Monday, July 28, 2008

Double-Issue : - (

Last week's New York Magazine was a double-issue; therefore, there isn't a new Approval Matrix this week. Please browse our years worth of posts, and we'll be back next Monday. (I don't know why I'm using the royal "we," because, I'm the only one here.)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Heidi Montag and Meghan McCain Do Lunch

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Heidi Montag and her Hermes bag were spotted having lunch with John and Cindy McCain’s twenty-three year old daughter Meghan on Tuesday. The MTV reality star even pecked the Nation’s potential next First Daughter on the cheek before leaving the Ivy on the Shore Restaurant in Santa Monica yesterday afternoon [July 15, 2008].
-- Popcrunch

Back in April, Heidi publicly declared, "I'm voting for John McCain. I'm a Republican and McCain has a lot of experience." Since then, McCain shared that he never misses an episode of The Hills.
-- Huffington Post

Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman Split

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman have decided to part ways after 5 years. Kimmel’s rep Lewis Kay and Silverman’s rep Amy Zvi both confirmed the split and added that, “Jimmy and Sarah have and will have no further comment.” -- Hollyscoop

No word on what caused the split.

"Meet Dave"

4th\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Plot from IMDb: A crew of miniature aliens operate a spaceship that has a human form. While trying to save their planet, the aliens encounter a new problem, as their ship becomes smitten with an Earth woman.

TRAILER

"From G's to Gents"

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

From G's to Gents
rounds up 14 rough-around-the-edges young men from across the country and gives them the opportunity of a lifetime -- the chance to go from G to gent and walk away with some cold, hard cash!

From executive producer Jamie Foxx, From G's to Gents schools diamonds in the rough on how to lose the front, learn self-respect, realize their self-worth and market themselves accordingly. The wannabe gentlemen learn everything from style and grace to etiquette and chivalry. The G's discover that with the right tools, they can become true gents. -- MTV

TRAILER

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This Billboard

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

[A] series of billboards [are] popping up in Central Florida. They carry a political message, but the image is one that some find offensive, and one that recalls one of our nation's darkest moments.

The three identical billboards show the World Trade Center shortly after the 9/11 attacks and the message reads: "Please don't vote for a Democrat."It also directs people to a Web site where a music video titled: "The Republican Song" plays.

Mike Meehan of St. Cloud is the musician behind the Web site, and the designer and buyer of the billboard. He said it means that our nation's security is weak, and Democratic presidents and lawmakers are to blame.

Both major political parties are offended, and are condemning the billboards. -- WESH

Lyrics



The Democrat secular progressive move,
political correctness is killing us too.
They want to take the money from the hard workin' man,
and give it to the lazy folks that don't give a damn.

Chorus

Democrats and Liberals, shame on you,
don't punish us all just to please a few,
You're holdin people back while we're pickin' up the slack,
and that's why we can't vote for a Democrat.
Oh no, a no, no, no, no, no, no...
Oh no, a no, no, no, no, no, nooo...
Yeah, you're holdin people back, while we're pickin' up the tax,
Oh no, no please don't vote for a Democrat.

Now we're trying to win a war and wipe out the terrorists,
We're not fightin' for oil we got plenty if we drill it.
But the liberals and the media are spreading their lies,
Get the hell out of our way and let our soldiers fight. Chorus Democrats and Liberals shame on you, Don't punish us all just to please a few.
No we can't afford to have another attack,
and that's why we can't vote for a Democrat.
Oh no, a no, no, no, no, no ,no...
Oh no, a no, no, no, no, no, no..

No we can't afford to have another attack,
Oh no, please don't vote for a Democrat. Republicans, we're not perfect but we know the truth
We uphold the Constitution and the Golden Rule.
We believe a man's freedom is a God given right,
the USA is the beacon to the whole world in sight.

Chorus

Democrats and Liberals shame on you,
Don't punish us all just to please a few.
Our Constitution, Nation and God are under attack,
and that's why we can't vote for a Democrat.
Oh no, oh no, no, no, no, no, no...
Oh no, oh no, no, no, no, no, no...
Our Constitution, Nation and God are under attack,
Oh no, please, oh no please, don't vote for a Democrat.

Our Constitution, Nation and God are under attack,

"Worlds Greatest Dad" in Child Sex Sting

4th\Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

A Michigan man wore a T-shirt that said "World's Greatest Dad" when he went to have sex with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, officials tell the Detroit Free Press.

Daniel Allen Everett "allegedly engaged in graphic sexual conversation with an undercover agent and propositioned the agent, who was posing as a 14-year-old girl, to meet him for sex," prosecutors say in a statement issued Tuesday. "This afternoon, Everett was arrested in Novi where he is alleged to have appeared to meet the minor for sex. He was arrested wearing a T-shirt with the words, 'Worlds Greatest Dad' on the front... -- USA Today

NFL Hires Gang Experts

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Suspicious hand gestures during celebratory touchdown dances have NFL officials going to the videotape.

The league has hired experts to review various game tapes and identify any hand signals of street gangs, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. While the league has always dissuaded players against the use of such symbols, warnings were strengthened by the recent shooting death of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams involving known gang members.

On April 28, Paul Pierce of the NBA’s Boston Celtics was fined $25,000 for his use of “menacing gestures” toward the Atlanta Hawks bench during a game in April. Pierce denied that he was using gang signs, telling the Associated Press that his foundation is committed to keeping kids away from gangs. Nonetheless, the episode raised concerns in the NFL. -- Fox News

Hellboy - Abe Sapien Duet in "Hellboy II"

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Cole Smithey\Film Critic 1963

Abe Sapien and Hellboy join in a [drunken] duet of Barry Manilow’s "I Can't Smile Without You." The moment comes after a love-struck Sapien pines for Prince Nuada’s alter-opposite twin, Princess Nuada (Anna Walton).

Ronnie Wood Wants to Keep His Wife and Mistress

3rd\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

The 61-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist - who has been having an affair with 20-year-old Russian waitress Ekaterina Ivanova - reportedly confessed his feelings for wife Jo, 52, and his young mistress to fellow patients at a rehab facility.

He said: "I love my wife - but I have a girlfriend and I love her too."

The ageing rocker is being treated at a countryside retreat for alcohol, drug and sex addiction.

Staff told Ronnie he must complete a six-week treatment programme after hearing of his vodka binges, his 20-year-old lover and previous drug problems.

The source added to Britain’s The Sun newspaper: "He thinks the whole affair scenario has been blown out of proportion - but that’s part of his problem."-- Stuff


Thursday, July 24, 2008

77-Year-Old Woman Fends Off Rabid Fox

3rd\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By The Associated Press

A 77-year-old grandmother is recovering at home after she pinned down a rabid fox that bit her and held it until help arrived.

Avis Blakeslee was attacked as she tended to her petunias outside her Stroudsburg farmhouse.

She said she pushed the animal to the ground after it bit her, and held its jaws shut with one arm as she flagged down a passing driver with the other.

Blakeslee lost a large amount of blood. She underwent surgery to clean out her seven leg wounds and arm wound, and spent four days in the hospital after the Monday attack.

Cory Bentzoni, a wildlife conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said tests confirmed that the fox was rabid.



"The Ridiculous Race"

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Product Description from Amazon

The most absurd, hilarious, and ridiculous travelogue ever told, by two hit-TV comedy writers who raced each other around the world—for bragging rights and a very expensive bottle of Scotch

It started as a friendly wager: two old friends from The Harvard Lampoon, now hotshot Hollywood scribes, challenged each other to a race around the globe in opposite directions. There was only one rule: no airplanes. The first man to cross every line of longitude and arrive back in L.A. would win Scotch and infamy. But little did one racer know that the other planned to cheat him out of the big prize by way of a ride on a quarter-million-dollar jet pack.

What follows is a pair of hilarious, hazardous, and eye-opening journeys into the farthest corners of the world. From the West Bank to the Aleutian Islands, the slums of Rio to the steppes of Mongolia, traveling by ocean freighter and the Trans-Siberian Railway (pranking each other mercilessly along the way), Vali and Steve plunge eagerly and ill-prepared into global adventure.

The Ridiculous Race is a comic travelogue unlike any other, an outrageous tale of two gentlemen travelers who can’t wait to don baggy cardigan sweaters, clench corncob pipes between their teeth, and yell at their sons, “You lazy bums! When we were your age, we raced around the world without airplanes!”

Updates Will Continue Through the Weekend

Don't forget that I'll be updating the blog on Saturday, and Sunday to complete The Approval Matrix.

"Generation Kill"

2ND\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

David Simon (writer) and Ed Burns ("The Wire") have adapted Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright's book “Generation Kill.” The HBO show recounts in seven parts the seven weeks Wright spent with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion on the front lines of what prematurely came to be known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. It is a straightforward and remarkably thorough adaptation of the book.. -- LA Times

TRAILER

Victoria Clark in "The Marriage of Bette and Boo"

2nd\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

The Marriage of Bette and Boo is a dark comedy that takes a look at the complex marriage of Bette and Boo. Three decades of marriage, divorce, alcoholism, nervous breakdowns and death - all blended in a unique mix of irony, humor and farce - are played out in 33 quick scenes.
-- RoundAboutTheatreCompany

DAVID ROONEY wrote in his review of the play for Variety, "Taking a wry, absurdist view of life's unfathomable cruelties is a specialty of Christopher Durang, but even by the playwright's own standards, the characters in "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" have little to laugh about. Since the play premiered at the Public Theater in 1985, the appetite for dark-hued irony has grown steadily, making themes like marital misery, family dysfunction, alcoholism, emotional instability, religion and death into standard fodder for comedy. So it's all the more surprising that, whether in giddy or melancholy mode, the play remains sharp, funny and affecting more than 20 years later."

A conversation about THE MARRIAGE OF BETTE AND BOO with platwright Christopher Durang and Roundabout's Artistic Director Todd Haimes.



The Marriage of Bette and Boo
June 12 - September 7, 2008
Harold and Miriam Steinberg
Center for Theatre
111 West 46th St (6th & 7th Aves)
Ticket Services: 212.719.1300

Vogue's All-Black-Models Issue

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Stephanie D. Smith\WWD

While tech heads on Friday lined up at the Apple store to buy the latest iPhone, fashionistas evidently hurried to newsstands across New York City to get their hands on the July Italian Vogue featuring all black models.

Condé Nast prepped accordingly for the increased consumer curiosity surrounding the themed issue, where Steven Meisel shot the likes of Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Jourdan Dunn, Liya Kebede, Veronica Webb and upcoming names like Sessilee Lopez and Toccara Jones.

A spokeswoman for Condé said the company increased newsstand distribution of the special issue by 40 percent in the U.S., and will reallocate Italian copies earmarked for returns to the U.S. The company will also print another 10,000 copies to meet the demand for the issue.

"Franca Sozzani is a brilliant editor whose courage and originality never cease to astonish. Working in collaboration with Steven Meisel she has produced a groundbreaking issue, which in a small way, changes the world. I am very proud of it," said Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International.

Jezebel has a ton of scanned images from the issue.

iPhone MotionX Poker Game

2nd/NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Brian Lam\Gizmodo

This Dice game is by far the coolest game I've seen, and it's got amazing tech inside which takes advantage of the iPhone's sensors like no other app. Here's how it works: You shake the iPhone and it rolls the dice inside, which you use to play poker. But instead of using some dumb random number generator, it captures your hand's motion and rolls simulated collisions between the virtual dice.

Fullpower is, at its heart, an advanced sensor data processing company. This game is using Fullpower's Motion X tech, which is used to simulate physics, predict motion patterns, and process sensor data. To put it pretty simply, it does "for motion what speech recognition does for voice."

video

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"After Nature" at The New Museum

2nd\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Jen Carlson\Gothamist

The New Museum unveiled its new exhibit, "After Nature," yesterday. Running through September 21st, they say it's a departure from "the fictional documentaries of Werner Herzog" and instead draws inspiration (and its title) from W.G. Sebald's book...though rapture, ruins and environmental disasters also acted as muses. Bringing together 26 international artists on three gallery floors, expect to take in paintings, photographs, installations, films, writings, and living sculptures. Perhaps the most jarring piece is the headless horse emerging from the wall (created out of taxidermied horse skin).

Feist on "Sesame Street"

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Alan Wolfe's Economic Essay in The New Republic

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


Alan Wolfe's exhaustive essay on behavioral economics, Hedonic Man The new economics and the pursuit of happiness, in which he reviews the following books can be read here:
.
HAPPINESS: A REVOLUTION IN ECONOMICS (MUNICH LECTURES IN ECONOMICS)
By Bruno S. Frey
(MIT Press, 240 pp., $35)

PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL: THE HIDDEN FORCES THAT SHAPE OUR DECISIONS
By Dan Ariely
(HarperCollins, 280 pp., $25.95)

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Tell No One"

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Plot Summary: Eight years ago, Margot Beck was murdered by a serial killer. Though the killer has confessed to eight of these murders, he has always denied to be responsible for Margot's death. However, the specific mutilations found on her body seem to remove all doubts over his guilt. Today, Alexandre Beck, her husband, is still deeply psychologically injured by the loss of Margot. He temporarily escapes his memories during the day by immersing himself completely in his work as a pediatrician. Outside of that, only the friendship he has formed with Hélène Perkins saves him from total isolation from the rest of the world. But when two new bodies are uncovered near where Margot's body was discovered, Margot's case is reopened. At the same time, Alexandre receives a strange e-mail with a link to a video-surveillance web-cam and a time at which to watch it... Written by Chevalier Bayard\IMDb

"Tell No One" Trailer NSFW

Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers' "Where The Wild Things Are" Shelved?

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

"Where The Wild Things Are" is the newest film from Academy Award nominated director Spike Jonze (Being John Malcovich, Adaptation). The film is based on Maurice Sendak's classic children's book, and was adapted for the screen by Spike Jonze and writer Dave Eggers (Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity!).

Reports have recently emerged that Warner Bros. may be considering an entire re-shoot of the film, and perhaps without Jonze. Apparently, the version that Jonze turned in was a more mature, adult adaptation than Warner Bros. had originally anticipated, and they've pushed the release date WAY back. (The films release was originally set for May 2008, and it's now set for October 2009.) -- Save "Where The Wild Things Are"

Burgers Turn Chic In Paris

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

A shrimp and squid burger at Le Relais du Parc. (Ed Alcock for The New York Times)

By JANE SIGAL\The New York Times

Beginning a few years ago but picking up momentum in the past nine months, hamburgers and cheeseburgers have invaded the city. Anywhere tourists are likely to go this summer — in St.-Germain cafes, in fashion-world hangouts, even in restaurants run by three-star chefs — they are likely to find a juicy beef patty, almost invariably on a sesame seed bun.

It is a startling turnaround in a country where a chef once sued McDonald’s for $2.7 million in damages over a poster that suggested he was dreaming of a Big Mac. Hamburgers were everything that French dining is not: informal, messy, fast and foreign.

But as French chefs have embraced the quintessentially American food, they have also made it their own, incorporating Gallic flourishes like cornichons, fleur de sel and fresh thyme. These attempts to translate the burger, or maybe even improve it, strongly suggest that it is here to stay.


Orchids Trick Wasps into Sex

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


By Ewen Callaway\New Scientist

WHILE few can resist the allure of a beautiful orchid, some wasps outdo the most ardent flower lover. Male orchid dupe wasps become so enamoured with Australian tongue orchids, which give off the scent of female wasps, that they ejaculate. But what price does the wasp pay for this misdirected mating?

Many insects are sexually deceived into liaisons with flowers, but few go as far as Lissopimpla excelsa, says Anne Gaskett of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, who led the study (The American Naturalist, DOI: 10.1086/587532) testing the wasp's behaviour towards Cryptostylis.

Gaskett noticed that some wasps in the bush outside Sydney left a visible blob on tongue orchid flowers following their visits. "We decided to check if they were wasting their sperm on the flowers," she says, which closer examination confirmed.

Field experiments also showed nearly three-quarters of the male wasps ejaculated on the flowers...

No Broker Fees for Charlie Rangle?

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI\New York Times

Representative Charles B. Rangel on Friday angrily defended the unusual housing bargain he has been granted by a major real estate developer, saying that he did not believe he was being allowed four rent-stabilized apartments [on 135th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues] because of his status as a congressman.

Responding to an article in Friday’s New York Times, Mr. Rangel said there was nothing illegal or unethical about his relationship with the Olnick Organization, his landlord at the Lenox Terrace complex in Harlem. He also said that he did not believe it was unfair to avail himself of the multiple rent-stabilized apartments at a time of soaring rents in Manhattan and evictions of many rent-regulated tenants.

Mr. Rangel said he did not believe it excessive to have three adjacent apartments on the building’s 16th floor, where he and his wife live. But he said he would consider giving up the fourth apartment, which he uses as a campaign office, if his staff concludes that it violates the state and city requirement that rent-regulated apartments be used only as primary residences.

Bush Admin. Memo Defines Birth-Control as Abortion

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Maggie Fox\ABC News

Family planning groups and at least one member of Congress objected on Tuesday [July 15, 2008] to a Bush administration memo that defines several widely used contraception methods as abortion and protects the right of medical providers to refuse to offer them.

The proposal would cut off federal funds to hospitals and states that attempt to compel medical providers to offer legal abortion and contraception services to women.

The proposal circulated to media defines abortion broadly to include many types of contraception, including birth control pills and intrauterine devices.

The Approval Matrix: Week of July 28, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stimulus Checks Cause "Upswing in Sales" of Porn

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

An unforeseen and surprising beneficiary of the Economic Stimulus Plan [which includes a check for up to $600 for individuals and $1200 for married couples (among other benefits)], a plan that George Bush contends will "boost our economy and encourage job creation," has surfaced this week. An independent market-research firm, AIMRCo (Adult Internet Market Research Company), has discovered that many websites focused on adult or erotic material have experienced an upswing in sales in the recent weeks since checks have appeared in millions of Americans' mailboxes across the country.

According to Kirk Mishkin, Head Research Consultant for AIMRCo, "Many of the sites we surveyed have reported 20-30% growth in membership rates since mid-May when the checks were first sent out, and typically the summer is a slow period for this market."

Jillian Fox, spokeswoman for one of the sites reporting figures to AIMRCo, added, "In a June 15, 2008 survey to our members, thirty two percent of respondents referenced the recent stimulus package as part of their decision to either become a new member, or renew an existing membership."-- Yahoo! News

Man Bitten by Poisonous Snake at Wal-Mart

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

A man is recovering after authorities say he was bitten by a snake inside a garden center at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Pembroke Pines.

Authorities say the 42-year-old man was taken to the hospital Sunday for treatment, where he received antivenom for the pygmy rattlesnake bite. His name has not been released.

Miami-Dade Fire Capt. Ernie Jillson, who leads the agency's Venom Response Team, said the snake bit the man on the right hand. He said the team was contacted about the bite and responded.

Pygmy rattlers are one of six venomous snakes in Florida. Officials say bites from pygmy rattlers are painful, but are rarely fatal. -- Naples News

"The Baby Borrowers" Ad

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Rugby Broadcast Interrupted by Porn

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Rugby fans who tuned into a mid-afternoon highlights show got more than they bargained for Sunday when they were treated to four minutes of hardcore pornography.

A spokesman for Prime Television on Monday blamed a mixup in "distribution processes" for the error which inserted the hardcore segment in the regular program "Grassroots Rugby."

The segment was intended to air on an adult pay-per-view channel. -- Metro




Friday, July 18, 2008

Spanish Retailer Mango Opening Iraq

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Alexandra Marshall\The Moment

The Spanish fast fashion chain Mango, best known in the U.S. as the purveyor of discount duds “designed by” Penelope Cruz, has just announced its latest retail expansion.

Per WWD, Mango is setting up shop in Iraq! Specifically, the city of Abril in the northern Kurdish region. Designer Zuhair Murad, who creates Middle East-specific collections for Mango, hopes to peddle more of his ruffled tunics and flowy long shapes

Album Sales Fall 11%

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


By PHIL GALLO\Variety

Album sales are down 11% from the midpoint of 2007, while digital sales continue to grow at a steady pace.

Physical and digital album sales reached 204.6 million units in the 26 sales weeks between Dec. 31 and June 29, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

CD sales have been a prime culprit in the sales dip, as they are off more than 16% from 2007 levels, which were significantly down from the year prior. Sales of CDs have been hit hard by the closure of musicstores such as Virgin and the reduction of shelf space at big-box stores such as Best Buy and Target.

As much as album sales are slumping, they took an even bigger pounding in the first half last year. The January-July total in 2007 was 229.8 million units, down significantly from the fairly comparable first-half numbers of 2006 (298.7 million) and 2005 (298.4 million).

French "Public Enemy No. 1" Coming to America

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

by Eugene Novikov\Cinematical

I had never heard of Jacques Mesrine before today, but I should have. Take a look at this Wikipedia entry, which matter-of-factly details the dozens of murders, bank robberies and prison escapes pulled off by the legendary French criminal over a 20-year "career." The best part is that he once fled from a sentencing hearing by taking the judge hostage.

Anyway, the story's obviously well-known in France, and it has finally made its way to the screen in a two-part biopic called Public Enemy No. 1, starring (who else?) Vincent Cassel as Mesrine. Budgeted at $80 million, it's one of the biggest French productions ever. At least the first of the films is slated to get an October release in France, and the American rights have gone to Senator Entertainment...hoping to have the first film in American theaters by the end of the year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Girl Talk's "Feed The Animals" Technology

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Southwest Airines Kicks Family Off Flight

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Meg Marco\Consumerist

Wendy Slaughter, her four children and her sister are too unruly for Southwest Airlines! The airline says that the children were so out of control that the airline decided to deny boarding for their connecting flight from Phoenix to Seattle — stranding them in Phoenix for the night while they tried to arrange other travel plans.

When Ms. Slaughter's flight from Detroit to Phoenix landed, she was met by police who escorted her and her family from the plane. Police detained the family, and explained that they were simply too unruly to board their connecting flight to Seattle.

Ms. Slaughter admits her kids were out of control on the plane, getting up and wandering around, but says that two of them have disabilities (one is autistic and another has cerebral palsy) and that "they are kids."

Skating and Bike Ramps at BAM Afro-Punk Block Party

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

NYTimes.com - UrbanEye: The Afro-Punk Festival


"Take Me Out to the Ball Game" Turns 100

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

It's the third most frequently sung song in the United States, yet few know all its lyrics.It's been recorded by more than 400 artists, from Frank Sinatra to Frank Zappa. It's been performed live by Mike Ditka and Ozzy Osbourne - with varying skill levels.Six-year-olds and 96-year-olds know its chorus by heart, and it rises into the summer air each night at ballparks around the U.S., as thousands of joyous voices sing as one.

Hastily written on a New York subway 100 years ago - or so the story goes - "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" has made it from Tin Pan Alley to YouTube.com, and with help from Harry Caray, baseball's anthem has never been more popular.

A sign advertising a game at the Polo Grounds inspired singer Jack Norworth to write a tune about America's favourite pastime. Or so he claims.In about the time it takes to play an inning, Norworth had some lyrics about a baseball fan named Katie Casey whose boyfriend called to see if she'd like to go to a show.

Her emphatic response is the chorus "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," which trails only "Happy Birthday" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the most frequently performed songs, according to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

A copy of Norworth's handwritten lyrics and the original sheet music are among the artifacts under a glass case at the Rock Hall's "Take Me Out: Baseball Rocks!" exhibit...
-- Canada Press

Sara Mearns Promoted at City Ballet

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

New York City Ballet announced today [July 1, 2008] that Sara Mearns has been promoted to Principal Dancer. Peter Martins, NYCB’s Ballet Master in Chief, made the promotion on Saturday, June 28, following Mearns’ performance in Balanchine’s La Sonnambula.

During the 2008 season, Mearns made debuts in a number of works including; George Balanchine’s Diamonds from Jewels...

She entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, in the fall of 2001. In the fall of 2003 she became an apprentice with NYCB. In June 2004, Mearns joined the Company as a memberof the corps de ballet, and was promoted to the rank of soloist in March 2006.

New York City Ballet’s 2008 season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Centers begins on Tuesday, July 8, and runs through Saturday, July 26. -- NYC Ballet

Posting to Extend to the Weekend

I've almost bitten off more than I can chew by running not one, not two, but three blogs in addition to the day job; so, I'm going to extend the time it takes me to complete The Approval Matrix to the weekend. Instead of doing five posts per day, I'll do three including Saturday, and Sunday. This is actually a good thing, because I'm always looking for something good to read on the weekend, but most blogs don't do any posting, so maybe I'll start a trend.

Obama to Accept Nomination in Football Stadium

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Sen. Barack Obama will accept the Democratic presidential nomination at a 75,000-seat Denver football stadium, rejecting his party's convention hall because it is too small to accommodate his supporters along with the usual convention delegates and party insiders.

Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean said yesterday that moving the speech to Invesco Field at Mile High, home of the NFL's Denver Broncos, from the Pepsi Center, which seats 19,000, would drive up costs and complicate security planning. But he said the extra aggravation would pay off with a dramatic Rocky Mountain tableau that reinforces Obama's grass-roots style and historic ascent.

But it is not unprecedented. John F. Kennedy delivered his acceptance speech before 80,000 people at Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960. Kennedy chose the outdoor arena to maximize the impact of his acceptance speech, with its call for voters to join him in blazing a "new frontier."
-- Washington Post

Missing "Metropolis" Footage Discovered in Argentina

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

The cinematic world was today celebrating the rediscovery of missing scenes from German director Fritz Lang's legendary silent film Metropolis - thought lost for 80 years, until they were found in the archive of a museum in Argentina.

Key scenes cut from the science fiction picture - either because they were considered to be too brutal or too long - will now be available for the first time since May 1927, when the original version was last shown in Berlin, where it flopped badly.

The head of the Berlin film museum Deutsche Kinematik, Dr Rainer Rother, called the find a "sensational discovery", adding that one of the most famous films of all time "can now be seen through new eyes".

Metropolis, which is set in a futuristic city state and explores the clash between workers and their capitalist exploiters, was at the time one of the most expensive films ever made. Produced in the Babelsberg studios on the outskirts of Berlin, it cost around 7m Reichsmarks, but was hated by critics and the public alike. It was shortened by the American company Paramount Pictures, who considered it impenetrable for the US market, leading to an oversimplification of the plot, the disappearance of key scenes and the sidelining of significant characters.
-- Guardian

All-Documentary Maysles Cinema in Harlem

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Maysles Cinema, a nonprofit theater in Harlem founded by Mr. Maysles, who, with his late brother David, made such landmark films as "Salesman" (1968) and "Grey Gardens" (1975), aims to show nothing but documentaries, and intends to build an audience through them, not in spite of them.

The cinema, which on Sunday [July 13, 2008] will begin Strangers in Strange Lands, an 11-film series of travelogues by noted French directors, occupies the street level of a Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard building (between 127th and 128th streets) that also houses the offices of Mr. Maysles's production company, Maysles Films, as well as the Maysles Institute, which runs film education programs. The institute was launched three years ago, around the time the production company relocated to Harlem.

Though these documentaries provide glimpses into foreign lands, the cinema has no intention of disengaging from its immediate surroundings. Philip Maysles said that he hopes "this series represents the introduction of the Maysles Cinema as a satellite, uptown venue for the kind of independent and radical programming that is available downtown, in Brooklyn, and Queens. That said, our success depends equally upon our ability to generate programs that are organic to the political struggles and cultural triumphs of Harlem through collaboration with longtime residents." -- The Sun

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Die Soldaten"

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Die Soldaten (The Soldiers) is a four act opera in German by German composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann, based on the 1776 play by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz. It is dedicated to Hans Rosbaud.[1] Zimmermann himself faithfully adapted the play into the libretto, the only changes to the text being repeats and small cuts. It is the composer's only completed opera and is considered an important work of the second half of the 20th century. -- Wikipedia

NYTimes.com - Die Soldaten: Opera in the Armory




Bela Tarr's "Sátántangó" on DVD

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

SATANTANGO by Bela Tarr from the novel by Laszlo Krasnahorkai is one of the most respected recent films to surface on the international cinema scene. Such major critics as Susan Sontag, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and J. Hoberman have all called SATANTANGO a master works of the present day cinema. At seven and one half hours, in black and white 35mm film, this cinematic event must be experienced if one is to understand why Bella Tarr is considered so highly in international cinema.

SYNOPSIS: In the ashes of the Communist utopia in Hungary, a group of lost souls from a collective farm choose to follow a new messiah towards an uncertain future. In the endless rain and mud they work out their salvation in a series of encounters that Tarr's camera covers in long complex shots...which reveals the emptiness and the futility of their shabby existence.
-- Cinema Parallel

"BEST FILM OF 1996"........ J. HOBERMAN , VILLAGE VOICE



Satantango - Opening Sequence

Monday, July 14, 2008

Screen Actors Guild Strike?

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Leslie Simmons\Reuters

Hollywood's still holding its breath. The potential for a strike by the Screen Actors Guild or a possible lockout of the union's roughly 120,000 members by the studios will be greatly influenced by the results of rival union AFTRA's contract ratification vote. Ballots are due back Monday with the results expected to be announced Tuesday.

Since it announced its tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, the bargaining arm of the studios, AFTRA has been engaged in a battle with SAG, which is urging shared members to vote the contract down. SAG says the unions could get a better deal if they negotiated together.

Most industry watchers believe a majority of AFTRA members will vote to ratify the deal. In that case, SAG would be the only major guild left without a pact -- the directors and writers signed off on deals earlier this year, the latter coming after a 100-day strike -- and would see its negotiating leverage significantly reduced.

"If this passes, it will undermine the ability of the Screen Actors Guild to negotiate a decent contract. It will be a civil war," one dual cardholder member said.

Editor's Note: I plan to update this post after the vote results are announced.

Update:

The Screen Actors Guild is reiterating today [July 14, 2008] that it's still negotiating with Hollywood producers even though producers say they're sticking to their final offer.

The actors union had made a counter-proposal last week, after turning down the producers' offer.

Governor Schwarzenegger says it's important to California, to avoid any strike by actors.

"I think that our economy is very vulnerable right now," he said, "and I think that people are suffering. People have lost a lot of their jobs."

"A strike like that would be devastating."

The Governor says he would step in as a mediator if necessary, although he says he has not been asked. -- KNX

Mark Morris' "Romeo and Juliet"

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


by SHAUN MULLEN\Kiko's House

As oft danced as Serge Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet has been over the last 70 years, the great Soviet composer’s original score and all of the original accompanying dances have never been performed. Yes, never, and therein lies a tale.

That changed over Independence Day weekend with the world premiere of Romeo & Juliet: On Motifs of Shakespeare at Bard SummerScape danced by the Mark Morris Dance Group with the American Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leon Botstein.

The production is based on Prokofiev’s original score, which was composed in 1935, and restores the original story line that he conceived with dramatist Sergei Radlov, 20 minutes of never-performed music, as well as six dance numbers choreographed by Leonid Lavrovsky of the Kirov Ballet but also never performed.

By ALASTAIR MACAULAY\New York Times

Don’t get excited. The 20 extra minutes of this “Romeo” boil down to some 8 minutes of entirely new but eminently cuttable music for supporting characters and about 12 minutes of nonradical variations on familiar “Romeo” material. Elsewhere the main differences have to do with cuts, reorderings and orchestral rearrangements.

These show us the satiric, sarcastic face Prokofiev so often wore. Whereas Shakespeare understands even his most brutal or silly characters from within, Prokofiev wants several of them to remain two-dimensional buffoons (the Nurse) or creeps (Tybalt). And so this “Romeo” becomes more like his “Cinderella”: young love wins magically, redeeming the unspoiled hero and heroine from the composer’s cynical view of the harsh realities of the world around them. But if you feel (as I do) that Prokofiev seriously misinterprets Shakespeare’s characters — the prime characteristic of the play’s hero and heroine is their highly educated cleverness, their love of poetic intricacy and paradox, never apparent here — this version won’t change your view.

William Rhoden Left Centre Court to See "Hancock"

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

New York Times writer William Rhoden ... saw the first two sets of Nadal/Federer and then, amazingly, decided that Rafael Nadal's victory was inevitable, so he decided to go to the movies with his wife instead.

From his piece: Who thought that in a stretch of 24 hours, Venus Williams’s great accomplishment — a fifth women’s singles championship — would be dwarfed by a tennis marathon? Who thought? Not us. So we watched as Nadal took a commanding two-set lead, concluded that this was Nadal’s day and decided to take in a movie, “Hancock.”

The livid e-mails poured in yesterday. One in particular, from a popular author who chooses to remain nameless, was especially angry.

Here's a snippet: This should not be used as evidence that bloggers are righteous or smart or anything. But it is an example of a columnist at the most prestigious newspaper in the country who is either burned out on his job, or just negligent, or simply has been doing the same thing for too long to give a rat's ass. --

Feeling Obligated to Say Nice Things About Helms

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By STEVEN A. HOLMES\New York Times

Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator with the courtly manner and mossy drawl who turned his hard-edged conservatism against civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art, died early Friday [July 4, 2008]. He was 86.

Perhaps his most visible accomplishments in the Senate came two decades apart. One was a 1996 measure that tightened trade sanctions against the Marxist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba. The other, a 1973 amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, prevented American money from going to international family planning organizations that, in his words, “provide or promote” abortion. He also introduced amendments to reduce or eliminate money for foreign aid, welfare programs and the arts.

In the 1980s, he took on the National Endowment for the Arts for subsidizing art that he found offensive, chiefly that of the gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and of the artist Andres Serrano over his depiction of a crucifix submerged in urine. He later led an ill-fated attempt to take over CBS, exhorting conservatives to buy up stock in order to stop what he saw as a liberal bias in its news reporting.

He fought bitterly against federal financing for AIDS research and treatment, saying the disease resulted from “unnatural” and “disgusting” homosexual behavior.

In 1994, angered at President Bill Clinton, Mr. Helms suggested in print that if Mr. Clinton were to visit North Carolina, “He’d better bring a bodyguard.”

J.M.W. Turner Grandeur Fatigue

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Against all expectations, the first J.M.W. Turner survey to reach New York in 40 years has landed with a thud.

In its presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ``J.M.W. Turner'' is astonishing for all the wrong reasons.

Incredibly, this most dependable of cultural institutions seems to have miscalculated the deadening impact of laying out 140 similar paintings and drawings with little variation or context. -- Review by Linda Yablonsky\BBC News

Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851) was an English Romantic landscape painter, watercolourist and printmaker, whose style can be said to have laid the foundation for Impressionism. Although Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, he is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. -- Wikipedia

J.M.W. Turner will be at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art until September 21, 2008.

Tofu Causes Dementia?

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Eating high levels of some soy products - including tofu - may raise the risk of memory loss, research suggests.

The study focused on 719 elderly Indonesians living in urban and rural regions of Java. The researchers found high tofu consumption - at least once a day - was associated with worse memory, particularly among the over-68s.

Soy products are a major alternative protein source to meat for many people in the developing world.

Soy products are rich in micronutrients called phytoestrogens, which mimic the impact of the female sex hormone oestrogen.

There is some evidence that they may protect the brains of younger and middle-aged people from damage - but their effect on the ageing brain is less clear.

The latest study suggests phytoestrogens - in high quantity - may actually heighten the risk of dementia. -- BBC News

The Approval Matrix: Week of July 21, 2008


Friday, July 11, 2008

20 Unreleased Tupac Tracks

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Written by Jason\Rap Basement

Suge Knight claimed bankruptcy and his Death Row Records was ordered up to be auctioned off. Once home to legendary rappers like Snoop Dogg, 2 Pac, Dr Dre and more, was purchased for $24 million dollars recently. The buyer, Susan Berg, is the president of the Global Music Group. The purchase of the label also included twenty unreleased 2 Pac Shakur tracks...
(Screen shot courtesy of TMZ.)

Seth Macfarlane Online Google Ads

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By BROOKS BARNES\New York Times

In September, Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy” on television, will unveil a carefully guarded new project called “Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy.” Unlike “Family Guy,” which is broadcast on Fox, this animation series will appear exclusively on the Internet.

The innovative part involves the distribution plan. Google will syndicate the program using its AdSense advertising system to thousands of Web sites that are predetermined to be gathering spots for Mr. MacFarlane’s target audience, typically young men. Instead of placing a static ad on a Web page, Google will place a “Cavalcade” video clip. The content will also be distributed via YouTube.

Mr. MacFarlane, who will receive a percentage of the ad revenue, has created a stable of new characters to star in the series, which will be served up in 50 two-minute episodes.

Advertising will be incorporated into the clips in varying ways. In some cases, there will be “preroll” ads, which ask viewers to sit through a TV-style commercial before getting to the video. Some advertisers may opt for a banner to be placed at the bottom of the video clip or a simple “brought to you by” note at the beginning.

Mary Kate vs. Spencer Pratt

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


On Thursday's [June 26, 2008] Late Show With David Letterman, Mary-Kate Olsen revealed, "He used to play on the soccer team for my high school. When Letterman asked if she thought he was "wormy," she nodded and said, "yeah."

"He does not have a good temper," added Olsen, who was promoting her new indie The Wackness.

"He walked out of a few games. He would walk off the field. He was like, 'Me or the coach!'"

Letterman said he was surprised by the story because Pratt looked like the kind of guy who has never broken a sweat in his life. "Oh, my God — that brings up stories!" Olsen said. "I don't know if I should talk about it."

She then laughed and added, "The Wackness is a great film!"

Asked if they were friends at the time, Olsen said, "No." After Letterman asked her how a guy can be so "oily," Olsen uncomfortably laughed and changed the subject. -- US Magazine

The Spence-anator struck back by calling MK “a famous troll” and “the uglier of the Olsen twins” and inferring that she was using his name for publicity.

[A] snippet from a 2007 Details magazine interview with the big Spence resurfaced. In the article, the celebutard bragged about how enterprising he was even back in high school. Spencer told Details that he “made $50,000 in high school by selling a photo he took of Mary-Kate drinking at a party.” -- Hollywood Back Wash

Construction Worker Rappels into Love Interest's UWS Apartment

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By JAMIE SCHRAM\New York Post

A love-struck construction worker who became enthralled with a woman while toiling at her Upper West Side building took his obsession to new heights - rappelling off the roof to the woman's 10th-story apartment and into her bathroom to woo her, authorities said.

Flavio Quito, 29, was working for a subcontractor at the 10-story West 76th Street building between February and May when he "confessed his love and affection" for the 36-year-old resident, according to a complaint filed in Manhattan Criminal Court.

While the woman rebuffed his advances and pleaded with him to stop pestering her, the unrepentant Romeo refused to listen and continued to contact her by phone and mail, the complaint states. Unabashed, he allegedly kept showering the woman with gushy cards, cuddly teddy bears, flowers and other gifts.

But the final straw for his uninterested love interest came on the evening of May 15, when she discovered that her bathroom window was broken - and that someone had been inside her apartment, court papers show.

Sources said Quito admitted that he used a rope to rappel from the roof of the building and into the apartment of the woman through her bathroom window.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jay-Z at Glastonbury

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Shaq to Kobe,"Tell me how my ass taste."

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Iron Maiden Plays Soccer at MSG After Losing Power

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

"Arrested Development" Movie

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Lynette Rice(Additional reporting by Carrie Bell)\EW

Former Arrested Development costar Jeffrey Tambor has confirmed published reports that a movie version of the Emmy-winning Fox comedy is in the works. “After months of speculation, I think we have finally figured out for sure that we are indeed doing an Arrested Development movie," Tambor told EW.com at the premiere of Hellboy II on Saturday, the closing night of the L.A. Film Festival.

The series, which aired for three seasons, starred Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, and Michael Cera. The single-camera comedy was beloved by critics, but was never a ratings bonanza for Fox, which canceled the show a year after it won the Emmy award for best comedy.

TKTS Booth in Brooklyn

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON; Compiled by JULIE BLOOM\New York Times

A new TKTS discount tickets booth is opening [today] July 10 in Brooklyn. The booth, operated by the Theater Development Fund, will be in the MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn at the corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue. For the most part, it will operate like the two other TKTS booths in Times Square and at the South Street Seaport, except that it will also sell tickets to Brooklyn arts events, like productions at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The renovated TKTS booth in Times Square is scheduled to open later this summer.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Selected Frank O'hara Poems

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix



Frank O’Hara (1926–1966) was one of the most original and influential American poets of the twentieth century. Although he grew up in Grafton, Massachusetts, O’Hara developed into the quintessential poet of mid-century Manhattan; soon after his arrival in New York in 1951 he evolved a new kind of urban poetry that brilliantly captures the heady excitements of a golden period in the city’s artistic life. O’Hara’s style exudes an insistent, seductive glamour; his mercurial poems, at once open-ended and startlingly immediate, radiate an insouciant confidence that has lost none of its freshness over the decades. O’Hara was at the heart of a vibrant artistic circle that embraced fellow New York School poets John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler, as well as experimental painters such as Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers, and Jasper Johns. Their achievements are movingly celebrated in many of his poems, while at the same time he paid loving tribute to popular idols such as James Dean and Lana Turner:

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

Artists at the Cedar Tavern, 1959. “We often wrote poems while listening to the painters argue,” Frank O’Hara recalled. (John Cohen/Getty Images/via New York Times)

This generous new selection by Mark Ford reflects all the phases and varied achievements of O’Hara’s tragically foreshortened career, including his drama, and is followed by an appendix of key prose texts such as “Personism,” in which O’Hara succinctly summed up his overall approach to poetry: “You just go on your nerve.” -- Amazon

Rhapsody Eliminates Restrictions

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


US digital music service Rhapsody is the latest company to embrace MP3 downloads without copy restrictions.

"We're no longer competing with the iPod. We're embracing it," said Neil Smith, vice president at the firm.

Until recently, Rhapsody, which is owned by Real and MTV, had focused on a subscription service, which allowed users to stream an unlimited number of songs for between $13 (£6.50) and $15 (£7.50) a month. Rhapsody's streamed songs do not play on Apple's iPod, the world's most popular MP3 player.

The majority of MP3 tracks will cost 99 cents (50p), while albums will sell for $9.99 (£5). The shift comes as the British record industry announced that digital sales were going "from strength to strength". -- BBC

Pretend DEA Agent from Missouri

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Dirk McQuigley\Daily Kos

The small town of Gerard Missouri had a drug problem — specifically, a meth problem — until a man claiming to be a federal agent showed up and began racking up drug collars in the rural community of just 1,100 residents.

That is until a reporter from the local weekly newspaper discovered that the "agent," Bill Jakob, was just a wannabe cop playing a DEA agent. The fiasco has led to multi-million dollar lawsuits by those "arrested," the dismissal of three of Gerard's five police officers, and a potential impeachment of the mayor.

The full New York Times article can be read here.

Hookworms May Cure Allergies

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Jo Revill\The Observer

The experts [A team of British scientists] wanted to see if there would be any unpleasant or dangerous side effects from the worm, Ancylostoma duodenale, so they made the bold decision to allow their own bodies to be infected. Each scientist had to stick some of the tiny hookworm larvae on to their skin with a plaster and wait for the larvae to wriggle through the skin into the lungs, through the bloodstream and into the intestine, where they would produce eggs. The eggs are excreted, but once the adult hookworms are in the gut they start to suck blood from the walls of the intestine.

The theory is that this infection triggers an immune response which helps to 'dampen down' the over-reaction of the rest of the system, which is why patients with allergies such as asthma develop symptoms.

Professor David Pritchard and his team at Nottingham University's School of Pharmacy administered different amounts of the hookworms to themselves to prove that it would be safe. Pritchard himself stuck 50 of the larvae onto his skin.

'The trials proved that at a low 'dosage' of 10 worms the infection was safe. Last week the first patients arrived at the school of pharmacy to have the hookworm larvae administered, to see if it would quell hay fever symptoms. Pritchard said: 'The pollen season is coming in spring and we hope that we might see an alleviation of symptoms in some of the patients who received the worms. If we think there's some indication of success, we would move on to asthma patients.'