I, like most people my age, grew up with Fred Rogers, who passed away yesterday. He will be sorely missed – I remember him being a comforting, soothing televisual soul and a person of deep caring for kids on his program. I don’t know why, but I particularly liked the character-puppet King Friday XIII, whose deep, concerned voice was probably Rogers’ own; Friday was the ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
‘Human Shields’ Begin Deploying in Iraq is a news story worth talking about. I have almost no respect for people willing to die publicly in a war in which they do not want to fight through historically far more powerful means. Conscientious objectors, for the past 100 years, have risked their lives sitting in jail (and far worse) or otherwise protesting acts of violence against others. Their call to arms, especially during the Vietnam war and in the 1980s, speak about their private belief in a public forum – but they do so out of the preservation of (their own) lives, a living testament to the power of civil disobedience. In this case, human “shields” are not shielding anything from anyone – they simply put their own lives (and many others who shelter them) at risk without staking a claim on anything worth living for. Although they lay claim to high moral ground, ironically, they are the ultimate moral relativists, the penultimate cynics, wasters of life, and sadly are politically ineffective. I may be wrong, but they seem to me to be one step above suicide-homicide bombers.
One of my all-time favorite artists, Melissa Gould, is being featured on New York Foundation for the Arts Web site this week. I’ve featured her work not once, but twice, on The Site. Melissa works with the weight of historical memory, connecting large events to physical spaces and transcendent imagery.
Okay, so I went online, very reluctantly, to see what the Government has to say about a potential nuclear blast on ready.gov, the new Web site of the Department of Homeland Security, and it’s the most sanguine instructions I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to believe that the first thing they ask you to do is “take cover.” This site almost scares me more than the possibility of a terrorist threat.
It’s official, Deckchairs on the Titanic is now powered by Google, who bought Pyra Labs, the tiny company that runs Blogger.com. Oh, and about a million other Web logs are now Googlized, too.
I purchased the new Delgados album, entitled Hate, on mere whim, but I did not realize that Dave Friedmann produced the record. Mr. Friedmann is probably best known for working with The Flaming Lips (a good but overrated band) and Mercury Rev (a painfully beautiful band). Well, the Delgados finally got it, and it must be thanks to Mr. Friedmann; the album reeks of sincerity and anger pushed through a sieve of glam-pop, My Bloody Valentine synth, and lovely recording.
After many, many hours of design, writing, and tweaking (the latter of which should be considered a new billable service for designers, IMHO), I am happy to announce the electronic publication of The MANOVERBOARD Telegraph, an HTML newsletter that provides news and information about MANOVERBOARD and our numerous or occasional goings-on. You can sign up here.
I spent about 10 hours today converting all of my contact information, emails, and other miscellaneous and extraneous info to Entourage for OS X. I was increasingly tired of Apple’s Mail program, which was slow, sometimes difficult to configure and customize, and provided little scripting support. Plus Mail does not really support a robust Address Book program, which Entourage does.
I’m glad I made the move, though the real work was combing through about 8 years worth of contacts (930 to be exact), and removing duplicates and old data. It was a job, but I’m actually looking forward to sending and receiving emails again, and I’ve set up a good Junk mail system to get rid of the tremendous amount of spam I have been receiving. Entourage now synchs nicely with my Palm IIIx and it’s quite nice having all the same information in one app – plus it functions with Word now in an almost seamless way. Ahhh, Microsoft technology. (One cool thing: if you don’t want to buy Office v. X, you can get Entourage for a worthwhile $99.)
Okay, so I broke down the other day and purchased the eponymous little Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ EP. It’s quite strong, though it only is only 5 songs strong. Although they’re being touted as best buddies with The Strokes and the White Stripes, the YYYs bring a superior energy level to their music. Sure, its’ all self-conscious 1980s bad-hair mope material, but Karen O, the lead singer is tremendously interesting as a vocalist, ranging from loud yawns to crazed rock anthems. I await their first real album, due out in a few months.
A real 02/14 news story: A Very Happy Valentine’s Day to all.