Thursday, May 31, 2007

GALLUP: What Americans Would Like to Tell Bush About Iraq

GALLUP: What Americans Would Like to Tell Bush About Iraq: "A unique survey question posed by the Gallup organization reveals just how far the president and Congress -- and most newspaper editorial pages -- appear to stand from the wishes of the American public on getting out of Iraq.

Gallup, in a report today, said it posed the question: If you had 15 minutes with President Bush in the Oval Office what would you tell him to do about Iraq?

The majority (56%) said they would urgently urge him to focus on getting out of Iraq, with the highest number (nearly 4 in 10) agreeing with the wish to simply 'pull the troops out/end it' and others backing other exit ideas.

Another 6% would tell him to admit his mistakes in Iraq and apologize. About 7% would advise the president to work with study groups or the United Nations to figure out a solution. Only one in four would tell the president to stay the course or be more aggressive in Iraq."

HuffPo: Steve and Bill together again

Arianna Huffington: Notes from the D Conference: An iPhone Tip from Steve Jobs and Genetic Info from 23andMe | The Huffington Post: "Steve Jobs and Bill Gates took the stage together at the D Conference in Carlsbad, California, in what was billed as a historic reunion (the last time they had been interviewed together was by Fortune magazine in 1991 and a lot has happened since then). The reunion lived up to expectations. And at the end of it, all the tech luminaries in the Four Seasons ballroom rose and gave them a standing ovation."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Apple launches iTunes Plus alongside iTunes 7.2 release

AppleInsider | Apple launches iTunes Plus alongside iTunes 7.2 release: "The new iTunes Plus tracks feature high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality which the company claims is virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings. They also come without limitations on the type of music player or number of computers that purchased songs can be played on.

For the time being, iTunes Plus will consist of EMI’s digital catalog of recordings, including singles and albums from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane and more than a dozen of Paul McCartney’s classic albums available on iTunes for the first time.

Media Matters documents bias toward conservative faith leaders

Media Matters: "'I have long felt the media has given Americans a distorted view of what people of faith believe,' said the Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC). 'This research from Media Matters proves that.'

Edgar joined other religious leaders at a National Press Club news conference here along with representatives of Media Matters for America, a research and analysis group that monitors national media.

'Left Behind: The Skewed Representation of Religion in Major News Media,' is the title of a report issued by Media Matters. The group studied major television and print media outlets from the day following the 2004 election through December 2006. They discovered that television news programs interviewed, mentioned or quoted conservative religious leaders 3.8 times more than progressive or mainstream faith leaders. Major newspapers quoted conservative leaders 2.7 times more often. "

Computing Takes Up Pen, Again - New York Times

Take Note: Computing Takes Up Pen, Again - New York Times: "Jim Marggraff, an entrepreneur with a long string of successful innovations, say he thinks he has figured out the secret of pen computing — and he has done it by playing with toys.

Mr. Marggraff, a longtime executive at the toy maker LeapFrog, is the inventor behind a string of talking books, smart pens and other educational toys that have made their way into millions of American homes.

His new company, Livescribe, which he plans to introduce today at the D: All Things Digital technology conference in Carlsbad, Calif., has taken some of those technologies several steps further. It has created an ambitious new type of pen-based computer system that, if successful, could bridge the gap between paper and the digital world and perhaps even change the way millions of people interact with the Internet."

Some Hitherto Staunch G.O.P. Voters Souring on Iraq - New York Times

Some Hitherto Staunch G.O.P. Voters Souring on Iraq - New York Times: "While a majority of Republican voters continue to support Mr. Bush and the Iraq war, including the recent increase in American troops deployed, there are concerns that the war is undermining the party’s political position. A majority of Republicans who were interviewed for a New York Times/CBS News poll this month said that things were going badly in Iraq and that Congress should allow financing only on the condition that the Iraqi government met benchmarks for progress."

Sgt. Pepper is 40 -

The act you've known for all these years | AccessAtlanta: "The Beatles released their psychedelic rock opus 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' on June 1, 1967 — at the dawn of the Summer of Love. With its iconic cover image, eclectic melodies, ambitious scope and loony narrative arc, the record went on to become one of the most influential (and arguably one of the best) albums in pop history.

To celebrate the album's 40th birthday this week, let's take an essential walk down this musical lane."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Carl Kasell's second life

Carl Kasell's second life - Chicago Tribune (via Romenesko) about one of my favorite radio programs:
Carl Kasell, who just marked his 30th anniversary at NPR, "is funny when he's not trying to be funny" on the network's weekend news quiz show, "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me," says host Peter Sagal. "When he's trying to do Britney Spears, he's really trying to do Britney Spears as well as he can. And that's what makes it funny." Kasell tells Stevenson Swanson: "I fantasized doing something like 'Wait, Wait.'"

Jonathan Lethem, Richard Posner, and others reveal their favorite fonts - Slate Magazine

Jonathan Lethem, Richard Posner, and others reveal their favorite fonts. - - Slate Magazine: "To accompany Mia Fineman's essay on Helvetica, the font that is now the subject of a documentary film and an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, Slate asked a number of prominent writers to tell us what font they compose in and why. Courier was the clear favorite among our unscientific sample, but Times New Roman, Palatino, and something called Hoefler Text had their champions as well. (It seems to come down to whether a writer's formative experience came on an Olivetti or an Apple.) Here are the responses..."

Reuben Winners Announced

Courtesy Tom Heintjes of Hogan's Alley magazine:

From the National Cartoonists Society's 61st Annual Reuben Award ceremonies in Orlando, Fla., here are this year's awards:

GAG CARTOONING: Drew Dernavich
COMIC BOOK: Gene Luen Yang
TV ANIMATION: Craig McCracken
GREETING CARD: Carla Ventresca


YouTube - Women In Art

YouTube - Women In Art: Fascinating and beautiful computer animation:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Adopting the Hollywood Model for Comic Books, Producers and All - New York Times

Adopting the Hollywood Model for Comic Books, Producers and All - New York Times: " it is the comic-book industry that is grabbing ideas from movies and television — in this case not necessarily stories or characters, but the way Hollywood does its work."

Cayenne: Chabon in the City

Baby Got Books - Chabon in the City: Another great report on Chabon's Atlanta visit!

A Cup of Coffey: She Meets a Hero

A Cup of Coffey: She Meets a Hero: Beth has another report on Chabon's visit to Atlanta, with cool pix!

John Leonard on Chabon's latest - NYRB

Meshuga Alaska - The New York Review of Books

Friday, May 25, 2007

Andrew Sullivan: The Reagan Of The Left?

The Daily Dish: The Reagan Of The Left?: "I went to see Obama last night. He had a fundraiser at H20, a yuppie disco/restaurant in Southwest DC. I was curious about how he is in person. I'm still absorbing the many impressions I got. But one thing stays in my head. This guy is a liberal. Make no mistake about that. He may, in fact, be the most effective liberal advocate I've heard in my lifetime. As a conservative, I think he could be absolutely lethal to what's left of the tradition of individualism, self-reliance, and small government that I find myself quixotically attached to. And as a simple observer, I really don't see what's stopping him from becoming the next president. The overwhelming first impression that you get - from the exhausted but vibrant stump speech, the diverse nature of the crowd, the swell of the various applause lines - is that this is the candidate for real change. He has what Reagan had in 1980 and Clinton had in 1992: the wind at his back. Sometimes, elections really do come down to a simple choice: change or more of the same?

I fear he could do to conservatism what Reagan did to liberalism. And just as liberals deserved a shellacking in 1980, so do "conservatives" today."

Michael Chabon in Atlanta

Michael Chabon's book tour ran through Atlanta last night, and he attracted a packed crowd at the Buckhead Barnes & Noble.

Because he had some time before the signing, we were able to grab some BBQ at a nearby restaurant, One Star Barbecue in Buckhead (that's me and him at the restaurant). Yes, Michael is a BBQ hound.

Michael is a great guy and has been a good friend over the years ever since he was researching Kavalier & Clay and asked me (we were both members of a Jack Kirby email list) to review his manuscript for any egregious comics-related inaccuracies (because I was already a fan of his work, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys).

So I finally have my autographed copy of The Yiddish Policemen's Union and can dig in!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gay and Dissident Bishops Excluded From ’08 Meeting - New York Times

Gay and Dissident Bishops Excluded From ’08 Meeting - New York Times: "The archbishop of Canterbury sent out more than 800 invitations yesterday to a once-a-decade global gathering of Anglican bishops. But he did not invite the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire and the bishop in Virginia who heads a conservative cluster of disaffected American churches affiliated with the archbishop of Nigeria."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fall Network Schedules- New York Times

Fall Network Schedules - TV - Column - New York Times: "This year's television upfront presentations, where the networks open giant briefcases and introduce samples from their fall lineups to advertisers, came and went with whimpers."

Friday, May 18, 2007

AppleInsider: Apple iPhone receives FCC approval

AppleInsider | News Flash: Apple iPhone receives FCC approval: "Apple Inc. on Thursday received the official go-ahead on its first ever mobile handset, as regulators for the Federal Communications Commission gave the iPod maker the green light to commence sales of the device in the United States."

Blake Bell: Marvel Universe began 50 years ago today

Blake Bell's weblog about resetting the Mainstream in visual entertainment: "50 years ago this very morning, Marvel Comics owner Martin Goodman awoke from what he probably thought was a dream...or nightmare."

TAWOK&C: Chabon Update

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News:

The producer behind the film adaptation of Kavalier & Clay has told Michael Chabon that the movie "will all come back together again," the author said Tuesday.

During an online chat hosted by The Washington Post, Chabon said the producers had greenlighted the movie last summer, with Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman set to star and Stephen Daldry set to direct.

"The production designer had taken his kids out of school in LA and was ready to move to London where the principal interiors were going to be shot," Chabon said. "And then last fall it all fell apart. I'm not entirely sure why; I'm not privy to the inside information, but my sense is that the studio (Paramount) underwent one of those financial panics that studios are regularly prey to, and many plugs were pulled--including K&C's."

"Oh, well, that's showbiz," he added.

Nevertheless, Chabon said producer Scott Rudin "assures me that there is no reason to despair and that it will all come back together again."

"I have no reason at all not to believe him," he said.

During the chat, Chabon also hinted at what his next project might be.

"I would like to get a new novel going," he said. "I would like it to be set in the present day and feel right now the urge to do something more mainstream than my recent work has been."

He also said no new graphic novels starring the Escapist were lined up.

Cronkite's career, life celebrated with love | AccessAtlanta

Cronkite's career, life celebrated with love | AccessAtlanta: "As 'the most trusted man in America,' longtime CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite always reported the big stories. Who knew he was such a good story himself? Here's five reasons not to miss ' 'That's the Way It Is': Celebrating Cronkite at 90' (8 p.m. Friday, CBS)..."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Daily Film Dose: The Long Take

DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: THE LONG TAKE:

Here's what says about this website:

It’s the blockbuster computer-generated-special-
effects season. So it’s a good time to revisit the most awe-inspiring, technically accomplished moments in cinema that don’t rely on digital trickery — long, long tracking shots, in which the camera moves through space, capturing a scene without a cut. Directors can make these sequences extremely complicated — and breathtaking — by choreographing elaborate maneuvers for the actors. At its best, as in the car chase from Children of Men, the long tracking shot can become a film’s pièce de résistance.

Now a film buff and filmmaker named Alan Bacchus has collected a number of clips of great long tracking shots online. He’s posted most of the film-geek classics (such as the opening of Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil), but we were happy to discover a Thai martial-arts film, The Protector, in which the hero fights his way up a staircase in a sequence that’s as graceful as a ballet and as chaotic as a barroom brawl.

Collect-Me-Nots - New York Times op-ed

Collect-Me-Nots - New York Times: "The owner of Napoleon’s penis died last Thursday in Englewood, N.J. John K. Lattimer, who’d been a Columbia University professor and a collector of military (and some macabre) relics, also possessed Lincoln’s blood-stained collar and Hermann G�ring’s cyanide ampoule. But the penis, which supposedly had been severed by a priest who administered last rites to Napoleon and overstepped clerical boundaries, stood out (sorry) from the professor’s collection of medieval armor, Civil War rifles and Hitler drawings."

Charles Gibson's retirement postponed - NYT

Charles Gibson - ABC News - TV - New York Times: "The retirement date had already been set: Charles Gibson was scheduled to leave ABC News on June 22, 2007, after a 32-year career.

Whatever hope Mr. Gibson, or his employer, may have had of extending that date had ended in December 2005, when ABC effectively passed over Mr. Gibson as a replacement after the death of Peter Jennings, the anchor of what was then called “World News Tonight.” Mr. Gibson, it was decided, would end his career on “Good Morning America.”

“And that was fine,” Mr. Gibson said yesterday from behind his desk at ABC News headquarters in Manhattan, resplendent in a pinstripe dress shirt more evocative of the New York Yankees than his beloved Baltimore Orioles. “Good Morning America,” he added, “is not a bad way to end your television thing.”

It didn’t turn out that way of course. Not only did Mr. Gibson wind up getting the job after all — his first anniversary is May 29 — but as he spoke yesterday, he did so as the anchor presiding over the most-watched of the three network newscasts, at least since Jan. 1."

New York sightings

Garrison Keillor in the taxi line at LaGuardia. At least it looked like him. And who else looks like Garrison Keillor?

Actor Tim Daly at the Boathouse in Central Park restaurant.

NBC and National Geographic Channel journalist Boyd Matson, heading into NBC.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On the road

I'll be away for a few days. Talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, May 14, 2007

TVNewser: Is David Gregory the next Imus? TVNewser: "'NBC and CBS' WFAN radio are looking at NBC News White House correspondent David Gregory as their next Don Imus,' Variety reports. 'Sources said NBC is considering Gregory as a permanent replacement for Imus on MSNBC and that the network is in talks with WFAN on a deal to simulcast the show."

Intersting news, because MSNBC has been running "Morning Joe" with Joe Scarborough and a zoo crew recently, and they look pretty comfortable in that slot although the banter can be pretty annoying at times. I think Gregory would be better and he can be hilarious. He did a couple of weeks post-Imus but it focused largely after the Imus debacle on the Virginia Tech shootings.

NYT on cartoonist Tony Millionaire

Guy Drinks. Bird Drinks. Guy Thrives. Bird Drinks. - New York Times

The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller - New York Times

The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller - New York Times: Interesting overview of the publishing industry--and the mystery of bestsellerdom.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Catchy TV theme songs still music to our ears |

Catchy TV theme songs still music to our ears | "Schlemiel! Schlimazel!

Having read those two words, you'll have that 'Laverne & Shirley' song in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome.

A song that can instantly make you think of a rather middling sitcom decades after its demise seems a solid testament to the power of TV theme music.

Even though you don't hear theme songs as much on prime time anymore, the TV theme has proved a remarkably resilient thing. These days, it lives on at the far reaches of your remote. Cartoons, Spanish-language stations and premium cable shows all show a love of a good opening ditty. There are even homemade, fake title sequences on YouTube created by viewers honoring their favorite shows.

So, obviously, people like TV themes. Why don't network executives? They've been trying to kill them off since the 1990s, when 'Seinfeld' opened with a funky —- but very quick —- bass line."

Pulpit plagiarism - AJC

FROM THE PULPIT: Pastor inspiration: Divine or online? John Blake at "Two days after the Virginia Tech shooting, Bishop Eddie Long walked before the congregation of his Lithonia megachurch and said the Holy Spirit had a message for them.

The senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church preached a sermon he called 'Act of Man or Act of God?' He talked about a 'misguided, twisted' student who murdered 32 people before killing himself. He invoked the book of Job and punctuated his delivery with dramatic sighs and anguished grunts. The congregation was shouting by sermon's end.

Few, if any, knew the inspiration for Long's sermon wasn't confined to the Holy Spirit. It also came from, a preaching Web site that offers pastors prepackaged sermons for a fee. Long's words matched large portions of a Virginia Tech sermon with a similar title ("Acts of Man and Acts of God") posted on the site. A Google search revealed that at least three other pastors —- including one in Alpharetta —- had preached long passages from the Internet sermon.

Parishioners who dwell on the meaning of their pastor's words now face the question: Is the sermon an act of man or an act of the Internet? Sermon borrowing —- called "pulpit plagiarism" by critics —- is spreading among the nation's clergy.

"The kerosene on the fire is the Internet," the Rev. Thomas Long, a professor of preaching at Emory University's Candler School of Theology (and no relation to the New Birth pastor), wrote in a recent article in Christian Century magazine."

Billions in Oil Missing in Iraq, U.S. Study Says - New York Times

Billions in Oil Missing in Iraq, U.S. Study Says - New York Times: "Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Shady tricks

BBC; Google searches web's dark side

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google searches web's dark side: "One in 10 web pages scrutinised by search giant Google contained malicious code that could infect a user's PC.

Researchers from the firm surveyed billions of sites, subjecting 4.5 million pages to 'in-depth analysis'.

About 450,000 were capable of launching so-called 'drive-by downloads', sites that install malicious code, such as spyware, without a user's knowledge."

Ashes of Star Trek's Scotty beam down, go missing - Yahoo! News UK

Ashes of Star Trek's Scotty beam down, go missing - Yahoo! News UK: "Beaming him up was the easy part: the problem was transporting him back to Earth.

A search team continues to look for a rocket carrying ashes of the actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on 'Star Trek,' almost two weeks after it hurtled to the edge of space from New Mexico, the company behind the launch said on Thursday.

Remains of the Canadian-born actor, who died two years ago at the age of 85, blasted off from a remote launch site on April 29 carrying a payload that included the ashes of astronaut Gordon Cooper and several experiments.

A spokeswoman for Houston-based Space Services Inc., which organised the 'memorial spaceflight,' said the telephone-pole sized rocket descended by parachute into a rugged area that a search team has repeatedly failed to reach."

Comic Strip Credits

Milo George: the most useful thing I've ever posted, and none of it's mine: "One of the handiest resources on the web for comic strips was a tiny collection of pages hosted on AOL Hometown -- a simple listing of all the known creator credits for American comic strips. I had discovered the list while sketching out a featurette about strip assistants for a future issue of the Journal, but I discovered that the site's gone now as I was combing through my bookmarks earlier today to clean out all of my comics links to linkblog here.

For scholarship purposes [and so that I have a place to keep the original list and its update where I can actually find them when needed], I'm copy & pasting the text file of the two lists that I made a few years ago."

NBC Orders Five Dramas for Next Season - New York Times

NBC Orders Five Dramas for Next Season - New York Times: "NBC took the first steps toward rebuilding its prime-time schedule yesterday by ordering five new hours of drama programs, which will be part of the fall schedule the network plans to announce to advertisers on Monday.

NBC may not complete its schedule until late this weekend, but executives in charge of the series that have won places on the schedule were notified yesterday.

The network has not yet made decisions on two long-running hits — “Law & Order” and its spinoff, “Criminal Intent” — but it has decided on some other series that had been considered in danger of cancellation. “Friday Night Lights,” which was among the best-reviewed shows of this season, though not a ratings success, will be renewed. So will the drama “Vegas,” which is adding Tom Selleck to its cast.

But NBC will cancel the dramas “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “The Black Donnellys” and “Crossing Jordan.” It also is likely to pass up another year of the comedy “Scrubs,” which has become prohibitively expensive."

A Nobel for the Sandman - New York Times op-ed

A Nobel for the Sandman - New York Times op-ed: "SPIDER-MAN has returned to the big screen, and in addition to the thrilling action and new developments in Peter Parker’s love life, this latest installment provides a little education in cutting-edge physics. There’s nothing in the movie about string theory or extra dimensions, to be sure, but viewers are exposed to advances in another hot field of scientific research, thanks to Spidey’s foe Flint Marko, also known as Sandman.

Marko first appeared in the comic book Amazing Spider-Man No. 4, created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. In this story, an accident involving radioactivity (was there any other kind of accident in 1960s comic books?) mutated a hardened criminal into a supervillain, capable of transforming all or part of his body into living sand. O.K. — this part is not scientifically accurate.

But the feats that Sandman performs in comic books and in “Spider-Man 3” as he robs banks and tangles with our arachnid hero often correctly display the fascinating properties of granular materials."

Mr. Bush Alone - New York Times editorial

Mr. Bush Alone - New York Times editorial: "The difference between mainstream hawks and mainstream doves on Iraq seems to have boiled down to two months, with House Democrats now demanding visible progress by July while moderate Republicans are willing to give White House policies until September, but no longer, to show results.

Then there is President Bush, who has yet to acknowledge the reality that Congressional Republicans and even administration officials like Defense Secretary Robert Gates now seem to tacitly accept. Three months into Mr. Bush’s troop escalation, there is no real security in Baghdad and no measurable progress toward reconciliation, while American public support for this folly has all but run out."

President Open to Benchmarks in Iraq Measure - New York Times

President Open to Benchmarks in Iraq Measure - New York Times: "Hours before the House approved a plan on Thursday to finance the Iraq war only through midsummer, President Bush offered his first public concession to try to resolve the impasse on war spending, acknowledging rising pressure from his own party and the public.

After a briefing at the Pentagon, Mr. Bush said he had instructed Joshua B. Bolten, the White House chief of staff, to reach “common ground” with lawmakers of both parties over setting firm goals, or benchmarks, to measure progress in Iraq. Mr. Bush had previously insisted that he wanted about $95 billion for the military with no strings attached."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - The War In Iraq: A Soldiers Perspective - The War In Iraq: A Soldiers Perspective:

Here's what says:

For those who can’t stomach another two-hour documentary about Iraq just now, PBS has the perfect solution: It has produced a four-minute animated version of former Army infantryman Colby Buzzell’s queasily gripping story of an ambush in Mosul. “Men in Black” could be an excerpt from Sin City, with its hard-boiled, sensitive-guy voice-over and staccato visual style. But the fact that this particular combat event actually happened — and that similar events are happening every day — makes the existential terror of the Iraq war immediate.

The “Men in Black” video is based on a blog entry that Buzzell posted during his Iraq tour — he later wrote a memoir published in 2005 by Putnam — and it originally appeared on the PBS show Operation Homecoming. If Hollywood decides to make Buzzell’s story, it would be wise to keep him as narrator. His insightful, reflective voice is the real star, and his palpable weariness is wrenching.

The War In Iraq: A Soldiers Perspective - Brought to you by Video Search

Host With the Most: The Cult of Bob Barker -

Host With the Most: The Cult of Bob Barker - "'The Price Is Right' without Bob Barker could mean something profound to a lard-butt nation. Either he gets a life or you do. Maybe both.

Barker is 83 now. He's essentially the longest, oldest, most continuous anything on the air. At a recent taping of the game show in the spangly-sparkly CBS studio long ago named in his honor, he is wearing one of his perfectly fitted navy blue suits and a periwinkle blue tie. His face, neck and hands are layered in stage makeup the hue of pulverized Nevada, so much that you're not sure where it ends and the man begins. His hair (hair?) is snow white; he stopped dyeing it many seasons ago in a nod to the inevitable. 'What are you going to do after [you retire]?' an audience member shouts out during a commercial break.

'Well, I plan to do a little more drinking,' Barker deadpans."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis

Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis: Spinal Tap is back in a new video promoting these concerts!

Novelists turn to comic books

Novelists turn to comic books - "Author Jonathan Lethem was a big fan of the comic 'Omega the Unknown' when he was a boy growing up in Brooklyn, and he was pretty depressed when the superhero vanished from corner store shelves.

Never fear. He'll see Omega in print again soon, because Marvel Entertainment is reviving the comic after 30 years - with Lethem writing the story.

'I was very devoted as a teenager to comic books,' said Lethem, who recently finished a tour for his new novel, 'You Don't Love Me Yet.'

'I drifted to other kinds of reading, but I never lost interest in the medium.'

Lethem joins a growing list of novelists such as Stephen King and Michael Chabon, who have shifted to work on comic books as the medium gains critical and academic respect and becomes more mainstream."

Wife Touts Obama's 'Moral Compass' -

Wife Touts Obama's 'Moral Compass' - "Michelle Obama, making an early campaign foray for her husband in the state with the nation's first presidential primary, praised her husband Monday for having a 'moral compass' and contended that quality counts more than the 'experience' on which many of his Democratic rivals are basing their campaigns.

Challengers have pointed to the relative inexperience of the senator from Illinois in national politics as a liability in his bid for the White House, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has attempted to undercut her main opponent by stressing her years in Washington. But Michelle Obama, a Harvard-educated lawyer who works in a management position at the University of Chicago Hospitals, said her husband has a more rounded r�sum�.

'I know that experience is important, right? But experience without the sort of moral compass is not enough,' she said at a house party not far from Manchester, where she also appeared on Monday. 'And it's not just enough to check off a bunch of boxes and say, 'I've spent so many years in Washington,' because Barack has those experiences. He doesn't have the checked-box experiences, but he has experience that makes a difference.'"

Blundering Bush makes ANOTHER gaffe as he winks at the Queen | the Daily Mail

Blundering Bush makes ANOTHER gaffe as he winks at the Queen | the Daily Mail: "When you've just made it sound like the Queen is more than 200 years old, there may be a few ways of recovering from the gaffe.

But turning to her and giving her a sly wink is probably not included in any book of royal etiquette."

Beliefnet: John Shelby Spong - "Who Is Jesus?"

Beliefnet has a new video interview with the controversial former bishop.

Quiz: Superhero Spirituality -

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Superhero Spirituality? - "Many comic book characters--the good and bad alike--either overtly or subtly express a religious affiliation. How much do you know about the spirituality of superheroes (we've thrown in a couple of bad guys for good measure)? Take our quiz. "

Press Release: Creationists vs. Atheists in heated debate

Here's an actual news release I happened to receive (bold face type added by me):

Atheists' Mockery at ABC's "Face Off" on God's Existence

NEW YORK, May 7, 2007 -- A 100-year-old Baptist church in the heart of New York was the venue Saturday for an ABC debate on the existence of God. Actor Kirk Cameron and best-selling author Ray Comfort "faced off" against two atheists from the "Rational Response Squad," in a debate moderated by ABC Nightline's Martin Bashir.

"We were delighted ABC gave us the opportunity to present our case," said Comfort, "but we were taken aback by the aggressive nature of the debate. The audience was evenly divided between believers and atheists. The believers were very polite and quiet, while the atheists were extremely vocal. 'Nasty' is an appropriate word. We felt life a couple of goldfish in a pool of hungry Piranhas, and were getting a sense of what the early Christians must have felt in a Roman coliseum."

In the debate, Comfort presented proof for the existence of God, while Cameron offered evidence to show that the theory of Darwinian evolution is unreasonable and unscientific. They pointed evolutionists to, where they're offering $10,000 to anyone who can provide a genuine, living transitional form supporting evolutionary claims. The debate also addressed such questions as "Who made God?" and "What about the heathen in Africa who've never heard about God?"

"The atheists made it very clear they didn't like what we said," Cameron explained. "They were full of mockery and sarcasm, belittling the many great scientists and intellectuals who recognize the existence of a Supreme Being. But the average American isn't viciously anti-God. In fact, polls show that more than 90 percent believe in His existence. Our hope is that the program will cause people to think deeply about the evidence presented, and challenge them to consider this most important issue of life."

While Comfort and Cameron will have to wait until Wednesday to see what the public thinks of the debate, they report that they've already received encouraging email from one audience member who commended their presentation: "Good job last night! Although I received my invitation to the show via the atheist camp, I must confess that I was impressed with the two of you (and that I was embarrassed by at least two atheist audience members, whose hostile questions bordered on heckling-I admired your calm and courteous responses). ...I find the 'Design means there was a Designer' argument to be perfectly logical. I just have yet to come across convincing evidence that this Master Designer of the Universe inspired the Judeo-Christian Bible.'"

Another encouragement, Comfort added, was that both mothers of the two atheists in the debate are Christians-one of whom was in the front row of the audience. Comfort stated, "Both sincerely thanked us for our stand, and said that they were earnestly praying for us."

The entire debate will be streamed on on Wednesday, May 9, at 2:00 p.m. EDT (11:00 a.m. PST) and an excerpt will be aired that night on ABC's Nightline.

Archaeologist Finds Tomb of King Herod |

Archaeologist Finds Tomb of King Herod | "An Israeli archaeologist on Tuesday said he has found the tomb of King Herod, the legendary builder of ancient Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer said the tomb was found at Herodium, a flattened hilltop in the Judean Desert where Herod built a palace compound. Netzer has been working at the site since the 1970s.

Netzer said the tomb was discovered when a team of researchers found pieces of a limestone sarcophagus believed to belong to the ancient king. Although there were no bones in the container, he said the sarcophagus' location and ornate appearance indicated it is Herod's."

NYT: Incan bridges

Suspension Bridges - Inca - Andes - New York Times: "Conquistadors from Spain came, they saw and they were astonished. They had never seen anything in Europe like the bridges of Peru. Chroniclers wrote that the Spanish soldiers stood in awe and fear before the spans of braided fiber cables suspended across deep gorges in the Andes, narrow walkways sagging and swaying and looking so frail.

Yet the suspension bridges were familiar and vital links in the vast empire of the Inca, as they had been to Andean cultures for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spanish in 1532. The people had not developed the stone arch or wheeled vehicles, but they were accomplished in the use of natural fibers for textiles, boats, sling weapons — even keeping inventories by a prewriting system of knots."

NYT: Bill Clinton's crossword puzzle

New York Times Magazine - A Crossword Puzzle by Bill Clinton and Cathy Millhauser - New York Times: "Former President Bill Clinton wrote the clues to this online-only, free crossword! Solve it now."

Salon interviews Chabon

Jews on ice | Salon Books: "Michael Chabon talks about Jewish identity, Chassids as hobbits, his love of Barack Obama and the joys of writing a Yiddish-Alaskan detective novel."

ROTTEN TOMATOES: Comix Worst to Best

ROTTEN TOMATOES: Comix Worst to Best: "Let's be frank: comic books haven't had what you'd call an illustrious (groan) history onscreen. Until recently, the genre has yielded more than its share of duds -- 'Judge Dredd,' anyone? -- although many have proven to exceed our lofty hopes and expectations. With that in mind, we've once again broken out the trusty Tomatometer, set the dial for 'comic goodness,' and assembled a list of every comic book movie ever adapted from the pulpy pages of your favorite comic books, graphic novels, and syndicated strips. That's right, we've got all 94 of 'em, ranked from the absolute worst big-screen adaptations to the best-reviewed!"

Monday, May 07, 2007

DIAL B FOR BURBANK: Steranko's Shadow

DIAL B FOR BURBANK has a two-parter on Steranko's Shadow artwork.

TIPC: ABC announces Lost plans

This is Pop Culture: "ABC has announced its plans from wrapping up 'Lost.'

The Emmy-winning adventure series will run for 48 more episodes over three seasons. Each season will consist of 16 episodes, which will air uninterrupted.

'Lost' executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who have been vocal about setting up an endgame for the show, have signed on to stay for the remainder of the series' run.

A typical season is 24 episodes, so this news really means ABC has elected to buy only two more seasons. They're just making it look like three."

Evanier on Cavett's NYT column

news from me - ARCHIVES: "For a month or three now, Dick Cavett has been writing an enjoyable column for The New York Times which I'm not linking to because you have to be a Times Select subscriber to read it. Either that or have a friend who is and sends it to you on occasion. I'm in the latter category.

The other day, Cavett wrote about an incident that occurred at a taping of his ABC show in 1971. A guest actually passed away in front of the cameras. Here's an excerpt from that column..."

George Tenet cashes in on Iraq | Salon News

George Tenet cashes in on Iraq - Tim Shorrock at Salon News: "The former CIA chief is earning big money from corporations profiting off the war -- a fact not mentioned in his combative new book or heard on his publicity blitz."

Rachel Maddow on the GOP's Reagan fixation

Rachel Maddow demystifies the Republican candidates' fascination with all things Ronald Reagan. Why voters should run screaming if a poltergeist Gipper is ressurected in 2008.

SA Express-News: Gore sees spiritual crisis in global warming Metro | State: "Playing equal parts visionary, cheerleader and comedian, Al Gore brought his message of how to fight global warming to a capacity crowd of receptive architects Saturday in San Antonio.

The former vice president referred continually to a 'new way of thinking' that is emerging in the country and offered hope in the battle to control the effects global warming will have on the planet.

'It's in part a spiritual crisis,' Gore told the crowd in the Convention Center at the American Institute of Architects national convention. 'It's a crisis of our own self-definition — who we are. Are we creatures destined to destroy our own species? Clearly not.'"

BBC: Spider-Man hits to go 'on and on'

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Spider-Man hits to go 'on and on': "Spider-Man will return for at least three more movies, its studio has said after the super-hero's third film broke North American box office records.

Sony Pictures chief executive Michael Lynton told the BBC: 'Everybody has every intention of making a fourth, a fifth and a sixth and on and on.'

There would be 'as many as we can make good stories for', he pledged.

Spider-Man 3 is now the most successful new release in history, making $148m (�74m) in its opening weekend."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Yiddish Policemen's Union - EW review

The Yiddish Policemen's Union | Book Review | Entertainment Weekly: "In Chabon's pulpy world, gray bureaucrats sparkle as ''men with the variegated surnames of doomed crewmen in a submarine movie,'' and one chess player's ''mother is calling him on the ultrasonic frequency reserved by the government for Jewish mothers in the event of lunch.'' By the end, the plot bulges like a fatty pastrami sandwich. But in such an unholy land, what's not to love? A-"

The Sci-Fi 25- Entertainment Weekly

The Sci-Fi 25 | Entertainment Weekly: "Step into our time machine to explore EW's picks for the genre's greatest moments from the past 25 years. See if EW picked your favorite at No. 1..."

NEWSWEEK Poll: Bush Hits All-Time Low

NEWSWEEK Poll: Bush Hits All-Time Low - Newsweek Politics - "It’s hard to say which is worse news for Republicans: that George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation, or that he seems to be dragging every ’08 Republican presidential candidate down with him. But According to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, the public’s approval of Bush has sunk to 28 percent, an all-time low for this president in our poll, and a point lower than Gallup recorded for his father at Bush Sr.’s nadir. The last president to be this unpopular was Jimmy Carter who also scored a 28 percent approval in 1979. This remarkably low rating seems to be casting a dark shadow over the GOP’s chances for victory in ’08. The NEWSWEEK Poll finds each of the leading Democratic contenders beating the Republican frontrunners in head-to-head matchups."

'Spider-Man 3' Sets Opening Day Record - 'Spider-Man 3' Sets Opening Day Record: "Sam Raimi's 'Spider-Man 3' broke a record on Friday.

The third installment of the Marvel Comics adventure took in $59 million, besting the previous record holder by $4 million. Last year, 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,' had an opening day of $55 million.

This is quite a coup for Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures which had to face a long running time for the film (2 hours, 18 minutes) and somewhat mixed to negative reviews from a number of newspapers.

But in the end 'Spider Man 3' has already proven to be such an international hit that a four installment is already being talked about.

Rest assured, these numbers virtually guarantee a fourth installment of the “Spider-Man” saga, with all the actors repeating their roles—even the ones who don’t seem like they might be able to."

Friday, May 04, 2007 Time's annual 100 most influential people list is out FishbowlNY: "Time magazine's annual list of its 100 most influential people is out. Borat's Sacha Baron Cohen (not Sacha Baron Cohen's 'Borat') Barack Obama, Osama, Tyra Banks, Brian Grazer and Tony Dungee and Yankees pitchers Chien-ming Wang (seriously) made the list. We ('You') didn't."

The Times Names Public Editor - New York Times

The Times Names Public Editor - New York Times: "The New York Times today named its next public editor, Clark Hoyt, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor who oversaw the Knight Ridder newspaper chain’s coverage that questioned the Bush administration’s case for the Iraq war."

This looks good. The late Knight-Ridder has been lauded by Bill Moyers for their scrutiny of the run-up to the war.

Independence party rises in Scotland |

Independence party rises in Scotland | "Scotland marks the 300th anniversary this week of its union with England to create Great Britain. But even as it observes that milestone, Scots are poised to hand a resounding parliamentary election victory to a party that has vowed to dismantle that union.

For Treasury Chief Gordon Brown, the proud Scotsman preparing to succeed Tony Blair as Britain's prime minister, there's a bitter irony: With his moment of triumph in sight, his homeland may be slipping from his grasp.

As voting got under way Thursday, the Scottish National Party was poised to sweep elections in Scotland's regional government, claiming a mandate to chart a path toward an eventual split. The party, which has pledged an independence referendum by 2010, dreams of an independent nation matching the economic successes of neighboring Ireland, rather than relying on heavy subsidies from London."

NYT's review on Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 - Movie - New York Times: "If ever a movie had a case of the blues and the blahs, it’s “Spider-Man 3,” the third and what feels like the end of Sam Raimi’s big-screen comic-book adaptations. (Ready or not, the studio is talking about a fourth.) Aesthetically and conceptually wrung out, fizzled rather than fizzy, this latest installment in the spider-bites-boy adventure story shoots high, swings low and every so often hits the sweet spot, but mostly just plods and plods along, as if its heart were pumping tired radioactive blood."

Ouch. After the first two outstanding films, this one is sure getting a lot of dud reviews.

NPR's Fresh Air : From Michael Chabon, Noir and Niftorim in the North

NPR : From Michael Chabon, Noir and Niftorim in the North: Terry Gross interviewed the author for Fresh Air on Thursday. Audio at the link.

BBC: McCartney scoops Classical Brit

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | McCartney scoops Classical Brit: "Sir Paul McCartney has won the best album award at the Classical Brits for his fourth classical album Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart).

The former Beatle saw off competition from artists including Sting, Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe and Bryn Terfel.

The award was voted for by Classic FM listeners and readers of its magazine.

'If you'd told me when I was a little boy growing up in Liverpool I'd be at the Albert Hall receiving this, I wouldn't have believed you,' he said."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My new book on Amazon - preorder now!

Stan Lee ...on 60 Minutes

Stan Lee ...on 60 Minutes; Exclusive Video Only on Yahoo! News: "Meet Stan Lee, the creative force behind Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and X-Men. He's the grand old man of the comic book biz. His stories will surprise, entertain and amaze you. Plus, Stan's successor at Marvel Comics shows us how he draws Stan's most famous creation, Spider-Man."

YouTube - Bayeux Tapestry

YouTube - Bayeux Tapestry

Here's's commentary:
The latest must-see Internet video turns the 230-foot-long Bayeux Tapestry into the Middle Ages’ equivalent of a spectacular popcorn blockbuster. British designer David Newton animated a tracking shot of the tapestry for a school project when he was only 21 — far exceeding the assignment to demonstrate his knowledge of motion graphics software. The animation is a triumphant labor of love: Its graceful simplicity and wit beat the big-budget CGI slaughter you’d get if Hollywood told the story of the Norman invasion.

The brief video scrolls across the surface of the tapestry, from the appearance of Halley’s Comet to the victory of the Normans. Various players, from William the Conqueror to a lowly squire, are all subtly animated and enhanced with sound effects. The accompanying, frequently familiar orchestral music is both Hollywood-grand and good-humored.

Borders Book Club: Michael Chabon

Borders Book Club: Michael Chabon: Nice interview program online.

Reagan diaries reflect job, family stress |

Reagan diaries reflect job, family stress | "Ronald Reagan was a committed commentator on his own presidency, keeping meticulously maintained diaries that recorded the stress of his work alongside his frustration with trying to keep peace in his own family, according to a newly published compilation of his writings."

AJC: New Coke museum features Warhol art

THE NEW WORLD OF COCA-COLA: Ahhh. Pop culture refreshes: You can't beat the art thing when Andy Warhol's works go on display at Atlanta's latest museum. | "Nobody defined the heights of popular culture like Andy Warhol.

And perhaps no commercial product has claimed the summit of popularity as firmly as Coca-Cola.

They came together in Warhol's art. Now they'll be together in the new World of Coca-Cola.

Workers at the downtown attraction, set to open May 24 next to the Georgia Aquarium, on Wednesday hung the museum's first exhibit of art Warhol created to celebrate the nation's iconic soft drink. The works are on loan from the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh through next May.

The Warhol exhibit is part of the museum's new pop culture room —- a showcase of works from Norman Rockwell's take on the company to Coke-inspired Tiffany-style lamps to the red couch from TV favorite 'American Idol.' The room includes an expanded collection of Haddon Sunbloom's famous images of Santa Claus consuming Coke."

NYT: Michiko's rave review of Chabon's latest

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union - Michael Chabon - Books - Review - New York Times: "Mr. Chabon’s latest novel, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” builds upon the achievement of “Kavalier & Clay,” creating a completely fictional world that is as persuasively detailed as his re-creation of 1940s New York in that earlier book, even as it gives the reader a gripping murder mystery and one of the most appealing detective heroes to come along since Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe."

BBC: 'Up to half' of Mars may have ice

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Up to half' of Mars may have ice: "Scientists in the US say that initial data from a new way of scanning Mars has shown up to half of the Red Planet's surface may contain ice.

The new method of scanning for water offers vastly more accurate readings than before, they say.

The data could prove vital for the Phoenix Mars Mission which launches this August and which will put a lander on the surface to dig for ice.

The new data shows wide variation as to how deep below the surface ice exists."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Craig Yoe on those Big Boy comics

Big Deal on Big Boy Street: An Interview with Craig Yoe: Voice: AIGA Journal of Design: Writing: AIGA

Hat tip to Mark Evanier, who opines:
Craig Yoe is interviewed on the history of the Big Boy comic books. I don't know how many of those comics — which are given out as freebees at Big Boy restaurants — are printed these days. But there was a long period in the seventies, back when Manny Stallman did them, when those were the most widely-circulated comic books in the country...and by a wide margin. It's amazing how few of them we see at comic conventions, given the massive numbers in which they were distributed.

Content analysis of O'Reilly's rhetoric finds spin to be a 'factor'

Content analysis of O'Reilly's rhetoric finds spin to be a 'factor' - Indiana University study: "Bill O'Reilly may proclaim at the beginning of his program that viewers are entering the 'No Spin Zone,' but a new study by Indiana University media researchers found that the Fox News personality consistently paints certain people and groups as villains and others as victims to present the world, as he sees it, through political rhetoric.

The IU researchers found that O'Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night."

National Magazine Awards announced - New York Times

National Magazine Awards - The New Yorker - The Atlantic Monthly - New York magazine - New York Times: "Perhaps more surprising than who won this year’s National Magazine Awards was who didn’t.

The New Yorker, which has traditionally dominated the awards, left empty-handed last night, losing in all nine categories in which it was nominated. The Atlantic Monthly, also a frequent favorite, was shut out as well. The big winner: New York magazine, which was nominated for seven awards and took home five, including general excellence for magazines with circulations of 250,000 to 500,000, and interactive feature, a new category, for

New York, edited by Adam Moss, is a veteran winner, having won 14 Ellies in all, as the awards are called. But there were a number of first-time winners this year:, a spirituality Web site, in the general excellence online category; Departures in single-topic issue for its Latin Issue: South America 2006; McSweeney’s in fiction, for stories by T. C. Boyle, Susan Steinberg and Rajesh Parameswaran; O, The Oprah Magazine in leisure interests for “Reading: A Love Story” by Amy Gross; and The Paris Review in photojournalism, another category making its debut this year, for “Kiberia,” a documentary of life in a Nairobi slum by Jonas Bendiksen."

Hogan's Alley to participate in Free Comic Book Day this Saturday!

Hogan's Alley--Tom Heintjes' amazing journal of the comic arts--is participating in Free Comic Book Day on May 5.

Simply send Tom an email at ON MAY 5 (and only that date) and you will receive a free copy of Hogan's Alley magazine. Be sure to provide your mailing address.

Incidentally, Tom has the cover of #15 up on his site:

Impervious to beauty, deadened to depravity |

Impervious to beauty, deadened to depravity | Rod Dreher column from Dallas Morning News at "The Washington Post recently carried out an unusual experiment. It hired Joshua Bell, one of the world's most famous classical musicians, to dress like a common street musician and play his Stradivarius in a D.C. metro station during rush hour. The anonymous Bell played Bach, he played Schubert, he played some of the most beautiful music ever to emerge from the minds of mortals.

And virtually nobody stopped to notice.

The point was not that most people are uncultured clods. The point, rather, is that we are so caught up in the routine of our lives that we fail to see extraordinary beauty right in front of us. Something's wrong with us."

White House reneges on wiretap pledge |

White House reneges on wiretap pledge | "Senior Bush administration officials told Congress on Tuesday that they could not pledge that the administration would continue to seek warrants from a secret court for a domestic wiretapping program, as it agreed to do in January.

Rather, they argued that the president had the constitutional authority to decide for himself whether to conduct surveillance without warrants."

'Newhart' Sidekick Tom Poston Dies at 85 | AccessAtlanta

'Newhart' Sidekick Tom Poston Dies at 85 | AccessAtlanta: "Tom Poston, the tall, pasty-faced comic who found fame and fortune playing a clueless everyman on such hit television shows as 'Newhart' and 'Mork and Mindy,' has died. He was 85.

Poston, who was married to Suzanne Pleshette of 'The Bob Newhart Show,' died Monday night at home after a brief illness, a family representative, Tanner Gibson, said Tuesday. The nature of his illness was not disclosed."

First Dabbs Greer then Tom Poston... wonderful character actors gone.

LA Times portrait of Chabon

The idea hit Michael Chabon right in the kishkes - Los Angeles Times - "With his combination of literary seriousness (long, heavily researched novels), fruitful relationship to ethnic identity (Jewish) and ability to mine pop genres (science fiction, comic books), Berkeley resident Michael Chabon may have the highest capital of any West Coast writer.

He may be the only novelist in history to write for both the New York Review of Books — where he recently had a ravishing essay on Cormac McCarthy and apocalypse fiction — and Details (where his latest contribution concerned "the man purse").

Throw in leonine good looks that he often finds embarrassing and he can seem like the Prom King of American letters.

So it's refreshing to see that Chabon, he of the sharp cheekbones and shimmering sentences, doesn't spend all his time walking on water.

After dinner on a cool, clear recent night at his brown shingle house, Chabon sat at the kitchen table talking about his novel's origins while his wife, Ayelet Waldman, also a writer and as playfully brassy as her husband is earnestly soft-spoken, was washing dishes.

Suddenly, screams from upstairs. One of his four kids has locked himself in the bathroom. "Put your iPod on!" Chabon yelled to his daughter, who seemed to be somehow involved. Loud crash. Chabon, who is built like a ballet dancer, with long limbs and a thick chest, took off upstairs.

"Welcome to my life!" Waldman yelled.

CS Monitor reviews Chabon's latest

An alternate reality, with Yiddish in Alaska | "Chabon's latest packs big ideas and an entertaining story into a noir detective tale."

NYT: Newspapers shutting down book review sections

Books - Book Reviews - Newspapers - New York Times: "Last year Dan Wickett, a former quality-control manager for a car-parts maker, wrote 95 book reviews on his blog, Emerging Writers Network (, singlehandedly compiling almost half as many reviews as appeared in all of the book pages of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mr. Wickett has now quit the automotive industry and started a nonprofit organization that supports literary journals and writers-in-residence programs, giving him more time to devote to his literary blog. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, meanwhile, has recently eliminated the job of its book editor, leading many fans to worry that book coverage will soon be provided mostly by wire services and reprints from national papers.

The decision in Atlanta — in which book reviews will now be overseen by one editor responsible for virtually all arts coverage — comes after a string of changes at book reviews across the country. The Los Angeles Times recently merged its once stand-alone book review into a new section combining the review with the paper’s Sunday opinion pages, effectively cutting the number of pages devoted to books to 10 from 12. Last year The San Francisco Chronicle’s book review went from six pages to four. All across the country, newspapers are cutting book sections or running more reprints of reviews from wire services or larger papers."

Matters of Faith Find a New Prominence on Campus - New York Times

Matters of Faith Find a New Prominence on Campus - New York Times: "Peter J. Gomes has been at Harvard University for 37 years, and says he remembers when religious people on campus felt under siege. To be seen as religious often meant being dismissed as not very bright, he said.

No longer. At Harvard these days, said Professor Gomes, the university preacher, “There is probably more active religious life now than there has been in 100 years.”

Across the country, on secular campuses as varied as Colgate University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley, chaplains, professors and administrators say students are drawn to religion and spirituality with more fervor than at any time they can remember."

Bush Vetoes Bill Tying Iraq Funds to Exit - New York Times

Bush Vetoes Bill Tying Iraq Funds to Exit - New York Times: "President Bush vetoed a $124 billion war spending bill on Tuesday, setting up a second round in his long battle with Congressional Democrats who are determined to use the financing measure to force the White House to shift course in Iraq."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 Stan Lee on Spider-Man Exclusive: Stan Lee on Spider-Man...

TCR: Spurgeon interviews new KFS editor

The Comics Reporter: "On April 23, a little more than a month after the sudden passing of Editor in Chief Jay Kennedy, King Features Syndicate named Associate Editor Brendan Burford to the position of Comics Editor, where he has assumed the comics-related duties of his longtime mentor. What makes this news worthing noting isn't just that the giant syndicate named a well-liked member of the King Features family to the position, but that Burford cuts a slightly different profile than any major comic strip editor that's come before him: he's a cartoonist, a graduate of School of Visual Arts, he was briefly an employee of a major comic book company, he's a small press comics anthology editor and publisher (Syncopated), and he's younger than 30 years old. Mr. Burford was nice enough to give me a few minutes of his time late last week. We talked about the significance of his place in comics, some of the issues that King Features may face in the years ahead, and what he learned from his predecessor and friend."

TV Week: Joost up and running

TV Week: "Joost officially launched its online video service today, and said it will add programming from Turner Broadcasting networks including Adult Swim and CNN to its content lineup later this week."

'The Yiddish Policemen's Union' by Michael Chabon - Los Angeles Times

'The Yiddish Policemen's Union' by Michael Chabon - Los Angeles Times: "Chabon's new novel, 'The Yiddish Policemen's Union,' is, finally, a spiritual descendant of 'Kavalier & Clay,' a book that expands on the sensibility of the earlier novel and its roots in Jewish storytelling. It is very good — let's just say that at the outset — a larger-than-life folk tale set in an alternate universe version of the present where issues of exile and belonging, of identity, nationality, freedom and destiny are examined through a funhouse mirror that renders them opaque and recognizable all at once. "