Friday, May 14, 2004

Oh, THOSE record sales!

Found this through BoingBoing (where I find LOTS of cool stuff, actually) - the real reason that RIAA keeps reporting lower sales...
"There is only one logical integration of all these statistics with the recent Soundscan data: even though actual point-of-purchase sales are up by about 9% in the US - and the industry sold over 13,000,000 more units in 2004 (1st quarter) than in 2003 (1st quarter) - the Industry is still claiming a loss of 7% because RIAA members shipped 7% fewer records than in 2003.

Forget the confusing percentages, here's an oversimplified example: I shipped 1000 units last year and sold 700 of them. This year I sold 770 units but shipped only 930 units. I shipped 10% less units this year. And this is what the RIAA wants the public to accept as "a loss."

I'll go a step further. This fact, that Sherman [RIAA rep. - ed.] seems to confirm, should logically mean a smaller percentage of returns. But, shouldn't fewer returns mean higher profit margins and faster turnaround; and shouldn't that be good for both the retail and wholesale side of the industry? "Sure," admits Sherman today, "but I have no idea what US shipments looked like in the first quarter." Then how can he claim world-wide "losses" in his March speech to Financial Times New Media?"
Read the whole article - it's a fascinating look at the way CD "sales" are counted depending on what story one wants to tell, including switching back and forth between US sales and international sales without making it clear which is being discussed. I already had a pretty sizable hate-on for those creeps - this just confirms why.

I have to say that again - actual sales to consumers are up 9% year over year for 1st quarter. Un-fricking-believable.

(Random) Things I Think about while Running

"That honeysuckle smells good!"

"Bush is either a liar or an idiot. Maybe both, but definitely not neither."

"Damn, I've never seen that much poison ivy in one place in my life!"

"Ashcroft has got to be a closet cross-dressing pr0n hoover - it's the only thing that would explain his fascination with pr0n."

"I really don't want to sit at my desk all day today..."

"Okay, so I guess Tin Huey did do the most Neil Diamond-esque cover of I'm a Believer"

"Why aren't we running Jon Stewart for President?"

and, while cooling down and looking up at the nearly cloudless blue sky...

"Just another day in paradise!"

With no sarcasm.

Oh, THAT party platform!

This is truly priceless (thanks to slapnose for pointing the way) - Matt Stoller has actually read the 2000 Repuglican Party platform and come up with some doozies like the following:
"The arrogance, inconsistency, and unreliability of the administration’s diplomacy have undermined American alliances, alienated friends, and emboldened our adversaries." [ed. this is referring to Clinton's administration]

"Gerrymandered congressional districts are an affront to democracy and an insult to the voters. We oppose that and any other attempt to rig the electoral process."

"Nor should the intelligence community be made the scapegoat for political misjudgments. A Republican administration working with the Congress will respect the needs and quiet sacrifices of these public servants as it strengthens America’s intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities and reorients them toward the dangers of the future."
Insert your own snarky comments. Go read the rest of it, as well as the excerpt from the Dem's platform - the only one to mention Osama bin Laden:
"Whether terrorism is sponsored by a foreign nation or inspired by a single fanatic individual, such as Osama Bin Laden, Forward Engagement requires trying to disrupt terrorist networks, even before they are ready to attack. We must improve coordination internationally and domestically to share intelligence and develop operational plans. We must continue the comprehensive approach that has resulted in the development of a national counter-terrorism strategy involving all arms and levels of our government. We must continue to target terrorist finances, break up support cells, and disrupt training."


"While fighting terrorism, we will protect the civil liberties of all Americans. Our justice system must guarantee fairness with procedures that protect the rights of the accused, even under the unusual circumstances of the investigation of threats to our national security. We must avoid stereotyping, for it defeats the highest purposes of our country if citizens feel automatically suspect by virtue of their ethnic origin. The purpose of terrorism is not only to intimidate, but also to divide and fracture, and we cannot permit that to happen."
It's funny... then it's just kinda sad...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Cool stuff

I try not to do too much of this, since there are so many sites on the web that do it better but occasionally I run across things that I just think you ought to see:

This one (it is work-safe, but keep the volume on but low)

I found a Japanese -> English translation and some commentary here

And now, for something completely different, Meet the Beatallica!

And this is weird, but oddly cool!

My apologies to anyone I stole these from - I would cite you if I had more than 3 brain cells left after laughing at the first link up there!

When television jumped the shark

Rather than worrying about when any particular show "jumped the shark", we should be talking about when television itself jumped the shark. I'm sure there are those that would look to the end of some favorite show, or the launch of Who Wants to be a Millionaire or something, but I'm convinced that it's when the average advertising on TV became more entertaining, was better written and had higher production values than your average television show. Given the impending demise of the Whedon-verse (Buffy, Firefly, Angel) and the quick deaths of quality shows like Glory Days and Karen Sisco, there's no question that the shark has been jumped (and I ain't talking about the recent sitcom deaths - Frazier jumped around season 2 and Seinfeld and Friends sucked like black holes from their inceptions). Ads like the Tiger Woods Amex take-off on Caddyshack, almost every self-promo for ESPN Sportscenter (the one with the stealing of mascots from other networks was priceless - Linda Cohn running down and tackling a large fork from the Food Network was hysterical!), many of the "fake" ads for Geico, even the CGI'ed head-butting baby on the DQ ad are so much better than the latest Who Wants to Marry a Bachelor American Swan Survivor's Big Brother that I'm almost (but not quite) tempted to watch TV for just the ads. Okay, so I loathe and detest the Chili's baby back rib song and the god-awful Mr. Wendy's campaign and what rocket scientist thought a talking oven mitt would be a good mascot for Arby's?! I'm still left with the fact that with the last Angel airing next week, there is not a single damn television show on the schedule that I care enough to watch. That might NOT have been true if Fox hadn't kept moving Arrested Development around, but I've missed a few of them now due to scheduling changes so I'm not even sure how much I care anymore.

I have no idea what it would take for TV to jump back, but I'm pretty sure Survivor: Des Moines isn't it...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Beer - it's what's for breakfast

I may just have to make this my default page - where else can you find the following information:
I can't figure out how people determine what a beer's IBU is. Is there some guy that just drinks a lot of beer? Is it a robot? I want one.


As we noted above, IBU stands for International Bitterness Unit, which, in beer-nerd terms, is one milligram of iso-alpha acid per liter of beer, which also equals one part per million (ppm). Alpha acids are the compounds in hops that lend bitterness to beer, and when a brewer purchases hops, there's a value associated with the volume purchased that denotes the percentage of the weight of the hops that are alpha acids. And here's one of the easier formulas for calculating IBUs:


Hops x AA% x U%
Volume x 1.34


Hops = weight of hops in ounces

AA% = alpha acid percent

U% = percentage of alpha acid that is actually used during the boiling process (this can be impacted by a slew of factors)

Volume = volume of the wort in gallons

1.34 = constant that converts milligrams into US standards

This is a great formula as long as you use fresh hops, because the power of alpha acids will diminish as the hops get older, eventually oxidizing or turning rancid, giving the beer a cheesy aroma and flavor. All in all, IBU is simply a rough estimate of how much bitterness is added to the beer.

MIT, eh? Check eBay for IBU robots. Look in “Home > All Categories > Lazy Bastards.”

Respect beer.
I couldn't have said it better...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Let's trade!

I propose a trade to the Repugnicans - we'll give you Joe Lieberman for Senator McCain. No change in the power structure but it would seem that each would be more comfortable on the other side.

In reality, I suspect that McCain is relishing his role in being the rational voice of his party and wouldn't be all that interested in changing, while Lieberman... well, he just seems to be a big puss. We don't want him, frankly, so I'd be okay with giving him to the other side even without compensation. His comments in the Dumsfeld hearing last week were frankly freaking embarrassing.
Mr. Secretary, the behavior by Americans at the prison in Iraq is, as we all acknowledge, immoral, intolerable and un-American. It deserves the apology that you have given today and that have been given by others in high positions in our government and our military.

I cannot help but say, however, that those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11th, 2001, never apologized. Those who have killed hundreds of Americans in uniform in Iraq working to liberate Iraq and protect our security have never apologized.
Uh, huh? The events of 9/11/2001 had exactly what again to do with our torture of prisoners in Iraq? The people whose country we invaded that fought back were supposed to apologize for that? What a jerk...

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Abu Ghraib

I haven't been able to post anything about Abu Ghraib or the rest of the story that still seems to be slowly emerging. There are a lot of people out there that have discussed it much better than I can - suffice it to say that while the treatment that we're seeing of Iraqi prisoners would be abominable regardless of who did it and who it was done to, it does make it much, much worse to me that it was done by my countrymen. You'd think after the stories of the torture of American servicemen in the hands of the North Vietnamese would have at least put anyone off of thinking that ANYTHING justified such actions for a couple of generations, but that doesn't seem to be the case, not only from the actions that we're seeing documented but also from the reaction of a large part of the US population. Either denial that it was widespread or the sort of "well, look what they did to us" excuse (not sure if that is equating all Muslims with Al Qaeda or still believing that Iraq and Al Qaeda were linked) - either rationale is clearly despicable.

Given the apparent fact that yet again the military put too few resources in place, this time to guard the camp, one could believe that beatings and rough handling were due to overcrowded conditions and blame the brass for not putting enough people in place to maintain control. But that does not explain the premeditated, sadistic torture that is captured in the photos we're now seeing (with what is being said is worse to come). This was institutionalized - there's no way around it and no defense for Dumsfeld. That's Nazi crap and we cannot stand for it. While he should have been fired months ago, there's no bloody way in hell that he should escape from this. The buck's gotta stop somewhere and it's been pretty well demonstrated that it ain't gonna stop on the Preznit's desk. Dumsfeld's got to go.

Mother's Day shout-out!

Happy Mother's Day to the coolest Mom a guy could have! She read to us, played with us, swam with us (even if sometimes it was with that weird keeping-the-hair-out-of-the-water Mom stroke), climbed trees with us, canoed with us, played games with us and didn't murder me when I fell asleep coming home from a date and whacked her car. What more couldja want? So have a great day, Mom! Sorry I can't be there.