Nota Bene #122: OWStanding

“When I lie on the beach there naked, which I do sometimes, and I feel the wind coming over me and I see the stars up above and I am looking into this very deep, indescribable night, it is something that escapes my vocabulary to describe. Then I think: ‘God, I have no importance. Whatever I do or don’t do, or what anybody does, is not more important than the grains of sand that I am lying on, or the coconut that I am using for my pillow.'” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #120: Crazy Ivan

“If you can make a woman laugh, you’re seeing the most beautiful thing on God’s earth.” Who said it? Continue reading

Midwestern chivalry is not dead

When I moved to Denver, Colorado from Western New York five years ago, several differences became immediately apparent between both regions. Denver has significantly nicer weather, simpler road structures and younger history than most places in New York. When I moved from Denver to Chicago, Illinois three years later, I witnessed more cultural differences. In addition to the faster pace and more expensive cost of living, locals’ demeanors in Chicago became my most noteworthy observation of all. Even after two years of living amidst the city’s hustle and bustle, I have found Midwesterners overall to be among the most approachable and down-to-earth group of people I’ve ever encountered.

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Nota Bene #117: Wake Up!

“Hollywood is so crooked that Mafia gangsters are entirely outclassed and don’t stand a chance. People in Hollywood are smarter. They have more sophisticated knowledge of money and deals and how to steal legally rather than illegally.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #110: WEHT SWK?

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #106: [no title due to budget cuts]

“Working for a major studio can be like trying to have sex with a porcupine. It’s one prick against thousands.” Who said it? Continue reading

Even if states balance budgets, services cuts, high taxes, fees likely to stay

For the first time in many years, the state of New York owes me a tax refund — all of $13. But our governor, David Paterson, doesn’t want to give it to me — at least not right away. (And he wants to be re-elected?)

I’m not alone. Paterson wants to hang on to about $500 million in tax refunds due the state’s citizens. It’s an accounting dodge brought on largely by the political failure of the governor and the state Legislature to balance the budget. By law, the state cannot run a budget year in the red. So, rather than face the realities of a $1.4 billion budget deficit, New York’s incompetent, selfish leaders do what they always do — punt, in this case, until next year. That half billion will be rolled out of fiscal 2009 and into fiscal 2010. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s New York’s insanely inept government: Never deal with reality.

Maybe, state officials promise, I’ll see my $13 in April, two and a half months from now. Well, I’d rather be the one collecting the interest on that $13 over that time rather than the state. Sheesh.

Of course, New York’s financial woes aren’t that simple, and it’s not always (but mostly?) Albany’s fault. Recession + people out of work = higher costs + lower tax revenues + increased fees + fewer services. And New York’s not alone. One estimate puts the total fiscal 2010 budget deficit of all states at nearly $150 billion.
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Nota Bene #104: Large Marge Sent Me

“Everything is changing. People are taking the comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #103: Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse

“To take people from the music world and give them the same kind of credibility that you give me, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker—that’s like an aberration. I know there’s some young actor sitting in New York or L.A. who’s spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft but isn’t going to get his opportunity because of some ‘actor’ who’s been created.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #101: Your Pal, Mike S.

“The guys who are shooting films now are technically brilliant, but there’s no content in their films. I marvel at what I see and wish I could have done a shot like that. But shots are secondary for my films, and with some of these films, it’s all about the shots. What’s the point? I’m not sure people know what points to make.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #100: Il Planetario di Figaro

Wow, 100 issues of Nota Bene! Props to Russ for helping me for a while with this nifty little S&R feature. Never mind all that now, let’s get on with this issue. “What splendid buildings our architects would be able to execute if only they could finally be less obedient to gravity!” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #98: A More Glorious Dawn Awaits

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Who said it? Continue reading

Democracy & Elitism 3: burning down the straw man, and who are these out-of-touch "liberal elites," anyway?

Let’s begin with a quick trivia question. What legislator’s Top 20 donor list includes the following?

We’ll have the answer for you at the bottom. Continue reading

Nota Bene #91: No Joke

Well I figured I’d give you all a break Continue reading

Tournament of Rock: Asobi Seksu vs. Rose Hill Drive

UPDATE: As of right now Asobi Seksu leads Rose Hill Drive, but only by a few votes. Polls close tomorrow (Thursday) at midnight. Winner moves on to the finals.
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In last week’s rock-off we saw the biggest reader response of any match to date, with Paul Steel pulling away to post a convincing 75%-25% victory over Chris Corner and IAMX. Congrats to IAMX, who have one of the best CDs of the year to date. I feel certain certain they’ll turn up in our year-end best-of list. Meanwhile, Paul Steel moves on to the finals.

This week’s semifinal, which determines Steel’s final round opponent, features two very talented, but very different bands. Continue reading