Saturday, March 13, 2010


On NBC with The World's Most Dangerous Band!

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Eamon Javers -- 3/11/10
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When you hear the word "genius," you might think of luminaries like Einstein, Mozart, or
Da Vinci. But how a person who achieves extraordinary success gets that way is the subject of debate. Were they born that way? Or does it come from sheer tenacity?

In this excerpt from a week-long series on "The Genius Within", The Takeaway talked to violinist Sarah Chang who was recognized as a child prodigy, recording her first album at age ten. Together with author David Shenk, the violinist shares some simple ingredients to astonishing success... Mainly practice, practice, practice.
Audio: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway, Hosts John Hockenberry
& Celeste Headlee.

Be careful... Genius Is Pain!

Tony Hendra (primal sreaming as John Lennon)
Magical Misery Tour (Genius Is Pain!)
National Lampoon's Radio Dinner (1972)


As his best selling children’s book “The Diary of A Wimpy Kid” comes to the big screen this month, Jeff Kinney, the creator of the “Wimpy Kid” series, talks about his quirky central character and the latest book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.”
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Career Down The Drain

Money Down The Drain

This scam spotter was the first to recognize & report Bernie Madoff.

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Harry Markopolos 3/8/10
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Editorial Judgement

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) was pissed!

Does he have a point? Sure. Media's attention is easily diverted toward distractions, and away from matters of life and death.

Salacious obsession with his late colleague -- the recently resigned Representative/snorkeler from New York: Eric Massa, is just the latest example of an ongoing phenomenon... A compulsive craving to pig out on the flavor of the month.

But if all you saw on TV was the outburst, you never got to his real point and the irony that national security resources, like media assets, are finite and there's rationing going on... And a look at either rationale reveals the rationing isn't always rational.

Whether you think the media were ignoring the war, debate about the war or political posturing of no particular consequence, it's always a fair question to ask what isn't getting reported as media resources, airtime and attention is diverted.

So here's what we missed if we only watched the fireworks.

Afghan Illusion

Titled the “Afghan Girl”, this June 1985 cover photo by Steve McCurry was named the most recognized photograph in the history of National Geographic. The image of her face, with a red scarf draped loosely over her head and with her piercing sea-green eyes staring directly into the camera, became a symbol of 1980s Afghan hostilities when the Soviets played the role of occupiers and "Charlie Wilson's War" had the unintended consequence of creating the Taliban and Al Qaeda among their Arab allies within the mujahidin.

It has been noted staring too long at the optical illusion can produce headaches... Much like the current conflict and the country itself.

Patty Larkin: 25

An Unusual Collaboration

As a project to mark 25 years of recording, folk artist Patty Larkin sent out 25 songs to 25 talented friends she met along her journey; leaving the nature and scope of their contributions entirely to them...
An elaborate exercise in trust, born of mutual respect and an expectation of the extraordinary.
Audio: NPR's Morning Edition 3/10/10, Reporter: Elizabeth Blair,
Photo: Jana Leon.
-- Click for full story & more songs.

"Banish Misfortune/Open Hand" and "Who Holds Your Hand" at The Center for Arts in Natick, Massachusetts (April 4, 2009).

Urban Cowboy

Get Stuffed

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Annie Leonard 3/9/10
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Net Effects

When used as an adjective, the word "adult" has been hijacked.

That bugs me, because I can think of any number of subjects which a child can't grasp or appreciate and require maturity to understand in context or enjoy. But somehow the focus got narrowed... To porn.

The Internet is 40 years old now and much of its development into an integral part of commerce is attributable to sex. Porn became the first industry to make a profit on the web and the needs of purveyors paved the way to the technologies, like secure encrypted credit card transactions and video streaming, which took the net beyond text.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 3/7/10, Guy Raz with Travis Larchuk.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Hurt Docket

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Later, in the interview segment, former Bush 43 neocon speech writer, Marc Thiessen dutifully repeated Cheney's charges.

Pulitzer winner Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post says wrong!
The smear campaign by Cheney, et al., has nothing to do with keeping America safe. It can only be an attempt to inflict political damage on the Obama administration by portraying the Justice Department as somehow "soft" on terrorism. Even by Washington's low standards, this is unbelievably dishonest and dishonorable.

This time, obviously, they went too far. But the next Big Lie is probably already in the works. Scorched-earth groups like Keep America Safe may just be pretending not to understand our most firmly established and cherished legal principles, but there is one thing they genuinely don't grasp: the concept of shame.

Liz Cheney... Different plumbing, but still a dick.

Pregnancy Pact

It was like the MTV series hitting home in a Boston suburb.

In the summer of 2008, Gloucester Massachusetts drew international media attention after a report that a spike in the teen pregnancy rate was the result of a “pact” among teenagers at Gloucester High School who wanted to raise their babies together.

The report of the pact was later rejected, but nearly two years after, “pact” remains a four-letter word in the fishing village.

A new documentary tries to answer the question: What really happened in Gloucester that summer? The film’s producer, Kristen Grieco, spoke about “The Gloucester 18.”
Audio: WBUR FM, Boston 3/4/10, Reporter: Bob Oakes.

Mr. Massa's Mess

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
-- Hunter S. Thompson, journalist (1939 - 2005)

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Sour Gropes -- 3/10/10
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Done Deal, Dave

An end to the extortion plot & screenplay defense.

Back on cruise control...


The Hummer 1992 - 2010

It was big while it lasted.

As the Hummer brand gets towed to that big parking lot in the sky, Safe Climate Campaign’s Dan Becker mourns the passing of a big car.
Audio: PRI's Living On Earth, Host: Jeff Young.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Rover

Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove, ventured beyond his Foxhole to face Matt Lauer on Today... An extremely rare event, but "Bush's Brain" is on a book tour, pushing his memoir of self-serving Rovisionist history.

Among the pawns sacrificed in Rove's political gamesmanship was first term press secretary Scott McClellan, set up to lie to the nation about Rove's role in the revenge outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Wayne Slater, a Texas political writer who co-wrote the book "Bush's Brain," appeared in the following hour to join in calling BS.

Coffee, not Tea

Birch Bay

"Solitary Birch" by Slim at Quincy Daily Photo was a submission to the Skywatch Friday blog. Boston's skyline can be seen between branches when viewed at higher resolution.

Girls vs. Boys

Cooties are a well-known pathogen among toddlers, sometimes used to justify boys and girls playing separately at a young age. While most children eventually grow out of this phase, Bill Littlefield realizes that most professional sports have continued to separate the genders. He reports on the lack of "battle of the sexes" in sports.
Audio: WBUR & NPR's It's Only Game Host: Bill Littlefield.

Dog-Gorn It

Taking on a Trek Classic

You can watch the entire episode of "Arena" online at YouTube... Clips of the Mythbuster episode at Discovery... And new episodes starting March 24th.

Nuclear Money Meltdown

There is probably only one issue that unites all Nevadans...

Loudly saying NO to nuclear waste.

The state, which doesn't have nuclear power, was home to open-air atomic testing in the past. And around Nevada there are stores of nuclear weapons at various Air Force bases. It is also the location of Yucca Mountain, until recently the supposed future and eternal home of an entire nation's nuclear power plant waste. No longer.

Caches of radioactive waste remain stored onsite at each power plant, including some which are obsolete and have been dismantled. The economics of waste need to be considered before more money is poured into new nukes.
Audio: PRI's Living On Earth, Host: Jeff Young. Photo: Comic book given out on tours of the Connecticut Yankee Atomic Plant, by reporter Bruce Gellerman

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Best Director and Picture

Winning Best Picture recognizes the producer as project manager; coordinating all the resources and personnel in an ensemble effort to bring a story to screen. The award for Best Director is for the individual effort of executing a personal vision...

Chicago Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert described "The Hurt Locker" as a film made with little cash, but limitless willpower.

The two Oscars often go to the same film. Hardly ever to one as seldom seen in theaters... Never before to a woman.

While other women have won producing Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman in the Academy Award’s 82-year history to win the Best Director award.

Here & Now's Emiko Tamagawa met the director as part of a 2009 publicity tour.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 3/8/10, Host: Robin Young.
Reporter: Emiko Tamagawa.

Studio 360 featured the double winner in an Oscar Weekend episode.

MTV's Josh Wigler explores what's next for Kathryn Bigelow.

Sarah Says What?

Earth As Seen From Earth

Image by Hendrik-Jan Grievink on Next Nature

Echoes of West Wing

A little bit of must see TV seems to be in reruns at the White House.

As you read about President Obama and his relationship with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel... Think President Bartlett and Leo McGarry.

No matter who currently occupies the West Wing they want the focus to be on programs and policy, not personality and process, which they consider a distraction... Dee Dee Myers knows.
Audio: NPR's All Things Considered 3/6/10. Photo: Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stands out from the crowd. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

Computing on a Roll

Flexible hardware & utility by Orkin Design of Germany.

Peace (Corps), Out

February's bad weather had analysts guessing what the report might show. Surveys indicated business payrolls would likely show another loss. So there was some surprise that the monthly unemployment rate (reported Friday) held steady at January's figure of 9.7 percent.

Some job seekers who continue to find the job market inhospitable have discovered the welcome mat is out at the Peace Corps.
Audio: NPR's Morning Edition 3/5/10, Reporter: Chuck Quirmbach.
Illustration: Indiana & Purdue Universities Fort Wayne career services.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back to Broadcast

The timing was perfect negotiating leverage but disastrous for metro New York City cable consumers, as ABC pulled the plug on Cablevision's feed of WABC-TV the same day the Oscars were on.

When television went digital, old TV sets went out the window... Not in the Howard Beale "mad as hell" sense, but you couldn't get a useable signal anymore. Faced with needing to upgrade sets or service, many people asked themselves how many channels of TV do you need when you can only watch one show at a time?

Computer timeshifting via network sites and Hulu plus better picture quality, expanded channel selection or time shifting on free over the air digital TV has some consumers pulling the plug on costly cable and satellite packages. They seem to be doing ok.
Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, 2/27/10, Reporter: Catherine Welch.

Monochrome Monday: Halo

Click for larger image
Photo: "Halo" by Petunia of Bergen, Norway

Random Hookup

You've Got to Fight

For Your Right to Flip the Bird

An Oregon man made headlines recently for a lawsuit he filed against local police in the suburbs of Portland. He claims officers have repeatedly pulled him over, not for his driving, but because he keeps giving them the middle finger.

Law Professor Ira Robbins says American courts generally protect the right to flip the bird: “The pursuit of criminal sanctions for use of the middle finger infringes on First Amendment rights, violates fundamental principles of criminal justice, wastes valuable judicial resources, and defies good sense.”

But while you'll win on principle, he doesn't advise flipping off cops.
Audio: WNYC's On The Media Host: Brooke Gladstone.


Two Wrongs, One Done Right

The Upside of Traffic

The inconvenient truth: jams are a reason for economic optimism.

Audio: CBS Radio's Osgood File 2/24/10.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

One Down

We've come a long way in compiling 1962 posts to date, and an audience grown entirely by word of mouth, citations or referrals.

Say Cheese celebrates its 1st birthday today!

One to go... In the porcelain 6-pack

Photo: The art of Lei Xue as seen on Madame Lamb 3/5/10.

Long On Time

Short On Surprises

The 82nd Academy Awards, tonight on ABC.

Best Picture: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up, Up in the Air
Actor in a Leading Role: Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Colin Firth, Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Renner
Actress in a Leading Role: Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren, Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, Meryl Streep
Directing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Up in the Air, Precious

Understanding the Enemy

Suicide bombers aren't the crazed, religious nuts we usually think they are; instead they are created by psychological conditioning.
Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 2/26/10, Host: Marco Werman,
Click for more of correspondent Rhitu Chatterjee's interview.

TMI Tweets

Update your status to potential crime victim.
Audio: CBS Radio's Osgood File 2/24/10. See what Sam's talking about.

Decision Time

Burden of Choice

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Barry Schwartz 3/4/10
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