It's like the fairy tale gone wrong: the King (LeBron James) leads his team (the Cavaliers) and his people (the beloved city of Cleveland) to the best record in the Eastern Conference. Then he sweeps through the first two series in the playoffs winning almost every game by double digits. But it's all a cruel, twisted tragedy if his Cavs don't make it to the NBA Finals.
Well things aren't looking so glamorous in never never land right now. The Cavs are down 3-1 to the Orlando Magic and facing elimination tonight. They've lost 11 out of the last 15 to Orlando and they can't seem to come up with an answer for Howard, Lewis, or Turkoglu. If the Cavs lose tonight, the city of Cleveland as we know it may never be the same. NY papers are already predicting LeBron to NY in 2010. It's not looking good for the already love-starved fans of Cleveland. And it's not to the fault of LeBron. He's averaged around 40 points a game in the series so far, and if it wasn't for his season-saving shot. The Cavs would have been swept right out of the playoffs already.
We open source art, encyclopedias and Twitter tees.. Why not God? In Search Magazine, Sam Kean writes about "open source religion." It's one of those things you finally read about and realize should be far less surprising than it actually is.
Open-source religion is an amalgamation of two ways of thinking about the world. The first is religion, a common set of practices, rituals, and beliefs. It’s as old as the hills, one of the most enduring traits of humankind. The “open source” component is new, an unforeseen consequence of the Internet revolution of the 1990s. It’s a reference to open-source computer code, code that anyone is allowed to rewrite, add to, or delete. …
Adherents of open-source religion note that tradition can calcify into dogma, and if there’s one common trait to people who practice open-source religion, it’s distaste for dogma. Some open-source believers want to found entirely new religions, and some merely want to reinvigorate a mainstream faith. All want to change people’s perceptions of religion from something that’s handed down to them, something they receive, and make religion something people do. All religions evolve, of course, but the tinkering inherent to open-source religions can benefit founders and followers alike, Webster says. “When you share what you learn, you learn better,” he notes, “and the content evolves that much more efficiently.”
In other words, Vote on the virgin birth! Include user input as to whether Jesus is God! Interestingly, the idea seems far less provocative in practice. It doesn't seem to have led to many actual, doctrinal changes yet. People seem to (shockingly!) like ritual and tradition, and practice a religion because they, well, hold to its core beliefs.
The premise is flawed. Think about it.
I just found out I live in the least free state in America, according to a George Mason University study that ranked freedom in the 50 United States.
The researchers rated fiscal policy (spending and taxation), regulatory policy (labor and health insurance, eminent domain, tort, land and environmental regulations), and paternalism (alcohol, tobacco, gambling, gun control, education regulations) in each state. New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota ranked first in freedom, while New York came in dead last.
I usually think of freedom as an abstract ideal. It’s counterintuitive to think of freedom as something tangible and quantifiable, so it made me wonder whether I feel less free, or if my freedom is so elusive and easily lost that I haven’t noticed it’s gone.
Well, I’m not paying federal income taxes this year, but I am paying New York income tax. The cost of public transportation is going up, from $2 a ride to $2.25. We had a $17.7 billion 2009-2010 budget gap, the largest in state history, a gap I will pay for if I stick around. I already pay 8.75 percent in sales tax, and the mayor wants to increase that to 8.875 percent. And everything is more expensive before the sales tax, from iced coffee to fingernail clippers.
I don’t always think of the source of these high costs, but some of it is due to the onerous regulations the GMU researchers measure. When I am not the businessman dealing with business regulations, I think I’m free. But his loss of freedom affects my economic freedom.
Good morning and happy TV finale week! As the shows head off to their summer homes and the graduates to their parents’ basements to wait out the recession, our thoughts of nice spring things and vacations can officially begin. It’s a media-heavy Monday update this week because New York Times columnists have been being naughty, and icy, famous editors have come out in public to thaw. But stick around for the happy video at the end!
Maureen Dowd’s Sunday column plagiarized a paragraph from a post on Talking Points Memo about the timeline of torture and Iraq. The Times has issued a correction online, and, in an email to the Huffington Post, Dowd admitted that the “line” came from a conversation with a friend, who she didn’t know had taken it from TPM. But that hardly explains how the TPM writer’s entire paragraph appeared word-for-word in her column without attribution. Whatever happened here, MoDo definitely has it coming.
Also in acidic female journalist news, Vogue editrix Anna Wintour posed for 60 Minutes last night and explained, in her rarely-heard half-British, half-American accent, why she wears her sunglasses (“they’re armor”) and why she might, in fact, be a bitch (“if requiring excellence makes me a bitch, perhaps I am.”)
Pakistan is loading up on nuclear weapons faster than we can blink (shite!), and yet, incredibly, someone in the government—or a lot of someones—were considering giving them “billions” in military aid. What on earth is going on here?
The country survived graduation weekend without any major incidents: the President spoke at Notre Dame, where he talked about abortion and kind of admitted the divisions over it are irreconcilable. And wearing a metallic red cap and gown, Bristol Palin walked across the stage at Wasilla High School and collected her diploma. She finished with a 3.497 grade-point average. No word on Levi.
Speaking of abortion, the weekend news was filled with disclosures of conservatives’ no-longer-so-secret plans to block the President’s potential Supreme Court nominees. Gay marriage, several Republican senators said, has replaced abortion as the “flash point” of the confirmation hearings, and they plan to use the spectacle to encourage donations and unite the party.
23-year-old Alexander Rybak, universally and awkwardly described as a “boyish, fiddle-wielding Norwegian singer,” won Eurovision, the world’s biggest song competition held in Moscow on Saturday. A colossal event famous for its dramatic performances, stunts and pyrotechnics, was Eurovision was briefly visited by gay-rights protesters before Moscow police rounded them up. Rybak’s song “Fairytale,” which he performed while fiddling and dancing, took the top honor.
A first look at this week’s magazines: New York’s cover story, by the always-amazing Sam Anderson, is a defense of distraction; The New Yorker has looks into Justice John Roberts’ stealthy judicial activism and an item on Todd Palin’s awkwardness; Newsweek debuts its new format with an exclusive interview with President Obama; the Weekly Standard profiles former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who’s now running to be the next Republican governor of California.
Finally, we’re to the good part: this morning’s start-your-day video, a collaboration of Andrew Bird, comic book artist Chris Ware, and This American Life: the animated musical adventure of Quimby the Mouse and his strange pet … head.
While most of the world is anticipating summer blockbusters like, I don't know, Transformers: The One Where Everyone Finally Realizes Shia LaBeouf is Unnattractive, I, for one, am practically giddy about the long-awaited straight-to-DVD arrival of something a little different.
When a friend sent me the trailer this morning accompanied only by the sentiment, "I have no words," I had no idea what to expect. Thus, I was instantly blown away when Satan himself (who is both an anaconda and a huge fan of the Voice Mutator, apparently) came right out of the box tormenting a young boy named Johnny. From what I can tell, Johnny's character seems to have been created by the writers solely to be punished in very trite, archetypal ways by Satan, who I began to love by the end of the TV-episode-length trailer.
Accordingly, Johnny's both blind and wheelchair-bound and homeless, because being healed from only one serious infirmity wouldn't have been enough to showcase the awesomeness of the Retarded Tree That Is Apparently God.
Oops, gave away the plot. But that's okay, because it's alllll in the trailer. Seriously, from what I can tell, every single plot point /cliche may be in the trailer (unless the writers are more gloriously sucky than I can imagine). To wit: Johnny's Dad didn't want kids! Johnny gets cold and wants to die sometimes! Johnny can't ride motorcycles because he
can't hold his liquor can't use his legs! Johnny gets healed by a Retarded God Tree and subsequently turns into Zach from Saved By The Bell! The God Tree births CDs of the Ten Commandments for Johnny to take to the world! The Retarded God Tree reiterates in increasingly mentally unaware tones that he LOVES Johnny approximately 430 times! Johnny and Random Wholesome Girl dramatically run towards each other on the beach and wholesomely twirl interminably!
All tied together with a dramatic final dose of "for THIIIIIIIIINE is the KIIIIINGDOM / and the GLLOOOOORYYYY / and the POWWEEER TO MAGICALLY BIRTH CDDDDDD'S…"
It's amazing, and please, really, stop reading right now and watch the trailer, which you will find after the jump.
After a brief hiatus/rainout last Friday, the Morning Gossip is back with everything that the good, the bad, and the ugly did over the weekend. We’ve been leaning toward the grim news side of things lately and, well, since there never is a ton of grim news first thing on Monday morning, what better way to get started than with some good, strong breakfast juice?
The top of the news this weekend was the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is kind of like an Oscar afterparty for politicos (i.e., star-studded but still stiff and stilted, thickly populated by olds and nerds. The attending Twitterati, incidentally, referred to the ordeal as the “nerdprom.”)
The correspondents’ dinner is the annual night where the President shoots arrows into his own buttocks in front of the glutted and inebriated press, and President Obama, unlike the warm-up comedian Wanda Sykes, benefitted from some sharp joke writers. Two fake teleprompters unfurled dramatically on the stage as he welcomed the audience to “the ten day anniversary of my first 100 days.” He continued to riff on Rahm’s potty mouth Michelle’s bare arms, and coyly suggested Dick Cheney title his memoir How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People. See the full video here.
Even more entertaining was all the journos rubbing themselves against the collected stardom of D.C. and Hollywood, bursting with pertinent analysis and a landslide of Twitpics. The night had barely begun when Meghan McCain called it a “clusterf—-,” and Ana Marie Cox squealed when she met Gossip Girl stars Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick. The ever glam-hungry Daily Beast has all the further analysis you’ll need, here and here.
After the jump, the latest the British tabloids have on Michael Phelps, where Nancy Pelosi is hiding, and what movie – three guesses and the first two don't count! – topped the box office this weekend. Plus a quick roundup of what's in all of this week's magazines.
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