Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BBC: UN backs new Darfur peace force

BBC NEWS | Africa | UN backs new Darfur peace force: "The United Nations Security Council has voted in favour of sending peacekeepers to Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

Up to 26,000 troops and police will make up the world's largest peacekeeping force, under a joint UN and African Union mandate.

The resolution will allow peacekeepers to use force to defend civilians and aid workers in Darfur from any attack."

Living Loved ranked under #100,000 on Amazon!

My new book Living Loved, just released from Seabury Press, is currently below #100,000 in the Amazon ranking:

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #63,745 in Books

Just last week it was like #856,231!

Check it out!

Top Ten (Plus One) Religious Episodes on 'The Simpsons' -- Beliefnet.com

Simpsons Movie, D'Oh! Top Ten (Plus One) Religious Episodes on 'The Simpsons' -- Beliefnet.com: "Bart Simpson once asked his father about the family's religious identity. Homer classically replied, 'You know, the one with all the well-meaning rules that don't work in real life. Uh, Christianity.' In 18 seasons of 'The Simpsons,' nearly 20 episodes of the award-winning animated series have focused almost exclusively on faith, religion, and spirituality, while similar subplots, jokes, and images are scattered throughout 150 other episodes.

With 'The Simpsons Movie' opening on July 27th (and rumored to explore more irreverent faith-focused storylines), the time is ripe for a list of the top ten (plus 1) episodes dealing with religion. "

Monday, July 30, 2007

NYT: Portmeirion in Wales--Journeys

A Man’s Whim on the Welsh Coast - New York Times: "ALONG an estuary at the northwest tip of Wales, a one-hour hike through a hill town called Portmeirion can lead past a pagoda-shaped chinoiserie gazebo, some Gothic pinnacles, eucalyptus groves, a crenelated castle, a Mediterranean bell tower, a Jacobean town hall, and an Art Deco cylindrical watchtower. And watch your head while you duck through some archways and doors because they are four-fifths of normal scale."

This was the place where the great TV show "The Prisoner" was filmed.

TCR: Eisner Awards Winners announced

The Comics Reporter: "2007 Eisner Award Results" were announced at the San Diego Comic Con... some interesting winners!

Religion Looms Large Over 2008 Race - washingtonpost.com

Religion Looms Large Over 2008 Race - washingtonpost.com: "Religion has not played so prominent a role in a U.S. national election since 1960, when John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic to be elected president.

And it's not only Romney under scrutiny. All the Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls have been grilled on their religious beliefs. Most seem eager to talk publicly about their faith as they actively court religious voters.


Tom Snyder of `Tomorrow Show' dies

Tom Snyder of `Tomorrow Show' dies at 71 - Yahoo! News: "Tom Snyder, whose smoke-filled interviews were a staple of late-night television, has died after a struggle with leukemia. He was 71."

Writer composes novel on cellphone

Mobile Media News: "When we say 'mobile media,' this isn't what we usually have in mind. Still, props go to Robert Bernocco, an Italian IT professional who penned an entire 384-page science fiction novel using the T9 text system on his Nokia cellphone.

'It really was a time management issue. He had a book in him and really wanted to write it but found he just didn't have the time to sit and do it on a computer,' said Gail Jordan, PR director at the book's publishers, Lulu.com, in the Reuters article."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Coalition of Evangelicals Voices Support for Palestinian State - New York Times

Coalition of Evangelicals Voices Support for Palestinian State - New York Times: "In recent years, conservative evangelicals who claim a Biblical mandate to protect Israel have built a bulwark of support for the Jewish nation — sending donations, denouncing its critics and urging it not to evacuate settlements or forfeit territory.

Now more than 30 evangelical leaders are stepping forward to say these efforts have given the wrong impression about the stance of many, if not most, American evangelicals.

On Friday, these leaders sent a letter to President Bush saying that both Israelis and Palestinians have “legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine,” and that they support the creation of a Palestinian state “that includes the vast majority of the West Bank.”


Superheroes flee comics to invade 'real' world - Telegraph

Superheroes flee comics to invade 'real' world - Telegraph: "It has been a good long time since comics - as the perennial headline has it - 'grew up'. Who'd have thought we'd reach the point where comics are on their way to being the only medium not wearing nappies?" Interesting commentary on modern comics.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

As U.S. Rebuilds, Iraq Won’t Act on Finished Work - New York Times

As U.S. Rebuilds, Iraq Won’t Act on Finished Work - New York Times: "Iraq’s national government is refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed reconstruction projects, forcing the United States either to hand them over to local Iraqis, who often lack the proper training and resources to keep the projects running, or commit new money to an effort that has already consumed billions of taxpayer dollars.

The conclusions, detailed in a report released Friday by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal oversight agency, include the finding that of 2,797 completed projects costing $5.8 billion, Iraq’s national government had, by the spring of this year, accepted only 435 projects valued at $501 million. Few transfers to Iraqi national government control have taken place since the current Iraqi government, which is frequently criticized for inaction on matters relating to the American intervention, took office in 2006.

The United States often promotes the number of rebuilding projects, like power plants and hospitals, that have been completed in Iraq, citing them as signs of progress in a nation otherwise fraught with violence and political stalemate. But closer examination by the inspector general’s office, headed by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., has found that a number of individual projects are crumbling, abandoned or otherwise inoperative only months after the United States declared that they had been successfully completed. The United States always intended to hand over projects to the Iraqi government when they were completed."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Barna: We Feel Good About Ourselves

Welcome to The Barna Group!: "Sociologists have good reason to call this the era of hyper-individualism, according to data from a newly released study from The Barna Group. Based on interviews with a nationally representative sample of more than 4000 adults, the self-image of American adults came through loud and clear.

Most Americans think of themselves as leaders (71%) and believe they are well-informed about current events (81%). They almost unanimously view themselves as independent thinkers (95%), and as loyal and reliable people (98%). They also say they are able to easily adapt to changes and a whopping four out of five people believe they are making a positive difference in the world. Two out of three adults noted that they like to be in control of situations."

Marvel's The Twelve announced

NEWSARAMA.COM: SDCC '07 - MARVEL'S THE TWELVE REVEALED: "This series has been teased for sometime on Chris Weston's blog and here at Newsarama in an edition of New Joe Fridays earlier this year, but the series wasn't officially announced until today at San Diego Comicon. That series is The Twelve.

The Twelve is a 12-issue miniseries by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Chris Weston, and features twelve heroes from the earliest heroes of Marvel mythology.

While some of Marvel's first heroes such as Namor and Captain America have blossomed into the foundation for the Marvel Universe, there are others that for one reason or another weren't able to have a firm grip as Marvel evolved. But no more. In this twelve issue series scheduled to begin in Spring 2008, these heroes (and villains) are revived and rejuvenated and brought into the 21st century."

Nimoy to Reprise Spock Role in Trek Film

Nimoy to Reprise Spock Role in Trek Film - The Huffington Post: "Leonard Nimoy isn't through with Spock yet. The 76-year-old actor will don his famous pointy ears again to play the role in an upcoming 'Star Trek' film due out Christmas 2008.

'This is really going to be a great movie. And I don't say things like that lightly,' Nimoy told a gathering of 6,500 fans Thursday at Comic-Con, the nation's largest pop-culture convention.

He greeted the crowd with a Vulcan salute.

Nimoy was joined by the newly named young Spock, 'Heroes' star Zachary Quinto, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Nimoy."

Imus and CBS to settle?

TALK SHOW SETTLEMENT | By PETER LAURIA | Business News | Financial | Business and Money: "Don Imus is about to get paid.

The disowned shock jock is close to a settlement that would have former employer CBS buy out his contract as a way to avoid costly and ugly litigation, according to multiple sources close to the situation.

These sources said the two sides have agreed in principle to a buyout and are currently exploring the price tag for such a deal - Imus had $40 million left on his contract when he was booted from CBS, but his lawsuit against the company seeks $120 million in damages.


But while the negotiations over a settlement are all but finalized, these sources said CBS is dragging its feet on making the deal official until it can sign Boomer Esiason to a contract to take over Imus' old morning slot on WFAN.

Imus, however, is known to be hankering to get back on the airwaves, and sources said his camp has reached out to privately owned Buckley Broadcasting, publicly-traded Citadel Communications and Clear Channel Communications about the possibility of a return."

mediabistro.com: Whoopi to the View?

mediabistro.com: FishbowlNY: "Mark it down: Whoopi Goldberg will be named the new co-host of The View, FishbowlNY has learned. Sources close to the decision say the announcement could come in a matter of days."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Max Blumenthal: Rapture Ready

Max Blumenthal: Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour - Politics on The Huffington Post

Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour from huffpost and Vimeo.

Who Wants to Be a Superhero II debutes tonight

Who Wants to Be a Superhero? - SCIFI.COM: Check out the ten new contestants in Stan Lee's new series.

Variety.com: 'Spirit' moves Frank Miller

Variety.com - 'Spirit' moves Frank Miller: The comics divo on his latest movie project: Will Eisner's The Spirit.

TIPC: Dark Horse reviving Creepy, Eerie

This is Pop Culture: "Can you tell Comicon is on in San Diego? There's loads of comics and pop culture news coming out. Like, for example, Dark Horse Comics is reviving Warren Publishing's Eerie and Creepy titles. Along with new material in those titles, Dark Horse will publish a series of hardcover archives collecting classic tales from Warren's original mags.

Many of today’s brightest stars will lend their talents to the venture, including horror legend Bernie Wrightson (City of Others) and modern master Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre).

Creepy is best remembered for its classic horror and was hosted by Uncle Creepy, while Eerie often ventured into science fiction and featured Cousin Eerie as its host. The rest of the gang includes Hunter, Child, El Cid, Marvin the Dead Thing, and the newly developed Creepy Family. The magazines, originally published by Jim Warren are remembered as presenting some of the era’s greatest genre comics work.

“Both Creepy and Eerie are fondly remembered by comics fans as representing the best of science fiction and horror, and Dark Horse is proud and excited to relaunch these classic titles,” said Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson.

The deal also may lead to Creepy and/or Eerie titled TV and movie projects, the press release adds."

Democrats Urge Perjury Probe of Gonzales (AP)

Democrats Urge Perjury Probe of Gonzales - The Huffington Post: "Senate Democrats called for a perjury investigation against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday and subpoenaed top presidential aide Karl Rove in a deepening political and legal clash with the Bush administration."

AJC: Simpsons movie "isn't anything special"--D'Oh!

You're paying to see this movie? D'oh! | ajc.com: "The verdict: Not as bad as it could be, but certainly not as good as you want.

'The Simpsons Movie' hardly gets under way before Homer Simpson lobs a barb at those of us sitting out there in the dark.

'Everyone in this movie theater is a giant sucker,' he says. 'Especially you.'

The joke is that we will pay money to see a big-screen version of a TV show that can be had for free on the boob tube.

Homer's probably more right than anyone can imagine. 'The Simpsons Movie' isn't anything special and certainly not the creative spark necessary to jump-start what for years has been a sagging show. "

Apple Profit Soars 73% as Sales Rise - New York Times

Apple Profit Soars 73% as Sales Rise - New York Times: "Apple on Wednesday reported a 73 percent jump in quarterly profit on strong sales of Macs and iPods, beating Wall Street forecasts. It also alleviated some concerns about early sales of the iPhone.

Investors were spooked on Tuesday when AT&T, which provides service for the phone, said it had activated just 146,000 iPhones in the day and a half from its release to the end of the quarter, far fewer than some analysts had expected. That sent Apple’s stock down 6 percent.

But Apple executives said on Wednesday that the company had actually sold 270,000 iPhones in that period, a number that seemed to calm investors’ fears. The executives said Apple expects to sell 1 million iPhones this quarter, and reiterated its goal of selling 10 million phones by the end of 2008. The company plans to release the phone in Europe in the fourth quarter.

“Our view is the starting gun has been fired and we’re off to a great start,” said Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a conference call with analysts. “Our primary focus is not on initial sales but on creating a third business for Apple.”"

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shadow site has video documentary available

DIAL B FOR BURBANK: "'The Shadow Knows' is a ten-chapter, two-hour long video documenting the history of the original Master of Darkness. Now, for convenience, here's every chapter all on one page, plus the entire documentary in a single gigantic 587MB file. You can also get a high resolution version of the poster above by clicking on it! Click on the links below to download the documentary either in full, or chapter by chapter. Go for it Shadow fan!"

Super hero stamps to go on sale

Super hero stamps to go on sale - National News - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington: "The 20-stamp set premieres Thursday at Comic-Con, the comic book and pop culture show in San Diego.

The 41-cent stamps honor the creations of Marvel Comics, and also include Sub-Mariner, The Thing, Captain America, the Silver Surfer, the Spider-Woman, the Invincible Iron Man, Elektra and Wolverine.

In addition, 10 of the stamps highlight covers of comic books featuring the characters.

Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Hulk and others said he is 'thrilled' to have his characters on postage stamps.

'The only problem is this won't get me a discount at the post office,' he joked."

Discovery's 'Wild' storm: Authenticity questioned

Discovery's 'Wild' storm: Authenticity questioned: "Discovery Channel is re-evaluating one of its most popular series, 'Man vs. Wild,' after allegations surfaced that its survival-expert host was bunking in motels when he was supposed to be braving the great outdoors.

The network issued a statement Monday in response to an investigation launched by British television network Channel 4, which carries the program under the title 'Born Survivor: Bear Grylls.' Channel 4 confirmed that host Bear Grylls had partaken of indoor accommodations on at least two occasions when his series had depicted him spending the night in the wild."

Disfavor for Bush Hits Rare Heights - washingtonpost.com

Disfavor for Bush Hits Rare Heights - washingtonpost.com: "President Bush is a competitive guy. But this is one contest he would rather lose. With 18 months left in office, he is in the running for most unpopular president in the history of modern polling.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News survey shows that 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush's job performance, matching his all-time low. In polls conducted by The Post or Gallup going back to 1938, only once has a president exceeded that level of public animosity -- and that was Richard M. Nixon, who hit 66 percent four days before he resigned."

UFO sightings bring town to a standstill | the Daily Mail

UFO sightings bring town to a standstill | the Daily Mail: "A crowd of 100 stunned stargazers brought a town centre to a standstill when five mysterious UFOs were spotted hovering in the sky.

Drinkers spilled out of pubs, motorists stopped to gawp and camera phones were aimed upwards as the five orbs, in a seeming formation, hovered above Stratford-Upon-Avon for half an hour."

Animated Art

Hat tip: Veryshortlist.com: "Last spring a digitally animated video mashup of 500 years of women’s portraits was a huge, 5-million-views YouTube hit. Here’s an even more impressive video mashup: a meticulously handcrafted, non-CG animation of modern masterpieces. In her short film Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, Joan C. Gratz has managed to map out a century’s worth of art in seven minutes. She uses clay painting, a stop-motion animation technique that she pioneered, to morph fluidly among the works of 35 iconic, modern artists from van Gogh to Picasso to Warhol. The film, which won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Animated Short, confounds through the ease with which one recognizable piece of art seamlessly dissolves into the next. The implausible is made to look inevitable."

Blogging Religion

"Some Days, I Feel Like a Barnacle:" Religion Writer.com: "When the Dallas Morning News’ award-winning religion section, one of the country’s only stand-alone faith sections, folded back into the rest of the paper in January, 2007, due to insufficient ad revenue, observers in the field worried about the decline of religion journalism. Wrote Martin Marty: “We have reason to shed a tear” because, in his view, content produced for the web tends to focus on “outrageous or attention-grabbing coverage,” thus sidelining the more complex religion topics.

Just a few months before the section folded, however, the religion team at the DMN, including long-time religion reporter Jeffrey Weiss, launched its own religion news blog, DallasNews Religion. Today Weiss is a main contributor to the blog, along with fellow religion reporter Sam Hodges and former religion editor Bruce Tomaso.

Just as the paper’s religion section was once an industry standard, so now its blog may be leading the way for print-based religion reporters, who, willingly or reluctantly, are beginning to blog."

Nieman: NBC Reporter Engle on Misperceptions of the "War" in Iraq

Nieman Reports: "The war in Iraq is not what it seems. In fact, there is no 'war' in Iraq—there are many wars, some centuries old, playing out on this ancient land. But this is not what Americans are often led to believe. The perception portrayed by the White House and Iraqi government in Baghdad—and commonly reflected in the news media—is that the violence in Iraq is a fundamental struggle between two opposing teams: Freedom Lovers and Freedom Haters.

In this Manichaean and simplistic view of the fighting here, the tale of the tape is..."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

PW: Slate to serialize Reagan comics bio

Comics Briefly - 7/24/2007 - Publishers Weekly: "Slate To Serialize Reagan Graphic Bio
The online political and cultural journal Slate has acquired first serial rights to Hill & Wang’s forthcoming Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography by Andrew Helfer, Steve Buccellato and Joe Staton. Slate will serialize the entire 112-page graphic biography over the course of 5 days beginning September 3; after which the serialization will be taken offline.

Laura Bonner, sub rights manager for FSG and H&W, told PWCW that Slate paid, “a price competitive with prose serial rights” for the Reagan graphic bio. Slate also bought first serial rights to H&W’s bestselling The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation in 2006. “The 9/11 book did really well for them,” said Bonner,” the web is a great platform for this kind of book.” Although there is no deal as yet, Bonner said Slate has also expressed interest in future works in the graphic series including Rick Geary and Andrew Helfer’s book on J. Edgar Hoover; and Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon’s forthcoming work on the War on Terror, both due in 2008. "

CC Talks with Survivor contestant Chan

The Christian Century: "Reality television is not known for its portrayal of virtue. And Yau-Man Chan is not someone you might expect to progress to the final four on Survivor: Fiji, the 14th season of the reality television show that is famous, and sometimes infamous, for its stark portrayals of human strength and weakness. Chan, a 54-year-old computer engineer with a love of table tennis, surprised fellow contestants with his intelligence, wit, creativity, stamina and inner and outer strength. But beyond these game-winning traits, Chan became an unusual and compelling figure among viewers by displaying the virtues of humility, generosity, friendship and honesty—what Aristotle might have called the art of living well. The Century talked with Chan about how he became a popular-culture icon."

YouTube presidential debate blazes trail - Los Angeles Times

YouTube presidential debate blazes trail - Los Angeles Times: "Embracing the Internet in all its brashness and irreverence, eight Democratic presidential hopefuls differed over Iraq, Darfur, same-sex marriage and more offbeat issues in a lively Monday-night debate driven by dozens of amateur inquisitors.

A mix of serious policy talk and sophomoric humor, the session sponsored by CNN and YouTube broke ground in style and content. The candidates responded to more than three dozen homemade videos — including a query from a snowman asking in falsetto about global warming — among nearly 3,000 submitted from around the world. (The candidates told the snowman they favored a more vigorous U.S. response.)"

Drew Carey, come on down!

PEACH BUZZ: ajc.com: "Genial comic Drew Carey was tapped Monday to replace silver-haired legend Bob Barker on the CBS daytime game show 'The Price is Right.'

'I realize what a big responsibility this is,' he said. 'It's only a game show, but it's the longest-running game show in American television and I plan to keep it that way.'"

Radio Plan: A Price Shift for Satellite - New York Times

Radio Plan: A Price Shift for Satellite - New York Times: "Hoping to persuade skeptical regulators to approve their proposed merger, the nation’s two satellite radio companies announced detailed plans Monday to give consumers the ability to choose the programs that make up their subscription package.

The companies, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio, said they would offer two “�la carte” pricing plans. One would enable consumers to purchase the best of the premium services now offered by each company — like professional football, baseball and basketball — for a monthly fee of $14.99. For $6.99 a month, the other would enable listeners to choose 50 of the nonpremium channels, with each additional channel costing 25 cents. To subscribe to the “�la carte” plans, consumers would have to buy new radios."

New Yorker: The Felsenfeld Movement

Close Reading Dept.: Namesake: The Talk of the Town: The New Yorker: "The Felsenfeld Movement was well under way when Michael Chabon arrived at the MacDowell Colony, in New Hampshire, to work on a novel, in February of 2004. By that time, four novelists at the colony had already created fictional characters called Felsenfeld, named after a quirky and charismatic classical composer from Brooklyn who was also in residence. Eventually, there would be a grand total of seven Felsenfelds: three in books that have been published in the United States since 2006, one in an Austrian best-seller, and three in works that are still in progress.

“It just immediately sounded like a name that I already would have been using,” Chabon said recently. “It’s not only an intrinsically interesting name but it seemed it would fit perfectly with the book I was writing, which was ‘The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.’ I was so happy to have the name, because it had the sound of a likely Jewish surname but was not overly familiar.”"

Monday, July 23, 2007

CC: Review of Paris, Je T'Aime

The Christian Century - John Petrakis: "The city of lights would seem the perfect setting for a compilation of 18 short films, each five to eight minutes long, about love and passion. But what makes Paris, Je T'Aime intriguing, beyond its role as a travelogue of Parisian neighborhoods, is that it offers a rare chance to observe in one sitting how numerous writers, directors and cinematographers—some famous, some not—employ different cinematic tools. Think flashback and flash-forward, fantasy and dreams, jerky hand-held camera work and all sorts of camera and editing gimmicks. This approach also allows us to consider which of the films are too long for their own good, too slight in terms of message or too overt in terms of theme."

SCI FI: Prince Caspian to be bigger!

SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel | SCIFI.COM: "Andrew Adamson, director of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, told SCI FI Wire that the sequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will be even bigger and more visually stunning than its predecessor.

'This one I wanted to be bigger, and I am regretting that decision now,' Adamson said with a laugh on the set of the film in Prague last month. 'Because we are revisiting a similar world, you want to give yourself new challenges. So we deliberately made things more complicated. On top of that, there've been a lot of films that have come out [since the first was released] that have also raised the bar. So we wanted to make sure we were doing something new and fresh.'"

TCR: Spurgeon interview Tomine

The Comics Reporter: "I first became aware of Adrian Tomine when he was a mere 20 years old, the year the accomplished debut issue of his Optic Nerve was released by Drawn & Quarterly. I quickly discovered he had been around a few years by then, with a tremendously popular mini-comic bearing the same name as his comic book and a recurring strip in the Tower Records store magazine Pulse! Now just past its 11th issue, Optic Nerve has become one of the most popular comic books of its kind in industry history. That it continues to be published today in a form recognizable to someone buying its first issue, while other artists have concentrated on bookstore-friendly formats, and some have moved away from serial comics in any form, may make Optic Nerve a kind of last alt-comic standing. In addition to his comics, Tomine has placed a considerable amount of illustration work in magazines and on CD covers, most prominently and frequently at The New Yorker. He also edits the Yoshihiro Tatsumi book series at D&Q."

Weekly World News to close after 27 years

Blog@Newsarama - Weekly World News to close after 27 years: "Weekly World News, chronicler of Bat Boy, Elvis Presley sightings and countless cryptids, is shutting down after 27 years of publication."

Religion beat became a test of faith - Los Angeles Times

Religion beat became a test of faith - Los Angeles Times: "WHEN Times editors assigned me to the religion beat, I believed God had answered my prayers.

As a serious Christian, I had cringed at some of the coverage in the mainstream media. Faith frequently was treated like a circus, even a freak show.

I wanted to report objectively and respectfully about how belief shapes people's lives. Along the way, I believed, my own faith would grow deeper and sturdier.

But during the eight years I covered religion, something very different happened."

BBC: World 'losing fight against Aids'

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | World 'losing fight against Aids': "US President George W Bush's top adviser on HIV/Aids has said the world is losing the battle against the virus.

Dr Anthony Fauci told a conference in Sydney that progress had been made, but more people were being infected with HIV than were being treated."

Democratic candidates trying to reach religious voters - CNN.com

Democratic candidates trying to reach religious voters - CNN.com: "Tired of being seen by religious voters as too secular or even hostile toward religion, the Democrat party and its presidential candidates have launched an all-out effort to win their votes."

Introducing Photosynth

TED | Talks | Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo (video): That's the link to the video introducing this new Microsoft software... here's what veryshortlist.com has to say:

The Internet lets us map the planet with zoom-in granularity and share the flotsam and jetsam of our lives with everyone. Now Photosynth, a new Microsoft program, brings an extraordinary bit of coherence to it all by enabling us to make sense of and interact with all digital images at a level of detail previously reserved for science-fiction films and video games.

In a presentation from this year’s TED Conference, the program’s architect shows how Photosynth compiles a zillion anonymously uploaded online photos of one well-known thing — here, the Notre Dame Cathedral — and integrates them into a single 360-degree image that can be manipulated to change the angle and scale of the view. Magnified by Photosynth, even the chipped tooth of a Notre Dame gargoyle becomes visible. Microsoft calls Photosynth the “newest . . . way to view photos on a computer,” but we’re guessing it’s really a peek at how we’ll experience the Web in the near future. (Microsoft being Microsoft, the software is currently unavailable for Macintosh.)

After 'Tonight,' will Jay stay at NBC?

Variety.com - After 'Tonight,' will Jay stay at NBC?: "Three years ago, NBC announced with pride that Conan O'Brien would take over 'The Tonight Show' in 2009. But now that the date is fast approaching, the web is beginning to panic: How do we anoint O'Brien but still keep Leno in the Peacock's nest?"

Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War - New York Times

Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War - New York Times: "The war is hardly the only area where the Bush administration is trying to expand its powers beyond all legal justification. But the danger of an imperial presidency is particularly great when a president takes the nation to war, something the founders understood well. In the looming showdown, the founders and the Constitution are firmly on Congress’s side.

Given how intent the president is on expanding his authority, it is startling to recall how the Constitution’s framers viewed presidential power. They were revolutionaries who detested kings, and their great concern when they established the United States was that they not accidentally create a kingdom. To guard against it, they sharply limited presidential authority..."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

No Joke: Shopkeeper Must Pack Up His Bag of Tricks - New York Times

No Joke: Shopkeeper Must Pack Up His Bag of Tricks - New York Times: "Mr. Martin is the owner of the Funny Store, a small Times Square shop that merges Harry Houdini’s basement with Rip Taylor’s garage. The place is filled with props, gag gifts, magic tricks and games.

The business, now at 44th Street and Eighth Avenue, has been part of the Times Square scene since 1957, changing owners and locations several times but always sticking to the same few blocks and staying ahead of rising rents, new zoning laws and new construction.

Now, it will have to move again. Mr. Martin’s landlord is selling the building, at 693 Eighth Avenue, to a developer, and he has to vacate the store by the end of the month to make way for condominiums. And retail rents in Times Square are now so high that he cannot afford to stay."

Tammy Faye Bakker, 65, Emotive Evangelist, Dies - New York Times

Tammy Faye Bakker, 65, Emotive Evangelist, Dies - New York Times: "Tammy Faye Bakker, the diminutive and elaborately coiffed gospel singer who, with her first husband, Jim Bakker, built a commercial empire around television evangelism only to see it collapse in sex and money scandals, died Friday at her home near Kansas City, Mo. She was 65."

CBR: The Golden Age Is Back in "The Next Issue Project"

Comic Book Resources - CBR News: The Golden Age Is Back in "The Next Issue Project": "This December, Image Comics will publish an anthology featuring characters you haven't seen in a very long time. 'The Next Issue Project' will showcase top talent from the world of comics reimagining Golden Age characters that have fallen into the public domain. But it's not quite as simple as that - the series will literally publish the next issue of a great golden age book, with modern interpretations of Golden Age super heroes.

The series is attracting considerable interest, with commitments coming from an august list of creators that includes Erik Larsen, Mike Allred, Kyle Baker, Frank Cho, Bill Sienkiewicz, Howard Chaykin, Steve Niles, Phil Hester, Dan Brereton, Ashley Wood, Joe Casey, Ivan Brandon, Eric Canete, Gerry Duggan, Frank Espinosa, Jay Faerber, Steve Gerber, Brandon Graham, B. Clay Moore, Moritat, Tom Scioli, Jim Valentino and Tony Salmons.

CBR News caught up with the man behind 'The Next Issue Project,' Image Comics Publisher Erik Larsen, to learn all the ins and outs of this series and where the inspiration for this series came from."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Giving It All Away - New York Times

Giving It All Away - Nathan Lee op-ed in New York Times: "As the final volume of J. K. Rowling’s series goes on sale and Potter-mania goes through the roof, I wonder what would happen if some budding book critic, one of those lucky few to mistakenly receive an early copy in the mail, entered a bookstore today feeling a similar compulsion and spoiled the most anticipated finale in the history of anticipation with a shout: “Harry Potter dies!”

My guess is he’d be instantly killed."

NYT: Administration revises torture do's and don'ts

Rules Lay Out C.I.A.’s Tactics in Questioning - New York Times: "The White House said Friday that it had given the Central Intelligence Agency approval to resume its use of some severe interrogation methods for questioning terrorism suspects in secret prisons overseas.

With the new authority, administration officials said the C.I.A. could proceed with an interrogation program that had been in limbo since the Supreme Court ruled last year that all prisoners in American captivity be treated in accordance with Geneva Convention prohibitions against humiliating and degrading treatment.

A new executive order signed by President Bush does not authorize the full set of harsh interrogation methods used by the C.I.A. since the program began in 2002. But government officials said the rules would still allow some techniques more severe than those used in interrogations by military personnel in places like the detention center in Guant�namo Bay, Cuba."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Another scorching commentary from Olbermann

The Future of Internet Radio - Dvorak in PC Mag

The Future of Internet Radio - Columns by PC Magazine:

Mediabistro.com summarizes thusly:

PC Magazine columnist John Dvorak thinks that the boom in Internet radio signals the end of terrestrial broadcasts. Most people are kind of expecting that at some point. But he outright predicts it will happen before 2020 and gives three key reasons: Internet radio's global reach, its low cost of entry, and its on-demand capability. He also thinks the term "podcast" will disappear soon in favor of a name that's more akin to a subset of Internet radio, which it is of course.

It seems that one way or another, Internet radio will survive the ongoing royalty dispute, especially given its recent surge in popularity.

Variety.com: Huh? Seth Rogan as the Green Hornet??

Variety.com - Rogen nestles into 'Hornet' hive: "The doughy star of this summer's breakout hit, 'Knocked Up,' is finalizing a deal to write, and likely star in, Columbia's bigscreen adaptation of 'Green Hornet.' He will exec produce, along with co-writer and frequent collaborator Evan Goldberg.

Rogen would play Brit Reid, millionaire publisher- turned-masked crime fighter -- a role George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Jake Gyllenhaal flirted with in various stages of the project's long gestation."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stan Lee on Who Wants to Be a Superhero? - Superhero Hype!

Stan Lee on Who Wants to Be a Superhero? - Superhero Hype!: "Reality TV shows have attracted a record number of viewers in recent years. SCI FI Channel's reality series 'Who Wants to Be a Superhero?' aired for six episodes last season. Bill Brennan with SCI FI acknowledged the show's rating increased steadily each week.

Superhero Hype! sat in on a press conference interview for 'Who Wants to Be a Superhero?' with Stan Lee, an icon in the comic book industry. Lee is the creator and/or co-creator of many superheroes including Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Silver Surfer. 'Who Wants to Be a Superhero?' is one of Lee's latest successful ventures in television. "

MMM: Marvel Stamps Coming!

Make Mine Marvel: "The second installment in the Postal Service's tribute to comic book superheroes goes on sale July 26. Last year 10 characters from D.C. Comics were honored. This year Marvel Comics earns as many stamps for their heroes.

The format of the sheet is the same as last year: 10 stamps picturing bold graphic images of the heroes, and below that 10 more stamps reproducing the covers of comic books that featured them. Most of the comic book covers are No. 1 issues from the 1960s."

God's Politics: Diana Butler Bass on Loving W.

God's Politics - Jim Wallis blog, faith blog, religion, christian, christianity, politics, values: "Recently, I was talking with someone who serves in Congress, a Democratic representative from a liberal constituency out west. My friend reported that people in the home district—especially those who make up the base—were furious with Congress.

“Over what?” I asked, “That you haven’t ended the war in Iraq?”

“No,” the Member sighed, “that we won’t impeach President Bush.”

This response startled me—perhaps it should not have. According to a poll released last week, 45 percent of American adults think President Bush should be impeached and 54 percent believe that Vice President Cheney should be. A few days before the poll hit the news, I was at my high school reunion in Scottsdale, Arizona. Sipping margaritas at a lovely hotel, many of my classmates—almost all of who had been Teenage Republicans back when—confessed anger about the current administration.

I do not like George W. Bush. I never voted for him. Following Sept. 11, when Bush had a 95 percent approval rating, I was one of the skeptical 5 percent. I think his policies have been consistently divisive, dangerous, and disingenuous. But I do not favor impeaching him."

Max Blumenthal: Generation Chickenhawk

Max Blumenthal: Generation Chickenhawk: the Unauthorized College Republican Convention Tour - Politics on The Huffington Post: "In conversations with at least twenty College Republicans about the war in Iraq, I listened as they lip-synched discredited cant about 'fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here.' Many of the young GOP cadres I met described the so-called 'war on terror' as nothing less than the cause of their time.

Yet when I asked these College Repulicans why they were not participating in this historical cause, they immediately went into contortions. Asthma. Bad knees from playing catcher in high school. 'Medical reasons.' 'It's not for me.' These were some of the excuses College Republicans offered for why they could not fight them 'over there.' Like the current Republican leaders who skipped out on Vietnam, the GOP's next generation would rather cheerlead from the sidelines for the war in Iraq while other, less privileged young men and women fight and die.

Along with videographer Thomas Shomaker, I captured a vivid portrait of the hypocritical mentality of the next generation of Republican leaders. See for yourself."

Primetime Emmy Nods in Major Categories | AccessAtlanta

Primetime Emmy Nods in Major Categories | AccessAtlanta: "Nominees in major categories for the 59th annual Primetime Emmy Awards announced Thursday by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences..." Check out the list.

AppleInsider: Apple set to grow iPhone family pre-holidays

AppleInsider | Sources: Apple set to grow iPhone family pre-holidays: "Apple Inc. this fall plans to accelerate its assault on the 1 billion unit worldwide cell phone market with a second incarnation of its iPhone handset that will likely appeal to an even larger audience, AppleInsider has learned."

HuffPo: Rachel Sklar and the NYT's Embargo Break

Harry Potter And The Fact That I Hate The New York Times - Media on The Huffington Post: "What is your problem, New York Times? No WMD rumors to plaster on the front page, no Jayson Blair to make things up for posterity, no Alessandra Stanley to mangle TV show names? I'm mad so I'm lashing out, but come on: How on earth could you run a review of the last Harry Potter? To do so, you had to break an industry-wide embargo — and not just any embargo, an embargo that is almost tantamount to a public trust at this point, given the worldwide hype about Harry Potter and the excitement and intense emotion generated by — finally — the end to this epic series."

I linked to the review earlier, in which Michiko said she purchased the book in a NYC bookstore that was breaking the embargo...

National Geographic hoarders

News - Magazine's shelf life has no boundaries - sacbee.com: "Every month, about 5 million National Geographics are printed. And many people seem to hoard them. For years, for decades. Why?"

Polyphonic Spree's latest


I've been a big fan of the Spree and like their new album a lot. Veryshortlist.com highlighted it today, and here's what they said:

At the start of the new millennium, Tim DeLaughter of the alternative band Tripping Daisy decided to take a more ambitious approach to pop music: He combined a bright psychedelic sound with a rotating ensemble of about 24 musicians and choral singers dressed in flowing white robes to create an endearingly weird act called the Polyphonic Spree.

Seven years, two albums, and one ringing endorsement from David Bowie later, The Fragile Army is the record on which the Polyphonic Spree learns to cut loose and rock out. Having shed their old, cultlike costumes for fetching black jumpsuits, they have also developed a bigger, bolder sound, embellishing their use of MTV-unfriendly instruments — harps, cellos, piccolos — with an aggressive electric guitar or two. Beneath the dark outfits, however, the group still favors upbeat tunes with get-happy lyrics, and on a lousy day, all two dozen of ’em will still be there to pick you up.

LA Weekly interviews Matt Groening

LA Weekly - General - Matt Groening: Life Is Swell - Dave Shulman - The Essential Online Resource for Los Angeles: "The possible Nobel laureate on his dreams, his alt-weekly past and, oh yeah, The Simpsons Movie..."

Media Biz Disney tries to save the CD

Media Biz Disney tries to save the CD - CNN: "The once mighty compact disc is slowly but surely on its way toward joining the cassette, 8-track and vinyl LP on top of the music format scrap heap. But Walt Disney (DIS) introduced a new version of the CD in New York Wednesday that it hopes will convince more fans to keep buying multitrack discs (what we used to call “albums”) instead of just downloading singles from the Internet."

Stymied by G.O.P., Democrats Stop Debate on Iraq - New York Times

Stymied by G.O.P., Democrats Stop Debate on Iraq - New York Times: "After Senate Republicans yet again thwarted a proposal to withdraw American troops from Iraq, Democratic leaders on Wednesday abruptly halted consideration of a major Pentagon policy measure, heading off the introduction of competing Iraq plans.

The Democrats’ decision, coming after an all-night session and after more than a week of intensive debate in the Senate, meant that President Bush had essentially won the added time he said he needed to demonstrate that his troop buildup was succeeding.

The move appeared to postpone the next Senate showdown over the war until September, despite a White House report that claimed no more than mixed progress in Iraq. It also allowed Democratic leaders to avoid votes on alternative initiatives that Republicans had sought to portray as evidence that they were seeking a change in Iraq as well."

NYT's Michiko Kakutani reviews the final Harry Potter book

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling - Books - Review - New York Times: "J. K. Rowling’s monumental, spellbinding epic, 10 years in the making, is deeply rooted in traditional literature and Hollywood sagas — from the Greek myths to Dickens and Tolkien to “Star Wars.” And true to its roots, it ends not with modernist, “Soprano”-esque equivocation, but with good old-fashioned closure: a big-screen, heart-racing, bone-chilling confrontation and an epilogue that clearly lays out people’s fates."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Papercutz Revives 'Classics Illustrated'

ICv2 News - Papercutz Revives 'Classics Illustrated': "In November NBM is reviving the fondly remembered Classics Illustrated comics in a new line of graphic novels published under its Papercutz imprint. The more expansive graphic novel format allows the classic stories to be presented more completely..."

20 albums that defined an era - USATODAY.com

20 albums that defined an era - USATODAY.com: "The times were volatile. Race riots plagued the nation. The Vietnam War was escalating.

China set off its first H-bomb. But 1967 also brought the Summer of Love, a season of tie-dyed hippies, counterculture empowerment and (mostly) psychedelic soundtracks from one of music's most fertile years."

Lotsa memories here.

How to Make People Buy Books - Esquire

How to Make People Buy Books - Esquire: "Chip Kidd, art director at Alfred A. Knopf, reveals the tricks of the trade." I'm a huge fan of Kidd's covers!

NYT: Joyce Carol Oates loves MAD

Collateral Damage - Paper Cuts - Books - New York Times Blog: It's a guilty pleasure of the famed author's.

ELO: Tom Ehrich on telling the truth

Episcopal Life Online - OPINION: "With the petroleum industry engaged in disinformation and the auto industry resisting change; with politicians rewarding friends at the expense of truth about human-caused greenhouse gases; and with religion focused on issues of disturbing triviality, who will help the public to make informed decisions about global warming?

Or, for that matter, any issue? Every day, one more lid is lifted and a pattern of deceit revealed."

'The Elders' will take on world's problems | ajc.com

'The Elders' will take on world's problems | ajc.com: "Melding serious statesmanship and a large slug of audacity, the former South African president Nelson Mandela and a clutch of world-famous figures plan to announce today a private alliance to launch diplomatic assaults on the globe's most intractable problems.

The alliance, to be unveiled during events marking Mandela's 89th birthday, is to be called 'the Elders.' Among others, it includes former President Jimmy Carter, retired Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu and retired U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Many, including Mandela, have been early and harsh critics of President Bush and American foreign policy, particularly toward Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The group's members and backers insisted in interviews, however, that they are guided neither by ideology nor by geopolitical bent."

I'm all for it, though it reminds me a little of Saturday Night Live's cartoon, The X-Presidents!

The Politics of Fear - New York Times

The Politics of Fear - New York Times: "This administration has never hesitated to play on fear for political gain, starting with the first homeland security secretary, Tom Ridge, and his Popsicle-coded threat charts. It is a breathtakingly cynical ploy, but in the past it has worked to cow Democrats into silence, if not always submission, and herd Republicans back onto the party line.

That must not happen this time. By now, Congress surely can see through the president’s fear-mongering and show Mr. Bush the exit from Iraq that he refuses to find for himself."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Holy Heroes: Peace be upon you!

Holy Heroes: Peace be upon you!: "Ever wake up in the morning and say: 'Gee, I wish there was a comic featuring a Muslim protagonist, mythological Hindu superheroes, and a cute girl?'

Well, your wish has been been fulfilled..."

Evanier on Captain Nice

news from me - ARCHIVES: "From that long, long list of TV shows that came and went quickly but which should have stuck around for a while, we bring you Captain Nice, created by Buck Henry, no doubt capitalizing on the 'heat' he had in the business due to the success of Get Smart. The title role was played by William Daniels and the series debuted on NBC on January 9, 1967 — the very same night that another super-hero parody sitcom, Mr. Terrific, debuted on CBS. Both were pretty clever shows, though I liked Captain Nice better. (If all goes well, we'll be featuring Mr. Terrific tomorrow in this space.)"

Funny-book funk briefly brightens - Los Angeles Times

Funny-book funk briefly brightens - Los Angeles Times - Tim Cavanaugh: "Dying media don't come much dying-er than monthly comic books. From the great post-silver age watershed to the who lost Junior controversy about how this classic kids' medium became a forum for middle-aged comic-shop losers; from the death of Charlton Comics to the government war on head shops, all funny-book stories are variations on a single theme: a depletion that's been going on so long, and moving so slowly, that nobody's even sure if there ever was a boom time. To find a sadder tale, you'd have to look to the never-ending death of the American newspaper.

So it comes as quite a surprise to find that sales of comic books have been increasing steadily for the last five years. And that doesn't just include graphic novels—the perfect-bound trade paperbacks that have become the default format for the medium. Diamond Comic Distributors Inc., the company that has a practical monopoly on comics distribution, has seen improving figures in almost all formats."

Radar: Imus back in September and Sharpton's fine with it

Fresh Intelligence : Radar Online: "Don Imus is back%u2014and Rev. Al Sharpton is surprisingly okay with that.

Imus buddy Bo Dietl dropped heavy hints on a radio show over the weekend that the aging shock jock will be back at WFAN no later than September. That would mean a mere five months of wandering in the wilderness for the I-Man, who was fired in April by CBS Radio and MSNBC after calling female college basketball players 'nappy-headed hos.'

Sharpton, of course, played no small part in Imus's downfall, even inviting the man onto his radio show to apologize to viewers only to declare his apology inadequate. Yet the Rev. tells Radar he would not oppose Imus's return this fall."

Variety.com: Shatner to interview celebrities

Variety.com - Shatner to interview celebrities: "After a recent career path that's taken him from Web pitchman to primetime Emmy winner, William Shatner has been signed to host a celebrity-interview show on the Biography Channel.Shatner, currently seen on ABC's 'Boston Legal,' will interview a range of guests on the half-hour, titled 'Shatner's Raw Nerve.' Both actors and politicians will be featured, and reps for the net said producers will make an effort to book guests separately from their movie and other junkets.Biography said in a release that the thesp 'will explore life's most intriguing questions and unearth his guests' strange and unknown stories.'"

When it comes to gays, 'What would Luther do?' - USATODAY.com

When it comes to gays, 'What would Luther do?' - Opinion piece by Mary Zeiss Stange at USATODAY.com: "When it comes to gays, 'What would Luther do?' Given the way he dealt with issues of his day, the father of the Protestant Reformation very well may have seen the same-sex arguments in a more accepting light."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Questing Parson: Review: Living Loved

Questing Parson Reviews Living Loved... and it's positive! Thanks, Guy!

"Living Loved is a delightful book... Peter Wallace’s unique talent for coining a phrase, weaving words, and giving flesh to the message of love from Jesus through stories from our contemporary life provide for an ease of reading that captures one’s attention and forces the turning of page after page."

VSL: Zen videos

An industrious YouTube user has collected in one video more than 20 clips of a Japanese television show’s entrancingly meticulous Rube Goldberg machines (devices that use complicated mechanical processes to fulfill a simple goal, named for their San Francisco cartoonist creator). The Japanese show, whose title translates as Pythagora Switch, features the Goldberg sequences as program IDs.

The clips, most no longer than a minute, usually begin with a marble dropped in a Goldberg device that initiates an insanely elaborate chain reaction. Balls roll down ramps made up of books, cups swing around like tiny carnival rides, little arrows fly toward a target — all of which eventually triggers the strangely calming theme song and a title card displaying the show’s logo. Nerdiness has seldom been so lovable.

Coen brothers to produce short films

Mobile Media News: "Joel and Ethan Coen, makers of Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski, are the first talent lined up to produce shorts for 60Frames Entertainment, according to Mediaweek.

The publication reports that 60Frames will finance Internet video productions from established talent, then distribute clips through a series of outlets, including peer-to-peer networks, Web portals and emerging channels like mobile. Meanwhile, Spot Runner will sell ads tied to the content."


Study: Watching Fewer Than Four Hours Of TV A Day Impairs Ability To Ridicule Pop Culture | The Onion - America's Finest News Source: "A Columbia University study released Tuesday suggests that viewing fewer than four hours of television a day severely inhibits a person's ability to ridicule popular culture." Please do note, it's the Onion!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

NYT: The Superhero as Society's Mirror from WWII to Iraq

Reflecting Culture: The Evolution of American Comic Book Superheroes - Montclair Art Museum - Art - New York Times: "Michael E. Uslan is a lifelong comic-book fan, but “crusader” might be more accurate. For years, Mr. Uslan, a film producer (“Batman Begins,” among others), has collected comics and original art, written books about the industry and produced movies about his muscled and macabre childhood heroes.

So it is of no little excitement to him that part of his collection will be included in a bona fide art exhibition that opens Saturday: “Reflecting Culture: The Evolution of American Comic Book Superheroes,” at the Montclair Art Museum."

Gaps in Training Iraqi Forces Worry Top U.S. Commanders - New York Times

Gaps in Training Iraqi Forces Worry Top U.S. Commanders - New York Times: "American commanders said Friday that the effort to train Iraqi Army and police units had slowed in recent months and would need to be expanded to enable any large-scale reduction in American force levels.

The problem has arisen, several senior officers said Friday, in large part because preparing Iraqi units to operate without American backing had become a secondary goal under the current war strategy, which has emphasized protecting Iraqis and the heavy use of American combat power."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Roy Thomas on Marvel's new classics illustrated line

GETTING CLASSIC WITH MARVEL - MARVEL ILLUSTRATED - NEWSARAMA: "Marvel Illustrated is the publisher's new line featuring the best of classic literature as adapted by industry legend Roy Thomas." Newsarama has an interview.

iPhone buyers have no regrets - USATODAY.com

iPhone buyers have no regrets - USATODAY.com: "Early iPhone owners are overwhelmingly happy with their devices, a survey out Friday says, and Apple (AAPL) and AT&T (T) are luring customers from rivals as a result.

In one of the first such studies, 90% of 200 owners said they were 'extremely' or 'very' satisfied with their phone. And 85% said they are 'extremely' or 'very' likely to recommend the device to others, says the online survey conducted and paid for by market researcher Interpret of Santa Monica, Calif. The firm surveyed 1,000 cellphone users July 6-10."

Hindu prayer in the Senate draws protesters - CNN.com

Hindu prayer in the Senate draws protesters - CNN.com: "Three protesters disrupted a prayer by a Hindu chaplain Thursday at the opening of a Senate hearing, calling it an abomination and shouting slogans about Jesus Christ.

It was the first time the daily prayer that opens Senate proceedings was said by a Hindu chaplain.

Capitol police said two women and one man were arrested and charged with causing a disruption in the public gallery of the Senate. The three started shouting when guest Chaplain Rajan Zed, a Hindu from Nevada, began his prayer. "

WCBS FM switches from Jack to Oldies

wcbsfmchange7-12-07s.mp3 (audio/mpeg Object): Listen, it's fun! The switch occurred yesterday at the NYC station.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Arianna on Bush's assessment of the war: Unbalanced

Arianna Huffington: Why Bush's Balanced Assessment of Iraq is Utterly Unbalanced - Politics on The Huffington Post: "So to hear the president and the White House spin it (and the media dutiful report it), the interim progress report on Iraq the administration will submit to Congress today is 'a mixed bag.'

According to Bush's scorecard, progress on eight of the 18 benchmarks set by Congress in May has been 'satisfactory,' on another eight it has been 'unsatisfactory,' and two are too close to call.

And this, according to the president, 'is a cause for optimism.'

That's like a doctor telling you that while your child has shiny hair he also has a brain tumor -- and you coming away thinking the doctor's report is 'a mixed bag.' That's insane. Trust me, if your kid has a brain tumor, the fact that he has nice hair or is a good speller or has made progress towards playing well with others is not going to even things out and leave you feeling upbeat and optimistic.

As expected, the president asked for more time, said the military had achieved 'great things,' and blamed the rising unpopularity of the war on 'war fatigue.' That and restless leg syndrome.

The American people are tired -- of the endless lies the president continues to feed us on the war."

TIME on faith and the Democrats

Leveling the Praying Field - TIME: "In this campaign season, if Clinton and Barack Obama and John Edwards are any measure, there will be nothing unusual in Democrats' talking about the God who guides them and the beliefs that sustain them. Clinton has hired Burns Strider, a congressional staffer (and evangelical Baptist from Mississippi) who is assembling a faith steering group from major denominations and sends out a weekly wrap-up, Faith, Family and Values. Edwards has been organizing conference calls with progressive religious leaders and is about to embark on a 12-city poverty tour. In the past month alone, Obama's campaign has run six faith forums in New Hampshire, where local clergy and laypeople discuss religious engagement in politics. 'We talk about ways people of faith have gone wrong in the past, what they have done right and where they see it going in the future,' says his faith-outreach adviser, Joshua DuBois. Speeches on everything from the budget to immigration to stem-cell research are carefully marinated in Scripture. 'Science is a gift of God to all of us,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a debate on increased embryo-research funding, 'and science has taken us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure.'"

Timeless TV - Charles Lane Remembered

Timeless TV - Charles Lane Remembered - TVWeek - Blogs: "Charles Lane, the veteran character actor, died Monday evening at age 102. He was in tons of movies and TV shows—he must have appeared on every sitcom in the 1960s and '70s—often playing a humorless clerk, bureaucrat or authority figure.

He had amazing longevity, and his dour countenance served him well in a career that spanned early talkies to 'L.A. Law.'"

Here's a clip from TV Land a couple of years ago recapping his career:

Court TV to focus on reality | ajc.com

Court TV to focus on reality | ajc.com: "Court TV is getting a new name —- truTV —- and several added programs in 2008 as part of a big revamp of the cable network.

Turner Broadcasting System, which has operated Court TV since last year, announced the changes Wednesday. Turner in March had said it planned to reshape and rename the network.

Turner wants to refocus Court TV with reality programs and other new shows, in a continued departure from the network's original reliance on court coverage. The name change, a key part of the switch in emphasis, takes effect Jan. 1, 2008."

Didn't watch it before, almost positive I won't now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

BBC: Faulks pens new James Bond novel

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Faulks pens new James Bond novel: "Sebastian Faulks has emerged as the author chosen to write a new officially endorsed James Bond novel.

The British writer - whose books include Birdsong and Charlotte Gray - was commissioned by the Fleming estate last year but his identity kept secret.

Devil May Care is set in 'several of the world's most thrilling cities' during the Cold War.

The book will be published on 28 May next year to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth."

Scotland fights for national tartan registry

mediabistro.com: UnBeige: "Jim Mather and the National Archives of Scotland ... are currently in the process of putting together a national registry of tartans. Tired of seeing them everywhere from football teams to Scrooge McDuck, a bill has been sent to parliament looking to put some funds toward getting all the real tartans sorted out from all this miscellaneous fakery you see at things like highlands festivals in rural Iowa (this writer is allowed to make rural Iowa jokes because he lived in rural Iowa for two years). With luck, order will be restored once the bill is passed into law and everyone's lives can get back to normal. "

Other Christian denominations are not true churches, pope reasserts | ajc.com

Other Christian denominations are not true churches, pope reasserts | ajc.com: "Pope Benedict XVI has reaffirmed the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-5 meetings that modernized the church.

On Saturday, Benedict revisited another key aspect of Vatican II by reviving the old Latin Mass. Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II."

NYT Theater review: Xanadu rocks

Xanadu - Theater - Review - New York Times: "Can a musical be simultaneously indefensible and irresistible? Why, yes it can. Witness 'Xanadu,' the outlandishly enjoyable stage spoof of the outrageously bad movie from 1980 about a painter and his muse who find love at a roller disco in Los Angeles."

Surgeon General Sees 4-Year Term as Compromised - New York Times

Surgeon General Sees 4-Year Term as Compromised - New York Times: "Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona told a Congressional panel Tuesday that top Bush administration officials repeatedly tried to weaken or suppress important public health reports because of political considerations." Surprised?

Pulitzer prize winner Doug Marlette dies

Pulitzer prize winner Doug Marlette killed in auto accident | ajc.com: "Doug Marlette, a Pulitzer-winning cartoonist and North Carolina native who once worked at The Charlotte Observer, was killed in a single-car accident Tuesday morning in Mississippi, authorities said. He was 57."

Moore sets CNN straight

MichaelMoore.com : 'SiCKO' Truth Squad Sets CNN Straight: As promised, Moore provides point by point rebuttal to Dr. Gupta's CNN report on "Sicko" accuracy.

Cheaper iPhone, Touchscreen iPods in the Works?

Cheaper iPhone, Touchscreen iPods in the Works? : Gina Hughes : Yahoo! Tech
: "I knew it wouldn't take long before we heard rumors about the next generation of iPods and iPhones. According to Reuters, there are two theories out there: one is the release of a cheaper nano-like iPhone, the other is a new generation of iPods with touchscreens."

Bush Says No Iraq Shift; Criticism Rises - The Huffington Post

Bush Says No Iraq Shift; Criticism Rises - The Huffington Post: "President Bush threatened to veto legislation setting a date for a troop withdrawal from Iraq on Tuesday despite growing bipartisan calls in Congress for an end to U.S. participation in the war and sharp criticism of the Iraqi government.

As the Senate opened a new debate on the conflict, one of the president's staunchest supporters bluntly said the administration had pursued the wrong policy for years after toppling Saddam Hussein. 'The strategy we had before was not the right strategy,' said Christopher Bond, R-Mo. 'We should have had a counterinsurgency strategy.'

Asked later who bore responsibility for the error, Bond said, 'Ultimately, obviously, the president.'

Democrats said Bush's newest strategy was hardly a success, either."

An Escape From the Slush Pile: A Web Site Tries Out New Comics - New York Times

An Escape From the Slush Pile: A Web Site Tries Out New Comics - New York Times: "DC Comics, the venerable publisher of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, will introduce today an online imprint that amounts to a virtual slush pile, accepting submissions from the public and paying for the best comics that come in. The imprint, called Zudacomics.com, will permit aspiring cartoonists to register at its Web site and submit an eight-panel sample of their work. Starting in October and each month thereafter, editors at DC Comics will select 10 entries, post them for public view and invite people to vote for their favorite. Editors may also declare as many as six submissions to be instant winners during the calendar year."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Large Baptist church picks woman pastor - AJC.com

A BAPTIST BREAKTHROUGH: Large Decatur church picks woman as pastor | ajc.com: "Growing up, Julie Pennington-Russell believed it was wrong for women to lead Baptist churches. At seminary, she would wake up early and pray 'for all those poor, misguided women who thought God was calling them to be pastors.'

Today Pennington-Russell finds herself at the forefront of those challenging sexism in the pulpit. She becomes senior pastor Aug. 19 at Decatur's First Baptist Church %u2014- now the nation's largest Southern Baptist church with a female senior pastor, according to those who track such issues.

The Southern Baptist Convention long has said the Bible doesn't allow women to be pastors. But the 2,700-member Decatur church also is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a national organization for moderate Baptists, which accepts women as pastors."

PittTrib: Today's fiction... tomorrow's classics?

What turns today's fiction into tomorrow's classics? - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review : "Rowling's work is by no means great literature. I'll buy that the Potter books are stories well told, but they do not have the majestic sweep of Tolkien's work or the moral gravitas of Lewis' writing.

Before hordes of Potter fans descend upon me on their Quidditch sticks, I'm not demonizing Rowling in anyway. Turning hundreds of thousands, if not a few million, children into readers is a remarkable feat; for that alone she deserves all the riches that come her way.

I just don't think she's met the qualifications for great literature, which to me is a work that tells us something about the lives and times of a period. That's the stuff of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Willa Cather and Nathaniel Hawthorne, of Ernest Hemingway and James Baldwin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Raymond Chandler.

Which leads me to wonder, who among contemporary writers will endure? Whose work will be read well into the 22nd century and beyond?"

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Road Home - New York Times

The Road Home - editorial in the New York Times: "It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit."

The lone editorial in today's NYT sets for the case and concludes:

"President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans’ demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened — the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.

"This country faces a choice. We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose. Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage — with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My new book coming soon!

Here's the publisher's page on my new book, LIVING LOVED, out any day now.

And here's what some people are saying already about it...

Praise for Living Loved-

"An open-hearted book on knowing, experiencing and sharing love. Peter Wallace has thoroughly studied the Gospel of John, and he brings to us fresh words and loving insights."
Nora Gallagher, author of Changing Light

"Peter Wallace's wonderful book Living Loved teaches us how to do just that. With touching examples and personal stories he interprets the sometimes abstract language of the gospel of John to help us feel and experience the love we so desire.
Edward L. Beck, author of God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest

"With the Beloved Disciple as his muse, and using Eugene Patterson's ear-catching translation of John's gospel, Peter Wallace reminds us that 'the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood."
Martha Sterne, author of Alive and Loose in the Ordinary

"Peter Wallace takes us on a breathtaking voyage, seeking along the way the kind of love that doesn't pander to sentiment, but puts wind in our sails and sends us out into the deep sea of meaning and service."
Thomas G. Long, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"Encounter by encounter and phrase by phrase, I was led into the presence of Jesus and his love. Living Loved is a profound meditation on scripture, accessible to anyone who hungers and thirsts for the abundant life."
Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., Providence United Methodist Church

Shelf Life - New York Times

Shelf Life - Alice Sebold on summer reading in the New York Times

Street Prophets: 070707

Street Prophets: Pastor Dan on the phenomenon of 070707.

Faith Intertwines With Political Life for Clinton - New York Times

Faith Intertwines With Political Life for Clinton - New York Times: "Mrs. Clinton, the New York senator who is seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, has been alluding to her spiritual life with increasing regularity in recent years, language that has dovetailed with efforts by her party to reach out to churchgoers who have been voting overwhelmingly Republican.

Mrs. Clinton’s references to faith, though, have come under attack, both from conservatives who doubt her sincerity (one writer recently lumped her with the type of Christians who “believe in everything but God”) and liberals who object to any injection of religion into politics. And her motivations have been cast as political calculation by detractors, who suggest she is only trying to moderate her liberal image."

Michael Chabon | The A.V. Club

Michael Chabon is interviewed by the Onion's A.V. Club.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Times Online: Paul and John met 50 years ago this weekend...at a church

From Woolton to the world - Times Online: "’m sure they would both rather have met somewhere else. Anywhere else, really, aside from a church summer fete. St Peter’s Parish Church in Woolton doesn’t match the self-image of either John Lennon or Paul McCartney. Lennon would rather have told stories about meeting in a rough Liverpool dance hall, while McCartney sees himself at an avant-garde art exhibition. But in truth a church f�te was a fitting meeting place. The gentle Englishness was more appropriate than either man would acknowledge.

Many stories the Beatles told about themselves were semi-myths, changing through repetition. But the meeting in Woolton 50 years ago this weekend seems to have escaped this fate. The details are agreed. And they even seem to be true."

Creative Loafing on the shakeup at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Shake-up: Old media meets new realities at the AJC: Creative Loafing Atlanta

Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Imus Returning?

Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Imus Returning? Who Said He Ever Left? - Media on The Huffington Post: "Get ready for Don Imus's return! The talk is that Imus could be back on the airwaves within the next few months or even weeks. The rumor stirred by the New York Post that Imus will return touched off a mild flutter of hope among Imus lovers and outrage among Imus bashers. CBS hasn't done much to take the air out of the rumor. In fact, when asked whether there was any truth to it that Imus could be back on the air, CBS officials didn't exactly answer with a ringing denial. Silence was their watchword."

Simpsons movie targets church, environmentalists

Simpsons movie targets church, environmentalists | Entertainment | Reuters: "The upcoming Simpsons movie takes a typically irreverent dig at religion and environmentalists, and features a nude scene involving 'toon teen Bart that had the audience at a preview show applauding.

A 10-minute clip from 'The Simpsons Movie', the first time Homer, Marge, their family and friends have made it to the big screen, was shown in London late on Wednesday ahead of its release worldwide later in July.

The clip offered several clues as to the plot, suggesting that the environment and religion would be major themes."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Peoples Archive: Just Added: Stan Lee (Writer)

Peoples Archive | Just Added: Stan Lee (Writer): "Peoples Archive is delighted to present the life story of the writer Stan Lee, creator of many Marvel Comics characters including The Fantastic Four and Spiderman." Video links.

Todd Klein, award winning comic book letterer

Home page of Todd Klein, award winning comic book letterer: From PW's The Beat: "Master letterer Todd Klein has a brand-new website that includes his commentary on logos and lettering, galleries, photos, how-tos and much else. Bookmark!"

ELCA SE Synod: Appeals Committee removes Schmeling from clergy roster

Bishop Ron Warren of the Southeastern Synod reports: "The Committee on Appeals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has upheld the decision of the Discipline Hearing Committee that the Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling be removed from the clergy roster of the ELCA. The Committee on Appeals ruling was effective July 2, 2007, and therefore, as of that date, Bradley Schmeling is no longer a pastor on the roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. My decision to seek Pastor Schmeling's removal from the ministry of this church was difficult because of my deep respect for the pastor and the congregation at St. John's, but the policy of this church is clear. It was my responsibility as bishop of this synod to enforce the established standards of this church, particularly after the 2005 Churchwide Assembly decided that the church would not create a process for possible exceptions to existing behavior expectations for pastors. As this church continues prayerfully to consider the issue of clergy who are gay or lesbian and in committed relationships, both the synod and I will continue to work on finding ways to live together faithfully in the midst of our disagreements."

I guess this isn't over yet.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

List Of The Day - Bookmark It!

List Of The Day is a fun blog by my buddy Cary. Check it out! It's a hoot!

National Journal: Editorial cartoonists face trying times

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Trying Times In Toontown (07/02/07): Losing jobs, going for online animation, and other interesting wrinkles in a one proud profession. (Hey, I was the editorial cartoonist for my college paper!)

Bush in RI; reporter dares to ask question

A couple of moments with the president - The Providence Journal: "WPRI-TV, Channel 12 reporter Jarrod Holbrook had his White House press pass snatched after he shouted “Mr. President!” twice as President Bush greeted Air and Army National Guardsmen gathered on the tarmac at the Air National Guard base in Quonset.

A member of the president’s entourage pointed at Holbrook after he first tried to get Mr. Bush’s attention. The man then ripped the pass from Holbrook’s belt after he shouted again to the president, who was about 10 feet away.

Holbrook said afterward that he just wanted to ask Mr. Bush how he enjoyed his visit to Rhode Island. Members of the media were not told they could not ask the president questions."

Hideous -- or intriguing? ChiTrib on the Olympic logos

Hideous -- or intriguing? Chicago Tribune: Update on the London 2012 logo brouhaha and design experts comment on other Olympic logos.

Google Purchases Web Phone Service - New York Times

Google Purchases Web Phone Service - New York Times: "Google said yesterday that it had bought GrandCentral Communications, acquiring a service that lets people use a single number for all their phones.

Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

GrandCentral users can also create a single mailbox, accessible over the Internet, for all their phone messages, Google said on its Web site."

For Bush, Action in Libby Case Was a Test of Will - New York Times

For Bush, Action in Libby Case Was a Test of Will - New York Times: "President Bush’s decision to commute the sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr. was the act of a liberated man — a leader who knows that, with 18 months left in the Oval Office and only a dwindling band of conservatives still behind him, he might as well do what he wants."

Bush Spares Libby 30-Month Jail Term - New York Times

Bush Spares Libby 30-Month Jail Term - New York Times: "resident Bush spared I. Lewis Libby Jr. from prison Monday, commuting his two-and-a-half-year sentence while leaving intact his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice in the C.I.A. leak case.

Mr. Bush’s action, announced hours after a panel of judges ruled that Mr. Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, could not put off serving his sentence while he appealed his conviction, came as a surprise to all but a few members of the president’s inner circle. It reignited the passions that have surrounded the case from the beginning."

Monday, July 02, 2007

CNN.com video free now

CNN.com: Here's TV Week's report: "CNN.com took the curtains off its re-launch today, going live with a new online look. The site has now folded the former CNN Pipeline service into CNN.com, which means all video is available for free."

Evanier's Kirby book

news from me - ARCHIVES: "Kirby: King of Comics is 224 pages in a 9' by 12' hardcover format, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. which is arguably the leading publisher of art-type books in the United States and maybe anywhere. The book is filled with illustrations from Jack's life, ranging from things he did as a kid (signed with his real name, Kurtzberg) to work as an adult. Many of the items have been seen before, though never with this quality of printing. Many have never been published. I have, for instance, a couple of unused Marvel covers from the sixties, one still in pencil, and a number of pencil commissions he did for people late in life. We're printing Jack's autobiographical story, 'Street Code,' right off the original negatives. We're printing a Fighting American story right off the original art. We have some of Jack's famous collages and a couple of pages where he took the art to some comic he'd done and hand-colored the original art. There are some amazing pieces."

Go see the cover!

WaPo: Morning Joe set to go

Howard Kurtz - Just Getting Warmed Up - washingtonpost.com: "MSNBC executives have decided that Scarborough is the next Don Imus -- not that anyone could replace Imus -- and are finalizing the details for 'Morning Joe' to permanently take over the 6-to-9 morning slot. The network this week is removing the 'Scarborough Country' name from his old 9 p.m. program, now being hosted by MSNBC's general manager, Dan Abrams. And CBS Radio, which syndicated Imus until his April firing, is negotiating whether some of its stations will carry the 'Joe' show, as well."

A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease - washingtonpost.com

A President Besieged and Isolated, Yet at Ease - washingtonpost.com: "At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers. One at a time or in small groups, he summons leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House to join him in the search.

Over sodas and sparkling water, he asks his questions: What is the nature of good and evil in the post-Sept. 11 world? What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I'm facing? How will history judge what we've done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?

These are the questions of a president who has endured the most drastic political collapse in a generation. Not generally known for intellectual curiosity, Bush is seeking out those who are, engaging in a philosophical exploration of the currents of history that have swept up his administration. For all the setbacks, he remains unflinching, rarely expressing doubt in his direction, yet trying to understand how he got off course."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Marvel Comics Buries Captain America | AccessAtlanta

Marvel Comics Buries Captain America | AccessAtlanta: "It's a funeral fit for a superhero. In the drizzling rain at Arlington National Cemetery, thousands of grieving patriots solemnly watch as the pallbearers — Iron Man, the Black Panther, Ben Grimm and Ms. Marvel — carry a casket draped with an American flag.

Yes, folks, Captain America is dead and buried in the latest issue of Marvel Comics' 'Fallen Son,' due on newsstands the morning after Independence Day. After 66 years of battling villains from Adolf Hitler to the Red Skull, the red, white and blue leader of the Avengers was felled by an assassin's bullet on the steps of a New York federal courthouse."

In Steps Big and Small, Supreme Court Moved Right - New York Times

In Steps Big and Small, Supreme Court Moved Right - New York Times: "It was the Supreme Court that conservatives had long yearned for and that liberals feared.

By the time the Roberts court ended its first full term on Thursday, the picture was clear. This was a more conservative court, sometimes muscularly so, sometimes more tentatively, its majority sometimes differing on methodology but agreeing on the outcome in cases big and small.

As a result, the court upheld a federal anti-abortion law, cut back on the free-speech rights of public school students, strictly enforced procedural requirements for bringing and appealing cases, and limited school districts’ ability to use racially conscious measures to achieve or preserve integration."

My Thailand Adventure -- Correction!

One year ago today, I posted my travelog of my trip last April/May to Thailand at my old site, cephasworld.com. Today I got a correction I wanted to pass along. I love the internet! Here it is:

hello, about your trip to ayuthaya when you said you were sitting at a low table enjoying the Thai dishes accross a monument dedicated to Queen Baan Watacharachai, the monument is a dedication to Queen Suriyothai. Baan Watcharachai is the name of the restaurant you had your meal in. I know because I own the Baan Watacharachai restaurant. baan means "Home" in Thai, and Watcharachai is a mixture of my fathers, mothers and my first names. But thanks for plugging the restaurant and hope to see you again in the near future. Look me up, my name is Isra Sunthornvut.