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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Suicide Note Part One

Who knows how long this link will last, but it's the suicide note of a guy I didn't know. He was sexually abused as a child and was affected so profoundly that he took his own life. Morbid curiosity led me to read it, and it's a gut-wrenching read.

Rather than a justification for the act of suicide or a final kiss-off, this suicide note provides an intensely personal glimpse into the profound effects of childhood trauma. No matter what this guy did, he couldn't escape "the darkness." With amazing self-awareness, he describes how it affected his entire life and inspired his decision to kill himself. Some parts are chilling. At one point he describes his evil desire to end life, and it's not at all clear he's just talking about his own.

Still, this part, I think, is a cop-out.
There's no point in identifying who molested me, so I'm just going to leave it at that. I doubt the word of a dead guy with no evidence about something that happened over twenty years ago would have much sway.
I'm sure complicated feelings develop around being molested, especially if it's by a close family member, but dammit, this dude ruined your life, man. He's the reason you're killing yourself. Complicated feelings or no, his name should be in big bold letters.

Star Wars on Blu-Ray

But as Jason Kottke reminds us:
One more time, just for old times sake, let's all buy the same six films for the very last time. Well, until the ultra mega special holographic boxed set comes out in 2013.
Darth Vader won't be public domain for a very, very long time. By then, George Lucas's great-grandchildren will be, thanks to the wonders of compound interest and our copyright laws, the world's first trillionaires.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Heavy Metal Penguin

I hadn't heard of Happy Penguin, but I couldn't resist Heavy Metal Penguin.

Who's the band? Sounds like...Testament?

Ah, the internet...

The Night Shift

One of the biggest drawbacks of working the night shift is that I often don't know what day it is.

Right now, it's Friday. But when I arrived at work, it was Thursday. It still feels like Thursday. I just looked down, saw that it was Friday, and for a brief moment, thought I lost my fucking mind.

Just Saying...

I heard some source music on Sons of Anarchy that sounded familiar. And sure as shit, it was my new favorite band, Sasquatch.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Down With Sam Crow

When I heard about Sons of Anarchy, I was less than interested. A show about an outlaw biker gang? Um, yeah.

But I gave it a shot, and holy shit, man. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting it to be so good. The writing is particularly strong, but what stands out in a big way is Katey Segal as the matriarch Gemma. I haven't seen a character so vivid and complex since Al Swearengen.

More Copywrong

I couldn't disagree more with Rick Carnes and this essay.

It starts out with this sentence:
After their world tour in 1966, The Beatles quit touring as a group.
Put another way, The Beatles quit touring as a group 45 years ago. There are people born that day who are now grandparents.

Two paragraphs later, Carnes writes this sentence:
The recent release of The Beatles' catalog by iTunes has given the public a chance to revisit a period of pop music in which each new Beatles album was a potential advance in the art of recorded pop music.
Put another way, the recent release of The Beatles' decades-old catalog by iTunes has given the public a chance to rebuy each new Beatles album all over again.

That's right. A band that hasn't worked together in 40 years, with only two surviving members, kept their music of iTunes for years because they were worried about getting paid for the music they recorded in the 60s. (They certainly weren't worried about a loss of fidelity in a digital recording.)

But there's more. Carnes continues:
The Beatles, by abandoning touring and focusing instead on writing, recording, and selling albums, invented the "Recording Artist."

Today there are few, if any, examples of true recording artists left.
You say that like it's a bad thing! Just what we need, a bunch of "Recording Artists" charging us 40 years later for the same shit.

(The Beatles may have abandoned touring in 1966, but they abandoned being a "Recording Artist" 4 years later when they split up. The distinction is minor if it exists at all.)

Wrong Diagnosis, Doc

Bonnie Fuller insists that the reason formulaic chick flicks have been failing at the box office is because their A-list stars aren't fan-friendly enough.
Traditional inaccessible A-List behavior simply won't pull people in to see your films anymore. Consider the evidence: Reese Witherspoon's new box office bomb, How Do You Know has trickled in only $25, 582,403 in box office tickets so far but it cost $120,000,000 to make!
Um, that "evidence" doesn't support your hypothesis. Yes, How Do You Know was a total bomb. But where's the evidence it bombed because of Reese Witherspoon's "inaccessible A-list behavior?"

Maybe it bombed because it just wasn't very good. (And seriously, a $120 million romantic comedy with no big explosions or CGI creatures? This was destined to be a flop no matter what.)

The sterling analysis continues:
Jen Aniston's two latest films, The Bounty Hunter and The Switch barely broke even at the box office. Julia Roberts, used to be a shoo-in for major movie tickets but her latest Eat, Pray, Love, cost $60 million to make and only pulled in $80 million U.S. Even worse for her future -- younger female audiences hardly know who she is, and they don't care about her. She's spent so much time hiding from photogs and her fans, she's evaporated her fan base.
Really? You mean it's not because these films have limited audiences???

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Copy Wrongs

I'm a supporter of the weakest possible copyright system. I say seven years is plenty. If it's not, then let's go lifetime of the creator. And that's it. None of this "lifetime of the creator plus three generations" crap.

Copyrights should be used as they were designed, to give creators incentive to create new works and to usher already created works into the public domain.

Howlin Wolf has been dead for 35 years. Of course, he's not going to be creating any new works. His stuff isn't going to hit the public domain until I'm dead. But you can still hear his music.

Yes, his family, none of whom sing on any of Wolf's records, sold the rights to Pfizer to put in fucking Viagra commercials. No joke. I'm sitting at work and I hear that familiar Hubert Sumlin riff. My ears perk up and I look up at the screen. It's a goddamn Viagra commercial.

This musical treasure of immense cultural value...now just a jingle to sell boner pills.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. If the song were public domain, Pfizer could do that. And I could post a list of Howlin Wolf MP3s over there on the side-bar. And some record company could release a compilation. A movie could use it as source music. You could put it on a Youtube video. You could even record your own version.

You could do all of this now, of course, but it's going to cost you, not just a lot of money but a lot of mother-may-I's too. How does asking Howlin Wolf's grandkids permission to use his song in a Viagra commercial give incentive to create new works???

Consider what could have been...

Who Cares?

Normally, I think the answer to the above question is pretty obvious. In a world with billions of people, someone's going to care.

But when it comes to who Jake Gyllenhaal's love life, who cares? So he broke up with his latest celebrity girlfriend? Yeah, that's news.

I love this part though:
Explains a Gyllenhaal insider, “Jake cares about her, but [the publicity] was a lot for him. He wants to keep his private life private, and that’s hard to do dating Taylor.”
Memo to Jake: If you want to keep your private life private, stop dating celebrities, you idiot!