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Saturday, May 24, 2003
Next Saturday's solar eclipse
Happy News for once
Joe Connelly's Crumbtown: reviewWhen Don is sprung, he comes home to a seemingly healthier, higher-rent Crumbtown. New storefronts. Freshly painted barber poles. But this isn't a case of another Massachusetts Miracle. Instead, in Don's absence, Crumbtown's sheer seediness has made it the location of choice for television cop shows searching for that gritty edge. The entire town has been handed over to actors and producers, including desperate Hollywood director Rob Landetta. Rob's high concept is to adapt Don's criminal career to the small screen, altering small parts of his history (meaning everything) in order to transform Don into a modern-day Robin Hood. Rob's producer isn't quite on board. It's a crime show without cops, he complains. "Crumbtown is post law enforcement, post Bill of Rights," Rob pitches.Pop Matters seems like a good culture zine.
Who needs Photoshop?
Awe for the Tiger, Love for the Lamb: A Chronicle of Sensibility to Animals: review
CBC Radio One interview with Barbara Gowdy (The Romantic, in RealAudio, 21 mins., see February 14 entry)
Composer Kenneth Kirschner's field recordings etc. made during antiwar marches/demos in NYC this spring
Thursday, May 22, 2003
The massive November quake in Alaska was actually a complex of 3 quakes, and its focussed directionality caused the effects to be felt for thousands of milesThe Denali fault earthquake was very directional ? it took only about 100 seconds to tear 210 miles of faults from west to east. New seismographs that faithfully record large earthquakes, GPS surveys, and surface measurements of offset features, show that the earthquake produced tearing along different faults, and it did not evenly release energy. In effect, the event was a composite of three smaller earthquakes: a M 7.2 earthquake on the previously unknown Susitna Glacier fault, two major pulses of slip (magnitudes 7.3 and 7.8) on the Denali fault, and finally a smaller amount of slip on the Totschunda fault. The largest side-to-side offset was about 29 feet.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Spammers hijack unprotected computersAs spam has proliferated and with it the attempts by big Internet providers to block messages sent from the addresses of known spammers many mass e-mailers have become more clever in avoiding the blockades by aggressively bouncing messages off the computers of unaware third parties.
Monday, May 19, 2003
Civilization dating back 2700 years discovered in NicaraguaThere are monuments, petroglyphs (rock paintings) and pottery, and most remarkably, an area where many huge columns were formed out of rock - columns which may have been used at burial sites.
"Every time Mr Bondarenko conceives a new painting, he faces the tough choice between a chance to express himself and an urge to buy a beer"
Sunday, May 18, 2003
With young Spaniards living in close quarters with their families longer than they used to, a Green Party legilator in the small town of Grenada has proposed a (undoubtedly quixotic) 50otel discount for teens' sexual trysts, outraging their elders [Undernews]
Warm review of Peter Biskind's compulsively readable, informed and dish-y Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And-Rock-N-Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (which came out in 1999)The documentation of bad behavior is thorough and tireless. Martin Scorsese was so coked out one night that he chased after his girlfriend, completely naked, down Mulholland Drive. Paul Schrader, screenwriter of Taxi Driver and director of Blue Collar, slept with a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 on his bedside table and had a tendency to wave it around when he spoke, "to make a point." Chinatown producer Robert Evans became so paranoid from drug abuse that he refused to leave his home and conducted production meetings for Paramount from his bed.
James McManus' Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker: reviewI found the author's writing about the tournament heart-stoppingly dramatic, as brilliant as anything ever written about poker. And while his coverage of the Binion trial feels less compelling, less fought-for, Positively Fifth Street, like Sin City itself, is an endlessly fascinating spectacle.
Wolfgang Wagener's Raphael Soriano: reviewBy the mid-1940s a number of the city's most distinguished architects -- including Soriano, Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Soriano's protégés Pierre Koenig and Craig Ellwood -- recognized that the techniques and materials of the war industries, especially the aeronautical industry, could be used to design and build a new type of affordable and beautiful house for southern California's swelling population. They were enlisted in the Case Study House program (1945-1966), which aimed to build avant-garde Modernist family homes on a bourgeois budget. Marked by a fluidity of indoor and outdoor space (the Case Study architects, Soriano in particular, were adept at interweaving rooms and patios), and built largely of glass framed in lightweight steel, these clean-lined houses also managed (unlike Philip Johnson's and Mies van der Rohe's soulless domestic glass boxes back east) to be jaunty, relaxed, and remarkably livable. Soriano's work was the apotheosis of the Case Study House ideals. Like his mentors Rudolf Schindler and Neutra, Soriano molded the understated, pure Modernist aesthetic to the climate and good life of southern California. But he was equally attentive to cost and to the need for easy and fast construction, and was hence imaginative and innovative in his frequent use of prefabricated, industrial, and off-the-shelf materials. This book places Soriano's designs in the cultural, political, and economic context of postwar southern California, and it keenly assesses both his breezy, family-friendly houses and his contribution to the Case Study movement (his pioneering use of steel module frames eliminated the need for interior, load-bearing walls and resulted in the open floor plans that became a distinguishing feature of the program's houses).
Clever RIAA plan to threaten file sharers with suit-threatening letters backfiresOn Monday, as first reported by CNET News.com , the RIAA withdrew a DMCA notice to Penn State University's astronomy and astrophysics department. Sent during Penn State's final exams, it prompted the central computing office at the campus to threaten the department with having its Internet connection severed unless the infringing material was removed.
Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas on the rise and fall of New York City [orlin grabbe]New Yorkers surrender to empathy. The tragedy of 9/11 inspires a mood of collective tenderness that is almost exhilarating, almost a relief: Hype's spell has been broken and the city can recover its own reality principle, emerge with new thinking from the unthinkable. But politics interfere. In spite of Bloomberg's pragmatic sobriety, the transnational metropolis is enlisted in a national crusade. New York becomes a city (re)captured by Washington. Through the alchemy of 9/11, the authoritarian morphs imperceptibly into the totalitarian. A competition for rebuilding Ground Zero is held, not to restore the city's vitality or shift its center of gravity, but to create a monument at a scale that monuments have never existed (except under Stalin)."sublime"?
"Saturday Morning cartoons" now history [Undernews]Six key factors have led to children watching less Saturday morning cartoons: more recreational sports, the introduction of cable and satellite TV, the Internet and video games, a poorer quality of animation, and a greater emphasis on family time. These factors are rather self-explanatory with the exception of the latter: the divorce rate of Americans now stands at 49 percent, and time on the weekends has become more precious for children as many commute between parents' houses. For parents who only have limited access to their children due to either divorce or career advancement, plopping them down in front of the television for five hours on a Saturday morning is no longer a viable option.