Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hudson Yang...axe kicker.

Skyler's one bad motor scooter.

Seen on the way back from the Hamptons: Bambi's dead. A gruesome reminder of man's inhumanity to nature

Someone, probably in some luxury car given the surroundings, hit and run this young deer and left its broken body by the road. Horrifying...

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

This is how the kids fell asleep tonight...awwww

They may fight during the day, but they're innocent little angels at night! I stood over them on the bed with a flashlight and my iPhone to get these pics...if they'd woken up, I'm sure they would have freaked out (or burst out laughing). What parents will do for a cute photo...

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Racialicious's Latoya Peterson and I on PRI's THE TAKEAWAY, talking about THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG—listen here!


Terrific segment, but way too, we were skating on the sheer surface of the iceberg here. 

Disney has had, shall we say, a very mixed record on race issues in its past, particularly its deep past. Check out this incredible YouTube vid for some examples of this...:

("Racism in Disney" compilation clip)

I do think they've gotten quite a bit better (and more conscientious—they've really pushed to get community buy-in on this film in particular). They knew from the get-go that they were walking in a landscape full of potential pitfalls with this movie, and to their credit, they put together a pretty wonderful tale, with fantastic voice-acting (particularly the leads, Anika Noni Rose as Tiana and Bruno Campos as Prince Naveen) and truly gorgeous animation. (John Lasseter and his animators were using the film to make the case to preserve 2D and make no mistake, they've made it. There are things here you couldn't imagine doing using CGI.)

But in the process of riding down the middle lane—trying too hard, perhaps, to both make this an affirmative and aspirational African American tale and also to avoid seeming like a "PC diversityfest," they've crafted a story that seems designed to warm the cockles of conservative hearts. More on the film later—I'll be writing about it in my next column for the San Francisco Chronicle. For now, here's me and the always awesome Latoya Peterson chatting with equally excellent John Hockenberry on The Take. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just saw "Princess and the Frog"...lovely film, but chock full of GOP talking points, yeesh

My Latest SF Chronicle column: Why "the bow" was the least interesting thing about Obama's tour of Asia

Here's my latest "Asian Pop" col for the ever-shrinking San Francisco Chronicle (it's dwindled to Nano-sized now; next year we'll probably see the "SFChron Shuffle"—an edition that consists of eight random pages of the full paper). It looks at the ideas presented by the president in his Tokyo speech of America as an "Asia-Pacific nation," and himself as the "first Pacific president"—and their implications for our present and future. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

ASIAN POP: Today, we are all Asians 

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

My latest SFChron column: Asia is the place where copyrights go to die. Is it the future of the global media landscape?

Barack Obama says: Buy the Blockberry 9500! (image:

It's Asian Pop time again, and this week, I'm looking at the factors that have turned Asia into a pirate's paradise, and why these forces make the idea of a global enforcement-based response to copyright violation a total nonstarter

That's not preventing the world's biggest content-creating regions from trying to implement one, however. 

Last week, the anonymous "total transparency" site Wikileaks unveiled a cache of classified memos revealing the top-secret terms of a proposed international treaty, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the U.S., the E.U., Japan, Korea, Australia, Canada, and other major economies (though notably the world's primary emerging markets -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- are not participating). 

"The leaks confirm everything that we feared about the secret ACTA negotiations," wrote Gwen Hinze of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a grim post on the advocacy organization's "Deeplinks" blog. Or, as author and Boing Boing blogger Cory Doctorow put it even more pithily: "It's bad. Very bad."  

Under ACTA:
  • Internet providers in signatory markets would be required to actively police their users or face the threat of massive liability. 
  • Any allegedly copyrighted content would need to be removed on demand, even without proof of infringement. 
  • Even casual violators would face the threat of losing Internet access and, ultimately, criminal charges
  • And service providers, customs agents and law enforcement officials would be empowered to search private accounts and personal devices -- laptops, MP3 players and even cellphones -- for illicit content, all without the need for warrants or probable cause.   
But in Asia, where intellectual property is an alien concept and piracy and counterfeiting is essentially the norm, a harsh, enforcement-driven response to IP concerns seems wildly impractical -- and destructive to the evolution of potential new business models that might protect artists and creators while engaging consumers as collaborators and evangelists, as opposed to stigmatizing them as potential criminals

Much more here (this week's column is an epic 3000 words long!) Not only did I get the chance to explore some of the strangest products of China's counterfeit culture (the Blockberry 9500, endorsed by Barack Obama!), I also got the chance to talk to some really insightful and innovative individuals, from Brian Lam, editor in chief of top techblog Gizmodo, to DramaFever founders Seung Bak and Suk Park, to CrunchyRoll CEO Kun Gao, to old friends Kai-Ming Cha (manga editor at Publishers Weekly) and Fred Schodt (manga scholar and author of Dreamland Japan and Manga! Manga!). Read on!

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Thursday, November 05, 2009


Hello 27. And if this is goodbye, Hideki, we'll miss you and your clutch bat and ginormous porn collection and hastily sketched stick figure wife. What a way to go, though, eh?

(Awesome image courtesy of Ghost of Otto Velez at

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Macy's ad in today's Philadelphia Inquirer: Congratulations Phillies! Back-to-back champs! (via @iconogeorge)

(hat-tip to my Iconoculture colleague George Ward)

Someone over at Macy's in Philadelphia is doubling down on the we'll-win-this-thing-through-sheer-confidence sweepstakes. Or maybe the "magic of Macy's" has propelled us into a parallel world where the Phils aren't down 3-1 going into tonight's climactic Game 5? 

That said, Cliff Lee has pitched out of his mind, and there's plenty of baseball to be played. (What'll I do without it?) But I believe in A.J. and his lack of creepy facial hair. And some bats are overdue to sing, so let it be a chorus of bombs courtesy of the Bronx tonight...I'm lookin' at you Teixeira/ARod/Cano!


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An Ode to Mariano Rivera: The baddest badass of all tiiiiiiiiime


In Cantonese, it means "nothingness."

Which make sit an ideal nickname for Mariano Rivera, the man whose very appearance on the mound, like a gaunt revenant of baseball doom, turns veteran ballplayers into hollow, empty shells, bereft of whatever swagger they may have demonstrated on pre-game TV. They should unfurl a banner that says "ABANDON ALL HOPE WHEN I ENTER HERE" over the mound when The Sandman makes his appearance. He is that good. Nay, great. No...even great is insufficient. How about "Thunderously, apocalyptically awesome"? Yeah.

From Wikipedia:

After a breakthrough year in 1996 as a setup man, he became the Yankees' closer in 1997 and has maintained that role for the team ever since. Rivera has become one of the best closers in baseball history, and he has done so by primarily throwing one pitch, a sharp-breaking, mid-90s mile per hour cut fastball that has been called an all-time great pitch.

Rivera is a ten-time All-Star, a five-time American League (AL) Rolaids Relief Man Award winner, and a three-time saves leader. He has recorded the second-most saves in Major League history, and in 2009, he surpassed 500 career saves. Recognized as an exceptional postseason performer,[4] he holds Major League postseason records for saves and earned run average (ERA), among other records. Baseball writers expect Rivera will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame upon retirement.

On Mo's deadly weapon:

Rivera discovered the cutter accidentally while playing catch with Ramiro Mendoza in June 1997, finding that the fastballs he threw in the bullpen were beginning to move sharply and unpredictably. After failing to straighten out the pitch and prevent the movement altogether, Rivera accepted it and began to use the pitch in games, with the cutter coming into prominence in 1998.

When asked from where his ability to throw the pitch came, Rivera explained, "It was just from God. I didn't do anything. It was natural." Rivera has taught the pitch to several other pitchers, including Roy Halladay, who now uses the cutter as part of his repertoire.

"You know what's coming, but you know what's coming in horror movies too. It still gets you," says Mike Sweeney, referring to his inability to hit the cutter despite expecting it. 

Chipper Jones once compared it to a "buzzsaw", (referring to its tendency of breaking left-handed hitters' bats) after witnessing teammate Ryan Klesko break three bats in a plate appearance against Rivera in the 1999 World Series. Jim Thome called it "the single best pitch ever in the game". In 2004, ranked Rivera's cutter as the best "out pitch" in baseball. Buster Olney referred to Rivera's cut fastball as "the most dominant pitch of a generation".

I love me some Cap'n Derek Jeter as both a ballplayer and as a True Yankee (tm) character...there's something impossibly amazing about how he pops up whenever needed, like the superhero he is. The turning moment in the game yesterday happened when Johnny Damon stole second on an overshift, due to Mark Teixeira being up at bat as a lefty; with the third baseman covering second, Johnny D saw that no one was at third and kept running, easily stealing that bag too. At that very moment, I turned to my friends and said, "If the Yankees were on D, Jeter would have mysteriously appeared there to take the throw and catch the runner. That's what he does."

But what Mo does, no one else does. I think no one has defined Yankee success better and more completely than Mariano Rivera, in his many years of staggering triumph in late, short, desperate situations. Where literally no one else could be trusted, it's always been the same: "Gotta go to Mo." Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, Cano, Damon, Posada, Matsui — all of them are fantastic players who've delivered when needed. But in the overloaded Yankee lineup, it's a revolving-door star situation, where the torch of godliness has been passed from teammate to teammate, night to night.

And in the end, after the pine goes boom, there is only Mo.

How many times have we seen a game in this postseason definable simply as "No Mo, no mo'"? How many times have we wished Mo could be available for a 12-out — a 16-out — save?

If the Yankees take this Series, 39-going-on-eternal Mo should be the unquestioned MVP, you can take that sucker to the bank. We are fortunate to have seen him pitch in our lifetimes, and we will face a looming abyss in need of filling when he finally retires, may that day not come soon.

Number 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, as the late Douglas Adams, author of the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy," would have it.

And you know what?

Yankee fans agree.

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Hudson's 1st-Grade Class Birthday: The Not-Ready-for-Bedtime Players' version of "Snow White"

So we had a 6th birthday party for Hudson with members of his 1st-grade class at a place called Galli Theater, where they do a theater workshop for kids (complete with costumes and some serious method acting). Here's a link to the fruit of the kids' labors: A highly modified, somewhat feminist version of the classic fairy tale "Snow White"...check it out!

(Props to the very patient and wonderful staff at the Galli Theater — a great place for events for kids under the age of 12. They also do season-long workshops; definitely worth looking into, if your son or daughter is a diva — or divo — in training)

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