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.

Extended Pings in Weblog Pinger
Dave Winer addedRSS supportto Weblogs.Com this morning, making it possible to send an extended ping message to the service that includes the address of a site's RSS feed.

This will make it easier for services that are built atop Weblogs.Com, such asTechnoratiandGigaDial, to incorporate RSS feeds.

I haveextended my pingerto support this new feature.

Weblog-Pinger, an open source class library for PHP, can send update notification pings over five XML-RPC services that monitor new weblog content.

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.

People of Poland: Nie Rozumie
The pope has to be multilingual -- upon his selection, Pope John Paul II wowed the crowd at St. Peter's Square by addressing them in fluent Italian.

Apparently, popesquatters have to be multilingual too. My weblog has been overrun by discussions in Polish. I don't know what they are saying, but I've been told that it's bad. I can handle that, as long as you lay off mymatka.

I've created this weblog entry as a place to hold all of the comments in languages I do not understand (i.e. everything but English and a littleEsperanto).

To my new friends in Poland, I've looked over aphrasebookto cross the language barrier as best I can:

Kocham cie. Kochasz mnie? Sto lat niech zyje nam!

If someone could translate"buy my books"into Polish, I would appreciate it.

Update:kup moje ksiazki!

Supporting Modest Needs
A funny thing happened today:Modest Needsreceived more than five times the normal donations from people coming fromBenedictXVI.Com.

I'd like to think it has something to do with my understated good looks, which were revealed to me in an e-mail from aToday Showviewer this morning. But I suspect that people are simply gratified that I am not a pornographer.

I will never be a pornographer, so please keep helping Modest Needs.

I sent an e-mail to Pope Benedict XVI'snew e-mail addresstoday asking if the church wants the domain. I am concerned that my"Subject: Free Domains"email might not get through the Holy See's spam filters.

While I am waiting to hear from the Vatican (which has to be the strangest phrase I have ever written in my life), I am donating the pope domains and my site's ad revenue from this crazy week toModest Needs. I'm working together with founder Keith Taylor to host them. His unique one-emergency, one-family-at-a-time charity has helped1,500 individuals and familiessince its launch in 2002.

Thanks, everyone. And to answer the questions from Tina in Fort Myers, Florida: 1. Clubman Art-Rim glasses. 2. Yes that is my real hair. 3. No I will not send you a lock of it because it would be a great color for your guest bedroom.

I've Been X'ed
I did an interview yesterday withAVNOnline, believing the"AV"stood for audiovisual, like theA.V. Clubentertainment site published byThe Onion.

I liked the final piece, although I thought it was odd for the reporter to quote another papal domain registrant talking about"nipples and snatch."That kind of talk hasn't appeared much in the media since the end of the Clinton administration.

When I showed the story to my wife, she noticed that the ads around the piece were forX-rated sites and products(warning: link advertises X-rated sites and products).

As it turns out, AVN stands forAdult Video News, theleading trade publicationof the adult entertainment industry.

You Heard It Here First
Without interviewing me, Jacksonville TV newscastFirst Coast Newsreported Thursdaythat I was selling the domain:

While the World Wide Web might not be a priority for Pope Benedict XVI, one local man hopes someone will think it's worth some cash to him. Roger [sic] Cadenhead of St. Augustine registered the domain nameBenedictXVI.comalong with other potential choices before the Pope selected his name. Cadenhead wants to sell it to the highest bidder.

This was news to me. I had been telling all reporters the exact opposite, as the original story in Tuesday'sWashington Postattests:

Reached on his cell phone, Cadenhead said he hasn't made any decisions about what he'll do with the domain, but he vowed he wouldn't be pawning it off to the highest bidder.

"I never really registered it with the intent of making money, and I think to crassly auction it would be a sin of some kind. ..."

Five hours before the newscast, BenedictXVI.Com wasdonated to the charity Modest Needswhile we wait to hear from the Vatican, as I wrote on my weblog.

A First Coast News producer e-mailed me for an interview at noon, but I was unable to call him back -- I haddisconnected my phonebecause I couldn't say no to female TV producers.

Interestingly enough, I can see exactly what the station read on my web server, because the office computer the producer used to e-mail me requested several web pages Thursday, including these:

  • 9:58 a.m.: Thefirst papal weblog entry, which stated"I don't think there's any speculative potential in these domains"
  • 10:09 a.m.: TheWorkbenchhome page, where thetop entrystated"my goal was to keep it away from pornographers"
  • 12:24 p.m.: The BenedictXVI.Com home page, which at the time displayedthis page, where I explained that I"registered benedictxvi.com to prevent a pornographer or online casino from getting it"
  • 12:24 p.m.: Myfavorite photofrom my10th wedding anniversary cruise
  • 1:17 p.m. and 2:04 p.m.: The same BenedictXVI.Com home page

All told, that First Coast News computer made 115 web page requests before the newscast, also checking out mybio,books, and thetelevision categoryof my weblog.

I don't know how thestationcould have reported something false that contradicted several pages they viewed on my server and so much other press coverage. My only consolation is that the story wasn't delivered by Donna Hicken.

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.

Fame or Something Like It
I wasn't prepared to be famous for 24 hours, but now that myweblog traffichas subsided to normal levels, I can relate some of the experience. The rest has to be filtered through therapy first.

For anyone wondering how I became a television personality as well-known for a day as theVirgin Mary grilled cheese, my friendMatt Haugheyhas digitized the interview on theToday Showwhere I talk aboutBenedictXVI.Com.

After theToday Show, I began receiving calls from TV producers. Almost to a person, they were fast-talking, Type A females who sounded likeAngelina JolieonLife or Something Like Itbefore she learned you don't have to become Stockard Channing to be truly happy. One even berated her assistant while talking to me, effortlessly switching the tone of her voice from sweet to"that better be a double shot espresso or you're on the next bus to Topeka."

These women are relentless; they will not take no for an answer. My friendJonathan Bournehas produced several talk shows, and he said I could have gotten some free swag from the programs by playing hard to get.

I caved too quickly for even a singlecoffee mug-- one flattering remark about my hair and I was asking where to show up. I had to disconnect my phone that afternoon, afraid of what else I'd agree to do.

I've saved avoicemail messagefrom Maryam Ayromlou, the MSNBC producer who asked me to appear onCountdown with Keith Olbermann.

This isn't the recording of Ayromlou I wish I had. I love Olbermann's show, but a few hours after agreeing to be on it, I called her to chicken out.

"I've spent money,"Ayromlou responded, referring to the en-route Orlando TV crew and a conference room booking for the remote. In the nicest way possible, over a several-minute call, she gave me the impression that if I backed out, there would be no place on Earth I could hide from her. I've never been more frightened of a person in my life.

I appeared onCountdownas planned.

Holy See, Holy Do
I'm getting a lot of comments like this one by Concerned Canadian:

I think it would be in your best interest to use this site to better humanity. Use it to donate to some sort of Catholic charity, or use it to write about the history of the Catholic church. Cashing in on it would be very typical, and if you have any personality at all, you won't want your 15 minutes of Internet media fame to be seen as typical.

I haven't decided what to do with thebenedictxvi.comdomain -- my goal was to keep it away from pornographers, not grab a domain for some kind of papal superstore.

But now that my weblog has 120,000 new readers, just counting yesterday, I'm using the opportunity to promoteModestNeeds.org, an organization that's like a charitable eBay: They match up donors with people who have short-term, under-$1,000 emergencies (such as repairs to the family's only car), helping them get out of the crisis.

SmartMobsdescribes how the charity got started in 2002:

The founderKeith Taylorbegan Modest Needs by giving 10 percent of his $350 a month earnings as a way to return a no-strings kindness paid to him when he most needed it. He told me,"Those who need help can always ask for it at Modest Needs, absolutely for free. How much money we raise matters less -- to me, anyway -- than simply providing a vehicle for human kindness."

Here's thelatest donation-to-expenses reporton Modest Needs from GuideStar and the charity'sfull financial statistics, for people who want to research the group before contributing.

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