Saturday, August 25, 2007


For the U.S. Government, the Powerpoint presentation is a staple. That's apparent enough in this short piece by David Jones, foreign editor of The Washington Times.

"Jihadists", big red lines, icons of bombs, big black arrows, sweeping bright-green lines--as accurate as it all may be, it's an understatement to say a presentation like this is extremely difficult to take seriously.

But I see it in the Bush Administration's chart for planning the Iraq War, most of their strategy switches since, and the signs Congressmen use to present new policy ideas. Perhaps the problem isn't the Powerpoint quality of all of these presentations, but that the politicians themselves think in terms of key-words, bright colors and complex-made-simple charts.

Dizzee Dancing Gang, M.I.A.

A few days ago I bought "God's Money" by Gang Gang Dance and "Sketchi" by Cex. Then, a few days later, I bought Dizzee Rascal's new album, "Maths + English," and M.I.A.'s new "Kala." And all of those albums are awesome examples of the turn electronic music is taking in this new century: these albums, all electronic in different ways, are all awesome in similar ways. Sick beats, high in danceability factor (Cex is low on this, but high in great-to-listen-to-while-stoned factor), meaningful messages, it's all so great. Just had to let you know.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quote of the Day: Life as a Telemarketer

Reps versus telemarketers is an old war. Sometimes the reps win the battles, like today.

Susan, at Razzle Toys in Littleton Colo., explains: "It's so much better than having someone far away, like you."

Before the Rain, a Flautist

Ready to buy some lunch, I stepped out of an elevator into the long, golden hallway of an East 44th high-rise, which once headquartered The New Yorker and now hosts GMP. I pressed through a revolving door and into a more business-like nook of Times Square.

I could guess by the talk of umbrellas on the elevator that rain was nigh. Outside, office executives, firemen and tourists alike went about their city business. I passed down the sidewalk to my regular deli, the one with a maroon overhang. It was your average summer day, only the weather lacked an oppressive humidity. Rather, it was misty and still--silence before a downpour, indeed.

Still, no threat of rain warded off the flautist I passed. He was a stocky fellow with a comb-over, wearing a dress-shirt, a leather belt and pressed, grey dockers. He nestled into an alcove along a wall across the street and jerked his elbows back and forth, up and down, to the rhythm of his free jazz flute riffs.