« March 2003 | Main | May 2003 »

April 2003 Archives

April 30, 2003

China to SARS victims: "Time

China to SARS victims: "Time to catch up on some reading", especially such page-turners as "16th Party Congress Report" and "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics".

I tried to find an English version of this pronouncement, but came up empty. But, here's a site that will give you a good idea of China's official responses to the epidemic.

Yeah, next time I'm coughing up my collapsing lungs, I'm gonna spend some time brushing up on the party line. It would sure beat watching Ecks vs. Sever again, anyway.

They trotted out Elizabeth Smart

They trotted out Elizabeth Smart to watch our prez sign the federal kidnap-response Amber Alert legislation. Here's a picture, which is sad. Here's the whole set, some of which are less sad. Message to ES's parents: if you want to reclaim the privacy in your life, would you please quit with the public appearances. It's grotesque.

I purposely didn't mention it the other day when the story broke, but if you haven't heard, some Salt Lake Tribune reporters got fired for selling apparently made-up information about the Smart family to the National Enquirer for $20,000. The Enquirer's headline, which they have since retracted, was: "Utah Cops: Secret Diary Exposes Family Sex Ring", if that gives you any idea.

So now Lady Miss Kier

So now Lady Miss Kier from Deee-Lite is suing Sega for a video game they produce that supposedly copies her image. Which consists of platform shoes, a big ponytail, and the phrase "Ooh La La!", which pretty much describes every 22-year old hanging out on St. Mark's Place on weekends. Also: for the article, LMK says she is British, while in fact she is from Youngstown, Ohio. And she hasn't had a hit since 1990. Give me a break. [tx ADM]

Well, if you like TKTS,

Well, if you like TKTS, you'll love mobile TKTS (aka ArtsVan) coming soon to 14th Street. Official site.

Another consequence of September 11 that Osama Bin Laden could never have foreseen. (See links for details.)

Did you hear about the

Did you hear about the new nickels? There's going to be new nickels. Do you have a shot at redesigning them? Probably not, says Slate.

Do you know what the technical name for "heads" is? "Obverse."

Related to ADM's post about

Related to ADM's post about models getting their start at a very young age:

Who's Older?

Milla Jovovich or Jennifer Garner?

Since saltyt is on emotional

Since saltyt is on emotional hiatus, I have to tell you about this: Latest hot runway model from LA Models, Gerren Taylor: curly-haired, 5 feet, 10 inches, "with full lips and rounded hips", says modeling "is something I've wanted to do since I was little".

The twist? She's 12.

Update: Ok, this is just sick. Here's her official page at her agency. They list her bust size. Look, people, she's twelve. Cool it with the bust size, okay?, and start modeling her in some Caldor circulars, playing Chutes and Ladders or something.

Don't expect the rifts caused

Don't expect the rifts caused by the war in Iraq to be healed any time soon: Putin makes derisive fun of Blair and the US-UK agenda to Blair's face in a press conference in Moscow.

The British generally have us

The British generally have us beat in their cool advertising, but some questionable ads last year made complaints to the advertising standards authority shoot way up. Here are the most offensive poster ads of the year.

Not all Italians are in

Not all Italians are in the mob. Salon has a piece on the new Italian-American Reader, which features writing from Don DeLillo, Frank Lentricchia, John Ciardi, and others. The gist of it is that Italian-Amerians have been "minstrelized". [Click through the ads to read it.] I think the important sub-point of the piece is that not all Italian-Americans write about Italian-Americans, cf. Delillo, whose books are less Italian-themed than, say, Richard Price's.

April 29, 2003

There's only one way, in

There's only one way, in good conscience, to shoe-horn this great LA Times profile of David Foster Wallace into this blog, since one of our conceptual-cousin blogs has already linked to it:

That's right: another rousing edition of "WHO'S OLDER?". You ready? Okay:

Who's Older?

David Foster Wallace or Charlie Sheen?

Remember the rules from last time? There's at least a three-calendar-year difference between them. I know -- it's a good one right? Yeah, and you even have to scan the article (written because he's at Pomona now) to find DFW's age.

What, that isn't hot enough shit for you? Try this one on for size:

Who's older?

Thomas Pynchon or Martin Sheen?

Note the incredible coincidence(?) of where the Pynchon bio is hosted.

An exhibit in DC features

An exhibit in DC features work by Mark Bennett, who creates floorplans of the fictional houses and settings of movies and TV shows, drawn entirely from memory [via King Pigeon]. You can see more of his pieces here.

Style Wars, early documentary about

Style Wars, early documentary about graffiti/hip-hop culture is finally out on DVD, so you can buy it. [via babak, who needs to get his own blog]

I'll check this later, but I think Evan Bernard's Root Down video has a lot of footage from the film.

Remember that fiasco a couple

Remember that fiasco a couple years ago when McDonald's admitted it was using beef fat in its supposedly vegan products in India? Well, they're trying to make amends:

McDonald's has made itself extra-sensitive in the Indian market since then, and the results are beginning to show. Its mayonnaise is made without eggs. All stores maintain two separate burger-cooking lines, one vegetarian and one not. Workers in the vegetarian section wear green aprons, and workers from the nonvegetarian section are forbidden to cross over without showering first.
Don't miss the Paneer Salsa McWrap. [nyt, via babak]

Don't forget about FREE ICE

Don't forget about FREE ICE CREAM: Today at Ben and Jerry's, tomorrow at Baskin Robbins.

Do you know who I

Do you know who I love: Alan Cumming. He's in Spy Kids 2 (best. movie. ever.) for about 5 seconds and steals the show, singing a song he first heard the morning of the shoot. Now -- and we mentioned this a long time ago -- he's playing Nightcrawler, the devilish teleporting elf-man in X-Men 2.

The LA Times profiles him. Note the bit at the end about a TV show he's developing: "a gay Hart to Hart."

Something is toxically amiss at

Something is toxically amiss at Beverly Hills High School, and guess who's getting to the bottom of it: Erin Brockovich and Albert Finney. The rate of Hodgkin's lymphoma among the former Beverly Hills students was 20.3 times higher than the national average; thyroid ailment rates were 17.8 times higher than the national average. [login req'd. use 'amysrobot' and 'password']

Chuck Klosterman, who writes for

Chuck Klosterman, who writes for Spin and came to NY from North Dakota, by way of Akron, Ohio, writes about how to be cool in New York. Some great, sentimental moments about how friendly people in NY really are.

Police in Boston have uncovered

Police in Boston have uncovered a "secret laboratory" in Beacon Hill, containing 60 dead cats, hundreds of syringes, and a Great Dane. The lady who rents the apartment also runs whitepersians.org, which has been shut down, but -- can you see this coming? -- it's available in Google's cache. Note the multiple grammatical errors and references to genetics.

Jack Osbourne has checked into

Jack Osbourne has checked into rehab. Colin Farrell burps and mumbles, "What's rehab?" (again).

April 28, 2003

You know who Esther Dyson

You know who Esther Dyson is? Yeah, well, she has a blog, which Blogger has added to their hot list. Sorry, Esther: not very interesting so far. For instance, why are you linking to Google news? It launched like 4000 years ago. Plus, you've got the name-droppiest blog I've seen since celebritysex.

Not to be mean, but you've also gotten a little too much mileage out of that "Release x.x" trope. Maybe it's time to move on to something else.

NYT explains why everyone the

NYT explains why everyone the world was and is afraid of dragons.

I'm glad Amy mentioned the

I'm glad Amy mentioned the Ashleigh Banfield story. So basically she charged MSNBC (her own network) with obscuring the reality of the war. But some of the coverage has pointed out a meta-story that is more interesting: NBC News is "concerned" with her remarks, but, as she points out, they recently hired Michael Savage, a controversial neo-conservative WHO CALLED BANFIELD A "SLUT" on his radio show and implied she was a traitor. MSNBC has, since they hired him, stood behind Savage and began sending Banfield out to pasture, even though they could not tout her enough when she was their hot shit reporter last year.

I'm not clever enough to create a succinct essay on gender politics about this -- maybe Amy is -- but it seems evident that MSNBC is, among other things, blind to their own hypocrisy. I never had a strong opinion of Banfield one way or the other, but I find it commendable that she has risked so much to stand up to her employer on both issues here. I feel like writing her a supportive email.

Update: Here's more backlash against Ashleigh, which has the same demeaning tone as Clinton calling Lewinsky "that woman".

Ashleigh Banfield shaking things up

Ashleigh Banfield shaking things up again: she should watch what she says in criticizing the US media's coverage of the war, or she might get arrested. Unlike ADM and I, who are patriots. Here's coverage from Kansas State U., where she delivered her message.

So, Apple's new music service:

So, Apple's new music service: download any song you want for 99 cents, and burn it to a CD, apparently without any rights-management. (There is rights-management for song-swapping, though.) Not bad. Almost cooler than the 99-cent-download, though: you can preview any song in the whole music catalog, which represents all the major labels.

OK, but here's something important: Apple was creative with their pricing strategy for when you want to buy a whole album: for instance, Beck's Sea Change, which has 12 songs, is sold for $9.99. This could be a watershed moment for the music industry: selling stuff in digital form for cheaper than they sell it in stores. Amazing. I can just see those record execs getting brainwashed by the Steve Jobs reality distortion field.

Some stuff you might miss if you weren't paying attention: the music store is integrated into iTunes 4* [screenshot], which was also released (although it's not on Software Update yet), as were the new iPods, which are higher-capacity, thinner, lighter, and have more built-in applications, such as a few games, a text reader, and an alarm clock.

Apple also introduces a proprietary audio format called AAC, which I assume stands for "Apple Audio Codec Advanced Audio Coding". iTunes and iPod are compatible with it, too, obviously.

The music service is Apple-only for now, but will be available to Windows users later, a good way for Apple to generate much-needed revenue without requiring people to buy their machines.

*Now that I've downloaded it, I can tell you that the music store sort of turns iTunes into a web browser -- the store's pages show up in iTunes playlist window and look like webpages. As you can see from the screenshot [220 kb], when you click an album title, the top half of the window looks like a web page, and the bottom half looks like a playlist.

Update: Three more things about iTunes 4:

  • It has file sharing built-in, but I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with it (Apple says it works with Rendezvous)
  • The buttons have been cleverly redesigned to resemble iPod buttons
  • There's a new button for "show/hide album artwork". Looks like you can drag a scan of some liner notes onto a box. In fact, you can drag the scans from Amazon right into it. Presumably, it works automatically with the music store, too. Strangely, though, iTunes associates the artwork with individual songs instead of albums. Does that mean you're supposed to copy the artwork for every song on the album? Hmm. One option is to shift-click all the songs on the album, and then drag your picture to the box. But still: it seems like it should be more automatic than this.

As fimoculous reports, the trailer

As fimoculous reports, the trailer for the new Neil LaBute movie, The Shape of Things, is out. This is the film version of an off-Broadway play LaBute directed last year, which the theater desk of Amy's Robot attended because of our special connection to the cast. The play had some weaknesses -- namely the pedantic anti-moralizing ending -- but does offer some typical Labutian insight into human nature.

More and more people are

More and more people are camping at the North Pole, including the runner up in the Mrs Russia 2002 pageant. [nyt] Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Antarctica needs plumbers. Why? To keep the pipes from freezing, of course. Sign up here.

NYC's Department of Health detained

NYC's Department of Health detained a foreign tourist against his will for 10 days b/c they suspected he had SARS. Only the second time in 25 years that has happened. Explanation: "your right to cough and sneeze on someone else ends when you have a dangerous communicable disease and you cannot be isolated otherwise." Well, I'm glad to see that NY'ers rights to sneeze and cough on people under ordinary circumstances has been affirmed. [nyt]

April 27, 2003

Fantastic interview with Roger Ebert

Fantastic interview with Roger Ebert in The Progressive, a lot of which has almost nothing to do with movies. You can also listen to the interview.

Boston Globe Magazine has a

Boston Globe Magazine has a lengthy piece about how Accutane causes birth defects, but no one seems to care. The story's opening anecdote discusses a woman who got an abortion because she was worried she would have a disfigured "Accutane baby". She then went back on the medicine and proclaims, "My skin glows when I use it. I would die if they took it off the market."

Well, she's not alone. 61% of Accutane pregnancies are terminated.

Interesting account of a journalist

Interesting account of a journalist who was tracked by the Secret Service for supposedly saying something about our prez. [nyt]

The Rorschach Test is under

The Rorschach Test is under fire, again. [nyt]

NY Daily News tests the

NY Daily News tests the limits of the smoking ban, lighting up in 42 bars last weekend. 16 of the 42 let them get away with it, to an extent, though that's expected to change on Thursday, when inspectors will start enforcing the ban.

Frank Rich offers some perspective

Frank Rich offers some perspective on the looting in Iraq, and damning criticism of the administration's attitude about it.

April 26, 2003

Fifty years ago, a grocery

Fifty years ago, a grocery store in Billings, Montana closed. No one ever cleaned it out. Now, they're auctioning everything in the store. Here's pictures of the stuff. [via babak]

Congratulations, Washington, DC! You've regained

Congratulations, Washington, DC! You've regained your title as the Murder Capital of America! On a per capita basis, that is.

Mayor Mike's latest proposed solution

Mayor Mike's latest proposed solution to the budget crisis? Casinos!

I guess you won't be allowed to smoke in them.

April 25, 2003

Beck has a blog. He's

Beck has a blog. He's in Australia. He took some Beck-like pictures.

Let me ask you something. Is a "what I did today" blog inherently more interesting just 'cause your famous? I love Beck and everything, but give me something juicy, B. [via fimoculous]

NYT has 10 questions for

NYT has 10 questions for Tom Wolfe. He finally admits that he hates De Palma's movie of Bonfire, but forgives him. Everyone talks endlessly about how bad that movie is, but I have to tell you, I sort of like it.

Also, he says he likes Black Hawk Down, the book, as an example of New Journalism, a method of reporting/writing that he pioneered.

NYT discusses what a friend

NYT discusses what a friend calls "yet another dying esoteric subculture": fire buffs, people who listen to their police scanners to find out where the fires are, and race up to take pictures, see the spectacle, etc. [via babak] In Boston, we used to call these people "sparkies", but here they're "buffs". There's an interesting relationship between the buffs and the firefighters, one that seems to be a weird mix of admiration, gratitude, and defensiveness.

The article mentions something you might have presumed -- 9/11 added a certain extra morbidity to the whole enterprise.

Anyway, in case you're interested in tuning in to the police and fire chatter, pick up a scanner and get the freqs here.

Jon Stewart signed his contract

Jon Stewart signed his contract to host the Daily Show for another 18 months, an event that allows me to introduce what we hope will become an occasional feature here on Amy's Robot. It's called:

Who's Older?

Here's how it works: we tell you two celebrities and ask: Who's Older? and you have to guess the answer. Then you can click on the links to find out the answer. To make it interesting, we'll try to have it so there is at least a three-year difference between the two. Ok, you ready? Here's the first one.

Who's Older?

Alan Cumming or Jon Stewart

You have to guess. And remember, there's at least a three-year difference between them.

Didn't like that one? Ok, here's another one, for free.

Who's older?

Claudia Schiffer or Billy Corgan?

April 24, 2003

Becky has been following this

Becky has been following this trend, but here's the latest on extreme ironing: some Englishmen climbed Mount Everest with an ironing board. And did some ironing. On Mount Everest.

Here's Angelina Jolie getting a

Here's Angelina Jolie getting a Khmer tattoo in Thailand to ward off bad luck. Not a bad picture, but not as good as my favorite celebrity tattoo picture of all time: Christina Ricci.

The Beasties are playing a

The Beasties are playing a concert in Taiwan, and are speaking to the media about their anti-war/anti-Chinese-regime sentiments. Sometimes it's tiresome, but I guess somebody has to do it.

Spider-Man 2 (aka "The Amazing

Spider-Man 2 (aka "The Amazing Spider-Man") was filming in NYC the other day. Here's some photos. Funny, the non-CG'd photos are reminiscent of the original old Spidey live action TV movies (download short video to really see the similarities).

Preternatural former porn star Traci

Preternatural former porn star Traci Lords has a vivid autobiography out soon. Mini-summary in the Chicago Sun Times.

Apple has a profile of

Apple has a profile of the guy who handles set design continuity for 24. He uses iPhoto to keep track of everything. If he uses a Mac, he must be one of the good guys.

April 23, 2003

Good interview with DJ Spooky

Good interview with DJ Spooky by a colleague of ours.

Interview with a vampire: Washington

Interview with a vampire: Washington Post talks to a Fedayeen torturer/killer who has blended back into society. "I was just following orders," he says. Pretty grisly.

NYT has a follow-up article

NYT has a follow-up article on how the city's non-emergency services hotline, 311, is doing. The overwhelming majority of calls so far are noise complaints. This continues a thread we began when the service launched.

The Dixie Chicks get naked

The Dixie Chicks get naked for peace, or redemption, or something. They look fake. Especially the one on the left.

I asked for it, and

I asked for it, and now I got it: the Hello Kitty surgical mask.

Has anyone seen Bulletproof Monk?

Has anyone seen Bulletproof Monk? I have. Here is my somewhat obvious summary of it: it's a cross between Shanghai Noon and The Matrix*, the latter of which everyone has already compared it to.

The movie is weighted down with buddy cop and neo-martial-arts cliches -- bogus spirituality, overly-knowing masters, one-dimensional supporting cast, etc -- but it doesn't collapse from the burden. Mixed in with all the cliche is some actual fresh stuff: a fight scene on a helicopter, for one, and the movie's explanation and use of how Sean William Scott learned martial arts (I think it's new, anyway). Chow Yun Fat seems bemused by his own presence in the movie, but SWS plays it a little straighter than you might expect. I imagine this came from the first-time director being somewhat tentative about what tone he wanted the movie to have.

James King, the female love interest, is striking in her first scene, but gradually fades into Jennifer Garner stand-in status, which is unusual for her.

The film's fight sequences were frequently done in CG instead of with wires, and it shows, particularly in the opening sequence (which otherwise would have been very visceral) and the more elaborate fights later in the movie. As with Daredevil, the over-reliance on CG makes it harder to suspend your disbelief and takes you out of the movie, which is exactly the opposite of the intended effect.

Nevertheless, the film is fun to watch -- probably worth a $9 ticket, but not a $10 one.

*Funny, since CYF reportedly turned down the role of Morpheus in The Matrix.

One of the detained Newsday

One of the detained Newsday journalists details his 8 days in Iraq prison. [via romenesko] Here's some photos of the prison where they were held.

More 24: Kiefer dies and

More 24: Kiefer dies and is resurrected just in time for Easter. (Not the first time he's flatlined either, as TWoP points out.) And shoots lots of people while naked. TV just doesn't get better than this.

An Irish discount airline have

An Irish discount airline have jokingly used the popular Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Sahaf as their spokesman on some ads [via Agent 0019]. You may remember Sahaf from his wildly enthusiastic statements about the Iraqi military [via rungu].

I'm not sure I mentioned

I'm not sure I mentioned this, but a couple weeks ago I built a function into this blog that logs how people found us. For instance, if you Googled for "Kiefer Sutherland naked", you might end up here, and we would log what you searched for. Anyway, it seems that lots of people are finding us by looking for pictures of Laci Peterson's decomposed body. Gross.

See for yourself in our referral log.

Nobody likes Madonna's new album:

Nobody likes Madonna's new album: not the Philadelphia Inquirer, nor the Chicago Tribune*, nor the NYT*.

Don't forget you can see the pulled video over at Salon.

*you can login as "amysrobot" with the password "password".

Sure to be widely blogged:

Sure to be widely blogged: New Yorkers live longer than other Americans. It's only 6 months longer, but still: think about all we accomplish in those 6 months! That's 6 more months of Ectasy, 6 more months of unprotected sex with strangers, and 6 more months of $45 hamburgers.

The downside: 4 out of 10 of us die from heart disease, but that stat may be on the decline, too, because of the smoking ban: "Smoking killed more people in New York among preventable deaths, causing about 14 percent of the deaths from heart disease and a quarter of cancer deaths, the research showed."

Here's the whole report from the city's department of health. The first page of the report has this great chart titled "The Conquest of Pestilence in New York City", which features death rates annotated by milestones in the city's pestilent history. Page 7 has a list of all the causes of death in the city in 2001, divided by borough, race, and gender.

NYC readers probably have already

NYC readers probably have already heard this, but others might be interested: city and state auditors have discovered TWO SETS OF BOOKS at the MTA -- the one with the public budget, and the one with the secret budget. So when everyone was scratching their heads during the fare hike debate wondering "what happened to last year's surplus?", the MTA bigwigs knew the whole time, but were keeping everything secret. Amazing.

Update: Here's NY Comptroller Havesi's official report, "An Examination of the Finances of the MTA" [pdf].

So the MTA joins Adelphia, Enron, Catherine Martell, and several others who've kept two sets of books.

Well, I'm glad we went

Well, I'm glad we went over there and liberated people. Now -- finally -- they are free to cut their heads and bleed all over themselves for religious purposes. Freedom has many faces. Now I bet they can even dress up as Saddam for Halloween.

I've been a little bit

I've been a little bit out of touch the last couple days, but has anyone mentioned the somewhat obvious point that all this illicit money in Iraq ($768 million, so far) is pretty reminiscent of Three Kings, which was all about George Clooney and Marky Mark robbing some Iraqi spoils after GW1? Apparently reality is mirroring fiction here: esp. now that 4 GI's have been arrested for stealing $1 million.

I've often wondered: when people

I've often wondered: when people are in the midst of mass hysteria because of one thing, does that make them more susceptible to mass hysteria over some other thing? E.g., just before Phantom Menace came out, suburban teenagers were losing their shit and pulling their hair out...and then The Matrix came out right before PM, and they all went nuts for it. I figured at the time that their desperate anticipation over Phantom Menace made them prone to fixation on The Matrix which, when you think about it (or not), isn't really that great a movie.

Anyway, an incident in Chinatown on Tuesday seems to confirm this idea at least as much as suburban teenagers did a few years ago: in the midst of hysteria over SARS, people in C-town all of a sudden starting freaking out about the financial security of a bank down there, and stormed it. The bank's owners had to come out with bullhorns to get them to calm down until Jimmy Stewart showed up and saved the day.

April 22, 2003

Should have been blogged last

Should have been blogged last week, but here's some after-the-fact commentary on the looting of the National Museum of Iraq, which resulted in cultural losses that are already being compared to the burning of the Library in Alexandria. Many countries have pledged money to UNESCO's recovery efforts; the US is not one of them. [press release]

Email spammers and anti-spammers play

Email spammers and anti-spammers play cat and mouse, often changing their respective tactics several times per day. Say one email marketer: "These antispammers should get a life. Do their fingers hurt too much from pressing the delete key? How much time does that really take from their day?" [tx Whiskas for pointing out the comedy of this article]

A sign of the recession

A sign of the recession we can all relate to: New Yorkers are going out for drinks, instead of more expensive dinners.

Today Madonna does her first

Today Madonna does her first ever in-store performance at the Tower Records on Broadway. Next in-store at Tower: Lee Rocker, the (other) guy from the Stray Cats. No, Madonna's not washed up.

Interesting brief interview with Eugene

Interesting brief interview with Eugene Levy (one of the funniest people around, I think.) Notes: he doesn't think folk music is funny, he doesn't think he is funny, he doesn't like jokes, and he doesn't like "mockumentary".

Somebody wrote in asking for

Somebody wrote in asking for this (our recap of the Oscars, etc), so here it is. Are you sure you were looking at the right date?

Washington Post has a piece

Washington Post has a piece on 24's treatment of Kim Bauer, the character we've loved hating since the show's earliest days. Their take: "Stupid, stupid wonderful Kim." [tx tkg]

April 21, 2003

Nasty diseases are breaking out

Nasty diseases are breaking out all over Boston. If you're going there soon, coat your body in latex first[via Whiskas].

April 18, 2003

Bush administration has clamped down

Bush administration has clamped down even further on travel to Cuba: no more conservation/ecology/film buff/trainspotter trips, for one thing.

April 17, 2003

Coming up next week on

Coming up next week on NOVA: a documentary on Rosalind Franklin, the scientist whose work contributed directly to the discovery of the double-helix shape of DNA, but who was:
a) not credited and didn't win the Nobel prize along with the other scientists involved in the discovery,
b) might have had her work stolen by the scientists who were recognized, and
c) was publically insulted in the book The Double Helix, written by one of the (male) scientists who won the prize.

In celebration of Holy Week:

In celebration of Holy Week: a review of a remote Brazilian production of the Passion Play, which looks like it kicks the crap out of the traditional, wealthier European productions (which only happen every ten years, and do not feature life-size sets of locations like Herod's palace. Or nude orgy scenes.)

Looks like "neutral" Switzerland is

Looks like "neutral" Switzerland is coming under fire again (Swiss banks had to pay out heavy to Holocaust survivors), this time for their role in apartheid-era South Africa.

April 16, 2003

Advertiser and art collector Charles

Advertiser and art collector Charles Saatchi has opened a new gallery for his collection in London. If you want to fly there this spring, you can bring a friend for $1 if you buy a ticket today (see how much I love you, Richard Branson? Now take me for a hot air balloon ride.)

Related to the bodies-washing-up trend

Related to the bodies-washing-up trend post: a girl who disappeared five years ago in Australia turned out to be hiding in her boyfriend's cupboard.

Roger Ebert confirms what I

Roger Ebert confirms what I suspected about A Mighty Wind, the latest Christopher Guest mockumentary: not enough merciless ridicule. We still love you, Parker Posey.

As the next logical step

As the next logical step of America's growing love affair with Tony Blair, he's doing a guest spot on The Simpsons.

TNN (which people were just

TNN (which people were just realizing now stands for The NATIONAL Network not The NASHVILLE Network) is dropping the acronym altogether and changing its name to -- sit down -- "Spike TV". Yeah. You heard me. Spike TV. That's the actual name of the network. It's dedicated to men.

Ihhhh.

And not just the name is new: you're also going to get some great new shows. To wit,

  • "The Eight-Minute Workout Challenge," which follows three men and three women as they try to burn fat and build muscle by exercising for a concentrated eight minutes a day.
  • "Crash Test," which awards the award of "ultimate party crasher" to the man who survives rejection and humiliation by successfully forcing himself on a social gathering as an uninvited guest.

These from the geniuses who brought you "SlamBall", aka "Basketball, but with trampolines".

Can't wait? Me neither.

April 15, 2003

Update on the Saddam Love

Update on the Saddam Love Shack post the other day: the Daily News located the artist responsible for the lizard-wrestling-man pictures, and she's pissed: "I would give anything to get them back," said Rowena, "I am so upset that they are there." Seems she painted them for the covers of bodice-ripping novels a 15 years ago. Now I'm interested to know how they got from the publishing company to Saddam.

Somebody at Geocities has a collection of her art work, and, this, as far as I can tell, is one of the paintings Saddam had, and here is the other one. [I moved them to our servers since theirs were overloaded.]

Amy's Robot -- proving once

Amy's Robot -- proving once again we are the source for newsworthy genome sequences...

It's what you've all been waiting for: the genetic sequence of the SARS virus, as a PDF file this time. You can compare it to the coronavirus genome we posted earlier.

Big propers to M., our consulting virologist.

[You may have to download Acrobat to read the file.]

Here's a tricky bind: if

Here's a tricky bind: if you're a working illegal immigrant, do you file a tax return (as illegal immigrants are legally required to do) to show the IRS and INS that you can be a responsible American, or not file, not get your tax return, and avoid the risk of being deported?

Three is a trend, so

Three is a trend, so there's a trend today of finding washed-up bodies related to high-profile disappearances:

NYC's new budget is out.

NYC's new budget is out. Here's the official release, which details the major cuts. Also, looks like the city's income tax will rise. Here's something to look forward to if Albany doesn't bail us out and the contingency plan has to be implemented: "The Department of Sanitation will lay off 846 uniform employees and 211 civilian employees, severely impacting core collection, recycling, snow removal and street cleanliness functions."

Before there was Kurosawa's Ran,

Before there was Kurosawa's Ran, there was Baby Ran.

The police have freed the

The police have freed the two men arrested in the "smoking ban murder". The vic's brother is angry...apparently he's been told his brother slipped on a beer bottle, even though the surgeon told him earlier it was a knife that severed his artery. There must be more to the story than has been revealed, since it seems like the guys would be charged with manslaughter if they were in any way responsible.

While Slick Rick is in

While Slick Rick is in jail, waiting to be deported back to England, (his homeland!), some guy in NC stole his identity and started living as him.

Update on the Field Day

Update on the Field Day Festival in Long Island: every single band that we like in the whole world is playing there. Seriously.

Two more Ripley movies on

Two more Ripley movies on the way, from different studios. Matt Damon will be replaced by Barry Pepper and John Malkovich, though.

Hockey hooliganism in New Hampshire,

Hockey hooliganism in New Hampshire, after UNH lost the big game.

The inventor of an Academy

The inventor of an Academy Award-winning camera lens design has been determined to have deceived the patent investigators who awarded him his patent back in 1994. Seems the demonstration video he showed them used an entirely different set of lenses than the ones he "invented". The lenses supposedly allow near and far objects to stay in focus at the same time, but a judge has ruled the design "defies the laws of physics". Despite this, several high-profile cinematographers testified at the trial that the lenses do what they are claimed to do. [LA Times -- login with 'amysrobot' and 'password']

April 14, 2003

E! channel has an update

E! channel has an update and details on the Sharon Osbourne/PR Flack catfight I mentioned the other day. Sounds like a case of "She spit/She hit". Unfortunately, MTV did not capture the celebrity deathmatch.

I wish everyone who is famous would just go back to not being famous. Except Salma Hayek. She can be famous in her new role as My Wife.

Related to ADM's post, this

Related to ADM's post, this new mag Radar has no niche market, is underfunded, and under-publicized (well, until now.) So what does it have? A strong appeal to the one force that unites us all: the desire to read bitchy gossip about celebrities. Oh, and some stuff about the war. Reminds me of some other highly successful media outlets that ride on little but looks and sass.

The new movie about Britpop,

The new movie about Britpop, Live Forever, is an inane waste of time, according to the British press. And if they didn't like a self-congratulatory documentary on a few years in British pop music history that really only amounted to 3 albums that hardly got any radio play in the US, I'm assuming the American reception will be equally cold. Even if Damien Hirst designed the movie poster (via KP, who has other ideas about the future of underground music).

Should have blogged this Friday:

Should have blogged this Friday: A CNN executive reveals in an NYT op-ed that he's known for years about torture, murder, etc., inside Baghdad, but they didn't report it for various reasons. Pretty gruesome.

His revelations raise some thorny ethical issues. (See second section in this WP column.) [via romenesko]

The SARS genome has been

The SARS genome has been sequenced. [nyt] We'll have the results here shortly. (Since decoding viruses is one of our hobbies.)

There's this new magazine called

There's this new magazine called Radar you should know about. [nyt]

Hell's Kitchen -- half the

Hell's Kitchen -- half the home of Amy's Robot -- will be getting an outdoor flea market, seven blocks south of us. But let's not get too excited...it's basically Chelsea Fleas getting re-located and diversified, according to the NYT.

The smoking ban, intended to

The smoking ban, intended to save lives, has cost one, in a way: a bouncer in the East Village was fatally stabbed over the weekend when he asked two brothers not to smoke.

April 13, 2003

Maybe this is already widely

Maybe this is already widely posted, but here's a PDF containing the playing cards with the 55 most wanted Iraqis. (Some readers have been asking for them.) [702 kb]

Interesting ones: 5 of Hearts (a woman); 5 of Spades (Saddam lookalike. A brother?); 7 of Diamonds (scientific advisor who surrendered, I think); the Joker (glossary of Iraqi military ranks).

If that's too much to download, here's a list of them. Update: And here they are in HTML and jpegs.

Big article in the Boston

Big article in the Boston Globe about Voice of the Faithful, the Catholic splinter group, which is now a year old.

Reporters Without Borders is concerned

Reporters Without Borders is concerned that CNN's reporters are travelling with an armed guard. He opened fire with his machine gun the other day.

Sharon Osbourne got in a

Sharon Osbourne got in a fight at an LA restaurant, apparently with the woman involved in that necklace scam a few months ago.

April 12, 2003

Saddam's love shack: mirrored bedroom,

Saddam's love shack: mirrored bedroom, lamps shaped like women, airbrushed paintings of a topless blonde woman and a mustached hero battling a crocodile. Also, they found thousands of guns.

A man wrestling a crocodile is sexy; a collection of 650 Sig Sauer pistols is sexier.

NYT has compiled over 100

NYT has compiled over 100 of its war-related slideshows on one page. Amazing pictures.

April 11, 2003

More nutty federal court nominees:

More nutty federal court nominees: this one, a guy from Arkansas with some interesting views about women and marriage [nyt]. The friend who sent it in says, "You gotta hand it to george, since it can't be easy finding nominees this out of touch with mainstream thought."

Interesting Ebert review of Kiarostami's

Interesting Ebert review of Kiarostami's latest exercise in formalism, Ten. Maybe it was Ebes who was responsible for denying K. his visa that time.

Snoop Dogg got shot at!

Snoop Dogg got shot at! When will the madness end?

According to Iraqometer, there have

According to Iraqometer, there have been about 1200 civilian casualties in the war, and 5600 soldiers killed. So, if it's to be believed, 17% of Iraqi casualties in the war have been civilian. No wonder the gov't says such figures are "unknowable".

Has anyone stopped to consider

Has anyone stopped to consider that we wouldn't be having this problem with looting if we had gone in with a UN-based coalition? We'd have blue-helmeted peacekeepers in there now, instead of soldiers who are, by definition, not trained to keep the peace.

Slate, for some reason, is

Slate, for some reason, is running this Press Box hatchet job on the NYT's R.W. Apple, saying his stories are bloated, full of cliche, and self-parodying, but despite quoting him, the piece never gets around to saying precisely what's wrong with his work.

Press Box reminds me of an English professor I had in college who thought I plagiarized an essay I wrote about family roles in Hamlet. "This is totally unoriginal," he said. "Where did you get it?" My explanation was that I wrote it myself, but, well, I was a sophomore in college and I was sorry if I didn't have anything particularly new to say about Hamlet. In other words, what does Press Box expect Apple to say? That this isn't an important victory for the US? That the perceived success of the war doesn't depend on what happens next?

I have to say, too, that I am sick of this annoying recent habit that in-the-know pundits have developed in which they insist on referring to Apple by his social nickname, "Johnny". It's purposely smug, demeaning, and beside-the-point. I don't care, people, that you are so into this crap that you know a widely-known nickname. Besides, Charlie Rose has been using it annoyingly for years.

For all of you who

For all of you who got a little sick everytime you heard Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr were dating, you have been vindicated. He was so drunk at their wedding, he doesn't remember the details. You sure know how to pick 'em, Buffy.

Hurray for NYC taking a

Hurray for NYC taking a stance against people taking a stance against France: the tourist board is taking out full page ads to promote French restaurants in the city.

Interesting update on death cards:

Interesting update on death cards: the US has issued decks of cards featuring the most wanted members of the fallen Iraqi regime. Saddam is the Ace of Spades.

Bad idea. Apple is in

Bad idea. Apple is in talks to buy Vivendi's Universal Music Group for $6 billion. Why not just license the music and make money that way, without all the risk? Why? Because Steve Jobs, apparently, wants to be a media mogul, too.

April 10, 2003

America's favorite Iraqi, the seemingly

America's favorite Iraqi, the seemingly ubiquitous information minister, has charmed us all with his brazen optimism. (Stoutly proclaiming "There are no infidels in Baghdad! Never!" as his office gets shelled behind him.) Some like-minded individuals have erected this aptly-named website in his honor, even though he's been MIA since Tuesday or Wednesday. It features quotes and explanations of the adoration.

If you really, really love him, you can buy your very own t-shirt featuring your choice of his famous quotes.

Tim Robbins and Susan S.

Tim Robbins and Susan S. have been disinvited from a Baseball Hall of Fame celebration of Bull Durham because, of all things, they are anti-war and show it. The current president of the hall worked for the Reagan administration. His claim: "Your very public criticism of President Bush at this important time...ultimately could put our troops in even more danger." Yeah, so now Susan Sarandon wearing a "What Would Jesus Bomb" t-shirt endangers our soldiers? And what do close-mindedness and public efforts at intimidation threaten?

What's next? Are they going to -- I don't know -- consider cancelling Janeane Garofalo's new sitcom because she is anti-war? Oh. You've got to be kidding.

Joshua Jackson is in rehab.

Joshua Jackson is in rehab. Colin Farrell's reaction: "[...burp...]...What's rehab?"

Boston slips down yet another

Boston slips down yet another notch in the hierarchy of American cities: the Department of Homeland Security has declined to fund its defense. San Francisco and even Houston received funding. Plus, Beantown's murder/manslaughter rate has gone up 66% in a year. Here's the Homeland Security press release. To be fair, it certainly looks like Houston got funding based on its relationship to our prez.

This development has been inevitable ever since Boston stopped asking "Is Boston better than New York?" and started asking "Is Boston better than Providence?"

What's the bloodiest war in

What's the bloodiest war in the world right now? No, not that one. Not that one either. It's the civil war in the Congo: 5 years, old, 3.3 million people dead. Costliest war since WWII. And who has even heard of it.

Salon has a piece on

Salon has a piece on the return of the mustache [via chrissy], which I've been hearing about. Damn Williamsburg hipsters. I've had it up to here with you and your unironic irony.

I believe that this trend's genesis was the Beastie Boys' video for Sabotage, which, like many of their videos, was 2 or 3 years ahead of itself.

Propaganda wars. You heard our

Propaganda wars. You heard our prez is addressing the Iraqi people via a taped broadcast beamed out from an AWACS flying over Iraq. Here's the speech. It seems aimed at us as much as it's aimed at them.

Tom Shales on yesterday's coverage

Tom Shales on yesterday's coverage of the statue-hauling. In all the excitement, almost everyone forgot to report that fighting was still going on a mile away.

He also weighs in against the reporter-as-subject trend that I mentioned a few days ago. [via romenesko]

Haiti has sanctioned (i.e., permitted)

Haiti has sanctioned (i.e., permitted) voodoo as a religion. Let the stereotyping begin continue!

April 9, 2003

Here, guess who said this:"All

Here, guess who said this:

"All things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong faith, where a child is taught that, there is a source of strength greater than themselves."
Give up? It is the UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION. Here's the original story.

I give up too.

Update: Controversy builds. The Secretary clarifies.

A soon-to-be-lawyer friend of mine

A soon-to-be-lawyer friend of mine sent in some highlights from a profile of a Bush nominee to the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals:

Late into the trial, Prado allowed a teenage girl to sit in his seat for about fifteen minutes during proceedings. Prado then took a seat in the gallery. While the girl sat on the bench, there was at least one instance where an attorney objected and Prado polled the jury on how he or the "pretend judge" should rule.
How about this one:
During the trial, Prado visibly and ostentatiously ignored what was going on in front of him. He played with a Rubik痴 cube while one of the plaintiffs was testifying, and also turned his chair toward the wall to let everyone know that he did not care to hear testimony. Prado also exhibited an inordinate concern with getting the case over quickly. On one occasion, Prado stood up during the questioning of a witness to make it clear to all that he wanted the witness to finish.
There's much more in the judge's profile on independentjudiciary.com. Just scroll down to the "Judicial Temperament" section. The site belongs to Alliance for Justice.

Beck has announced his summer

Beck has announced his summer touring plans, which include all of nine dates. Good news, though: he's signed on for that camping thing in NY, the Field Day Festival [unfinished site] which Amy keeps telling me about, which will also supposedly be headlined by Radiohead and the Beastie Boys.* Here's the official announcement.

*Something just happened to me as I typed those last two words. I felt old.

Just when I think that

Just when I think that I'm insufferably nit-picky, and have no hope of being understood in this grammatically insensitive world, along comes William Safire to cheer me up and be equally, if not more, fussy about word usage. When did it become OK to say "100 troops" and mean not 100 groups of soldiers (or Boy Scouts, or modernist dancers) but mean 100 individual soldiers? Thank you William: I have always been bothered by this, and I feel empowered and validated.

Some Democrats in Congress are

Some Democrats in Congress are finally calling for an investigation into preferential treatment of Halliburton. Something I didn't know: according to the congressmen, "Cheney continues to receive $180,000 a year in deferred payments from Halliburton."

Los Angeles may stop calling

Los Angeles may stop calling "South Central" "South Central". The new name? "South Los Angeles".

I agree with this decision: it is much easier to deal with social problems by changing the name of where they occur than it is to actually fix the problems.

Get your free video of

Get your free video of Marines toppling the big Saddam statue here!

This war is going great! If we could just find some weapons of mass destruction (remember those?), it would even be (almost) legitimate!

I knew there was a

I knew there was a reason I was sticking with 24 through all the ups and downs and black eyes: next week--NAKED KIEFER!!

New Interpol video for my

New Interpol video for my favorite song. On the MTV site. My boys are moving up in the world.

Slate's Explainer explains how we

Slate's Explainer explains how we would identify Saddam, even if he were blown to bits. Short answer: DNA matching to a close relative.

Slate says the surgical masks

Slate says the surgical masks everyone is wearing in Asia do not block coronavirus, which is the closest relative of SARS.

Can bloggers be plagiarists? Apparently.

Can bloggers be plagiarists? Apparently. The Agonist is in trouble. Except, well, as a blogger, there's really no one to be in trouble with.

He apologized anyway.

The much-touted new Yahoo Search

The much-touted new Yahoo Search page is up. It's the simplest design they've had since about 1994. However, I predict problems, since it apparently will reside at search.yahoo.com instead of www.yahoo.com. Maybe they will redesign the main page so that it is dominated by the search? We'll see in a few days, I guess.

The city's 26-year-old parking ticket

The city's 26-year-old parking ticket clerk has been fixing tickets -- for a price -- for years. The middleman's name was Ziggy. Ziggy's dead.

Wish I had known about this a year ago. [nyt]

April 8, 2003

Ever wonder what you'd look

Ever wonder what you'd look like if you got hit in the face by a rubber bullet? Now you know.

This is what it looks like if you get shot in the back.

We've been following Nyla since

We've been following Nyla since the beginning, so here's the almost end: it's still causing image issues for Britney, even though it's closed...now it owes $350,000 to its creditors. I guess nobody wanted crappy cosmopolitan Cajun food with no-show celebrity owners afer all. Smoking Gun, as always, has the details.

We already talked about the

We already talked about the Pulitzers (twice), but note also that Stephen Hunter won for criticism. He's a big favorite here at the 'bot and over at King Pigeon Productions. Here's his review of Phone Booth: he seems anti-Colin Farrell, but pro-Phone Booth, too. Thank God this movie is only 82 minutes long. There's only so much velvety Sutherland and screeching sweaty Farrell I can take in a one-act movie.

We already talked about the

We already talked about the people who won Pulitzers for books yesterday. Here's the ones for newspaper writing. The Boston Globe's Investigation/Religion beat got one for their infinite (800 stories in a year) coverage on priests who abuse kids. One of the writers, Michael Paulson, sure deserves it...one time he coaxed me into telling him what I told my priest in confession.

Oh yeah, and Steve Reich won for music.

Video Surveillance Tour of Manhattan,

Video Surveillance Tour of Manhattan, sponsored by these guys, who maybe you've heard of. Regardless, it doesn't seem like all those cameras are going to go away.

Roger Ebert's review of Dysfunktional

Roger Ebert's review of Dysfunktional Family is more of a racial slur sensitivity exploration, featuring the n-word, the r-word, and butterscotch pudding. Also: Eddie Griffin on his sexuality, in case you thought he was gay (scroll down a little.)

With subway tokens about to

With subway tokens about to be phased out forever, the Times reports on the nastiest crime I have ever heard of: token sucking. "Hard times makes you do it," said one token sucker. "I've kissed women that's worse."

A Reuters cameraman has been

A Reuters cameraman has been killed by America mortar fire in Baghdad, while inside the Palestine Hotel. Most journalists in Baghdad are staying that hotel.

Did you hear about this?

Did you hear about this? A truck carrying 80 million bees turned over in Florida. The bees escaped, the 82-year-old driver died. The page in the crisis manual dedicated about what to do when a truck carrying 80 million bees flips over says, "Stupify the bees with smoke and foam, then send in six firefighters with protective outfits."

April 7, 2003

I admit it: She's crazy,

I admit it: She's crazy, but I love her. Oh, Winona.

Besides, the doctors say she's getting better.

Pulitzers are out. Caro won

Pulitzers are out. Caro won for Master of the Senate, and Jeffrey (Virgin Suicides) Eugenides won for Middlesex. The winner for history is currently embedded in Iraq.

Michael Moore admits to Roger

Michael Moore admits to Roger Ebert that he blew it on Oscar night by being too nervous.

Ebert dedicates the whole column to Moore issues.

Chin Gigante -- the mob

Chin Gigante -- the mob boss who has pretended to be insane for twenty years to avoid prosecution -- has finally snapped out of it and plead guilty.

Funny profile of female Al

Funny profile of female Al Qa*da suspect Aafia S*ddiqui. Before she disappeared, she was at MIT and Brandeis, dissertating about neurology. Neighbors and colleagues say she was "perfect", although sometimes she didn't put her trash down the chute. Based on some evidence I have gathered through my contacts in the Muslim and neurology communities*, she doesn't seem too bad to me either**:

  • Here's an article she wrote for MIT [pdf] about downloading shareware for your Mac and PC (jump to page 4).
  • Here's something she did about "reproduction of synthetic 2-D actions" [full report here, pdf].
  • She also got an award from MIT in 1992 for a project called "Islamization in Pakistan and its Effects on Women", apparently as a 20-year-old grad student.
  • She wrote this guide to starting a Muslim Student Association.
  • Here she is trying to figure out how Usenet newsgroups work.
  • Oh, wait: here's some radicalism for you. Once she figured out Usenet, she let loose, though. Here's her sig file from one of her posts:
    "O you who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for protecting friends (auliyaa'). They are the protecting friends of one another. Whoever among you takes them for protecting friends is (one) of them. Indeed, Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people."† (Qur'an 5:51)
Let's get her!

*And by "Muslim and neurology communities", I mean "Google".
**Don't arrest me. I love America.
†While we're on the subject of Qaeda posts to Usenet, don't forget that American Taliban John Walker Lindh also posted there pre-terror. Mostly about underground hip-hop and drum machines.

A judge (in a civil

A judge (in a civil case) has cleared the Ramseys of killing Jon Benet. Twist: The plaintiff in the case is a former suspect.

Here's Kiefer talking about I

Here's Kiefer talking about I Can't Hang Up the Phone. Turns out he did the voice-over long after the movie was done. Colin F. was talking to some other guy the whole time. Maybe CF can use that as an excuse for why he sucked so bad.

We'll have a full review for you here soon.

We've seen it looming on

We've seen it looming on the horizon for a while, but it's finally occurred: Russell Crowe married Danielle Spencer today. I've been ignoring the pre-wedding publicity blitz, mainly because I thought it would never happen.

'Bot favorite Stuff magazine paid

'Bot favorite Stuff magazine paid three midgets little people to disrupt a magazine editor's panel called "What Gives Magazines Buzz?" Highlights: The midgets started peppering the panel with questions. One asked O editor Gross, "When are Stedman and Oprah getting married?" Another simply bellowed, "Rolling Stone sucks!"

I've been driven crazy lately

I've been driven crazy lately by embedded reporters who seem to have "gone native" and get on TV or the radio and use plural personal pronouns as they describe the action they've seen: "We fought our way across the river", "We fought back pretty hard and made our way through", etc. (Mike Cerre of ABC is a big practitioner of this breathless first-person narrative.)

Here's an extended example from one reporter:

So we've pulled back for that, and as I say, when we were pulling back, we could see the area we had fought through two and a half days ago -- it was called Machine Gun Alley -- and when we pulled back there were lots of dead Iraqis...
This kind of language indicates an intentional blurring of the lines between the reporter and his subject, but it's also inaccurate. Presumably, no reporter (yet) has put down his pen and picked up a gun and "fought" his way through anything, so it seems wrong to dramatically and grammatically include oneself as a combatant. I understand that given the stressful environment, the embeds are likely to identify with their units and subjects, but I feel it's important, when reporting, to keep the line distinct.

Having said that, there are opportunities to write about how much you identify with the troops, as in this column (not a news story) in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It's a writer's account of how two soldiers, through chance, saved his life and took bullets and shrapnel for him. The story gets more exciting as it goes on.

NPR's On the Media had a brief segment on the topic of "we" a couple weeks ago.

Smoking gun? NPR says soldiers

Smoking gun? NPR says soldiers have found "ready to fire" missiles containing mustard and nerve gas outside Baghdad. How did we figure out it what chemicals are in the missiles?

Good wire service article about

Good wire service article about efforts not to shoot civilians in Baghdad. Sounds like the reporter was in the middle of it.

NYT profiles those NYPD detectives

NYT profiles those NYPD detectives who are always posing as 13-year-old girls online to catch dirty old men.

It's the Wile E. Coyote

It's the Wile E. Coyote method of attack: laser-guided 1,000 lb. blocks of concrete. [via defensetech]

April 6, 2003

In Boston, where non-codified segregation

In Boston, where non-codified segregation is a way of life, black people have begun to plan "friendly takeovers" of the bar scene. Hey, white people of Boston: black people exist.

Boston Magazine also has (older) coverage of the same issue, in the context of a lengthy article about race relations there.

NYT review of A Shortcut

NYT review of A Shortcut Through Time, a new book about quantum computing, which may or may not come along.

Young sniper suspect John Lee

Young sniper suspect John Lee Malvo has given a lot of information to police. Given the chance, he says, he would do it all again. He refers to the shootings as "battles", which is so preposterous it seems almost impossible that he doesn't realize his own hypocrisy/state of denial.

NYT details the work of

NYT details the work of US Special Operations Forces in the war so far: in addition to the Pfc Lynch rescue, "the immediate responsibility for securing the northern oil fields, keeping Turkish and Kurdish troops from clashing, and planning a joint attack with Kurdish forces against a militant Islamist group, fell to fewer than 75 Special Forces soldiers."

Also, here's some pics from the capture of the airport. Jeez, with all those soldiers around, it sort of looks like LaGuardia.

Calvin Klein is going to

Calvin Klein is going to rehab, no doubt passing the oblivious Colin Farrell on the way. It's about time.

April 5, 2003

Peter Arnett is now reporting

Peter Arnett is now reporting for Arab TV. It's Al-Arabiya, not Al-Jazeera.

April 4, 2003

Well, as you can see,

Well, as you can see, we have a new URL. That's right...you can now find us right here at amysrobot.com.

Happy Early Birthday, Ames.

LA Times says Al Jazeera

LA Times says Al Jazeera is no less fair and balanced than Fox News. [via romenesko]

April 3, 2003

The story of the Iraqi

The story of the Iraqi who tipped American marines to the presence of Pfc. Lynch at the hospital, then went back to draw maps: "Mohammed watched as the man slapped the American woman with his open palm, then again with the back of his hand. In that instant, he resolved to do something." Amazing story of courage and compassion.

Steve Buscemi is in talks

Steve Buscemi is in talks to be on The Sopranos. That's good news. Don't forget he once directed an episode, the Fargo-like Pine Barrens. (There's a couple of quasi-spoilers in the story -- be careful.)

More Sopranos news: one of the occasional actors on it got arrested today for, what else, affiliation with mob-connected drug gangs.

Hong Kong: Fashionable Surgical Mask

Hong Kong: Fashionable Surgical Mask Capital of the World, 2003. I would like one with pictures of old people, Hello Kitty, or Garth Brooks on it, please.

I may as well get

I may as well get this out of the way: I'm sick of Colin Farrell already, and I've only seen him in two movies. Hey. Colin. Yeah, you. Would you please hurry up and hit bottom so you can get yourself into rehab and I won't have to read any more stories like this and this and this. Thanks.

Remember last year when we

Remember last year when we were dropping food rations on Afghanistan that looked identical to the bombs we were dropping on them? Think we learned our lesson? Nope. Guess what we're doing in Iraq. [via defensetech]

The manuscipts and collection of

The manuscipts and collection of one of my literary/movie heroes, Terry Southern, who wrote one of the last books to be banned in the US, has been acquired by the NY public library, thanks to Steven Soderbergh.

The Catholic Church isn't off

The Catholic Church isn't off the hook yet: a diocese in southern California is suing the Archdiocese of Boston for sending them a priest who was a known sex offender.

NYT has a piece about

NYT has a piece about the first cell phone call, 30 years ago. The recipient doesn't remember the call. There's a great picture of the caller and the phone -- a Motorola phone called the Dyna-Tac, which is interesting, since Motorola still uses the "-Tac" suffix for its phones (or at least they did until a year or so ago).

The competition scooped us on

The competition scooped us on this, but here's Madonna's pulled video, over at Salon.

19-year-old Norwegian passes himself off

19-year-old Norwegian passes himself off as the Prime Minister and talks to our ambassador there. His fake message: Norway loves the war.

Good account of some close-range

Good account of some close-range fighting as things heat up outside Baghdad: "They fought at close range in a date palm grove, tossing grenades at each other. Late in the battle, a small group of Iraqis with AK-47s tried a suicide charge against a tank."

People in glass studios shouldn't

People in glass studios shouldn't throw stones: MSNBC and Fox News are sparring about who has the most disgraceful correspondents. [via romenesko]

Speaking of such disgraces, Peter Arnett is now reporting on TV again -- for Greece and (northern) Belgium. What was it I said? Oh yeah: Long way down.

April 2, 2003

Some songs from the forthcoming

Some songs from the forthcoming Radiohead album have leaked. They're old and unpolished, and the bandmembers are peeved. I would link to their official reaction, but their website is so unusable, I can't take the time to find it right now.

This might help you cope

This might help you cope with the smoking ban: NYC is giving away free nicotine patches. Here's the official press release. If that doesn't work, I'm going to come over to your house and kick your ass.

You want rice pudding? We

You want rice pudding? We got rice pudding. New Yorkers are so freaking bizarre.

Interesting recap of Joel Schumacher's

Interesting recap of Joel Schumacher's wacky career (the highlight of which I still think is The Lost Boys) and his new movie Phone Booth. Phone Booth. Yeah, great title. That would be like naming Speed, The Bus That Couldn't Go Below 55. Anyway, at least he's reunited with the Sutherland velvety bedroom-whisper (tm Television Without Pity). Next up for Joel: The Phantom of the Opera with Katie Holmes.

Ben Affleck says being sober

Ben Affleck says being sober has made him a better actor. Give me a break, Ben... I liked you better drunk. When I was drunk, that is. Ironically, in the very same post on IMDB, his new film (with J Lo) is described by previewers as "unreleasable".

Elsewhere on the page, Ashton Kutcher gives some details on the young celebrity/depressurized plane scare from a few months back.

Catholic? Shooting Iraqis? No problem,

Catholic? Shooting Iraqis? No problem, says the military's archibishop.

NY Times reports on how

NY Times reports on how much money people in various industries actually make in NYC. Answer: a lot more than just about everybody else.

The disintegrating harmony of the

The disintegrating harmony of the EU is continuing: EU vs. France on fiscal deficits and beer.

You've heard the two Newsday

You've heard the two Newsday journalists were found, having been released from an Iraqi prison. Here's their story, from Newsday. Seems like Yasser Arafat, of all people, had a hand in their release.

Fair and balanced? Far from

Fair and balanced? Far from it -- Fox News itself has dropped even the pretense of covering news that way, as this article indicates. Highlights: Anchor Neil Cavuto explicitly saying he's taking sides and Geraldo Rivera saying he wanted to write anti-Saddam graffiti on a bunker there. [via romenesko] It seems like even the pseudo-debate over whether Fox News is fair and balanced is becoming irrelevant, and we may as well just move on to what it means that the most-watched news organization isn't bothering to be objective.

April 1, 2003

I've been meaning to point

I've been meaning to point out this terrible thing for the last couple days, since I saw it in my neighbor's mailbox: Has anyone seen Kim Cattrall on the cover of FHM?? Oh, it's a travesty! Not because older ladies can't be hot, but because they digitally airbrushed her to the point that she looks like a sleek, toned cartoon of herself. It makes me queasy. You almost can't believe how fake it looks. This is the fakest magazine cover since Kate Winslet.

New York subway riders: let's

New York subway riders: let's take inspiration from the English. Their Circle Line party from a couple of weeks ago looks like a real rager, complete with party lights, DJs, naked people, and general tomfoolery, and most impressively, it went on for hours without regular commuters or transit authority quite being sure it was even happening. [via Becky]

Here's a transcript of the

Here's a transcript of the Peter Arnett interview, which got him fired. CNN seems barely able to conceal their delight at this turn of events, since they were the ones who unfairly fired him over Tailwind.

Who would you rather sleep

Who would you rather sleep with? Miss Thailand Transvestite 2003 or Cher? Ain't no choice at all.

LA Times comments on how

LA Times comments on how Michael Moore seems more welcomed overseas than here.

Maybe this explains why Angelina

Maybe this explains why Angelina was so inexplicably wild about Billy Bob.

Someone in Boston is assaulting

Someone in Boston is assaulting escort workers. Here's the twist: the escorts are from a service in Florida that sends the girls to clients' cities for 4-day-stays. This has resulted in the national escort industry self-imposing a ban on sending escorts to Boston.

NYT on paranoia.

NYT on paranoia.

Bad credit? Can't open a

Bad credit? Can't open a bank account? Then get yourself a Russell Simmons Visa card.

The NYT writes Madonna's epitaph.

The NYT writes Madonna's epitaph. It seems premature. As evidence, they point to flagging record sales and bad movies. But: her movies have always sucked, and her last two records were relatively well received and influential in their own way. Look at this shot from the Times: "Her fan base is now made up mostly of people older than 25 and gay listeners, though she has retained a large international following." Her new album is due in a couple days, and Drudge says her new video has been pulled, due to the controversy.

About April 2003

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

March 2003 is the previous archive.

May 2003 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35