Saturday, June 10, 2006

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hey, Ann Coulter, Did This Little Girl Enjoy Losing Her Mother?

The most expensive TV ad buy of the 2004 presidential campaign was one featuring Ashley Faulkner, who lost her mother in the World Trade Center. She and her father, Lynn, appear in the spot. Here is how Salon described it back in November, 2004, in an article titled "The TV Ad That Put Bush Over the Top":

Ashley appears on camera and says of Bush, "He's the most powerful man in the world, and all he wants to do is make sure I'm safe, that I'm OK." Her father, a self-described Republican, is also shown in the ad. As photos of Bush at ground zero appear, Faulkner says, "What I saw was what I want to see in the heart and soul of the man who sits in the highest elected office in our country."

Clearly, I don't begrudge them the right to speak their minds. This is America, after all... at least for a little while longer. And I would never be so monstrous as to suggest that this little girl and her father
enjoyed or wallowed in their terrible loss, simply because they tried to turn it into something positive. Simply because I disagree with their politics doesn't mean I deny their motives or their humanity.

The fact that Ann Coulter is incapable of understanding that you can disagree with someone yet still consider them a human being is what makes her less of one. And the fact that she ignores every example like this one that disproves her ridiculous "theories" proves she shouldn't be given any more attention. She's a joke, and not a very funny one.

If You Take Grilling Seriously... REALLY Seriously...

...then you'll want to check out the 10 Coolest Grills, including this Hemi-Powered One. I still have to confess I don't know what a "hemi" is, but I do know this is one scary thing to do to a hamburger.

The Rant For Which Bill Maher Should Win a Peabody

Thursday, June 08, 2006

If You Would Like To Know More About That MacBook-Loving Kitten, Her Name is Robot and She's On MySpace

My New Favorite Commercial

Baffled By Baseball

Ordinarily, when intellectual-property-types arch their backs and stiffen their feathers, I sorta understand their reasoning. I usually think they're misguided and not acting in their own best interests, and I always think they're screwing the consumer.

But I usually understand the thought process that went into their actions, even if I disagree with it.

There are even times when I am on the side of the rights-restrictors. I think, frankly, that this Cablevision PVR where the shows are stored on Cablevision's servers sounds suspiciously like the kind of pay-per-view you get in a hotel. Except Cablevision isn't paying anyone. So I see the argument against it. I see the distinction between that and a true PVR like TiVo. So I do have an open mind.

But I gotta admit, I'm going to flip over all the cards and admit that Major League Baseball has stumped me. They are pissed off about the Sling Box, my newest bestest friend, because it lets me watch my TV, TiVo or other video source no matter where in the world I am, via my PC or mobile phone.

Now bear in mind, this isn't copying the description or account of a baseball game without the express written consent of the Commissioner, which I would never do. This is watching a baseball game on my TV. Via remote control. VERY remote.

MLB's stance is that I'm paying for one device but watching the game on two. But that's the thing about the Sling Box. The person watching via Sling Box is holding the remote. His channel-changing and rewinding and so forth takes precedence over anyone who might be in the actual room, so you can't sit in the room and watch, because you'd go nuts.

Besides, MLB, I live alone. So if there's someone watching my TV when I'm not there, we have a larger problem.

So when I Sling, it's just me watching my TV. In another place.

If you want me to pay you again for that, you will pry that money from my cold, lifeless hand.

If I were sitting in the same room as the TV it would be okay, right? If I were in the next room it would be okay? If I were down the hall or in the yard it would be okay?

So the question is, how far from my TV can I get before MLB gets pissed? I'm still one person with one TV.

I guess their answer would be -- and hold on, because this gets weird -- that if my TV is in Los Angeles, and I'm in Detroit, I should be watching Detroit baseball. That by not watching Detroit baseball, I'm stealing money from Detroit broadcasters.

Which is ridiculous, of course.

Even moreso when you remember that if I'm in a hotel with the wrong TV station, I will find that the Detroit game is blacked out, and I will be forced to watch, say, the Braves. (Which, trust me, I ain't watching. I'm not one of those people who watches baseball just for the sake of watching baseball. I don't know anyone who is.)

Also, sometimes I'm not in another city, just in another place. Just commuting, or waiting in a doctor's office, or having lunch, or sitting in Starbucks. Why can't I watch the Yankees or the White Sox or the Dodgers if I can?

Now it gets even stranger, since I have the MLB package on my DirecTV. So the TV in my house has access to all baseball. Whereas the hotels I might stay at do not.

So if no one's in my house, and my expensive programming package is showing a baseball game, by MLB's logic, no one should watch it? Even though the technology exists for me to watch it from wherever I am?

They'd rather I watch no game at all?

And this is from the organization that is supposed to make baseball more popular? See what I mean about not acting in their own best interest?

Seriously, Were These People Born Without the Shame Gene?

"We also talked about [Abu Ghraib] -- the images of cruelty and humiliation. I told His Majesty as plainly as I could that the wrongdoers will be brought to justice, and that the actions of those folks in Iraq do not represent the values of the United States of America."

-- George W. Bush, appearing with King Abdullah of Jordan in the White House Rose Garden, 5/6/04

"This is just a reminder for troops either in Iraq or throughout our military that there are high standards expected of them, and that there are strong rules of engagement."

-- George W. Bush, speaking to reporters about post-Haditha "ethics training" for combat troops, 6/1/06

"WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans 'humiliating and degrading treatment,' according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards."

-- Los Angeles Times, 6/5/06

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Looks Like I'm Not the Only One Who Loves Apple's Front Row

If I Weren't Still Throwing Up From What Ann Coulter Said About the 9/11 Widows, I'd be Vomiting Relentlessly Over This

"Good afternoon, or as John Kerry might say, 'Bonjour.' "

-- the way Tom Delay would begin speeches during the 2004 campaign, after the Republican National Committee issued a factsheet falsely stating John Kerry had French lineage (apparently to link him to the then-unsavory "freedom fries")

"I trust that you know Mr. Delay is French."

-- Tom Delay's spokesoman, explaining why Delay's Texas Republicans farewell dinner was held at Le Paradou, which calls itself "D.C.'s finest contemporary French restaurant." The spokeswoman also explained the seeming hypocrisy of the venue choice by positing that Le Paradou is actually not really a French restaurant, but an American restaurant. See? It's so obvious!

Presumably she then helped herself to some down-home Tartare de Saumon aux Pousses de Coriandre and Oeufs de Caille smothered in rich creamery Brioche de Crème fraîche (just like Ma used to make), licked the Caviar Osciètre off her fingers, and had a little Terrine de Foie Gras aux Abricots off'n Tom's plate.

By the way, wasn't it letting other people pick up his check that got Tom Delay in trouble in the first place?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Expensive, Slow and Crappy

I've been ranting since last year that the new HD DVD and Blu Ray players were a scam to be avoided. Now the first players are out, including the Toshiba, pictured above, featuring the finest in Soviet styling. It is, essentially, a Linux computer with no hard drive. It takes over a minute to boot up every time you want to watch a movie, and apparently crashes all the time.

Now there is a firmware upgrade that they say
should fix some of the problems.

Sit back, relax, enjoy being a beta tester.