Friday, October 24, 2003

Give Me A Sign!

During the filming of Mel Gibson's new film, "The Passion of Christ," Jim Caviezel, the actor who plays Jesus, was struck by lightning.

I'm not a religious man, but I can't help but see that as a bad sign!
$15-25 Billion

The word on the street is that Google will IPO at a valuation of $15-25 billion. To put that in perspective, the other "Big 3" of the Internet, Yahoo!, eBay, and Amazon, all have valuations between $20 and 35 billion.

As I've admitted in the past, I scoffed at Google when the news of its $25 million first round came out. I guess the laugh's on me. The worst part about a Google IPO is that it means that another friend, employee #1 at Google, will soon be fabulously wealthy, reminding my wife that I still haven't made us rich beyond our wildest dreams. Sigh.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Scotty, Two To Beam Up!

VentureBlog featured an excellent article today on predictions for the future of wireless. The thesis of the article is that you can extrapolate the future of the mainstream by looking at specific early-adopter microcosms. For example, Dartmouth's Blitzmail system presaged IMAP, LDAP, and IM.

All of this is quite fascinating, but best of all is this little doozy:

"A number of the staff and students here are trialing a very interesting device from Vocera, called a communications badge. It's a small, two ounce device that's basically just a microphone, speaker, battery, and 802.11 chip. People "push to talk" and use a voice-recognition enabled server to connect to other people. "

In other words, it's a Star Trek communicator. The only question is when those lazy bastards at U Penn are going to finish building a working holodeck.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

There's Nothing Funny About Spousal Abuse

On the other hand, the image of a drunken, enraged Liza Minelli beating the crap out of her crypto-homosexual husband can't help but conjure up a smirk in even the most cynical.

"Defendant repeatedly pounded plaintiff's head with her fists. The alcohol gave her remarkable force and strength."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

TMQ DOA

Gregg Easterbrook, who wrote the "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" column for ESPN.com (praised in an earlier posting on this blog), was just fired for his New Republic blog posting on Kill Bill. In it, he condemns Tarantino's new movie, Kill Bill, for "wallowing in gore."

While this definitely constitutes "biting the hand that feeds you" (ESPN.com and Miramax, Kill Bill's distributor, are both owned by Disney), this wasn't (necessarily) what got Easterbrook fired. No, this is what got him fired:

"Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice."

Easterbrook quickly apologized, but by then the damage was done.

Lang Whittaker of SLAM Online compared Easterbrook's gaffe to Rush Limbaugh's self-destruction over quasi-racist comments about Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb. There is one key difference, however (no, not that Limbaugh's comments were racist and Easterbrook's anti-Semitic). Limbaugh made his comments on-air, and was rightly dismissed. Easterbrook's blog entry appeared in his blog, which is completely separate from his ESPN.com column.

Had Easterbrook's comments appeared in ESPN.com, Disney would have been perfectly justified in firing him. But to fire him for something completely unrelated smacks of hypocrisy. Remember, this is the same organization that employs Hunter S. Thompson as a regular columnist!

Ultimately, however, Easterbrook should have known not to violate the cardinal rule of media: Never make racist or anti-Semitic comments unless you're a famous black football player, basketball player, or politician.

Happy trails, TMQ!

Monday, October 20, 2003

The (Social) Network Reloaded

As if the umpteen social networking startups weren't enough, now established companies are getting into the act. Monster just announced that it will be launching a networking service, led by the former CEO of Classmates.com. Presumable they said to themselves, "Hey, if most people find jobs through networking, and we're a jobs site, then why not do networking as well?" I'm sure that the hype and torrents of VC cash had nothing to do with it.

The only question is, when is IdeaLab! going to get into the act?