Thursday, May 31, 2007

And Another Short Post (Because I Can)

Who doesn’t see Google Gears as another step in Google’s slow march to the enterprise desktop? I wonder how the folks at Microsoft are feeling about this right about now?

About A Thousand Splendid Suns

Let’s just say that it looks like something Ayaan Hirsi Ali would appreciate tremendously. And that’s a good thing.

The review definitely doesn’t make A Thousand Splendid Suns sound as good as Kite Runner--which was one of the finest novels I’ve read in the last few years--but it does make it sound well worth reading.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mr. Answer Knows it All (And Really Likes the Easy Questions)

Question: What were the total revenues for the movie, Apocalypto?

Answer: Without including DVD rentals or sales, Apocalypto took in a combined $118,854,971 from domestic and foreign ticket sales from an estimated production budget of $40 million. Which isn’t bad considering that it didn’t star anyone, featured languages that almost nobody speaks, and came close after Mel’s big anti-semitic festival of drunken bad decision making. In fact, it’s a far better showing than Gibson’s own 1993 release, The Man Without a Face,which took in just $24,760,338 in domestic ticket sales and had actors that spoke English.

Which just goes to show that hating Jews isn’t the big career-damaging maneuver for actors that most of us might have imagined.

Further: Apocalypto still hasn’t made a dime from the Zomby, although, I admit to being curious as hell about the thing.

For more reading: With questions like this, you’re really better off getting answers from Boxofficemojo.com.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Damned, Evil Dr. Gregory House

Here’s the issue: how the hell do I talk about tonight’s episode of House without completely ruining the plot for anyone who didn’t see the thing?

This sucks…

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (Ten Point Review)

  1. Too much, too long, too twisty.
  2. So, Keira Knightley doesn’t make much of a credible pirate captain, does she? Amazing how her complexion and makeup stay perfect throughout the film, though--especially when everyone else has regular bouts with what appears to be flesh eating bacteria and gangrene.
  3. But she’s better than Orlando Bloom, who just looks a little bored by the whole thing.
  4. On the plus side, so many of the other performances were good that it made it easier to get past the less pleasant bits. Geoffrey Rush is one of the most perfect pirates ever to grace the big screen, Chow Yun-Fat is wonderful in a role that could have been bigger, and Keith Richards is probably the only one on set that didn’t need extensive makeup to play the roll of a leathery pirate. Richards’ voice is surprisingly strong and deep, too--I was happy that they resisted the temptation to make a mockery of Depp’s over-the-top Captain Jack Sparrow by having Richards mimic Depps mimicking Richards. Bravo.
  5. Visually it is, of course, brilliant. Some of the best work was during Sparrow’s deranged captivity in Davie Jones Locker--shockingly restrained, stark, and better for the restraint.
  6. The opening sequence, with the singing and the hanging was so unconnected from the rest of the movie that I wonder why it was included? Except, perhaps to make the East India Trading Company into the ultimate bad guy of the flick.
  7. Which, in fact, bugs me no end. Playing at pirate is fun in a Peter Pan sort of way--talking funny, making bad jokes about “Pirate Booty”, and indulging the little boy fantasy of piracy isn’t such a bad thing. It seems pretty odd that the filmmakers worked so hard to make the people representing either the British government or the East India Trading Company into such phenomenally evil bad guys while simultaneously working so hard to make the pirates into somewhat respectable--even admirable--heroes.
  8. Real pirates weren’t people to admire even when they were devoted to shipboard democracy.
  9. Still, with all it’s faults, Pirates Part III is a good way to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. It’s occasionally goofy, often funny, at times tense, and decently entertaining. It’s nothing on the original movie, although a slight improvement on the second, but it would be hard to duplicate the surprising freshness of the first film. In general, though, the franchise is offering diminishing returns. That leads me to the last point:
  10. Did they really need to leave the door open for another sequel? I thought we had all agreed that this would be the last of the bunch…

If you feel so inclined, here’s the Cadillac view.

And De Doc enjoyed it tremendously.

Linked by the hilarious McCain. Love this guy.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Beware the Zomby Hordes

See. I told you I had minions. Totally evil, too.

Point being? If you don’t attend the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash, you, too, will be courting the danger of a slowly shuffling, brain eating zomby (properly misspelled) horde.

So there.

Wait, Wait…

...Isn’t that something like 95 in dog years? Or is it more like 40 in people years?

I get confused.

Either way, five years of quality blogging is no minor achievement. Congratulations, Craig!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sounds of the 80’s: More Than 100 Songs

Jeff wants 80’s suggestions? You know I can’t resist this. How about a list of more than 100 songs that go from the end of the 70’s (Pink Floyd’s “When the Tigers Broke Free” to--what sounds, at least--like the early 90’s (all of the Screaming Trees songs). It also covers a wide spectrum of styles--punk, rock, metal, goth, country, and pop are all cozying up on this list.

Here, then, is a list of the 80’s type stuff that I have on the laptop or on my mp3tunes.com account:

  1. “Voices Carry” by ‘Til Tuesday
  2. “Killer in the Home” and “Goody Two Shoes” by Adam and the Ants. Or Adam Ant. Whichever.
  3. “Oh Daddy” by Adrian Belew
  4. “Der Kommisar” by After the Fire
  5. “Games People Play” and “Don’t Answer Me” by Alan Parsons Project
  6. “Forever Young” by Alphaville
  7. “Sometimes it Feels Like” and “How Much is Enough?” by Bad Religion
  8. “She’s In Parties” by Bauhaus
  9. “The Metro” by Berlin
  10. “Look Away” by Big Country
  11. “White Wedding” by Billy Idol
  12. “Everything is Broken” and “Man in the Long Black Coat” by Bob Dylan
  13. “I Still Believe” and “Let the Day Begin” by The Call
  14. “Shake it Up” and “Drive” by The Cars
  15. “Under the Milkyway” by The Church
  16. “Straight to Hell” and “The Magnificent 7” by The Clash
  17. “Still in Hollywood” by Concrete Blonde
  18. “Misguided Angel” and “Walking After Midnight” by Cowboy Junkies
  19. “Don’t Dream it’s Over” by Crowded House
  20. “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” by Cutting Crew
  21. “Crimson & Clover” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
  22. “Where the Hawkwind Kills” by Daniel Lanois
  23. “Let’s Dance”, “This is Not America”, “Blue Jean”, and “Ashes to Ashes” by David Bowie
  24. “Holiday in Cambodia” and “I Fought the Law” by Dead Kennedys
  25. “Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard
  26. “Life In A Northern Town” by The Dream Academy
  27. “The Killing Moon” by Echo & the Bunnymen
  28. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics
  29. “We Care A Lot” and “Epic” by Faith No More
  30. “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco
  31. “The Sign of Fire” and “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx
  32. “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “Wild Frontier” by Gary Moore
  33. “Our Lips Are Sealed” by The Go Go’s
  34. “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring
  35. “Lupita Screams” and “Walkin’ With the Beast” by The Gun Club
  36. “Don’t Believe Anymore” and “No Promises” by Icehouse
  37. “Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)” by INXS
  38. “Centerfold" by J. Geils Band
  39. “Living in America” by James Brown
  40. “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction
  41. “Just Like Honey” by The Jesus and Mary Chain
  42. “Dallas" by Jimmy Dale Gilmore
  43. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division
  44. “The Sentinel” by Judas Priest
  45. “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo
  46. “Wardance" by Killing Joke
  47. “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde
  48. “Come Dancing” and “Young Conservatives” by The Kinks
  49. “Cult of Personality” by Living Color
  50. “Our House” by Madness
  51. “Ride the Lightning” and “Damage, Inc” by Metallica
  52. “Effigy (I’m Not An)” and “Golden Dawn” by Ministry
  53. “Straight Edge” and “Look Back and Laugh” by Minor Threat
  54. “"Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns” by Mother Love Bone
  55. “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” by Motley Crue
  56. “Kyrie" by Mr. Mister
  57. “Blue Monday”, “Bizarre Love Triangle”, and “True Faith” by New Order
  58. “The Carny” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  59. “Head Like a Hole” and “Sin” by Nine Inch Nails
  60. “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo
  61. “What Presence” by Orange Juice
  62. “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” by Paul Simon (w/ Ladysmith Black Mambazo)
  63. “Red Rain” and “Mercy Street” by Peter Gabriel
  64. “Dragnet Drag” and “Socrates the Python” by Peter Murphy
  65. “The Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)” by Peter Schilling
  66. “When the Tigers Broke Free” by Pink Floyd (1979)
  67. “Vamos" by The Pixies
  68. “Synchronicity II”, “Canary in a Coal Mine”, and “When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around” by The Police
  69. “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders
  70. “Let’s Go Crazy”, “When Doves Cry”, and “Purple Rain” by Prince
  71. “Love My Way” by Psychedelic Furs
  72. “The Whisper” by Queensryche
  73. “Somewhere Down That Crazy River” by Robbie Robertson
  74. “Hammerheads" and “Running on the Rocks” by Shreikback
  75. “Alive and Kicking” and “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds
  76. “I Want Your (Hands on Me)” by Sinead O’Connor
  77. “How Soon is Now” by The Smiths
  78. “Mommy’s Little Monster” and “Prison Bound” by Social Distortion
  79. “Peek a Boo” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
  80. “Dominion/Mother Russia”, “This Corrosion”, “Flood II”, and “Marian (Version)” by Sisters of Mercy
  81. “Abracadabra" and “I Want to Make the World Turn Around” by the Steve Miller Band
  82. “Englishman in New York” and “Fragile” by Sting
  83. “I Wanna Be Adored” by The Stone Roses
  84. “Rock This Town” by Stray Cats
  85. “Birthday" by the Sugarcubes
  86. “Here’s Where the Story Ends” and “My Finest Hour” by The Sundays (1990)
  87. “Twist in My Sobriety” by Tanita Tikaram
  88. “Such a Shame”, “Life’s What You Make It”, and “I Believe in You” by Talk Talk
  89. “King for a Day” and “Why Me” by Planet P Project
  90. “Heart and Soul” by T’Pau
  91. “Africa" by Toto
  92. “Drowning Man”, “Bad”, “One Tree Hill”, and “All I Want is You” by U2
  93. “Jamie’s Cryin’” and “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen
  94. “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors
  95. “Mexican Radio” by Wall of Voodoo
  96. “Whole of the Moon” by Waterboys
  97. “Don’t Go”, “Only You”, and “Winter Kills” by Yaz
  98. “Subtle Poison”, “Grey Diamond Desert”, “When Night Comes Creeping”, and “Clairvoyance” by Screaming Trees

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jeep: I Don’t Want More. I Want Less.

Jeep (and Your New Overlords):

I don’t need leather seats, power windows, power seats, or an automatic transmission. I don’t need the most sophisticated, the most quiet, or the most flashy car on the road. Not when I’m looking at Jeeps, anyway. It doesn’t have to be the fastest, but it has to go wherever I tell it to.

I want Jeeps to be rugged, utilitarian, and rock solid. It needs to be able to take scratches, bumps, and, occasionally, a road filled with some super-sized rocks and streams. It needs to be reliable, easily fixed when it gets in a fix, and sure footed in a snow storm.

When I think about driving a Jeep, I want to shift for myself and feel like I can mount a Ma Deuce in the cargo bay and head off into a combat zone. A Jeep is, in its soul, a perfect expression of every American man’s sense of independence and strength (even if that self-assessment is more hope than reality).

And it has to look like a Jeep. Jeep fans will know what I mean, but it breaks down like this: Jeep Grand Cherokees only bear a passing resemblance to real Jeeps, but the original Cherokee was near perfect. The Patriot is close, Liberty isn’t what I’m looking for, and the Compass is just wrong. The Wrangler has an eternal appeal, of course, and the Wrangler Unlimited is pretty damned nice.

But the Jeep JT concept is what I’m really looking for. Keep it simple, keep it Jeep, and keep the cost down--this is all Jeep needs to do to catch my attention. Even the dull paint color on the concept truck is perfect--it has that tough, almost military look. The solid white wheels and the overall design are retro in a good way, calling to mind all the warm, fuzzy feelings I have about Jeep, but also promising the kind of utilitarian brilliance that made Jeep such an icon.

Here’s the deal: build it simple and build it at a decent price and I promise to put it on the shortlist for my next new car.

American Idol: Crawling Slowly to the Conclusion

A few impressions:

  1. Gina is smokin’ hot. Love her.
  2. Wow. Tony Bennett is old. When the entire crowd cheers so soulfully over one, measly, little song, you know that you’re close to the end. Consider this your warning.

    Was that wrong?
  3. Whatcha want to be that every time Antonella Barba shows up on TV there is a huge spike in searches for semi-nude pictures of the woman?
  4. Sanjaya still sucks. Only now he does it even though he’s been kicked off the show. Will he never leave us in peace?
  5. Wow again. Bette Midler sucks on a level that, typically, only Sanjaya can reach. What the hell happened to her voice?

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank God for you, the end of that damned song.
  6. The Beatles would not be amused. The Ruttles might be.
  7. Am I the only one that thinks that Reuben Studdard would’ve smoked the entirety of this year’s AI finalists? Seriously.
  8. Shock. Jordin wins.
  9. Dismay. Jordin sings “This is My Crappy American Idol Penned Single.”
  10. G-phrase asks if I can retire permanently from weekly American Idol commentary. Fair question since it means she is subjected to painful moments like “This is My Now.”
  11. Luckily for you, I’m completely willing to sacrifice the girl’s sanity for your amusement. Cool, huh?

Update: Heheh. Funny:

Wow, it’s like miniature versions of Steve Buscemi and John Candy (well, not so miniature in that case) accepting an award, except for the glaring lack of talent.

Of course, if you didn’t see the show, this won’t make any sense at all. If you did see it, well, no explanation needed.

Speaking of South Africa (Because I Wanted To, Damnit)

This article linked by Drudge sort of grabbed my attention this morning.

THE icy weather of snow, hail and heavy rain that has swept across South Africa over the past few days has set 54 weather records.

The South African Weather Service said 34 new records were set on Monday and another 20 yesterday. Almost all records were for the lowest maximum and minimum daily temperatures in towns across the country.

Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma both recorded their highest daily rainfall, at 68mm and 71.2mm respectively, on Monday. Plettenberg Bay recorded its lowest minimum temperature, 5.6°C, yesterday. Tsitsikamma had its lowest maximum temperature on Monday, 12.1°C, and its lowest minimum yesterday, 6.3°C.

The lowest minimum temperature recorded was -6°C in Welkom, while the lowest maximum temperature was a mere 1.7°C in Barkly East. Both were recorded on Monday night.

“Why did it grab my attention?” you ask. Because I spent a little quality time on the phone with a gentleman from Joburg yesterday and he was telling me that they were expecting incredibly low temperatures last night--something on the order of -4°, although I’m not sure if he was speaking in Celsius or Fahrenheit. Either way, much of southern Africa isn’t really big on central heating in their homes.

Not that winter (June to August) temperatures don’t drop--South Africa isn’t as warm as many people might imagine. Still, the weather is typically moderate compared to, say, winters in Ohio. Not a huge story, really, but I find myself feeling a little tiny bit of sympathy for my friends in the area.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

American Idol: Still Fighting the Tyranny of High Standards in the Music Industry (Updated)

So, Paula tripped over her dog, Barbiturate. For some reason.

None of which changes the fact that tonight is the big fight between Beat Box Boy and The Towering Giantess. Which is fun for the whole family as long as they keep their actual musical expectations somewhere on the lower side of good.

Blake’s “Shot Through the Heart” was better than the first time he sang it, but it pales in comparison to Paula’s freaky, ruffly top. Not in quality, mind you, but in a sheer, “Are you serious?” way.

Tattoo You Aside: So, there I was, wondering what tattoo I should get next. Thank God for Blake Lewis and his magical Monchichi. And thank God for Andy and his willingness to help us through all of these American Idol related questions. If we’re really lucky, he’ll post naked pictures of Jordin Sparks next.

Er, just kidding about that last part.

Speaking of Jordin and her incredible height, she sang that song that I don’t know from some show a few weeks back. She sounded pretty good with the exception of the middle and end which devolved into some tuneless, broken, shouting thing.

I"m with Simon: round one goes to Blake.

Sad as Hell Aside: I kept hoping that Annika wouldn’t really leave us. She callously disregarded my hope. Annika is a bright young woman with a great future ahead of her--and I know that she represents the future leadership of our country. Somehow, that thought makes me feel pretty good. Aside from that, though, she has absolutely brilliant taste in footwear. Good luck, Annika, we’ll miss you tremendously.

Oh, great. Blake is doing that crappy Maroon 5 song. Pardon me while I go do something that doesn’t suck…

And Jordin goes for “Broken Wing"--which makes me wonder why the hell I stayed home to watch this crap tonight. Not only does the song suck, but her voice isn’t particularly sure, nor is it particularly pleasant. She can’t connect emotionally with the song, Randy is smoking crack, Paula is still suffering the after-effects of her run in with Barbiturate, and even Randy dips into the Kool Aid.

This round goes to Blake as the proud lesser of two evils.

But I Am Excited About This Aside: I didn’t really dig the first Fantastic 4 flick. It wasn’t nearly as good as, say, Spiderman 2, X-Men, or Batman Begins, although it wasn’t exactly horrible, either. But now they have Silver Surfer.

Silver freakin’ Surfer. Which is damned near as cool as if X-Men 3: The Minor Disappointment had actually featured Angel in the movie instead of just teasing me with his presence. Silver freakin’ Surfer, folks. I’m all giddy.

Which is good, because this crap that the two boneheads from Seattle wrote for Blake to sing is one of the most boring, ball-free songs I’ve ever heard. Pure and utter shit, completely without artistic value, and barely worth listening to (much less recording). If I were Blake, I would jump off stage and beat the living hell out of the writers for this little bit of idiocy.

My God, it’s like they actually hate music. I mean, that’s the only reasonable explanation that I can come up with.


American Idol Hates Music!

Simon is wrong: it is a bad song.

Now Jordin sings the song, too. Because American Idol Hates Music! The little crying girl thing she did at the end was a nice touch, though. That will buy her a few million extra votes (and probably the victory). Sadly for Blake, he’s going to lose.

If this is your now, your now sucks big.

Anyway, I’ll have to post something to listen to that might overpower the bad taste that “This is My Now” has left in my mouth. Maybe I’ll post some angry frog music and tell you about what I think might be worrisome changes in the political and social climate in South Africa. First, though, I have to take girl to get some ice cream to celebrate her extra good day.

Update: Venomous Chick writes:

Unfortunately, the only surprise of the evening involved just how appallingly awful the winning song from the “Songwriting Contest” - “This is My Now” — was.

Isn’t that the truth?

And this post has made Mullah McCain’s Fatwa (which also has the most adorable little picture of Osama bin Laden that you could possibly imagine--adorable, I tell you).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Target Rich Environment (Updated)

If you’re looking for something from our country’s leaders to set your anger level high, you’re living in a target rich environment. For me, personally, I don’t feel the level of rage that many Republicans and conservatives feel about the immigration deal. That might be because I still feel naive on the subject; I’m not really sure what the effect of the deal will be, I’m not sure I understand the costs or the benefits yet, and I want to read through all the details before I completely form my opinion.

What has got my brain burning, though, is the budget and tax plan that the Democrats are pushing through that leads me back to something I said some time ago:

In my more cynical moments, I’ve come to believe that the GOP stands for the slow destruction of the American economy and the Democrats stand for something a little more immediate.

What the Democrats are planning to do--along with all of our existing fiscal obligations--is almost guaranteed to send us into a recession of the kind that hit us early in Clinton’s first term. In fact, the “Clinton economy” only hit stride once the nation had shaken off his early tax increase and he had turned us toward a far more conservative (if I may misuse the term) tax and spend lifestyle. And for all the left likes to talk about taxing the rich, it should be remembered that their taxes usually hit across a broad spectrum and that their view of what constitutes “rich” might not be much like your own.

We will all see a gradual tax increase and for some it is bound to be quite large.

Until Thursday, the largest tax increase had been in 1993. That’s when Bill Clinton proposed a monstrous budget that even he would later admit had contained too many tax hikes. The Democrats lost the House of Representatives the following year for the first time in half a century. Clinton, speaking at a Texas fundraiser soon after Election Day, pinned the blame squarely on the hikes: “It might surprise you,” he said, “to know that I think I raised them too much too.”

Despite what happened to Democrats as a result of that tax hike, the budget they submitted their first year back in control of both houses of Congress — and pushed through Thursday on a party-line vote — provides a framework for tax hikes a full three times larger than the one that put them in the minority back then. This budget reverses more than a decade of Republican tax relief. It means a tax hike on every single American — working, retired, rich or poor — and, even as it aims to raise nearly $1 trillion with new taxes, does absolutely nothing to rein in spending or shore up an entitlement system badly in need of reform.

Everyone takes a hit. Forty-five million working families with two children will see their taxes increase by nearly $3,000 annually. They’d see the current child tax credit cut in half — from $1,000 to $500. The standard deduction for married couples is also cut in half, from the current $3,400 to $1,700. The overall effect on married couples with children is obvious: Far from shifting the burden onto the wealthy, the Democratic budget drives up taxes on the average American family by more than 130 percent.

My budget is always tight, folks. Tax increases like this hurt--especially for a guy who is going to be getting married in the near future.

Aside from the personal pain, envisioning a long lasting and deep recession resulting from this kind of a tax increase doesn’t require any kind of crystal ball. Anyone who watched the recessions after the Bush 1 and Clinton tax increases knows the score--these moves hit at employment, consumer confidence, investor aggressiveness, and new business investment. It almost guarantees decreased consumer activity--especially if they hit in combination with high energy costs--as budgets tighten and people start worrying about their bank accounts and real estate investments.

With looming Medicare and Social Security problems so enormous that they sometimes seem insurmountable, what we need our leaders to do is solve our current fiscal problems in a responsible manner. Instead they simply plan to pile new problems onto the old, confiscate more money from we, the people, and give us so many new perks of citizenship in the form of pills, government handouts, and artificially cheap high fructose corn syrup sweetened everything that maybe we won’t notice the crumbling machinery propping up the whole damned show.

This isn’t entirely about the Republican/Democrat divide--my side has shown little willingness to control spending, failed to support the President in his push to reform Social Security in a meaningful way, and happily supported him when decided to send a care package of government-subsidized drugs out to the easily-frightened senior citizens who thought that the Social Security reform was aimed dead against them. I hear the drugs had a lovely calming effect.

As an aside; When the blue hairs go to bed at night, maybe they all imagine that Kanye West actually said, “Bush hates old people.” Look, I’m going to be old some day, too, and I hope there is some security in my life. I also hope like hell that I’m not the same as the selfish bastards who killed off any chance of reform of Social Security by lapping up the bullshit peddled by the anti-reformers and AARP. I hope I don’t put my irrational fears ahead of the good of the country and a better financial future for my grandkids.

I will never join the AARP as long as they are part of the fear mongers who block Social Security reform. Never.

Anyway, the GOP leadership is mostly happy to play the spending game; it’s hardly a sport reserved for the left. What keeps me voting for the Republicans is that the Democrats are more aggressive in the taxing, spending, and relying on Uncle Sugar to make everything better department. I’m a limited government believer not because I think government is inherently evil, but because I think it is clumsy, self-serving, and rarely as effective as its free market counterparts. Unfortunately, most Americans are true believers in Uncle Sugar’s capacity to be mommy, daddy, and universal umbrella against the ills of the world--and that’s why our future looks more and more like the worst of France.

So, yeah, I guess we all have reason to be cranky today.

Read Senator Mitch McConnell’s take on the new budget plan.

Then read this.

Update: Kindly linked by Kate.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Late Night Heavy Metal Moments of Clarity

Have you noticed how much Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” has held up better than Dio’s “Rainbow in the Dark”? For that matter, Skid Row might not be well remembered, but damned if I don’t still like listening to “Slave the Grind”. Maiden’s “The Trooper” sounds pretty dated, too, but it doesn’t bother me in the same way that “Rainbow in the Dark” does.

Just sayin’. You know. In case you were wondering…

Follow up from our good friend (and Dio-ist), Trench.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

American Idol: The Torture Comes Slowly to an End

So, when the hell did Elliot Yamin become Mr. Kotter?

Ah, Timmer, Thanks!

That was nice!.

And for the rest of you: never forget that Zombies need love, too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

American Idol: Countdown to Extra Special Mediocrity

The night is one of my favorite nights of the year: the night that the judges and the producers choose songs for the singers. I like it mostly because I like to imagine the hell that I would put the contestant through if I were choosing the songs that they would sing. Sadly, the judges and producers usually choose kindness in place of cruelty.

But I can still dream.

Jordin Sparks comes out with a wonderful vocal of a marginal song. Nicely done, Jordin. You go girl, and other such leftover idiocies.

Blake’s take on “Roxanne” was alright, but, frankly, he’s no Sting. It takes a special voice to screw up a vocal like Sting does with this song and make it sound brilliant.

If you take my meaning.

Melinda is just sort of boring. Competent. Yeah, that’s nice.

“Are you drunk?” asked Simon. Stupidly, I thought he was talking to Paula.

“She Works Hard for the Money.” Doing entirely legal stuff. Honest.

Jordin’s second song is another snooze--it’s too grounded in the 80’s, too bland to really overcome its moment in history, and Jordin’s take is too straight to make it seem like something fresh.

Question time: did anyone else get the feeling that Blake was channeling his inner boy band with that Maroon 5 song? Horrid song choice, typical vocal.

Melinda’s second song was far better than the first, but, let’s just say, she’s no Tina Turner. Not by a long shot.

The little Sparks is having a really good night. In fact, her third song (a song I’m not familiar with) was a perfect fit for her; she screwed up the ending a bit, but the rest was wonderful. I utterly loved it and, contra Simon, am glad that she did something classic in feel and style rather than something contemporary, poppy, throwaway crap.

Blake, on the other hand, is surprisingly boring tonight. His third song passes like elevator music and I’m already on to something else. Melinda isn’t exactly helping herself, but she didn’t hurt herself, either. She continues to be the best talent in terms of her singing ability and consistency. But she didn’t really light the place up tonight, did she?

At the top of the show, I would have bet on Melinda and Blake in the finals based on their appeal to such different audience. Melinda and Jordin are competing for a lot of the same votes right now. I’m not sure, though, because Blake was definitely the weakest of the evening.

Still, the teen girl vote cannot be ignored, so I predict Blake in the finals. Jordin had the better night, but Melinda has had--by a big bit--the better competition. The goodwill and fan base that she’s built up will carry her through.

Blake and Melinda in the big show down. So sayeth the Zomby.

Update: Kindly linked by Kate, who thinks that Blake is going bye bye. More importantly, though, given her current proximity to Denver, she might want to ditch the kids and take the hubby on a road trip for a very special blogger bash.

Just sayin’.

Well, I’m Glad We Solved That Particular Problem

July 7 it is.

Bigger, more official type announcement later this evening; consult with Andy and others soon on location; saving up of beer money and commences now; and drinking exercises (to improve stamina) begin this weekend.

Now, any ideas for a blogger outreach program?

Friday, May 11, 2007

If You Don’t Buy This Product, You Might Be in Violation of the Law

There is something funny about this. Media Rights Technologies and BlueBeat.com are launching a wide-ranging effort to force some of the tech world’s biggest companies to adopt their technologies--and they are using the courts to do their work.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was signed into law by President Clinton in 1998 to disseminate and protect the arts in the digital age. It makes illegal and prohibits the manufacture of any product or technology that is designed for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure which effectively controls access to a copyrighted work or which protects the rights of copyright owners. Under the DMCA, mere avoidance of an effective copyright protection solution is a violation of the act.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070510/SFTH062 )

MRT and BlueBeat have developed a technological measure which effectively controls access to copyrighted material. That product, the X1 SeCure Recording Control, has been tested by the industry’s standards bodies, the RIAA and IFPI, and has been proven effective against stream ripping, while protecting privacy and limiting infringement liability for users, distributors and academic institutions. It has been designed for rapid deployment on a reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) basis.

Therefore, Media Rights Technologies (MRT) and BlueBeat.com have issued cease and desist letters to Microsoft, Adobe, Real Networks and Apple with respect to the production or sale of such products as the Vista OS, Adobe Flash Player, Real Player, Apple iTunes and iPod.

MRT asserts Apple, Microsoft, Real and Adobe have produced billions of these products without regard for the DMCA or the rights of American Intellectual Property owners, actively avoiding the use of MRT’s technologies.

In case you didn’t read the above--since reading PR releases isn’t something most people do for fun--let me sum it up:

The law (apparently--I’m neither a lawyer nor a compulsive reader of legalese) makes it a crime for a company to develop a device or software that doesn’t use “effective copyright protection solutions.” Since the companies filing the injunction have developed just such a solution, the companies who don’t use their technology must be in violation of the law.

What’s an ethical, DRM-loving company to do? Well it’s obviously time to call in the lawyers. Lawyers can fix everything.

Okay, maybe funny isn’t the right term. Maybe what I was looking for was pathetic, obvious, idiotic, and irritating.

Read the rest.

Update: More here at CNET.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


August 4? August 11?


Add to Google Reader or Homepage


Advanced Search

© 2005 by the authors of ResurrectionSong. All rights reserved.
Powered by ExpressionEngine