Archive for February, 2005

Golden Egg = One Dead Goose

The music industry never learns. We are just going to have to accept this as fact. Case in point:

Some leading music labels are in talks with online retailers to raise wholesale prices for digital music downloads in an attempt to capitalise on burgeoning demand for legal online music.

Music industry executives said introductory wholesale prices for digital tracks had been set low to stimulate demand, but Apple’s success had prompted concern that they may now be too low.

Why, yes. I can see how that – Hunh?

What I’m getting from this, basically, is that now that the music industry has watched digital downloads sell like hotcakes, they figure it means that they’re priced too low.

In other words – the goose is laying golden eggs. There is no sign of the goose ever stopping laying golden eggs. But if we pounce on the goose and kill it now, maybe we can get a whole lot of gold at once and not be pestered with just collecting golden eggs for the rest of our lives.

I say unto this: Feh.

Monday, February 28th, 2005

Zen and the Art of CSS

I imagine a lot of design junkies have found this already, but you really should check out The CSS Zen Garden. The simple concept and website demonstrate the fluidity and ease of use of CSS design in a way that is truly impressive.

It’s nothing new – Thud used to do this on his website. Mac does the same on hers. It’s skinning. But the object itself – a single website that remains unchanged in terms of content while the presentation changes around it, all while discussing the subject of CSS design – makes for a powerful illustrative tool.

Monday, February 28th, 2005

Swear on national television, or massacre orphans in a foreign country? Hm…

RollingStone.com puts the question of the FCC’s obscenity fines into an interesting perspective.

A review of fines levied by other federal agencies suggests that the government may be taking swear words a bit too seriously. If the bill passes the Senate, Bono saying “fucking brilliant” on the air would carry the exact same penalty as illegally testing pesticides on human subjects. And for the price of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl, you could cause the wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home and still have enough money left to create dangerous mishaps at two nuclear reactors. (Actually, you might be able to afford four “nuke malfunctions”: The biggest fine levied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year was only $60,000.)

If Bush has his way, Howard Stern may soon have a tough choice to make: Tell a sex joke on the air, or dump toxic waste in New York’s drinking water while willfully placing an employee at risk of injury or death? No wonder the foul-mouthed host is moving to satellite radio, which falls outside the authority of the FCC.

All right. I’m starting the pool. How long before Bush goes on the air to declare “War on Indecency”? It’s already looking a lot like the war on drugs…

Monday, February 28th, 2005

Pia Zadora was *how* old?

I would be remiss in my duties if I failed to point out that you can now download Santa Claus Conquers the Martians for free at the Internet Archive.

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

And the dishonor goes to…

As I write this, I have the Oscars on the TV. Because, frankly, being an actor and not watching the Oscars is a bit like being a Republican politician and not reading the Wall Street Journal.

But the performance I would have loved to see has to be Halle Berry showing a surprising amount of sportsmanship.

Hoisting her Academy Award in one hand and newly won Razzie in the other, Halle Berry reveled in a career low point. “Omigosh, oh my God,” Berry gasped, feigning excitement. “I never in my life thought that I would be here, winning a Razzie. It’s not like I ever aspired to be here, but thank you.”

Berry was named worst actress Saturday night for 2004’s action bomb “Catwoman,” which also took the prize for worst film at the 25th annual Razzies, an Oscar spoof that trashes Hollywood’s worst.

I respect and admire that. It takes a special person to be willing to show up at an award ceremony where you will be named the worst of the year. And, apparently, Berry is only the second person to show that much class.

Of course, it doesn’t make me want to see Catwoman.

Of more interest to me, however, are the awards given by the Razzies to performers in Fahrenheit 9/11

President Bush won the worst-actor award for his appearance in news and archival footage of Michael Moore’s satiric documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was voted worst supporting-actor for “Fahrenheit 9/11,” while Britney Spears’ fleeting cameo in the documentary brought her the worst supporting-actress award.

Woo! That’s three – count ‘em – three Razzies for the administration!

And not a single one appeared to accept the award.

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

Bond. And this is my day off.

Just this past weekend, I was discussing a certain celebrity (not the one mentioned below) with Thud and the Elf. The topic was whether or not this person would actually be a nice guy in person, or if he would be a little bit of a jerk, and whether it would be better to leave illusions be or to a) find out for sure that he’s a jerk, or b) be pleasantly surprised.

Interesting that a case like this should be reported, then.

According to CNN, Dr. Sultan believes that Sean Connery is not nearly what he expected.

In a $30 million lawsuit, Dr. Burton Sultan accuses the 74-year-old former James Bond star of allowing workers to create a deafening noise, fumes, dripping water and an infestation of rats, not to mention loud music allegedly played at all hours, the UK’s Press Association reports.

...

The newspaper reported that the suit, filed by lawyers Engel & McCarney, describes an alleged incident when Sultan’s daughter knocked on the veteran Scottish actor’s door to ask him to turn the music down.

“Connery himself answered the door in his bathrobe, unkempt and disheveled. Scarcely, or in any event, no longer ‘the sexiest man alive’ portrayed in the tabloids and bearing no resemblance to the superspy who announced himself as ‘Bond—James Bond,’ Connery’s appearance and behavior was that of a rude, foul-mouthed, fat old man,” the newspaper quoted the suit as alleging.

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The actor’s publicist told PA the claims were “ridiculous.”

She confirmed that the property was owned by his son Stephane but insisted Sir Sean lived in the Bahamas.

Now, I have no knowledge of Sean Connery the man beyond what I’ve seen on the silver screen, aside from this – he is, despite what his fans might think, human. I don’t know if he lives in the Bahamas or if he is, in fact, living next door to Dr. Sultan (who has one of the greatest names in the world, by the way – just say it out loud. “Dr. Sultan”) and plays loud music at ungodly hours while demolishing walls.

I am, however, willing to make this assumption. Everybody knows that Connery is not quite as svelte as he was when he was playing Bond. And the people responsible for casting Connery as Bond in the first place cast him because of his “commanding presence, direct speech, and strongly physical, aggressive style.”

And, yes, Sean Connery has aged – as all human beings do.

Rude, I can’t attest to. I am, however, willing to bet that “foul-mouthed” and “old” fit perfectly into what is known about Connery. Fat – that might be a little bit much.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

One large pie with orc sausage…

I guess it was a few years back that somebody, somewhere, died while playing EverQuest because he played it to the exclusion of everything else in his life – including sleep, food, water, and sunlight, not to mention face-to-face interaction with fellow human beings. Since then, Sony has worked hard to prove that they’re doing something to save their all-important gamers (“Please! Without your continued health, we can’t make money off of monthly fees!”) from doing physical harm to themselves due to their love of the game. This has included such attempts as the widely-mocked screen of legalese at the beginning of each game reminding you to take some time to enjoy the sunshine.

And then there are the more… pro-active ideas.

You’re in luck – pizza is just a few key strokes away! While playing EverQuest II just type /pizza and a web browser will launch the online ordering section of pizzahut.com. Fill in your info and just kick back until fresh pizza is delivered straight to your door.

An amazing concept, to be sure. For those who find leaving the world of fantasy to be more painful than leaving behind their family snapshots as their house burns, Sony now offers a way to obtain greasy, no-effort sustenance without having to quit the game.

I say unto this, Huzzah! Huzzah! without the slightest trace of irony! I think we could use more commands in MMOG’s like this. Just imagine.

/generaltso – Immediately orders General Tso’s Chicken and rice (no MSG, naturally) from the nearest cheap Chinese delivery place.

/blockbuster – Automatically returns your DVD’s to Blockbuster for you. Because while they’ve done away with late fees, getting charged a full replacement price is a pain in the neck.

/sleep – Instantly refreshes the user as if he had just obtained eight solid hours of sleep (NOTE: This claim remains untested by the scientific and medical communities, use at your own discretion and only under a doctor’s supervision. No, really. We can’t make you, but please).

/work – Convinces your boss that you did clock in, that you are at your desk, and on the occasional Natural 20 manages to convince your boss that you deserve a raise and two month’s paid vacation.

/wavehi – Contacts your family and loved ones to let them know that you are alive and well and that you care for them deeply, but if they want to talk to you then they had better damn well buy a copy of the game and get their own monthly subscription.

/snark – Produces sarcasm conveniently and quickly.

Friday, February 18th, 2005

We got flicks…

This time around, we’ve got three new flicks up at the ol’ Anvil and Sprocket. First, I bring out the big guns with the Thomas Jane / John Travolta action flick, The Punisher. Then, the Anvil hits hard with sketch comedy film Kentucky Fried Movie. And, finally, I bring things home with musical biopic De-Lovely.

That’s an awful lot of reading. Don’t you think you better get started?

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

Arthur Miller

1915 – 2005

Friday, February 11th, 2005

Chicago is…

I’m heading off to the U/RTA unified auditions in Chicago. We’ll chat when I get back.

Sunday, February 6th, 2005