Lumpin’ proletariat:

Jon Udell, who runs Radio UserLand, is big on RSS aggregators, as he explains in this Byte magazine piece. And, for your newsreading edification, this list of RSS aggregators is cribbed from his weblog:

Here are a few more I’ve found in my travels:

A chart comparing the attributes of several of these can be found here. Very useful information about RSS, reading and creating feeds, etc. is compiled here.

Slouching toward Baghdad:

This chart exploring the possible scenarios proceeding from the coming invasion of Iraq, from uggabugga, is being broadly linked to (and stressing out ugga’s server to no end, apparently..). It pretty much says it all, with tongue strongly restrained by cheekwall.

President-speak:

From uggabugga:

‘There has been some commentary following Bush’s apparent failure to recall the familiar expression: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

This brings to mind the whole set of malapropisms by the President – commonly referred to as Bushisms. These Bushisms haven’t been analyzed in any thorough manner, so we decided to take a look at the current set, and see if there was a pattern. There is…’

Pick hit of the day:

Bach: Goldberg Variations (recorded 1955 and 1981) by Glenn Gould have bee re-released in a gorgeous and essential 3-CD set to mark this month’s 70th anniversary of his birth and 20th anniversary of his death —

Glenn Gould’s extraordinary career was bracketed by the Goldberg Variations. It was his first recording of the work, in 1955, that established Gould as a pianistic force of exceptional gifts, while the second studio version he made in 1981 (there is also a Salzburg festival performance from 1957) proved to be his last visit to the recording studio; it was released in September the following year, just days before his sudden death at the age of 50. In the subsequent 20 years, Gould’s reputation and stature as one of the most important pianists of the 20th century have been maintained, and these two recordings especially have achieved near legendary status.

Reissued together now to mark the 20th anniversary of his death, the two recordings of the Goldberg Variations provide a fascinating comparison. The earlier one has been scrupulously remastered for the new album, and sounds more lifelike and immediate than ever before. The set also includes a disc of outtakes from the 1955 sessions as well as an interview Gould gave in 1982, in which he discussed the differences between the two performances. The most startling contrast is in the sheer length of the performances. In 1955 Gould got through the work in 38 minutes, while in 1981 he took 51; in the later account he does observe some repeats (there were none in 1955), but there is also a broadness, a sense of contemplation in a work that clearly meant more to him than any other. Guardian UK

Nation of Sheep Dept (cont’d):

Travelers would trade privacy for shorter lines:

In a poll of frequent business fliers, the overwhelming majority said they would welcome more intrusive personal identification technology if it streamlined airport security check-in. The poll was commissioned by Johnson Controls.

About three-fourths of the frequent air travelers polled said they would be “extremely” or “very” willing to undergo a fingerprint scan at the airport if it helped streamline and shorten flight check-in time. Nearly two-thirds were just as willing to undergo an iris or facial recognition scan. And 61 percent said they were extremely or very willing to use a national ID card with thumbprint.

The poll’s release follows recent relevant testimony from James Loy, acting head of the Transportation Security Administration. Before a Senate committee last week, Loy voiced support for the creation of a “trusted traveler” program to reduce airport security waits for frequent business fliers. The proposed program would involve voluntary, in-depth background checks for frequent travelers who would then receive a badge embedded with some type of personal identification technology and become part of a registered traveler database.

Johnson Controls, of course, has a vested interest

in the broad adoption of such technologies…

Deconstructing ‘The Sopranos’

Five books about The Sopranos considered:

“Maybe higher education isn’t such a good idea after all. The fourth season of The Sopranos is finally here, and professors of various stripes are having a go at explicating the first three seasons. Literary critics and historians, neo-Marxists and theoretical feminists, postmodernists and pre-post-post-structuralists are scrambling to stake their claims to David Chase’s series. The name-dropping in these books borders on the felonious — why stop at Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese when Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin are available? — but unfortunately the RICO statute doesn’t yet apply to the academic racket.” NY Times

Recall last week’s discussion here of whether readers should take my multiple postings about Wilco as an indication of my own tastes? Well, I’ll short-circuit any similar speculation about my fondness for Sopranos blinks by making it explicit that, yes, they signify my fondness for the show. One of the reasons, of course, is my endless fascination with the pivotal role a psychotherapeutic relationship plays in a popular TV show. While I do think it is about the most responsible portrayal of psychiatric treatment I’ve seen in the popular media, that doesn’t make it problem-free… There’s also that giddy, somewhat delectable dissonant experience of feeling empathetic toward and invested in a mobster as an audience member, which of course parallels the supportive and empathetic stance one struggles to maintain toward whomever one is treating as a psychotherapist.

Of course, self-described ‘conservative’ columnists such as Suzanne Fields would have a different take on my appreciation of the show:

It has been widely remarked that the Sopranos are a 1950s family with a ’50s family sensibilities, reflecting a traditional reference point for right and wrong. But if the microcosm resides in hearth and home, the macrocosm is hell on earth. The Mob follows a vicious immoral code and the lead characters resemble Satan, Moloch and Belial, the fallen angels in Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” who seek ways to attempt to wreak vengeance against God.

William F. Buckley argues that the popularity of “The Sopranos” depends on the degeneration of its audience, but this, I think, ignores the way the series raises legitimate questions about the nature of evil and its seductive qualities. If we sometimes find ourselves in sympathy with vile criminals, we’re confronted with our own gullibility and susceptibility to behavior we know is wrong. These gangsters aren’t “role models.” Nobody in his right mind would want to be in Tony Soprano’s shoes.

[Does anyone, by the way, have a reference for the Buckley observation? FmH]

Addendum: Here

it is

Readying for War:

“U.S. pilots patrolling the skies over Iraq are taking a new approach to defending themselves against Iraqi gunners by striking at the command and communications links in Iraq’s air defense system rather than its guns and radar, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday.

The switch, which Rumsfeld said he ordered more than a month ago, is designed to do more long-lasting damage to Iraq’s ability to shoot down the American and British pilots whose fighter jets have been patrolling “no-fly” zones over northern and southern Iraq for 11 years.” Washington Post

Russia demands to see US proof over Saddam Hussein

:

“Russia says it won’t support military action against Iraq unless the US shows enough evidence that Saddam Hussein is a threat.” Ananova

Bush plans first strike against any foreign foe

: ‘U.S. President George W. Bush unrolled a sweeping blueprint for global supremacy yesterday, vowing to wage military, economic and ideological battles around the world to destroy terrorist threats and promote U.S. values.

In a report to Congress, Mr. Bush said the United States is prepared to launch pre-emptive military strikes against security threats even when they are not imminent, and will not shrink from “compelling” others to fall in line.’ Globe and Mail