Archive for July, 2003

Another test

Got hold of a version of blogplanet 1.1, so i’m testing it.

This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit

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Double cheat

Basically I’m a parasite on two different societies at once.

On the one hand I have taken advantage of the UK educational system – though I did go to private school, they still receive charitable benefits, and I went to a publicly-funded university. And then I moved to another country, where I am not contributing any more to the place where I was born.

On the other hand I am participating in a system in my current country of residence whereby the government doesn’t have to properly fund education, because it can rely on skilled workers moving there from other countries, all freshly educated in their places of birth. Two of my co-workers (out of a dozen plus) are native to the United States.

If I didn’t think the concept of nation states was shite to begin with, I’d feel even more guilty than the mild guilt I feel now.

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This sort of meeting… …well,

This sort of meeting…

…well, that’s it, really.

This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit

Comments off blatant thieves; win yourself a squirrel

So it appears that aren’t just providing a shitty service, but also ripping off artists to get their much-lauded 300,000 songs, by secretly buying up rights to music from a supposedly defunct company. The RIAA can whine about poor artists not getting royalties from pirates, which is comedy enough already given how most artists are treated by the major labels, but these guys won’t see a penny from BuyMusic either. The lesson is: we rip you off here, and everybody else has to pay us. Learn who’s boss, guitar boy.

Jody Whitesides, one of the artists concerned, writes:

Here’s what I’ve deduced… (which I will refer to as BM) got their “vast” music library of 300,000 plus songs from a company called the Orchard. The Orchard is a distribution company that has consistently shafted artists by not paying them for CD’s sold nor returning unsold CD’s or cancelling contracts. So, without the express consent of what is likely lots of the Orchards catalog, BM has put it up for sale at the bargain price of $.79 a song.
Read the full story here.That sound you hear is a million Mac freaks chortling into their lattes.

I linked to the RIAA’s site there but you won’t believe it – they’re still down. The only way I actually know what the site looks like is from screenshots of when it has been defaced. So I’m hereby starting a little competition. The first person who is able to actually load and can take a screenshot with some sort of time and date to prove it, wins… I don’t know, a photoshopped squirrel of their choice or something. Comment on this to enter.

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All You Can Eat Popcorn Jesus

And, while we’re on the subject of subvertising, here’s Busy Marquee by the very Adbusters-looking how+why. I’m suspicious of claiming this sort of thing as any deep political statement, and they commit the unpardonable sin of putting text as an image, but it does provide pictures that made me snigger immaturely at my desk and nearly choke on my bagel.

my boner is screaming hello

Found via Eclecticism, the author of which made a very generous reference to my 911survivor piece with some further information from the developers.

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Testing this mobile client again.

Testing this mobile client again.

It’s a java blogging app that’s designed for the 3650, supports the camera and has an integral picture uploader. What’s more, it has been developed to work with Movable Type.

Let’s see how it works out. Unfortunately the demo expires tomorrow.

This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit

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Lenin Coca-Cola, subvertising and the public domain defence

mickey mouse by alexander kosolapov I came across the work of Alexander Kosolapov this morning, while idly looking around the web for Mickey Mouse pictures to photoshop. I expect everyone in the world apart from me has heard of him. I expect in fact that I have too but have just not remembered the name.

The mix of American advertising and Soviet propaganda is a staple of subvertising (I note that the Wikipedia entry has some as an illustration of the term) but it is good to have a name as an example of it.

What particularly interested me was the story of him being challenged by the Coca-Cola Corporation over use of their trademark in his Lenin Coca-Cola design, which was publicly displayed in NYC in the 80s, and more importantly how the dispute was resolved.

On December 3rd, a man by the name of Jaques Lang who posed as an art enthusiast, invited himself to my studio. After viewing my paintings he abruptly introduced himself as a representative of the Coca-Cola company. He told me that an unauthorized use of Coca-Cola logo can result in a lawsuit against me. I saw that I violated the law. On the other hand these kind of laws were totally alien for me as a person brought up in a different world. But the tone of intimidation employed by my visitor was clearly familiar, reminding me the methods used in my old country. Overcoming the first fright I decided to defend myself. I tried to find a lawyer but soon realized I could not afford one. I was fortunate to have a friendly proposal of Ronald Feldman, who offered me a legal assistance by an attorney, Mr. Gerald Rosen, who defended Chris Berdan arrested by the FBI. Mr. Rosen argued that the Coca Cola is in fact a familiar street sign, which falls in the category of public domain, therefore any artist has the right to utilize it for his/her creative purposes.
This is precisely what I have always said about such corporate iconography, and here’s an occasion where it’s been successfully used as a defence. I’d always thought it was just a moral argument, not a legal one.

So, say, to pick an example entirely at random, couldn’t you consider the “trade dress” of the For Dummies books to be part of the public domain, particularly with respect to creative purposes on the web, as they are extremely familiar to book buyers and computer users?

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Testing blogplanet…

Testing blogplanet…

This post was made with a trial version of BlogPlanet, a photo blog client for mobile phones. For more information visit

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Kansas Flatter Than Pancake

Yahoo! News – Kansas Really Is Flat as a Pancake

A scientific comparison of the topography of Kansas to a pancake shows the state, known for its vast, even fields, is in fact really, really flat, geographer Mark Fonstad of Southwest Texas State University and colleagues found.

“While driving across the American Midwest, it is common to hear travelers remark, ‘This state is as flat as a pancake,’” they wrote in their report, published in the Annals of Improbable Research. “Simply put, our results show that Kansas is considerably flatter than a pancake.”

An IHOP pancake, in fact. The paper from the journal itself goes into more detail about the methods.

pancake, kansas

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Far-left ranting, Sinbad the Sicilian

Two things from the “things that made me laugh, or at least splutter incredulously this morning” department.

Number one – Centrist Democrats Warn Party Not to Present Itself as ‘Far Left’

PHILADELPHIA, July 28 – The moderate Democratic group that helped elect Bill Clinton to the White House in 1992 warned today that Democrats were headed for defeat if they presented themselves as an angry “far left” party fighting tax cuts and opposing the war in Iraq…

(Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, chairman of the organization) “The administration is being run by the far right. The Democratic Party is in danger of being taken over by the far left.”

You wouldn’t want to rock the boat by not being Bush, would you? You wouldn’t want to say anything controversial like “we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq” or “these tax cuts are stupid”. Ooh, I see the far left are really influential in Democratic circles. They’re practically Communists. (Of course, “far left” could be a relative thing here, and just mean “people who think socialised healthcare might be a good idea” – but they don’t exactly seem to be dominating the Democratic Party either.) It’s people like this that make the party seem like such a joke to me. They’ll have to try pretty damned hard to make up for their pathetic me-too-ing over the last couple of years.

Number two – Sinbad the Sicilian. It turns out that in the latest Disney film, Sinbad is not actually an Arab (I believe he’s supposed to come from Basra in the original stories). No, he’s Sicilian.

The word “Allah” is never uttered in the new film. But then nor is Baghdad or Basra. In fact, the only Middle Eastern city to earn a (fleeting) mention is Damascus. And though Sinbad (voiced by Brad Pitt) and others in the cast look suitably Arab (or at least generically exotic), there is nothing in the film that acknowledges, even grudgingly, the story’s pedigree (bar a reference to a knife having “1001 uses”).

There is no discernible Middle Eastern architecture (the cities resemble those of Lord of the Rings). The music has no Middle Eastern flavours (except – and I trust it’s a coincidence – when the crew looks greedily upon some priceless diamonds). Sinbad sails in a Chinese junk, and when we first meet him he’s on his way to Fiji.

The characters have distinctly un-Arabic names (Proteus, Kale and Rat, not to mention a comedy mutt called Spike). And since Sinbad is said to have grown up in Syracuse, he’s presumably not an Arab at all, but Sicilian. Moreover, the mythology that pervades the film is of the Olympian/Homeric kind, resembling nothing that came out of the Middle East.

It’s kind of awkward that what is now Iraq has such a rich ripe-for-stealing mythology, isn’t it? Never mind, nobody will notice a few changes. Let’s not mention it. Oh, I feel a rant brewing. Somebody help me, I’m coming over all far left! » Continue reading “Far-left ranting, Sinbad the Sicilian”

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