Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Banal metaphor: the earth's most renewable resource

Melissa Etheridge won an Academy Award last night for her song, "I Need to Wake Up", from the documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. In keeping with the film's environmentally conscious message, Etheridge apparently recycled lyrics from a cache of Utne Reader letters and her seventh grade journal entries:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

From AP via Sports Illustrated: Dennis Johnson Dies at 52

When we were kids, my brother and I kept photos of Dennis Johnson--along with pictures of Fred Brown, Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, John Johnson, Joe Hassert, Wally Walker and Al Fleming--taped to the downstairs rec room walls. (The photos of Marvin Webster came down after he was traded.) When the neighborhood kids played basketball, everyone wanted to "be" DJ. Thoughts and prayers to his family.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Dennis Johnson, the star NBA guard who was part of three championships and teamed with Larry Bird on one of the great postseason plays, died Thursday after collapsing at the end of his developmental team's practice. He was 52.

Johnson, coach of the Austin Toros, was unconscious and in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived at Austin Convention Center, said Warren Hassinger, spokesman for Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate him for 23 minutes before he was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead, Hassinger added. Mayra Freeman, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office, said there will be an autopsy.

The Toros postponed home games Friday and Saturday nights, the NBA Development League said.

"He was one of the most underrated players in the history of the game, in my opinion, and one of the greatest Celtic acquisitions of all time," said former Boston teammate Danny Ainge, now the Celtics' executive director of basketball operations.

"D.J. was a free spirit and a fun personality who loved to laugh and play the game. We had spoken at length just the other night about basketball and his excitement about coaching the Austin Toros. "

Johnson, a five-time All-Star and one of the top defensive guards, was part of the last Boston dynasty. He spent 14 seasons in the league and retired after the 1989-90 season. He played on title teams with the Celtics in 1984 and 1986 and with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979, when he was the NBA finals MVP.

"Whether he was leading his teams to NBA championships or teaching young men the meaning of professionalism, Dennis Johnson's contributions to the game went far beyond the basketball court," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "Dennis was a man of extraordinary character with a tremendous passion for the game."



Think what they could have gotten if they'd sent out sanitary napkins

Esquire sent paper napkins to 250 writers and asked for stories. The results are sublime:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Filter Magazine feature on Annie Stela... on stands now. (I'll post it when it's archived online. Right now, it's print-only.) In the meantime, check out the awesomely gifted Ms. Stela's video for "It's You":

Sidenote: "It's You" is her first single, and while it's lovely, I don't think it's her best song. My fave is the deliciously witty "Keep Me Around".

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Saturday Knights: awesome as sex; vintage coats

Sometimes listening to promo discs feels like homework, but I've been rocking the Saturday Knights' non-stop since Friday. (Thank you, as always, to my friend, the venerable and talented Mr. Estey.) Their song, "45", has been getting play on KEXP and on KNDD, but my favorite track is the infectious and revved, "Motorin'".

If the Saturday Knights can't alleviate your existential doldrums, you are one phone call away from the crisis line:

From Reuters via CNN: Work starts on Arctic seed vault

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Deep inside the Arctic Circle work is about to begin on a giant frozen Noah's Ark for food crops to provide a last bastion in the battle against global warming.

And within a year the first seeds of what will eventually be home for samples of all 1.5 million distinct varieties of agricultural crops worldwide will be tucked safely inside the vaults deep in a mountain on the archipelago of Svalbard.

There, at the end of a tunnel 120 meters into the side of a mountain, 80 meters above estimated sea levels even if all polar ice melts, and 18 degrees Celsius below freezing, they will stay like a bank security deposit.

"It will be the best freezer in the world by several orders of magnitude. The seeds will be safe there for decades," said Cary Fowler of the Food and Agricultural Organization's Global Crop Diversity Trust.

"Svalbard is a safety backup -- and we hope we never have to use it."

The Norwegian government is footing the $5 million construction bill and the Global Crop Diversity Trust is providing the estimated $125,000 a year running costs.

"We are going back to the older varieties because that is where you find the largest genetic diversity ... and diversity is protection," Fowler told Reuters in London.

Svalbard will not find and sort the seeds. That is being left to the various seed banks around the world in the front line of the battle to protect biodiversity.

The function of the Arctic Noah's Ark will be to hold samples of all the food crop varieties in case disaster strikes any of the banks -- like the typhoon that wiped out the Philippines agri crop gene bank in October.


Friday, February 09, 2007

News editors: apparently, not film buffs

A slew of reports have compared Anna Nicole Smith to her supposed idol, Marilyn Monroe. Yes, they were both blonde former Playmates with substance abuse problems who died in their late thirties. The crucial difference, however, is that Monroe was an actress. She made two pictures with Billy Wilder for chrissakes. (Some Like It Hot remains one of the few films my brother and I enjoy equally.) Is Monroe's photographic image now divorced from her work? Has no one in the newsroom viewed Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? And perhaps the saddest part of the Smith tale, aside from her children, is that everyone knew who she was, but no one was her fan.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Diapers and Vicodin

With regards to the astronaut/attempted murder/love triangle tale saturating the news today, I'm reminded of something Matthew Perry said on "Larry King" years ago. King asked Perry how many Vicodin he took each day prior to getting clean. Perry (wisely) said he wouldn't answer that publicly because he said there is a tendency for someone in denial to hear a high number and think, I don't take one hundred Vicodin a day, I must not be an addict.

The diapers are, essentially, the one hundred Vicodin in the krazee astronaut story. Valentine's Day is approaching and, undoubtedly, some apparently functioning individual is sitting at his or her desk right now, gnawing on a pencil, and contemplating the harm of one who spurned his or her advances. The tripwire, however, is that now said individual can concoct an elaborate scheme involving glass shards, maple syrup, and a safety leash and still mull reassuringly, "At least I won't shit myself on the way there."