Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Even though I have already proven that time travel is pretty much impossible, I will suspend the technical impossibilities just for a moment in order to give some genuine credence to what I would do with one were it somehow invented.

When in the world would I like to go?

When I first pondered the question, my snap judgment answer was "easy...no question...I want to go back to the primordial ooze when life first appeared. Oh yeah, with a bottle of Clorox." I could take care of all the world’s problems with a capful of whiter-than-white. But then, upon further study, it really isn't that simple.

What one event/thing/idea would I like to witness first hand? ONE. That is really tough since I always assumed that if I did have a time machine I would get to see lots of them. There are a bunch of things I would want to settle once and for all.

So I have chosen one thing, but I want to take you through what didn't make the list, and why.

the Kennedy assassination - interesting one. Plunk me down in the book depository and see if Oswald ever shows up and pulls the trigger. I am curious about it, to say the least, but then it occurred to me that maybe that is what happened to Oswald himself? What if there was a great conspiracy to kill the president? I'd be blamed. No thanks.
the birth of Christ - no, wait, that would be a too common. Actually, the *conception* of Christ. See, I don't want to offend anyone here, but I am a little skeptical. I'll just hang around during the suspected time frame and make sure nothing...ummm....non-divine occurs. If everything I've heard is true, no harm done.
the Jurassic period - dinosaurs! Yeah, how cool....seeing actual, live, reptilian beasts. But the problem with that is that I have already seen too many movies and TV shows featuring them. No one really knows what they looked or sounded like, and for all we know they were yellow and mauve with feathers and went "quack." Too devastating.
Roswell, New Mexico - when the flying saucer weather balloon crashed. I don't care enough whichever it actually was; I want a piece of the wreckage. Rather petty in the grand scheme of things, though.
(Then there was the time with that girl when....oh, never mind)

So having discounted all of these, what would I most like to see?

Easy. Too easy. I want to see the planet Mars 2 billion years ago, when it was possibly green, certainly blue (with water), and had at the very least, a planet-wide cold (living micro-organisms). Why? Well, lets just say that I need to know that life existed somewhere else in the solar system before I can completely write off Earth as another failed experiment. It would help me sleep better knowing that I reside on yet another curious iteration of a constant attempt to get things right...not as the Almighty’s one and only shot at perfection.

As for the future, that's easy. I would go forward to the point where a real-life Holodeck existed. I would proceed to die of starvation and sexual exhaustion within a couple weeks, but with a smile that is 20 miles wide.

What could be better?
:::::posted by erratic :: 09-something PM EST linky

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Sometimes you want loony people. Other times just a Little Bastard.

Either way, I am happy to oblige.
:::::posted by erratic :: 05-something PM EST linky

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You've read about the court drama.

You've heard the arguments on both sides.
People were joking about this sort of thing in the past.

I think it's pretty clear that Bill hasn't been slacking off over the past few years though. Look at the timing: accident? Hardly.

The court case begins to go Microsoft's way...so I think Mr. Gates wants to make sure he nudges the appeals court just a little bit.

Microsoft is now a nuclear power. It's the only possible explanation. Earthquake? R-i-g-h-t... that was a test. Billions of research dollars are funneled into mysterious R&D programs that have weird names like "Whistler" and "Blackcomb." I don't know about you, but they sound a lot like "Fat Man" or "Little Boy" to me.

So why won't they admit to it? Well, didn't anyone see View to a Kill?

Alwin, if I were you I'd be looking out for a white Zoran blimp.

:::::posted by erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Zooming down the highway, making great time...not a care in the world.

Suddenly:

>click<

Uh oh...what was that?

Why, a traffic camera, silly. It got you... speeding... dammmit... except you are out in mom and dads car and what do you do now you told them you'd be careful and you weren't supposed to go so far away from home and you are gonna get in big trouble and you have that date this weekend and now what can you do without a car cos you know they are going to take it away and and and....

OK..now...calm down a second. If they can't find the camera, you can't get in trouble. (grabs camera)

*Whew* that was close.

Now, all I have to do is ditch this thing...into the water should do....

Man oh man...close call. Ummmm, you remembered to pull the film out of the camera first, right?

:::::posted by erratic :: 07-something PM EST linky

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They're Pinky and the Brain
Yes, Pinky and the Brain
One is a genius, the other's insane
They're laboratory mice
Their genes have been spliced
They're dinky
They're Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain

Before you know it, we're going to have a new ruler of earth. This is how it starts...

(thanks, Bill)

:::::posted by erratic :: 02-something PM EST linky

Monday, February 26, 2001

Smoking Costs Military Over $130 Million a Year

That's nice, but a little tricky to calculate, no? Not to mention that the military budget in the United States is roughly $290 billion. That means that .045% of the military spending in this country is shamelessly squandered on smoking related expenses. My god, the waste!

Let's call that roughly $20/year to you or me...for comparison's sake.

I wonder how much, ohhh...say, bullets cost the military in "extra training"? All those projectiles whizzing about must cause the occasional "early withdrawal" too, no?

What about Cordite smoke, or diesel exhaust, or plutonium dust from the testing grounds? What about people prone to headaches? Do drill instructors cost extra training dollars by causing dropouts?

What about stupidity? No one ever does cost analysis on that. I'm sure the numbers are appalling, too.

Regardless, it's an interesting statistic. I know what will be coming next, though, once the anti-smoking brigade gets their mitts on this little tidbit of information. Can't you hear the cries? "BAN SMOKING IN THE MILITARY.” Personally, I can't wait.

Imagine for just one moment what the trained-killer Marine does when you put him through boot camp, hand him a rifle, and take away his smokes. The withdrawal is pretty rough...I know. I'm thinking that he will be less than pleased, and unless Emily Post is now a military consultant, he won't be shy with expressing himself.

The military exists to shoot people and burn things. That's what it does best. They have guns. Lots of guns. They know how to use them. They practice all the time. If there was ever a group of "militant" smokers, this is it.

Leave them alone. Seriously. It's a matter of health. Not the smoker's health, either.
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

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It's late on a Sunday night.

I have read articles on the psychology of Sunday nights. Regret, worry, doubt, fear: they all have a heightened ability to invade a weekend-weary mind, which is simply trying to relax enough to rest in preparation for the coming week.

There is a pattern I perpetuate, fairly often, although I cannot tell when it will happen or why. I become lousy at self preservation...well, in the maintenance department, anyway. This translates into poor sleep habits and worse eating ones.

So, when I enter a cycle of "food is for the weak, sleep is for the dead", it typically begins with an abundance of energy that has no outlet. The excess may manifest itself in any number of incarnations, but other than the inability to sleep with a genuine lack of hunger, it is never too consistent, and generally not distressing to live with.

When I start to snap out of one of these phases, however, it is not so obvious. I will have already lapsed into taking the extra time, and all that can be accomplished with it, for granted. So rather than heed the internal cries for attention, I supress my instincts and continue to plod along, running on as little as possible.

I start to wear down...bitter, depressed, and not entirely sure what is behind it all. I lose my temper, I become dismissive, I cannot concentrate. After all attempts to shake the funk loose, I give in, and eat a meal. Once the actual nutrition begins to course through my system, I begin to feel better. My mood lifts. I can think. I am calmer. I will sleep later that night. I am amazed that this actually works. Every time. But it does, and by the time the next cycle repeats, I will once again be just as amazed that it works.

The point? Nothing really. It's late on a Sunday night. Regret, worry, doubt, fear: they all have a heightened ability to invade my weekend-weary mind.

I will feel better again in the morning, but right at this moment, I don't believe it.

At least I will start the week off, once again, amazed.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 02-something AM EST linky

Saturday, February 24, 2001

Well, it's the weekend, and you know what that means:

No schoolbusses screwing up traffic, the opportunity to actually see the mailman, and the Week in review for 2-23-2001

:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

Friday, February 23, 2001

I don't always sleep so well. I have mentioned this before.

At least there are interests that can keep me occupied during the long, sleepless nights.

Infomercials, of course.

Fascinating little pieces of infotainment. You learn a lot about the care and feeding of the latest silly thing to the unwashed, insomniatic masses.

There are rules to these things.

First of all, get a guy with a bad British accent. Don't ask why, it just sounds cool. People in the new world like British accents, and have no real ear for it, so bad is cheaper than legitimate. As a bonus, this accent instinctively talks down at you, so you are required to do what it tells you. Not listen to him? What, are you stupid?

Second, get a very windy woman who is orgasmically happy that the latest savior of mankind, the Potato-matic-super-rama-peeler-athon, exists. Have her squeal with delight every time the arrogant accent states the name of the item for sale.

Now that the cast is done, some important marketing tips:

It's not a gadget. It's not a thing or an item. It is a machine. It doesn't matter if you are selling a single knitting needle. Call it a machine. This is highly important, because machine sounds like it does something other than take your money, and while a gadget costs $3.95, a machine costs $60.

If there are two pieces to it, say, a pair of knitting needles, it's a system. Systems cost three times what machines cost.

Don't ever sell anything for what it costs. It's not $600.00. It's 300 easy payments of two bucks. People don't do math well late at night, and using this little loophole, you can easily ask if acquiring the machine (or system) wouldn't be worth a measly two bucks?

Oh sure, you'll screw them on it later, but hey, it's business, and it's late.

The audience is tough. You want people with the intelligence of carrots, but clean, and well dressed. The difficulty here is that people with the appropriate level of intelligence usually can't clean and/or dress themselves. So the best source of people for an audience are the former casts of Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. They look good enough, and need the money. Oh yeah, pay the audience.

Lastly, throw a second "thing" in at the last possible moment, for 1/10th the price. Add some cleanser that didn't sell well from the last infomercial, then add a recipe book. Ignore what you are actually selling, because people like crap...lots of it. If quality were an issue they wouldn't be watching.

Oh yeah, for the tough sell, warn the viewer that they must call in the next 8 minutes to get an added bonus. Pretend that it is actually possible to monitor where the commercial airs and when, and that the viewers believe this. They will call before the eight minutes is up, even though they know it is a load of bullshit. Infomercial people don't really know why this is, but then again, they are all busy on their yachts this weekend anyway.

Of course, I just write about the stupidity...and, for free.

I think I'm in the wrong business.

But, if you come back within the next 8 minutes...I'll throw in a bottle of shampoo. No extra charge. Act now, operators are standing by.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 08-something PM EST linky

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In case you missed it.....mrrrrrrowl ;-)
:::::posted by erratic :: 07-something PM EST linky

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Another happy hit:

take two aspirin and call me in the morning
:::::posted by erratic :: 03-something AM EST linky

Thursday, February 22, 2001

Last time I got a haircut, I did something uncharacteristic of me. I bought a bottle of the conditioner-type-stuff that they use at the salon.

Usually I leave, amazed at how something so stupid expensive can make my hair actually behave. Well, that and an hour of attention from a couple of different professionals. Anyway...

Feeling giddy, or something, I decided to get a bottle of this stuff. Nine bucks. Nine ounces. A decent scotch is cheaper.

Regardless, it is pretty nice stuff. Unfortunately, my morning rituals all come into a level of examination that they never have before. See, this conditioner has peppermint oil in it. And menthol. It feels pretty nice, albeit a little...overpowering.

My shaving cream also has menthol in it. Slap that on, drag a triple-bladed razor across your skin repetedly, then apply an alcohol based cologne. Ouch.

It was 18 degrees when I left the house this morning. How...refreshing

Finish it all off with a menthol cigarette.

I feel like a lit match today.

If you listen closely you can hear me sizzle. Ow.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 10-something AM EST linky

Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Domain name weirdness:

SuckMyLeftNut.com is taken.
SuckMyRightNut.com is not.

Why is that?
:::::posted by erratic :: 08-something PM EST linky

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Money, Love of Game, Ego, Motivated U.S. Spy Suspect

"A big ego, money and a childhood fascination with British double agent Kim Philby may have driven spy suspect Robert Hanssen to risk everything and give U.S. secrets to Russia..."

Excuse me? may have driven???

Well, yeah, sure, but sexual fantasies involving moon-pies may have driven the crafty Mr. Hanssen to spy for the Russians. What kind of news is this, exactly?

Some other gems:

"To the outside world, Hanssen, 56, gave the appearance of living the normal life..."
"He gave no outward signs of..."

Yeah, well, let's see now. He was a SPY. FOR FIFTEEN YEARS. How many freewheeling, obvious spies manage to string together a career over a decade and a half avoiding detection?

Why can't they leave these stories alone until some actual new information surfaces?

Oh, wait, this just in...

"I may have been motivated by a sense of frustration with pointless speculation and obvious conclusions masquerading as journalism."

Story at 11.
:::::posted by erratic :: 08-something PM EST linky

Tuesday, February 20, 2001

It's the absolute best, most amazing, greatest, happiest, incredible, wonderful news...

Just go already.
:::::posted by erratic :: 03-something PM EST linky

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Due to the great consternation caused by the revelation of my act of procreation, I accept my obligation to give an explanation to the population for my act of copulation. I gave in to temptation, for the anticipation of sexual gratification, that I could not obtain through masturbation, resulted in my fornication.

I accepted her invitation, and provided her with excitation, stimulation, penetration, replication, and liberation. She provided lubrication to avoid inflammation) and I wore condoms to avoid contamination. She cried for duplication but I insisted upon termination, in spite her fascination with variation.

This has caused me great aggravation, and the agitation and provocation of the media has resulted in my humiliation, denigration, and degradation. My wife is considering castration, which would require my hospitalization.

Pray that this matter will find culmination in my sanctification and rehabilitation so that my plans for nomination to my ultimate vocation will not result in revocation and termination.

I hope this proclamation has provided illumination and verification and will prohibit further provocation.

Sincerely,

The Rev. Jesse Jackson

(I extend my appreciation to the hot blonde womanation who relayed this communication via electronic methodation *wink*)
:::::posted by erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

Monday, February 19, 2001

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft was busily playing damage control this weekend when an internal corporate mix-up involving the delivery of parts for the new Stinger phone system and Stinger Missile system were misdirected.

The byzantine corporation known as Microsoft has groups dedicated to a wide variety of both commercial and military projects: from cell phones to heat seeking missile guidance systems. Through either poor planning or mere coincidence, thrusters and warhead detonators were accidentally sent to the Stinger Project group, an internal development name for the next generation cellular telephone system, while Digital Signal Processor chips and DTMF generation circuits were sent to the Stinger Missile revision group, a team working on updating the software for the heat seeking missiles.

While the cellular phone group caught the mistake during beta testing, the missile group had already installed flawed product in the field.

"I knew something was amiss when I tried to call my sister in Detroit", said one employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "I entered in her phone number, hit send, and before I could put the device to my ear, it flew out of my hand, through the ceiling, and struck the wing of a passing 757 undergoing a test flight from Boeing.

The plane safely made an emergency landing. Boeing officials declined comment.

In the mean time, Wanda Forsythe received the strangest wrong number of her life.

"Apparently, the coordinates of an Iraqi tank happened to coincide with her phone number", the Apache helicopter pilot was quoted as saying. I achieved signal lock, hit the fire button, and heard an old woman saying "Hello?"

A second helicopter eliminated the tank with machine guns, and all aircraft equipped with the missiles were taken out of service pending an investigation.

Wanda's only comment was "I heard a loud hum and a lot of swearing. I didn't know what was going on."

All requests for an interview with Microsoft officials have been declined.
:::::posted by erratic :: 07-something PM EST linky

Sunday, February 18, 2001

OK, just under the wire but worth the wait, it's the Week In Review for 2-16-2001

Don't hold it against me, it's only the news...the Week In Review
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something PM EST linky

Saturday, February 17, 2001

OK, so the Week in Review is still in...umm...review and will be posted a little later...but it's coming, I promise.

In the mean time, if you know of any bloggers who can't find their own ass without a map, here's the map.

If you can find your own ass without a map, you can see if someone else has mapped your ass for you...

Link via Unxmaal
:::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

Friday, February 16, 2001

erratic's eighth axiom of driver courtesy: do NOT expect to be "let in", well, by me anyway, when there is a long line of cars, whether fast moving or stop-and-go. It's a simple notion, really. I drive as if I were actually trying to get somewhere. I don't do stupid things, and I don't tolerate them, either.

If you were really the sort of driver that I wouldn't mind being stuck behind for miles and miles, mute witness (well, ok, not mute by any measure, but the one person who counts in this case can't hear me) to the idiotic things that you are capable of doing, you wouldn't need to depend on the kindness of strangers to get into traffic. You would just go, and be damn sure that you were up to speed before I got too close, because I am extraordinarily reticent with the brakes when cut in front of.

But, if you want nice, look elsewhere. It's just easier that way. I won't be happy with you in front of me, and you won't be happy with my wild gesticulations 6 inches off your stern.

Oh yeah, you're number one, too.
:::::posted by
erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

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Brief moment of terror: I loaded up my browser, and the headlines had me checking to see if it had suddenly become 1991 again...
:::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

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My, oh my...

I was chatting with Kaycee for a bit last night, and she wanted some pointers on, as she put it, a more "erratic" sense of humor....

Or, in her case, "erratic-ess".

I gave her a few tips. But I never knew she would put them to practice so soon...

Good job, Tigger....I am so pleased *mg*
:::::posted by erratic :: 01-something PM EST linky

Thursday, February 15, 2001

If there was ever a list I wanted to be on the top of, THIS is most assuredly the one.
:::::posted by erratic :: 08-something PM EST linky

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Mental Meandering

The icy finger of reality pointed out the other side of the 80's music phenomenon of which I spoke yesterday.

This time, though, hearing the words only made me cringe. I don't like to admit I listened to this drek the first time, never mind again today.

L'Trimm - Cars with the Boom

Tigra and Bunny, the Brooklyn princesses that they are...rap about the 'cawws dat go boom'.

Yes, there are lyrics, but you could probably guess them...and they'd be better if you guessed wrong. There is an mp3 too but god help me I can't bear to post it.

Good lord what were we thinking?

.....

If god had meant for us to feel pain then drugs wouldn't work.

.....

For sale: one conscience, hardly used.

.....

There are timetables and there are times tables, and I want to know why one can't be used to figure out the other.

.....

I never mind falling, but the sudden stops at the bottom do suck pretty bad.

.....

If you had a short enough attention span (say, 1/10 of a second), you could actually pay almost total attention to more than one thing simultaneously. I have been strenuously attempting to master such an ability, but apparently there is a lot farther to go. For now I am just flighty.

.....

Does anyone remember the theme song to the cartoon version of "Godzilla"?

'Up from the depths, 30 stories high...'

The Los Angeles class submarine is 360 feet long...or roughly 30 stories. One of them hit a Japanese boat when it did an emergency ascent. Have you ever seen footage of that? It comes up out of the water on it's end...like a cork popping up from the depths.

So, am I the only one who thinks of that song whenever the sub story comes on the news?

.....

They say that you are what you eat. Why, then, after all the Häagen Dazs I've consumed, am I not rich?

.....

Wouldn't it be cool to have the ability to control our lungs independently of one another? I could smoke only using one of them and the other would be the good one.

.....

It's not that I'm not helping...it's that I'm not helping *you*

:::::posted by
erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Love is, at best, a difficult subject to tackle. Today it is nearly impossible. So rather than spewing some windy rant about the hollowness of a holiday, life in the world, or the insanity of emotion colliding headlong into reason, I will simply talk about struggle. Within or without is irrelevant, since love of any kind (including of one's self) frequently retains the representative services of struggle in the court of reality.

You can look at the menu but you just can't eat
You can feel the cushions but you can't have a seat
You can dip your foot in the pool
   but you can't have a swim
You can feel the punishment
   but you can't commit the sin

I really wanted to ignore today.

As in, give *no* credence to this Hallmark Holiday that has been carefully crafted to extort those who are in love, and make those who are not feel small.

I don't get personal in this space very often, and that isn't going to change any time soon. But there are times when the mental turns of the circus that is my life bleed into a place that is decidedly more personal than not. For balance, I skip most of the details. Heh.

Sound takes root in such a primal place in my brain that I often times catch myself being absorbed by music's tonal and rhythmic qualities and completely miss the lyric. Growing up during the "euro pop and wailing metal ballad"-laden 80's (what did he just sing?) didn't help that, either.

From the benefit of time elapsed, or perhaps caught in the proper, fleeting mood, I heard a song from 1986 this morning that perfectly captures today for me...a song I have heard hundreds of times before but never actually listened to.

You can build a mansion but you just can't live in it
You're the fastest runner but you're not allowed to win
Some break the rules, and live to count the cost
The insecurity is the thing that won't get lost

The only common thread to all of the failures in my life is me, and it's pretty easy to start taking that to heart. It's far easier to take credit for what's wrong than what's right, too, although I am trying to change that.

You can see the summit but you can't reach it
It's the last piece of the puzzle
   but you just can't make it fit
Doctor says you're cured but you still feel the pain
Aspirations in the clouds
   but your hopes go down the drain
And you want her and she wants you
We want everyone
And you want her and she wants you
No one, no one, no one ever is to blame

I have a tough time looking at the world as a journey instead of a vector to an end state. The initial wistfulness of the lyrics that I finally comprehended this morning, turned...turned into an advisory of that very notion: sometimes you should sit back and surf the currents instead of paddling against the storm...or, at the very least, stop blaming yourself for the storm.

I am not sure that I will ever be able to successfully pull off either one, but it is a great song.

And for reasons that defy explanation, it just screams to me: Valentine's Day, 2001.

So whether your own struggle is with something or someone, today might be a good time to try and let the currents flow...around you and through you, and simply surf along for the ride. It may not take you where you want to go, or it may take you there via a different route, but in either case you'll arrive with more energy, and just might have paid more attention to the scenery along the way.

Or, at least, that is what holds me complacent for today. I'm sure I'll get over it ;-)

No one is to blame - Howard Jones (mp3 3.8mb)
:::::posted by erratic :: 01-something PM EST linky

Monday, February 12, 2001

RIAA Sues Hearing, Remembering, and Singing for $80 Billion

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed suit yesterday against humankind's sense of hearing, memory, and singing ability for copyright infringement. The suit, filed in US District Court, Northern District of California, has been long threatened by the RIAA who feel these capabilities facilitate the growth of a black market for illegal copies of protected music.

"We love the idea of hearing a song and singing it again, which may help build artist communities, but that's not what re-singing is all about," said Cary Sherman, senior executive vice president and general counsel of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). "These illegal reproductions of copywritten material is only about facilitating piracy, and trying to bilk artists and copyright owners out of millions in legitimate royalties."

In its suit, the RIAA is seeking damages of $100,000 for each copyright-protected song that has been sung and heard to date. With over 800,000 songs known to be illegally reproduced in the bathtubs, back yards and elevators of our nation, that brings the suit to a surrealistic 80 billion dollars.

Most people seemed caught off guard by the suit. "This came as a surprise; we've been spending so much time trying to enjoy ourselves that we never stopped to consider the ramifications of our actions", claimed a rollerblader singing 'Enter Sandman' by Metallica.

"Oh dude, Lars is gonna be pissed at me."

Humankind argued that music is specifically meant to be listened to. The fact that some may then remember what they heard and later reenact it with their own voices only serves to broaden the exposure of existing artists regardless of their popularity. The RIAA disagrees.

"Regardless of the excuses these criminals have used to justify their illegal actions, use of their so called 'ears' is nothing more than a front for facilitation of illegal reproduction of artists material without giving the original creator of the content their due," said Sherman.

But the point of the RIAA's lawsuit is less about damages and more about control. Funded by the major music labels, the RIAA has very deep pockets. Individual people, on the other hand, have to count their clock-punching pennies. Any form of litigation not only sucks up money, but distracts them from normal life. A win in the courts by Humankind could be phyrric if the case drags on long enough.

That's why litigation, even just fear of litigation, becomes an effective tool in regulating people. It is an effective technique for established organizations who may have been caught flat-footed by behavioral changes and now must play catch up. The music industry is certainly not the only industry to use this tool, in fact, in the world of corporate hegemony this is business as usual.

"I'm this tiny person caught between two a rock and a hard place: my love of music and the music industry," an amateur singer, who wished to remain nameless, said. She then expressed her desire to settle the matter. "I look forward to working with the RIAA to create laws for the good of both artists and music lovers."

Even if the RIAA's suit is successful, shooting the messenger doesn't necessarily solve the problem. Listening to and singing music has become a huge grass roots effort, comprised of children, teenagers and adults acting in the privacy their own homes. If too many people see the RIAA as a bloated, greedy bureacracy doing the record companies dirty work, this tactic could surely backfire.

:::::posted by erratic :: 03-something PM EST linky

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Sometimes I get search engine hits that are a little disturbing. Sometimes they are curious. I don't know that I have ever gotten a hit before that I so thoroughly approve of:

Corporate Psychopaths

Whoever searched on this, THANK YOU. I am going to be smiling for the rest of the day.
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something AM EST linky

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The real question isn't what the company trying to sell this was thinking, but rather, how can they still call it a "soft drink"???
:::::posted by erratic :: 10-something AM EST linky

Sunday, February 11, 2001


*sigh*


:::::posted by erratic :: 02-something PM EST linky

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"First Look at Human Genome Shows How Little There Is"

This just in...the gene pool *is* shallow...how beautiful!

Ever since I was old enough (or young enough, depending on your point of view) to make some reasonable observations about life, the universe, and everything, I remember the moment of "ah-ha!" when I realized that the correlations of things on the micro and macro levels were far more similar than it seemed was pointed out at the time. For me it was chemistry and astronomy that created the link, and started me out on a lifelong love of recreational physics.

No, that's not a typo...physics for fun. I'm not a masochist, though; I stick to the theoretical literature of such giants as Hawking, as he mercifully stays away from the math. I never really enjoyed calculus much. But I digress.

When we studied the atom in school, I noticed almost immediately how similar it was to the solar system. The electrons whirled around the nucleus much the same way the planets moved around the sun. At least, it seemed that way until the study of valences versus orbits and that the forces at work were rather different, as in electric charge and gravity, yet it is still uncanny that these two things, one too large to honestly imagine, and the other too small to honestly imagine, behave closely enough to one another. I subscribe to the notion that most systems we look at that are big simply amplify the effect of what is small.

It makes sense to me.

So when I fire up the computer this morning and hear about the "startling" news that the abacus that delineates people from one another is half the previously estimated size, I can only snicker at the disbelief, denial, and controversy.

I know the genetic powers that be will be fighting over this one for years, but it does drive home a very important point...the results were supposed to reflect what was previously hoped, not what was actually discovered: that people really are far more complex than anything else in nature, and science can prove it.

Instead, we are looking at a genetic code twice the size of an earthworm.

There are plenty of places to look for the glory of our species. The scientific and technological feats of those pioneers forging ahead at the fringes of society do manage some pretty amazing feats, and yet the majority of our species ruminates, oblivious to the fact. I feel that the billions of dollars and millions of hours spent on decoding the genome was supposed to show that there was so much untapped potential within our molecules that with a little tinkering we could all be super-human beings...at least, potentially. While that certainly has not been ruled out, the results are indicating that we were never so far above the rest of nature as we claimed...which had allowed us to dominate it without too much guilt.

We're cavemen who have traded pelts and clubs for rayon and cell phones. And we are made up of the same stuff as every other living thing, and far less extra than was previously thought. I, for one, am relieved.

For every human who discovers penicillin or models the solar system or cures small pox there are at least a thousand who believe professional wrestling is a sport or that Jerry Springer exposes real issues for our benefit or electrocute themselves by peeing on the third rail. In short, the macro view of society illustrates that the "unwashed masses" typify the most likely result of the human building blocks, not the "one-percenters" who manage to break free from the bonds of a Homer Simpson-esque waltz through life, only grasping the most basic components of how not to die before making more of themselves.

I believe that the scientists who are convinced that this view is wrong will spend years trying to prove so, so they can sleep better at night, secure in the fact that the vast majority of people who have the IQ of a house plant are the anomalies.

At least it will make for an interesting battle.

Ultimately, the genome project will not reflect the nature of society's elite, but the behavior of an angry mob that burns down it's own city after winning a championship sporting event. That is what we are mostly made of. That is what is so hard to swallow.

That is what the macro view illustrates, and I am willing to bet on the fact that the micro view will not prove me wrong.

:::::posted by erratic :: 01-something PM EST linky

Saturday, February 10, 2001

Would you look at that, it's time again for another Week in Review.

Cheaper than drugs but just as addictive, you'll never get a hangover from the Week in Review for 2-9-2001.
:::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

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If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

You gotta admire the guy's persistence...although perhaps after the second or third try he might have chosen a different bridge...

......

Always look before you....leak?
:::::posted by erratic :: 03-something PM EST linky

Thursday, February 8, 2001

I can't read Russian. However I am 99% sure there isn't anywhere Aeroflot goes that would interest me.

Yet, I want to fly somewhere with them now. If for no other reason than to take out a damn cigarette 4 1/2 hours into a flight and enjoy it.

Air rage is on the rise, and while I am a wholly well behaved passenger, my inner seething needs little more than nicotine deprivation punctuated with a cheerful "we apologize for the 4 hour delay." When I fly somewhere six hours away, I have carefully and dutifully consumed six hours worth of smoking in the last minutes before boarding. If you screw with my preparations, understand that I will not be terribly pleased.

So what do you think...New York to Chicago via Moscow?
:::::posted by erratic :: 12-something AM EST linky

Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Now that Timothy McVeigh's execution date has been set, it seems there is a line of people out the building hoping to watch. The anti-death penalty brigade seems quieter than usual on this one, too.

I love watching extreme cases confound conscientious objectors.

Not that I think there won't be any protestors; I am convinced that there will be. Press coverage like what will surround the McVeigh sentence being carried out doesn't come along terribly often.

Actually, the people who picket capitol punishment on this one are about the only ones I will take seriously. I have heard discussions in the corridors at work that sound a lot like "I really don't believe in the death penalty usually, but for this guy..." I have a hard time swallowing that. Beliefs are only useful when tested.

A lot of animal rights activists will protest the use of bunnies in testing eye makeup and seal clubbing in the quest for an unscarred pelt, yet fall silent when it comes to testing the latest MS medication on a rat, or performing genetic experiments on fruit flies. Does their warm and fuzzy outrage only applies to those cases of clear excess in the particular application of a technology or industry? If so, why should the behavioral changes expected from this outrage be painted with the broadest brush? In other words, save the cute things because they are cute, and while you are at it perhaps leave the icky and inconsequential things alone too, if it's not too much trouble. The protestations of those looking to change the world are less about inducing change and more about feeling good about themselves for "repenting."

I want to see picketers protesting the use of Raid on roaches before I put much stock in them.

Extreme cases make for bad law, as the saying supposedly goes, and it is likely quite difficult for the most ardent supporter of "turn the other cheek" to feel too sympathetic toward a man who would bomb a preschool. I imagine that many who previously counted themselves in the "against" column are going to be rethinking their position come this May.

This is all conjecture on my part, however, as I am not such a sympathizer. I say fry the bastard, but use an electric chair with dirty contacts that requires flipping the switch a few times before the circuit is completed. Or better still, place him in the center of the ground floor of a building that will be imploded...I think if there was ever a case for equal payback this would be the one.

Capitol punishment is not a binary issue, and yet, in our society (yes, a binary one), it is treated as such. So many issues that are considered "hot button" topics: abortion, drugs, capitol punishment, pollution, medical testing...are each viewed as a toggle switch decision and whether "on" or "off" is the appropriate position. I view this approach as hopelessly superficial, and indicative of a lack of commitment or desire to look beyond the simple cases at the fringe of an issue and demand the switch to be flipped. Should a person eat always or never?

I support capitol punishment. It is my personal view, and I will gladly debate anyone on the issue who does not start giving me case histories on this person or that person who was on death row and pardoned or wrongfully put to death for something they did not do. Your argument is with the application of the punishment, not the punishment itself. I once saw a purple house with green shutters and yet I do not feel the urge to ban purple paint.

It is not a deterrent. I understand that. If there was any indication that the death penalty does not deter capitol crime, look at Texas. A state that is putting down thirty or forty murderers each year, year over year, surely hasn't stopped the crimes from being committed. And no, killing the killer doesn't bring the victim back.

Sometimes vengeance *is* just, but it's more than that. I don't want to see someone fall asleep for the last time simply to say they got their 'just desserts'. It's far more personal than that...and selfish. I need to understand that anyone who would take another life, primarily mine, knows precisely what they are getting into. Is my life more important than theirs? Yes, it is: TO ME. If someone is going to take it upon themselves to confiscate mine without permission, they are DAMN well going to ante up theirs before playing out their hand in court.

You are welcome to disagree with me, but you had better be protesting what is set to happen on May 16th. You had better be demanding clemency for the next Pol Pot, Adolph Hitler, or Joseph Stalin. I am not going to discuss saving the bunnies...but if you want to save the rats and leeches and ticks, then I'm all ears.

:::::posted by erratic :: 04-something PM EST linky

Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Do the world a favor.

Life has become so unpredictable lately; it's really gotten out of hand. Things that no one expected can happen, do. Every day. This isn't really fair now, is it?

Everyone in the world is entitled to know precisely what they are in for day in and day out their entire lives. Violence, accidents, medical crises, natural disasters...they are all making life unexpected and frankly, in a fearful and litigious society such as ours, this is unacceptable.

I have the answer:

The Human Disclaimer.

Print out the following label, one for each person you think you may see tomorrow, and stick one on them. Thus, properly labeled, everyone should have a better understanding of just what they are in for.

WARNING: Contents highly volatile. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight. Keep away from children, automobiles, guns, drugs, sex, religion, and communism. Use only as directed. Apply liberally to affected area. For external use only. Intentionally concentrating and inhaling contents may be harmful or fatal. Federal law prohibits use of this product inconsistent with its labeling. Some settling of contents may have occurred during shipping. Aim away from face. Do not dispose of in fire. Recycling of this container is supported in communities nationwide. If ingested, do not induce vomiting. Use only with adult supervision. Your results may vary. Prices may be higher in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Side effects include nausea, dizziness, headache, and fatigue. The manufacturer shall not be liable for any incidental or consequential damages caused by the breach of any express or implied warranty, except to the extent prohibited by applicable law. Do not use past expiration date. Offer only valid in the continental United States and portions of Peru.

Kinda spells it all out up front, no? You'll thank me for this later.

:::::posted by
erratic :: 09-something PM EST linky

Monday, February 5, 2001

I'm not sure this is going to convince me to run out and give blood, but it SURE has made me think twice about shaving...
:::::posted by erratic :: 02-something PM EST linky

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I think I am up for a job change... at least, I know that I am already qualified for this...

Actually, I might be able to make it a career...
:::::posted by erratic :: 11-something AM EST linky

Saturday, February 3, 2001

OK, everyone can relax now...it's time yet again for another Week In Review.

Better than conflicting groundhogs fighting to the death to determine the true start of spring...it's the Week In Review for 2-2-2001
:::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

Friday, February 2, 2001

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. That means six more weeks of winter.

Staten Island Chuck did NOT see his shadow. That means an early spring.

I live about midway between the two of these meteorological rodents.

I am sick of winter.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go to Pennsylvania to kill the little bastard.

I'm too cold for any more of this crap.

Happy Groundhog's Day.
:::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky

Thursday, February 1, 2001

The dumbing down of America continues.

Good news! For those of you who always thought that prunes were a sensible and nutritious food but were afraid of the...err..."medicinal" effects of ingesting the dehydrated treat, well, are YOU in luck...because now you can gain the same health benefits from dried plums.

That's right! Dried Plums! Forgo all the nasty pruniness of the snack food of the last hundred years...and get with the modern times.

OK, so people won't eat prunes because of the image that they have had ingrained regarding prunes. I understand that. But this begs a couple of hard questions about Americans and their eating habits.

Why does the FDA need to approve calling dried plums Dried Plums? Is this the sort of guardianship that our hard earned tax dollars has earned us? Why are dried peaches called Dried Peaches? Shouldn't they be called pêches? Hello? FDA?

What if, for example, people actually *are* concerned with eating a box of prunes for their "laxing" qualities? Shouldn't there be a warning somewhere on the box?

NOTICE: This is something that you don't want to eat a lot of before going on a long drive through the countryside.

While we're at it, you know, I have some issues with other foods too. I can never seem to order a Pupu platter when I get Chinese, and tripe is just too unappetizing of a name to consider (yes I know what it is). I mean, how many escargot aficionados would have discovered their palate's delight if it were called "slugs on the half shell"?

If I wanted to call marshmallows "whipped vanilla sugar" would the FDA really give me a hard time? Why is peanut butter called that since there is nothing but peanuts in it anyway? What sort of regulations are these?

Well, now I'm hungry. If you'll excuse me, I am going to get some hot cheesy bread and tomato sauce. Oh, wait...I don't have approval to call it that yet.

Pizza.
:::::posted by erratic :: 06-something PM EST linky


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© John McCabe, 2000
so be nice, 'k?