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July 2003 Archives

July 31, 2003

CIA claims "progress is being

CIA claims "progress is being made" in the WMD hunt. Not to stir the pot -- let's face it, I love America -- but how can one be anything but skeptical about any evidence that surfaces now? If the WH & CIA decide it's in America's long-term interest to find WMD there, wouldn't they sooner manufacture evidence than admit there is none?

I'll put this link in the Amy's Robot Link Factory so you can comment there, if you care to.

Last week, we linked to

Last week, we linked to an essay by Marshall Brain about how robots will have most jobs by 2050. This week, NYT has a lengthy article about robot lawnmowers. They're cheap (relatively), environmentally sound, and cool-looking. A blind couple, who used to ask their neighbors to take care of the lawn, now use RoboMower. Chalk up a couple of displaced jobs right there.

NYT profiles/interviews the new editor

NYT profiles/interviews the new editor of Seventeen, Atoosa Rubenstein, 31, fresh from a successful run at CosmoGirl. Former awkward Iranian teen misfit now edits venerable style-bible for whitebread American princesses. Rubenstein thinks of her readers as "Caitlin", whereas CosmoGirls were "Mimi".

A new surge of protests

A new surge of protests against Britain's drug laws is starting up again, due to the Green Party's spokesman on such laws getting jailed for growing cannabis in his home. Cannabis is close to being classified as a Class C drug in the UK. I actually thought it already had been, but actually, police just decided to stop making arrests for possession. The reclassification has been put off until January 2004.

According to Slate, this Sunday's

According to Slate, this Sunday's NYT Magazine reports on gay black men who don't think of themselves as gay. NYT says its called "living on the Down Low". The men are "ostensibly straight to their girlfriends and colleagues, [but] these men regularly have sex with other men but don't identify as gay. Instead, they're on the DL and identify more with being black and masculine than with being attracted to men."

Interesting how it used to be funny to get Sunday's paper on Saturday -- now we can even get a review of Sunday's paper on Thursday.

Also interesting that today also brings word of the Vatican urging politicians to stop gay marriages, and Bush says, via his spokesman, that he'd like a constitutional amendment to ban them. Seems like this issue is headed towards a crisis point.

I know what I want

I know what I want for my birthday: Rhino's 4-disc punk retrospective, "Ever Get The Feeling You've Been Cheated?", an especially interesting title, considering there are actually no Sex Pistols tracks on the collection. Rhino has a history of putting out these compilations that are actually pretty good, and this one is smart enough to include Joe Jackson and Television. Cool.

NY Times reports on how

NY Times reports on how kids and parents are increasingly using technology to stay in constant communication while the kids are away at summer camp. Camp administrators don't like it because they predict, correctly, that talking to your parents on a contraband cell phone or emailing every day will only make kids more homesick. Interestingly, the article includes several examples of kids issuing all kinds of desperate and miserable emails and calls to their parents during the first few days of camp, then having a great time for the rest of their 4-weeks away from home. Seems to me like the no-calls no-emails policy is more for the parents than the kids: parents seem to be more clingy with their children these days, and desire to monitor them constantly. A single email saying "please come get me and take me home" sends them into a panic (who's really the needy one here, kids or parents?), so camps know not to allow access to instant communication.

When I was a camper, I remember the kids who would cry in their bunks every night to generally be the same kids who would receive elaborate packages several times a week from home, full of snacks and cuddly toys and clothes and cool pens and stuff. I got a letter maybe once a week, ate the other kids' snacks, and had a great time. Thanks, Mom. -amy

    NYT issued this funny clarification on 8/1: "Because of an editing error, an article in Circuits yesterday about the role of e-mail and other electronic tools in dealing with homesickness at summer camp referred imprecisely to one camper, Sophie Feldman. She asked her mother in an online chat to arrive a day early to pick her up, but did not ask to leave camp early." I can see Sophie's outrage as she read the Times article, over Froot Loops and orange slices. "MOM!! I did not ask to leave camp early!! Call them up and tell them!" -adm

Why are celebrities so messed

Why are celebrities so messed up all the time? Maybe because they often find out that their supposed parents are not really their parents. Examples in this Daily News article include Axl Rose, Demi Moore, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler (we already knew that one) and, the most bizarre story, Jack Nicholson.

July 30, 2003

Our friend Noah over at

Our friend Noah over at DefenseTech has a great summary post on fall-out related to the terrorism futures market, including some arguments in favor of it.

I feel like someone should

I feel like someone should document the fact that it appears hip-hoppers are adopting the trucker hat in increasing numbers. I began noticing this in about May. The favored style seems to be blank white fronts worn over a du-rag, sometimes with an airbrushed wildstyle script on the front, a style I know you can buy at those hat warrens in SoHo and which I've also seen on defensive British girls in the East Village (minus the du-rag, of course). So, hipsters -> hip-hop. This is at odds with the way fashion trends are supposed to go.

ps. I know El-P and N.E.R.D. have been wearing them for a while, but it's not something that I'd really seen on the street until this spring. Previously, everyone was wearing those four-panel, two-colored hats with the holographic stickers still stuck to the brims. -adm

    This adoption of trucker hats by young rappers is especially surprising because it flouts the usual direction of the way fashions spread through our population. Styles usually seem to start with trendsetting white women and black men, then move to black women and Asians and other people, and end, after a long time and a lot of homogenization, with white men. Are white men becoming more style conscious? Not really. We just need to stop adopting their stupid fashions, or "fashions", if you can call rumpled acrylic jackets and trucker hats that. Come on people, do you WANT to dress like The Strokes? -amy

Spy Kids 3-D. I knew

adm 3d
Spy Kids 3-D. I knew it was going to be difficult to follow up Spy Kids 2, so I went into the theater cautious but hopeful. The movie's technical accomplishments are notable but, combined with some script issues, lead to the movie's problems. These problems make the film less enjoyable than its predecessors.

The 3D technology that Robert Rodriguez used for the film was invented by James Cameron -- it keeps the two DV cameras in sync, making it much easier to shoot a vast portion of your movie in 3D. The problem is, it still requires the red/blue glasses that, by their nature, wash out a wide spectrum of color, leaving the film with a dull cast punctuated by a few spots of extremely bright yellows and greens. The glasses you pick up from the ticket counter are the same old cheap cardboard-and-cellophane jobs you've been using since Bwana Devil (if you're extremely old) or the planned 3D episode of Moonlighting* (if you're just really old (like me)), and so they are not exactly precision optical instruments. I am not an expert on this stuff, but I think that because the glasses are so haphazardly thrown together, a blurred picture is almost a certainty. So as I followed the film's on-screen "GLASSES ON" directive (15 minutes in), I was immediately disappointed by the dull color pallette and blurry focus. Over the next 30 minutes, watching the movie became a little bit fatiguing, because I simply couldn't get a clear focus on the screen. It made matters worse that the 3D effects were not that impressive anyway. There were only a few moments that made you say "Wow", whereas in Spy Kids 2, there are almost countless moments that inspire the same reaction, without the need for 3D.

As Roger Ebert noted in his review, once you realize that the 3D is an obstacle, not an enhancement, you have to try to find value in the movie's narrative and the characters, essentially ignoring the optical tricks. This proved difficult, too. In this movie, RR decided to concentrate on Juni, instead of both Juni and Carmen, and so you miss all the chemistry between those two, and you get a little tired of looking at Juni in every shot. This is set-up in the plot by Carmen's being held captive inside a video game, but I wondered why RR didn't just have one of the parents stuck inside the video game, instead? I guess he figured it would be too complicated to have both kids running around in 3D all the time.

Since the first Spy Kids, RR has spent a lot of time in his scripts underlining the importance of family, belief in yourself, and teamwork. In this way, all three movies are very moral films, more so than anything else I've from Hollywood in recent years. In this movie, though, the messages began to feel a little heavy-handed towards the end, where every third line of dialog or so seems to convey a lesson about how to be a good kid. I admire RR for working these messages into his picture, but I think he lost the subtle touch from the first two.

He did a great job with casting his child actors this time, though, and there are a lot of them, including Demetra, who is sort of Juni's love interest and who looks and acts like a 10-year-old version of Trinity from The Matrix. Ricardo Montalban revives his role as Juni's grandfather, and it's an interesting role because RR puts a Mech-like suit on Montalban and turns him into an action hero, even though Montalban, in real life, requires a wheelchair because of back-surgery-gone-bad. (In one scene in the movie, RM's character confronts the villain who put him in his wheelchair, and you can sort of see RM directing his rage at the doctors who messed him up in real life.) This villain, as it happens, is played by Sylvester Stallone. Let me tell you something, reluctantly: SS cannot act. He's had so many chances -- most notably, Copland and now this movie -- and he just can't do it. His performance is so muddled you get almost no sense of his character's motivations, desires, personality, etc. It's not even funny. Worse, he plays four characters in the film, which is fine if you're Peter Sellers (or even Eddie Murphy), but if you have the obviously limited range of SS, it's not a good idea. RR's script does play off of SS as an actor though, and has him quote/paraphrase some Rocky lines during a boxing match between Juni and another character. The rest of the cast -- Salma Hayek, as the pigtailed wife of Mike Judge, Antonio, Carla Gugino, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub -- are in the film for a combined total of about 15 minutes and are practically invisible. It seems like everyone except for the kids could have got out of there after 1 or 2 days work.

Because of the effort involved in watching the movie in its 3D form, I'm eager to see the DVD, where presumably I'll be able to relax and watch the movie in just two dimensions. For the big screen release, though, the lack of a lot of characters, the simplicity of the themes, and the absence of visual inventiveness that so defined SK2 combine to give this movie an unfortunate lack of depth, surprising for a film shot in 3D.

A Korean LA radio personality,

A Korean LA radio personality, Dr. Driving, thinks that Koreans are the worst drivers in the city, and perhaps the world [nyt]. He offers driving tips on his show to his confused countrypeople, and also owns his own driving school. -amy

    There should be a Bad Driving Championship showdown between LA's Koreans, the Eastern Europeans in Astoria, and everyone on Route 128 in Boston.

    Also, does the headline's use of the word "kimchi" strike anyone else as being over-the-top and unnecessary? There are no references to food or eating anywhere in the article. What if it were driving lessons for Irish people? Would it say, "Driving Lessons -- Best with a Helping of Potatoes"? -adm

Interview with Jennifer Coolidge in

Interview with Jennifer Coolidge in the Daily News. Jennifer is one of our favorite actresses (owner of Rhapsody in White in Best in Show, Stifler's mom in American Pie, Reese's kooky nail stylist in Legally Blonde) and reveals that she really does like younger men, also that she got paid only $700 in the first American Pie.

I mentioned a few weeks

I mentioned a few weeks ago how sick I am of pretentious, mainstream artists and writers discussing pornography like it's high art or an undiscovered country. Now comes word of a new book, XXX: 30 Portraits of Pornstars, put together by almost-a-big-deal photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (who is in the Lou Reed/Laurie Anderson gang). [nyt]

Not terrible in itself, but: "The pictures will be accompanied by essays on pornography by John Malkovich, Nancy Friday and Karen Finley, among others."

Yawn. Puke.

The article is filled with stupid posturing quotes from the photographer, such as "Whatever you say about it has so many meanings. If you say, `I watch porn,' or `I don't watch porn,' it's a much more complicated remark than saying, `I go to museums,' or `I don't go to museums.' It's very personal." and "I found with porn stars that they're much more comfortable nude than they are clothed."

NY Post has strange, confusing,

NY Post has strange, confusing, sordid details of three-way sexual affair involving Elizabeth Taylor ("The Queen of Dignity", aka "the Old Trampoline") a French butler, and the lawn boy, one of whom needed Viagra to get over his lack of excitement over doing Liz (or, perhaps any woman).

Alas, the menage has turned ugly and ended up -- as these things do -- in court.

NYT reports that the Bloomberg

NYT reports that the Bloomberg tax-and-don't-spend strategy is starting to pay off: the projected deficits for the next few years are shrinking (see chart), and all the number-crunchers are admitting Bloomie did the right thing. No word yet from the Keynesian naysayers, who may be running for cover.

Meanwhile, the Post reports that the Citizens Budget Commission gives the Mayor a "C" for his handling of the budget. [poorly formatted, ugly pdf of their report.]

July 29, 2003

Kids-recklessly-driving-stolen-vehicles seems to be a

Kids-recklessly-driving-stolen-vehicles seems to be a phenomenon this summer, much like shark attacks appeared to be a couple years ago. We've mentioned a couple cases already, but here's a list as comprehensive as I can manage:

While tracking down these stories, I came across this article in the Washington Post which discusses the phenomenon on a local level.

Crime news: Man (maybe 2)

Crime news: Man (maybe 2) jumps out of van, shoots guy, jumps back in van, drives away. Where did this happen? Columbus and 89th!

It just occurred to me that Amy and I drove by the scene of the crime about a half-hour later, complaining about the traffic. There were cops everywhere, and Amy noted that they were moving Learning Annex newspaper boxes around to use as fence posts for their crime tape. As she said, don't they have something else to use as portable crime scene tape holders besides whatever plastic newspaper boxes happen to be lying around?

More crime news: Serial killer in Long Island? With a disposition towards decapitation and de-hand-ification?

LA Times examines the new

LA Times examines the new levels of public nudity that have become routine in our culture, and ubiquitous in LA. Pelvic bones and areas below belly buttons are all over the place. People's shorts have slogans printed on the butt, with words like "Lifeguard," "Gymnast," "UCLA" and, of course, "Juicy". From the article: "Where most short shorts cry "look at my butt" these are a bit more demanding: "Look at my butt," they say. "Are you still looking? Keep looking. OK, now check out the pelvic bones. And have a nice summer."

If the Times says that

If the Times says that tattoos have lost all value as symbols of rebellion, then it must be true. The article reviews the piercings and tattoos on the kids at Lollapalooza this year, in comparison to the first Lollapalooza in 1991, when our young generation of music fans had not yet been identified as a marketing demographic. "When I started getting tattoos, my mother was freaked a little," said Lauren Suchovic, 23, who is a photographer in Metuchen, N.J., while Brody Armstrong, the singer for the Distillers, thrashed onstage. "She was, like, Why don't you stick to henna?" said Ms. Suchovic, whose skin was imprinted with fairies and death's-head moths. "Now, my mom thinks they're awesome." -amy

    These two posts from Amy both document the "these kids today" mode of thinking that we have to go through every half-generation or so, when we collectively realize that we missed the subtle, slow slackening of standards until those standards were almost gone. You figured piercing and skimpy tops had pretty much leveled out, and next thing you know the big thing is bifurcated tongues and pelvic bones on 14-year-olds. As news of these developments in body aesthetic reaches the mainstream, I think the feeling gray beards like us have is as if we're waking from a deep sleep, and something changed while we were dreaming. And yet, it's inevitable that "standards" for what constitutes acceptable public dress/appearance will continue to slack. Has there ever been an increase in the rigidity of our fashion sense? Since the industrial revolution? I'm not sure, but I don't think so.

    I think it's clear enough that trend-setters in our culture are celebrities -- Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Sex and the City, whoever -- and these celebrities need to do more and more to get and keep our attention. Britney's transformation from Mickey Mouse Club almumna to snake-wielding bad girl is probably the most visible shift due to these pressures we've seen in a while. So, as celebrities need to become more shocking, their wardrobes become more shocking, and this is emulated among trendsetters and eventually the masses in our society. Although even Britney's tank-tops and low-riding sweats seemed distasteful a few years ago, they are now de rigeur even in the pre-teen set. Yesterday, I saw a pre-teen girl in my neighborhood wearing a pink tank top with a prominent Playboy bunny logo on it. She was walking with her mother.

    After a trend is introduced -- the pelvic bone thing, for instance -- it doesn't really matter if it sticks, the effect is the same. People may or may not still be wearing this stuff 18 months from now: what matters is that at one point, it was acceptable, and that means the next trend that comes along has to be even more provocative. The problem is, we're running out of body parts to be provocative about. So maybe we'll have to collectively decide that some other, previously un-eroticized body part is the new tits ass pelvis and gape at Britney, Christina, or their replacements as they unabashedly flash it in our face, to cries of alarm followed by disinterested yawns. -adm

    These trends do originate with celebrities, I guess, but the trickle-down interval has decreased, and the level of precision with which the look is emulated by 13 year-olds has increased. It used to be that crazy celebrity or designer fashions would get toned down to a tamer, GAP-y version by the time it hit regular stores and middle schools, but now that's apparently not the case. -amy

A UK internet magazine reports

A UK internet magazine reports that if the RIAA were to subpoena all 60 million of the Americans currently participating in file sharing, it would take them over 2,000 years to get to all of them. I still don't think the RIAA has a legal leg to stand on. If it's legal to sell your CDs to a used CD store who then sells the CD to a new customer, a transaction that generates money for both the seller of the CD and for the used CD store, but nothing for the record company, why would it be illegal to share music in a transaction that involves no exchange of money? Maybe if the RIAA had jumped on file sharing back when Seth Green was inventing it in his dorm room, they might have had a chance. Now they're too late.

According to this press release,

According to this press release, NY'ers can now support the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics by purchasing stylish Olympic-bid-themed clothing over at NYC.gov's City Store. The announcment is even featured prominently on NYC.gov. However, a trip to the store's site shows no such merchandise. What's gives?

Stock market for wonks who

Stock market for wonks who want to bet on likelihood of terrorist strikes? Another brainchild of John Poindexter. [nyt, via defensetech] It seems that this website is affiliated with the project.

Update: Apparently, this project has been killed, due to outrage. Poindexter is now 0 for 2. (0 for 3, if you count Iran-Contra.)

80 members of the motorcycle

80 members of the motorcycle gang the Warlocks were arrested, mainly on gun and drug charges. Will this make things easier (in the short term) for the Mongols, Pagans, and Hell's Angels?

Parents of Columbine victims are

Parents of Columbine victims are seeking, and will get, depositions from the parents of the shooters. The implication seems to be that the killers' parents may be liable in a civil suit.

Kool Keith has a new

Kool Keith has a new album coming out on 8/19, a "chronology" featuring 16 of his alter-egos from over the years. IMO, Dr. Octagon, aka the Dr. Octagonecologyst, trumps them all -- Black Elvis, Matthew, and the nefarious Mr Gerbik (half shark, half alligator, half man).

July 28, 2003

Marie Trintignant, the daughter of

Marie Trintignant, the daughter of Jean-Louis Trintignant, who you may know as the judge from Kieslowski's Red, got beaten almost to death by her boyfriend, who is in a French band called Noir Desir.

Some jokes to be featured

Some jokes to be featured on the pilot of NBC's new show this fall, Whoopi, inspire the question: Are we ready for 9/11 jokes yet? Answer: No. And if Whoopi is telling them, we never will be.

This came in via the

This came in via the Amy's Robot Link Factory, but I'm going to mention it here: blind man beats his subway tormentor. Listen to this amazing bit from the story:

Sensing the impending attack, the blind man turned around and smashed his cane against his would-be assailant's head - leaving a blood-gushing gash in his forehead.
Was it Daredevil? A Shaolin monk? Are there self-defense classes for blind people?

Metro Matters' Joyce Purnick weighs

Metro Matters' Joyce Purnick weighs in on the public toilets issue.

New report from the Straphangers

New report from the Straphangers Campaign (which is a project of PIRG, if you didn't know) finds subway cars are dirtier, but there are fewer breakdowns. [nyt coverage | nypost coverage]

While you're visiting the site, you might want to check out their feature on subway activism in the old days.

NYT's Bill Carter on "A

NYT's Bill Carter on "A Simple Life," the Paris Hilton/Nicole Richie/Green Acres reality show that has been talked about forever. Also discusses other comic forays into reality tv.

Also, Times discusses the latest behind-the-scenes and in-front-of-the-camera crisis on Malcolm in the Middle: Frankie Muniz hits puberty. No problem. Let's just call him "Frank" from now on. The piece looks at how other shows/actors have dealt with the problem.

July 27, 2003

See Sunday Times Digest, constructed

See Sunday Times Digest, constructed using the Amy's Robot Link Factory.

July 26, 2003

Beard duty is over: Liza

Beard duty is over: Liza and David Gest have split.

July 25, 2003

The trailer for The Passion

The trailer for The Passion is out. Looks pretty good.

Interesting essay from Marshall Brain,

Interesting essay from Marshall Brain, the force behind How Stuff Works, about the way automated processes are seeping into everything we do. He postulates that by 2050, millions of employees will be displaced by robots. His argument is predicated on Moore's Law holding true until then. He raises a lot of technical issues that are worth discussing, but I just want to mention the sociological undercurrent of the essay. He calls the essay "Robotic Nation", and it's an apt description of where things are headed -- not just because automata are increasingly present in our lives, but the way that process and rules for human interaction are being enforced in commercial and political and -- to a lesser degree -- social environments.

He talks about his recent experience at McDonald's, so I guess I'll add to that: When I was at McDonald's the other day, every time an employee handed something to me, s/he said, "Enjoy!" I'm obviously not the first person to make this observation (cf. Office Space and "flair"), but it's funny how language that is meant to be pleasant and suggest "we're both special" is actually understood by both parties to be purely transactional in nature: "I'm saying this because I have to and my company defines the phrase as courteous and efficient." "I'm saying 'Thanks' because I'd be rude if I didn't reply courteously to your enforced courteousness." As we get used to machine-based automated systems, we get used to a set of automated responses from humans as well, and deviation from the script is like a bug in the system, a problem to be avoided.

ps. How Stuff Works is featuring a discussion of 3-D technology, appropriate for today's big movie release.

Not to be outdone by

Not to be outdone by Rolling Stone (who hired Stephen Glass), Esquire has commissioned an article from -- you guessed it -- Jayson Blair. What's he writing about? The Stephen Glass movie, of course. Listen to this, from CNN:

Granger said Blair has said he will donate his fee for the article to two charities, one for the protection of journalists and one for research into depression. Granger said he did not know the names of the organizations.
Are you kidding me? He's says he's going to donate the money to charity.

Here's the whole 9/11 report,

Here's the whole 9/11 report, in case you want to draw your own conclusions.

Meanwhile, Slate examines newspaper coverage of the report, using a lot of annoying in-the-know media jargon ("goes high", "off-leads") along the way.

Great Guardian article about a

Great Guardian article about a writer trying to track down the elusive Ralf and Florian of Kraftwerk. They are notoriously cagey: their office in Dusseldorf has no phone, and they don't accept any mail. Ralf once agreed to give an interview, with the condition that he only be asked questions related to his bicycle collection, with no mention of Kraftwerk. They have a new album called "Tour de France Soundtracks" coming out this year.

A dirty statue called "Arc

A dirty statue called "Arc de Triomphe", described by its creators as a tribute to the powers of Viagra, got removed from the Salzburg Festival. The mayor didn't like it, but more important, Prince Charles was coming to town.

"I'm not a hypocrite," says

"I'm not a hypocrite," says William Bennett, who lost 8 million dollars playing slot machines. He's trying to gain some moral high-ground again, and will appear on CNBC on Sunday.

We mentioned yesterday that Joaquin

We mentioned yesterday that Joaquin Phoenix's girlfriend Topaz reportedly looks just like his sister, Rain. Pictures from the premiere are now available, but tiny. Still, you can squint.

topaz vs. rain

I don't really see it.

F/A-18 pilot reviews his BMW

F/A-18 pilot reviews his BMW convertible for the NYT.

Note to pilot: Dude, it's only a 318. I don't know what the "18" stands for when it comes to fighter jets, but in BMWs, it refers to the engine size. I think my old Peugeot moped had a bigger engine than that.

Hey did you know Jan

Hey did you know Jan De Bont -- who directed Speed (and 3 sucky other movies) -- directed the new Lara Croft?

So now he's directing other people's sequels. Like they say in Boogie Nights: "Long way down."

Guess I'll add the rest of today's movie news:

  • NYT reviews Buffalo Soldiers, which we haven't really been looking forward to. But: David Holmes did the music.
  • Both the NYT and LAT trot out "movie = horse" metaphors for their reviews of Seabiscuit: "Horse comes out a winner," says Turan. "Unlikely Wonderhorse Scrambles to Victory," asserts Scott. Can someone tell me the name of an interesting movie about horses, besides the one you saw when you were 9? Please? Why is it that scenes about horses/horseracing in regular movies (MI2, the Bond with Grace Jones, etc.) are often more interesting than (a) the rest of the movie, or (b) movies all about horses/horseracing?
  • NYT also reviews the film I've been waiting for like an expectant father: Spy Kids 3-D. In my opinion, it is literally true (like the Bible) that the only way a person could make a better movie than Spy Kids 2 is by adding a third dimension. Update: I'm devastated to learn that Ebert has given SK3D only 1.5 stars. He says it looks washed out, even though RR tried to overcome this problem with 3-D.

July 24, 2003

A new report [pdf |

A new report [pdf | press release] from a DC watchdog group examines media coverage of the federal government. [via romenesko] As you might expect, coverage has declined signficantly since the 80s, but there are some surprising discoveries:

  • Stories on "the person" of the President (rather than policy) have declined. (They must have counted Lewinsky stories as non-personal.)
  • Use of unnamed sources has dropped from 1 in 4 to 1 in 6.
  • "Evaluative" statements about the federal government are negative by a 2-to-1 margin.

We're trying not to discuss

We're trying not to discuss the K*be thing, but it turns out that most of those pictures that everyone is looking for are of the wrong girl. (Apparently, the cheerleading one and the formal-wear ones are bogus.) The girl in the pics is suing to stop the spread of the photos. Good luck. [via romenesko]

Kitty Dukakis having a "wonderful"

Kitty Dukakis having a "wonderful" response to shock therapy. Much more effective than drinking rubbing alcohol.

Anyway, here's an old piece from Slate talking about First Ladies' mental health problems, if you're interested in the topic.

A few worthwhile things on

A few worthwhile things on Salon today (click through the Sprint ad): An analysis of Bush's lies vs. Clinton's lies, including Clinton's own exaggerations of the threat of Iraq; a review of Masked and Anonymous, a movie about the Bob Dylan myth (who appears in and may have written the movie) and underground America; and even more evidence of the horror that is Gigli--see the gossip column for what may be the worst dialogue ever spoken. -amy

[You can read the Gigli dialogue here, no ads/login required. -adm]

VMA nominations are up. There's

VMA nominations are up. There's a lot of Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake, and Johnny Cash. Also nominations for Radiohead, White Stripes, and Kelly Clarkson, and one for our boys Interpol. Full list here.

NYC's female bartenders report on

NYC's female bartenders report on what it's like to be hit on constantly every day at work, and how to convert male fantasies about unattainable women into tips. A forensic psychologist who works at Nectar says: "It's not like I would go on to the floor when some guy is trading bonds and make him uncomfortable there by hitting on him. Men think that if a woman is behind the bar, she wants to meet guys and get drunk."

Joaquin Phoenix's new girlfriend, "Topaz",

Joaquin Phoenix's new girlfriend, "Topaz", reportedly looks just like his sister, Rain. [updated above]

A NY Post writer goes

A NY Post writer goes undercover and works a shift as a busboy in Rocco DiSpirito's restaurant, aka The Restaurant. Man, those TV/food service/shamelessly self-promotional people are tough. You betta work.

Lots of stuff in the

Lots of stuff in the Times today*, so pay attention:

If you find anything else good in there, please add it to the Link Factory and we'll post it here.

*Well, some of it is from yesterday. But still.

July 23, 2003

In honor of Harvey Keitel's

In honor of Harvey Keitel's verbal pugilism in a Manhattan court room yesterday, we are please to present another round of the beloved (and now interactive) pastime, Who's Older?™: