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Archive for March, 2011

Karate Kid Part III Blogging

So Daniel-san wants to defend the title he won in the first movie. But Mr Miagi refuses to train him, because karate is supposed to only be for self defense, not for trophies. But then an evil billionaire keeps humiliating Daniel until Mr Miagi changes his tune.

Isn’t that still just fighting over pride? The same thing as the trophy, pretty much? Sure they promised to keep coming after him, but didn’t it occur to him at all to call the police? No instead, they decide that they need to beat Cobra Kai (again) in the tournament (again), even though that’s what got them into this mess in the first place.

Beating these douchebags once caused them to declare all out war, so it’s likely that beating them again is just going to piss them off more. Meaning that in no way can this be called self defense. You’re just antagonizing them.

Maybe Miagi knows this. He’s a smart guy. Maybe it’s not about self defense at all. Maybe he’s just pissed off and wants to let these guys know who’s tough. At that point, he’s training Daniel for revenge. Which is the same as what the Cobra Kai is doing.

Karate Kid Part III is currently streaming on Netflix. It’s better with the Rifftrax.

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Copyright now, Copyright forever!

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Can you imagine if one day you walked into a bookstore (I know, people don’t do that any more. We’re imagining here. Bare with me) and you couldn’t find any works of, say, Shakespeare, because his decedents were given back copyright to his works, and sold them to Disney who decided that no one could publish any of his plays any more. They wanted to focus on “building the Shakespeare brand”, and the plays were too old fashioned. However, they did promise that the theme park would be awesome.

Seems crazy. For one thing, Kenneth Branagh would be out of a job. So would a thousand mediocre English professors. That would destroy the tweed sport coat industry. And on and on through the society. All this why? The author is long dead, and won’t care one way or another.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “intellectual property” and the way we value profit over ideas and creativity. And it just so happens that the day after I start a new blog, the NYT has an article that touches on a the idea of perpetual copyright.

First off, let me point out that IP law is not there to protect you. In it’s current incarnation, IP law exists to protect Time Warner. And Disney. And the few other multinational corporations that own most of the media we consume. These people literally own the bulk of pop culture like baseball cards stashed in a closet. And if there’s one common strand of DNA built into every big corporation, it’s it’s never give up what’s yours for free.

So every 20 years or so they grease up a few congress-critters and get copyright extended for another 20 years, and you’ll never be able to make your release your home movie remake of Enter The Dragon without getting sued. Some company owns the copyright to that movie and they’ll be damned if some punk kid is gonna take it out for a joyride without paying up. And now they want to claw back movies, songs, and books that have already gone into the public domain.

Of course, things don’t have to be that way. Copyright terms are by nature arbitrary, and most of society seems to feel that works of art are more important as resources to me mined than they are as commodities to be traded (see: AutoTune the News). People want more access to media, not less. We’re breeding a generation of half man/ half lolcat cyborgs, and then outlawing their behavior.

Think about the disconnect between our public discourse and the way regular people live. Music, movies, and ironic Alf tee shirts are our first language. So would we be better off with more toll collectors and less media? I doubt it, but the worst part is that the benefit of average people isn’t even part of the debate. Copyright law has been so twisted that Congress is now in the business of taking things that belong to the public and giving them to giant media corporations. Does this help society? I mean, it’s not like the money that goes to whoever owns the rights to Guernica
could be used for anything more productive, right? Or could it be that some kid not seeing this painting because their art teacher couldn’t afford a license will live a little duller life? And shouldn’t that count for something?

Categories: Uncategorized

Getting Meta

Okay, generally I don’t like “meta”. I guess I ‘m just not Post Modern enough to appreciate infinite regression. Mostly because it’s horribly self indulgent. I’ll save this for another post where I drive myself insane by going double-meta.

But let me indulge for a minute with a blog post about blogging. Like everyone in the world, I’ve used Twitter, Facebook, and even Myspace before. Also, I’ve been up on Walking English for years, using Blogspot. But when I wanted to try something a bit more long form, I looked back at Blogspot and it didn’t really feel cut out for the job. It still looks like it did in 2004.

I had heard about WordPress before and have seen some impressive blogs on the service. The templates looked cleaner. So basically I had a drink and said “what the hell?”

First impressions are good. I like the templates. There are still ones with garish colors or weird formatting. People are always going to demand stupid. But the simples ones don’t look empty. They look clean and uncluttered without feeling cheap and amateurish. They’re black and white without feeling colorless.

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes. There are a lot of ways you can customize your blog. Pages, polls, widgets, feedbacks, and more. Honestly it’s kind of confusing as to what sidebar does what. Having that power there is nice, but can be a little intimidating at first. Luckily, the defaults look fine, so I don’t feel like I have to spend time tweaking settings.

Lots of bells and whistles, but they stay out of the way pretty well. Enough so that you focus less on the meta and more on the blogging.

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Orichette Cabonara

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Shit I happened to have around. Orichette cabonara with asparagus. I’ve converted from slice bacon to slab like some people convert religions.

Update: I’ve never had cabonara as prepared by a real chef. Just my dad, who pretty much cooked spaghetti and cracked a raw egg onto your plate. So I tried what I imagined it would be if you got it for real. Glanced at a recipe earlier, but didn’t check it while I was cooking. Surprisingly, 2 eggs in the sauce was too much for about 4 servings this made. Either that or I didn’t know what to expect. Wish I could have used 1.5 eggs. That was my only (tiny) complaint. Everything else worked.

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This is where you start

I wanted to do something special with the first post here. It’s exciting, right? A new blog. A virtual tabla rasa. I thought I should celebrate. Like at the grand opening of a car wash.

I tried to get balloons, but I want this blog to be environmentally responsible, and the balloons could float away and kill a seagull or something.

I considered a cheese and cracker tray, but what about lactose and gluten intolerant readers?

I thought about clowns, but they’re terrifying.

I even looked into having a characacher artist, but when I Googled how to spell that word (slippery little devil), I found that apparently there are web sites that’ll do it for you, but they’re goofy. Not exactly the tone I wanted to set.

So you’re left with this post. It’s not much to speak about. No fancy font. No embedded video.  It probably has some spelling errors. But it gets the ball rolling, and that’s something.

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