Monday, September 29, 2008

The (Anniversary Edition) Approval Matrix
[New York Magazine's] deliberately oversimplified guide to 40 years in the culture capital of the world.

Friday, September 26, 2008

David Blaine "60 Hours" Upside Down in Central Park

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

(Photo: John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times)

By AGI New On

Blaine, 35 years old, [had] been suspended since Monday [September 22, 2008 or 60 hours] on a cord from a crane above the ice rink in Central Park, New York.

There were a few breaks, which according to many critics made the task much easier: almost every hour he took a break for a drink, to urinate and to me checked out by a doctor. One of these breaks, one a platform next to the structure, lasted about 20 minutes in which he drank loads of orange juice, took a whizz behind a panel and had his eyes checked.

According to his personal doctor, the main worry was that Blaine, who apparently slept for three days, would suffer cerebral and ocular damage caused by the pressure of the blood in his head.

Sarah Palin Bought a Tanning Bed

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By The Huffington Post

Al Giordano of Narco News first reported that Sarah Palin has a tanning bed installed in the Alaska Governor's Mansion:

"The governor did have a tanning bed put in the Governor's Mansion," Roger Wetherell, chief communications officer of Alaska's Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, confirmed to this newspaper. "It was done shortly after she took office [in early 2007] and moved into the mansion."

Ben Smith of the Politico confirmed the report.

"She paid for it with her own money," Wetherell told Smith in an email.

According to Wetherell, the tanning bed was purchased used, from a health club. Tanning beds can cost up to $35,000 to install in a home - not including the cost of parts..

Palin declared May 2007, "Skin Cancer Awareness Month." In the press materials it was noted, "Skin cancer is caused, overwhelmingly, by over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and from tanning beds."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gregory Mcdonald 1937 – 2008

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


Gregory Mcdonald, an Edgar Award-winning crime writer whose acidly funny novels starring the subversive sleuth I. M. Fletcher, breezily known as Fletch, have sold millions of copies and inspired two Hollywood films, died on Sunday at his home in Pulaski, Tenn. He was 71.

The cause was prostate cancer, said his wife, Cheryle Mcdonald.A former reporter and editor for The Boston Globe, Mr. Mcdonald was considered a master of the comic-mystery genre. The Fletch novels, nine in all, were praised by critics for their sharp, sardonic dialogue and mordant social commentary. (The journalists, politicians, Ivy League types and drug dealers who populate Fletch’s world are all equally reprehensible.)

The series began in 1974 with “Fletch,” published by Bobbs-MerrillThe Fletch novels have sold tens of millions of copies, Mr. Mcdonald’s manager, David List, said Thursday.Fletch made his way on-screen in 1985, in a film of that name starring Chevy Chase. He returned, again played by Mr. Chase, in “Fletch Lives” (1989).

"It's Time to Face the Hole"

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Hole in the Wall is a game show airing on the Fox television network in the United States and on Canada's A Channel that began on September 11, 2008, with previews airing on Fox on September 7 and 9. This game is an adaptation of the Japanese game Brain Wall (nicknamed by YouTube fans as "Human Tetris") in which players must contort themselves to fit through cutouts in a large 13 feet (4.0 m) by 7.5 feet (2.3 m) Styrofoam wall moving towards them on a 50 feet (15 m) track.

Source: Wikipedia

"Hole in the Wall" Preview

"Animal Life"

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Product Description
If you think that watching all the nature programs on television qualifies you as an expert on the subject, think again! Do you really know what makes animals tick? Here are the answers, portrayed in stunning, awe-inspiring action sequences and explained in fascinating, in-depth prose. Thematically arranged by behavior trait, Animal Life explores and explains every aspect of animal behavior, including courtship rituals and sex lives, family relationships and defense mechanisms, hunting techniques and feeding habits. Side panels explore some of the field research on animal behavior and explain important conservation issues. The introductory chapters on the Animal Kingdom and on animal anatomy help explain how different animals have evolved and adapted to their environments, adaptations that may be relevant to particular behaviors. Destined to be the ultimate authority on animal behavior, this book also looks at key behavioral concepts such as how animals learn to behave and the role of instinct in the learning process.

AUTHOR BIO: Charlotte Uhlenbroek, Ph.D. spent four years in the forests of Gombe, Tanzania, completing her doctorate in chimpanzee communication under the auspices of world-famous Jane Goodall.

Source: Amazon

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Celebrity Autobiography"

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

What could be funnier than celebrities reading the heartfelt writings of other celebrities?... Scheduled to appear throughout the run (may change due to availability) Richard Kind Rachel Dratch Carson Kressley Sherri Shepherd Claudia Shear BD Wong Cheyenne Jackson Susie Essman Kristen Wiig Tony Roberts Karen Ziemba Andrea Martin Eugene Pack (creator and producer) Dayle Reyfel (producer) Seth Rudetsky

The Triad
158 West 72nd Street

Monday, Oct 6th, 2008
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Julian Barnes' "Nothing To Be Frightened Of"

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this virtuosic memoir, Barnes (Arthur & George) makes little mention of his personal or professional life, allowing his audience very limited ingress into his philosophical musings on mortality. But like Alice tumbling through the rabbit hole, readers will find themselves granted access to an unexpectedly large world, populated with Barnes's daily companions and his chosen ancestors (most of them dead, and quite a few of them French, like Jules Renard, Flaubert, Zola). This is not 'my autobiography,' Barnes emphasizes in this hilariously unsentimental portrait of his family and childhood. Part of what I'm doing—which may seem unnecessary—is trying to work out how dead they are. And in this exploration of what remains, the author sifts through unreliable memory to summon up how his ancestors—real and assumed—contemplated death and grappled with the perils and pleasures of pit-gazing. If Barnes's self-professed amateur philosophical rambling feels occasionally self-indulgent, his vivid description delights. (Sept.)

Reviewed by Michael Dirda\The Washington Post

Now in his early 60s, the novelist Julian Barnes tells us that he thinks about death every day, and periodically finds himself bolting upright from sleep screaming, "No, no, no." (Ah, yes: Been there, done that.) As its brilliant title punningly hints, Nothing to Be Frightened Of offers an extended meditation on human mortality, but one that is neither clinical nor falsely consoling. Instead, the witty and melancholy author of Flaubert's Parrot and Arthur & George simply converses with us about our most universal fear...

Source: Amazon

"The View" Goes Tougher On John McCain

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix




The "Post's" Lou Lumenick Hits Roger Ebert

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Peter Sciretta\Slash Film

According to the New York Daily News, soon after the film started “a man in the audience started yelling, ‘Don’t touch me!’ People looked around and shrugged. Ten minutes later, the voice yells again, ‘I said don’t touch me!’” Then a few minutes later “the guy stands up in the darkness and thwacks the guy behind him with a big festival binder. He hit him so hard everybody could hear it. Everyone freaked out and turned around.”

For those who don’t know, Roger Ebert can no longer speak due to his battle with thyroid and salivary gland cancer.

Apparently Ebert couldn’t see the screen and tapped Lumenick’s shoulder in an effort to get him to move his head a little. Lumenick was said to have been surprised to find out that the person he hit was Ebert.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hasid Leaders Demand City Close Bike Lanes

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By John Del Signore\Gothamist

Leaders of South Williamsburg's Hasidic community are pressuring the city to paint over the newish bike lanes on Bedford and Wythe Avenues because they're appalled by the immodest attire of female cyclists pedaling through their neighborhood. Simon Weisser, a member of Community Board 1, tells the Post, "I have to admit, it's a major issue, women passing through here in that dress code. It bothers me, and it bothers a lot of people."

At a contentious community board meeting Monday, local Hasids tried (and failed) to stop a third proposed bike lane on Kent Avenue, a precursor to a Kent Avenue Greenway with a separate path for cyclists and pedestrians stretching from Newtown Creek to Sunset Park.

Hasids are forbidden from looking at members of the opposite sex who aren't fully dressed, said local activist Isaac Abraham.

Hasids last month complained about a sexy billboard promoting the teen drama "90210" that could be seen from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and that featured swimwear-clad characters.
-- Source: NY Post

Screaming Men at P.S. 1

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Mieskuoro Huutajat (Men's Choir Shouters) is an internationally famous shouting choir from Oulu, Finland. They were established in 1987 and originally comprised 20 shouting men, since expanded to 30.

Led by conductor Petri Sirviö, the choir is best known for their loud renditions of Finnish patriotic songs, but have also performed foreign tunes such as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Source: Wikipedia

Screaming Men @ P.S. 1

Screaming Men "Starspangled Banner"

David Foster Wallace 1962 – 2008

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


David Foster Wallace, whose darkly ironic novels, essays and short stories garnered him a large following and made him one of the most influential writers of his generation, was found dead in his California home on Friday, after apparently committing suicide, the authorities said.

Mr. Wallace, 46, best known for his sprawling 1,079-page novel “Infinite Jest,” was discovered by his wife, Karen Green, who returned home to find that he had hanged himself, a spokesman for the Claremont, Calif., police said Saturday evening.

Mr. Wallace was a professor in the English department at Pomona College in Claremont.

Mr. Wallace burst onto the literary scene in the 1990s with a style variously described as “pyrotechnic” and incomprehensible, and it was compared to those of writers including Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo.

His opus, “Infinite Jest,” published by Little, Brown & Company in 1996, is set in the near future, in a time called the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment and is, roughly, about addiction and how the need for pleasure and entertainment can interfere with human connection.

The novel was filled with references to high and low culture alike, and at the end had more than 100 pages of footnotes, which were trademarks of Mr. Wallace’s work.

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Alan Ball's "True Blood"

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test.

A sexy, scary new drama from 'Six Feet Under' creator Alan Ball, 'True Blood' delves into the meticulously-crafted world of novelist Charlaine Harris. Described by the Emmy®-winning Ball as "popcorn for smart people" and featuring a colorful cast of local misfits, 'True Blood' promises an intense ride.

Source: HBO

Jann Wenner Will Publish a Celebrity Fashion Magazine

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Russell Adams\WSJ

US Weekly, which inspired a host of competitors by using candid celebrity photos, a larger dose of scandal and splashy graphics to emerge from the shadow of rival People, is fighting to retain its share of a crowded market.

Rather than retrench and ride out the magazine industry's current slump, US Weekly's publisher, Jann Wenner is pushing ahead with a plan to expand the franchise. Next spring, his Wenner Media LLC plans to introduce a fashion quarterly designed to give readers a guide to dressing and primping like the celebrities who appear in the magazine's weekly pages.

Billy Wagner's Career May Be Over

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By BEN SHPIGEL\New York Times

When he signed a four-year deal with the Mets before the 2006 season, Billy Wagner had it all figured out. He would win a World Series, reach the 400-save plateau and retire to his alpaca farm in Virginia, never to be heard from again.

Even though he needs reconstructive elbow surgery that should keep him out through the end of next season, Wagner has not abandoned those goals. It will, he said, just take longer to achieve.

Drawing strength from the chip-on-the-shoulder mentality he has cultivated since breaking into the majors as a 5-foot-9 reliever with a Division III college pedigree, Wagner challenged people to doubt him. At the end, he broke down as he discussed the reaction of his oldest son, Will.

Friday, September 19, 2008

KFC Secret Recipe Publicity Stunt

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Posted by Ken\Food Facts

KFC is making a big deal about moving Col. Sander's original, hand-written, top-secret "Original Recipe" to a new, more secure location.

The recipe is being moved for the first time in 68 years.

The recipe and vials containing the herbs and spices used in the recipe will be locked in a briefcase that is handcuffed to a security expert who will board an armored car that will have a police escort to the new location.

Supposedly, only two company executives at any time have access to the recipe. The company doesn't release their name or title, and it uses multiple suppliers who produce and blend the ingredients but know only a part of the entire contents.

Virginia Madsen is Voice of Voting Campaign Sponsored by Botox

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

While other actors are out stumping for their favorite presidential candidate, Virginia Madsen just wants people to vote.

The Oscar-winner has recorded a PSA for the non-partisan League Of Women Voters, in a campaign to promote the League's Web site.

"I always felt like voting is not a privilege - it's a responsibility," she said. "Maybe that was just the way I was raised."

The voting awareness campaign is sponsored by the makers of Botox, for whom Madsen is a paid spokeswoman.

Madsen was offered the [spokeswoman] job after she'd been talking openly in interviews about her use of the anti-wrinkle treatment.

Source: WIBW

PMS Buddy

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Welcome to! is a free service created with a single goal in mind: to keep you aware of when your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, daughter, or any other women in your life are closing in on "that time of the month" - when things can get intense for what may seem to be no reason at all.

For women, this is a great way to give people in your life a heads-up of when you might be feeling a bit irritable without having an awkward conversation.

What's more, we will not only keep you informed, but will give you some free advice on what to do about it. With, there is no reason to ever be blindsided by PMS again. - Saving relationships, one month at a time!

Souce: PMS Buddy

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Green Polar Bears

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

A polar bear, its fur stained with algae, stands in its cage at Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya, central Japan, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008. Three polar bears at the zoo changed their colors in July after swimming in a pond with an overgrowth of algae, prompting many questions from visitors concerned about whether the animals are sick or carrying mold, a zoo official said.
(AP Photo/Kyodo News, Shuzo Shikano)

Source: Boston

Founder of Enzyte Sentenced to 25 Years

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Meg Marco\The Consumerist

Steve Warshak, founder of the company responsible for "Enzyte," has been sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $93,000, says the AP. U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel also ordered the company, along with other defendants, to forfeit more than $500 million that it bilked from consumers.

According to federal prosecutors the scam involved preying on customer's reluctance to admit that they had ordered the "male enhancement" pills. Customers ordered the pills, but were unable to cancel or get a refund. A former VP of the company testified that Warshak required customers to provide notarized documents from a doctor proving that they had small genitals in order to get a refund.

If customers complained, he said, employees were instructed to "make it as difficult as possible" for them to get their money back. In some cases, Teegarden said, Warshak required customers to produce a notarized statement from a doctor certifying Enzyte did not work.

Marijuana May Be An Antibacterial Agent

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


Researchers in Italy and Britain have found that the main active ingredient in marijuana — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — and related compounds show promise as antibacterial agents, particularly against microbial strains that are already resistant to several classes of drugs.

It has been known for decades that Cannabis sativa has antibacterial properties. Experiments in the 1950s tested various marijuana preparations against skin and other infections, but researchers at the time had little understanding of marijuana’s chemical makeup.

The current research, by Giovanni Appendino of the University of the Eastern Piedmont and colleagues and published in The Journal of Natural Products, looked at the antibacterial activity of the five most common cannabinoids. All were effective against several common multiresistant bacterial strains, although, perhaps understandably, the researchers suggested that the nonpsychotropic cannabinoids might prove more promising for eventual use.

Boston Globe's The Big Picture

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Boston Globe's, The Big Picture, illustrates major news stories with large, high-resolution photographs. Below are a few examples, but you must go to the website to see the pictures. They are amazing! Click on the photos below for a preview.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Philip Roth Interview to be Simulcast

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

The Philip Roth simulcast takes place today, September 16, 2008, at various bookstores across the country at approximately 5:00 P.M. Eastern. The list of bookstores participating in the simulcast is here.

During the simulcast, Philip Roth will be interviewed about his new novel, Indignation, by author Ben Taylor in New York City.

Publishers Weekly has already hailed Indignation as brilliant and disconcerting ... a melancholy triumph and a cogent reflection on society in a time of war. Roth's 29th book tells the story of Marcus Messner, a studious, law-abiding youngster from Newark, New Jersey, who is beginning his sophomore year on the pastoral conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College in 1951, the second year of the Korean War. And why is he there instead of the local college where he originally enrolled? Because his father seems to have gone mad with fear of the dangers he sees lurking in every corner for his beloved boy. Marcus leaves his parents and, far from Newark, has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.

Source: Library Thing

North Korea Has Nuclear Missiles

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

(AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)

North Korea has quietly built a long-range missile base that is larger and more capable than an older and well-known launch pad for intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to independent analysts relying on new satellite images of the site and other data. Analysts provided images of the previously secret site to The Associated Press.

North Korea is believed to possess up to a dozen nuclear warheads. The new launch pad would help in the development of missiles to carry them, he said. In 2006, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test, removing any doubt it had the means to make a nuclear warhead. Its previous missile test showed it also had the means to deliver one.

Source: Associated Press

Monday, September 15, 2008

T.S. Eliot May Have Written Love Letters to Marilyn Monroe

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

by Sam Kashner\Vanity Fair

“Do you want to see this letter? Trust me, you’re going to die.”

He handed Anderson another letter, covering the signature. And then he revealed it: three-quarters of an inch high, it read, “All my love, T. S. Eliot.”

Anderson stared at it for a few seconds, until that letter, too, was pulled from his hand. “I was numb. T. S. Eliot was writing letters to Marilyn Monroe?”

According to Anderson, Conroy told him, “Not just letters. Love letters.”

The full list of letters from T.S. Eliot, and others can be read here.

John Sutherland Reneges on Vow to Eat "The Enchantress of Florence"

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Complete Review

In reviewing Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence in the Financial Times John Sutherland got a bit carried away and wrote:

There is more magic than realism in this latest novel. But it is, I think, one of his best. If The Enchantress of Florence doesn’t win this year’s Man Booker I’ll curry my proof copy and eat it.

Now we are shocked to find that Sutherland writes about the recently announced Man Booker shortlist:

I've read two of the titles. I'll take Michael Portillo at his word (ie the pageturningness) and have them all read by decision day. In short, an interesting shortlist. Particularly interesting for me, I should add, since I vowed -- publicly -- to curry and eat my proof copy of The Enchantress of Florence if it didn't win. It won't. And I won't. So there.

I might manage a custard pie on October 10, though.

We wrote about "The Enchantress of Florence" previously here.

Thai Leader Forced to Resign Over TV Show

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

By SETH MYDANS\New York Times

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej was forced from office on Tuesday when a court ruled that he had violated the Constitution by accepting payments to appear on cooking shows while in office.

He was paid $2,350 for four shows on a program called “Tasting and Complaining,” according to testimony by the managing director of the company producing the show. Mr. Samak had been host of the show for seven years but gave it up in April, more than two months after being sworn in as prime minister.

His party said it would nominate Mr. Samak to succeed himself, an outcome that would seem to defy the spirit of the court ruling and to ensure that Thailand’s political crisis would continue.

The confrontation has hobbled the government, hit financial markets, damaged the country’s vital tourist trade and raised fears of violence or a possible military coup.

Mr. Samak made no immediate comment, but he has said he would abide by the court’s ruling.

The protesters accuse Mr. Samak of corruption and incompetence and say he is a stand-in for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup two years ago.

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 22, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Michael Phelps Enters "Us Weekly" Stage of Celebrit

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

(Photo courtesy of Claudette Barius/HBO)

Posted by Mandi Illuzzi\Us Magazine

Michael Phelps is making the rounds on the small screen. The Olympic swimmer shot a cameo appearance for Entourage with Kevin Connolly in NYC Thursday, HBO confirmed to

Phelps -- who won eight gold medals in Beijing -- is also hosting the season premiere of Saturday Night Live on September 13 and will be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Last week, the 23-year-old landed a book deal for his memoir, titled Built to Succeed.

"Shear Genius" Winner Dee

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Amanda Hamilton\Sea Coast

Dee, a 37-year-old stylist from Miami, showed that she was the queen of cut, color and style Wednesday [August 27, 2008] night when she was crowned the winner of the second season of Bravo’s hit show, “Shear Genius.”

Her grand prize was $100,000, a chance to style an Allure magazine cover and the chance to be an apprentice at the Nexxus salon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Brooklyn School Bus Lost for Five Hours

4th\SW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


It is any parent’s nightmare: The yellow school bus that so many parents rely on to ferry their children to and from school simply does not show up on time — not an hour late, not two hours late, but about five hours late for some.

According to the police, the driver, whom they identified as Joseph Gray, 53, said he had gotten lost. He was arrested on charges of acting in a manner that is injurious to a child under 17 years of age, the police said. But a spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office said on Wednesday that it would not prosecute the driver because the statute requires that “the suspect acted in a manner that is knowingly injurious to a child.”

But criminal or not, the ordeal had parents shaken, and mystified as to what could have possibly taken the driver so long. While school officials said the driver had arrived about an hour late to pick the children up (dismissal begins at 3:45 p.m.), many children who arrived home late live just minutes from the school.

A lawyer for Mr. Gray’s employer, Lonero Transit Inc., one of a number of companies that provides bus service to New York City public schoolchildren, said that he, too, was puzzled by the driver’s conduct, and that the driver would be fired.

Post "Cash Cow" Headline

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Jen Chung\Gothamist

Last Sunday [08-31-08], the NY Post raised questions about income from the villa, which Rangel allegedly doesn't consider a second home but an investment, being missing from his 2006 and 2007 returns. Lawyer Lanny Davis said Rangel would file amendments to his returns and that he did not believe Rangel would need to pay federal taxes. And apparently Rangel had no idea about all of this until the Post's story!

According to Post, Davis says income from the villa (which can be rented for up to $1,100/night) "is pooled, with 47 percent of it divided among the owners. Cash from individual villas doesn't flow directly to their owners." Davis referred to the Post cover, with an unflattering photograph of Rangel sunning and the headline "CASH COW," "It's not a cash cow, by any stretch of the imagination. It walks, talks and feels like a time share... It's certainly not generating any cash."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Google Introduces Chrome Via Online Comic Book

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Google Chrome is Google's web browser project. Google's 38 page comic book was drawn by Scott McCloud.

Olbermann and Matthews Move From Co-Anchors to Commentators

3rd\SE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

MSNBC is replacing Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as co-anchors of political night coverage with David Gregory, and will use [them as] commentators.

The change reflects tensions between the freewheeling, opinionated MSNBC and the more impartial news gatherers at NBC News. Throughout the primaries and summer, MSNBC argued that Olbermann and Matthews could serve as dispassionate anchors on political news nights and that viewers would accept them in that role.

That plan fell apart during the conventions.The tipping point appears to have come during the GOP convention when Olbermann criticized MSNBC for showing a Sept. 11-themed video prepared by the Republicans. Matthews also exchanged harsh on-air words with Mr. O[lbermann] during convention telecasts.

Source: Freep

Letterman Buries Hatched with Leno

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix


David Letterman, the CBS host who has competed with Jay Leno every weeknight for 15 years, now feels empathy for his late-night challenger.

In an interview with Rolling Stone on newsstands this week, Mr. Letterman, the longtime “Late Show” host, expresses bewilderment about NBC’s decision, first announced four years ago, to replace Mr. Leno next year with Conan O’Brien, the current host of “Late Night.”

“Unless I’m misunderstanding something, I don’t know why, after the job Jay has done for them, why they would relinquish that,” Mr. Letterman said in the interview. “I guess they thought it was a less messy way to handle what happened to me at NBC. I don’t know.”

In what the magazine called Mr. Letterman’s first in-depth print interview since 1996, he even offers Mr. Leno a spot on his couch, saying: “I think he’d be a great guest on the show. The first night that he is out of a job, I think that would be a great situation.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Penguin U.K. Starts Matchmaking Webstie

2nd\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Paul Bignell\The Independent was developed in conjunction with the established online dating provider after the publisher's online team came up with the initial idea as a way to extend the brand and pique the interest of readers. While sites such as GoodReads provide a virtual community for avid book readers, the Penguin site focuses primarily on lonely hearts.

The service – which went live last week – has already attracted more than 500 subscribers in its first three days, and will be promoted at the end of more than two million paperback novels.
Those who sign up to the dating system will be asked in their profile to list the book they have read most recently. They will also be able to search potential suitors' profiles for mentions of their favourite book.

Katya Shipster, a Penguin spokeswoman, said: "The idea behind the site was to get readers to be able to interact and connect on many different levels. We're trying lots of different online initiatives at the moment. We want the most amount of people to get the most enjoyment out of our books – and to possibly even find relationships at the end of it."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Holly Montag Hired by Girls Gone Wilds' Joe Francis

2nd\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

I'm sorry, but I had to jump ahead a few quadrants to find out what this was about. I actually watch "The Hills" from a sociology perspective.

By Celebs Are People Too

Looks like the entertainment world’s Sultan of Sleaze has gotten his hands on a new girl … to help manage his busy schedule, that is.

Holly Montag, the older sister of Heidi Montag from The Hills, has been hired as the personal assistant to the Girls Gone Wild CEO.

She’s been at it since his release from jail in March.

“His last assistant quit,” said an insider to the New York Post. “And Joe aggressively sought out Holly Montag to work for him.”

Another source said of Holly and Joe, “She’s running his life.”

Francis - who is preparing to do battle on Celebrity Apprentice next season, and might also appear on The Hills this season, rumor has it - told the Post, “Holly is fantastic, probably the best assistant I have ever had.”

"The Book of Mychal"

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Product Description

The inspiring story of New York Fire Department Chaplain Father Mychal Judge. His death certificate bears the number one. As chaplain to the Fire Department of New York, Father Mychal Judge was officially the first to go. A loving priest with a gift for the gab-gregarious yet humble, a healer with the ability to wipe away a widow's tears and put a smile on a fireman's face. And on September 11th Father Mike rushed to the fires at the World Trade Center as quickly as those who fought them, losing his own life while tirelessly ministering to New York's bravest. Father Mike recounts the colorful, astonishing and at times troubled life of a priest who saw the potential for good in everybody-in the homeless person he slipped a dollar to on the street; the alcoholic he sought to coax to an AA meeting; the early victims of AIDS he embraced and comforted; the troubled young men he visited in jail; and the thousands of firefighters he blessed as they rushed to their rigs answering the call. Here was a priest who rejoiced in the life around him and understood that even the most terrible times present us with wonders-that good always arises from the bad in the most unexpected ways. Or as Father Mike would say, "My God is a God of surprises."In this touching book, author Michael Daly retraces the footsteps of Father Mike as his vocation takes us inside the firehouse, inside his friary and his Church, and inside the chaos that often befalls New York. This is the tale of a larger than life priest who, in death, became a symbol of how much we truly lost that Tuesday in September. Father Mike is the inspirational story of a hero priest who blessed so many lives and will long be remembered by it.

Source: Amazon

"Freedom's Battle"

2nd\NE Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bass, associate professor of international affairs at Princeton (Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals), makes the case with delightful wit, insight and scholarship that humanitarian military intervention arose not with genocide in Bosnia or Rwanda, but in Victorian times in parallel with democracy and the mass media. When Greeks rebelled against the Ottoman Empire, Turkish troops committed atrocities viewed by reporters and letter writers whose accounts produced a torrent of outrage. Reluctantly, British leaders began pressuring the sultan, but the failure of this effort led to Britain's great naval victory at Navarino that assured Greek independence. Bass moves on to two other half-forgotten but ghastly crises: the 1860s Syrian upheaval in which Maronite Christians and Druze slaughtered each other, and the 1870s mass murders of Bulgarians by the Ottomans. Bass ends with the Armenian genocide during WWI. Readers may squirm at the slowness with which nations acted to oppose gruesome cruelties, but they will relish Bass's gripping account of bloodthirsty characters, bitter political infighting and cynical leaders, forced by public opinion into moral actions that did not serve their own national interest. (Aug. 20) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."


“An absorbing, well-researched, and frequently amusing book .... Bass provides a trove of fresh material, as well as fresh insight, concerning this exciting period .... Bass has a considerable gift of phrase .... He also has a jaunty flair for recognizing . . . cynicism in others."

–Christopher Hitchens, Foreign Affairs

Source: Amazon

Aaron Sorkin is Writing a Movie about Facebook

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Nicole Sperling\Hollywood Insider

The Emmy-award winning writer of such series as The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and films like The American President and Charlie Wilson's War is, in fact, writing a screenplay for Sony about the creation of Facebook. Uber-producer Scott Rudin is producing, and Sorkin has established his own presence on the popular social-networking hub in an effort to start figuring out what this crazy Facebook thing is all about.

Posted by Ron\Mediabistro

Harvard alum mag 02138 declared that "the Aaron Sorkin Facebook movie is also the Ben Mezrich Facebook movie." It turns out Sony Pictures and Scott Rudin, the producers on Sorkin's picture, may have also optioned the film rights to Face Off, the book Mezrich is writing about the origins of the ubiquitious social networking software.

This has already started a flurry of news items suggesting that Sorkin's screenplay is an adaptation of Mezrich's unpublished book—which remains to be seen. It is entirely possible, after all, that Sony and Rudin simply bought the rights to Face Off as a pre-emptive measure to avoid a lawsuit from an un-optioned Mezrich over his book being a source for Sorkin's screenplay.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Alaska's Proximity to Russia Becomes Foreign Policy Credential

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

By Steve Benen and featuring Hilzoy\Washington Monthly

Fox News' Steve Doocy, with a straight face, insisted, "[T]he other thing about her, she does know about international relations because she is right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia." (This led Jon Stewart to call Doocy a "moron." [Video Below])

This morning [August 31, 2008], Cindy McCain made the exact same argument, telling George Stephanopoulos, in response to a question about national security experience, "[R]emember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. It's not as if she doesn't understand what's at stake here."

"Small Miracles of the Holocaust"

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

Product Description: From the authors of the bestselling Small Miracles series comes this inspirational collection of over 50 stories - each with the upbeat twist ending that has become the trademark of this remarkable series.

The authors, both second-generation Holocaust survivors, have culled stories from before, during, and after the Holocaust that demonstrate the full strength and power of the human spirit. Stories reaffirming that nothing truly happens by accident…

Even during the worst of times small miracles did happen - and the legacies of those individuals live on.
-- Amazon

“Judith Leventhal and Yitta Halberstam amaze and inspire with their incredible-but-true story collections . . . of wondrous true coincidences.”

-- People

Texas Inmate Bequeaths Body to Artist for Fish Food

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

[Texas death row inmate Gene] Hathorn will bequeath his corpse to [Danish-based artist Marco] Evaristti, who will deep-freeze the body and turn it into fish food that the general public can then dispense to goldfish.

-- Black Book

Gene Hathorn and James Bethard murdered Gene Hathorn, Sr., 45, Linda Sue Hathorn, 35, and their 14-year-old son, Marcus in their home. They ramsacked the home and removed two VCRs and several guns and a van to give the appearance of a robbery.Bethard's motive was the promise of remuneration from the estate ($12,500).

-- Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The Approval Matrix: Week of September 15, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It appears that last week's issue was actually a double-issue! It wasn't written on the cover of the magazine, but there isn't a new Approval Matrix on New York Magazine's website, and the website has the same cover from last week's magazine posted.