Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Because I'm a closet snuff addict: more disaster coverage

In addition to the links pasted in the post below, Slate complements Times-Picayune's refreshingly raw, hectic coverage with a slower, more measured set of commentaries.

Jack Shafer again brings the nut sack to the cuddle party and asks, "Hey, what's with all the black people?"
When disaster strikes, Americans - especially journalists - like to pretend that no matter who gets hit, no matter what race, color, creed, or socioeconomic level they hail from, we're all in it together...

... But we aren't one united race, we aren't one united class, and Katrina didn't hit all folks equally... By ignoring race and class, they boot the journalistic opportunity to bring attention to the disenfranchisement of a whole definable segment of the population. What I wouldn't pay to hear a Fox anchor ask, "Say, Bob, why are these African-Americans so poor to begin with?"

Oh, and whoever came up with "You're fucked if you don't have relatives you can crash with, a car or money for a hotel." evacuation plan needs to be slapped around a few times.

Apocalypse NOLA

I hadn't been keeping up with Hurricane Katrina that much and I knew the levees broke in a couple of places. But when I got home from dinner and fired up, I was just flabbergasted. All the images and videos and stories - to call them heartbreaking would be a gross understatement.

What makes it so tough to watch is that it's going to get worse for a long time before it gets better. The flood water isn't getting cleaner and any food that's left in stores aren't being refrigerated. "Apocalyptic" is no hyperbole.

And it's going to get ugly, as in worst-side-of-humanity ugly. And if this is any indication, the post-Katrina group hug is going to be much briefer than the one we had in September, 2001.

Though honestly, that's not such a bad thing. If this tragedy rammed images of how the other half lives to American TV viewers, well, that's one silver lining. Eventually, the poor, disenfranchised, those who had very little to lose to begin with, will realize they really have nothing to lose, and we're getting close to that point.

Anyhow, I'm going to shut the fuck up, but here's stuff that I've been reading:
  • Bomani More on Me and the Hurricane
  • Times-Picayune Breaking News Weblog
  • NOLA View weblog
  • Wikipedia: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans
  • Hurricane Photos
  • Hurricane Katrina Evacuation
  • Cole Slaw Blog: We're all New Orleansians now
  • Nightly News with Brian Williams - Daily Nightly
  • Boing Boing: Economics of disaster

  • Tuesday, August 30, 2005

    Linkatharsis: Collegiate

    Reading some of my favorite blogs that have been discussing the upcoming football seasons, I'm struck by how blah I am about it, both college and NFL.

    It's not that I'm not interested. I am genuinely pissed that I missed two fantasy drafts because of personal obligations and haven't gotten around to undoing the damage done by Yahoo's auto drafter. But I'm not checking ESPN on the hourly or trying to arrange Carolina viewing parties with other Tar Heel alums in the city like I used to. Shit, I don't even know a single Heisman candidate east of Los Angeles.

    I blame living in New York and Carolina's happy mediocrity. I'm removed from the college football mentality (yes, Chapel Hill is a football town) and half the people I knew when I moved here are elsewhere or out of touch now. Plus, that the Carolina Panthers can't put together two non-awful seasons together makes it hard to get excited about anything they do.

    And I guess I'm no longer spending every morning watching 3 SportsCenters over a bowl of cereal and wondering whether I should study at school or on the beach. Seriously, if you have a year or two to mess around and not advance your career, do it in South Beach. You won't regret it.

  • So everyone on the World Wide Interweblogosphere is talking about Late Registration and the 9.5 score from the grand arbiters of taste at Pitchfork. If you're scoring at home, that's 0.5 higher than Clappy.

    Dude, I'm skeptical, but like Ian (I think), I'm willing to give it a chance because of the score, as much as I hate to admit it. I've listened to about five songs off it and I'm thinking it's okay, not great. I'll go on over to iTunes to give the rest a listen.

    But are we seriously talking about a Album of 2005 candidate that features the Maroon 5 guy? Really? And 50 years from now, when we're living in spaceships and eating fois gras in pill form, you know we'll be talking about how we thought it was okay to let Jamie Foxx take his Ray Charles act on the road.

    For more about the kids at Pitchfork who point us to socially acceptable music, check this piece in NY Times.

  • To coincide with the release of Late Registration that will surely change the face of hip hop, NPR's Fresh Air is celebrating Hip Hop Week by airing interviews (some recorded and aired previously) with artists whom Kon the Louis Vitton Don will render irrelevant.

    Pioneers Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and Kool Herc were featured Monday and today we move to the mid-80's and the Def Jam era with Russell Simmons, Run-DMC, L.L. and Public Enemy.

  • Why am I mentioning the Steph Klein spoof in three straight posts when I don't even read the stupid thing (Greek Trag, not ToTS)? This is the last one for foreseeable future, I swear.

    Tale of Two Sisters has now moved over to Typepad where they won't get shut them down for some bullshit cease-and-desist, because you know, they're paying customers and all.

  • I don't check out the Gothamist comments section as much as I used to because after a while, it's really the same ol' same ol'. But then you stumble upon a gem like this, What can I say? Me like potty humor.

  • George W. Bush, quickly becoming the Celine Dion of US Presidents - adored by his staunchest supporters, vilified by non-crazy people.

  • Within the next 48 hours, Michael Owen will be sipping Newcastle Brown Ale and sending "Wish You Were Here" postcards to Beckham and Zidane.

    You kinda had to figure he wasn't coming back to Liverpool and all the Cisse-to-Lyon speculations were just that, speculations. I would've liked to have seen him back on Merseyside but once Newcastle put in the 17 million pound offer, there was no way Liverpool was going to cough up that much, especially when they only got 8 million to send him to Madrid. Plus, there are more pressing needs, backline and right midfield, though we might have to wait until the January transfer window to fill those holes.

    I'm glad that Owen will be getting regular playing time, especially with the World Cup looming next year, but it's a shame that the deadliest English striker this side of Wayne Rooney will not play in Champions League.

  • I imagine my readers are, well, intelligent enough to dismiss intelligent design as bullpoopoo non-science but if anyone tries to lay the crap on you, save yourself some time and send this link that debunks the shit out of it:
    But saying, as intelligent design proponents do, "You haven't explained everything yet," is not a competing hypothesis. Evolutionary biology certainly hasn't explained everything that perplexes biologists. But intelligent design hasn't yet tried to explain anything.

  • Jaymay has a bunch of shows in NYC coming up, says brooklynvegan.

  • Finally, NOLA View weblog (and has been reporting several times a day on Katrina. Could've been much, much worse but the levees have failed and that's bad news when you're lying below sea level.
  • update - Aug 14-28

    I thought to myself yesterday, if the music industry just up and died today and stopped publishing music altogether, I'd be okay. I like my music collection and except for a few 60s and 70s stuff and mid-90s hip hop that I need to get back to, I'm okay with it.

    I'm not saying my music collection is perfect. Just near perfect. I can take my iPod to a desert island and won't feel like I'm missing anything.

    So here we go, the artists I listened to on the week ending August 28 according to

    3Seu Jorge
    4Bloc Party
    5Kanye West
    -Ben Folds
    -Damien Rice
    9Elliott Smith
    -Nouvelle Vague

    So I'm like 3 months behind all the cool kids but really digging Spoon's Gimme Fiction. Not sure what happened with Smoosh and Seu Jorge but I think I just needed a top 3 with artists whose names start with "S". And did I really play Sia's "Breathe Me" 5 times? I like Six Feet Under and all, but really.

    Big change from last week when I didn't listen to that much music at work except for that one time I listened to the Avalanches' Since I Left You all the way through.

    1The Avalanches
    -Ben Folds
    -The Roots
    -The Arcade Fire
    10De La Soul3
    - Slum Village 3
    - Common 3
    - Interpol 3
    - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 3

    Monday, August 29, 2005

    Linkatharsis: the bridge is over, the bridge is over

  • A Tale of Two Sisters keeps on making and faking it:
    37. My first pet was a parrot named Princess, who would repeat everything I said in a shrill voice. I loved her, but the rest of my family got tired of hearing her shriek 'Look at me! Look at me!' all the time, so they made me give her away. I'm still not really over it.
    There's more, and better, where that came from.

  • A lesson to the kids out there - stay in school, and if you can't, stay at Ohio State: Broncos to release Mo Clarett

    I'm normally sympathetic to people who take on the big Goliaths like the NFL, but really, he was always a ticking time bomb of schadenfreude. Here's a guy who was considered a troublemaker at Ohio State, which is the college football equivalent of a homeless guy switching his seat on the subway because you smell so bad. And rather than take guaranteed money usually given to 3rd round picks - in the NFL, you always, always take max guaranteed money - he got a bad case of the hubris and took an incentive-laden contract with no bonus. Stupid is as stupid does.

  • Speaking of stupid, the music industry is pressuring Apple to drop its 99-cent pricing for singles. Yes, by all means, abandon a model that's worked so well and make the product less appealing.

  • extrawack! reports that spinachdip's favorite New York Japanese dream pop band Asobi Seksu is back, back again, and the next NY date is 9/14 at Crash Mountain Mansion during the CMJ Marathon.

    Speaking of whom, I spotted Yuki from Asobi at the Pas/Cal show at Tonic on Saturday. I think. She's really tiny, much more so than I remembered - if that actually was her.

    How was the concert, you ask? Enjoyable though not terribly impressive either. But they kept it loose and fun. I actually liked La Laque better. Their sound is like the Smiths meet the Arcade Fire (sans shouting and motorcycle helmets) meet Nouvelle Vague if they sang in French. I don't know, I'm terrible with these comparisons.

  • So the big non-hurricane news is the Suge Knight shooting at Kanye's shindig.

    The police have it narrowed down to two suspects, a black man in a pink shirt and Suge Knight, naturally.

    My first instinct to ask if the pink-shirted black man was Cam'ron, but this is SoBe we're talking about here. Isn't every black guy in Miami Beach wearing pink this summer? In any case, the dude violated the first rule in the Dos and Don'ts When You're Beefing with Suge, which is, if you must shoot him, you better be damn sure you kill him. Because whatever you do to him, he's going to give it back to you 10 times worse. Part of me thinks the police isn't coming up with suspects to protect them from Suge.

    As for the accidental discharge theory, well, if there's a shooting at a party, you have to figure Suge's involved somehow.

    Part of me is hoping he goes after Kanye for no other reason than to see Kanye's mouth wired shut again so he can release "Through The Wires '06" and he just might shut up every once in a while.

  • NYPD could make a killing issuing tickets like this at the East Broadway stop on the F.

  • Yahoo's swallowing of Flickr is driving some users to the point of suicide, kinda.

    Also keep up with Hurricane Katrina via Flickr.

  • Quite an eventful weekend personally. Without going into detail, it's been, hmm, different.

    I hate teasing my dear readers like this without filling them in, but I really don't want turn this into a sob story blog yet I need an excuse if posting gets light in the next few days.

    I even missed two fantasy football drafts, and that's enough drama for most weekends.

    In a less earth jarring development, I find Larry from This Is What We Do Now to be as wonderful and charming in person as he is through the computer monitor.
  • Friday, August 26, 2005

    Linkatharsis: you can't call it "The Champagne of Beers" unless it's from the Champagne region in France

    I have the physique of a 13-year-old girl and the joints of a 70-year-old war vet. I wish I was kidding. I can't gain a pound even if I get on the NFL lineman diet (and I was for a while). As for my joints, well, that's what happens after years of abuse from soccer, rugby and male strippering.

    The right side of my body is especially brittle and I get most of my sprains and other assorted pains there. During my run Tuesday night, I did a jog/sprint exercise at the track and I apparently twisted my knee or something. Not sure exactly when or how but for the next 12 hours, it felt like a knife stuck to the side of my kneecap. Not fun. Felt better last night but about 10 minutes in, I felt a sharp pain on the same spot. So maybe I should lay off the wheels for a couple of days.

    Can't imagine what my joints are going to be like 15 years from now.

  • My man Michael K informs me that Detroit's finest pop band Pas/Cal will play Tonic Saturday night. You might remember their Bronzed Beach Boys as the "ba pa pa ba pa pa" song from a Saturn commercial last year.

    Also playing will be the Francophone La Laque of NYC and the somewhat hard-to-Google The Teeth of Philadelphia.

    More music from Pas/Cal and La Laque.

  • Really digging the new Nike Soccer commercial, especially the part with Li'l Baby Jesus and the song, "Go Tell The World" by Joy Zipper (thanks Jim!).

  • Why bloggers (and Blogger) suck. I mean, the fake Jessica Coen thing, I can see how, maybe, a reasonable reader could have confused it for the real thing (even then, the line separating impersonation and parody is a bit fuzzy). But what reasonable reader wouldn't see that the SK spoof is a parody of someone who is essentially a self parody herself?

    Anyhoo, best of luck to ToTS. The law is certainly on their side.

  • So a veggie burrito at Chipotle has more fat and calories than 2 Big Macs (via cityrag)?

    Well, sure. Fast food burgers tend to be relatively lean and yeah, when you have cheese, sour cream, rice, beans and guac wrapped in flour, you're not on a diet any more.

    "Is it any wonder that McDonald's owns this place?" Well, yes. I have to stick up for Chipotle here.

    I did my own calculatin' at Chipotle Nutrition Facts Calculator and got the count for my favorite Chipotle meal, chicken tacos with cheese, lettuce and tomatillo salsa: 27.5g of fat and 649 calories.

    Still more fat and calories than a big mac but a better meal, I dare say. Why? For one thing, I'm getting way more nutrients than I would from a Big Mac. And more importantly, Chipotle has far better quality control on its ingredients. In fact, part of the deal when McD's bought out Chipotle was that it could maintain its standards on meats and vegetables. That means free range pork, produce from small farmers instead of mega suppliers, organic beans, and ultimately, just better food all around.

  • What's with these utterly mediocre Kanye West mashups? And does anyone else really like "College Dropout" but isn't at all excited for "Late Registration"?
  • Update: Yeppers.

    Thursday, August 25, 2005

    Reserve your seat now: White Stripes, Shins, M. Ward on NPR, Sept 27

    Meg and Jack will headline a triple bill that also features the Shins and M. Ward on NPR's All Songs Considered on 9/27, live from Columbia, MD.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Jack will not sing the Coca Cola song. Though I'm sure the Shins will play that one song that'll change your life, if it hasn't already.

    Linkatharsis: don't call it a comeback because I've been back for a few days already

    Is it too late to do a weekend recap? I'll keep it short. So I went down to Chapel Hill, NC for some much needed escape. I had more exotic (not to mention expensive) locations in mind but I figured I needed a peace of mind more than anything. Love the sweet tea, all that green stuff on the ground, central AC. Don't love the mosquitos. At all.

  • Caught Red Eye while in North Carolina (did you know that people outside of New York don't pay $10.75 for movies? And don't have to show up 30 minutes before the previews?). Entertaining enough. It's a Wes Craven film so you take the good with the bad.

    I don't know which is hotter, Rachel McAdams' hot, completely edible lips or Cillian Murphy's piercing blue eyes. I see that Thighs noticed Jayma Mays too. Not only does she have the best non-porn name in showbiz right now, she's got the hot-because-she's-not-quite-hot thing going. That's hot.

    Still, she's doesn't quite measure up to Alicia Witt or even Judy Greer in my imaginary Redhead Hall of Fame. Why don't we put her ahead of Laura Prepon?

  • Jack White would like to teach the world to sing. For the right price, of course.

  • As I was late heading out to work today, I discovered that TBS shows Dawson's Creek reruns. Times like this, I wish I was unemployed.

  • Please, someone give Ricky Williams a joint.
    "There's a war outside, but I think there's also a war inside all of us. When you talk about world peace and people doing all these things for peace, and they want peace and want to be treated fairly, I think it really starts with yourself and looking for the peace inside yourself. When each of us can do that, then the peace spreads outward."

    Seriously, I don't have a problem with athletes, especially football players, smoking weed. Well, mostly. It sure beats getting hooked on Vikes or Oxy and doing permanent damage to the body (though it's probably the football that does the most damage).

    Sure, we all want our athletes to be law abiding citizens and I do wish some of these guys weren't so brazen about their cheeba cheeba habit since kids watch SportsCenter too. But I'm more bothered by how the media continues to treat marijuana users like crack smokers. The sensationalist coverage of marijuana only serves to misinform the public and does great disservice to the effort to keep kids off drugs.

  • Staying on the drug beat, the speedballin' co-eds did in fact die from speedballin'. Daily News and the rest of the NYC media continues to confuse the public on drug overdoses, be it out of ignorance or laziness.

    The headline, "M.E.: College teens died of overdoses of heroin, cocaine" is typical of the general coverage. I guess it's technically not inaccurate - the teens did overdose on a combination of heroin and cocaine, and there's really no reasonable dosage for that cocktail. But the emphasis should be on the combination and the headline gives the impression that the girls died from too much heroin and too much cocaine, which probably was not the case.

  • Uh oh, my soon-to-be-no-longer dumpy end of LES getting all hotelized.

  • Jim Caple makes a perfectly reasonable suggestion which will be ignored by the majority of the readers: get out of your car, ride a bike. Here's my suggestion: you don't have to get out of your car, but please stop parking in the bike lane. That's really, really annoying. And then y'all have the nerve to honk when I swerve out of the bike lane to avoid the double parked SUV.

  • Title defense? Ha! Carolina releases its 2005-06 basketball schedule.

  • See, I feel sorry for Michael Owen, but some wirters don't. While I understand his point, what can Michael do but be diplomatic and not say anything stupid? Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

  • Oh crap, Liverpool ends up in the same Champions League group as Chelsea. I might just turn off the internet to avoid the media overdrive for these matches.

  • Google Talk? That's great, but I prefer to call it iChat and I've been using it for a couple of years now.

  • Hey Gawker, welcome to 3 weeks ago.
  • So this must be buyer's remorse

    Yeah, I got that knot in my stomach. New Yorker Festival tickets went on sale today and at 12:00 pm sharp, I was at ready to virtually drop a c-note or two so I can put on a facade of sophistication and shit.

    Since I'm on a my budget and not willing to be in more than one place at once, I decided on 2 events. The Friday nighter, A. M. Homes and Jeffrey Eugenides on 9/23, I'm happy with. Loved Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides, excited that he'll read from his upcoming novel. A.M. Homes? Guess I can familiarize myself with her in the next month.

    Not so sure about The Roots talk with Malcolm Gladwell: A Conversation with Music on Saturday night, especially when Ricky Gervais talks with Nancy Franklin was in the same timeslot.

    I really should know better - Philly's finest has only disappointed me recently and I find Malcolm Gladwell to be vastly overrated. Gervais on the other hand, he's going to be funny and insightful, guaranteed. Yet, like a heroin-addled lemming in an abusive relationship, I keep making the same mistake. But who said pretending to be cultured was easy or rational?

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    Linkatharsis: I have a blue house with a blue window

    It's August 24 and you know what that means? The new season of The OC starts in a day and 2 weeks. And like last year, I will be doing my weekly recaps. You might remember that I wasn't too thrilled about the overall quality of Season 2 but I hold out hope Schwartz & Co have worked themselves out of their sophomore slump.

    Oh, and One Louder has a prediction of bands who will be featured in the upcoming season and it's spot on, methinks. We should probably expect a little more cock rock if there are more Julie Cooper storylines, plus some curveballs like Boyz II Men in the Spider-Man episode, and Laura Veirs-ish girl-with-guitar stuff for the 8:55 denouements. And of course, product placements for Bloc Party and Franz? Wouldn't be surprised to see the former at the Bait Shop.

    Also, since they've already conquered LA and Miami, I fully expect Seth and gang to invade New York. I'll get the squeegee ready in case they show up Downtown.

  • Hey, did you notice this at the top right corner of the screen?

    Well, Blogger claims "it's not censorship" but we'll just see the next time I opine in explicit detail on the pleasures of making love to a pregnant coma patient whilst simultaneously clubbing a baby seal and plotting government overthrow before declaring my heartfelt love for eating Republican babies with my gay boyfriend.

  • Pete Townsend was right, researchers find that all the best cowboys do have Chinese eyes. Well, kinda. Maybe. Or not. But we Asians do see shit differently because of our slanty eyes, it appears.

  • Heh. The outrage over Starbucks and THOR won't be shit compared to Blue if it goes up. Also, I have that "I'm blue (da ba dee) I'm blue (dabadee)" song stuck in my head.

  • The Apiary kindly reminds us that the deadline for getting in the SNL ticket lottery is coming soon.

  • This one's a bit old, but Mark Cuban explains his decision to let Michael Finely go. He had a similar post when he let Steve Nash sign with Phoenix, but this one is refreshing in his willingness to admit his mistake and that his old approach failed.

    Cuban can get annoying sometimes, especially with his pet causes and NBA officiating but his blog is generally a good read.

  • That's cute, Cincinnati thinks it can win without cheating.

  • That's cute, Newcastle thinks it's a massive club. It's another sad chapter in the story of Michael Owen, who is about the most stand up guy in all of sports. Owen basically has to choose between a regular starting role for the most overrated, dysfunctional club in England, and riding the bench but at least having a chance to play Champions League soccer at Real Madrid.
  • Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    For my own benefit: New Yorker Festival ticket links

    Just so I'll have an easier time getting to tickets when New Yorker Fest tix go on sale Wenesday, here are the full events listing and ticket links...full events listing and ticket links:

    Fri, 9/23
    07:00 PM
    Fiction Night with Chang-Rae Lee & Lorrie Moore Satalla
    Fri, 9/23
    07:00 PM
    Fiction Night with David Bezmozgis & T. Coraghessan Boyle Newspace
    Fri, 9/23
    07:00 PM
    Fiction Night with Edwidge Danticat & E.L. Doctorow Anthology Film Archives
    Fri, 9/23
    07:00 PM
    Fiction Night with Michael Chabon & Stephen King Directors Guild Theater
    Fri, 9/23
    07:00 PM
    Fiction Night with Mohammed Naseehu Ali & Jhumpa Lahiri Angel Orensanz Foundation
    Fri, 9/23
    07:00 PM
    High Rollers: K.Conley with D.Brunson,P.Hellmuth,H.Lederer,D.Williams Gallagher's Steak House
    Fri, 9/23
    09:30 PM
    Fiction Night with A.M. Homes & Jeffrey Eugenides Satalla
    Fri, 9/23
    09:30 PM
    Fiction Night with Annie Proulx & Richard Ford Newspace
    Fri, 9/23
    09:30 PM
    Fiction Night with Edward P. Jones & Marilynne Robinson Anthology Film Archives
    Fri, 9/23
    09:30 PM
    Fiction Night with Nicole Krauss & Ian McEwan Angel Orensanz Foundation
    Fri, 9/23
    09:30 PM
    Fiction Night with Zadie Smith & Jonathan Franzen Directors Guild Theater
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 AM
    Malcolm Gladwell On the American Obsession with Precociousness Directors Guild Theater
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 AM
    Science & Secularism: Richard Dawkins Interviewed By Henry Finder The Ailey Studios
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 AM
    When Reality Fails: M. Amis, J. Budnitz, A.M. Homes, S. King Celeste Bartos/Nypl
    Sat, 9/24
    01:00 PM
    Anarchy & Animation, w/Bird, Maiellaro, Parker, Stone, Willis Directors Guild Theater
    Sat, 9/24
    01:00 PM
    Raymond W. Kelly Interviewed By William Finnegan Times Square Studios
    Sat, 9/24
    01:00 PM
    Religion & Politics: S. Carter, R. Combs, S. Jacoby, J. Towey Celeste Bartos/Nypl
    Sat, 9/24
    01:00 PM
    Roger Angell & Ian Frazier Interviewed By Mark Singer The Ailey Studios
    Sat, 9/24
    04:00 PM
    Generation X Fashion: A. Roi, B. Sarafpour, T. Subkoff w/ J. Thurman The Ailey Studios
    Sat, 9/24
    04:00 PM
    John Updike Interviewed By David Remnick Celeste Bartos/Nypl
    Sat, 9/24
    04:00 PM
    Stage To Studio: Steve Albini, Ani DiFranco, Ric Ocasek & RZA Times Square Studios
    Sat, 9/24
    07:00 PM
    Edie Falco Talks with Jeffrey Toobin Coda
    Sat, 9/24
    07:00 PM
    How I Made My Movie:Noah Baumbach & Laura Linney talk w/Susan Morrison Pavilion Park Slope
    Sat, 9/24
    07:00 PM
    Sleater-Kinney Talk with James Surowiecki Newspace
    Sat, 9/24
    07:00 PM
    Sonny Rollins Talks with Stanley Crouch The Ailey Studios
    Sat, 9/24
    07:00 PM
    The Great American Banjo: Martin w/ Ellis, Scruggs, Wernick & Woods Directors Guild Theater
    Sat, 9/24
    07:00 PM
    Tracy Chapman Talks with Dana Goodyear Satalla
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 PM
    Cartoonists Unleashed: A Variety Show The Ailey Studios
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 PM
    Gillian Welch Talk with Alec Wilkinson Directors Guild Theater
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 PM
    Mike White Talks with Cressida Leyshon Film Forum
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 PM
    Ricky Gervais Talks with Nancy Franklin Coda
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 PM
    Rufus Wainwright Talks with Andy Young Satalla
    Sat, 9/24
    10:00 PM
    The Roots with Malcolm Gladwell Newspace
    Sun, 9/25
    10:00 AM
    Master Class In Reporting: Jon Lee Anderson & Larissa MacFarquhar Conde Nast Publications Auditorium
    Sun, 9/25
    11:00 AM
    Come Hungry with Calvin Trillin Small Venue New York
    Sun, 9/25
    11:00 AM
    Secrets of a Hash Slinger: S. Gutstein & J. Eckerson w/ B. Bilger Galaxy Global Eatery
    Sun, 9/25
    01:00 PM
    "WALLACE & GROMIT: CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT" Preview Screening Directors Guild Theater
    Sun, 9/25
    01:00 PM
    Master Class In the Graphic Novel: Charles Burns & Chris Ware Conde Nast Publications Auditorium
    Sun, 9/25
    02:00 PM
    Salute To the Three Stooges:Green, Armisen, Cerrone, Gottfried, Landis Gallagher's Steak House
    Sun, 9/25
    04:00 PM
    "THE THIRD MAN" Screeing Followed by a Talk with David Denby Directors Guild Theater
    Sun, 9/25
    04:00 PM
    Master Class In Fiction: Donald Antrim & Edward P. Jones Conde Nast Publications Auditorium

    Back to life, back to reality

    So I'm back in NY from my spiritual journey to North Cakalakalakalaka but not quite ready to deal with shit like getting up in the morning, going to work, paying my bills and dealing with strangers in the subway. But such is life. I got 99 problems and that's about where my life's similarities with Jay-Z's ends.

    Anyhoo, thanks to Neil, Casey and their animal kingdom for their incredible hospitality and nacho dip. Now please excuse me while I tackle the mountain of work that inevitably piles up whenever I go way.

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    No links, no formatting

    The cushioning in my running shoes is mush and my feet don't like that very much. My knees are bad enough when it rains. But I shaved my head a couple of weeks ago so the aerodynamics and the reduced weight should offset the busted shoes and creaky joints. Someday, I'll get back into soccer shape.

    Coldplay's "Fix You" would be a much better song if the songwriting wasn't crap.

    The wifebeater is the greatest thing ever mostly because it covers up the stomach and accentuates the chest. It is breathable, allows mobility yet conforms to the body to serve as an unobtrusive underlayer. A man cannot have enough wifebeaters in his wardrobe. Except if you're Italian or Puerto Rican because then, you're reinforcing stereotypes and no one likes walking ethnic caricatures. But no one looks at me and thinks "I bet he beats his wife on the regular".

    I don't think I could ever be a girl in another lifetime because I have to be the one with the dick. It's that control thing. And for the same reason, I could never be the woman in a gay coupling. Then again, I couldn't be the man either since I'm not attracted to queens. So basically, the dude in a conventional man-woman sex is about all I'm good for.

    Okay, that's it for this week. I'm headed down to North Cakalakalaka for some R&R and cheap beer.

    Thursday, August 18, 2005


    Well, at least since Sitemeter started counting last November. Yesterday at 1:59 pm, spinachdip welcomed its 20,000th visitor.

    If you happened to be that visitor (you were somewhere in New York, on Safari 1.2, no referring link), congratulations. Give yourself a pat on the back and go get yourself a special edition spinachdip Neighborhoodie.

    Oh, and thanks for reading everyone.

    The media on drugs

    The most awesomely excellent Jack Schafer who last week opined on why newspaper readers are not to be trusted, chides the New York papers (and the New York Sun) on their shoddy reporting on the killer heroin batch. Basically, "heroin overdose" simply doesn't happen all that often. In fact, it's the speedballing that gets you.

    So forget what I told you earlier, kids. Shoot 'em up if you got 'em - one hit isn't gonna kill you. Just don't mix it with coke.

    The mistake would be to look at this as an isolated case of collective ignorance. Yeah, we know journalists never ran with the cool crowd in high school so they were never exposed to anything stronger than espresso until they got to the newsroom but you know, it's the reporter's job to, like, research and collect facts. The media has always been guilty of misreporting drug-related stories while readers and editors have been happy to let them spread misinformation based on their myths about the effects and the culture of drugs.

    And while Gawker may come off as a tad bit insensitive, god bless them for calling out Daily News for printing the bullshit quote, trying to frame this as a "good girl led astray by evils of drugs" story rather than a cautionary tale about stupid kids who make stupid choices. Drugs don't kill people. Speedballing doesn't kill people. People who speedball kill themselves.

    Would it kill anyone if the papers had someone on the drug beat whose main responsibility is getting shit right? Maybe, but as Schafer points out, "saying, 'If you insist on using heroin, use it as safely as you can,' sounds too much like advocating a citywide BYO-smack party. Even if it saves a couple of lives."

    LES: the more things change, hey, look who's playing at Pianos next week

    So one week, the Lower East Side boldly moves into 1998 with the imminent opening of the nabe's first Starbucks, and the next, it reverts back to the 80s with a murder outside of Teany in broad daylight. I mean, talk about a juxtaposition - the "new" LES represented by gentle Moby's vegan teashop as backdrop for a senseless act of violence. And for once, the Post raises a pretty good question - what the hell is wrong with y'all (paraphrasing a bit here)?
    Some people were in too big a hurry to walk around his body, she said - and just stepped over it.

    "Some people noticed, gawking. A lot of people just stepped over," she said. "I asked the cops to tape the front of the restaurant because people were like, 'Can we get lattes?' We're like, 'No, you can't get anything.' People in New York just don't care."

    Another Teany worker, Roger Peffley, said, 'He just fell on his back and blood was all over him. He yelled out, "Call an ambulance!"

    "People were just walking by with their iPod headphones on. That was tripping me out, that they kept on walking."
    Yeah, that would trip me out too. Seriously. I don't know if these passersby are the same ones threatening to move out because of the Starbucks at Delancey or the hotel on Orchard, but if they are, good riddance. I know New Yorkers take pride in being hard to ruffle but when someone's dying on the street, no one's handing out gold stars for being too cool for school. (Of course, this being the Post, it's very conceivable that they're simply exaggerating the general reaction to the incident, but hey, I never let facts get in the way of my righteous indignation).

    The murder on Rivington, combined with the two girls speedballing to their death on Houston, essentially stamps the sell-by date on the Delancey Starbucks brouhaha (please note that I had the decency to not write "brew-haha"). Even though others were more concise and more thoughtful than I could ever be in asking the world wide interblogosphere to chill out a bit, I'm going to have the last word because, well, I started it.

    As I said before, the impact of the Ubiquitous Green Awning of Doom is more symbolic than anything else at this point. The other day while I was running on Delancey, I passed by Burger King, McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, KFC/Taco Bell, Children's Place, Duane Reade and Foot Locker. Did anyone threaten to move when any of these places opened in Delancey?

    Plus, we're not talking about knocking down the Tenement Museum to make way for Wal-Mart. Their coffee may be crap but Starbucks is not Satan, at least by corporation standards.

    If we are to draw any sort of conclusion from the murder outside Teany on Wednesday (and I concede, it's a bit silly), it's to be careful what you wish for. Nostalgia requires rose tinted glasses and we easily forget how horrible the past is. You want a cheap, rundown Lower East Side? Then you gotta take the violence and the drugs too. That's the thing with the good ol' days - we remember what we choose to remember.

    While I admit that I would like the neighborhood to remain the way it is because I do like the energy, I realize this is New York and nothing ever stays the same. And a misguided attempt to preserve an arbitrary slice of time can result in Little Italy, a tacky tourist trap that pretends it's not just a street in Chinatown, cut off from the upwardly mobile Nolita. Nobody wants to be Little Italy, trust me.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    Linkatharsis: do the hump day dance

  • It's almost New Yorker Festival time again and Productshop NYC has the lineup. The ones that intrigue me:
    Readings by A. M. Homes and Jeffrey Eugenides | Satalla | 9:30PM | $15

    Readings by Zadie Smith and Jonathan Franzen | Directors Guild of America | 9:30PM | $15

    Panel Discussion on Anarchy and Animation: Cartoon chaos theory with Tad Friend (moderator), The Incredibles director Brad Bird, Matt Maiellaro, Dave Willis, and South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone | Directors Guild of America | 1PM | $25

    Panel Discussion on Stage to Studio: When performers produce with Sasha Frere-Jones (moderator), Steve Albini, Ani DiFranco, Ric Ocasek, and the RZA | Times Square Studios | 4PM | $25

    Noah Baumbach and Laura Linney talk with Susan Morrison: How I made my movie | Pavilion Park Slope | 7PM | $20

    Sleater-Kinney talk with James Surowiecki: A Conversation About The power of three | Newspace | 7PM | $35

    Ricky Gervais talks with Nancy Franklin: Office worker | Coda | 10PM | $35

    The Roots talk with Malcolm Gladwell: A Conversation On Grassroots hip-hop | Newspace | 10PM | $35

    Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk: A Salute to the Three Stooges - A Sunday brunch accompanied by clips from classic Three Stooges episodes and a discussion moderated by Adam Green. With Fred Armisen, Mike Cerrone, Gilbert Gottfried, and John Landis | Gallagher’s Steak House | 2PM | $45
    Tickets go on sale next Thursday. I need to figure out which ones I need to go to - tickets go pretty much go in a matter of minutes so you really have to be selective. Or run multiple browsers at once. Whatever works.

  • From Overheard in New York:
    Dude: Vegetables don't have calories. That's why Japanese people are so skinny.

    --Autozone, Bed-Stuy
    I can assure you, dude, that I eat plenty of meat, red ones too, and I'm still pretty fucking skinny.

  • More on that Running With Scissors lawsuit - basically, it's all lies, lies except the part that's true:
    The Turcottes contend that Burroughs fabricated or grossly exaggerated behaviors and events, portraying the family as ''an unhygienic, foul, and mentally unstable cult engaged in bizarre and, at times, criminal activity." At the same time, they complain the book so closely describes the late psychiatrist Rodolph H. Turcotte and his family -- even giving directions to the family home -- that everyone in the area knew who they were, subjecting them to humiliation and ridicule."
    As in all libel cases (at least in the US), truth is the ultimate defense and I do hope Burroughs wins this one, partly because I like his work and I wouldn't want to see the movie blocked, and partly because I'd hate to find out that I'd been lied to by his memoirs.

  • Reality hits reality show, hard. I guess it's unfortunate they happened to hit a reality show that seems to do a lot of good through the wonders of product placement. That'll teach them to help people in low income communities again.

  • Quote from yesterday's Virginia iBook riot:
    "I took my chair here and I threw it over my shoulder and I went, 'Bam,'' the 20-year-old said nonchalantly, his eyes glued to the screen of his new iBook, as he tapped away on the keyboard at a testing station.

    "They were getting in front of me and I was there a lot earlier than them, so I thought that it was just."
    Like they say, Virginia is for lovers.

  • From today's Gothamist freakout over the murder in front of Teany:
    Meat is murder. Is that what this is all about?

    Posted by: MOBY at August 17, 2005 12:40 PM

  • My anger can no longer be contained

    Snoop, shut the fuck up. And BBDO Detroit, please go die in a fire. Seriously. Okay, not that seriously.

    But seriously seriously, the whole campaign is a trainwreck, or if you like, a carwreck, no, an 18-car pileup. I mentioned these commercials earlier but they deserve their own post, such is their horribleness. These commercials are baaaad on all levels and to such a high degree.

    The writing is abysmal. I cringe every time I hear Iacocca says "Yadda yadda yadda" - and they brought back a line that wasn't all that great when it was first conceived - "If you can find a better car...". And the Snoop translation of that line is "If the ride is mo' fly, then you must buy"? You have to be shitting me. The Shizzolator would have come up with something better.

    Now, bringing back a guy who saved Chrysler (albeit with taxpayer money) isn't a terrible idea but with no frame of reference, it's almost as if it's telling the viewers, "Hey, Chrysler's in trouble again". I know he's doing it to raise money for his charity but surely Chrysler's money would've been better spent promoting the foundation and not mentioning cars at all.

    As for the "talent", Jason Alexander mailed it in and Snoop is, well, I just don't get white people/Madison Ave's fascination with him. Is it because he says "-izzle"? Because that got old in 1996. I liked him better back when murder was the case that they gave him.

    And the director needs to be smacked. Hard. Trying to recreate Seinfeld's Steinbrenner scenes by shooting him from behind? Fast zooms and quick cuts are supposed to be edgy? No, a close up on Iacocca's face just creeps me out.

    Finally, what's the message, other than "We're having a sale because we want to get those cars out of the dealership before the 2006 models come in" and "They're good cars because I said so"? Plus, GM is already doing an employee discount sale, so where's the novelty? Where is the unique selling point?

    Just horrible on all levels.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2005

    Linkatharsis: she's got the terrible Tuesdays

  • What's going on in this photograph?

    a) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah tickets on sale
    b) Genocide
    c) America catches soccer fever!
    d) Henrico County (Va) school system sells 1,000 iBooks for $50 each (more pics of the iBook riot in the link)

  • Hey, remember that "terrorist" they shot in London, you know that guy who wore "a heavy winter Jacket" and "ran into the subway station"? Well, about that guy...

  • After the news of the commercial release of Fiona's Extraordinary Machine, Coolfer puts his foot on the collective necks of journalists (and probably bloggers too) and rubs their faces in the mud.

  • Kids, you might want to hold off on that heroin. Let a responsible adult examine your stash first.

  • After getting in a couple of jabs in his beef against Rob Schneider, Ebert lands a haymaker:
    But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. Therefore, Goldstein is not qualified to complain that Columbia financed 'Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo' while passing on the opportunity to participate in 'Million Dollar Baby,' 'Ray,' 'The Aviator,' 'Sideways' and 'Finding Neverland.' As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.

  • It looks like Bomani had basically the same reaction as I did to the Bob Dole Op-Ed in the Times. Yeah, it's great that Dole was sticking up for the press. But it's really clear he understands neither the severity of outing a CIA agent for petty politics nor how a journalistic shield law operates.

    A shield law protects the confidentiality of a source who talks to the press about a crime - i.e. the police can't compel a reporter to release the identity of an anonymous drug dealer. It does not protect a source who isn't talking about a crime, but rather, committing a crime by talking.

    For example, the California shield law didn't protect an Apple rumor site and its source at Apple because, California's trade secret law was violated when the anonymous source released the information to the site and the site published the information. Likewise in the Plame case, the crime was in releasing the information, and Judith Miller was, depending on how you look at it, an accessory or an enabler of the crime.

    NPR's On The Media had a pretty informative segment on this very issue a few weeks back and made the distinction a lot clearer than I just did. You can listen or read here.
  • Audioscrobbler is dead. Long live

    (photo by aboutmattlaw)

    Less than a week after I did my Audioscrobbler chart recap, decided to shut down and come back 3 days later as, presumably to emphasize its radio player feature.

    It's a much cleaner design and they seemed to have added more features and customizable views, but navigation remains a little clunky.

    Anyhoo, here are the Top 10 artists I listened to the week ending Aug 14 (by iTunes plays per artist):
    1The Roots 7
    2The Arcade Fire5
    -De La Soul 5
    -Ibrahim Ferrer 4
    -The Shins 4
    7Architecture in Helsinki 3
    -Sufjan Stevens 3

    The Arcade Fire is the only holdover from 2 weeks ago, mostly because I have so many AF tracks on my computer. Ibrahim Ferrer makes the list posthumously. I listened to Feist 4 times?

    And the Top 10 artists played by NYC members (by number of different group members who listened to each artist):
    1The Beatles 28
    3Belle and Sebastian 24
    5Elliott Smith 20
    -The Arcade Fire 20
    8The Shins 19
    -Death Cab for Cutie 19
    10Green Day 18
    -Bright Eyes18
    Belle & Sebastian is the surprise here. Is there a bootleg mp3 out there that I should know about? What I think is remarkable though, is that the group has 181 members and the most popular band only has 28 listeners.

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    Old Navy Color Cords commercial: joycore defined

    You know that Old Navy commercial where those young model type girls are picking pants from a Cord Farm? Yeah, that one. That is the most motherfucking delightful thing I've seen in a while, and only rivals Target's backpack spot and the Lachapelle-directed Burger King/Hootie spot on the awesomeness scale.

    What is so great about it? The pretty girls? They sure don't hurt, but there are plenty of commercials featuring pretty girls and they are rarely memorable enough for me to post about them. Is it the cheesiness? Well, Old Navy ads have always been cheesy and dreadfully so that's not quite it either.

    And yeah, it's a fucking Old Navy commercial targeting back to school shoppers. It's not particularly smart, witty or compelling, qualities I look for in good ads.

    You know what it is? The girls look happy. Genuinely happy. I know, they're just acting, but it's a departure from the forced camp of the previous Old Navy campaigns, where the smiles came off awfully hollow. How fucking excited can you get about polar fleece? Ditto for the stay at home mom who's ecstatic over the shiny their kitchen counter, the family going nuts over an Olive Garden dinner and the twenty-something gushing over the suppressed herpes symptoms.

    But these girls, they're having the time of their lives picking pants, running around, bouncing. Wouldn't you be happy too? Seeing people genuinely happy makes me happy and I like being happy. Ergo, I like this commercial.

  • As reported elsewhere, Fiona Apple is releasing a re-recorded Extraordinary Machine for release in October. Considering pretty much every Fiona Apple fan already has the album, we'll see how well this goes.

    Me? I like the stripped down and somewhat nonchalant feel of the original but it took a few listens to grow on me. I wonder how it'll be received by the non-blog frequenting audience.

  • False 45th likes this too: While My Ukulele Gently Weeps

    Incredible stuff. Really. Watch it and, uh, gently weep.

  • My man extrawack points to the free mp3 downloads at Neighborhoodies and they ain't half bad. Today - Belle & Sebastian's "Legal Man".

  • Caught The Aristocrats Friday night. Incredibly funny, even when you hear the same joke told over and over again. I now have a newfound appreciation for Gilbert Gottfried. Really.

  • Since I wasn't cool enough to go to SXSW earlier this year, I saw the Jesus Is Magic trailer (right-click and save) for the first time before The Aristocrats. You know, I've probably already heard every one of those jokes considering how unprolific Sara Silverman is, but what the hey, I'll pay $10.75 to watch her on the big screen. She's that funny.

  • Finally, my hit count comes back down to earth:

  • Sunday, August 14, 2005

    "I Like Neither Pina Coladas Nor Getting Caught In The Rain", "A Tree Falls in Brooklyn" and other dreadfully cheesy post titles

    See, this is why I wear my soccer jerseys when I take my bike out. Anyone who's been around the non-hipster areas of Williamsburg can tell you, there are a lot of open fire hydrants, and as I ride up Bedford Ave approaching an intersection, a kid walks up to one such hydrant with a bottomed-out can in hand and grins at me.

    Since I know what's coming next, the logical thing is to ride away from the impending rush of water, but what the hell, I'm already a little wet from the rain and how bad can it be? So I just look at the kid, smile and tell him "Fuck you!". Now, the key here is to keep pedaling so you don't get knocked down. And just prepare to get soaked.

    I get drenched of course, but my shirt's going to dry pretty quickly and all the contents in my waterproof North Face fanny pack (not worn on fanny) are going to be dry. Ha! Though I'm wearing cotton shorts and they aren't going to dry any time soon.

    Well, nothing is going to get dry any time soon as 3 minutes later, the sky opens up and now I have the equivalent of a million hydrants shooting at me. I would keep riding but my contacts don't like it so much when the rain blows directly into my eyes. And I'm REALLY drenched.

    To summarize,
    Williamsburg Kids 1 - 1 Me
    Mother Nature 2 - 0 Me

    So why am I out riding out in the fucking thunderstorm? Well, I wasted yesterday afternoon watching the very mediocre Chappelle's Show Season 2 DVD because it started to rain just as I was getting ready to go out. History threatened to repeat itself today as it started to rain again as I was headed out the door. So I wait half an hour for the rain to let up and rode out. There was some light, pleasant sprinkling with a little thunder and lightening, but it really didn't seem that bad. Only after the water hydrant incident did it really come down.

    And boy, it came down hard and hard it came. But all in all, a good, lazy Sunday afternoon. A nice break from the dog days of summer, really.

    Oh, and condolences to the owner and/or the insurer of the blue SUV. It has dealer plates so the car's less than 30 days old.

    Mother Nature 4 - 0 SUV Owner

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Linkatharis: Friday over easy

    It's a slow Friday. What can you do?

  • Wonder why the military has had such trouble meeting recruitment targets? Why, it's those patriotic parents: "Military service isn't for our son. It isn't for our kind of people."

  • I need to get one of my Tokyo peoples to get me this iPod case.

  • I wonder why this isn't getting more play in the news: Baghdad Mayor Is Ousted by a Shiite Group and Replaced

    Some liberal media.

  • U.S. Steps Down Threat Level for Mass Transit Systems by a Notch

    The backpack searches are working!

  • As the kids say, great use of the medium: outdoor ad for Court TV

    Wonderful ad for a crap product, I say.

  • Dude makes furniture out of FedEx boxes FedEx thanks him by suing the crap out of him.

  • What's that? You want the wisdom of George W Bush on your iPod? If that doesn't get y'all motherfuckers into Podcasting, I don't know what will.

  • Out like Razor scooters.

    Say cheese! Okay, don't smile. Just tilt your head and stare vacantly.

    Cobrasnake, the chronicler of all things LA hipster regularly featured on ToTC's
    Blue States Lose finds that fame and fortune don't always go hand in hand:
    But he still hasn't hit the big time - he can't afford a car, and he had to go on Extreme Makeover to get the Lasik eye surgery he wanted. When I meet him that night, his laptop is broken and he can't update his site. (He asks me if I can get him some sort of Wired discount on computers. As if!)

    Ah, such is the curse of a genius, never appreciated in his own lifetime.
    He runs around like a coked-up paparazzo, shoving his camera in people's faces and punctuating the dim interior with photo flashes. His patter and calculated dorkiness put everyone at ease. He catches great candid moments, as well as humorous subtleties, like the Levi's worn by the dance-punk bandmates from Out Hud as they accept their award from Diesel.

    At 10 pm, Hunter's still nursing his first beer of the evening. "I don't want anyone to think I'm here fucking around," he tells me. "I have a job to do." He confides that he's also hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's event - he got ejected for Heineken-related offenses.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    I'm not going to tell you again: Kings of Leon, Secret Machines on NPR tonight

    As part of its All Songs Considered concert series, NPR will broadcast Kings of Leon and Secret Machines, live from the 9:30 Club in DC. SM will start at around 9:45 pm ET and KOL at 10:45 pm.

    The two bands played Roseland earlier this week. Central Village, writing for the Ist was impressed, Manhattan Carnivore not so much.

    Intelligent Design - neither intelligent nor particulary well designed

    Jacob Weisberg sums up my position on President Bush's sudden, but not at all surprising embrace of Intelligent Design pretty nicely:
    If Bush had said schools should give equal time to the view that the Sun revolves around the Earth, or that smoking doesn't cause lung cancer, he'd have been laughed out of his office. The difference with evolution is that a large majority of Americans reject what scientists regard as equally well supported: that we're here because of random mutation and natural selection. According to the most recent Gallup poll on the subject (2004), 45 percent of Americans believe God created human beings in their present form 10,000 years ago, while another 38 percent believe that God directed the process of evolution. Only 13 percent accept the prevailing scientific view of evolution as an unguided, random process.
    See, that's some scary shit. Now, I'm not that bothered by the 38 percent who believe God has a hand in evolution. But good god, 45 percent of Americans believe there was NO evolution?

    So the Christian (sic) Right (sic) has always been trying to squeeze Creationism into our textbooks and now they're repackaging it as Intelligent Design. And man, there are so many problems with it, I'm not sure where to start.

    On the basic level, it's just utterly wrong and you can read Jerry Coyne's point-by-point debunking/ass whooping in The New Republic if you're in the mood for a lot of reading. I mean, Intelligent Design would have been a lot more compelling if its conceivers had some understand of Evolution, Natural Selection and science in general. They spout on about how Evolution is only a theory and how it has never been observed in nature. Lesson? Don't trust mouth breathers to write your science textbook.

    Another reason we can easily dismiss ID is because, well, it's not science. Science only deals with what can be observed and tested. More importantly, it demands skepticism and self-questioning. ID is a lazy man's theorizing. Rather than try to find answers for the unknown, it settles for the catchall intelligent designer. Assuming shit without evidence is the very definition of faith, the backbone of religion. Science does not dig faith one bit.

    But my biggest problem with ID is that it's fucking dishonest. It pretends to be science when it's not. It pretends to not be religiously motivated when all it is is a retrofitted pseudo-theory that simply dresses up Creationism and removes the messy religious language. Its supporters ignore all that is accepted by the scientific community and pretends to inject "balance" when all they want to do is sneak ideology into science. It's like my issue with Bush - it's not that he's incompetent or misguided, but rather, he runs a dishonest administration whose success depends on an ever-moving set of goalposts.

    I'd much rather see the religious nuts come out and say, "We're going to dumb our children down in the name of ideology" and home school their children so other parents can get their kids into schools other than Bob Jones.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Linkatharsis: the soccer edition

    Too much going on in soccer and not enough time to comment, with the European seasonss kicking off, Dallas opening its stadium while the MetroStars announce theirs in Harrison, NJ.

    I'm pretty excited about the last little bit of news, actually. Not only will the Metros have a place built just for them instead of an empty football stadium, I'll have a soccer stadium that I can get to with just a 15 minute train ride from 14th St. You know, I'd love to do the good soccer fan thing and support my local team but I have to admit, when I have to make multiple transfers and hours getting across to river to a stadium that isn't all that welcoming, it's just not worth it sometimes. Sure, a true fan should put up with a little nuisance to support his team, but fandom should be a two-way street, no matter what Nick Hornby tells you. And to me, East Rutherford, NJ feels as distant and foreign as Cardiff or Sarajevo.

    Also, check Jim's nice little run down of soccer-specific MLS stadiums.

  • Gotta love headlines like "Americans are taken seriously at last", or even better, "Young Boys Wankdorf erection relief". Oh, those Brits and their subtlety.

  • This is good news for everyone: Zidane to return for France

    Would love to see him play in one more World Cup, especially after the disappointment of 2002.

  • My favorite Japanese player, Shunsuke Nakamura makes a pretty damn good debut for Celtic of Glasgow despite some skepticism.

  • Manchester United supporters, always classy:
    The fans were escorted by police as they sang 'I hope Glazer dies' and scuffles broke out as they stopped outside the main entrance. "

  • Manchester United players, also classy:
    Following one contentious exchange between a referee and Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United star was sent to anger management classes after he used 10 obscenities in 60 seconds.

  • Saturday, Saturday, Saturday: Middlesbrough v Liverpool

    Haven't been this excited/nervous about the beginning of the English season in quite some time.

  • Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Strangers with Candy shelved?

    This isn't going to make too many people happy.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Linkatharsis: It's been a long week

  • Let us now praise the songwriting factories of Europe

    "Master craftsman is my job nowadays and I take it very seriously indeed," says Andy McCluskey, formerly of OMD and as well he should. In this Slate piece, Elisabeth Vincentelli talks about the professional songwriters who shape today's pop landscape, but what to make of this?
    The harsh reality is that few people can write and sing. Burt Bacharach is a brilliant songwriter who should never have opened his mouth, while his latter-day collaborator Elvis Costello should consider shutting his trap more often than not. As for Rufus Wainwright, who writes superb songs but has a grating, nasal voice—why does he think Cole Porter didn't venture onto the stage?

  • More on Peter Jennings: BBC's obit and tribute:
    Peter did what he could to halt the downward spiral of television news in America - that terrible turning inward, which means the less you know about the world, the less you want to know about it, and therefore the less a ratings-obsessed industry decides to tell you.

    He often forced news items onto his programmes because they were important, not because the producers wanted them.

    He loathed the arrival of the Fox network, with its open, noisy adherence to a political agenda, and believed it would destroy the old-fashioned notion of honest and unbiased reporting forever.

  • Excellent piece by Jack Schafer on why newspaper readers, and Americans in general, are full of shit. Couldn't agree more. You're talking about people who bitch about negative politics and moan about accountability, then go out and elect Karl Rove's man. Seriously.

  • So I thought it would be a good idea to chill with the LES Starbucks stuff, but then frickin' Metro puts the story on the front page Monday and some Lower East residents won't take shit lying down. While I disagree with characterizing Starbucks as the "urban Wal-Mart", I applaud any effort to help support local coffeeshops, especially when such effort comes with a handy printable guide (PDF) to non-Starbuck coffee options in the area. Keep on keeping on.

  • Speaking of Wal-Mart, they haven't given up on New York just yet. Also in New York mag, hooray racial profiling!

  • Meanwhile in SoHo, Keith Haring's Pop Shop is leaving its Lafayette location and West Village is getting all preppy. Pop Shop is a semi-big loss, but the Village? Can you gentrify a neighborhood that's already whitebread?

  • Since it's looking like Chappelle's Show is done like Warrick, a couple of DVD rips for your listening pleasure. The first, Mos Def and Talib Kweli doing their thing off Blackstar Galactica, set to come out sometime before 2012, and just to piss off Straight Bangin Joey, Dave singing TV show themes with John Mayer and ?uestlove:

  • Linkatharsis: Square To Be Hipster

  • So I'm a hipster, or rather, a "hipster" according to Polis. What the air quotes signify I'm not sure, but I suppose it won't be long before I start showing up in Blue States Lose. Bring me my eyeliner, STAT!

    As for the rest of the post, eh, can't say I disagree too much.

  • Peter Jennings dies at 67.

    Also, New York Times and Gawker reflect on Jennings.

  • Ibrahim Ferrer dies at 73.

    After I heard about the news, I broke out my Ferrer and Buena Vista Social Club CDs that were gathering dust on my bookshelf (CDs! Haven't listened to those in a while). Such a great voice - a shame that it took so long for him to be recognized over here.

    Do yourself a favor and take a listen if you haven't:
  • False 45th remembers CBGBs

  • In case you need more convincing that we need not worry much about John Roberts.

    Speaking of SCOTUS, Justice Stevens says "Oh by the way, I'm not digging the death penalty so much."

  • More on the stupid pointless subway backpack searches: profile of NYCLU suit plaintiffs.

  • I'm posting this mostly for Iason's benefit - Tiny's Kevin informs me that Alife on Rivington's all revamped. I didn't get a chance to check it out this weekend but I'll make it a point to go soon, and maybe drop a hundred or five on sneakers I don't need.

  • It's hip hop week at the Times:
  • Went to Hoboken this weekend for a top secret project. It's not that bad. A quick ride on the PATH from the city (and they take the Metrocard now), laid back town with a view of the city you can't get in Manhattan.

    Can I see myself living there? I'm not sure - it's a bit too quiet, y'know? Like they're up to something.

  • Sunday, August 07, 2005

    Starbucks in LES: revisited

    The rising of the the first Starbucks on the Lower East Side caused quite a stir, not the least of all to my site traffic:

    And you know what? It is a big deal. We're talking about a neighborhood that has a rep for going against the grain (npi) and maintaining its homegrown flavor. And to not have a single one of the Ubiquitous Green Awning of Doom in the entire 002 was, I suppose, a minor source of satisfaction. While my overreaction was for the most part tongue in cheek, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit disturbed.

    But some seem to be going a bit overboard:
    "If people support this store, then this neighborhood isn't what it's cracked up to be," said downtowner Lauren Scott, 34.
    "It's the end. I've got to find someplace else to live," said Neil Cohen, 31.
    Squeeze me? Baking powder?

    Okay, let's back up a minute. It's not that I don't understand. Part of what makes the Lower East Side, and New York in general, special are the locally-owned businesses. Inevitably, Starbucks and other national chains muscle out the locally owned businesses, which they can do without superior products or services because their financial might can out-market and underprice the competition. No, I don't want New York turning into Anytown USA.

    That said, there are a few things to keep in mind.
    1. Businesses don't succeed if no one supports them.

      "Evil" corporations are "evil" because the consumers allow them to be. And in the above quote, Lauren Scott almost has it right - if Lower East Siders support this Starbucks, the neighborhood isn't what it's cracked up to be.

      Well, except it's not just artists and hipsters and scenesters who live in the neighborhood, and that has been true before the condos started moving in. There have always been working class families and old Jewish tailors, whatever. They might not be what you think of when you hear "Lower East Side", but there they are.

      Plus, Chinatown has grown to the east and north that the corner of Allen and Delancey is a de facto intersection of LES and Chinatown. I doubt Chinatown residents care if Starbucks is cramping my indie cred.

    2. Starbucks is not satan.

      Yeah, Starbucks muscles out mom & pop chains and otherwise bullies its competitors. All things being equal, I prefer the indies over the big chains. But keep in mind that for all its negative rep, the company does a quite a bit of good. They pay reasonable wages and have employee benefits that burger flippers could only dream of. They donate to good causes and sell Fair Trade coffee.

      Granted, their size allows them to spend a few cents on the dollar to be socially responsible when smaller coffeshops can't, but at least they use some of their money for good.

    3. For the love of Lohan, we're talking about Delancey Street.

      On the same stretch of Delancey, you can find a McDonald's, a KFC/Taco Bell and a Dunkin Donuts. Not exactly an indie paradise. It's not like Eve just took a gulp of the forbidden latte - I don't look at this as the beginning of the end. It's a mere milestone on a path that we've been on for years.

    I'd like to say whether this Starbucks survives or not is up to the LES residents, but it's not. It's going to get plenty of business from tourists and surrounding neighborhoods even if the entire LES boycotts it.

    Of course, there's nothing stopping you from going to your local independently-owned shop either. If you like your indie coffee shops, keep going to 88 Orchard (which I guess would be the most affected) or Full City or Sunshine Factory or wherever else you can find on Delocator.

    You might not drive Starbucks out of business but that doesn't mean the big chains and the independently-owned can't coexist. That's about the best you can hope for, really. Does this mean the end of the Lower East Side as we know it? Only symbolically.

    And for me, someone who only moved here last year, to complain about the new Lower East Side being about outsiders and newcomers would be utter silliness.

    Did I just write a totally serious post about the implications of a Starbucks opening in the neighborhood? Damn. I need to get out more.