This is why I want to throw American football under a double-decker bus. Because last night, Celtic went down by 1 goal in the first 4 minutes to some Ukranian team (whose coach claimed Celtic were lucky to beat Milan and Benfica). They stuck around. They equalized at halftime. And they held the line until literally the last minute, when they banged home another classic Celtic last-gasp and won, 2-1.

No quit. No surrender. Never, ever, ever, ever giving up. Now THAT’s my team.

yeah, I’m back

I also think I may be done with American football The four teams we support in this household combined to win ONE game in the month of November, and then the Sean Taylor tragedy on top of that just leaves a foul, foul taste in my mouth for trying to finish out the season. We’ll see, I guess, but for now I think I’m sticking with Celtic and waiting for basketball to hot up, esp. since I only have one team to follow there.

Meanwhile, I went to bed at 8 PM last night and woke up at 5, finally getting up about an hour ago to try to clean up and steam out my nose. I picked up a sinus bug in York and have been trying to fight it with a cocktail of ibuprofen, Sudafed, Mucinex, water and whiskey. It’s going better than you’d think but it’s still not too too money.

Doesn’t feel like Christmas yet, despite all the decorations on Oxford and Regent Streets. Apparently they don’t ramp up until Dec. 1 after all.

BTW, I can totally get by with an iPhone and a notepad for 2 weeks instead of a laptop.

Not The Daily Show

Here lies all you need to know about the strike in handy video form. Considering that this was done on a picket line without the support of Viacom, you can see what every media mogul shat his breeches at the thought of the Internet.

(hooray, I did an embed in ecto!)

Like I need another pair of shoes

But for once, it’s not a new pair of Docs. Instead, I now have a second pair of Clarks. The first are a very battered pair of loafers, and I was considering using them for the Europe trip instead of the Eccos from the last excursion abroad. But while both pair of shoes are comfortable, I don’t think either is particularly warm or waterproof, and that’s going to be an issue this time around. So instead, I grabbed these:

83613 366 45

The downside is that they look a bit like the LL Bean duckboots that every sorority twit was wearing my freshman year. But on the upside, they are waterproof, have nice grippy rubber soles, feel nice and warm, and don’t require breaking in – I’m walking around the house just fine. (Though I did get some new thicker socks to go with them. I don’t think the temp goes above 50 the whole time we’re there.)

Meanwhile, I am working on a laundry plan for while we’re there – preferably something that means I don’t have to pack as much. I am rediscovering the whole V-neck sweater and T-shirt layering process. And hoping that American Apparel t-shirts dry on the line overnight.

Another phone gone

So I donated the V635 yesterday. This is the phone that was Motorola’s flagship phone in early 2005. Megapixel camera with video capture, memory card slot, EDGE network speed, quad-band, bluetooth and speakerphone and changeable metal covers and a color LCD display on the outside. Basically the last great V-series phone before the RAZR became their one golden calf (and the RAZR didn’t pass it in features until just this year, I believe). I saw it on the honeymoon, and I wanted it bad…but I was saving my money in case Apple released an iTunes phone.

Which they did, six months on. I took one look at it, and immediately spent my saved money on importing a V635 instead.

The biggest problem with this phone was one indigenous to all Motorola flip phones until recently: the side buttons, when pressed while the phone is shut, bleep and change your ringer settings. Moto didn’t think to implement a key lock that affected the side buttons for TWO MORE YEARS. It didn’t help that the phone was pretty bulky, even by the standards of its contemporaries. And the battery life wasn’t great either – I could barely get into a second day before it went south fast. By contrast, the SonyEricsson Z520 that I got when my corp account switched to Cingular will go for at least 3 or 4 days normal use before it needs a charge, which is why it’s going to Europe with my Virgin Mobile SIM in it.

I hung onto that V635 for a long time – largely for the novelty of owning a phone which was not locked or branded in any way, not betrothed to any carrier. But the sad fact of the matter is that even with a smaller screen, no EDGE and a mere VGA cam, the little SE just runs frickin’ rings around the Moto. So it went into a bin at a Verizon store where it will be refurbed and donated for use by victims of domestic violence, which is what happens to all my old phones instead of trying to recycle them. Now I am down to just two phones: the iPhone for the US, and the Z520 for Europe. And I can’t go back to the Z520 domestically. Indeed, if there were any way I trusted, I would have unlocked the iPhone, put the Virgin SIM in it, and donated the Z520 as well. But I know enough about the guts and behind-the-scenes of the iPhone to know that all the unlock mechanisms have the potential to cause serious nightmares down the road, and I also know that in a pervasive 900/1800 coverage area, I may well end up getting six days between charges on my Z520, so do the math.

Either way, I find it oddly comforting to just have “my phone,” not “my four phones that I keep switching between for lack of focus.” I guess the iPhone really is just that good.


El Foldo. We had them dead to rights for three quarters and blew it. Can’t hold a lead, can’t run out the clock. That’s 3 losses that should be wins.


Well that was a barren source of amusement. Longshore just can’t hit a damn thing in the fourth quarter. Mad love to Forsett and the Hawk, who have carried this offense, but Cal had better win the last two or there’ll be hell to pay with the Old Blues. Even if they did wear the Joe Roth – Chuck Muncie uniforms.


We missed two field goals and an extra point – and there’s your tie, and instead of a desperate 4th-down pass to the end zone, we’re lining up another field goal for the win.

If it’s going to happen, it’s going to have to come from UT or Wake.


Horrible, horrible, horrible loss for Alabama. But I cannot help but be thrilled for Sylvester Croom, one of Bear’s boys, somebody who I thought should have gotten the Alabama job over Mike Shula. Now he’s beaten the Tide two years straight. He beat Auburn this year. He’s turned around a program that was consistently the worst in the SEC.

I just hope he’s willing to pick up the phone once Saban leaves.

Solidarity Forever

So here’s all you really need to know about the writer’s strike. Everything else is just local color – the spectacle of Tina Fey and John Oliver on a picket line at Rockefeller Center, Jay Leno delivering donuts or Jon Stewart allegedly paying every single production worker himself while the Daily Show is on ice, the giant inflatable rat essential to any New York work stoppage – but this is the nut graf, as it were:

The media companies and the writers did a deal two decades ago for home video sales. Writers get, I believe, .3% on home video sales. This was in 1984 – before the rise and fall of VHS, before Blockbuster, before DVD and the ability to sell somebody every season of an entire series, before iTunes and Blu-Ray and NetFlix – and it hasn’t changed since. Twenty years on, the writers want to reconsider this – and more importantly, they want to settle the issue of digital media now so that they won’t get overtaken by technology again.

The studios, by contrast, like the home sales residual right where it is – and they want to pay nothing for digital media while they “study the issue” for three years. Yep. While ABC is streaming Ugly Bettywith commercials! – on its website, while NBC and Fox are launching Hulu to compete with YouTube, while the head of NBC-Universal is decrying Apple for not letting them charge more for shows (even after the US version of The Office was basically saved in the cradle by iTunes sales), while every episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is made available on Comedy Central’s website – with !-ing commercials! – while all this is going on, the studios are claiming that there is no revenue model for these distrubution methods, that they’re not making any money, and they need a few years to see what the market looks like before deciding how many pennies to throw the people who wrote the material in the first place.

The Jews have a word for this: chutzpah. For those of you who don’t speak old-school Yiddish, it basically means “the caliber of unmitigated gall that leads a man who’s killed his parents to beg the court for mercy because he’s an orphan.”

Look, there is no great Solomonic compromise here. There’s no splitting this baby. Either digital media is a salable commodity, or it’s not. If it is, then the creators of that intellectual property are entitled to some portion of compensation for that sale, because a 30-minute show with commercials is the same whether it’s on your laptop or on a broadcast network – the totals may be different, but there’s revenue, and a percentage model should work just the same for both.

But if digital media is NOT a salable commodity – if all those episodes on are “promotional” and all those downloads are just meant to attract viewers to the show – well, shit. Somebody needs to tell Steve Jobs, for starters, because Apple sold three million videos in the first seven weeks on the iTunes Music Store and that money didn’t just fall out of the sky.

But more importantly, if digital media is not a salable commodity requiring compensation, then every single word you’ve ever heard from the studios about piracy or fair use is a dirty, filthy lie.

If it’s worth something, the studios are ripping off the writers. If it’s not, they’re ripping off you and me. Either way, at this point, the villain of the piece should be crystal clear.

What the studios want is basically what baseball owners wanted in 1994, or what hockey owners want – well, all the time: a legally-mandated deal to freeze the current model in amber, ensuring themselves a revenue stream in perpetuity irrespective of their own misjudgments, foibles and outright stupidity. Anything that doesn’t end with them wallowing naked in a pile of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck is wrong, immoral, illegal, and A Threat To Our American Way Of Life. This is why people who use their TiVo to skip through commercials are “thieves.” This is why Jeff Zucker thinks Apple “destroyed the music business.”

And if you want an insider view that hits it much better than I can here, read John Rogers’s take at Kung Fu Monkey: Why Strike II. And try to forgive him for being involved in that Transformers shitstorm. Meanwhile, raise a glass for the geeks on the picket line – at least they’re rising up and demanding not to be screwed. What are you prepared to do?