Michael Moore, Troy Davis, and Bookselling in Georgia

Michael Moore is one of those guys who sort of exists on the outside of my awareness: he’s the Left’s Rush Limbaugh. I know he’s there, but since he’s babbling the same stuff on and on, I usually just tune him out.

On Twitter this morning, that wasn’t possible. Last night, Troy Davis’s appeals ran out, the United States Supreme Court declined to intervene, and he was executed. For the record, I’m opposed to the death penalty (I’m quite taken with William Blackstone’s “Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer”). This morning, Michael Moore tweeted this:

This morning, I am asking my publisher to remove all copies of my book from every bookstore in Georgia: http://mmflint.me/a1HCcs #TroyDavis

This links to his own page, where you can read this:

“I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, to never do business in Georgia. I will ask my publisher to pull my book from every Georgia bookstore and if they won’t do that I will donate every dime of every royalty my book makes in Georgia to help defeat the racists and killers who run that state. I ask all Americans with a conscience to shun anything and everything to do with the murderous state of Georgia.”
– Michael Moore

Real people actually live in Georgia. I’m sure many residents of Georgia (particularly in Atlanta) were opposed to the execution of Troy Davis.

But this doesn’t actually penalize anyone who was involved in the decisions that led to Troy Davis’s death. This penalizes two groups:

1. It penalizes people who’d like to read Michael Moore’s books, because now they can’t walk into their local Barnes & Noble or independent bookstore to buy whichever of his books they’d like. (If you want to know why he’s not asking for his DVDs to be pulled, it’s because retailers buy DVDs from the distributor, whereas publishers aren’t paid until books actually sell).

2. It penalizes chain and independent book retailers in Georgia. Now, instead of getting foot traffic from people who want to buy Michael Moore’s books, they’re forced to go out of state, or order from Amazon (which, uh, I think has a distribution center in Georgia, so really just a tremendous FAIL here).

Good job, Michael Moore. You just did more to help kill bookstores than to end the death penalty in Georgia.

Netflix is brilliant

This morning I got an email from Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. He apologized for the company’s lack of tact in unveiling its new pricing structure earlier this summer, and in this email announced that the company was splitting its DVD-by-mail business into an entirely new company: Qwikster.

Twitter this morning has been afire with anti-Netflix rage. It boils down to these points: first, Qwikster’s a fucking awful name. Second, Netflix has failed to demonstrate any sense of actual apology in their email and is still bungling shit and is basically just dumb, dumb, dumb.

I think Netflix is fucking brilliant.

My reaction when I heard that there would be an entirely new website I’d have to use to manage my physical DVDs was this: “It isn’t worth it.” I think most people feel that way – given the choice between streaming and discs, streaming wins out.

I think Netflix’s ultimate game plan is to kill the DVD format. It makes sense. Studios upset with Netflix could always band together to launch their own service, or just drop prices on DVDs, or whatever. But as far as streaming goes, just about everyone I know already has a Netflix account. Almost everyone I know has high-speed internet which makes streaming possible.

Anyway, my theory of how Netflix wants this to work out:

-Split DVD and streaming services.
-People abandon the DVD service in drives.
-Studios say “WTF?” because folks who abandoned disc rentals aren’t buying movies they want to see, they’re just making do with what they’ve got already, or on streaming.
-Netflix says “Let’s talk more rights negotiations.”
-DVD dies as a format (Blu Ray exists as laserdiscs did in the 90s)
-Netflix rules triumphant (Amazon rues the day…)

Rhymes with “Flip Over”

I was on the 96 RideOn heading back into DC one afternoon last week. The bus was unusually crowded. Like, standing room only, which is quite odd for 3pm.

I was sitting next to a woman. She told me it was her first time riding the 96.

“Are we going to flip over?”

“We’re not going to flip over.” I told her, my attention divided between her and playing Plants v Zombies on my iPhone.

I became aware her brows were furrowed. I turned my head. “Are. We. Going. To. Grosvenor.” She repeated, much slower this time, as if I were an idiot child.

I told her what I thought she’d said and we both laughed about it.

We did not flip over.

(This makes more sense if you don’t pronounce the “s” is Grosvenor, and rhyme it with ‘over’, which is how you should be saying it).

A day short of ten years ago

So, it’s not September 11th. But it’s what I’m thinking of.

That and 1994. I’m watching Star Trek Generations. It’s 1:30am. I’ve been up for about twenty hours. I’m tired. I’m intoxicated. I had a lousy night at my part time job.

I was in a BS “introduction to theater” class at Towson University on September 11th. Couldn’t tell you the professor’s name. The class was large, so he split us into two groups: A-Week, and B-Week. Half of us showed up one week, the other half the next week, and we got the lessons split across those classes. My buddy Keith, who I went to middle and high school with, was in the A-Week, I was in the B. Lost touch with Keith. He’s now a Navy nurse at Medical Center. Married. We live close, but I haven’t seen him since we were neighbors in Timonium.

Picard’s family has burned to death in a fire. They were seen briefly, in a fairly touching episode of the show’s fourth season: Family. It’s not remembered well, but it’s basically the third part of the series of the episodes detailing Picard being conscripted into the Borg and made into Locutus. The summer between Riker ordering the Enterprise to fire a super-weapon (and kill Picard), and the resolution … man, that was a long fucking summer. The production was actually making sure they’d be able to lose both Patrick Steward and Brent Spiner, who reported wanted to move on.

Anyway, so I’m in this theater class. The prof’s been called out by another teacher and is out of the room. We’re in one of the actual auditoriums in Towson’s theater building. It’s huge. There’s a stage. In front of me, this kid, who was in all the local papers (not just the university’s Towerlight, a few years later NYT’s Brian Stetler would be lead editor) for his basketball prowess (tall red-headed Jewish kid, from what I recall, my mind blanks on his name) talked about a plane hitting the World Trade Building.

I’ve been drinking. Two 16 oz ciders. A 12 oz Bass. About to pop the cap on a second. A lot of backspace here to correct errors. This is a tough time of the year for me. Those of you who’ve read this when I worked at the pizza shop I nicknamed the “Indy” remember my boss Gary. He and his wife Dawn were married many, many years ago on September 11th. I remember them on this date. I spoke to Gary for the first time in years a few weeks ago, to let him know he might be contacted as a reference.

Second Bass.

I thought the plane the basketball star was talking about was small – a Cessna. Something tiny. The pilot would be dead, of course, but hopefully everyone else in the building was okay. I had no reason …

Class ended. I think the professor dismissed us early.

I made my way down to the Student Union. I was reading in the lounge. I think I may have been making my way through Catch-22 for the first time. I remember laughing a lot at it. It’s a funny book, when you get down to it. I need to re-read it, soon.

At some point, staff began setting up TVs in the Union. Turning them to CNN, I believe.

I’m not quite sure when I started watching. The horror. I remember the second plane hit. I don’t know if it was live, or recorded. I do remember, quite clearly, the plane striking the tower, the fireball, the woman near the microphone, transmitted over the air, exclaiming “Jesus Fucking Christ!”

And I knew I just had to leave. Maybe I should’ve stayed. At Towson. Found comfort in some coed’s arms.

I walked to the parking lot. Maybe I ran. I got into my Jeep. I drove hard and I drove fast. The TV news feed was broadcasting over the radio. 98-Rock, maybe? I’m not sure. Probably 106.5. I think they’re owned by NBC or CBS or ABC.

I raced up Delaney Valley Road. I’d just moved from Towson to Cockeysville. I remember spending much of the week glued to my TV feed. I was working part-time as a delivery driver for the nearby Papa John’s. I missed a lot of calls, them trying to get me in to work because all of a sudden business was through the roof.

I was never good at college. I fumbled through it for a few years. If I’d applied myself, I would have been a recent graduate in the fall of 2001. Perhaps I would’ve even been in New York City. Anyway (I eventually stopped going all together, then went back a few years later and earned my degree while working a shit ton of hours per week with a decent GPA), what’s done is done. I’d love to be transported back in time to high school, knowing what I know now (for one thing, I’d’ve bought a shit ton of houses in Baltimore City and sold ‘em in the midst of the real estate boom).

Why the fuck doesn’t Soren just fly a shuttle into the the stupid ribbon thing?

There’s a lot of talk in this movie about time, and how it stalks you. “In the end, time is going to hunt you down and make the kill.”

Picard replies: “It’s our mortality that defines us, Soren, it’s part of the truth of our existence.”

Today is Saturday, September 10th, 2010. It’s been almost a decade. It seems like yesterday. It seems like ten years. I remember Christine Blackmon, with who I took a lot of English classes. I remember Jack Carneal’s class. I remember the girl who dyed her hair who me and Christine were close with. She’d just moved in with her boyfriend. I remember his name was Steve, but I don’t remember hers at all.

Jack told us all to call him “Jack.” He was an adjunct, but it was still cool. Our first class back, after the towers fell, he just spoke about his recent trip past New York. I don’t remember much about it.

Did you know the crew of Lursa and B’Tor’s bird of prey were the TNG cast dressed up as Klingons? Gates McFadden had a beard. And Data’s “Yes!” is still the most awkward line of the film.

I remember Linthicum Hall. Freezing classrooms in winter, sweltering in summer. Worn brick. Tall stairs. Splashed by reckless commuters on the bridge from the parking garage.

It’s been ten years. And some days, it seems to have been that long. This weekend, it seems to be yesterday, like I can just reach back and touch myself, ten years, two apartments ago. I can even remember the layout of my apartment. I can remember watching the news feeds.

I wonder if it’ll still feel like yesterday in 2021.

“Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we’ve lived.”

That time I accidently unplugged the internet

So I went into the Cinecave on time for what was supposed to be six hours at one of my favorite positions. Thanks to a last minute switch, I wound up working at my least favorite. Bah.

Sort of related: this week (Thursday to Thursday), we’re playing host to the DC Short Film Festival. This is kind of cool because all we provide is the auditorium and the projector, and the festival provides a lot of staff and when people complain about something related to the festival we get to point at someone in a festival t-shirt and say, “Hey, go talk to him/her.”

Anyway, before punching in, I changed and went to the restroom to freshen up. Emerging, I noticed a little white device plugged into one of the electrical outlets along the poster hall (so called because it’s a long hall with posters from upcoming films on either side). It looked like a charger for an Apple computer, so I assumed someone had been sitting against the wall and had abandoned it.

I unplugged it with the intent of taking it to the office and turning it over to one of the managers to hold until someone, in a blind panic, grabbed a staff member and yelled, “I lost my charger! I lost my charger!”

I was walking past the ticket stand when my coworker standing there frowned at me and said, “Dude, that’s their internet! You unplugged the internet!”

(The Cinecave gets practically zero signal of any sort from the main floor. The festival staff had a box office table set up at the foot of the stairs and needed a wi-fi connection to stay connected to their database).

Turns out, the device I unplugged? NOT A CHARGER! And I’d just unplugged the short film festival from the internet.

Whooooops.

(Needless to say, I raced back and plugged it back in and no one was the wiser, although one of the managers did sort of hide it with a wet-floor sign so that no other well-intentioned staffer or guest would also think they were doing well by unplugging the internet).

Happy almost Labor Day!

If any of ya’ll are interested in midnight shows this holiday weekend, you can choose between Bruce Willis steering a hover cab through New York City in the future …

… or trying to figure out how many socks David Bowie has stuffed down his codpiece:

Both at E Street this Friday & Saturday, midnight. (End shameless self plug).

Fuck Me Pumps?

So, a couple of months ago, I decided I needed new shoes. I was looking for something brown-ish that I could pair with khakis if I had any quasi-casual job interviews. Because there’s a DSW a block from work, I stopped past one day on my lunch break and selected a cozy pair of leather slip-ons (these, if you’re interested).

I really – really – didn’t like them at first. I almost took them back and returned them. But as I broke them in, I began liking them more and more. In fact, they’re now my go-to shoes. Sorry, Skechers work boot.

Anyway, so my birthday was last month. Because I’m a DSW rewards member, I got a coupon for $15 off a purchase of more than $50. Because I’m almost completely unable to resist such coupons, and because I wanted a pair of these slip-ons in black, guess what I did?

Yep – I asked a coworker for a ride to DSW. Alas, a ride didn’t happen — work shit — and then I just said “Screw it!” went online, and ordered my shoes.

This was last week. When I left my part time job on Monday night (we actually got out around 11, which is sort of a miracle), I knew they’d have been delivered, and I was pretty jazzed to break them in the next day.

Seriously: if you ever told me I’d be jazzed about shoes, I would have laughed at you.

Anyway, I opened the brown box and say a black box inside that said Jones New York. And that was weird, because I was pretty sure the brand I’d ordered had been Carrera. And when I popped open the inner box’s lid, my first thought was, “Oh, damn, they’re brown!” My second thought, which was only milliseconds after the first thought, was, “I didn’t order pumps.”

I was moderately disappointed, but what the hell. I wore them to work the next day.

Okay, so, no, I didn’t. I called DSW the next morning, and the order was replaced, with the discounts I’d originally used applied to the order. My office boo chuckled: “I thought you’d at least get fuck me pumps.”

“What’d’ya call these?”

“Granny pumps.”

Well, whatever. I have a rule: if I’m ever in heels (hahahahahahaha fat chance), they count as “fuck me pumps.”

Later in the day I headed up to DSW to return the pumps.

“What’s wrong with them?” the clerk asked as she pulled the top off the box.

“I wanted them in black,” I replied dead-pan as she saw the heels. She grinned and said “Oh my!”

Long story short: because I returned the shoes in-store, I was refunded the sales tax I didn’t pay because I’d bought them online.

Fascinating right?

And in other news: today is this blog’s seventh anniversary. That is fascinating. Here’s to another seven years.

Sebastian Shaw > Hayden Christiensen

So, in the upcoming Star Wars Blu Ray release, Vader now screams “NOOOO!!!!” when throwing Palpatine down the endless shaft. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME GEORGE LUCAS. Really wish Amazon would publish numbers on how many people just canceled their pre-orders. I will watch the original cuts on those SE DVDs I bought a few years back, despite the fact that they look grainy as fuck on my TV. And why? Because Han shoots first, and Vader doesn’t scream “NOOO!!!!” like a sissy and because Sebastian Shaw > Hayden Christensen every fucking day of the week.