Friday, May 30, 2008

Did Denise Richards ask for Charlie Sheen's Sperm?

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Denise Richards says an email purported to be from her to ex Charlie Sheen's now-fiancee Brooke Mueller asking for his sperm donation is "not legitimate." "It's a doctored e-mail," she said on Today Wednesday when asked about the e-mail, which came to light during her divorce battle with Sheen. "I would never send an e-mail to [Mueller], and, at the time of that e-mail, I was with [Richie Sambora]. If I wanted anybody's sperm, I'd have asked for Richie's," she said (watch above). The actress said that she had just learned her mother was dying when the e-mail was supposedly sent. -- US Magazine

Denise Richards Denies Asking for Charlie Sheen's Sperm

Angelina Jolie "Wanted"

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

"Wanted" tells the tale of one apathetic nobody's transformation into an unparalleled enforcer of justice. In 2008, we're introduced to a hero for a new generation: 25 year old employed slacker, WESLEY GIBSON. Wes is the most disaffected, cube-dwelling, clock-punching drone this planet has ever known. His boss chews him out hourly, his girlfriend ignores him routinely, and his life plods on in interminable boredom and routine. Everyone knows this disengaged slacker will amount to absolutely nothing, and so does he, until he meets the sexy, foxy woman named FOX, and then everything changes. Wes' estranged father is murdered, and the deadly Fox recruits him into The Fraternity, a secret society that trains him to avenge his father's death, by unlocking his dormant powers. And oh boy does he have powers, as she teaches Wes how to develop his lightning-quick reflexes and phenomenal agility, he discovers that The Fraternity lives by an ancient, unbreakable code: to carry out the death orders given by emotionless Fate itself. Wes, with his wickedly brilliant and sexy tutor, plus the paternal guidance of The Fraternity's enigmatic leader, SLOAN, young Wes grows to enjoy all the strength and success he ever wanted. But, slowly, he realizes there's more to his dangerous associates than meets the casual eye. And, as he wavers between new found heroism and vengeance, Wes will come to learn what no one can ever teach him; that he alone controls his destiny.
-- IMDb\Written by Orange


4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix
The story begins with a regular Joe who tries desperately to seek employment, but embarks on a violent rampage when he teams up with cult leader Uncle Dave. Their first act is to heist an amusement park, only to learn that the Taliban are planning the same heist as well. Chaos ensues, and now the Postal Dude must not only take on terrorists but political figures as well.
-- IMDb\Written by

Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty - Best Friends

4th\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

According to Best Week Ever, "These two are probably just friends who have multiple arrests, music, nationality and a love of drugs in common, but look how the two drunken singers are hanging onto each other outside of Amy’s house. She has an opening for a new leech after her husband, Blake Fielder Civil, took up with a blond ex girlfriend who started visiting him in prison. She’s been auditioning various guys these past few weeks, and Doherty seems just her type unfortunately."

Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty have a crazy night...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

DAVID COOK WINS! "American Idol 7"

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Rumors of the Demise of CW

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The Wall Street Journal says if ratings don't perk up, the CW could fold as soon as next year.

A big part of the ratings issue — the network has lost about 30% of its target of 18 to 34-year-olds — is that its audience spends a lot of free time on the Internet and not in front of the tube. The writers' strike also accelerated the viewership decline.

In an effort to steer eyeballs back to the TV, the network recently pulled free episodes of Gossip Girl from its website, but ratings for the TV show did not improve.

The Journal quotes industry officials as saying it's possible one of the CW's owners — CBS and Time Warner — could cash in and walk away next year. -- TV Guide

"The Office's" "Kevin is retarded" Joke

3rd\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Alan Sepinwall posted the following on his blog What's Alan Watching?:

A classic example of the humanized writing [on the season finale of "The Office"] was the running gag about Holly believing that Kevin was retarded. “You drive your own car? Wow….I am so proud of you.” Here's something where Kevin behaves the way he always behaves, and Holly behaves in a way that seems appropriate (for her and the situation), and you can see exactly how she'd read their encounters as Kevin being slow while Kevin would read them as Holly wanting to get him in bed. Much as I love "The Office," there are times when the show forces its characters' behavior to extremes in order to get a big laugh.

The full episode can be viewed here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chuck Ramkissoon in "Netherland"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

In a New York City made phantasmagorical by the events of 9/11, Hans--a banker originally from the Netherlands--finds himself marooned among the strange occupants of the Chelsea Hotel after his English wife and son return to London. Alone and untethered, feeling lost in the country he had come to regard as home, Hans stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. Ramkissoon, a Gatsby-like figure who is part idealist and part operator, introduces Hans to an “other” New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality. Hans is alternately seduced and instructed by Chuck’s particular brand of naivete and chutzpah--by his ability to a hold fast to a sense of American and human possibility in which Hans has come to lose faith.

Netherland gives us both a flawlessly drawn picture of a little-known New York and a story of much larger, and brilliantly achieved ambition: the grand strangeness and fading promise of 21st century America from an outsider’s vantage point, and the complicated relationship between the American dream and the particular dreamers. Most immediately, though, it is the story of one man--of a marriage foundering and recuperating in its mystery and ordinariness, of the shallows and depths of male friendship, of mourning and memory. Joseph O’Neill’s prose, in its conscientiousness and beauty, involves us utterly in the struggle for meaning that governs any single life. -- Amazon

Monitor Mix

3rd/SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Carrie Brownstein, former guitarist for the band Sleater-Kinney, hosts our new NPR Music blog, with musings for music fans, curmudgeons and recovering hipsters.

Carrie Brownstein is a writer and musician. She was a member of the critically acclaimed rock band Sleater-Kinney. Her writing has appeared in 'The New York Times,' 'The Believer,' 'Pitchfork,' and various book anthologies on music and culture. -- Monitor Mix


3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) embarks on a new adventure in director Jon Turtletaub's sequel to NATIONAL TREASURE. Ben and his father, Patrick (Jon Voight), take great pride in their ancestors and their family's devotion to the United States. When Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) produces a page from the diary of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth allegedly linking Ben's great-great grandfather to the plot, Ben and Patrick set out on a path to clear their family's name. Ben also believes that the diary page contains hints to the whereabouts of a treasure map leading to an ancient city made of gold, and soon the hunt is on. Tech expert Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and Ben's now ex-girlfriend Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) join the Gates in their quest, which takes them from Washington, DC, to Paris, London and the Black Hills of South Dakota. It's true that the storyline and the actions of Gates and his team--which include breaking into the Queen's study at Buckingham Palace, sneaking into the Oval Office, and kidnapping the President of the United States--are completely unbelievable. But with a storyline built on true, interesting trivia and great locations, this film is an amusing, family-friendly romp. Cage has some great moments as Gates-- loyal, patriotic, fair to a fault, and very funny as he goads on Buckingham Palace security. Harris plays Wilkinson with just the right air of mystery and menace: is he after fortune, or does he just want to leave his own mark in history? Helen Mirren fits the bill as Ben's mother and Patrick's estranged ex-wife, Emily, a scholar and historian in her own right.

National Treasure 2 : Book Of Secrets DVD Features:
Region 1
Keep Case
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish
Subtitles - French, Spanish - Optional
Additional Release Material:
Audio Commentary - Jon Turteltaub - Director; Jon Voight - Actor

-- CD Universe

Fox Orders "Hole in the Wall"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Fox Broadcasting announced it has given a 13- episode order for "Hole in the Wall," a competition series where teammates must contort their bodies in unison to fit through a hole in a wall or be swept into a pool below.

The series originated in Japan in 2006 and continues to win its time slot. It later spawned versions in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. -- Fox Reality

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"The Book of Dahlia"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

When Dahlia Finger—a 29-year-old, pot-smoking, chronically underachieving Jewish-American princess—learns that she has brain cancer, the results are hilarious and heartbreaking in Albert's superb first novel (following the story collection How This Night Is Different).
Opening in the Venice, Calif., cottage to which Dahlia has retreated, at her father's expense, after unsuccessfully trying to forge a life in New York, chapter one begins with the omniscient narrator's scathingly Edith Wharton–worthy catalogue of Dahlia's symptoms and ends with her first grand mal seizure. As Dahlia endures blistering radiation, sits numbly through her support group, smokes medical marijuana (with her crisis-reunited divorced parents) and carries a condescending book called It's Up to You: Your Cancer To-Do List, Albert masterfully interweaves Dahlia's battle with flashbacks, most tellingly involving her complexly overbearing Israeli mother, Margalit (who unceremoniously imploded the family decades earlier), and contemptuous older brother, against whom Dahlia has never learned to defend herself. Throughout, Albert delivers Dahlia's laissez-faire attitude toward other people (men especially) and lack of ambition with such exactness as to strip them of cliché and make them grimly vivid. Her brilliant style makes the novel's central question—should we mourn a wasted life?—shockingly poignant as Dahlia hurtles toward death.
-- Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"Bruce Lee" Coming to Broadway

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By Gillian Reagan\ The New York Observer
Bruce Lee: Journey to the West, a David Yazbek-David Henry Hwang musical, will be directed by Bartlett Sher, a Tony Award nominee for his direction of South Pacific. Elephant Eye (which is also attached to the Off-Broadway musical Saved) announced today that Bruce Lee "is targeted for the 2010-2011 Broadway season," according to Playbill. The musical will follow of the martial arts legend as he kicks and Kung Fus his way to stardom. Figures from Chinese mythology will follow his quest to master his skills and merge East and West cultures. Tony nominee Mr. Yazbek (The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) will pen music and lyrics for the bio musical about the martial arts movie star, and Tony winner (and recent Obie award winner) Mr. Hwang (M Butterfly) will write the book.

Authors @ Google

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The Authors@Google program brings authors of all stripes to Google for informal talks centering on their recently published books. Through the program, we invite authors to our Mountain View headquarters as well as our New York, Santa Monica, and Ann Arbor offices, where they treat Googlers to readings of everything from serious literature and political analysis to pioneering science fiction and moving personal memoirs; past participants have ranged from novelist Martin Amis and Nobel-prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz to primatologist Jane Goodall and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. When possible, we share these remarkable conversations with the world outside the Googleplex via Google Video and YouTube. -- Google

Anthony Bourdain is interviewed by Google Executive Chef Nate Keller at Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters. This event took place on November 20, 2007 as part of the Authors@Google series.

"Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns?"

2nd/NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The Swiss artist [Urs Fischer] commissioned the photographer Ellen Page Wilson to document Tony Shafrazi’s previous group show—artworks, walls, air ducts, security guards—then created seamless, to-scale trompe l’oeil wallpaper from the images. This evidential trace of the gallery’s last exhibition is now the ground against which nearly two dozen artworks, selected by Fischer and Brown and which at some point were in Shafrazi’s inventory, cagily rest.

Walking through the show is an uncanny delight: Like an autofocus lens unable to locate its subject, one’s mind and eyes strive to unscramble the artworks actually present from those that are verisimilar copies. A 1943 portrait by Francis Picabia is centered on the image of a Donald Baechler painting of a dandy and some beach balls...While the included artworks, in a white cube, would make for an odd group show, in this bizarro world harmonies arise.

The recognition dawns that Fischer and [dealer Gavin] Brown have concocted a surprisingly subtle meditation on the many lives of artworks...That such canny, simple gestures seem so refreshing is a gentle rebuke to the ossified conventions to which we all unthinkingly subscribe. -- Art Forum

"Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns?"
544 West 26th Street
May 9–July 12

LES is an Endangered Historic Place

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

[Photo via Flickr/lucky_dog]

At a press conference this morning [May 20, 2008] at Seward Park High School on Grand Street, the National Trust for Historic Preservation will name its 2008 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Here's the National Trust for Historic Preservation's explanation:

Few places in America can boast such a rich tapestry of history, culture and architecture as New York’s Lower East Side. However, this legendary neighborhood—the first home for waves of immigrants since the 18th century—is now undergoing rapid development. New hotels and condominium towers are being erected across the area, looming large over the original tenement streetscape. As this building trend shows no sign of abating, it threatens to erode the fabric of the community and wipe away the collective memory of generations of immigrant families.

Although the Lower East Side was placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 2000, such a designation functions primarily as an “honor roll” and does not preserve a neighborhood’s appearance or regulate real estate speculation. The community, with little recourse for protection, is reeling from the recent destruction of its cultural heritage, including the defacing of several historic structures and the loss of First Roumanian Synagogue. Slapdash and haphazard renovations have led to the destruction of architectural detail, while modern additions to historic buildings sharply contrast with the neighborhood’s scale and character. In 2007, permits were approved for the full demolition of 11 buildings on the Lower East Side, compared with just one in 2006. These developments, among others, signify the quickening erasure of the neighborhood’s architectural and socio-cultural fabric. -- Curbed

Monday, May 26, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro Accusses Bob Herbert of Sexism

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

[Geraldine Ferraro] was on Fox News, once again playing the race card minus an iota of shame. According to her, black male journalists are up to our eyeballs in the Obama juice and never, ever talk about sexism. She then decides to give to New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, who happens to be black and male, a little grief.

“All the surrogates that they had out there, from the black journalists — you know, have you read Bob Herbert recently in the past six months? There wasn’t one column that had anything decent to say about Hillary.”

Like everything else out of Ferraro’s mouth, this charge is loony. Nuts. Filled with “truthiness.” Here is Herbert in January of this year:

“If there was ever a story that deserved more coverage by the news media, it’s the dark persistence of misogyny in America.” -- The Visible Vote

American Airlines to Charge $15 for Checked Bag

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

American Airlines will start charging $15 for the first checked bag, cut domestic flights and lay off workers — probably in the thousands — as the nation's largest carrier grapples with record-high fuel prices.

American plans to cut domestic flight capacity by 11 percent to 12 percent in the fourth quarter, after the peak summer season is over. The carrier was previously planning a 4.6 percent cut.

American said rising oil prices have increased its expected annual fuel costs by nearly $3 billion since the start of the year.

American said Wednesday that the fee for the first checked bag starts June 15, and it will raise other fees for services ranging from reservation help to oversized bags. Those fees could cost between $5 to $50. -- Yahoo! News

Missouri Republican Ad

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Fire at Berlin Philharmonic

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

(Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)


Firefighters brought a large fire in the roof of the famed home of the Berlin Philharmonic under control on Tuesday, but the full extent of damage to the building remained unclear.

The Berlin Fire Department reported no injuries, and the musicians’ irreplaceable instruments were rescued from the building, the Philharmonie. Nevertheless, the roof, made of metal, was in shambles after firefighters tore through it to get at the flames in the structure underneath, and significant water damage to the building, which is one of the world’s great concert halls, remained a concern.

Officials said they believed that a team of welders working on the roof had accidentally started the fire, but the cause remained under investigation. The fire commander at the scene said that more than 17,000 square feet of the roof was damaged, from the fire and the rescue efforts.
The Approval Matrix: Week of June 2, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Hot Tub Time Machine"

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

MGM has picked up the Josh Heald comedy project, Hot Tub Time Machine, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hot Tub Time Machine follows a group of guys, adults who used to be cads back in their heyday, who, after a night of vodka and Red Bulls in a hot tub, travel back in time and set out to rediscover their "mojo."

"We're always looking for ways to stand out from the rest of the pack in today's crowded marketplace, and what better way than to combine hot tub debauchery and the complications of time travel," said MGM exec vp production Cale Boyter, who will oversee the project along with the company's Becky Sloviter.

The comedy begins production May 19 with Phil Dornfeld at the helm. -- Movie Web

Trump says Brady is "Probably" Cheating on Gisele

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

[D]uring a recent speech at an economics confab in Arkansas. The Donald couldn’t help telling the backwater business types that he and the New England Patriots QB/QT are thisclose.

“Tom Brady is a friend of mine. I walk into a room with him and people go wild. Of course, I think it’s because of me. It’s good for my ego,” the real estate czar told the group. “But he’s with (girlfriend) Gisele (Bundchen), and probably many others. But that’s a guy who never gave up.” -- Boston Herald

Bill O'Reilly Achievements in Early Bullying

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Toy Tower to be Dismantled

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

City officials say the so-called Toy Tower is rotting and has become unsafe.

Local artist Eddie Boros built the 65-foot-tall tower out of boards he found on the streets, starting more than 20 years ago.

He garnished it with a plastic mannequin, religious statues and other objects. He died last year.

City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe says the city has "a real civic heavy heart" about taking down the tower, but officials fear pieces could fall off and hurt onlookers. -- 10 10 Wins

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Whedon, Abrams, and Hurwitz Fox Pilots

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Fox just released its 2008-09 schedule, which has relatively few new shows (two for the fall, a few more in the winter/spring) but includes sci-fi-ish offerings from two producers with a couple of TV's most feverish fanbases: J. J. Abrams' Fringe (for fall) and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse (for midseason). All that, and a Mitch Hurwitz animated comedy [SIT DOWN, SHUT UP] for the spring.

FRINGE (Tuesdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT): From J.J. Abrams (“Lost”), ... comes a new drama that will thrill, terrify and explore the blurring line between science fiction and reality. When an international flight lands at Boston’s Logan Airport and the passengers and crew have all died grisly deaths, FBI Special Agent OLIVIA DUNHAM is called in to investigate. After her partner, Special Agent JOHN SCOTT, is nearly killed during the investigation, a desperate Olivia searches frantically for someone to help, leading her to DR. WALTER BISHOP, our generation’s Einstein. There’s only one catch: he’s been institutionalized for the last 20 years, and the only way to question him requires pulling his estranged son PETER in to help. When Olivia’s investigation leads her to manipulative corporate executive NINA SHARP, our unlikely trio along with fellow FBI Agents PHILLIP BROYLES , CHARLIE FRANCIS and ASTRID FARNSWORTH will discover that what happened on Flight 627 is only a small piece of a larger, more shocking truth.

DO NOT DISTURB (working title) (Wednesdays, 9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT): DO NOT DISTURB (working title) is a hilarious workplace comedy set at one of New York City’s hottest and hippest hotels: The Inn. Named one of the Big Apple’s “10 Best Places to Stay,” The Inn is just that – the “in” place to be, with its chic décor, stylish staff and celebrity clientele. Behind the scenes, however, the upstairs/downstairs dynamic tells quite a different story.

SIT DOWN, SHUT UP (Sundays, 8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT): From Emmy Award-winning writer Mitchell Hurwitz (“Arrested Development”) ... comes SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, an animated comedy that focuses on the lives of eight staff members at a high school in a small northeastern fishing town (Go Baiters!) who never lose sight of the fact that the children must ALWAYS come second. We watch them grapple with their own egos, needs and personal agendas, their petty insecurities and prejudices, unrequited loves, and ruthless battles for power – and that’s just at the staff meeting. -- Tuned In\Time

Sue Simmons

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

During last night’s [May 12, 2008] airing of the show Medium, Sue did a promo for the 11 p.m. news. She was teasing a story about rising grocery-store prices when the footage laid over her voice switched from boxes of Cheerios and bread to a cruise ship. And, well, Sue wasn’t having it.

“What the fuck are you doing?!” She blurted out. -- NYMag

93-Year-Old Barfly

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Claire Oesch, at 93, most likely the city’s oldest and most refined barfly. It’s not easy for a woman of any age to sit alone at a bar and look comfortable, but Ms. Oesch not only looks at home, she practically is at home. She started coming to the Café des Artistes, then a favorite of the creative types who lived upstairs, in the late 1940s, when Ms. Oesch was living at a boardinghouse for young women down the street. By 1953, when she was 38, she had started dating Romeo Sterlini, who then owned the restaurant, and was helping him run it as a hostess whose abundant elegance became a form of charisma.

When the restaurant changed hands in the ’70s, Ms. Oesch kept coming in as a guest, and never really stopped. “I came and I got stuck,” she said, still speaking with a strong Swiss-German accent after 60 years in the United States. -- SUSAN DOMINUS/New York Times
(Photo courtesy of Béatrice de Géa for The New York Times)

"Things That Suck"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Lighten up, people. It's just a list! This is not just MY list. It was made up by scores of people around the world who sent in their suggestions.

This is a sampling from the list:

  • Frank Luntz
  • Robert Novak
  • Enron
  • the price of gas
  • The Governator
  • Halliburton
  • Sinusitis

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"The Real World Brooklyn"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Production will move from the west coast to the east as the 21st season of The Real World will be filmed in Brooklyn, MTV announced today [May 13, 2008].

“The Brooklyn season, like the Hollywood season, will focus on what people loved about The Real World when it launched in 1992 - genuine people, meaningful conflict and powerful stories,” said Jon Murray, The Real World Co-Creator and Chairman & President of Bunim-Murray Productions. “We’re thrilled that MTV is allowing The Real World turn 21!” -- Just Jared
(Photo courtesy of Just Jared.)

Leon Wieseltier vs Martin Amis

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Leon Wieseltier led off the New York Times Book Review yesterday with a devestating piece on The Second Plane, a bigoted anti-Islam screed by the novelist, Martin Amis. Wieseltier is a maven of literary invective (and single malt scotch, but that's another story.)

According to Wieseltier:

Amis seems to regard his little curses as almost military contributions to the struggle. He has a hot, heroic view of himself. He writes as if he, with his wrinkled copies of Bernard Lewis and Philip Larkin, is what stands between us and the restoration of the caliphate. He is not only outraged by Sept. 11, he is also excited by it. “If Sept. 11 had to happen, then I am not at all sorry that it happened in my lifetime.” Don’t you see? It no longer matters that we missed the Spanish Civil War. ¡No pasarán! -- The Magnes Zionist

The full review can be read here.

Robert Rauschenberg,1925-2008

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Artist Robert Rauschenberg...died Monday [May 12, 2008] at the age of 82. The Times describes him as a "brash, garrulous, hard-drinking, open-faced Southerner." Rauschenberg started out making art out of junk he found on the streets of lower Manhattan, announcing that if you didn't find "soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles" beautiful than you must be a miserable bastard. -- Gawker

Robert Rauschenberg Obituary|The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

The WorldWide Telescope

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a Web 2.0 visualization software environment that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope—bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world for a seamless exploration of the universe.

WorldWide Telescope is created with the Microsoft® high performance Visual Experience Engine™ and allows seamless panning and zooming around the night sky, planets, and image environments. View the sky from multiple wavelengths: See the x-ray view of the sky and zoom into bright radiation clouds, and then crossfade into the visible light view and discover the cloud remnants of a supernova explosion from a thousand years ago. Switch to the Hydrogen Alpha view to see the distribution and illumination of massive primordial hydrogen cloud structures lit up by the high energy radiation coming from nearby stars in the Milky Way. These are just two of many different ways to reveal the hidden structures in the universe with the WorldWide Telescope. Seamlessly pan and zoom from aerial views of the Moon and selected planets, as well as see their precise positions in the sky from any location on Earth and any time in the past or future with the Microsoft Visual Experience Engine. -- WorldWide Telescope

Roy Gould: WorldWide Telescope

Jenna Bush's Wedding Dress

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

And it [Jenna Bush's wedding gown] was streamlined and very textured, resembling the surface of a coral reef. -- NYMag

Missus wrote on the blog On Common Ground, "Jenna Bush looks like she's wearing a white dress made out of a terry cloth towel that was stuck in the dryer and now has all the little gobs of stubbly nobs on it. She looks like she is wearing a towel. The cut of the dress is fantastic... The material just doesn't work for her."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keith Haring Mural Re-Created

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

A Keith Haring mural, above, that enjoyed only a brief life on a street in Lower Manhattan in the 1980s may soon return, The New York Sun reported. A gallery and foundation that represent Haring, who died of AIDS at 31 in 1990, hired a team of artists to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his birth, on May 4, by recreating his untitled Day-Glo pink, orange and green mural. The artwork, on a freestanding concrete slab near Houston Street and the Bowery in 1982, soon began to fade, and Haring painted over it to forestall further decomposition. Artists intend to rely on photographs of the mural and paint samples recovered from scraping graffiti at the site to replicate the design and match the color of the paint used by Haring.
-- New York Times

Keith Haring (May 4, 1958 – February 16, 1990) was an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s. From 1976 to 1978 he studied graphic design at The Ivy School of Professional Art, a commercial and fine art school in Pittsburgh. Keith later moved to New York City, where he was greatly inspired by the graffiti art, and additionally studied at the School of Visual Arts. He achieved his first public attention with chalk drawings in the subways of New York. -- Wikipedia

"Donnie Darko" Sequel without Richard Kelly

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Richard Kelly will not return to write or direct this sequel [to Donnie Darko]. It will be called S. DARKO and follow Donnie Darko's little sister (Daviegh Chase will come back to play Samantha Darko) who is now an 18 year old on a road trip with her best friend, headed for Los Angeles. Instead [Richard Kelly] they got a guy named Chris Fisher, whose previous credits include NIGHTSTALKER and RAMPAGE: THE HILL SIDE STRANGER MURDERS... -- Ain't It Cool News

Tony Award Nominations

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

"In the Heights," the little barrio musical that brought a fresh salsa and hip-hop beat to Broadway, dominated the 2008 Tony Award nominations Tuesday [May 13, 2008], picking up 13, more than any other show.

Yet some big-name actors were left out of the Tony mix _ most notably Kevin Kline, Nathan Lane and James Earl Jones. Snubbed for a coveted best-musical slot were Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein," Disney's "The Little Mermaid" and "A Catered Affair." Left without any nominations at all were the popular revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and the Mike Nichols-directed production of "The Country Girl."
-- Huffington Post

The full list of nominations can be read here.

This Hat

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

"Sex and the City" had its world premiere Monday [May 12, 2008] in London. Looking every inch Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker stepped out in a Phillip Treacy hat and Alexander McQueen dress resembling a plant, complete with two butterflies. -- Huffington Post

Monday, May 19, 2008

Corruption in New York City School Bus Operations

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

While no one wants corruption in the public school system, hearing that four Department of Education officials were arrested for taking almost $1 million in bribes from private school bus companies.

All the officials were in the DOE's Office of Public Transportation. According to the NY Times, the three supervisors and one inspector "accepted cash payments ranging from several hundred dollars a year from some companies to tens of thousands of dollars a year from others" and would let the bus companies know when safety inspections would be conducted and helped them get their safety violation fines reduced. Also, the bus companies would bribe for more lucrative routes, but the feds added some payments were just to "secure the goodwill of the defendants." -- Gothamist

Time Warner "Happy Birthday to You" Copyright?

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

"Happy Birthday to You", also known more simply as "Happy Birthday", is a traditional song that is sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person's birth. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, "Happy Birthday to You" is the most popular song in the English language..

In 1990, Warner Chappell purchased the company owning the copyright for US$15 million, with the value of "Happy Birthday" estimated at US$5 million.[7] Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claims that US copyright won't expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to it.

The actual copyright status of "Happy Birthday to You" began to draw more attention with the passage of the Copyright Extension Term Act in 1998. When the Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Judge Breyer specifically mentioned "Happy Birthday to You" in his dissenting opinion. , Professor Robert Brauneis goes so far as concluding, "it is doubtful that 'Happy Birthday to You,' the famous offspring of 'Good Morning to All,' is really still under copyright," in his heavily researched 2008 paper. -- Wikipedia

Louis Vuitton Sues Danish Student

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An artist [Danish art student Nadia Plesner, 26] created a T-shirt featuring a Darfur victim carrying what appears to be a Louis Vuitton purse and a tiny dog — in a fashion resembling Paris Hilton — to "show that this is what the world is paying attention to" while thousands are dying of genocide. But the luxury handbag maker isn't having it [claiming the image, also used in a poster, violates trademark law]. -- Fox News

Michel Houellebecq's Mother

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Michel Houellebecq, France's most shocking novelist, made his name with tales of dysfunctional, estranged relationships. Now his own mother, portrayed as a sex-obsessed hippy in one of his books, has launched a devastating counter-attack in a new memoir. -- The Guardian

Ma Houellebecq calls her son a liar, an imposter, a parasite, and a stupid little bastard who as an infant had nanny goat’s poo. Her memoir is out in France today [May 7th, 2008]. -- Maud Newton

The Approval Matrix: Week of May 26, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Penguin-Raping Seal

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By BBC\Matt Walker

The South African-based scientists who witnessed the incident say it is the most unusual case of mammal mating behaviour yet known.

The bizarre event took place on a beach on Marion Island, a sub-Antarctic island that is home to both fur seals and king penguins.

Why the seal attempted to have sex with the penguin is unclear. But the scientists who photographed the event speculate that it was the behaviour of a frustrated, sexually inexperienced young male seal. Equally, it might have been an aggressive, predatory act; or even a playful one that turned sexual.

"At first glimpse, we thought the seal was killing the penguin," says Nico de Bruyn, of the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The penguin flapped its flippers and attempted to stand and escape - but to no avail.

The seal then alternated between resting on the penguin, and thrusting its pelvis, trying to insert itself, unsuccessfully.

After 45 minutes the seal gave up, swam into the water and then completely ignored the bird it had just assaulted, the scientists report.

Scarlett Johansson Engaged to Ryan Reynolds

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Scarlett Johansson and her boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds, are engaged [after dating for almost a year -- Dotspotter].

The 23-year-old actress and the 31-year-old actor have not set a wedding date, Johansson's publicist, Marcel Pariseau, said Monday.

Johansson's recent credits include "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "The Nanny Diaries." Reynolds recently starred in "Definitely, Maybe." He was previously engaged to Alanis Morissette.
-- CNN

Veteran filmmaker Woody Allen is intimidated by Scarlett Johansson because she is so "sexually overwhelming."

The famous funnyman claims he finds it impossible to concentrate when he is around the stunning 21-year-old.

He explains, "It's very hard to be extra witty around a sexually overwhelming, beautiful young woman who is wittier than you are. Any time I say anything amusing, Scarlett tops me."

The pair hit it off on the set of Allen's film Match Point, where they teased each other endlessly.
-- Hollywood

Thirtieth Anniversary of First Spam Message

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

It's quite appropriate, given the recent spate of spam threads, to find out that this weekend is the thirtieth anniversary of the first spam email:

The first recognisable e-mail marketing message was sent on 3 May, 1978 to 400 people on behalf of DEC - a now-defunct computer-maker.

The message was sent via Arpanet - the internet's forerunner - and won its sender much criticism from recipients.

The sender of the first junk e-mail message was Gary Thuerk and it was sent to advertise new additions to DEC's family of System-20 minicomputers.

It invited the recipients, all of whom were on Arpanet and lived on the west coast of the US, to go to one of two presentations showing off the capabilities of the System-20.

Reaction to the message was swift, with complaints reportedly coming from the US Defense Communications Agency, which oversaw Arpanet, and took Mr Thuerk's boss to task about it.
-- Instructables

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Terminator 4" PG-13

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The "Terminator" will indeed be back -- but this time with a more kid-friendly rating.

As production starts today on "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins," the next installment in the action franchise, producers at the Halcyon Co. say they aim to deliver a PG-13 movie to Warner Bros. for release on May 22, 2009.

The "Terminator" series is one of the highest-grossing R-rated franchises of all time, with the first three films having grossed more than $1.03 billion worldwide. But Halcyon producers thought it was time to broaden the upcoming fourth film's audience base, and they believe the PG-13 won't compromise the series' gritty vision.

"The ratings have changed," said Halcyon co-founder and co-CEO Victor Kubicek, a broker-turned-writer-producer.

"The PG-13 has increased in intensity."Move follows last year's "Die Hard" film, "Live Free or Die Hard," which went out with a PG-13 after three prior R-rated installments. That pic went on to gross $382.1 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing in the series.A family-friendly rating opens many doors, including a "Terminator Salvation" licensing deal for action figures with Playmates Toys. -- Variety

Amy Winehouse Too Messed Up to Record Bond Theme Song

4th\SW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Producer Mark Ronson says he and Amy Winehouse have abandoned recording the theme to the latest James Bond film because the singer is not ready to work.

Ronson says the singer is "not ready to record any music." He produced much of Winehouse's Grammy-winning "Back to Black." He made the comments in an interview with Sky News on Friday.

Ronson says the two started work on the track for the upcoming Bond movie "Quantum of Solace" but he says it would take "some miracle of science" to finish it.

Winehouse's troubles with drugs, the police and her rocky romance with her jailed husband Blake Fielder-Civil have kept the singer in the spotlight. -- WBZ

"Wedding Crashers" Bollywood Remake

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By ApunKaChoice

In an industry where plagiarism is rife, this piece of news comes as a surprise. Nikhil Advani and Mukesh Talreja of Orion Pictures are going the official way to remake the Hollywood film ‘Wedding Crashers’ in Hindi.

The duo apparently feels that the Warner Bros’ rom-com, revolving around romance and weddings, has all the ingredients and potential to be a Bollywood blockbuster.

Orion Pictures is presently in talks with Warner Bros. for the remake. Interestingly, the Bollywood production house won’t reportedly pay any money for the remake rights. Rather, Warner Bros. will benefit by being the presenter and the worldwide distributor of the Hindi remake.

Officials at both Orion Pictures and Warner Bros. have confirmed that they are in talks for the remake and some top Bollywood stars are under consideration for playing leading roles in the film. But the deal hasn’t been inked yet.

Starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in lead roles, ‘Wedding Crashers’ tells the story of two longtime friends who frequently crash into weddings (as uninvited guests) to meet women and make their way into the heart of bridesmaid.

Mario Kart Wii

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Mario Kart Wii (マリオカートWii, Mario Kart Wii) is a kart racing video game developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo for the Wii console. It is the sixth installment in the Mario Kart series excluding the two arcade games and the second Mario Kart to use Nintendo's free online service. The game was released in the four main regions throughout April 2008. Every copy of the game is packaged with the Wii Wheel accessory, which is designed to house the Wii Remote to allow more intuitive and conventional steering.

Mario Kart Wii is the successor to Mario Kart DS for the Nintendo DS, and changes from the predecessor include motorbikes and support for up to twelve racers. Like other games in the Mario Kart series, it involves various characters from various Mario games racing each other on tracks themed from locations in the Mario series. Support for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection allows racing against other players from around the world, and featured is also the option of installing the Mario Kart Channel to the Wii Menu with online competitions and results.
-- Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

50 Cent Mugged Onstage

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix


A bold thief tried to jack 50 Cent's chain in Africa recently, but 50 jumped into the crowd to fight for his property. He's gonna get his chain or die tryin'!

In the video, you can see a crazy concert-goer jump on stage during Fiddy's set and yank his chain right off his neck. A G-Unit insider tells TMZ that what folks couldn't see was 50 actually jumped off the stage to follow the thief -- and punched the man who tried to jack him.

When asked what the end result of the scuffle was, our source replied, "The chain is around 50's neck right now."

"Son of Rambow"

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Synopsis: "Son of Rambow": A nostalgic trip back to the 1980s, 'Son of Rambow' is an inventive valentine to an era where, for the first time in history, young minds had access to technology that allowed them to create their own stories while paying homage to their larger-than-life heroes from the movies that inspired them.

Will, who isn't allowed to watch TV or go to the movies, expresses himself through his drawings and illustrations until he finds himself caught up in the extraordinary world of Lee Carter, the school terror and crafter of bizarre home movies. Carter exposes Will to a pirated copy of the first Rambo film, First Blood, which blows his mind wide open. Against his family's orders, his imaginative little brain begins to flower in the world of filmmaking. Will and Lee become popular at school through their films, but when a French exchange student, Didier Revol, arrives on the scene, their unique friendship and precious film are pushed to the breaking point. -- Moviefone


R.I.P. Schnäck

3rd\SE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By NYMag\Grub Street

We’re saddened, but not surprised, to learn of the demise of Schnäck, the Red Hook hamburger-and-hot-dog mecca that was one of our favorite additions to the Brooklyn restaurant scene — nay, to American vernacular cooking! Co-owner Harry Hawk tells us that the end is nigh, but he will not give an expiration date. We hear through the grapevine that the proximate cause of the closing is a lost lease, but having seen ever-thinning crowds over the past year, we are more likely to believe that the poor location and awful service softened the victim up for the final blow.

Laura Linney in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Laura Linney and Ben Daniels in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." -- Sara Krulwich/The New York Times


In this Tony Award-nominated play, the cunning and confident La Marquise de Merteuil (Laura Linney) challenges her friend and rival Le Vicomte de Valmont (Ben Daniels) to a grand game of seduction. After several false moves and unexpected turns, their cruel competition escalates into a vicious battle to the last lover standing. Laced with passion, betrayal and spectacular revenge, LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES is a thrilling dark comedy and a revealing portrait of pre-war French aristocracy at its most disillusioned and indulgent. -- Dangerous on Broadway

The New York Times says that the "... uncomfortably cast.. Ms. Linney, [is] a wonderful actress who has been shoehorned into a part out of her natural range and is perceptibly pinched."

Laura Dern in HBO's "Recount"

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Laura Dern is well aware that partisans are already lining up on each side of the political debate to greet with enthusiasm, or annoyance, "Recount," HBO's May 25 movie about the hotly disputed 2000 election, in which she plays Katherine Harris, Florida's secretary of state.

Dern points out that former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, chief legal adviser for the George W. Bush campaign, "not only likes the film, he's hosting a screening along with Jimmy Carter. That says it all to me; they're very clearly declaring this is a non-partisan project. That ought to hush people up, hopefully. See it. Just watch it," she says. "This is what happens when you get disillusioned, sit [at] home and not vote. Your vote counts."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Laurence Fishburne as Thurgood Marshall

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

By Black Voices\Karu F. Daniels

To take on the role of late civil rights activist Thurgood Marshall, Laurence Fishburne goes back to his roots and digs up some of America's ugliest ones.

Surprisingly enough, for his return on The Great White Way -- in the Leonard Foglia directed play, 'Thurgood,' -- the seasoned Tony Award winning thespian has received rave reviews.

'USA Today' heralded it with a three and a half star (out of four) review, calling the 90-minute bioplay "excellent." 'New York Post' gossip guru Cindy Adams showered the Academy Award nominated actor with praise, saying he was "magical." The 'Associated Press' noted that "Fishburne has the theatrical, larger-than-life demeanor of an old-fashioned preacher, including the necessary pizzazz to keep an audience's attention for an intermissionless [show]." 'New York Daily News' critic Joe Dziemianowicz said that Fishburne was "magnetic" and the show as "a worthwhile story rich in history, humanity and humor."

As can be expected, Fishburne is, indeed, magnificent in the role which involves a narrative where an elderly Marshall addresses students at Howard University 50 years after he graduated from the storied college in 1933.

The audience is taken through Marshall's thrilling walk down memory lane of life-changing and history-making events. Though mostly known to new generations as the legendary Supreme Court Justice, Marshall was also renowned as legal counsel for the NAACP; he also argued the historic Brown vs. Board of Education case before the Supreme Court in 1954.

Longracre Theatre's Renovation

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix

The interior of the Longacre Theater after its renovation, which cost $12 million and took two years.
- Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

By The New York Times

The play’s [“Boeing-Boeing”] Broadway home, the Longacre Theater at 220 West 48th Street, has had “a gut renovation,” in the words of Keith Marston, the facilities director for the Shubert Organization, the building’s owner. “This is our opening night too,” he said of the 400 restorers, carpenters, electricians, painters, plumbers and other workers who have toiled over the last two years to complete the $12 million reconstruction.

The project has been one of the more extensive and grimy renovations that Shubert has ever done, said Mr. Marston’s boss, John P. Darby, the company’s vice president of facilities.

The Longacre, which opened in 1913, is the latest of the 17 Broadway theaters owned and operated by Shubert to be completely redone, following the $9 million renovation of the Ethel Barrymore Theater on 47th Street in 2004 and the more than $12 million refurbishment of the Winter Garden Theater on 50th Street and Broadway in 2001.

The Longacre is described in its New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designation as “one of the historic theater interiors that symbolize American theater for both New York and the nation,” and both its exterior and interior are recognized as landmarks.

"Godard's 60s" at Film Forum May 2 - June 5

2nd\NE Quadrant The Approval Matrix


Throughout the 1960s, cinephiles eagerly awaited the latest film — or two— by Jean-Luc Godard (born 1930). A founding father of the nouvelle vague, the former critic was its most innovative in form, with each new work seemingly rewriting the grammar of film. Jump cuts, asynchronous soundtracks, self-narration, cinema as essay, cinema as collage, self-referential cinema, cinema of anarchy — you name it, Godard’s 60s oeuvre redefined “cutting edge” — and, with location and available-light shooting, now provides a near-documentary time capsule of Paris and environs. -- Film Forum

"No filmmaker working during the decade so successfully and radically rewrote the rules.
Consider this whole series an essential piece of your education—and enjoyment."
Time Out New York

Candidates Support Gas Tax Holiday

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain are pushing for a gas-tax holiday, but Sen. Barack Obama says the plan is a quick fix that would do more harm than good.

His [McCain's] plan would lift the 18.4 cents per gallon tax during peak summer travel months. It also would suspend the 24.4 cent diesel tax.

Clinton ... said her plan is different from McCain's. She said the Republican's proposal would cost the government up to $10 billion -- money that is used to improve roads.

The senator from New York said she'd make up for the lost revenue with a "windfall profits tax" on oil companies, meaning their profits over a certain amount would be subject to a 50 percent tax. Her plan also would close $7.5 billion in oil and gas loopholes as well as monitor prices for manipulation.

Obama does not support a suspension of the gas tax, which he described as a political scheme that would save the average driver $25 to $28. -- CNN

Euthanasia in Sports Section

1st\NW Quadrant The Approval Matrix

LeaderEight Belles, with Gabriel Saez up, crosses the finish line in second place to Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby. The filly broke both front ankles. - JANET WORNE / Lexington Herald

A filly based at Delaware Park, Eight Belles had just finished second, 43/4 lengths behind the favorite, Big Brown, in this country's biggest horse race. Galloping out a good quarter-mile after it was over - part of the normal throttling-down after every horse race - Eight Belles went down because she had suffered fractures in both front legs. A bone had broken through the skin on her left leg.

She was euthanized immediately on the track, before her trainer even knew she had been injured. His voice cracking, trainer Larry Jones later described how a shook-up [jockey] Saez had told him afterward, "Larry, they put her down." Jones said he didn't comprehend what the jockey was saying, thinking Saez had misunderstood the situation.

"I said, 'How do you put a horse like this down?' Jones said. "Man, usually, they try to save them."

But Jones said he quickly got to his horse in the equine ambulance and saw the severity of the injuries.

"I checked her for myself," Jones said. "There was no decision to be made. She did not need to suffer - and she didn't suffer." -- Philly