April 14, 2004

Little Book Reviews

American Tabloid - James Ellroy
Gritty, pulpy, vivid pre-Kennedy assassination account of backroom dealings, strange bedfellows and more. Simply incredible. Ellroy weaves together mob hijinx, Kennedy skirt chasing, high rolling rogues and low-crawling double agents. Intriguing, well researched, makes you feel like you were there, runnin' from the thugs, smugglin' the drugs and searching out J. Edgar Hoover's bugs.

Little Scarlet - Walter Mosley
Got excited about this after reading Mosley's answers to 10 questions posed to him by the NY Times Magazine on 2/8/04 and got my hands on a review copy.

Scarlet is a fast paced, lean whodunnit set during 1965 Watts riots. The violence is palpable, the air is thick with humanity and Mosley has mastered the art of turning out a sly line here and there. Moreover, Easy Rawlins is an endearing character, but expected suspense lingers a bit too long, and the colorful story, historical angles don’t quite make up for the waiting around.

One passage is quite share-able:

"That's Easy Rawlins," a woman in a blue checkered dress said. She looked like a well stacked pile of black pears held in place by a farmer's tablecloth."

I recommend:

Mao II – Don Delillo
Armies of the Night – Norman Mailer
Among the Thugs – Bill Buford

Any good reads lately? Comment below.

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Bin Ladin Memo - After Further Review

Check out Abe's take on the messages in the memo.
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Where was Dick Cheney?

There was a point during the press conference when the camera panned to the audience across the concerned faces of Bush's inner circle. Card, Rove and Rice all looked on with interest as the president spoke. Where was Dick Cheney?
Far away. In only his third trip abroad as Vice President.
I am trying to compile a list of where Cheney has been during Bush press conferences (of which there have been a record few). All of you out there in Internet land, get cracking, send me links to when Bush's speeches were and where Cheney was on those days.

I'll get you started:

April 13, 2004: Asia

Other press conference dates:
December 15, 2003
February 22, 2001
October 11, 2001

Comment away.
Posted by Neil at 12:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 13, 2004

GWB's Press Conference - Observations

Why are you and the VP testifying together?
The most shocking non-response was to the question of why he and Cheney needed to testify together. He had no answer for that. It is mind-boggling that he was not prepared for this crucial line of questioning:

QUESTION: Mr. President, why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9-11 commission? And, Mr. President, who will we be handing the Iraqi government over to on June 30th?

BUSH: We'll find that out soon. That's what Mr. Brahimi is doing. He's figuring out the nature of the entity we'll be handing sovereignty over. And, secondly, because the 9-11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.

BUSH: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9-11 commission is looking forward to asking us. And I'm looking forward to answering them.

A.Q. Kahn - How we deal with "terrorists"
And what about his take on A.Q. Kahn? Kahn is the man who brought nuclear weaponry to Pakistan and was publicly lauded while secretly funneling nuclear arms secrets, plans and equipment to rogue states. Bush had harsh words for him

The A.Q. Khan bust, the network that we uncovered thanks to the hard work of our intelligence-gathering agencies and the cooperation of the British, was another victory in the war against terror.

BUSH: This was a shadowy network of folks that were willing to sell state secrets to the highest bidder. And that, therefore, made the world more unstable and more dangerous.

You've often heard me talk about my worry of weapons of mass destruction ending up in the hands of the wrong people. Well, you can understand why I feel that way, having seen the works of A.Q. Khan. It's a dangerous -- it was a dangerous network that we unraveled, and the world is better for it.

And so what I'm telling you is, is that sometimes we use military as a last resort, but other times we use our influence, diplomatic pressure and our alliances to unravel, uncover, expose people who want to do harm against the civilized world.

Remember what happened to Kahn? How did we deal with that shadowy network?
  • Musharraf publicly pardoned Kahn and called him a national hero.
  • The U.S. absolved Musharraf and his government of any complicity.
  • The U.S. then named Pakistan a “major” non-NATO ally, which means that Islamabad is in the same league as Israel, Japan and Australia when it comes to buying U.S. weapons, including our most sensitive nuclear-capable aircraft.
Source: US Politics Today

Admit you are wrong:
I went for a job interview today, and I know in every interview I go into, someone is going to ask me about a mistake I made, and in a humbling moment I will have to tell them about a marketing campaign I miffed when the ad came back upside down, or the time I got the date wrong. But then I tell the person across the table about how I resolved the issue and this, in turn, endears me to the interviewer.

Mr. Bush, why is it so difficult? Just admit you are wrong, and move on (.org).

Semantics: Do you Believe This?
The left could not have scripted his closing any better. As you needed more reason not to believe him, look at the credibility/incredible flip-floppery. I think it is interesting to use the two in the same sentence to close the speech and then walk stiff shouldered out along the red carpet:

BUSH: One thing is for certain, though, about me, and the world has learned this: When I say something, I mean it. And the credibility of the United States is incredibly important for keeping world peace and freedom. Thank you all very much.

Full Transcript of the Press Conference
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April 12, 2004

Thought for the Day

More info on David Starr Jordan
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April 11, 2004

Take me to your leader.

Read the caption for this slideshow from AP carefully.
Click on the picture to make bigger and clearer.

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Texture Project - Take 11

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Steal this Idea - Movie Soundtrack Vending Machine

Second in a series of ideas offered up for some enterprising folk to take and run with. Or if you have capital, and want to fund/partner...

The Pitch
Blow, Goodfellas, The Big Chill...Saturday Night Fever (?!)You find yourself bopping your head to the tunes throughout the film. You stay in your seat while the end of the credits rolls by to see who sang what.

Then you walk bleary eyed out of the theater into your life. You have a series of moments in record stores, Blockbuster when you know that there is something that you want to buy, and don't remember what it is and end up walking out with this. Oops!

The Soundtrack-o-Matic takes advantage of impulse buying. You leave the theater bopping, Soundtrack-o-Matic is there to greet you.

CD or MP3
The theater will have all current titles in CD form or plug your ipod in for a quick rip of MP3's. While not exactly the same, technology is around and spirit is ripe for this kind of kiosk phenomenon. Just look at what Starbucks is up to.

Take Advantage of Unused Retail Space
Movie theaters make a majority of their profits from concessions. The ticket may be expensive, but the margins are greatest on the popcorn and soda. Walk around your local movie theater, though. There are huge swathes of un/underutilized space. The Soundtrack-o-Matic would take up some of this space with little overhead in the form of employees manning it.

Business Model Alternatives
  • Run by the record labels/media giants and stocked and distributed as a regular distribution channel (ala record store/internet store). Each studio could have their own machine?
  • Run privately and stocked by record distributors.
  • Franchise the machines with exhibitor as franchisor and independent contractors as franchisee.
Marketing Ideas
  • Run ads during pre-trailer segment and after credits (for die-hards who are there anyway, they probably want to buy the soundtrack pretty badly).
  • Pre-purchase Plans: Put pre-purchase options on websites such as Fandango and Moviefone with soundclip previews. People can purchase the music there to download or buy with ticket and get from Soundtrack-o-Matic once they are at the theater.

    Detail of Soundtrack-O-Matic
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April 10, 2004


Texture Project - Take 10

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April 09, 2004

Sports Feats

Henry Bekkering and Roberto Carlos 2 of my favorite sports clips ...seriously this Bekkering kid is outta hand. And Roberto Carlos, what kind of banana spin is that?
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Hot fetish action
Big Pimpin' with your host Killa18624.
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Shadow Government

This Washington Post article details the steps the US government undertook post-9/11 to ensure federal agencies were able to function unhindered in crisis mode. Great idea. But what about the little paragraph at the end of the article about a "shadow government" that is still in place?

Here's what they have to say:

"The Washington Post reported in 2002 that as part of the plan, Bush has dispatched a shadow government of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington. These officials have been rotating in and out of one of two fortified locations along the East Coast."

Is it still in place? What are its responsibilities? Who are they accountable to?
Posted by Neil at 10:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Brooklyn Restaurant Week - April 15th

Yum! Check this.
I'm definitely partaking. Anyone game? My top candidates:

Restaurant Gia and Lou Lou in Fort Greene.
Pier 116 in Boerum Hill
Queen in Brooklyn Heights.
Alma and Crave in Carroll Gardens.
Five Front in DUMBO.

Post a comment with any suggestions...
Posted by Neil at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack