Saturday, February 26, 2011

But Then We'd Never Have Had "Plexiglass Toilet"

Turns out the real reason the music industry is dying is that, thanks to downloadable music, we no longer have to pay for 10 songs to get the two we really want.

(About the title: "Plexiglass Toilet" was the worst song Styx ever did, but it was on the album "The Serpent is Rising", so - back in the day - if you liked the latter, you had to pay for the former also, even though it was an abomination.)

My Personal Hell

Is neatly contained in this video:


[YouTube direct link]

From the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night, every single surface in your house clamoring, nagging, yowling, and hectoring for your attention.

Curse you, glass surfaces! Shut up and leave me alone!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Joy of Astroturf

If you're not familiar with the term, "astroturf" is a pejorative description of a fake grassroots movement that's meant to look spontaneous & local, but is organized and stage-managed by outsiders.

Take, for instance, this protest in Denver.

It's just creepy to me how neat those "hand-lettered" signs are. As if the same person did all of them.

Plus the fact that, in the 4th picture, they're just piled there for people to pick up. If you don't care enough to make your own sign, why are you there? And why are you holding one?

Plus, of course, all those professionally designed and printed signs. That stuff ain't cheap. Who paid for those?

If you scroll WAY down, you see the sloppy yet sincere signs of the Tea Party counter-protest. These folks OBVIOUSLY made their own signs.

Now, I've got nothing against well-organized and well-funded protests. It's all free speech, and it's all good.

But, from an "effective propaganda" perspective, if your message - union protesters - is that you're poverty-stricken just-plain-folk who can't afford a pay cut, maybe consider that slick, mass-produced signage kinda calls you a liar to the casual observer.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's Because It's Happening to You

From the 38-year-old Megan McArdle.
"Maybe it was always thus, but it seems to me that both parties are increasingly resorting to procedural tricks rather than politics, and it worries me. Maybe this means that our political system is broken, maybe it means that the parties are getting increasingly ruthless"

No, it's always been thus.

You're just hearing about this a lot more because you're constantly reading news reports associated with it.

Had you lived through FDR's court-packing scheme, you'd feel the same way about the 30's.

Scheming politicians are a timeless curse.

Precious

From NYT:
Solar Millennium withdrew its 16-month-old license application for a 250-megawatt solar station called Ridgecrest, citing regulators’ concerns over the project’s impact on the Mohave ground squirrel.

Nothing amuses me more than watching the Greenies eat each other alive.

Chickens. Home. Roost.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Dream Mashup

Sweet Child O' Mine

Juan on vocals:



[YouTube direct link]

fronting for Rebecca Roudman on Cello:



[YouTube direct link]

'Twould be the awesome.

My Happy Thought For The Day

Rubes:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Courtesy Link

Right Wing News "Polling Conservative Bloggers On The GOP’s 2012 Presidential Field":

Which of the following candidates would you like to see as the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2012?

Chris Christie

Which of the following candidates is your SECOND CHOICE for the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2012?

John Bolton

Which of the following candidates would you like to see as the Republican Party's presidential nominee in 2012? (No Palin, No Christie)

Donald Trump

Which of the following dark horse candidates do you find the most appealing as a potential GOP POTUS Candidate?

Michele Bachmann

1, 2, & 3:

Because I'm sick of diplomatic, PC, politi-speak, and these 3 are all straight talkers.

4: At least she won't spend all of my money.

Why not Sarah Palin? Because these other three talk just as straight as her, without the social-conservative hectoring. Just spend my money responsibly and stop nagging me about your values. It's a little unseemly coming from ANY politician, because - no offense - they're all corrupt to some degree.

Hectoring aside, I'll vote for Palin in a heartbeat, if it comes to it. She's principled.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Upside

Baghdad wants $1 billion because their roads are crumbly and they have traffic jams.
Baghdad's neighborhoods have been sealed off by miles of concrete blast walls, transforming the city into a tangled maze that contributes to massive traffic jams. Despite a sharp reduction in overall violence in recent years only 5 percent of the walls have been removed, officials said.

Baghdad's biggest problem isn't secret police, torture rooms, mass graves, or a brutal dictator with a bad moustache, it's traffic jams.

I think that means we won.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just Kidding, But It WAS Better Than That Guy on SNL

During an interview on Conan O'Brien's show, Justin Bieber did his impression of President Obama.

Don't laugh. It was so good, someone in the audience yelled out "you lie!".

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On Atlas Shrugged: The Movie

I've read the book a couple times. Good story. Love the theme. Memorable lines. Powerful scenes that stick with you after you've set the book down.

So they've FINALLY made a movie out of it:


[YouTube direct link]

The main worry I see in the comments at the various places I've seen the video posted is that they've "rewritten the story".

I would hope so. This isn't a book, people. It's a movie. It's a visual medium, which puts VERY different constraints on how a story can and should be told.

There's also complaints that "it looks low budget". So? This story isn't about the scenery. It's about character and dialogue, and how these combine to move the plot and present the theme. How much do you think it cost to make "Validation"?

All I'm really hoping for with this movie is that it will quote generously from the memorable lines and transition relatively smoothly between the pivotal scenes. I also hope the heroic characters project an air of confidence and deliver their dialogue in a blunt, unapologetic fashion.

I don't know the actor who plays Rearden, but I think he gets it. Freeze it at 0:39. The look on his face as he stares at his factory. It's love, it's pride, it's reverence. That's as it should be.

And that smile he gives his weaselly brother at 0:56 - perfect.

I'm not sure about Dagny, she doesn't seem quite severe enough, and I really don't think her character would have perfectly-plucked eyebrows. But she is thin and angular, which is right for the character.

I've heard complaints about Eddie Willers being played by a black man. Snide comments about "affirmative action casting". Whatever. He appears clean, professional, and competent. That's Eddie in a nutshell. I didn't picture him as black when I read the book, but there's absolutely no reason why he couldn't be.

Physically, the various politicians & bureaucrats look either doughy, sleazy, or corrupt. Well-casted.

Finally, there's comments about the "high-speed train" in the movie, and comparisons to Obama's high-speed rail fantasies. But let's remember the three big differences between Taggart's train & Obama's:

1) It's privately owned
2) It's profitable
3) It's hauling freight, not passengers

It's hard to make an accurate prediction from a 2 minute trailer, but I think I'll be happy with the movie, although I'm sure I'll be sad that some of my favorite parts will have to be omitted due to time and the fact that some good parts of a book, if rendered faithfully, would wreck a predominantly visual experience like a motion picture.

Out of necessity they'll have to pare this down to the main story, which revolves around Hank, Francisco, Dagny, and John. Consider anything we get outside these 4 as pure gravy. Sorry, folks, but Ragnar is optional.

PS Having it open on April 15th... brilliant.

Friday, February 11, 2011

This Is Why Racism Hasn't Died Out Yet

Because racists like Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee refuse to let it go.

Here's a description of the Pepsi Max Super Bowl commercial that has her in a tizzy:
In the ad for Pepsi Max, a black woman sitting on a park bench gets angry with her husband after an attractive, white female jogger sits down next to the couple and smiles and waves at the man.

After the man smiles back, his girlfriend or wife gets angry and whips her Pepsi Max can at him. The man ducks, and the can hits the attractive jogger in the head. The ad is titled "Love hurts."

Here's how ol' Stuffy Britches describes it:
"In this month of African-American history where we're trying to celebrate what is good and great, it certainly seems ridiculous that Pepsi would utilize this kind of humor," she said. "It was not humorous. It was demeaning — an African-American woman throwing something at an African-American male and winding up hitting a Caucasian woman."

"That is why I'm so disappointed with the Pepsi advertisement that showed a demeaning role for African American women, in an ad that showed a can being thrown and being utilized to wound someone else or hit someone else," she said.

Thing is, this ad pretty much works about the same no matter what race the actors are, so she's got nothing to complain about. Heck, two black actors got to be in a Super Bowl commercial. You'd think she'd be thrilled.

Personally, though, the commercial DID offend me.

Not because of race, but because it violated 2 rules of physical comedy.

1) Hurting a man is funny. Hurting a woman is not.

2) Hurting an annoying mungebucket is funny. Hurting an innocent bystander is not.

By way of contrast, Doritos did it right:


[YouTube direct link]

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Let's Not Go There

From the PJ Tattler:
As Deneen Borelli of Project 21 correctly says, "calls for torture and lynching are not a matter of left and right - they are always wrong." Bryan asked where the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP were. But I won't hold my breath waiting for liberal websites to cover this or for organizations like the NAACP to denounce it, given the double standards they have long exhibited in their unfair and degrading criticisms of principled black conservatives like Justice Clarence Thomas.
Except it wasn't a "call" for torture. It was hyperbole. It was exaggeration. It was a joke.

Tasteless, classless, and undeniable proof that the speakers were clodnoggins, but it wasn't hate speech.

Curse the left for not denouncing it like Nancy Pelosi just denounced using the word "hate" during a conversation with the President, but really, let's just stop pretending that civility is a virtue in political discourse. Let's just go back go viciously insulting our political enemies like grown-ups instead of gasping like a schoolyard tot and running to the teacher exclaiming that Billy said a naughty word.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Update 2-6-11

Huh... we won the Super Bowl.

God bless the Green Bay defense.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

FINALLY!

For the longest time, I've wondered what the difference is between Britain, England, and the UK.

Here is a video that lays it all out. Not in a quick, simple way (sadly, there are no quick, simple explanations to be had in this area), but as quickly and simply as is humanly possible:


[YouTube direct link]

[Love & Hugs to Pam of Pamibe for this one]

Friday, February 4, 2011

There's a Reason

From the Daily Caller:
A fact of this year’s Academy Awards has some in the entertainment and civil rights communities scratching their heads and raising their eyebrows: There are precisely zero African-Americans nominated for the coveted acting, best picture, and director Oscars.
I'll say it because no one else will:

Statistically speaking, there aren't that many academy-worthy "actors of color" (or producers or directors) in the first place, and none of 'em did anything worthwhile this year.

Reality is a harsh mistress. Deal with it.

It Says CONGRESS Shall Make No Law

From the NY Post:
Jordan Sekulow, a lawyer at the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice in Washington, questioned why the mosque project, called Park51, would choose a leader who advocates retribution for those who leave the faith.

"To be in the United States of America and to tell former Muslims to 'keep your mouth shut' is against the Constitution," said Sekulow, whose organization is suing to stop Park51 from being built.

Now, personally, I consider Islam more of a mental disease than a religion, but you would think a lawyer would know better than to claim that a random lunatic's rantings are a constitutional issue.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ok, You Win, This Kid Is Pretty Cool

Like the Kessel Run, I generally measure the amount of "don't care" I have for basketball in parsecs.

Yet I could NOT stop watching this kid. (via Brutally Honest)



[YouTube direct link]

I sincerely wish him well. Barring injury or stunted growth, I think he could be the Harlem Globetrotters' next Affirmative Action pick.

Super Bowl

For the first time in 13 years, I'll actually care about this game (other than really, really wanting to see the Giants deprive Brady of his perfect season back in '08 out of pure spite.)

It was just so WEIRD, though.

Here's the timeline of my reactions:

12-5: Huh... we're not going to have a losing record this year.

12-26: Huh... we're going to have a winning record this year.

1-2: Huh... we're going to be in the playoffs.

1-9: Huh... we're going to the Divisional round.

1-16: Huh... we're going to the Conference Championship.

1-23: Huh... we're going to the SuperBowl.

Honestly, considering how many star players went out this season, I wouldn't have been too terribly disappointed if ANY of those days had gone the other way. Just a little sad.

And even now it's still feels like some kinda hazy dream, all fuzzy around the edges.

But since I'm not the type to indulge in gift-horse dentistry, I'm taking the Packers minus the 2.5 points.

FUN TRIVIA: Packers largest margin of defeat this year: 4 points

How to Uninstall Haloscan/JS-Kit/Echo Comments From Blogger - UPDATED 3-19-12

UPDATE: JS-Kit, Haloscan and Echo Comments will be discontinued on October 1st, 2012. Get out now while the gettin' is good.

Back in the day, Blogger had a lousy commenting system. It didn't support trackbacks, either. Haloscan was a third-party commenting system. It was easy to install, customizable, and versatile. I loved it to death. I told everyone who would listen that they should dump their lousy native Blogger comments and install Haloscan.

Years passed, and Haloscan was bought out by JS-Kit. Which was ok, because they still supported Haloscan comments.

Then they didn't.

And they forced everyone to adopt their VERY horrid Echo comment system. A commenting system which is, in fact, SO horrid that I chose to leave my blog home of almost 7 years simply to escape them.

And now they're FORCING people to either pay for those horrid Echo comments or lose their service and all their prior comments.

All I can say, JS-Kit, is thank you. You just made it REAL easy to leave your horrid comment system in the dust, and hopefully bankrupt you in the process as your customers leave in droves.

Because the price of removing your legacy Haloscan/JS-Kit/Echo comments from your Blogger blog is that you will lose all those comments forever.

But since JS-Kit won't let them display unless you pay the ransom, they've essentially just shot the hostage, so there's no reason for you to have anything more to do with them.

Making them go away is easy.

Just go into your template (SAVE A COPY BEFORE YOU START DOING SURGERY, just in case you screw something up) remove the Haloscan javascript code from between the <head> and </head> tags. It's easy to spot - it's got the word "haloscan", with a bunch of gibberish to the left & right.

Then, down in the Post Footer & Item Page sections of your template, you'll find two more instances of haloscan code between the

<BlogItemCommentsEnabled>

and

</BlogItemCommentsEnabled>

tags. There are two sets of these tags, both of which need fixing: one in your template's Post Footer section, and one in your Item Page section. Which control the appearance on your main page and individual post archive page, respectively.

Delete all the Haloscan junk between those tags, and replace it with:

<a class="comment-link" href="<$BlogItemCommentCreate$>"<$BlogItemCommentFormOnclick$>><$BlogItemCommentCount$> comments</a>

in both places.

That should do it.

Oh, and if anyone ever hears about JS-Kit going out of business, drop me a line. I've got a bottle of champagne set aside for the occasion.

And if any JS-Kit guys wander by & read this, well, sir, it's not that I have anything personal against your company. You have a product/service, and you made a business decision. It's a free country.

It's just that you took something I loved and turned it into garbage. I will always hate you for that.

UPDATE 3-19-12:

It's come to my attention that Blogger has updated its template so that comments are handled by a widget using XML code, so the above advice is not completely helpful.

Turns out the principle of the required surgery in this case is similar, but the replacement code is different.

I helped Kelly fix her blog, but I can't guarantee that Haloscan/JS-Kit/Echo screwed up your template in exactly the same way, so take it with a grain of salt.

So, here's what I found there, and here's what to do about it.

First, click the "expand widgets" box and back up your template. I recommend both clicking Blogger's "Backup/Restore" button to download the XML file and also copying the full text of your template and saving it as a plain .txt file. Can't be too careful.

Kelly had 3 instances of Haloscan code in her template. Easiest way to find them is hit the CTRL and "F" keys simultaneously to activate the document search function. Then enter "haloscan" (without quotes).

The first instance was headed:

<!-- start haloscan (part 1) -->
and ended
<!-- end haloscan -->

Delete those lines and everything between them

In their place, paste this:

<a class='comment-link' expr:href='data:post.addCommentUrl' expr:onclick='data:post.addCommentOnclick'><b:if
cond='data:post.numComments == 1'>1
<data:top.commentLabel/><b:else/><data:post.numComments/>
<data:top.commentLabelPlural/></b:if></a>

Preview it, and see if you get an error. If you don't, Blogger comments should be visible below your posts now.

Next was a part that started
<!-- start haloscan (part 2 - post) -->
and ends with
<!-- end haloscan -->

Delete those lines and everything between them. Replace it with the same piece of Blogger comment code listed above.

That should be the one that controls comments on individual post pages.

Now there's one more section of haloscan. Starts with:

<!-- start haloscan (part 3) -->
and ends with
<!-- end haloscan -->

This one looks like it controls the comment feed to your RSS feed.

You'll need to replace that one with:

<a class='feed-link' expr:href='data:f.url'
expr:type='data:f.mimeType' target='_blank'><data:f.name/>
(<data:f.feedType/>)</a>

Try those one at a time and see if any one of those break your blog. If so, revert back to the last template that worked.

After doing this, Kelly reported that her Blogger comments worked and Echo was eradicated from her site.

Hopefully you will have a similar experience.

Amused I Was

If I had kids, this is the kind of father I'd be.


[YouTube direct link]

Not Sure if This is Handy or Scary

How to break into a zippered suitcase using a pen.


[YouTube direct link]

I can guarantee the TSA doesn't know this trick, because last time I flew, they busted the lock off my zipper, rifled through my cigars, and left me their little "sorry, thought you were a terrorist" love card.

In their defense, I guess a box of cigars DOES kinda look like a bundle of dynamite sticks on an x-ray image.