Monday, March 31, 2008

Boo-sh! Boo-sh!

Do you remember that one time in The Simpsons, when the crowd booed Mr. Burns, but Smithers justified it as "Boo-urns, Boo-urns!"? Yeah, it was kind of like that for the President, but with no Smithers to sycophantly soothe his superior:



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Sunday, March 30, 2008

DeRamos.BlogSpot.com

Here's some filler before the day is up: I am considering reverting the URL of this Blogger blog back to DeRamos.BlogSpot.com, and using this useful DeRamos.org domain for a grander purpose. It's not going to be soon, though, but I am considering my options...

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eddie Vedder's Solo Show

Here's a video of Pearl Jam's Ed playing "Far Behind" at a recent warm-up show for his upcoming spring solo tour:



The film Into the Wild is the few movies in which I read the book first (it could be the only movie, as my memory does not serve me well right now). I might get around to a longer rant/analysis about film adaptations of books on either this blog or another.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Tons O' Fun Burger

The Tons O' Fun Burger (at least I think that's the name of it). Imagine being five years old, with relatively typical five year old hands. Imagine the perceived size of a McDonald's Big Mac at that age. Yes, it was big back then, but not now. The Big Mac-like burger at The Cheesecake Factory gave me the feeling of being a small child in the presence of a regular-sized burger. Big. Overwhelming.

Since I ate appetizers and bread beforehand, and because I wanted room for desert, I only ate a quarter of the burger at the restaurant.

My arteries thanked me.

Tons O' Fun snapshot by yours truly.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is my brother's birthday, so I wish him a Happy Birthday on this blog, in my company's podcast, and hopefully in real life, too.

This is what Joey says about this kind of birthday:



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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You Cannot Stop Governor Daredevil's Truthfulness (Not Truthiness)

Extramarital affairs? Check. Marijuana use? Check. Cocaine use? Check.

Superhero? Double, nay, triple check. Rock on, Gov'nor!

David Paterson photo credit: Jeffalan.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Memory Works?

You have to admire the brain - your brain, my brain, and everyone else's brains. Oftentimes the brain tends to add nonfactual details to memories, in order to make them sound much, much better. I remember watching an episode of Seinfeld, where the bald guy with the goatee was confronted by Jerry for calling him a phony, but the dude replied that phony had a palatable slang meaning. As a example, he said: "That Michael Jordan is...a phony," before exploding to Kramer: "Why'd you tell him?!!!"

My brother and I remembered it as "That Michael Jordan. [Pause.] He's so phony... [Another pause.] Why'd you tell him?!!!" It somehow flowed better (in my mind) comically and thus was a new truth created by my brain, my brother's brain, and whomever else remembered it that way - with nonfactual details. (Of course, I could have misquoted the previous example as well.)

Anyway, my point is that the brain remembers things in only a way that the brain can - and all this psychobabble has been written without a neuroscience or psychology degree. However, in the case of Hillary Clinton's remembrance of her trip to Bosnia twelve years ago today...


This is the recent CBS report concerning the dissonance between what was "remembered" and what was videotaped.


This is the CBS report from exactly twelve years ago today.


...whether or not it was an honest exaggerated memory or a deliberate lie is irrelevant: It's just bad politics...to get caught in the act.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's official First Lady Portrait, by Simmie Knox, is in the public domain.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

For the 4000 (So Far...Sadly)

Current headlines tell the story: Four US Soldiers Die in Iraq; War Toll Is at 4000, among other permutations of the same theme.

While the lyrics have long been disputed, there's a popular interpretation that the Pearl Jam song "Yellow Ledbetter" is about dealing with fatal reality of war affecting the home front. The Wikipedia entry for the song currently says:

Many fans have argued about the meaning of this song contained in the lyrics and have even questioned the existence of a central theme (although, one common theory is about someone receiving a letter and finding his brother had died overseas in war,[7] cited from the lyrics in the Live at the Garden version "I don't know whether my brother will be coming home in a box or a bag"). About the song, Vedder said that it was written around the time of the Gulf War, and added that "it's an anti-patriotic song, actually."[8]

It is because of the freeform nature of this song that allows Pearl Jam to easily improvise the song and change it around as they see fit when performing it live. During performances, McCready often lengthens the outro and the guitar solo and Vedder almost always changes the lyrics around, sticking with the same rhythm as the original recording. The song has managed to become a staple among fans of the band, yet because of the freeform nature of its lyrics many fans have attached their own meaning to the song.

So this entry is for the 4000 fallen U.S. soldiers in Iraq in the past five years (and the sad expectation of a greater number), and while the original intent was "anti-patriotic" in terms of being anti-Gulf War 1, I'm positing this interpretation for the unintelligible lyrics: To hope for a solution to an increasingly incoherent problem. It's still patriotic to dissent for the good of America, isn't it?

Here's a video of the band playing the song in the year 2000:



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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

After all the genuinely good merriment today, please take some time to enjoy the subversive satire of South Park's Fantastic Easter Special.

The above South Park press image copyright belongs to Comedy Central and any applicable entities.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Remix, Mashup Filler

I have nothing new to write for Saturday, so here are a couple instances of YouTube remixed hillarity:


"Hey, kid, I'm a computer. Stop all the downloading!"


The Fellowship of the A-Team


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Friday, March 21, 2008

The Stereotypical American St. Patrick's Day Meal (That's Not Alcohol)

...and it was delicious. Anyway, I wish you all a Happy Good Friday/Easter Weekend, Purim, Norouz, Naw Ruz, Magha Puja, Holi, Hola Mohalla, post-Vernal Equinox, etc.!

Edible flag of Ireland, covered with some gravy and a side of corned beef brisket, snapshot by yours truly.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's the Art of Smart Business, Ashley Alexandra Dupré.

This is not legal advice (since I am not qualified for that capacity), but a personal rant for "edu-tainment" purposes: If you are an artist or otherwise creative person, it is in your best interest to retain as many legal rights to your work as possible - copyright, publishing royalties, and writer royalties. Never sell your rights or the publishing company that hold those rights (that you own) to someone else - especially not to a large corporation.

In this new media millennium, it is the artists who should take charge and control of their art. In the past, it has been the money-rich corporations and the capitalists who own them that benefit from the hard work of creative people. They were the ones to buy intellectual property on the cheap and rent it out in perpetuity. Since these corporations had the clout to market the work and milk it for every penny, then the cycle seemed to be self-sufficient: Find or fabricate the latest trend, buy rights from the talented or commission work from the talented, publicize this work, and profit from it.

Artists should truly benefit from their work. Artists should be the ones who decide whether or not to license their work for commercial use or not. Artists should have the same right to enter the capitalist class as wealthy non-artists. And maybe this could happen if enough artists are aware of the electric power at their fingertips, if they grant non-commercial Creative Commons licenses to their professional and amateur artistic peers (of various media) and milk the bigwigs for limited-term commercial licenses.

How does this connect with Client-9's call girl? For one thing, if you're going to be videotaped by Girls Gone Wild, you should at least get paid - residuals would be ideal - or not even be in a contractual agreement with them at all. Even still, would-be pop star Ashley Alexandra Dupré lost her chance at ex-jailbird Joe Francis' $1 million and must try to sell as many 98-cent mp3s (to get less than 30% royalties or so from the music download service) before her fifteen minutes of infamy are finished - or try to extend those fifteen minutes as shrewdly as possible. Regardless, she should make sure she still legally owns those tracks, or at least a hefty portion of copyright, as it could be your retirement plan. Ashley Alexandra Dupré can't expect to be a high-priced call girl forever, and in light of last week's situation - anymore for that matter.

Mayflower Hotel Washington photo credit: David Shapinsky.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Barack Obama: I Am America (And So Can You!)



Thank you, Senator Obama. Here's to honest, transparent dialogue about race (and other subjective truths based on objective fallacies). Here's to a plurality, even-keeled debate, free knowledge, and other banes of totalitarianism. Here's to America, en route to a more perfect Union.

Barack Obama senate photo credit: United States Senate.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Governor Daredevil's Superpower: Honesty

"Honesty" is definitely a superpower when it comes to politicians. David Paterson, New York's new governor, admitted that both he and his wife had extramarital affairs around the turn of the millennium. Obviously, it was during this time that the superhero Daredevil had a romance with superheroine Elektra, which was documented in a film a couple of years later.

And Mrs. Paterson probably had an affair with one of the many New York-based (and New York-like) superheroes: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Darkwing Duck, or the guy who invented Buffalo Wings - who knows?

Daredevil knows.

David Paterson photo credit: Jeffalan.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Hometown Politics

As I currently have no desire for future employment in the pseudo-theocratic bureaucracy that's allegedly running (excuse me, I meant to write allegedly ruining) my former high school and former place of employment, and even if I did want their employment, I still am obligated to help shine a light on what's happening at this small, private K-12 school named San Gabriel Academy. Two years ago, the (let's say) "district" superintendent allegedly tried to manipulate the school's budget and school board in order to oust several trusted faculty members, including my friend, my former teacher, my former employer, and current principal Robert Peeke. On that note, I wholeheartedly support this good man and committed educator.

Fast-forward two years later (the present), the same superintendent, with assistance from the school board's chairperson, is again allegedly trying to get rid of Principal Peeke and several staff members, in order to implement what seems to be an experimental computer program for the school. If this is true, then treating children and teenagers like educational guinea pigs is profoundly unethical.

An anonymous supporter of Principal Peeke and the school has set up a MySpace profile to galvanize the true supporters of San Gabriel Academy. The lack of paragraph separations may make reading the information a bit trying, so here's the gist of the allegations (as I much as I understand about the situation):

Concerning the main characters of this drama:

  • The current superintendent allegedly has a clean-house mentality and an ax to grind when it comes to Principal Peeke and San Gabriel Academy;
  • The current board chairperson allegedly also works for the "district" that controls San Gabriel Academy, making this a conflict of interest.
  • The superintendent and chairperson allegedly stated that students parents do not run the school but the board does. While this is technically true, this is also a gross abuse of power, as board members are normally accountable to their constituents, i.e., parents, students, and the community, and failure to do so is normally sufficient grounds for an overhaul of the governing board.
  • This allegedly has something to do with educational computers over real teachers, making sure those supporting the outsiders' agenda stay and not honoring employment contracts for those who do not support the outsiders' agenda.
  • The superintendent has allegedly accused high school Principal Peeke of nepotism because he hired his son Julian Peeke to teach history classes at the school. However, this same superintendent placed a hand-picked elementary school principal recently. Additionally, the superintendent unilaterally hired the new elementary principal's wife for a full-time staff position at the school, allegedly taking about $30,000 from one "district" budget over to the elementary school's budget.
  • The superintendent allegedly attempted to dictate the time and manner for Julian Peeke's wedding and honeymoon, as to conform to a teacher's convention in Nashville.
  • The superintendent and San Gabriel Academy's former business manager allegedly were the ones to declare a state of exigency in 2006, hoping to cut staff. This turned out to be a mistake, and neither the superintendent nor former business manager (who now works for the "district") have apologized for the mistake.
  • The superintendent has allegedly repeatedly dismissed Principal Peeke from meetings, in order to discuss about him without room for rebuttal from Peeke.
  • A majority of students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and other stakeholders have consistently supported Robert Peeke for the past 18 years as teacher, registrar, de facto guidance counselor, and more recently principal. That's a fact.
  • One-third of constituents allegedly voted against the superintendent's reelection, but this has not been noted in any statement of the superintendent's job performance.
  • The superintendent is allegedly disregarding the three-year contract signed by Peeke in 2007. I don't know where you're from, but in the State of California, contracts are legally binding.
  • At a recent teacher convention, the superintendent allegedly berated San Gabriel Academy as a school, its teachers, principal, and the program as a whole. He is an outsider, whose policies and agenda will always be critiqued, as long as it affects San Gabriel Academy.
  • The superintendent has allegedly disrupted the high school's successful program of having a junior high under the high school by reverting those grades back under the elementary. Keep in mind that the superintendent has hand-picked loyalties in the elementary.
  • The superintendent has allegedly shifted the academic calendar and the site of graduation from a comfortable auditorium to the school's field. This outsider does not care about San Gabriel Academy!
  • The superintendent and the board allegedly want to cut San Gabriel Academy's staff to somehow decrease the budget and increase enrollment, yet the implementation of the aforementioned computer program will undoubtedly drive up tuition and decrease enrollment. The outsider and alleged puppet board do not care about San Gabriel Academy!
Concerning the "district," which is organized by a religious institution and called a "conference" by their own jargon:
  • The constituent churches accountable to San Gabriel Academy allegedly owe the school $140,000 in needed finances. It is inappropriate that the pastors of the various financially delinquent churches sit on the school board and freely vote on issues pertaining to San Gabriel Academy.
  • The conference allegedly spends more money to make sure other schools, such as Los Angeles Academy, get all the financial backing needed. This inequitable treatment of San Gabriel Academy is utterly disgusting.
  • The supporters of San Gabriel Academy would rather have a change in superintendent and school board (for the above allegations and then some) than a staff change at the school, especially when it comes to Robert Peeke!
The bottom line is for the current students, the families of the students, current staff/faculty, and others employed by this increasingly (if the allegations are true) corrupt, hypocritical, pseudo-theocratic bureaucracy to be courageous and stand up for what is good. It doesn't take courage for me to say these things and stand up for San Gabriel Academy, but it will take a lot of courage for the people allegedly under threat of reprisal to do so.

Yes, I've followed the more-or-less safe route of making allegations throughout this entry.

Stephen Colbert's Peeke Bump photo taken from Robert Peeke's MySpace Profile.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Y2K

We survived the Y2K hype (though I wish I had bought some of the survivalist paraphernalia for sale in 1999 as a keepsake), we barely noticed the Y2K7 Daylight Savings change, now we just have to worry about the following potential computer bug time things:

Anyway, here's a compressed episode of the animated Dilbert series that revolves around Y2K compliance:



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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Note to Self: Watch "Dirty Work"

Norm MacDonald is a vastly underrated comedian and the funniest "Weekend Update" anchor on SNL. Dirty Work is a funny movie, if you forgive the paint-by-numbers 1990s comedy film job:



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Friday, March 14, 2008

Governator in New York

Check out the film Hercules in New York, complete with - among many things - bad sound design, bad sound editing, and the lack of the future Governator's own voice:



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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quitters.

Okay, that's old news.

Anyhow, Eliot Spitzer will be replaced by his lieutenant governor, David Paterson. Only time will tell if the epithet "Daredevil" is blatantly offensive. Okay, it is offensive, and I apologize. However, is it just a coincidence that one is a superdelegate and the other a superhero? Hyperbole aside, there are high hopes for the new governor of New York. Paterson seems like a good guy.

Strangely enough, Client 9's alleged escort has a MySpace Music page. Everyone wants to be a rock star, I guess...

Whether or not Geraldine Ferraro's comments about Barack Obama were misconstrued, taken out of context, or strategically offensive - she's out of Hillary Clinton's campaign. She could have made history in 1984, but then again, the Berlin Wall might have still lasted a few years past 1989.

New news involves an increasingly probable Florida do-ever to help decide the Democratic nomination. If only we had a Florida do-over for the General Election eight years ago... (Note to self: Build a time machine.)

Eliot Spitzer photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

Geraldine Ferraro photo credit: U.S. Congress.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Dude Abides

Don't let political hypocrisy get you down! Life is full of irony, and the current Eliot Spitzer situation is an example of this. Remember, The Dude abides:



Hulu is now open to the public.

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