The record industry goes crazy

Should it be against the law for you to buy a CD and then rip the tracks into your own PC or laptop for your own personal use?

The record industry thinks so. They’re suing a guy for doing just that.

In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.

Finally, a politician does something useful

Not that I’m a fan of the Pats, but they are on the way to being the first NFL team in 35 years to have an undefeated regular season, and next week they aim to cross the finish line with their game against the Giants. That makes it a pretty big one for football fans. Unfortunately, the game is only airing on the NFL Network, a premium channel which is not available in most American households.

John Kerry is stepping in. He’s asking the NFL commissioner to move the game to NBC so everyone can see it, and if the commish doesn’t, Kerry is threatening to hold Senate hearings.

Yeah, there’s a war on and everything, and the Democrats have so far been unable to do anything about it, and more people are becoming homeless and the economy is getting ready to crash, but by Grabthar’s Hammer, we’re going to get the Pats’ record-breaking game on regular TV!

Sweeney Todd

Five minutes into it I knew I was seeing one of the greatest movies ever. Transcendently brilliant, there’s no other way to describe it. The music is awesome, the visuals are sumptuous, the acting is wonderful, and the music is breathtaking. Who knew Johnny Depp had such a great voice? This is one to see again and again. I am not a fan of musicals, but this one is such a feast for the eyes and ears, as well as the mind, that it should not be missed.

There is a bit of gore toward the climax, but it shouldn’t be surprising for anyone familiar with the story.

Five meat pies out of five.

I Am Legend

Caught the new Will Smith flick “I Am Legend” last night. I give it four zombie dogs out of five.

Well done effects, but not overdone. Good action sequences, but not overdone. In other words, they leave room for story, and room for Will Smith to actually act, rather than be merely the smartass action hero who says a few good lines before blowing [insert bad guys/evil aliens/zombies here] away.

There’s one especially good sequence where the action happens out of frame while the camera remains focused on a tight shot of Smith’s face as you watch his reaction to what is happening and what he is forced to do. It’s emotionally wrenching, but I won’t spoil the plot by giving it away here. It’s a scene that stuck with me long after the movie was over.

Best thing about the movie? Only 101 minutes. It’s precisely long enough. My biggest quibble? A reliance on a “God revealed it to me” tack to resolve a plot point. But it’s such a minor quibble and doesn’t really detract from the story.

Best performances? Oh, Smith, to be sure. And Samantha the dog.

Worth the ticket price. Good flick.

Ordering furniture

I’d still like to think I have a heart as big as a furniture warehouse. Maybe I’m a little out of stock, but I’d still like to think I have the space. I don’t know. Who does?

May the universe grant me the joy of pretending that what I don’t currently have I can always put on order.

A long time ago in my little tiny hometown, I used to hear barking dogs at night, trains whistling from down the road, and I used to understand their language. They were just lonely things in the night, looking for stuff to fill themselves up with. I understood that. Now I just hear police helicopters and the neighbors fighting. The cops are looking for someone. The neighbors are reminding each other that they’re a fucking moron.

I’ve pulled a sample of something from somewhere, like I’m some kind of superhip super hip hop producer plugging a better sound onto something that’s just newer, not better, but not bitter for not being the best. I’m still working really hard on decomposing to feed a better sort of life, whether for myself or for some civilization to come, I don’t know. Who does?

I’m going to fall slow motion ninja style onto my pillow now, and I hope it’s really there by the time my head arrives. I’m just a random fan looking for a good show. I’ll find one or two in my sleep, if I’m lucky. One of them may star a woman with really sexy hands. The other will star a train.