Thursday, January 31, 2008

TCR: Maryland bill to curb cartoon speech?

The Comics Reporter: "The American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that a bill up for passage in Maryland regarding the commercial use of soldiers' names and images may keep art using those things from being made. In a hearing before lawmakers in Annapolis, the ACLU representatives pointed to Mike Luckovich's 'Why' cartoon as an example of the kind of art that might be threatened under the new law. Luckovich's cartoon, where Atlanta-Journal Constitution built the word from the names of the then-2000 American dead in the Iraq conflict, is believed to be significant contributor to his 2006 Pulitzer Prize win."

Four’s a Crowd - Gail Collins in New York Times

Four’s a Crowd - Gail Collins op-ed in New York Times: "Farewell to John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani. Guess which one is planning to devote his life to helping the poor? No fair looking it up.

The presidential campaign is kind of lonely — we’d gotten used to having a big crowd. The parents of extremely large families must feel this way when their children start going off to college."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NPR: Captain America, Back from the Dead (Sort Of)

NPR: Captain America, Back from the Dead (Sort Of): "In the alternate universe of comic books, there's a crisis brewing between the U.S. and Russia. America is being threatened by a former Soviet general and his Nazi partner. Sounds like a job for Captain America.

But Captain America died last year, shot by assassins on the steps of the federal courthouse in New York City.

On Wednesday, a new issue of Captain America hits comic book stores and with it comes a new Captain America. It's not the same character ... he's still dead. But the comic didn't die with him.

Ed Brubaker writes Captain America for Marvel Comics. For the past year, his stories have been about the loss of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America or 'Cap,' and about the search for his killer. One particular character has featured in many of those tales — Captain America's oldest friend, James 'Bucky' Barnes."

Imus Closer to a Return to TV in Big Cities - New York Times

Imus Closer to a Return to TV in Big Cities - New York Times: "Viewers in Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, among other big cities, moved a step closer on Wednesday to being able to see a simulcast of Don Imus’s morning radio show on television.

Patrick Gottsch, the founder and president of RFD-TV, a cable channel that carries Mr. Imus’s show but primarily chronicles life in rural America, said on Wednesday morning that he had signed an affiliation agreement with Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator. That means RFD-TV is now authorized to begin negotiations to be carried on individual Comcast cable systems, including those in Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver and Nashville."

TV Showman, Once Exiled, Returns With Video Site - New York Times

TV Showman, Once Exiled, Returns With Video Site - New York Times: "One of Big Media’s most controversial executives is back after a period of quasi-forced retirement.

Stephen Chao — who was fired from a top position at the News Corporation after, in separate incidents, hiring a male stripper to disrobe at a company meeting and nearly drowning Rupert Murdoch’s dog at a party — plans to announce on Wednesday the formation of a Web video company that he hopes to build into an educational alternative to YouTube.

The site,, aggregates how-to videos, from the mundane (like “how to tie a tie” and “how to market your lawn care business in the winter”) to the strange (“how to do Criss Angel’s vanishing toothpick trick”) and the off-color (“how to train your cat to use the toilet” and beyond)."

Democrat Edwards ends presidential bid |

Democrat Edwards ends presidential bid | "Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies, The Associated Press has learned."

Let's hope we haven't seen the last of him.

Explore The Spirit: Conversation With Phyllis Tickle

Explore The Spirit: 091: Conversation With Phyllis Tickle on "Words of Jesus"... Check it out!

Dip Once or Dip Twice? - New York Times

Dip Once or Dip Twice? - New York Times: A scientific report, inspired by an episode of “Seinfeld,” may cause football fans to take a second look at that communal bowl of dip.

"Lost" returning with decoded clues - New York Times

Lost - ABC - TV - New York Times: "Here is the problem for ABC: In “Lost” it has the show with perhaps the most compelling continuing story line in television history, one whose resumption this week has been hotly anticipated by its devoted fans.

But especially because the writers’ strike has stripped ABC of most of its other hit series, the network would love to find a way to restore the still substantial “Lost” audience to near the blockbuster level it reached when the show first became a phenomenon more than three years ago. During the show’s first season it averaged 18.5 million viewers an episode, a figure down to 15 million by the third season.

That is “a big challenge, though a fun one,” said Michael Benson, executive vice president for marketing of ABC Entertainment. He added that it was a little like saying, “Let’s ask people to pick up Chapter 13 and start reading.”"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gizmodo: Old Websites Sure Are Funny

Gallery: Old Websites Sure Are Funny: "Digging through websites cached from the 90s is akin to seeing a celebrity's high school yearbook pictures—during the early, awkward years of the web, brave companies made a stab at winning consumer hearts through 15' CRTs and 14.4k dial up modems. Inspired by this MSU page, we decided to take a gander through the Internet Archive's Wayback machine (a service that started saving pages in 1996). Needless to say, we found some funny stuff."

Bookforum: The Ten-Cent Plague

the ten-cent plague - / in print: "IN THE LATE ’40S AND EARLY ’50S, there was no more vibrant part of the publishing industry than the lowly dime-store comic, churned out by an army of boilerplate writers, illustrators, and editors in New York for a rapturously devoted young audience. That is, until a cadre of youth groups and civic authorities targeted these publications as gateway reading to moral depravity. After Mad-magazine founder Bill Gaines foundered in a sweaty, Dexedrine-fueled haze in front of televised congressional hearings on the link between juvenile delinquency and horror and crime magazines, virtually the entirety of comic-book publishing disappeared overnight. In The Ten-Cent Plague, David Hajdu looks back on the passions inflamed by the comics scare."

TAWOK&C: Sundance Wrap-up: How'd "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" Do?

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News: "It didn't win any awards, and the early reviews are mixed to bad.

That's the final word on Mysteries of Pittsburgh following last week's Sundance Film Festival. Bloggers had long attacked the movie for not following the book close enough."

The Written Word? It's So Totally Over, According to Mr. IPod - Advertising Age - The Media Guy

The Written Word? It's So Totally Over, According to Mr. IPod - Advertising Age - The Media Guy: "Nobody Reads Anymore, Steve Jobs Says. YouTube Addicts Might Agree -- but What Is 'Reading,' Anyway?"

Ironically, last week while traveling I read a Georges Simenon Inspector Maigret book on my iPOD! You can do this by saving any Gutenberg Project book as a .txt file and using iPOD Notes (see this link). It's great!

Stars Seize Their Chance to Shine at SAG Awards - New York Times

Stars Seize Their Chance to Shine at SAG Awards - New York Times: "There is no show business without a show. And so, in a year when a writers’ strike has all but shut down much of Hollywood, the Screen Actors Guild Awards — as anonymous in most years as “Cop No. 3” in a summer blockbuster — took top billing Sunday and drew an inordinate amount of star wattage.

The Golden Globes ran in diminished form this year and the Oscars broadcast is still in question, making the SAG presentation at the Shrine Auditorium the first and perhaps only chance this year for Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee Jones and George Clooney to walk the red carpet and talk about whose fashions they were wearing and what they have been doing without any new scripts to read."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Baptist Coalition Aims for Moderate Image - New York Times

A Baptist Coalition Aims for Moderate Image - New York Times: "For more than 150 years, Baptists in the United States have splintered along political, theological and racial lines. But this week, some of the country’s largest Baptist groups — representing about 20 million believers — will meet to try to mend the old fractures and, some leaders say, present a more diverse and moderate image of their faith than the one offered by the conservative Southern Baptist Convention.

The three-day meeting of more than 30 groups — known as the New Baptist Covenant Celebration, which begins on Wednesday in Atlanta — is a result of efforts by former President Jimmy Carter to draw together long-divided Baptists.

The meeting’s statement of shared purpose, known as its covenant, calls for Baptists to focus on their traditional values, like “sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ,” and to work together on social issues like fighting poverty. It does not create a new denomination."

Frank Rich: The Billary Road to Republican Victory - New York Times

The Billary Road to Republican Victory - New York Times: "IN the wake of George W. Bush, even a miracle might not be enough for the Republicans to hold on to the White House in 2008. But what about two miracles? The new year’s twin resurrections of Bill Clinton and John McCain, should they not evaporate, at last give the G.O.P. a highly plausible route to victory.

Amazingly, neither party seems to fully recognize the contours of the road map. In the Democrats’ case, the full-throttle emergence of Billary, the joint Clinton candidacy, is measured mainly within the narrow confines of the short-term horse race: Do Bill Clinton’s red-faced eruptions and fact-challenged rants enhance or diminish his wife as a woman and a candidate?"

Friday, January 25, 2008

Reviews: The Manga Bible vs. Manga Bible Volume 1

Reviews: The Manga Bible vs. Manga Bible Volume 1: "Adding pictures to Bible stories to make them more accessible and entertaining to younger readers is nothing new. I remember reading illustrated Bible stories in my local dentist's office when I was growing up. Jack Chick has been spreading the Christian gospels in his pocket-sized Chick Tract cartoon pamphlets for years. But lately, the buzz in the mainstream publishing world is all about the explosive growth and popularity of manga, so it's little wonder that we're seeing several versions of so-called manga-style Bible stories pop up in bookstores lately."

How political cartoonist Jeff Danziger does it

ASIFA: Adventures of Big Boy

ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive: Comics: Big Boy And The Power Of Licensing: "At the [Big Boy] restaurants, Wian gave away free comic books featuring the character. Here is an extremely rare example... Big Boy comics number one from 1956. These comics were produced by Timely Comics, which later became Marvel. They were written by Stan Lee and drawn by Bill Everett. Later issues featured the work of Archie comics artist, Dan DeCarlo. Adventures of the Big Boy is one of the longest continuously running comic book lines. It's still being produced fifty years later."

Cool! The very first issue online. I had no idea Stan Lee wrote and Bill Everett drew. I remember the very cool issues done by one of my all-time favorite artists, Manny Stallman (whose style was wild). Check it out...

`Quantum of Solace' Is Latest Bond Film - Entertainment on The Huffington Post

`Quantum of Solace' Is Latest Bond Film - Entertainment on The Huffington Post: "Producers have revealed some of the secrets about the latest James Bond film, due for release later this year, including the inner turmoil that drives its suave superagent hero and its title: 'Quantum of Solace.'

As titles go, it's not as mellifluous as 'From Russia With Love' or 'Goldfinger.' But Daniel Craig, returning as Bond after 2006's 'Casino Royale,' says he likes it.

'It has grown on me,' Craig told reporters on the film's set at Pinewood Studios near London on Thursday. 'It doesn't trip off the tongue. But why should it?'

Producer Michael G. Wilson said the title, chosen only a few days ago, was taken from a story by Bond creator Ian Fleming that appears in the collection 'For Your Eyes Only.'"

Advertiser sues Don Imus for unscripted comments | Entertainment | Reuters

Advertiser sues Don Imus for unscripted comments | Entertainment | Reuters: "A book publisher that bought an ad on Don Imus's radio show is suing the shock jock and his former bosses at CBS Radio for more than $4 million, saying Imus insulted the book he was paid to promote."

Living Loved featured in today's Daybook enewsletter

Tension - New Morning - New Morning Daybook Archives: Once again the New Morning Daybook enewsletter features an excerpt from Living Loved... check it out! Reflections ~ Living Loved Reflections ~ Living Loved: Living Loved featured in newsletter and website!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Beloved Esquire Franchise, 'Dubious Achievements,' Becomes One | The New York Observer

Beloved Esquire Franchise, Dubious Achievements, Becomes One | The New York Observer: "“It would be like instead of re-imagining Eustace Tilley, David Remnick decided to behead him,” David Hirshey said. He was talking about Esquire’s decision to discontinue Dubious Achievements, the beloved, mischievous year-end roundup of folly that has been running in the magazine since 1962. Like a blooper reel but real, Dubious was an annual assessment of all the awful things that had happened in the world during the preceding 12 months. It was pronounced dead in this month’s issue of Esquire; according to a note from editor David Granger, the franchise has run its course because its descendents and imitators—available on the internet and TV “on a daily—if not instantaneous—basis” have rendered it redundant.

Mr. Hirshey, who presided over Dubious from 1985 until he left Esquire in 1997 for a career in book publishing, compared Mr. Granger’s decision to “Sports Illustrated killing its swimsuit issue because you can find better tits online.”"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Explore The Spirit: What are YOU reading, poet Judith Valente?

Explore The Spirit: 084: What are YOU reading, poet Judith Valente? See Judy's list of 10 books that have influenced her the most. By the way, her book of poems to nourish the soul is wonderful.

The Voters Revolt - David Brooks in New York Times

The Voters Revolt - David Brooks op-ed in New York Times: "...A funny thing has happened this primary season. Conservative voters have not followed their conservative leaders. Conservative voters are much more diverse than the image you’d get from conservative officialdom.

In South Carolina, 34 percent of the Republican voters called themselves “very conservative,” but another 34 percent called themselves only “somewhat conservative” and another 24 percent called themselves “moderate.” Only 28 percent of the primary voters there said that abortion should be “always illegal.” This, I repeat, was in South Carolina, one of the most right-wing places in the country."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hidden gem finds its way to TV |

Hidden gem finds its way to TV | "For the man who created it, tonight's Turner Classic Movies world television premiere of director Charles Burnett's restored 1977 independent film 'Killer of Sheep' is nothing short of miraculous.

Until last year, outside of a few festivals and random screenings, the film, declared a masterpiece by The New York Times and a national treasure by the Library of Congress, had never had a proper theatrical release.

As part of TCM's salute to African-American achievement in film as part of the King holiday today, 'Killer of Sheep' kicks off an evening-long examination of the independent filmmaker's work at 8 p.m."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oliver Stone votes for 'Bush' project - Entertainment News, Front Page, Media - Variety

Oliver Stone votes for 'Bush' project - Entertainment News, Front Page, Media - Variety: "Oliver Stone has set his sights on his next directing project, 'Bush,' a film focusing on the life and presidency of George W. Bush, and attached Josh Brolin to play the title role.
One need only Google the words "Stone" and "Bush" to find plenty of the director's critical comments about the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. Despite that, the director said he's not looking to make an anti-Bush polemic. His goal is to use seminal events in Bush's life to explain how he came to power, using a structure comparable to "The Queen.""

Friday, January 18, 2008

Senator to push probe of churches, others |

Senator to push probe of Atlanta churches, others | "Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is preparing another round of letters to Christian television ministries, prodding them to answer questions about their spending and the way they are governed, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

At the same time, an aide to the committee's Democratic chairman indicated it would be in the ministries' best interest to cooperate with the Iowa Republican's investigation."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spirituality & Practice: Best Spiritual Books of 2007

Spirituality & Practice: Books Feature: The Best Spiritual Books of 2007, by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat: "We are pleased to announce our choices of the 50 books that have most impressed and inspired us in 2007. We have made this selection from the more than 300 books reviewed during the year on this website. Since we only review books that we want to recommend to you for your spiritual journey, this selection actually represents the best of the best."

Imagine a World Without Apple, Bloggers, Google or Dell - New York Times

Imagine a World Without Apple, Bloggers, Google or Dell - New York Times: David Pogue's new song...

Platters That Matter by James Cassara

He's back! My buddy James Cassara has written CD reviews for the Rapid City Review in Asheville, NC, for a good while. Now after a brief hiatus, the publication is back, and so is he... Thanks for sharing these, James!

Platters That Matter by James Cassara

We’re starting off 2008 with a batch of discs but artists both local and world renowned. As always be it given two stars or five if it’s mentioned here rest assured it is worth hearing. Remember that these and many other wonderful listens are available at your locally owned independent music store. Without them where would we be?

Graham Parker and the Figgs
103 in June: Live In Chicago
Bloodshot Records

On this disc, the latest installment of limited edition/signed live releases courtesy of the former “angry young man,” Parker and his touring unit tear through a sampling of his vast catalog with muscular delight. Culling songs from all phases of his career this tightly wound unit score points for their respectful renderings of familiar material. For his part GP leads merrily along, willing to revisit his past (with an eye ever towards the future) in ways few long standing musicians are. Such jewels as “Hold Back The Night” and “Stick To Me” have rarely sounded more vital; somewhat less successful are the newer songs, largely because they were originally cut with The Figgs and as such tend to sound a bit too close to the source material. Still this ongoing series-which other long established artists would do well to emulate-offers a fascinating glimpse into the current manifestation of one of rocks most enduring figures and, as such, is well worth seeking out. ***1/2

The Cheeksters
Movers and Shakers

If at first listen Movers and Shakers seems little more than an extension of their previous efforts, repeated spins should reveal just how far the band has come. Unlike their last two discs-recorded since the duo of Mark and Shannon Casson moved to Asheville-this is much more a collective effort. The benefit of having now played numerous live gigs is evident; Casson’s songwriting is both tighter and more nuanced while the role of premiere sideman Brent Little is more properly defined. In short they sound like a band. The usual Brit pop (most notably on “What The Pretty Girl Said” and “Tumble Down Hair”) influences abound-that is, after all, what the band does best-but the traces of Memphis soul and Bakersfield country are just as welcome and essential. With “Sideways” Shannon contributes the year’s most seductive vocal while Little’s playfully layered guitars hearken directly back to the production values of Mickie Most and Paul Samwell-Smith. Ah, those were the days! That having been said Movers and Shakers is no mere exercise in nostalgia. Its heart may lie in the mystic sixties but, much like the best of that era, it sounds as bright and fresh as a Beach Boys sunflower. ***

Walter Hyatt
Some Unfinished Business Volume One

It might been said that the all too short life of Walter Hyatt-which began in Spartanburg, SC, and ended with the 1996 crash of Value Jet 592 in the Everglades swamp-was bracketed by two of the loneliest places on earth. Certainly there is an air of isolation to this troubadour’s music- separation from others, your surroundings, and ones own heart-but there is also a balance of optimism and perseverance that somehow makes his death even more tragic. An adopted son of the fabled Austin, Texas, scene Hyatt, whose many devotees include Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Lyle Lovett, was known as a thoughtful songwriter, studied musician, and good friend. That kinship has resulted in this collection, the first in a new series of discs collecting the more than three dozen songs he recorded just prior to his death. Material later completed by friends who knew and loved him. And what an assemblage of friends it is: Jerry Douglas, Carrie Rodriquez, David Ball, Dan Dugmore, and The Jordanaires are but a few of those lending a hand.

Given that these tracks weren’t intended for specific projects their cohesion and focus is all the more impressive. Kudos go to producer Michael Killeen and engineer Nick Sparks-both of whom worked closely with Hyatt’s widow Heidi-for their loving and careful resurrection of what were essentially orphan tunes.

The lush arrangements and sparkling production are reminiscent of the killer string of albums made by Johnny Rivers from 1966 through 1974 while some of the individual songs, particularly “Reach for Me” and “Motor City Man” are among the best Hyatt ever wrote. The latter may just be the catchiest song I’ve heard in years.

Hyatt’s death, along with that of the other unfortunates who perished that sad day, was certainly a loss. If one seeks light among the darkness there is no greater solace than the assurance that this music, with more to follow, will leave a legacy that will long outlast us all. ****

Paul Kelly
Stolen Apples
Capital Records

Wisely following the blueprint set forth by his previous studio effort Australian guitar strumming raconteur Kelly again delivers a solid set of tunes showcasing his literate and conversational approach to pop: Touches of country and folk intertwined with ballsy rock. Stolen Apples is a bit more upbeat than we’re used to-one senses the singer has put his well chronicled divorce behind him-but the lingering sense of mortality and impediments of the everyday are still at the forefront. “God Told Me To” is a harrowing tale of fundamentalism gone perverse while the title cut is equal parts temptation and remorse. “You’re 39; You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine” might teeter perilously close to mawkishness but Kelly more than amends with such crafty rockers as the lustful “Sweetest Thing” and the desolately beautiful “The Foggy Fields of France.” At a mere eleven tracks Stolen Apples is by Kelly standards a bit lightweight, but what is lacks in capacity it more than compensates in depth. ***1/2

Brianna Lane
Let You In
Pay My Rent Music

Lane’s music is the perfect compliment for a cup of coffee on a rainy Sunday morning. Her songs, as comfortable as an oversized sweat shirt, fit somewhere between home spun folk and campfire sing along. There’s also a nice bit of fluidity to her vocal delivery; not quite jazz but certainly in the jazz/pop realm of Rickie Lee Jones with a bit of Joan Armatrading wandering somewhere along the edges. Let You In is a decidedly low key affair but that’s much of its charm: When Lane sings about the minor triumphs and setbacks of everyday life they resonate with a sincerity that wouldn’t withstand undue verbosity. “One Night Gone” is a tearful story of immediate longing while “Up Close” and “Learn to Fly” continues the singer’s knack for self reflection through observation via clever wordplay. Not much on this disc reaches out and grabs you but, given a few plays and careful listening, the understated strengths of Lane’s music become evident. Like that old sweatshirt the more it’s worn the better it feels. ***

Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen
The Early Years (1967-1970)
SPV Records

There’s little doubt this sprawling double-disc collection of unreleased early material by the pride of Ann Arbor is for the hardcore fan and for those who are freaks for musical history. Which is hardly a bad thing: In truth, this is one of the more revelatory documents to be issued in the CD era. While many anthologies tend to shy away from the rough and tumble nascent years of a band’s history this 35 song set dives right in. Assembled by Billy C. Farlow-the group’s lead vocalist and chief songwriter-these rowdy, garage band demos give more than a clue as to how the unique roots sound of The Airmen came together and transformed the landscape of American roots music. By weaving together early rock and roll, honky tonk and Western swing and blues into a heady, intoxicated brew the group landed a top ten hit ("Hot Rod Lincoln") and became, for a few short years, one of the nation's premier touring bands. Their ever shifting personnel may have kept them from establishing a consistent sound but it sure makes for a fascinating read. As for the music itself, tracks such as a reworked version of "Midnight Shift," and Hank Williams' "I Ain't Got Nothin' But Time" sound rough, largely due to the primitive recording gear, but the performance is loose yet assertive. The first disc focuses on the San Francisco years-wherein the boys co-mingled with members of The Dead and Jefferson Airplane-while disc two collects various live and studio cuts left over from the period when they were barn storming across the states at a 300 shows a year clip. It’s a brilliant document, course as sandpaper but better for its no hold barred nature. The ragged glory of the earliest performances portends the band’s stunning transformation into the wild and wooly but tight as all get out unit that was to follow. This is magical stuff, a glimpse into one of music’s most intriguing periods. ***1/2

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Michael Chabon: Hey, Louis Farrakhan and Richard Cohen: You Can't Scare Me

Michael Chabon: Hey, Louis Farrakhan and Richard Cohen: You Can't Scare Me - Politics on The Huffington Post: "Writing in his regular column for the Washington Post today, Richard Cohen sought to frighten me and every other Jew in America into believing that Barack Obama at worst supports, and at best tacitly approves of, the vile ideology and racialist libels that Louis Farrakhan has variously promulgated over the course of a long and serpentine career."

The Invisible Primary Voter: Evangelical Democrats | The Trail |

The Invisible Primary Voter: Evangelical Democrats | The Trail | "Since nearly eight in 10 white evangelicals voted for President Bush in 2004, Democrats have been plowing thought, money and time into changing the story line. They have faith advisers, faith forums and faith strategies that show there is such a thing as a progressive evangelical. So imagine their annoyance when exit polls in Iowa and New Hampshire asked only Republican voters if they consider themselves 'born-again' or evangelical.

'Asking only Republicans about their religion shows that the media is still stuck on the outdated and false notion that evangelical Christians are the GOP's political property. No party can own any faith,' Katie Barge wrote at Faith in Public Life blog."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NPR : The Lone Ranger: Justice from Outside the Law

NPR : The Lone Ranger: Justice from Outside the Law: A great story on the legend by All Things Consider's Robert Siegel.

TAWOK&C: Director of "Mysteries of Pittsburgh" film defends changes

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News: "Rawson Marshall Thurber, the director behind the up-coming screen adaptation of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, defended changes he made in the story in a new interview with The Advocate.

'My real goal was to make a film that felt like the novel did to me, and I think I’ve done that,' he said.

Thurber took significant liberties with the book, eliminating the character of Arthur, making Cleveland bisexual and romantically linked to the main character, Art, and cutting the role of Phlox to that of a minor character. Online, many fans of the book have bashed the changes, and anti-Mysteries MySpace pages are easy to find. But Thurber says he made the changes with Michael Chabon's blessing."

Al Peterson's Aircheck: Oprah gets a TV network

From today's NTS Aircheck by Al Peterson:

The Power Of "The O" Grows: The mega-brand that is Oprah Winfrey is set to expand yet again with the development of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a new 24/7 TV channel set to launch next year. The venture, which will be developed in cooperation with Discovery Communications, will debut in 2009 in more than 70 million cable television homes on what is now the Discovery Health Channel. In addition to providing her talent and personal commitment, Winfrey will have full editorial control over the joint initiative and will be responsible for OWN's programming, branding and creative vision. "Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold," said Winfrey." For me, the launch of 'The Oprah Winfrey Network' is the evolution of the work I've been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show."

Huckabee: Amend Constitution to be in 'God's standards'

The Raw Story | Huckabee: Amend Constitution to be in 'God's standards': "The United States Constitution never uses the word 'God' or makes mention of any religion, drawing its sole authority from 'We the People.' However, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thinks it's time to put an end to that.

'I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,' Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. 'But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.'

When Willie Geist reported Huckabee's opinion on MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski was almost speechless, and even Joe Scarborough couldn't immediately find much to say beyond calling it 'interesting,'"

I'm a believer, and this scares the crap out of me!

AppleInsider:Apple unveils MacBook Air, iTunes rentals, Time Capsule, more...

AppleInsider | Apple unveils MacBook Air, iTunes rentals, Time Capsule, more...: "Steve Jobs released a flurry of new product offerings in the Macworld Expo Keynote, along with upgrades and updates that touched the entire Apple product lineup from Macs to iPhones and the iPod Touch to Apple TV and iTunes."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Living Loved Links

- ExploreFaith has highlighted Living Loved on their homepage today.

And here's the specific page about Living Loved from their site.

- And Faith & Values Media's Daybook email newsletter excerpted a bit from a chapter today too.

Check them out!

The Globes scorecard

The Globes scorecard: "Complete list of winners for the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards"

AP: Carol Oates Leads Book Critics Nominees

The Associated Press: Carol Oates Leads Book Critics Nominees: "Joyce Carol Oates led a field of National Book Critics Circle finalists announced Saturday, with nominations in both fiction and autobiography categories.

Oates was nominated in fiction for 'The Gravedigger's Daughter,' along with Junot Diaz's 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,' which was passed over for a National Book Award nomination last fall.

Other nominees were Marianne Wiggins' 'The Shadow Catcher,' Hisham Matar's 'In the Country of Men' and Vikram Chandra's 'Sacred Games.'

Missing from the list was Denis Johnson's 'Tree of Smoke,' a 600-page journey through the physical, moral and spiritual extremes of the Vietnam War, which captured the National Book Award.

Winners of the 34rd annual National Book Critics Circle prize will be announced March 6 in New York City. There are no cash prizes."

Friday, January 11, 2008

The 100 Greatest Websites - Entertainment Weekly

The 100 Greatest Websites | 1 | Best of the Web | News Notes | The Best of the Web | Entertainment Weekly: "The best spots on the net for info, entertainment, and just plain wasting time."

NPR : Living My Prayer by Sister Helen Prejean

NPR : Living My Prayer by Sister Helen Prejean: "I watch what I do to see what I really believe.

Belief and faith are not just words. It's one thing for me to say I'm a Christian, but I have to embody what it means; I have to live it. So, writing this essay and knowing I'll share it in a public way becomes an occasion for me to look deeply at what I really believe by how I act."

Fox Faux Pas... or worse?


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Macworld 2008: What To Expect at Macworld 2008 and Why We Think It Will Be Bigger than Usual

Macworld 2008: What To Expect at Macworld 2008 and Why We Think It Will Be Bigger than Usual - Gizmodo: "T minus four days and counting. Steve Jobs' Macworld 2008 keynote is next Tuesday and at this point we only know one thing for sure: something big is coming from Apple. Maybe not one single iceberg-sized thing, but this year we believe the Boom Count™ is going to be so high that Apple had to take their new big irons out of the way to clear the launching pad. And if it wasn't enough, there's plenty of evidence that points out the magnitude and importance of next week's announcements..."

oobject - best Rube Goldberg Machine videos

oobject - best Rube Goldberg Machine videos: "Named after the famous cartoonist, Rube Goldberg machines are unlike ordinary gadgets in that they are deliberately inefficient, taking the maximum number of steps to achieve a goal. Last year’s winner of the Rube Goldberg competition took over three hundred steps to squeeze a glass of orange juice.

To truly appreciate RG machines you need to see them in action. Here is a list of videos of our favorites. Vote for yours."

AppleInsider: Universal seen clear of obligations to HD DVD, may switch to Blu-ray

AppleInsider - Universal seen clear of obligations to HD DVD, may switch to Blu-ray: "The two remaining studios backing HD DVD could soon switch sides to Blu-ray, ending the next-generation high-definition format war instantly, according to a published report."

SojoNet: Tony Campolo's Top 5 Books on Social Justice

SojoNet: Tony Campolo's Top 5 Books on Social Justice

2004 Dem Nominee Kerry Endorses Obama |

2004 Dem Nominee Kerry Endorses Obama | "Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the White House Thursday in a timely slap at Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as his own vice presidential running mate."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

AP: Richardson to End Presidential Bid - Politics on The Huffington Post

AP: Richardson to End Presidential Bid - Politics on The Huffington Post: "New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ended his campaign for the presidency Wednesday after twin fourth-place finishes that showed his impressive credentials could not compete with his rivals' star power.

Richardson planned to announce the decision Thursday, according to two people close to the governor with knowledge of the decision. They spoke on a condition of anonymity in advance of the governor's announcement."

Comcast tinkers with speedier Net |

Comcast tinkers with speedier Net | "In a peek into the potential future of television, Comcast Corp. on Tuesday demonstrated Internet service 16 times faster than today's top speeds.

Separately, it showcased a new system that could someday eliminate the need for clunky cable set-top boxes.

With the super-fast Web service, a consumer could download a high-definition movie in about four minutes that would take six hours or more at today's Internet speeds, according to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts."

Mo Dowd: Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House? - New York Times

Can Hillary Cry Her Way Back to the White House? - New York Times: "When I walked into the office Monday, people were clustering around a computer to watch what they thought they would never see: Hillary Clinton with the unmistakable look of tears in her eyes.

A woman gazing at the screen was grimacing, saying it was bad. Three guys watched it over and over, drawn to the “humanized” Hillary. One reporter who covers security issues cringed. “We are at war,” he said. “Is this how she’ll talk to Kim Jong-il?”

Another reporter joked: “That crying really seemed genuine. I’ll bet she spent hours thinking about it beforehand.” He added dryly: “Crying doesn’t usually work in campaigns. Only in relationships.”"

Clinton Escapes to Fight Another Day - New York Times

Clinton Escapes to Fight Another Day - New York Times: "With solid support from registered Democrats and the backing of women, who deserted her in Iowa, Senator Clinton beat Senator Barack Obama of Illinois with a margin that — if not particularly wide — was enough for her campaign to claim a resounding victory.

The political intensity of her victory was magnified by a weekend of polls and rapturous packed rallies for Mr. Obama that suggested Mrs. Clinton was in dire shape, particularly after Mr. Obama’s drubbing of her in Iowa.

Mrs. Clinton won in a state that has always had a warm spot for the Clinton family. There was no end to the comparisons to how New Hampshire saved Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992, when he too seemed on the verge of defeat. (In that case, though, Mr. Clinton declared victory after coming in second with 25 percent after being as low as 19 percent in polls.)"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Future Vision: Faster-Than-Light Camera Records Your Future

Future Vision: Faster-Than-Light Camera Records Your Future: "A camera that can see almost three years into the future might sound like a crazy hoax, but here's the proof. Enitech's new Gardner Project uses tachyons to cut through space time and see 1,191 days into the future. And now you too can get involved.

The Enitech team is seeking suggestions of where to point their amazing future-cam next."

Howard Kurtz - Even Conservative Media Chorus Sings Obama's Praises -

Howard Kurtz - Even Conservative Media Chorus Sings Obama's Praises - "The media overall are being swept up by a wave of Obamamania, in which normally hard-bitten journalists watch the orator in action and come away dazzled by his gifts. A New York Times piece Saturday compared the Illinois senator to JFK and Martin Luther King in the same paragraph. A Newsweek cover story out yesterday gushed that Obama, 'tall and handsome and blessed with a weighty baritone, knows how to bring along a crowd while seeming to stay slightly above it.' The journalistic scrutiny usually visited on instant front-runners has been replaced by something akin to a standing ovation.

What's more, the applause extends even to pundits on the right, many of whom routinely denigrate Democratic politicians and yet are strikingly warm toward Obama."

Stewart, Colbert Back on the Air - HuffPo

Stewart, Colbert Back on the Air - Entertainment on The Huffington Post: "Jon Stewart was back for the first time since the Hollywood writers strike began, but he took care to draw a clear distinction between the show he was returning with and the show he hosted until two months ago.

''The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' is a show we do with our very creative team of field producers and correspondents and studio people and, of course, our writers,' he said Monday night, then added with pointed irony, 'From now on, until the end of the strike, we'll be doing 'A Daily Show with Jon Stewart.' But not 'THE Daily Show.''

Following Stewart's show, 'The Colbert Report' host Stephen Colbert apologized to his audience for a technical snafu.

'I got a problem here,' snapped Colbert in his most indignant tone. 'There are no words on my (Tele)prompter.'"

Xerox Hopes Its New Logo Doesn’t Say ‘Copier’ - New York Times

Xerox Hopes Its New Logo Doesn’t Say ‘Copier’ - New York Times: Interesting review of the history of the Xerox logo.

Striding Past the Cynics - Bob Herbert in New York Times

Striding Past the Cynics - Bob Herbert in New York Times: "The past week has been a bad one for cynics. For all the criticism of the presidential election process — that it lasts too long, that the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary have too much influence, that the news media’s coverage is too much about the horse race, and so on — for all that, the early stages of this presidential race have been both compelling and heartening.

Voters are excited about this election. They have trudged through snow and frigid air in enormous numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire to see and hear and question the candidates. And most of the candidates are working incredibly hard, fighting their way through exhaustion to attend the next rally or town hall meeting or community breakfast or debate.

What is being fashioned in this process is nothing less than the face of early 21st century America."

Comcast Plans to Offer a Huge Menu of Films - New York Times

Comcast Plans to Offer a Huge Menu of Films - New York Times: "Comcast, the nation’s largest cable television company, will outline an ambitious plan Tuesday to set up two new paradigms for how people will watch movies and television shows in their homes or on the road.

The plan, which Brian L. Roberts, the chairman and chief executive of the Comcast Corporation, will describe in a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is aimed at making a nearly limitless supply of movies and television shows available on television, where Comcast subscribers could view them on demand, and through the Internet, where anyone with Web access could watch them."

Then the AJC Reports:

Comcast, metro Atlanta's largest cable TV provider, is boosting monthly rates but also plans to more than quadruple high-definition programming by the end of 2008.

The price boost takes effect Feb. 1. The average customer bill will increase about 5.25 percent — from $49.99 a month to $52.50 for the basic cable package.

"Price adjustments reflect the increased value of our services, including the largest video-on-demand library with nearly 10,000 programs, offering the most HD viewing choices [235 plus] and making the investment necessary to provide advanced products and services," Gene Shatlock, senior vice president for Comcast's Atlanta region, said in an e-mail.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Nikki Finke: Golden Globes cancelled, but stripped down event coming

Deadline Hollywood Daily - UPDATE: NBC And Hollywood Foreign Press Cancel Televised Golden Globes Hoopla; Big Show Scrapped In Favor Of Stripped Down News Telecast: "The Hollywood writers strike can now claim its first awards show casualty. I'm hearing from my sources that NBC will not be broadcasting a big Golden Globes show as planned for January 13th. Nor will a much ballyhooed unbroadcasted event be held, either. Instead, a stripped down announcements telecast will be aired by NBC News. It will consist of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association handing out Golden Globes to the winners, who will then pick up the awards and pass through a press room for photos and interviews."

DIAL B: Frazetta in the comics

DIAL B for BLOG has an overview of the master illustrator's comics work... check it out!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Harry Shearer's love affair with radio - NYT

The Simpsons-Harry Shearer-Radios - New York Times: "It was at the peak of radio’s popularity that Harry Shearer was born in 1943 in Los Angeles. He tuned in quickly: not only was he a child actor whose first gig was on Jack Benny’s radio show (“I was passing as a child,” he said), but he had a feverish fascination with radio itself. As a boy, he looked down on the Art Deco carved-wood radio console in his family’s living room, preferring the more sensitive RCA model in his room (“an early vomit-green plastic radio”), which he fiddled with nightly like a junior Marconi.

“I would try and find the most distant station possible,” he said. “I knew something happened when it left Hollywood and then came bouncing back from across the country a half a second later. It sounded weirdly magical to me. If there was stuff in the air, I wanted to receive it.”

Today the vomit-green RCA exists only in the Smithsonian of his memory. A dedicated hobbyist in the radio tradition, Mr. Shearer has gone through 40 to 50 radios: a Hallicrafters table-size shortwave, an early Sony ICF and countless others, big, small, portable and pocket-size."

Rich: They Didn’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow - New York Times

They Didn’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow - Frank Rich in New York Times: "AFTER so many years of fear and loathing, we had almost forgotten what it’s like to feel good about our country. On Thursday night, that long-dormant emotion came rushing back, like an old dream that pops out of the deepest recesses of memory, suddenly as clear as light. “They said this day would never come,” said Barack Obama, and yet here, right before us, was indisputable evidence that it had.

What felt good was not merely the improbable and historic political triumph of an African-American candidate carrying a state with a black population of under 3 percent. It was the palpable sense that our history was turning a page whether or not Mr. Obama or his doppelg�nger in improbability, Mike Huckabee, end up in the White House. We could allow ourselves a big what-if: What if we could have an election that was not a referendum on either the Clinton or Bush presidencies? For the first time, we found ourselves on that long-awaited bridge to the 21st century, the one that was blown up in the ninth month of the new millennium’s maiden year."

Voting Machines on trial - New York Times

Voting Machines - Elections - Ballots - Politics - New York Times: After the 2000 election, counties around the country rushed to buy new computerized voting machines. But it turns out that these machines may cause problems worse than hanging chads. Is America ready for another contested election?

Virginia Heffernan on a great alternative to Microsoft Word - NYT

Virginia Heffernan - The Medium - Television - Internet Video - Media - New York Times

She convinced me, I'm trying Scrivener out.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Unity through sacraments |

Faith & Values: Unity through sacraments | "Take one look at Martha Moore-Keish —- the black leather jacket, the blue Converse sneakers, the wide-mouthed laugh —- and the first thing that comes to mind is not liturgical theologian. Yet that is Moore-Keish's vocation.

Locally, she's an assistant professor of theology at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur. Nationally, she's active with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Reformed-Catholic dialogue. Internationally, she is the Presbyterian Church's theologian on the Commission of Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, and one of only a few women at either table.

The goal of her work with the WCC is nothing less than Christian unity through the mutual recognition of sacraments. The past six years have been devoted to baptism, and the fruits of that work will be released this year.

We spoke recently with Moore-Keish about her work with the WCC."

The Obama Phenomenon - Bob Herbert, New York Times

The Obama Phenomenon - Bob Herbert in the New York Times: "The historians can put aside their reference material. This is new. America has never seen anything like the Barack Obama phenomenon."

Friday, January 04, 2008 Comics: Preview of Spidey's Brand New Day Blogs - EXCLUSIVE: 8 page preview of SPIDER-MAN: BRAND NEW DAY! - MySpace Comic Books MySpace Blog

Check it out. It's super-retro... will this last?

WaPo chat with Dave Barry

Post Magazine: An Inconceivable Year -

"I'm going to New Hampshire tomorrow to write about the primary for the Miami Herald," Dave Barry says in a chat, "and I'll probably write more about the presidential race after that, because if there's anything more entertaining than the way we choose the president of the United States, I don't know what it is. I'll also be going to China this summer for the Olympics, where I will be competing in the pole vault."

Registry of significant films gains 25 classics | AccessAtlanta

Registry of significant films gains 25 classics | AccessAtlanta: "From 'The Naked City' to 'In a Lonely Place' and 'Oklahoma!' the Library of Congress is adding 25 more classic American films to its national registry.

There are '12 Angry Men' to be heard, 'The Strong Man' to be viewed and 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' to be dealt with."

5 1/2-minute shot puts 'Atonement' in classic company | AccessAtlanta

5 1/2-minute shot puts 'Atonement' in classic company | AccessAtlanta: "The story of the long tracking shot would be best told in one take.

Our camera could begin with Orson Welles' 'Touch of Evil,' pass through Jean-Luc Godard's 'Week End' and Martin Scorsese's 'Goodfellas' and finally arrive at the latest installment in the canon: Joe Wright's 'Atonement.'"

Interesting history of the long tracking shot.

Brooks: The Two Earthquakes - New York Times

The Two Earthquakes - David Brooks in the New York Times: "I’ve been through election nights that brought a political earthquake to the country. I’ve never been through an election night that brought two.

Barack Obama has won the Iowa caucuses. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel moved by this. An African-American man wins a closely fought campaign in a pivotal state. He beats two strong opponents, including the mighty Clinton machine. He does it in a system that favors rural voters. He does it by getting young voters to come out to the caucuses.

This is a huge moment. It’s one of those times when a movement that seemed ethereal and idealistic became a reality and took on political substance."

Obama Takes Iowa in a Big Turnout as Clinton Falters; Huckabee Victor - New York Times

Obama Takes Iowa in a Big Turnout as Clinton Falters; Huckabee Victor - New York Times: "Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, a first-term Democratic senator trying to become the nation’s first African-American president, rolled to victory in the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night, lifted by a record turnout of voters who embraced his promise of change.

The victory by Mr. Obama, 46, amounted to a startling setback for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, 60, of New York, who just months ago presented herself as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. The result left uncertain the prospects for John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, who had staked his second bid for the White House on winning Iowa.

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards, who edged her out for second place by less than a percentage point, both vowed to stay in the race."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

When Movies Don’t Live Up to the Trailer - New York Times

When Movies Don’t Live Up to the Trailer - David Pogue in New York Times: "Last night, I took my two older kids to see “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” I knew from IMDB that it wasn’t going to be a masterpiece; it scored only a 6.9, and the comments warned us that there are plot holes big enough to drive a convoy through. But we’d liked the first “National Treasure” movie, with all its historical references and clever puzzles, and thought we’d give it a shot.

On the way home, what we discussed wasn’t the plot or the shaky grasp of history. It was all the good stuff we’d seen in the trailers (the ads) that weren’t even *in* the movie."

False advertising? Check out the differences he spotted.

Comic Books in the Classroom - New York Times

Comic Books in the Classroom - New York Times: "Generations of children grew up reading comic books on the sly, hiding out from parents and teachers who saw them as a waste of time and a hazard to young minds. Comics are now gaining a new respectability at school. That is thanks to an increasingly popular and creative program, often aimed at struggling readers, that encourages children to plot, write and draw comic books, in many cases using themes from their own lives."

Sigh... getting too respectable.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Interfaith Heroes Month

Interfaith Heroes: WELCOME to the 1st Interfaith Heroes Month, a global celebration of people who made new spiritual connections to promote peace. This is our home for 31 stories about heroes, including Dr. King on his holiday.
YOU are an essential part of this: Read along with people around the world; add comments (click at the end of any story); attend regional interfaith events (some are in our calendar; we need your help in listing more events), and nominate next year’s 31 heroes!
The stories are free here each day (or subscribe free by email on the right side of this page).

io9: Marvel Comics Renounces Marriage, Embraces Satanism

Spider-man: Marvel Comics Renounces Marriage, Embraces Satanism: "Eager to start the year off with a clean slate for their biggest franchise, Marvel Comics last week released Amazing Spider-Man #545, the final chapter of the 'One More Day' storyline. It was a comic that saw Peter Parker make a deal with the Devil that rewrote history, helpfully getting rid of his marriage, the death of his one-time best friend, last year's media-frenzy revelation of his public identity, and twenty-years' worth of stories (here's something to put it in some kind of context). How bad is the storyline in question? Well, for one thing the writer of the book, J. Michael Straczynski, publicly disowned his part in its creation. Plus, the fans are freaking out."

Little, Brown To Release New Tom Wolfe - 1/2/2008 7:18:00 AM - Publishers Weekly

Little, Brown To Release New Tom Wolfe - 1/2/2008 7:18:00 AM - Publishers Weekly: "Little, Brown has acquired a new novel from Tom Wolfe. Back to Blood, the author's first work of fiction since his 2004 book, I Am Charlotte Simmons, published by Wolfe's longtime house FSG, will be set in Miami and deal with recurring themes for the author such as class and race."

Series follows TV pioneers' trail - Los Angeles Times

Series follows TV pioneers' trail - Los Angeles Times: "'Pioneers of Television,' a four-part PBS documentary that begins tonight and runs Wednesdays through Jan. 23, offers an entertaining, sometimes enlightening look back at the very thing you'll be watching, if you watch. A television documentary about television has a certain advantage over other documentaries in that what it shows you is not merely a record of something -- of migrating geese, say, or a war -- but the thing itself. TV: It's what's on television."

Explore the Spirit: Conversation with Fr Edward Beck

Explore The Spirit: Conversation with Fr Edward Beck: "If today's 'Conversation' sounds a bit like 'The Da Vinci Code' or 'National Treasure' -- well, it's proof that real spirituality often is far more fascinating than fiction. It's a true story, now in the form of a book by the red-hot Catholic writer, Father Edward L. Beck. And it starts like this:
While traveling far from home in a remote part of the world, Father Beck found a centuries-old icon of a fascinating image that transformed his life -- and that holds the power to transform yours as well ...
We are not kidding. That's how Beck's new book, 'Soul Provider,' begins. This is a real story about a real author -- and a really fascinating new book. That's Father Beck in the photo at right; that's the icon in the photo below.

BUT FIRST -- why do we call him 'red hot'?
Because Beck is more than a best-selling author. He's also successfully working in new forms of media, weaving innovative online spiritual connections with people -- like we are doing here at ReadTheSpirit.
Now, ABC News has signed Beck as the weekly host of 'All Together Now,' a new series on the ABC News NOW network. This series of video reports reaches ABC's online audience."

Check it out. Fr. Beck is a friend of mine, he even endorsed my last book! I am currently enjoying his latest book, SOUL PROVIDER.