31 July 2006

Sleeman Goes on the Block

This sucks. Sleeman brewries, the third largest in Canada, is looking for a buyer. I don't drink Sleeman's regularly (and hence, I am the problem), but this is one more independent brewry down the tubes. You just know Molsen or Sapporo will buy them out and pirate the company for their lucrative distributorships; (Guinness, Sam Adams, and (surprise) Sapporo).

Just goes to show, buy local, buy often. It's hard out there for the small guy. I raise a glass of Red's Rye to the independant brewer. (Note to Founder's.. call me. We need to fix your website.)
Link [via mister anchovy]

Why a flag burning amendment is a stupid idea

Go read Doonsbury from this Sunday. If you don't understand it, please stop voting.

Cheap Wine Blog

Someone I know and love just started blogging! Go check out J--'s very first foray into the blogging world at Cheap Wine Blog.

If you like wine but hate the attitude you have to endure to get a great glass, then CWB is for you. Looking at wines from $5-20, CWB is going to be all about Wines You're Not Afraid to Try.

Go on, check it out.

26 July 2006

Please No! - Nicolas Cage As Liberace

Please, don't let this be the opening salvo in a barrage of B-list actors trying to make it huge ala Brokeback Mountain.
Liberace? Seriously? Of all the worthy people you could make a movie that about; they could have picked Matthew Shepard, Ian McKellen, or anyone who published a gay magazine prior to 1970 come to mind. But, beyond that, who better to immortalize the flamboyant star than... Nicolas... Cage... star of National Treasure (turned it off), Matchstick Men (fell asleep), and Gone in 60 Seconds (still don't understand the premise).

Is there some aspect of Liberace's life I'm not aware of? Is he really that popular that a movie was needed?

Link

25 July 2006

My favorite quotes...

...in no particular order.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
-George Bernard Shaw



Only two things are certain: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
-Albert Einstein



"You can sugar-coat a poison pill, but it'll still kill you. By the way, let me know if you want to go that way."
-Dale Gribble, on King of the Hill



"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
-Ronald Reagan



"Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies."
-C.S. Lewis



"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."
- James D. Nicoll



"It is hard to believe a man is telling you the truth when you know you would lie if you were in his place."
- H. L. Mencken


"A man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe."
-Euripides


"When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in confederacy against him."
-Jonathan Swift


In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged.
-- Bertrand Russell

Five People I Couldn't Care Less About

5. Neil Young. Not for his latest album (which actually sounded good until he started singing), but because he's Neil Bloody Young. Seriously, could anyone be more overrated? (save the flames; you're not going to change my mind.)


4. Uber-Web-Design Guy. You know what, this site doesn't validate. Neither does the web app I work on. And guess what; they both function just the same. Take your XHTML, CSS, and W3C standards and shove it.


3. Jason Calacanis - Sold out to AOL and wonders why people laugh at him now. If I never have to hear that voice on a podcast again, it'll be too soon. And, yes, you cloned Digg; just confess and drift away.


2. Second Life players. Please, stop. What exactly do you do?


1. Steve Wozniak. Yes, you were famous. Yes, you're very, very rich. Yes, you are doing great work in funding commercial space programs. But I'm so unbelievably sick of hearing about every time you get a new laser, ride a Segway, or comment on a company you no longer work for. Aren't you overdue to build a plane that won't fly?

20 July 2006

YouTube's new policy ruins Utopia

YouTube, the ubiquitous video-hosting site, recently changed its terms of service to basically allow them to do whatever they want with the stuff you upload to them. This, of course, has completely freaked out the technorati because now their lip-synching videos will be commercialized by the company paying for their bandwidth! Oh noes! You mean it costs money to serve 100 million videos every day? You mean that leaching that bandwidth from the company comes at a price? YouTube isn't Utopia?

Nightmare Scenario (TM) #1 is that YouTube will find that super-special music video, strip the audio, and sell it on a CD. Aside from the huge "Uh, yeah, right" that comes to mind, how would that be so bad? If you're so farked for cash that you can't publish your own work on, say, your own website (and therefore establish copyright), wouldn't the free exposure do you some good? Any CD resulting from YouTube's hypothetical effort would certainly reference the originating artists. No one would ever believe that some network engineers at YouTube created a CD full of diverse, high-quality audio to market under the YouTube name.

I understand the desire to have a single point of contact for all your XTREME roof jumpers and pirated clips of the Daily Show (which I highly enjoy, by the way), but this concept around the web that all services are supposed to a) free and b) completely without strings is a little too Pollyanna for me. YouTube is not your buddy, there to hand over bandwidth to you for no gain on their own part. YouTube is a business and needs to make money. Their money comes from vidoes, your videos. If you want to keep all the rights to your video, copyright it and host it yourself.

Thanks to BoingBoing for the hysterics (and the accompanying Wired article, certainly penned by a BoingBoinger or friends of such).

One question for the BoingBoinger's; weren't you celebrating a friend of yours having his book pirated recently? Something about free market and how cool that was. I'm just wondering how it is that actually getting free publicity by having your work pirated is a good thing, but when you give your own content to someone else who then legally distributes it for you and has yet to commercialize that, that's bad. Just curious.

Zidane Gets 3 Game Suspension

You read that right, FIFA suspended Zidane, who is retired, for 3 games. Zidane was kind enough to let FIFA save face by agreeing to do 3 days of community service instead of, you know, laughing his ass off.

For his part, Italian player Materazzi was given a 2-game suspension, which seems reasonable. I would've liked to see Materazzi banned from 2 World Cup games, but that's not really a FIFA policy. Too bad he still won't fess up about what actually was said.
Link

17 July 2006

Get right with your maker, I agree with Mitch Albom

MITCH ALBOM: With on-field insults, it's all in the head

Mitch manages to string together a fairly coherent column today about the Zidane head-butt. We'll give him a break over the lateness of the column because he's a) an American sportswriter b) in Detroit and c) is Mitch Albom.

But, he did catch the most important quote of the controversy to date: Zindane's mother. Her pearl?
"Some things are bigger than football."

She's right, of course. And, despite her obvious bias toward her son, her statement is controversial in itself. Around the world, as Albom points out, we accept that "trash talking" is somehow part of the game, something almost venerated to the same level as the players ability to actually, you know, play.

Which is sad. I both played sports and watched my father play them for years. Was there trash talked? Sure. But the players who did it most were arrogant pricks who, frankly, didn't get a lot of respect. They often stunk up the field, as well. Trash talking was almost exclusively consigned to the realm of the loser, the loud-mouth, foul-crying, whiney bastard who thought you always took the bat with the largest number on the end.
Mitch almost, but not quite, commits to sort of not liking trash talking by way of a huge stretch of an analogy. What he doesn't do, of course, is pin the blame where it belongs; on the worst of the trash talkers. I wonder if that because any of them play in someone's home town? Hmm, that would be an interesting question to ask. Good thing there's a professional sports columnist on the case.

gamepolitics: Youth Violence Waaaay Down - Games to Blame?

Check out that graph.

gr-graph.jpg
There is no epidemic of youth violence in America.

The whole concept is a lie... Kids are not killing each other more frequently than they used to. In fact, it turns out the opposite is true.
(link)

Where's the Senate panel to look into the fleecing we've been taking for the last year.  Why aren't things like this on the evening news? Oh, right, bribes.
gamepolitics: Youth Violence Waaaay Down - Games to Blame?

12 July 2006

digg - FIFA to investigate Zidane incident; Could disqualify Italy

Well, that's an interesting turn. Comments are running pretty heavily that FIFA will not, in fact, take away the Cup. I'm pretty sure a war would break out if they did. However, it is interesting that an amendment to the rules was made that allows FIFA to take away 6 points (essentially causing the team to forfeit the match) if a player users a racial, religious, or ethnic slur. Considering Zidane is an Algerian Muslim, his forthcoming comments could be very interesting. Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA, apparently found his dignity and said they are also considering taking away Zidane's best player award.

Link

Update: Zidane has said at a press conference that the comment was "very personal", but would not elaborate. Materazzi immediately again denied saying anything about terrosists, Zidane's mother, or any racial comments. I think Materazzi is lying; he even went so far as to issue this gem of a quote: "Zidane is my hero and I have always admired him a lot." So, now Zidane is his hero?

To his credit, Zidane did apologize to the children who watched, but not to Materazzi, saying: "I can't regret what I did because it would mean that he (Materazzi) was right to say what he said." Zidane also implied that his attack wasn't in response to just one insult, but many, although he did not single out Materazzi.

Link to the Beeb

11 July 2006

Your Idiot of the Week

Some anti-abortion zealot (Pete) decided to saddle up his high-horse and take down an evil, vile, pro-abortion advocate (Caroline) on his blog (and I use those terms purposefully; you're not pro-life or pro-choice).
Sorry ma'am, if you hadn't had sex you wouldn't have gotten pregnant, it's not the HMO's fault for not supporting your promiscuity while not married.

One small problem though; Pete is an idiot. The article in question was on, say it with me, The Onion. Missing moutains of satire and deftly proving the point of the original article, Pete goes on to call Caroline a "murderer" and graciously offers to pray "for the suffering which you will endure when you realize what you have done." That's right, he's going to pray for her suffering, not to lessen that suffering, but just to ask God to make sure she gets what she deserves, apparently.

He then leaves his readers with a call to action.
Speak out against abortion. Don't just complain about it.

Consider that done, Pete. I'm not complaining, I am speaking out. Against you. You're an idiot. You represent all that is wrong with your side of the debate; you're a man, you're too emotional to process basic forms of communication, and you use religion as a weapon, not a a tool. Abortion is not a black and white issue. Abortion is something that requires deep philosphical debate. Abortion is something that is deeply, deeply personnal.

It's also something you need to let go because you obvisouly don't have the mental faculties to participate in the discussion.

You can read the entire, mind-numbingly idiotic post at March Together For Life: Murder without conscience. I highly recommend reading the comments.

Pink Floyd's Barrett dies aged 60

Syd Barrett, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, died.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Pink Floyd's Barrett dies aged 60

Google to Ann Arbor

The rumors, they were true.

mlive.com: NewsFlash - Report: Google to open Ann Arbor-area facility, hire 1,000

The Zidane headbutt

Warning, NSFW comments ahead

Via Kottke, two British newspapers hired lip-reading translators (I'd like to see that invoice) to see what Marco Materazzi said to Zinedine Zidane. If they're correct, Materazzi's lucky Zidane didn't bicycle kick his head into the stands.

The alleged comment:
Hold on, wait, that one's not for a nigger like you.

We all know you are the son of a terrorist whore.

So just fuck off.

And, to FIFA, if Rooney's case is receiving high levels of scrutiny over his behavior, we, the fans, expect this incident to receive as much, if not more. And if Materazzi did, in fact, say these things on the pitch, he deserves to be punished as well.

04 July 2006

I'm not a professor, I'm a Researcher

Mark this one down as questionable. With a lead off paragraph like this one, it's got to be hard science, right?

People who have been drinking may miss objects that appear unexpectedly in their field of sight, even when their blood alcohol levels are just half the legal driving limit.



Pretty bold statement. There must have been some serious research behind this.
To investigate, the researchers had 47 volunteers watch a video of two teams passing basketballs back and forth and asked them to count how many times the team wearing white T-shirts passed the ball. During the video, a woman dressed in a gorilla suit appeared among the players, stood in the middle of the screen and beat her chest, and then walked away.

The subjects were given a beverage and instructed to drink it over a 10-minute period five minutes before watching the video. After viewing it, the researchers interviewed them to determine if they'd seen the gorilla.

Ok. Interesting technique. What were the conclusions?
Overall, one third of the study participants didn't notice the gorilla. Among those who were sober, 46 percent spotted the gorilla, compared to 18 percent of the intoxicated group.

Notice there are no hard counts here, only statistical numbers (percents, not numbers of people). Any other observations from the study?
This phenomenon, known as inattentional blindness, occurs commonly among people who are sober, Clifasefi and her team note

Wait, wait just one cotten-pickin' minute. Sober people exhibit this behavior, as well?
Let's review the methodology here. People are shown a video of basketball players passing the ball and asked to count the passes. No indication is given of how intensely one would have to watch that video in order to fulfill that directive. People in studies are paid to do what researchers tell them to do; if I'm a paid subject told to count passes in a basketball video, you can be damn sure I'm going to be concentrating pretty hard on the ball moving around.

Here's some interesting questions not addressed; how accurate were the counts of the "drunk" people? Did they perform as well on the task given to them as the sober people? Was the level of cognitive involvement (watching the basketball passes) equal to or less than the cognitive involvement of a seasoned automobile driver? Because, let's face it, what else would a study on perception and drinking be aimed at besides drivers?

Repeat after me everyone; language matters. And when researchers--sorry, I can't call them that--when grant seekers spew out crap like this "research", it makes you wonder just what their agenda is. Leading off with laughable conclusions that don't even pass the Smell Test doesn't exactly give your work much credance either.

One strong drink can make you 'blind drunk' | Reuters.com

03 July 2006

Steve Yzerman retires... finally

22 years, all with Detroit. Great guy, but it's time.



Have fun in retirement, Steve, and thanks for all the memories.



Link

Put Marc Miller on TV

Face for radio? Hell no, that boy needs to be on TV. Marc Miller, CASCAR #8 Carhartt

Marc Miller, who pilots the #8 Carhartt CASCAR car, needs your help. Marc is trying to get on a new reality television show called "Racin' for a Livin'" and you can help put him there. Go to www.voteformarcmiller.com and cast as many votes as you can; seriously, the rules allow that. Just don't script anything to automate the voting process; I'm pretty sure they strap Marc to the hood of the Bad Driver's car during the taping of the show if you get caught doing that.

Marc is an old friend of mine and a great guy. All the other people in that contest are Dixie Chick-lovin', Jeff Gordon-supporting, latte-sippin' posers. Ok, maybe not, but Marc is the best person on that list and deserves your vote. If you're from New Orleans, Ann Arbor, or even San Diego, head over to www.voteformarcmiller.com and give some love to Marc.

Right-wingers miss it again

For full disclosue, I'm what used to be called Conservative. With the political landscape what it is, I think I'm now more Centric or possibly even Liberal. It's so hard to tell with "peacenik/hawk" and "treehugger/redneck" thrown around so casually these days.

That said, I'm nowhere near as bat-shiat insane as either side of the aisle when it comes to the blogosphere (yeah, I used that term; suck it). From Kos to Reynolds, Totten to Huffington, the vitrol and, dare I go for the trifecta, idiocy at either end of the pole is staggering.

Enter today's example. Power Line, a decidedly right-wing blog, posted a photoshop image of what the New York Times would have looked like in 1776 in light of the present-day New York Times story on the governments plan to troll financial records looking for "terrorists". (Link to editorial at IHT because the Times still doesn't get the Internet.)

Go see the image here, but please come back for important information.

See it? Ok, it's funny, satirical... good political cartoon. The fictional Times of '76 is subverting the heroic rulers by exposing their super-secret plan. Good corollary to today's situation, good tie in for Independence Day and the Founding Fathers, etc, etc, etc.

Except the whole thing is wrong. In 1776, the Colonies were still under the rule of King George. The Times wouldn't have been subverting the government, they would have been helping the government by outing terrorists in the Colonies.

Just as the Times is doing today. They aren't helping terrorists, they're exposing (at best) questionable programs that take away your rights. The program in question is not warranted or sanctioned. It's borderline illegal and a whole foot into immoral. When you see commentary like this picture, you start to understand why one side doesn't get why programs like this, while potential effective, aren't good for the country in the long run.

Grumpy

I just realized that the last two posts are about "idiots". Apparently I'm feeling grumpy of late.

Our future is in the hands of idiots

For the six of you who haven't seen this yet, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was defending his vote the other day on the Net Neutrality bill (the bill that will allow Internet service providers the legal power to censor what you can and can't see based on their profit margins). Sen. Stevens, (Idiot-Alaska) decided to give all of us a primer on how the Internet works. This is a gem, so get set for some good times:



I just the other day got, an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday [The next Thursday].

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially...

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

It's a series of tubes.

And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.


If you think I'm joking, here's a transcript and here's the audio (mp3).

Next up, Fred Upton. Mr. Upton, for those that didn't know, is an avid gamer. It's true! Here, here's a quote to prove it.



"I'm a gamer myself. I was an expert in Pong; that was a great game. (sounds of Pong ball being hit)"


Yes folks, during a sub-committee meeting being recorded by video and still cameras, audio recording devices too numerous to list here, and watched by millions of gamers (courtesy of the Daily Show and YouTube), the Representative from Michigan's 6th district (thanks Kalamazoo) made the Pong sound. And, not only did he make the Pong sound, he made it in support of a statement that he was a gamer. Excuse me while I get an aspirin.



These are the people who make LAWS about new technologies, friends. These are the people sent to conceptualize a world different from today and then make rules and regulations that encourage innovation, advancement, and freedom. Time to keep closer tabs on your representatives, everyone. They're taking away your freedoms and they don't even know what they're talking about.

01 July 2006

You’re Wrong. The World Cup Refereeing Standard is Higher than Ever - FIFA World Cup 2006 - World Cup 2006 Blog

Angel Maria Villar, the chairman of FIFA’s referees panel, is an idiot; starts to explain the officiating at this years World Cup. Bravo to the World Cup Blog for pointing out Villar's latest attempt to smoke-screen the unbelievably bad performance of his refs.
In between hits of whatever drug he is taking, Villar described the situation in the Middle East as pleasant, credited Santa Claus for his on-time delivery rate this past Christmas, and predicted that typewriters would soon replace computers as the preferred workplace communication tool of the 21st Century.

England vs Portugal

One word for the Portugese.

Shameless.