listening in the rain

I have to go to bed. I can’t keep my eyes open. If you’re looking form something to do, check out Bill Moyers talking to John Stewart, or, better yet, listen to Moyers on Fresh Air. Or, if you’re not a Moyers fan, why not do what I’m doing and spend an evening with Groucho? It’s raining outside right now and I’m listening to Groucho through the thunder. There’s something really beautiful about it… Goodnight.

Posted in Art and Culture | 2 Comments

pimping out blog reviews

Yesterday, while stumbling around the web, I happened across a blog advertising a peculiar service. For $250 this site would review whatever it was that you wanted to have reviewed. Well, that got me curious. I started poking around, and soon discovered that this particular site was part of a network managed by Review Me dotcom. I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the several blogs listed as Review Me associates, but, from what I could tell, the site that first caught my attention was a bit of an anomaly. Most member sites weren’t so up front about the fact that their reviews were available for purchase… I suspect that most companies find out about the opportunities, not through the blogs themselves, but through the Review Me site, which profiles each of their members, giving the number of readers in their audience, and naming the price for which you can start generating that much sought after “Viral Buzz.”

Some of the participating “whore blogs” mention in small print, at the very end of the review you’ve just read, that it was a “paid review.” Some just say that it’s a “sponsored post,” without mentioning that the sponsor is the company selling whatever the product is that they’re reviewing. I suspect that some don’t mention it at all, but I haven’t dug around enough yet to confirm that hunch. Regardless, the practice seems more than just a bit deceptive to me, no matter what the Review Me FAQ says…. Here’s a clip from said FAQ:

We do not allow advertisers to require a positive review. The vast majority of reviews are measuredly positive, although many do contain constructive criticism. We view this as a bonus: how else can you quickly and cheaply get feedback on a product or service from influencers?

Reviews are priced as a one time fee per review from each individual blog. Price is determined by the reach that the blog has. The more reach the higher the price. Reviews range from $40 to $500 per review, this is a one time fee per review.

(Of that fee, only $20 to $200, I’ve learned, goes to the blogger. The rest goes to Review Me for their digital pimping services.)

So, guess what I’ve decided to do? I’m going to register for a Review Me account and put myself out there on the cyber street corner for corporate Johns to check out. And, assuming one rolls up, lowers his window, and makes me an offer, I’m going to give a completely honest review of his product that mentions the financial arrangement up front and doesn’t spare any criticism… I know the folks at Review Me say that they don’t force their sites to write good reviews, but I wonder how long they’ll keep me in their stable once I start focusing on the not so flattering aspects of the products I’m paid to review. My guess is, not too long… I’ll keep you posted.

Posted in Special Projects | 21 Comments

are we near the tipping point on impeachment?

It looks like some folks aren’t willing to just sit back and wait for the brewing sex scandal to drag what’s left of the Bush administration down the drain. They’re fed up with his leadership and they’re taking to the streets… and, it would appear, the beaches… demanding that impeachment be pursued. Can you feel that twitchng beneath your feet? It’s the grassroots. They don’t care that Pelosi says it’s off the table. They want it.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

please help spread the word about the vonnegut initiative

If you have any old Vonnegut books that you aren’t using, please consider sending them to this address. I promise you, they will get into the hands of young people that could benefit from them. And please feel free to use this ad on your own sites… There’s no better way to say “goodbye” and “thank you” to Kurt Vonnegut than to get his books into the hands of as yet unremarkable midwestern teens.

(Thanks to Katy for designing the ad.)


(And thanks to Ken for designing this one.)

Posted in Special Projects | 7 Comments

24 hour theater comes to the bluish barn

I have a few friends participating in the 24-hour theater project taking place at the Bluish Barn on May 5. Here’s the blurb that’s been circulating:

24 Hour Theater is an experimental performance piece in which the entire process of a theatrical production is condensed into one day. Between the hours of midnight and 9 a.m., three playwrights will each create a 15 to 20 minute play to be performed by three actors. The actors arrive at 9 a.m. to memorize and rehearse the scripts. By noon, costume and set designers, technicians and crew will be sewing, painting, wiring, as time gets short and the energy mounts. The curtain rises at 8:30 p.m. In this experiment, the product is secondary to the creative process. The time frame calls for a level of improvisation, collaboration, and resourcefulness that will encourage spontaneity and creativity in every step of production. All of the artists involved will push the limits of their imaginative and physical stamina to create a public performance of intensity, originality and perhaps mass chaos. (The Bluish Barn is at 712 N. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor.)

I don’t know how they pick themes for the plays. If someone knows, send me a note. I’m interested. My guess is that they don’t leave it up to the playwrights, as they could begin ahead of time if they knew the subject matter. I suspect the organizer of the event hands them sealed envelopes at the strike of midnight. Perhaps we could submit ideas in the comments section here at, just in case they’re looking for inspiration. Here’s my contribution: Two people meet outside a Furry convention. They are dressed in remarkably similar costumes. They stand outside, neither one wanting to enter with the other, and proceed to talk/quarrel. (I have an idea as to how this play would end, but I suspect that the playwrights wouldn’t want the endings dictated.)

Posted in Art and Culture | 4 Comments


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