Entries from August 2008 ↓

Olympic World-Chumpions

Back to New Zealand….
Ooo, that’s gotta hurt: Katie McVean disagrees with her horse, Forest

Two weeks of video highlights, color announcers screaming, and Michael Phelps have made me so ready for the glory of people like equestrian Katie McVean from New Zealand, above, who, in individual jumping, came in 71st place. In other words, the kind of folk Jonathan Crowe “celebrates” on DFL, a blog about the lame-O’s who ranked, as he puts it, “Dead F%$@in’ Last” in their Olympic sport.

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Athletes Ready and Eager for 2012

[insert Olympic theme music here]

When The London Times Matthew Syed—a 1992 Barcelonan and 2008 Beijing commentator—was asked how true it is that for athletes, behind the scenes, the Olympics is rampaging humpfest, he gave the answer Bob Costas never could to the question Costas would never address:

You had better believe it.

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Say What You Want About the Chinese, But They Sure Know How to Put on a Show.

Boom, shake the room…

I was actually kinda blasé about the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, at the outset, so I didn’t really tune in, initially, or check out the opening ceremonies.

Boy, was that a mistake.

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“Wanna Come Up to My Apartment and See My Blog?”

Caught out there.

I get that the script is supposed to be a parody of the silly things twentysomethings say when they’re trying spread their DNA around. Still, I don’t know which statement in this Twix commercial is dumber:

1. “Frankly, I just feel like some politicians are completely out of touch with 99% of society.”

2. “Yeah…and it’s, like, the mainstream media’s fault.”


3. “Blogging? I LOVE blogging!”

I just know that these two are getting laid. And that they completely deserve each other.

Sex: The Olympic-Sized Subtext

A champion in her own right….
Go, Paraguay: Javelinist Leryn Franco shows her winning form

Sex for the sport / The metaphor I kick is rhythmic
So listen / No competition / My love’s Olympic
The pace that I set heats the mind until it’s scorched
Waiting for the games to begin with my torch comes the javelin
The distance, it can’t be measured
The pleasure, too deep / Infinity marks the record…

“Sex for the Sport,” Channel Live,
Station Identification (Capitol, 1995)

Surrounded by fellow countrymen, she stepped into the Beijing National Stadium, or “Bird’s Nest,” during the 2008 Olympics’ opening ceremonies. When the camera pulled in for a close-up, all a planetful of horny guys wanted to know is, Who is that? What is her sport? and Does it show a lot of skin?

“Well, at least I’m not in 52nd place.”As it turns out, her name is Leryn Franco, she’s 26, from Paraguay, and throwing the javelin shows more skin than gymnastics, though less than beach volleyball.

As it also turns out, she wasn’t really all that good at what she did, placing 51st in her field. (Czech athlete Barbora Špotáková got the gold. “Leryn Franco is Hot; Sucks at Javelin” read one blog post.)

So, what? Throwing a 600g spear isn’t how Franco makes her money.

This is:

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The Power of Pure Thought.

Kahn made it happen…

Carter Wiseman is president of the MacDowell Colony, in Peterborough NH, and teaches at the Yale School of Architecture. In June of 2007, I hosted him on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION.

On the program, he spoke about two of his great passions: The Colony, and architect Louis Kahn, both on which he’d just finished books: Louis I. Kahn: Beyond Time and Style: A Life in Architecture, and A Place for the Arts: The MacDowell Colony, 1907-2007. (Kahn’s Philip Exeter Academy library, above, is, like Mac Dowell, in New Hampshire. It is his sole New England work.)

Kahn has long thrilled me, his buildings seemingly arising from undiluted conception. As a Mac Dowell fellow with a perverse interest in architecture—I spent April and May of 2005 there, working my ever-slowly progressing book on architecture in computer and video games—I was deeply and profoundly supported while answering the questions that necessarily bedevil creative work.

I had a wonderful time speaking with Carter Wiseman, a gentle and great mind. You can hear him by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, you can check out our stream on the web. If you miss the live show, check out our archive for up to two weeks after broadcast.


Not doing my job, I guess….

I made a boo-boo: My NONFICTION conversation with Judith Matloff (Home Girl: Buliding a Dream House on a Lawless Block) does not air today, but will broadcast on a future date.

I’ll try and keep these to a minimum, folks.

They Did a Good Job On Him. It’s Almost Like He’s Still Alive.

A stand-up guy….
Keepin’ it real: The late Angel Pantoja Medina, left, with family

I tend to avoid “Strange, But True” type news stories on MEDIA ASSASSIN, but let’s just say that this one made me stand up in my seat.

According to The Associated Press, Angel Pantoja Medina of Puerto Rico, had always told his brother, Carlos, that, when he died,

he wanted to be upright for his own wake: “He wanted to be happy, standing.”

So, when, sadly, the young man’s body was found last Friday under a San Juan bridge,

Good night, sweet prince….A funeral home used a special embalming treatment to keep the corpse of 24-year-old Angel Pantoja Medina standing upright for his three-day wake.

Dressed in a Yankees baseball cap and sunglasses, Pantoja was mourned by relatives while propped upright in his mother’s living room.

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African Zombie Virus Rampant.
Forget Medicines. Bring Guns.

Come and get it….

Long before its scheduled March 2009 release, Resident Evil 5 (RE5), the next installment in the immensely popular and influential survival-horror videogame series, started coughing up blood…and controversy: In the narrative, a white protagonist, Chris Redfield, sets down in what appears to be an African or Caribbean country decimated by a mutant “supervirus.” Suddenly, freshly dead villagers start to revive as bloodthirsty zombies, and Redfield must slaughter them in hordes to stay alive, a la this scene, below, from the game trailer.

“Wipe them out…all of them….”

Perhaps Newsweek‘s gaming critic, N’Gai Croal, giving pointed regard to the clip’s images, with their precedents in racist visual history, said it most succinctly in an excellent MTV Online interview: “Clearly no one Black worked on this game.”

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Greatest Olympian Ever? Really?

Count ‘em.
Michael Phelps, golden boy: Sports Illustrated‘s latest cover

Swimmer Michael Phelps’s devastating performances at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics are literally the stuff of legend, now, with that sport’s meets done. As raves for his outstanding feats continue to pour in—eight gold medals in China, more than any other athlete ever at one Olympics, and fourteen golds total, when adding in his six Athens 2004 wins—the question is being raised everywhere that sports is debated: Is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian ever?

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