Saturday, September 20, 2003

It's official: my girlfriend is smokin' hot.
The local leather goods store is having a huge sale, so she picked up some sweet PVC pants. homina, homina. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and sometimes he brings shiny, black, tight, plastic pants.

Our soldiers are heroes
U.S. Soldier Kills Tiger in Baghdad Zoo
Always good to know our brave troops are there to get drunk and unnecessarily kill endangered animals in captivity. Keep the fight going for democracy, guys! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Best keyboard ever
Amazon.com: Electronics: Key Tronic E05305US205-C 104-Key Keyboard Win95 PS/2 L-Shape Enter Key
Don't know how long this will be up, but you really should check it out. How many keyboards can summon Jesus or housetrain your dog?

Just pathetic (the day of complaining continues)
Is there another Big City news daily with a worse website than The Oregonian? It's like they're not even trying. In how many towns can you actually get better coverage for area happenings from the websites for local TV stations? I suspect the Oregonian must have locked themselves into a web deal with oregonlive many years ago. I can only assume they are embarassed as to the lack of a quality web page. You can look up any other major paper in the country and get a clear page layout and links to all of the stories they ran that day. Papers with much smaller circulations have no problems having sites that are delights to visit. Hell, some college papers have good sites. But the Oregonian, the most important paper between Seattle and the Bay Area, has a website that's just not worth checking.

Humans continue to be idiots CNN.com - Big cities creating 'huge tree deficit'
A 21% decline in tree canopy in America's biggest cities, with the morons in Atlanta once again blazing a trail as the city that does everything wrong. Listen very closely preople... more trees, good... less trees, bad. Fucking dipshits. :walks away shaking head and mumbling under breath:

Post Raisin Bran
A healthy part of a complete breakfast, right? While I'm typing this, I'm chewing on my Post Raisin Bran (and fending off my cat who's lusting for the milk). But I am not fooled into thinking it's some sort of breakfast for health nuts. Among the ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, & honey. I mean, why have one measley seetener when you can have three? As much as possible, I avoid mass-produced foods. The big food companies are making everybody fat!! It's frightening what's in those ingredients when you actually read them. This, too will be a frequent blog theme - the crap that's in food.

Friday, September 19, 2003

RIAA 2
My good friend Lee is a practicing attorney and an expert on intellectual property law. He also represents bands and plays in his own band in Chicago. He sent me an email regarding the RIAA rant (below). Lee has insight and experience on these matters, so I'm running his email here:

"I think that your RIAA rant is incredibly insightful with respect to the bargaining position and general struggle of young artists, but I just don't agree with your ultimate position on file sharing. To me it's still stealing, and to suggest otherwise is to rebuke the notion of copyright altogether, something granted under the Constitution. The best way to fight the current system is to spend dollars on artists that are not part of it rather than those that are. For better or for worse, it's not just talent that made Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, and Fiona Apple famous; it was somebody's marketing $$$ and savvy. Anyway, that's my rant, albeit an abbreviated one. And by the way, the nine foot rodent (I like your ROUS reference) discovery is kick ass. Peace brother, Lee"

In response, I do want to say that stealing from wealthy recording industry types does not "rebuke the notion of copyright altogether" anymore than any other act of theft rebukes the notions of property ownership. Copyright was designed to encourage creation by rewarding the creator with rights to copy, sell, etc. Can it really be argued that if kids steal from Hollywood big-wigs that people will just give up and stop making music? Will people stop forming bands? How about if the law is changed to say that some rights to the creation cannot be exploited by third parties? How about changing the law to align the fines levied to something resembling human reason? Or how about the good old fashioned notion of stealing from the rich and umm... just because they don't need as much as they have? I mean, can't Adolpho the pool boy come over four times a week instead of five?

Lee, send me the link to whereever your band sells your music, and I'll post it here! and Peace to you to, my man.

Long RIAA Rant
The RIAA puts forth the most immense, steaming pile of bullshit for their arguments, it's hard to contemplate.

Your band has been playing local clubs and selling your little EP's at your shows for a year. You work at the Plaid Pantry down the street, where you had to fight your boss to get Friday nights off so you could play shows. Your drummer is living off his unemployment checks. The bassist's girlfriend just got pregnant and has no health insurance. Your band, though, is pretty damn good, and you get some nice revenue from your shows and cd sales. Enough at least to buy that new amp and get some studio time. Enough to support your hobby.

Your dream of being a big rock star is on the verge of coming true. Atlantic records is calling and wants to produce and distribute your first major label CD. They can get you radio time (which is bought exclusively for signed bands under collusive deals) they can get you into the newspapers and magazines, which will deem you cool (because they all are owned by the same small group of people: the TV stations, the magazines, the newspapers, the record labels - yes, even the "alternative" ones.)

They offer you a royalty advance of $100,000, which sounds like more money than you could ever dream of making at the Plaid Pantry! What a deal - money and fame and... "Just sign here on the dotted line, son."

The negotiating positions are ridiculously imbalanced. For your advance of $100,000, you owe them five albums over the next seven years. Everytime you write a song, it's their's. The $100,000 is split four ways, amounting to $25,000 each. After taxes and recording expenses for album #1, you get about $10,000, which pays off some credit card debt and a few months rent, in addition to a new computer for your music production.

But hey, you get royalties, right? That's right, and if your album goes gold (one chance in hell) then you will have almost sold enough albums to have paid back your advance! Atlantic will let you know when you've cought up. The checks will come after that.

Now let's look at this seriously. The RIAA controls the method of distribution. They are not, despite what they'd have you believe, "creative." They do not make art. They buy art at horribly unfair terms. They then distribute the songs (that real artists have created) and sell cd's at preposterously high prices. When cd's first came out, the industry promised congress that while the $12 prices were high, after a period of time, the production would become cheaper, and the prices would go down under $10. (And after several million dollars in bribes... err, I mean "campaign contributions", Congress has "forgotten" to hold them to that promise.) In return, Congress granted them all of the legal rights they now weild with such ferocity on "immoral" sixth graders.

CD sales have dipped because no one wants to pay the $18 sticker price. If movies on video still cost $85 like they did in the 1980's would you ever buy a DVD? Well, that's what the $18 cd has wrought. No sales. But it's not the industry's fault no one buys their shit, is it? Of course not! It's the consumers' fault! Not buying their shit is ILLEGAL.

The RIAA is a bunch of unnecessary middlemen who have paid off your government to legally ensure their unjustified cut off the top of music sales. Their practices negatively impact both the artists and the artists' fans. File sharing via personal computers eliminates them as the middleman, and that's why they are pissed. We have found a way to work around their unjust system. The legislature has granted them the right to bilk you, and they are now pressing those rights.

This is no different then the mafia charging a "street tax" to resteranteurs for the right to buy wholesale meat. Their presence is unnecessary and unwelcome. If they did not have the money to buy off Congress, they's all be looking for other jobs. (or selling drugs)

When the printing press was invented, the people who previously controlled that information freaked out and persecuted people. But they could not stop it. When VCR's were invented, the movie industry freaked out and tried to block their sales ("but no one will ever pay $85 for a copy of a movie, so how could we ever make money off this horrible technology!?"). When the next method of distributing information is invented, the wealthiest, most powerful people in society will be beside themselves trying to figure out how to stop it.

The argument that really makes me sick is that the RIAA wants you to believe that they are on the side of "artists being fairly compensated for their creations." Bullshit! They are the number one culprits in artists not being compensated fairly for their work! They screw the artists. They are upset because the middleman's role is becoming obsolete!

Grr, I'll rant more on these shitheads later.

R.O.U.S.
A 1,500-Pound Rodent has been discovered. An ancient relative of the guinea pig. Scientists refuse to comment on whether or not it lived in the fire swamp.

Real Patriotism link to the article
Few people in public life have endured as much in the way of personal attacks and outright cruelty as Ted Kennedy. Perhaps because he has nothing to lose with conservatives he is the one who can prominently call George Bush on all of the bullshit.

"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud."

Thanks, Senator. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Alright, Techno-Covetors!
Time to get your desire for unnecessary, but horribly cool technology going full blast. The Treo 600 is a phone, PDA, email & internet client, and camera. It's got a full keyboard and color screen. I have no use for this at all, and I'd love to get one. Wall Street Journal Review

A little personal info
My girlfriend is cool. I've been getting bummed out being the stay at home Dad while she goes to work. It's not that I don't love being with Sebastian, but it's really a lack of adult contact. It's like being alone all the time even though you're with someone. We can fake it, but there's only so much enjoyment an adult can get from coloring & reading children's books, etc. But my honey is there for me. She has been through this and knows how to make me feel better. Thanks, babe!

Oh, like I was going to let this get past the link to the article
reader, italics are mine, the regulat text is from the article. I promise to get around to learning how to block quote articles...
-snip-
About 41% of opposite-sex live-togethers have children younger than 18 in their homes. That means about 4% of the nation's children live in a new and growing family form.
-snip-
The 2000 Census counted 4.9 million homes in which the head of the household lived with an unmarried partner of the opposite sex. That was up from 3 million in 1990.
-snip-
Researchers are starting to explore what that means for these youngsters. Live-in relationships often are unstable, and instability is bad for kids. Some research suggests children do best in families with two biological parents who are married, the form most investigators still call the gold standard for raising children.
--oh now we're getting somewhere! But won't somebody think of the children! Obviously, we can only conclude that if you are not married to the mother or father of your kids, you don't love them as much as moms & dads who are decent enough people to do the right thing and legitimize those poor, bastard children!
-snip-
Other professionals question the relationships on traditional moral grounds. The message sent to kids, these critics say, is that marriage doesn't really matter.

If you are a parent living with a significant other, "that is a very powerful statement to make to your child," says Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, a nonprofit think tank in Ossining, N.Y. "And it is not a good one to pass on."
--Dear Maggie, I am seeing to it that I do everything in my power to teach my son that people like you are evil, self-righteous hypocrites and that people who love each other (like his mom & dad do) are far better people. I hope that's a good enough message to pass on.
-snip-
A final professional verdict, however, is not in on how the children fare in such unions. Findings on the kids of cohabitants are a mixed bag; results differ depending on how the studies are done.

Children born to live-ins have about double the risk of seeing their parents split than those with married biological parents, say sociologists Pamela Smock of the University of Michigan and Wendy Manning of Bowling Green State University.
--very importantly not taking into account a relevent comparison to the kids of non-married, co-habitating, biological parents. This comparison takes into account single parents who co-habitate with new partners purely for economic reasons. Or how about comparing single parents who move in with new partners with those who don't. Is the child benefitted by going it alone even if that means they can't pay their bills? And while we're at this, can we look at kids of people who stay married to each other (because they're just such darned good people) even though they have a completely dysfunctional marriage?
-snip-
Live-ins who part might be less traditional than married couples and more open to the idea of separating, experts say. If the union ends, one parent might take the child with him or her into a series of live-in arrangements. That is particularly true if the parent has few financial resources, little education and poor parenting skills, researchers say.
--good thing USA Today can at least show some pity for the degenerate, misguided lot of us.
-snip-
Of course, statistics just show the odds, not what will happen within any individual family. And there are many miserable married families as well as many happy cohabitants with children.
--Following the great tradition of the morally righteous in admitting that we're not *all* bad. And completely missing the point that truly rules the day: people who are total fuck-ups and have kids produce kids who are total fuck-ups, while healthy, loving parents in good relationships tend to produce healthy kids. There is absolutely no cause and effect relationship with the presence or absence of a marriage certificate.
-snip-
Child psychologist Bill Maier works with Focus on the Family, a non-profit Christian organization that supports traditional families. People are reluctant to talk about right and wrong in a "relativistic age" that places the wishes of adults above the well-being of children, he says. "As a Christian organization, we have a strong view that sexuality is a gift from God, and the Bible clearly tells us it is expressed correctly in marriage."
--"Relativists" are people who don't always look at things as being Good vs. Evil. (God vs. the Devil) And the Bible also tells us that the Father of the bride should give the new husband several sheep as a price for taking this good-for-nothing-except-birthing-babies female off the father's hands.
-snip-
There are other potential snags. How will the community, places of worship, friends and extended family members accept unmarried live-ins with children?
--My suggestion is to not be involved with intolerant communities such as churches... and Oklahoma.
-snip-
--after going over some examples of families who are normal despite not having a marriage certificate nailed to the wall in the hallway...
Research can only take live-in parents so far, Solot says. "Talking about averages misses the basic fact that most children do well regardless of family form." There are "all kinds of risks, emotional and legal, but unmarried families can certainly thrive if they are loving, fairly stable and have set up rules and goals."
--I'm sure statements such as this are what drives conservatives crazy over the "liberal media bias" as though only the unreasonable, commie journalist could say that these sickos could ever be acceptable. From my perspective, it's complete bullshit to even have an article whose main objective is to explore the question as to whether or not the Normals should consider accepting us, albeit begrudgingly. The real, underlying message of this article is that YOU, the Normals are good citizens and these whacky liberals, going off and acting like they don't even need to get married (the heathens) are putting their kids at risk!! You are so much better than these people. Now go off and clean your guns and teach them that their private parts are dirty.

And it's still illegal to prescribe pot
But hey, since doctors won't stop writing perscriptions for antibiotics to treat colds, the CDC is now urging parents to stop pestering their weak-kneed doctors to write those harmful scrips. Has anyone thought that the AMA, the State regulatory boards or the DEA & FDA could just pass regulations forbidding doctors to do this? Here's the article.

YOU MUST BUY THIS, GOOD CONSUMER!
Well, gee. As it turns out, those H2's are really just for itty, bitty girly boys on a budget. I mean, it's not like the H2 can go 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. And we all need our SUV to do that, right? Thank Isis for the Germans!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

RIAA ongoing evil
The RIAA is going to be hammered in these her blog postings, but in the meantime, I'm going to get this nifty little piece of advice out, courtesy of a letter to the editor printed in Salon:

>>As an attorney with IP litigation experience, let me throw in some free legal advice on the RIAA's "Clean Slate" Program. Do NOT ... I repeat, do NOT sign up for this program.

Not only are you signing a document that would become Exhibit A in a criminal proceeding, you would be opening yourself up to numerous civil lawsuits. Every musical recording likely has multiple copyrights associated with it (lyrics, music, performance) and, therefore, multiple copyright owners with the right to sue.

Simply put, signing the Clean Slate program affidavit is a confession under oath that you committed a crime and violated civil statutes under the federal copyright laws. Through the subpoena power, the government or a copyright holder could compel the RIAA to produce your confession for use in a criminal or civil proceeding. There is no assurances of privacy that the RIAA could provide that trump this subpoena power.

Don't be fooled!

-- Brian McQuillen<<

Thanks, Brian. And thanks for helping me get that out without violating the "no practicing law without a lisence" laws.

PS - I'll get my html down eventually and will be able to properly indent quotes like that.

Name Contest
I need a good name for my blog. "catphile blog" may have worked in 2002 or something, but now I need a hip new name. email me at catphile@excite.com and let me know your suggestion. Winner gets a free link from my site to their porn site.

And lest I not give you anywhere new to go, I offer you the following link to an SG board topic. It is adult and graphic and not for the faint of heart. Don't say I didn't warn you. If you go, your life will be enriched by it. Enjoy.

Administer the Test!
Which of the following would you most prefer?
a) a puppy
b) a pretty flower from your sweetie, or
c) a large, properly formatted data file?
Choose!

To all of you still stuck on internet explorer, I highly recommend switching to Mozilla. Laura prefers the regular Mozilla, while I prefer Firebird. If you have not yet tried tabbed browsing, you can't know the convenience you're missing. And firebird has all those nifty shortcuts. Type "google _______" and you google search your terms without going to any other page. Type "goto ________" eg "goto Oregon Country Fair" and you get an I'm Feeling Lucky search. Try Mozilla for a week, and I promise you'll never go back. And Firebird's still in Beta and it already kicks all other browsers' butts.

Second Post... and counting
Alright! Got the blog up and running and now I can go on and on about whatever I want to. And you all have to read it! :evil laugh: Oh wait... no you don't. So if You don't like my posts, just go ahead and go to someone else's blog.

In the meantime in today's news...
Wes Clark has made his formal announcement that he's running for President. My first choice is now a tie between Howard Dean and Wes Clark. I'll run commentary on all of them in this blog, so stay tuned.

Too bad for Sen. Edwards. He announced at the same time as Clark. So much for getting those headlines, huh? I have a feeling this guy could be president at some point in our future, but I'd be surprised if his delegates were major players at next summer's D convention. Not yet.

And that 'ol babe Isabel is about to smack the East Coast around tonight. Have fun guys! When your power's back up, check in on my blog!

First Post
First! Yeehaw. Trying to get a new blog off the ground, because I have way too much to say, and not enough people listening. All blogs start off with a ridiculous amount of ambition, and mine is no different. Posts should carry whatever it is that interests me as I search the web. I read the news, and I comment. I tell you all about my thoughts on the latest crap capitalism has to offer.

I'm a leftist. Unapologetically. I offend people. Good - you should be offended, because I'm criticizing your society and therefore your values and your way of life.

Now I've got to go figure out how to get this blogger program running, so talk t'y'all later!