Thursday, April 30, 2009

Disney Decides to Dance the Hulu - TVWeek - News

Disney Decides to Dance the Hulu - TVWeek - News: "Disney is hopping on Hulu, closing a deal to become a joint venture partner and equity owner of the online video aggregator.

The deal, which has been expected for several weeks, unites Disney and its TV networks with NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners as joint owners of the site. For consumers, it means a host of major series, including 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Lost,' 'General Hospital' and 'The Secret Life of the American Teenager,' will be available for viewing via Hulu. Disney also will put some of its film library on the site."

AppleInsider | Apple to introduce more affordable Macs, sources say

AppleInsider | Apple to introduce more affordable Macs, sources say: "Determined to grow its share of the personal computer market during the worst economic climate in its corporate history, Apple is tailoring changes to a pair of its offerings that will help drive down prices of some of the most popular Macs, AppleInsider has learned."

The best clips on the web on movie cameos | Film |

The best clips on the web on movie cameos | Film | "Whether it's under the radar or stealing the lead actors' thunder, here's a celebration of the finest examples of the art of the guest appearance"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Much is a (Progressive) Pastor Worth? | Religion & Theology | ReligionDispatches

How Much is a (Progressive) Pastor Worth? | Religion & Theology | ReligionDispatches: "Riverside’s new pastor urged the congregation not to mistake molehills for the business of moving mountains. With that line, things got political real quick. Braxton hit the climax of the sermon, and, channeling the voices of Fosdick and Coffin, he urged his congregants to fight against immigration injustice, fight sexual bigotry, support civil unions and gay marriage, fight against Christian imperialism—and most provocatively, he urged those at Riverside to be on the side of promoting condom use to curb the spread of AIDS in Africa, “unlike other religious leaders.”"

Editorial - One Hundred -

Editorial - One Hundred - "In his first 14 weeks plus two days, President Obama has made a strong start at addressing many of the most critical ones."

U.S. Opens Inquiry Into Google Books Deal -

U.S. Opens Inquiry Into Google Books Deal - "The Justice Department has begun an inquiry into the antitrust implications of Google’s settlement with authors and publishers over its Google Book Search service, two people briefed on the matter said Tuesday.

Lawyers for the Justice Department have been in conversations in recent weeks with various groups opposed to the settlement, including the Internet Archive and Consumer Watchdog. More recently, Justice Department lawyers notified the parties to the settlement, including Google, and representatives for the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild, that they were looking into various antitrust issues related to the far-reaching agreement."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on coping with tough economic times

Episcopal Life Online - OPINION: "How do we cope in tough economic times? How do we nurture an enduring sense of hope in ourselves and in those around us?"

Specter switch puts Dems near unbeatable majority

Specter switch puts Dems near unbeatable majority: "Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched parties Tuesday with a suddenness that stunned the Senate, a moderate's defection that left Democrats one seat shy of a 60-vote filibuster-resistant majority with many of President Barack Obama's key legislative priorities on the horizon.

Specter, 79 and seeking a sixth term in 2010, conceded bluntly that his chances of winning a Pennsylvania Republican primary next year were bleak in a party grown increasingly conservative. But he cast his decision as one of principle, rather than fueled by political ambition as spurned GOP leaders alleged."

Charles Apple - Atlanta Journal-Constitution launches redesign Tuesday

Charles Apple - Atlanta Journal-Constitution launches redesign Tuesday: "Tuesday is D-Day for the redesign of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a project first set in motion in October 2007."

New Look for Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451'

New Look for Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' - 4/27/2009 - Publishers Weekly: "Hailed for its bracing portrait of a future media-addled society victimized by the systematic burning of all books, Ray Bradbury's classic science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 is the perfect work to highlight issues of censorship and the freedom to read. And in August, Farrar, Straus & Giroux's Hill and Wang imprint will republish the book to do just that. The house will publish a comics adaptation of the novel—“a graphic translation”—created by artist Tim Hamilton, overseen by Ray Bradbury himself and supported by an elaborate marketing campaign that will peg the book to the American Library Association's Banned Books Week in September as well as a host of educational, book trade and comics industry events and promotions."

Apple Said to Be in Talks to Sell IPhone for Verizon -

Apple Said to Be in Talks to Sell IPhone for Verizon - "The iPhone may be poised to shake up the cellphone industry a second time.

Apple, the maker of the popular smartphone, is conducting high-level discussions with Verizon Wireless to sell a version of the iPhone that would work on Verizon’s network, according to a person briefed on the negotiations. The phone could be available as soon as next year."

G.M.’s Latest Plan Hinges on Debt Exchange -

G.M.’s Latest Plan Hinges on Debt Exchange - "For all the uncertainty swirling around General Motors, the troubled automaker said Monday that one thing was clear: it must become drastically smaller if it hopes to remain a viable company, regardless of whether it has to file for bankruptcy."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Watching TV online - The Economist

Broadband communication | Down the tubes | The Economist: "Internet television moves from the computer to the living room

IN THE land of free enterprise and the home of discount shopping, there can sometimes be an appalling lack of competition. High-speed access to the internet is one. Cable television is another. The reason is that in America cable-television companies, which provide a lot of the high-speed access, do not want their customers to cancel their contracts and watch television over the internet instead. Yet a growing number of people are poised to do just that."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

`Golden Girls' star Bea Arthur dies at 86 | AccessAtlanta

`Golden Girls' star Bea Arthur dies at 86 | AccessAtlanta: "Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows 'Maude' and 'The Golden Girls' and who won a Tony Award for the musical 'Mame,' died Saturday. She was 86.

Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had cancer, Watt said, declining to give further details."

James Cameron’s Sci-fi Film Is Turning the Heads of Fans -

James Cameron’s Sci-fi Film Is Turning the Heads of Fans - "Eight months before its scheduled release on Dec. 18, Mr. Cameron’s “Avatar,” a science-fiction thriller filmed with his own specially devised 3-D technology, is stirring up a kind of anticipation that until now had been reserved for, say, the Rapture.

That might foretell a hit on the order of Mr. Cameron’s “Titanic,” with $1.8 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

Or it might just be a giant headache for 20th Century Fox, which is backing “Avatar” and will have to spend much of the year managing expectations for a film whose technological wizardry is presumed by more than a few to promise an experiential leap for audiences comparable to that of “The Jazz Singer,” the arrival of Technicolor or an Obama campaign rally."

Tom Bergeron - Does Susan Boyle Know What’s Next? -

Op-Ed Contributor - Does Susan Boyle Know What’s Next? - "SUSAN BOYLE doesn’t know me, but I host “Dancing With the Stars,” the American version of the BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing.” And I’m worried about her. After an incredible performance on “Britain’s Got Talent,” she’s getting millions of hits on YouTube, Larry King is fawning over her like a nervous prom date, and I’m guessing even her cat, Pebbles, has a pending book deal. I’m sure, given her never-been-kissed image, this is all pretty overwhelming. So I just want to offer her some friendly advice.

Run away."

Happy Birthday, Strunk and White! - Room for Debate Blog -

Happy Birthday, Strunk and White! - Room for Debate Blog - "“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White has been released in a 50th anniversary edition. Prized for its focus on clear, concise language, this famous “little book” has been a source of guidance for writers, copy editors and college students for half a century.

But are its rules the be all and end all of writing?"

Friday, April 24, 2009

GM to pull the plug on Pontiac car brand - Apr. 24, 2009

GM to pull the plug on Pontiac car brand - Apr. 24, 2009: "General Motors is preparing to announce that the Pontiac car brand, once marketed as GM's 'Excitement division,' will be killed off, according to a source familiar with the decision."

Book Review - 'God Is Back,' by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge - Review -

Book Review - 'God Is Back,' by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge - Review - "The Americans led the way by becoming both “the quintessentially modern country” and a very devout one, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge write in their new book, “God Is Back,” and most of the world has followed that model. In rich countries and poorer ones, democratic and undemocratic, primarily Islamic and primarily Christian — everywhere, basically, except Europe — devotion to God has remained surprisingly robust.

“The very things that were supposed to destroy religion — democracy and markets, technology and reason — are combining to make it stronger,” write Mickle�thwait, editor in chief of The Economist, and Wooldridge, the magazine’s Washington bureau chief, who together have written previous books about globalization and American conservatism, two �similarly sweeping topics"

Essay - David Foster Wallace’s Kenyon College Address - Great and Terrible Truths -

Essay - David Foster Wallace’s Kenyon College Address - Great and Terrible Truths - "Wallace was often accused, even by his admirers, of having a weakness for what Nabokov once referred to as “the doubtful splendors of virtuosity.” Standing before the graduates of Kenyon College, Wallace opted for a tonal simplicity only occasionally evident in the hedge mazes of his fiction. He spoke about the difficulty of empathy (“Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of”), the importance of being well adjusted (“which I suggest to you is not an accidental term”) and the essential lonesomeness of adult life (“lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation”). Truthful, funny and unflaggingly warm, the address was obviously the work of a wise and very kind man. At the edges, though, there was something else — the faint but unmistakable sense that Wallace had passed through considerable darkness, some of which still clung to him, but here he was, today, having beaten it, having made it through."

Rise of the New Yiddishists |

Rise of the New Yiddishists | "Thirty years ago the American Jewish fiction of Philip Roth and Saul Bellow was all about Yiddish insults, blonde shiksas, and getting away from the past. Today’s talented crop of young Jewish writers, such as Nathan Englander, Michael Chabon, and Dara Horn, are weaving tales bound in a newfound ethnic pride that has revitalized Jewish literature in America."

Olbermann Calls Hannity's Bluff: $1000 For Every Second Of Waterboarding (VIDEO)

Olbermann Calls Hannity's Bluff: $1000 For Every Second Of Waterboarding (VIDEO): "MSNBC's Keith Olbermann announced on Thursday that he is willing to pay $1,000 to charity for every second that Fox News anchor Sean Hannity undergoes waterboarding torture.

As HuffPost noted yesterday, Hannity was prodded by actor Charles Grodin into agreeing to subject himself to waterboarding to benefit a charity for the families of U.S. soldiers.

On MSNBC tonight, Olbermann called on Hannity to stay true to his word, and argued the benefit of having the arch-conservative pundit tortured would be that he might finally recognize the 'deadly seriousness' of the debate over detainee treatment."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Infinite Photograph -- As Seen On Earth -- The Green Guide

Infinite Photograph -- As Seen On Earth -- The Green Guide: "What makes up our world? Dive into this photo-mosaic portrait of the Earth to see it through the eyes of users like you. It's made up of hundreds of photos of the natural world, each submitted by users to My Shot. (Submit a photo) Move the yellow square over an area you would like to explore, click, and go. Double-click on an image to see more information about it. Keep clicking—and diving deeper into the Infinite Photograph—to get a truly boundless picture of Earth."

Hannity Offers To Be Waterboarded For Charity (By Charles Grodin!)

Hannity Offers To Be Waterboarded For Charity (By Charles Grodin!)

Experts: Malicious program targets Macs -

Experts: Malicious program targets Macs - "It seems that as sleek Mac computers become more popular, they're also more sought-after targets for the authors of harmful programs.

'The bad guys generally go toward the biggest target, what will get them the biggest bang for their buck,' said Kevin Haley, a director of security response at Symantec.

Until recently, the big target always was Microsoft Windows, and Apple computers were protected by 'relative obscurity,' he said.

But blogs are buzzing this week about what two Symantec researchers have called the first harmful computer program to strike specifically at Mac."

AP Poll: Americans high on Obama, direction of US

AP Poll: Americans high on Obama, direction of US: "For the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public's mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future.

Intensely worried about their personal finances and medical expenses, Americans nonetheless appear realistic about the time Obama might need to turn things around, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. It shows most Americans consider their new president to be a strong, ethical and empathetic leader who is working to change Washington"

IPhone Sales Push Up Apple’s Profits -

IPhone Sales Push Up Apple’s Profits - "Apple’s second-quarter profit, driven by strong sales of iPhones and iPods, beat Wall Street’s expectations despite the gloomy economy."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What the AJC reorganization means for Atlanta’s struggling daily newspaper | Atlanta | News & Views | News Feature

What the AJC reorganization means for Atlanta’s struggling daily newspaper | Atlanta | News & Views | News Feature: "Far from being an exception, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is among the hardest hit. For reasons that have been the subject of fierce speculation, the AJC has suffered from one of the steepest declines in paid readership among major dailies. And earlier this year, in prefacing the need for cutbacks, its new publisher revealed that the AJC was losing $1 million a week, which placed it in the company of the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle and other papers perilously close to going belly up."

Maureen Dowd - To Tweet or Not to Tweet -

Op-Ed Columnist - To Tweet or Not to Tweet - "I was here on a simple quest: curious to know if the inventors of Twitter were as annoying as their invention. (They’re not. They’re charming.)

I sat down with Biz Stone, 35, and Evan Williams, 37, and asked them to justify themselves."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Comics Briefly - Government Comics - PW

Comics Briefly - 4/20/2009 4:40:00 PM - Publishers Weekly: "Two years in the making, the digital edition of the University of Nebraska’s Government Comics collection has now gone live and is open to the public. The collection includes 168 titles such as Adventures on Space Station Freedom, Bert the Turtle Says Duck and Cover and Dick Wingate of the United States Navy in their entirety for free download, and features art from such luminaries as Hank Ketchum, Will Eisner and Scott Adams. Most of the comics are American in origin, but also includes contributions from the UN, the EU, Canada and Ghana."

Five Million Copies of New Dan Brown Book Coming in September - GalleyCat

Five Million Copies of New Dan Brown Book Coming in September - GalleyCat: "After years of delay and anticipation, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group will release Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol' this September with an initial print run of five million copies.

The new novel is a follow-up to the 'The Da Vinci Code,' the bestselling adventure that sold 81 million copies worldwide. Brown's editor, Jason Kaufman, hinted at a 'new landscape' that could confirm GalleyCat senior editor Ron Hogan's suspicion that the book will focus on 2012, the much ballyhooed Mayan date for the end of the world."

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write -

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write - "I knew then that the book's migration to the digital realm would not be a simple matter of trading ink for pixels, but would likely change the way we read, write and sell books in profound ways. It will make it easier for us to buy books, but at the same time make it easier to stop reading them. It will expand the universe of books at our fingertips, and transform the solitary act of reading into something far more social. It will give writers and publishers the chance to sell more obscure books, but it may well end up undermining some of the core attributes that we have associated with book reading for more than 500 years.

There is great promise and opportunity in the digital-books revolution. The question is: Will we recognize the book itself when that revolution has run its course?"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Papers win Pulitzers for bringing down gov, mayor |

Papers win Pulitzers for bringing down gov, mayor | "Two newspapers hit hard by a historic downturn won Pulitzer Prizes on Monday for exposing sex scandals that brought down a governor and a big-city mayor, in what was hailed as a victory for old-fashioned watchdog journalism at a time when the industry's very survival is in question."

Typeface Inspired by Comic Books Has Become a Font of Ill Will -

Typeface Inspired by Comic Books Has Become a Font of Ill Will - "Vincent Connare designed the ubiquitous, bubbly Comic Sans typeface, but he sympathizes with the world-wide movement to ban it."

CBR News: REVIEW: Star Trek

Comic Book Resources > CBR News: REVIEW: Star Trek: "'Star Trek' is a blast. A very enjoyable sci-fi space-action romp with lots of surprises, tons of fan service and comfortable nostalgia, and a real energy and purposes that seems to have been missing in much of Trek in recent years."

Apple Apps Ahead -

Apple Apps Ahead - "The shackles have been taken off developers of iPhone applications. Here's what they're working on."

Diana Butler Bass: Post-Modern Progressives | ReligionDispatches

Post-Modern Progressives, or Liberalism Ain’t What It Used To Be | Politics | ReligionDispatches: "With whom does one make alliances for the sake of peace in the world? Post-modern progressive theology does not compromise, but neither does it insist on a single truth. In its journey toward justice it keeps its eye on the practical."

An Atlanta Ediorial Voice May Move to the Right -

An Atlanta Ediorial Voice May Move to the Right - "Cynthia Tucker, the editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been heir to that tradition, provoking anger with strongly worded positions to the left of the region’s popular opinion, like attacking the case for war against Iraq. She has also criticized figures revered on the left, and in Atlanta in particular, like the heirs of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

But last week, the newspaper announced that Ms. Tucker would move to Washington, continuing to write her Pulitzer Prize-winning column, but not working on editorials and not setting the paper’s official stance on issues. In fact, most of the editorial board will be replaced in May, a move that could create a different — and perhaps less liberal — voice for one of the country’s leading regional papers."

Adobe in Push to Spread Flash Video Format to TVs -

Adobe in Push to Spread Flash Video Format to TVs - "Flash was once known primarily as the technology behind those niggling Web ads in the 1990s that gyrated and flickered on the screen. Today, it is a ubiquitous but behind-the-scenes Web format used to display Facebook applications, interactive ads and, most notably, the video on sites like YouTube and

Now Adobe Systems, which owns the technology and sells the tools to create and distribute it, wants to extend Flash’s reach even further. On Monday, Adobe’s chief executive, Shantanu Narayen, will announce at the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas that Adobe is extending Flash to the television screen. He expects TVs and set-top boxes that support the Flash format to start selling later this year."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TCM’s 15 most influential movies of all time | Radio & TV Talk

4/14: TCM’s 15 most influential movies of all time | Radio & TV Talk: "Lists engender debate, usually in pure fun. Here’s one that certainly will get movie afficionados talking: Atlanta-based Turner Classic Movies has released its 15 most influential movies of all time. Note the word “influential.” Naturally, Atlanta’s iconic “Gone With the Wind” is included.

These aren’t necessarily the “best” films per se but those that had the most impact in terms of what came afterwards."

BONO - It’s 2009. Do You Know Where Your Soul Is? -

Op-Ed Guest Columnist - It’s 2009. Do You Know Where Your Soul Is? - "It’s Lent I’ve always had issues with. I gave it up ... self-denial is where I come a cropper. My idea of discipline is simple — hard work — but of course that’s another indulgence.

Then comes the dying and the living that is Easter.

It’s a transcendent moment for me — a rebirth I always seem to need. Never more so than a few years ago, when my father died. I recall the embarrassment and relief of hot tears as I knelt in a chapel in a village in France and repented my prodigal nature — repented for fighting my father for so many years and wasting so many opportunities to know him better. I remember the feeling of “a peace that passes understanding” as a load lifted. Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith — pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea."

Frank Rich - The Bigots’ Last Hurrah -

Op-Ed Columinst - The Bigots’ Last Hurrah - "Far from terrifying anyone, “Gathering Storm” has become, unsurprisingly, an Internet camp classic. On YouTube the original video must compete with countless homemade parodies it has inspired since first turning up some 10 days ago. None may top Stephen Colbert’s on Thursday night, in which lightning from “the homo storm” strikes an Arkansas teacher, turning him gay. A “New Jersey pastor” whose church has been “turned into an Abercrombie & Fitch” declares that he likes gay people, “but only as hilarious best friends in TV and movies.”

Yet easy to mock as “Gathering Storm” may be, it nonetheless bookmarks a historic turning point in the demise of America’s anti-gay movement."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dr. Laura Mendenhall - Dealing with Mystery - Doubting Thomas -

Dr. Laura Mendenhall - Dealing with Mystery - Doubting Thomas - "Do you ever wonder what happened to Thomas? Over the years many stories have been told about Thomas. Here's another--told as I imagine it could have gone for him, years later...."

Twelve Brands That Will Disappear By End Of 2010

Twelve Brands That Will Disappear By End Of 2010: "The website 24/7 Wall Street has complied a list of 12 brands that will not survive until the end of 2010.

It looked at 100 companies that are racing difficulty, looking at their sales, analysis from industry experts, brand histories and their competition.

Among those that the site doesn't expect to survive is the rental car company Avis, the Gap brand and Borders Books."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Deal Brings TV Shows and Movies to YouTube -

Deal Brings TV Shows and Movies to YouTube - "In another step in its transformation from an online jumble of amateur videos to a destination for mainstream TV programs and movies, YouTube said Thursday that it had signed deals with Hollywood studios to showcase thousands of TV episodes and hundreds of movies on its Web site."

Is God a Delusion? A Reply to Religion’s Cultured Despisers | ReligionDispatches

RD10Q: Is God a Delusion? A Reply to Religion’s Cultured Despisers | RDBook | ReligionDispatches: "Are believers in God crazy? Are atheists? Philosopher Eric Reitan explains why he finds the ideas of the Dawkins-Hitchens crowd wanting and why readers—atheist or theist—who want to cheer and pump their fists as “their guy” strikes back against the opponent should read something else."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Op-Ed Contributor - Boldly Going Nowhere -

Op-Ed Contributor - Boldly Going Nowhere - "IT’S a birthright proffered by science and prophesied by “Star Trek,” “Battlestar Galactica” and a thousand other space operas: We’re destined to go to the stars. Our descendants will spread beyond this nondescript solar system and seek adventure and bumpy-headed pals in the stellar realms.

Well, cool your warp jets, Mr. Scott, because we’re not about to breach the final frontier. Piling into a starship and barreling into deep space may long remain — like perfect children or effort-free bathroom cleaners — a pipe dream."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bolano's 2666

2666: A Novel 2666: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Brilliant, maddening, insidious, but ultimately unsatisfying, but perhaps that can describe life as well. I was with this book through the first three parts, a roller coaster of a story, or perhaps a maelstrom rotating around the deaths in Santa Teresa. I really bogged down in Part 4, and eventually skipped it to skim through part 5. So I did not read the whole thing. What I did get out of it I will treasure, but it's a glorious mess.

View all my reviews.

Friday, April 10, 2009

YouTube and Universal to Create Hub -

YouTube and Universal to Create Hub - "YouTube, the most popular online video site, and Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, said on Thursday that they would create an online hub for music videos and related content, called Vevo.

The agreement is the latest of many efforts by YouTube, which is owned by Google, to put more professionally produced content in front of its huge audience, and in turn, earn more money from advertising.

Music videos of Universal’s artists will be available both on, which will be powered by YouTube’s technology, and on a Vevo channel on YouTube. The companies said they would share revenue from advertising on both sites, but declined to discuss specific terms of the agreement."

Our Lent - Day 39

Our Lent Partners: "I invite you to read Psalm 22
In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame. (Psalm 22:4,5)

Trust. Deliverance. The two are interrelated, cause and effect.

Trust in God, cry out in distress, and God will deliver you. God will remove you from the situation or give you the grace and strength to get through it.

This was a lesson the psalmist learned time and time again from the story of his Israelite ancestors."

Click through to read the rest...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Obamas seek new church as Easter nears - Washington Times

Obamas seek new church as Easter nears - Washington Times: "With Easter four days away, the Great Church Search is on for the Obamas, who are seeking a presidential place of worship in Washington nearly a year after a divisive break from their Chicago church and the incendiary sermons of its controversial pastor.

White House aides and close friends of the family have been quietly checking out D.C. churches on a shortlist - maybe a dozen in all - and attending services, speaking with pastors, reverends and rectors and reporting back to the Obamas, said one White House source familiar with the search."

Pop-Eye: Global Jesus on Film | Media/Culture | ReligionDispatches

Pop-Eye: Global Jesus on Film | Media/Culture | ReligionDispatches: "In this invitation to inter-cinematic dialogue, S. Brent Plate offers a Lenten season roundup of Jesus films from all across the world, and not a blue-eyed protagonist among them."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Downey suits up as `Iron Man 2' starts filming | AccessAtlanta

Downey suits up as `Iron Man 2' starts filming | AccessAtlanta: "Robert Downey Jr. is officially back in the superhero business.

Production started Wednesday on 'Iron Man 2,' the sequel to his 2008 blockbuster about the Marvel Comics character.

Downey reprises his role as a billionaire genius who fights bad guys in a high-tech metal suit that's loaded with gadgets. 'Iron Man 2' reunites Downey with co-star Gwyneth Paltrow and also features Don Cheadle, who replaces Terrence Howard as the superhero's military ally."

AMC Streams B-Movies Online - TVWeek - News

AMC Streams B-Movies Online - TVWeek - News: "AMC has launched BMC (B Movie Classics), a Web site that streams B movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The site, which is live at, is currently streaming 27 B-movies in full-screen, including John Carpenter’s student film “Dark Star,” “A Swingin’ Summer” and “Corridors of Blood.”

Additional titles will be added in the coming months."

Zuckerberg Admits Facebook Now Has 200 Million Users

Zuckerberg Admits Facebook Now Has 200 Million Users: "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just posted a message on the company blog confirming the number of users for the social networking service that’s been floating around for some time now. The blog post, titled ‘200 Million Strong’, says the milestone will effectively be achieved today (no more speculation needed)."

Our Lent - Day 37

Our Lent Partners: "I invite you to read Psalm 70
Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. Let those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” (Psalm 70:4)

Seeking God arises from a hunger of the soul that cannot be filled until heaven.

To the child of God, therefore, all of life on this planet consists of seeking God. And that seeking may express itself in any number of ways...."

Keep reading at the link.

The Free-Versus-Paid Debate for Online Web News Heats Up -

The Free-Versus-Paid Debate for Online Web News Heats Up - "Just a year ago, most media companies believed the formula for Internet success was to offer free content, build an audience and rake in advertising dollars. Now, with the recession battering advertising online, in print and on television, media executives are contemplating a tougher trick: making the consumer pay.

Publishers like Hearst Newspapers, The New York Times and Time Inc.are drawing up plans for possible Internet fees"

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

TCR: Eisner Award noms released

The Comics Reporter: "The Eisner Awards earlier today released its list of nominees for the 2009 iteration of its long-running program. They are:"

GM, Segway to Make Vehicle -

GM, Segway to Make Vehicle - "General Motors Corp. is teaming with Segway Inc., maker of the upright, self-balancing scooters, to build a new type of two-wheeled vehicle designed to move easily through congested urban streets.

The machine, which GM says it aims to develop by 2012, would run on batteries and use wireless technology to avoid traffic backups and navigate cities."

YouTube, Sony Pictures in talks over feature films -

YouTube, Sony Pictures in talks over feature films - "YouTube is in talks to acquire licensing rights to full-length content from Sony Pictures, home of such films as 'The International' and 'Spider-Man,' sources familiar with the negotiations told CNET News."

EW: Kumar goes to work for Obama

'House' exclusive: The shocking story behind last night's big death | House | Ausiello Files | "I understand it was your decision to leave House. True?
KAL PENN: Yes. I was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House. I got to know the President and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there, so I'm going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison. They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations. They're basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House. It's similar to what I was doing on the campaign."

Reports of the Death of the Episcopal Church are Greatly Exaggerated - Becky Garrison - ReligionDispatches

Reports of the Death of the Episcopal Church are Greatly Exaggerated | Religion and Theology | ReligionDispatches: "The mainstream press has been eager to proclaim the demise of the Episcopal church in the wake of a conservative defection this Winter, but a brief tour of church history reveals that 100,000 Anglicans defecting from the 80 million member Communion is nothing more than a case of the spiritual sniffles."

Some Enchanted Musical - Interactive Feature -

Some Enchanted Musical - Interactive Feature - "Last week, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Broadway opening of 'South Pacific,' several original cast members attended a performance of the new Broadway revival. (The show, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, originally opened at the Majestic Theater on April 7, 1949. The current revival opened at Lincoln Center Theater on April 3, 2008.) Before the show, several original and current cast members were asked to share their favorite memory of being in 'South Pacific.'"

Poll Finds New Optimism on Economy Since Inauguration -

Poll Finds New Optimism on Economy Since Inauguration - "Americans have grown more optimistic about the economy and the direction of the country in the 11 weeks since President Obama was inaugurated, suggesting that he is enjoying some success in his critical task of rebuilding the nation’s confidence, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

These sometimes turbulent weeks — marked by new initiatives by Mr. Obama, attacks by Republicans and more than a few missteps by the White House — do not appear to have hurt the president. Americans said they approved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, foreign policy, Iraq and Afghanistan; fully two-thirds said they approved of his overall job performance.

By contrast, just 31 percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest in the 25 years the question has been asked in New York Times/CBS News polls."

Monday, April 06, 2009

Stream new episodes of the Spider-Man 1967 TV show every Thursday | News |

Stream new episodes of the Spider-Man 1967 TV show every Thursday | News | "Fanfare is in order, webheads, as the legendary and pleasantly nostalgic 'Spider-Man' animated series from 1967 makes its debut! Starting today, kids of all ages can stream episodes of the show right here on, with 'new' episodes going up every Thursday!

First airing on the ABC television network in 1967, the series revolves around the scientific-minded teenager Peter Parker who, after being bitten by a radioactive spider, develops amazing strength and spider-like powers. He decides to become a crime-fighting, costumed super hero; all the while dealing with his personal problems and the insecurities resulting from being a teenager. Each episode features two parts so you get twice as many web-slinging adventures in each video!"

Our Lent - Day 35

Our Lent Partners: "I invite you to read Psalm 36:5-11
'Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep.' (Psalm 36:5-11)

Sometimes the best thing we can do is to look up, get our eyes off ourselves and our problems, and consider the God who loves us.
Today’s verses will help us do that. Because when we think about God—God’s character, attributes, and ways—the dark corners of our lives start to disappear in the brightness of God’s holy, loving light."

Click to read the rest...

2 Michael Crichton Novels to Be Published Posthumously by HarperCollins -

2 Michael Crichton Novels to Be Published Posthumously by HarperCollins - "Michael Crichton, the best-selling author of technological thrillers like “The Andromeda Strain” and “Jurassic Park” who died of cancer in November, left behind at least one finished novel and about one-third of a second. Both will be released over the next year and a half, his publisher said."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Slipstream - It’s a Digital Book, and a Video, and a ... -

Slipstream - It’s a Digital Book, and a Video, and a ... - "Bradley Inman wants to create great fiction, dramatic online video and compelling Twitter stream — and then roll them all into a multimedia hybrid that is tailored to the rapidly growing number of digital reading devices.

Mr. Inman, a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, calls this digital amalgam a “Vook,” ( and the fledgling company he has created with that name just might represent a possible future for the beleaguered book industry."

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Meacham: The End of Christian America | Newsweek Religion |

Meacham: The End of Christian America | Newsweek Religion | "The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become."

Charles Blow - Pitchforks and Pistols -

Op-Ed Columinst - Pitchforks and Pistols - "Lately I’ve been consuming as much conservative media as possible (interspersed with shots of Pepto-Bismol) to get a better sense of the mind and mood of the right. My read: They’re apocalyptic. They feel isolated, angry, betrayed and besieged. And some of their “leaders” seem to be trying to mold them into militias."

Gail Collins - Barack’s Continental Coolness -

Op-Ed Columinst - Barack’s Continental Coolness - "If nothing else, the president’s trip overseas helped resolve the longstanding question of who can be more irritating, the Republicans or the French."

Google Claims Orphan Books, Raising Alarm in Academia -

Google Claims Orphan Books, Raising Alarm in Academia - "Google has been scanning the pages of those books and others as part of its plan to bring a digital library and bookstore, unprecedented in scope, to computer screens across the United States.

But a growing chorus is complaining that a far-reaching settlement of a suit brought against Google by publishers and authors is about to grant the company too much power over orphan works.

These critics say the settlement, which is subject to court approval, will give Google virtually exclusive rights to publish the books online and to profit from them."

Friday, April 03, 2009

Latest Cartoonist Job Casualty: Gary Brookins | Daryl Cagle's Cartoon Web Log

Latest Cartoonist Job Casualty: Gary Brookins | Daryl Cagle's Cartoon Web Log: "Gary Brookins, the immensely talented cartoonist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, was laid off today. It wasn’t long ago that the Times-Dispatch had TWO cartoonists, Gary along with Bob Gorrell. Gary is a great guy and I hope he’ll continue drawing editorial cartoons; he also draws the comic strip “Pluggers” and works on the comic strip “Shoe,” taking over from Jeff MacNelly, who was clearly a big influence."

Obama Wowed By JK Rowling - The Daily Beast

Obama Wowed By JK Rowling - The Daily Beast: "Maybe President Obama wasn’t the biggest celebrity in London? At the end of a dinner thrown by Sarah Brown for the spouses of G-20 leaders, president Obama headed straight for Harry Potter author JK Rowling like some star-struck fan and told her how he'd read her books and read them to his daughters. However, Obama is apparently less of a fanboy than shameless Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who asked for Rowling's autograph."

Sources: Google In Talks To Acquire Twitter (Updated)

Sources: Google In Talks To Acquire Twitter (Updated): "Here’s a heck of a rumor that we’ve sourced from two separate people close to the negotiations: Google is in late stage negotiations to acquire Twitter. We don’t know the price but can assume its well, well north of the $250 million valuation that they saw in their recent funding."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Our Lent - Day 32

Our Lent Partners: Peter Wallace: "I invite you to read Psalm 131
'But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.' (Psalm 131:2)

An infant is, by nature and necessity, one of the most self-absorbed creatures on earth. When she is hungry, she must have mother’s milk. She demands it. She isn’t satisfied until she gets it. But as the infant grows, is weaned, and become more mature, her self-focused demands are not quite as loud.

The psalmist had come to understand this personally. Rather than demanding to be fed, he was content simply to be held by God as though in his mother’s arms. Affection is shared. He rests in the loving trust that has been established."

Click to read the rest.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, literary giant, lays down his pen - The Guardian

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, literary giant, lays down his pen | Books | The Guardian: "He is the 82-year old giant of Latin American literature who pioneered the school of magical realism and inspired a generation of novelists. But Gabriel Garcia Marquez has barely written a word since his last novel, Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores, came out to distinctly mixed reviews five years ago.

Now fans of the Colombian author are facing the prospect that, after a career spanning half a century, Garcia Marquez has finally laid down his pen for good."

Religion Poll Proves that Liberals Are Not Conservatives | Candace Chellew-Hodge

Religion Poll Proves that Liberals Are Not Conservatives | RD Blog: The Devil's Advocate | ReligionDispatches: "A new Barna poll plays off of the tarnished 'liberal' label and seems to push the idea that conservative religion is the real religion."

Ed Schultz To Be MSNBC 6 PM Host

Ed Schultz To Be MSNBC 6 PM Host: "The #1 story on Countdown was Keith Olbermann introducing Ed Schultz as the new host of 'The Ed Show' on MNSBC weeknights at 6PM ET.

Olbermann joked that the qualifications for MSNBC hosts are being 'an ex-sportscaster born on the 27th of January' (the two share a birthday), and then introduced his new colleague, who was sitting on set with him.

Schultz's show premieres next Monday. David Shuster will be an afternoon anchor, co-hosting 3-5PM ET with Tamron Hall. Norah O'Donnell will move to an as-yet unannounced hour in the morning."

Piracy Puts Film Online a Month Before Theater Opening -

Piracy Puts Film Online a Month Before Theater Opening - "In a case of piracy that some analysts called unprecedented, untold thousands of people watched a version of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” online Wednesday, a full month before its scheduled theater release."

Thin and Inexpensive Netbooks Affect PC Industry -

Thin and Inexpensive Netbooks Affect PC Industry - "Personal computers — and the companies that make their crucial components — are about to go through their biggest upheaval since the rise of the laptop. By the end of the year, consumers are likely to see laptops the size of thin paperback books that can run all day on a single charge and are equipped with touch screens or slide-out keyboards.

The industry is buzzing this week about these devices at a telecommunications conference in Las Vegas, and consumers will see the first machines on shelves as early as June, probably from the netbook pioneers Acer and Asustek."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards | An International Competition for Electronic Media, honoring achievement in Television, Radio, Cable and the Web | Administered by University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication: "Complete List of 2008 Peabody Award Winners"

CNN, TCM receive Peabody Awards | Radio & TV Talk

4/1: CNN, TCM receive Peabody Awards | Radio & TV Talk: "University of Georgia’s prestigious Peabody Awards bestowed honors to two Atlanta-based networks: CNN and Turner Classic Movies.

The Peabody board gave kudos to CNN’s “unparalleled coverage” of the presidential campaign coverage, citing its “state-of-the-art technology and a small army of reporters, producers and analysts.”

CNN’s sister station TCM also received a nod: “It’s a wonderful network, this dedicated presenter and preserver of vintage films, and after 20 years, no other in the cable specturm has stayed truer to its original mission.”

UGA’s Grady College of Journalsim and Mass Communication spread its electic mix of awards to a wide array of electronic media, from TV (e.g. ABC’s “Lost,” HBO’s “Entourage” and “John Adams” and AMC’s “Breaking Bad”) to online (the New York Times Web site and the Onion satirical sendup of cable TV news) to radio (a lucid explanation of the financial crisis by NPR and “This American Life”)."

Toy Story: Are Those 5,000 Magazines in Your Messenger Bag, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me? | The New York Observer

Toy Story: Are Those 5,000 Magazines in Your Messenger Bag, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me? | The New York Observer: "Eight months ago, after more than 14 years working as a digital-media business developer at News Corp., Daren Benzi left his job and joined a relatively unknown company called Plastic Logic, based in the same neighborhood as Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. The company is building what they hope will be a Kindle killer—the first mobile digital reader made specifically for newspapers and magazines."

Editorial Appreciations - Maurice Jarre -

Editorial Appreciations - Maurice Jarre - "Without Maurice Jarre, who died last week at 84, who would David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia be? Peter O’Toole’s deliquescent eyes, shimmering in the desert light, would have been little more than a silent mirage. Jarre’s 1962 film score, which won an Academy Award, is a reminder that in the movies there is no character and no landscape unless there is a musical soundscape too."

CADIE: Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity

CADIE: Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity: "For several years now a small research group has been working on some challenging problems in the areas of neural networking, natural language and autonomous problem-solving. Last fall this group achieved a significant breakthrough: a powerful new technique for solving reinforcement learning problems, resulting in the first functional global-scale neuro-evolutionary learning cluster.

Since then progress has been rapid, and tonight we're pleased to announce that just moments ago, the world's first Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE) was switched on and began performing some initial functions. It's an exciting moment that we're determined to build upon by coming to understand more fully what CADIE's emergence might mean, for Google and for our users. So although CADIE technology will be rolled out with the caution befitting any advance of this magnitude, in the months to come users can expect to notice her influence on various properties. Earlier today, for instance, CADIE deduced from a quick scan of the visual segment of the social web a set of online design principles from which she derived this intriguing homepage."