Tuesday’s News Roundup

– It’s funny that record companies should have such a strict stance on their customers respecting copyrights… while they themselves seem to flaunt it at will. Ars Technica is reporting about a lawsuit in Canada where Canadian record companies are being sued by their own artists for up to $60 billion! It seems that there was a change to Canadian copyright law in the 1980s which allowed record companies to use tracks from artists pending approval of the license. So if a record company wanted to release a “Best of the 80s” compilation, it no longer had to have a license in hand to use A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran” – it only had to have a application “pending”. But it seems that the record companies never bothered or even intended to follow-up on those applications, and have since released thousands of compilation albums without having the proper licenses. And the best part: the labels don’t even deny that they did this! I think it’s only fair that if Jammie Thomas was forced to pay $80,000 per song in her non-commercial piracy case that the record labels should be forced to pay the same, since they were actually making money off the deal (and yes, I know – Capitol v. Thomas was an American case, and this case is in Canada).

– Speaking of music, every year the BBC makes a list of up and coming artists they think might make it big in the upcoming calendar year (you might remember that I discovered La Roux via the 2009 list). Well, the 2010 list is out, so go and have a listen and stay ahead of the “coolness curve”!

– One last thing about music: if you’re an aspiring pop star and you’re going to be on live television, you might want to sing into the right end of the microphone.

– Smoking, estrogen and family history all contribute to breast cancer… but if studies from the University of Chicago are correct, loneliness might actually triple a woman’s chance to getting breast cancer. Studies so far have only been carried out on animals, but scientists are fairly certain that it would apply to humans as well. And given the jaw-dropping results – lonely rats had 84 times the amount of cancerous tissue their non-lonely but genetically similar counterparts did – you have to wonder.

– Brian Bonsall, who played little Andy Keaton on Family Ties, has been arrested. Again.

– Hines Ward is the NFL’s dirtiest player? Not with Flozell Adams around:


The Game That Killed Atari

It might seem hard to believe today, but back in 1982 the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was huge. It didn’t have the “teen appeal” of Titanic or Twilight, but it was the kind of movie grandparents, parents and church groups could feel good about taking their little ones to see. And so take them they did… and the movie became a phenomenon.

It only made sense, then, that there would be a video game tie-in based on the movie. Although newer systems like Intellivision offered better graphics than the stodgy Atari 2600, Atari’s gigantic user base ensured that the company would win the rights to make the game. When kids found out that E.T. the video game was coming out, they gleefully added it to their Christmas lists by the millions. E.T. was perhaps the hottest gift of the 1982 Christmas season.

There was just one problem… the game sucked. The graphics were so horrible and the gameplay so boring that even today, 27 years later, the game still makes it onto “Worst Video Games of All-Time lists”. In fact, given the game’s high-profile at the time, it often ranks near the top of those lists, too.

Continue reading “The Game That Killed Atari”

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-12-06

  • Charlie Weis: fired! Hahahahaha #
  • Man… the 'Ain'ts just beat the snot outta the Pats! #
  • @Paula_Deen Your Walmart pies are AWFUL! Just so you know! #
  • DHS '89ers: the official class reunion pic will be mailed out tomorrow! #
  • The yard is nothing but a fence, the sun just hurts my eyesSomewhere it must be time for penitence. #
  • The yard is nothing but a fence, the sun just hurts my eyes. Somewhere it must be time for penitence. #
  • "…and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats" #
  • GO RED RAIDERS! "South Point advances to state title game" #
  • Hell YES! GO JACKETS! "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a HELL OF AN ENGINEER!" HEY! #
  • I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech… gimme another beer! #
  • "39 is more than 34." – CPJ #
  • Drunkenly: "Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird…." #

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Quote of the Day

“We will not go gently. We will unleash hell in December because we have to. We won’t go in a shell. We’ll go into attack mode, because that’s what’s required.”

– Mike Tomlin
Pittsburgh Steelers coach

I wish I could believe him, but I don’t think this is Pittsburgh’s year.

My Neuroses

For some reason, lately I’ve been thinking of some of the weird neuroses I have:

1) For some reason, I have this bizarre problem with wasting food. None of my family (that I’m aware of) dealt with starvation in the past, and none of my parents or grandparents ever gave me the whole “starving kids in China” routine as a kid. If I didn’t like something, they never made me eat it, and they didn’t make me feel guilty for it. Yet, whenever I see food being wasted, it drives me nuts. Specifically, it really bothers me when food is wasted purely for entertainment. Remember the scene in the movie PCU when the pranksters stole a huge vat of ground beef and dropped it onto the animal rights activists? Or when Late Night with Jimmy Fallon does the “hot dog toss” game, where audience members try tossing the most hot dogs through the mouth of a celebrity cut out? It drives me crazy. I don’t know why. And lest you think it’s some claptrap about precious animals dying to make food, I used to have no problem tossing the tomato slice that comes with most hamburgers to the side… until one day around 5 years ago, when I thought about that poor tomato growing in a field, hoping to one day be the most delicious tomato in the world… only to wind up, uneaten, in a Dumpster behind a Wendy’s in Belmont. It made me sad and guilty, so now I eat the tomato. Intellectually, I know that there’s plenty of food to eat in this country, but wasting it just bothers me. Badly. Amusingly, however, this specific neurosis doesn’t apply to leftovers. I guess if I’ve already eaten some of it, then I have less guilt about throwing it away… or something.

Continue reading “My Neuroses”

SONGS I LOVE: “Higher Than the Stars”

higher_than_the_starsThe Pains of Being Pure at Heart is a band from – you guessed it: New York, New York…where all the bands I listen to these days come from.

Aside from having a pretentious name, the band has a great sound.

Their first album has as much indie cred as necessary… but the single “Higher Than The Stars” coats it all in a nice, creamy layer of delicious synthpop that sounds a bit like New Order meets The Smiths.

“The Pains” also have some connection to Saint Etienne (one of my all-time faves) as well, as there is a “Saint Etienne visits Lord Spank Mix” of this song as well.

Have a listen and tell me what you think!


Check out their MySpace page here.

The Mystery of the Desert Stones

For years, scientists have wondered why massive stones – some as heavy as 250 pounds (113 kg) – seem to move themselves across the floor of California’s Death Valley:


They think that they now have an answer: that the stones move because of the sheer flatness of the area combined with thin layers of ice which form at night, the unique soft clay in the area, and 90mph winds.

The stones – which can move up to 350 yards (320m) a year – have been a mystery for decades.

Read more here.