Friday, June 30, 2006

Let My People Smoke: A Modest Proposal.

I am still bugged by the idea that it's against the law to smoke in bars around these parts.
Yes, Los Angeles is one of the places where there is no smoking indoors. I don't smoke. I think it's stupid to smoke. So I won't smoke in a bar. And if I owned a bar, I'd forbid people to smoke in it, so I could attract a non-smoking clientele.
But you can't protect people from themselves. Presumably people who frequent bars know that alcohol is bad for them, and preventing them from doing another thing that is bad for them is ridiculous. And we tried prohibiting drink, and look what happened to us there... a legacy of reckless constitutional amendments and gangster movies.
And I'll go further. With world population on the rise, we can't afford the luxury of saving people from themselves. Self-destructive behavior may just be an instinctual reaction to the herd-thinning impulse. If smokers shave 20 years off their lives, doesn't that leave more resources for the non-smokers? Isn't addiction an inherited behavior? If so, how will the species ever rid itself of the gene if we keep smokers alive, allowing them to breed?
So let's open up the bars to smokers again. And the opium dens. And while we're at it, repeal the helmet laws. I need a little space, people.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

More Fun With Website Metrics

I don't have acess to any stats for this blog, but I do have them for my main site. Below are the top ten search terms which have lead to the site in the last two months. Ranked in order:

  1. sexmonkey
  2. angie dickenson
  3. sr
  4. susannah hoffs
  5. dark meat music
  6. dark meat podcast
  7. sign the guestbook tamiflu
  8. html code is smilies are on agcode is on
  9. darkmeat productions
  10. goon squad forums
Some of this I can explain. Items 2 and 4 obviously led to my Celebrity Interface Index, in which I detail my encounters with the stars. 5, 6 and 9 relate to the Dark Meat: Music For Depressives podcast.
8 and 10 lead to the Dark Meat Forum, a little endeavor which has attracted only bots at this point. (Goon Squad appears in the title of one of the message boards). 7 relates to the guestbook, which I shut down when it had over 1000 entries, all spam.
That leaves 3, which I can't quite trace but I'm sure it would be all over - why not? But Sexmonkey? I have no idea. I don't think I've ever used the word anyhere on that site. And this is the first time I've used it here. I think I have written about it at my other blog, because it was high up in the search terms there. Anyone want to clue me in?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

You Are Probably A Teenage Girl

Another fun web page analyzer! This one is from the Microsoft Ad Team, and it looks at your probable demographic, based I assume on language found at the site you plug in to it. It doesn't say who is reading, it says who is most likely to enjoy reading.
You are 51% likely to be female vs 49% male. It's reassuring to see that there is no third category in that statistic.
The chart above demonstrates who you are by age. As you can see, this number is unlikely as hell. I don't know what is meant by predicted versus general distribution. Precious little info at the site too. Generally you're 25-34 (which is the age I feel) but you're predicted to be under 18 (the age I act.) I wonder if the 50+ numbers take into account older folks' refusal to waste time on this nonsense?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Apple Of My Ear

My wife snagged tickets to Fiona Apple and Damien Rice at the Greek Theatre this weekend. Yes, it was big fun. Even before the concert began it was great to be out among people dressed for a concert... a potent reminder that I need to get out more, which is why I'm writing this at a Starbucks instead of at work.

Well, Rice first, then Apple. I wonder if they had that in mind when they were booking? If Meat Loaf had been available... anyway, that Damien Rice fellow is mighty emo, isn't he? Not saying that he doesn't rock out, because he makes an effort to and succeeds. But he seemed most effective when he was quietest. Just him, an acoustic guitar and the mic without the built-in distortion effect. I confess I wasn't that familiar with his work aside from the single THE BLOWER'S DAUGHTER, but it's okay because there were plenty of Rice-heads around us. It was odd to see an act so folky ending the set with a song featuring so many loops that the whole band was able to exit while it still played. Hell, they may have been back on the bus playing DOOM 3 by the time it finally shut down.

Then came Fiona. Sitting behind a piano in a long white... nightgown? ... she is a surprisingly geeky presence. She has a little plastic giraffe on her piano, next to one of those Office Depot EASY buttons. She displays hyperactive body language, spazzing out during the instrumentals. If the instrumental is long enough, she curls into a fetal position behind the piano and buries her face in her arms. The lighting cues include complete blackouts between songs, as if they were scenes.

The music is flawless. The dark bluesy chords, the self-loathing lyrics, all are crisp and intelligible. Fiona's face is a roadmap of pain. Even when she gave her goofy little wave to the crowd at the start of the show, she seemed a little sad about it. I like Fiona because of her darkness. In concert her quirks are a little distracting, but they seem sincere. They appear to be real quirks and not affectations. Watching her I wonder if she is a junkie, but the show is too tight for that.

As a side note, I realized that nowadays almost anyone can throw together an episode of Don Kirsher's Rock Concert. Not sure how I feel about that.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

In Which I Disappoint Half My Audience

Taylor Buley, a real author (published!) who found this blog through my snarky comments on Wonkette, responded to a recent post of mine with the comment, "so you really are a libertarian!" Hate to say it Taylor, because I admire you and your fellow Libertarian Bill Maher, but a Libertarian I am not.

God knows (figure of speech) you guys are better than the Republicans, a party which seems devoted to making sure that people who are rich stay that way. Actually that's the old Republicans, the new ones are considerably more sinister. And it's great that you aren't the Democrats either - what the hell are THEY all about anyway? They can't even settle on being anti-Republicans.

And I like the civil liberty aspect of your party. Of course the Government has no business telling me how to worship or what I can say, and they certainly have no business in my bedroom. Government as moral force is an idea that becomes less appealing with every passing year.

However, the libertarian ideal (I've been told) is "just protect my borders and leave me the hell alone." No business regulation, no social engineering. That bothers me. To not reign in the excesses of capitalism, to not compensate for systemic social injustice - this seems to me a waste of government. I don't mind paying taxes into the big national ante if it means we have people taking care of the big picture.

It just seems that if the goal is to make the most money you can and keep it out of the hands of the government, that's just anti-social and selfish. And again, contrary to the common good.

Besides if government doesn't help the poor people, they tend to get desperate, rise up in revolution and steal all your stuff. You can either help them, or they will help themselves.  Social programs are a safety valve.

So I like some parts of Libertarianism and some ideals of Democratism... what the hell does that make me?

A Democrat, I guess.

New York Is Where I'd Rather Stay, Thank You

A poll just named New York the most polite city. It has to be, and I'll tell you why.

If you've ever been there you know how crowded it is. Peoples apartments are so small they can't even fit in a kitchen, so they have to go out even to eat. You are forced to be around people all the time.

If New Yorkers weren't polite they'd have all killed each other by now.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Adventures In Watching: Dr Who, Lucky Louie

I don't watch all that much TV, considering. I am fortunate enough to have the internet for time-wasting nowadays. It's like TV but I can narrow my focus even more than I would have otherwise! But watch I do, once in a while, when my arms are weary from typing.
So the two shows in the title represent the only TV I watched this weekend, and I liked them both. First, the Doctor.
If you get the Sci-Fi channel you've had a chance to see the new Dr Who, but you haven't seen the NEWEST one. Well actually, you have because he turned up at the very end of the series. David Eccleston regenerates right in front of our eyes and turns into David Tennant. He has one line -- "New teeth... Weird!" -- and bang, you are supposed to wait a year for new episodes. Thanks to the TARDIS known as Bittorrent, I'm way ahead of you. I watched episode ten on the new iMac, which helpfully comes with a remote control so you can slide back a bit from the desk and pretend you're watching real TV.
Currently the Dr Who empire is run out of Cardiff by Russell T. Davies, the brilliant writer who created QUEER AS FOLK but may be remembered as the guy who rescued science fiction for British children. His Dr Who is funny but dark, and deeply intimate. Most of the dramatic juice for all these stories comes from the themes of loneliness and guilt. The Doctor, who is the last of a race of time lords, wanders around looking for adventures and people to help, but there's no denying that in the course of that endeavor he's left a trail of multi-hued blood in his wake. And he's over 900 years old, so that's a lot of blood. In this series, he can't run into a Dalek without the little pepperpot teasing him about how alike they are.
But this season has mostly been written by others. Davies is busy constructing TORCHWOOD, a spinoff featuring Cap'n Jack (a character from last season) and K-9, the robot dog, in which they run an organization which seems to have been formed to protect the world from the likes of The Doctor. So THAT could be interesting. The Doctor himself, meanwhile has been just spinning his wheels. I suppose it's unfair to expect the 2nd series to be the same revelation as the first, but the writing seems to be focused on maintenance rather than innovation. A shame too, because Tennant seems a much better match for the character than Eccleston ever was.
This weekend's episode (at last, he gets to the review!) WAS written by Davies, WAS brilliant and was almost entirely devoid of the Doctor, which shows you where Davies' mind is at. It was about a young geeky ELO fan who forms a UFOlogy club who investigates Doctor-related phenomena. Like any endeavor of this kind, it gradually degenerates into a weekly get together where the members read their fiction to each other, investigate unrelated subjects and even form an ELO cover band. Their little social Eden is infiltrated by a sinister man with severe exema who re focuses their attention on finding the Doctor.
The description doesn't do justice to this episode's tone, which was very close to Denis Morgan's best efforts with the X-Files. You know those funny, off-the-chart surreal ones, like JOSE CHUNG'S FROM OUTER SPACE, where it looked like he was trying to take down the whole series? Same thing. Plus, almost everybody dies, which is always fun.
On to other things. HBO is trying to reinvent the sitcom with LUCKY LOUIE, a show starring standup Louis C.K. as the father of a nuclear family and the show is taped before a live audience. It's like COSBY or EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND in that respect but the devil is in the details.
Detail: Family lives in a crummy, tiny, dirty apartment.
Detail: Father is not just bumbling, he's working a part time job for $115 a week.
Detail: It's HBO, where bad language isn't a problem -- in fact, it's a fuckin' asset.
So you wind up with this weird hybrid, a story that looks like real, miserable life but plays like a sitcom. And that's why I like it. I've never seen the genre applied to a situation that bleak, and yet still work as a sitcom. It's more hallucination than TV show. So far the episodes have dealt with sex, racism, sex, drug dealing, male powerlessness and sex.
Laura Kightlinger has a recurring role as the wife's best friend. I've been a fan of hers for a long time, with her deep voice and mona-lisa smile, but I'm not sure she's working here. Or maybe her face needs different lenses - I used to worship her cheekbones but she looks acromegliac on this show. I'll see what happens after a few episodes. Maybe she'll come into her own with the right storyline.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Talking Points For Your Right-Wing Friends

You must know someone who is in the president's camp. Next time you see 'em, ask 'em these questions. If you get a sensible response, let me know.

1. We have to suspend some of our civil liberties because we're at war. I accept that, but how do we know when we've won? Not when will the war be over, but how will we know?

2. It's treason to criticize the President, and it's wrong to burn the flag. Okay. Protesters at Presidential appearances are put off to an isolated area. We have to accept that we may be wiretapped, and that our library records and probably all other records could be confiscated. Okay, okay.

So, as we're often told, the terrorists hate our freedoms. So is giving up freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to privacy an effort to make the terrorists like us?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Netvocates: The Root of All Evil?

Here's a sign that the blogosphere (a thin membrane around the internet, composed mostly of hot air and jolt cola) is becoming important in the real world:

An organization called Netvocates is PAYING PEOPLE to enter the comments section and, as far as I can tell, refute liberal viewpoints. Interesting. Proof that the right is far better organized than the left (and richer, which is no surprise), but also that perhaps they don't share the opinions of grass roots Americans. At least it suggests that their grass-roots have to be fertilized a little.

So far the only attention this blog has attracted has been among the Christian Video Game Community, but hopefully the search engines will bring me a half dozen denials that this is going on. I could use the traffic.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Maybe People ARE Rotten After All

A few weeks ago I opined that you shouldn't buy a story that's too good to be true, especially if it paints your opponents in a negative light. I was commenting on reports of a Christian computer game set in the post-apocalypse world where your mission is to convert the heathens or kill them. According to what I had read, you couldn't win the game by killing them, as much fun as that might be.

Take a look at the comment of that piece... Apparently you CAN win by killing the infidel.

Okay, so maybe I was wrong - sometimes the Big Lie is true. In this case it's not that big a lie, not like we are fighting a war to promote peace or banning gay marriage strikes a blow for civil rights. So I hope my premise still holds - just because someone is a Republican or a Evangelist it doesn't mean that everything he says is wrong. Or more simply, people who disagree with you aren't always just too stupid to understand the truth.

Okay, I gotta go now... I'm armoring up for the apocalypse.

Sweeney Todd: At Last, My Film is Complete Again

Tim Burton, who is both a film director and an idea, is bringing Sweeney Todd to the screen.

He's got a tough row to hoe here. Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a folk tale which goes back to the industrial age itself, though it's most famous as a dark, dark (really very dark) musical by Steven Sondheim. It's the story of an expatriot barber who returns to London under an assumed name to avenge the death of his wife at the hands of a cruel and hypocritical judge. He joins forces with a pub owner, and his indiscriminate blood-lust provides free meat for her pies, which become famous among inadvertant cannibals all over London.

I've listen to the cast album for years. It's a brilliant score, swooping from romantic to terrifying like the arc of a razor. It's nervous music, often punctuated by an intolerable steam whistle. The music serves as a perfect bed of nails to the phenomenal Sondheimian wordplay, 19th-century vernacular which sounds perfectly natural yet somehow rhymes, often internally, and is rife with poetic metaphors and ugly truths about the human condition. Oh, and it's kind of rangy.

Just like with Pink Floyd The Wall, I already have a perfectly usable movie in my head of this score. It's cast with unknowns and shot mostly using silent film equipment, perhaps because the acting style matches the operatic mood swings of the piece.

Still, if anybody is qualified to make a movie of this thing, it's Burton. Sometimes Burton and the project are a bad match (PLANET OF THE APES, for example, or BATMAN) but sometimes it's right on. Burton has (I hope) the perfect blend of morbid humor and crowd-pleaser instincts to pull off this musical. It's said Johnny Depp is going to be cast as Todd, and that could be a problem. Depp can do anything except play normal, but the score is written for a smokey-voiced baritone. Then again, maybe he can do that too.

That leaves Mrs. Lovett, the pie maker. Angela Lansbury owns that piece, but it's 30 years later and maybe she could consider passing it down. I can't imagine who could do it - you have to be amoral, deliver a punchline, swoon over Todd and have a 3 octave range, usually all in the same line of text. Burton will probably have to go outside the usual players for her. Hey... Beyonce! Okay, I'll keep working on it. The rest of the cast - well, anyone can play the young lovers (hey... Beyonce!) and the Judge barely even sings. I bet De Niro could pull of Judge Turpin.

I bet the razors get the most screen time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Press Release: Bleeding Disorders Month

Governor Granholm Proclaims June as Hemophilia and Bleeding Disorders Month in Michigan

Distribution Source : Market Wire

Date: Tuesday - June 13, 2006

YPSILANTI, MI -- (Market Wire - Jun 13, 2006) -- Michigan Governor, Jennifer M. Granholm, has proclaimed June 2006 as "Hemophilia and Other Bleeding Disorders Month in Michigan." The gubernatorial proclamation follows closely on recent public advocacy efforts of the Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan (HFM).

The foundation recently held its first 'HFM Lansing Day,' a day long event in which staff and consumers visited legislators and shared with them basic information regarding these inherited and incurable diseases. The day included a luncheon in the State Capitol attended by Representatives, Senators, and their staffers, as well as HFM staff and consumers.

During 2006, the Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan is marking its anniversary of fifty years of service. In the post-WW II years, founding members of HFM initially came together as support groups for families of persons with hemophilia. "2006 is indeed a fitting time to officially observe our fifty years of service," said HFM Executive Director Ivan C. Harner. "Governor Granholm recently proclaimed June 2006 as 'Hemophilia and Other Bleeding Disorders Month' in Michigan," Harner continued. A framed copy of the proclamation will be displayed at the foundation offices in Ypsilanti.

Harner also observed, "Governor Granholm's proclamation inspires and encourages us as the foundation looks forward to continuing our service to the bleeding disorders community. Before another 50 years goes by, medical science may find cures for hemophilia, von Willebrand disease and all other bleeding disorders. In the meantime, HFM will continue its mission of service to our community."


Hawking His New Book

I ran across two items today about everyone's favorite syntho-voiced physicist, Stephen Hawking. Firstly, he's writing a children's book about physics, aimed at the Harry Potter crowd. So anybody who bought A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, you may even be able to understand this one. Note the qualifier.

But also he's quoted as saying that mankind's only hope for survival is to colonize other planets. If we don't kill ourselves off in the next hundred years then we could set up a self-sustaining base on Mars or elsewhere. Bleak or realistic? I came across this item in the Huffington Post, where the commenters did their best to politicize it - some claimed global warming was all Bush's fault, while one guy said that we'll never make it off the planet because spaceships couldn't carry Michael Moore - the truth is there are more of us humans than the planet can probably sustain. We're said to be 2 billion over the limit. Of course, it's a flexible planet, and a closed, self-healing ecosystem. Any damage mankind does, the planet can repair.

Thing is, part of the repair would necessarily involve getting rid of us.

So I'm with Hawking - we need to get people offa this orb. I'm thinking half, and I'm thinking they should be right-wing. My first impulse is the far extremes of both parties, but those people would eat each other alive, then the bases would shut down, and I couldn't visit. So what about this - just the religious right. They all assume the rapture is coming anyway, so they'll be taken to heaven and us left behind. Think of the time it will save them! We'll be forced to live in a hellish vision of America with no Jerry Falwell and no Pat Robertson, where a much smaller majority will hate the gays and immigrants.

Too snarky? Sorry.

And the remote bases will be paradise. There will be no crime or sexual perversion. Well, at least there will be no disease or birth defects, because of the concentrated healing power of the blood of the lamb.

In any event, I'D be a lot happier. And surely that is what Hawking had in mind.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Cum On, Feel The Noize

The best bad idea ever.

Wired magazine reports on a strange subculture of the already strange bod-mod community. For a nominal fee, people will insert a tiny rare-earth magnet into one of your fingertips. They're not doctors so they can't use anesthetic; you finger is iced for as long as you can stand it then they cut you open, pop the magnet in and sew you up. Once the throbbing goes down, you find you can sense electrical and magnetic fields in that finger.

For example, the writer working on his laptop noticed he was aware when the hard drive was spinning up. He also sensed active power lines and stereo speakers. The feeling was akin to a buzz or oscillation.

It's not totally cool. Aside from the risk of infection and the disqualification from MRI use, the magnets have not always held together. Though they're encased in bio-neutral plastic they can still break open, at which point the magnet breaks apart into tiny pieces. And here it gets weird. You can hire a real doctor to go after them, but there are too many pieces and they are too tiny remove them all. So you lose the ability to sense fields AND you have an ugly black spot on your finger.

And weirdly, after a while, the pieces attract each other and eventually settle in and align, though the resulting magnet isn't nearly as powerful. And you're still stuck with it.

Even the guy who wrote the piece doesn't recommend the procedure, and admits it's of limited usefulness. Still as bod-mods go, it's gotta be more practical than having cat whiskers screwed into your face.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The MPAA Is Cooler Than I Thought

A movie about a football coach, whose rotten life improves once he hears the word of the lord, has been rated PG by the MPAA, even though it would normally have gotten a G.

FACING THE GIANTS, financed by Sherwood Baptist Church of Georgia, is coming out this fall with the PG through Samuel Goldwyn Pictures. Though there is no cursing or sexual situation or drug use, the film earned its rating because, "was heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions. " This is a particularly broad-minded interpretation of the PG, which is used to suggest parental guidance, but it seems perfectly appropriate to me. As a Jewish parent (I am neither, but let's be rhetorical) don't I want to consider taking my kid to a football movie which suggests that I and my associates are the devil? I think I do.

Interesting ramifications - usually a G rating is the kiss of death at the box office, but it might have been this movie's only selling point. It shouldn't be a problem because the free publicity will surely earn this thing 10 times what it would have normally. Other interesting thing - the producers are Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who are the "associate pastors of media" at their church. I understand the Amish have not yet adopted that title.

I'm only guessing, but I bet FOX news will be all over this. The war on Christian Football Movies! It's too bad, because the religious right and Hollywood were getting along so well.

Anything that restricts the notion that a team wins a game because God is on their side - that is okay by me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ann Coulter: Civilization Was Ruined Anyway

I'm about a day late to the wave of criticism about Ann Coulter's new book, but anything I say will apply to the next wave of Ann Coulter criticism so it will remain timely.

Ann has a point to make about the widows of 9/11 victims, so, here is the quote she was defending on the Today Show yesterday morning: "These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing Bush was part of the closure process." On the Today show she added "These broads are millionaires stalked by stalked by griefparrazies? I have never seen people enjoying their husband's deaths so much." That's what she said DEFENDING her remarks in the book.

As a believer in free speech (which is something the next generation will have to celebrate as a legend) I'm flummoxed about Ann Coulter. Obviously I can't insist that she be silenced. In fact, I get a lot of value from my anger at her. Denouncing Ann Coulter is easy. She's the first chapter in RAGE FOR DUMMIES. She talks, I denounce. That's the American Way. You go girl!

My problem with Ann, Rush or Mike Savage isn't what they say - it's with their hosts. Why hasn't the RNC released a statement insisting that they disagree with Ann? A simple, "Ann Coulter is not our spokesperson," would be enough. Where was "We believe Michelle Malkin was wrong to endorse Japanese Internment camps," or "while we disagree with liberals, we don't agree they are traitors." I think after all this time, in the absence of these statements, we should take the RNC as agreeing with extreme right-wing hosts.

With the gay-marriage debates this has been a banner week for slippery-slope arguments, so let's posit this one... Ann Coulter thinks liberals are traitors. Traitors are criminals who should be executed. Republicans control all three branches of government. Republicans agree with Ann Coulter. All liberals disagree with the President. All people who disagree with the president are liberals.

We must execute 70% of the country.

It sounds like a terrible idea but on the plus side, it opens up room for the 12 million illegal immigrants, who must now stay and help repopulate our decimated nation. As a liberal, I can't help but see this as a positive result. Plus I no longer have a mortgage, plus I can look down from the heaven I don't believe in and laugh at the 30% of Bush supporters left behind. I'll do anything for an ironic scenario.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pale Contactless Rider

Happy Devil Day, everyone! 6/6/06 has arrived, and so far I've only had to wait for the dishNetwork guy and clean up after the dogs knocked over a coffee mug - hardly demonic occurrences, but the day is only half over.

Now however, I read that RFID chips are the legendary Mark Of The Beast. Yeah, you heard me. According to Katherine Albrecht in her book The Spychips Threat: Why Christians Should Resist RFID and Electronic Surveillance, the subcutaneous chips designed by Verichip resemble the mark as described in the Book of Revelations. Which is, as you know, very precise in its descriptions. As these chips are implanted in people, it will trigger the end times and before you know it, we'll be roaming a post-apocalyptic wasteland with only Kirk Cameron to save us.

Should this be true, it puts the Bush administration in a real bind, because they are both end-timers AND huge fans of electronic surveillance. Then again if the stories are true and Bush believes he is the one to preside over the end of the world, they better get crackin' with those chips now because he's only got 2 and a half years. Oh wait, I forgot, they're going to declare a state of emergency.

According to the article on that I'm referencing, every major technical advance signals some end-of-the-world talk, including bar codes, social security numbers, Y2K and the Gutenberg Press. My own list would include Blackberries, television, massage chairs, the spork and atomic weaponry, but these things are subjective. Did I mention grape-flavored apples? How about the Liger?

I think Albrecht is just trying to sell books. For goodness sake, isn't the idea of having a chip put under your skin which will allow any clever 12-year-old hacker to learn everything about you reason enough to resist? Why drag The Beast into it?

Have a little sympathy for the Devil. It's his day.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

My Love Affair With Press Releases, 2

And oh my, this one is good.

Robin Williams Shows the Challenges of Disposing of Human Waste from an RV, Trailer, or Motor Home

Hollister, Calif. -- (ArriveNet Interface - May 08, 2006) -- The 10 million or more RV owners in the U.S. can all identify with actor Robin Williams in the new movie "RV", particularly the challenges of disposing of human waste.

"Robin Williams goes through a terrible experience, which is really every RV owner's greatest fear. We all hate to empty the holding tanks because we all fear the very strong chance that something will go wrong and we will spill human waste all over the place and on ourselves and others," said Doug Swarts of Phase Four Industries.

The scene in the movie is exaggerated for the sake of humor, but the image is all too real for most RV owners. Every RV owner hates to put on the rubber gloves, connect the hose, and open the valve. It is a messy, smelly job if it goes well. Unfortunately far too often it does not go well and human waste ends up all over the ground, on the RV, and on people.

"It doesn't have to be that way," says Swarts. "As an RV owner I knew there had to be a better way to take care of this unpleasant task. I came up with the Waste Master (tm), and now there is a way to easily empty the holding tanks, in a totally sanitary and environmentally friendly manner."

Every RV owner knows that what happened to Williams' character Bob Monro in the new movie "RV" is not a total exaggeration. Williams had to be hosed down from head to toe after his mishap, and the ground pollution was extensive. Could it happen in real life?

"It certainly could, and it does. Far too often," said Swarts. "All those problems can be avoided, and the task can be clean and sanitary, but too many RV owners do not know there is an easy, inexpensive solution."

The Waste Master is stored in a bay door on the side of an RV. It is designed to prevent spills and be completely sanitary.

"The nozzle and sewer hose are pre-connected, pre-stored and ready to go. Open the bay door, and with the press of a button, simply extend the industrial grade sewer hose with special nozzle attached. It is a lot like extending a gas nozzle from a gas pump. There's no stooping and fumbling to plug it into the ground inlet. Now, just open the lever and push two buttons. It's so clean, you could even do it with white gloves on. When you're done, all you do is close the lever, press the button, and it retracts itself fully. No mess. No dripping. No coiling. And best of all it's totally sanitary," explained Swarts.

Watching Williams in the movie "RV" may be entertaining, but Swarts hopes it does not cause people to avoid using an RV. All of the problems Williams encounters can be avoided, and the task of emptying the holding tanks can be simple and clean.

See what they did there? You thought it had something to do with the hit movie RV but in fact it's a commercial for a mobile-home gadget! And who said journalism is dead?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Purpose-Driven Hoax

The Fox News audience isn't the only demographic who'll swallow any story. In the last 24 hours this scandal has enflamed the blogosphere: Pastor Rick Warren, he of The Purpose-Driven Life, is one of the people behind a violent LEFT-BEHIND-based computer game called ETERNAL FORCES in which you are a soldier of the lord, patrolling the post-apocalypse Earth. You try to convert heretics, but if you can't you blast them away with machine guns. Muslims, Jews, Catholics all must be converted or destroyed. When you blow one of them away, a voice shouts "Praise the Lord!"

People are fuming about this game. "How un-Christian!" is the most common response, followed by "if this were reversed, you'd hear from...(insert Ann Coulter's name here) all right!" As it turns out, the game isn't like this at all. You LOSE points for killing people. As your points drop you lose followers, and eventually you are plagued by demons. Important detail.

People want to believe the Big Lie. Nothing succeeds like implausibility when you're planting stories, and given the choice between a boring truth and an entertaining legend, any good editor will always print the legend. Karl Rove has ridden this theory like a Hawaiian Tsunami. Al Gore claims he invented the internet! Saddam Hussein's WMDs can take us out in 45 minutes! John McCain is crazy AND he has an illegitimate black baby! And the terrorists hate us for our freedom! If it reinforces what we want to believe, we'll swallow it like it's covered with honey.

Maybe it's time we learned to recognize the taste of the Big Lie, sweet but with some unpleasant chemical undertone. The next time you read something about a person or a group of people, stop to think, "would I do a thing like that? Does that person have to be stupid or evil in order for this narrative to work?" The best TV criticism I ever read was of the Miss American pageant; the reviewer said that the entire viewership was made up of people who were saying "I can't believe everybody else buys this crap."

If we stop believing the Big Lie then it will be a lot harder to control us.