Sunday, August 31, 2003

Motel Americana

Continuing on the theme of American Roadside Photography, which I've discussed in an earlier post (here, scroll down to July 29), I recently came across this website, These folks have published a book, but are very generous on their website with stories, history, postcards and photographs. There is a very nice section on California, home to Futurballa. Scroll down on the New Mexico page to see my favorite, the Blue Swallow Motel.

Blog Showcase Reaches Exciting Conclusion

As earlier noted Futurballa is participating in the Blog Showcase over at Truth Laid Bear, so feel "free" to link to my Kid's Stuff family blog piece. My links to my the other worthy blogs in the contest has dropped to the archives so here they are one more time.

From The Truth Laid Bear's New Webblog Showcase:

Snooze Button Dreams
Snooze Button Dreams: Kids Trade Bad Habits Like Pokemon Cards

Musing from Redsox Nation
Musings From Red Sox Nation (RSN): The Secret To Their Success


Friday, August 29, 2003


The always great Tom Tomorrow has one of the best and most creative and downright ingenious"This Modern World" cartoons over at Salon. Don't miss it.
Bonus Blog

Go see American Splendor!

Before I tell you why, please allow a slight digression. Occasionally days are just fun and you want to share them, so I will bore you with a few details.

I just decided to take today off and begin the long weekend early. Mrs. Futurballa had to work, so I thought it was a good idea to go up the hill to spend some time with my Niece and her baby. I was telling her about the TV production of Neil Gaimon's Neverwhere which will be coming out on DVD soon. I am a big fan of Neil's novels, with a special soft spot for American Gods, but have never read his graphic novel, Sandman. She offered to lend me her omnibus editions of the first 28 or so comics, so I loaded up the trunk with those and a few other treats from her book collection.

Having opened the gates of comic book discussions, we packed up the child and drove down to Santa Cruz to visit her favorite comic book store, properly staffed by the requisite Comic Book Guy. We both purchased Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, being general Alan Moore fans.

After lunch we went to Logo's, a classic and excellent used bookstore that I've been visiting since the early '80s, where I picked up an ancient copy of Minor White's Zone System Handbook. Minor White will be a subject of another posting in the Photographic series, but suffice it for today to say that this book was a find.

Anyways, I seem to be rambling about my day, which may not be of much interest to any one in particular, but it was a really nice day. Enjoying being with a beloved family member that I don't see often enough, playing with her little boy who just started to walk which seemed to make his world a lot bigger, wandering around Santa Cruz, buying a rare book, and going comic shopping.

When I got back to San Jose it was early enough to catch a movie. I'd been wanting to see American Splendor for a while and thought it would be a fine idea to continue that comic book theme. I read a lot of R. Crumb undergrounds as a teenager and as a college student, but had not read too many American Splendors. I'd seen Harvey Pekar once or twice on Letterman, but not really thought much about it, but based on being a Crumb fan and the great reviews I had wanted to catch this movie.

I am glad I did. It is funny, inventive, well acted and directed, but most of all it was moving. We are used to our literature and our entertainment to have story arcs where the protaganist changes and grows through their experience. We are taught that people are redeemed or punished or changed profoundly. But this is a story about real people who aren't particularly nice or attractive or for that matter clean. Harvey Pekar doesn't change. He survives, he finds some kind of peace with his life, but he doesn't change. He doesn't become more likeable, or attractive, or wiser, or cleaner. What happens is we change. We see him as a person that could be us or could be the neighbor we rarely talk to, and realize that this is a person who wants what we want, simply not to be alone.

This movie moved me not in a Ole Yeller, My Dog Skip, Spielberg kind of way, but in a "God I'm glad I'm not alone in this world way". Perhaps that is what divides art from entertainment. When I look at a great painting or photograph, read a perfect poem or novel, or see a truly great movie, I am changed.

To read more about American Splendor click here for the Salon review.

Freaky Friday

Futurballa is away from his office today, so here is the weekly Friday around the web segment and a couple of fun links to share and them I'm off to the mountains of Santa Cruz.

Jack Shafer at Slate has some excerpts from an ever growing list, and what is becoming a pretty non-exclusive club, if you ask me. All of the people Bill O'Reilly has told to Shut Up! Read the whole thing here.

"Hey, shut up! You had your 35 minutes! Shut up!"

The inimitable Paul Krugman takes on the costs of War at the NYT.

Big Al Franken, bane of O'Reilly and Fox, gets more publicity over at the Washington Post. Some fun stuff. Cliquez ici.

Don't miss Joe Conason writing for The Nation on The Compassion Gap.

For a great collection of MP3s showing us what happens when TV stars insist on singing and other oddities, check out the multimedia area at April Winchell's Blog. Yes, she has Shatner's Lucy in the Sky and Nimoy doing Both Sides Now. And remember the Gilligan's Island version of Stairway to Heaven?

And this fine fellow has transcribed all of the Monty Python scripts for us. Go crazy. Romani Ite Domum!


Thursday, August 28, 2003

Flash from my misspent past

Back in the 80s I was hitting the clubs and doing the party scene in LA with my good chum Ian. At the time he was dating a girl who we had gone to college with us. She was busy forming a girl band, because if the GoGos could do it...

They had their day in the sun, and we trooped along to clubs lugging instruments and amps while acting strangely during their performances. My friend decided he didn't want to be a groupy and moved on to a successful life working in his chosen field and later having two great kids. The band had a few hits and, as far as I knew, faded into whatever place 2 or 3 hit wonders fade into. The girlfriend had a solo album, married a movie director and got to sing at the Oscars.

Well to my surprise, I heard a plug on KFOG for a local appearance by the Bangles. After I recovered from the shock, I took a look on Google and found out they have a website and an album and bios that have birthdays, but lack birth years, and tastefully airbrushed publicity shots, and best of all an interview with Susanna Hoffs and Rodney Bingenheimer (who was an LA celebrity for no particular reason besides being and LA celbrity).

Their tour diary seems to indicate that, unsurprisingly, they have been touring Japan. Wonder if they cover Sex Farm?

Long time gone, but Futurballa wishes them the best of luck with their tour and album.

Thank you, Photoshop

Brian's Culture Blog had already linked to this, but I thought it was worth passing on. This fellow, Greg, has done a very creative portfolio using rollovers to show before and afters of his retouching work. Pretty amazing stuff and worth a visit. Click here.

Just pick a thumbnail and then roll over the larger image to see what it looked like before some extensive use of Photoshop tools and filters. In some cases Greg is good enough to give a short synopsis of his techniques.

Is it okay for news media to ignore verbal gaffes?

Yesterday, as reported in the Chron, Arnold S. called into the Sean Hannity show and ran through a list of his positions. Some blogs have reported and I tuned in to hear for myself that while talking about Gay Marriage, Arnold said, "I think gay marriage should be between a man and a woman" (italics are mine). Now this is an obvious slip of the tounge, and in the age of George W. Bush, it must be tough for the media to have to edit for grammar as well as content when the president talks off the cuff. However, as Bob Somersby has pointed out on The Daily Howler, Al Gore did not get the same help from the press.

The James Lee Witt case is an excellent example that Bob has discussed recently. Gore had visited, I think the number was 17, disaster sites in the company of Mr. Witt, and he had visited this one Texas site with an assistant to Mr. Witt. But when he said he visited that one site with Witt he was branded a liar. I have no plan to take on the Howler's territory here, since Bob does such a good job of it, but I read the wire story on Salon, the Chron article sited above, and heard the story in the news update on my morning station, KFOG, and not one of them mentioned the verbal slip. All of these outlets would be termed part of the so called liberal media, and all of them turned their respective and metaphorical heads aside.

Honestly, when it is an obvious slip of the tounge, I don't have a major problem with this, but I do think the playing field has not been level in this area, and there have been times when GWB speaks that his dislocution could show that he does not have a grasp of the facts (or for that matter reality) and should be reported as said and not edited for what a news outlet thinks he meant. Should the people know if their leaders can not be relied on to speak coherently and intelligently in an impromptu situation?

Just asking.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Wholly Without Merit

A couple of must reads at Salon this morning.

An excellent and entertaining interview with Al Franken. No excerpts because it is totally worth reading the whole thing.

Robert Scheer makes my point.

"Even if one accepts the false assumption of the recall -- that California's governor, reelected by a clear majority less than a year ago, is suddenly unfit to govern -- then the logical and fair alternative is to replace him with the lieutenant governor, who was selected by the voters for just that purpose."

Via Joe Conason's Journal is this link to Fox's new logo (at least as proposed by Mr. Conason, scroll down towards the bottom).

The NYT reports that the Alabama 10 Commandments monument was removed this morning, ending(?) several weeks of legal wrangling. As a person of the Hebrew persuasion, and being of the people that came up with the big 10 in the first place, hasn't anyone thought of the irony of this monument gaining so much significance to its supporters and the text of the second commandment.

Don't have much to do during the month of December?

And finally, we expect that our favorite Fool will be returning from a well deserved romp with Mrs. Fool today. Be sure to check him out.


Minor League

Futurballa, along with Mrs. Futurballa in tow, went to see a minor league baseball game last night. This was exactly the second minor league game I've been to in my life. Growing up on The Dodgers in the Sixties, The A's in the Seventies after moving north, and The Giants, I'd never be caught dead at a minor league game, but I have to admit it is a hell of a lot of fun.

We went to see the San Jose Giants who are an A level farm team for The San Francisco Giants, and part of the California League. Fresno is SF's triple A team, so when you hear the Giants called up some kid for his shot in the majors it is from Fresno, but occasionally a big name player will spend some time working his way back from the DL in San Jose. A few years ago Marvin Bernard and Russ Ortiz have played on the San Jose team.

Other than seeing some mediocre baseball enthusiastically played the true pleasure of minor league is the family atmosphere. The park is small without a bad seat. The first seven rows are box seats and go for 9 bucks. The rest of the seats are general admission and cost $7. Those prices are if you didn't bother to grab a discount coupon at the supermarket. They have Hebrew National hotdogs for $3 and $4 beer, as opposed to the $8 beers at Pacbell. There are no gourmet sausages or garlic fries, which are one of the great olifactory pleasures of going to Pacbell, but there is a BBQ area with ribs and chicken for sale right off the grill. You can actually afford to take the whole family to a game and that is exactly what you see, kids, lots of kids and dads and moms, and high school kids on dates. It is very middle America, here in Silicon Valley.

And they pack the evening full of the kind of entertainment that I'd be embarrassed to participate in anywhere else, but find myself enthusiastically cheering at the Municipal Stadium. The national anthem is sung by someone from the Chamber of Commerce. God Bless America is performed by a soloist from a local church choir. Everyone stands and takes of their hat. Nobody flubs the lyrics to Take Me Out to the Ballgame. There are silly games between each inning with cheesy prices for the contestants. A night at a local hotel, 10 lottery tickets, a dinner out. And on top of that there are giveaways for the whole crowd. A coupon for a free burger from Wendy's if any Giant hits a double in the 7th. A pizza if any Giant hits for the cycle.

All in all, a lot of fun had by all without mortgaging the house, or selling the first born for decent seats. Just remember next time to get one of those vinyl cushions, those benches are hard.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Why is it wrong to have a backup plan?

Last night while surfing news stations as this media junky is apt to do, I heard Alan Colmes, the "liberal" half of Hannity and Colmes, arguing the point with Ann Lewis that it was not pure for the California Democrats to both oppose the recall and to support Cruz Bustamante as a backup candidate. I've heard others make this point, but usually from the right, so I was surprised to hear Colmes go down this road, but I guess, as Dylan once said in his born again phase, "you gotta serve somebody", but I don't think he meant Fox News.

Maybe Futurballa is too much of a pragmatist to see the contradiction here. I don't see the problem with taking the stance that A) Davis has the fight of his life coming up and his chances of winning are 50/50 at best. B) This recall was heavily funded by Republicans who failed to take any major office in California in the last election and see this as the only way to rest the Governor's mansion from the Democrats. C) In a normal situation if Davis could not continue to serve out his term, Bustamante would be the legal and natural successor. Taking A+B+C, why should the Democrats roll over for the right wing and hand them the Governorship when a proper succussor is standing in the wings. It would be nice if the law said that when a Governor is recalled it is the same result as if he died, resigned or was impeached, but the recall law is an anomaly.

One thing though where I agree with some of Cruz's critics, get a new name for your website. This is just too unwieldy...
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

Keeping up our Warren Zevon watch, there is an exellent review of The Wind over at Salon this morning.

Shannon Zimmerman sums up here review saying The Wind is "...heartbreakingly good, in fact, ranking right up there with Zevon's endlessly amazing early work. Thanks mainly to its rough-hewn production, the album echoes his self-titled 1976 disc in particular. "Warren Zevon's" most famous tune, "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me," was a minor hit for Linda Ronstadt back in 1977. But the album's best number was "Hasten Down the Wind," a pretty but ultimately bitter ballad about the mercurial ways of love relationships.

With this "Wind," Zevon resolves that crisis, bringing his illustrious career full-circle by embracing -- or at least coming to grips with -- the ephemeral nature of the ties that bind. He's still singing about death, of course, about the way things sadly and inevitably end. This time, though, there's gentleness in Zevon's voice, acceptance without resignation and, at the same time, a genuine lust for life.

"The Wind," in other words, is funny, sad, smart and touching -- a graceful goodbye from one of rock's sharpest wits."

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Really, really really the last posting on this story

Well probably not.

Fox has dropped their lawsuit against Al Franken with all of the grace and aplomb to which we have become accustomed from Fox, Bill O'Reilly, their spokespeople and their attorneys.

"It's time to return Al Franken to the obscurity that he's normally accustomed to," Fox News spokeswoman Irena Steffen said.

The wire story can be read here.

Excitable Boy

A couple of notes on Zevon's new record, The Wind. Here is Joel Selvin's review from the SF Chronicle. Suffice to say, he likes it. He describes it as "...that great album everybody knew was in him since his 1978 splash, "Excitable Boy."

And if that's not enough, read Anthony DeCurtis' piece from the NYT. DeCurtis concludes thusly, ""The Wind" would stand honorably beside his best work even if he were not dying when he made it."

Read the whole thing here.
Oh the Books I Read

Mickey Kaus this morning (here is a link to Slate, but as other's often note, Kaus is a permalink free zone) seems to argue both sides of the issue this morning. I know he can be a bit of a contrarian, but he is beginning to apply his contrarian habits to himself. He begins by arguing that the LAT poll showing Bustamante with a large lead over Arnold is not what it appears because if you add up the Republicans they beat Bustamante, but then argues that this is good news for Bustamante because there are a lot of Dems that can still come home. Kaus then goes on to find other reasons why the poll is a bad representation of the current situation, which I presume would be bad news for Bustamante again. My head is spinning.

I'm sure you've all heard that Simon dropped out over the weekend. My question is who got to him? Could that be Karl Rove's bootprint that I discern on Simon's posterior? this morning has this interview with my favorite (post)cyberpunk author, Neal Stephenson, whose new book, Quicksilver, will be out soon. Quicksilver is the first of 3 books in Stephenson's Baroque Cylcle, in which he introduces the ancestors of his Cryptonomicon characters to Isaac Newton, among others.

And speaking of books, I had my fun doubled this weekend when a package showed up containing both Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, and Tom Tomorrow's Great Big Book of Tomorrow. Oh joy.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Bobby Bonds

Just a quick posting to say that Futurballa sends our best wishes and condolences to the Bonds family on the passing of Bobby Bonds.


Friday, August 22, 2003

Couldn't have happened to a nicer news network!

Just ran into this via Atrios and had to share it. Seems some liberal judge has found that...

Fox's claim was "wholly without merit, both factually and legally."

As they say...

Nice way to round out Fair and Balanced Week

Friday Roundup

Couple of good pieces over at Slate this morning.

Dahlia Lithwick, who I as a layman find to be gifted with the ability to explain complex legal issues and especially the workings of the Supreme Court in terms that the rest of us can understand, has an excellent piece on the Alabama 10 Commandments story and the issue of separation of church and state. This graf sums up Futurballa's feelings on the subject.

...we live in a zero-sum constitutional world. In order to be "neutral" toward all religions, including atheism, the courts have had to erect equal barriers to all. In order to privilege no religion (or even non-religion) the courts have elected to privilege none. This includes the vague "Judeo-Christian" theism that most Americans would probably like to see more of in the public square.

Read the rest here.

Tim Noah has this piece on whether the Republicans subvert democracy more than Democrats. Final score...

The chair therefore rules Republicans more or less guilty as charged of conducting "an ongoing national effort to steal elections Republicans cannot win."

At the NYT Krugman takes on Ahnold.

Via Buzzflash we find this story from which informs us "Tucker Carlson is no match for Janeane Garofalo". We suspected as much.

Over at the Smoking Gun we get to see Al Franken's apology to John Ashcroft for making some "imprudent satire" on Harvard letterhead. Futurballa is of the opinion that Al really has the right to the Fair and Balanced title. When did you last see O'Reilly apologize for anything.

Bonds does it again

Futurballa is a Giants fan. A factoid that has up until now not found its way into the blog, but we take our baseball seriously. Keep your George Willesque musings about small town America and baseball's pastoral metaphor. This is a city kid who loves the joy of a beer and a hotdog, and the crack of the bat. Futurballa knows that baseball is a better game today because of the international influence on the game. As a kid I grew up on Sandy Koufax who was a hero to the all the kids in my neighborhood, and Jackie Robinson was the ultimate portrait in courage.

Which takes us to Barry Bonds. Some have argued that Barry may not be the greatest of all time, and greatest is a subjective title. But looking at the quality of pitching, that managers give him 4 fingers in unheard of situations, that he continues to set new records at 39 years of age and looks like he may have a few good years left, it is hard to imagine that the Bambino would be outhitting Barry given an even playing field.

The Giants are having a great year in spite of slumping badly on their last road trip, but back at Pacbell this week against the Braves, they are finding their rhythmn again, and with Barry back from spending time with his ailing father they are playing like a team that knows it can win against anyone. But even with that these have been close games, all 3 won with walkoff hits in the 9th or 10th. In game 2 of the series it was a walkoff RBI single by Alfonzo with men in scoring postion in the bottom of the ninth, but in games 1 and 3 it was a Barry Bonds homer that sent them back to the clubhouse in the bottom of the 10th. It's hard to think of any other player who could come up on such a consistent basis, and given even a marginal pitch, can turn it into a game winner.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Blog Showcase or Shameless Self Promotion

Futurballa is participating in the Blog Showcase over at Truth Laid Bear, so feel "free" to link to my Kid's Stuff family blog piece. And in the spirit of reciprocity and to follow the rules of the contest, here are some links to other noteworthy showcase participants.

From The Truth Laid Bear's New Webblog Showcase:

I've already mentioned Snooze Button Dreams, and he also has a very nice family blog style piece on bad habits.
Snooze Button Dreams: Kids Trade Bad Habits Like Pokemon Cards

Musing from Redsox Nation, simply because there should be more blogging about baseball. Musings From Red Sox Nation (RSN): The Secret To Their Success

And finally Stone for a very nice piece on New York life. Stone:
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

CNN has a portrait of Warren Zevon today, whose (what will most likely be his last) album will be released this coming Tuesday. A man who can put twisted and poignant in the same sentence, Zevon has written some of the best "story" songs of my generation. Werewolves of London, Lawyers Guns and Money, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner, Carmelita, Poor Poor Pitiful Me, to name a few, are enduring classics full of wit and intelligence. And they rock! I look forward to hearing his rendition of Dylan's Knockin' on Heaven's Door. He is also good friends with my literary hero, Hunter Thompson.

The album is titled Wind.
Strange Bedfellows

Over at Salon today Eric Boehlart has an excellent article on the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson's The Passion. Futurballa tries to keep the discussion of religion to a minimum, simply because it is often best to leave that subject out of polite discourse. Though with yesterday's posting on the 10 Commandments brouhaha, and today's posting, we seem to have stepped out of the bounds of that dictum. However this Salon article is one of the best I've read on the subject of this controversy and on the larger question of the uncomfortable alliance between Jews and Evangelical Christians over the State of Israel.

Futurballa is married to a Christian and out of personal experience can tell you that there are two types of Christians (of the more religeous sort), those who subscribe to the end of days scenario that requires the return to Israel and eventual conversion of the Jews to fulfill their idea of prophecy, and those who believe the end of days can not be forseen and that the Jews are their spiritual forebears who have their own covenant and relationship with God. My marriage is certainly with someone of the latter group.

In terms of Gibson's movie, that without the controversy surrounding it would be an unlikely contender for box office champion, being in Aramaic and Latin without subtitles, Boehlart makes the point that the argument is just a sympton of the larger problem and that this uneasy alliance will have to come to a head at some point. Beyond the right to Israel to exist inside of secure borders, the agendas of the Jewish people and the evangelical community are actually antithetical.

There is also a power imbalance that puts the Jewish people at a disadvantage and should leave Jews wary of being too beholding to people who really don't have their best interests at heart.

A couple of excerpts from the Salon piece illustrate this point.

On its Web site, the National Association of Evangelicals recently posted a statement about "The Passion," which included a passage that rankled some Jewish leaders: "There is a great deal of pressure on Israel right now, and Christians seem to be a major source of support for Israel. For Jewish leaders to risk alienating 2 billion Christians over a movie seems shortsighted."


The statement "was never intended to be a threat," says an NAE spokesman. "It was an observation that [Jews] are combating people who support them, groups that have never resisted Israel. It's baffled some evangelicals that Jewish leaders are so antagonistic toward the people who want what's best for the Jewish people."

The Jewish people will have to confront the fact that they are allying themselves with people who think that what is best for the Jews is that they stop being Jews.

Read the whole thing here. Salon requires a subscription or that you click through an add for a "day pass". Worth the small investment of your time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Even Microbes Want to be Insects

A big thanks to George for bringing to my attention that I've been linked by Snooze Button Dreams with a nice posting about my Kid's Stuff entry over at the New Blog Showcase on The Truth Laid Bear. I'm still an insignificant microbe but I aspire to better things. And out of gratitude, I've blogrolled Snooze Button Dreams, check it out, he has Secret Agent Man stuck in his head.

10 Commandments, 8-fold path, 5 Pillars of Wisdom, 4 Noble Truths and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Legal blogging is the purview of my esteemed chum over at Declarations and Exclusions, but I was impressed by the Supremes quick decision today not to hear Judge Roy Moore's appeal on the 10 Commandments monument removal controversy in the Alabama courthouse.

The CNN article featured this quote which tickled my fancy...

"Even if they should remove this monument -- and God forbid they do -- they'll never be able to remove it from our hearts," said the Rev. Greg Dixon of Indianapolis Baptist Temple.

To which I say, you are absolutely correct, Reverend Greg, that is where they belong, in your hearts, but not in the courtroom.

One blogger (whose identity escapes me, or I would be gracious enough to link to him) noted that this imbroglio could be ended very quickly by the placement of a monument to the 5 Pillars of Islam in the selfsame courthouse. You would see them both removed faster than you could say Separation of Church and State.

Notes to New Bloggers

Via Atrios is this link to letters to new bloggers from The Road to Surfdom. In the style of Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, Tim Dunlop offers good advice to the novice blogger, to which I admit to being one.

So should you start a blog? No blogger, I think, is ever going to tell you not to start a blog. Apart from being incredibly hypocritical for them to do so there are two other points worth noting. First is, at some level, everybody who has got into what we might call 'political blogging' has some sort of basic belief in the desirability of public discussion. No matter how cynical they might seem about the usefulness of internecine debate they obviously think there is something good in it.

Second, there is also a bit of self-interest involved in that bloggers are always looking for a chance to get more hits to their site. By encouraging others like you, they expect, at least initially, reciprocal links and friendly references which might hold them in good stead should you happen to turn out to be the "next big blog". Strangely, you are not seen as competition for a finite number of hits, but a catalyst for the creation of new hits.

To all and sundry with an interest in blogging as an activity, I commend the entire posting.

Do the Bob

Last night, Futurballa settled down to Neil Jordan's remake of Melville's Bob Le Flambeur, The Good Thief with Nick Nolte. I've never actually seen the original so this won't be a comparison, though some of the camera work and editing was reminiscent of other Nouvelle Vague films I've seen. I enjoyed the film and it inspired me to check out the original. What did catch my blogging fancy was Nick Nolte's performance.

Others have written about his hard living, hard drinking, well worn like an old pair of shoes face, so I'll leave that for now. What struck me about Nolte was his ability to simply be in the role. So many of our great actors today have to constantly perform. They don't act, they interpret. Some of my favorite actors are guilty of this. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against a little scenery chewing, but when an actor stops acting and just is, that is so much more astounding. I don't want to see the wheels turning constantly, and there is something to be said for just hitting your mark.

I was very sad about Kate Hepburn's death, but as always when a great performer dies, it gives us an opportunity to see much of their work shown on AMC and Turner Classic. And the peripheral effect is seeing their co-stars as well. I've had the chance to watch several classic Hepburn and Tracy movies recently because of these circumstances and enjoy Spencer Tracy's understated performances. I think he did once say something to the effect of an actor's job is to show up, remember your lines and hit your mark.

Tracy was the master of this style of acting, or lack of style, depending on how you look at it. Occassionally Tom Hanks can aspire to one of these everymen that just disappears into the scenery. His recent role in Spielberg's Catch Me if You Can was one of those performances where he disappeared into the character.

I will say one thing about scenery chewing. If you are going to do it, at least have the good graces to be British. Peter O'Toole or Geoffrey Rush can chew it up to their hearts content, but please Mr. Pacino, Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Deniro, take it down a notch.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Hud Strikes Back

Actor and salad dressing magnate, Paul Newman, who was once nominated for an academy award for playing the character Hud, in the movie of the same name, has entered the fray in the Al Franken, Fox News dustup with this humorous OpEd piece in today's NYT.

Mr. Newman is considering a lawsuit against the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for besmirching his character's bad name. He is accusing them of innocence by association. I will leave the legal merits to my attorney.

The Man Ray Posting

First of all, it actually is Man Ray, not Manray. He was born Emmanuel Radnitsky in Philadelphia in 1890. As well as having credentials as a dadaist and surrealist painter, friends with the father of dada, Marcel Duchamp, Man is a great inspiration to me as a photographer. He was actually introduced to the camera by Alfred Stieglitz. One of the great masters of the classical school of photography. Originally Man wanted to use the camera to document his paintings, but soon he had discovered the artistic potential.

As a photographer Man is probably famous for a few different techniques and styles. surreal portraits like Tears (Les Larmes), nudes like Violin d'ingres, Solarizations, Rayographs (yes named for himself) and portraiture.

Rayographs are a cameraless technique involving placing objects on a glass plate in a darkroom and then exposing the plate to light. He would then do contact prints with the plate where the glass would cause unique refractions on to the paper.

Solarizations (also known as the Sabatier effect) are a phenomenon that can occur by accident in the darkroom when a partially developed negative is exposed to light. Man Ray was one of the first photographers to make use of this for artistic effect. By exposing the partially developed plate to light the dark unexposed background in the negative is affected while the light is insufficient to affect the already exposed areas. A dark narrow gulf remains between the differently exposed areas creating a fine outline.

Many of Man Ray's works can be seen at the Man Ray Trust website. The Getty also has an excellent collection of his photographic works.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Eno on Propaganda

No, Propaganda is not the name of Brian Eno's new record label, but instead the subject of a very thoughful piece in the UK Guardian, in which the ambient one asks the question, "how did we get here?".

You know the drill. Click here.


My fine chum George Wallace has brought Tony Pierce's blog to my attention. There is an excellent piece evaluating and rightfully praising Charles Bukowski in honor of his birthday, August 16th. As they say, read the whole thing here. Bukowski is an American classic and I agree with Mr. Pierce that he is one of the great poets of the 20th century.

There is also an excellent posting on why Bruce Springsteen has reached his sell by date. Though I don't agree with him on his assessment of Dylan's Desire.

You never have enough black t-shirts

A quick politicaly roundup this morning and a short musing.

Salon is excerpting Joe Conason's new book this week. Part one is here. Joe is one of my favorite bloggers/pundits. He is always right on, passionate without being shrill, strident and smart. While being gracious and literate, this introductury experpt shows that Joe is once again willing to take the gloves off when it comes to answering the Coulters and Limbaughs of the world. This quote summarizes his thesis.

"If Americans have a common fault, however, it's our tendency to suffer from historical amnesia. Too many of us have forgotten, or never learned, what kind of country America was under the conservative rule that preceded the century of liberal reform. And too many of us have no idea whose ideas and energy brought about the reforms we now take for granted."

Another thought provoking piece on Salon is this one on the candidacy of Arianna Huffington. Generally, I like Arianna and agree with many of her views on corporate greed, but I think she is showing some intellectual dishonesty in her candidacy and stated positions. This sums up my point.

"And Huffington is against the recall, but only sort of. "I'm asking voters to vote their consciences," Huffington told Salon Thursday. "If they want to send a message to Republicans about the way they're using the recall provision to unseat Gray Davis, even though he had been democratically elected nine months ago, then vote no on the recall. But if they want to use this opportunity to bring some fundamental change to the way that California is governed, then vote yes on the recall."

For Huffington, the choice is apparently an easy one: 'I'm personally voting yes on the recall," she said. "Even though I'm against the power grab, the opportunity in the middle of the chaos is too important to me.'"

If you've been following Doonesbury lately, I wonder how long it is going to be until Lt. Willard is sent into Al Amok to remove Duke with extreme prejudice? The horror, the horror.

At TPM, Josh Marshall highlights this exchange between Wolf Blitzer and Wesley Clark. Other than the dig on the hair and the delightful spanking Clark gives Tom Delay, could this graf indicate that he may jump into the presidential race...

"But beyond that, Wolf, he's got it exactly backward. It's upside down. I am saying what I believe. And I'm being drawn into the political process because of what I believe and what I've said about it."

Stay tuned.

On to today's musings. I think it was Jerry Garcia who said that you can never have enough black t-shirts. Yesterday some biological imprint kicked in, going back to being lead by the hand by my mother through the Wilshire and Farifax May Co. (which is now part of the LA County Museum of Art, and hurray that the classic building is being preserved). Yes, it is mid August and Futurballa went clothes shopping. I shop like a guy and was in and out of Mervyn's in 20 minutes with three pairs of jeans, two polos, and a pack of Jockey brand black tees. I pride myself on my ability to shop like a kamikaze and am fortunate enough to work at a job where shoes are pratically an option. My theory is that if a guy finds something comfortable, he'll just take several, possibly but not necessarily in different colors. Clothes shopping should be at best a once a year activity. On the other hand I can spend endless hours researching the latest electronic gadget or new piece of photo gear, reading reviews, finding the best price, browsing at assorted retailers, asking questions of poorly informed sales people, before making my final purchase.

Sometime this week Futurballa plans to spend some time discussing Man Ray. Our favorite artist/dadaist/photographer. be sure to check back.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Kid's Stuff

Some Saturday thoughts on things everyday, not political, nor particularly cultural, much less artistic. A little break from Futurballa's normal subjects.

We were doing a rather late spring cleaning here at Casa Futurballa this morning and decided to clear out some old videos. You know, the random collection of pre-viewed Blockbuster and cheap Target tapes that one accumulated in the time before DVD. Now I Netflix any movie I want to see casually and only buy the "keepers". Speaking of which, there are a couple of good ones coming out this week. Chicago, which was the best date movie of last year, imho, and Bowling for Columbine, which may be worth having for the added fun of the Michael Moore interview on the DVD where he gives some more insight into the infamous Oscar's speech. But, as Mort Sahl used to say, I digress.

I got the job today of being house meanie by telling our college aged daughter that she had to go through the videos and let us know just what she wanted to keep and what she could let go of. Well letting go was a challenge, which got me to thinking about kids and their stuff and their space.

When I moved into the house the kids were adolescents. I had been living abroad for many years before meeting their mother and did not have a ton of possessions, but anything I brought into the house was met with a chorus of, "does he have to bring that here" and "I like our stuff better" (please insert whiny tone yourself... thank you).

At the same time everything in their lives has some kind of emotional meaning that goes way beyond the intrinsic value of a pre-viewed copy of Dunston Checks In. It was painful for her, but she was a trooper and actually got rid of a few things.

Christmas is the worst with these flights of nostalgia. Christmas at Grandma's conjures up visions of creeping out in their P.J.s on Christmas morning and tons of cousins and aunts and uncles. However, each year the family is more spread out and fewer cousins show up at Grandma's. As each year passes, the kids seem to forget that last year was a bit dissappointing, and start anew waxing nostalgic for the spirit of Christmas past. It is as if somewhere around the middle of November a Pavlovian response is elicited by the sound of sleigh bells or Perry Como. Acutally it's probably not Perry Como, that would be me, but you know what I mean.

Actual insights into the why kids attach more emotional value to things that adults see no value in are not provided by Futurballa. We are just an observer, but I did find it striking just what a hard time they have with the whole change thing. As we get older, I guess we just get used to the idea that things change and a Pauly Shore video is, well, a Pauly Shore video.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Some 'worthy reads' and new toys

Over at Salon, Sid Blumenthal has a nice roundup of the talkshow talking heads on the right. I'm currently about halfway through Sid's The Clinton Wars, Parts of it are a bit dry, but he is a thoughtful writer who gives a peak into the real West Wing under Clinton, and to this humble reader doesn't have an axe to grind (except maybe deservedly with Matt Drudge).

Over at the NYT, Krugman does what he does best... Economics. An excellent piece that puts the current economic situation in perspective. Read it here.

On to new toys. Here is something in the photographic realm to report. The project I was working on yesterday involved evaluating single use digtital cameras. These are available from Ritz/Wolf from the brand Dakota. Their business model is interesting, because they are selling digital without the advantages of digital (for the most part). The cameras sell for $10.99 and let you take 25 2-megapixel images. They do not use a CCD in the same way a normal digital camera does and of course the optics will be "disposable", so don't expect the same quality you would from a 2-megapixel camera from Canon or Olympus. With these single use cameras you can't connect to your PC, and as far as I know, this model is proprietary to Ritz/Wolf, so you can't shop around for a better price on processing, at least until these become ubiquitous. Ritz tends to be a bit pricier than Costco or the drugstores, so plan on over $10 for 25 prints delivered with a CD. These cameras don't have a view screen yet, so you can't review your images in camera and you can only delete the last taken image. My opinion is that as the technology grows and they give you a little view screen and the ability to review and delete any taken image before processing this will become the way to go in disposable camera. The requirement to take the camera back to the store you bought it for processing will most likely remain, as this is part of the business model and is how they can keep the price of the camera so low.

Best wishes to the Bonds family.


Thursday, August 14, 2003

Out and About

Won't be posting too much today, going to be away from the computer a good part of the day, doing a photography project. Just a few notes of interest.

Salon has an interview this morning with my favorite cartoonist. And if you liked the interview, you'll surely want to consider the book.

And Al's book is still at #1 on Amazon. And that's not #1 nonfiction or #1 humor. That's #1 overall as of this morning.

Finally for this morning, I'll pass on a recommendation. This movie crosses over a couple of my interests. I've been a big fan of Brian De Palma going back to before Carrie, and while he has not been equally consistent in later years, Femme Fatale was a splendid return to form. An excellent thriller in the Hitchcock style (and btw, happy birthday Alfred, a day late), with erotic elements, an enjoyable Antonio Banderas, and nice to look at Rebbeca Romijn-Stamos, some old De Palma regulars, some great plot twists that deserve multiple viewings, a not too subtle homage to Hockney's collages (uncredited to the best of my knowledge), and the protagonist is a photographer.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I'm Fair and Balanced

If you notice the top of your browser, Futurballa has become fair and balanced. I believe that Atrios over at Eschaton started this trend, but it is spreading like wildfire around the blogosphere. Yes, we can all be fair and balanced, it is a state of mind.

Also on the Al Franken watch, Joe Conason posits an interesting theory in his journal...

Fox's big star Bill made them do it as an act of petty vengeance.

And if you are interested in the background to the bustup between Franken and O'Reilly, here is an excellent Buzzflash interview with Messr. Franken, himself.

Finally on this subject, Al Franken fires back. He says that he has registered funny as a trademark, so when Fox calls him unfunny, they are really infringing his trademark. Of course, in my humble opinion, Al is a lot funnier than Fox is fair or balanced. Maybe he has a case?

Enough Politics for now. I really never intended that politix should dominate this blog, but it does get my blood boiling in the morning.

I will be exhibiting an enhanced version of this picture at an exhibit of digital photography being held in the gallery at my place of business. It was shot with the Canon 10D digital SLR, which was borrowed for the purpose of the show (digital source was a prerequisite for entry). This is a fine camera, though weighs a bit heavy around the neck. They were shot with a very nice Sigma zoom lens using a wide setting. The final image was converted to a monotone in Adobe Photoshop and then enhanced with a toning layer and some general levels, hue and dodging corrections.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

We are after all professionals

Since my attorney is not available today, I will answer my own question in terms of the legal issues surrounding Al Franken's alleged trademark infringement by sharing this very nice entry from the Daily Kos.

Read it here.

Also note that Al Franken's book has skyrocketed on Amazon sales chart from number 804 before the lawsuit to number 8 as of today.

And atrios has started a movement to add Fair and Balanced to the masthead of as many blogs as possible, just to further irritate Fox News.
Lies and Lying Liars

This caught my fancy this morning...

Fox News is suing Al Franken for using their Fair and Balanced slogan. Could this be payback for the spanking that Al gave Fox's Bill O'Reilly a couple of months ago? My question to my legal friend is how did Fox ever get a registered trademark on a generic term like "Fair and Balanced", and does that mean that nobody can say that they are fair and balanced except Fox, who is hardly either?

Here at Futurballa we claim to be neither fair nor balanced. We just report whatever we feel like and don't much care what you decide.


Monday, August 11, 2003

Life does imitate art!

Billmon says it all in the last sentence...

Don't these friggin' people ever read? Or is this their idea of a sick joke?

Read the whole thing here.
My Legs Hurt

Just thought I'd share our weekend activities with you, my faithful reader(s).

Saturday the better half and I took to the road and headed up to Point Reyes National Seashore for hiking and photo safari. Driving up 280, which is one of the most beautiful strips of freeway in America, at least for a highway that runs through an urban area. If you want beautiful highway through less populated areas, let me recommend a trip along the Eastern Sierras up 395. But I digress. Riding up 280 we passed the Golden Gate National Cemetary, though we didn't stop this time, I was sure to wave at the Colonel.

19th avenue takes you through San Francisco and to the Golden Gate Bridge, where we stopped to take some tourist shots at the presidio turnoff. Had my Yashica 124-G medium format camera, as well as the Canon, but my new superwide (20mm) angle lens hasn't come yet. So mostly shooting with a 28-90 at wider settings. Once back on the bridge, which even 35 years after first crossing the Golden Gate I am still giddy as a child and quite impressed, we crossed over to Marin and headed up 101 through Sausalito. Taking the Sir Francis Drake exit we continued through a number of lovely towns and villages to Point Reyes.

At the park we hiked the Earthquake trail, which takes you along the San Andreas fault and right around the exact epicenter of the 1906 earthquake. From there it was lunch at the general store in Inverness and then on to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, which is about 20 miles from the main park area, driving through historic ranch land. At the lighthouse we hiked from the parking area down to the visitor's center and then down the 300+ steep steps to the lighthouse. Note to self; when you walk down 300 steep steps, keep in mind you will have to walk back up 300 steep steps.

After we recovered from our heart attacks, we drove back to Drake's beach. No one knows for sure exactly where Drake touched land in what he called "Nova Albion", but it was somewhere around here and Drake's beach seems to fit the description. It is in a beautiful bay with views to Point Reyes to the North and Chimney Rock to the South. There is a very nice visitor's center and a cafe with some of the best french fries I have ever eaten.

Coming home I missed the turnoff for Sir Francis Drake road and ended up following Highway one, which precariously, but spectacularly, hugs the coast down to Marin, but inevitably hooks back up with 101 and takes you back the other way over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Haven't processed my film yet, was shooting traditonal black and white (Kodak Plus-X and Ilford Delta 100, for those of you who care about that sort of thing), but when I've gotten around to developing, printing and scanning I'll hopefully make an additon to Futurballa Photography of some shots of this trip.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Have halves

Friday is here. So I'll just share some of my morning reading. Maybe I should consider making this a weekly habit. Eric Alterman had "Slacker Friday", so I guess I'll have to offer a prize for anyone who can come up with a good name for my Friday blog.

Comic, actor, and author, Steve Martin has an OpEd in today's NYT riffing on Bush's logic in the 16 words flap and WMD debate. I especially liked this graf, ruminating on the administration's current thought process...

Let me try and clear it up for you. I think what you were trying to say was, "At any time, did anyone in Iraq think about, wish for, dream of, or search the Internet for weapons of mass destruction?"

Read it here.

Also at the NYT, Paul Krugman offers an environmental history lesson.

SFGate has an excellent piece on Arnold's politics. Sounds to Futurballa like Arnold may have a hard time getting the Republican base to rally to him. Remember these are the same people who rejected moderate Richard Riordin for the less likely to win, but much more conservative Bill Simon.

For an interesting posting about blog etiquette and when blogging goes wrong, terribly wrong, take a look at this from Josh Marshall. Coincidentally I was discussing this very subject in an email exchange yesterday. The outcome of which was that, "these days a friend is someone you can disagree with on your
blog while still linking him". (Thank you George).

And to close out this morning's missives, here is a link to the Ansel Adams section on Masters of Photography. Adams has suffered the same fate as van Gogh in becoming a dorm room wall staple, but like van Gogh, that should not diminish his artistic value. Viewing his work is a lesson to any aspiring photographer. Composition, tonal range, depth of field. It is a textbook in a single image.


Thursday, August 07, 2003

Back to cultcha

Over at Brian's Culture Blog there is an excellent post about the value of borrowing DVDs over purchasing or renting. I can't agree with him more. As one who often would not purchase a DVD that I really loved because the idea of spending $20 after already having layed our $4 at Blockbuster (not to mention late fees) just seemed rather extravagant. But what if your friend doesn't happen to have the DVD you would like to borrow.

That is why I'm such a big fan of Netflix. It is odd how when paying a flat monthly fee that one can fool one's self into believing that one has not paid anything (extra) to see a particular movie. Thus presenting one with the joys of borrowing without the hassle of making friends. No late fees. Don't like it turn it off without the guilt of having paid for it. Watch it once and buy without the embarrassment of paying extra. And want to borrow it again, no problem, still the same price.

Read the whole thing here.
Total Recall Redux

The Daily Kos today reports on one of the legal challenges to the recall that might allow the recall to go through but Cruz Bustamante to simply take over without a ballot of candidates being voted upon. I think with Davis' numbers sinking and the field getting ever larger, it is not surprising that the person who would normally be the rightful successor to a governor leaving office before his term is up should cover his bets by throwing his hat in the ring. Some have commented on the fact that Bustamante had denounced the recall and said that he would have nothing to do with it, but with Feinstein officially out of the race and Arnold in, that might be tantamount to handing the governorship to the Republicans.

Read the whole thing here.

Total Recall

Having taken a few days off from politics, I couldn't resist today. Of course, it is no news to anyone that Ahnold announced that he is in. But the more interesting Arnold to enter the fray is Gary Coleman. Can you see the debates....

Arnie: "You are too short to be Governor, little man"
Gary: "What you talkin' about"

You really can't tell the players without a scorecard. Let's see, we have Larry Flynt, some porn queen, Arnold S., Arnold Drummond aka Gary, Arianna, Darryl Issa, and I hear that Cruz Bustamante may jump in. The list just keeps growing and getting more ridiculous. Let us thank the recall people for making California look even more ridiculous than before.

My question is that if the list gets big enough, what is the minimum number of votes that will be required to gain a plurality. Could we have the first 10% Governor?

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Primate Programmers

This link via Salon took me to the site of Primate Programming Inc., an excellent satire of a startup's website specializing in outsourcing of Java and .Net programming and software testing performed by assorted hominids. Here is a choice items from the corporation's FAQ...

"What about software testing?

"Great apes (hominids) do not have tails, while monkeys do. Research indicates that great apes are very productive in the areas of software maintenance and report writing, while most monkeys will struggle. Monkeys however are great at software testing. So the rule of thumb is, if you don't have a tail, you can probably program.

"We train our baboons specifically for software testing, using various industry-standard testing tools."

Check it out for yourself

Primate Programming Inc:
The Evolution of Java and .NET Training

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I Exist

I was recently speaking with a certain fool I know about the fact that we bloggers often serve to disappoint the Google searcher by odd combinations of posts. My sitelog informs me that someone searching for Kevin Smith cartoons was given the chance to view Odd Todd cartoons while reading a comment about Jersey Girl (Kevin Smith's next film), here on Futurballa Blog. My foolish friend recently commented on less literate Googlers who were sent to his blog looking for information on Colby Bryant (also a combination of two unrelated postings that generated a Google hit).

Well, today I have joined the ranks of the useful. I got my first couple of Google searches where someone might actually have had some value by visiting Futurballa. One was someone looking for Pearblossom Highway, to which they could have read about the archival quality of Hockney's collages, and the second was a search for Bob Hope & Christopher Hitchens, on which I had ranted and linked to a couple of days ago.

To paraphrase Descartes, I Blog therefore I am.
One Hour Photo

As I discussed yesterday, I do not subscribe to the "Film is Dead" doomsayers. I think that for the professional, artistic photographer and certain other specialties, such as some kinds of photo-journalism, film is still alive and kicking. But there are certain areas where I think that film will and is being replaced by digital. One area is commercial portrait photography (think yearbook photos and school portraits). Lower production costs, the ability to retouch those teenage skin problems quickly on the computer, and the immediate feedback make it highly suited. Another area is the newspaper stringer who can wifi their images to the bureau.

I also have a hard time seeing the advantage of film for the consumer. Most "snapshotters" (an unfortunate formulation that I am not guilty of coining) are not going to blow up beyond 5x7, and the vast majority are just looking to get 3x5s. A 2 to 3 megapixel camera will give them prints of acceptable quality in those sizes and are even overkill for on-screen and email uses.

This article caught my eye this morning. On the one hand I think the concept of single use digital cameras were inevitable and will be the thing that is the last nail in the coffin of consumer film. However, I do think that without the immediate feedback of an LCD screen and the ability to save the images yourself, this is not yet the film killer. This camera will still require a visit to the 1-hour Photo kiosk. But it is a definite step in that direction.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Film vs. Digitalia

As a photographer who straddles the digital divide, I'll lend my voice to the state of the technology vs. art debate.

Let's start by saying that film is not dead! There is something very pleasing about the natural grain, and variety of grain that different emulsions can achieve. Also the satisfaction of getting physically involved, controlling light, materials, chemicals, and temperature can't be duplicated sitting in front of a computer monitor. And the pure magic that the photographer experiences when immersing a sheet of photographic paper in the developer and watching an image appear continues to thrill even an old pro. It is kind of like being a kid with his first chemistry set.

There are a lot of areas where digital excels beyond traditional techniques. The ability to do away with the darkroom. Masking accurately, color correction, repair and restoration to name a few. And the ammount of information that a high-end digital image can contain is swiftly approaching film. As the high-end comes close to emulating film, it won't be long until this filters down to the consumer level. Take a look at digital SLRs. Just a year or two ago, these cameras belonged to the pro, with pricetags up around the stratosphere. Six thousand dollars bought you an SLR body from Nikon or Canon with a resolution that point and shoots are rapidly approaching today. The current crop of Digital SLRs include models like the Canon 10D that are well under $2000 and fit entirely into their EOS line of bodies, so your lens investment is safe.

One of the problems, however, with the consumer digital SLRs is that the CCD (the chip that collects the image data) is smaller than a 35mm film frame. This causes a clipping of image data with generally a ration of 1:1.6. The effect of this is that your 28mm lens is equal to a 44mm lens in terms of field of view. But the higher end professional cameras are dealing with this with larger CCDs and that technology is filtering down to the consumer level. Look for the next generation of consumer SLRs to have a 1:1.3 ratio and 1:1 will not be far behind. Also look for prices of SLR bodies to come below the $1000 price point.

For more information on digital cameras the site the pros go to for reviews is Digital Photography Review.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Kick 'em while they're dead

Showing why he is a greater writer than he is a person, Christopher Hitchens decides to kick Bob Hope while he's dead over at Slate today. With an obituary that proceeds to treat Bob Hope in much the same way that Hitchens has bee treating his liver for quite some time.

I will honestly say that I am not a big Bob Hope fan. His humor is something that belongs to my parent's generation. However, I remember as a young boy being thankful to him for giving us Joey Heatherton, and will give him vastly more credit as a comic actor than as a standup comedian. To list a few of his films that are worth remembering; several road pictures, The Seven Little Foys, Paleface, My Favorite Blonde.

It would have been nice if Hitchens could have spared even a word for some of his better qualities. Look, the guy lived to be a hundred. It's not like Hitchens didnt' have time to trash him while he was alive.

You can read the whole thing here.
Who's Next

The SF Chronicle reports this morning that instead of the People Vs... this time the People will get a chance to vote for Larry Flynt. Yes, the Hustler publisher is planning on tossing his name in the ring for Governor of California. Read about it here. It will at least make for an interesting sequel. Mr. Harrelson, we're ready for your closeup.

At the same time, Ahnold plans to announce whether he is in or out on next Wednesday's Tonight Show.

And finally on the subject of the Cal Recall, Paul Krugman at the NY Times chimes in.

This is after all a photography blog (that seems to spend an awful lot of it's time talking about politics and culture) so I will go back to one of my favorite hobby horses before signing off. An acquaintance recommended Wilhelm Imaging Research. An excellent resource on the subject of archival photography. A bit more for the layman, here is a link to a Washington Post Article on photographic preservation. I raised this subject in an earlier posting in reference to the photographic work of David Hockney, but it is a really big issue in the photographic community.