Down with the Kings

Well, looks like Hollywood is blaming text messaging for the latest in a line of movie flops – it disturbs me that they’re basically saying “yeah, we know that movie sucked, but a year or so ago people weren’t text messaging as much, so we could scam more people into coming out to see “Gigli”, then dishing the goods on how bad it was later, via telephone or email or whatever. So by text messaging from the theatre itself, people are obviously screwing Hollywood. Wait, here’s a theory. Howabout making good films? [via metafilter]

Thought the overall recall election in California was a joke before? Now it really is, as you can vote with your stomach at Taco Bell stores in California. [via drudge]

Well, looks like there won’t be peace anytime soon in Israel… Yes, I’m optimistic… But hey, since Israeli kids got blown up the other day, the Israelis retaliated, assassinating a leader of the Hamas group. Ugh. This whole situation is just horrible, and seems to ebb and flow so so much, but when it gets going, it really doesn’t seem to want to stop – people getting killed on both “sides” of the situation.

For all of you Ashton Kutcher haters, here’s a quality article potentially answering the “dude, what the hell?” question we’re all asking – why is he popular? I mean, I can wear a John Deere hat and play tricks on people on television too. We can all act really stupid and walk around in our underwear.

I think I’m going to make a trend of pointing out what is actually important in news stories. For instance, this story from the Des Moines Register – Lunchtime at Elementary school is silenced. I mean, seriously. You are telling elementary school kids not to talk at lunch because they’re noisy and aren’t always finishing their lunches. Whatever. But the important part of this article is this quote: “Three days into the school year”. AHHHHH! It’s August 21st! I know some states in the USA have full year schedules or extended school years, but let’s just say it’s not the majority. Kids in this area will never really know what it’s like when you graduate from school and get a job, and long for the full on summer vacation. What’s up with that?! The horrors. I really feel for these kids. [via drudge]

Funny link on boingboing talking about The Onion’s spoof on iPod. Good find – what’s starting to disturb me about iPod is that it’s definitely becoming mainstream and now that the PC product has gotten pretty good pickup by that group, all that’s stopping iPod from taking over the whole music player market is probably that only Apple users can use the iTunes website. I’ve thought long and hard about Switch, and the only thing stopping me is that I like to tinker and do my own work and put together my own PCs. You can’t do such with the Apple computers.. At least not that I know of. I’m used to putting together a decent machine a little bit below the common mHz for like $400-$500 or something, sans monitor. If anyone wants to send me some loot to save up for this, let me know. Ha.

Do you find yourself missing your ex-favorite music listening kitty cat? Well, in some way, shape, or form, your best pal napster is coming back soon… Watch the vids here. Okay, so it won’t be the same. But that’s not the point. Somewhere, I think Shawn Fanning is smiling. Though his hat is so low over his face you couldn’t really tell.

If you’re living in a market serviced by Verizon for telephone, you may have heard the dueling commercials going back and forth with the union complaining about people getting fired, and Verizon talking about how they do lots of great things for their employees. There are multiple side-deals going on with this, but one of the most interesting is this campaign from the union, where they are telling customers to switch to AT&T for local service if the union gets trashed in their demands. Ouch.

One last note – added up2speed.com to the sidebar under “marketing”, which is something I like to keep tabs on.

A Million Bands…

Is it just me, or are there like a million bands out there that have reached a high level of recognition, i.e. some mainstream appeal? I don’t remember it being like this 15-20 years ago. But hey, what do I know. I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I were in a band, and I think that if I were to get interviewed and someone asked what my influences were, I’d give them a bunch of random or one-hit-wonder bands… It’d be like….

“So, DJSpicerack – what kind of musical influences do you have that make your band, Chimpanzee Cherry, sound the way they do?”

“Well Kurt, bands like EMF and Kajagoogoo were definitely influential. We also really like Thomas Dolby and Falco.”

I don’t think I could do it with a straight face. Though I do really like Falco.

And while we’re on the topic of music, I still have a problem with the name “Less than Jake”. Because of “Better than Ezra”. I just think one of them is spoofing the other, and it really bothers me. Does anyone else feel that way, or am I here on my own island?

Here’s a good post over on The Agitator by Radley Balko regarding what will happen to our beloved Kobe Bryant should be be found guilty. Starts an interesting debate on laws in our country. Do people out there think our laws for rape and other sexual offenses are harsh enough, too harsh, or what? Does the punishment always fit the crime? In the USA, we all watch enough episodes of “Law & Order” to probably know a thing or two about precedents, and I’ve found that it all depends on where you are, state-wise. Perhaps I really should go for restarting the Whig party. Anyone else want to be for cutting down on state’s rights? Wait, did I just say that out loud?

Microsoft is again thinking about automatically making software updates to your computer unless you specifically “opt out”. Interesting to see where this goes.

Remember those cameras that were being put in various cities for “facial recognition” – well it looks like Tampa is taking theirs out after “two years, zero arrests, zero positive identifications.” Perhaps a snag in Big Brother’s plans, and perhaps a smack to those of you who aren’t big fans of Mr. Patriot Act.

And I think I’m just about ready to add a “sports” section to the lingosphere. I have enough to rant about in that topic as well, so you might see it in the next week or so.

[update] dj propaganda just informed me that I have to post the following link to the Detroit Free Press. Feel free to check it out – he, like myself, realized that the most important thing in the article wasn’t the overall topic, but the fact that the stripper had “recently had a child and was lactating”. Like – how recently? Dancer accused of squirting man with breast milk won’t face charges.

The Rhythm is gonna get you

Oooh, I’m scared. Or Scurd, if you ask Chingy.

Thought this article about a bride getting arrested after her reception is just not a good thing… That’s kind of crazy, don’t you think? [via drudge]

So, there’s a new computer worm, perhaps called “welchia”, that patches the hole in MS Windows that was attacked by the “blaster” worm last week. Who’d of thunk it. A “good” worm? What is this world coming to, and why is it that some hacker type software folks have to fix problems MS causes themselves. Bill Gates better sign those peeps up.

Speaking of peeps – you’ve got to love anything from a company called “Just Born“, right? Those little peep guys are the best. What genius brings forth such tasty goodness!

I’ve been thinking about these companies that keep trying to recreate the wheel with regards to various things on the Internet. I’ve found that certain companies have ended up as unintentional (snicker) monopolies or oligopolies (eBay, monster.com, etc.)…. But these other groups keep trying to top these leaders, which is fine because we all want competition, but then they complain when their idea doesn’t always work. Or that there is no reason to have multiple services when they are redundant. Take, for instance, all these other “local” job services online. Companies advertise on monster.com – you go to post for their job, and are brought to the company’s own HR services, outsourced to folks like Brassring, or others. You then have to come up with a whole new login, password, rekey your resume, blah blah blah. It’s all fine and dandy if you’re using this for in-house or for people who come directly to you – but don’t you think you lose out on a lot of people who might be interested in your jobs because they don’t feel like redoing everything over and over again to post for every single company? It’s like having to fax or email your resume on different paper or something depending on the company you’re posting to. Kind of silly, if you ask me. At least for those folks you’re “advertising” to, let them post through monster.com or hotjobs/yahoo or whatever. Just my opinion.

Looks like someone was trying to blow up Charles Schwab today, as bombtypedevices were found at one office and at a home owned by the founder. In the instance of his home, it’s in a gated community. I’m curious to see how that turns out.

USA Today also has a snapshot showing the most dangerous things to eat/drink while driving. Do people actually eat chili and hot soup while driving? Interesting.

I love cross-marketing. Best Buy is going to offer Real Networks services in its 560 stores – you’ll be able to try and buy the company’s services all while shopping for electronics and the like. Good move, in my opinion. Mutually beneficial, as it might spawn extra memory chips/sticks to be bought, as well as higher end audio components for computers.

…Stone’s throw…

Found a link to Virtual Palestine on the Little Green Footballs website a few moments ago. I’m not sure if I’m disturbed and that it’s kind of a good thing, or if it’s truly pretty screwed up and is using a totally negative mechanism for something that could be a good outlet. Perhaps they have the right idea, and the wrong execution… Err…. use of the idea to make something positive. yeah, that’s what I meant to say. Good find, Charles and crew.

Me and Hall & Oates

were out of touch for the last week or so, as the lingosphere was travelling to Europe, and managed to miss “Blackout 2003”, as the American media so affectionately called the events of last Thursday, August 14th. Sorry for the lack of content, but the opportunity just didn’t provide itself for amusing ditties about random news and opinion items.

Needless to say, I was informed about the events in the US, and ended up spending countless hours watching the television from my hotel room.. I’ve never been in one of those hotels where all of the televisions were set on the same “servers” as the in-room Internet connection, so since many folks were obviously watching the television to see the latest news, it kept hanging up on me. Quite frustrating. They need bigger pipes, obviously.

And it seems that “Freddy vs. Jason” is the blitzkrieg that everyone thought it would be, topping box offices this past weekend. Fascinating. What’s next? Pokemon 18?

Is it just me, or couldn’t you make Get Your War On! into a sitcom or something? Perhaps like the Simpsons used to be, when it was on the Tracey Ullman show?

It’s amazing the amount of content that can happen in a week of being semi-offline, when it comes to your normal sources of news. I read the newspaper every day, and the news was on television at night, and I still have basically no idea what is going on in the United States when I returned. There’s just too much out there. Even *attempting* to harness it is a little disturbing, frankly.

This whole power outage thing is like a bad metaphor for globalization, isn’t it? I mean, connect everything, and something failing might not always get fixed like you think it will.

And what’s up with this new sniper in West Virginia. Kind of scary, having a copycat out there – I think they tend to end up worse, usually, because they see what the original did wrong… Hopefully this time we won’t all be on the lookout for white vans, because that was a little off, wouldn’t you say?

Tiger Woods seems to have lost his game somewhat – I know we’ve all overblown him so much, but some rounds he seems to just not have anything… Perhaps he really is just human, or perhaps he’s preparing the world for Michelle Wie, who I’m sure Nike is just drooling over at this point.

Disturbing article of the day comes from the founder of all things Internet (okay, not really) – Google. It seems you can do math in Google. Fascinating. What will they think of next? Will it write a speech for you? Do your english essay? Take the SATs for you? (ID please?)

“Shadow” Traffic…

What’s up with traffic on the radio…? It’s supposed to be a good thing to hear every so many minutes during various rush hours, no matter where you are. But is it ever relevant, really? Many times you don’t hear what is wrong until you’re already in it, with no help to be found, or you hear something and are prepared for it, when meanwhile it was cleared up a half hour or more ago. Just this morning, I had heard that there was someone changing a tire in the center lane of a three-lane highway (where most folks average 70 miles per hour). I was about a mile from where this was allegedly happening, and ended up passing through the exact spot mentioned at the above discussed 70 miles per hour. Hmmm. I’m guessing the backup for an event like this would have stuck around a while, so I was a little concerned to see that there were no remnants of this. Does anyone else have this problem? Perhaps they need more helicopters.

Last night’s Jay Leno show was supposed to feature Arnold Schwarzenegger saying he wasn’t going to run in the upcoming recall election in California. That’s not what happened. Arnold is going to run for Governor of the Golden State later this year. I wouldn’t bet against him, hehe…

Caught this article this morning on MSNBC, regarding Ticketmaster’s spam policy…er privacy policy. Apparently TM is saying that you can opt out of their mailings, but that the mailings of the promoters, et al, have to be handled by you contacting those outside parties. They say it’s not their deal – meanwhile, what the person from TM ignores is the fact that THEY PASSED ON YOUR INFO IN THE FIRST PLACE. They didn’t have to do that, but they did. What a joke. This just adds to many people’s frustrations with a company that has to be the biggest joke in the world, when it comes to not trying to take over the world. We all complain about MS and AOL and Real. But these folks take the cake, sometimes. I mean, great service idea, don’t get me wrong. But don’t charge me an arm and a leg for “service” and “convenience”. Especially when you can ONLY get tickets in some instances through TM. Not fair. In a related article, MSNBC’s Bob Sullivan talks about “SPAM WARS“. There are apparently two spam a day for each person on the planet. Unfortunately, not everyone on the planet has an email box. So that leaves more for the rest of us. I find that the biggest infringer is definitely my hotmail mailbox. MS says they’re doing something about it, but I get no less than 10-20 spams a day in that mailbox. I don’t sign up for anything on it that sells my address, and eBay uses that to send me mail. So that means, folks are on eBay and are registered users, and just look at every username to aggregate me onto their list. The spam “laws” are so lax it’s ridiculous. People have all these disclaimers about how this is a one-time mailing, no need to remove me from their list. Yeah – they won’t mail me the same spam topic, it’ll be something different next time. The worst part is, many of these spammers are corporations!

Watch out for the hawks in NYC, Chihuahua lovers. Apparently one of the taloned friends swooped down and gouged the diminutive doggie, forcing it to be sent to the vet. No more details on the dog, though the Bryant Park folks paid the tab for the doc.

I was just so sad to hear that Sony had been dropping advertising in theatres for “Gigli”, the Ben & Jen fiasco that I think Drudge was reporting was down to somewhere around $180/screen in the USA lately. that’s like… 20 tickets. Nice. I’m waiting with baited breath to see “Jersey Girl” when that shows up.

If you like Battlestar Galactica, and were around when Lorne Green was selling dog food, you’ll like this collection of links in great post over at boingboing… Wow, how I miss the days when Apollo would blow up the Cylons. And when Dirk Benedict was trying to be just as suave as his later role as “Face” on the A-Team. Those were the days. If only we all had a half-bear/dog type robot thing as a pet.

And if you’re into economics and policymaking in the USA even at all, I firmly suggest checking out EconoPundit. Steve Antler’s site provides up to the minute (most of the time!) information and news on economic data, and how it actually affects your reality. Now that’s a site I’d like to be able to post comments on. I had previously been involved with the folks at a spinoff of Limited Pie, but that site moved on as the owner received an excellent opportunity in the job market… I’m very impressed with the amount of economics and politics that is out there in the blogging land.

No link handy, but I just heard an update on the radio station I’m streaming three hour old “Imus in the Morning” on… It was about how the Taliban was reforming in Afghanistan, and T-ban fighters were coming after coalition soldiers today… Funny how the media picked it up just now that the Taliban was coming back en vogue. I had read it on MetaFilter back in April in more than one post.

Why Is it Wednesday Again?

It’s always seeming to be Wednesday, it seems. Why is that?

Added linkfilter today, [via MetaFilter, who seems overly enjoyed about it in the comments]

This whole Kobe Bryant thing is getting out of control. The Dan Patrick Show has a survey up on their website right now about how much the 6pm SportsCenter tonight should cover the hearing today, which should last all of like five minutes… So far, 359 folks have foted, and it’s 73.2% saying 10% of the show. Gee, didn’t see that coming. But wait, Mark Cuban thinks its a good idea. Nevermind, we’re all stupid.

You can read the amusing “chat” that the Washington Post had with readers and David Gang, EVP, AOL Products earlier today. Gang discussed the launch of AOL’s version 9.0. I know you’re all so excited – or perhaps holding back the mushroom barley soup. Check it out here. I’m very tempted to use the BullFighter software from Deloitte Consulting that MetaFilter had as a FPP the other day. I wonder how that’ll pan out.

Looks like two University of Florida psychiatrists have figured out “guidelines” for determining whether someone is addicted to the Internet or not. I’m guessing most folks are going to come up positive for this. You can read about it here at USA Today

ESPN has a tape of a man shooting at professional bass fisherman Gary Klein during the BassMasters tourney last week in Louisiana. Allegedly, Klein was moving his boat too fast in a “no wake zone” and upset the man. Local authorities are probably going to subpoena the tape for their use for charges, et al.

In Baseball, uniform maker Russell Corp has lost its deal to provide uniforms to Major League Baseball teams after the 2004 season, losing to Pennsylvania’s Majestic. Kind of a bummer, I always remember Russell as the maker of jerseys and such, while Majestic is typically seen as the replica jersey company.

More later..

A worthy cause

Okay, now since I’m retyping this whole post because blogger reset, hopefully this will work. Sorry if it’s not as good as the first one, but here goes…

Found this link today [via boingboing]…. This individual has had a horrible experience with Dell, and it looks like nothing would be better for this story than for every blogger ever would post a link to it or some comments about it. Grassroots efforts are always a good thing. For once, bloggers won’t care about being “scooped” on something…

Dems on Parade
I heard Senator Joe Lieberman on the Imus in the Morning program earlier today, and he was talking about fellow Presidential Candidate Howard Dean… Imus asked Lieberman about tax cuts, or the repeal of same, and you can hear it here, by clicking “August 5”… Dean had said recently that he would get rid of most of the cuts President Bush had put forth earlier this year (if not all of them), and Lieberman and others seem to be trying to distance themselves from Dean, who is raking in the most campaign funds so far… But Lieberman still leads in the polls, at least as of today.. So go figure. Dean has recently tried to backtrack on the tax cut issue, as it is obviously unpopular with most people who aren’t brain dead, including here on Tim Russert’s show back in late June. [thanks freespeech.com] Lieberman stated that he would definitely make changes to the tax cuts if he were elected as well, but not as drastic as Dean’s. He brought up the “tax and spend” moniker that ends up costing the Dems many, many votes every year, and how they needed to move away from it. I think he’s attempting to justify that if you’re going to tax people more (or, in this case, the same amount they were three months ago), you need to show them what you’re using the funds for, and that it has to be something worthwhile. I’d be very cautious on this topic if I’m a Democrat trying to get in office somewhere, because it’s one of the biggest hot button topics of the moment… The economy isn’t quite sour, but it’s not quite rockin’ and rollin’, either. And I don’t see interest rates going much lower to help it out… Even though the Fed folks did say earlier this year that they’d lower it to zero if necessary…. Not too many things are being positively affected by the latest few interest rate drops – banks and credit cards aren’t affected at all – if anything, interest rates for consumers are going up or staying static. There’s minimal, if any, translation.

Unfortunate Story Of The Day
Okay, so it’s not *that* bad, unless you’ve just had 800,000 gallons of your Jim Beam bourbon go ablaze after lightning strikes your warehouse.

Stupid Move Of The Day
This one goes to Dallas Mavericks owner and generally amusing tycoon Mark Cuban, who actually said that the latest incidents with Kobe Bryant are “from a business perspective great for the NBA“. Now I know he’s got a lot more money than I do, but I’m not stupid. The NBA in no way gets a three pointer out of this one. While they might get the good old marketing term “eyeballs” from this situation, it’s in no way good. It’s the blatant loss of one of their only solid, “good” marketable players. If anyone was a role model, it was Kobe Bryant — or so we all thought. He wasn’t having children with like eight people (or six?) [see: The Rainman], he wasn’t doing drugs repeatedly [see: Damon Stoudamire], and he wasn’t choking his coach or showing up late to games and training camp [see: Spree]. He seemed to be a decent guy who was doing decent things and didn’t have much of a chip on his shoulder. Now I’m guessing we’re going to find out some more things about Kobe’s character in general, i.e. this obviously wasn’t the first time this had happened, probably.. And I’m guessing that his continued loss of income to sponsorships is going to be an issue. And I’m guessing this will have further repercussions because businesses who don’t feel that marketing with a sports star is necessary will just remove those contracts at their expiry. The ripples are just beginning, chocolate spread and all. The NBA gets a swift kick in the seat for this deal, not a booster seat.

You Did What?
Penn State has just announced that it will start doing criminal background checks on prospective and current employees/professors. Umm, they weren’t doing this before? What, background checks for bad behavior are only for elementary schoolteachers, day care workers, and camp counselors? Let’s be realistic here – if I’m paying $20K for my kid to go to some prestigious school, I’d like to hope that they had someone under the roof who wasn’t a triple homicide parolee… So while I don’t mean to indict those who’ve “served their time”, it just seems a little strange to me in general that this would happen.

Cheap Drugs?
A store in Michigan has just opened, and is selling prescriptions at 40-90% less than USA prices. The American Drug Club “outlet” store is taking supply from Canada, and selling it to folks in the good ol’ US of A. This follows months and months of media coverage about many Americans “crossing the border” to get cheaper medicine. A large portion of these folks are elderly people whose current fixed incomes don’t necessarily have the room to purchase their necessary medications while paying their normal bills. None of these drugs pass through the FDA, and might not turn out to be the drugs you were expecting… And we don’t mean “don’t take the brown acid”. You could be taking a bottle of sugar pills for all you know. So while this isn’t right or wrong, it might be another big step towards changes in the USA on pricing structures for medications.

You’re On Candid Camera!

I’m starting to firmly believe that people really don’t pay attention to what they are doing with their computers, especially when it comes to virii and such. Apparently the “MiMail” proggie is floating around claiming to be an admin, and saying that users’ accounts are ‘expiring’. Fascinating.

How disturbing is the Free Kobe website, about embattled basketball star Kobe Bryant, currently charged with sexual assault. The world is a strange place.

Ferrero, the Italian candy maker, has decided to end its relationship with Bryant, whose name is used in the branding and image of its Nutella chocolate spread product.

Some of you out there in cyberspace ( i hate that phrase ) might have heard all the fuss over the last year or so over “deep linking”, in which newspapers and other content providers were a little frustrated over links directly to articles on their websites. This of course leads to lower page views on their sites, and thus, lower advertising abilities. I’ve found that many, many newspapers are moving to “registration” a la the New York Times, or just having some link to a page about demographics, i.e. male/female, age, etc. Does this stop people from deep linking? Not really. Does it create frustration for a lot of folks? Definitely. What I’m still curious about is the business model of having all the content of a newspaper online, for free vs. the paper itself. How does this work? I mean, I like the newspaper and having it in my hands (sans the ink!), but I know I read less of it when I read online. Probably because of layout, I would think.

Looks like pay telephones may be on the road to extinction, says this article by the AP’s Jeff Donn. There were apparently 2.6MM payphones in the US in the mid-90’s, and it’s now down to about 1.8MM. That’s a huge drop, if you ask me. What is kind of scary is, what *would* happen if there were no payphones for emergencies, and cell towers were all down? What would we do without a landline at that point? Is the next step for college-campus-like “blue light” phones to be installed randomly on streetcorners for safety’s sake? We all know that there is a false-alarm ratio to think about with those things. Kind of interesting, and at the same time sad. I know we’ve all used a pay-phone randomly here and there, but to see them vanish would be pretty strange…. And in a follow up, USA Today has an article about folks dumping land-line phones for mobile. They’re quoting as many as 7.5MM folks who’ve “cut the cord,”so to speak.

And as the Brooklyn Cyclones retired Jackie Robinson’s #42, I was wondering about this… What about current players who have been wearing #42 for a while – what happens when they retire and they are all-star/hall of famer type players, like the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera, if he gets that honor? Will they have multiple numbers, like the Yankees dual #8s? Point to ponder.

the Drama!

MSNBC is reporting that there’s been a bombing in Russia, near Chechnya, killing 20 people. This just broke a few minutes ago, no one’s claiming it yet or anything.

Supposedly, Suge Knight may be the target of gang-related killings dating all the way back to 1997. On top of this, I saw 50 Cent’s “Many Men” video last night, which depicts some guys rolling up on him on a street and shooting him, thinking he was dead, then rolling off to collect their “fee” for killing him… Hopefully we can all calm down and have less people getting blown away for no good reason on the streets of the USA. What I really want to know, however, is why Stalin wanted to kill John Wayne. I mean, didn’t he have better things to do? Seriously.

I added Cal Ulmann’s blog, “Where HipHop and Libertarianism Meet” to my reads today, had seen it once before and got a serious kick for it, so here it is. I suggest you read it. =)

This gentleman likes to steal buses from depots and drive them to Jersey Gardens mall, sometimes along their regular routes. Who thought this was a good idea?

I was just realizing that the next Matrix flick comes out in only three months plus. w00t!

Check out the Light the Night walk, a nationwide (USA) event trying to cure blood cancers.

Saw an advertisement in this week’s Sports Illustrated for “Three Olives Vodka“. The best quote of all time is that Russian Life Magazine names it the “#1 tasting vodka”. Howcome I’ve never heard of this brand before. And why are there suddenly like eight hundred vodkas claiming to be “#1” in something? And instead of Capital One’s “What’s in your wallet?”, they say “What’s in your martini?” How quaint.