Surviving in Prison, and The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers. He was a 2001 Finalist for the Thurber prize for American Humor for this book The Trillionaire Next Door.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.
Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.
But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes. On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.'
* * *
Bush has been looking for opportunities to show his concern. But the White House will take the effort a step further Tuesday, venturing into untested waters by putting the nation's first lady on reality television.
Laura Bush will travel to storm-damaged Biloxi, Miss., to film a spot on the feel-good, wish-granting hit "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
When Iraqis go to the polls Oct. 15 to vote on the constitution, it would probably be best if they rejected it. Elections for a new parliament are scheduled to take place this December in any case. Let them be for a new constitutional assembly (as current law provides in the event of a rejection), and let the process start over again. Further delay may prolong the chaos, but passage of this parchment will almost certainly make things worse—and for much longer still.
I say this with nothing but dismay. The Bush administration wants to withdraw most U.S. ground troops from Iraq by the end of next year, as do I. The official rationale will be: We've done our job; Iraq has a new government and a new constitution; we'll keep a cadre of troops behind for training and essential security, but otherwise the defense of Iraq is up to the Iraqis. But if there is no new constitution, no new government, a major pullout will be harder to justify.
And yet, the whole point of a constitution is to establish a foundation of consensus, to put forth a rule book that's accepted (even if reluctantly) by all the key factions; in short, to lay the groundwork on which politics can legitimately be played out.
This, Iraq's constitution clearly does not do.
I would like to say that it was the last time I ever snuck into Suzanne’s room. I would like to say that it was the last time I ever went through her belongings or used her stuff without permission. I would like to say that I learned a lesson that day about privacy and ownership and respect for my sister. I would like to say all that.
But I can’t.
But people who've screened the documentary say it's compelling and revealing.
It features, among other not-ready-for-prime-time moments, Clinton scowling and rolling her eyes over an apparent Kerry gaffe during a presidential debate; Kerry pretending to interview himself and babbling in Italian while waiting for a real interview to begin; Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) cursing at reporters during a campaign stop, and Kerry message guru Robert Shrum confidently declaring a few days before the 2004 election: "Zogby [a prominent pollster] just announced who's gonna win. Us!"
Shrum told me he personally didn't cooperate with the movie, which captures him on camera only a couple of times.
Asked if he plans to see it, he answered: "Absolutely not."
Those choosing to wear that eminently practical cold-weather garment the anorak have suffered much opprobrium in Britain in the past couple of decades. It began with trainspotting, a specialised hobby involving much standing at the end of draughty station platforms noting down the numbers of passing engines. Those choosing this hobby were frequently ridiculed as being obsessive about trivia and as having poor social skills.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Today is the day you start your project.
Wake up. Make your coffee. Sit down. Get to work. But there are many distractions. Mental and otherwise.
So this is NOT a to-do list. This is a not-to-do list. You don't need to check anything off, because these are things YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO.
Do not check your email.
Do not go to nytimes.com.
Do not decide to organize your cd rack.
Do not turn on the television.
Do not clip your nails.
Do not stare at your bald spot in the mirror and begin to calculate how much time your hair has left.
Do not start catching up on the DVDs that have arrived from Netflix.
Do not update your Netflix queue.
Do not Google all your Exes.
Windows is broken and Microsoft has admitted it. In an unprecedented attempt to explain its Longhorn problems and how it abandoned its traditional way of working, the normally secretive software giant has given unparalleled access to The Wall Street Journal, even revealing how Vice President Jim Allchin, personally broke the bad news to Bill Gates.
Allchin is co-head of the Platform Products and Services Division. "It's not going to work," he told Gates in the chairman's office, the paper reports. "[Longhorn] is so complex its writers will never be able to make it run properly."
Commentary from Damien on the article. It's a tremendously interesting and compelling read.
The latest horrifying torture revelations give his proposed anti-torture legislation a push. This is a real war within Republicanism right now: the decency and honor of John McCain and Lindsey Graham versus the incompetence and brutality of Cheney and Rumsfeld. And in army captain Ian Fishback, we have a real American hero. In his words: "We are America. Our actions should be held to a higher standard. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is 'America.'" That's the real voice of the U.S. military. And it abhors the brutality this administration has sanctioned and covered up.
Chris Rocks' new show:
The Hollywood Reporter's observation that "race and class melt away in the presence of these relatable characters" reminds me of something my unconsciously biased grandfather once said after seeing Ben Vereen on TV: "He was such a good dancer I didn't even notice he was black." Everybody Hates Chris isn't strident or preachy about racial issues, but it's an unabashedly black show, constantly aware of social and economic context and the way discrimination and poverty shape the lives of minority families. One of the pilot's most moving details is served up as a total throwaway: When Chris wakes his father up at 5 p.m. to begin his double shift, the big man stretches and yawns before asking dazedly, "What job am I going to?" "You're driving a truck," his son reminds him gently. This unsentimental glimpse at the daily grind of work is a rare thing in the usually class-blind world of the American sitcom.
Obviously, this is not the Medieval London Bridge. In fact, this bridge, completed in 1973, is only the latest of several bridges to bear the name of "London Bridge."
What about the one before this one? That bridge is the "London Bridge" that was dismantled, exported, and reassembled at Lake Havasu in Arizona. But that one isn't the medieval bridge, either. Designed by John Rennie and built by his son , it was completed in 1831 as a replacement for the medieval bridge. The medieval bridge was dismantled utterly after the "New Bridge" was opened, and aside from a few carved objects made as souvenirs from some of the original pilings (and various pieces of stonework that were actually eighteenth-century additions to the original bridge), nothing remains but pictures.
It's impossible to say when the Thames was first bridged at that location. Evidence from Roman times (consisting mainly of Roman coins found on the riverbed during the building of the 1831 bridge) suggests that the Romans might have built a bridge, but it is equally possible that the coins might have come from the sinking of a ferry. Also found were some iron "piling tips" but these might have come from any of several wooden bridges which were built in the last few centuries of the first millennium.
The earliest reference to a bridge is in a Saxon record; it was mentioned as an execution site for a witch during the time when one Aethelwold was bishop of Winchester, which would have been sometime between 963 and 984.
There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently.
The Washington Post's opinion pages have a comparison between Katrina and Chernobyl today. I was going to just highlight one of the comparisons I found funny, but I see they don't actually have the article online. So, here, manually typed in, is the entire article:
"Katrina vs. Chernobyl," by Richard Rhodes and Gwyneth Cravens.
Doesn't the Times have a right to charge for its columns?
Of course. They even have a right to charge more than you'd pay for a year's worth of digital access to most opinion magazines. And they have a right to relinquish the next generation of potential Times addicts to other newspapers. The right to run your business into the ground is inalienable.
I created Never Pay Retail to mock the Times's cluelessness, not to correct for it.
Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were married on Saturday, capping their celebrated two-year-long older woman, younger man relationship, two celebrity magazines reported on Sunday.
Representatives for Kutcher, 27, and Moore, 42, could not be immediately reached for comment, but both Us Weekly and People magazine reported on their Web sites that the couple were married in Los Angeles area on Saturday.
It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
My friend Henry and I decided we like good-looking people -- except when they're beating us. While we were chatting on the phone, a group of thugs, all possessing good looks, approached Hank's car at a red light. Though he wanted to learn more about them, perhaps over a fruit and walnut salad from McDonald's, he was anxious for the light to change. You're not supposed to gawk at your attacker. If you're getting mugged, you want your wits about you. You don't want to be distracted by the most dazzling pair of eyelashes -- instead of heeding your mugger's order to give him/her your fucking wallet or he/she will blow your fucking brains out. If that happens, remind your assailant that crime doesn't pay, but modeling does. Now work it, bitch!
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Edgar Bronfman, Edgar Bronfman - Overrated father, misunderstood son. By David Plotz:
Usually a few billion dollars in the bank inoculates you against bad press, but Edgar Jr. has been designated the movie industry's official idiot--a 42-year-old child who's squandering his family (and his shareholders') fortune on romantic Tinseltown fantasies. There is a feeling that any real media mogul--Michael Eisner, Barry Diller, Sumner Redstone, Rupert Murdoch--could eat Edgar Jr. for lunch and still have plenty of room for dessert.
A certain aura of creeping decay does surround the Bronfmans, and it is tempting to view them as a study in dynastic decline.
Our Other Sister
The cruelest thing I did to my younger sister
wasn't shooting a homemade blowdart into her knee,
where it dangled for a breathless second
before dropping off, but telling her we had
another, older sister who'd gone away.
What my motives were I can't recall: a whim,
or was it some need of mine to toy with loss,
to probe the ache of imaginary wounds?
But that first sentence was like a strand of DNA
that replicated itself in coiling lies
when my sister began asking her desperate questions.
I called our older sister Isabel
and gave her hazel eyes and long blonde hair.
I had her run away to California
where she took drugs and made hippie jewelry.
Before I knew it, she'd moved to Santa Fe
and opened a shop. She sent a postcard
every year or so, but she'd stopped calling.
I can still see my younger sister staring at me,
her eyes widening with desolation
then filling with tears. I can still remember
how thrilled and horrified I was
that something I'd just made up
had that kind of power, and I can still feel
the blowdart of remorse stabbing me in the heart
as I rushed to tell her none of it was true.
But it was too late. Our other sister
had already taken shape, and we could not
call her back from her life far away
or tell her how badly we missed her.
Wearing a donated pink T-shirt with an age-inappropriate slogan ("It's the hidden little Tiki spot where the island boys are hot, hot, hot"), Nyler tells me what she is nervous about. "I think New Orleans might not ever get fixed back." "Why not?" I ask, a little surprised to be discussing reconstruction politics with a preteen in pigtails. "Because the people who know how to fix broken houses are all gone."
I don't have the heart to tell Nyler that I suspect she is on to something; that many of the African-American workers from her neighborhood may never be welcomed back to rebuild their city. An hour earlier I had interviewed New Orleans' top corporate lobbyist, Mark Drennen. As president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc., Drennen was in an expansive mood, pumped up by signs from Washington that the corporations he represents--everything from Chevron to Liberty Bank to Coca-Cola--were about to receive a package of tax breaks, subsidies and relaxed regulations so generous it would make the job of a lobbyist virtually obsolete.
Listening to Drennen enthuse about the opportunities opened up by the storm, I was struck by his reference to African-Americans in New Orleans as "the minority community." At 67 percent of the population, they are in fact the clear majority, while whites like Drennen make up just 27 percent. It was no doubt a simple verbal slip, but I couldn't help feeling that it was also a glimpse into the desired demographics of the new-and-improved city being imagined by its white elite, one that won't have much room for Nyler or her neighbors who know how to fix houses. "I honestly don't know and I don't think anyone knows how they are going to fit in," Drennen said of the city's unemployed.
New Orleans is already displaying signs of a demographic shift so dramatic that some evacuees describe it as "ethnic cleansing."
The men from Blackwater USA arrived in New Orleans right after Katrina hit. The company known for its private security work guarding senior US diplomats in Iraq beat the federal government and most aid organizations to the scene in another devastated Gulf. About 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear spread out into the chaos of New Orleans. Officially, the company boasted of its forces "join[ing] the hurricane relief effort." But its men on the ground told a different story.
Some patrolled the streets in SUVs with tinted windows and the Blackwater logo splashed on the back; others sped around the French Quarter in an unmarked car with no license plates. They congregated on the corner of St. James and Bourbon in front of a bar called 711, where Blackwater was establishing a makeshift headquarters. From the balcony above the bar, several Blackwater guys cleared out what had apparently been someone's apartment. They threw mattresses, clothes, shoes and other household items from the balcony to the street below. They draped an American flag from the balcony's railing. More than a dozen troops from the 82nd Airborne Division stood in formation on the street watching the action.
In an hourlong conversation I had with four Blackwater men, they characterized their work in New Orleans as "securing neighborhoods" and "confronting criminals." They all carried automatic assault weapons and had guns strapped to their legs. Their flak jackets were covered with pouches for extra ammunition.
When asked what authority they were operating under, one guy said, "We're on contract with the Department of Homeland Security." Then, pointing to one of his comrades, he said, "He was even deputized by the governor of the state of Louisiana. We can make arrests and use lethal force if we deem it necessary." The man then held up the gold Louisiana law enforcement badge he wore around his neck. Blackwater spokesperson Anne Duke also said the company has a letter from Louisiana officials authorizing its forces to carry loaded weapons.
My mom works for the State of Mississippi, helping distribute food stamps to the poor, and helping to make sure that dads pay child support. She makes $6.91 an hour before taxes, and she feels it's the best job she's ever had.
That's a picture of her in front of what was left of her office. After being torn apart by Category 4 winds, it was submerged under the water of a Category 4 storm surge (18-22 feet according to national officials, 24-28 feet according to locals). The front wall collapsed, and desks floated and came to rest on their sides. Her boss had a wooden swivel-chair in his office that had been handed down from his great-grandmother. It could be seen on it's side through the broken windows, covered in the swamp mud, molding and decrepit, office knick-knacks strewn around it. A bizarro office. An alternate reality.
Do you create or port Mac OS X game software? Does your application have a full-screen mode? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be driving me insane with your failure to correctly capture the screen before going into full-screen mode and then (here comes the important part) correctly restore the previous display mode before releasing the display!
They were all over the church across the street, so expect a serious "oh no, the priests are molesting again!" storyline this season.
It was absolute chaos, from morning to night—and the crews, with their amazing gaggles of people, stood all over the street, talking on cell phones and walkie talkies and Blackberries and homing pigeons, often with people one street over.
Directly across the street from us is where they put the stars.
Yes, this is indeed a bad picture of Vincent "Batshit Crazy" D'Onofrio, shortly before he hits another assistant. He has a phone glued to his head. A number of people who have worked for the L&O franchise have confirmed that he regularly rewrites the scripts if any ideas are presented that don't come from him—he holds up production as he scribbles, and then they do his "masterful" new script. Watch the show—it explains a hell of a lot. And don't worry, you only need to watch one episode to see what I'm talking about.
Thank goodness they got Chris Noth...I suspect they are hoping to transition out of using FUCKED UP CRAZY DUDE and over to someone else ho can carry the show.
For the record, it was OK having them here for about three hours...but since they stayed three days, they wore thin.
In a 1998 decision, Justice Scalia wrote a concurring opinion upholding a Congressional decency test for grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which was at the center of a furor over grants to Andres Serrano, Robert Mapplethorpe, Karen Finley and others.
The idea was not new, but the circumstances were. The justice, an opera lover and a strict conservative, was part of a Juilliard symposium on American society and the arts that put him in the company of the soprano Reneé Fleming, the composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and the historian David McCullough. He acknowledged the incongruity.
"The program reads like some kind of weird I.Q. test: 'Which of the following is out of place: diva, author, composer, lawyer,' " he told the audience at the Juilliard Theater. "The main business of a lawyer is to take the romance, the mystery, the irony, the ambiguity out of everything he touches."
Friday, September 23, 2005
How ridiculous is it that today, I can buy a song for 99 cents that I can't just go and play on my $20,000 system? Instead, to use the music I purchase (not just at the iTunes music store, but, pretty much any online music store), I have to use a PC to jump through a ridiculous amount of hoops to remove the DRM wrapper in a process that can often result in a loss of quality.
Apple sues Steve Jobs! (20 years ago…):
Twenty years ago today Apple actually sued co-founder and former chairman Steve Jobs – just days after he resigned from the company.
Apple sued Jobs and fellow ex-Apple employee Rich Page on September 23, 1985. Both were ordered not to use any proprietary information for their post-Apple venture, and Jobs was charged with dereliction of duties as chairman of Apple.
Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 in a vicious power-play that left his erstwhile friend John Sculley in charge (both pictured here in happier times). In the words of BusinessWeek, Jobs was "hurt, humiliated, and disillusioned".
-- Douglas Adams
So for those of you keeping score Spider-Man has done the following so far:
Killed a woman with a boat propeller to the face
Jumped out of a makeshift tee-pee and stabbed some guy in the mafia
Strangled a nude woman to death in the shower
Commanded a squad of guinea pigs to eat some poor bastard's face
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
All the rules suggest that the perfect MacArthur genius is still out there: a one-named Berkeley professor who choreographs interpretative jazz dances about how genetically modified food will destroy humanity.
Neither compassionate, nor conservative:
Not even the most liberal social engineers would dare to have been as bold as the Bush administration. The President gives no accounting of how the money will be found. His governing philosophy appears to be: “It's going to cost whatever it's going to cost” in contrast to the vision of “focused and effective and energetic government”, David Brooks imputes to him. Mr Bush has left the oversight in the hands of his political operative, Karl Rove, suggesting that this a major PR exercise, rather than (per Brooks) “a positive use of government that is neither big government liberalism nor antigovernment libertarianism”. (As an aside, maybe Mr Rove should have been placed in charge of the initial rescue effort. Without a single mishap, the Bush “rescue team” delivered to central New Orleans its own generators, lights, the camouflage netting designed to conceal the surrounding devastation, and its own communications equipment; the city almost looked whole again. The Federal government, it appears, cannot run an evacuation and relief effort properly, but it does a magnificent job of televised stage-setting in a disaster area.)
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
No message from the U.S. government appeared in the book.
Breakfast at Tiffany's:
Ive deeply ruminated over the fact that the entire cast of the HBO series "Rome" seem to possess English and Scottish accents. Last time I checked, Rome was in Italy. (Really, they should call the series "Roma" like the Italians do, but that's a minor technicality.) Why would HBO ignore that Italians have always had Italian accents? Yes, they do speak Italian in Rome as well as the rest of Italy. I thought that British actors were generally better trained than American actors, so why can't they pull of an Italian accent? Perhaps they can and HBO is just assuming that most Americans are stupid and think that all foreign accents are the same. It's a shame.
This weeping willow- chosen for its resemblance to the one in Smithson's sketch- and six other specimen trees came from the Rappleyea Nursery, in Allentown, New Jersey. The Manhattan-schist boulders are from Central Park, near the composting area at 103rd Street and the East Drive, and they'll go back once the project's done.
Monday, September 19, 2005
Part 9 of Reviews of cds I found in Boscos car
, August 4, 2005
Reviewer: Howard Tuttleman... firstname.lastname@example.org, Lover of the Arts, Teenage Genious, Master Critic (Ferndale, MI) -
Well, this is the finale of a triple trilogy of reviews. If you don't know the story behind all of this you lose. Let's get this over with so I can eat lunch. I have been reviewing straight since I woke up!
Ok...the cd player won't work. It's probably because of that Saturday Morning cd that messed up before. I may have to go back and dock that album points for this.
As I'm not in the spirit of giving up I will review this cd based on the only song I remember from it and that is You Can Call Me Al. Well, I remember it was really catchy and it was about Al being in a strange place. Let's say... New Delhi. And when Al is in New Delhi he meets a girl who he names Betty. I like the idea that you can just call people whatever you like. Ok, I'm trying to remember the song but I have that Australian Down Under song stuck in my head. Let's look at the cd. On the cover there's a strange drawing of a man on a horse with a spear. I think he may be Caligula. Now I am going to try to piece together what the album is about by the song titles.
Al (we already know his name) grew up in a bubble. One day he decides to travel off to see Graceland where he meets Elvis Presely. Elvis Presely is onto Al's game in "I know what I know" and sends him on his way claiming that Al just wanted to latch onto his success. Al is down-and-out. So much so he sings about the desperate situation of his foot-ware. Finaly, he meets his opposite. A girl with diamonds on the soles of her shoes. He's greatly impressed. This is where he tells her his name is Al and that her name is Betty. Al offers that Betty can be his body-guard, and I assume he means she can buy him dinner. (now that I read the titles, I guess in You Can Call Me Al they are in Africa and not New Delhi because track 7 is Under African Skies) Al and Betty travel to Africa where people don't look down upon Al for his rivalry with Elvis Presely. All the way he sings songs to Betty about the days before she was around when he was homeless, and now that she has saved him he is crazy in love with her. So much he could fill TWO volumes of books up with words about it. Sadly in the end, Betty realizes that Al only likes her for her money and because she takes care of him, so she tells him it's not her he wants, but his mother. Al travels the world searching for his long lost mother who dissapeared long ago and didn't even leave a finger-print.
In conclusion, I really like the song You Can Call Me Al and I don't see why they would put bad songs on an album with that amazing song, so I'll give this album 5 stars by default. Later.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Just a reminder that RANTS is this evening at the Public—I hear that some tickets have opened up at the last minute, so if you're interested in coming, check out the details in the sidebar.
”You’re kidding,” said Ann Keatings, an applied linguist, as she absorbed the news I had brought from the US, where I have lived for the past 12 years: Americans see the semicolon as punctuation’s axis of evil. Or at least many of them do. “But I like semicolons,” she protested, “they allow a writer to go further.” Trevor McGuinness, a business manager, was equally incredulous. “Hazlitt,” he said, smacking the table indignantly, “look at Hazlitt!” Had midnight been closer and the bottle emptier, we might have taken him literally; but the point still floated within the grasp of sober minds: if so great a prose stylist as William Hazlitt had embraced the semicolon, then surely we could too?
Indeed, part of the semicolon’s mystique is the way that it wantonly gives itself to great writing without offering a clear rule for lesser writers to follow. This has perturbed pedants everywhere English is written, leading to the widespread conviction that the semicolon should, on principle, be avoided. In fact, one attempt to quash San Francisco’s gay marriage law last year was dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiff had used a semicolon instead of a conjunction. A conservative group had asked the court to order the city to “cease and desist issuing marriage licenses to and/or solemnising marriages of same-sex couples; to show cause before the court.” As the San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren explained, the word “or” should have been used instead of the semicolon. “I am not trying to be petty here,” he told reporters, “but it is a big deal... That semicolon is a big deal.”
Vancouver — A silent tectonic event, so powerful it has shifted southern Vancouver Island out to sea, but so subtle nobody has felt a thing, is slowly unfolding on the West Coast.
Scientists who are tracking the event with sensitive seismographs and earth orbiting satellites warn it could be a trigger for a massive earthquake -- some time, maybe soon.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
The agent told the researcher: "A lot of the research is still carried out in the traditional manner using skin from the executed prisoner and aborted foetus." This material, he said, was being bought from "bio tech" companies based in the northern province of Heilongjiang, and was being developed elsewhere in China.
He suggested that the use of skin and other tissues harvested from executed prisoners was not uncommon. "In China it is considered very normal and I was very shocked that western countries can make such a big fuss about this," he said. Speaking from his office in northern China, he added: "The government has put some pressure on all the medical facilities to keep this type of work in low profile."
The agent said his company exported to the west via Hong Kong."We are still in the early days of selling these products, and clients from abroad are quite surprised that China can manufacture the same human collagen for less than 5% of what it costs in the west." Skin from prisoners used to be even less expensive, he said. "Nowadays there is a certain fee that has to be paid to the court."
Sell the Ranch.
That's right, sell your ranch in Texas, and donate the money to the victims of this horrible tragedy. I realize you love your ranch; you've spent almost a year of your presidency there, doing important things like clearing brush, eating pretzels, and taking naps. But that's exactly why you need to sell it. So many people have lost their homes; the least you can do is give up ownership of one of your many residences for their benefit to show that you have some trace of compassion. Think of it as a symbolic gesture that you're finally ready to stop running away from the responsibilities of the Oval office, and you're ready to meet head-on the full duties of the highest office in the land.
Friday, September 16, 2005
(Essential Background: Mr. Sansardo, the modern teacher I reference, was indeed a wonderful man. A beautiful bald old queen he said things like, "Get those tits in the air girls!!" and "Where's the pelvis?! Thrust it! Thrust it! Nobody's ever going to fuck you twice with moves like those.")
Thursday, September 15, 2005
I ask Agent the name of the project, what it's about, etc. He says: Snakes on a Plane. Holy shit, I'm thinking. It's a title. It's a concept. It's a poster and a logline and whatever else you need it to be. It's perfect. Perfect. It's the Everlasting Gobstopper of movie titles.
Now out of both loyalty to the sacred bond between studio and screenwriter and also a serious desire to keep getting hired in this town, I will not give away any of the plot details of SNAKES ON A PLANE. But know this. As the great Sam Jackson would say: There are motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking plane.
What else do you need to know? How the snakes get on the plane, what the snakes do once they're on the plane, who puts the snakes on the plane, who is trying to get the snakes off the plane...This is not for you to ponder. There are snakes on the plane. End of fucking story.
Within the first few pages the narrative had moved forward, back, and sideways in time. I hadn't grasped these time shifts last night, and no wonder: Sometimes they were set off by italics, sometimes not. Plus, the early pages described the actions of no fewer than 10 characters whose lives were intricately bound up with one another. Their interrelationships were clearly crucial to understanding the dialogue. But they were never (God forbid!) explained by our author, who, like Valéry, appeared to have an aversion to writing sentences like "The Marquis went out at 10 o'clock." (Valéry, of course, chose to become a poet.) Gradually it dawned on me that the narrator wasn't only a child but also mentally impaired. The difficulties were growing more knowable. And then suddenly Quentin, a hitherto-male character, became a girl: "They sat up in the swing, quick. Quentin had her hands on her hair." I threw my hands up. Had Faulkner himself lost track of his story?
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
TiVo won't save certain shows or allow moving them:
It used to be that it was hard to explain the TiVo. I'd tell people, "It's like a VCR, but it's smart enough to program itself."
Now I've got a new description: "It's like a VCR, but it it's evil enough to screw you over if some rightsholder demands it."
Hey, TiVo: since 1984's Betamax decision, Americans have had the right to record TV shows even if the rightsholder doesn't like the idea. That's straight from the Supreme Court's mouth. I don't know what kind of special privilege the enteraintment industry has offered you in exchange for this spectacular display of wanton shark-jumping, but it wasn't enough. I sold my TiVo when I left California. You can be goddamned sure I won't be buying another one. Ever.
Here's a list of TiVo alternatives.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
The Freedom Tower, promoted as an image of the city's resurrection, has been transformed into a stern fortress - a symbol of a city still in the grip of fear. The World Trade Center memorial has been enveloped by a clutter of memorabilia.
And the promise that culture would play a life-affirming role has proved false now that Gov. George E. Pataki has warned that freedom of expression at ground zero will be strictly controlled. ("We will not tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America, denigrates New York or freedom, or denigrates the sacrifice and courage that the heroes showed on Sept. 11," he has said.) The Freedom Center, the Drawing Center, the performing arts center that would house the tiny Signature Theater Company and Joyce Theater - all now risk being dumped, either because they are viewed as lacking in sufficient patriotism or because officials were only toying with them in the first place.
On this anniversary weekend, it may be time to face up to what few have wanted to acknowledge: that nothing of value can be built at ground zero while the anguish and anxiety remain so fresh - nor while political and economic forces are eager to exploit those emotions.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Earlier in the day we saw them release white balloons from the church which flew up and silently out over Manhattan. I thought to myself that the winds had shifted—four years ago they had been blowing toward Carroll Gardens, not away.
That night we ate on Montague Street at Theresa's, and when I got a coffee at the Starbucks I saw that Starbucks even uses their graphical design prowess on their publicly mandated "In Case of Choking" signs:
Then we headed down to the promenade to watch the skyline.
For 34 years I lived with you and came to love you. I came to you because I loved theater and found theater everywhere I looked. I fled New England and came to Manhattan, that island off the coast of America, where human nature was king and everyone exuded character and had big attitude. You gave me a sense of humor because you are so absurd.
Spalding Gray, in the Times yesterday.