Wednesday, July 31, 2002

TRYING TO BE THE MAN
Today I have a job interview at the University at which I taught last semester. It's for a full-time spot, rather than just the adjunct thing I did last year. I'm hopeful it'll go well, especially since the job was kind of created for me (or at least adapted for me). But I've been getting weird vibes from everyone involved, as if they've been told "No, it's not in the bag for him" or there are other serious contenders. it's like most of the department has forgotten I worked there last year.

It's probably just my paranoia. We'll see.

On an all together different note, we got Jake a little paint set to paint flower pots. It turns out the paint is some sort of weird stuff that doesn't just wash out. I'm finding paint splatters all over the house. Each and every one has been a pain in the ass to remove. Something to consider when buying you kid paints.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

THINK THIS MIGHT SOUND FAMILIAR?
We were initially told, when they began applying the military law heavily, that it was only to be used only against drug dealers and terrorists. Not it's being used against civil libertarians and a lot of people are now just backing down. Not so many are willing to give up seven years of their lives behind bars.

The quote comes from Hisham Kassem, publisher of the Cairo Times and chief of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights in Cairo, who was interviewed this afternoon on NPR regarding the conviction and seven-year sentence of Egyptian-American professor and human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim for tarnishing Egypt's reputation, among other things.

For anyone out who seriously thinks government (any government) can control themselves when it comes to power, think again. Sure, now it's wanky John Ashcroft and Homeland Security and recruiting truckers across America to call in any suspicious activity. How else can we beat those terrorists, right? But even with our good will and best intentions, laws like the ones being pushed by the Shrub administration could very well turn around and bite us in the ass in a few years. As Kassem said about the law regarding "tarnishing Egypt's reputation":

It's a very loosely worded law which practically apples to 50% of what's written in the press here everyday in Egypt. it's one of those laws you leave on the shelf and then whenever you need to use it against a politically dissident or an independent minded person, it becomes convenient.

I know, Egypt is a Middle Eastern backwater and we're soooooo superior. Maybe. But paranoia knows no borders and if a government feels threatened, we should all run for cover.

...

On an oddly related note, my good friend Theresa, formerly managing editor of the Orlando Weekly, is moving to Cairo to take over editorial duty at some American language monthly. Hopefully, she'll stick to the safe stuff like calendar listings.
...

It happens every time I buy a new computer game...I get sucked in for days. This time it's GIANTS, CITIZEN KABUTO, a cool shooter with an Aussie vibe and lots of humor. I'm amazed how much story they get into computer games now. Every "Chapter" is preceded by a short animated movie. This is going to kill days of my life for sure.

...

For Mac OSX fans out there...I'm pleased to report the new RealMedia player appears to work much better than their 3 previous versions combined (which sucked big time). Also, check out this great little app called Watson (find it at versiontracker.com). Much like OSX 10.2 revised Sherlock feature, Watson offers a multitude of information via a stand alone browser, so you don't actually have to log onto the web. Movie time, weather, news, package tracking, cooking suggestions, currency exchange rates, language translation and more...it's all there and the full-functioning demo is free. Way cool.

Friday, July 26, 2002

ANOTHER MAC AD IDEA
From Chas of the Chasbah, who know's his Macs and his demigods.


...

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

HE'S OUT BY A HAIR!
Rep. James Traficant Expelled from Congress by Vote of 420 to 1
The only member who voted against expulsion was Rep. Gary Condit, a California Democrat who was defeated in a re-election bid this year after being romantically linked to a missing federal intern. Traficant did not vote.

There is something so weirdly right about this.
Former WorldCom CFO Builds Mansion in Florida
Ugh...

Can somebody please explain to me why this scumbag isn't in prison yet? The Fed's slapped the cuffs on those bastards from Adelphia and the market jumped nearly 500 points. Hauling in the Worldcom crew (and others behind them) would be the first positive thing Shrub has done for the stock market since taking office. Hopefully, he'll do it without saying much because everytime he talks about the markets, they swoon and drop like a diabetic that skipped lunch.

Maybe I'll drive over there and gets pictures of the place, huh? Would you like to see that?
RUSH TELLS APPLE - THINK REALLY DIFFERENT
It seems Rush Limbaugh, a devoted Macintosh user, is a bit miffed that Steve Jobs and the rest of the Apple crew don't run ads on his radio show - RIGHT: APPLE STUPIDITY. Although Rush sounds like the worst kind of cheeseball, local radio advertising rep, he has a point. Apple should pitch the conservative crowd a lot harder and Rush is the man to do it. Imagine ad ad with Rush and somebody liberal and known in the business world like...mmmm...oh...say...Steve Jobs. Together, they hold a Titanium Powerbook under the headline We Agree on Almost Nothing Except This.

I think the conservatives would be swayed by Rush and liberals would chuckle about the ad in the right spirit. It's a no lose call, unless Rush is seeking some stupid money.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002


COMING BACK
New York proved to be as broiling hot as Orlando, with the added problem that few folks up there do air conditioning seriously. Each May, they drag out a rusting old window AC unit from the celler and install it with wooden shims, duct tape and bricks. It's about as efficient as a ceiling fan on low with a ice cube nearby. I slept four of five nights in a pool of sweat on my friend Dave's couch because the AC in his bedroom couldn't send a cool draft to the adjoining living room. On the plus side, Dave is cool and his couch is comfy, so it worked out.

MacWorld was a pleasant diversion, although no major announcements rocked my world. It was fun playing with OSX 10.2 and even more fun to observe a dearth of bodies hanging around Microsoft's booth. The magician/shill working at Iomega's stage had bigger crowds for every show. Have people finally figured out that with Appleworks and shareware like Thinkfree Office, they don't need to buy Microsoft products anymore? Gosh, I hope so.

The high point of my show (as always) - stopping by to watch former Brady Bunch kid Chris Knight (aka Peter brady) smile and walk through countless demos forEskape labs, the computer company with which he's worked for years.

On a final Mac note, I found an interesting Flash animation parody of the current Mac commercials at Ubergeektv called, Fuck your Macintosh Lifestyle. The strange thing is how well it seems to support the whole Mac strategy. In fact, this would make a pretty cool Mac commercial. I especially like the part where the ex-PC dude recalls how his father beat him with a PC. I just love that my choice of box pisses off sombody so much. Frankly, I couldn't care less what anybody else uses, but I am hiughly amused by the number of PC friends going Mac, including 2 of my bandmates in Hoboken who less than a year ago were hardcore PC supporters.

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HATE PHONE SOLICITORS?
I've been getting an almost daily pre-recorded phone call from Kerry of Great Escapes Travel in Daytona Beach telling me I've won a trip to Las Vegas if I call before midnight tonight. Want to help me fuck these people over? Their number is 800 449-1229. Please set your autodialers to that number for one night and let your computer make a few hundred calls. I figure each call costs them 50 cents or so, so that should be a nice gift for the bastards.

If you want some facts about your rights, check out Unwanted Telephone Marketing Calls, a consumer guide published by the FCC which details all the demands you can make to every phone solicitor and how you might sue them if they fail to comply.

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MR. EARLE STRIKES AGAIN
You gotta love an ex-junkie cowboy singer who's gotten sober, turned bluegrass and now can write a song that makes Nashville's music elite shriek in disgust. It seems Alt Country legend Steve Earle has written a somewhat sympathetic song about of American Taliban John Walker Lindh - Earle's 'U.S. Taliban' Ballad Inspires Controversy.

I haven't heard the cut, but from the lyrics quoted, it hardly seems that Earle is stating a case for supporting the Taliban. It's more like he tried to get inside Lindh's head and reveal what might have been going on there. No matter. Most folks don't give a shit about Lindh's thoughts and only want him strung up on a pole.

I say Rock On Steve. If musicians aren't annoying somebody, they're probably in danger of becoming a Boy Band. (Thanks to CB for the tip on this one)

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

HERE AND GONE AGAIN
Got back from a family trip to Upstate New York a few days ago and I'm off again tomorrow to NYC for MacWorld, a Life In A Blender gig and general nonsense with friends. All this means I'll be off the blog until Tuesday. Until then, some brief observations.

1) Orlando is brutally hot in the summer. It's the season I notice that I've developed some weird kind of man breasts because just below them is where the sweat appears first on my shirt each day. The only winning strategies are living by the pool or indoors with the air conditioners, which is probably similar to how residents of Mars will eventually deal with the heat.

2) There's nothing to make one feel old and infirmed like a vacation with a body builder. The male half of the lovely couple who invited us to New York is a pumped chunk of muscle who used to box, play college football and compete with the oil and flex set. Mind you, he's totally cool in every way. But when I failed to get upright waterskiing in four attempts and had to give up because my legs and arms screamed in pain, I could only look at him and think I used to... Well, okay, I never used to look like him. But I was kinda in shape. I wasn't this hulking mass with weird man breasts, weak knees and a numb right hand. Things are going to change at Casa De Suburb.

3) Caught Robin Williams on HBO and was fairly unimpressed. When did his whole act become a series of accents and ethnic jokes? In a 100 minute live set, there were maybe 4 really funny bits and two of those seemed sourced from other comics (the Scottish golf story recalled Billy Connelly and I'm almost certain George Carlin did a similar bit about the siblings of Jesus). The rest of the stuff was frantic, yes, but it reminded me of drunken nights with smart college friends, riffing on all sorts of weird topics and headlines. Too many times, Williams would hint at some promising angle, then charge off on less interesting tangent. He must be finding out the awful truth that rockers discover - it's impossible to be 50 and sober and still as thin, sharp or maniacally interesting as when you were 25 and buzzing on coke.

On the plus side, my good buddy Jon did Robin's front of house sound - so yeah!

4) I finally finished Michael Moore's book Stupid White Men and was not knocked out. Moore makes many good points, particularly on class and corporate issues. And can he be funny. But like most agitators he's best at pointing out the faults of others, not in offering any valid solutions (his chapter on resolving international conflicts is painful). In one of the better sections, Moore details how Bill Clinton was probably the best Republican president this country's ever had, when you consider the kind of pro-business stance he had. However, this seething over Clinton policies renders incomprehensible Moore's lust for Hillary, who usually seemed to be backing Clinton's moves away from the traditional liberal platform.

Curiously, Moore appears deeply conflicted about helping Nader blow the 2000 Presidential Election for Gore. At first, he tows the Nader party line - Gore lost the election for himself. Nader had little to do with it. Gore crumbled during the FLA recount. But in the final chapter, Moore changes his tune. He details how in the closing weeks of the 2000 election, he saw Nader's strength handing key states to Bush and suggested that Nader folks to make a deal with Gore or free Nader followers in swing states from voting for him. Moore claims he suggested the later during a late trip to FSU and helped drive down Nader's vote total in Florida to 1.6% from nearly 6%.

If that's true, it a rather amazing dual admission. Not only was Moore willing to sell out Nader when the chips were down, but in some roundabout way, Moore's wants Democrats know that without his efforts, Gore would never have even gotten as close as he did in the Sunshine state.

I still like Moore a lot and agree with him more often than not. I just wish he'd grow up. His lumpen proletariat routine was charming the first couple of times around the block, but now the denim and baseball hat thing is starting to look like a schtick. Show me that you can grow and refine your perspective with 20 additional years of experience and I'm all ears. Continue to harp about GM closing auto plants in Flint and I'm gonna have to sing you Springsteen's My Hometown - These jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back . Figure it out and move on. Stop moping about a past that's long gone.

Friday, July 05, 2002

A LETTER FROM MS. LOVE
From back in late May, but the fight goes on. Nicked from the always wonderful RuPaul Blog

.....

Delivered 2 Prince from Courtney Love:
ARTIST RIGHTS AND RECORD COMPANIES
Dear Fellow Recording Artists,

I'm writing to ask you to join the chorus of recording artists who want us
all to get a fair deal from the record companies. R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks,
U2, Alanis Morrissette, Bush, Prince and Q-Tip have called me with their
support and we need your participation as well.

There are 3 basic facts all recording artists should know:

1. No one has ever represented the rights and interests of recording artists
AS A GROUP in negotiations with record companies

2. Recording artists don't have access to quality health care and pension
plans like the ones made available to actors and athletes through their
unions.

3. Recording artists are paid royalties that represent a tiny fraction of
the money their work earns.

As I was working with my manager and my new attorneys on my lawsuit with the
Universal Music Group, we realized that the most unfair clauses in my
contract applied to ALL recording artists. Most importantly, no one was
representing artists in an attempt to change the system.

Recording artists need to form a new organization that will represent their
interests in Washington and negotiate fair contract terms with record
companies.

Here's what you should know:

THERE IS NO ONE WHO REPRESENTS RECORDING ARTISTS
Recording artists don't have a single union that looks out for their
interests. AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) has a
contract with major labels for vocalists and the AFM (American Federation of
Musicians) has a contract for non-singing musicians and session players.

If you're in a band, your singer is represented by a different union (AFTRA)
than the rest of your group (who are represented by the AFM). AFTRA
negotiates contracts for TV and Radio performers. They don't pay very much
attention to the recording business; it's not their priority. The AFM acts
like band members are sidemen and session players because that's mostly who
the union represents.

Record companies like this system because neither union represents all
artists. AFTRA and AFM only negotiate session fees and other minor issues
for the singers or the "sidemen."

Who looks after our interests in Washington? Until very recently, Congress
believed that the RIAA spoke for recording artists. The RIAA (Recording
Industry Association of America) is a trade group that is paid for by record
companies to represent their interests. The Napster hearings last summer and
a few other issues have let Washington know that NO ONE speaks for recording
artists right now. We have their attention and must act quickly to make sure
artists have a voice.

RECORDING ARTISTS DON'T HAVE A SAFETY NET
Compare yourself to actors and baseball players. Like the music business,
the film and the sports industries generate billions of dollars in income
each year, but those industries offer far better benefits to the men and
women who create their wealth.

The Screen Actors Guild offers a fantastic health care plan to its members.
That health plan is paid for by the contracts that SAG has negotiated with
film studios. The baseball player's union has negotiated a pension plan that
ensures that NO major league player ever finds himself without an income.

Why shouldn't recording artists get the same benefits?

RECORDING ARTISTS DON'T GET PAID
Record companies have a 5% success rate. That means that 5% of all records
released by major labels go gold or platinum. How do record companies get
away with a 95% failure rate that would be totally unacceptable in any other
business?

Record companies keep almost all the profits. Recording artists get paid a
tiny fraction of the money earned by their music. That allows record
executives to be incredibly sloppy in running their companies and still
create enormous amounts for cash for the corporations that own them.

The royalty rates granted in every recording contract are very low to start
with and then companies charge back every conceivable cost to an artist's
royalty account. Artists pay for recording costs, video production costs,
tour support, radio promotion, sales and marketing costs, packaging costs
and any other cost the record company can subtract from their royalties.

Record companies also reduce royalties by "forgetting" to report sales
figure, miscalculating royalties and by preventing artists from auditing
record company books.

Recording contracts are unfair and a single artist negotiating an individual
deal doesn't have the leverage to change the system. Artists will finally
get paid what they deserve when they band together and force the recording
industry to negotiate with them AS A GROUP.

Thousands of successful artists who sold hundreds of millions of records and
generated billions of dollars in profits for record companies find
themselves broke and forgotten by the industry they made wealthy.

Here a just a few examples of what we're talking about:

Multiplatinum artists like TLC ("Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," "Waterfalls" and "No
Scrubs") and Toni Braxton ("Unbreak My Heart" and "Breathe Again") have been
forced to declare bankruptcy because their recording contracts didn't pay
them enough to survive.

Corrupt recording agreements forced the heirs of Jimi Hendrix ("Purple
Haze," "All Along the Watchtower" and "Stone Free") to work menial jobs
while his catalog generated millions of dollars each year for Universal
Music.

Florence Ballard from the Supremes ("Where Did Our Love Go," "Stop in the
Name of Love" and "You Keep Me Hangin' On" are just 3 of the 10 #1 hits she
sang on) was on welfare when she died.

Collective Soul earned almost no money from "Shine," one of the biggest
alternative rock hits of the 90s when Atlantic paid almost all of their
royalties to an outside production company.

Merle Haggard ("I Threw Away the Rose," "Sing Me Back Home" and "Today I
Started Loving You Again") enjoyed a string of 37 top-ten country singles
(including 23 #1 hits) in the 60s and 70s. Yet he never received a record
royalty check until last year when he released an album on the indie
punk-rock label Epitaph.

Even Elvis Presley, the biggest-selling artist of all time, died with an
estate valued at not even $3 million.

Think of it this way: recording artists are often the writers, directors and
producers of their own records. They write the songs, choose the producers
and engineers who record their music, hire and oversee the photographers and
designers who create their CD artwork and oversee all parts of video
production, from concept to director to final edit.

Record companies advance money for recording costs and provide limited
marketing services for the music that artists conceive and create. In
exchange, they keep almost all of the money and 100% of the copyrights.

Even the most successful recording artists in history (The Beatles, The
Eagles, Nirvana, Eminem) have been paid a fraction of the money they
deserved from sales of their records.

This is a very big and very important project and we're in the early days.
Here's what we're looking for:

1. Artists who are willing to speak to the media to publicly lend their
support to the idea that recording artists need an organization that
represents our interests in Washington and with the record companies. We
also would like you tell your managers and attorneys that you support this
cause and that you expect them, as your representatives and employees to do
the same.

2. Anyone who can tell us specific stories about how artists have been
ripped off by record companies like the ones I told above. We're going to
have to educate the public and the media and Congress and the only way we'll
do that is by giving them examples they can relate to.

NOW is the time for action.

Artists like Garbage and N*SYNC have have joined me in questioning bad
contracts and have also gone to court to change the system.

Record companies have merged and re-merged to the point where they can no
longer relate to their artists.

Digital distribution will change the music industry forever; artists must
make sure they finally get their fair share of the money their music earns.

We need to come together quickly and present a united front to the industry.
Your managers and attorneys will probably tell you not to rock the boat and
not to risk your "relationship" with your record company by taking a stand.

Most attorneys and managers are conflicted. Almost all entertainment law
firms represent both artists and record companies. Lawyers can't take a
stand against record companies because that's where they get most of their
business. Even the best managers often have business relationships with
labels and depend on record companies to refer new clients.

Think about Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam's stand against TicketMaster.
Everyone knew he was right and yet no other artist took a public stand
against a company that we all knew was hurting our business because our
managers and attorneys told us it would be a bad idea.

Attorneys and managers are your employees. Make sure they know how you feel
and that you want them to publicly support the idea that the terms of
recording contracts are unfair and cover too long a time period. You also
want them to support an organization that will negotiate health and pension
benefits for all recording artists.

Artists have all the power. They create the music that makes the money that
funds the business. No one has ever harnessed that power for artists'
collective good.

And remember something equally important: Actors had to fight to end the
studio system that forced actors to work for one employer and baseball
players had to strike to end the reserve clause that tied a player to one
team for his entire career. Even though "experts" predicted economic
disaster once actors and athletes gained their freedom, both the film
business and baseball have enjoyed their greatest financial success once
their talent was given its freedom.

Join us now in taking a public stand. Your name will help get the attention
that artists rights deserve. If you're willing to speak to the media or
testify before Congress, you can help make our goals a reality.

Do it for yourself, for your children and do it for the artists who inspired
you to make music in the first place.

Email us at:

Artists@theredceiling.com

Or send a fax to 323-934-2265

Give us your stories and your support. Tell us we can add your name to the
list of artists who support this organization. And let us know how to
contact you directly as we move forward on this project.

If you're interested in learning more about my case with Universal, visit my
manager's website:

www.theredceiling.com

You can download a copy of our cross-complaint and press releases that
describe the issues we're taking to court.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Best regards,

Courtney Love

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

OLD LADY SPEAKS OUT ABOUT JUDICIAL BOOB
From Butler in Hoboken. A bit dated, but still, it's good to know some seniors still have their wits about them.

The following is a letter read by Claire Braz-Valentine, the author, at this year's In Celebration of the Muse, Cabrillo College. It is worth knowing that the author is a woman of 60+ years, conservatively dressed and obviously quite talented.

AN OPEN LETTER TO JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES


On January 28, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he spent $8,000 of taxpayer's money for drapes to cover up the exposed breast of The Spirit of Justice, an 18 ft aluminum statue of a woman that stands in the Department of Justice's Hall of Justice.

John, John, John, you've got your priorities all wrong. While men fly airplanes into skyscrapers, dive bomb the pentagon, while they stick explosives into their shoes, and then book a seat right next to us, while they hide knives in their luggage, steal kids on school buses, take little girls from their beds at night, drive trucks into our state capital buildings, while our president calls dangerous men all over the world evil doers and devils, while we live in the threat of biological warfare, nuclear destruction, annihilation, you are out buying yardage to save Americans from the appalling alarming, abominable aluminum alloy of evil, that terrible ten foot tin tittie. You might not be able to find Bin Laden, but you sure as hell found the hooter in the hall of justice.

It's not that we aren't grateful. But while we were begging the women of Afghanistan to not cover up their faces, you are begging your staff members to just cover up that nipple, to save the American people from that monstrous metal mammary. How can we ever thank you?

So, in your office every morning, in your secret prayer meeting, while an American woman is sexually assaulted every 6 seconds, while anthrax floats around the post office and settles in the chest of senior citizens, you've got another chest on your mind.

While American sons arrive home in body bags and heat seeking missiles fly around a foreign country looking for any warm body, you think of another body. And you pray for the biggest bra in the world. John, you see that breast on the Spirit of Justice in the spirit of your own inhibited sexuality.

And when we women see our grandmothers, our mothers, our daughters, our granddaughters, our sisters, ourselves, when we women see that statue, the Spirit of Justice, we see the spirit of strength, the spirit of survival. Every day we view innocent bodies dragged out of rubble, and women and children laid out like thin limp dolls and baptized into death as collateral damage, and we see the hollow-eyed Afghani mother whose milk has dried up underneath her burka in famine, in shame, and her children are dead at her breast. While you look at that breast, John, that jug on the Spirit of Justice, and deal with your thoughts of lust and sex and nakedness, we see it as a testimony to motherhood. You see it as a tit.

It's not the money it cost. It's the message you send. We've got the right to live in freedom. We've got the right to cheat Americans out of millions of dollars and then just not want to tell congress about it. We've got the right to drop bombs, night and day, on a small country that has no army, no navy, no military at all, because we've got the right to bear arms. But we just better not even think about the right to bare breasts.

So now John, you can be photographed while you stand there and talk about guns and bombs and poisons without that breast appearing over your right shoulder, without that bodacious bosom bothering you and we just wanted to tell you in the spirit of justice, in the spirit of truth, John, there is still one very big boob left standing there in that picture.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

THANK GOD FOR THE BRITISH PRESS
While we in America worry about terror alerts and watch our 401K shrink, Britian's Observer hired investigative journalist Gregory Palast to investigate the Florida Presidential vote. Yeah, I know. It's a done deal. The courts gave it to Bush. But if you're in a conspiracy frame of mind, check out this:

THE GREAT FLORIDA EX-CON GAME
How the “felon” voter-purge was itself felonious


Basically, says Palast - “Here’s how your President was elected: In the year leading up to the Presidential election, Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush removed tens of thousands of citizens from the voter rolls.  Harris claimed they were felons – but almost none were – though 54% were guilty of being African-American....”

Oops. Of course, we here in war-torn America can't be bothered with little details like that. I guess it's another liberal media conspiracy, huh? Luckily, Ms. Harris knows how to pour gas on the fire by writing a letter in response KATHERINE HARRIS SAYS PALAST 'TWISTED AND MANIACAL' . However, if she's going to go to all the trouble, she should at least deny the charges cleanly. Instead she provides a convoluted answer that sounds like something out of the Nixon White House.

(Props to the Blowtorch Monkey Armada for pointing out this item. See link to left.)

.....

BTW - Tomorrow in July 4th and this Saturday starts a week of family vacation. Suburban Limbo will likely be in the summer doldrums for a while. But fear not. From breaks like this comes more content.

Monday, July 01, 2002

MORE ON THE FUTURE OF MUSIC
My friend Ross Teigen has been thinking about the issue of online music vs. the record companies and he sent this essay, which I guess he'll also be posting on his own site. Ross, while an entertaining guy and terrific builder of guitars, has a point of view decided right of my own. In fact, I always kid him that his move to the swamp, his gun collection and general desire to avoid civilization isn't far from hardcore survivalist dogma. I don't think he disagrees, but he's not so far gone that I can't drop by for hours and hours of interesting conversation. Everybody should know a self-made intellect like Ross.

Anyway, here's what he wrote:

...........

Intellectual Property

The battle rages over online file sharing. The Former Program Currently Known as Napster and it's spawn have caused an inflamed recording industry to respond with lawsuits, injunctions, and political lobbying. An early salvo in the Artist Wars resulted in the neutering of Napster, which is now bound to render royalties for contested shared content. More action is being taken by the troubled artists spearheaded by their record companies. Much court activity will doubtless follow. It may be, however, that the relentless march of technology will render the efforts of these warriors moot.

The question becomes not whether recording artists should be recompensed, but how. Surely an artist is worth his wage, but the collection of that wage is problematic. It is idle to expect technically-savvy freebooting enthusiasts to be deterred by the honor system when new releases hang ripe for the plucking. A convoluted system of filters, legislation, booby-trapped CDs, and torts is doomed to a losing battle. No, it seems likely that our new technological paradigm will dictate a rethinking of artistís recompense. A possible solution presents itself.

First, no technology will reproduce the experience, or value, of, say, Paul McCartney performing Yesterday live. That bastion of income, the live show, remains safe for the life of the artist. It may become a greater proportion of the artistís income in the future, as unrestricted file sharing infringes on royalties. File sharing can be mitigated, to some extent, by lowering the price of CDs significantly. A 50% across-the-board price cut would make the inconvenience of ripping your buddy's CD less attractive. Perhaps, though, the best solution would be to look to the movie industry for inspiration.

As the father of teenage children, I have noticed an interesting occurrence in regard to newly released movies. Their value as sociological currency is closely tied to the release date. A film with a strong pre-release buzz must be seen by it's target audience within a week of it's release to be best enjoyed. It seems as if there is a definite shelf-life for those things deemed au courant by enthusiasts. If the unwritten sell by date is passed, many viewers become uninterested and instead look forward to the next big release. It may be, then, that Eminem, constrained by the thought that his CD sales may be marginalized by file sharing, chooses to release his next album as a performance movie two weeks in advance of CD release. The movie of Marshall performing his new collection of songs could be viewed at movie theaters for $8 a pop, or on pay-per-view TV, or both. For at least two weeks, his devotees would be charged full rate for the Eminem experience. Unlike live shows, of which he could presumably do 30 a month, theaters nationwide often run shows six times daily. At the end of this time, CDs go on sale at a modest $5 per copy. Let the rippers do what they will.

This approach, of course, may mean that the days of an artist getting rich on royalties based on one monster hit song are over. It may be that artist compensation in our society will be adjusted downward. But maybe not. New industry, in the form of specialty theaters carrying niche artists may appear. A thousand flowers may bloom. Where old opportunities disappear, new ones will arise. It is time for the record industry to embrace the future rather than fear it.

Ross Teigen (Teigen Guitars

.......

Interesting thoughts, no? I agree with Ross about the price cut on CDs, especially once CD-R companies get hit with a tax. Of course, this assumes people actually rip CDs themselves. Now that I subscribe to eMusic.com, I find myself listening to the music ont he computer and not ripping CDs, unless I want to hear them in the car.

Also, the extra costs associated with a big visual marketing pitch will be reserved for the Eminem's of the world. This suggests to me a separation of record labels. On the one hand, the big guys will will become like film producers, dumping big money into a few acts and trying to hit big. The other side will be smaller, speciality acts with labels that rely on a personal connection with their audiences as well as multiple avenues of distribution. They Might Be Giants, who embraced web-distribution early, is a good example of such an act.

PS - I'm happy to report that Blogapp is working again.
OBSERVATION
I picked up jake from his Grandparents' house tonight. When I arrived, Natalie was on the phone with her Mother. Before we left, Grandma told Jake, Give your Mommy a kiss good night and held out the phone. Jake leaned over, said Good night Mommy then carefully kissed the ear piece of the phone.

I thought it odd - why didn't he kiss the mouthpiece? Because he hears his Mother's voice through the ear piece. Sometimes, a three-year's logic is flawless.

...

One of the biggest things I notice about having a kid is how much every comment or compliment directed toward him impacts me. No matter how I try to avoid it, I live through my son. His success are my success. His failures are my failures.

This is not such a bad thing until I realize it must have been exactly the same for my parents. Growing up, I never once considered that. I thought their life was separate and distant from my own. Being the youngest, I figured they barely even considered me as a person until my siblings moved out of the house. I was wrong. I'm sure there are some generational differences - maybe we yuppies dote on our kids a bit more than the Depression Era parents. But I can't imagine that my actions ever escaped their gaze. And I'm pretty sure that every big decision I ever made weighed as heavily on them as well as me.

It's like suddenly realizing you're under surveillance.