Now gluten-free!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

RIAA on the Warpath Again

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been fighting a losing battle against the illegal duplication, downloading, and sharing of music. But that hasn't stopped them from wreaking havoc with people's lives.

Apparently bored with the usual routine of sending threatening letters to college students, the RIAA is now trying a new intimidation tactic. The Washington Post reports:
    Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

    The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

    "I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."
So, if you legally purchase and download a song through iTunes and then copy that song to your iPod, could you find yourself slapped with a lawsuit for copyright infringement? That's something think about the next time you're rocking out to Hannah Montana on your morning jog.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bringing Anglophelia to the Masses

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II now has her own YouTube site! According to this story on
Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II keeps up with new ways of communicating with people and was hoping to reach a wider, and younger, audience through the popular video-sharing Web site.

The palace began posting archive and recent footage of the queen and other royals on the official Royal Channel on YouTube on Sunday, with plans to add new clips regularly.

The queen will use the site to send out her annual televised Christmas message, a tradition she began 50 years ago.

Hey--what a coincidence--our friends at The Onion News Network have also done a story on the venerable British figurehead-of-state:

Queen Elizabeth II Will Leave Behind Long Legacy Of Waving

Friday, December 21, 2007

Smile! You're Suing Candid Camera!

You won't see anything like this post-9/11:
    "Okay, where's the candid camera?" Philip Zelnick demanded on June 15, 2001, when an airport security official in Bullhead City, Ariz., instructed him to climb atop an authentic-looking, but phony, X-ray scanner machine.

    It seemed fishy, but Zelnick, 35, complied with the request of the "security official" -- actually show host Peter Funt. By the time the stunt was done, however, Zelnick appeared in no mood to "smile!", as the show's guests are often entreated to do. Instead, he sued.

    In a suit filed against Funt, "Candid Camera," the PAX television network, the airport and the Mojave Country Airport Authority, Zelnick claimed he incurred bruises and bleeding after becoming stuck in the faux scanner. Though identical in appearance to scanners reserved for carry-on luggage, the fake scanner did not emit real rays.
That was over six years ago, but it's being shown now on Court TV. Here's how the case turned out:
    The Los Angeles jury, comprised of five men and seven women, found "Candid Camera" and Peter Funt liable for negligence, false imprisonment and intentional misrepresentation, but cleared them of claims of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

    The jury awarded Zenlick a total of $300,000 in punitive damages, with Peter Funt and the show ordered to pay $150,000 each.

    Unhappy with the verdict, Peter Funt and "Candid Camera" plan to seek a new trial. In a statement on, Funt is quoted as saying, "We expressed our regret over Mr. Zelnick's injury within moments of the incident and offered compensation. Clearly the jury was not impressed with claims relating to his injury... I firmly believe that this award will be dramatically reduced on appeal."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Gospel According to Hooters

A Bible study at Hooters?:
    We'll furnish the hot wings. You just show up, says the Rev. Tom Sharron.

    Beginning Thursday, Destin United Methodist Church will offer "Hot Wings Bible Study" at the Hooter's Restaurant in Destin, an establishment known across the country for its scantily clad waitresses and hot wings.

    "It's a study for people who haven't studied the Bible a whole lot. It will be beginner's style," said Sharron, the assistant pastor at the Methodist church one of bringing the gospel Destin's largest, to the marketplace.

    Knowledge of a similar program at a Hooter's franchise in Montgomery inspired Senior Pastor Ken Taylor to offer the service to Destin.

    "The idea is to take the gospel to the marketplace, where the people are," Taylor said.
Why not? I'm sure that's what Jesus would do.

Now, if the church could just get men to pass out gospel tracts while they're getting lap dances at the local strip club...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm expecting my pink slip any day now.

I must have missed the memo. It has apparently become a fire-able offense to post a "Dilbert" cartoon in your workplace. Time to find something else to decorate my computer monitor. A man was recently fired from Catfish Bend Casino in Burlington, IA for posting this "Dilbert" cartoon on an office bulletin board, after the managers informed the employees that the casino was closing and layoffs were impending:

You can read the complete story here.

I have little sympathy for the management in this situation. One, they were clearly humorless and thin-skinned. Two, they were about to lay everybody off anyway, so what's the point of creating the opportunity for a legal dispute over a termination? Three, it was a casino. And these managers were apparently incapable of keeping a casino in business? They really must be drunken lemurs! I think this guy was fired for telling the truth!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Force to Be Reckoned With

(HT: LRC Blog; image by Steven R. Terpe)

You WILL vote for Ron Paul!

I received this e-mail tonight:
    December 17, 2007

    What a day! I am humbled and inspired, grateful and thrilled for this vast outpouring of support.

    On just one day, in honor of the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the new American revolutionaries brought in $6.04 million, another one-day record. The average donation was $102; we had 58,407 individual contributors, of whom an astounding 24,915 were first-time donors. And it was an entirely voluntary, self-organized, decentralized, independent effort on the internet. Must be the "spammers" I keep hearing about!

    The establishment is baffled and worried, and well they should be. They keep asking me who runs our internet fundraising and controls our volunteers. To these top-down central planners, a spontaneous order like our movement is science-fiction. But you and I know it's real: as real as the American people's yearning for freedom, peace, and prosperity, as real as all the men and women who have sacrificed for our ideals, in the past and today.

    And how neat to see celebrations all across the world, with Tea Parties from France to New Zealand. This is how we can spread the ideals of our country, through voluntary emulation, not bombs and bribes. Of course, there were hundreds in America.

    As I dropped in on a cheering, laughing crowd of about 600 near my home in Freeport, Texas, I noted that they call us "angry." Well, we are the happiest, most optimistic "angry" movement ever, and the most diverse. What unites us is a love of liberty, and a determination to fix what is wrong with our country, from the Fed to the IRS, from warfare to welfare. But otherwise we are a big tent.

    Said the local newspaper: "The elderly sat with teens barely old enough to vote. The faces were black, Hispanic, Asian and white. There was no fear in their voices as they spoke boldly with each other about the way the country should be. Held close like a deeply held secret, Paul has brought them out of the disconnect they feel between what they know to be true and where the country has been led."

    Thanks also to the 500 or so who braved the blizzard in Boston to go to Faneuil Hall. My son Rand told me what a great time he had with you.

    A few mornings ago on, I saw a YouTube of a 14-year-old boy that summed up our whole movement for me. This well-spoken young man, who could have passed in knowledge for a college graduate, told how he heard our ideas being denounced. So he decided to Google. He read some of my speeches, and thought, these make sense. Then he studied US foreign policy of recent years, and came to the conclusion that we are right. So he persuaded his father to drop Rudy Giuliani and join our movement.

    All over America, all over the world, we are inspiring real change. With the wars and the spying, the spending and the taxing, the inflation and the credit crisis, our ideas have never been more needed. Please help me spread them in all 50 states. Victory for liberty! That is our goal, and nothing less.


Ron Paul will be president. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Evel Knievel Laid to Rest

Evel Knievel was laid to rest yesterday in Butte, Montana. Here is a brief clip of the funeral procession:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Beethoven's 5th Argument

Classic confrontation between Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Squirrel Roundup (December 6, 2007)

  • Panhandling squirrel harasses office worker
    Martha Reed thought it would be cute to feed that squirrel nuts when it would scratch on the glass door. Now she wonders, "I'm afraid I might have done the wrong thing." (More...)

  • Furry-tailed invader terrorizes homeowner
    Laura Capitano is worried that her new housemate could one day find "his way into the duct work and burst through the vent above me, leaping forth to pierce my trachea with its fearsome claws and pointed teeth." (More...)

  • Squirrels wage biological warfare against other squirrels
    In Britain, it's Greys vs. Reds -- and the Greys appear to be winning. (More...)

  • Squirrel population boom in the U.K.
    In the past two years, Britain's squirrel population has soared above 3 million. Residents are now being encouraged to "view them with caution." (More...)

  • Some people just don't get it
    Professors and students at Boise State University (i.e., people who are old enough to know better) think they can feed the squirrels on their campus and continue to live with them in relative peace and harmony. Ignorant fools! (More...)

  • Hawk keeps campus squirrel population in check
    Perhaps the Boise State Broncos should think about adopting a new mascot. (More...)

  • Squirrel psychology
    As if feeding them wasn't enough, some people are trying to give these tree rats personality tests. (More...)

  • Florida mystery animal might be a squirrel
    According to the AP, "An animal sneaking around Baker County is not an orangutan as originally thought but likely a fox squirrel." Wait... A squirrel big enough to be confused with an orangutan?! That's it. I'm never moving to Florida. (More...)

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