Remembering Bob Hope

When I arrived at work today, the flags–American, Texas, Verizon–were all at half-staff, and I thought to myself, “What the…?” I totally missed the President’s directive to fly flags at half-staff on the day of Hope’s burial. That put my mind at ease. (For a brief moment, I thought some VZ employee had died, and this had been ordered by the corporate bigwigs; a big no-no when it comes to proper flag decorum. In an instance such as that, the only flag that should be lowered would be the Verizon flag.)
Born in 1970, I have no memories of Bob Hope’s vaudeville and radio work, though I have heard excerpts here and there. My greatest memories of him were of the television comedy specials he did, as well as the numerous USO shows he performed throughout the 1970s and ’80s. To me, the latter was the great thing about Bob Hope: not that he was a tremendous entertainer, which he was, having worked in every medium of the time–stage, radio, television, and feature film. Rather, he never forgot those who put their lives on the line to defend our nation, the nation that gave him the freedom to do what he did.
Bob Hope gave back. He gave those who needed it the thing his last name stood for. That is a legacy worth remembering, and one all in the entertainment business should recall and work toward.
(Thanks to Rick for the clarification and link.)
UPDATE, 5:15 PM: I felt the President’s words were worth sharing:
bq. “Bob Hope made us laugh. He lifted our spirits. Bob Hope served our nation. We will mourn the loss of a good man. Bob Hope served our nation when he went to battlefields to entertain thousands of troops from different generations. We extend our prayers to his family. God bless his soul.” –President George W. Bush

Nemo #1

In the ongoing smackdown of animated feature films, Pixar’s Finding Nemo has moved past distributor Disney’s The Lion King as the top-grossing animated film of all time.

The spunky G-rated underwater adventure reeled in $4.39 million over the weekend, bringing its total North American take to $313.1 million, surpassing The Lion King’s $312.9 million in domestic ticket sales generated when that film was released in 1994.

[…]

Swimming into theaters May 30, the computer-animated fish flick netted $70 million its opening weekend, the best ever debut for a ‘toon. Nemo’s been packing ’em in like sardines and drowning rivals ever since.
I was shocked, and delighted, to see how packed the theater was when we finally got around to seeing Nemo just two weeks ago.
Now the fun will begin: this was supposed to be the last picture by Pixar Disney was going to distribute, at least as far as Pixar is concerned. The contract called for five films, and Pixar has delivered: Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo. Disney, however, contends that sequels don’t count in the deal, and the two companies could find their way in to court to resolve the matter.
Disney must be quaking in their boots; since The Lion King, they haven’t released any animated film worth squat that they produced themselves. If Pixar jumps ship to, say, oh, Dreamworks, Disney’s biggest competitor in animated films, they’re sunk.
Eh, forget all that. I just realized that Pixar’s next flick, The Incredibles, is going to be released by Disney. So they must have resolved that whole contract thing after all, in Disney’s favor. Or the two companies signed a new one…

Finder musings

So I’m wondering…
In the Finder found in the WWDC beta release of 10.3 Panther, will there be a way to take the iDisk out of the Places sidebar? After 8 October, I will no longer have a .Mac account, and therefore, no need for an iDisk.
Just a thought about cleaning the new Finder window up.

Regarding the redistribution of your income…

Amazing that our Founding Fathers had the foresight of government-funded social programs:
bq. “…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” –James Madison
Charity begins at home, and should not be forced on any one of us by those we elect to govern.

BuyMusic.com fall down, go boom

USA Today reports that BuyMusic.com’s first week in business has not been a bed of roses, as “early customers have found they can’t transfer the tunes they buy on BuyMusic.com to digital portables.” Whoops!

The problem: Unlike MP3 music tracks plucked from the Net from pirate sites such as Kazaa, music on BuyMusic is encoded in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format. The “digital rights management” coding limits what can be done with the files. The files will be recoded to allow for transfers, Blum says.
Well, there you go, yet another reason to avoid WMA. I know the AAC format Apple is using is somewhat proprietary, but it is based on the MP4 industry standard, available to all. Not to mention that I’ve yet to hear a WMA file that sounded as good as a straight MP3.
Say, BuyMusic.com, how’s the first week of sales been?
Apple has sold 6.5 million songs since April; BuyMusic won’t release figures, but “it’s not millions,” Blum says.
Everyone remember that Apple sold a million tunes the first week its iTunes Music Store was open? And that’s to what, 3% of the computer-using public? Less, really, since not every Mac user has upgraded to OS X, which iTunes 4 requires. (The iTunes Music Store requires iTunes 4 for access.)
Blum & Co. had 97% of the industry to pull from.
Finally, Ric Ford is reporting on Macintouch today the experience of musician Jody Whitesides (and I hope Ric doesn’t mind the copy/paste since he doesn’t have permalinks):
My name is Jody Whitesides, I’m an artist that is about to be brought to the Apple iTunes Music Store. Of course I recently heard about BuyMusic so I decided to point my Mac browser at it (with Javascript turned off you can see the site).

I did a search for one of my old CDs that will be going onto iTunes and it turns out my CD was there on BuyMusic.com, as were the CDs of several other bands that I’m friends with – all of whom were not contacted about being placed for sale there.

Here’s what I’ve deduced… BuyMusic.com (which I will refer to as BM) got their “vast” music library of 300,000 plus songs from a company called The Orchard. The Orchard is a distribution company that has consistently shafted artists

[…]

So, without the express consent of what is likely lots of The Orchard’s catalog, BM has put it up for sale at the bargain price of $.79 a song.

So, now they can tout they’re selling tracks at $.79, and they can say they have a library of music of over 300,000 songs. But what they don’t tell you is that it comes from musicians/bands who were not asked for permission, and who will likely not see a penny of any sale made through BM.

[…]

I’m currently looking into legal means to have my music removed from their site and strongly encourage users to not browse BM’s site nor purchase from it.
So: crappy file format, downloads that don’t work, and screwing artists out of royalties. Better luck with BuyMusic.com v2.0, hosers.
(via MacMinute)

Critical Space

This is the first of Greg Rucka’s Atticus Kodiak novels I’ve read, even though it’s the fifth in the series, but Critical Space had me hooked and reeled in.
Saturday night, maybe a dozen pages were read. Sunday, however, Sunday was a different story. I zoomed through over 450 pages; the story is just that good. Finished it off this morning, and went to my local Barnes & Noble to pick up the first in the series, Keeper. Started reading that during lunch, and can’t wait to get home tonight after baby CPR class. (Though I promise, sweetheart, that I won’t be up as late as last night!)
Definitely a Retrophisch Recommends Read™!

Kill the album

Steven offers Frank discussion on why some “artists” don’t want to participate in the iTunes Music Store.

Is the demise of the album format, if it even happens, a bad thing? What about the good things might pop up in its place? What advantages come from embracing the tides of change?

[…]

Or maybe, as the market shifts towards being merit-based, there will be a renewed interest in actually making higher quality individual tracks rather than a lot of filler. Wouldn’t that be awful? Maybe songs would have melodies again, or musicians might learn how to play more than one instrument. It’s even possible that lyrics might stray from the tried-and-true “man, my middle-class white male life here in America sure sucks”. It would be catastrophic.

For you, I mean. Not us, the consumers.