28 February, 2003

You're Being Deported, Hoser

Apparently, the US Government (specifically, the INS), has the authority to deport Canadian citizens back to whatever country they originally came from. This has certainly come as a shock to the Canadians. (Not to mention the guy who got deported!)

Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen born in Syria, was on his way to Montreal from Tunisia when he made a stopover at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sept. 26. He was arrested by the INS, questioned for nine hours without a lawyer, jailed for more than two weeks and deported to Syria, all without the knowledge of the Canadian government.

UPDATE: Make that two people. What fun!

Moo

My god...it's full of cows!

27 February, 2003

Weak-Willed

I really need to develop some kind of willpower when it comes to used record shops. Today's swag:

  • Various Artists - Loop: The Cut and Paste Groove Collection
  • Moby - Drop a Beat
  • Bob Holroyd - Drumming up a Storm
  • Hal (f/Gillian Anderson) - Extremis*
  • Lab Report - Unhealthy
  • The Bloodhound Gang - Hooray for Boobies
  • Various Artists - Yellow Magic Orchestra Reconstructed
  • Kraftwerk - Radio-Activity
  • Kraftwerk - The Man Machine

The last two being vinyl. Sadly, not the original vinyl, but oh well. I told the guy at the store I would be highly interested if a copy of the originals came in, even more so if they happen to be in German. That's what I love about small stores. The personal rapport you have with the owner.

And just in time for the weekend: more snow! I'm going to go hide now.

*I admit it, the only reason I bought this was because it features Gillian Anderson. Although the Download remix certainly helps to make the rest of the single bearable.

London

London as seen from the International Space Station

Won't You Be

my neighbor?

*sigh*

26 February, 2003

Everybody Sucks

It's snowing outside. The snow is what I would call aggressive flurries. (Which is a far cry from aggressive furries...but that's another rant.) Really not all that hard, but it is accumulating a bit, although even that will scatter off the roads when a fast-moving car goes over it.

But basically it's snowing. And by god, you'd swear the apocalypse was on the way. It took me an hour to drive my usual 20 minute commute. And for two reasons:

  1. Accident on the American Legion Bridge. It was bumper-to-bumper, slow crawl traffic from Rt 267 to the bridge (possibly farther back, but that's where I happened to get on). I of course am wondering the whole time whether or not I'm in a good lane: one that doesn't have a wrecked car in it. Turns out it didn't matter. It was rubbernecking delays the whole way. Several miles worth. Because of an accident going southbound on the bridge. And it wasn't even that good of an accident, although one of the cars had managed to flip around 180°. Grrr. Argh. Fucking waste of time.

    (On a side note, I do feel sorry for those poor bastards driving in from Maryland, as that accident had backed up traffic well past the I-270 spur. It's still at a crawl outside my office near Montrose. I don't even want to imagine how far back it actually goes.)
  2. Accident on I-270N at Democracy Blvd. Or so said the handy sign over 495. After the bridge, things looked up. I got back up to speed. I made it all the way to River Rd and then....stop. I finally see the sign warning of the accident. It also warned us to expect "major delays". Yay. So what happens? I spend more time in slow-crawl traffic, only to find the accident had been cleared, and I was just stuck in the residual backup.

Maybe I'm just strange, but I would prefer to actually see a horrific accident, as some sort of payment for all the time I've had to wait because of it. Of course, in all the time in my car, I came up with these thoughts:

  • Forget Buffy's First Evil. Forget the Beast on Angel. Forget all of those apocalyptic images of ubervamp armies, Evil Willow destoying the planet or the Mayor turning into a giant snake. Just watch people in DC react to a light snow. Way more destructive than any of that.

  • I shudder to imagine what this place would look like if an actual emergency were to happen. I mean, the snow we got last week was bad, but for the most part, people had the sense to stay home and enjoy a few days off from work. But what happens when the gov't announces that we're under attack. Missiles are heading towards DC. Can't you just picture the chaos of that situation? Hell, we can't get through half-an-inch of snow without a couple of road-closing accidents. How much better do you think the people will be when they know death is packed in a missile's warhead?

25 February, 2003

One More for the Road

Schrödinger's Iraq

Dilbert as the United Nations

Eugenics

At one point, the Supreme Court felt that forced sterilization would be a good thing for this country:

"It is better for all the world," Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in the court's decision in Buck v. Bell, "if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes."

Of course, I'd be happy with one of two things:

  1. The ability to sterilize stupid people. (And I think you know what I mean when a say stupid people...I bitch about them enough in this blog).
  2. The ability to sterilize everybody, everywhere. No exceptions.

Please note: I am not advocating some kind of eugenics program to create a master race of any kind. I want either fewer stupid people, or no people at all. Is that asking too much?

Hip

I'm 47% hip.

I'm so unhip, it's a wonder my pants stay up.

Bloody hell. Apparently, my inner European is:

You are Irish

Hit Picker

Spanish scientists have written a program that is 93% accurate in picking out which songs will become hits, based on various criteria.

Some music insiders fear the technology will encourage homogenized records, but McCready says it does the exact opposite and cites Norah Jones' Grammy-winning "Come Away With Me" CD as a perfect example.

Homogenized records? Say it ain't so! That could never happen!

Pecking Order

An observation of President Jacques Chirac greeting visiting African presidents.

24 February, 2003

Burrito

StrongBad's breakfast burrito is available on eBay.

How does he hold it without any fingers?

Record Contract

read a link from chris' blog regarding a music industry case study. i decided to bring my comments back here, where i could pontificate a bit more.

interesting, but as far as i can tell, somewhat inaccurate. yes, ultimately, the band is getting screwed. however, the author for some reason feels the need to start with the retail sales of $8M. well, that's great...if you're the retailer. that $16.98 per album is of consequence to companies like tower or virgin, who are selling the album for that much. and considering that they bought the album for $9.99, they're really only concerned with the remaining $6.98.

so, starting from $9.99, which is what the record company sells at, you get:

gross = 500,000 * $9.99
gross = $4,995,000

still a nice chunk of change. however, as anyone who has taken even the most basic class in accounting can tell you, that's not the whole story! there are still...production costs! yes, these are all the costs incurred by the manufacturer (in this case, the record company) making a product. going by what's listed in the article, we have:

packaging = $2.4975 per unit (@25%) * 500,000
packaging = $1,248,750

free goods = $1.4985 per unit (@15%) * 500,000
free goods = $749,250

front money = $300,000
video shoot = $100,000

i've also include the advance money, becase it just comes out of gross sales in the long run, since the band has to pay it back. so all-in-all, production costs come out to:

production costs = $1,248,750 + $749,250 + $300,000 + $100,000
production costs = $2,398,000

making the net return:

net = gross - production costs
net = $4,995,000 - $2,398,000
net = $2,597,000

now comes the fun part of paying everybody! remember that $4M from before? well, fuggaboudit, because it's gone. everyone else gets crumbs. first, let's figure out what the band's share is:

band gross = royalty * net
band gross = 15% * $2,597,000
band gross = $389,550

hoo-wee! where did all their money go?! if only i could stop. next comes the producer. he's a smart guy, and gets his royalties from net. so:

producer = net * royalty - advance
producer = $2,597,000 * 4% - $50,000
producer = $53,880

$103,880, for producing one album. nice money if you can make it.

but it's time to pay the manager (15%) and the lawyer (2%) (yeah, as if the band was smart enough to hire a lawyer), who are paid according to what the band earn.

manager = band gross * royalty
manager = $389,550 * 15%
manager = $58,432.50

lawyer = band gross * fee
lawyer = $389,550 * 2%
lawyer = $7,791

which also explains why managers and lawyers have more than one client.

so, what does the band take home?

take home = band gross - (producer + manager + lawyer)
take home = $389,550 - ($53,880 + $58,432.50 + $7,791)
take home = $389,550 - $120,103.5
take home = $269,446.50

or roughly $67,361.63 per band member.

so yeah, they still get screwed. and the record company? well, they get the other 85% of the net: $4,245,750

and yes, i'm sure this isn't quite right, but at least i started with the correct assumption. this is highly simplified, but probably a reasonable portrayal of what it's like to be a new band signing your first big-label contract.

19 February, 2003

Snow Days

Okay, here's my take on the snow days, in approximate journal form:

friday:
expecting much snow. not sure about trip to parents. decide to play halo instead of worrying. finally sleep, but not even rain outside.

saturday:
wake up early. no snow. how can the weather service be so damn wrong? look at forecast. still expecting a lot of snow. decide to cancel trip.

metro into dc to hangout with soon-ah. see new apartment (v. nice, but bad color scheme). finally the snow starts. might i be trapped in the city?

drive to mall in wheaton. mall, not so good, but they do have a two-story target. device that moves the shopping cart b/w floors v. cool. as we leave, snow still falling. no accumlation. weather service is obviously retarded.

night:
go to see daredevil. like mall, not so good. b. affleck not the super-hero type. m. keaton much more convincing in role as batman. how sad. snow has tapered off. no accumulation. starting to wonder if i should've canceled trip.

sunday:
snow. finally. fairly heavy, but i walk over to coffee shop anyways. maybe it will be quiet.

no such luck. full of assholes who complain about how much effort it took them to get there. lady behind the counter didn't care, and told them they could go elsewhere. i silently applaud this woman, my new hero.

return home to play more halo. still snowing. a lot. randy tells me the joy of shoveling snow over aim. he's obviously gone insane.

went to harris teeter. closed 10 min before i got there. fuckers. went back to watch tv and play more halo. still snowing. give up and go to sleep.

monday:
wake up to phone call from parents. yes, i'm fine. still snowing, but just a tiny bit. hella snow outside. went to mall, got lunch. get home, play more halo.

finally decide to borrow shovel and start digging out. big mistake. spent four hours making path from my door to the street. met neighbors, all seem reasonably decent. even got compliments on how nice my path was.

done shoveling. hate it v. much. car still buried. take hot shower, watch as feet thaw out. frostbite averted. watch news. gov't closed tuesday. yay. played more halo. sleep.

tuesday:
pain. back, shoulders and arms hurt. realize i still have to shovel more. god hates me.

shovel for another two hours or so. meet more neighbors, who are also trying to get out. (one, v. cute...finally!) landlord shows up with shovels about fifteen minutes before i'm done. god hates me.

eat lunch. don't play halo. nap. wake up in even more pain. go to dc to watch buffy with soon-ah. parking non-existent. dc even less competent about snow removal than va. got stuck once, was able to extricate myself. why does everyone else have so many problems?

wednesday:
wake up. still pain. drive to work. takes more than an hour. vdot + mddot + snow removal = suck. ponder why it was i never had these kinds of problems in fargo.

14 February, 2003

Agent Orange

The color scheme Ashcroft didn't want you to see.

I Would Be...

HASH(0x862e850)
I'm a Fukuoku 9000! I'm a little offbeat and may
fly in under the radar, but my sneakiness gets
me big results.

What sex toy are you?

Take Charge

Dubya proves that once again, he's a real take charge kind of guy when it comes to the environment.

The Bush administration Wednesday kicked off its program to tackle global warming by unveiling pledges from a broad cross-section of industry to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to economic output over the next decade.

Oooooooh!!!! Pledges! You mean all this time, all we needed to do to help shape up the environment is call on industry like we're PBS, and get pledges from them? Damn! Why were we even wasting time with the EPA?

You'll have to forgive me if I seem a bit skeptical. It might have something to do with the fact that I think their promises aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

The pledges differ from industry to industry and company by company, but the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas "emissions intensity" by 18 percent by 2012 - a target announced by President Bush a year ago.

"Emissions intensity" is the amount of man-made greenhouse gases produced per unit of economic output. Even before the Bush plan, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions relative to economic output was declining, but the overall amount of emissions was increasing as economic growth outpaced the adoption of emissions-reduction measures.

So basically, we get another promise from the administration that looks nice, but ultimately does nothing but harm us more. YAY!

You know what? Fuck it. Do whatever the hell you want to the environment. Burn off the fucking atmosphere for all I care. Burn every last trace of oil. Dump sewage in the sea. Because ultimately, it's only going to help remove humans from this planet. And the sooner that happens, the sooner it can heal, and life can start anew.

A Horse is a Horse

FOX orders a remake of Mister Ed.

The show will have the same premise as the original -- a guy owns a horse that talks, but only to him, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The twist for the remake is that the horse has a hip-hop sensibility instead of the original's countrified drawl.

Does FOX actively hate its viewers? Is this the reason they do such stupid things?

The sad thing is, this will most likely premiere, do well, and stay on the schedule for a few seasons. Maybe generate some merchandise. All the while, good shows like Greg the Bunny, Futurama, and Firefly get canned.

13 February, 2003

FOX

Some viewers seem to think that FOX has deceived them because Monday's episode of "Joe Millionaire" was not the finale. And lo! The backlash was swift and tremendous:

"I really don't know if I am going to watch the last show or not," one person wrote. "At this point I am soooo mad I don't care who wins. Anyone else feel this way?"

"No, I will not watch the finale," read a subsequent posting. "Fox has lied to us, and I feel that they should be punished for that. ... Bad move, guys. It will be a while before I put my trust back into Fox."

Sanctimonious little twats. Like there's really a chance you morons will remove yourselves from the teat of reality TV? Please. You'll keep watching it, you'll love it, and then you'll talk all about it once it's over. Hell, you'll even go on about how pissed you were when FOX "fooled" everyone, but at least they made up for it with the "real" finale. Such fucking convictions. You act like you have even a modicum of taste and self-respect. If you did, would you be watching this televised cheese log in the first place?

It's nice to see that with everything going on in the world, the mindless masses have cried out against this injustice and skullduggery. Nothing gets by the American people! Huzzah for us! U S A! U S A! U S A!

They're Everywhere!

Just started reading a new webcomic:

Her! panel 1Her! panel 2Her! panel 3Her! panel 4

12 February, 2003

Damn Dirty Apes

Yeah, yeah. I know this is juvenile, but it made me chuckle.

Enter the Mid-Season

While reading through Zap2it's mid-season preview, I stumbled across this little gem, soon to be found on the Sci-Fi network:

Tremors: The Series
Reprising his role from the cult films, Michael Gross stars as paranoid, anti-social survivalist Burt Gummer, who takes it upon himself to keep the sleepy desert town of Perfection, Nevada safe from Graboids, Shriekers and AssBlasters.
Premieres: Friday, March 28 at 9 p.m. ET

Wow. AssBlasters. Now that's entertainment!

Also, the WB offers this:

NORTH SHORE
Premieres: June

The WB goes to Hawaii with cameras in hand to document seven professional surfers living in the same beach house while they all compete for the $750,000 grand prize in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The participants in this six-episode series are: Teen Choice Award-winning extreme athlete Holly Beck, No. 5-ranked female surfer Chelsea Georgeson, big wave surfer Danny Fuller, five-time Vans Triple Crown winner Sunny Garcia, the world's No. 14-ranked surfer Damien Hobgood, model and surfer Veronica Kay and defending champ Myles Padaca.

Be still my beating heart.

11 February, 2003

Freedom

John Ashcroft cares about you:

At a Monday speech at the Conference on Foreign Relations, Ashcroft said that "as freedom-loving nations, we now find ourselves in the midst of an historic struggle for the values of democracy ... Let history record that we, together -- this people and this generation -- defended freedom in its hour of great danger."

We're going to protect this freedom! And we'll do that by placing it in a lock box.

Mmmm....Beefy

Ever wonder what the National Cattelemen's Beef Association thinks would make a quick, healthy snack, perfect for a growing, energetic and well-balanced pre-teen girl? Well, wonder no longer!

  • A tortilla wrap with slices of lean roast beef and Swiss cheese
  • A barbeque beef sandwich on a roll, an apple or fresh juice
  • A bowl of chili with cornbread muffin and water and pepper strips
  • A taco salad with strips of lean beef and an orange
  • An English muffin pizza with ground beef crumbles and melted cheese

Hey, how about a little BEEF to go with that? Maybe a glass of BEEF to wash it all down?

Fly solo sometimes. You'll find yourself to be good company.

Uh-huh. "Fly solo". I think we all see the message these Cattlemen are sending to our nation's youth. Perverts.

Earth Erotica

And here I thought it was only guys who noticed rocks that look like genitalia.

Thanks to Chris P. for the link.

Questionably SFW. I mean, there's no actual genitalia, but Bob knows the PC police would most likely have a fit if they saw this on your computer screen.

07 February, 2003

Threat Level

I've upgraded my own threat level from DRUNK to:

Hungry

Moo!

looking_cow.jpg

From Uncompiled Chris.

Come to think of it, Uncompiled Chris sounds like a good name for a character in a comic book or cartoon. Or possibly an extremely geeky version of Garbage Pail Kids.

Wait, Why Should We Care?

Rickey Medlock, bassist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, says now that Colin Powell has presented the world "irrefutable proof" that Saddam Hussein is doing something bad, we should attack.

In the wake of Secretary Of State General Colin Powell's speech at the United Nations on Wednesday (February 5), Medlocke said he fully backs the administration. "Now I think we got all the proof that we need," Medlocke said. "Of course, the Iraqis are saying, 'Oh, Powell's lying,' but you know what? I think that Colin Powell is probably the most trustworthy guy in there. I will believe Colin Powell before I believe anybody. I have a lot of respect for that guy, and I trust him."

Just some random questions:

  1. How much should I care when a celebrity tells me that something is right or wrong?
  2. How much should I care when the fucking bassist for Lynyrd Skynyrd tells me that something is right or wrong?
  3. How many decades has it been since Lynyrd Skynyrd had any kind of relevence to world, in any way?
  4. Why do celebrities assume that we want to hear what they have to say?
  5. Why don't celebrities understand that we pay them to act a certain way?
  6. Why am I being so generous and lumping Rickey Medlocke into the category of celebrity?
  7. Why can't celebrities basically "shut up and bite the pillow?"
  8. What is my fascination with numbered lists?

05 February, 2003

Wynona

Wynona Ryder gets cast in Marc Jacobs' spring advertising campaign. Jacobs being the designer of one the items she shoplifted.

I can't make this stuff up.

Don't Fuck With Fargo

North Dakota Found to be Harboring Nuclear Missiles.

"Satellite photos confirm that the North Dakotans have been quietly harboring an extensive nuclear-weapons program," said Blix, presenting his findings in a speech to the U.N. Security Council. "Alarmingly, this barely developed hinterland possesses the world's most technologically advanced weapons of mass destruction, capable of reaching targets all over the world."

That's right. Just keep making fun of the accent. See what happens, bitch!

"The South Dakotans, while a simple people themselves, are friendly, hospitable, and far more in touch with the outside world," Chirac said. "Many people, myself included, have passed through and seen the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. North Dakota, on the other hand, is a bleak, racially homogeneous state that few people ever enter or exit."

It's funny 'cause it's true!

Oh, Not Again

If I were a form of poetry, I would be:

Ottava rima? Me? That can't be right!
Too frivolous? But tut, there's no such thing!
Let others ponder thoughts of wrong and right,
Or sit and think how much they love the spring;
I'd rather spend my time in gleeful spite,
Or maybe laugh, or maybe sit and sing.
Besides, it might be fun to be inspiring -
But surely it would get so very tiring.

Link nicked from Neil Gaiman's website.

04 February, 2003

Wow

Interesting...that item was pulled earlier by E-Bay but it still appears through Lloyd's link..

So sayeth one of the mental giants on some messageboard, regarding a link to my archive of an eBay auction of fake Columbia debris.

For shits and grins, I decided to go through my logs and see what places were linking to the archive, as it had received a fair amount of traffic. Amazing how people just don't quite understand what it means to archive something. There's a very good reason you don't see ebay in the URL: it's not an eBay computer!

Obvious

Something Positive explains the deep, inner workings of the male mind.

Little Debbie, Little Debbie

For my money, you just can't beat Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls.

02 February, 2003

More Movie Crap

First came The Country Bears.

Then, Pirates Of The Caribbean, soon to be in theatres.

What's next? It's A Small World, The Motion Picture?

And to add insult to injury, Pirates is a Jerry Bruckheimer production. Ugh.

01 February, 2003

Oops

What a difference an hour makes:

Columbia Streaks Toward Florida Landing

(Found that link on Sensible Erection [obviously NSFW]. Also archived, just in case.)

Asshats

Wow, not even two hours after the space shuttle Columbia breaks up during re-entry, and some shit for brains is selling a piece of the wreckage on eBay. Here's the original and an archived copy of the page.

And you wonder why I hate people so much?