Archive for November, 2007

Grumble, grouse, grumble…

Twice in a single day—twice, and it’s not even noon—I have run into people quoting the $200,000 average WGA salary figure, claiming that it’s proof the striking writers are just greedy.

First of all – it’s not about them making as much money as the producers. It’s about the producers turning their content into money without giving them a share. Writers see nothing from online use of their content, and little if anything from their content being put on DVD. All of this based on the idea that the content is worthless to the companies, even as the companies turn around and happily slap a dollar figure on it for the purposes of investor reports and lawsuits against YouTube.

Second, as August J. Pollak points out, if many writers make over a million a year and the average salary is $204,000 annually, then the vast majority of people have to be making well under $200,000 a year for the numbers to add up.

In conclusion. First, let’s not make the strike out to be about being paid the same as management – it’s about being justly compensated for your work. Second, let’s not allow pretty numbers to shut off our actual ability to interpret those numbers, shall we?

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

The Slightly-Late 10

I have now posted the answers for Last Week’s 10. Let’s move on to this week’s, shall we?

  1. “Russian Lullaby,” by Jerry Garcia & Dave Grusman – “Where the lovely Volga flows, there’s a lonely Russian rose”
  2. “Back in the U.S.S.R.” by The Beatles (guessed by Fred) – “Flew in from Miami Beach B.O.A.C.”
  3. “Confessions Part III,” by Weird Al Yankovic – “I killed your goldfish accidentally – just replaced it with another one.”
  4. “Last Train to Clarksville,” by The Monkees – “We’ll have time for coffee-flavored kisses and a bit of conversation.”
  5. “Cuddly Toy,” by Harry Nilsson – “I never told you that I loved no other – you must have dreamed it in your sleep.”
  6. “Fragile Heart,” by Jewel – “But I need to believe that we, at least, will have some dignity.”
  7. “Life Less Ordinary,” by Carbon Leaf – “By the way, I do know why you stayed away – I will keep tongue-tied next time.”
  8. “Right Hand Man,” by Joan Osborne (Guessed by Fred) – “Let me use your toothbrush – have you got a clean shirt?”
  9. “The Golden Vanity,” by Peter, Paul, & Mary (title guessed by Sarah) – “Wi’ his brace and auger in her side, he bored holes three.”
  10. “I Can’t Decide,” by Scissor Sisters – “Oh, I could throw you in the lake or feed you poison birthday cake – I won’t deny I’m gonna miss you when you’re gone.

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Brave Soldiers in the Culture Wars

One quick note before I begin – I never really intended for this to become a video blog, but the YouTube clips are getting a lot of real estate lately. I guess I’m finding it easier to find stories with accompanying video these days.

Now that that’s out of the way – it’s nice to see that however you define indecency, FOX News has you covered. You say that nothing outrages you more than state-sponsored terrorism? That’s the gravest indecency of all? Well, here’s the friendly friends at FOX & Friends advocating the U.S. Government sponsoring terrorism abroad. Hold on, let me check. Nope. That sentence sounds exactly like I intended it to sound. The anchor is actually asking why we can’t fund organizations abroad to commit terrorist acts like (specifically) car bombing.

But who cares about human rights, respect for life, and political and/or diplomatic discussion? That’s all boring. You say that true indecency involves boobs, college girls with webcams, and gays and lesbians? O’Reilly’s got you covered! ThirdLayer already brought you “Fox Attacks! Decency!”, and now the same producers bring you the possibly-not-safe-for-work production, Bill O’Reilly in The O’Sexxxy Factor!

Friday, November 16th, 2007

I’ve been missing my daily dose (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday need not apply)

Thank goodness Not The Daily Show is ready to cover the WGA strike.

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Beat on the Brat

When I saw the following clip on YouTube, the image that popped to mind – oddly enough – was George W. Bush on a stage, surrounded by old men in dark suits, signing a partial-birth abortion ban into law without a single female face in the bunch.

The video’s getting play on CNN, along with a disclaimer that McCain said that he respects Senator Clinton and that he hopes that that is “enough” for the American people. Which would seem like a decent apology except (1) he’s shown in the past that he doesn’t chuckle and aw-shucks his way through an encounter with a supporter when they say something he finds offensive, and (2) he laughs immediately after saying that he hopes his statement of respect is enough, suggesting how much he genuinely cares about the American voter.

What got me was not the question alone, or even McCain chuckling his way through trying to distance himself from the question. It’s the way that the entire room erupted in laughter at the question, “How do we beat the bitch?”

Over at Althouse’s blog, you’ll find this little tidbit, lest we think McCain was simply trying to avoid ticking off a potential voter. McCain has taken his questioners to task before.

“Do the people in Washington – the politicians and the lobbyists and the rich people writing the checks – do they understand the amount of anger the average European Christian, native-born American feels when they see their country turning into a multicultural chaos Tower of Babel?” he said.

...

“I believe the greatest strength of America is the lady who holds her lamp behind the golden door that says send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” he said, referring to the Statue of Liberty. “And I am grateful to live in a nation that has been enriched by people coming to our nation from around the world.

“I will do everything in my power to secure the borders, but I love this nation and I love the people who have come from around the world,” he said to loud applause.

But for a “respected” colleague, only a chuckle, an aw-shucks, and a half-hearted statement of respect?

Beat On The Brat: The Ramones - Weird Tales of the Ramones - Beat On the Brat

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Does this mean I get an automatic Hollywood contract?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

A talking box? How droll!

Warning: What follows is a YouTube heavy entry. I’ve cut the entry after the first video, so if you want to see the rest you can click through to the entire entry.

I admit it. I’m primarily an acoustic guy, even if I do spend a bit of time mixing hip-hop these days. Even so, I love music that rocks, and when I hear a cool sound I want to know how it’s done. I have a couple of electric guitars hanging around, and every now and then this acoustic strummer picks ‘em up and gives ‘em a try.

I was already familiar with Peter Frampton’s talking guitar when I saw him destroy the competition on The Colbert Report, but just last week I wound up buying a digital download of Frampton Comes Alive. The result? I heard a lot of that sound. And I want it.

A quick search on Wikipedia pulled up the fact that it’s actually a very easy effect to buy. Not to throw too many Amazon affiliate links at you, but if you’d care to spend the money you can buy anything from the Banshee Talkbox (Standard) to the Danelectro DTB-1 Free Speech Talk Box at fairly inexpensive prices.

Then because I’ve come to see Wikipedia as more a fun starting point than where I want to end my research, I went to the next completely-open sounding board for absolutely anybody with two circuit boards to rub together – YouTube.

And I found that the talkbox was strong with this one. First of all, here’s modern-day Frampton jamming on the classic talkbox anthem, “Do You Feel Like We Do?” with Ringo Starr on drums.

(more…)

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Adjusting Adjusted Gratuity

I have a lot of friends in Adjusted Gratuity, the hip new internet comedy troupe (along with the other hip new internet comedy troupes – you know the ones) responsible for a few videos I’ve posted to this site. They rock.

Their latest video on MySpace is a bit of a departure for them. They’ve entered into a Fox-sponsored competition to create a pilot – but on short notice, they didn’t have time to create, write, and shoot a comedy. Instead, they pulled a script from one of their members’ pilot file. The result is their first dramatic video.

And here is the result.

Storyteller

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

Pencils Down!

What makes an effective strike? When the work can’t get done.

From the beginning of the WGA strike, one of the things that has been generally understood is that even a strike doesn’t stop writers from writing. No under-the-table deals were expected (and any such will be punished by the WGA if discovered), but it was largely understood that once this strike was done with, there would be a miraculous “appearance” of completed and revised scripts just ready for production.

It’s an understanding that – even if it is essentially honest – can really hurt a strike. After all, if the work is getting done no matter what, it’s just a matter of waiting out the strike and then you’re good to go.

Which makes this move by the WGA a nice addition to the strike. [link via The Artful Writer].

We won’t weaken our own position, or let down our supporters, by doing any writing during a strike. We know that any writing, outlining, even meetings with executives could serve to prolong a strike.

So, just to be absolutely clear: we, the following screenwriters, will do no writing — until all writers get a fair and reasonable deal.

A writer’s strike can halt production for as long as the strike continues.

Writers putting down their pens and turning off their laptops for the duration of the strike can mean consequences beyond the duration of the strike – and the longer the strike continues, the farther the consequences can reach.

That, my friends, is a strike.

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

Code Monkey Likes You – And the Weekly 10

The answers to the last weekly 10 are now posted! Does anybody actually bother to check those?

Here’s this week’s 10. For those who came in late, here’s the deal. I set my mp3 player to shuffle and post 10 lines. If you know the artist and the title, drop it in the comments. Partial credit is awarded for guessing the artist. If the song is heavily covered, credit is given for identifying at least one artist who has performed it or the original artist.

  1. “Incense and Peppermints,” by Strawberry Alarm Clock [guessed by Thud] – “Beatniks and politics – nothing is new.”
  2. “Anyone Can See I Love You,” by Marilyn Monroe – “The way I hold your hand and smile in your direction, tells the world my heart is full of nothing but affection.”
  3. “Time,” by Pink Floyd [guessed by Thud] – “No one told you when to run – you missed the starting gun.”
  4. “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon,” by Queen – “I’ll be back again before it’s time for sunnydown.”
  5. “It’s All Too Much,” by The Beatles – “Floating down the stream of time from life to life with me…”
  6. “Cocaine Blues,” by Johnny Cash – “If you’ve got a warrant, just read it to me.”
  7. “The Ballad of Serenity (Theme From Firefly)” [song guessed by Fred] by Sonny Rhodes – “Burn the land and boil the sea, you can’t take the sky from me.”
  8. “Imagine,” by John Lennon [guessed by Carl] – “I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”
  9. “I’m All Bloody Inside,” by Liam Lynch – “If you want to get to know me, then I suggest you start on the outside.”
  10. “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)” by Peter Frampton – “Don’t stand alone, you might turn to stone – I wish there was a pill for that.”

And for your viewing pleasure – Jonathan Coulton: Unplugged.

Friday, November 9th, 2007