RiShawn Biddle's Dailyblog

Friday, October 17, 2003

WE'RE MOVIN' ON UP...: Yes, I have completed the new RiShawn Biddle Web site and have just launched the new version of the Dailyblog--now the Usual Suspect--as well. You can still come here for old Dailyblog screeds. But change your permalinks to the new site.

And yes, there will be regular updates.

Monday, August 11, 2003

ARNOLD ALL OVER THE PLACE: I'm not going to be saying much about Schwarzie for the typical I'm-a-journalist-that-has-covered-the-guy-so-I-have-to-remain-objective reasons. But that doesn't mean I won't let others speak their piece. Here's a list that will grow and grow and grow and...:

I don't get the love that Reasonoids are evincing for Arnold: Jeremy Lott--now of the American Spectator--takes aim at his old bosses at the boys on South Sepulveda.

Arnold strikes me as a Hollywood conservative: And Howard Owens is no fan either.

LA Blog Endorsement: Moxie gives her two cents--and the obligatory peek up/near/around her skirt.

And the obligatory LAObserved link: Could Arnold really be "the weakest governor" ever?

Arnie as a Bardlike Figure?: Ask Mark Steyn about it.

Get a Hickey for Governor?: Not that kind you dirty b------s. Matt Welch is talking about a Libertarian gubernatorial wannabe. Here's his picture for you.

SLOWING GETTING OFF BLOGGER: For those who have noticed I neglected this page, my apologies. Been so busy with reporting, writing and side projects such as finally merging my two sites into one. Yes folks. Within two weeks, the dailyblog (which will get a name more appropriate to its updates) will be a Moveable Type feature of a new RiShawnBiddle.com site. The new design will premiere this weekend while the blog will likely get added the next. So let's give the countdown: 14, 13...

TELEVISION: For those who didn't receive my e-mail this weekend, I made an appearance on television--Reuters' TV service--talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger the businessman. You can still check it out--as well as look at my mug--on Reuters (now in stories 7-9). For my Arnold story (to which I can't link), just go to LAObserved.com, which does have one.

Meanwhile my Ian Schrager story (sorry, can't link to that either) has been picked up by the New York Times' style section. As one would expect, not very strong on pointing out the operational reasons why Schrager is having trouble and it devotes too many inches to talking about Schrager competitors. But a nice piece and proof once again that the old wastrel's best business stories usually end up in sections than those of the actual business section.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

SHORT HITS: What's happening in the rest of the world:
Tricked-out rides in Baltimore: Of all places. Jesse Walker talks about cars with "Finster-style portraits," "eerie scultpures" and one that has screwed around with the Ford logo. Also, check out his latest piece, this on the flap over the BBC and David Kelley.

Universal: Woth the cost?: That's a question I asked in a story I wrote a few weeks ago (to which I can't unfortunately link). Now the New York Times brings up the same question. It's a little more sexed up with all that breathless mogul crap, but not a bad piece at all. But Vanity Fair--whose stable of writers are the masters and mistresses of sexy mogul business stories--would have done it better. The better piece by those guys at the old decrepit scandalized lady is one by Elvis Mitchell about an effort by Mike Judge--the mastermind behind the scatagorical Beavis and Buttheadand longrunning spinoff King of the Hill--to promote independent animated shorts to the major studios.

Marvel Comics: Dead in the water--again? (via Jim Henley): That's what the Comics Journal's Dirk Deppy is betting as he notes the poor performance of the onetime comic powerhouse's Incredible Hulk at the box office--and its millions of income tied to movie licenses. Guess that means that Marvel boss Avi Arad better turn his attempt to buy Artisan Pictures--the indie flick outfit behind The Blair Witch Project--into a reality.

Nasty Fumento Action: Or in this case, all the latest nastygrams the muckraking science writer has received since writing a Fleet Street style obit--that is nasty, nastier and outright snide--about the not-so-dearly departed dietician wannabe Robert Atkins. Sample insult: "pretty chickensh--." Usual Fumento retort: "You're just an electronic sandwich board."

Friday, July 25, 2003

FREE MARKET AND CULTURE: PERFECT TOGETHER: That's what George Mason economics professor Tyler Cowen persuasively argues in both his recent book, Creative Distruction and his interview with Nick Gillespie in the latest edition of Reason magazine (already on newsstands, but not yet on the Web). One surprising example of how the market has actually enhanced culture is one I'm listening to now as I write this post: Bob Marley, or more exactly, reggae and its decendant, the dance hall stylings of chart-toppers Sean Paul and Wayne Wonder:

"It drew heavily from American rhythm and blues. It really took off when Jamaicans received American broadcasts of American music. Later, it drew heavily from the Beatles and the British Invasion bands. It's a notion of music that seems as intensely Jamaican, and in a way it is, but it's also drawing on sea chantey and influences from all over the place. And it's drawing on a religion--Rastafarianism--that has a link to Ethiopia.

"Not only is reggae incredibly synthetic, but it's had an enormous influence on global culture. A lot of American rap music came from reggae. Musicians such as Blondie, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and many others have been considerably influenced by reggae..."

Including the rock group No Doubt, who's origins were in Ska, reggae's horns-heavy immediate parent--and the first music Marley performed while coming up. If you want to read up more on this, a quick primer can be found at the BBC's Web site, where it gives a short history of reggae.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR/SCARY, SCREWED UP, WHAT THE HELL DEPARTMENT: Think of a fascinating, scary, harrowing great film you can only watch once without losing it altogether and what comes to mind is Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky's tale of a family's drug-induced downward spiral. By the time the movie concludes with Jennifer Connelly's sex romp with another woman in the middle of a strip club, you really appreciate the greatness of the film, yet you're ready to drink yourself into a drunken stupor just to avoid total despair.

Requiem came to mind when I was grasping onto the arms of my seat at Hollywood's sleek Arclight Theater watching another blood-splattered scene of a middle-aged man getting shot up in front of his horrified teen daughter. No, I wasn't watching the otherwise bloodless Matrix Reloaded, but Trainspotting director Danny Boyle's apocalypse film, 28 Days Later. A story about Britain being ravaged by a disease that renders its victims mindless and murderous, it combines riveting cinematography with one of the best scripts of the year as well as a great cast, especially Christopher Ecclestone who played a nebbishy accountant-turned-bloodlusting killer in another Boyle thriller, Shallow Grave.

I won't give too much away about the film for those who haven't seen it yet. But yes, this is probably the best movie of the year. But not exactly a film you should see more than once. And you definitely shouldn't watch this alone. After the movie ended, my guest and I ended up scouring for enough alcohol to numb ourselves.

Now the critics have resorted to describing 28 Days as another flick about "flesh-eating zombies." Which certainly shows why film critics, for the most part, deserve the kind of contempt reserved for lawyers, politicians and used car salesmen. For one thing, there are no flesh-eating zombies. The other thing is that the tale is as much about the two conflicting visions of humanity.

On the one side is the Nietschien/Machiavellian concept of humans as warring beasts who continually kill just to survive because "survival is all there is," a view expressed first by the survivalist Selena (played by Naomi Harris) and then by a group of British army soldiers led by Ecclestone's Major Henry West. The second is a more hopeful view that people want to do more than survive. They hope, dream, love and ultimately, will help their fellow man out. Essentially, the Platonic/Christian/Muslim view of the world, which is expressed by Jim (Cillian Murphy) and by the father-and-daughter duo that accompanies Jim and Selena on their trek towards safety.

As it turns out, both are proven right. Man is essentially survivalist, but also quite interested in helping others as well. Within forty minutes of the movie's beginning, we see Jim's life saved from a group of infected humans by Selena and her partner-in-survival at the moment. Then we see one of Jim's rescuers beaten to death by Selena after he gets infected by with the virus. It makes for great drama indeed.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

NEW LINKS: It's time to put Kevin Roderick--he of LAObserved.com--and a few other names on the long-neglected blogroll. Enjoy.

The Joys of Wi-Fi: Ever since I got my first laptop (from my old boss at the Dunwoody Crier in exchange for my last check), I've always wondered why no one ever came up with a mobile Internet system.

That's until now. It's close to 3:30 and I'm in a Santa Monica Starbucks typing away on my new laptop and using Wi-Fi. Next to me: Two sisters and a young boy alternating between licking the spoon that he just dipped into some yogurt and grossing out his mother by dipping a toy dinosaur in the white stuff. Behind me, a barrista grinds out another mocha frappucino. And the hotties walk by in front of the window I'm staring through.

Delight. For those folks who don't have a wireless set up, yes, it's the apple pie a la mode. Do whatever you can to get one of these babies.

Monday, July 14, 2003

BELATED JACK FRANKS WATCH: The twice-convicted felon--whose lowlights have been profiled by your writer--lost a piece of his former empire of sorts according to the Desert Sun. Meanwhile Franks is still holed up in the Federal detention center in Orange County, likely trying to negotiate a plea deal that gets him little time. The Dailyblog will keep you informed. For more on Franks, check out my other site for my special on Franks.