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9/20, 9PM





Saturday, November 29, 2003
12:30 PM      

Strange, today feels like about the second Sunday in a row. That's about 26 short of the fabled month of Sundays.


is an interesting project by a group of Italian designers. Most of it is your basic fashion sales site, but it features Yooxworld, an artsy project section that includes wild “cover art,” screensavers and such.
demonstrates the creative expressiveness of designer Liam Wolf.


I saw a commercial yesterday that said “Thanksgiving is the kick-off to the Christmas season.” Well, maybe he said “Holiday,” since that's the more inclusive term. Either way, I've been seeing x-mas related commercials and decor for a couple of weeks, already. I've even heard Christmas music, and a couple of days ago, carols were playing in my head!

Well, if Thanksgiving is still the official kick-off to the season, it's apparent that we now have a pre-game show.


Blogs Make the World Smaller
An interesting thing has been happening. Several times now, I've made entries here, commenting on someone's work, referring you to a site, or speaking about how someone had an impact on my life. In some of those cases, I could have sent a message saying “hey, I just wrote about you in my blog,” but I didn't. Without my making waves, those people have found my entries and written back. In a couple of cases, it's friends of those people who have written to share stories, or to say thanks for remembering a friend. It's an un-forced, authentic, human connection.

I check my log files, so I know that people are reading these pages. Still, it's extra-special when someone that I never met before makes a connection, and the connections I make are one reason I continue to write.

While so many of our modern affordances are merely re-cast versions of old technologies and practices, this phenomenon is something unique and new. I don't have this kind of access to any other broadcast or publishing medium. The only filters or censors that apply here are my own inhibitions. (Well, I suppose if I wanted to publish smut, my presence provider might have something to say about it.)

Brought to you by the Web, Blogger, and Google. Thanks, Tim Berners-Lee (he, not Al Gore, invented the web) and W3C.


Now, that's what I call useful!

One writer described advertising as stealing one's self-esteem and selling it back at a price.


I don't always recognize Iman when I see her, but the instant I saw this pic in a magazine, I recognized the setting: the glass steps at the Apple Store in SoHo. The website for Markus Klinko & Indrani features an interesting visual style and navigation system, along with striking fashion photography.


More Malaprop Madness
I've been noticing more and more people referring to the “tenants” of a particular group, organization, or country, when they mean tenets. In many cases, it seems that they're trying to use the word to impress us with how erudite they are.


The State of Discourse
A classmate of mine forwarded an e-mail to me that included what is supposedly an “editorial” from a Tampa newspaper. I say supposedly, because no references are given that would allow anyone to verify the claim.

The piece argues that immigrants need to adjust to the American way of life (e.g. by learning English), that America is a Christian nation, and that multiculturalism dilutes our sovereignty and national identity. It closes by asserting that you have the right to complain (though no one's interested in listening) because there is such a thing as freedom of speech here, and you have the right to leave after you're done complaining.

At one point, the screed says “Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants...,” conveniently side-stepping our history of slavery and the fate of the indigenous peoples who already inhabited this land.

The e-mail is ended with an “Amen,” but the jingoistic, isolationist “fuck you” tone of the message seems strangely devoid of any Christian spirit; most certainly that of a “God of love.”

Screeds like these also overlook the fact that this country was founded on more than Christian ideals and concepts. The actual name of the Statue of Liberty, for example, is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” a reference to concepts from the Enlightenment that were also embraced by our founders. As Christian as our founders may have been, they did not want our government to be an extension of any church. Consider the deep-seated fears that the Pope would indirectly run our county when President Kennedy, our only Catholic president, was elected.

As valid as I think the concept of separation of church and state is, I think the forefathers missed what may turn out to be an equally important tenet: the separation of corporation and state.

Neocons are not the only ones with a vision for, or a say in what happens to, this country. A piece that aired recently on the History Channel made the point that Dr. Martin Luther King was considered an enemy of the state at the time that he went to Memphis. So, I guess the things that are being said about Michael Moore are an example of more of the same. What the neocons seem to miss, is that the “complainers” complain because they care, too.

[ link | e-me ]

Wednesday, November 26, 2003
9:36 PM      

Comedy Central is airing this special on 11/30 at 10 PM. Pryor's hosting it himself! Here's the description:

Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Chappelle, Jamie Foxx, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley and more salute the life and career of famed funnyman Richard Pryor. This tribute features clips of Pryor's daring performances and interviews with today's comedy stars.


Happy to discover that Alton Brown has his own site, besides the stuff he has on


Overheard today: [Regarding income,] “Eighteen percent of the population of this country think they're in the top one percent.”


Happy Thanksgiving.

[ link | e-me ]

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
11:53 PM      


... If you own a gun, please practice responsible gun safety - and that includes keeping all firearms locked and stored away.

For more information on gun safety, contact the following organization:

Americans For Gun Safety Foundation

At the end of "24" tonight, Kieffer Sutherland came on with a promo for gun safety. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before. The episode featured a lot of gun violence, and a prolonged Russian Roulette sequence, and had warning messages after each of the commercial breaks.


What's Traffic Like?
The NYC DOT has ATIS, a system of closed-circuit television feeds that you can view on the web as stills or streaming video. New Jersey Turnpike Authority also has a few cams, so maybe next time you drive somewhere around the city, you'll be able to check a cam and know a little bit about what's in store.

[ link | e-me ]

3:11 PM      

Thanksgiving is two days away,
and I'm thinking about the things I'm thankful for. It's especially poignant to consider those matters this year, given the apparent state of the world and the murky outlook for the future.

On a somewhat-related note, I had to laugh the other day, when I heard that the White House has explained that Bush hasn't attended the funerals of any of the soldiers killed in Iraq, because he's concerned about the familes' privacy.

On an unrelated note, the December issue of Wired magazine lists Paris Hilton as “model, hotel heiress, and actress.”


I've been following Jake Stigers on the local music scene for many years now. His music just keeps getting stronger and more authentic. It's passionate, feel-good, pat-your-feet music with a classic style.

He's playing a couple of gigs in New Jersey on November 29 and December 5th. Check him out live, if you can.


Michael Jackson is weird
and people have made accusations, but neither of these points prove that he's a child molestor. Neither does the argument that the prosecutor would not proceed with a weak case. Many prosecutors are elected officials, and high-profile cases win re-election. Lynch mobs have jumped to conclusions and carried out kangaroo justice many times before. The New York Post and the Daily News have sunk to new lows in their “coverage” of this latest scandal.


Jerry Uelsmann's images
have always intrigued and inspired me. His ideas about imagery pre-date Photoshop by a long shot, and set a high bar for anyone interested in creating sophisticated composite imagery.

His site was re-done in Flash some time in the last year, and the results also set a high bar for designers who build sites in Flash.


Good and Bad Design
Mono One's $256 “Hot Ice” CD player is made out of a block of acrylic. It looks pretty interesting. I figure it's got to sound OK, though I'm a bit of an audiophile perfectionist when it comes to sound equipment. Apparently, the player's design is hot enough, that it's currently out of stock at Mono One's site.

The site's pseudo-3D interactive navigation is only briefly interesting; then it quickly becomes annoying. It's an example of Flash overkill, and the graphic style is rapidly becoming overexposed. The music loop isn't bad, though.


The Smell of Protection
MBTE is a gasoline additive that is particularly water-soluble, and prone to leak from gasoline tanks, ultimately fouling drinking water. The stuff tastes and smells bad, and may cause health problems. Traces have been found in almost every state, and it has the potential of becoming a cleanup problem in at least 28 states, according to government and private studies.

On November 21, officials in Santa Monica, CA, announced a tentative settlement in which Shell, ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil agreed to pay $92.5 million for water cleanup from MTBE problems. Earlier, MTBE makers agreed to pay $69 million for cleanup from a lawsuit in South Lake Tahoe, CA. In September, the state of New Hampshire filed suit against 22 companies because MTBE has fouled numerous drinking water sources there.

The response of House and Senate Republicans was to meet for more than two months in closed-door negotiations to craft legislation would shield MTBE manufacturers from lawsuits such as the one that led to the Santa Monica settlement. Then, they buried this “safe harbor” provision in the pending 1148-page energy bill. Now that the provision has stalled passage of the entire energy bill, speaker Dennis Hastert blames the trial lawyers!

Tom DeLay, R-TX, has been pushing the legislation along with two of the principal architects of the House energy bill: Reps. Billy Tauzin, R-LA, and Joe Barton, R-TX. No surprise there – three-fourths of all MTBE production comes from Texas and Louisiana. Liability shields are the newest form of pork.

[ link | e-me ]

Sunday, November 23, 2003
6:40 PM      

Two years, Two Months, Twelve Days
On the #4 train today, the conductor announced that the Hudson River tubes between the World Trade Center site and New Jersey re-opened today.


Pro and Con-Job? (Or, Fearmongering Itself)

The ad: shows footage of President Bush delivering his State of the Union address in January. As he speaks, the phrase "Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists" is superimposed on the screen. The ad goes on to urge viewers to call members of Congress and ask them to "support the president's policy of pre-emptive defense."

It was sponsored by the Republican National Committee, and broadcast today in Iowa, one day ahead of a debate between Democratic presidential candidates in Des Moines.


[It's an] “attempt to stifle dissent.”

[It violated] “the pledge the president made to not exploit 9/11 for political purposes.”

“...repulsive and outrageous... It's erroneous, and I think that they ought to pull the ad.”

“We all want to defeat terrorism, but to chastise and to question the patriotism of those who are in opposition to some of the president's plans, I think, is wrong.”

“I don't know of anybody who's attacking the president for attacking the terrorists... I'm certainly not.” [the ad is an attempt to] “get the public's mind off joblessness in America” [and flawed Republican-backed bills on Medicare and energy.]



“It's portraying the president's leadership that he's displayed since Sept. 11, which I support. I think it's a very legitimate statement to be made in the coming presidential election.”

In an Op-Ed piece called “Scaring Up Votes,” [requires registration] NYTColumnist Maureen Dowd said:

With this ad, Republicans have announced their intention: to scare us stupid, hoping we won't remember that this was the same State of the Union in which Mr. Bush made a misleading statement about the Iraq-Niger uranium connection, or remark that the imperial idyll in Iraq has created more terrorists. ...

The president is trying to make the campaign about guts: he has the guts to persevere in the war on terror.

But the real issue is trust: should we trust leaders who cynically manipulated intelligence, diverted 9/11 anger and lost focus on Osama so they could pursue an old cause near to neocon hearts: sacking Saddam?


I ran across all of the above, trying to get a bit of detail on the Medicare bill that just passed. That bill may have been the first successful move toward privatizing Medicare.


But enough of that... Having taken nearly 6,000 shots with my Coolpix 990 since I got it about 2 years ago, I'm starting to drool over the idea of getting my hands on a Nikon D100. Reviews:  1 | 2 | 3 

[ link | e-me ]
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