June 30, 2009

Why I Don't Use Norton (Or McAfee).

It's the fact that the don't work very well, cause more problems than they cure, and their tech support is exactly like THIS
I think my Norton Support person is seeking some support himself.I've been on line w/him for over 30 minutes now & have accomplished nothing
3:35 PM Jun 25th from web
If you're one of the suckers using Norton or McAfee, do yourself a favor: remove them, and install avast!

June 28, 2009

Threes of threes of threes... and these...

You've heard it said.  I know you have.  "Deaths happen in threes."
  1. Ed McMahon died.
  2. Farrah Fawcett died.
  3. Michael Jackson died.
OK.  Three deaths the cycle is... wait, Billy Mays died.  And Gale Storm.

So, wait, either deaths happen in fives, or we're  into the next cycle?

OR...we've counted the wrong three.  Maybe it's clusters of similar celebrities we should look at.

Something like....this:
  1. David Carradine - actor
  2. Farrah Fawcett -actress
  3. Gale Storm -actress
  1. Michael Jackson - musician, the Jackson Five.
  2. Sky Saxon, - musician. The Seeds.
  3. Bob Bogle - Musician, The Ventures.
  1. Dusty Rhodes -athlete
  2. Hal Woodeshick - athlete
  3. Randy Smith - athlete
  1. Shelly Gross, theatre producer
  2. Morton Gottlieb, theatre producer
  3. George MacPherson, theatre producer
  1. Ed McMahon - pitchman
  2. Billy Mays - pitchman
  3. ...

Oh, hey, we're missing one!  Anybody seen Ron Popeil recently?

"But wait; there's more...."

The Heart of Sunday Morning

I used to have a weekly routine.

Every Sunday, I'd grab the Miami Herald, and head to a diner for breakfast. When I lived in Palm Beach, I might have included the Post. Later, in Broward, I'd occasionally pick up a Sun-Sentinel, but only if I expected specific coverage of something: never been a fan of the Sun-Sentinel. I don't like the writing, the font, the layout of the pages: everything about it gives me a headache.

I'd sit sort out the sections of the Herald into my reading preference: National news (Section A), followed by Local News. Breakfast would show up about the time I got to Arts and Entertainment, and would last through the editorial pages. Then, I'd enjoy my coffee (and the last of the home fries) over Tropic Magazine, the heart of the Sunday paper. All the best stuff, collected into one convenient place.

And, oh yeah, The Hunt. They still have The Hunt. But one day a year doesn't equal a year of Sundays.

For years, you could find me at the counter of Dontee's in West Palm Beach, or The Floridian in Fort Lauderdale. Sports? Here, keep it, not interested. Business? Yeah, I finished with Business, here you go. Sure, have the Travel section. Sorry, I left the ads in the car, I clip those at home. Funnies? Same place, I save those for...well, let's just say I read them at home. You can't have them.

Then I moved to Coral Gables. No diners. I kept trying places, but nothing was quite right. So I started doing breakfast at home. I missed having my cup re-filled for me, but frankly, the coffee was better. And then I had dishes to contend with. But such is life.

And then came The Day That Sunday Morning Died: some asshole shit for brains idiot pencil-pushing moron asshole at the Herald canceled Tropic. Too expensive to maintain, they said. But we'll keep the content, they said. It will just be spread around, is all.

Of course, if they're keeping all the content, why couldn't they keep it in one place? They didn't have to keep the glossy magazine format, but they could have done what they did a couple of years later with their daily Tropical Life section. Which, btw, only seems to have come into existence because someone realized that people like that magazine format for certain kinds of stories.

So, it was economically viable to do that format five days a week, but it wasn't economically viable to do it on Sundays? And you wonder why the Herald is going down the shitter toilet?

No, the Sunday Herald without Tropic just isn't worth the bother. There's no payoff. It was the beginning of the end of the Herald. Each year, their readership evaporates, and the idiots running it fire reporters, robbing the paper of its vitality. It's still better than the Sun-Sentinel, mind you. The Sun-Sentinel has become so wretched they took the name off the banner., probably in shame. Now it's just a big "S." It stands for "sucks," I suppose.

But all of them fail to address the reasons their readers are leaving: the papers simply are not worth reading anymore. They threw away the best parts, leaving mostly dreck. They don't pay attention to what people want to read, instead piling on what is easy to report: wire stories.

Although I'm back in Fort Lauderdale, with a couple of diners to choose from, Sunday breakfast at the counter is just not the same without a good paper. I make coffee, and pick through my fridge, and huddle over my computer, trying not to dribble crumbs into my keyboard.

11 years later, I sorely miss Tropic Magazine, the heart of Sunday morning.

June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett: A Rant (With All Due Respect)

Even news that Michael Jackson died of a heart attack at age 50 cannot obscure the death of Farrah Fawcett, model, actress, wife, and mother. She died at age 62, following a long struggle with cancer.
But this is not a eulogy. I did not know Farrah Fawcett, so I have no place eulogizing her, so I won't.

OK, I have to admit: I always though Kate Jackson was the hot Angel. I won't debate the point, that's just how it is. Nothing against Farrah. I would not have kicked any of them out of bed for eating crackers, but Kate was the subject of my fantasies.

And I admit, I still harbor a grudge against the way she dumped Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man. I mean, c'mon! The dude was bionic! Well, Steve had Jaimie Sommers, so I guess it turned out all right.

Oh, and yes, I thought Lindsay Wagner was hotter than Farrah, too. Nothing to do with Farrah dumping Lee Majors. I offer no apologies on this matter.

But this isn't about who was hotter or who was fantasized about, or who was the biggest star or best TV show of my childhood.

This is a tirade agains the news media.

It's tragedy that Farrah Fawcett died of cancer. Cancer's never a fun way to go. And although she was 12 years older than Michael Jackson, it still feels too soon. She's younger than my parents.

Here's the thing I want to say:


My condolences to Ms. Fawcett's loved ones. She was by all accounts, a sweet and wonderful human being.

I'm already sick of Michael Jackson Eulogies. So here's another one.

Seriously, since the announcement came out, every other Facebook post is either a link to a "Michael's dead" article or a YouTube video of Jacko in his prime.

Not that I'm glad he's dead: I'm not. His music is very much interwoven into the tapestry of my life. I stopped what I was doing to watch THRILLER just like everyone did when it came on MTV. He wrote some great stuff, although the last few albums just left me cold. I think he was trying too hard. It wasn't Michael Jackson making music, it was Michael Jackson and 50,000 audio engineers, acoustiticians, psychic mediums, choreographers, stylists, and fashion consultants trying to create a "new paradigm" of entertainement.


But what really gets to me is the hype driving these stories.

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times ramps the hysteria up to unbelievable levels with this article:
All due respect to the memories of Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Chris Farley, Aaliyah, Selena and the far too many other celebrities who died suddenly, Michael Jackson was in another universe as an entertainer. He has had his health problems over the years, but we had no inkling he was anything but healthy before Thursday afternoon.
"No inkling?" Really? Because as I recall, Michael Jackson looked exactly like this:

This is healthy? Really? Back in July, he was in a wheelchair.

Michael Jackson Pictures: Michael Jackson in poor health

John Lennon actually was in good health, and looked healthy, right up until he was SHOT TO DEATH in BROAD DAYLIGHT.

Heath Ledger was on the brink of an entire new career when he popped the wrong combination of pills. Sure, we saw him obviously hung over, but his nose wasn't falling off of his face.

Natasha Richardson fell into the snow, got up and laughed it off, and was dead the following day.

Phil Hartman was at the peak of his career when his wife shot him dead.

But no, Roeper says we had "no inkling" that Jackson wasn't well.

Michael Jackson's last few albums fell short of expectations, and several planned concerts were "delayed."
"The first four dates of the singer's much-hyped 50-show comeback tour have been postponed, promoters announced Wednesday.

The delays immediately stoked speculation that Jackson's health is poor..."
- NY Daily News, July, 2008
"No inkling?"

What an asshole.

The fact is that Michael Jackson's best work was behind him. But his best work was excellent, and we are fortunate to have it. We're in shock, not because we had "no inkling" that is health was in the crapper, but because we have been ignoring him. In the wake of accusations of pedophilia, in the aftermath of a disastrous documentary, we started to ignore "Jacko." We suddenly realized that a man who named two of his children "Prince Michael" was more of a flake than artisté. Actions that once seemed heroically avant-garde suddenly seemed to be cunningly planned public relations events. We no longer saw him as "aloof," but as "out of touch" or worse, "disassociated."

Michael Jackson may very well be the victim of our adulation, a boy thrust into the limelight and robbed of his childhood. Certainly, we loved his art more than the man. Let's be honest, no one ever really knew who Michael Jackson really was, including the man himself. His early work came from the heart: he sang of things that interested him, of things he wanted to say, of things he was feeling. But over time, his music became calculated. It was a man making music not because he wanted to say something, but because he wanted something to do, something to show he could still do...something.

And that is the real tragedy.

June 24, 2009

Mark Sanford: Then and Now

“I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign). I come from the business side. If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he’d be gone.”
-SC Governor Mark Sanford, speaking in 1998 of Bill Clinton.

"I've been unfaithful to my wife."
-Mark Sanford today, after his office originally said he was absent from the state while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

So, according to Mark Sanford, the only option he has is to resign.

Understand that this isn't my opinion: I don't care who a person sleeps with as long as they're doing their job. His wife is the injured party here, not the electorate. But Sanford passed a judgment on another, and so it's only fitting that he face that same judgment. It's his own standards (or the standards he claims to adhere to) that he's crossed.

Have the courage of your convictions, Mark.

(h/t to Dusty)

June 22, 2009

While you were out for a smoke...

I worked this show earlier last week, and I really liked this song. I'm glad they got it posted.


If you want to know what the woman in this picture is doing, you'll have to visit Camera-Ephemera, my photography blog. Having shot nearly a thousand pictures at the Hooter's Pageant, I'll have lots of stuff to share over there.

June 19, 2009

No Justice In Oklahoma

There's no justice in Oklahoma while Daniel Martin is allowed to continue as a state trooper.

You might have seen the story on CBS News. Martin pulled over an ambulance transporting a patient, then beat up one of the paramedics in front of witnesses.

And Daniel Martin still hasn't been fired.

The entire incident was captured by the dashboard cam of his own cruiser.

And Daniel Martin still hasn't been fired.

A member of the patient's family videotaped the trooper as he assaulted the paramedic.

And Daniel Martin still hasn't been fired.

Martin's lawyer maintains that Martin was fully justified in keeping a woman from receiving medical care. He maintains that Martin didn't know that there was a patient in the ambulance even though it was one of the first things he was told when he approached the driver - as shown by his dashboard camera.

Martin is a bully, a thug, and a menace to society. The people of Oklahoma are not safe with him patrolling the streets, free to harass emergency personnel at his whim.

What kind of idiots must be running the Oklahoma State Troopers that they didn't fire him 30 seconds after his own dashboard camera revealed that everything he claimed about the case was a lie? That after an eyewitness videotape clearly shows that he attacked the paramedic, and not the other way around, Martin wasn't charged with assault and stripped of his badge?

There's no justice in Oklahoma.

(h/t to Carlos Miller)

June 18, 2009

Forget that McDonald's Coffee Lawsuit: the RIAA Rapes Justice.

For years, people have used the case of Liebeck vs. McDonald's Restaurants as an example of litigation run amok.  But Stella can rest easy, there's a new litigious bully in town.

For those who don't know, Stella Liebeck is the 79 year old woman who suffered third degree burns after spilling a cup of McDonald's coffee on her lap.  This resulted in an eight day hospital stay, skin grafts, followed by two years of painful surgery to repair burns to her inner thighs, genitals, buttocks, and the entire groin area.

Ms. Liebeck sought a settlement of $20,000 from McDonalds, to help defray the medical costs from the mishap.  They refused, and she sued for damages.   Eventually, a jury awarded Liebeck $160,000 in compensatory damages, and $2.7 million in punitive damages because McDonalds own testimony showed that they should have known better than to serve coffee at a temperature significantly higher than the industry standard at the time.  The court reduced the punitive damages to $480,000 dollars, and McDonald's finally did settle with Liebeck for an undisclosed amount, presumably less than 2.7 million, but we'll never know.

But forget Stella: her lawsuit was chump change compared to the RIAA's latest abuse of our legal system.  The RIAA successfully sued a woman who stole $23.76 and somehow duped a jury into awarding them $1.9 million  in damage.  Jammie Thomas-Rasset downloaded 24 songs using Kazaa.  She could have downloaded these same songs through iTunes for 99 cents a piece.  The jury's verdict gifts the RIAA $80,000 for each 99 cent song she illegally downloaded.

Thomas-Rasset, plans to appeal. This was actually the second trial for Thomas-Rasset: the judge ordered a retrial in the 2007 hearing because he found an error in the jury's instructions.  I suspect there might have been an error this time, too: someone forgot to tell the jury that the punishment should fit the crime, and not the demands of corporate excess.

I'm all for paying for music. I'm all for reasonable copyright protection.  I'm all for criminals being held accountabel for their crimes, and for victims of theft to be reimbursed for their loss.

Hell, I've had three cars stolen, and my apartment cleaned out.  I absolutely should be reimbursed for my losses, and the thief should be punished. I think most people would agree that $10 for every buck stolen would be fair.  A hundred bucks on the dollar is stiff, but not unreasonable.  I will even say $1000 on the dollar might not be outrageous.  But $8,000 on the penny?  Sorry, no. That ain't reasonable.  Not for a penny-ante crime like this one.

It's time that the Department of Justice combed through the RIAA's books.  Anyone who thinks $80,000 is a reasonable punishment for a 99 cent crime is bound to have other interesting philosophies in bookkeeping.

June 12, 2009

The City Of Miami Beach Versus an Innocent Bird

So I wrote a letter to the City of Miami Beach regarding Mr. Clucky:

The following question or comments were received about the: City Attorney

From:Chris J***

In the case of Mr. Clucky, it should be noted that according to the
dictionary, under current definitions, he is in fact a pet, and not

live·stock Function: noun Date: 1742
animals kept or raised for use or pleasure ; especially : farm animals kept for use and profit

pet Pronunciation: \ˈpet\ Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps back-formation from Middle English pety small — more at petty Date: 1508
1 a: a pampered and usually spoiled child b: a person who is treated with unusual kindness or consideration : darling 2: a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility

With so many real problems facing Miami Beach, it's a shame that the city has to shamelessly waste precious resources trying to take a man's pet
So here's the reply they sent:
Thank you for your email to the City regarding Mark Buckley's rooster, Mr. Clucky. We appreciate you taking the time to give us your comments about this matter. It is important to clarify that the City has no issue with the daily activities of Mr. Buckley and his rooster; this is solely about the issue of where the rooster is housed by his owner.

The City of Miami Beach prides itself on its unique character and charm. That is no doubt why so many people have chosen our city as their year-long home, where they can live, work and play.

However, the City received a complaint about a rooster and other farm animals living in an apartment unit in the city, and we are obligated to investigate all complaints received. We were able to confirm that a rooster and a hen were living in one unit of an 11-unit apartment building that is located in the heart of a multi-family (apartment) building area of the city. According to our City code, keeping livestock, poultry or farm animals is not allowed.

Our records do not reflect that any complaint was ever made about Mr. Buckley and his rooster for their activities on Lincoln Road or throughout the City, no violations ever been issued to Mr. Buckley for riding around with his rooster, nor have code compliance officers investigated these daily activities. Mr. Buckley's activities with his rooster in our City streets are not the concern, merely where the rooster is housed, as it is in violation of current
City code.

Thank you again for taking
the time to share your comments with the City.

All I can say is that the reading comprehension skill of the Office of the City Manager suck!

If they had read the my original email, they would already know that since Mr. Clucky isn't being raised for "use," that is, food, eggs, or his feathers, he is not livestock. Using an argument already proven false to support one's position shows a certain lack of intelligence.

Bu then, the city has been playing kind of fast and loose with definitions all over the place.

"Poultry" is any bird raised for consumption. Since Mr. Clucky isn't being eaten, he isn't poultry.

Already addressed "livestock."

Taxonomically, there is no such thing as a "farm animal." Ultimately, "farm animal" is any animal that lives on a farm. Most farmers have dogs; my grandaddy's farm had pride of cats that were excellent ratters.

So if the City of Miami Beach is saying that "farm animals" are not permitted, then every dog
and cat in the city limits must similarly be evicted.

Fair's fair, right?


So here's the deal; if the City moves ahead with its assinine attempts to remove a person's pet, we should all report every single violation of City Ordinance. I can provide photographs of all kinds of "farm animals" to quantify our perfectly valid and reasonable complaints.

Those DIRTY farm animals!! We don't want them in OUR city!


June 4, 2009

Dictionary Fun with the City of Miami: Livestock

DSC_9673-01The Miami New Times column Riptide reports that Mr. Clucky, the venerable mascot of South Beach, must leave his home. Mark Buckly, his human companion, was given a citation by the City of Miami.

The reason: The city prohibits "the keeping, stabling, or maintaining of livestock."

Well, I had to wonder why Mr. Clucky has to go, while Polly the Parrot and Fred the Cockatoo get to stay. They're all birds, after all. They all have feathers, they all make noise, and they all perch on their human's shoulders.

Just what is "livestock" anyway? Let's do what the City of Miami failed to do, and look in a dictionary:
Pronunciation: \ˈlīv-ˌstäk\
Function: noun
Date: 1742
animals kept or raised for use or pleasure ; especially : farm animals kept for use and profit
Hmm. "Animals kept or raised for use or... pleasure." But wait, isn't "pleasure" why we keep dogs and cats? We don't call dogs or cats "livestock." We call them "pets."

So what is the definition of "pet," pray tell?
Pronunciation: \ˈpet\
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps back-formation from Middle English pety small — more at petty
Date: 1508
1 a: a pampered and usually spoiled child b: a person who is treated with unusual kindness or consideration : darling
2: a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility
Well, as personable as Mr. Clucky is, he's neither a spoiled child or a person. But what he is, without dispute, is a domesticated animal. And since you can't get eggs from a rooster, he's obviously being kept for pleasure rather than utility.

Mr. Clucky is a pet. Just as a parrot or cockatoo is considered a pet.

Once again, we discover that we only think we understand our own language, but we really have no clue at all.

The City of Miami Beach is dead wrong: Mr. Clucky is not livestock, he's a pet. The definitions are quite clear. He's a pet, therefore it's not illegal for him to be in Miami Beach.

Ok, now that we've cleared THAT up, who's the sleazeball who wrote up a complaint? I have a few definitions that apply...