Saturday, May 10, 2008

TC revisited

Tom Cruise on Oprah this week.
You could hardly find anybody more different from me than "TC", apart of course from our good looks. I'm the incarnate introvert, he is extroversion personified. But durnit, he is just too sincere and charming to keep hating, I give up.
(I'd like to watch the show where Oprah visits Tom's home. If anybody finds it online, please give notice.)

Jenna Elfman

Jenna Elfman is sexy and funny.
Deleted scene from Keeping The Faith.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The pirates are out to get you

Which anti-piracy propaganda video is more stupid, dishonest, condescending, misleading, pointless, and irritating? This one or this one? (I just can't believe they actually say "the pirates are out to get you" and "don't let the pirates burn a hole in your pocket".)

"Steal This Movie" part II. The information about the history of control of (mass-) communication is fascinating, there is much I had no idea about.
I have to admit, though, that the film is very one-sided. It's not so much a documentary as an argument. I am mostly on the same side as the argument ("information should flow freely"), but I also have some questions. Like "will information and art flow so freely one day that it becomes nearly impossible to make a living from making or selling it?"

For example, it is very expensive to make a good movie or television show. Will the economy of this collapse? That is hard to imagine. But will payment still happen because of some remnant of technological control or herding of customers? Or will it happen because of the power of the honor system, because people want to give a monetary reward out of the goodness of their heart? "If you liked this episode of Eureka, which you got for free over bittorrent, please give a dollar to the studio so they can pay the actors and set builders".

More on Miley

"Fury rained down; former fans were suggesting that communities got together to bonfire her merchandise. And finally, she relented, saying: "I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for this to happen and I apologise to my fans." Never mind what a ludicrous system this is that chooses young women for their sex appeal and then expects them to act as role models for the chastity of the rest of the population. It's the insincerity of everyone concerned that really chokes me. Not one person involved can seriously think Miley Cyrus had any kind of influence over this, or any other, image-building decision."
Guardian article

Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red

Painting by Ellsworth Kelly.
Title: "Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red"
1966. Oil on canvas, Five panels, Overall: 60 x 240 inches. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

If it were me, I think I'd have yielded to the temptation to give it the title "Blue, Green, Yellow, Blue, Red".

Popularity of the slut

My friend Richard told me:
I worked with a young college student (a black girl - a native of Ethiopia) who "moonlighted" as an exotic dancer in a town some distance from the city after her shift on the drug and suicide hotline (for which she was a volunteer along with me) was over. She was very modest in her regular role as college student and had very strict morals. When I was first introduced to her, I thought she looked familiar but could not place her. She had been wearing a large Afro wig and tinted contact lenses in her "act". Of course, she recognized me and knew where I had seen her before, but she didn't mention it initially until I had got acquainted with her to some extent and convinced me that she was a person of integrity and devoutly religious. My shift on the hotline was right after hers and I would usually go there a little early and chat as she was very personable and humorous, but one time I was late relieving her and she was a little perturbed and told me she was late for her gig. I asked her if she was a musician, and she then told me that she worked as an exotic dancer to help pay her tuition. I then remembered where I had seen her. She told me that she had seen me there and then told me she preferred that I not go there again on her nights to work and to keep her "occupation" under my hat -- which I did. However, her disclosure had an odd effect -- now that I saw her as an "innocent" my memory of her act was more titillating in retrospect than in had been at the time I witnessed it. As much as I tried to disassociate her role as exotic dancer with her role as innocent college girl and fellow worker, I found myself a little uncomfortable in her company and found myself measuring my words so that she would not think I was "hitting" on her.

Yes, that's an interesting thing. Judging from the number of porn sites on the web advertising their models as "sluts", the loose girl is attractive to many men. I never really got that. I wonder if most men has such a low self-esteem that not even in their imagination will a girl want anything to do with them unless she is a slut?

Carlin, Stuff, Children

Apropos of diverse, Eric points to George Carlin on Stuff and on Children.

Couldn't agree more. Also about political correctness and euphemisms.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Knocked Up

(Funny enough, this post is more about "skin", and more about copyright.)

Just watched Knocked Up. At first I was doubtful, but I ended up enjoying it. Beautiful women, great kids, decent story, and often quite funny.

Featured in the film was the famous web site Mr. Skin. It features scenes with actresses in the nude. It's amazing to me for two reasons: 1) apparently the guy has forty people working for him! 2) apparently the film studies leave him alone, despite him ripping all the nude scenes and putting them on a pay site! I'm pretty amazed by that. But I think the key may be that he is claiming the site is a review site, and the clips are put up as per the clause in copyright law which says you can feature bits of copyrighted works in connection with reviews. This would make it reasonably watertight, at least enough to not make it worth contending.

Skins ad turn-off

From a Amazon UK DVD sales page:
"Skins - Series 2 - Complete [2007]
"Channel 4's critically-acclaimed drama follows the angst-ridden lives of its teenage characters, as they grapple with issues of race, religion, sexuality, drugs, and eating disorders. SKINS' portrayal of these characters as poster children of the hedonistic lifestyle is unflinching in its candour. Expect plenty more bitching, backstabbing, and general bad behaviour in this, the complete second series."

Is it just me, or is this the worst ad copy ever? It surely does not get me hot to buy this series.

Copyright threat

The "orphan works" copyright legislation proposal is claimed to be a trojan horse. This artist (audio interview) says that nothing at all will be protected if not registered.

I hesitate to report on theses kinds of scary stories, because most of them turn out to be a storm in a glass of water (as the Danes say, I guess the English expression is "tempest in a teacup"). But Brad Holland in the audio interview sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

On the other hand, this article pretty much completely contradicts it. Strange that I got both links from the same newsletter.

So maybe you can just regard this, just like 98% of all those scare stories which seem to be part of the human condition.

Eric injected:
It seems like people are too damn scared about their work being used in ways they won't like. That's the risk you take when you produce something. Art and ideas aren't solely the property of the person that creates them and you're not always going to be given your proper dues when your creations are shared. Creative people stifle themselves when they're always thinking, "what am I gonna get out of this?"

I'm not saying it's right if you produce something, somebody claims the entire work as their own and you never get any credit for it. Artists and writers need to eat too. It's just that so much effort is expended to ensure something can't be "stolen" when really what they're trying to do is prevent the natural process of integrating a piece of art into the mass consciousness. That's something to embrace, not for commercial purposes but because it means another human voice has been immortalized in expressions that go beyond the individual ego.

From what I understand of this potential law is, as has been pointed out, that isn't being finalized by lawmakers and, if it does become a law, the effects aren't going to be as drastic as some would have you believe. My understanding is that when, and only when, the original creator of the work cannot be tracked down but it's been made available to the public it can then be used as we want to use it. That actually seems pretty sensible to me, at least in theory. The next part of the discussion is what constitutes an effort to find the creator, how much effort is enough (How many e-mails need to be sent? How many phone calls need to be made?), and how much time should be allowed between when you attempt to make contact and when the work is freed for use.

"Folks, the world as we know it is not going to end today. Sorry to disappoint you. As consolation we're handing out pictures of dogs in funny hats. There's only enough for half of you so please trample each other on your way to claim them."

I have long said that copyright is one of those things, like love, that you want to hold not too loosely and not too tightly, like an egg or a bird. If you find yourself crippling your production or your works in order they don't get stolen, maybe you're holding too tightly.

In early days of Domai, a lot of the material was found orphaned. Unfortunately some of it was "orphaned". Cough. But this was not because I was unwilling to pay for it, but because in those days there was a dearth of good simple nudes to be found, so I used what I did find. Fortunately after the millennium that situation started to change, and in recent years my problem has been quite the opposite: how to have the heart to reject all the fine work which I can't buy. I think that happy situation happened due to at least two factors: the fame of the site itself and what it expired, and the advent of affordable, quality digital cameras.

Passenger 'moons' at speed camera

Passenger 'moons' at speed camera.

"Not only is it disrespectful, but distasteful and offensive, particularly to children who may have been exposed to this nonsense."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


This must be the strangest email I've ever gotten from Amazon.
To the best of my recall, I've never ordered anything for a car (assuming that's what "automotive" means in this context), or anything related to solar power.

And by the way, I had no idea solar power technology was in mass market sale like this.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Japanese sex dolls

Japanese sex dolls, youtube link. I think such are not only made in Japan though.
One of the Japanese manufacturer's site. Quite expensive for a masturbation aid, but one has to admit a lot of craft has gone into the little ladies.

I think it's an interesting sociological phenomenon. Is it disgusting? Perverted? Evil? Trivial? Is it an attempt to replace real women?
Personally I don't think so. Sex is just sex. The important parts of relationships are communication and love.
These things just are to some men what a vibrator is to some women. It's just a mechanical aid for release of tension. And if a woman wants to satisfy herself with such a thing, and just talk to me, more power to her.


Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.
-- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

That resonates with me, so I've just bought Walden. (If I'd had my eddication in the US, I'd probably have read it already.)

I'm curious about how Walden can be as famous and influential as it is, given that it goes totally against the grain of what 99.9% of people feel and believe. Giving up status and property for freedom? Unheard of, practically. He must have been one hell of a writer to make that idea sound appealing to anybody but the tiniest "lunatic" fringe.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Scott Adams dilemma

Scott Adams (Dilbert) decided to blog less because it did not help his career.

He did get personal satisfaction from blogging. But it did not push Dilbert, which I think he should not have expected anyway. Dilbert brings audience to his blog, not vice versa. If Madonna wrote a cookbook, her singing/fame would bring (some) audience to the cookbook, not vice versa.

Also I think he should not have expected to collect a great book from blog postings. I don't think that good blog writing is the same as good book writing. The content in a book is meant to be long, and polished, and thoughtful. The content on a blog is quick and dirty, and meant to be read in five minutes per post. Nobody is going to read a 20,000 word philosophical essay on a blog. They are just very different animals.

I don't think that anybody who is very successful in one area or another, has ever Expanded The Empire by doing something as frivolous as blogging. Such a person should realize that if he wants to blog, it should just be for fun, for the feedback, and for self-expression. Those who have become successful on blogging itself are few, and they work so hard that I doubt it's all that much fun anymore. And I don't think they have time for another career that the blogging can support.

Make a photobook in a month

Make a photobook in a month.

Also on Mike's blog, a good article about something I've touched upon myself, the devaluation of useful words, in this case "ignorant". (Also about race horses and how they can't be saved.)

The devaluation of words like "ignorant" (or "liberal") comes about from a words being used as a weapon in heated political (in the widest sense) debates. After a few years of that, the word becomes so tainted with animosity that it just can't be used neutrally in mixed company anymore.

Awkward moments in movies

Isn't it funny how when somebody in a movie needs to draw blood, they will always drag a knife across their palm? It's pretty much the dumbest place you can choose. Either you'll have to bandage the hand into uselessness, or it will take weeks to heal because it will spring up every time you use the hand.

Also when somebody walks into a room/apartment which they know has an armed killer in it, they never look behind the door they walk through.

And the body outlines on the floor. (And in certain movies, on the walls and the ceiling...) It's not done in real life.

Writers have this tendency to sit there in isolation and try to think up stuff. L. Ron Hubbard wrote this great article (the idioms and the numbers are a bit outdated, but heck, it's seventy years old) back in his pulp fiction days, about how one day of research in the real world (the Boeing aircraft plant) not only made his stories much more realistic, but also gave him material for a couple more stories he wouldn't have come up with otherwise.

OK, Hubbard had a huge ego, and he was always trying to appear larger than life, and the scientologists are continuing that tradition. But he was a very good writer, most of the time. And some of his articles are very helpful for writers.

New learning

Isn't it funny how you can keep learning? Sometimes without even taking in any new data, sometimes just by... I don't know, expanding your mind maybe.

For example, this morning I needed a web site I hadn't used for a long while. I knew what I would have called it, approximately, but exactly where I'd stashed it away amongst the hundreds and hundreds of bookmarks I've collected over the years.... ? (Arranged in folders, sure, but still.)

And then I realized that Apple has been putting Search boxes in absolutely everything in later years. Surely they now have a Search box when I'm looking at my bookmarks...

Lo and behold, I opened a bookmarks window in Safari, and there was the expected Search box. I typed in a few characters, and boom, there we had it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Nikon D90 rumors

Nikon D90 rumors. Hilarious.
I'm reminded of my underrated iWatch article.

Iggy Pop interview

Iggy Pop interview.
I love it when he says his art is "Dionysiac". People expect a wild, braindead rocknroller, and he talks like a professor.
This was from the eighties, and it's funny how he no longer looks like the young Iggy, but not yet looks like the middle-aged, furrowed Iggy he became within a few years. He does not look like Iggy at all, in fact.
Here's an early one. He is not making it easy for the interviewer.
I guess he does not like that everybody asks him about bleeding and vomiting on stage, but the question is how much media coverage he would have without it. I like his stuff a lot, but I think that without the records where he was assisted in composing by David Bowie (Lust For Life, The Idiot, and Blah Blah Blah), he would not have much of any great compositions out there.

Joe Dick ventured:
I think some of the stuff he says is just having fun with the interviewer and can't always be taken seriously.

I'm sure you're right. Rock musicians are notorious for doing that, and worse. For instance Al Jourgenson said once that "The Mind Is A Dangerous Thing To Taste" was recorded in one day. And another time he said it took a year's worth of slavery in the studio. Having fun I can understand, but why would you lie to people who trust you and like you?
He also said once, being interviewed before a concert, that he was wearing diapers, and was pissing himself as he spoke. Diapers? Under the skin-tight jeans musicians always wear? And taking up the amount of pee a beer-guzzling guy is bound to produce? Yeah, right. But the female journalist seemed to take him on his word.

IBM Launches Pilot Program for Migrating to Macs

"As further evidence of the growing interest in Macs among enterprise customers, IBM’s Research Information Services launched an internal pilot program designed to study the possibility of moving significant numbers of employees to the Mac platform. The study has already found an enthusiastic response from participants and is helping to drive Mac support for IBM’s business applications."