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06-28-2006, 03:56 PM
Back in the golden era of sail, nations with naval interests took a two-pronged approach to pirates. They hunted them ruthlessly, sometimes impaling them on one of those prongs, but they also ended up recruiting some to serve under their flag, converting them from buccaneers to privateers. History's wheel has turned, and now we see the same approach being taken by the entertainment world's superpowers in the quest to deal with their own freebooters. In place of the noose, there's the suit, aimed at file-sharing companies, tech firms and some 6,000 private citizens just in the past year. Unfortunately for the entertainment cartel, Prong 1 has been an embarrassing failure. Nearly 10 million users worldwide simultaneously clicked into peer-to-peer technology last month -- 12 percent more than May 2005, according to BigChampagne, a Los Angeles research firm that monitors file sharing. "The social networking aspect of the Internet is continuing to blossom and no landmark court decision or watershed event changes that," BigChampagne Chief Executive Eric Garland said.

Prong 2, however, is showing more promise. Napster's Shawn Fanning went legit with Snocap. Warner Bros. agreed to offer video through BitTorrent's peer-to-peer technology. And in the latest news, the brotherhood of Warner has cut a deal with Guba.com to to distribute new and vintage movies and TV shows, the first such arrangement with a site not affiliated with a Hollywood company. The deal came after Guba's co-founder, 33-year-old Tom McInerney, cleaned all the pirated material off his site, rented a Beverly Hills penthouse and bought a Porsche 911 to cruise Hollywood Boulevard. And apparently mimicking superficial gloss was all it took to get into the club; McInerney expects other studio agreements to come soon. The licenses will give Guba an advantage over competing video sites like YouTube, McInerney said. "Nobody is going to pay to see a kid falling off his skateboard or a dog riding a bicycle," he sniffed. And the ongoing efforts of the Prong 1 partisans? "Shutting down peer-two-peer networks was like taking a half-course of antibiotics every six months,'' McInerney says. "It just led to the evolution of more decentralized networks that are more efficient and more difficult to shut down."



(*) (*) Video iPods still seem like alot of fun to me.....and oh, did I mention very educational as well?;)

:s :s Treading water.......:s :s Anyone predicting when this damn rain is going to let up here on the Least Coast? Oops, sorry, East.....;)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-28-2006, 04:00 PM

"When they bought Weblogs, they said to me, 'There's a real future for you here.' I'm a senior vice-president, which is a pretty high title in this company; there's only one title, EVP, that's higher, and then after that you're the president of a division. I have absolute access. I went to dinner with Jon Miller the other night in L.A., and I hang out with Leonsis, I go to Wizards games with him. So I'm pretty high up."

-- Jason Calacanis, living large at AOL


(y) (y) Coffee warning......the "Suit 2.0" title already got me laughing. Still, definitely a goof making way too much $$. The Peter Principle lives on!

;) ,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-28-2006, 04:03 PM
(y) (y)


(*) (*) Hands-down in my opinion, Apple has had some of the most memorable TV spots, especially in Super Bowl time slots.(h) (h)

Sun Thoughts <and wondering who in the hell did the rain dance to bring this deluge?>

;) ;) 's

Sweetlady & Wyat the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

06-28-2006, 04:05 PM
:| :|


:) :)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-28-2006, 04:07 PM
:| :|


(y) (y) Good patent. How to massively-implement?:o

(*) Things that sometimes make me go "hmm". ;) Or not.

Sun thoughts,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-28-2006, 04:11 PM
People are losing interest in our national parks, and electronic media may be to blame.

By John Soat


Jun 26, 2006 12:00 AM

Technology is a trade-off. A study funded by the Nature Conservancy, to be published next month in the Journal of Environmental Management, found that since 1987 per capita visits to U.S. national parks have declined, after having risen for the previous 50 years. The most likely culprit: electronic media.

According to a statement from the Nature Conservancy, the data was analyzed by University of Illinois ecologist Oliver Pergams, with others, and more than two dozen variables were tested. The conclusion: the increase in going out to movies, home-movie rentals, and the use of video games and the Internet--along with rising fuel prices, which we'll ignore for the moment--can explain almost 98% of the decline in people visiting national parks.

The scientists pointed out that correlation is not the same as causation, and that further study of the data would be needed. Still, "It's fairly stunning," Pergams said.

Now, the free-market advocate in me would be tempted to say: Tough beans, Mother Nature. It's a put-up-or-shut-up game. If you can't stand the competitive heat, get out of the entertainment kitchen.

But technology may yet be the saving grace, and here's how: The number of people watching broadcast video on mobile phones will reach 514 million by 2011, according to a new study by ABI Research. That's up from 6.4 million at the end of last year. ABI Research says three companies are planning to introduce mobile video broadcast services in the next 18 months: Hiwire, MediaFlo, which already has signed a deal with Verizon Wireless, and Modeo (see "Stars Lining Up For Mobile TV").

That means very soon parents and kids could have it both ways. They might soak in the natural splendor of Yosemite while watching Jackass reruns on the cell. Take a pack mule through the Grand Canyon while voting for American Idol. Admire the artistry of both Mount Rushmore and Adult Swim. You get the idea.

So what's the trade-off? "The vast majority of cell phone owners (over 2.29 billion mobile users worldwide) aren't even aware that they will soon be hit with frequent mobile advertising," according to an e-mail release from a company called Action Engine, which identifies itself as a mobile application platform. "[Mobile] Advertisements... can use all of the information (who the phone user is, their geographical location, user preferences) to provide relevant ('context-aware') advertisements that add value to the consumer experience." I'm all for adding value, but that location-tracking stuff is a little creepy. Of course, if you're visiting national parks, and not strip clubs or Taliban meetings, then you have nothing to worry about.

As for rising fuel prices, I have a suggestion. Why not drill for oil in one of the national parks, and then turn it into a reality show? You could do a different national park every season. Both parents and kids will want to come to the national parks to watch the shows being made, and cheap, domestic fuel will be available for them to do it.

After all, reality is a trade-off.

(n) (n) Whoa! Is America really this bad?:| :|

Too relaxed to think about it right now.:)

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

06-29-2006, 04:28 AM
Quote du jour:

"We cannot accept the view that Amendment 2's prohibition on specific legal protections does no more than deprive homosexuals of special rights. To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability on those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint"

-Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in the decision overturning Colorado's Amendment 2 referendum


(y) (y) (y)

(k) (k) 's,

SL &b WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-29-2006, 04:33 AM
Feb 26th 2004

From The Economist print edition

It rests on equality, liberty and even society

SO AT last it is official: George Bush is in favour of unequal rights, big-government intrusiveness and federal power rather than devolution to the states. That is the implication of his announcement this week that he will support efforts to pass a constitutional amendment in America banning gay marriage. Some have sought to explain this action away simply as cynical politics, an effort to motivate his core conservative supporters to turn out to vote for him in November or to put his likely “Massachusetts liberal” opponent, John Kerry, in an awkward spot. Yet to call for a constitutional amendment is such a difficult, drastic and draconian move that cynicism is too weak an explanation. No, it must be worse than that: Mr Bush must actually believe in what he is doing.

Mr Bush says that he is acting to protect “the most fundamental institution of civilisation” from what he sees as “activist judges” who in Massachusetts early this month confirmed an earlier ruling that banning gay marriage is contrary to their state constitution. The city of San Francisco, gay capital of America, has been issuing thousands of marriage licences to homosexual couples, in apparent contradiction to state and even federal laws. It can only be a matter of time before this issue arrives at the federal Supreme Court. And those “activist judges”, who, by the way, gave Mr Bush his job in 2000, might well take the same view of the federal constitution as their Massachusetts equivalents did of their state code: that the constitution demands equality of treatment. Last June, in Lawrence v Texas, they ruled that state anti-sodomy laws violated the constitutional right of adults to choose how to conduct their private lives with regard to sex, saying further that “the Court's obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate its own moral code”. That obligation could well lead the justices to uphold the right of gays to marry.
Let them wed

That idea remains shocking to many people. So far, only two countries—Belgium and the Netherlands—have given full legal status to same-sex unions, though Canada has backed the idea in principle and others have conferred almost-equal rights on such partnerships. The sight of homosexual men and women having wedding days just like those enjoyed for thousands of years by heterosexuals is unsettling, just as, for some people, is the sight of them holding hands or kissing. When The Economist first argued in favour of legalising gay marriage eight years ago (“Let them wed”, January 6th 1996) it shocked many of our readers, though fewer than it would have shocked eight years earlier and more than it will shock today. That is why we argued that such a radical change should not be pushed along precipitously. But nor should it be blocked precipitously.

The case for allowing gays to marry begins with equality, pure and simple. Why should one set of loving, consenting adults be denied a right that other such adults have and which, if exercised, will do no damage to anyone else? Not just because they have always lacked that right in the past, for sure: until the late 1960s, in some American states it was illegal for black adults to marry white ones, but precious few would defend that ban now on grounds that it was “traditional”. Another argument is rooted in semantics: marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and so cannot be extended to same-sex couples. They may live together and love one another, but cannot, on this argument, be “married”. But that is to dodge the real question—why not?—and to obscure the real nature of marriage, which is a binding commitment, at once legal, social and personal, between two people to take on special obligations to one another. If homosexuals want to make such marital commitments to one another, and to society, then why should they be prevented from doing so while other adults, equivalent in all other ways, are allowed to do so?
Civil unions are not enough

The reason, according to Mr Bush, is that this would damage an important social institution. Yet the reverse is surely true. Gays want to marry precisely because they see marriage as important: they want the symbolism that marriage brings, the extra sense of obligation and commitment, as well as the social recognition. Allowing gays to marry would, if anything, add to social stability, for it would increase the number of couples that take on real, rather than simply passing, commitments. The weakening of marriage has been heterosexuals' doing, not gays', for it is their infidelity, divorce rates and single-parent families that have wrought social damage.

But marriage is about children, say some: to which the answer is, it often is, but not always, and permitting gay marriage would not alter that. Or it is a religious act, say others: to which the answer is, yes, you may believe that, but if so it is no business of the state to impose a religious choice. Indeed, in America the constitution expressly bans the involvement of the state in religious matters, so it would be especially outrageous if the constitution were now to be used for religious ends.

The importance of marriage for society's general health and stability also explains why the commonly mooted alternative to gay marriage—a so-called civil union—is not enough. Vermont has created this notion, of a legally registered contract between a couple that cannot, however, be called a “marriage”. Some European countries, by legislating for equal legal rights for gay partnerships, have moved in the same direction (Britain is contemplating just such a move, and even the opposition Conservative leader, Michael Howard, says he would support it). Some gays think it would be better to limit their ambitions to that, rather than seeking full social equality, for fear of provoking a backlash—of the sort perhaps epitomised by Mr Bush this week.

Yet that would be both wrong in principle and damaging for society. Marriage, as it is commonly viewed in society, is more than just a legal contract. Moreover, to establish something short of real marriage for some adults would tend to undermine the notion for all. Why shouldn't everyone, in time, downgrade to civil unions? Now that really would threaten a fundamental institution of civilisation.


:| :| Everyone should be equally happy or unhappy regardless......;) Personally, I don't believe I'd ever marry again - it's been 19 years since my divorce. Hmmm, well maybe with a prenup agreement......;)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

06-29-2006, 04:43 AM
:| :|

Born Different:


(i) (i) What about womyn who, because of abusive relationships with men, other trauma inflicted by men and other environmental factors, prefer the company of womyn?(i) There seems to be a trend of middle aged womyn who are either "becoming" lesbians or are just coming out. What a discussion this would make in a synchronous chat!(y)

Quite frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. People are who they are regardless of why.:) And, it is what's inside a person that is precious. (g) (g)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-29-2006, 04:45 AM
(h) (h)


(h) (h) (i) (i) (h) (h)

Sun Thoughts,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

06-29-2006, 05:01 AM
:) :)

Talk about a sublime experience!


The Fall one sounds lovely: http://www.crystalcruises.com/cruise_itinerary.aspx?CID=6225

With an impressive computer lab, hmmm, a combination much-needed vacation and ability to finish up course work? <sigh> I would love to do that. And this cruise line is upscale too.

Nobody could PAY me to ever go on most cruise lines - way, way too many people for starters and I don't "do" crowds well. :s :s Why pay to hide in my room?:o

(o) (o) .....(c) (c) I am drinking the heat-up from yesterday that I keep in a carafe. Time for fresh...;)

Have a delightfully sunny day!

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-29-2006, 05:10 AM
(l) (l) (l) (l)

"Internet stations featuring news and email, with free access to The New York Times online edition (wireless hot spots also available for those traveling with laptops)"

:o I am *so* THERE!


(*) (*) You know? I could go alone on one of these. Especially during a graduate quarter when I still had to conduct research and write papers for review.(i) (i) (h) (h) (h) (h)

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

06-29-2006, 05:14 AM
:) :)

Cunard's 2,600 passesger Queen Mary 2 sails May 29, 2007, on a six-night trip from New York to Southhampton, England. This will be the first all-gay sailing of the ship, which launched in January, 2004.

:) :) Talk about FIRST CLASS! Definitely sounds lovely.

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-30-2006, 06:27 AM
June 30, 2006

In Mid-Atlantic, Flooding's Fury Goes Downriver


It would seem that misery, like water, flows downstream.

A day after a nexus of swollen rivers spilled their banks in some of the worst floods in the Mid-Atlantic region in decades, the waters slowly started to recede yesterday. But trouble did not go with them.

From upstate New York to Philadelphia, there were flooded homes and businesses, washed-out bridges, closed roadways, inundated streets and untold millions of dollars in damage. Most of that occurred along the twin paths of the Susquehanna and the Delaware Rivers, which overflowed for much of the day.

For people on the Delaware, in particular, canoes replaced cars, and homes were ruined yet again by high water for the third time in 21 months.

The devastation, however, was unequally divided. In Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where nearly 200,000 people were ordered to evacuate on Wednesday night, the levees on the Susquehanna held, and the evacuation order was rescinded. Even so, 6,000 people remained in shelters yesterday, and parts of town were still so wet that striped bass were seen swimming on the streets.

On the other hand, almost 75 percent of Conklin, N.Y., near Binghamton, was under water as the Susquehanna there crested at almost 25 feet, 14 feet above its flood level. The waters rose above the mailboxes, and the air stank heavily of fish. A dead cow floated by.

"The peak of the flooding is moving downstream now," said Geoff Cornish, a meteorologist for Pennsylvania State University. Mr. Cornish said that the lower reaches of the Delaware River Valley would probably be the worst — and last — areas to be hit yesterday by the floods as days of rainwater worked through a circulatory system of tributaries into the river.

The overspilling itself was largely expected to be over by this afternoon, but even so, the high water has already been blamed for 15 deaths in the region, and the National Weather Service said it could be days before water drains from flooded areas. That means it could take until the weekend or beyond before work crews can start repairing damaged buildings, bridges and roads.

While it was too early to determine precisely the extent of the damage, Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey said that the destruction was reminiscent of flooding in April 2005 that caused $30 million in damage. Gov. George E. Pataki of New York estimated damage in his state to be closer to $100 million. "Unparalleled devastation," he said.

Weather experts said the flooding was a combination of what they called a "striking rain event" — three to five inches of rain across entire states in just a few hours — and a steady buildup of rain over days. The storm system, which set records in some areas both for total rainfall and for flood levels, was the third in three years to cause extensive flooding in the two sprawling river basins.

There was a tone of grim inevitability on Wednesday when officials in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania announced that rivers in their states were going to crest. Evacuations were planned, sandbags laid, boats acquired, National Guard troops mobilized. If the waters were coming, people knew.

But when the waters came, there was not much to do except ride them out. In Phillipsburg, N.J., the Delaware crested at nearly 38 feet, nearly 15 feet above flood stage, and in Trenton it crested at nearly 25 feet, about 5 feet above flood stage.

The entire state of New Jersey remained under an emergency declaration yesterday, as more than 6,000 people were forced from their homes. The mayor of Trenton, Douglas Palmer, said that the city had only enough drinking water left for a day and a half because it had to close its filtration plant. Ten bridges over the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey were closed.

At least 3,000 people were forced from their homes in New York, where Governor Pataki extended Wednesday's state of emergency to four more counties, bringing the total to 13. Near Binghamton, the Susquehanna rose 14 feet above flood stage, to almost 26 feet. In the city itself, where water topped the floodwalls of the river Wednesday evening, the deluge had significantly receded by yesterday afternoon. The residential west side of the city was still flooded, however, and many streets were closed to traffic.

In Delaware County in upstate New York, bordered by the Susquehanna and where the east and west branches of the Delaware River run, officials said damage was pervasive. Roads were closed throughout the county, communities were evacuated, nearly 8,000 people lost power and at least three towns had to truck in drinking water. More than a dozen bridges were washed away, according to a preliminary assessment.

"We got flooded in all four of the watershed basins. I don't think this has happened before," said Nicole Franzese, the county's planning director.

In Wilkes-Barre, some 50,000 people had fled on Wednesday night, but the Susquehanna there rose only to 34 feet, well below its 41-foot floodwalls. The levees, reinforced in 2004, did not break. Because the order to evacuate Wilkes-Barre was given on Wednesday at 1 p.m., the evacuation itself was fairly calm, "busy, not panicky," as one woman said. In West Pittston, 15 miles up the river from Wilkes-Barre, most of the water had receded from the streets by half-past noon, leaving behind a wake of mud and dust.

Contractors went to work quickly, pumping water from basements and spraying disinfectant on soon-to-be moldy carpets. The Susquehanna looked bucolic in the sun, but residents emerged from their homes to find that overnight they had acquired pools of water in their backyards.

Then there was Conklin, to the north in New York, where the water burst through windows and into living rooms, pouring out of homes and back onto the street and dragging whatever stood in its way: tables, televisions, plants, stoves. On the lot at Cycle Center, a motorcycle shop, the handlebars of a Harley-Davidson poked up from underwater, looking like a pair of antelope horns.

"There have been floods before, but nothing like this, nothing compared to this," the town's supervisor, Debbie Preston, said. "Half the town is wiped out. Even my house is gone."

"It's total devastation," Ms. Preston said. "Most of our people have no insurance, and they've lost everything. How do you get back on your feet after something like that, I just don't know."

On the Delaware, the rising water filled a McDonald's in Easton, Pa., as well as an Exxon station, its gasoline tanks peeking out only inches above the spill. New Hope, Pa., had a ghost-town look, with empty, sodden streets, darkened shop windows and no sounds at all, save those from pumps and generators working at the overflowing riverbanks. Water lapped the underside of the Lambertville-New Hope Bridge, then flowed downstream, where it surrounded the historic Bucks County Playhouse.

Farther downstream, in Yardley, Pa., just upriver from Trenton, hundreds of residents living in the blocks between the river and the Delaware Canal evacuated their homes, then stood on the banks, watching as the brown muddy water swirled past, and through, their houses.

"It's very discouraging," said Stella Ficiak, whose raised ranch house on Letchworth Avenue was partly submerged for the third time in the last three years. "It took us so long to fix it up after the last flood. We were just done, and now we have to start all over again."


:| :| Wyatt and I are quite dry. My heart goes out to folks who have been flooded by the Delaware River 3 times in 18 months.(l) (l) Good thoughts for hope and strength and prayers for everyone impacted by river floods this past week.

({) (}) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

06-30-2006, 06:28 AM
;) ;)


:) :) 's


06-30-2006, 06:32 AM
June 29, 2006


Video Catching Up to Photos When It Comes to Sharing

By DAVID A. KELLY New York Times

For Robert Levitan, the revelation came after a summer hiking trip on Mount Washington in New Hampshire with his twin brother. During the five-day trip in 2004, he used his digital Canon Elph camera to snap 80 pictures and 6 video clips. After the trip, his brother asked him to e-mail copies of the video.

"I said no, I'll have to make a DVD," Mr. Levitan said. "The file sizes are too big to easily send via e-mail."

That got him thinking: Why couldn't someone just send video from a desktop or laptop computer to other people's computers?

It is a question that an increasing number of digital camera users may ask as they start using the increasingly sophisticated video abilities of digital cameras.

Luckily, consumers have an alternative to burning DVD's or uploading personal video to sharing sites like www.youtube.com or www.metacafe.com. A range of new services and companies are making it easier than ever to share digital video from cameras or camcorders.

Sharing by E-Mail

Many popular video-sharing Web sites do not allow you to share full-quality video, because of bandwidth limitations. Instead, they provide a compressed resolution and reduced-quality version of your video, optimized for online viewing.

Pando, which Mr. Levitan helped found, takes a different approach. It transmits video files (or any files) from one computer to another using easily downloadable peer-to-peer software that manages the file transfers and communication between the computers (the peers) in the background.

The whole process is wrapped into a simple, e-mail-friendly format so users can send links and initiate video transfers as easily as attaching and sending a digital picture.

"On a personal level, I needed this product after that camping trip," said Mr. Levitan, who was earlier a founder of iVillage, a collection of Web sites bought by NBC Universal this year for $600 million. "Normally you'd attach pictures or videos to an e-mail, but e-mail wasn't designed to handle sending very large files."

Pando's process is simple. Users register at www.pando.com, and download and install a small software program (available in a test version for both Mac and PC). After that, users simply open up Pando, hit the "send new" button, and select the files or folders they want to send, along with a short description of the package.

An e-mail message is sent to the recipients, who, once she has installed the Pando software, can click on a small attachment and start downloading the files. A strength of Pando is the ability to send large files — the service allows users to send up to a gigabyte at a time, which is enough for hours of video.

Pando does not compress or transcode video files, so there is no change in video quality. In addition, Pando can be used with any type of attachment — video files, digital pictures, documents, PowerPoint files. Pando seems to have answered a need, reporting more than 600,000 downloads of its software in six months.

Becoming a Broadcaster

Alternatively, you can become your own broadcaster with Pixpo. Pixpo allows consumers to maintain their videos on their own computer and broadcast them to selected friends or relatives.

"We allow users to create broadcasting channels that can be made public or kept private," said Robert Cooper, Pixpo's director of business. "Public ones are visible to anyone via your broadcast home page, while private ones can be viewed only by people you've e-mailed a link to."

Pixpo, available in beta testing, turns your PC (and in the future, your Mac) into a broadcasting center able to stream video. The service is free and has no limitations on the number of video clips or users involved in sharing. Resolution is optimized for Internet transmission, at 240 by 320 pixels, a compromise between speed and quality.

The advantage for viewing is that Pixpo streams the video over the Internet instead of sending the actual video files, which would require the receiver to have the right video software (known as a codec).

But since the files you are sharing remain on your PC, you need to have an always-on connection and leave your PC and Pixpo software running to provide round-the-clock access to your video.

Setup is easy: go to www.pixpo.com, download the software (currently a svelte 4.5 megabytes) and then create your broadcast channel by selecting the files you want to share, giving your channel a name and telling friends about it.

Of course, if 100 people show up at the same time to view your video, your computer connection probably will not support the load. Pixpo can help by storing highly requested video from your system in a cache, so multiple copies can be served simultaneously.

Outsourcing It

If you do not want people viewing video directly from your computer, you might consider a fee-based video hosting service like HomeMovie or Snapfish.

"We're positioning our services as video sharing for grown-ups, not 'ego-casting,' where people upload a two- to three-minute clip of themselves lip-synching," said Lars Krumme, a co-founder of HomeMovie.

HomeMovie's latest service, Afiniti 3.0, allows consumers to send in tapes for digitizing, upload saved files for sharing or connect their digital camera or camcorder directly to their computer and transfer new video or pictures. The service can also be used to download the video to iPods.

Users can have up to five hours of video content in their online account free. Up to 10 hours is $3.99 a month with no time limit for the clips — you can have one-minute clips or two-hour clips.

When you share video using HomeMovie (www.homemovie.com), the clips are uploaded from your computer to HomeMovie's servers. Invited friends and family members, who are given a password, can download the clips to their iPods, order DVD's or view the video online — all free.

You can tag movies or scenes with keywords, so that you can search for "vacation" video or "birthday" scenes. HomeMovie also offers a service that will encode a two-hour tape into digital files for $5.

An advantage of HomeMovie is that it provides basic video editing abilities, including combining clips into a longer movie, or the ability to remove unwanted scenes — particularly helpful when working with shorter clips from digital cameras.

However, there are no special transition tools, like dissolves or fades; the scenes simply cut from one to another. For other kinds of movie magic, you will need a video editing software package.

Mixing It Together

Of course, if you are recording video with a digital camera, you are probably also taking pictures, and may want to be able to upload both to one place for printing and sharing — at least that is the bet that Snapfish is making with its new video-sharing service.

Snapfish (www.snapfish.com) offers a 30-day free trial of its video-sharing abilities. Afterward, it's $2.99 a month or $24.99 a year for unlimited video sharing. The service was introduced in January, and Snapfish says thousands have already used it, and it is trying to integrate video and photo sharing as much as possible. Snapfish albums can have still pictures and video mixed together.

Any "family friendly" video up to 10 minutes can be uploaded to the site. A crucial part of the service is converting (known as transcoding) the video file — which can come in 13 different formats — into MPEG2, which can be easily uploaded and shared.

Snapfish lets visitors actually save the file they are viewing by right-clicking their mouse, but Ben Nelson, Snapfish's general manager, said viewing, not keeping, was the point of the service.

Unlike a snapshot, "printing a video isn't that easy," he said, "so the ability to share videos is a really important feature."


(y) (i) for consumers and a challenging opportunity for those techies focused on beyond the bleeding edge technologies.....:o :o Times like this initiate change and learning in new areas.(i)

(o) (c)


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

06-30-2006, 06:42 AM
The Nation, Pakistan

America Uses Superman to Promote its Fascist Agenda

By Dr. Haider Mehdi

June 29, 2006

It may be news to foreign policy Pundits in Islamabad as well as to the majority of readers that Superman, the highly coveted American film hero, is an expression and a creation of fascist minds rooted in a political culture that epitomizes power and the use of force.

This is so, as Superman alters the nature of reality and creates a reality of his own, which defies human understanding and logic. He also violates every rule of physics and all scientific principles known to humanity. The notion of Superman is based on the idea of a battle between "good vs. evil," from an exclusively American perspective, where the battle always demonstrates an external threat to American society and its people.

In the end, obviously, "good" prevails and America is saved. What could be more virtuous than that? Superman is naturally and invariably a white male, handsome, debonair, brave, moral, and kind, potent, exciting, loving, and capable of generating ecstasy at the touch of a finger. And of course, he is in love with a white female equally kind-hearted, devoted, beautiful, loving, noble, pious, pure, and honorable /no spamming of other sites/ and together the pair fights the "evil-doers" to ultimate victory for "good," and lives in love and peace thereafter.

Filmgoers, overwhelmed with the human emotions of goodness and a sense of envy (I wish I were like him) just like the foreign policy Pundits in Islamabad, applaud and go home happily, little realizing that they have all been fooled. The momentary experience of the film is not only an entertainment odyssey - it is in fact a well-planned and well-administered dose of indoctrination into the American ideology of "demon-hunting," "external threats," the use of force and the obsession with power.

No wonder then that at the height of Bush's neo-con-manufactured war on the so-called terrorism of Islamic militants, Superman is back with a "bang" in American movie theaters. "Superman Returns," which opens in the United States this week, is receiving knock-out reviews from critics and is winning over audiences as the latest crime-fighting, evil-smashing, and sincere "Man of Steel."

How else would America express its solidarity with the Bush Administration and its faith-oriented politics? Indeed, the concept of Superman can only be explained by unflinching faith - absolute faith that transcends ideas and is based on unshakable convictions and messianic notions that overwhelm the need for analysis. Superman is absolutely unreal, and yet he is admired for the deeds he performs. It all boils down to the promotion of Bush's fascist doctrine, both inside and outside America.

Superman is not the only entertainment available from American that promotes Bush's agenda of aggression against a self-perceived evil world, which is out to destroy America and its values.

A Los Angeles-based company, Pandemic Studios, has just developed a video game, "Mercenaries 2," which features mercenaries invading Venezuela to guarantee oil supplies for the United States.

The game graphically depicts Caracas being engulfed in flames after aerial bombardment, even depicting the logo of Venezuela's national oil company. Given Venezuela's desire to press for an independent foreign policy and a domestic agenda free of the heavy-handed treatment once meted out by the U.S., the development of "Mercenaries 2" is not accidental. It certainly shows the psychotic and fascist ideas that underlie the fundamentals of American thinking in the contemporary Bush era.

In a remarkable recent article, Professor Adel Safety, UNESCO Chair of Leadership and President of the School of Government at Bahcesehir University, Istanbul RealVideo, concludes that ideologues of the Bush regime propound fascist ideas without claiming to be fascist.

Here, I will summarize Professor Safety's thesis:

Bush, himself, is driven by an absolute sense of "faith" which overrides rationality and analysis. In doing so, the American President believes that he is ordained to carry out divine will. Referring to the Iraq invasion, Bush told Bob Woodward, "Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will." Absolute religious extremism, isn't it?

Safety's article quotes a summer 2004 issue of Daedalus, in which professor of constitutional law, Sanford Levinson, writes, "… Carl Schmitt RealVideo, the leading Nazi German philosopher, is the real source of inspiration of the Bush regime." Schmitt held the view that in politics, "the ultimate distinction is between friend and foe. And this comes before … any notion of justice and morality."

Hence, this helps us understand Bush's categorical declaration and demand for absolute submission by other nations to the American foreign policy agenda, for example when he said that nations are either with "us" or with "them," meaning if a nation is not with the U.S., then it is America's enemy. This also illustrates Bush's doctrine of the pre-emptive and unilateral use of force against any actual or perceived adversary. By any measure, this is a truly fascist position to hold in a system of competing nation-states when, at our present stage of human development, the emphasis should be on dialogue and collaborative decision-making.

The analysis offered by Professor Safety explains how Leo Strauss RealVideo, Professor at the University of Chicago in the 1970s, had a "powerful influence over the thinking of the Bush regime." Strauss, a protégé of Carl Schmitt, has been described as the "Fascist godfather of the neocons."

Strauss's doctrine advocated a truly "Machiavellian approach to politics and foreign policy," completely devoid of morality and ethics. Strauss believed that "a stable political order required an external threat and that if such a threat doesn't exist, one should be manufactured." Safety further states that "Strauss has directly influenced some of the leading ideologues in the Bush administration:

Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of the Iraq War, and Abram Shulsky, the director of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, set up by Douglas Feith to produce its own evidence to bolster the case for war. Both Wolfowitz and Shulsky studied under Strauss at the University of Chicago in the 1970s." It is in this framework that a connection between the Bush Administration's thinking and its global foreign policy agenda can be made and explained.

It seems that pundits in Islamabad, the architects of Pakistan's foreign policy, pride themselves on conducting the country's foreign affairs on the basis of Realpolitik. But the issue inherent in Pakistan's contemporary domestic and foreign policy is that it is aligned with the fascist doctrine promoted by the U.S., which is hell-bent on carrying out an agenda aimed at global instability, war, and the promotion of conflict around the world. How can this be justified by Pakistan and its decision makers?

It is obvious that Pakistan is also out of sync in the way it conducts its domestic war against so-called terrorism, when the task is to achieve close human interaction and dialogue to resolve issues between several adversaries. How long will Pakistan continue in this wrong direction?

Indeed, the majority of people around the world, especially the Muslim world, harbir reasonable doubt as to the American version of how 9/11 happened. Similarly, Iraq was most definitely for the purpose of manufacturing enemies for the U.S.

The question that begs an immediate answer and change in course from Pakistan is: How much longer can Pakistan support America's line in the "war on terrorism," which was artificially manufactured by the United States?

It is also clear that a similar doctrine of manufacturing enemies is being followed in Islamabad's corridors power. But the more pressing matter is to find a strategy that will disengage Pakistan from the fraudulent, fascist-oriented ideology of the American regime. Pakistan can no longer afford killing its own people under the pretext of a war on terrorism.

Philosophers since ancient times have maintained that knowledge is power - and the power of knowledge can set us free. It would be instructive for Islamabad's pundits to heed this wisdom.


(*) (*) It *is* healthy, in my opinion, to read articles that are being published all over the world. The American media certainly does not focus on how other countries perceive the U.S. And this is scary - since so many Americans are asleep or seem to be. What is terrifying is many of these overseas-based columnists are right!:o :| :| Well, at least some folks are interested in reading what other countries are saying about our own country. And I'm sure many would agree that Dubya is a sanctimonious idiot.

<sigh> Hey, the sun is out, the temp expected to be much cooler and lower humidity felt great while Wyatt and I were outside earlier.

(~) I don't plan on adding the latest Superman film to my netflix queue, but this article certainly provoked my thinking this morning, giving me pause to re-consider any biases I might have.;)

(o) (o) (c) (c) Time for fresh coffee!

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 05:20 AM
In the World of Football, 'the American Colossus is a Dwarf'

Is the greatest booster of globalization falling down on the job when it comes to sports? According to this op-ed article from Egypt's Arabic-Language Al-Ahram, 'At a time when the United States intimidates the entire world with its military might … in football it doesn't frighten a soul.' - Al Ahram - Egypt

Translated By James Murray

June 16, 2006

The United States of America, the colossus which seeks to impose globalization on the world, even in the most savage manner, is in fact just a dwarf when it comes to one of the most omnipresent manifestations of globalization: sports. Played with an enchanting round ball, the very apex of global sport is football's World Cup, in which the world is presently immersed with fascination. That event in Germany has eclipsed all other world events since it began on June 9.

The crushing defeat that was handed to the United States by the Czech Republic, three goals to zero in America's first World Cup match, reflects the failure of the United States in the world's most popular game. America's inability to grapple with sports globalization is, in reality, not a single but a double failure.

For this also reminds us of America's failure to impose its own national sports - baseball and American football - on the world. And even when America tried to play football (after renaming it soccer in an attempt to impose its rules on the game just as it does in politics), it failed in its mission and was forced to retreat from its plans for sports hegemony.

At a time when the United States intimidates the entire world with its military might, spending close to half of all global expenditures on weapons, in football it doesn't frighten a soul. Rather, it might be classified as a mediocre football power. It is a rare occasion when the United States achieves a good result at the World Cup. One such occasion was in 1950, when the United States team pulled off a surprise 1-0 win over Great Britain, halting the British advance toward the championship.

When the real beginning of football in Britain began at the end of the 19th century, the United States refused even to practice in a conscious American attempt to forget the period of British occupation. They preferred instead to stick to the three sports they had invented: baseball, American football, and basketball.

America began playing football with the feet of immigrants, although many quickly turned their backs on the sport they loved to play the three American sports, so that they could become more a part of American society and to achieve higher social status.

Despite the game's increased popularity in America, especially after qualifying for the championship five times and hosting the World Cup in 1994, football excites very little interest in the hearts of the great majority of Americans compared to the rest of the world, where an important match can empty the streets.

Tthe word of the American colossus is paramount at the United Nations, which the United States hosts on its territory, denying permits to people sent to represent member states to the world body whenever it so wishes. However, at the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) in Zurich, America's power amounts to less than that of a small country that no one has ever heard of, such as Trinidad and Tobago or Senegal, which defeated France twice in World Cup qualifiers.

Though the American colossus has intervened dozens of times with its veto to defend the Hebrew State since the U.N.'s inception in 1948, its weakness at FIFA is such that it failed to pressure that organization to reclassify Israel as part of the Middle East region (for World Cup qualification). So Israelis remain subject to FIFA's decision to designate it as part of the European region.

And at a time when all other national teams received a warm public reception, of the 32 participating teams, America's national team was the only World Cup participant not to display the national flag on its bus for fear of exposing U.S. players to hostility. This is due to the war in Iraq, which was roundly rejected in Europe and especially Germany, who together with France led the campaign against America's invasion of Iraq.

George W. Bush's recent statements during a visit to Germany this past May reflect the degree of American failure in sports globalization. At the time, he confirmed that he had never watched a single football match in his life, and admitted that it is not at all popular in his country. But faced with the intense interest that Germany and the rest of the world have for the game, Bush promised that he would study the phenomenon, which fills the hearts of billions with joy.

The question now is whether President Bush will approach the study of football in the domineering way that his administration approaches politics, or will the magic of football and the passion of its billions of fans move him to retreat from policies that have been rejected by those democratic nations across the globe that are ostensibly led by America?"


(*) (*) Whew! I'm glad that most people I know who love football probably won't even hear of this article. It does make me sad though, hearing about Northwestern University's coach passing away this past Thursday. He was only 52.:| :| I read a wonderful story about him and how much he was loved by everyone with whom he came into contact. He took his team to 3 bowl games in 7 years, as well as made sure that his players did well in school and not only with football.(f) (f)

Sun Thoughts,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 05:25 AM
Thursday, June 29, 2006

Personal connection has averted tensions on more than one occasion

Staff writer

What has been touted as the best Japan-U.S. relationship in the postwar era started with a cowboy movie and will end with an Elvis Presley museum.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is now on a trip to the United States to hold on Thursday what will probably be his last summit with President George W. Bush.

For Koizumi's last official trip to the U.S., the White House has prepared a Memphis, Tenn., trip to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, as a gesture to underscore his close friendship with Bush and as a present pleasing to Koizumi, a big fan of "the King."

The Koizumi-Bush relationship has often been described as the best personal ties between the two countries' top leaders in the postwar decades.

The very first topic Koizumi brought up in their first summit in June 2001 was "High Noon," a 1952 Western film in which Gary Cooper played the role of a small-town sheriff fighting alone against evil gunslingers.

"High Noon" is Koizumi's favorite movie, and he knew it was one of Bush's favorites as well. Koizumi's casual nature and love of American culture appeared to strike an instant chord with Bush.

That meeting reportedly continued 2 hours and 10 minutes, almost triple the originally scheduled 45 minutes.

"We hit it off by talking about that movie," Koizumi would write two years later in his biweekly newsletter.

Later, in another meeting, Koizumi surprised Bush and then Secretary of State Colin Powell by suddenly belting out the Elvis song "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" to describe the Japan-U.S. relationship.

Government sources in Tokyo say the two leaders' close friendship has defused tension between the world's two largest economies numerous times over the past five years.

"Bush has often told his staff that they should not put Koizumi in a difficult position," said a senior Foreign Ministry official, asking not to be named.

"If we had not had the Koizumi-Bush relationship, the U.S. may have put more pressure on Japan to send troops to Iraq earlier. They may have implemented sanctions over the BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) issue."

For Japan, maintaining good relations with the U.S is the No. 1 priority in diplomacy, particularly after the sour experiences of the fierce trade wars in the 1980s.

In that sense, Koizumi is arguably the most successful Japanese leader in recent years. Thanks to his close ties with Bush, the U.S. has often eased off the pressure over conflicting issues, officials in Tokyo said.

"After Koizumi came into office, Japan-U.S. ties have been supported by a very strong relationship of trust at the highest level," Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi said at news conference Monday.

The friendship, of course, is not without cost. Koizumi has fully supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq, sending troops there on a postwar reconstruction mission, and enacted a number of controversial laws to strengthen the military component of the alliance to deal with emergencies.

All of these military-related matters are extremely sensitive politically in Japan, where antimilitary sentiment is still strong due to the bitter experience of the war and the pacifist Constitution.

"Koizumi has been a guy with a lot of luck," said Takao Toshikawa, editor of the biweekly political magazine Insideline, pointing out that no Japanese soldiers have been killed or wounded by insurgents in Iraq.

Observers say the Koizumi administration could have suffered a fatal blow if any of the Ground Self-Defense Force contingent in Iraq had suffered casualties, as the nation has been split over Koizumi's decision to support the Iraq war to the fullest and dispatch troops there.

For Foreign Ministry bureaucrats who traditionally center their diplomacy on the U.S. and hope for stronger Japanese military cooperation, Koizumi has been a decisive leader.

"Now the U.S. views Japan differently, as a country that can take risks. I think Prime Minister Koizumi's political decision to support the Iraq war has contributed greatly," a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

But many observers have criticized Koizumi for failing to create his own strategies for Asia and the Middle East and instead merely following and supporting U.S. diplomacy.

"All of his diplomatic polices have been based on only one point -- cooperation with the U.S.," said Jitsuro Terashima, honorary chairman of the nonprofit Japan Research Institute.

Terashima faults Koizumi for failing to present Japan as an independent leader to Asia and the Middle East.

"(Koizumi's diplomacy) is too simple and narrow-minded to open up a new vista of how Japan should conduct long-term diplomacy," he said.

Koizumi has pledged to step down as head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and thus prime minister in September.

Whoever succeeds him, Japan's basic diplomatic policy toward the U.S will remain unchanged, though such a close personal relationship between the leaders of the two countries is unlikely.

"The summit this time will confirm the role and meaning of the Japan-U.S. relationship, and (the two leaders) will agree that the bilateral relationship will develop further, based on the (past) achievements" Vice Foreign Minister Yachi said.


(*) (*) Too bad Bill Clinton didn't take the PM to Graceland during his tenure.;)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 05:30 AM

For the first time ever Nordisk Film has sold a Danish concept to the US

The programme, which will be transmitted into homes in the US, is called Sensing Murder. It follows a group of clairvoyants who help the police to solve murder mysteries.

Discovery Channel USA has bought the rights for the Nordisk Film programme. The first of seven parts will be broadcast on Thursday, 1 November, and the programme will run for seven weeks.

Ideas from the Danish TV industry have never before been given a specific time slot in the US. According to Nordisk Film, the Danish TV industry has managed to sell options or productions of test-programmes, in the past but never the whole package.

Jacob Houlind, general manager at Nordisk Film, believes that Sensing Murder might open a lot of doors for Danish TV production:

'Nordic TV viewers are very critical. This means that if a programme has success here it is likely to do well on a global market too. Sensing Murder can potentially open many doors for Danish TV production. It all depends on whether the US viewing figures will be as high as expected,' said Houlind.

Production Company Granada has already started filming the programmes. Before reaching the world's biggest TV market, Sensing Murder has been broadcast in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, as well as in seven other countries that made their own productions of the show.


(y) (y) for murder mystery buffs!;)

(c) Cheers! (c)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 05:38 AM
By Ana Kronschnabel and Thomas Rawlings

26 June 2006 Belfast Telegraph

Many believe that the web has entered its newest and most exciting phase: a communal era, which looks to both its altruistic beginnings as well as to its most powerful aspirations. The media technology leading this phase is known as the wiki. This approach to technology, based on sharing information and technology, is echoed among a wider group of web users, the open-source community. Ben Green, from a co-operative called Bristol Wireless, says: “We are starting to see open-source technologies replacing proprietary software and some envisage wikis replacing academic knowledge systems in the same way.”

The very word wiki denotes an important insight into the ideas behind this new technology. Other web technology developments have yielded harsh terminology such as firewall, flaming, trolling etc, or a baffling array of letters such as WYSIWYG, DHCP or JXTA. The term wiki is short, catchy and almost friendly.

It is used to denote something quick or fast in the native language of Hawaii and has been adopted to name a form of web-page technology that allows users to go beyond simply reading the page. A wiki page, at first glance, looks much like a web page, but behind the scenes is a powerful, social technology that allows the users to edit its contents, alter the text, add images or video and so on. While there is nothing new in creating an editable web page, prior to the wiki age, it was done behind the scenes, often by spe-cialised techies. What wiki does for its users is what blogging did for web publishing: it provides an easy, quick, means to an end. In the words of Ward Cunningham, an author and an inventor of wiki technology: “Wiki does for knowledge what the assembly line does for material.”

The most widely known wiki project is Wikipedia – the online encyclopedia that now contains nearly 40 million articles. While the project is not without its controversies and critics, the sheer size, scope and pace of the documentation of knowledge have led some to the conclusion that what has been unleashed is “a repository of knowledge to rival the ancient library of Alexandria”. A study in the science journal Nature reported that “Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries”, giving the project kudos from the traditional keepers of knowledge: the academic community.

Nicholas Moreau, who is an administrator for the English Wikipedia, remarks: “When Tim Bernes Lee created the World Wide Web, he felt that editing content was just as important as reading it. This was far from realised when the web was created in 1991.” Moreau is also a member of the Communications Committee of the Wikimedia Foundation, which was set up to oversee Wikipedia, a project with grey beginnings but one which has grown from a small database to a digital library of 38 million articles in five years.

Wikipedia is not the only project to take such a collaborative approach. Another example is the merger of the Yellow Pages idea with the wiki concept. Paul Youlten, founder of Yellowikis, says: “Companies get deleted every day from Wikipedia for not being encyclopaedic, which is where my daughter got the idea for Yellowikis. We collect them up and encourage more to be added directly to the system. People are actually making money from adding companies to Yellowikis in the US – we are going to encourage this on a global (and multilingual ) basis.”

As can be seen from the periodic vandalism that Wikipedia endures, the ability to open-publish and edit information is problematic. But Dr David Weinberger, co-author of the influential guide to business online, The Cluetrain Manifesto and fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Institute for Internet and Society, thinks this risk is a price worth paying. “Besides developing shared knowledge, complete with a history of how it was developed, wikis can demonstrate to organisations that frequently the best results come from limiting the control imposed.” Paul Youlten concurs. “I know from [my experience with] Yellowikis that it is difficult to resist becoming all proprietorial about what other people do with your ‘baby’ but the reality is that, in general, good things happen much more than bad.”

While wiki technology is not new, it is becoming more and more prominent. The Wikinews project was hailed by many for its coverage of the London bombings and Hurricane Katrina. The appeal of such projects during a time of crisis seems to stem from its very nature; the collective approach to newsgathering which enables concerned communities to pool their knowledge. One current affairs blogger observed: “If more people saw the huge potential of the citizen journalism that Wikinews provides, well, it could by far surpass blogging. It’s like the best democratisation process of ‘news’ as we know it.” Not to be outdone, the Online Journalism Review has also began to deploy wiki tech-nology to pro-duce articles via invitation-only wikis.

So where does wiki technology go from here? Nobody is claiming it is an instant cure-all. Dr Weinberger points out: “How would Republicans and Jihadists ever come up with a single wiki page talking about George W Bush? The French and English versions of Wikipedia can’t even agree on who invented the aeroplane. So, wikis are going to have to get better at handling genuine differences. But then, aren’t we all?”


(*) (*) It might be a relatively reasonable web site for generic information, but none of my graduate course professors would ever consider my citing a WiKipedia resource - nor would I ever consider using one! Any comparison with an actual peer-reviewed reference is off the mark, in my view. Wiki makes for instantaneous gratification with bubble-gum. It takes researching many sources and critical reflection to synthesize, evaluate and discern one's own point of view.:) :)

Sun Thoughts,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (k) (&) (k)

07-01-2006, 05:54 AM
Jealousy does not discriminate

Smita Mathew

Even before she was out of the spotlight for the birth of her baby, Angelina Jolie is back again, courtesy Jennifer Anniston. Celeb watch sites claim that Angelina didn't allow Jennifer's congratulatory call to Brad Pitt. 'Female First' reports that Jennifer thinks Angelina has made Brad uncaring and insensitive. Earlier reports claim that during the last stages of her pregnancy, Angelina was petrified that Brad would abandon her and her child like her father Jon Voight had done. Her suspicions got worse when Brad received calls from Jennifer.

Some would say Jolie’s insecurity is surprising. Here is a woman who is beautiful, successful, intelligent and independent. Jolie has everything going for her—a great career that has given her three Golden Globes and an Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress. She is reportedly commanding a fee of $15 million for 'The Good Shepherd'. She has been voted the most beautiful woman in the '100 Most Beautiful' 2006 issue of ‘People’ magazine and no. 4 in the May 2006 issue of ‘Maxim's Hot 100’. Jolie’s humanitarian work in refugee camps in Asia and Africa had the UNHCR name her as a Goodwill Ambassador. She has Brad Pitt at her side and they have just brought a beautiful baby to the word! Can it really get any better than this?

Most of us have an unflinching belief in those who are successful. We give them full marks in life, including in relationships. Aha! Is that really so? Is it possible that most of them would get bouts of low self-esteem, insecurity, jealousy or other human failings?

Certainly a cattish Jolie is hardly a novelty among celebrities. Bollywood has seen some pretty well known catfights and tu-tu main-main . Remember Raveena Tandon (over Ajay Devgun and more recently over husband Anil Thadani’s ex wife!) Dig a little deeper and more such skirmishes surface. Socialite Paris Hilton was all set to claw actress Lindsay Lohan, when she spotted Lohan with ex lover Stavros Niarcho. Jealousy or plain selfishness, but Paris hurled the choicest insults at her. Lohan refused to be drawn however and chose not to respond.

Why are women basically insecure about their relationships? Are they more so than men? Dr. Sanjay Chugh, Founder Chairman, International Institute of Mental Health (IIMH) and International Institute for De-addiction Research and Therapy (IIDRT) says, "Insecurity is a trait more often present and manifested in women. It is grounded in their socio-cultural conditioning— women have always been told that they are the weaker sex and men will often do things that women have no control over. This conditioning, through verbal and non verbal means, becomes so firmly entrenched in a woman, that she is forever looking over her shoulder to see who else is coming along or what her man is doing when he is not with her."

Women usually feel uncomfortable when they see their men get too friendly with another women, especially if she is beautiful and successful. Even if a guy seems comfortable with her own girl friends, the woman in question does feel edgy.

Jhoomur Bose, Features Editor, ‘Xplore – The Times of India’, feels that women become insecure for three basic reasons. “If a woman has had a bad personal experience in the past, she uses it to generalise her future relationships.” “Women usually are deeply affected by what they see happening around them—if they watch a movie with a happy family which breaks up because the husband cheats on his wife, they often go home thinking what if it happened to her.” “Women are aware that men by nature are polygamous and even if they are not they at least have made it out to be so. So knowing that unlike, them men are wired differently and do have tendency to stray, women are instinctively put on their guard.” Trust, she says is an important thing in a relationship. Yet it is also important that men understand their women and make sure that they feel secure in that relationship.

But sometimes it seems that it is not enough to know that your partner is committed to you. Relationships are fragile nowadays and one does not know when and where temptation can hit you unawares. Even while one partner may see their friendliness with someone from the opposite sex as harmless and devoid of any sexual attraction, there is always the danger of the equation changing. As Dr. Dave Curies, National Director of FamilyLife Canada explains, "...even in the absence of sexual attraction, a close connection with a person of the opposite sex can make your spouse feel threatened and insecure. Many times though, these feelings go unspoken and perhaps even unrecognized. As deeply as I trust Donalyn (his wife), there is also a tremendous security that comes from knowing she has clear boundaries with other men. "

It has been widely recognised that women feel more hurt when they are faced with emotional infidelity rather than sexual infidelity while it is the other way round for men. The fact that her husband connects more with someone other than her and would rather share his thoughts and feelings with a third person is enough for a woman to feel betrayed.

This would probably explain why Jolie feels more threatened by Jennifer Anniston. Jennifer and Brad had a close and happy marriage, till things went wrong in the end. They've known each other for long and they obviously do connect. With Jennifer still to some extent brooding over the break-up, Angelina may fear that if Brad and Jen do chat up or meet they might just get back together again.

While many would term Angelina's reaction as signs of insecurity and jealousy, Jolie may be just a woman guarding her turf. That she may be among the most beautiful and successful in the world, in this case at least, makes no difference.


(*) (*) Only in India can these views be shared? I doubt it but don't read the grocery-store rags. I think Jolie-bashing might have been the intent with the writer of this article upset of the Jennifer split. I never could understand that one. Gwyneth Paltrow, definitely - when she stayed with Brad on the set in the Andes Mountains during filming for "Seven Years in Tibet" several years back. (China said no way for the filming in Tibet itself and the Andes have been used for a number of films supposedly set in Tibet.)

(}) ({) Perhaps it's a cultural thing - this difference of perspective.(i)

(c) (c) I need another cup of fresh coffee.:)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 06:01 AM
Rupert Murdoch is effectively a member of Blair's cabinet

Only a spin doctor would deny that the media baron has a say in all major decisions taken in Downing Street

Lance Price Saturday July 1, 2006 The Guardian (U.K.)

Rupert Murdoch has never been a man to let details get in the way of a good headline. This week he accepted the accolade of being the most influential Australian of all time, even though by his own admission there were others on the shortlist who'd done a lot more to make the world a better place.

Surely he should be stripped of his title without further ceremony - and not because of the inconvenient little fact that he's been an American citizen for the past 21 years. His editors insist that he never influences the way they produce their papers. The politicians maintain that, for their part, they act in the best interests of the country, not those of Rupert Murdoch.

He may carry some clout in the boardroom, but in the cabinet room? Mr Murdoch should throw up his hands, give back the award and admit that he has no more influence over government policy than you or me. Less, in fact. At least we have a vote in this country.

In my spin-doctoring days I might have tried an argument like that, although not without that tell-tale flicker of a smile. It's true that Rupert Murdoch doesn't leave a paper trail that could ever prove his influence over policy, but the trail of politicians beating their way to him and his papers tells a different story.

There is no small irony in the fact that Tony Blair flew halfway round the world to address Mr Murdoch and his News International executives in the first year of his leadership of the Labour party and that he's doing so again next month in what may prove to be his last.

I have
never met Mr Murdoch, but at times when I worked at Downing Street he seemed like the 24th member of the cabinet. His voice was rarely heard (but, then, the same could have been said of many of the other 23) but his presence was always felt.

No big decision could ever be made inside No 10 without taking account of the likely reaction of three men - Gordon Brown, John Prescott and Rupert Murdoch. On all the really big decisions, anybody else could safely be ignored.

I was reminded just how touchy Downing Street is about Mr Murdoch when I submitted the manuscript of my book, The Spin Doctor's Diary, to the Cabinet Office. The government requested some changes, as is its right. When the first batch came through, it was no surprise that Tony Blair's staff were deeply unhappy. The real surprise was that no fewer than a third of their objections related to one man - not Tony Blair or even Gordon Brown, as I might have expected, but Rupert Murdoch.

In my first few weeks as Alastair Campbell's deputy, I was told by somebody who would know that we had assured Mr Murdoch we wouldn't change policy on Europe without talking to him first. The Cabinet Office insisted that I couldn't say in my book that such a promise had been made because I did not know it for a fact. With some reluctance I turned the sentence around so that it read: "Apparently News International are under the impression we won't make any changes without asking them." Every other request relating to Murdoch was rejected. It seemed to me that the government was simply trying to avoid political embarrassment on a subject of wholly legitimate public interest.

All discussions - and let us hope the word "negotiations" isn't more appropriate - with Rupert Murdoch and with Irwin Stelzer, his representative on earth, were handled at the very highest level. For the rest of us, the continued support of the News International titles was supposed to be self-evident proof of the value of this special relationship. The Sun and the Times, in particular, received innumerable "scoops" and favours. In return, New Labour got very sympathetic coverage from newspapers that are bought and read by classic swing voters - on the face of it, too good a deal to pass up.

In fact, New Labour gave away too much and received too little that it couldn't have expected to get anyway.

Rupert Murdoch loves power and loves the feeling that he has the ear of other powerful men. Who else was going to give him that feeling? Would he get it from William Hague? Iain Duncan Smith? Michael Howard?

It may be that Rupert Murdoch has never once vetoed a government decision, nor tried to do so. I just don't know. What I do know is that, as the entries in my book show, I spent far too much time trying to stop ministers saying anything positive about the euro. When two prominent Conservatives, furious at Tory policy on gay rights and Section 28, decided to defect to Labour, I made them say that it was over our management of the economy. I attended many crisis meetings at the Home Office - the influence of the Murdoch press on immigration and asylum policy would make a fascinating PhD thesis.

Now Mr Murdoch tells us he might support David Cameron, and his papers take regular potshots at Gordon Brown. Do Messrs Cameron and Brown take notice? You bet they do. In a close election the support of News International will be courted as never before. They know that Rupert Murdoch likes to back a winner and that it is support in the country that separates the winners from the losers, but they won't dare risk leaving it to the voters. So in the meantime, Rupert, much as it pains me to say so, you can keep the award.


(*) (*) Maybe that's why the MCI and A-Sky-B deal fell apart back in the late 1990's. Murdoch (and Fox Network which he also owns) never had the absolute level of control that he requires. Just a thought.;)

Have a lovely day and rest of your weekend!

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 06:08 AM
BSkyB poised for bold entry to broadband market with aggressive 'triple-play' deals

· Murdoch says strategy will be unveiled this month
· Warning that profits in parent group will be hit

Dan Milmo Saturday July 1, 2006 The Guardian

BSkyB is expected to confirm on July 18 whether it will raise the stakes in the battle of the broadband providers and match competitors' offers of "free" high-speed internet access.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of BSkyB, told investors in his News Corporation group this week that the pay-TV group would unveil its broadband strategy in the middle of next month. The full launch of BSkyB's internet and voice-call service is expected soon after.

Broadband access is fast becoming a commoditised product, with Carphone Warehouse and Orange recently launching "free" high-speed internet access on the condition that customers also acquire other services such as a fixed phone line or mobile phone deal. BSkyB is considering offering similar deals, including free internet access for its top-tier subscribers, who pay more than £40 a month for its premium sports and film channels.

BSkyB entered the broadband arena last year with the £211m acquisition of Easynet, a provider of high-speed internet access, and is installing broadband equipment in BT telephone exchanges - a process known as local loop unbundling. It expects the Easynet network to reach half the country by Christmas.

However, Mr Murdoch, whose News Corp controls 39% of the pay-TV broadcaster, added that the broadband launch would have a significant impact on BSkyB's profits. Analysts at UBS warned that the short-term losses incurred by BSkyB could be even bigger than expected if it aggressively undercut "free" broadband packages offered by Carphone Warehouse and Orange.

Analysts are expecting an initial loss of £70m to £100m on the service. UBS added that BSkyB's voice calls and high-speed internet offering could undercut the price of close rivals such as NTL and BT by up to 60%. UBS said: "Unbundling will allow Sky to extend its reach in urban areas into blocks of flats and will enable it to offer a triple-play service for the first time. Unbundling will increase competition, principally in urban areas and particularly for basic TV services, and will undermine the relative position of cable, Sky's main competitor."

BSkyB bought Easynet in the expectation that offering high-speed internet and telephony as part of a TV package will lock in existing subscribers and reduce "churn rates" - the number of customers who quit every year - while attracting new customers. The group, which has just over 8 million subscribers, has targeted a total of 10 million by 2010.

BT announced a programming deal yesterday for its television service, BT Vision. The group said it had signed a contract with Momentum Pictures, whose films include Mike Leigh's Vera Drake and Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation. BT Vision, which launches in the autumn, combines the Freeview channels with a catch-up service and uses BT phone lines to provide a video-on-demand service.

(*) (*) I'm taking a "wait and see" position on how well these latest service offereings "succeed" in the UK and other EU countries....:| ;) ;) It does portend however that "wireless" (that is, satellite-based broadband) is going to be huge and a powerful competitor to fiber optic services being offered by telephone companies. What an exciting time of massive changes!(y)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 06:15 AM
:) :)


:) .......:D .........;)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 06:18 AM
Perfect for my multimedia exposé of the sewage treatment plant: Offered without comment: Engineers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan are building a machine capable of recording and replaying smells. This is nothing to sniff at. "In video, you just need to record shades of red, green and blue," said Pambuk Somboon of the Tokyo team. "But humans have 347 olfactory sensors, so we need a lot of source chemicals." The system uses chemical-sensing microchips to create a digital recipe for an odor that can then be reproduced from a set of 96 chemicals that can be chosen according to the purpose of each individual gadget.


(*) (*) "Smell researchers are interested in the institute's work. "It would be interesting to know just what range of smells this new system can detect and recreate," says Stephen Brewster, a computer scientist at the University of Glasgow, UK, who is studying whether smell can be used to help people quickly identify digital photos without opening them. "This could be an interesting delivery system for our work."

:| :| "Smell researchers"?

;) ;)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 06:25 AM
By JOHN MURRELL Goog Morning Silicon Valley

Apple now officially has a little French problem. Lawmakers in Paris gave final approval today to a government-backed bill that would require digital device and download purveyors to share technical data with any rival that wants to offer compatible music players and stores. And while Apple is not singled out, it has the most to lose from any move that would force it to make iPods and the iTunes Music Store competitor-friendly -- a possibility that raised the specter of a complete Apple retreat from France (see "iTunes to be rebranded 'FreedomTunes' in France"). Although loud cries of "connard!" could be heard on the Cupertino campus, Apple offered no immediate official comment on what it had previously called a step toward "a state-sponsored culture of piracy" (see "First thing, we yank all their beloved Johnny Hallyday songs out of iTunes").

The law may not be so dire as to warrant a pullout, but even the loopholes are booby-trapped. An exception in the law would let Apple and others keep their digital rights management tech to themselves if they get permission from the artists whose music they sell. That should make some interesting bargaining sessions as musicians and labels look to leverage their new power -- for instance, on that flat-rate pricing that Apple has been adamant about (see "Ha! Your Shaolin-style greed is no match for my Iron Claw Obstinacy"). And the rest of Europe is getting restive too -- iTunes and iPods face compatibility challenges in Sweden, Denmark and Norway (see "Open iTunes or we promise you, Röyksopp sales will drop like a rock").






(*) (*) Why didn't this article about the French and Apple ITunes not surprise me? If I were Steve Jobs, I tell France to go pound sand.;) The nordic countries present enormous opportunities however, especially with their heavy investments in next gen wireless technologies and products - and so would collaborate with countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

In many ways these countries are way ahead in some key technologies. And I'd still tell France to jump off a cliff.:o ;)

Sun Thoughts,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 06:57 AM
June 30, 2006 NYTimes

Stunned Campus Mourns Its Chief, an Apparent Suicide


SANTA CRUZ, Calif., June 29 — They packed into a recital hall Thursday, hundreds strong, many in tears, remembering Denice Dee Denton, the chancellor of the shocked University of California campus here, who fell to her death from a skyscraper in San Francisco on Saturday, apparently by jumping.

Dr. Denton was once the only female dean at a top-tier research university, heading the College of Engineering at the University of Washington, and the speakers at the memorial service called her a pioneer who in turn had advanced the careers of other women and minorities in the sciences.

"She was a resolute and articulate spokesperson for the nation on the need to increase the pipeline of women and minorities in science and engineering careers," said France Cordova, chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, who was the host of Thursday's event.

Only a few speakers alluded to any controversy surrounding the 46-year-old Dr. Denton, though she had been a frequent target of broader criticism involving compensation practices by the University of California system. The attacks on her focused on some $600,000 in renovations to her residence on campus and the hiring of her longtime partner, Gretchen Kalonji, as system-wide director of international strategy development, at a reported annual salary of $192,000.

Dr. Denton was under treatment for a severe thyroid problem several months ago, and she went on medical leave on June 15, though the reason was undisclosed. But some speculated that her status as an openly gay woman was what had really driven much of the criticism of her and that it had all grown to be too much.

"She was a gay woman who was a chancellor and an engineer," Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, chancellor of the University of California, Merced, said in an interview. "You know that she came through some pretty difficult times, as many people who are breaking down barriers did."

Dr. Denton was among those who chastised Lawrence H. Summers when, as Harvard's president, he questioned women's scientific abilities at a conference she attended last year. Afterward, she described the event in an e-mail, jokingly titled, "Denice does Boston," said Alice Agogino, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Alice Hogan, director of a National Science Foundation program that seeks to increase the number of women in academic science and engineering careers, was at the conference with Dr. Denton. "Making the science and engineering base of this country as broad and as talented as possible should not be contentious," she said in an interview Wednesday. "But it is."

And Angela Davis, a professor at the Santa Cruz campus, referred at the memorial to "the swirling controversies" and "unrelenting homophobic attacks" that she said Dr. Denton had endured.

Dr. Denton arrived at Santa Cruz less than 18 months ago. Some recall it as a particularly difficult moment and say she was promptly caught up in its politics: the university, with an enrollment of about 15,000, was planning to grow, a touchy subject in town-gown relations.

"She arrived at a time when a lot was going on here," said one of those at the memorial service, Mason Cohn, who graduated this month and had met with Dr. Denton periodically while working for the student newspaper.

But Stephen Thorsett, dean of physical and biological sciences and a member of the committee that had recommended the hiring of Dr. Denton, said in an interview that this controversy had ultimately passed.

"There was a general feeling that we were on a forward track," Dr. Thorsett said, "and personally she seemed two weeks ago, when I saw her at the annual foundation board meeting, very on top of things, very relaxed. She had a sense of humor."

Like other colleagues of Dr. Denton, Dr. Thorsett said he was struck by criticism of her related to the controversy over university compensation. For one thing, he said, the decision to renovate the chancellor's residence was made before Dr. Denton ever set foot there. The idea that she asked for so much to be spent on the house, he said, "is simply wrong."

Some colleagues said Dr. Denton had worried for her safety, especially after someone threw a parking barrier through a plate glass window at the house one night last June.

No one was ever charged, and no motive determined. But such experiences had to hurt, Nancy Hopkins, a biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an interview. She recalled a telephone conversation this month in which Dr. Denton did not sound like herself.

"The person on the phone was almost gone," Dr. Hopkins said. "I almost couldn't recognize her. It was very upsetting."

But Dr. Hopkins and others also said they had admired Dr. Denton's resilience, evident in her willingness to use past experiences as teaching tools. Dr. Cordova, the chancellor at the Riverside campus, recalled in an interview that in a speech last year, Dr. Denton used personal experiences to illustrate how diversity could improve the quality of a faculty.

"It was very structured but entertaining," Dr. Cordova said. "She could be enormously funny with a lot of very colorful examples and a lot of data."

Losing Dr. Denton is a serious blow to women in the sciences, for whom she served as a role model, said Eve Riskin, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, who considered Dr. Denton a mentor.

"She was like a rock star," Dr. Riskin said, "for women in the sciences and engineering."

:'( :'(

(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

(f) Hopefully, this womyn's life will provide a legacy of hope, strength, determination and other priceless qualities for others to look up to. What a tragic end to such a respected role model. As Dr. Riskin at the University of Washington said, "She was like a rock star for women in the sciences and engineering."

God/dess bless,


07-01-2006, 07:00 AM
July 1, 2006

Op-Ed Columnist

Velvet Elvis Diplomacy



Among the newspaper headlines preserved in Elvis's trophy room in Graceland, hanging next to his size-12 white leather shoes and rhinestone-studded gold lamé suit, is this gem from Aug. 12, 1957: "Rock 'n' Roll Banned, 'Hate Elvis' Drive Launched By Iran To Save Its Youth."

Datelined Tehran, the story began: "Rock 'n' roll has been banned in Iran as a threat to civilization. 'This new canker can very easily destroy the roots of our 6,000 years' civilization,' police said, before launching a 'Hate Elvis' campaign."

Half a century ago, Elvis was considered a wiggly threat to Muslim civilization. But yesterday, the president brought the Japanese prime minister to Elvis's gloriously campy time capsule to thank the fanatical Elvis fan for helping push democracy in the Muslim world.

Junichiro Koizumi seemed to be in an ecstatic trance. Standing near the indoor waterfall in the Jungle Room with Priscilla, Lisa Marie, Laura and George looking on, basking in the avocado glow of a 70's shag rug that covered floor and ceiling, the 64-year-old Japanese leader did Thin Elvis air guitar and Fat Elvis karate chops.

He grabbed the King's outsized tinted gold-rimmed glasses and slipped them on, as the curator who had handled them with white gloves watched in alarm. And he gamely sang heavily accented bits of "Love Me Tender," "Can't Help Falling in Love With You," "Fools Rush In," "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You," and even let loose with "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" until finally Priscilla Presley called out, "We need a karaoke machine!" He even cast Lisa Marie in the Ann-Margret role in his own fantasy "Viva Las Vegas," pulling her close to croon, "Hold me close, hold me tight."

"It's like a dream," bubbled Mr. Koizumi.

It was hard to remember anyone looking this happy in the gloomy cave of the Bush-Cheney administration, where more time is spent spanking allies than treating them.

Mr. Bush seemed out of his element. It's doubtful that W. had ever seen a round, mirrored, white fake-fur canopy bed before, much less an entire suit made of black faux fur. At one point, the president tried to cut off his overexcited guest from Tokyo, a city that loves its Elvis impersonator bars. But Mr. Koizumi would not be stopped.

Surrounded by monkey ceramics and ersatz cow skulls, W. tried to make a serious point about his road-trip summit, saying the visit was "a way of reminding us about the close friendship between our peoples."

In addition to being a respite from other bad news — getting disciplined by the Supreme Court on Gitmo and getting taunted again by Osama — the Graceland getaway was a triumph in personal diplomacy. That was the specialty of this president's father, who made a career of dragging befuddled world leaders off to baseball games, the Air and Space Museum, and sprints on his boat in Kennebunkport.

Poppy used such jaunts as a lubricant to diplomacy and an inducement to closer, chattier relationships. His less curious, less social son tends to think of personal diplomacy more in terms of rewards and punishments, just another way to give or withhold favors, depending on who is going along with his world view.

Yesterday's pilgrimage may have struck some as too kitschy, given that several youngsters in Memphis have been tragically shot by stray bullets recently. But at least goin' to Graceland was a rare display of expertise in the psychology of diplomacy, an area where this administration has been strangely tone-deaf. W. figured out what the Japanese leader was thinking, what he wanted and what mattered in his culture, and exploited it — unfortunately, waiting until Mr. Koizumi was almost out of office.

Bush officials went out of their way not to do this with Saddam when they failed to consider that he might be hyping his W.M.D. arsenal or toying with U.N. weapons inspectors as a chest-thumping exercise aimed at impressing other Arab leaders. The Bush team also repeatedly squandered chances to talk to the Iranians and the North Koreans, ignoring the ways in which the oddball leaders of those countries might be acting out of insecurity, envy, bluster, one-upsmanship and a desire to be respected — sort of how high school girls might behave if they had nukes.

With his small circle of pals and Iraq war defenders — Mr. Koizumi, Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi — drifting off the world stage, and with allies pulling back troops in Iraq, President Bush may soon be as isolated as Elvis was at the end. For the rest of his term and through history, W.'s Heartbreak Hotel is likely to be located in Baghdad.

(*) (*) Superb last two sentences! "President Bush may soon be as isolated as Elvis was at the end. For the rest of his term and through history, W.'s Heartbreak Hotel is likely to be located in Baghdad."

(y) Amen, Maureen, amen! (y)

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 10:42 AM
:) :) Now THIS is more like it. :) (p) (p) 's:


Part Wildlife Reserve, Part Luxury Resort





(y) (y)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 10:44 AM
:) .........(p) 's are nice on these sites (especially the first two links) as well as the previous post:





(y) (y) (h) (h)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 10:45 AM


(i) (i) Sharing the best from cheap eats to luxury (expensive) treats



(y) (y) Chaya in Venice was a place where I ate too many times to count while I was living and working there way back in the early 1990s. Fantastic and exquisitely beautiful food!

:o I am learning more about macrobiotics and this restaurant is apparently a "jewel box": M Cafe de Chaya, Hollywood (scroll down on the link above...)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 10:47 AM
Analysis: Future of rump Dutch cabinet hangs in the balance

UPDATED: 13:23, July 01, 2006

The future of the Dutch coalition government after the withdrawal of a junior partner hangs in the balance after Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende tendered his cabinet's resignation to Queen Beatrix on Friday.

The Queen, on Balkenende's advice, will open a round of consultation with all leaders of political parties in parliament to determine what to do next -- to give Balkenende a chance to form a minority government or call early elections.

Balkenende's Christian Democrats (CDA) and the remaining coalition partner, the Liberal Party (VVD), together hold 72 seats in the 150-seat lower house parliament, four seats short of a majority.

D66, which holds six seats in parliament and three seats in Balkenende's 25-member cabinet, pulled out from the coalition Thursday after the other two partners refused to let Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk go, as was demanded by D66.

The withdrawal left Balkenende with little choice but to announce the resignation of the whole center-right cabinet, 11 months ahead of a scheduled general election next May.

This means that the CDA and the VVD ministers will stay on in a caretaker capacity without the D66 ministers until the next election, which could be as early as this autumn.


However, it was clear Friday that the Christian Democrats and the Liberals are keen to stay in office as a minority government until next May rather than a powerless caretaker administration.

After a meeting of his fallen cabinet on Friday, Balkenende said a government with clout is needed to complete some of the cabinet's unfinished work, including the preparations for the 2007 Budget which is to be submitted in September, and the planned deployment of 1,400 troops to Afghanistan in August.

By Dutch law a caretaker government cannot implement new or controversial proposals.

For the rump cabinet, forming a minority government would require the support of one or more of the opposition parties, which appears a tough task.

Most opposition parties are jubilant after the fall of the government and are eager to see an early election. Wouter Bos, leader of the Labor Party, has said he wants the election held as soon as possible.

A poll published on Thursday showed that the Labor Party will be the largest party in parliament with 42 seats if the election is held now, while Balkenende's Christian Democrats would lose six of their 44 seats and possibly become opposition.

Labor's likely closest allies, the Socialist Party and the Green Left Party, would also stand to gain according to the poll, and they seem quite impossible to provide the center-right government with some ministers.

The most obvious candidate would be the populist Pim Fortuyn Party (LPF), which was responsible for the implosion of Balkenende's first coalition in 2002 after just 87 days in power.

But this would be risky as Balkenende had already known from his first cabinet that the LPF was a unstable and unreliable partner. The party is now embroiled in infighting and opinion polls suggest it will be wiped out in the next election.

If the CDA fails to secure support from opposition, it will have to face an early election.

But this does not necessarily translate into a defeat for the CDA because the party is now rapidly making up ground on the Labor in polls, following signs of an economic upturn after years of stagnation.


Balkenende's second coalition government collapsed at a time when most think it is beginning to gain from a long-awaited economic recovery.

The coalition parties are pointing fingers at each other for the responsibility for the downfall. VVD leader Mark Rutte said D66's decision to quit was "shameful" and his fellow VVD member, deputy prime minister Gerrit Zalm referred to the fall of the cabinet as " unfortunate and wrong."

CDA leader Maxime Verhagen described it as "incomprehensible" that D66 had decided to bring down the cabinet "just when we are reaping the rewards."

But D66 leader Lousewies van der Laan blamed the CDA and the VVD for the fall of the cabinet, saying they were not willing to sacrifice Verdonk to continue the work of the cabinet.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose Dutch citizenship affair sparked the current cabinet row over Verdonk, reacted to the government's collapse with regret.

She said from Washington that the cabinet should not fall just because of Verdonk's handling of her citizenship affair.

"I feel very sad about it," Hirsi Ali told CNN. "There's a complex of feelings going through me at the moment, and I feel the Cabinet should not have resigned over this issue."

De Telegraaf, the biggest circulating newspaper in the country, was scathing in its criticism of the whole affair.

"The fall of the government was unnecessary and regrettable," the paper said in its editorial. "The government still had a lot to do to complete the most significant reforms in recent decades."

Many Dutch voters also questioned the need for a new poll. Many think the whole affair about Hirsi Ali's Dutch passport is just a little thing, and the politicians made too much fuss about it.


(*) (*) (*)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 10:51 AM
........but it exposed a critical situation between citizens of in this case, The Netherlands and muslim immigrants. Don't forget that this womyn wrote and heped produce the film exposing how girls and womyn are treated among muslim immigrants - in fact the director was murdered over it and a fatwa placed on Ali's head.:o :| :|


Hirsi Ali dispute brings down Dutch government

By Ian Bickerton in Amsterdam

Published: June 30 2006 03:00 | Last updated: June 30 2006 03:00

A dispute over the citizenship of Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali brought down the Dutch government yesterday when D66, the junior member of the centre-right coalition, walked out after demanding the resignation of Rita Verdonk, the hard-line immigration minister.

Jan Peter Balkenende, prime minister, told parliament he would go to Queen Beatrix today to begin the process of consultations that could lead either to his Christian democrat alliance continuing to govern as a minority coalition with Mrs Verdonk's liberal VVD, or to a snap general election.

The crisis came as two D66 cabinet ministers and a state secretary with the centrist party resigned.

It is the second time in less than four years that a government led by Mr Balkenende has collapsed. He told Dutch television news: "It does not affect me that much. I am busy with the future, doing what I believe in."

Mrs Verdonk had survived a no-confidence vote yesterday, thanks to the support of her liberal VVD and the Christian democrat CDA, but D66, the junior member of the three-party coalition, insisted she resign anyway.

Lousewies van der Laan, D66 parliamentary party leader, had said that Jan Peter Balkenende, prime minister, had no option but to ask Queen Beatrix to dissolve the government.

She said: "We are not out to cause a cabinet crisis. It is for the government to decide if they choose for this minister or the cabinet."

The crisis came as politicians sought to establish whether Ms Hirsi Ali was put under pressure to sign a declaration accepting blame for the citizenship affair, thereby vindicating Mrs Verdonk.

Six weeks ago Mrs Verdonk threatened to strip Ms Hirsi Ali of her citizenship because she gave a false name and age when she applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. That meant her naturalisation five years later was unlawful, Mrs Verdonk said.

Ms Hirsi Ali resigned her seat with the VVD and brought forward the date of a planned departure to the US, where she has been offered a job with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank.

The affair caused international outrage. The Dutch were branded intolerant and the government was accused of expelling Ms Hirsi Ali.

She had renounced her Muslim faith to campaign against radical Islam, and scripted the film Submission whose director, Theo van Gogh, was murdered, triggering death threats that forced her to live in hiding.

Ordered by the government and parliament to resolve the affair, Mrs Verdonk said on Tuesday that Ms Hirsi Ali could keep her passport. Inquiries had established that she was entitled to use the name Ali because it was her grandfather's name.

The question of her age was of minor concern. Ms Hirsi Ali had told the VVD in 2002, prior to her selection as an MP, that she had given a false name in her asylum application. Her real name was Magan.

On Tuesday, however, in her declaration, Ms Hirsi Ali said she "regretted misleading" Mrs Verdonk, who she said could not have known the facts.

She later told Dutch television she had signed the declaration for "pragmatic" reasons because resolving the issue speedily was "much more important for me than a bit of pride". She needed her passport to complete a US visa application.

The centrist D66 threatened to withdraw from the government earlier this year.


(*) (*) Verdonk is an idiot. She should lose her job over her knee-jerk, very unwise actions.

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 10:56 AM
:) :)


"The nerd people as a nation are my people. That means I can identify, to one extent or another, with people who are left out or disenfranchised. I've never been disenfranchised all that much. I'm speaking a little bit out of turn, I know. But what that means is I know I need to pay attention to people who are seriously left out.

-- Craig Newmark of craigslist says he identifies with victims of discrimination everywhere


(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 10:58 AM




07-01-2006, 11:00 AM
:| :| :|


;) ;) Too funny.

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 11:01 AM
(i) (i)

:| :| :|


(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-01-2006, 11:07 AM

Believers in the Internet as a free flowing, end-to-end service were talking about the end of it all today, after a Net neutrality amendment to telecom legislation was voted down in a Senate committee yesterday on an 11-11 tie. We've been over this ground before (see "That's a mighty fine looking stream of data you've got there ... shame if anything happened to it."), so this time we'll let ZDNet's Mitch Ratcliffe say it: "The Senate Commerce Committee, splitting 11 to 11 and therefore rejecting compromise language, set the stage for a carrier-controlled Internet. If the bill passes the Senate and is signed by the President, you can kiss the Net you know 'goodbye.' Farewell, open networks and open standards. Soon every packet will be subject to inspection and surcharges based on what it carries and who sent it or where it is going. The compromise language would have guaranteed that all traffic sent over carrier backbones would be treated equally, regardless of its source or destination. Carriers will be free to target especially profitable traffic for surcharges." Those who frame this as a fight to keep the government's sticky fingers out of the "natural" workings of the market were pleased. "For those of you who think this is a bad thing -- recall the FCC's actions after the Super Bowl 'wardrobe malfunction.' If you think the U.S. government is going to lay down neutrality rules and then keep a hands off attitude beyond that, you probably also think you'll find a pony under every large pile of manure," writes James Robertson. Both sides agree, however, that there is fighting that remains to be done, with Net neutralists taking heart from managing the tie in committee and momentum for a Senate floor fight growing.





(y) (y) Whew! Let's do all that we can to keep the jerks in Washington (and telecomm lobbyiests) from changing the open nature, interoperability (and freedoms including that of speech) associated with the Internet! (y) (y)

Have fun on this sunny Saturday. (f)

Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 12:47 PM
Self-portrait icon maker

Create a digital you

Now you can be your own artist. With this easy-to-use site, simply choose from a vast selection of features to recreate your own likeness. Or create a whole new you! Save and place it anywhere—your Web site, email, etc.


(y) (y) (y) (i) (i) (i) (h) (h) (h)

:) :) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer Pup (S) (&) (S)

07-03-2006, 12:48 PM
Satellite discoveries

See parts of the world unknown

Check out amazing satellite images of ancient cities ruins under oceans, forgotten irrigation systems from ages past—as well as stuff that scientists just don't know what on earth it is. Only that it is in fact on earth.


(y) (y) (h) (h)

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady and Wyatt the napping Boaxer Pup (S) (&) (S)

07-03-2006, 12:50 PM
Best Paper Airplanes :)

Fold 'em and watch 'em soar!

Kids from 4 to 104 can follow these easy instructions on making a whole fleet of different kinds of paper airplanes. Some of them are even flying origami! All you need is some paper, a cool breeze, and a smile. :)


(*) (*) Have fun!

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 12:52 PM
International Jugglers' Association:

Play catch with yourself! :o ;)

There are two kinds of people: Those who juggle, and those who wish they could. No matter which camp you're in, this site brings you all things juggling—how-to lessons, events & festivals, history, lots of photos, and more!


(*) (*) (y) (y) <thinking to myself that I would start to learn with those nurf balls of the 1970s so when they hit my head, they are nice and soft>.....:| :o ;) ;)

Happy 4th of July weekend!

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 12:55 PM
(i) (i) (i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

This is fabulous fun - make sure to turn your speakers up too. :)

Online fireworks—Stuck indoors? Make your own firework display online! :) :)


(y) (y) (h) (h) (h) Too cool.

:) :) 's.

Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping in the heat Boxer Pup (S) (&) (S)

07-03-2006, 12:56 PM
(i) (i) (i)

(h) (h)



(^) (^) (^) Happy Birthday America!

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 12:57 PM
:P :P :P

:) :)



(y) (y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 12:59 PM
(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)


(y) (y) (y) (y)

:) :) :)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:01 PM
(^) (^) (^)


(^) (^) (^)

Happy 4th of July!

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:05 PM
(l) (l) (l) (l)


(l) Love and enjoy it wherever you are however temporary or "illusionary permanent", this holiday weekend. ({) (}) 's.......& (k) (k) 's

Sun Thoughts,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:08 PM
(g) (g) National Archives—Download facsimiles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United states. (g) (g)


(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:10 PM
(y) (y) (y)

The American Revolution—Everything you could want to know and more. :)


({) (}) 's & (k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:14 PM
:o :o

You really notice it on a slow news day: just how much oxygen Google sucks out of the tech conversation pit. Good, bad or gratuitous, there are always fresh Google stories in the daily mix, and the heck of it is, most of them are worth noting. Google is the center of a huge amount of power -- financial power, brand power, brain power and computing power -- and you simply have to pay attention. Here are a few of today's gleanings:

The NYT has a fascinating piece on Google's long history of do-it-yourself software and hardware, including the zillions of cheap servers that don't even live in a box, but are stuck together with Velcro. Among other nuggets, Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds pegs Google as the world's fourth-largest server maker, and one source reports Google is among AMD's five largest clients.

BusinessWeek checks out the emperor's wardrobe and finds it wanting. For all the intimidation and fear created by a Google entry into a non-search service, the analysis says, the company hasn't created a single market leader outside its core competency.
So I guess that means it's a good thing that 70 percent of Google's efforts are still focused on search, according to Douglas Merrill, who looks after internal engineering and talked to the BBC. "Our position is that search is a very hard problem. We have still a lot of work to do," said Merrill, and that includes trying to filter out the onslaught of spam sites.

Finally, John Battelle says the question of the objectivity/subjectivity of Google's page rankings and search results may factor into a lawsuit brought against the company by parenting site KinderStart (see "Praying at Our Lady of the Immaculate Algorithm").






(y) (y) Enjoy!

:) :) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:16 PM
:o :o :o

:) :)


;) ;)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:17 PM
:o :o :o :o :o

:| :|


;) ;)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:20 PM
Recently I picked a new primary care physician.

After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing "fairly well" for my age. A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him,

"Do you think I'll live to be 80?"

He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco or drink beer or wine?"

"Oh no," I replied. "I'm not doing drugs, either."

Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"

I said, "No, my other Doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy."

"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?"

"No, I don't," I said.

He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?"

"No," I said. "I don't do any of those things."

He looked at me and said, "Then why do you give a sh*t?"

:D :D :D

;) Well it made me smile this afternoon.....;) :)

Have a lovely rest of your Monday and holiday weekend...(f) (f)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-03-2006, 01:42 PM
Posted on Mon, Jul. 03, 2006

By Michelle Quinn

San Jose Mercury News


Tech-savvy couch potatoes have given TV commercials the cold shoulder for the past few years, ever since TiVo and its ilk unleashed the power to skip ahead and get back to the show.

Now advertisers are scrambling to figure out new TV advertising models in this age of complete viewer control.

Some advertisers are hoping a new breed of commercials will actually strike a chord with users of digital video recorders by tempting them to use the pause, fast-forward and rewind technology to see the latest advertising creative twists.

Take, for example, a recent KFC commercial for its new Buffalo KFC Snacker sandwich, which contained a subliminal message and secret code that only could be cracked if played back slowly, frame by frame, with a digital video recorder. Viewers could then enter the code (Buffalo) on KFC's Web site to get a coupon for the sandwich. The company gave away 75,000 coupons.

Never mind that such ad campaigns have to practically become news stories to work. The ad's secrets were so hidden that viewers wouldn't have known about them if KFC hadn't leaked the story to the media.

Still, it's clear that advertisers are going to make more of these so-called ``DVR ready'' ads. What isn't clear is if these efforts will be successful enough to convince advertisers that television is still a good place to hawk Cadillacs and Dial soap. The challenge is how to appeal to the growing number of viewers with DVRs who are enjoying their TV commercial-free.

KFC is not alone in trying new approaches. In the past couple of months, Coca-Cola and GE have aired TV ads that contained hidden message or scrambled entertainment. And TiVo itself has launched several features to coax TiVo users to watch commercials about products and services viewers have expressed an interest in.

``We think about consumers and respect the fact that they are in control of television viewing,'' said Davina Kent, TiVo's vice president of national advertising sales. ``We only choose things that are opt-in, meaning that they can choose to view on their own time.''

For example, in a deal that blurs the line between commercials and programming, TiVo users watching an episode about the BMW M series on the show Test Drive will be able to stop the program at any moment to request and watch an ad about the BMW M series. In its press release, TiVo said the ability to place ads with products in the show, which appears on the SPEED channel this summer, ``opens up more opportunities for advertisers to extend their in-program product integration.''

Yes, those products that appear like silent supporting actors in sitcoms and TV dramas may soon come with ads a click away.
Founded in 1997, San Jose-based TiVo popularized technology that allowed viewers to download TV programs to a hard drive and decide when they watch a television show. They can also zip past advertisements.

Now, there are more than 4.4 million households with TiVo subscriptions. Together with cable companies that also sell digital video recorders, 13 percent of households have the technology, according to Forrester Research. By 2008, Forrester predicts, 20 percent of households will have it.

It's always been a battle for advertisers to get viewers to actually watch TV ads. The remote control and the VCR both made it easy to jump around TV channels and duck the product hawking.

But DVR technology has taken ad skipping to a whole new level. One industry observer calls it ``remote controls on steroids.'' It's so easy and quick to skip ads that some studies show that more than 50 percent of DVR users do it (which makes one wonder about the 50 percent who don't do it).

This has made it tricky for networks and advertisers to figure out how to price ads without reliable statistics to tell them how many people actually are watching programming vs. the advertising. Nielsen and TiVo, which can measure second by second what people are watching, including advertisements, are working together to provide a more detailed picture. But so far, advertisers have balked at paying advertising rates that include the DVR audience.

``I'm not aware of anything that is particularly effective,'' said Allen Banks, executive vice president and director of media at the advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi. ``Advertisers are trying a number of different things to utilize the technology. The reality is that if an advertiser is buying advertising on television there's no win-win here.''

Banks pointed out that the DVR technology works better for some products than others.

``There are a lot of products that don't have a lot of pizazz. It's just the stuff people consume,'' said Banks. ``To suggest there are ways to use the technology is naive.''

But others are cautiously optimistic. ``There hasn't been a technology invented that can't be leveraged for a marketing tool,'' said Don King, group director for Sprite, Coca-Cola, North America.

As more households have DVRs, TV commercials, as we know them, will become obsolete, say industry analysts. TV ad models might become more like Internet ads, where advertisers pay per clicks. A few advertisers are shifting their attitude about DVR technology from utter panic to tentative acceptance.

TiVo, too, has a strong incentive to become more advertiser-friendly. Growing competition from cable and satellite companies has put pressure on TiVo to cut the price of its device. Far from seeing itself as an enemy of advertisers, TiVo has pitched itself as an advertiser ally. Since TiVo receives information about its users' viewing and clicking habits, it can offer advertisers detailed research about how their ad campaigns are working -- and the advertising also opens up new sources of revenue for the company, though TiVo won't say how much.

TiVo has introduced several ways people can watch ads beyond the ones squeezed between TV programs. Viewers can visit its ``Showcase'' and see ads. And when people fast forward through ads, a banner ad appears asking the viewer to click for more information.

In May, TiVo launched ``Product Watch,'' which allows TiVo users to subscribe to brands or categories. For example, viewers can ask to receive travel and leisure information to be downloaded to their TiVo hard drive. They might receive four two-minute-long vignettes about recreation vehicles and travel from Go RVing, a coalition of RV makers and enthusiasts. The viewer can also ask to be sent more information or to be contacted by an RV dealer. The service is available to people with TiVos with broadband capability, about 400,000 households.

``What's interesting about TiVo is that they are certainly trying to interact and engage with their users,'' said Jim O'Rourke, who works in brand media for The Richards Group, a branding agency based in Dallas. He helped create the Go RVing TiVo campaign. ``It's something we can't afford to ignore.''

When TiVo announced some of its advertising initiatives, Dave Zatz, who writes a TiVo blog called Zatznotfunny, predicted dark days ahead.

But so far, the 34-year-old network engineer from Maryland has been pleasantly surprised.
``I'd rather have less advertising,'' said Zatz. ``But if we have to have it, I'd like to see advertisers get more creative and trade us for our time.''

(y) (y) VOD on digital cable works the same way - I watched both sections" of "The Broken Trail" last weekend which originally aired on AMC - and was able to fast-forward through the two National spots within each commercial break.(y) (y)

(k) (k) 's,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-04-2006, 05:01 PM
(~) Around the Bend (2004)

Four generations of men are suddenly brought together by the chance to uncover the truth about their family's past. When their eldest member passes away, the remaining trio embarks on a journey that takes them out on the road and into a world full of surprises -- some comic, some dramatic, and all of them personal. Stars Michael Caine, Christopher Walken, Josh Lucas, Glenne Headly and Jonah Bobo.


Michael Caine, Jonah Bobo, Josh Lucas, Glenne Headly, Christopher Walken, David Eigenberg, Robert Douglas, Carlos Cabarcas, Gerry Bamman, Jean Effron, Lily Knight and Rick Negron.

(~) Reviews:

(y) This movie is GREAT - hope it makes the Hollywood leap it deserves. Saw it at the Aspen Film Festival with 8 friends and it recieved not only our accoulades but a standing ovation from the audience. It was poignant, funny , introspective and captivating...perfectly cast!!! Find it , go see it and spread the word.

(y) Christopher Walken is such an overlooked actor. His performance in this movie is outstanding. This is quiet bitter-sweet movie that got should have received more notice.

(y) Casting is excellent. It's one of those movies that makes you want to look for the book it's based on.

(*) I gave it 5 stars and after watching it, ordered the movie soundtrack on amazon! (8) (8)

(~) Eight Below (2006)

When an unforeseen accident forces a trio of Antarctic scientists (Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood and Jason Biggs) to leave behind their team of steadfast sled dogs, the animals must survive a cruel and punishing winter on their own. Revealing his penchant for subzero survival stories, Frank Marshall (Alive) helmed this heartrending drama, which was adapted from a Japanese film (Nankyoku Monogatari) based on real events.


Paul Walker, Bruce Greenwood, Jason Biggs, Panou, Wendy Crewson, Moon Bloodgood,
Megan McKinnon, Malcolm Stewart, Brenda Campbell and Connor Christopher Levins.

(~) Reviews:

Based on a True Story, Eight Below is an exhilarating adventure that swept me right out of the theater into the harsh, yet breathtakingly beautiful Antarctic wilderness. The remarkable vistas of this strangely beautiful frozen wonderland are magnificent, yet they are quickly eclipsed by the beauty, and bravery of the eight fuzzy “dog stars” of this film. These dogs form a close-knit family and each has a unique and thoroughly likable personality. The dogs courageousness quickly won my heart and I found myself loving each one and caring deeply for their wellbeing. The dogs are inadvertently left on their own in the wilderness and the survival adventures of the dog team are thrilling and packed with motional highs and lows. I laughed, I cheered, and I will admit that I, a 44-year-old man, cried my eyes out. I can’t remember a film that has ever touched me this deeply. I saw the movie three days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. This action-packed movie gripped my heart, made me fall in love with eight sled-dogs, sent me on an emotional rollercoaster and left me wanting more. If you’re looking for a feel-good, animal-loving, exciting, family-friendly movie that you’ll cheer and cherish, Eight Below is your best bet.

(*) Another one I gave 5 stars to as well! (y) (y) It was filmed in Canada but I wouldn't have known they were not actually in Anarctica - where this true story was based. Definitely a feel good about life and especially dogs kind of film.(l) (&) (l)

Happy 4th! Enjoy those fireworks - in the sky and elsewhere....;)

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-04-2006, 05:37 PM
July 2, 2006


Craft Work


My Paper Crane

Heidi Kenney is a married mother of two, and she likes to sew and make things. The fact that these things include dolls in the shape of giant tampons is perhaps the first clue that she is not exactly a housewife in the 1950's-sitcom mold. Kenney, who is 28 and lives outside Baltimore, makes and sells a variety of stuffed, anthropomorphized objects — the tampon dolls are among her best sellers — like doughnuts, toast and toilet-paper rolls. She does this under the auspices of her one-woman brand, My Paper Crane, making her part of a wave of independent businesses selling handmade toys, clothing, soap, jewelry, housewares and other items.

Do-it-yourself products are now at the center of everything from the DIY Network on cable television to Craft magazine, due out in the fall. All of this raises the question of what D.I.Y.-ism is really all about — is it an ethic or just an aesthetic? While the phenomenon may be on the brink of producing a few craft-world celebrities — the stars of "Stylelicious" on DIY, for example — stories like Kenney's open a window on a sprawling community of small entrepreneurs and consumers, which seems to have a completely different set of goals.

Kenney says that she has always enjoyed making things, and sold some of her handmade items on consignment in one store, but didn't see the business potential until a few years ago, when she started a Web site. Her timing was good: selling online made it easier for her to reach more buyers, and it also made her one of a legion of individual creators and online stores that have sparked all kinds of crafty "sharing" and "communing," says Leah Kramer, the founder of a site called Craftster. Kramer says that this online communing helped fuel the growing number of physical-world craft fairs, from the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn to the Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta, whose popularity has in turn led to the founding of permanent indie-crafter stores. Kenney is among those who have used all these channels to reach her audience and now fulfills 100 to 150 orders a month (more closer to the holidays) for her home-sewn goods.

Kramer and others figure that many craft consumers have borderline sociopolitical motives, seeking in these alternatives to mass-produced, corporate-made goods not just something unique but also a product with no murky labor or environmental-impact back story. Still, the more popular crafting becomes, the more crafters see mass goods in mainstream retailers that mimic the handmade look. This is part of the reason that Faythe Levine, who runs Paper Boat Boutique and Gallery in Milwaukee and coordinates that city's Art vs. Craft fair, has begun filming a documentary that frames the contemporary craft movement as being partly descended from the indie-driven culture of zines and punk rock. Levine views the story of D.I.Y. crafting as one of building an alternative to mainstream consumption — not as a lifestyle trend. She also points out that this is an "art movement" that is dominated by female artist-entrepreneurs. "We're talking thousands of women," she says. "It's really impressive, and powerful."

This brings up the last striking point about the grass-roots version of D.I.Y.-ism. In the recent book "The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs. Beeton," Kathryn Hughes, a scholar at the University of East Anglia, tells the story of a transitional cultural moment: in the industrializing England of the mid-19th century, manufactured products were replacing "the handmade world," and "new codes of gentility" suggested that "middle-class women should not engage in productive labor" but should devote themselves to being household managers — and, of course, consumers. As Hughes notes, many contemporary discussions of the supposed "new domesticity" trend exemplified by, say, Nigella Lawson, seem to imply that many career women secretly yearn for an idealized homemaker role. But that hardly describes Kenney, whose success with My Paper Crane allowed her to quit a cubicle job answering phones at an insurance company and spend more time being a working mom on her own terms. Her experience shows how the D.I.Y. craft movement offers a new way to resolve an old tension between traditional domestic skills and participation in the (economic and creative) marketplace: by combining them.

(*) Definitely not my cup of tea since I am not much of a crafts' person myself, but this presented an interesting 180 degree "take" anyway.(y)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-04-2006, 05:39 PM
July 2, 2006

Her Lonely Voice


Katell Keineg is a singer-songwriter who was born in Brittany, raised in Wales and now lives in a top-floor flat overlooking the slate rooftops and cobbled alleys of Georgian Dublin. When she's not at home, which is more than half the year, she makes restless pilgrimages back to Brittany or Cardiff, or to South America, the Caribbean or the northern rim of Africa, where she invariably picks up sonic influences — the sound of Bolivian parade drums, the open-throat singing of the Bulgarian state radio choir, the shouting and clapping of slave songs from the Georgia sea islands — that resurface, in ways large and small, in her music. At any given performance, she may sing in English, French, Spanish, Welsh or Breton and create a set from an astonishing diversity of songs: the insistent, hip hop-driven wordplay of "Partisan"; or the haunting, liturgical "O Iesu Mawr," which she sings a cappella and in Welsh; or the Latin-inflected "Ol&#233;, Conquistador," with its anti-imperialist lyrics and aural collage of lyre, castanets and thunder; or the simple, childlike "Old Friend," a new song that, after a brief precis, confines its melody to repeated versions and inversions of a single three-note phrase and manages to break your heart in a minute and 40 seconds.

Keineg is tall and long-limbed, and when she walks up to the mike with her guitar, loose blond hair framing a round, seraphic face, she can seem so uncertain, so diaphanous that you half-expect a strong gust from the side to blow her right offstage. As her spare, hastily-assembled backup band sets up, she tunes her guitar in a state of nerve-racking disarray — she once had to ask a member of the audience for help. But when she begins to sing, the protean richness of her voice — now low and throaty, now high and chimelike — rises from her body as easefully as breath, and she embraces her musical narratives with such intensity of feeling that, despite their many literary allusions and mysterious elisions, she sometimes enters what appears to be an almost trancelike state, brought on by the primal candor of her singing.

In the spring, at a small Lower East Side club called Sin-&#233;, I watched Keineg perform a song called "There You Go," which tells of a woman parting company with the man she loves, though how long she has known him or what passed between them is left unsaid. Opening in a mood of quiet resolve, Keineg used a tender, delicate register to speak, as it were, to the back of her receding lover: "There you go now — swinging down the boulevard, a miracle, that's what you are." As the narrator faced the brute fact of her impending loss, however, Keineg's voice grew more fervent, and rhymes and repetitions served the darker purpose of reminding her of all she once possessed: "I held out my hand and you gave it to me — on a plate, all I could take, I could take more of that." Halfway through the song, as the woman struggled to absorb the fullness of the blow, Keineg replaced her serene refrain of "there you go" with the rhythmically similar but utterly devastating phrase — the plea — to "bring it back," which she kept repeating in a voice soaked with pain: bring it back, bring it back. It was an extraordinary moment: Keineg sang with such ecstatic desperation, so in thrall to the rapture of her loss, she might have been weeping. As the man disappeared for good — "down the boulevard, the avenue, the runway, the white lines" — Keineg murmured: "I turned. I don't know why I did it, but I did," over and over, until she declared, enigmatically, "Now I must return to the underworld." Had she just performed a heart-rending modernization of the parting of Orpheus and Eurydice?

Keineg's live shows — what one critic called her "nearly beatific sense of joy in performance" — have won her a small, devoted following in Dublin and New York. "It's Katell's intensity," says Nancy Jeffries, who as an artists-and-repertoire executive at Elektra signed Keineg to her first recording contract. "She projects this combination of strength and fragility. It's really quite spellbinding: there she is, climbing these heights, and you have this fear she won't get there, but she always does." Keineg's three full-length albums ("O Seasons O Castles," "Jet" and "High July") and her one EP ("What's the Only Thing Worse Than the End of Time?") have also earned her enviable critical acclaim: Entertainment Weekly described her as a "stunning singer of boundless invention"; Esquire called her 1997 album "Jet" among "the greatest overlooked pop masterpieces of the decade." This summer, she plans to finish recording 11 new songs, which she says she will compile into a fourth full-length album, due out this fall. Keineg will appear at the Living Room in New York City on Thursday.

But despite the bold and sustained originality of her talent, and a moment of early recognition in the mid-90's when her career seemed about to take off, Keineg has not yet succeeded in finding a steady, widespread audience. In fact, 12 years after her sparkling debut, I learned that she was working under much diminished circumstances: After protracted negotiations, she parted ways with Elektra; she was operating without the help of a regular agent or manager; and she was financing her own recording, going into the studio one song at a time whenever she could borrow equipment or the instrumental services of her friends. At this point, she said, she was so frustrated by the whole "multinational" music industry that she was looking for any way she could to avoid the major labels altogether, perhaps by licensing her new album to a small distributor or releasing it exclusively online.

"I'm someone who gets lots of praise from lots of quarters," she wrote in an e-mail message, "but have found it very difficult to fit into the structures that determine people's progress in the music world." In February, I went to Dublin to meet Keineg and to learn how an artist with such prodigious gifts could have slipped so thoroughly through the cracks.

It was a raw, overcast afternoon, a few days before Keineg's 41st birthday, and she was sitting in her living room in Dublin, talking with easy exuberance and impassioned debate about this business of making a musical life, despite the vicissitudes of critical response and the marketplace. Above the rooftops across the street, we could see low clouds scudding over the bald, brown hills of the Dublin range. Inside, it was cold as well — Keineg and I sitting in sweaters and scarves, passing a teapot back and forth and scooting our chairs closer to the space heaters. She saw me look around — at her worn armchairs, the sofas covered with sheets, the fireplace that gave her carbon-monoxide poisoning not long ago. She waved her hands about. "Don't go into the whole cold-garret thing, O.K.? Or the fact that the fridge doesn't work and there's no food in it anyway!"

She laughed and settled back into her chair. "Things didn't turn out exactly the way I'd hoped," she went on to say, "but I'm not sorry, really. I'm actually quite happy — until I run completely out of money, that is. I suppose I could always do soundtracks — you know, like the woman who ruined Eastern European singing forever by doing that whole faux-Balkan thing for the movies — but for half the price!" She laughed again and shrugged. "The whole point is to make a life out of music, isn't it? The people I admire most are the ones who kept going, who kept doing their thing. I mean, Johnny Hooker worked in a car factory. Nina Simone — you hear her music a lot more now that she's dead."

Keineg got her start in the early 1990's, playing gigs along with Jeff Buckley and David Gray at Sin-&#233;, though it was Keineg back then who developed the cult following and packed the house. "Those were wildly popular, almost legendary shows," recalls Jeffries, the former Elektra executive. "Word would get around: 'Oh, my God, Katell's going to be there! You have to go!"' During that time, Keineg played at a Dublin show with U2 and opened for Natalie Merchant at Town Hall, and she appeared with Merchant (who covered one of Keineg's songs, "The Gulf of Araby") on "Saturday Night Live" and "Letterman." A half-dozen labels bid for Keineg's first record contract, and she eventually signed a generous six-album deal with Elektra, largely to work with Bob Krasnow, the chairman who had a reputation for being artist-oriented and turning risk into brilliant success — during his tenure, he made hits of, among others, Anita Baker, the Pixies, Bjork, 10,000 Maniacs and Metallica.

He had a similar vision for Keineg. "Katell fell into an elite group of singer-songwriters like Tracy Chapman and Jackson Browne who had a certain elevated way of expressing themselves," Krasnow says. "I was a great believer." Jeffries, who worked at Elektra for 11 years before leaving in 2000 to become a manager, explains: "When I went to Bob to do the Katell deal, his arms were open wide. He was convinced she was going to be the Next Great Artist. She had everything — great voice, literary ability, emotional capacity, and she happens to be beautiful! I mean, in the musical world I grew up in — the world in which there were artists like Dylan and Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, and a public devoted to following them — along came Katell, and she was perfect."

But fate — in the form of personnel changes known to any artist who must use the corporate structure to distribute her work — intervened: in 1994, three weeks before "O Seasons O Castles" was released, Krasnow and most of the other executives who signed and supported Keineg left Elektra; a new regime whose tastes ran toward pop rock and hip-hop took over; and like so many "alternative" artists — Aimee Mann and Wilco, most notoriously — Keineg found herself contractually bound to a label that was plainly indifferent to her music and apparently mystified by how to market albums so defiantly undefinable that they are sometimes filed in record stores under "Folk," "Rock," "Celtic," "World," "Lilith Fair" and even "American Roots."

Certainly, Keineg's rigorous code of aesthetic purity has not helped her in the commercial sphere. She has refused to work with well-known producers whose sound might have guaranteed some radio play because, as she said to me, "I never wanted to make a record where I was just the voice inside someone else's musical envelope; then your record sounds like everything else that producer did, and I wanted my records to sound like my records." When she was under contract to Elektra, the marketing department put no small pressure on her to trade on her appearance, which she resisted as best she could, although for the cover of "Jet" she did finally agree to be photographed by a fashion photographer in the South of France. And while two of her songs were used on movie soundtracks ("Hestia" in "I Love You Don't Touch Me!" and "On Yer Way" in "Virgin"), she has also refused to license her songs for commercial use. Oddly, one company wanted to use her eerie, Bulgarian-accented "Enzo 96" to market its domestic appliances.

Her aversion to the business end of the musical enterprise has also led to a certain indifference to the demands of managing a career. "To do this kind of thing, you have to have the goal and work steadily toward it over the months," she said to me in Dublin, using the inflections of a motivational speaker. "There's a big difference between that and a person who needs all her energy just to get out of bed in the morning!" Indeed, her Web site (katellkeineg.com), which is four years old, is almost never updated; video feeds are perpetually "coming soon." And that neglect of detail sometimes works its way into the music-making itself. When Keineg played on the bill with U2 in front of 50,000 people, she walked onstage and discovered that the battery to her guitar was dead. She is always forgetting to bring extra strings to the studio, and for someone looking to the online world to save her from the corporate maw, it is notable that when I met her, she didn't even own a computer. "I want to kick Katell sometimes," says Jack McKeever, a musician, engineer and producer who has been working with Keineg in his New York studio. "In her day, she could bewitch anyone. But she can be so stubborn and defensive."

Nancy Jeffries, however, argues that Keineg's musical career must be viewed against the backdrop of the decline of the pop-music industry over the last 10 years. "Even after the regime change at Elektra, there wasn't a single person at the label who didn't believe Katell was a great artist," Jeffries says. "But by then, everything was changing. Remember, this was 1994. Everyone was going through that period of worrying their artists weren't pop enough, and Katell is the antithesis of pop. In fact, I think she scared them. The people at the top — the ones who made the decisions about retail marketing and radio money — were just too frightened to put their budgetary priorities behind her.

"Katell was a victim of that, no question," Jeffries concludes. "Pop music was such a vital part of the culture for a long moment in time because there were all these artists who had important things to say and companies realized they could make a lot of money off of them; art and commerce came together, and it was fantastic. But by the time Katell came along, we were at the tail end of that. She was the artist on the fulcrum — this amazing talent who walked in a princess and walked out not a princess."

Between marketing disputes and wrangling with Elektra, seven years would pass before Keineg could exit her contract, win back the rights to her first two albums and return to the studio to make "High July." The album, which has several beautiful songs, nevertheless suffers from its lower-budget production; and when it was released only through a small distributor in the U.K. and Ireland in 2004, it received far less attention than her first two albums. Unhappy with its distribution, Keineg says she hopes to rerelease the album through another distributor in the U.S. this summer. All her music will finally be available on iTunes this month.

O Seasons O Castles" and "Jet" were lavishly-produced, lushly-arranged collections that explored musical traditions as disparate as punk, country, bossa nova, traditional Welsh hymn and even spoken poetry; and on both albums, Keineg pushed to the outer limits the range and dexterity of her voice. Beginning with "High July," Keineg's songs have grown sparer, and she is recording her current album on eight-track to two-inch tape, which offers less overdubbing flexibility than digital technology but produces a rich, capacious sound that replicates live performance. "More and more, I like a minimum of ego in a singer," she said to me in Dublin. "I mean, you're trying to get something across, right? If there's a lot of ego, or you're singing through a persona, there's not much transmitting, not much connection."

Keineg may believe ardently in the promise of communication through music, but that doesn't mean she particularly wants to talk about her songs, which are often narrated by a first-person figure who may or may not be the singer herself and which shade at all times toward the elusive: "I've been sleeping in a passageway under the sea," she sings in "Hestia." "I've been crouching in the fireplace, safe amongst the flames." Actually, it's hard to know if those are even her exact words, given her sliding intonations and her insistence on neither including her lyrics in her liner notes nor posting them online, which has prompted some of her more devoted fans to congregate on the Internet to parse their meanings. When asked about her songs, Keineg will often frown, look away or simply shrug, as if she, too, might like to know what they're about. "Oh, you should just make it all up," she said at our first meeting. The idea made her eyes light up. "You could do that, you know! In fact, I could invent a pseudonym and a story for myself, just like Dylan. That's quite appealing, actually!"

Now, sitting in her living room during that cold, gray afternoon, she said: "My songs are personal, but they're also hidden, obscure. They're sort of" — she laughed and waved her hands about her ears — "Dance of the Seven Veils, you know?"

Figuring that if the veils would come down, they'd come down only with time, I moved away from the specifics of her songs and asked what impelled her to keep writing, especially in the face of hard times; lately, she'd been playing small scale gigs and teaching a songwriting workshop in the west of Ireland and considering turning to an old law degree for extra income.

Keineg looked away. Then she wrapped her scarf tighter around her neck. Outside, the gray sky was losing light, and lamps were appearing in the apartments across the way. "Well, I'd like to think that musicians have a function in society," she said carefully. "I studied preliterate music in college, and back then they didn't have a concept of music as an aesthetic pleasure. For them, music had a function — for healing, or to make the rains come, or to exorcise someone." She laughed and clapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh, stop me before I start sounding completely naff!"

I said nothing, hoping she'd go on.

"Well, for me, listening to music is akin to a religious experience; it's the closest thing to a religion I have. I mean, I wouldn't put it in terms of God, because I'm an atheist, but I think humans are hard-wired for religion, hard-wired with a sense of divinity, however you interpret that. There's probably some evolutionary advantage to it — this urge for meaning."

Gingerly, I asked how her own music fit into this.

She tucked her chin beneath her scarf and remained in general territory. "Well, music happens over time the way emotions do. It's an emotional intensifier, isn't it? And the music I love — great qawwali singers like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or the shouters from Georgia — there's an ecstatic element in it, an element of intense emotionality. To me, that's an antidote to ironic, postmodern detachment, which is creeping into pop music and which really frightens me — it strips everything of meaning."

Outside, the line between the mountains and the sky had disappeared, and Keineg and I found ourselves sitting nearly in the dark. "So if music has a function," I said, "what's the function of your music?"

Just then, she stood up, went over to her desk and picked up a book she'd been reading: "Music and the Mind." "Well, the music I like is music a singer needs to sing," she said, idly flipping the book's pages. "You can always tell when someone needs to write and sing."

"What makes you need to write and sing?"

She closed the book and went to her window, gazing down at the street lamps below. "Oh, gosh, I really can't go into that." She frowned and rubbed her forehead. "It's just too internal. I mean, I tend to write about love and loss, and I'm just not going to talk about who I've loved and who I've lost."

Our conversation seemed to throw into sharp relief the central tension of her creative life: how to mine the emotional depths from which her songs derive their power without violating — for marketing, publicity or even a magazine profile — the anonymity she feels is crucial to her ability to write and perform. And her reticence was catching; I was drifting off into abstraction myself. When I finally put it to her bluntly — how could a reader (and, by extension, a wider audience) ever come to know her if she wouldn't talk about the substance of her art? — she put it more bluntly still: "Well, that might be your goal," she said with a half-smile and a determined gaze. "But I'm not sure it's mine. I mean, a part of me just doesn't want to be known by people I don't know."

One day in Dublin, Keineg went over to a friend's home studio to work on songs for her new album. She spent the afternoon recording a cover of a Welsh song called "Y Gwyneb Iau," which was written by the Cardiff band Super Furry Animals. She employed an almost nasal, vibrato-less timbre for the song, which, considering she hadn't written it, she seemed surprisingly reluctant to translate: "Well, it's about loss and, um, heartbreak," she said, looking down at a printout of the lyrics. "The first verse — 'cwyd dy bentan a dos lawr i'r de' — that's about leaving your home. And this line, that means, 'Hey, younger face, the doors are closed to you."' She laughed. "It's a pretty sad song, but it all ends O.K., because — 'golchi'r clwyf sy'n cadw dod yn' — that means, 'Cleanse the wound that will only recur.' You know: You're moving on." It was hard not to hear in this Welsh song an echo of her own peripatetic wanderings through life.

Keineg never had any formal musical training — she can't read music — but in Brittany, where she spent her first nine years, and Wales, where she lived throughout her adolescence, music (mainly as an accompaniment to radical politics) was the air she breathed. Her father, Paol, a Breton poet and playwright of some renown, was a founding member of the Breton Democratic Union party. Her mother, Judith, was a Welsh schoolteacher and, later, an elected representative to Plaid Cymru, the Welsh nationalist party. "They were militants, socialists struggling for Breton and Welsh independence, and in my early years the revolution was imminent; it was very exciting," Keineg told me. Constantly organizing rallies, conferences and fund-raising gigs, her parents would play the music of what Keineg calls "small struggling countries" — Catalonia, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Brittany and the Basque region — and put on fest-noz, night festivals, that featured traditional Breton music and dancing.

When Keineg was 8, her parents divorced, and her father moved to the United States to teach French at a succession of American universities. A year later, Keineg and her older brother moved with their mother to Penpedairheol, or "top of four roads," a small coal-mining community in the valleys north of Cardiff. Then, as now, the valleys were insular, and as a French-speaking immigrant with a foreign-sounding name, Katell was considered "somewhat strange," she says. "Like my mother, I just learned to do my own thing." But she went to a Welsh school, where she became fluent in a third language, and sang constantly — in school choirs, which were hugely popular in Wales, and also in eisteddfod, a cultural competition for singers, instrumentalists, poets and other performers. Meanwhile, her father, trying to preserve a connection with a daughter he never saw and could barely afford to phone, would send her music: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings of folk music from the 50's and 60's, compilation tapes on which he would include everything from Cisco Houston and Woody Guthrie to Joni Mitchell and Am&#225;lia Rodrigues.

Critics, looking for analogies to convey Keineg's singular sound, have often compared her with female singer-songwriters like Mitchell, Merchant and Sin&#233;ad O'Connor, but in fact the musicians who most inspired her when she was young were George Harrison, whose guitar licks Keineg tried to emulate with her own electric guitar, and Robert Plant, whose music she first heard when she sneaked off to the Scala Cinema in Merthyr Tydfil to see "The Song Remains the Same." "It was that pure rock 'n' roll energy," she says. "I was completely transformed. That's what made me want to be a singer."

Mostly to please her parents, Keineg went to the London School of Economics and earned an undergraduate law degree. But as soon as she finished college, she moved back to Cardiff to form a songwriting duo, to play at Sunday night open-mikes and to see if she could get some gigs of her own. Sending off her tapes, she was booked at the Glastonbury Festival, played the international music festival Womad and split her time between Cardiff and London until, having found an agent who managed to line up a month's worth of gigs for her in Dublin, she packed up all her belongings and moved to Ireland at 25.

Keineg has lived in Dublin for the last 16 years, but though the city has had a vibrant musical scene for many years (U2, the Hothouse Flowers, Damien Rice), Keineg has stayed on the fringes of that community and used the city less as a home than as a base of operations for a musical life that regularly takes her to New York, Los Angeles, Cardiff, Brittany, London, Paris and beyond. "I'm part of several communities, really, and so it's hard to choose between them," she said that day in her living room. "My solution has been to move in this never-ending circuit, but that's kind of weird, too." She laughed, lifted her shoulders and brought her hands to her ears in a gesture of surrender. "It's commitment-phobia, I'm afraid. One of my friends always says to me, 'Have you picked a continent yet?"' She looked off, a bit wistfully. "I grew up between two countries, so I suppose duality is in my bones, but more and more I think that I travel too much. I mean, I'm always in transition. Honestly, I don't know what to do with myself when I'm not traveling. But another part of me craves the one place. Frankly, I'm a bit confused."


Whose, I asked, hers or the audience's?

"Both, really. I mean, loneliness is the great disease of our society, isn't it? Western capitalist society is so atomized, so fragmented; it's all about the individual." Her eyes were wide, and she was tapping the tabletop with her finger. "And as a result we're sinking into a deeper and deeper state of anomie. But that goes against our social natures. We're apes. We're made to live in groups, to live collectively."

She took a sip from her drink and, finding herself perhaps beyond where she'd intended to go, plunged ahead. "I remember when I was 11, my stepfather had a 45 of 'Eleanor Rigby."' She laughed at the memory and talked right through it: "I listened to that song over and over. I was utterly fascinated, I kept picturing Father McKenzie and Eleanor Rigby, these two desperately lonely people, which is a bit strange, if you think about it, for an 11-year-old. That was the year I got my guitar, and the first song I wrote was an hommage to 'Eleanor Rigby.' I called it 'All the Lonely People."'

At the Algonquin, music had been playing in the background, and suddenly Keineg looked up. "Oh, God, I love this song! It's Etta James's 'At Last.' It's just so beautiful.

"Anyway," she went on, leaning forward, "it's like those gigs my parents used to organize in Brittany. Alan Stivell — he'd come and perform rock versions of traditional Breton songs, and you'd see literally thousands of people — all of them chain-dancing, all of them linking arms and dancing the same steps." Her eyes were shining, and she held her hands up, conjuring the scene. "It was completely exhilarating. And at end of the night, the kids' job was to go around and stack the metal chairs." She smiled and placed her hands, one on top of the other. "I just loved to stack those chairs."

Darcy Frey is the author of "The Last Shot" and has written for the magazine on music, science, medicine and the environment.


(8) (8) I'd like to find some clips of her music on amazon or elsewhere to see if her music is as terrific as this article was about her.(8) (8) And perhaps buy some of her music.

Have a lovely rest of your week!

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-07-2006, 07:14 AM
:) :)

You are driving in a car at a constant speed.

On your left side is an abrupt cliff and on your right side is a fire engine traveling at the same speed as you.

In front of you is a galloping pig which is the same size as your car and you cannot overtake it. Behind you is a helicopter flying at ground level.

Both the giant pig and the helicopter are also traveling at the same speed as you.

What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation? Answer below . . .

Get off the children's "Merry-Go-Round. You're drunk!" :) ;) ;)

(h) Have a delightful Friday and weekend!

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady (while Wyatt is getting groomed this morning...) (l) (&) (l)

07-07-2006, 07:18 AM
(y) (y)


"When I say that innovation is being democratized, I mean that users of products and services—both firms and individual consumers—are increasingly able to innovate for themselves. User-centered innovation processes offer great advantages over the manufacturer-centric innovation development systems that have been the mainstay of commerce for hundreds of years. Users that innovate can develop exactly what they want, rather than relying on manufacturers to act as their (often very imperfect) agents. Moreover, individual users do not have to develop everything they need on their own: they can benefit from innovations developed and freely shared by others."

-- Eric von Hippel, professor and head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management, in his book "Democratizing Innovation" (a free download).


(y) (y) Definitely very cool. (h)



07-07-2006, 07:25 AM
from Wed., July 5th GMSV (Good Morning Silicon Valley):

Heaven help me, I do love the gadgets (witness the fact that I'm a little sore today from golfing on my Xbox, but I'm totally relaxed, thanks to my iGuru).



(y) (y) Here are a few novelties popping up in the online conversation today:

The $1.5 million magnetic floating bed. Cut out the iron supplements and don't even think of using your laptop.


:o A voice-activated TV remote. Do you live with a scanner? How long do you think you could listen to "channel down, channel down, channel down ..." before reaching for the knife drawer? :| :|


:| (p) A telescopic lens for your mobile phone. As the literature says, "The new design to run of rays can effectively avoid the contortion of image, and makes the super wide angle, the larger luminous flux, the higher visual acuteness, good for color reduction, which makes the high quality of photography." Sounds like plenty for the low cost. But who would buy one?;)


(i) (i) What next? ;)

Sun Thoughts,


07-07-2006, 07:30 AM
(h) (h) (h)


(h) (i) Very Cool....(h) "Boid" algorithms seek to simulate life's complex patterns with simple algorithms and rules.

About this Game

This game is an example of a simple "Artificial Life" program. Although the ant's behavior looks random, it is not at all. :o

In the most general terms, each ant is a simple moving thing which travels according to some simple rules.

The Ant Rules

(1) If you don't know where breadcrumbs** are, try to find some.

(2) If you see another ant, ask if they know where bread crumbs are. If they know, head toward them. If not, run away from that ant (because afterall, food probably isn't near them if they don't know where food is.)

(3) If you find bread crumbs, takeit back to the hole, and return to the place where you found food (because where there is food, there is probably more food.) If you don't find any crumbs where you thought they were supposed to be, start searching again (and tell other ants there is no food there).

That's it! With those simple rules, the "complex" behavior above results.

**A number of users have commented that the bread crumbs look more like rice than bread crumbs and that in fact ants are more attracted to rice than bread crumbs. You may decide for yourself.

(y) (y) (h) (h)

(k) 's,


07-07-2006, 07:42 AM
:s :s


(y) (y) And from the same company where its Japanese senior management back in the early 1990s actually named a video server - storage system "Pedafile" - not realizing the cultural implications of its name in English. I still have the marketing brochures to prove it! Just goes to prove once again how arrogance in a huge firm can create some doozies for PR and marketing to get busy with "damage control".....:o :o :) :)

Sony = Standard Oil of New York - still sleazy after all these years.;)

<gently stepping off soap box...>

:D :D Off to pick up Wyatt soon and get petrol for my SUV (I know, how totally unAmerican to dare drive one) - however it IS six years old and has only 22K miles on it. How much do you think I drive it? The most mileage gained probably was last year taking Doc to his weekly and then once in awhile daily chemo treatments for his lymphoma.:'( (u)

:) Now, it's for errands and taking Wyatt and myself to dog parks and back road trips - yea, yea, THAT's the ticket!

Dog park tomorrow afternoon for sure! (l) (&) (l) Today we're off to Chik-fil-A! :)

Adieu (f) ,


07-07-2006, 07:48 AM
:| :|


(n) (n) Talk about a cock and bull story. ;)

Enjoy the day - it is a gorgeous, sunny one with tolerable temps here. (h) I am getting outside for the rest of the day.(i) (i) (h) (h)



07-08-2006, 04:16 PM
By Matthew Rothschild
July 7, 2006

Equality took one on the chin Thursday.

The decision by New York State’s highest court not to grant marriage equality to same-sex couples was pathetic, so backward and irrational was the reasoning.

The main argument was that heterosexual marriage is better for the kids.

Here are the exact words: “Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like.”

Since when do state supreme court justices rely on intuition?

And the logic of the court’s decision is to accord lesser rights to divorced parents or those who have lost a spouse, since, as a consequence, their kid “will not have, before his or her eyes, every day” that living model of idealized masculinity and femininity. And what, pray tell, are these models?

There are crude gender stereotypes lurking between the lines of this decision.

What’s more, doctors who deal with kids all the time have rebutted the court’s central claim. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual,” the group stated in February 2002.

In fact, it is in the interests of the child, the pediatricians said, that same-sex couples be accorded legal equality. “Children deserve to know that their relationships with both of their parents are stable and legally recognized,” the American Academy of Pediatrics said. It supports “the right of every child and family to the financial, psychologic, and legal security that results from having legally recognized parents who are committed to each other and the welfare of their children.”

New York’s highest court has fundamentally misread what a child really needs. Not a set of Ken and Barbie doll mom and dad, but loving, caring parents who are a constant, trustworthy presence.

This is not a chromosomal issue.

To reduce it to that is to mistake genitals for parental skills.


(y) The Progressive is one of a few "progressively-left & liberal" magazines & periodicals I have subscribed to their "paper edition" via snail mail (aka USPS) and so have access to their online versions. I just subscribed to "Mother Jones" for 10 bucks a few days ago.:) Another superb newsletter with the best investigative reporting on topics that would never, ever be covered by the "BIG MEDIA" - since advertising dollars drive those firms.:|

(k) 's,

Sweetlady and Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 04:21 PM
(y) (y)

Hugo Chávez
By Greg Palast
July 2006 Issue

You’d think George Bush would get down on his knees and kiss Hugo Chávez’s behind. Not only has Chávez delivered cheap oil to the Bronx and other poor communities in the United States. And not only did he offer to bring aid to the victims of Katrina. In my interview with the president of Venezuela on March 28, he made Bush the following astonishing offer: Chávez would drop the price of oil to $50 a barrel, “not too high, a fair price,” he said—a third less than the $75 a barrel for oil recently posted on the spot market. That would bring down the price at the pump by about a buck, from $3 to $2 a gallon.

But our President has basically told Chávez to take his cheaper oil and stick it up his pipeline. Before I explain why Bush has done so, let me explain why Chávez has the power to pull it off—and the method in the seeming madness of his “take-my-oil-please!” deal.

Venezuela, Chávez told me, has more oil than Saudi Arabia. A nutty boast? Not by a long shot. In fact, his surprising claim comes from a most surprising source: the U.S. Department of Energy. In an internal report, the DOE estimates that Venezuela has five times the Saudis’ reserves.

However, most of Venezuela’s mega-horde of crude is in the form of “extra-heavy” oil—liquid asphalt—which is ghastly expensive to pull up and refine. Oil has to sell above $30 a barrel to make the investment in extra-heavy oil worthwhile. A big dip in oil’s price—and, after all, oil cost only $18 a barrel six years ago—would bankrupt heavy-oil investors. Hence Chávez’s offer: Drop the price to $50—and keep it there. That would guarantee Venezuela’s investment in heavy oil.

But the ascendance of Venezuela within OPEC necessarily means the decline of the power of the House of Saud. And the Bush family wouldn’t like that one bit. It comes down to “petro-dollars.” When George W. ferried then-Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah of Saudi Arabia around the Crawford ranch in a golf cart it wasn’t because America needs Arabian oil. The Saudis will always sell us their petroleum. What Bush needs is Saudi petro-dollars. Saudi Arabia has, over the past three decades, kindly recycled the cash sucked from the wallets of American SUV owners and sent much of the loot right back to New York to buy U.S. Treasury bills and other U.S. assets.

The Gulf potentates understand that in return for lending the U.S. Treasury the cash to fund George Bush’s $2 trillion rise in the nation’s debt, they receive protection in return. They lend us petro-dollars, we lend them the 82nd Airborne.

Chávez would put an end to all that. He’ll sell us oil relatively cheaply—but intends to keep the petro-dollars in Latin America. Recently, Chávez withdrew $20 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve and, at the same time, lent or committed a like sum to Argentina, Ecuador, and other Latin American nations.

Chávez, notes The Wall Street Journal, has become a “tropical IMF.” And indeed, as the Venezuelan president told me, he wants to abolish the Washington-based International Monetary Fund, with its brutal free-market diktats, and replace it with an “International Humanitarian Fund,” an IHF, or more accurately, an International Hugo Fund. In addition, Chávez wants OPEC to officially recognize Venezuela as the cartel’s reserve leader, which neither the Saudis nor Bush will take kindly to.

Politically, Venezuela is torn in two. Chávez’s “Bolivarian Revolution,” a close replica of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal—a progressive income tax, public works, social security, cheap electricity—makes him wildly popular with the poor. And most Venezuelans are poor. His critics, a four-centuries’ old white elite, unused to sharing oil wealth, portray him as a Castro-hugging anti-Christ.

Chávez’s government, which used to brush off these critics, has turned aggressive on them. I challenged Chávez several times over charges brought against Súmate, his main opposition group. The two founders of the nongovernmental organization, which led the recall campaign against Chávez, face eight years in prison for taking money from the Bush Administration and the International Republican [Party] Institute. No nation permits foreign funding of political campaigns, but the charges (no one is in jail) seem like a heavy hammer to use on the minor infractions of these pathetic gadflies.

Bush’s reaction to Chávez has been a mix of hostility and provocation. Washington supported the coup attempt against Chávez in 2002, and Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld have repeatedly denounced him. The revised National Security Strategy of the United States of America, released in March, says, “In Venezuela, a demagogue awash in oil money is undermining democracy and seeking to destabilize the region.”

So when the Reverend Pat Robertson, a Bush ally, told his faithful in August 2005 that Chávez has to go, it was not unreasonable to assume that he was articulating an Administration wish. “If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him,” Robertson said, “I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war . . . and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”

There are only two ways to defeat the rise of Chávez as the New Abdullah of the Americas. First, the unattractive option: Cut the price of oil below $30 a barrel. That would make Chávez’s crude worthless. Or, option two: Kill him.

Q: Your opponents are saying that you are beginning a slow-motion dictatorship. Is that what we are seeing?

Hugo Chávez: They have been saying that for a long time. When they’re short of ideas, any excuse will do as a vehicle for lies. That is totally false. I would like to invite the citizens of Great Britain and the citizens of the U.S. and the citizens of the world to come here and walk freely through the streets of Venezuela, to talk to anyone they want, to watch television, to read the papers. We are building a true democracy, with human rights for everyone, social rights, education, health care, pensions, social security, and jobs.

Q: Some of your opponents are being charged with the crime of taking money from George Bush. Will you send them to jail?

Chávez: It’s not up to me to decide that. We have the institutions that do that. These people have admitted they have received money from the government of the United States. It’s up to the prosecutors to decide what to do, but the truth is that we can’t allow the U.S. to finance the destabilization of our country. What would happen if we financed somebody in the U.S. to destabilize the government of George Bush? They would go to prison, certainly.

Q: How do you respond to Bush’s charge that you are destabilizing the region and interfering in the elections of other Latin American countries?

Chávez: Mr. Bush is an illegitimate President. In Florida, his brother Jeb deleted many black voters from the electoral registers. So this President is the result of a fraud. Not only that, he is also currently applying a dictatorship in the U.S. People can be put in jail without being charged. They tap phones without court orders. They check what books people take out of public libraries. They arrested Cindy Sheehan because of a T-shirt she was wearing demanding the return of the troops from Iraq. They abuse blacks and Latinos. And if we are going to talk about meddling in other countries, then the U.S. is the champion of meddling in other people’s affairs. They invaded Guatemala, they overthrew Salvador Allende, invaded Panama and the Dominican Republic. They were involved in the coup d’état in Argentina thirty years ago.

Q: Is the U.S. interfering in your elections here?

Chávez: They have interfered for 200 years. They have tried to prevent us from winning the elections, they supported the coup d’état, they gave millions of dollars to the coup plotters, they supported the media, newspapers, outlaw movements, military intervention, and espionage. But here the empire is finished, and I believe that before the end of this century, it will be finished in the rest of the world. We will see the burial of the empire of the eagle.

Q: You don’t interfere in the elections of other nations in Latin America?

Chávez: Absolutely not. I concern myself with Venezuela. However, what’s going on now is that some rightwing movements are transforming me into a pawn in the domestic politics of their countries, by making statements that are groundless. About candidates like Morales [of Bolivia], for example. They said I financed the candidacy of President Lula [of Brazil], which is totally false. They said I financed the candidacy of Kirchner [of Argentina], which is totally false. In Mexico, recently, the rightwing party has used my image for its own profit. What’s happened is that in Latin America there is a turn to the left. Latin Americans have gotten tired of the Washington consensus—a neoliberalism that has aggravated misery and poverty.

Q: You have spent millions of dollars of your nation’s oil wealth throughout Latin America. Are you really helping these other nations or are you simply buying political support for your regime?

Chávez: We are brothers and sisters. That’s one of the reasons for the wrath of the empire. You know that Venezuela has the biggest oil reserves in the world. And the biggest gas reserves in this hemisphere, the eighth in the world. Up until seven years ago, Venezuela was a U.S. oil colony. All of our oil was going up to the north, and the gas was being used by the U.S. and not by us. Now we are diversifying. Our oil is helping the poor. We are selling to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, some Central American countries, Uruguay, Argentina.

Q: And the Bronx?

Chávez: In the Bronx it is a donation. In all the cases I just mentioned before, it is trade. However, it’s not free trade, just fair commerce. We also have an international humanitarian fund as a result of oil revenues.

Q: Why did George Bush turn down your help for New Orleans after the hurricane?

Chávez: You should ask him, but from the very beginning of the terrible disaster of Katrina, our people in the U.S., like the president of CITGO, went to New Orleans to rescue people. We were in close contact by phone with Jesse Jackson. We hired buses. We got food and water. We tried to protect them; they are our brothers and sisters. Doesn’t matter if they are African, Asian, Cuban, whatever.

Q: Are you replacing the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as “Daddy Big Bucks”?

Chávez: I do wish that the IMF and the World Bank would disappear soon.

Q: And it would be the Bank of Hugo?

Chávez: No. The International Humanitarian Bank. We are just creating an alternative way to conduct financial exchange. It is based on cooperation. For example, we send oil to Uruguay for their refinery and they are paying us with cows.

Q: Milk for oil.

Chávez: That’s right. Milk for oil. The Argentineans also pay us with cows. And they give us medical equipment to combat cancer. It’s a transfer of technology. We also exchange oil for software technology. Uruguay is one of the biggest producers of software. We are breaking with the neoliberal model. We do not believe in free trade. We believe in fair trade and exchange, not competition but cooperation. I’m not giving away oil for free. Just using oil, first to benefit our people, to relieve poverty. For a hundred years we have been one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world but with a 60 percent poverty rate and now we are canceling the historical debt.

Q: Speaking of the free market, you’ve demanded back taxes from U.S. oil companies. You have eliminated contracts for North American, British, and European oil companies. Are you trying to slice out the British and American oil companies from Venezuela?

Chávez: No, we don’t want them to go, and I don’t think they want to leave the country, either. We need each other. It’s simply that we have recovered our oil sovereignty. They didn’t pay taxes. They didn’t pay royalties. They didn’t give an account of their actions to the government. They had more land than had previously been established in the contracts. They didn’t comply with the agreed technology exchange. They polluted the environment and didn’t pay anything towards the cleanup. They now have to comply with the law.

Q: You’ve said that you imagine the price of oil rising to $100 dollars per barrel. Are you going to use your new oil wealth to squeeze the planet?

Chávez: No, no. We have no intention of squeezing anyone. Now, we have been squeezed and very hard. Five hundred years of squeezing us and stifling us, the people of the South. I do believe that demand is increasing and supply is dropping and the large reservoirs are running out. But it’s not our fault. In the future, there must be an agreement between the large consumers and the large producers.

Q: What happens when the oil money runs out, what happens when the price of oil falls as it always does? Will the Bolivarian revolution of Hugo Chávez simply collapse because there’s no money to pay for the big free ride?

Chávez: I don’t think it will collapse, in the unlikely case of oil running out today. The revolution will survive. It does not rely solely on oil for its survival. There is a national will, there is a national idea, a national project. However, we are today implementing a strategic program called the Oil Sowing Plan: using oil wealth so Venezuela can become an agricultural country, a tourist destination, an industrialized country with a diversified economy. We are investing billions of dollars in the infrastructure: power generators using thermal energy, a large railway, roads, highways, new towns, new universities, new schools, recuperating land, building tractors, and giving loans to farmers. One day we won’t have any more oil, but that will be in the twenty-second century. Venezuela has oil for another 200 years.

Q: But the revolution can come to an end if there’s another coup and it succeeds. Do you believe Bush is still trying to overthrow your government?

Chávez: He would like to, but what you want is one thing, and what you cannot really obtain is another.

Investigative reporter Greg Palast, who interviewed President Hugo Chávez for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), is the author of “Armed Madhouse: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War,” from which this is adapted.


(*) (*) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) I learned a great deal from this interview. Of course American media always portrays this person as hostile to the U.S.

(y) (y) I was amazed to learn that he had helped poor people here - which is much more than the arrogant idiot in D.C. does.

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 04:24 PM
(y) (y)

Why Neil Young Is Wrong

By Stephan Smith-Said

July 2006 Issue

On Sunday, May 14, the San Francisco Chronicle published my open letter to Neil Young, “Hey, Neil Young, We Young Singers Are Hog-tied, Too.” I tried to explain how the corporatized music industry has censored protest music in the past several years. The letter went viral on the Internet, and I was flooded with enthusiastic responses from all kinds of people. Even Neil and his team posted it front and center on his blog for the entire week.

What prompted my letter and the outpouring was Young’s comment about why he felt compelled to write his new anti-Bush album, Living with War. “I was waiting for someone to come along, some young singer eighteen-to-twenty-two years old, to write these songs and stand up,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I waited a long time. Then I decided that maybe the generation that has to do this is still the ’60s generation. We’re still here.”

As the first protest singer to rise from the streets of anti-war and WTO protests and get a major worldwide distribution deal, I felt compelled to explain that today’s Dylans, Ochses, and Neil Youngs are here, but they’re being silenced by an industry that has for years derived its profits from kiddy porn and dreamy boys.

Just two days after my article came out, MTV, which has refused to play anti-war videos even by the biggest stars, published an article addressing the need for political consciousness in mainstream music. In a flourish of Bush-like hubris, one of the country’s chief purveyors of military recruitment ads to youth posted the article, “Where Is the Voice of Protest in Today’s Music?” The webpage boasted an Army video game in the bottom right corner. (MTV, by the way, refuses to air anti-war ads produced by organizations like Not In Our Name and Win Without War.)

Where’s the voice of protest? It’s in MTV’s trash can.

Where are today’s protest singers? They’re on the “don’t add” list at corporate radio stations, where they’ve increasingly been placed since FCC deregulation paved the way for the monopolization of the industry.

Just ask Scott Goodstein. He heads the great music/political advocacy group PunkVoter, which, with Fat Wreck Chords, released the Rock Against Bush compilation CDs. Those CDs, which included songs from Anti-Flag and Green Day, sold 650,000 copies combined. When Goodstein approached MTV about getting airtime for Rock Against Bush, they rebuffed him. “They told us, ‘Your project’s not relevant. Or, it’s not mainstreamy enough,’ ” he says. “And Rolling Stone’s no better.” Meanwhile, Green Day’s current anti-Bush album, American Idiot, has sold five million copies.

Finally waking up, MTV has the nerve to extol Green Day and include Anti-Flag in its story on political bands!
PunkVoter immediately posted a retort titled, “MTV, Still Completely Worthless,” stating that political bands “will be there, waiting, when MTV is ready to start covering some protest music. Not that they’re gonna.”

Pete Seeger told me that the floodgates to freedom of expression were opened in the 1960s when the Broadway and Hollywood monopoly over the music industry was broken by Rock and Roll, Motown, and Nashville.

Now, the subsequent monopoly that Rock and Roll, Motown, and Nashville constructed is being broken by the Internet, where artists and organizations are creating networks that transcend corporate genres.

“Most corporate industry professionals just don’t understand it,” says Molly Neitzel, executive director of Music for America, a nonprofit organization that engages music audiences in political issues. “We’re a generation who doesn’t fit into boxes,” she says. “We listen to all kinds of music, and that just doesn’t fit into the old corporate model of selling records to kids this age, that color, this demographic.”

Considering how damaging target marketing has been for our democracy, it’s great that today’s protest singers span all genres: from the anti-cool subtlety of indie-rockers like Death Cab for Cutie and Bright Eyes, to in-your-face hip-hop artists like the Coup, Mr. Lif, and Immortal Technique; from punk bands like Anti-Flag and NOFX, to country and folk artists like Liza Gilkyson and Merle Haggard; from rally regulars like David Rovics, Pat Humphries, and Chris Chandler, to genre-bending artists like Thievery Corporation and Manu Chao.

Some labels are already picking up on the pulse. Andy Kaulkin, who runs a label called “Anti-” for Epitaph, tells me he’s become fascinated by the civil rights movement and contemplates what we could do with music to create such a movement today. Accordingly, he has signed artists across corporate music genres that converge instead in political consciousness and spirituality. The label’s roster now includes Billy Bragg, the Coup, Tom Waits, and Spearhead.

Speaking with Billy Bragg after my article came out, we agreed that the modern “broadside”—the protest song that actually has political effect because of its timely ability to affect public opinion—is the free mp3. “In the corporate model, it’s all based on sales, not on social consciousness, and even the Internet releases are exploited as promo for upcoming releases, so singles are still held up in this four-month lag time the record industry requires for printing, publicity, distribution,” he says. In today’s sound-bite world, no one wants to write a song about a war that might be over by the time the album comes out.

My conversations with Goodstein and Neitzel inevitably veered toward the idea of a nationwide tour of a diverse selection of artists to bring together a raucous, mixed, and attentive audience. But we also spoke of how to expand the kind of touring I and a few other artists have been doing. We use our shows to support local peace and global justice groups. Kind of like what SNCC and SDS did in their day, except for the global, Internet generation.

Where’s protest music today? It’s here, it’s on the Internet, and it may soon be coming to your town to build an international movement for peace, civil rights, and equality.

Stephan Smith-Said is an Iraqi American songwriter whose father’s family lives under the daily threat of bombing in Baghdad and Mosul. His newest single, “Another World Is Possible,” has been released for free at his website www.stephansmith.com.


(y) (y) (y) (i) (i) (i) (y) (y) (y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 04:30 PM
:s :s :s :s

:| :| :|

:@ :@

By Matthew Rothschild
May 9, 2006

Molly Shoul has appeared in several talent shows at Park Springs Elementary School over the years.

And she was planning on participating again on May 11.

The ten-year-old decided to sing Pink’s new song, “Dear Mr. President,” which the pop star says is one of the most important songs she’s ever written. (The lyrics to the song are at bottom. To hear Pink perform, click here.)

Molly says she got the Pink CD for Easter, and she was attracted to this particular tune.

“It’s a really good song,” she says. “I wanted to sing something meaningful” for the annual talent show.

So she auditioned with it, and she says the music teacher told her it was very good, but that he would have to ask the principal.

And the principal, Camille Pontillo, put the kibosh on it, as Jamie Malernee of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel first reported in an excellent story on May 5.

The biting song includes lines such as: “How do you sleep at night?” and “You don’t know nothing about hard work,” and “You pave the road to hell” and “What kind of father might hate her own daughter if she were gay?” and “You’ve come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.”

Molly says the principal said the song was too political and would be inappropriate because it had the word “hell” in it, along with “whiskey” and “cocaine” and “gay.”

When that decision came down, Molly says she felt “a little bit angry and sad and upset, and a bit confused.”

Her mother, Nancy, was upset, too.

She wrote an e-mail to the principal on May 2, which she shared with The Progressive.

“I think we are sending a bad message," Nancy wrote. “Molly has become aware of world events and she was EXTREMELY excited to find this song and want to sing it. She is passionate about it—has been practicing it since the day the Talent Show was announced. With limits, I think our kids should be allowed to express themselves in a respectful, meaningful way. To try to ‘shield’ them from the real world is, I believe, a real mistake. Could I please get your feedback on this?”

Principal Pontillo responded in the following way: “I understand your position, however, the song she chose is a political song and does use the word “hell” in it. I am sure there are other songs that she can choose from that will allow her to express herself. We must remember that there are going to be students from pre-K to 5th—not just an older audience, such as middle school, or just 5th grade. I hope you understand.”

On May 11, Molly will not be participating in the talent show.

“I’d feel weird,” she says, adding that it would be like giving up to sing another song.

Her mom, who happens to be a high school teacher in the same school district, is not happy about the outcome.

“This was undoubtedly censorship,” she says.

The Progressive left a message for Principal Pontillo: she did not call back.

Nadine Drew, a spokesperson for the Broward County Public Schools, says, “It was the principal’s decision that it was inappropriate for the elementary age group.”

As to the charge of censorship, Drew says: “I don’t have a reaction to the parent.”

Lyrics to Pink’s “Dear Mr. President”

Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you about hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you about hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you about hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you about hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing about hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me
Would you


(8) (8) To hear and see the Pink song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eDJ3cuXKV4

Grrrrrrrr...........how do you explain to this little girl who decided to withdraw rather than sing a song that she did not feel expressed her views. Shame on the school folks!

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 04:39 PM
:) :) :) :)


(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 04:43 PM
:) :)


Best photos: http://www.durhamtownship.com/portfolio/index.php


(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 04:47 PM
(p) :) :)


(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 04:53 PM
:) :)

(p) (p)


(l) (l) I also really liked this collection:


(y) (y) :) (p) Ah, soul food for the eyes......(p) (l)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 05:02 PM












(i) (i) I feel so healthy! :) It's my favorite time of year to visit local farms and but directly from the folks who grew the fruits and veggies.(h) (h) How cool and definitely a way to stay away from "big box" stores. (y) (y)

Restful sleep and a lovely Sunday tomorrow.

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 05:05 PM


(n) Notice the focus on "het" families. (n)

Nice idea though if it were open to everyone.:)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 05:11 PM
(y) (y)

by Darrell Arnold

(This article is found in the Summer 2002 issue of COWBOY MAGAZINE on Page 4.)

One of the biggest problems facing the cowboy at the beginning of the newest century is his public image. This difficulty began back in the 1800s, with the dime novel. The novelists depicted cowboys as fighters of Indians and rustlers, and defenders of justice everywhere. Of course, in the West, folks knew better because they lived with ranch cowboys. People knew that cowboys were just people working in the cow business.

Then, in the early 1900s, the novelists' perception of the cowboy was enhanced a hundredfold with the advent of the motion picture business.

When the motion picture industry really got rolling, many if not most Americans still had strong roots in agriculture. If people hadn't been born in rural, agricultural settings, they at least had parents or other relatives who had. People were still close to the land, and they had a strong understanding of and sympathy for ranching and the cowboy. They wanted to see the cowboy portrayed in a positive way.

In addition, many if not most of the original stunt men in Hollywood were working cowboys who just needed a job. They added real authenticity to action westerns.

Of course, Hollywood wasn't happy with just depicting the cowboy as a mounted worker of cattle. Except for the occasional stampede or rough bronc, ranching was pretty boring. But by making the cowboy a gunfighter, he became a gigantic and heroic figure. The image of the cowboy became one of a courageous mounted warrior who brought law and order to a wild and untamed West. The cowboy was tall, strong, handsome, contemplative, hard working, honest, polite, and an unflagging defender of women and children.

Thanks to the movies, the world's greatest hero and the world's strongest icon became the Hollywood version of the cowboy. The gun-slinging movie cowboy made a trip, via celluloid, to virtually every culture on the planet. Thanks to movies, he became a larger figure than the Samurai, the Knight, the Tuareg, the Soldier, the Viking. And in much of the world, the cowboy is still the greatest of all the world's heroes.

Thanks, too, to the movies, it didn't take long for the public's perception of the cowboy to be distorted. Anyone who wore a hat and rode a horse was considered to be a cowboy. A sheriff, a marshal, an outlaw, a gambler, even a cavalryman all fell into the general category of cowboy. Further, it became common for the movieland trail cowboys to be depicted as wild drunken brawlers whose main purpose in life was to gallop into a town and shoot the place up.

From there, it was a short step to the use of the word "cowboy" as a perjorative depicting anyone who "went off half cocked." Anyone who took matters into his own hands without fully understanding a situation or without considering the consequences was derisively referred to as a "cowboy."

Another use of cowboy as a bad term is from environmentalists who see cowboys, i.e. ranchers, as destroyers of rangelands. Way back in history, that may have been a true accusation in some instances, but it no longer applies. Today's ranchers take very good care of their ranges. As Colorado rancher Gene Vories says, "you can't starve a profit out of a cow." The rancher is the best steward of open lands in America. Still, the negative image endures in the minds of the millions of Americans caught up in the propaganda of the environmental movement

Another misconception is that the rancher/cowboy is rich. It is very hard for most modern Americans to believe that a man who has lots of land isn't rich. Land means wealth to most Americans. They have no idea that ranchers cannot exist without land, and that the product they raise on that land sometimes doesn't make them enough money to pay the mortgage. The family rancher is not a wealthy man. He could be, of course, if he chose to sell his land. He is always, potentially, very wealthy. But if he values ranching, if he loves working hard and living off the land and being his own boss, then he will only sell his land as the very last resort. A true cowboy/rancher would rather live poor on his own land than live rich anywhere else.

To many of the uneducated, Robert Redford is a cowboy. To others Willie Nelson is a cowboy. To still others, George Bush is a cowboy. The general consensus among the great population of clueless urbanized Americans seems to be that if you've ever dressed up in public like a cowboy, then you are a cowboy.

Then there is the dilemma of identity within the cowboy world. To the few (probably less than 50,000) authentic ranchers and working cowboys still plying their trade on western ranges, the term cowboy has been usurped by the non-deserving. It is their contention that if a man does not make his living tending to cattle from the back of a horse he cannot truly be called a cowboy. It is the working cowboy's belief that if a person doesn't use the word "cowboy" on his income-tax form under the heading OCCUPATION, then he isn't a cowboy and shouldn't call himself one.

Of course, to the ranchette cowboy, or the truck-driver cowboy, or the dude-wrangling cowboy or any other non-ranch cowboy, that isn't fair. He may not be a working ranch cowboy, but he was raised on Roy and Gene and Hoppy, and he possesses the spirit of the cowboy. His favorite American hero is John Wayne, and he believes in the tall quiet man in the white hat. He tries to emulate that man, himself. He sees high honor in living with "cowboy" values. He dresses up like a cowboy and surrounds himself with all the accoutrements of the cowboy, like a ranch-style house decorated in a western theme.

Even if people get past all of that confusion, there is the rodeo cowboy to muddy the waters. While rodeo originally was a working cowboy's sport, it has evolved, today, into a sport of athletes, some but by no means all of whom can call themselves real cowboys in the traditional sense. But, to their credit, in the rodeo world, the term cowboy means more than just occupation or appearance. In the rodeo world, if you are a "cowboy" you are a tough man who takes his lumps and keeps coming back for more. To be called a "cowboy" is laudible praise for your strength, tenacity, and fortitude.

Within the hat-wearing community, the term cowboy is a term of high esteem and honor. While a young cowboy may go to town and get oiled up now and then, he almost always grows into being a respectable and useful citizen of his rural community. Eventually the young cowboy/rancher will become a husband and a father. He will live by treasured American principles of honesty, integrity, and hard work. He will not be a drunkard or an out-of-control yahoo who fails to think before he acts. Most cowboys become the kind of good people that dime novels and Hollywood made them out to be. And they take pride in being "the salt of the Earth." It's as much as a man can strive for.

The man on horseback has, throughout history, stood literally and figuratively above other men. It is the horse that has made that so. Indeed, many ranchers contend that one of the reasons they continue to try to struggle on in the cow business is because it gives them the opportunity to get horseback as often as possible. The horse is an extension of the true cowboy. The authentic cowboy does not exist if he is not capable of performing the working cowboy's horseback tasks. If he's not horseback, a man who works cows is just a farmer.

To the relatively small number of working cowboys still out there, knowing you are a cowboy, a real working cowboy, is the highest honor there is. You know you are special. You know you do a highly specialized job that no one else is skilled or dedicated enough to accomplish. To the working cowboy, the job has never, ever, been about the money. It is one of the lowest-paying skilled jobs in America. Rather, it is about pride of accomplishment, pride of ability, pride of being among the elite. It is also about living and working outdoors. It is about the one thing Americans have always prized above all else. That is freedom.


(*) (*) ............(h) (h)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 05:16 PM
:) :) :) :) :)


(*) (*) ....<sigh>.......

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-08-2006, 05:20 PM
(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)


(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) Exquisite........

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-09-2006, 12:08 PM

:) All-Terrain Travel


(y) (y) (i)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer Pup (S) (&) (S)

07-09-2006, 12:30 PM
:) :)

By definition, Southwestern art is Western art. yet we can detect a distinction between the two that sets Southwestern art apart as a genre all its own. It's unique. To fully appreciate Southwestern art is to experience a consciousness-raising.

We're aware of ourselves as either a part of the Southwest or separate from it, aware of a region and a people that in some ways have no comparison.

If we consider what makes artwork Southwestern, we're aware of color, light, and a vibrancy that emanates from the combination of these elements, regardless of its realism. Even the most abstract Southwestern pieces radiate the splendors of cultures older than the Americanized Europeans who settled the West.



(y) (y) http://www.arteffects.com/Gallery/

Contemporary SW Art: http://www.windsorbetts.com/categoryIndex.php?catID=3

(l) http://www.windsorbetts.com/categoryIndex.php?catID=11

:) Met R. C. a few times athis home in Taos, NM in the late 1980s:


(l) I have two of his pieces: Veloy Vigil:


:) Knew and collected several of his pieces before he passed away: Earl Biss:


(l) One of my gavorites: John Nieto:



This one web site is absolutely worth the time:


<sigh> http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Pictures/Pictures-Myths-page1.html

Sun Thoughts,

Sweetlady and Wyatt the sleeping Boxer Pup (S) (&) (S)

07-09-2006, 12:41 PM


(p) (p) I could get over the thousands of small objects that are being permitted to be used with only an attribution or URL. What a delightfully fine gift. (g)

Enjoy as I have.


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:01 PM
(l) (&) (l)

National Geographic, April, 2006

By Michael Mason
Photographs by Catherine Karnow

Life is a royal ride for dogs in San Francisco's Marina district, where canines outnumber kids.

Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt.

On any given afternoon in San Francisco's Marina district, dogs fill the streets and parks, the outdoor cafés and shops. They keep appointments with their masseurs and acupuncturists; they sit for portraits and for readings with their astrologers. Over the objections of no less than the federal government, they romp unleashed through the delicate habitats of nearby Crissy Field. The Marina is dog country—no, dog Cannes—and no one here sees anything the least odd about it. San Francisco is home to 745,000 people and an estimated 110,000 dogs, packed into an insular fiefdom just seven miles (11 kilometers) long and seven wide. Not coincidentally, it also has the lowest ratio of children to adults of any major U.S. city: There is little doubt that dogs are helping fill a parental void—especially in the affluent Marina. "Those dogs are babied," says retired postal carrier Spence Burton, 58, who delivered mail in the Marina for 25 years. "Even tiny apartments have, like, two rottweilers. But they're not exactly guard dogs."

Not exactly. On a recent afternoon, Billy Franchey, 34, chauffeurs Gigi, a keeshond mix, and her "best friend" Ruby, an Australian dingo, to the neighborhood park in an electric cart for a bit of exercise. Afterward, in matching cowboy hats and sweaters, Gigi and Ruby may go to "yappy hour" at a Union Street boutique. "The Marina has a lot of young people who aren't married so, you know, you get a dog," says Franchey's girlfriend, Lisa Mobini, 29, a former NFL cheerleader. Her cell phone is loaded with pictures of Gigi dressed as a princess for Halloween and as an angel for Christmas. "Honestly, she has a better wardrobe than I do."

A few blocks away, astrologer Billie O'Neill pores over the star charts of Franklin, a fat Welsh corgi unwilling to share toys with his buddies in the park. "He was a warrior in all of his past lives," she says thoughtfully. "But this life is about learning partnership and cooperation." Perhaps it's too much to expect him to share, really: With an ascendant water sign, Franklin's chart indicates he is focused on "material security."

A black Porsche glides down Chestnut Street with Slick, a seven-year-old standard poodle, regally upright in the passenger seat. Owner Sandra Ingrish takes him along on errands—to the grocery store, the bookshop, the bank—and so Slick, elegant and entitled, is a neighborhood fixture beloved by camera-toting tourists. "There are so many dogs, it's really kind of amazing for a city this size. Dogs in New York never really looked that happy," says Ingrish, who moved to San Francisco from Manhattan. Says Ted Rheingold, founder of dogster.com: "Folks here do not feel it's abnormal to be in love with their dogs."


(y) (y)

:o Started the summer Quarter today......one on-line course on "Educational Philosophy and Change".... (required....:( ...) and one Independent Study - if I can ever get the name of the mentor/instructor!:| I have called learner support since last Wednesday and been on hold for 20 to 30 minutes (and given up); called and left voicemails and sent emails. Tomorrow I email the two head honchos.(i) (i)

I'm still considering a couple of topics for the independent study.....any suggestions?:) :)

Have a lovely Monday evening, all. (f)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer Pup (S) (&) (S)

07-10-2006, 02:06 PM
(p) (p)

National Geographic, April, 2006

By Daniel Glick

Photographs by Michael Melford

A sustained drought has shriveled Lake Powell in the Southwest to expose a red-rock wonderland drowned decades ago.

Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt.

A year ago Lake Powell reached its lowest level since Jimi Hendrix played Woodstock and Neil Armstrong made his giant leap onto the moon. A sustained drought had sucked out two-thirds of its water, exposing 140 vertical feet (40 meters) of once drowned cliffs. The dry spell temporarily turned the great reservoir back into a red-rock maze called Glen Canyon, stirring hopes that terrain whose grandeur rivals any on Earth may one day be revealed for good.

It also resurrected Tom McCourt's childhood. McCourt holds forth on a newly exposed rock outcrop near the shrunken lake and reminisces about what was here 40 years ago: two small settlements flanking a vast floodplain cleaved by the Colorado River's milk-chocolate waters and guarded by fortress cliffs. His grandparents lived on this east side, in the town of White Canyon, before it was slowly inundated by the reservoir.

As a kid, he'd come regularly to visit, and he recalls the country as harsh and bountiful. "My grandfather told me it got so hot down here that the ravens left contrails because their feathers were smoking," McCourt says, a storyteller's glint in his eye. "The soil was so rich we couldn't grow watermelons, because the vines would grow so fast they'd drag the melons across the garden and wear them out before they could ripen."

On this early spring day, visitors representing three generations of two families with ties to White Canyon gather and bear witness to its unveiling. The water hasn't dropped enough to reveal the old landing strip or the site of McCourt's grandparents' house, but it's fallen more than enough to stir personal and collective memories.

McCourt's entourage includes his cousin Janis York, who lived here with her parents until she was five. York shyly approaches, moved to tears by swirling childhood memories. She used to sit on a hill behind her grandparents' house and pretend she was queen of the land. "There were rocks that sparkled," she recalls—bits of glittering fool's gold. "I used to call them my little jewels." After her family left and the waters rose, she says, "I was brokenhearted."

York gazes out over the canyon and the years. "This is the heart of the whole world," she says. "I remember telling my jewels I'd be back some day."

After Glen Canyon Dam closed its gates on the Colorado River near Page, Arizona, in 1963, the river's cargo of snowmelt and spring rain, gathered from much of the mountain West, hit the dam's concrete stopper and began to back up. The rising waters slowly transformed the lower reaches of the intricate, thousand-hued Glen Canyon into a monolithic blue-green reservoir, the country's second largest after Lake Mead, farther down the Colorado.

Aided by Lake Powell's aqueous bounty, Little League fields sprouted in Las Vegas, subdivisions multiplied in Los Angeles, golf courses carpeted Phoenix. As the reservoir waters rose, Glen Canyon drowned. This remote heart of the Colorado Plateau, dubbed "the place no one knew" in photographer Eliot Porter's ode to this lost landscape, gurgled underwater.

In unknown Glen Canyon's stead emerged the enormously popular Glen Canyon National Recreation Area—which quickly became a mecca for millions of houseboaters, water-skiers, and striped bass fishermen taking advantage of this watery miracle in the desert.

Then came the sustained drought that ushered in the 21st century, one of the region's periodic dry spells. For five years clouds yielded little moisture, even as the West continued to drink greedily. The Colorado River, lifeblood for seven states, dwindled. Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the river's massive catch basins, shriveled. No amount of hydro-engineering, cloud seeding, flow regulating, or other manipulation could change a simple fact: Not enough water was falling from the sky to keep the West's reservoirs full. Not with the increasing number of straws sucking upstream water to irrigate alfalfa fields, fill swimming pools, and sprinkle suburban bluegrass expanses.

Lake Powell's loss was and is Glen Canyon's unmistakable gain. People who were lucky enough to get a glimpse of Glen Canyon when they were young flocked to see it again, as if offered the chance to visit, after 40 years, a first love who had abruptly moved away. People who had only known the canyon through photos and descriptions—by John Wesley Powell, Wallace Stegner, Katie Lee, Eliot Porter, David Brower, and Edward Abbey—hurried for a first look.


(y) (y) Glorious (p) (p) 's of places never seen before - or at least by folks born after they flooded it. Edward Abbey would be so delighted and support the draining of the area.

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:07 PM
:| :|

1. www.freecycles.org

2. www.recalls.org

3. www.filelodge.com

:o :o Enjoy!

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:08 PM
(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)




(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:09 PM
(~) (~) (~) (~) (~)

(y) (y) (y) (y)

:) :)


(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:11 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)


and then click on the link on Bozeman - top of the web page


({) (}) 's & a (k) ,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:13 PM
:s :s :s

:| :|


1. www.English.aljazeera.net

2. www.MEMRI.org

3. www.I-cias.com/babel/Arabic/index/htm

(*) ...Off to get some Good Earth (leaded, of course) iced tea.(h) (h) It's my favorite. :)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:16 PM
:o :o :o :o

This is how you pull the old outhouse-not-an-outhouse prank. With serious hyrdraulics and motor boats. On TV. In Japan.


:D :D :D :D :D


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:18 PM
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Finally, a gift you can send to your 'frienemies'. ...........


<smiling.....so much so there is lipstick on my earlobes...>;) ;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:23 PM
(y) (y) (y)

(h) (h) (h)


(i) (i) And, more than one person can collaborate - that is scholar-speak for two or more people playing together and being in two or more different places at the same time.....;) :D

(*) (*) (*) I LOVE this! Check out the "Invite Two Friends" Feature.....(i) (h) Three people can draw, write, scribble, etc. simultaneously. (y)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:29 PM
(y) (y)

(h) (i) SeisMac is a Mac OS X Cocoa application that makes your MacBook or MacBook Pro into a seismograph. It access your laptop's Sudden Motion Sensor in order to display real-time, three-axis acceleration graphs.


(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-10-2006, 02:31 PM
:| :| :| :|


:) Funny and a bit of the overkill in combining functionality into one gadget. ;)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-13-2006, 10:52 AM
A magazine recently ran a "Dilbert Quotes" contest. They were looking for people to submit quotes from their real-life Dilbert-type managers. These were voted the top ten quotes for in corporate America , circa 2004:

"As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using
individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday, and
employees will receive their cards in two weeks." (This was the winning
quote from Fred Dales, Microsoft Corp. in Redmond WA)


"What I need is an exact list of specific unknown problems we might
encounter." (Lykes Lines Shipping)

"E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used
only for company business." (Accounting Manager, Electric Boat Company)

"This project is so important we can't let things that are more important
interfere with it." (Advertising/Marketing Manager, United Parcel Service)

"Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule."
(Plant Manager, Delco Corporation)

"No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working
on it for months. Now go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know
when it's time to tell them." (R&D supervisor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing/3M Corp.)

:| :|

Quote from the Boss: "Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say." (Marketing Executive, Citrix Corporation)

"My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told
my Boss, he said she died on purpose so that I would have to miss work on
the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could change her burial to
Friday. He said, "That would be better for me." (Shipping Executive, FTD Florists)

:| :| :|

"We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to
discuss it with the employees." (Switching supervisor, AT&T Long Lines Division)

:o :o ...........:)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Napping Boxer (S) (&) (S)

07-13-2006, 10:59 AM

"Larry Page and Sergey Brin are not your typical billionaires. In fact, if you type billionaire into Google, the picture that emerges — fancy cars, private jets, mansions, jewels, supermodel girlfriends — isn't anything you'd find in the lifestyle of the Google guys. Page drives a Prius, which costs around $21,000. Brin gets around for the most part on in-line skates, and he still lives in a rented apartment."

-- ABC News, 2004 http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/print?id=309165

(y) (y) , Right? Read on:

Asked by "60 Minutes" in 2005 how Google's new wealth might affect the company's unique culture, John Battelle, author of "The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture," observed that the company and its employees would be best served by downplaying it. "Google has a brand image to maintain," Battelle said. "And their image is they're all about innovation and they're all about the Internet, and they're all about trust. They're not about selling out. They're not about getting rich quick. So you've got a culture like that; I think if anyone were to buy, you know, a new Mercedes convertible and drive around with the stereo blaring, and miss work a couple days because they're rich now, that would not be acceptable behavior at Google. But trust me. There's a Mercedes convertible in every one of their heads. There is. And it will… come out. Over time, it will come out."

Well, Battelle was right about one thing: It was only a matter of time before Google's new wealth became a distraction, but his example of what would constitute excess was a bit short on imagination. Turns out it wasn't a Mercedes convertible in the heads of the Google founders, but a Boeing 767 airliner that has become the subject of increasingly acrimonious lawsuits (see "And if you two don't start behaving, I'm going to ground you for a month"). And on Monday, the judge presiding over one of the cases refused to issue an immediate ruling barring the plane's designer from talking about the aircraft and nixed an attempt by Page & Brin & Co. to have certain case documents filed under seal. Among those documents, which we've posted for your enjoyment, is the deposition of the plane's refurb designer, Leslie Jennings, which offers unique insight into the Google founders' apparent furniture fixation. In the deposition, Jennings describes meeting with Page and Brin twice to discuss furniture logistics. "They were wanting to know if you could move a sofa across the room during flight," he explained. "Could they sleep in the bed and take off and land while in the bed." And it gets even better. For a September 2005 meeting at Google HQ, Jennings was asked to deliver a "a full-size sofa mockup" for Brin and Page to test. They wanted to "sit on it, lay on it, then have comments about it. We had meetings that would last a minute, two minutes, 10 minutes, five minutes. They were just in and out and tried to give us their input on what they thought of the sofa. They were just very busy."

With the Google guys' aircraft already making Led Zeppelin's Starship look a Piper Cub, one wonders how long we'll have to wait for Sergey's "I am a golden geek!" moment.





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starship :| :|


;) ;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-13-2006, 11:02 AM
:o :o


"I regret that Comedy Central's 'Daily Show' portrayed my words the way they did. I believe that gratuitously violent video games are inappropriate for all children. However hard it may be to prove their effect in any given instance, tragedies like the killings at Columbine High School and more recent events closer to home clearly show that children from every neighborhood and income level can and do get into trouble -- sometimes quite seriously."

-- Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, R-Pa., discovers "The Daily Show" after it showed tape of him making the following remarks at a June 14 House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection hearing on violent video games:

"It's safe to say that a wealthy kid from the suburbs can play Grand Theft Auto or similar games without turning to a life of crime. But a poor kid who lives in a neighborhood where people really do steal cars or deal drugs or shoot cops might not be so fortunate. … There is almost certainly a child somewhere in America who is going to be hurt by this game, maybe his dad's in jail or his big brothers already on the corner selling drugs."

:| :|


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A2p0dzmSn8

(*) Gee, I wonder if he'll get re-elected.......doh!

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-13-2006, 11:09 AM
:s :s

We know what kind of comments to expect whenever we post an item on Dell. Why, just yesterday, the news that the company is launching an image makeover ("Don't forget: They also make a great hibachi in a pinch") prompted vitriol like this: "I will not ever buy another Dell," "Dell can go piss up a rope," and "Dell's new 'Purely You" campaign couldn't be more on target. Call for support, resources, or any other reason to Dell. What you will find out is the only one that cares is 'Purely You.' " And if that's what spills over out here in fringe conversation, you know that the firewall at Dell customer service is glowing like the belly of a space shuttle on re-entry.

So it's understandable why Dell might have misgivings about moving that conversation into the public space. But here it is, a blog called one2one: Direct Conversations with Dell, wherein a staff of self-described "real people" will take on what could be the hottest seat in corporate blogging since Scoble left Microsoft. Within mere hours of launch, the blog was pronounced a failed opportunity by some A-list Dell demonizers, with more temperate folks willing to give the effort some time and some advice -- listen a lot, talk straight. The public conversation won't be in open outcry mode -- the comments will be moderated for civility -- but Dell gets some credit for putting itself in an exposed position in a hostile environment. It has a lot of ways to botch this, but a prime opportunity to learn and get back on track.





:o :o A-list Dell demonizers:


What windbaggery. Join us? Who's "us"? :


(*) (*) Hmm, rethinking the getting a Dell laptop for a wee bit......maybe check out some other vendors offering superlative service and support......Gee, now THAT's not a long list.:|

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-13-2006, 11:12 AM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Gotta catch you up on some inside-baseball stuff here, partly because I know you're deeply interested and partly as an excuse for whatever posts manage to get written today.

First, JP's bad back landed him in a hospital bed over the weekend, where doctors are considering replacing his spine and several major muscle groups with experimental composite materials. In the meantime, he has been heavily dosed with sedatives, pain killers and muscle relaxants and will probably be sent home, in liquid form, soon. Second, I'm just back from two weeks' vacation spent blissfully detached from the Net and the news, much of the time on my native Wisconsin soil among people for whom computing is part of life, not life itself, and who wouldn't know Larry Ellison if he asked for some of their cheese curds. Given my unplugged state and the brain's tendency to take more vacation time than the body, I trust you'll cut me an appropriate amount of slack.

But the big thing is that our company is scheduled to disappear tomorrow afternoon. Knight Ridder shareholders are at this moment preparing to seal the sale to McClatchy. The good news is that while KR will vanish, GMSV will not (see "I for one welcome our new McClatchy overlords" and "I for one welcome our new ... wait, who is it now?"). The Mercury News, one of the papers McClatchy will more or less immediately sell to MediaNews, has graciously invited its prodigal sons to come home, bringing GMSV, SiliconValley.com and possibilities for all kinds of synergistic silliness. We are, suffice to say, very pleased to rejoin former colleagues and the strong online team that runs MercuryNews.com. The timing and mechanics of all this should become clearer this week, but until you hear differently, keep your bookmarks where they are and expect the usual mail. The pirate flag still flies.


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

(*) Arg, arg.....;)


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-13-2006, 11:13 AM
(h) (h) (h) (h) (h)


:D :D

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-13-2006, 11:15 AM
;) ;)


(h) (h)

(f) ,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-13-2006, 11:19 AM
(h) (h) (h) (h) (h)


(y) (y) (y) (y) (h)

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-13-2006, 11:24 AM

"Technology didn't just allow fans to sidestep the cash register. It also offered massive, unprecedented choice in terms of what they could hear. The average file-trading network has more songs than any music store - by a factor of more than 100. Music fans had the opportunity for limitless choice, and they took it. Today, listeners have not only stopped buying as many CDs, they're also losing their taste for the blockbuster hits that used to bring throngs into record stores on release day. If they have to choose between a packaged act and something new, more and more people are opting for exploration."

-- Wired's Chris Anderson in an article called "The Rise and Fall of the Hit"


(*) (*) I was in some of those throngs - waiting to buy my favorite song on a 45 record! It is interesting that the price of a single song for say, an iPod today? 99 cents - just like the 45's were back in their day.

(i) When the cost per song drops way below that just under a buck price point? CDs will start to decline in sales since their cost today is about a buck per song on the CD.

:| :| I need to get back to course work......(o) (o)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady and Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:20 AM
:s :s

Humiliating spectacle of a world leader caught without a policy

Michael Gawenda Herald Correspondent in Washington

July 15, 2006

IT WAS a stark admission of helplessness from the leader of the world's only super power.

With Israeli jets bombing Beirut airport and Hezbollah rockets landing in Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, the US President was asked what he could do to stop the fighting escalating.

Standing beside the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, at a press conference in Rostock before he left for the G8 summit in St Petersburg, George Bush said: "We were headed towards the road map, things looked positive, and the terrorists stepped up. It's really sad where people are prepared to take innocent life to stop that process … in fact it's pathetic."

Israel had a right to defend itself, he said, but he was concerned about the "fragile democracy" in Lebanon.

That response was an admission his administration does not have a policy on the conflict. In fact it has not had a policy since the surprise election victory in January of Hamas in a poll that Washington had encouraged.

The so-called road map for peace is dead and the Bush Administration is paralysed in the face of what threatens to become a region-wide conflict involving Israel, Lebanon, Syria and even Iran. What does Bush expect as he pleads with Israel not to weaken the Lebanese Government in the wake of the bombing of its capital's airport and a blockade of sea ports?

How much more fragile can Lebanon's democracy get when its government admits it cannot do anything about a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding Hezbollah disarm, saying it is powerless to rein in Hezbollah, which has two ministers in the government?

At home, the Bush Administration is under scrutiny by Congress for its handling of the "war on terrorism" and prickly issues such as Guantanamo Bay, the secret CIA prisons where al-Qaeda suspects are taken to be interrogated, and the wire-tapping of Americans without court warrants.

The Administration has failed to pressure China to get tough with North Korea and force Pyongyang back to the six-party talks on its nuclear weapons program. Iran, meanwhile, has rejected out of hand a package of inducements if it halts its uranium enrichment program. Observers say Iran has responded to threats of a Security Council resolution and UN sanctions by encouraging Hezbollah and the armed wing of Hamas to provoke Israel into just the sort of reaction seen in the past couple of days.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, says Iran is probably behind the Hamas and Hezbollah cross-border attacks on Israeli Army units and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. The US must be "on guard" against Iran's actions in Iraq.

"Yes, this is probably all tied up with the Iranian nuclear issue," he says. "They might be sending a message about how they might respond to Security Council sanctions."

With the Middle East teetering on the edge of conflagration, the Bush Administration seems unsure of what to do next.


(n) This administration is run by George Bush and Dick Cheney. Bush is
ignorant of world affairs and Cheney doesn't care.

Although America is the world's only superpower, it's run by men who think
this automatically makes them world leaders. It doesn't.

:| :| :|

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:23 AM
:o :o

1,000 management jobs cut at Intel


By Frank Michael Russell
Mercury News Assistant Business Editor

How's this for leaner and meaner? Santa Clara chip behemoth Intel, trying to slim down so it can compete more effectively with smaller archrival Advanced Micro Devices, said today that it will cut 1,000 management jobs, or about 1 percent of its overall staff.
In April, Chief Executive Paul Otellini vowed to examine all Intel's operations for possible restructuring and to reduce costs by about $1 billion a year. Today's job cuts are only one part of that effort, Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said, according to a report by our chip-industry writer, Dean Takahashi.

Intel -- which has been competing fiercely with Sunnyvale-based Advanced Micro Devices in the market for computer microprocessors -- concluded it has too many layers of management between senior executives and line-level employees.
U.S. Intel managers affected by the cuts will receive three months of pay, a payment for four months of health coverage, and additional severance payments based on years of service.

Intel, you might recall, recently decided to sell a unit that makes chips for handheld devices to Santa Clara-based Marvell Technology Group for $600 million.

Silicon Valley tech stocks: Down: Google, Cisco Systems, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, Yahoo, Apple Computer, eBay, Gilead Sciences and Applied Materials.

It wasn't just the valley's 10 largest companies by market value that were down today. Technology stocks in general declined sharply for a second day in a row as oil prices hit a new record today.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index closed at 2,054.11, down 36.13, or 1.7 percent. It dropped 1.8 percent Wednesday. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average -- which includes tech heavyweights Intel, HP and Microsoft -- dropped 166.89, or 1.5 percent, to 10,846.29.

A barrel of light crude oil closed at a new high -- $76.70, up $1.75 -- on the New York Mercantile Exchange. And here in The SJ, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline averaged $3.20, still short of its record high of $3.37 set in May, according to AAA. But give it some time, if oil prices keep climbing.

Dell has a new strategy to compete with rival computer makers such as HP: everyday low pricing.

The Round Rock, Texas, PC maker today said it will greatly reduce its reliance on promotions such as mail-in rebates, while lowering list prices. Dell said it would phase out 70 percent to 80 percent of its rebate offers within the next 18 months.

``Dell is realizing that customers are frustrated with rebates,'' said FTN Midwest Securities analyst William Fearnley Jr., according to a Bloomberg News report. ``Dell needed to make it easier for customers to buy and easier for salespeople to sell.''

The move is part of Dell's efforts to improve customer service. Customers ``told us what they wanted and we're delivering what they asked for,'' said Ro Parra, a Dell senior vice president, according to an Associated Press report.

While Dell still leads in computer market share, it has been losing ground to archrival HP, the Palo Alto computer and printer maker. Dell's revenue grew 6 percent in the first quarter, compared with a 10 percent gain for HP.

Rebates, an annoyance to many customers, are falling out of favor in the consumer electronics industry. Our own Mike Langberg explained why in a column earlier this week.

:) :) Sorry, lost the URLs.......:o :) Check Thursday's San Jose Mercury News if you have an interest. (f)


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:26 AM
:| :| :| :| :|

I saw this thoughtful post today and thought it worth quoting:

"God has seen fit to save me from gray hair and decaying eyesight as I
age, only to inflict hemorroids, which must be treated with Preparation
H suppositories.

"Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has three warnings on the package reminding users
to remove the foil wrapper before applying: two on the box and one on
the foil itself.

"Think about a world in which that particular warning is necessary the
next time you wonder why everything is in the mess it is."

:| :| :|

;) ;)


(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:30 AM
:s (c) :s

With gas prices in the United States hovering near $3 a gallon, broadband penetration at an all-time high, and staff meeting tedium a general bane, you'd think people given the option of telecommuting would do it full time. Not so. According to the National Technology Readiness Survey (PDF), most folks prefer the home office to their office at home. Only 2 percent of workers telecommute full time and just 9 percent telecommute one or two days a week. And of those who could feasibly telecommute, less than half would choose to do so more than two days per week. An astonishing 14 percent said they have no interest in telecommuting at all. "It seems the professional and social environment of the workplace wins out over money and time savings," said Charles Colby, president of Rockbridge Associates, a firm that helped conduct the survey. "Though a fourth of the population could be working from home, most American workers still choose the office environment for the majority of their work week." Too bad, because if everyone with the potential to telecommute did so just a few days a week, we'd see some enormous savings in time, money (perhaps as much as $3.9 billion) and productivity.



(y) (y) (o) I have been working from "home" (wherever THAT is) since 1992 and it sure works well for me. I have a 2000 SUV with 22,000 miles on it.:| Not much driving for sure - at least "here". My mileage is in rental cars when I fly and get a rental car to get around.(y)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:35 AM

Looks like Skype's walled garden may have been breached. Charlie Paglee, president of Vozin, claims a Chinese company has reverse engineered the popular Internet telephone service's protocol and plans to make a new VoIP client based on it available commercially by end of the month. If that proves true, Skype could have a bit of trouble on its hands. "The advent of the release of this software raises many interesting issues," explains Paglee. "According to their CEO, their software will not support Skype's Super Node technology. Right now every computer with Skype installed on it can be used as a relay to carry data between two other computers when both of those computers are only allowed to make outgoing TCP calls. This means that very soon Skype users will have an alternative client which will not hijack their computer. This could eventually have a very negative effect on the Skype network if too many people choose not to act as Skype Super Nodes and the network starts to deteriorate."

Skype, as one might imagine, is none to happy with the news and is disputing the notion that anyone could actually access the Skype-cloud without actually using Skype. "Skype is aware of the claim made by a small group of Chinese engineers that they have reverse engineered Skype software," said a terse statement. "We have no evidence to suggest that this is true." Oh, really? Might want to look into that a bit more, guys.




(*) Hmm, and I thought the Skype guys were pretty cool. Just about *anything* can be reverse-engineered. So what is with the arrogance at Skype? (i) (i) That their cool ideas cannot be copied? Dream on.;)

<dreaming of a frosty mug of birch or root beer......hot & humid here, although not nearly as it is in the midwest and west. Whew!....> Grateful for central air!!(y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:37 AM
:) :)


:o :o


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:38 AM
:| :|



;) 's

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:40 AM
:o :o


:) :)


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 08:47 AM
;) ;)

One of the many problems weighing down newspapers these days is that in classified ads, long a revenue bulwark, sites like Monster.com, Cars.com and craigslist are eating the industry's lunch and midafternoon pudding cup as well. The papers have fought back with print-online deals and create-your-own-ad functions and by pooling resources in ventures like CareerBuilder.com. Now, according to BusinessWeek's Jon Fine, MediaNews Group and Hearst are among several major newspaper groups looking to partner up with an online ad operation. Talks have been held, Fine says, between the paper companies and CareerBuilder, Monster and, most intriguingly, Yahoo. An alliance with Yahoo would go beyond mere classified listings to include local news and feature content and a potentially very valuable linkage of ads and search. "Help-wanted is the quick cash," says one executive involved in the discussions, "but news search is the long-term future."

BTW, the BusinessWeek article, perhaps in a moment of regulatory optimism, lists MediaNews as the owner of the Mercury News. Not so, not yet, and given today's antitrust suit filed by a fellow who has gummed up newspaper deals before, maybe not for a while.



(o) (o) Back to the pile of rocks.....I mean books.....;) One more discussion question to write and then other learner feedback. There is light at the end of this PhD Program tunnel. After this quarter ending in mid September? Only ONE more on-line course to take.

:| Than come Comps Exams January, 2007 for two quarters. Then the last two quarters are for dissertation. I should actually "be" a doctor end of December, 2007. :o If it is like consulting and writing for publication, it should be as easy (relatively speaking) as the almost 23 courses taken since April, 2003. Thank goodness for easily available wireless broadband for traveling and continuing the work on-line.:) :)

(y) (y) (y)

Have a delightfully relaxed & blessed day and weekend, all.

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 09:09 AM
:) :)




(p) (p) :


(l) (l) Charles, my absolute favorite Hopi artist (R.I.P.) and collection:




(y) (y) Bought myself 18k thumb ring and a 14k toe ring this past week. To celebrate the changes coming shortly!!!


Exactly! http://www.orostyle.com/prodimages/KTO1-S.jpg :) :) On right foot.

(i) (i) Considering getting a heavy bracelet in the same style. Actually, I have wanted one in gold for many years - I have three or four heavy weight ones in sterling silver but haven't wore them since moving back from California six years ago.

I am definitely a gold grrl....;)

Enjoy your day!

({) (}) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 06:00 PM
The Liberal media | posted July 13, 2006 (July 31, 2006 issue)

The Nation

Eric Alterman

Mainstream media coverage conveys the impression that the Administration's attacks on the New York Times were motivated by the paper's 3,550-word story detailing US attempts to track terrorist financing methods, published despite an official request for self-censorship. In fact, they constitute another front in the Bush (& Co.) war on the press. And once again many members of the media have enlisted as apparatchiks in undermining their own putative profession, preferring ideology to independence and access to accountability.

Remember: The Administration has been bragging about its post-9/11 money-tracking efforts for years. The UN Al Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Group discussed it in its December 2002 report to the Security Council, and former State Department official Victor Comras explained that "the information was fairly well known by terrorism financing experts back in 2002." "Quite frankly, I don't think the terrorists were tipped off to anything," said Ron Paul, like Bush a Texas Republican.

The reason that publishing the new details in the Times piece may have been a more difficult call than, say, the Times story on the Bush illegal domestic spying program--which it held for more than a year--is that unlike almost everything the Bush Administration does, instead of being arrogant and incompetent it's actually a good idea. Arguing for publication, however, would be the charge of honest journalism not to mention the program's potential for abuse, the Administration's lack of respect for constitutional niceties in its implementation and its demonstrated proclivity to lie to the public about virtually everything.

None of these nuances play much of a role in our benighted public discourse. Cheney called the decision to publish "offensive." Bush called it "disgraceful." Rumsfeld claimed the article would "cause the loss of American lives," and the crowing for editor Bill Keller's head has been nonstop as the right-wing echo chamber has ratcheted up its typical "work the refs" attack-machine into a furious frenzy of phony froth. New York Republican Representative (and IRA supporter) Peter King called for the Times to be prosecuted for violating the 1917 Espionage Act. Two hundred and twenty House members--including every Republican but Christopher Shays--voted to condemn it.

They were quickly joined by a group of conservative journalists and pundits who apparently prefer a Soviet-style political discourse to the kind envisioned by America's Founders. National Review editor Rich Lowry called upon the government to jail the reporters involved if they refused to reveal their sources, and the Review demanded that the White House revoke the Times's press credentials. Heather MacDonald, writing in The Weekly Standard, called the Times "a national security threat...drunk on its own power and...antagonistic to the Bush administration." Talk-show host Melanie Morgan said she'd have "no problem" if Keller were "sent to the gas chamber" for treason. And the always reliable David Horowitz insisted that the Times was purposely inviting assassination attempts against Cheney and Rumsfeld in its--I kid you not--travel section. (Even Rumsfeld was apparently in on it, however, having approved the photographs of his home for the offending article. These conspiracies can get real complicated...)

The most interesting recruits in the Bush team's journalistic jihad, however, were the editors of the Wall Street Journal. Their intervention proved particularly illuminating of the distinctions between honest journalism and fellow-traveling. "Would the Journal have published the story had we discovered it as the Times did, and had the administration asked us not to?" they asked. "Speaking for the editorial columns, our answer is probably not." Trouble is, the Journal's news editors did decide to publish the story mere hours after the Times story appeared. Its editorial page editors shamefully sought to explain away this inconvenience with the damning "guess" that the Administration "felt [Journal reporter Glenn] Simpson would write a straighter story than the Times." As if falsely insisting their own reporter was in the Bush tank wasn't bad enough, the editors went on to declare that the Times "has as a major goal not winning the war on terror but obstructing it." It's official: According to the judgment of the Dow Jones Corporation, when a newspaper acts methodically and responsibly to publish information of vital national importance that the government would prefer to suppress, it is on the side of terrorism. It's a shame Joe McCarthy isn't alive to enjoy all this.

Of course, it's hardly a coincidence that this orgy of Times-bashing is occurring just as Rove & Co. are ginning up the GOP base with stunts like the flag amendment, amendments against gay marriage and a wave of immigrant-bashing, now coming to a hearing near you. As Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern explained during the silly House vote to condemn the paper, "We are here today because there has not been enough red meat thrown at the Republican base before the Fourth of July recess." The meat is not merely unkosher; it's poisonous.

Why has the right's rage focused on the Times, when it was one of three papers to run the story? As the San Francisco Chronicle's Jon Carrol points out, the New York Times "contains the word 'New York.' Many members of the president's base consider 'New York' to be a nifty code word for 'Jewish.'" This isn't the first time the Rovian right has toyed with Jew-hatred. Remember the attacks on George Soros two years ago, with pundits like Tony Blankley using terms like "robber baron," "pirate capitalist" and "self-admitted atheist"?

The point is not that Bush, Cheney, Rove or even Blankley is an anti-Semite. It's that they will stop at nothing to discredit their perceived enemies. War may be politics by other means, but for the White House and its allies, politics is war and accountability is the enemy. As Dick Cheney explains in Ron Suskind's explosive new book, The One Percent Doctrine, "It's not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence. It's about our response."

In wartime one loses the luxury of choosing one's allies; Judith Miller and Jayson Blair notwithstanding, now the Times is us.


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) Indeed!

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 06:05 PM
Patricia J. Williams The Nation

OK, kids: With conservatives on the hunt for dangerous left-wing academics, take this SAT (Save America from Treachery) test. See if you can tell the difference between a terrorist and a truth-teller. First prize: A three-day getaway in Baghdad. Fail and go to jail.

:| :| :|


(o) (o) Only two more years.....only two more years.......til the next election. Run 'em outta Dodge!!

<stepping off soap box, lifting petticoats...>

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 06:10 PM
Katrina vanden Heuvel The Nation

As Bush and Putin meet in St. Petersburg for the G-8 summit, there's a lot of talk in the US media about Russia's backsliding on democracy. Of course, Russia isn't on a path to democracy. Putin has reasserted state control over Russian television, jailed a leading oligarch and may well try to alter the Russian constitution so he can remain President for a third term beginning in 2008. But as scholars and writers with a sense of history have argued -- including (my husband) Stephen Cohen in a recent cover story in The Nation and Anatol Lieven in a Los Angeles Times op-ed -- de-democratization began not under Putin but under Boris Yeltsin. As Lieven explains, "The 'democracy' that Putin has allegedly overthrown was, in fact, not a real democracy at all, but a pseudo-democracy ruled over by corrupt and brutal oligarchical clans." Furthermore, he notes, " During the 1990s, the administration of Boris Yeltsin, under the sway of oligarchs and the liberal elites, rigged elections, repressed the opposition and launched a bloody and unnecessary war in Chechnya--all with the support of Washington."

But don't ask that champion of democracy, civil liberties and human rights Dick Cheney to get his history right. Instead, in May, Cheney used his shotgun approach and traveled through the former Soviet Union hectoring Russia's government for its anti-democratic ways. As William Fisher noted at the time, in a sharp commentary on Truthout.com, it was "truly grotesque" that Cheney would be "lecturing anyone about democracy and human rights." As Fisher, who worked for the US State Department and USAID for thirty years, put it, " [Cheney} has dishonored these core American values in his own country...Could there be anyone less credible on subjects like democratic reform and open government?"

Instead of counter-productive lectures, perhaps we should listen more carefully to former Russian dissidents like Boris Kagarlitsky. I've known Kagarlitsky for more than twenty five years. He is a man of integrity, a man of the democratic left, who was imprisoned in the Brezhnev years for samizdat literature and speaking his mind. In May, I asked him what he made of U.S. criticism of Russia's political landscape. Here is Boris's brief and sharp reply.

"Russia doesn't look like a model democracy, but United States under current administration doesn't look so either. Every time American government spoke about exporting democracy somewhere this ended up in disaster, whether it was in Vietnam or in Latin America. We will solve our problems ourselves without George Bush or Dick Cheney. And people who organise elections in Siberia don't need lectures from those who organized elections in Florida... All these technologies are internationally known." Boris Kagarlitsky


(*) (*) It is so enlightening observing so-called "democratic" nations with "elected" presidents getting together. One NYTimes 2001 photo of Venezuela and Russian Presidents together made my skin crawl......:o

Enjoy the night and peaceful dreams,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 06:14 PM
Nancy Brigham: Gay Games Chicago

July 15, 2006

More than 12,000 members of the global lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community from 70 countries will be taking part in the Games all week. And Nancy Brigham, 49, of the San Francisco team will be one of them, competing in the women’s bodybuilding/master physique portion of the Games for women ages 40-49.


Nancy won a gold medal in Sydney in 2002, and is looking for another gold this year. She’ll be competing on Tuesday. So if you’re in the area, give the girl some support! The closing ceremony is Saturday, July 22.

And when Nancy is not at the gym training, she’s at Brigham’s Therapeutic Massage. The private practice she founded in 1988.

Here’s Nancy…entire interview: (and (p) (p) 's too)


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-15-2006, 06:21 PM
Mr. Nice Guys


Human beings, it turns out, are essentially nice. This may seem like an outlandish claim, considering the state of human affairs, with wars raging on several continents and our media, culture, and politics so coarsely polarized. But I am speaking from irrefutable personal observation. For the last couple of weeks, I have been hobbling around on crutches, following a tear to my Achilles tendon. My loved ones rallied to my side, but what has been most striking is the reaction of total strangers. Everywhere I go, people rush to open doors for me, offer to carry my coffee, or simply provide words of encouragement. People want to know what happened, and hearing my unremarkable story, are quick to share their own tales of woe—from the teenager who broke his arm tripping down the stairs to the elderly man who had knee-replacement surgery last year. The public display of my own vulnerability, it appears, makes people more comfortable revealing their own.

Obviously, a little human kindness doesn’t negate the hatred and slaughter now darkening the planet. Our species is fully capable of inflicting terrible cruelty when we see the targets as less human than ourselves. And we are often blithely indifferent to the suffering of millions, especially when they’re in Somalia or Iraq or some other distant corner of the globe. But show us a kid stuck in a well, or a young soldier kidnapped by terrorists, or even just some middle-aged guy struggling to get down a crowded street on his crutches, and our hearts open up. Humanity may be beyond redemption, but as someone who must now rely on the kindness of strangers, I’d say there’s still plenty of hope for people. plenty of hope for people.

Eric Effron
Managing editor The Week Magazine


(y) (y) (i) (i) I agree most wholeheartedly. There is still much hope, if only on an individual level, like this editor experienced. <clapping loudly>(y) (y)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the sleeping Boxer Pup (S) (&) (S)

07-15-2006, 09:37 PM
Crystal is a highly regarded cruise line. It's on my to do list sweetlady.
[quote=sweetlady]:) :)

The Fall one sounds lovely: http://www.crystalcruises.com/cruise_itinerary.aspx?CID=6225

With an impressive computer lab, hmmm, a combination much-needed vacation and ability to finish up course work? <sigh> I would love to do that. And this cruise line is upscale too.]

07-16-2006, 04:02 PM
Crystal is a highly regarded cruise line. It's on my to do list sweetlady.
[quote=sweetlady]:) :)

The Fall one sounds lovely: http://www.crystalcruises.com/cruise_itinerary.aspx?CID=6225

With an impressive computer lab, hmmm, a combination much-needed vacation and ability to finish up course work? <sigh> I would love to do that. And this cruise line is upscale too.]

Thank you for posting such a thoughtful posting. It is always wonderful to learn that information that I have found online is of some value to others. I appreciate your kind input!

Isn't this cruise line just the best??

I think, even better than other, better known ones like "Olivia".

More $$, but then, we get what we pay for, yes?

I do think Olivia offers some cool alternative ones when they have guest speakers we all know and love.

Thanks again!

(f) (f)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:05 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

Rob Patterson

To 'Country' DJs' Chagrin, Dixie Chicks Rise Again

God bless those seditious wenches, the Dixie Chicks. And if you want to strike a blow for genuine freedom, buy their latest CD, Taking The Long Way.

It's not an explicitly political album, but that's okay. After a number of years in this space bemoaning and decrying the lack of powerful, quality high-profile music addressing the urgent political and social issues of the day, wondering how I will fill my annual year-end wrap-up of progressive political music, the watershed has finally come here in 2006, and I'm wondering if I'll have enough space to cover all the notable political music and hoping I don't miss any of the worthy releases. Hallelujah!

The Chicks have already done their part and more with that brief off-the-cuff comment at a London concert by Natalie Maines about being ashamed that the Bush (frat) boy is from Texas (even though, as we leftist Texas residents -- including this New York State-born Yankee -- like to point out, he was born in Connecticut). The spit storm it prompted highlighted the blind, ignorant and empty so-called patriotism of much (but thankfully not all) of the country music industry and country radio, as well as, in some cases, their downright hatefulness. Just as country music was once about real life and is now polluted with bland and trite greeting card-style sentiments, the music industry acts and powers that condemned and banned the Chicks have also bought into the lies and propaganda of the feckless neo-con Republican junta.

And just as important if not maybe more so, the Chicks stood their ground amidst it all, showing the courage of their convictions and noble bravery under fire. And still, as Maines sings on the one song on the new album that addresses the controversy, they are "Not Ready To Back Down." You go girls! Great American leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, whose comments about the importance of dissent in a democracy I cite again and again in these conformist times, are surely smiling in whatever hereafter in which their souls reside.

Other than "Lubbock Or Leave It," in which Maines takes on the small-minded attitudes of her West Texas hometown in the wake of "the incident," Taking The Long Way is an album about life, love, people and our human souls, as most of our entertainment should be. But in a fashion it's just as much a political and social statement by being a wonderful, alluring and oh-so-enjoyable slice of quality commercial popular music.

Every one of the major-label albums by the Chicks has set a high and admirable progressive standard for what country music today should be, from the sassy, hip and smart girl power of their mega-million-selling first two releases to the utterly delicious acoustic music on Home to the sophisticated and musically and emotionally rich California country-rock of the new one. My friends often accuse this longtime music critic of being too cynical and jaded. Yet as I spin over and over again my current favorite track on Taking The Long Way, the aptly titled "My Favorite Year," it reaches places and evokes emotions that are deep within my soul. Simply put, the Dixie Chicks are about as good as it gets when it comes to pop music.

Now the media is chattering about how country radio refuses to play the new music from the Chicks and they've had to cancel some tour dates due to slow sales. No matter, as their album is fast approaching sales of more than a million and they'll still sell truckloads of concert tickets. As Natalie Maines sings in the opening lines of "Not Ready To Make Nice": "I paid a price and I'll keep paying it."

They've truly put their money where their mouths -- and more importantly, their convictions -- are. In these days of craven cowardice and partisan conformity, the Dixie Chicks are to be admired for such fortitude and integrity.

And maybe, just maybe, they are winning the battle anyway. At a recent family gathering, I climbed into the rental car driven by my brother. He's a big mucky-muck Dallas power lawyer and partner in the largest firm in the Lone Star State as well as a born-again Baptist (we were raised Episcopalian) who attended the last Bush inaugural --but also, despite that, a good man and husband and father that I love dearly. Much to my delight, as he turned the key, Taking The Long Way was playing on the CD player, just as the day before it was playing in my rental car. After all, it's hard to resist the charms and power of damned good music.

So let's all salute Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison for being three great Americans. And then go buy Taking The Long Way as a gesture of support for musical quality and independence as well as political and personal courage. And, most importantly, because you'll dig the music.

From The Progressive Populist, July 15, 2006


(h) (h) (h) So let's all salute Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison for
being three great Americans.


(Plus, they make great music!!!) (h) (h) (h)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:07 PM
:| :|

Rob Patterson

Law + Order = Progress

I'm a Law & Order leftist. Now don't mistake me for a political law-and-order type, though I do have some leanings that way which I believe to be consistent with my politics.

Back in the late 1960s as a teenage longhair (back when long hair could get you beaten up, as well as hassled by the cops), sure, I called the police "pigs." But I've grown up to realize that every society needs forces of order and a system of justice. (This is not the place, however, for me to discuss the failures and merits of them in America or those cops I've run across whose behavior and attitude was definitely piggish.).

Ever since I was a kid, I've had this thing about New York City cop shows, starting with Naked City. Then there was Kojak -- "Who loves ya, baby?" -- and later the early years of NYPD Blue. During my years as a New Yorker, I always got a kick out of how almost every Greek diner in Manhattan, as well as some in the outer boroughs, would have a signed promo pic of Telly Savalas hanging on the wall. And the continuity from Kojak through NYPD Blue was reinforced by both using the image of the Ninth Precinct station house in the East Village as their cop shop.

Law & Order has taken the New York City cop show (Order), added the prosecutorial element (Law), and proliferated it across the offerings on network and cable TV. There's the original Law & Order, as well as Special Victims Unit (aka SVU) and Criminal Intent (CI) in first run. And in the last year the franchise also expanded into the short-lived Trial By Jury and spin off of Conviction, all on NBC. Most of the above can also be seen in reruns on a couple of cable channels.

I don't have the space here to analyze the many individual successes and failures of each different show. But the reason why my DVR is set to record all the Law & Order first runs and I frequently watch the reruns is simple -- at its best, Law & Order offers a compelling vision of fairness and justice. And as we all know, fairness and justice are key tenets of the progressive social and political vision.

Like any good series, they are also character driven. And the franchise has created numerous characters that work their way into your imagination if not your life.

And when the plots really work -- which isn't always, mind you -- the mysteries and twists present compelling puzzles for the viewer to try to second guess. When they are "ripped from the headlines," they can also offer interesting commentary on recent events.

Law & Order even has a conservative character I enjoy: District Attorney Arthur Branch, played by former Republican Senator Fred Dalton Thompson. As much as I find Thompson's knee-jerk "rah, rah, let's support the president" stance distasteful, and symptomatic of the blind and ignorant patriotism that is as big a threat to this nation as al Qaeda, the Branch character seems a decent, principled sort, and that's something always worthy of admiration even if one isn't in agreement with their philosophical point of view.

(Brief digression: I am not the sort of leftist who believes that everyone in this nation should believe as I do -- that's fascism. Nor am I the sort of progressive that says stupid things like, as I've heard far too many so-called leftists say, "I hate Republicans" -- that's prejudice and intolerance that is contradictory to the very notion of being liberal. Sure, admirable Republicans are in sorry short supply these days -- those who actually hold to such worthwhile principles as fiscal prudence, small yet effective government bureaucracy and minimal government intrusion into the lives of its citizens, none of which has to necessarily conflict with a progressive viewpoint and in fact can be learned from. Despite the current state of affairs, one of the beautiful things about the notion of American democracy is that it can result in legislation and policy that is a best-case median compromise among competing philosophies and viewpoints. Yeah, that seems lost forever in these bitterly partisan times, but without believing it can be so it will never be restored.)

Law & Order obviously works, as proven by its proliferation. Its best manifestation might be SVU, where a diverse cast and, over time, delving into the complexities of their personalities has given it a depth that is rare on network TV.

On the other hand, with the new Conviction, that just ended its first season, Law & Order may have jumped the shark with the show's "Sex and the City's DA Office" glossiness and sometimes silly plots, like the season's over-the-top hostage crisis finale. But I watched it anyway, because even underneath the shallowness there remains the Law & Order bedrock of fairness and justice.

Of course, the main reason I watch is entertainment. But what makes me a Law & Order follower is that ideal of fairness and justice. And being a leftist, liberal, progressive, what have you is all about having and striving for ideals. That they end up sometimes being fulfilled on TV makes me feel that maybe, just maybe, they can also do so in real life.

Rob Patterson is a music and entertainment writer in Austin, Texas. Email orca@io.com.

From The Progressive Populist, Aug. 1-15, 2006


(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:07 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)


He wrote a great piece in July 15th The Progressive Populist, however I can't get it to copy and share.

Enjoy and stay cool!

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:08 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

:) :) :) :)

:D :D :D


(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:09 PM
:| :| :| :| :|

:o :o :o :o

:) :) :)

Welcome to News of the Weird, the weekly syndicated newspaper column (founded 1988) that is the most widely-read bizarre-news feature in the United States--indeed, the gold standard of weird-news reporting, appearing in more than 250 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.

For some readers, News of the Weird is merely a light diversion from the heavier news of the week. However, for others, it's much more: A weekly chronicle of the continuing decline of civilization. Or a therapeutic personal benchmark for reassuring yourself that it's all those other people (not you) who are the problem. Or, for the few who actually wind up in News of the Weird, a monument to lives interestingly lived.


(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:10 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

Their July 15 th article in the Progressive Populist called, "We have the right to be Anywhere on this continent", where they interviewed and quoted many Native Americans was fabulous. However - it cannot be reached as a link on the PP web site.

What an amazing couple working together as change agents!


(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:11 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

Women's leadership is re-emerging in Indian Country

By Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez, UPS,

10 July 1998

In Dineh (Navajo) teachings, you can't pray without the female deities. Women provide balance. No prayer is complete without the female. Without the female nothing can be done, says LeNora Fulton. She figures it should be the same way in government.

So when Fulton decided to run for president of the Navajo nation, she started hauling 400-pound timber to build a hogan with her own hands. The traditional home is used as her headquarters and to show that she didn't need outside help. You do all your planning for your family, the council and the nation from the home, she says.

She goes against seven male candidates for the leadership of her people on Aug. 4. While she's been told the presidency is men's work, she notes that key issues facing Indian Country have been the traditional purview of women -- education, the family, housing and health.

Navajo women have historically been part of the decision-making and were key to defeating gaming on the reservation last year. Fulton, who is a grandmother and the granddaughter of a medicine man, had bought land and was raising her own alfalfa and sheep by age 18. And like other Navajos, she was taught she has divine beginnings. I'm a sacred being, raised to be a leader.

All over Indian country, women are reasserting leadership, whether it be in tribal government or establishing drumming societies, which are primarily men's domain. Native women and elders view this as the manifestation of prophesies predicting that the power of women would re-emerge to strengthen their nations.

While some tribes have elected female chiefs such as Cherokee Wilma Mankiller, others do not permit women to vote or to serve on tribal councils, some arguing that it goes against tradition. It's not tradition that needs to change, says Fulton of her own tribe. It's the Bureau of Indian Affairs- imposed form of government. Tradition has always honored and revered women.

Fulton notes that the councils, established in the 1930s, diminished the participation of elders, traditional leaders and women. Consequently, these relationships went out of balance. Women agreed to the councils as long as the men conferred with them and they reached a consensus. This arrangement no longer functioned in the 1970s with the increase in alcoholism and divorce and the loss of traditions in general. In the past decade, Dineh women started electing females to tribal council, and now 51 more are running.

Female creators, forces and protective spirits are central in many native religions, showing how women and the feminine principle were long revered. Among the Iroquois and Cherokee, women selected and deposed of chiefs and participated in decisions of war and peace. In one famous encounter of the early 1700s, a Cherokee leader asked the British, Where are your women? While the Iroquois Confederacy is credited with inspiring the U.S. Constitution, less commonly known is that it was the decisions and words of the women's council that were represented by male envoys to other tribes and to the likes of Benjamin Franklin, who chose to diminish the rights of women in the Constitution.

And traditions do change. Sharon Mountain, a Dakota and Red Lake Anishnabe Indian who is drumkeeper of the Red Drum Woman Society, says that elders speak of long ago when the women drummed and the men danced. Then they let the men come to the drum and the women switched, she said. Elders also told her that she would lead differently and with the drum. Often, families bring daughters to the drum who are unruly, and they learn to walk a good path and return as community leaders, Mountain said.

Germaine Tremmel is the last living ancestral member of the Red Robe Society, which was inspired by a Lakota grandmother who fought in battle. She speaks of the reappearance of women's societies that had gone underground. As a result of a woman's vision, one society was created to protect women from violence. Her tribal elders have told her of the renewal of indigenous cultures, but first women must take their place of honor. To that end, she established the Mending the Sacred Hoop Within Project, based in Minnesota and South Dakota.

An Eastern Cherokee friend who lives in Michigan recounted recently how about three years ago, young girls just started walking up to sing with the drummers at gatherings all over the state. The men didn't have enough nerve to stop them. Now the girls and women have been singing ever since. She says, "It's one magnificent sound."


(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:13 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

NYU's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - for Adults Over 50 - Celebrates First Successful Year

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New York University’s specialized educational and social program for adults age 50 and older-the NYU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)-has just completed its successful inaugural year, in which almost 50 lectures, classes and events were offered and 490 members joined, exceeding enrollment goals by 40 percent.

NYU OLLI members and staff marked the occasion last tonight with a gala reception at NYU, featuring musical performances by Broadway legend Kitty Carlisle Hart, NYU President Emeritus L. Jay Oliva and NYU musical theater students.

Supported by a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation, NYU OLLI began in September 2005 as part of the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies, which for 70 plus years has provided both personal enrichment and professional education programs for working adults in the New York City region. It is part of a national network of 72 other Osher Institutes across the United States funded by the Foundation since 2002 specifically to provide educational and social programming for older adults. NYU OLLI is the first, and so far only, Osher program in New York City.

Drawing upon the educational and cultural resources of New York University and New York City, NYU OLLI offered to members over three dozen specially designed courses, on a wide range of topics in the arts and humanities, politics, science, finance, film, music, health and wellness, and philosophy. Highlights included: Journeying Within-Writing from the Heart, taught by writer Bette Ziegler; Michelangelo: Painter, Sculptor, Architect-A Renaissance Homosexual, taught by New York Academy of Art historian F. Douglas Blanchard; and Contemporary Immigration to the United States, France and Germany, taught by Merih Anil, and expert in citizenship and naturalization at the CUNY Graduate Center.

“Unlike the other programs for older people I am aware of, the classes at (NYU) Osher are far more interesting than the ‘usual’ classes offered,” says 58-year-old NYU OLLI member Ronee Fried. “For example, instead of American History (101) or Spanish, I have taken courses like The Supreme Court, China and the U.S.-Two Economic Giants in Crisis and Freedom of Speech. It has been a very stimulating year.”

In addition to courses, NYU OLLI launched several popular lecture programs, The Sizzle Series (interviews with artistic and cultural leaders), the Think Tank series (conversations about current political and policy issues) and a Brown Bag series (lunchtime discussions on current world and national events). These programs attracted large audiences, most over 100 people and as many as 130 at some events. As well, NYU OLLI members were able to access group tickets to the New York Philharmonic and NYU student theater events.

Beyond education, NYU OLLI aims to foster social networking among New York’s seniors. “”What distinguishes the Osher program from other learning opportunities in NYC is that as a member you feel part of a cohesive group rather than just taking a class or attending a lecture,” says Gloria Zalaznick, an NYU OLLI member.

“Looking forward, NYU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will build upon these first year successes, to continue crafting meaningful educational and social experiences for older adults,” says NYU OLLI Director Dean Williamson. “And now, with an established enrollment, we are able to harness the energy and intellectual resources of our members to help generate program ideas, develop curricula and teach courses themselves. In this way NYU’s Osher program becomes not just for but ‘of its members’.”

Slated for fall 2006, are 47 course offerings alone. Several are repeats of popular past classes. Among the new offerings are The Fading American Dream to be taught by Dan Diamond, former dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business; Growing up with Radio, an audible tour of radio in the 1920s through 1950s; and French for Travelers, aimed at helping members make a trip to France more meaningful. As well, there will several member-guided tours to such locations as Harlem’s famous Sylvia’s restaurant, PBS’ Channel 13, and the United Nations.

Membership in the NYU OLLI is open to all adults at least 50 years of age. “OLLI Annual Plus” membership for the full 2006-07 academic year costs $250 and includes a one-year subscription to The New York Times with home delivery, Monday-Friday. Basic “OLLI Annual” membership is for the full year and costs $200, but does not include The New York Times subscription. “Single Semester” memberships are also available for $150.
For more information, a full list of NYU OLLI membership benefits, and a schedule of courses and events for Fall 2006, please call 212 998-7171 or visit the NYU Osher website at www.scps.nyu.edu/learning.

About The NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies…

The School of Continuing and Professional Studies (www.scps.nyu.edu) is among the 14 colleges and schools that comprise New York University, one of the largest private universities in the United States. Founded in 1934, NYU SCPS each year educates some 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students and enrolls over 40,000 in its non-credit programs. A national leader in adult and professionally oriented education, NYU SCPS programs include non-credit courses that span more than 125 fields, 14 industry-focused Master’s degree programs, and nine Bachelor’s and six Associate degree programs specially designed for working adults. As well, NYU SCPS is home to NYU Online, the University’s first online undergraduate program.


(i) (i) (h) (h) (h)

Peaceful dreams,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:16 PM
:) :) :)

A Festival of Likeness

Everything from butterflies, to algebra, to the universe is based on symmetry. So how come we know so little about it?

by Jordan Ellenberg • Posted July 13, 2006 08:28 AM

Fearless Symmetry
By Avner Ash and Robert Gross
(Princeton University Press)

Symmetry and the Monster
By Mark Ronan
(Oxford University Press)

Compared to other key concepts of contemporary mathematics and physics—infinity, uncertainty, undecidability, relativity—the notion of symmetry might seem a bit pedestrian. Things look the same as their reflection in the mirror—big whoop!

But symmetry conditions our understanding of the universe more completely than any of these other ideas. It would not be far off to say that our basic understanding of what the universe is depends, fundamentally, on the symmetries we believe it possesses. In the Newtonian universe, the symmetries were pretty simple—essentially, physics didn't change if you stood on a moving boat and everything worked perfectly. Except that it didn't actually describe the universe we live in. All the famous heart-worrying features of relativity—the contraction of objects moving at high speed, the constancy of the speed of light—are consequences of the fact that the universe obeys a different set of symmetries than the ones the Newtonian physicists imagined. These laws involve more complicated transformations, called the Lorentz symmetries, in which space and time can't be separated.

But here's where it starts getting tricky. We don't know—even now, with all the increased orders-of-magnitude in our powers of observation—what the symmetries of the universe truly are. We are still trying to understand what they could be. When string theorists contemplate their proposed 11-dimensional universe, they aren't (yet) asking whether the theory matches the real world—they're asking whether there even exists a theory to be tested. Which is where mathematicians come in. We get the fun job of working out what kinds of symmetries are mathematically possible, without the pressure of having to show that our constructions actually conform to anything in the universe.

Two new books, Mark Ronan's Symmetry and the Monster and Avner Ash and Robert Gross's Fearless Symmetry, treat different aspects of this attempt to discover and classify all possible symmetries. Ronan's topic is the classification of the finite simple groups and the development of the so-called "Monster group." Ash and Gross take on the whole grand subject of Galois representations and reciprocity laws. If the words in the preceding two sentences mean nothing to you, then you've begun to understand the terrific challenges these authors are taking on. Mathematics has proceeded so far and so quickly that a survey of contemporary study means catching up on a century or two of homework before being able to understand what someone proved last Tuesday.

That said, it's not so hard to describe what mathematicians mean by symmetry. A symmetry is no more or less than a way of transforming a mathematical object which is reversible. For instance, if our object is the set {0,1}, a perfectly good symmetry is the transformation T which exchanges 0 and 1. It's easy to reverse this transformation—just switch the two numbers back to their original positions! Similarly, there is a symmetry of the sphere (i.e. the surface of the Earth) which transforms each point into its antipode, the point directly opposite on the globe. Call this symmetry A. The fundamental insight that animates both these books is that it is the symmetries themselves, not the objects on which the symmetries operate, that are the true entities of interest. The antipodal symmetry is the antipodal symmetry whether it is transforming the surface of the Earth, the Moon or a tennis ball. What's more, the symmetry A and the symmetry T are themselves quite similar: when you execute them twice, the overall effect is the same as doing nothing at all. So though the surface of the Earth and the set {0,1} look nothing alike, they share this very profound property.

Symmetry and the Monster tells the story of a decades-long project in which dozens of mathematicians joined forces against a problem of extraordinary difficulty known as "the classification of finite simple groups." The problem is to produce a list of fundamental systems of symmetries out of which the symmetries of every conceivable object, from planet, to set, to tennis ball, could be built. Ronan cleverly likens the project to the construction of a periodic table of elements, out of which the whole chemical smorgasbord of the material universe can be constructed by basic combination.

"The Monster" is the largest and still most mysterious of the "elements of symmetry" that mathematicians know as "simple groups." Perhaps the most striking aspect of the story is that, before it was shown to exist, nearly all of the Monster's identifying features were already known. To see how this could be, suppose that scientists were searching for llamas. And suppose that all of Peru has been mapped out and all llamas therein located, except for one very small area where the presence of a llama could be neither ascertained nor ruled out. And finally, suppose that tiny region were shaped exactly like a giant llama. Understandably you'd be pretty sure there was a llama there. You could even figure out the alleged llama's size, shape and position—all without actually observing the llama. This was precisely the status of the Monster until Robert Griess announced its existence in 1982, providing a satisfying denouement to Ronan's story. But not a conclusion—that comes with the development of "Monstrous Moonshine," a still poorly-understood connection between the Monster, number theory and physics.

Ash and Gross's Fearless Symmetry asks that its readers be fearless indeed—in fewer than 300 pages it delivers a tour through basic number theory, Galois theory and the rudiments of arithmetic geometry. This amount of material would be suitable for a one- or two-semester college course, but the authors manage to make it all accessible with an affable prose style and a healthy willingness to pause for a philosophical aside. The symmetries discussed by Ash and Gross are not the general kind that characters in Symmetry and the Monster labor to classify. They are symmetries attached to very special objects coming from number theory, sometimes called "motives." It is the interaction between modern ideas about symmetry and the classical apparatus of number theory—a subject in vogue since the Greeks—that forms the spine of Fearless Symmetry. Even a reader who knows the end of the story will delight at the relatively straight path the authors walk from the definition of sets and functions in the first chapter to the achievements of Andrew Wiles in the last. Wiles proved Fermat's Last Theorem in 1995, by showing that if the theorem were false, there would be a geometric object whose symmetries were so strange as to be impossible—such an object would be a llama in a part of Peru in which llamas had been positively ruled out. To get a less grievously vague sense of what Wiles did, one has to work a bit more&emdash;and for those who are willing, Ash and Gross's book will be an excellent companion. (Full disclosure: Ash and Gross work in my research area; one of my theorems is described in their book.)

Both of these books succeed in bringing to the fore an aspect of mathematics that some popularizers miss—that math is not a science of monuments, but a living tradition as vibrant as physics or ethics or law, one in which new monuments pop up weekly and old ones are retrofitted for purposes inconceivable to their creators. It's happening as we speak. And readers of these two books will know, at least in part, where it's happening now, and even (maybe) where it's going to happen next.


(*) (*) Hmmm, sounds like fractal theory might be a subset of this. (i) (i)

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:20 PM

"Count on Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else."

- Winston Churchill, quoted in the Wilmington, Delaware News Journal

(*) (*) What a way cool person! The film, "The Gathering Storm" was spectacular!

(y) (y) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 04:26 PM






(y) (y) What an amazing womyn!!! Definitely her book:


Village Voice Review: http://villagevoice.com/books/0628,chute,73800,10.html


(y) (y) (y) (y) You go grrl!

A fan,


07-16-2006, 04:35 PM





For the butches: http://www.tvacres.com/images/jayne_mansfield2.jpg


As a grrl pilot:




Too hot to handle:

(k) (k) http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/allposters/54/039_33003_rt.jpg

(k) (k) http://personales.ya.com/ingenieros/pin_ups/mansfiel/fotos3/mansf_36.jpg

(*) (*) Okay, so who is her sexy daughter??

Hint: http://www.didik.com/nycinpictures/celeb/thm_NYC-027029.jpg

Law and Order SVU Detective. Seriously. (y) (y) (y) (y) She even looks like her mama!

Enjoy and peaceful sleep tonight.

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-16-2006, 09:15 PM
Hi everyone.

I'm a youngun who wouldn't normally post in this thread but I found an article that might interest some of you- particularly those of you who like sports/basketball in particular. Assuming this thread's been maintained by older dykes here, I couldn't think of a more appropriate space to post this.

I was just reading my friends pages on livejournal.com and an acquaintance of mine from college posted an article about this event that is happening in Portland, Maine. It's a basketball camp for 50+ women called "Not Too Late," and I think the friend I had from college was working at the rec center for the day or something, or she was just there, I'm not sure, but I took a look at what this was all about and I was like, Wow!

So here is the link to the article for anyone interested.


I think this is really great for those of you who are into sports and to keep in shape, you can play with people your age, do something that younger people typically do, and still have a good time and not worry about maybe not being able to keep up. I want to coach a kids softball team in the nearfuture, but I was really moved by this event and I wished I could've seen it with my own eyes!

I hope there will be things like this for when I hit that age, and for when the kids who are growing up now hit that age, too (what a scary thought!).

Anyway, scurrying out of here as fast as my young lil legs carry me!\

Enjoy, elders!


07-17-2006, 07:08 AM
(~) (~)

Young Mark's (Mark Rendall) family has been dealt a tragic blow. His parents have died in a car accident that's also left his sister deep in a coma and fighting to stay alive. To recover, Mark is sent to remote Sable Island, where his Aunt Fiona (Jane Seymour) has sequestered herself all these years to care for the horses that call the island's wildlife preserve home. Will the creatures help Mark heal the emotional wounds that have scarred him?

(~) Review:

The setting is starkly beautiful, and features a small herd of horses, however, not enough footage to be a horselover's feast. It was nice to see Jane Seymour onscreen, portraying the sequestered aunt who lives on an island inhabited soley (besides herself) by wild horses and a park ranger with whom she is at odds. Traumatic experiences in her life have sent her in search of solitude. She is resentful that her life is disrupted by her 10 year old nephew who comes to live with her after his family has been in a tragic accident. The film focuses on the developing relationship between the woman and boy in spite of their personal difficulties. In portraying this character, Ms. Seymour seems a bit stiff at first, but both the character and the portrayal warm up during the course of the film. The interviews describe layers of meaning and symbolism, but nothing very complicated or clearly conveyed in the film. As far as footage of horses, there is only a small herd of horses shown at different times throughout the film. To satisfy our horse fever, we replayed the beautiful scenes from the opening and closing credits and a dream sequence reminiscent of the visually poetic island scene from "The Black Stallion." The film relys on the performances of two individuals.

This is not a "deep" film, however, it does touch upon overcoming emotional trauma and pain, and going on with life. The ending of the movie brings a sense of closure and waxes philosophical. All in all, a sweet film that will leave you with a good feeling.

(y) (y) I have it three (*) 's.

Have a lovely Monday and rest of your week!

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:21 AM
(n) (n) (n) (n) (n)

Manilow tunes annoy residents

Agitation grows in Sydney suburb over tactic to oust revelers

Monday, July 17, 2006; Posted: 9:42 a.m. EDT (13:42 GMT)

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- It could be magic for some, but the use of loud Barry Manilow music to drive away late-night revelers from a suburban Sydney park is getting on the nerves of nearby residents.

In a move reminiscent of U.S. efforts to drive former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega from the Vatican Embassy where he took refuge in 1989, the local council in Rockdale, in Sydney's southern suburbs, started a six-month trial of high-volume hits by Manilow and Doris Day to chase away car enthusiasts who were gathering on weekend nights at Cook Park Reserve.

"Barry's our secret weapon," Rockdale Deputy Mayor Bill Saravinovski told The Daily Telegraph newspaper, four weeks after the start of the effort. "It seems to be working."

But some people living near the park are less than enthralled. They say the barrage of "Copacabana," "Could It Be Magic" and "Que Sera Sera," blasting from 9 p.m. to midnight every Friday, Saturday and Sunday is driving them crazy.

"I don't know how I will cope," said Moya Dunn, describing how the songs have invaded her house. "I just can't sleep when it's on, and to think there's going to be another six months of this."

Officials have given in a little, agreeing to turn down the volume a bit after residents complained.

"The initial reaction was that they found it irritating," Saravinovski said. "I'm not disputing what the residents are saying. I can't swallow some of the tracks like `Mandy.'

"We have tried to reduce the sound and we are reviewing the songs. I don't mind Marry Manilow, but I'm more of an ABBA and Celine Dion fan."

In 1989, U.S. soldiers blasted hard rock music and news bulletins about Panama at the Vatican Embassy in Panama City in attempt to drive Gen. Noriega from refuge there. The Vatican complained, and U.S. troops stopped the noise. Noriega later surrendered.


(*) (*) Just goes to prove that one person's favorite is another's nightmare. ;) I like BM and have since the 1970s. (not an everyday type of preference like Jim Chapell's lovely "New Age" type music).:D However, I do understand the residents' complaints. I guess they don't have MP3 players, iPods and the like to tune out.

(c) (c) I really need some right now.

(f) (f) 's


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:10 PM
:) :) :) :) :)


(p) (p) 's as well as streaming video. (y) (h)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:12 PM
;)(8) ;) (8) ;) (8)

Turn your computer into a rave! Interactive Flash animation that let's you be the DJ, the rapper, the crowd, the light designer—you name it! There's also a selection for just Old School scratching. Too cool...(h)



SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:13 PM
(h) (h) (h) (h)

1. Superbad: Weird and wonderful!

Call it a challenge to the imagination. Or a triumph of imagination! Best yet, just call it Internet Performance Art. Oh, never mind naming it—some things you've just got to experience for yourself...
We're not in Kansas anymore


2. The Celebrity 100: Who's who?

It's Forbes.com annual list of the 100 hottest, most powerful celebrities and athletes. Learn all about their comings & goings, earnings, and works in progress. Go on, indulge in your guilty pleasure, and see if you can guess who's on top!
Who's on the red carpet?


3. Mayo Clinic: Time to get in shape!

The world-renowned Mayo Clinic has assembled a cache of helpful articles and tips on starting your own fitness program. Also included are valuable tools like BMI calculator, calorie counter, as well as a vast database on drugs and supplements.
Work those abs!


4. Portraits made out of toast: High art and high fiber! :D :D :D

Not just for breakfast anymore. Check out these eye-popping toast portraits—from Elvis to the Mona Lisa—by New Zealand's renowned "Toastman."

Art is in the mouth of the beholder. ;)


(Of course this one above is from New Zealand!)

(*) (*) Enjoy!

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:15 PM
:| :| :| :| :|


:| :| :| :| :|

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:16 PM

:| :| :| :| :|


A new Sci Fi show from the creator of Hellboy, featuring the voices of Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce and Molly Shannon. (y) (h)

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:16 PM
(i) (i) (i)


;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:19 PM
(i) (i) (i) (i)

Tech analysts see signs of toil, trouble: If there were a color-coded advisory system for the risk of irrational exuberance, we'd be in a yellow alert right now. More analysts are starting to see more evidence of an "overhang" in venture capital -- too much money chasing too few good ideas. Part of the problem, the L.A. Times reports, is that money managers have been watching their holdings in the public markets stagnate, leading them to gamble more on hitting a winner in the start-up lottery, and that's a recipe for poor decisions. For examples, look to online video sharing, where YouTube has enjoyed staggering growth (now serving more than 100 million videos a day) and dominates the market. Trying to gain a toehold are sites like VideoEgg, Video Bomb, Blinkx.TV, Blip.TV, Guba, Grouper, Frozen Hippo, Blennus, Eefoof and, by one count, more than 200 other online video ventures, each confident it can somehow distinguish itself from the pack. "YouTube has been a cultural phenom," said Mike Hirshland, a general partner with Polaris Venture Partners. "But how many YouTube knockoffs have been funded in the last six to nine months? The market has capacity for a certain number of successful winners. Whether it's one, two or, if it's really exciting, three — you can debate. But eight?" George Zachary, a venture capitalist with Charles River, says, "I think 90 percent of them will disappear. And it won't be pretty."

And a growing giddiness is showing up other places as well. Mike Langberg of the Mercury News sees it in the rush of plans to offer wireless Net service in the Bay Area. "Everyone from corporate giants such as Intel and Cisco to ambitious start-ups to local governments are chasing a big opportunity: unplugging the Internet," he writes. "The goal is to provide a high-speed connection wherever you roam with a laptop computer, smart phone or future gadgets such as wireless digital music players. But there's a problem with such big opportunities: Everybody sees them, resulting in a tidal wave of potential overbuilding." Langberg counts five current and possible local projects, and wonders which can gain critical mass. "Consumers will almost certainly get inexpensive, robust, widely available wireless data service once all this gets sorted out," he says. "But anyone looking to profit by investing in these networks will need to be smart and lucky to come out on top."







(i) Seems like I got out when the going was good. ;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:22 PM
Which one are you? :) :)

The phrase “college student” usually conjures up images of young, scruffy, fun-loving, slightly intoxicated, “Animal House” types throwing the Frisbee around the quad. However, these “traditional” 18- to 22-year-old full-time undergraduate students residing on campus only represent 16 percent of the higher education population in the United States, or fewer than 3 million of the more than 17 million currently enrolled students. Instead, the vast majority of students are adult learners. And according to Eduventures, a research and consulting firm serving the education market, these adults can be categorized into four main groups: career advancers, career changers, enrichment seekers and regulatory compliers.

In its report “Assessing Consumer Demand for Adult Continuing and Professional Education,” Eduventures identified four key consumer groups that dominate the adult continuing and professional education market. Each group has distinct motivators, program preferences and purchasing behavior, and understanding those factors will be increasingly critical to those developing continuing and professional education programs and marketing strategies.

According to the reporter, career advancers primarily are enrolled in or interested in master’s degree programs. These consumers view a graduate degree as a ticket to career advancement, tend to choose doctoral degrees at a higher rate and place greater importance on a convenient location near work and the availability of online courses.

Career changers are slightly more likely to be interested in bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates, which are all often entry-level credentials for new careers. This group tends to place greater importance on a program’s specialized/professional accreditation, career services and affiliation with a professional organization.

Enrichment seekers represent the strongest audience for individual courses, both non-credit and for-credit, unaffiliated with a degree program. A large number of enrichment seekers are primarily enrolled in or interested in master’s and bachelor’s degree programs, but at a lower rate than the other groups. Enrichment seekers place the greatest importance on smaller class sizes.

Regulatory compliers tend to be more interested in certificate programs and for-credit courses than other types of consumers. They indicate a strong preference for continuing education units (CEUs) and professional development hours, which might not fall cleanly into the categories of a standard credential or course. This group is considerably less concerned about other criteria such as class size or student services, as well as cost or quality issues.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents cited career-related motivations as their primary motivation for pursuing continuing education. Most of these consumers are primarily interested in education to advance their careers, with 20 percent seeking to improve performance in their current jobs, 18 percent anticipating career changes and 11 percent preparing for new jobs in their current fields. An additional 16 percent are primarily motivated by mandated continuing education (i.e., required licensing, certification or CEUs) in their fields.

In their decisions about courses and programs among students and potential students surveyed, all ranked the attributes of quality, faculty competence, convenience and reputation at or near the top. These students and potential students also responded to advertising terms that reflected their primary priorities, including such phrases as “quality,” “flexible scheduling,” “academic excellence” and “affordable.”

According to the survey, course catalogs were rated as the most important information source, followed by a collection of online information sources (e.g., school Web sites, Web directories, search engines, e-mail) and referral-based sources (e.g., family and friends, co-workers).


(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:25 PM
:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

So Microsoft and Yahoo have finally made good on their promise of nine months ago to enable interoperability between their instant messaging networks. Beginning late Wednesday, users of Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger with Voice were able to chat with each other. "This first-of-its-kind interoperability between consumer IM leaders Microsoft and Yahoo! gives our customers tremendous control, convenience and freedom in their Web communication experiences with Windows Live," Blake Irving, corporate vice president for the Windows Live Platform, sputtered in a Microsoft press release. "We're proud to deliver this latest advancement in IM services that empower people to communicate with virtually whomever they want, wherever they want and whenever they want."

Three words for you, Blake: Big. Friggin. Deal.

What we really need is an open interoperability specification for all IM communications, not just a cooperative agreement between two companies allying against a common enemy with greater than 50 percent share of the IM market. Until that happens, I'll stick with IM clients like like Adium, Gaim, Trillian, Proeteus, and even Google Talk. "What is needed is true interoperability," writes Alec Saunders. "The players in the industry need to move to a common standard, be that XMPP, or SIP/SIMPLE, and provide mechanisms for individual users to present credentials and authorize on any network. What is the equivalent of cell phone roaming in the IM world?"










(y) (y) And some folks think I'm too careful about never using Yahoo IM with its security holes. :) There are SO many better IMs out there.(y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:27 PM
:) :)


(*) (*) Still grinning and I watched it this afternoon.;)

Pleasant dreams and peacful sleep...(S) (S)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:28 PM
:| :| :| :| :| :| :| :|


:| :| :| :| :| :| :| Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is as stupid as one gets.


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-17-2006, 07:32 PM
:) :)


(y) (h) (i) ...but I still wouldn't buy one. Cool for those who already have fish tanks I guess, or want to bring some to their office.(i) Definitely safer from those (@) (@) 's........;)


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Sleeping Boxer Puppy (S) (&) (S)

07-17-2006, 07:38 PM
:( :( :( :( :(


Alice Muniz and Oneida Garcia had their lesbian wedding all planned—down to the salsa band, rented yacht, and “twilight ceremony in New York Harbor,” said Andrew Jacobs in The New York Times. But that was before their state’s highest court called off the celebration. In a 4–2 decision last week, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that homosexual couples have no legal right to marry. For thousands of gay New Yorkers, the decision was a stunning setback. “In our eyes, we are married,” said Muniz. “It would have been nice if society could see us that way, too.”

With this ruling, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial, New York has turned back the clock on “history and justice.” Momentum for gay marriage has been building ever since the Massachusetts legislature approved same-sex unions in 2003. If there’s any consolation, it’s that it took decades for our nation to reject its racist anti-miscegenation laws. “Someday, we’ll look back on the anti-gay-marriage hysteria with the same revulsion.” But if that change occurs, it should be driven by popular will—not by the opinion of a few judges, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. New Yorkers are still free to fight for a law legalizing gay marriage in their state, and indeed, the court of appeals invited them to do so. The court’s majority simply found that the state’s constitution does not guarantee same-sex couples any “right” to marry. For once, a group of judges has resisted the “politically fashionable” impulse to legislate social change from the bench.

But look at the court’s tortured reasoning, said Sheryl McCarthy in Newsday. In order to justify denying marriage to gay people, the majority said it was reasonable to conclude that children are better off with straight parents—even though the judges admitted that there is no research supporting that assumption. The court also argued that since heterosexuals could make children out of wedlock by accident, it was in society’s interest to encourage them to marry—whereas gays needed no such encouragement. If these are the best arguments the court could find, said Ryan Sager in the New York Post, “the debate is already over.” Public opinion is already shifting; one recent statewide poll found that New Yorkers support gay marriage by a margin of 53 percent to 38 percent. Simple fairness is eroding old prejudices, and so is the need to protect the interests of the millions of children already being raised by gay parents. It may take some time yet, but “victory is at hand.”


(n) (n)


07-17-2006, 07:42 PM
:) :)


(i) (i) Ah, sounds pretty good as a cool (LITERALLY) get-away. It's pretty toasty here and pretty much everywhere lately.:|

(S) (S) Pleasant dreams,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-19-2006, 09:33 AM
love real life...

A news article from a Florida Newspaper

When Nathan Radlich's house was burgled, thieves left his TV, his
VCR, and even his watch. What they did take was a "generic white
cardboard box filled with grayish-white powder." (That at least is the way
the police described it.) A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said,
"that it looked similar to cocaine, and they'd probably thought they'd hit the big

Then Nathan stood in front of the TV cameras and pleaded with the
burglars, "Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She
died three years ago."

Well, the next morning the bullet-riddled corpse of a drug dealer
known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep. The cardboard box
was there too with about half of Gertrude's ashes remaining, and there was
this note which read, "Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted
Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister. No hard feelings. Have a nice day."

:D :D :D

Have a nice day.....;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-19-2006, 09:35 AM
:| :| True headline, check it out....:)


The Scotsman Tue 18 Jul 2006

Key quote

"You eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country. Takes him eight hours to fly home. Russia's big and so is China." - PRESIDENT BUSH

Story in full WORDS often fail George Bush, but yesterday the president of the United States added some new phrases to the language of international diplomacy.

A live microphone at the G8 summit picked up Mr Bush talking more like a teenager than leader of the free world. In a conversation with Tony Blair, the president said of the continuing strife in the Middle East that Syria should press Hezbollah to "stop doing this s***". Mr Bush had first attracted the Prime Minister's attention by saying: "Yo, Blair. How are you doing?"

This is not the first time Mr Bush has suffered the indignity of private communications becoming public. Last year, at a United Nations meeting, he passed a note to Condoleezza Rice, his secretary of state, saying: "I think I need a bathroom break. Is this possible?"

Yesterday's dialogue gave an insight into the president and the Prime Minister's personal relationship. Mr Bush thanked Mr Blair for his gift of a sweater, while the latter offered to visit the Middle East to lay the groundwork for a follow-up visit by Ms Rice.

The dialogue also revealed the president's preference for Diet Coke and his growing frustration with the UN. During the closing lunch at the G8 summit in St Petersburg in Russia, Mr Bush also expressed his disgust with the militant Islamic group and its backers in Syria. He told Mr Blair he felt like telling Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, to phone Bashar Assad, the Syrian president, to "make something happen".

Later, in a confused exchange with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, Mr Bush expressed his amazement that it will take Mr Putin just as long to fly home to Moscow as it will take him to fly back to Washington. Mr Putin's reply could not be heard.

Mr Bush said: "You eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country. Takes him eight hours to fly home. Russia's big and so is China."

Mr Bush is not the first US president to make a microphone faux pas. In 1984, Ronald Reagan, unaware a microphone was live, cracked a joke and said: "My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I have signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
The transcript

Bush: Yo, Blair. How are you doing?

Blair: I’m just...

Bush: You’re leaving?

Blair: No, no, no, not yet. On this trade thingy... (inaudible)

Bush: Yeah, I told that to the man.

Blair: Are you planning to say that here or not?

Bush: If you want me to.

Blair: Well, it’s just that if the discussion arises...

Bush: I just want some movement.

Blair: Yeah.

Bush: Yesterday we didn’t see much movement.

Blair: No, no, it may be that it’s not, it may be that it’s impossible.

Bush: I am prepared to say it.

Blair: But it’s just I think that we need to be an opposition...

Bush: Who is introducing the trade?

Blair: Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

Bush: Tell her to call ’em.

Blair: Yes.

Bush: Tell her to put him on, them on the spot. Thanks for [inaudible] it’s awfully thoughtful of you.

Blair: It’s a pleasure.

Bush: I know you picked it out yourself.

Blair: Oh, absolutely, in fact [inaudible].

Bush: What about Kofi? [inaudible] His attitude to ceasefire and everything else ... happens.

Blair: Yeah, no I think the [inaudible] is really difficult. We can’t stop this unless you get this international business agreed.

Bush: Yeah.

Blair: I don’t know what you guys have talked about, but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral.

Bush: I think Condi is going to go pretty soon.

Blair: But that’s, that’s, that’s all that matters. But if you... you see it will take some time to get that together.

Bush: Yeah, yeah.

Blair: But at least it gives people...

Bush: It’s a process, I agree. I told her your offer to...

Blair: Well...it’s only if I mean... you know. If she’s got a..., or if she needs the ground prepared as it were... Because obviously if she goes out, she’s got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.

Bush: You see, the ... thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s*** and it’s over.

Blair: [inaudible]

Bush: [inaudible]

Blair: Syria.

Bush: Why?

Blair: Because I think this is all part of the same thing.

Bush: Yeah.

Blair: What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way...

Bush: Yeah, yeah, he is sweet.

Blair: He is honey. And that’s what the whole thing is about. It’s the same with Iraq.

Bush: I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen.

Blair: Yeah.

Bush: [inaudible]

Blair: [inaudible]

Bush: We are not blaming the Lebanese government.

Blair: Is this...? (At this point Blair taps the microphone in front of him and the sound is cut.)


:D :D :D :D :D :D :D

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-19-2006, 09:41 AM
;) ;)

Posted on Tue, Jul. 18, 2006

Venture funds' big rebound


By Matt Marshall
Mercury News

Fundraising by venture capital firms and their big cousins, buyout firms, is on track to hit new records, which could pump more money into Silicon Valley companies and start-ups.

In the second quarter ended June 30, 50 venture capital firms raised $11.2 billion, the most since the first quarter of 2001 and well beyond the $6.8 billion raised in the first quarter of 2006, according to a report released Monday by Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association.

Several experts were surprised at the level of fundraising, not matched since the bubble years. Silicon Valley venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates and Oak Investment Partners led the way with mammoth funds: Oak raised $2.56 billion, the largest venture capital fund ever raised, and NEA came in a close second with a $2.25 billion fund.

Buyout firms raised $30.8 billion for the quarter, setting a record for the most money raised during the first half of a year: $53 billion.
``We cannot pretend that this isn't an incredible amount of money to invest,'' Mark Heesen, president of the venture capital association, said in a statement. ``It reflects a philosophy that companies need more money and a longer runway to go public today.''
The huge fundraising is good news for many Silicon Valley start-ups, as venture firms typically are required by their investors to invest the cash they raise, regardless of how many good ideas there are out there.

Already, large venture capital firms like NEA are moving aggressively to fund start-ups. For example, SugarCrm, a company that makes software that aids customer service relations, raised $18.77 million last year from a group of investors led by NEA, barely a year after being founded.

Also, big buyout firms flush with cash may be interested in acquiring start-ups, giving employees and venture capitalists a way to cash out the shares they own in their companies.

Buyout firms are looking for new ways to build companies, and rolling up many small companies into one big one is one way to do that, said Philippe Cases, a venture capitalist at Partech International in San Francisco.

Extra cash could also help companies go public, as complying with new regulations passed in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has made going public a more expensive process, he said.

A downside, however, could be that start-ups may see more competitors as more companies are funded.
The growth trend for buyout fundraising is likely to continue, said Alan Austin, chief operating officer of Silver Lake Partners, a Menlo Park buyout firm that has participated in some of the biggest technology buyouts in recent years. For example, in March last year, Silver Lake and six other buyout firms acquired software giant SunGard Data Systems for $11.3 billion, the largest ever such deal.

``This is a good thing for the industry,'' Cases said. ``It creates new ideas.''

(*) (*) Clearly, what blue-ship VC firms especially at 3000 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California do most definitely track drastically different from the stock markets!:| (I used to live near there for several years and even had an office near many of these stellar VCs. They are approachable as anyone I know. Not "empty suits" like many firms.:s ;)

(y) For one thing, the blue-chip VCs see a much larger big picture for sure, similar to the Japanese business practice of investing for the long-distant future.


;) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-19-2006, 09:46 AM
I related to this one. I used to have a 135 average! :)

Posted on Tue, Jul. 18, 2006

Techies spending spare time bowling


By Scott Duke Harris
Mercury News

Oracle's Larry Ellison races yachts. Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy is a scratch golfer.

The geeks from PBWiki have turned to another sport: bowling.

A new league opened the other night at the Palo Alto Bowl, organized by and for the entrepreneurs who, during the day, roll out the latest Internet ventures -- a field labeled ``Web 2.0.''

Now, the new ``Bowling 2.0'' league is putting a retro spin on Silicon Valley culture, beginning with the opening-night battle of thirtysomething turks from Socialtext against the twentysomethings from PBWiki.

``On the Web, trash talk is easy,'' league founders Paul Bragiel and Vinnie Tortelano wrote on the Web site www.bowling20.net. Tell some of these bowlers they have no chance of picking up the 7-10 split, ``and they'll come back to you with a beer in one hand and a shakin' fist in the other.''

To techies who spend most waking hours in front of a screen, such in-person gatherings can feel like a new new thing. So they're now gathering over brews and a game that anybody can play. The scene had a touch of irony, given that online social networking is at the heart of so many new Web ventures, including such sensations as MySpace and YouTube.

Among the league's 12 teams: Facebook, the social networking Web site; Skype, the Internet phone service owned by eBay; and a9, a successful start-up that came up with technology so clever the company was acquired by Amazon. (Ka-ching!)

Crews from more obscure outfits round out the league. Bragiel and Tortelano are the principals of Meetro, a social site that harnesses WiFi technology in hopes of creating a more intimate experience. Flock is an open-source ``social browser.'' VideoEgg is devoted to simplifying video delivery. And so on.

About 90 percent of the bowlers were men, with the notable exception of Women 2.0, a females-only team that brought together The Mint Pages, a beauty products consumer Web site, and Linx, a dating service.

Quality of play was erratic, and opening night had a motley appearance. That is sure to change once the bowling shirts arrive, each featuring company colors and logos.

The casual, friendly mood seemed to reflect the cooperative spirit that exists among young entrepreneurs who grew up with the Web, said Sanford Barr, bowling as a founder of STIRR, an outfit that organizes tech soirees. The cooperative spirit is a reflection of the Web itself. ``Everybody blogs,'' Barr explained. ``So everybody is aware what everybody else is doing. Everybody learns from each other.''
When 37-year-old Tim Chang of Gabriel Venture Partners heard about Bowling 2.0, he rounded up fellow VCs to form a team dubbed Veeceebo. ``Web 2.0 is probably Web 1.0 done right. There are no sock puppet ads, no NFL ads,'' Chang said. Business is conducted more at personal level, he said. ``It's not, `I'll meet you at Buck's for breakfast,' '' he said, referring to the VC hangout in Woodside.

While the dot-com boom put traditional business models online -- catalogs, retail, auctions -- the newer ventures ``would not and could not be conceived without the Internet experience,'' said bowler Aaron Patzer, a 25-year-old entrepreneur poised to launch a personal finance site.

Wikis, for example, are a class of software that enables users to collaborate on the creation and editing of a Web site. Wikipedia, the open-source, ad-free encyclopedia, is the hallmark non-profit example.

Socialtext and PBWiki push wikis for profit. Backed by serious venture funding, Socialtext creates robust ``enterprise wikis'' for corporate clients like Nokia. PBWiki, meanwhile, is a bootstrap outfit that aims for the masses -- ``make a free, password-protected wiki as easily as a peanut butter sandwich.''

On the bowling lanes, Socialtext trounced PBWiki, not that either team cared.

PBWiki captain David Weekly, 27, seemed blissfully unaware of the score. But he boasts that PBWiki is behind the creation of more than 100,000 wikis. Subscribers pay for upgrades, and it pulls in ad revenues as well. ``It's paying the bills,'' he said, smiling.
Will PBWiki make him rich? Weekly smiled some more, and mentioned a deal with a major university that will launch in the fall.

Someday, he said, PBWiki might be interested in venture funding.

So when PBWiki takes on Veeceebo, this really could turn into bowling for dollars.

(y) (y) (h) (h)

Much nicer day today, although the severe thunderstorms last night and heat lightning going on for hours did not surprise - the temp was 100 with "liquid-jello" humidity yesterday.:| :| :|

Even with central air? The temp inside was nearly 90 degrees.(w) (w)

Not feeling limp today!;) Off to run errands and get some course work reading work done. Wyatt's excited about "going bye-bye's in the truck", er, SUV. But then he doesn't know what an SUV is. :)

Stay cool wherever you are and whatever you're doing.(h)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-20-2006, 05:57 AM
:) :)

By increasing its user-friendly features, the user-generated video site just keeps getting more and more popular. But analysts are beginning to wonder how long YouTube can keep going at this pace without a solid business strategy in place, and a recent lawsuit points out a chink in its armor.

By Geoff Daily

July 18, 2006 Streaming Media

In case you hadn’t noticed YouTube.com’s something big, and I mean really big. The latest news from the video-sharing upstart turned market leader/creator that they serve more than 100 million videos a day shows just how big the phenomenon this company helped spark has become.

That number of 100 million is basically double the traffic the site supported just a couple of months ago, and YouTube expects to see this ramp up to continue at this torrid pace moving into the future. “We do not see growth slowing down any time soon, especially as more people are gaining access to broadband networks and digital devices that play video are becoming more advanced,” says Julie Supan, YouTube’s director of marketing.

But it’s not just YouTube that’s experiencing healthy growth, as demand for all user-generated content continues an upward trend. “The most important thing to note is how much the category is still growing,” says LeAnn Prescott, senior analyst at Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service that polls ISPs for information on Internet traffic to a wide variety of sites. In late May, Hitwise released data that showed a 164% increase in traffic to the top ten video sites over the three month period of March to May.

The two big challenges facing YouTube and its competitors now are sustaining that growth over coming months and, even more importantly, settling on business models that will allow them to actually monetize what until now has been a fad that’s, in financial terms at least, all sizzle and no steak.

Expanding Capabilities
YouTube's strategy to help keep their traffic expanding is to build upon the strengths that put them where they are. “YouTube has experience extraordinary growth since we launched because of the innovative new platform and community we have built around video entertainment,” says a YouTube spokeperson.

Over the last couple of months, YouTube has expanded the capabilities of that platform in a number of interesting ways, although arguably with mixed results as to their incremental impact on maintaining the site’s near-term growth. Here’s a brief overview of those enhancements.

Further blurring the lines between traditional TV and online video, YouTube’s introduced the ability for publishers to create channels of their content. “Video content creators, be it user-generated or professional content, are becoming the online broadcasters, record labels, and movie studios of tomorrow,” says Supan. “Channels give them the ability to control and share entertainment—a privilege long enjoyed only by traditional media.”

Yet it’s unclear how popular these channels are. “Right now if you look at the most used channels on both Yahoo! Video and YouTube, there’re really not that many subscribers to these specific channels. People can subscribe to channels, but how often are they doing it?” says Prescott. “The channels are just an enhanced way to get content delivered to you that you might like, but I don’t think that it’s a killer app that’s going to make or break these online video sites.”

Mobile Uploading
“Uploading and sharing video from your mobile phone is easy and requires the following: a mobile device that can take video and sent Multimedia Messaging Services messages; an Internet access or data plan from a service provider, we currently support uploads from Cingulair, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon; and a YouTube member account,” says Supan.

The downside to mobile is lower quality video, but the upside is that the number of video phones in use is expected to expand in the next several years, brining that many more potential screens to YouTube and other content publishers.

Blog Video
“The Blog Video feature is just another way YouTube is making sharing and watching video easier and more interactive for the community. YouTube currently supports Blogger, BlogSpot, and LiveJournal with more platforms on the way. People can post videos and text for the video directly to their blog with the click of a button,” says a YouTube spokesperson.

The question then becomes, how popular will this feature be given the relatively slow adoption of video blogging through other platforms? “We haven’t seen a huge increase in podcasting. They haven’t become main sites on the web like blogs. So we’ll have to see how it goes in the next few months,” says Prescott. “It’s summer and kids are out of school, so people are going to have a lot more time to spend on this stuff, so it’ll be interesting to see if that has an impact.”

Video Response
Perhaps the most interesting outgrowth of YouTube’s platform wasn’t something that was inspired by some internal thinktank but rather by simply watching how their users were using their existing technology.

“Video Responses came about when we noticed that our users were communicating with each other through their videos,” says Supan. “Text comments and messages are great, but our users created something really innovative completely on their own with Video Responses. It’s been amazing to watch our users create an entirely new mechanism for communicating with one another in this way.”

What Goes Up…?
In many ways, YouTube is blazing a trail that only a small handful of companies have come close to traversing in the past. What’s unknown is how their continued growth will compare to those that have come before it. “What are the Internet laws of gravity? Does what goes up must come down? I don’t know,” says Prescott.

“We’ve seen that while MySpace has had tremendous growth over the last two years, it’s growth is tending to slow down,” Prescott continues. “There tends to be a point of market saturation for these kinds of things, but online video is really only six to eight months old in terms of having some sort of general popularity, so we could see another few years or at least a year of rampant growth until we get a sense for how this will all shake out.”

Even YouTube admits that they don’t have any clear sense for where this growth is headed over the coming months. “Our numbers continue to grow exponentially month after month, so it’s nearly impossible to project what our numbers will look like by year’s end,” says Supan.

A big variable in this equation is the entrance of many new competitors in this field, both in the form of smaller startups and larger media companies getting into the game. In the meantime, YouTube has continued to maintain its position as the market leader, with growth that still laps the field even of its largest competitors. “YouTube is really the leader in this space. They have the largest market share in this category and have really show some of the biggest growth rates,” says Prescott. During the three-month period cited by Hitwise earlier, YouTube’s growth in traffic was at 84%, whereas visits to Yahoo! were up only 16% and Google Video was flat.

Legal Questions
One potential roadblock to YouTube’s continued growth could arise if content owners demand the site removes clips that have been posted there without its permission. “Lazy Sunday,” the Saturday Night Live bit that first brought YouTube to the attention of many last winter, was pulled at NBC’s request, though the site still hosts plenty of television clips that are clearly there without the owners’ permission, and some of that content is the site’s most popular.

Even more vexing would be if content owners started suing YouTube for damages based upon unauthorized posting of their work. The first such suit was filed this week by videojournalist Robert Tur, whose footage of the beating of Reginald Dennis during the 1992 Los Angeles riots was posted to the site without his authorization. Tur filed suit based on the 2005 Supreme Court ruling that held file-sharing services responsible for deliberately encouraging copyright violation. The journalist claims that his clip was viewed more than 1,000 times in one week, and he’s seeking $150,000 per violation, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

YouTube’s Setbon said in a statement that the suit was without merit, as the site removed the clip as soon as Tur brought it to their attention.

And What About That Business Model?

YouTube took its first steps toward an ad-supported model early this year with text-based ads, then went further in July with a banner ad campaign for Disney movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. NBC also recently announced that it would begin promoting its fall television lineup on YouTube; in addition to Saturday Night Live, the network’s My Name Is Earl and The Office would seem to be perfect fits for the site.

But aside from the $11.5 million in backing it received from Sequoia Capital, YouTube is playing its financial cards close to the vest, though Supan acknowledges that some sort of ad-supported model forms the bulk of the company’s business plan.

“Over time, YouTube will have created a new model, just as Google created a new model for Web-based ads,” she told the San Jose Mercury News earlier this week. “The path to profitability is in sight.”

She acknowledged, however, that the site’s users are likely to balk at traditional pre-and post-roll ads. “We want to get it right,” she told the newspaper. “It’s not just a matter of whether or not the advertiser will find value. It’s also whether the users find value in it.”

(y) (h) (y) (h) (y) (h)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-20-2006, 06:01 AM
:) :) :) I will ALWAYS (unless a client project requires it) GO WITH FLASH. It uses very few bits/bytes for lots of BANG!! :)

Video quality shouldn't be the only--or even the most important--factor when it comes to selecting a format. Scalability, rights management, user experience, and other considerations are just as crucial to your decision.

By Dan Rayburn

July 18, 2006 Streaming Media

It’s been about 14 years since streaming media technology was first used on the internet and, like it or not, after 14 years no single format is considered the standard for video delivery today. Competing formats from Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, and Real all still vie for market share across various business verticals and playback devices. For many content creators, confusion still reigns over which format or formats content providers should encode and deliver their content in.

Though Real and Apple's QuickTime both have their fans, Microsoft and Macromedia/Adobe have won the bulk of both the B2B and consumer-content format market share. Which means people ask me all the time, “Which format is better, Flash or Windows Media?” With that question in mind, lets look at some of the differences between Flash and Windows Media that will assist you in making that decision. Compression specialists and engineers all have their opinions when it comes to comparing things like codecs, server options, and the hard-core technical details of each platform, but for the purpose of this article I am going to cover basic facts, not opinions.

Crucial to this discussion is that the format makes no difference if you don’t know who your audience is, what they want to see, how they want to see it, and how your business model works for delivering those things to viewers. Knowing your customer is the most important aspect of any business, especially when you are delivering content via streaming or downloading. If you don’t know your audience, you have bigger problems to worry about than which format(s) to choose.

With that in mind, let’s look at some differences between Flash and Windows Media and the strengths and weaknesses of each format. For starters, it’s impossible to compare one format to another unless you are comparing them in specific verticals. Adoption rates and usage vary greatly among the enterprise, media/entertainment, broadcast, education, and government markets, as well as among geographic regions.

Yes, there is no question Flash has been one of the hottest topics in the industry the past 12 months and each day we continue to see more and more content on the web in the Flash format, for specific content markets. But most of that adoption for Flash has been in the media and entertainment vertical as well as the video advertising market. No one would argue that in the video adverting market, Flash has Windows Media beat hands-down. But in the enterprise market, which I classify as Fortune 1000 as well as internal streaming communications users, Windows Media still reigns supreme. Flash is typically used for short-form content (under 30 minutes in length) whereas Windows Media is still generally used for any long-form content. Different industry verticals have different adoption rates.

Look on the web; how many live events do you see in the Flash format? Live streaming (webcasting) is primarily done in the Windows Media format, not Flash. Microsoft has a free Windows Media encoder tool for this purpose. Adobe does not yet have its own live Flash encoder and requires you to build your own or use one from a third party.

As of today, Flash has no digital rights management component and does not give users the ability to download videos to their desktops. Windows Media has digital rights management and is widely used for content models that let users download video or audio content while limiting their ability to copy it.

When it comes to audio-only streaming or downloading, Windows Media is still the dominant format. Typically, the Flash format is not used without some sort of video component involved. So for content such as music, or porting content to portable devices and mobile hardware, Windows Media is still the winner. Adobe has done some deals in the handset and carrier markets porting the Flash platform over to wireless devices, but its primary use is for Flash-based design and content services like games, not video. So far, Windows Media still has Flash beat in terms of carrier and handset adoption for actual video.

Windows Media also supports multi-bit-rate encoding and the ability to scale the video playback window without problems. Flash does not support any variable bit rate encoding at this time, and scaling the Flash video window greatly reduces the quality of the video. As for the cost to stream content via a content delivery network (CDN), Windows Media is cheaper than Flash, as CDNs have to charge a platform license fee imposed by Adobe to use a Flash Media Server. This fee is small, but it can add up quickly for anyone delivering large amounts of streaming videos, and these days, delivering videos is a volume business.

At this point you might be saying, “Hmm. Sounds like Windows Media wins.” Maybe it does for your particular business or content need, but there are some strengths of Flash you should know about as well.

When it comes right down to it, most people I speak to who use Flash say they do so because the browser plug-in has a higher penetration rate than the Windows Media Player. Does it? No one really knows. Adobe has third-party metrics that say 97.7% of web users have the Flash Player installed, but these numbers vary based on region and player version. Also, just because someone has the player installed doesn’t mean that they use it. For you, the most reliable data on player install numbers is what you see from your customers. That’s all that matters.

The biggest advantage the Flash format has over Windows Media is the end-user experience. When it comes to Flash Video, users don’t think about whether they have a player installed, what version it is, what codecs are installed, or any of the technical details. You go to a website and the video just works. It’s seamless, it’s part of the content experience, and it takes the technical questions out of the picture. That’s what consumers like: ease of use. Many content creators want to make it as simple as possible for viewers to consume as much content as possible.

When people describe Flash Video, the terms they often use are immersive and interactive, like the ability to roll your cursor over a Flash Video and interact with that content. When it comes to customizing the video player, adding additional video data, and designing a website around that video, Flash beats Windows Media. The huge benefit for Adobe is that web developers already develop in the Flash format. Flash is considered the standard for web developers in terms of adding interactivity to websites, so it’s natural for them to develop websites with added video components in the Flash development environment.

That being said, Flash loses to Windows Media when it comes to tools that allow you to edit video that has already been encoded, as Adobe does not make any tools that allow you to edit an FLV file. Windows Media toolkits are far more robust than Flash, and Microsoft provides a player, something Adobe lacks, forcing you to have to build your own or get one from a third party.

Embedding video into a web page is easier in the Flash format and does not require a stand-alone player like some sites do for Windows Media-based content. Websites that include Flash Video make the video seem like part of the overall experience of the site, as opposed to treating it like a separate component from the site, the way many sites do with Windows Media Video. Flash also tends to work better across multiple browsers than does Windows Media, not to mention across PC platforms. Yes, Windows Media video does work on Macs, but it is not a seamless experience. The Mac player does not support digital rights management functionality, some of the newest audio and video codecs are not supported with the Mac player, and the new Intel-based Macs require a plug-in called Flip4Mac (www.Flip4Mac.com) in order to play Windows Media videos at all.

For some content creators, the extra cost involved in delivering Flash is worth it if they can provide a better end-user experience, while for others, Windows Media suits their goals just fine. The whole point is that this is not about one platform being better than another. It's about using the best platform or combination of platforms based on your type of content, the device(s) you are delivering it to, and the end users you want to reach. Only you can decide which platform(s) to use based on the answers to those questions, and many times, content creators use multiple platforms to reach the widest numbers of users.

As the debate over the Flash and Windows Media formats continues to rage on in the industry, so does the battle between Adobe and Microsoft over which platform will reign supreme. Adobe is hard at work on Flash 9 (it shipped the player in late June) while Microsoft, not to be outdone, has announced it is working on a competing product, now called Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer, the release of which would coincide with that of their next-generation Windows operating system, Windows Vista. Although the target audiences of Expression Interactive Designer and Flash overlap somewhat, Microsoft is targeting its product towards creating user interfaces for Windows Presentation Foundation programs, while Flash focuses on user interfaces that run on many platforms, primarily over the web. And you know Microsoft—when they want to win something, you can never count them out.

It’s been a long time since the early days (circa 1999) when we saw the last good format battle in the industry. Some may disagree, but Adobe and Microsoft aggressively competing with one another is great for everyone. As we have seen in the past, competition between the platforms helps drive new and improved video quality, scalability, and functionality to the market a lot sooner. Good technology is not the savior of any industry--adoption is the key—but any platform that is going to make video consumption over any device smoother and easier will be adopted over time.

Come Q4 of this year and the beginning of next, we’ll see both companies really stepping up to the plate with new announcements and product offerings. And with Microsoft and Adobe both possessing plenty of resources for both product development and marketing, it’s going to shape up to be a real platform battle. Round two is just getting underway.

(y) (y) (y) Video compression has been not only an area of keen interest - I made exceptionally good $$ for over a decade evaluating codecs and conducting benchmark studies, etc. FUN!!!(h) (h) (h) Still do it for the right client.:)

There I go again......the grrl-propeller-head...;)

Have a delightful Thursday!

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-20-2006, 06:08 AM
:o :o :o

(y) (h) video footage of mountains though.........as he's flying.....


(i) Not me - just like I'd never jump out of a perfectly good airplane.(y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-20-2006, 06:10 AM
:| :| :| :|


(o) (o) for more (c) and maybe reading some more of the chewy assigned readings for this week.

Got another article to edit and get out to an editor yet today. (It is always nice to be bringing more than a few pounds of bacon in to keep Wyatt and I in the lifestyle to which we are accustomed. Oh yea, right. Had enormous homes with accompanying bank payments in the 1980s and 1990s on both coasts. Attracted and let into my life total loonies needing to be taken care of. No thanks. Been there and it has been years since I allowed it.

Solitude is such a precious gift......ah, nature calls - maybe this afternoon at a local park with Wyatt - to chase a few mental cobwebs away after getting my work done.(y) (y)

Life is best lived more simply, in my view, and that means not chasing after every single project, which requires 24/7 working round the clock. And no time to play games Wyatt loves to play.

Not this lady. Maybe for the once in a blue moon outstanding client project and then only for a month or two at the longest. And then it would be on my terms, such as being able to conduct much of the research via desktop teleconference - replacing the old days of my butt in a plane seat each week traveling to F2F research interviews.

(y) (y) Wyatt will not spend the weeks my previous Boxers did in very nice kennels.(l) They are still *kennels*.

(c) (c) That reminds me of looking again today for a laptop with wireless broadband capability. The prices will drop again after school starts for the kids (Thank God/Dess not mine!) in September.:o

Safe travels and peaceful thoughts today. (f)

(f) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-21-2006, 02:48 PM
:D :D :D


;) ;)

Stay cool......(h) (Literally....;)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-21-2006, 02:50 PM
:o :o


;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-21-2006, 02:51 PM
:| :| :|


;) ;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-21-2006, 02:53 PM
:s :s :s

Posted on Thu, Jul. 20, 2006

Heirs to the throne

Thrilled plumbers get a look at a rare discovery: a 19th century wooden toilet they plan to preserve.


Pioneer Press

St. Paul plumbers were flushed with joy Wednesday when they rescued the Model T of their profession: a primitive wooden toilet harking to the late 1800s.

The tradesmen, all members of St. Paul Plumbers Local 34, worked like surgeons as they extracted the toilet from the dilapidated second floor of the old B&M Furniture store at 250 E. Seventh St. Jim Berg, owner of Twin Cities Magic and Costume Co. on West Seventh Street, is renovating the building into his new store location and agreed to donate the rare discovery to the plumbers' group.

Most professionals in the industry have heard of such toilets — which resemble an indoor outhouse — but have never stood in the presence of one so well preserved. That this vintage St. Paul toilet remained intact turned news of the potty into, well, a party.

"It's like they just stepped away from it and never touched it again," said a grinning Rick Gale as he snapped pictures of the wall-mounted wood tank and pull chain. "It'd be like a mechanic walking into a garage that was closed in 1930 and everything inside it was left just the way it was."

The fixture likely would have served employees of the cigar-box factory in the building back then.

The building has been a sewing goods distributor, freight warehouse and a furniture store, among other things.

Sequestered behind a tiny stall, a wooden "throne" supported by cast-iron legs framed the porcelain bowl. The seat lid opened like a piano bench, revealing two large cracks in the bowl and grime that would cause even Mr. Clean to shudder.

The plumbers, though, saw only beauty in the lead pipes, the primitive brackets and the simple metal clamp that fixed the bowl to the trap. They said the relic spoke to some of the earliest days of their trade.

"It's basically like a time capsule," said Ron Wallraff, a steamfitter who discovered the gem when snooping around the construction site.

"This is our Titanic," Gale said.

The plumbers plan to enshrine it at their local's training center at St. Paul College.

They'll clean up the bowl, shine up the wood and display it in their shop area. Gale, the local's training director, wants to cordon it off with velvet ropes.

Berg, of the magic shop, said he didn't think twice about giving away the toilet when he began to get calls from the tradesmen.

"It just seemed a nice way to preserve it," Berg said. "And who would better appreciate it than the plumbers?"


(y) Makes watching "Deadwood" all that much realistic......:o


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-21-2006, 03:03 PM
(~) Gosford Park (2001)

When Sir William (Michael Gambon) is found dead soon after his guests arrive at his English estate, Lady Sylvia (Kristin Scott Thomas), Constance (Maggie Smith), Ivor (Jeremy Notham) and his other guests try to make sense of it. Meanwhile, gossip flies among the household help, including Mrs. Wilson (Helen Mirren), Henry (Ryan Philippe) and Parks (Clive Owen). Director Robert Altman's witty murder mystery won an Oscar for its screenplay.


Maggie Smith Clive Owen
Michael Gambon Kristin Scott Thomas
Helen Mirren Camilla Rutherford
Ryan Phillippe Charles Dance
Emily Watson Geraldine Somerville
Tom Hollander Jeremy Northam
Bob Balaban Alan Bates

(~) Review: Altman turns the tired old Agatha Christie-genre movie on its ear, takes aim at the English class system and hits the mark dead on. He's been quoted as saying you really need to see this more than once and I think he's right. There's such a lot going on and it's easy to miss things amid the overlapping chatter, multiple sub-plots and sorting out the huge ensemble cast. More than holding her own among them is Kelly MacDonald ("My Life So Far, "Two Family House"), who plays Maggie Smith's maid and solves the crime in a wow of a performance. Smith is superb. As are Clive Owen and Helen Mirren and just about everybody else. Terrific movie. If there's more than a smidgen of anglophile-mystery lover-Altman fan in you, consider this one a must-see.

(y) (y) I gave it through netflix, 5 stars!! I absolutely LOVE England-based films, especially "period" films - whether earlier in the 20th century or back during the 1800s-1900s.

Between those and U.S. westerns with the occasional Ocsar-nominated foreign film - what more could a lady ask for - relative to movies, that is......;)


(~) Shadows in the Sun (2005)

On a pilgrimage to Italy to find Weldon Parish (Harvey Keitel), his literary idol, a budding young writer named Jeremy (Joshua Jackson) finds exactly what he's looking for -- and then some. But a funny thing happens while Weldon's encouraging Jeremy to expand his worldview: He finds his protégé has something to say, too. Claire Forlani co-stars as Weldon's daughter Isabella, who takes an unabashed interest in her father's admirer.

(~) Review:

"Shadows" is totally predicatable fluff set in absolutely beautiful surroundings. Additionally, you can't help but liking everyone in it [except for Keitel's boorish nemesis but he fits the part well]. There is also a classicly perfect 30's Hollywood ending. The movie is thoroughly enjoyable and divinely lush to look at and that's why you can't stop watching it. If you don't want to pack your bags and head off to the village where this movie was made go directly instead to the nearest shrink. Claire Forlani gives another winning performance not to mention being drop dead gorgeous. Think, e.g., Ava Gardner, Ann Sheridan, Rita Hayworth. Her smile could simultaneously light up every movie theater in America but don't let her beauty allow you to ovelook her acting skills. She is a dynamite actor. See her in "Meet Joe Black", as a convincing junkie undercover cop in "Gone Dark", and here.

(~) This is a gently paced, tenderly told film. That said, it's not fluffy, it's not boring, and it is funny--several laugh out loud moments--as well as very touching. Joshua Jackson does an extraordinary job surrounded by a team of amazing actors in showing the journey of growth his character takes both for himself and for his idol. Completely recommend this.

(*) (*) (*) I gave it three stars.

(k) (k) 's & a ({) (}) ,

Sweetlady and Wyatt, the napping Boxer Puppy (S) (&) (S)

07-21-2006, 03:10 PM
(y) (y) There is never, in my view, enough music in the world, and specifically in my life.

(8) (8) (8) (8) One favorite song on the "We Can't Dance" CD or album as I like to call them sometimes:

Tell Me Why

Tony Banks/Phil Collins/Mike Rutherford

Mothers crying in the street
Children dying at their feet, tell me why
People starving everywhere
There's too much food but none to spare, tell me why

Can you see that shaft of sunlight
can you see it in my eyes
I can feel the fire that's burning
anger and hope so deep
so deep within my heart before my eyes
for some it's too late
it seems there's no-one listening

People sleeping in the streets
no roof above, no food to eat, tell me why

If there's a God, is he watching
can he give a ray of hope
so much pain and so much sorrow
tell me what does he see
when he looks at you
when he looks at me
what would he say
it seems there's no-one listening

Who would think it still could happen
even in this time and place
politicians, they may save themselves
but they won't save their face
just hope against hope it's not too late

You say there's nothing you can do
is there one rule for them and one for you,
tell me why

Listen can you see that shaft of sunlight
can you see it in my eyes
I can feel the fire that's burning
anger and hope so deep
so deep within my heart before my eyes
for some it's too late
it seems there's no-one listening

Hurry for me, hurry for me, they cry


(8) (8) (8) Try to find a 30 second clip on amazon if you're interested and don't know the song.

({) (}) 's,

Sweetlady and Wyatt the wide-awake :| Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-21-2006, 03:21 PM
:) :)

Genesis - Throwing It All Away Lyrics

Need I say I love you
need I say I care

Need I say that emotion's something we don't share?
I don't want to be sitting here
trying to deceive you

'Cause you know I know
that I don't wanna go.
We cannot live together
we cannot live apart

That's the situation
I've known it from the start.
Every time that I look at you I can't see the future

'Cause you know I know baby that I don't wanna go.

Just throwing it all away
throwing it all away

Is there nothing that I can say
to make you change your mind ?
I watch the world go round and round
and see mine turning upside down -
Throwing it all away!

Now who will light up the darkness and who will hold your hand?
You will find you're the answers when you don't understand

Why should I have to be the one who nas to convince you

'Cause you know I know
that I don't wanna go.
Some doy you'll be sorry
some day when you're free

Memories will remind you that our love was meant to be.
But late at night
when you call my name

the only sound you'll hear
Is the sound of your voice calling
calling out to me.

Just throwing it all awqy
throwing it all away

When there's nothing that I can say -
we're throwing it all away

Yes we're throwing it all away

we're throwing it all away!

(*) (*) :'( :'( Hey, these lyrics "fit" with my life events back in 1987 while living in the Bay area - as in San Francisco East Bay.

(y) (y) I am delighted to share that although the song is still an oldie among goodies, I do not have the angst in this song - and I do not anticipate ever having that again.....thank goodness. :)

(i) (i) What is this? An online version of "American Bandstand" here on a Friday afternoon? <giggling.....and I almost never do that....:) I once *was* a disk jockey - at a radio station during my college years as well as spinning the disks at places like the Purple Rhino and many others during the disco days of the 1970's. <sigh> It was a good living to pay the undergraduate tuition for sure!

Have a relaxing Friday night and weekend, all. (f) (f)

Sweetlady & Wyatt the now chewabacka from "Star-Wars" Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-21-2006, 03:31 PM
:) :)

Last episode, last Sunday: "A Rich Find""


(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) The last three episodes are on tonight on HBO starting at 8:00 PM EDT. I still have lots of work to do yet and may wait and watch them a second time via "on-demand" thorugh COMCAST.(l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

Have fun, whatever you're doing and with whom you're doing it with. :)

({) (}) 's to those living alone or feeling alone tonight or any night. ({) (}) 's


Sweetlady and Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-22-2006, 09:33 AM
:| :|

Its humility. You know, that wonderful self-deprecating humor and modesty that puts a human face on the company's finely calibrated insouciance and arrogance (see "You've been studying the obfuscatory genius of White House spokesman Scott McClellan again, haven't you?", "Google a Googler, pay the price," and "New from Google Labs: Google Sofa"). To wit, the comments of Google CEO Eric Schmidt at The Herb Allen Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, last week. Asked to comment on the southward turn Google's press coverage took prior to its IPO, Schmidt offered up this precious little sound bite (audio):

"Between the time we filed to go public and the time we went public, the press was among the most unpleasant I have ever experienced," Schmidt said. "We were 'idiots,' we were 'useless.' We probably were idiots, I'm not criticizing the press. ... So, we looked at traffic and revenue and they were exploding. We had a very, very strong quarter right after the worst possible press about 'the idiots running the company.' ... So, yes we are idiots -- and please write that down."

Good one, Eric. How many times did Elliot Schrage have you rehearse that one in front of the mirror?





(n) Talk about mind-numbingly-bumble!:s



SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-22-2006, 09:35 AM
;) ;)



(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-22-2006, 09:48 AM
:o :o


(y) Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the softest, youngest-looking skin of all? Hmm, must be watching too many Bare Escentuals' shows and informercials.......;) The products rock though, figuratively and literally. Rocks....minerals, get it?

COMCAST digital has been down since 10:22 last night during a severe thunderstorm. After getting up at 5:30 a.m. to take Wyatt outside, I noticed the cable modem wasn't working and called COMCAST's service line.

Grrrr. Monday, I call Verizon and order their fiber optic service - 3 MB down and 2 MB upload should be enough for work and course work. I need to have a back-up digital parachute, especially with Sunday, midnight deadlines.....:s

I HATE COMCAST in this area!!! A multiplexer board in the local pedastal for this development has burned out at least a dozen times in the last few months - which means that it is a backplane or motherboard problem. GRRRRRR.....I even diagnose their service interruptions and it still takes them hours into days to fix. WAPITA!!!!! (What A Pain In The A**)


(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-22-2006, 10:05 AM
The Native American “masks” had many and varied purposes, from entertainment to spiritual and/or medicinal purpose. Many Tribes believe/believed that when a person donned certain masks for specified ceremonies or rituals, the actual spirit of the animal depicted entered the individual wearing it and thus the individual was able to share this creatures power to some degree, be it strength, purpose, wisdom, and the like.


(p) : http://www.snowwowl.com/images/legacy6.jpg

(p) : http://www.sfaol.com/store/masks/clownmask_2.jpg

I want this one!

(p) : http://www.birdsbyrandjack.com/imgs-1/Masks/eagle.jpg (l) (l)

Abalone and maple wood.....gorgeous!


(l) (l) (l) (l) : Hopi Masks



http://www.enamelsetc.com/images/Masks-6-13x16-hopi-sun-mask-Mvc-002s.jpg NICE!

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-22-2006, 10:19 AM
:) :)






Early Navajo: http://www.humboldt.edu/~rwj1/navb/005.jpg

Where the above blanket came from: www.humboldt.edu/~rwj1/navb/nov5.html

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelley:


Navajo Saddle Blankets: www.begayfossdesigns.com/

Absolutely gorgeous blues:


(*) (*) The grey day has not affected my mood. :) It has, however put Wyatt to sleep.(S)

(o) to get back into what has got to be the worst - "chewyful, academic" reading......specifically, philosophies and then relate to "educational practice". What educational practice? Me? ;) I am a consultant and published writer. I'll figure out ways to tie the chewy reading assignment to my "work" - of that, I am certain. Got to continue the "A" GPA...;-)

(c) (c) Maybe some fresh cup of bean will pick me up.

Peaceful thoughts,

SL & WTBP (l) (S) (&) (S) (l)

07-25-2006, 04:56 AM

The Sunday Times (U.K.) July 16, 2006

A one-woman cultural revolution

Gong Li is the actress who brought Chinese film into western cinemas. But now she’s back. In Miami? With a Cuban accent? David Eimer reports.

Gong Li was always destined to be a star. At 21, she was plucked from her class at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing by the director Zhang Yimou to star in his debut film, Red Sorghum; within a couple of years, she was the best-known actress in China. Her extraordinary performances in early 1990s movies such as Raise the Red Lantern and Farewell My Concubine meant that to most western filmgoers, she was Chinese cinema. At least, that was the case until the beginning of this decade, when she took a two-year break from acting. “There were just no roles that were worth my time,” Gong explains. “I felt they were average and anyone could do them — it didn’t need to be me. I look for roles that not everyone can play, where I can say, ‘I have to play this part. You can get another actress to play it, and that’s fine, but I’ll be the best at it.’ ”

Sitting in a hotel overlooking Hong Kong harbour, Gong makes it clear she doesn’t do false modesty. On the contrary, she has a highly developed sense of her own worth, a result perhaps of her iconic status at home. “A lot of my movies were banned in China,” she says. “But even when the government weren’t happy with the roles I played, they wouldn’t do anything to me. I’ve always been very popular.” She says it with a smile that’s the equivalent of a wink. On screen, Gong can freeze people with a mere look. But in the flesh, she’s a disarmingly honest woman, with a big laugh that she uses often. Tall and striking rather than classically beautiful, she’s casually dressed in a purple velvet hoodie, jeans and a low-cut white top that reveals an ample chest. She looks far younger than her age, which is 40.

She is now at the stage when most actresses are on the downward slide to playing supporting roles as mums and fierce career women. Gong, though, seems to be having a second wind that’s more of a hurricane than a gentle gust. She didn’t so much announce her return as shout about it earlier this year with a scene-stealing, gloriously over-the-top performance as a vindictive older geisha in Memoirs of a Geisha. Now, with a slew of high-profile projects coming up, she is set to conquer Hollywood.

First up is Michael Mann’s long-planned big-screen version of Miami Vice, in which she plays the female lead. That will be followed by roles in Wong Kar Wai’s segment of the Eros trilogy, and Young Hannibal: Behind the Mask, the latest instalment in the saga of Hannibal Lecter. Then, in November, Gong will start shooting Tim Burton’s new film, The Yellow M, starring opposite Jim Carrey. Her arrival in Hollywood is all the more remarkable after the false start she made to her career in English-language movies nine years ago, when she and Jeremy Irons both looked out of place in the little-seen Chinese Box. “I’d forgotten about that film until you mentioned it — I always do,” Gong says with disdain. Her underdeveloped part served only to put her off working in the West. “A lot of the roles around then seemed to be decoration, where you didn’t really need to act, so I didn’t look in that direction then. Now, it’s very different.”

The desire to play characters nobody else can is satisfied by her role in Miami Vice, as Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban banker for a drugs-and-arms-trafficking cartel. There aren’t any Chinese-Cuban actresses of note, maybe none at all, but Gong not only has the curves to suggest she could be part-Hispanic, but is a mean salsa dancer, too. Further piquing her interest was the fact that Michael Mann had been chasing her for more than 10 years. “He contacted me when he was making Heat, but I couldn’t do it — I didn’t have the time,” she says. “But I like his films, and I really liked the character. Other people might think she’s evil, but I like the fact that she goes after what she wants.”

For those of a certain age, Miami Vice will bring back memories of the 1980s TV series. Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas played Crockett and Tubbs, two undercover cops whose work gave them access to the glitzy lifestyle — all sports cars, speedboats and designer labels — that their targets, the Cuban and Colombian drugs gangs, took for granted. Flash and shallow, but grounded in the reality of Miami’s emergence in the 1980s as the unofficial capital of Latin America, the show fitted its time perfectly.

Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t shown in China. “I’d never seen it, but Michael Mann gave me lots of tapes of it before we started shooting. I think maybe back then it was entertaining and cool, but it’s a bit dated now,” says Gong, who still lives in Beijing. “Our version is more dangerous; it’s a lot more edgy, I think, and they’ve added the element of romance that wasn’t in the TV series.” Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx have taken over the roles of Crockett and Tubbs. While posing as a cocaine smuggler to infiltrate the syndicate run by Isabella and her husband, Crockett falls for Isabella, and things start to get predictably messy. While the movie cannot match Heat for drama, it delivers the spectacular and elaborate action sequences in which he specialises.

“He’s very eccentric — a crazy director,” Gong says. “He has to get whatever he wants, whether it’s speedboats or private jets. A lot of directors are like that, but in China they don’t have that sort of money.” Mann’s demands did not just extend to fancy props; he made Gong work harder than she was used to, and she had the added stress of delivering her lines in Cuban-accented English. “Michael is very strict. Everything had to be perfect. If I did the scene really well but got the accent wrong, he would make me do it again. He is hard on his actors, but I think that’s a good thing. He’s like a teacher you really hate but afterwards you realise he was great. I feel now I can work with any director, no problem.”

Farrell seems to have been more congenial company. “I really liked him. I don’t think anything that’s written about him is true. Everyone on the set loved him. He didn’t have to be nice to everyone, but he was.” They share a few love scenes, but it’s Farrell who reveals more than Gong. Was she worried that her fans in China might be upset if she appeared nude in a western film? “I don’t care what anyone thinks. I make my decisions for me and no one else. Other people don’t affect my decisions.” What about her husband: does he? “No, he doesn’t,” Gong says flatly.

She married Ooi Wei Ming, a tobacco company executive from Singapore, in February 1996, a little more than a year after the end of her eight-year relationship with Zhang Yimou. Her time with the director resulted in seven films, including Raise the Red Lantern and To Live (1994), Zhang’s crowning achievement, an epic account of the effects of the first 40 years of communism on one family. Their relationship, though, was also something of a scandal in China, as Zhang was married for most of it.

Those seven films not only reinvented Chinese cinema after the wilderness years of the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, but gained it unprecedented exposure in the West. Raise the Red Lantern was the first Chinese film nominated for an Oscar, and Gong spent much of the 1990s being honoured at film festivals around the world. Her seemingly effortless grasp of her craft was astonishing for someone in her twenties. Whether she was playing a fallen aristocrat, a concubine or a peasant woman struggling with a dopey or brutal husband and petty officialdom, it was impossible to take your eyes off her. That quality was something Zhang spotted when she auditioned for him as a student. “I didn’t particularly like movies then; I was more into plays,” she recalls. “Maybe that’s why I stood out. I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I have to get this.’”

Entwined with Zhang professionally and personally, Gong is cautious in speaking about that intense period in her life. “I haven’t thought much about that time,” she claims, unconvincingly. “I do miss the fact that it was a real collaboration and a true creative process, where we didn’t have to worry about box office. It’s impossible to go back to now, because you can’t just make movies for movies’ sake. There’s no way we could make The Story of Qiu Ju now.”

Eleven years after they last worked together, Zhang and Gong reunited in March to shoot The City of Golden Armour, a historical drama in which Gong stars opposite Chow Yun Fat in what will be the biggest-budget Chinese movie yet. They’d stayed in touch, and Gong, with her usual candour, had already let Zhang know how unimpressed she was with Hero and House of Flying Daggers, his two most successful films in the West. “I called him up and said, ‘How come you’ve gone back to being a cinematographer again? Where have the stories gone?’ A lot of people wouldn’t tell him that, or would be afraid to, but that’s how we communicate. It’s not because I’m mean; it’s because I’m honest,” Gong says. “I think it’s a shame that people think martial arts are all there is to Chinese film.”

The youngest of five children of two university lecturers, Gong developed her single-minded approach to life early on. “I’m very direct, very focused. I always have been when it comes to things I like. But if I have no interest in something, then I can’t be bothered at all. My teachers at school didn’t like me very much.”

Now that Zhang Ziyi, who took over as Zhang Yimou’s muse and lover a few years after the split with Gong, is working in Hollywood too, is there any rivalry? “No. Why would there be? She’s a hard worker, a good actress. I hope more Chinese actresses come through in the future. I think they will.” Gong can afford to be magnanimous. She was the original, and, 20 years on, she’s still the best.

Miami Vice opens on August 4


(y) (y) (y)

Wow....<looking around the digital tundra>.......it's good to back online again. COMCAST digital services went out Friday night and has been out more than not since. Yesterday was just excruciating....:| :| :| :| :| :| :| :| :|

Thank goodness for an understanding professor who will not take off points for Internet outtages.(y)

(c) (c) I need some fresh coffee and a hug.


Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer Pup (S) (&) (S)

07-25-2006, 05:02 AM

The Sunday Times (U.K.) July 23, 2006

The book that shocked Hollywood

A book about the director M Night Shyamalan has shocked Hollywood. Could it pull his career apart, asks Christopher Goodwin.

For the past few weeks, Hollywood insiders have been passing each other dog-eared photocopies of a startling new book, The Man Who Heard Voices. Subtitled Or, How M Night Shyamalan Risked His Career on a Fairy Tale, it is a revealing account of the making of Lady in the Water, the latest film from the writer/director of The Village and Signs. The book has just gone on sale in the United States and the film was released there this weekend. It stars Paul Giamatti (Sideways) as the caretaker of an apartment block, who rescues a sea creature from the swimming pool. What has stunned Hollywood is the book’s no-holds-barred description of Shyamalan’s acrimonious divorce from the Walt Disney Company because of disagreements over the script. He left Disney and made Lady in the Water for Warner Bros. Such Hollywood disputes are usually hushed up in press- release platitudes about “creative differences”.

Shyamalan’s first big project was to write Stuart Little, but he is best known for The Sixth Sense, his 1999 supernatural thriller starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment. The film, which had a surprise ending and popularised the spooky phrase “I see dead people”, earned $700m at the box office and turned him into a movie-making franchise. The Sixth Sense, and then Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002) and The Village (2004), were made for Disney. All made money, not least for Shyamalan, who earned more than $20m per film, plus as much as 20% of the total box office: a rich deal.

The Man Who Heard Voices, written by the Sports Illustrated reporter Michael Bamberger, portrays the battle between the director and Disney as that of a brilliant and sensitive artist fighting to protect his creative vision from a bunch of empty “suits” interested only in the bottom line. Shyamalan is most venomous about Nina Jacobson, Disney’s production president, with whom he had worked closely on his previous films. After she tells him she has problems with his script for Lady in the Water, a scornful Shyamalan says he “witnessed the decay of her creative vision right before his wide-open eyes. She didn’t want iconoclastic directors. She wanted directors who made money”.

Shyamalan can say such things publicly only because he has achieved an unusual position of power in Hollywood. Like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino, he is one of a handful of directors whose name alone is enough to “open” a film and ensure a sizeable box office. In 2002, Newsweek put Shyamalan on its cover, with a headline touting him as “The Next Spielberg”.

His ascent has been an unlikely one. Born in Pondicherry, India, to Indian parents, both doctors, he moved to the USA when he was a few months old. He was brought up in Philadelphia, the only Hindu at a private Catholic school. He changed his name from Manoj to Night when he was about 17 and fascinated with Native American culture. Obsessed with film-making since he was a child — he made about 40 short films from the age of 10 — he studied film at New York University, making his first feature, Praying with Anger, in India for about $750,000. Although it was barely distributed, it enabled him to get a deal with Miramax for his next film, Wide Awake, but Shyamalan felt he was badly burnt by interference from the company’s fabled chief, Harvey “Scissorhands” Weinstein, and vowed he would never again lose control of his work. He sold the script of The Sixth Sense to Disney for $3m, with the proviso that he could direct the film that he wanted. The enormous sum that The Sixth Sense made ensured he has had total creative control over subsequent projects.

For Disney, this deal was fine as long as his films kept making money. But The Village made only about a third as much as The Sixth Sense, while costing double. Some Disney executives appeared to agree with Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, who called The Village “a massive miscalculation, a movie based on a premise that cannot support it, a premise so transparent it would be laughable were the movie not so deadly solemn”. Disney’s Jacobson felt audiences would have responded much better to The Village if Shyamalan had been prepared to listen to some of her suggestions for script changes. But Shyamalan, who lives and works hundreds of miles from Hollywood in rural Pennsylvania, preferred to listen to his own voices. It seemed he liked Disney’s executives when they agreed with him and distrusted them when they didn’t.

According to the book, the first indication of problems came when the director dispatched his assistant, Paula, to LA by plane with three copies of the script of Lady in the Water for Disney executives to read. Paula was under such strict instructions from the neurotically secretive Shyamalan not to let the scripts out of her sight, she didn’t even dare go to the loo during the flight. When she arrived at Jacobson’s house at the appointed hour, 1.45pm on a Sunday, she was disconcerted to find that Jacobson wasn’t there. “What could Nina be doing that’s more important than getting Night’s new script?” Paula wondered, thinking in “the way she knew her boss would want her to”. It turned out Jacobson was half an hour late because she was bringing her young son back from a birthday party. Paula became even more “perplexed and disturbed” when Jacobson said she would read the script “if I can get the kids down for a nap”. Paula knew these weren’t the priorities Shyamalan expected from the executives he worked with.

The real showdown, however, came a couple of days later when Jacobson, Dick Cook (chairman of Disney) and Oren Aviv (head of marketing) flew to Philadelphia to discuss the script with Shyamalan. Over a disastrous dinner, Jacobson told Shyamalan the problems she had with the script. She was worried that the mythic tale that was the backbone of the story was to be explained by a 6ft, overweight Korean party girl who dressed like Britney Spears. She had trouble with the invented language in the film, and words such as “scrunt, narf, tartuic, the Great Etalon”. She also thought it was a mistake for Shyamalan, who, like Hitchcock, always gives himself cameos in his films, to play the second-biggest male role. Most troublingly, she said: “I don’t get it.” “What are you saying, Nina?” Shyamalan asked. “You’re saying I’ve lost my mind... It’s a big idea, my biggest ever. What aren’t you getting?” Shyamalan “had known these people for years”, Bamberger writes. “He had always liked them; he had always thought they were smart.” But now they “had morphed into one, the embodiment of the company they worked for. And that company ... no longer valued individualism ... no longer valued fighters. Nina and Cook and Aviv wanted Night to be a cog”. Despite their reservations, the Disney executives still offered Shyamalan $60m to make the film, with guarantees of no interference. But Shyamalan felt they had lost faith in him. He burst into tears after the dinner and vowed to take the project elsewhere.

Although the book is being touted by its publishers as showing how far a creative genius needs to go to protect his unique vision, some Hollywood insiders feel it shows just the opposite. They find it hard to side with the “suits”, but think the Disney executives were simply protecting themselves from a director who had come to believe his own self-aggrandising, myth-making hype. They are amazed at Shyamalan’s reaction to what they thought were valid and well-intentioned criticisms from Jacobson, some of which, the director acknowledges, he incorporated into later drafts of the script.

“It’s like ordering scrambled eggs and getting poached,” says one bemused director. “And for that he walks?” In fact, the book is unintentionally hilarious as it quickly crosses the lines from biography into hagiography, then into outright sycophancy. Typical is Bamberger’s description of meeting Shyamalan for the first time at a party. “Night’s shirt was half-open — Tom Jones in his prime,” the breathless author writes. His wife, Bhavna, he adds, “had the stillness and quietness of a princess. She had a delicate beauty, like that of an idealised Miss India, with glossy lips and the figure of a swimsuit model”. Phew.

The book is shot through with instances that purport to show Shyamalan’s astonishing, instinctive genius — even his ESP. “What kind of power could he have over me?” the tremulous Bamberger asks at one point. He reveals how Shyamalan knew Giamatti was the right actor for his film when he saw his brown shoe coming down the restaurant stairs when they first met. Describing the director’s sense of purpose as he wrote the script for Lady in the Water, Bamberger says Shyamalan felt that: “If it came together, it would be like Dylan and Clapton and Springsteen and Eminem and Kanye West and Miles Davis and Bonnie Raitt and Joan Armatrading and Jerry Garcia and every musician you’ve ever loved joining George Harrison and belting out the opening chord of A Hard Day’s Night at the same time.” And, yes, Shyamalan did read The Man Who Heard Voices before it was published and, says his publicist, “totally supports the book”.

There has been a backlash in Hollywood at Shyamalan’s egocentricity. “Just the fact that Shyamalan, whose last four movies display a stultifying commercial sameness, refers to himself as an ‘iconoclast’,” says the producer Gavin Polone, “gives a glimpse of how stars can become overcoddled, the result being bad and expensive movies like The Village.” One screenwriter said it was “astonishing he felt that what were evidently intelligent and honest script notes were an affront to his delicate sensibility. What’s worse, though, is that his childish posturing shows a terrible disrespect to all the writers and directors who have had to fight to defend their vision against the studios. It would be funny if it weren’t grotesque”.

Jacobson has refused to comment on the book, other than to say: “To have a Hollywood relationship more closely approximate a real relationship, you have to have a genuine back and forth of the good and the bad.” But, like everyone else in Hollywood, she is surely waiting for the opening figures for Lady, which cost $70m to produce and another $70m to market. In the end, the audience will decide whether Shyamalan will be seen as the brilliant artist he knows he is, or the laughing stock unintentionally portrayed by Bamberger.

Lady in the Water opens in the UK on August 11


(*) (*) I think this director's wacked. Ok, "The Sixth Sense" was pretty cool. "Signs" although shot right near here, was still silly. He is no Tim Burton, that's for sure. And that may be because I think Johnny Depp is a great actor and he and Burton have collaborated exceptionally well.

M. Night? Better get a grip on reality soon.

Or not....;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-25-2006, 12:40 PM

"Yes, I'm sorry I did it."

- AOL co-founder Steve Case seeks absolution for the merger with Time Warner.


:| :| :|

NOW he's sorry. The deal, known as one of the worst corporate mergers in history, destroyed some $200 billion in shareholder value. :| :|

(i) I am glad I don't have stock in either company.(y)

;) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-25-2006, 12:48 PM
:) :)

Internet telephony is bad and getting worse. This according to a new study by Brix Networks, which found about 20 percent of all calls "unacceptable" in quality. That's up from about 15 percent of calls made about a year ago. Why the big decline? According to Kaynam Hedayat, chief technology officer for Brix, it's a resource issue. There's just too much data traveling across the network. "The network is ready for VoIP," Hedayat told News.com. "But now that there are more services running over the same pipe, carriers need to differentiate packets and prioritize service."

Carriers need to differentiate packets and prioritize service?!?! Sounds like a good argument for a multi-tiered, toll-strewn information superhighway of the sort the telecom's have been arguing for, doesn't it? Little wonder too, given Brix's customers and partners, a list of which reads like a who's who of Net neutrality opponents.

(Background: "Can you at least use the prioritized traffic revenue to repay us that $200 billion you stole?" "Interesting approach, Bill; why don't you try it on your phone network first?" "Don't wanna pay? Vinnie, show the gentleman how you can squeeze that T1 down to 56 baud," "'Course what we'd really like to do is 'prioritize' some of these services right out of business ...", "Don't worry, we won't degrade your service. Of course I can't speak for Google, Yahoo or any of those other freeloaders,", "Remember, most of these lawmakers are still looking for the 'Any' key" and, my personal favorite, "We thought you said spend the $200 billion on 'dark fiber'")











:| :| And COMCAST is selling telephone service carried over its digital networks that also carry digital TV and cable modem service - I was on hold to customer service Saturday a.m. at 5:30 (Hey, Wyatt needed to go outside) and again twice yesterday when both cable modem AND digital TV services were out. Over and over, I heard the advertisement for adding telephone service. RIGHT.

When I mentioned that COMCAST marketing MIGHT want to place their AD elsewhere than on a customer service line when a customer without service was on hold - the representative laughed too.:)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-25-2006, 12:53 PM
:s :s

The Street didn't much care for Netflix's latest financials, did it? Shares of the DVD rental outfit are being given a merciless beating today, though the company's profit nearly tripled. Seems Netflix's estimates of subscriber "churn," or the number of customers it will lose in the coming months, was a little less optimistic than in quarters past. About 4.3 percent of Netflix's customers canceled the service during the second quarter, up from a 4.1 percent during the first three months of the year. And that means tougher times ahead -- especially with increased competition from Blockbuster et al. and a vaporware video-on-demand service that's poised to become the Duke Nukem Forever of the industry (see "Netflix announces new video-whenever-Hollywood-feels-like-it service").

Speaking of that VoD service, don't hold your breath waiting for it, because according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, it's going to be a while. You see, there isn't really a market for it yet. At least that's the way Netflix sees it. "It seems that every day there are new announcements and stories about downloading," Hastings said during a conference call with analysts and reporters. "It would be all too easy to conclude that movie downloading was exploding in growth. The reality is the current Internet movie delivery services continue to show no growth in traffic. Nada. ... the whole industry is held back by the exclusive Windows and the Internet to the TV issue. Movie downloading will evolve over the next decade, but it will do so slowly." If that ends up being the case, Hastings better hope that evolution is slower than the development of his VoD service, because if it's not he's going to end up as a Comcast installer.

(y) (y) (y) (y) Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!



(y) (y) http://blogs.siliconvalley.com/gmsv/2005/10/netflix_may_hav.html


:o So we wait for technology to catch up......and be cheap, I mean, inexpensive. (y)

;) 's,


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-25-2006, 12:57 PM
:) :)


;) Sometime people have no taste whatsoever.....


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-25-2006, 12:59 PM
(h) (h) (h)


(y) Silly and funny too.


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-25-2006, 01:02 PM
:| :|

$300,000 smart phones.......


;) 's

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-26-2006, 04:30 AM
Sweetlady, you're funny! I'm glad to have you back online. Even if it may be temporary.;) Here's hoping you get a more reliable provider.

:) :)
:| :| And COMCAST is selling telephone service carried over its digital networks that also carry digital TV and cable modem service - I was on hold to customer service Saturday a.m. at 5:30 (Hey, Wyatt needed to go outside) and again twice yesterday when both cable modem AND digital TV services were out. Over and over, I heard the advertisement for adding telephone service. RIGHT.

When I mentioned that COMCAST marketing MIGHT want to place their AD elsewhere than on a customer service line when a customer without service was on hold - the representative laughed too.:)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-26-2006, 01:03 PM
Sweetlady, you're funny! I'm glad to have you back online. Even if it may be temporary.;) Here's hoping you get a more reliable provider.

Thank you very much for the thoughtful feedback......it's nice to know someone appreciates my sometimes eccentric sense of humor....:) What a truly thoughtful (g) of your time.:)

As for COMCAST? Someone (besides me) must have shot up a few prayers to the digital God/Desses and/or angels, since I received a telephone call today from a manager (no less), and he wanted to check the outside network interface box as well as the pedestal into which the same multiplex replacement boards have fried out and failed - leaving me and 11 other residents with NO service.

I have suggested that COMCAST place 12 OTHER or different residents on that board so that the same 12 people/families are not getting digital TV and cable modem sercies for up to 24 hours and longer at a time.

He's coming back tomorrow with a level 5 field technician to check the inside of the residence but I told him that it was a waste of time.

I think he wants to meet this grrl-propeller-head who is telling him what the technical solution is.....;)

It really shocked me - He promised me that he would give me his business card with a 24 hour mobile telephone number to call if my cable modem ever goes down again.:| :| (t) (t)

Who lit a fire under COMCAST's butt? :o Did they believe me when I told them I was keeping track the past 4 years, of every outtage, telephone call and how many hours the service was down - for an article I was writing for local papers as well as the either the New York Times or Philadelphia Inquirer? Hmmmm.

I don't know. I am delighted however with the seachange in response coming back from COMCAST management in getting the problem permanently repaired. (hopefully not by taking me OUT of the equation.......;)

I am still planning on getting Verizon's 3 Mb down/2 Mb upload fiber optic service for $35/month as my back-up Internet parachute. It will take two weeks for Verizon to install.

I also plan on eventually buying a new laptop with wireless capability - and can simply pack it and take Wyat the boxer pup to a local Starbucks - which always has Internet connectivity. It is one plan of action I've considered as "more soothing" alternatives to chronic cable modem hiccups. I certainly do not want to drive an hour on interstates to my parents' home.......and use their laptop and cable modem that I installed for them over a year ago. With petrol over $3./gallon - it makes more sense to get that laptop sooner. Plus, no grief.(a)

(f) (f) Thanks again so much for taking the time to not only read some of my posts, but for your lovely feedback as well.

Have a cool, calm and relaxing rest of your mid-week.(f) (f)



07-26-2006, 01:09 PM
:) :)


(y) (y) (y) (h) (h) (h) (i) (i) (i)

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-26-2006, 01:13 PM
;) ;)


(y) (y)

:) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-26-2006, 01:23 PM
:o :o

Maybe it has something to do with the unrelenting heat, but the virtual valley sure is a prickly place these days. Kevin's mad at Jason; Jason's sniping at Kevin; Michael walked off Steve's show because he think's Nick's too mean; Lee and Chris are picking each other apart; and the conversation cloud is abuzz. What a great time to be Valleywag or Blogebrity. Hell, what a great time to be us (see "Is that a wad of cash in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?" and "Jason and the Blogonauts"). Some snippets:

Digg's Kevin Rose to Netscape's Jason Calacanis on the subject of hiring top submitters away from competing social bookmarking sites: "Clever PR stunt, but man, in the end I believe it's going to do more damage for Netscape than good. ... Think of what your loyal Netscape users must think - you're essentially telling them that they aren't good enough and that you have to buy better users."

Calacanis on Rose: "OK, it's on. :-) On the latest DIGG Nation (minute 8), Digg co-founder Kevin Rose goes on a massive attack of my plans to hire a dozen top social bookmarkers, but he doesn't seem to have a point about it. I'd actually be interested in hearing what he thinks about paying folks to do social bookmarking, but instead he just personally attacks me. ... Kevin Rose is going to make millions of dollars (perhaps tens of millions) when he sells DIGG to Yahoo (my best guess). When he does sell DIGG -- and trust me it will be sold before in the next 12 months -- he will have done it on the backs of those top 50 members. Those top 50 members will get exactly... ummm..... nothing."

Nick Carr on his appearance on the panel of the Gillmor Gang podcast (the subject was Jason): "So there we were in the middle of the show, burrowing down the usual rat holes, when TechCrunch's Mike Arrington, whom I've never met or even spoken with, suddenly announced that he would resign from the Gang if Nick Carr was allowed to be a regular member. Golly. Don't worry, Mike, I won't accept any future invitations to be on the show. The last thing I want is to become known as the Yoko Ono of the Gillmor Gang."

Michael Arrington on Nick: "I have a problem with Nick. I think he's smart but he's often overly cruel to people in his posts, people who sometimes aren't in a position to defend themselves. I get the sense that he enjoys pulling people down, gets happiness out of it. He shows all the classic signs of a bully - he talks big on his blog but on the phone he's a meek, submissive guy. He can't stand up to people who stand up to him unless he's hiding behind his blog. Guys like Nick are a dime a dozen on the Internet and until now I just basically ignored him. But I won't be on a weekly podcast with the guy. If Nick is on the show, I'm not on it."

The Wall Street Journal's Lee Gomes takes some shots at the new book by Wired's Chris Anderson, "The Long Tail": "In the book's main sections, Mr. Anderson writes that as things move online, sales of misses will increase -- so much so that they can equal or exceed the sales of hits. The latter is the book's showstopper proposition; it's mentioned twice on the book's jacket. I was thus a little surprised when Mr. Anderson told me that he didn't have any examples of this actually occurring. ... Another theme of the book is that "hits are starting to rule less." But when I looked online, I was surprised to see what seemed like the opposite."

Anderson on Gomes: "I'm actually quite an admirer of Gomes' work and he certainly did do a lot of research for this piece. But he started off with the wrong end of the stick (looking at the market in percentage terms, which doesn't work because the definition of 'head' keeps changing) and sadly wouldn't let it go. As an editor, I've seen this happen before and we try to watch out for it. But sometimes the lure of the gotcha is too much to resist."

Let's hope the weather's cool in mid-August for Arrington's big TechCrunch party or they may have to station ambulances on site.



Blogebrity: http://blogebrity.com/blog/2006/07/jcals-big-digg.php





Digg Nation: http://revision3.com/diggnation/2006-07-21/



(y) (y) (y) http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB115387606762117314.html


(h) (h) Cool: Where's my basic black dress and high heels for this?


(i) (i) Seems as if even the most intelligent, powerful (het) men are drama queens....LMAO!!:D :D Got to love seeing this after witnessing so much drama elsewhere and thought it was a "one-type-of- environment" phenomenon. It's everwhere! I'll hug my drag queen best friends any day over these empty suits.

<lifting petticoats gently as I step off the soap box...>

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-26-2006, 01:26 PM
:s :s

Marines Land at MySpace.com

July 25, 2006 The Progressive

The U.S. Marine Corps is using the popular social networking, MySpace.com, to recruit teenagers:

"The Marine Corps MySpace profile - featuring streaming video of barking drill sergeants, fresh recruits enduring boot camp and Marines storming beaches - underscores the growing importance of the Internet to advertisers as a medium for reaching America's youth. 'That's definitely the new wave,' said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Lancioni at a Hawaii recruiting event. 'Everything's technical with these kids, and the Internet is a great way to show what the Marine Corps has to offer."

MySpace.com incorporates blogs, photos, MP3s, videos and an internal e-mail system with the ability for its users to link to one another to create and expand their social networks. In one report, MySpace.com edged past Yahoo! as the most visted site on the web by users in the United States. The site was recently purchased by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.


(n) (n) (n) Not a good thing.

Support U.S. Troops. Bring them all home.

(f) (f)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-26-2006, 01:27 PM
(y) (y)

“Bush is a thug. I think there is something really wrong with him,” -Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal

By David Barsamian

August 2006 Issue The Progressive

Gore Vidal is a gold mine of quips and zingers. And his vast knowledge of literature and history—particularly American—makes for an impressive figure. His razor-sharp tongue lacerates the powerful. He does it with aplomb, saying, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” He has a wry sense of noblesse oblige: “There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.”

Now eighty, he lives in the Hollywood hills in a modest mansion with immodest artwork. I felt I was entering a museum of Renaissance art. A stern painting of the Emperor Constantine was looking down upon us as we sat in his majestic living room. A Buddha statue from Thailand stood nearby. But all was not somber. He had a Bush doll with a 9/11 bill sticking out of it on a table behind us.

His aristocratic pedigree is evident not just in his artistic sophistication but also in his locution. In a war of words, few can contend with Vidal.

“I’m a lover of the old republic and I deeply resent the empire our Presidents put in its place,” he declares.

Vidal moved gingerly and was using a cane. A recent knee operation left him less mobile. He says, “The mind is still agile but the knees have grown weak.” We sat in upholstered chairs. On a nearby table I saw the galleys of his second memoir, Point to Point Navigation. It will be out this fall. His earlier one, Palimpsest, came out in 1995.

Prolific does not even begin to describe Vidal’s literary output. He’s the author of scores of novels, plays, screenplays, essays. In 1993, he won the National Book Award for his collection of essays, United States. His recent books (he calls them “pamphlets”)—Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Dreaming War, and Imperial America—have sold in huge numbers. When I asked him what was the point of his work, he said, “I am chronicling America.” The prose, whether polemical or fictional, is elegant.

Distantly related to Jackie Kennedy, he does not romanticize JFK. “He was one of the most charming men I’ve ever known,” says Vidal. “He was also one of the very worst Presidents.”

He’s been a Democratic candidate for the House from New York and for the Senate from California. Today, he ridicules the Democrats for supineness.

He sees a certain continuity in U.S. foreign policy over the last fifty years. “The management, then and now, truly believes the United States is the master of the Earth and anyone who defies us will be napalmed or blockaded or covertly overthrown,” he says. “We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense.”

I talked with him on a hot afternoon in mid-April.

Q: In 2002, long before Bush’s current travails, you wrote, “Mark my words, he will leave office the most unpopular President in history.” How did you know that then?

Gore Vidal: I know these people. I don’t say that as though I know them personally. I know the types. I was brought up in Washington. When you are brought up in a zoo, you know what’s going on in the monkey house. You see a couple of monkeys loose and one is President and one is Vice President, you know it’s trouble. Monkeys make trouble.

Q: Bush’s ratings have been at personal lows. Cheney has had an 18 percent approval rating.

Vidal: Well, he deserves it.

Q: Yet the wars go on. It’s almost as if the people don’t matter.

Vidal: The people don’t matter to this gang. They pay no attention. They think in totalitarian terms. They’ve got the troops. They’ve got the army. They’ve got Congress. They’ve got the judiciary. Why should they worry? Let the chattering classes chatter. Bush is a thug. I think there is something really wrong with him.

Q: What do you think of the conspiracy theories about September 11?

Vidal: I’m willing to believe practically any mischief on the part of the Bush people. No, I don’t think they did it, as some conspiracy people think. Why? Because it was too intelligently done. This is beyond the competence of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. They couldn’t pull off a caper like 9/11. They are too clumsy.

Q: Today the United States is fighting two wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, and is now threatening to launch a third one on Iran. What is it going to take to stop the Bush onslaught?

Vidal: Economic collapse. We are too deeply in debt. We can’t service the debt, or so my financial friends tell me, that’s paying the interest on the Treasury bonds, particularly to the foreign countries that have been financing us. I think the Chinese will say the hell with you and pull their money out of the United States. That’s the end of our wars.

Q: You’re a veteran of World War II, the so-called good war. Would you recommend to a young person a career in the armed forces in the United States?

Vidal: No, but I would suggest Canada or New Zealand as a possible place to go until we are rid of our warmongers. We’ve never had a government like this. The United States has done wicked things in the past to other countries but never on such a scale and never in such an existentialist way. It’s as though we are evil. We strike first. We’ll destroy you. This is an eternal war against terrorism. It’s like a war against dandruff. There’s no such thing as a war against terrorism. It’s idiotic. These are slogans. These are lies. It’s advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented and developed.

But our media has collapsed. They’ve questioned no one. One of the reasons Bush and Cheney are so daring is that they know there’s nobody to stop them. Nobody is going to write a story that says this is not a war, only Congress can declare war. And you can only have a war with another country. You can’t have a war with bad temper or a war against paranoids. Nothing makes any sense, and the people are getting very confused. The people are not stupid, but they are totally misinformed.

Q: You’ve called the country “The United States of Amnesia.” Is this something in our genes?

Vidal: No, it’s something in our rulers. They don’t want us to know anything. When you’ve got a press like we have, you no longer have an informed citizenry.

I was involved somewhat with Congressman Con-yers on what happened in Ohio during the last Presidential election.

Conyers is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and he went up there with a bunch of researchers. They went from district to district, and they found out how the election was stolen. He wrote a report that was published by a small press in Chicago. To help out, I said I’d write a preface for him on how the election was stolen. We were thinking that might help. But The New York Times and The Washington Post were not going to review the book about how we had a second Presidential election stolen. They weren’t going to admit it.

A huge number of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. You have a people that don’t know anything about the rest of the world, and you have leaders who lie to them, lie to them, and lie to them.

It’s so stupid, everything that they say. And the media take on it is just as stupid as theirs, sometimes worse. They at least have motives. They are making money out of the republic or what’s left of it. It’s the stupidity that will really drive me away from this country.

Q: When were the media better?

Vidal: They’ve never been much good. They belong to the people who own them. But they were better, the level was higher. There used to be foreign correspondents in other countries. There’s nobody abroad now. The New York Times gave up being anything except a kind of shadow of The Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post is the court circular. What has the emperor done today? And who will be the under-assistant of the secretary of agriculture? As though these things mattered.

Q: What do you think of the public advertising of one’s faith among political leaders? They make a show of going to church and participating in ceremonies.

Vidal: Personally I find it sickening, and very much against what our Founders had in mind. Remember that the country was mostly founded by Brits, and England’s always gotten credit for having invented hypocrisy. So we are reflecting our British heritage when we hypocritically talk about how religious we are.

Q: Is the U.S. more like Sparta than Athens?

Vidal: We’re not so good as either. We certainly are not warlike. Spartans were based upon military service. We don’t want that. We want to make money, which I always thought was one of the most admirable things about Americans. We didn’t want to go out and conquer other countries. We wanted to corner wheat in the stock market or something sensible like that. So we are very unbelligerent. We were dragged screaming into World War I. Well, we were slightly enthusiastic about that, but we were very innocent farm people in those days. In World War II, we fought to stay out of that war. And every liberal figure in the United States from Norman Thomas on was anti-war. They were isolationists in the old populist tradition. So we never had a chance of being Sparta.

Q: Talk about the role of the opposition party, the Democrats.

Vidal: It isn’t an opposition party. I have been saying for the last thousand years that the United States has only one party—the property party. It’s the party of big corporations, the party of money. It has two right wings; one is Democrat and the other is Republican.

Q: What can people do to energize democracy?

Vidal: The tactic would be to go after smaller offices, state by state, school board, sheriff, state legislatures. You can turn them around and that doesn’t take much of anything. Take back everything at the grassroots, starting with state
legislatures. That’s what Madison always said. I’d like to see a revival of state legislatures, in which I am a true Jeffersonian.

Q: Do you see any developments on the horizon that might suggest an alternative?

Vidal: Newton’s Third Law. I hope that law is still working. American laws don’t work, but at least the laws of physics might work. And the Third Law is: There is no action without reaction. There should be a great deal of reaction to the total incompetence of this Administration. It’s going to take two or three generations to recover what we had as of twenty years ago.

David Barsamian is the director of Alternative Radio in Boulder, Colorado. His latest book is “Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics.”

(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) YES.

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-26-2006, 01:29 PM
:s :s

No Wedding Bells: Why banning same-sex marriage spells disaster

By Judith Davidoff

August 2006 Issue The Progressive

Ray Vahey and Richard Taylor met in Ohio in 1956. Taylor, a World War II veteran, was managing a toy warehouse in Cleveland. Vahey, just out of high school, was in town for the Labor Day weekend. They fell in love the evening they met.

“It was the height of the busy season and he had to work,” Vahey recalls. “He taught me how to use a ticket pricer. It was an unusual honeymoon, but it was romantic to me.”

The couple has been together ever since, moving around the country as Vahey climbed the corporate ladder. Their sprawling Victorian-style apartment in Milwaukee is stuffed with art and antiques, a shared passion that started when they lived in San Francisco. They’ve seen each other through major life events, including serious illnesses for them both.

But despite their fifty-year commitment, they still don’t have access to the routine benefits accorded married couples.

“If one of us dies, the survivor has no right to the other’s Social Security payments,” Vahey says. “When I retired from my last firm, I could not take an option to cover Richard under my pension, as others could to cover their spouses.” And Vahey has no claim to Taylor’s veteran’s benefits.

They estimate they’ve spent $10,000 in legal fees to care for each other in sickness and in health, and to make provisions in case of death. But they, and thousands of other gay and lesbian couples across the country, are worried that far-reaching constitutional bans on gay marriage and civil unions on the November ballot will nullify their stop-gap safeguards.

Since 1998, nineteen states have passed constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, though Nebraska’s and Georgia’s were struck down and are under appeal. Alabama became the most recent state to pass a ban, with more than 80 percent of voters approving a constitutional amendment in early June.

This fall, voters in Wisconsin and at least five other states will weigh in on whether to ban same-sex marriage within their borders. The amendments in Wisconsin, Virginia, South Dakota, South Carolina, and Idaho would either explicitly or implicitly ban civil unions and threaten benefits for domestic partners. A measure in Tennessee is narrower.

There are also efforts under way in Illinois, Colorado, and Arizona to get same-sex marriage bans on the November ballot, though the Illinois measure would only be advisory to its state legislature. (Colorado already has a fall ballot measure that would create a statewide registry for same-sex couples and give them many of the rights and benefits available to married couples, including health insurance, pension coverage, and hospital visitation rights.)

The most sweeping amendments, if passed, would ban civil unions and allow social conservatives to challenge the ability of governmental entities and private companies to offer domestic partnership benefits. Also in jeopardy, say legal experts, are parenting and real estate agreements, wills, powers of attorney, and other valuable legal documents that gay and lesbian couples are increasingly using to achieve some of the protections automatically provided by marriage.

“We’re talking about language that very clearly bans civil unions and very broadly will ban anything and everything that would be a way for couples to protect each other,” says Leslie Shear, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-chair of the school’s Family Law Project.

For Vahey and Taylor, that would be a nightmare.

And it would be a nightmare for Aurora Greane, too. Asked what grade she’s in, Aurora doesn’t have a ready answer.

“I’m in a variety of grades,” chirps the seven-and-a-half-year-old, who reads at the third and fourth grade level and spells at the second grade level.

“That’s part of the beauty of homeschooling,” explains her mother, Debra. “She can learn at whatever level she’s at.”

Aurora is working on math problems alongside her mom as sun streams through the large windows of the family’s new home in Madison, Wisconsin. The family moved to larger quarters to make room for Debra’s elderly mom, who will soon be moving in.

Aurora’s sister, Rikaela, fourteen, is at the kitchen breakfast bar conjugating verbs for a Spanish class she takes with other homeschoolers. Shana Greane, Debra’s partner and the girls’ other mom, is at her job as an occupational therapist for the Madison school system.

It is Shana’s job—more specifically, the domestic partnership benefit package offered through the school system—that makes this way of life possible for the Greane family. Otherwise, Debra would have to find a job of her own with health benefits and wouldn’t have the time, or energy, to homeschool their kids.

“This is just what our family does,” says Debra, looking around the room at her children. “Who would have the right to take this away from us?”

In 2004, Republicans rushed thirteen amendments onto state ballots to coincide with the Presidential election. They all passed. In Ohio and Michigan, conservatives quickly challenged domestic partnership benefits. In Utah and Ohio, judges have invoked the amendments to deny domestic violence protections for unmarried heterosexual couples.

“In ’04, we were the Chicken Littles,” says Carrie Evans, state legislative director of the Human Rights Campaign. “Our legal intuition told us the language in these bans was really bad, but we had no evidence. Now we’ve had actual real-life consequences.”

In Michigan, Citizens for Protection of Marriage repeatedly stated in its literature and in press interviews that a ban on same-sex marriage would not affect domestic partnership benefits.

“This has nothing to do with taking benefits away,” Marlene Elwell, campaign director, told USA Today on October 15, 2004. “This is about marriage between a man and a woman.”

The campaign’s communications director was equally adamant. The proposal would have no effect on gay couples, Kristina Hemphill told the Holland Sentinel. “This amendment has nothing to do with benefits,” she said.

Yet shortly after Michigan’s ban passed, Governor Jennifer Granholm pulled domestic partnership benefits from contracts being negotiated for state workers. And Attorney General Mike Cox issued an opinion stating that such benefits for municipal employees could not be renewed in future contracts.

“It’s a bait and switch,” says Jay Kaplan, an attorney with the ACLU of Michigan, which filed a lawsuit seeking clarification that Michigan’s ban does not prohibit domestic partnership benefits offered by public employers. “They put in ambiguous language because they are trying to roll back other things.”

Tom and Dennis Patrick are plaintiffs in the Michigan lawsuit. They rely on domestic partnership benefits offered through Dennis’s job at Eastern Michigan University to help raise their children, all of whom joined their family as foster children. (The Patricks have adopted three children and are in the process of adopting a fourth.)

Together for nine years, Tom and Dennis have owned three houses together and now live in an old farmhouse in Ypsilanti. Because Tom, a high school math teacher, is covered under Dennis’s health insurance, he can work part time as a substitute teacher and be at home more often to help with the children, who range in age from four to ten.

This has been particularly important in caring for Joshua, the couple’s oldest son, who has epilepsy and has been hospitalized several times because of seizures. Tom’s job means he’s home every morning before the children leave for school and every afternoon when they return.

“If I were full time, I’d have to be in the building by 6:45 a.m.,” Tom says. “That just didn’t work for our family.”

Without health care coverage, Tom would face a painful choice: return to work full time, which would take him away from the kids, or pay for his own insurance, which would impose a huge drain on the household budget. As he puts it, “It would take either money away from our family or time away.”

Theresa Roetter, a Madison attorney who specializes in adoption cases, says same-sex couples with children are justifiably worried. She says clients are increasingly turning away from more accepted forms of permanency for children, such as adoption, and accepting legal relationships, like guardianships, in order to have “something they feel will be unassailable” if the constitutional amendment passes.

“What people are looking for is whatever they can get to ensure the child has a legal place in their home,” Roetter says. They are worried that their relationships, even their right to parent, will be “subject to collateral attack in the courts later.”

Fair Wisconsin, the main group fighting the ban, has recruited volunteers in each of the state’s seventy-two counties to educate people in their own communities about the ramifications of the constitutional amendment.

“We try to emphasize how this will impact real people,” says Josh Freker, the group’s communications director. “We try to make sure people understand what’s potentially at stake with that. We want people to know it would outlaw civil unions and would jeopardize any sort of legal protections for unmarried couples.”

Dan Freund is an attorney who practices in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He volunteered his efforts to help defeat the ban because, as a Unitarian, he feels it is his duty to defend people’s civil rights. “My religious faith calls on me to be active in the pursuit of fairness, justice, and equality,” he says.

Freund has spoken to more than a dozen civic and religious groups, including the Rotary, Lions, and Kiwanis clubs. He says he’s been pleasantly surprised by how receptive many of the groups have been.

Freund said he often tells the story of an Eau Claire woman who was prevented from visiting her longtime partner in a local hospital room because the couple was not considered family.

“They had been together longer than my wife and I,” says Freund, who has been married for twenty-four years. If the ban passes, he tells his audiences, the legislature would be prohibited from ever passing a law that would require hospitals to extend visiting privileges to same-sex partners.

Like Freund, many people of faith are taking a stand against the marriage and civil unions ban. The Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, representing 241 congregations statewide, opposes it, as does the Wisconsin United Methodist Conference, the Wisconsin Jewish Conference, and the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, among others. All told, faith institutions representing nearly 500,000 congregants in Wisconsin publicly oppose this constitutional amendment.

“The ban violates Christian and Jewish values of compassion and fairness,” says Eric Peterson, Fair Wisconsin’s faith outreach director.

Neither Ray Vahey nor Richard Taylor counted themselves as politically active until the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Now Vahey has a table reserved in his study for stuffing envelopes with literature opposing the amendment. And both have testified against the ban at the state capitol.

There, in the state assembly parlor, Vahey and Taylor took note of a large painting depicting the battleship Wisconsin under attack by kamikaze pilots during World War II. The scene was familiar to Taylor. After joining the navy at seventeen, he was assigned to a naval tanker on convoy duty in the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

His tanker, in fact, came under kamikaze attack in the same waters as the battleship Wisconsin.

“He valiantly put himself in harm’s way to protect his country and all the generations that followed, and now they want to take away his right to justice and equality under the law,” Vahey says. “It’s ironic, to say the least.”

Judith Davidoff covers social issues for The Capital Times in Madison. She previously reported for The Progressive on welfare reform programs aimed at single fathers.

(y) (y) (y) I am really happy that people like Judith continue to write and get published on this critical issue.(y) (y) It is terrifying reading about older couples who have to make sure they have legal protections in place when either gets ill and must go into the hospital. (or worse) This is one of those times in history when it would be nice to freeze everything and simply fast-forward (so none of us older-folk age) to a future time when the climate is so much more free for everyone. <sigh>

({) (}) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-26-2006, 01:43 PM
:) :)

Executive Briefing - The Value of Emotional Intelligence

Kellye Whitney, Associate Editor - Chief Learning Officer

Defined as the ability to manage oneself, emotional intelligence means those possessing it have a strong awareness of their emotions and know how to manage them well. This means not letting negative emotions get in the way of personal effectiveness while simultaneously using positive feelings for motivation. Between continuously strenuous efforts to maintain a strategic place at the C-suite table, prove learning’s effectiveness throughout the enterprise and all of the scuffling for performance and technology leveraging that entails, there are obvious benefits to possessing emotional intelligence for the CLO and for the leaders the CLO is typically charged with developing.

Defined as the ability to manage oneself, emotional intelligence means those possessing it have a strong awareness of their emotions and know how to manage them well. This means not letting negative emotions get in the way of personal effectiveness while simultaneously using positive feelings for motivation. Between continuously strenuous efforts to maintain a strategic place at the C-suite table, prove learning’s effectiveness throughout the enterprise and all of the scuffling for performance and technology leveraging that entails, there are obvious benefits to possessing emotional intelligence for the CLO and for the leaders the CLO is typically charged with developing.

Daniel Goleman, co-director of Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in organizations at Rutgers University and author of Working with Emotional Intelligence, said there are 18 best practices to help teach emotional intelligence and five broad requirements to help people do it effectively. “The first is you need to care. You have to be motivated or you won’t learn this because it takes time and effort. The second step is that you need to get some objective feedback from people who work with you and know you well, whose opinions you trust about what you could do better. Third, you need to reflect on that and pick a learning target, one specific thing and do one skill at a time. Maybe you could be a better listener. People come into your office and you cut them off before they even get the question out. It’s like a common cold in management, listening poorly.”

Goleman said if you decide that you want to get better at listening, you need to think about how you could do it better. It helps to have a model or someone in mind who does that skill very well and see them as the embodiment of your target behavior. “Make a contract with yourself. Say, ‘OK, I’m going to do it like Tom. When someone comes into the office, I’m going to relax. I’m going to give them full attention. I’m going to drop what I’m doing and hear them out and make sure that I understand what they’re saying, what they want and what their issue is. Then I’m going to tell them what I think. Instead of just telling what I think before I really know what’s on their mind.’

“The fourth step is practicing at every naturally occurring opportunity,” Goleman said. “Make a contract with yourself so that whenever you are in a situation where you could be applying this, do it the better way. Intentionally keep yourself from doing it the old way. Finally, it helps to get some support. For top-level executives, it’s often a coach. But you can do it with a learning partner, a spouse, someone who will help you sustain the effort and particularly reflect on times when you blow it or go back to the old way of doing it, and prepare yourself to do it better the next time that it comes around.”

Emotional intelligence also includes something called social intelligence, which includes empathy and social skills, Goleman said, and workplace competencies based on emotional intelligence play a greater role in star-performance intellect or technical skill. “I’m not saying that IQ and technical skills don’t matter. They do, but they’re what are called threshold abilities. They determine what job you can hold. If you have enough expertise to be an engineer or a project manager or a chief executive or can you only be a file clerk? IQ matters a lot that way, but once you are in that position, once you’re in management, what makes you a star? How you manage yourself and your relationships, emotional and social intelligence are what distinguish the top 10 percent from the rest.”

If managers and leaders are not emotionally intelligent, that lack tends to impact not only their performance but also reasons they are terminated or become stagnant, unable to advance through the ranks of their chosen organization. “I have a friend who is with a company called Egon Zehnder International, one of the foremost recruiters of really top management. They did a study of the people they’d hired to compare the most successful to the ones who failed. People, particularly at the chief level, tend to get hired for business expertise and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence. Another thing is you won’t get promoted or people won’t like to work with you. You’ll be the kind of team member that people wish wasn’t on the team. In other words, it makes you less effective. People can perceive you as difficult, tuned out, not a team player. To put it in a positive respect, if you look at people who do have these abilities who are in top leadership positions, and there’ve been many, many studies of different kinds of companies, it’s been found to correlate with better business results.”

(y) (y) (y) (i) (i) 's.

(o) to get out and about away from this computer screen. Five chapters to read tonight from that text book that would stay completely DRY in a sinkfull of dishes.:o

(8) (8) (8) The Phil Collins CDs came in yesterday, so some nice music to lift my spirits as well as those of Wyatt - like he needs more energy above and beyond his puppy spirit! ;)

(S) (S) Peaceful evening, all. (S)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the getting-into-everything-in-my-office Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:04 PM
:) :)

Two-spirit: Homosexuality in Native cultures

A special and respected people

Before European contact, Native peoples recognized three genders -- male, female and two-spirited. Two-spirited people were believed to have received the creator's gift of both male and female spirits in their bodies. They were respected, and thought to be able to see the world from two perspectives. Two-spirited people often had roles as leaders, mediators, artists and spiritual guides. After near-eradication by Europeans' Christian values, two-spirited people are starting to emerge in their communities once again.

27 percent of Arizona is reservation land. The Navajo Nation, approximately the size of West Virginia, extends from northeastern Arizona into Utah and New Mexico. It is the largest federally recognized reservation in the United States.

The 18th International Two Spirit Gathering takes place in Quebec's Laurentian Mountains this year (Sept. 25-30, 2006; The Heard Museum (2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Ariz.; 602.252.8848' (www.heard.org) is an amazing privately held Indian arts collection. The museum offers fascinating insights into Southwestern culture, heritage and peoples. It features rugs, textiles and flatware/cutlery as well as traditional and contemporary fine arts.

(*) (*) (*) (y) (y) (y) What a long, amazingly real dream about the Dine' I had last night.

Staying cool with frozen watermelon.....both Wyatt and me. ;)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:08 PM
:) :)

by Alex Textor Robertson

The consummate Sun Belt city, Phoenix is undeniably appealing. Its heat provides the perfect antidote to the winter doldrums, its sunsets are remarkable, and the surrounding desert is simply gorgeous. While golf and expensive resorts drive the tourist economy, the city offers countless cultural attractions and desert adventures to rival country club activities.

Mid-century structures dot the urban landscape, satisfying aesthetes hankering for a design-rich city break. As a hub, Phoenix is extremely well situated, just hours from the Grand Canyon's majesties and Tucson's quaint charms. Whatever you do, don't neglect to rent a car. Without one, transportation will be an expensive hassle.


For refugees from big cold cities on either coast, Phoenix's lure is twofold. First, the region offers year-round recreational opportunities. Secondly, Phoenix is strikingly affordable. The metropolitan region is growing fast, and a sense of dynamism is palpable. Phoenix might once have been largely the bailiwick of Republican retirees, but a feisty gay presence, a strong Latino community and the influence of Native cultures all mean that Phoenix is whistling a different, distinctively Southwestern tune these days.


Phoenix goes extra gay several times a year. The AGRA Gay Rodeo (602/265-0618; www.agra-phx.com) is held in January; in 2006, it will be held January 13-15.

Phoenix Gay Pride (602/770-8241; www.azpride.org) is always the first weekend in the relatively cool month of April. Phoenix Pride is characterized by general friendliness and regional particularities like the noticeable Native American presence.

A third gay event, Rainbows Festival (602/770-8241; www.rainbowsfestival.com), is held the first weekend in October, also cooler than the blazing hot summer months. Rainbows Festival repeats Pride without a parade.


The Yum Yum Tree Guesthouse is a friendly gay guesthouse in a historic neighborhood. The Arizona Biltmore, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed complex, is architecturally stunning, with rates to match. The centrally located Holiday Inn Phoenix Midtown will set you up within striking distance of much of the city's gay nightlife.


Stop by Lux for espresso and light fare. Go for a conceptually rich dining experience at Cheuvront -- owned by openly gay state senator Ken Cheuvront -- where a hip ambiance is complemented by an extensive wine list and an impressive trove of artisanal cheeses.

Make a special trip to the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale to sample Douglas Rodriguez's delightfully complex (and pricey!) fusion fare at Deseo. Also in Scottsdale, AZ 88 features an extensive line of martinis and surprisingly inexpensive entr&#233;es in a fun and flirty space reminiscent of South Beach. For the old reliable gay dining experience, eat at Hamburger Mary's.


Phoenix sports a surprising number of gay and lesbian bars and dance clubs. Again, a car is absolutely key here, as distances (including those on the not-to-scale gay club maps) are formidable. A few spots are particularly noteworthy.

These include E Lounge, a lesbian dance club with a smattering of gay men and a thoroughly diverse clientele. Bear- and leather-oriented Padlock is one of the cruisiest men's bars in town, while Friends is among the friendliest. Other standouts include sceney, mixed Amsterdam and lesbian dance spot Ain't Nobody's Biz.


If wandering through dusky rooms and flailing about on packed dance floors doesn't fit the bill, don't fret. Phoenix features a number of stellar cultural and environmental standouts. Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's "architectural laboratory" and winter home for over 20 years, is set organically into the desert landscape. Several types of tours of Taliesin West are offered.

The Desert Botanical Garden is full of desert flora, with particularly striking wildflower and cactus sections. Detours of Arizona (480/633-9013) provides personalized tours of the Phoenix area and beyond. Lastly, the Heard Museum's Native art collection is well known and should not be missed.


The Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (www.visitgayarizona.com) publishes a helpful Visitor and Relocation Guide.

Check out Echo Magazine (www.echomag.com) for gay community news, Red (www.redmagaz.com) for nightclub information and Phoenix Downtown (www.phoenixdowntown.com) for art scene debriefing.

(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) for when the temps cool off a bit - like in October...;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:10 PM
:) :)

Pueblo in the sky

Acoma Pueblo, also known as Sky City, is the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. Acoma is in the high desert, an hour's drive west of Albuquerque, along the old Route 66. The pueblo is welcoming of gay and lesbian visitors.

Sky City is built atop a sheer 350-foot sandstone bluff, and its inaccessibility has been key to its longevity. Guided tours (800/747-0181) take visitors from the new cultural center at the foot of the mesa to the old pueblo up top. The tour shares pueblo history and gives insights into how Acomas live today. The 50 year-round inhabitants cook in domelike ovens, and generators provide electricity for vital needs -- such as watching "The Bachelor."

For two millennia, Sky City has served as a physical and spiritual hub for the Acoma people. Acoma is renowned for its art and culture, particularly for intricately detailed hand-coiled and hand-painted pottery, crafted by master artists such as Rebecca Lucario. Visitors are welcome to join Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at San Esteban del Rey Mission. Once the service is over, the drive down from the mesa reveals luminaria lanterns lining the road for miles. Packages are available, with dinner and accommodation at Sky City Hotel (I-40, Exit 102, Acoma; 888/759-2489; www.skycity.com).

Visitors to the mesa-top can coast back to the Cultural Center by shuttle or clamber down the rough-hewn steps. Once back down, other activities include annual Acoma bike tours (Sept. 24, 2006), fishing Acoma Lake, "Art on the Rocks" -- special days where artists pay a small fee to capture the beauty -- and Jeep tours currently being planned by the tribe.

Opened in May 2006, the stunning new Sky City Cultural Center and Haak'u Museum (18 miles south of Sky City Hotel) preserves a thousand years of history within its 40,000 square feet. The building incorporates elements of ancestral architecture from Acoma, Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde and elements of present-day Acoma and nearby Acomita, even including government-subsidized housing. Current exhibitions include "The Matriarchs," featuring works of four master potters, and "The Cotton Girls," showcasing rare Acoma textiles. Café Yaak'a offers traditional Acoma dishes and Southwestern fare.

The 133-room Sky City Hotel (I-40, Exit 102, Acoma; 888/759-2489; www.skycity.com offers extremely comfortable rooms with solid wood furnishings created by Acoma craftsmen, the Huwak'a Restaurant and fast-paced Las Vegas style gaming in the casino. It's a fantastic base to explore El Malpais National Monument's ice caves and Bandera Crater, the ghost town of La Ventana, cliff dwellings of Chaco Canyon, to hike or bike 11,300-foot Mount Taylor or to cruise the highway, taking in classic Route 66 signage. For more information on Sky City Cultural Center and the Pueblo of Acoma, visit www.SkyCity.com.

(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) I feel cooler already.:)

(k) 's

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:16 PM
:) :)

by Aefa Mulholland

A sleepy little Southwestern town before World War II, known for its fields of cotton and groves of lemon and orange trees, Phoenix now sprawls 400 miles across the Valley of the Sun. And it really does sprawl -- it's often cheaper to rent a car for the day than to grab a cab.

The fifth-largest city in the U.S. is a hot destination in every way. 325 yearly days of sunshine have attracted an energetic, outdoors-loving population who make the most of Phoenix's stunning setting.

Phoenicians hike and bike among giant saguaro cactus in Papago Park (625 N. Galvin Parkway; 602/256-3220), trek through 16,000-acre South Mountain Park (10919 S. Central Ave.; 602/495-0222) and clamber up the distinctive spine of Camelback Mountain (East MacDonald/Tatum Blvd.; 602/256-3220).

Phoenix is adjacent to the Apache Trail, Cave Creek and Estrella Mountain Regional Parks and many more amazingly pristine places. In fact, 55 percent of Arizona is public land and 27 percent belongs to Arizona's 21 recognized Native American tribes, leaving only 18 percent of the state privately owned.

For those who want a more laid-back vacation, the "Resort Capital of the World" offers a delicious slew of sumptuous spas, droves of tempting restaurants and breathtaking desert sunsets.

Once the sun goes down, Phoenix's dozens of lesbian and gay bars heat up. The scene, too, sprawls. Laidback, friendly, welcoming and one of the best cities for lesbians to visit or to live in, Phoenix offers so many exciting activities for LGBT visitors that any visit is sure to be the first of many.


For stylish stays, within walking distance of the E-Lounge and Z Girlz (see below) the boutique Clarendon (401 West Clarendon Ave.; 602/252-7363; www.theclarendon.net is a perfect match.

(l) For a sumptuous upscale escape, Hyatt Regency Scottsdale (7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd., Scottsdale; 480/444-1234; scottsdale.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/ refreshes guests with impeccable service, 10 pools, a lagoon and the outstanding Spa Avania.

In the vibrant college town of Tempe, the stunning Buttes Resort (2000 Westcourt Way; 602/225-9000; www.marriott.com; is literally built on sandy red slopes amid cactus and mesquite trees.


Wonderful wines, great ambience and Southwestern and Mediterranean flavors are on offer at Cheuvront, owned by gay state senator Ken Cheuvront (1326 N. Central Ave.; 602/307-0022. Camus (Clarendon, see above; 602/212-2687; is a stylish stop for sustenance.

Settle into Postino's (3939 E. Campbell St; 602/852-3939; www.postinowinecafe.com) and snack on olives until the pizzas or burgers you ordered from La Grande Orange ($11-$14) next door are delivered to your table.

(l) (l) Vu (Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, see above; 480/444-1234; is an elegant option. High-backed white banquettes and orange draperies separate eating areas, and a thrilling menu lures diners. The pumpkin, vanilla and star anise soup is spectacular.


(l) (l) (l) Girls have it good in this delicious desert town. E-Lounge (4343 N. Seventh Ave.; 602/279-0388; www.eloungephx.com) is an energetic, youthful dance bar that is crammed to the rafters on weekends. The adjacent Z Girlz (4301 N. Seventh Ave.; 602/265-3233; www.zgirlclub.com) is another enthusiastically frequented address.

Canter to Cash Inn (2140 E. McDowell Rd.; 602/244-9943; www.cashinncountry.net), to two-step with your gal. Join hordes at a mixed club, The Biz (3031 E. Indian School; 602/224-9977; www.aintnobodysbizness-az.com), a hopping spot in an unassuming strip mall.

Men and women booze and cruise at Amsterdam (718 N. Central Ave.; 602/258-6122; www.amsterdambar.com) and Roscoe's (4531 N. Seventh Street; 602/285-0833; roscoeson7.com).


(y) (y) After a frenetic night out, visit Spa Avania (Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, see above; 480/483-5558; www.spaavania.com). Spa guests can spend the entire day experiencing the mineral pool, eucalyptus room, rain showers, relaxation lounges and outdoor fireplace, before and after having the best massage you're ever likely to get.

Enjoy concerts, wine tasting or even yoga among the cactus at the Desert Botanical Gardens (1201 N. Galvin Parkway; 480/941-1225; www.dbg.org). Learn about Native cultures and Southwestern history at the prestigious Heard Museum (2301 N. Central Ave.; 602/252-8840; www.heard.org).

(i) (i) (i) Gee, anyone might think that I have been planning a trip for between now and end of the year....;)

Well, yes I am.

:| Stay cool everyone. And safe from this heat.

Restful sleep tonight.

Sweetlady & Wyatt the chewa-backa-from Star Wars Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:23 PM
(y) (y)

by Aefa Mulholland and Ed Salvato, Gay.com Travel Editor

Whether you're pondering putting yourself and the pets in a U-Haul or just want to be sure you've already picked the right address, we present our top cities for lesbians to live and love in: New York, the undisputed queen of lesbian cities; Los Angeles, all glamorous and sun-kissed; San Francisco, active and politicized; Portland, OR, our up-and-coming choice; and, in the 'whodathunkit' category, surprisingly lesbo-friendly Phoenix.

It's thrilling to have so many contenders which we could have included in this list; cities like Atlanta, with its profusion of women living in the Decatur area; Seattle, Miami and Chicago, with their exciting women's club scenes; Northampton, Somerville, Asheville and Eureka Springs, with their academically and artistically-minded communities.

There are so many cool, confident and enjoyable cities for gay gals to call home: They'll provide article topics for some time to come! For now, here are our top 5 cities for Sapphic sisters.


Girls room

(l) To keep close to the action in Park Slope, reserve the suite at House on 3 Street, a gorgeous brownstone two blocks from Brooklyn's bars and five minutes from Manhattan by subway.

Ladies' night out

Brooklyn offers an excellent array of mixed bars, including Ginger's and Excelsior. Across the bridge, mellow lesbian lounge Rubyfruit (bar $8-12, restaurant and the seductive sofas of Starlight prove ever popular with Manhattan's women (Sundays are women only). (y)


Girls room

The Mondrian, with its light installations and super chic Sky Bar is one of Los Angeles' major see-and-be-seen addresses. Quirky gem, Farmer's Daughter is a gingham-draped spot to rest once you're done dancing.

Ladies' night out

L.A.'s lesbian population parties at old school haunt, The Palms, people-watching palace, Normandie Room and sizzling clubs Girl Bar and Fuse's here lounge. Upscale restaurant nights at Mark's -- the first Wedneday of every month -- and Moroccan-hued Oasis -- every Tuesday -- feature killer heels and mature mingling. (l) (y) (y) "killer heels and mature mingling"? Sounds like MY kind of place!!(y)


Girls room

Close to Mission Dolores, Dolores Park Inn is a romantic and well-run B&B in the Upper Market neighborhood, popular with both gay and straight clientele.

Ladies' night out

Funky girls buzz about as ferocious tunes spill out of The Lexington Club's jukebox, while Cherry's stylish dance floor hosts a mixed crowd for record release parties and wine tastings. Mango brightens the city up April to November, with friendly multi-cultural afternoon delights. Long-established Girl Spot is a fun, cruisey Saturday social.


Girls room

Near the Hawthorne neighborhood, where women are buying up old houses in their droves, sleekly renovated motel, The Jupiter offers retro-hip accommodations. Downtown the striking Lucia is also attracting dyke dollars.

Ladies' night out

PDX offers several very different addresses for dykes about town. Holocene is a hipster haunt with killer mojitos and laidback monthly party Tart. The main old school lesbian club in town, The Egyptian Room, attracts a crowd on weekend nights. Martini bar Crush, dishes up tasty vegetarian finger foods.


Girls room

(l) (l) Luxurious Hermosa Inn offers Camelback Mountain views in the Valley of the Sun. Mexican tile floors and a pool and cabana star at Yum Yum Tree Guesthouse, a lesbian and gay-popular guesthouse in the historic Willo neighborhood.

Ladies' night out

Phoenix women face tough choices every night, with no less than five bars and clubs vying for their attention. Brash Ain't Nobody's Business still attracts flocks of ladies, while karaoke and two stepping are on the calendar at Cash Inn Country. New contender E-Lounge plays hip-hop for a hot clientele.

(*) (*) (*) (d) 's, (b) 's, wonderful places to stay, the list goes on and on.

The Hermosa Inn is truly lovely. And there are some places that I would love to try as well as the old stand-bys that I have already tried in the past.

That's it, trying new things lately as a respite from the Summer doldrums....THAT's the ticket! ;)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the "wondering what to get into next" Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:25 PM
(h) (h)

Fri, Jul. 28, 2006

Female bloggers revving up


By Michelle Quinn

Mercury News

Ladies, start your engines.


Everyone knows that tens of thousands of crazed fans will be cheering and sweating in downtown San Jose today and Saturday for the San Jose Grand Prix, a celebration of engineering, speed and, of course, manhood.

But in the north of San Jose, 750 female bloggers are cloistered away from the din of the roaring engines. Instead, they gather today and Saturday at the BlogHer conference at the Hyatt San Jose to discuss the roar they are making online on every topic worth talking about -- politics, business, divorce, knitting, parenting.

Tempers may flare. Things may get said. Feelings may get hurt and everything will be blogged on at both ends of the city.
This weekend, San Jose is divided between two playgrounds, the testosterone fueled, gas guzzling, sound-wall-breaking one downtown. And the estrogen-laced community-building, business-savvy one that comes complete with corporate-sponsored child care.
Of course, there are a lot of female fans of auto racing. And some are bloggers. In fact, there's www. askpatty.com, a blog about cars, whose author will attend the BlogHer conference.

Blogging, like racing, can't neatly be divided into boy/girl categories. In fact, a recent study of bloggers by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 46 percent of bloggers are women.

But blogging is relatively new and, to hear those at a BlogHer lunch Thursday talk, the era when male bloggers made the most noise and got the most attention is coming to an end.

The next wave, which includes a lot of women, finds new, broader reasons to blog.

According to Pew, women more than men tend to use their online writing for social reasons, such as to break out of their isolation, help people in trouble or engage strangers on issues of the day.

The theme of this second annual conference is ``How Are Blogs Changing Your World?''

While most of the 100 top-ranked bloggers in the world are men, the world's No. 1 blogger, measured by how many bloggers link to the work, is a female Chinese pop star. The top 100 also includes Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post provides analysis and humor on the day's political news. She's planning to attend BlogHer.

The birth of BlogHer sheds some light into how women use technology differently. Last year, a group of female bloggers held a one-day conference; 300 people showed up. They created a Web page where they could meet and discuss issues. And now, the organization BlogHer.org has several conferences a year complete with corporate sponsors. The group launched an ad network recently for more than 30 parenting bloggers with advertisers such as Elexa by Trojan, Disney and Intuit.

``BlogHer the conference became BlogHer the community and then BlogHer the business,'' said Elisa Camahort, BlogHer's co-founder and a former high-tech product manager.

BlogHer, based in Palo Alto, aims to be the Yellow Pages and TV Guide for female bloggers. While any woman can submit her blog, all blogs are reviewed before added to the community.

One of them is at www.svmoms.com, a group of 40 bloggers who live in Silicon Valley and on the Peninsula. The blog features short observations about life and parenting in Silicon Valley on topics such as how strange it can be to be a young mother, the guilt of hiring nannies and what it feels like to watch other parents buy expensive designer clothes for their children.
The grand prix has Toyota, Hertz Rental Equipment and Authobahn Motors among its lead sponsors. The blogging women will not be without their own wheels to lust over.

General Motors, one of BlogHers sponsors, will have its hybrid SUVs, hydrogen fuel cell family cars and Saturn Sky available to test drive. And blog on.

Oh, and for those test driving the hydrogen cell cars, a piece of advice.

Drive south down First Street. You'll find something to post.

(y) (y) (y) (h) (h) (h) (i) (i) (i)

:) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:29 PM

Fish Creek House Trout Breakfast (with recipe)


(y) (y) It has been awhile since having this kind of breakfast, and just the thought of being in the Grand Tetons (that is French for Titties for those intersted) where when I checked the weather this morning, it was in the 40's - the LOW 40's at night. THAT's my kind of restful sleeping weather - when I can open the windows and curl up under a cotton quilt. <sigh>

Have a lovely rest of your Monday and week, all. (f)


Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:40 PM
:s :s

By JOHN PACZKOWSKI GMSV (Good Morning Silicon Valley)

Looks like it's game over for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), at least as we know it. Abandoned by major exhibitors, the video game industry's famously overdone annual trade show is being radically re-tooled in the hopes of regaining their participation. Rather than host the show at its usual Los Angeles Convention Center site, the event's organizers at the Entertainment Software Association have decided to move it to a smaller venue that supports exhibitors in meeting room space only. A more intimate space will lower exhibitor costs and raise their ROI enough to make participation in E3 worthwhile. Or so the theory goes. But is that enough to save E3 from the fate that befell a certain other well-known trade show (see "Comdex takes a dirt nap")? Perhaps. But only in that much reduced form. As Ars Technica notes, the days of big consumer technology trade shows are ending. "It used to be that Comdex was a special event because so much new stuff was unveiled, and this was the only way to see it. Now, however, information comes down the pipe faster than ever, and companies are wondering if there's really any benefit to spending the big money on displays only to share the floor with other competitors looking to out-wow attendees. It was a media circus for the days when you needed a circus to attract media attention. I don't think anyone would say that consumer electronics is lacking for attention these days."





:| :| And to think that I used to travel to these HUGE trade shows, trying to make my way among 200,000 exhibitors and attendees to get to appointments with vendors and clients. Talk about getting my toes stepped on.:o

I'm delighted the way of the future is smaller shows as well as webcasts and other easy product and service information distribution.

As for those Booth Babes for eye candy attraction to get men into vendor's booths? I'm glad that I am not mistaken for one of them anymore by ignorant het men whose eyes never saw my face. :P :| :s Oh, but the looks of shock when I did open my mouth and asked a deeply technical question made it SO worth it. ;) They sputtered and stuttered and ran off to get an engineer. And the engineers were always so respectful to me. I always appreciated that, and still do.

I know. I am so bad sometimes. ;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:44 PM

"There have been many companies who lost their greatness post their founders. There have been many companies who went on to greater greatness after their founders. ... When did China get great? China didn't get great under Mao Zedong. China got great under -- in the recent years -- probably got great under Deng Xiaoping."

-- Microsoft's Steve "Deng" Ballmer steps into a big pile of unfortunate analogy

Since it is subscription only and the URL would identify my account at the WSJ, following is the article for those interested:

An Imprint All His Own

Now a Solo Act at Microsoft, Ballmer Stresses Innovation, Is Bullish on Online Services


July 28, 2006; Page A9 Wall Street Journal

On June 16, Steve Ballmer woke up and knew his life had radically changed.

For 26 years, the chief executive of Microsoft Corp. had worked hand in hand with Bill Gates to guide a tiny personal-computer-software maker into a technology behemoth whose products are at the center of the world's businesses and homes. But the day before, Mr. Gates had announced plans to step away from Microsoft in two years. The duo would become a solo act.

Now, Mr. Ballmer must show that Microsoft's greatness transcends the man who is so closely associated with the company. And he must lead Microsoft at what is arguably the most challenging period in its history. Shareholders are grumbling about a stock price that has been flat for five years and gripe about Microsoft's practice of not distributing more of its cash hoard, even as Mr. Ballmer this month announced a $20 billion share-buyback program designed to boost the stock price.

Google Inc., meanwhile, has outpaced Microsoft online, poached key Microsoft employees and will likely become an even greater Microsoft rival in years to come. The Internet search company's rising share price has raised debate over what more Microsoft can do to retain and attract employees.

Mr. Ballmer has help, of course. Mr. Gates is passing his direct duties on to two lieutenants, Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie. Even so, without Mr. Gates there to push Microsoft into new technologies and markets, Mr. Ballmer says he himself will need to take on some of his old friend's specialty as an advocate for innovation.

In his first one-on-one interview since Mr. Gates's retirement announcement, Mr. Ballmer said he looks forward to the challenge of leading through Mr. Gates's departure. He is bullish on Microsoft's investments in online services, and he dismisses as "random malarkey" the idea that Microsoft is having trouble hiring and keeping the kind of brilliant employees that have always been the company's competitive weapon. Excerpts:

WSJ: Many companies faded away after their founders left. What can you say that would assure people that, now that the co-founder is moving on, Microsoft is in good hands?

Mr. Ballmer: There have been many companies who lost their greatness post their founders. There have been many companies who went on to greater greatness after their founders. And there's all things in between. I think our company is well-prepared for the future. We have great talent. If you take a look at it, we're a hot place to work, which means we're getting more great talent.

We've got great market positions, which allows us to fund new things, and to expand our position in the areas that we're in. We've got an unparalleled research organization. We've got people who are fiery and passionate and care about what they do....

You can't replace Bill Gates, but I think the future of the company is brighter looking forward even than looking back. You never can go through the teenage years of being a company again in the sense of growing from nothing to something, but I think we can go from something very good to something great.

When did China get great? China didn't get great under Mao Zedong. China got great under -- in the recent years -- probably got great under Deng Xiaoping.

WSJ: How do you have to adjust your role now?

Mr. Ballmer: As co-leaders of the business, I could allow Bill to be the full-time champion of innovation. And [now] with me really being the guy who's here every day running the place, I must be the champion of innovation. That doesn't mean I must be the guy who comes up with every innovation, but I really have to carry the mantle that says we're going to innovate, we're going to do new things, we're going to get into new areas, we're going to protect and nurture all kinds of innovation. That is my role.

I told this to Bill when he first started talking to me about [moving on] two years ago: The No. 1 thing I will worry about when you go is whether we continue to have the aggressive -- positively aggressive -- view of pushing for new things. And I told him right there and then that that is something that I will not be able to delegate. Others can participate with me, but I'm going to have to be the standard bearer of the tone that says we are bold and expansionist.

WSJ: You had said earlier that Microsoft is a hot company to work at. Arguably, it's less than it was.

Mr. Ballmer: But can we get the facts instead of all the rhetoric? It's just flat-out wrong. Let me give you at least three things to think about, which I'm happy to defend.

No. 1, we're hiring more senior people and more great talent off college campuses today than any other time in our company's history. We've hired six or seven CTOs [chief technical officers] or heads of engineering from start-ups this year. We've hired a bunch of senior people from a variety of companies in our industry, online companies, enterprise companies. Fantastic recruitment, like never-before recruitment, frankly. I'm just talking about the technology side; by the way, the business side is going pretty darn well, too -- best recruitment we've ever done.

The second thing: retention. Our retention rates are almost too high -- in the sense that I always hope we're working hard on helping people who don't belong here not to belong here. But we're around 3% or so of what we call unwanted attrition. The only time we've ever been lower was right after the dot-com bubble burst.

And No. 3, we're one of the highest payers in our industry. So on all three dimensions -- attraction, retention, compensation -- I just think there's a whole bunch of random malarkey out there. That doesn't mean we don't lose people; we do, and I watch it carefully.

Sure, other guys target us. Some don't make you go through the interview process if you've interned here, because our hiring acumen and intern programs are so well-regarded. Some guys say if they're good enough for Microsoft, they're good enough for us.

So, of course, people are targeting us. We're the feeder system, baby, we're the Big Kahuna. And I don't want to be that, but it's not like our retention numbers are anything other than stellar.

WSJ: At the financial analysts' meeting, you are emphasizing your Live-branded online services. Five to 10 years from now, will this be looked at as fundamental change in the way Microsoft thinks of itself, makes its money?

Mr. Ballmer: We grew up with one business model as our fundamental revenue-generation muscle: we sell something, you pay us for it. And we are building new muscle. We're building a consumer subscription but, significantly, an advertising muscle. We grew up with a certain distribution model, which tended to be CDs and disks in the old days; we're building a new distribution model, which tends to be more online. We grew up with a certain kind of competitor that was the traditional commercial competitor; now we're embracing competition with Open Source.

This is not a one-trick pony. We are multicapable, multicore.

WSJ: Is your thinking changing toward new growth through acquisitions?

Mr. Ballmer: In a growth sense, I would think with a couple small exceptions we are 100% organic. We buy technology, and we grow organically. There have been very few cases where we bought big revenue streams or big operations.

The best thing we can do for our shareholders is to be willing to be open-minded to possibilities. And in general, we've not been able to close the loop and figure out how large acquisitions actually create shareholder value. That doesn't mean we don't think about them, we think about them a lot, actually. I'd never go out and buy growth, but if I thought I could buy something that we thought we could enhance and add enough value with by bringing it together, sure, that's an interesting proposition.

WSJ: How far are you willing to go to compete with Google head-on? Is that an area that an acquisition of a Yahoo, for instance, could help?

Mr. Ballmer: It's not something I will speculate on. We're going to compete. We're going to be in the online business. We are going to have a core around online. We're going to be excellent. That, I would tell people, to count on....It's going to be hard. We've told our shareholders that it could be expensive. But we will build online as one of the multiple cores of Microsoft. And I don't think we have to do an acquisition to do that. If there are acquisitions that are helpful, great.

WSJ: When you and Bill told Microsoft top executives about his plans to move on, what did you say to them? How did you characterize your relationship?

Mr. Ballmer: Oh, I probably won't get it right -- it's not like I had a rehearsed speech. But you know, at the end of the day, Bill and I are probably most akin to brothers and all that implies. We know each other very well. There's a lot of love between the two of us. We have a way of arguing and getting through it, but not avoiding argument.

I mean, I think brothers tend to argue a lot, and somehow they stay brothers and stay connected, and I think Bill and I have figured out how to do all of that.

:| :| :| :| :| Right. Enough said.

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&)

07-31-2006, 12:46 PM
:s :s


(y) (y) Good for 'em.


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:48 PM


(*) I'll take a cabin deep in the redwoods far away from the madding crowds anyday over this.


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:54 PM
:| :|

" The company can hire all the security officers it wants, and it could replace every ad with a flashing banner that says "DO NOT TRUST RANDOM STRANGERS!!!", and send fliers to every parent in America ... and bad things would still happen to kids connected to MySpace. A lot of parents aren't very good at parenting, and part of being a teenager is saying and doing stupid things... "

-- Scott Granneman, "MySpace, a place without MyParents"

Given the recent outcry over MySpace, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the U.S. House passed the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) with an overwhelming majority. But I can certainly be disappointed. With a 410-15 vote (410-15!!!) Thursday, politicians approved the bill, which will block access to social networks and Internet chat rooms in most federally funded schools and libraries. "Social networking sites, best known by the popular examples of MySpace, Friendster and Facebook, have literally exploded in popularity in just a few short years," Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican and one of DOPA's original sponsors, said of the bill. Today these sites "have become a haven for online sexual predators who have made these corners of the Web their own virtual hunting ground."

Sigh. Think of the children, won't you. And remember, vote for Fitzpatrick in November!

While certainly well-intentioned, DOPA -- like most Internet legislation Congress has scribbled up -- is laughably imprecise. It's so overly broad that it denies access to any area of the Internet where users may post home pages or other information. Here's how DOPA defines social networking sites:

(i) is offered by a commercial entity;
(ii) permits registered users to create an on-line profile that includes detailed personal information;
(iii) permits registered users to create an on-line journal and share such a journal with other users;
(iv) elicits highly-personalized information from users; and
(v) enables communication among users.

Great work, Congress, you've just barred anyone who depends upon their local libraries for access to the Web from viewing eBay, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and Amazon.

As one might imagine, educators and librarians aren't exactly thrilled with DOPA. Said American Library Association President Leslie Berger, "This unnecessary and overly broad legislation will hinder students' ability to engage in distance learning and block library computer users from accessing a wide array of essential Internet applications including instant messaging, email, wikis and blogs. ... Under DOPA, people who use library and school computers as their primary conduits to the Internet will be unfairly blocked from accessing some of the web's most powerful emerging technologies and learning applications. As libraries are already required to block content that is 'harmful to minors' under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), DOPA is redundant and unnecessary legislation."





http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/f000451/ :| :| I DON'T THINK SO!


(*) (*) I guess that parents are keenly interested in this. I think those seeking re-election this November will use anything they can, anything, to make a huge deal in order to differentiate themselves from their opponents.

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:57 PM
:| :|


:| :|

(n) (n) At least not for scholarly citations.....;)

:) 's

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 12:58 PM
:| :|


:| Not your 1960's version of the Ginzu knife for sure. ;)


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 01:00 PM
(y) (y)


"Stop Making Crap."

-- PC World Contributing Editor Stephen Manes offers some parting advice to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.


(h) (h) (h) (h) (h)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 01:06 PM
:s :s

This makes a lot of sense: "A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, though he says he never told his superiors he was gay and his accuser was never identified." Right, because the Army has way too many Arabic language specialists just sitting around. Oh, wait.

This isn't the first time either; a report in 2005 found that the Army has discharged 26 Arabic and Farsi linguists for being gay. Whether any of them actually had the privilege of facing their accusers is unclear.



SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 01:08 PM
(y) (y) (y)

BULLY for him!

PM will publicly back California's research into disease treatment despite White House's strong opposition

Gaby Hinsliff in San Francisco
Sunday July 30, 2006
The Observer

Tony Blair is to use his trip to America to back stem cell research despite sharp opposition from President George Bush. The Prime Minister will give his support to scientific research into the treatment of incurable diseases, which has been blocked by Bush.

The President objects on moral grounds to the technique, which involves harvesting human stem cells, the most basic building blocks of life. These are then stimulated to grow replica human tissue, which could ultimately be used for transplants or the treatment of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's.

Pro-life and religious groups oppose stem cell research because one source of the cells is human embryos created during fertility treatment and subsequently destroyed. Bush vetoed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research five years ago, driving some US scientists to Britain to continue their work, but the state of California - where Blair will deliver a speech tomorrow - has legislated to fund research locally.

The Prime Minister will meet 10 bioscience companies in the San Francisco area and unveil plans for a joint UK-Californian conference on stem cell technology in Britain in November.

Announcing the conference in America will be seen as a bold contradiction of Bush's views, less than two weeks after the President personally vetoed another bill passed by the Senate that would have allowed federal funding for the research, saying it crossed a 'moral boundary'.

However, a Downing Street spokesman insisted there was no conflict, adding: 'George Bush has his own approach [to stem cells], we have our own, and California has its own.'

Blair's attempt to boost the profile of British researchers was in danger of backfiring last night, however, after Downing Street, apparently mistakenly, published private criticism of one of the flagship bodies he is promoting.

Among the 'strengths' of British research listed in a briefing pack handed to journalists was the UK Stem Cell Foundation, set up last year to help turn lab work into medical treatments. Unfortunately, a junior official had failed to remove before publication a note, apparently added for Downing Street consumption, that 'the UKSCF hasn't done much since its establishment'.

It then referred helpfully to further material on 'the difficulties of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine'. The institute is among the US organisations Blair is meeting tomorrow.


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) Go get 'em Tony!

SL & WTNBP (S) (&) (S)

07-31-2006, 01:12 PM
(p) (p)

Aren't web cams the best for feeling cooler?


(y) (y)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

07-31-2006, 01:15 PM
THIS chilled me right out!


(h) (h) Oh yea, baby. Look at that snow.


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:18 AM
:) :) :)

August 1, 2006

The Tableau Vivant Is Alive and Well and Living in Laguna Beach


LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — For his nightly role in the sprawling Pageant of the Masters, Michael Ziegler disrobes and stands patiently for 45 minutes while a makeup artist paints his body silver from head to toe.

“I feel a little bit warm and greasy,” he said on a recent evening as he staggered cautiously out of a dressing room with his arms and legs wide apart so as not to smear the paint, like a horror-film mummy in G-string and flip-flops.

Yet after all that preparation, Mr. Ziegler, a 53-year-old airline customer service representative, goes onstage and does nothing. For 90 seconds, he stands utterly still — with one leg and arm outstretched, like the confederate across from him — in a re-creation of “The Dancers,” a bronze sculpture by a largely forgotten artist.

Is the tableau vivant pass&#233;? Not for the 155,000 fans who flock to this beachside town each summer for the pageant. For them, the two-month extravaganza — a $4.1 million production that includes sets and lighting for nearly 40 art pieces on eight staging areas with live narration and orchestra — weaves a magic that is a welcome palliative to the freneticism of modern-day entertainment.

The Pageant of the Masters dates back to 1933, when a much smaller version was organized to publicize an arts festival featuring local artists, which is still held in tandem with the pageant each summer (this year from July 7 to Sept. 1.). Today the tableau vivant pageant has an all-volunteer cast of about 300, and over the years it has added themes, movement, singing and surprises — from a cowboy on a real horse to the uncorking of a 20-foot-tall champagne bottle — to maintain its appeal.

The pageant sells out all of its 61 shows and generates about $1.8 million for local arts programs, exhibitions and scholarships, said Anita Mangels, president of the pageant board. It has been so successful that the main struggle, at times a source of acrimony among board members, has been to keep it in Laguna Beach and fend off offers to franchise it.

“It’s an indescribable art form that one must see to appreciate,” Ms. Mangels said. “Part of what makes it unique is that you can only see it in its original setting two months a year.”

From the 2,600 seats in the Irvine Bowl, the amphitheater where the pageant is presented under often starry skies, what the audience takes in is in some respect a trick of the eye. For the re-creation of paintings, humans are positioned to take the place of characters in reproductions than can be as big as 35 feet wide and 14 feet high. The models are then made two-dimensional by lighting and the elimination of shadows.

As sets are rolled in and out, the models are sometimes shown taking their positions in semidarkness. The stage darkens completely, and then the lights go on to reveal the models frozen inside the frame.

Gasps are often heard from the audience as the scene is illuminated. Ninety seconds later the set goes dark again and the image is gone, as ephemeral as lightning.

“It’s never relaxed,” said Diane Challis Davy, the pageant’s director since 1996. “If one person in the chain is not doing the job, it can have disastrous effects.”

This year’s theme is “A Passion for Art,” with a lineup of 38 tableaus, including love-themed paintings like “The Suitor’s Visit” (around 1658) by the Dutch realist painter Gerard ter Borch, “The Stolen Kiss” by Fragonard and lusty sculptures like Rodin’s “Eternal Spring,” as well as posters, prints and pendants honoring such aids to love as perfume and alcohol. The one departure from the theme, but a constant from year to year, is the finale, Leonardo’s “Last Supper,” in which — in a coincidental nod to Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” — the role of John has for years being played by a woman.

“It’s breathtaking,” said Kevin Cole, a concert pianist visiting from Chicago, who saw the pageant for the first time on a recent Friday, often training binoculars on the stage. “There are so few things that create wonder in the adult world. This just leaves you in wonderment.”

Dickran Tashjian, a professor emeritus of art history at the University of California at Irvine who has seen the pageant three times, says that he finds it a technical marvel but that it cannot be compared with standing before the original art.

“The real thing is a lot better than Pageant of the Masters,” he said. “But if you see it as two different expressive forms, then the pageant is unique unto itself.”

Behind the scenes, materials like wood, plastic foam and plastic wrap are used to recreate the setting of the original artwork. Face and body makeup incorporates the shadows and colors of the painting.

To remain as still as possible onstage, the models use aids like steel posts and safety belts for support while breathing shallowly and trying to control any sudden cramp or sneeze. (On a recent night, the only movements detected by a reporter were the slight tilting of a head and a heaving chest.)

For “The Dancers,” a 1921 bronze sculpture by the American artist Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, Mr. Ziegler is fastened to supports in five different places for a pose that requires him to hold both left leg and left arm in the air while leaning back.

“Your neck hurts and your back hurts,” he said, calling the pose the most difficult he has attempted in 20 years with the pageant. “Your neck is almost horizontal to the ground and you’re hanging on with just one hand.”

But like much of the audience, cast and backstage crew (another 150 to 200 volunteers who do makeup, wardrobe and sets), he comes back year after year. His partner in “The Dancers” montage, Joy Shirkani-Monson, 32, first appeared on the pageant at 10 and has recently enlisted her three young children.

This year, the pageant drew 800 aspirants to its casting call and, as usual, those who made it were chosen largely by their measurements. Because of the need for scale, many of the adult figures in paintings like “El Jaleo,” by John Singer Sargent, in which a woman dances flamenco with five guitarists and singers in the background, are portrayed by children as young as 5.

The volunteers are divided into two casts, which alternate weeks performing. They commit to doing two summer months for no recompense other than applause, camaraderie and pride in keeping a tradition alive.

A sprinkling of celebrities have taken part over the years; last year, the actress Teri Hatcher appeared with her daughter. The pageant has such a loyal following that some volunteers have put in more than 30 years and whole families now make it a summer pastime.

“It’s become a second home,” Ms. Shirkani-Monson said. “It’s always fun and happy.”

Some, like Jesus and his 12 disciples in “The Last Supper,” have become so tight that they break bread for real once a week. But others enjoy modeling a new pose each year. Mr. Ziegler was once a 1953 Buick hood ornament, and he takes pride in being fit enough to perform nearly nude at 53.

In a patio behind the stage on a recent night, little costumed geishas from woodblock prints mingled with figures from Meissen porcelain and a naked golden sculpture shielded by a “modesty panel” as the models waited for their turn to go on. Some children whiled away the time by playing board games.

Among them was Blake Del Rey, 7, who poses for his minute and a half with his head tilted back in “El Jaleo.” A budding actor who has appeared in musicals around Orange County, Blake is a newcomer to the pageant and still working hard on the not-moving part.

“You’re only allowed to blink, but I’ve been breathing a lot,” he said. “Now I’m trying to breathe with my nose.”

Adults have their own challenges trying to stay put. “If I start thinking about the pose, sometimes my leg cramps up and I start to shake,” Mr. Ziegler said. “Or my arm hurts, and the more I think about it, the more it hurts. I try to think about something that’s going on at work.”

Positioned as a mirror image of him, Ms. Shirkani-Monson said she sometimes drifts away and thinks about things she needs to do the next day, like buying tomato sauce at the grocery story. “I snap back and say, I’m in the middle of 2,500 people — I hope I didn’t move.”

Many of the volunteers say they are already looking forward to 2007 and 2008 when the show and its accompanying arts festival will celebrate their 75th anniversaries. The concept for the pageant has already being chosen: “Young at Heart.”

(l) (l) I haven't thought of the Pageant of the Masters for a very long time. I took binoculars with me since my seat was about half-way back - and I also remember having goosebumps when many of the "paintings" using people were illuminated. I remember gasping along with hundreds of other folks.

(y) (y) I also fondly remember the Sawdust Festival held concurrently just down the road. I never met so many artists and crafts people in my life - at one time. In 1982, on my second visit, I got two very thin 14K gold toe rings - which I wear to this day! Toe rings were new (to me at least) and seemed so cool. (I thought wearing toe rings inside high heels with suits during the work week was my understated way of flashing the middle finger to the male "empty suits" I had to put up with at work.....;)

<sigh> I would LOVE to go again sometime. Maybe next year - and get reservations NOW since the shows sell out very quickly - AND it being the 75th year. Reminds me of making reservatons at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.:) At *least* a year in advance. However, I have been there nine times. It is time to see the North Rim when it's open between May and October.

Stay cool,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:24 AM
:o :o


(*) Not worth the current $20K but still pretty cool. (h)

(i) This got me to thinking about the Hall of Presidents at Disney World and how that 3D projection technology seemed so real - and this was back in 1979! (h)

:) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:25 AM
(h) (h)


(y) (y)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:28 AM
:) :)

July 30, 2006


Convenience Cult?



The I Love Wawa group on MySpace.com has more than 5,000 members, making it the largest of several Wawa-related groups on the online-community site. Over on Livejournal.com, there’s a group called We Love Wawa, with about 950 members. This would be pretty ho-hum if Wawa were an indie band or video game. Instead, it’s a chain of convenience stores, with 550 locations in five states on the East Coast. Many of the postings to these groups involve praise for Wawa’s house-brand goods — coffee, hoagies, etc. But the most intriguing factor in Wawa loyalty may be something else: the service.

This, at least, is the contention of Neeli Bendapudi, an Ohio State University marketing professor who studied the chain as part of her continuing research on the impact of service quality on brands. Part of her goal, she says, was to avoid obviously service-oriented businesses like fancy hotels and department stores and to look at a sector that’s “really nonglamorous.” Convenience stores, where employee turnover is high and transactions are about as basic as it gets, seemed like the perfect setting for indifferent service. Yet in interviews with regular Wawa customers, Bendapudi found that employee friendliness was a recurring theme. And in an article for The Harvard Business Review, she and her husband, Venkat Bendapudi (who teaches management at Ohio State), argued that this was not a fluke: Wawa makes a concerted effort to “provide outstanding customer-employee interactions” by way of careful hiring and training practices.

The company’s C.E.O., Howard Stoeckel, says that while convenience stores seem like places for no-frills, almost-anonymous consumption, Wawa focuses on the repeat-customer side of the business, or, as he puts it, the “habit-forming” side. Store managers are expected to make each Wawa “part of the community” and impress regulars who will come in five times a week or more. Allison Fahmie, for instance, is a regular at a Wawa in Toms River, N.J., where many employees know her on sight; she’s the founder of that Myspace group. A co-founder of the LiveJournal group, Matt Breslin of Pitman, N.J., points out a thread on the site that involved people “claiming” their Wawas — declaring loyalty to the specific location that they patronize most frequently. In focus groups, Stoeckel says, repeat customers bring up the employees and say things like “Your people like each other, they have fun and work as a team, and when we come in to the store we feel part of that.” In an incident the company loves to mention, one couple even had their wedding at the Wawa where they met.

Wawa wages are comparable to those of other convenience stores, and it’s not as if the chain is hiring hotshot executives from G.E. to be clerks. It simply does a better job than most companies, the Bendapudis say, of “investing in” the people it hires, training them at its Wawa Corporate University and even reimbursing employees for college courses. This keeps turnover lower, they argue, and attracts hundreds of applications for every job opening.

What’s intriguing about a brand built partly on its service reputation is that the hottest consumer trend in America right now is arguably dissatisfaction with service. Recent service-rage incidents documented with video and audio recordings posted on personal blogs have ended up on network television news shows. Technology makes it easier for one ticked-off consumer to make an enormous fuss, but Bendapudi says she believes that service really is getting worse. Many jobs that involve dealing with the public are thankless, dead-end gigs. The less attractive such jobs are, the more service suffers. “It’s easy to have irate customers these days,” she says.

Even Stoeckel concedes that with 16,000 employees, Wawa’s interactions with customers are not all happy ones. But, he says, most Wawa regulars tend to see these as aberrations, not as the final indignity that deserves an online tirade. Bendapudi argues that if a convenience store can pull this off, plenty of companies would benefit from investing in service rather than in ever-bigger marketing campaigns. If fewer disgruntled employees leads to more satisfied customers, “we’ll all be happier people,” she says. And what advertising campaign has ever done that?

(y) (y) I agree although not as avid a fan as the folks mentioned in this article. I have to say though, Wawa definitely treats customers just wonderfully. It is also the cleanest by far of ANY chain in the U.S., in my view. Every time I have ever gone in one, the floors (and everything else) are immaculate. (y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:34 AM
:) :)

This article can be found on the web at:


Atrophy of the Well

by LIANN YIM The Nation

[posted online on June 26, 2006]

The world is always at war. If not over religion, then over politics. Or freedom of expression, or civil rights, or pride or rebellion or revenge. But we have never had to fight over water.

I ask no rhetorical questions in this essay. I ask for your eyes. The water we drink is clear, colorless and odorless. There are no marks for us to recognize it by, no tart taste or unique tangy grapes or bite, sweet, spicy; no sunny, buttercup yellow, bright orange, dark brown, glorious dark red--and yet we never forget it. It is a simple and unremarkable compound.

It is not a foreseeable future for many of us, not when there are lush hills, deep wells, rivers running high and too much rainfall. We are freely given water in a McDonald's paper cup or in a wine glass. Not even for the Californians, who are used to their brittle-looking black elms, weeds and wildfires, is it easy to imagine.

Look at the future. Look at the generations; see what we will see--a dry, barren future that is achingly empty. Put your wars aside; a God will not make it rain. Look to the future, see us standing there, brown and leathery-skinned, our shoulders always hot, necks long from craning to check a cloudless sky for a change in winds or shift in humidity, our tongues lolling out of our mouths like dogs.
Notice how we blink so much; there's no other way to keep out the dust. The sand, the dirt, the unbearable dryness is in our noses, hair, lungs. Look at the ground we stand on, so white in the light with cracks and fault lines like craters. Nothing can grow here.
When a God does not make it rain, people will not torch homes or blow up buildings and cars (because there is nothing to put out the fire). No one will leave his country for war in another desert.

I think instead people will pray. If we arrive at this future, we should pray. Anger will fester without a balm, and then there will be lines, treaties, contracts, promises of bonds among nations with water. There will be underhanded deals, there will be people who seek to acquire power and become water magnates and control the distribution of water, always with their own interests and survival in mind.
Water will be the source of peace, and the absence of it will be desolation. Those who have it will think themselves superior to those who don't; wealth and poverty will be redefined.

There is a future lying in wait that grows selfishness and harvests war. There will be water czars and water fields, and there will be someone who stands at the edge of the ocean and hates it because for all the things man has built, he still can't create water from the heat of the sun, or steal it from the salt of the ocean.

There are chronic droughts in Ethiopia, and in overpopulated areas of China, too. Nations won't be spared by the strength of their economy now or by their military might. There are water tankers in Kishangarh, a district of Rajasthan in India; people have to buy water to live. Parents send their children to retrieve and pump water; it is more important than education.

There is not enough safe water for people to drink in New Orleans. The United Nations recently took out the world's first insurance policy on Mother Nature; the money will be used for recovery and aid. But there is no relief for a dry tongue.

What freshwater we have is unevenly distributed across the world: an abundant luxury in one region of a country, and dangerously scarce the next village over. We have been extravagant with water, and now more and more freshwater sources are becoming contaminated, polluted by mismanagement, political corruption and an overrunning of industries.

There was a time when the idea of buying water was like the idea of buying air--an idea, and a crazy one at that. We have a right to our lives; water is a right guaranteed to us in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. We won't be able to slake our thirsts on regret for past carelessness. What water will do to us is like the substance itself: both soothing and destructive in its nature.

I said I would ask no rhetorical questions in this essay. It is clear to me that the unadorned truth is more starkly powerful than false rhetoric; there is no need to try and compose a provocative, beautifully inspirational question to stir someone to consider the worth of water. I lied. I ask just one: Can you see?

(i) (i) Some spculate that the reason for the disappearance of the Anasazi bwtween 1150 and 1300 - is continued drought over decades and decades. There are some researchers who speculate that wars were fought back then over water. As I read this article, I was reminded of Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelley and other places where the Anasazi lived. One place in Arizona I visited on my dozens of trips to that state - is Hovenweep. Astounding place where the small canyon is guarded by these fortress-like watch towers for enemies trying to steal water. :|

(i) Hmm, things that me me think.......like this article about what so many take for granted. Especially when the temps have been hovering around 100 for DAYS.

(f) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:37 AM
;) ;)



SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:38 AM
:) :)

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6. http://www.deathrowtshirts.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=GENIUS_DR

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9. CUTE: http://www.deathrowtshirts.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=TEDDIES_DR

(y) (y) I would wear a couple of these with pride.......;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:40 AM
:) :)


(y) (y) Cute, but I would not buy and wear one - at least where I reside right now! ;)


SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:41 AM
:| :|


(y) (y) Seriously, probably not. I loved it though. ;)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:43 AM
:| :|

Helping you Stand Out while still Fitting In.



(*) Not.

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:44 AM
:| :|

Why go to a real college? Enroll in Donald Trump's virtual university and you'll learn all you need to know for $29 or your money back!


article | posted July 21, 2006 (web only)

Nicholas von Hoffman

I cannot tell you how flattered I was to get an e-mail from Donald Trump. I didn't think he knew my name, much less that such a rich and famous person would take a personal interest in me. But there it was in the in-box, his e-gram to moi!

On top of it was a picture of Mr. Trump looking extremely dynamic: dark suit, white shirt, head thrust almost belligerently toward me, a good forward comb-over. The electro-missive began by saying it was a "private invitation," which would have won me over immediately even without his personal Wall Street address, where, I suppose, he makes some of his fabulous deals. I can tell you that even though it takes a lot to turn my head, he had mine twisted off the top of my neck.

The letter started off by saying, "It's not often that I reveal any of my hard-won success secrets for free." And then--for free --he let me play the video that told me about the school he has started. Trump University. If John Harvard and Elihu Yale can have schools named after them, why not The Donald, who is a lot more famous and has had a lot more girls?


;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:49 AM
Seriously though.......

:| :| :| :| :|

Southpaw by Dave Zirin

You Can Keep the Faith

[posted online on July 28, 2006]

Bobble-head Jesus? A crucifix in your Cracker Jacks? This is the valley of the shadow of greed Major League Baseball hath begun to venture into after the July 27 debut of "Faith Days with the Braves" at Turner Field in Atlanta. Faith Days is a spectacle, as the New York Times wrote, where "churches will get discounted tickets to family-friendly evenings of music and sports with a Christian theme. And in return, they mobilize their vast infrastructure of e-mail and phone lists, youth programs and chaperones, and of course their bus fleets, to help fill the stands."

In Atlanta, fans also had the privilege, as the Christian Science Monitor wrote, of hearing "Braves star pitcher John Smoltz share how his life changed by believing in Christ." The event also included a hefty helping of Christian Rock, led by Aaron Shust, who, according to promotional materials, is the voice behind the "hit single 'My Savior My God' [which] reached #1 on six charts simultaneously for four straight weeks."

It's easy to mock the transparent commercial trappings of Faith Days. Major League owners, once called "a den of idiots" by late Orioles boss Edward Bennett Williams, are clumsily trying to maximize their manna with little concern as to whether Christ himself would toss them out of the temple. It's also easy to point out that despite PR efforts calling the Faith Days scheme an ecumenical promotion, no synagogue, mosque or Buddhist temple has been invited to take part.

But Faith Days is about more than family-friendly Christian entertainment with a twist of commerce. Beneath the veneer, it represents the ugliest edge of right-wing evangelism and its advancing influence. The Higher Power behind Faith Days and Nights is a group called Third Coast Sports. Third Coast Sports president Brent High says, "We've been very careful to make sure what we're not about is ambush evangelism." But go to their website, and it's quickly revealed who the mastermind behind Faith Days is: Third Coast Sports proclaims with pride that "Focus on the Family, one of the largest evangelical organizations in the nation, has joined Third Coast Sports to sponsor 'Faith Nights' and 'Faith Days' at ballparks nationwide this summer."

But the owners aren't eager to let the public in on that bit of information. In all the articles about the start of Faith Days, including the press release of the Atlanta Braves themselves, there is no mention of Focus on the Family's role behind the proceedings. It's not hard to see why. According to People for the American Way, FOF is "anti-choice, anti-gay, and against sex education curricula that are not strictly abstinence-only.... FOF also focuses on religion in public schools, encouraging Christian teachers to establish prayer groups in schools. FOF supports student-led prayer in public schools, although it points out that it doesn't support teacher-led prayer for fear that a teacher would encourage Christian students 'to pray to Allah, Buddha or the goddess Sophia against the wishes of the parents and/or students.' " It is also perhaps the leading proponent of "reparative therapy" for homosexuality, and its leaders agitate against the adoption of children by gay couples.

Their obsession with what they call "the homosexual agenda" is shared by Smoltz, who in 2004 likened gay marriage to "marrying an animal."

Focus on the Family's guru is James Dobson, who, as Max Blumenthal of The Nation reported, chose the second night of Passover last year to say, "The biggest Holocaust in world history came out of the Supreme Court" with Roe v. Wade. Dobson has also compared embryonic stem-cell research to Nazi experiments conducted on live humans. This isn't necessarily bad, according to Dobson, who also said, "The Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind."

Dobson likes to speak of being engaged in a "civil war of values," and Major League Baseball, we can only assume, is his next strategic hamlet. This is a tragedy. Baseball has always prided itself on being the great secular assimilator. In the early part of the twentieth century, white immigrants of all languages, religions and ethnicities would go to the ballpark and feel reborn as part of the grand American experiment. A similar pattern held for African-Americans and Latinos, with Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente both becoming powerful and enduring symbols of people fighting for their rightful seat at the American Table. This history may contain a healthy measure of self-serving folklore, but it's a myth that speaks to the best angels of our nature: a sense of community, acceptance and tolerance.

Faith Days and Nights should be exposed, picketed and, most of all, shunned. Let the emissaries of Dobson preach in peace outside the park. Inside is sacred space.


(i) (i) An enlightening but *extremely disturbing* article. Someone should hack FOF's web site and take it down permanently. I support and am grateful for freedom of speech - but these folks are racist bigots promoting lies and violence. What a menace!:@



08-02-2006, 06:52 AM
:D :D :D :D :D


(y) (y) (y) I LMAO!!!

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:54 AM
:) :) :) :)

1. Running and Walking Routes

Find one in your neighborhood!

Whether you're training for a marathon or just want a scenic walk around the block, USA Track & Field offers the largest searchable database of routes across the country. Find a route, map it, measure distances, or share your own favorite stretch of sidewalk.


2. Musipedia.org

What's that song again?

Can't get that tune out of your head? Tune in to the Open Music Encyclopedia—a searchable, editable, and expandable collection of tunes, melodies, and musical themes. Search by phrases, rhythms, notes you can play on a virtual keyboard—or whistle a melody right into your computer!


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Catch some quality zzz's

Why are you ready for a nap by 3 in the afternoon? And how much sleep do you need, anyway? This creative, informative site from the National Sleep Foundation keeps you awake with great resources about sleeping and sleep disorders.


4. Digital Photography School

Take better photos

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6. The Jell-O Museum

A Web site that wiggles?

Come in and celebrate the one dessert that everyone can agree on. Read all about the history of Jell-O, pick up a unique recipe or two, learn some fun trivia, and discover the whereabouts of the actual Jell-O Gallery. Why? Because there's always room for Jell-O.


(y) (y) (y)

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:55 AM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

YouRubes ... Here's a metric to chew on: YouTube accounts for 60 percent of all online video viewing. That's an astonishing achievement for a site just 17 months old, but one that's not without its problems -- two in particular: copyright and artist compensation. In July, Robert Tur sued YouTube after video he shot of the beating of trucker Reginald Denny during the 1992 Los Angeles riots was posted to the site without his permission. Others like him will surely follow. And while YouTube says it's protected from such legal attacks under a federal law that shields online services from liability for copyright violations its customers may commit, that argument loses potency if the service profits from infringements. One could argue that YouTube is doing just that by running ads in its search results, and someone surely will. The courts will almost certainly end up deciding that one.

But the bigger question here, and to my mind the more interesting one, is this: How long will the people who create the videos that are YouTube's lifeblood be satisfied with attention as the only form of compensation? How long before they demand payment, or leave YouTube for video-sharing site Revver, which shares advertising revenue with clip makers? According to BusinessWeek, that video of the Mentos fountain that was an Off Topic here back in June made its creators, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz, about $30,000 when it was posted to Revver. But Grobe and Voltz estimate they could have made double that had fans not posted copies of the video to YouTube. Suffice to say, they're not too happy with YouTube right now. And I'm sure their are plenty of others like them. How long before more clip makers catch on and begin taking their content to an outfit that will pay them for it? Seems to me, user-created content is finally beginning to come of age.




(y) (y) (y) (i) (i) (i)

(k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 06:57 AM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

The Heat is On: Demand Global Warming Leadership Now!

The evidence for global warming is convincing and clear-cut -- but America's political leaders have not taken action to address the problem. With one-third of the Senate and all House members up for reelection this November, we have a perfect opportunity to begin a national discussion and demand practical solutions.

Sign the League of Conservations Voters/Demand Global Warming Leadership Now! Petition. Tell politicians and candidates that The Heat is On! We want their commitment to a cleaner, cheaper, better energy future.


(*) (*) Gently stepping off soap box......;)

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 07:00 AM
:s :s

No to Weapons Used for War Crimes

Let Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon know that their business practices are unethical.

Israel is one of the United States' largest arms importers.

"Lockheed Martin and the Israeli military recently went into business together, co-producing a version of the F-16 fighter plane called the Sufa, which means "storm" in Hebrew. . .It's a $4 billion deal with the Israeli military.

* * *
Israel doesn't have to pay for [the weapons] itself. [The money] comes from American taxpayers in the form of military financing, which is transferred to Israel, and then turns right back around and goes to Lockheed Martin or Raytheon."

- From the July 21st Democracy Now! radio interview with Frida Berrigan, Senior Research Associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute.


(y) (y) I didn't know this. And yet I am reluctant to contact Boeing. Hmmmm. I wish Israel would grow up and stop bombing their neighbor to the north. And that the dweebs in D.C. would get some backbone and tell Israel "Okay guys, no more $$ until you stop this bullsh*t."


SL * WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 07:05 AM
:| :| :| :| :|

review | posted July 27, 2006 (August 14, 2006 issue) The Nation

A Burnt-Out Case

Neal Pollack

My intersection with LSD came at a time when Dr. Timothy Leary's legacy had been watered down to near-flavorlessness. It went as follows: One tab of acid at a late-era Grateful Dead show at Soldier Field, where I hallucinated a giant eagle and got mocked by a nurse for wearing a necklace made of Fimo beads that I'd bought in Oregon; another tab two nights later, followed by eight hours of seeing vampires crawl across a leaky apartment ceiling in Evanston, Illinois; and about a quarter-tab in the spring of 1994, which led to a night of then-stereotypically freaky New Orleans French Quarter tourism. While Leary was going about the slow process of dying online in Beverly Hills, surrounded by web geeks who hadn't been born when he began to expand his consciousness, I felt like I was sucking the fumes from a bus that had long since left the station.

In these wretched drug days of widespread crystal-meth addiction, transcontinental Xanax-popping and speed-laced Mexican ditch weed posing as The Chron, it's harder than ever to swallow the idea that mind-altering drug use could transform our staggering society. That prospect becomes even harder to entertain when you consider the most famous proponent of narcotics-fueled social change. Robert Greenfield's comprehensive biography of Leary is an epically thrilling, wicked epitaph for the vain, bizarre, self-promoting guru who, depending on your perspective, either poisoned or blessed our culture with his ridiculous "turn on, tune in and drop out" mantra. As Greenfield boldly and correctly asserts, Leary was the "wrong man" to inherit the future of psychedelic research.

Psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, who coined the term "psychedelic," even compared Leary to Hitler--not for the magnitude of his crimes (which were absurd and, other than escaping from prison, arguably not even criminal) but for the transcendent quality of his sociopathic megalomania, which he parlayed into drug guru status.

This 600-page tome doesn't really begin to percolate until Leary starts taking drugs. Until then, it's standard biography: Thoughts of an absent alcoholic father traumatize an intelligent but self-absorbed West Point dropout. A sad childhood leads our protagonist down the path to unfaithful husbandry. His first wife, the mother of his two children, commits suicide. That terrible event, which would shatter an ordinary life, barely seemed to affect Leary; if psychedelics are supposed to destroy the ego, they didn't do a very good job with Tim Leary. The book quotes an anthropologist, experienced with tribal drug-taking cultures, who in the fall of 1960 said that peyote had "no place in our culture or our mythology. We don't have anything that enables us to explain or deal with this and therefore I don't think it is something we can introduce." But by then it was too late. Leary had already slipped acid into the well.

In Greenfield's telling, the great decade began as self-parody in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while Leary was still a lecturer at Harvard. More specifically, it was Halloween, 1960. Leary was conducting sleazy, absurd drug "experiments" at his house. A houseguest ingested a lot of psilocybin. Meanwhile, Leary's preteen daughter Susan was having a slumber party upstairs. The guest went upstairs and lay in the bed in the middle of the room. When Leary pulled him out, his guest referred to the girls as "middle-class bitches" who needed him to "stir them up a little." Leary almost let him, deciding at the last second that the party was Susan's "trip." He said, "You have the right to do anything you want so long as you don't lay your trip on anyone else." What Greenfield refers to as "the first commandment of the psychedelic era" was actually born as a way to keep a guy from sexually molesting a bunch of girls. I suppose Leary should, at least, get credit for preventing that.

Greenfield systematically shatters the still-self-perpetuating myths of what was once called the counterculture, portraying it as little more than a freaky mirror image of mainstream celebrity-obsessed America. He's brilliant at charting the course that self-styled 1960s rebels took toward careerism and self-aggrandisement, though certain characters, like Ken Kesey and Richard Alpert/Baba Ram Dass, come off better than others. A little more than halfway through the book, as the tumult of 1968 swirls around Leary, Greenfield pinpoints the birth of the "speaker-leader phenomenon, which made stars out of the leading counterculture figures":

Tim was a pioneer of the lifestyle. His view of what was going on in America was restricted to what he saw on his way to and from the airport, the questions he answered after his lecture, and whatever happened at the party that followed. Like a rock star, Tim appeared, performed, and then left. Between his own life and the lives of those more than twenty-five years younger than he, there was virtually no connection.

Throughout, Leary comes off as a political flake, with the notable exception of his futile but passionate attempts to get the Yippies to call off the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Otherwise, he was either behind the times or way off in his assessments. He didn't attend his first peace rally until 1969. His meandering testimony in front of Ted Kennedy at the 1966 Senate LSD hearings (which Greenfield re-creates brilliantly) hurt his cause, though maybe his cause was always self-promotion anyway. He allowed the Weathermen to break him out of prison and then escaped to Algeria, where he aligned himself with a clearly insane Eldridge Cleaver.

When Leary arrives in Algeria for a period of "exile" after his dramatic California prison break, Greenfield's book really takes off. Zonked on more drugs and booze than seems humanly possible, Leary continually misread his own surroundings. In an October 1970 letter to Allen Ginsberg, he described Algeria--an austere Muslim state ruled by a military dictatorship--as "perfect. Great political Satori.... Socialism works here.... Young people smiling...no irritation...no money hustle, spirit of youth & growth." He started carrying guns and advocating violence, praising dynamite as "the white light, the external manifestation of the inner white light of the Buddha." He encouraged the Weathermen to start hijacking planes and kidnapping "prominent sports figures." Then the zeitgeist shifted. Leary became a bit of an underdog. The trip may be enjoyable and enlightening, but the hangover is always more dramatic.

At this point, Greenfield's portrayal softens. Leary suddenly becomes a figure of pathos, a cocaine-snorting Willy Loman who can't understand that the world has no more use for him. Under the strange thrall of an international arms dealer in Switzerland, Leary runs into Andy Warhol at a party. "There are only three real geniuses in America," Greenfield quotes him as saying to Warhol. "You and me, and the third changes all the time." Less true words were never spoken.

No scene in the book captures that lost hope better than an encounter between Leary and Charles Manson, who occupied an adjacent room in solitary confinement at Folsom Prison in the mid-1970s. Compared with Manson, Timothy Leary was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The transcription of their conversations comes from Leary's own writings and therefore isn't particularly reliable, but it still illuminates.

Manson: "We were all your students, you know. You had everyone looking up to you. You could have led the people anywhere you wanted.... And you didn't tell them what to do."

Leary: "I didn't want to impose my realities. The idea is that everybody takes responsibility for his nervous system, creates his own reality. Anything else is brainwashing."

Manson: "That was your mistake. No one wants responsibility. Everyone wants to be told what to do, what to believe, what's really true and really real." :| :| :|

More than anyone else, Leary embodied the mixed-up dreams of the '60s. It's sad that Charles Manson saw into the American psyche more accurately than he did. If Leary's ideals got flushed away so quickly, like a stash in an airport bathroom, he couldn't possibly have been right.

Leary's life was one of those rare American ones with a second act. After the 1970s he moved to Beverly Hills, went on a political minstrel-show lecture tour with G. Gordon Liddy, snorted coke in the Playboy Mansion with Hugh Hefner and hung out at the Viper Room. He also developed some of the earliest interactive computer games. What lessons are we to learn from such a life? Obviously, the specifics don't apply to us ordinary mortals. And we certainly don't want to follow Leary's lead in terms of family life. As Greenfield painstakingly details, he was a serially bad husband and an even worse father. Leary's careerism, while quintessentially American, was corrosive and destructive, another warning siren against the false promises of celebrity-obsessed modernity.

Yet his life contained surprising pockets of peace, extraordinary grace notes. When Leary's famous commune in Millbrook, New York, wasn't being raided by local authorities or invaded by trashy jet-setting hipsters, people achieved transcendence there, or at least had a lot of fun. As Greenfield writes, "When Charlie Mingus heard the tap in the sink yowling, followed by banging noises, he took out his bass and began playing counterpoint." Of all the crazy scenes in the book, that's the one I would have most liked to see, though I also enjoyed the one where Leary's wife attempts a seduction of Jerry Brown in order to blackmail Leary out of prison.

Used in the right doses by the right people, under controlled circumstances, certain drugs have creative potential. Despite Leary's many ego-fueled missteps, his ideas about the transformative powers of psychedelic drugs still hold some water. In his mind-bending book Breaking Open the Head, Daniel Pinchbeck--who is rapidly becoming our generation's foremost proponent of controlled psychedelic experimentation--called Leary the "central villain in the psychedelic saga...naïve, charismatic, sloppy, self-promotional and out of control." It's hard to argue with that assessment, but in later interviews, Pinchbeck softened this view, saying that Leary was a product of his time, a temporal blip in human understanding of psychedelic substances.

While I find Leary's writing bloated, self-absorbed and, let's face it, hippy-dippy and dated, Pinchbeck makes a far more persuasive, modern case for psychedelics. Breaking Open the Head is The Doors of Perception written from a skeptical East Village perspective. Pinchbeck's latest book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, expands on his thesis, arguing that psychedelics may be opening a portal to a transformation of consciousness that has the potential to change the world forever. I can't say whether I believe that or not, and I certainly hope the Phoenix Suns win an NBA title before this evolution happens, but Pinchbeck's skeptical, analytic reportorial approach to the subject appeals to my brain far more than Leary's musty counterculture rhetoric.

It was, in fact, Pinchbeck who led me to start experimenting with psychedelic drugs again last year. I had neither the time, the resources nor the physical energy to go on an acid trip again, and I didn't have much interest, either. But I was really into the idea of trying something called Salvia divinorum. Salvia is a branch of the sage family that has long been known to have psychotropic qualities. According to Pinchbeck, the trips are short, pleasant and revelatory (though not to be taken lightly), and they don't cause much of a hangover. Salvia visions tend to center around a whimsical spirit that appears to be half-woman, half-plant. She occupies a domain that appears as a combination of fairy garden wonderland and surrealist painting. That sounded interesting to me.

I did some research and found the dosage I thought would suit me best. Though the drug is still legal where I live, it's sold in some pretty sketchy stores. I found one and made the buy. Later that night, I settled into my easy chair with a big cup of water by my side and smoked a bowl. Immediately, I felt myself being pressed back into my chair, and then I closed my eyes. I traveled through a series of doors that slammed behind me as I passed them, while hearing a strange, but not scary, rhythmic chant, something along the lines of "welcome, welcome," and then I was hurtling through space. I landed in a garden, and sure enough I met the spirit. She showed me around for a couple of minutes, and then I opened my eyes. The trip was over.

About ten days later I went on another voyage, which proved pretty similar. Another night I smoked the Salvia; it seemed to have little effect. I fell asleep instead of tripping. In the middle of the night, I perceived that a flash of light had filled the room, though it didn't wake up my wife. I heard, and even felt, an enormous thud. A squat, thick stone warrior was standing at the foot of my bed, unmoving, unspeaking. It was like he'd been sent to me as a gift or an offering, or maybe a warning.

Dude. That was freaky.

Salvia has definitely altered my perception of the world. I now walk around wondering if there really are other dimensions out there, untouched and unnoticed by our under-used brains. Timothy Leary would have been proud. But if we can learn anything from Leary's experience, it's that we don't need drug prophets, and that collective tripping isn't going to transform reality; it's just going to shift our present reality around a little. I share my experience because I think it's interesting, not because I recommend it. This is my trip, and I'm not going to lay it on anyone else.


(y) (y) (h) (i) 's.

(f) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 07:08 AM
:) :)

I am planning on calling for a consultation:


(h) (h) Stunningly gorgeous work!

Cool thoughts, all. Virtual tall glasses of Good Earth iced tea all around! :)


Sweetlady * Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 03:32 PM

"Oxygen's newly released study, Women's Watch: Girls Gone Wired, a comprehensive examination of Women and Technology shows that the technology gender gap has virtually closed and that the majority of women are hungry - even voracious - for technology. 77% would even prefer a new plasma TV to a diamond solitaire necklace! The study shows that a full 79% of the female market is interested in and using technology, breaking the myth that the only women interested in technology are urban trendsetters."

-- An Oxygen Network survey certain to factor into some birthday and Christmas morning discussions


(y) (y) Excellent! (h) (h)

<fanning self with lace fan...sipping ice water and thinking of taking a nice cold shower...>

(w) (w)

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-02-2006, 07:33 PM
(*) (*) (*) (*) (*)

(~) In 1967, New Zealander Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) set records with his customized Indian Scout motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. But perhaps more amazing than his jaw-dropping land speed of 183.586 mph was the fact that he was a 67-year-old grandfather. Based on a true story, this drama is the second pairing for Hopkins and writer-director Roger Donaldson (Cocktail, Thirteen Days), who also worked together on The Bounty (1984).

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Bruce Greenwood, Diane Ladd, Jessica Cauffiel, Walt Goggins, Patrick Flueger, Chris Williams, Christopher Lawford, Paul Rodriguez, Chris Bruno


Anthony Hopkins deserves an Academy Award for the understated performance of Bert Munro. Always polite, and always focused Bert's dream get embedded in your heart and becomes your dream as well. The journey becomes the story with the characters he meets along the way getting obsessed with his vision as well. The scenes at The Bonneville Salt Flats are stunning and picturesque. I was left with a smile I couldn't get off my face and a tear in my eye. A simple film with a simple premise becomes my "Best Of" pick for 2005.

For me the movie had a slow start although I found the main character, Burt Munro, a good character study; also I had heard that Hopkins had done such a good job in portraying this real life character that Munro’s relatives were moved to tears. Tom, the young neighbor boy/sidekick to Munro in the simple town in New Zealand, fascinated me as well with his simple charm, cute red hair and endearing smile. As the movie progressed, Burt’s dream unfolded into reality (finally he’d make the trip to Speed Week in CA); I was a little bored. Yet, my patience with his journey paid off, and later I came to see it as a way to experience the perseverance that he himself had faced. Also, I feel like the gradual, slow speed of the story of his journey to “the salts” was well juxtaposed against the thrilling and vicarious cinematography of the speed/racing scenes which I enjoyed immensely; they were a highlight because they were minimal, and became my ultimate favorite parts of the movie. Although I had trouble connecting with him in the beginning of the movie, Munro became more endearing to me as he encountered various individuals and predicaments which were made mildly entertaining through his ‘foreigner in America’ quality. Further, the details about his bike and how his eccentric brilliance led to some ingenious engineering on his part fueled a growing awe and respect, although I am not expert on bikes or engineering, etc.; I am sure some of the technical references or allusions were lost on me, but I don’t think that it detracted from my ability to appreciate the unique qualities of the bike. Finally, the absolute madness of someone so hell-bent on achieving this feat despite the odds (naysayers, health, age, funds) provided for a good story, once all was said and done. All in all it’s a charming movie honoring a man who was crazy, stubborn, and dedicated to proving his Indian bike could be the fastest in the world.

(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) 5 Stars!! Absolutely superb film.

Restful sleep and dreams ronight. (S) And a cooler day tomorrow.

(f) (f) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-04-2006, 06:35 PM
:) :)

George Bush goes to a primary school to talk to the kids and score some points with parents. After his talk, he offers question time.

One boy puts up his hand and George asks him his name. "Stanley," responds the boy.
"And what is your question, Stanley?"

"I have 4 questions.

First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?

Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?

Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?

Fourth, why are we so worried about gay-marriage when half of all Americans don't have health insurance?"

Just then, the bell rings for recess. George Bush informs the kids that they will continue after recess.

When they resume, George says, "OK, where were we? Oh, that's right, question time.

Who has a question?" Another little boy puts up his hand.

George points him out and asks him his name.

"Steve," he responds.

"And what is your question, Steve?"

"Actually, I have 6 questions.

First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?

Second, why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?

Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin Laden?

Fourth, why are we so worried about gay-marriage when half of all Americans don't have health insurance?

Fifth, why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early? And sixth, what happened to Stanley?"

(y) (y) (y) :D :D :D

;) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-04-2006, 06:36 PM
:) :)

July 30, 2006

For Tom Hanks, Just Another Day at the Office


SEEMINGLY every Hollywood studio and production company coveted “Mamma Mia!,” the international musical that had been planting Abba’s infectious songs inside theatergoers’ craniums since 1999. But Judy Craymer, the musical’s global producer, had rebuffed all advances — even Tom Hanks’s.

On the eve of the show’s Los Angeles premiere five years ago, Gary Goetzman, Mr. Hanks’s partner in the production company Playtone, met with Ms. Craymer at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills. Mr. Hanks’s star power wasn’t enough, though: Playtone received the same polite no as all the rest.

So the people at Playtone applied the full extent of their trademark charm. Mr. Hanks called Ms. Craymer to convey his personal interest in the project. Rita Wilson, his wife, sent her a note gushing about the production the couple had seen in London. Mr. Goetzman, the sort of Hollywood dude who’s partial to calling everyone he meets dude, kept in touch too, even paying a visit to her home in London last fall. All along, the message was low-key but clear: In Playtone’s hands the movie would be faithful to the campy, winking stage show, and the members of the main creative team behind the original would be full partners.

It wasn’t until last year that Ms. Craymer said she felt ready to go ahead with a movie, and by that time she had come to regard the folks at Playtone — who had since produced “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” — as friends. And uncommonly resourceful friends, at that: during his visit to her home, Mr. Goetzman arranged for Harrod’s to deliver her drink of choice (Champagne, Dom Perignon in this case) and his favored Belvedere vodka. When they failed to arrive, he rushed to the store — which had already closed for the night — and sweet-talked the security guards into letting him inside to find his parcel.

“I thought, I have to work with this man,” Ms. Craymer said. “No raised voice, no kicking in the door.” He and his colleagues simply got things done.

Over the last several years they have gotten a great deal done, quietly turning Playtone into one of Hollywood’s most prolific filmmaking entities. Mr. Hanks is characteristically self-deprecating about its growth. “It just happens. It’s not like I sat down and had a meeting on the Death Star with my crack advisers,” he said with a laugh, then lowered his voice into movie-villain mode: “Now, we make our move.”

On Friday the company’s animated feature “The Ant Bully” was released on 3,050 regular and Imax screens by Warner Brothers. Lined up behind it are nearly three dozen projects. The ambitious mix includes studio movies like “Mamma Mia!,” which is being developed with Ms. Craymer’s company and Universal Pictures; independent films like “Starter for Ten,” a British comedy about a working-class student; a sprawling HBO mini-series about President John Adams; and a big-screen production tentatively called “Baseball 3-D: The Imax Experience.”

Playtone has attracted top-tier talent to many of its projects. “Charlie Wilson’s War,” about a Texas Congressman who helped arm the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, stars Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman alongside Mr. Hanks, and is directed by Mike Nichols. “The Great Buck Howard,” about a young man who becomes a magician’s assistant, stars John Malkovich. And Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” is being turned into a movie directed by Spike Jonze.

All this as studios are slashing the number of actor-run production companies, many of which were little more than vanity projects, places for stars to hang their Kangol hats and pretend they were movie moguls. According to Variety, in 1998 some 60 actors, including Sylvester Stallone, Ice Cube, Jason Patric, Julia Ormond and Demi Moore, had production deals with studios; by last year that number had dwindled by half, and none of those actors still had deals. Meanwhile two of the leading companies — George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh’s Section 8 and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s Plan B — are dealing with aftereffects of divorces of the professional and personal kind. (Mr. Clooney recently announced that he would form a new company, Smoke House.)

Mr. Hanks was initially reluctant to be interviewed for this article. “Why would I want to — so I could see my name in the paper tomorrow?” he joked. “I get my name in the paper when I go out and buy socks. I go to Gray’s Papaya in New York and I’m on Defamer.com.” Both he and his partner said they hate to talk about themselves or their strategy. “We’re more for having fun and doing things that are important,” Mr. Goetzman said. “We just want to tell good stories.”

But associates and competitors were less reticent, identifying Playtone’s devotion to projects that reach above the lowest common denominator, as well as a light touch with its own celebrity, as reasons the company has flourished.

I THINK actors are motivated to make better movies,” said Michael Shamberg, co-chairman of Double Feature Films, who with his partner, Stacey Sher, ran Jersey Films with Danny DeVito for 13 years. “They don’t always succeed of course, but the last thing an actor-producer does is just package cheesy movies.”

That hyphenated role first emerged in 1919, when three of the silent era’s biggest stars — Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin — started United Artists, along with the director D. W. Griffith. As the studio system began to crumble in the late 1940’s and early 50’s, individual performers like Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster formed companies, largely to produce their own star vehicles.

By the 1980’s the Creative Artists Agency (which represents Mr. Hanks and Playtone) and other top talent representatives made the studio production deal a routine component in a star’s career apparatus. In flush times studio executives were happy to spend a few hundred thousand dollars on an office, a development executive and some assistants if it also bought the loyalty of the star.

But it often didn’t. Actors, it turns out, go where the best parts and biggest paychecks are. And their passion projects weren’t always easy for the studios to swallow. “You have the worst of both worlds,” said Peter Guber, who cut many such deals as chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and who is now the chairman of Mandalay Entertainment Group and one of the hosts of “Sunday Morning Shootout” on AMC. “You have the ego of the actor, and they have your money.” Under the new Hollywood calculus — slowed revenue growth and increased corporate oversight — that combination no longer made sense.

But Playtone was something different: a company that had interest and experience in the nuts-and-bolts process of making successful movies. “They’re focused and precise,” said Donna Langley, president for production at Universal Pictures. “They don’t throw a lot of things up against the wall and see what sticks.”

Playtone’s roots stretch back to “Philadelphia,” the 1993 AIDS drama in which Mr. Hanks starred. He was in the midst of a career transformation, having gone from cross-dressing (in the sitcom “Bosom Buddies”) to comic run-ins with a mermaid (“Splash”), a donkey (“Bachelor Party”) and a giant danceable keyboard (“Big”).

Mr. Goetzman, who as a child played Dick Van Dyke’s son in “Divorce American Style,” had since made a name for himself in the music business, co-writing songs for Smokey Robinson and composing and producing songs for the likes of Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan and the Staple Singers. He was also learning the movie business, and was working on “Philadelphia” as executive producer. When Mr. Hanks made his writing and directing debut with “That Thing You Do!,” about a 1960’s pop band, he turned to Mr. Goetzman, not just to write some of the fictional group’s songs but to produce the movie.

After winning an Oscar for “Philadelphia,” Mr. Hanks went on to “Forrest Gump” (and another Oscar), “Apollo 13,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Green Mile” and “Cast Away,” thus cementing his position as a new generation’s Jimmy Stewart. And to capitalize on that position, in 1998 he and Mr. Goetzman formed Playtone, using the name of the record label in “That Thing You Do!” Mr. Hanks had had development deals in the past, but this time he had a real producer on his side. “Without that, there’s no reason to have an office,” Mr. Hanks said, “except to make long-distance calls and use the postage machine.”

Playtone currently has 18 employees in a Santa Monica office, a soon-to-be-renewed deal with Universal for about $2 million a year, and a record label with Sony BMG.

The first movie under the Playtone logo — “Cast Away,” based on an original idea by Mr. Hanks — took in more than $233 million at the domestic box office after its release by Fox and DreamWorks in 2000. But it was a film he never appeared in that proved the company’s true vitality.

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” Nia Vardalos’s comedy about a young Greek-American woman and her wacky extended family, found a champion in Ms. Wilson, who had seen Ms. Vardalos’s one-woman show in Los Angeles. But it was hard to raise enough money for even a small-budget version. HBO’s theatrical movie division, for example, had already passed. Then Chris Albrecht, who was then a top HBO executive and is now the cable channel’s chairman and chief executive, got a call from Mr. Goetzman. “He said, ‘I really want to do this. If I can get half of the $5 million, will you put up the rest?’ ” Mr. Albrecht recalled.

Mr. Albrecht said yes, though he hadn’t yet read the script.

It helped that HBO had worked with Mr. Hanks on the mini-series “From the Earth to the Moon” (for which Mr. Hanks did much of the writing). It had also joined with Playtone and Steven Spielberg to produce “Band of Brothers,” the $120 million mini-series about a rifle company in World War II. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” went on to make $241 million at the domestic box office.

Smooth working relationships — and substantial financial returns — have persuaded many of Playtone’s first-time partners to sign up for more. HBO turned to Playtone to handle the day-to-day production of “Big Love,” its dramatic series about a polygamist family in Utah. The two companies are also collaborating on a seven-hour mini-series about John Adams, and reuniting with Mr. Spielberg for a companion series to “Band of Brothers,” about the war in the Pacific. (Development of a sitcom based on “Lloyd: What Happened,” a satirical novel about the corporate world by Stanley Bing, dragged on for several years before the project died.)

Imax, another regular Playtone collaborator, created 3-D versions of “Polar Express” and the newly released “Ant Bully,” as well as the Imax original “Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D,” and is considering a more formal alliance with Playtone to produce shorter giant-screen films. “I want to hitch my wagon to them,” said Greg Foster, chairman and president of Imax Filmed Entertainment.

And Picturehouse, which is releasing “Starter for Ten,” is negotiating a distribution deal with Playtone for several films a year, each budgeted at less than $15 million, Mr. Goetzman said.

“Tell good stories for a good number,” he said, “and that is what’s really going to help the movie business more than anything.”

MORE than a few hard-boiled Hollywood veterans have been beguiled by what they describe, without embarrassment, as Playtone’s penchant for niceness.

A little less than four years ago, for instance, Diana Ossana found herself, along with her longtime collaborator Larry McMurtry, in Playtone’s Santa Monica offices. Mr. Hanks had read Mr. McMurtry’s post-Civil War novel, “Boone’s Lick,” on a camping trip in Idaho; when he got home he called the author to talk about turning it into a movie.

Five minutes into a subsequent meeting, Ms. Ossana said, Mr. McMurtry — a skeptic about business dealings — knew he wanted to work with the Playtone folks. It wasn’t the passion for manual typewriters that he and Mr. Hanks share. (The actor’s collection is on view at the company’s offices.) It was how serious and intelligent the Playtone executives seemed. And, Ms. Ossana said with a laugh, “they never interrupted when we spoke.”

The Playtone principals will, however, push back when necessary. One example: Mr. Goetzman argued that the polygamy stories in “Big Love” should not overwhelm the other aspects of the main character’s life. “He was kind of a lone voice in the room,” said Mr. Albrecht, who sided with Mr. Goetzman.

But they are loyal, said Mike Nichols, who starts production on “Charlie Wilson’s War” in September: “Whatever wall would come up at the studio, they would find a way around it. Tom will say, instead of getting into a long negotiation, ‘Take it out of mine.’ Or Gary will say, ‘We’ll give in on that.’ ”

Though Mr. Hanks and Mr. Goetzman profess discomfort with discussing their creative choices, certain interests and themes are clear. American history, from the Revolutionary War to modern days, for instance, has driven many acquisitions, including the recent purchase of the movie rights to David McCullough’s best seller “1776” and David Maraniss’s Vietnam War book, “They Marched Into Sunlight.”

“The thing about Tom is that he happens to be a movie star, but he could have been the greatest history professor you’ve ever had,” said Nora Ephron, who directed him in “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.”

A love for music shows up in movies like “Mamma Mia!” and Jonathan Demme’s documentary “Neil Young: Heart of Gold.” And well-known children’s books to which they have aqcuired the movie rights, like “Amelia Bedelia” and “The Spider and the Fly” define another niche.

Playtone also has what some describe as a commitment to classic storytelling: “Main characters who go through some sort of awakening and become proactive in their lives,” said Cary Granat, president of the Anschutz Film Group, which through its Walden Media and Bristol Bay units is producing two movies with Playtone, “City of Ember” and “The Great Buck Howard.” In “The Ant Bully,” a young boy takes out his frustrations on an anthill. But when he’s shrunk down to the size of the ants, he must help save them from the annihilating spray of a bug-ridden exterminator.

While Playtone’s movies may strive to be about more than rollicking car chases, saw-wielding maniacs or flatulence jokes, that doesn’t mean the company sneers at commercial viability. “I don’t think they’d ever want to do a movie that didn’t do well,” said Mr. Foster of Imax.

Or as Mr. Guber said of Mr. Hanks: “He’s not going to do the movie about a proctologist from Mars. Unless it’s starring Adam Sandler.”


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

:) :) 's,

SL & WYBP (l) (&) (l)

08-04-2006, 06:38 PM
(y) (y) (h) (h)


A few blogs ago, I mentioned that TED, the organizers of the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design conference, had taken the extraordinary step of posting six of the 50 conference talks online, for free.

These 18-minute talks/no spamming of other sites/the first batch included Al Gore, Tony Robbins, and me (blush)/no spamming of other sites/generated an incredible response, as well they should. To see them in person, you would have had to pay $4500 and flown out to Monterey, CA in February/no spamming of other sites/IF you could get a ticket. (The TED conference sells out a year in advance.)

This is just an update to say that TED has now released more of the presentations online: 15 of them in all. These are amazing, profound, funny, attitude-changing presentations, and I highly recommend that you take the time to watch ‘em.

(h) (h) Fellow tech-heads will savor, in particular, the talk by Jeff Han, whose touch-sensitive computer screen concept will blow your mind. (h) (h)

:) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-04-2006, 06:39 PM
(h) (h) (h) (h) (h)


Couldn't have happened to a more deserving company.....tee-hee.

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-04-2006, 06:46 PM
:o :o


GM, Ford embrace iPod; satellite radio dead?

Mark LaPedus

(08/03/2006 2:29 PM EDT)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — In what could send some ominous signals for satellite radio providers, Apple Computer Inc. Thursday (August 3) teamed up with Ford Motor, General Motors and Mazda to deliver "seamless iPod integration" across the majority of their respective car brands and models.

The three auto makers claimed that they will make it easier for users to integrate their iPods into a car stereo system. Seamless iPod integration allows drivers to use their car's multifunction controls to select their music, according to Apple (Cupertino, Calif.).

Ford, GM and Mazda insist that they are not backing away from a somewhat rival technology: satellite radio. But major providers of satellite radio — Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. — are expected to greet Apple's news coolly, especially as the two radio startups continue to struggle and lose money.

But by 2007, in fact, more than 70 percent of all U.S.-based car makers will offer iPod integration. Ford and General Motors will feature iPod integration in the majority of their 2007 models in the U.S. beginning later this year, while Mazda's entire global 2007 lineup of cars and SUVs will offer iPod connectivity.

General Motors (Detroit) said that it has developed an "affordable, all-new iPod adaptor, allowing music lovers to use their iPod with the factory-installed audio system in GM vehicles, beginning this fall."

The device, called "Personal Audio Link," will sell at GM dealerships for less than $160, plus installation. It will be introduced in October on 2006 and 2007 model year Chevrolet HHRs, with more GM vehicles scheduled to be added by the end of this year. Designed specifically for the iPod, GM expects to make the device available on all of its 56 vehicle models, mostly by the end of 2007, said Nancy Philippart, executive director of GM Accessories.

"With our simple, affordable system, our customers can plug their iPod into their vehicle audio system and get what they want — clear, quality sound as well as access to playlists and artists' names," said Philippart in a statement.

Rival Ford (Dearborn, Mich.) said that it is responding to the skyrocketing customer demand to bring electronic devices into cars and trucks by offering the new iPod features to its lineup.

For the 2007-model year, built-in auxiliary, audio-input jacks will be offered on the Ford Edge, Explorer, Expedition, Mustang, Fusion, Sport Trac, Ranger, F-150, Mercury Milan, Mountaineer, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln MKZ, Navigator and Lincoln Mark LT. The jacks allow customers to bring any iPod or other MP3 player with a standard 3.5 millimeter audio output into their vehicle and play it through the audio system.

In addition, early next year, Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers throughout the U.S. will begin offering Ford's TripTunes Advanced audio system — an iPod integration feature that provides drivers with top sound quality and recharging at the same time. TripTunes Advanced allows the driver to store the iPod in the vehicle's glove box and select music using the steering wheel or radio controls.

The U.S. auto makers claim they are not dropping satellite radio. Responding to another consumer trend, Ford said it is increasing the number of its vehicles with DVD-based navigation systems and Sirius satellite radio. By the 2008-model year, Ford expects to offer available Sirus satellite radio in 90 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.

Still, Apple's partnerships with Ford, GM and Mazda is a blow for satellite radio providers, which are struggling to make money. For the second quarter of 2006, XM (Washington, D.C.) last week recorded gross subscriber additions of 926,281 and net subscriber additions of 398,012. XM finished the second quarter 2006 with a total of 6,899,871 subscribers, representing a 56 percent increase over the 4,417,490 subscribers at the end of the second quarter 2005.

For the second quarter, XM reported revenue of approximately $228 million, an increase of 82 percent from the $125 million reported in the second quarter 2005. XM's net loss for the second quarter of 2006 was $229 million, compared to a net loss of $147 million during the second quarter of 2005.

The net loss for the second quarter of 2006 includes $105 million in de-leveraging and other non-operating charges that were not incurred during the second quarter of 2005.

XM still expects to achieve positive cash flow from operations for the fourth quarter 2006 and the full year 2007, although its ability to do so becomes challenging toward the lower end of the subscriber range.

Recently, rival Sirius Satellite Radio (New York) said it ended the second quarter with 4,678,207 subscribers, 158 percent higher than second quarter 2005 ending subscribers of 1,814,626. During the second quarter of 2006, Sirius added 600,460 net subscribers, a 64 percent increase over second quarter 2005 net subscriber additions of 365,931.

Total revenue for the second quarter of 2006 increased to a record $150.1 million, nearly triple last year's second quarter total revenue of $52.2 million. Sirius reported a net loss of $237.8 million, or minus $0.17 per share, for the second quarter of 2006.

For the year, total revenue is expected to hit $615 million, up from previous guidance of over $600 million. Adjusted loss from operations is expected to be $565 million, in line with previous guidance.

:)(i) Yea, yea, and I remember 8-track converters and such. My take is to have *portable* audio as in satellite receivers as well as hard drive-based (until cheap blue-green lasers and holographic storage that is) music storage.(y) (y) I'll take my audio from my vehicle to my home anyday - and the auto manufacturers can find other target customers. The audio systems they put in cost the end users WAY too much anyway.

Enough said.


Calm dreams and a peaceful weekend, all.

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-05-2006, 07:26 AM
:o :o

Filmmakers need 'associate producers' to cough up $1 each

Aug. 5, 2006 12:00 AM

These days you don't need Julia Roberts' wide smile or George Clooney's silvering locks.

All it takes to see your name scrolling along with the director's, the actors' and the gaffer's in a movie's credits page is one buck. Two amateur moviemakers from the East Valley are offering the deal in exchange for funding for their film.

Here's the deal: You donate at least a dollar, and they'll list your name as an "associate producer."

David Stone of Scottsdale and Ryan Andersen of Tempe are raising money to make a movie call Edge of Perception.

"It's a psychological thriller about a guy who has a choice to make," Stone, 26, said. "Everyone in their lives has a crossroads they could choose. This movie explores what would happen . . . if he were to take the other path."

The script is being written, but actors won't be hired and a location won't be selected until the two have collected enough money, which they hope to do by January 2008. Sign on by going to www.adoptamovie.com. They have raised almost $2,000 since last month.


(y) Interesting approach. If the project is actually completed and the film distributed - I wonder how many minutes the closing credits will take in order to fulfill the promise of recognizing each and every "Associate Producer". Seems there might be a possibility of the closing credits being as long as the film itself......;)

:D Ah, what a seachange in the weather!! Wyatt and I had a much more restful sleep than in over a week. Poor guy - his ears (NOT cropped) were chilly when we woke up - a definite sign that his mama set the thermostat on "meat locker" to accomodate my unpredictable night time "Summer Moments" as well as the extreme temps that we and many others have been suffering through lately. Central air certainly provides only a ten degree drop from outside temps - and there were a few 100+ days this past week.

(y) (o)What a refreshing change to wake up and feel almost normal - at least in body temp that is......:| ;)


His mama is planning on taking him to a TCBY this afternoon. "Frosty Paws" treats for Wyatt (no dairy for boxers) and a large cup of half chocolate, half coffee nonfat yogurt with chocolate jimmies (sprinkles). (Oh, for me.)

(8) (8) "Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music.(8) (8)

Carpe Diem!

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (^) (l) (&) (l) (^)

08-05-2006, 06:42 PM
(~) (~)

Beaches (1988)

(~) Cecilia (Bette Midler) and Hillary (Barbara Hershey) have a lifelong friendship that time and physical distance can't touch. Although Hillary is an unprepossessing W.A.S.P and Cecilia's an aspiring Jewish nightclub singer, what began as an improbable friendship on the Atlantic City boardwalk becomes an unbreakable bond that's tested repeatedly -- especially when the chips are down and Hershey faces the ultimate battle.


Have you ever watched a movie that changed your Life? Beaches is that kind of movie for me.It taught me a lot about friendship,loyalty and love.It is wonderful Heart warming movie.Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey were marvelous.I highly recommend this unforgettable film. A word of advice,have lots Kleenex near by when watching this movie you will need it.

(~) Sweet, prototypical chick flick. Made in 1988, it was surprisingly old-fashioned. The friendship between the two women was cemented with letters - actual ink on paper letters - a vestige made quaint with today's reliance on e-mail and cell phones. I'm still best friends with my childhood girl friend after decades of knowing each other, so while it might be implausible that such a friendship would come from one day's meeting on the beach, the emotions still resonated with me. This won the Oscar for Art Direction, so I paid particular attention to the sets. The words to "The Glory of Love" are still echoing in my mental soundtrack three days after watching this!

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-05-2006, 06:46 PM
(~) (h) (h) (h) (h) (h)

Cody (Madeleine Stowe), Anita (Mary Stuart Masterson), Eileen (Andie MacDowell) and Lilly (Drew Barrymore) are four tough Wild West women on the run from the law. To make matters worse, as they're withdrawing cash from a Texas bank, bank robber Kid Jarrett (James Russo) takes it. With two Pinkerton men after them, the rugged girls are determined to get their money back -- along with a little revenge -- in this six-shooting Western adventure.


WOW, I loved this movie so much! The whole cast was amazing, but the best had to be Drew Barrymore she just fit the role of Lilly so perfectly. This movie is packed with action and even though there is love in the movie it isn't mushy. I got so caught up in the characters I wished the movie would have continued for hours to see how their lives turned out. I reccomend this movie to everyone (except children) who likes to watch movies. So saddle up and watch this rip-roaring western- like adventure! Yee-Hah!!

(y) (y) (y) As usual, this film was uplifting as well as made me feel lonely this late afternoon.

Carpe Diem!

'Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-05-2006, 06:59 PM
(h) (h) (h)

Have some BALLS and LOG IN with your B-F ID when you are reading my posts.

I am NOT impressed when "guests" read my posts and do not have the courage to LOG IN and "show" themselves.

Either continue to be intimidated and hide in the shadows......

Or stay where you are. And PLEASE STOP with the PMs, will you? I am listing YOUR IP address to give to Rhon.

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-05-2006, 07:14 PM
:) :) :)




Deadwood: Joanie loves Janey


Gerald Gay

It was the kiss heard round the world.

Fine, fine. Maybe it wasn’t THAT dramatic…in fact it only lasted a couple seconds, but Joanie Stubbs’ and Calamity Jane’s smooch on Sunday night’s episode of Deadwood was an interesting turn of events for the HBO drama.

In what has been a long time coming for the troubled ex-prostitute and the drunken, rowdy frontierswoman — and uncharted territory in Deadwood — the kiss came at a moment of weakness for the two characters but was not completely unexpected.

The duo had been awkwardly flirting with each other on and off throughout the season. Love was in the air in addition to the usual insecurity and self-loathing.

It’s no match made in heaven but ultimately, the two would probably be pretty good for each other.

Calamity has lifted Joanie’s spirits on more than one occasion and Joanie might just move Jane to kick the drinking and clean herself up once in a while (as was the situation last night. Rub-a-dub-dub.)

The lip-locking scene was one of several instances this episode where the smaller storylines overshadowed the ongoing fury between mining icon George Hearst and what seems to be the entire town.

Though the stage is almost set for a battle royale between Hearst and the rest of the gang, things are still verrrry slowly unfolding.

Thanks to a surprisingly loyal telegraph man, Blazanov, Swearengen finds out that Hearst has sent for 25 more bricks (code for extra guns) to come to Deadwood.

This after the town elders, Swearengen, Bullock, Tolliver, Sol Star and various other early settlers, gathered at the Gem to discuss what should and must be done.

I am hoping beyond hope that this potential melee happens before the season ends but we may be left out to dry on this one.

As mentioned in previous posts, the “episodes left” count is running low and we still have yet to see the arrival of the Earp brothers (due in next Sunday.) That particular storyline should take up a good portion of the hour in itself.

C’mon Hearst! Bring on the pain!

One quick side note: I have made little mention of Brian Cox as Jack Langrishe but he has actually been doing quite a superb job as one of the show’s many side characters.

To my understanding, Langrishe was a very charismatic presence as is Cox. It is always enjoyable watching Langrishe and Swearengen banter back and forth about their troubles.

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-05-2006, 07:18 PM
:) :)


(y) (y) This is a template for a frontier butch-femme relationship!

Restful sleep and dreams,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-06-2006, 06:54 PM
(~) Julie Johnson (2001)

Dissatisfied New Jersey housewife Julie Johnson (Lili Taylor) wrangles free from her controlling husband and begins a brand-new life in this tale of self-discovery. Along with friend Claire (Courtney Love), Julie enrolls in Mr. Miranda's (Spalding Gray) computer class and discovers she's a math whiz. Newly empowered, Julie leaves her husband and moves in with Claire ... and the two realize their feelings for each other go beyond friendship.

(~) Review:

This movie is a huge disappointment. If this is a 'Lesbian' movie, it is a conservative Republican version of the genre. Two women in mediocre marriages turn to one another. In the end, one returns to her husband, unable to face the social stigma of a Lesbian label. The other? She doesn't seem to be returning to her husband, but she is continuing her education, so the only victory here seems to be adult education.


(~) Where the Red Fern Grows (2003)

Based on the children's book by Wilson Rawls, this family drama set in the Ozark Mountains centers on 12-year-old Billy Coleman (Joseph Ashton), who sets his sights on a goal and succeeds in saving enough money to buy two hunting dogs. He works tirelessly, training them until he can finally enter them into the Fall Hunting Competition. Dabney Coleman, Renee Faia, Dave Matthews, Ned Beatty, Kris Kristofferson and Mac Davis also star.

(~) Review:

Dave Matthews' screen debut has me trying not to picture him as the stoner I've come to love, but instead as the patriarch of a backwoods family. His southern accent seems to waver at times, even though he naturally speaks with a slight Carolina drawl. Joseph Ashton does a fabulous job as young Billy and seems to have that natural "Aw, shucks" trait that comes alive in his role. It's tough to make a big screen movie of a short book, especially a children's book, without having it feel long and drawn out, but in the hour and twenty minutes not once did it feel like there was any filler. The film itself screams Disney (in a good way) with the glossy cinematography and light beams streaming through the trees at regular intervals. Who else could fairly faithfully provide a decent adaptation of a classic? At any rate, I'm glad to see it's finally been released.

(*) (*) Two nice films to pass the time rather than stewing (for the hundreth time) about COMCAST digital service being down again. Thank goodness that I had a card for a tech supervisor that could get people moving on a Sunday to get service restored. What makes it all more stressful is that my PhD course deadline for assignments and today, a paper - is midnight. I spent eight hours working my a** off to get all of the work and replies to other learner feedback posted.

I'm getting that laptop and wireless card soon. I just can't stand the frequency and length of cable modem service outages.


Peaceful dreams.

Sweetlady and Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:12 AM
:) :)

Tech Gadgets Could Replace Caregivers for the Elderly

Wired Medicine Cabinets, Web Tracking Devices Help Retirees Stay Safe Living Solo


May 11, 2006 — - Every morning John and Virginia log on to their computer. They are not reading e-mail but instead checking up on Virginia's 80-year old mother, Louise, who lives across town, alone.

By visiting a designated Web page, John and Virginia can tell exactly when Louise got up this morning,

"Within five minutes we can know if my mother has been up to the bathroom in the night, or if she has fallen," says Virginia, staring at the computer screen.

Across town, Louise -- who uses a walker to get around -- shows us how the system works. Her apartment is rigged with a series of motion detectors that track her movements and then transmit that information over the Internet to her family members.

She gestures toward one of the sensors perched atop her television, and tells us to smile.

"I know it can't take my picture," she jokes, "But when you get in the shape that I'm in, you want all the protection you can get."

Text, E-Mail Alerts for Families

Louise is using a system called Quiet Care, an arm of security systems makers ADT, which uses motion detectors in its burglar alarm systems.

If Louise fails to leave her bedroom by the time she and her family have agreed upon, or if she goes into the bathroom and doesn't come out, the system sends a text message to her son-in law's cell phone. It has happened only once, and it was not an emergency.

"I was a little slow in getting out of bed," she admits.

Another system, due on the market this year, is called e-Neighbor. It uses motion detectors to determine a typical pattern of activity for a senior living alone. If there is an abnormal period of inactivity, the system will call the resident, a family member or neighbor for help. It can also dial 911.

These gadgets are part of a growing number of new technologies helping senior citizens live independent lives.

Dr. Eric Tangalos, a geriatrician at the Mayo Clinic says, "Smart technologies give us an opportunity to keep people at home longer and safer and better."

They may also become a necessity.

The population of senior citizens has boomed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 7,900 baby boomers turn 60 every day, and the options for long-term care outside their homes is both limited and expensive.

"There are not going to be enough caregivers," says Dr. Tangalos. "We're not going to have enough money to spend on individual care in a home. What we need is technology to help sort this out and to help us live safely in our environment."

To that end, scientists at Accenture Labs in Chicago have come up with what they call a "smart" medicine cabinet. It looks like a typical medicine chest, but one of the doors is a mirror and the other is a computer screen.

The cabinet uses a camera to "recognize" the user, and speaks up to prevent mistakes.

Scott Rose, managing director of Accenture Technology, demonstrated the system by reaching toward the cabinet for what he thinks is allergy medication. "I pull out what I think is Claritin," he says while reaching for a bottle rigged with a tiny sensor.

The computer immediately realizes something is wrong and an electronic voice says, "Wrong, you are looking at Meridia instead of Claritin."

When Rose grabs the correct bottle the computer praises him and tells him to take two tablets.

In Minnesota Al Newman is resting in his apartment on a sensor-equipped bed. He is a heart patient, and the bed allows nurses to track subtle changes in his sleep patterns and heart function, like an electronic daily physical.

"It makes me feel better to know that I am being monitored," he said. "Just in case something should happen."

The bed was developed at the University of Virginia and is expected go on the market later this year for the price of $1,000 dollars.

Wiring a Home

At Georgia Tech, scientists have built an entire house to study inventions specifically designed for an aging population. The house is a pleasant bungalow that has the feel of a beach house.

On closer inspection, you notice there are wires, cameras and sensors everywhere. There are computer terminals that track movement in the house and "watch" behavior.

Downstairs in the kitchen a computerized tray keeps track of when pill bottles have been removed, and keeps a running record of which medications were taken, and when.

"This is a very simple visual memory cue to help someone overcome things they may not be able to remember themselves," explains software engineer Gregory Abowd.

Another computerized program helps diabetics calibrate the meter that measures their blood sugar.

In the living room, we find what looks like a framed picture of an aging woman. It is actually a touch screen that shows how active she has been every day of the past month.

A graph depicts the day's activities, and another chart shows when each of the motion sensors fired during that particular day, and how that compares to last week or two weeks ago.

"In a glance you can tell whether it's a normal day or not," says Abowd.

All this technology provides safety and comfort to the senior citizens who use it, but it also helps children and family members who don't live next door.

"It gives us the freedom of just knowing my mother is safe," Virginia says, as she kisses her mother goodbye.

As we leave, Louise tells us, "I love my apartment."

With the aid of technology, she can continue to stay there on her own.


(y) (y) Cool for my parents for sure.(y)

:) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:15 AM
:s :s


"Connecting through talking activates the pleasure centers in a girl's brain. We're not talking about a small amount of pleasure. This is huge. It's a major dopamine and oxytocin rush, which is the biggest, fattest neurological reward you can get outside of an orgasm."

-- Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine says there's a very good explanation for the popularity of text messaging among teenage girls.


:| For the love of God. What next? I guess the good news is dramatically reduced unwanted teenage pregnancies.......;)

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:19 AM
:o :o

Quick, how many planets in our solar system? Whatever you answered, you're wrong, but if you think this has something to do with Pluto, you're right. At the moment, there's no correct answer to that question, but come next week when astronomers gather in Prague to vote on a definition, things a clearer picture may emerge, even if that picture is a lot more complicated than the old Sol-and-nine-planets model. Pluto's status as a planet, as you probably know, has been questioned for some time on the basis of its size (smaller than the Earth's moon), cockeyed orbit and general similarity to hundreds of rocky objects out that way. But Pluto also has a loyal following among children and other underdog fans, who have resisted calls to delist it from the planetary rolls. Enter the International Astronomical Union, which is charged with settling such matters, and rumor are the planet panel will recommend retaining Pluto, but putting it in a new class of little planetettes that may include some new members, like Xena, similar and slightly larger than Pluto. Random related factoid, courtesy of NPR: Although Pluto was discovered during the lifetime of composer Gustav Holst, he declined to add it to his suite "The Planets." Maybe he knew something.


(y) (y) New planet, see for yourself: http://www.telescopes.com/new-planet/index.php

(y) (y) (h) (h)

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:20 AM
:) :)

The Time Fountain:


;) ;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:22 AM
(h) (h)


(y) (y) (h) (h) (i) (i)


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:26 AM
:| :|

"Mike gets a new office":


;) Silly, really. I'm glad I work from home.....:D

Carpe Diem!

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:29 AM
;) ;)


(y) (y) Too funny.

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:32 AM
:s :s


"Eight hours without an iPod, that's the most inconvenient thing."

-- Airline passenger Hannah Pillinger, 24, puts the terrorism threat into perspective


:| :| No comment.

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:42 AM
:o :o

Use Google, but please don't "google," search engine says

By Frank Ahrens
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — In July, The Washington Post and other media outlets noted that "google" had entered Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. It was a landmark for the search engine, going from nonentity to common usage in only eight years.

One would think a company that existed only in the minds of two college dudes a few years ago would be happy that The Post and other media outlets prominently marked the occasion.

One would, until one got a letter from Google's trademark lawyer.

Google, evidently, took offense to a passage in The Post article: "Google, the word, now takes its place alongside the handful of proper nouns that have moved beyond a particular product to become descriptors of an entire sector — generic trademarks."

This characterization, the letter warned, is "genericide" and should be avoided.

Such letters are cranked out every day by companies keen on protecting their trademarks. Wham-O wants writers to eschew "Frisbee" for "plastic flying disc," for instance.

Google goes the extra mile and provides a helpful list of appropriate and inappropriate uses of its name.

To show how hip and down with the kids Google is, the company gets a little wacky with its examples. Here's one:

"Appropriate: He ego-surfs on the Google search engine to see if he's listed in the results.

"Inappropriate: He googles himself."

But this is perhaps the best: "Appropriate: I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party.

"Inappropriate: I googled that hottie."

It's a matter of debate whether it's appropriate or inappropriate for a market-leading company worth $113 billion to use the word "hottie" in official correspondence.

What is beyond debate is the fact that Google's trademark complaint arrived via a hand-addressed letter in the actual mail.


:) Sometimes, you just have to chuckle and move on. ;)

Enjoy the gorgeous weather! Wyatt and I certainly have been. He starts obedience training next Thursday - private one-hour sessions once a week for a month, unless he needs more time each week. <sigh> He's accidently busted my upper lip with his Boxer paw and chipped a crowned front tooth with his head in one week. He's the most energetic "boxing" Boxer I have ever shared my life with. And I love him very much. Just need to watch those paws. And I wondered why the breeder kept telling me to "watch his paws" when I bought him back in January! Was she ever right!

(o) Back to the books. Hmm, maybe take Wyatt and myself to a local park this afternoon as a nice treat to clear the mind of mental cobwebs. ;) And stop at a drive-in Chik-Fil-A on the way. Cool.(h)

Have a lovely Saturday afternoon!


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:45 AM
:| :|


:o :o :o

;) 's,

SL & WTBP (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 06:50 AM
(h) (h) (h)


(y) (y) (y) (y) Absolutely stellar! It has been years since I saw and listened to this classic!!

(h) Definitely worth the click and time. :D :D

:) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer Pup (l) (&) (l)

08-12-2006, 05:14 PM
This is one of the most mesmerizing, fascinating things I've ever seen. Make sure you view it full-screen, and turn up the volume:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1522158746296131750&q=giant+girl+doll&hl=en (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1522158746296131750&q=giant+girl+doll&hl=en)