04/29/2006

Today I was lucky enough to play my first-ever game of Dance Dance Revolution– the dancing craze that’s been sweeping the nation for about two years. Watched by legions of adoring fans in the form of our friends the Francii, as well as a spellbound Laralee, I succeeded in providing untold entertainment.

There are more photos than these, but I think they truly capture the spirit of my performance. Notice my friend Jessica laughing her teenage head off in the last shot.

My shirt, incidentally, is the Yoda shirt with the phrase “Do or do not, there is no try.” I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to dancing, my answer is a solid “do not”.

04/27/2006

Congress continues to be on the forefront of trampling our rights, as another bill was introduced in the Senate that would make it illegal to broadcast streaming MP3 music over the internet. Only Windows Media or Real files (both crappy formats) would be allowed because they support encryption and licensing.

Never mind that internet radio stations who are currently streaming MP3’s are doing so in a completely legal fashion (the RIAA has seen to it that the “pirate” stations have all been shut down). They pay royalties to the appropriate copyright holders before sending the music over the wire. But since it’s possible to record the streaming audio, a couple of brilliant senators think it’s a good idea to lock down the data. Never mind that technically, if it comes out of the speakers, anything can be recorded– no matter the encryption or licensing used. There are tools to do this, and they’re easy to find.

Predictably, there was a rousing discussion of the issue on Slashdot, and I must say the funniest comment was this:

I’m sure glad they solved all the fricking important problems before they decided on going after streaming mp3s, because, really, when I think of all the things going wrong in the world today, streaming fricking mp3s are the absolute bottom of the list.

What I wouldn’t give for someone in Congress to represent the people, instead of just screwing us constantly. I’m waiting for them to just ban listening to music altogether.

Amen.

04/27/2006

Gas is expensive these days. It’s not as expensive as petro in Europe (which is currently running a little more than twice what we pay), but it’s still causing some grumbling.

So, predictably, some U.S. Senators who are up for re-election this fall are coming up with wacky ideas they hope will appeal to voters. Jim Talent of Missouri proposes a $100 tax credit for every American family, and says:

It will show people that Washington gets it, and that it’s time to provide some relief to Americans, to Missourians who are trying to support their families and are paying these very high gasoline prices.

I almost busted a gut when I read “… Washington gets it”. Yeah.

Never mind that $100 per family equates to several billion dollars of money our country can’t afford to spend (budget deficit? what budget deficit?). A hundred bucks is probably one tankful of gas for those people tooling around town in their Tahoe. Wow, that’ll really make an impact!

Senator Talent, here’s a hint: it’s the grossly oversized SUVs trundling along our city streets that are the problem. People who bought an Explursion or whatever and now gripe about dropping a hundred clams to fill their tanks are getting a lesson in reality, and it’s high time. Go buy a little Honda for those half-mile trips to the video store. Or better yet, get a bike.

04/25/2006

“If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon.”

— George Aiken

04/25/2006

Regarding my recent post about the proposed Congressional legislation that would make the DMCA look like a slap on the wrist, I found some statistics to demonstrate how badly this whole copyright infringement issue has been blown out of proportion.

Consider that under the proposed new law, non-commercial distribution of copyrighted material worth more than $2,500 (in other words, all movies and music) carries a maximum federal prison sentence of ten years. That’s 120 months. Now consider the average prison terms for other federal crimes:

  • embezzlement — 7 months
  • bribery — 10 months
  • fraud — 14 months
  • manslaughter — 33 months
  • racketeering and extortion — 72 months
  • sexual abuse — 73 months
  • arson — 87 months

That’s right: you could rape or kill someone and get off lighter than if you’re caught sharing the latest Disney DVD with a friend. Think about that.

04/24/2006

“My fellow Americans… only 32% of you approve of the job I’m doing as President…”

That’s right, kids, Bush has dropped below the one-in-three mark. How much worse can it get?

04/24/2006

“A lot of the reason the iPod exists is because of federal research dollars.”

— George W. Bush

(Umm, what?)

04/24/2006

Lately I’ve been noticing funny photography on web sites. Today is no exception: I noticed this woman on the home page of a site– is it just me, or does she look like she’s heavily tranquilized or something?