Archive for May, 2010

Give Peace A Chance

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

On this day, back in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono took to a bed in Montreal to petition the world for Peace. They crafted a song and recorded it there with the help of a few equally optimistic friends and it has since become an anthem for what is desired by almost every living thing on the planet – and yet remains so elusive due to the ignorance and machinations of a few.

I’m in the midst of some changes here which will (hopefully) affect the content of this blog. It’s devolved every once and while into acid rants against any perverse stupidity that stands between humanity and the common good. Sometimes it’s just a pretty collection of neat videos and at other times it is (hopefully) an aggregation of inspiring ideas.

I’m not sure what it will turn into as I change a few things around here – more than just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, I assure you – but it will still be a place for the sticky brain morsels of Robbo to find purchase.

In the meantime – sing-along with John.

The only sure thing about this world is that things change. And I don’t think Gandhi meant for us to impersonate nickels and dimes when he said: Be the change you seek in the world.”

Cheers.

Remembering Jim

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

20 years ago today Jim Henson died. He touched a lot of people with his work and made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. Not bad for a puppeteer. He certainly changed the course of my life. These are two videos from the memorial held for Jim at New York’s St. John The Divine cathedral.

The first is comments and a song by Harry Belafonte and was, for me, the most memorable moment of the day.

As we had entered the church we’d been given little foam butterflies on long thin black rods. To the folks who puppeteered for Jim they knew these “toys” well. In his shows, in wide shots, there were often areas of the frame where no other characters were visible and he would often call for butterflies or other small critters to be wiggled from behind bushes and rocks to fill the frame with movement and life. It was perhaps the most rudimentary form of performance on the shows – lying on the studio floor and wiggling some floppy wings at the end of a rod – but it was always fun.

As Belafonte began to sing everyone in the crowd spontaneously raised their butterflies and waved them over their heads. The entire church sprang to life with colour and movement. I will never forget the surge of emotion which swept over us all.

The next is Jerry Nelson’s tribute to Jim where he, as Floyd, reads his poem to his Fearless Leader.

Thank you, Jim.

RSAnimate – Drive: Talk by Daniel Pink

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

The RSA (the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has a massive collection of thought provoking talks online, more in-depth stuff than found on TED.

Sometimes these talks are distilled by the folks at CognitiveMedia into abridged animated versions – RSAnimate – that cut to the core of the subject by adding entertaining images and text and ignoring the boring old talking head babbling at the podium from the original discourse. Good stuff. Very good stuff. Case in point: Daniel Pink‘s talk on what it is that drives us to do anything.

Enjoy.

Check out the other talks too – especially the one by Jeremy Rifkin on Empathic Civilization.

Cheers.

Thanks, Fred!

Electronic Books and the Canadian DMCA

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

I found this great video over Michael Geist’s blog who also links to a post by Sarah Bannerman. Created at the Vancouver Film School it’s an excellent primer about the impact of DRM on electronic books.

terms&conditions from mediamold on Vimeo.

Pass it on.

Cheers.

RIP Frank Frazetta, 82

Monday, May 10th, 2010

There seems to be a lot of death going on these days. The passing of Frank Frazetta touches me because his art – on covers of magazines and novels strewn throughout my youth and up to this very day – was so compelling and influential.

Thanks for the images, dreams, nightmares and lovely ladies, Frank.

Cheers.

RIP Lena Horne, 92

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Always loved Lena.

This is Lena back when:

And this is Lena later on:

Thank you, Lena.

Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh)

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Regardless of the old Disraeli saw: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” it’s always wonderful to see stats in action. This is a refreshed version of the Social Media Revolution video, with updated numbers showing the continued growth and impact of social media on the world. It’s not as profound or deep as some of Hans Rosling’s TED Talks but it sure wakes you up to the new age we’re all wandering through with a thunderstruck expression on our mugs.

The video was put together by Erik Qualman in support of his book Socialnomics.

Cheers.

Leviticus 18:22

Friday, May 7th, 2010

My sister sent me this and I just had to share it with the world – or at least that part of the world that accidentally steps into what I call my blog. Just be sure to wipe your feet on the way out.

It’s an open letter from Prof. James M. Kauffman, University of Virginia to Dr Laura Schlesinger who, in her radio show, cited Leviticus 18:22 in calling homosexuality an abomination which cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

Here’s what Prof. Kauffman said:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law.

I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

(It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian :)

This is very similar to a rant delivered in the first season by Martin Sheen as the President in Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing – albeit without the owning a Canadian jibe.

While it’s always fun to beat the snot out of smug hypocrites with their own distorted fairy tales, it would be much more entertaining if there weren’t so many of the demented fuckers and if these inbred delusional dickweeds weren’t so actively shitting out their lizard-brained hatred over so much of the world.

Oh well – one smack down at a time, I suppose.

Cheers.

Happy Cinco de Mayo – from MACHETE

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

A new trailer has been released for Robert Rodriguéz upcoming MACHETE starring Danny Trejo. It’s a spin-off from the Rodriguez / Tarantino Grindhouse project that included a faux trailer for a film featuring Trejo as a character from the popular Rodriguez Spy Kids trilogy.

It’s a star-laden vehicle, crafted to look deliberately ’70′s low budget – pure Mexploitation – and resonating strongly with current headlines.

What’s really cool about this version of the trailer is Rodriguez made it specifically for Cinco de Mayo – and it comes with a special introduction by Trejo at the very beginning.

Excellent awesomesauce.

Arizona is SO fucked.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo.

Canadian DMCA In 6 Weeks

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

The Harper government is, once again, marching in lock-step with the US media lobby and will attempt to pass a copyright reform bill that echoes the worst parts of the failed US DMCA.

They held a public copyright consultation that garnered a lot of attention and a lot of input – which they have promptly ignored.

The consultations were obviously nothing more than an attempt at pacifying an obviously outraged public who howled in reaction to Harper’s blatant kowtowing to US big media lobby lies and deceit.

Combined with the ongoing ACTA negotiations this bill will put Canada on a path of locked down information and corporate controls over your free speech rights. It’s a fucking drag to have to go through all this again but I hope the anger that will erupt from this becomes an election triggering issue that finally provides the shot in those tiny Harper nads that sends him squealing from any position of public influence.

From Michael Geist’s blog:

PMO Issues The Order: Canadian DMCA Within Six Weeks

Months of public debate over the future of Canadian copyright law were quietly decided earlier this week, when sources say the Prime Minister’s Office reached a verdict over the direction of the next copyright bill. The PMO was forced to make the call after Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement were unable to reach consensus on the broad framework of a new bill. As I reported last week, Moore has argued for a virtual repeat of Bill C-61, with strong digital locks provisions similar to those found in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act and a rejection of a flexible fair dealing approach. Consistent with earlier comments on the need for a forward-looking, flexible approach, Clement argued for changes from C-61.

With mounting pressure from the U.S. – there have repeated meetings with senior U.S. officials in recent weeks – the PMO sided squarely with Moore’s vision of a U.S.-style copyright law. The detailed provisions will be negotiated over the coming weeks by the respective departments, but they now have their marching orders of completing a bill that will satisfy the U.S. that comes complete with tough anti-circumvention rules and no flexible fair dealing provision.

The bill is not expected until June, but it will have dramatic repurcussions once introduced. First, the bill represents a stunning reversal from the government’s seeming shift away from C-61 and its commitment to a bill based on the national copyright consultation. Instead, the consultation appears to have been little more than theatre, with the PMO and Moore choosing to dismiss public opinion. Second, after adopting distinctly pro-consumer positions on other issues, Moore has abandoned that approach with support for what may become the most anti-consumer copyright bill in Canadian history. Third, the bill will immediately impact the Canadian position at the ACTA and CETA negotiations, where the bill’s provisions on anti-circumvention and ISP liability will effectively become the Canadian delegation position.

For those wondering what can be done, my only answer is to speak out now. Write a paper letter to your Member of Parliament and send copies to the Prime Minister, Moore, Clement and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. No stamp is required – be sure to include your home address and send it to the House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6. Once that is done, join the Facebook group and the Facebook page and be sure to ask others do the same. You may spoken out before, but your voice is needed yet again.

Time to kick this arrogant dead-eyed fuck and his brown-lipstick cronies out of office.

Make a noise. Tell your friends. Shut them down.

UPDATE:
I’d like to add the words of Cory Doctorow about this news from his BoingBoing post:

What a goddamned disaster. The Tories have shown — yet again — their utter contempt for public opinion and Canadian culture and small business when these present an inconvenience to more windfall profits for offshore entertainment giants.

Remember: thousands of us responded to the Tory inquiry on copyright law, and overwhelmingly, we said we did not want a US-style copyright disaster at home. Remember: hundreds of thousands of us wrote and called our MPs. Remember: Canadian artists’ coalitions fought against the imposition of a DMCA in Canada. Remember: America’s copyright war has been an absolute trainwreck, with tens of thousands facing lawsuits, competition and innovation eroded by DRM, free speech challenged by copyright takedowns, and no improvements for creators or creativity.

There’s only one thing stupider than being the first country to enact the DMCA, in spite of its obvious shortcomings: enacting the DMCA after the first country has spent a decade showing how rotten and backwards this approach to copyright is.

Amen to that.

Time to get loud and nasty, folks.

Cheers.