Thursday, October 30, 2008

West Wing delivers obama

One of the most captivating an unmentioned features of this US election has been its correlation with the plot of the WEST WING 7th Season.

I am rewatching it this week to time the climax in real life with the fictitious one on the series that concluded, sadly, in 2006.

The quick summary is a relative unknown, black democrat candidate scores the nomination and eventually the presidency with rousing, inspirational rhetoric with an anti-washington tone.

I have kept a close eye on many news sites and aggregators ( , but barely seen a mention.

Then, today on CNN, warming up Obama's crowd in Florida, was Jimmy Smitts! Jimmy played the black candidate on WW.

Life doesn't just imitate art now, it predicts, reinterprets and makes real life a high-rating series worth watching.

The epilogue here is that Obama, from the platform, thanked the 'most recent democratic president, Jimmy Smits'.

I wonder how many Florida voters understood.

Postcript - "I drew inspiration from him in drawing this character," so says West Wing writer and producer Eli Attie of Obama's influence on Jimmy Smit's character Matt Santos.
Full article here:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obamas book and faith and hope

Am up to page 206 in Barack ObamaKs second book 'The Audacity of Hope'.
I will review it later (the end perhaps?) But I can say that it is timely, inspired and induces a clarity when looking at America that I have wanted to have for years.

This passage on 206 has Barack broaching a new topic, his faith in God, and so gave me a small, deep thrill...

(With the polls looking as good as they do)

"I came to realize that without a vessel for my beliefs, without an unequivocal commitment to a particular community of faith, I would be consigned at some level to always remain apart, free in the way that my mother was free, but also alone in the ways that she was ultimately alone."

Not only does it confirm him as a solid thinker on issues outside politics but I agree with his idea that church is an expression of Christian freedom more than it is a suffocating cultural tradition.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fake lesbians

The demise of australia's leading news websites is well documented.
The tits-for-clicks phenomenon (running with bare flesh or celebs as the main picture) is just one result of the decision not to use the paper media's online face as another avenue for good journalism and stories relevant to our nation. is the worst offender.
But lo, ninemsn news, the online news site of Channel Nine, has just turned a corner by delivering us a story on 'fake lesbians' as the forth most important story facing Australians.
And it gets worse.
This story, on the apparent increase in women posing as homosexual to be cool - haven't u noticed how trendy it's become lately? - is not even the main thrust...

ninemsn is reporting breathlessly that ninemsn readers say it's fine women fake lesbianism.

I am gobsmacked but not for the right reason.

The online media - surely the least credible is reprting on itself.

I have worked at a few good websites, some in news. I once had an interview at ninemsn where an office tour showed me they had a good twenty back and front-end employees. Say, ten content producers.

Yahoo7 news has two.

By my guess, smh has about three for the homepage and theaustralian a similar number.

That leaves livenews (mostly feeds) and (about 20 across affiliates).

With this number of staff I don't see how even the daftest philosophy of 'what people want to read' can excuse such mindless, sex-based recycling of content.

I hope I never need work for any of those sites pretending to be 'news' deliverers.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Why Obama is not caning McCain

Why is it that the great black hope, Barack Obama not swamping Old Man McCain in the polls?

The economy is eating itself, the republicans have overseen an unforgivable and seemingly endless war and John McCain is a good senator and nice guy but well past his used by date, especially at the lectern.

Obama on the other hand, is spritely in front of a crowd, youthful sounding and eloquent etc etc. But with just weeks to go he is only just starting to pull away. Today's debate offered some hints - they are both too nice and committed to avoiding slander.

I think it's become very difficult to stand out from other contenders if u are not pulverising them with one hand and and beating your chest with the other.

That, and two comparisons of some worth:
1) palin is their pauline.
Consider this... When Pauline Hanson arrived on the scene here and divided politics to the media's great thrill, it was with plain speaking, typical mum vernacular that connected with hordes of non-latte sippers.
Add to that some ill-considered and contradictory views on other cultures, very little international awareness and sheer ignorance of current affairs.

2) Obama is their kevin07
Apart from what Kevin Rudd has become sunce elected, he campaigned for Change, differentiated himself through his (comparative) youthfulness and had a centre-left platform that aped the opposition and softened his own party's policies to a near-populist level.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Track by track review of new ben folds - way to normal

1. Hiroshima
Hmm. This must be a deliberately ott ode to his singalong concert style or if not that, the wild crowds of Tokyo. Am worried 'they're watching me fall' line is related to his 3rd failed marriage. I smiled at the last line - does this song end?

2. Dr Yang - Grimy guitars jump out of this song like it has shocking tourettes. 2nd verse has bipolar and chorus has both - dealt with the incorrectly prescribed medication of a manic depressive drummer.

3. The frown song - rock on rock on with a fashionable frown. This song reminds me of the vulnerable first person ben voice we heard in 'give the people what they want.' Album is starting to sound like synths are making up for some thin arrangements. Lyris are wonderfully absurd.

4. You don't know me - the title is certainly for the female co-singer herein. Most light-hearted melody so far. And catchy! Touches of pavement. No sign yet of Cheers-theme cheshire piano.

5. Before cologne - finally! A breakup song. Seriously, how can he go thru three wives and think 4th time lucky!!?

6. Kylie from connecticut - another sparse number I find quietly thrilling. Sure to improve with repeats too.

7. Effington - tracks now out of order. This is filler! Crap and empty story. Not amused.

8.Brainwascht - great stomping rhythm starts this one. Dominant theme emerging; About the third track angry at a woman. Is ben turning into an old crank? Good storytelling here at least, and less whizz-bang electro additions.

9. Bitch went nuts - seems like track 8 by the title but actually a jolly swingalong number about a co-worker's comical cubicle-rage. This could become a fave. Continues the pattern of verses paying little respect to rhyming.

10. Free coffee. What a b-side; not unlike his "3 lines to go" song from the EP supersunnyspeedgraphic. Disturbingly, though, this one could be the biggest window on the artist's heart. He sings (in spoken word) of his ex-wives and children but how now he's rich he gets free coffee. Sad.

11. Errant dog - another b-side. Am I missing something? This is a very thin idea for a song. He just isn't pulling of the quirky stories as convincing songs anymore.

Coincidentally, I saw ben folds interviewed on sunrise this morning. They used just one question and answer - never a sign of a ragingly good chat.
The answer involved a pregnant pause and then the comment "experience... means not caring as much what peiple think anymore.
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