Archive for August, 2009

A new million-dollar!? book for the fancy-pantsies

August 26, 2009

This is stupid. If you buy this, you are stupid.


I knew it! Never trust a comic book collector

August 26, 2009

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) — Investigators in Colorado say they have broken up a massive methamphetamine ring in the Denver area that distributed pounds of the dangerous drug every week and laundered the profits using collectible comic books.


August 26, 2009

Dunne began his career in New York City as the stage manager of The Howdy Doody Show … ” Things went up (and down) from there.

From one of his Vanity Fair columns, “L.A. in the Age of O.J.” :

Although I once lived here for many years, I have never before been so aware of what a small town the Hollywood community really is. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. It’s like an update of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, except in this version everyone drives a Ferrari or a Rolls-Royce, and the Stage Manager has been—but may not be much longer—Robert Shapiro, one of L.A.’s best-known defense lawyers. Shapiro, who is an acknowledged spin doctor and master of media manipulation, has been heading O.J.’s defense team. “He only had $60 on him,” Shapiro said on-camera to offset the belief that O.J., with Al Cowlings at the wheel of the white Bronco, was escaping to Mexico five days after the killings. Actually, according to all reports, O.J. had something like $8,000 with him at the time, but, as they keep saying out here, Shapiro was just doing his job. We live in an age of the defense attorney as superstar. Witness Shapiro’s daily arrival at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, surrounded by television cameras, with microphones stuck in his face and reporters yelling questions at him. This is a man experiencing Nirvana. Shapiro has even hired the lawyer-agent Ed Hookstratten to field book offers and to discuss possibilities for his own television talk show.Everyone seems to know Shapiro. He’s a bona fide member of the film colony, as well as a personable and jovial fellow to meet. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere—the most ubiquitous figure in movieland society, and everyone in town is talking about him.


August 21, 2009

Crazy good video. The music’s by a band from Berlin called Lali Puna. For more, go to 100 Thumbs Up. Nice.

Someone took my job–Airport writer-in-residence

August 21, 2009

I wanted this job. Or, at least, if I had thought of it I’d have wanted it. Alain de Botton is Heathrow Airport’s writer-in-residence for the week. There’s always so much to watch at an airport. Most everyone doing something they find important, away from their daily routine. Delays and crowds stressing some people to their breaking point, flight anxiety and unfounded fears mixing with excitement for others. The people who work there must see some strange things. And hours later the airport has an entirely new population of neurotic travelers.

De Botton apparently has free reign to explore the airport, and the end product will be both reporting and PR for the airport. One Financial Times commentator was concerned about that blurring of lines. But if you think about it, it’s not like he’s reporting on something secret–we all visit the airport and we can judge for ourselves if the writing is puffery for a corporate client. Anyway, wish it were me.

Bibliotherapy and The School of Life

August 21, 2009

I stumbled upon The School of Life web site today while looking into an author. It looks like an interesting place… sort of like an offshoot of the existential therapy treatment from I Heart Huckabees. I like the bibliotherapy idea. And I see lots going on, including Ruby Wax talking about loving your ego (didn’t know she was a psychotherapist now). But it’s in London. One more reason to make a trek there, besides the weather of course.

Real Good Moments in Journalism

August 12, 2009

C’mon Niall Ferguson. Mr. Harvard. Mr. economics outsider. You thought writing President Obama’s presidency can be summed up as black and lucky was OK? This guy’s smart enough to know that would get him a lot of attention. It’s the editors who let it slide who made the mistake of not making him rephrase it. And the funny thing is, he’s not really bashing Obama that much. Absent that stupid phrase it’s a benign commentary.

The column lede:

President Barack Obama reminds me of Felix the Cat. One of the best-loved cartoon characters of the 1920s, Felix was not only black. He was also very, very lucky. And that pretty much sums up the 44th president of the US as he takes a well-earned summer break after just over six months in the world’s biggest and toughest job.

But then, perhaps the funniest part is Ferguson’s journalism mess-up number two, defending himself against critics (see my recent Real Good Moment in Journalism about Dennis Kneale). All dude had to say was, “Sorry, wrong choice of words, but you can easily see what I meant… ” and he would have gotten some attention and everyone would have forgotten about it tomorrow. But, noooo. And now an entire population who had never heard of Niall Ferguson now just thinks of him as the dude who stumbles around saying things like Obama’s like a black cat, but not because it’s black, just because it’s lucky and more lucky because it’s black. But not an African American cat. 



Consequently, I have a black cat. And she’s outraged.

He told the Huffington Post:

So it’s racist to compare President Obama with Felix the Cat? Oh dear, the seemingly dead body of political correctness just twitched. Let’s try logic, shall we?

1. Black cats are proverbially lucky.

2. Felix the cartoon character was a black cat, not an African-American cat – in other words, he was not one of the (quite numerous) 1920s figures in popular entertainment that mocked the mannerisms of the descendants of slaves.

3. Obama is a lucky president — so far. Compare his first six months with Carter’s and Clinton’s if you don’t get that bit.

4. As for the word “black”, it’s the same one used by the Congressional Black Caucus and the Harvard Black Alumni Society, among others.

The piece made an important point about the biggest threat to Obama’s presidency: the seemingly uncontrollable deficit. That’s the issue the Huffington Post should be focusing on, not politically correct claptrap.

Update: AAAAND, he later went to Paul Krugman with more griping. A scholarly/journalistic excellence hat-trick!

Consequently, I have a black cat. And she is outraged.

A rare glimpse at the first draft of Lord of the Flies!

August 11, 2009

Saw it on The Big Picture

August 7, 2009

This Georgian is hard at werk fighting for your right to be ‘merican and only write Enaglesh.

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