Assorted Thoughts (OR Changing Gears)

September 3, 2008

Rumor has it, the Republicans are holding some sort of large gathering right now… I’m pretty sure you can watch it on any major network. What I doubt you can see is any coverage whatsoever of the emerging police state around the aforementioned large gathering.

I don’t know this for sure because there’s a family tennis rivalry to watch tonight, and the much anticipated NFL opener tomorrow. Essentially, the world has provided me with ample excuse to not watch the Republicans espouse, with astounding enthusiasm, policies, philosophies, and ideas with which I completely disagree.

For example: tonight’s theme is “Prosperity.” Just think about that for a minute. The same party that has presided over 2 recessions in 8 years, that has pushed policies to encourage the creation of the housing bubble which has lead to trillions of dollars of lost wealth, that continues to endorse economic policies that will further exacerbate the gap between the “haves” and “have nots”, that same party is going to talk about prosperity? Seriously?


Other random thoughts:

– The biggest win for Sen. McCain with his VP selection is that no one is really talking about him, his unpopular policies, cranky personality, or his uninspiring candidacy. Even if the news is mixed about Gov. Palin, there certainly isn’t a lot of negative talk around Sen. McCain (outside of his apparent lack of vetting his VP selection)

– Google has release a new web browser. Wil is uncertain about the EULA. My thoughts are mixed. But, the comic that tells the back story of the browser is very cool.

– In my never ending quest to find the media play that best fits my needs, I have currently settled on WinAmp. MediaMonkey had its perks, but the Library navigation was always a bit cumbersome. When playing with Linux, Amarok seemed best, but it’s not yet the complete package. By the same token, neither is Songbird, but it seems oh-so-close to being a simple media player/manager. Not a do-everything-and-make-your-breakfast application. I’m going to keep an eye on that one.

– In other software news, the free MagicDisc portion of MagicISO is really handy. Anyone who deals with .iso files on a regular basis should download and install it right now.

Back. In. Black.

July 23, 2008

Okay, Faithful Readers, or at least the two of you who are left…

Time for, as my friends Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan would say, my most triumphant return to the blogosphere.

As my less-locquacious partner pointed out, I have been incredibly remiss about posting lately.  I have no excuses, nor any reasons, other than that I didn’t feel like it.

But, now I do.  There are so many important things to post about!

In honor of Faithful Reader E.S., and in thanks for taking up too much of her time this evening, we’ll start you off with a little modern alternativey Feist on Sesame Street, courtesy of Matt Yglesias:

I think they (she) didn’t work very hard to fit the Sesame Street-caliber lyrics into her already-written song, but it’s still damn cute nonetheless.

Interlude (OR And now for something completely different)

June 26, 2008

Wil Wheaton is back from vacation. Apparently, he either left his brain behind, or it’s still drunk on sunshine and surf. Either way, this post is well worth a read:

I was picking tomatoes in my back yard yesterday afternoon when the phone rang. Caller ID said it was my manager. I picked it up and said, “Mister Black! What’s up?”

“Seth Macfarlane wants to work with you tomorrow,” he said.

The next thing I knew, I was looking into the concerned faces of my wife and kids, while a machine behind me went ping!

“What happened?” I said.

“You answered the phone, screamed like a little girl, and fainted,” Anne said.

Life imitates art (OR Someday we’ll all wear billboards)

June 3, 2008

So, after a few days of technical difficulties and a weekend full of ultimate, I’m catching up on my regular podcasts, including Marketplace, which ran this story on Friday:

Nobody who knows [Sex and the City] … is going to be surprised to see the stars carrying brand-name handbags and gushing about brand-name shoes — that’s half of what the show was all about — but working products into plot lines comes with challenge: How to do it without turning off the audience — and the regulators.


The Writers Guild of America wants the FCC to consider requiring some form of disclosure. The Commission is looking at various options. One idea? Each time a product pops up in a script, text would appear on the screen telling viewers they’re watching a paid placement.

Robert Thompson: That would make the irritation that some people already have over this stuff tenfold.

Robert Thompson teaches television and popular culture at Syracuse University.


Frank Zazza [who helped broker one of the most famous product placements of all time: the starring role of Reese’s Pieces in the movie “ET”] sees good product integration as a welcome alternative to the clutter of spot advertising. Wouldn’t you put up with a few more subliminal messages if you never had to see another car commercial?

I just couldn’t help but think that someday, TV will be like The Truman Show…   or worse, “shows” will just become 30 or 60 minute advertisements.

Memory, All Alone In The Moonlight…

May 23, 2008

One more thought from the weekend, which ties together two of my pathetically desperate loves, running Ultimate tournaments and watching Lost.

Something I mentioned in my tournament ramblings post is that Nationals is, by comparison with anything I’ve run before, a remarkably complicated event. The number of facts and thoughts that I had to keep up the air at the same time was quite daunting. Pulling it off was, I’m convinced, what left me so absolutely exhausted all week.

At the same point in time, though, while it was incredibly challenging, it was also quite exhilarating. The feeling of accomplishment I got seeing everything come together was, I imagine, much like that of an engineer who has designed a complex project, from start to finish, and now is watching it all run, in all its wonderful complexity.

In thinking about it a bit more, it’s not dissimilar to the feeling I get from watching Lost. The writers and producers have created such a crazy, complicated world. By certain standards, it can’t help but fail as an artistic project, because it’s simply too big and unwieldy. However, for someone who revels in knowing all those crazy facts and figures, and seeing all the myriad links between them, it’s pure mental enjoyment.

Lost is like trivia, only it’s even worse. At least, when I go to pub trivia, and I can drag out random facts like the name of the Governor of Montana (Brian Schweitzer, in case you cared), that’s the sort of thing which just might, in some circumstance, improve my ability to, say, be an American citizen. However, being able to see the rich irony in the way that Claire’s mom came up to Jack at his dad’s funeral, and then managed to reveal to him the fact that Claire was, in fact, his half-sister, and then, to top it all off, met and admired her own grandchild, a fact that she will probably never know?

Well that, my friends, is the joy of knowledge purely for its own sake.

Lost. It’s trivia porn.