Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No. But it wasn't a dream... it was a place. And you, and you, and you, and you were there.

BAC taggity tagged me with a the "Six Random Things About Me" meme.

The Rules

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random things about me-

1) When I was ten a friend's mom stabbed me in the ass with a pitchfork. she had a bit of a drinking problem.

2) On a date in high school I once drove my VW Rabbit into a puddle so deep it killed the engine. We had to wade to shore.

3) I love cashews.

4) My favorite gift as a child was the "Gunfight at OK Corral" game where you shot marbles at your opponent's little man, trying to dislodge his little gunfighter. I wanted this so badly and was overjoyed when I got it.

5) When visiting some buddies in the seminary they took me on a tour of the secret antiquities stored there. Besides the gold crosses and saint's bones they had a collection of the preserved carcasses of deformed animals (two-headed calves, etc.) that would make Ripley proud.

6) While getting married and having kids is up there on the list, I still consider the greatest day of my life the time my friends and I began drinking early in the morning and went on a joyous, crazy bender that included breaking into the zoo and facing down a cop.

I share the love with...

Pissed Off Patricia
Randal (of course.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No. No, you can't get away. From hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.

Farewell to Ricardo Montalban who leaves at the age of 88.

He was one of those old-school actors who conveyed gravity just by the timber of his voice. I hope they find him a nice casket lined with fine, Corinthean leather.

One of us died tonight. Somebody knows why. Somebody knows.

#1Animefan loves to use make cute videos mashing pictures of Pokemon or our dogs with music. She's gotten pretty good at it with my favorite being our Chihuahua/ Pekingese Spike to a James Bond "Thunderball" soundtrack.

I recently helped her set up an account on YouTube so she could post and share her Pokemon videos. She has a small circle of like-minded friends online that do the same thing. The videos these guys pass back and forth are about as cute and innocuous as you can find.

A couple of weeks ago I was surprised when I was uploading one of her videos for her and it was immediately spiked by YouTube for music copyright infringement. I was impressed that they had software in place which identified the song that quickly (curse the geek that coded that software to Vic 20 hell.)

I assumed at the time that the music we had on our PC that she used was not legit. I have a ton of music on the thing and not all of of them were purchased through iTunes. Ahem. I've also noticed licensing issues when you rip older CDs to the computer. So the solution would simply be to find a licensed version of the tune she used and redo the video.

Last night she logged on and found that YouTube and pulled the other video she had up, which I'm fairly certain had a licensed tune playing in it. So I looked into this and found she wasn't alone. Thousands of videos have been automatically pulled lately. It looks like the YouTube forums have been temporarily shut down because of the resulting uproar.

Turns out the music in both videos was owned by Warner Brothers who very publicly split with YouTube at the end of the year because they didn't feel they were getting enough revenue off the ads on the site. Google/YouTube then put their wonderful ContentID code into action to strip mine YouTube of any WB artist content. I do mean ANY WB content. Characters in an original skit talking with a WB owned song in the background? Gone. A snippet of less than 10 seconds in your video of a WB owned song? Hasta la vista, baby.

I wonder if Warner Brothers gets the irony of Fox suing them over the distribution rights to their "Watchmen" movie. Probably not since it's only the film consumers that are hurt by that lawsuit with the movie being delayed.

I'm no lawyer but these latter examples seem to fall especially under Fair Use to my untrained eye. It would be difficult to identify any financial damage to the artist and the people who post these videos certainly aren't seeing financial gain. What's really egregious is that there is no opportunity to petition YouTube with that argument, nor a mechanism to ask the artist for permission to use the music.

Since these types of homegrown videos make up the bulk of the videos on YouTube I cannot see how it can survive under these sorts of restrictions on content. Oh well.

We all know people in our lives that like to complain that government stifles creativity and is too restrictive on freedom. I've spent my adult life watching corporations constantly doing things that screw consumers. From where I sit they're the ones that take all the fun out of life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Officer O'Clancy, take care of this toxic waste.

One of the dreams of those that have spent the last several decades pushing for alternative energy sources is that of breaking our dependence on middle east oil.

An inevitable side effect of the United States leading the search for these alternative energy sources would be a revolution in U.S. industry. Much like the advent of the the automobile green energy would spur the U.S. economy and help the U.S. regain it's slipping lead on innovation and technology.

That's why it's been incredibly frustrating watching this administration spend eight years fighting investment in green energy solutions for purely ideological reasons. In doing so they were hurting the United States. They were making us weaker. (I think about this and a million other examples when Bush administration apologists tell us their greatest accomplishment is "making us safe." They've accomplished exactly the opposite.)

Their inaction doesn't mean some other nation(s) won't take the lead:

Gulf Oil States Seeking a Lead in Clean Energy

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — With one of the highest per capita carbon footprints in the world, these oil-rich emirates would seem an unlikely place for a green revolution.

Gasoline sells for 45 cents a gallon. There is little public transportation and no recycling. Residents drive between air-conditioned apartments and air-conditioned malls, which are lighted 24/7.

Still, the region’s leaders know energy and money, having built their wealth on oil. They understand that oil is a finite resource, vulnerable to competition from new energy sources.

So even as President-elect Barack Obama talks about promoting green jobs as America’s route out of recession, gulf states, including the emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are making a concerted push to become the Silicon Valley of alternative energy.

It is going to cost the United States a lot to catch up to these countries but it is a matter of national security that we do so. We must initiate a green Apollo program, and quickly. It seems like everybody in the world except the GOP dead-enders and their Democratic enablers can see the writing on the wall. Will they act?

I won't hold my breath.

What have I done?

Major Facebook faux pas yesterday.

You know that "what I am doing now" function where you can post something cute? One of my friends wrote something like "Jane is looking for good books to read aloud to my husband."

Being the smart-ass that I am I quickly wrote "the necromonicon" in response. To my chagrin that comment showed up on another friend's page under her description of what she's doing at the moment: "Jen is feeling sad that she had to put Christmas away for another year."

So my suggestion for ending your end-of-Christmas blues is to read the book of the dead. D'oh!

Naturally Jen sent me a "WTF?" note which led to a quick, if not nutty sounding explanation from me.

I'm ashamed to say that I'm now afraid of Facebook.