Monday, January 23, 2012

Harry S. Truman got it right.

"All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.

Harry S Truman, Letter to his sister, Nov. 14, 1947
33rd president of US (1884 - 1972)"

I think the part of President B. Hussein Obama's presidency that scares me the most, is that he cares nothing for what people are supposed to do anyway. He wants us to do what he wants, which violates the mandate for a President.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hollywood -- panderer, miser

So, I just read's article on the new movie "Red Tails" (one of their articles). They point out that Hollywood as an industry rejected the notion of the movie, refused to get involved. An action movie with an all African-America cast, about racism in the US Army and in America, and how racism got in the way of fighting WWII. And how Americans, of various races, survived the conflicts.

So I checked. There is one theater in rural Ponca City, OK. Four screens, the Northpark Cinema Four, a Carmike Theaters theater.

And it *isn't* playing Red Tails. Nor is it playing "Haywired" (the movie I actually wanted to see this weekend.

And, you know, that whole SOPA crap just really hit home to me.

Here is Hollywood, advertising on local stations movies they flat out do not intend to show in my area (not within fifty miles). They are already advertising the DVD release. Their industry isn't about serving my community with quality entertainment, not Hollywood, not Carmike Cinema.

Now, Carmike I can see, picking and choosing which films to show. I mean, they charge an extra three or five bucks a ticked when they can flag a '3D' film. The one 3D film I saw wasn't worth the three bucks, let alone ticket+$3. And the 3D wasn't the part worth seeing, not for me.

So I kind of resent that they are holding for the fourth or fifth week a second screen of some Disney re-release, instead of an interesting new flick. You have to understand the theaters, I know. The theater gets to keep like 5% to 10% of the ticket price the first week or three, depending on the distributor and the contract the movie chain signs with the distributor. That is why "no passes for the first week(s)" thing. But the revenue share goes up, if you hang onto the movie for four or five weeks, so if 20 people go to see the movie the fifth week, the theater makes as much, or more as if 100 to 200 people see it opening week, barring popcorn sales. And leaving the movie there simplifies bookkeeping for everyone, so we see movies hanging on, taking the places that might have been used by fresher releases.

When a popular movie is well received and the community continues to return and return (Star Wars, Sound of Music, Shooter come to mind), this works out OK. Otherwise, not so much.

My own feeling is anger. If the movie makers are so disrespectful of my town they won't show, in movie theaters, the movies I want to see and that they are pimping hither and yon, then I care less about whether the "oh, by the way" fees and crap get enforced.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA - where is the porn?

OK, SOPA is supposed to be front money for the recording industry. I mean, Elvis' estate is still going big guns, making big money for a cherished few. Disney properties continue to reap the "re-release the thing every seven years to keep the market fresh and lucrative" windfall of ever-renewed copyrights.

But think back to cell phones receiving video. Think back to what made the internet grow.

It was dirty pictures. Pornography. Pics of folks frolicking like a day-time soap, with the sheets pulled down. It was porn that drove the new technology, that created the mass appeal that brought the prices down, so that Mom can hand 8 year old Junior his cell phone and wander off across Wal-Mart without the tyke bothering her.

Now we don't hardly (many of us) think of the internet as a place for porn. We think of news stories, and favorite blogs. Real, homey kinds of stuff we share with Mom. Well, we might show her P!nk's 'clean' version of Pretty Pretty Please video on, rather than the original "Fuckin Perfect" lyrics. Same song, different sensibility/market.

Now the internet tracks the sites we visit, so that marketers can better whack each of us with whatever they are pushing, from pirated purses to that getaway vacation on an Italian cruise ship. Oh. That was last week. Anyway.

The suits, lawyers, and marketing wonks have moved in and sucked up the landscape to make their careers and profits. Some of us remember when you couldn't see the traffic road signs for the billboards, as marketing jumped onto that marketing opportunity. They just moved to the so-called "information superhighway". Of course, most of us just take side-trips, but that is another story.

Fighting copyright crap is really fighting marketing crap. Marketing takes old, fossil ways of doing things, trying to capture the market and revenues, and usually in a piratical manner to cut the opposition's throat. That is what we are seeing with SOPA and DMCA and other sops to marketing. They have nothing to do with family values, with benefit to America except to enrich those with deep pockets and an intent to capitalize on whatever they can get away with.

So, where is the porn? Where is the interest of Americans that isn't driven by marketing. It isn't made by Apple. At one time is was the fishing pole, or the hot rod impromptu race car. Another time it was the bicycle, or the motor car, or the steam locomotive burning wood and pulling two cars if it was a bigger engine.

It might be the garden that Ferry-Morse and WalMart (cute packages this year, with only slightly higher prices than last year) aren't planting. Maybe (Baker Creek Nursery) or Richter's have a clue about gardening with heritage (sustainable) seeds and perennial vegetable gardens, were flowers are planted not for landscaping but for supporting bees and spiders (nature's bug predators).

It might be the John Michael Greer's ArchdruidReport, and, in planning for the long descent from economic affluence as the wealth generation from burning cheap fossil fuels dwindles as the fuels become less accessible and less cheap.

But it won't be protected by SOPA.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

OMG! Dilbert reads DayByDay!

OK, not Dilbert, but Scott Adams that writes the Dilbert comic strip on life in the dead-end corporate world. Today, Wally gets paid off for being discriminated against -- and he wonders what to do with a $1 billion dollars, now that he is one of the 1%. Pointy haired boss directs him to "the tiny unicorn with a golden key".

On, Damon (sorry about this link. It just seems the most cynical,apropos snark on the pursuit of the opposite sex, ever.) has been running for US President (from the comic strip). DbD has always been non-Demcrat, pits two sisters and their families across the liberal/conservative divide. The take is that liberals have good intentions but tend to make matters worse for the most people, and there *is* no voice for conservatives, since the Republican party is so heavily invested in business as usual, they are uninterested in Constitutional government, checks and balances, or the will of the Republican party let alone the American people.

DbD tends to lampoon President Obama as a throwback to the pre-Revolutionary war French king, with period costume and obsequious lackeys.

Another touch point of mine on the internet is a farmer from Indiana, Frank W. James. Mr. James is a professional gun writer of long standing, with several books to his credit, and several magazine articles and columns currently. Frank refers to the current resident of the White House as President Unicorn, with scant admiration.

It is seldom that Dilbert strays so far from mundane office politics and snark, even indirectly into Presidential commentary. To be fair, this might be a snide comment on the Occupy rudderless disturbances (with their support from labor unions and Obama's re-election committee). The 1% is an Occupy/Obama talking point reference. The unicorn, though has long been a symbol used by President B. Hussein Obama's detractors.

You go, Dilbert!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I voted Republican since Gerald Ford

And yet, I think Hillary Clinton might be the least-bad choice for America.

I think the Democratic party needs to jettison Obama for Hillary; that would be my preferred scenario. The NY Times' Bill Keller thinks a more likely scenario would move Hillary into the VP spot come November. That, I think, would be terrible for America, leaving the Obama tribunal at the top of the feeding frenzy pyramid. I shudder to think what an extra *month* of Obama will do.

But the Republican party has shown itself to be remarkably resilient -- and resistant to learning anything about why Congress is so mistrusted, why winning the election seems so at odds with what the Tea Party and even the Occupy movements signify.

That is, unless something radical happens between now and then, I don't see myself voting Republican this year. And most incumbents had better have a damned virtuous -- and conservative, constitutional -- track record.