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Blog Fu: Forbidden Kingdom


Oh, hi, yeah, I … what?

No, I hadn’t heard. Is he all right?

Ooh, that’s … wow. Okay. Lemme get my jacket, and I’ll be right there. Right.

What? Okay, I’ll say it.




- Let’s start downbeat and work our way into cheerier mindstates. I’m still pretty incensed at the RIAA suing a college student for sharing music and hitting him up for $675k. Which, of course, he doesn’t have. “He added he will file for bankruptcy if the verdict stands.” Der. Look, I appreciate the RIAA serving their godless sniveling corporate masters behind the major record labels (the same ones that screw over your favorite recording artists and musicians every single day) in the most rapacious, soul-crushing and unfair ways they know how, because that’s what they’re paid to do. What I don’t get is how pliable the judiciary is to this issue, and how helpless people are to fight it. I knew kids who stole CDs, duplicated ‘em and sold them. Legal? No. Cool? Maybe not. But people are hungry. In this economic climate, to have done something like that, to have even rendered such a verdict, is as good as saying “screw you average citizens, and here’s some extra rich man’s piss in your corn flakes.”

- Yes, I’m still looking for a new smartphone, dismissing everything in the San Francisco Chronicle’s reviews of touch screen QWERTY phones for either inability to edit text documents, running a problematic OS, combustibility or any combination therein. Another reason why I won’t go with Palm Pre? It freakin’ spies on you when you’re not watching, reporting your apps, usage and habits to the mothership at Palm. Data privacy invasion out of the box? EPIC FAIL!

- The spaceman says “everybody look down, it’s all in your mind.” Or so you’d hope. The government wants NASA to track killer asteroids and large pieces of space stuff hurtling towards our zany little blue mudball here. Sounds good. Except it can’t be done with the anemic funding and support the agency gets. Sure, they haven’t done anything really world changing since the 60s, but there are a lotta smart people there(1) and they want to do what’s right and what’s asked of them. But nobody wants to pay the piper, so don’t be trying to rejuvenate Bruce Willis when a big hunk of space rock comes to render judgement on us all.

- From the sublime to the ridiculous, and this time in that order. The Fort Lauderdale Police were willing to gamble on how stupid criminals are, and devised a Obama-flavored sting operation to find out for themselves. To quote, “Using the name of the fictitious ‘South Florida Stimulus Coalition,’ police mailed letters asking the suspects to call an undercover phone line and make appointments to claim their money. When they showed up at an auditorium and presented their identification, they were led to an area where uniformed police were waiting to arrest them.”

“You totally control the environment whereas when you’re walking up to someone’s home there’s an unknown factor there,” Police Sergeant Frank Sousa said on Friday.

File this under, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

- Richer but dumber? Okay. How about this wacky bit of trivia showcasing Micro$oft’s racist side. On their US site, they have an ad with a Black guy in it. On it’s Polish website, they changed the man’s head into that of a white guy, without changing the hand color. It would be easy to make Polish jokes here — I can practically feel the ghost of Johnny Carson aching for one — but that’s not my problem with this. My problem is the shabby workmanship. The lighting is completely different, the guy’s neck angle is all wrong — did they do that in Microsoft Office Picture Manager? I normally ask companies to be stupid less obviously, but this is the company that hasn’t had a worthwhile piece of software since Microsoft Word 5.1.

- You think prison time in the US is rough? How about in China, where they chop up death row inmates for organs? Given how many false convictions happen here, I can’t imagine how many people under the scalpel never committed the crime in a society as openly oppressive as that.(2) Not cool.

- Staying on the incarcerated tip, imagine I’d been convicted of trying to assassinate a president(3) was associated with a known sociopath and serial killer and had outbursts all through my trial. They’d have put me underneath the Geronimo Pratt cell, right? Well, if you’re a teensy white woman you can still sneak out of jail while you’re young enough to rearm. “Three decades after basking in the national spotlight as ‘Squeaky’ the infamous Charles Manson disciple who tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford, the now 60-year-old woman slipped quietly out of a federal prison Friday after being released on parole.” Really? Seriously? Are we doing that little to cover up the inequity of the criminal justice system these days? That made me tired.

- I may have to draw the line here. A Christian rapper, already convicted for cocaine charges, gets two years added to his sentence for recording a song about killing a cop. Seriously! I never believe I’ve seen it all, because the world keeps coming up with new ways to weird me out. There’s so many ways to go here … the religious hypocrisy, the First Amendment issue, the dumbness of recording and then selling recordings of your antagonism against a law enforcement professional … I’m on irony overload here. Suffice it to say that “that’s dumb.”

- PING! We’ve now reached the half way mark. Admittedly, it’s been a rough ride. If you need to stand up, stretch your legs, feel free. The remainder of our trip will be much more pleasant. We realize you have choices, and thank you for reading with us.

- Herr Gropenfuhrer is actually behind a not-so-dumb plan for a change, offering free online textbooks to students. Admittedly, when you don’t have a computer (as many disenfranchised kids don’t) that doesn’t help as much, but it’s a good start. I believe this is a great chance for Apple to slide in and toss some refurbs their way. The gray market has to have enough stuff in the channel to make this work. I’m just saying, I’ve seen schools with crappy seven year old Dells — if you’re telling me they couldn’t do just as well or better with a four year old iMac, you’re nuts.

- In the “giving chronic illness the finger” category, we have caffeine treatments showing signs of fighting Alzheimer’s disease. I like that, in that I like to keep my brain active. I have seen stuff saying that it’ll make me less prone to dementia and mental decay, which is one of my biggest worries.(4) Any news fighting that kind of fight wakes me up and makes me happy.

- Even more in that direction? How about curing blindness with frickin’ laser beams? How’s that for twisting your wig back? Not only bringing light to people living in eternal darkness, but doing it in a way that’s cool and futuristic with rays of light!(5) that That’s what I’m talkin’ about, future, live up to your promise!

- Dunno if I posted this, but there is in fact a science to being happy being studied and measured and utilized. There’s not that much of an application of drugs, so it seems okay. “In recent years, cognitive scientists have turned in increasing numbers to the study of human happiness, and one of their central findings is that we are not very good at predicting how happy or unhappy something will make us. Given time, survivors of tragedies and traumas report themselves nearly as happy as they were before, and people who win the lottery or achieve lifelong dreams don’t see any long-term increase in happiness. By contrast, annoyances like noise or chronic pain bring down our happiness more than you’d think, and having friends or an extra hour of sleep every night can raise it dramatically.”

Or, as Boyz 2 Men sang, “Little things mean a lot, appreciate what you’ve got, make due with what you have …”

- I have no shame that I am currently on page 318 of Texts From Last Night, a site that fills me with such simple joy (and much more frequently and voluminously than the sublime A Softer World) that it can turn around my whole day in just a page or two. It also makes me miss Sully’s, so I’ve been using it like a nicotine addict uses the patch. Awesomeness refined.

- Got a PDF you’d like to take a swing at? Convert it into a Micro$oft Word document. For free. From a website. Tons of other conversions there, super helpful.

- Need laughs sent right to your phone? I like a lot of the Huffington Post’s list of 50 Funny People You Should Be Following On Twitter but was deeply shocked to see neither The Bloggess, Cobra Commander, Darth Vader nor Hobo Darkseid on the list. That’s serious funny right there. I could have done without Joy Behar’s inclusion. She’s not that funny.

- Speaking of Twitter, I love How Stuff Works.

- My great uncle used to always say, “A little hard work never killed anybody important,” and now there’s science to back him up. A study found something that may be obvious to the people in the world who get up and do stuff. “In recent years, psychologists have come up with a term to describe this mental trait: grit. Although the idea itself isn’t new — “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” Thomas Edison famously remarked — the researchers are quick to point out that grit isn’t simply about the willingness to work hard. Instead, it’s about setting a specific long-term goal and doing whatever it takes until the goal has been reached. It’s always much easier to give up, but people with grit can keep going.”

I can’t agree with that more. So much so, that I’m gonna go get back to work. Auf wiedersen.

Playing (Music): “Seventh Seal” by Myka-9 of Freestyle Fellowship


(1) = I even know one, she says they party hard the five seconds they’re not working themselves into an early grave.

(2) = To be fair, at least the US tries to act like it’s not a fascist regime. Most of the time. Sorry, Barry, you’re not that much in charge. He’s not even done staffing up yet.

(3) = Slow down. Say that one again. Convicted of trying to assassinate a president. Of the United States of America. But lots of people can have guns around the Black president when he speaks? That’s not a change at all, let alone one I can believe in. Autocrats get a bad rap, but if they saw anybody with a gun around them, they knew how to deal with it. Kapow!

(4) = Because, of course, I am completely insane.

(5) = Not only that, but there’s more ways that science is working to kick cancer in the ding-ding.

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