Friday, June 29, 2007

RD to Sell Back Cover, Slashes Circ By 20%

RD to Sell Back Cover, Slashes Circ By 20%: "Reader's Digest today revealed that in addition to whacking its rate base by 2 million to 8 million starting in January, it would sell ads on its back cover for the first time. The back cover has carried various forms of art over the years; for the past four years, the art of Norman Rockwell-style Cincinnati illustrator C.F. Paine has appeared on the rear cover of every issue.

'We have done extensive research in-house,' said Eva Dillon, president and group publisher, Reader's Digest, one of a number of outside executives that new RDA CEO and longtime pal Mary Berner brought in following a private equity-led buyout earlier this year. 'Readers don't seem to care one way or another. We thought readers would have a strong negative reaction. Once we saw that they didn't, we said, 'Hey, what are we waiting for?''

The sale of the back cover will coincide with a planned redesign under editor Jackie Leo, and Payne's work will continue to run in the magazine, Dillon said. 'He's an incredibly important artist, and his art will be part of the redesign,' she said."

Eating the iPhone - New York Times

Eating the iPhone - New York Times editorial: "Most of the early adopters — the ones who will have iPhones in their hands today — are used to devouring new technologies, and that is no empty metaphor. The real test of each new apparatus is how easily it is ingested and how quickly it becomes part of the user’s metabolism. All you have to do is watch a 9-year-old teaching her mother how to text to understand the truth of this. The difference between getting the newest new device and going on using your old one is the difference between eating a wonderful meal and merely having a metabolism. Whether it works, whether it sells, whether it lives up to its promises, it has been a while since there was a morsel as edible as the iPhone.
Next Article in Opinion (4 of 17) �

A mystery with an 'if only' twist on history -

CNN finally covers Chabon's new novel.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

First Look: 'Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen'

First Look: 'Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen' | Stephen Colbert | Sneak Peek | Books | Entertainment Weekly: "Check out seven full pages of a wacky sci-fi comic overseen by the Comedy Central star..."

VSL: A Brilliant Waste of Time

Here's's explanation:

The recent proliferation of easy-to-use video-editing software has made amateur video editing a new form of home entertainment. Movie fans can now release recuts of popular movies, pastiches of iconic scenes, and compilations of their favorite quotes online (witness the countless fan-retooled Star Wars clips). One of the most amusingly meta examples of this new hobby is 100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers, a video made by a film lover who found 100 instances, in 100 films, of someone’s mentioning a number. Then he cut these clips together into a single video that plays as a countdown from 100 to 1.

The Web video’s creator told us he did it mostly to see if it could be done; it’s impossible not to appreciate the zillion hours of film-watching it took to find the appropriate quotes. A fascinating demonstration of sheer, ludicrous obsession in the name of offbeat entertainment, the video is also a lot of fun — especially once you get caught up in trying to name every film that’s sampled. (Don’t worry: We’ve linked to the cheat sheet.)

Archaeologists '100 percent certain' long overlooked body is Queen Hatshepsut

Mummy is dearest: Archaeologists '100 percent certain' long overlooked body is Queen Hatshepsut, most powerful of women pharaohs. | "The long-overlooked mummy of an obese woman, who probably suffered from diabetes and liver cancer, has been identified as Queen Hatshepsut, ancient Egypt's most powerful female pharaoh, Egyptian archaeologists said Wednesday.

A single tooth was the key to solving one of the greatest mysteries of ancient Egypt, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said. If confirmed —- DNA tests are ongoing —- the discovery could be the most significant since the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb.

Hatshepsut ruled for 20 years in the 15th century B.C., dressing like a man and wearing a fake beard. A monumental builder, she wielded much more power than two other famous ancient Egyptian women, Cleopatra and Nefertiti. But when she died, all traces of her mysteriously disappeared, including her mummy."

WTBS going back to local roots |

WTBS going back to local roots | "The local TV station that formed the basis for Turner Broadcasting System is getting a top-to-bottom overhaul, with a new name and a different programming lineup.

WTBS, an over-the-air channel that carries mostly the same programs as national cable giant TBS, will be revamped as Peachtree TV. Starting Oct. 1, Turner Broadcasting will use Peachtree TV to target the Atlanta market, leaving national TBS unchanged.

Atlantans should expect a few switches. Those who get TV over the air for free will get Peachtree TV but lose TBS programs. Peachtree TV will get its own programming lineup."

Huge Dust Storm Breaks Out on Mars - Yahoo! News

Huge Dust Storm Breaks Out on Mars - Yahoo! News: "A major dust storm has developed on the red planet, blocking sunlight and prompting Mars mission managers to keep a close eye on it, has learned.

It is not known how large the storm might grow, but already it is thousands of miles across. If it balloons, as dust storms have done in the past, it could hamper operations of NASA's Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

ELO: Court rules for Episcopal church-- precedent reinforced

Episcopal Life Online - NEWS: "A California Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Los Angeles in cases where the majority of members of three Episcopal congregations voted to leave the Episcopal Church for oversight by bishops in another Anglican province.

The decision, which overturns rulings by a lower court, comes in the first of the recent cases brought to recover Episcopal Church property retained by congregations now calling themselves St. James Anglican Church, Newport Beach; All Saints' Anglican Church, Long Beach; and St. David's Anglican Church, North Hollywood. The congregations voted in August 2004 to amend their articles of incorporation, and maintain that they are now part of the Anglican Province of Uganda.

The trial court had ruled in favor of the departing congregations in August 2005. But the Fourth District Court of Appeal, in an exhaustive 77-page review of U.S. Supreme Court and California appellate decisions as well as a pertinent California statute, held that where a hierarchical church -- such as the Episcopal Church -- has determined that the real and personal property of subordinate bodies must be used and maintained for the benefit of the larger church, the courts in California must respect and enforce that determination."

The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype - New York Times

The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype - New York Times: "So how is it?

As it turns out, much of the hype and some of the criticisms are justified. The iPhone is revolutionary; it’s flawed. It’s substance; it’s style. It does things no phone has ever done before; it lacks features found even on the most basic phones.

Unless you’ve been in a sensory-deprivation tank for six months, you already know what the iPhone is: a tiny, gorgeous hand-held computer whose screen is a slab of touch-sensitive glass."

New Poll Finds That Young Americans Are Leaning Left - New York Times

New Poll Finds That Young Americans Are Leaning Left - New York Times: "Young Americans are more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll. The poll also found that they are more likely to say the war in Iraq is heading to a successful conclusion." Huh?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Japan's all-star speed eater suffers professional injury - Yahoo! News

Japan's all-star speed eater suffers professional injury - Yahoo! News: "A Japanese man who set a world record by wolfing down dozens of hot dogs within minutes has suffered a severe jaw injury due to his rigorous training, making his next title uncertain.

Takeru 'Tsunami' Kobayashi said he can only open his mouth to make a gap the size of a fingertip after being diagnosed with jaw arthritis."

100 Blogs We Love - PC World (Hey, where's

100 Blogs We Love - Yahoo! News: "How big is the blogosphere? In April the blog search engine Technorati reported that it was tracking 70 million blogs, with 120,000 new ones arriving every day. In such a huge universe, the signal-to-noise ratio is bound to be daunting, but we'll share with you the ones we've found worthy."

Our 50 Favorite Magazines - Chicago Tribune

Our 50 Favorite Magazines | Chicago Tribune: "It's becoming a rite of summer: Every year we ask each other what periodicals we've been reading, and then we ask you. Every year we argue about what makes a good magazine and why we rush to pick up certain titles or swipe them from a neighbor's desk. We urge each other to try something new, and we smack our foreheads when a title bubbles up that we'd completely missed."

Hollywood Seeks Ways to Fit Its Content Into the Realm of the iPhone - New York Times

Hollywood Seeks Ways to Fit Its Content Into the Realm of the iPhone - New York Times: "The iPhone doesn’t go on sale until Friday, but Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, is already changing the perception of the mobile phone, from a quick way to call a friend to a hip, media-friendly device. In doing so, he has forced mobile phone and Hollywood executives to react by chasing hungrily after the newest thing or face being left behind."

Slate launches new online video magazine

Welcome to Slate V, our new online video magazine. - By Andy Bowers and Bill Smee - Slate Magazine: "After 11 years, Slate has decided to become a parent. So, light up a cigar and say hello to Slate V.

That's 'V' as in video, not the Roman numeral for '5.' Today, we're launching a new video magazine that will deliver original features, compelling documentary segments, and buzz-worthy video clips culled from the far reaches of the Web. On the site you'll find familiar Slate franchises such as 'Explainer,' 'Dear Prudence,' 'Damned Spot,' and 'Ad Report Card'—now in living color!—alongside newly created segments about politics, culture, business, technology, and more."

PW: Deluxe Upgrade for Allred's Madman

Deluxe Upgrade for Allred's Madman - 6/26/2007 - Publishers Weekly: "Mike Allred's Madman, long a cult favorite among indie comics fans, is enjoying a popular renaissance thanks in part to a new publishing deal with Image Comics. So far, the arrangement has produced Madman Atomic Comics, a new monthly series, and Madman Gargantua!, a deluxe, hardcover compilation of past stories from the series, is coming soon. With the long-anticipated movie version finally in development, Madman is set to emerge from the comics underground onto the pop culture stage."

Save Net Radio Coalition: Day of Silence today "The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on July 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!). To protest these rates and encourage the millions of net radio listeners to take action and contact their Congressional representatives, a national Day of Silence will be held June 26. Webcasters across the country will observe this day of silence in a number of ways, including dedicating entire programs to the campaign to save Internet Radio and broadcasting complete silence."

Key GOP Senator, Richard Lugar, blasts Bush Iraq strategy

Key GOP Senator, Richard Lugar, blasts Bush Iraq strategy - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "In my judgment, our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond." John has the whole text and video.

Monday, June 25, 2007

RawStory: Number of Americans who believe Saddam-9/11 tie rises to 41 percent

The Raw Story | Number of Americans who believe Saddam-9/11 tie rises to 41 percent: "A new Newsweek poll out this weekend exposed 'gaps' in America's knowledge of history and current events.

Perhaps most alarmingly, 41% of Americans answered 'Yes' to the question 'Do you think Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq was directly involved in planning, financing, or carrying out the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001?'

That total is actually up 5 points since September 2004.

Further, a majority of people couldn't identify Saudia Arabia as the country of origin of most of the 9/11 hijackers, even given the question in multiple choice format. 20% answered Iraq, while 14% believed the hijackers came from Iran."

Stan Lee writes the "Last FF Story" STAN LEE'S LAST FANTASTIC FOUR STORY: "He was there for the first adventure of Marvel's First Family, so why shouldn't creator Stan Lee pen the Last Fantastic Four Story? Although swamped with all his work in and around the field of comics, Lee found time to answer some of our questions about his career in comics and what's entailed in this final adventure of the Fantastic Four."

Isaak Fernandez Rodriguez - Batman Chapter One: Help Me!!!

AnimWatch - Isaak Fernandez Rodriguez - Batman Chapter One: Help Me!!!: "Isaak Fernandez Rodriguez has created a monster. This talented animator made a quirky little film, just a labor of love, that has set the internet on fire. Everyone wants to know more about him, and about his film.

And what of the film? An exercise in limited color, it gives every impression of an old black and white film. But there are subtle, and not-so-subtle colors present that Rodriguez uses to great effect. And the visual style is so addictive and original, somewhere between a Marc Craste dream mixed with some Russian Constructivist nightmare. "

Cover Browser: Great way to waste time

Comic Book Cover Browser (hat tip: Tom Spurgeon)

C&L: The Man Behind the Curtain

Crooks and Liars - The Man Behind the Curtain: "If you haven’t yet read the first two installments (1, 2) of the Washington Post’s four part series on Dick Cheney’s role in the Bush administration, go read them now. They’re incredible. Barton Gellman and Jo Becker do an excellent job telling the behind-the-scenes story of how the Bush administration’s various terrorism-related policies came into being. The articles confirm much of what has been suspected about Cheney’s role and fill in many of the gaps. It’s riveting stuff, and deeply disturbing.

There’s enough stuff in the first two installments alone to fill 100 blog posts, easily. But since I don’t have that kind of time, I want to focus on a few meta-observations."

The Web Site Celebrities Fear - New York Times

The Web Site Celebrities Fear - New York Times: " has quickly gained an audience by posting news articles garnered from documents, unofficial videotapes, exclusive paparazzi shots and other sources like law enforcement officials and courthouse clerks. (The name stands for “thirty mile zone,” referring to the area around Los Angeles populated by celebrities.)

“We work as hard at breaking a Britney Spears story as NBC would work on breaking a President Bush piece,” Mr. Levin said.

As a result, has become the celebrity handler’s worst nightmare. The site has had a series of damaging celebrity scoops, including the police report detailing Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic tirade, Michael Richards’s racist rant in a comedy club, an audiotape of the angry phone message Alec Baldwin left for his daughter and a photograph of Anna Nicole Smith’s refrigerator filled with methadone and Slim-Fast."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Faith Has Role in Politics, Obama Tells Church - New York Times

Faith Has Role in Politics, Obama Tells Church - New York Times: "Addressing the 50th anniversary convention of his own denomination, the United Church of Christ, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois said Saturday that the religious right had “hijacked” faith and divided the country by exploiting issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and school prayer.

But Mr. Obama said that religion has a rightful role to play in American politics, and he praised people of faith who he said are now using their influence to try to unite Americans against problems like poverty, AIDS, the health care crisis and the violence in Darfur.

“My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work,” he said, speaking before more than 9,000 people at the Hartford Civic Center in front of a red and black backdrop with the church’s marketing slogan: “God is still speaking.”

Friday, June 22, 2007

NYT Book Review: Philip K. Dick Anthology

Philip K. Dick - Books - Review - New York Times: "a Philip K. Dick anthology, FOUR NOVELS OF THE 1960s (Library of America, $35), takes its well-earned place in the Library of America, joining the oeuvres of Poe, Fenimore Cooper and Chandler (not to mention Melville, Faulkner and Steinbeck). For all the critical surveys that have been written about Dick’s work, I’ve never read one that paid his great writing — the parts of his prodigious output that were truly great — proper tribute."

NYT Book Review: John Burdett is back!

John Burdett - Crime Fiction - Marilyn Stasio - Books - Review - New York Times: "Who knew that “Bangkok 8” and “Bangkok Tattoo” were just the warm-up acts? As vibrantly as those sizzling thrillers captured the exotic flavor of crime and corruption in Thailand’s capital city, John Burdett’s BANGKOK HAUNTS (Knopf, $24.95) opens up new avenues of awe. Even Sonchai Jitpleecheep, the urbane detective with the Royal Thai Police who narrates the bizarre stories in this series, is struck dumb by the sadistic

I thoroughly enjoyed his first two books. Glad to see he's back with a third Bangkok-based mystery.

NYT Book Review: Reading Judas by Pagels and King

Reading Judas - Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King - Books - Review - New York Times: "READING JUDAS: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity. By Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King."

Apple posts iPhone Guided Tour Video

Apple iPhone: It's a 20+ minute movie that will have you lusting for one.

VSL: Cool Video

Here's what says:
A sharp-eyed VSL reader wrote in to point us in the direction of [a] not-to-be-missed new the California quartet the SoftLightes.

Their first single, “Heart Made of Sound,” is the perfect roll-the-windows-down-on-a-warm-day ditty, managing to be sunny, mellow, and catchy. The video, directed by Kris Moye (who knows a little something about rockers; his brother is in the popular Sydney band the Presets), uses stop-motion photography and takes a clever and literal twist on the poppy song. The words appear as they are sung and are formed with materials that match their meaning: cloud from fluffy flour, been out of green beans, spring with Slinkys. To all you video artists (and fans) out there, we say, keep ’em coming!

'Citizen Kane' again leads list of top 100 U.S. movies movies | AccessAtlanta

'Citizen Kane' again leads list of top 100 U.S. movies movies | AccessAtlanta: "The American Film Institute has once again chosen Orson Welles' 'Citizen Kane' as the greatest movie of all time. A jury of 1,500 film artists, critics and historians made the selections, which were included in the '100 Years ... 100 Movies' 10th anniversary edition, which aired Wednesday night on CBS. Out of the 43 newly eligible films released from 1996 to 2006, only 'The Lord of the Rings,' 'Saving Private Ryan,' 'Titanic' and 'The Sixth Sense' made the cut."

Directors sign on for next Bond, 'Narnia'

MOVIE mojo: Directors sign on for next Bond, 'Narnia' | AccessAtlanta: "Two of Hollywood's lucrative series have named new directors for their next installments —- and both men have shown they're adept at a wide range of movie genres.

The next James Bond movie will team Daniel Craig's 007 with Marc Forster, whose work has leapfrogged from racially charged character study ('Monster's Ball') to period biopic ('Finding Neverland') to comedy ('Stranger Than Fiction') to head trips ('Stay'). His next film, before the as-yet-untitled Bond 22, is an adaptation of 'The Kite Runner,' coming to theaters in November.

'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' —- the third film in that series, due in 2009, will be directed by Michael Apted ('Coal Miner's Daughter,' 'Gorillas in the Mist' and the 'Seven Up' documentary series)."

20 Movies Not Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

Premiere - 20 Movies Not Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: "Despite big names, strong buzz, and built-in fans, some films still find 'development hell' a very real place."

Aw, there are some really good ones on here too!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chris Staros: Marietta's Top Shelf comic-book publisher

Chris Staros: Marietta's Top Shelf comic-book publisher: Speakeasy with ...: Arts: Creative Loafing Atlanta: "On June 23, local comic-book publisher Top Shelf Productions celebrates its 10th anniversary with a party at MoCCA (the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) Arts Festival in New York. Over the past decade, Marietta's Chris Staros, together with his Portland, Ore.-based partner Brett Warnock, has survived cliffhanger-style adventures worthy of the kind of superhero comics they almost never publish. As a birthday present to readers old and new, the publisher offers a free, 264-page Top Shelf Seasonal Sampler, chock full of excerpts and previews."

Comics guru and Spider-Man creator Stan Lee gets his own action figure

Comics guru and Spider-Man creator Stan Lee gets his own action figure: "Comic-book fans already know Stan Lee is a Marvel legend. Now Hasbro is making it official.

The company will pay plastic tribute to the 84-year-old creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, X-Men, Fantastic Four and other comic-book heroes by interpreting him as a 15-centimetre tall Marvel Legends action figure. The toy shows Lee's likeness wearing khaki pants, a blue windbreaker and eyeglasses."

The Polyphonic Spree's new CD - Review from ChiTrib

Metromix. The Polyphonic Spree: "For their third full-length release, DeLaughter and company face the reality of the modern world with their brightly-colored robes replaced by matching black uniforms emblazoned with hearts and crosses. 'The Fragile Army' finds the Polyphonic Spree still preaching the power of the positive ('Running Away'), set to grand, orchestral productions that recall the Fifth Dimension if they'd been produced by Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne. They pull out a few new tricks, like the clunky disco of 'Mental Cabaret,' which plays like the Go! Team covering the Brady Bunch's 'Sunshine Day.'"

I've downloaded mine from iTunes already. Good stuff.

A Web of "Indecision" for Comedy Central - Yahoo! News

A Web of "Indecision" for Comedy Central - Yahoo! News: "Comedy Central is hitting the campaign trail online, expanding its long-running 'InDecision' franchise into a Web site that promises 'hastily-scribbled scat jokes, shameful punning and sophomoric Photoshopped images.'"

America's 10 Most-Loved Spokescreatures -

In Pictures: America's 10 Most-Loved Spokescreatures - The Geico Cavemen are the latest... which ones are your faves?

ABC News: Pentagon Funds Gay Bombs, Armed Sharks

ABC News: Pentagon Funds Gay Bombs, Armed Sharks: "Creating armor that renders a soldier invisible. Stimulating the brain to suppress sleep for days. Arming sharks with chemical implants and cameras to work as spies.

This year the Pentagon will spend $78 billion — about half of all government research and development dollars — on a variety of projects, according to the American Association for the Advancement for Science (AAAS)."

C-SPAN shares Lamb skewers on air -

C-SPAN shares Lamb skewers on air - "Michael Savage vs. Brian Lamb.

Sounds like the unlikeliest of media showdowns, right?

Well, it's happening right now, it's bloody, and Lamb is winning."

The struggle for independents | Salon Books

The struggle for independents | Salon Books: "The bankruptcy of a book distributor sent shock waves through the indie publishing world, leaving small presses like McSweeney's struggling to survive. Can the Internet help keep them afloat?"

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Comics Reporter: Mutts' Patrick McDonnell's Graduation Speech

The Comics Reporter has the transcript.

Onion AV Club: 10 Wonderfully Weird Moments From Fantastic Four Comics

Inventory: 10 Wonderfully Weird Moments From Fantastic Four Comics | The A.V. Club

BBC: Neverland director takes on Bond

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Neverland director takes on Bond: "Finding Neverland's Marc Forster will direct the latest James Bond adventure.

German-born Forster, whose 2001 film Monster's Ball won an Academy Award for actress Halle Berry, will direct Daniel Craig in the film, due out in 2008.

It will be based on a script developed by Forster and Crash director Paul Haggis - one of the writers behind last year's hit Bond outing Casino Royale."

BBC: Bloomberg quits Republicans

BBC NEWS | Americas | NY's Bloomberg quits Republicans: "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has left the Republican Party and changed his political status to unaffiliated.

The move has fuelled speculation that he may run as an independent candidate for the US presidency in 2008, although he insists he does not plan to stand.

Mr Bloomberg said a non-partisan approach had 'worked wonders in New York'. He is barred from seeking a third term as NY mayor in 2009.

A long-term Democrat, he switched parties when he ran for mayor in 2001."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

PW: Golden Age comic strips make a comeback

Return to Gasoline Alley - 6/18/2007 - Publishers Weekly: "From Charles Schulz’s Peanuts to Patrick O’Donnell’s Mutts, comic strip reprints have been a healthy category for over half a century, with such comical perennials as Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side among the all-time bestsellers of any kind. Interest in handy collections of current newspaper strips remains strong; Andrews McMeel, long the home of Doonesbury and Cathy, continues its reign as the dominant player in the market with such current hits as Scott Adam’s Dilbert and Darby Conley’s Get Fuzzy. But the current boom in graphic novels has created a “perfect storm” of both commercial and historical interest, where smaller publishers are taking advantage of an expanding market for legendary but long unavailable comic strips that had their heyday 40 or even 100 years ago.

The classic strip reprint trend probably started in 2004 with The Complete Peanuts from Seattle’s Fantagraphics Books, best known as a house for cutting-edge alternative cartoonists such as Dan Clowes. But today, 30%–40% of Fantagraphics’ publishing output consists of vintage comics material, most notably classic comic strips including Peanuts, Popeye and soon Pogo."

Hillary spoofs Sopranos

Uploaded by hotternews

Here's the winning campaign song... ehhhhh!

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Yorker: Hersh on Abu Ghraib

Annals of National Security: The General’s Report: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker: It's even worse than we knew.

And Raw Story has the video of Sy Hersh on CNN explaining it all.

Kircher Society: Superman's Fortress of Solitude discovered?

Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society: "In 2000, geologists at the Naica zinc mine in Mexico discovered the largest crystals ever found in a cave 300 meters beneath the Chihuahuan Desert. Some of the the sword-like selenite (gypsum) crystals are as long as 36 feet and weigh up to 55 tons. Earlier this year, Spanish geologists published a paper in the journal Geology explaining the rare set of conditions that allowed the crystals to grow so extraordinarily large. "

Go see the pix!

Evanier: Early Carson

news from Mark Evanierr: "We have a three-parter for you today, folks. Collectively, they form a little less than a half hour from a 1963 episode of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. This is the earliest large chunk of the show I've ever seen. It's so old that Henny Youngman is the big guest...and his material is relatively fresh."

Apple iPhone Battery Life Longer Than Expected

Apple iPhone Battery Life Longer Than Expected - News - "Apple's iPhone will have a longer lasting battery than originally expected, exceeding those in rival phones, the company said Monday." The touch-screen surface is also upgraded.

Reubens 2007 Photos courtesy Hogan's Alley

Welcome to Hogan's Alley! The National Cartoonists Society held its annual meeting in Orlando over Memorial Day weekend. The photo album is at:

Marvel Wants to Flex Its Own Heroic Muscles as a Moviemaker - New York Times

Marvel Wants to Flex Its Own Heroic Muscles as a Moviemaker - New York Times: No longer content to leave the actual moviemaking to the studios, the newly minted chairman of Marvel Studios is able to green-light movies of his choosing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

'Soon I Will Be Invincible' by Austin Grossman - BOOK REVIEW - Los Angeles Times -

'Soon I Will Be Invincible' by Austin Grossman - BOOK REVIEW - Los Angeles Times - "Maybe it's Adam Brody's fault. Or Tobey Maguire's. Or Christian Bale's or Alan Moore's or Michael Chabon's or Jonathan Lethem's. Whomever you want to hold responsible, comic books, once the province of extended adolescence, have become undeniably hip %u2014 OK, less geeky than they used to be.

Now video-game-design consultant Austin Grossman has joined the club. Unlike literary creations featuring comics history or essays flavored with mentions of familiar childhood favorites, his first novel, 'Soon I Will Be Invincible,' is a full-on spoof that conjures a pantheon of cyborgs, aliens, fairies, magicians and zeta-beam-obsessed scientists."

Two illustrated versions of Beowulf - NYT Book Review

Children’s Books | Young Adults - Books - Review - New York Times: "Beowulf,” a 3,000-line epic poem composed early in the eighth century, is the first significant text written in English, or in what eventually became English. What interests scholars about the story is its place in our linguistic development, and also the way it blends both Christian and pagan details. But what recommends “Beowulf” to children — and to older readers who haven’t lost a child’s delight in stories that are both scary and gory — is that it’s also a first-rate horror yarn, featuring slaughter, dismemberment and underwater sword fights."

Captain America next Marvel film (I thought he died?)

AHN | Marvel Comics Reveals "Captain America" As Next Movie Release | June 15, 2007: "Marvel Comics' President of Production Kevin Feige says the next superhero movie will be 'Captain America.'

The popular comic book is based on a character named Steve Rogers who becomes Captain America after volunteering for a military experiment to create soldiers with superhuman strength."

Surfer dude gets one 'Fantastic' gig

Surfer dude gets one 'Fantastic' gig | AccessAtlanta: "It's the sort of juicy creative development that can trigger what the comics geeks so eloquently term a 'fangasm.' As its title makes plain to the already-initiated, 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' delves into the story of a longboard-riding space enigma dispatched to Earth as advance scout for a planet-devouring entity called Galactus, with only our heroes standing in the path of the Earth's destruction.

The Silver Surfer is a true cult favorite in the Fantastic Four pantheon, one that quickly segued from misunderstood antagonist to breakout solo act after he was introduced by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in 1966. What's more, his inclusion in the sequel to 'Fantastic Four' (2005) marks a rare instance of a movie depicting crossovers in a shared superhero universe, something that's long been a storytelling staple for comics publishers but usually a virtual impossibility on-screen because of divvied-up rights. Marvel regularly gets the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man together, for example, but film rights to the characters are respectively held by 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures."

Silver Surfer: So cool he gets shout-outs in movies, music

Silver Surfer: So cool he gets shout-outs in movies, music | AccessAtlanta: "Some comic-book characters —- Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, for example —- are iconic enough that the mainstream is hip to them well before the inevitable movie hits. Then there are characters like the Ghost Rider, a lesser-known figure whose path to multiplexes was long and circuitous, precisely because he's no big deal in comics either.

The Silver Surfer is unique, though: He may be new to general audiences, but he's long had a hard core of worshipping fans. In fact, through the years a number of filmmakers and performers with geek streaks have tossed Surfer references into their work. Among past shout-outs that should now take on some actual meaning for mainstreamers, thanks to 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer'..."

MySpace Mini-Episodes, Courtesy of Honda - New York Times

MySpace Mini-Episodes, Courtesy of Honda - New York Times: "Honda will be the sole sponsor of what Sony Pictures Television is calling the Minisode Network, which is scheduled to begin next week. Visitors to the MySpace Web site (my will be able to watch episodes of 15 vintage Sony series like “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Facts of Life,” “Fantasy Island” and “Who’s the Boss,” edited from their original lengths of 30 or 60 minutes each to an Internet-friendly 4 to 6 minutes."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

THE BEAT: HeroesCon overview

THE BEAT - HeroesCon over view: Where I'll be this weekend!

Next 'Silver Surfer': Make it gnarly - Los Angeles Times

Next 'Silver Surfer': Make it gnarly - Los Angeles Times: "Feeling bullish on the eve of the release of its 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,' Fox has already put a feature spinoff into development that will star the enigmatic Surfer, with J. Michael Straczynski currently crafting the screenplay."

Blake Bell: Ditko doc done

Blake Bell's weblog about resetting the Mainstream in visual entertainment: "As we reported on April 28th, BBC Radio and TV personality Jonathan Ross has been working on a documentary for the BBC (the state-owned, television and radio empire in the United Kingdom) about the co-creator and original artist of the Amazing Spider-Man, Steve Ditko.

It's entitled, 'In Search of Steve Ditko' and it will be presented as a one-hour documentary on BBC4 (the BBC's art channel in the UK) in an undetermined date and time...

We may not have a date and time yet, but Mr. Ross has informed us that it's finished and we're going to have a copy of the final cut real soon! It's winging its way over the Atlantic ocean to my residence as we speak!"

'Surfer' is the thing for kid-friendly action |

'Surfer' is the thing for kid-friendly action | "The verdict: Fanboys, beware —- this one's mainly for younger kids.

There are plenty of mainstream moviegoers who love superhero action films but whose parents don't allow them to see a PG-13 movie.

'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' is for them.

The legions of fanboys who devoured the bloodletting in '300' will certainly be appalled by what appears —- or really, what doesn't appear —- in the PG-rated 'Silver Surfer.' But it's certainly one of the most sophisticated action movies for preteens ever made."

BeliefWatch: An Atheist Uproar -

BeliefWatch: An Atheist Uproar - Newsweek Beliefs - "It may not be fair to call what's happening in the atheist community a backlash, since atheists have always been and continue to be one of the smallest, most derided groups in the country. In a recent NEWSWEEK Poll, only 3 percent of respondents called themselves atheists and only 30 percent said they'd ever vote for an atheist. No, what's happening in the 'atheist, humanist, freethinkers' community is more like what happens to any ideological or political group as it matures: the hard-liners knock heads with the folks who want to just get along, and the cracks are beginning to show."

A Failure to Protect Our Troops - New York Times

A Failure to Protect Our Troops - editorial in the New York Times: "The Bush administration and military leaders in Washington are always claiming that they will do anything to support American troops fighting in Iraq. That makes it all the more infuriating to learn that, for more than two years, the Pentagon largely ignored urgent requests from field commanders for better armor-protected vehicles that could have saved untold lives and limbs."

Justice Dept. Reshapes Its Civil Rights Mission - New York Times

Justice Dept. Reshapes Its Civil Rights Mission - New York Times: "In recent years, the Bush administration has recast the federal government’s role in civil rights by aggressively pursuing religion-oriented cases while significantly diminishing its involvement in the traditional area of race."

Jeopardy Champ Ken Jennings on Chabon's latest

Ken Jennings - Blog: "Screw the Diana book–did you realize that May-June saw the release of new novels by Don DeLillo, Michael Chabon, Haruki Murakami and Ian McEwan? You know how it is, years go by without a bus, and then four stop at once.

I’ve only read The Yiddish Policemen’s Union so far, but it’s fantastic. Chabon’s obviously been studying his Chandler–the prose is even snappier and more quotable than it was in Kavalier and Clay, if that’s possible. And since he’s known to be a comic book fan as well–does anyone else think the “parallel-universe conspiracy explored via locked-room murder mystery” structure owes anything to Watchmen?"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TV's 'Mr. Wizard' Don Herbert Dies

TV's 'Mr. Wizard' Don Herbert Dies at 89 - "Don Herbert, who as television's 'Mr. Wizard' introduced generations of young viewers to the joys of science, died Tuesday. He was 89. Herbert, who had bone cancer, died at his suburban Bell Canyon home, said his son-in-law, Tom Nikosey.

'He really taught kids how to use the thinking skills of a scientist,' said former colleague Steve Jacobs. He worked with Herbert on a 1980s show that echoed the original 1950s 'Watch Mr. Wizard' series, which became a fond baby boomer memory."

That iPhone Has a Keyboard, but It’s Not Mechanical - New York Times

That iPhone Has a Keyboard, but It’s Not Mechanical - New York Times: "If there is a billion-dollar gamble underlying Apple’s iPhone, it lies in what this smart cellphone does not have: a mechanical keyboard."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Evanier on the WaPo Gore book review

news from Mark Evanier:

"Last Sunday, the Washington Post ran a scathing review of Al Gore's new book. The review was written by Andrew's the first paragraph of it...

You can't really blame Al Gore for not using footnotes in his new book, "The Assault on Reason." It's a sprawling, untidy blast of indignation, and annotating it with footnotes would be like trying to slip rubber bands around a puddle of quicksilver. Still, I'd love to know where he found the scary quote from Abraham Lincoln that he uses on page 88.

The Post has now added a "slight" correction to the online version of the review...

Andrew Ferguson's June 10 Outlook article, "What Al Wishes Abe Said," said that former vice president Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason" does not contain footnotes. The book contains 20 pages of endnotes.

...The reviewer started right off by attacking Gore's book for not including footnotes that told us things like where he got a certain quote from Abraham Lincoln...but the book does include twenty pages of endnotes that tell us things like where he got that certain quote from Abraham Lincoln.

This kind of thing really baffles me, and I don't mean this as any kind of defense of Gore's book, which I have not read. I just don't get how an allegedly real newspaper like The Washington Post continues to print things that would have gotten me flunked in my high school Journalism class."

Pow! Romance! Comics Court Girls -

Pow! Romance! Comics Court Girls - "The next wave of heroes in the comic book business may look more like 'Plain Janes' than X-Men.

Industry heavyweights including Time Warner Inc.'s DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment Inc. are betting that girls represent a big growth opportunity for the traditionally male-dominated medium. It's part of a renewed push in recent years by the two biggest comic-book companies to court a new audience with products aimed squarely at teenage girls."

The McSweeney's Store: Big Sale!

The McSweeney's Store:

I love McSweeney's journal and website and all the good things they do. Dave Eggers is the brains and energy behind the enterprise, and one of my favorite authors. They sent out an email to customers and I thought I'd pass it along...

As you may know, it's been tough going for many independent publishers, McSweeney's included, since our distributor filed for bankruptcy last December 29. We lost about $130,000 -- actual earnings that were simply erased. Due to the intricacies of the settlement, the real hurt didn't hit right away, but it's hitting now. Like most small publishers, our business is basically a break-even proposition in the best of times, so there's really no way to absorb a loss that big.

We are committed to getting through and past this difficult time, and we're hoping you, the readers who have from the start made McSweeney's possible, will help us.

Over the next week or so, we'll be holding an inventory sell-off and rare-item auction, which we hope will make a dent in the losses we sustained. A few years ago, the indispensible comics publisher Fantagraphics, in similarly dire straits, held a similar sale, and it helped them greatly. We're hoping to do the same.

So if you've had your eye on anything we've produced, now would be a great time to take the plunge. For the next week or so, subscriptions are $5 off, new books are 30 percent off, and all backlist is 50 percent off. Please check out the store and enjoy the astounding savings, while knowing every purchase will help dig us out of a big hole.

Many of our contributors have stepped up and given us original artwork and limited editions to auction off. We've got original artwork from Chris Ware, Marcel Dzama, David Byrne, and Tony Millionaire; a limited-edition music mix from Nick Hornby; rare early issues of the quarterly, direct from Sean Wilsey's closet; and more. We're even auctioning off Dave Eggers's painting of George Bush as a double-amputee, from the cover of Issue 14.

This is the bulk of our groundbreaking business-saving plan: to continue to sell the things we've made, albeit at a greatly accelerated pace for a brief period of time. We are not business masterminds, but we are optimistic that this will work. If you've liked what we've done up to now, this is the time to ensure we'll be able to keep on doing more.

Plenty of excellent presses are in similar straits these days; two top-notch peers of ours, Soft Skull and Counterpoint, were just acquired by Winton, Shoemaker & Co. in the last few weeks. It's an unsteady time for everybody, and we know we don't have any special claim to your book-buying budget. We owe all of you a lot for everything you've allowed us to do over the last nine years, for all the time and freedom we've been given.

Once this calamity is averted, we'll get back to our bread and butter -- the now-legendary Believer music issue is already creeping into mailboxes everywhere; Issue 24 of our quarterly is in the midst of a really pretty silkscreening process; and in July the fourth issue of Wholphin, our DVD magazine, will slip over the border from Canada, bringing with it some very good footage of Maggie Gyllenhaal and a Moroccan drummer who messes up a wedding in an entertaining way. And then a couple of months after that, we'll publish a debut novel from a writer named Millard Kaufman. This book is exactly the kind of thing McSweeney's was created to do: The novel came through the mail, without an agent's imprimatur, and it was written by a first-time novelist. This first-time novelist is ninety years old. It was pulled from the submissions pile and it knocked the socks off of everyone who read it. Millard may well be the best extant epic-comedic writer of his generation, and he stands at equal height with the best of several generations since.

Whatever you can do to help in the coming days, we thank you a thousand times. We'll keep updating everybody on how this is going over the next few weeks; for now, pick up a few things for yourself, your friends, for Barack Obama. More news soon -- thanks for reading.

Yours warmly,
The folks at McSweeney's

So visit and buy!

Worst movies of all time

Check out the others in this series.... they're a hoot!

Big Radio Makes a Grab for Internet Listeners - New York Times

Big Radio Makes a Grab for Internet Listeners - New York Times: "After ceding ground (and potential advertising dollars) for years to an army of autonomous Internet radio stations, some of which are run from basements and spare bedrooms, the nation’s biggest broadcasters are now marching online, determined to corral the next generation of listeners. The result may be a showdown to define the future of the medium.

Confronted by a slow erosion of listeners who are turning to iPods, podcasts and other sources for entertainment, the radio corporations are trying to merge their over-the-air music and D.J. chatter with the Web, adding online streams of their broadcasts and features already found on many independent Web-based stations. These include live chat rooms, blogs and MySpace-style social networking features."

Monday, June 11, 2007

AJC on Living Loved (my new book!)

AJC Faith & Values:
Messages: He uses own struggles in writing devotionals

By Rebecca Rakoczy
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/09/07

Peter Wallace is a listener by trade. As host and executive producer of "Day 1," the Alliance for Christian Media radio program based in Atlanta, he listens as others share their stories of faith and redemption.

Wallace's latest book, "Living Loved: Knowing Jesus as the Lover of Your Soul" (Seabury Press, $16) is a devotional based on the Gospel of John, but its roots spring from Wallace's —- and others' —-personal struggles. He has written six other devotional books.

"Writing a devotional takes a lot of reading Scripture, a lot of listening and a lot of soul searching," Wallace said. "I try to be open to what comes up in my own mind and heart, and think about what is troubling people and seek any type of insight from the Scripture to address these things," he said. "In writing 'Living Loved,' I was going through a personally rough time in my life and knew several people who were having intense problems and struggles in their lives. And what struck me as I was reading [the Gospel of ] John is that he is known —- or [it is] assumed —- that this is the disciple whom Jesus loved most, and my question was, if that person could feel like he was the one Jesus loved, can we experience that? How can we live in a way that we know that Jesus loves us?

"And as I read this whole Gospel, [I wondered] how do I fit into that place, that place of being loved? Writing this was helpful to me personally, to realize that I am loved and accepted by God, but also to know that you are supposed to be positive and proactive with that love —- you are supposed to share and show other people that love."

"Living Loved" will be published in July.

Macworld: Revised Desktop, Finder highlight Leopard Mac OS additions

Macworld: News: Revised Desktop, Finder highlight Leopard additions: "When OS X 10.5: Leopard debuts in October, it will feature a redesigned Desktop and new Finder. Those new features were among the changes Steve Jobs introduced during a preview of the forthcoming OS X update code-named Leopard during his Worldwide Developers Conference keynote speech Monday."

Make Mine Marvel: Mighty Thor to return!

Make Mine Marvel: "When Marvel's mighty God of Thunder known as Thor disappeared while saving Asgard from Ragnarok, fans clamored for his return and this July their wish is granted in the brand new ongoing series Thor. Featuring scripts by award-winning scribe J. Michael Straczynski (Amazing Spider-Man) and rich, detailed art by superstar Olivier Coipel (House of M), this new ongoing series brings back Thor to the Marvel Universe—no clones, no robots, because this is the real deal!"

Thor has always been one of my favorite characters. In fact, I think an early Lee-Kirby Thor was one of the first super-hero comic books I ever read when I was a kid (that and Spidey). So I'll check this new version out...

Evanier: Alternate Comic Book Covers

Alternate Covers: Evanier has added another entertaining section to his website, and here's his introduction:

I added a new section to my website a few months ago and forgot to tell anyone about it. It's called Alternate Covers and it's about how comic book companies will sometimes have a cover drawn for a book and then before it goes to press, someone in the office will say, "Jeepers, that sucks" (or words to that effect) and they'll have it retouched or completely redone. Right now, I have sixteen examples of this up, all from Marvel. Others from other companies will follow and of course, if you have an example to share, get in touch with me.

In each case, I'm theorizing as to why the alteration was done and — who knows? — I may even be right in some cases. It's usually a guess and not always a sound one. Years ago, I came across a case where a cover had been redrawn and I developed an intricate but overwhelming theory as to why, having to do with figure placement and conveying the essence of the story within. Finally, I had the opportunity to present it to the fellow who'd made the decision and I expected him to say, "My God, that's exactly what happened. It's like you were in the office spying when I gave the order to have that cover redone!" Instead, he said, "Well, what really occurred was that the day the issue had to go to press, no one could find the cover we'd had drawn..."

Henry Jenkins interviews Dean Motter

Confessions of an Aca/Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins: The Future Isn't What It Used to Be: An Interview with Comics Creator Dean Motter: Dean is a great guy and a fantastic creator whose work I've enjoyed for years, and who I've gotten to meet and work with a few times.

Episcopal PB on Bill Moyers

Bill Moyers Journal - Watch & Listen - PBS: Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of Episcopal Church in the United States of America on the challenges facing the church in the 21st century.

Anglican Archbishop in European TIME cover article

Episcopal Life Online - WORLD REPORT: "The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, is featured on the front cover of the European and African June 7 editions of TIME Magazine. In a frank account of the challenges facing the Anglican Communion worldwide, TIME Magazine outlines Williams' hopes for the future in the run up to the 2008 Lambeth Conference."

Roy Blount Jr.: On Southernness, soybeans and Georgia Tech |

Q&A / ROY BLOUNT JR., author: On Southernness, soybeans and Georgia Tech | "'I left the South in search of the Enlightenment,' writes Roy Blount Jr., who grew up in Decatur. 'I spent a little over a third of my life, including the presumably most formative years (toilet training through college) living in the South. Mathematically, that makes me about exactly as Southern as the American people, 34 percent of whom are Southern residents.'

'Long Time Leaving: Dispatches From Up South' (Knopf, $25) is Blount's 20th book, a collection of his best essays on everything from why communism didn't originate in South Carolina to why Mark Twain is really great to why Bill Clinton is preferable to Robert E. Lee."

Southern Baptists meet, reconsider direction |

Southern Baptists meet, reconsider direction | "Southern Baptists head into their annual national meeting this week at odds over whether they've become too conservative and wed to partisan politics, or whether a harder line is necessary to give the denomination a clear identity.

Beginning Tuesday in San Antonio, proposals over everything from political involvement to clergy sexual abuse to speaking in tongues should provide a glimpse of where the 16.3 million-member denomination is headed, 28 years after the 'conservative resurgence' swept liberals out."

A Few Details of the iPhone Galvanize the Apple Cadre - New York Times

A Few Details of the iPhone Galvanize the Apple Cadre - New York Times: "These days advertisers fret over DVR owners fast-forwarding through their commercials, but that was far from the case with the release by Apple last week of four iPhone commercials, which viewers pored over with Talmudic intensity."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Religious Literacy - Stephen Prothero - Books - Review - New York Times

Religious Literacy - Stephen Prothero - Books - Review - New York Times: "Decline-and-fall books, like E. D. Hirsch Jr.’s “Cultural Literacy” and Allan Bloom’s “Closing of the American Mind,” can leave the reader torn between depression and elation: by detailing how stupid everyone else is, the authors leave us feeling better about ourselves. (“I know which has more members, the Supreme Court or the Supremes!”) So it was with smug anticipation that I opened “Religious Literacy,” Stephen Prothero’s jeremiad about declining religious knowledge. Most Americans “cannot name one of the four Gospels,” Prothero writes, “and many high school seniors think that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.” Religious illiteracy cuts across generations, and the devout scarcely know more than the secular do. In one survey of high school students, most evangelicals did not recognize that “Blessed are the poor in spirit” is from the Sermon on the Mount."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bono upset at G8 leaders - Reuters

Reuters AlertNet - INTERVIEW-G8 Africa pledge is a smokescreen, says Bono: "Rock star Bono denounced world leaders on Friday for producing a 'deliberately misleading' pledge to fight AIDS and other killer diseases.

'I am exasperated,' Bono told Reuters in a telephone interview at the Baltic resort where leaders from the world's rich nations were rounding off their three-day summit.

'I think it is deliberately the language of obfuscation. It is deliberately misleading,' he added.

G8 leaders announced a $60 billion pledge to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis with great fanfare but many activists were disappointed that they failed to set a timetable for the spending plans and that it contained little new money.

'They have taken language hostage. We wanted numbers but this is burobabble,' Bono said, criticising the lack of a timeline and the fact that the pledge did not apply specifically to Africa."

HuffPo: New Yorker article on McCartney criticized

"...And That's Why You're A Blogger And Not A Writer": New Yorker Writer Gets Touchy In Comments Section Of Blog - Media on The Huffington Post: "WOW. If New Yorker writer John Colapinto really is the 'John' posting in the comments section of this post on the blog 'Restricted View,' then he really does not like it when his work is criticized. For her part, Restricted View blogger Mollie Wilson, a contributor to Village Voice , American Theatre and Nextbook did not like Colapinto's article on Paul McCartney in last week's New Yorker, called 'When I'm Sixty-Four: Paul McCartney And His Music,' or, as she thought he ought to have called it, 'How I spent a week wasting Paul McCartney's time.' Ouch! Wilson felt that, contrary to the title, the article was not at all a look at the man and his music ('There's no real criticism of his music, either then or now, and certainly no attempt is made to synthesize his body of work') and was rather a catalog of fan encounters and the writer's own 'dumb questions' (like, suggesting that a fan could have been 'another Mark David Chapman'). Her takeaway? 'Dull, shapeless and devoid of insight.'"

Apple's 'Get A Mac' Campaign Wins

MediaPost Publications - TBWA Unit Takes Top Effie For Apple's 'Get A Mac' Campaign - 06/08/2007: "TBWA'S MEDIA ARTS LAB GOT the top nod in the 39th annual Effie Awards. And WPP won top holding company honors in last night's celebration, with WPP getting the most trophies for 'ideas that work.'

Media Arts' 'Get a Mac' campaign for Apple, which features a friendly rivalry between a Mac, embodied by a distinctly urban hipster, mod-declasse type, and a PC, in the form of a stodgy middle-aged factotum who looks like an extra from the Bartleby-esque 'Office Space' movie. The event was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York.

'After much spirited discussion, the jury unanimously awarded Apple the Grand Effie for its portrayal of the Mac/PC rivalry,' says John Butler, co-creative director of Butler Shine Stern & Partners and Grand Effie jury chair this year. 'They managed to do it with humor, class and honesty without falling into the trap of overtly negative competitive advertising.'"

UK Guardian: Chabon Interview

Stuart Jeffries talks to Michael Chabon | By genre | Guardian Unlimited Books: "Michael Chabon's new novel is a strange noir tale featuring Yiddish, the language of his grandparents. He tells Stuart Jeffries about the fun he had writing it, Jewishness and why good looks mean nothing..."

Philip K. Dick: A Sage of the Future Whose Time Has Finally Come - New York Times

Philip K. Dick: A Sage of the Future Whose Time Has Finally Come - New York Times: "Philip K. Dick was still an obscure pulp novelist known mainly to teenage boys when a friend predicted that he would one day have more impact on the world than celebrated writers like William Faulkner, Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut. The prediction seemed almost delusional in the 1960s, when Dick was popping pills around the clock and churning out novels in a science fiction ghetto from which he seemed destined never to escape.

He did get out, but only posthumously. And with his recent celebration as the sage of futurism, and his pervasiveness on bookshelves and in Hollywood, the early predictions about the growth of his influence have come to seem prescient.


Sunday Brunch? Now, I'll have church |

Sunday Brunch? Now, I'll have church | op-ed by Kate Carter at "Recently, I decided to end my decade-long stint of lazy Sunday brunching and to start church shopping. I had a baby nine months ago, and decided it was time to trade in my 'Sunday best' of designer jeans, flip-flops and arugula omelets for church clothes and potlucks."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Holy Heroes!!

Holy Heroes!! Just discovered this blog on Religion in Comics courtesy of Dirk Deppy's blog. Bookmarked!

Stan Lee signs exclusive deal with Disney Studios

The Walt Disney Studios Signs Exclusive Deal With Spider-Man's Legendary Creator Stan Lee: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance: "The Walt Disney Studios has entered into an exclusive multi-year first look deal with 'Spider-Man' creator and producer Stan Lee and his production company POW! Entertainment, it was announced by Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lee and his production company will develop and produce all forms of entertainment.

"As the father of such renowned comic book heroes as Spider-Man, The Hulk, X-Men among others, Stan is considered one of the most creative and inventive forces in the industry today. His innate talent of tapping into the human qualities of his super hero characters has certainly struck a chord with generations of audiences and readers around the world," stated Cook in making the announcement. "We are honored to be working with someone as formidable as Stan and his production company and welcome them to the Disney family."

"It's like the realization of a dream. Ever since I was a young boy, Disney represented the best and most exciting film fare to me. And now, many decades later, with movies such as their incredible Pirates of the Caribbean spectaculars, Disney is still at the forefront of family entertainment, excelling in live action, animation, TV, theme parks -- whatever it takes to bring fun and fantasy to audiences everywhere. I look forward with indescribable enthusiasm to being a part of that world and contributing whatever I can to keep the legend alive and growing," said Stan Lee, chairman of POW! Entertainment."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

WWD: Vanity Fair Bono-edited issue has 20 different covers Authoritative coverage of the Media Industry from WWD: "COLLECT 'EM ALL: It's going to take more than one coffee table to carry July's Vanity Fair, since there will be 20 editions of the Cond�Nast monthly for consumers to collect. The Bono guest-edited Africa issue will hit newsstands today. And if overfilling pockets at newsstands isn't enough to attract readers' attention, perhaps a giant display on Madison Avenue will be. Barneys New York will display all 20 of the covers in its windows through June 19.

Annie Leibovitz shot all the covers to capture what looks like a game of telephone among international icons discussing the crisis in Africa. The list of subjects read like a who's who of Africa awareness: Warren Buffett, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Desmond Tutu, Oprah Winfrey, Djimon Hounsou, Chris Rock, Muhammad Ali, Jay-Z, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Iman, to name a few. Each photo shows two subjects conversing with each other — Don Cheadle talking with Barack Obama, Madonna speaking with Maya Angelou, Queen Rania of Jordan speaking to Bono. 'These are incredible people of our time who all have a passion for and a connection to Africa,' said Leibovitz. 'It was important to me to really show the humanity in their faces.'"

BBC: Epilepsy fears over 2012 Olympics logo

BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | Epilepsy fears over 2012 footage: "A segment of animated footage promoting the 2012 Olympics has been removed from the organisers' website after fears it could trigger epileptic seizures.

Prof Graham Harding, who developed the test used to measure photo-sensitivity levels in TV material, said it should not be broadcast again.

Charity Epilepsy Action said it had received calls from people who had suffered fits after seeing it."

Sarsaparilla: Writers, blogging

Sarsaparilla - Writers, blogging: "So, to the point: given that words are a key form of communication in blogs, you would think that published writers would be heavily represented in the blog world but my research did not turn up any like the number I expected - though of course you could write a whole other article on bloggers who have been offered book deals as a result of their blogs: these include the author of Dog Days, Ana Marie Cox, who was the Washington gossip blogger, Wonkette, and Iraqi blogger, Salaam Pax. So, from what I could gather, not nearly as many published writers as one would expect have blogs and the ones that did, seemed to be dropping them."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

TV Week: Whatever happened to Dennis Miller?

TV Week: "GSN named Dennis Miller as host of its new game show 'Grand Slam.'"

Game Show Network. Game show host. Come back, Dennis, we forgive you.

TV Week: TV Critics noms

TV Week: "NBC once again dominated the Television Critics Association's annual award nominations for outstanding programming and performances.

Freshman series '30 Rock,' 'Friday Night Lights' and 'Heroes' garnered 12 nominations among them. Returning comedy 'The Office' also secured a nod."

TAWOK&C: More on Chabon's upcoming books

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News: "Michael Chabon says his first non-fiction book will feature a variety of his non-fiction writings on the subject of being a man in terms of being a son, a father and a husband.

'Not just the Details columns, also other of my non-fiction writing on the subject, shaped, and hopefully given some kind of coherent structure,' he said via e-mail. 'Edited, in other words; first by me, then by my editor Jennifer Barth.'

The book is tentatively scheduled for spring 2009.

Chabon also said he has put a young adults novel on-hold.

'Just wasn't working for me; I'll get back to it eventually,' he said.

As for the Bay Area-based novel announced this week, Chabon said it 'is to be for adults, but I don't want to say anything more about it right now,' including the title."

Cagle features more cartoonists

About 200 Cartoonists Get RSS Feeds on Cagle Site: "Daryl Cagle has begun offering RSS feeds for about 200 editorial cartoonists on his massive Web site."

TCR: Spurgeon on Reagan's comics reading

The Comics Reporter: "Ronald Reagan once scared the crap out of me in a comics-related fashion. He was appearing on a presidents-meets-kids television special and one of the kids asked him what part of the newspaper he read first, and the Gipper said the comics page. I thought this was very cute, and then Reagan accurately described the storyline to that month's Amazing Spider-Man. Although my heart has softened since then when it comes to adults taking time for the funny pages, teenaged me was convinced this made President Reagan a total idiot, and that our lives had been in the hands of someone likely to be thinking about Dr. Doom instead of whatever information was necessary to decide whether or not to bomb Russia.

Anyway, there's a cute snippet in the 11th graph of this piece about Reagan's diaries involving a phone call to Berke Breathed in 1985 that I won't ruin for the article writer by copying and pasting here. It's worth a peek. "

CNN: Dem candidates and faith

C&L: Olbermann: The Nexus Of Politics And Terror

Crooks and Liars - Olbermann: The Nexus Of Politics And Terror: "On Monday night's 'Countdown' Keith Olbermann updates his disturbing timeline of how the Bush Administration has strategically used terrorism and fear to counter bad publicity, starting in 2002 all the way up to the most recent terrorist plot to blow up JFK airport. This is a long segment so we've broken it down into two files. This is stunning, and dramatic analysis, make sure to watch both parts."

New York Mag: Chabon re-signs with Harper for two books

Entertainment & Culture Blog -- New York Magazine: "Chabon Again With Harper: Michael Chabon signs two-book deal with HarperCollins' Jonathan Burnham, with Jennifer Barth editing. Mary Evans is Chabon's agent. Deal covers novel set in contemporary Bay Area and book of nonfiction about 'being a man in all its complexity — a son, a father, a husband.' Somewhere, Ayelet Waldman haters sharpen their knives."

MC mentioned when he was in Atlanta that his next novel would be set in present day. The nonfiction book is essentially a collection of his excellent columns that have been running in DETAILS magazine.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Quill Awards coming again

The Quill Awards: "The Quill Awards are the only book awards to pair a populist sensibility with Hollywood-style glitz. They are the first literary prizes to reflect the tastes of all the groups that matter most in publishing--- readers, booksellers and librarians.

The Quills, an initiative launched with the support of Reed Business Information, is an industry qualified awards program for books, honoring the year’s most entertaining and enlightening titles.

The Quills celebrates the best books of the year in nineteen popular categories, ranging from romance to biography to graphic novels."

The religious left lifts its voice in campaign 2008

The religious left lifts its voice in campaign 2008 - "After years in the shadow of the religious right, churchgoing liberals are joining the political fray: lobbying Congress, organizing grass-roots groups and promoting compassion in books and blogs.

''The religious right has tried to paint progressives as if they are a bunch of people on the fringe who are out of touch with mainstream America, and that's just not the case,'' said the Rev. Tim Simpson, a Presbyterian minister and spokesman for the Jacksonville-based Christian Alliance for Progress. ``We think theological reflection is the responsibility of every Christian voter . . . How should a Christian think about this war? How should a Christian think about torture?''

Efforts to resurrect the religious left -- a political force that many say has been largely dormant since the Civil Rights movement -- coincides with growing disarray among religious conservatives. The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ in Fort Lauderdale shut down in April after a decade of lobbying for conservative Christian causes. The Rev. Jerry Falwell's recent death prompted soul-searching among evangelicals about his legacy of uniting them with the GOP."

Newsweek interviews Macca

'Truth Is, I'm the Same Guy I Always Was' - Newsweek Life Lessons - "Paul McCartney hasn't slowed down. in the midst of a messy divorce, the 40th anniversary of 'Sgt. Pepper' and preparations for his 65th birthday, McCartney is releasing his 22nd post-Beatles studio disc, 'Memory Almost Full,' on Starbucks' Hear Music label. Nostalgic yet inventive, it's his most vibrant record in years—and the first one to come out on Apple's iTunes store. McCartney spoke to NEWSWEEK's Andrew Romano and Daniel Klaidman last week by phone while driving through the English countryside to rehearse with his band for an upcoming series of (shh!) secret, small-club shows. Excerpts:"

Opus day! | Salon Books

Opus day! | Salon Books: "Berkeley Breathed, Salon's new Sunday cartoonist, tells us why he'd kiss Cheney if he could, why satirists can't touch Bush, and why his new children's book was flayed by the p.c. police."

Rock Bottom Remainders - Books - New York Times

Rock Bottom Remainders - Books - New York Times: The Rock Bottom Remainders, whose members include Amy Tan, Dave Barry and Stephen King, are what every garage band dreams of becoming: people with word-processing day jobs who every now and then get to go on tour.

Fever Builds for iPhone (Anxiety Too) - New York Times

Fever Builds for iPhone (Anxiety Too) - New York Times: "During an onscreen demonstration of the iPhone in Apple’s sprawling retail store here recently, an employee, clad in a black T-shirt, of course, surprised a potential customer.

Nonplused, the customer stammered, “You mean it’s a cellphone, too?”

Such is the spell that Steven P. Jobs has cast on the American consumer."

Iraq Is the Flash Point as 8 Democratic Rivals Clash - New York Times

Iraq Is the Flash Point as 8 Democratic Rivals Clash - New York Times: "The three leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination attacked each other overtly and subtly Sunday over Iraq and their judgment, honesty and leadership in handling that war."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Kim Deitch books - Review in NYT BOok Review

Summer Reading - Comics - John Hodgman - New York Times: "Now in two new books, SHADOWLAND (Fantagraphics, paper, $18.95) and ALIAS THE CAT! (Pantheon, $23), Deitch draws a dark, twisting line from the carnival sideshow to New Jersey and its brief tenure as the movie serial capital of the United States, from lost comic strips to urban myths to fairy tales to the provenance of flea market antiques and eBay finds and all the other strange and sometimes forgotten ways we told stories to one another in the last century."

Read Any Good Books Lately? - New York Times

Read Any Good Books Lately? - New York Times Book Review: "We asked a handful of writers what books they’ve enjoyed most over the last few months, and why. Their choices — from best sellers to poetry collections to a philosophy of science — are idiosyncratic and instructive."

Dick Cheney Rules - New York Times

Dick Cheney Rules - editorial in New York Times: Mr. Cheney has privatized the job of vice president of the United States with his secrecy, impatience with government regulations, backroom dealings, and disdain for accountability.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cute take-off on "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC"

Hi, I'm a Marvel...and I'm a DC:

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Speaking of Sgt. Pepper's...

This is Pop Culture has a whole slew of pix and links and interesting tidbits about the Beatles' 40-year-old album... check 'em out. - An Interview with Steven Wright - An Interview with Steven Wright: "One of our favorite Steven Wright jokes goes, “You know how it feels when you're leaning back on a chair, and you lean too far back, and you almost fall over backwards, but then you catch yourself at the last second? I feel like that all the time.” Well, to talk to him, you would have no idea. Sure, his flat, slow monotone is there. (We spent half the interview fighting the urge to ask him to introduce another “rock classic, as K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the ‘70s rolls on.”) But his overall energy is upbeat, damn near buoyant. Apparently, being a legendary stand-up comedian and one of the most influential joke writers of all time isn’t such a bad gig after all. "

I didn't know CRACKED magazine had such an interesting website!

The 20 Best "That Guys" of All Time - The 20 Best "That Guys" of All Time: "What is a 'That Guy'? A That Guy is a B-list character actor who's just talented enough to secure bit parts in a handful of movies every year, but not quite talented enough to become a brand-name star like Chris Kattan. Some specialize in playing villains and others in having freaky-enormous chest tattoos, but combined, these brave, barely handsome men have appeared in every single movie produced in the last decade."

Hat tip Evanier.

Evanier: Steve Allen Tonight show clips

news from me: "Okay, here's a treasure. Very few kinescopes exist of Tonight (it was not called The Tonight Show back then) from when it was hosted by Steve Allen. Here's a little less than a half hour from the Halloween show of 1954. That's Gene Rayburn doing the opening announce and then Steve, wearing a Halloween costume, welcomes the new audience..." Check out the three-part video package. - NBC to air Live Earth concerts - NBC to air Live Earth concerts: "NBC Universal has landed the U.S. broadcast rights to Al Gore's Live Earth concerts.

The Peacock will serve up coverage July 7 on a slew of its networks, from the NBC mothership to Universal HD. Bulk of the coverage will run on Bravo, Universal HD and Sundance Channel."

Daily Kos: A Surgeon General Who Will "Cure" Gays?

Daily Kos: A Surgeon General Who Will "Cure" Gays?: "Last week, with little fanfare, George W. Bush announced the nomination of Joseph Holsinger to become the Surgeon General of the United States." Read his credentials.

Huffingtonpost: Secrets behind its success | Chicago Tribune

Huffingtonpost: Secrets behind its success | Chicago Tribune: "Eschewing the increasingly out-of-favor front page of a thousand links, the HuffPo ( has removed all the twigs and branches it had lying around, moving from a catchall to a catch-the-eye approach.

With a clean look that displays ads rather than letting them dominate, it has broken its content down to five very newspaperesque sections, including News, Politics and the redundantly titled Living Now. (Why not just call it 'Living Life Today' and make it spectacularly redundant?)

A sort of new-world paper named for a celebrity rather than a city, the Post is the brainchild of political talk-show regular Arianna Huffington and former AOL Time Warner executive Kenneth Lerer. And it has done what many thought was difficult-to-impossible at this stage in Webdom: catapulted to the top in two years."

Onion: 24-Second News Cycle

Media Landscape Redefined By 24-Second News Cycle | The Onion - America's Finest News Source: "CNN is widely credited with initiating the acceleration of the modern news cycle with the fall 2006 debut of its spin-off channel CNN:24, which provides a breaking news story, an update on that story, and a news recap all within 24 seconds. In addition to creating its groundbreaking format, CNN:24 broke many important stories with reports such as 'Ford No Money Everyone Fired,' 'Iraq Bomb Kill Truck,' 'Country Hates Bush,' 'Dow High Now,' and 'Squirrel Water Skis.'"

40 Years Ago Today...

THE BEATLES have a special website commemorating Sgt. Pepper's 40th anniversary today.