Saturday, June 25, 2005

Yesterday, Chase called me. I sent a $125 payment last week, and they want another $200 because it's late. I told the gal that I would not give my checking account over the phone. Then I refrenced this article. A British newspaper uncovered evidence that corrupt employees in Indian call centers would sell account information.

No. I won't give you my checking account information. Ever. Make a note. Make sure the next person who calls me can see it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Way, way back, I bought a cassette tape of Roger Glover's The Mask. I worked at a small grocery store in a small town, and foolishly thought I could leave my tape case in my car with the windows down. Bastards!

For the last few months, I've been hearing the opening lines in my head:

It's later on a Wednesday, the sun is going down,
I'm standing naked by a swimming pool, there's no one around,
my imagination wanders back, red dust is always there
we lay together in the jungle, and love was in the air.

I have spent those months searching for the song on the Internet (Screw the RIAA! When songs are out of print, you should be able to download them online!), with no luck. I tried Tower Records and Amazon and the freaking album was always out of print!

I tried KaZaa, but with no luck. i tried posting in newsgroups looking for an MP3 of the song, but no one ever responded. So much for the comeraderie of the Web.

I searched today on Tower and finally found one in stock! So, $23 later, I will have a CD that has the one song that I have been hearing in my head for months! No offense to Roger Glover, but I didn't like the rest of the album.

It's no wonder I can't control my debt.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

All Your Programs Are Belong to Us!

Don't you dare record anything!

The MPAA has managed to get its DRM law before Congress. The Digital Flag will make TiVo-ing, or digitally recording, TV shows and movies impossible. It will also make backing up DVDs you already own impossible.

The MPAA has suggested that movie piracy has stopped you and I from going to the pictures. Let's see: It costs $8-12 to get into a theater. It costs about the same for a drink, and about the same for a snack, and about the same for a Snickers bar. Let's face it, the theater owner has such a slim margin on the film that we have to take out a loan for snacks. Or as Fark put it: "The two biggest movie theater chains are merging. Plan to offer low-interest loans so patrons can buy tickets and popcorn."

Worse, some studios are selling DVDs in Asia for $3, and here for $20.

So now, the entertainment industry is trying to get us to stop recording things that come into our home, that we pay for. They would be happy if they could figure out a way to stop us from ripping the CDs we bought.

Just to give you an example, I just purchased the Reno 911 second Season DVD collection. I love that show. Anyway, I spent $30 for 8 hours of tv. Thats about $3.75 per hour. Comedy Central is owned by Paramount. Paramount owns Star Trek. The first 26 episode season of Star Trek Enterprise lists for $130. That's $5 per hour. No fucking wonder the studios want to stop you from recording shows!

Just for giggles, here are some price per hour (based on list price) of recent DVD releases:

Frasier - $3.33
24 - $2.50
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - $3.33
Farscape - $3.57
The OC - $2.92
M*A*S*H - $2.76
The Dukes of Hazzard - $1.82
Star Trek - $5.19
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2- $6.36
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - $4.83
Star Trek: Voyager - $5.00

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is looking out for us. But they need our help. Let's stop the corporations from defining how we live.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Now how could I resist this quiz when this was my favorite show as a kid?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hmm. Wal-Mart is going to take on Target, eh? Wal-Mart is going upscale, eh? Where will the trailer folks, like Large Marge Hayes, shop now?

I went to the Super Wal-Mart in Kerrville the other day, and it seemed like every easy woman who had dropped out of high school (maybe even junior high school) in the surrounding counties was there, with her three kids (her youngest wearing only a diaper and a smudge of dirt across the chest). Extremely large women were hanging around the shorts section, but to be fair, so were the really large men. But at least they were looking at baggy shorts, not Daisy Dukes. Everyone man back in the automotive section was wearing a ball cap with either the Confederate Flag or Dale Earnhardt's number on it.

In typical large store fashion, only a third of the checkout lanes were open (in accordance with the complicated mathematical formula where the managers counts the number of occupied spaces in the parking lot, divides it by the number of open spaces, then divides everything by thirty-five; then he takes the number of checkout lanes in the store and divides that by the first number to see how many lanes he should open), forcing long waits behind a family as Mama explained to Joe Bob that if he could get the gum in his pocket, he wouldn't have to pay for it. And of course, as one left, one had to step around young Joe Bob as he was being wrestled to the ground by the "Poe-lice" while Mama screamed "Let go my baby! Let go my baby!"

It's like a car wreck. You have to stop and look when you drive by.

Monday, June 20, 2005

As the NCAA prepares to meet to discuss the appropriateness of Native American nicknames, the Seminole tribe in Florida released a statement. "We feel that it is an honor and a reflection of [Florida State] University to represent the spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida," said Max Osceola, a Tribal councilman. "Any other organization, people or Tribes should respect our wishes as we would respect their wishes."

I'm betting that the desire of the tribe in this case will be ignored by the PC forces who would desire not to offend. As a result, what the Seminoles see as a compliment to themselves, will be eliminated, dishonoring them. Gotta love the PC movement.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Expect your summer strawberries to be a bit more expensive. Tighter immigration controls at the Mexican border have caused a shortage of pickers, leaving fruit to rot on the vine. Illegal immigrants are being prevented from coming across to pick the fruit.

The argument that illegal immigrants take jobs that legal Americans would have now begins to unravel. The pay for pickers is probably below minimum wage, and surprisingly, no American wants to pick strawberries for that wage. Last week the state Employment Department issued an emergency plea for strawberry pickers. Without the pickers, Oregon strawberry farmers are losing $10,000 per day.

Jim Ludwick, president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said he felt sorry for the farmers, but that the situation does not justify more immigration to the state.

Instead of clamoring for the cheap labor, farmers should be lobbying Oregon legislators to remove the restrictions on children working the fields, Ludwick said.

(I just had to share that with you. Mr. Ludwig is in favor of going back to child labor rather than paying more for strawberries.)

What really needs to happen is for farmers to pay competitive wages to attract American workers. If they paid a million dollars a year, with severance packages, more accountants would be picking strawberries instead of cooking books to enhance corporate revenues.