Archives for category: In The News

Goddamnit. We’re out. And we lost to Texas A&M, for fuck’s sake. Ugh.

Well, Gerry, thanks for everything – good luck in the NBA draft.

Otto The OrangeThe Syracuse University men’s basketball team completed an improbable end-of-season rally by capturing the Big East Championship on Saturday night, and have earned a #5 seed in the Atlanta regional for the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, Duke, Texas A&M, and Texas are in the same bracket, so I don’t know how much longer the streak can stay alive, but as long as they keep feeding Gerry McNamara whatever the hell he’s been eating for the last couple of weeks, we’ve got a shot. We’ll find out on Thursday, when the Orange take on Texas A&M in Jacksonville.

Proving once again that there’s no point in making up the news when the real thing can be just as funny –
Actual text from CNBC’s ticker (screen crawl), presented in sequence:

…Wall Street Journal reports Ford Motor Company is likely to close 5 North American factories as part of restructuring plan…….President Bush says “the economy is in good shape”…

As a sidenote: not watching much of CNBC, I’m just not clear on this – is “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” supposed to be the stock market version of a monster truck rally? It’s loud and noisy (not to mention uberpatriotic) but doesn’t seem to have much in way of content…

The following rant is rated “M” for “mature”, and contains foul language, sarcasm, and use of the word ‘douchebaggery’. Parental discretion is advised.

Hillary Clinton is a lot of things. She’s a former First Lady. She’s stuck in a loveless marriage to a redneck buffoon, who happens to be a former US President. She was elected into the Senate, effectively, by default (after a certain former mayor of NYC backed out of the race due to prostate cancer). And now, she’s elevated herself from being the trophy Senator from New York to being the loudest voice in the Hall of Douchebaggery.
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First, there were the hearings on steroids in baseball. Then, there was Terri Schiavo. And as Darren pointed out, an inquiry into ‘violent videogames’ was announced. (And, of course, let’s not forget about Janet Jackson’s nipple.) Now, Congress (more properly, the House of Representatives) has seen fit to stick their collective nose somewhere else it doesn’t belong: digital music.

This is the reason people become disenchanted with government. Gas prices are at their highest level since the 1970’s gas crisis, Social Security is headed into the crapper, and, of course, we still can’t find a six foot tall Saudi on dialysis. And there’s the little matter of an unwinnable war in the Middle East. And our elected representatives are spending their time (and our tax money) talking about…well, here’s Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to tell you what these hearings are all about:

“Legitimate questions have been raised regarding the impact of digital interoperability on consumers. […] This interoperability issue is of concern to me since consumers who bought legal copies of music from Real could not play them on an iPod. I suppose this is a good thing for Apple, but perhaps not for consumers. Generally speaking, companies with 75 percent market share of any business, in this case the digital download market, need to step up to the plate when it comes to testifying on policy issues that impact their industry.”

[Hm…he’s a Republican from Texas…gee, isn’t that where Dell is headquartered…?]

Reality check: iPod has 75% market share because it’s a good, solid product that does exactly what it is supposed to do, and does it really, really well. iPod had market dominance long before the iTunes Music Store opened some 18 months or so ago. Apple implemented a DRM scheme that, yes, limits iTMS tracks to playback in iTunes and the iPod, but also allows the user to do exactly what they could do with a physical CD – make backup copies and share tracks with friends. (And yes, it’s possible to defeat Apple’s FairPlay DRM, but I’m going going to address that.)

It’s human nature to attack the guy on top. It was no surprise when Dell, Gateway, Creative, Sony, iRiver and others went after Apple with new offerings designed to be ‘iPod killers’. And it was no surprise when Napster, Sony Connect, and Real challenged the iTMS. But that’s the nature of a free market economy. In the end, the superior products and services stay in the market, and the lousy ones fall away, to be replaced by newer, better competition for the market leaders. I don’t see the words “and then the government gets involved” anywhere in that description.

Maybe the problem here is that the people elected to the House of Representatives are up for reelection every two years – they can never really stop campaigning, so the legislation they introduce, and the hearings they call reflect that mentality. Would longer terms in the house (supplanted by term limits) allow our elected officials to focus on more critical issues? I sure as hell don’t know. But it couldn’t hurt.

One last thing – this is directed at Rep. Smith: Hands off my iPod, bitch.

Wired: Bloggers Pitch Fits Over Glitches

It’s this exact reason why I went to a decentralized system like Movable Type. And I’m glad I did, because from the sound of this article, dealing with Blogger is getting to be a lot like dealing with Comcast…and that’s a headache I just don’t need.

M-D: I just switched off the State of the Union to watch South Park because I couldn’t take the tedium anymore. Does that make me a bad American?
M-D: Damn it. F**king jihad on them.
M-D: Oh, wait.
M-D: Strike that last part.

carson.jpgIt’s all over the internet today, but I thought I’d mention it as well – early yesterday morning, “Tonight Show” host and the only real undisputed ‘king of late night’ Johnny Carson passed away from emphysema. He was 79 years old.

Just last week, Carson’s name had been on the entertainment wires – it was reported that he was secretly feeding jokes to David Letterman for his “Late Show” monologue. As you’ll see in this clip from Letterman’s old NBC show, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Growing up, I don’t think I was mature enough to appreciate Carson’s humor, being more interested instead in the ‘attitude’ of Arsenio Hall or (briefly) Dennis Miller, or the sheer wackyness of 12:30 Dave, although that changed as my understanding of comedy broadened. Carson had a style that no one could match. Beyond all else, he was, and still is, unrivaled as a conversationalist. And he understood the comic value of silence as well as Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, or Steve Allen – Carson was capable of turning anything into a joke without even opening his mouth – a knowing take to the camera or to Ed MacMahon was all it took. His show may have been a bit ‘old school’ in comparison (to Letterman, not to Leno – Leno couldn’t hold Carson’s…well, Leno couldn’t hold a candle to Carson), but the man knew how to entertain.

I won’t even begin to catalog his thousands of guests, or the post-monologue comedy bits that even this cynical SOB to laugh (hell, in high school, I was mining the Carnak bits for my own purposes). Instead, I’ll end with this quote from Johnny’s last appearance on the “Tonight Show” back in May of 1992 – if only we were all able to say this about our lives.

“And so it has come to this. I am one of the lucky people in the world. I found something that I always wanted to do and I have enjoyed every single minute of it.”

“You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have. […] You can have all the armor in the world on a tank…and a tank…can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee, and it can be blown up.”
-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tries to explain to troops in Kuwait why they’re protecting themselves with “hillbilly armor”, 12/8/2004

Words fail me. To borrow a phrase from Lewis Black, I’m amazed the amassed Army personnel didn’t rise up as one and slay him.