07/31/06 - "What the next day brings"

One of my favorite bands is this little Orange County (CA) ska band called Suburban Legends. When I lived out in California we used to go see them repeatedly when they played these free shows at Downtown Disney.

They have this one song "Bring Spring Morning" that was on my list of banned songs after my last horrible breakup. Then I wrote about it again last year when the song kept popping up on my iPod. Like I said at the time, the song was one of the larger impetuses for me to escape Southern California.

So the band has a new album this spring, and the last song is a new rendition of "Bright Spring Morning". I guess this new arrangement was from a benefit show they did after their trombone player was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

It's weird, the new version is now my favorite song.

So go buy the song (or even whole album) on iTunes right now.

07/31/06 - ... And Justice for All. Finally.

Well I got quite a surprise today when I logged into the iTunes Music Store.

Yep, that says "Metallica Catalog Just Added".

I personally think it should have said, "Metallica finally contributes to the demise of the album format."

(That's the reason Metallica quoted three and a half years ago for not joining the iTunes Music Store then. Guess they don't mind the demise three years later as long as they get their cut, eh?)

Metallica, of course, is now known more for their bickering antics (suing Napster in 2000, hand delivering 30,000 Napster users names to a Redwood City, California, court house, going to a therapist instead of recording a record in their 2004 documentary "Some Kind of Monster") than for their music.

Whiney jackasses.

07/31/06 - LEGO Factory

Wow, check out the LEGO Factory over at the LEGO website.

They've developed software that lets you design a custom LEGO set in 3D, then send it to LEGO and they'll make the set for you.

When I have a little more free time and free money on my hands, I'm all over this.

07/30/06 - $100 Laptop progress

It looks like they've made some sweet progress on that $100 laptop that I've been following.

Here's a photo of the first working prototype:

And here's a story about the new power source:

07/30/06 - Apple iPhone soon?

The rumors of a completely Apple designed phone have been around for years. And now Engadget is reporting an August launch.

This would, in fact, coincide nicely with the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference which runs August 7-11.

This also would coincide nicely with the fact that I need a new cell phone. But hey, if there's no new Apple phone, I'm more than happy to get the Motorola SLVR.

(Why SLVR? 'Cause everyone and my grandma has got a RAZR. Plus, the SLVR plays iTunes!)

07/30/06 - Sell all of that Disney Stock before November 3rd ...

Holy Christ on a crutch, look what they've done now:

07/30/06 - Lohan is in Trouble

As I've said before, I really don't hate Lindsey Lohan. But in the last few days I've seen these two tidbits on the internet, and they're just too awesome to not share.

The first is a column by Mice Age's Al Lutz about her 20th birthday party at Disneyland. I guess Disney kept Disneyland and California Adventure open late for her and her people, and they were drunk and high and rude to the Cast Members working there. Now, Lutz is a rabble-rouser and likes to create drama, that's for sure. But I can totally see this happening.

The second is even better, though. Check this letter out:

07/29/06 - Hair Story

So I paid for a haircut yesterday. Which, to most people, wouldn't be news. But this was the first haircut I've paid for in over five years. Seriously.

The best part is that I actually wrote about my last paid-for haircut back on my brother's birthday in 2001. See, my barber had just left the ... well, read it. I think it's still pretty funny.

For the last five years I've been weilding the clippers myself, which has turned out some horrid hair and some totally passable hair. But yesterday I upgraded. Looks pretty sweet, too ...

07/28/06 - New Plates

So yesterday I took a drive down to Westborough, MA to meet up with my former Los Angeleno roommate who just moved home. And maybe it's just that I don't get out much anymore, or haven't been paying attention, but I saw two new license plates on the drive.

The first was Discover Florida's Oceans. It's a pretty cool looking plate. (Or "tag" as the Southerners would call it.)

But am I being picky here - Florida really only has one ocean, right? Atlantic. Sure, it has the Gulf coast and the East coast, but it's all the same ocean. It's kind of like how you'd never say, "Discover Hawaii's Oceans".

Still, it's a cool plate.

The other I saw yesterday was the new standard issue Kentucky plate, named Unbridled Spirit. It's pretty cool, too, especially for Kentucky!

07/28/06 - Arizona Voter Reward Act

So I just heard about this yesterday - Arizona is proposing that, to increase voter turnout, they give away one million dollars to a lucky voter. They're turning their elections into a lottery. Isn't that kind of bribery?

07/26/06 - Busy Busy Busy

Dude, I'm too busy to write about this right now, but check it out. My brother sent it to me. Look for the one of the squirrel in the Oval Office.


I present: Sugar-Bush Squirrel.

07/22/06 - Clerks 2: The TV Show

So we saw Clerks 2 last night. And, as you know, I'm a pretty big Kevin Smith fan. But I was somewhat unsatisfied with the movie as we left the theater. And it was just now that I realized why.

It's not because I don't think that they should have made a sequel to Clerks, even though I don't think they should have. It might not be "Classic" or a "Masterpiece", but Clerks was either pivotal movie in filmmaking history, or at least it was in my own history, as I saw it right before going to film school.

And, as we all know from "Blues Brothers 2000" - sometimes a sequel can hurt the original.

But luckily Clerks 2 didn't hurt the spirit of Clerks 1. It was carried out much the way you would have imagined. And it wasn't too faithful to the original, like when they make an action movie and the characters have to repeat the same catchphrase each movie. "I'll be back." "Yippee-ki-yay, mother fucker." "I'm getting too old for this shit."

No, Clerks 2 was the logical progression of the characters we know and love. They're the same as they were in the gritty black and white days. Just older. And clerkier.

But when I left the theater, I kind of felt like I don't have to see the movie again. Take Kevin Smith's follow up to Clerks, Mallrats. For all of its flaws, and there are many, I could still watch that flick 37 times in a row. It's the only movie I've ever gone back to the theater the next day to see again.

But Clerks 2 had some annoying parts, some over-the-top scenes that you really don't want to see again. If I wanted to see the movie a second time, it would just be to catch the little bits that the characters did. They way they said a line, or reacted. Leaving last night, I felt like I wanted to see more of the characters.

And today my brother wrote me an e-mail, saying, "now they can do a TV show".

That's when it hit me, this was a pilot. The first episode of a TV series.

Think about it.

Without giving too much away in case you haven't seen it yet, the movie sets it all up for us - the same characters we love, plus a few new crazy characters, in a situation similar to the one we know them from originally.

It's brilliant that way. If it was intended that way.

I mean, the "plot", if you can call it that, is paper-thin. From the first moment of story, we know how the movie is going to end. But it's the characters we enjoy, and the ending leaves you wanting to see what happens next.

Exactly what a pilot is for.

And, quite frankly, with shows like Arrested Development, My Name Is Earl, and The Office I think the time is right for a Clerks one-camera show. Well, on HBO or Showtime, I guess. Some of the language is a little blue for "Must See TV".

So get on it, Hollywood. Make me a new show for me to miss because I don't have cable.

07/22/06 - Coming Zune

God I hate Microsoft.

Have you seen www.comingzune.com yet?

"Zune" is the Microsoft iPod.

Um, anyone else think that Bill Gates is about five years late to the party?

And why does it have to be white? Such a rip off.

07/22/06 - "What If"?

I'm a big fan of alternate history stories. I bought this one book, Almost America a few years ago. At first I was turned off by it's structure - it's one-half history lesson, then the fictional bit. But recently I've picked it up again, and I'm really into it.

One of the weirdest stories is about George Rogers Clark, the older brother of William Clark (of "Lewis and ..." fame). Apparently Clark captured Fort Sackville in the Indiana Territory with only 180 men in 1779. The British Lt. Governor of Canada used to pay the local Native Americans for each Colonist's scalp they returned to him. In fact, he event got 1800 steel knives from England to hand out to the Indians to make the scalping easier.

Anyway, in taking the fort, Clark also helped bring an end to the scalping and terrorizing of the western frontier. The big "What If" in this story is that Clark loses, the fort remains in the hands of the British / Canadians, and the scalping goes on. The American settlers go back East, and the Appalachian Mountains becomes the Western border of the US.

But it gets worse. In the War of 1812, because of the smaller size of the country, we lose faster, and in retribution to Britian / Canada the US gives up Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont!

Another interesting one is "What If" the US didn't replace the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution. The author uses a not-so-thinly-veiled Civil War analogy for what would happen if Canada attacked the confederation of individual states, and the bickering between the states causes their downfall.

And you know the Zimmermann telegram - from Germany to Mexico asking Mexico to attack the US in World War 1, what pretty much got the US into the war? Well "What If" President Wilson didn't go public with the telegram, and instead of getting into the war he covertly tells Germany that if the war doesn't end, the US will enter as a third party.

Wilson creates a plan for "peace without victory", keeping all parties happy - including Germany - and "created an environment of peach and prosperity in Europe that lasted for decades to come". It's pretty clever.

Lastly, "What If" the Boston Red Sox hadn't sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees? How awesome is that? As you know, Babe Ruth was the greatest hitter in baseball history. He played with the Red Sox in the beginning of his career, helping the Red Sox win three World Series victories. But in 1919 the owner of the Red Sox needed cash to cover his theater shows, and sold Ruth to the dreaded rivals, the New York Yankees. From there we know the story, he was the first player to hit 30 home runs in a season. Then the first to hit forty. Then the first to hit fifty. Then the first to hit sixty.

In fact, in 1920 Babe Ruth hit more home runs than every other team in baseball, except the Philadelphia Phillies (as a team they hit 64).

Of course, from 1920 to 1934, during Ruth's tenure as a Yankee, the Boston Red Sox were the worst team in the American League. During this span, they finished last 10 times, and did not have a single winning season.

But "What If" ...

So the Sox keep Ruth. But the owner, still the idiot, decides that it's foolish to let radio broadcast the games for free. See, apparently the 1921 World Series was the first series broadcast over the radio. And in real life the series was played by the New York Yankees and the New York Giants, and it was huge for radio.

But in the fictional world even though Ruth played for the Sox, baseball would still end up (somewhat) worse off.

It's a pretty cool book. Quick little reads, but they make you think. The rest are good, too. "What If" General Meade had captured General Lee after Gettysburg, "What If" such-and-such presidential election turned out differently, "What If" George Herbert Walker Bush dumped Dan Quayle for Colin Powell, etc.

07/21/06 - Even More on Blu-ray

Ever since seeing the first Blu-ray disc on a Best Buy shelf the other night, I've been intermittently thinking about the format, and DVD, and the upcoming war with HD-DVD.

I started talking about Blu-ray over a year and a half ago. Granted, at that time I made some wild predictions (unless for Chrismukkah last year you received The Incredibles on Blu-ray and Ocean's 12 on HD-DVD ...)

But the more I've thought about it, the more this Blu-ray thing really cheeses me off.

Americans have embraced DVDs like crazy. I was looking all over this morning for facts and figures to show how much money we've all put into DVDs, or how quickly we've embraced the format. And frankly, I couldn't find anything. But I swear I've read facts that say that DVDs were adopted much faster than radio, TV, VHS tapes, computers, CDs, everything.

So let's run with that assumption.

And it's my impression that Blu-ray discs playing on a standard TV will look about the same as DVDs playing on a standard TV. That you really need a HDTV to see the difference. And how many people do I know who own an HDTV set?


I know one dude who has an HDTV.

Now, I just read this morning that by the end of 2006 it's estimated that 9% of American TVs will be HDTVs. Doesn't this sound bogus to you? That would mean effectively one out of ten of your friends would have an HDTV. Unless all of my friends start getting promoted or a big bonus this fall, I doubt a tenth of my friends will have a HDTV come New Years Eve.

In fact, in Portland and in Southern Maine right now I know the most people I've ever known who don't have cable TV. And it's not that we're all poor, either. (Although that's why Dan and I didn't have cable at his house.) I think lots of people around here would rather spend their time doing other things. Especially in the summer. In fact, oddly enough, I haven't watched TV since ... wow. When was the last West Wing? I know I watched Marissa Cooper die on the OC. It's been a few months. (Besides the occasional Red Sox game at the Mad Monkey Cafe.)

The real shitty thing is that the government is taking away analog TV transmissions on February 17, 2009. They want to sell off the VHF frequencies to cell phone companies. So we're all going to need a HDTV or a converter to even watch TV. Bogus.

I mean, I can see watching sports in HD. That's cool. But do we really need to see Saturday Night Live or My Name is Earl in HD? It's just stupid. It reminds me of an old article from The Onion: High-Definition Television Promises Sharper Crap.

More facts about DVD I learned today:

07/21/06 - "01.20.09"

I saw this bumpersticker yesterday in Portland: 01.20.09.

It's Bush's last day in office.

Well, it's supposed to be. Unless, of course, he and Cheney whip up some sort of new Enabling Act.

And I wouldn't put it beyond them, either.

07/21/06 - Brewers.

Wow, I'm really embarassed right now. I'm a little bit of a screwball when it comes to remembering stuff, I'll give you that. But it wasn't until yesterday that I realized the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team isn't in the American League anymore.

Listening to the Sox game on the radio yesterday, either Joe or Jerry said something about how Mark Loretta played for Milwaukee in both the American League and the National League. I was confused.

Luckily our good friend Wikipedia has this article:

I mean, it makes sense, because when the San Antonio -- er, ah, Florida Marlins and the Colorado Rockies joined in the early 1990s it brought both leagues to 14 teams. With the additon of the Devil Rays and the Diamondbacks there in 1998 it's not really logical to have 15 teams per League.

But still, why didn't I know this?!?

07/19/06 - Hmm, nevermind.

So I guess this little fun fact below renders moot my argument about the shit movies going to Blu-ray:

07/18/06 - With a name like "Mosh Pit on Disney" ...

Dude, check out these Japanese CDs I just heard of!

Dive Into Disney

Mosh Pit On Disney

If you like ska / punk and Disney then these are the comps for you. And not that I advocate piracy (unless it's Jack Sparrow or Pirate Steve from Dodgeball) but you can download the albums here at this dude's weblog.


07/18/06 - New Photos

Here are some photos of Fenway Park from Friday Night and the ocean yesterday.

Both were unseasonablly warm. I'd have to say that the beach was a little more satisfying. At least Josh Beckett wasn't there being pummeled by some dudes from Oakland.

07/18/06 - More on Blu-ray

So I take it there's a conspiracy afoot?

Yesterday I see a Blu-ray copy of "50 First Dates" at Best Buy, now I hear Disney is coming out with Blu-ray copies of "Dinosaur," "Haunted Mansion," "Gone in Sixty Seconds" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"?!?

Sounds to me like nobody wants Blu-ray to succeed ...

07/17/06 - Blu-ray is here

It's weird to look back at technology. I know where and when I got my first cell phone (with Jilly B at 5 am the day after Thanksgiving!) because I was widely thought to be the last person on the planet without one. Then anthropologists found a lost pigmy tribe in the Amazon Delta, so I was safe. But I can't tell you what my first DVD was. Or when I even first heard of DVDs. It really is odd to think that they've only been around for seven or eight years. Doesn't it seem like they've been around for forever?

So that's why I'm writing this right now - tonight at Best Buy I saw my first Blu-ray product.

Sadly, it was an Adam Sandler movie.


Blu-ray, if you haven't heard, is the next generation optical disc format. Simply put, Blu-ray is to DVD like DVD was to VHS. Pretty soon there'll be bins of DVDs for $2 at Blockbusters nationwide. But there's also HD DVD, which will likely be the Betamax of the 21st century.

Anyway, I was so shocked to see an end display of "50 First Dates" in Blu-ray high definition quality that I never even looked at the price tag. From the look of bestbuy.com it'd be $29.99 though. That's not a bad price. But crap is still crap, even in high definition.

As I don't own a HD TV, and don't plan to for at least a few years, I put the Blu-ray disc down. I ended up instead buying a now antiqutated DVD of Eugene Jarecki's "Why We Fight". I look forward to watching it, even if it's old and outdated.

07/16/06 - what, is Reichstagsbrandverordnung next?

If all of a sudden the Capitol Building goes up in flames and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney declare the fire was set by Democrats and have the party leaders arrested I'm going to be very, very concerned.

Hopefully they're not worldly enough, though.

But still, this is scary.

Check out: Reichstagsbrandverordnung.

07/16/06 - "Reality is Roaring Back"

I love the last two paragraphs of this article.

07/16/06 - Oops.

I love stories like this:

07/14/06 - Red Sox Tonight!

Hey everyone,

You've got to watch the Sox game tonight against the A's. I'm going and sitting somewhere in the upper stratosphere. No, it's not that bad. I'm halfway to Logan Airport, but it's not bad. Actually it can't be that bad, Fenway Park is small enough to fit in my backyard.

I'm pretty psyched, either way. Looks like Josh Beckett is pitching, and I'm always a fan of other "Josh"es.

So watch for me. I'll be the drunk-ass bastard yelling smack about Oaktown.

07/12/06 - Tokyo DisneySea

Holy crap, Tokyo DisneySea - the ocean themed Disney park next to Tokyo Disneyland - has been open for five years and I still haven't gone there yet!

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse wave during a parade at a press preview
to mark the 5th anniversary of Tokyo DisneySea Park in Urayasu, east of
Tokyo, Wednesday, July 12, 2006.

This is a situation that has to be remedied in the next two years.

07/10/06 - Fun shirts

I love fun and goofy tee shirts, and today I found a great site that lets you construct your own fun and goofy shirts - Zazzle.com.

It's like Cafe Press - only I hope the quality is better than the shit that they make (can you tell I'm a bitter bastard over here?)

But the cool part is that Zazzle.com has deals with Disney and Marvel and the Library of Congress. So you can make shirts with Mickey, Wolverine, or ... Libby, the Library of Congress mascot.

No, not really. The Library of Congress mascot is actually Scott Baio. Weird story I'll have to tell you sometime.

Anyway, here are two shirts I made, but didn't actually purchase. The first is our good Muppet friend Dr. Teeth. My buddy Bob at work and I were going on the other day about how Dr. Teeth really is an old school 1970s pimp. Think about it. Gold tooth? Check. Floppy hat? Check. Saggy eyelids? Check? Fabulously original vernacular? Check.


The second shirt I made was from an old WPA poster created by Thomas Byrne. It was designed for "promoting patriotism and suggesting that careless communication may be harmful to the war effort". Granted, this was in 1941, not 2006.

Somehow I can imagine these being popular at the Republican National Convention in 2008, too ...

07/09/06 - Bush's Republicans are getting upset now, too ...

I'd like to think that the wheels are falling off of the bus ... but just our luck Bush will remained unscathed through all of this ...

07/07/06 - Hidden Power

Any major article released the 4th of July week that ends with the quote, "the Founding Fathers would be shocked by what they've done" is good reading.

Check out the New Yorker article on David Addington - Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

Man, these guys are dirty fuckers.

07/04/06 - More on M&Ms ...

Wow, so did you see this?

07/03/06 - White Chocolate M&Ms ... the continuing saga.

So I was at Wal- Mart yesterday (I know, I know, but it was the only store open) and I bought more of those M&M Pirate Pearls - the White Chocolate M&Ms.

I've got to say, I'm a huge fan of the White Chocolate. But I just don't understand in the least how this product is related to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The ... what do you call the individual pieces? Pellets? The pellets are an odd pastel color. I swear the R&D arm of the M&M Mars Company was developing the whole pastel White Chocolate thing, while on the other side of the building the Marketing arm was striking a deal with Disney over the Pirates sequel. When the two sides met the M&M Pirate Pearls were the unholy spawn of this fragile allegiance.

Random question - do they still make the Dark Brown ones? I know tan was taken away, and red and blue were added - but I'm thinking Dark Brown is gone, too.

Doesn't it seem like Pirate themed M&Ms should be Pirate colors? Black and Red (just not Red #2, thankyou) ... you know? Little skulls and crossbones and shit on them. And for the love of Pete, make the bag any color but tan. That's horrible.

And what does White Chocolate have to do with Pirates, either?

Yeah, it's horrible the White Chocolate M&Ms were introduced this way. It seems destined for failure. And that's a shame.

07/01/06 - Happy Canada Day!

Hey everyone, just wanted to wish you a very happy Canada Day, eh!

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