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i·dle   (dl) adj.
Lacking substance, value, or basis.
See Synonyms: baseless and vain.
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IDLE, not IDOL! Its a parody and social commentary, all rolled into one.  (Copyrights are �© FOX and MSN.)

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Saturday, March 30, 2002
PentagonTV. TV Drama, Pentagon-Style: A Fictional Terror Tribunal: "In a striking demonstration of how the Pentagon's image builders take Hollywood just as seriously as they take the news media, if not more so, the show's script writer said he learned details of the intensely debated rules on conducting the controversial tribunals two weeks before Mr. Rumsfeld released them at a news conference on March 21.

Because the real tribunals, which have not yet been scheduled, are to be open to newspaper and magazine reporters but not to television cameras, "JAG" is offering the first and perhaps only visual version of the tribunals that millions of people will see. That version to be stamped on the public consciousness, with the power and immediacy of images and action, will show conscientious "JAG" officers treating terrorist suspects to many of the rights of the American justice system.

The Pentagon was eager to oblige, because, in the wake of Sept. 11, the military sees what television analysts call "militainment" as one of the most effective ways to get its message across, free of the filters of a critical press corps. In addition to "JAG," the Pentagon is cooperating with three other television shows with military themes, including one on VH1, a cable music channel."


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RIP Queen Elizabeth. Britain's Beloved 'Queen Mum,' a Symbol of Courage, Dies at 101: "Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the enduringly popular grande dame of the British royal family and the country's most beloved symbol of courage and self-sacrifice during World War II, died in her sleep this afternoon at the Royal Lodge at Windsor Palace, a spokesman for her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, announced. She was 101.

In a life longer than the 20th century, the queen mother presided over a period of turbulence and change in Britain, helping to sustain the monarchy through the most serious crises to befall it in modern times."


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Friday, March 29, 2002
Journalism's next wave. Journalistic Pivot Points: "I've been thinking a lot lately about the notion of what I've been calling "Journalism 3.0" -- more accurately termed journalism's next wave. It's based on several principles, including:

*My readers know more than I do;
*That is not a threat, but rather an opportunity;
*We can use this together to create something between a seminar and a conversation, educating all of us;
*Interactivity and communications technology -- in the form of e-mail, weblogs, discussion boards, websites and more -- make it happen.

Yesterday at PC Forum, I was part of a key moment in this evolution."


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Taking the holiday too far. Crucifixion Re-Enactment: "Many provinces in the catholic culture of the Philippines have crucifixion ceremonies during Easter, or "holy week" as they refer to it. But only one, in Gua Gua, Pampanga, less than two hours north of Manila, features such a real life re-enactment. This may sound a little gory but it's a great cultural experience to see if you happen to be nearby during Easter - or "Holy Week." It's a great sightseeing and one of the best photo opportunities."

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RIP Billy Wilder. What a bad week for the entertainment industry. Billy Wilder, Master of Caustic Films, Dies at 95: "Billy Wilder, the caustic writer and director who won six Academy Awards and international acclaim as one of the world's great filmmakers and then spent the last 21 years of his vivid life imploring Hollywood to let him make another movie, died on Wednesday night at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 95. He had been suffering from pneumonia, The Associated Press reported.

Almost all the 25 films Mr. Wilder made as a writer-director displayed his slashing wit and stinging social satire. Yet no other major filmmaker slipped so easily into so many genres."


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Mideast terror esclates. Extended Operation Set in West Bank After Terror Bombing: "The Israeli government declared Yasir Arafat an "enemy" today and sent tanks and armored personnel carriers to fully isolate him in his Ramallah headquarters and to launch an "extended operation" in the Palestinian territories.

After an all-night meeting of his cabinet and flanked by senior ministers, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recalled the deadly suicide bombing of a Netanya hotel on Wednesday night as well as two subsequent terror attacks. He said Israel had extended its hand in peace, "but all we get back in response is terrorism, terrorism and more terrorism."

"No sovereign state can ignore such a sequence of events." He said 20,000 reserve soldiers were being called up to free regular forces for an operation that could last a long time."


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Suing for slavery. Slavery and the courts: "In the US, most social issues eventually end up in court, whether or not it is possible to resolve them there. So it was perhaps inevitable that slavery - the biggest US social issue of all time - would some day come before a judge. Now that is about to happen.

This week a lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York, targeting Aetna and other US companies for profiting from slavery. The suit, which seeks class action status, was brought by a black activist lawyer who claims to represent every descendant of a slave anywhere in the US.

Frustrated by the failure of political efforts to claim reparations for slavery, she is pioneering another strategy: using litigation to shame US companies into disgorging profits earned from slavery, as well as the unpaid wages of slaves."


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NYU Tonight. I pulled off my first live television interview tonight to rave reviews from fellow students (including Francy) and form my professor. I interviewed the "Subway kid." No, not Jarod, the Subway (Sandwiches) guy, but Harry Beck, the Brooklyn high school senior who rode the entire subway system for his senior thesis project. Here's his assorted links: NYCrail.com and the NYT article featuring him.

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Joan Jett at Irving Plaza. If you weren't at Irving Plaza Thursday night, then you didn't see rockstar Joan Jett wearing her "Pu**y rules" shirt, performing a rock version of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" theme, and playing under newly-installed security cameras. The attendance wasn't all that high, but at least everyone seemed to have a good time.

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Reality show gone wrong. Was there actually a time when we enjoyed all of these reality shows? Man hospitalized after game show taping: "A contestant on a new NBC game show was hospitalized Wednesday after a stunt in which he held his breath under water for two minutes. The 26-year-old man was alert and conscious when paramedics arrived at a downtown studio but was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital as a precaution, Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

The man, identified by NBC only as a Los Angeles personal trainer, requested information about his condition be withheld, hospital spokeswoman Mari Bregman said Wednesday. The local NBC station, KNBC, reported that he was in stable condition.

It was unclear whether he lost consciousness during the stunt for the "Dog Eat Dog" show. In the 911 emergency call requesting help, an unidentified caller said the man was unconscious, Humprey said."


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Thursday, March 28, 2002
Get ready, get set, invent! Wish List: 9 Innovations in Search of Inventors: "Here are some ideas for new products that should exist, but don't at least, not according to the exhaustive search conducted by my research staff (that is, my wife on Google). If you're an inventor, take these ideas with my blessings. I ask nothing in return but a smile, a firm handshake and 10 percent of the net..."

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Media giants battle, AOL losing out. Not that I'm sad or anything. AOL Time Warner finds the future less rosy: "Could AOL Time Warner come apart at the seams? The very suggestion would have seemed outrageous a year ago, when the combined online and traditional media giant had rivals quaking in their boots.

How quickly perceptions can shift. AOL Time Warner's stock, already severely down from its highs, has fallen a further 30 per cent this year, as rivals such as Viacom and Walt Disney have gained about 10 per cent. And while other media conglomerates benefit from hopes of an end to the US advertising recession, AOL Time Warner is mired in operational, financial and structural problems."


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Britain slows spread of digital television. Monkey business: "The government has talked a good game about digital technology. It had high hopes of converting the nation to digital technology. Yet it should have done more to help. It contributed to ITV Digital's woes by refusing to provide higher transmission power to improve signal quality and coverage.

However, this was a minor factor. The company overestimated the audience for pay-TV services, underestimated the competition, ignored the importance of high-quality content and fell short on service standards."


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Chinese pirates. Wiping That Smile Right Off Hollywood's Face: "Flipping through a menu at a run-of-the-mill restaurant, patrons are greeted with a more colorful offer: ``You want DVDs?" It's a common question here in the Chinese capital. Almost anywhere you go, you're bombarded with opportunities to buy pirated DVDs, CDs and computer video games. One doesn't have to look for them -- the goods come to you. Whether you're walking through Tiananmen Square, museums or the blocks surrounding the U.S. Embassy, the question ``You want DVDs?'' is posed endlessly.

At eateries, bars and nightclubs, staffers carry boxes upon boxes of goodies for you to sort through. Titles like ``A Beautiful Mind'' and ``Harry Potter'' and ``Lord of the Rings'' can be had for 7 yuan, or less than $1. And we're not talking low- grade copies filmed in theaters with pocket video cameras, but bootlegs of actual DVDs."
Sounds like an even more outrageous Canal Street to me. A cheaper more outrageous Canal Street, that is.

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Michael Moore at NYU. We had activist-filmmaker-funny guy Michael Moore speak at NYU tonight.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2002
RIP Milton Berle. RIP Dudley Moore. We lost two comedic greats today.

Milton Berle, TV's First Star as 'Uncle Miltie,' Dies at 93: "ilton Berle, the brash comedian who emerged from vaudeville, nightclubs, radio and films to become the first star of television, igniting a national craze for the new medium in the late 1940's, died yesterday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 93.

The uninhibited Mr. Berle almost single-handedly led the entertainment revolution that addicted the nation to the small screen by wobbling on his ankles while wearing high heels, flouncing in evening gowns, grinning to reveal blacked-out teeth, braying "What the hey," being whacked silly with sacks of flour after shouting "Makeup!" and invariably thrusting himself into the routines of his guests."


Dudley Moore, Comic Charmer, Dies at 66: "Dudley Moore, the multitalented British actor, comedian and musician noted for his performances in the 1960's stage revue "Beyond the Fringe" and the films "10" and "Arthur," died yesterday at his home in Plainfield, N.J. He was 66.

A spokeswoman for the actor said that the cause of death was pneumonia as a complication of progressive supranuclear palsy, a disease that attacks various neurological functions."


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Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Disgusting. What is this world coming to? 4th-graders reprimanded for lewd acts in classroom: "Police are investigating allegations that five fourth-grade boys performed oral sex on one another during class at least twice at Marble Falls Elementary School.

School officials confirm that the incidents took place and that they are treating the acts as lewd behavior. The boys were suspended for a day, have been put in alternative classes for 10 days and will receive counseling, said Superintendent Dana Marable.

"It was a dare," Marable said."


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The un-corpse. It doesn't get any weirder than this. Munich "corpse" turns out to be sex doll: "A Munich man suspected of murder after he was seen carrying what a neighbour thought was a dead body into his flat was cleared after he showed police his collection of rubber sex dolls.

A police spokeswoman said on Tuesday the neighbour called to say he saw the man carrying a "corpse" into the apartment. Police responding to the call found the suspect to be "surprised and disturbed" by their questions at first.

"When the officers then told the man they were investigating a murder he showed them his newly acquired silicon sex doll," the spokeswoman said."


Creepy, right? Well, I guess its less creepy than if he had actually murdered someone. Here's the funniest part: "The spokeswoman said the police then left the apartment and closed the file. "They didn't want to disturb him any longer," the spokeswoman said."

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Journalists as targets. 37 journalists killed worldwide in 2001: "The number of journalists killed worldwide in 2001 as a direct result of their work reached 37, up 13 from 2000, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a U.S. group, said Tuesday.
The figures include nine journalists who were killed in the line of duty covering the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, the New York-based nonprofit organization said.
Excluding the Afghan news coverage, the journalists in most cases were murdered in reprisal for their reporting on government corruption and other controversial issues, the CPJ said."
While these figures scare me, they make me rethink what a journalist's true career goals should always be.

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Napster back in the news. Napster Ruling Is Upheld: "A federal appeals panel Monday gave record and film companies another piece of ammunition in their fight against online piracy, upholding a lower court order that shut down Napster Inc.'s free song-sharing service. The ruling has little impact on Redwood City-based Napster, which has abandoned its free service in favor of one that pays labels and songwriters for each song copied.

But lawyers for the music industry say it could rein in other online systems, including Morpheus, Kazaa and Grokster. The implication of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling is that all file-sharing services "have a continuing obligation to adapt to the technology that may be available" for protecting copyrighted material against illegal copying, said Cary Ramos, an attorney for the National Music Publishers Assn."


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A conversation. This will all make sense once i rewrite it... ARidgeMan: Listen to this. Mommy goes to shut off the light above the computer and gets a big shock, and the computer and monitor shuts off like a power surge!
ARidgeMan: It was like a regular shock, but almost like the current CAME from her!

NewYorkU13: did you go to church on palm sunday?
ARidgeMan: No.
NewYorkU13: here, this man acted out the whole gospel -- it was definitely different
NewYorkU13: and they had a huge choir
NewYorkU13: also, the priest spoke about the child abue scandal in the church
NewYorkU13: at the end
NewYorkU13: he said he was sad and angry
NewYorkU13: and embarassed by the few
ARidgeMan: I think they were suppose to say something at every Mass yesterday.
ARidgeMan: So did the Cardinal.
ARidgeMan: Who acted it out......a priest?
NewYorkU13: no, a lector
NewYorkU13: it was a surprise
NewYorkU13: since he was sitting in the middle of the church
NewYorkU13: then just got up and acted it out
NewYorkU13: even pointing at parishoners and yelling crucify him
NewYorkU13: then when he acted out jesus being laid in the tomb he walked out a door and said "and they waited"
NewYorkU13: he never came back to mass either
ARidgeMan: Wow!
NewYorkU13: yeah, quite a show
NewYorkU13: lol
ARidgeMan: That would keep everyone's interest; they should do that everywhere.
NewYorkU13: yeah, i've been there every week
ARidgeMan: Sounds like a play.
NewYorkU13: right
ARidgeMan: They do something like that every week?
NewYorkU13: while this was the best mass yet, the choir is always something great
NewYorkU13: this was the only time they've acted out the gospel
NewYorkU13: a lot of people looked confused, soem frightened
NewYorkU13: lol
ARidgeMan: Is this the NYU church?
NewYorkU13: yes
ARidgeMan: They were startled.
ARidgeMan: It was like a plant in the audience.
NewYorkU13: exactly
ARidgeMan: People are also nervous. There was that shooting in the Lynbrook church.
NewYorkU13: yeah, but i didn't sense that was why they got scared
ARidgeMan: They were just not expecting to be part of a drama.
NewYorkU13: right
ARidgeMan: Sounds like a very creative church. Who's in the choir, students, or from the neighborhood?
NewYorkU13: students
NewYorkU13: most of the congregation ae students and faculty with a bunch of elderly residents thrown in


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Poor Britney! Fans boo Britney at premire: "Britney Spears left fans disappointed at the UK premire of her debut film on Monday when she declined to meet dedicated followers who had waited for hours to get autographs and chat to the star. Some of the 3,000 fans - who had come from as far away as South Africa - booed and hissed the star when she was whisked into the screening of Crossroads just moments after arriving at the Odeon Leicester Square in London's West End." Check out the phot of Britney looking sad because she's being booed! Its hilarious! There's a moral in here for all the pop superstars out there: Be nice to your fans!

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Honest Abe and the Dishonest Internet? Abe Lincoln and the internet pirates: "Abraham Lincoln would have loved the internet. But he would have hated the internet pirates who commandeer its high-speed circuits to steal.

Lincoln's affection for the internet would have stemmed from its power to unite. America's 16th president fought to hold the United States together. Nearly a century and a half later, he would have been thrilled to see the web make it possible for citizens from Key West to Kauai to share an enormous range of news, information and knowledge. But he undoubtedly would have disdained those who go to sites with names such as Gnutella, Madster, BearShare, Limewire, Swaptor, Morpheus or Rapigator to pilfer the intellectual property of others.

Before he became the Great Emancipator, Lincoln was the pretty great patenter, holding a patent of his own and championing the protection of property that springs from human creativity. He believed the invention of the printing press in the mid 15th century freed people from "slavery of the mind", followed two centuries later by the patent laws, which freed people to develop the product of the mind. "


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Monday, March 25, 2002
More Underpants! Steve Martin: Making Crazy With an Old Comedy: "Set in 1910 Berlin, "The Underpants" is about what happens after the pretty, sex-starved wife of a boorish, self-satisfied civil servant "accidentally" drops her underpants in public. Sternheim's joke is that despite a golden opportunity, the eager-to-stray wife never manages any hanky-panky with either of the two men who saw her "accident" and who show up to rent a room in the couple's apartment; the bureaucratic clod of a husband ends up triumphing." Like I said before, this is an excellent play!

BONUS: An Exerpt From "The Underpants"

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Oscar Party! Evan and I wastched all 4.5 hours of the Oscars (minus the time we were forced outside for the fire drill) at Jess' dorm. We had a lot of fun! Evan made sure not to miss "The View's After-Oscar Extravaganza" or whatever it was called, where Barbara Walters looked half- or totally asleep! ***

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Sunday, March 24, 2002
Another interesting Church experience. Church was something else today, this Palm/Passion Sunday. ***I will explain about the mass here when I come back to this post.*** The priest said he was sad and angry, sad and angry and embarassed that fellow priests were sexually abusing children. He also called the media on its "obsession" with the controversy, saying it is blowing the controversy so much out of proportion that it seemed like all 42,000 priests in the US were pedophiles.

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Abuse in Afghanistan. Afghans say U.S. troops abused them: "More than 30 Afghans seized by American troops in a 3 a.m. raid on a village security post said they were kicked and abused at a U.S. Army detention center before being freed four days later.

"If they gave us all of Afghanistan now, this wouldn't make up for this insult," said one of the bruised and angry men, Fida Mohammad, 35."


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Sony's latest proprietary format. Downsizing Videotape, Yet Again: "INTRODUCING a new format for anything is always a tricky business. Some innovations become standards, like Microsoft Windows, Phillips screws and queen- size beds. Others wind up in the Museum of Forgotten or Niche Technologies, like Betamax VCR's, quadraphonic sound and those old bicycles with the huge front wheels.

Few companies have more experience in this realm than Sony (news/quote), whose rsum lists many successful format introductions (the 3.5-inch floppy disk, compact disc, 8-millimeter camcorder) and a few that never attained the same ubiquity (DAT tape, MiniDisc, Betamax). This week Sony unveiled yet another new format MicroMV, the world's smallest videocassette and a tiny camcorder to match."


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Secret Middle East connection. A Secret Iran-Arafat Connection Is Seen Fueling the Mideast Fire: "American and Israeli intelligence officials have concluded that Yasir Arafat has forged a new alliance with Iran that involves Iranian shipments of heavy weapons and millions of dollars to Palestinian groups that are waging guerrilla war against Israel.

The partnership, officials said, was arranged in a clandestine meeting in Moscow last May between two top aides to Mr. Arafat and Iranian government officials. The meeting took place while Mr. Arafat was visiting President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, according to senior Israeli security officials who declined to describe the precise nature of their information."


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