Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"I'm Really Not That Blond"

A portrait of the artist as a young, civil, intelligent, approachable man measuring 5'10":

In 1967, a 14-year old American girl wrote a fan letter to David Bowie. It was, in fact, Bowie's very first American fan letter. He wrote back to the girl. Just delightful.

Robert Frost, "The American Way of Life", his first short film....such a far cry from the craziness of the Thin White Duke and Major Tom and the spiders from Mars.

(Via MeFi)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Her Bounden Duty

"On November 5 this year, Irom Sharmila entered the tenth year of her superhuman fast"
Just who is Irom Sharmila?

This article at explains:
[Irom Sharmila is]..."protesting the indefensible Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that has been imposed in Manipur and most of the Northeast since 1980. The Act allows the army to use force, arrest or shoot anyone on the mere suspicion that someone has committed or was about to commit a cognisable offence. The Act further prohibits any legal or judicial proceedings against army personnel without the sanction of the Central Government."
Googling for AFSPA (and Irom Sharmila) brings up an indie filmmaker's blog. The filmmaker, Kavita Joshi, has made a short film on Sharmila titled "My body my weapon".

Mere labels like "heroic" (or even "Gandhian") do not adequately describe this woman's commitment. She has no connection with her mother (who appears in the film and watches her daughter on the little LCD screen of a video camera), the state has completely isolated her from people and there's a very real chance that the government will just continue to ignore her. And yet she puts up a fight and views it as her duty.

Here's hoping her ten-year protest brings her - and Manipuris - the result that she and others have been fighting for.

The Indian government does not wish to see its favorite dead revolutionary's image on the nib of a pen* but living heroes? Why, they are a nuisance, of course.

*Dear Mont Blanc, your product idea was beyond pretentious and fucked up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 100 Best

Rolling Stone has published their list of 100 best albums of the decade.

Say what you will about Rolling Stone (I haven't read an issue since 1994) but this was a terrific decade for pop/rock music and I thought this list is a pretty good representation of the decade without a name. (And screw "Aughties".)

Now for the obligatory list-rant: Three U2 albums? And where's Nickelback? Ha ha, just kidding.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Drinking Gourd - Podcast Recommendation

For those of you interested in Zen Buddhism - I wanted to share a link to an excellent podcast I recently discovered on iTunes: The Drinking Gourd. The series has been on heavy rotation on my iPod for the last few weeks now.

Jay Rinsen Weik, who leads these discourses, is a very informal and engaging speaker (and a mean jazz guitarist - look him up on YouTube). But what I really enjoyed about the talks is the refreshing lack of "cleverness".

Jai Guru Deva

Monday, December 07, 2009


Gizmodo likes the Nook.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I stopped by the Nook information booth at the local Barnes & Noble store. During our conversation, one of the staffers working the booth referred to AT&T's 3G network as a "Three Gigabyte network". They are booksellers trying to sell technology, so cut them some slack;) The sales pitch was impressive: better readability, more battery life, free downloads at any B&N store plus you can actually lend an e-book to a friend.

But those old doubts still linger: Is this simply about speeding the transaction to promote more impulse purchases? What about DRM? Are the days of using unread books as coasters over? How will I hurl a bad book at the nearest wall? Most importantly, can I still hold book-burning rallies in my study?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Chess Game Was A Drag

"At the World Chess Cup, which is being held in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, two top Chinese grandmasters, Wang Yue and Li Chao, showed up late for tie-breaker games in their third-round matches because they had been smoking. Under new World Chess Federation rules, they had to forfeit."
The money quote comes at the end of the NYT article:
"Asked if he would now give up the habit, Wang said: “I don’t think so. After such a shock, you only think to take a long smoke.”
You show 'em, Wang!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Let Them Breathe

"So open up the window and let me breathe,
I said, open up the window and let me breathe" - Van Morrison, "T.B. Sheets"

December 3 should not just be about remembering the dead. Let's also remember the ones still living who could use our help.