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February 2003 Archives

February 28, 2003

A lot of buzz about

A lot of buzz about Gus van Sant's new movie Gerry. Is it Waiting for Godot for our age? Is it masterfully shot? Is it interminably boring? Is it The Fast Runner but with Matt Damon (tm Whiskas)? One reviewer suggests that your take on it will depend on how old you are [via King Pigeon]. Tell you what: I'll see it and tell you about it, so you don't have to go. That's what the 'bot is here for.

NYT columnist Clyde Haberman on

NYT columnist Clyde Haberman on backlash against France in the city. The story so far: not much anger, just some "rumblings from the cheese counter" at Zabar's. Unlike in Beaufort, NC, says Haberman, "where a restaurant called Cubbie's replaced French fries with 'freedom fries.' It seems not to have dawned on the people of Beaufort that the very name of their town is French."

Salon has part 2 of

Salon has part 2 of the article about the Loebner Prize and its eccentric founder...and you only have to sit through a 5-second ad to read it. Hurry up, in case Salon goes out of business before you finish reading the ad.

NYT has a piece on

NYT has a piece on Callaway-modified Corvettes, which go 190 mph and are engineered in a sleepy Connecticut town. Not sure why the NYT is running this article now, as the company has been in business nearly 20 years.

Letterman's "eye infection", turned out

Letterman's "eye infection", turned out to be shingles, aka herpes zoster, aka "Chickenpox: it's not just for kids anymore." Anyway, here's some info on shingles. At least he doesn't have rickets, scurvy, croup, or ague.

Case you're interested, here's the complete DNA sequence of the virus. (thanks matt)

February 27, 2003

Follow up to Amy's "Playboy/Starbucks"

Follow up to Amy's "Playboy/Starbucks" post below: Here's the actual press release from the Bunny. Not exactly safe for work, since the URL is

playboyenterprises.com/promote_corporate_and_sexual_
objectification_of_women.html

Relatedly, Playgirl is seeking models for its upcoming "Men of Amy's Robot" issue. Well, PG, look no further! Still not convinced? Try this on for size.

There's a bit of a

There's a bit of a flap over Spain Tourism's "Spain Marks" campaign, which (among other things) features the back of a woman with thong-shaped tan lines. This is already widely known in an Internet kind of way. The other pictures from the campaign, in case you're interested, are more mild, except for the one of the, uh, topless mermaid which, IMO, is even more suggestive than the thong one.

Interestingly, the controversial thong picture has been removed from the English language portion of www.spain.info, but remains at the Norwegian(?) version of the same site.

Remember that brief moment in

Remember that brief moment in the mid-90's when London was the coolest city in the world and the Blur/Oasis battle made headlines? A new documentary about it all is called Live Forever. I'm already misty.

Starbucks is about to join

Starbucks is about to join the ranks of Enron and 7-11 as a company whose female employees have been featured posing naked in Playboy.

A 35-year-old West Pottsgrove, PA

A 35-year-old West Pottsgrove, PA woman displayed an artificial penis, in a sexual nature, to three juveniles, chased them and hit one child on the head with it, according to court documents. [via obscurestore, which is the best at this sort of thing.]

This article made me wish

This article made me wish I lived in LA, for the first time ever: "Heroic Grace: The Chinese Martial Arts Film," is a five-years-in-the-making UCLA Film and Television Archive series that opens Friday. I may as well take a moment to mention some martial arts movies that are truly extraordinary, a couple of which are screening at the festival: Iron Monkey (which was re-issued a couple years ago and which most people know about by now), Twin Warriors (aka Tai Chi Master, starring Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh), and Last Hurrah for Chivalry, an amazing early John Woo movie. Seriously, if you haven't seen these, you should, even if you're not wild about martial arts movies.

While we're on the topic, remember that The Bulletproof Monk (which is like a cross between The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, but whose source material predates both of them) is on the way in April, but doesn't look particularly great.

All you NY'ers who want

All you NY'ers who want to jump on the orchid bandwagon after seeing Adaptation or reading The Orchid Thief can head way up to the Bronx this weekend to see some special flowers at the New York Botanical Garden's orchid show. NYT has an article.

February 26, 2003

I'm glad. I wonder if

libeskind wtc

I'm glad. I wonder if it'll ever get built.

Some stuff:

Amy's Robot Special Edition: Fun

Amy's Robot Special Edition: Fun With Food! We share our favorite recipes:

Kitty litter cake, with tootsie roll accents! [via Whiskas]

Beer cake! Very moist.

Debauchery with popsicles!

Brad Pitt saves pedestrian from

Brad Pitt saves pedestrian from out-of-control car! Wow, he's the new Tom Cruise! Wow, he's the new Harrison Ford! Wow, he's the new Leo DiCaprio!

$140,000 mugging in NYC.

$140,000 mugging in NYC.

A recent informal census of

A recent informal census of NYC's homeless (that this blogger's do-gooder graduate program tried to get her to take part in) seems to indicate that... there are hardly any homeless people in New York. Maybe that's because the census takers were asking hotel night clerks outside for a cigarette break if they were homeless.

Kazem al-Sahir, an Iraqi pop

Kazem al-Sahir, an Iraqi pop star who tops the charts in Muslim countries, is performing now in Vegas and on Friday in New York. It probably helps that he carries a Canadian passport.

Dan Rather on how he

Dan Rather on how he got the Saddam interview.

It's already on Slashdot, but

It's already on Slashdot, but this is probably the best web-only article I've read in my entire life. Salon has a long piece about the craziness behind the Loebner Prize, a competition based on the Turing Test for artificial intelligence. Except for a couple paragraphs in the middle, it is an amazing piece, esp. if you are interested in AI and the culture of technology.

Oh yeah, I meant to

Oh yeah, I meant to tell you about candlepowerforums.com. These people are really into their flashlights. Don't believe me? Check out this thread.

Maybe you heard Broadway's musicans

Maybe you heard Broadway's musicans union is about to strike. But, the show must go on! So, computers will play the music instead. [NYT] I hope it's not the same computers that (apparently) came up with the idea for Dance of the Vampires.

If you're not already horrified

If you're not already horrified at the ass-kissy hubris surrounding media coverage of celebrities, look no further than Fametracker's recap of the GQ Hollywood issue: they suffer through it so you don't have to. Features coverage of the GQ Man of the Year awards, probably the most made-up irrelevant waste of time award yet. In case you have occassion to read this magazine (over 300 pages!) the story about the filming of The Outsiders (p. 240) contains lots of exposes courtesy of C. Thomas Howell, who judging from his recent career, had nothing to lose by telling all.

February 25, 2003

Don't forget about American Candidate,

Don't forget about American Candidate, the forthcoming reality show from FX, which will allow Americans to choose a candidate for President (of the United States) American-Idol-style. The show has a strong pedigree -- its creator worked on The War Room and the doc about Oliver North's run for the Senate. Remember, of course, that whoever America chooses to be president won't actually be president -- or even an official candidate. The winner would have to become an actual candidate of his/her own volition and then go through the whole process again, except this time in real reality, against some senators instead of cast-offs from Survivor and The Bachelorette.

Wired has a story about

Wired has a story about a guy who wrote some software that (link fixed) looks at a scanned image of a record, interprets the grooves, and produces music loosely connected to the original. You can listen to the results, and even download the software yourself for free (if you know how to compile software and run it on Linux). Turns out this story was on Slashdot, but since I didn't see it there, I guess I'll blog it. Great, now it's on blogdex, too. Oh, well. And I thought you'd hear it here first.

Struggling, listless MSNBC has finally

Struggling, listless MSNBC has finally axed the Phil Donahue show, presumably in favor of the forthcoming Jesse Ventura show. If that doesn't work out, I guess they can always exhume the body of late-80s crypto-fascist Morton Downey Jr. and give his warmed-over corpse a show.

Here's some good afternoon reading:

Here's some good afternoon reading: Robert Blake talking to Bonnie Bakley about the baby she was carrying before she was killed. He really wanted her to get an abortion. He thought she was up to something bad. This page is from the middle. You can scroll around and read the rest.

Any guesses on which single

Any guesses on which single Supreme Court justice ruled against an inmate on Texas' death row, who claimed he got an unfair trial stacked with white jurors, and didn't get to show his own evidence? Take a shot. Yes, it's our old friend Clarence Thomas. The former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and only black justice on the Supreme Court.

I don't know about this

I don't know about this Arby's oven mit mascot, mentioned below. It just reminds me of the Hamburger Helper glove, and so doesn't seem like a new or original idea. Plus, Tom Arnold (the Mit's voice), is the last person I want talking to me about fast food.

Globalization sucks: Carnival in Rio

Globalization sucks: Carnival in Rio is being attended by fewer locals and more foreigners on package tours, who can't sing or samba.

Arby's is unveiling its new

Arby's is unveiling its new "fun", "exciting", and "modern" marketing mascot: Oven Mitt. Apparently this is not a joke, though it bears striking resemblance to a fake fast-food character we read about last year.

February 24, 2003

Angelina has had her Billy

Angelina has had her Billy Bob tattoo removed. [via saltyt]

Scraggly truck driver from LA

Scraggly truck driver from LA won $1 million on the syndicated, afternoon version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, hosted by Meredith Viera. Here's a question-by-question account of the madness.

NYT's intrepid TV reporter Bill

NYT's intrepid TV reporter Bill Carter briefs us on the forthcoming reality TV series that the networks have lined up for the summer: Roseanne a la Anna Nicole, and Paris Hilton (not her sister, too), a la Green Acres. One twenty-something viewer explains: "When a scripted show isn't smart, it's bad; but when a reality show isn't smart, for some reason, it's entertaining. For some reason, you get off on the vapidity, sluttiness, stupidity and awkwardness of these shows."

Even so, CBS still hasn't figured out that no one cares about Big Brother. Also funny, CBS apparently has a senior official who is the "CBS executive in charge of reality".

This article from the NYT

This article from the NYT might shed some light on Amy's Iraqi psyops post below.

I guess this was mentioned

I guess this was mentioned in a Washington Post article last week: Naval Safety Center's "Safety Photo of the Week". New photos of people doing stupid things everyweek. It's funny but sickening, as some of the photos get pretty graphic. Whoever writes the narrative for the photos has a pretty sardonic view of things.

The psychological war on Iraq

The psychological war on Iraq has already begun: some sneaky country has taken control of Radio Tikrit and starting broadcasting to the Iraqis about their horrible living conditions and their impending doom [via Agent 0019].

NYT has an interview with

NYT has an interview with Rael, who, obviously, is leader of the Raelians, who claimed to have cloned a human or two. The article comes to an abrupt end, which makes it seem like it doesn't take its subject very seriously.

More cross-over between ads and

More cross-over between ads and porn, this time for Pony sneakers. [nyt]

February 23, 2003

Roman Polanski's rape victim has

Roman Polanski's rape victim has an editorial in today's LA Times. The gist: "Give him an Oscar if you want to." In case you're wondering, she identified herself as his victim in 1997. Oh yeah, and she'll be on Larry King Live on Monday night.

LA Times has a pain-in-the-ass login process, which you can skip by logging in as "amysrobot" and using the password "password". You're welcome.

NYC bar owners are making

NYC bar owners are making preparations for the smoking ban, which begins in a few weeks. [NYT]

NYT has another long profile

NYT has another long profile of Spanish Harlem, the third in the last month or so, though this one is written by a former resident, Ed Morales, a writer for the Village Voice. SpaHa, he says, is what people are calling it. He makes the point that the culture of the place is threatened with extinction, mainly because people like me (or maybe a little wealthier) have moved up here. I tend to agree...but I also think it's not fair to move out of a neighborhood and then complain that it's losing its identity because outsiders are moving in (as the author seems to have done). The piece also discusses the artist De La Vega, whose murals and sidewalk scrawls are familiar to anyone who has walked around on the east side above ~94th Street.

It's also interesting that the restaurant the author says he feels most comfortable in, La Fonda Boricua, is as upscale a restuarant as the neighborhood has, and is (as far as I've seen) the one most populated by outsiders.

February 22, 2003

In this NYT article about

In this NYT article about Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell moving to Vancouver because their teenage son wants to be discovered as a hockey player, it states Goldie was "dressed in a tight lavender tank top and drawstring pants with 'Juicy' spelled out in rhinestones on the rear". Well, isn't that funny? Why is it funny? It's funny because Renee Zellweger was photographed just the other day wearing exactly the same pants.

February 21, 2003

I don't think Spacey's career

I don't think Spacey's career is necessarily over, but I do think his legitimacy as an important actor is now in grave doubt. What was the last movie in which he turned in a significant performance? Arguably American Beauty, which wasn't a particularly challenging movie. Before that, it seemed like maybe he was on the right track, with Hurly Burly and LA Confidential. In my opinion, since he won his first Oscar (for Usual Suspects), those two films are the only truly decent things he's done. And yet, somehow, he has been annointed both Hollywood's moral barometer (replacing Tom Hanks) and one of our great actors.

Listen, Kevin, I loved you in 1995, but you have to realize (like Spider-Man) that with great power comes great responsibility, and that means you need to make good movies, not schmaltzy, melodramatic, pseudo-Spielberg "important" fluff. It doesn't matter whether you do comedies or dramas or Bobby Darin biopics -- just please do things that have a fresh approach and challenge your audience. Everything you've done since Hurly Burly has bit the big Kahuna, if you catch my drift. So please, get yourself back on track, lest the same fate befalls you as DeNiro and Pacino, men whose later careers can be summed up with a deadly accurate, tossed-off phrase from someone I used to know: "What a waste!"

OK so Kevin Spacey. The

OK so Kevin Spacey. The Former Moral Barometer of Our Nation (tm ADM). From all reports, The Life of David Gale is a well-acted movie, (Time Out review says: "It's difficult to warm to the effective performances because David Gale preaches its anti謀eath penalty views so relentlessly that even those who agree with them will be put off.") but the political agenda is so in-your-face that it makes it, well, pretty much just as sanctimonious and lame as say, Pay It Forward. Or as insulting to the audience's intelligence as K-Pax. Or as full of empty sentimentalism as The Shipping News. The Fametracker Fame Audit from earlier this week isn't quite so harsh, but I think we can say that Kevin Spacey's career is over.

I still say his best role ever was as Mel Profitt on "Wiseguy".

Washington Post has an interview

Washington Post has an interview with a novelist who, according to the reporter, has written the worst novel in the history of the English language. The plot: the inequity of Bush tax cuts. Will there be a sequel? Of course! "It will be about Bush's plan to exempt stock dividends in perpetuity from taxes."

Hey, Peter Arnett, who was

Hey, Peter Arnett, who was the pillar of Gulf War I coverage, will be covering Version 2.0 for MSNBC. Arnett, who has been freelancing since CNN fired him over that Operation Tailwind mix-up, deserves the post.

STOP THE PRESSES!!! STOP THE

STOP THE PRESSES!!! STOP THE PRESSES!!! ROGER EBERT GAVE KEVIN SPACEY'S NEW MOVIE ZERO STARS!!!!

Amy reminds you that the last movie (we think) to receive that distinction was TOMCATS.

The Boston Globe, which used to love everything, gave it one star!

The NYT doesn't use a star system, but describes it as such "a crude undertaking that it doesn't actually seem to have a heart at all".

So those are the facts. I guess I'll let Amy weigh in with the commentary, since we think the same thing.

Mr. Cremaster, has a new

Mr. Cremaster, has a new show at the Guggenheim. The article doesn't mention Bjork, even though she is his baby's mama.

NYT reviews the new Ali

NYT reviews the new Ali G show, previously mentioned here.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: apparently

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: apparently going to a club is one of the most dangerous things you can do in the U.S. these days. [via Agent 0019]

Here are two things I've

m-16skin cola

Here are two things I've seen in the subway in the last two days:

  • Very boyish National Guardsmen in full fatigues carrying M-16s patrolling the platforms, presumably to thwart turnstile jumpers and hassle people who try to slip by 2-for-1, but possibly to shoot down aerosolized anthr*x spores, one by one. Everyone looked at these guys with a cursory glance and then went on their way. Do you know why? Because it's normal and -- repeat after me -- necessary.
  • Posters for a much-needed new product, Skin Cola, which apparently cleans your skin (as any good cola does) "from within".

February 20, 2003

How about that astonishing finale

How about that astonishing finale of The Bachelorette last night? My goodness!! We all hoped for Ryan, but figured party girl Trista would take the plunge with Slick Charlie. Wow, were we relieved! It's true love, that's for sure. Way to go ABC...you strung us along and did not disappoint us with the obvious. Once Trista chose the shy firefighter, I knew there was only one thing left to do:

Bomb Iraq.

Alfred Molina, who is a

Alfred Molina, who is a big-time actor, will play Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2. I remember Molina mostly as the fire-cracker-tossing, psychotically ranting drug dealer at the end of Boogie Nights, but you probably remember him as Diego Rivera in Salma's Frida. Either way, he gets around.

So, since Doc Ock is some kind of doctor, maybe this news goes to confirm what I learned in a dream the other night: Spider-Man 2 will be about me going to the dentist, and Spider-Man will spend most of the movie sitting in the waiting room, reading magazines.

February 19, 2003

Are you like me --

Are you like me -- not cool enough to know how to pronounce the names of artists you like? Well, you might turn to Google for some help, and try to figure out how to pronounce some of them. My SOP on such queries is to type in the name of the person I'm looking for, along with the word "pronounced".

E.g., looking for "Goethe" and "pronounced" will give you the expected result, whereas "Van Gogh pronounced" will yield differing opinions.

So, today I tried out the technique on one recent favorite emcee: Xzibit. Now, in my mind's mouth, I've pronounced it "Zie-bit" all this time. But a certain blogging partner friend of mine said the other day she's pretty sure it's "Exhibit". Honestly, I totally missed the word play on this one. My brain isn't wired like that it seems. Anyway, to confirm this blogging partner friend of mine's suspicions, I tried out my old Google pronunciation guide trick on Xzibit. The results are funny...but not for the reason you would think: instead of telling you how to pronounce "Xzibit", they tell you how to pronounce every other ambiguously-pronounceable rap artist's name out there, and even some whose names you wouldn't think had debatable pronunciations (viz, "Air Force 1" is pronounced "AUR force one", apparently.)

But amongst all these pronunciation tips, I can't seem to find one (after an admittedly perfunctory search) that tells me how to pronounce "Xzibit". My only conclusion: Xzibit must be self-evidently pronounceable as "Exhibit", and I'm the only one who wasn't in on the joke.

One thing I love about

One thing I love about the Times is the down-home, local weekly paper feel that it sometimes achieves. The coverage of the Big Storm has a few great little moments, featuring thousands of free Krispy Kremes, thousands of squashed chickens, and some strange deaths attributed to the snow. Some of us found ways to forget we live in a mostly flat, paved city.

Now that we've passed the

Now that we've passed the 12 hour mark of this season of 24, I can say it with confidence: it's better than last season. Yeah yeah, the writers made a huge mistake by not killing off the infernal Kim Bauer, but at least they're demonstrating their solidarity with viewers by giving her hardly any screen time, flashing her erect nipples all over the place, and making her endure child abuse, getting arrested, a car wreck, possum traps, and leering militia men.

And the plot: it seems to have been thought through beyond the first 6 episodes this time. While I'm not sure the "I went away for my junior year abroad and instead of smoking pot and pretending to be a lesbian, I became a terrorist!" story (which Television Without Pity has dubbed The Junior Year Jihad) really holds water, it's more fun than the Palmer family drama.

February 18, 2003

The NYT reviews the last

The NYT reviews the last (and possibly doomed) Howard Johnson's restaurant in NYC. The verdict: the clam strips are terrible, the breakfast isn't bad. Includes some history of the chain, too, which originated in Massachusetts. Need more info than the article gives? Check out HoJoLand.com -- an authoritative guide to HoJo's legacy and current trauma.

If duct tape and plastic

If duct tape and plastic sheeting just aren't going to satisfy your homeland security needs, you should check out labsafety.com's Homeland Security section...they've got everything on your favorite pessimist's wishlist, be it a Tyvek suit, Emergency Decontamination Showers, or traffic barricades.

Not only is he rich

Not only is he rich (now), he's smart, too! Quoth the millionaire: "There's been something else I'd like to say to you that's been really weighing on my nerves," he added. "I don't have $50 million. I don't have $50,000. I'm sorry I lied to you, but I wanted to find someone who loved me for who I am."

February 17, 2003

NYT has a major story

NYT has a major story about information gleaned from an Al Qaeda informant, whom they name. The article discusses Qaeda operations, including organizational hierarchy, code words, etc.

NYPD has shut down a

NYPD has shut down a couple of night clubs in one of our neighborhoods. The problem: consistent, unconcealed use and sale of Ecstasy. You might also want to read about the break-up of a Coney Island drug ring which sounds like it had shades of New Jack City: "undercover detectives made 81 buys of crack and powder cocaine. They penetrated the inner ring of the drug gang that operated at Ocean Towers, and then identified and bought illegal narcotics from 29 key people. They estimated that the group sold about $1,200,000 of crack and cocaine a year. They also bought five illegal firearms. Most of the buys were captured on video."

February 16, 2003

Maybe it's time I dropped

Maybe it's time I dropped all my implied liberal cynicism for a minute, and offered something patriotic, in a Bush-y kind of a way: the specifications for the American Flag. You can download a 34-page official guide from the federal government, too. Make sure you get your ratios right! Go America!

I don't know why all

I don't know why all these studies about the nature of love always use college students as their test subjects -- college students are the most unpredictable, idiotic, think-with-your-crotch group of people in the world. Is their exaggerated behavior supposed to be easier to measure than regular people's, so that's why they always get used? I'm not sure. Anyway, this new report says people who are in love are sometimes better able to suppress lustful thoughts than other people...Except when the subject thinks very lustfully about their partner, in which case they are likely to think lustfully about people who are not their partner. This last bit seems to explain -- although not excuse -- certain mistakes certain bloggers have made in certain lives.

February 15, 2003

Salon: tick...tick...tick...tick...tick...tick...tick...Here's their SEC filing

Salon: tick...tick...tick...tick...tick...tick...tick...

Here's their SEC filing which describes their dire status.

February 14, 2003

WHOA WHOA WHOA. Nicole Kidman

WHOA WHOA WHOA. Nicole Kidman is responsible for recent troubles in Jude Law's marriage? I don't like the sound of that. I don't like the sound of that at all.

Here's some happy valentine's day

Here's some happy valentine's day news: there might be trouble in paradise between J. Lo and Shit-for-Brains.

I have no idea why

I have no idea why this is in the New York Times, but anyway:

Hey! There's a cow eyeball in my Tropicana!

Hey guess what: even though

Hey guess what: even though it is set in Hell's Kitchen and has Jon Favreau in it, Daredevil is overly earnest and crappy, according to the Times.

There is a photo on

There is a photo on Yahoo right now of a guy wearing "optical camouflage" that makes him look invisible. This, apparently, is a semi-official site related to the work that I came across coincidentally. The movie of the guy wearing the jacket outside is incredible.

February 13, 2003

This is what Kelly Osbourne

This is what Kelly Osbourne looks like now. Good grief. Pretty soon she's going to look like this (she's so thin, the camouflage is more visible than her body), and then, eventually, she's just going to end up looking like this.

We brought you Hot Saints

We brought you Hot Saints the other day, so I guess it's only appropriate that we give you Hot Convicts today.

Hopefully this will be the

Hopefully this will be the last time I mention Fred Durst and Britney Spears in the same post: Fred Durst explains the rise and fall of their whirlwind romance. Remember all that stuff about Fred waxing poetic about how they were like two trees swaying together in the winds of love? Well, forget all that. Says Durst, "I mean, she's got a great ass, that's for sure." What a piece of work.

Full transcript of the Bin

Full transcript of the Bin Laden tape.

I've been going back-and-forth on

I've been going back-and-forth on whether to discuss Laci Peterson on this site or not. I guess I will. So Laci's family is casting suspicion on Laci's husband at every opportunity, apparently to keep the story alive. This story has an interesting angle: Polly Klaas's family is weighing in. If you have no idea what this is all about, check out the Modesto Bee's coverage of the case, which has been good.

I'm Mr. New York Post

I'm Mr. New York Post today. Cops found the gun that Phil Spector used to shoot that woman.

Doctor says Michael Jackson has

Doctor says Michael Jackson has had fifty operations on his face, though Jacko admits to only two.

善LUCKY' CLERK SNAGS THUG'S KNIFE

善LUCKY' CLERK SNAGS THUG'S KNIFE IN MIDAIR, says New York Post.

Don't shoplift from Virgin Megastore:

Don't shoplift from Virgin Megastore: you might get killed.

February 12, 2003

Wow, those Mormons. I think

Wow, those Mormons. I think my second-favorite girl Mormon is now "mleinslc". She is one...hot....saint. And she likes long walks on the beach! Note to first favorite Mormon: you're still my favorite.

Online dating for Mormons. Browse

Online dating for Mormons. Browse around, see if there's anything you like. [blogged on fimoculous, but this is just too good to resist.]

Salon reports on a new

Salon reports on a new website for pre-teen girls that encourages them to be "real", develop their talents and feel good about themselves. How? By eating beef, of course!

Very behind-the-scenes piece about the

Very behind-the-scenes piece about the Oscar nomination process, from the publicists' point of view.

Oh yeah, have you heard

Oh yeah, have you heard about this new reality show on CBS? They're going to take simple country folk and transplant them into a Beverly Hills Mansion, a la the Beverly Hillbillies. Appalachian folk are upset because they say the show is demeaning.

TV Barn has an piece

TV Barn has an piece that summarizes reader-reported oddities during TV coverage of the Columbia crash. E.g., "FOX just ran footage of a helmet found by a family and zoomed in to the inside of the helmet to show a sizable chunk of grey hair inside. Typical."

Some seriously freakish dogs highlighted

Some seriously freakish dogs highlighted at the Westminster Dog Show. If you've seen Best in Show, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Truffles with lobster sauce, Lobster

Truffles with lobster sauce, Lobster with truffle sauce... look out, the couples are coming. The Times reports on cynical vs. "romantic" New Yorkers, how they engage in the competitive sport of V-Day dining, and how much caviar restaurants end up throwing away on February 15.

Lots of good book and

Lots of good book and media meta-criticism in this edition of Summary Judgment, a Slate feature.

Slate discusses Tatu, the fake

Slate discusses Tatu, the fake Russian lesbian pop duo that I have just begun hearing about, because clearly I have been spending too much time pulling out gray whiskers instead of watching TV. So apologies to cohorts and readers for being slow on the draw here. If you're so hip, get your own blog.

What's that, you already have one?

What's that, everyone already has one? Oh. I didn't know that.

February 11, 2003

Transcript of final transmissions from

Transcript of final transmissions from Columbia.

As ADM points out, the

As ADM points out, the Best Actor race is anybody's guess. This nominee list is such a self-congratulatory gesture on the part of the Academy itself: "Hey look! Everyone we've ever given an award to is the best actor ever ever ever! Let's give them another award, what the hell!" Even though I have zero interest in Adrien Brody's movie, I think I'm rooting for him to win. My more realistic pick: Nicholas Cage. Michael Caine won Supporting too recently, and Jacko is too disdainful these days. OK, or maybe Daniel Day-Lewis: Americans have already forgotten that My Left Foot ever happened.

Oh yeah, and why wasn't

Oh yeah, and why wasn't LOTR: Two Towers nominated for make-up? That doesn't make sense, does it? And if you're going to nominate Salma Hayek's eyebrow, shouldn't you also nominate Nicole Kidman's nose?

Additional Oscar commentary:Well, I don't

Additional Oscar commentary:

Well, I don't think Chris Walken is an appalling actor, like my cohort does, but I certainly don't think his performance in Catch Me if You Can merits an Oscar, or really, a nomination. And Amy's right -- he did knock Dennis Quaid off the list, which doesn't make any sense. Also, Eminem probably does deserve best song, but Chicago will get it. Doesn't really matter though, because either way, not only will we see Eminem perform AT THE OSCARS but we'll also have all the attendant controversy between now and then to look forward to. Hurray for fake rebellion and sanctimony!

Hey, who's going to win Best Actor? I have no idea. They already gave Jack the sympathy vote a couple years ago for the Greg Kinnear movie, right? Who's going to win Best Supporting Actor? Chris Cooper, deservedly so. Best Actress seems like kind of a toss-up too. Please please please don't let it be Renee.

Chicago will win cinematography, as it probably should. The guy who did the banal Road to Perdition is dead, so no one will feel the same sense of obligation they did when he did American Beauty -- remember that endless speech? I think they should choose Chicago for cinematography, but then give the actual statue to the guy who did it for Moulin Rouge, since he seemed to have more to do with the visualization of Chicago than its own DP did.

I think Chicago is going to win Director. Like Amy says, who wants to vote for Polanski. Or maybe it'll be the one nod to Gangs of New York, unless Daniel Day Lewis is. This will help: Chicago is going to win Best Picture, so probably that means the director will win best director...that's the way it usually goes (I think), even though it hasn't been that way lately. (Ridley Scott, anyone?) And I guess it goes without saying that El Crimen will win best foreign, since that's the only one that anyone has seen. Wouldn't it be funny if the only thing Gangs of New York won is Costumes? It could happen.

Honestly, most of these movies suck anyway, except for maybe Far From Heaven (which I haven't seen), so I guess I'm just in it for the Eminem this year.

OK, the commentary begins. Some

OK, the commentary begins. Some Oscar picks: Queen Latifah: the Academy usually picks the nutty upcomer, but is this one too weird? I think she's got a good shot. Martin Scorsese (who has got to be pretty glad he's up against Roman Polanski, the exiled sex offender; that guy nobody's ever heard of who did The Hours; the guy nobody's ever heard of who did Chicago; and a Spaniard.) I'm pscyhed for the best soundtrack: Philip Glass vs. John Williams vs. Elmer Bernstein. Phew.

I'd be happy with any of the best supporting actor nominees winning, except for Christopher Walken, because he is an appalling actor, and clearly got on this list at the expense of Dennis Quaid, who would have been the most deserving.

Also, you can be a bad boy and still win a Grammy, but an Oscar? If Eminem wins, even though he deserves to, the Will Smith-ification will be complete.

NY Times on the ideological

NY Times on the ideological one-upmanship of the evolution of the car fish, including the Pagan fish, the Rasta Fish, and the Lutefisk.

Oscar nominees are out. Commentary

Oscar nominees are out. Commentary later. Michael Caine for best actor? Quick -- for what movie? Oh yeah.

Queen Latifah, too, but it doesn't look like the total newcomer is going to win this year. My bet is on Catherine Zeta Jones above Meryl Streep, but who knows. Chicago got nominated for 13, and it looks like it will win a lot. Big deal.

Look at the list for Original Screenplay. Interesting. I guess Greek Wedding will win.

Amazing picture on the front

Amazing picture on the front page of the NYT today: Heavily armed police guards in front of the TKTS booth in Times Sq. Another scary picture of guards down at the stock exchange. Relatedly, FEMA asks "Are you ready?" and offers you this guide to preparing for a terrorist attack. (In case you don't want to download the PDF, you can read an excerpt from the NYT.)

I mentioned Random Family, the

I mentioned Random Family, the book about a Bronx family, in a previous post. Well, today Salon has an interview with the author, who is replacing AM Homes as my writerly imaginary girlfriend. Because of the new nature of Salon, you have to click through a bunch of ads to read the article, but that's ok, because the ads are about our old favorite/least favorite show, 24.

A professor at Berklee College

A professor at Berklee College of Music is trying to introduce a course in Turntablism -- technique, not the usual hip-hop history stuff. If you spend two years focusing on only one thing, you can become the best at that thing.

NYT has a short-ish piece

NYT has a short-ish piece on what it takes to be an astronaut, personality-wise. Nothing particularly new, but a good compilation of thoughts and perspectives.

February 10, 2003

Kevin Mitnick's computer security company's

Kevin Mitnick's computer security company's website has been hacked twice in the last two weeks.

Well, here's something to make

Well, here's something to make you feel a little sick: the Preppie K*ller of 1986, R*bert Ch*mbers, is getting out of prison on Friday, Valentine's Day. Guess he'll be haunting the Upper East Side again in no time. Has he paid his debt to society? Maybe. Has he learned his lesson? Probably not. Here he is at a 1995 parole hearing: "I guess I could also give you the party line and say I have learned my lesson, I will never do this again," Chambers said. "But that's not how I feel at this moment."

He's inmate #88A3660 in case you want to look him up in the New York State penitentiary system.

So, Dell Dude "Steve", aka

So, Dell Dude "Steve", aka Benjamin "My Name's Not Really Steve" Curtis got busted for pot last night in NYC. Way to fuck it up, Steve. Can't wait to see your mug shot on The Smoking Gun.

Well, maybe it'll give you a chance to meet up with that other stoner computer pitch-person, Ellen Feiss (who is Amy's Robot's official girlfriend -- and who, I swear, is not really a stoner).

Lengthy article in the Washington

Lengthy article in the Washington Post about writing cards for Hallmark, a job that doesn't really get you a lot of respect: "I was once speaking at a writing conference and I overheard one of the other speakers saying, 'We've sunk so low as to include a greeting card writer on this panel.' And to think this woman was a romance writer!"

Here's another excerpt: "Lighthearted versus humor is a fine line," Mills says. "If we're calling it humor, it should make you laugh. Lighthearted should make you smile. Cute versus lighthearted is also a fine line. Cute is a little more saccharine. Sometimes we find something and say, 'Well, that's a little too humorous,' and we'll send it over to Humor."

Last week's issue of Rolling

Last week's issue of Rolling Stone had this article about "bug chasers", gay men who supposedly purposely attempt to get infected with HIV. I'm having trouble finding the article online right now, but MSNBC reports that the doctors quoted in the story say their quotes were either fabricated or twisted. The magazine section of Rolling Stone is here, so maybe you can find the article.

Turns out that classics are

Turns out that classics are one of the few growth areas in book-publishing these days. Penguin, Modern Library, and others are all coming up with new editions and imprints. [nyt]

Just a reminder to everyone

Just a reminder to everyone that Oscar nominations come out tomorrow.

Slightly late on this one,

Slightly late on this one, too: Did you know J. Lo won $400,000 by betting on this year's Superbowl? Looks like Ben is turning her on to some very healthy habits. Next stop: rehab. [via babak]

February 9, 2003

The good parts of McDonaldization,

The good parts of McDonaldization, as described in a Boston Globe piece.

President Clinton was on Larry

President Clinton was on Larry King last week. Here's the transcript. Meanwhile, here's an article about how Larry King is struggling to remain relevant and seen. Boy, Clinton is something else...one minute he's talking to Larry about how to fix things in North Korea, and the next minute he comes out with this about the space shuttle:

CLINTON: The most dangerous points of space travel are the first 90 seconds when the liftoff. You have the powerful rockets and you have got to lose a couple of stages and a lot of things can happen. That's what happened before 17 years ago with those people on Challenger.

And then when you come back in. If the spaceship goes in at too shallow a plane, it will bounce off and just fly off into outer space. If it goes in it too steep a plane it will burn up. So it came in, they said that the problems happened at about 205,000 feet, I think? So I thought to myself what could have happened? You know, did the computer go out and the pilot have to make a last-minute -- you know, the pilot would take over? Did he not have enough time? Did the computer malfunction or was just something that happened to the spacecraft that it did not...

Can you imagine W., or really any other president spitting that stuff out? No.

February 8, 2003

Should've blogged this a month

Should've blogged this a month ago, but here's Google's zeitgeist statistics for 2002, showing the most popular searches, and which search phrases trended upwards and downwards. As yet another indicator of what an out-of-touch idiot I am, I have no idea what Las Ketchup is, except I think maybe I heard something about it once.

NYT reviews Random Family a

NYT reviews Random Family a new book by a woman who spent 10 years hanging out with a single Puerto Rican family in the Bronx. The books seems very interesting, even if the people she writes about never seem to much to improve their lives. She seems to squeeze a lot into her writing, if this Times summary of one relationship is indicative:

Jessica enjoyed a kind of luck with a local Mr. Big called Boy George, who was a heroin dealer with his own brand of the stuff, Obsession -- the little glassines even sported their own red-stamped logo -- and rich, in a doomed, flash sort of way. While still in his early 20's he had a fleet of BMW's and Mercedeses, some of them said to be custom-rigged with Bondian gadgets like strobe lights that could blind a pursuer or devices that spewed out tacks with the flip of a hidden switch. At a party for his employees, on which LeBlanc reports with her usual density of detail, guests dined aboard a rented yacht on steak tartare, prime rib and skewered lamb. George dispatched employees to Jessica's roach-ridden apartment to fill her family's refrigerator with food, took her on getaways to the Poconos, and gave her a job first as a mill girl -- crushing bricks of heroin into powder -- then as a gal Friday, catering to his exacting tastes in clothes. He also beat her for disobeying him, and kept her locked in the apartment he rented for her.
If interested, you can buy the book for $17.

Kofi Annan spoke at the

Kofi Annan spoke at the College of William & Mary today, asking for peace, but warning Iraq that if it fails to disarm, the UN Security Council will endorse war. The full text of his speech is here.

William & Mary. William & Mary.

February 7, 2003

Watch out for mobile phone

Watch out for mobile phone guns.

A writer has been selected

A writer has been selected to write the next installment of The Godfather series. Get a load of the picture of Mario Puzo, the author of the original series. A few great examples of the plot lines of other contest entries are in the article.

Essex, CT, the snooty town

Essex, CT, the snooty town right next to my hometown, is profiled in NYT's Weekend Getaway section today.

February 6, 2003

NYT explains, in a surprisingly

NYT explains, in a surprisingly detailed article, why phone numbers that start "555" are still (mostly) fake. The article even references my favorite self-aware action movie of all time, "The Last Action Hero".

Interesting crime trend in Massachusetts:

Interesting crime trend in Massachusetts: Substance-abusing state troopers. One robbed OxyContin from a pharmacy, the other put a gun to his wife's head while on a coke binge.

Here's an interview with Brian

Here's an interview with Brian Lamb, founder of C-SPAN and host of many of its programs, including, of course, Booknotes. [via medianews]

Judith Miller, the reporter from

Judith Miller, the reporter from the New York Times who I have my biggest crush on, had an online chat session with readers yesterday after Colin Powell's presentation.

Hey, Judith. What are you wearing?

Oh yeah?

That sounds hot.

Super-duo Clooney/Soderbergh have chosen their

Super-duo Clooney/Soderbergh have chosen their next project: Nine Queens. You may remember the Argentine version that came out last year or so. What's funny is that neither of them will direct it. That job will go to SS's long-time asst. director.

It's official: Jesse Ventura will

It's official: Jesse Ventura will be hosting his own show on MSNBC. I guess that makes sense. Beats Donahue.

February 5, 2003

OWEN WILSON FAME AUDIT [tx

OWEN WILSON FAME AUDIT

[tx Whiskas for the alert] Everyone ready for the finest film of 2003, Shanghai Knights?

Insightful article on the "hasbian"--lesbians

Insightful article on the "hasbian"--lesbians who, a few years after coming out while in college, have started dating men and living the hetero life. [via Rachel] Now that k.d. lang isn't on the cover of Vanity Fair and Anne Heche and Ellen DeG aren't canoodling in front of the president, it's not as "stylish" to be a dyke anymore.

LA Times has an interesting,

LA Times has an interesting, detailed profile of Lana Clarkson, the woman Phil Spector may have killed. Registration required, but I think you can login using "amysrobot" and "password". It sort of paints her as the classic, aging B-movie star who had grander dreams: "Anyone over 40 is fighting uphill in this town," said veteran actress Sally Kirkland, who met Clarkson three years ago when they appeared together in a play. "But she was such a pro. She would come earlier than anybody, she would work harder than anybody."

Maybe you've been following this

Maybe you've been following this Leona Helmsley story: she was being sued for firing someone because he was gay. She was found liable yesterday, so now she has to pay him $11 million. On the street, as a few of her most ardent supporters yelled, "Hang tough, mama!" she fought back tears and slumped into her limousine.

NYT on increasing amount of

NYT on increasing amount of sex in primetime TV.

February 4, 2003

Update: Here's a pic of

Update: Here's a pic of Courtney Love being arrested. I guess that other pic (in which she looks like a washed-up porn star) was from an awards show or something. Speaking of porn star, here she is in that naked Q magazine photo shoot you may have heard about. (The URL is safe for work, but the pictures definitely aren't. [url via fimoculous -- not sure how he found it].)

Here's the film and TV

Here's the film and TV credits of the woman Phil Spector apparently shot. Everything from "Three's Company" to Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back.

My own personal hero, Mil,

My own personal hero, Mil, whose website Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About has been inspirational for us here at the 'bot, has been optioned for a film [via Becky]. The lead will almost definitely be offered to Ewan MacGregor. In a Guardian column, Mil says of his insane girlfriend: "She appreciates neither White Zombie nor Clawfinger, nor even Black Grape. And yet she can put on a Moby CD without any hint of irony. Moby. Jesus - how close have you got to be to not caring whether you're alive or dead to listen to Moby?"

Update to Amy's post about

Update to Amy's post about the Catholic Church weighing in on New Age movements: here's the actual Vatican document.

The two finalists for the

The two finalists for the new WTC have been announced. Yeah, it's news everywhere, but we have a right to post it, since we're a NEW YORK blog.

Notes on the recent ITV

Notes on the recent ITV interviews with Michael Jackson. Excerpt: "I slept in a bed with all of them when Macaulay Culkin was little. Kieran Culkin would sleep on this side, Macaulay Culkin was on this side, his sisters in there. We all would just jam in the bed."

The Roman Catholic Church's views

The Roman Catholic Church's views on the New Age movement: in a particularly savvy move, they warn Catholics that it's all probably just a marketing hoax.

Courtney Love was arrested this

Courtney Love was arrested this morning for being "verbally abusive" to the crew on a Virgin Airlines flight. Here's a picture of her getting off the flight (or going to an awards show -- it doesn't say), looking like a washed-out porn star.

February 3, 2003

If you're like me, you

If you're like me, you might spend your spare time reading the entire proposed Bush budget for 2004, and if you did so, you would eventually get to the stuff about NASA and find a passage called "Where are the Real Space Aliens". It discusses the current status/research on finding aliens. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a line item in the budget explicitly related "finding aliens", but at least there is this small narrative section. To read it, go here, and use your browser to find the words "space aliens". Or, you can read an AP summary of the passage.

Peggy Noonan, who wrote President

Peggy Noonan, who wrote President Reagan's well-regarded Challenger speech, has a nice, if slightly scattered, piece in today's Wall Street Journal about Columbia.

After -- and sometimes during

After -- and sometimes during -- disasters, the media start their navel-gazing self-analysis before the dust has even settled. I can remember late-night anchors covering Princess Di's death asking each other how they were doing with the coverage within hours of her death. The shuttle accident is no exception: NYT reports on how the media are handling the story. Predictably, Dan Rather offered up some weird ones on the day of the event.

February 1, 2003

MSNBC has this timeline of

MSNBC has this timeline of the shuttle's final moments.

Here's space.com's coverage of this

Here's space.com's coverage of this shuttle mission, STS-107. Slashdot reminds us that Columbia's flight was delayed for 6 months while NASA tried to fix this potentially catastrophic problem.

Shuttle debris may be coated

Shuttle debris may be coated in a rocket fuel called "hydrazine", which is toxic if you touch it, which is one of the reasons the gov't is advising people not to touch debris. Here's some stuff about hydrazine:

About February 2003

This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in February 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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