Wednesday, March 31, 2004
An icon of 20th century broadcasting
R.I.P. Alistair Cooke
I remember him mostly from watching I, Claudius and so forth on PBS. He was the best host they had I think. Started as a film critic in '34 and stopped his radio series Letters from America only last month.
I believe his Omnibus TV series sponsored the Hunter Thompson doc on the second disc of Fear and Loathing I just watched. Probably the best one I've seen on him.
He was 95.
1:05 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Monday, March 29, 2004
Mark Kurlansky's 1968: The Year That Rocked the World sounds an essential read on the events & effects of the decade that exposed the cultural (or however you want to call it) divide America has been dealing with ever since: review
2:19 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Another acclaimed Canadian novel that's belatedly making it to the American market -- this time a Western saga that someone on amazon compares to Lonesome Dove, the gold standard apparently -- The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe: review
With points of view that rotate among half a dozen characters, settings that jump from England to America to Canada, and time periods that slip back and forth across the 19th century, it sounds like an arduous journey (of course Canadians would like it), but part of Vanderhaeghe's genius is melding all these elements into an irresistible story.I've never even seen the TV miniseries of Dove, never mind read it, but I bet both of these are fun reads.
2:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, March 28, 2004
The industry of beating drug tests today
The "positive" rates are low - less than 5 percent - suggesting that most people aren't using drugs, let alone trying to cheat.
But the prevalence of screening and the reach of the Internet has fostered a thriving cottage industry of entrepreneurs who promise to help workers beat the tests.
The federal government hopes to crack down on cheating by broadening testing of its own employees over the next year to include scrutiny of workers' saliva, hair and sweat. Some private employers have already adopted the alternative testing methods, and new government standards could lead even more companies to make the switch.
"You want to create a new mechanism for cheating on drug tests, we're going to create a mechanism to catch it," said Robert Stephenson II, an official with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which sets standards for testing federal workers.
But tests using so-called alternative matrices are already fueling a new round of cat-and-mouse, as companies who specialize in test-beating scramble to market products they claim will foil hair and saliva screening.
"The government can go ahead and try to catch up and they will eventually, but they're going to have to do that through legislation. They're not going to do it through science," said Tony Wilson, a spokesman for Spectrum Labs, a Cincinnati company that markets an ever-changing lineup of products designed to beat drug tests.
6:00 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Online label 8bit Recs bites the dust after the owner of their server takes action against their participation in the Grey Tuesday event
Thorsten Sideboard, who founded the 8bitrecs.com netlabel, got back to London after a recent trip to the U.S., only to find he'd lost his job. Why? Because 8bitrecs.com had participated in Grey Tuesday, the web activist event late last month, in which almost 200 websites around the world made DJ Danger Mouse's Grey Album available for free download. The Grey Album had become a flashpoint for various copyright issues, including sampling clearances and peer-to-peer filesharing. It melded Jay-Z's 2003 Black Album and the Beatles' self-titled 1968 record, ubiquitously known as The White Album, and was made available for free download. EMI, the Beatles' publisher, sent threatening cease and desist letters to everyone involved, including the numerous Grey Tuesday activists.
Highpoint Lowlife is Sideboard's proper record label (website at highpointlowlife.com), which just released its seventh album, titled, with unintentional irony, White Label (by Recon, aka Chris Coode, better known for his work as Motion). He's also on track for the next three Highpoint releases: Rashamon's Tomorrow, People, Marshall Watson's The Time Was Later Than He Expected and, for its 10th album, Some Paths Lead Back Again, a compilation of Scottish electronica, featuring tracks by Daigoro, Izu, Rose and Sandy, Accrual, Bovine Life, the Village Orchestra and others, organized by the Marcia Blaine School for Girls.
Although 8bitrecs.com has hung the "closed" sign, Highpoint is [Link] - Comments ()
Jon Stewart keeps calling it fake news -- which it is of course -- but viewers are flocking to The Daily Show like they smell the truth anyway -- which they are
Meanwhile, Kerry's FBI files detailing surveillance from the 70s are stolen from a writer's office.
OK, I promise I'll get back to the usual posts. Had to get my fix in since I closed charging the canvas.
1:17 AM - [Link] - Comments ()