joegratz.net

August 28, 2003

The Economist on SCO

A very Economist-cheeky article on SCO. Via IP.

Fair and Balanced

Two items:

  • First, Salon has an excerpt from Al Franken’s new book, about which Fox News brought a particularly silly trademark suit recently. Incidentally, does anyone else see it as a bad sign that the sponsor of Salon Premium’s Day Pass is … Salon Premium?
  • Second, the author of Bat Boy has written a play titled Fair and Balanced. The whole play is available via the “preview” link on that page. Vicious, but not that good. It’s a little bit like a Jacobean court masque written by a high school boy obsessed with Beckett who’s trying to win over one of the girls on the lit mag. If you can imagine that.

Update, 29 August 2003: Brian Flemming, the playwright, has a response. And I will temper my review thus (because I left some things out before; I was in a hurry): First, I thought Bat Boy was brilliant; this was pretty clearly tossed off and probably unrepresentative. Second, O’Reilly’s monologue was hilarious and slightly scary. It’s all the things you can tell he wants to say every night on the show, but can’t. For antagonistic Factor viewers, the play is worth a read just for the monologue.

August 27, 2003

iTunes

I don’t agree with the premises, but this iTunes parody is funny.

August 26, 2003

Desiderata

A thought for this morning:

The Desiderata were written by a lawyer.

August 24, 2003

Back in Minneapolis

I’m back in Minneapolis after ten days on the east coast. My interviews in New York went well, and I got to see four shows:

  • The Capitol Steps: Between Iraq and a Hard Place. Standard Steps fare, very clever, and with an “On Broadway” parody about the blackout tacked on to the beginning. As always, I liked Lirty Dies the best.
  • Take Me Out. A show about a baseball superstar coming out of the closet. Had I been born a baseball fan, I probably would have enjoyed this show more. It was still brilliantly directed (Joe Mantello is amazing) and very well written and acted. But it was more diverting than affecting.
  • Gypsy. I have a confession to make. I’d never seen or heard Gypsy in any form. (And you call yourself a Sondheim fan! Really!) It’s sort of a hokey story, but the lyrics (obviously) and especially this production raised it to another level. It’s hard not to gush about a show involving so many people whose work I like so much—Sondheim, Sam Mendes, Bernadette Peters, Jules Fisher, and Peggy Eisenhauer. So I’ll shut up before gushing.
  • Avenue Q. What happens to a puppet, just out of college with a literature degree in the early oughts? (Musical number: “What can you do with a BA in English?”) He moves to an affordable neighborhood: Avenue Q. It’s a bit like Sesame Street, but grown up and trying to find a purpose in life. It was my favorite of the shows I saw, mostly because it was the first musical I’ve seen that had a sense of my generation: our attitudes toward each other (“Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”; “If You Were Gay”; “Schadenfreude”), to the outside world (“There Is Life Outside Your Apartment”), and to, ahem, ourselves (“The Internet Is For Porn”). I recommend it highly, especially to anyone born between 1975 and 1982.

August 23, 2003

Flash Mobs Jump The Shark

Yup, I think the flash mob trend is effectively dead. I have three pieces of evidence. First, it was covered in the NYT Week in Review section. A certain death knell for a cultural trend that depends on insider status. If people look at one and think, “Oh, that must be one of those flash mobs I’ve heard so much about. How delightfully droll,” the point of the exercise is lost. Second, there’s this article, describing an upcoming flash mob in Milwaukee, whose lameness of concept is surpassed only by its disappointing lack of secrecy. I can only hope that this was intentionally leaked to the Journal-Sentinel as a red herring, but I doubt it. Finally, there’s this item in McSweeney’s, which more or less sums it up.

August 19, 2003

Locomotion

I’m blogging from a train speeding between Washington, D.C. and New York. Just because I can.

The trip so far has been really great. I organized my first bachelor party, which I think managed to be a good time for male fellowship without discomfort or tastelessness. I thought the highlight was sitting on benches in Dupont Circle at midnight smoking Macanudos—though the Groom had some trouble keeping his lit. {Insert crass comment here.} Chris got hitched with nary a hitch. The guests at the reception seemed to enjoy my toast (though, truth be told, by that point in the evening they were not exactly a tough crowd). And I got to meet Chris and Susan’s east coast friends, who, not surprisingly, turned out to be the sort of people with whom I really like spending time.

(Also: I love trains. I think I’ll be able to resist successsfully the urge to write a blog post titled “Mass Transit: Gloria Mundi” or something similarly lame and pedantic, though.)

August 17, 2003

Bastards!

I just got a spam linking here (affiliate code removed so the spammer doesn’t make any money from my link). The page is designed to make the viewer think that he is under investigation for files he downloaded. It looks somewhat scary, but it’s trivially easy to ascertain all of the information the page uses to “prove” they know who you are; it’s all included when your browser requests the page from the server.

The advertising claims “Your IP is under investigation” and “Your ISP is cooperating” are false; I hope these jerks get into some trouble for this. If their claims were true, though, they’d likely be in even more trouble, since they’d be knowingly assisting in the destruction of evidence.

August 16, 2003

Marriage

Blogging has been slow, since I’m in Washington, D.C., acting as best man for my good friend Chris Bowen as he weds his charming fiancée, Susan. A few observations from around town:

I’m really starting to miss theatre, music, and performance as creative outlets. This feeling was brought on by a couple of brilliant pieces I saw at the Hirshhorn yesterday. The first was titled Invisible, and I can’t recall the artist. A slide projector sat in the corner of the gallery, projecting a slide at the opposite gallery wall. It was a very faint blur. As I approached, the slide suddenly popped into focus. Projected across my abdomen in crisp, bright, white letters was the word, “visible.” The way viewers interact with that piece lays bare the ways viewers interact with art: you can see it projected on others (talking about art, or standing in a curated gallery), you can see it projected on your hand (“Could I have created that?”), or you can see it by literally gazing at your navel.

The second was titled at hand, by Ann Hamilton. Every few seconds, one of five loud pneumatic paper-dropping mechanisms would drop a brown-edged sheet from a truss near the ceiling. It slowly fluttered to the floor, adding to a thick, beautifully complex layer of paper that covered the floor of the gallery. As this occurred, the artist’s voice could be heard in one of several speakers hung around the gallery, speaking a phrase. Because of the noise of the machinery, I wasn’t able to understand any of the phrases. The genius of the piece is that viewers enter the space of the piece in order to view it. They walk over the thick layer of paper, marking out a place within the space and becoming viewed objects themselves. It was really beautiful.

August 10, 2003

Minneapolis Mob #3

Minneapolis Mob #3 was this afternoon. A crowd coalesced at exactly 2:22 in the afternoon in a stepped courtyard outside Orchestra Hall. We were divided into two groups: those with cell phones went to the bottom of the courtyard, held up their phones, and “played” various ringtones, while those without cell phones stood on the steps overlooking us, conducting the “Cell Phone Orchestra”. Good fun.

Disclaimer Haiku:
West wind seems to say,
"This is not legal advice;
I'm not your lawyer."

(And if you're a client with whom I have a preexisting attorney-client relationship, this still isn't legal advice.)

In case you're wondering, this blog is also not intended as advertising, as a representation of anything but my personal opinion, or as an offer of representation.

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