Saturday, July 14, 2007

Early clip from I'm Not There

Weird, but what were you expecting?

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

What's worse: Global warming or Bon Jovi?

I'm heading to California for an extended work trip. Today, though, I had to go to New Jersey for a personal matter. The flight path took the little commuter jet over Giants Stadium, where one of the Live Earth concerts was going on. As I looked down, I felt guilty that I was taking such an eco-unfriendly mode of transportation on the very day that such a worthy set of events was taking place. Then I remembered that Bon Jovi was playing at the Giants Stadium show. Bon Jovi playing to a stadium crowd: now that's something the Earth can do without.

On a completely unrelated issue, Tone Loc killed my hard disc the other day.

UPDATE: Hello Wimbledon! Live from Live Earth, way too hammy and self-referential, but you might enjoy a few minutes with the anti-Bon Jovi. Favorite touch: Harry Shearer's t-shirt:

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Friday, July 6, 2007

Sonic Youth Is There

A while back in this space, I celebrated the unreleased Bob Dylan song "I'm Not There (1956)." Now comes word, via Sonic Youth's website, that the group has recorded the song for Todd Haynes's upcoming Dylan sortabiopic. I'm eager to hear it, of course, but I wonder: A full 40 years after it was recorded by Dylan and 4/5 of The Band in Woodstock, is this the first official release of the song by anyone? Please let us know in the comments if you know.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another sign of the impending apocalypse

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Headline of the Day

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lying about the successor to The Sandinista Project

As anyone who knows me knows, there is never going to be a successor. But that hasn't stopped people from asking me "What's your next record?" As the modest public relations offensive for The Sandinista Project winds down, I can now admit that I got so frustrated by the "What's next?" question that I made up projects. None of them made it into print or electrons (not funny or believable enough, I guess), but here's what I told various people I was working on next:

The Yessongs Project
The Emancipation Project
The All Things Must Pass Project
The Chicago Live at Carnegie Hall Project
The Whatever the Jethro Tull Box Set Was Called Project
The Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends Project

I also told someone that my next project was called The Sandinista Project Project and would feature the surviving members of the Clash covering songs done originally by the performers on The Sandinista Project. No one bought that, either.

The truth is that my next project, aside from the work I am happy to do every day for O'Reilly and HBSP, is a novel I should be working on now, so bye for now.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Greatest Video of All Time of the Week



Thanks to Mark for the pointer!

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Neil Young News: 2008 is the new 2007

People who've been waiting since the '80s for the Archives boxes to start flowing will not be surprised to learn they've been delayed again. P.S. I've confirmed this independently.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

O'Reilly news, Guterman news

As many of you know, I have been editing Release 2.0 for O'Reilly Media. I have really enjoyed working with the people at O'Reilly and I am delighted to report that I'm deepening my relationship with them. Starting July 1, I'll begin serving as editorial director of O'Reilly's Radar group. I will continue to edit Release 2.0. I will also be involved in starting or managing several other initiatives, which I'll list here in due time. I'm not moving, but I will be spending more time in California over the next few months than I did over the past few. (For those wondering, I will continue as community editor for Harvard Business School Publishing. And, before you wiseacres ask, the answer is "No!" to The Sandinista Project 2.)

The third issue of Release 2.0 ships today.
R203 cover

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Actually, I'd consider paying most of these people to stop blogging

Get Paid to Blog Full-Time for a Year: dumbest non-Bush-administration idea of the year

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Breaking news on Facebook -- a mere 18 years after the fact

As Facebook becomes more mainstream, more old people (i.e. people in my demo) sign up. Apparently, the first thing most of them do is send "friend" notices to everyone in their address books. I've received a bunch of these recently. I hardly ever use Facebook, so I went on the service early this morning to accept some of the "friend" requests and, while I was there, I figured I'd see what was in my profile. Not much, it turned out. So I typed in my URL and a few other things, and put in my marital status. I didn't have one before; now people can see that I'm married.

In the two hours since I've done that, I have received three notes from business colleagues who barely know me personally, all congratulating me on my marriage, an event that occurred in 1989.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Jimmy Guterman is an idiot"

That's the first sentence of an email I received earlier today because of a post on the blog for The Sandinista Project weighing the pros and cons of buying the record on iTunes. You can read my post here. Did I go over a line and not realize it? I thought I was being reasonable, but the "comments" area below is for you to tell me I don't know how to behave in public.

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"She touched the fat guy's wrist."

"'This,' she said, 'May be the greatest song ever written.'" -- from The Dylanist, by Brian Morton

I'm Not There (1956) (MP3, 7M)

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WANTED: Guitar Paradise of East Africa

It came out around 1990 on Earthworks. I love it. I appear to have misplaced my copy (or I loaned it to someone a long time ago). I figured I'd buy a new copy. It's not on iTunes, it's out of print, and an Amazon seller wants $77.50. Before I do something stupid, does anyone out there have a copy?

UPDATE: Copy arrived today, in less than two weeks (thanks, G.E.)!

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How the Y Chromosome Resulted in the Worst Reviews of Lucinda Williams' Career

Sunday, June 10, 2007

We are doomed to repeat history

When you're in the car with Lydia, you listen to Lydia's radio station, the local hits station. They played Pink's new single. It sounded like Pat Benatar. Commerical. They played Kelly Clarkson's new single. It sounded like Pat Benatar. Is the Benatar revival imminent? Will Pink and Clarkson appear on the inevitable We Belong tribute record?

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Monday, June 4, 2007

How would you respond?

Most of the time, people ask "How are you?" and expect a brief, affirmative reply that they're not really listening to. It's the sort of interaction not meant to slow you down. Sometimes, though, someone makes you stop with an answer.

LOCATION: Coffeeshop, Saturday morning.
I see a friend.
ME: Hi. How are you?
SHE: I'm having a colonoscopy on Monday.

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Greatest. Alumni Post. Ever.

From the alum newsletter for my college newspaper: "I received the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, in support of my forthcoming play, “The Last Chanukah,” an erotic, comic meditation on empire and citizenship."

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Confusion in Spamland

I just saw two headers in my spam inbox:
"Have sex all night" and "Can't stand to have sex all night?"
Are the spammers confused about what I want -- or are they just making sure they have everything covered?

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Friday, May 25, 2007

As always, it's Ringo who's the truth-teller

Monday, May 21, 2007

Expect a quiet week here

Release 2.0 deadlines, HBSP deadlines, a basement and an attic that need to be cleaned, etc.: Don't look here for much entertainment this week. The blog for The Sandinista Project is as active now as it'll ever be, so go there if you need a fix.

If any readers of this blog are planning to be at D next week, please let me know.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More on The Sandinista Project

All the action today is on the Sandinista Project blog, not here. Go there for some great reviews and a remembrance of a fateful lunch.

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The Sandinista Project is out!

Four years ago, I made a joke to someone about redoing Sandinista! -- and now it's real. Happy release day!

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

$14.99 is the new $18.98

As expected, Amazon has lowered the preorder price for The Sandinista Project. It's coming out on Tuesday!

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Best Detail of the Day From the Spector Trial

Courtesy of CNN:

"She testified she never previously told her story to law enforcement but did tell Paul Shaffer, music director on The Late Show with David Letterman."

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Pneumonia

It's why I haven't posted for a few days and why I won't for at least a few more. It stinks, but it's infinitely superior to what felled me around this time last year. Will be back soon.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

News Corp.: A question for my readers

News Corp. is attempting to buy Dow Jones, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal.

Aside from its troglodyte-run opinion pages, The Wall Street Journal is a great newspaper.

Dear readers, aside from the Times of London, can you think of any News Corp.-owned properties that is even a good purveyor of news?

I'll look in the comments.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Not only is this an excellent report from the conference...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Social media strawberry tower



An unexpected image, courtesy of freshelectrons, from yesterday's sold-out conference

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English teachers: our first line of defense

Forget stronger gun laws. Forget better mental health care. Now it's the responsibility of English teachers to protect us all. That, apparently, is the lesson from Virginia Tech.

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Best new mean-spirited blog

I've been following the alpha-geek blog uncov since its launch, and today's entry, while not the meanest yet, does have the funniest picture.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Release 2.0.2 is out

The new issue of Release 2.0, the newsletter I edit, is out now. Subscribe, willya?
R202cover

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Greatest homemade video of all time of the week

David Halberstam

I'm not a big fan of either Carl Jung or The Police, but here's a little synchronicity for you. My friend Doug pointed me to a Washington Post appreciation of the incomparable journalist David Halberstam while I was reading the very piece. Halberstam was a giant, an inspiration, the greatest role model a journalist could imagine. Look at the news today; we need him. Bad.

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At last, a rock'n'roll reunion worth celebrating

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Beverly Hills

Hi, I'm in California to help put on the sold-out Economics of Social Media conference on Thursday. If you're here for the event, c'mon up and introduce yourself, please. And don't ask me what it was like seeing Rocky Balboa for the fourth time on a transcontinental flight.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Peacetime?

This week's Economist says of the shootings in Virginia: "It was the worst peacetime shooting in American history." Peacetime? We're in peacetime? Has the Bush administration been that successful at fooling even the top newsweekly into thinking the war is something happening way over there and doesn't concern us?

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What I thought about during the minute of silence

Along with what I suspect were millions of others, I just observed a minute of silence for the victims of the massacre this week at Virginia Tech.

I thought of the parents and the survivors.

I thought of the broadcast of the killer's "martyrdom" tape, how sickening it was, how little I think of NBC News for broadcasting it -- and how essential it is to our democracy that NBC News be permitted to broadcast it.

I thought of how the nation came to a halt this week as a result of the shootings.

I thought of Iraq, where these type of massacres happen every single day, thanks to the intervention of our government. However horrible the shootings at Virginia Tech, however I want to stand aside the friends and families of those whose lives were ended there this week, I thought of how this is happening, many times, every single day in Iraq. It's a nation of Virginia Techs. I paid my taxes this week. I'm paying for the war. You're paying for it, too.

I thought of the American soldiers dying in Iraq, and how they're the same ages as the kids who died at Virginia Tech, and how they should have gotten a chance to go to college, not to war.

And then I thought of the parents and the survivors again.

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I am no longer the most obsessive person I know -- woo hoo!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pre-order The Sandinista Project on Amazon

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The excitement of completion ... and the letdown

"There is depression after an answer is given."

That's the Log Lady talking. (I've been watching the second season of Twin Peaks with my son lately.) The quote, about the downside of closure, feels particularly pertinent because late last week I approved the CDs and packaging of The Sandinista Project for manufacturing. I suppose there's a small chance of something catastrophic happening at the pressing plant, but that's out of my control. As far as I'm concerned, as far as anything I can do about it, this project is done. Shortly, four years of work will be encapsulated in (or reduced to) a thick, colorful 5x5 CD package. I feel a great sense of satisfaction, but some unease. The challenge of this project was always just to get it done. Even the people who supported me on it thought it was crazy. (And I knew it was crazy.) I have a very clear idea of the next creative mountain I intend to try climbing -- and I'll start boring you with it in less than a month -- but right now I feel a strange combination of relief and unsettledness. Putting together this project over four years had a narrative drive. Now I acknowledge, publicly, that the story is over. It's time to move on to the next one. I know I'll do some promotion for this and the project that obsessed me for four years will now get some long-overdue external feedback, but the creative part of this is over and I do feel a loss. I hope I choose my next crazy project so (accidentally) wisely. I got so much out of this project. I got to work with some of my favorite performers on the planet and I learned so much about the value of trust in a collaborative project.

That notwithstanding, allow me the pleasuring of sharing with you some of what I just approved. You still have to wait several weeks to buy the record, but you're welcome to download the booklet and packaging, both as PDFs. They will also come in handy if you intend to buy or steal the record in digital form.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sellout

Yesterday we announced that the Economics of Social Media conference is sold out. If my inbox this morning is any indication, no one believes us. Really, folks, we're full. If we let anyone else in, the fire marshal will get involved.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Five Joost Invitations

I've been testing Joost, a video service from the people behind Skype and Kazaa. A token for five invitations to the test appeared in my account just now. The first five people WHO I KNOW ALREADY who contact me will get 'em.

Update: They're all gone.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Richard (with and without Linda) Thompson, "For Shame of Doing Wrong"

When people ask me why they're so great, I can direct them to this performance from 1982, during their first and last U.S. tour:



And another great one from 1985, which doesn't have Linda but does have a blockbuster solo:

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Sex Clark Five, "Career Opportunities" video (from the upcoming Sandinista Project)

The first homemade video supporting The Sandinista Project has arrived!



UPDATE: Scott Brodeur points me to the original performers.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Best David Lynch quote ever

Warning: The language here is not safe for work. Thanks to my brother-in-law Brian for the tip.




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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Must-read: John Niven's Music From Big Pink

As this is a blog, I must preface my unmitigated rave for John Niven's novella with a self-indulgent personal story.

A year ago today, I suffered an accident that led to some broken bones, surgery, and a general personal and professional tailspin. I'm out of all that now, but there are some months from last year I'd like back.

The Saturday after my surgery (which left me unable to put any weight on my right ankle for several months), I spent the afternoon on our living room couch, reading and listening to music. I was going through some of my favorite CDs, hoping that my affection for and familiarity with those records would improve my mood. One of those records was The Band's Music From Big Pink. Now I know it's a record filled with sorrow: parents mourning ungrateful children, loyal philanderers narrating from the grave, and prisoners trying to conjure up some hope for the future. I've known that since I first heard it. But I never really felt it until that afternoon, lying helpless on the couch. That is one sad record.

The saddest part of Music From Big Pink isn't the songwriting or the muted tempos: it's Richard Manuel's voice. From the broken cry of "Tears of Rage" that starts the record to the hollowed-out falsetto of "I Shall Be Released" that ends it so unmercifully, Music From Big Pink documents the terror that can be contained in a human voice -- and this was before Manuel's long personal slide really began.

Manuel's voice has haunted many people, many of them better at making sense and art of it than I'll ever be, and one of those people is John Niven, author of an outstanding novella called Music From Big Pink that came out in 2005 but I just got around to reading on a plane last week. Read it, please. Written from the point of view of a drug dealer who associates with the members of The Band and the general Woodstock explosion of the late '60s, it details the promise and broken promise of that time with precision, wit, and an amazing command of and love for its source material. Not since David Shipper's Paperback Writer, decades ago, have I read a piece of fiction about rock'n'roll that so captures the big themes and microscopic details that make a life lived in music -- either as a practicioner or a hanger-on -- so thrilling and harrowing. It's as open and dark as Manuel's voice on the album that gave it a title. I'm not going to describe it much or quote any of it here because I want you to read all of it without me inadvertently ruining any of it. But this is that very, very rare piece of rock'n'roll-drenched fiction that actually feels like rock'n'roll.

Amazon link

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Another launch

The project I'm working on with Harvard Business School Publishing, as "community editor," has launched here.

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Greatest song of all time of the week: Buzzcocks, "Ever Fallen in Love"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pay particular attention to step 23

Monday, March 26, 2007

Quote of the day, courtesy of my brother

I sent him an advance copy of The Sandinista Project. His email response:

"CD is excellent, though I think it would have been better if it was in Dubly."

If you don't get the reference, this might not be the blog for you.

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"Six Years Gone" is not only the title of a great Georgia Satellites song

Early this month, roughly six years since The Industry Standard went under, I received an email from an alleged consultancy in the U.K. asking some questions about the late newspaper of the Internet economy. All the questions were in present tense: They don't know the periodical was no longer publishing.

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New Order, "The Perfect Kiss"



Directed by Jonathan Demme, a classic of music-video restraint

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Whereabouts

If any of you will be at ETech next week, please let me know.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trailer for upcoming Joe Grushecky documentary

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Best. Magazine Cover Line. Ever.

I'll read anything, especially when I'm stuck in a doctor's office, which is why I picked up a copy of Best Life, a Rodale men's magazine. It's not much of a magazine -- it's almost a parody of the form -- but buried in the bottom right-hand of the cover was this tease:

"Why Is Keith Richards Still Alive?"

The article turned out to be stupid, uninformative, and 100 miles away from funny, but the cover line did make me laugh out loud in a doctor's office, which I bet doesn't happen that often.

bestlife cover

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Monday, March 19, 2007

A thought on the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war

Yesterday we held a birthday party for Grace, who's now seven. The theme was American Idol, which was interesting, since none of the girls at the party, including Grace, appeared to have ever seen the show.

Over Oreo cake, two sisters at the party were showing the other girls how they could speak Arabic. Now I haven't set foot in Israel since 1978 and I haven't set foot in a shul except for a family event in almost a decade and I was never that good at Hebrew even when I studied the language three decades ago -- but I was surprised and thrilled at how much I could follow what the girls said. I'm no expert, but it appears that some parts, at least, of Arabic and Hebrew are quite similar. Maybe, if we stop for a moment, we can see how much more similar we are to even those we call our enemies. Today, in particular, it reminds me how all of us are closer than we think, something we should think about before we pick up any weapons.

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Now that Release 2.0 has launched...

...I'll be posting regularly to O'Reilly's Radar team blog. You can visit the whole blog or, if you're my mother, see just my contributions.

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What are print publications good for in 2007?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Quote of the day

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Finally

A mere 21 years after it was first promised, this year we'll get NeilYoung - The Archives Vol.01 1963-1972.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Another "Positively 4th Street"

A few months back, I posted several versions of "Positively 4th Street." Here's a new one, from Bryan Ferry.

Don't miss Ferry's Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues either.

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Release 2.0 has launched

R2 cover
The first issue of Release 2.0 is out. Visitors to this page can download it here, as a PDF.

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Sunday, March 4, 2007

A Starbucks moment

Those of you who know me know I spend too much time in coffee shops. Just came back from the Starbucks in my neighborhood. After I picked up my drinks, a very attractive woman, sitting alone at a table covered with pieces of paper, said, "Excuse me?"

"Yes?"

"Do you know anything about taxes?"

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Off to TED

If any readers of this blog will be at the conference and are interested in getting together, please contact me via the usual methods.

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Friday, March 2, 2007

Headline of the week

Friday, February 23, 2007

My new favorite album cover of all time

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Keeping your data safe from the team that you trust to manage your data

Oracle ad It may be hard to tell from this terrible photo, taken by the terrible camera on my terrible Treo, but this is the top half of Oracle's ad on the back cover of this week's Economist. It is, I believe, the first time a leading IT company has tried to market a product intended to protect a customer from its own IT staff. It says a lot about how IT is viewed these days: as the problem.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Patti Smith does it for the children

The fear of public humiliation as a productivity tool

Usually, I use this page to either discuss current projects or pass on an observation that some subset of the people who visit this page might think is amusing. Both are reasonable uses of blogspace and I intend to continue. But I think it's time I tried something else.

I am writing a work of fiction that I intend to complete by the end of this year. I have been working on it for a good long time, but this is the year that I must learn whether I can really do it. Less talking about writing; more writing. This Presidents' Day, I'm thinking that announcing that I will offer weekly updates of my progress might motivate me to get this done already. Perhaps the fear of public humiliation will force me to be more productive.

A little under three years ago, I set three creative goals for myself. The first was to write a nonfiction book that, unlike my previous five, didn't stink. Runaway American Dream came out in 2005. It's flawed in many ways (don't get me started), but it stinks less than my previous books. The second was to produce an interesting record. The Sandinista Project meets that criterion and will be out in May. The third was to see whether I have a novel in me. That's this year's project.

The joke, of course, is that I am quite overextended, happily so, right now, with great projects and clients I'm thrilled to be working with. So, as I did with Runaway American Dream and The Sandinista Project, I'll have to write this book while still satisfying my clients (and, most important, my clients' readers). Let's see if I can do it.

Blogging can be a very transparent medium, and I'm not very good at public transparency. So don't worry that I'm going to post in-progress chapter drafts, muse over whether what my antagonist does on page 82 is incompatible with what he or she did a few scenes back, or whine about the commercial aspects of publishing. I'll process the sausage in private. All I want to do here is share what I'm doing and relate my progress (or lack thereof). Because, let's face it, if I announce publicly that I'm going to do something, it's incrementaly more likely that I will. I hope.

Regular progress updates will begin the moment The Sandinista Project is released.

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You know where it is. You don't need me to direct you there.

Here is a small piece I have on paidContent today. I'm going to stop pointing to a paidContent piece every time I post one, because (a) there are too many of 'em, and (b) anyone interested in digital media news should be reading it daily anyway, particularly the 99 percent of posts not by me. So ... go there. And, while you're there, consider signing up for our fabulous conference.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

No magazine yet, but we do get a clock with a thermometer

Six months ago (or was it longer?), I signed on as a charter subscriber to Portfolio, a new business magazine from Conde Nast. In typical Conde Nast fashion, the staff is taking more than a year to put together the first issue of the magazine, a process that almost guarantees that the first issue will be full of desperate, high-profile bylines and topics that were interesting a year ago. They still haven't gotten an issue out yet (that's promised for April), but this weekend I did receive in the mail an exclusive (capital letters Conde Nast's, not mine) "CONDE NAST PORTFOLIO clock." The accompanying letter informs me, "This durable clock displays the time, date, day of the week and temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit..." There's more, but let's stop there. Both Celsius and Fahrenheit?! Let's see if the magazine itself can deliver so much.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

You know life is weird when...

...one of your clients's names appears in a spam subject line and then he blogs about it.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Second Life questions and answers

I'm interviewed by Alfredo Dillon in Myriades, a magazine in Argentina, about Second Life. My article hasn't yet been translated into English, so here's our email Q&A:



1. How would you define Second Life? Is it a videogame, a 3D chat room, or a virtual world? It’s definitely a virtual world. There are few of the “play” aspects you’d associate with a videogame, and there is enough functionality (i.e. “flying”) that separates it from a chat room.

2. What do people look for in Second Life? Do they really find a second life in Second Life? Different people come to virtual worlds for different reasons. Most are curious or looking to have fun, others are looking to create a full-fledged online persona.

3. I’ve read on the Internet that you estimate that most people who register themselves in Second Life never come back. Why do you think that happens? That’s true of many online services, not just virtual worlds but also websites, applications, etc. There has been so much attention directed at Second Life recently that it must surely get a lot of people visiting it who wouldn’t without the hype. As with other much-ballyhooed virtual worlds (I’m thinking of The Sims Online), there will be a relatively small group of people who take it very, very seriosuly.

4. Do you think Second Life could have been a bigger phenomenon? If so, why did it “fail”? Which are its limits? It’s way too early to tell whether Second Life succeeded or failed. Right now, in the press at least, people are responding to the hype (financial and otherwise). Now that more people know about it and the site is better populated than before, let’s see what happens. It’s way too early to think about limits.

5. Could you please explain the concept of “bubble journalism”? Hype is contagious. When reporters cover a beat that’s filled with hype and excitement, it’s easy to catch the fever. Reporters have to be knowledgeable, but they also have to have some distance. Otherwise, they go from reporting on a bubble to being part of it.

6. Do you think the excitement about Second Life is a temporary phenomenon, or do you believe it could be the first step of a “virtual reality revolution”? Is there really a future for virtual reality? Virtual reality is a very broad phenomenon, way beyond computer-based virtual worlds, with many different applications, ranging from education to medical. Second Life is an example of an existing phenomenon, not a first step. There are plenty of other virtual worlds: World of Warcraft, Everquest, Star Wars, etc.

7. What are the social potentials of virtual worlds? Do you think they can affect significantly the “real” world, or they are just videogames? Who we are online is pretend. But sometimes we become the people we pretend to be, for better or worse.

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"But there's no robe"

What's it like to be me when I'm travelling for work, you want to know? OK. Here's the full, not-even-slightly-redacted text of an email I sent to two friends (one of whom had gotten me the gig) from one trip.


Plane: three hours late

Landing in Chicago: Aborted when we were only a couple hundred feet in the air because there was another plane at the end of the runway. We got the aerial version of whiplash.

Hotel: On the outskirts of fucking nowhere, 50 minutes out of Chicago. It's like they claimed an event was in Boston, but it was really in Hopkinton. No Internet access (I'm stealing/borrowing it from the office park the hotel is in). In the closet there's a tag on a hangar that says the robe is $95, but there's no robe. In the bathroom, no shampoo or conditioner, but four bottles of a mouthwash called "Whisper Mint."

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Two from paidContent

Headline of the day

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Three on paidContent

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Good question

I let the girls stay up late tonight so they could watch the beginning of the Grammys. The show started with The Police, who stunk, but that's not the point. The point is that Grace, 6, looked and listened for a minute and then asked, "Daddy, why are they showing old people?"

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Best philanthropic opportunity ever

exitsign Many, many years ago, when my wife worked in prospect research along with some Major Gift Officers, I used to joke that I wanted to be a Minor Gift Officer, specializing in very small gifts. Instead of bringing potential donors to expensive restaurants, I'd bring them to Friendly's. I once amused myself (if not the other people at the dinner table) by suggesting that, instead of getting donors who would put their names on the front of buildings, I would get donors who would give enough money to sponsor an exit sign. At MASS MoCA this weekend, I saw that someone got there before me.

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Best email I received this weekend

Sender: [redacted, but my clue is that this person is a great guitarist, editor, and contractor]
Subject line: Virgil's Root Beer?
Full text: Ever had it? I'm having one now and it's damn good....

The most surprising thing is ... this email isn't spam!

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What I learned this weekend

If you're going away with your family for the weekend and you promise your older daughter that you'll swim with her in the hotel's heated outside pool even if it's in the mountains and barely 20 degrees outside (that's Fahrenheit, folks), you still have to do it. Now I know what "brisk" means.

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Two pieces on paidContent today

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Sandinista Project news

We have a distributor, a release date, a publicist, and more. Read the news.

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Three paidContent pieces today

Question of the day

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Who moved my krabby patty?

krabbypatty

Just found this graphic file while cleaning a half-forgotten directory. Eric Mongeon, designer of a missed magazine and a to-be-released CD package, among many other things, is a genius. He's also good at paying for your lunch if you "forgot" your wallet.

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The press still believes Second Life can do no wrong

Monday, February 5, 2007

I'm feeling competitive

I have a noncompete agreement that expires today -- and I'm too busy to take advantage of it. That's good, right?

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Weekend plan

MassMoca

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Saturday night, alone in a Starbucks in central Massachusetts

It's not as pathetic as you might think (I hope). My son Eli and two of his buddies are at a rock concert in a church in Worcester. It's far more efficient for me to sit here for several hours and get some work done than go home and back.

My son's concert-going experience is so different from mine when I was 14. Back in 1976, nearly all the shows I attended were in large halls: sometimes arenas, often ~2,000-seat theaters. (I was savvy enough to sneak into Manhattan to go to shows undetected, but there was no way that this not-shaving-everyday-yet kid was going to be able to talk his way into the Bottom Line, Max's Kansas City, or CBGB for another year or two.) The concerts I attended were all formal events, scheduled months in advance, with printed tickets. Eli's concerts appear at the last minute, it seems, and there's always a line in front when I drop him off.

At 14, I learned about new bands from radio stations and easily available publications like the Village Voice. Eli, on the other hand, while perhaps even more enthusiastic about rock'n'roll than I was at his age, never listens to the radio and picks up music magazines only to learn the bass lines of songs. He learns about music from two sources: his friends and the Internet (and his friends get all their information from the Net). He learns about bands from MySpace, and when he plays the songs he downloads on iTunes they get picked up by his last.fm scrobbler, which introduced him to more music he might like. It's a much lower-to-the-ground, person-to-person way of consuming and sharing music. He meets people at these shows, shares his playlists with them, and learns some more about music and people. None of these buddies, so far, have turned out to be axe murderers. I know there are cynical marketers working these channels, but this seems like a wonderful way to be part of a music-loving community.

Over time, I expect the kids in those communities to skew younger. So many of the kids-TV shows my daughters, now 11 and 6, watch are about kids in rock bands: Hannah Montana, the Naked Brothers Band, Raven. I recognize that all three of those shows stink. Aside from that, they also have in common a world in which kids can be rock stars. It's a world in which rock'n'roll is clean and safe. In other words, it's a lie. I want my kids to be clean and safe, of course, but I recognize that the greatest rock'n'roll is anything but clean and safe. "Brown Sugar"? "Heroin"? "Anarchy in the U.K."? "Blitzkrieg Bop"? The worlds of those songs are full of all sorts of feelings and behavior I'd never wish on my loved ones. But that's rock'n'roll. Along with the inspirational (Patti Smith's "People Have the Power," f'rinstance), rock'n'roll is about celebrating the deviant, the unthinkable, the unforgivable. Rock'n'roll is one of the most liberating forces on the planet, but it's not only sweet, harmless energy that it liberates.

And now, to the work I came here to do...

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

New York Times must-read on Internet advertising

Part 2 of 2

trustmasklike ad

This is a weird pharmaceutical ad that my friend and once-and-again colleague Eric Hellweg found on the front page of CNN.com earlier this week. Does it remind you of the Trout Mask Replica cover? Is there some inside joke here?

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Conference registration is open

For those of you who come here because of my affiliation with the paidContent empire, registration for our first conference is now open. Go here for the early-bird rate.

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Richard Thompson, "Dad's Gonna Kill Me"

"Dad" is "Bhagdad."

RT cheatsheet

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Part 1 of 2

trout mask replica

This is the cover of Trout Mask Replica, by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. Any minute now, I'll let you know why I posted it.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Mad mastermind"?

Guest Greatest Album of All Time of the Week

Harris Collingwood knows music and words. He was able to introduce me to the one good record by David Crosby and he's published as many books of poetry as Jewel. From his office in an undisclosed location on an island in the western Atlantic Ocean, he recommends Citrus, by Asobi Seksu, even though it came out last year. Harris writes: "Think Blondie and My Bloody Valentine playing naked armed Twister at Shonen Knife's clubhouse." I'm trying...

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MTV experiments with virtual reality TV

Headline of the day