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Archive for the 'Media News' Category

Naked Graffiti Party in Boston Tonight

Posted by glasscastle on 10th February 2007

Five paint-covered punks, suspected to be in town for a naked graffiti party in South Boston this weekend, were busted by MBTA police while trying to practice their illegal art on several subway cars, officials said.

Three of the five were visiting from Europe and were ordered by a Quincy District Court judge to turn in their passports, stay off the T and remain in the United States until the case plays out in court.

Officials believe the men may be visiting for a Web-advertised underground party tonight in South Boston with DJs and events featuring nude models who will be decorated with body paint.

from the Boston Herald

Naked Graffiti Party??!! Tonight Somewhere in Boston??! And the Dowbrigade wasn’t invited??!! Several minutes of intense searching has failed to reveal the location or any of the reported on-line fliers for said Naked Graffiti Party, which, considering the police attention and last night’s arrests, is probably the point.

Any hot tipsters out there who clue us in to the 411 can rest assured we will not divulge any of the details until after the fact…..

Posted in Media News | 6 Comments »

Give Me the Willies

Posted by glasscastle on 24th May 2006

NEW YORK (Reuters) – At 73, country music legend Willie
Nelson is still doing headstands and smoking joints in the back of a
tour bus at hundreds of concerts and, far from slowing down, he’d like
to tour with the Rolling Stones.

"They like country music, we get along fine and Keith (Richards) is
a good buddy of mine, so that would be good," Nelson said, adding
that he’s not much of a dancer compared to Stones front man Mick Jagger
but he might
give it a try.

"I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes," Nelson
said with a smile, sitting in a luxury suite at New York’s Carlyle Hotel,
a whiff of marijuana drifting down the corridor.

Nelson admits he’s had a few run-ins with the law over his pot smoking
habits. "If you’re going to be out there with it, somebody’s going
to pull you over, just because they can. … I talk about it a lot, but
I’m not going to walk into some police station burning one down and say,
‘How are you all doing?"

He says the pot smoking hasn’t hindered his songwriting. On the contrary,
it may have helped filter out the duds.

"I figured if it wasn’t worth remembering it probably wasn’t a very good
song, so that would be the test, to see if I remembered it until I got
back to a guitar or a piano," he said. "That was usually a
pretty good measuring stick, but I’m sure I forgot a few that might have
been OK."

Much of his advice in his book is as simple as urging
people to breathe deeply and drink plenty of water, and he draws examples
from his past to show the importance, for example, of not getting angry
for the wrong reasons.

"I could have gotten all pissed off thirty-something years ago when
my wife Shirley tied my drunk ass to the bed with a clothesline and woke
me up by beating me with a mop handle, but instead I figured I probably
had it coming," he writes.

He just can’t exactly remember for what…

from Reuters

Posted in Media News | 1 Comment »

Next Year in Guantanamo

Posted by glasscastle on 25th April 2006

SOMERVILLE — It’s a quiet night at The Thirsty Scholar,
an Irish pub and dating bar on Beacon Street. A handful of bored-looking
guys sit at the bar, watching a hockey game on the TV, and a few couples
and small groups chat quietly at scattered tables. But in what Irish
pubs call ”the snug," an alcove off the dimly lit main room, conversation
is animated, laughter frequent, and there are more books than bottles
on the table. The Boston-area ”Finnegans Wake" Reading Group is
in session.

The 10-year-old group, which meets weekly, is carefully making its way
— word by word, line by line, and page by page — through James Joyce’s
famously difficult final work. The book is 628 pages long, and they’re
now on Page 251.

from the Boston Globe

And we thought we were a slow reader! Actually,
the Dowbrigade has been a member of a Reading Group for even longer.
The
"Doctor Gonzo" has been trying to work its way through that American
classic, "Fear
and Loathing in Las Vegas
" since shortly after it came
out in 1972, meeting in burnt-out basements, poorly illuminated street
corners in dangerous neighborhoods and sleazy dives in what was once
known as
the Combat Zone.

As was perhaps to be expected, given the nature
of the Group, our attempts to gather and discuss were almost universally
unsuccessful,
due to an inability to follow directions and arrive at the same place
at the same time. On those uncommon occasions when a handful of the Doctor’s
disciples did manage to meet, our readings rarely penetrated more than
a paragraph or two into the text before disintegrating into digression,
non-sequitors, rambling off-topic rants, marginally related commercial
transactions and barter, and an unhealthy mix of paranoid schitzophrenia,
psychoses,
bi-polar disorders and drug or mental health induced halucinations.

And yet, we suspect we reached a clearer understanding
of our work than these jokers….

For the record, the Dowbrigade considers Joyce
an obscure, old-world sot not worth the time and effort requrired to
figure out what the hell he was trying to say. Give us robust transparent
American writers any day – Poe, Kerouac, Burroughs, Bukowski, Pynchon……

Posted in Media News | 1 Comment »

Librarian Charged with Sex Harassment for Reading List

Posted by glasscastle on 17th April 2006

A "sexual harassment" investigation is ongoing at an
Ohio college after the school’s librarian suggested that students read
a few books from a conservative perspective.

According to the Alliance Defense Fund — a legal alliance that aggressively
defends religious liberty — a librarian at Ohio State University at Mansfield
has been slapped with a "sexual harassment" charge after he suggested that
freshmen read four best-selling conservative books.

Scott Savage is a reference librarian at OSU Mansfield and a member of
the school’s First Year Reading Experience Committee. After suggesting
that students read "The Marketing of Evil" by David Kupelian, "The Professors"
by David Horowitz, "Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis" by Bat Ye’or, and "Takes
a Family" by Sen. Rick Santorum, Savage was put under "investigation."

The Alliance Defense Fund reports that three professors filed a complaint
of discrimination and harassment against Savage because the list of books
he suggested made them feel "unsafe."

"Universities are one of the most hostile places for Christians and conservatives
in America," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David French, who heads ADF’s
Center for Academic Freedom. "It is shameful that OSU would investigate
a Christian librarian for simply recommending books that are at odds with
the prevailing politics of the university."

from Christopher
Flickinger
in Human Events Online

Incredible story, in the sence of stretching creibility.
As big a fan as we are of finding "sexual" twists to almost anything,
we fail to see the connection here.So far, the only on-line mentions
we have found for this story are from a handful
of conservative blogs
.
Anybody at OSU, or otherwise on top of the story, who can perhaps give
a logical analysis of what’s going on?

Posted in Media News | Comments Off on Librarian Charged with Sex Harassment for Reading List

“Miracle Brigade” Saving Face in Iraq

Posted by glasscastle on 5th March 2006

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that
the Pentagon is reviewing its practice of paying to plant stories in
the Iraqi news media, withdrawing his earlier claim that it had been
stopped.

Rumsfeld told reporters he was mistaken in the earlier assertion.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, speaks to the media during
a press briefing at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006, in Washington.
Rumsfeld said Tuesday that the Pentagon is reviewing its practice of
paying to plant stories in the Iraqi news media, withdrawing his earlier
claim that it had been stopped.

"I don’t have knowledge as to whether it’s been stopped. I do have
knowledge it was put under review. I was correctly informed. And I just
misstated the facts," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news briefing.

from the Washington Post

We don’t know about the rest of you, but we have a hard time understanding
Rummy sometimes, which is curious considering his reputation as a blunt
straight-shooter. Near as we can tell, the about quote means that the
US government is still paying journalists for favorable stories on and
in Iraq.

We certainly hope this is the case, as we have just finished a terrific
contribution to the genre. It is designed to win the hearts and minds
of the local population, as well as to make US forces look good to supporters
and critics alike, around the globe. Please forward the check to our
favorite charity, the Dowbrigade Retirement Fund, at the address sent
in separate email. And if you like this one, there’s plenty more where
that came from….

IRAQ – According to a growing legion of local legends, members of a
mysterious "Miracle Brigade" have been appearing in different
cities and regions of Iraq to do good deeds, save people in peril, and
in some cases,  undo
damage done by sectarian violence and attacks on American Forces.

"We don’t know who they are." according to Walid Wazeen, a village leader in northeastern Iraq, "but
they come when people are most desperate. They wear American uniforms,
but with the insignia covered, and they are always smiling."

At least some of the group are doctors, as their field actions include
removing shrapnel, restorative cosmetic surgery and emergency gender
reassignment surgery. They also often leave behind much needed medicines
and medical supplies.

Among the other actions attributed to the "Miracle Brigade" are rescuing
civilians trapped in rubble, delivering books and study materials to
bombed out schools, repairing broken-down generators and small appliances,
finding lost pets and organizing local lotteries and raffles.

"They arrive from the heavens like Saints," said 11-year-old Abdul Masool,
clutching the baseball glove they left him, about the soldiers, who
arrive by helicopter, often at night, with blinding floodlights and symphonic
music
playing on a powerful PA system aboard the choppers,
"Every
night
we pray
that they will come back."

Posted in Media News | 1 Comment »

Who’s on first at the New York Times

Posted by glasscastle on 8th February 2006

An amazing demonstration of the utility of the meta-data recently added to the New York Times web site, allowing articles to be cross-indexed by related topics and articles.

from Aaronland

Posted in Media News | 1 Comment »

Good Writing Wants to be Read

Posted by glasscastle on 6th February 2006

Boy,
reading the New
York Times Tough Shit
Op-Ed pieces by their "big
guns" Kristoff, Dowd, Herbert and Friedman for free keeps getting harder
and harder. Decent writers, all, but hardly worth the price of the
paper
alone
on the
days you
don’t
have
time or energy to read more than a couple of columns.

When the Times first went over to a Premium Subscriber pay-to-read model
they were decried as uncaring corporate capitalists. For a few days,
in a show of insolence and solidarity, half the blogosphere was reprinting
the password protected columnists en masse. Some
sites
prominently published all
of the restricted content – but now no longer do so. Burnout or back
down?

The easiest way to find the column you wanted was to subscribe to the
RSS
feed
for the New York Times Opinion list, and then copy the titles
of the articles you wanted to read and paste them into the search field
of Technorati. For a few months
there the top ten searches (prominently displayed at the top of the main
Technorati
page) were peppered with "Maureen Dowd" and "Nicholas
Kristoff" and the titles of that day’s Premium Content.

Suddenly, when we got back from our trip abroad, this was no longer
true.
 Had people lost interest, or were the search results being manipulated?
A Technorati search for one of today’s authors "Paul
Krugman
",
leads only to sites which reprint PART of the column and then link to
the New York Times members-only site. Have the Gray Lady’s Lawyers been
sending cease and desist love letters to the Technorati brain trust?

A more functional alternative today seems to be Google’s new Blog
Search
, which looks
relatively unmoderated. A search for "Do
You Know What They Know
" (the
title of today’s Herbert column ) leads to 5 complete reprints of the
entire column on different blogs among the top results.  It seems
that the full reprinters are still out there, but smaller and more occasional
targets.
Go Google!
Slay that gray dragon.

Of course, the Google Blog Search is still a beta service, so maybe
the Times legal department will get to them before the final version
is released.
So enjoy it in the meantime – we did to uncover the following succinct
sentence from the abovementioned Herbert column.

The Bush administration, by exploiting
the very real fear of terrorism, and
with
the connivance
of
Republican
majorities
in
both
houses
of Congress,
has run roughshod over constitutional guarantees that had long
been taken for granted.

read the WHOLE piece at Free Democracy

Posted in Media News | Comments Off on Good Writing Wants to be Read

Prefer to Pay With Silver Dollars

Posted by glasscastle on 3rd February 2006

Last week we got one of those artfully timed dinnertime calls from
an earnest young woman trying to sell us a service we didn’t need. It
was
a "tepid" telemarketing call, as opposed to a cold call.  That
is, it came from a company we already do business with, offering further
"services".

As it is, we purchase both a product (The Boston Globe) and a service
(delivery of aforementioned Boston Globe) from this company on a daily
basis. The caller was trying to convince us to change to credit card
billing. "I notice that you are still paying your bill every month by
check." Slight disdain and incredulity in her voice,as though we were
among the last few crusty holdouts. She didn’t need to mention that stamps
had just gone up two cents again.

We explained that we liked to write them a check every month,
that it reminded us of what a good deal the paper was.  Well, we
were told, if we came to our senses, just call this number.

Normally, when a company we do business with calls us at dinnertime
with some worthless waste of time we drop them like Simon Cowell drops
the obvious head cases, but in this case we are helpless. We are absolutely
addicted
to the Globe
in the morning, and the alternative (the Herald)
has a few decent writers and a lot of holes and pap. But we’d be damned
if we would let them tap directly into our financial flow.

So, we felt more than somewhat vindicated this morning to read, top
center on the Boston Globe web site, the following advisory:

ATTN. Boston Globe subscribers: Confidential
credit and bank card account information of Boston Globe and Worcester
Telegram & Gazette subscribers
who pay for their home delivery subscriptions by credit card was recently
inadvertently disclosed on the back of slips used to label bundles of
the Worcester Sunday Telegram. The bank routing information of some Telegram & Gazette
subscribers who pay by automatic withdrawal may also have appeared on
some of these newspaper bundle sheets. To find out whether your financial
information may have been released, please visit www.bostonglobe.com
Also, customer service representatives are available to answer questions
at this toll-free number: 888-665-2644.

Apparently financial information of over 220,000 subscribers
was inadvertently sent to the presses and printed on huge sheets of newsprint.  Instead
of being immediately destroyed, some braniac decided to use it to wrap
up the bundles of papers being distributed in Worcester. Waste not, want
not.

Here is the news story about their gaff from arch-rival Boston
Herald
….

Posted in Media News | Comments Off on Prefer to Pay With Silver Dollars

A Paean to Paper

Posted by glasscastle on 23rd January 2006

Any kind of a life crisis – medical, emotional, financial
or existential – imbues one with a renewed appreciation of life’s
simple pleasures.  Like the morning newspaper. It may be sacrilegious
for a "new media" guy to say, but there is no electronic pleasure comparable
to crawling out of bed in a dim dewy dawn light, stumbling bleary-eyed
to the front door, and finding there, waiting every single morning, the
feast for the senses that is the Our Daily Paper. Not our ONLY daily
paper, of course, but our first-borne.

A feast for all the senses, in a sense electronic media
will never be. The sight of the rolled up compilation of the newsworthy
essence of the day, wrapped in one or more layers of translucent blue
protective plastic (depending on the weather), festooned with fonts,
figures, line drawings and full-color photos from front to back, oozing
with information, advertising, and multiple nuggets of knowledge, humor
and occasional wisdom is what convinces us we’ve survived to see another
day..  We drink in the
smell of fresh newsprint, mere hours from the house-sized
monster presses, and the biodegradable vegetable dye ink. We luxurate
in the tactile feel of those 80 or 100 pages, foldable, clipable, wrapable,
portable
material,
which in addition to being readable can be wrapped around boxes, fish
or kitty boxes, used to cushion china, clean glass, house train pets,
protect things from paint, construct poppers and airplanes and paper
trees and paper mache, create confetti, and start a fire. Try doing
any of those things with your flat-screen monitor.

Sometimes we shiver as we hold closed our bathroom and
glance immediately at the mini-weather report at the top of page one
to figure out what we should wear.

Then we settle back into bed with our super-sized mug
of "Flor de Manabi" Ecuadorian coffee (with chemicals) and
the magic hour before we go to work, when we can muse and ruminate, laugh
and cry, be amused and amazed and indignant, make connections, jot down
ideas, mentally compose blog postings, root for and rue our sports surrogates,
and note which stories to keep an eye on as the day develops.

We usually start with the front page, just to make sure
the world hasn’t ended, or radically changed, since we went to bed.
We know this is ridiculous, because the paper in our hands came off
the presses at about the same time we were watching the 11:00 news before
falling asleep, but it is reassuring somehow, anyway. Then Sports,
International,
Local, Business and Arts. We finish with the crossword puzzle, often
over lunch.

Perhaps we are representative of the last generation
of news addicts with this ingrained predilection for a paper paper, and
by the time our grandkids are serious readers paper newspapers will take
their place alongside telegrams and afternoon editions in the museum
of antiquated media.

In the interest of full disclosure, we once
worked for a paper paper. The 17-year-old Dowbrigade was a copy boy on
the Democrat
and Chronicle
, flagship rag of the Gannett empire long before
USA Today sullied Newspaper Row from coast to coast.

One of our jobs, along with fetching, retrieving, delivering
and writing the pity six-word-maximum description of the weather that
appears with the temp and precip forecasts at the top of page one, was
to drive a couple of the first papers off of the presses (at around 6:30
pm) out to Paul Miller and. Al Neuharth, the head honchos of the organization,
who lived in ritizy suburbs about 37 and-a-half miles due south on a
series of connected interstates and local roads.

We were told speed was of the essence, supposedly so
the top dogs could do a final, personal edit and deliver the classics
"Stop the presses!" and "Replate!" telephonically. We don’t know if that
ever happened, but we do know that if we kept the petal to the metal
in the police stock Olds 88 that they assigned us for the drive we could
make it, downtown parking lot to suburban driveway, in 30 minutes.

Inevitably, we got clocked by the cops. The Dowbrigade
had long hair and an attitude in those days (imagine that!); it was a
miracle we didn’t get stopped more often. We were going 22 miles over
the speed limit, which was 65 in those days. In an important lesson in
civics and government’s relations with the press, the paper had the ticket
fixed.

What can we say? The smell of fresh newsprint still
gets us high.

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All News is Local – Somewhere

Posted by glasscastle on 6th November 2005

For
a fan of daily newspapers who is also a student and teacher of Media
News, the relative vitality of the American printed
press is something of a sore spot.  News about the field usually
involves declines in circulation, consolidation of publications and staffs,
closing of venerable papers or accusations of conflicts of interest and
crises of accountability. Its enough to make an old news hound cry.

But we are encouraged by the virulent spread of local
electronic news, via blog, on-line papers and other virtual spaces, and
once in a while the ink-stained branch of the press shows signs of life as well.  Case
in point, the local community news site in our own backyard, Lisa
Williams H20town
, and the recent emergence of the real paper paper, Cambridge
Day
.

Lisa, a blogger, pundit and mother of two, covers local
news, town council meetings, local politics, interesting local folks
of note and current cultural and arts events.  She also has a dynamite
restaurant guide
which pretty much covers the area. Check it out,
and you’ll never be at a loss for where to eat in the Western suburbs.

Lisa manages to actually attend most of the town council meetings, in the finest tradition of the American press keeping politicians honest, at least in public. We wonder where she gets the energy, and the patience.

The Cambridge
Day
paper is another source with some similarities and many differences.  It
is a daily, paper paper, published Monday through Friday, featuring "news, business coverage,
features (including weather and a crossword puzzle), commentary, and exhaustive
calendar listings
to the people of Cambridge."

The reporting is workmanlike and the stories that it
covers are an accurate reflection of the stuff people talk about in their
yards and markets; changes in the neighborhoods, the relation between
Imperial Harvard and her subjects and vassals, local crime and the police
blotter.

Since we pretend to publish a humor blog ourself, we
feel qualified to comment on the sense of humor which animates the writing.
It is rather odd, in the spirit of the wicked smart but socially inept
kids who would never be chosen for the laugh-track studio audience because
they always laugh at different moments than the rest of the folks

For example, on the demise of idiosyncratic independent
gas station "Gas with a Smile" (which the paper calls "legendary"):

The decision means Cambridge has lost another of its
most amusing business names – following the defunct Long Funeral Service
and Huron Drugs.

Oh, now we get it.

The most exceptional feature of this rag is its truly
extensive and inclusive Calendar.  They list 28 interesting cultural,
social and scientific events for Friday alone – from a story hour for
children up to five years old from 10:30 until 11:30 am (nap time) at Barefoot
Books, to Aberdeen City’s CD release party at TT the Bear’s at 12:15 am,
14 hours later. All in chronological order.

If there is any city in the world that has enough stuff
going on to fill up a daily cultural calendar, it’s Cambridge.  Many,
many times we have heard about, or read reviews of, cool stuff that went
on the night before, unbeknownst to us. This is just the ticket to keep
on top of the many marvelous public events happening every day.  Even
if we are too lazy, or would rather curl up in bed with Norma Yvonne
and a good blog, at least we now know what we are missing.

Like the global journalistic matrix called The Metro,
Cambridge Day is free, hoping to support itself through advertising.  They
say they are distributing 15,000 copies free every day in Cambridge.
Unlike the Metro, there is no attempt to cover the world. But for people
who value living in a cultural cauldron like Cambridge, its just what
the Doctor ordered.

H2Otown  and   Cambridge
Day
  both
get the Dowbrigade’s highest recommendation

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