Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking at America - Editorial in New York Times

Looking at America - New York Times: "There are too many moments these days when we cannot recognize our country. Sunday was one of them, as we read the account in The Times of how men in some of the most trusted posts in the nation plotted to cover up the torture of prisoners by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators by destroying videotapes of their sickening behavior. It was impossible to see the founding principles of the greatest democracy in the contempt these men and their bosses showed for the Constitution, the rule of law and human decency.

It was not the first time in recent years we’ve felt this horror, this sorrowful sense of estrangement, not nearly. This sort of lawless behavior has become standard practice since Sept. 11, 2001."

Late Night Hosts to Return, some must improvise - NYT

Writers Guild - Strike - Late Night Hosts - David Letterman - Walter H.G. Lewin - TV - New York Times: "For most of television’s late-night hosts, sidelined for two months by the strike by the Writers Guild of America, this week will be a leap into the unknown. The two biggest questions they face when most of them return to the screen on Wednesday night are: How are they going to be funny without writers? And who is going to sit on their couches as guests?

The writing situation seems to leave only one option for hosts: Be funny on their own. The booking situation is so unsettled that no show still affected by the strike is going public with its list of guests this week, and a physics professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is being hotly pursued as a booking.

...The main event was the deal that David Letterman secured Friday allowing him and his CBS colleague Craig Ferguson to return to the air with writers."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

DIAL B for BLOG covers The Beatles cartoon series

DIAL B for BLOG - THE WORLD'S GREATEST COMIC BLOGAZINE: "Produced in 1965, THE BEATLES animated series came about through the efforts of producer Al Brodax at King Features after he was approached by an ABC executive with the idea of producing a Beatles cartoon.

The real Beatles didn't have much to do with the series, apart from the fact that their original music was used for the soundtrack, which usually gave the episode its title. Each cartoon ran approx. 8-10 min, followed by a two-song sing-along, followed by another cartoon."

Blog@Newsarama - Reaction to latest Spider-Man

Blog@Newsarama � Variations on a Theme: "So the promised end to the Spider-Man/Mary Jane marriage has finally happened and it seemed only fitting to return to the topic in this column." Check out a variety of reactions.

New Chabon Nonfiction book due this spring - TAWOK&C

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News: "Michael Chabon's first non-fiction book, Maps and Legends, will hit stores this spring.

Published by McSweeney's, the 200-page book features a collection of previously published essays Chabon authored, including the book's namesake.

Here's the synopsis:

'Michael Chabon's sparkling first book of nonfiction is a love song in 16 parts: a series of linked essays in praise of reading and writing, with subjects ranging from ghost stories to comic books, from Sherlock Holmes to Cormac McCarthy. Throughout, Chabon energetically argues for a return to the thrilling, chilling origins of storytelling, rejecting the false walls around 'serious' literature in favor of a wide-ranging affection. His own fiction, meanwhile, is explored from the perspective of personal history: post-collegiate desperation sparks his debut, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; procrastination and doubt reveal the way toward Wonder Boys; a basement golem and a love of comics combine to create the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay; and an enigmatic Yiddish phrasebook unfurls into The Yiddish Policeman's Union.'"

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy 85th Birthday, Stan "the Man" Lee!

Here's a pic of Stan and me in his office in LA about three years ago... His birthday was yesterday, and after I sent him an email birthday greeting, he wrote back:

Hey, Peter,

Many many thanks for your most generous birthday message.

But, grateful as I am, I still think you shouldn't have petitioned the government to close the banks and post office on this momentous day. That seems like a bit much.

Seriously, thanks again and, as a special favor to me, have the very HAPPIEST of New Years!



Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Afterlife Is Expensive for Digital Movies - New York Times

The Afterlife Is Expensive for Digital Movies - New York Times: A new study shows that storing the digital master record of a film costs much more than storing archival prints.

BOOKS: The year's best books (5 LISTS)

BOOKS: The year's best books | AccessAtlanta: "There's not much consensus when it comes to the best books of the year. Only one work of fiction —- 'Tree of Smoke' by Denis Johnson —- appears on as many as four of five critics' lists detailed here. Curiously, while The New York Times enshrined the Vietnam novel as one of its five best fiction reads of 2007, the Los Angeles Times did not rank it among its more than 20 selections. Go figure. Better yet, go read and decide for yourself. Here is our sampling of the year's finest fiction and nonfiction from critics around the country."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Electric Cars: Aptera Electric Car Works Great, Says Popular Mechanics

Electric Cars: Aptera Electric Car Works Great, Says Popular Mechanics: "Popular Mechanics test drove the Aptera Super-MPG Electric Typ-1 e. And despite its stupid stupid stupid name it looks like it works great. Capable of achieving 300 miles per gallon in its hybrid version, the $30,000 Aptera is a winner according to them: the electric-only version is stable, practical for daily transport and drives well, all while looking like a prop car from Woody Allen's Sleeper or Logan's Run"

TVWeek: "Jesus Camp"coming to A&E

Marianne Paskowski - Catch ‘Jesus Camp’ on the Small Screen - TVWeek - Blogs: "Odds are, like me, you too missed “Jesus Camp,” a documentary that opened as a theatrical and won a nomination for an Academy Award. So, I’m telling you now, set your recorder to see this film on A&E, December 30, at 10 p.m. (EST).

Produced by Loki Films for A&E IndieFilms, the eye-opening saga takes place at “Kids on Fire,” and I’m not kidding, a real camp in Devil’s Lake, N.D. that recruits born-again Christian kids to become political activists."

The Best American Comics 2007 reviewed in NYTBR

The Best American Comics 2007 - Edited by Chris Ware - Books - Review - New York Times: "The comics collected in this book range fairly far and wide, but the strong center of gravity is plaintive tales of everyday life, set in the present, and usually about the social groups that comic artists themselves belong to. The appeal of such work is its emotional directness — in this age of highly branded, executive-produced cultural output, comics promise a more resonant and unadulterated link between creator and reader."

"Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" To Return In January — Without Writers

"Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" To Return In January — Without Writers - Media on The Huffington Post: "'The Daily Show' and 'The Colbert Report' are the last two late-night shows to announce a return to air; the rest of them — NBC's 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' and 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien,' ABC's 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' and CBS' 'Late Show with David Letterman' and 'The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson' will all be returning to air on January 2nd — also without their writers (though CBS' late shows may have worked something out with the writers by then)."

'Year in Stupid' chock full of dumb |

'Year in Stupid' chock full of dumb | "Maybe it was all the lead we consumed in Chinese products. Maybe it was the Hollywood writers' strike. Maybe it was the publication of 'Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul.'

Whatever the reason, 2007 was a year that demanded — verily, it cried out in the wilderness – for some sort of retrospective that would round up a lot of stupid stuff. So here it is. Even worse: Everything here is true."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stanford's nanowire battery holds 10 times the charge of existing ones

Stanford's nanowire battery holds 10 times the charge of existing ones: "Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices.

The new version, developed through research led by Yi Cui, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, produces 10 times the amount of electricity of existing lithium-ion, known as Li-ion, batteries. A laptop that now runs on battery for two hours could operate for 20 hours, a boon to ocean-hopping business travelers.

'It's not a small improvement,' Cui said. 'It's a revolutionary development.'"

Lakota Indians Withdraw Treaties - Lakota Indians Withdraw Treaties Signed With U.S. 150 Years Ago - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News: "The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States.

'We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,'' long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means said.

A delegation of Lakota leaders has delivered a message to the State Department, and said they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the U.S., some of them more than 150 years old.

The group also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and would continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free - provided residents renounce their U.S. citizenship, Mr Means said."

Screen Actors Guild Noms Announced


mental_floss: The Real Story Behind A Charlie Brown Christmas (and why it almost wasn’t shown)

mental_floss Blog - The Real Story Behind A Charlie Brown Christmas (and why it almost wasn’t shown): "In my mind, the Christmas season doesn’t officially start until CBS shows A Charlie Brown Christmas. Who out there doesn’t picture Snoopy dancing joyfully with his nose in the air whenever they hear the familiar strains of that jazzy piano music? Interestingly enough, this Christmas staple - the longest-running holiday special on TV - started out as an afterthought."

There was just so much wrong with it. There was not enough action. It moved too slow. The voices had been done by real kids, not adult actors. There was no laugh track. And Linus read from the Gospel of Luke in one scene. (“You can’t read from the Bible on network television!” they declared in unison.) At the end of the meeting, [animator Bill] Mendelson was told: “Well, you gave it a good shot. Believe me, we’re big Peanuts fans, but maybe it’s better suited to the comic page.”

Bad Huck: the dark side of the GOP frontrunner (TNR)

Bad Huck: "[Arkansas] Reporters recall Huckabee as combative, even malicious, in response to critical coverage. He was known to attack reporters, fire off scathing e-mails to newsrooms, and complain to editors about probing questions. 'I was just astounded at how vindictive he was,' says Joan Duffy, who covered Huckabee for The Commercial Appeal of Memphis in the '90s. 'He took it all so personally. . . . You're either with him, or you're a mortal enemy.'

What's ironic about all this is how Huckabee--a graduate in speech and communications from Ouachita Baptist University and former p.r. director for televangelist James Robison--seems to be fashioning himself a sort of media-relations expert. About halfway through his campaign autobiography, Character Makes a Difference, Huckabee comments on his communications strategy. 'Several points are helpful in dealing with the media. One is not to be afraid,' he writes. 'If a newspaper reporter doesn't like you, there may be nothing you can do to change that. You have to be ready to counter it with other information outlets.'"

Lynne Spears' Book Delayed Indefinitely

Lynne Spears' Book Delayed Indefinitely: "Lynne Spears' book about parenting has been delayed indefinitely, her publisher said Wednesday.

Lindsey Nobles, a spokeswoman for Christian book publisher Thomas Nelson Inc., said Wednesday that the memoir by the mother of Britney Spears was put on hold last week. She declined to comment on whether the delay was connected to the revelation that Spears' 16-year-old daughter, Jamie Lynn, is pregnant.

'I can tell you that we are standing behind Lynne and supporting her decision to be with her family at this time,' Nobles told The Associated Press."

Ha! My first three books were published by Thomas Nelson...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

FCC Wants Broadcasters to Increase Commitment on Local Programming - TVWeek

FCC Wants Broadcasters to Increase Commitment on Local Programming - TVWeek - News: "The Federal Communications Commission is quietly unveiling a major new proposal to require broadcasters to step up their commitment to local programming and around-the-clock staffing, while attention focuses on its media ownership vote.

In a report and rule-making announced Tuesday, the FCC for the first time suggested its study of some of the problems stemming from media consolidation and loss of local ownership demonstrated a need for changes, including some in station licensing.

The FCC concluded that all local stations must air local programming, and that better ways are needed to track that local content is being aired, including both local bands on radio and local political debates and coverage on TV. It asked for comments on how to do so."

Daily Cartoonist: Man fired for posting Dilbert cartoon

The Daily Cartoonist: "In what may be the first documented case of an employee being fired for posting a Dilbert comic strip at the office, a Fort Madison (IL) man was fired back in October after pinning a Dilbert cartoonon a bulletin board that joked that management decisions were made by “drunken lemurs” (see cartoon).

In a recent state hearing for reviewing David Stewards unemployment benefits, it became public that Steward had been fired for “misconduct” by management after they used the casino’s surveillance tapes to find out who has posted the cartoon. Steward defended himself that posting the comic was meant to cheer some people up after management had notified employees that the casino was shutting down and that the 170 employees would be losing their jobs.

In the end, the Administrative Law Judge sided with Steward saying that posting the strip represented “‘a good-faith error in judgment,’ not intentional misbehavior.”"

A Tsar Is Born - Person of the Year 2007 - TIME

A Tsar Is Born - Person of the Year 2007 - TIME: "No one is born with a stare like Vladimir Putin's. The Russian President's pale blue eyes are so cool, so devoid of emotion that the stare must have begun as an affect, the gesture of someone who understood that power might be achieved by the suppression of ordinary needs, like blinking. The affect is now seamless, which makes talking to the Russian President not just exhausting but often chilling. It's a gaze that says, I'm in charge."

Street Prophets: The dangerous facts of religious politics

Street Prophets: Faith and Politics: "Lots of establishment types like to say there's nothing new under the sun with respect to religion and politics. In December 2004, White House speechwriter Michael Gerson told journalists that George W. Bush's religious rhetoric was the same old thing we'd always seen: 'I don't believe that any of this is a departure from American history.' Three months earlier Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the ecumenical journal First Things, declared of Bush's religious politics: 'There is nothing that Bush has said about divine purpose, destiny and accountability that Abraham Lincoln did not say. This is as American as apple pie.'

If this is apple pie, the fruit is rotten.

Both of these men were wrong, and their position is dangerous. As in end of the American experiment in democracy dangerous. How do I know? My colleague, Kevin Coe, and I ran the numbers."

List Of The Day: Scared Of Santa

List Of The Day: Scared Of Santa: "Oh, the ho-ho-horror!"

Here's a taste... there's a ton more! (Love Santa's eyes...)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hard 'Hobbit' to Break: Jackson's In | AccessAtlanta

Hard 'Hobbit' to Break: Jackson's In | AccessAtlanta: "After publicly feuding for more than a year, 'Lord of the Rings' director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have reached agreement to make J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit,' a planned two-film prequel to the blockbuster trilogy.

Jackson, who directed "Rings," will serve as executive producer for two "Hobbit" pictures. They will tell the story of how the young hobbit Bilbo Baggins originally came to possess the nefarious One Ring that Frodo, his adopted heir, needed three films to dispose of.

A director for the films has yet to be named. Production is tentatively set to begin in 2009 with a release planned for 2010, and the sequel following in 2011."

So he's not directing.

Marvel Illustrated Adapts Literary Classics

Marvel Illustrated Adapts Literary Classics - 12/17/2007 1:33:00 PM - Publishers Weekly: "In a sharp departure from its usual target audience, Marvel Comics is courting the literary and educational crowd with Marvel Illustrated, a new imprint devoted to adapting classic literature into comic books. Since its launch in May 2007, it has transformed titles like The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers into comics miniseries, with many more on the way. Roy Thomas, a comics legend and former English teacher with a long resum�of comics adaptations, currently writes the Marvel Illustrated titles. Thomas; David Gabriel, Marvel sr. v-p of sales; and Marvel associate editor Nicole Boose talked with PWCW about taking the classics to the comics shop market and beyond."

Twilight of the Books - The New Yorker

Twilight of the Books: A Critic at Large: The New Yorker: "What will life be like if people stop reading?"

Caught on Tape: Death Star Galaxy - Technology on The Huffington Post

Caught on Tape: Death Star Galaxy - Technology on The Huffington Post: "The latest act of senseless violence caught on tape is cosmic in scope: A black hole in a 'death star galaxy' blasting a neighboring galaxy with a deadly jet of radiation and energy.

A fleet of space and ground telescopes have captured images of this cosmic violence, which people have never witnessed before, according to a new study released Monday by NASA.

'It's like a bully, a black-hole bully punching the nose of a passing galaxy,' said astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, who wasn't involved in the research."

There goes the neighborhood. Grodin on H&C TVNewser: "Not sure what the highlight of this 10 minute clip is; Charles Grodin ribbing Alan Colmes for not wearing eyeliner, learning Carol Burnett is apolitical or watching Grodin tug at Sean Hannity's hair."

I always liked ol' Grodin, and this is a fun clip. I guess he's not wearing a toupee any more.

The Obama-Clinton Issue - Brooks in the New York Times

The Obama-Clinton Issue - David Brooks Op-Ed, New York Times: "If Clinton were running against Obama for Senate, it would be easy to choose between them.

But they are running for president, and the presidency requires a different set of qualities. Presidents are buffeted by sycophancy, criticism and betrayal. They must improvise amid a thousand fluid crises. They’re isolated and also exposed, puffed up on the outside and hollowed out within. With the presidency, character and self-knowledge matter more than even experience. There are reasons to think that, among Democrats, Obama is better prepared for this madness."

Scholastic packages Potter successor - NYT

Scholastic - The 39 Clues - Books - New York Times: "With the Harry Potter series now completed, Scholastic, the United States publisher of those wildly successful books by J. K. Rowling, is moving forward with what it hopes will be its follow-up blockbuster series.

Called “The 39 Clues,” this series will feature 10 books — the first of which is to go on sale next September — as well as related Web-based games, collectors’ cards and cash prizes. The project demonstrates Scholastic’s acknowledgment that as much as the publisher heralded the renewed interest in reading represented by the Harry Potter books, many children are now as transfixed by Internet and video games as they are by reading."

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Batman Movie Trailer up


Interviews: Bill Gates chomps fries during 60 Minutes Interview

Interviews: Bill Gates Oozes Cool, Chip Fat: "We just spotted a series featuring technology superstars on CBS's 60 Minutes show. The interviews may not be new, but the show teasers are awesome. The best of the bunch is by far the interview with Bill Gates, whose usually modest demeanor is thrown out the window. Check it out after the jump..."


NBC Late-Night Hosts to Return - TVWeek

NBC Late-Night Hosts to Return - TVWeek - News: "NBC late-night hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien will return to the air without writers after two months of a strike-induced break, the network announced Monday morning.

“The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” will resume production and the first episode will air Jan. 2.

“We put it off as long as we could,” said Jeff Ross, executive producer of “Late Night.”

The decision to return comes after weeks of speculation and media scrutiny about whether the hosts, both members of the Writers Guild, will break union ranks to resume their non-writing hosting duties."

Sad: PCWorld Calls Vista the Biggest Tech Disappointment of 2007

Sad: PCWorld Calls Vista the Biggest Tech Disappointment of 2007: "PCWorld has listed the 15 Biggest Tech Disappointments of 2007, and Windows Vista went for the gold. Their article begins, 'Five years in the making and this is the best Microsoft could do?' and really just snowballs from there. While PCWorld enjoys Aero, better networking and faster searches, they thought that both the price and third party hardware incompatibilities were unacceptable. And this clever turn of phrase made us laugh out loud:

No wonder so many users are clinging to XP like shipwrecked sailors to a life raft, while others who made the upgrade are switching back. And when the fastest Vista notebook PC World has ever tested is an Apple MacBook Pro, there's something deeply wrong with the universe."

Actor Waterston Says Politics Is Broken - Huffpo

Actor Waterston Says Politics Is Broken - Entertainment on The Huffington Post: "Sam Waterston, whose character Jack McCoy recently became district attorney on the long-running NBC crime drama 'Law & Order,' says he has no interest in following Fred Thompson's lead and running for office _ but he is dipping his toe into the political waters.

He has become the spokesman for Denver-based Unity08, a centrist effort for political change that is trying to put a bipartisan ticket picked over the Internet on the presidential ballot in all 50 states.

'Bitter partisanship remains the reality in Washington, proof positive that the system is broken, and that a third force in the middle is essential to fix it,' Waterston says on a video posted Dec. 4 on YouTube and on the Unity08 Web site."

Apple At Macworld: Tiny MacBook, No 3G iPhone? - Silicon Alley Insider

Apple At Macworld: Tiny MacBook, No 3G iPhone? - Silicon Alley Insider: "Piper Jaffray's Apple analyst Gene Munster (AAPL) has floated his predictions for January's Macworld trade show in San Francisco, where Steve Jobs usually unveils many of his biggest products."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ohio Elections Official Calls Machines Flawed - New York Times

Ohio Elections Official Calls Machines Flawed - New York Times: "All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state’s top elections official has found.

“It was worse than I anticipated,” the official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said of the report. “I had hoped that perhaps one system would test superior to the others.”

At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers."

So maybe all those stories about a stolen Ohio in 2004 had some validity?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2007

Bad Astronomy Blog - Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2007: "There are so many incredible astronomical photographs released every year that picking ten as the most beautiful is a substantial task. But it becomes easier when you consider the science behind the image as well. Does this image tell us more than that one? Was the scientific result drawn from an image surprising, or did it firm up a previously considered hypothesis?

Still, there’s something to be said for a simple, drop dead gorgeous picture.

So here I present my Top Ten Astronomy Pictures for 2007."

Superman's Symbol, Shield, Logo and Its History!

Superman's Symbol, Shield, Logo and Its History!

Fun geeky history!

Top 10 Magazine Covers of 2007 - TIME

Top 10 Magazine Covers - 50 Top 10 Lists of 2007 - TIME

Celebrity of evangelicals toxic -

Celebrity of evangelicals toxic - William McKenzie op-ed at "If you spend any time within evangelicalism, you hear people speak in reverential tones about the pastor at this church, the seminar led by this speaker or the book by this author. It's easy to feel as if you need to hear that speaker, attend that church or read that writer to establish your credentials as a believer.

The number of icons and rituals within one of the nation's most influential movements is actually surprising. Evangelicalism prides itself on being decentralized. Whereas Catholics put a premium on popes, bishops, saints, stations of the Cross and various forms of hierarchy and rituals, evangelicals see themselves as needing no mediator between themselves and God.

That actually isn't the case. Evangelicalism suffers from a worship of icons."

Judith Warner @ NYT: Holier Than They

Judith Warner - Domestic Disturbances - Opinion - New York Times Blog: "We are, we’ve repeatedly been told in the past week, in the grip of a faith war. There has been a lot of interesting discussion of Mormonism and Evangelical Protestantism, about Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee outdoing themselves to appeal to Christian conservatives, and about John McCain’s belief in a “Christian nation.” There has been dismay about a political moment in which it seems a candidate must pass a religious litmus test to gain national viability. There have been comparisons to John F. Kennedy, talk of the Founding Fathers, of the separation of church and state, and of how the Puritans’ rather intolerant vision of religious freedom continues to trickle down to our day.

But one line of questioning, it seems to me, is missing. One point of view is inexpressible, taboo. I am not referring to atheism – the one belief system that clearly had no place in the vision of America Romney painted in his much-anticipated speech on faith last week. Rather, I’m thinking of the now entirely muted issue of whether the basic ethical foundations of Romney, Huckabee et al’s political views truly are “Christian” – in the good-neighborly sense of the word."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

James Hibberd on the Golden Globes

James Hibberd - Golden Globe Nominations: Despite Snubs, Quality Writing Rules - TVWeek - Blogs: "Hallmark Channel’s “A Grandpa for Christmas” received more Golden Globe nominations than ABC’s “Lost.” Or NBC’s “Heroes.” Or “Friday Night Lights.” And it tied with NBC’s “The Office” and the final season of HBO’s “The Sopranos.” This is, of course, a completely unfair way of looking at this morning’s nomination tally. “Grandpa” received a single nod, for beloved actor Ernest Borgnine, and long-form categories are notoriously weak."

BBC: Atonement leads field at Globes

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Atonement leads field at Globes: "British film drama Atonement leads the race for the 2008 Golden Globe awards, having been nominated for seven prizes. Actors James McAvoy and Keira Knightley have been shortlisted for the World War II story, as has director Joe Wright. Helena Bonham Carter, Julie Christie and Daniel Day-Lewis are among the other UK film stars with nominations. Hugh Laurie, Ricky Gervais and Minnie Driver are also in the running after being nominated for their TV shows House, Extras and The Riches."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

By Ken Levine: The Man from U.N.C.L.E

By Ken Levine: The Man from U.N.C.L.E: "THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. is finally out on DVD. You can buy the complete box set of episodes, all four seasons. For kids growing up in the 60s this is a big deal. THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. was TV’s answer to James Bond movies. Suave secret agents, acronym agencies, crazed villains with eye patches, beautiful women, daring stunts, gadgets, and lunch boxes you could take to school."

Great review! And lots of fond memories...

BTW Check out for episodes you can watch online free.

Salon Book Awards 2007

Salon Book Awards 2007: Yet another list, here's the fiction five, and good to see Chabon's latest on it.

Paul Reubens Discusses Pee-Wee's Big Return

Paul Reubens Discusses Pee-Wee's Big Return - Movie News Story | MTV Movie News: "It's been nearly 20 years since Pee-wee appeared in a feature film all his own. No one could have guessed that 1988's 'Big Top Pee-wee' would be the cinematic swan song for Reubens' baby — not after the character had taken the country by storm, thanks to the groundbreaking children's show 'Pee-wee's Playhouse' and the instantly quotable 1985 film 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure' from a rookie director by the name of Tim Burton. Of course, life — in the form of a notorious 1991 arrest in an adult theater — had other plans. Now, if Reubens has his way, we may be on the cusp of the return of Pee-wee in the form of two feature films starring the wide-eyed perennial man-child. 'I feel like the time is really ripe right now,' Reubens said. 'A lot of the kids who grew up with the show are young adults. The college kids are middle-aged adults. I feel like I have enough of a built-in audience to make back an investment.'"

C&L: Bush League Justice: Signing Statements

Crooks and Liars - Bush League Justice: Signing Statements: "Dan Abrams continues his fantastic series started yesterday by looking how Bush has effectively subverted the system of government and eliminated any controls or oversight of the executive branch by the use of signing statements. Jonathan Turley and Charlie Savage join in to assess the damage done."

Check out the video.

Explore The Spirit: Conversation With a Comic Scholar

Explore The Spirit: 059: Conversation With a Comic Scholar: "TODAY, in Part 2 of our 3-day focus on Faith and Comics, we're thrilled to share a Conversation With Greg Garrett, a leading expert on religion in popular culture.

In an earlier review, we recommended Greg's book, 'The Gospel According to Hollywood.'

However, he's also the author of an upcoming 'Revised and Expanded' edition of his 2005 book on comics: 'Holy Superheroes!'

What's more, Greg is the only Christian writer I've ever met -- and, perhaps the only Christian, period -- whose conversion was sparked by director Quentin Tarantino's R-rated pot-boiler, 'Pulp Fiction!'"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Michael Dirda reviews the Don Martin collection -

Michael Dirda - Michael Dirda - "Back in the early 1960s, any young boulevardier between the ages of 10 and 15 knew that the greatest publication in all the world was Mad magazine. Oh, Sick and Cracked might have their aficionados, but for the true connoisseur of humor and satire these Mad wannabes functioned largely as backups, temporary palliatives to tide one over until next month's Mad appeared at the corner drugstore. In those days an issue cost 25 cents (cheap!) and featured not only the smiling freckled face of Alfred E. Neuman, but also the double-crossing antics of Sergio Aragones' Spy vs. Spy, parodies in verse by the ingenious Frank Jacobs, and the ever-popular send-ups of current television shows and popular films. Best of all, the 1960s were also the heyday of Don Martin, the comedic draftsman celebrated in these two weighty and essential volumes."

Catch the error? They've already corrected it online...

Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein


Top 10 Fiction Books - TIME

Top 10 Fiction Books - TIME:

I'm already a little tired of all these year-end lists, how 'bout you?

Top 10 Graphic Novels - TIME

Top 10 Graphic Novels - TIME

Archie News: Jughead’s Dynamic New Look

Archie News: Jughead’s Dynamic New Look: Check it out here.

Top 10 Editorial Cartoons - TIME

Top 10 Editorial Cartoons - TIME

Hey, where's Luckovitch?

Explore The Spirit: A SUPER-spiritual Quiz!

Explore The Spirit: 058: A SUPER-spiritual Quiz!: "Biff! Bam! Pow! That's the sound of ReadTheSpirit knocking out another wall to expand our online home and make room for -- Thwack! -- the rapidly growing realm of spiritually themed comic books, manga and graphic novels!

If this seems like a bizarre idea, come back tomorrow for our Conversation With a leading expert in this field: Greg Garrett, professor at Baylor University and a longtime scholar of Faith & Culture. In 2005, Greg published one of the most influential overviews of this whole realm: 'Holy Superheroes! Faith and Spirituality in Comic Books.'

But, there's so much religious creativity in these genres that Greg already has extensively updated his book -- and a whole new 'Revised and Expanded Edition' of 'Holy Superheroes!' is due out from WJK Press by February."

BBC: Mars robot unearths microbe clue

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Mars robot unearths microbe clue: "Nasa says its robot rover Spirit has made one of its most significant discoveries on the surface of Mars. Scientists believe a patch of ground disturbed by the vehicle shows evidence of a past environment that would have been perfect for microbial life. The deposits were probably produced when hot spring water or steam came into contact with volcanic rocks. On Earth, these are locations that tend to teem with bacteria, said rover chief scientist Steve Squyres."

Monday, December 10, 2007

As Imus returns, talk radio silences dissenters --

As Imus returns, talk radio silences dissenters -- Former WABC talk show host Ron Kuby on why and and Curtis Sliwa lost their radio show: "We were doomed by the confluence of two forces that are dooming local radio. First, there is globalization. By using syndicated shows and firing local hosts and air staff, the parent corporation saves money. The nation gets a homogenized sound, from Brooklyn to Berkeley. Long the media globalizer - where local shows like Imus and Howard Stern eventually went national - New York has become the globalized. A generation ago, WABC radio was almost entirely local. Today, syndicated programming - including Imus - takes up more than 19 hours a day. Second, programmers increasingly promote ideological consistency by presenting only one side of the political debate. Called 'stationality,' the concept is to offer the same views through different voices all day, making listeners feel safely cocooned in their biases. Debates run the gamut from A to B, featuring discourse along the lines of 'Hillary Clinton, Threat or Menace?' After all, you might become unsettled if the liberal persuades you in the morning and then you have to decide that the conservative in the afternoon is wrong."

First look: Whip cracks over new 'Indiana Jones' movie -

First look: Whip cracks over new 'Indiana Jones' movie - "Now that the poster for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been revealed, some details from the super-secret plot also can be officially exposed."

Read Al Gore's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech - Politics on The Huffington Post

Read Al Gore's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech - Politics on The Huffington Post

Radar Online : Times Week in Review Steers Right

Fresh Intelligence : Radar Online : Times Week in Review Steers Right: "Noted neocon and New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus (right) has been given control of the paper's Week in Review section. Prepare for (justified) liberal outrage."

L.A. critics call for 'Blood' - Variety

L.A. critics call for 'Blood' - Entertainment News, Award Central News, Media - Variety: "The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. proved a bloodthirsty lot on Sunday, giving Paul Thomas Anderson's 'There Will Be Blood' four awards, including picture and director. Daniel Day-Lewis won the actor prize (his third from the group, having previously been honored for 'Gangs of New York' and 'My Left Foot') for playing an early 20th century California oil man in the intense drama, which was also cited for Jack Fisk's production design. Produced by Anderson, JoAnne Sellar and Daniel Lupi, the 158-minute Paramount Vantage release, which Miramax is handling overseas, doesn't open until Dec. 26."

Screenwriters Dig In for an Extended Brawl - New York Times

Screenwriters Dig In for an Extended Brawl - New York Times: "On Friday night, five weeks into a strike that now promises to drag on well into the new year, seriously complicating plans for this television season and the next, and opening the door to a tube filled with reality shows and other substitutes, it suddenly became clear to all involved that Mr. Verrone and the other guild leaders were serious about their writers’ revolution. After days of haggling over complicated formulas for Internet pay, the latest round of talks blew up over the deeper issues that had been buried inside the writers’ contract proposals. "

Masterpiece Theater Now in 3 flavors: classic, mystery, contemporary - NYTimes

Masterpiece Theater - Television - New York Times: "Gillian Anderson, best known to American audiences as Agent Dana Scully of the F.B.I., from the Fox television show “The X-Files,” will be one of the new hosts of “Masterpiece Theater” on PBS when it begins its new season on Jan. 13, the program’s producers plan to announce today. Naming Ms. Anderson as a host is part of a broad overhaul of the look and scheduling of “Masterpiece Theater,” now 37 years old, intended to bring in more viewers by getting rid of some of the packaging that Rebecca Eaton, the program’s executive producer, said was beginning to look antiquated. Among other changes, the series, which won three Emmy Awards this year, will group films by genre, separating the period works from the contemporary dramas."

Flying Humans, Hoping to Land With No Chute - New York Times

Flying Humans, Hoping to Land With No Chute - New York Times: "Jeb Corliss wants to fly — not the way the Wright brothers wanted to fly, but the way we do in our dreams. He wants to jump from a helicopter and land without using a parachute."

Check out the photo of his cool wing suit... video also.

The ’60s as the Good Old Days - New York Times

The ’60s as the Good Old Days - New York Times: "IF you remember the ’60s, as a popular saying goes, you probably weren’t there. No matter. Madison Avenue is taking you back with a skein of campaigns celebrating sights and sounds of the decade. The ads are filled with images like Volkswagen buses festooned with groovy graffiti, daisies and other power flowers, peace signs, psychedelic drawings in DayGlo colors and hair, long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen (to quote a lyric from the era). Music, too, is being used to invoke the 1960s. Commercials on television, radio and the Internet play tunes like “Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful (1966), “Gimme Some Lovin’ ” by the Spencer Davis Group (1967) and “On the Road Again” by Canned Heat (1968). "

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Episcopal diocese splits (AP)

AT&T - News: "An Episcopal diocese in central California voted Saturday to split with the national denomination over disagreements about the role of gays and lesbians in the church. Clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin voted 173-22 at their annual convention to remove all references to the national church from the diocese's constitution, according to spokeswoman Joan Gladstone. The Fresno-based congregation is the first full diocese to secede because of a conservative-liberal rift that began decades ago and is now focused on whether the Bible condemns gay relationships. The diocese, in a later vote, accepted an invitation to join a conservative South American congregation of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. member of the global Anglican Communion."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hogan's Alley: Cavalcade of Cartoonists' Christmas Cards

Welcome to Hogan's Alley!: "Again this year, we are pleased to give Hogan's Alley readers a Christmas present: another set of cartoonists' Christmas cards. Cartoonists don't limit their expression to their published work, as the cards below demonstrate. Taken from the fabled collection of Rick Marschall, they show the warmth and humor that cartoonists sent to their friends and colleagues."

DIAL B: Secret Origins of the Simpsons Super-Heroes!


Think Progress: Sen. Whitehouse Reveals Secret DoJ Legal Memos: Bush Determines What Is Constitutional

Think Progress - Sen. Whitehouse Reveals Secret DoJ Legal Memos: Bush Determines What Is Constitutional: "This morning, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) delivered an impassioned floor speech to help frame the debate over FISA reform. Using his privilege as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Whitehouse said he has “spent hours poring over” secret opinions issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) — and he took notes. Whitehouse is a lawyer, a former U.S. Attorney, a former legal counsel to Rhode Island’s Governor, and a former State Attorney General. He said he sought and received permission to have his notes declassified because he wanted to show the public “what the Bush administration does behind our backs when they think no one is looking.” "

Olbermann on Bush and the NIE report

Crooks and Liars: "We have either a president who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War Three about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole — or we have a president too transcendently stupid not to have asked — at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so — whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible. A pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief. It is the nightmare scenario of political science fiction: A critical juncture in our history and, contained in either answer, a president manifestly unfit to serve, and behind him in the vice presidency: an unapologetic war-monger who has long been seeing a world visible only to himself."


Prince Caspian Trailer online Watch it here...

The Crisis of Faith - New York Times

The Crisis of Faith - New York Times: "Mr. Romney tried to cloak himself in the memory of John F. Kennedy, who had to defend his Catholicism in the 1960 campaign. But Mr. Kennedy had the moral courage to do so in front of an audience of Southern Baptist leaders and to declare: “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.” Mr. Romney did not even come close to that in his speech, at the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas, before a carefully selected crowd. And in his speech, he courted the most religiously intolerant sector of American political life by buying into the myths at the heart of the “cultural war,” so eagerly embraced by the extreme right. "

Thursday, December 06, 2007

AppleInsider: Apple sub-notebook to retail for $1500, 3G iPhone by June - report

AppleInsider | Apple sub-notebook to retail for $1500, 3G iPhone by June - report: "In a just-aired broadcast on CNBC, the network's Jim Goldman reported that a source close to Apple's manufacturing facilities has confirmed that the company will launch its much rumored sub-notebook at Macworld in January and that it will also have a 3G iPhone on store shelves by June at the latest."

The Dr. Seuss Jumble: Naming Web Sites - New York Times

The Dr. Seuss Jumble: Naming Web Sites - David Pogue in the New York Times: "These days, startups take the lazy way out: they choose goofy-sounding nonsense words. They think they're being clever by being unclever. These are all actual Web sites that have hit the Web in the last year or so: Doostang. Wufoo. Bliin. Thoof. Bebo. Meebo. Meemo. Kudit. Raketu. Etelos. Iyogi. Oyogi. Qoop. Fark. Kijiji. Zixxo. Zoogmo. These startups think that these names will stick in our minds because they're so offbeat, but they're wrong. Actually, all those twentysomething entrepreneurs are ensuring that we won't remember them. Those names all blend together into a Dr. Seuss 2.0 jumble." Apple’s rising popularity lures hackers / Companies / IT - Apple’s rising popularity lures hackers: "After years of relative safety, the Apple Mac is becoming an increasingly tempting target for malicious computer hackers, according to a new report published this week. Security researchers have been aware of the threat to Apple since last year, when they detected the first piece of malicious code – or “malware” – specifically designed to target Apple.

Over the past few months, however, the number of malicious programmes has increased, according to a report published this week by F-Secure, an internet security company."

Toyota's new robot can play the violin, help the aged

Toyota's new robot can play the violin, help the aged- Breitbart: "Toyota on Thursday unveiled a robot that can play the violin as part of its efforts to develop futuristic machines capable of assisting humans in Japan's greying society. The 1.5-metre-tall (five-foot), two-legged robot wowed onlookers with a faultless rendition of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance. With 17 joints in its hands and arms, the robot has human-like dexterity that could be applied to helping people in the home or in nursing and medical care, the carmaker said."

NBR goes wild for 'No Country'

NBR goes wild for 'No Country'- Hollywood Reporter: "Joel and Ethan Coen's 'No Country for Old Men' came out on top of the National Board of Review Awards on Wednesday as the Miramax Films/Paramount Vantage co-production picked up best picture, best ensemble cast and best adapted screenplay honors. George Clooney and Julie Christie took home best actor and actress prizes. Clooney's 'Michael Clayton' from Warner Bros. and Christie's 'Away From Her' from Lionsgate landed on NBR's Top Ten Films and Top Independent Films lists, respectively. Michael Douglas received a career achievement award." Has Morgan Spurlock found Osama? FishbowlNY: "For Morgan Spurlock's follow-up to Super Size Me, the documentarian submitted his new film Where In The World is Osama Bin Laden? to Sundance. In the documentary, Spurlock tries to beat the US government at their own game and find Bin Laden. Although the film is under a crazy NDA, the whole quiet viral marketing campaign is starting. According to Slashfilm, the film's director of photography, Daniel Marricone claims that Spurlock 'definitely got the holy grail.' Then another blog reported that the Weinstein Company bought the movie after only seeing 15 minutes of it. Spurlock said in a YouTube interview 'you have to watch the movie' to see whether he found OBL or not."

NBC news faces major cuts -

PEACOCK PURGE: "NBC boss Jeff Zucker is expected to make big cuts on the newsgathering and operational side of the company's news division, including eliminating an entire level of MSNBC's management team, in a bid to save between $20 million and $40 million, The Post has learned. Sources inside or close to NBC yesterday claimed the cuts, which are expected to come down this week or next, will be weighted evenly between NBC News and MSNBC. CNBC staffers are being shielded from this round of cuts because Zucker wants the network to be at full strength now that the battle with Fox Business Network has begun. (FBN is owned by News Corp., which also owns The Post.)"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

First look at Signe Wilkinson’s “Family Tree”

First look at Signe Wilkinson’s “Family Tree” -The Daily Cartoonist: "Last week I told you that United Features will be launching a new feature called Family Tree by Philadelphia Daily News editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson. Here is the first peak at the feature..."

AWTC: Herbie story!

Again With the Comics: "Here’s a mere sample of the glorious insanity of HERBIE comics. Herbie was the creation of ACG editor Richard E. Hughes, writing under the pseudonym Shane O’Shea, and first appeared in Forbidden Worlds #73, December 1958. The plump lump went on to star in his own series and eventually took on a costumed identity, the Fat Fury. Costume or no, Herbie was one of the most omni-powered beings in comics history, meeting any and all challenges with an unflappable, deadpan cool and his bottomless arsenal of specialty lollipops. The stories were whimsical, madcap, and unabashedly silly, and this one is no exception. From giant menacing flowers, to strap-on bee butts, to tiny micro-world duplicates, this comic has more crazy ideas than a Grant Morrison clone farm, and all in nine pages."

Murdoch Gets Religion - The Street

Murdoch Gets Religion - News & Analysis - Media - NWS - TWX: "News Corp. has found religion online. Rupert Murdoch's global media empire announced Tuesday that it has acquired Beliefnet, the largest faith and spirituality information site on the Web, for an undisclosed sum. Beliefnet will become part of Fox Digital Media, which consists mostly of News Corp.'s popular social networking site, MySpace. The move looks like part of News Corp.'s efforts to expand its vast media reach onto the Internet, where Wall Street sees the best growth opportunities for media conglomerates."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kudzu culprit in global warming? |

Kudzu culprit in global warming? | "Kudzu, the Southern vine that makes Chia Pets of trees and telephone poles, has another unpleasant aspect: It pollutes. Researchers believe kudzu is releasing ground-level ozone, contributing to smog, breathing difficulties and global climate change. 'If we're right, then it'll be one more big reason to dislike kudzu,' University of Virginia researcher Manuel Lerdau said of his preliminary findings."

An Assessment Jars a Foreign Policy Debate About Iran - New York Times

An Assessment Jars a Foreign Policy Debate About Iran - New York Times: "Rarely, if ever, has a single intelligence report so completely, so suddenly, and so surprisingly altered a foreign policy debate here. An administration that had cited Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons as the rationale for an aggressive foreign policy — as an attempt to head off World War III, as President Bush himself put it only weeks ago — now has in its hands a classified document that undercuts much of the foundation for that approach. "

Monday, December 03, 2007

NIE Report: Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program Years Ago

Political Radar: NIE Report: Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program Years Ago: "ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Jonathan Karl, Luis Martinez and Kirit Radia Report: In a stunning reversal of Bush administration conventional wisdom, a new assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies concludes Iran shelved it's nuclear weapons program over four years ago. 'We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program,' reads a declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate key findings. 'We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon is late 2009.'"

We must not tolerate hate crimes |

We must not tolerate hate crimes - Ted Kennedy and John Lewis at "All victims of hate must be protected under federal law."

Bloggers keep the faith, contentiously -

Bloggers keep the faith, contentiously - "'For Christ's sake, stop!' declared the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Frank Page, pleading for civility in the Baptist blogosphere. Episcopalians and Anglicans duel incessantly over their faith and future in the Anglican Communion. Catholics focus on every topic from liturgy to law to spirituality. These are faith bloggers — uncountable voices who contest, confess and consider religious beliefs, doctrines and denominational politics in their posts. Although every faith has its bloggers, U.S. Christians may be among the most vociferous of the watchdogs, philosophers and ecclesiastical groupies."

Don Imus Back on the Air

Don Imus Back on the Air | AccessAtlanta: "Don Imus returned to the airwaves Monday eight months after he was fired for a racially charged remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team, and introduced a new cast that included two black comedians. Imus' lineup of guests featured two presidential hopefuls, Democrat Chris Dodd and Republican John McCain. As he did several times in the days after the episode, Imus condemned his controversial remark last spring and said he had learned his lesson."

Spam’s End? Maybe, if Time Allows - New York Times

Spam’s End? Maybe, if Time Allows - New York Times: "Twenty-five years ago Steven T. Kirsch built a better mouse. Now he believes he has found a way to create a better trap — for spam, not mice — if he has enough time to finish his project."

Monkey Business - Stanley Fish at

Monkey Business - Stanley Fish - Think Again - Opinion - New York Times Blog: Stanley Fish on a case that represents a fundamental clash between the imperatives of religion and the rule of law.

The Door: Pascal Campion animation

A nice Flash animation to get your day started (warning: it goes on forever!). Hat tip LT.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Who’s Afraid of Barack Obama? - Frank RIch in NYT

Who’s Afraid of Barack Obama? - Frank RIch op-ed New York Times: "Now that the Beltway establishment, jolted by the Iowa polls, is frantically revising its premature blueprints for a Clinton coronation and declaring, as Time’s inevitable clich�would have it, that Mr. Obama has “found his voice,” it’s worth looking at some campaign story lines that have been ignored so far. They tell us more than the hyped scenarios that have fallen apart. Indeed, they flip the standard narrative of Campaign 2008 on its head: Were Mr. Obama to best Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he may prove harder for the Republicans to rally against and defeat than the all-powerful, battle-tested Clinton machine."

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Holiday Books: Comics - Book Review - New York Times

Holiday Books: Comics - Book Review - New York Times: Douglas Wolk has a few choices to share.

NYT Op-ed: Judas a demon after all

Gospel Truth - New York Times: "AMID much publicity last year, the National Geographic Society announced that a lost 3rd-century religious text had been found, the Gospel of Judas Iscariot. The shocker: Judas didn’t betray Jesus. Instead, Jesus asked Judas, his most trusted and beloved disciple, to hand him over to be killed. Judas’s reward? Ascent to heaven and exaltation above the other disciples. It was a great story. Unfortunately, after re-translating the society’s transcription of the Coptic text, I have found that the actual meaning is vastly different. While National Geographic’s translation supported the provocative interpretation of Judas as a hero, a more careful reading makes clear that Judas is not only no hero, he is a demon. "