Monday, December 31, 2007

An Unreasonable Man

I want to let you know of a great documentary I just saw on the life of Ralph Nader called "An Unreasonable Man." Nader is one of the greatest patriots that America has ever seen. You may know him from his presidential campaigns, but he's also been a lifelong advocate for the American public. He's been the spearhead for many forms of legislation, including the Clean Air Act, he got seatbelts and air bags into our cars, he's responsible for the X-rays we get at the dentists' being free of lead.

And this is a fantastic documentary. It covers his presidential runs in detail, including the aftermath of the 2000 elections. I voted for Nader in '00 and '04, happily and unregrettably. I still can't fathom the logic of the Democrats who were rabid with rage after 2000 and blamed Nader for why Gore lost. As most rational people know, there were many factors behind the coup of 2000, but Nader's participation as a candidate was very low on that list, if it's on it at all. It's all covered, and to the filmmakers' credit, some of Nader's vocal, outspoken opponents are interviewed. Guys like Todd Gitlin and Eric Alterman, guys whose works I read and are informed by, do come off as total douchebags. And they should really know better. I never felt as if Nader set out to "spoil" the election, and research that was conducted (and is revealed in the film) validates that perspective. I remember for awhile afterward, when I told people that I voted for Ralph, they told me that I voted for Bush, and I'd tell them "you don't understand, New York's a safe state", and it just flew right over them. A lot of people aren't educated in the electoral college, I suppose.

What's worse to me are the turncoats like Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon, who supported and campaigned for Nader in 2000, yet then proceeded to turn on him in '04. That's the worst, just total hypocrites in my book.

I unregistered from the Democrats last week. I wasn't a Democrat to begin with (independent) until Kucinich ran in '04. He is running again. I like Dennis, he's a lot like Ralph on the issues and he's probably as close to a progressive Democrat as you're going to find. Unfortunately, he has no chance. I had to hear that a lot in '04, when I directed his campaign in western Suffolk. I was more idealistic back then, younger. But now, I realize that if a candidate like him had half of a ghost of a chance, he'd be shot. Besides, in '04 when he was told that he couldn't win, he said that he was running to move the Democratic party platform to the left. Which, on paper, makes sense. But just look at the Democrats in the '04 general election leading up to the present. They've been horrible and haven't stood up to Bush once. To me, that vindicates Nader's position in his campaigns. We're told that Nader's responsible for our last 8 years, but in the meantime, where the fuck were the Democrats?

Well, I didn't mean to get off track. Anyway, do see the Ralph Nader movie, "An Unreasonable Man". I'm not planning to vote next year, but the one exception I'd make would be if Ralph ran again. Run, Ralph, Run!

Happy New Year

Few people are more indifferent to New Year's than me. I never saw the fascination with making New Year's Resolutions (which people are doomed to fail anyway), gathering together in the cold, and watching a ball drop. It's just another year, and it'll probably suck worse than the last one did. And I'm not just talking about me either. Our economic slide will continue, our Earth will get warmer, more of our men and women will get killed for nothing, and we'll continue to treat each other like utter crap.

Now, as I've probably spoiled your good mood, let me rectify that. If you are in the New York area and it reaches midnight, rather than watch the ball drop and see lame musical acts on these New Years' specials, tune to Channel 11 for the annual Honeymooners marathon. It's over 50 years old, but I'm such a huge fan, as it easily blows the door off most sitcoms leading up to the present. The characters are just memorable and play so well off each other, and the lines and situations are really for big laughs. I can watch this for the rest of my years and it'll never get old to me, I'll still laugh my ass off, while most sitcoms leave me with a few slight chuckles, at best.

So, for what it's worth (if it is worth anything at all), have a happy new year.

The Story of Stuff

Thanks to the Bru Notes, I discovered this 20 minute interactive video that'll blow your socks right off. It's called The Story of Stuff, and a woman named Annie Leonard guides us through the five steps of "stuff" (extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal). In a rapid-fire but easy-to-follow style, she shows us how we can't possibly sustain our endless, ever-increasing pursuit for "stuff". I highly recommend taking 20 minutes out of your life and watching this video, rather than watching TV or shopping. It's pretty difficult to talk about consumption and environmental issues without getting bogged down in details and making it difficult for the layperson to follow, but Ms. Leonard does a wonderful job. There are also resources on the website if you want to get further involved.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Gamer's Dream

This is why I want to go to Japan someday, or at least part of the reason. This is a gaming shop in Japan that is two floors and wall-to-wall games. Virtually every gaming console you can think of is here along with games. There are loads of rare games too, and as you notice, a lot of things are in plastic wrap to protect its condition. I don't think a store like this exists in the entire United States. We're not that lucky. We get stuck with Gamestop, which I consider to be McGaming. It's a corporate piece of crap, all its stores look the exact same, they have all the same stuff, they piss all over everything pre 21st century, its employees don't know shit about games, and I could go on and on.

I'm impressed that in this shop, you can even get an MSX computer. And there's games for the SNES, etc. Just a total heaven for gamers.

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to drop in real quick and wish you all a Merry. I had a really good Christmas this year. From my mom, I got a 50 dollar Kohl's card, 3 pairs of pants, and other stuff. But the best gift hands-down came from my brother. He got me all 3 seasons of one of my favorite shows on DVD, "Deadwood". Just a tremendous program, and HBO will eternally suck for cancelling it. Almost as good is that I got a 40 dollar Best Buy card from my sister. I really hate Best Buy, but fuck it. I'm not sure what I'm gonna get with that yet. I also bought a Target gift card that I don't think I'm gonna give, and "Heroes" is going on sale starting tomorrow for 20 bucks. So, you know what that means.

I am running out of room on my small shelves due to my always expanding DVD collection. I barely have time to watch them, but it's so damn addicting, I can't help myself. I'm also gonna treat myself in some fashion, I just don't know how yet. Oh, and I saw "Sweeney Todd" today with Johnny Depp. Very good film/musical.

I can't believe that I'm starting class tomorrow. I worked so much this past week that it just crept up on me. But I'm ready, I already got my reading done and just have to work on the assignments. Now I have to get up even earlier, at 7.

Again, I wish you and yours a great holiday and New Year too. This may not be much, but here's my special holiday gift to you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Boston Legal

I just watched the first season of "Boston Legal" on DVD. I can't get enough of the Priceline Negotiator commercials with Shatner, so I saw it at the library and gave it a try. I'm also starting my paralegal program in a few days, so I was telling myself that it'd be a "form of research". But it's so good, and very funny and lighthearted. I get turned off by the CSIs and the Law and Orders because they all take themselves so seriously. But a lot of the characters in BL are very funny and offbeat, and a lot of the situations and the cases provide plenty of room for humor. Shatner especially does a great job. He's basically playing himself, and has the best lines of the show.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, because I read that Boston Legal was a spinoff of The Practice, which I was never able to stand. It was so preachy, and I hated Dylan McDermott's character and that obese woman. But yeah, anyway, it's not like I don't watch enough TV already, and now I have another favorite show I have to watch.

Congress is Losing More Ground than the "President"

This is an excellent blog from KdLiz's Contemplation of Preponderance blog. Can you believe that Congress has a lower approval rating than Bush? I certainly can. An interesting point that Liz brings up, and which I totally agree with, is that as much as we may loathe the man, at least we can say that he's consistent. He promised us war and fiscal mismanagement, and he actually delivered. There's something to be said for that. Contrast that with Congress ever since it went into the hands of the Democrats after the '06 elections. All they have done is promise, promise, and promise again. They keep giving ultimatums, like "no more blank checks". And they cave, every single time. As Liz says, why get elected, and then complain and just give the guy what he wants? You could have lost and done the exact same thing.

I have a voter registration form that I'd intended to send out months ago. I'd put down that I was going to change my party registration, from Democrat to independent. I balked at the time because I couldn't believe that you had to pay for a stamp to put on the form, since it's going to the Board of Elections. But I'm so disgusted at this point that I'll swallow it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Broke the Fucking Starbucks "Cheer Chain"

While surfing for material to put on the blog, I came across this hillarious website, that features blogs from celebrities and world leaders. The thing is, the blogs aren't real. They're parodies on what these people might really post if they had a blog. What a great idea.

I was reading about the "cheer chains" that have allegedly been occurring at numerous Starbucks' over the past week or so. A "cheer chain" is when a customer at a Starbucks drive-thru pays for the drink of the next customer in line, that customer pays for the drink of the next customer, and so forth. As cheerful and as in the spirit of the holiday as this sounds, and I hate to be an old fuddy-duddy and rain on Starbucks' parade, but I'm thinking these random acts are a little too perfectly timed with the "pass the cheer" slogan of Starbucks during the holidays. They're probably a product of Starbucks' PR machine, who needs all the good press it can get these days.

Anyway, I came across this website, NewsGroper, that has fake blogs from people like George Bush and Hillary Clinton. One of the parody blogs was from Gordon Ramsay, the guy who does the "Hell's Kitchen" and "Kitchen Nightmares" shows on Fox. I've never seen them, I try to make a habit of not watching reality television, but I hear they're uproariously funny. And "he" wrote this blog on the Starbucks "cheer chain", which is entitled "I Broke the Fucking Starbucks 'Cheer Chain'".

The blog is also uproariously funny, LOL, so please read it.

Sobriety Checkpoints

I've noticed that, at least for awhile, Suffolk County Police have engaged in the practice of putting up sobriety checkpoints on busy streets, usually on the weekends. Last week, it kind of hit home when my brother told me that he'd come across one on Route 112 on his way to work. Like probably like most people, he looked on it as a mild inconvenience. They were just an obstacle to pass on the way to work, or the way home.

It'll never cease to amaze me how indifferent we are towards maintaining and preserving our most basic freedoms. It's like most of us were asleep when they taught us about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in school. I think I remember being taught that, I wouldn't be surprised if they stopped teaching it to the current generation of children and teenagers in school. When he told me what'd happened, I immediately thought of the Fourth Amendment (which prohibits the government from unlawful search and seizure) and probable cause. The police can't just lean into your vehicle and ask you "have you been drinking?" (or any other question, for that matter), without having probable cause. In other words, having a reasonable standard; such as you driving erratically all over the road. Simply making a police checkpoint and asking every driver, or even every other, or every tenth driver whether they'd been drinking makes the Fourth Amendment pretty worthless, IMO.

Shortly after finding out about this, I went to that most valued of sites, Wikipedia, and found the entry on sobriety checkpoints. I found out that eleven states have banned the use of sobriety checkpoints by law enforcement. Unfortunately, New York isn't one of those eleven. But far worse, I then read that in 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sobriety checkpoints are Constitutional. Reinquist, the Chief Justice, said that the state interest in reducing drunk driving justified a major breach of the Fourth Amendment. For anyone who thinks that the USSC started to go downhill with the Bush V. Gore decision, think again and look back to this decision. When looking at the Supreme Court, I'm reminded of Emperor Palpatine and the Sith. Powerful, arrogant people who use their ideology for ends that lead to unrecoverable damage to our freedoms, and like the Emperor and the Sith (at least from midway through Episode III to Episode IV) , totally unaccountable.


I just saw Michael Moore's "Sicko" again, this time on DVD, and again, I implore you. Get to a video store and rent it, order it from home, or put it on your Netflix queue. Just an outstanding documentary, in every sense of the word. And there are a lot of little bonus features, the bonus features on a Moore DVD are always worth watching.

Iraqi Extremists' War on Alcohol

This article from the NY Times shows why I hate fundamentalists of any stripe, be they Christian, Muslim, or whatever. A bombing in Baghdad on Thursday targeted a street with several liquor stores. No one knows whether the bombing was conducted by Sunnis or Shiites, extremists both, who oppose alcohol consumption. I have to say that I take this a bit personally, as I've worked in a couple of liquor stores over the past few years. Who knows how many of my comrades, whose job it was to stock shelves and mop up broken wine bottles, were killed as a result?

At least the people in this neighborhood kept partying and going on with their lives in the aftermath, denying the terrorists an important victory. Just a thought: I think the Iraqis are seriously lagging behind us musically, as the article says that people were listening to a sound system blare out the Foreigner song "I Want to Know What Love Is." Damn, I was in diapers when that song was a hit.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tent Cities

As you might recall from a history class you took on U.S. history, in the 1930s there was a monumental event that struck the entire world, known as the Great Depression. Due to many factors, the economies of many countries, including ours, were in disarray, and most people endured quite lean times, for many years. One of the tenets of information I took from those lessons, were the formation of what came to be called "Hoovervilles." These were shantytowns formed by people who were left jobless and homeless by the Depression.

An article in Yahoo reminded me very strongly of this. Due to the mortgage crisis, there is a tent city in a South California suburb. It's a growing "city" that now houses 200 people, including several children. I feel this is probably a harbinger of things to come; one person with Catholic Charities says in the article that the rising home foreclosures are an indicator of a "trickle-down effect". In that once those who would have bought homes find themselves renting apartments, the people who would have rented apartments, well, who knows what they'll do now, and so on and so forth.

I have no doubt that we're on the path to becoming a third-world nation. It became apparent once factories began moving south and to Asia, leaving us with not much of a manufacturing industry to speak of, and then you add globalization and NAFTA and all the other stuff, and it's been downhill from there.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More proof that abstinence only-programs don't work

This article in the Washington Post states that more and more states are rejecting federal funding for sex education in the schools, since the funding is tied to having an abstinence-only program taught to students. Any reasonable person will tell you that simply telling people, especially teens, to not have sex just doesn't work.

Besides, IMO, it isn't the job of the federal government or the schools to teach kids about sex. That responsibility rests solely in the hands of the parents, and it belongs in the home. Just like it isn't the job of the government to have programs like DARE. Can't parents simply tell their kids that drugs will fuck up your life?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Are Americans "Better Than That"?

This is an article I read from Consortium News on the torture scandal that's been hitting the news. I haven't really commented on it because to be honest, I have mixed feelings on the issue. As much as I abhor the torturing of others, I do believe that there can be, and probably have been, situations in which it was necessary. And this guy who wrote the article, brought up "24" and Jack Bauer. Of course, this became of interest to me, because I'm such a big fan of "24". The writer brings it up in a totally disrespectful way, without having seen the show. He says that there is at least one torture scene an episode, which is really fucking ridiculous. I can probably count on one hand the number of times Jack has tortured someone in the history of the show. But to the layman who's never seen the show, because there have been a few moments of torture in the show, the whole show must be about Jack Bauer plying out someone's fingernails, or waterboarding a Middle Eastern man.

The author, Ray McGovern, also refers to our policy of torturing terrorist suspects as a "Jack Bauer culture". When I read that, I thought of Orwell's quote, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." It's easy for all of us to play armchair quarterback and second-guess the actions that these men (and women) decide to take. But can it be a necessary act? If someone in custody knows of, say, an imminent attack (or heaven forbid, something having to do with nuclear weapons), IMO, torture would be a last resort, but still on the table. If living in a Jack Bauer culture is wrong, I don't think I'd want to be right.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Konami characters and their 80s counterparts

This is a fun article about how some characters from Konami games (or their box covers) bear a striking resemblance to some 1980's action movie icons.

Walmart: Purveyors of Filth

It's so funny and ironic how Walmart boasts of its stance on family values conservatism, does things like censor music CD's, but then they'll sell something like this:

It's one thing if it were in the adult women's section, but it was in the junior section (girls 12 and under) for $2.99.

Update on telecom companies spying on Americans

A few months earlier, I posted some articles and information about how the major telecom companies (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) are colluding with our government to spy on Americans' phone calls without a court order or any kind of judicial oversight. I found some new information buried in an article about the passing of a House bill on banning torture by the CIA. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to reject legislation that would have immunized the phone companies from being sued. Of course, the Cheney White House is vowing to veto.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Michael Jackson and Sonic 3

I didn't know this until very recently, but it was apparently revealed a few years ago by someone within Sega during the 90's that Michael Jackson had originally done some work on the soundtrack of the classic Genesis game, Sonic 3. Tonight, I discovered a small documentary comparing and contrasting some of Jackson's music (recorded approximately around the time of Sonic 3's development) with some of the songs from Sonic 3. So this is pretty much true, judging by how similar the songs are. It's said that collaboration between Sega and Jackson ended upon him being accused of allegedly molesting children.

But this is a pretty interesting video for those interested in gaming history:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I just finished the first season of a TV series that I can wholeheartedly recommend, especially since it's returning in February. It's called "Jericho", you might have heard of it, it's about a small town in Kansas that feels the repercussions of a widespread nuclear attack on the U.S. It's really good, and makes you think of what'd happen to us if something like that actually occurred. In a good documentary on the DVD about the making of the show, the creators said that the concept of "Jericho" came out of 9/11 and Katrina, but multiplied by 20. As the series goes on, you see people fighting for food, a place to live, mineral rights. I don't want to give away too much in case someone reading this chooses to give it a try, but it really provides food for thought on how our lives could change if something this dramatic happened, and how we could also change as people.

Just a note of caution: it takes time for the show to really stand out. Don't get me wrong, it's a really solid season, but the first few episodes are kind of slow-paced and give you the impression that it's a different show than what I described. But stick with it, and you'll be rewarded. The later episodes reach 24-like levels in intensity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Al Gore's Nobel speech

Here is a link to where you can watch a few minutes of the recent speech Al Gore gave upon receiving his Nobel Prize. I would kind of like to see him run for President again, but I think he's probably better off rising above that and sticking to what he's doing. Talking about issues like video games without even having played one, like most politicians, would only cheapen him as a person.

Electoral Politics and Video Games

Via Gamepolitics, I came across a group called Common Sense Media. They asked some major presidential candidates what they would do when it came to the regulation of video games. Some comments were sensible, others weren't. In particular, Milt Romney and Hillary Clinton have come out against violence in "adult" video games. If I had a chance to converse with them, I'd ask them if any of them had ever picked up a gamepad. I'm sure the answer from amongst the candidates would probably be all in the negative. Well, I did see a photo of either Huckabee or Brownback (who's out of the race now) playing Guitar Hero once.

Maybe we shouldn't take it so personally. Politicians always need a whipping boy of some kind to deflect the responsibility from where it really belongs: inattentive, wandering parents. Before this, it was violent movies and obscenities in rock and rap music. But since politicians don't understand gaming culture, and again have probably never so much as picked up a joystick, they should shut the hell up and stick to more pressing issues.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Homeless at Starbucks

This is an article from the Washington Post, via Starbucks Gossip. This article reminds me of one that was on this blog months ago about a Starbucks employee who was fired for drawing something that was considered to be racially offensive (and that was really debatable) on the board. In that it's by no means certain what the facts really were, yet some sanctimonious, holier-than-thou columnist felt the need to demonize Starbucks anyway.

If this is true, I feel that it was a terrible thing to do, but I'm also convinced that we haven't heard the whole story. It's important to understand that most homeless people are human beings and probably have families, but a lot of them have very serious problems. When you work in a retail environment and deal with the homeless each day, like I did, you see that the negative stereotypes that are allocated to them are usually true. They aren't hygenic, they talk to themselves, they're usually very angry and are only one wrong word or gesture away from showing violent behavior, and they're disruptive and either beg people for money, or ask you to give them something for free.

I'm sure there are some real dicks out there who accost and harass homeless people for no reason, but I think it's important to give Starbucks the benefit of the doubt here. It's a private retail environment, and they do have the right to refuse service to anyone. Due to lawsuit concerns, I'm sure that isn't a responsibility that most employees take lightly. My personal policy towards the homeless, if I owned a business, would be the same as it would be for any other customer, with one exception: If you emit a foul odor (like feces or urine), sorry, but you're outta here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How America Lost The War on Drugs

Now and then, I read a piece of first-rate journalism like this that really defies an introduction or a summary. You should just devour the whole thing, although it'll take awhile, it's pretty heavy reading. We all know that the U.S. War on Drugs is a colossal loser, but Ben Wallace-Wells of Rolling Stone outlines its history very, very well.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Samoa Joe Shoot

This is the video from last night's TNA Turning Point pay-per-view of Samoa Joe's "shoot" promo. The main event was supposed to be Samoa Joe and The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) vs. Kurt Angle, AJ Styles and Tomko. But Hall no-showed, as he has a history of doing. And Samoa Joe just goes off and totally says what needed to be said. This is awesome, I haven't seen anything like this since Vince Russo went off on Hogan at Bash at the Beach, way back in 2000.

The Gamespot Controversy

When I am in the market for a game, the first place I go is to Gamespot for a review. I find their reviews generally well-written and concise. I also use the user reviews at Gamefaqs as well. But, like everything else, these sites that were originally designed for gaming enthusiasts by gaming enthusiasts are now affiliates of major corporations. Both of these sites I visit regularly are owned by one of these companies, CNet.

There is currently kind of an uproar in some elements of the gaming world about the departure of a Gamespot editor and reviewer surrounding a negative review he wrote and did a video on of a game called Kane & Lynch. The company's publisher, Eidos, has purchased lots of advertising on Gamespot to promote Kate & Lynch. So it's not hard to follow where this goes. This editor, Jeff Gerstmann, worked at Gamespot for ten years, and at the end, was locked out of his office and escorted off the property.

Due to our litigation-happy world, we will probably never know the full story of what happened, or if there was something else that led to Gerstmann's demise other than this scathing review. But if this is really the center of it, than it's disgraceful and inexcusable. Anonymous people from within Gamespot are writing of breaches in the wall separating the editorial staff from the sales department (the people who sell ads). So I could no longer look to Gamespot for honest, no-holds-barred reviews of games that I'm interested in. And as for Gamefaqs (which, again, is owned by the same company), who knows if the wrong kinds of user reviews are rejected?

I just see gaming, in general, moving in a direction I don't care for. I grew up my whole life around games. I can't relate with the mainstream crowd today who talk about Halo 3 or Guitar Hero, or these other kinds of games. I'm currently playing this neat little handheld of 8-bit Sega games. Columns is a game that's 20 years old, and I just feel this calming magic whenever I play it, that I just haven't been able to get in the newer generation games. It's kind of following a rock band from the time they're playing small clubs and releasing records on independent labels, and you feel special cause you're part of a small fan base, but then they break through into the mainstream, all of a sudden everyone and their mother is a fan, and they aren't special to you anymore, you kind of feel like they sold out. I know the analogy doesn't entirely fit, but that's how I feel about gaming right now.

Another example of why religion and politics do not mix

Again, I haven't been following the various campaigns in the presidential primaries closely at all, but now and again, I'll stumble upon a story that attracts my interest. Milt Romney, one of the frontrunners for the GOP nomination (along with Rudy), is a Mormon. This is immaterial to me, as I already don't care for the guy regardless of what religion he is. But this has generated controversy for some, mostly Christians who are uneasy about giving their vote to anyone who is a non-Christian, or who practices an offshoot of Christianity, or whatever. I wouldn't be able to tell you what exactly a Mormon is, I don't know much of them outside of the show "Big Love". But the fact that Romney is a Mormon has apparently generated so much attention that he's felt the need to schedule a speech and address his faith.

I've heard all my life about how America is the land of the free, and that this whole shebang got started in the first place by immigrants from Europe who were marginalized for their religious beliefs and wanted to be able to practice them in peace elsewhere. But yet, it's been a constant for political candidates, especially those running for the Oval Office, to talk about faith and how they practice their religion. This is no more clear than this current situation with Romney, and JFK before him (who was, of course, Catholic). This guy's wasting important time, in which he can address far more pressing issues, so he can appease a few religious bigots so that he could, maybe, get their vote.

Faith, and how often someone practices it, isn't a litmus test for how qualified they are to serve in office, or in their capacity to use proper judgment and make the right decisions. Just look at Bush. As I recall, he made his faith a centerpiece of his 2000 campaign, and look at the job he's done in 7 years. Whether you get into political office should depend on your traits as a decision-maker, and your intellect, and your savvy, and on your ability to raise money (sadly, I'm not being sarcastic here), not on how often you go to church or pray to your God.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Guitar Hero on the Commodore 64

I'm kind of ashamed to say that I haven't played any of the Guitar Hero games, which are a big deal. It's such a big deal that someone is porting a version of it over to my first system, the Commodore 64. This tells you what kind of awesome community the good old C64 still has.

We could cut nearly a third of greenhouse gases, but don't hold your breath

This article from the Times, via the Bru Notes blog, informs us of a new report that states that we could cut up to 28 percent of greenhouse gases in relatively simple ways and for not a lot of money at all. As Bru explains so much better than I could, even this fairly modest task is an uphill battle since corporations are all about making profit now. These kinds of initatives will pay for themselves, and then some, in the long run, but businesses aren't interested in that. If there's not a big incentive for them, than they won't do it. Maybe capitalism is a necessary evil, and maybe it's better than everything else that's been tried, but this is what sucks about it. No one wants to do the right thing because it's the right thing. They'll only do it if there's something in it for them.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Program on the History of the Sega Dreamcast

I found this on Google Video, it's a program that was aired on the G4 channel called "Icons". It documents important events, games, and consoles in gaming history, and this covers the Sega Dreamcast. It's a fantastic overview and short history, and even non-gamers can follow it.

If you're interested in this kind of thing, I really encourage you to seek out a site called Eidolen's Inn, which gives a very in-depth, comprehensive view of the history of Sega. It's very compelling, and a real treat if you love the history of games. To briefly clarify something, the reason why Sega was bleeding money and lost the war to PS2 had nothing to do with the performance of the Dreamcast console. The Dreamcast did an excellent job, and was a smash hit by the standards of the late 90's. It was due in large part to past mistakes. Sega overextended themselves with too many consoles, as was stated in the program. But something that wasn't mentioned was the decision by Sega of Japan to discontinue support for the Genesis, their most successful console, in order to focus on the Saturn, which proved to be a failure in North America. This cost them millions of dollars. SOJ were real boneheads, the arrogance of these morons never ceases to amaze me.

Kurt Angle's New TNA Theme

I've been looking for a copy of this on Youtube for months and finally found it. The album TNA Total Meltdown was released last week, and this was on it. It's Kurt Angle's theme that he's been using for the past few months, which is badass IMO. It was cool before, but adding a rap track to it just complemented it perfectly. I wish I was still in a gym, this'd be a perfect workout song.

Greeters at Starbucks? Oh, please no.

As far as I know, this is just a suggestion from a Wall Street broker on a business website, and hopefully that's all it'll be. He is suggesting that Starbucks needs a "greeter" at the door to smile and ask how they're doing today. What for? You already have the barista, who is (usually) friendly. This is another step in the wrong direction for Starbucks. I still go there regularly, but it's becoming more like a McDonald's than the third place that it should be. And a "greeter" would be taking a page from Walmart's book. It just makes a company seem even more corporate and artificial, with this bland, manufactured politeness. I think I'd be embaressed to go to Starbucks if they instituted a ill-thought out policy like that.

The Anatomy of a DVD Cover

Very soon, Season 6 of 24 will be released on DVD. This is always a moment when I just pick up the case and buy it, without hesitation. This'll be no different, although Season 6 was pretty weak (as far as 24 goes) and although I'll be waiting for Target to put it on sale for ten bucks cheaper a few weeks later (like they have before). But I am very upset about something. A few months ago on the blog, I saw a preliminary cover of the sixth season DVD. I have no way of knowing whether it was genuine or a fan design (although it looks professional and glossy enough to pass for a design sanctioned by Fox). This was it:

IMO, this is the best cover design for any DVD I've seen. It just captures the feeling of "24", and Jack Bauer, perfectly. Jack is, without a doubt, the most tormented character on TV today, perhaps ever. He has lost everything in the name of protecting his country. And that really came to a boil in Season Six, with the ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** killing of Curtis, after which he called Bill and told him that he couldn't do this anymore; his reuniting with Audrey, the woman he loves and the only person he has left, only to find that she's in a catatonic state; the involvement of his family (the Bauers get my vote for the most dysfunctional family on television); and his confrontation with James Heller in the last episode of the season, in which it all comes out.***SPOILERS OVER***

So, to me, this cover was just a natural. Jack is clearly at odds with himself and the world around him in Season Six, so this cover was just brilliant. But unfortunately, Fox isn't going with this cover. This will be the cover instead:

I like it, if it was the only one I saw, I'd be okay with it. The cover design isn't a big consideration when I buy my DVDs. But after seeing the first one, this just seems so damn generic. It's Jack Bauer in a typical badass pose covered transparently by the American flag. It's no surprise to anyone who's even heard of the show. But the first design is such an eye-opener, it looks different from anything else on the shelf. If it was something made by a fan, than I can't really fault Fox and the creators of 24. But if it was really being considered as being the cover and was turned down, than, shame on them. What a way to pussy out, for whatever reason.