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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Excessive Force

I hate this cop. I hate him with every ventricle of my smoke-blackened heart.

Watch this video to see why. Warning: You will be watching an execution.

I'm with the people in the crowd shouting "That's fucked up." Yes, fucked up is a pretty apt description.

The dude's on his belly, his hands behind his back, another cop driving a knee into his neck. There's no reason to shoot him. The "I was reaching for my taser" defense doesn't work because a taser and a gun are quite distinguishable, even in the heat of the moment, and besides, there's no reason to tase the guy anyway. He's already down!

No wonder there are riots.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The New Phonebooks are Here! The New Phonebooks are Here!

As the phone company dumped off another stack of unused phone books on my doorstep*, I also got my new pair of shoes.

Yes, those are Chuck Taylor Converse shoes with a Black Sabbath logo. (The album cover of their Volume 4, to be exact.)

And yes, I'm too old to be wearing Chuck Taylors. But I'm also too young to remember Black Sabbath's Volume 4 record. (It came out in 1972. four years before I was born.)

I guess you could say I'm a walking anachronism.



* Seriously, I have a computer. What am I gonna do with a phonebook? I suppose I could use them to hold up my typewriter...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Color Purple

I just got back from watching the touring production of The Color Purple. Excuse me, Oprah Winfrey Presents The Color Purple.

It was good. I'm not going to critique the whole thing, but I want to point out a pro and a con. You know, balance.

The pro: The actress playing Sophia was awesome. Sophia's a great character as conceived, but brought to life tonight, she was something to behold. I gave her a well-deserved woot when she came out for a bow.

The con: I was somewhat disappointed by the music, although I suppose I have no right to be. I was expecting gospel, juke joint blues, field songs, African rhythms. It was there, but weakly. The movie had some great musical numbers, the "Sister" song that Shug plays for Celie in the juke joint, the rousing gospel number as Shug confronts her father the minister at church.

The play didn't have to do a note for note rendition of those numbers to satisfy me, but I do wish it had captured more of that feel. As it was, the songs were delivered in that standard Broadway showtunes style, swooning under the spotlight with lots of soaring notes. That's not really my thing.

Still good show, and I hope my Mom enjoys it as much as I did. (I bought her tickets to it next week.)

Some Funny Comments

You might be wondering why I haven't posted anything political in a while. "His guy gets elected and he goes silent," you're thinking. "Typical."

Or, "I knew you were just a Democrat stooge. What, you're all over Larry Craig soliciting sex in a bathroom, but you can't say anything about Blagojevich?"

Yeah, well, I've been dealing with my own private hell lately, so politics have taken a back seat.

But here's the short version of what I would have posted if my December hadn't been personified by a perpetual foul mood:

Blagojevich is scum. The debate over seating Burris is a joke. They don't want to seat you, dude, because a crook picked you. It has nothing to do with the color of your skin.

Harry Reid reminds me of a song by A Perfect Circle. It's called "Weak and Powerless." I can't say anything bad about Nancy Pelosi, but Harry Reid is an embarrassment.

Obama nominating Clinton for Secretary of State is an even bigger joke. And Caroline Kennedy? Are you kidding me? (I look forward to the day when there are no Kennedys, Clintons, or Bushes in government. In my 32 years on the planet, I haven't had one yet. Seriously, leave us alone already. My fellow Americans, there are 300 million people in the United States. We will be just fine if these three families are not in control, I assure you.)

But I didn't really want to post that stuff. I really wanted to make fun of wingnuts and their nutty ideas. All of these comments are from this Joe the Plumber post by my buddy, Roger L. Simon.

Lola says:
"Yeah . . . the media will be forced to cover what’s never been covered . . . simply because Joe the Plumber is signing off his report somewhere near Gaza. I love this!"
Lola, please tell me you're joking, because "the media" has been reporting on Gaza quite a bit. Now I understand you don't like the nature of their reporting...but there's a difference between saying "I don't like Adam Sandler movies" and "Adam Sandler movies don't exist." I shouldn't have to point this out to you, but well, you proved me wrong on that one.

Sami says:
"Clearly, he is no expert about international affairs, but he also lacks the agenda driven biases of most of the MSM. His common man point of view will be a refreshing change from the cookie cutter media stars."
Yeah, Sami, because Pajamas Media is known for their lack of an agenda-driven bias...

Docjohn52 says:
This is absolutely the best move ever. I’d MUCH rather hear Joe’s reporting than AP’a, or CNN, MSNBC, NYT, LAT WaPO, well the usual suspects.
That's because you're an idiot. You wouldn't call Anderson Cooper to unclog a drain, would you?

Mwalimu Daudi says:
"JDS - Joe Derangement Syndrome. I love it!"
Are you referring to the people who think Joe the Plumber is a stooge, or the people who think he's the reincarnation of Frank Capra's "American Everyman" myth? Because the former are not all that deranged. The latter?

Mike says:
"As a staunch conservative that donates and participates within the party… what the hell are you idiots doing? Joe’s five minutes of fame (one of them credible) were long over and helped SINK our nominee. The fact that ‘jammies media would want this idiots name to appear… anywhere is just symbolic of the problems within our party; namely that your an idiot."
Ummm.... Actually I agree with this one.

Mild Amusements

I thought Joe the Plumber reporting on Gaza was funny, but then I heard about this panda attack.

This story amused me too. The video of Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Wright getting arrested. But way down at the end, there's this little part:
In other Brolin news today, he called Russell Crowe an "a-hole."
That's news? Yeah, for a high school newspaper.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Taken Down by Van Halen

Remember this video?
Remember the song that originally played in the background? It was something else until I got this e-mail from YouTube:
A copyright owner has claimed it owns some or all of the audio content in your video Jump Street. The audio content identified in your video is Jump by Van Halen. We regret to inform you that your video has been blocked from playback due to a music rights issue.
My first take-down notice!

My first impulse was Fuck you, Van Halen!

I mean, here's a band that has spent the last twenty years undoing any legacy they might have had. I love Van Halen I. Running with the Devil, Jamie's Crying, You Really Got Me (which isn't even a Van Halen song), Ain't Talking Bout Love. I even like the stuff from 1984, Jump, Panama, Hot for Teacher.

Anything after that hardly rates. They fired their singer, had a few hits with the other guy, then fired him too. Then they got another guy, embarrassing themselves and basically ruining the other guy's career. And for the last ten years, have been trying to mount a "comeback," which apparently means recording no new music and staging gimmicky tours, sometimes with Sammy Hagar, sometimes with David Lee Roth, sometimes with both, and for a while there, with neither.

Meanwhile, they kicked their bassist to the curb but still uses his vocal tapes for that "live" sound.

And then when a guy makes a home movie of him and his nephew jumping on trampolines, they serve him with a takedown notice. "Hey, you're using my song, dude!"

Yeah, I am. Less than two minutes of it, for non-commercial purposes. And I'm adding value, at least as far as the video footage of me doing a belly flop on a trampoline has value.

So what do you want, Van Halen? A licensing fee? Jump in a lake, pal. I couldn't afford your licensing fee even if I had the inclination to pay it. How much does a two minute license for use in a home movie cost anyway? Less than the $13.98 MSRP for the CD? Didn't think so.

I find it interesting that our copyright system functions that way. I thought it was set-up to create incentives for creative work.

Little did I know that it's just designed to preserve the revenue streams of inactive ego-maniacs.

Updated: Saw this post on Boing Boing that's semi-related to the point I was trying to make above.

The nut:
It's a classic example of how today's copyright system suppresses art, effectively forcing artists to make creative choices based on licensing concerns rather than on their artistic vision.
Yeah, sounds about right.