ashthomas//blog: January 2005


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Takashi Murakami

I was chatting with Keith at work the other day and we started talking about the novel I am reading at the moment, Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. When I mentioned Murakami's name, Keith started to tell me about a visual design artist named Takashi Murakami. I have just googled him, and have found him to be a fascinating artist. A Wired profile of him describes his work thusly:
Murakami... takes from the low and gives to the high, the low, and everything in between. He makes paintings, sculptures, videos, T-shirts, key chains, mousepads, plush dolls, cell phone caddies, and, last but not least, $5,000 limited-edition Louis Vuitton handbags.

If you are interested in pop-art, check out some of his work here.

Miyazaki Profile in the New Yorker

The 17th of January issue of The New Yorker has an article by Margaret Talbot entitled "The Auteur of Anime: Inside the wonderful world of Miyazaki". Apparently the Miyazaki profile isn't online yet, but Talbot discusses her article on the online-only section of the NYer website. Recommended if you have any interest in Japanese animation.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Wolfie will remain

Contrary to yesterday's reports, the WaPo is now reporting that Paul Wolfowitz won't be leaving the Pentagon:
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz sought yesterday to dampen speculation that he is leaving, saying he had been asked to stay on and intends to do so.

A leading proponent in the administration of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Wolfowitz has been a lightning rod for critics of the American involvement there.

Although President Bush made it clear last month that Donald H. Rumsfeld would be remaining as defense secretary, there had been no official word on Wolfowitz's future, stirring speculation that he might be under consideration for another administration job or might leave government service. The speculation heightened this week after Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld met Monday with Bush.

"I have been asked to stay and have accepted," Wolfowitz said yesterday in a brief statement issued through a spokesman. "I can't imagine life after Don Rumsfeld."

The sycophantic tone of the last comment is not worthy of a man of Wolfowitz's intelligence and position, if you ask me.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Flight of the Neocons

The Washington Post is reporting that Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz may be joining fellow neoconservative Undersecretary of State John Bolton, who was reported yesterday to be leaving the Bush Administration. The Pentagon has not confirmed Wolfowitz's departure from the Administration, or even from his position:
"As far as I know" [says Pentagon spokesman Lawrence T. Di Rita], "he has no plans to leave his job. But I also know that everybody -- the president, the vice president, Secretary Rumsfeld, a whole lot of other people in this administration -- think he's an enormous talent. So I wouldn't be surprised, particularly at this point in time where there's movement in the administration, if people are scratching their heads and thinking if there's someplace else his talents could be applied."

With U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick tipped to be Rice's Deputy at the Department of State, it looks like the next few weeks will be interesting as far as foreign policy appointments go.