a shitload load of shit

I’ve got a lot to write about today. None of it’s funny in the slightest though, so if you’re looking for that kind of thing, go visit the professionals at The Comedy Zone or Lindsey J Hammond. I’ve got nothing in my arsenal to compete. I’m like North Korea. I might have one, maybe two, comedy dirty bombs to lob at my close neighbors, but that’s nothing compared to the bunker-busting humor wielded by these professionals.

this will be explained later

Now, let’s talk about me.

Linette called me at work today to tell me that our baby was finally home, so I sprinted out at quitting time and sped home to my new Tivo unit. I’ve got it hooked up now and I’ve just got to wait the 4 to 8 hours it takes for it to get its bearings. In the meantime, I plan to grind out the excessively long post I feel bubbling up inside me. Here it comes!

first things first: jihad
The New York Times today ran an op-ed piece by a guy named Jihad. His first name is Jihad. Maybe that’s common, and maybe I’m just small-minded, but I think it’s weird. I often kid about naming my son, if I ever have one, Hitler Mussolini Stalin Maynard. I don’t think I’d ever really do it though. I just think it’s funny. I can’t imagine walking around with the first name Jihad. It’s like going up to folks and saying your name is Kill-Whitey Jones or something.

His op-ed piece was good though.

shit factor
I’m depressed. I just, by accident, flipped by an episode of “Fear Factor” in which contestants were running across a studio carrying dead rats in their mouths. The object, from what I could tell, was to run back and forth transporting as many dead rats as possible from one bucket to another bucket. It made me incredibly sad, like “I need to leave this country” sad. I can’t believe that in one generation we’ve gone from Jack Benny to girls with breast implants transporting dead rodents in their mouths. I can not begin to imagine what the next fifty years might hold.

Where’s there left to go once Chinese performance artists begin cooking human babies in their George Forman grills anyway?

My depression was short-lived. I found a new series on Bravo that gave me some hope for the future. It’s their new reality series focusing on the lives of a new class of Cirque Du Soleil recruits. It’s kind of like “Tough Enough,” the series focusing on people trying to become professional wrestlers, only a bit more cerebral… The Los Angeles “It Factor” started tonight too and it’s good as well. It seems as though overnight I’ve become a Bravo junkie. I’ll be watching “Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton” by the end of the week. Speaking of which, how long can that series possibly go on? He’s got to be just one or two guests away from booking the Olsen twins by now.

future of TV advertising
The New York Times ran a story today on the evolution of television advertising in the post-Tivo world. It’s obvious, but Tivo and other devices like it are forcing the industry to gravitate away from the thirty second ad spot, something that was set in motion long ago by the first remote control.

The bottom line is that advertisers don’t want to pay to air commercials that people aren’t watching and something’s got to change as a result.

This piece focuses primarily on one producer and his desire to bring an ad-less show to primetime. Of course, it would still have advertisers (Pepsi and Nokia have already signed on), but their ads would be buried within the show itself, like little nuggets of gold in a streambed. Actually, it’s nothing new at all. It’s manipulative and disgusting, but it’s nothing really new. When TV first started out, that’s how ads were done. Anyway, it’s a good article.

To read the article, just mash this button.

I liked this idea:

Mr. Davies added that the show could charge a movie company, for example, for an appearance by one of the stars of a new film. It could also charge for guest hosts.

Wouldn’t that be cool? Dell could shell out some money and have that annoying computer dude co-host the “Tonight Show,” or the cast of “Dude, Where’s My Car” could replace the folks from “60 Minutes” for an episode or two. Brilliant.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports on the same issue from a different perspective, quoting network execs talking about how users will have to pay for their content in the future, if devices like Tivo continue to make headway.

To read the article, just mash this button.

This article was also cool in that it quotes FCC Chairman Michael Powell as referring to Tivo as “god’s machine” in his Consumer Electronics Show address. Seems he’s a big fan… And that makes me like him better.

english mark maynard saga
Remember that fourteen year old girl who wrote in a while ago, looking for her brother, a guy in England by the name of Mark Maynard? Well, thanks to an industrious MM.com reader, we thought that we’d found him. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the wrong Mark Maynard. Right part of England. Right name. Right age. But wrong Mark Maynard.

Well, after not hearing from her for a few weeks, I just received the following note.

ok i no i dont no you but i need your advise as you seem to give it good. my
mum has found johns phone number (my propper dad) which means i can call him and get my brohters info, but i dnt want my dad to no where ia m or for him
to want to meet me , as he is a bad man. on the other hand im desperate to
get in touch with mark so i wud do anything, but im not sure. what shall i do email me back plaese

And now I’m wondering if someone might be pulling my leg. It just sounds too English. The use of the word “mum.” Something smells fishy.

Anyway, here’s my response. Tell me if you’ve got better ideas.

I suppose there are ways that you could contact your dad without his being able to find out where you are. The easiest would be to have a friend call him and to just say, “Your daughter has asked for me to call you and ask you for her brother Mark’s phone number and/or address.” Or, better yet, just have the person say that they need Mark’s number. Your dad doesn’t need to know it’s for you.

That would be pretty easy, if you got someone that you could trust, someone who wouldn’t tell him where you were if he asked. Just tell the person not to answer any of his questions, just to ask for Mark’s contact information. You could do it from a pay phone. (I don’t know if they can do it in the UK, but in the US people can call the phone company and find out the numbers of the phones that call them. If that’s the case in the UK, you don’t want him being able to know your home number.)

Another way would be to send him a letter in the mail with your email address in it. You could then trade notes without him knowing where you are. Just make up a new hotmail account and cancel it once you’ve gotten the information you want from him.

I hope those ideas help.

how things came to pass
Dave Miller, our man in Portland, sends in this link to a Washington Post article on Iraq and how it is that we’ve come to the brink of war. It’s a good behind the scenes step-by-step retelling of the motivations and the meetings that brought us to where we are today.

holey face batman
I got this sent to me from a guy named Kez, under the heading “OCD is bad.” As he and I both have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) we send each other stories on the subject every now and then. This, however, is more fucked up than most, and there are photos involved, so don’t follow the link until you prepare yourself… It’s a medical site about a woman who obsessively picks at her face. She’s done it now until the point where she’s through the skull and there’s a hole in her sinus big enough to accommodate a tennis ball. She’s also lost an eye as a result. (link)

I’m rarely thankful for my particular brand of OCD. I guess things could be much worse though.

speaking of recognizable faces
Reuters issued a story today on face recognition cameras being used by Virginia Beach police. It’s fairly interesting. Here’s a clip:

“This kind of surveillance should be subject to the same procedures as wiretaps. Law enforcement agencies should justify why they need it and it should be tightly limited, otherwise it will soon become a tool of social control,” said Mihir Kshirsagar of the Electronic Information Privacy Center.

Read the whole article here .

this was explained earlier

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