Live 8 hypocrisy

Yeah, that’s right – I’m fed up with all this Live 8 crap being force-fed to us by the local media (although I will be freeloading off them for the substance of this rant). I am also glad that I will be leaving for vacation early Saturday morning (so early, that it falls into the time of day my sister calls “the crack of ass”). Everyone I have spoken to that lives in Center City is going to be staying indoors or getting the hell out of Philadelphia. It seems that the only people who are truly interested in this concert are the people who stand to make money off of it. So much for the idea of a “charity” event.

Which brings up an interesting point: just how many homeless people are going to be “relocated” from the Parkway environs to present a better image of the city to the concert-goers? Why not do something for them? Maybe Tom Ferrick was onto something with his column.

Anyway, what really got me going on this rant was an article in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer about the goody bags that are going to be handed out to the “celebrities” in attendance. (I’ll use the term loosely and in quotes the first time, since I imagine some C-list freeloaders will show up.) The celebrities who attend will get bags with about $3,000 worth of stuff in them. The people who actually get up on stage and perform (from looking at a tentative broadcast lineup, that will be about 15 minutes) will get bags with about $12,000 worth of stuff in them. Again, this is supposed to be a charity event!!! Though if I had to listen to Toby Keith for 15 minutes, I’d want some free shit, too.

The following specific points just pushed me over the edge:

  • The PR firm putting the goody bags together believes that they are performing a “pro bono” service. (At least, that was the wording in the article.) So I don’t know who has their head farther up their ass – the PR firm or the writer. “Pro bono” means services that are performed for free for the public good. Where the fuck is the “public good” in assembling goody bags for famous people?!? They’re doing the work for free, not “pro bono”. Get a dictionary to whoever screwed that up.
  • The whole concept of having to bribe celebrities to attend a charity event. As if the added media exposure of just showing up wasn’t payment enough. I imagine some people will show just because they haven’t been seen in public in a few minutes, or their own handlers think it’s a “good idea” to be associated with a charity event. Side note to Jack Nicholson: you may be a bad-ass, but you’re still a Lakers fan. Don’t be surprised if they boo you.

How to rectify this? Here are a few ideas:

  • Refuse to accept the goody bags. But that won’t happen. Everyone likes free stuff.
  • How about making a charitable donation equal to the dollar value of the stuff in the goody bag? It doesn’t matter what charity, really. Any charity will do. Especially since the Live 8 organizers don’t have one.
  • Auction off the goody bags on eBay and donate the proceeds to charity. Hell, autograph a few of the things in there. That’ll drive the price up even more.

If you get bored, play the Live 8 Drinking Game Or watch the Tour de France.

Happy Fourth! Do the truly American thing on the holiday: grill meat, drink lots of alcohol, and blow stuff up (preferably fireworks).

Steve’s buying a house (Part 4)

Went to the bank today to get a bank check for the remainder of the initial deposit. Biggest check I have ever written, to date. And for some odd reason, I was kinda nervous all during lunch while carrying the check with me. Maybe because it would suck to lose that much money and not have fun while doing so…

3000 days

Not that this matters for anything other than the numerology aspect of it, but tomorrow (June 20, 2005) will be 3000 days since I moved back to the East coast from Denver (April 3, 1997). While I am slightly crazy, I am not crazy enough to have been counting the days off one by one. That bit of math fell on the Web site Time and Date.com.

Steve’s buying a house (Part 3)

Met with the builder last night and we walked through the model, discussing the various options. They gave me “the book”, listing the warranties and home-owner association rules, etc. Most of the book was taken up with environmental studies; the only thing interesting was looking at what was on that site historically. Nothing dangerous, so I am not going to be sprouting a another limb.

After much mental exercising, I decided on a mortgage company. I suggest reading Mortgages for Dummies if, like me, you’d never had a mortgage before. It was a big help with the terminology which, after reading the book, really wasn’t all that intimidating after all.

Next up: paying the rest of the 5% down. Which, to date, will be the single largest check I’ve ever written.

Steve’s Star Wars review

Time to geek out a little more. I finally got around to seeing Episode III Thursday night.

Spoiler Warning!

I discuss some plot elements of the latest Star Wars film. If you haven’t already seen it, I might spoil some of the story for you. But, then again, you already know how it’s going to end even without seeing it, so I don’t believe I’d be ruining anything.

I have to disagree with writer/director Kevin Smith who said that Episode III was “f-ing awesome”. I was entertained, but I would not call it awesome, and most definitely not “f-ing awesome”. Some of the effects shots were amazing, and there were a gazillion things flying around on screen, but that alone does not make the movie good. There’s still the stunted dialogue, some horribly wooden acting, and no sense of time. I had no idea how long it lasted, in movie-time terms. Was it months? Don’t know. Based on Padme’s quick pregnancy, it’s rather difficult to tell. Of course, that’s just a minor quibble.

There were some neat continuity shots. Meeting Chewbacca for the first time. Seeing Uncle Owen standing on Tatooine in the same pose that Luke does with the two suns in the background in Episode IV. Seeing the interior of what is to be Leia’s ship at the beginning of Episode IV. Seeing the start of the Death Star construction. (Did it really take 19 years to build?)

The problems:

  • How easy it was for Anakin to turn to the Dark Side. Again, somewhat of a movie-time related issue here. He was obviously being manipulated for years by Palpatine, but the sudden change and the way Anakin dispatched Mace Windu seemed too simple.
  • How did the Jedi not know that Palpatine was the other Sith lord? Must be a Dark Side ability to be able to conceal one’s power like that.
  • How come Obi-Wan in Episode IV doesn’t recognize R2-D2 and C-3PO? We know that C-3PO has his mind wiped, per instructions from Bail Organa, but it doesn’t explain why R2-D2 doesn’t recognize Obi-Wan in Episode IV.

It will soon be easier to find porn on the Net

Due to the approval of the “.xxx” top-level domain, you will soon be able to find porn faster. See the ABC News article and the CNET article. Practically speaking, it should be easier for people to block that domain on their computers, but I seriously doubt that all of the existing porn Web sites in the various domains will migrate over to the new “.xxx” domain. Especially since the marketers make money by people making typos when entering Web addresses into their browsers.

Apple to move to Intel processors?

Excuse me while I geek out for a minute here. First, check the CNET article on this subject.

Now, think practically.

  • Would an Apple fan, such as I, really want this? Not really relevant, I guess. And I don’t really care all that much. While I use Windows at work, I do prefer the look and feel of OS X (the Mac operating system, in case you don’t know).
  • Would it increase Apple’s overall market share? That’s not really all that important to me.
  • Would OS X run on any Intel-based machine, or just Apple-branded hardware? A pain in the butt option, but probably not out of the question.
  • If OS X could run on any Intel-based machine, would this increase the chance of viruses on OS X? While I know that viruses generally target operating systems, and not the specific processor, it would not be inconceivable for a virus to be developed that jumps from Windows to Mac on the same machine. And don’t think for a minute that people won’t be trying to natively run both OS’es on the same box.

Live 8 concert in Philly

By now, I’m sure you’re heard about this free concert on July 2. (See the official Web site.) There has already been some hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing over the lineup for Philly. You can decide for yourself if it’s worth it, even for free. The lineup is an odd mix of stuff. The only thing I can say for sure is that the crowd will be rather diverse, since a Bon Jovi crowd is not a Dave Matthews crowd nor a 50 Cent crowd.

As for me, I’ll be out of town on vacation (first time not being in Philly for July 4 since I moved here in late July 1999), so I’ll be happily missing all the crowds, traffic, etc. that’s sure to be a side effect from this. If you’ve never been to one of these events on the Parkway before, just know that getting out of there will take you a long time. And if you drive in, park far away from the Parkway so you can leave more quickly or do a sane thing and take public transportation.

Oh, and Bob Geldof still looks like shit.