Archives for April 2004

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starting to look at my FCC paper

I've talked a couple times now about the FCC, Congress, and attempts to extend broadcast regulations to cable, satellite, and possibly the Internet. I'm actually looking at all this for a paper I have to do for a writing class. The paper is supposed to be a position paper. Mine is going to be a letter to Congress telling them why they shouldn't (and can't, but Congress doesn't like to hear that) extend the rules to new mediums. Over the last few days I've been putting sources together and such, so now it's time to actually sit down and start outlining my argument.

Of course, once I started that it quickly got too big for one post. I'm going to post this in sections, and then once it's all done I'll probably pull it together to archive it somewhere.

First, just a comment -- Were this a real letter to Congress I don't know if a strategy of citing Supreme Court cases would be the way to go. Click for more about that... — Continue Reading...

hooray for tax day

So I finally mailed my taxes today. I did them in February, but I owed Federal and Michigan, so I waited to actually send them. California owes me $1.41, but that's not much of a consolation. I'll be glad when I'm just a resident of somewhere and don't have to fill out non-resident forms for two states. That's a hassle.

I started writing a post today talking about the paper I'm writing on why indecency regulations shouldn't/can't be extended to satellite and cable, but then it turned into something that's approaching paper length itself and isn't done yet. That'll probably show up here tomorrow.

still with the birds

So I'll never understand the LAPD chopper. This morning it woke me up. I tried to just ignore it, to fall back asleep, but it kept circling. It was here for at least twenty minutes, every thirty seconds or so coming into view overhead on the northern edge of its rotation. It was flying pretty low, too, so it was loud. Then, all of a sudden, it started using the loudspeaker. I couldn't quite catch what it said as I moved out to the balcony to get a better vantage point. Immediately afterward it veers off and makes a bee-line for downtown. No clue what it was doing here.

In other news, I think I discovered today that pidgeons are trying to make a nest on our balcony. They're also undeterred by the openings and closings of the door.


So I'm sitting in class now, sort of listening to the lecture, but also still working on the intro and conclusion of my paper. I've got a body that I'm comfortable with, but I have no idea what my intro is trying to say. All I need is a good third of a page and I'll be happy. That and a small conclusion will give me a solid five pages, which I think is a decent day's work.

The paper's due in discussion at the end of class, which means I get to duck out at the beginning of the movie, head over to Annenberg, and print this out. That gives me about an hour to finish. I think I'll make it.

excuse me, Mr. Cube

When talking about someone in a paper, normally you would introduce their full name and then use only their last name in subsequent mentions. What do you do when talking about Ice Cube?

"The role played by Cube is..."

Heh. That reminds me of a Simpsons quote, from last season. Flanders pictures himself in Hollywood, where he's standing along Hollywood Blvd. A man walks up...

Ned, I'm James L. Brooks.

Oh, can I call you Jim?

James L. Brooks is good.

Ah, Simpsons. In other news, my collection is now up to 321 episodes as I fill in early seasons I had neglected before. I think that just leaves me 10 or so short of having them all.

and the other birds...

An LAPD chopper is circling overhead right now, close enough that I get a breeze every time it passes me. I've never quite understood why the chopper's here so often, yet so rarely do I actually see whatever it is it's watching from above. This one's doing wide passes, unlike a lot of times where you see them flying fast and hard to keep a spotlight on a suspect on the ground.

to the birds

So the other day my roomate D4 had one of his all-time best ideas, bringing one of the old beat-up chairs from our living room out to the balcony for the day. Today I'm appropriating that idea for a location to write my paper.

One thing I didn't count on... Pidgeons. I've only been out here ten minutes and already two brids have been in landing approaches before I shooed them away. The first time they veered off and landed on the edge of the roof to survey the situation. The second time one got even closer. They're gone for now, but I highly doubt this is for good.

crunch time

I've got a paper due in six hours. Well, really it'll be due in 9, but the class starts in six hours and I'd prefer to be there then (it's Casper and I hate to miss his lectures). The paper's supposed to be about postmodern film and its tendency toward rampant hybridization of genre. The films that we're able to talk about are Three Kings, The Iron Giant, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Man Who Wasn't There, and Glengarry Glen Ross. I'll probably use Three Kings and The Thomas Crown Affair, and maybe a third if I'm feeling desperate.

I'm not really sure how I think this paper's going to go.

a weekend away from the computer

I didn't touch a computer much this weekend, which was good and bad. Good to get away, but bad for the stuff that really should have been done.

Saturday morning several of us from the waterski team got up really early and made the drive up to the Buena Vista Auquatic Area up near Bakersfield. Lots of good skiing, and I've been feeling it yesterday and today.

I got back mid-afternoon, and then that night we had a little show at the Ragazzi Room with Lee Beth Kilgore and Justin Rosolino. Claire Holley also came and sang with Justin on a song. I wish I could have gotten more people out, but it was still a fun time. I really enjoy listening to both Lee Beth and Justin, so it was fun to get them together in the same place. And in a very "it's a small world" moment, the two share a good friend Lee Beth went to college with. I had my small world moment too, as I found out that Sally Smithwick and Joel Eckels from Paper Sun, who I've seen several times, are also old friends of Justin. They came out to see him play and I got a chance to say hi.

hehe... mcboob

So, my roommate's name is Danyul Lawrence, but I call him D4 McBoob. It's sort of an evolved name; the D4 part came before school even started Freshman year, but the McBoob part didn't stick until sometime this year or last. McBoob has since become a very useful verb -- "He really mcboobed that one" -- but that's not the point of this point.

Anyway, the other day the Official D4 McBoob Fan Site! launched. It's mostly a product of boredom and the fact that I really wanted his email address to be

Not that much to the site, but I laugh every time I read the front page.

firing one...

Still sitting in the library. Someone at the next table just booted up his laptop and I can hear the fan from here. I can hear it ramp up the speed at times, too. That's crazy. I'm ten feet from his machine, and I can hear it loud and clear. My laptop's sitting right in front of me, and I can't hear it at all.

Oh yeah, that's because my fan's off. It can do that because my cpu's just chillin' at 54 degrees C, my power draw's low at 1.2A, and my drive's been spun down for a while now.

I can't really understand why so many people carry around what are basically luggable desktops. His machine must weigh 10 lbs. And what's he going to use it for? To write a paper? To browse the internet? Oooh... That's heavy-duty.

if we can't have it, no one can

I'm sitting in the big room at Doheny Library right now, doing research for an upcoming paper. It's supposed to be a position paper, so mine's going to be addressed to Congress reminding them of all the reasons that cable and satellite (and the Internet) deserve the full first-ammendment protections awarded to print rather than the watered down rights given to broadcasters.


On March 8, 2004, TelevisionWeek had an article titled "Barton Targeting Cable, Satellite." It talked about how Representative Joe Barton, R-Texas, was looking for some action from the cable and satellite people to curb violence and indecency. Here's my favorite part:

But the measure applies only to broadcasters. Cable and satellite are exempt from the indecency regulations, and that's a problem for Rep. Barton.

During hearings late last month, Rep. Barton voiced concerns that a unilateral crackdown on broadcast indecency might simply "move the more objectionable material to satellite and cable."

At the hearings, the concept of extending the crackdown to cable and satellite got enthusiastic reviews from several broadcast network TV executives at the witness table.

"It's indispensable that everybody who provides the content be a participant," said Alan Wurtzel, president, NBC research and media development.

First off, the concern he voices is exactly what I was hoping for last month. But that's not what I found funny. What's funny is that broadcast execs were "enthusiastic" about applying censorship rules to cable/satellite. You better believe they would be... The networks see what HBO's doing and they hate the fact that they can't do the same. So what's the solution? Take freedom away from everyone equally. — Continue Reading...