Saturday, January 28, 2006

Update to You Are The Movie

This is an update to yesterday's post.

I noticed this story today, about a contest open to young people who make the best 30-second film using only their cell phones. You can view the ten finalists here.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Camera Obscura - You Are The Movie

Today, no one needs to wait to be "discovered" by a movie company in order to become a worldwide movie star. All you need is a digital camera capable of taking 30 seconds of video, or even just a cell phone that can capture a few seconds of action. Forget about getting a movie into a festival somewhere in hopes of finding a distributor too - you can have worldwide distribution in seconds flat.

Digital tech and web cams and free video-sharing web sites make it easy. One of many such sites, which I have linked to and used myself,, has the stats to show how the world has come to them. According to a recent report:

", a leading site, had more than three million visitors in December, nearly tripling its visitation in November, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. YouTube says its users have been sharing 20,000 new videos a day and watching some 10 million daily.

One clip on YouTube is of a 12-year-old scoring a touchdown, another is of a woman burping in front of a mirror. One young man captured himself skateboarding on a treadmill.

Others are more carefully produced and edited, even set to music"
"And then there's Revver, which relies on ads but shares revenues with users who submit video.

''It is a new frontier,'' said Steven Starr, Revver's chief executive. ``The migration of video onto the network is upon us, and the rules of that migration are being worked out as we speak.''

Many sites have for years offered a place for short films, animated or live-action, and around the world fans are re-creating new episodes of favorite shows one chapter at a time. Some people take anime shows and edit them to fit with pop music hits, some just lip sync "My Humps," some people confess to any type of weirdness or crime, and some "movies" just stink.

One witty wanna-be filmmaker crafted a "feel-good romantic comedy" trailer for "The Shining" which led to a three picture deal for the maker.

The world is ready for it's close-up.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Drama of A Fearful Life

Complaining about the various and most dubious acts of the current White House and Congressional leadership seem to be as useful and effective as standing at the beach and screaming STOP!!! at the ocean's waves. The allegations of corruption in Congress, in this state and in many others, in cities and counties all across our nation are rolling out in news reports with the same continual flow of oceanic ebb and flow.

In Blog-land, many writers dutifully note these issues, and often frame their diatribes in lines conforming to one political party view or another (or should I say "deforming facts according to one party or the other"?) As Thomas Pynchon wrote: "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."

I did note with some interest a post Wednesday on No Silence Here about a former NSA boss speaking before the National Press Club, who was twisting the language of the 4th Amendment in order to fit with the current use of national surveillance. The full story Silence referenced is here at Editor and Publisher, which also printed the 4th Amendment. Here it is:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

And here's my big problem with the so-called Patriot Act - it by-passes the requirements of the 4th Amendment of judicial oversight, and if you are one of those who feel so scared and terrified in America that you want to change the Amendment, then please realize that can only be accomplished by Constitutional Amendment and not by a Congressional vote.

If you fear some horrible act may occur without using existing laws governing warrants, the would you please take the time to review the 1978 FISA act, which allows for issuing warrants without a court's oversight as long as BOTH the reasons and probable cause are presented to the FISA judicial authority within 72 hours.
And I suppose you could interpret the amendment to the view "hey, since we can't provide 'probable cause' then we CAN issue a warrant with no judicial oversight!"

Oh, I know - these bothersome Bill of Rights and Constitutional Law require thought and reflection and (dear God!) even study. I suppose it's more dramatic and intense to feel caught in an endless war with a lurking enemy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Life Without An Internet

At long last I return to posting on a regular basis - and I have several vital stories to share and an observation on the affects of gathering information without the Internet.

Despite the efforts of any 24 hour television news source, or the info offered on local news, the overall lack of info and the poor quality of depth such coverage provides indicates how much more vital, accurate and constant the Internet (and bloggers) are to the state, the nation and the individual. One example I noted yesterday was "news" coverage of a proposed release of an over-the-counter weight loss pill, Xenical. Both CNN, MSNBC and at least one Knoxville station "teased" the story with such headlines as "a miracle pill for weight loss", despite the facts - that at best it reduces body weight by only five percent, that side effects include loose stool, flatulence, and loss of bowel control. (Effects I'm sure the obese and those near them would not crave.)

Just one random Internet search today showed a more pertinent bit of information - sales of the drug over the counter would most benefit the drug's maker, GlaxoSmithKline. The story of this weight loss pill will be best appreciated and understood by individuals who bother to search for and read multiple sources of information on the Internet, such as this blog or this source. These, of course, are only a few of the hundreds of bits of info available.

As I've said for years, television news, along with most local newspapers, crop and chop stories to fit in small spaces in and around advertising, which has become the primary concern of many "news" organizations. Far more in-depth, dopplerized details of weather forecasts are given more time than hard news stories. A few headlines, maybe a feature on one story, and feel-good filler or celebrity gossip fill the half hour or hour newscasts. Small local papers depend on feature stories about local bigwigs and cropped and chopped news syndicate stories.

However, with the resources available on the Internet, I could easily spend an hour or more (if I wanted) to read about a single story or issue. I don't think I'm the most typical web user, but like many others, I read more than one source for info on any single news story. It takes some time to read and search and then weigh the information for usefulness and accuracy. Television especially has become the shortest of shorthand, usually with a slant on "teasing" the viewer to keep watching for the omnipresent "next big story."

Internet users and bloggers READ - perhaps that's the biggest difference. And we do spend Time using the resources for all manner of topics, from personal to business to politics and even for entertainment. Guess that means I am prejudiced in our favor.

Here's something else I noticed just last night and must comment on (before this post becomes a vast volume no one will read).

Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of the Weekly Standard, was on The Daily Show last night and actually referred to the devastation of the Gulf Coast and potentially thousands of deaths there from Hurricane Katrina as a "bump in the road" for the Bush Administration and FEMA. Good God, if that's a bump, I hope to hell there ain't no potholes. One fine local blog source for the horror and failure regarding restoring the Gulf Coast can be found at Facing South, who have been giving superb coverage to this national tragedy using many sources on the Internet.

Here's just one comment from one of Tuesday's posts by R. Neal:

It is, however, difficult to recall an event in modern American history that encompasses such a complex set of practical, social, political, racial, and class issues, or to comprehend the work that will be needed to recover from a natural and social disaster of this magnitude."

There are many excellent and in-depth reports on Facing South by Neal and Chris Kromm about the conditions in the Gulf Coast, the consistent and systemic failure of FEMA and the Bush Administration that deserve your reading time.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Tribute To CG

I am almost finished with re-arranging my computer and on-line operations and should be back to normal by Monday evening if all goes well.

However, I first wanted to note the comments about RTB blogger, CG - of Memphis - as noted on Friday by Julie. I hope you see her post for more about the passing of Charles and efforts by friends and family to assist with sharing information about him.