Sunday, April 24, 2005

Kennard & Phillips

Satirical art from British artists Peter Kennard and Cat Picton Phillipps showcased on Britart. Be sure to check out the other images from the series, too. Very arresting stuff.

A Blog for Everything and for Everything a Blog

Here's a blog by Emily Turrettini devoted entirely to ringtones. I just bought a new cell phone recently and thought I'd undermine any image of maturity I may have acquired by adding a ringtone to it. Until I heard it ring at work, cringing a little, I didn't think about how fitting it was to hear the song I'd chosen ring out through the bank's ecommerce division: Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity."

Anyway, Ringtonia actually covers some interesting topics: info about a ringvideo film festival, anti-drug ringtones, Sprint (my carrier) and Verizon turn down Motorola's iTunes phone, and the use of ringtones by bands like Coldplay to market their new albums. All this and lots of links to interesting stories about what we can expect to be broadcast to our cell phones in the future. Despite her blog's narrow focus, Turrettini often posts several times a day. I have to say, it's a very impressive blog.

I've been working on the Web for over half a decade now (light years in Internet time), so you'd think I'd have gotten over the fact by now that you can find a site devoted to anything and everything. I guess I'm not so surprised by the fact that these sites exist, but by the utter devotion people devote to such granular subjects. I that's what makes some blogs compelling when I'd not otherwise be particularly interested in the subjects they cover.

Turrettini also directs us to this blog which is entirely about the convergence of music and mobile communications technology.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Augusten Burroughs

Since we're doing Top Ten lists, I just finished reading Augusten Burrough's Running with Scissors. So, from his site, here's a list of ten things you didn't know about him:
1. I can change the spark plugs in a 1972 VW Fastback.
2. I have shot with a Leica rangefinder camera for fifteen years.
3. Lauren Bacall kissed me on the cheek when I was 20.
4. I like early (1600's, 1700's) American furniture.
5. I would like a pet pig but Dennis says, "No."
6. My favorite show is "Car Talk" on NPR.
7. I have seen Orville Redenbacher's penis.
8. I subscribe to Backwoods Home magazine.
9. I am reserved and serious by nature.
10. I drink Blenheim Ginger Ale by the case.
How was the book? Pretty good. Highly entertaining in that craning at the roadside crash sort of way. I didn't find the writing particularly strong or inventive. In fact, at times I thought the opening chapters really smacked of workshop material, and I worried I was going to have to trudge through the effort. Burroughs uses a couple of cutesy repetition devices early on that grate, but, largely, as the book unfolds it gets better, less self-conscious. He certainly does remind me of Sedaris, though he's not as gut-bustingly funny. The similarity lies more in the utter lack of hesitancy to describe the more sordid facets of one's family history in crystalline detail. In fact, considering his incredible upbringing, Burroughs certainly comes out sounding pretty balanced, and the characters he roundly depicts benefit from that truth-is-stranger-than-fiction quality that good creative non-fiction can offer. Good, if not superlative. As a survivor, however, Burroughs seems nothing less than superlative.

Of course, a movie's in the works, starring Brian Cox as Dr. Finch (perfect) and Annette Bening (quite possibly perfect) as Augusten's mother, the deeply troubled poet Deirdre.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Kevin Drum directs us to a NYT article about the Presidential iPod, which got me to wandering what might be on it.

Top 10 Tunes on W's iPod

1. You Don't Bring Me Flowers - Barbra Streisand
2. Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
3. Ride of the Valkyries - Richard Wagner
4. Thank God I'ma Country Boy - John Denver
5. Don't Worry About The Government - Talking Heads
6. God Shuffled His Feet - Crash Test Dummies
7. Would I Lie to You - The Eurythmics
8. Bombs Over Baghdad - Outkast
9. Money Talks - Alan Parsons Project
10. Rock the Casbah - The Clash

I reserve the right to update W's tunes at will, even as he may update my social security account. You can add your own in comments, too.

Light blogging lately. Been busy with other stuff, including finally getting back to writing some fiction.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

RIP Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow

Nobel winner Saul Bellow is dead at 89.
Because Herzog behaved like a philosophe who cared only for about the very highest things--creative reason, how to render good for evil, and all the wisdom of old books. Because he thought and cared about belief. (Without which, human life is simply the raw material of technological transformation, of fashion, salesmanship, industry, politics, finance, experiment, automatism, et cetera, et cetera. The whole inventory of disgraces which one is glad to terminate in death.) - from Herzog by Bellow

Notes from Bizarro World

The Corner's Kathryn Jean Lopez apologizes profusely for accidentally stating that ordination of woman to be priests might become a possibility:
MEA CULPA [K. J. Lopez]
An e-mail:
I was distressed to hear you say on the Hugh Hewitt show that the priestly ordination of women was "theoretically possible." Although I was relieved to hear you are not a proponent of this, I must disagree with you that it is even a possibility. Like the abortion issue, the ordination of women is a closed issue. It has been dealt with twice, and most recently by John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Prior to this, Paul VI made the same statement in Inter Insigniores. Please don't give those wishy-washy parish priests any more ammunition with which they might deceive their well-intentioned parishioners.
The reader's right. The example I meant to use was married priests, not women priests. There is a whole theology behind the male priesthood (see here). I in no way meant to suggest otherwise. Married priests is what I thought I said--what I meant to say.

I wanted to revise and extend my remarks before Catholic blogger caught wind of my mistake and banned me from speaking at Christendom College or somewhere (or a dissenting Catholic blogger embraced me)!
Er, thanks for clearing that up. I'm sure Christian woman everywhere who favor equality thank you. Not?

(Yes, a literal reading of the Bible probably does bloster her stance. Of course, a literal reading of the Bible could also justify the ownership of humans as property, stoning children for being rebellious, covering your hair if you're a woman, und so weiter.)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Carrot Monster?

OK, sorry, but this is political correctness run amok: Sesame Street's Cookie Monster will defy his own name and begin recommending that "a cookie is a sometime food."
"We're realistic; we're not trying to get kids to stop eating cookies," said Lewis Bernstein, an executive producer of "Sesame Street."

"But (Cookie Monster) is broadening his eating habits, I'm glad to say."

Each season, the producers of "Sesame Street" get together with educators and advisers to discuss the needs of their show's target audience, which is mainly preschoolers. This year, they decided to focus on exercise, nutrition and health in general.
Can't some things be just for fun? Wasn't the point of Cookie Monster the fact that kids would understand that just eating cookies alone was verboten? (OK, well maybe German kids understood it was verboten.)And that's what made him funny? Sheesh. He's the Cookie Monster.

Next, the Count does PSAs to encourage blood donation, but pauses to clarify that drinking blood is not good for you.

(Via NPR's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me.)