Saturday, January 27, 2007

Censorious Libs vs. Showbiz: Give Me The Stage Lights!

The Nation magazine, the liberal equivalent of 'eat your vegetables' and 'how can you get any pudding if you don't eat your meat?' (sorry - not appropriate for the animal rights crowd) has a feature article this week regarding the narcissistic traits of modern youth, modern life, modern politics, modern just about everything:
"Everyone, in the back of his mind, wants to be a star," says YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, explaining the dizzying success of the online mecca of amateur video in Wired magazine. And thanks to MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, LiveJournal and other bastions of the retooled Web 2.0, every Jane, Joe or Jamila can indeed be a star.... We now live in the era of micro-celebrity, which offers endless opportunities to celebrate that most special person in your life, i.e., you--who not coincidentally is also Time magazine's widely derided Person of the Year for 2006.

Actually I'm surprised by the number of people who don't want to be a star. Many people are happy staying out of the limelight. What people want is that they don't want to be left out, which is something different from wanting to be the star.
So we upload our wackiest videos to YouTube, blog every sordid detail of our personal lives so as to insure at least fifty inbound links, add 200 new "friends" a day to our MySpace page with the help of, all the time hoping that one day all our efforts at self-promotion will merit--at the very least--our very own Wikipedia entry.

In The Frenzy of Renown, written in 1986, Leo Braudy documented the long and intimate relationship between mass media and fame. The more plentiful, accessible and immediate the ways of gathering and distributing information have become, he wrote, the more ways there are to be known: "In the past that medium was usually literature, theater, or public monuments. With the Renaissance came painting and engraved portraits, and the modern age has added photography, radio, movies, and television. As each new medium of fame appears, the human image it conveys is intensified and the number of individuals celebrated expands."
I don't think are necessarily seeking fame on the Internet, but rather, connection. I once read a quote that I paraphrase: "a thought that isn't written down never occurred." I'd add to that that a thought that isn't shared isn't much of a thought. That way of thinking demands a form of expression. If the Internet didn't exist, we'd have to invent it, and fast!

The broadcast media's voracious appetite for spectacle insured that notoriety and fame soon became subsumed by an all-encompassing notion of celebrity, where simply being on TV became the ultimate stamp of recognition. ... Fame is now reduced to its most basic ingredient: public attention. And the attention doesn't have to be positive either, as in the case of the man in Belfast who bit the head off a mouse for a YouTube video. "In our own time merely being looked at carries all the necessary ennoblement," Braudy wrote twenty years ago, words that ring truer than ever today.
I think of the modern media arts as being very powerful agents, practically like explosives. Over the last century, the audience has had to learn to discriminate among the various new explosives suddenly seeking their attention. The artists using these media are well-trained and have apprenticed many years. They've earned their place. The increasingly-well-trained public actually has little patience for brazen people who simply seek attention - why should they indulge simple attention-seekers when they have so many other options?
Celebrity has become a commodity in itself, detached from and more valuable than wealth or achievement. Even rich New York socialites feel the need for their own blog,, to get in on the action. The advice for aspiring celebutantes may be tongue-in-cheek--"To become a relevant socialite, you are virtually required to have your name in the press"--but no less true in this age of Paris Hilton wannabes.
It's harder to get famous than to get rich! The obscure rich know this sad fact!
Fame is no longer a perk of success but a necessary ingredient, whether as a socialite, chef, scholar or skateboarder. "For a great many people it is no longer enough to be very good at what you do. One also has to be a public figure, noticed and celebrated, and preferably televised," writes Hal Niedzviecki in his book Hello, I'm Special. When it is more important to be seen than to be talented, it is hardly surprising that the less gifted among us are willing to fart our way into the spotlight.
Sorry, this is rubbish (although maybe as a farting ex-candidate for Governor, I should just keep my mouth shut, but I'm never the one to let the risk of hypocrisy stand in the way of a good argument).
In the 1950s, only 12 percent of teenagers between 12 and 14 agreed with the statement, "I am an important person." By the late 1980s, the number had reached an astounding 80 percent, an upward trajectory that shows no sign of reversing. Preliminary findings from a joint study conducted by Jean Twenge, Keith Campbell and three other researchers revealed that an average college student in 2006 scored higher than 65 percent of the students in 1987 on the standard Narcissism Personality Inventory test, which includes statements such as "I am a special person," "I find it easy to manipulate people" and "If I were on the Titanic, I would deserve to be on the first lifeboat." In her recent book Generation Me, Twenge applies that overarching label to everyone born between 1970 and 2000.
My, aren't we applying a very broad brush here! "Everyone born between 1970 and 2000": thank goodness for 9/11, because now we are serious again! In many ways, I think this so-called narcissism is actually a healthy development, where people begin to value themselves as they should be valued, and not as industrial cogs, or consumers, or whatever! As those supposedly-narcissistic Greeks said, "man is the measure of all things," by which they meant they weren't like those drone-like Persians of their day. I also remember something John Adams wrote, about how he had encountered a singing worker that day, and greatly admired his talent, and how he wished he had had more time to indulge in the arts and could have devoted less time to government. These statistics are a blessing, not a curse! And I doubt I deserved to be on the first lifeboat off the Titanic - that was for social-climbing "Alice Beane", not for myself!
Not only do Americans increasingly want to be famous, but they also believe they will be famous, more so than any previous generation. A Harris poll conducted in 2000 found that 44 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 believed it was at least somewhat likely that they would be famous for a short period. Those in their late twenties were even more optimistic: Six in ten expected that they would be well-known, if only briefly, sometime in their lives.
Sadly, fame is for the very, very few: there just isn't enough time or people available to make it work for everyone. But these numbers I find suspect: "44 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24?" - I wonder what the exact wording of the question was, and what, exactly, was meant by "fame"? I don't think the young are that clueless, especially modern media youth, unless they meant getting a brief mention on the TV News one evening a decade or so....
Without any meaningful standard by which to measure our worth, we turn to the public eye for affirmation. "It's really the sense that Hey, I exist in this world, and that is important. That I matter," Niedzviecki says. Our "normal" lives therefore seem impoverished and less significant compared with the media world, which increasingly represents all that is grand and worthwhile, and therefore more "real."
The Greeks turned to the public eye - why shouldn't we? And don't use the argument that the Greeks were after permanent merit and we are after fleeting moments of fame. Any idiot can note that fleeting moments, if captured on film, can become more permanent than buildings, people, or even nations!
The evolution of the Internet has both mirrored and shaped the intense focus on self that is the hallmark of the post-boomer generation. "If you aren't posting, you don't exist. People say, 'I post, therefore I am,'" Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, a new media consultancy, told Wired, inadvertently capturing the essence of Web 2.0, which is driven by our hunger for self-expression.
In the limited sense I spoke about above, that is correct!
Self-expression glides effortlessly into self-promotion as we shape our online selves--be it on a MySpace profile, LiveJournal blog or a YouTube video--to insure the greatest attention. Nothing beats good old-fashioned publicity even in the brave new world of digital media. ... YouTube has become the virtual equivalent of Los Angeles, the destination de rigueur for millions of celebrity aspirants....
You got a problem with that?
As Jean Twenge points out, individualism doesn't necessarily preclude a social conscience or desire to do good. "But [Generation Me] articulates it as 'I want to make a difference,'" she says. "The outcome is still good, but it does put the self in the center." Stephen Duncombe, on the other hand, author of the new book Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy, argues that rather than dismiss our yearning for individual recognition, progressives need to create real-world alternatives that offer such validation. For example, in place of vast anonymous rallies that aim to declare strength in numbers, he suggests that liberal activism should be built around small groups. "The size of these groups is critical. They are intimate affairs, small enough for each participant to have an active role in shaping the group's direction and voice," he writes. "In these 'affinity groups,' as they are called, every person is recognized: in short, they exist."
Good for this Duncombe fellow! He'd be a good Ancient Greek!
There is a happier alternative. If these corporate technologies of self-promotion work as well as promised, they may finally render fame meaningless. If everyone is onstage, there will be no one left in the audience. And maybe then we rock stars can finally turn our attention to life down here on earth. Or it may be life on earth that finally jolts us out of our admiring reverie in the mirrored hall of fame. We forget that this growing self-involvement is a luxury afforded to a generation that has not experienced a wide-scale war or economic depression. If and when the good times come to an end, so may our obsession with fame.
Like in community theater, the audience and the players often can trade places. Long live fame! Long live self-involved luxury!
Faces Friday

Old School room vibe: somewhat aggressive; somewhat of a surprise. House room: simulations everywhere. And what's with that handheld green laser? I'd like one of those!
32 Year Ago Today...

I bought my first car: a forest green 1970 VW Bug with automatic stick shift transmission. Fine car!
Step Back From The Paintings! Please!

Steve Wynn is sitting on top of a whole bunch of art. If he handles the merchandise again, he might make a fortune!:
Months after he accidentally poked a hole in a Picasso painting, casino magnate Steve Wynn today sued Lloyd's of London for failing to pay off a $54 million insurance claim. Wynn, who purchased the painting "Le Reve" for $48.4 million in 1997, contends that the painting was worth $139 million when, on September 30, he "accidentally placed a tear" in it while showing the work ... to friends visiting his Las Vegas office. According to Wynn's U.S. District Court complaint, ... the businessman contends that, as a result of the tear, the painting's value has plummeted to $85 million. He has demanded that Lloyd's pay him the difference in the appreciated value of the painting and its post-damage worth. The day before he punctured the painting, Wynn had entered into an agreement with hedge fund titan Steven Cohen to sell "Le Reve" for $139 million. That deal died after the damage was disclosed to Cohen.
As the Movable Buffet notes:
So, if things work out Wynn's way, that elbow was a pretty good mistake for him to make. Wynn claims he is entitled to keep the restored painting as well as to collect a check from the insurance company for $5.6 million more than he originally paid for "Le Reve." With deals like that available why not poke a fork through the rest of the collection and build another resort with the profits?

Friday, January 26, 2007


How the Iraq War resembles the Savings and Loan debacle of the 1980's:
The other rule of Texas high-rollers back then was to never place your own money into risky deals. Instead use what they called "OPM," Other People's Money. In the case of the S&L debacle, the money stolen and squandered was taxpayer insured savings.

That's precisely the kind of deal Bush has had going in Iraq, and wants to extend. He's not putting his own children's lives at risk, but OPK - Other People's Kids. And his rolling deployments gathers no loss. As long as he can keep feeding fresh troops into Iraq his project cannot be proven a failure. If Bush can just keep borrowing other people's kids to place at risk, and rolling over - renewing -- his Iraq policy for just two more years, he's home free. It's another Texas "win/win" in which the perp gets away and the American people pay the price.
Hollywood Kidz

Have different problems than kidz elsewhere:
Most 10-year-olds are happy with an allowance and some video games.

Budding filmmaker Dominic Scott Kay wants creative control, along with a shot at the Sundance Film Festival. And, as often happens in the entertainment business, to get what he wants he's headed to court with one of Hollywood's top litigators in tow.

The child actor, whose credits include Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report" and voicing Wilbur the pig in Paramount Pictures' recent "Charlotte's Web," is in a creative battle with Conroy Kanter, the financier of the short film Kay directed. The two met when Kay played with Kanter's son on a soccer team.

"She wanted to make all the decisions and stuff," Kay said. "She wanted final cut and everything."

Kay alleges in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court that Kanter, his Malibu neighbor, is trying to wrestle away control of "Saving Angelo," starring actor Kevin Bacon, which she helped bankroll with $11,000.
Reasoning From Absence

When I went to Australia recently, I expected to see many sheep, but hardly saw any at all. Was it the drought? Or was it something else???(from Mighty Nibus at b3ta).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

D.C. Snark

As a public service, Yglesias makes fun of TNR's Editor Martin Peretz. And apparently N.M. Senator Pete Domenici is slowly going senile.

The McElroys go canine on us!
Mmmm, I'm a star!
And the audience loves me!
And I love them
And they love me for loving them
And I love them for loving me
And we love each other
And that's because none of us
Got enough love in our childhoods
And that's showbiz...
New Mexico Bishops Oppose Cockfighting

Courtesy of Gabe, rumblings among the bishops:
... consider a January 18 declaration from the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued to State Senator Mary Jane Garcia, in support of her bill to ban cockfighting. It’s the first time a Catholic body has ever taken an official position on the subject.

The conference is composed of New Mexico’s three bishops – Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, and Bishop Donald Pelotte of Gallup.

Allen Sanchez, executive director of the conference, said in a prepared statement: “The church teaches that we are called to a stewardship of God’s creatures, and there are principles in how to care for animals. … The bishops recognize that cockfighting is abusive of God’s good creation … Cockfighting promotes violence.”
Interesting. I hadn't considered the Church's position on the matter, maybe because the debate seemed a little too temporal in nature. Cockfighting is also quite popular in some quarters, which is probably why the Church had to mull it over for a few hundred years, or so.
What The Atheist Child Wants For Christmas

Pop answer to the teacher's pop quiz (courtesy of John, who says "I found this essay on a blog this morning--pretty amazing and insightful, especially for a child of 11 or 12").

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dick Cheney Sees the Great White Whale Again

Captain Ahab is just as nuts as ever. It's particularly ironic to hear him talk, now, about how we have to have the stomach to tough it out, when prior to the invasion, all the Administration wanted to talk about was how easy it all was going to be (Ken Adelman's 'cakewalk' for example), and how we should go shopping to show our support for the nation. And now, after years of demonizing Democrats as terrorists (Bush himself recently said that if the Democrats win, the terrorists win), they seem surprised that so many are less-than-compliant about putting new troops immediately into harm's way. And indications abound that we are still currently planning attacks on Iran soon, so, if anything, it's not about toughing it out, it's that the Iraq War is just a wedge for a whole new series of wars in the Middle East....

Someone needs to get Cheney something smaller, like a White Whale, to obsess over:
Q The President himself speaks about a nightmare scenario right now. He was contained, as you repeatedly said throughout the '90s, after the first Gulf War, in a box, Saddam Hussein.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, he was after the first Gulf War -- had managed -- he kicked out all the inspectors. He was providing payments to the families of suicide bombers. He was a safe haven for terror, was one of the prime state sponsors of terror, as designated by our State Department, for a long time. He'd started two wars. He had violated 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions. If he were still there today, we'd have a terrible situation. Today, instead --

Q But there is a terrible situation.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, there is not. There is not. There's problems, ongoing problems, but we have, in fact, accomplished our objectives of getting rid of the old regime, and there is a new regime in place that's been there for less than a year, far too soon for you guys to write them off. They have got a democratically written constitution, first ever in that part of the world. They've had three national elections. So there's been a lot of success.

Q How worried are you --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: We still have more work to do to get a handle on the security situation, but the President has put a plan in place to do that.

Q How worried are you of this nightmare scenario, that the U.S. is building up this Shiite-dominated Iraqi government with an enormous amount of military equipment, sophisticated training, and then in the end, they're going to turn against the United States?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Wolf, that's not going to happen. The problem that you've got --

Q Very -- very -- warming up to Iran and Syria right now.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Wolf, you can come up with all kinds of what-ifs. You've got to deal with the reality on the ground. The reality on the ground is, we've made major progress, we've still got a lot of work to do. There are a lot of provinces in Iraq that are relatively quiet. There's more and more authority transferred to the Iraqis all the time.

But the biggest problem we face right now is the danger that the United States will validate the terrorist strategy, that, in fact, what will happen here with all of the debate over whether or not we ought to stay in Iraq, with the pressures from some quarters to get out of Iraq, if we were to do that, we would simply validate the terrorists' strategy that says the Americans will not stay to complete the task --

Q Here's the Nouri al Maliki --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: -- that we don't have the stomach for the fight.

Q Here's the problem.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: That's the biggest threat right now.

Q Here's the problem that I see, and tell me if I'm wrong -- that he seems to be more interested right now, the Prime Minister of Iraq, in establishing good relations with Iran and Syria than he is with moderate Arab governments, whether in Jordan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I just think you're wrong, Wolf. He's been working with all of them. They're all in the neighborhood. He's got to develop relationships with all of them, and he is.

Q Because he's a Shia, and these moderate Arab governments are Sunni.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: He's also an Iraqi. He's not a Persian. There's a big difference between the Persians and the Arabs, although they're both Shia. You can't just make the simple statement that he's Shia, therefore he's the enemy. The majority of the population in Iraq is Shia. And for the first time, we've had elections, and majority rule will prevail there. But the notion that somehow the effort hasn't been worth it, or that we shouldn't go ahead and complete the task, is just dead wrong.

Q Here's what Jim Webb, senator from Virginia, said in his Democratic response last night. He said:

"The President took us into the war recklessly. We are now, as a nation, held hostage to the predictable and predicted disarray that has followed."

And it's not just Jim Webb, it's some of your good Republican friends in the Senate and the House, are now seriously questioning your credibility because of the blunders, of the failures. All right, Gordon Smith --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Wolf, Wolf, I simply don't accept the premise of your question. I just think it's hogwash. Remember --

Q What, that there were no blunders? The President himself says there were blunders --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Remember, remember me -- remember with me what happened in Afghanistan. The United States was actively involved in Afghanistan in the '80s supporting the effort against the Soviets. The Mujahideen prevailed, everybody walked away. And in Afghanistan, within relatively short order, the Taliban came to power, they created a safe haven for al Qaeda, training camps were established where some 20,000 terrorists trained in the late '90s. And out of that, out of Afghanistan, because we walked away and ignored it, we had the attack on the USS Cole, the attack on the embassies in East Africa, and 9/11, where the people trained and planned in Afghanistan for that attack and killed 3,000 Americans. That is what happens when we walk away from a situation like that in the Middle East.

Now you might have been able to do that before 9/11. But after 9/11, we learned that we have a vested interest in what happens on the ground in the Middle East. Now, if you are going to walk away from Iraq today and say, well, gee, it's too tough, we can't complete the task, we just are going to quit, you'll create exactly that same kind of situation again.

Now, the critics have not suggested a policy. They haven't put anything in place. All they want to do, all they've recommended is to redeploy or to withdraw our forces. The fact is, we can complete the task in Iraq. We're going to do it. We've got Petraeus -- General Petraeus taking over. It is a good strategy. It will work. But we have to have the stomach to finish the task.

Q What if the Senate passes a resolution saying, this is not a good idea. Will that stop you?

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: It won't stop us, and it would be, I think detrimental from the standpoint of the troops, as General Petraeus said yesterday. He was asked by Joe Lieberman, among others, in his testimony, about this notion that somehow the Senate could vote overwhelmingly for him, send him on his new assignment, and then pass a resolution at the same time and say, but we don't agree with the mission you've been given.

Q So you're moving forward no matter what the consequences?

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: We are moving forward. We are moving forward. The Congress has control over the purse strings. They have the right, obviously, if they want, to cut off funding. But in terms of this effort, the President has made his decision. We've consulted extensively with them. We'll continue to consult with the Congress. But the fact of the matter is, we need to get the job done. I think General Petraeus can do it. I think our troops can do it. And I think it's far too soon for the talking heads on television to conclude that it's impossible to do, it's not going to work, it can't possibly succeed.
Bird Brains

I remember, when I was a kid, when our dog, Ranger, went a-huntin', and brought back a battered but screaming chicken that sounded very much like a woman being attacked. Nothing like hearing a bloody murder at 6 a.m. to kick you out of your slumber! I guess the screaming works both ways :
Hundreds of chickens have been found dead in east China -- and a court has ruled that the cause of death was the screaming of a four-year-old boy who in turn had been scared by a barking dog, state media reported on Wednesday.

... A villager was quoted as saying the little boy bent over the henhouse window, screaming for a long time, after being scared by the dog.

... A court ruled the boy's screaming was "the only unexpected abnormal sound" and that 443 chickens trampled each other to death in fear.

The boy's father was ordered to pay 1,800 yuan ($230) in compensation to the owner of the chickens.
Funny, It Doesn't Seem That Lonely...

If no one is in the forest to hear a tree fall, did it?:
If you hang around TV people long enough, you learn some wild things. My favorite fact, after two weeks of meetings, chatting and general hanging out with television executives, producers and stars, is this:

Only 8 percent of Americans read blogs. Eight percent. For all the energy that TV networks -- not to mention political operations and, frankly, newspapers and other news organizations -- put into the blogosphere, it's a tiny percentage of people who even notice.

That came from CBS chief research officer David Poltrack and MRI Research, a respected New York firm that sampled 20,000 people.

"One of the things that's probably overstated by the press is how many people are visiting online blogs," Poltrack said in a presentation to TV critics. "I think you all blog each other, but I'm not sure the rest of the world is joining in the process that much."

In a conversation later, Poltrack said he would guess the majority of people who do read blogs are bloggers themselves.

"That does not leave a whole lot of real people who spend their time with blogs," he said.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Getting Carried Away With Kylie!

High-quality video of the Australian tour now appearing on YouTube! This is what was most important about going to Oz (apart from parrots and kangaroos) - to see the best pop star who has ever performed, in concert!

Light Years / Turn It Into Love Kylie Showgirl Homecoming

Finale Of The Show - Let Kylie Be Your Purser!

Over The Rainbow Kylie Showgirl Homecoming

Kylie Descends To Oz On The Crescent Moon!

Kylie Minogue - Medley

What Do I Have To Do/ Shocked /Spinning Around - The best ensemble dancing of the show

Slow Kylie Showgirl Homecoming

Spectacular beefcake in motion!

Not A Bad Way To Go!

Dead before he hit the ground!
Authorities say a 68-year-old skydiver apparently suffered a heart attack or stroke during a jump that ended in his death over the weekend.

White Diamond Kylie Showgirl Homecoming

No better way to promote a new song than by having the professionals post their video!

State of the Union 2007 - Bush Impression

Last "Showgirl Homecoming" Show

Should be underway at this instant! They cobbled together some replacement dates for the folks who suffered lost evenings due to the flu:
In addition to the two new shows announced yesterday: Sunday 21/1 (replacing Monday 15/1) and Monday 22/1 (replacing Tuesday 16/1) we are pleased to announce a third and final additional show on Tuesday 23/1 for those who attended last Saturday night's show which finished early.

Kylie said today: "Firstly, I'd like to apologise to those who attended last Saturday night's show at the M.E.N. Arena; I was hoping to feel better as the day progressed unfortunately the opposite was true. I'm sorry too for all those inconvenienced by the postponements.

I would just like to clarify the situation after seeing false reports in today's press claiming that I had ignored doctor's instructions. I have not at any stage ignored the advice of my doctors, in fact I postponed two shows this week on their advice in order to be healthy enough to finish the "Showgirl Homecoming" tour.

Nearly all of my crew were hit by this terrible 'flu during the course of this tour and despite my best efforts I too succumbed last week.

I am now overjoyed to announce that I have been declared fit to return to the stage on Thursday and we will now be adding three replacement shows next week so as not to disappoint anyone!"
YouTube Limitations

Interesting opinion about the potentials and limitations of YouTube in politics. What's needed is some kind of intermediary - a DJ of political ads, a political MTV, to collect and distribute the videos on television. It isn't so much that average voters are apathetic, it's that they have little time to spare to troll the Internet:
There's no doubt this trend has reached a tipping point in terms of campaign strategy and that Web video has become the shiny new toy of politics. "The ubiquity of it is so amazing," says Hillary Clinton's Internet strategist, Peter Daou, "the sky's the limit." The allure is indeed powerful -- Web video enables campaigns to reach politically-engaged citizens without the filter of the critical media and without the expense of paying for TV ads.

But what struck me most about the article was the relatively small numbers of peoples of the year (as Time magazine called you/us) who were actually watching these videos. For example, the video John Edwards released prefacing his campaign launch announcement event in New Orleans has been seen by 100,000 viewers. That's a healthy hunk of change, and a far greater audience than Edwards or other candidates would have reached four years ago at this time. But it is a pittance compared to the number of people who watched the ads on the Saints-Bears playoff game on Fox yesterday in New Orleans.

Which is to say, we are hardly at killer app stage yet, and my sense is we are a fairly long way away from realizing the transformative potential that Hillary's Internet strategist touted. The penetration of broadband and the use of Youtube and its competitors are indeed rapidly growing, but not at the pace that can change actuarial tables -- or the fact that the people most likely to vote (senior citizens) are least likely to watch video on the web. Nor can it magically erase voter apathy -- or the fact that watching television (and the ads on it) is a passive exercise, while it still takes an affirmative act to watch a web video, no matter how easy it has become.
The Libby Trial

It looks like it's going to be really interesting! Ultimately, it's all about how Dick Cheney has been running a shadow government from within the Administration, free from the burden of following the law, and answerable to no one. In comparison, it makes the Medicis look like good-government reform types.
Photos From Third Weekend Of "Mame"

Photos from Saturday and Sunday.

Mame (Mary Young) and Vera (Peggy Schecter).

Vera (Peggy Schecter), M. Lindsay Woolsey (Paul Schecter) and Mame (Mary Young).

Mame (Mary Young), Agnes Gooch (Monica Parisi), Vera (Peggy Schecter).

Mrs. Upson (Caroline Gregory), Mr. Babcock (Steve Isaacson), Patrick (Robert Coverdell), Gloria Upson (Rebekah Shepard - obscured), and Pegeen (Angela Yee).

Left to right: Young Patrick (Andrew Lampinen), Mame (Mary Young), Agnes Gooch (Monica Parisi), Ito (Andy Hyun).

Young Patrick (Andrew Lampinen), Mame (Mary Young), Ito (Andy Hyun), and Agnes Gooch (Monica Parisi).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Patriotic Furor

The Australian flag is banned at an upcoming country music festival as representing 'gang colours,' and now everyone is getting riled.
Some Typos Tell The Truth

See if you agree:

The community service is piling up for "Girls Gone Wild" mogul Joe Francis.

The producer of racy videos featuring young — and often naked — women was sentenced today to 200 hours of community service over two years by a federal judge in Los Angeles and was placed on two years probation for failing to adequately document the ages of his subjects. The amount of time was double what Francis' lawyers had sought.

...The sentencing stems from a plea agreement Francis made with the Department of Justice in September, when he admitted to shooting underage women in his videos and pleaded guilty to two felony counts of violating federal record-keeping laws.

... In addition, Francis has greed to pay $500,000 in fines in California, with his company paying an additional $1.6 million in fines in Florida in a related case.

... "Of course I've been unfairly targeted by the government," Francis said. "What better target than Joe Francis?"
Joseph Kennedy, Nevada Ballet Theater

Got a call on Sunday from Linda Walker, at Tucson Regional Ballet. It was great to catch up on old times there!

I asked how the family was doing, and she said her son, Joseph Kennedy, now performs with Nevada Ballet Theater.

Looking at his picture - wow! A soloist! Amazing!

I remember Joseph most strongly as an enthusiastic, talkative six-year-old with a toothy grin. I remember seeing him again as a handsome, serious fourteen-year-old.

My, how times change!
Snowy Surprise In Arizona

I missed forecasting the Sunday Arizona snow storm - it was the weekend, I wasn't checking the Internet, and I would have likely overlooked it anyway looking after the summer monsoon in Australia. Hope it was fun, though!
"Where Did You Get Such Long Legs?" - Third Weekend Of "Mame"

The third weekend went pretty well. For me, Friday was a weak performance - I stumbled over a small line near the opening ("the first lady of the American Theater is in there - out cold!": the second 'the' always trips me up), and made any number of small mistakes throughout the first act.

Saturday felt fine. Ryan Adame and crew showed up. Ryan laughed about my tights in the modern dance sequence, and the way they made him feel. It felt to good to be objectified as a sexual object, even if only fleetingly. Wendy Young Carey's class of music kidz showed up and gave her a rousing round of applause at curtain bows.

On Sunday, the audience was eager to laugh. They even chuckled when I said my opening line, which was odd, because it isn't that funny. Monique McKisson was in the audience, and helped lead audience applause during the "Mame" kick line sequence.

Mary Young got slightly rattled in the 'That's How Young I Feel Dance' because of a wardrobe malfunction: a belt came loose. Mary signalled to Monica Parisi to help reattach the loose belt while everyone was seated at the bar during the 'doo doo doo' sequence, but there just wasn't enough time, and so Mary continued dancing with the loose belt. The loose belt loosened Mary's tongue as well, and in the middle of the fast dance routine, when everyone else is beginning to gasp for breath, Mary began babbling, almost scat singing, and improvising a modernist, Bauhaus-style, stream-of-consciousness commentary on the dance number underway that had the audience laughing. Almost like old SNL Sprocket's host Mike Myers saying "now ve dance!"

While we were doing a series of 'chug' steps, Mary commented that "there were too many of these!" When Robert Coverdell stepped forward for the 'Charleston' sequence of steps, Mary asked "where did you get such long legs?" When we stepped back into a line, Mary distracted both myself and Monica by mugging at us. Mary's dancing began careening out-of-control during all this, with all the distractions, but by bringing the audience into the dance sequence, she heightened everyone's enjoyment of the show.

We even got a standing ovation during curtain call. Go figure!

Driving back to the office after Friday afternoon's haircut, I had the radio on AM-1320, where they were announcing one of the semi-periodic Iraq War protests in Sacramento, which sometimes occur at 16th & J and sometimes at 16th & Broadway. Friday's protest was going to be at 16th & Broadway and would feature Vacaville's own Cindy Sheehan. I had missed seeing Sheehan during her last protest visit to Sacramento, so I resolved to go down and check it out.

I arrived five minutes before the end of the protest, at 6 p.m. Sheehan had already left for an after-protest get-together, and so I spent five minutes listening to the bongo drum, waving at passing cars, and talking with the Code Pink women. At one point, a police cruiser crawled by, and a knowing, cynical chuckle passed through the protestors. People passing by honked their horns and displayed lots of support.

I should spend more time with these folks....