Archive for February, 2007

Allen Rucker On Talk of the Nation

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

RuckerCover.jpgI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you only read one smart, funny, and amazing book about waking up and realizing you’re paralyzed–or just curious about what humans are capable and want to think about what you’d do if a life-altering thing happened to you without warning–make it Allen Rucker’s The Best Seat in the House, excerpted here, with an interview with the author here. Rucker will be on NPR’s Talk of the Nation tomorrow, February 26, 3 pm EST.

Brotherhood 2.0

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

196319659_747c0df5dc.jpgGood URL and kind of an entertaining idea: Brotherhood 2.0. The bit? John and Hank Green, two smart and geeky brothers, decide to communicate solely via video blog for a whole year. Why? “After noticing that their relationship had for years consisted primarily of emails and instant messages, John and Hank swore off all textual communication with each other for 2007. Instead, we are making public video blogs back and forth every weekday for the entire year.” And if someone doesn’t hold up their end of the deal and fails to communicate? “The person who fails to update will be punished. Punishments are suggested by viewers, and then the actual punishment is chosen for the sinner by his brother. Other infractions can also result in punishment. The first punishment was chosen by Hank for John: On February 5th, John waxed his chin.”

I smell an FX Channel sitcom brewing.

Kennedy Bros.>>Flickr>>Creative Commons>>katicabogar

Fight to Write

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Sheridan_coverjpg.jpgPersonal journey stories take writers all over the place. Sometimes we cruise with them across continents in search of pizza and prayer, other times the miles they travel is solely within their own identity, and sometimes they just see the world and have lots of sex. Sam Sheridan’s own story is about the path of a bonafide, balls-to-the-wall adventure seeker, a nut with a lust for life who sets out to see the world and finds himself literally fighting his way across it. That journey became A Fighter’s Heart, an intense and often funny tale about a bloodlust to fight that the author had been carrying with him since childhood. What drove Sheridan to kickbox his way through Thailand and go mano a mano with jujitsu champs in Brazil? What drives nations to wage war? Why did I nearly break my foot kicking a taxi in Times Square the other day? He doesn’t answer that question, but Sam Sheridan’s A Fighter’s Heart asks and answers many big questions about why we fight through his uniquely personal prism.

Read an excerpt.

Read SMITH contributing editor Michael Slenske’s interview with Sheridan.

Watch Sheridan on The Daily Show this Thursday, March 1.

Animal Videos are Pawesome!

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Get it? Pawesome?

Oh, god, I need a drink.

Anyway, following up on last week’s smashing success, here’s a video that proves that this isn’t just the age of personal media, but of animal media. And of animals stalking celebrity animals. Personally, I welcome our new terrier overlords.

Roberts/Alito Court Bad for Bloggers?

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Video blogger Josh Wolf last week set a record, becoming the journalist to be kept behind bars in a U.S. prison the longest for declining to surrender information or materials related to a court case.

His lawyer, Martin Garbus, spoke with On The Media’s Bob Garfield about his client’s situation and its broader implication for blogger shield laws and the rights of self-styled or Web-enabled reporters.

Listen to the segment here. From the transcript:

BOB GARFIELD: You’ve just written a book about the Supreme Court with the Bush appointees. I gather you think that the Josh Wolf case bodes ominously for the kind of decisions that this court will be handing down.

MARTIN GARBUS: Yes. I think the Roberts/Alito Supreme Court will even further narrow the rights that journalists have. When they do the balancing as to whether or not you should strip a privilege because of the weight of the crime, I think they’re going to balance it very, very badly against journalists.

I think also when it comes to putting somebody in jail, they’re going to view very badly towards journalists. Thirdly, the whole question of a blogger -I think they will not at this time find bloggers, internet people, etc., who are journalists to be journalists.

As an aside, what’s wonderful about this segment is it doesn’t rehash the dreary debate over whether bloggers can be considered journalists. It begins and ends with the precept that they are.

The Luck of Seven

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

169558921_4c6ec74236.jpgFeeling lucky? Friend o’ SMITH Noel Hidalgo is. He’s launched a new project that’s an experiment in personal travel exploration called The Luck of Seven. Noel’s seven-month journey takes him around the world to explore seven continents, dive into the seven oceans, and visit the seven ancient wonders of the world. “My journey will be your journey,” he says. And he’s hoping to fund it, open-source-style, by raising $7,777—or, $11.11 from 700 people. “By donating you can help direct my footsteps … and help the world learn about open-source communities, social entrepreneurs and global change.” Through the thick and thin, sixes and sevens, Noel will diary his conversations, photograph his experiences, and record contributors’ interactions with him. He leaves from New York City on July 7. 2007. We’re not exactly sure how his journey will be ours, but we’re game to give him $11.11 to find out and say: Good luck.

Seven Train>>Flickr>>Creative Commons>>seventrainphotos

It’s Not Just a Bathroom, It’s a Blank Slate

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

tx_bathroom.jpgIs there any kind of human creative, ah…output that doesn’t have its own website these days? Jonathan Horak’s anthropological archive, The Writings on the Stall, has collected 359-and-counting user-submitted pieces of transcribed bathroom-stall graffiti. Like bathroom-writing in general, the pieces are tripe-y (and repetitive), but that may be the point. One of my favorites:

“Writing 322, via Rick

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stratton Student Center
Cambridge, Massachusetts USA 02139
Men’s restroom, ground floor

America lost its viginity in Viet Nam.
… and got the clap too.
hey, I got the clap in Viet Nam.
You should watch who you go out with.

Circa 1972. Each line in a different hand. Took several weeks to complete.”

Seriously, I’m just wondering what other kinds of vernacular word- or picture-objects people out there are collecting. Funny answering-maching messages? Someone has to be. Right?

Make Some Noise—Happy Mardis Gras

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

doctor.jpgIn honor of Mardis Gras, we’ve launched our first podcast, an illuminating riff on the role of bars in New Orleans after Katrina. The riffer is Dr. Brobson Lutz (drawn here), one of the real-life characters in our new webcomic, A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, Josh Neufeld’s depiction of the lives of five people during and after Katrina. Since our follow up to Shooting War is nonfiction, we’re augmenting this story with audio and video interviews, slideshows from our characters’ personal collections, and other aspects from their lives that help piece together a multi-layered narrative. Like a lot of what we do, it’s an experiment, one we hope you’ll give a whirl.

And for now, take in a bit of the Big Easy with Dr. Lutz , a remarkable man I had the pleasure to spend time with in early January. Here he talks about why bars are more common than churches in New Orleans, how he went bar to bar after Katrina issuing medicine to residents, and the all-important need to pack his doctor’s bag with an antibiotic that’s still effective when the patient’s drinking.

Fabrication as Flattery

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

This week’s question:

Some say smear campaigns are just proof Obama’s a contender. What’s the most patently untrue thing ever said about you?

Next week’s question:
Maybe the House doesn’t pass resolutions formally repudiating your decisions, but what’s the last thing you did against the better judgment of everyone you know?

Send your answer here: Rachel [at] smithmag [dot] net (in 100 words or less, please). We’ll post our favorites on the front page of SMITH.

Special Secret Song Inside

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Bonus points if you figure out what the title of this post refers to. (No fair Googling.)

Couple videos this week, actually. First is a little belated Valentine’s Day fun from a random YouTuber who put together what’s actually a pretty good (though admittedly not great) song in honor of the holiday. Like I said, not the greatest song ever, but I just enjoy the fact that a fun thing like this can go up for so many people to see with so little effort. And it is definitely listenable. After that video, and the jump, even more YouTube fun.


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