Monthly Archives: December 2012

there are many others like it, but this one is mine

12/3/12

Can someone please tell me, once and for all, what the fuck is up with American men and their goddamn guns? Assholes with weaponry believe the 2nd Amendment gave them two inalienable rights: the freedom to bear arms, and an invitation to hold forth on their sickening obsession every time somebody blows the head off their girlfriend.

In case you don’t follow sports (or news), Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs killed his girlfriend and them himself this weekend, leaving their 2-month-old daughter an orphan. The only person who initially showed any horror for the gun culture that led to the tragedy was Bob Costas, who was then ridiculed and vilified on all the relevant social media.

But the real fuckup belonged to The NFL Today show on Sunday, when the Packers played the Chiefs in a game that was almost cancelled (and where the Chiefs almost wore Belcher’s number on their uniform in memoriam). The entire TV debacle is recounted in hair-raising detail throughout Richard Deitsch’s must-read article at Sports Illustrated, but it was truly a lesson in How Most Of America Doesn’t Give A Shit, Just Fucking Play Football.

That’s fine. There is always going to be a subset of the population that can’t muster a care about their own kids, let alone the murdered girlfriend of an NFL linebacker. Along with them are the whackjob Republicans and suburban guerillas who stockpile ammo and use massacres as a prompt for talking points about their God-given rights. Nothing illegal about that.

Gunland(bl).jpg

But if you get the Second Amendment, I get the First. So let me just say this to the legions of gun-lovers who took to Twitter after the tragedy, and populated comment-sections and Facebook with your unique brand of scorched-earth philosophy: god, you are a bunch of assholes.

If you can’t see how gun-mania in this country doesn’t end up killing thousands of people who otherwise would have lived, you are either an imbecile or criminally self-involved. Gun ownership is at an all-time high, with 47% of Americans saying they have a gun on their property. And the vast majority of you are precisely the wrong motherfuckers to have them: quick-tempered and slow-witted.

You rant endlessly about Obama coming to take your guns away from you, but in reality, that’s your sick fantasy: you’d like nothing better than to fire 800 rounds into anyone coming near your stash. Honestly, you should complete your Freudian metaphor and have a P-32 grafted to your cock.

You no doubt chuckle while little thought bubbles pop over your head: pointing your hand cannon at a quaking, emasculated liberal, and asking them how much their big words mean now. But your guns only serve to create danger, panic and accidental catastrophe, and the odds say your own blood will be the first spilt.

Do us all a favor. The next time someone mows down a theater full of patrons or kills their wife with the gun in the glove box, just shut the fuck up. Let the families mourn while you polish your chrome in silence.

 

patron saint of obsolete media storage

12/2/12

After posting a FB picture of Tessa, Lucy, my mom and me watching Downton Abbey Season 3, I have been deluged with texts, emails, and messages asking how we did it, or if we’re now living in the United Kingdom. As for the last part, I do sorta wish we were living in the UK for television writing’s sake, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.

As I’ve said before, I like getting away with stuff, but more than that, I like paying artists for their work. Having walked the picket lines for this very issue, I will never, ever download a TV show or film illegally unless I have paid for it first. If I left a DVD in New York, or forgot to back up a show I bought, I have no qualms torrenting a file when I know the money got where it was supposed to.

Back to Downton Abbey. My other problem with downloading is the picture quality, which, while wildly better than anything I experienced as a kid, looks like absolute crap on a good HD television. I might be the last one, but I’m a big fan of Blu-Ray…

WAIT A MINUTE. ARE YOU STILL READING THIS? Or have you decided it’s all too much of a bother, and you’re just going to download whatever the fuck you want anyway?

If you’re broke and desperately want to see something, go ahead and rationalize it that way. God knows I was a moral relativist in my time. But if you can afford doing this the right way, I’M SHOWING YOU HOW TO DO IT.

dvd_region_map.jpg

1. What kind of DVD do you have? If it’s a DVD from here in the USA, it is by default Region 1, which means it’ll only play in American DVD players. Is your disc from England, like something from the BBC? That would be Region 2 (see map), which means you need a region-free DVD player.

Fortunately, those are very cheap and easy to find. In order to watch some cool French TV shows, we got one of these about five years ago, and still use it all the time.

2. But wait, I have a Blu-Ray disc from another country! There are many blu-ray discs that don’t have any region on them at all. In fact, last year’s Downton Abbey season 2 was region-free, and would play on any blu-ray player in the world.

3. Shite! This blu-ray disc isn’t working in my American player. Now you’ve really gotten into it – turns out a lot of blu-ray discs from other countries DO have region protection (like Downton season 3). Worse yet, the “zone map” isn’t even the same for regular DVDs. What you need is a region-free blu-ray player.

Blu-ray-BDP-83_home.jpg

OPPO BDP-83

Fortunately, they exist. In fact, you could have one of those, and it will play pretty much any DVD on the planet. For the last two years, we’ve had an Oppo BDP-83 player with a little hardware dongle that allows all regions. There are plenty of good companies that sell different players ready to go.

Is this all incredibly stupid? Doesn’t it just foster illegal downloads? Why do companies keep making it hard for their biggest fans to consume their entertainment?

I don’t know. But these are the facts on the ground, and until there’s a better way, this is it. A region-free blu-ray player solves the problem for sure, but like many problems, it only exists because it was put there.