That moment… pic.twitter.com/3c4zz9nbQm
— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) December 10, 2013
That moment… pic.twitter.com/3c4zz9nbQm
— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) December 10, 2013
Maybe the Germans have a word for something which amazes you without shocking you.
The end of the report also stuck out:
Meanwhile, file sharing continued emaciating on many fixed-access networks as streaming video options like Netflix, YouTube, and others proliferate.
File sharing now accounts for less than 10 percent of total daily traffic in North America, down from the more than 60 percent it netted in Sandvine’s first Global Internet Phenomena Report released more than 10 years ago.
Five years ago, it accounted for more than 31 percent.
So it turns out, if you make movies and TV shows readily and easily available at a decent price, people don’t pirate them nearly so much.
For most of our adult lives, television at the Robinson household consisted of a large antenna in the attic. We jokingly called it “farm vision.” Then we did what all old people do when their children are grown–we moved into town. I really enjoyed the luxury of cable–that is for about two years. Then I started to feel a bit cheated.
This past year forced us to reevaluate almost every aspect of our lives: our health, our lifestyle and our spending habits. When assessing the cost of cable, and the value it brings–cutting it was a no-brainer.
However, my husband and I both have favorite programs we enjoy. I’m not going to lie, as an information-junkie, my withdrawals from news and commentary hit fairly hard.
We’ve had AppleTV, and enjoyed streaming Netflix and routinely mirrored videos or live streaming church services or breaking news. But it really doesn’t offer a whole lot more than what’s on your computer or iPad.
Pronounced Row-Koo. If you’re considering Apple TV as an alternative to cable or DVD rentals checkout Roku first.
Roku is a little black device about the size of the palm of your hand and it streams Internet “channels” to your television. Roku comes loaded with access to over 1000 channels.
It’s a mixed bag of hundreds of free content and paid subscriptions. The best part about it, is you can add the channels you want and you’re not forced to weed through hundreds of channels to get to the couple you prefer. You can get Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, Amazon Instant Video, PBS, The Blaze and Fox News. There are no fees connected with the device itself after the initial purchase. You will have to have wi-fi of course, as it is a streaming device.
Roku currently offers four different devices starting at $49.99. You can add a few bells and whistles at a time.
Currently, we have a yearly subscription to Amazon Prime, and are in the process of comparing Redbox (which offers four DVDs and unlimited streaming for $8.00 monthly) and Netflix. The subscriptions or combination you choose all depend on your viewing habits.
We have enjoyed the ability to watch entire seasons of television shows, watching episodes back to back without commercial interruption. Who cares if they are last year’s season–I’m no longer subjected to ED commercials or dating sites no matter how late we stay up.
You now have several options.
That’s from Derek Thompson who asks, “How long can Netflix’s amazing run last?”
But I think that’s the wrong question.
The right question might be, Why is HBO’s subscriber base nearly static?
HBO has seen Netflix grow and grow, yet have clung to their same old model. There was some brief excitement here at Casa Verde when they announced HBO Go, but the excitement quickly subsided when we found out it’s a “halfway pregnant” effort. Even at that HBO Go is available only to existing cable subscribers. Their growth model is… well, it’s there on the chart.
This chapter in Rushkoff’s book is perfectly subtitled “the short forever.” In the previous section I gave my own personal example of trying to get everything accomplished in an unrealistically short amount of time. When we try to accomplish such impossible tasks we fall victim to another form of Present Shock.
This weight on every action – this highly leveraged sense of the moment – hints at another form of present shock that is operating in more ways and places than we may suspect. We’ll call this temporal compression overwinding – the effort to squish really big timescales into much smaller or nonexistent ones.
We’ve seen this regularly, and most of us suffer or have suffered from overwinding. A great example is how cleaning out your inbox can give you a “clean feeling.” However, how important is this really? Is it worth the time spent? And what are we actually cleaning? Most working professionals get enough legitimate email and junk messages to spend all day, every day dealing only with email. The problem is that email is a communication tool and most of us have jobs that require actions outside of the email loop. To fight overwinding, spend a minimal amount of time in your inbox. Reply to what needs attention, ignore the rest and get on with your day.
Do you understand how media works? If not, it might control you. Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s last book, Program or Be Programmed, took on this question about media and our comprehension of it. Without a working knowledge of how information systems work, Rushkoff argues, we run the risk of being easily duped. This is a common problem and one that is easily battled with a drive towards media literacy, something I teach my students about in undergraduate mass communication courses. The battle does not end here, however, because even if we have a strong grasp of media systems we are not immune to yet another pitfall.
Just about everyone has come across it, even if you don’t quite know what it is. That feeling you get when you sense there is never enough time and obligations are coming at you from every direction… that’s a piece of it. The good thing is we can fight back and Rushkoff has the tools we need to take control of our lives. In his latest book, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, Rushkoff addresses the problem with our “always-on” digital universe. Without a doubt, technology can lead to intellectual and psychological illness, usually in terms of addiction that can ultimately become destructive to every aspect of our life.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler is thoroughly amused at the fact that his network’s original programming can be so easily misconstrued as pornography.
No, the laughs didn’t come at a Porn Addicts Anonymous meeting. Rather, it was a blip on the Internet’s radar along with the short that garnered the remark and a few million hits to boot. (It’s so NSFW I’ve elected not to embed the actual video — you can find it here.)
According to Plepler, the video showing a series of actors detailing the parts they landed to family and friends who immediately (and ashamedly) assume they’ve been cast in porn films (until the actors explain, “No, it’s HBO!” to unfolding declarations of “I’m so proud of you!”) is good PR:
The HBO CEO said these sort of videos and spoofs prove that the network and their shows have become part of the “global conversation.” Instead of taking offense to the clip, Plepler seems to think the spoof is a great deal of fun.
“If you’re on ‘Saturday Night Live’ or parodied on Facebook you know you’re part of the cultural landscape. The guys who did this did great work. I laughed. I take it in the same manner in which it was intended, with a lot of humor,” the CEO explained.
Some might call Plepler’s reaction refreshingly open, in which case he’d share a title with one of HBO’s newest additions to the “global conversation” about mainstreamed porn. Described as ”multicharacter exploration of the complex, ever evolving landscape of sexuality, monogamy and intimacy in relationships,” Open is slated to premiere in 2014. No news yet on any planned SNL spoofs that will garner hits on Facebook.
The real story in the porn spoof is that Plepler’s comments barely made press. Why? Since its launch in 1975, HBO has generated original programming “featuring high amounts of profanity, violence and nudity” to draw an audience of premium payers. The kids of those original payers are now parents happily buying Victoria’s Secret undies for their tweens because, let’s face it, “no one wants to be the girl with the ugly underwear.”
Feel like kicking back with a laffer tonight? Thanks to Netflix streaming, there is a bewildering array of mediocrity available at your fingertips, and you’ve already seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Back to School and 48 Hrs. But in the rubbish pile there are lots of hidden gems. Here are a few of my favorite on-demand Netflix comedies. Just don’t let your thumb slip and exactly dial up Kathy Griffin: Tired Hooker.
Tamping down his usual crazy-man instincts, Jack Black is brilliant as the title figure, a strangely polite, perfectionist funeral-home director who becomes a civic treasure in his small Texas town. Black gets across the sense of another personality hidden below the surface as Bernie becomes an almost slavish associate of a wealthy but exasperatingly demanding widow (Shirley MacLaine, who is perfectly obnoxious). Eventually he can’t stand her demands any more, and murders her. What happens next, as retold by an incredulous D.A. (Matthew McConaughey, also very funny) on Bernie’s trail, is even more bizarre. Full of fond Texas touches, this true story has to be seen to be believed.
Every kid wants to be a pirate at some point. While sailing tall ships around the Caribbean on a quest for buried treasure remains an elusive fantasy, modern pirates take a less romantic form.
Based on reaction to a recent piece by PJ Media’s Susan L.M. Goldberg, it seems many of you – our dear readers — sail the digital seas looting movies, television, and music. To many, the suggestion by Goldberg that such activity might have economic consequences proved deeply offensive. One of the top-rated comments reads:
Quoting the RIAA [Record Industry Association of America] about piracy is like quoting the Mexican Cartel on the dangers of drug legalization. The dubious study RIAA cites assumes that all piracy are lost sales, for which there is simply no evidence.
And there is a lot to the concept that pirated copies lead to sales of legitimate copies and related merchandize. Certainly, there are studies that show that free downloads and DRM free products lead to more sales such as this one.
But mostly I don’t think you understand fully understand the tradeoffs, excessive zeal to stop piracy can annoy one’s legitimate customers.
Considering such arguments reminded me of a guy I know who spent years amassing piles of pirated DVDs by making copies of discs rented from Netflix. We’ll call him “Guy” for the sake of discussion. He obtained the requisite software with ease, available free on the internet, and set off to build a library of titles he wanted to watch but didn’t want to pay for.
Guy knew that what he was doing was illegal, briefly deterred as he was by those menacing FBI warnings displayed before each feature presentation. He felt pangs of conscience, but consoled himself with a number of convenient rationalizations.
According to Time Warner CEO Alan Bewkes,
…if you go to people who are watching it without [subscriptions], it’s a tremendous word-of-mouth thing. …We’ve been dealing with this for 20, 30 years—people sharing [subscriptions], running wires down the backs of apartment buildings. Our experience is that it leads to more paying [subscriptions]. I think you’re right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. That’s better than an Emmy.
Bewkes’s comment took the media world by surprise. A corporate CEO actually cheering on illegal downloading? Where’s Napster when you need it?
Bewkes isn’t the only exec praising media piracy:
In April, HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo said that “piracy” should be taken as a compliment. “I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”
A compliment? Possibly. But piracy isn’t exactly the economic boon these execs would lead you to believe. According to the Record Industry Association of America:
One credible analysis by the Institute for Policy Innovation concludes that global music piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year, 71,060 U.S. jobs lost, a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and a loss of $422 million in tax revenues, $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes.
I distinctly remember two mile markers on the road to my obsession with home theater. The first was a 1987 article in Billboard magazine exploring the continuing popularity, against all odds, of the 12-inch laser disc format with movie collectors. The article mentioned an obscure California firm called “The Criterion Collection” that was selling Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey in something called a “letterboxed” format, which would allow seeing the entire frame of those magnificently photographed widescreen movies on a home television set, instead of the “panned and scanned” version, which cut off the sides of the frame. It also mentioned the superiority of the laser disc format compared to fuzzy VHS tapes, and that laser disc allowed for such ancillary items as directors’ commentaries on auxiliary audio channels, behind the scenes still photos, trailers, deleted scenes, and other fun pieces of memorabilia.
This sounded pretty darn awesome. Shortly thereafter, I purchased my first laser disc player, the predecessor to the DVD, which wouldn’t arrive in stores for another decade. At its best, the picture and sound quality of laser discs blew VHS away, and I was quickly hooked. Particularly when I stumbled over a nearby video store that rented laser discs.
The second mile maker arrived two years later. That’s when I walked out of the B. Dalton Bookstore in New Jersey’s Burlington Mall holding a copy of the second issue of Audio/Video Interiors, the magazine that put the words “home theater” on the map. It was essentially Architectural Digest meets Stereo Review, with photo layout after photo layout filled with sophisticated audio and video components beautifully photographed in stunning home settings, including some of the first dedicated home theaters that were designed to look like the classic movie palaces of the 1930s, such as Theo Kalomirakis’ Roxy Theater, a knockout design built in the basement of his Brooklyn Brownstone. (Kalomirakis would go on to make a living as a home theater designer, producing works for extremely well-heeled clients that make his initial Roxy look positively modest by comparison.)
I gravitated more to the media rooms the magazine featured than the dedicated home theaters. Media rooms were rooms designed for a variety of media consumption — music, TV, movies, concert videos, with the electronics tastefully combined into some of sort attractive cabinetry or hidden into the wall. Maybe because my father had a custom built-in unit installed in his basement in 1969 to house his stereo equipment and a small portion of his enormous (3000+) collection of jazz and big band records. Adding video and surround sound to that concept seemed like a natural to me.
I’ve kept most of the issues from Audio/Video Interiors’ initial run; I was immensely proud to have written a few articles for the magazine in the late 1990s. In retrospect, it’s fun to look back at the first issues of AVI, and realize how much technology has progressed since then. HD video replaced “Never Twice the Same Color” low-def analog TV. VHS is all but extinct. Dolby Pro-Logic, the first consumer surround sound format has been upgraded to first Dolby 5.1 and now Dolby 7.1 and beyond. CDs have been rendered increasingly anathema, particularly for casual listening, by MP3s. The laser disc was replaced 15 years ago by the DVD, which has now been supplanted by Blu-Ray, and increasingly, by streaming high-definition movies, such as those offered by Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
Welcome to 2013
Apologies for burying the lede, but this brings us to one of Pioneer’s newest A/V receivers, the Pioneer Elite SC-75. The first Pioneer receiver I owned was the classic Pioneer VSX-D1S of 1990, one of the first receivers designed with what we now call home theater in mind, with as much emphasis on controlling video components as the CD player, the tape deck and the record player. Since then, Pioneer has been upgrading the electronics of their units to keep pace with changing world of home theater technology. I purchased the SC-75 to replace my Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, which was built in 2006. With six years passed, and the proliferation of streaming video set-top boxes such as the Roku (which we reviewed last year), the addition of LAN and wireless networking technology to many Blu-Ray players, the popularization of Androids and iPods/iPads as music and video devices, and the standardization of the HDMI format to connect video components, the SC-75 is a very different beast compared to the previous generation of Pioneer Elite receivers.
The differences aren’t immediately apparent at first glance; the only thing that initially sets the unit apart from its predecessors is its brushed metal finish, instead of the smooth piano black styling of older Pioneer Elite models (Pioneer has apparently also permanently retired the beautiful rosewood-veneered side panels of the first generation of Elite models, which is a pity; on the other hand, perhaps they simply don’t want to be raided by the lumber fascists, ala Gibson.)
As a Millennial, I’ve gotten used to relationships starting via Facebook. Dating wasn’t “official” until my Facebook status said “in a relationship.” As far as friends went, after meeting one time, it was socially acceptable to find that guy from the bar and friend him on Facebook—then wait a few hours before messaging him…hoping he’d ask to hang out again. In the beginning it was cool: friend everyone you know–and their grandma.
However, hundreds of Facebook friends and seven years later, I’m tired of my Facebook and its power over me. I feel this odd sense of confusion if I don’t check it for a few hours and I was starting to feel burned out and annoyed by the constant, idiotic updates from some of my “friends.”
The BFF-obsessed girl who is in love with the Caps Lock Key:
Ohmigod. Tonight I had the BEST night EVER with my BESTIE, (insert annoying name). OMG I LOVE you GURLL. BEST FRIENDS FOREVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR <3
The kid who is really hoping to sound cool:
I am SO HIGH right now.
Really? I hope the police see this.
The person who needs some serious attention, ice cream, and a Sex and the City marathon:
Thank goodness you are out of my life. I am SO much better without you. Now I know who my real friends are and I don’t need you. I will never let you back into my life. I am so much stronger now. I’m in a good place.
Please grow up. Then, call a shrink.
See what I mean?
Some people “delete” their Facebook as a sign of mental strength—only to reappear a few weeks later with 100 status updates about their awesome willpower. Forget you. I wanted a long-term solution. So, after years and years of accumulating friends, nourishing Facebook friendships, and pruning some of those annoying (above) stragglers from my friends list, I decided to do a Facebook purge.
Honestly, when I told some of my real-life (not just digital) friends that I was going to go through my page and systematically delete people, they were aghast. HOW could you do that? That’s sad! Why?
Check out the previous installments in Becky Graebner’s dissection of House of Cards. Spoiler Warning!
May 29: Why We Love to Hate Politicians
June 5: Can ‘Evil’ Sometimes Be Good?
House of Cards was a slam dunk for Netflix. The name is practically an entertainment buzzword. The show is so widely known that a spoof was made, “House of Nerds,” for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The video featured Washington, D.C., superstars like John McCain, Jay Carney, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, all fighting with Frank Underwood to get the best seat at the dinner. The dinner crowd loved it — and so did the House of Cards fans.
Obviously, this show carries some sort of magic in its pocket—it wins over audiences left and right. Heck, half of Capitol Hill, which the show portrays in a not-so-flattering light, knew enough about it to laugh at the spoof at their “Nerd Prom.” So what is it about this dark horse of a show that has made it so great?
Pure genius on many levels.
Southern gentleman Frank Underwood is the first piece of genius in this show. I’ve pointed out in previous posts that no matter what Frank does, you still fall for his South Carolinian charm and charisma. He’s smooth-talking and has a soft side. He has the audience eating out of his hand and then, WHAM, he’s slapped with the title of “murderer.” Oh well, you still love him and you still want him to succeed. You just cannot hate Frank — his quips, smartass dialogue, and honest facial expressions make the audience laugh even in the darkest moments. Frank is the perfect bad guy who continuously baits the audience only to have them coming back for more.
China publicly congratulated “bright idealistic” NSA leaker Edward Snowden for exposing “the bleakest moment yet in the history of the Internet,” and said in the Xinhua editorial that he’s welcome in People’s Republic.
China doesn’t mention that it holds 69 bloggers behind bars, according to the latest Reporters Without Borders statistics.
“The case indicates that through outsourcing and contracting, Big Brother is breaching the fundamental rights of citizens by getting unfettered access to their most personal communications,” says Xinhua.
“As the case unfolds, there are many things to worry about. How do we make sense of the fact that the market and the state colluded in the abuse of private information via what represents the backbone of many modern day infrastructures? How do we rationalize the character of Snowden and his fellow whistleblowers? How do we understand the one-sided cyber attack accusations the U.S. has poured upon China in the past few months? To what degree have foreign users of these Internet services fallen victim to this project?”
The official government mouthpiece called the case “a rare chance to reexamine the integrity of American politicians and the management of American-dominant Internet companies, and it appears that while many of these individuals verbally attack other nations and people in the name of freedom and democracy, they ignore America’s worsening internal situation.”
Check out the previous installments in Becky Graebner’s dissection of House of Cards. Spoiler Warning!
May 29: Why We Love to Hate Politicians
June 5: Can ‘Evil’ Sometimes Be Good?
The art of reading body language is extremely helpful in Washington, D.C. Those who wheel and deal for a living must possess this ability—otherwise, they will be unable to decide who is lying, who is telling the truth, and will not be able to gain leverage over competitors. In House of Cards, Frank Underwood is amazingly good at reading his opponent. He knows when someone is lying to him and when to push peoples’ buttons just a little bit harder in order to get what he wants. He is a master at reading people.
Although I am not as good as Frank, I like to consider myself pretty good at reading those around me. However, no matter how hard I try, I don’t stand a chance against the characters in House of Cards. As soon as I think I’ve figured out a character, they change their mask and I have to start my analysis all over again. In one episode, Character X might show their soft side, but two episodes later, the same character might take part in a murder?! Eventually, I realized I cannot read the characters at all—or predict what they know or what they will do.
The show producers and writers obfuscate the true intentions of several individuals, which allows for great plot twists…and leaves the audience in doubt as to who they can trust. It’s hard to piece together the truth or predict the future when the audience is not sure who is truthful and who is a deceiver. Below are a few questions that season one leaves unanswered. What is certain is that House of Cards teaches the audience a valuable lesson about Washington, D.C.: trust no one.
We all know how frustrating it is:
“Rush Limbaugh called Barack Obama a ‘magic negro!’”
“Jerry Falwell condemned a Teletubby for being gay!!”
“Ann Coulter refused to fly on a plane with a black pilot!!!”
And it’s exhausting, too, having to point out one more time that:
* Rush Limbaugh was commenting on a black journalist’s description of Obama as a “magic negro” — an established literary trope in liberal academia.
* A writer for Jerry Falwell’s newsletter was simply quoting mainstream media stories about gays who’d already embraced that purple, purse-carrying Teletubby as a “gay icon.”
* That Ann Coulter anecdote was a completely made-up article on a satirical website.
Know what’s even more annoying, at least to me?
When conservatives indulge in the same variety of too-good-to-check rumor mongering and mass pass-it-on hysterics every time a liberal celebrity says — or worse, supposedly says — something dumb.
Let’s call it “Mean-Girls Conservatism.”
Over at FT, John Gapper is just being silly:
Who will stop Google?
My answer is: nobody, or not easily. Indeed, the best comparison for Google seems to me not Microsoft in the 1980s but General Electric in the late 19th century – the age of electrification. Like GE, Google is a multifaceted industrial enterprise riding a wave of technology with an uncanny ability not only to invent far-reaching products but also to produce them commercially.
Google still earns the vast bulk of its revenues by selling search-targeted ads. NTTAWWT, either — Google is the best at what it does.
But what are these other commercial products? Android? Google makes more money from searches on iOS than it does on Android. And after sinking $12 billion into Motorola trying to defend Android, it’s probably a net money-loser.
So what about Moto, aren’t they selling great Android phones for Google? Not really. Moto is an also-ran, and Samsung commands damn near every penny of profit in the market for Android-powered phones. Horace Dediu even did a study a while back that, thanks to Amazon and the weirdness of the cheap Chinese domestic market, Google’s ownership of Android is only about 60% of sales.
Google’s Nexus-branded tablets? Google won’t reveal its sales figures, so who knows. But Google not revealing its sales figures is hardly an encouraging sign.
Check out the previous installments in Becky Graebner’s dissection of House of Cards. Spoiler Warning!
May 29: Why We Love to Hate Politicians
In order to write these articles, and at the suggestion of my lovely editor, I have watched season one of House of Cards twice. Not only was watching it a second time still entertaining, but it’s always good to watch a show again. You pick up on things that you missed the first go because you were too busy trying to figure out the plot and the characters. I started pass #3 last Sunday night (not because I’m a nut job) but because I finally got a good friend of mine, another Washingtonian, to give it a try. We’ve gotten through two episodes so far. Let’s just say, HoC has gained yet another fan.
As we were watching, my buddy would inquire about Person X or Y: Is he good or bad? Is what Peter just said true? Is XYZ about to happen?! Obviously, as I have seen the show, I knew these answers and I tried not to give too much away. However, I did say that Frank got “a little shady” towards the end of the season. Even though by the end of episode two it is evident that Frank is manipulator and destroyer of lives AND after I gave full disclosure that my friend might not like Frank by the middle of the season, he still cheered for Frank when he cornered Michael Kern on CNN and when Linda Vasquez brought him in to her office to “fire him.”
It became evident that my friend was rooting for Frank — he even asked if Frank would turn out to be a good guy in this strange land of the evil, manipulation, and moral corruption. Although he probably will not turn out to be a good guy in the end, the audience will probably still enjoy it most when Kevin Spacey is on the screen — playing the role of the mad dog, Loki God of Chaos — and I think my friend will be part of that crowd. I started to think about what season two would be like…would Frank achieve his ultimate goal of becoming President of the United States? Then, it happened. A small thought moved out of the recesses of my mind and into my full awareness. I could no longer deny its existence.
My dangerous thought: Despite all of the “bad” things Frank Underwood had done, no matter how much you disliked him after some of his actions, Frank Underwood would be a good President.
There. I said it — and here’s why…
If you’ve been anywhere on the internet in the last couple of years, there’s probably a good chance that you’ve heard of Bronies —older, typically male fans of the children’s cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. There’s also a good chance that you may not have seen them in the best light. Often Bronies are presented as socially awkward, slovenly, and generally pathetic for liking a show for little girls. But is there more to the show and its fans than one would assume based on first glance? I called up a friend of mine, Adam Young, to ask him what led him to become a Brony and just what it is about this seemingly saccharine show that could inspire its legions of older fans to have such devotion to it.
Adam is 28 years old and resides in Champaign, Illinois. He attended Illinois State University and graduated in 2007 after obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Studio Arts. He is a huge fan of several movies and television shows, including Star Trek, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and Back to the Future. He is also an avid gamer, enjoying several Nintendo titles in the RPG genre such as Pokémon, Earthbound, and Paper Mario. Adam currently works for an outdoor specialty retailer.
Well, it was a very gradual process. I go to a lot of message boards on the internet for artwork and games or whatever. Around probably winter of 2010, maybe spring of 2011, I kept seeing all these strange memes, image macros, and user-avatar images of these weird horse-looking things popping up all over my message boards that I go to frequently.
At first I just kinda thought that was weird and didn’t think too much about it, and then the more they kept popping up I thought: “What the hell is this? I gotta figure out what the hell this is.” The art style was very reminiscent of either Genndy Tartakovsky or Craig McCracken, or any of the 1990s Cartoon Network people. First I iMDB’d Craig McCracken, the Powerpuff Girls guy. He had recently done Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and it looked quite similar. I saw that his name was not on the credits list for this show, but, coincidentally enough, his wife Lauren Faust was. She was the executive producer of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and she got her start in the industry working on Powerpuff Girls in the later seasons, so I was familiar with her work.
After seeing that she was the one who developed My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I was like, “Well that’s kinda weird, I guess she really needed money or something.” I left it at that because of the preconceived notions a show like that would have attached to it, being based on a line of dolls for little girls and all.
So I really didn’t think too much about it, and then later I subscribed to a lot of YouTube channels, especially ones that review cartoons, video games, and anime. One of the channels I subscribed to was because they were doing reviews of the series Madoka Magica, which I was watching at the time. I really liked their Madoka reviews, and one day out of the blue this really, really long video of theirs, almost an hour long, popped up in my subscription feed. It turned out to be about the new My Little Pony show that I had seen all over the internet, and I was like, “Okay, if these guys are reviewing it, I guess it’s worth a look.”
So I went to YouTube and did a search for My Little Pony, and by that point most of the first season was already over, but there were still a few episodes left. I immediately tried to catch up as soon as I could, and after giving it a fair chance, I turned out to really, really enjoy the show. After watching all of the first season, I was like, “Well, I guess I’m not really allowed to judge a book by its cover ever again.”
Reuters reported at 11:54 AM EST on the ideology inspiring the terrorists who murdered and butchered Americans in Boston on Monday:
His “World view” is listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” is “career and money”.
He has posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles like “Salamworld, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts”.
He also has links to pages calling for independence for Chechnya, a region of Russia that lost its bid for secession after two wars in the 1990s.
The page also reveals a sense of humor, around his identity as a member of a minority from southern Russia’s restive Caucasus, which includes Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and other predominately Muslim regions that have seen two decades of unrest since the fall of the Soviet Union.
“I don’t have a single American friend,” one caption quotes him as saying. “I don’t understand them.” [emphasis added]
I will state my position about what has happened this way:
Al Qaeda’s Attack on America on September 11, 2001 = the beginning of World War 1
Two NON-ARAB, WHITE, WHOLLY AMERICANIZED Homegrown Millennial Jihadists Take America Hostage And Launch a New Template for How to Wage A DIY, Low Budget-Download-The-Instructions-Off-The-Internet Terror War = the beginning of World War II.
We are now entering a new phase of the Islamic war to replace liberal societies with Sharia law. This is World War IV, a multi-decade conflict that will be for our generation what the war against Nazism and Fascism was for our grandparents. Except it will probably be worse.
As such, I would like to primarily address those who have not yet given up progressivism, moral relativism, and the Democratic party — the three idols I grew up worshiping for the first two decades of my life. (I realize now that the reason I abandoned progressivism is simply that I didn’t go to graduate school whereas most of my friends did. My brainwashing gradually wore off after I got out into the real world and had to try and survive.)
This is not an oppressive, Corporate Imperial war waged against harmless Muslims. It is a war that Islam has declared against Enlightenment-based societies. The problem is not the Koran or Islam. The problem is radical (as in going to the root of the idea) Islam or Islamism, or Orthodox Islam, or the traditional Islam of history that requires the marriage of mosque and state accompanied by full implementation of chop-your-hands-off-style Sharia. Muslims who reject Koranic literalism and affirm Enlightenment philosophy are A-OK. (See Robert Spencer’s article this morning to see the great Jazz music some of them have made. And note Roger L. Simon today — Islam is not a race.) Muslims who embrace America instead of demanding American submission can enjoy the riches of Liberty just as every immigrant who has come to this land throughout the centuries to worship their God and work hard.
We need to stand with genuine Muslim liberals against both the terrorists and stealth (non-violent) jihadists rebelling against the Modern world.
That requires identifying those in the political and media classes who sabotage these efforts. Here are 10 examples of those whose ideas undermine the safety of Americans and the twin projects to nurture political liberalism in the Muslim mind and Enlightenment values in the Islamic soul.
“They know nothing.” It’s very important for Moore to try and undermine the credentials of anyone who can affirm that Sharia is a real threat. In Moore’s world Global Warming is more dangerous and cigarettes and car accidents cause more deaths per year than Islamists. Corporations have killed plenty more people than this “one teenager.”
“I guessed correctly. the bombings were not carried out by women.”
There will be more Jihad Janes, Mike…
I’ve been using Apple computers since the 1980s, and I’ve lost track of how many I’ve owned.
(Right now I have two — an iMac desktop and a MacBook Air for travel/emergencies.)
I’m not an expert, just a (very) longtime user. And a smug one.
One thing we brag about is that viruses don’t tend to affect us.
That’s why installing anti-virus programs is not only unnecessary (most of the time), but can actually mess up your machine.
The last time I brought my (previous) iMac to the Genius Bar, complaining of slow performance, the Apple Store guys just trashed the anti-virus software and my machine was back to normal.
As far as viruses are concerned, Macs:
a) represent such small market share that malicious pranksters usually don’t bother targeting them, and
b) Apple continues to “harden” its hardware, operating system, and apps to keep invasions to a minimum.
That’s why it’s especially important for Mac users to download the very latest version of the OS X and other Apple software and apps.
(Here’s a great and very recent article about Macs and viruses that covers the special circumstances when you might want to install anti-virus software.)
Humor is a personal thing. You never know what is going to hit your funny bone smack on the sweet spot. This is a slideshow of some of the best of a new, hilarious meme called Day X. I included one of my own creation, with a little twist, at the end. Enjoy!
It was a long time coming: Netflix users in the U.S. can now reveal their viewing habits and tastes to their Facebook friends.
Netflix announced today that its U.S. members will be able to connect to Facebook and agree to share favorite TV shows and movies on Netflix. The company will be turning on the feature “over the coming days” and expects that all U.S. members will have access to the social feature by the end of the week.
“By default, sharing will only happen on Netflix,” Cameron Johnson, director of product innovation at Netflix, wrote in a blog post. “You’ll see what titles your friends have watched in a new ‘Watched by your friends’ row and what they have rated four or five stars in a new ‘Friends’ Favorites’ row. Your friends will also be able to see what you watch.”
Worried that your friends will now know you’ve got a thing for the lesser works of Sylvester Stallone or the outre offspring of the racy Russ Meyer? Netflix wants to reassure you that that doesn’t have to happen.
Thanks to my mother’s English heritage, and her dedicated preservation of it, I may be one of the few non-British viewers to have seen the original House of Cards long before the American remake. Having just “binge-viewed,” as Netflix no doubt intended, the remake – now the talk of the chattering classes and the entertainment industry – I wonder if this was a disadvantage for me. I was left constantly comparing the two, and while the American House of Cards is good television, beautifully made and surprisingly addictive, it is nothing compared to the BBC’s 1990 masterpiece.
As many readers likely now know, 2013’s version of House of Cards features Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood, a skilled but utterly amoral House Majority Whip who, refused a major cabinet post by the new president, schemes his way to the top over the bodies of his rivals. Along for the ride, consciously or not, are his mistress, an ambitious reporter played by Kate Mara; a troubled congressman Underwood ruthlessly uses and discards; and the one person he never truly betrays, his loyal but conflicted wife.
It has its virtues, no doubt. Spacey is brilliant, as he always is when he plays monstrous but charming and fascinating anti-heroes. The machinations of both press and politicians seem far more realistic than on such idealized shows as The West Wing. And under the supervision of talented film director David Fincher, the show looks extraordinary, with cinematography and production design that easily surpasses most current feature films. Nonetheless, it doesn’t quite work; and likely because it either ignores or consciously throws aside everything that made the BBC House of Cards a landmark and a legend in the history of British television.