Below are simple links to other interesting stuff I've come across on the web in the last day or two; they may or may not concern literature or photography, or indeed the arts at all. You can click here to learn more about how I compile this list and what software I use, if you're interested.
Hollywood salaries being slashed by sometimes 90 percent
Did you know that two years ago, Julia Roberts got paid $20 million to make the recently released "Duplicity," which absolutely tanked at the box office? Did you know that this week, Scarlett Johansson agreed to star in "Iron Man 2" for only half a million? Turns out it ain't just normal folks feeling the financial crunch these days: according to this Daily Beast article, even the mega-salaries of Hollywood stars are getting slashed these days (often by two-thirds or more), as well as perks like private jets during production. Fascinating; I didn't know the numbers in Hollywood were dropping nearly this fast these days.
The quiet G-20 triumph: A new US/Russia relationship
Yet another fascinating article from the new GlobalPost.com, this time examining the giant posturing exercise in London this week known as the G-20 Summit, but how there's actually a little-known yet legitimately great thing that's emerging out of it: A brand-new type of post-Cold-War relationship between the US and Russia, a friendly and cooperative one for literally the first time since World War Two. Don't forget, both Clinton and Bush's attitude towards post-Soviet Russia was basically, "F-ck you; you were the enemy, and you lost, so now you can suck on all the massive unemployment and crime and corruption your country now faces, for all we care as the Cold War's winners." Obama has a very different attitude, though; and as this article details, he and Russian president Medvedev actually set up a working general agenda for the nations (dismantling crumbling nuclear missiles, working together on terrorism and green energy) this week in London while most weren't looking.
Oldest soap opera in US history to end in September
It's "Guiding Light" to be specific; and believe it or not, between radio and television, it's been telling one giant uninterrupted story for a grand total of 72 years now. The problems: horrible ratings (two million per episode, less than many cable shows); a graying audience (average age: 57); an increasing female workforce (over 60 percent, versus less than 30 percent when the show started); and the growing competition of tabloid shows, nighttime soaps, and of course cable and the internet. By the way, did you know that the show is still owned by soap-maker Procter & Gamble, which is where we get the term 'soap opera' in the first place? My mom watched 'Guiding Light,' and so did I in the summers when I was a kid (ooh, that Alan Spaulding, I hate him so much!); it will be missed, as will the overall passing of that age in general.