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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, May 11, 2002
8 Months later. It has, in fact, been eight months since the September 11th attacks. I remember realizing a couple of days ago that it would again be the 11th of the month, but I didn't really think about it at all today. Its not like I don't think about what happened. I mean, I'm reminded about it every time I watch the news and when I pass St. Vincent's Hospital and see the preserved "missing" posters or the many tribute memorials around the City, spraypainted or whatnot. I also notice the void in the skyline looking out my window each day. The difference today is that it is the 11th and I didn't really notice. Maybe it was because its Jennifer's birthday or because I was finishing my ten page paper or because the 11th this time around was about getting Indian food for the first time with Sue and Stacy at Baluchi's Indian Food Factory and hanging out with Kim and Margot for the last time before the summer break. Every week at church we still "pray for the victims of 9/11," this day didn't seem to carry any significance besides being two days before my two finals. Its not necessarily a bad thing, afterall, yet I don't want to forget what happened eight months ago and why it was so significant.

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Friday, May 10, 2002
Merchandising the Spider. Merchandising and children's films: "IT IS the box-office take that grabs the headlines. The news that Spider-Man, a film about the comic-strip superhero released by Sony's Columbia TriStar, broke all records when it took nearly $115m on its opening weekend in America, has raised the stakes for all the big studios and their slate of summer releases. This is the race that intrigues Hollywood insiders. Spider-Man trumped the first Harry Potter film; can Star Wars: Episode IIAttack of the Clones, which opens later this month, trump Spider-Man? Box-office competition, however, disguises the fact that cinema-ticket sales are now only a marginal element of overall income.

As much as 80% of any film's revenue now comes not from ticket sales but from its release on video and DVD, pay-TV and so forth. Filmed entertainment for children is as much about selling toys, yoghurt pots, lunch-boxes and other paraphernalia as the film itself. Spider-Man, whose life began in a comic book, now graces cereal boxes, cool drinks and clothes as well as appearing in video games and as an action figure in toy-shops. Sales of Harry Potter toys have alone far exceeded the film's American box-office take. The spin-offs from a blockbuster film, says Dan Jansen, at the Boston Consulting Group in Los Angeles, can multiply American box-office revenues two or three timeswith an even bigger impact on profits."


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SAB Outing! We went to Carmine's. Details to follow.

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To clone or not to clone? Biology and politics: "SOMETIME this month the Senate will vote on the Human Cloning Prohibition Act. The bill would make cloning human cells a federal crime, punishable by up to ten years in jail and fines of $1m. It would ban not just baby cloning (that is, transplanting a cloned embryo into a woman's womb), but therapeutic cloning as well (embryo cloning in the hope of curing genetic diseases such as diabetes).

Supporters of the bill, sponsored by Senators Sam Brownback and Mary Landrieu, say the debate will be the first opportunity for Congress to regulate the hard ethical dilemmas raised by biomedical advances. (Last year's narrower debate over the related subject of stem-cell research ended in George Bush deciding that it could get government money.) The House of Representatives passed a version of the Senate cloning bill last July. Mr Bush has said he will sign the ban if it passes.

Opponents view the bill as an attack on basic science. They back a rival measure, sponsored by Senators Edward Kennedy and Arlen Specter, to ban baby cloning but permit the therapeutic kind. This will be debated at the same time."


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Thursday, May 09, 2002
Privacy laws are always changing? Data overload: "How much legal protection should be given to individuals' privacy? This seemingly simple question is being answered by fundamentally different laws across the globe. The conflicting and rapidly changing controls being created carry a real - and rising - cost for business."

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The Internet breeds creativity. Spreading by the Web, Pop's Bootleg Remix: "It is something that is completely different, often illegal and, thanks to the Internet, becoming explosively popular. Songs like this one, which combine different hits without adding any original music, may represent the first significant new musical genre to be lifted out of the underground, developed and then spread, mostly via the Web. The songs, called mash-ups or bootlegs, typically match the rhythm, melody and underlying spirit of the instrumentals of one song with the a cappella vocals of another. And the more odd the pairing the better."

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Wednesday, May 08, 2002
End of the School Year Reflections. So, its the end of yet another school year. If I remember any reflections on the school year past, I will be sure to mention them right here, on my weblog.

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Mets Game. Tonight, Kim and Margot invited me to go with them to the Mets vs. Giants game. I was sort of surprised Kim remembered how much I liked the Mets, until I looked around my room at all the Mets memorabilia hanging all over the place. Kim's friend from Girl Scouts gave the tickets to her. Kim didn't have any problems picking up the tickets with only her NYU ID because the guy realized she was picking up Girl Scouts tickets. Kim and Margot seemed surprised at how long (45 minutes) the train ride took to Shea Stadium, but of course I wasn't. I enjoyed seeing the "scenic tour" through Queens, including the graffiti-covered rooftops, including the one with a guy sleeping and another guy adding more graffiti as we passed by. Think the Bronx Zoo monerail ride mixed with any New York City in the 80's movie.

I have to admit the Mets were not exactly playing up to par. Our seats were pretty good though, Upper level behind homeplate. Despite Margot's repeated sly attempts to get me to buy them cotton candy, we had a good time watching the Mets lose. Well the losing part wasn't great and Kim never got to see the "Big Apple" come out of the top hat, but there's nothing better than a spring evening at Shea Stadium. I got some really nice photos, too. It was my first time at Shea since I bought my digital camera.

The only part I wasn't happy with was when the two girls decided to leave during the 8th inning. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a rabid baseball fan, so it follows that I'd want to stay to the end of the game for the sake of staying to the end of the game. I guess Kim and Margot didn't get that, so they left without saying anything. I was pretty mad about that, but luckily I met this girl on the train who had the same camera as me and we discussed how great the Digital Elph is and what size memory cards we had. I guess the 64 MB card is good enough for some people.

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WIll Ferrell is leaving SNL. Will's 'Strategery': "If talent were the sole criterion, you'd want to bet on him. As he closes out his "SNL" tenure on May 18, the show's season finale, Ferrell leaves behind a legacy worthy of all the "SNL" reruns that Comedy Central--and, soon, E! Entertainment Television--air to fill out the day.

In addition to George W. Bush, Ferrell was Alex Trebek, the simmering, superior "Jeopardy!" host. He was Craig, Spartan Spirit cheerleader; and Marty Culp, middle school music teacher who, with wife Bobbi, performed horrific covers of pop hits that inevitably had the kids hurling garbage at the stage. He was James Lipton, the constipated-with-awe host of Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio."

If the disparate characters had anything in common, it was that they were infused with Ferrell's ability to create comic tension between the exterior, contained self and the inner mess of a person who longed to get out."


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Television vs. Time. A chance to think outside the box: "Cathode ray tube (CRT) television technology, now more than 100 years old, has stood the test of time remarkably well. Refinements to the electronics and the picture tube have enabled it to reign supreme in the living room.

But there are inherent drawbacks to CRT. One is that there is a limit to the size of a glass picture tube. About 40 inches is the maximum, big enough for most people, perhaps, but not for everyone. The second problem is that, once you get beyond 30in, even a modern CRT television set takes up a lot of space.

TV manufacturers have attempted to disguise the problem by producing more attractive-looking sets with flat picture tubes. They have also been working on television sets employing plasma and liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, in an effort to make very large TV sets more room-friendly."


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Tuesday, May 07, 2002
Congrats to me! Just annouced over the Program Board listserv by Allison.... the new Poets and Writers Chair is me! I finally won a spot on the e-board! I'm stoked that I won, especially the huge hassle I had to go through in order to run in the first place. I'm excited about what creative and new and exciting programming I can make happen next year! If you have any suggestions for events, let me know!

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Surviving Anthrax. For Anthrax Survivors, a Halting, Painful Recovery: "Reality, for Mr. Hose and most of the tiny corps of survivors of inhalation anthrax, has been somewhere in between. Of the 11 people who came down with the deadliest form of anthrax after germ-laced letters were sent through the mail in October, six survived. Of those, one is well enough to return to work, even though the typical recovery period for a serious infection is three to six months. The others are caught in the limbo of recovery, grateful to be alive but wondering whether the aftereffects, both physical and psychological, will ever subside.

Some have nightmares. One has begun seeing a psychiatrist to cope with flashbacks that transport him, without warning, back to intensive care. Others complain that they are tired, short of breath and plagued by losses of short-term memory, symptoms that puzzle their doctors, as well as government experts."


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They still can't figure out Anthrax!! Anthrax Sent Through Mail Gained Potency by the Letter: "Deepening the mystery of the biological attacks that terrified the nation last fall, federal investigators have discovered that the anthrax sent through the mail, in general, grew more potent from one letter to the next, with the spores in the final letter to be opened the one sent to Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont the deadliest of all.

The finding has surprised and worried investigators, who say it poses a new riddle: was the culprit an amateur making gradual improvements through experimentation, a malevolent professional intentionally ratcheting up the potency of the germ powder, or someone else entirely?

It also suggests that after more than six months of painstaking effort, government experts investigating the anthrax strikes are still at sea. Part of the problem, they admit, is a lack of advisers skilled in the subtleties of germ weapons."


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Monday, May 06, 2002
Korean Credit Debt = Death? Here in Korea, Credit Card Debt Can Kill You: "It's a crime that even the most creative novelists and screenplay writers wouldn't come up with. All the staples of a good story -- murder, intrigue, police chases -- are there. Yet the motive seems too fanciful: Debt.

Welcome to South Korea, the site of such bizarre goings on. Just last week, two men posing as taxi drivers strangled six women within 48 hours. The motive: Robbery to pay off credit card debts. A handful of others have been killed for similar reasons, while suicides by overextended cardholders are on the rise. It's the most extreme side effect of the nation's sudden love affair with plastic. While names like American Express, MasterCard and Visa have been here for many a year, Koreans are savers who've long favored cash over credit.

That's all changing now. Walking around the streets of Seoul, one confronts a barrage of hawkers handing out credit-card applications. It's a reminder that Korea is a rapidly growing market for card issuers. Data show that credit-card use has risen roughly 90 percent a year since 1998. And Koreans, who two years ago averaged fewer than 2 cards apiece, now use four."


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Sunday, May 05, 2002
Simpsons Stay. Don't panic! 'The Simpsons' is too lucrative to come to an end just yet: "Life without Homer? Without Bart? Without, gulp, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon? Unthinkable, isn't it? Which makes one wonder why Matt Groening, anarchic creator of The Simpsons, was this week reported to be talking up the possibility that the longest running prime-time animation show in history may be coming to an end. 'I think we are closer than ever to winding it up,' he told the Financial Times. 'Although what happens generally if we win the Emmy for best animation show is that it gives us another couple of years to run it into the ground.'

That splashing sound heard around the world shortly after the article was printed was Groening swiftly rowing back on his original comments. Probably, his initial contribution on the programme's shelf life was fuelled by the fact that Fox TV has been less than supportive of his other animation baby, Futurama, a much-underrated animation series that has not been commissioned for another series because of poor ratings. (Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch and has made (pounds) 1 billion out of The Simpsons.)"


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Sunny Cinco de Mayo! What a beautiful day! I went to Church, where there were three baptisms and two confirmations for two people and a baby. Then I took absolutely fabulous pictures of the "Tic and Tac Super Crew" in the fountain at Washington Square Park. When I came back to U-Hall, I celebrated Cinco de Mayo at Kim's fabulous terrace party with all my friends! There was homemade fudge, homemade salsa, and almost enough soda for ten people, all thanks to Kim. Nick was showing off his selling power by hawking his CD goods for 50 cents each. A great time was had by all!

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UHall Gov't Dinner. Kim's plans worked out and the UHall Gov't crew were treated to a fabulous (the food was fabulous, despite a non-existent waitress) free dinner at "America" on 18th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. Kim wants me to mention that our table (of Kelly, Kim, Sue, Chad, the other Kim, John, and myself) was right in the middle of a statutory rape conference. Allow me to explain -- there were about 40 high school age girls at one table and about 20 thrity-ish looking guys, one of them with gray hair. The guys were all over the underage girls' table the whole night and both tables decided to start yellign things to each other. America makes good use of its space, which is the entire ground floor with a thirty-foot ceiling, so the yelling was echoing in all sorts of ways and it felt like I was back in my high school cafeteria. Weird and scary.

The food was great, though, despite the almost non-existent waitress, who seemed way out of it. Since the dinner was paid for by UHall Gov't, we went crazy and ordered plenty of food. The total was only $450, I think. Thai shrimp rolls, fried calamari, New York steak, baked potato, spinach, and "Death By Chocolate" all found their way onto my plate. Three hours later, we were done. After the dinner, I watched television with Margot and Kim, where Margot and I made fun of "Showtime at the Apollo," since they decided to continually show the one white couple in the audience. A fun night was had by all.

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