Friday, August 31, 2007

Histriomastix: Art for Critic's Sake:

The play “does not possess the penetrating truth or revelatory originality of a fully achieved work of art.” Really? So…it’s not art? Is it at least a fully achieved piece of entertainment? What is the difference? If, in 50 years, no one has written a large-scale family drama that is better than A:OC, will it be upgraded to the ranks of fully-achieved art (FAWA)? Is Isherwood speaking as a newspaper reviewer of 2007 or a cultural commissar from the distant future? Where does he park his time machine?

I wonder how often Isherwood’s Tony-named colleagues—Scott and Tommasini—review a new movie or symphony and go out of their way to assure the reader: Well it’s no Citizen Kane or Beethoven’s Ninth, but pretty good! Do reviewers in other fields even bother with this sort of hierarchizing humbug? What proprietary, red-velvet-rope-fondling arrogance. What laughable, bean-counting, pompous equivocation. Anton Such antique snobbery is beneath even pre-ratatouille-munching Anton Ego (and I say that as a Neo-Snob). In closing: If you ever catch me issuing such vapid, flatulent dicti, kick me in my fat ass.
Hilarious and unfortunate mis-caption for my friend Rachel.
Burning Man Set on Fire Early Due To Arson | Laughing Squid:

We could give a fuck less what you all think of us for doing this. Most of you are newbies who have been drawn in by the semi-religious nature of the event, or maybe just the easy drugs and easier sex. You have nothing to offer the event other than your fucking money and obedience. You spend the rest of your lives in mortal fear of everything that insurance companies tell you to fear, and pretend that you’re free and clear because you spend four days at a desert bacchanal where spinelessness is not only encouraged but genetically replicated for implementation in successive generations. In short, you are the swine of which Thompson spoke. Get over yourselves.

Some of us live quite well without fear. Doing so requires the ultimate in what Burning Man used to represent: personal responsibility and individual liberty. That’s all been lost in the last decade of Burning Man’s history. Consider this operation a history lesson that was desperately needed.

Arthur Miller - Theater - New York Times:

As described in Suzanna Andrews’s 5,000-word article, Arthur Miller, who died in February 2005, and his third wife, the photographer Inge Morath, had a son born with Down syndrome in 1966. Soon after, they made the painful decision to put the child, Miller’s youngest, in an institution for the mentally retarded before Miller essentially cut him out of his life.

Ms. Andrews describes in detail how Miller rarely, if ever, accompanied his wife on weekly visits to see Daniel, almost never mentioned him to shocked friends and didn’t mention him in his memoir, “Timebends.”

The picture that emerges is of a father in denial and a son who has moved on to live a happy life without him. “Miller excised a central character who didn’t fit the plot of his life as he wanted it,” Ms. Andrews writes.
[Divine Embrace]
America's Most Secret Agency:

Under pressure from the White House, Congress recently gave the National Security Agency unprecedented powers to conduct warrantless surveillance. How powerful is the NSA?
Aspen Daily News | Aspen, Colorado:

As the founder of his own acting ensemble and producer/director/lead actor of its current production, Kent Hudson Reed has given blood, sweat and tears for his craft. But never quite like yesterday during an outdoor performance of "Julius Caesar" on Galena Plaza.

During the climactic third act of the Shakespeare play, in which members of the Roman Senate stab Caesar, some in the estimated 150-person audience noticed Reed's khaki pants were rapidly turning crimson.

"I thought he had a fake blood packet that went off too soon in his pocket," said audience member Scott MacCracken. "They had just murdered Caesar, and his right pant leg was turning red."

"It was a lot of blood," said Dorene Herzog, who was taking in the free performance on a visit to Aspen from Houston, Texas. "I mean a lot, lot of blood."

Reed, who was playing Brutus, had accidentally stabbed himself in the leg.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Jean-Michele's song for the countryside of Holland:

Writing from Prague, where through the wonder of powerline ethernet even ancient buildings from the 14th century can have broadband internet.


This is the Astronomical Clock in the Old Square--it's about 40 feet from the hotel we're staying in, in the heart of the Old Town.


This is the Charles Bridge, which we last walked on ten years ago--it's as gorgeous as I remembered it, though in August it's more crowded and busy at midday. At late night and early morning it looks just as I remember it did.

We've located our favorite restaurant, where we had one of the best meals of our lives a decade ago, and it was like our own dream quest--we didn't know the name or location, but wandered the back streets until Jean-Michele picked up a whisper of memory, and then I added my two cents, and when we walked up the owner was there, just like ten years ago.

We're eating there this evening.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What a fantastic closing show--thanks to everyone at Noorderzon for making it happen so incredibly well.


We're off to Prague, where the internet may be spotty, so posts may become haphazard or completely absent. I haven't been in ten years, and I'm excited to see the city again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tonight is our last night at the Noorderzon Festival in the Netherlands--it's been a marvelous adventure here. It's a magical festival--a full-on arts celebration that hasn't lost its popular touch. Artists mingle with everybody, installations are going up everywhere in friendly chaos, there are no beer gardens because you can go where you like with your drinks--it's very freeing. Here are a few photos of what's going on-


This is the Spiegeltent during tech, one of the loveliest examples I've ever seen. I'm performing on a small stage in this 18th century tent, lit only by tiny incandescent units that make it feel almost exactly like candlelight. It's shockingly intimate--maybe one of the most interesting spaces I've ever performed in.


This is the main clock tower in the center of town. The bells on the churches here toll every hour, even in the dead of night, just as they must have hundreds of years ago.


This is my traveling companion and director, who is hot and tired from the sun and from drinking in aforementioned Spiegeltent.


This is the best "pick up your dog litter" graffiti I have ever seen.

Tomorrow morning we leave the festival, finishing up this grand tour of Europe--in the last two weeks we've been to London, Paris, and now this festival, and next we're headed to Prague over the weekend and finishing up in Amsterdam.

Off to the show. If you're coming this evening, stick around and we'll have a drink.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chinese edition of my book:


So a lot people have been addressing the serious issues brought on by Bacn in their inboxes, but have thought the name is quite silly. Well if you look at the history and origins of the name Spam, you will soon realize that Bacn continues where Spam has left off and sets the internet up for Sausage in the future. This name may be silly, but so was Spam when it was first introduced.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What do Myanmar, Liberia and the United States have in common?

The window
We're at the Noorderzon Festival in the Netherlands--for those who'd like to check it out we're totally sold out for all three performances, though I hear that there is a stand-by line available.

Off to tech--more soon!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Apologies to everyone who is looking for me--Paris has in her grips, and I can't seem to get it together in the least. We leave Tuesday, so expect better correspondence from then on out.
Boing Boing: Essay: "I'm the proud owner of Karl Rove’s father’s solid gold cock ring.":

"Karl Rove's father was not only gay, but a part of the early body piercing scene and a regular at 70s piercing parties... There are pictures of him on BME."

Here is part of that essay. BMEzine just published it in entirety with detailed photos said to depict the elder Mr. Rove's numerous genital piercings.

I have no way of immediately verifying the statements in this essay, or the source of the photos. I am pursuing that now, have received responses which so far indicate that this material is valid, and I will update soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Alexandra, Spiritual/Psychic Counselor of Staten Island:

One afternoon at 2:00, which was exactly one hour after she'd said she'd arrive, a busty brunette in a skimpy red sundress burst through the doors of Gawker headquarters and sprinted towards me. It was Julia Allison, of course, coming to take me to a psychic in Staten Island. The kicky rhythm of her four-inch rope espadrilles on the hardwood floor was the loudest thing that had happened in the office all day, but it was quickly one-upped by her voice. "Aren't you SO EXCITED!" she asked-told me as she enfolded me in a candy-smelling embrace. And then she grabbed my hand and the next thing I knew I was beside her in that vaunted convertible Mercedes, speeding as quickly as it's possible to speed down a traffic-clogged street in Soho, accompanied by Whitney Houston ("I Wanna Dance With Somebody"). That's when reality began to blur, so I've had to reconstruct the next part of the afternoon by looking at my sent and received text messages.
Inside Cryptome, the website the CIA doesn't want you to see:

"Why should I believe you?"

John L. Young asks that question a lot. When he poses it to me, leveling his intense, glassy blue eyes at mine across a barroom table on a muggy evening in late May, it is less a direct attack on my credibility than a cruel epistemological riddle. Over the previous week, I had exchanged e-mails and spoken on the telephone with Young, a 71-year-old architect, spy buff, and proprietor of a strange and engrossing website called Cryptome, to set up an interview. In doing so, I supplied him with certain data: my name [John Cook], occupation [reporter], employer [Radar magazine], location [216 E. 45th St.], e-mail address [redacted], telephone number [redacted]. Young craves data. He covets it, collects it, triangulates it, and uploads it to Cryptome—an online repository of forbidden information—where it collides with more data, gig after gig sloshing around in chaotic digital clouds. There are high-resolution satellite photos of President Bush's Crawford ranch, technical documents detailing how the National Security Agency spies on computer traffic, even the home addresses and telephone numbers of government officials, including former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.

But Young knows that raw data is suspect. Before it is loosed on the Internet, scrubbed, cross-referenced, and interrogated by the hive mind for inconsistencies and cracks, it can be used to deceive. People lie. Misinformation is everywhere. People will use you; they will try to get you to believe things that aren't true in order to advance their own agendas. It is, as Young likes to say, "standard tradecraft." I could hand him a business card, show him a magazine, look him firmly and earnestly in the eye, and swear up and down that I am who I say I am. "But," he'll reply with a caustic smile, "that's how liars talk."

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

At Netflix, Victory for Voices Over Keystrokes - New York Times:

Netflix set up shop here a year ago, shunning other lower-cost places in the United States and overseas, because it thought that Oregonians would present a friendlier voice to its customers. Then in July, Netflix took an unusual step for a Web-based company: it eliminated e-mail-based customer service inquiries. Now all questions, complaints and suggestions go to the Hillsboro call center, which is open 24 hours a day. The company’s toll-free number, previously buried on the Web site, is now prominently displayed.

Netflix is bucking several trends in customer service. Booz Allen Hamilton, a management consulting firm, and Duke University studied 600 companies last year and found a continued increase not just in outsourcing, but also offshoring, in which call centers are moved overseas.

“I don’t think there’s any trend to pull back,” said Matt Mani, a senior associate at Booz Allen. “This is a unique strategy for Netflix. There’s so much more competition, this is something they’ve done to get closer to the customer, because without that, there’s really no connection a customer has to Netflix.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Establishment Threads in a Radical Fringe:

“England,” a gripping meditation by Tim Crouch, also centers on a painfully insecure and entitled Westerner. In this sneakily allegorical work, which takes place on two floors of an art gallery, a nervous English character is played simultaneously by the strangely calm and hypnotic pair of actors, Mr. Crouch and Hannah Ringham, who alternate speaking lines. The speaker, called a guide in the script, can’t stop boasting about his/her strong American boyfriend, a confident type who speaks four languages and knows exactly what to say.

“He saved my life,” the guide says, oddly, before we learn that he had become deathly sick. In the second act, which takes place in an unidentified foreign country, he/she confronts the wife of the dying man, Hassam, who donated his heart so the guide could live.

Mr. Crouch’s “Oak Tree,” which opened in New York in 2006, did not prepare me for the finely sculpted language of this drama that at its best resembles the muscular sentences of Caryl Churchill. In a few economical brush strokes, “England,” which makes its points obliquely, through metaphor instead of sloganeering, hints at a dark world where everything can be boiled down to a financial transaction (the global art market is sent up mercilessly) and moral choice is regularly outsourced.
Our first night in Paris--a short photo essay.


On the inimitable advice of James and Cat, we try what has been proclaimed at The World's Best Falafel...and this is me agreeing with that assessment.


"Florence Finkelsztajn? I think she sat behind me in algebra..."


Paris is against children. Families: BEWARE!

So long, Britain...hello Paris!

This is my first time to Paris, so if any readers have advice on where to go and what to see, please feel free to email us.

Off to go exploring...
Ocellated » Bill Nye in Waco:

The Emmy-winning scientist angered a few audience members when he criticized literal interpretation of the biblical verse Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

He pointed out that the sun, the “greater light,” is but one of countless stars and that the “lesser light” is the moon, which really is not a light at all, rather a reflector of light.

A number of audience members left the room at that point, visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence.

“We believe in a God!” exclaimed one woman as she left the room with three young children.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Yoga Bitch opens in London tonight. It is the culmination of almost five years of work—I remember sitting with Jean-Michele and Suzanne and nurturing this scheme of Suzanne's, encouraging her and working with them both to find a home for this work. What followed was a multi-year odyssey of workshops, starts, re-starts, cross-country migrations and occasional long silences.

It is extremely moving to see the fruits of all this long labor coming to light--Time Out London did a feature, as has the Guardian and the London Paper...she's capturing more than a normal amount of press because everyone else ran out of town to Edinburgh, a savvy strategy of the producers that is paying off big-time. It's such a pleasure to see Theatre 503 work so hard to ensure the show is a success, and everyone on the production team pulling together--it makes me feel young and proud to be affiliated with the production, watching artists carve out a name for themselves with nothing but sweat, blood, time and love.

Break a leg tonight, Suz.

In celebration of this event, I'm posting a mass email I received from Suzanne when she was in Bali. You can see the roots of the piece here, and its fascinating to read now that this experience has proved such a fertile ground for her work.


From: Suzanne Morrison
Date: March 26, 2002 1:46:27 PM BST
Subject: baliblah

greetings, all,

here i am, in bali.  baliblaibaliaiabailb.  drunk off yoga and enlightenment.  my friends here call me paramahansa suzananda.  i am muy, muy serene.  very sunburnt as well from three hours at pool yesterday.  i thought i was coming to bali to live like a dirty filthy hippy, but i arrive to find my life consisting of a gorgeous  house with a gorgeous pool, a weekly 2 hour massage and some incredible food.  i even have hot water in the bathroom.  so my idea of living austerely has proven to be completely false.  i am living rather like a goddamn colonialist.  with servants.  a bit unsettling for my inner marxist, post-modernist.  one should not go to college for liberal arts and then come! immediately to bali.

this  place is teeming with aussies and germans and frenchies.  they are all tan and gorgeous.  they do not help me on my path to enlightenment, especially as i frequently see them in bars with cigarettes and martinis, as i demurely sip my bottled water and prepare for the next two hours of yoga and meditation.

that's pretty much what i'm doing here.  envying the aussies and becoming enlightened through approximataely 4 hours of yoga a day, plus hour meditaion or so, and loads of reading-- the yoga sutras, the upanishads, several asana books and the latest herb blau collection of essays just to remind me that enlightenment coudln't possibly be as interesting as terror, apocolypse and revolution.

my classmates are fantastic, from england, australia, guam, italy and me and my roommate jessica from good ole seattle, wash.  we are bonded by the pains in our hamstrings and our communal clammoring for the divine.  mmmmm i've just been served a crepe with my email.

i've resigned myself to the fact that i will ultimately see very little of this lovely island, as classes pick up in intensity shortly, my workload will double, and only sundays are off.  we've got a few sidetrips planned but for the most part i'll be in the temple chanting langvangrangyanghangangommmmmmmmm.  for those of you who watch absolutely fabulous, i must mention that every time we chant i think of edina rolling her eyes as she says oinging langingoingboing, to hell with it.

the days are slow, there are many geckos, i've experienced none of the explosive varietys of gastrointestinal ailments, but my roommate has!  i'm knocking on wood every second of every day.  most of my classmates drink pee, by the way.  they are wayyyyy into urine.  i think it's totally exciting, the amount of pee that is drunk in my class.  many drink 8oz each morning.  one fellow snorts it for his hay fever.  i think about this approximately twenty times a day, usually during meditation.

i'll have a billion more stories to tell you all when i return home, it's been quite an experience so far, very different from any other two weeks of my life.  five more to go.  my to do list for tomorrow is: conquer fear of death, release attachments to worldly senses, and tip up into headstand.  after that i will probably eat some chocolate, have a coffee (it's exceptional here) bitch about the overabundance of bananas in my astral field and have a swim.  as adam from london says, it's a pisser of a time we're having in bali.

love to all,

The Gay Debate:

None of the leading candidates supports our civil equality in marriage, the Ground Zero of the movement. And, more frustrating, none will say why. If you're for civil unions but not civil marriage, you need an argument. One is simply the semantic one that your commitment to the heterosexual meaning of the word trumps your understanding that gays are also family members and deserve not to be shunted into a "separate-but-equal" institution. But none of them will admit that. The other answer is that they do support equality in marriage but fear losing votes if they publicly say so. As president, of course, they have virtually no role in the matter - it's for the states. But they're scared of the Rove machine - still. So they can't say that either. So they all seem illogical. You can say this: if any of them does believe in marriage equality, their conviction is not as strong as their calculation. I guess that tells you something even about a candidate like Obama. If one becomes president and the Democrats maintain the House and Senate, we may get the trivial (and unecessary) hate crimes act passed. I'm not hopeful for much else in the first four years.
Gothamist: Brooke Astor Dies at Age 105:

Brooke Astor passed away today. A gentleman should never ask a lady her age, but once Brooke Astor passed the century mark, she probably didn't care who knew how old she was. Brooke Astor was the wife of Vincent Astor, the only son of John Jacob Astor IV, who died in the sinking of the Titanic. The Astor family's roots stretch back almost as far as the history of New York City itself. The subway station at Astor Place in Manhattan is decorated with beavers, the animal whose pelt was the foundation of the family fortune before John Jacob Astor began buying large swathes of New York real estate.
(Pain)ted Over (Available!)
Left Something in a Cab? Good Luck Getting It Back. - City Room - Metro - New York Times Blog:

“The current procedure for recovering property lost in taxis is complicated, frustrating, difficult to navigate, and unlikely to result in the return of lost property,” according to the report [pdf], which was released today by Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer, a Manhattan Democrat.

From June 13 to 19, Ms. Brewer’s staff placed a series of calls to test the system’s ability to help cab passengers identify lost property. Their efforts were frustrated by overwhelmed hot lines at the Taxi and Limousine Commission, contradictory information from city officials and a lost-property maze at the Police Department that seemed to gobble up lost items and never release them.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wired 14.12: Raging Boll:

INSIDE A DILAPIDATED Vancouver casino, Uwe Boll dances around a makeshift dressing room, showboating for the crowd of reporters gathered in front of him. His bulldog face is creased with rage as he leans his meaty body into a vicious right hook, pounding at a pair of punching pads with a thunderous wham-wham!

"Oo-vuh! Oo-vuh! Oo-vuh!" A few steps away, at the rundown Plaza of Nations amphitheater, the chanting has begun as hundreds of rowdy spectators grow increasingly bloodthirsty. In a few minutes they – along with thousands of Internet geeks glued to streaming video feeds – will witness a bizarre spectacle. Uwe Boll, quite possibly the worst filmmaker in the world, will step into a boxing ring to defend his honor – and his livelihood – by beating the crap out of a handful of Web critics he claims are destroying his career.
The Road to Clarity - New York Times:

“So, what do you see?” Martin Pietrucha I asked, turning around in the driver’s seat of his mint green Ford Taurus. It was a cold day in January, and we were parked in the middle of a mock highway set on the campus of Pennsylvania State University in State College. Pietrucha is a jovial, 51-year-old professor of highway engineering. His tone was buoyant as he nodded toward the edge of the oval stretch of road where two green-and-white signs leaned against a concrete barrier.

What I saw, Pietrucha knew, was what we all may see soon enough as we rush along America’s 46,871 miles of Interstate highways. What I saw was Clearview, the typeface that is poised to replace Highway Gothic, the standard that has been used on signs across the country for more than a half-century. Looking at a sign in Clearview after reading one in Highway Gothic is like putting on a new pair of reading glasses: there’s a sudden lightness, a noticeable crispness to the letters.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

James Braly: The Roller Coaster of Love:

Anyway...while standing at the bar, I met a statuesque blond from London, who used to be a presenter for BBC, but is now a playwright. She asked me what I do, and when I told her (a funny, dark and brutal autobiographical monologue) she told me--as have others--that I am up against major cultural barriers here. "The British don't discuss their personal lives." She invited me to join her for a drink after a show she was off to see, so an hour later we met again. This led to a meeting with some other of her friends, who echoed the warning against using your life onstage. One performer said, "That's why we have theatre." I told her that at least some New York audiences are used to viewing private lives as theatrical vessels; that there is a culture of ironic detachment. She said detachment is a grave social error here: "The British feel a deep need to be connected with each other." They asked me to join them as they wandered off en masse to another bar, connected as it were, to drink some more.

But I walked home, needing rest more than alcohol, reflecting on my meeting with the American producer a few hours earlier. How, in front of Louise and another performer, having just met me, he had told me of his divorce, and of his nymphomanical Cuban, while Louise gaped at the exchange, which we two Americans felt perfectly normal.
bumper crop
China Enacting a High-Tech Plan to Track People - New York Times:

SHENZHEN, China, Aug. 9 — At least 20,000 police surveillance cameras are being installed along streets here in southern China and will soon be guided by sophisticated computer software from an American-financed company to recognize automatically the faces of police suspects and detect unusual activity.

Starting this month in a port neighborhood and then spreading across Shenzhen, a city of 12.4 million people, residency cards fitted with powerful computer chips programmed by the same company will be issued to most citizens.

Data on the chip will include not just the citizen’s name and address but also work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlord’s phone number. Even personal reproductive history will be included, for enforcement of China’s controversial “one child” policy. Plans are being studied to add credit histories, subway travel payments and small purchases charged to the card.

Security experts describe China’s plans as the world’s largest effort to meld cutting-edge computer technology with police work to track the activities of a population and fight crime. But they say the technology can be used to violate civil rights.
Urban Legends Series: The Kidney Heist
Thinking about the Past

Certain moments will never change, nor stop being--
My mother's face all smiles, all wrinkles soon;
The rock wall building, built, collapsed then, fallen;
Our upright loosening downward slowly out of tune--
All fixed into place now, all rhyming with each other.
That red--haired girl with wide mouth--Eleanor--
Forgotten thirty years--her freckled shoulders, hands.
The breast of Mary Something, freed from a white swimsuit,
Damp, sandy, warm; or Margery's, a small, caught bird--
Darkness they rise from, darkness they sink back toward.
O marvelous early cigarettes! O bitter smoke, Benton...
And Kenny in wartime whites, crisp, cocky,
Time a bow bent with his certain failure.
Dusks, dawns; waves; the ends of songs...

Donald Justice

Saturday, August 11, 2007

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Pearl Jam not first to be censored by AT&T :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Entertainment:

AT&T’s controversial edit of comments about President Bush from a Webcast of Pearl Jam’s performance at Lollapalooza last week was not the first time the telecommunications giant has silenced political statements by musicians.

An AT&T spokeswoman initially characterized the sudden audio edit that silenced Eddie Vedder’s lyrics “George Bush, leave this world alone” and “George Bush, find yourself another home” during Pearl Jam’s performance in Grant Park last Sunday as “an unfortunate mistake” and “an isolated incident.”

But yesterday, a reader e-mailed the Sun-Times saying AT&T’s Blue Room Webcast also had silenced comments during two performances at the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee last June, cutting remarks by the John Butler Trio bemoaning the lack of federal response to Hurricane Katrina and comments about Bush and the war in Iraq by singer Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.

“The sound did not cut out at any other time — only when someone was talking about George Bush or the government in a negative way,” the reader, who identified herself as Andrea K., wrote. Flaming Lips management said the band was unaware of the edit but was investigating, and the John Butler Trio could not be reached.

But AT&T did confirm that other, unspecified political comments have been cut from its Webcasts.
For those who are interested, I told a story on Weekend America this week for their Song and Memory series--a story about my difficult relationship with the song "Private Eyes" by Hall and Oats. You can listen to it here.

In London as I type this, with a kebab in my belly and The League of Gentlemen on the tube. A good life.
sunflower eye
village voice > news > Rudy's Five Big Lies About 9/11

Nearly six years after 9/11, Rudy Giuliani is still walking through the canyons of lower Manhattan, covered in soot, pointing north, and leading the nation out of danger's way. The Republican frontrunner is campaigning for president by evoking that visual at every campaign stop, and he apparently believes it's a picture worth thousands of nights in the White House.

Giuliani has been leading the Republican pack for seven months, and predictions that the party's evangelicals would turn on him have so far proven hollow. The religious right appears as gripped by the Giuliani story as the rest of the country.

Giuliani isn't shy about reminding audiences of those heady days. In fact he hyperventilates about them on the stump, making his credentials in the so-called war on terror the centerpiece of his campaign. His claims, meanwhile, have been met with a media deference so total that he's taken to complimenting "the good job it is doing covering the campaign." Opponents, too, haven't dared to question his terror credentials, as if doing so would be an unpatriotic bow to Osama bin Laden.

Here, then, is a less deferential look at the illusory cloud emanating from the former mayor's campaign . . .
Boing Boing: Google Video robs customers of the videos they "own":

Notice that Google called these videos "purchased" and "download to own" -- as though by buying them, they became your property. Funny kind of property, that. Imagine if these were DVDs: one day, a man from Virgin Megastore shows up at your door and says, "We're taking away all your videos. Sorry! But we'll give you a credit to spend at a different store. Not a credit for videos, though. Also: it expires in 60 days."

This is a giant, flaming middle finger, sent by Google and the studios to the customers who were dumb trusting enough to buy DRM videos. How many of these people will trust the next DRM play from Google (no doubt coming soon from YouTube) or the studios?

The terms that Google sold its video on were similar to those laid down by other downloadable video "stores," like Amazon Unbox. These stores claim to "sell" you things, but you can never truly 0wn the things they sell -- they are your theoretical property only, liable to confiscation at any time. That's the lesson for DRM: only the big motion picture companies, search giants and other corporate overlords get to own property. We vassals are mere tenant-farmers, with a precarious claim on our little patch of dirt.
原色‧Primary Colors
Postcard from Albany:

The Virginia funerals were intimate and superstitious. Men dabbed the sweat off their foreheads with handkerchiefs while preachers railed about hellfire, eulogists told jokes, and we all sang soulful hymns. The New York funeral was more Catholic and prescribed. The graveyard was a long drive away. The tombstones were small, white, and uniform, like well-tended teeth. A computer at the visitor's center gave us digital directions to Grandma's gravesite where three burly white men in clean denim and hard hats shouted over the din of a backhoe that lifted her coffin by a chain, and swung her into her grave. When the coffin wouldn't fit, the fattest one stood on it to give it weight, push it down. It was an efficient New England burial and the family decamped to a banquet hall where there was baked chicken and beer.

In Virginia, the post-funeral meal was casual, with lukewarm fried chicken and sweet tea and coleslaw on paper plates in the fellowship hall next to the church. The old cemetery was just steps away and the tombstones, if they were like teeth, were neglected—some round, some pointy, most of them stained. Two silent black men lowered Granddad's coffin into the ground by hand, then shoveled the dirt on top. Two plates of the fried chicken and coleslaw brought from the fellowship hall waited for them nearby, covered in plastic wrap.
Southern Summers

Friday, August 10, 2007

village voice > theater > How Can We Improve the New York Fringe? by Alexis Soloski:

In order to recapture some of the excitement and oddity of the Fringe's first few years, Clancy suggests moving to a model similar to Edinburgh's, in which the New York Fringe abandons adjudication and makes the festival open to all comers—all comers who can find a venue to house them. Clancy, who tends to swear when excited, effuses: "Any fucking show, anything—fine. You find your space and you're in the festival. It's a radical rethinking." In this model, venues decide which shows they want to host, make deals with the artists, and report the details to the Fringe Office. The Fringe Office would produce the Fringe guide and oversee the festival's PR. (The Fringe would also have to abandon the aspect of its artist agreement that requires authors, for seven years after the festival, to pay the Fringe 2 percent of all royalties over $20,000 for a play mounted at the festival. It's a clause that probably contributes to the amateurishness of much Fringe playwriting, as established playwrights are unlikely to consent to having their plays tithed by an organization that's presenting, not producing the work.)
Boing Boing: Court rules US air travelers can't refuse security searches at airports:

US airline passengers in airport security screening areas can be searched at any time, and may no longer refuse to be searched by leaving the airport, according to a ruling today by the nation's largest federal appeals court. Snip from summary at Wired News Threat Level blog:

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the circuit's 34-year-old precedent that over time was evolving toward limiting when passengers could refuse a search and leave the airport after they had checked their bags or placed items on the security screening X-ray machine.
The Gowanus Lounge: Helping Victims of the Brooklyn Tornado:

If you had told us at the beginning of the week that we'd be doing a "Helping Victims of the Brooklyn Tornado" post on Friday, we'd have asked you what you were smoking. Nonetheless, the latest tally is that the Brooklyn tornado damaged 32 houses to the point that residents were ordered to vacate. Many more homes were damaged. About 40 families, totaling 157 people, took shelter with the Red Cross at PS 314 on Wednesday night in Sunset Park and about 60 people remained yesterday evening. The Red Cross and city agencies are trying to find housing for them. In addition, about 40 percent of the trees in Leif Erickson Park came down.
Man has thumbs altered to improve iPhone dexterity - Engadget:

This story isn't for the faint of heart. In fact, we wouldn't really recommend it for anybody, but we'll soldier on regardless. Thomas Martel hails from Colorado, and after upgrading to an iPhone, he decided his big hands were just too much of a burden to bear. "From my old Treo, to my Blackberry, to this new iPhone, I had a hard time hitting the right buttons, and I always lost those little styluses," says Martel. So what's a man to do? Why, get those digits downsized, of course. Thomas went under the knife for a new technique called "whittling." The doctors made a small cut in each thumb and shaved down the bones, then they adjusted the muscles and fingernails to fit the new thumb size.
2007 08 Nycsepia

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pearl Jam Ten Club News:

After concluding our Sunday night show at Lollapalooza, fans informed us that portions of that performance were missing and may have been censored by AT&T during the "Blue Room" Live Lollapalooza Webcast.

When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them.

During the performance of "Daughter" the following lyrics were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" but were cut from the webcast:

- "George Bush, leave this world alone." (the second time it was sung); and

- "George Bush find yourself another home."

This, of course, troubles us as artists but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media.

AT&T's actions strike at the heart of the public's concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media. - NWS: Tornadoes Confirmed In Brooklyn, S.I.:

What was thought to be a violently windy thunderstorm that plowed through Brooklyn Wednesday morning turned out to be a weather event of historical proportions.

The National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday night that an EF1 tornado touched down in the Livingston-Randall Manor area of Staten Island before eventually becoming the EF2 that slammed into Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

During a 10-minute stretch around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday the twister skipped along a nine-mile path before zipping through the Verrazano Narrows and into Bay Ridge. The storm marked Brooklyn's first tornado since such weather events were recorded. Officials measured it to be an EF2 twister, characterized by winds of anywhere from 111 to 135 miles per hour.
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On treating your laptop, iPod, and iPhone batteries right:

Although progress in battery capacity is snail-like compared to the progress in energy consumption of the devices powered by batteries, rechargeable batteries have come a long way the past decade or two. All current Apple laptops, iPods, and the iPhone use lithium ion or lithium polymer rechargeable batteries. Apart from spontaneous combustion (which is rare), the main problem with rechargeable batteries is that they lose their capacity over time. This is especially worrisome with devices like the iPod and the iPhone where the battery isn't easily replaceable. So what can we do to keep our lithium batteries in good health until old age?
2007 08 Flooding
b e a . s t . . . Lightbulb - a kinetic sculpture:

light bulb is a levitating yet powered lightbulb. It will float stably in midair and remain on for years without any physical contact, charging, or batteries. Ironically, with the levitation and wireless power circuitry both on, this entire package still consumes less than half the power of an incandescent bulb.

This is not a trick or a photoshop manipulation. The bulb and the casing contain hidden circuitry [shown in figures] that uses electromagnetic feedback to levitate the bulb roughly 2.5" from the nearest object, and uses coupled resonant wireless power transfer to beam power from the housing into the bulb itself.