Monday, August 29, 2011

Copyrighting Dreams

I've long felt that the copyright law in this country (USA) have been insane.  I mean, we have huge portions of our cultural heritage out of the hands of creators and hackers because the Disney corporation has lobbied Congress time and again to ensure they don't lose control of the Mouse.

When you consider all the thousands of books that are out-of-print, but no one can actually get because they are still under these insane copyright laws, and it is almost enough to make one cry.  Imagine what could be done if all those stories and movies were available for people to mash up and create new works from.

It's not like we're not seeing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies--but could you imagine zombies embedded into Golding's Lord of the Flies? Instead it, and thousands of other books, movies and songs --our cultural heritage-- is contained under copyright until roughly 2050.

But it's not just that, but also things like MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. Which is pertinent with Irene hampering the opening of the MLK memorial.

Which I find it amusing that it was built using imported Chinese labor  who were not compensated for their work (which I read as SLAVE labor), and they actually had to pay the King family money (~$800,000) in order to use his likeness on the memorial.

Yes, one of the most important speech's in the last half of the twentieth century, and it's under copyright until late in the twenty-first century. And the King family is using those words and his likeness, not to push MLK's agenda of a color-blind society, but to make money.  The thing is that the King family sells copies of that speech on their website; and if you don't purchase one of their copies, or if you perform the speech, you're actually in violation of copyright law?

That's the joy of copyright right there.

It's the family of dead creators, and those corporations who had works "created for hire" who are the sole beneficiaries of these insane copyright laws. The King family routinely drag their father's name through the mud due to in-fighting over who gets to make money off of their dead father. And the same goes for hundreds of other families of dead artists. 

Copyright was designed to make creators money, so that they would create more. That's its whole purpose--to allow creators to create more. But by hiding everything under a copyright black-hole for a century, nothing is getting created. We can't create mashups of things that we grew up on, we can't reuse aspects of our culture.

Remember, that until the 1978 change in the law, at least 85% of the works created before 1982 would now be in the public domain.  And most of that 85% of all works since 1982 (and everything before 1955) are considered orphan works.  These are things that no one is trying to make money off of.  Books, movies, etc that are commercially unavailable and yet culturally off-limits. 

These are works of art that are not doing any good for the copyright holders, and they're not doing any good for us as a culture.  Instead, we are forced to buy the latest and "greatest" she-bangs which the so-called entertainment industry wants us to purchase and consume.  Forget the fact that most of it is rubbish, and very little of it will be worth the effort to attempt to consume a hundred years from now.

But, we can continue paying for MLK's Deam speech. We can continue shoving our culture into a dusty-bin just so the Walt Disney company can keep control of a cartoon character that should have become a part of our culture heritage as much as it has become an aspect of our cultural baggage. We can continue to do this, until our children don't even know some of these stories exist.  Rear Window, Seven Samurai, Dial M for Murder, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Creature from the Black Lagoon are just a handful of movies which my son will never get to see because they did not enter the public domain this year. They make no one money, and by the time they enter the public domain in 2050, my children won't care about them at all.

Which is a shame, and a travesty.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I was planning on writing a post

But when I sat down to do so, all coherent thought fled my brain, happy running from me in an effort to I guess escape.

This is doubly obvious from the somewhat rambling nature of that previous sentence.  Thus, to distract you, here's some Jedi kitties (thanks Club Jade)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The RetroSexual Code....

Ah, I have found what I am. I'm not one of those pansy MetroSexuals who get their nails done and have perfectly coiffed hair. Though my hair does look awesome, it does not need any extreme measures of maintenance. I wash it, comb it, and then blow dry it. Once every 6 weeks or so, I have some of it cut off. See, it's simple.

Anyways, as in all things, there is a CODE to being what I am, and that is a Retrosexual!

  1. A Retrosexual, no matter what the women insists, PAYS FOR THE DATE.

  2. A Retrosexual opens doors for a lady. Even for the ones that fit that term only because they are female.

  3. A Retrosexual DEALS with IT, be it a flat tire, break-in into your home, or a natural disaster, you DEAL WITH IT.

  4. A Retrosexual not only eats red meat, he often kills it himself.

  5. A Retrosexual doesn't worry about living to be 90. It's not how long you live, but how well. If you're  90 years old and still smoking cigars and drinking, I salute you. 

  6. A Retrosexual does not use more hair or skin products than a woman. Women have several supermarket aisles of stuff. Retrosexuals need an endcap (possibly 2 endcaps if you include shaving goods). 

  7. A Retrosexual does not dress in clothes from Hot Topic when he's 30 years old. 

  8. A Retrosexual should know how to properly kill stuff (or people) if need be. 

  9. This falls under the "Dealing with IT" portion of The Code. 

  10. A Retrosexual watches no TV show with "Queer" in the title. 

  11. A Retrosexual does not let neighbors screw up rooms in his house on national TV. 

  12. A Retrosexual should not give up excessive amounts of manliness for women.

  13. Some is inevitable, but major reinvention of yourself will only lead to you becoming a frou-frou little puss, and in the long run, she ain't worth it. 

  14. A Retrosexual is allowed to seek professional help for major mental stress such as drug/alcohol addiction, death of your entire family in a freak tree chipper accident, favorite sports team being moved to a different city, favorite bird dog expiring, etc. You are NOT allowed to see a shrink because Daddy didn't pay you enough attention. Daddy was busy DEALING WITH IT. When you screwed up, he DEALT with you. 

  15. A Retrosexual will have at least one outfit in his wardrobe designed to conceal himself from prey. 

  16. A Retrosexual knows how to tie a Windsor knot when wearing a tie - and ONLY a Windsor knot. 

  17. A Retrosexual should have at least one good wound he can brag about getting. 

  18. A Retrosexual knows how to use a basic set of tools. If you can't hammer a nail, or drill a straight hole, practice in secret until you can - or be rightfully ridiculed for the wuss you be. 

  19. A Retrosexual knows that owning a gun is not a sign that your are riddled with fear, guns are TOOLS and are often essential to DEAL WITH IT. Plus it's just plain fun to shoot. 

  20. Crying. There are very few reason that a Retrosexual may cry, and none of them have to do with TV commercials, movies, or soap operas. Sports teams are sometimes a reason to cry, but the preferred method of release is swearing or throwing the remote control. Some reasons a Retrosexual can cry include (but are not limited to) death of a loved one, death of a pet (fish do NOT count as pets in this case), loss of a major body part. 

  21. A Retrosexual man's favorite movie isn't "Maid in Manhattan" (unless that refers to some foxy French maid sitting in a huge tub of brandy or whiskey), or "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." Acceptable ones may include any of the Dirty Harry or Nameless Drifter movies (Clint in his better days), Rambo I or II, the Dirty Dozen, The Godfather trilogy, Scarface, The Road Warrior, The Die Hard series, Caddyshack, Rocky I, II, or III, Full Metal Jacket, any James Bond Movie, Raging Bull, Bullitt, any Bruce Lee movie, Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs, Fight Club, etc.etc. 

  22. When a Retrosexual is on a crowded bus and or a commuter train, and a pregnant woman, hell, any woman gets on, that Retrosexual stands up and offers his seat to that woman, then looks around at the other so-called men still in their seats with a disgusted "you punks" look on his face. 

  23. A Retrosexual knows how to say the Pledge properly, and with the correct emphasis and pronunciation. He also knows the words to the Star Spangled Banner. 

  24. A Retrosexual will have hobbies and habits his wife and mother do not understand, but that are essential to his manliness, in that they offset the acceptable manliness decline he suffers when married/engaged in a serious healthy relationship - i.e., hunting, boxing, shot putting, shooting, cigars, car maintenance. 

  25. A Retrosexual knows how to sharpen his own knives and kitchen utensils. 

  26. A Retrosexual man can drive in snow (hell, a blizzard) without sliding all over or driving under 20 mph, without anxiety, and without high-centering his ride on a plow berm. 

  27. A Retrosexual man can chop down a tree and make it land where he wants. 

  28. Wherever it lands is where he damn well wanted it to land. 

  29. A Retrosexual will give up his seat on a bus to not only any women but any elderly person or person in military dress (except officers above 2nd Lt)  

  30. NOTE: The person in military dress may turn down the offer but the Retrosexual man will ALWAYS make the offer to them and thank them for serving their country. 

  31. A Retrosexual man doesn't need a contract -- a handshake is good enough. He will always stand by his word even if circumstances change or the other person deceived him. 

  32. A Retrosexual man doesn't immediately look to sue someone when he does something stupid and hurts himself. We understand that sometimes in the process of doing things we get hurt and we just DEAL WITH IT.

VIDEO: Copyright Explained

A great video

Thanks to CGPGrey's YouTube channel making this and ClubJade for pointing out the way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NPR Top 100 SF/F (and the 42 that I've read)

Apparently, the current book-based meme for geeks like me, is to mark off those books on NPR's top 100 SF&F novels that one has read. At this point, I do need to provide a hat-tip to Robb over at Sharp as a Marble for bringing this up. So, without further ado....

The NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels with the ones I have read in bold:

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks *(but only the 1st one)
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
 I feel almost bad about marking number 83 there. After all, I've only read the first in that series (Consider Pheblas). That said, I always find it amusing on these lists of NOVELS when they include series as a single entity.  While I can almost understand in something like The Thrawn Trilogy or The Space Trilogy where all 3 novels make up a story element as a whole, I see less point in that regards in such things as The Culture Series (or even Asmiov's Foundation trilogy) since each novel there stands alone on its own (and in point of fact, Foundation itself is actually made up of a couple of independent short stories/novellas); and that's not even counting that SOME entries just give individual books, ignoring the series as a whole (i.e. Ringworld, Dragonflight and Old Man's War).

Anyways, my count there is 42 of those 100 which I've read. Almost half!  This is especially interesting, since I've been considering purchasing, a number of those books... in fact those which are italicized. To think, if I'd had already given in to my more... impulsive purchases in regard to those books, I would've topped gotten over 50 read.

Freaky Scary Webcomic

This is roaming the intertubes today, and it's a Korean web-comic that is really, freaky.  To the point that some folks are literaly screaming in the process.

Anyways, one would go to this link, and just scroll down. 

That's basically all that's involved.

If you're actually interested in what the comic reads, then one can find a transcript here or here.

Oh, the joy of the intertubes...

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