Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jan. 1984: How critics reviewed the Mac - Apple 2.0 - Fortune Brainstorm Tech:

San Francisco Examiner, John C. Dvorak, 19 Feb. 1984

The nature of the personal computer is simply not fully understood by companies like Apple (or anyone else for that matter). Apple makes the arrogant assumption of thinking that it knows what you want and need. It, unfortunately, leaves the “why” out of the equation — as in “why would I want this?” The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don't want one of these new fangled devices.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nothing like this will be built again:

As Les explained, "nothing like this will be built again". The AGRs at Torness are not ordinary civil power reactors. Designed in the 1970's, they were the UK's bid to build an export-earning civil nuclear power system. They're sensitive thoroughbreds, able to reach a peak conversion efficiency of 43% -- that is, able to turn up to 43% of their energy output into electricity. By comparison, a PWR peaks at 31-32%. However, the PWRs have won the race for commercial success: they're much, much, simpler. AGRs are like Concorde -- technological marvels, extremely sophisticated and efficient, and just too damned expensive and complex for their own good. (You want complexity? Torness was opened in 1989. For many years thereafter, its roughly fifty thousand kilometres of aluminium plumbing made it the most complex and demanding piece of pipework in Europe. You want size? The multi-thousand ton reactor core of an AGR is bigger than the entire plant at some PWR installations.)

It's a weird experience, crawling over the guts of one of the marvels of the atomic age, smelling the thing (mostly machine oil and steam, and a hint of ozone near the transformers), all the while knowing that although it's one of the safest and most energy-efficient civilian power reactors ever built it's a a technological dead-end, that there won't be any more of them, and that when it shuts down in thirty or forty years' time this colossal collision between space age physics and victorian plumbing will be relegated to a footnote in the history books. "Energy too cheap to meter" it ain't, but as a symbol of what we can achieve through engineering it's hard to beat.
Tickling the Dragon: Nuclear accidents in the US and Russia - Boing Boing:

My father was in the room with Slotin, and if Slotin hadn't done what he did I would not exist.

He described a brief blue glow in the room when Slotin lifted the plutonium sphere, and quickly leaving the room. He was about 20 feet away from the plutonium at the time, and Slotin was standing between the sphere of plutonium and the group watching him. My father's radiation badge (a square of photographic film sealed inside an envelope) showed a significant exposure that day, but fortunately not a dangerous one.

Some have questioned whether a Cerenkov radiation flash (the blue glow) could have ocurred under the conditions there that day, but my father believed it was due to the neutron radiation interacting with the water in his eyeballs.

Council bans parents from play areas - Boing Boing:

Score one for Britain in its contest with the United States to create the stupidest fear-based society. The Watford Borough Council took the lead by banning parents from supervising their own kids in public playgrounds, "because they have not undergone criminal record checks."

The only adults allowed to monitor the kids are idiocracy-vetted "play rangers." The children's parents must "watch from outside a perimeter fence."
An Angry White Guy in Chicago: Why Lieberman Must Be Stripped of EVERYTHING:

• In 1993, Joe blocked the Clinton Healthcare Reform

• In 2005, Joe backed both the Bankruptcy Bill that sided with the credit Card Companies and then backed Bushie's judicial nominees

• In 2008, Joe backed McCain for President

• Also in 2008, Joe voted against banning torture

• Some more in 2008 - Joe suggested that Obama was both a Muslim and a Marxist during the campaign

• Told Glenn Beck (!?) that he thought a Democratic 60 vote Super Majority was "dangerous for the country"

• Yesterday, decided to support a Republican filibuster on Healthcare Reform

Time to strip him of his chairmanship, his party status and his clothes and whip him in the public square. If he wants to be independent, let him be independent.


This is an opportunity to see this show, both dark and hilarious, from behind the scenes.

This is
EXACTLY the kind of live event theater can create—theaters, take note!

Show details here.
Raw | Slog | The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

Seriously, in report after report, this confrontation has not been arranged in this way: management's ruthlessness and labor's bravery; but in this way: labor's foolishness and management's reasonableness.

This is the oldest game in the neoliberal order. Discipline the workers, remove the teeth from labor, and relocate production to poorer places. There is nothing new going on here.
Headers (11)
Playbill News: Public Theater Sets Dates for Daisey's The Last Cargo Cult:

The Public Theater has announced dates of production for monologist Mike Daisey's The Last Cargo Cult, which will make its New York premiere Dec. 3.

Daisey's frequent collaborator Jean-Michele Gregory directs the Public engagement that officially opens Dec. 7 and plays a limited run through Dec. 13 in the Newman Theater.

"Mike Daisey is funny, fearless and brilliant," Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a statement. "He's one of those rare performers who is as fascinated by the world around him as he is by the world inside him, and he creates evenings that are delightful and genuinely thought-provoking. He's rapidly becoming one of the seminal theatre artists of his generation, and we are delighted he has a home at The Public Theater."

The Last Cargo Cult, according to the Public, features Daisey recounting "the story of his journey to a remote South Pacific island whose people worship America and its cargo. This narrative is woven against a searing examination of the international financial crisis that gripped the globe at the same moment. Confronting the financial system that dominates our world, Daisey wrestles with the largest questions of what the collapse means, and what it can tell us about our deepest values. Part adventure story and part memoir, he explores each culture to unearth a human truth between the seemingly primitive and achingly modern."

The Public production has set design by Peter Ksander and lighting design by Russell H. Champa.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DeSoto Dressed in Her Autumn's Finest.
October 2009: Nell Scovell on David Letterman |

Without naming names or digging up decades-old dirt, let’s address the pertinent questions. Did Dave hit on me? No. Did he pay me enough extra attention that it was noted by another writer? Yes. Was I aware of rumors that Dave was having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Was I aware that other high-level male employees were having sexual relationships with female staffers? Yes. Did these female staffers have access to information and wield power disproportionate to their job titles? Yes. Did that create a hostile work environment? Yes. Did I believe these female staffers were benefiting professionally from their personal relationships? Yes. Did that make me feel demeaned? Completely. Did I say anything at the time? Sadly, no.

Here’s what I did: I walked away from my dream job. The show picked up my option after 13 weeks; then, about two months later, while looking for a nicer apartment, I realized I didn’t want to commit to a yearlong lease. I’d seen enough to know that I was not going to thrive professionally in that workplace. And although there were various reasons for that, sexual politics did play a major part.

On my last day at Late Night, Dave summoned me to his office and pressed me on why I was quitting the show. I considered telling him the truth, but with Dave’s rumored mistress within earshot, I balked. Instead, I told him I missed L.A. Dave said, “You’re welcome back anytime.”

More True Tales of Creepiness and Terror from the Letterman Staff - David Letterman - Gawker:

Scovell opens her piece with a reminder of the stark odds awaiting women who dare enter the hallowed talk show ranks. Of the 50-some staff writers toiling on the Letterman, Leno and Conan O' Brien staffs, exactly zero are female. For those keeping track, that is lower than the female percentage of the US Supreme Court (22%), serving in the US Senate (17%), and officers of Fortune 500 companies (15.7 %).
Notes on This Week’s Column: The Big Banks Get Bigger: The Balance Sheet : The New Yorker:

My column this week deals with the question of why the country’s biggest banks have gotten even bigger and more powerful as a result of the financial crisis. The simple answer is that the combination of a series of mergers in the industry and the disappearance of competitors like Lehman left those institutions that were still standing in much better shape than before. One way the government tried to stabilize the financial system was by allowing (or, in some cases, encouraging) bigger banks to take over their weaker brethren, with JPMorgan acquiring Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo acquiring Wachovia, and Bank of America merging with Merrill Lynch. In effect, we’ve made institutions that were already too big to fail even bigger.
The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

One has to wonder if Oprah will indeed ask Sarah Palin about the bizarre stories she has told about her fifth pregnancy. I mean: why not ask her to recount that astonishing intercontinental, multiple day labor experience across several time zones and past nearby children's hospitals? Why not ask her if Levi was telling the truth when he claimed that Sarah kept nagging him to allow Tripp to be adopted by his nearly-mother-in-law?

My guess is that Oprah will punt, like everyone else.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Economics and Politics - Paul Krugman Blog -

Digby catches some of the talking heads saying that we’re all dependent on the stock market for our retirement. Which leads to the question, what do you mean “we”, rich man?

From here, sources of income among the second quartile of older Americans, that is, from the 50th to the 75th percentile:


Even in this group — which is above median, although not at the top — Social Security accounts for more than half of income. (It’s the great bulk of income among poorer retirees). Asset income is, by comparison, trivial.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Window on the world
Critic’s Notebook - Two Tonys and Their ‘Tiny’ Five-Act Play -

Their partnership began more than 25 years ago, when Mr. Taccone was artistic director of the Eureka Theater in San Francisco, now defunct, and Mr. Kushner, a struggling playwright, was recommended to him by a Stanford professor who had once taught him. The Eureka’s dramaturg, Oskar Eustis (now artistic director of the Public Theater in Manhattan), found him in New York, and brought back a script, “A Bright Room Called Day,” Mr. Kushner’s first produced play. The Eureka commissioned his next work, a play about Roy Cohn and two Mormons. Thus was “Angels in America” born. It was given its world premiere by the Eureka in 1991.
Tumblr Ks2Z4Y0V3Z1Qzzhs8O1 500
Mike Daisey Halloween Night in NYC:

On October 31, Daisey will be recording a story for Halloween, and a limited number of tickets are available to the public. Here's what he says about the event:

"I've been invited by WNYC to perform on Halloween in their brand-new Greene Space. I'll be telling a one-night-only story for the season--a story about darkness, ghosts, horror and madness, but also about tricks, treats, costumes, masks and the human mayhem we embrace every All Hallow's Eve."

I've been lucky enough to see Daisey's work, and I advise anyone in New York who has the opportunity to grab a ticket while you can. This will be a great night out.

Dont think mommy would appreciate such behaviour
June 2002, Flight Journal - "Soyuz 5's Flaming Return":

As the spaceship fell back into the atmosphere, he heard grinding as the deceleration stresses built up. The ship was slowly tumbling end over end, exposing all of its surface to the growing fireball. Then it stabilized with its nose forward, which was exactly the wrong orientation possible because that part of the capsule's skin was the thinnest. In the top area, there was only an inch of insulation, compared to the 6 inches along the bottom, and during a normal reentry three inches of that was expected to burn away.

Volynov lost radio contact with the ground. He heard and felt the explosions of the equipment module's overheated fuel tanks, and from his seat, he watched the overhead exit hatch bulge inwards under the head-on blast of air. The rubber seal on the hatch began to smoke. As flames seared his cabin walls, he watched as smoke from the singed insulation filled the descent module. Since he didn't have a space suit to wear, he could feel the heat against his unprotected skin. His body strained upwards against restraining straps as it tried to fall "down" onto the steaming hatch. Concluding that he only had seconds to live, he grabbed his logbook, tore out the most recent pages, and stuffed them deeply inside his jacket. By some chance, he thought, they might escape full incineration.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bloomberg Sets Record for Personal Spending in Pursuit of Public Office -

Michael R. Bloomberg, the Wall Street mogul whose fortune catapulted him into New York’s City Hall, has set another staggering financial record: He has now spent more of his own money than any other individual in United States history in the pursuit of public office.

Newly released campaign records show the mayor, as of Friday, had spent $85 million on his latest re-election campaign, and is on pace to spend between $110 million and $140 million before the election on Nov. 3.

That means Mr. Bloomberg, in his three bids for mayor, will have easily burned through more than $250 million — the equivalent of what Warner Brothers spent on the latest Harry Potter movie.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Call to Prayer
Daring Fireball: Herd Mentality:

It’s not just that Apple is different among computer makers. It’s that Apple is the only one that even can be different, because it’s the only one that has its own OS. Part of the industry-wide herd mentality is an assumption that no one else can make a computer OS — that anyone can make a computer but only Microsoft can make an OS. It should be embarrassing to companies like Dell and Sony, with deep pockets and strong brand names, that they’re stuck selling computers with the same copy of Windows installed as the no-name brands.
Curves VI
First-Year Students Go Beyond Broadway | Arcadia University Bulletin:

Assistant Professor of Theater Arts Jonathan Shandell is currently teaching the first-year seminar, Beyond the Broadway Blockbuster: Exploring Thoughtful Theater, with a primary goal in mind. “My goal is to engage students with live theater that might not be familiar to them: in other words, something other than Broadway-style musicals,” he says.

The class recently saw a performance at the Philadelphia Live-Arts festival titled The Last Cargo Cult by performance artist Mike Daisey.

Shandell knew that students would find the show to be different. “The performance was highly unconventional for those students only familiar with Broadway theater,” he says. “One man sat behind a desk on a bare stage and told stories for almost two hours. The stories were tales from his own life, centered on his visit to a remote South Pacific Island where the native peoples do not use money. The performance posed serious and difficult questions about the role of money in American society and in our everyday lives.”

No Money on the Horizon for U2 | The Wrap:

When U2 takes the stage of the Rose Bowl on Sunday night, the Irish band will have performed 42 shows on its "360°" tour. They will have played in front of almost 3 million fans, broken dozens of attendance records and grossed close to $300 million.

They will have drawn rapturous reviews, made the cover of Rolling Stone and given the troubled concert business a gigantic shot of adrenaline.

What they won’t have done is make any money.

Shame - Ta-Nehisi Coates:

When I lived in Brooklyn, the most depressing aspect of my day was the commute back home. The deeper the five train wended into Brooklyn, the blacker it became, and the blacker it became, the fatter it got.

I was there among them--the blacker and fatter--and filled with a sort of shameful self-loathing at myself and my greater selves around me. One of the hardest thing about being black is coming up dead last in almost anything that matters. As a child, and a young adult, I was lucky. Segregation was a cocoon brimming with all the lovely variety of black life. But out in the world you come to see, in the words of Peggy Olson, that they have it all--and so much of it. Working on the richest island in the world, then training through Brooklyn, or watching the buses slog down 125th has become a kind of corporeal metaphor--the achievement gap of our failing bodies, a slow sickness as the racial chasm.

Yin & Yang

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chinese Men Look for Lesbians, Break Internet | Slog | The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:

What happens when a Chinese news agency invents a story about a secret city of 25,000 lesbians in northern Sweden? Two things.

1. Millions and millions of Chinese men swamp Sweden's ISPs, slowing the whole country's Internet service to a crawl.

2. Someone buys the domain (Chako Paul was the made-up name of the made-up girl-on-girl metropolis), puts a crappy site up, and sells t-shirts for $30.

The original Chinese article, as dug up by Shanghaiist.

In Sweden, there is a place that is respectful of women’s love, but with a rule that men cannot enter. This is Chako Paul City. The town holds around 25,000 women, all from around Europe. If men transgress into the forbidden city, they will be beaten half to death. The citizens of Chako Paul are mostly engaged in the forest industry, because of such many of the women wear thick belts full of woodworking equipment. Some go into nearby cities to work and return to Chako Paul by night. Chako Paul’s tourism industry is increasingly prosperous, with hotels and restaurants everywhere that cater specifically to women around the world.
Parabasis: Some Thoughts On Critics (2):

On the complete other end of the spectrum, you get what makes up a large amount of theatre reviewing-- the Dispassionate Adjudicator who delivers maxims about what theatre should or shouldn't be and how this or that play measures up to Platonic Ideals. This isolates the reviewer and protects their opinions to some extent... It's not them opining! It's the gods! They are merely measuring this play scientifically against certain criteria! But the problem is... this is horseshit. It's a symptom of our old fashioned art form that we remain mired in old fashioned ideas of art being objectively good or bad. The experience of a play is intensely personal. Ideally, reviewers should strive to acknowledge that. They aren't an audience surrogate. They don't speak for anyone but themselves. But they are highly seasoned experts (most theater reviewers I know easily go to 3-5 times the number of plays of theatre artists I know) and thus their opinion is worth reckoning with.
Seeing Without Sight
Five Questions for Heidi Schreck « Culturebot:

Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?

When Kip and I moved here I took a vow that I would always choose art over a day job, even if it meant not having any money. I’ve mostly kept that promise. In our first year, I remember we had about $30 left between us and weren’t sure where the next $30 was coming from. We could have bought groceries, but instead we ordered the steak dinner from Jake’s Barbecue in Brooklyn. It comes with a lot of sides. Now we’re learning to be much more practical, but it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
Philip Greenspun’s Weblog » How Wall Street is making its billions:

Because of the Collapse of 2008 financial reforms, the big investment banks are able to borrow money from the U.S. government at 0 percent interest. Then they can turn around and buy short-term bonds that pay 2 or 3 percent annual interest. Now they’re making 2 percent on whatever they borrowed. They can use leverage to increase this number, by pledging some of the bonds that they’ve already bought as collateral on additional bonds.

I asked if they were taking any risk in order to earn this return. “If interest rates went up to 20 percent, even though the bonds are short-term, the price of the bond could fall enough to make the trade a money-loser.” (Though since the banks are too big to fail, they would simply be bailed out with additional taxpayer funds.)

What kind of bonds are they buying? Are they investing the money in American business? “No, they are mostly buying Treasuries.” So the money is just being shuffled from one Federal bank account to another, with each Wall Street bank skimming off $1 billion per month for itself? “Pretty much.”


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Why the Borg's copycat business model no longer works:

How did all these billions of dollars slip through Ballmer's fingers? How did Microsoft find itself a leader in nothing and playing catch-up on every front -- in MP3 players, on the cloud, in search. How did Amazon roll out S3 and not Microsoft? How did Google control the search market? How did Apple take over online music retailing and MP3 hardware? How did Microsoft let that market for smartphones get away from them? How is it that everything about Microsoft's business is backward looking? This is the real problem they have now. They're fighting wars that are already over.
Parabasis: Some Thoughts On Critics (1):

This is problematic. Theatre relies on a certain level of complicity between artist and art. And if you don't make that good faith effort in the beginning, there's a good chance that you're sunk. That's true of most art forms. It's especially true of theatre. I'm not saying it would be awesome if all reviewers assumed they were going to love what they were going to see, but rather simply that the work they're seeing was greeted with an open mind.
podere dei ribottini
James Cameron and “Avatar” : The New Yorker:

Before Amis, Cameron was married to Linda Hamilton, who played Sarah Connor, a woman hunted by unstoppable cyborgs, in the “Terminator” films. As Hamilton recalls it, she and Cameron didn’t get along particularly well during the first shoot. “My joke after that movie was, That man is definitely on the side of the machines,” she said. For the sequel, in which Sarah Connor has become a near-psychotic paramilitary fighter deranged by her foreknowledge of the imminent destruction of the world, Hamilton spent a year on a merciless fat-free diet, and trained with a former Mossad agent, who taught her to strip weapons blindfolded while he threw things at her and asked for her identification number. She got so that she could escape from L.A.P.D. handcuffs using just a paper clip.
British High Court rejects U.S./British cover-up of torture evidence:

All of this highlights two vital points: (1) the extent to which the Obama administration has been willing to go to cover up evidence of the Bush administration's torture regime; when I interviewed Mohamed's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, in April, he made clear that these threats were part of a joint cover-up between the U.S. and Britain; and (2) the way in which American citizens are forced to rely on the institutions in foreign countries -- British courts and Spanish prosecutors -- to learn about what our own government has done. War crimes can never stay hidden for long. It's only a matter of time before all of this evidence comes out one way or the other, and when it does, those who worked so vigorously to keep it concealed will be rightly judged to have been complicit in its cover-up.

The Obama administration is not only trying to block evidence of what was done to Mohamed from being disclosed in this British court proceeding, but also in America's judicial system, where it has repeatedly asserted the "state secret privilege" to demand dismissal of Mohamed's lawsuit, which seeks to recover damages for his rendition and torture. They're doing that because they're The Most Transparent Administration Ever -- obviously.

“Every Sizzler restaurant in America?!” - 10 Zen Monkeys:

Reed and his wife Liz are raising money on the internet to fund a tour of every Sizzler restaurant in America — which they'll photograph. And then self-publish the photos in a book. Called "Every Sizzler in the United States of America."

"Just as there's beauty in every person, there's beauty in every Sizzler," they explain on their fundraising page. "We make the photographs blurry to help bring this out..."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Children’s books, parents, and discipline : The New Yorker:

So what should you do when a child throws a tantrum? Many parents, determined not to be cruel or counterproductive, latch on to pre-approved language from books. Walk through a Manhattan playground and you’ll hear parents responding to their dirt-throwing, swing-stealing offspring with a studied flatness. A toddler whirling into a rage is quietly instructed, “Use your words.” A preschooler who clocks his classmate is offered the vaguely Zen incantation “Hands are not for hitting.” A kid demanding a Popsicle is given a bland demurral: “I’m sorry, but I don’t respond to whining.” (The preferred vocal inflection is that of a customer-service representative informing an irate caller that the warranty has, indeed, expired.) The brusque imperative “Say ‘please’!” has been supplanted by the mildest of queries: “Is there a nicer way to say that?” The efficacy of this clinical approach has not been confirmed by science, but it certainly feels scientific, in part because the parents conduct themselves as if their child were the subject of a peer-reviewed experiment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

They Shoot Porn Stars Don't They . Words & photos by Susannah Breslin . Page 5:

Take, for example, “The Bride of Dong,” in which two young, unsuspecting women “inadvertently unleash the power and massive cock of an ancient fertility god when they decide to house sit for the summer,” the result of which is the “call[ing] forth an ancient being from another time and world who bridges the cosmos to shove his massive tool up their asses,“ and the true star of which is neither the decidedly comely Gia Paloma or Julie Night but a six-foot prosthetic penis that belongs to an onerous, fanged beast that emerges upon a full moon. (An online reviewer noted dutifully: “It's hard to possibly make anything of this, other than to say that it’s vintage Jim Powers,” adding, “I haven't seen a prosthetic dong this big since ‘Boogie Nights.’”)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Op-Ed Contributor - To Beat the Taliban, Fight From Afar -

In 2001, the United States toppled the Taliban and kicked Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan with just a few thousand of its own troops, primarily through the combination of American air power and local ground forces from the Northern Alliance. Then, for the next several years, the United States and NATO modestly increased their footprint to about 20,000 troops, mainly limiting the mission to guarding Kabul, the capital. Up until 2004, there was little terrorism in Afghanistan and little sense that things were deteriorating.

Then, in 2005, the United States and NATO began to systematically extend their military presence across Afghanistan. The goals were to defeat the tiny insurgency that did exist at the time, eradicate poppy crops and encourage local support for the central government. Western forces were deployed in all major regions, including the Pashtun areas in the south and east, and today have ballooned to more than 100,000 troops.

As Western occupation grew, the use of the two most worrisome forms of terrorism in Afghanistan — suicide attacks and homemade bombs — escalated in parallel. There were no recorded suicide attacks in Afghanistan before 2001. According to data I have collected, in the immediate aftermath of America’s conquest, the nation experienced only a small number: none in 2002, two in 2003, five in 2004 and nine in 2005.

But in 2006, suicide attacks began to increase by an order of magnitude — with 97 in 2006, 142 in 2007, 148 in 2008 and more than 60 in the first half of 2009. Moreover, the overwhelming percentage of the suicide attacks (80 percent) has been against United States and allied troops or their bases rather than Afghan civilians, and nearly all (95 percent) carried out by Afghans.

-  blue roll -
The Soldier's Wife
Calvin Trillin’s Theory « The Baseline Scenario:

Technology firms also face a similar problem. In technology, as in most businesses, the way to make it to the top is through sales, so you end up with a situation where the CEO is a sales guy who has no understanding of technology and, for example, thinks that you can cut the development time of a project in half by adding twice as many people. I have seen this have catastrophic results. Even when you don’t have the generational issue that Trillin talks about, the problem is that the sociology of corporations leads to a certain kind of CEO, and as corporations become increasingly dependent on complex technology or complex business processes (for example, the kind of data-driven marketing that consumer packaged companies do), you end up with CEOs who don’t understand the key aspects of the companies they are managing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Playgoer: The Iraq National Theatre:

Culture Minister Maher Ibrahim al-Hadithi admitted in June that his $85 million (£53.9 milion) budget was "miserable" and that the ministry's infrastructure and resources had all been looted or destroyed in recent years.

I know, right? Only $85 mil. I mean, how can they keep up with our NEA with its mighty...$155 million budget. (Which was only $99 mil back in '96.)

Yes, even Iraq--the barely viable state of freakin' Iraq--puts our arts budget to shame. Probably more per capita, if you factor in how much smaller a country is. Congressmen wail about how our economy won't allow more--but Iraq doesn't even have an economy!
The Jihad of the Goths. Training.
All strings attached: Richard Foreman in rehearsal | Upstaged | Time Out New York:

After Foreman tells Dafoe that he wants him to cut a line, Dafoe says he’s always hated it.

Foreman: Why didn’t you tell me weeks ago?

Dafoe: I follow orders.

Foreman: Fine, get me a corned beef on rye.

Dafoe: See, when you out there don’t like something, you change it. Down here, onstage, when you don’t like something, you fucking deal with it. That’s the difference between you and us.

you lookin at me?
Parabasis: The Unknown:

Yesterday I was interviewing set designer Beowulf Borritt for American Theatre. And he told me that he in general does at least 20 shows a year. This year, he's doing 31. It's the only way a designer can make a living of course, unless you teach or have a few shows on Broadway paying you good royalties. And I asked him something along the lines of how many of those shows are ones he feels strongly about or believes in. And his answer struck me as relevant to the above questions: "One a year, if I'm lucky. But you don't know going in whether it's going to end up being one of those shows."
19/52. Tuesday the 13th
60 Second Director: Stay out of the middle.:

You want my advice? Of course you do. Don't aim for the middle. Make everything you can for nothing until something hits so big that Hollywood comes knocking.
Dream up a Storm
Ralph Lauren Fires Photoshopped Model For Being "Too Fat" - Ralph lauren model - Jezebel:

Notice the absence of subjects in that sentence: "it" creates a cycle. (A cycle! Those can be really hard to stop.) "It" relates to Kate Moss, or at least her "era." "The clothes" got smaller. (All by themselves?) The underweight ideal body that the fashion industry promulgates to women all around the world — and the underweight bodies that real fashion models are required to maintain, and which some cannot but maintain through unhealthy means — are problems that everyone is prepared to "acknowledge" in the fashion industry. People write letters about it. They institute meaningless, unenforced laws. What nobody has yet done is actually make a serious, thoughtful attempt to confront these problems of the industry's function — and this is an industry which is structured to punish the sufferer of an eating disorder who decides to enter treatment — and to solve them.

White's perspective on the basic problem is troubling: "The models" got smaller — seemingly of our own volition — and that's who she "has" to use in fashion stories.

Henri Cartier-Bresson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Cartier-Bresson exclusively used Leica 35 mm rangefinder cameras equipped with normal 50 mm lenses or occasionally a wide-angle for landscapes.[6] He often wrapped black tape around the camera's chrome body to make it less conspicuous. With fast black and white films and sharp lenses, he was able to photograph almost by stealth to capture the events. No longer bound by a huge 4×5 press camera or an awkward two and a quarter inch twin-lens reflex camera, miniature-format cameras gave Cartier-Bresson what he called "the velvet hand [and] the hawk's eye."[citation needed] He never photographed with flash, a practice he saw as "[i] coming to a concert with a pistol in your hand."[6] He believed in composing his photographs in the viewfinder, not in the darkroom. He showcased this belief by having nearly all his photographs printed only at full-frame and completely free of any cropping or other darkroom manipulation. Indeed, he emphasized that his prints were not cropped by insisting they include the first millimetre or so of the unexposed clear negative around the image area resulting, after printing, in a black border around the positive image.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Mommy Files : Maurice Sendak tells parents to go to hell:

Reporter: "What do you say to parents who think the Wild Things film may be too scary?"

Sendak: "I would tell them to go to hell. That's a question I will not tolerate."

Reporter: "Because kids can handle it?"

Sendak: "If they can't handle it, go home. Or wet your pants. Do whatever you like. But it's not a question that can be answered."
A Boy’s Own Genre, or Not « Whatever:

Well, actually, the thing to do is trap such creatures in a dork snare (cunningly baited with Cool Ranch Doritos, Diet Ultra Violet Mountain Dew and a dual monitor rig open to Drunken Stepfather on one screen and Duke Nukem 3D on the other), and then cart them to a special preserve somewhere in Idaho for such as their kind. We’ll tell them it’s a “freehold” — they’ll like that — and that they will be others of a like mind, and there they will live as men, free from the horrible feminizing effects of women and their gonad shriveling girl rays. And then we’ll tag them with GPS and if they ever try to leave the freehold, we’ll have them hunted down by roller derby teams with spears. That’s really the optimal solution.

But since we can’t do that, then pointing and laughing will suffice.
the grandson of Emperor Meiji
Reporter Resurrects Career - Buys His Own Paper -

Eight months ago, Mr. Sprengelmeyer, 42, worked as the sole Washington correspondent for The Rocky Mountain News, the Denver newspaper that went out of business in February, but his job these days is a far cry from the Senate press gallery.

In August, he embarked on a new life in this isolated little town as owner, publisher, editor, primary writer and sometime ad salesman, photographer and deliverer of the weekly Guadalupe County Communicator, circulation about 2,000.

“I covered the war in Iraq and the presidential campaign, and I knew I was never going to top that, even if I found another reporting job,” he said, sitting on a battered chair in his single-story storefront space. “I just wanted a completely new direction.”

Of the thousands of paths taken by journalists who have been cast off by shrinking metropolitan newspapers, Mr. Sprengelmeyer’s is one of the more unusual, and one of the more hopeful. While bringing some big-city professionalism to a distinctly small-time operation, he says he is making enough money to support himself, and he has been able to assign some freelance work to a few underemployed former colleagues.

Monday, October 12, 2009

NYC Celebrates Theater with Free Stuff:

In addition to performances, there will also be a series of talks throughout the day about the theater from luminaries such as Eric Bogosian, Judith Malina, Kathleen Chalfant, Mike Daisey, Oskar Eustis, Lisa Kron, Michael McKean, and Susan Louise O'Connor. When was the last time a Thursday afternoon offered this much stellar free entertainment?

Hello, Internet!
Solar storm of 1859 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The solar storm of 1859, also known as the Solar Superstorm,[1] or the Carrington Event,[2] was the most powerful solar storm in recorded history.

From August 28 until September 2, numerous sunspots and solar flares were observed on the sun. Just before noon on September 1, the British astronomer Richard Carrington observed the largest flare,[3] which caused a massive coronal mass ejection (CME), to travel directly toward Earth, taking 18 hours. This is remarkable because such a journey normally takes three to four days. It moved so quickly because an earlier CME had cleared its way.[4]

From September 1–2, the largest recorded geomagnetic storm occurred, causing the failure of telegraph systems all over Europe and North America.[5] Auroras were seen all over the world, most notably over the Caribbean; also noteworthy were those over the Rocky Mountains that were so bright, the glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning.[3]

Losing My Marbles
The Brazil Files: Bela or Bust Part 2 – On Class | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture:

Luckily for many Brazilian women, maintaining one’s physical appearance is not so heavy a financial task. Even in large cities, one can get an amazing manicure/pedicure for less than $20 reais ($10 USD), a facial for $50 reais ($25 USD), a “Brazilian” wax for $15 reais (known there as “depilação de virilha”; $7 USD) and multiple sessions of lymphatic massage for $100 reais a month ($50 USD). In comparison to the cost of aesthetic maintenance in the United States, Brazilian women are the fortunate ones. In some ways, the cheap costs, even for the average Brazilian, allow for a democratization of access to beauty, whereas in the U.S., this is not so much the case. And when one can find cheap beauty related services in the U.S., the question of service, quality, and even employee rights follows the far too reasonable price tag.

With relatively equal access to stellar services, many women have access to maintaining an image that puts them physically on par with their wealthier counterparts. In other words, she may not be rich, but at least her looks are equal to if not superior to someone with greater material wealth. In the United States, this “phenomenon” of sorts, democratization and equality by way of the physical, can be witnessed in the purchase of clothing and vehicles by those of a lower income. As quality attire is not nearly as expensive in the States as it is in Brazil (due mainly to import taxation and trade issues) and the intellectual property rights of high end designers are often violated by chain stores like H&M and Forever 21, people of the working and lower middle classes have greater access to some of the same clothing styles worn by the rich. As wealth, at least in the past, seemed less of a precarious state in the U.S., the preoccupation with “looking rich” was not evident. In fact, I would go as far as to argue that in many cases, the wealthy in the States can be indistinguishable from the general public (look at stores like Urban Outfitters, which peddles the image of tattered, vintage, and reconstructed clothing at a high price). This is not the case in Brazil, where the wealthy can be spotted from miles away.

Did David Letterman Try to Warn His Blackmailer? - David Letterman - Gawker:

What isn't highly unlikely, however, is that the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz would pen a scolding and schoolmarmish column arguing that Letterman has gotten a pass from the press for dipping his pen in the company ink. Lo and behold:

If Letterman were the chief executive of a defense contractor, instead of a TV production company, would the media critics be so quick to let him skate on sleeping with the help?

You know, he's got a point. What if Letterman were a Catholic priest? You think Monsignor Letterman would get such soft coverage if he were sleeping with a nun? Or what if he were Stephanie Birkitt's father? Kurtz's incisive counterfactual has exposed the media-critic punditocracy for the hypocrites they are, because they insist on treating David Letterman as a private citizen who wasn't elected and receives no taxpayer dollars and broke no laws and wasn't married at the time the affairs were alleged to have happened and therefore was sadly free to do with his dick as he pleased, instead of treating him like a defense contractor, which would be much more satisfying for Howie Kurtz.

Jezebel Rebels: Autumn Turtle