fredag, februari 18, 2005

[blog] Wasting Time to Saving Time, Lose Yourself to Be Yourself: the True Cost of Unencumbered Thought

Saving time is becoming top priority again. More specifically, the need to filter out what is unimportant, sort out what is left, and squeeze and condense the gist of necessities that remains. That means read less mags and papers, edit out from my mind what is less than truly germane, letting go all the really interesting articles that nevertheless do not contribute to my own future well-being or development, what won't make a tangible enough difference in the myriad idealistic projects, and projections. Perhaps limit myself to one hour of non-book reading a day.

Yes, I know it seems embedded in my DNA this weird need to waste time, distract myself with trivialities that almost seems a balm from an overheated mind. And it seem to make perfect parallels with this desire --this need-- to "save" the world. It will never be quite a good life for me if I cannot contribute somewhere along the way to this greater whole. Altruism experienced on this unsober track that demands parallel momentum with Ambition expended. That's evolution, however messy.

And this post will have to do, however fuzzed-out. No outline at all, all mental wanderings but it'd have to do, because it's really hard to pull away yet stay engaged otherwise, the inchoate thoughts that spread and mutate -- ugh. It's a sort of viral marketing and germination to myself; oh it'll work, but it sure takes time. Patience, and budgeting, that's what to focus on now. Am thinking of the Pollard piece on budgeting: "Pick a few topics about which you are passionate, that you think others may or should be passionate about, and write mostly about them, rather than writing a little bit about everything under the sun."

Need to give myself time to "waste," to ramble as I am doing very much now (and try not to feel embarrassed about the meander), to continue doing due diligence, and yet spin out off the main line, to allow myself to unwind and stop making sense. I need to blog and not-blog.
Write faster, yet write looser. Stay mellow, and yet maintain conciseness. Very contrary, and yet necessary. The muse demands it, I'm not sure why.

What I am sure is that I love both disciplined analysis and lyrical prose, one to dig deep, the other to, well, sing.

I'd also like to revisit that Dave Pollard piece from a year ago (12/29/3) on blogging and the need to budget time and revisit purpose. And this is what he says, what I've been telling myself in my noggins instead of in ink and bytes and black-and-white:
"Give yourself time to think, to experience offline, and to think creatively. This is the most important time-saver of all.

Don't just react to what you read and see in the news. Get away from reading and your computer and other media, take a walk, do things that stimulate your creativity and give you unique material to write about, talk to people to get different viewpoints and ideas, clear your mind, think about what's really important to you, what you really believe, what you think needs to be done and said, and then write about that.

The time you spend in unencumbered thought will be saved many times over in the process of reading and writing: You'll know exactly what you want to say, your enthusiasm and creative energy will make your writing easier, faster and more entertaining and valuable to readers, and you'll find it much easier to say 'no' to wasting time reading and writing about things that are suddenly much less important."

(Something I could do is collaborate in a group blog, but somehow it doesn't feel quite right for now. Another time.)

Be unique, be valuable, be the first. Connect with an A-lister, make a good impression, and write about something that's "hot" and Paris-Hilton-ish, once in a while, because that is what pulls in readers.(Oh, Googleslut!) I need to spend more time studying what pulls them in best -- even as I promise myself to write first and last to satisfy myself only. Hmm. Conundrum.

onsdag, februari 16, 2005

[weight] Of Dharma and the Weight-Portal to Spirituality

Following up on my previous post on the Hollywood skinny and skinny Jane Fonda's spiritual hunger propelling her physical hunger, and my comment of the Buddha being such an un-Hollywood fatty --sorry, chubbyguy-- that may indicate another Way, I look up this explanatory article from Dharmaweb, a spiritual web-portal system:

"Siddhartha's fame as a great ascetic grew and he attracted a following. But he was never fully satisfied. He didn't feel extreme self-denial had brought him closer to answering the fundamental questions of existence.

Siddhartha realized rather than producing truths, torturing the body through starvation and dehydration was actually an obstacle to spiritual advancement, just as a life of intense luxury would be. Discouraged by his former course, Siddhartha began to eat in moderation. He encouraged others to follow this path of balance, which he called the Middle Way. Many of his students and companions abandoned him, feeling he had forsaken the quest. However, as his strength and mental clarity increased, Siddhartha pursued ultimate truth with even greater intensity.

Finally, one night in May, Siddhartha sat under a Bodhi tree and vowed: 'Flesh may wither away, blood may dry up, but I shall not rise from this seat until I attain Enlightenment.' There he meditated until dawn. Though challenged by Yama, the Lord of Death, Siddhartha was able to purify his mind and lift the veils of ignorance through intense, vajra-like concentration. As the new day dawned and the last veils were lifted, the 35 year old Siddhartha became the Buddha (the 'Enlightened One').

For the remainder of his eighty years, the Buddha preached the Dharma in an effort to help other sentient beings reach enlightenment." [From http://www.dharmatemple.net]

tisdag, februari 15, 2005

[weight] To Mistake Physical Hunger for Hollywood Hunger, Even Spiritual Hunger

ETonline.com : "From millionaire teen MARY-KATE OLSEN entering a Utah facility to battle anorexia to 'The Simple Life' star NICOLE RICHIE's estimated less than a hundred-pound tiny figure, Hollywood starlets are flaunting their featherweight frames. The upcoming issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands this Friday, examines the weight of some of Tinseltown's tiniest stars."

News to me is that Nicole Ritchie weighs but 97 pounds; that's just a pound less than famously skinny Sarah Jessica Parker! Nicole is 5'2", Sarah is 5'4". Selma Blair and Brittany Murphy, both at 5'3", come in ("estimated," it says) at 103 and 114, respectively; funny, I'd have thought it's the other way around, Brittany being the skin-and-bones ("I am proud of being Olive Oyl, so let it be!") and Selma somewhat weightier, despite her naturally small, unsiliconed chest. Also noted are Kate Bosworth at 5'7''/115 lbs ("I feel like I have a back with a crack. I'm trying to get a little more [of a butt]"), and Kelly Ripa at 108 lbs ("I look small, but I'm deceptively heavy," she told Letterman).

This piece from ETonline reports that "Jane Fonda made the shocking announcement (last Saturday) that she had suffered from bulimia for 35 years." You're kidding, right? Jane Fonda bulimic is "shocking"? She's been saying that on and off for years; not that it's not worth repeating, but I expect ET to do better than just repeat some silly press release interjection from her PR flacks. If you must squawk, then trill with something new, will ya? Shock me with something shocking, not Jane Fonda is... bulimic!

I do like her line though: "I mistook the physical hunger for spiritual hunger." Which leads me to an old train of thought about body and soul. Specifically, the correlation of soulful intensity and physical leanness.

What fascinates me is that spiritul fulfillment almost requires this lessening of earthly weight in favor of an immaterial body, a spectral emanation --if you will-- that minimizes the significance of actual human form. What Lewis Mumford calls "the vital transcendental soul belonging to the spiritual realm" seems to assert, even demands, the reduction of physical human substance, as if it is a zero-sum game where the more spiritual thou art, the less poundage thou own. No surprise to me then that most religious messiahs are very skinny dudes.

Most: the big exception being Siddhartha Gautama, otherwise known as the Buddha. Can't explain that one. Ah well. The paradox of life. (But He'll never make it in Hollywood! Ooh such sacrilege will cost me in the afterlife.)

måndag, februari 14, 2005

[media] The Name of the Drudge is Not the Times, and Not a Riff(raff) Like Chris Rock

Drudge Blog.com � About Last Night: A Blog By Any Other Name: "Rhyme him, slime him, warn him out of town while he still has his life, just don't lump him together with Wonkette. One of Matt's charming paradoxes is that he thrives on public castigation, but nothing pushes his buttons quicker than being reduced to a malapropism like the b-word. ...
But today's edition of the New York Times has moved him to defend the bloggers in a somewhat rare moment of online alt-journalism solidarity. ...
Long a word that he’s loved to hate, claiming it sounds too much like “booger", he seems to have made peace with the “bloggers”...

The real problem with describing Drudge Report as a weblog is not in its supposed stigma, but that it’s a misnomer. If we think of it literally, then we could call a weblog a linear series of entries, often with links within a website’s graphic borders. Going further, we might agree that the central feature of a “blog” is the series of installments of “copy” – the blogger’s original Web copy as opposed to headlines or linked material. So what is the difference between a news blog and the Drudge Report? ...
Although it’s not made up of a collection of pages, it is set up like a comprehensive news site. It does not center around or focus on a daily, linear “installment” of news. Rather, its feature is the collection of headlines itself. Links are an amalgamation of stories, news columns, and a few strays like Drudge Report Archives. Matt’s original news stories are linked both by his own name and by the headlines to the stories themselves. ...
On a news blog, the author’s installment is the feature and the links are secondary. On an independent news site like Drudge, the link features are the foci and the individual news stories, even his own, are secondary.

Today’s Drudge Report headline - and last night’s colorful riff on Chris Rock - is even more intriguing with a little background info on Matt’s past tangle with him."

[AA] Can Chris Rock Say, "I See White Women?"

Althouse (from Madison, Wisconsin): "Oscar shows are so boring (in part) because the Academy takes itself too damn seriously. Of course, if Rock says the sort of thing that we at home want to hear expressed, because it punctures the pompous self-regard of the very vain people in live audience, Rock might have a tough time making it through the night.

As for 'Awards for art are f---ing idiotic' -- that's a pretty routine thing for the actors themselves to say. It shows appreciation for art -- as opposed to awards -- and is actually fundamentally respectful toward the very thing the awards are meant to recognize."
------------------
EDIT. Quote is from a white female, the real prime audience for the Oscars I'd say.

[TV] Grammys Worst Ratings in 8 Years, May Need "Extreme Makeover"

The kudocast hits the skids, reportsVariety.com - ABC heavies hit Grammys: "The 47th annual Grammy Awards on CBS, airing opposite original episodes of ABC's hot series 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,' posted their smallest ratings in eight years but still won the night for the Eye.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the primetime portion of the Grammys (8-11 p.m.) averaged an 8.2 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 19.2 million viewers overall, peaking in the 10 o'clock half-hour with an 8.7/20 in the demo.

While the Grammys kudocast delivered its lowest 18-49 rating since 1997 and was down more than 25% year-to-year, the ABC hits were affected too, finishing on the lower end of their ratings range for original segs."

[AA] Chris Rock: Only Gays Watch Oscars (Hey, Fashion Show)

Choice of Chris Rock as host of this month's awards show may not be so smart, so says the Drudge Report Sunday. "Concern deepened after Rock claimed only gays watch the Oscars!
'I never watched the Oscars. Come on, it's a fashion show,' Rock recently declared.
'What straight black man sits there and watches the Oscars? Show me one!'
Rock added: 'Awards for art are f---ing idiotic.' "

[media] Blogmatics of Lynch Mobs, or Chud Upon Chummy Club? "Poor Eason" or Caught Weasel?

Comments in Centerfield: Lynch Mobs?: "There is no such thing as off the record anymore. I myself respect requests to go off the record, but I wouldn't assume my own request to go off the record would be honored.
A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't want what you say to be featured on a blog of the opposite political persuasion, don't say it at all."

--"I worked for a few days on Easongate.com. These were not blood thristy people. WE just believed if you are going to make a statement at an international forum that US troops are targeting and killing journalists intentionally you should be able to back it up if not then keep your trap shut. A very high ranking official at CNN should know better than to open his mouth without proof. He had a habit of doing this. WE do what the MSM shouldn't need us to do."

--"Jordan's backpedaling and semantics might have had some credibility had he not made similar comments several times previously over the last two years, been challenged on them, and then failed to provide any subtantiation whatsoever.
So if you're looking to twitch the needle on my pity meter for Eason Jordan, it's totally wasted effort. He knew what he was saying. He knew how it would be interpreted. He had his "definition of is" excuse prepared. This time it didn't fly."

--"This guy brought this chud upon himself. The press has for some time been a chummy club that holds those it pursues to much higher standards than those to which it holds itself in practice.
There definitely IS something to be said for not letting this go so far that anyone who says something iffy gets blacklisted. But the thing to be said is NOT "poor Eason."
If he had said it in a bar with some buddies, that would be one thing. But floating unsubstantiated conspiracy theories at a professional forum is NOT something journalists should feel free to do."

[media] CNN Resigns to Growing Influence of Blogs, MSM Loses Careerman to "Hacking Wolves"

"With the resignation Friday of a top news executive from CNN, bloggers have laid claim to a prominent media career for the second time in five months, the New York Times reports today ("Resignation at CNN Shows the Growing Influence of Blogs").

In September, conservative bloggers exposed flaws in a report by Dan Rather; he subsequently announced that on March 9 he would step down as anchor of the 'CBS Evening News.' On Friday, after nearly two weeks of intensifying pressure on the Internet, Eason Jordan, the chief news executive at CNN, abruptly resigned after being besieged by the online community. Morever, last week liberal bloggers forced a sketchily credentialed White House reporter to quit his post. ...

Mr. Jordan, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in late January, apparently said, according to various witnesses, that he believed the United States military had aimed at journalists and killed 12 of them. There is some uncertainty over his precise language and the forum, which videotaped the conference, has not released the tape. When he quit Friday night, Mr. Jordan said in a statement that, 'I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists.' ...

Nonetheless, within days of his purported statement, many blog sites were swamped with outraged assertions that he was slandering American troops. ...

At buzzmachine.com,(Jeff)Jarvis said bloggers should keep their real target in mind. "I wish our goal were not taking off heads but digging up truth," he cautioned. ...

Some on line were simply trying to make sense of what happened. "Have we entered an era where our lives can be destroyed by a pack of wolves hacking at their keyboards with no oversight, no editors, and no accountability?" asked a blogger named Mark Coffey, 36, who says he works as an analyst in Austin, Tex. "Or does it mean that we've entered a brave new world where the MSM has become irrelevant," he asked, using blogger shorthand for mainstream media.

His own conclusion is that the mainstream media "is being held to account as never before by the strong force of individual citizens who won't settle for sloppy research and inflammatory comments without foundation, particularly from those with a wide national reach, such as Rather and Eason."


Stay tuned, folks; this story is only getting better. Or should I say, bigger. In the meantime, it behooves us in this increasingly fabled blogophere --whether we are left, or right, or independent, overseen by none but our own consciences, editing and self-correcting as we merrily post along -- not to celebrate quite so loudly.

Better to sit back now. Take deep breaths. Re-assess.

And remember: with Power comes Responsibility. To invent our future, we must now have to reinvent our ideals.

Of course, moral decency does not ensure journalistic success, or even emotional stability. It's not supposed to. That's another truth we'll be discovering -- for many, the hard way-- along the way. Alas, alas.