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June 2003 Archives

June 30, 2003

Fame Tracker's Drew Barrymore Fame

Fame Tracker's Drew Barrymore Fame Audit raises some serious issues about our old pal Drew, such as why she insists on being the sunniest, friendliest, happiest little kewpie-doll on the planet. The Amy's Robot Institute of Psychological and Emotional Dysfunction tells us that when people undergo some trauma at a young age, they revert to behavior associated with that age when in a stressful or anxiety-producing situation. Therefore, Drew is probably trapped in age 11, crawling around on the bathroom floor at Studio 54 trying to scrape up cocaine from the tile grouting.

Also: our celebrity spy sources tell us that Drew has been spotted at a Tribeca health food store buying some stuff, and that she is extremely short, and has bad skin. And there may be some elements of her character that seem not only irritating, but disingenuous. But: the woman's one successful entertainer. And I disagree with the FT blow-off of Charlie's Angels, for reasons detailed below.

NY Times on The New

NY Times on The New Tom Green Show, which is, surprisingly, MTV's first late-night comedy talk show. Tom realizes that in our post-Old Tom Green Show world, we can watch people eat worms on TV 24-7, so he'd better return to his other trademark: Candid Camera-style interactions with the world. Like asking Sally Jesse Raphael for some cash. He also comments on his disastrous marriage to Drew.

More news on Mel Gibson's

More news on Mel Gibson's The Passion: he attended Mass every morning during filming; he claims several non-Christian crew members converted to Christianity during production; there seem to now be subtitles. Way to sell out, Mel. -amy

    I meant to post this last week, but I never got around to it: Anti-Defamation League's latest statement on the film. -adm

Mary Zimmerman, who directed the

Mary Zimmerman, who directed the amazing Metamorphoses which closed recently, has a new play off-Broadway, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Sounds similarly cerebral and beautiful.

Charlie's Angels! Charlie's Angels! Although

Charlie's Angels! Charlie's Angels! Although it didn't do as well opening weekend as the first CA, I contend that it is a much better movie. The creators seem to understand more clearly what function the Charlie's Angels movies serve in these dark, bitter times: they offer pure overstimulating eye candy, cool outfits, even more tits, ass, and hair swooshing around in slow motion than the first one, a boost to Journey's back catalog record sales, and Justin Theroux with his glasses off.

This movie was also much more self-aware: references to The Return of the Jedi (angels bursting naked out of the ceramic,) Raiders of the Lost Ark (drinking contest in Mongolia,) The Jerk, and its own television series. Also it generally had a more even level of comedy: everyone was jumping around and freaking out in the same hyper-active frenzy, which was an improvement over the stick-in-the-mud-ness of Bill Murray. He's funny, but he's no Bernie Mac, who operates much better in a movie like this.

Speaking of which, Bernie Mac's racial stereotype jokes were funny in themselves, but that kind of humor felt out of place in a movie like Charlie's Angels. As Ebert says, the Black Irish jokes were funny, as was his delivery of "It's raining white women", but overall, those jokes operated on another level of parody than the rest of the movie. CA was all giggly smirky winks and hot-pants-clad ass shaking, while Bernie Mac's jokes were more Chris Tucker, so questionable you can't help but shake your head and laugh. It didn't quite work.

Hey, and remember all the gossip surrounding the casting problems and script writing problems and Lucy Liu fighting with everyone on the set and hating her co-stars problems of the first movie? And how Thandie Newton, Victoria Beckham (then Adams), and Gwynnie were all considered for the role of the Third Angel? They've really gone to great lengths this time to at least appear like everyone loves each other.

However, I haven't laughed that hard and consistently at a movie in the theater since the opening weekends of Zoolander and the first Austin Powers. The opening "...and now they work for me. My name is Charlie" sequence was the most hilarious thing I've seen in a theater all year. It's worth seeing on the big screen-- eye candy works best when it's overwhelmingly big.

Introducing the Amy's Robot Link Factory

Today, we are launching a new interactive service here on Amy's Robot.

It's called the Amy's Robot Link Factory™. Here's how it works: you submit links to the site, and they automatically get posted to the special link factory page. Then, other readers can visit the page and see your links, and submit their own. That way, everybody's happy. Also, Amy and I will review the links and include some of the more interesting ones right on this page just below the regular posts for each day. We'll try to do this frequently, so the list changes throughout the day. When you submit a link, we'll credit you and link to your own site (if you want).

How does that sound? Good. We thought you'd like it.

You can get started now: go find something interesting and post it here. There's already some links posted, and if you scroll down on this page, you'll see the ones that we've integrated into the blog. On the Link Factory page, every link has a category, and you can search the links by keyword.

So, obviously, this feature's benefits depend on people using it, so we hope you do.

This is one of several major changes we have planned for the site this summer. If you have any feedback on the Link Factory or anything else, please let us know.

In a startlingly clueless op-ed

In a startlingly clueless op-ed piece, famously-overrated columnist Thomas Friedman discovers Google. And Wi-Fi! And globalism -- again! In the same column! It's all about the way these things affect the perceived size of the world. He describes Google as "the most popular search engine." Gee, thanks, Tom. Osama and I hadn't heard out here in our cave. Then he launches into an over-extended analogy comparing Google and God. He actually quotes someone as saying "God is wireless", and uses this as part of a syllogism that concludes, practically speaking, that Google is God. (More on that later.) The point of the article, Tom says, is to show that because of Google-via-Wifi, "the world is getting smaller".

He manages to observe this even though, he says, everyone else's feeling "that the world was shrinking from a size medium to a size small...feels over [since 9/11]." What is he thinking here? Nothing about a handful of guys from Saudi Arabia killing 3000 Americans in 2 hours made me think the world was getting any bigger. And his presumptions continue: "While you were sleeping since 9/11..." he audaciously begins a sentence. Who, precisely, has been sleeping since 9/11, in any sense of the word? Are Americans more or less aware of the world around them since then? I imagine that everyone is more aware and alert than any time since WWII, not just of threats but of the issues behind those threats.

So all this leads to his conclusion that networks connect people. Hmm. Good point, professor. It's funny that of all the kinds of networks to discuss -- social, political, economic, or technological -- he chooses Wifi, which doesn't permeate even a sizeable portion of NYC, let alone Afghanistan or Liberia. He says Google+Wi-Fi "means that what people think of us, as Americans, will matter more, not less." Sure, but (a) doesn't everyone already know this, especially since 9/11, and (b) is it really because of the internet that this matters? People become more aware of their hatred of us because they learn about us online? Access to more information = increased hatred? If this is so, why do so many countries -- Iran, China, etc -- do everything possible to cut off the networks? To illustrate his point, he quotes someone as saying that Osama videos, delivered via Wifi, will be effective propaganda tools. So I guess as soon as Osama gets that Wireless Access Point properly configured, we're all in for it. Tom, people don't need Wi-Fi to know the consequences of globalism, for better or for worse, nor do they need it to understand the effects of our foreign policy. The answers are in their air, water, and markets, not online.

This column reminds me of nothing so much as the time a few years ago when he said that guy who ran a mail-order bookstore out of his basement would vanquish Amazon. In both pieces, he somehow manages to simultaneously state the obvious and get it all wrong.

Finally, in case you don't actually read the column, here's the quote comparing Google and God, which is so ridiculous and terrible it sounds made up:

"And with wireless, it means I will be able to find anything, anywhere, anytime. Which is why I say that Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires. Now, for many questions in the world, you ask Google, and increasingly, you can do it without wires, too."
Tom and Alan Cohen, alleged speaker of the above: does Google know what I'm thinking right now? Is Google that than which nothing greater can be conceived? When you see those fall colors in New England, do you think about Google? (Never mind, for now, the other questions the argument begs: Did Google create the universe? Did Google call out from a burning bush? Did Google die on a cross for our sins?)

Tom, please, for the love of Google, turn off the Tom Friedman Op-Ed Factory™ once in a while, and write something that makes sense.

June 29, 2003

The guy who runs the

The guy who runs the big-deal blog Scripting News is having a freak-out. He stopped publishing because he's not getting enough emotional support from people. Lighten up, buddy.

I guess there is something innately self-important about bloggers that makes them prone to this sort of break-down and subsequent screed. (QED: even us.)

Update: Phew, his tantrum is over now. Everyone can go about their business.

Apparently, this is what started the episode. Get a grip, dog. No one even knows what you people are arguing about. Meanwhile, the world burns.

Robot nurse. Has a tv

Robot nurse. Has a tv screen for a face. [via robots.net]

Was Christian Brando involved in

Was Christian Brando involved in the killing of Robert Blake's wife? Right after she was killed, the story was that she wanted to marry Christian, but settled for Baretta.

The Guardian on the death

The Guardian on the death of irony. [via slashdot, strangely]

June 28, 2003

NYT on Amy Sacco

NYT on Amy Sacco of Bungalow 8. Great picture of the Hilton squad accompanies the article.

June 27, 2003

CNN has a brief interview

CNN has a brief interview with Andrew Jarecki, director of Capturing the Friedmans. Tidbit: Jarecki, I learned from the director's commentary on my Charlie's Angels, pt 1 DVD, is the guy who plays Sam Rockwell's father in the photo of him and Charlie that Sam shows Drew.

The Charlie's Angels premiere was

The Charlie's Angels premiere was here the other night. For the benefit of people who follow celebrity t-shirt and slogan trends, I should point out that Drew Barrymore wore a t-shirt that read "My boyfriend is out of town." If she had checked her dysfunctional-celebrity-child-of-dysfunctional- celebrity-parent-big-event-wardrobe database, she would have learned that Kelly Osbourne wore the exact same shirt to the MTV Video Music Awards last year.

ps to future Googlers: we have no idea where to buy this shirt.

pps. While we're on the topic of fashion at the premiere, check out Demi's outfit, which is possibly the worst thing anyone has worn in public since Gwyneth's saggy tit dress a few celebrity years ago. "Hello, Mr. Blackwell? Yeah, hi, it's me...Demi. Put me down for '03. Say, what are you doin' later?"

Update: Here's a pic of Kelly in the shirt. It's yellow.

Earlier this month, a BBC

Earlier this month, a BBC radio newscaster suggested that Tony Blair embellished military reports to convince Parliament (and the public) to go to war with Iraq. Well, now Blair threatens sue the BBC.

In case you're not already

In case you're not already frothy and panting for Charlie's Angels, here's an AP interview with the 3 stars about their wild and kooky celebrity lives, and how much they all admire poor, washed-up Demi Moore who sucks the fame right out of her boyfriends like a tick. Also: Cameron Diaz loves getting older.

First Sharon Stone, now James

First Sharon Stone, now James Spader. Get ready for a star-studded The Practice. I wonder who his secretary is going to be.

Washington Post on increasing numbers

Washington Post on increasing numbers of girl DJs at clubs. DJ Snowsuit, where are you? -adm

    From the article: "That obsession with music is what drives many women, like men, to step off the dance floor and into the DJ booth. They get sick of what they hear at the clubs. Or maybe they listen to their favorite song get wrecked in a bad mix. Then they stop dancing, head to the bar, order a drink and think: I know what he should have played . . . Being a DJ is ultimately about being in control."

    Gulp. OK, who wants to buy me a set of decks? -amy

Widely blogged, but here you

Widely blogged, but here you go: Scariest. Mugshot. Ever. [via bar]

Have you seen the ad

Have you seen the ad campaign for Ann Coulter's new book, Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism?

OK, well the headline is "Ann Coulter on liberalism and other crimes
against America", and then goes on to say "In Treason, Coulter reveals exactly where liberals stand, and shows why they hate America." (tx Whiskas)

This just makes me want to marry Michael Moore and then move to Canada and never ever come back to our country, The Republican States of America, ever again. The Revolution has come! At last those America-hating liberals have been completely squelched!

I mean, it's the naked x-rays, the threatened war in Iran, Us Weekly's editor leaving, the lies, the lies, the lies, everything. That's it. We're moving to Canada.

Or marrying Amish girls.

First Stuff, now this. The

First Stuff, now this. The editor of Us Weekly, one of our favorite magazines, has just left them for American Media, the company that publishes the National Enquirer and The Star, among others. She had taken a huge percentage of the tabloid readership and gotten them to switch to Us Weekly during her tenure. -amy

    Bad idea, Bonnie. You were the darling of the publishing world, the hotshot who couldn't miss. People trembled and collapsed in your wake. Smart girls from Colby got your coffee every morning, hitching their wagon to your star. And now this? What gives? Is your goal to change the tabloid industry and make it respectable? Single-handedly? And thereby cement your legacy in the annals of journalism history, like Joseph Pulitzer in reverse? I'm not sure what you're up to, but good luck. But remember, if it doesn't work, I don't think the gatekeepers of Respectable Journalism are going to let you back in. -adm

NYT's Elvis Mitchell on Charlie's

NYT's Elvis Mitchell on Charlie's Angels: it's like eating Honeycombs doused in Red Bull. He can't seem to decide if he likes it, but he says it's better than the first one. McG, the director, seems as though he has Red Bull and Honeycombs for breakfast every morning, so this makes sense.

Ebert says, 2.5 stars. He didn't really like the first one either, remember, but he says he's more forgiving this time.

June 26, 2003

Bad news for Duane Dog

Bad news for Duane Dog Chapman, bounty hunter extraordinaire: he must stand trial in Mexico for using force to capture Andrew Luster, millionaire bad boy. Hang in there, Dog. We're in your corner. I thought the FBI would have sprung him by now.

E! reports on an altercation

E! reports on an altercation that may or may not have really happened between Paris Hilton and a bouncer outside an LA club recently.

The post-Soviet world is looking

The post-Soviet world is looking pretty Soviet these days: massive grain shortages are expected in Ukraine, and people have started hoarding flour.

Airport screeners see your boobies!

Airport screeners see your boobies! But, that's the price of freedom.

At Neal Pollack's request, we

At Neal Pollack's request, we bring you: Michael Savage is gay, gay, gay (tx Whiskas).

It's not a very good day for Mr. Savage: the Supreme Court struck down state bans of homosex. -amy

    Here's the court's decision. Lurid details about what gay people do, and how horrifying it is to watch. [pdf] I'm no lawyer, but it looks like the law it struck down also prohibited certain heterosexual oral acts, too. Also, check out page 31 of the opinion for Scalia's "slippery slope" dissent. -adm

OK people. Today's theme is

OK people. Today's theme is GOSSIP.

Who is Pam Anderson's first post-Kid boy-toy? Need you ask? Fred Durst.

Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz have announced that they will attend this year's Love Parade in Berlin, a Eurodance festival almost as old and tired as their relationship already is.

Could poor little Britney Spears be any more sad in her bids for attention? "I used drugs! No! No, really, and I drank too! I.... hey! And I'm not even a virgin!"

Rumors about the next Star Wars movie title. -amy

    Strange how Fred Durst is becoming rock's leading consumer of sloppy seconds. First Britney, now Pamela. According to my celebrity sex spreadsheet, this puts him on track to be screwing Winona by the end of the year, who holds the all-time record for rock-star sloppy seconds. [see lower right of page.] I know it sounds strange, but it's science.

    Also, so Britney decides to spill her guts about her Sodomite lifestyle to The Star? Why would a super-hot big-time star like Britney Spears tell all this to The STAR? They must have had her over a barrell about something. Maybe that she drinks, did drugs, and isn't a virgin. And the fact that she isn't a super-hot big-time star anymore. -adm

Snow DayBlogger is upgrading everybody's

Snow Day
Blogger is upgrading everybody's blogs, so their system is down and we can't really update.

In the meantime, you can try to figure out who killed Jam Master Jay. This guy might have some answers.

Or you can read through our archives from a year ago. We were so young then!

Or you can learn more about us.

Update: Blogger is back up, so we'll be posting again soon.

June 25, 2003

There are reports that the

There are reports that the beloved Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, has been arrested. Pentagon won't confirm.

More on Eminem today: wearing

More on Eminem today: wearing a surgical mask, he dangled a baby doll over a hotel balcony. Front page of the Post today.

Gene Simmons is reading from

Gene Simmons is reading from his book Sex Money Kiss at the downtown Borders tomorrow afternoon. Is there any title more perfectly suited to Gene than that?

New dimension to the Spike

New dimension to the Spike TV v. Spike Lee battle: Spike Jones, Jr., whose father wrote "Yes We Have No Bananas", has joined with TNN against Spike Lee, arguing that no one owns the name "Spike". -amy

    There's an affidavit from Jones out there somewhere that we're trying to track down. In the meantime, here's the recent order denying a stay in the injunction [pdf]. In other words, Spike TV can't delay changing their name.

    Also, a twist I'm not sure anyone has mentioned: Spike is sort of biting the hand that fed him on this one: Viacom, the owner of TNN/SpikeTV also owns MTV, which funded Kings of Comedy, which partially resuscitated Spike after Summer of Sam underwhelmed the box office and critics. (And then he followed up with Bamboozled.) -adm

Adult children of teachers at

Adult children of teachers at Phillips Exeter came back to Exeter, NH in the First Unofficial Faculty Brat Family Reunion. (NY Times) Interesting observation that Exeter is probably the most ethnically diverse town in NH because of the Academy. -amy

    More on elite New England high schools: A satirical flier denouncing treatment of minorities at Boston Latin has been traced to a teacher. There's been tension at the school over who gets to teach AP classes but (as is always the case in Boston), it's just a symptom of the root problem of racism. Article contains the interesting statistic that just 3% of the 107,000 AP teachers nationally are minorities. -adm

NYC public schools are combating

NYC public schools are combating obesity more directly: more soy burgers in the cafeteria, no more devil dogs in the vending machines. (NY Times)

Salon finally has enough decent

Salon finally has enough decent stuff up that it's worth sitting through the ads. Start with this great review of Justin & Kelly's terrible movie, which they say may be the worst movie ever made, but is still not worth seeing. Then there's this auto-biography of a skater girl, a requisite piece of Google backlash, and a piece on a new documentary about old driver training films. There's more, depending on your tastes.

Mugshot of Eminem's ex, Kim.

Mugshot of Eminem's ex, Kim. [link fixed]

Collect the whole Mathers set!

Other celebrity crime news: Ashton Kutcher was apparently arrested for burglary while in college.

June 24, 2003

Ok, this is new information.We

Ok, this is new information.

We set up a profile at Friendster for Amy's Robot. This means you can now use Friendster to meet other readers of Amy's Robot, and then have meaningless conversations or deep sex with them.

Please add yourself as a friend of ours. If the link above doesn't work, just search for us with the first name amy's and the last name robot. Also, Friendster is still in beta and seems pretty buggy sometimes, so be patient.

Update: We've received requests from several of you. We'll add you as soon as Friendster lets us.

If you're in Manhattan, you

If you're in Manhattan, you can go see Carolyn Parkhurst read from The Dogs of Babel, and learn to teach your dog to talk.

If you're in St. Louis

If you're in St. Louis or Hollywood, you can help give Nelly's sister a bone marrow transplant.

If you're going to Moscow,

If you're going to Moscow, you can attend the Moscow Film Festival (which has some impressive guests and jury members) and see Gina Lollobrigida's exhibit at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, in which she returns to her first love: sculpture. (no mention of the exhibit on the Museum website.)

Following up an earlier thread:

Following up an earlier thread: NY's education commissioner says local school districts can toss out the results of last week's Math Regents exam and use classwork to determine eligibility for graduation. There seems to be a logical flaw here: if the point of state-wide testing is to ensure that everyone gets an education of similar quality, how can you ensure this if you let everyone by on the basis of their classwork? Couldn't they administer another test? Couldn't they evaluate what an even lower "adjusted" passing grade on the test might be? (The passing grade on the test is already a 55.) At least they're making underclassmen take it again before they graduate.

NYT today:Boldface Names discusses the

NYT today:

NYT: "Aspiring Spy Concocts Tale

NYT: "Aspiring Spy Concocts Tale of Terrorist Plot". A young Pakistani in NYC told an elaborate tale of incipient terror to NYPD. Turned out, he made up the whole thing.

Spike Jonze's Ikea ad, "Lamp",

Spike Jonze's Ikea ad, "Lamp", won Ad of the Year at the international Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. The guys who made "The Cog", the Honda ad (which was also a nominee) must be pretty pissed.

(Reminder that the other two Ikea ads on the page were directed by Wes Anderson.)

More on ads: Slate's ad analyst takes a look at that branded streaker at the US Open last week. (The Fark thread he mentions is easy to find. In case you were wondering, Farkers identify her [via matching tattoos] as Britney/Brittany/Brittney Skye [imdb], a porn star who others call "a poor man's Jenna Jameson". Adult Video News confirms the ID.)

June 23, 2003

A little late maybe: Kutcher/Willis/Moore

A little late maybe: Kutcher/Willis/Moore family photo.

Hey, what's the kid from Hanson doing in there? Is Demi banging him, too?

Apple: G5. Panther.

Apple: G5. Panther.

More on the Andrew Luster/Max

More on the Andrew Luster/Max Factor fugitive story we've been following: they reportedly found his diary. One major theme: "PAYBACK". Another theme: ingredients for margaritas. [squint at the pic]

This weekend, we went to

This weekend, we went to see Capturing the Friedmans, the documentary about the Long Island teacher and his son who were charged with the sexual abuse of neighborhood kids in the late 1980s.

It is a difficult movie to watch. As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that there are no completely trustworthy or even sympathetic characters in the film, and it lacks a moral center. The effect of this is wearying and slightly sickening, since the subject matter, in itself, is so disturbing. Each person in the film is a case study in neurosis: what happens when you conceal agonizing levels of desire and frustration? You eventually tear yourself and your family apart, apparently.

The film differs from other documentaries in that so much of the primary footage was shot by the subjects of the films themselves. The Friedmans, it is safe to say, were obsessed with documenting the most intimate aspects of their lives on video. Not just family dinners and happy moments, but family meetings, impromptu brawls, a brutal "video diary", and heartbreaking moments at crucial turning points in their lives. One of the family members admits that he can only remember certain things through seeing them on video -- he doesn't directly remember them happening. This is perhaps the only suggestion in the film that the family actually went back and watched their archival footage of their family destroying itself -- and yet, insistently and compulsively, they filmed everything. Why? Is it a sort of reverse logic that since happy people videotape happy moments, if you videotape a moment, it will be a happy one? Or did they inherit the obsession with watching from their father, who first gets into trouble because of his taste for illegal pornography?

Indeed, a large part of the film documents the son's sanctification of their father, and the latter half of the movie reveals a family in almost complete denial of its own nature. As things collapsed, only the mother seemed willing to admit what had happened, and she was ostracized by her sons as she "abandoned" their father. It's easier, apparently, to accuse your mother of abandoning your dad than it is to accept the possibility that your father is attracted to little boys.

Stylistically, the documentary has some problems. Interstitial shots of the Friedman's town seem unnecessary, inconsistent, and distract from the mood. I think they were intended to give the audience a chance to breathe, but they also seemed to make a silent commentary on the notion that things are not always as they seem in tight-knit communities. We know. Also, the narrative is at times choppy and poorly constructed: the transition of the case from an issue of pornograpy to abuse happens too quickly and without sufficient explanation, and the story of the case against the son seems to come out of nowhere. The Friedmans suffered from a lack of evidence contrary to the accusations against them, and the filmmakers, in a way, continue that predicament: out of the presumably dozens of students involved with the Friedmans, they only manage to track down one person who will say on camera that the charges were preposterous. One or two others suggest it off-camera. And yet the overall tone of the film is one of uncertainty: "Did they or didn't they?" it seems to constantly ask. Although they did not have a moral responsibility to do so, it seems the filmmakers could have found more people who, all these years later, would have recanted. Did they try? I don't know. Did they want to? If the goal of the film is depicting uncertainty, rather than uncovering the truth, it seems they might have made the right decision.

There are many other layers of the film that I haven't had a chance to discuss here: the effect of childhood trauma on your adult identity, the dynamics of a Jewish family in crisis, and the nature of sexuality. Overall, the film is disturbingly successful at documenting all of these, along with the destruction of a family and the long-term consequences for each family member.

So the SciFi channel is

So the SciFi channel is spending big bucks to get to the bottom of the UFO issue. They've even hired former Clintonite John Podesta to lobby Congress to de-classify documents related to it. This lengthy article details a new documentary SciFi is working on, but more interesting is the website of the Podesta-related Coalition for Freedom of Information, which is apparently dedicated to discovering and revealing evidence related to UFOs.

If you see one, by the way, make sure you report it, like everyone else.

For those outer-borough oriented readers,

For those outer-borough oriented readers, another talk with P. T. Anderson and Philip Seymour Hoffman got added for tonight at BAM, after the first one sold out.

People in Hong Kong spontaneously

People in Hong Kong spontaneously change into tight, shiny clothes and do the samba in celebration of the decline of SARS.

That luckiest of girls, Renee

That luckiest of girls, Renee Zellweger, gets to keep all that extra weight on so she can film Piece of My Heart, a movie about Janis Joplin. In which she, Renee Zellweger, plays Janis Joplin. If you want to completely lose your mind, read this:

"Janis Joplin's life is a story that needs to be told, and there is no one better to portray her than Renee Zellweger," Paramount Pictures chair Sherry Lansing tells Variety. -amy

    Maybe her brain will split into two sections and she'll have a complete freak-out and show up at the MTV Movie awards looking like Janis, a la her own ex-boyfriend, Jim Carrey, taking the Andy Kaufmann thing a little too far a few years ago. (JC video) -adm

"They're straight, hip, and moisturized."

"They're straight, hip, and moisturized." NYT explores the world of the "metrosexual" male.

Improvised robot dramas. Chatbots with

Improvised robot dramas. Chatbots with different personality traits act out their own one-act plays.

It's no secret we have a thing for robot drama.

Boston Globe on life in

Boston Globe on life in an all-female band, in a special Cape Cod issue of the usually crappy, but slowly improving, Boston Globe Magazine. (Also in there is a short story by Mary Higgins Clark.)

June 22, 2003

Since they hated The Hulk,

Since they hated The Hulk, Salon offers an interview with Lou Ferrigno, for whom they feel nostaligia. [click through 1 million ads]

WP comes right out and

WP comes right out and says it: Bush over-stated the case for war. Probably the most comprehensive article on the topic so far.

NYT:Tim Weiner on the Duane

central park


  • Tim Weiner on the Duane Dog Chapman saga. His last words, pre-arrest: I've got him, honey, call the federales!
  • Centennial of the other bridge, the Williamsburg bridge. W'burg hipsters: "Who cares. Who wants to go to Manhattan?"
  • Yoga in the middle of Times Square: Passer-by: "I seen a lot of sexy girls. If you look good, you are living good. If you look bad, you are living bad. That is the story." Yogi: "Just stay in the silence. Stay in the silence." Somebody walked by and spit.
  • Central Park is 150.
  • The effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation on your brain and your ability to peform higher mental tasks. ''You could call this a creativity-amplifying machine. It's a way of altering our states of mind without taking drugs like mescaline. You can make people see the raw data of the world as it is. As it is actually represented in the unconscious mind of all of us.'' Crazy. Here's an early paper by the researchers that set them down this path.

June 21, 2003

Federal Reserve is now studying

Federal Reserve is now studying Behavioral Economics. They had a mini-conference on the topic a couple weeks ago in Cape Cod. They found interesting correlations between people who eat candy as soon as possible and whether they would rather have $3000 now or $3800 later.

Nicholas Kristof uncovers some more

Nicholas Kristof uncovers some more of the Jessica Lynch story in this long addendum to a column he wrote the other day. Looks like the "courageous lawyer who saved Jessica" story has been embellished, too. [via bar]

June 20, 2003

A friend writes:So, everybody's all

A friend writes:

So, everybody's all upset over the Regents exam in Math that was given to NY's high schoolers on Tuesday. Almost everybody failed. Parents and teachers are complaining the test was too difficult, but someone who was at the exam tells me that if the kids had studied the problems carefully and used critical-thinking skills, they probably would have been able to solve most of the problems. Instead, many of the kids glanced at a problem, figured they didn't know how to solve it, panicked, and moved on. The kids were pretty shell-shocked and dazed after the exam. Sample problem: A triangle has points A, B, and C. Use your compass and a straight edge to draw a median between Point A and Line BC. Another sample problem: "Chris has one less than double the number of CDs that Jerry has. Tom has 75% has many CDs as Chris. [etc, etc., etc.] How many CDs does [someone] have?" These kids (mostly sophomores), I'm told, were struggling to translate "one less than double" into an algebraic expression. Hmm. Sounds like there wasn't enough studying going on. Relatedly, teachers at one school had to distribute calculators to 50% of their students on the day of the exam. That says a lot about the mindset of the students coming into the exam. What kind of student doesn't bring a calculator to the math regents? Usually kids are looking for any advantage (besides studying) when they enter an exam. (Relatedly, the students who had calculators were using them to calculate things like "What is 275 x 10-3?" If we let kids use calculators for this sort of thing, how can we be at all certain that they have any idea what the concept behind 10-3 is?)

All of this is yet another symptom of declining educational standards in this country. Each year it seems we allow the complaints/laziness of our students to lower our expectations of them, and we demand less. Over the course of a generation or two, the end result is that the education the kids receive is a skeletal version of what kids were getting 20-30 years earlier. Improving education in this country has much less to do with annual testing, increases or decreases in funding, free laptops, or revolutionary classroom techniques than it does with the attitudes of the parents and schools. What's needed is the understanding, on a national level, that our kids are not getting the education that they need because we (teachers/administrators/government officials/parents) accept laziness as a fact of life and an excuse not to do work. Why is laziness accepted? Because it's too difficult to fight inertia.

The latest word is that the Education department is going to review the test to see if it was too hard. Will they again cave to the lowered expectations of teachers/parents/administrators?

Thanks to Roger Ebert, my

Thanks to Roger Ebert, my not always reliable, but ultimately vindicated critical hero, for writing a review of Alex & Emma that points out all of the things that always drive me nuts in movies. I'm relieved to see that Ebert didn't fall for the heartwarming nature of the story, or the reasonably good casting, or Rob Reiner, and that he makes no apology for hating this movie.

But he mostly digs Hulk. And who knows, maybe we'll have some commentary for you later.

Interesting twist on the Max

Interesting twist on the Max Factor-heir capture by tough bounty hunter case we've been following: the bounty hunger, "Dog" Chapman, was arrested by Mexican police, but so were the reality TV producer and actor with him during the capture. -amy

    That photo Amy linked to of Dog is amazing -- what mise en scene! It looks like it came from a farcical beer commercial called "Mexican Jail". Was it staged? We'll see. -adm

    And here's a photo of the actor Dog is in jail with. -amy

J. Lo disapproved of the

J. Lo disapproved of the proportions of her Madame Tussaud's wax figure, so they slimmed down her wax butt. OK, J. Lo? Your butt. It's big. Maybe she's never been in one of those dressing rooms with three mirrors. [tx adm]

The weirdest Kakutani review ever?

The weirdest Kakutani review ever? She writes this one (on Candace Bushnell's new book) from the perspective of Elle Woods, Reese Witherspoon's character in Legally Blonde. [via babak]

While we're on the subject of MK and satirical first-person perspectives, remember this great piece from McSweeney's a few years ago, by Colin McEnroe, an old friend from my Hartford Courant days?

June 19, 2003

Remember how right around the

Remember how right around the time of the war, 50% of Americans thought Iraq was responsible for 9/11? This is even scarier: ONE-THIRD of America thinks weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

22% thinks Iraq used these weapons in the war.

As someone (Tom Tomorrow?) blogged right before the war, we're finally reaping the rewards of 50 years of declining educational standards.

(This poll came out early this week, so sorry if you've already heard about it.)

Bush falling off Segway: A

Bush falling off Segway: A pro-oil conspiracy?

Uh-oh. The Times trashes The

Uh-oh. The Times trashes The Hulk.

Our show, 24, has announced

Our show, 24, has announced some casting changes for next year: see ya, Kate Warner! See ya, Lady MacPalmer! [apparently] No word yet on whether Spawn will be around -- my bet is they'll keep her for about 5 eps next season, then have her clawed to death by something.

Wonder what Forest Whitaker's been

Wonder what Forest Whitaker's been doing lately? Well, he's set to direct a new movie First Daughter about the President and his daughter, starring the ideal vision of leadership for our nation, Michael Keaton. And Katie Holmes.

And that sounds like a perfect cue for the very special Former Amy's Robot's Janitor's childhood friends edition of Who's Older?™

Who's Older?™

Luis Guzman or Forest Whitaker

Hello Castro? Yeah, hi. It's

Hello Castro? Yeah, hi. It's George W. Bush. Say... what are you wearing?

Oh yeah? That sounds hot.

Times review of NY State's

Times review of NY State's debate over a fat tax vs. a fitness tax credit also illuminates why our state's lawmakers should be prime targets in this isssue: check out the typical snacks our tax dollars are purchasing for these guys.

NY Times reports on the

NY Times reports on the new Canadian legality of same-sex marriages. Typical reactions: hopeful excitement from one side, wheezing paranoia from the other side ("we could lose marriage in a very short time," says the hand-wringing President of the Family Research Council. I guess he hasn't realized that this new law actually promotes marriage to a whole new population, but...) Either way, Canada should expect a lot of nuptial tourists this weekend. End of the article poses an interesting question: what if a same-sex couple married in Canada wants to get divorced? Could be messy.

In the category of older-celebrity-women-dating-younger-celebrity-men,

In the category of older-celebrity-women-dating-younger-celebrity-men, that whole Ashton Kutcher/Demi Moore thing is so Monday. The new hot couple in that category? Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake.

Which brings up a perfect opportunity for another round of Who's Older?™

Who's Older?™

Justin Timberlake or Ashton Kutcher

ps. Has anyone suggested that the Demi/Ashton thing is like Blame it on Rio in reverse?

ps2: Ames, I hate to say it, but think it's time one of us got a subscription to Us Weekly.

ps3. Well, the morning brought word that Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock have split. So, who will Pamela give her Hepatitis to next? My guess is some innocent ingenue who had a poster of PLA up on his wall three years ago but is now a hotshot himself. The runner-up on American Juniors? -adm

    My prediction: after a brief and ultimately violent dalliance with Eminem, Pam will be photographed canoodling with Jude Law (who will be snubbed even more mercilessly by Amy's Robot), Colin Farrell will grab her ass and offer her a whippet at the MTV Video Awards this fall, then she'll move in with Frankie Muniz, who will release his debut album this winter. Anyway, you can learn more about her string of fellas tonight on E! -amy

June 18, 2003

Look out Rupert Murdoch: Al

Look out Rupert Murdoch: Al Gore is looking into starting a liberal media enterprise.

Japanese female fans of David

Japanese female fans of David Beckham have been inspired to style their pubic hair in a Mohawk. [via Becky]

I'm no Gallagher fan, but

I'm no Gallagher fan, but I do admire any watermelon-smashing over the heads of Wall Street traders.

A couple interesting bits in

A couple interesting bits in this article in the Post: teenage girls were stabbing MTA bus drivers two years ago; bus drivers were making $40,000/year one year ago.

Vendors around the Ground Zero

Vendors around the Ground Zero site have almost been legislated out of business. You mean I won't be able to get my '9/11/01 Ground Zero' Ashton Kutcher Memorial trucker hat? That's a real tragedy. [tx ADM]

So, the heir to the

So, the heir to the Max Factor fortune was on trial for various bad things, skipped town, and headed to Mexico. He was caught today. Who caught him? World-famous bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman. Here is Dog's website. This guy kicks major ass.

Update: Looks like Dog was arrested by the Mexicans for kidnapping. Hopefully the FBI will spring him. Dog's message board is hopping.

Washington Post on fan fiction.

Washington Post on fan fiction. Listen to this: on fanfiction.net, there's 75,000 stories about Harry Potter. Hope some of that is slash fiction.

Blacula has followed Gregory Peck,

Blacula has followed Gregory Peck, David Brinkley, and Hume Cronyn to the grave. He also played Othello and Paul Robeson.

Update on the James (brother

Update on the James (brother of Jesus) ossuary: Israel says it's a fake.

NYT on Chicago hot dogs

NYT on Chicago hot dogs in NYC. Main benefit: no dirty water.

Chaos at a fifth-grade graduation

Chaos at a fifth-grade graduation ceremony in Brooklyn yesterday. When the auditorium filled up, parents tried to force their way in. Security guards responded with mace.

June 17, 2003

Hey Jude Law: you mess

Hey Jude Law: you mess with Sadie, you gotta answer to Kate Moss.

Soon you might be able

Soon you might be able to get a drink after 11 pm in the UK.

Latest Bloomberg trick to fill

Latest Bloomberg trick to fill city coffers: snitch on your neighbors who file fraudulent lawsuits. They have a hotline and everything. Official press release.

A couple of years ago,

A couple of years ago, the AFI decided it needed to do something about its image. No one knew who they were or what they were for, and the only time you ever heard of them was when they gave someone a lifetime achievement award. So, they introduced a series of lists of "bests" related to the movies. It all started with their "100 Best Movies of All Time" (Citizen Kane won, but this was before Spy Kids 2 came out), and then continued with Best Thrillers, Best Comedies, and recently devolved into "Best Heroes and Villains". Along the way, though, with all these lists of lists of lists, it seemed like people stopped caring, and the AFI has been diluting its brand instead of concentrating it. Several years after the first list, do we really know anything more about the AFI? Who are they? What do they do besides make lists? The LA Times agrees, and says the AFI needs to find a new direction.

What it really indicates it that nearly all of the endless lists -- whether from the AFI or some magazine or USA Today -- are increasingly apparent and increasingly desperate attempts to improve ratings or circulation without doing any real reporting or content-producing. They are sort of like the reality tv of cultural historians and editors -- they require no real analysis or effort, are cheap to produce, but they are attention-grabbing. Until -- as with reality tv -- we get so saturated we just start tuning out. The Washington Post points out today [via romenesko] that the saturation point is nearing. (They even shoehorn in a reference to New Witch to make their point.)

Slate on whether the Catholic

Slate on whether the Catholic church is like the mafia.

NYT has the stories of

NYT has the stories of inmates freed from Guantanamo.

Washington Post looks more deeply

Washington Post looks more deeply at the Jessica Lynch story. They say it takes her an hour to go from her bed to her wheelchair.

The article also serves as a sort of mea culpa for swallowing the official story whole when it first came out, which they freely admit: The Post's initial coverage attracted widespread criticism because many of the sources were unnamed and because the accounts were soon contradicted by other military officials. Then, a couple lines later, they seem to make the same mistake they set out to correct: Two U.S. officials with knowledge of the Army investigation said Lynch was mistreated by her captors. They would not elaborate.

Could there be any less

Could there be any less relevant DVD to go on sale today? Just Married is from, like, 4 celebrity generations ago.

Surprise! Nobody cares about Christina

Surprise! Nobody cares about Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake anymore!

Boston Globe discusses SDR, the

Boston Globe discusses SDR, the new humanoid robot from Sony, along with the usual suspects: Asimo, Kismet, etc.

June 16, 2003

Slate: The Ashton Kutcher backlash

Slate: The Ashton Kutcher backlash begins. [below movie review]

Guess that's what happens when you tell the world you love Brittany Murphy Calista Flockhart Demi Moore. Actually, I think it all started when he told that story on Letterman/Leno about setting the house on fire while doing it with Brittany.

We've been dissing him for a few weeks, but we weren't the first (unless this thing from December counts).

LA Times reports on scholarly

LA Times reports on scholarly study on television that you can now do at MIT. The "Media in Transition" conference sounds like it was full of pretentious theorizing, (like using the phrase "Foucaultian gaze" in reference to reality TV), but I would have loved to attend. [and isn't that supposed to be "Foucauldian gaze"?]* -amy

    Update: To get to the bottom of the "Foucaultian" vs. "Foucauldian" controversy, we figured it would be best to contact Professor C. Burns, the Amy's Robot Chair of Postmodern Celebrity Studies at a very old and prestigious university in Virginia. Here's our interview:

    ADM: Professor, can you tell me whether it is "Foucaultian" or "Foucauldian", as in "I can't stand the Foucaul[d|t]ian Gaze of "The Bachelorette."
    Burns: I am pretty sure the latter (Foucauldian), although it is strange, given the real "t" in the name.
    ADM: Thanks. Hey, remember that paper I wrote on To the Lighthouse? What did you think about that one?

Good old Girls are Pretty

Good old Girls are Pretty fella is performing tonight at Galapagos.

Bad news for Harrison: Hollywood

Bad news for Harrison: Hollywood Homicide did terribly over the weekend. It came in fifth, recovering only $11 million of its $100 million cost.

Guess that's what happens when you tell the world you love Calista Flockhart.

The National Design Triennial is

The National Design Triennial is going on over at the Cooper-Hewitt, so we mounted a cultural expedition to head over and check it out.

Unlike most "what's happening now" exhibits, you've actually heard of some of the people in this one: Dave Eggers (for McSweeney's book design), Royal Tenenbaums' interior design, Antenna Design (who did the new metrocard machines and a subway car), the Kismet robot lady we wrote about last week (the robot flowers didn't work well at all), Isaac Mizrahi, Abiomed's new artificial heart, Target stores, and the guy who wrote that book that changed science last year.

Overall, the designs they chose were compelling and interesting, although the exhibit was not as interactive as it should have been. The few "please touch" exhibits were glitchy or completely broken, and some stuff that you should have been allowed to touch (furniture, a music-making toy, etc) was off limits.

Here's the exhibition's official site.

Oh, yeah: you know who was missing? Segway.

Speaking of crime in the

Speaking of crime in the city: the Chinatown Express bus wars are turning violent.

One honcho has been murdered, and others are scared: Several days after the slaying, one of his drivers was assaulted in Washington at the end of a trip. As they beat him, the attackers said, "If we want you to run the buses you run the buses, if we don't want you to run the buses you don't." One of the bus gangs involved is called the Fukien Flying Dragons.

In case you've been wondering

In case you've been wondering who picked up the NYC retro/futuristic noisy catchiness of Jonathan Fire Eater (remember them?) from the mid-90's, well, it's The Rogers Sisters. They are the band you really want to have at your next party. Like Nick Cave, filtered through the Smiths, with some Versus and Le Tigre thrown in. They're at the Knitting Factory this weekend with classic Bronx beat ladies ESG.

All you see is...crime in

All you see is...crime in the city: 12 fatal shootings and stabbings in NYC over the weekend, but coincidentally, the FBI released its new crime statistics for last year, and it turns out we're the second safest major city in the country...behind San Jose, CA. I'll link to reports on all this later today. Update: Here's the FBI report.

"Religiously oriented groups that provide

"Religiously oriented groups that provide federal preschool programs could refuse to hire teachers based on their faith, a House panel voted Thursday in approving a scaled-back overhaul of Head Start."

June 15, 2003

What's happening, butterfly? What's happening?

What's happening, butterfly? What's happening? Lady Mecca, of Digable Planets, is back.

NYT on wandering homeless youth,

NYT on wandering homeless youth, who go from city to city, including this one.

Anonymous Long Island guy profiled

Anonymous Long Island guy profiled twice on the same day, once by the AP, once by the Times. Ironic, because he's being profiled for his uncanny ability to be quoted in news articles about something else.

Update: The AP has told its reporters not to quote him anymore.

Update: He's also profiled by the WSJ. How weird.

Happy Father's Day from Salon:

Happy Father's Day from Salon: they're running Father's Day cards from incarcerated teenagers. Brutal.

June 14, 2003

LAT on Paris Review's 50th

LAT on Paris Review's 50th anniversary.

One time I saw George Plimpton buying a camcorder at Circuit City.

Boston Globe on Segway fall-out

Boston Globe on Segway fall-out related to the prez.

As I was writing my initial post the other day, I wrote "I think the secret is to hit the 'ON' switch before you climb on, Mr. Prez." I deleted that line before posting it, but, incredibly, that apparently is exactly what happened.

NYT:Tomorrow's NYT Book Review is


  • Tomorrow's NYT Book Review is largely dedicated to recent first novels.
  • First they covered $300 peanut butter, now $500 skin cream. "Do I think any of this is better than a bottle of Purpose?" said an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia. "No." (Purpose, a moisturizer, costs about $10 at drug stores.)
  • More on Michael Graves' paralysis.

June 13, 2003

Trouble continues for Jude and

Trouble continues for Jude and Sadie: the cops showed up during a "domestic disturbance".

Continuing a thread we started

Continuing a thread we started a while ago: Mel Gibson is talking about his new Jesus movie, The Passion. He denies it's anti-Semitic. He says some of his best friends are Jewish. He says a "deep throat" figure stole his script so that it could be studied by Jewish and Catholic scholars. I think it was Madonna.

More disgusting celebrity pairings: two

More disgusting celebrity pairings: two of the most dysfunctional people imaginable have reportedly teamed up: Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie. Just what the world needs.

Speaking of dysfunctional relationships, an item on the same page quotes Bruce Willis as saying he's happy about Demi and Ashton.

Speaking of dysfunctional relationships, an item on the same page says Eminem's sometime-wife Kim has been arrested with a "powdery white substance." Anthrax! It's anthrax!

Lego astronauts are on their

Lego astronauts are on their way to Mars, sort of, and they're blogging the experience, sort of. They couldn't use real Legos because they would have melted during the sterilization process. And their blogs are really just email exchanges, but still.

Just what I always wanted:

Just what I always wanted: hip-hop Karaoke.

Neal Pollack on the War

Neal Pollack on the War On Fun.

BuzzFlash has an interview with

BuzzFlash has an interview with Al Franken, about his new book and his recent run-in with Bill O'Reilly, which was about the most exciting thing I ever saw on BookTV.

Even the BBC admits that

Even the BBC admits that Beckham and Posh Spice underwhelmed America during their recent publicity tour. I'm still working out the details of this theory, but maybe English people can't become famous over here unless they fit our stereotypes of what British people are like (Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Anthony Hopkins) or have been around long enough to forge their celebrity through persistence (Elton John). The Beatles were an exception, but that was a million years ago.

As far as the Beckhams go, we don't even accept soccer as a major sport here, so why would we want a celebrity soccer player who isn't even American? -adm

NY Times reports on what

NY Times reports on what was done with the child tax bill in the House, and we get to hear from our own state's rep: "'I know those New Yorkers who make $100,000 in their income, or $150,000, if you're a fireman or a cop or a teacher or a salesman working the store, I know you're not rich,' said Representative Thomas M. Reynolds, Republican of New York. 'I know you're Middle America.'" [via Whiskas]

Yeah. Well... wow. I have never felt so poor in my whole life. I can't speak for all those teachers who don't teach at Dalton, and therefore make under $100,000/year, but I'm here for them.

Eww Ewww Ewww Renee Zellweger

Eww Ewww Ewww Renee Zellweger and Jack White EW EW EWWW make it STOP.

Shouldn't he be dating Winona by now? Oh wait, that'll be in about a year and a half.

An unreal amount of disgusting

An unreal amount of disgusting celebrity news in this bit: Robert Evans is/was married to some woman. Then he met Paris Hilton at a party. The party was held by Brett Ratner. Now Robert Evans and Paris Hilton might be dating or....something? I couldn't make this up.

Clyde Haberman at the Times

Clyde Haberman at the Times thinks NYC police should be writing more tickets for the right reasons, and points out that total issued summonses are actually down this year.

Lars Ulrich thinks there is

Lars Ulrich thinks there is some far more aggressive and frightening music the US Army could have played while "interviewing" Iraqi prisoners than Metallica's "Enter Sandman". Yeah, I mean, that song was on the radio in drug stores.

Johnnie Cochran and Spike are

Johnnie Cochran and Spike are winning: a judge ordered Spike TV to stop calling itself Spike TV until Spike Lee's case goes to trial.

Soledad O'Brien, who would be

Soledad O'Brien, who would be my girlfriend if she didn't have three kids, is moving to CNN to host their morning program.

How smart is our prez?

How smart is our prez? How smart is our prez? HE FELL OFF HIS SEGWAY. That's how smart he is.

And he reportedly piloted that jet for a minute?

Well, regardless, Dean Kamen better get on the phone with his publicists, assuming they didn't drop dead the minute those photos hit the wire services.

June 12, 2003

America's favorite film hero, and

America's favorite film hero, and once the object of a searing crush held by this blogger, Gregory Peck has died. Here's the obituary in the Times. -amy

    We don't usually offer much in the way of sentimental send-offs here at the 'Bot, but I have to say the Peck's performance in To Kill a Mockingbird stands as one of the most dignified and powerful things I've ever seen. And think of the impact that film -- and his character -- must have had when it came out in 1962. I think the reason that he stands as such a hero is that his role transcends the movie: other film heroes -- just look at the list Amy links to above -- are trapped in a fake world while they fight unreal caricatures of evil, but Peck's character almost forces viewers to look inward and consider their own very real lives and prejudices. It's because of this, in part, that his character is truly heroic. He can change things in our world, and although it is difficult, it is not impossible to model pieces of ourselves after him, in a way that would be nonsensical and meaningless with other "heroes".

    I also want to mention that it's interesting that David Brinkley died today, too. Both Peck and Brinkley exuded a kind of principled calm that made you feel they were doing the right thing, and that you could trust them. As almost all obituaries will note, Brinkley's long career unfortunately tapered out with a few mildly embarrassing incidents, but his overall contribution to journalism, I hope, will be long remembered. Sunday mornings just haven't been the same since he left. (And don't forget it was my namesake that funded the show so faithfully for so many years.) -adm

E!'s rundown of upcoming robot

E!'s rundown of upcoming robot movies (we've already heard about Transformers), including I, Robot starring Will Smith. The obvious leading man for a robot movie.

A mafia, of sorts, is

A mafia, of sorts, is causing chaos and busting kneecaps in The Sims Online. [via slashdot and fimoculous]

Actor Isaiah Washington has been

Actor Isaiah Washington has been on the collective Robot mind a lot lately, and here's a Fame Audit from Fame Tracker: I guess we're not alone. He is in the new Hollywood Homicide, and he also played the role of Lane Staley (coincidence?*) in an episode of the TV show "Homicide". I seem to have a mental block similar to the FT writers about Isaiah and his many roles in many movies, apart from that same exact "Tuffy liked to tussle" scene from Out of Sight that's mentioned in the audit. Which we think indicates what a great character actor he is, like how he hung out on the streets of Detroit for months in preparation for his role [tx ADM]. -amy

    If I ever meet Isaiah, I'm going to ask him if he and Don Cheadle knew each other before they were in movies. They're acting style is similar in some precise ways, and it makes me guess they either studied at the same school or learned from each other when they were young. If you ever watch either of them while they're being quizzed by another character, their shifty, non-chalant attitudes (just slightly tinged with weakness) seem to mirror each other. Tough, but punctuated with an almost imperceptible fear. You can see both of them in action at once in Out of Sight, where Cheadle is memorable as Snoopy Miller, and Isaiah (as Snoopy's cousin) has that great scene with J. Lo that Amy mentions.

    Both of them command your attention as soon as they enter the frame, but can shift from a position of strength to one of weakness without your even noticing. Amy and I started talking about Washington the other night because I had just watched an old episode of Homicide in which he goes head to head with Andre Braugher in the interrogation box. Braugher's confidence, particularly in his Homicide role, is different from Washington's and Cheadle's: there is no vulnerability. And so, as he duels with Washington in the box, it becomes increasingly evident that the scene was never a duel at all: it was Braugher destroying Washington's character. And again, the moments in which Washington begins to shift from street-bred non-chalance to a broken man slip by you, until suddenly you can't believe that Washington's transformation occurred in only one scene. It's funny that Fame Tracker has a "Hey! It's that Guy!" profile of him...As I mentioned to Amy the other day, he and Cheadle seem ripe for a "Two Stars, One Spot" feature, and it does seem like IW has been getting less work since DC came into prominence in Boogie Nights. -adm

    *In another episode of Homicide, the detectives investigate someone named "Chris Novoselic", so it seems that the writers on the show had a thing for naming supporting characters after grunge rockers. -adm

Michael Graves, big-time architect and

Michael Graves, big-time architect and designer of a line of merchandise for Target, has meningitis and is now paralyzed below the waist.

Convicts in Brooklyn have copyrighted

Convicts in Brooklyn have copyrighted their names and are suing judges and attorneys who use those names in court. I'm looking for a link that offers more details.

June 11, 2003

Adult Swim has a guy

Adult Swim has a guy dressed up as Space Ghost imitating the Star Wars light-saber kid. This is parody on so many levels, I get confused just thinking about it.

Times reports on a US

Times reports on a US Army Colonel named Kassem Saleh who has successfully romanced 50 different tall American women while stationed in Afghanistan, via dating websites for tall people. And he's 5' 9".

Madonna is going to be

Madonna is going to be in an ad for the Gap. The article says she's the latest in a series of "mature" (ouch!) stars to be in ads for the retailer, along with Dennis Hopper and Lauren Hutton. This seems like a good opportunity for yet another edition of America's favorite quiz game, Who's Older?™:

Who's Older?

Lauren Hutton or Tommy Lee Jones?

Fire up the Renee Zellweger

Fire up the Renee Zellweger "I have to be fat" publicity machine again: here she is talking about all the donuts she has to eat. She's thin, she's fat, she's thin, she's fat, she's thin. One of these days, maybe we'll be able to talk about whether she can act.

And: why don't they just cast a heavier actress? Is it somehow more ok to put a fat girl in a leading role if everyone knows she's not really fat? -adm

    Some additional commentary on the Renee-stuffing-herself-to-get-a recognizably-human-body-back media phenomena from Whiskas: "The thing that pisses me off SO ROYALLY about this is the assumption that women are ordinarily very very small, and to become a massive, elevator-busting, porking size 14, you have to eat 20 donuts a day because disgusting, self-indulgent, gluttony is the only reason that people are overwieght" -amy

Speaking of robots, get ready

Speaking of robots, get ready for a live-action Transformers movie. X-2 writer will script it. I guess Orson Welles won't be Unicron in this one, though.

This woman at MIT is

This woman at MIT is trying to build nicer robots. I think she might be my new technology girlfriend. [nyt] Her robot is that robot Kismet, which maybe you've heard of if you're into that sort of thing. Once they integrate Kismet with RealDoll*, I think they'll have something.

*barely safe for work. [link fixed]

Interesting tidbit related to Al

Interesting tidbit related to Al Sharpton getting behind in his SUV payments, and bouncing checks: he doesn't have a driver's license. Maybe someday he'll be our nation's first black President who can't drive.

NYT may have a Pulitzer

NYT may have a Pulitzer from 1932 revoked.

J. Lo fired everybody.On the

J. Lo fired everybody.

On the same page, it says Demi brought Ashton to a school event. Bruce was there. Yikes and Eww.

That other field-day-type festival that

That other field-day-type festival that was supposed to be in Calverton -- with The Dead, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and DMB, has been cancelled, due to uncertainty over permits. Everybody gets their money back.

You might have some trouble

You might have some trouble catching a ride today, especially if you live in the outer boroughs -- the car services are striking from 9-5 today, protesting a recent rise in fines. The fines are being issued to drivers who don't have proof of insurance.

OK, we can't ignore the

OK, we can't ignore the David Beckham/Posh Spice rise in American pop culture any longer. The Guardian has developed a great Spanish phrase book for him, in case the deals to transfer him from Manchester United to Barcelona or Real Madrid go through. -amy

    And that's just thing...has there truly been a rise in Beckham-awareness in the US? Maybe a few more people know who he is, but do we care? Also, Posh Spice (or whatever her name is now) was way more famous over here when she was a Spice Girl than she is now. We have been ignoring them purposely, but now that his getting sold to another team is sort of like the Chicago Bulls selling Michael Jordan (or me selling Amy) I feel like it's worth talking about. And yet: British celebrities. Who cares. -adm

June 10, 2003

Hunter College offers a course

Hunter College offers a course called Community Leadership, which was designed for students on welfare, and counts for work-study students as part of their requirements for workfare. The course is offered in both the Political Science and the Women's Studies departments: not surprising, since all the students mentioned in the article are women. And guess what: NYT reports that Bloomberg doesn't like providing education to welfare recipients.

Had some reason for bringing

Had some reason for bringing this up, but I can't remember, so I'll just say it: in case you didn't know, Wes Anderson directed two of those "unboring" Ikea ads from earlier this year, joining the club that Spike Jonze started. One is "kitchen", the other is "living room". We know from Royal Tenenbaums that he has a thing for interior design.

Also, here's some info on his latest project, "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou". [via bar] More on the project from Daily Variety.

The AP has counted 3,200

The AP has counted 3,200 civilian deaths in the war in Iraq. In case you missed it a while ago, the Guardian has this "Portraits of Grief"-style feature on many of them.

Slate on the new Reebok

Slate on the new Reebok ad/video clips with the 3-year-old shooting baskets and saying "I am Reebok". It wasn't meant to be ironic. (Here's the clips.)

The second issue of the

The second issue of the hyped magazine Radar hit the stands recently, so I figured it would be worth investigating their difficult sophomore effort.

My summary opinion is this: sure, it's a cross between Vanity Fair and Talk, with a little Spy mixed in, but: it's toothless. The articles just don't dig deep like VF's do, and the satire/sarcasm is not nearly as biting, or interesting, as the glory days of Spy. Still, it's easy to read and discusses a lot of your favorite topics. Details:

  • The cover story about America's obsession with "B-List" celebrities -- the Hiltons, anyone who has ever been on a reality show, Lara Flynn Boyle, etc -- doesn't really contribute anything new to celebrity science. The thesis of the article (which it took me a while to find) is that because of all the TV channels in existence nowawdays, programmers have to fill them up with something -- anything -- so they "elevate the formerly unfabulous (or more often once-but-no-longer-fabulous) into prominence." Hmm. Is that the real reason we care about the Baywatch girls or Emilio Estevez or Justin Guarini? Because there has to be something on? I don't think so. I think, maybe, B-listers linger in our imaginations for a variety of reasons, the two most common being: "they used to be famous" and (lately) "that could be me." All these TV shows that need to be filled with B-listers are a symptom, not a cause, of our fascination.

    The article goes on, through endless sidebars, to provide an overly-elaborate taxonomy of celebrity, based entirely on the construct of "A-list", "B-list", and "C-list". The lists provoke no response in me besides, "Yeah, so." We already know that Adrien Brody and Latifah are on their way up, Sheryl Crow's on her way down, and Kevin Costner is already "outcast". The sidebars, which go into far more excruciating detail than I just did, serve merely as margin fillers and don't state anything that isn't obvious to the magazine's target audience. So, their only purpose must be to be "cute", since they evoke a "that's for sure" response from the reader. Is that what captures the attention of people reading this mag? I don't think it is.

    An interesting point the article makes is that B-list celebrities expend far more energy getting attention and talking to press/fans/everyone than A-listers. One publicist points out that it may do your even more good to have a B-lister there instead of an A-list celeb, because the B will spend a lot of time talking to attendees and media, thereby getting you the attention you want.

    The one entertaining portion of this feature is called "Celebrity Face-Off: A vs. B", in which people posing as personal assistant to Gwyneth Paltrow and Melissa Rivers attempt to wrangle perks from Gucci, Yankee Stadium, and the New York Stock Exchange. The Spy-style transcripts of their conversations with the reps at these places are funny, as the reps try to be polite to Melissa's "assistant" and are wildly sycophantic to Gwyneth's. Still, the whole thing has the flavor of something we've all been drowning in lately -- practical joke shows, like Ashton's thing on MTV, Jamie Kennedy, and Crank Yankers.

  • The other major article in the issue deals with Bill Clinton's post presidency. This article's thesis is that Bill is concerned with his legacy, but is undermining himself by hanging out with celebrities instead of world leaders, even at policy-related events. Jake Tapper, a very talented reporter, wrote the article, but it still lacks both the depth and the incisiveness of his reporting for Salon, especially his older pre-Bush-presidency stuff. In the end, it isn't really surprising to learn that Bill spends a lot of time hanging out with Kevin Spacey or whoever...we see it in the NY Post every week anyway. Jake did manage to get an email interview with the former prez, but he quotes from it only briefly. An email interview, by itself, may have been more interesting than a full feature on BC's post-presidential life. I felt short-changed after reading the article.

  • Elsewhere in the issue, Camille Paglia and the magazine's editor, Maer Roshan, interview Matt Drudge, who, it turns out, makes at least $900,000 a year. Although Drudge says some weird stuff about abortion (which has been reported elsewhere), most of the interview is everyone sitting around sucking each other's cocks. I mean seriously, I don't think anyone offers any critical analysis of Drudge whatsoever, and Drudge repeatedly flatters Camille and seems overly-chummy with Roshan. Give me a break. Get a hotel room, you know?

  • A piece about the bad boys of hip-hop is equally lifeless. There's feuding in hip-hop lately? Oh, really? Russell Simmons is trying to broker peace? Oh, really? Wow.

  • Also flat and un-new is a piece about IM and how sometimes IM doesn't really convey people's true emotions, or sometimes IM really conveys people's true emotions. Wake me when it's over.

  • The issue's most interesting piece concerns Joe Francis, the 30-year-old creator of the Girls Gone Wild video series. It had been reported in the mainstream media a few weeks ago that he ran into some trouble with the law, for filming under-aged girls. This article gives lots of details about that incident, his meteoric rise, celebrity (B-list, alas!) connections, and fabulous wealth. I was stunned by how wealthy this guy is. It's a $90 million/year business. He owns two private jets! Remember that Ashton Kutcher/Colin Hanks flight-scare a few months ago? That was on one of his planes. The appeal of this article is that it takes something everyone is familiar with, and tells you the story behind it, and it's an interesting story. It's like the E! True Hollywood story of Three's Company. It is, by its nature, compelling, but you don't realize it until the story begins.

  • The movie reviews in the back are funny, even if they haven't seen the movie yet. The music reviews need work.

  • The rest of the issue -- fashion spreads, reporting on minor trends, investigation/profile pieces, etc -- is basically a flat imitation of VF and isn't really worth discussing.
Despite it's bloodlessness, the magazine has potential. They just need to flesh out their reporting and come up with some original angles. Radar knows its readers are relatively with it, so it needs to treat them as such.

An recent episode of Spooks,

An recent episode of Spooks, a show on the BBC, features a radical Muslim teaching teenage boys to be suicide bombers, and may have incited an attack on a Birmingham mosque over the weekend. Lots of people have complained about the episode.

The latest batch of Christian

The latest batch of Christian rock bands are reaching market saturation: we're way beyond Stryper, people. Their primary worry now, according to the NYT article, is not that they won't be accepted by mainstream audiences, but rather that they'll alienate their enormous Christian following if they get too secular. One of the biggest Christian rock labels, Tooth & Nail, is now getting a lot of attention: "Mr. Ebel founded Tooth & Nail 10 years ago when he noticed that there were several high-quality Christian hardcore, punk and indie-music bands on the West Coast. Christian labels wouldn't sign them because their music was too heavy, and independent labels wouldn't because of the Christian association. Now, Mr. Ebel said, "as soon as we sign a new band, we get e-mails from major labels."

A great article worth reading. Especially the "Jesus opening for the Sex Pistols" comment at the very end.

A few years ago, a

park warriorsA few years ago, a friend of mine moved into a new apartment in Madison, Wisconsin. After a few months, she told me she thought the teenagers living upstairs from her were dealing pot. She said they were cute kids and she wasn't going to worry about it, but I wondered whether it was safe, since, you know, everything has consequences. Anyway, several months later, she was sleeping and was woken up by a commotion upstairs -- lots of banging and shouting. When the police showed up, they interviewed her and asked whether there was a lot of "traffic" going on upstairs. She said yeah. Well, it turns out that the teenage pot-dealing hippie kids had been home-invaded by some shotgun-wielding thugs in search of their cash and weed.

Now, the CS Monitor reports on marijuana-related drug cartel activity in US National Parks, and the heavily armed forest rangers who track it. Eye-opening. [tx bar].

So it's looking more and more like the marijuana trade isn't just about people being cool to each other. You've got machine-gun toting growers inhabiting our national parks, and yesterday, in Queens, you've got a triple homicide (in which a 10-year-old boy lost his parents and aunt) that police are saying is tied to the pot trade. Everything has consequences.

Monkeypox! Monkeypox! Monkeypox!The Amy's Robot

Monkeypox! Monkeypox! Monkeypox!

The Amy's Robot Genome Project is working around the clock to sequence this thing. Just try to hold on.

Update: Here you go.

June 9, 2003

It's like The Ring, except

It's like The Ring, except with IM. This online community "has been associated" with the death of 14 people, and possibly 14 more. They tell you how to kill yourself. [via obscurestore -- a little dark even for him, I think.] The SF Chronicle won't tell you who it is -- I'm guessing the Hemlock Society.

Well, depressed readers, remember what Kurt Loder said when Cobain killed self.

Update: AM in Atl reports he found the group referenced in the article. It's on Usenet. You can find it easily if you, um, need to.

CNN interview with Lou Reed,

CNN interview with Lou Reed, about the new big project. He hearts NY.

Courtney apologizes to Salma for

Courtney apologizes to Salma for that crack about not speaking English.

Sam Mendes and Kate Winslet

Sam Mendes and Kate Winslet have married.

LAT on Radiohead. They have

LAT on Radiohead. They have RealAudio files right on the page, too. (See that, Washington Post!)

Chess sets by contemporary artists

Chess sets by contemporary artists (including Damien Hirst) will be displayed soon in London.

NYT says Martha is finding

NYT says Martha is finding sympathy in Westport, CT, of all places. Forgive and forget.

NYT on a difficult year

NYT on a difficult year for ICM. Agents acting badly, losing clients, making a general mess of things.

Did "Field" Day, transplanted from

Did "Field" Day, transplanted from Long Island to Giants Stadium, suck? Well, it rained for 10 hours, organization was poor, and Beck cancelled because he injured his ribs while grooving to Underworld, but it seems the performances were good. Except for the Beastie Boys, who forgot their own songs, and Beck, who didn't play. And, alright, sorry, but even though Underworld are totally amazing live, they were on at 3 PM, in the RAIN. Amy's Robot was not represented at the show, but we're not really sorry.

June 8, 2003

Sunday reading:NYT says Vegas has

Sunday reading:

June 7, 2003

Model of the solar system

Model of the solar system along a Maine highway, to scale. Here's the official site.

Slate has a new story

Slate has a new story called "I was a phony phone psychic." Remind you of anyone? How about Stephen Glass, who wrote a brilliant, similarly-themed pre-lapsarian piece for Harper's a few years ago that, of course, itself turned out to be fake.

Ironically, here's Slate briefly discussing Glass' original piece, before they knew it was all made-up.

LAT profiles Romenesko, who has

LAT profiles Romenesko, who has almost become part of the story through his persistent attention to it.

NYT:NYT reports that midriffs are


June 6, 2003

The Times publishes excerpts from

The Times publishes excerpts from a forthcoming federal report on Janet Rhenquist, and her mismanagement of the Dept. of Health and Human Services (she resigned on Sunday), revealing all sorts of details about her bad decisions while Secretary, as well as the fact that she kept a not-really-legal gun in her office. [via Whiskas]

FCC says you can keep

FCC says you can keep your cell phone number when you switch carriers. Court of Appeals agrees. I'm confident that the court's decision will be posted here soon. -amy

Europeans eat horse meat, and

Europeans eat horse meat, and it's been recently found in imported salamis. Ew gross. -amy

    Yeah, but you know what's even grosser? Ashton Kutcher meat has recently been found in sordid Demi's. -adm

Our recent post about FBI

Our recent post about FBI using 8th grade girls as agentettes to help them identify men who try to lure young girls into their lairs via Internet chat rooms prompted some readers to question whether this sort of crime still merits an FBI task force. Well, a man who did that exact crime was just sentenced in London. Scotland Yard, take note.

Like the Mexicans, the Pope

Like the Mexicans, the Pope thinks women are honest too, and also strong, brave, and generous. But still not worthy of being priests.

Monica's reaction to Hillary's book:

Monica's reaction to Hillary's book: leave me alone.

Already on Slashdot, but here's

Already on Slashdot, but here's an interview with Steve Wozniak about the old days at Apple.

LA Times on the media's

LA Times on the media's coverage of the presumed-guilty Eric Rudolph, reminding us of the coverage of the presumed-guilty (but actually innocent) Richard Jewell, the security guard at the Atlanta Olympics whose life was ruined when media sources decided he was the bomber.

Yet another reason why Boston

Yet another reason why Boston sucks: after 8 years of trying to re-do City Hall Plaza, the brick desert that is one of the worst of the major public spaces in the country, everybody gives up and says, "Let's just build an underground garage there!"

Say goodbye to the pleasure

Say goodbye to the pleasure of receiving cancelled checks back with your bank statement. Yet another unintended consequence of 9/11.

NYT on Mexico's latest efforts

NYT on Mexico's latest efforts to stop illegal goods from being smuggled into the country (mostly from China). One step taken: employing exclusively women to monitor customs inspectors, with the assumption that women are more honest.

NYT on a new photography

NYT on a new photography exhibit of Lewis Carroll.

Here's the NYT's editorial about

Here's the NYT's editorial about itself.

Rather than linking to lots of stories about this, I'll just direct you to Romenesko, which has pretty comprehensive coverage.

Jack Black is going to

Jack Black is going to produce a movie in which he plays the world's greatest video game player. The guy who wrote Dude Where's My Car will script it.

Rex over at Fimoculous will

Rex over at Fimoculous will be happy about this one: Josh Hartnett premiered his new movie (Hollywood Homicide) in Minnesota, where he's from.

June 5, 2003

After working with them on

After working with them on Blowback, Tricky says he'll never work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers again. Or with any other big-time bands, for that matter.

Notes from Ted Casablanca: all

Notes from Ted Casablanca: all the butts featured on the MTV Movie Awards, which finally airs tonight (about 3 days after everyone has already gotten sick of them); Paris and Nicky Hilton slumming it.

Eminem and Kim have split

Eminem and Kim have split again.

Lil Kim's costume fell apart

Lil Kim's costume fell apart at a concert the other day. Here's some pictures of her, naked.

Awesome. Lucy Liu says the

Awesome. Lucy Liu says the violence in the new Tarantino movie Kill Bill will make you physically ill. A sneak peek: "There's a scene where there's so much violence that the color of the film goes into black and white, so that the blood looks like oil." But, she says, it's art.

You know that Scorsese project

You know that Scorsese project "Aviator" about Howard Hughes? Here's some casting news: Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, Kate Beckinsale (probably) as Ava Gardner.

Here's the ad Martha ran

marthaHere's the ad Martha ran in USA Today proclaiming her innocence.

Related to the photo of

Related to the photo of Bush smooching lady soldiers that ADM posted below is the photo of him playing Jesus with another soldier.

So about The Italian Job:

So about The Italian Job: quite a watchable movie. And a very European one: chase scenes involving both Minis and public transportation systems aren't very common over here. Plus, Seth Green has come back around to being funny. And Marky Mark doesn't take his shirt off for any gratituous pec shots, or, at all, so I guess I have to start calling him Mark Wahlberg.

Did you know that Ed Norton has played a criminal in 7 out of the 11 movies he has had a leading role in?

Big news at the NYT:

Big news at the NYT: Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd have resigned. Lelyveld is in charge (again). Amazing.

Here's the internal memo announcing the change.

So Field Day, the 2-day

So Field Day, the 2-day music and arts festival in a big field in Long Island, has been transformed into "Field" Day, a one-day concert in Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Despite claims that the town of Riverhead, where the event was to take place, didn't want huge droves of concertgoers coming to their town, spending tons of money, and staying in local hotels, it looks like resistance from Suffolk County Police was the real reason the concert got cancelled. The press release from the Riverhead town supervisor indicates his regrets.

We posted a bunch of

We posted a bunch of stuff this morning, but it got lost, so here's a quick summary of the links:

June 4, 2003

So Martha Stewart got indicted.

So Martha Stewart got indicted. Official documents coming soon, we hope. Nothing at SEC yet or DOJ, or at the US district court where she's indicted.

Update: Here's the SEC complaint, and here's the DOJ indictment (pdf. tx bar).

Washington Post on three 8th-graders

Washington Post on three 8th-graders who trained the FBI on how to IM like a 13-year-old girl. Agents were surprised to learn that Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, and George Clooney aren't cool. [tx kp (link fixed)]

Hmmm...maybe we should put these guys in touch with some of our recent visitors.

The genius of masochistic British

The genius of masochistic British television: a new show called "How Clean is Your House?" features two mean ladies who come into people's houses, berate them mercilessly for how filthy they are, then help them give their houses a thorough cleaning [via Becky]. The Guardian recently invited them to their offices, and they were tongue-lashed for their slovenliness.

Minor footnote to Amy's Jewel

Minor footnote to Amy's Jewel post: at the bottom of the WP article, it says "To hear a free Sound Bite from this album, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8152." What is this, 1983? Would it kill you to put the fricking sound bite on your website? (What's even more ridic is that the WP already runs this site, which seems tailor-made for such stuff, but is instead sitting around collecting dust.)

Finishing up the Billy Bob/Angelina

Finishing up the Billy Bob/Angelina "let's share each other's blood" thread: Billy Bob has marked their divorce by burning the blood.

Jewel on her new album:

Jewel on her new album: "It's fun!"

New York Times on Jewel's new album: "Her new formula: electro-acoustic beats, lovey-dovey lyrics, alphanumeric spelling."

Washington Post on Jewel's new album: "Jewel has decided to become an '80s-style dance diva, a conversion that ranks in the Recent History of Bad Ideas alongside Madonna's decision to rap." [via King Pigeon]

The highly anticipated Field Day

The highly anticipated Field Day Fest is not looking like it will happen: Suffolk County tabled the vote to give a permit to the 2-day concert, and NY State can't provide adequate police coverage. OK, Plan B: Beck, Kathleen Hanna, and MCA, I'll just meet you guys for brunch on Sunday instead.

If anyone on Long Island has a really huge backyard and wants to chill with Thom Yorke this weekend, you should maybe give the Field Day people a call.

These polls are useless, but

These polls are useless, but still interesting, I guess: an AFI poll has selected Hannibal Lecter and Atticus Finch as Hollywood's greatest villain and hero, respectively. Norman Bates and Indiana Jones are number two.

Here's the complete list. I guess the show was on last night.

Mark Bowden, author of Black

Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, quietly attacks our prez for deceiving the nation as he led us into war, a war Bowden himself endorsed. [via slate]

Here's Salam Pax's first piece

Here's Salam Pax's first piece for the Guardian.

LA Times on latest clothing

LA Times on latest clothing trend: girl's tanktops emblazoned with Latino references. Picture of one ersatz mamacita wearing one along with a trucker hat. Article discusses the company Teenage Millionaire, "Jesus is My Homeboy", and the significance of this trend to the Latino community.

Latest in the Phil Spector

Latest in the Phil Spector case: "She kissed the gun," he says. Excerpt from an interview in Esquire.

June 3, 2003

Martha Stewart arrest watch: if,

Martha Stewart arrest watch: if, as expected, the SEC announces a civil action, I think it will be posted here, and the press release may show up here, and of course we'll link to it directly when it comes. And, the DOJ might post its charges as well.

Here's the short press release her company released today about all this stuff.

Maryland cops shoot cape-wearing man

Maryland cops shoot cape-wearing man carrying two swords.

Gallo v. The World continues:

Gallo v. The World continues: he now claims he never expressed regret about Brown Bunny, calls Ebert a fat pig. [tx Whiskas] -amy

    But Ebert strikes back! He says his last colonoscopy was more interesting than Brown Bunny. Snap! (Somewhere in the exchange, Gallo says he cursed Ebert's colon. I'm not sure what he meant, but I think he may have confused Ebert with Joel Siegel, Good Morning America's movie critic, who had colon cancer.)

    Wow, this is even more interesting than Eminem vs. Mariah. -adm

In a discussion that could

In a discussion that could go on to infinity, Slashdot readers debate the age-old question "Which sounds better? CDs or Vinyl?" Pretty funny, given the technical bent of the discussion. Next, maybe they'll try to settle "Which is better? Mac or PC?" Expect a result in the year 3030.

Washington Post on New Witch,

Washington Post on New Witch, a magazine for new witches. [via romenesko] Official site isn't working right now, but here's the Google cache.

Boston Globe discussing what Frank

Boston Globe discussing what Frank Black has been up to.

NYT:Summary of the situation with


According to Variety, there's going

According to Variety, there's going to be a movie of The Producers, set to star Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. No surprise after the success of Chicago, I guess.

June 2, 2003

Peter Maass, a writer for

Peter Maass, a writer for NYT magazine, etc., has a funny article about how Salam Pax was his interpreter during the war, and he didn't even know it.

Slate on the new Radiohead

Slate on the new Radiohead album. Writer mentions the Thom Yorke episode of Space Ghost, which I agree is just about the best thing ever on TV.

You heard about the Pentagon's

You heard about the Pentagon's new LifeLog project, which aims to capture everything a person sees, hears, writes, and says? Anyway, here's the official RFP for the prospective bidders. Interestingly, there's another headline today about Tivo selling records of its user's viewing habits (press release, pdf). Maybe the Pentagon should just buy those instead of developing this whole new system.

Seems to me somebody could write a great piece about what this project means to concepts of identity/biography, taxonomy, and knowledge. Reason has something, and I think Salon or somebody had something that mentions Descartes.

Justice Department audit finds --

Justice Department audit finds -- surprise! -- we treated INS detainees too harshly after 9/11.

Here's the report, and the DOJ press release.

NYT on behind-the-scenes dealmaking between

NYT on behind-the-scenes dealmaking between NBC and the creators of the Law & Orders. On the way, a fourth show. Why? Because L&O is the most profitable scripted show on the network.

MTV clearly recognizes that the

MTV clearly recognizes that the suspense of who will win is not the main draw for their annual Movie Awards. The ceremony was held on Saturday, and E! has published all the winners. Watch the ceremony on Thursday to witness a new level in the Eminem/Mariah diss-battle.

Harper's Index (tm) style report

Harper's Index (tm) style report on the G-8 summit in Evian, France.

One big hurdle facing the

One big hurdle facing the Field Day Fest has been overcome: a judge threw out the case brought against them by an environmental group. He also teaches us of a Brooklyn saying that's new to me: "Don't holler until you're hit."

Shades of The Player: a

Shades of The Player: a film producer has admitted killing a writer. The Queens-based producer killed a writer over profits from their movie, apparently. The dispute was over a movie called FireDancer about Afghan immigrants.

June 1, 2003

So now, people are getting

So now, people are getting ticketed for putting the wrong stuff in their garbage. Mix in some recyclables, and you'll get chased down by the trash squad.

This is the height of absurdity in my opinion, since Mayor Mike all but scrapped the city's recycling program last July and totally failed to publicize the new recycling program, and now, people are getting fined for not knowing what they're supposed to recycle. Even some of my greenest friends have no idea what gets recycled nowadays. (Answer: DSNY says recycle paper and metal. But guess what? You recycle cardboard cereal boxes, but not cardboard juice cartons. Figure that one out.)

Finishing up (for now) the

brown bunnyFinishing up (for now) the Brown Bunny thread: you can see all kinds of video of Vince and Chloe over at the poorly-designed official Cannes site. They have video of his press conference as well as an interview and the photo call.

NYT Magazine had a contest

NYT Magazine had a contest for high schoolers: write your own "What They Were Thinking" or "Lives". Here are the winners.

I hate to say it,

I hate to say it, but I wish Salon would just hurry up and die. Sure, they're one of the last independently-organized voices on the web, but their financial struggles make it a chore just to access their information. Last week, you had to sit through a Microsoft animation before even seeing the front page, and then sit through another Flash ad while you waited to read your article. The second ad was for Salon Personals. What is the point of making people sit through ads for your own product? This week, you have to sit through another ridiculous Microsoft ad, complete with a streaming video. Give me a break!

I guess Salon would argue I should stop whining and just pay for a subscription, but who wants to pay for a year-long subscription for a magazine that can't even pay their rent? At least if they died, it would open the door for a more financially-solvent operation to come in.

About June 2003

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

May 2003 is the previous archive.

July 2003 is the next archive.

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