The Headline Is Just a Distraction

I happen to think Apple deserves a good spanking for this and a few other things, but the headline of this article is not the most important thing on the page.

Seems to me that those four orange words below the title of the publication are far more significant in terms of what they mean, not only for the future of Apple, but for the future of publishing in general.

Feelin' Cranky

Random thoughts on a sleep-deprived Monday morning…

  1. Yes, Twitter has a 140-character limit. You knew that when you signed up. Stop whining about it. If you can't handle it, go use Buzz or Friendfeed, or sign up with and run your own microblogging site that interacts with and others, and set your own limit.
  2. Foursquare, Gowalla, and other automated location-spam services are a plague upon humanity and the internet. Don't expect me to follow you if you use them, and do expect me to unfollow you if you continue. I don't care where you're having lunch. And if you care where I'm having lunch, you must have a very boring and incomplete life.
  3. Dear apartment manager: Thank you so much for not answering calls placed to the after-hours line last night. Apparently the rental agreement we all signed doesn't mean anything. Good thing the place wasn't burning down. Also, I wonder what your boss at the property-management company (whose number I have, by the way) would think about that.
  4. Dear noisy neighbor: Are you a complete idiot, or is it just that your social development was arrested at about age 13? What the @#$% is wrong with you (other than being a loud, inconsiderate, obtuse, possibly alcoholic schmuck)? Maybe if you grew up, you could get a date. Unless, of course, the guy visiting you last night was your date, which if true is way more information than I require.

AT&T Misses Me

Dear AT&T,

I got your email saying that you missed me. Sadly, the feeling is not mutual. I've moved on; I've been seeing Verizon lately, and I have to say the connection has been incredible.

I'd say it's not you, but I'd be lying. It is you. Your DSL is inconsistent at best, and your mobile coverage in my area is sadly lacking. We'll still be seeing each other at home, since there's no one else available there, but that's where the relationship ends. When I'm out and about, I'll be with Verizon. Don't embarrass both of us by making a scene. It won't change anything. I'm just not that into you.

Best, Larry

Why Nobody in His (or Her) Right Mind Would Want to Be President

Consider the following two items:

  1. President Obama's approval ratings have declined, in part because of the Gulf oil spill. Everybody expects him to do something, but I have yet to hear anybody say exactly what he can do to plug the hole and put everything back the way it was. Obviously, there's nothing the President (any President) can do in a situation like this, but everybody wants him to be Daddy and fix it. (For the record, I think Bush the Younger got something of a raw deal with Hurricane Katrina, too. He just happened to be the lucky one in office when decades of bad federal decisions met the hurricane from hell.)
  2. According to this story in the Los Angeles Times, his ratings in the Muslim world have declined, apparently because of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The fact that this conflict has been raging since at least 1947, has roots going back many years before that, and has defied the efforts of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II to somehow solve it is, apparently, irrelevant.

It's extremely unlikely that anybody will ever attempt to get me to run for President, but given the above, were someone to try, I think I'd run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. Frankly, I wouldn't blame the President if he sometimes thinks he should have remained a senator. You only have to run every six years, you can serve for life if you can manage to get re-elected, and you get to be the one sniping instead of the one being sniped at.

Continued Light Posting

Just a quick note to let everybody know that this week will probably be somewhat sparse in terms of posting, whether on my blog, on Twitter, or on Buzz. The office is still very much in recovery mode following last week's pipe break—we still have holes in the drywall—and I've been assigned additional duties with another work group as well. It's good to have a job, and it's great to add a bit of variety to the daily routine, but it's not conducive to posting online. Additionally, my daily Wave postings are going on indefinite hiatus as I dial back my online presence to accommodate real life.

So, everybody play nicely, and I'll see you when I come up for air.

The Empire Strikes 1950?

This is the coolest thing I have seen all day. From the YouTube page:

Let's turn back the clock, shall we? Back to a distant time in an alternate universe far, far away… The 50s! It was a simpler age of 3-D movies, and robots named Robby, Gort, and Tobor. A hidden gem of this period in cinema is a little film called "The Empire Strikes Back", the second chapter in a planned three-part epic science fiction trilogy. While the preceding and succeeding episodes were never actually produced due to budgetary constraints, "Empire" shines as an example of 1950s 3-D space opera. The re-release of this trailer coincides with the 60th anniversary of this amazing film.

But, seriously folks… ever since I started cutting these premakes, I have had constant requests for a retro version of Star Wars. This is a little thank you gift for everyone who has been watching my work.

Here is the recipe for the trailer:
Flash Gordon (Deadline at Noon, Conquers the Universe), The Phantom Planet, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Invasion of the Animal People, Man Beast, Lunar Walker, Golden Bat (Ogon Batto), The Mysterians, Captain Midnight, First Spaceship on Venus, The Flying Saucer, The Fighting Devil Dogs, The Outer Limits (Second Chance, Soldier, I Robot, The Sixth Finger), Things to Come, Space Patrol, Atragon, Terror in the Midnight Sun, Forbidden Planet, Rocketship X-M, Latitude Zero, Space Flight, Metropolis, The Jetsons, Devil Girl From Mars, Tobor the Great, The Alligator People, The Return of the Fly, Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, Starman (Attack from Space), Marvel Super Heroes (Iron Man), The Cyclops, The Sea Hawk, Kings Row, Mahler Symphony No. 6, Gustav Hoists The Planets (Mars), and The Empire Strikes Back Radio Drama

The following trailer is fake, independent, and not for profit. It is not endorsed or connected to Lucasfilm or 20th Century Fox. It was made as a purely technical exercise, and as a reflective deconstruction of elements in modern cinema.

(via Carlos Cuellar) (dead link)

A matter of perspective


I see this every morning, and it always cracks me up. The guy with the Maserati Quattroporte takes one space. The guy with the Hyundai Sonata has to use two.

This may be the first time in history that the Maserati owner is probably easier to live with.

How to create custom books from Wikipedia

This falls under the category of "incredibly cool things I didn't know you could do."

It's the end of the world as we know it

For those of you following the crisis in Greece, here's a little depressing morning reading for you. I wish I didn't think there was a chance, however small, that this guy is right:

Most analysts (at least the ones that are worth reading) contend that the sovereign default crisis (Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc.) in the EU is about the collapse of a system that created monetary union without a political union.  It isn't.  That's actually a narrow, parochial view.  Instead, the current sovereign debt crisis is about something much more interesting:  it's another battle in a war for dominance between "our" integrated, impersonal global economic system and traditional nation-states.  At issue is whether a nation-state serves the interests of the governed or it serves the interests of a global economic system.

Who's winning?  The global economic system, of course.  The 2008 financial crisis, the first real battle of this war (as opposed to the early losses in skirmishes in Russia, Argentina, the Balkans, etc.), generated a very decisive outcome.  It was a resounding defeat for nation-states.*   The current crisis in the EU will almost certainly end with the same results.

When this war ends, and it won't be long, the global economic and financial system will be the victor.  Once that occurs, the nation-states of the West will join those of the global south as hollow states: mere shells of states that serve only to enforce the interests of the global economic system.  These new states, more market-states than nation-states, will offer citizens a mere vestige of the public goods they offered historically.  Incomes will fall to developing world levels (made easy to due highly portable productivity), and wealth will stratify.  Regulatory protections will be weak.  Civil service pensions will be erased and corruption will reign.  The once dominant militaries of the West will be reduced to a small fraction of their current size, and their focus will be on the maintenance of internal control rather than on external threats.  The clear and unambiguous message to every citizen of the West will be:

You are on your own.  You are in direct competition with everyone else in the world, and your success or failure is something you alone control.  

Read his conclusions here:

(via Rod Dreher)

Orthographs: The Book!

If you're an Orthodox convert, or know someone who is, you need this book. Author Steve Robinson is the co-host of the Our Life In Christ podcast, is a convert himself, and is both brilliant and funny, with a keen eye for the absurdities of Orthodox life.

Converts with a sense of humor will see themselves in its pages. Those without a sense of humor may be offended. Both are excellent reasons why it should be in your collection. Buy this book!

Pithless Thoughts: Orthographs - THE BOOK!