21 May 2009

This Augers Poorly

Mostly ridicule today. Surprised?

  • Don't try this one at home: ER doctor saves patient with standard household drill... under telephone guidance from a neurosurgeon.
  • GBS "news": Google agrees to give some libraries that provide books for scanning a say on price. Noticeably absent: Any consideration whatsoever of the provenance of the copies to be scanned.
  • J.D. Salinger's lawyers are considering whether to sue over the continued existential angst generated by a "sequel" to that book not explicitly authorized by Salinger. Which raises a question that goes to the heart of Justice Souter's misguided parody/satire distinction in 2Live Crew: Does a work that is a virtual self-parody — not to mention invites further parody — have any greater or lesser protection from satire, or on fair use? Not having read the sequel, I'm not in a position to suggest an answer on these facts... but, in principle, if one accepts the parody/satire distinction at all (let alone as incorrectly/indefensibly stated in 2Live Crew), a self-parodying work necessarily must accept a greater risk of ridicule as fair use.
  • Now that the Kindle provides access to blogs, some bloggers are finally objecting. It's sadly amusing to see this kind of post hoc reasoning being used to cover the substance of the dispute... if, that is, it rises to the level of a "dispute" in the first place, and not just horse-has-left-the-burning-barn posturing. Meanwhile, nobody is saying the "a" word ("antitrust", as the proposed license constitutes price-fixing per se), or connecting this to the Google Library Project.
  • Thank Cthulhu A___ I___ is over for the year now! Just as the popularity of a book is only minimally related to its cover design (unless it's really, really bad), the popularity of a musical act is only minimally related to its... cover. There's a helluva lot more that goes into popularity — let alone quality or sustainability — than the untrained, barely rehearsed, one-off performance of a lead singer not allowed to choose a coherent set of material. If nothing else, there's always the band to consider! Frankly, one has a better shot at finding great performances at a karaoke bar (remember "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” from Sneakers?).
  • Snurched from Neil Gaiman: It appears that Iowa is not as uniformly progressive as the gay marriage decree from its state Supreme Court implies, as a manga collector has pleaded guilty to "possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material". Meanwhile, GITMO appears on the news, and some of the inmates there are children.
  • Rick Reilly — an always entertaining writer — makes a start on reforming baseball to be a real sport. I particularly like point 9, although I think most toe lint would be insulted by the comparison. It could be worse, though: It could be cricket.
  • Sometimes, even the WSJ — which is notoriously obtuse (at best) on military affairs — gets something right, such as publishing this opinion piece advocating an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". My own position — with the better part of a decade of command experience — is quite a bit snarkier: When the military successfully deals with its persistent problems involving nonconsensual heterosexual behaviors and bigotry, it will be in a position to begin considering how to deal with consensual homosexual behaviors... and the less said about nonbehavioral “preferences” the better.