Back In Orbit (For Now)

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As NASA’s foam problems continue (meaning that future shuttle launches are scratched after Discovery gets back), you may want to check out video of Tuesday’s shuttle launch courtesey of AOL (click on the “watch the launch” tab) because it took 2.5 years to get a shuttle back into space after the Columbia disaster and who knows how long we’ll have to wait again. First Live 8, now the shuttle launch; they really are on a roll over at Columbus Circle. I hope this trend continues as AOL transforms itself into more of a media delivery company. The cool part is that you can choose from multiple camera angles: I’m a fan of the launch pad and beach tracker ones myself.


Happy Sesqui-Bicentennial To Me

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You are reading the 250th post on “We’re Going To Cover That In Phase 2.” In honor of this momentous occasion, which I believe would be technically its “sesqui-bicentennial” post (I’m not sure this is an actual word but centennial = 100, sesquicentennail = 150, and bicentennial = 200 so I think it is), I want to share some stats and reflect on the past 2.5 years with my dear readers:

Posts: In my blog’s first year, I only posted 26 times, a paltry amount by any standards. During ’04, I started to get serious about this whole blogging thing and posted 114 times. I think the watershed moment was when I was almost killed in a gang shoot-out in Chinatown. and really saw my blog as a great way of communicating with the world. This year so far has seen 110 posts and I can promise there are plenty more to come.

Site Traffic: In ’03, basically I was the only one who ever stopped by. Period. For three fourths of ’04, only around 115 unique visitors a month would visit which meant that a bunch of spiders and bots, a few friends, some family and maybe some random people were the ones who stopped by. However, starting in 10/04, things started to move. That month the site hit 200 unique visitors and the proverbial snowball started to roll down the mountain. November saw 500 stop by and the numbers kept on creeping up; in 5/05, 888 people visited. Last month blew me away though: 2432 unique visitors stopped by. I tripled my previous amount and so far its holding steady as over 2200 visitors have stopped by so far this month with less than a week to go.

Comments: While I know through site traffic reports people are stopping by, this site suffers from a definite lack of comments. If you read something that moves to have an opinion, share it. When I went to a sleepaway camp reunion, I was floored to hear that every girl there from bunks 33 and 34 had read my first post about camp. I had no clue any of them had read it, let alone all of them. That was the first time I realized that more people are reading this blog than I thought. I know you are out there. I want to hear from you.

After the jump, feel free to read my reflections on this milestone:

I had been in a bad car accident and while out of work, I re-evaluated everything that was important to me. Writing was at the top of the list. I have always written in some shape or form and in toying with the idea of changing gears and getting an MFA in Creative Writing, while recovering I took a short story workshop to do 2 things:

1) get a portfolio together for my admissions package
2) see if really wanted to do this in the first place

Well, I didn’t like the workshop at all. Instead of it solidifying my true latent desire to write and teach writing, I became discouraged from writing in general and found it hard to finish a few stories, let alone an entire collection.

I shortly thereafter returned to work yet I desperately wanted to keep writing in some fashion in order not to get rusty and to keep my renewed enthusiasm towards writing alive. Just because I’m in the IT realm does not mean that I don’t want to write and publish a series of children’s books, or that I won’t write and publish my Seven Squared graphics novel series, or that I will never write the Great American Novel. It just means that they’ll have kickass web sites supporting them. As I was working through these thoughts, my Cognitive Remediation Therapist of all people suggested that I start a blog. Well, as they say, the rest is history (that is if you believe in history – some people don’t.)

I chose Tolkien’s poem “The Road” as my first post because the words are as true now as they were when they were written:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

So far, this road has been an interesting and rewarding one for me. Without this blog, how would I have ever touched base (no pun intended) with my favorite baseball player Lipso Nava? How else could I have shared all my thoughts about literature, politics, technology and a whole host of other things with friends and strangers alike? I love how 8 people so far have asked me for the New Yorker article on the NYPD’s response to terrorism, and that 2 of them are professors. It’s about the connection and the interaction. It’s about randomly matching someone’s DNA and helping to save a life. It’s about how ka is a wheel, its one purpose to turn and in the end it always arrives at the place where it has started.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first 250 posts. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the next 2,500.



Coq Roq

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Now this is getting just plain silly: First the Subservient Chicken, then the Sith Sense and now Coq Roqdamn I wish I worked on the Burger King interactive account! Coq Roq is the web site for a made-up band called “Fowl Mouth” – its a great flash site that advertises BK’s new Chicken Fries (I can feel my arteries clogging just having typed that). Check out the gallery area; I think it’s neat how it switches from picture to picture.

Thanks Todd for sending this to me – and to think I thought Coq Roq was a gay band…


What kind of messages does this site send out, especially when it’s backed by a huge corporation? Ultimately, what it’s doing is sexualizing fast food” is just one opinion out of many about this campaign. After the jump, read about all the controversy Coq Roq has kicked up.

From AdAge:


Some Sexual Double Entendres Removed From Site Overnight

July 26, 2005 by Kate MacArthur

CHICAGO ( — Even though it has suddenly removed sexual double entendres from its new Web site,, Burger King today denied it had received any complaints from consumers or other outside groups.

This screen grab was taken in the ‘Gallery’ section of Burger King’s site yesterday. Today, the ‘Groupies Love the Coq’ caption was removed. The company denies it made the changes because of outside complaints. The site is linked to Burger King’s main Web site and is promoted in a new Burger King TV commercial.

Crispin Porter, created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, the agency that created Burger King’s Subservient Chicken site, is designed to look like the kind of crudely outrageous Web site created by a rock band.

The Web site’s double entendre name, along with the lyrics, demeanor and the sophomoric presentation of the fictitious heavy metal group, projects the illusion of something designed to offend the sensibilities of mainstream adult America.

Among other things,, which is linked directly to the main Burger King Web site, includes photo galleries with Polaroid-style shots of young girls with the handwritten captions “Groupies love the Coq” and “groupies love Coq.” Since the site went live yesterday, those captions and others have been erased from the online materials. took screen shots of those removed materials yesterday afternoon.

“Nothing on the site has changed because of any reaction to the site,” said Edna Johnson, senior vice president for global communications for Burger King Corp., which is owned by private equity firm Texas Pacific Group. Mrs. Johnson said photo cutlines were written and then assigned randomly by computer software that as since been disabled. She said malfunctions in the Flash and XML programming were responsible for putting the “Groupies love the Coq” on the photos of the young women.

No complaints

Ms. Johnson said neither the marketer nor its agency, Crispin Porter, had been contacted by any groups. “We haven’t had any complaints. The site launched slightly more than 24 hours ago and the changes are typical of a new Web site that is being tweaked.” She added that a misspelling of Burger King had also been fixed.

But even industry insiders were surprised by the gaffe of the CoqRoq site, with some noting that the bar, first raised first by Burger King’s subservient chicken and later upped by the Paris Hilton erotic carwashing spot for CKE Restaurants’ Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., has pushed the limits of what fast-food marketers will do for attention.

“There’s a fine line between getting the attention of the core target and risking offending the masses,” said Chris Carroll, senior vice president and director of marketing for Subway’s Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust.

The lead singer of Burger King’s fictitious rock band CoqRoq is named Fowl Mouth.

Ralph Norman Haber, partner, Human Factors Consultants, an expert on subliminal perception and subliminal advertising, said there’s nothing subliminal in the site or its advertising and that both males and females appear to be targeted equally.

“As far as I could see both sides of each one of these comes in for being the target,” he said. “Everybody is picked on and it”s kind of fair game. I think it’s probably an effective ad. From my point of view I thought it was very creative.”

However, outsiders are asking how a corporation of Burger King’s stature could have approved the use of such a concept.

‘Offensive in general to families’

“Just the name Coq Roq in general is offensive to families,” said Aliza Pilar Sherman, an authority and author on women and the Internet and founder of cybergrrl. “I can’t imagine if parents of a smaller child saw this. They’d say they don’t want their child exposed to this. Where do we as responsible individuals draw the line? Of course there’s freedom of speech but does that mean Burger King should be perpetuating stereotypes, negative attitudes and demeaning behavior to the market.”

“Burger King is perpetuating a crude type of stereotype,” agreed Dr. Martha Allen, director of the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press. “They’re serving junk stereotypes degrading and harmful to women.”

The fact they adjusted the site indicates “they’re crossing the line and they know it in some sense,” said Pat McGann, director of outreach for Men Can Stop Rape, a group that works with young men to foster healthy relationships with women. He called the entire site an example of material that confuses men about what it means to be a man.

Sexualizing fast food

“What kind of messages does this site send out, especially when it’s backed by a huge corporation?” he asked. “Ultimately, what it’s doing is sexualizing fast food.”


Greek Tragedy In The Times

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If you haven’t gone to my friend and co-worker Stephanie Klein’s blog (see the left nav as well) yet, you might be one of the few people left that hasn’t. She has gotten so popular that the NY Times wrote a feature article about Stephanie, her blog and her life, that can be found on the cover of today’s NY Times Sunday Styles section. I was happy to see that there was even a picture of Chris together with Stephanie that snuck into the paper somehow (its nice to know that he can get some press for something other an Altoids iPod battery charger). Nothing that she does surprises me anymore, though it always makes me smile. All I can say is “keep it up!” and that I can’t wait for the book, actual both books, to be published.


New York Protects Its Own

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The New Yorker this week has a fantastic article by William Finnegan titled “The Terrorism Beat” about how the NYPD is defending our fair city, with or without the help of the Federal government. Believe it or not, it makes you feel a lot better about our city’s security (all things considered). I’m 100% voting for Bloomberg, if only to ensure that Ray Kelly stays commissioner. Here is just one snipit from the article, in reference to the way the NYPD has transformed post 9/11:

Some of Kelly’s initatives were incursions into territory normally occupied by the FBI and the CIA. And yet few objections were raised. It was as if the Feds, reeling from September 11th, silently acknowledged New York’s right to take extraordinary defensive measures. Or, as one senior police official said to me, “Do you think anybody in Washington has the balls to tell Ray Kelly he can’t do something he decides to do?”

I created a PDF of the aritcle but its over 15 MB so if you want to read it (its not available online) leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll mail you a copy. Hell, I’ll even pay the postage, that’s how good the article is – if you live in NY you should read it. ‘Nuff said.


How Little Attention We Are Paying To Dafur

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One year ago today, Congress unanimously declared that the horrors unfolding in the Darfur region of Sudan — the mass slaughters, forced displacement, and coordinated rape campaigns — amounted to genocide. It seems as if almost everyone has either forgotten about it or thinks that the problem has been solved. For instance:

  • During the entire month of June 2005, the major network and cable news stations broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week aired only 126 segments on Sudan.
  • In contrast, these same stations aired a combined 8303 segments on the “runaway bride”, the Michael Jackson trial, and Tom Cruise.
  • Major news media aired 65 times as many segments on these trivial matters as it did on the fighting and genocide in Sudan.

The Center for American Progress has launched a campaign called Be A Witness to try and pressure various news outlets to stop ignoring this story. Starving children are not pleasing to the eye during dinner. Increased television coverage of the genocide in Darfur does have the power to spur the action required to stop a devastating crime against humanity. I for one am being a witness.


Special Delivery

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In honor of its 10th anniversary, Amazon has had celebrities deliver packages that involve them in some way to randomly selected lucky customers. For instance, Jason Alexander delivered Seinfeld season 1 through 4 to someone in Brentwood, California (where my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law live – maybe it was their building, it sort of looks like it…). Amazon and UPS then are donating money to a charity of the celebrity’s choice. Everyone wins and most of the videos are really fun (Harrison Ford was boring) to watch. Enjoy.


Help Keep Partisan Spin Off NPR and PBS stations

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I received a email spurring me to call a local PBS station and tell them that “I’m a big supporter of PBS and this station. CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson is demanding more right-wing programming on public broadcasting. Please keep his partisan spin off the air” or something like that. Since I agree and the phone number was there, I thought, “What the hell, I’ll call.”

So I did. I spoke with a nice man in the viewer relations department at Thirteen/WNET New York. He told me how viewer and/or member comments really do make a difference and he urged more phone calls (um, he’s on our side). My phone call and viewpoint has not gone into a blackhole, rather it was recorded, it will be passed on to those that matter and it will hopefully help push back on the recent government interference. He talked about how 7 lines received 500 phone calls yesterday – an unbelievable number – and how he hoped to receive even more phone calls today. What is with those people at PBS and answering phones? Whether its a telethon or in customer service, they just love it!

If you care at all about those phone whores remaining non-partisan, please call or write and let them know that you want the government to stay away from slanting PBS one way or the other. You don’t have to be a member to voice an opinion. You don’t have to give your name, though there is no reason not to. Here’s the info:

WLIW-TV: 516-367-210;

WNYE-TV: 718-250-5800;

Thirteen/WNET New York: 212-560-1313;


Mythic Rome

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I am currently making my way through Edith Hamilton’s seminal collection of Greek, Roman and Norse myths titled simply Mythology. I started re-reading it last year on my honeymoon which coincided with the Athens Olympics (a perfect time to be reading Greek mythos) and am still at it after many stops and starts. In finishing the section on Virgil’s Aeneid I came across this quote about “the Roman race” by Virgil (whose Wikipedia entry calls him “Vergil”):

“They were destined to bring under their empire the peoples of earth, to impose the rule of submissive nonresistance, to spare the humbled and to crush the proud.”

Interesting to think about, especially as a citizen of the world’s only “empire” today.


More Than Meets The Eye

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Mark your calendar now: July 4th, 2007 will the day that a new live-action “Transformers” movie hits the big screens, though right now I’m very wary of it.

First, the classic animated movie, though panned by many critics, is a cult classic and will be hard to improve upon. Orson Welles as the voice of Unicron? An inspired choice! Bah weep grah nah weep ninny bom!

Second, any live-action version of an animated anything is a troubling proposition. See Masters of the Universe (the He-man movie) and Super Mario Brothers as examples.

Third, this new movie is being directed by Michael Bay! In case you never saw “Team America: World Police,” here are all the lyrics to the song “The End of an Act” which was featured in the movie:

I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark, when he made Pearl Harbor.
I miss you more then that movie missed the point, and that’s an awful lot girl.
And now, now you’ve gone away, and all I’m trying to say,
Is Perl Harbor sucked and I miss you
I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school, he was terrible in that film.
I need you like Cuba Gooding needed a bigger part, he’s way better then Ben Affleck.
And now all I can think about is your smile, and that shitty movie too,
Perl Harbor sucked and I miss you
Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies.
I guess Perl Harbor sucked,
Just a little bit more then I miss you.

I mean, the entire song is about how shitty he is! The following are Michael Bay movies: Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, The Rock and Bad Boys. Great. Then again, Steven Spielberg is an executive producer so hopefully that will count for something and negate Mr. Bay bringing the balance back to zero and with not one single actor casted as of yet, who knows, maybe another Orson Welles is out there…

In more Transformers related news, a new web site went up Tuesday and Transformers: Cybertron, the latest animated series, launched this month on Cartoon Network. Burger King cooks up a monthlong action-figure promotion beginning in August. And this weekend in San Diego Comic-Con International, an 18-wheel truck touting the franchise’s considerable wares will be beached in the convention hall.

After the jump, read what E Online has to say about these developments.

From E Online:

By Joal Ryan Wed Jul 13, 8:35 PM ET

Optimus Prime has a prime release date: The Fourth of July.

Transformers, the long-planned, live-action movie based on the robot-morphing cartoon, comic and toy franchise, will roll into theaters July 4, 2007, DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures announced Wednesday. Michael Bay (The Island, The Rock) will direct; Steven Spielberg will executive produce.

Children of the 1980s likely will be champing at the tie-in lunchbox.

“The diehard fans will like it as long as it stays true to Transformers roots and doesn’t stray too far from the ideals that we grew up with,” Brendan Reilly, co-Webmaster of The Transformers Archive (, said in an email interview about the movie announcement. “The casual or un-familar fan will need to see something awesome to win them over, although a 40-foot robot is usually pretty cool.”

Cool-looking robots who convert themselves into battle tanks and other vehicles in order blow up things real good are at the mechanical heart of the Transformers, the classic tale of good automaton (the Autobots) versus evil automaton (the Decepticons) in a battle for control of Earth. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots; Megatron, the dark lord of the Decepticons. Both Autobots and Decepticons hail from the planet Cybertron. All this backstory and more was revealed in Transformers, the syndicated cartoon series launched in 1984 with the help of toy-maker Hasbro, which simultaneously–and savvily–launched a still-thriving merchandise line.

No less savvy today, the makers of the new Transformers movie have already begun a full-scale offensive. The new official Website ( went up Tuesday. Transformers: Cybertron, the latest animated series, launched this month on Cartoon Network. Burger King cooks up a monthlong action-figure promotion beginning in August. And this weekend in San Diego, on the occasion of Comic-Con International, the geek world’s largest annual gawkfest, an 18-wheel truck touting the franchise’s considerable wares will be beached in the convention hall.
In theory then, this thing ain’t going to be Transformers: The Movie.

Transformers: The Movie was the little-loved 1986 animated feature that gave Optimus Prime, Megatron, et al., their first crack at the silver screen. Much as Fox is planning to right past cinematic wrongs with an all-new, A-list take on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, another 1980s cartoon/toy phenomenon that spawned a cheeseball 1980s film, the new Transformers crew is looking to take its property upscale.

In a message board Monday post on his personal Website (, Don Murphy, a Transformers co-executive producer, said Spielberg, DreamWorks and Hasbro are committed to making a film that is no less than “GREAT” (the capital letters are all his).

“It will be GREAT,” Murphy continued, “and then we will make sequel after sequel. There is no doubt that this is true.”

With excellence promised, the powers that be now need only to lock in actors and writers–none were announced Wednesday–and start cameras rolling. Time, after all, is of the essence. In publicly staking claim to July 4, 2007, DreamWorks and Paramount become the first studios to reserve that holiday date for their own. Currently, the only other release on the 2007 calendar is Spider-Man 3, set for May 4 of that year.

Until Transformers debuts in theaters, and after Comic-Con wraps, its considerable fandom can busy itself with BotCon (, described by organizer Brian Savage as being “like a giant group hug for everyone who enjoys Transformers.”

Scheduled for Sept. 22-25 in Frisco, Texas, the latest edition of BotCon–the event is more than 10 years old–is expected to draw as many as 5,000 devotees of the shape-changing robots. “The whole movie announcement just adds more fire and fuel,” said Savage, director of Hasbro’s official Transformers Collectors Club.

The way Savage sees it, the unlikely secret to the Transformers’ success is: Personality. Anyone, he said, can make a transforming robot.

“But guess what? It’s not Optimus Prime.”