Monday, March 31, 2008

Mile-high tower: Saudi prince promises desert spire TWICE as tall as nearest rival being built | the Daily Mail

Mile-high tower: Saudi prince promises desert spire TWICE as tall as nearest rival being built | the Daily Mail: "Plans for a mile-high tower in the Saudi Arabian desert have been unveiled by the billionaire owner of London's Savoy Hotel.

At 5,250ft, the L5billion project, masterminded by two British engineering consultancies, will be twice as high as its nearest rivals, skyscrapers under construction in Dubai and Kuwait, and almost seven times as high as the Canary Wharf tower in London's Docklands."

Explore The Spirit: Mourning the Purge of Comics ... and Celebrating Their Spiritual Rebirth

Explore The Spirit: Mourning the Purge of Comics ... and Celebrating Their Spiritual Rebirth: David Crumm on growing up with comics and David Hajdu's new book, The Ten Cent Plague.

What is the Alliance for Christian Media?

A brief introduction to the organization where I work.

Three Writers are Drawn by the Allure of Comics : NPR

Three Writers are Drawn by the Allure of Comics : NPR: "As comic books — or, in more highbrow parlance, graphic novelizations — nudge their way onto the shelves of bookstores and the pages of literary magazines, some well-known writers are trying their hand at the genre. Pop-culture icon Joss Whedon, best-selling novelist Jodi Picoult and rapper Percy Carey are among those feeling the lure of comics."

BBC: Oldest recorded voices sing again

BBC NEWS | Technology | Oldest recorded voices sing again: "An 'ethereal' 10 second clip of a woman singing a French folk song has been played for the first time in 150 years.

The recording of 'Au Clair de la Lune', recorded in 1860, is thought to be the oldest known recorded human voice.

A phonograph of Thomas Edison singing a children's song in 1877 was previously thought to be the oldest record.

The new 'phonautograph', created by etching soot-covered paper, has now been played by US scientists using a 'virtual stylus' to read the lines.

'When I first heard the recording as you hear it ... it was magical, so ethereal,' audio historian David Giovannoni, who found the recording, told AP."

Citizen Huff: The success of Ariana's Huffington Post - New York Times

Citizen Huff - New York Times: "When Ms. Huffington, the 57-year-old author and former conservative pundit, announced her plans for The Huffington Post three years ago, many critics dismissed the idea as a digital dinner party for her new liberal friends. But it has grown in ways that few, except perhaps Ms. Huffington herself, expected.

In February, The Huffington Post drew 3.7 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen Online, for the first time beating out The Drudge Report, the conservative tip sheet with which The Post is often compared."

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican | Top News | Reuters

Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican | Top News | Reuters: "Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday.

Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican's newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 percent."

Ruling Gives Heirs a Share of Superman Copyright - New York Times

Ruling Gives Heirs a Share of Superman Copyright - New York Times: "Time Warner is no longer the sole proprietor of Superman.

A federal judge here on Wednesday ruled that the heirs of Jerome Siegel — who 70 years ago sold the rights to the action hero he created with Joseph Shuster to Detective Comics for $130 — were entitled to claim a share of the United States copyright to the character. The ruling left intact Time Warner’s international rights to the character, which it has long owned through its DC Comics unit.

And it reserved for trial questions over how much the company may owe the Siegel heirs for use of the character since 1999, when their ownership is deemed to have been restored. Also to be resolved is whether the heirs are entitled to payments directly from Time Warner’s film unit, Warner Brothers, which took in $200 million at the domestic box office with “Superman Returns” in 2006, or only from the DC unit’s Superman profits.

Still, the ruling threatened to complicate Warner’s plans to make more films featuring Superman, including another sequel and a planned movie based on the DC Comics’ “Justice League of America,” in which he joins Batman, Wonder Woman and other superheroes to battle evildoers."

Dave Stevens, 52, Artist Who Created the Rocketeer, Dies - New York Times

Dave Stevens, 52, Artist Who Created the Rocketeer, Dies - New York Times: "Dave Stevens, the comic book artist and commercial illustrator who created the hero the Rocketeer and was famous for his ’50s-pinup-style renderings of women, died in Turlock, Calif., on March 10. He was 52."

NYT on Mad Mag's Al Jaffee

Al Jaffee - Mad magazine - Comics - Art - New York Times: "THIS was going to be a simple artist-at-work article about Al Jaffee, a man who could lay claim to being the world’s oldest adolescent and who just now is enjoying a fresh burst of public and professional recognition. The idea was to look in on him as he created the latest installment of a feature he has been drawing for Mad magazine since, incredibly, 1964.

But because that feature is the Mad Fold-In, which embeds a hidden joke within a seemingly straightforward illustration, it should come as no surprise that the simple article ended up being not so simple after all. There were times when Mr. Jaffee, who faced a serious health scare over the last few weeks, thought it might be something closer to a eulogy."

Check out the interactive feature!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Taking a few days off... do some writing. Have a great week.
Pete Google in fresh WiFi access push / Companies / Media & internet - Google in fresh WiFi access push: "Google on Monday opened a new front in its lobbying campaign in Washington to try to pry open more access to the airwaves for wireless internet use.

The latest effort could lead to what the internet giant called “WiFi 2.0,” an informal, loosely regulated and low-cost wireless broadband network with “data rates in the gigabits-per-second”."

Orbitcast: DOJ approves Sirius-XM merger -

BREAKING: DOJ approves Sirius-XM merger - "The United States Department of Justice today approved the merger between Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., stating that the evidence does not establish that the combination of the two would 'substantially reduce competition.'"

One down, now how about the FCC?

World Famous Comics: Stan Lee's new political fumetti book

World Famous Comics - Bill Baker: An interview with Stan the Man on his new fumetti book... Chabon gets Hugo nomination GalleyCat: "Last month, Michael Chabon became the second author nominated for an Edgar and a Nebula for the same novel (following Jeffrey Ford's The Girl in the Glass), which goes to show that the Mystery Writers of America and Science Fiction Writers of America know a good thing when they see it. But now The Yiddish Policemen's Union has become the first novel nominated for the Nebula, the Edgar, and the Hugo, science fiction's other major prize. So if you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?

Well, okay, fine, if you're waiting for the trade paperback in May, that's understandable. After that, though, you have no excuses."

Arianna Bests Drudge?

Arianna Bests Drudge? | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD: "In February, for the first time ever, Arianna Huffington’s liberal political mega-blog and news site, the Huffington Post, has apparently surpassed the longtime mighty blog leader, Matt Drudge of the conservative/populist-leaning Drudge Report, according to recent traffic data reports from both comScore (SCOR) and Nielsen Online."

YouTube Reveals Video Award Winners - TVWeek - News

YouTube Reveals Video Award Winners - TVWeek - News: "A Rubik's cube whiz, a wildebeest and a laughing baby took home category honors at the second annual YouTube Video Awards, the company announced Friday. The video-sharing Web site created the awards, which recognize achievements in user-generated content, after it was acquired by Google in 2006."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

U.S. death toll in Iraq hits 4,000 - Conflict in Iraq-

U.S. death toll in Iraq hits 4,000 - Conflict in Iraq- "Four U.S. soldiers were killed by a bomb blast in southern Baghdad late Sunday, raising the death toll for American forces since start of the war to 4,000, according to the Pentagon.

The grim milestone was reached less than a week after the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion to topple former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and coincided with a spate of violence across Iraq on Sunday that left at least 61 people dead."

Haunting Obama’s Dreams - Mo Dowd in New York Times

Haunting Obama’s Dreams - Mo Dowd in New York Times: "It is a tribute to Hillary Clinton that even though, rationally, political soothsayers think she can no longer win, irrationally, they wonder how she will pull it off.

It’s impossible to imagine The Terminator, as a former aide calls her, giving up. Unless every circuit is out, she’ll regenerate enough to claw her way out of the grave, crawl through the Rezko Memorial Lawn and up Obama’s wall, hurl her torso into the house and brutally haunt his dreams.

“It’s like one of those movies where you think you know the end, but then you watch with your fingers over your eyes,” said one leading Democrat."

The Republican Resurrection - Frank Rich in New York Times

The Republican Resurrection - Frank Rich in New York Times: For Republicans, the prospect of marathon Democratic trench warfare is an Easter miracle.

Obama Talk Fuels Easter Sermons - New York Times

Obama Talk Fuels Easter Sermons - New York Times: "This Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the Christian calendar, many pastors will start their sermons about the Resurrection of Jesus and weave in a pointed message about racism and bigotry, and the need to rise above them."

The story quotes--and pictures, twice--the Rev. Dr. Ken Samuel, pastor of Victory UCC in Stone Mountain, GA, who has preached three times on "Day1."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

DIAL B for BLOG: The story of Son-o-God Comics

DIAL B for BLOG - THE WORLD'S GREATEST COMIC BLOGAZINE: "Debuting in National Lampoon #22 (pictured right), SON O' GOD was created by Michael Choquette, Sean Kelly and Neal Adams. Here's how it happened, according to 'A Futile and Stupid Gesture':

National Lampoon's Michael Choquette and Sean Kelly had long discussed creating a WASP superhero who fights Catholicism. Deciding to do it as a comic, they invented Son O’ God as a buff, caped, haloed Jesus (wearing a gold “JC” belt) who Clark Kent is a nebbishy Brooklynite (thirty-year old Benny David) who still lives with his overbearing parents.

Dedicated to the virtues of peace and love, Son O’ God sets out to defeat the villain Antichrist and his evil army of religious fanatics. The image Choquette and Kelly had in mind for the Antichrist was the Pope himself."

Check it out. And happy Easter to you!

Mayhem At Fox News: Anchor Walks Off Set, Wallace Rails Network For "Obama-Bashing" - Media on The Huffington Post

Mayhem At Fox News: Anchor Walks Off Set, Wallace Rails Network For "Obama-Bashing" - Media on The Huffington Post: "Fox News' very own anchors are speaking out — and walking off — over what they perceive to be 'Obama-bashing' on their network.

This morning on 'Fox and Friends,' Brian Kilmeade walked off the set after a dispute with his co-hosts Gretchen Carlson (she who celebrates deadly floods) and Steve Doocy over Obama's comment that his grandmother is a 'typical white person.' Kilmeade argued that the remark needed to be taken in context and eventually got so fed up with his co-hosts that he walked off set.

Later, 'Fox News Sunday' host Chris Wallace came on the show and railed against 'Fox and Friends' for what he called 'Obama-bashing.'"

Clips at HuffPo.

Baptist college wins ruling to use Bible to oust teacher |

Baptist college wins ruling to use Bible to oust teacher | "Leaders of a prominent Southern Baptist seminary who believe women are biblically forbidden from teaching men were within their rights when they told a female professor to leave, a federal judge has ruled.

Sheri Klouda was the only female professor teaching at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's School of Theology when officials decided not to renew her contract in 2006. Klouda claimed seminary officials breached an oral contract guaranteeing she would remain employed if her performance was favorable.

Seminary officials maintain Klouda was not dismissed but was told she would not be granted tenure. They said their actions were based on ecclesiastical decisions protected under the First Amendment's religion clauses.

U.S. District Judge John McBryde agreed, dismissing Klouda's claims Wednesday."

Jesus wept.

A Catered Affair - Gail Collins in New York Times

A Catered Affair - Gail Collins op-ed in New York Times: "Lately, with New York awash in sex scandals, I’ve been thinking that this stuff is not as much fun as it used to be. After a while, you’d really rather get back to discussing highway construction.

Sure, the Eliot Spitzer thing had its moments. But Spitzer had hardly gotten out the door when his successor, David Paterson, was confessing adultery to the New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez. The swearing-in party was still going while Paterson was coming clean.

The next day, Paterson called his first press conference as governor, in which he re-acknowledged his sexual sins with his wife, Michelle, by his side. That part was really disheartening. I thought that during the recent Spitzer unpleasantness we all came together as a nation and agreed that there should be no more bringing of wives to humiliating sex press conferences."

The Fantastic One -

The Fantastic One - washingtonpost.comGlen David Gold, author and comics fan, reviews the Evanier book on King Kirby.

Friday, March 21, 2008

History channel streamlines name, broadens view |

History channel streamlines name, broadens view | "The History Channel is now history.

Make that History. The cable network quietly dropped 'the' and 'channel' from its name recently, claiming History for itself.

'Our brand is, in the media landscape, synonymous with the genre of history, so I don't think it's presumptuous of us to call ourselves History,' said Nancy Dubuc, the network's executive vice president.

That's how many viewers already refer to it, she said. 'Channel' is a drag on efforts to establish the brand in other media, like on the Internet. There were no licensing issues involved in the switch, she said.

The network has even changed its 'H' logo to make it look bolder, less ancient.

Once dubbed 'The Hitler Channel' for all of its World War II documentaries, History has switched to a more 'immersive' style that tries to show rather than tell, she said. Adventure-seeking is in. Sitting in an armchair telling war stories is out."

Okay, I'm going to make a rare comment. This trend really bugs me with cable channels. The History Ch-- I mean History now runs programs like "Ax-men" and "Gangland", sort of reality documentaries. Cartoon Network runs live-action programs. AMC is airing new series. Sci-Fi, are they still airing wrestling or whatever it was? I don't get it. Stick with your niche. At this rate every channel will be like every other channel.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why Don't We Invent It Tomorrow? Michio Kaku interviews for NYT's Paper Cuts

Why Dont We Invent It Tomorrow? - Paper Cuts - Books - New York Times Blog: "For as much time as you’ve probably spent wondering when all the astounding technology that science fiction promises will start showing up at your local Best Buy, Michio Kaku has thought about it even more. In his new book “Physics of the Impossible,” Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a cofounder of string field theory, delves deeply into cutting-edge science to tell us what breakthrough innovations we can expect in our own lifetimes — and which our grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be dreaming about.

This week, Kaku spoke to us about three theoretical technologies that fall within the realm of possibility."

Meet the "Big Dog" robot

It's a defense project...kinda creepy. And amazing.

David Crumm interviews Bart Ehrman on "God's Problem"

Explore The Spirit: Conversation with best-selling author Bart Ehrman on 'God's Problem'Check out this excellent interview.

Obama and Race - Nick Kristof in New York Times

Obama and Race - Nick Kristof in New York Times: "Barack Obama this week gave the best political speech since John Kennedy talked about his Catholicism in Houston in 1960, and it derived power from something most unusual in modern politics: an acknowledgment of complexity, nuance and legitimate grievances on many sides. It was not a sound bite, but a symphony."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

TV Signoff Logo Compilation


Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage - New York Times

Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage - Editorial in New York Times: "We can’t know how effective Mr. Obama’s words will be with those who will not draw the distinctions between faith and politics that he drew, or who will reject his frank talk about race. What is evident, though, is that he not only cleared the air over a particular controversy — he raised the discussion to a higher plane."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008; Apple mulls unlimited music bundle - Apple mulls unlimited music bundle: "Apple is in discussions with the big music companies about a radical new business model that would give customers free access to its entire iTunes music library in exchange for paying a premium for its iPod and iPhone devices.

The “all you can eat” model, a replica of Nokia’s “comes with music” deal with Universal Music last December, could provide the struggling recorded music industry with a much-needed fillip, and drive demand for a new generation of Apple’s hardware.

Charlie Rose Face Plants To Save His MacBook Air

Charlie Rose Face Plants To Save His MacBook Air: "Viewers of the Charlie Rose show tonight were stunned to see the normally composed Rose looking like he’d just been in a bar fight. He has a very bad black eye and a bandage over part of his forehead. I contacted the show’s producers to hear what happened. Earlier today, they said, Rose tripped in a pothole while walking on 59th Street in Manhattan. He was carrying a newly purchased MacBook Air and made a quick (but ultimately flawed) decision while falling: sacrifice the face, protect the computer. “In doing so, he pretty much hit the pavement face first, unfortunately,” they said.

Luckily the MacBook Air survived the fall. “The Macbook Air is fine, he showed us the blood stains on it this morning.”"

Science fiction author Arthur C Clarke dies aged 90 - Times Online

Science fiction author Arthur C Clarke dies aged 90 - Times Online: "Science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died aged 90 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, it was confirmed tonight.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair, died at 1:30 a.m. after suffering breathing problems, aide Rohan De Silva said.

The visionary author of over 100 books, who predicted the existence of satellites, was most famous for his short story 'The Sentinel,' which was expanded into the novel on which Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' was based.

He was also credited with inventing the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality."

Have five years of war achieved anything in Iraq? - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine

Have five years of war achieved anything in Iraq? - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine

Obama Race Speech: Read The Full Text - Politics on The Huffington Post

Obama Race Speech: Read The Full Text - Politics on The Huffington Post

Oscar-winning director Minghella dies - Yahoo! News

Oscar-winning director Minghella dies - Yahoo! News: "Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella, who turned such literary works as 'The English Patient,' 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' and 'Cold Mountain' into acclaimed movies, has died. He was 54."

Disney art to be returned from Japan - New York Times

Disney - Animation - Art - New York Times: "A Japanese university plans to return about 250 pieces of original animation art to the Walt Disney Company that were mislaid in storage after traveling to Japan nearly five decades ago."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spurgeon on Stan Lee: Conversations

Title: Stan Lee: Conversations
Creator: Jeff McLaughlin
Publishing Information: University Press of Mississippi, softcover, 244 pages, 2007, $20
Ordering Numbers: 1578069858 (ISBN10)

This book kind of slipped out last year to almost no press within comics, and despite what seems like a steep price I'd say it's must-read for those interested in comics history. Unlike some other interview collections, Lee was interviewed in a variety of places that range wildly in terms of the subject matter and approach. Perhaps unique among comics interview subjects, Lee's role as a popularizer of Marvel Comics makes his interviews important in ways that other people's aren't. Not only can you read the comics for clues as to Marvel's history, not only can you read them for insight into Lee, and not only can you read them for the astute one-liners which usually sprinkle any historical interview collection (for instance, Lee notes more than 25 years ago that other-media adaptations of Marvel's work have almost no real impact on the publishing projects themselves), you can also use them to trace Lee's efforts to go anywhere he was being paid to go and a few places he wasn't in order to spread the Marvel (and Stan Lee) gospel. In that light, the derision he faced on an early Dick Cavett show (believe me, it's even worse on the tape) becomes just as important as the discussion of 1960s Marvel hirings and firings he has with Roy Thomas in 1998. I'm not sure what I'd make of this book as a purchase, but I know that if it had been available at my high school's library, I would have checked it out for an entire month of study halls, and been much more informed for it.

Obama's Rezko narrative --

Obama';s Rezko narrative -- "U.S. Sen. Barack Obama waited 16 months to attempt the exorcism. But when he finally sat down with the Tribune editorial board Friday, Obama offered a lengthy and, to us, plausible explanation for the presence of now-indicted businessman Tony Rezko in his personal and political lives.

The most remarkable facet of Obama's 92-minute discussion was that, at the outset, he pledged to answer every question the three dozen Tribune journalists crammed into the room would put to him. And he did.

Along the way he confronted the starkest innuendo that has dogged him and his campaign for the presidency: the suggestion that the purchase of an adjacent lot by Rezko's wife subtly subsidized the Obamas' purchase of their home on Chicago's South Side. 'This notion that somehow I got a discount and Rezko overpaid is simply not true ... simply, factually, incorrect,' Obama said Friday, adding that he didn't need any intervention from Rezko to grease the purchase of the house."

Kristol now says "I regret the error" about Obama - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth

Kristol now says 'I regret the error' about Obama - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "Kristol should regret the error. Kristol should never have made the error in the first place:
In this column, I cite a report that Sen. Obama had attended services at Trinity Church on July 22, 2007. The Obama camapaign has provided information showing that Senator Obama did not attend Trinity that day. I regret the error.

Has Kristol learned that the right wing site, NewsMax, might not be a reliable source? Has the NY Times learned that Kristol isn't reliable?"

CJR: Rod Parsley's Free Pass

CJR: Rod Parsley's Free Pass: "Jeremiah Wright gets torched, while McCain’s “spiritual adviser” offends with impunity..."

Explore The Spirit: St. Patrick's various "Breastplates" ...

Explore The Spirit: St. Patrick's various 'Breastplates' ... In honor of St. Patrick's Day, check out the various versions of St. Patty's famous prayer...

TVBizWire - Marvel presells movie cable rights to FX

TVBizWire - TVWeek: "Marvel Studios presold cable rights of “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man” and three other yet-to-be determined series to FX, Daily Variety reports. Under such agreements, cable companies pay license fees equal to about 11% of a movie’s domestic gross for the first $200 million, the newspaper says."

Rachmaninoff had big hands

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Daily Kos: Pastor Dan (in honor of Jeremiah Wright)

Daily Kos: Brothers and sisters (in honor of Jeremiah Wright) by PastorDan: "Honestly, I don't know what's been worse: the ignorant slurs against Jeremiah Wright or the well-intentioned inaccuracies. Some of the latter are understandable. As the national denomination says, Trinity UCC in Chicago is our 'flagship congregation,' yet it is also an anomaly: a black evangelical megachurch in a denomination that is overwhelmingly white, traditional and mostly small.

And while we have a long tradition of social activism, we're not even as liberal as some folks would have you believe. Like most mainline denominations, we're only modestly more Democratic than Republican, and only recently so. (Which makes us moderates, not conservatives, but drifting to the left.)

In any event, we're not all radical fire-breathers like Jeremiah Wright, but we do take a familial protectiveness toward him. Even when we can't live up to the preaching of the prophets, we pride ourselves in being goaded by the best."

Soft Shoe in Hard Times - Mo Dowd in the New York Times

Soft Shoe in Hard Times - Maureen Dowd op-ed in New York Times: "Everyone here is flummoxed about why the president is in such a fine mood.

The dollar’s crumpling, the recession’s thundering, the Dow’s bungee-jumping and the world’s disapproving, yet George Bush has turned into Gene Kelly, tap dancing and singing in a one-man review called “The Most Happy Fella.”"

The Intelligence Cover-Up - Editorial in New York Times

The Intelligence Cover-Up - Editorial in New York Times: "For more than two years now, Congress, the news media, current and former national security officials, think tanks and academic institutions have been engaged in a profound debate over how to modernize the law governing electronic spying to keep pace with technology. We keep hoping President Bush will join in.

Instead, the president offers propaganda intended to scare Americans, expand his powers, and erode civil liberties — and to ensure that no one is held to account for the illegal wiretapping he ordered after 9/11."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Barack Obama: On My Faith and My Church - Politics on The Huffington Post

Barack Obama: On My Faith and My Church - Politics on The Huffington Post: "Because these particular statements by Rev. Wright are so contrary to my own life and beliefs, a number of people have legitimately raised questions about the nature of my relationship with Rev. Wright and my membership in the church. Let me therefore provide some context."

George Speaks, Badly - Gail Collins in New York Times

George Speaks, Badly - New York Times: "The country that elected George Bush — sort of — because he seemed like he’d be more fun to have a beer with than Al Gore or John Kerry is really getting its comeuppance. Our credit markets are foundering, and all we’ve got is a guy who looks like he’s ready to kick back and start the weekend."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why We’re Liberals - Eric Alterman - Book Review - New York Times

Why We’re Liberals - Eric Alterman - Book Review - New York Times: Eric Alterman sets out to reclaim the term “liberal” with a set of rebuttals to the conservative commentariat.

Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana - Anne Rice - Book Review - New York Times

Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana - Anne Rice - Book Review - New York Times: Anne Rice's second novel narrated by Jesus of Nazareth, now over 30, perches on the brink of blasphemy. But it succeeds in treating his humanity as an essential part of his divinity.

BBC: 'Pre-Inca' temple found in Peru

BBC NEWS | Americas | 'Pre-Inca' temple found in Peru: "Archaeologists in Peru have discovered ancient temple ruins that could predate the Inca empire.

The temple on the periphery of the Sacsayhuaman fortress includes 11 rooms thought to have held mummies and idols."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

After Winning the Format War, Blu-ray’s Future Looks Bright - New York Times

After Winning the Format War, Blu-ray’s Future Looks Bright - New York Times: The player is in line for price cuts and tempting new features.

Newsarama: Dynamite takes on Buck Rogers

DYNAMITE LANDS BUCK ROGERS LICENSE - NEWSARAMA: Yet another cool old franchise for Dynamite comics.

"The Incredible Hulk" Trailer online

The Incredible Hulk | Our Newest Trailers: MTV: "Edward Norton smashes his way through city streets in the action-packed exclusive trailer for the upcoming superhero flick."

Pew Study: Awareness of Iraq War Fatalities Plummets

Summary of Findings: Awareness of Iraq War Fatalities Plummets: "Public awareness of the number of American military fatalities in Iraq has declined sharply since last August. Today, just 28% of adults are able to say that approximately 4,000 Americans have died in the Iraq war. As of March 10, the Department of Defense had confirmed the deaths of 3,974 U.S. military personnel in Iraq."

Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam - New York Times

Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam - New York Times: "In a widely cited report published last November, a research firm projected that user demand for the Internet could outpace network capacity by 2011. The title of a debate scheduled next month at a technology conference in Boston sums up the angst: “The End of the Internet?”"

Episcopal Church Votes to Oust Bishop Who Seceded - New York Times

Episcopal Church Votes to Oust Bishop Who Seceded - New York Times: "The Episcopal Church moved to remove the bishop of the San Joaquin Diocese in California on Wednesday, in reaction to the diocese’s unprecedented decision late last year to secede from the church over theological issues.

The bishop, John-David Schofield, is the first bishop to face such action as a result of the disputes over the church’s stance on homosexuality."

Priest-Cosmologist Wins $1.6 Million Templeton Prize - New York Times

Priest-Cosmologist Wins $1.6 Million Templeton Prize - New York Times: "The $1.6 million Templeton Prize, the richest award made to an individual by a philanthropic organization, was given Wednesday to Michael Heller, 72, a Roman Catholic priest, cosmologist and philosopher who has spent his life asking, and perhaps more impressively answering, questions like “Does the universe need to have a cause?”"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ways of the Wayward - MoDowd in New York Times

Ways of the Wayward - Maureen Dowd op-ed in New York Times: "Just when I thought my head would explode from trying to figure out delegate math, I’m hit with call-girl math."

A Fond Look at John Lennon's 'Lost Weekend' - New York Times

May Pang - Instamatic Karma - Books - Beatles - John Lennon - New York Times:

If there’s one thing that May Pang has been fighting for the last 28 years, it’s the idea that John Lennon was depressed, isolated and out of control during the 18 months she lived with him, from the summer of 1973 to early 1975, when he reconciled with his second wife, Yoko Ono.

Lennon himself fostered that notion by referring to the time as his “Lost Weekend” in interviews he gave in 1980, when he released “Double Fantasy,” a joint album with Ms. Ono that was his return to music-making after five years’ silence. And lurid, oft-repeated tales of a drunken Lennon’s being evicted from the Troubadour, a nightclub in Los Angeles, seemed to support that image.

But to Ms. Pang, now 57, the “Lost Weekend” was a remarkably productive time, during which Lennon completed three albums — “Mind Games,” “Walls and Bridges” and “Rock ’n’ Roll” — produced albums for Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson, and recorded with David Bowie, Elton John and Mick Jagger. And having already detailed these experiences (along with the Troubadour expulsions and other dark moments) in “Loving John,” her 1983 memoir, Ms. Pang has returned with the photographic evidence.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Interview: Mark Evanier on 'Kirby: King of Comics' - ComicMix news

Interview: Mark Evanier on 'Kirby: King of Comics' - ComicMix news

NYT reviews The Ten-Cent Plague

The Ten-Cent Plague - Comics - Books - Review - New York Times: "As the comics’ most defensible and durable creations, the superheroes generated mimicry in unlikely quarters. Those who began noticing the comics’ gleeful licentiousness acquired their own version of superpowers. Of one schoolboy who led a book-burning, anti-comics protest, Mr. Hajdu writes, “Hawley and his fellow crusaders so embraced superhero comics’ ethos of eradicating evil that they employed it against other comics.” And it worked, partly because the comics’ creators were too giddy with success to realize what trouble they were inciting."

Testing Over, to Open Its TV and Film Offerings This Week - New York Times

Testing Over, to Open Its TV and Film Offerings This Week - New York Times: ", the long-gestating Internet joint venture between NBC Universal and Fox, emerges from limited testing on Wednesday to make its catalog of TV shows and video clips available to anyone on the Web."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Improv Everywhere: Food court musical

Improv Everywhere: "For our latest mission, 16 agents staged a spontaneous musical in the food court of a Los Angeles shopping mall. We used wireless microphones to amplify the vocal performances and mix them together with the music through the mall’s PA system. We filmed the mission with hidden cameras, mostly behind two-way mirrors. Apart from our performers, no one in the food court was aware of what was happening. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our report below."

CBR: Lying in the Gutters: Can Stan Lee Take Down a Presidential Candidate

Comic Book Resources - Rich Johnston: Rick reviews the sordid past involving Peter Paul, Hillary Clinton, and unfortunately, Stan Lee. Is this gonna be trouble?

DIAL B for BLOG: Origins of Tarzan

DIAL B for BLOG takes a fascinating look at the history of Tarzan in the comics.

David Gregory Headlines New Show in Tucker's Timeslot - HuffPo

David Gregory Headlines New Show in Tucker's Timeslot - Media on The Huffington Post: "MSNBC announced a slate of changes this afternoon, leading with their new election-themed show: 'Race For The White House' with David Gregory. The NBC White House correspondent has been a utility player at NBC/MSNBC for some time, regularly stepping in as a guest host — and demonstrating his range — on the 'Today Show' and 'Meet The Press.' Gregory also took over the timeslot left vacant by Don Imus last April, temporarily stepping in to the breach before the network began trying out different hosts in that timeslot. The show will premiere on March 17th.

Also, 'Live with Dan Abrams' is officially undergoing a name change to 'Verdict with Dan Abrams,' which will also launch on March 17th. The name change has been in the works for some time but had been on hold during the heated political primary run."

Medill Reports: Turning the page on political cartoons

Medill Reports: Turning the page on political cartoons: "“Newspapers are getting rid of cartoonists at an alarming rate. They’re trying to make themselves as irrelevant to readers as possible,” said Milt Priggee, former cartoonist for Crain’s Chicago Business. “The first thing a human being recognizes is visuals. Children can recognize images before they can read the written word. The very first person you should be hiring when you start a newspaper is a cartoonist.”

According to Kent Worcester in a 2007 article by the American Political Science Association, “the waning of two-newspaper cities, the consolidation of the newspaper industry, and outsourcing in the form of substituting syndicated material for staff-generated material” are all to blame.

The result has been a drastic cut in staff cartoonist jobs, from 2,000 in the early 20th century, to nearly 200 in the 1980’s, to less than 90 today."

Giving the Outsiders a Say on Movies - New York Times

Giving the Outsiders a Say on Movies - New York Times: "Film enthusiasts vote at the box office on which movies succeed or fail. The idea behind a new Web site,, is to give them a vote on which films are made in the first place, along with some say in the script and the casting."

Serving Up Television Without the TV Set - New York Times

Serving Up Television Without the TV Set - New York Times: "A study in October by Nielsen Media Research found that one in four Internet users had streamed full-length television episodes online in the last three months, including 39 percent of people ages 18 to 34 and, more surprisingly, 23 percent of those 35 to 54.

“I think what we’re seeing right now is a great cultural shift of how this country watches television,” said Seth MacFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy,” a Fox animated comedy that ranks among the most popular online shows. “Forty years ago, new technology changed what people watched on TV as it migrated to color. Now new technology is changing where people watch TV, literally omitting the actual television set.”"

Southern Baptists Back a Shift on Climate Change - New York Times

Southern Baptists Back a Shift on Climate Change - New York Times: "Signaling a significant departure from the Southern Baptist Convention’s official stance on global warming, 44 Southern Baptist leaders have decided to back a declaration calling for more action on climate change, saying its previous position on the issue was “too timid.”"

One issue down, how many to go?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

TVNewser: Tucker axed at MSNBC TVNewser: "Insiders tell TVNewser Tucker Carlson's 6pmET show Tucker is getting the axe, but Carlson stays on as a political contributor to all MSNBC shows at least through the 2008 election. The official announcement, expected tomorrow, will include details about who will replace Tucker at 6pmET as well as other political programming additions. Sources say the network is going to beef up its schedule with more NBC News talent."

Batman's Burden: A Director Confronts Darkness and Death - New York Times

The Dark Knight - Movies - New York Times: With “The Dark Knight,” Christopher Nolan, the film’s director, hopes his vision of Batman can maintain its hold on the imaginations of comic fans and critics.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

And the Good News Is ... Gail Collins in New York Times

And the Good News Is ... Gail Collins in the New York Times: "We live in a great country. Despite all our problems, this is still a nation where parents believe that if their child works hard and plays by the rules, some day he or she may grow up to be a superdelegate."

A nice look at what's ahead in Democratic politics.

A Lineup of Recent Literary Fakers - Books - New York Times

A Lineup of Recent Literary Fakers - Books - New York Times: "When the news emerged this week that Margaret Seltzer had fabricated her gang memoir, “Love and Consequences,” under the pseudonym Margaret B. Jones, many in the publishing industry and beyond thought: Here we go again.

The most immediate examples that came to mind were, of course, James Frey, the author of the best-selling “Million Little Pieces,” in which he embellished details of his experiences as a drug addict, and J T LeRoy, the novelist thought to be a young West Virginia male prostitute who was actually the fictive alter ego of Laura Albert, a woman now living in San Francisco.

But the history of literary fakers stretches far, far back, at least to the 19th century...

Here follows a lineup of some of the past few decades’ most notorious fakes, with proof that in some cases, there are second acts in American lives."

Friday, March 07, 2008

Marvel is on a mission - Los Angeles Times

Marvel is on a mission - Los Angeles Times: "The new studio, with superheroes on its side, seeks to conquer Hollywood. First up: Iron Man."

For Dave Clark Five, the accolades finally arrive -

For Dave Clark Five, the accolades finally arrive - "A month after The Beatles kicked off their historic three-episode blitz on The Ed Sullivan Show, a second British Invasion act stepped into that coveted spotlight. The Rolling Stones? The Who? Try the Dave Clark Five, the upbeat, drum-centric rock quintet that briefly rivaled The Beatles during the mid-'60s.
Wider gaps separate other achievements. The Beatles were ushered into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, the first year they qualified (25 years after their first recording). The DC5 was kept waiting another two decades. The band, which stalled in the 2006 and 2007 semifinals, finally will be inducted Monday by longtime admirer Tom Hanks at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tech Support Gets a Reprieve While Users Take a Hit - New York Times

Tech Support Gets a Reprieve While Users Take a Hit - New York Times: "Several years ago, I had the chance to visit a tech-support call center for one of the big computer companies. The technician gave me a second pair of headphones so I could listen in on his conversations with the hapless users.

I learned so much that day. I learned that all computer companies outsource tech support to dedicated call-center companies. I learned that the Users can be outrageously rude to these hapless tech-support reps, taking out their built-up frustration on somebody who had nothing to do with causing the problem.

And I learned that when they say, 'Your call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes,' that's only partly true. They also record your calls so they can pass around recordings of the funniest ones.

They actually gave me one of those 'Best Of' disks at the end of my day in the call center. Herewith: a few actual calls from that disk or that I heard about from the agents themselves."

'Doonesbury' Comic Taking a 12-Week Break Starting This Month

'Doonesbury' Comic Taking a 12-Week Break Starting This Month: "'Doonesbury' cartoonist Garry Trudeau will be taking a 12-week vacation from his comic, Universal Press Syndicate announced this afternoon.

'It has been 16 years since Garry Trudeau took an extended leave from 'Doonesbury,'' said Universal President Lee Salem in a statement. 'He has requested another break -- well-deserved in my mind -- to work on other projects, travel, and regenerate a few creative cells.'

Salem added that the break will last from Sunday, March 23, to Monday, June 16, and that Trudeau 'looks forward to resuming the strip before the two major political conventions and the general election.'"

Doc Savage is 75 years old

The original Superman: "Doc Savage, who turns 75 this month, helped inspire action heroes as diverse as Batman, Mr. Spock and Indiana Jones..."

Washington Times (!?) interviews Anne Lamott

Growing into grace - The Washington Times: "Question: This is your third book on faith. How did you choose these particular stories for inclusion?

Answer: They were really just the next batch that came along organically. I love being a little bit older. I really do think you grow up as you go. In 'Grace,' I am kind of dealing with the reality of who I am now and that I am probably not going to be too much different than this. And how I can be more graceful about handling the things I don't get."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Duel of Historical Guilts - Mo Dowd in New York Times

Duel of Historical Guilts - New York Times: People will have to choose which of America’s sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first. Is misogyny worse than racism, or is racism worse than misogyny?

"Exit polls have showed that fans of Hillary — who once said they would be happy with Obama if Hillary dropped out — were hardening in their opposition to him, while Obama voters were not so harsh about her."

Fallout From a Literary Fraud - Love and Consequences - Margaret Seltzer - Margaret B. Jones - New York Times

Fallout From a Literary Fraud - Love and Consequences - Margaret Seltzer - Margaret B. Jones - New York Times: "Geoffrey Kloske, publisher of Riverhead Books, the unit of Penguin Group USA that released the book, by Margaret Seltzer, under a pseudonym, Margaret B. Jones, said on Tuesday that there was nothing else that he or Sarah McGrath, the book’s editor, could have done to prevent the author from lying.

“In hindsight we can second-guess all day things we could have looked for or found,” Mr. Kloske said. “The fact is that the author went to extraordinary lengths: she provided people who acted as her foster siblings. There was a professor who vouched for her work, and a writer who had written about her that seemed to corroborate her story.” He added that Ms. Seltzer had signed a contract in which she had legally promised to tell the truth. “The one thing we wish,” Mr. Kloske said, “is that the author had told us the truth.”"

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Reading Steve Jobs - New York Times Bits Blog

Reading Steve Jobs - Bits - Technology - New York Times Blog: "At Macworld Mr. Jobs told me he was skeptical about the Amazon Kindle book reader because most Americans don’t read. That touched off a firestorm of criticism and speculation. My favorite bit of analysis was that this must mean he is readying his own book reader. A familiar Jobsian strategy is to denigrate an entire category — he did this with cellphones, for example — before reinventing it with Apple panache.

So if he were going to reinvent reading, how would Mr. Jobs do it?

Let’s put together the pieces of the puzzle..."

Audio: Cape Crusader: New Yorker talks with Chabon

Audio: Cape Crusader: Online Only: The New Yorker: "This week in the magazine, Michael Chabon writes about what superheroes should wear. Here Chabon talks about the difficulties of dressing superheroes off the comic-book page, writing about clothes, and turning books into movies."

MinnPost - Comics collector donates collection to UMinn

MinnPost - Comics: "John and Judy Borger talk about John's decades-long fascination with comics and the decision to donate the collection to the University of Minnesota."

Classic Television Showbiz: The Mike Wallace Interview: Rod Serling (1959)

Classic Television Showbiz: The Mike Wallace Interview: Rod Serling (1959)

New Yorker: Chabon on superheroes

Reflections: Secret Skin: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

Monday, March 03, 2008

If Saul Bass did the titles for Star Wars

If Saul Bass did the titles for Star Wars - Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog

And check out the link to some REAL Saul Bass opening credits videos!

Where have all the superheroes gone? - The Denver Post

Where have all the superheroes gone? - The Denver Post: "In a world crawling with merciless terrorists, corrupt politicians and sociopath hedge-fund managers, we need a fictional hero to save us.
Or are we so unsure of ourselves, so morally conflicted, that we can't even win in fantasy?"

The Charms of Wikipedia - Nicholson Baker in The New York Review of Books

The Charms of Wikipedia - The New York Review of Books: "Wikipedia is just an incredible thing. It's fact-encirclingly huge, and it's idiosyncratic, careful, messy, funny, shocking, and full of simmering controversies—and it's free, and it's fast. In a few seconds you can look up, for instance, 'Diogenes of Sinope,' or 'turnip,' or 'Crazy Eddie,' or 'Bagoas,' or 'quadratic formula,' or 'Bristol Beaufighter,' or 'squeegee,' or 'Sanford B. Dole,' and you'll have knowledge you didn't have before. It's like some vast aerial city with people walking briskly to and fro on catwalks, carrying picnic baskets full of nutritious snacks.

More people use Wikipedia than Amazon or eBay—in fact it's up there in the top-ten Alexa rankings with those moneyed funhouses MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube. Why? Because it has 2.2 million articles, and because it's very often the first hit in a Google search, and because it just feels good to find something there—even, or especially, when the article you find is maybe a little clumsily written. Any inelegance, or typo, or relic of vandalism reminds you that this gigantic encyclopedia isn't a commercial product. There are no banners for E*Trade or, no side sprinklings of AdSense."

From The New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig - New York Times

From The New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig - Cartoons - Books - New York Times: William Steig, the New Yorker cartoonist and illustrator, had an astonishing career writing children’s books.

SNL writer narrows the gap between politics and farce - New York Times

James Downey - SNL - Television - New York Times: In a “Saturday Night Live” career that has spanned 27 seasons over 32 years, James Downey has written much of the show’s most enduring political comedy.

Frank Rich: McCain Channels His Inner Hillary - New York Times

McCain Channels His Inner Hillary - New York Times - Frank Rich op-ed: Whatever John McCain’s sporadic overlap with liberals, he is emulating almost identically the suicidal Clinton campaign against Barack Obama.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Georgia Writers Association Reviews Living Loved

Georgia Writers Association Reviews Living Loved

Saturday, March 01, 2008

'Political Brain' author says Obama struck emotional chord |

'Political Brain' author says Obama struck emotional chord | "Tuesday is shaping up to be a potentially decisive day for the Democratic race for the White House. If Sen. Hillary Clinton isn't able to win in the closely contested Ohio or Texas primaries, her bid for the presidency may be over. This reflects a tremendous change of voter opinion from a month ago, when she boasted of 20-point leads in both states.

How did the race come to this turn? Drew Westen, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University and the head of a political and corporate consulting firm, Westen Strategies, has some ideas.

Westen is the author of 'The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation' (PublicAffairs) —- a look at how politicians succeed or fail in capturing the hearts and minds —- but especially the hearts —- of voters..."

A Nominee? Or a Debacle? - Bob Herbert op-ed in New York Times

A Nominee? Or a Debacle? - New York Times: "When does a dandy fight become an ugly brawl?

For the Democrats, perhaps on Tuesday.

If Barack Obama wins in either Texas or Ohio, the race for the nomination will effectively be over. At that point the Clintons, if they have any regard for the fortunes of the party, will be duty-bound to graciously fold their tents and try to rally their supporters behind a candidate who will be stepping into a firestorm of hostility from the other side.

If Hillary Clinton wins both Texas and Ohio, the Democrats will need a trainload of aspirin and a shrink."

Justice League of America finally coming to movie theaters? - New York Times

Justice League of America - Movies - New York Times: "Do five or so of the greatest superheroes in the universe have the power to make a movie these days? Warner Brothers is struggling to find out.

In a Hollywood upended by labor strife — writers just ended one walkout, while actors are rumbling about another — the studio has been trying to begin production on a film based on the long-running DC Comics series “Justice League of America.”

The series unites Superman and Batman with Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and other extraordinary beings."

New Line Cinema's 40 Years of Reaching Brows High and Low - New York Times

New Line Cinema - A.O. Scott in New York Times: "New Line — which ceased to operate as a full-fledged studio on Thursday, when Time Warner announced that it would be folded into Warner Brothers and Mr. Shaye and Mr. Lynne would depart — will be missed. New Line was not a specialty division or a genre label. It went highbrow and low, sometimes playing for the niches and sometimes for the mass audience. It was an oddity and an anomaly."

Bush Aide Resigns After Admitting Plagiarism - New York Times

Bush Aide Resigns After Admitting Plagiarism - New York Times: "A longtime aide to President Bush who wrote occasional guest columns for his hometown newspaper resigned on Friday evening after admitting that he had repeatedly plagiarized from other writers.

The White House called his actions unacceptable.

The aide, Tim Goeglein, had worked for Mr. Bush since 2001, as a liaison to social and religious conservatives, an important component of the president’s political base. Mr. Goeglein was influential in decisions on a range of questions important to that constituency, including stem cell research, abortion and faith-based initiatives."