Monday, July 23, 2007

Buscemi, Turturro, and Tucci

Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, and Stanley Tucci are remaking three of van Gogh's films in English. Van Gogh, you may recall, was the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered by an Islamic extremist angered by the message of one of van Gogh's films. It is gratifying that the final result of that murderer's actions is to gain wide distribution of van Gogh's message while the murderer's name is forgotten even as a footnote. And what a power team of independent filmmakers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Explosions are no fun.

It's not fun when there's an explosion in a major city during rush-hour. Trust me on this one. But we can thank Bloomberg for accidentally giving us a little deadpan:
"there was cold water getting into the pipe, and cold water apparently causes these to explode"

Send Cars, Oil, and Media

It is terribly frightening that Russia appears to be returning to the secretive, thuggish, and dark internal politics. During and just after the cold war, much popular political theory contended that the black market and gang activity in Russia was an innate result of communism's attempt to control the uncontrollable. (You have to have a deep trust in capitalism and markets for that to make sense. I happen to, but if you don't you'll have to just take my word for it.) Now, with Putin throwing his weight around and the country apparently comfortable with that, we have to wonder if the heavy-handed politics and corruption is more accurately an aspect of Russian culture.

On the lighter side, from this article on the attempt on Berezovsky comes the sentence:
Mr Berezovsky built a fortune after the Cold War ended in car sales, oil and the media.
I love that this is true either way you read it. Not the tearing down of a wall and a weekend coup d'├ętat--the USSR's last gasps were suffocated by Cal Worthington.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Who's jumping the shark?

I'm noticing that my posts can sometimes be a little on the negative side. Perhaps I'll concentrate on identifying companies, people, and ideas that have jumped the shark. Of course, being consistently wrong could be just as useful as being consistently correct.

Calacanis is irrelevant

This post is about Jason Calacanis's appearance on TWIT 105: The Day the Music Died.

Listen about 31.5 minutes into TWIT where he talks about paying $75,000 for a domain name. And then says that he wouldn't sell it unless he was getting $7.5 million.

First off, it comes out as conceited. He prefaces it by saying "you can have her on your show every week" about a new employee of his. I would have no interest in working with someone who thought like that, but even less so someone who talks like that.

Second, is this 1999? Did you not notice little sites like Digg, Flickr, What would possess you to invest in a company where the leadership is eager to spend that kind of money? It reminds me very much of the parties and penthouse office spaces that were a great way to fritter away money in the last tech boom.

You're only interested in 100X return on investment? It's going to be hard to build a fundamentally sound company when you're only interested in that kind of return. Unless you're only putting in $1,000, and clearly that's not you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I like that music

This morning as I drove my daughter to school we were listening to Net at Nite. One of the hosts is from Canada (and this was an oldish show recorded on Canada Day) so they played (the sound from) a public service commercial from Canadian TV in the 80s. It's much better without the video, by the way. Maddie and I were singing and dancing along. After it was over my daughter looked at me and said, "Daddy, I like that music."

I was a little teary because it made me think of my wife--how she chose me when that was a big risk. My daughter asked me, "Daddy, what's wrong?"

"Nothing, honey. That song just remindedme of how much I love Momma," I said.

"No! You love me!"

How do you need to treat yourself?

Here's an NPR piece on "Cringe Readings." Basic concept: go read through your adolescent journal, find the passage that makes you physically uncomfortable, and read it to a roomful of strangers. Pretty cool, harmless, and sounds like fun. But from early on in the piece (and eventually they even mention it in passing) I get this uncomfortable feeling, and I can't help feeling almost as if these people are violating the adolescent self's privacy. Of course, it's their own privacy and they have every right to read what they've written, but I can't shake the feeling of betrayal.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

In case you hadn't guessed: Second Life was never really all that cool

LA Times Article

This LA Times article points out that the "8 million residents" Second Life claims to have includes every avatar that's every been created. With peak users around 30,000 to 40,000, it's pretty clear that Second Life's marketing department targeted the advertisers more heavily than the users. Where's your God now, eh?

Friday, July 13, 2007

ST:NG or just spreading the good word?

Here's a quick quiz to see if you know your holo deck from your holy heck:

(I got 8/12.)