g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
Tal G in Jerusalem
Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Thursday, July 13, 2006
11:58 - We are Hugh
http://mfdh.blogspot.com/2006/07/ninternet-pas.html

(top)
Via BrianD, here's the estimable Cheeseburger Brown:

"Who's that guy who was in that movie, you know, with the fireball -- with that girl?" asks someone.

Everyone turns confidently to their machines and then, a moment later, swears. Our favourite repositories of off-site cinema knowledge are not accessible.

Later on a producer asks: "How much would a new two hundred gig FireWire drive cost?"

And the multimedia guy is forced to offer a surprised and morose reply: "I...don't know."

We feel like Superman bitch-slapped by Kryptonite. None of our magical Cyber Age powers are working. We can't know the weather report or see through traffic cameras; we cannot settle arguments; we can't buy anything or even compare prices for future purchasing; we cannot retrieve client files uploaded to our off-site FTP server; we cannot drill down through trivia or follow trails of curiosity; we can't read the news or steal photographs, download television programming or albums of pop music; we can't videoconference with our babies or wives; we can't browse stock art or commercial music libraries or step through on-line tutorials; we can't ogle the Page Three girls from Britain.

I'm going to be away from home for the coming week, but I'm borrowing a friend's laptop so I don't have to be without Google Earth.

So I can certainly sympathize. Every time we have a power outage, or even just the cable internet goes down, I go through this same mental process. What to do? I know! I'll work on the code on my serv—nnnno. Okay: I know! I'll catch up on my e-mail—nnnnno. Okay: I know! I'll relive my Alaska trip through photos and satellite maps.... dang!

I like to think this all means we have that much more awareness of far-flung items of interest than we did in the olden days; when we pass the time seeking out our own forms of entertainment and diversion from all over the globe, rather than being tied down by what happens to have arrived in the physical mailbox or sits on our dusty shelves, surely it's a win for the self-determination of individual lives everywhere and the freedom to mold one's mind in ways independent of one's immediate surroundings. But of course it's not without its technical limitations, and the sugar crash is all the bigger the more we depend on it.

Be sure to read the comments: "Thanks to the wonder of instant access to data, I've had the privilege of discovering, forgetting, rediscovering, and reforgetting more information than my ancestors were ever exposed to. Why remember it when you can just look it up again?"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
16:02 - Sagetty Wack
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B_n9YaAMmg

(top)
My only exposure to Bob Saget, I have to admit, is America's Funniest Home Videos, from which you'd never get the impression that this side of him exists. But as a friend informs me:

He was the raunchiest mother****er before then. My dad used to show me tapes of his standup.
He tried to leave and go back after the show, but he had the reputation of being a good guy by then. So he had to go to America's Funniest Home Videos.
He got fired from that spot later for sexual harassment and drug use. Just the general disorderly conduct. Plus he'd make little jokes here and there that weren't part of the script.
For instance he once joked on an episode about names he was called as a segue. He started off saying that kids used to call him "Bob Maggot" or something like that, then looked at the camera, gave a rather lecherous grin and said "It's okay, I've been called FAR worse." I still remember the gust of laughter that got.

Well, that explains a few things.

So now he's back to his original form. But even if just in the "I didn't realize he was ever anything but Mr. Simpering Giggle" context, this video is pretty dang funny. Also somewhat NSFW, if just for language.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
15:37 - Mom! There's an MP3 player under my bed!
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1986008,00.asp

(top)
Boy, talk about a poster child for the ever-popular "not getting it" movement:

The iSheep has been put out to pasture.

SanDisk, whose 'iSheep' ads provoked ridicule while the ads themselves poked fun at consumers who purchased Apple's iPod, has replaced the ads with a new mascot, the 'Lil' Monsta'. The new mascot's voracious nature is designed to showcase the need to fill wireless devices with all sort of media, the company said.

The iSheep website on Friday contained a Flash animation showing the ferocious Lil' Monsta flash tearing an iSheep to bloody bits.

Yeah.

Remember when Buy.com rolled out BuyMusic.com, right after the iTMS opened? Remember how its ads were a direct parody of Apple's own, featuring Tommy Lee of Motley Crüe grabbing up the iTMS's iconic sunburst guitar and smashing it to bits?

Looks like the tradition of competing with Apple through shocking images of random destructive violence is alive and well.

"So, what does SanDisk do? Lower prices? No," Mincey added. "Add more features? No. Make their players Mac compatible? No. Make it all work with iTunes, Mac or Windows. Nope. Instead, SanDisk does what you would expect of a company desperate for sales and market share. Insult the leader, right? No, they're busy insulting the leader's customers."

"We think that marketing for MP3 players has been much too serious, and so we are taking a tongue-in-cheek approach," said Nelson Chan, executive vice president and general manager of consumer products and corporate marketing, in a statement.

Heh. Yeah, the iPod ads sure are "serious", aren't they? Better do something about that. Like work out all your frustrations in a crude animation of eviscerating your competitors and their customers. Yeah, that's tongue-in-cheek. Sure makes me want to run right out and buy one.

I gotta give all these guys credit: the more stuff like this they do, the gladder I am that Apple's the one that got off to the early lead. It would be a pretty ugly market right now if companies like SanDisk and Creative and Microsoft were the ones defining its rules.

UPDATE: Steven Den Beste has some additional commentary on the market situation. No permalink, but go to 20060711.1415.

Incidentally, a quick visual census of 24 Hour Fitness at around midnight reveals that something like 90% of the pairs of ears on the various treadmilling and cross-trainering attendees were connected to iPods. Not MP3 players in general—iPods.

Monday, July 10, 2006
23:52 - See, here's what I don't get

(top)
How is it that someone who delights in posting stuff like this:

I don’t understand the theory that we attacked Iraq for oil. Can one of you geniuses explain that to the rest of us?

I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person. And I certainly think governments are capable of doing bad things. But I don’t understand the concept of attacking Iraq “because of oil.” What does that even mean?

Do you think the plan was to conquer Iraq and give the oil fields to Exxon?

Do you think the idea was to depose Sadam so the free Iraqis would boost oil production, thereby lowering costs at the pump?

Was the idea to bomb Iraq until they loved American oil companies and wanted to do business with them?

Seriously. Can anyone explain what the plan was?

... can then turn around and publish this:



I mean, the guy's obviously a Super-Genius, and I love his tweak-everyone's-preconceptions reasoning that he's kept up almost without interruption on his blog since day one. So maybe he's just more capable of understanding how to market humor to the newspaper-reading audience than we lowly induhviduals are, or this sort of thing is a contractual obligation for all humorists throughout the world or something.

I dunno. I'm clearly inadequate to the task.

E-mailer "Refugee" is one of several who read it like this:

I see no contradiction whatsoever between the quote and the cartoon.

I read the cartoon as saying that, even if your country is blessed with bountiful (and profitable) natural resources, you can throw that advantage away by waging war on your neighbors and your own people, to say nothing of attacking the most powerful nation on Earth.

In other words, even the Pointy Haired Boss realizes that "Your country will be happy and prosperous forever unless you start building [and aggressively using] weapons of mass destruction."

House of Saud, Iran mullahs, etc., take note. You are dumber than the PHB.

Well, maybe. But it seems to me that if that were his intent he'd have worded it differently.

The very phrase "weapons of mass destruction" has for better or for worse become synonymous with "America's all-purpose trumped-up reason to go to war", with "for oil" tacked on for extra points. So if poor naïve Elbonia suddenly discovers it has oil, the implication of the strip seems to be that if it's dumb enough to develop WMDs on the side, then it'll find itself invaded and despoiled under the pretext of ridding it of said WMDs.

Maybe I'm just overly sensitized to this view, though... they keep showing that Boondocks episode where MacGruder oh-so-cleverly parodizes the whole war story using Ed "W" Wuncler (yeah, pronounced "Onceler", like in The Lorax) and Gin Rummy as bandana'ed violent vigilantes marauding the neighborhood like Pulp Fiction's assassins, originally pursuing the "Xbox Killer" but suddenly getting distracted by the dubious potential ("We got known knowns, and known unknowns, ya feel me?") of a liquor store up the street run by a nice old guy named "Hussein" whom they accuse of pulling a (nonexistent) gun on them, at which point they start trashing and robbing the store. Magically, nobody holds them to account for this, because they're under the protection of the police because Wuncler's father is a Dick Cheney lookalike who runs everything. And of course the Xbox Killer gets away, presumably to Afghanistan.

It's this sort of thing that leads me to think that the world's humorists just know what will endear themselves to legions of fans—because there's no way even MacGruder can really believe such a glib version of events (he puts significant effort into showing that he fully understands that Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns" and "absence of evidence" comments are completely logical and consistent and make perfect sense); nor can Adams make a joke like this without being fully aware of the fallacies behind it. Yet he puts that aside and makes the joke anyway because he knows people will laugh. That's a skill I don't have. Which I guess is why I'm not a celebrated humorist with my own comic strip and animated series.

UPDATE: Yeah, he's going there.

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