Thursday, April 28, 2005


All-Podcast, All-the-Time Radio
A San Francisco radio station is going to start airing nothing but user-submitted podcasts beginning on May 16. The station, which calls itselfKYOU Open Source Radio, will broadcast on 1550-AM/San Francisco and the Internet.

Submitted podcasts must be 60 megabytes or less in size and can be in any format. The categories on thesubmission formdemonstrate how strange this is likely to be -- traditional fare like news, sports and politics is mixed with over-the-road trucking, sex and wiffleball.

This could be one of the great wheels-off radio experiments of all-time -- at least until earnest liberal San Franciscans fill it with local community news, activism and independent music.

The station sounds like a good opportunity for Jacksonville webloggerTodd Smith, who devotes his site toAmericana musicand has a Saturday morning show about the music on alocal college station.

Virgin Mary of the Viaduct
I received an e-mail from someone affiliated with theVirgin Mary viaduct, the Chicago highway underpass that has alife-size water stainresembling the mother of God. They wanted advice on setting up a web site.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that all religious iconography that develops naturally upon either surfaces or food should have its own site. This is exactly the kind of thing for which the Internet was invented.

Because of the visual nature of the underpass and the community that has developed, the ideal place for its web presence isFlickr.

Flickr's a terrific photo-sharing community that was recently purchased by Yahoo for 5.2 bajillion dollars. You can create an account for free, upload your photos for public viewing, and add tags that describe the subject of the shots.

Every time I find myself on Flickr, I get lost in the photos, most recently in the work of Justin Hankins. His pictures of theBridge of Lions,Night of Lights celebration, andIntercoastal Waterwayare some of the best shots I've seen of St. Augustine.

Flickr photos can be grouped into sets and viewed as slideshows. Somebody should hire Robin Jean, the photographer doing thisRockstars set, to take column mugshots for newspapers.

Habemus Domini!

"A spokesperson for the US Conference of Bishops declined to speculate on whether the Vatican would ask Cadenhead to transfer ownership of BenedictXVI.com and the other potential papal name addresses he controls. Messages left with the Vatican's embassy in Washington were not returned."

When I registered six domain names at the end of a 14-hour writing day earlier this month, I didn't realize that my actions would reach all the way up to theVatican. I figured that some idiot was going to do it, so the idiot might as well be me.

I've received an offer from a gambling site. I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea, ecclesiastically speaking, but I should contactBill Bennettto make sure.

Thinking out loud, I'm trying to figure out what I might ask for, should Pope Benedict's people get with my people (a hastily convened College of Cardinals that includes my grandmother Rita and my in-laws, fellow Catholics whose commitment to our faith was demonstrated by their nine children).

Here are some things I would like. Please do not call them demands:

  • I. Three days, two nights at the Vatican hotel they built for the conclave.
  • II. One of those hats.
  • III. Complete absolution, no questions asked, for the third week of March 1987.
  • IV. A back-cover blurb from the Pope for the next edition ofMovable Type 3 Bible Desktop Edition. But only if he uses the book to create his own weblog.
  • V. World peace.


Master of My Domain
The owners of other Pope Benedict XVI domains are taunting me.

Jacopo Di Trani, an Italian who gotBenedict16.Com, has declared that pornographers and online casinos are welcome to buy it from him:

The first time i didn't believed Cadenhead when he said"i'll never give my domain to gamble/porn site developers"!

He's a very kind guy, but, first of all, his hair CAN'T be real, and, second, although i have respect for his decision to give for free his very valuable domain (with a billion of christians in the world), it doesn't change my opinion about the human nature and i'll never do something like that with this domain!

The owner of PopeBenedictXVI.Com, who received a $150,000 bid on EBay that turned out to be a hoax, had a question-and-answer page up where he posted this:

I'll be keeping every red cent of this dough, thinking about blowing it on horse races. ... the person that you saw on tv is the owner ofbenedictxvi.comand not me, you will just have to take my word on the fact that I'm much younger and sexier than that guy, I've got more hair too.

I know in a higher sense I did the right thing by donating the domains toModest Needs, a great charity that continues to getrecord traffic, but if my gesture turns out to have an actual market value of six figures, I think I'm going to spend the rest of the day curled up in a ball eatingChunky Monkeydirectly out of the container.

Update: A discussion onReal Time with Bill Maher:

Joe Scarborough: I think there's going to be a porn site."BenedictXVI.com."

Sen Alan Simpson: [overlapping] John Waters would love it.

Scarborough: [overlapping] In fact, go to it.

Insert Charlie Brown"Auuuugh!"here.

A Pope is a Pope is a Pope
The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church will lock themselves into the Sistine Chapel in around 15 minutes and stay there until they'vechosen a new pope.

When a candidate receives at least 77 votes, a two-thirds majority of cardinals, he'll be asked,"do you accept your canonical election as supreme pontiff?"If he replies"accepto,"he becomes the pope and can immediately choose a new name.

As I understand the process, he can select anything -- Pope P. Diddy I, Pope Atrios I, and Pope Jurassic Park IV are not out of the question -- or simply keep his own first name. But for 15 centuries the new pope, like rappers, bloggers, and actors, has adopted a nom de pontiff.

In most cases, the name is chosen to give props to a past pope, as John Paul II did for John Paul I.

My money's on one of these six names:

  • Benedict XVI
  • Clement XV
  • Innocent XIV
  • Leo XIV
  • Paul VII
  • Pius XIII

I mean this literally. I registered all six of these as dot-com domain names earlier this month, which I feared was tacky -- to say nothing of soul-imperiling -- until I read about thevacant papal see stamp. Clearly I'm not the only baptized Catholic who gets geeked about this process.

I don't think there's any speculative potential in these domains, but I couldn't resist the chance to have some skin in the game. Someone else already hasJohnPaulIII.ComandJohnXXIV.Com, but otherwise I put a chip down on every name of the past three centuries.

A Hungarian web sitecaught medoing this, accusing me oflegöbb spekuláns a pápa.

I don't expect we'll get another John Paul -- the Italian saying"always follow a fat pope with a skinny pope"refers to cardinals' desire not to go too far in one direction. But I'm concerned about John.

The Irish betting sitePaddy Powerhas Benedict as a 3-to-1 favorite, trailed by John Paul at 4-to-1, Pius at 6-to-1, and Peter at 8-to-1.

The last choice would lend itself to rapturous excitement among end-times believers -- there's along beliefthat the last pope will call himself Peter II.

Update: A fewnews reportssuggest that I might have popesquattedBenedictXVI.Comto sell it to pornographers. For the love of God, people, that's not going to happen. I will be running any plans I have for this domain by my own Catholic doctrinal enforcer, my never-miss-a-Sunday grandmother Rita.

Update to the Update:Florida Man Secured BenedictXVI.com Weeks Ago,Washington Post

Update III:Habemus Domini!

Brian Buck, 1971-2005

For the last several years, I've readBrian Buck's weblogand marvelled at the energy and optimism he mustered during a fight with osteosarcoma that began nearly five years ago.

Buck died April 7 at age 33.

His whole site's worth a read, but here are a few of my favorite entries:

  • Aug. 5, 2004:"I'm a sucker for that Dylan-esque sound with the sky high organs and the lyrics about driving and dreaming about some girl."
  • Jan. 9, 2004:"I took this photo about an hour after the fog had lifted from the valley."
  • Jan. 8, 2004:"This was one of those beautiful April snowstorms."
  • Feb. 23, 2003:"I am still learning the language of mourning."
  • Sept. 18, 2002:"It is scary, some might say stupid, to let it all hang out and tell the world about your vulnerabilities."
  • June 10, 2002:"What I was really fighting for was a return to normalcy."

He wrote often about his illness, both in personal andpragmaticterms. Advice from aJanuary 22, 2003 entryin particular ought to be shared, as people spread this sad news:

Dave:"$400 a month-- I asked what it would cost if I didn't have insurance. $400 per month. And that's just one drug."

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Chemotherapy can cost up to, and sometimes even over, $25,000 a week.

If you don't have good private health insurance, you are not going to be seen by anyone but the complete bottom of the barrel MDs. And this won't be at a nice facility, it will be at the shitty hospital in town, you know, the one on the 5 o'clock news where people die all the time of simple, treatable diseases like bronchitis.

My friend's husband died of lymphoma because the crappy HMO he was being"treated"in completly screwed up. They claimed to not know what was wrong with him. When he finally paid out of his own pocket to see a doctor at Sloan Kettering, he was Stage IV, it was too late, and he died.

Then factor in you are not working. If you do not have disability pay, forget about getting paid for a long, long time.

If you are the main earner in the house, count on being financially ruined without a disability policy. Count on cutting corners on your treatment since you don't have any more money and are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

This is scary as hell! Trust me, I was a figure of health before I was diagnosed with bone cancer: never got sick, had a decent weight, exercised semi-regularly, ate healthy, and I was only 29 years old in the prime of my life. And like Dave, before any of this happened to me, I was completely clueless.

Fact is, cancer and most diseases do not discriminate. Rich, poor, black, white, fat, skinny, healthy, sickly -- it does not matter and it could happen to anybody, anytime.

It was never my intention to get cancer. But here I am. And so far I have been extremely lucky to have excellent health and disability coverage. I am 100 percent sure that I would be dead already if I had worse insurance.

If you don't believe me, and want to research this further, begin reading withthis Google search. It will open your eyes.


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