Friday, December 26, 2003

Domain Name Goes for Seven Figures
Even by the the irrational logic of the times, $7.5 million for business.com seemed misguided back in 1999. Not to everyone, however. A Florida man has just sold men.com to an undisclosed group buyers for $1.3 Million.
-- CNN.com

Friday, December 19, 2003

Human Pinata Dies Unexpectedly
A 24-year-old Mexico man died after letting himself be used as a human pinata to entertain his younger siblings. Strangely, he choked to death. Reminds me of the story of the human speed bump who died of bone cancer.
-- AP Wire Story
Dustin Hoffman a Hero: 'The Star'
Following in the footsteps of the cops and firefighters who died trying to save trapped New Yorkers on 9/11 and the courageous soldiers who gave their lives on D-Day, Dustin Hoffman proved his own heroic mettle in Hollywood recently.

While lunching with actor Jason Biggs, the diminuitive star of 'Ishtar' and 'Sphere' witnessed a female motorcyclist get hit by a van. Hoffman and Biggs reacted instantly, heroically putting down their utensils and walking several paces to where the woman lay, even dialing '911.' Hoffman reportedly then proceeded to ask the woman if she was okay. She was, thanks no doubt to the heroic actions of the Oscar-winning actor.

Hoffman has appeared in more than 40 major motion pictures, including 1992's 'Hero,' in which one of the main characters is erroneously labeled a hero for basically doing nothing.
-- The Star

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I'm Too Buzzed to Work the Remote...
After a steady decline in ratings, '60 Minutes' is back in the Nielsen Top 10. How'd they do it? By airing segments designed to appeal to guys who spend their Sunday afternoons watching football on CBS. Two recent examples include Mike Wallace's truly heartwrenching interview with Lawrence Taylor and a, well, fascinating two-parter on the porn industry. (So shoot me, I also like football.)

I'm having fun imagining future story topics.... An in-depth expose on the history of bean dip? Maybe something about the movement to ban underwear on NFL cheerleaders?

Those stories, and Andy Rooney's hot niece, tonight on '60 Minutes'...
-- New York Daily News
And You Thought Paper vs. Plastic Was Hard
Now I need to choose between God and Allah? According to the editor of Beliefnet, there's a growing debate on whether Christians and Muslims really do pray to the same god.
-- Slate

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Kingsley Anus
Should you ever find yourself in conversation with Ben Kingsley, he would prefer you didn't call him by his first name. Nor is it acceptible to call him Mr. Kingsley. 'House of Sand and Fog' junketeers were instructed to call the knighted actor Sir Ben.

"Before," the Oscar-winner tells the New York Daily News, "I was acting more for myself. Now, I'm doing it for my country because my country has asked me to."

Wonderful, old chum! Now, if I may be so brazen as to ask for my money back for that phoned-in performance in "Waiting for Godot" at the Old Vic back in '97. Not sure who you were acting for then, but it clearly wasn't me or anyone else in the audience, British or otherwise.
-- "England's other big Ben"
Worst Album Covers Ever
[No commentary needed. Thanks, Carrie.]
-- Marc Cenedella's Blog

Headline of the Century:

Maid Frenched

-- The Onion

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Texas Is for Lovers
Is Texas the safest place on earth? It must be, because police in Brisbane found enough free time in their schedules to mount a sting operation designed to snare illicit vibrator dealers. A former schoolteacher is facing a year in jail and a $4000 fine.
- San Francisco Chronicle
Hit 'Return'
In addition to having spent six hours of the past few days watching "Fellowship" and "Two Towers" in preparation for "The Return of the King," I've been reading a bit as well. I recommend the New York Times' special Spotlight on 'The Lord of the Rings,' which includes:
- Elvis Mitchell's (third-consecutive) rave review
- W.H. Auden's 1956 review of the book 'Return of the King'

Finally, a little blasphemy, if I may be so brazen. Is anyone else out there beginning to wonder if Viggo Mortensen is putting us on with his absurd ultra-thoughtul ecclectic reluctant-hero shtick. Case in point: "The Man Who Would Just As Soon Not Be King." (NYT)

Friday, December 12, 2003

Guards Gone Wild
Young men across the nation joined in a collective cheer at the news that "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis recently got the crap beat out of him. The incident, officially designated a "mistake," occurred at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where Francis was staying. Evidently, security gurards thought the annoying softcore entrepreneur was taking part in a publicity stunt and began to pummel him. To which the rich prick replied, "What are you doing? I'm Joe Francis! Help me!"
-- New York Post
Ralph Nader to join Bush campaign
All but ensuring an easy victory for George W. Bush in 2004, Ralph Nader tells a CNN interviewer that another run for the White House is a "high probability."
-- CNN.com
New York Times opinion roundup
Two notable pieces on Iraq in the past two days, one from plodding ol' Thomas Friedman and one from Paul Krugman, who we all know has either not been taking his medication or has been taking too much.

Friedman details the effects the removal of Saddam is having on the Israeli political landscape, and in doing so he puts forth as accurate an explanation of why we really invaded as I've yet seen. I.e., the war wasn't about WMD, oil or even some mo' of that gravy for Halliburton. This war is a grand (or grandiose) attempt to create a friendly Arab democracy, thereby giving us an alternative to knee-jerk, divisive support of Israel, and in doing so to utterly remake a troubled region. I don't necessarily agree that the invasion/occupation is necessarily worth all the lost lives, money and credibility, nor do I believe democracy can be created from the top down. However, it's nice to see a growing understanding of the real reasoning behind this war.
-- Friedman: "Breaking and Entering"

Krugman, for his part, takes on Paul Wolfowitz's memo limiting rebuilding contracts to Coalition partners, and bascially calls it a baldfaced attempt to sabotage a potential reconciliation with France, Germany and their ilk. Could be. But I would like to raise another possibility. What if the memo is nothing but a bargaining tactic, an unrealistically harsh position designed to be rescinded at the negotiating table? Imagine James Baker telling the French, with a crooked saleman's best phony agony, "You're killing me here, fellas, and my boss isn't gonna like this, but...but...bu...Aw hell I tell you what: You folks forgive Saddam's debts, throw in a few fresh troops and dammit if I won't see if I can get you gentlemen in on a few sweetheart roadbuilding deals." Well?
-- Krugman: "A Deliberate Debacle"

What do YOU think? Email me

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Gwyneth and Chris's phony frolic

Boy, do I feel used!!! The NY Daily News is reporting that in an effort to control media coverage of their wedding/pregnancy (?pregnancy/wedding?) Gwyneth Paltrow orchestrated the recent photos of Chris Martin playing around as they left her OBGYN's office.

The President has a personal photographer, why shouldn't top celebs have one too?
-- NY Daily News (2nd item)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Hang out with that a) lowlife b) preppy c) person of color d) etc.??? I'd rather bowl alone!
Just read an interesting piece from Sept. Atlantic by, again, David Brooks. (He's everywhere.) Before you dismiss him as the lead apologist for the generification of American suburbia, know that he comes to the table armed with some compelling statistics.
-- "People Like Us," Sept. 2003 Atlantic
Is Dean poster boy for the the Internet's eternal present?
Gotta hand it to David Brooks. I don't think there's a columnist out there I like better. And I don't even agree with him half the time. In this piece, from yesterday, he makes one of the most elegant arguments I've come across in a while. No time to sum it up, so I'll just link...
-- NY Times Op-Ed
I have the best boss ever and this link proves it!
From Blogger.com comes this helpful tutorial, How Not to Get Fired Because of Your Blog. Includes this helpful tip: "change the time of your posts."
(As if Mr. Your Work Needs Immediate Improvement really believes I posted this at 2:52 in the morning...)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

We're here, we're queer! No more bears!!!
Finally, a "Simpsons" reference that actually fits the circumstances!

As of Tuesday afternoon, New Jersey's ursine population had dropped by 70. Regrettably, this decrease was more than made up for by an explosion of loudly whining vegans with too much free time.
Aging Rocker Injures Self in Quest for Pain Pills
Doddering droner Ozzy Osbourne has injured himself in an ATV crash, fracturing several bones, in what can only be described as a pathetic attempt to get his quaking hands on a few more Vicodins.
-- Associated Press
Old News
You could be forgiven for thinking that yesterday's New York Post cover story was a blockbuster. (And not just because the paper uses the same gargantuan font whether the story is 9/11 or embezzlement of No. 2 pencils in a Brooklyn high school.) The central claim, that Saddam's army had chemical weapons "that could be launched against coalition forces within 45 minutes," is not new. In fact, it's the same contention made by Tony Blair back in the fall of 2002.

The new development? MI6's source has now been named. Great. Unfortunately, the Post's editors are doing to this "news" what Blair's press team did to it a year ago -- they're sexing it up to justify an unjustifiable invasion. The fact that we now know the name of MI6's source -- he's a former Iraqi lieutenant colenal named al-Dabbagh -- is beside the point.

What's at issue was and is the actual content of his assertion. And that content, as has been widely reported, most recently by John Cassidy in last week's New Yorker, is this: Saddam did indeed have chemical weapons ready to be used within 45 minutes.

But, according to the very intelligence now being trumpeted by supporters of the war, he did not have the capability to use those weapons regionally. And it was that capability that Blair and Bush used as a pillar in their case for invasion. The intelligence community knew back in 2002 that the range of those weapons was very limited, and everyone who cares to know knows now.

The only thing new here is a new low. A new low in the sad, belated quest to make Bush's justification for war ring true.
-- NY Post

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Remeber the New Democrats?
The kind of centrist, pragmatic policy and palpable optimism that Clinton brought to the table in 1992 are notably absent from the current crop of Democratic candidates. That's to bad, because if someone came along and gave voice to the ideas in this piece, from the DLC's house mag, Dubya would be out of a job.
-- Blueprint Magazine
Paging Mr. Vincent Gallo...
You know you're living in a pretty damn open society when issues of "censorship" revolve around whether or not to let a NYU film student stage a real-live sex scene in class.

Although I would love to be a fellow student in that class (maybe I can audit?) those crusty old deans may be right to disallow the stunt. Why do I say that? For reasons more practical than puritanical. Doesn't good art need something to rebel against? So let's feign some outrage, for the sake of art!
-- New York Times

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