Monday, March 31, 2008

Law for Stranded Passengers Struck Down

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix: Week of April 7, 2008

A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down a New York law mandating that airline passengers stranded on a tarmac for more than three hours receive access to on-board restrooms, food, water and fresh air.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in its ruling, said the issue falls under national regulations regarding air travel and airspace management. If the law were allowed, it said, “another state could be free to enact a law prohibiting the service of soda.”

Then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed the measure into law in 2007 after its passage by the state legislature. The law followed an incident at John F. Kennedy International Airport in which airline passengers were confined in a plane stranded on the tarmac for up to 10 hours. Some passengers claimed they had no access to food, water or bathrooms.
--From CNN’s Alyse Shorland

The Met's "Tristan" Curse

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix: Week of April 7, 2008

By The New York Post

At this rate, the surgeon general could issue a warning that singing at the Metropolitan Opera can be hazardous to one's health.

Illnesses have knocked out stars at dizzying speed, with six singers making unscheduled debuts in leading roles over 13 days.

Three tenors appeared as Tristan, one of whom stopped the show when a set malfunction sent him tumbling into the prompter's box. A soprano took over Isolde in mid-performance, and two other sopranos were thrust into Verdi operas on short notice.

Some singers spend years waiting a chance to sing on the Met's stage, working their way up at regional theaters with the hope they can become the next Luciano Pavarotti or Birgit Nilsson.

Various viruses have catapulted those waiting in the wings into the spotlight, usually with not even a single stage rehearsal.

Angela Meade, a 30-year-old soprano still in vocal school, hadn't sung a single professional performance before her debut Friday night as Elvira in Verdi's "Ernani."

Hillary Clinton's Snipergate

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix: Week of April 7, 2008

Governor Paterson's Three-Way?

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix: Week of April 7, 2008

The following interview was done with NY1 News' Dominic Carter, and Governor Paterson:

Dominic Carter: You have?
David Paterson: Yes
Dominic Carter: Marijuana?
David Paterson: Yes
Dominic Carter: Cocaine?
David Paterson: Yes
Dominic Carter: You used cocaine governor?
David Paterson: I'd say I was 22 or 23, I tried it a couple of times, yes.
Dominic Carter: When is the last time that -- is that the only time you've tried cocaine, governor?
David Paterson: Yeah, around that time, a couple of times and marijuana, probably, when I was about 20. I don't think I've touched marijuana since the late 70s.
-- The New York Observer

Boston Dynamics Big Dog

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix: Week of April 7, 2008

The Approval Matrix: Week of April 7, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

McGreeve's "Friday Night Specials"

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

A former aide to James E. McGreevey said today that he had three-way sexual trysts with the former governor and his wife before he took office, challenging Dina Matos McGreevey's assertion that she was naive about her husband's sexual exploits.

The aide, Theodore Pedersen, said he and the couple even had a nickname for the weekly romps, from 1999 to 2001, that typically began with dinner at T.G.I. Friday's and ended with a threesome at McGreevey's condo in Woodbridge.

They called them "Friday Night Specials," according to Pedersen. -- NJ

Spitzer's Ashley Dupré in GGW Video

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Trailer NSFW, or Home, or ...!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Adam Carolla Curses DWTS Judge

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

At the Los Angeles premiere of his new film, The Hammer, with wife Lynette and dance partner Julianne serving as his dates for the evening, Corolla also tried to explain his post-dance gaffe, where he appeared to curse at judge Carrie Ann Inaba. “I was shouting it to the heavens, I really was,” he said of the expletive heard around the dance world. “I was juiced. I had just come off the dance floor. I wasn’t directing it toward her, but, in hindsight, maybe not the best strategy.
-- oh no they didnt

It's a little hard to make out, but he called her a bitch or a witch.

The Parker Posey Sitcom

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Fox has pulled the low-rated Parkey Posey sitcom "The Return of Jezebel James" from its schedule after just three airings.

The show pulled in just 3.2 million viewers when it debuted March 14 with back-to-back episodes, the network's worst performance in the 8 p.m. hour since fall's "The Next Great American Band."

"Jezebel James," from "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, stars Posey as a frenzied career woman who persuades her younger sister (Lauren Ambrose) to become a surrogate mother for her.
-- The Huffington Post

"The Return of Jezebel James" Trailer

Filipino Horse Fighting

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

By The Daily Mail

The crowd roars its approval as the chestnut stallion sinks his teeth into the throat of his opponent. The terrified victim rears up on his hind legs and veers away in a desperate bid to escape, but it is no use. Blood is pouring into his eyes and he can no longer see. His right ear is torn and bloody.

The bigger horse moves in for the coup de grace, repeatedly kicking the weaker animal in the head with his front hooves. His opponent soon collapses and lies panting on the ground, an all too typical end to one of the most horrific spectator 'sports' ever devised - horse-fighting tournaments.

The tournament was equally traumatic for the mare used as "bait" for the stallions. Not only was she repeatedly hit by stray blows from the duelling horses, but the poor creature was also obliged to mate with the victorious stallions from each "bout", meaning that she was mounted as many as 30 times during one tournament which can last up to six hours.

Horse-fighting occurs almost exclusively in Mindanao in the southern Philippines [where it has become hugely popular], and in parts of China.

"King of Spam" Arrested

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

The notorious spammer authorities dubbed "the king of spam" is facing a possible 26-year jail sentence after pleading guilty in Seattle on Friday to charges of fraud and tax evasion.

Robert Soloway, 28, had already been found guilty of spam charges in several civil cases -- Microsoft won a $7.8 million judgment against him in 2005 -- but had avoided paying fines in those cases.

In a 2005 discussion group post, Soloway bragged, "I've been sued for hundreds of millions of dollars and have had my business running for over 10 years without ever paying a dime regardless to the outcome of any lawsuits." That year, Soloway raked in more than $300,000 from his spam operations, according to his plea agreement. -- Yahoo! News

Soloway is charged with using hijacked zombie computers and spoofing to send out millions of spam e-mails since 2003. Some e-mails sent by Soloway's company contained false header information making them appear to have been sent from MSN and Hotmail addresses. As a result of this he was sued by Microsoft and ordered to pay $7 million in damages in December 2003. -- Wikipedia

Britney Spears on "How I Meet Your Mother"

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

By The Daily News

Wednesday, March 26th 2008

An estimated 10.62 million viewers tuned in to see [Britney] Spears play a love-struck receptionist [on "How I Met Your Mother"], according to Nielsen Media Research.

That's up more than 1 million viewers from the week before, and some 2.4 million from what the sitcom averaged before the season was upended by a writers strike.

Monday's highly hyped telecast also generated the largest audience between the ages of 18 and 49 in the show's three-year history.

The appearance was Spears' first on TV - one in which she wasn't being chased by paparazzi - since her disastrous performance on the MTV Video Music Awards last fall.

Tim Gunn on "The Biggest Loser"

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Tim Gunn made a cameo appearance on NBC’s weight-loss reality series "The Biggest Loser" on Tuesday, March 18th. The fashion guru provided the big “losers” with tips on what frocks related best to their slender new figures. Each contestant received a new hairstyle and an outfit as part of the makeover episode. -- Popcrunch

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bloomberg in "Planadu"

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

By Gothamist

The annual press Inner Circle Dinner performance showcases the Mayor (and Broadway casts) performing skits written by the City Hall press corps, with proceeds from the $500 tickets going to charity. Last night's [March 15, 2008] performance included references to PlaNYC 2030 (Planadu), calling Bloomberg "Young Mikenstein," and even a Spitzer song "Love Client Number 9." Mayor Bloomberg even wore a Xanadu-ish outfit - yellow headband, spandex leggings under shorts, and rollerskates! Last year, Bloomberg was Mayor Poppins.

A crowd pleasing moment came when Giants quarterback Eli Manning took to the stage. Bloomberg called him "mediocre," to which Manning replied, "You must be from New England. Are you secretly taping this show?" Bloomberg also made fun of his presidential ambitions and Rudy Giuliani's failed campaign.
(Photo courtesy of Gothamist.)

The Judy Greer Sitcom

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Most actresses, stunners today, love to claim that they were dorks in high school. Judy Greer actually provides concrete physical proof thereof.

In her new sitcom, Miss Guided [executive produced by Ashton Kutcher], Greer is chipper, upbeat guidance counselor Becky Freeley, who returns to her high school to guide another generation. Confronted with students who can't spell, who fear dating and who may have lice, Greer's Becky keeps smiling. "These kids are a delight!" she proclaims.

The show airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
-- USA Today

Greer is perhaps best known for her recurring role on the FOX television series, Arrested Development, playing George Bluth, Sr.'s (Jeffrey Tambor) former secretary Kitty Sanchez.
-- Wikipedia

"Miss Guided" Sneak

"In the Heights" "96,000"

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

EXPERIENCE an exhilarating journey into one of Manhattan's most vibrant communities, where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. Welcome to "In The Heights," a new musical that feels like home.

"In The Heights" is Broadway's hottest hit! The New York Times calls it, "A musical about chasing your dreams and finding your true home, with enough energy to light up the George Washington Bridge. A SINGULAR NEW SENSATION!"

"In The Heights" began as an original musical conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda during his sophomore year at Wesleyan University. Upon graduating and returning home to New York, Miranda collaborated with director Thomas Kail to rework and restage the campus hit for a larger audience. That's how they captured the interest of producers Jill Furman, Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller, whose previous work on Broadway included Rent, Avenue Q and The Drowsy Chaperone. After more workshops, more collaborators, and a stint at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in Connecticut, the musical found a home at Off-Broadway's 37 Arts Theatre.
During its Off-Broadway run at 37 Arts, "In The Heights" quickly became an audience phenomenon and a critical success. The response was unprecedented...

"In The Heights" played its first Broadway performance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on February 14, 2008 and celebrated its Opening Night on March 9, 2008.
-- In The Heights the Musical

Arthur C. Clarke 1917-2008

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke at his home office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 28 March 2005 (photo by Amy Marash).

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer, died at the age of 90 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka on March 18, 2008.

Clarke had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair.

The visionary author of more than 70 books, who was nominated for a Nobel Prize after predicting the existence of satellites, was most famous for his short story "The Sentinel", which was expanded into the novel that was later adapted for Stanley Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey".

He was also credited with inventing the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality. -- Times Online

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"State of Play" on DVD

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Plot Summary: Stephen Collins is an ambitious politician. Cal McAffrey is a well-respected investigative journalist and Stephen's ex-campaign manager. En route to work one morning, Stephen's research assistant mysteriously falls to her death on the London Underground. It's not long before revelations of their affair hit the headlines. Meanwhile a suspected teenage drug dealer is found shot dead. These (apparently unconnected) events expose a dangerous habit within modern government of dancing too closely with the corporate devil. Friendships are tested and lives are put on the line as an intricate web of lies unfolds.

Early in 2008, theaters will get a new film called "State of Play," directed by Kevin MacDonald ("The Last King of Scotland") and starring Edward Norton, Jason Bateman, Helen Mirren and more. The movie is a remake of a 2003 BBC mini-series starring Bill Nighy ("Pirates of the Caribbean"), James MacAvoy ("The Last King of Scotland"), David Morrissey ("Basic Instinct 2") and John Simm ("The Master" in David Tennant's Doctor Who).
-- TV Shows on DVD

Anthony Minghella 1954 – 2008

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Anthony Minghella, a British filmmaker who won an Academy Award for his direction of “The English Patient,” died Tuesday morning in London.

Mr. Minghella, 54, died of complications from surgery to treat tonsil cancer, according to Leslee Dart, his publicist.

Mr. Minghella’s films, which also included “Breaking and Entering,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Cold Mountain,” used a careful eye for cultural and historical detail to explore how the dynamics of class pushed people into roles and behavior not of their choosing.
-- New York Times

Shaker Furniture Exhibit @ BGC

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

From March 13 to June 15, The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture in New York City, is presenting “Out of This World: Shaker Design Past, Present, and Future,” an exploration of 200 years of Shaker design and spirituality. In addition - and for the first time in a major exhibition - “Out of This World” illustrates the Shaker influence on diverse contemporary design, including Scandinavian furniture and the work of George Nakashima.

The Shaker movement was founded by Ann Lee (1736-1784), who, with a small band of followers, immigrated to America from England in 1774. From New York they traveled north, buying land near Albany; by 1781 they were established enough to undertake a mission to New England. After Mother Ann’s death, subsequent leaders spread the faith throughout New England and to Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. The society reached its apogee of about 6,000 members in the years just before the Civil War, and then slowly went into a decline, with only the last glimmerings still with us. Yet the Shakers have lasted longer and gained more fame than any other utopian community this country has produced.
-- Fine Art Publicity

The BGC for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture
18 West 86th Street | New York, NY | 10024 | Phone: 212-501-3000

"Where to Invade Next"

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Publisher Comments:

"About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, "Sir, you've got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you're too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq." This was on or about the twentieth of September..."

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it¹s worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" (meaning the Secretary of Defense¹s office) "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we¹re going to take out seven countries in five years."
— General Wesley Clark, February 27, 2007

Monday, March 24, 2008

Momofuku Ko Online Reservations

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

David Chang's, Momofuku Ko, only takes online reservations. The reservations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis to ensure equal access to the new 14-seat restaurant. On the first day online reservations became available, the site crashed.

Feeling Bad for Really Rich People

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

(Patrick Andrade for The New York Times)

A great many of the 14,000 employees of Bear Stearns are expected to lose their jobs because of the firm’s cash shortage and its pending acquisition by JPMorgan Chase. As the credit crisis unfolds and other firms discover the depths of their losses related to bad loans, few expect the layoffs to stop there. -- New York Times

Hour-Long Waits at Guggenheim

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

We already wrote about Cai Guo-Qiang's "Importune: Stage One" at the Guggenheim here. Apparently, there are hour-long waits to get in.

India, Mongolia and the Philippines owe NYC!

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

"The governments of India, Mongolia and the Philippines owe New York City roughly $57 million in property taxes, a federal judge has ruled, closing a long chapter in the Bloomberg administration's efforts to force foreign governments to shoulder some of the costs of their
presence at the United Nations.

The ruling, released on Monday by Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court in Manhattan, awards the city $42.3 million from India, $10.9 million from the Philippines and $4.4 million from Mongolia. The bulk of the amount is interest that had accrued on outstanding taxes over decades.

Whether that money will ultimately land in New York's coffers remains to be seen, since the city cannot enforce the liens in the usual way by foreclosing on the buildings.
-- New York Times

Gov. Paterson had an Affair with your Mom?

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

By Fox News

The state's new governor revealed Tuesday that he had affairs with several women, including a state employee. The confession came a day after he took over from former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was driven from office amid a prostitution scandal.

Gov. David Paterson, a Harlem Democrat, said the affairs happened during a rough patch in his marriage, and that the employee did not work for him. He insisted he did not advance her career, and that no campaign or state money was spent on the affairs.

The state government employee [Lila Kirton, 49], once involved in a love affair with Gov. Paterson is a married mom who found herself in the awkward position of working for him when he took over for Eliot Spitzer on Monday.

The Approval Matrix: Week of March 31, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Eleanor Rigby" on "American Idol"

No New "Seinfeld"?

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld has dismissed reports he is to star in a new TV sitcom.

The funnyman was alleged to be in talks with NBC for a new show similar to his writing partner Larry David's offbeat Curb Your Enthusiasm.

But NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks has denied the rumors, saying, "There's nothing to it."

And Seinfeld's representative, Elizabeth Clark Zoia, has also shot down the New York Post reports, insisting the rumors are completely false. -- Hollywood

Band Plays "SNL" in Sweaters

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

The following was posted on NYMag in the Tube Junkie section:

As we probably should've anticipated, the best part of this weekend's Saturday Night Live was the pair of performances by blog juggernaut Vampire Weekend, who we continue to like very much despite the massive backlash... Fighting through a typically subpar SNL audio mix, they still managed to sound pretty great — not that you could tell from the blogosphere's reaction, which is focused mostly on whether the singer's giant sweater makes him a "hyperdouche" ...

Note: You may have to refresh your web page several times before the video works.

Magazine Apologizes to Prince Harry

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

An Australian women's magazine apologized on Monday for breaking a global media blackout on Prince Harry's deployment in Afghanistan, forcing the third in line to the British throne to be withdrawn from frontline duty.

"We did not knowingly breach any embargo and were not party to any agreement for a media blackout on the story," said New Idea in a short apology in its latest edition.

"However, and more importantly, we do acknowledge that our actions in publishing the story can be reasonably viewed as insensitive and irresponsible," said the magazine.

Harry, 23, was hastily pulled out of Afghanistan last month, after just 10 weeks on the frontline, because of British fears that news of his presence my could increase the danger to him and his fellow soldiers.
-- Yahoo! News

Justin Timberlake to Produce

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Justin Timberlake has landed a new gig: He will produce an American version of the hit Peruvian comedy My Problem With Women for NBC. The series follows the adventures of Jose, a thirty-something bachelor who begins seeing a therapist in an attempt to understand why all of his romantic relationships fail.
-- Fafarazzi

NHL Game at Yankee Stadium

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

By Daily News

The House that Ruth Built is on track to be the house the Rangers bring down. As the current Rangers continue to drive down the stretch of this season, what is shaping up as a historic 2008-09 schedule now is expected to include a game at Yankee Stadium.

Momentum has built in recent weeks toward finalizing a deal that would have the Rangers play the final game in the storied history of the current Stadium, the Daily News has learned. The Yankees, who will move into their new Yankee Stadium for the 2009 baseball season, are said to be completely on board with having the NHL close the 85-year-old original.

And, anxious to build upon the buzz created by the wildly successful Winter Classic outdoor game between Pittsburgh and Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium on New Year's Day, NBC and the NHL are intent upon seizing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. League and network representatives visited the Stadium recently to get an on-site view of what would need to be done to stage the event.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Moment Of Truth" Ruins Marriage

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH will put participants to the test -- the lie detector test -- to reveal whether or not they are telling the truth for a chance to win half a million dollars.

On THE MOMENT OF TRUTH, the challenge is simple -- answer 21 increasingly personal questions honestly, as determined by a polygraph, and win up to $500,000. This is the only game show where participants know both the questions and the answers before they begin to play. Prior to playing, participants are strapped to a lie detector and asked a series of questions by a polygraph expert, who records their answers. At any time, between the polygraph and the televised game, participants can change their answers or walk away from the competition.

To win $500,000 participants have to tell the truth. Of course, the questions are easier when the stakes are low – but as the prize amount increases, they will be challenged to fess up to matters they might normally lie about. The touchier questions could be especially revealing because participants reveal their answers in front of spouses, relatives and friends, hanging on every word. What deep dark secret will someone divulge for hundreds of thousands of dollars?
-- FOX

"Moment Of Truth" Ruins Marriage

"Human Giant" is Back

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

The hit sketch comedy show "Rolling Stone" called "brilliant" returns to MTV for a second season with guest appearances from Will Arnett, David Cross, Bill Hader, Brian Posehn, Andy Samberg, and more. More aggressive, more hilarious, and more brutal, these episodes find Aziz, Rob, and Paul encountering a psychotic monkey in a carpet store, the ghost of an adult film star, a post-apocalyptic future ruled by ice cream, the return of child talent agents the Shutterbugs, and the downfall of goth magicians the Illusionators.
-- HGiantVid

"Human Giant" Season 2 Trailer (NSFW!)

Facebook Blood-Bank Application

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

When a patient is in need of blood that isn’t available, it becomes a life and death situation. Historically the Red Cross will make efforts to alert the public during a shortage. But there may be a better way - leverage the social networks to get the word out. If shortages of a certain type of blood occur in a certain zip code, having a database of willing donors in that zip code to contact may be the most efficient way to solve the problem quickly.

That’s where Takes All Types (TAT), a non-profit organization, comes in. Users install their just-released Facebook application, tell it their location and blood type, and say how often they are willing to be contacted to donate blood (maximum is every 57 days). If a shortage occurs, they’ll contact you via the methods that you authorize (Facebook, email, text message, etc.)
-- Tech Crunch

Cell Phone\Camera\Watch

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Clean out all the gadgets in your bulging pockets! This MP4 Bluetooth Cell Phone Watch with its built-in camera has all your favorite gadgets handy - just wear it on your wrist! See different styles for this COOL gadget.
-- Revver

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.
-- garfield minus garfield

The Amazing Reading 1-Year-Old

3rd SE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Best Show on TV Ends

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

This item is referring to "The Wire." NYMag has ‘The Wire’ Finale's Montage: [with] A Shot-by-Shot Commentary.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Alarm Will Sound

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

(Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times)

The New York Times said that “A/rhythmia” was,"... a riotous complexity of syncopations, cross-rhythms and polyrhythms with the pulse often emphasized to set off the aberrations ... the conceit was pleasant and diverting, involving a rich mix of music ranging in time from Johannes Ciconia in the 14th century to John Adams in the 21st, and in sophistication from Harrison Birtwistle to the Shaggs."

Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member chamber orchestra that focuses on recordings and performances of contemporary music. Its performances have been described as "equal parts exuberance, nonchalance, and virtuosity" by the Financial Times and as "a triumph of ensemble playing" by the San Francisco Chronicle. -- Wikipedia

Grace Paley's "Fidelity"

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

"Fidelity", the excellent new collection of poetry by Grace Paley (FSG, March 18th 2008), is a fitting final release (she died in August, aged 84). It is about the experience of being old, and the often painful separation between the poet and her world. Paley builds her poems organically and spaciously--they seem to expand in the air and dissipate foggily, barely located anymore in time and space. She saw herself as if through the lens of a camera, as though she did not inhabit the body she wrote about. In poems such as "When", she leaves physical spaces in between her words, echoing the fatigue and remove the speaker has from the action:

When she came to meet him at the ferry
he said you are so pale worn so
frail standing on her toes
to reach his ear she whispered
I am an old woman oh then
he was always kind

-- More Intelligentlife

Monday, March 17, 2008


2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Roger Federer defeated Pete Sampras, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6), in an exhibition match Monday night [March 10, 2008 at Madison Square Garden].

“To play against a childhood hero in Madison Square Garden was a great honor for me,” Federer said.

Classy, as usual, but the question lingers: What besides a payday and a friendship with his hero did Federer have to gain by meeting Sampras on Sampras’s turf, in front of a raucous sellout crowd that included Federer’s good buddy, Tiger Woods? -- New York Times

Federer-Sampras Highlights

Thomas R. Suozzi

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Thomas R. Suozzi (born August 31, 1962 in Glen Cove, New York) is the county executive of Nassau County, New York. He was first elected to the post of county executive in 2001, the first Democratic county executive since Eugene Nickerson left office in 1971. He ran unsuccessfully against Eliot Spitzer for the Democratic nomination for the race to be Governor of New York in 2006.-- Wikipedia

Calatrava's "Chicago Spire" Demo

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

The Chicago Spire by Santiago Calatrava is a unique collection of 1200 residences on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Designed by one of the world’s most celebrated architects, The Chicago Spire is the most significant residential developments in the world. -- The Chicago Spire

"Macbeth" on Broadway

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

The powerful new staging of "Macbeth" starring Patrick Stewart will transfer to Broadway for an eight-week run starting March 29, according to Playbill.

"Macbeth," now playing a sold-out run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music through March 22, will play Broadway's Lyceum Theatre through May 24. -- NewYorkology

"Macbeth": In one of Shakespeare’s greatest dramas, Patrick Stewart plays Macbeth—a man utterly determined to obtain the royal crown. Aided by his even more ambitious and ruthless wife, Macbeth murders the king and a comrade only to lose everything by the play’s end. In his New York debut, Rupert Goold takes inspiration from Stalin’s Great Terror and directs this psychological and chilling tragedy in a stark, austere production that places Macbeth in a timeless, nameless, and lawless country. -- Shubert Organization

Rumors of Scrabulous Demise

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

As Hasbro fights to get an online copycat of its Scrabble board game called Scrabulous yanked off the Internet, thousands of visitors to Facebook, where the game most famously lives, are lobbying to keep it alive and kicking.

Within hours of news of a potential Scrabulous scrapping hitting the Web, many bloggers and Scrabulous fans were up in arms over the news.

... on Facebook, at least seven different groups formed with nearly 20,000 total members joining to rescue the favored application from its demise. Nearly all the groups had some variation of the phrase "Save Scrabulous" in their names.

The online game, which is played much the way Scrabble is, was developed by brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla in Calcutta, India. The game is among the top 10 most downloaded applications on Facebook and can also be played online at the brothers' Web site.
-- ABC News

Electoral Mess in Florida?

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

A copy of a memo from Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Karen Thurman contains details of a draft proposal for voting by mail, which it describes as the "best option," and a budget of between $10 and $12 million, as well as a date: June 3.

The memo cites a poll commissioned by Florida Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller commissioned a poll of voters who participated in the state’s January 29th Democratic Presidential Primary, which found that 59% of those Democrats want a revote.

"Only 63% of these primary-voting Democrats are committed to sticking with our eventual nominee if Florida voters are not counted. That number is dangerously low," the memo says.
-- Politico

According to The Huffington Post, "The DNC has stripped the Sunshine State of its delegates because it violated party rules in holding an earlier than approved primary."

UPDATE: Facing strong opposition, Florida Democrats on Monday [March 17, 2008] abandoned plans to hold a do-over presidential primary with a mail-in vote and threw the delegate dispute into the lap of the national party. -- Yahoo! News

Lying Authors

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

A memoir by a white woman who claimed she was raised in poverty by a black foster mother and sold drugs for a gang in a tough Los Angeles neighborhood has turned out to be pure fiction, a newspaper report says.

In "Love and Consequences,", author Margaret B. Jones writes about growing up as a half-white, half-Native American girl in South-Central Los Angeles in the foster home of Big Mom. One of her foster brothers, she writes, was gunned down by Crips gang members outside their home.

Jones also writes of carrying illegal guns and selling drugs for the Bloods gang.

Jones's story came apart after her older sister, Cyndi Hoffman, saw an article in The New York Times about the author and contacted Riverhead, the Times says.
-- Huffington Post

The blog The Ride posted in relation to this issue: All I have to say is, “What the hell?” I think the saying goes, “Fool me once and shame on you. Fool me twice and shame on me.” With that said, shame on the publishing industry for being fooled once again by fake memoirists. After the public ass-whooping Oprah gave James Frey, author of “A Million Little Pieces” and his publisher, Nan Talese, about the numerous “untruths” contained in the book, you would have thought that the publishing industry would have performed due diligence and implemented quality control/fact checking systems.

Bjork - Declare Independnce for Tibet

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

John Mac Master Booed

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

(Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Maury D'annato of the blog My Favorite Intermissions wrote of John MacMaster being booed:

If, by any chance, you were one of the people booing John Mac Master at this evening’s Tristan, git. That’s right, get out of here. We don’t serve your kind in this here pub.* Mr. Mac Master stepped in for the generally acknowledged Tristan of choice on the world’s opera stages on what I believe was short notice. He had a rough night, with some moments of admirable ardor and, in a few climactic moments at high volume, good muscular sound. Yeah, some of it was disappointing, but most of us, not being heartless boors, let it go. If you had the bad taste to think your disapproval was really that important, my writing, however little or much it’s worth, is sullied by the passing over of your eyes. Stop reading My Favorite Intermissions, and don’t come back. Get lost.

The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Spizter Hooker in Music Video

1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Best of Conclusion

This concludes our last Best of posts. We'll be back Monday with the new Approval Matrix!

Thanks for reading!

"Born in the Bronx"

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Jim Farberm of the Daily News wrote in his review of the book
Born in the Bronx:
A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop:

"In seminal photos, handbills and record sleeves from the late '70s and early '80s, "The Bronx" captures an ironically gorgeous thing: The early rappers, break dancers and graffiti artists bred in our northernmost borough managed to contradict every depressing element of their surroundings by transforming them into pure expression. More, they did so with such creativity, their work wound up changing the entire history of youth culture."
(Photograph by Joe Conzo courtesy of Born in the Bronx)


I try to read every book that appears in the Approval Matrix, as well as watch every television show (at least one episode) and film. I Netflixed this film, and it was very interesting - in a good way.

(1982) Just one lousy misstep, and reedy postman Frédéric Andréi is on the run all across Paris— including a hair-raising car-and-moped chase through the Métro— hotly pursued by a drug dealer/white slaver/cop honcho’s hit team (including blond, sun-glassed Dominique Pinon, wielding the world’s most vicious awl); ruthless Taiwanese music pirates; and the obviously outmanned flics themselves: all because he pirated a recording of the woman of his dreams, the NEVER-recorded opera super-star Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, as she wraps up a recital with an aria from obscure 19th composer Alfredo Catalani’s La Wally … and, well, maybe also, because of the incriminating tape a hooker on the run from the aforementioned hit squad slipped into his mail pouch…

Longtime assistant director Beineix’s debut was an international arthouse sensation, playing for over a year in some cinemas, nabbing four French Césars (including Best Film and Philippe Rousselot’s cinematography), and singlehandledly launching the cinéma du look, an explosion of visually stunning, punk-inspired, super-cool French movies in the early 80s.
-- Film Forum

"DIVA" Trailer

"Rehab" Singer in Rehab

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Hollyscoop has a link to a Sun story that reveals that Amy Winehouse went on three-day drug bender before collapsing from an overdose. She took ecstasy, cocaine, and horse tranquillizer [WTF!]- washed down with vodka and whisky [WTF!].
Winehouse was eventually rushed to the hospital at 1 A.M. on Wednesday August 8, 2007 for an emergency adrenaline shot, and to get her stomach pumped. She subsequently checked into a private wing at The Priory rehab facility in Roehampton, South West London.

Her song “Rehab,” which has been nominated for several MTV VMAs, is about her manager’s attempts to send her to a rehab facility.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

George Saunders' "The Braindead Megaphone"

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Jason Kottke relates that, "The title essay of George Saunders' The Braindead Megaphone invites the reader to imagine a person at a party with a megaphone. Megaphone Guy might not have much to say, but he's got a megaphone and so he is heard, his utterances setting the agenda for the entire party, the party's collective intelligence (its crowd-like wisdom if you want to put it that way) determined by the intelligence of Megaphone Guy. Before long, it ruins the party because the other guests will stop being guests and become passive "reactors-to-the-Guy."

Joseph Sullivan at BDR goes on to say that, "George Saunders' first collection of essays is out, and before you say "What the HELL is that?", read something that Saunders wrote on his blog:

"The central premise of the title essay in my new book, The Braindead Megaphone, is this: Our cultural discourse is being dumbed-down by mass-media prose that is written too quickly, and therefore fails to due justice to the complexity of the world."

And now think about the latest newscast you watched and tell me that this design doesn't hit all the right notes: ugly graphics, interchangeable talking heads, and most importantly, a real schizoid aesthetic that speaks directly to the way news is created and reported."

Mendoza Diagonal

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Mookie - A very interesting approach to analyzing the correct amount of hotness a woman must have to overcome her craziness. The concept, of course, being that the crazier a woman is, the hotter she must be to overlook it. It was analyzed using the HCS (Hot-Crazy Scale) on How I Met Your Mother. After considering all factors and plotting them on the graph, the side that a crazy woman falls on the Vickie Mendoza Diagonal would scientifically determine whether the relationship is worth pusuing.

In a nutshell, Hot is on the Y axis and crazy on the X axis. The line starts from 0 with a slope of 1. Basically plot where the girl lies on the graph (crazy, hot) and determine on which side she falls on the Vickie Mendoza Diagonal.

J.C.R.E.A.M. (Johnny Cash vs Wu Tang Clan)

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Day Three of Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Once again, last weeks New York Magazine was a double-issue; so, this week I'm doing a Best of Behind the Approval Matrix. And don't forget, you can also visit my other blog, I Got UGGs!, for some lowbrow, but brilliant entertainment.

"Cultural Guerrillas"

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

It is one of Paris's most celebrated monuments, a neoclassical masterpiece that has cast its shadow across the city for more than two centuries.

For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon's unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid "illegal restorers" [Four members of an underground "cultural guerrilla" movement known as the Untergunther, whose purpose is to restore France's cultural heritage] set up a secret workshop and lounge in a cavity under the building's famous dome. Under the supervision of group member Jean-Baptiste Viot, a professional clockmaker, they pieced apart and repaired the antique clock that had been left to rust in the building since the 1960s. Only when their clandestine revamp of the elaborate timepiece had been completed did they reveal themselves.
-- Guardian

“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

According to every pop-culture website in Internetland last night’s [October 11, 2007] 30 Rock was the funniest episode of the fall TV season so far. More specifically, “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” was one of the funniest segments in recent TV history. “Boys becoming men / men becoming wolves!” (Co-Ed Magazine\Steve of Seton Hall University)


Best of Behind of the Approval Matrix

Book Description: A vivid portrait of what it means to be a teenage girl in America today, from 58 of the country's finest, most credentialed writers on the subject.

This generation's unprecedented comfort level with the written word [text and instant messages, blogs and social network pages] has led to a fearless new American literature. These collected essays, at last, offer a key to understanding the inscrutable teenage girl-one of the most mislabeled and underestimated members of society, argues editor and writer Amy Goldwasser, whose work has appeared in Seventeen, Vogue, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.

In this eye-opening collection, nearly sixty teenage girls from across the country speak out, writing about everything from post-Katrina New Orleans to Johnny Depp; from learning to rock climb to starting a rock band; from the loneliness of losing a best friend to the loathing or pride they feel about their bodies. Ranging in age from 13 to 19, and hailing from Park Avenue to rural Nevada, Georgia to Hawaii, the girls in RED-whose essays were selected from more than 800 contributions-represent a diverse spectrum of socioeconomic, political, racial, and religious backgrounds, creating a rich portrait of life as a teen girl in America today. (Amazon)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Day Two of Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Last weeks New York Magazine was a double-issue; so, I will be doing a Best of Behind the Approval Matrix this week. You can also visit my other blog, I Got UGGs!, for some lowbrow, but brilliant entertainment.

Jean Nouvel's MoMA Tower

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

A new 75-story tower designed by the architect Jean Nouvel for a site next to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown promises to be the most exhilarating addition to the skyline in a generation. Its faceted exterior, tapering to a series of crystalline peaks, suggests an atavistic preoccupation with celestial heights. It brings to mind John Ruskin’s praise for the irrationality of Gothic architecture: “It not only dared, but delighted in, the infringement of every servile principle.”

Commissioned by Hines, an international real estate developer, the tower will house a hotel, luxury apartments and three floors that will be used by MoMA to expand its exhibition space. The melding of cultural and commercial worlds offers further proof, if any were needed, that Mr. Nouvel is a master at balancing conflicting urban forces. (NY Times)

Born in Fumel, Lot-et-Garonne, he was educated at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l'Architecture. In 2005, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art hosted a major retrospective of his works.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was named after him, as Pitt is a fan of his work. (Wikipedia)

"Do Not Open"

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Book Description for "Do Not Open: An Encyclopedia of the Worlds Best Kept Secrets": In the groundbreaking tradition of DK's New York Times bestseller Pick Me Up, this book uses the same irreverent style to explore all the things THEY don't want you know about. From the Mona Lisa's hidden past to the history of Area 51, Do Not Open explores lost worlds, unravels secret codes, and lets readers step through the looking glass to see if they can handle the truth!
-- Amazon

". . . a colorful book filled with unexplained mysteries, bizarre anecdotes through the ages, great escapes, codes, optical illusions, hoaxes, and explanations of secret systems and complexes."

Steven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt Energy Drink

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

When Steven Seagal finished creating a drink that holds untold natural power, there was only one equivalent in nature- The Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt. Both mysterious and powerful, it's a symbol of the untold energy the earth has to offer- such is Steven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt energy drink.

Steven Seagal's Lightning Bolt is an energy drink as unique as the man who created it. It has pioneered the way for nutritional, all natural energy drinks and emerged as many “firsts”:

  • First energy drink to contain Tibetan Goji Berries
  • First energy drink to contain Asian Cordyceps

It is also one of the very few energy drinks to be offered in multiple flavors and is available in 60 countries worldwide.
--Lightning Drink

Monday, March 10, 2008

"The Septembers of Shiraz"

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Publisher Comments: Isaac Amin, an Iranian Jew, is arrested and imprisoned shortly after the 1979 revolution in Iran, accused of being a Zionist Spy. Dalia Sofer's remarkably accomplished debut novel, The Septembers of Shiraz, follows his descent from a venerated, wealthy jeweler to a helpless prisoner, and chronicles the disquieting effect of his arrest on his family.

The Times says, "The Septembers of Shiraz is a remarkable debut: the richly evocative, powerfully affecting depiction of a prosperous Jewish family in Tehran shortly after the revolution."

Here is a succinct review on

Fungus on Leonardo's Codex Atlanticus

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, the largest bound collection of his drawings and writings, has been infiltrated by mold, Italian scholars said Friday [12/21/07]. The extent of damage to the Codex — an assemblage of 1,119 pages of drawings and writings dating from 1478 to 1519 on topics ranging from flying machines to weapons, mathematics to botany — is not yet known, but the mold is not spreading, they said.

But officials appealed for aid in restoring and conserving the Codex, saying it would be highly expensive and that there were no public funds for the project.

The Codex, which consists of 12 leather-bound volumes, is kept in a vault at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana where temperature and humidity are constantly monitored. The mold was first identified in April 2006 by Carmen Bambach, a curator of drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York...(New York Times)

Mongolian Mouse-Creature

Best of Behind the Approval Matrix

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Paula Abdul's Embarrassing New Video

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 10, 2008

Paula Abdul - Dance Like There's No Tomorrow OFFICIAL VIDEO

Prince Getting Hip Replacement Surgery

4th SW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 10, 2008

By Stuff

26 February 2008

The Purple Rain singer - who released his first album in 1978 - is being forced to undergo the surgery at just 49-years-old after suffering excruciating pain as a result of years of blistering performances.

A source told Britain's News of the World newspaper: "For months Prince, who always puts on the most energetic shows, has been complaining of pain every time he moves.

"He is totally crushed because he knows he will never be the same again."

The surgery will involve removing the ball and socket of Prince's damaged hip and replacing it with a titanium joint.

The diminutive star is allegedly booking into a private hospital and aides have reportedly cleared two months from his diary to allow him time to recover from the operation.