Archive for April, 2009

tea partay

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

in honor of the april 15 tea parties. and as comic relief to swine flu (–you know, what some conceivably believe to be the 3rd of 7 plagues –following SARS and bird flu, which is leading us to the apocalpse. actually, if this is true, swine flu is arguably the 4th of the 7. although the 3rd of the 21st century.) and to take our minds off the financial crisis. here’s a blast from the past.

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jonathan franzen in berlin

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

jonathan franzen gave a reading last night at temporaer kunsthalle in berlin. as he studied german in school and spent at least one semester in germany, he attempted to do the reading in german. he read from the german edition of ‘the discomfort zone,’ which was originally released in the united states in 2006 or so.


as most english speaking people are self-assuredly monolingual, it was beyond impressive to see him take a stab at the language he majored in. should judgement be passed on him? his enunciation was actually pretty good. much better than the american guy in germany who writes for the wall street journal. and far better than chris burns, who works for bloomberg but used to work for cnn in france/germany/and poland and is routinely spotted with a translator when doing man-on-the-street interviews around germany. and the bit burns did on the paris riots back in 2005 was comical.

although we might give franzen a pointer. it could be a good idea to sometimes remember that in german the action comes at the end of the sentence rather than at the beginning. there is a funny joke about the european union and simultaneous translations. basically, someone is telling a joke and the translators tell the germans and scandinavians Someone is telling a joke. Laugh at the beginning of the sentence or they will think that you’re stupid.

woman hater perez hilton shows his true colors

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

this story is so old. but oh well. so perez hilton blogged that carrie prejean is a ‘bitch’ on perezhilton.com (we won’t link to that site here). then he got on msnbc and said he made a mistake and should have called prejean, miss california (and miss u.s.a runner-up) the c word. the comments beneath this l.a. times blog post are pretty pro-carrie prejean for standing up for her personal principles at a moment in time when many people (some high profile ministers) are not. the great thing about america is it’s free speech laws. and the constitution doesn’t limit free speech only to the people who agree with one’s own beliefs. many western countries have imposed limited free speech on their citizens, americans should be thankful.

but one might ask why the mysoginist perez hilton would be judging a beauty pageant? wouldn’t it have made more sense for donald trump to have hired paris hilton instead? although one might ask why donald trump should be overseeing a beauty pageant as well given that he’s got some major style problems.

new business model for newspaper industry

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

this is hardly news. but the problem is many organizations are trying to hold onto their precious business models by trying to monetize linking to content. apparently, there is talk of lawsuits from a notable wireservice. would it be possible to force the courts to rule that if anyone wants to link to anything that he would need the permission of the linkee. on the one hand, this could be interesting. as it would probably also extend to photos. and think of all the random stuff people from your high school and college days have been posting without your permission. and your personal blogs. but then one could say. well, if you are against people linking to your articles, then why not have your webmaster write a program that finds these incoming links and when the person clicks through he or she would be prompted to register or pay.

it is quite bad that some bloggers are just cutting and pasting content and posting whole articles. but this was more of a problem 8 or 9 years ago with bloggers who never wrote a paper in school and thus never learned about citation rules and giving credit and not plagarizing.

but the newspaper industry shouldn’t wall itself off. it should continue looking for a new business model. the new issue of vanity fair has a pretty good story about arthur o. schulzberg, jr., chairman of the new york times and the man the new york post (or was it another paper) alleged was having an affair with caroline (orange hair) kennedy. he talks about how he is platform agnostic.

and yeah, the nytimes.com website is quite informative. but why aren’t these guys (and they are mostly guys) really thinking about shaking their tree a bit. and opening up their elite institutions to well, people under 40. these newspaper conventions are thick with geriatric types. with age comes knowledge. but in the post information age (the one we’re presently living in) with age also comes a sort of backwardness. everyone needs to constantly update our skills and re-invent ourselves and re-examine our own personal business model. it sucks eggs for some, but it will keep you young and agile. it’s like the grandmother who lives well into her 90s who spends her time cultivating younger friends. as you get older, if you don’t want to be alone, you’ve got to cultivate younger friends. and a more user-friendly business model.

porsche museum

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

yesterday, had a chance to see the new porsche museum. amazing. whether or not one is into big muscle cars, everyone can appreciate the slopping architecture of the white and glass building.

entrance fee is 8 euros with a special price for students and children up-to 14 are free. anyone can pick up a pair of the co-branded seinheiser-porsche personal audio guide with head phones. after exiting the escalator, you have the option of heading for the pre-1948 displays to discover the origins of of the 911, 586 and the boxster as well as just porsche in general and the evolution of the engineering and design. most of the auto displays also have a small t.v. screen. you can select the code next to the car and the auto synchs up with the images.

needless to say the museum was wall-to-wall men. a great place to hang out if a woman is looking to meet her future husband. but the question is how to encourage more females to study engineering?

caroline kennedy vetoed by vatican

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

2009 isn’t turning out to be a great year for caroline kennedy. first she was snubbed by david paterson, governor of new york, for hillary clinton’s open senate seat. then she was lambasted by the financial times for the audacity of coloring her own hair what looks like putrid orange with roots. and now supposedly she’s been passed over by the vatican to be and an envoy to vatican city.

rick warren in a quandry

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

a lot of people are wondering why pastor rick warren, author of the bestseller, ‘a purpose drive life’ has begun to back pedal on his stance regarding california’s proposition 8. town hall has compared his performance to that of the disciple peter. a jump to youtube and a viewing of warren’s interview on ‘larry king live’ will probably clear that up in a few minutes. which will happen on this end once we take the time to google this. although generally speaking, watching larry king live should only be forced upon someone while he is on the treadmill.

a viewpoint can generally be respected even if it it is not accepted by a small minority, if there is consistency in the way it is presented. everchanging viewpoints generally are not.

even before saddleback church broke off from calvary ministries, warren had caught quite a bit of flack from more traditional ministries for his so-called ‘feel good’ church and sermons which don’t necessarily align themselves with a whole lot of biblical dogma/orthodox teaching. so perhaps this just gets tossed into the ever growing pile of rick warren gripes.

washington post still taking pot shots at george w. bush

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

that the headline screams ‘A More Simple LIfe for Bush,’ can be interpreted as a play-on-words alluding to the reality show, ‘the simple life,’ that made paris hilton and nicole ritchie household names.

george w. bush is not the worst u.s. president. that distinction goes to ulysses s. grant, as most historians know. with herbert hoover falling in the top 5. bush’s one big mistake was iraq. yet he did manage to make americans feel safe after the twin towers incident and the meltdown of the u.s. economy. people seem to have forgotten the two previous nosedives the stockmarket took in the early 21st century. the first was following the indecision that was the 2000 election and the dithering about hanging chads and divining the intention of low income and elderly voters. this managed to shake world confidence in the u.s. political system. the second nose dive happened following nine eleven. manhattan was a ghost town for about 3 months.

maybe ecouraging americans to continue spending and the car companies practically giving autos away and further encouraging people to live beyond their means, from an ethical perspective, wasn’t necessarily a good idea. but given that the u.s. GDP is made up of almost 70% of consumer spending, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. you can’t really reverse such dynamics overnight. but perhaps someone could’ve considered the long-term implications of such prolifigate spending. and teaching americans not to live beyond their needs. could this be the lesson of the 2009 recession? and the 21st century. happy easter.

the u.s. president and the somali pirates

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

5 days and counting. since wednesday, u.s. president barack obama has thus far refused to comment regarding the capture of american hostage, captain richard phillips, by a group of pirates off the somali coast during a failed hijacking attempt. who would’ve thought this would be his first international incident. is obama having a jimmy carter impotency moment along the lines of the iran hostage crisis? what would ronald reagan have done?

perhaps the real question is, are disney, johnny depp, orlando bloom, keira knightly, and pirates of the caribbean 1 through 3 (and counting) to blame for making piracy sexy? because you know, whenever there is a world crisis, hollywood must be behind the whole thing. apparently the pirates have successfully been paid over 80 million dollars in ransoms over the past few years.

uk follows german offering 2K to scrap old car

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

following on the heels of the success of germany’s 2500 euro rebate to scrap old cars and upgrade to more environmentally, friendly one, the uk government is looking to enact a similar plan in the united kingdom. the program has essentially revived the german car industry. not just for german cars but also for japanese and american brands. with additional incentives given by the various brands, in germany, it is possible to save up to almost 5,000 euros on a new automobile. more information can be found on the german rebate program on Bild and on the UK programhere.

update. from may in the uk you can get 2000 pounds off a new car if you scrap one that’s 10 years or older. the cost apparently will be evenly split between the car company and the government. more details about gordon brown’s new proposals on the independent website.