.::making love to you with the best in Blogger interviews::.

Awesome Profile On Daily KOS Blogger

December 29, 2005 at 1:16 am | | Politics | | --Simon

There’s a brilliant profile on Markos Moulitsas, creator of Daily Kos, over here

If you followed the 2004 election season only on television, you missed out on lots of the good stuff. This was the year the Internet erupted as the outlet for political discourse, and a surprisingly large number of memorable moments came out of the rolling conversation found on the Berkeley-based Weblog DailyKos.com.

Will pay quick cash to catch your cold!!! - $40

December 28, 2005 at 10:42 pm | | Humor | | --Simon

This has to be one of the weirdest Craiglist ads I’ve ever seen. Some guy is willing to pay money to anyone who will give him a cold.

I’m not kidding, but I can imagine how this sounds. For reasons too conplicated to explain here, I need to be down with a cold by the end of the week. If you have a cold, all I’d want would be for you to cough on me enough times to ensure I get a good dose of it. This could of course be done in a public place and I’ll pay $40 in cash. Would prefer that you to be a woman. Can anybody help?

Amazon Offers Blogs

December 28, 2005 at 9:57 pm | | Blog News | | --Josh

The New York Times is reporting that Amazon.com is now offering a service called “Amazon Connect” to authors. It allows authors the capability to post blog entries on any topic of interest.

“The program gives people who are interested in a particular author a way to get new insights into them, and gives the authors a way to develop more of a one-on-one relationship with readers,” said Jani Strand, a spokeswoman for Amazon.

Read the rest over here.

Bloggasm Interview: Lady Bunny

December 28, 2005 at 1:43 pm | | Interviews | | --Simon

You can read the Lady Bunny blog over here.

Simon Owens: Do you think the realm of drag has become an art?

Lady Bunny: Well, I think it’s been an art for centuries. From Japan’s kabuki theater to boys playing all the female roles of Shakespeare’s plays to Michael Jackson, the larger than life quality of drag has made it an entertainment staple for centuries. It goes in and out of vogue, but at one point around the turn of the century, a queen named Julian Eltinge hit it so big on Broadway that he had musicals written for him and even face cream marketed to women who wanted his complexion–which was actually make-up!

Many people think of drag as lip-synch only and that is what is the standard fare in gay clubs around the world. But there are also queens doing stand-up (Dame Edna, Jackie Beat), recording original music (RuPaul, Hedwig, Kevin Aviance, Celeda), djing (Me!), directing porn (Chi Chi LaRue), and even singing opera (Shequida, La Gran Scena). Many queens act as well, but often bigger drag roles are given to either straight actors or gay ones who don’t really do drag full-time. Do I sound bitter?

Simon Owens: Do you find there to be a ridiculous humor to drag, or is it to be taken completely seriously?

Lady Bunny: Interview cancelled! I’m highly offended by that question! No, nothing should be taken completely seriously ever! Especially not drag! There are plenty of queens who do take themselves too seriously, but since my character is basically a clown, I don’t. There is something innately ridiculous about drag. When a queen is rigged up in all her flashy finery it can be quite regal–hence the term “queen”. I think it’s hilarious to temper this grandness with lunacy or else the drag risks being a snooze. Unless, of course, the queen is breathtakingly beautiful and styled so incredibly that she can get away with taking herself seriously. But that route has never been an option for me!

Simon Owens: Have you ever appeared in drag in a very conservative area? What was the general response?

Lady Bunny: Well, I dj’ed at the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch’s Ohio mansion this summer. There was a little stiffness at first, but once the liquor started flowing their reservations/curiosity about me passed. Besides, they coulldn’t request a song from anyone else, so they had to get over the fact that a freak was the dj at their staff party!

I also protested a KFC in Lexington, Kentucky in a very short skirt. A few people yelled things, but I think they were more motivated by thoughts like “You’re a whore/freak who my kids shouldn’t be seeing in the light of day” as opposed to any pro-KFC sentiments. I do put myself in a lot of mainstream situations where you don’t normally expect to see a queen. I just attended Howard Stern’s Sirius radio launch at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC and his fans were a little homophobic but after enough booze they were begging for “photos with the clown.” I also dj’ed last Xmas at Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC. That was nuts. There were tourists from all over in the middle of frenzied holiday shopping and many of them gagged at the sight of me. So I have to give Saks credit for taking a chance like that. Certain types are predisposed to hating you–like young, straight guys or anyone with a Middle-Eatern head wrap, but you just have to be fearless. I met every stare with an “I’m-sending-out-holiday-party-vibes-whether-you-like-it-or-not!” attitude and won the vast majority over. I think when people see a drag queen with a big wig and an over-the-top look, they associate it with partying and tend to scream “Work!” or “You go, girl!”. It’s the serious “I’m-passing-as-a-woman” looks that tend to be less popular, when the queens aren’t passing and there’s no hint of fun or glamor. Then straights tend to want to yell stuff like “Hello, sir!” to let the queens know that they aren’t fooling anybody. But with a more outrageous look, your glad rags don’t indicate that you are trying to blend in or “pass”.

Simon Owens: What are the five blogs everyone should be reading (besides your own)?

Lady Bunny: 1.Huffingtonpost.com–not exactly a blog, but it contains blogs and the kind of news stories which our mainstream TV news refuses to cover. So if you don’t have time to scour the NY Times and Washington Post daily, it’s a quick fix.

2.lucasblog.com (by porn star and sick, very opinionated queen Michael Lucas)

3.VaginalDavis.com This whore is hilarious.

4.WorldofWonder.net Ex-Details columnist Stephen Saban edits this juicy gossip blog.

5.yeastradio.podshow.com This bloated, Jewish lesbian with a yeast infection mixes insightful with ridiculous and is a top-notch pod-caster, with amazing video posts as well.

Businessman Wins in Spam Lawsuit

December 28, 2005 at 1:27 pm | | News | | --Simon

In what clearly spells “bad news” for spammers… an internet marketing firm has been forced to pay damages for sending out unwanted e-mail adverts.

Nigel Roberts (37), a Channel Islands-based businessman, received unwanted e-mail adverts for a contract car firm and a fax broadcasting business, and decided to take action against Media Logistics UK. The result - he won. This victory is being touted as the first victory of its kind for people who are tired of junk e-mails clogging their in-boxes day-after-day.

New York AG subpoenas music companies

December 28, 2005 at 1:11 pm | | Music | | --Simon

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office is looking in to whether digital music services have engaged in illegal price-fixing.

Apple has not been named in the investigation so far, although it undoubtedly is a focal point — the company runs the most successful commercial digital music download service, the iTunes Music Store. Despite an onslaught of competitors, Apple has maintained primacy, thanks in part to its sales of iPods.

German Ex-Diplomat Kidnapped in Yemen

December 28, 2005 at 1:07 pm | | News | | --Simon

German Ex-Diplomat and His Family Have Been Kidnapped in Yemen; Tribesmen Seek Jailed Members:

Armed tribesmen in eastern Yemen kidnapped a German family on Wednesday to press the government for the release of jailed members of their tribe, Yemeni government officials said. Germany said the family was missing and identified them as a former diplomat, his wife and children.

The five identified by a spokesman for German’s Foreign Ministry as former Deputy Foreign Minister Juergen Chrobog, his wife and three children were traveling as tourists in a two-car convoy when a group of gunmen surrounded their vehicles and forced all five Germans into their cars and sped off, said government officials in Shabwa, the province where the kidnapping took place.

Today’s Lesson in Quantam Physics

December 28, 2005 at 12:13 pm | | Science | | --Josh

The New York Times is running an article about one of Einstein’s lesser known (but equally impressive) theories.

This fall scientists announced that they had put a half dozen beryllium atoms into a “cat state.” […] These atoms were each spinning clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time. Moreover, like miniature Rockettes they were all doing whatever it was they were doing together, in perfect synchrony. Should one of them realize, like the cartoon character who runs off a cliff and doesn’t fall until he looks down, that it is in a metaphysically untenable situation and decide to spin only one way, the rest would instantly fall in line, whether they were across a test tube or across the galaxy.

Read the rest over here.

The Year in Pictures

December 28, 2005 at 12:04 pm | | Cool Stuff | | --Josh

MSNBC has created a photo montage of the major events of 2005 complete with commentary and music.

You can view it over here.

Bloggasm Interview: Resistance is Futile!

December 27, 2005 at 8:05 pm | | Interviews | | --Simon

You can read the Resistance is futile! blog over here.

Simon Owens: Do you think your experience in the military affects your politics at all?

David Gulliver: Yes and no. I grew up in a military family. My Dad spent 30 years in the Navy. Both my older brothers joined the military before me. So I had already been exposed to a lot of military matters that helped shape my worldview long before I myself joined up. My experience in the military therefore didn’t so much affect my political beliefs as reinforce the beliefs I already had.

SO: Which liberal political blogs provide the most unbalanced spin? Is there a liberal political blog out there you’d consider a worthy adversary?

DG: There are liberal blogs with unbalanced spin?

Seriously, I think if your blog is self-described as “liberal” or “progressive,” there is little chance that anything you produce is worth reading. This is not to say that I am closed-minded to opposing points of view. I just think that there are intelligent opposing points of view, and ignorant opposing points of view. I read a number of blogs from the Libertarian perspective, which is often at odds with the Republican perspective. And amongst Republicans, there is a lot of room for difference of opinion–heck, our party has Arnold and Rudy as well as Cheney and Rumsfeld! I can get all the arguments for and against practically any policy decision without resorting to reading a liberal blog. About the only argument you’ll find on a liberal blog is that, no matter what the subject matter, somehow it is Bush’s fault. That’s simply not useful information.

SO: Bush’s second term has been full of failed policies that haven’t made it past congress. Do you think that this has hurt his chance at creating a legacy?

DG: Now there’s a loaded question!

Why do you assume the failure is Bush’s? The liberal media likes to boast about Bush’s low poll numbers. But what you never hear on a mainstream news source is that, in virtually every poll, Congress–especially Congressional Democrats–poll significantly lower than Bush. I think the people realize that Congress, despite being numerically Republican, is still liberal, especially in the Senate. I think people elect Presidents to get things done, and are getting upset that the Congress has done nothing but get in the way. I predict a huge win for conservative Republicans in the 2006 elections, and a mandate for Congress to get behind the President.

SO: What are the five blogs everyone should be reading (besides your own)?

DG: Knowledge is Power (http://www.sondrak.com), for views from some very untraditional conservative republicans, along with edgy humor and social commentary;

FARK (http://www.fark.com), even though it isn’t really a blog per se, but it is a great way to find out about interesting and entertaining news stories that you would otherwise never see;

Michelle Malkin (http://www.michellemalkin.com), who does an excellent job of digging up the untold story on the big news of the day;

NW Republican (http://nwrepublican.blogspot.com), which is more of a local than a national blog, but often has some of the best insider information into conservative politics;

and, oh, what the hell, Instapundit (http://www.instapundit.com), because if I don’t plug Glenn Reynolds, I fear for my life.

Slut-o-Meter

December 27, 2005 at 3:03 pm | | Cool Stuff | | --Simon

Slut-o-meter evaluates the promiscuity of the subject you enter by comparing the number of Google search results with and without “safe-search” enabled. A complete slut would return unsafe results and no safe results. Alternatively, a clean name should produce the same number of safe and unsafe results.

My rating is 3.33%.

via Inside Google.

Christmas thief steals ‘Nun Bun’

December 27, 2005 at 2:55 pm | | Humor | | --Simon

I put this under the “humor” tag, though some might view the theft of a sticky cinnamon bun that bears a striking likeness to late Catholic nun Mother Teresa to be an undeniable tragedy:

A cinnamon bun that bears a striking likeness to late Catholic nun Mother Teresa was stolen from a US coffeehouse on Christmas Day.

The owner arrived to find that the famous flaky pastry had vanished from the shop in Nashville, Tennessee.

Oprah’s Fowl Flight

December 27, 2005 at 2:50 pm | | Television | | --Simon

Oh no! I’m glad Oprah isn’t harmed!. If she was, how could she run for president?

The talk show maven’s private plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Santa Barbara Monday after colliding with a bird and cracking a windshield.

J.K. Rowling Prepares Final Potter Book

December 27, 2005 at 2:47 pm | | Literature | | --Simon

I’m not much of a Harry Potter fan (the first four books were entertaining enough, but I didn’t bother reading the fifth), but this might prove exciting for those who are:

On her Web site, Rowling said she had been “fine-tuning the fine-tuned plan of seven during the past few weeks.” She noted that “reading through the plan is like contemplating the map of an unknown country in which I will soon find myself.”

Rowling expects to start on the final book, not yet titled, next month.

CBS trying webcasting for select TV shows

December 27, 2005 at 2:38 pm | | Television | | --Simon

Welcome to the 21st Century, CBS:

CBS chairman Leslie Moonves said that the network is shopping their content around to the likes of Google, Yahoo, DirecTV, and others, as they contemplate ways to ride the wave. So far, however, they seem to be primarily interested in streaming content for the purposes of bringing in more traditional viewers.

While some had assumed that Google would be the natural choice for, well, anything, it looks like Yahoo has won this round. Yahoo is hosting a “CBS Comedy Bowl” as a holiday promotional, and they’re streaming two episodes each of Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother. The content is being streamed in the 4:3 format, without advertising, using the Windows Media Video format. You cannot save the shows locally.

Bloggasm Interview: Edward Champion’s Return of the Reluctant

December 27, 2005 at 1:06 pm | | Interviews | | --Simon

You can read Edward Champion’s Return of the Reluctant over here.

Edward Champion: Edward Champion is the codename for a thinktank of embittered septuagenarians (most of them Ph.D.’s) operating out of Lexington, Kentucky known to spread strange and unsubstantiated rumors about the publishing industry between knitting sessions. The group has been investigated by the CIA, various associates of Jerry Lewis between telethons, and the John Birch Society, and continues to enjoy immunity under an agreement brokered by the late Melvin Belli, the details of which, despite the statute of limitations, remain top secret. There is also a shady character named Bat Segundo who cannot really be trusted, but somehow manages to orchestrate various interviews with today’s contemporary authors.

Simon Owens: As someone who participated in the Lit Blog Co-op, how successful do you think the project was?

EC: I think it’s been fairly successful so far. Not only has Stephen King apparently taken our lead a year after the fact with “Case Histories,” but some publishers have reported increases in book sales for both finalists and nominees. Irrespective of sales figures, the project has permitted some writers to gain the kind of exposure that the draconian, fiction-unfriendly editors at certain overesteemed weekly book review sections have altogether ignored. It is still very much an experiment in progress and by no means perfect, but I think the kinks are being ironed out each quarter.

SO: Many authors are now starting to release their books online for free under Creative Commons (Kelly Link recently did this with STRANGER THINGS HAPPEN). Do you think this helps book sales, as many claim?

EC: Well, I can’t answer this question fairly without a Nielsen Bookscan account that compares sales figures both before an electronic release and after. But keep in mind that most humans, even those indefatigable tech-savvy youngsters, would rather read an entire book in paper form than in electronic form. Anything that allows more people to sample the goods outside of a trip to a bookstore is certainly valuable in bringing attention to a neglected or underpromoted titles. And I wish that more authors and publishers would consider this without getting involved in crazed legal squabbles (see the Google Print brouhaha for more). It should be noted that Cory Doctorow, for one, has reported that his sales have been helped by the free distribution of his fiction. Whether this works in every case, I’m not really in a position to say.

SO: What book releases are you looking forward to in the coming months?

EC: David Mitchell’s “Black Swan Green” (which I’m currently reading), Julian Barnes’ “Arthur and George,” Claro’s “Electric Flash” (Claro being the French translator of Vollmann, Richard Powers, Tom Robbins, the like), T.C. Boyle’s “Talk Talk,” Laila Lalami’s novel (when it’s finished and published), Edwin Burrows’ book on Revolutionary-era New York prison camps, Jonathan Ames’ “I Love You More Than I Can Know,” China Mieville’s book on Marxism, Vollmann’s book on Copernicus. (Funny how 2006 looks to be the year of literary novelists writing about nonfiction topics, doesn’t it?)

SO: What are the five blogs everyone should be reading (besides your own)?

EC: This is a difficult question. But if I had to nail down five, in my present frame of mind, I’d say that Bud Parr’s excellent project Metaxucafe is a must for those who can’t negotiate Bloglines, Pinky’s Paperhaus for maintaining one of the coolest literary podcast concepts ever (and for the fact that she has a better voice than mine), the always underestimated wood s lot, Large Hearted Boy (for musical interconnectedness) and Crooked Timber. If Robert Birnbaum had a regular blog, he’d likely be on the list. But since he cannot decide between Identity Theory and The Morning News, being a peripatetic sort of fellow with regard to this Internet thing, his inclusion will have to be omitted, much to society’s great regret.

Video of the Day

December 27, 2005 at 12:01 am | | Video of the Day | | --Simon

Today’s video clip is this one from Family Guy. Be sure to take the milk from the back.

Bloggasm Interview: Peking Duck

December 26, 2005 at 2:22 pm | | Interviews | | --Simon

You can find the Peking Duck blog over here.

Richard : I was a journalist who got sucked into public relations back in 1989 and never escaped. PR is what I do today here in Taipei. I’ve also done it in China, Hong Kong, Sinagpore and Siicon Valley. It pays the bills and offers enough moments of creativity to keep me sane. I used to be a somewhat strident defender of China and its leaders, but living there got me to see the light. I began to document the sins of the Party in my blog in 2002, and all of a sudden I found myself with a bunch of sympathetic readers.

Simon Owens: Do you think that continued public out-cries has caused work conditions in China to improve at all? Or are they just as bad as ever?

Richard: China responds to international embarrassment, so the outcries have certainly helped. Tragically, it always takes a huge event, usually with lives lost and immeasurable misery, for the CCP to react. And even though they react - fixing the problem at hand - they never seem to learn from the experience, and the vicious circle of corruption leading to worker exploitation leading to death and despair continues.

Simon Owens: Do you think the improved economy will do anything towards improving other realms of China, including its worker-safety laws?

Richard: Yes, definitely, and it already is improving. But everything is relative, and to say China has a long way to go doesn’t say nearly enough. The laws are certainly there on the books. But enforcement is the key word. With no rule of law to speak of, there is no justice and little improvement. China is taking baby steps, improving worker safety but always slowed down by corrupt local officials who feel threatened by such laws, and who receive juicy bribes to subvert them. As long as the political system is corrupt and the central party needs to maintain the loyalty of the local officials, don’t expect to see more than incremental progress. (Multinationals in China are doing a far better job when it comes to worker safety, and maybe over time the spirit of CSR will seep into the consciences of the Chinese companies as well.)

Simon Owens: Do you think Walmart is wrong for relying so heavily on China for its goods?

Richard: Their whole business model depends on it; it’s what they are all about. If they didn’t rely on China, they wouldn’t be Wal-Mart. What’s wrong with Wal-Mart and every company that sells goods made in Chinese sweatshops is the toleration of inhumane conditions and unimaginable exploitations. Now, I know this sounds awfully dreamy, but I believe companies should insist that the products they buy for resale not be manufactured at the cost of the lives and health of the workers. Retailers selling Chinese jewelry should know about Chinese miners dying from inhalation of gold dust due to zero safety standards. And they should buy such jewelry elsewhere. Wal-Mart should take the same approach. Chinese factories can still produce cheap goods to keep Wal-Mart thriving, without killing their workers along the way. And Wal-Mart should insist on that. It’s not impossible.

Simon Owens: What are the five blogs everyone should be reading (besides your own)?

Richard: 1. China Digital Times
2. Talk Talk China (strictly for us expats)
3. East South West North
4. Andrew Sullivan
5. Eschaton

Judge Lets Man Change Name to Jesus Christ

December 26, 2005 at 1:30 am | | News | | --Simon

Well, it had to happen at some point, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be legal:

A Manhattan man’s holiday spirits soared to celestial heights Friday when a judge gave him permission to change his name to Jesus Christ.

Jose Luis Espinal, 42, of Washington Heights, said he was “happy” and “grateful” that the judge approved the change, effective immediately. Espinal said he was moved to seek the name change about a year ago when it dawned on him, “I am the person that is that name.”

via jenlight

Web guru gets with times

December 26, 2005 at 1:14 am | | Blog News | | --Simon

World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee has started a blog just in time for the 15th anniversary of his invention

You can find the blog over here.

Powell Speaks Out on Domestic Spy Program

December 26, 2005 at 1:09 am | | Politics | | --Simon

I’ve always tried my best to admire Powell, and I’m glad when he gives me the chance to:

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said on Sunday that it would not have been “that hard” for President Bush to obtain warrants for eavesdropping on domestic telephone and Internet activity, but that he saw “nothing wrong” with the decision not to do so.

The world’s smallest film contest

December 26, 2005 at 1:07 am | | Film | | --Simon

The world’s smallest film contest:

Bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger portions at the local fast food joint. In America, the guiding maxim is to think big. Really big.

An Ithaca College dean is encouraging students to instead think small. And she’s offering a $5,000 prize to do it.

The school has invited high school and college students across America to submit a 30-second movie shot entirely with a cell phone.

Being Banned from Google

December 23, 2005 at 1:30 pm | | Cool Stuff | | --Simon

There’s this really cool website called iambanned.com where people go to tell their horror stories about being banned from Google’s Adsense program and their search results. On top of that, it gives some nice advice on search engine efficiency and the like.

Bloggasm Interview: Boots & Sabers

December 23, 2005 at 12:11 pm | | Interviews | | --Simon

You can find the Boots & Sabers blog over here.

Simon Owens: Do you think your love of history influences your views on politics at all?

Owen: Absolutely. Studying history gives one a sense of perspective. This does several things.

First, it makes one realize that we are but a tiny speck in the historical record. Almost everything that we do will be forgotten before the next generation has passed, but that doesn’t mean that everything we do is unimportant. It all builds the fabric of our society. What is important for most of us, then, is not to do something spectacular that will emblazon our names on the history books, but to do good things to build a better world.

Second, history has proven that one person can make a huge difference from time to time. People like Jesus, Mohammed, Caesar, Napoleon, Washington, Hitler, Mao, Roosevelt, Reagan, Einstein, Newton, etc. changed the world through their actions. Some changed it for the better and some changed it for the worse. But without them, we would live in a different world. Individuals matter.

Third, and this may sound simple but so few people get it, things change. History shows us that nations rise and tumble, movements falter, fashions change, taboos are broken and created, and on and on and on. Our future is as unpredictable as our past is indefinable.

From a political perspective, this means that things might change at any time. Too many people get complacent when we live in times of plenty, as we do now. People forget that America was in a time of plenty before being plunged into a civil war and that Carthage was a mighty power before Scipio Africanus razed it to the ground. We must jealously guard the pillars of our society¡¦s success, like liberty, capitalism, and security, if we are to avoid the fate of other great civilizations. Principles are more important than any politician, party, movement, program, or even life.

Simon Owens: Do you agree with fellow conservatives that there actually is a “War on Christmas”?

Owen: I think the phrase “War on Christmas¨ is a bit of hyperbole, but I do think it’s a problem.

What we are seeing is a cultural shift toward severe secularization in the mold of modern France. The problem with this is not that some people don’t want to celebrate Christmas, but that expressions of joy at the birth of Jesus are becoming taboo and the people who make them are being shunned. This kind of public rejection of expressions of religious ardor is a source of consternation because it indicates a stiffening of philosophy regarding free expression. We are beginning to see the fear of being offended replace a love of liberty. If a person gets upset about someone else saying “Merry Christmas¨ how long can it be before that person demands that his government do something about it?

Simon Owens: Do you think your blog partner’s (Jed) military experience makes him more qualified to comment on foreign policy?

Owen: No, but I think it gives him a different perspective.

Simon Owens: What are the five blogs everyone should be reading (besides your own)?

Owen: I loathe answering questions like this because I will inevitably leave someone out and tick off some very good bloggers. So I’m not going to. Check out B&S blogroll

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