Archive for October, 2006

Are you helping facilitate the extortion of innocent people?

14 October 2006 at 6:26 pm
by Jonah

Here’s some good evidence of why the RIAA is evil. Yes, evil. Or bad, wicked, not good.

A guy in Chicago is delivered a letter saying the RIAA is going to sue him. He knows he’s done nothing wrong, and he even hires an expert to examine his computer and make sure he doesn’t have any illegally downloaded music on it. Then he calls the RIAA to say there must be some mistake, but he can’t even get in touch with one of their lawyers, just a “Settlement Hotline.” (“For the low, low price of only $3,750, you can make this all go away! Act now while supplies last.”)

So after spending money on the computer expert, hiring an attorney, and spending who knows how much time on this thing, he finally gets to court, and the RIAA drops the case.

And he’s one of the few who have challenged this bullying in court. Do you know how expensive attorneys are? (I do…I work for one and do his billing.) $3,750 is a little less than it would cost to hire a litigating attorney to represent you, especially as long as the RIAA lawyers drag cases out.

This is not protecting artists’ copyrights. This isn’t even protecting record companies. This is extortion, pure and simple. Extortion is what the Mafia specializes in. It is not protection. It is unfair, unjust, and evil. Period.

When you buy a record from a record company that’s a member of the RIAA, you are supporting extortion. You are supporting evil. Even if it’s a Christian CD. (Not sure if that album is RIAA-safe? Use RIAA Radar.)

How can we stop this injustice? The RIAA drops any case that’s challenged, so they’ll never have a judge tell them, “Hey, you can’t do that!” The only way to stop them is if enough record companies complain about this “trade association” that supposed represents them. And the only thing record companies pay attention to is MONEY.

Don’t support extortion! Buy used!

Dead Iraqis

13 October 2006 at 4:28 pm
by Berck

So, the most accurate study up until now showing how many Iraqis had died as a result of the US invasion was 100,000, based on a 2004 Lancet survey. Before you discount it, you should probably listen to this. Even Joanna agrees the survey is probably accurate. And since they purposely didn’t survey Fallujah, it’s probably much higher than that. The most disturbing part? Almost all the deaths could be directly attributed to Coalition forces, rather than death from disease, etc, attributed to war.

Well, they’ve updated it for 2006, and are up to 650,000 deaths over baseline. To put it into perspective, similar surveys of our own civil war suggest somewhere around 615,000 deaths over baseline.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

13 October 2006 at 3:30 pm
by Berck

Amazingly, we’ve watched two good movies in a row. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was excellent. It’s clearly taken a page from Pulp Fiction but is worlds funnier. Absolutely hilarious on the surface, and a lot of the dialogue is subtly funny. There’s a character named Flicka which eventually leads to the line, “Oh, my friend flicka told me,” which wouldn’t have been funny if they’d try to play it up. The narration was done by someone aware that he’s narrating a movie, which is old, but not too bothersome. A-.

Thank You for Smoking

11 October 2006 at 7:53 pm
by Berck

We just finished watching Thank You for Smoking. Hilarious look at big tobacco from their side. Most entertaining movie we’ve seen in awhile. A-.

Three Day Weekend

11 October 2006 at 7:30 pm
by Jonah

Berck had a three-day weekend (because of that glorious of all holidays, Columbus Day). He also has this coming Friday off. But he has to work Saturday the next day.

We traveled down to Pueblo on Friday evening for dinner with Berck’s buddy from work who just got a job down there teaching ROTC students how to fly. They served us a huge pile of homemade wontons. Berck and I love wontons, but we’re used to eating maybe two at a time from a Chinese restaurant. We did our best but still couldn’t finish the pile. And they were better than what you usually get too.

When we got there, Berck’s buddy held up a bunt pan and said, “You guys wouldn’t want this, would you? It came with the apartment.” Berck laughed as I nearly went into conniptions. I’ve been asking for a bunt pan for years. And I got one for free! I made cheddar monkey bread on Saturday and a pound cake on Monday. Berck didn’t think he liked pound cake until he had some of mine.

On Saturday we drove up to Denver and had dinner with Berck’s college buddy Neal. Then we went to an Eddie from Ohio concert. Neal hadn’t really heard much of them but wanted to go so he could hang out with us. Eddie puts on a great live show… the four of them are just tight… and when they walked off stage, Neal jumped to his feet applauding.

We had pretty good seats. The venue is an old church building that now houses a non-profit that shows folk music. We sat in the front row of the balcony, which meant that we got to see everything, even if it did get a little hot up there.

Next we drove around trying to find a liquor store still open so we could buy real beer (not the watered down stuff they sell in the grocery stores), then settled on Neal’s porch and listened to music on his crummy laptop speakers and conversed. Around 2, we went to bed. Berck and I had brought our air mattress and bedding which made for a comfy night away from home.

In the morning, well, nearly noon, Neal shared what meager breakfast foods he had on hand from his bachelor kitchen and then had to run off for an ultimate frizbee game. Berck and I found a middle eastern place called the Jerusalem Restaurant that Neal had pointed out the night before and stuffed ourselves on gyros and fries and something fried and tasty but that looked like a huge oblong hushpuppy (the name of which I obviously can’t remember).

Next we found the Denver Air Museum, housed in a hanger of the old Air Force base up there (and home to the Air Force Academy from 1955-1958). It’s a pretty good museum. It’s got an X-wing in it and a B-1, which was cool to look at, having just seen one fly over our house the day before.

On Monday Berck futzed with computer stuff pretty much all day. Berck got a call before we went to bed telling him not to show up the next morning until 9 because of weather. Sure enough, we woke up to snow covering the ground. Fortunately, the roads were clear. It had been rain turned to snow, so everything was coated in white. Berck got another call after he’d gotten dressed saying not to bother to come in until 1:30. Of course, by then the sun was out, the snow all melted, and it was starting to get quite warm.

Today it kind of got hot, and tonight we have all the windows open again.