Here's an album that is

Here’s an album that is a must-have in these darkish days: Johnny’ Cash’s brand new American IV: The Man Comes Around.
A number of the songs are originals, like the beautiful first one entitled “The Man Comes Around,” but he does some of the most powerful covers I’ve heard, including NIN’s painful “Hurt” and the Beatles’ troubled “In My Life.” These are sad, despairing songs breathed through the dying lungs of perhaps the most truly romantic, dystopian singer “Around.”

I spend a lot of

I spend a lot of time in the car these days and I am blessed to listen to NPR while driving. I heard an excellent WNYC interview this morning with a number of Iraqis living in New York, who are supposedly going to be questioned by the FBI soon, for whatever reason. They talked about the murders and mayhem they witnessed back home, the relatives killed and left in jails for them to pick up, the utter fear that people in Iraq live with every single day.
It wasn’t so much the content of what they were saying that interested me, however; it was the tone of their voices, the slight intonations of sadness marked with ambivalence and anxiety about their country that I heard. Their voices sounded frail, even the ones who had not been back to Iraq in 30 years. I knew I had heard these voices before and it struck me that they sounded Polish — these men spoke with the same quiver in their words, the same intensity, and the same sorrowful conviction of possibility that I had heard from Polish men during the year I spent in Poland. I’m sure there are some political and cultural parallels. But probably, it’s just an aural feeling I had about their lives lived.

Every so often NPR provides

Every so often NPR provides a report on a mass phenomena that is so rich in detail, so entirely truthful, and so well scripted that you feel like you are watching a documentary and not listening to one. The incredible Juan Williams this morning gave a feature called Monopoly, Present at the Creation, which highlighted the game’s founders and the ethical and business and ideological backgrounds of the game.
I always had a sneaking suspicion, even as a kid, that the game, while played often by billionaire real estate tycoons, was slightly subversive. It turns out I was only partly correct — the original inventor was Elizabeth Magie, who in 1871 used to the game to teach the virtues of a progressive national economy. The gentleman who popularized it — and began producing the game on oil cloth, was named Charles Darrow. The game was superbly popular during the Depression, when folks couldn’t get enough of feeling like they were rich, even for an evening around the candlelight or light bulb. In any case, Mr. Williams does a far better job than I do at describing the political and historical ins and outs of my favorite board game.

Part of the problem of

Part of the problem of working a lot, seven days a week for months on end, is that you become less and less interesting. You can participate in fewer activities, events, relationships, and are generally out of touch. As I’ve got a lot of work on my plate during the next few weeks, I apologize in advance for the boring, ridiculous, and often plain dull posts that I’ll inevitably make herein.
It will not be for lack of interest in the world or in you, dear reader. Rather, the mundane and simplistic inanities that will be spawned here are simply signs of unrest, long hours, and poor nourishment. I wish I had a fresh fruit subscription to Harry & David.

For those of you, like

For those of you, like me, who want to consume more Web logs, or at least very good ones, here’s the article for you: – Find a Blog. Written by Geoffrey Fowler, this is a great piece about trying to find blogs that are of interest to you.
It sounds like an easy task, but it’s not. I mean, how would you find a blog dedicated to miniature car racing? Or one focused on The Bachelor’s lost angels, one more of whom will gain her wings tonight!

Well, here you go, folks.

Well, here you go, folks. Finally, is offering the Segway Human Transporter for sale and you can get one by March 1, 2003, if you order right away.
Boy, I sure would like one of these! Of course, it’s less interesting to me now that I’m driving a car — but I’d love to have one for weekends in the park! Oh yes, only 2 per customer at the price of $4,950 each (a price much larger than the $3,000 number I recall when Amazon first advertised this beauty).

Today, the huge tobacco company

Today, the huge tobacco company put a very slick and probably very expensive brochure (measuring 9.5 x 12.25″) in every New York Post (I’d estimate each brochure cost at least $2.00, perhaps $4.00). Beautifully produced and smartly written, the brochure actually advertises the new Web site of Philip Morris U.S.A..
I have to say this is a nice site — very well formatted, thoughtfully presented and, funnily enough, the focus is on quitting, not smoking, and the harmful effects of smoking. You figure it out — I believe the company recently got slammed with a $800 million law suit — a Web site sure costs a lot less and is cooler to parents and their smoking teenagers. The site is low on actual images which makes the site look kind of like … a blog! Or perhaps a medical Web site. Then again, what images can anyone show these days of happy smokers? Take a look — it’s chock full of good usability, political, and marketing effects.