Right Reading

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Month: November 2006 (Page 1 of 2)

Disrespecting Asia?

Are the San Francisco travel guide books dissing Asia?

That’s what Frisco Vista says.

Ukes in the News

Apparently there was a uke performance last night on a show called Boston Legal.

The uke player was “an insane male kidnapper who spoke exactly like Katherine Hepburn.”

Nice to see ukes getting some press.

Inside the Lair

Cheney residence

Wonkette alertly snagged these photos from the Official Residence of VP Dick C before the Flickr gallery was switched to “private.”

Rampaging Sea Lions

sea lion (via www.friscovista.com)

What’s making the sea lions cranky? Frisco Vista, a new site devoted to San Francisco travel (what they’re building is so new they’re still working on the foundation) is asking that question.

Young and Hip

young folk

According to an article in the NYT, cities are now competing for hipness in an attempt to lure young transplants. The reasons? “Baby boomers are retiring and the number of young adults is declining. By 2012, the work force will be losing more than two workers for every one it gains.”

According to William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, “These are rare and desirable people.” It seems that once people turn thirty-five, they are much less likely to relocate.

According to a study based on census figures, cities winning the hipness battle are Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver, Portland, and Austin. Ranking among the squares: Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles.

Does that sound right?

The Indonesian Curse Is Working

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas

I don’t know much about Ki Gendeng Pamungkas’s curse on GWB, except that it required the blood of a snake, a goat, and a crow and, according to the shaman, “will make him bloat like broccoli.” The image (from the Daily Kos) shows Ki Gendeng Pamungkas drinking sheep’s blood during an anti-Bush rally.

But I can report this: In Buenos Aires first daughter Barbara Bush had her purse and cell phone snatched at a restaurant, despite being guarded by a contingent of Secret Service agents at the time. And, in a separate incident, once of the agents got mugged. Plus, the director of the White House travel office was robbed in a nightclub.

Meanwhile, in Honolulu, three of the Uniter’s motorcyble escorts were involved in an accident at Hickam Air Force Base, and two were transported by ambulance to Queen’s medical center.

Bush and blood: maybe there’s some potent connection there after all.

Bienvenue a San Francisco

A nice welcome from our friends at blogospherus.net.

Why not send them a trackback and become a connector?

bienvenue de blogospherus

Note to Self

Will Self’s writing room. A 360 degree view in 71 photos by Phil Grey

will self's writing studio

Google Calls Google Alerts Spam

I found this in one of my gmail spam folders.

gmail spam

What does this woman believe in?

judith regan
Judith Regan must be furious about her O. J. book being retracted. After all, she once screamed in an editorial meeting “Everybody’s a pussy here but me!”

Back in the day I used to see her occasionally at American Booksellers Association and Book Expo America events. She’s been called “hands down, the most successful editor in the book business.”

I never looked at her that way. But then, I’ve never quite got the hang of gauging success strictly in terms of dollars.

So what does she believe in? Judge for yourself. Following are some of her greatest works (alphabetical by author):

  • Jose Canseco, Juiced
  • Gen. Tommy Franks, American Soldier
  • Kathie Lee Gifford, I Can’t Believe I Said That!
  • Sean Hannity, Deliver Us from Evil
  • Jenna Jameson, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star
  • Sue Johanson, Sex, Sex, and More Sex
  • Ian Kerner, She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman
  • Wally Lamb, Couldn’t Keep It to Myself [women in prison]
  • Rush Limbaugh, See I Told You So
  • Legs McNeil, The Other Hollywood: the Uncensored Oral History of the Pornographic Film Industry
  • Michael Moore, Stupid White Men
  • Peggy Noonan, The Case Against Hillary Clinton
  • O.J.Simpson, If I Did It
  • Howard Stern, Private Parts

Links:

Update:

Dick Cheney inks book deal with Judith Regan

If I Did It: Faking the Case for War

Death by Powerpoint

When I consider the seemingly endless hours of Powerpoint-inflicted boredom I’ve suffered through in my lifetime it’s hard to believe the software has only been around for what, about fifteen years?

In fact, everyone hates Powerpoint presentations — someone proposed a constitutional amendment banning their use. Yet it’s estimated that 30 million Powerpoint presentations take place every day (note passive sentence structure concealing the thought “how does anyone come up with a number like that?”).

So why do people keep inflicting using Powerpoint? Visual information designer Edward Tufte, in an article called “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint,” offers an explanation: It’s easier than actually thinking about how to present information to an audience in an effective way.

“It’s much easier to write a presentation if you’re writing in bullet grunts…. PowerPoint allows presenters to pretend they’re giving a presentation,” he says. Unfortunately, “its cognitive style profoundly corrupts serious communications.”

Via the Book of Joe, where Joe concludes: “Many years ago I discovered that the key to a great PowerPoint experience is a comfortable chair — for myself.”

Rightreading feeds have changed

Well, somewhat.

I’m now using this blog feed (http://www.rightreading.com/feed/) as the main feed for the entire site, since any most new features are announced here. There’s a feedburner link at right to add this to your reader of choice. (If you’re reading this in a feed then you’re already cool.)

The original site feed (http://www.rightreading.com/feed.xml) is now the feed for my Book of Days. You might want this one if you’re interested in all the news that’s old on this day.

Blogospherus

I’m not sure exactly what it proves, but a French blog is “scientifically” testing the blogosphere by tracking the spread of an unannounced post, released 16 November on Thierry Crouzet’s blog about “le peuple des connecteurs.”

La blogosphère est-elle un mythe?
Quelle puissance virale est la sienne ?

Existe-t-elle ailleurs que dans l’imaginaire de quelques papes des blogs ?

La blogosphère a-t-elle pour seule demeure Technorati ?

Blogospherus est créé pour tester la réactivité de la blogosphère, comme une expérience scientifique.

Combien de temps faudra-t-il pour fédérer les blogs de la blogosphère ?

It appears rightreading is the first English-language blog to pick this up. (I got it through Chroniques patagones, quoted in the extract above.) Will it (or should it) spread anywhere from here?

I guess this is the equivalent of casting a message in a bottle into the sea and seeing if anyone responds. Does it have any meaning beyond that? Stay tuned, or get more information, at blogospherus.net (in French).

Exploding Aardvark

lisa boucher

At a time when niche marketing is the rage and everyone wants to capitalize their blogs by optimizing for keywords in search engine result pages, it’s nice to run across an entertaining and informed generalist blog with an offbeat sense of humor and a judicious mix of posts ranging across politics, music, language, and other topics.

No, not this one. I’m referring to Exploding Aardvark, in which Lisa Boucher artfully mixes the most unusual ingredients into a uniquely tasty dish.

An editor (but not one of the dull ones), she could probably fix up my long-winded opening sentence.

More Bad Ministration

So the Bushies appointed a guy who doesn’t believe in family planning to be head of the agency in charge of family planning.

Well, what’s new, the outgoing Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (James Inhofe, OK), says we don’t have to worry about global warming, and isn’t that a relief?

Why not? Because “God’s still up there.” (And I guess Inhofe’s message is that he’s still on the side of the fat cats and big oil guys.)

Transcript and video at Think Progress, which concludes “Despite Inhofe’s repeated efforts to muddy the picture, there is no real scientific debate over whether global warming is manmade or naturally caused.”

Tony Blair calls Iraq a “disaster”

But not for any lack of intelligent planning.

No, it was just one little unexpected thing.

Who is Eric Keroack?

I’m learning lots of new names lately. I just mastered Ted Leonsis, and now the Bush badministration is pushing Eric Keroack at us.

No dharma bum, Keroack is a gynecologist who has been appointed head of the federal Office of Population Affairs. Even this office is new to me, but it has a budget of $283 million. What does it do with all that money? Well, it “oversees federally funded teen pregnancy, family planning and abstinence programs.”

So what’s the problem? It seems this guy is the head of a Christian group called A Woman’s Concern, and he “opposes premarital sex, contraception and abortion.” So we have a guy in charge, bascially, of family planning who doesn’t believe in family planning, in any sense that most people think of it.

“The appointment of anti-birth control, anti-sex education advocate Dr. Eric Keroack to oversee the nation’s family planning program is striking proof that the Bush administration remains dramatically out of step with the nation’s priorities,” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

The quotes are from a CNN article on this appointment.

Ecobungling, 19th century style

Indian Mongoose on Oahu

This handsome fellow is an Indian Mongoose (called manakuke in Hawaiian). Seventy-two mongooses were introduced into Hawaii in 1872 in an effort to control rats that had arrived in the islands as a side effect of the sugar cane industry. The rats, like many newcomers to the islands, found Hawaii to their liking, and they began to eat seriously into the profits of the cane magnates. So why not bring in a few mongooses, which are known to eat rats? Well, for one thing, mongooses are diurnal and rats are nocturnal. So while the occasional rat bit the dust, the mongooses didn’t really have much effect on the population as a whole.

A big problem with the introduction of rats on the island is that they eat birds’ eggs, and that has damaged the islands’ unique, diverse, and bountiful but fragile (given new forms of predation) bird population. Unfortunately, the mongooses like eggs even better than they like rats, and eggs don’t fight back. So now the birds’ eggs are literally under attack day and night.

In African and India there is a variety of predators that help keep mongooses in check, mainly raptors such as eagles as well as land predators such as jackals and cheetahs. In Hawaii there is no predator to keep the mongooses in check. A male mongoose can father offspring within four months of its birth, and females produce litters of two to five pups.

All in all a recipe for things getting out of control, and in our short time here we saw many of these critters (and a few wild pigs as well, another introduced species causing problems).

It was difficult to get a picture, because mongooses don’t like being exposed in the open. They are extremely quick (and clever), and they are usually seen scurrying from the cover of one bush to another.

Shark’s Cove

north shore, Oahu

shark's cover facing west

shark's cove facing east

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