Friday, April 30, 2004

Did you know you can search Google in Klingon?

Thanks to everyone from the ScreenSavers who has come by the blog--I didn't expect such a response from my segment last night, but it's extremely welcome.

More soon--I've been under the gun with the reading on Monday.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Manhattan Theatre Club invites you to
6@6 2004:
Rehearsed Readings of New Work

May 3rd
by Mike Daisey

In his latest monologue, Mike Daisey looks back on his experiences ten
years ago, when--having never lived anywhere larger than his hometown,
pop. 300, in the remote backwoods of Maine--he went to London to study
theater at the feet of Gielgud and Olivier and other
important-sounding, possibly dead white men. After three months of
being told that if he could just stop being funny then he might become
a real actor one day, Daisey discovers a performance group that creates
idiosyncratic shows in an abandoned church with a Waiting for
Guffman-like fervor. When he falls in love with an actress who is,
unbeknownst to him, a member of the world's oldest profession, he
suddenly realizes he's in way over his head.

In The Ugly American, Daisey looks back on the highbrow and the lowbrow,
from serving tea to Tom Stoppard to driving drunk with his girlfriend's
pimp, weaving together the lessons of artifice, class, gender, and
power that both worlds so violently taught him.


Each reading takes place on a Monday night at 6pm on the 8th floor of
Manhattan Theatre Club's Creative Center, 311 West 43rd Street between
8th and 9th Avenues. (If there is a line for the elevator, enter at 315
West 43rd Street.)

To RSVP, please call (212) 399-3000 ext. 163
Reservations are recommended as seating is limited.


Monday, April 26, 2004

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Corny.

The world that wasn't: from a NYT piece on Apple:

Several years ago, Mr. Jobs said in an interview last week, the company was ready to introduce Apple-branded Internet service. Two weeks before the launch he killed the idea because he had decided it wasn't a viable business.

Probably a good move, but I have to say I wonder what this would have been like.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Do you use mind control impants on other people? If yes, fill out this survey and let the world know why you do it.

Friday, April 23, 2004

"David Gordon Green has been in talks to adapt Confederacy of Dunces, with Will Ferrell as Ignatius J. Reilly, Mos Def as Jones, and Drew Barrymore (who is producing, along with Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, etc.) as Darlene."

Hey, I *like* these people and I still don't want to seem them make this film...Will Ferrell is a terrible choice for Ignatius. Christ on a cracker.

Thursday, April 22, 2004


AINUR: Wow! Existence!
ILUVATAR: *blows pitch pipe* LA!
AINUR: Um. . . la?
MELKOR: Boop bop-a-doo-bop!
ILUVATAR: LA, dammit.
MELKOR: Bwam bardle ningle boom.
AINUR: . . .
ILUVATAR: Right, you're out of the band.
MELKOR: Fine, I was leaving anyway.
AINUR: . . .
ILUVATAR: What are you waiting for?
AINUR: Oh. Right. Newly created world. Sorry. Great jam session, big guy!


MANWE: I'm in charge!
VARDA: I'm Manwe's spouse. And the queen of the stars!
NAMO: I do death and fate. They call me Mandos.
VAIRE: I'm Namo's spouse. I weave things.
IRMO: I have gardens. They call me Lorien.
ESTE: I'm Irmo's spouse. I take care of the gardens.
YAVANNA: I make things grow.
NIENNA: I'm sad.
ULMO: I live in the ocean.
AULE: I'm Yavanna's spouse. I've got a great big hammer! I made dwarves.
NESSA: I dance.
OROME: I hunt!
VANA: I'm Orome's spouse. I make living things happy.
TULKAS: I'm strong. I'm Nessa's spouse. I got here last.
MELKOR: I'm bad, momma, I'm ONE BAD MUTHA-
MELKOR: Um. Yeah. Hiding now.


VALAR: Hey! Ilmaren! Party on the island, everyone!
MELKOR: Bah. Too bright. *builds fortress, kicks over lamps*
VALAR: AUGH! *flee to west*
MELKOR: Hu hu hu.
VALAR: Oooooh SHINY TREES! Yavanna made shiny trees!
YAVANNA: Yep! Aren't they pretty?
MELKOR: Want shiny.
VALAR: Nope.
MELKOR: Why not?
VALAR: Because you're a jerk.
ELVES: Oh hey, stars. Shiny!
MELKOR: Oh hey, breeding stock.
UNGOLIANT: Want shiny.
MELKOR: Let's go get shiny.
FEANOR: I've made more shiny!
VALAR: Good, 'cos Melkor took ours. Can we have yours?
VALAR: Aw, !&*()!@&)!(&.
MELKOR: Got the shinies!
UNGOLIANT: Not enough shiny. Want more shiny!
MELKOR: You can't have 'em.
MELKOR: Eeek! *runs away*
FEANOR AND SONS: We're gettin' our shinies back. And YOU CAN'T HAVE 'EM, Valar!
MELKOR/MORGOTH: No you're not. *stabbity fiery burny death*
BEREN: Ooo! Pretty elf lady!
THINGOL: You can have her if you ... BRING ME A SHINY!
BEREN: Worth a shot.
LUTHIEN: La la la
MORGOTH: Ooo baby... *zzz*
BEREN: Got your shiny!
MORGOTH: you BASTARD! I stole those fair and square!
THINGOL: Got the shiny?
BEREN: 's in my hand.
BEREN: Hand's not here.
THINGOL: Crap, I really wanted that shiny.
BEREN: *dies*
LUTHIEN: *dies* La la la.
MANDOS: ... oh all right.
LUTHIEN: *returns to life*
BEREN: *returns to life*
LUTHIEN: Beren! Look! The shiny!
FEANOR'S SONS: *mutter*
LUTHIEN: *dies again*
BEREN: *dies again*
DIOR: Look! It's Mom's shiny!
DIOR: *dies*
ELWING: Eek! *grabs shiny, runs*
FEANOR'S SONS: !*&(!)&)*!.
EARENDIL: Hey. Nice shiny. Yo! Valar!
VALAR: Well FINALLY. *stomp stomp stomp*
EARENDIL: Wow, planetary orbit!
VALAR: Got your shinies!
MAGLOR AND MAEDHROS: You mean OUR shinies!
VALAR: Oh *!&(!&).
MAGLOR AND MAEDHROS: Ow! Burny shinies!
MAEDHROS: Fine. This sucks. *jumps into chasm*
MAGLOR: Um... not really looking forward to meeting Dad again... *chucks shiny into sea* Bye. *wanders off*
VALAR: Well... um... okay.


VALAR: Thanks for helping with Morgoth, Edain! Have an island! Elros is in charge!
EDAIN: Cool!
VALAR: Don't come looking for us.
EDAIN: Okay.
ELVES OF TOL ERESSEA: Have our stuff!
NUMENOREANS: Neat! Oh hey, Middle-Earth!
GIL-GALAD: Dudes. Good to see you.
NUMENOREANS: Yeah, same here. What's going on?
GIL-GALAD: War with Sauron mostly.
MEN OF MIDDLE-EARTH: Shiny tall wonderful wise sea-king dudes! Yay!
NUMENOREANS: Here, have some stuff and wisdom.
NUMENOREANS: Life is cool. Why do we have to die?
ELVES: You're human?
NUMENOREANS: Can the Valar fix that?
NUMENOREANS: That sucks. Go away.
ELVES: Fine.
ELENDILI: Hey! Over here! We still like you!
MEN OF MIDDLE-EARTH: Gosh, we're lonely.
NUMENOREANS: Whatever, give us your wealth and your children.
ELENDILI: This isn't gonna end well, is it?
TAR-PALANTIR: We're sorry?
GIMILKHAD: *I'm* not.
AR-PHARAZON: Thanks for the throne, dude.
AR-PHARAZON: Shaddap, woman. Sauron, j00 suxx0r! I 0wnz0r j00!
AR-PHARAZON: Make me immortal.
SAURON: Human sacrifice is good. Also burn that pesky white tree.
ISILDUR: Hey! White tree! Got your fruit!
SAURON: *makes chicken noises*
AR-PHARAZON: Fine. Tree burn! Fire pretty!
ELENDIL: Isildur, Anarion, get the boats.
AR-PHARAZON: I've got a huge navy! Let's go conquer Valinor!
VALAR: Oh no you don't. *CRASHBANGBOOM*
SAURON: Bwa ha ha! Um, where's my body?
ILUVATAR: Did I mention the world is round now?


ELVES: Wonder what's going on over the ocean. This crafting deal is pretty sweet, though!
DWARVES: Yeah, seriously.
ANNATAR: Hi, elves! Wanna learn some cool stuff?
ELVES: Okay!
SAURON: They fell for it.
SEVEN DWARVES: Thanks for the rings! . . oooh, GOLD! MORE GOLD! MUST HAVE GOLD!
NINE MEN: Neat rings. . . Hey, didn't Mom die like six hundred years ago?
CELEBRIMBOR: Okay, how about we do three more and call it a wrap?
SAURON: How about I do one more and claim them ALL?
SAURON: Bwa ha ha!
SAURON: Make me.
ELROND: Hey, you got his ring. Let's ditch it.
ELROND: This sucks.
ISILDUR: Tell me about it. *dies*
GONDORIANS: *change calendar*
CIRDAN: Hi, wizards! You in the grey, catch!
SAURON: Okay, that's long enough. Movin' into Dol Guldur.
SARUMAN: It's not him. Also the ring's lost at sea.
RING: No I'm not.
THE WEAK: Bad ring! Volcano for you!
RING: *melts*
GONDORIANS: *change calendar*
GANDALF: Hi Cirdan! Still got your ring!
CIRDAN: Cool. Let's go to Valinor!

Thanks, Camwyn.
Anybody who wants to talk to Omarosa can find her contact information here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Are you ready for some Spyball?

Lars Von Trier trivia:

• He's phobic and has a fear of hospitals, fires, large crowds, death, and various forms of shellfish.
• He won't fly, take a boat, or get on a train. He rides around Europe in a RV.
• He's making a three-part saga about life in America – of which Dogville is a part – although he's never been to the U.S. and says he has absolutely no desire to come.
• His name didn't originally have a "von" in it. He added it when he graduated film school so he could be like Erich von Stroheim.
• When he won a prize at the Cannes film festival in 1991, he tossed it into the Mediterranian Sea.
• In his Cannes acceptance speech, he thanked Roman Polanski, president of the jury, by calling him a "midget."
• When his mother was dying of cancer and confessed on her deathbed that she'd had an affair (and Lars may have had a different father), he went to her house and smashed all of her possessions.
• Every time he starts work on a new script, he ceremonially dunks it into a teacup that once belonged to the famous Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer.
• At his office every morning, he requires that his interns raise a flag and play a special song with flutes and drums.
• His office has a pool in the middle and Lars routinely strips naked in front of his employees to go for a swim.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

It's Quentin Tarantino at the Crate and Barrel! This is the best celebrity encounter story I've read in a month of Sundays.

This is the best thing that Choire has written, even if it's way too easy.

Disgusting. Typical, but disgusting.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Only in Tennessee.

Holy mackeral--this is the most interesting topic on Slashdot in a month of Sundays. What happened? Is there a new editorial team in town?

Television is run by rich white men who are told what to do by rich white men, who want a formula to sell the most soap.
The simple, gigantic people of Ukraine.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Oliver Stone: Softbellied Bootlicking Asshat Moron
An interview in Slate with Oliver Stone about his work with Fidel Castro. Stone has already filmed one dictator lovefest, Commandante. HBO forced him to go back down to Cuba and film more balanced footage for broadcast, so now he has Looking for Fidel. (Is anyone else tired of the "Looking for..." trope? I am.)

Ann Bardach interviews Stone, and he manages in a few short questions to look like he's never really thought about the implications of his filmmaking:

ALB: But Cuba's leader for life is sitting in front of these guys who are facing life in prison, and you're asking them, "Are you well treated in prison?" Did you think they could honestly answer that question?

OS: If they were being horribly mistreated, then I don't know that they could be worse mistreated [afterward].

ALB: So in other words, you think they thought this was their best shot to air grievances? Rather than that if they did speak candidly, there'd be hell to pay when they got back to prison?

OS: I must say, you're really picturing a Stalinist state. It doesn't feel that way. You can always find horrible prisons if you go to any country in Central America.

ALB: Did you go to the prisons in Cuba?

OS: No, I didn't.

Yikes. The more I learn about Stone, the more reasons I have to abhor his work--which is funny, because he was already very nearly my least favorite American filmmaker after NATURAL BORN KILLERS and JFK.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

So what happened to Kirk Cameron? Remember him? Growing Pains?

Well, he's all growed up and become a hard-core Jesus freak. It's really amazing.

More albums with commentary here. Thanks to Monique for the link.
This town, I swear.

Sleuthing through the subways: folks go searching for the original subway system and what remains of it today.
EPILOGUE: As for the mysterious woman sitting next to me, here's what happened. I spent the remainder of the night trying to give her bus fare back to Kalamazoo, insisting, "This city is full of vipers, little girl, and I don't want you to get bitten. Now go back home and make some fella proud!" Then I threw up in her hair. And that's how mommy and daddy met, and made you.

From Tremble.

"Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams"
by Kenneth Koch

I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.

We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten
The man who asked for it was shabby
and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.

Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
Forgive me. I was clumsy and
I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Fascinating article on how corporations first became entitled to the rights of individuals--it was fairly serendipitous, and mainly revolved around a bad comment and an overzealous court reporter.

From the press conference:

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa.

You've looked back before 9-11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9-11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have learned from it?

BUSH: I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it.

John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could've done it better this way or that way. You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet.

I would've gone into Afghanistan the way we went into Afghanistan. Even knowing what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would've called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein.

See, I'm of the belief that we'll find out the truth on the weapons. That's why we sent up the independent commission. I look forward to hearing the truth as to exactly where they are. They could still be there. They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.

One of the things that Charlie Duelfer talked about was that he was surprised of the level of intimidation he found amongst people who should know about weapons and their fear of talking about them because they don't want to be killed.

You know, there's this kind of -- there's a terror still in the soul of some of the people in Iraq.

BUSH: They're worried about getting killed, and therefore they're not going to talk. But it'll all settle out, John. We'll find out the truth about the weapons at some point in time.

However, the fact that he had the capacity to make them bothers me today just like it would have bothered me then. He's a dangerous man. He's a man who actually not only had weapons of mass destruction -- the reason I can say that with certainty is because he used them.

And I have no doubt in my mind that he would like to have inflicted harm, or paid people to inflict harm, or trained people to inflict harm, on America, because he hated us.

I hope -- I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.

You can't come up with *anything*? Nothing? Not even a simple wish that you'd have been able to prevent 9/11? Nothing at all? This is a softball question...and in the course of the answer he switches tenses constantly while asserting that there are no weapons found, that weapons will be found, that weapons will show up's pathetic.

I think the American public deserves people who can bullshit better than this.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Breadth? Breadth!? is it too much to ask that the graduates of HBS learn how to SPELL?

Apparently, yes, it is. They're too busy drinking Cristal and Leading America Into A Bright Tomorrow Of Informed Corporate Governance.
My brother reports that this is the cat he'd like to be in his next life. There is something attractive about all that mince.

"Mirroring a move made on the Windows software side, and reflecting a long-term corporate strategy, Symantec has internally declared an 'end-of-life' (EOL) to Norton Utilities for the Macintosh, sources tell AppleInsider."

Good riddance--Norton's was once a very solid contender, but since OSX they've been absolutely awful. I won't be sorry to see this software vanish in the least--it has hosed more systems than it's saved over the last few years.

DiskWarrior, OTOH, is a godsend.

I posted the other day about the SanFran art school that is controlling student reading and censoring visiting artists, and now Michael Chabon takes on the topic in an op-ed piece for the Times.

Monday, April 12, 2004

"Hong Kong: A man has bitten a dog to death in eastern China after it attacked him as he walked home with friends after a night out, a news report said."

Gilmore's analysis of the TOS agreement for Google's Gmail. Read before you leap in!

From Page Six:

ABRASIVE "Access Hollywood" presenter Billy Bush had a run-in with Tom Hanks at the premiere of "The Ladykillers," spies tell us. Hanks apparently asked the president's cousin, "How does it feel to be famous for being so obnoxious?" As Bush attempted to laugh off the sleight, Hanks followed up with, "People in this town have long memories." Hanks's rep didn't deny the words were spoken.

Ah, Billy. I went to school with this guy...hell, I was in a show with him. And not much has changed.
A great NYC story is in this interview with Clay Shirky. The whole thing is good, but scroll down to the "moment when you thought you'd have to leave NYC for good," which, I assure you, everyone has. It's like a universal shared experience of misery.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Saturday, April 10, 2004

What happened here? Sounds like the best Easter pagent ever.

Friday, April 09, 2004

From the linked article:

Hence the irrelevance of Harvard's recent announcement that it won't ask parents who earn less than $40,000 a year to help pay for their children's education. While this is no doubt great news to those financially pressed students who have gone to great schools, taken college-prep courses and scored well on their SAT's, it's bound to seem a little beside the point to the great majority of the poor, since what's keeping them out of elite universities is not their inability to pay the bill but their inability to qualify for admission in the first place...When student and faculty activists struggle for cultural diversity, they are in large part battling over what skin color the rich kids should have. Diversity, like gout, is a rich people's problem.

This is simply marvelous.

Commercial steadicams cost at least $600, and usually end up being closer to $1500. Johnny Chung Lee makes one for $14.

Yes, that's FOURTEEN DOLLARS. And it works pretty damn well.

It's moments like these that make me love tech.

The excuse that executives like the unhinged demons at Fox use to justify deeply unnerving programs like this one is that they are "just giving the people what they want." I just want to know, in which mall did market researchers locate the ill humans that demanded to see a show about "average looking women" who get thousands of dollars of painful plastic surgery, then compete with each other in a beauty contest? What corner of this country -- which you're tempted to think of as a sad, sick country, after that two minutes of programming -- was crying out for a show about unattractive, insecure women who believe that reimagineering their bodies will bring them happiness? Gee, could this be a show that was born in the heart of Los Angeles?


Some excellent and insightful analysis of what can be gleaned from Rice's testimony yesterday. I have to say I agree with most of this, and it holds together rather convincingly. Check here for some line-by-line breakdowns of what she says as well.

Back from the dead! I'm still not at 100%, but I'm a hell of a lot closer to the land of the living than I have been any other day this week. My thanks to everyone who wrote me while ill with warm regards, and especially to the missus, whose instincts about soup are ever-accurate.

This showed up while I've been sick; Subservient Chicken. It's fun to control the chicken!

Classy ladies--they certainly seem to have lived up to corporate expectations, don't they? I still don't understand why doing *this* is so much better than doing Playboy--they weren't even PAID for this photo shoot.

More inane ramblings from the ladies, but there's nothing very interesting.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

For those who are looking for me, I've been really sick with a terrible cold. I hope to surface soon and catch up on all my correspondence and projects.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Tonight I'm performing at The Kitchen as part of Zoetrope's Live Story--an earlier email said the show was at 7:30, but it is actually at 7:00. Sorry for any confusion I've generated.


WHEN: April 6 (Tuesday) 7pm
WHERE: The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, NYC (between 10th & 11th Avenues)
TICKETS: $10 (Free Zoetrope magazines given to all attendees!)
BOX OFFICE: 212-255-5793 x11

Director: Javier Gutierrez
Theatrical Adaptation: Joy Barrett, Javier Gutierrez, Beth Lein
Producers: Joy Barrett, Beth Lein

One Night Only! Francis Coppola's Zoetrope: Live Story presents a dramatic
reading of pulp writer Tod Robbins' Spurs-the circus sideshow tale that
inspired the cult-classic movie Freaks. With direction by Javier Gutierrez,
the reading will include live music, dancers and actors portraying Robbins'
characters in an "extreme naturalist" approach. Zoetrope: Live Story is the
theatrical production associated with Coppola's award-winning short-fiction
magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story.


Monday, April 05, 2004

Tonight at 7:30:

All Stories Are Fiction #7:

Stories for a windy night.
Come on by P.S.122 and check it out.

Excellent demonstration of database tech: everyone who has a subscription to REASON gets next month's issue with their name and a satellite picture of where they live on the cover. When subtlety won't make your points...

Op-Ed piece in the NYT that explicates the situation we're all mired in: workers are more and more productive, but less and less benefits accrue to them. They're going to corporations instead. This is fortunate, as I was worried that IBM and Motorola weren't going to be able to take their families on vacation this year--I love those guys. Especially Motorola, who tells such great jokes.

If you're a fan of boredom, which I most fervently am, here's a defense of boredom as a dying art form.

Can someone explain this article on iPods to me? It keeps talking about how incredibly difficult the iPod is to use, and that ripping CDs into digital tracks takes forever...but that's never been my experience at all. I ripped most of my CDs way back in 1999, with a much slower CD drive and computer than most would be using today and it was, at worst, mildly irritating. I guess it's a slow news day and they wanted to do a PR plug for the company that rips your CDs for you.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Check out this gorgeous sand mandala being built.

Q: Why are the chinese communists so afraid of free exchange of ideas and criticism?
A: They're afraid they'll have to give up power and find real jobs.
"There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stage-coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place."
Washington Irving

That really seems a churlish sentiment to start out this missive, because I have been having a wonderful day. Got up early and worked on a piece about Boys State which I performed as part of ALL STORIES ARE FICTION. Jean-Michele and I then took a taxi over to WNYC, where we recorded the story for The Next Big Thing. I'm working with a really sharp producer there and he did a wonderful job of clarifying and leading me through the story. I'm excited to hear how it turns out.

Then we took the A train over to DUMBO, where I introduced her to brunch at Bubby's. The pulled pork sandwich is to die for, and after stuffing ourselves we went walking in the new Brooklyn Bridge park, watched some dogs run around and didn't hurry too much. Then we split off--JM headed back to our apartment for essay-writing, and I'm at my studio now, writing about the day.

I thought I would write this down because so often I don't fully enjoy what's going on, or don't see what I have, and since, for once, I was really happy all afternoon, it seemed noteworthy.

Friday, April 02, 2004

A killer gallery of the alleys I prowl when walking in my neighborhood.