I read that it’s exactly 30 years ago that Star Wars was released in theatres in the US. Links that might help you through the weekend: Wired has plenty of stuff. Metafilter discussion and (of course) Slashdot. I was too young to watch Star Wars in the theatres: I remember the buzz, the huge following and if I’m correct, it even (although slightly) touched some members of our families. Star Wars was probably one of the first movies we ever rented for our first VHS player. I can’t remember the brand. It was a top-notch one with both ‘Hi-Fi stereo’ and Dolby N. Or S.
Via Slashdot, also the 25th anniversary of the movie TRON. I haven’t seen TRON recently, but (always) thought it had impressive effects for that time and age.
Will this ever become profitable? Eurotunnel has (once again) been bailed out.
I hear that Facebook is the rage. I assumed that Facebook was meant for students and others related to the educational industry, but apparently, it isn’t. What is Facebook? From what I can tell, it’s sort of a LiveJournal, but instead of open to the outside world, users write (blog?) safely behind the gates of the site. Only members can browse around in Facebook. Earlier this week, the company behind Facebook announced that it opened its API: and for a change, the API actually looks interesting (Facebook API). The documentation is far from complete, but if you’re into Facebook and you’re familiar with both XML and REST, it’s probably worth to take a look into this stuff.
I watched TV a couple of times this week and discovered the ‘reality show’ “On The Lot”. 36 or some aspiring directors vying for a $1 million price and an office at Dreamworks studios. For a change, the show is interesting (and predictable) and it has Carrie Fisher as one of the judges. How appropriate.
I read that CBS’s Evening News is falling behind in rates (originally via Alan). Some media reports blame this on America’s first (female) anchor, Kate Couric.
And a recent Gallup poll reinforced the notion that Ms. Couric had become a polarizing figure: 29 percent of respondents said that they did not like her, as opposed to 51 percent who said that they liked her.
I’m not sure about the polarizing part, but just this last weekend I saw an episode of Larry King with Katie and was utterly surprised that this time Couric was actually interviewing Larry King on his own show instead of the other way around. How low can you go? And what is that with those softball questions?
I have been ignoring TV recently and that’s not because of Couric: what’s on TV is nowadays not all too interesting because it appears that most commercial broadcasters seem to play on ‘safe edu and entertainment’. You know, ‘safe programming’. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems that only public stations are willing to broadcast the controversial stuff, or rather, in-depth (and generally, independent) reports. Take for example PBS’ ‘America at a crossroad’, the BBC’s Scientology report (Panorama) and their landmark Planet Earth series. And we can all laugh about the silly Eurovision Song festival, but, if you think of it, American Idol: that’s a classic example of brainless entertainment. Brainless entertainment is fun, but if everything else on the TV is of the same quality, what do you do?
That said, I think I mentioned before that I frequently check out ‘Smashing Telly’s list of online videos (great set of interesting documentaries). Earlier this weekend, I decided to give up on YouTube and move on to ‘DailyMotion’. I assume that since this site is set up by a French company, it has less reasons to fear for the wrath of the media corporations..
I found out that today it’s Eurovision Songfestival day (all related items at xsamplex). Actually, was: the winner is a Serbian ballad singer, who apparently beat a Ukranian drag queen. The final results can be viewed here.
The BBC has some pictures (here) and the one with the British band Scooch had me laughing. I don’t know why: I guess the Brits1 ended up at the bottom 5 at the list but for some kind of reason I think their act might be a great fit for the KLM’s new Frequent Flyer commercials. “Did the right song win?”, the BBC is asking their readers:
We do not deserve points for entering a song that sounds like it was written by BA (editor: British Airways).
The last time I flew BA, I’m pretty sure the flight attendants didn’t have light-blue suits. You’ve got your facts wrong, bud.
1. Earlier I mentioned “America at a Crossroads”, the excellent series broadcasted by the PBS. It appears that you might be able to find them as torrents online.
2. Via 3 Quarks Daily, too many ways of lacing your shoes. There are 2 trillion methods of tying your shoelaces.
3. You may have heard of Canada’s new enviromental plans. First they were (accidentally) faxed to the opposition. And then today there was a heated exchange between the Environment minister and well-known Canadian environmentalist, David Suzuki. What you may not have heard, is that the (Progressive) Conservative premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Danny Williams and prime minister Stephen Harper don’t really seem to get along together. Williams has gone so far by encouraging voters in his province not to vote for Conservative candidates in the next elections.
4. US then: Tenet blasts Bush administration. I saw a brief section on CNN about this but turned it off fast after John King appeared to be blasting Tenet. Quite confusing. Has CNN suddenly become ‘non-liberal’ media1?
5. Via Gothamist, this excellent live performance of Bjork (Earth Intruders) at SNL’s. I always thought Bjork to be a genius: of course she’s weird, yes, but she’s definitely unique and always at the forefront of changing the direction of popular music. Excellent. And oh. Yes: she makes no sense.
And that’s it for Friday the 13th.
All week, the PBS has been broadcasting an excellent series about the challenges we face in the world, particularly the conflicts between the religious and the secular worlds. Watching the series, I thought that the name of the series was a bit unfortunate: The majority of the independently produced movies do not all concentrate on specific US affairs. Yesterday, the series kicked off with an hour long documentary by Irshad Manji.
The second part was dedicated to Indonesia, in which the country was held as an example of religious tolerance and moderation despite the general view Westerners have of that country. That was apparently until (ironically) the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in 1999. That page linked above, points to some excellent background information on Indonesia (NYT!).
I learnt that Jeff Goldblum is starring in a new TV show, ‘Raines’. I think the show is on NBC, every Friday night. I read the show is about, wait, let me pull a quote from the site mentioned earlier:
Eccentric LAPD Detective Michael Raines (Goldblum) uses his unique imagination to focus on every murder case in such a way that the murder victims actually begin to take shape in front of him. At first, he thinks he’s losing his mind, but he then uses the constantly evolving hallucinations — which are figments of his imagination and not ghosts — to help him discover the victims’ killers.
For some kind of reason, that sounds like the kind of role Goldblum has been playing for ages, like for example, in the show ‘Ten Speed and Brown Shoe’ (1980). I bet a lot of people don’t remember that show, but, when I hear Goldblum’s name mentioned, it’s that show that I always associate him with (and of course the movie ‘The Fly’). If I’m not wrong, this show also showcased Goldblum’s character’s amazing bookreading skills.