Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Things that don't suck: 99-word essays that define "Fair Use"

This is from LiveJournal: a student is in the middle of a project. He needs to come up with a 99 word essay, with a one-word title. He chose to write about the Sony DRM fiasco:

I love music, movies, and books. I also love technology. I want to use technology to deliver the media I love anywhere, anywhen, with anyone.

This is fair use: I bought it, let me use it. I will tell all my friends about my favorite music. I might play it for them or even give them a digital version of a song. This is evangelism, not theft. This is advertising you cannot buy.

Restrictive copyright is like a vegetarian knife. You bought the knife, but if you cut meat with it, we'll sue you. Excuse me? Let's think again.

My call: I don't buy CDs anymore, and I hate iTunes, especially after losing all my "legit" White Stripes albums when my Mac crashed. I'd rather pay for these things, but I won't until they come up with an agreement that makes sense, and quit going behind our backs to monitor our personal info. Get out of my hair. I'm just glad I have Sirius, because now I don't have a reason to download any of it, ever.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Things that suck: The Prosuckutor

This is in response to Bob's posting, "With great power comes great responsibility". In it Bob says, "Unfortunately prosecutors, like defense attorneys, are only human and thus capable of making mistakes."

And with that, I give you the tale of the Boston prosecutor who thought he could win over a jury by dressing up as The Gimp.

You've all heard of the trial by now - a Quincy woman working as a dominatrix has a busy afternoon planned - spanking at 1, tickle torture at 3, leash-training at 5....

Her 7pm appointment, a regular, asks to be tied to a wall and humiliated. After informing the man that she's got a digital camera and is emailing his wife and kids, the man takes her quite seriously and has a massive heart attack. Yes, she's that good. She watches him twitch for about 5 minutes or so, then calls her boyfriend, and says, "Honey, this dead guy ain't good for business." So the loyal boyfriend, a butcher by trade, cuts the guy up into little pieces Fargo-style. Then I think they eat him. I could be wrong about that. After her arrest, she confesses her crime to police, as well as apologizes to the victim's mother. I think her exact words were, "Sorry, ma'am, I should've left you a piece."

Open and shut case right? Of course not, this is Massachusetts! If the Olde Towne Team can win one after 86 years, who's to say this little powderkeg of 'can-do' can't have a shot? Hell, she already hid all the evidence (well, except for that torture chamber), left no traces of DNA, and got Sam the butcher to do all the dirty work! Besides, this was to be a jury of her peers! Get out those leather whips, this bitch is bringing it to dominate your asses!

...and this brings me to my point. Little did she know just how much her odds were about to improve. Enter The Prosuckutor, Robert Nelson. Nelson proved that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. From the Boston Globe:

...[b]ut it was Nelson's theatrical closing that provided the most dramatic moments of the trial.

The prosecutor pointed and hollered at Asher. He dumped a box full of hoods, collars, and paddles onto a table, and proclaimed that Asher was trying to protect her business.

"That's why she didn't call the police," he said.

With both hands, he reached back and clutched the top of a blackboard to simulate Lord being strapped to the rack.

He paused as his head hung forward as if to simulate Lord's alleged death.

Page objected, and Norfolk Superior Court Judge Charles Grabau agreed.

"That's enough Mr. Nelson," the judge said. "Thank you for your demonstration."


The judge watched as the jury exited the courtroom to deliberate, bare-asses hanging from their chaps. The Prosuckutor sat down in his wooden chair and leaned back, crossing his fingers behind his head. He sighed, expressing a long-awaited moment of relief. He was getting a big promotion for this...noone would ever forget the day Robert Nelson tried the dominatrix...he was...

"Excuse me Mr. Nelson," the judge interrupted. "You can take the mask off now."


I love the American legal system. |s|

Things that don't suck: Vader Bush

This seems to be the type of thing one of us would buy. The Stormtrooper helmet, not the t-shirt.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Things that suck: Sellouts

Aaron McGruder recently invoked the wrath of Reverend Al Sharpton over his use of "the n-word" in his syndicated cartoon "The Boondocks" on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Let's start by stating the obvious here: Al Sharpton is just looking for votes....and Sharpton would only have a valid argument if McGruder were just looking for jokes. He's not. Boondocks is much deeper than that - for starters, the main character is named after Huey Newton. If you don't start with that baseline understanding, you're not going to understand any of the humor (nor the knifing social commentary) - and McGruder is going to just look like an angrier 2006 version of George Jefferson.

If you like Public Enemy, you should like The Boondocks. You don't have to like the lyrics to like the song. To enjoy The Boondocks, you just need to appreciate the point he's making - you don't have to agree with it. Comedy's like that - it's the linguistic science of delivering the unexpected.

Some people have compared The Boondocks with All in the Family. If that's true, there were two distinct audiences of All in the Family - those who got the underlying joke (racism is idiotic), and those that didn't - they just agreed with Archie Bunker. Under that system of logic, Al Sharpton fits into the "not a fan of the show" category. He should just leave it at that.

Al Sharpton is a Don King sellout, preying upon America Idiota for votes. But then again, it's not like pandering doesn't work in politics.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Things that suck: Referees

I hate referees. If there's one thing that's certain in my mind, it's that referees are the worst part of sports.

In the long line of referee follies comes the crew of Frankie Bordeaux, Harrell Allen, and John Hampton. These three idiots called the worst technical foul in the history of athletics last night. Tom Penders, head coach of the University of Houston men's basketball team, collapsed during their game versus UAB because of a heart problem. The referees hit him with a technical foul, thinking that he was "overreacting" to a call that was just made.

Think about that for a second. That's how bad they were doing. They thought Tom Penders fell to the floor in protest of a bad call.

When the crew figured out what happened, that he had a physical ailment, they stopped the game, got him treatment...and let the call stand. UAB hit two free throws, and converted on their next possession, making it a 4-point conversion.

UAB won the game, 82-79. Coincidence?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Things that don't suck: Conan O'Brien

This is the funniest skit I've ever seen on his show. Conan O'Brien goes back to 1864 to play baseball. The entire skit is funny - it goes for about 5 minutes.

Things that still suck: CHB

The curly-haired boyfriend strikes again. Does anyone else see this other than just whining? Note to Dan Shaughnessy: leave this sort of crap-drama to Aaron Spelling. You're a sports reporter, just REPORT ON SPORTS. You are why people don't want to play in Boston. You.
"Unfortunately, there wasn't much honor or glory in Theo's comportment after he left Fenway in that gorilla suit Oct. 31. Rather, he undermined the credibility of the entire Boston front office by straddling the fence regarding his place in the organization. He repeatedly refused offers to return, but would not rule out coming back. He revealed himself to be every bit the cutthroat politician Lucchino is. He's been at best, immature and at worst, duplicitous."

"Like a character from Camelot, Theo remained forever young, forever brilliant, forever the man who brought a championship to Boston. And as long as he operated in the shadows, or allowed us to believe he was still involved, he couldn't lose. This dynamic made Theo less than popular with some of his hard-working friends in baseball operations." -- 1.20.06, Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Things that suck: No guarantees

So, after the premiere of 24 tonight, my brother in-law and I were sitting here watching the Fox 25 News. About midway through the telecast, they aired this sad story about a 17-year old girl who was found murdered in Fall River. As they're interviewing the police, they flash the side of a Fall River police car, which has the Fall River insignia on the door. Let's just say it doesn't exactly instill confidence in their ability to fight crime...

Oh, and for any 24 fans out there...Almeida's going to torture whoever did that to him.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Things that suck: Traitors

Check out the USC cheerleader...

Things that suck: There goes the neighborhood

Well, the "Safest City in America" is soon to be no longer, folks. A man was just murdered in Newton. It got me to thinking - I've been wanting to write about two subjects for awhile now:
  1. The link between antidepressant medication and random acts of violence.
  2. The link between the Bush administration and the undeniable increase in gun violence.
Now that we've had one of each occur in the city of Newton (see "Newton couple stabbed at home"), the safest city in America, I think I can do so. I'll write about it next week, after asking around work to see if we have any statistics to back up my claims. That is, if my wife doesn't give birth by then, which could very well happen. If that happens, I'm sure I'll want to blog about not wanting to touch or smell poop.

Things that suck: The scarlet letter

Thankfully, the city council in Somerville did not see this while my friends were living at 20 Powderhouse Boulevard...otherwise, their house would probably look like it had red shingles.

City considers ‘red-tagging’ problem houses

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Things that suck: MaidPro

So, I thought it would be nice to have the entire apartment cleaned professionally before the baby comes, as sort of a gift for my wife. I found this place called MaidPro online, and arranged for an estimate this morning. The "Maid Pro" just left. Here's how that went:

MaidPro: So, okay...you want 2 bedrooms, living room, dining room, nursery, kitchen. We go through all those with a vaccuum and a "Swifter" type device to light-mop the floors. That should come to...$300.

Me: Whoa. Are you kidding?

MaidPro: No, it should take 2 people about 10 hours, at $30/hr.

Me: What takes so long? We were expecting a bit less than that.

MaidPro: The windows.

Me: How long does it take to do the windows?

MaidPro: 10-15 minutes apiece.

Me: Do your maids have arms?

...and that, dear friends, is my highlight of the day. You should have seen his face. Now I'm fully expecting to get robbed or vandalized.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Things that suck: BC Athletics

NC State took down BC last night, keeping BC winless in the ACC. I couldn't be happier. They are the doorstop of the ACC, and they deserve it. They are cowards and liars for the way they turned their back on the Big East. May the misery continue! Stink it up BC!


If you're unaware of the turmoil between BC & the Big East, this should explain things: University of Pittsburgh AD Jeff Long commented on Boston College stabbing its fellow Big East schools in the back in the preseason:

"We are disappointed with the ACC's continued attack on the Big East Conference and in Boston College's decision to turn its back on its fellow members of the Big East," Long said. "This is especially disappointing given the fact that Boston College had repledged its loyalty to the conference just a short time ago. Given this pledge, and the very public and very embarrassing rejection they received earlier from the ACC, it is somewhat surprising they have decided to depart."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Things that suck: Getting robbed

Wasn't Jim Rice the most feared hitter in baseball for about 9 years? Are these guys on crack?

Check out his numbers in his first 9 years:
 Year  Tm   G   AB    R    H   HR  RBI   BA   OBP   SLG
1974 BOS 24 67 6 18 1 13 .269 .307 .373
1975 BOS 144 564 92 174 22 102 .309 .350 .491
1976 BOS 153 581 75 164 25 85 .282 .315 .482
1977 BOS 160 644 104 206 39 114 .320 .376 .593
1978 BOS 163 677 121 213 46 139 .315 .370 .600
1979 BOS 158 619 117 201 39 130 .325 .381 .596
1980 BOS 124 504 81 148 24 86 .294 .336 .504
1981 BOS 108 451 51 128 17 62 .284 .333 .441
1982 BOS 145 573 86 177 24 97 .309 .375 .494
1983 BOS 155 626 90 191 39 126 .305 .361 .550
1984 BOS 159 657 98 184 28 122 .280 .323 .467
1985 BOS 140 546 85 159 27 103 .291 .349 .487
Remember SNK Baseball? Remember who you loved to hit with? Jim Rice. Crushed it in that game. There were two swings I always loved to emulate whenever I played Wiffleball growing up - Will Clark and Jim Rice. He was terrible to the media, but he was worse to a baseball. He demolished those. I can't believe he didn't get voted in!

46 HRs/.600 SLG in 1978 was obscene. They were playing with waterlogged tennis balls back then, compared to today.

Things that suck: Bobbing and entering

This really sounds like something our friend Bob would do. Let's hope for his new baby's sake that Bob takes a hike long before this happens!

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. --An intoxicated man who was shot to death last week in an apartment mistook a neighbor's unit for his own and broke in when his key wouldn't work, authorities said.

...Soto was "fairly well intoxicated" when his friends drove him home early Friday, said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Sgt. Tom Bradford. All the buildings in the complex look the same, he said.

Soto got into the wrong apartment through an open front window and headed to the bathroom, where he encountered the resident, a 65-year-old state prison counselor, authorities said.

They scuffled and the resident, thinking Soto was an intruder, shot him once. The shooter will not be charged, Bradford said.

"It's tragic. A real mess," he said. "I don't believe Soto intended to hurt anybody.
I'm guessing, from his perspective, he thought some dude was in his house with a gun! Que lastima. I have a feeling Bob would have won that fight if it were him, anyway. Bob smash.

Things that suck: Being late for work

WATERLOO, Md. -- A body found on Interstate 95 on Monday was struck several times by passing vehicles, and the drivers who hit it didn't stop, police said.

...[t]he drivers who struck the body didn't stop, Moroney added, and only one witness came forward with information. He said police were asking any potential witnesses to contact them.
Full article

Things that suck: Coughlin's logic

This doesn't really make sense, Tom.

Tom Coughlin, NY Giants head coach, after the loss to Carolina, reacting to Tiki Barber's assertion that the Giants were "outcoached":
"I was upset because in the true concept of `team' it is not about pointing the finger," Coughlin said. "It is not about that. We are all in this together. There is one person that loses - that is me, OK? Nobody else loses the games. I don't win them, but I lose them. No one individual wins and no one individual loses. We win or we lose as a team. And that is the way it shall remain. We don't point fingers. We handle these stressful situations with class and distinction, or at least we try to.
Come again, Tom? You immediately contradicted yourself! Man that NY media can really drive a guy nuts.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Things that suck: Jim Calhoun's attitude

A few thoughts on Saturday's UConn-LSU game:

Jim Calhoun can throw his arms in disgust all he wants; he's still wrong. 15,000 people booed Marcus Williams for missing those shots at the end because he received preferential treatment by the university, plain and simple. He got off easy, so that he could help them make a run at another title...so he better make those shots, because he's already making all of us look bad.

If Rashad Anderson misses those shots, nobody boos. So Calhoun can shove it up his ass.

I felt conflicted towards the end - felt more confident with Marcus taking those shots - he just seems to be the only one who wants to attack the basket. At the same time I feel awful, to think I have to root for this guy all year. F_cker.

Rudy Gay is becoming a bona-fide pu$$y. What a horrendous bust he's turning into. I'd rather watch Rudy Johnson shoot at this point. No doubt, he looks like he could be something, but if he doesn't start working on his handle, working on moving without the ball & moving his feet...he's just going to turn out to be another Felipe Lopez.

Cincinnati versus UConn tonight, 7pm on ESPN. Should be an interesting matchup.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Things that don't suck: 80-year old new hires

The Buffalo Bills just announced the hiring of 80-year old Hall of Fame Head Coach Marv Levy to take over the role of Vice President of Football Operations for the franchise. Make as many jokes as you want about Marv's age - Marv Levy could eat you for breakfast. At 80, the guy runs 3 miles, 5 days/week, eats right, and is smarter than you. He never left football, so don't be surprised to see the Bills start to emerge as a real threat to the Patriots. Good for him, he's a horse.

The owner of the Bills, Ralph Wilson Jr., however, is out of his friggin mind.

Things that suck: Parking meters

No more free lunches...or, should I say, no more free parking at lunches...
The City of Boston is preparing to install new high-tech parking meters that will not only accept bills and plastic, issue receipts, operate in five languages, and thwart vandals, but boost revenues by eliminating the ability to piggyback on someone else's parking time.

So, city officials are touting "the wave of the future" by offering high-tech parking meters...that print out paper tickets? Aren't we supposed to be moving away from paper? Isn't there a way for them to tag cars electronically?

This means you have to walk up to a meter, figure out how long you're going to be there, pay for it, wait for your paper ticket, walk back to your car, put the ticket on the dashboard. Then, if you want to add money, you have to repeat the whole process.

The fuuuture, Conan? Dropping change in the meter works just fine.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Things that don't suck: West Virginia

Update: Great article on ESPN, linking the miner's tragedy to the healing power of sports.

Last night, I was watching the news after the Penn State/FSU game (a supreme battle of futility; it made me want to rid football of kickers altogether) - anyway, this report comes on about the 12 miners in West Virginia who were trapped for 42 straight hours, exposed to poisonous gases ...they were saved! Halleluiah!

"A Miracle in West Virginia" read the by-line! People were dancing in the streets! A woman was interviewed, and she said how her brother in-law was in there, that he was going to make it, and this was going to be the best year of her family's entire life, as she was also a survivor - she beat cancer. Her quote, the one that made me take notice, was, "We knew good things would happen. West Virginians stick together, we pick each other up. We're a family."

So, like many Americans, I was disgusted this morning when I woke up to hear that all 12 were actually dead, and the information given out to the families last night was false. What made it even worse was the spokesperson for the mining corporation. The company's official statement was that there was a "miscommunication" - one that they knew was incorrect within 20 minutes of receiving the message!

Whoops, sorry everyone, did we say they were saved? We meant weren't saved. There aren't any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, they're actually in Iran. So we were off a letter, what's the big deal?

I don't mean to be glib about this, but seriously, how the hell can you get THAT diagnosis wrong? There's not a whole lot of gray area - it's dead, or alive. Black or white. I guess we'll find out who screwed up, in due time. Man, is that guy feeling about 2 feet tall right about now...


So anyway, I started thinking about what that woman said, about West Virginians sticking together. When I first heard that, it felt good to think there are communities out there, still looking out for one another. I've just got creepy, nosy neighbors. It sounds like a nice place, West Virginia.

Unfortunately, a harsh reality awaits, and they needs her statement to be true now more than ever. I cannot begin to imagine that sort of heartache. Their hope, their spirits were literally trampled between last night & this morning. Destroyed. But if there's one thing about America, we can rally in times of need. Just ask Ray Nagin.

Scratch that.

My exposure to West Virginia is limited to the following:
  • My friend Andy has some family from there
  • John Denver. West Virginia, mountain momma...
  • WVU basketball. Mike Gansey has undoubtedly been the most entertaining college basketball player the past two years, and you have to see him play to understand
  • WVU Football. Disgraced Georgia in the Sugar Bowl 38-35, in Atlanta.
  • Deliverance. Inbreeding. Appalacia.
I have to say, WV is an easy target because of the latter, and unfairly - Deliverance doesn't even take place in WV! It takes place in northern Georgia (that hellhole of a state). In reality, the good outweighs the bad, even though Washington still looks at WV as their third world neighbor.

I've decided to never make fun of that state again. Making fun of WV ("What's a come-on to a girl from West Virgina?" "Nice tooth.") is akin to making fun of Helen Keller. It's an easy, mean-spirited out. And they've done nothing to deserve it.

An event that could have galvanized these people with hope and faith has turned into, well, what we're used to these days. An infuriating glob of finger-pointing and lawyering up. Yes, coal mining is dangerous work, and this isn't the first time miners have been trapped underground with little hope of escape - but none of it changes the fact that 12 families worried, prayed, rejoiced, then died inside. All in the course of 2 days. West Virginia deserves better. West Virginia deserves a break.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Things that don't suck: Googletron

Behold, the power of the almighty Google!

Google is poised to fire several crippling blows aimed directly at Microsoft, with product offerings such as Google Talk, Google Earth, and now, the Google Cube...all products taking shots at Microsoft's core like Tron vs. MCP...

You have to wonder what life will be like 1, 2, 5, 10 years from now...because it's obvious that Google is just beginning to rock the boat, and will definitely provide the next stage in the evolution of communication.


**Correction: ...and will definitely FUND the next stage in...