Friday, December 29, 2006

Technics: Online: Google's Gmail has a glitch that for a tiny percentage of users means all mail goes poof!

. just published a post by Marc Oliphant entitled "Is Gmail reliable?" (Dec29,2k6)

About 18 months ago, I lost access to my Gmail account for a few hours when an early version of Greasemonkey caused a glitch that made Google think there were an inappropriate number of simultaneous logins being made to my account. The problem was resolved quickly enough but I was devastated for those few hours by the thought that all the information I had stored in that account might be lost. Fast forward to present times and there are reports that a "small number" of people have seen their Gmail accounts vanish and they may be permanently gone.

There's plenty of discussion going on surrounding this glitch led by TechCrunch and Om Malik. With an additional year-and-a-half of data stored in my Gmail account, I got more than a little concerned about what losing that information might mean to me. So I did the only reasonable thing I could think of and reset my Gmail account's POP3 settings to download all of my mail locally. Every bit of it.

I think it's finally finished now - no, another 682 messages just arrived as I'm writing this! It's taken about 16 hours for all the mail that's arrived so far to come down from Google's servers and for me to wade through a lot of cruft that I'm sure was important to me at one time but is pretty much history and not content I'm likely to ever need again. What I find most interesting is how much Gmail has impacted my e-mail habits as it relates to the information I send and receive in that environment.
Technotes, by Owlie Scowlie
There's a message on the Trash page in Gmail that asks, "Who needs to delete when you have over 2000 MB of storage?!". I guess I've been subliminally conditioned to accept that notion relative to my Gmail context in stark contrast to how I handle my business mail in Outlook on my PCs or on the MacBook. Because my company uses IMAP mail, I have an always up-to-date and synchronized view of that mail store from any device I use, and I practice my idiosyncratic approach to GTD by converting actionable e-mail messages into tasks and appointments to keep my Inbox empty.

Perhaps it's the lack of real integration between Gmail and Google Calendar (which I don't use all that often) that prevents me from taking the same approach in my webmail. Or maybe Gmail has allowed me to tag and archive with abandon because everything seems to work regardless of how much stuff I allow to accumulate.

In either case, the implications of losing all that history and information rattled me. And so I'm downloading, scanning, deleting, and archiving my Gmail locally. Better to be safe than sorry. I can afford a few hundred megabytes of storage more than I can the loss of years of accumulated correspondence. Google is saying the glitch has only affected a small number of accounts and they're hard at work trying to figure out what went amiss. That's all well and good and exactly what they should be doing. In the unlikely event that this problem is not so isolated (or that I'll be unlucky enough to join that "small number" of affected accounts), I'm changing my approach to make sure I don't wake up to find my stuff vanished.

Back to the triage.
My strategy is to use Gmail basically for the technical lists to which I subscribe, like TidBITS, CSS daily digest, and I use Gspace storage. I also get my Google Alerts on various self-defined news searchterms, but I delete almost all of them from Gmail as soon as I get a chance. All this stuff comes thru also to my, but I filter it into trash without even reading it. That leaves only a few strays from people who use Gmail for personal or professional direct correspondence. These I filter into their appropriate personal mailboxes. I wouldn't want to cope with Marc's superabundance, regarding which he has no mention of spam.

Sports: Car racing: NASCAR 4-part DVD documentary a hit among US troops in Iraq & Afghanistan

Washington Times carries AP's Jenna Fryer article on the documentary "NASCAR videos 'golden' for troops" (Dec17,2k6):

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- John Warner set out to make a simple movie about NASCAR driver Wendell Scott.

By the time Mr. Warner was finished, the filmmaker had spent $3 million of his own money to create a four-part DVD documentary that traces the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing from its early days through the 1960s.

Mr. Warner knew "The Golden Era of NASCAR" was a film of which he could be proud. Narrated by his father, Virginia Sen. John W. Warner, the film is truly a labor of love.

But when he received a thank-you letter from a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan who used the film to fill his idle time, the younger Mr. Warner realized just how special it was.

Now he's donating 10,000 copies of the set -- which retails for $79.95 -- to Operation Gratitude. The nonprofit will include the DVD in Christmas packages it sends to deployed U.S. troops.

"Documentaries by nature are very passion driven, and to get the whole story on film is a very powerful thing," Mr. Warner said. "And then I got this letter from the brother of a friend of mine who really enjoyed the story, and it really touches you to know that something you have done can bring joy to other people."

Mr. Warner enlisted help from his stepmother, Elizabeth Taylor, who penned a letter that will be included with the DVD sets. She also included one handwritten letter to commemorate the 200,000th care package that Operation Gratitude will mail out.

"Millions of people around the world are remembering you each day in their prayers. I want you to know that I am one of them," Miss Taylor wrote in the three-paragraph letter.
Sports, by Sportikos

"Please believe that as you travel through harm's way, you are valiant, loved and respected. I wish you safety in the days ahead and a warm reunion with those you love."

Getting Miss Taylor to contribute to the gift "only took a phone call," Mr. Warner said, as the actress was pleased to help.

"This was something that is important to me, especially since the films touch on all the World War II veterans who helped create NASCAR," Mr. Warner said. "This is just one way that a civilian like myself can give back."

A Virginia native, Mr. Warner was introduced to NASCAR when his father stumped for votes at stock car races with Miss Taylor, the elder Mr. Warner's second wife.

The racing interested the young Mr. Warner, who launched a career of modest success racing sports cars. But when he retired four years ago, he needed a new project and turned his attention to telling the story of Mr. Scott, the first black driver to win a NASCAR race.

"There was no book written on him -- there still isn't -- which is very unusual for a man who is the Jackie Robinson of racing," Mr. Warner said. "So I called up his daughter, and we talked for hours, and it really became a passion of mine to tell his story."

But in researching Mr. Scott, Mr. Warner uncovered story upon story of other NASCAR pioneers. He interviewed more than 50 old-timers and their families and interspersed it throughout the film with his father's narration, which is done in a perfect Southern drawl.

Mr. Warner didn't make "Golden Era" to get rich, and with a willingness to give copies of the set to any deployed serviceman who asks, his profits are continually shrinking. But that won't shy him away from another project -- he would like to focus on NASCAR through the 1970s next -- and it won't spoil the joy "Golden Era" brought him.

"The one thing that was amazing is that Southern people by nature like to tell tall tales, and a lot of them are what had gotten me interested in the project," Mr. Warner said. "And they all turned out to be true. That was the amazing thing -- every one of them was true. I was just astounded."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Aesthetics: Arts: World's first luxury underwater hotel, Hydropolis, is being constructed under Dubai's waves

A remarkable architectural project has been announced for the waters off Dubai, the architecturally well-known Gulf State. DesignBuild-Network, the online website for "everyone in the building design and construction" industries recently features a project called Hydropolis.

Currently under construction in Dubai, Hydropolis is the world's first luxury underwater hotel. It will include three elements: the land station, where guests will be welcomed, the connecting tunnel, which will transport people by train to the main area of the hotel, and the 220 suites within the submarine leisure complex. It is one of the largest contemporary construction projects in the world, covering an area of 260 hectares, about the size of London's Hyde Park.

"Hydropolis is not a project; it's a passion," enthuses Joachim Hauser, the developer and designer of the hotel. His futuristic vision is about to take shape 20m below the surface of the Arabian Gulf, just off the Jumeirah Beach coastline in Dubai. The £300 million, 220-suite hotel is due to open at the end of 2007 and will incorporate a host of innovations that will take it far beyond the original blueprint for an underwater complex worthy of Jules Verne.

There are only a few locations in the world where such a grandiose dream could be realised. A high proportion of today's architectural marvels are materialising like fanciful mirages from the desert sands. We have come to expect extravagant enterprises to be mounted in the Middle East, and especially in Dubai. "This venture could only be born here in Dubai," says Hauser. "It [has] a very open-minded, international community - and that's what makes it so special."

The land on which Hydropolis is being built belongs to His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. It was his last free beach property on this stretch of coast. The project is a fantastic one, yet Sheikh Mohammed's success record with comparable schemes instils confidence that science fiction can become fact. With his support, several companies have been formed to kick-start this phenomenal project, and around 150 firms are currently involved.

"There have been many visions of colonising the sea - Jules Verne, Jean Gusto and several Japanese architects - but no one has ever managed to realise this dream," says Hauser. "That was the most challenging factor, and that's what makes it so fascinating. Despite being a dream of mankind for centuries, nobody has ever been able to make living underwater possible."

Underwater hotel design

The original idea for Hydropolis developed out of Hauser's passion for water and the sea, and goes much deeper than just building a hotel underwater. More than just curiosity, it is a commitment to a more far-reaching philosophy. "Once you start digging deeper and deeper into the subject, you can't help being fascinated and you start caring about all the associated issues," he explains. "Humans consist of 80% water, the earth consists of 80% water; without water there is no life."

Hydropolis reproduces the human organism in an architectural design. There is a direct analogy between the physiology of man and the architecture. The geometrical element is a figure eight lying on its side and inscribed in a circle. The spaces created in the basin will contain function areas, such as restaurants, bars, meeting rooms and theme suites. These can be compared to the components of the human organism: the motor functions and the nervous and cardiovascular systems, with the central sinus knot representing the pulse of all life.

The ballroom, located at this nerve centre, will have asymmetrical pathways connecting the different storeys along ramps. A large, petal-like retracting roof will enable the staging of open-sky events. Staircases, lifts and ramps will provide access to the ballroom, while flanking catering areas will supply banquets and receptions.

Hydropolis Land Station

In order to enter this surreal space, visitors will begin at the land station. This 120m woven, semicircular cylinder will arch over a multi-storey building. On the lowest level passengers board a noiseless train propelled by fully automated cable along a modular, self-supporting steel guideway to Hydropolis. A just-in-time and on-demand logistical system will facilitate efficient supply of goods to the hotel.

The upper storeys of the land station house a variety of facilities, including a cosmetic surgical clinic, a marine biological research laboratory and conference facilities. On the lower levels are the staff rooms, goods storage and loading areas, and hotel and parking areas.

The land station also includes a restaurant and high-tech cinema screening the evolution of life in the ocean and the history of underwater architecture. As a finale, the screen will open to reveal the real-life Hydropolis. A viewing platform at the front opening of the spanning roof will allow views of the architecture as well as the light shows of Hydropolis.
Architecture, by Archibald
Marine Architecture

This structure promises to be a conceptual as well as a physical landmark. While human beings accept the existence of water, we have only a superficial appreciation of its significance. "We waste it, go swimming in it and generally take it for granted," says Hauser. "Humans could actually live self-sufficiently underwater, generating energy, nurturing food supplies and so on. This is why we are starting a foundation to demonstrate something of the importance of water in our lives.

"My general plan was to create a living space in the sea. My initial proposal was a deep-sea project, which looked very different. I had to adjust to the local reality of the natural surroundings and change to a shallow water construction.

"We want to create the first ever faculty for marine architecture because I believe that the future lies in the sea, including the future of city planning. I am certain that one day a whole city will be built in the sea. Our aim is to lay the first mosaic by colonising the sea."

Hauser plans to incorporate many different elements associated with the sea. The cosmetics will be ocean-based, the cinemas will screen films that focus on aquatic themes and a children's seaworld will educate as well as entertain.

He views his creation as a place where those who do not dive - or do not even swim - can experience the tranquillity and inspiration of the underwater world. "We are expecting around 3,000 visitors per day in addition to the hotel guests. The aim is to inspire people to develop a new awareness of the sea."

As well as emphasising the positive aspects of water, Hauser also believes we are systematically destroying marine life, and thus wishes to draw attention to various dangers and problems, such as the loss of algae and the destruction of the coral reefs.

Funding and Development

Dreams, however fabulous, remain unfulfilled without the cash to support the commitment. "The hardest part of the process was finding sponsorship to the tune of €550 million," admits Hauser. "That's what brought me to Dubai. Still, it was a battle which took two-and-a-half years and proved tougher than developing the project itself. No bank would pay such an amount. It's a risky investment, as there are no pilots. We had to convince investors that it is safe and will bring returns on investment."

With official blessing, the Dubai Development & Investment Authority (DDIA) established a framework to handle grants and authorisations. Once the financial backing was guaranteed, the sonar analysis of the seabed complete and 7,000 anchors in place, construction began in summer 2005.

"We are sure that this hotel will set a precedent," says Hauser. "Crescent-Hydropolis is now planning a chain of underwater hotels, and nine countries have shown interest. Some will be the realisation of my initial deep-sea design." Hauser has even chosen to make his permanent home in Dubai. "And that won't change after the project [is finished], regardless of where our next project will be. The infrastructure is exceptionally good here - and it seldom rains!"

Key Players

Crescent Hydropolis Holdings LLC were the original intellectual property rights developer and are acting as the project developers, with SIBC Industrial Building Consultants as the global project managers.

Consultation has come from Q3A+D Limited as architecture and design consultants and Siemens I&S IS Facility & Systems Engineering as the technical engineering consultants. OSTSEE-KONTOR GmbH are providing the marine and naval surveying services.

Design, architecture and interior scenery is being provided by 3-Deluxe System Modern GmbH. The underwater foundation, tunnel and access way will be the work of DCN Duik Combinatie Nederland B.V.
Less ambitious but still quite interesting is the underwater Red Sea Underwater Restaurant, Eilat, Israel. The facility is already in regular use.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Aesthetics: Arts: What is it about TV's character played by Vincent D'Onofrio, I don't like?

Rather, what is about this character that I detest? Smart-alecky pop-Freudian analyst, Detective Robert Goren, head honcho of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, who is written up in the show's scripts on the assumption that he is always r+t, and because he's so blantantly smart, also always knows he's r+t. Thus, this copdick has the r+t to bully and badger and blackmail his victims (of course, they're always guilty, but in real life such a cop would not be jailing the guilty only). Could there really be any such copperdicker? Over all, L&O: CI totters on a poor script with black and white characterizations, not enuff grey, with the benefit of the doubt always going to D'Onofrio (yes, you guessed it, I'm prejudiced against the character but can't keep separate in this case, that the actor is actually someone else).

TV, by Anaximaximum

There's an axe being ground thru-out the narrative structure of each episode, the entire series, and in the end I put it all at the feet Dick Wolf, the creator of the show. Not all his creations are this bad, by any means. But I think perhaps he gets to create too many and in D'Onofrio's incessantly insulting transcendent omnipotent Freud he's created a deeply amoral prime time TV show.

Immediately following the broadcast of today's episode (which is no different from the usual in this series), another episode series by the same Dick Wolf takes to the screen on the Omni2 channel seen here in Toronto. This second series is actually, with the D'Onofrio-starring offering, part of a set of four.
Dick Wolf, one of television's most respected drama series creator/producers, is the architect of one of the most successful brands in the history of television Law & Order. Wolf serves as creator and executive producer of the four Law & Order drama series from Wolf Films and NBC Universal Television [1.] Law & Order, [2.] Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, [3.] Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Trial By Jury [launched] in the 2004-05 season. In addition, he is creator and executive producer of NBC's courtroom reality series Crime & Punishment, which chronicles real-life cases prosecuted by the San Diego District Attorney's office. ...

Wolf's Law & Order [multi]series continue to re-write the annals of television history. With more than 320 episodes under its belt, Law & Order – now entering its 15th season on NBC – is the longest-running current drama series on television. It has received 11 consecutive Outstanding Drama Series Emmy nominations – the record for most consecutive series Emmy nominations in the history of television (tied with Cheers and M*A*S*H) – and won the coveted Emmy in that category in 1997. With NBC's most recent pick up (through 2005-06), Law & Order will become the longest-running police series and the second-longest running drama series in the history of television, behind only Gunsmoke. Law & Order's other accolades include: the highly coveted Peabody Award; multiple Emmys; the Crystal Apple Award from the New York City's Mayor's office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting; the Writer's Guild Award for Television and numerous other high ranking tributes.
Really? The Writer's Guild Award for Television? Oh, that doesn't include the D'Onofrio writing/acting debacle.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Aesthetics: Arts: Napster announces its free-chosen music awards for 2006

Complete List of 2006 Napster Award Winners

Napster U.S.

Most-Played Artist
Jack Johnson

Most-Played Song
"Dance, Dance" by Fall Out Boy

Most-Played New Artist
Carrie Underwood

Most-Played NapsterLive Session
Natasha Bedingfield Rising Star Arctic Monkeys

Most-Played Self-Published Artist

Unstoppable Artist
Scott Joplin

Most-Played Cover Song
"One" by Cowboy Junkies (originally performed by U2)

Most-Played Alternative Artist

Most-Played Alternative Song
"Dance, Dance" by Fall Out Boy

Most-Played Blues Artist
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

Most-Played Blues Song
"The Thrill Is Gone" by B.B. King

Most-Played Christian Artist
Third Day

Most-Played Christian Song
"Dare You to Move" by Switchfoot

Most-Played Classical Artist
Andrea Bocelli

Most-Played Classical Recording
"Time to Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro)" by Andrea Bocelli

Most-Played Comedy Artist
Weird Al Yankovic

Most-Played Comedy Recording
"White & Nerdy" by Weird Al Yankovic

Most-Played Country
Artist Rascal Flatts

Most-Played Country Song
"What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts

Most-Played Dance/Electronic Artist

Most-Played Dance/Electronic Recording
"Everytime We Touch" by Cascada

Most-Played Folk Artist
Damien Rice

Most-Played Folk Song "
The Blower's Daughter" by Damien Rice

Most-Played Hip-Hop Artist

Most-Played Hip-Hop Song
"Ridin'" by Chamillionaire

Most-Played Jazz Artist
Norah Jones

Most-Played Jazz Recording
"Come Away with Me" by Norah Jones

Most-Played Latin Artist

Most-Played Latin Song
"Whenever, Wherever" by Shakira

Most-Played Pop Artist
Jack Johnson

Most-Played Pop Song
"Move Along" by All American Rejects
Pop MusicScape, by Owlie Scowlie
Most-Played R&B Artist
Mary J. Blige

Most-Played R&B Song
"Unfaithful" by Rihanna

Most-Played Reggae Artist
Sean Paul

Most-Played Reggae Song
"Temperature" by Sean Paul

Most-Played Rock Artist

Most-Played Rock Song
"Dance, Dance" by Fall Out Boy

Most-Played World Artist

Most-Played World Song
"Only Time" by Enya

Napster U.K.

Most-Played Artist
Snow Patrol

Most-Played Song
"Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley

Most-Played New Artist
Arctic Monkeys

Most-Played NapsterLive Session
The Feeling Rising Star Infernal

Most-Played Self-Published Artist
Suzanne Ciani

Unstoppable Artist
Frank Sinatra

Most-Played Cover Song
"One" by Mary J. Blige (originally performed by U2)

Napster Germany

Most-Played Artist
Nelly Furtado

Most-Played Song
"No, No, Never" by Texas Lightning

Most-Played New Artist
Texas Lightning

Most-Played NapsterLive Session
Akon Rising Star Chamillionaire

Most-Played Self-Published Artist
Humberto y Sus Amigos

Unstoppable Artist
Elvis Presley

Most-Played Cover Song
"One" by Mary J. Blige (originally performed by U2)

Napster Canada

Most-Played Artist

Most-Played Song
"You are Beautiful" by James Blunt

Most-Played New Artist
Gnarls Barkley

Most-Played NapsterLive Session
Default Rising Star KT Tunstall

Most-Played Self-Published Artist
David Barela

Unstoppable Artist
Johnny Cash

Most-Played Cover Song
"The First Cut Is the Deepest" by Sheryl Crow
(originally performed by Cat Stevens)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sports: American Football: Washington Redskins losing to New Orleans Saints in pro NFL game

I picked up the game in the 2nd quarter, when the Redskins were leading--Washington 13, New Orleans 10. Michael Lewis takes the kickoff way back in the Saints defense zone, runs the ball 26 yards before he's taken down by the Redskins. But in the next scrimmage, a Saints man is taken down again. There's "a breakdown of protection." Again. And now the Saints drop a pass.

Sports, by Sportikos

The Saints are in big trouble, tho now there's only a 6 point advantage for the Redskins. Saint Reggie Bush picks up some yardage, but it gets squandered in the next play. Time out. Redskins' Rogers blocks a Saint pass into the endzone. The time's just about gone ... and it's the Redskins 16, Saints 10. A dismal day for the Saints, but still they lead 'Skins in the natonal NFL standing.

Tags: Clooney's neo-filmnoir

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sports: Soccer: I'm watching the English Premier League football clubs. Aston Villa vs Bolton with a 1 lead

The game is warmly-fawt but seems a bit sloppy. The crowd is at h+pitch, gloriously noisy thru-out. The clock is ticking 85:49. Four minutes added. Anelka seems the big gun for Bolton in this English Premier Cup game, a real frenzy hurtling toward conclusion, Bolton Wanderers 1, Aston Villa O.

Sports, by Sportikos

I'll have to check out the Premier Cup's website, and look into Bolton. I saw them play last week against West Ham United in the Barclays Premiership.

To bone up on the league, part of the official Football Association, you mite try these source:

The Premier League's Surprise Team
Premier League website
Official write-up of today's game Sat Dec16,2k6

Tags: English football (soccer)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Movies: Neo-noir: Clooney's 'Good German' a style-flick mimicking '1940s Hollywood romantic thriller'

Christian Science Monitor's film critic Peter Rainer (Dec15,2k6) whacks movie "The Good German" in theatres now. He says the flick, starring George Clooney with Cate Blanchett, is 'sytle over substance." It "makes an earnest attempt but can't save the film from its emptiness" (MELINDA SUE GORDON/WARNER BROS.)

"Not so 'Good German'"

Director Soderbergh goes for a 1940s noir feel, but loses story.
Movies, by Anaximander
"The Good German" is a prime example of a movie made by highly skilled and intelligent filmmakers that nevertheless seems misguided from the get-go. In attempting to make a movie that mimics a 1940s Hollywood romantic thriller, director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Paul Attanasio have concocted what amounts to perhaps the most elaborate film-school exercise ever mounted by a major studio.
Whew! That do sting!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sports: American Football: Pro battle between Buffalo Bills (31) and NY Jets (13)

I watched the Buffalo Bills vs NY Jets game, on TV, this Sunday afternoon. The Bills put into play such skilled and heavy-duty gents as Justin Miller (who intercepted, ran to recover 92 yards -- an eventlet that will enter the history books).

Sports, by Sportikos

Lee Evans, Nate Clements, Mike Nugent kicked 38 yards using the last second to HalfTime, to gain field goal pointage. In the second Half, one name and image stands out as a huge part of the victory: Willis McGahee.

I honestly can't remember all that about the Jets. The final score says itall: Bill 31; Jets 13.

Climb the ladder in the standings, Bills. Bull buffaloes all. Go!, Bills

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Technics: Cellphones: Appligos blog dollops the dope on non-identical iPhone twins coming in 2007

refWrite's brother blog, Appligos carries the latest info on Apple's cellphone project as discussed on Slashdot and AppleInsider. Scheduled for release in 2007, analysts predict the marketing of two versions of iPhone that will be tied to .Mac (the annual-subscription online multifeature Web 2.0 suite).

Technotes, by Owlie Scowlie

One can't help wondering if the iPhone developments will eventually lead to a development parallel to the huge success of iPod, but to make it so eventually, iPhone would not be able to prachute into the lead as did iPod which displaced the the longtime market-occupant Sony Walkman, largely due to iPod's connection to the iTunes Music Store. Instead, iPhone would have to slug it out for every mile of market share against all the handheld miniphones called "mobile phones"--still, none of them have a tie-in to .Mac.

Tags: Appligos features Apple iPhone

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sports: Pro Football: New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys

I've been watching the Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants game out of East Rutherford, New Jersey. Much a naif, I found myself siding with the red jerseys, which turned out to be those of the Giants who are lagging behind the Cowboys ahead by 3 points (10 Giants, 13 Cowboys). Brandon Jacobs (263 llb) cawt the pass by Eli Manning, with Jacobs moving his bulk some 20 yards at breakneck speed. Another tuff opponent on the losing side at the moment, would be a guy named Shockey. Then there's T C Barber.

Sports, by Sportikos

Tony Romo is the head honcho for the 'Boys team. Aside from Romo's, the only name I absorbed from the Cowboys is Martin Grammatica's--he's their kickisto. ... But now in a set of electric moves, the Giants have tied-up the score, 13-13. Yeah, team! (We're in the 4th Quarter, so things are thick and tense.)

Dallas scores again, 20 to NYG's 13. 2-minute warning. Shaving ad.

TC Barber receives from Manning and gains 28 yards for the Giants. Another yardage gain by Barber. Now, Burress scores another touchdown for the Giants. Tie again! A thriller of a pro-football game, American style.

A minute left, two time-outs. Cowboys in field-goal proximity, but get a 5-yard penalty. Which puts Dallas in question because Grammatica's range is doubtful now. Romo is whipping his boys into a final-moments frenzy. Grammatica comes out to the field for the field-goal kick, crossing himself, crossing himself again.

Giants take a time-out. Grammatica is crossing himself again, and again.

Grammatica takes his kick, puts Cowboys on top. Dallas 23, Giants 20.

1 second left. Giants make their play. Fizzes out.

Dallas Cowboys win.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Arts: Entertainment: Videogame presents Christian fndmntlism's tragic turn to false doctrine, training religious-hate terrorists of future

The Christian online journal, Ekklesia and other news sources repoirt the scandal of a videogame put forward as Christian, which actually promotes inter-religious hatred.

US Christians oppose violent fundamentalist video game

A range of Christian organisations in the United States are concerned that a major evangelical publishing house is promoting a video game which they say legitimates a violent and hate-filled world view based on religious fundamentalism.

At a press conference in Phoenix, Arizona, the Christian Alliance for Progress is joining with CrossWalk America, the Beatitudes Society and The Center for Progressive Christianity to protest the release of the Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game, a companion to the best-selling book series of the same name.

Critics say that the ideology of the game corrupts the Christian message and is based on distorted readings of scriptural texts which have been discredited by scholarship and are recent deformations of the Gospel tradition.

Many organisations and individuals are asking Tyndale House to disassociate themselves from the product. CAP’s letter declares:

“The Christian Alliance for Progress deplores the release of the video game Left Behind: Eternal Forces in which the game's object is to convert or kill any who stand in opposition to the ideology that the game and its companion book series seek to promote. We urge the game's sponsor, Tyndale House, a Christian publishing business which used to be concerned with sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, to recall its values and withdraw its support for such an un-Christian enterprise as this.
Videogames, by Owlie Scowlie
“The game, which comes with a copy of one of the books in the series, represents a relatively novel way of interpreting the book of Revelation and the biblical passages that treat the end of history and the coming kingdom of God, whose origin is less than 200 years old. It thus rejects the historic ways of reading Revelation and the coming of God's kingdom that have sustained followers of Christianity for two thousand years. It also rejects the insights of biblical scholarship and deliberately misreads Revelation as a book of prophecy, rather than the kind of literature it actually is, which is apocalyptic.

“Worse, rather than seeking to close the gap between neighbours, as Jesus did in his ministry, the game's purpose is to drive a wedge between people, teaching teenagers that what God intends is for them to slaughter those who do not share their beliefs. Because of the predominance of Christian fundamentalists on television and radio in the past generation, the American people have been left with the false impression that this strange way of interpreting the Bible is what Christians have always believed and taught. We are here today to challenge that view and to name it for the error that it is.”
refWrite urges all readers of goodwill to join in signing the online petition against the Tyndale House videogame Left Behind: Eternal Forces>/b>.

More Info:

Christian groups assail video game
Evangelicals petition against hate-teaching Christian fundamentalist video

Monday, November 06, 2006

Movies: Homosexscandal: See evangelist Ted Haggard at the movies! -- 'Jesus Camp' coming your way

Fired Evangelist Slams Gays in New Movie

Movies, by Anaximaximum

More later, but in the meantime, check-out refWrite's previous coverage in our occasional Morals, Mores, Manners column by Owlb, on rW page 2

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Technics: Internet: Web2.0 is being called a "revolution" of transition in usage from desktop to online applications

A major new report on the so-called "Web2.0" phenom has been published under the title Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices. It sells for USA$400, according to email newsletter Read/Write Web. The chief author is John Musser, with help from Tim O'Reilly and the O'Reilly Radar team (publisher is O'Reilly Media).

"These trends manifest themselves under a variety of guises, names, and technologies: social computing, user-generated content, software as a service, podcasting, blogs, and the read–write web. Taken together, they are Web 2.0, the next-generation, userdriven, intelligent web. This report is a guide to understanding the principles of Web 2.0 today, providing you with the information and tools you need to implement Web 2.0 concepts in your own products and organization."
Technotes, by Owlie Scowlie

There's now an annual Web2.0 Conference, but there's now also a differentiated Web2.0 Summit (the difference behind that designation should be obvious even to non-techie consumers of all things internettal).

Web2.0 Summit - Nov7-9,2k6 poster

More Info:

Why Web 2.0 Matters and How You Can Make the Most of It
Web2.0 (Wikipedia article)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sports: USA Baseball: St Louis' Cardinals win World Series 4-2 over Detroit Tigers

The Cardinals did win, but the Tigers felt like winners too. Detroit's Tigers and their fans were celebrating from Day 1 of the recent Baseball World Series competition against the St Louis Cardinals. Of course, by now we know who came out on top, but for the Tigers and their fans, just the fact that after 12 consecutive years Detroit was back in the great American game, made the gain of second place compared to all the other contenders in the two leagues, well, that was euphoria producing enuff to last them all ... till next year.

Sports, by Sportikos

The credit seems universally to be given to Jim Leyland, Detroit's manager.

The Tigers manager is rated a genius for taking the team to Major League Baseball's championship after 12 consecutive losing seasons.
"It's a great boost for people's psyches for the World Series to be in Detroit this year," says Detroiter Jeff Case, who returned to work as a truck driver in July after a four-month layoff. "It makes you forget the hard times."
As to the Cardinals, "David Eckstein drove in the go-ahead run and Jeff Weaver tossed eight brilliant innings as the Cardinals beat the Tigers, 4-2, in Game 5 to clinch the World Series. Eckstein was named the Series' Most Valuable Player." You can catch them in a victory-mashup photo and read the whole winner's-point-of-view story on

More Info:

Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein, MVP
Cardinals Win World Series; Weaver Dominant...[Blogging Baseball]

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Technics: Portable Digital Format: Adobe's PDF becomes super-flexible, fluent and rises in value as a digital medium of its own

A specialist email newsletter, PDFzone< offers a link to PDF Conversion Central. The page will further live-link you to

PDFzone Special Report: PDF Conversion Central
1.) Could Unipage Topple PDF?

2.) Engineers Weigh In on Acrobat 3D

3.) Convert a Complex Word file to PDF

4.) Convert PDF to MicroSoft Word

5.) Convert Word Documents with Embedded Files to PDF

6.) Convert Word Bookmarks to PDF
Technotes, by Owlie Scowlie
7.) Convert AutoCAD to PDF

8.) Convert RSS to PDF

9.) Convert PDF to Audio Formats

10.) Convert to PDF Online Using Your Printer

11.) Convert Java help sets from HTML to PDF

12.) Convert Crystal Reports 8.5 to PDF

13.) Convert TIFF-6 Files to PDF

14.) Convert PDF to XML

15.) Convert XML to PDF
If you want to make your use Portable Digital Format more flexibly and with greater fluency, the fifteen items on this list can link you to separate page on each.

More Info:

Definitions to be found on the Web, regarding PDF [compilation > Google]
Definitions to be found on the Web, regarding PDF [compilation > Google]
Definition and About for PDFs

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Aesthetics: Arts: Nobel Prize for Lit 2006 goes to Turkey's novelist Orhan Pamuk, himself under dispute

The Nobels have been good to Muslims this year. Muhammad Yunus greatly deserved recognition in Economics (altho he got the Peace Prize, wihle an American PhD got the Economics award, again: and the peace-force that deserved the Peace prize but didn't get it, as all the world realizes to the gathering distrust of the Nobels, was the formerly hardline separatist area Aceh (a strict Muslim soceity and regime) which finally settled up post-tsunami with Indonesia (also a Muslime regime). But, there was yet another Muslim, Orhan Pamuk, of Turkey who did get the Prize for Literature, in a somewhat beclouded circumstance outlined by Sarah Rainsford in "Pride and suspicion over Pamuk prize" (Oct14,2k6)BBC. She writes from Instanbul:

Pamuk is one of the youngest writers to have won the prize. [His] novels ... are now piled high in the windows of Istanbul bookshops. His smiling face beams from the front page of every newspaper.

"Our Pride," is the headline in Radikal. "Thank you Orhan!" blazes BirGun.

"It's very important, I congratulate him," says bookseller Mehmet, who moved all his Pamuk stock to the front of the store as soon as he heard that the first ever Turk had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

"It's not only Orhan Pamuk who's won here. This prize will be a chance for all the world to get to know Turkish literature."

Even before the Nobel announcement, Orhan Pamuk was Turkey's best-selling novelist by far.

Each of his books had sold more than 115,000 copies here at home. He has been translated into dozens of foreign languages - and demand is now soaring.

In the first four hours after the news from Sweden, Pamuk's publishers in Istanbul received another 6,000 orders. They have had to allocate extra printing presses to keep up.

But Orhan Pamuk is a difficult hero for some in Turkey.

'Western plot'

Earlier this year nationalist groups labelled the author a traitor when he spoke out on two of Turkey's most sensitive issues - claims that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against the Armenians nine decades ago, and the plight of ethnic Kurds in modern-day Turkey.

His comments earned him death threats - and criminal charges.

Pamuk was put on trial for insulting Turkishness, sparking a wave of pressure from the EU which accused Turkey of limiting free speech.

"For his words, or his pen?" demands the headline in Vatan newspaper. Inside a columnist argues that the Nobel Prize decision is part of a dark Western plot against Turkey.

"I'm not proud Pamuk won. This is all political," Gokhan protests outside another Istanbul bookshop sporting a brand-new window display devoted to the writer.

"He didn't get this award for his literature, they gave it to make a point to us here in Turkey."

"The nationalists will see Pamuk's win as their loss. It's as if they let in a goal in a football match," Ragip Zarokolu explains.

The dissident publisher is on trial himself here for publishing books on the fate of the Ottoman Armenians.

He believes Pamuk fully deserves his Nobel Prize, for his literature.

"But I feel those of us who dare to speak about our history and face our taboos have won a moral victory with this award too," Ragip Zarokolu adds.

"It's an award for the right not to be silent, for freedom of expression."
The conern about honouring Pamuk this year is that the effort of Turkey to enter the European Union and the effort of many in the Union to keep Turkey out has reached a new h+-water mark, or should one say, a new boiling point, both within Turkey and without.

refWrite will have more to say in future about the issue of the Armenian Genocide (which we had previously, already explored). Regarding the Nobels, our frontpage has a new blog-entry on the prizes in Peace and Economics.

-- Anaximaximum

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Obituary: Nobel winner in lit: Naguib Mahfouz, Arabic language's greatest novelist

The great novelist of the Arabic language and of daily life in his native Egypt, Naguib Mahfouz, has died at the ripe old age of 94. He departed on August 31, this year. Writing in the online journal, openDemocracy, Trevor Le Gassick in "Naguib Mahfouz: a farewell tribute" (Sep1,2k6) recounts some of the fascinating factoids of the man whose impact is worldwide. Le Gassick is Professor of Arabic Literature at the IUniversity of Michigan, and one of Mahfouz's traslators into English. He gives us a thumbnail portrait:

Mahfouz ... will be remembered as a man of great intellectual ambition, courage, and dedication; he openly supported the concept of a shared heritage with the peoples of the Mediterranean basin due to which Jews and Arabs could, in his view, live in conciliation and mutual respect once the Palestinians were granted a just settlement.

A family man with a devoted wife and two talented, well-educated daughters, Naguib Mahfouz embodied rational and liberal values which he maintained consistently, even into our current age of polarisation and intercommunal violence. Gregarious and open-minded, a man who inspired affection as well as admiration, he will be sorely missed from the Egyptian and world stages.
One of his works came under the purview of censors, yet Mahfouz had a day job in the civil service of Egypt, which at one time made him chief censor of film in the country. He had an enormous sense of humour which sustainted thru all the pereginations of his existence.

Another of his translators, Roger Allen, "Naguib Mahfouz: from Cairo to the world" (Aug31,2k6). Also a Mahfouz translator, Allen met the author personally first in 1967, and is Professor of Arabic Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. In kernel: "Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006) founded the modern Arabic novel and forced the world to take notice."

More broadly, Allen surveys the impact of Mahfouz upon the entirety of Arabic literary writing in the modern era. A literary writing quite often with political and religious consequences, however indirect.
Mahfouz was the one Arab writer who succeeded in bringing the genre of the novel to its full maturity; from that perspective, he is the founder of the contemporary tradition of the Arabic novel in all its wonderful variety. Today's generation of Arab novelists stands on his shoulders. ...

The novel(s) by which he has become most famous in the west are the three works that make up Al-thulathiyya (The Cairo Trilogy). These were written before the Egyptian revolution in 1952 that brought Gamal Abdel Nasser to power, but were only published in 1956-57. The trilogy represents a breakthrough in modern Arabic fiction, in two ways: it shows an entirely new level of maturity in the writing of novels in Arabic, and it records in vivid detail the struggles of the middle class of Cairo in the pre-revolutionary period.

The Arab world of the 1950s, much of it savouring a post-independence era, could look back and see what it was it had lived through and what it had sought to escape. The Cairo Trilogy made Mahfouz into an Arab-world figure of considerable importance.

That said, it is my view that Mahfouz's best works are those he wrote during the 1960s, and especially Al-Liss wa'l kilab (The Thief and the Dogs, 1961), with Tharthara fawq al-nil (Adrift on the Nile, 1966) close behind.
In an exceptional wealth of detail, Allen moves beyond the best known works, to the inner sanctum of works that suffered the glare of official religion and state censorship.
Between the publication dates of The Cairo Trilogy and these novels there lies Mahfouz's most controversial excursion into fiction, Awlad haratina (Children of Gebelawi, 1959 – there is also another translation of the incomplete Beirut edition, entitled Children of the Alley). In this work, Mahfouz explores the human community's proclivity to violence through an examination of the role of five "leaders" attempting to control these baser instincts; an overseer, Gebelawi, living outside the walls of the community, watches on in dismay.
MidEast > Egypt [Arabic lit]:
Those five "leaders" were soon recognised by readers as being portraits of Adam, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, and – most controversially, "Science", the last of whom goes to the overseer's house and kills him.
Upon reading this account I couldn't help but think of a recent bitingly satirical cartoon I analyzed in my column "Semiote Analytics in refWrite Backpage Jun20,2k6, Cox & Forkum and the semiotics of the atheist critique of religions. I wonder if the Mahfouz stories influenced the cartoonists. ... Returning to Roger Allen:

The book was serialised in al-Ahram (Cairo's main newspaper) against protests from the al-Azhar mosque-university in Cairo, then banned from publication in book form in Egypt, before being published in Lebanon in 1967 (with some excisions from the text). It was this work that aroused the fury of the religious establishment in Egypt and led (after Mahfouz's Nobel prize in 1988) to a fatwa from Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian popular preacher, condemning Mahfouz to death (a la Salman Rushdie and [the fatwa issued against him by Iran's] Ayatollah Khomeini). That threat was almost made a reality in October 1994 when Mahfouz was stabbed outside his apartment in Agouza.
The fatwa's author, Omar Abdel Rahman, Daniel Pipes informs us, is familiar to many Americans for another reason:
Although a Muslim himself, Mahfouz deeply mistrusts fundamentalist Muslims. Already in 1959, he wrote an allegorical tale, Sons of Our Quarter, that much perturbed them. And it still does: in 1989, shortly after the Ayatollah Khomeini's edict against Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, one Egyptian fundamentalist declared, "If only we had behaved in the proper Islamic manner with Naguib Mahfouz, we would not have been assailed by the appearance of Salman Rushdie. Had we killed Naguib Mahfouz, Salman Rushdie would not have appeared." Not to be outdone, Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian sheikh now resident in Leavenworth, Kansas (serving many life sentences for his role inspiring terrorism in New York City), condemned Mahfouz to death. In October 1994 a young fundamentalist Muslim stabbed the then 83-year-old Mahfouz in the neck, an act of vengeance for his anti-fundamentalist attitudes.
While Pipes is not an enthusiast for Mahfouz's writing, his remark is embedded in a book review of a volume about the Nobel laureate (albeit with a different spelling of the Egyptian's name), Najib Mahfuz: The Novelist-Philosopher of Cairo by Menahem Milson (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. 336 pp. $49.95).

I conclude by quoting Roger Allen. "Requiescat in pace, may he rest in peace. Rahima-hu Allah."

-- Anaximaximum

More on MahfouzRoger Allen interviewed on translating Mahfouz

Mahfouz, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1988
Leading Arab-language poet, playwrite & satirist, Mohammed al-Maghout, dies at 72 [Syria]

Satire: religious mockery: HumorFeed indulges in purposeful offense of religion of others

The service to which refWrite subscribes to round out its arts coverage, one of the best online and, as you can plainly see be scrolling down the Sidebar is called HumorFeed. Recent HumorFeed offerings contain some religiously offensive matter that outrages our faith-sensiblities by scatological reference to Jesus, Lord of Creation and Saviour of the world. Too bad that -- to retain a good supply of irony, satire, and humour -- we can't find something better, so we have to take the good with the very offensive currently being dished out. Or chuck HumorFeed entirely. We'd rather excoriate the violation than kick form our pages the steady supply of satire. Now that we've taken on an experiment of running some ads from Google Adsense, another item in the P-class possibly could jeopardize that initiative too. We shall have to monitor HumourFeed more closely, and meditate these matters at greater length.

-- Albert Gedraitis, publisher
-- Owlb, editor
-- Sardonicus, Ire & Satire columnist

Exhibit A

Tags: HumourFeed religiously offensive

Friday, September 22, 2006

Aesthetics: Arts: Richard Serra's sculptures question architected work near them, in turn calling themselves into question

A recent article by Gloria Goodale in Christian Science Monitor, "Redefining sculpture is Richard Serra's goal" (Sep15,2k6) celebrates two new exhibitions of his work in California, one at the Orange Country Performing Arts Center, a second at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center at UCLA. Goodale and Serra chatted about the role of public art.

A Richard Serra sculpture is not always an easy experience. Most famous over the nearly half century of his career for the towering, metal shapes that have graced civic spaces from Tokyo to New York to Bilbao, Spain, he specializes in the monumental, the breathtaking, and the surprising. His deceptively unfettered, simple metal walls that cut through public walkways and plazas have confounded some while delighting others. This sheer physicality of his sculptures force passersby to approach the space with a new awareness.

But make no mistake. Like him or detest him, it's impossible to ignore Mr. Serra's work when you are in its presence. ...

"Public sculpture used to have a code," says the San Francisco native, who acquired his early metalworking experience during a stint in a steel factory. "There was a given iconography written into the way we worshiped our heroes. Public sculpture had to do with the depiction of a historical time or event."

As the artists of the 20th century began to challenge that function, Serra says, the concerns began to change. "Once the work came down from its pedestal and became organized in relation to its present time and space, it began to challenge architecture in a way that it hadn't before."
Sculpture, by Archibald

The biggest challenge for artists who work in the public arena today has to do with public expectations, says Serra. "The culture hasn't developed the kind of individual sensibilities in each of us to respond to new aesthetic questions," he says. Art, he says, has less approval than entertainment, which our culture is more comfortable experiencing in public spaces.
Now, an artist's work is not the same as his talk about his/her work, nor the same as a reporter's talk about that work. So, we're not under any more obligation to take as gospel what Serra talktalks about his sculptures, as we mite were we to experience them ourselves/oneself. Still, since most of us will never do so, having a journalist report a chat with the sculptor in this case definitely as its own merit and appeal. At the same time, reading the report is a different kind of experience, a reading experience, and we can ask questions of the text about sculptures as of any text.

In the case of Serra's views, as reported, we notice how often the terms "question" and "questions" arise. This puts us on to the specific ideology of sculpture as an art; Serra reveals himself as a purveyor of an art ideology; one that has public consequences in that the ideology yapyaps about what anyone mite (or mite not experie4nce) in the specific public space upon which each scuplture impacts. Not only is the root term imported from discursive textual writing, known as "critical thawt," but for Serra apparently the critical ideology (criticism raised to an "Ism") is the priority function of art, the art of scupture certainly. Sculpture seems remiss if it doesn't "raise new aesthetic questions."

This stance seems tremendously mentistic, even in its own way rationalistic, where work that is obstructive, challenge-oriented regarding other aesthetics, loud (unignorable), monumental, anti-decorative, redefinitional of a given space, anti-entertaining (there goes Miro into the scrap-pile!), "the walls bearing in on the viewer," has a special standing as "serious art" than can be ascribed to other kinds of sculputure lacking his ideology. Indeed, Serra needs a manual of interpretation, of talktalk, yapyap, to accompany his work in order to render it "the best it could be," rather than the damn nuisance it can as easily be.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sports: Intercollegiate: Small colleges rush to add football to supported campus activties, helps recruits new male students

Football has strong social impact on colleges that institute the sport in their athletics programs. Inter-collegiate atheletics where the schools compete is a major draw of new students, especially males, to college campuses, no matter how small the school is. New York Times carries an article, "Small colleges, short of men, embrace football" (Jul 10,2k6) by Bill Pennington reports:

Some small American colleges, eager to attract men to increasingly female campuses, have taken notice of how many students...can be lured to attend by adding football teams. Officials at these colleges say football can bring in more tuition-paying students than any other course or activity - and not just players themselves.

'When you recruit a halfback, you get a few of his male friends, maybe his sister and his sister's boyfriend, too,' said JoAnne Boyle, president of Seton Hill University. A 123-year-old former women's institution in Greensburg, Pa., Seton Hill added football last year.

'I could have started a spiffy new major of study, spent a lot of money on lab equipment and hired a few new high-powered professors,' Dr. Boyle said. 'I might have gotten 25 more students for that. And I couldn't have counted on that major still being popular in 15 years.

'Instead, I started a football team, brought in hundreds of paying students, added a vibrant piece to our campus life and broadened our recognition factor. And in the long history of American higher education, one thing you can count on is football's longevity. Football is here to stay.'
Sports,by Sportikos
Last year's freshman class at Seton Hill was the first with more men than women. Four years ago, when the college became fully co-ed, its undergraduate student body was 18 percent male; last fall it was 41 percent male.

At a time when the image of major college football has been sullied by academic, recruiting and sexual violence scandals - and as some prominent colleges eliminate football to cope with federal gender equity regulations for athletics - many smaller institutions have embraced the sport. Since their football players generally do not receive scholarships and are not blue-chip recruits, officials at small colleges say the players tend to exhibit less of a sense of entitlement, leading to fewer academic and discipline problems.

In the last 10 years, nearly 50 colleges and universities have instituted or re-instituted football, with more than 80 percent in the small college ranks. In the same period, about 25 institutions have dropped football, the majority being scholarship-driven teams from the National Collegiate Athletic Association's top tier, Division I.
One wonders whether a network of small colleges in the USA could join together to lawnch simultaneously teams of soccer players, newly recruited for the purpose, to participate in a new small-college intercollegiate soccer league. The idea here is that football is not so unique that some colleges could greet the rise of interest in soccer ("football" in most other countries). Indeed, these hypothetical small soccer-no-football colleges mite hypothetically compete with larger colleges that alreadey have soccer teams, but don't attract European-level young players.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Aesthetics: Arts: The worst movie ever made in Canada, perhaps, but richly rewarded with grants, apparently.

A movie appeared a little bit ago. A Canada-made movie. It's got a somewhat bilingual title, Bon Cop, Bad Cop. You simply must read the review by Steve Burgess in the Entertainment section of The Tyee, an online periodical out of Vancouver, British Columbia. What we have here is a review of the mentioned movie, and a meta-review of reviews of the movie. In brief, Burgess doesn't like the flick. But in making his point memorable, he tasks not just the ploys that apparently cobbled together this "crap" (he says) along with the favourable reviews in three Toronto newspapers -- Globe & Mail, Star, and (the formerly conservative) National Post. He even names some of the reviewers.

Movies, by Anaximaximum

The wealth of witticisms in the veritable denunciad make the Burgess metareview a reading pleasure. It should get some kind of award, so refWrite announces that the author wins this year's praise as our Movie Criticism Award 2006. I don't want to give away the bite he adds to the govt-grant system for Canadian film, and how he discerns its operation in this quite suspect work of cinmatic f/art, as Burgess mite say.

Oh yeah, this year's Toronto Film Festival has just concluded with the major news coming forth focussed on Sean Penn's insistence on smoking in a public meeting of a panel discussion. The incident was on TV news for days.

And, oh yeah!, the second of the "Further Resources" below is the website of a govt film agency. Now, the text of most govt websites is impeccably grammatical. Not this one. It moves from an infinitive ("seeks to") to a list of five items ("Reaching," "Reflecting," "Investing," "Harnessing," and "Reaching" again), each beginning with a gerund in bold. This can't be the work of the govt that just came to power nine months ago ... or, it's perhaps the attack of some saboteur of English grammar who has little taste for either the language or film, but has had to become bilingual to get the text-writing job. Or ....

But click up the Burgess write-up of Bon Cop, Bad Cop, and cop a deliteful text about a phantom movie you'll never see. You'll howl!

Further Research:

Canadian film history
Canada's film and video tax credit programs

Tags: The latest worst movie ever made (in Canada)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Aesthetics: Architecture: Remembering 9/11 an atrocity and the question of how to monument it

Here's a synopsis of 1 among 11 articles on 9/11 made available for reading by Christopher Knight's online article- syndication agency, EzineArticles®. Here's his invitational paragraph:

The Aesthetics of Atrocity: Remembering 9/11

Getting the aesthetics of atrocity right by committee has taken five years with nothing to show for it. Estimated costs of completing the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero is closing in on a billion dollars.

Architecture, by Archibald
It has been our contention from the beginning that the inspiration was always there right in the committee's collective faces, staring back in stark, abject horror at them and anyone who looks back at it: the still standing remnant of shattered dreams and lives in a building once known as the World Trade Center.
Click-up and read the article!

Technics: Info: Wikipedia refuses China censorship

A refreshing newsbit regarding Wikipedia's refusal of China censorship. kdawson posts this quote from truthsearch on today's Slashdot:

"Jimmy Wales has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to censorship of politically sensitive Wikipedia entries. He challenges other internet companies, including Google, to justify their claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with Beijing. Wikipedia has been banned from China since last October.
Technotes, by Owlie Scowlie
Whereas Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo went into the country accepting some restrictions on their online content, Wales believes it must be all or nothing for Wikipedia. 'We occupy a position in the culture that I wish Google would take up, which is that we stand for the freedom for information.'"
For the commentary on the original truthsearch item go to refWrite refBloggers Insert.

Further Info::

In China, it's Wikipedia versus the Internet censors (Oberserve via Taipei Times
Wikipedia defies the censors (The Hindu)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sports: Tennis: I watched the US Open Tournament on TV -- ggggggggreat tennis between Federer & Roddick!

My TV set came in handy today, as I blogged, I kept an eye on the contest between Roger Federer (Swiss) and Andy Roddick (American). But soon I was looking away from the computer to the TV scree, had to look up from my blogging, at the larger screen to my left--because the play of the game was constantly dramatic and even beautiful. Today, this tennis match between two giants reminded me of a conclusion I had reached some time back: sports are somehow aesthetic, they are part of the aesthetics of everyday life. And they are contests, competitions, they are about winning and not winning (at such h+ts as this match today one can't use the word "losing" for Roddick who was greatly outdistanced by "the tennis superstar," because Roddick was consoled by himself walking away $600,000 richer).

The event was graced by a special spectator (can I say "fan"?).

Sports, by Sportikos

Associated Press via Globe&Mail:

There might be one athlete in the world who knows exactly how Roger Federer feels as he dominates his peers and gobbles up Grand Slams, so it was fitting that Tiger Woods was sitting in his guest box Sunday for the U.S Open final.

Federer met Woods for the first time beforehand, then apparently set out to impress the golfer, controlling every facet of play in a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Andy Roddick for his third major championship this year and ninth of his career.

The Swiss superstar is the first man since Ivan Lendl in 1985-87 to win three consecutive U.S. Open titles — and the only man in tennis history to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open back-to-back three years in a row.

And he did it in such impressive fashion, out-acing the big-serving Roddick 17-7, compiling a 69-33 edge in winners, and making only 19 unforced errors. Federer won eight of the last nine games against Roddick, who won the 2003 U.S. Open but now is 1-11 against the man he once was supposed to rival for supremacy in this sport.
Some facts about Andy from his "Stats" page:

* Birthdate - 8/30/1982
* Birthplace - Omaha, Nebraska
* Current Residence - Austin, TX
* Height - 6 ft, 2 in
* Weight - 190 lbs.
* Plays - Right-handed

* Turned Pro - 2000
* Shoes - Babolat
* Raquet - Babolat Pure Drive
* Clothing - Lacoste
* Watches - Rolex
* Automobile - Lexus


Roger's factoids:

Born: ......August 08, 1981, (08:40 a.m.) in Basel, Switzerland
Residence: .Oberwil, Switzerland
Plays ......Right-handed (single-handed backhand)
H+t ........6'1'' (186 cm)
Wayt .......187lbs (85 kg)
Hair .......Dark brown
Eues .......Brown
Hobbies ....Sports (golf, soccer, skiing), friends, Playstation, music, playing cards
FormerIdols.Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg

Rank ......................1
Champions Race ............1
Grand Slam Titles .........9
Tournament Titles Singles.41
Tournament Titles Doubles..7


-- Sporitkos

Further Info

Andy's Stats page
Roger's Profile page

Tags: If Nosferatu dont voodoo you, MPAA will

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Movies: Free legal dwnlds: Yup, Torrentfreak has 5 movie classics in the horrorflick genre, for you!

If you're rigged technically to receive the p2p file-sharing service of BitTorrent or similars (explained) you can now download legit freebies via that application the following horrorflicks:

* Detour

* House on a Haunted Hill

* Nosferatu (1922)

* The Last Man on Earth

* The Little Shop of Horrors

Says the Torrentfreak website, these "5 movie classics...are in the public domain. Free to download, free to share, free of DRM" -- that's Digital R+ts Management, the mainstream move-industry oligopoly's p2p-wrecking technics to counter digital distribution of cinema and other arts beyond their control and profit.

"The movies are hosted by publicdomaintorrents, the great resource for movie addicts we discussed earlier." [Here's the earlier:]

Public Domain Torrents offers an extensive collection of Classic and B-Movie torrents [794 titles altogether]. The copyright of these movies has expired so you are free to share them.

They currently have a collection of 531 movies which are available in different formats (including iPod). For example, you can download the christmas classic “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (awfull movie by the way). Or perhaps the real classic “Nosferatu“, based on the Dracula story.
Movies/P2Ptechnics,by Anaximander & OwlieScowlie
This site is pretty much heaven for both torrent and moviefreaks. New content is added on a daily basis, take a look.
I also found this site:, the name of which I suspect is a come-on, rather than a so-called "mass-piracy" site. The site's subtitle clarifies: "Your Movie Downloading Review Source." It seems to be a kind of hub for the real "piratical" thing. You can go to other movie p2p-download sites from a link in each of DownloadAnyMovie's site reviews. However, the foregoing characterizations are my compromise with the prevailing lingo of the "legit" side (as against the "pirate" side, which binomial polarity of terms expresses the relationship exclusively in the "legit" side's lingo) -- that is to say, in the USA jurisdiction. But, despite lingo, nothing is legally settled in the USA. Europe perhaps is has settled the legalities in favour of the oligarchs.

In Canada, on the other hand, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed classical Canadian legal definitions of copiable material that permit file-sharing where there is no use of the copied movies for commercial purposes. That's the one restriction, as I understand the current situation. The owner of a digitally-recorded movie has the r+t to share it with others, as long as there's no sale or rental, again, as I understand the matter.

I used to follow the Canada-legal practice of p2p file-sharing with regard to music and spoken poetry, again quite legal in the jurisdiction where I am a Permanent Resident, while remaining a citizen of the US; for that purpose of free music downloading, I used LimeWire. However, I long ago lost interest, since most of the downloads were scratchy or ticky. These days, I can listen to free music on the net from WMFU radio music out of Newark, New Jersey (as I recall); and iTunes free radio channels over the Net.

About BitTorrent legality: Paul Gil states the US/Canada difference this way:
Copyright warning. Unless you live in Canada, you must understand that copyright laws are commonly violated by P2P sharing. If you download a song, movie, or TV show, you do risk a civil lawsuit. Canadians are protected from these lawsuits because of a Canadian Supreme Court ruling, but not residents of the USA or most parts of Europe and Asia. This lawsuit risk is a reality, and you must accept this risk if you choose to download P2P files.
And more:
Warning: while P2P file sharing technology is completely legal, many of the files traded through P2P are copyrighted. Unless you live in Canada where citizens are shielded from P2P copyright lawsuits, downloading music, movie, and TV files will put you at risk for a civil lawsuit in any other country. These lawsuits usually take the form of class-action suits, filed against groups of users who are logged as blatantly copying and distributing copyrighted materials. Recently, the MPAA [Moving Picture Association of America] and RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America - music], along with the governments of England and Australia, took several thousand users to court, demanding that they pay thousands of dollars in copyright infringement penalties. Please keep this lawsuit risk in mind when you install and use any BitTorrent software in the USA, Europe, or Asia.
All this is to say, if you can master the technical application (BitTorrents or uTorrent, Azureus, ABC, TurboBit, BitComet), you can legally and free-of-charge indulge the history of film by downloading free and legally the silent flick Nosferatu. You'll need lots of harddisk space for these lengthy files.

Further Info:

BitTorrent application site
torrents-related Google Search results

Friday, September 08, 2006

Aesthetics: Arts: Why architecture matters and the quality of Christian discourse in saying how it does so

An article with many interesting thawts of criticism and norm-directive discourse that add sparkle to a long ariticle with a long introductory passage using the Bible all too biblistically on the subject of architecture, has appeared in the latest issue of Comment magazine, in both print (Sep2k6 - Volume 32,I:4) and online editions (by email notification Sep7,2k6. The Bible is indeed interesting as to what and how it touches upon architecture, but the experienced artichitect-author here, David Greusel, falters in his task regarding that particular pisteutic aspect of dwellings and buildings. He wants to critique another writer on the theme Why architecture matters. Greusel may have done better here than the other guy, but I don't find his answer of very h+ quality as to the implied question regarding what matters architecturally.

Yet here's a quote worth meditating upon:

Architecture provides a framework for meaningful community — or not. As we have seen, architecture is besieged by two opposing trends: the nihilism of the avant-garde on the one hand, and the banality of the strip mall on the other. Both these trends augur toward alienation, despair, loneliness, isolation, and antisocial behavior. Nevertheless, the two opposing trends are generalizations; they don't determine what any particular work of architexture achieves (despite its place partically in any negative trend.
Architecture, by Archibald
That these consequences are mainly temporal does not mean that they are not also spiritual. Even James Howard Kunstler, an author who is outspokenly non-religious, has commented repeatedly on the soul-killing qualities of bad architecture and suburban sprawl. If a committed secularist like Kunstler can see it, why can't we?
The "we" here is Christians of the author's kind, but that way of being among the Christian kind of persons shoulders out those who read the Bible differently and reformationally, in my judgment. Still, there's enuff good architectural stuff among the bad uses of the Bible and the zeitgeisting of trends in reductive overgeneralizations about actual buildings, a blanket dismissal of every school and feature of modernist architecture, and an anti-reformational refusal to search also to affirm the kernels of truth that a given criticized movement in the arts has contributed. As a whole, the article deifies tradition and sneers at the common-grace that is inescapably present also in modernism, postmodern, and mavericks today.

As to the Bible, you can't dwell singly on the Temples--which have always been treasuries (banks, storage locations for very expensive items before money currencies existed, and structures that were easily defended in most circumstances). It was the Temples of Israel (and its enemies at times) that God had torn down. You can't read the Bible well and yet simply by-pass the tents that figure from Genesis to Acts (and which latter book frames his Epistles). Among other things, tents leave a small footprint on the planet's ecolaic surface. To your tents, O Christians!

Futher Research:

Avoiding Biblicism: The Bible and Christian Education
Biblicism--Dooyeweerd's definition

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Satire: Kids unintentional: The Bible gets delitedlly twisted in the understanding of youngsters, but what a howl!


Can you imagine yourself to be the nun who is sitting at her desk grading these papers, all the while trying to keep a straight face and maintain her composure!

You may want to pay special attention to the wording and spelling. If you know the Bible even a little, you'll find this hilarious! It comes from a Catholic elementary school test where kids were asked questions about the Old and New Testaments. The following statements were written by the children being tested. Incorrect spelling has been left in place (except caps).

1. In the first book of the Bible, Guinnessis. God got tired of creating the world so he took the Sabbath off.

2. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's wife was Joan of Ark. Noah built the ark and the animals came on in pears.

3. Lots wife was a pillar of salt during the day, but a ball of fire during the night.

4. The Jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with unsympathetic genitals.

5. Sampson was a strongman who left himself be led astray by a Jezebel like Delilah.

6. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.

7. Moses led the Jews to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread which is bread without any ingredients.

8, The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up to Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments.

9. The first commandments was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.

10. The Seventh Commandment is Thou shalt not admit adultery.

11. Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the Battle of Geritol.

12. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his own son to stand still and he obeyed him.

Satire Now

13. David was a Hebrew king who was skilled at playing the liar. He fought the Finkelsteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times.

14. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 100 wives and 700 porcupines.

15. When Mary heard she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.

16. When the three wise guys from the East Side arrived they found Jesus in the manager.

17. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.

18. St. John the Blacksmith dumped water on his head.

19. Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do unto others before they do one to you. He also explained a man doth not live by sweat alone.

20. It was a miracle when Jesus rose from the Dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance.

21. The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 decibels.

22. The Epistels were the wives of the Apostles.

23. One of the opposums was St. Matthew who was also a taxman.

24. St. Paul cavorted to Christianity, he preached Holy Acrimony which is another name for marriage.

25. Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony.

-- I got this thru former h+school classmates, Rick Spurlin via Alan Ault. I couldn't stand the all-caps format, so re-wrote the piece in that respect. That's why the capitalizations are probably correct, but otherwise I copied the text as received. Maybe it's widespread online and in email forwards.

-- Anaximaximum