tivo war

Linette said something odd to me in bed last night.

She woke me up at about 3:00 AM saying, “Don’t ever let me get drunk with Tom Cruise again.”

I don’t know what this means.

When I tried to ask her, she pretended to be asleep.

Linette’s messing with the Tivo. She’s purposely setting out to counteract my preferences. Specifically, she’s mad at me for giving Columbo three green thumbs up (it’s a Tivo thing… you wouldn’t understand). In the world of Tivo, that means that I love Columbo and that I’ll probably love anything like it. As a result, I’ve got three episodes of Columbo saved for me right now on Tivo and a lot of other stuff, like Matlock, which I don’t like so much. Linette doesn’t mind the Columbo. She knew that I had that problem when we got married. What she doesn’t care for is the Diagnosis Murder, Matlock and Murder She Wrote. That, in her mind, takes things just a little too far.

So, right now, Linette’s in the other room trying desperately to cancel me out by telling Tivo that she loves cooking shows and almost everything on Home and Garden Television. Her goal, it’s obvious, is to fill the Tivo hard drive with five hours a day of Martha Stewart, thus squeezing my TV mysteries into a tiny sliver of our TV diet.

This battle, over something like 21 hours of hard drive space, will not be decided anytime soon. A pitched battle is on the horizon.

My next move is to enter the name “Don Knotts” into my Favorite Actors file. That’ll give me at least two Andy Griffith Shows a day, a Three’s Company and the odd Disney film. It won’t give me a decisive victory, but it’ll turn the tables a bit.

the big three fight back
Last week, the auto industry started fighting back against Arianna Huffington and her anti-SUV lobbying group, The Detroit Project. The attacks, as could be expected, weren’t based on the facts. They were personal. Specifically, the press was provided with information about Arianna Huffington and her lifestyle, as well as those of her most notable contributors. At worst, this information makes them all out to be hypocrites. It doesn’t, however, change the fact that they’re right in this instance.

Arianna Huffington, it seems, has a large house and a heated pool. She also, on occasion, travels by way of private jet. All of these things, of course, consume significant natural resources. I’m sure she’s also ridden in an SUV or two. Again, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s right though. SUVs do more harm both politically and environmentally than they’re worth. We need to phase them out.

Most damaging of what I read was the revelation that TV producer Norman Lear, one of Ms. Huffington’s financial supporters, has a home with a 20-car garage. As a person who detests hypocrites more than almost anything else, it really bothers me that Norman Lear would have twenty cars while calling for the elimination of SUVs. (I suppose it could be argued, however, that he can only use one car at a time. Maybe that’s something we should all shoot for. We can own multiple cars, thus keeping the economy rolling, while only using one at a time…) As for the apparent hypocrisy, it does bother me, and it would bother me a hell of a lot more if I owned and drove an SUV, but I still think the guy’s right. We’ll have to wait and see if their opponents (the auto manufacturers and oil companies) get any traction with this story. Hopefully, people will see though it.

senators may be doing something right
According to recent reports, some U.S. Senators my be willing to stand up and fight against the administration’s plan for Total Information Awareness. Here’s a snippet from an article on the subject:

Reflecting increased alarm about a Pentagon plan to find terrorists by trolling the electronic records of all Americans, several senators took steps Thursday to rein in the project and halt other “data mining” efforts until Congress can review the implications on civil liberties.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., drafted an amendment Thursday night to the $390 billion federal spending bill now being considered by Congress to temporary stop the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness project.

“Our country must fight terrorists, but America should not unleash virtual bloodhounds to sniff into the financial, educational, travel and medical records of millions of Americans,” Wyden said. “Congress ought to step in and put the brakes on this program now, before it grows unchecked and unaccountable.”

Dianne Feinstein is quoted in the article as saying, “We would catch more terrorists, perhaps, in a police state, but that’s not a country in which most Americans would want to live.” This gives me some hope.

dan the teacher writes in from brooklyn
I mentioned last week that I’d be passing on notes from my friend Dan who is a public school teacher at a high school in Brooklyn. Well, here’s his most recent note:

I will tell you guys a story about stuff that happened at my school today when I’m less angry, defeated and tired. The story will involve a broken window, bottle throwing, fire extinguisher spraying, arm twisting, blood/juice/paint, and a substitute in the next room over screaming hysterically, “Help me, god help me I’m being assaulted” while being pelted with garbage. Oh, and I’m bringing a hammer and nails and a board to school tomorrow. Today is the first day I felt afraid for my safety at my job. Ok, I’m taking my sleeping pill now…

Since he wrote this note a few days ago, there’s been a stabbing, a gang fight and a fire in his school.

old school masturbation
This letter just came in from a reader in New Jersey on the subject of masturbation. I’ve edited out the personal stuff to protect her identity.

I live at the Jersey shore in a Victorian community. The homes here are 120+ yrs. old and the city was founded by a group of Methodist’s that settled here and used to hold Camp Meetings in the summer months. When my husband and I were renovating we came across loads of books in the attic (some from the 1800’s) Most of which were books on Theology… This excerpt is from one of those books called Moral Theology in which they refer to masturbation as “pollution”:

Pollution or softness consists in effusing human seed without connecting or copulating with another person. It becomes adultery if one pollutes himself.
The husband or wife who manipulates himself when the other is absent sins grievously. The reason is that none has the right in itself on his own body, except when they prepare themselves for intercourse.

Here’s another:

Whoredom is the condition of a women prostituted to many men. At least more than 2. Such lewd women can be tolerated in larger cities.

I have pages and pages of this crap. It’s really quite entertaining! We also found a ton of KKK propaganda. There were some sick fuckers living In my house!

I think the world would probably be a much happier place if we just allowed those poor men to masturbate under their white sheets.

i know where you are
A good article, sent in by Dave, on the privacy issues revolving around RFID tags, those little things that MIT Media Labs dreamed up a few years back. The idea, as it was explained to me at the time, was that you could go grocery shopping and then just push your cart out to the door. A radio signal would bombard your cart as you left, hitting the little RFID tags built into each item and then carrying back the product code and such. Your credit card would be billed for the purchase.

Of course, there are darker scenarios. Imagine the government tracking you through every item of your clothing. Imagine wives tracking packages of condoms to find their husband. It’s wild. The things take no power either, their broadcasts are powered by the pulse of the incoming RF signal. Walls won’t stop them either. They travel over radio frequency. My guess is that they could be built into zippers and such and would be difficult to locate and/or remove. Manufacturers say that current technology would only allow them to be monitored at a distance of fifteen feet or so, but others feel that this limitation is temporary and that the technology already exists to monitor at a greater range.

Here’s a clip from the article:

If you care about privacy, now’s your chance to let the industry know how you feel. (And, no, I’m not calling for new laws or regulations.) Tell them that RFID tags are perfectly acceptable inside stores to track pallets and crates, but that if retailers wish to use them on consumer goods, they should follow four voluntary guidelines.

First, consumers should be notified–a notice on a checkout receipt would work–when RFID tags are present in what they’re buying. Second, RFID tags should be disabled by default at the checkout counter. Third, RFID tags should be placed on the product’s packaging instead of on the product when possible. Fourth, RFID tags should be readily visible and easily removable.

it gets worse
In reading that piece, I learned about VeriChip, an implantable human ID device. (They just inject it into you.)

Pre-register for yours here.

These are the kinds of things that I have nightmares about.

I wish I could dream about getting too drunk with Tom Cruise.

Goodnight my little pumpkins.

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