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Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Easter Bunny Hates You

Yep, your suspicions were true.

John Elway's Legacy

Today I went to a BBQ at my Mom's house. As is tradition at family get togethers, a street football game was hastily arranged.

And in honor of the great sport of football, here's something from the legacy of John Elway from Wikipedia:
On May 2, 1999, at the age of 38, Elway announced his retirement from pro football. Elway is regarded as one of the top quarterbacks ever to grace the game. Not only does he have more wins than any other quarterback in NFL history,[1] but he has one of the best winning percentages in league history (148-82-1), and is tied for most Pro Bowl selections for a quarterback (nine). He is third to Dan Marino and Brett Favre in career passing attempts, passing yards and completions. His four total rushing touchdowns in his Super Bowl games are the most ever by a quarterback. Elway is the only quarterback to have started in five Super Bowls. He is also the second player ever to score a rushing touchdown in four different Super Bowls (running back Thurman Thomas was the first).

On Monday September 13, 1999, his number 7 jersey was retired by the Denver Broncos during halftime of a game vs the Miami Dolphins; that same night he was inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. He was the first Broncos player to have the five-year waiting period waived. Also in 1999 he was inducted in to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

Also in 1999, he was ranked number 16 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, the only player to have spent the majority of his career with the Broncos to make the list. (Willie Brown, who began his career with the Broncos but spent more of it with the Oakland Raiders, also made the list.) In 2005, TSN published another special feature honoring the 50 Greatest Quarterbacks. Elway was ranked third behind Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana.

Elway was named the greatest athlete wearing the #7 by Sports Illustrated.

To Lease or To Buy?

Boing Boing has an interesting take-down of Google Video. Apparently it was an experimental service that "sold" TV shows and movies but it was such a failure, they are shutting it down. They reprint the letter Google sent them that includes this strange line:
After August 15, 2007, you will no longer be able to view your purchased or rented videos.
As Cory Doctorow says:
Notice that Google called these videos "purchased" and "download to own" -- as though by buying them, they became your property. Funny kind of property, that.
Cory has even more:
These stores claim to "sell" you things, but you can never truly own the things they sell -- they are your theoretical property only, liable to confiscation at any time. That's the lesson for DRM: only the big motion picture companies, search giants and other corporate overlords get to own property. We vassals are mere tenant-farmers, with a precarious claim on our little patch of dirt.
That is the basic conundrum with "intellectual property." It doesn't even act like property.

You can buy it...but you can't own it. You know...like most property.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Nobodies and the Assholes

The last week or so, I've had a couple of jerky anonymous comments. I can only assume the commenters thought they were deserved, and perhaps they were. I have opinions and I often put them in strong terms. That alone is going to open you up to jerky comments, but that doesn't mean you have to like them.

The first

Wow, you're a real fucking nobody. Keep up the good work!
was left by someone who clicked over from Junkyardblog, which has all kinds of cool things like ads and dozens of links and banners and even little quotes about the blog. "This blog sucks. - Kirkus Reviews"

If you're reading this blog, you'll see none of that. Oh, I have a donation button over there (and it actually works) but you've never seen me call for donations, even when I was unemployed, nor have I mentioned it. I'm not seeking donations, but if some kind soul wants to give me money, what the hell? So far, no one has.

Does that make me a failure as a blogger? Do I care?

I have decided to write a blog because I'm a writer. I've only been paid once for writing, and I've only appeared in print a few times in obscure publications. I have aspirations of becoming a full-time highly paid writer, ala Stephen King, but those "aspirations" are more like pipe dreams. Reality is much different.

Maybe I'm just not talented enough to "make it." Maybe it's because I haven't submitted anything for publication in years.

Maybe because to be a writer, you don't have to publish or make money or appear on the bestseller lists. You just have to write.

And that's what this blog is, me writing, whatever's on my mind, however I feel. So if you want to call my blog an online diary, okay. That's cool. I'd just call it a blog....

But if you want to call this blog a try-out for a pundit job, or my portfolio to get on staff at some magazine, or an attempt to get linked by Instapundit or The Huffington Post, I'm going to take issue with that.

It is what it is. My blog. The blog of a nobody named James Pearce.

So my second anonymous commenter, when you say
That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Perhaps, judging from the content of this blog, it is nothing more than sour grapes at your lack of a productive intellect to which you could secure some type of rights. Don't quit your day job.
you're right about the sour grapes. But it's not about a "lack of productive intellect" or my status as a "real fucking nobody" in the blogosphere.

Nope, they're from assholes like you fellas, you know, the kind of person who feels really good about themselves when they tear another person down.

Oh, what a big man you are. Let me buy you a pack of gum. I'll show you how to chew it.

Debunk This

Hey, paranoid right wing milbloggers. Tired of harping on Scott Thomas Beauchamp?

The Nation gives you a present. More first person accounts from soldiers who fought in Iraq. Let the debunking begin!

(Sigh.)

Updated:

More dog abuse:
"And we were approaching this one house," {Spc. Philip Chrystal, 23, of Reno} said. "In this farming area, they're, like, built up into little courtyards. So they have, like, the main house, common area. They have, like, a kitchen and then they have a storage shed-type deal. And we're approaching, and they had a family dog. And it was barking ferociously, 'cause it's doing its job. And my squad leader, just out of nowhere, just shoots it. And he didn't--motherfucker--he shot it and it went in the jaw and exited out. So I see this dog--I'm a huge animal lover; I love animals--and this dog has, like, these eyes on it and he's running around spraying blood all over the place.
Expect milbloggers to argue that there's no way a dog could run around spraying blood after being shot.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Imaginary Property Rights

Ha! Matt Yglesias, who is fast becoming one of my favorite PMO* bloggers, blogs about the ridiculous effort to secure copyright protection for fashion designers. He nails it with this:
The idea of copyright is not that creators deserve your money, but that you, the citizen, deserve a world in which creators have incentives to create.
Yes! That's it completely!

As a writer, I have a somewhat ironic view of copyright. Unlike those who might urge for lifelong protection plus 70 years, which is roughly what we have now, I'd vote for a system of say...7 years. Yeah, 7 years is good. Then it reverts to the public domain.

Understand that this doesn't mean I can take Stephen King's book Carrie and publish it under my own name. It's still his book. But if I owned a publishing company, I could publish it without asking for his permission. And what's so wrong with that?

He still made money off it, right? He's still considered the author of the book, right? If he didn't want to give it to the masses, then why did he publish it? Considering his body of work, consisting of dozens of books, he would still be making a decent living, wouldn't he?

Besides, you don't get paid for work you did 20 years ago, so why should he? Wouldn't you love a royalty for every burger you flipped on your sophmore summer vacation? If I had a dime for every paper I threw or lawn I mowed...

The mistake most people make when talking about intellectual property is that they think it's like real property, in the sense that this is mine and that is yours. My view is that intellectual property is ours.

Mickey Mouse is not a commodity. Songs are not "goods" that can be traded like pork bellies. And software?

Software is a whole other beast. Most software becomes obsolete long before it reverts to the public domain, so it seems that the intent and purpose of copyright doesn't even factor. The fated obsolescence itself provides incentive to create new work! Not the incentive of Bill Gates-like profit, but there's only one Bill Gates and many, many software developers.

Just like there's only one Stephen King, millionaire many times over thanks to our "imaginary" property ideas, and many many other writers who don't make a dime.

More Beauchamp

I thought the Thomas Beauchamp story was over with, but nooooooooo......

It's still raging, in certain circles that is. It finally made it to the professional media outlets (PMO needs to replace MSM in our vernacular, I think) in a Howard Kurtz column. I'll give this to Kurtz: He often tries to be objective...but his conservative sympathies leak out every now and then. (Just for the record, I find Howie's attempts at objectivity admirable and his lapses forgivable. It's the opposite of how I view someone like, say, Bill Kristol, who doesn't even bother to try...)

Interesting enough, however, I found this link from Instapundit. The funny part about it?
THE NEW REPUBLIC LOOKS AWFULLY BAD in this AP story about the Beauchamp affair.
Wait...the same AP that "made-up" Jamil Hussein?

Shameless, man...shameless.

Updated: Ugh, God...Krauthammer is on the case now. I know this is politically incorrect, but someone needs to push Krauthammer's wheelchair off a cliff. I seriously can't stand this dude.

I will give him credit, though. He doesn't accuse Beauchamp of making shit up. Instead, he accuses Beauchamp of writing "in the precious, highly self-conscious literary style of an aspiring writer trying out for a New Yorker gig." A New Yorker gig he will no likely never get now.

This is like when they attacked Richard Clarke for his book deal. (Funny how they never accuse Bill Kristol of supporting the Iraq war to boost his book sales. No, in the right wing bubble one must only question the motives of "lefties.")

What really annoys me though is this last paragraph from the Krauthammer.
We already knew from all of America's armed conflicts -- including Iraq -- what war can make men do. The only thing we learn from Scott Thomas Beauchamp is what literary ambition can make men say.
Slamming a dude for literary ambition?

WTF? Let's review.

So the New Republic didn't conspire with Beauchamp to undermine the war effort by printing lies by a fictional person, as was first alleged.

Beauchamp revealed himself and actually turned out to be a real soldier who has really been fighting in Iraq.

The incident with the disfigured woman? Not the product of a soldier's imagination, but a real event that happened in Kuwait with witnesses.

"But Beauchamp said it happened in Iraq during the war, not in Kuwait before the war," they wail. "That changes the context."

Yes, it does...but you said the incident never happened. To put it simply, "never happened" and "happened in Kuwait" are NOT the same thing. They're not even close. (By contrast, there's less daylight between "happened in Kuwait" and "happened in Iraq," but I don't expect Malkin or Ace to see that, as obvious it is.)

So now that it's been revealed that Beauchamp was a real and wrote about real events, albeit with a few factual errors and a "literary" style. Tell me...what's the fucking crime?

Michael Yon's been doing it for years.

PS. I forgot to mention that yes, I'm aware the army denies Beauchamp's account in its entirety, from running over dogs to digging up bones. Unfortunately the Army's record on other incidents such as Jessica Lynch, Abu Ghraib, and Pat Tillman doesn't allow for much credulity. Maybe Michelle Malkin feels comfortable taking them at their word. But if you ask me, the Army's word isn't worth much.

Believe a pathological liar at your own risk.

Almost Made It a Week....

Some light posting this week. Emotionally I've been somewhere between kind of blue and down. It happens. It'll pass.

If you're curious as to why, listen to Nonpoint's song "Bullet With a Name," especially the line "How can I be an individual with the weight of the world and eight other planets to take?"

Yeah, I need to recite the serenity poem, because I'm not very good at accepting the things I can't control. Not that I'm a control freak...

I just have problems with traffic jams, lying politicians, banks, right-wing nutjobs, and gangbangers, among other assorted things.

Ah well, no one's perfect.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday Gardenblogging

It's been a rainy week here in the Mile High City, which has been great for the garden. I haven't watered in several days, and no one's complaining. In fact, things have been going so well, I've had to perform surgery on several of my tomato plants.

Tomatoes labeled "indeterminate" will continue to grow until the first frost, and if you let it, the plant will become a tangled bush that won't produce anything but more leaves. Trimming is essential. By cutting back the foliage, you're forcing the plant to divert its energy into producing fruit.

Take this plant. I really let this one go, not trimming it until this week. It broke my heart cutting back yards and yards of healthy tomato vines with small green fruit, but I had to do it. The plant would have spent the entire summer trying to get as big as it could, and would have forgotten to produce even a single edible tomato. It's starting to look healthier, post surgery, and as you can see, the fruit are already ripening.

Since I started gardening a few years ago, I've always used tomato cages for my plants, but next year I'm going to use stakes and ties. The cages are fine for small plants (I'll keep them for my hot peppers), but when a tomato plant gets too big, the cage can't support its weight and tips over.

As a solution, I first tried to stake the cages up, but even then the results were less than desirable. Rogue stems often find themselves trailing outside the cage or twisted inside the cage in a mass of impenetrable leaves. So I experimented with staking the actual plant, and so far, I like what I've been seeing. Trimming and harvesting these babies will be a cinch, and they won't tip over. So next year, all my tomatoes will conform to this idea. And like Van Helsing once said, we're gonna need a lot of stakes.

Behold...green fire.
And these guys will be just as hot.One of the varieties of heirloom tomatoes I'm growing, the yellow pear.A sea of pumpkin leaves. Watching these things grow, I keep thinking, "We're gonna need a bigger garden."And there you have it, the Ghetto Garden on a Sunday morning.