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August 31, 2002

Media aghast at what a 43-year-old mom looks like

Some grumpy critics are grousing and others are cheering Jamie Lee Curtis for her honesty. The shocking, amazing she did?

She posed for a photo without makeup:

"The impossible ideal of the perfect body -- what we ought to look like -- has been etched in our brains since our first Barbie. One photo won't change that. But it is a reminder of where the revolution fell short. As we were getting the world to accept us for who we are, we never figured out how to accept ourselves."

originally posted by Chris

guerilla gardeners

[David] Meslin, 27, is a guerrilla gardener. He is among the handful of people who gather every Sunday at dusk by a derelict downtown streetcar loop to plant flowers and herbs beneath the cloak of darkness.

But first, they form a circle, plonk their wares onto the brittle grass and pass a spade around like a microphone.

"I'm here because I think we should take care of the Earth," says 16-year-old Christine Luza, bouncing the tool in her palms.

"I like that we are not taking anything away. We're leaving places with more, rather than less," continues 23-year-old Dolores Sirola, an environmental studies major at the University of Toronto.

But for Meslin, it's all about reclaiming public space.

"People have forgotten that public space is public. They're so scared to do something with it. When they walk out the door, they feel like they're walking into a mall and that they're not allowed to put up posters or garden or draw on the walls with chalk," he says, eyes flashing the colour of periwinkles.

"The whole city is our front lawn. It doesn't belong to McDonalds or Coors or Nestle or General Motors. They have their own spaces. This is public space — for the public, by the public."

The Toronto Star: 'Guerrilla gardeners' join urban underground

Make sure to check out The Toronto Public Space Committee's website!

[ via wood s lot ]

'It's weird, but often I

'It's weird, but often I feel when I'm writing certain characters and their traits that I have already seen them on TV. In sitcoms or whatever. The humour, I suppose, is TV humour to a great extent, absorbed from the usual suspects - Python, Pete and Dud and the rest. Plus, everything is always moving towards a certain point, and that's a very TV thing. A lot of American writers, like Jonathan Franzen or David Foster Wallace, are aware of these traits and go out of their way to avoid them.

'I mean, if you want to be brutal about it, a novel like, say, Updike's Rabbit at Rest is life, but White Teeth is TV. It's just my generation, I guess.'
"Zadie bites back"

August 30, 2002

craft corner

Yay! Knit your favourite album covers. Should this go in rW music, I wonder? Via b3ta's latest newsletter. Genius.

August 28, 2002

war criminal

Mass graves discovered in May near the northern city of Shebergan could contain as many as 1,000 bodies of Taliban prisoners who suffocated in sealed trucks last November. The deaths allegedly occurred during the transport of prisoners by a militia under the command of Gen. Abdurrashid Dostum. The Newsweek report described Dostum's militiamen cramming Taliban fighters who had surrendered into sealed trucks for the trip to Shebergan. The report said many prisoners suffocated slowly in the intense heat and that drivers were beaten by Dostum's troops for trying to allow the captives to breathe.
(From that Mass Afghan Graves article.) Now, as I understand it (and correct me if I'm wrong), if I'm not "with the terrorists," then this war crime is blood on my hands. Although beating and suffocating people sounds pretty terrible and terrifying to me, so what do I know?

military rape

Women in the U.S. armed services are increasingly at danger -- not from foreign terrorists, but from men in the U.S. armed services.

9 percent of women in the Marines, 8 percent of women in the Army, 6 percent of women in the Navy and 4 percent of women in the Air Force and Coast Guard were victims of rape or attempted rape in one year alone.
Cincinnati CityBeat: Military Rape.

Roboshop in D.C. -- make that McRoboshop!

Early this morning, as the restaurants and clubs were shutting down in the Adams Morgan neighborhood here, a young waiter named Rick Roman joined a crowd gawking at the new attraction on the sidewalk: an 18-foot-wide vending machine.

Mr. Roman looked through the glass at the dozens of products - bottles of olive oil and milk, cartons of eggs, chicken sandwiches, paper towels, detergent, diapers, pantyhose, toothpaste, condoms, DVD's - and realized what he absolutely had to take home at 12:15 a.m. After he inserted a $10 bill and punched numbers on a screen, the crowd watched a metal bin rise to collect a package of razor blades from one shelf and a can of shaving cream from another.
The New York Times: Shop Till Eggs, Diapers, Toothpaste Drop. The Washington Post article goes into a bit more depth on several fronts:
It's a masterpiece of convenience in the drive-through age. Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise, then, to learn that the Tik Tok Easy Shop is actually a division of the people who spawned fast food and helped put a happy face on the exporting of American culture: McDonald's.


You cannot go back and become a person who doesn't know how to write FedEx, but if you will actually decide to write it over your paintings, FedEx may sue you, because it hold a "copyright" it owns the part of your brain where the FedEx logo is located.
A "prisoner" by Miltos Manetas.

August 27, 2002

gone 'til...

The War on Drugs never came to my college dorm. Not because of insufficient enemies in sight—for indeed there were plenty—but rather because the drug war has rarely ever made its way to the cloistered residences of mostly white, well-off private school co-eds. Too busy busting the black and brown in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans, I guess, to make a stop Uptown, where the Tulane freshmen on the 8th floor of Monroe Hall were busy filling up two foot bong chambers with pot smoke, and then inhaling until our eyes rolled back in our heads.
Tim Wise: Affirmative Inaction.
Of the men and women serving more than one year in state prisons for drug-related offenses in 2001, over three-quarters were people of color. Regardless of the fact that, numerically speaking, five times as many Euro-Americans use drugs in the U.S. as African Americans, a host of practices in law enforcement and the criminal justice system have led to glaring disparities in incarceration rates.
Silja Talvi: The Color of the Drug War.

from Lip Magazine.

hands off iraq

Ongoing coverage





originally posted by zagg

jonathan sacks rocks

"You cannot ignore a command that is repeated 36 times in the Mosaic books: 'You were exiled in order to know what it feels like to be an exile.' I regard that as one of the core projects of a state that is true to Judaic principle. And therefore I regard the current situation as nothing less than tragic, because it is forcing Israel into postures that are incompatible in the long-run with our deepest ideals."
UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks criticises Israeli government policy on theological grounds.

August 26, 2002

Children's Story 2002:"My goal is

Children's Story 2002:

"My goal is to become the modern-day Dr. Seuss."

-Doug E. Fresh

if this goes well, the gowanus expressway is next

"I just say to myself, gee, what if I could have told my grandchildren I could have walked on the Brooklyn Bridge just as it was being built," said Richard Brody, 49, who descended a cavernous entryway called Glory Hole 52 with his 8-year-old son.
Boston residents line up for 'Big Dig' tour.

Murakami's newest is "After the

Murakami's newest is "After the Quake."

I get the news I need on the weather report.

I can't remember the last time it really rained. Our farmer says:

We did get a small fraction of an inch of rain this week, but it was hardly enough to even wet the dust. We are now going on over 2 months without more than a sprinkle. 4 months of really very little rain. The ground, out here, is cracking. Deep cracks several inches wide. I can't plow without first watering the ground, the plow just bounces on top of the concrete like soil. This last week a number of trees started dying. We are sure fortunate to have a good water source for our vegetables. Our spring, as of now, shows no signs of slowing. There are other springs around here, springs that didn't even dry up in the 30's that are now completely dry. There are people around here who are having to sell their cattle because they don't have enough water for their animals.

I understand over 50% of the rest of the country is also in a major drought. That is almost to the level of the 1934 dustbowl days.

I wonder, if we weren't such a large and powerful country, how long it would take before droughts like this started causing food shortages.

I think maybe if we can't grow (or pay to have grown) our own food nearby, maybe we shouldn't be living here. What do you think? I mean, if we can't directly experience the impact we have on the world, how can we possibly judge whether what we're doing is something we ought to be doing?

We went to the pond today, and I wouldn't have been able to take this picture (from May). I can't remember the last time it really silhouettes reflected on a pond. does anyone read these?rained.

August 24, 2002

Dropping some science

From "Critical Analysis of 'Bling Bling'":

Although discussion of acts of violence is kept to a minimum in this particular song, several of the rappers make a point to indicate that resorting to physical brawls is not necessary for them to cause harm to others; their "bling" is mighty enough to cause blindness without the bearer of the "bling" so much as lifting a finger.

originally posted by Chris

how half a dozen live

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Homeless: Six Cities, Six Stories, Six Lives" (via Kamat's Potpourri, via Asiafirst)

it's getting hot in here

The government is preparing a national crackdown on file traders that would crush the rogue swapping networks in the same manner hackers were pushed underground 12 years ago.
Wired News: Bracing for the Digital Crackdown. Digital Prophet John Perry Barlow sez: "They are going after people who are young and want to share their ideas. They are criminalizing the curious." 

August 22, 2002

cutting off your nose to spite your face

On a stop to view a contained corner of the nation's largest current wildfire -- in southwestern Oregon -- Bush will reveal a plan to reduce "unnecessary regulatory obstacles" and allow selective thinning of national forests.
Forest fire problem? We'll just cut down all the forests! By the way, would timber dollars help re-elect a Republican representative?

Our Gardens Continue to Grow

A Brief History Of Grassroots Greening In NYC by Sarah Ferguson.

summer of the shark

Remember last year's summer of the shark? Welcome to the summer of the abduction.

The public didn't need to watch little Samantha's funeral "live ... in its entirety" on CNN. The public didn't need to listen to Larry King bloviate about this topic night after night, not just with Runnion's grief-stricken mother, but also with a panel of people involved in the case, and, most pathetically, with celebrity hack Dominick Dunne. It's fine to alert the public when a child is missing or there's a serial killer on the loose in the neighborhood, but that's largely a job for local news. What Larry King, Bill O'Reilly, and the rest are doing is something else entirely: It's sensationalizing other people's tragedy.

The world is a scary enough place without kids being made to feel that at any moment a masked man could sneak into their bedroom and spirit them away. It could happen--and does on extraordinarily rare occasions. But our children are in no greater danger this summer than any other.
The New Republic: Summer Scare. The bottom line (as I suspected) is that they're putting the story of an 11-year-old girl beaten nearly to death with a hammer on the evening news not because they think it's newsworthy, but because they think it will sell advertising. Are you buying?

days of being weill

"I've learned enough out of these 30 years to know that you have to take risks ... I can't worry about the jazz police. I only worry about my public. My role is to make the people happy, to give them as excellent a package as I can in a recorded sense, to give them as excellent a package as I can in a live performance, and the heck with the rest. I figure if I'm true to myself and I'm honest about what I'm doing and the public is enjoying it, then it is going to speak for itself. I cannot do something that somebody has dictated me to do. I've got to love what I'm doing."
Mathew Bahl's "Starting Over with Dee Dee Bridgewater"

brothers and sisters gonna work it out

It's expected for black men to be homophobic. It's a part of the way we construct black male identity. Black male equals homophobic. And when journalists give excuses to "conscious" rappers like Common, it's like, "Oh well, Common is just a black male who grew up in a black environment where being homophobic is accepted." No it's not. My mother didn't allow my brothers to use the word "faggot" in my house. People make assumptions about the black community that are unfair. I mean, these kids all come from black families, and when they leave SMAAC, they go home to their black mommies, their black daddies, and most of those family members know that they're gay and lesbian. And we're not getting that side of the story.
Tim'm West of Deep Dickollective in Amanda Nowinski's "Stick this into your mind"
"A group of us said, 'We want to do it.' We became the core. We would be the ones to teach the workshops and we would get each other's backs. We would be at every show.

"In the beginning, there was no one teaching us. When I used to practice, I would do whatever. The b-boys, they let me come to practice and they said, 'Yeah, we'll help you.' But it never happened. I really wanted a boy to show me and give me weapons, but I'm glad I didn't because I can take credit for this now."
Jana Rowland of Sisterz of the Underground in Bernice Yeung's "Breaking Out"

August 21, 2002

The Flaming Lips are backing

The Flaming Lips are backing Beck on tour in a few months.

Take your bike on the bus

This has already received good coverage in the Washington, D.C. media, but you can now take your bike on Metrobuses thanks to new racks. I saw my first one yesterday.

August 20, 2002

hey kids, comics!

What will comics look like in 5 years? I don't know either, but Patrick Farley makes web comics look like a mature art form. While you can't go wrong with anything at electric sheep, particular favorites include "Overheard at the Rave", "The Guy I Almost Was", and "The Spiders". I'm mentioning e-sheep again because Farley has just launched the weekly strip "Barracuda: The Scotty Zaccharine Story, a look back on the rise and fall of Dot Com San Francisco."

She knew there was someone

She knew there was someone else in the room. There was no outright noise, just an intimation behind her, a faint displacement of air. She'd been alone for a time, seated on a bench in the middle of the gallery with the paintings set around her, a cycle of 15 canvases, and this is how it felt to her, that she was sitting as a person does in a mortuary chapel, keeping watch over the body of a relative or a friend. ...
Splinters points to "Looking at Meinhof," a new Don DeLillo short story.

August 19, 2002

The Downtown Alliance has

The Downtown Alliance has launched a free wireless network in Bowling Green Park. It gives you free wireless access to the internet from your laptop or PDA. So step out and log on: surf the web, check your email, and send instant messages while relaxing in the park.

How to log on to the Bowling Green Wireless Network, thanks to the downtown alliance and NYC wireless.

August 18, 2002

art as you wish

Elaine de Kooning remembers:

I was talking to Joan Mitchell at a party ten years ago when a man came up to us and said, ‘What do you women artists think…’ Joan grabbed my arm and said, ‘Elaine, let’s get the hell out of here.’
(from Peter Schjeldahl’s piece ‘Tough Love: Resurrecting Joan Mitchell,’ The New Yorker, July 15, 2002)

The Whitney Museum of American Art is currently exhibiting a retrospective of Mitchell’s oeuvre, the first major NY showing of her work since 1974. Mitchell’s vibrantly dense canvases show her to be a close cousin of the Impressionists, and unlike many Abstract Expressionists her later works are among her most energetic and colorful. I was moved by one of her last works (Untitled, 1992), a diptych of predominantly white canvases--and yet, even as white expands, pushing against color, thin streams of rose, blue, and lilac begin to creep out in quiet defiance.

High season in Europe not withstanding, nowhere else is the presence of too many people least appreciated than in an art museum. The Whitney proved me wrong. Fridays are a ‘pay as you wish’ night and attract a large number of enthusiastic and engaged visitors. Never before have I seen a tour end with a round of applause.

update: The link is working now. For some close-ups of joan mitchell's paintings go to http://www.etnahem.com/FlashMitchell.html (plug-in not required to view paintings).

August 17, 2002

girls, visions and everything

"Queer as Folk"

August 16, 2002

"We affirm that Biblical spanking may cause temporary and superficial bruises or welts that do not constitute child abuse"

The Florida Department of Children and Families has long been plagued by its own ineptitude.

And this is the guy Jeb Bush has chosen to pull it out of the toilet?

Read more of Jerry Regier's wisdom here.

originally posted by Chris

phish back in the stream

Nearly two years after they last played together in public, Phish announced Wednesday (August 14) that they are ending their extended hiatus.

next: fluxus wiki?

NexistWiki is an engineering prototype that couples the salient features of two technologies:

WikiWiki technology http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiWikiWeb and IBIS technology http://cognexus.org/ and http://www.compendiuminstitute.org/

These features are combined in one Java(TM) program that explores the possibility of seamless integration of a Web-based Knowledge Construction environment with the IBIS technology for discussing Information Resources as they are being created.

From Kuro5hin:
Park is in the process of building a piece of software that can be used to assist consensus development over written texts on the web, mostly on his own nickel. In the middle of an intense geek bleeding-edge-of-technology conference he said, essentially, "OK, so we do really cool stuff, and here's how I think we can use it change the world."

Over at the RandomWiki we're not changing the world, but we ARE dancing, cooking and gardening.

And only Nixon could go to China . . .

Shulgin has some establishment leanings. He belongs to the elite, all-male Bohemian Club (Dick Cheney and George Shultz are members), and in 1988 he published Controlled Substances: A Chemical and Legal Guide to the Federal Drug Laws. In one of the more ironic moments of the war on drugs, he and Ann were married on their ranch on July 4, 1981, by the administrator of a DEA lab he was friendly with. Exactly one year later, the man held his wedding in the same spot. Shulgin never had a problem with the law until 1994, when the drug agency raided the lab behind his house. He wasn't charged with anything, but he surrendered the DEA-approved analytical license that allowed him to study certain scheduled drugs. (A spokesperson for the agency's San Francisco office would not comment on the raid.) "The issue is closed, and I have the freedom of doing whatever lab work I choose," Shulgin says. Nevertheless, "the separation between me and my friends at the DEA is now quite severe."

Wired 10.09: Professor X: Fascinating profile on "MDMA grandfather" Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin, co-author, with his wife Ann, of PIHKAL: A Love Story. In the old days, he got away with his psychedelic research because he was one of "them"; the drug war made him one of us.

originally posted by judlew

Cooking with monkey! Oh, my.

Cooking with monkey! Oh, my.

"Take a Walk New York"

Doesn't this sound like FUN!?!

Saturday, August 24, 2002. 9:30 AM. Brooklyn Waterfront Communities: Coney Island, Brighton and Manhattan Beaches, Sheepshead Bay.
Joe Svehlak will lead us on a walk by the sea; lots of New York style variety in these communities. Meet outside of the Coney Island/Stillwell Avenue station of the B, Q (formerly D), F, or N lines. Bring or buy lunch; lots of good eats along the way (this is a health walk, so we can't say eat at Nathan's). Bring your bathing suit to hang out at the beach after the walk.

Courtesy of Urban Outdoors, the electronic bulletin of the TreeBranch Network.

originally posted by Ben Fried

"Not directly experiencing racism is,

"Not directly experiencing racism is, in fact, directly experiencing racism." Aaron, uppity-negro.com

Did you see this shit?

This week, the government refused to comply with a federal judge who ordered that he be given the underlying evidence justifying Hamdi's treatment. The Justice Department has insisted that the judge must simply accept its declaration and cannot interfere with the president's absolute authority in "a time of war."
LA Times: Jonathan Turley: Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision. Hello!

August 15, 2002

more bounce (to the ounce)

In "California Loved," P-Frank Williams remembers Roger Troutman.

Baltimore on the Hudson

John Waters's home in new York has subversive accents.

August 14, 2002

Prague, Czech Republic

In the city that Kafka called a home, the worst floods in 500 years.


originally posted by DC


Is that one of those guitars that's, like, a heart-shaped triple guitar?

i hate being sad

Talk about dollars and greed....

Juror Wants $100 an Hour to Serve, "When computer consultant David Williamson was summoned for federal jury duty and told that he should keep August free of commitments, he replied he was ready to serve � at his normal rate of $100 an hour."

Having recently been summoned for jury duty, I can totally relate to this man's approach. I was kept hanging for a week, never knowing until the night before whether I'd need to go into the court house for the selection process. It's hard to schedule meetings and in general run one's business -- whether you're the partner of a small firm, such as this man, or self-employed, as I am -- when you don't know what your schedule will be the following day. Seems to me like they need to change the way jury duty is structured to better reflect the way people work in the 21st century.

I had jury duty last month - I lost a week of work, and it was a general pain-in-the-ass - but this seems to me like megnut and this dude are saying "since our time is worth more than the average citizen, we shouldn't have responsibilities to make sure our peers get their fair shake in court." Tell me I'm wrong?

41 shots magnified a thousand times

... I'm happy that you're not saying "it's all about freedom" (like Paul McCartney), or singing "let's roll" (like Neil Young). I'm hoping you won't follow the path of John Steinbeck, who wrote The Grapes of Wrath (a book which we both love) and then in his later years supported the Vietnam War. I'm hoping you won't let "Rise Up" mean "America United Against the World." You were born in the USA, but also born in the world, and the world does not want to see the Boss wave an imperialist flag while a government of corporate crooks, psychos and religious fanatics prepares, for no good reason, to send young American men and women to invade Iraq. ...
Gary Leupp, "An Open Letter To Bruce Springsteen About The War On Terror"

nothing's nerdier than a list

Nerd Magazine's Trunkload of Trouble, an incomplete indie-pop encyclopedia by Van & Nommi (thanks monosyllabic!)

austin, (em)powered

"The food that people have easy access to does not seem to be very healthy ... We're looking at how the distribution of groceries changes as the community became poorer and more African American, and also a survey of residents about food buying habits. How often they shop. What they buy. Where they buy it."
Washington Post, "Chicago Neighbors Plot A Way to Healthier Food"


"I'm still not great at cutting fish, but really it doesn't matter ... You just take a nice piece of fish, cut it to the right shape, and you're in business."
N.Y. Times, "Sushi Cooks Are Rolling Their Own"

August 12, 2002

My inner child lives in

My inner child lives in an Earthship.

I'm black and I'm going

I'm black and I'm going to do anything I want to do. Then it'll be black because I did it.
New York Times: The Hip-Hop Generation Grabs a Guitar.

Get Your War On 13

Get Your War On 13

August 11, 2002

carbon dated rhythm and rhymes

The Time-Life collection is a strong (and curious) indicator for a few reasons. Of course, each preceding decade of the Rock/Pop era had its Time-Life retrospective treatment-the '50's, '60's, and '70's. But what is more interesting is the packaging itself; music and cultural innovations do not necessarily occur in neat, decade-long epochs. The popular music of 1962 has a lot more to do with the music of 1955 than say, that of 1967 or '69. The R&B of the early '90's is much closer in style to that of the late 80s than it is the late '90's. Innovation in music occurs at much less regular intervals than marketing and promotion people would have us believe, usually across artificially imposed chronological boundaries like "decade packaging." What decade packaging of pop music does do, however, is make it easier for our aging minds and memories to grasp some element of time-based recognition, for nostalgia to have its simple way-"Ah, I remember how great the '80's were..."
Perfect Sound Forever's The 20 Year Rule

During one afternoon, Murray Falkner,

During one afternoon, Murray Falkner, the novelist's nephew (who keeps the family name's original spelling), chatted with other Oxford seniors about life at Rowan Oak, Faulkner's house. He recalled how dinner there might be served by flashlight, how "Brother Will" enjoyed wearing costumes (hunting apparel, yachting uniform), and that he had a high-pitched tenor voice, never used "strong" language and could do a pretty good soft-shoe shuffle. His wife, Estelle, enjoyed dressing like a young girl or Vogue model and frequently prepared asparagus sandwiches that she served on silver platters. Once when their daughter, Jill, was asked about her father's occupation, she replied that he didn't have one, that "he does nothing" day after day.

Michael Dirda travels to Mississippi to indulge his love for William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. (I don't know why I didn't just blog the whole Washington Post Book World section today -- it was unusually juicy.)

Never let me lose the

Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue eyes, or the accent
that by night the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek.

I'm afraid to be on this shore
a trunk without limbs, and what I most regret
is not to have flower, pulp or clay
for the worm of my suffering.

If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross and my wet sorrow,
if I am the dog of your dominion,

do not let me lose what I have won
and adorn the waters of your river
with leaves of my alienated autumn.

Rafael Campo reviews two new books of Latin American poetry: Lorca's Collected Poems and Mark Strand's translations of de Andrade and Alberti. Yum. (Note to the Washington Post: it would be nice if you took the time to correct the line breaks that are poorly rendered by converting your articles to Web format.)

There's been a radical shift

There's been a radical shift in the place of race and ethnicity in American commercial culture since the late 1970s. Near revolutionary developments in advertising, media, marketing, technology, and global trade have in the last two decades of the twentieth century nearly obliterated walls that have stood for generations between nonwhites and the image of the American dream. The mainstream, heretofore synonymous with what is considered average for whites, is now equally defined by the preferences, presence and perspectives of people of color. The much maligned melting pot, into which generations of European American identities are said to have dissolved, is bubbling again, but on a higher flame; this time whiteness itself is finally being dissolved into a larger identity that includes blacks, Hispanics and Asians.

This review makes American Skin out to be a pretty interesting read, though I'm immediately skeptical of the claims it seems to make. Perhaps a good one for all of us to read and discuss at some point?

If you have high visibility,

If you have high visibility, then you can actually say some things that people are more likely to give attention to than if you didn't have that visibility. And that's exactly what I plan to do. I've always wanted to use whatever celebrity status I have for the struggle for freedom, the struggle for goodness. So if all of a sudden I'm very controversial and newspaper reporters want to hear what I have to say, then watch me get arrested, watch me give this speech, watch me write this text . . . no, I don't shy from it, because you can use it as a force for good.
The Washington Post on Cornel West's recent travails.

Is that a real poncho or is that a Sears poncho?

If I'd have known as a little girl living with him that I would grow up and come to a foreign city and see posters of my brother sitting on a toilet, I wouldn't have believed it.
For Zappa, a Smother of Attention: German Town Steps Up Its Fete of Cult Musician.

KPIG fans squeal with displeasure

Our listeners buy CDs. They complain to me that by listening to KPIG, they've spent more money on CDs than ever.
Online listeners of California's KPIG feel the pain of CARP.

PETA wins its sad elephant case

A federal judge ruled that Washington, D.C.'s "Party Animals" project, which features 200 decorated elephant and donkey sculptures scattered about the city, must also include a shackled circus elephant submitted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Right on.

from margins to center

Moving to Canada has given Cecily the opportunity to recreate her identity, and thinking about that's gotten her thinking about race and class. From Margins to Center:

It wasn't my skin colour that set me apart from my wealthy Buckhead classmates. It wasn't (only) my skin colour that made it difficult for my parents to afford the high-priced designer clothing that my friends treated so carelessly. It wasn't (only) my skin colour that gave me pause when I brought home permission slips for expensive class trips to New Orleans (to see the King Tut exhibit) or a week-long stay at a folk school in rural North Carolina. It wasn't my skin colour that caused my teachers to assume that gifted students all came from solidly middle-class homes.

My skin colour was less an indication of my family's poverty than my weight or my crooked teeth. My waistline spoke to the starchy, inexpensive meals my mother made to feed a family of nine children. My teeth told the world that the Walkers didn't have money for expensive orthodontia. It didn't matter that I was as smart as the other students, I lacked the ease, the comfort, and the inside knowledge associated with privilege. These things, more than any amount of melanin, ushered me to my place on the margins.

[ via all about george ]

tall and tanned and young and lovely

"For us Brazilians, the song is a source of pride throughout the world ... It's not only the World Cup that makes us feel unique -- it's also the success and history of our music."
"Brazil celebrates 40th birthday of "The Girl From Ipanema"

Oh, and Caetano Veloso just turned 60.

Fiction is less stressful, for

Fiction is less stressful, for one thing. The responsibility you have to real people when you write nonfiction is crippling, if you let yourself really think about it. I ended up with a degree in journalism from Illinois, and that school takes its facts very seriously. The teachers were old school, and unforgiving, and that's why the school produces amazing journalists. And that's why I'm obsessive and conflicted about fact in my own stuff, and why, I guess, I kept qualifying what I was writing in the first book. Everything there was true, but you can't really call it all fact. For example, I didn't want to pretend I could remember entire conversations from 1991, so I made clear that those were reconstructions, as they always are with memoirs or anything written without having actually recorded a conversation. If you haven't recorded it, you're making half of it up, period, and any reader of a newspaper should know that. Over all, it was excruciating to be true to fact while also making a story that had some shape, and being pulled between those two poles was more of a strain than I'd want to deal with again.

Fiction, then, was completely liberating. I didn't even base any of the main characters on real people, outside of the part where Hand says that a good bowel movement is better than bad sex — a guy I knew from college said that a lot. Otherwise, it's all pretty much out of nowhere. So the responsibility to real people wasn't there, and that lightened the burden enormously.
Dave Eggers goes "Around the World in a Week" in the New Yorker.


What kind of title is "San Francisco's 'Sleeping Giant' Awakens" for an NPR segment? How often do we see white people described with racialized, monolithic, and anthropomorphizing imagery?


"When Shiva holds the center of the stage, the role of the personalized Brahman is colored with death and destruction. Shiva's stern asceticism casts a blight over the fields of rebirth. His presence negates and transcends the kaleidoscope of sufferings and joys. Nevertheless, he bestows wisdom and peace and is not only terrible but profoundly benign. Shiva's nature at once transcends and includes all the polarities of the living world." "Shiva opens his third eye only in anger, and the offender is burnt to cinders."

who was George Jackson?

"30 Years After the Murder of George Jackson: A 29-minute documentary about the origins of the modern anti-prison movement." Who was George Jackson? I'd never heard of him until I read of him at Full Bleed. This audio documentary is the top Google result about the activist who was murdered in San Quentin prison in 1971.

August 9, 2002

oooh, ladies first, ladies first

In my list of female MVPs, I'd name (again off the top of my head, so forgive me for forgetting someone obvious): Joni Mitchell (at the top of the class), followed by Janis Joplin, Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, Sinead O'Connor. That is my top group. Then I'd think about these, in no particular order: Kate Bush, P.J. Harvey, Madonna, Tina Turner, the Runaways, the Go-Gos, Carole King (as a writer, not as a performer), Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Aretha Franklin, the Supremes, Linda Ronstadt, Grace Slick, Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Brenda Lee, Etta James, Alanis Morissette, Bonnie Raitt, Big Mama Thornton. That's my quick list of candidates. The ones I'd nominate for the hall of fame on the first ballot: Mitchell, Joplin, Hynde, Smith, O'Connor, Madonna, Emmylou Harris, Franklin, James. Some of the others, too, are deserving, but that's my very top list.
Prompted by a letter writer, the L.A. Times' Robert Hilburn takes a tally.

nobody bothers him

Washington Post: At 70, Master Jhoon Rhee Is Still Getting in His Kicks. He taught Bruce Lee to kick, trained more than 270 members of Congress, and does at least 1,000 push-ups and a few hundred sit-ups every day.

August 8, 2002

"I can't, it's breast milk."

I'm all for random searches . . . but I do think the number of Caucasian, lactating mothers who have passed through al Qaeda training camps is negligible.
Elizabeth McGarry said, 'That's the milk for the baby.' And [the JFK security guard] said, 'You have to drink it.' And she said, 'I can't, it's breast milk.' I'm not taking sides on this one -- I'm just thinking of that poor bastard carrying their urine sample.

rescuing knowledge, freeing information

The Memory Hole: "You might think that Kennedy revealing an A-bomb a few blocks from the White House would be highly newsworthy, but you'd be wrong."

a little bit of chicken is a dangerous thing.

In attempt to get my hen, Lucy, to stop brooding in the wake of her litter mate's death, my neighbor Steven, who has a contraband rooster as well as a hen, provided her with a fertilized egg. Last night the chick hatched. I'm interested in the chick. I'm also interested in why I'm so interested in the chick, in why I cannot stop looking at her (I'm hoping it's a her so I can keep her), laughing, calling people in the neighborhood to come and check her out, talking to her, feeding her surrogate mom fresh greens, and generally not wanting to leave home. This is something my forebears were blase about; they took it for granted that they had chicks by the thousands, some of them run over by tractors and eaten by owls. But just one is unbearably precious. Hmm.

She's all different colors, by the way. Light brown with dark brown spots ringed in black. Very dark black eyes. She's a mutt chick. I'll upload a picture soon.

originally posted by judlew

citigroup's ironic advertisements

ME: You put it all into WorldCom, didn't you?

CITIGROUP: Funny how nobody ever calls it warm, soft cash.

ME: Uh-huh, uh-huh. Point taken. But just out of curiosity—you know, not that such things matter to me—exactly how much of my cash do you still have left?

CITIGROUP: Don't wait until someone says "Your money or your life" to remember that they are two different things.

ME: Oh, sweet Jesus. It's all gone, isn't it?
Tim Carvell reads between the lines for Slate.

"you're tuned to, NKYO radio"

Doc Searls says "Bring on the WiFi Radios!" Also of interest: Radio's titan hits the skids, in which Eric Boehlert looks at the antitrust cases facing Clear Channel Communications, a.k.a. Why Commerical Radio Sucks, Inc.

August 7, 2002

'Crime novels are entertainment and

'Crime novels are entertainment and when people are being entertained they are willing and interested to step out of themselves and see a world they don't normally see ... It doesn't matter if it's a story about a black woman in the white-dominated LA Police Department or a Navajo Indian investigator solving crime on a reservation in New Mexico, if people are being entertained or thrilled or frightened there's a chance to slip some social commentary under the radar. Sure, you have to adhere to the conventions - there's a murder, it's resolved - but while that's happening, the writer has an opportunity to says all kind of things. It's almost a kind of novelist's sleight of hand.'...

'... What I've found is that a large portion of the people who read crime books are on the right wing politically. I'm not preaching to the choir here - that's how you write a bestselling book, you tell people what they want to hear, make them feel good about themselves. I don't do that. When a person finishes reading my books I want them to look in the mirror and ask questions about themselves.' ...

... 'Sci-fi in the 1950s gave us a much better understanding of what was going on in our world at the time. The same goes for the modern crime novel. You can write personal stories and also deal with real issues, and this is the important thing - you can have readers. I can write 10 literary short stories about race and no one will ever see them. Publish a crime novel that takes on the same subject and people will read it. That's important.'
Three quotes from Guardian Books, "Skin deep in crime" (via O-Dub)

"At the very least, it

"At the very least, it starts a dialogue ... My feeling is that if you're not prepared to read ideas that are not your own and that you might disagree with, you do not belong at an institution of higher learning."

UNC student body president Jennifer Daum sums up the freshman required-reading hubbub over "Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations."


The business of the city of New York will not cease, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday, in detailing the city's plans to mark the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Rather, it will yield to various events in all five boroughs, beginning with a march into ground zero led by bagpipers and including a visit from President Bush and a reading of the names of every person who died in the World Trade Center attack.
Jennifer Steinhauer summarizes the city's 9/11 tribute plans.


There's a lot going on over at Blogroots -- new look, new TrackBack-enabled weblog-related post aggregator (when will Blogger Pro support TrackBack?), and the highly-anticipated We Blog is due out in two days. In other news of limited interest, dive into mark has a good summary of the proposed changes in XHTML 2.0 (which look just great to this web head).

August 6, 2002

I taught I taw a woodpecker..

Ten years ago, I would've thought birdwatching was just so lame. Today, I was looking out the window of this computer room and I think I saw a woodpecker. It disappeared too soon for me to memorize its colour pattern, but I think it's either a red- or yellow-bellied woodpecker. This bird picture list is nifty!

originally posted by Greer

"Chelsea Boys"

I did a triple-take when I saw this gay-themed Snapple ad at a Metro station this morning.

that all depends on what you know, heh, heh, heh.

''There's this general perception that jazz is dead music -- dead guys, old guys, old audiences ... It doesn't have to be that way. Chevrolet commercials show a car zipping down the highway with Herbie Hancock's 'Cantaloupe Island' on the soundtrack. A lot of people think the music is cool, but they don't even know it's jazz ... Why can't Chevy show a picture of Herbie? Just to show, 'Hey, this guy did this music -- he's still alive.'"
Chuck Iwanusa, president of the Jazz Alliance International, in "Off the Record."

August 5, 2002

going green for what, now?

The problem for the Greens is that as long as they insist on heedlessly challenging Wellstone, they will define themselves as a party whose main purpose seems to be attacking Democrats as opposed to getting things done on behalf of aggrieved Americans tired of being manipulated by both parties. Worse, they lock themselves into an unproductive fight with Democratic progressives just when so many of their other more promising candidates need Democratic votes to succeed. At a moment when millions of Americans are feeling a fresh kind of economic pain brought to them by the stupidity and venality of both parties in Washington, it would seem much wiser to try to speak to those voters in a language they can hear rather than keep waging old battles that interest a fairly narrow band of the political spectrum.

It's in the Nation!

i love finding new blogs.

I also couldn't help reading a couple weeks ago about that incident - the break-in at the Temple? I think this wouldn't have happened if you had a little more security around the most important room in the station. Apparently this guy just walked in through the basement or something, right? Let's seal those doors or something. What? They are sealed? Well then how did he - oh, right, this was former Chief Anderton, he had his eyes to fool the retina scan. That's your other problem. Why didn't you cancel his security access the minute you knew he was wanted for murder? Shoot, that's the first thing they did to me when I got laid off at my old job, and the worst thing I'd done was take someone's yogurt out of the fridge! Right, I know you guys are busy and all, but I think this is kind of important. You could still have him have access to like the cafeteria and stuff, if you want, but maybe not to the control room or the Temple. Just my advice.

umamitsunami rips Minority Report to shreds.

they made (they'll make) us know you well

L.A. Times' Jeff Leeds, with "Elvis Poised for Latest Comeback" and the N.Y. Times' Lynn Hirschberg, with "Who's That Girl?"

August 4, 2002

getting Asian-Americans into the picture

Corky Lee was set on his course in junior high school by a famous photograph taken at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869. The picture commemorated the completion of the transcontinental railroad and showed workers posing with two trains, one from the Central Pacific line and one from the Union Pacific. But something was wrong with this picture. No Chinese workers.

Thousands of Chinese men worked on that railroad. In fact, Mr. Lee said, the saying "He doesn't have a Chinaman's chance" comes from the fact that when the Sierra Nevada had to be blasted for the railroad, the Chinese were usually the ones lowered from cliffs laden with dynamite and fuses. Each time they went down to set the charges, they got paid a dollar more. But when the time came to party and be photographed, the Chinese were nowhere to be found.

Since Mr. Lee first laid eyes on that photograph, he has devoted himself to making Asian-Americans visible.
New York Times: Getting Asian-Americans Into the Picture.

It's a family affair

"We are white parents. We don't know what it is like to grow up black in America. Looking back, I know I was a sheltered white person in a white community. I remember how my peers and everyone talked about race. It is not a comfortable feeling to know this is what you were taught, how you absorb racism as a child.

"I've always thought of myself as a person who wasn't racist. But when you actually start learning about it or are very close to it, you realize you didn't even know."
L.A. Times, Hillary MacGregor, "Adopt, Then Adapt"

August 3, 2002

I come to bury IAmCarbonatedMilk.com, not to praise it

A number of folks were certain that the path to online wealth was littered with free stuff. I like free stuff as much as anyone else, though I'm not sure I've ever had room in my life for an extra sink (FreeSinks.com) or roof (FreeRoofTile.com). I have been known to eat pancakes (FreePancakes.com), use paper towels (FreePaperTowels.com) and paper clips (FreePaperClips.com) and, at certain times of the year, hang ornaments (FreeOrnaments.com), yet I don't imagine I would have felt the need to frequent any of those sites had they ever been built. The oxymoronic Free-Bills.com just confuses me, and FreeMistakes.com sounds as though it would offer something I already manage quite well on my own.

Many similarly inspired names -- based around a common word or suffix -- also failed to bear fruit. Some would-be publishers focused on the imperative, demanding that we ThinkAboutRealty, ThinkDivorce, DrinkGreenTea, EatCheddar (anathema to EatFatFree), BeABodyguard, LeaseARug, RentAChicken, and BuyACollegeDegree. Others embraced "happens" -- as in BingoHappens, WineHappens, CollegeHappens (perhaps not if you buy a degree). Only none of it did -- happen, that is. "Arama" didn't do the trick (Drugsarama, Foamarama, IndianaPolishHomearama, or even Arama-arama), nor did "zooka" (Carzooka, Rockzooka, and Golfzooka, among others). Even "B2B" was no guarantee, not for MyB2BCastle or B2BGolfMaintenance.

Salon explores the strange and often incomprehensible detritus of the web one can sift through at DeletedDomains.com.

originally posted by Chris


Imagine for one day, that day, all the televisions, radios, and computers taking a vow of silence. Imagine. The ticker tape stops. The rat race is a draw.

My friend Jim Walsh, once a rock critic, now on sabbatical, is circulating an idea for honoring 9/11: a national day of silence.

originally posted by judlew

i like mayor mike

On his way back to City Hall after a meeting near Times Square on Thursday afternoon, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stepped into a No. 4 train at Grand Central Terminal and immediately wanted to step back out. The cooling system in his car was on its way to failing, just as temperatures were on their way to a high of 96 degrees.


But the mayor's reaction to the hot-car experience was also a textbook case of how New York City Transit officials say riders should respond. Swear angrily as you leave the subway if you want to, but more importantly, do what Mr. Bloomberg did: take down the car number and call it in.
Even a Billionaire Mayor Can't Buy a Cool Subway Ride.

a beautiful place

Walk under Inwood Hill's towering trees, sit on the banks of the Harlem River overlooking the Spuyten Duyvil; you'll easily forget you're in a city dominated by skyscrapers. You may even forget that you're in a city that was ripped apart by an attack on its two tallest skyscrapers, just over 10 months ago. And yet as home to some of the island's last majestic tulip poplars, Inwood Hill maintains a symbolic link to the other end of the island: Both are dominated by their own monolithic testaments to power, the soaring bank buildings to the south, the enormous trees to the north.


Whatever we get — a plaza, a garden, a square, a promenade — we're guaranteed another swatch of sterile flat greenness, corporate landscaping to reflect the commercial interests driving the LMDC's plans. So here's for something different: a grove of tulip poplars. Living things to replace death, majestic trees to last hundreds of years. Just as today's tulip poplars link us to the distant past, a grove at the World Trade Center site will stand as a vibrant memorial into the far future.
New York's Real Skyscrapers via the Morning News.

And the best thing is

And the best thing is Twinkies have so many preservatives that they never go bad. If you got trapped in the room, you could eat the Twinkies for years.
Tenants from Hell by Mel Ash, author of Shaving the Inside of Your Skull and Beat Spirit.

August 2, 2002

One of the benefits of

One of the benefits of 21st-century economic and cultural globalization is the overdue nod toward artists like Hélio Oiticica, who turn out to have been doing things 30 or 40 years ago that pass for new today.
New York Times: A Brazilian's Work in the 70's Now Looks New. "The world is a museum, he said. There's art everywhere."

'swarming' catches on in US

"It's the search for peak experience, something that's really going to be special," says Adam Eidinger, a District political organizer. "It happened to me just last week. There was a concert at Fort Reno -- Fugazi." His cell rang. "There's this guy, Bernardo, who's one of the biggest swarmer cell-phone people I know." Came the restless call: " 'Where are you? There are all these people here!' And he wasn't just calling us. He called 25 people. Pretty soon everybody he knew was sitting on the grass, and none of them knew they were going to be there that morning."
Washington Post: Cell Biology.

If the death of five

If the death of five Americans leaves Mr. Bush "furious," you'd think the death of one would at least find him peeved. According to unconfirmed reports, however, the shooting of an American citizen -- shot in the head and chest while her 9-month old son sat on her lap -- in Palestine by the Israeli Defense Force registered as a slight itch on the back of the President's right knee.

August 1, 2002

Aung San Suu Kyi relates

Aung San Suu Kyi relates Buddhism to Democracy

The following is from a chapter in Aung San Suu Kyi's book of essays on democracy and liberation from unhealthy and misguided notions of governance called "Freedom from Fear." This is another good book that might instruct us on how people in a community can focus themselves to achieve liberation and self-respect.

Despotic governments do not recognize the precious human component of the state, seeing its citizens only as a faceless, mindless -- and helpless -- mass to be manipulated at will. It is as though people were incidental to a notion rather than its very life-blood. Patriotism, which should be the vital love and care of a people for their land, is debased into a smokescreen of hysteria to hide the injustices of authoritarian rulers who define the interests of the state in terms of their own limited interests.
The above is especially true of Burma, where the military, going against the ideals of Suu Kyi's father, a famous Burmese general, or Boh, took over the leadership of the country and created the SLORC. The singlemost important purpose of this initiative was to create a voice and a power that strictly forbade true democracy.

Check out the Washington Post today for an interesting article about a Brit who finds more excitement bringing ideas of Democracy to Burma than attending classes in University. Right here. James Mawlsey

originally posted by DC

Reclaiming Common Areas

    "The American commons comprises a wide range of shared assets and forms of community governance. Some are tangible, while others are more abstract, political, and cultural. The tangible assets of the commons include the vast quantities of oil, minerals, timber, grasslands, and other natural resources on public lands, as well as the broadcast airwaves and such public facilities as parks, stadiums, and civic institutions. The government is the trustee and steward of such resources, but "the people" are the real owners.

    The commons also consists of intangible assets that are not as readily identified as belonging to the public. Such commons include the creative works and public knowledge not privatized under copyright law. This large expanse of cultural resources is sometimes known as the public domain or—as electronic networking increases its scope and intensity—"the information commons." In addition, our society has dozens of "cultural spaces" provided by communications media, public education, and nonprofit institutions. Another large realm of intangible assets consists of scientific and academic research, much of which is supported by the public through government funding. The character of these spaces changes dramatically when they are governed as markets rather than as commons.

    No less important and vulnerable are what might be termed the "frontier commons": features of the natural world that have historically been too large, too small, or too elusive for any market regime to capture and that have often been regarded as parts of a common human heritage. Yet entrepreneurs and corporations are now developing ingenious ways to turn these natural commons into exploitable property. Several multinational companies are, for example, seeking to transport huge supplies of freshwater in Northern countries to "thirsty" regions in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and southern California. Biotech companies are trying to gain proprietary control over agricultural seed-lines that have long been regarded as community assets—for example, by seeking patents for a common yellow bean grown widely in Mexico, as well as for basmati rice and neem plants in India. The human genome is a target of property claims and landowners fighting environmental regulations insist that they "own" wildlife and that the regulations amount to an unconstitutional "taking" by government.

    A last category of threatened commons is that of so-called "gift economies." These are communities of shared values in which participants freely contribute time, energy, or property and over time receive benefits from membership in the community. The global corps of GNU/Linux software programmers is a prime example: enthusiasts volunteer their talents and in return receive useful rewards and group esteem For the most part, no money changes hands, yet economically valuable work occurs. Gift economies are the animating force behind scientific research communities, blood donation systems, New York City's community gardens, and Alcoholics Anonymous.

    What unites these highly disparate commons—from natural resources to public domain to gift economies—is their legal and moral ownership by the American people. The commons comprises not just marketable assets, but social institutions and cultural traditions that help define our common life as Americans. In virtually every case, the market price for a resource does not begin to capture its actual value to the larger community. But generally we have no rigorous way to speak about such shared assets, or about the costs of enclosing them."

This report is so compelling that I'm blogging about it in all of the blogs I participate in. I'm considering printing it out so I can read it over and over again.

I just finished reading The

I just finished reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and today in conversation it came out (no pun intended) that people think author Michael Chabon is gay because so many of his books include gay characters. (This never actually occurred to me as I read K&C.) So here are a few articles to shed light on the subject:

Since my first book came out, so many young men and women have told me they read that book at exactly the right moment. They were feeling a little confused or scared about their sexuality and responded to the book’s message that no matter which way they went or what person they became, it was going to be all right. Even if the Newsweek article was wrong, it ended up being good for me and, hopefully, for others.
The Advocate: Chabon's Excellent Adventures. This one covers a lot of additional ground, as well as:
There was nothing in the marketing of the book or the press kit that referred to my own sexuality. But, because of the subject, a lot of the readers, and especially the owners of some of the gay and lesbian bookstores around the country, assumed that I was gay, and that's how I was being sold by my publisher. When they found out that I wasn't gay, there was some resentment. It's ironic that being a gay writer can be a marketable thing. The proof of it was that these booksellers actually imagined that my publishers would have passed me off as gay in order to sell more books. That was not the case.