Sunday, February 22, 2009

You wouldn't steal a car would you?

Frustrated with a lack of money and hearing the same songs on my MP3 player eight hours a day, five days a week, I went to Yahoo! Answers in search for a safe way to download some free music.

The short answer: No.

When we first got MP3 players, a coworker suggested Limewire and Bear Share, which excited me because at this time I knew NOTHING about these sites and inadvertently downloaded, along with the music, viruses to our home computer AND my MP3 player. Our pawn shop desk top did have virus protection, but it did not care. Predators are aware that silly, ignorant people are always looking for a way to get free music so they attach viruses (including some that peeps out your personal info on you PC) to your favorite songs. Ah, the wide, wide, world of web!

This was a couple years ago, at least and I know better now.

Of course, keep in mind I was searching already answered questions on safely downloading music, not legally. Ever since this hideous incident, we had since bought a new computer and resorted to collecting Pepsi and Coca-Cola caps for points which we redeem for single songs over Rhapsody and Amazon. Sadly, Pepsi discontinued their point program so I may need to go back to buying CDs on eBay, as was our previous form of obtaining music before Coke began their ominous program.

But I digress. On Yahoo! Answers, the word I saw the most was ILLEGAL, ILLEGAL, ILLEGAL!!!!!!!! And unless you've been living under a rock for last several years, you should know as well as anyone that downloading music, movies, or other forms of copyrighted materials is certainly illegal unless you have permission or pay for it. These days, you can get songs for about a dollar each through the big three websites of downloads. Of course, also in these days, who has a dollar to spend on something as petty as music?

I'm sure you've seen the ads where hands reach out and steal a purse or a car and the message reads: YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A CAR WOULD YOU? Ha ha, then of course you would by no means even consider "stealing" the latest song by Metallica. Remember the huge Napster lawsuits? Remember the music "artists" going after not only Napster, but also the users of Napster? Remember the eleven year old gal who was sued for something like ten-thousand dollars for downloading songs such as the theme to Full House?

Well, even I might agree that choosing the theme song to Full House should be considered a misdemeanor. While music "artists" cry and whine that their "talents" are being trading and stolen, they are still living much better than the rest of us.

What is considered a crime? Is it what the law makers say is criminal? Take a moment to reflect on the fact that it was once illegal to be Jewish and to be simply alive. Or that it once legal to ship over Africans to do the household chores. a crime what is considered to be unethical?

Personally I have always been undecided on this issue. This is one of those cases where one might ask: What would Jesus do? Well, He probably wouldn't bother wasting time downloading music what with spreading the Good News and performing miracles. I think Jesus would have better things to do in this age.

All cynicism aside, here's what I believe to be crimes:

To charge $19.98 for a CD that has only one good song on it (because that's what you heard on the radio 47 times yesterday!) .....that's a crime.

To charge $19.98 for a movie that MIGHT be a good movie (or not)--especially when you used to get VHS movies for around $5 if you waited long enough ..... that's a crime.

To charge $9 per person to see a movie ONCE and charge $5 for nasty popcorn that has had dozens of greasy teenage hands in it and is covered in some gelatinous goop substituted for butter ..... that's a crime.

To whine and cry about how even though you've made a skillion dollars and are not making the usual $7 billion this year due to illegal downloading .... well, that's just absurd!

I'm not saying it's right, but I'm not saying it's wrong. I work for a modest rate per hour. I clean clothes and sell my time for an hourly fee. Actors do this as well. Do we see Reese Witherspoon or Harrison Ford whining and crying about their movies being downloaded or streamed for free across the internet? No, we don't!

Since viruses are attached to everything on the Wide Wide World of Web, I guess for the time being I'll simply stick with entering in the handful of codes from my Coke caps and occasionally buying a cheap used CD over eBay. Well, at least you don't have to worry how scratched they are since it's all gonna get dumped onto the MP3 player anyhow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Biggest Loser: The Biggest Waste of Time

This came up at work one day:
Liz: "I hate 'The Biggest Loser'! Everybody cries because they're fat. 'Oh, my mom and I just can't lose weight'. There are families living in their cars, getting their kids ready for school in gas station restrooms. Why don't we see a reality show about them? These people are getting rich because they're fat!"

Me: "Yup. They write books, do paid interviews, write more books, go on crusades...."

Liz: "How do you get up to 400 pounds, anyway? Can't lose weight? EAT LESS!"

Me: "Can you imagine the money put into the food that causes someone to gain 400 pounds? Eating like that has got to cost a fortune! I bet a little of that could help these people living in their cars!"

OK, so maybe we're a little mean. I think it all stems from how sick we are of so-called "reality" television programs. EVERYONE has their own show, whether it's because you need to lose weight, are a drunken sex addict after Bret Michaels, you dance, sing, have a useless talent that is not beneficial to anyone, anywhere, or you're just simply a has-been celebrity who is out of work and are willing to be paid for twenty-four hour surveillance so you can make your monthly $24, 836 house payment.

What ever happened to the sitcom? Where are the Cosby's? The Bundy's? Where are the Seinfelds? Speaking of shows about nothing, if we're going to be subjected to reality tv in all hours of the day, I'd like to see one about people attempting to quit smoking. Now THAT would be entertaining. Let's try experiments; following around an agitated just-quit-smoking-person with a camera all day might be fairly prime time worthy. Sure, there might be a bit more violence and bleeping of curse words than say, The Biggest Loser, but I bet it would be great television.

They could outfit the camera man with riot gear, follow people in their nature habitats, all on different forms and methods of quitting.

Yeah, I started smoking when I was very young and I regret it every day of my life. I also gained close to forty pounds at one time. At this point I said to myself, "Whoa there! Something's gotta be done! This is outta control!" I do not understand how people can get upwards to 400 pounds without at some point saying, "Whoa! Outta control!"

I understand an addiction to food, I really do. More than you know. However, I have found that it's very easy to choose the right foods to munch on all night long. I work hard the next day and have maintained the same weight for about seven or eight years.

I'm not by any means comparing smoking to a food addiction but take into consideration that I cannot choose a healthier cigarette to smoke. A few extra minuets of exercise will not make up for smoking too much the day before.

This is why I believe a show about quitters would be great television. It would also show younger people what it's like to have emphysema, shortness of breath, and so on (though I KNEW smoking was bad when I started). Bring us your newbies, your ashmatics, your diseased. Bring us your carriers of lung ailments, your stinky clothed ones, your serial quitters. Bring us a show that could be quite funny, make us cry out of sadness and joy, and connect us with the characters!

Of course, a follow-up show would be a complete necessity. We could call this little gem:

I DO Want to be a Quitter!

or The Sucess of Quitting

Or....something clever. I'm not to great at word plays. Go crazy, readers. Name that show!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Man With No Limbs

This video was sent to me by a friend. It's about the neatest thing I've ever seen! Only 5 min long. I'm sure you have 5 min