Archive for March, 2002

Sunday, March 31st, 2002

If you read Maxim, and the word “read” is being used loosely here, you sort of deserve to be lied to, don’t you think?

North American readers of Maxim’s April issue, those who peer past Blade II’s topless “Chilean stunner” Leonor Varela on the cover and don’t get bogged down in the complex “Chill Your Chick” feature (a primer on turning “any girl into a beer-swilling, Super Bowl-watching strip joint junkie”), will notice the mag’s city-of-the-year item. This year, Maxim picked New York City as the continent’s top town. And Philadelphia. And Toronto. And Dallas. And nine other cities, hoping to boost sales by boosting the egos of its hometown-proud readers with 13 city-specific versions of the April issue.
Except Maxim made a boo-boo. Copies of the edition praising New York were shipped to Philly newsstands by mistake. Philadelphians were supposed to read about how “cool” the Liberty Bell is and why anyone disputing Philly’s title as “The Greatest City on Earth” should “have a bite of this cheese-dipped knuckle sandwich.” Instead, the typical resident of the City of Brotherly Love saw himself described as “a lard-ass with arteries packed as tight as a Colombian airline passenger’s G.I. tract” living in “a glorified piss break between New York and D.C.”

Maxim Overdrive


Thursday, March 28th, 2002

Just received the April issue of National Geographic in the mail. The cover story is about Sharbat Gula, the girl whose haunting green eyes have captivated millions of people since photographer Steve McCurry took a snapshot of her in an Afghan refugee camp seventeen years ago. The photographer was able to locate her and the magazine did a story on his search and on her life since that famous picture was shot. Take a look.


Tuesday, March 26th, 2002

Although I didn’t vote for Bush II (and would not, should he run again) I have to give him one thing over his predecessors: his cabinet is the most diverse we’ve had. Today, the president announced his nominees for Surgeon General and Head of the National Institutes of Health. As is customary, the president selected people who share his views on the state of medical research, but what’s interesting is the background of the nominees. The SG candidate is Richard Carmona, a hispanic trauma surgeon. Some cynics have argued that this appointment is yet another way to pander to the hispanic vote ahead of the November elections. But Bush also nominated as NIH candidate Elias Zerhouni, an Arab-American whose last position was at Johns Hopkins University. And I haven’t heard anyone claim that Bush was after the Arab-American vote. Ha. These two appointments are obviously crucial for the future of stem-cell research, policy on biological threats, cloning, etc.

Read more about Carmona here and about Zerhouni here.


Tuesday, March 26th, 2002

There are times when it seems like there is no end to the misery that a people have to endure. A series of earthquakes have hit the Baghlan province of Afghanistan, and between 2,000 and 5,000 people are feared dead:Afghan Quake ‘Kills 2000’.

To help, visit the Red Cross/Red Crescent or the UN Refugee Agency. You can also donate to Unicef.


Sunday, March 24th, 2002

Big brother is here. An American company has developed a chip that can be implanted in human beings and can keep track of their location. Chips to Fight Kidnapping. Can you imagine the realm of possibilities? Put one on Bush II and we’ll finally know how many hours he spends at the office.


Sunday, March 24th, 2002

Alex and I hosted our usual get-together tonight for the Oscars. It was more interesting than years past, with at least a couple of upsets (Jim Broadbent? Who saw that one coming?) I suppose the big deal this year is that two black performers have won for leading roles. Denzel Washington’s win was long overdue, after five nominations. Halle Berry’s was more of an upset, because so many people expected Sissy Spacek to win, but Berry did win the SAG a couple of weeks ago and that probably won her last-minute voters. I wish she wouldn’t have made as big of a deal in her acceptance speech about the fact that she’s the first black actress to win. That stuff would have been better suited for the post-awards press conference. She did a good job, and she deserved to win on her merits–that’s what the speech should be about, and the last thing she would want is to lessen her achievement by making it look as though it was a political move on the Academy’s part to vote for her.


Sunday, March 24th, 2002

He must not be tuned to the same station as the rest of the Arab world. Cheney: No Arab Leaders Opposed U.S.Action in Iraq. He should try a different translator, perhaps.


Monday, March 18th, 2002

From the Washington Post: will pull a listing that says a new J.D. Salinger book is due in November. No publication date has been set for “Hapworth 16, 1924,” a novella that appeared in The New Yorker in 1965 and was originally expected in book form five years ago.
Several Web sites had repeated the information posted on Amazon, and even included links to the online retailer, raising hopes that a “new” Salinger work would be coming for the first time in 40 years. But both Salinger’s agent, Phyllis Westberg, and his publisher, Orchises Press, told The Associated Press that Amazon was wrong. (…) The novella is an episode from Salinger’s famous Glass family saga, a purported letter from camp written by precocious, 7-year-old Seymour Glass. Anticipation was so high that New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani didn’t wait for a review copy, but tracked down the old New Yorker text and panned it as a “sour, implausible, and, sad to say, completely charmless story.

Ouch. Amazon Pulls False Salinger Listing


Sunday, March 17th, 2002

Hell hath no fury like that of a cat whose hair had to be trimmed. My allergies were kicking in, so my poor cat had to go under the scissors. A long bath followed, with his howls increasing in intensity. I felt like a torturer in a Stalin gulag. I’m exhausted.


Friday, March 15th, 2002

I am sitting on the couch, under a blanket, typing with one hand, the other hand in a glove, holding an ice pack to my jaw, which earlier today was the site of missile testing, er, I meant oral surgery. Root canal, blah, bad crown, more blah, and now, look, no more tooth. Thank God for Vicodin.


Saturday, March 9th, 2002

In the annals of lame excuses: I just wanted to create a community.

A true-life tale of espionage, diamond shipments and unconventional sexual practices, the story of Robert Hanssen, a CIA agent-turned-Russian informer, was always going to do well in the bookshops. Even so, executives at the online bookseller were mystified by a mid-January surge in sales of a book about the scandal, written by David Vise, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for the Washington Post.
Then they discovered the identity of the person who had purchased 20,000 copies of Mr Vise’s book at a discounted rate over four weeks in January and February: Mr Vise himself.
Even then, they might have said nothing – had the author not returned 17,500 copies and demanded a refund.
Now Mr Vise finds himself in the centre of a publishing furore, with rivals in the business accusing him of trying to manipulate the position on the bestseller lists of his book, The Bureau and the Mole, and Barnes & Noble demanding its money back, claiming that he took advantage of discounts meant for ordinary customers. His publisher, Grove Atlantic, has offered to compensate the bookseller for any losses sustained. “I just wanted to create a community,” Mr Vise said.

Bestselling author buys up 20,000 copies


Tuesday, March 5th, 2002

The California gubernatorial primary results are in, and Bill Simon won by a large margin. But then you look at the numbers, you see that Simon received 501,643 votes (49%) while Riordan had 300,722 votes (29%). In a state of 30 million people, only about half a million are deciding about who is running for governor in November. So it will be Gray Davis vs. Bill Simon. It won’t be pretty.


Sunday, March 3rd, 2002

A lesson in courage from over 300 reservists of the IDF:

We, reserve combat officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who were raised upon the principles of Zionism, sacrifice and giving to the people of Israel and to the State of Israel, who have always served in the front lines, and who were the first to carry out any mission, light or heavy, in order to protect the State of Israel and strengthen it.

We, combat officers and soldiers who have served the State of Israel for long weeks every year, in spite of the dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the Occupied Territories, and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country, and that had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people. We, whose eyes have seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides.

We, who sensed how the commands issued to us in the Territories, destroy all the values we had absorbed while growing up in this country.

We, who understand now that the price of Occupation is the loss of IDF’s human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society.

We, who know that the Territories are not Israel, and that all settlements are bound to be evacuated in the end.

We hereby declare that we shall not continue to fight this War of the Settlements.

We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.

We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense.

The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose and we shall take no part in them.

See the petition here.

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