Tuesday, October 31, 2006

254705120 Ca9Dbe121A B
2006 10 Puckfair
154166293 B68F1E302E
Subtraction: Plastic, Interrupted:

One thing that I like about my new iMac (in spite of its problems) and my iPod— is that they’re both basically hunks of cheap plastic — and neither tries to be anything else. This is a beautiful thing.

By way of contrast, consider my Treo 650. Or, for that matter, consider any of the many, many pieces of digital hardware currently available on the market that, like my Treo, share the absolutely cringe-worthy characteristic of being pieces of plastic that are painted to look like metal.

This one morning is the kind where every person who steps foot out her door will inhale in unison and feel like crying a little. Hats and gloves thrown into purses or in backbacks for the evening, but not for the day... the walk to the subway, the walk at lunchtime, pumpkins on doorways and spicy hot drinks and cider, too many apples...

But the 70 degrees is the thing that kills. As you walk down the leaf-coated street you think of the one person whose lover you should have been. You think of jumping into a pile of leaves with him in Central Park, though never in your adult life have you jumped into a pile of leaves and especially not in Central Park where there could be rats lurking beneath and CERTAINLY not in the light fall coat you just got back from the dry cleaners... but anyway today there are no rats and coats don't get dirty and the air was meant for eating and strangers are there for you to touch yes that lady with the beautiful knee-high brown leather boots and the chocolate corduroy skirt is yours and yes the man with the square-toed shoes and the Times folded beneath his arm blowing on his coffee waiting for the light to change he is yours too.

And your lover, the one you never had... he is lying in a pile of leaves around the bend, breathing heavily from the exertion of his leap. His arms are outstretched. He's waiting for you.

Monday, October 30, 2006

278444494 1Bc38Fe89E B
Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: Vive La Resistance:

I was chatting with some friends after the Maher show. They'd been against the war from the beginning. They were African-American and said it was obvious to them that the WMD argument was what they called "game." They weren't surprised. I was. I believed George W. Bush. And I trusted him. And as the evidence has poured in that my faith and trust were betrayed, my surprise has turned to rage. I'm not a generally angry person. But if I have placed my trust in someone on a matter of this gravity and I find out they lied, bungled and betrayed me and others who trusted them, then all I can say is: they picked the wrong guy to bamboozle.

You don't send 19 year-old kids to risk their lives and die to protect your own political power or advance your own partisan purposes. You don't abandon thousands of innocent Iraqis who also trusted you to marauding gangs of terrorists and murderers, and stand by and tell critics to "back off". You don't ask people of good faith to support you in a critical war and then secretly breach the Geneva Conventions and torture people and blame only a few grunts on the ground for your war-crimes.

The anger of the left, I realize, was always there. But the anger of the betrayed and decent right and center is deeper. Some readers think my anger has gotten the best of me. Maybe on occasions it has. But I'd rather be too angry than too afraid to call these people what they are.
279097625 83B8F1F3D5
I want this!

Technology Review: Motorola's Dumb Phone:

Mobile phones in the United States are more power-hungry and complicated than ever. But one of the latest phones from Motorola, aimed primarily at other markets and due out by the end of the year, is just the opposite. Looking for more customers, the company did extensive market research in poor countries. The result: the company's slimmest phone yet, boasting cutting-edge technology that--rather than adding complexity--extends battery life and makes the phone simpler to use.
278719726 17A5036166 O
Somewhere in Italy...
Gresham's Law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Gresham's law is commonly stated as: "When there is a legal tender currency, bad money drives good money out of circulation".

Gresham's law applies specifically when there are two forms of commodity money in circulation which are forced, by the application of legal tender laws, to be respected as having the same face value in the marketplace. It is named after Sir Thomas Gresham, an English financier in Tudor times.
Social Security Cards Issued by Woolworth:

The most misused SSN of all time was (078-05-1120). In 1938, wallet manufacturer the E. H. Ferree company in Lockport, New York decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. A sample card, used for display purposes, was inserted in each wallet. Company Vice President and Treasurer Douglas Patterson thought it would be a clever idea to use the actual SSN of his secretary, Mrs. Hilda Schrader Whitcher.

The wallet was sold by Woolworth stores and other department stores all over the country. Even though the card was only half the size of a real card, was printed all in red, and had the word "specimen" written across the face, many purchasers of the wallet adopted the SSN as their own. In the peak year of 1943, 5,755 people were using Hilda's number. SSA acted to eliminate the problem by voiding the number and publicizing that it was incorrect to use it. (Mrs. Whitcher was given a new number.) However, the number continued to be used for many years. In all, over 40,000 people reported this as their SSN. As late as 1977, 12 people were found to still be using the SSN "issued by Woolworth."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

06 Hell 1
Tonight is the final night of HELL HOUSE--for all who've worked so incredibly hard, I salute you!
2006 10 Coneyislandprojects
Dr. Megavolt - Burning Man, Black Rock City, Nevada (2001)
Boing Boing: Bush legalizes martial law -- what Constitution?:

On Oct 17, George Bush quietly signed a bill allowing him to declare martial law. The Toward Freedom website summarizes it:

For the current President, "enforcement of the laws to restore public order" means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against "disorderly" citizenry - protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event.

The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called "illegal aliens," "potential terrorists" and other "undesirables" for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That's right. Under the cover of a trumped-up "immigration emergency" and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration.

It's easy to get scabbed over about the Bush White House's assault on the Bill of Rights, but every now and again, they rip loose with an attack so egregious, it rips the scab right off. Between the right-to-torture bill and this one, it's clear that Bush intends to bring back the pork-politics glory of the Cold War by reinventing the Soviet Union on American soil.
Dog bless America
hi, i'm corn!
Book Paints Escape-Artist Houdini As Spy:

A new biography of the legendary performer suggests that Houdini worked as a spy for Scotland Yard, monitored Russian anarchists and chased counterfeiters for the U.S. Secret Service - all before he was possibly murdered.

"The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero" will be released on Halloween - the anniversary of Houdini's untimely death at age 52. Chasing new information on the elusive superstar eventually led authors William Kalush and Larry Sloman to create a database of more than 700,000 pages.

"There's no way in the world we could have done this book without it," said Sloman of the huge electronic index. "It would have taken 30 years - maybe."

The biography lays out a scenario where Houdini, using his career as cover, managed to travel the United States and the world while collecting information for law enforcement. The authors made the link after reviewing a journal belonging to William Melville, a British spy master who mentioned Houdini several times.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

- George Bernard Shaw

{the heart is a million little pieces above all things}
Ars Nova
I Always Use Blue
- Nos meus olhos...
United Colours of Fall
Bell System, highlighted
Butley - Theater - Review - New York Times:

This production has moments that hint at the “Butley” that might have been, brief glimpses afforded by Mr. Lane of pure pain and savagery that make you sit up and go “Whoa!” It seems telling that most of these moments are silent. For this “Butley” is one of those Broadway shows that achieves a state of paralyzing self-consciousness by trying to live up to its English accent.

Everyone in the cast, with two prominent exceptions, is plagued by an affliction that might be called the Importance of Sounding British, which causes actors to speak with the corseted plumminess associated with American productions of comedies by Wilde and Coward. This disease plays a large role in preventing the production from achieving the effortless-seeming continuity of a life being lived (and gutted) before our eyes.
2006 10 Birds-Thumb
In Clean Politics, Flesh Is Pressed, Then Sanitized - New York Times:

That has become routine in this peak season of handshaking, practiced by everyone from the most powerful leaders to the lowliest hopefuls. Politics is personal at all levels, and germs do not discriminate. Like chicken dinners and lobbyists, they afflict Democrats and Republicans alike. It would be difficult to find an entourage that does not have at least one aide packing Purell.

Some people find that unseemly in itself.

“It’s condescending to the voters,” said Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a Democrat.

A fervent nonuser of hand sanitizer, Mr. Richardson holds the Guinness Book of World Records mark for shaking the most hands over an eight-hour period (13,392, at the New Mexico State Fair in 2002).

Indeed, what message does it send when politicians, the putative leaders in a government by the people, for the people, feel compelled to wipe off the residues of said people immediately after meeting them?

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Stranger | Seattle | Slog: The Stranger's Blog | The Empty Space is Dead: The Update:

From the press release: “With deep regret, The Empty Space Board of Directors announced today that The Empty Space Theatre will cease operations effective immediately… The Empty Space does not have the financing needed to manage cash flow over the coming months.”
2006 10 Gowanus1
Scotch Bonnets in Autumn Colors
things i know for sure: FIRED!!:

No. No. Screw my temp job. Yes. Screw my temp job--or shall I say, my OLD temp job, my EX temp job--screw it. Screw the shall remain nameless idiotic foreign bank that sucked my life force for the last nine weeks and then threw me away like so much tissue paper. Screw them. Screw every boss who's forgotten how to smile, every analyst in his aligator shoes, every HR slug who slinks into the collar of his over-starched Banana Republic knock-off shirt every time I walk by, screw the guy who watches me walk to and from the bathroom and thinks I don't notice. Screw the senior executive assistant who nearly spit on me when I told her I was an actor, her in her pantsuits and her nails that click and her long long stares as I pick at the corner of her particle-board cubicle with my fingers and stumble as I ask her where to order lunch how to get supplies where is the mailroom? Screw the online locks and the long lunches that were okay and then weren't and were watched and then weren't. Screw conference rooms and conference calls and conference meals and conference voices and conference eyes and coffee stains along the rims of conference room mugs. Screw the salaries, ten times mine, that buy the shoes that go on the feet of the people who aren't me who surround me who ask questions of me who wasn't told anything before I began was just shown to a desk shown to a closet shown some files that meant nothing and forced then for days to look busy when I wasn't busy and I'm sorry I'm so fucking sorry that I got a fucking commercial and it interfered with your fucking phone calls and didn't I tell you didn't I fucking lay it out like crystal like a glass fucking tabletop didn't I tell you I was an actor and didn't you say it was okay and so what right does that give you to let me walk out on a Thursday and not say a word and let me leave my things in drawers, what right does that give you to skulk around and make decisions about how it's not working out and not say a word to me and let my androgenous temp agent rep tell me I was not to return!! SCREW YOU!
Brooklyn Bridge
Red( the need for Red)
mediabistro.com: FishBowlNY:

Speaking non-stop for over an hour while seated behind a simple desk on stage, Daisey weaves the saga of Frey's literary rise and fall into his own personal recollections and feelings about bending the truth when telling about one's life. Not unlike an extended verbal essay, Daisey's performance draws us from one topic to the next, from his father's disappointment at his own bending of the truth to a friend's death, commenting on the importance of personal integrity and the evolution of his thoughts on the subject.
270626632 732E314879
20061026 Debord Jorn

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tonight, as though for the first time:

{the heart is a million little pieces above all things}
Ars Nova

and immediately following, I'll be a guest on

Award-winning alternative talk show

Billy Willing and Robin Lord
Ars Nova

See you at the show!
Popular Science Blog - Flight of the Pole Dancer:

Newton’s First Law of Motion states that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. The same holds true for rotating bodies and, as we see in the video below, doubly true for rotating, gyrating bodies.

Consider the body of the body in question. After a quick shake of the head right and left, she leans backward to begin her rotation around the pole. Her pivot points include her right hand, held fast to the pole, and her left foot (disastrously clad, we will soon learn, in three-inch heels). She now has a sizeable amount of angular momentum moving counterclockwise around the pole, and this can be halted only by an external force.
Great review from TIME OUT NEW YORK--

Time Out New York / Truth:

While Daisey is unforgiving of Frey’s melodramatic style, he offers a more nuanced view of the process though which personal memoir, as a genre, can come to be fertilized by bullshit. Over the course of 100 minutes or so, he artfully weaves diverse narrative strands into a complex Daisey chain that ultimately argues for the paramount importance of honesty. His truth may not be simple, but it is, in its own way, pure.
Ronald D. Moore on Battlestar Galactica - ComingSoon.net:

Q: Who is the worst person you've ever worked for?

: I worked for a crazy man once. The late great Toby Halicki. There once was a man named Toby Halicki who did two films. He did the original "Gone in 60 Seconds" and he later did a film called "The Junkman." Essentially Toby was a car thief and he told us. He stole cars like in the early 70's and then made a film about it called "Gone in 60 Seconds." He was stealing cars to finance his film. He was a guerrilla filmmaker. Toby would shut down the freeway and just shoot a stunt without asking anyone's permission. He was truly a guerrilla filmmaker. He made a mint off the original "Gone in 60 Seconds." Many years later he decided to make a sequel…Toby was looking for someone to writer the sequel to "Gone in 60 Seconds" so I went and I helped write it and Toby said "sure you can come write it and you can also come manage my toy business." Toby was sort of insane. I mean he was very litigious. He sued people at the drop of a hat and he was a madman. He ran around screaming at the office all the time. He had this compound down in Gardena where you drove up to this big wooden fence that screened it from the road and you pressed a button and you went in and Toby had constructed a full western back lot for himself and he had never shot a western before in his entire life. Then he had this gigantic airplane hanger filled with toys from top to bottom and these exotic cars. It was a crazy crazy experience. Ultimately what happened was Toby and I went to upstate New York to scout locations for this movie. We were at this big industrial park and there was this big water tower. Toby wanted to bring the water tower down for a stunt. We had this screaming match. Toby was going to bring this water tower down with his buddies at the welding shop and I was upset about this. We had a screaming match about how insane this was and subsequently Toby fired me. I went back to Los Angeles and Toby went on his merry way. I got my "Star Trek" gig. It turns out Toby went on to shoot this film in upstate New York and Toby's brother called me said "I've got some bad news. Toby is dead."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Stranger | Theater Is Not Virtuous:

KUOW’s Marcie Sillman is doing a multi-part series on Seattle theater that is mostly harmless, if superficial.

But one theme in her series really gives me hives. There is nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada, null set, NOTHING virtuous about attending live theater. There is nothing secret or mystical about the connection between audiences and performers. A bad night of theater is no more salutary than a bad night of TV. It’s that kind of snotty, self-righteous attitude that turns people off theater. (Well, that and the terrible productions they’re being asked to improve themselves upon.)
The Dilbert Blog: Good News Day:

Just because no one has ever gotten better from Spasmodic Dysphonia before doesn’t mean I can’t be the first. So every day for months and months I tried new tricks to regain my voice. I visualized speaking correctly and repeatedly told myself I could (affirmations). I used self hypnosis. I used voice therapy exercises. I spoke in higher pitches, or changing pitches. I observed when my voice worked best and when it was worst and looked for patterns. I tried speaking in foreign accents. I tried “singing” some words that were especially hard.

My theory was that the part of my brain responsible for normal speech was still intact, but for some reason had become disconnected from the neural pathways to my vocal cords. (That’s consistent with any expert’s best guess of what’s happening with Spasmodic Dysphonia. It’s somewhat mysterious.) And so I reasoned that there was some way to remap that connection. All I needed to do was find the type of speaking or context most similar – but still different enough – from normal speech that still worked. Once I could speak in that slightly different context, I would continue to close the gap between the different-context speech and normal speech until my neural pathways remapped. Well, that was my theory. But I’m no brain surgeon.
Standing on the shoulders of giants
Studio 60 Jumps Shark, Rapes Shark's Corpse, Feasts on Remains:

Last night….last night was when Studio 60 officially became the Showgirls of network television—one of those near-miraculous works of failed art, recognizable by crappy plotlines you see coming a mile away, that end up veering off into horrifying places you never dreamed of.

Case in point: Last night’s storyline involving (great) elderly actor Eli Wallach, who showed up babbling backstage at the TV studio. As soon as he appeared, I thought, “Dear God, the last thing this show needs is an Olde Comedian to teach us the value of Laughter and Today”—but then he turned out to be a sentimental World War II vet TOO! As my friend Mindy put it: “I couldn’t even figure out which tired old plotline we were trotting out—confused elderly comedian who thinks he’s coming to work to write for Dick Van Dyke with Rose Marie again? WWII veteran to teach us what the Greatest Generation thinks about sketch comedy? Bradley Whitford’s elderly coke dealer/grandpa with Alzheimer’s? WTF?”
fruit & feathers
The Ultra-Extreme Calorie Restriction Diet Test -- New York Magazine:

It’s 7:30 p.m. in Soho, that magic hour when the scent of first-course dishes wafts heavenward from the tables at Savoy, the anxiety of last-minute meal planners courses through the aisles of Dean & DeLuca, and a grown man’s fancy turns to thoughts of food. My own thoughts, at the moment, are of practically nothing else. Half-sprinting through the Prince Street crowds, I am late for a dinner party I’ve been planning for weeks, and I’m starving.

I’ve been starving for the past two months, actually, and that’s precisely what the party is about: My dinner guests—five successful urban professionals who for years have subsisted on a caloric intake the average sub-Saharan African would find austere—have been at it much, much longer, and I’ve invited them here to show me how it’s done. They are master practitioners of Calorie Restriction, a diet whose central, radical premise is that the less you eat, the longer you’ll live. Having taken this diet for a nine-week test drive, I’m hoping now for an up-close glimpse of what it means to go all the way. I want to find out what it looks, feels, and tastes like to commit to the ultimate in dietary trade-offs: a lifetime lived as close to the brink of starvation as your body can stand, in exchange for the promise of a life span longer than any human has ever known.
A new statement from my offices, clarifying my relationship with J.T. LeRoy.

Virgin Barky
Winter Kills
The first morning of Three Mile Island: those first disquieting, uncertain,
mystifying hours.
All morning a crew of workmen have been tearing the old decrepit roof
off our building,
and all morning, trying to distract myself, I've been wandering out to
watch them
as they hack away the leaden layers of asbestos paper and disassemble
the disintegrating drains.
After half a night of listening to the news, wondering how to know a
hundred miles downwind
if and when to make a run for it and where, then a coming bolt awake
at seven
when the roofers we've been waiting for since winter sent their ladders
shrieking up our wall,
we still know less than nothing: the utility company continues making
little of the accident,
the slick federal spokesmen still have their evasions in some semblance
of order.
Surely we suspect now we're being lied to, but in the meantime, there
are the roofers,
setting winch-frames, sledging rounds of tar apart, and there I am, on
the curb across, gawking.

I never realized what brutal work it is, how matter-of-factly and harrow-
ingly dangerous.
The ladders flex and quiver, things skid from the edge, the materials are
bulky and recalcitrant.
When the rusty, antique nails are levered out, their heads pull off; the
underroofing crumbles.
Even the battered little furnace, roaring along as patient as a donkey,
chokes and clogs,
a dense, malignant smoke shoots up, and someone has to fiddle with a
cock, then hammer it,
before the gush and stench will deintensify, the dark, Dantean broth
wearily subside.
In its crucible, the stuff looks bland, like licorice, spill it, though, on
your boots or coveralls,
it sears, and everything is permeated with it, the furnace gunked with
burst and half-burst bubbles,
the men themselves so completely slashed and mucked they seem almost
from another realm, like trolls.
When they take their break, they leave their brooms standing at attention
in the asphalt pails,
work gloves clinging like Br'er Rabbit to the bitten shafts, and they slouch
along the precipitous lip,
the enormous sky behind them, the heavy noontime air alive with shim-
mers and mirages.

Sometime in the afternoon I had to go inside: the advent of our vigil was
upon us.
However much we didn't want to, however little we would do about it,
we'd understood:
we were going to perish of all this, if not now, then soon, if not soon,
then someday.
Someday, some final generation, hysterically aswarm beneath an at-
mosphere as unrelenting as rock,
would rue us all, anathematize our earthly comforts, curse our surfeits
and submissions.
I think I know, though I might rather not, why my roofers stay so clear
to me and why the rest,
the terror of that time, the reflexive disbelief and distancing, all we should
hold on to, dims so.
I remember the president in his absurd protective booties, looking
absolutely unafraid, the fool.
I remember a woman on the front page glaring across the misty Sus-
quehanna at those looming stacks.
But, more vividly, the men, silvered with glitter from the shingles, cling-
ing like starlings beneath the eaves.
Even the leftover carats of tar in the gutter, so black they seemed to suck
the light out of the air.
By nightfall kids had come across them: every sidewalk on the block was
scribbled with obscenities and hearts.

C. K. Williams
Subway Speed
Southwark tube station
Ólafur Elíasson At Kunstbau
Dear Hunting - New York Times:

One mission of On Language is to call attention to subtle changes in common usage that offer linguistic clues to vast cultural change. Today we deal with the threatened abandonment of the symbolic embrace inherent in an old Teutonic word. Dear was born about a thousand years ago, meaning “honorable, worthy,” and took on the sense of “esteemed, valued” and ultimately “beloved,” gaining a sense of “high-priced” along the way. As a form of address in written communications, the O.E.D.’s citations progress from the 1250 “Fader dere” to the 1314 “Mi dere frende” to the 1340 “Dere god” to the 1489 “Dere syre.”

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Grand Army Plaza
Wired 14.11: The Perfect Thing:

And, of course, the Apple people had full-contact sessions with Jobs. He would pick up the device and say what he liked and didn't like, and he would fire questions at everyone, pushing hard: "What are you going to do about it?" It was Jobs who told everyone what the device would be called. "He just came in and went, 'iPod,'" says one team member. "We all looked around the room, and that was it. iPod. And we're like, 'Where did that come from?'" (Excellent question, and one that proved increasingly elusive the more I pressed people at Apple. I was finally able to corner Jobs on it, and he said that to the best of his knowledge the name sort of emerged, not exactly in a form of immaculate conception but in a lengthy back-and-forth between him, his marketing people, and TBWAChiatDay. "The ad agency loved it," he told me. But I get the distinct impression that the iPod moniker won out not because of its brilliance but because Jobs had had enough of the naming process and the hour was getting late.)
gotham pumpkin