Sunday, February 29, 2004

Hey, Big spender: Ovitz & Eisner

LA Times story today on Michael Eisner and Michael Ovitz starts with this lead:
"Just five weeks after hiring Hollywood power agent Michael Ovitz as president of Walt Disney Co. in 1995, Chairman Michael Eisner believed his friend should be fired.

But he hesitated out of fear that Ovitz would commit suicide
Ovitz was a big expense account spender. According to the story, Ovitz spent:
--More than $2 million to remodel his office. $48,305 on Ovitz's home screening room and $14,055 on his home office
--$99,135 to buy his BMW from his former employer
--Nearly $80,000 on gifts
--$348,445 for entertaining
--$97,868 for Los Angeles Laker basketball tickets.
--Limousine, rental cars ...$76,413
--Security services ...$149,391
--Aircraft usage... $654,200
--Home X-ray machine... $6,100
--55 Roy Lichtenstein prints... $23,650

Wonder what Eisner's expenses look like?

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Homage: Amy Spindler

Amy Spindler, the wonderful and amazing NY Times fashion editor, died yesterday--she had been fighting brain cancer for several months...she was only 40 years old.
Spindler brought an energy and original point of view to the Times that made it much more fun to read--She was a terrific editor and style maven, and left a family.

RIP, Amy

Friday, February 27, 2004

NYT: "But what has really carried Google to the top is a change in our perception of the Internet."

Verlyn Klinkenborg, Editorial Board Member, writes about how the acceptance of Google reflects consumer's shifting definition of Internet credibility, as as as an evolved sense of navigation.
He writes: "What Google also reflects is our changing sense of the dynamism of the Web. Nothing captures how statically we used to see the Internet as well as "information highway," an old phrase that embodies pure linearity and the smell of asphalt. That stasis is also captured in the increasingly outmoded notion of an Internet portal like AOL, much of whose dynamism comes from offering a Google search bar. The fact is that many of us have grown comfortable within the amorphousness of the Web. We no longer need a breakwater like AOL when a good search engine promises to make the sea itself our home."

Scott Allen: Building a better blog

Scott's post is so through and useful, I hope it's part of a book. If you are just getting into blogging--or focused on how to improve your blogging--read this.

Diner mania: Dreamin' of Jersey

The best old school diners I've ever experienced are in New Jersey: White Manna, Tick Tock, etc are virtual beacons for the kitsch obsessed--and there taint nothing like them in the Bay area, that's for sure.
A North Jersey story on the retro-fitting on "28", a suave Montclair eatery, into the diner-style Raymond's brought it all back home for a moment.

Successful Conference Blogs

One of the things I'm thinking about is what makes a successful conference blog. There have been some clearly unsuccessful conference blogs in the past six months--but also some terrifically successful ones.

Some of the qualities of a successful conference blog experience IMHO would include the following:
--Real time coverage of the sessions, done in a coherent fashion
--Links to slide presos, articles, relevant data
--Post-session commentary and reflection, ideally by session participants, as well as by blogosphere observers reading the posts and sharing their responses
--A variety of voices--more than one poster, ensuring multiple points of view
--Audio feeds of sessions
--Webcast archives if possible
--Phone or moblogging--visuals matter too--seeing people and slides of the screens can both be useful.
--Comments and trespass for individual posts, of course-
--A conference RSS feed AND an aggregated feed of blogging attendees and related posters
--Blogroll with XML buttons and the URL of an exportable OPML file
--Great, opinionated posters, of course
--A parallel set of FOAF social networking memberships for conference attendees so they have a common platform on which to exchange information and form groups and connections pre and post conference.
--Some linkages between the social network and the blogs (only some of the attendees will have blogs, build FOAF profiles, or both)

One of the conference blogs I thought particularly well done was Marketing Wonk's coverage for AdTech.
One that had great promise, but ultimate did not work as well for me was the Poynter Institute's Narrative Journal, log f a blog for the 2003 Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism. Differences: AdTech's blog felt more like real-time coverage and active conversation; Poynter's beautifully done blog felt more like a series of set magazine pieces than anything else.

This question has more than proforma relevance for me because I am blogging The American Press Institute's Mediamorphosis conference in March. There will be at least 10 bloggers attending, including a few folks who will help cover the sessions, but that's not enough--we'd like this blog to be a useful tool for participants, and a gateway into the room for interested folks who will not be attending.

If you have suggestions, good conference blogs to point to, etc, please share here.
A great post on this topic is from Ross Mayfield who very accurately describes some of the types of conference blogs he has read and contributed to.

Recently posted-Steve Gillmor's round-up storyfor eweek: Tech conferences ready to go virtual.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

12 Days: Count down to Spring

12 days to the start of Spring.

Despite the heavy rains, there's a sense of winter ending in California--the daffodils are blooming, the evenings are balmier, and the early dark is lifting.
I've been feeling very energized--I was talking with a friend who owns an ad agency today, throwing around ideas for newsletters, blogs, and things they could build to accompany the new web site, and he said, "You're back."
Meaning: wow, the energy is totally there.
And that seems true--while I have been "back" in many ways over the past year, right now I am having the greatest time in the world thinking about---and helping people develop--blogging systems, community tools, content, and software.

Yep, my inner geek is blooming with the spring, and it feels damn good.

Win $500 bucks--name the nextGen Newsmonster

Kevin Burton and friends are giving away cold, hard cash in exchange for a new name for the nextgen of their newsaggregator (and company). (Full disclosure: I am an advisor to this project.)
The current product is here; the new one will be similar, only 1,000 times better(we hope).

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

In love with: Mad Professor

I am a big Mark Fraufelder fan, so the launch of his new media review blog, Mad Professor, has me all happy smiley (okay, not really, it's just a metaphor, but I am thrilled this exists.) Check it out!

Gibson's Passion: Suffering, the video game?

Matt Thompson: "If Mel Gibson truly wanted to immerse Christians in what Jesus suffered through before death, he wouldn't have made a movie, he'd have made a video game."

Blogdigger groups:Packaging other people's content

Are you part of the conversations among people who want to see the blogs their friends are reading--and, in fact, wish their friends would package up their interests into blogging bundles--Phil Wolff's list of knowledge management blogs for example? If yes, you probably want to check out Blogdigger's Group Blog feature, which allows someone to aggregrate feeds into a "group blog"--Or more accurately, to create a blog by grouping a selection of other blogs together. Greg Gersham posted notes about it just last week, so it seems fairly new.

Greg says: "One of the neat features of Blogdigger Groups are the different types of Groups. First off, you can choose to make your group Private or Public. A private group is password-protected. Only those people who you choose to give the group password to can view the group (private groups won't be listed in the main groups index). Public groups are viewable by anyone, and are listed in the Groups index."

Roland Tanglao has a test group up,, with an XML feed, There's a bundle of Blogspot blogs, and Salon blogs, and Berkeley blogs. and so on...not unlike Feedster's feedpapers. bundles of feeds on political topics--only Blogdigger lets you build it yourself and then publishes the results in a directory...Something Winer's Share your OPML does as well, in a way.

New tools: Emerging markets

I had lunch today with a Silicon Valley social network/search engine/newsreader aggregator/blogging tools CEO. He talked about the idea that his business will be next-generation web and publishing tools. "No one in the blogging world--except for the people at SocialText, knows anything about publishing systems like Vignette," he told me (no, he wasn't from SocialText).

What struck me is that so many of the entrepreneurs in these spaces want to see their core product plus web services--and they all want to do business with either publishers or enterprise companies.

It's search plus web services, news aggregator plus web services, social networks get the drill. Most of the people I talk with are not focusing on thinking about collaborating with one another--though they all agree that competition helps to build a market--they're more focused on how they can expand their core product's membership, distribution, and product extensions to turn their enterprises into revenue-positive, member rich growing businesses.

A great vision--but amazingly similar across the board--I bet many of the publishers being approached are getting that halo, or echo effect--but then, it is great to sit on the other side of the table and see all the new companies shake their products out, giving the big guns with money the ability to watch and wait.

Another theme I have heard from several people is concern over what happens to these emerging markets if one of the big technology companies--Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo, for example--decide to come in and build these products themselves. Acquisition or tsunami? Most people admit they are unsure.

Xian blogs the blogging dinner

Last, but not least--Christian Crumlish has a good post about the SF Blogging/Media dinner held last Wednesday (Geeze, seems like an eon ago!) He shares his impressions of the event, and various attendees, in a way that offers an interesting recap of the night.

Discussion: New visions for blogging tools

In preparation for spring BloggerCon, Dave Winer's started a terrific new discussion about the vision for the next generation of blogging tools. A wonderful aggregration of ideas--with some very rich concepts--is happening in the comments thread--103 posts so far.

Some ideas (in no particular order:
"I'm fairly new to blogging but here's what I'd like to see.
I'd like to see built into the google toolbar or browser, an icon that shows whether the webpage your looking at has been blogged about."--Dan (no sig)

"The single feature I'd find most useful is the relatively automatic ability to incorporate link info from places like Amazon and BN and CD Now and eBay and other "marketplaces" to my blog references."--Dan Shafer

"An About or "Profile" page management system that does some of the things found in the current crop of Social networking sites. eg - Maintain html pages of profile description and contact detail - Allows your friends to identify themselves and leave a link to their profile pages - Allow your friends to leave comments/guestbook/endorsements - Automatic Blogroll-RSS Subscription management - Export all of the above as FOAF - Acts as an identity server for single signon ."--Julian Bond

" A tool so incredibly simple any child or non-Internet, non-PC user could figure out immediately how to use it: Oh, I put this there and I can get to it from anywhere. "This" can be text, a photo, a sound, a video, a shopping list, a school paper, anything. "Put" can mean type or drag-and-drop or even the dreaded "browse." "Get" can mean that from a simple address on a simple page, I can find this thing again or send my friends there to find it. "Anywhere" means it should be accessible from the web or mobile phones or RSS or whatever. : The tool should be easily translated into ANY language on earth. That is how we will change this world, when blogging tools work in Arabic and Korean and Chinese of various stripes and Balkan languages and such." --Jeff Jarvis (part of a much longer--and wonderfully on-target note)

If this is a topic of interest, this discussion is fah schnizzle, as a certain much younger member of my household might (jokingly) say.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Me Write Book One Day: Jessica & Nick pitch print

Smoking Gun's got info on the How to have a Happy (and Sexy!) Marriage Book proposal nominally by Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, now making the rounds of NY publishers. The kicker: Jessica's note that " "Now that I am 23, I realize that I cannot help feed every hungry kid or find every lost one. However, there is one way that I know I can help people: by sharing the secrets of my successful marriage. However, there is one way I can help people-by sharing the secrets of our successful marriage."
Good idea, why not write a book instead?

Monday, February 23, 2004

Tim O'Reilly: "The business model of selling people to each other online is coming back to life."

Via Tim Oren, a summary of Tim O'Reilly's preso at eTech: "The business model of selling people to each other online is coming back to life. Lacking the stovepipe walls of the former proprietary services, value is being harvested by conjoining it to a service business (Amazon) as a revenue enhancer, or by moving up to a metadata level, either overtly (Friendster) or implicitly (eBay's role as a market price setter). These businesses are building up equity as they accumulate user's contributions, both overt and implicit.

Tom Watson--@NY founder starts a blog

Back in the day, Tom Watson and Jason Chervokas left the Riverdale Press and started @NY , a local dot com email newsleter., Meckler bought it and they went off--but now Tom has a blog.
(Via Fred Wilson)

SATC: Big is a John

What a cruel joke, to have Carrie end up with a John.

More fun: Orkut, geohacked

Via Corante: Scrape the member info off Orkut and see where everyone lives...
Here's a list of members by town--Boy, does this blow the TOS.

Fun with tools: Hammersley

Ben Hammersley: Flickr+Technorati API equals Linkr, an app that tells you what your Flickr friends are linking to.
(Via Erik Benson)

How does digital democracy change the journalist's role?

Dan Gillmor, Jeff Jarvis and Jay Rosen took the floor at the Digital Democracy teach-in in San Diego last week and discussed how digital democracy technology is changing the journalist's role.
Transcripts are here, audio files--in multiple files--are here.

Some selections:
Jay Rosen: "...The Internet has done one thing radical; it has given voters a mouth, and what is different about this moment to me is that the public now is no longer that inert thing on the receiving end of the mass media and now we can see that from 1860 till now, we have this huge production not only of media content and messages, but of silence on the part of citizens themselves. The production of silence has actually been a part of the media age and now that is starting to come to a close and that is what is very exciting about, right now."

Jeff Jarvis: "As I look at this election, I think we have come through some very important and big changes. The first is that the audience has a voice. When I lecture people in my business about blogs as blog boy in a suit, the first obligation we have I tell them is not to go writing blogs. We already do write. We already have a printing press. Now that people have a voice, the first obligation is to listen. The first obligation is to go read those blogs and see what the people are saying and what they care about, which may be very different from what we say they care about on our front pages or in our stump speeches, and so the first and most important thing is to listen to the people. And in that sense in a lot of ways, I think the reporters have gotten the story wrong lately, they are looking the wrong way. They are looking at the stump when they should be looking around at the green and seeing what the people have to say. That is the new story here."

Dan Gillmor: "... The journalist has to do a better job in understanding and using these things and communicating with whoever is out there, but we also need better tools that you folks can help develop for the people who have been the audience to roll their own news reports so they get better information than they can get from sole sources, the way it is done now. "

Read or listen to the whole transcript, if you have time--it's good.
(Thanks, Doug Kaye's Blogarithms)

Keep Media: Will readers pay $50 bucks a year?

John Blossom article: " What you have today at KeepMedia is a cross-publication portal that blends a growing list of more than 150 consumer, business and professional magazines and journals as well as news wire content into an online environment that is editorially managed in some sections but that also includes some very nifty automated content tracking tools. The more that one uses KeepMedia to search for content the more that it learns about your needs and interests - information that it uses to alert you to newly available content in an Amazon-style fashion, either via the portal or via email updates."

Blossom gives a good run down of Keep Media thinking and tis emerging business model, but it strikes me that the KM team is basically trying to merchandise articles and bits of content like so many supermarket skews--but that few readers consume information in that fashion. Most of us rely on credible brands--newspaper, magazines, authors, columnists,bloggers--or on the latest news about a breaking story. We don't think of looking on the web for 'content retailing environment,'" ad CEO Doug Herrington describes KM.

Does KeepMedia offer services--like Amazon--that are core to users' time-starved behaviors--or it is banking on converting users as a time-saving 'nice to have'? Can it afford to attract the critical mass of customers it needs to make it worthwhile for publishers to do deals with them? And, perhaps most importantly--can Google--or Amazon, for that matter--easily subvert their model and offer a similar product, at far less cost?

Welcome to start-up land, where brave new efforts prevail and time tells all tales.

Update, 2/23: KeepMedia launches RSS feeds. Is there a business model for this? Or is it a way for potential customers for trial? Or why buy the milk when you get the cow for free? (I always wanted to write that.)
(Via John Battelle)

Dept of food prep

Sunday night dinner:
Chicken cutlets meuniere(that's lightly breaded with lemon)
Baby zucchinis with thyme

Sauteed salmon
Penne with onion/cheese sauce (tastes like French onion soup)
Steamed broccoli

Dog World: No nuts delight

We neutered our 5 year old American bulldog about a month ago, because we weren't going to breed him, and we hoped it make him less of a threat to some other (more agressive) dogs.
The strategy seems to have worked, because he's been having a great time in the dogpark and the local park down the street.
Went out today for what was supposed to be a quick walk and ended up spending an hour in the park as Winston gamboled with other dogs, mellow as can be.
This must be what it's like when people's meds kick in--the difference is not that obvious, but so pleasant.

Search Engines: Used by 1 in 3 Americans

Nielsen/Netratings announced today that 1 in 3 Americans use an online search engine. The study reports that114.5 million unique users, representing 76 percent of the active online U.S. population, each spent nearly forty minutes using search engines during January 2004.
(Via Mediapost)

If Tinkerbell kept a diary

Paris Hilton's dog's diary.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Recent reading

Jonathan Carroll: From the Teeth of Angels and A Child Across the Sky<--finding these uneven.
Louis Begley: Shipwreck--A favorite novelist, a cunningly written book about an arrogant main character.
Jennifer Egan: Look at Me--Did I mentioned I disliked this novel?
Rober G Cooper: Winning at New Products(this is my third read on this one; great book!)
Alice Adams: Almost Perfect--I have rediscovered her.
Danny Gregory: Everyday Matters--Discovering the artist within after personal tragedy.

Tooling around the East Bay

Spent a chunk of today exploring various spots in the East Bay: Alameda, including South Shore and the Franklin Park area , the Lakeshore Avenue/Lake Merritt Oakland area in Oakland, North Oakland, Temescal, Dimond, Oakmore, and North Berkeley. Oakland has some wonderful areas. In some ways , I preferred it to Berkeley--it seems more low key. I also found Alameda really interesting--the historic houses--particularly the Victorians-- are beautiful--and it's right by the water.
Oh yes, and we managed to snag some righteous dim sum to go in Oakland's Chinatown area--the freshest gai mai bao, dao choi bing, and scallion pancakes--great lunch munching as we drove around. Ended up with coffee at Fatapples, then headed home.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

It ain't yer grandma's grapefruit

NY Post story today about Florida grapefruit growers launching a $3MM campaign to reach women ages 25-49.
This seems like a natural spend for the salesfolks at, ivillage, epicurious, and all online newspapers with the ability to target specific demos.

Search :Ethics of scraping metadata

Adrian Holovaty's s got a post about Topix, a news aggregator that presents search results in a newspaper-like format. He's incensed at their user policy, which restricts usage of the service to individual----at the same time that they are making their money packaging links and placing search results ads on those pages. He says "I admire the proprietors for their gall. But their hypocrisy is undeniably crass."
A commentator asks: "Is this any different than Google?"

Friday, February 20, 2004

Dept of Celebrity trivia

Is the amazingly beautiful Angelia Jolie really dating Jared Leto?
Why is Drew Barrymore's weight loss such a big deal with the press? (Okay, she does look great.)
Is Ashton Kutcher really 30--not 26?
Will LinkedIn and Friendster merge--Hey snuck that in to see if you are paying attention!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

If your blog was a book, what would it be?

Just tried out the Waypath beta of finding related books to a URL (Tara Calashain blogged it). Typed in my blog URL and got Learn Google and Google Hacks. Typed in Jarvis' Buzzmachine URL and got Dean's Winning Back America (that's pretty funny).
Putting in Daily Candy & Gawker produced no results, but putting in Peterme snagged Telephone Collecting: Seven Decades of Design.

SF Examiner goes to QWest founder

SF Examiner being sold to telecom kingpin Phillip Anschutz. Reports say the new owner has competed in the paper's Bay to Breaker's Race for the past 20 years.

AOL: Musical chairs in marketing group

Two stories about the departure of AOL Marketing head Len Short this week.
Both stories dish the dirt about his personal style and TW execs expectations, but the reality is that Short may just be a victim of AOL's Red Queen style of executive management. Short replaced someone else when he came on in Jan 2003, and now Richard Taylor, who started in April 2003, is replacing him. Anyone else hearing "Off with his head?"

JD Lasica: Blog dinner photos

JD has a fine gallery of blog dinner photos.

MediaChannel: A Smear's Journey to Page One

Via Dan Gilmor:A look back at the Kerry intern flap.

Blogger/media dinner: Good talk, good food

Dinner last night at Cafe Bastille with about 25 folks: JD Lasica, Dan Gilmor, Craig Newmark, Mark Graham, Peter Merholz, Phil Wolff, Jeff Ubois, Brad deGraf, Deeje Cooley, Tom Mangan, George Kelly, Nina Davis, Chris Alden, Chris Allen, Stuart Henshall, Christian Crumlish, Art McGee, Tim Caitlin, Kevin Burton, Geoff Goodfellow, Mary Hodder, Heather Schlegel and Moses Ma turned out for drinks, food and a chance to hang out in the nether regions of the Cafe Bastille.

George Kelly appears to be first to blog this one, and has lots o pix. Tom Mangan also has a post--with a funny story related to the 5:1 male/female ratio for the night.

My eyes were crossing with fatigue(and perhaps a bit too much Gamay Beaujolais) on the long drive back to San Jose, but it was a great evening. ( If I left anyone off this list, let me know.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Watch the press start to spinn: RSS at DEMO

Internet News has a story about DEMO 2004 and the blogging, search and RRS-reated companies that makes all these emerging businbesses sound about 1,000 years old.
The descriptions of th new companies and emerging products are great, but the writer seems unaware that all these folks need to establish business modeks--and build revenue--to grow their companies--yet their potential in the marketplace is not addressed in the run down.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

What I cooked tonight

Rainy weather , ugh. Decided a good dinner was the antidote.
Lentil tomato soup with mini-italian meatballs
Roasted chicken with oven roasted potatoes
Tossed salad
Fresh strawberrries and chocolate graham cookies

Zack, Megan, and Megan's dad Mark helped polish it all off. A good time was had by all.

The Google 6 billion: Find it and soon buy it

Google Inc. today announced it expanded the breadth of its web index to more than 6 billion items, including 4.28 billion web pages, 880 million images, 845 million Usenet messages, and a collection of book-related information pages.
A new test service, called Google Print, enables users to find book data, text, reviews and bibliographic information, as well as links to direct purchase this went live in December, but seems--along with images to be a focal point of the announcement.

The FAQ for the print beta says:
"Google's mission is to provide access to all the world's information and make it universally useful and accessible. It turns out that not all the world's information is already on the Internet, so Google has been experimenting with a number of publishers to test their content online.

On Google Print pages, we provide links to some popular book sellers that may offer the full versions of these publications for sale. Book seller links are not paid for by those sites, nor does Google benefit if you make a purchase from one of these retailers. In addition, these pages show contextually-targeted AdWords ads that are served through the Google AdSense program."

Okay, so you test out selling books direct from a search-based interface that creates a meta layer of info. SEARCH==>SAMPLE==>PURCHASE
Then you become a viral network of notes that converts searchers into purchases and ships them to their destination.
Hmmmn...See the example here.which indexes the ISBN number.
Books as the playground for commerce,.where have I heard that before?

Monday, February 16, 2004

Jarvis: What makes America exceptional?

Jeff's got a long post on what makes America exceptional--what makes Jeff so exceptional is that 165 people have posted responses to it!
This champion of interactivity is the master at getting it going.

The Connected Conference: How to run one

Loic Le Meur's notes on the interactive capabilities that made eTech extra special good: wiki, IRC, mobblog, technorati links and more.

YASN: I have Social Network Fatigue Syndrome

As I've said, I've registered myself at most of the social network sites, but am suffering from SNFS--Social Network Fatigue Syndrome
It's just too tiring to try to maintain networks at all the sites--and it's starting to feel tiring to set up on a new site--even tho the promise of new capabilities is enticing. Yes, I am suffering from Social Network Fatigue Syndrome.
What are the symptoms?
---A flush of wild excitement at the announcement of a new network, followed by an instanteous compulsion to sign up and check it out.
----Immediate registration and searching the new service, followed by an overwhelming reluctance to whip out the address book and send all those invites---again.
--A creeping reluctance to use the new service--it's just too much work, and how great could it be anyway?
--Numbed horror as friends join the new network and send you invites that require a decision. Even yes or no seems too difficult to call.
--Hope the next YASN will launch soon and you can forget about this one and what a poor job you did trying it out.

Britney: Dumping Kabbalah for Christ?

Britney's joined the nondominational Faithful Central Bible Church , a "place where people learn to live," in Los Angeles. They also have a music ministry.

What are the odds of a mystical connection between this and Madonna's facelift?

Remote viewing: DEMO conference

DEMO started today, and the product demonstrations and discussion are flowing. Sifry at Technorati built a DEMO watchlist, updated every 30 minutes, highlighting what bloggers are posting about the conference. There's a SixApart DEMO weblog,, and also a Feedster page for DEMO, similar to what they've done for other conferences.

Feedster also launched some new things--a Politics tab that allows bloggers to choose a candidate, then once they blog a Feedster-generated post, then port the feed to their site.
Or, users can click on what they're calling feedpapers to find a results page for a candidate, such as this Latest in the Kerry Blogosphere. Taking a page from technorati, the new feedster page says they let you "listen to the web." Sadly, for The Sharpton Update, no one is talking--the page is completely BLANK.

Let the product development begin!
UPDATE: Yawn, it's past work time, but I am reading blogs and playing with the Feedster Builder, a toolthat walks you through their capabilities to build customized feed delivery.,

Adam Moss: Reinventing the weekly?

Newly appointed New York Magazine editor dam Moss says the weekly magazine " is a genre that's ready to be reinvented."
Fine sentiments, but what could a city weekly be that took full advantage of SMS, digital media, RSS, FOAF, etc?
In other words, is Moss imagining great journalism in a tired old bottle, or something new and refreshing?

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Washington Post: Google and Beyond

This piece from the Washington Post is notable as much for the fact the editor thought it was worth dragging on for 5,000 words without cutting, as for its function as a reminder that smart people who don't live and breathe technology have a very different perspective on emerging technology--ie, they are still wondering if intelligent agents are the next search tools after Google--while the Silicon Valley hordes are obsessing more over indexing blogs and FOAF. Nevertheless, some things worth checking out in this story by staff writer Joel Achenbach, including his thoughts about what could be next:

"The question is, who's going to build the next mousetrap? What will it do? The laboratories of Internet companies are furiously trying to come up with the next generation of search engine. Whatever it is and whatever it's called, it will likely make the current Google searches seem as antiquated as cranking car engines by hand. "

"As the Web has grown, it has developed a kind of embedded wisdom. Obviously the Web isn't a conscious entity, but neither is it a completely random pile of stuff. The way one part links to another reflects the preferences of Web users -- and Google tapped into that. Google, in detecting patterns on the Web, harvested meaning from all that madness.

This points the way to one of the next big leaps for search engines: finding meaning in the way a single person searches the Web. In other words, the search engines will study the user's queries and Web habits and, over time, personalize all future searches. Right now, Google and the other search engines don't really know their users. "

And on and on for another 4 screens...

Calcanis: "The good old days are back, albeit without the money"

More takes on eTech from Jason Calcanis: If you missed the conference, like I did, catch up via the blogs.
Tim Oren posts about etech as well.

David Teten: Report on NY social networking panel

Just read David Teten's post on a panel in NYC on Social networking: What's Next?
Lee Greenhouse moderated, with folks from Visible Path, LinkedIn, I Stand For, Ryze, and Tribe, with a good summary of the discussion.
Key point for me: Greenhouse to panelists-So what will you do when Google,Microsoft, etc get into this space?

Russell Beattie: Personalized Search ideas

Russell's got a post about putting a registration-driven, personalized front end on the Google search API to build a service that takes your profile data--akin to FOAF--and then makes your search more "relevant" in contextualizing it. In addition, the service would be smart enough--and perhaps incorporate collaborative filtering?--in a way that provides a progressively enriched personal context--more ujique relevant--fort results.
That's a paraphrase, but hopefully accurate. Makes total sense to me.

Dori Smith: "I think that this meme is crap."

Dori Smith, reacting to an eTech discussion: : "If you're hiring, here's a tip: if your group is part white, part black, part asian, part indian, 1/2 female, and entirely 22 years old, your group is not diverse."
Dori adds: "There aren't enough women in the tech biz to be role models for the youngsters now. The solution isn't to throw girls into the pit hoping that the pit will someday fill up; the solution is to work on increasing the numbers of older women (i.e., over 35) in the field, and then the role model problem solves itself."

There's a terrific discussion going in Dori's comments for this post.
And a great summary of the etech discussion at Joho the Blog:"Who has been really successful in making products that survived the dot-com bust? Anil suggested that it wasn't coincidental that the two major blogging products (, Movable Type) had significant influence by women (Meg Hourihan and Mena Trott) during their development. Other examples: Dokomo, The Sims, eBay, Microsoft Wollop, Microsoft Research. (Purple Moon, Liz says, failed because it tried to make products only for girls, and thus didn't get the balance right.) "

BBN to ride again

The Boston Globe reports that Bolt, Benerak and Newman---a company that helped architect DARPA and the early Internet--has been reborn as an independent company once more after a sale to private investors by former owner Verizon.
Back in the day, I worked with--and learned from--some very smart folks at BBN. It is good news to hear that the company is going to relaunch itself, with a focus on technology innovation and commercializing promising research.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Xeni Jardin: From hand-press to weblogs

Artfutura essay by Xeni:
"When I was a child, my father hauled an abandoned antique printing press into our house one afternoon. He was an artist and writer who had a habit of falling in love with discarded tools, the same way I became routinely obsessed with broken dogs and fallen birds. But this thing weighed over a ton.
...His press is gone now, along with the typewriter and old house they occupied. But I think about the press when I'm hunched over my laptop in an airport, clicking the "post and publish" key in Blogger to post an entry on BoingBoing.

I think about that press when I'm half-awake in bed with my pocket PC and a cup of coffee, cruising websites like Daypop, Blogdex, Popdex, or Technorati to trace traffic patterns of some new digital diversion making its way through hundreds of other weblogs that morning.

I think about that press when I'm wading through an online journal from some aliased stranger on the other side of the world, reading words, downloading spoken narratives in someone else's language, zooming through snapshots they've just phonecammed moments before, from Tokyo, Tahiti, Tijuana; wherever they are.
...Blogs democratize ideas. They give an almost magical volition to words, images, and sounds. They make art available to new audiences. Unheard voices become accessible in a way that wasn't possible before. And that is a good thing."

Read the whole thing--it's worth it.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Kerry(supposed) infidelity and the blogosphere response

Reading items on Kerry and not seeing anything about this supposed infidelity reported anywhere besides Matt Drudge, so I head to Technorati to see if people are talking about it. Yes, they are, and while there are 26 posts with the term "Kerry infidelity," no one seems to know anything. Some snippets of the conversation:
"My guess is this Kerry infidelity thing isn't going to hurt him politically, even if proven, which I doubt it will be. It may matter to me, but the American people gave Clinton a pass, and I believe Kerry will get that same pass."--Rivitman's Daily Axe
"don't care. I don't care so much that I wish I could hit myself in the head with a hammer right now until all memory of this story falls out and makes room for something useful." Megan McArdle
On feedster, there are other links for the same query:
"After months of listening to the left call Bush a traitor, a liar and a genocidal dictator, "sleaze" is what the press is choosing to call the alleged revelation of Kerry's infidelity. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black."Say Anything
"Drudge is reporting that there may be a Kerry infidelity scandal. I suspect that infidelity is no longer enough to derail a Presidential campaign.... " Calblog

Update--Dave Wineberger on Kerry scandall: "Let's all get together and just not care!"
Glad to see people have a healthy cynicism, wondering if these posts reflect the sentiments of the public at large.

Friday, noted, upcoming blog anniversary

Spent the afternoon in San Francisco, lunching with someone seeking to move back to the Bay area from the UK--excellent guy--and then seeing some hi-tech friends for an afternoon of great talking and ideas.
Next week is the 1-year anniversary of my blog,--it's become a great hobby, something fun that shares selected ideas and experiences, and a means for meeting new people, many filled with ideas and passionate convictions, as well as sharing with family and friends (familiar refrain: your blog sounds just like you!)

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Power of the good

I wanted to express appreciation for folks at the AOL Local/City Guides service--I contacted them recently on behalf of a friend, and they reached out right away--thank you all.

Google: Is everything next?

Google=Net domination?
Dave Winer writes, " I am absolutely sure Google has an aggregator in the works. And by taking control of the syndication format, and trying to eliminate RSS, they will control the whole blogging-syndication-search space. "
A friend in publishing syndication/space told me this week that her company knows Google is approaching and working with publishers to bring their content to the web in RSS/aggregator format--possibly with micropayment capability.
And Orkut's got the beat for Googlemail.
And of course they are all over every flavor of geo-targeted, personalized, contextual ad space.
And they have over a thousand ad sales people now(!)
Is everything what's next?

We are all connected: commentary and criticism in the Blogosphere

Once again, there is an A-list discussion circulating (some people would call it a meme)around the question of criticism. One person posts something that offends another, who posts a complaint. Others chime in, and soon a discussion is raging. We've all been there.
But this time, what caught my attention, via the always original thinkerDave Winer, was Shelly Power's comments on whether or not A-list criticism, directed at a specific person, is a form of censure. Shelly relates this back to her own blogging voice and presence and makes some excellent comments (as does Dave).
Shelly writes(this is an excerpt from a much longer piece):
"...Do you write to be part of a community? Or do you write to write, and the community part either happens, or doesn't? Depending on where you're at within this space can influence your writing. If community causes you to alter your writing--not to say something you think should be said, or to write a certain way to get attention--then you are betraying yourself as a writer. Worse. Lose yourself enough in the community and you'll start to do what I did: embed a tiny demand for reassurance and approval in everything you write, until you exhaust both yourself and everyone who reads you.

Now, Marc's photo isn't really anything to rally around as a cry for each of us to exert our independence, but it is symptomatic of the community's influence on its members. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, or with choosing to be community member first, writer second. It's when the lines get blurred that we start losing a lot of honesty. Honesty, not truth, an important distinction, because here's nothing false about not speaking out, but there's nothing honest about it, either."

says: "Don't you get it that the power to offend is just as sacred as the power to please? In fact, even more so, because people are always trying to shout down the person with an original idea, because they're easy to shout at (they're usually alone)."

What catches my attention here is how this discussion functions as a demonstration of how people form and communicate in a virtual community. These folks are living of miles from one another, but have strong shared interests and professional concerns(and personal as well) are are truly functioning as a network. While this is nothing new--gaming communities, tech communities, trading communities have done this online for years--blogging and RSS and social network services help create a visibility, a public commons, as well as a speed and transparency, that seems like the next generation for self-forming online groups.

Note: An interesting--and related post from Chris Allen. Redesign explained

OJR story: If you are interested in how a big portal site mobilizes for a redesign, or in in particular, Staci D. Kramer's article on the redesign of is a good read.
Quote from editor-in-chief Dean Wright: "I think the site is on the verge of really taking a big leap."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Sam Ruby reports: Open source, open process

Sam Ruby's eTech preso on launching a wiki to discuss Pie/Echo/Atom development and generating over 1,000 pages of notes, discussion, and, yes, arguments.
A parable for the open source world many of us try to live in.
Some quotes:
"On a wiki, emotionally charged words tend to be quickly replaced with ones that more effectively make the point that is trying to be made without the distracting histrionics.
"The people you most want to contribute have the least amount of time to do so.

Consumerismo:Valentine's Day Brings in the Bucks

According to a recent study from the NRF, Americans are planning to spend, spend, spend for Valentine's Day. More than half of all Americans will observe the holiday. Average spending will be $99.24 per person, totaling up to a nifty $12.79 billion.
Some factoids:
--92.8% of the folks in the survey said they plan to purchase Valentine's Day gifts for their spouses or significant others.
--69.1% plan to purchase gifts for other family members like children and parents.
--60% will buy cards.
--28.4% intend to purchase gifts for friends, and 26.0% for children's classmates or teachers.
--78% plan to have sex that night (okay, that one wasn't in the survey).

Robert Kaye: Technorati Grokked

Terrific post from Robert Kaye on Dave Sifry and his Technorati preso at eTech. For all the friends and family who are saying "So what is this Technorati thing? I don't get it?" this is the piece I will send them to after I finish showing them the services themselves.
Kaye also links to Kevin Mark's expanded explanation of his neat flash chart, and to the much commented on what products are being discussed/linked to on
Of course, the best thing is to try Technorati out yourself---pick a keyword, any keyword, and see what you can learn about conversations on the net.

Obsessive-compulsive gaming: Women over 40 are the biggest addicts

According to a just released AOL/Digital Marketing Services survey, one of the unanticipated hardcore gaming segments is--surprise--women over 40. Beating out teens, and most guys, the women over 40 in the 3,600-person survey reported that they spent 9.1 hours per week--41% of their online time--gaming, compared to 6.1 hours--or 26% of their online time--for men. Interestingly, 1 in 5 women interviewed said they'd made a friend online through online games, and then developed that friendship into a real world connection.
However, if you're in the gaming segments, don't get too excited all just yet--apparently, while women may be obsessive enough to win the prize for staying up all night gaming, their preferred games are word games and puzzles, a far cry from the gambling games and role-playing games men and teens prefer.

7 Days reborn: NY Times editor Adam Moss goes to New York Magazine

The endless musical chairs of NY publishing continues. Mediabistro reported today that Adam Moss, NY Times Magazine and cultural editor--czar, they said--is replacing Caroline Miller at New York Magazine.
This could seem unlikely--why would a top editor want to leave one of the top slots at the paper of record--until you remember that Moss got his start on the much-loved, long-lamented NYC weekly 7 Days, one of those wonderful starters for talent--and this is a chance to create a new vibrant weekly for the city in a way that the Times Magazine never could.
Assuming this report is true, this is going to be another fun ride to watch. Gawker is already rocking out on the in jokes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

eTech: Scoble asks 'Will Technorati be the next Google?'

Awesome praise for Technorati and Dave Sifry's preso at eTech . As dozens of folks point out, Technorati has just launched a keyword search capability, published a cool Flash chart (kudos to Kevin Marks) mapping the distributed blogosphere, and added a helpful key to explain results.--in addition, they've redone their infrastucture, adding much-needed --and impressive--speed.

Dave Sifry described Technorati as a conversation engine--a way to surface and articulate discussions happening across the blogosphere and Net. One example of this was triggered by John Batelle, who chatted with Dave about I'm not quite sure what--before Dave finished his eTech speech. Inspired, Dave apparently went off and wrote a new Technorati Hack to show what products on Amazon are being linked to on an almost real-time basis.

BTW, good notes from today's eTech conference sessions over at Jason Shellen's blog.

And if you want to hear Jeff Jarvis gush, something that rarely happens, read his post on Technorati. Actually, read if regardless--Jeff's notes provide a great view of how Sifry is trying to track, enable, surface, and highlifght activity--clicking,. linking, posting--in the blogosphere and the Net.

Department of pleasant surprises: dinner tonight

I'm one of those people who wants to eat dinner with the family every night, but manages to pull it off about once a week. That made tonight's family dinner--myself, Zack and his girlfriend Megan--especially pleasant. Somehow, in the space of an hour, I went from planning to eat microwaved veggie riblets (they taste only a little better than they sound), to cooking Chicken Culets Meuniere out of a Mark Bittman cookbook, breaking out the Trader Joe's Oven Fries, and making both sauteed spinach with chickpeas and mushrooms and string beans with sauteed sliced almonds. Megan stirred and chopping like a pro, and within 40 minutes we were sitting down to a feast--together!
Why did we end up with such a nice dinner, on the fly, you ask?
Answer: There's a steady drumbeat in the back of my head: He's going away to school next year! He's going away to school next year! Enjoy this while you have the chance.

Girls: Getting busy with music online

Teen girls spend 15 percent more on music than boys, and—aside from downloading and burning CDs—they are greatest consumers of digital music , according to a new report from Jupiter Research.
Consumer Survey Report: Teen Music, 2003” surveyed more than 1,800 teens between 13 and 17 years old, and found that nearly half of online teen girls spend more than $100 per year on music.

"Besides their spending, another thing that makes teen girls particularly attractive is their reliance on the Internet to gather music-related information," says Juliana Deeks, associate analyst at Jupiter Research. "Nearly one-half read about musicians or bands online. Girls are also more likely to use the Web to listen to streamed song samples and watch music videos, and they're twice as likely as boys to research concert and tour information online."

This must give girl-friendly AOL Music huge props, but hey, where else are these girls getting their music and information? I
nquiring minds would like to know.
(Via iMedia connection)

Play it again: selling magazine renewals online

One of the now established ways for publishers to sell subscriptions is via online advertising.
But when it comes to renewing those subs, the standard way to go remains those notices that start coming in the mail, aka direct marketing.
What if there was an electronic renewal form that could be sent via (html) email? Would it work?
This ContentBiz piece tells the story of a retention direction in a newsletter business who decided to develop and test online renewal and how the pieces performed.
Related links to the piece include:
Samples of the two emails sent (test plus control)
Article: Can Transactive Offers Double Your Email Sales Results?
Link to Transactis - the tech vendor providing the email forms

Monday, February 09, 2004

Ross Mayfield on conference blogging

Ross Mayfield, whose business is social software tools, has a fascinating entry categorizing conference bloggers. Ross offers descriptions of types of conference bloggers, actual representative people, and examples of the form in practice.
Dedicated transcription is represented by Heath Row; running comentary, represented by Mitch Ratcliffe; poignant reflections--repped by Jerry Michaelski, and so on-.

As someone who reads lots of conference blogs and goes to few, I find this post extremely interesting.
Also, since I will also be blogging a conference next month(more on that later) and have to think about coverage, this is also informative. Thanks, Ross.

Gothamist Interview: Greg Allen

Gothamnist in the person of Andrew Krukoff, interviews blogger Greg Allen, one of the few filmakers I know with a Wharton MBA, and one of my favorite non-techie bloggers. The piece doesn't do justice to his brand of wide-ranging wit, but it's a start...

Magazine land news

Media Week: Former Gruner & Jahr CEO Dan Brewster hires top gun Judith Vladeck as his lawyer. $10MM in severance reportedly at issue.
NY Post: Time In and Wal-Mart are going to develop and distribute a new mag--Time's first mega mass market title(projected price:$1.99)

Dept of personal news: College auditions almost over

Much of this year has been working with our son to look at college, evaluate music programs, visit said programs, apply, and then audition.
We just came back from 24 hours in Santa Barbara, an amazingly beautiful town, where Zack auditioned for the music program.
This means that as of today, he has just one audition to go--which means we are all closer to the conclusion of this process than the beginning, still an amazing idea.
UCSB is such a pretty campus--I have never been at a school before where you see the Pacific glinting in the distance as you walk between buildings--or where the gift shop had such an amazing inventory of merchandise, including thongs, sweat pants, and flip flops with the school name strategically embossed.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Tongue in Chic: Fully Engaged

How candid will Paris Hilton's new book be? To be written with gossipeuse Merle Ginsberg, Paris' tome can provide the inside scoop on all those guys she shtupped, the table dances, and her amazing transformation from rich slut--oops, I meant party girl--to serious actress/spokeswoman/beauty pageant host. "It's a view from Paris' perspective."
Carol Channing, move over--your bio's gonna have competition!
Also, read the complete book proposal here, via The Smoking Gun.

Friday, February 06, 2004

When do you decide to sell AOL?

Diane Merigamas put the question to AOL leader Don Logan last week.
Logan responded : "When you don't believe in the business and the future of the business anymore. "
More info on the bright side here.

Down in Dulles, the rumor mill is buzzing as usual. From the department of completely unvalidated gossip, the following tidbits were passed along:
--Jon Miller will be replaced by summer '04.
--Ted Leonosis will also move out of the picture.
--The layoffs at AOL aren't over yet (are they ever?)

NY in Wintertime: Visit redux

In many ways, this was one of my best trips to NY. My ability to listen to people and wait to learn more about who they are is improving.
I had some discussions this trip that I think might not have happened a few months ago when I was focusing less on listening than I am now. It's satisfying to see yourself change--and see things differently as a result.
Saw some old friends, some family, several professional colleagues, and discovered some great opportunities not on the list when I flew out.
The board meeting for my non-profit was productive, so now we all have tons to do.
A good trip, well worth it.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Dept of you can get it if you really want it

Nipple covers just like Janet Jackson's piercing.

(Via popbitch, of course.)

Microsoft and Google: Nasty tactics reported

A story that Microsoft is behaving like a bully and threatening Google.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

NYC: Listening

On the shuttle bus into New York, a mid-fifties man begins to talk: He lives in the city now, but for 16 years lived in an Ashram in South Fallsburg, NY in the Catskills.
He has one child, now 21. We chat about my son and about the city, then he tells me that his child joined the army after high school, but was only on active duty for 6 months--the young man has been battling cancer for the past three years. He's gone through radiation, chemo and six surgeries and is now declared cancer-free--the man has just accompanied him out to LA for a visit with his grandma. "And I am so lucky," he says, "because they let me take so much time off at work. 2-3 months a year for 3 years. I didn't get paid, but they let me take it."

The next day, a relative calls me with the news that a family member battling cancer is going to need more chemo, much more chemo for longer than anyone had thought. "The doctor says the outcome will be 100% successful," my relative says. "But this is many more months of chemo than we expected." It is clear they are all devastated by the news.

Another story: a friend on medication gets his prescription filled and the pharmacist has made an error--the doses on the drugs are all wrong. He calls the druggist and gets it fixed, but doesn't complain to the man's boss. A week later, he needs extra meds to take on a trip. The doctor says no, but the pharmacist makes sure
he has a few days' more doses. "It's payback, a thank you," my friend says.

At dinner with a friend tonight, we talk about our families. She and her brother stopped speaking several years ago. There was tension over a parent, and resentment. It seemed like it could not be fixed. Suddenly, everything is better--rapprochement, she says. What happened? Her nephew, the brother's son, intervened and bridged the gap between them. "He did it for his son," she says. "He saw the pain this was causing him."

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Yet Another Social Network: Entropy

Got to NY and got online to check my email: someone signed my Ryze guestbook, someone else invited me to be their connection on LinkedIn, and three people sent me invites or notes related to Orkut. MyTribe account seems the quietest, btw.
I believe Dan Weinberger said this was al too much work to maintain--starting to know what he means.
In my case, it's going to be interesting two weeks from now to see which networks I am really using--using meaning spending time in looking at guestbooks and communities, reading messages, and adding or communicating with new people as well as current friends.
Looking at the names of who's on these networks makes me realize that my first task is to just do a better job staying connected to some of the great people I have access to...then add new people.

Monday, February 02, 2004

New direction for Feedster? Launches partnership with InfoWorld

IDG's Infoworld and Feedster today announced a new partnership--Feedster has launched an Infoworld branded "My Feedster" news aggregator. While the press release says this will " allows access to multiple content feeds from InfoWorld, technology vendors, and other RSS content providers," in reality, when I went to the URL I found my same old feeds (maybe because I am one of the bleeding edge early adopters.
Anyway, this suggests that one revenue-producing direction for Feedster could be to partner with media and information entities to create web-based aggregators, brand them, and participate in the ad revenue--which the partners will sell in a sponsorship model.
It also hints at a potential enterprise and corporate play--CEO Scott Rafer says: "Feedster's partnership with InfoWorld expands the use of RSS to a broader audience. We look forward to working with InfoWorld to bring the relevance and timeliness of RSS search and information delivery to IT and business decision-makers."
The new Infoworld RSS feeds are listed on the home page of the site--this is a good example of how to use RSS to reach a wider audience, and a sign that RSS-related businesses may be able to get--and sustain--paying customers.

Feeling cranky

Feeling cranky for most of today--the cold, driving rain, the prospect of a long airplane ride tomorrow, and a couple of things not going as smoothly as I'd hoped all conspired to turn me into a crab. Grrrr.
Since tomorrow is a travel day (heading back to NYC), there will be very light blogging, if any.

(On the amusing side, we ran out for something to eat an hour ago...Spencer took me to a place in the neighborhood he'd just found...It's a Chinese Noodle house owned by Vietnamese who are Chinese, so they speak Mandarin/Cantonese/Vietnamese and English. The menu is in Vietnamese and English, but describes all Chinese dishes.)

Friendster: Slip-sliding away?

Is Friendster traffic really declining, or is it a momentary glitch?
A friend shared Friendster stats from Alexa showing a traffic decline; I plugged them in next to Alexa's Orkut stats--the picture speaks for itself--that little red line is climbing straight up.

A friend of mine said yesterday, "This whole social networking thing is just like going to a bar...First, everyone runs to one bar, then, the same people run over to the next bar..If you look, it's all the same people going from site to site."
While that's not true of Friendster, which took off with a wide range of constituencies in a major way, it is true in general--so whether Friendster remains popular will tell observers a good bit about the sustainability of the social network space.

Social software: The lists are rolling in...

Did you ever want to know every social networking site, categorized by type? Maybe just in case you wanted to try all of them, or invest $2MM in a round, or write an article? Or maybe you're just really compulsive about information (that would be me). Anyway, the social software weblog edited by Meskill and Calcanis has the List--and I mean the List as in the list to end all lists.
Click here for a more than you ever imagined roll call (blog roll?) of social network sites(of course, as Chris Allen points out, they forgot LiveJournal, a definite blooper).
I'm told other folks are compling lists as well--if you have a useful list, or want to share pointers, please post them here and I'll update.

Superbowl: "It's the dumbing down of America", plus Janet's bounce for the ounce

Okay, I missed every moment of the Superbowl this year cause I was busy a) working b) doing things that were fun.(and I don't mean flipping through my orkut friends' lists.) However, I read the news like everyone else, so I found out last night that
Justin Timberlake ripped Janet Jackson's leather gladiator bra off at the end of the halftime show (produced by MTV) and exposed her--right breast!--but with the nipple covered with a silver tassel! Clearly, these celebs were making a statements--probably at the direction of their handlers--seeking to be as profound as Madonna and Britney were.
Today, there's more dissection of What Happened and What it Means.
Ad guy Donny Deutsch (who almost bought NY Magazine and pondered running for office)says in USA Today: "It was a good mirror of what's going on in TV overall. Dumb is funny. Jessica Simpson is funny. In many ways, it's a continuation of the dumbing down of America."
Update: Amy's Robot shows Janet's boob.

"I paid for the gas that killed Sylvia Plath"

Australian publication the age has always had a way with words, and this just-published story about Elizabeth Sigmund , friend and reported confidant of decreased poet and movie subject Sylvia Plath is no exception, Read all about Sigmund's still lively indignation at Hughes' post-Sylvia relationship, her take on Hughes and Plath, and her comments about Frieda and Charles, Plath (ahd Hughes') now middle-aged children and wonder why she's talking about this now (besides Gwyneth Paltrow in a new flick, I mean.)

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Redwood Ciity: "Scott Peterson is good for us"

Had dinner on Friday night in Redwood City, at what turned out to be a really excellent Turkish restaurant, fairly new. Most of the diners were going on to the blues show down the street, or stopping in town to eat before heading home, and the buzz in the (small) restaurant was about the Scott Peterson murder trial which was about to be held at the Courthouse in Redwood City, 4 blocks from this eatery.
"It's a terrible thing, but it will be good for us."
"Caqn you please tell me why this is such a big thing? Is it because they are young and well off? Things like this happen every day and don't get this coverage."
"Well, perhaps its because of the baby."
"Yeah? How about the woman they found in the bay around the same time with the baby cut out of her?"
"It should be a good thing for Redwood City--500 reporters will have th eat lunch everyday, and they should come here."

Oh yes, our food was terrific--little fried golden twists, filled with light feta cheese; a tomato paste and walnut spread for the pita; white beans with olives and bits of hard-boiled eggs, very savory; little pelmeni-type dumplings, boiled, placed in a bowl and covered with a yougurt sauce, splashes of red hot chili oil, andsprinkles of dried mint (sounds odd, but it was wonderful), Dessert was that gritty sweet Trkish coffee, home made walnut and sugar baklava (as opposed to the honey-flavored kind), and a birdnest of semolina with hot sugar syrup poured off it (I passed on that one...)
Not diet food, but a very nice break from reality.
(Coordinates for the locals: New Kapadokia on Broadway, more info on their web site.

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