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Friday, April 20, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Leaving the bustling arrivals gate, a dump truck joins a fleet of airport taxis full of deep-pocketed safari goers, business travelers, and missionaries departing from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the largest hub in east and central Africa and a proud symbol of Nairobi's growing economy and global presence. Carrying food waste from the day's flights, the truck eventually turns toward the city slums, while the cabs continue to the capital's affluent business district. Their routes expose two very different, yet interwoven, narratives to the rise of east Africa's most populous city. At roughly the same time every day, the unfinished salads, sandwiches, bread, yogurt cups, and refuse from Nairobi's incoming flights are transported to the Dandora Municipal Dumpsite -- the capital city's only dumping location.  Far from the expressways and skyscrapers of downtown, the truck meets a landscape of smoke-filled horizons and metallic, waste-born mountains. Smoke from burning piles of trash scratches the inside of the throat and obscures the bent backs of human and animal scavengers scattered across the smoldering lot. When the sun is overhead, the smell of four decades of waste is overwhelming." (ForeignPolicy)

"The leading congressional contenders to be Mitt Romney’s running mate have significantly different legislative track records that accentuate their pros and cons.  On Capitol Hill, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) top the vice presidential shortlists of many handicappers.  Further down on those lists are Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).  Each of the vice presidential contenders has strengths that the Romney campaign could tout. And each has weaknesses that Democrats would sink their teeth into." (TheHill)

"Those are the famous lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s 1969 classic, 'Both Sides Now.' (The meaning of the song, with its ice cream castles, flows of angel hair, moons, Junes and Ferris wheels, has been endlessly analyzed.) Miss Mitchell, held up as the high priestess of folk/pop music by millions, has been out of sight in recent years. She has concentrated on her painting. Less pleasantly she suffers from something called “Morgellons Syndrome” which she has described as 'a slow, unpredictable killer.' However, we might have some good news for fans of this great artist. Joni’s old friend David Geffen is reportedly 'wooing' her to perform a series of shows at his Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Those in the know and/or of a certain age, recall that Joni’s celebrated 'Free Man in Paris' song was written with Geffen in mind. Another old pal of Joni’s Herbie Hancock, is also supposedly encouraging this venture, which could include some of the musicians who worked with Joni back in the day. If all that is planned and hoped for comes about, there will be a concert highlight sure to send Mitchell’s fans into delirium — a track by track recreation of the legendary Court and Spark album, which spawned such hits as 'Help Me (I Think I’m Falling') and 'Raised on Robbery.'" (NYSocialDiary)


"Seeing Manhattan rising from the distance is always a treat. I am not sure it’s possible for anyone brought up around these parts to appreciate entirely what New York—the idea of New York—meant to us who came from the Old Continent. I was eleven years old and had seen only war and devastation: dead, stinking bodies in the city parks, bullet-scarred buildings, and people starving on the sidewalks, too weak to die in the privacy of their hovels. Then I was suddenly whisked from home and into a TWA first-class Stratocruiser stopping in Rome, Paris, London, Shannon, Gander, Boston, and finally New York. I had fallen madly in love with the stewardess but quickly forgot all about her upon seeing Manhattan: the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, Fifth and Madison Avenue, high fashion on Park, money on Wall Street—this was no mere city but a romantic notion, a dream come true. To this day, when seeing the place from afar, the frisson is there. Unlike Paris, New York has not fully emerged on canvas. Edward Hopper is the only man to capture the city’s moods and shadows, its loneliness and loveliness, its red-brick housing lined up like soldiers on parade, the fire escapes standing out like rifles. Paintings of the city are depictions of the real place, and no one except for Hopper has come close. That’s because New York is a novel and a movie, not a painting. New York is Henry James and Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald, an imaginary mystical place rather than the Impressionist painting called Paris." (Taki)


"Over the past couple of months, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton has made it clear that he doesn’t like blog comments very much, and that includes the ones on his own sites such as Gizmodo and Jezebel. He said so during an interview at South by Southwest, where he called the long-held idea that comments could somehow capture the intelligence of a site’s readership 'a joke.' So Gawker is remaking comments from the ground up, Denton told GigaOM in an interview in his SoHo office on Wednesday — and the vision behind the changes that will be rolling out soon is nothing less than a reinvention of what the company is about, and also an attempt to literally flip the world of online content on its head. This isn’t the first time Gawker has tried to fix commenting: the site got a lot of attention several years ago for launching an ambitious new commenting system that was supposed to offer readers an incentive system to encourage good behavior — a little like the membership model that other sites, including the New York Times, have adopted, which awards readers benefits for posting good comments. But Denton says now that this system actually turned out to be a massive mistake, and that all it did was encourage social-media gurus and professional commenters to game the system in order to get rewards .." (GigaOm)


"If Champagne is the diesel fuel of the party circuit, Dom PƩrignon would like to suggest it's got applications for the art world, too. The house threw a dinner last night for two polymaths, artist Rita Ackermann and composer Koudlam, at Acme's basement lounge. Chloƫ Sevigny, Michael Stipe, and Terence Koh gathered to watch a loop of Ackermann's videos play on a wall, and after dinner, Koudlam took to the mike to perform. Did bubbles make it all possible? You suspected they were at least responsible for some of the attendee high jinks, like the arm-wrestling match Michelle Harper had with Jenny Shimizu, refereed by Johan Lindeberg. Who won? 'Jenny, are you kidding?' said Harper, laughing." (Style)

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