Friday, February 29, 2008

‘Light’ of Realism Shines on Long-Running Soap Opera - TVWeek

Blink - ‘Light’ of Realism Shines on Long-Running Soap Opera - TVWeek - Blogs: "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Soap operas have long cited this motto as they continued to use shooting techniques developed during the genre’s infancy more than 50 years ago. Starting Friday, CBS’ “Guiding Light” is bucking about 56 years of tradition by switching to handheld cameras, using more exterior shots and installing four-wall sets in order to give the show a more cinematic feel."

Oh of my dear mother's favorite soaps...may she rest in peace.

Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front - Book Review - New York Times

Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front - Todd DePastino - Book Review - New York Times:

The soldier-cartoonist Bill Mauldin helped Americans understand what World War II was really like.

Star Trek: Gene Roddenberry's Lost Star Trek Series Finally Sees Daylight

Star Trek: Gene Roddenberry's Lost Star Trek Series Finally Sees Daylight: "Gene Roddenberry planned to bring Star Trek back to television in the mid-1970s, under the name Star Trek: Phase II. The Spock-less series would have introduced some new characters alongside Kirk and friends, and detailed the crew's second five-year mission. But the show never happened, and parts of the concept ended up in the first Trek movie and The Next Generation. Now, after 30-plus years, fans are finally making it happen.

The fan series, which streams online for free, boasts episodes written by original series writers DC Fontana and David Gerrold and guest-shots from original series actors George Takei and Walter Koenig. It used to be called Star Trek: New Voyages but changed its name to Star Trek: Phase II out of increased confidence, as executive producer James Crawley explains. And maybe a little fanboyish desire to fulfill another part of Gene Roddenberry's legacy..."

Triviagasm: Why You've Already Heard Scifi's Ubiquitous Wilhelm Scream

Triviagasm: Why You've Already Heard Scifi's Ubiquitous Wilhelm Scream: "You've probably heard the Wilhelm Scream dozens of times in different movies and television shows without realizing it, but it's one of those things that once you hear, you'll always be able to identify it afterwards. It's now become an in-joke amongst sound editors who try to insert it into their films whenever there's a perfect moment that just needs an over-the-top scream. It began as a Warner Bros. stock sound effect, but was revived and put to serious use by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt."

Dig the new Iron Man trailer

Why did you change? Americans are jumping religious ships

The big news in religion this week is the Pew study about faith in America. Anybody closely watching the landscape in recent years knows Americans are freely switching affiliations, but Pew nailed down that data in new ways. THIS story talks about how Pew's conclusions relate to other studies -- AND invites people to share their stories of change.

read more | digg story

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Johnny Bacardi Show: Ditko Warren story

The Johnny Bacardi Show: "Here's that Steve Ditko story I mentioned in my post from earlier today. In addition to the accomplished inkwash technique Ditko uses (although not as much here as in other Warren efforts), the amount of detail and rendering he employs is staggering, especially considering that the work many regard as his best- his Spider-Man and Doctor Strange stories for Marvel- rarely had this level of delineation. I was amazed as I read this tale, and as far as I'm concerned it's one of the best art jobs I've seen from him."

Michael Reagan blasts Cunningham

It's been interesting to see the aftermath of WLW radio host Bill Cunningham's embarrassing display using Obama's middle name at that McCain rally. Cunningham was chastened by McCain afterwards, to McCain's credit, but the right wing talk sphere has gone crazy about it.

In light of this, Al Peterson's NTS talk radio newsletter reports today:

Reagan Responds To Bill Cunningham Incident: In the wake of this week's brouhaha over WLW/Cincinnati host Bill Cunningham's controversial comments at a Republican rally for Senator John McCain, where Cunningham referred to the Democrat Presidential hopeful as Barack "Hussein" Obama, Radio America host Mike Reagan issued this response: "Bill Cunningham, by introducing Barack Obama's middle name as part of the national debate, was wrong. This use of code-speak, to somehow undercut Obama, cheapens the debate in this nation and cheapens those who use it. So many conservative talk show hosts claim the mantle of Reagan, yet would be hard-pressed to find a time my father, Ronald Reagan, ever issued an ad hominem attack on a political foe. Name-calling is best left on the playground and not in the arena of ideas. These pretenders to the throne would do well to study the civility, dignity and graciousness with which my father ran his campaigns and might seek to conduct themselves accordingly. In 2008, it is time to debate ideas, not middle names."

It's war in the right wing talk world!

Stefan G. Bucher's DAILY MONSTER

Stefan G. Bucher's DAILY MONSTER-- Check it out... here's what Very Short List says...

Each day, Bucher posts a fresh video of a ghastly critter he illustrates through a process that’s both accidental and intentional: Beginning with a Rorschach smudge, he adds ink and paint embellishments to transform it into a singular, rivetingly repulsive creature. The videos are sped up so the whole process seems to occur in seconds, and while commenters are invited to provide origin stories for the hypothetical fiends, the simulation of life with which these animations imbue them is plenty creepy enough

'Washington Post' Site Will Get A Major Facelift

'Washington Post' Site Will Get A Major Facelift: "For years, has been blazing a trail for newspaper Web sites, winning awards and breaking ground in everything from databases to its online chats. So why is it undergoing its biggest redesign ever?

Simple: In today's Web world, even the best sites can't stand still. 'The site represents who we were, not who we've become,' says Jim Brady, executive editor of the site that first launched in 1996. 'This is a reflection of what the Web site is all about: change. We have done a half-dozen redesigns in-house, but during the past five or six years it has been different parts of the site.'

Brady hopes to have the new design up before Election Day in November, citing the political campaigns as a major source for readership on the Web: 'We have to take advantage of that.'" Dem Debate scores high ratings TVNewser: "In addition to being the third-most watched debate of this election cycle, last night's Democratic showdown in Cleveland was MSNBC's most-watched program in the 11-year history of the network. In a head-to-head 9pmET match-up, the debate was second only to FOX's American Idol. It ranked as the fourth most-watched program in Total Viewers on all of TV last night."

Bloomberg Says He Won’t Run but Will Be Active - New York Times

Bloomberg Says He Won’t Run but Will Be Active - New York Times: "Bringing an end to a long flirtation with a bid for the White House, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has officially closed the door on a presidential candidacy this year.

In an Op-Ed article published in Thursday’s New York Times, Mr. Bloomberg wrote that he still believed that a nonpartisan approach was needed to solve the country’s problems and that an independent candidate could win. But he will not run, he said."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

UCC: Smoking Gun Video Proves IRS Wrong On UCC Claim

The United Church of Christ: Smoking Gun Video Proves IRS Wrong On UCC Claim: "As you may have heard in the news, the IRS has just launched an investigation as to whether or not the United Church of Christ should lose its tax exempt status based on a claim made by the IRS that a speech given by Senator Barack Obama at General Synod last summer was in fact a political event benefiting his campaign. As this video proves nothing could be further from the truth..."

Obama's General Synod speech prompts IRS to investigate UCC's tax-exempt status

Obama's General Synod speech prompts IRS to investigate UCC's tax-exempt status: "The Internal Revenue Service has notified the United Church of Christ's national offices in Cleveland, Ohio, that the IRS has opened an investigation into U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's address at the UCC's 2007 General Synod as the church engaging in 'political activities.'

In the IRS letter dated Feb. 20, the IRS said it was initiating a church tax inquiry 'because reasonable belief exists that the United Church of Christ has engaged in political activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status.'

The Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president, called the investigation 'disturbing' but said the investigation would reveal that the church did nothing improper or illegal."

TPM: Lewis backs Obama (officially)

TPM Election Central | Talking Points Memo |: "After about two weeks of confusing reports about whether he was really switching his endorsement from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) has made it official.

'Something's happening in America, something some of us did not see coming,' Lewis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 'Barack Obama has tapped into something that is extraordinary.'"

Martin Marty on that Pew Survey - WaPo's On Faith

Martin Marty: OnFaith on "Is it a mark of the health or sickness of American religion that so many Americans have switched their religious affiliation in adult life or dropped out? The answer is 'yes.'"

Explore The Spirit: Conversation With Robert Short, the "godfather" of "Gospel According to ..."

Explore The Spirit: 112: Conversation With Robert Short, the godfather of 'Gospel According to ...': "Now, I am absolutely fascinated by a guy who sounds like Andy of Mayberry -- and yet remains the 'godfather' of one of the most influential genres in spiritual media. Recent editions of his 'The Gospel According to Peanuts' say that his 1965 book sold more than 10 million copies.

Consider that the 100,000-sales mark typically earns the official 'best-seller' tag -- which means that this 'more-than-10-million' mark is way up there in the 'Harry Potter' Stratosphere.

What's most amazing about Short's creative stroke 43 years ago is that it was not, as the British like to say, 'a one off.' Short continued his creative streak with 'The Parables of Peanuts,' 'The Gospel According to Dogs' and now -- hot off the presses -- 'The Parables of Dr. Seuss.'" Introducing the Chumby UnBeige: "Create a product named the 'Chumby,' brand it with a cobalt octupus ('Chumbilina'), and encase the whole thing in Italian leather, and well, you've got our attention. And did we mention it's got an LCD touchscreen and the ability to play a customized stream of Internet content? Officially launched yesterday by San Diego-based Chumby Industries, the Chumby is a compact consumer Internet device that is about the size of a coffee cup. But unlike a coffee cup, it can be plugged into an electrical outlet; then it finds an available Wi-Fi connection and streams Internet channels from the free Chumby Network, which has already signed up content partners such as CBS, MTV Networks, and MySpace."

Begrudging His Bedazzling - Mo Dowd in New York Times

Begrudging His Bedazzling - Maureen Dowd op-ed in New York Times: "The fact that Obama is exceptionally easy in his skin has made Hillary almost jump out of hers. She can’t turn on her own charm and wit because she can’t get beyond what she sees as the deep injustice of Obama not waiting his turn. Her sunshine-colored jackets on the trail hardly disguise the fact that she’s pea-green with envy.

After saying she found her “voice” in New Hampshire, she has turned into Sybil. We’ve had Experienced Hillary, Soft Hillary, Hard Hillary, Misty Hillary, Sarcastic Hillary, Joined-at-the-Hip-to-Bill Hillary, Her-Own-Person-Who-Just-Happens-to-Be-Married-to-a-Former-President Hillary, It’s-My-Turn Hillary, Cuddly Hillary, Let’s-Get-Down-in-the-Dirt-and-Fight-Like-Dogs Hillary."

WHNT’s Technical Glitches - New York Times

WHNT’s Technical Glitches - New York Times: "In 1955, when WLBT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Jackson, Miss., did not want to run a network report about racial desegregation, it famously hung up the sign: “Sorry, Cable Trouble.” Audiences in northern Alabama might have suspected the same tactics when WHNT-TV, the CBS affiliate, went dark Sunday evening during a “60 minutes” segment that strongly suggested that Don Siegelman, Alabama’s former Democratic governor, was wrongly convicted of corruption last year."

Suitors Are Set to Say to Leno, Long Live King - New York Times

Suitors Are Set to Say to Leno, Long Live King - New York Times: "The Jay Leno chase is on.

Four years ago, NBC made the comedian the lame-duck host of “The Tonight Show,” announcing with fanfare that he would be succeeded by Conan O’Brien in 2009.

Today, Mr. Leno is still the champion of late-night ratings, with no apparent desire to do anything else but continue on top. “What I do,” he has said on several occasions to colleagues, “is tell jokes at 11:30 at night.”

And so, nearly two years before he can officially be courted, suitors including two networks, ABC and Fox, and at least one television studio, Sony Pictures Television, are beginning to circle, doing everything they legally can to make sure Mr. Leno knows that they will make it possible for him to continue doing just that."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

garfield minus garfield

garfield minus garfield: "Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolor disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?
Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against lonliness and methamphetamine addiction in a quiet American suburb."

'For Better or For Worse,' comic returning to its start |

'For Better or For Worse,' comic returning to its start | "Comic strip artist Lynn Johnston relishes a challenge, and she isn't afraid to break tradition. These traits are front and center as the creator of 'For Better or For Worse' negotiates an unprecedented path toward what she calls semiretirement.

Johnston says she will end the current plotlines of her 29-year-old strip by September. Then she will do something unheard of in the comic strip world: start from the beginning again, rerunning the old strips —- but tinkering with some to 'augment' or 'fix some of the stuff,' she said in a phone interview from her home in Corbeil, Ontario. She also will have to redraw a number of strips for which original images are missing, she said."

Obama’s Support Grows Broader, New Poll Finds - New York Times

Obama’s Support Grows Broader, New Poll Finds - New York Times: "In the past two months, Senator Barack Obama has built a commanding coalition among Democratic voters, with especially strong support among men, and is now viewed by most Democrats as the candidate best able to beat Senator John McCain in the general election, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Americans Change Faiths at Rising Rate, Report Finds - New York Times

Americans Change Faiths at Rising Rate, Report Finds - New York Times: "More than a quarter of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhood to join another religion or no religion, according to a new survey of religious affiliation by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The report, titled “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” depicts a highly fluid and diverse national religious life. If shifts among Protestant denominations are included, then it appears that 44 percent of Americans have switched religious affiliations." Chabon conquers two genres? GalleyCat: "Last April, I suggested Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union 'had an equal chance of winning... the Hugo AND the Edgar,' and, well, it's getting a lot closer to happening. The novel is already nominated for an Edgar, which is presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America, and while the Hugo nominations are still being sorted out, the Science Fiction Writers of America have announced the shortlists for the Nebula, sci-fi's other big award, and Chabon's in the best novel category there, too. Granted, he's got strong competition in each field, but at least he's the first novelist ever nominated by both organizations for the same novel. (Jack Vance won a Nebula and an Edgar, but for different works.)

'I would say it's a dream come true,' Chabon responded when I emailed him this morning, 'except that I would never have dared dream it was remotely possible. A very old and lasting ambition has now been satisfied. And it means so much to me that both the Edgar and the Nebula are awarded by my colleagues and peers in the respective fields. They're both tough crowds.'"

Adobe Blurs Line Between PC and Web - New York Times

Adobe Blurs Line Between PC and Web - New York Times: A software developer has created a new system that will power potentially tens of thousands of applications that merge the Internet and the PC.

Fight over author Margaret Mitchell document ends in secrecy |

Fight over author Mitchell document ends in secrecy | "A legal battle over prized documents purportedly belonging to 'Gone With the Wind' author Margaret Mitchell has blown over, but the final resting place of the disputed papers is still a secret.

The legal sparring involving the cache —- apparently discovered in a file cabinet decades after they were written —- was settled in January, but no one will say where the trove of documents is now."

Oscars wrap-up -

80TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS: Big yes for 'No Country' | "The Coen brothers have completed their journey from the fringes to Hollywood's mainstream, winning four Academy Awards for 'No Country for Old Men,' including best picture.

Javier Bardem won for supporting actor in 'No Country,' which earned Joel and Ethan Coen the best-picture honor as producers, best director and adapted screenplay."

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Bad Year to Be a Mallard - Gail Collins in New York Times

A Bad Year to Be a Mallard - Gail Collins in New York Times: "During this presidential campaign the nation has experienced an extraordinary number of grisly shooting incidents, including four mass murders on college campuses, two at suburban shopping malls and the slaughter of city officials at a Missouri town meeting.

Yet the subject of gun control never comes up. If people ask, politicians who have not been outdoors in months start tossing out hunter-talk in a manner that suggests that they’re driving around in a pickup with a deer carcass in the back."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

David Crumm's follow-up on Living Loved: A letter from Germany

Explore The Spirit: 107: A Letter (and Some Photos) from Germany ... To You ...: "Until his note came through last week, I never knew Michael existed -- and had never heard of the town where he and his wife live. It's called Oy-Mittelberg and is situated in Southern Germany, close to the Austrian border.
But, Michael listens to Peter Wallace's weekly broadcasts for 'Day1,' he reads Peter's inspirational books -- and Michael was moved by our in-depth Conversation With Peter Wallace about 'Day1' last week. Michael simply wanted to share with us how much Peter's voice, books and online presence has meant to him -- and how glad he was to see Peter's presence here at ReadTheSpirit last week."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CBS' Ferguson refreshes late-night talk - Yahoo! News

CBS' Ferguson refreshes late-night talk - Yahoo! News: "with Craig Ferguson originating his brand of shrewd silliness, this is an hour unlike other talk shows. Tune in Craig, you get a contact high. Which sure beats just watching TV."

retroCRUSH: The Greatest Duets of All time

retroCRUSH: The Greatest Duets of All time: Here's what says:

As a great philosopher put it best: “It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta sight.” It’s especially true in music, where an inspired pairing can make two individually great talents sound even better — or produce something so weird that you can’t resist listening to it.

You’ll find plenty of examples of each in this video collection of the most memorable duets in pop music, compiled by the editors of the pop-culture website retroCRUSH. Yes, the classics are represented here (Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks’s “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”; Ashford and Simpson’s “Solid as a Rock”), along with a few totally improbable partnerships (on what planet did Tammy Wynette collaborate with the British acid-house group the KLF?). Try to overlook the absence of Meat Loaf and Cher’s “Dead Ringer for Love,” and don’t tear up when you hear Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer’s cover of “Redemption Song.”

Ending Tradition, NBC Dismisses Fall Debuts - New York Times

Ending Tradition, NBC Dismisses Fall Debuts - New York Times: "It soon may be time to retire the phrase “fall television season.”

NBC Universal took a big step toward undoing one of the television industry’s oldest traditions by announcing Tuesday that it would move to a year-round schedule of staggered program introductions. The move is intended to appeal to advertisers, who crave fresh content to keep viewers tuned in.

And if it succeeds — and leads other broadcast networks to shift from their focus on a mass introduction of new shows — it could alter an American cultural cycle that extends all the way back to the days of radio, when families gathered around the Philco every September, as the school year began, to sample the new entertainment choices.

NBC plans to announce a 52-week schedule in April, a month before ABC and CBS will unveil their fall lineups at splashy presentations known as upfronts. The decision means that NBC will be committing to a new lineup of shows earlier than any of its competitors, while also inviting advertisers to build marketing plans around specific shows and perhaps to integrate brands and products into the plots of the shows themselves."

I seem to recall one of the networks trying this approach a decade or so.... I miss the fall season jingles!

Religion Dispatches: Atlantic's Religion Issue Gives Mixed Messages

Religion Dispatches - The Atlantic's Religion Issue Gives Mixed Messages: "The Atlantic Monthly’s March issue includes several features on the future of religion worldwide. Walter Russell Mead’s editorial on recent changes in American evangelicalism, Eliza Griswold’s investigative piece on Christian-Muslim conflict in Nigeria, and Alan Wolfe’s essay forecasting the decline of religious radicalism all predict a resurgence of moderation, a future where religion comes in bigger portions, but with fewer calories. Interfaith conflict can’t sustain itself, they argue, and lasting peace is a fortunate inevitability.

Why, then, did the Atlantic’s editors choose to contradict their own message with hysterical cover copy? Cooperation may be the message of these articles, but conflict is the medium, as the cover demands: “WHICH RELIGION WILL WIN?”"

Jon Stewart prepares, finally, for Oscars - New York Times

Jon Stewart - Oscars - TV - New York Times: Until the strike by the Writers Guild of America ended a week ago, Jon Stewart was unable to prepare, or even to think much about, his Oscar assignment.

Toshiba Concedes Defeat in the DVD Battle - New York Times

Toshiba Concedes Defeat in the DVD Battle - New York Times: "The biggest consumer electronic format war in a generation is officially over.

Toshiba, the Japanese electronics giant, threw in the towel on its HD DVD technology Tuesday, announcing that it would no longer develop, produce or market disc players for the format. In doing so, it ceded victory to Sony’s competing Blu-ray format, which now looks set to become the global standard for high-definition DVDs."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin: Here is... "Every occurrence (I believe) of the sound effect 'POW' from Jack Kirby's original New Gods saga, as presented in the six issue deluxe format series from 1984..."

Flash Gordon Returns to Comics - PW

Flash Gordon Returns Via Ardden Entertainment - Publishers Weekly: "It’s tough for a new comic book publisher to stick out these days, but Ardden Entertainment has two things going for it: the Flash Gordon license and industry legend J.M. DeMatteis in the position of editor-in-chief.

Started by literary talent manager Brendan Deenan and comics veteran Richard Emms, Ardden will debut a special edition of Flash Gordon #1 at the New York Comic Con in April before officially launching the ongoing series in August. The artist is Paul Green, who's currently illustrating Starship Troopers for Markosia. Ardden plans to follow Gordon with other licensed properties and original creations from a variety of novelists and comic writers."

Monday, February 18, 2008

High-Design Bible Draws Attention -

High-Design Bible Draws Attention - "A heavily armed freedom fighter in the Niger Delta stares angrily at the camera, his face hidden behind a black mask. Is this a news story from the latest war zone? No, it's the opening page to the book of Joshua -- the Israeli warrior -- in the new Bible Illuminated.

The Swedish-language Bible marries the standard text to glossy magazine-style design. Full-color pages are illustrated with a striking combination of news and dramatized photographs: a homeless child wrapped in a sweater on the streets of Bogota, Colombia, illustrates the book of Job; a man who drowned trying to enter Europe, for Deuteronomy; and models posing in stylized scenes convey joy or despair. Bible passages are pulled out as captions."

Smugglers Return iPhones to China - New York Times

Smugglers Return iPhones to China - New York Times: "The strange journey of Apple’s popular iPhone, to nearly every corner of the world, shows what happens when the world’s hottest consumer product defies a company’s attempt to slowly introduce it in new markets.

The iPhone has been swept up in a frenzy of global smuggling and word-of-mouth marketing that leads friends to ask friends, “While you’re in the U.S., would you mind picking up an iPhone for me?”

These unofficial distribution networks help explain a mystery that analysts who follow Apple have been pondering: why is there a large gap between the number of iPhones that Apple says it sold last year, about 3.7 million, and the 2.3 million that are actually registered on the networks of its wireless partners in the United States and Europe?

The answer now seems clear. For months, tourists, small entrepreneurs and smugglers of electronic goods have been buying iPhones in the United States and then shipping them overseas."

Our Founding Lame Duck - William Hogeland op-ed in New York Times

Our Founding Lame Duck - William Hogeland op-ed in New York Times: "HISTORIANS have often noted that George Washington not only began but also did much to define the American presidency. He imprinted on the office a sense of competence and integrity that can make later presidents, even successful ones, seem to fall short. Then to top it off, he left the job voluntarily. No law required him to step down, and running against him would have been impossible. Retiring after two terms, Washington enabled the transfer of executive power by electoral process.

That crowning achievement also made George Washington our first lame-duck president. Here again he set the standard, albeit one less celebrated by history. His last year in office was, in his estimation, lame indeed. He was just waiting for it all to be over."

BBC: Hundreds of worlds' in Milky Way

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Hundreds of worlds' in Milky Way: "Rocky planets, possibly with conditions suitable for life, may be more common than previously thought in our galaxy, a study has found.

New evidence suggests more than half the Sun-like stars in the Milky Way could have similar planetary systems.

There may also be hundreds of undiscovered worlds in outer parts of our Solar System, astronomers believe."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Out on the Town with Brian K. Vaughan - New York Times

The Last Man Exits - New York Times: "FANS tend to be in obsessive awe of Brian K. Vaughan, the 31-year-old co-producer of the ABC show “Lost” and the writer of the popular comic book “Y: The Last Man,” created with the artist Pia Guerra.

So what happened the other night when around 100 collaborators, friends and comic junkies came to Meltdown Comics, a shop on West Sunset Boulevard, to toast the recently published 60th and final issue of “Y”? A lot of hero-worship for a reluctant hero."

Rich: The Grand Old White Party Confronts Obama - New York Times

The Grand Old White Party Confronts Obama - Frank Rich in New York Times: "THE curse continues. Regardless of party, it’s hara-kiri for a politician to step into the shadow of even a mediocre speech by Barack Obama.

Senator Obama’s televised victory oration celebrating his Chesapeake primary trifecta on Tuesday night was a mechanical rehash. No matter. When the networks cut from the 17,000-plus Obama fans cheering at a Wisconsin arena to John McCain’s victory tableau before a few hundred spectators in the Old Town district of Alexandria, Va., it was a rerun of what happened to Hillary Clinton the night she lost Iowa. Senator McCain, backed by a collection of sallow-faced old Beltway pols, played the past to Mr. Obama’s here and now. Mr. McCain looked like a loser even though he, unlike Senator Clinton, had actually won."

Is PBS Still Necessary? - New York TImes

PBS - Television - New York Times: "What if the glory days of public television — the days of “Monty Python,” “Upstairs Downstairs,” “The French Chef” — are past recapturing? Lately the audience for public TV has been shrinking even faster than the audience for the commercial networks. The average PBS show on prime time now scores about a 1.4 Nielsen rating, or roughly what the wrestling show “Friday Night Smackdown” gets.

On the other side of the ledger the audience for public radio has been growing: there are more than 30 million listeners now, compared to just 2 million in 1980. “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” NPR’s morning and evening news programs, are the second and fourth most listened to shows in the country. Go figure. W"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Super-hard choice for Lewis |

Super-hard choice for Lewis | "Barack Obama had not spoken with U.S. Rep. John Lewis as of Friday morning. Neither had Hillary Clinton. Lewis and his staff weren't returning calls.

That lack of communication left a vacuum in Friday's political spin cycle after the overnight bombshell report that Lewis planned to drop Clinton and cast his superdelegate vote for Obama at the Democratic National Convention in August.

Lewis' spokeswoman would only say that the New York Times report that Lewis would back Obama was 'inaccurate,' but provided no details and did not respond to requests for more. Jeff Zeleny, the Times reporter who interviewed Lewis on Thursday, later told CNN that Lewis 'unequivocally' said he would support Obama.

One thing seemed certain by Friday afternoon: Lewis was in a difficult situation, personally and politically."

Democrats Look for Way to Avoid Convention Rift - New York Times

Democrats Look for Way to Avoid Convention Rift - New York Times: "Former Vice President Al Gore and a number of other senior Democrats plan to remain neutral for now in the presidential race in part to keep open the option to broker a peaceful resolution to what they fear could be a bitterly divided convention, party officials and aides said Friday."

Friday, February 15, 2008

ICv2: 'Animal House' Helmer Gets Gaines Biopic

ICv2 News - 'Animal House' Helmer Gets Gaines Biopic: "Variety is reporting that Animal House helmer John Landis has signed on to direct Ghoulishly Yours, William M. Gaines, a cinematic biography of the publisher of EC Comics and Mad Magazine. Joel Eisenberg, who has been developing this project for some time, is penning the screenplay about the reluctant publisher who revolutionized the comic book business with the help of the innovative artist/writer/editor Al Feldstein."

C.S.Lewis Society: New Lost Clues

From the C. S. Lewis Society enewsletter:

C.S. Lewis in TV's "Lost":

The extremely popular ABC-TV series of mystery, spirituality and intrigue with a group of people marooned on a desert island, "Lost," is now in its fourth season. And in episode two, the program is revealing remarkable clues that point to C.S. Lewis's influence. For example, when Ben noted that Charlotte's complete name is "Charlotte Staples Lewis," the blogosphere utterly lit up about Lewis, with people pointing out the connections to Lewis's books, PRINCE CASPIAN and PERELANDRA. Such suggestions have arisen before, especially in the first season, when the original program was produced by Christian film producer Ralph Winter, who is also currently producing the film version of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS. Here are example articles:

"Tiddlywinkydinks: Perelandra Lost" (Inner Toob)

"Lost's Second Episode Reveals More Clues," by Sonja Zjawinski (Wired News)

"'Lost': Chute First, Ask Questions Later," by Jeff Jensen (Entertainment Weekly),,20177008,00.html

Black Leader, a Clinton Ally, Tilts to Obama - New York Times

Black Leader, a Clinton Ally, Tilts to Obama - New York Times: "Representative John Lewis, an elder statesman from the civil rights era and one of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most prominent black supporters, said Thursday night that he planned to cast his vote as a superdelegate for Senator Barack Obama in hopes of preventing a fight at the Democratic convention."

Smaller Version of the Solar System Is Discovered - New York Times

Smaller Version of the Solar System Is Discovered - New York Times: "Astronomers said Wednesday that they had found a miniature version of our own solar system 5,000 light-years across the galaxy — the first planetary system that really looks like our own, with outer giant planets and room for smaller inner planets."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indiana Jones Trailer! First Look At The "Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull" - HuffPo

Indiana Jones Trailer! First Look At The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull - Entertainment on The Huffington Post: "The new trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull debuted on 'Good Morning America' today. The 4th film in the franchise adds Cate Blanchett as a bad guy and Shia LaBeouf as Indy's sidekick. The movie is out May 22." Check it out...

US officials say dead satellite will be shot down |

US officials say dead satellite will be shot down | "The Pentagon is planning to shoot down a broken spy satellite expected to hit the Earth in early March, The Associated Press has learned.

U.S. officials said Thursday that the option preferred by the Bush administration will be to fire a missile from a U.S. Navy cruiser, and shoot down the satellite before it enters Earth's atmosphere."

Explore The Spirit: Religion and Emerging Media

Explore The Spirit: Marco Polo (David Crumm) Reporting Live from New York at the Tools of Change conference: "If you ever thought of media as a monstrous enemy of spirituality -- this emerging world is proof that media actually is spiritual connection. Yes, there are spiritual monsters swimming in the seas of media these days -- but fundamentally the whole media ocean, as Rob Bell argues repeatedly, is a spiritual sea. Among the waves out here? Good spirituality. Bad spirituality. Life-giving spirituality. Deadly spirituality.
Media is a spiritual sea."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Producer of Great Preachers Tells What Makes Preaching Great

In today's fast-media world, our attention spans wander and people poke fun at the idea of preachers trying to make people pay attention for 20 minutes. This article is an in-depth interview with Peter Wallace the media guru behind Day1, a Web site and radio network celebrating great preaching. Key Question Here: What makes preaching work today?

read more | digg story

David Crumm reviews Living Loved David Crumm, editor of, reviews Living Loved: "I've read hundreds of spiritual books over the past couple of decades and have an eagle's eye for false assumptions and spiritual bravado that says more about the writer's pride than our needs as readers. And, so, it is high praise from me to say: There is not a single false note in this book.

The daily readings are short -- but there's great strength here that builds through the weeks we spend with Peter and his meditations on what it means to love -- and what it mean to let God love us. That may be the toughest section of his book for many of us. And, then, he carries us forward in the final third of the book to the calling we all have to share God's love with others."

Five stars!

Timeless TV - Warm and Ozzie -

Timeless TV by Tom Gilbert - Warm and Ozzie - TVWeek - Blogs: "I recently came across the old “Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” show on KVCR-TV, the public broadcasting station in San Bernardino, Calif. It had been a long time since I’d seen that series, and I had a vague memory of it being very “radio”; by that I mean not very visual—if you close your eyes while it’s on and just listen, you don’t really miss anything. My interest piqued, I set the DVR to record it anytime it ran.

Viewing several episodes from the course of its 1952-66 ABC run confirmed my original opinion; after all, it did start out as a radio show way back in the ’40s. But even though it’s a stand-there-and-deliver-your-lines-to-a-laugh-track sort of affair, upon revisiting “Ozzie and Harriet” I found it to be disarmingly intriguing."

Great Seal's secrets revealed |

Great Seal's secrets revealed | "Conspiracy theorists take note: The myths surrounding one of America's oldest and most enduring national symbols are about to be debunked ... if you believe the government, that is.

The keepers of the Great Seal of the United States, the familiar emblem on the back of the $1 bill, want you to know what it is not. It is not a sign that Freemasons run the country, it has nothing to do with the occult, and it does not contain clues to a fabulous hidden treasure.

It is rather the nation's stamp of authority, sovereignty and power, gracing our cash and embossing the most important of documents from its home at the State Department, which has held it since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the first secretary of state."

A Flawed Feminist Test - Mo Dowd in New York Times

A Flawed Feminist Test - Mo Dowd in New York Times: "We’re not just in the most vertiginous election of our lives. We’re in another national seminar on gender and race that is teaching us about who we are as we figure out what we want America to be.

It’s not yet clear which prejudice will infect the presidential contest more — misogyny or racism."

The Novelist Richard Ford Leaves Knopf for HarperCollins - Books - New York Times

The Novelist Richard Ford Leaves Knopf for HarperCollins - Books - New York Times: "In a surprise move, Richard Ford, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Independence Day” and “The Lay of the Land,” has switched publishers for his next three books."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

O. J. Simpson's Former Agent to Publish Book: How I Helped O. J. Get Away With Murder | The New York Observer

O. J. Simpson's Former Agent to Publish Book: How I Helped O. J. Get Away With Murder | The New York Observer: "Mike Gilbert, who served as O. J. Simpson's sports agent for a reported 18 years, is writing a book for Regnery Publishing called How I Helped O. J. Get Away With Murder. According to a brief announcement published this afternoon on industry Web site Publisher's Lunch, the book will 'detail O.J.'s late-night confession' and offer new evidence showing that Simpson did kill his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her boyfriend Ron Goldman. The book also promises 'information on Gilbert's crucial role in obtaining the not guilty verdict and why he stayed silent for so long.'"

Explore The Spirit: Tools of Change conference

Explore The Spirit: "At ReadTheSpirit, our vocation, our whole passion each morning, is sharing important spiritual voices that help all of us connect in larger, stronger, safer, more creatively inspired communities.
And this whole concept of media-merged-with-evangelism is very much in tune with what smart voices are urging in New York City this week at the Tools of Change conference. No question, this is a secular, hard-headed, professional conference -- although there was a fascinating presentation on Monday about what the Talmud's format of text-and-commentary can teach media pioneers today. So, at least a few experts here are making concrete connections between faith and media."

A Crash Course In God and Politics -

A Crash Course In God and Politics - "According to the saying, there are two things you should never discuss at a dinner party: religion and politics.

There's nothing that says you can't read about them, though. And as the presidential campaign heats up, U.S. publishers are releasing books on faith and public life.

Frank Lambert's 'Religion in American Politics,' published last month, traces the interplay between pulpits and the public square through nearly two centuries of U.S. history. Some things, he writes, never change."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Retro Futurism: Mom Goes Shopping Online, Dad Pays the Bills in "1999 A.D."

Retro Futurism: Mom Goes Shopping Online, Dad Pays the Bills in '1999 A.D.': "A young Wink Martindale starred in this Philco-Ford-produced educational film from 1967 that correctly predicts online shopping, banking, and email, but not the women's movement. 1999 A.D. was so eerily prescient in its vision of future technology that when clips started making their way round the internet last fall, there were questions about its authenticity."

TAWOK&C: Coen Brothers to Adapt Chabon's Yiddish Policeman's Union!

The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay - News: "Could it be? Is this a dream? Will the Joel and Ethan Coen adapt The Yiddish Policemen's Union?

That's the claim of British newspaper The Guardian. In a profile of Scott Rudin, the paper reports that Rudin 'has already started working on the next Coen brothers film, an adaptation of The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon.'

And, as it happens, it's true, according to Chabon.

'[Rudin] swore me to silence, but if he's letting the cat out of the bag, then I guess I can finally tell you,' Chabon said via e-mail.

According to Chabon, the Coen brothers have agreed to at least write the adaptation, once the writer's strike ends. (They made the deal pre-strike.)

'I am, of course, over the moon about this,' Chabon said. 'They are among my favorite living moviemakers. Three or four of their films are on my all-time favorite list. They are geniuses. What's more, I think they are perfectly suited to this material in every way, from its genre(s) to its tone to its content. I can't wait to see what they eventually do with it.'"

McCain-Obama Parody: Like Hope, But Different - Politics on The Huffington Post

McCain-Obama Parody: Like Hope, But Different - Politics on The Huffington Post: "Obama's not the only one to have fans singing his speeches. Check out this latest one, featuring the words of John McCain...."

HarperCollins Will Post Free Books on the Web - New York Times

HarperCollins Will Post Free Books on the Web - New York Times: "In an attempt to increase book sales, HarperCollins Publishers will begin offering free electronic editions of some of its books on its Web site, including a novel by Paulo Coelho and a cookbook by the Food Network star Robert Irvine.

The idea is to give readers the opportunity to sample the books online in the same way that prospective buyers can flip through books in a bookstore."

Writers Guild Bigwigs See a Happy Ending -

Lisa de Moraes - Writers Guild Bigwigs See a Happy Ending - "Striking writers will return to work Wednesday!

ABC's broadcast of the Academy Awards has been saved!

New episodes of your favorite TV shows will rise like a flock of phoenixes in early spring!

Next fall's new TV season has been resuscitated!

Writers Guild biggies announced all this -- and more -- at a hastily called crack-of-dawn (a.k.a. noon) news conference Sunday in Los Angeles."

Moderator and a Panelist Ousted at ‘Fox News Watch’ - New York Times

Moderator and a Panelist Ousted at ‘Fox News Watch’ - New York Times: "“Fox News Watch,” one of two weekly television shows that assess the conduct of the national news media, has fired its longtime moderator and let go one of its more liberal panelists."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Frank Rich: Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War - New York Times

Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War - Frank Rich in New York Times: Hillary Clinton’s show on the Hallmark Channel was a preview of how nastily the Clintons will fight, whatever the collateral damage to the Democratic Party.

Writers strike drives actors and writers online - New York Times

Internet Comedy - New York Times: "While the three-month writers’ strike dealt a devastating blow to the entertainment industry, suspending the production of numerous films and television series, it has also imbued the nascent medium of Web-based comedy videos with a new vitality, as countless furloughed talents — writers and actors; veteran humorists and novices — learned to use their newfound free time to produce their own shorts."

The Bible as Graphic Novel, With a Samurai Stranger Called Christ - New York Times

The Bible as Graphic Novel, With a Samurai Stranger Called Christ - New York Times: "In a blurb for the Manga Bible, which is published by Doubleday, the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, is quoted as saying, “It will convey the shock and freshness of the Bible in a unique way.”

No doubt. In the Manga Bible, whose heroes look and sound like skateboarders in Bedouin gear, Noah gets tripped up counting the animals in the Ark: “That’s 11,344 animals? Arggh! I’ve lost count again. I’m going to have to start from scratch!”"

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Report: Yahoo board to turn down Microsoft bid |

Report: Yahoo board to turn down Microsoft bid | "Yahoo Inc.'s board plans to reject Microsoft Corp.'s $44.6 billion bid to buy the Internet pioneer, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Saturday.

Board members concluded the unsolicited offer massively undervalues the company, a person familiar with the situation told the newspaper."

Producers Say Writers Could Return on Monday - New York Times

Producers Say Writers Could Return on Monday - New York Times: "With a chance that the Hollywood writers’ strike could be settled soon, late-night-television producers have already started to say just that. “Everybody is telling everybody to come in Monday,” said Jeff Ross, the executive producer of NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

That is, of course, presupposing that the strike is over.

On Saturday leaders of the Writers Guild of America West and the Writers Guild of America East will hold informational meetings with their members in Los Angeles and New York. If reaction to the settlement proposals are sufficiently positive, the guilds’ boards could end the three-month walkout and allow television and movie writers to return to their laptops even before formal ratification."

Friends Say Drugs Played Only Bit Part for Obama - New York Times

Friends Say Drugs Played Only Bit Part for Obama - New York Times: "In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised, someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Left Wing and a Prayer: 2 new books on Democrats and Religion - New York Times

The Party Faithful - Amy Sullivan - Souled Out - E. J. Dionne Jr. - Book Reviews - New York Times: "In short, the Democratic Party’s long string of counterproductive responses to the enduring influence of the religious right has had the cumulative effect of driving away any type of base with the word “faith” attached to it, and opening the door to the Republicans’ shrewd, if cynical, courting of religiously conservative white Christians. It’s been a self-defeating failure, since there are millions of moderate and progressive Christians ready to embrace a reasonable alternative.

Now two savvy, genre-bending, unapologetically faith-based new books take that failure as an object lesson. “The Party Faithful,” by the respected political journalist and progressive Baptist Amy Sullivan, is a kind of sophisticated self-help manual for Democrats who are looking for a way “of leveling the praying field.” Sullivan provides a brisk history of Democratic miscalculations, along with a running commentary. “Souled Out,” by the respected political journalist and progressive Catholic E. J. Dionne Jr., is a deeply personal and searchingly intelligent reflection on the noble history, recent travails and likely prospects of American liberalism. Dionne envisions “a radically new role for religious groups in American politics,” an integration of personal morality with a championing of the common good that, he says, is “not only possible but necessary, for the sake of our public life and for religion’s sake as well.”"

Triviagasm: The Explodiest Outer Space Crashes Ever to Rock Your Movie Theater

Triviagasm: The Explodiest Outer Space Crashes Ever to Rock Your Movie Theater: "Crashes, smashes, and destruction sequences in science fiction movies have gotten a lot more spectacular over the years, even if our storytelling hasn't. When the Death Star blew up in Star Wars, it was sort of like a big pop and then it was gone. These days you have shots of flaming debris, screaming victims, and radiating spherical explosions that can drag out an action scene for eons. Even in movies where the plot doesn't make sense, the acting is hammy, and you don't really care whether the characters live or die, a good crash sequence can rouse the audience from their boredom and at least engage their animal instincts. Here's our list of the five best crashes in modern day scifi -- with beautiful video"

George Martin, PBS go 'On Record'

Martin, PBS go 'On Record' - Hollywood Reporter: "PBS and Wildheart Entertainment are producing 'On Record: The Soundtrack of Our Lives,' an eight-hour miniseries that documents the history of recorded music and popular culture.

'On Record' is scheduled to air in fall 2010 on PBS and will feature interviews and footage with hundreds of artists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Jay-Z. Beatles producer George Martin will host, and Kevin Spacey will narrate.

'(This) is a project intrinsically dear to my heart and one that I have been developing with Wildheart Entertainment for over five years,' Martin said. 'I am just thrilled that PBS has joined us as our primetime broadcaster. 'On Record' affords me the opportunity to work again with so many of the artists I have worked with throughout my life and to tell a story that has never been told in such a comprehensive way."

AV Club interviews John Cleese

John Cleese | The A.V. Club: "As a writer and performer, John Cleese was a driving force behind two of television's most beloved shows: the seminal sketch-comedy classic Monty Python's Flying Circus, and Fawlty Towers, a perennial contender for the greatest sitcom of all time. Since then, Cleese has produced and starred in a series of business training films, co-written books on families and relationships, done extensive voiceover work, served on the faculty at Cornell, co-wrote a graphic novel about a British incarnation of Superman [Superman: True Brit], played Q's replacement R in a pair of James Bond movies, and recently signed on to produce a series of video podcasts."

Neatorama: The Evolution of Tech Companies’ Logos

Neatorama - The Evolution of Tech Companies’ Logos: "You’ve seen these tech logos everywhere, but have you ever wondered how they came to be? Did you know that Apple’s original logo was Isaac Newton under an apple tree? Or that Nokia’s original logo was a fish?

Let’s take a look at the origin of tech companies’ logos and how they evolved over time..."

SURFING THE WEB: A single sign-on? It may happen |

SURFING THE WEB: A single sign-on? It may happen | "It's the bane of anyone who uses the Internet: remembering different user IDs, passwords and registration information for sites you use regularly.

Soon, you may not have to.

Some of the Internet's biggest players —- Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM and VeriSign —- are working on a new 'single sign-on' that would take some of the hassle out of surfing the Web.

The five companies on Thursday became the first corporate board members of the OpenID Foundation, which is behind an industrywide initiative aimed at creating the system."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Biz revving up amid peace talk

Biz revving up amid peace talk - Hollywood Reporter: "With optimism spreading about an imminent resolution of the writers strike, film agents, producers and development execs are bracing for a barrage of dealmaking."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mystic guru to Beatles dies |

Mystic guru to Beatles dies | "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru to the Beatles who introduced the West to transcendental meditation, died Tuesday at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop, a spokesman said. He was thought to be 91 years old."

Darkness and Light - Mo Dowd in New York Times

Darkness and Light - Maureen Dowd in New York Times: If Barack Obama wants to be president, he’ll have to slay the dragon. And his dragon is the Clinton attack machine.

Public Broadcasters prepare to fight Bush budget cuts - New York Times

Public Broadcasting - National Endowment for the Arts - Budget - New York Times: "It’s a familiar dance: for eight straight years, the Bush administration has proposed deep cuts in federal funds for public broadcasting, and seven times so far, Congress has restored them. But the magnitude of the proposed cuts put forth this week — Patricia Harrison, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, called them “draconian” — still sent public broadcasters scrambling."

Diverging Paths for Two Parties - New York Times

Diverging Paths for Two Parties - Adam Nagourney in New York Times: "The Republican and Democratic presidential contests began diverging Tuesday, leaving the Democrats facing a long and potentially divisive nomination battle and the Republicans closer to an opportunity to put aside deep internal divisions and rally around a nominee."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

ELO: Randall Balmer commentary: The religious test failed by voters and candidates

Episcopal Life Online - OPINION: "Eight years ago, when George W. Bush declared that Jesus was his favorite philosopher, suppose someone had asked a follow-up question.

'Mr. Bush, Jesus invited his followers to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek. How will that guide your foreign policy, especially in the event, say, of an attack on the United States?'

Or: 'Gov. Bush, your favorite philosopher expressed concern for the tiniest sparrow. How will that sentiment be reflected in your administration's environmental policies?'

Or: 'Jesus called his followers to care for 'the least of these.' How does that teaching inform your views on tax policy or welfare reform?'"

ELO: Katharine Jefferts Schori's Lenten meditation

Episcopal Life Online: "Keeping a holy Lent: prayer, fasting, almsgiving" by Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Obama vs. the Phobocracy - Michael Chabon op-ed -

Obama vs. the Phobocracy - Michael Chabon op-ed at "There are many reasons not to support Barack Obama's candidacy for president, but every one of them is bad for the same reason.

Because I have come out publicly for the senator from Illinois, I am often called upon to listen as people offer up -- with wistfulness and regret, or with a pundit's show of certainty, or with a well-earned but useless skepticism -- their bad reasons for not giving Obama their support. For a long time now, I have listened to these people with forbearance and with a sense of duty -- not to some principle of open debate or of the inherent merit in the free exchange of even meritless ideas, but rather out of obligation to the candidate whose cause I champion."

Read the whole thing... and then check out this op-ed from the SF Chronicle written by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman.

Bush's 2009 Budget Calls For Slashing Public TV Funding - Media on The Huffington Post

Bush's 2009 Budget Calls For Slashing Public TV Funding - Media on The Huffington Post: "Public broadcasting officials vowed Monday to fight drastic cuts President Bush is seeking to make to federal financing for public television and radio, warning that the reductions would seriously impair station operations.

Bush's proposed 2009 budget, released Monday, would more than halve the federal allocation to public broadcasting over the next two years, the deepest cuts to the system that he's proposed during his administration."

Ferguson slated to entertain at this years WHCA Dinner -

Yeas and Nays: Ferguson slated to entertain at this years WHCA Dinner - "Craig Ferguson, host of CBS’s “The Late, Late Show,” has been tapped as the entertainment for this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner."

Satellite Spotters Glimpse Secrets, and Tell Them - New York Times

Satellite Spotters Glimpse Secrets, and Tell Them - New York Times: "Mr. Molczan, a private energy conservation consultant, is the best known of the satellite spotters who, needing little more than a pair of binoculars, a stop watch and star charts, uncover some of the deepest of the government’s expensive secrets and share them on the Internet."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Top 12 Most Spiritual Moments on 'Lost' --

LOST, Top 12 Most Spiritual Moments on "Lost" -- "'Lost' is many things: a mystery, a sci-fi serial, a thriller, and a show about humanity at its most basic. But it's also full of religion and spirituality. It's no coincidence that the show's multiracial, multi-ethnic cast represents many different types of belief systems. Whether the characters are praying for survival or arguing about whether God exists, 'Lost' is one of the few programs that doesn't shy away from depicting spirituality.

Click through this gallery of the 12 most spiritual moments from the first three seasons of 'Lost.'"

National Super Tuesday poll shows dramatic Democratic shift -

National Super Tuesday poll shows dramatic Democratic shift - "Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton is losing ground to Sen. Barack Obama in a national CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released on the eve of critical Super Tuesday presidential primaries and caucuses.

The two are virtually tied in Monday's survey, which shows the New York senator has lost a comfortable national lead she's held for months over Obama and other rivals.

The survey also shows Arizona Sen. John McCain as the clear Republican front-runner."

Mad Magazine Uses Pulitzer Winners to Tweak Bush - New York Times

Mad Magazine Uses Pulitzer Winners to Tweak Bush - New York Times: "The “usual gang of idiots,” as the editorial staff of Mad magazine lovingly describes itself, produces cultural and political parody every month. For the next issue, however, the gang has recruited some very special help.

“Why George W. Bush Is in Favor of Global Warming,” a two-page spread that the magazine calls an expos�, has been illustrated by 10 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonists. They try to offer reasons why environmental apocalypse might be a good thing for President Bush, with observations like, “His worries about how future generations will remember his presidency won’t matter if there are no future generations.”"

Strike May End Soon, but Writers May Confront a Hostile Hollywood - New York Times

Strike May End Soon, but Writers May Confront a Hostile Hollywood - New York Times: "As movie and television writers deliberate whether to end a strike that is about to enter its fourth month, they will also have to grapple with a sober realization: the work world to which they return may be even less friendly than the one they left behind."

A Severed Car Grille? It’s Super Bowl Ad Time - New York Times

A Severed Car Grille? It’s Super Bowl Ad Time - New York Times: "Many commercials that appeared during Super Bowl XLII took a satiric tack, spoofing movies, television shows, video clips, celebrity misbehavior and more. A typical though entertaining cast of characters — animals, babies, pop stars — all made their appearances, lending a lighthearted spirit to the annual festivities.

For the most part, it worked. The tone was a welcome contrast to the angry, off-putting tenor of too many spots in last year’s Super Bowl, which were filled with crude and cartoonish violence. Although some sponsors decided to play it straight — with decidedly mixed results — the pervasive atmosphere was one of good-natured humor, of a type that seemed to elevate the night’s proceedings."

Jay Leno's art of late-show maintenance, sans writers - New York Times

Jay Leno - Late Shows - Television - Column - New York Times: "Jay Leno has no access to his regular team of 19 writers and must rely on a lineup of guests that seems more appropriate to a daytime cable talk show. Yet after a hiatus forced by the Hollywood writers’ strike, he has maintained his customary position atop the ratings in late-night television.

And he’s winning even though his main competitor, David Letterman, was widely thought to have an advantage: a deal with the Writers Guild of America that brought his writers back and allowed him to book A-list Hollywood guests."

All You Need Is Hate - Stanley Fish New York Times Blog

All You Need Is Hate - Stanley Fish - Think Again - Opinion - New York Times Blog: "I have been thinking about writing this column for some time, but I have hesitated because of a fear that it would advance the agenda that is its target. That is the agenda of Hillary Clinton-hating."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love - Nick Kristof in New York Times

Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love - Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: "At a New York or Los Angeles cocktail party, few would dare make a pejorative comment about Barack Obama’s race or Hillary Clinton’s sex. Yet it would be easy to get away with deriding Mike Huckabee’s religious faith.

Liberals believe deeply in tolerance and over the last century have led the battles against prejudices of all kinds, but we have a blind spot about Christian evangelicals. They constitute one of the few minorities that, on the American coasts or university campuses, it remains fashionable to mock.

Scorning people for their faith is intrinsically repugnant, and in this case it also betrays a profound misunderstanding of how far evangelicals have moved over the last decade. Today, conservative Christian churches do superb work on poverty, AIDS, sex trafficking, climate change, prison abuses, malaria and genocide in Darfur."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Deal to End Hollywood Writers’ Strike May Be Near - New York Times

Deal to End Hollywood Writers’ Strike May Be Near - New York Times: "nformal talks between representatives of Hollywood’s striking writers and production companies have eliminated the major roadblocks to a new contract, which could lead to a tentative agreement as early as next week, according to people who were briefed on the situation but requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak."

To hell and back - Dateline NBC-

To hell and back - Dateline NBC- "Carlton Pearson says something amazing happened: God gave him an inspiring message. He wanted to share it with everyone. And as Keith Morrison tells us, that’s when the trouble started..."

Just caught this documentary on MSNBC, and it's incredible. God bless Carlton Pearson.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Hulu to Stream Super Bowl Ads After Game - TVWeek - News

Hulu to Stream Super Bowl Ads After Game - TVWeek - News: "The NBC- and Fox-owned video site will post all of this Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials immediately following the game, Hulu said.

The commercials will be available in “high-quality streaming video” at after the game ends."

Daniel Menaker to Host Online Books Show - Books - New York Times

Daniel Menaker to Host Online Books Show - Books - New York Times: "Daniel Menaker, who left his post as executive editor in chief of the Random House Publishing Group in June, is moving online in March to be the host of a new Web-based book show.

The show, to be called “Titlepage,” will feature a round-table discussion between Mr. Menaker, 66, a former fiction editor at The New Yorker, and a group of four authors. The first episode will be streamed online at on March 3. The idea is to take advantage of the fact that it’s much easier to post video online than to get a show on television."

DIAL B for BLOG: Secret Origins of Dr. Solar: Man of the Atom


Frozen at Grand Central Great Moments in Egomania: Hitchens vs. Boteach FishbowlNY: "Last night, we journeyed up to the 92nd Street Y to see Christopher Hitchens debate Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the existence of God.

It was the most cringe-inducing thing we've seen in a long time. Hell, it was something straight out of Curb Your Enthusiasm. We watched a clergyman, publicity hound that he may be, get verbally disembowelled by The Hitch."

The Edwards Effect - Paul Krugman in New York Times

The Edwards Effect - Paul Krugman op-ed in New York Times: "Mr. Edwards, far more than is usual in modern politics, ran a campaign based on ideas. And even as his personal quest for the White House faltered, his ideas triumphed: both candidates left standing are, to a large extent, running on the platform Mr. Edwards built.

To understand the extent of the Edwards effect, you have to think about what might have been."

One on One in Debate, Democrats Set Aim at G.O.P. - New York Times

One on One in Debate, Democrats Set Aim at G.O.P. - New York Times: "Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama met for debate here Thursday, sitting side by side and sharing a night of smiles, friendly eye-catching and gentle banter. Cordial as the encounter was, the candidates did not mask their own divisions, even as they previewed the attacks one of them will ultimately make against a Republican rival.

Still, it was almost as if the battle was to see which of them could outnice the other."