Saturday, December 31, 2005
Young taggers, consider yourself warned. It's now illegal in New York City for anyone under 21 to carry a single can of spray paint -- or even a wide marker -- on city streets.
"The police love this bill," said Council member Peter Vallone Jr. of Queens, who sponsored the new law that Mayor Bloomberg signed into law Thursday. "All the cops have to do is see a youth with a can of spray paint and they can arrest him right there."
The law was decried as "overreaching" by the New York Civil Liberties Union, and a library group wondered whether librarians would have to start wresting markers from the hands of kids.
"People need to realize that a 19-year-old has no business walking around New York City with a can of spray paint," Vallone said.
KROFT: (Voiceover) Is it possible for people like you and I, innocent civilians, to be targeted by Echelon?
Mr. FROST: Not only possible, not only probable, but factual. While I was at CSE, a classic example: A lady had been to a school play the night before, and her son was in the school play and she thought he did a--a lousy job. Next morning, she was talking on the telephone to her friend, and she said to her friend something like this, 'Oh, Danny really bombed last night,' just like that. The computer spit that conversation out. The analyst that was looking at it was not too sure about what the conversation w--was referring to, so erring on the side of caution, he listed that lady and her phone number in the database as a possible terrorist.
KROFT: This is not urban legend you're talking about. This actually happened?
Mr. FROST: Factual. Absolutely fact. No legend here.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Even though I may call you ten times a day, PLEASE NOTE that I will not call you on Valentine's Day. I will be no more busy on that day than I am on any other day. After a few days, when you have cooled off from being mad, accept NEITHER my apology NOR my invitation to dinner. And when we go out to dinner and I offer to pay, please notice the passive aggressive manner in which I make you feel guilty when I reach for my wallet.
Even though it is a very couple-y thing to do to go to the gym in the morning together, DO NOT think that we are a couple. Other things that do not mean that two people are a couple include: getting breakfast together every day before work, kissing goodbye when we go our separate ways, waking up at 9 on a Saturday to watch you run a race, meeting your parents, allowing your parents to take me out to lunch, telling you how much I like you, holding hands when walking down the street, sex.
A forthcoming book covering his time as ambassador is currently being blocked by the Foreign Office, which has demanded he remove references to two documents from the book and his web site. Murray has responded by publishing the documents in full there, and by encouraging bloggers to disseminate the documents as widely as possible.
The documents consist of a Foreign & Commonwealth Office legal opinion concerning evidence that may have been obtained by torture, and several letters sent by Murray to the FCO during his time as ambassador. These letters state that the use of torture is routine in Uzbekistan, that US policy there (which the UK supports) is focussed on oil, gas and hegemony rather than democracy or freedom, and that by knowingly receiving evidence obtained through torture the UK is in breach of the UN Convention on Torture. "With Tony Blair and Jack Straw cornered on extraordinary rendition," says Murray, "the UK Government is particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers."
I never realized how ubiquitous the dream of opening a small coffeehouse was until I fell under its spell myself. Friends' eyes misted over when my wife and I would excitedly recite our concept ("Vienna roast from Vienna! It's lighter and sweeter than bitter Italian espresso—no need to drown it in milk!"). It seemed that just about every boho-professional couple had indulged in this fantasy at some point or another.
Forty-one percent (41%) of U.S. adults believe that Saddam Hussein had "strong links to Al Qaeda." -- Twenty-two percent (22%) of adults believe that Saddam Hussein "helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11." -- Twenty-six percent (26%) of adults believe that Iraq "had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded." -- Twenty-four percent (24%) of all adults believe that "several of the hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11 were Iraqis."
Thursday, December 29, 2005
The head of policy studies at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth wants the university to suspend a student who made up a story about being grilled by federal antiterrorism agents over a library book and to reprimand faculty members who spread the tale.
Following the student's admission Friday that it was a hoax, Clyde Barrow, chairman of the policy studies department, said UMass should punish the student and faculty members, in particular two history professors who repeated the unsubstantiated assertion of the history student to a New Bedford Standard-Times reporter.
''It's unbelievable that this student is not being suspended for a semester," wrote Barrow, who said he does not know the student's identity. ''It's even more unbelievable that the faculty who jumped the gun on this story and actively promoted it on campus, the Internet, and blogs will walk away from their misconduct without any consequences."
The screenplay systematically elevates the role of the children and the Witch herself at Aslan’s expense. In the book, when Father Christmas arrived, he said, “She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The Witch’s magic is weakening.” In the film, a curiously un-festive, brown-clad Father Christmas (James Cosmo) offers a contrary explanation, attributing his arrival to the Pevensies rather than to Aslan: “The hope brought by Your Majesties is starting to weaken the Witch’s power.”
Perhaps the single gravest change to the story is one that greatly empowers the Witch at Aslan’s expense. It is simply the eradication of the whole motif of the Witch’s overt fear of Aslan. This is absolutely crucial to the book’s emphasis on the utter lack of parity between the omnipotent Aslan and the powerful but limited Witch. The whole vision of good and evil at work in the story turns on the fact that the Witch is never even close to being a rival or threat to Aslan, any more than Lucifer to Christ himself.
The filmmakers, perhaps motivated by a misguided dramatic notion of needing the villain to be a credible threat to the hero, eliminate practically every indication of the Witch’s fear of Aslan from the story — in the process jettisoning much of the point Lewis was making about the nature and relationship of good and evil.
Rachel Cambra couldn't wait to see the look on her 14-year-old son's face when he opened a very special present on Christmas morning.
The Mililani, Hawaii, woman had saved up to surprise her son with what he wanted most for the holiday, a new Apple iPod with video.
Surprised he was, and so was Cambra. When her son opened the box for the high-tech toy, he discovered the iPod that should have been there wasn't. It had apparently been replaced with some kind of mystery meat.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Sony BMG Music's controversial copy-protection scheme can be defeated with a small piece of tape, a research firm said Monday in a demonstration of the futility of digital rights management (DRM).
According to Gartner analysts Martin Reynolds and Mike McGuire, Sony's XCP technology is stymied by sticking a fingernail-size piece of opaque tape on the outer edge of the CD.
That, the pair said in a brief posted online, renders "session 2 -- which contains the self-loading DRM software — unreadable. The PC then treats the CD as an ordinary single-session music CD, and the commonly used CD 'rip' programs continue to work as usual."
I am so profoundly disappointed. The New Yorker is in the business of selling magazines. Certainly, they make a few dollars off the Cartoon Bank and their various editorial compilations, but I would bet, that the overwhelming money comes from ad space. Perhaps I am wrong, but I doubt it. What are they afraid of? The 8 DVD's are going to be on P2P sites? The New Yorker is concerned that people will be downloading 60 GBs to read old Talk of the Town snippets? That high school kids are going to be trading them in the parking lot? They will be sold on street corners along with Harry Potter? Wouldn't this huge black market of Complete New Yorker piracy just create more demand for the magazine and more ad space dollars? It is fitting of a New Yorker cartoon!
I would be downloading all 60GBs, I am that devoted. But I don't have to because The Complete New Yorker is cheap, beautifully packaged and comes with a great highlights book. The scans are good, the software adequate, the extracts are decent so the searching really works, but I do revoke my recommendation that it is worth buying. You buy it, but you don't own it. Conde Nast still owns it. You can't use it in a fair, legal and sensible manner and you don't know that until you own it, as it doesn't have a sticker reading 'This DVD is Fucked.' It is not unreasonable to expect that consumers would choose to archive and eliminate the onerous disc swapping that is caused by being spread over 8 DVDs.
DEEP in a remote, fog-layered hollow near Sugar Grove, W.Va., hidden by fortress-like mountains, sits the country's largest eavesdropping bug. Located in a "radio quiet" zone, the station's large parabolic dishes secretly and silently sweep in millions of private telephone calls and e-mail messages an hour.
Run by the ultrasecret National Security Agency, the listening post intercepts all international communications entering the eastern United States. Another N.S.A. listening post, in Yakima,Wash., eavesdrops on the western half of the country.
President Bush recently confirmed that he has authorized wiretaps against U.S. citizens on at least 30 occasions and said he'll continue doing it. His justification? He, as president -- or is that king? -- has a right to disregard any law, constitutional tenet or congressional mandate to protect the American people.
Is that America's highest goal -- preventing another terrorist attack? Are there no principles of law and liberty more important than this? Who would have remembered Patrick Henry had he written, ``What's wrong with giving up a little liberty if it protects me from death?''
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Andrei IllarionovAndrei Illarionov, President Vladimir Putin’s chief economic adviser but also an acerbic critic of the Kremlin’s grab for economic power, offered his resignation on Tuesday, saying Russia was “no longer free”.
My guilt metamorphosed into rage. I’ve worked with nearly fifty graduate students, and I feel confident saying that not a single one has possessed Derek’s raw talent, his courage, or his willingness to write about the scary stuff that most people refuse to look in the eye. It’s safe to call Derek a "dark" writer. His stories are relentless and terrifying, despite the fact that he writes about the mundane — about manual labor and emotional exhaustion and bad relationships and the like. He’s an innovator, a sorcerer with a sentence and a writer with a vision. In short, he’s not what MFA programs are looking for.
The program in which I teach is stocked with competent students writing competent prose, crafting competent stories modeled after the stories they see published in the major trade magazines and placed front and center in their local bookstore’s atrium. Their teachers (my peers) extol the same compentent, well-crafted stories, written by the same set of writers lionized by booksellers across the country. The students, in short, are bcoming what they’ve been taught to become, and their acceptance into the MFA program is based less on how talented they are than on how well they adhere to this standard model of fiction writing. If Faulkner had submitted the first twenty-five pages of The Sound and the Fury as part of his 2005 MFA application package, he would have amassed a collection of rejection letter to make poor Derek’s stack look wafer-thin.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
The editors of The Stranger decided to destroy my love of Christmas. I am their worst enemy, you see, and so they couldn't let me enjoy Christmas in peace. Instead, they sent me to suicide hot spots, support groups, caroling expeditions, the Seattle Men's Chorus—anyplace where the Christmas spirit might give way to despair and isolation, I was ordered to go. It was only after my seventh excruciating hour spent humming Christmas jingles inside a Nordstrom bathroom stall to keep from chewing my tongue off that I realized the editors of The Stranger probably just wanted me dead.
Friday, December 23, 2005
People say to me, "Floyd, who are you"
Well, I am a writer and a poet and a dancer and a singer and a painter and a sculptor and a musician and an organizer and a keeper of birds and also cats. I am a good person and I used to have a moustache.
I enjoy art and culture and I like to play marbles. I enjoy television and yummy desserts and chickadees.
I once wrote a play called The Crucible even though someone else wrote a play with that name too.
I have very many crushes but I won't tell you on who unless you get a drink in me and then--WATCH OUT!!! Ha HA!
Bush is unapologetic. The president believes he has the legal authority to spy on American citizens without a warrant, and he plans to continue to reauthorize the program "for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens." But when the enemy is poorly defined, who determines when the threat is over? In this case, the same government that secretly taps our phones.
Turns out the truth is no stranger than fiction.
We think it's time for Congress to heed the warning of George Orwell.
To that end, we're asking for your help: Mail us or drop off your tattered copies of "1984." When we get 537 of them, we'll send them to every member of the House of Representatives and Senate and to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Feel free to inscribe the book with a note, reminding these fine people that we Americans take the threat to our liberties seriously. Remind Congress that it makes no sense to fight a war for democracy in a foreign land while allowing our democratic principles to erode at home.
Remind President Bush that ours is a country of checks and balances, not unbridled power.
Perhaps our nation's leaders can find some truth in this fiction and more carefully ponder the road we're traveling.
Bring or mail your books to the Oakland Tribune, 401 13th St., Oakland CA 94612. Doors are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
So we're driving along and Nick says he needs to go to Bayridge. The cabbie says "No, I'm going off duty to Coney Island. I have to give this cab to my partner." Nick says "No, you're not going to leave me 7 miles from my house." They argue and the cabbie points at Nick and says "You can't change your destination, I am not going to Bayridge!" Nick says "Don't point your fucking finger at me or I'll break it off!" They keep yelling and Nick grabs his finger and bends it backwards and says "I'll break your fucking finger off..." yada yada. (Ed: Way to "yada yada" the action there, friend.)
The cabbie pushes him off and Nick fucking PUNCHES THE CABBIE IN THE FACE while we are driving. The guy slams on the brakes and Nick jumps out and opens my door for me to get out. And I'm like hell no, I don't even fucking know this guy and he just punched a dude in the face! So I stay in and he says fine and walks away. The cabbie is sort of shocked and keeps saying "I don't know why he punished me in my face! This never happen to me!!" And I'm sympathizing and explaining I don't really know Nick and I'm sorry and he's bleeding a little and does he need help.
[Cheney] is an iPod fan, and keeping it charged is a priority for his staff. Normally that isn't an issue, even when he's flying around the world. Air Force II is equipped with outlets in each row of seats. But when Dick Cheney was traveling home overnight Wednesday from his diplomatic mission, most of the outlets went on the fritz.
Working passengers began lining up their laptops to share the power from a couple of working outlets — particularly the reporters who urgently needed to prepare their articles to transmit during a quick refueling stop in England.
But when Cheney said his iPod needed to be recharged, it took precedent above all else and dominated one precious outlet for several hours. The vice president's press staff intervened so a reporter could use the outlet for 15 minutes to charge a dead laptop, but then the digital music device was plugged back in. That way, Cheney got his press coverage and his music, too.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
"[T]here are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."
Link to transcript on White House website.
Gothamist: Molly Crabapple, Artist, Model, Burlesque Performer:
When you were 17, you took off with $300 in your pocket and spent 3 years traveling the globe. Did you ever have any moments of doubt, and how did you go about making a living and figuring out where to go next? How did this early period of travel shape who you are today?
I had plenty of moments of doubt. Once, on a night train to Marrakech, my wallet got knicked, the policeman tried to argue me into having sex, and, when I arrived at 5am, all the hotels were closed. Luckily, I talked a cleaning lady into letting me sleep in the hotel kitchen. While I lay there, sleep deprived and almost broke, I thought “this is what it’s like to be at the end of your rope.” But it’s at the end of your rope that magic happens.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
President Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law. He cannot be trusted to conduct the war against global terrorism with a decent respect for civil liberties and checks against executive abuses. Congress should swiftly enact a code that would require Mr. Bush to obtain legislative consent for every counterterrorism measure that would materially impair individual freedoms.
The top of the Drudge Report claims “CLINTON EXECUTIVE ORDER: SECRET SEARCH ON AMERICANS WITHOUT COURT ORDER…” It’s not true. Here’s the breakdown.
Religions gain legitimacy by lasting, and by that measure Wicca is well on its way to being mainstream. Now 50 years old, the earth-centered faith (also known as paganism or witchcraft) has thousands of adherents and many more occasional dabblers in the United States and Europe. Dozens of new Wicca books are published every year. There are dozens of Wicca conferences and retreats. And solstice celebrations are now seen as normal in the United States—and in freethinking Unitarian churches, practically required.
But Wiccan teachings are for the most part a stew of demonstrably false historical claims. There's no better time to examine this penchant for dissembling than at winter solstice on Dec. 21, which Wiccans say has been their holiday for thousands of years. For it's just such unfounded claims to old age and continuous tradition that may keep Wicca from growing to be truly old.
Today I visited a local Staples to print some color files. As an employee wrote up my order, he mentioned there would be a $2.49 fee per file for virus scanning. Incredulously, I asked if I am really expected to pay for my files to be scanned for viruses, to which he replied yes. I canceled my order and left. This experience brings up some very disturbing thoughts. Should I assume that until now Staples has never scanned customer files for viruses before processing? I've worked in many offices and service bureaus and consider virus scanning a necessary and common sense practice when handling any unknown files. I doubt that this is a new concept to Staples, and am even more dismayed by the next logical reason for this fee. Most likely, Staples is trying to bilk naive customers for a "service" that should be routine to any sensible and responsible computer user. Will customers be expected to pay for their cash register receipts next? Staples has lost me as a customer, and my respect.
In case there was any question about the lines between terrorism and homosexuality, the New York Blade reports that a February protest by New York University Law school’s gay advocacy group OUTlaw was under government surveillance. NBC News reported last week the group was categorized as “potentially violent” by the homo-hating sleuths at the Pentagon. It was also revealed that a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” protest at University of California Santa Cruz, which included a gay kiss-in, was also labeled as a “credible threat” of terrorism.
New York Blade Online: Pentagon spied on gay student groups, report says
The union's demands are unrealistic and its tactics irresponsible. It is the union that is primarily to blame for the strike. It needs to be said, though, that the mismanagement of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a major factor that has also contributed. In 2003 the subway fare increased to $2 from $1.50 amid claims that the system was in a fiscal crunch. Then all of a sudden the authority discovered a surplus so large that it decided to cut the fare to $1 as a holiday present to riders. You don't have to be a labor-management negotiating genius to know that the best moment to discover a billion dollar surplus isn't on the eve of triennial contract negotiations. Other events contributed to a sense of cynicism, from a contract for new subway cars that was awarded on the basis of a reported $500,000 phone call by a former senator, Alfonse D'Amato, to indictments for overbilling in connection with renovations to the MTA headquarters at 2 Broadway. Management reportedly spent $7.6 million to renovate the bathrooms at 2 Broadway, which tends to undercut the case for parsimony with the union.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
As Tom DeLay became a king of campaign fundraising, he lived like one too. He visited cliff-top Caribbean resorts, golf courses designed by PGA champions and four-star restaurants _ all courtesy of donors who bankrolled his political money empire. Over the past six years, the former House majority leader and his associates have visited places of luxury most Americans have never seen, often getting there aboard corporate jets arranged by lobbyists and other special interests.
Public documents reviewed by The Associated Press tell the story: at least 48 visits to golf clubs and resorts with lush fairways; 100 flights aboard company planes; 200 stays at hotels, many world-class; and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.
Instead of his personal expense, the meals and trips for DeLay and his associates were paid with donations collected by the campaign committees, political action committees and children's charity the Texas Republican created during his rise to the top of Congress.
Put them together and an opulent lifestyle emerges.
Every now and again it's probably healthy to crack open the glass, remove a certain world masterpiece from the display case, and in re-reading it recall that—unlike Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's Lover, two other novels once deemed obscene by the tribunes of moral upkeep—Lolita is a disgusting book. Furthermore, the day will never come when it is not a disgusting book. By comparison, in fact, it can make Lawrence and Joyce look like a pair of old village bluenoses.
And yet none of this party-line unanimity is enough for the party's true hard-liners. The slogans must be exactly right. No "Happy Holidays" or even "Cool Yule" or a cheery Dickensian "Compliments of the season." No, all banners and chants must be specifically designated in honor of the birth of the Dear Leader and the authority of the Great Leader. By chance, the New York Times on Dec. 19 ran a story about the difficulties encountered by Christian missionaries working among North Korean defectors, including a certain Mr. Park. One missionary was quoted as saying ruefully that "he knew he had not won over Mr. Park. He knew that Christianity reminded Mr. Park, as well as other defectors, of 'North Korean ideology.' " An interesting admission, if a bit of a stretch. Let's just say that the birth of the Dear Leader is indeed celebrated as a miraculous one—accompanied, among other things, by heavenly portents and by birds singing in Korean—and that compulsory worship and compulsory adoration can indeed become a touch wearying to the spirit.
Monday, December 19, 2005
The media world is becoming increasingly fixated on appearances. And the number of tricks used to achieve the increasingly exaggerated ideals is growing. Many models have plastic surgery and even more are retouched so they appear to have bigger breasts, smaller stomachs or fuller lips.
We wanted to show how easy it is to change someone’s appearance in this campaign.
San Francisco's KRON recently became the first major-market TV station in the US to supply much of its newsoom staff with laptops and digital video cameras, then train them to shoot, write, and produce stories on their own. KRON calls them VJs. Others in the biz sometimes refer to the combo role as "sojo" (solo journalist) or "one-man-band," while a producer + editor mashup is a "preditor."
You're Either With Us or You're Against Us, Mr. President:
It looks to me like you're against us.
Just as the idea that "it was necessary to destroy the village in order to save it" became the derisive (and accurate) analysis of America's illogical strategy during the Vietnam War, Bush's idea that it's necessary to defile the Constitution in order to protect our Constitutional freedoms is now the bottom line on his War on Terror.
President Bush said it himself in his speech on Saturday when he defended authorizing electronic eavesdropping without first obtaining the required warrants: "This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives...to protect them and their civil liberties. And that is exactly what I will continue to do so long as I’m the president of the United States."
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Relentless inflation in real estate and health care costs are endangering New York's long dominance in the creative sector, according to a new report, as artists and companies migrate to less expensive cities eager to lure them.
For example, 20 years ago, New York was the headquarters for half of the world's advertising agencies, but is now home to fewer than a third, according to the report, written by the Center for an Urban Future, a left-leaning New York research group that analyzes urban policy issues.
While the city still is home to most of the American publishing industry, the number of jobs in that field fell 3 percent in the last decade in New York, while increasing in San Francisco, Boston and Denver. And from 2001 to 2004, the number of jobs in New York City's motion picture and sound recording industries declined by 36 percent.
...life here is framed by hours spent in the car.
It is a defining force, a frustrating, physical manifestation of the community's stage of development, shaping how people structure their days, engage in civic activities, interact with their families and inhabit their neighborhoods.
Ask residents why they moved here, and they tend to give the same answers: more house for the money, better schools, a lifestyle relentlessly focused on the family.
Ask them what the trade-off is, and most often they mention the traffic.
Chris Gray, 34, moved to Frisco with her husband eight years ago, eager for a bigger house in an affordable, family-oriented community. Ms. Gray quit her job as a financial consultant for Electronic Data Systems in Plano, the previous exurban boomtown just to Frisco's south, and decided to become a stay-at-home mother for her two daughters. But her husband, who works near downtown Dallas, has paid the price.
Dan Savage's retort, which warms my heart:
Let me look inside my heart and see if it's breaking for the Gray family...
You can have a family-focused life in the big city, Mrs. Gray—tons of people do it. And a family of four can live comfortably in an apartment in the city. It all depends on what you value. Do you value your time? Or do you just want "more house for the money"? If it's all about having a "great room" and two spare bedrooms and a media room and a mud room then, by all means, go live in some soulless exurbian shithole. But don't bitch about the traffic—all those other people clogging the roads made the same idiotic choice you did. You have no one to blame but each other for a lifestyle dominated by cars and for your husband's two-hour commute.
And check out this winner from the article:
Christine Obenberger was living in Menomonee Falls, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee, when her husband said he wanted to move on with his career in high-tech security systems, to greater opportunities someplace else.
Almost immediately, he got a job offer with a sizable raise in Phoenix. "So I jumped on the Internet and was trying to research the area," Ms. Obenberger said, "when suddenly, this box popped up asking me to take a survey on the best place for us to live. It took me about 20 minutes and gave me a list of 20 potential cities. To my surprise, three-fourths of them were in Texas."
Austin she rejected as being too liberal. Houston seemed too hot. So she started looking at the Dallas area, going for the best combination of highly rated schools and lower-than-average house prices. "And I kept coming back to Frisco, which I'd never heard of before," she said.
On July 1, she, her husband and their two children moved into their new house in the Lone Star Ranch development on Frisco's west side. "I got twice the house for the same price, half the property taxes and better schools," she said. "And politically, I feel a lot more at home here."
Look, conservative or not, who the fuck chooses where they live this way? If people really rate where they live entirely by fucking test results on the internet that measure house prices and school scores I can only hope their goddamn commutes swallow them up.
Back on foot, Marcus bumped into a pedestrian who bore a passing resemblance to Tony Soprano. The man responded, “Hey, pay attention, asshole!”
Kamil sighed. “That’s what most Americans think of New Yorkers,” he said. They observed that the game pandered to out-of-towners’ stereotypes in other ways—piles of garbage, ubiquitous graffiti, and boarded-up windows in even the best neighborhoods. Ebejer, the producer, confirmed this. “We took a little bit of creative license and made the city grittier and dirtier than it is in real life,” he said, “because that’s the common perception of what New York City is.”
The guides noticed more peculiarities. Somehow, practically every statue in the city—George M. Cohan, in Duffy Square; the Maine Memorial, in Columbus Circle; Hans Christian Andersen, in Central Park—seemed to have become George Washington being sworn in on the steps of Federal Hall. The only place the guides couldn’t find him was on the steps of Federal Hall, because Federal Hall itself was missing. A quick check identified additional absentee landmarks, including the Apollo Theatre, the Intrepid, and New Jersey. (True Crime’s Battery Park City has fabulous views of the open ocean.)
Saturday, December 17, 2005
After court, Junior thanks me for the coffee and egg sandwich. This is a good sign. It's reassurance that, at least for a minute, he's experiencing the same reality I am. He has Felicia's name in elegant calligraphy tattooed around his neck, and he has an impish smile I've always understood could inspire love. But because his psychosis makes him unable to converse normally, he is isolated from the organized world. And he won't let her get off his island. Even if he did, she might not leave anyhow. But there's nothing for her in Junior's world, no home, no job, no people, no help. No mentor. It's a good sign that he thanks me for the coffee. Sometimes, when she tries to call me, he screams and pulls the phone out of her hands, after which I might not hear from her again for months.
Tonight, hours after we say goodbye, she calls collect. This time she's speaking even more softly. She gives me a phone number to call back and a room number to ask for. We talk honestly for a long time. She cries quietly. Junior is asleep next to her on the motel bed, and if she wakes him, he'll surely hang up the phone. But I can hear what she's saying. Junior is cruel and abusive and then alternately needy and frightened. He begs her to stay with him and then calls her a "whore." She's so torn. Through the tears, she keeps asking me, "Martha, what should I do?" But she's not ready to do what I tell her. Sometimes she's self-aware enough to say, "But I'm not ready." More often, though, she tosses understandable but weak justifications at me: She'll be lonely without him; he'll end up back in jail; he's fine when he doesn't use drugs; she has nowhere to go.
Buried on Page 30 of the National Enquirer is a small-type "apology" to the Desperate Housewives star: "A cover story we ran entitled 'Teri Hatcher—Amazing Bedroom secrets' was based on an interview sold to us by an experienced freelance journalist who we now believe never actually conducted the interview. … Ms. Hatcher has never engaged in sexual relations with men in a van parked on her property, nor does she leave her child alone in her house while having 'steamy romps' with men in a 'passion wagon.' … We also published a story suggesting that Ms. Hatcher … had become 'desperately thin' and was 'wasting away.' … We now know that during the past seven years, her weight has fluctuated by only three pounds—a result of healthy diet, moderate exercise and a good metabolism. Ms. Hatcher is fit and looks great, and her healthy appearance is nothing new."
Friday, December 16, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.
the mic rulah
the old schoolah
you wanna trip
I'll break it to ya.
Frylock and I'm on top
rock you like a cop
Meatwad you're up next with your knock-knock
Meatwad make the money see
Meatwad get the honeys G
Drivin in my car
livin like a star
ice on my fingers and my toes
and I'm a Taurus.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
This is Heidi's mom, looking very stylish. I think it's interesting that I see that particular facial expression on Heidi all the time. This creates in me the undeniable urge to have children immediately and then experiment on them, tracking what they look like and where the points of similarity and divergence lie.
I would also like to have this car.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The first taboo I think everyone should just plain get over is the taboo of writing in books. I write in most of my books. Notes about the content, things the content reminds me of, etc. When you just plain write in the margins, inside the cover, etc. there’s no way the notes for that content will get lost. They’ll forever be attached to the text they refer to.
The second is the folded over page corner (dogear). I know some of you just tuned me out as a heretic, but I dogear pages. Worse than that, I dogear for 2 different purposes. I use the top right corner of the right page as my bookmark. I also use the bottom corner of a page that contains something interesting as a marker as well. That lower dogear is often accompanied by notes written in the margin. By folding over the bottom corner of interesting pages, I can quickly look at a book of mine and see how useful I find it. It also lets me flip through a book I haven’t used in a while and easily find the bits I’m likely to want to find again. For a particularly interesting book, like The Big Moo(Seth Godin), you can see the density of interesting material easily.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Embattled US President George W. Bush denied that living in the White House "bubble" of security, policy advisers and political strategists had left him out of touch. "I feel like I'm getting some really good advice from very capable people and that people from all walks of life inform me and inform those who advise me," he said. "I feel very comfortable that I'm very aware of what's going on."
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Called the Wallet Flash 1.1, is the slimmest USB drive on the market and it couldn’t come in a more easily stored shape. Rather impressively, sizes will also range from 128MB all the way to 2GB.