Archive for August, 2004

Fun With Photo Stamps

Those wacky cats over at The Smoking Gun decided to see what they could get away with putting on the new PhotoStamps being tested by the Post Office. Among the stamps they managed to get through – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Jimmy Hoffa, Slobodon Milosevic, and Monica Lewinsky’s dress.

Honestly, tho – I feel that TSG is being just a little bit harsh on this idea. In this day and age of constant customization, it only makes sense that you should be able to customize the postage you use. The statement that “nobody’s dog deserves to be on a postage stamp” ignores the fact that these stamps are essentially limited runs for a single person, and thus don’t diminish the honor of being selected for a postage stamp by the post office.

Although I will admit – it does give design addicts like yours truly a bizarre new outlet…

dickyorkstamp.jpg

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Back to the Mainstream

This is interesting. A group of moderate Republican governors and senators have published a statement urging the Republican party to “Come Back to the Mainstream.” A quick scan of their website shows a list of steps they want the Republican party to take – here quoted directly from their statement.

  • Stop weakening environmental law – and once again protect our air, water and public lands as Teddy Roosevelt and other great Republican leaders intended;
  • Restore fiscal responsibility – with “pay-as-you-go” budget discipline to end record deficits that jeopardize economic growth;
  • Put the health of millions first – and clear the way for embryonic stem cell research;
  • Appoint mainstream federal judges – and respect the Constitution;
  • Make America safer – and protect cities and towns, still vulnerable three years after 9/11, by securing chemical and nuclear plants and shipping containers;
  • Rebuild our alliances – with real partnerships and restore America’s standing in the world.

Of course, I’m certain that we’ll hear that every single one of these people is bucking for a position in the Kerry White House, that they’ve got a history of voting liberal, that they hold a grudge from that one time in grade school when Dubya beat them up and stole their lunch money, etc. But at the moment, it seems to be drawing some interest. They’ll probably stand a better chance of changing the direction of the Republican party when Dubya loses the upcoming election, as the Republican leadership will start analyzing their strategy to try to figure out what they can do to get more votes the next time.

But we should never forget that in his campaign language, Bush claimed to be a moderate for most of 2000. His actions and his record said differently – but few people paid attention to that. We can hope that these Mainstream Republicans will bring some much-needed moderation back to the Republicans, but as long as Dubya and Cheney sit in power, moderation will be a stranger to the Conservative wing.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Lightweight…

Yet another 527 for Bush to mention by name as he ducks questions about the whole Swift Boat thing: Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth.

When George W. Bush talks about his past, he uses the words “reckless” and “irresponsible.” He claims that in 1986, after half a lifetime of hard drink and easy women, he finally sobered up—and he wants us to believe he’ll never revert to his hard-partying ways.

But the captains who piloted his pleasure craft during those “wild” years, as well as his fellow pleasure craft revelers, see him in a very different light.

Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth has been formed to counter the deliberate misrepresentation of George W. Bush’s drinking record. We seek to portray him as he was, and still is: a “lightweight.”

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

Feed My Frankenstein…

We had former Senator Fred Thompson telling all of the actors in TV and film to shut up. We had country musicians telling the Dixie Chicks to shut up. We had anonymous “folk purists” telling folk musicians to shut up. Now, the latest on the right-wing entertainment wingnuts to play the “shut the hell up” card is Alice Cooper (for the love o’ God, don’t read the comments on the article through this link – there’s enough stupidity there to choke an Equine American).

ALICE COOPER has told the Canadian Press that all the rock stars campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry are guilty of one thing: treason. The shock-rock legend, a staunch Republican who attends NBA games in Phoenix with Arizona Senator John McCain, was disgusted when he learned of plans by Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, R.E.M. and other bands to hold a series of concerts aimed at unseating U.S. President George W. Bush.

“To me, that’s treason. I call it treason against rock ‘n’ roll because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics,” says the 56-year-old Cooper, who begins a 15-city Canadian tour on Aug. 20 in Thunder Bay, Ont.

All right. So Cooper’s just saying that rockers shouldn’t be political, right? I mean, he’s a “staunch Republican,” but he’s just saying that a rocker shouldn’t endorse a political candidate, right? Because then you’d be getting politics mixed up in your rock ‘n’ roll.

Despite his strong insistence that rock has no place in politics, Cooper is one of just a handful of high-profile musicians who’ve proclaimed support for Bush.

sigh

Y’know, it occurs to me that rock ‘n’ roll has pretty much been the modern era’s folk music for the non-traditionalists. Check its history and you’ll find lots of political content – even if it hasn’t always been intelligent and thoughtful. But that’s neither here nor there.

Cooper is just the latest in a short string of conservative-leaning celebrities who have touted the “Shut the Hell Up” message – and, oddly enough, every single one of them has been an open Bush supporter responding to the news of other entertainers backing a Democrat.

Should we let entertainers tell us how to vote? No. But not because they’re entertainers – because we shouldn’t take orders on how we vote. It’s a matter of collecting your information from different sources and deciding for yourself. But entertainers are Americans with the same rights as every American citizen and with the added bonus of a massive pulpit from which to speak. If an entertainer decides to be political, they have the right to be political – and people who don’t agree with them have the right to turn their attention elsewhere.

The problem I have with Alice Cooper is not that he endorses Bush – although I do have to admit that I’m disappointed by it. It’s that Cooper openly endorses Bush and then has the nerve to tell liberal-leaning musicians who endorse Kerry that they’re being traitors to rock ‘n’ roll. It’s hypocrisy of the highest order, and it’s right in line with Fred Thompson, Charlie “It Ain’t A Rag It’s A Flag” Daniels, and the other high-profile right-wingers who haven’t just endorsed Bush, but have also spent time and money telling their liberal counterparts to shut up.

And isn’t it funny that so much of the message these people spew is that “people don’t care” what celebrities think? You would think that if that were the case, nobody would have to tell them to shut up.

Feh.

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

This Land was made…

It has to be a little bit embarassing to file a copyright infringement lawsuit, only to find out that you don’t own the copyright.

In early August, Ludlow, which claimed to own the copyright for the folk tune, threatened to sue JibJab, alleging copyright infringement. JibJab used the tune to the song and rewrote the lyrics in a cartoon to mock the presidential candidates. It refused to take down the cartoon and pre-emptively asked a judge to declare that it had a right to use the song as satire without having to get the permission of the owner.

But in a bizarre twist, JibJab’s lawyers discovered that anyone may record their own version of the song—because the copyright on the words and music have expired, they said.

What’s nice about this case, in my opinion, is that what at first seemed like the usual copyright-holder versus satirist case seems to have evolved into a situation where both sides did more than was expected to help the other out. In the case of Ludlow, they could just as easily have declared themselves ready to take this to a higher court – Disney and other copyright holders have done so in the past. And in the case of JibJab, the public domain nature of the song means that they don’t have to give Ludlow any considerations – but they’ve listened to Ludlow state that it cares about promoting the legacy of Woody Guthrie, and they’ve agreed to help with that mission.

If anything, I fell that this case proves that the movement of works into the public domain isn’t nearly the disaster scenario Disney has been painting for the past few decades. While some could argue that now people are free to do anything with Woody Guthrie’s music – even things that Woody, himself, would never have approved of – it isn’t an instant opening of the floodgates to defamation and destruction of the artist’s legacy, and is even an opportunity to expand upon that legacy and broaden its reach.

At least, that’s my take.

Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

Any ordinary man would’ve given it up by now…

Now up at the Anvil & Sprocket, a new review for the classic Michael Nesmith-produced Cusack/Robbins vehicle, Tapeheads. As always, share and enjoy – because waffles are just pancakes with little squares on ‘em…

Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

LucasSuck

Somewhere, George Lucas is gnashing his teeth in anger, flecks of foam flying from his sneering lips and catching in his bristling beard. “How dare he!” he’s roaring. “I give him the chance to be part of the greatest saga in the history of film, and he dares to tell people that he disagrees with me? I will BURY him!”

Let’s start the betting pool: In the Episode One: The Phantom Menace (Special Edition), Lucas will Forrest-Gump Liam Neeson out and replace him with…

“Ummm, well, they’ve kind of got silly now, haven’t they?” actor Liam Neeson told The Toronto Sun yesterday while doing interviews for his latest film, the forthcoming ensemble romantic comedy Love Actually.

“That last (Star Wars movie) was just pyrotechnics, you know,” Neeson said of Episode II—Attack of The Clones, lamenting that the “computerized stuff” fails to connect with either the actors or audiences.

Neeson said he expects nothing different when Episode III, in which he is not involved, is released in 2005 to complete the prequel trilogy.

My money’s on Adam Sandler. How about you?

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

Learn This Much

There are a handful of rules I feel you should have to learn before you take over leadership of a country – any country. I find myself wishing that somebody had hammered these rules into Dubya’s head before he was allowed to take the oath of office – Supreme Court decision or no.

First: Honor all of your treaties even if it’s only because you want other countries to honor their treaties with you.

Second: Follow the Geneva Conventions at all times at the very least because you want other countries who capture your people to treat them humanely, as well.

Third: When you blunder forth with a doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, you can pretty much expect that others will decide that it’s a good idea, too. And, since they’ll know that you like pre-emptive strikes, you will probably wind up in their sights.

Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities.

“We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly,” Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV when asked if Iran would respond to an American attack on its nuclear facilities.

Even if you’re not fond of human and civil rights, and even if you have no sympathy for anybody else – at the very least, enlightened self-interest should play some sort of role in your decision making.

[link via Pesky’Apostrophe]

Friday, August 20th, 2004

Quick! Hit the power switch!

I opened the front door today and there was a box sitting there with my name on it from EB Fulfillment Center.

Since you can’t see in the pictures above, I’ll just tell you – the games were No One Lives Forever, Summoner, Metal Gear Solid II: Sons of Liberty, Final Fantasy Origins, Forsaken, and Resident Evil: Director’s Cut (They’re new to me – stop laughing!)

Help me out with my mantra here. This will not effect my productivity… This will not effect my productivity… This will not effec—

Oo! Art supplies!

Friday, August 20th, 2004

Braaainbox….

Just in case you ever wanted to see my full acting résumé, it’s now online at BrainBoxTalent.

Also, you might check out the new reviews over at the Anvil & Sprocket – John reviews Tremors, which puts a whole new set of actors just one degree from Kevin Bacon, and I offer the one-two punch from Something Weird Video that is The Beast That Killed Women and The Monster of Camp Sunshine. They’re horror/comedies. Set in nudist camps. Right.

Thursday, August 19th, 2004