Friday, September 30, 2005

Screwing with my DVD remote

Ok, here's one that really upsets Angry Internet Guy. You buy or rent a DVD, take it home, pop it in the player, and the get forced to watch these damn previews, FBI warnings in 87 different languages, and the most recent offender to my delicate sensibilities, the "Downloading a movie is stealing" clip.

Listen, if you want to put this crap on there, fine. Put it in the special features and let people decide if they want to watch it. Nobody wants to be forced to watch 20 minutes of upcoming releases. If they do want to see what's coming out soon, they'll be just as glad to click the appropriate "Upcoming releases" item in the menu. Annoying the rest of us with this crap is just wrong.

And while I'm on the topic, the whole "downloading movies is stealing" campaign is a waste of time and money. A recent poll taken in one of the more active sources of bootleg movies resulted in the following:

84% said that they would buy the DVD instead of bootlegging it if they weren't priced so insanely high. (Come on, a blank disc costs well under a buck, and then they sell it for a MSRP of $34.99. Give me a freakin' break.)

86% said that they had purchased a DVD within the last 2 months after watching a bootleg and determining that they liked the movie, and that if they hadn't watched the bootleg, they would not have risked wasting the money to purchase the DVD.

78% said that anti-piracy campaigns had zero effect on whether they would download or purchase any given movie.

68% reported that they now exclusively watch downloaded bootlegs simply to avoid the annoying crap at the beginning of the disc, particularly when the DVD locks out your remote control (ie - can't press the "skip" button.)

99% reported that they would rather risk prosecution for piracy than risk being seen renting a Pauly Shore movie.

Personally, I'd rather boycott the DVD altogether than deal with 10 minutes of crap that I can't skip over because someone thought it would be a good idea to lock out my remote and force this garbage down my throat. At least with VHS, you could fast forward through the crap to get to the movie, but as with any new technology, someone always finds a way to take a perfectly good feature and abuse it to the point of pissing everybody off.

Angry Internet Guy says, "Stop locking out my remote control buttons or I'll drive to Hollywood and kick each and every one of you in the nuts!"

Somebody smack that kid already

Wal-mart... They sell everything from lawn furniture to DVD players to groceries to suppositories which means that it isn't very easy to find anything, you can never find a parking spot that is within less than 300 feet of the door, and have lines that are worse than the DMV. But still we go because, as mentioned a moment ago, they have everything, and it's usually at a pretty reasonable price.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that Wal-Mart has low prices on pretty much everything, this means that the poorer half of the nation shops there, and let's face it... too many poor people have extra kids in order to get more welfare money. Well, more to the point, too many poor people have kids and can't afford a leash and shock collar for their little demonspawn brats.

I suggest that new legislation be initiated wherein it would be legal for a shopper such as myself to simply smack the hell out of somebody else's kid if the parent/guardian doesn't end the child's bad behavior. The definition of bad behavior should be broad, and run the entire gamut from the act of kicking bouncy balls up and down the aisles to screaming and pulling items off of shelves during a temper tantrum because mommy wouldn't buy them the toy they wanted.

As part of this legislation, all children should be forced to wear shock collars, and the frequency of each child's collar should be prominently displayed so that others can tune their kid-zappers to the appropriate frequency. Hell, Wal-mart could sell them in aisle 12 (batteries not included, of course, they're in aisle 7) for $99 and they'd make billions. I'd probably buy three of them, just in case the first two broke. I'm not taking any chances when it comes to my pleasant and relatively uninterrupted shopping experience.

Angry Internet Guy says, "Either leave the kids at home, or smack the hell out them when they're bad. Because if you don't, the rest of America will."

Gas prices and the obvious solution

Gas prices have been going up for a while now, and it seems that anything that happens at any location in the world just makes it worse. Sure, they've dropped a few cents over the last couple of weeks, but they're nowhere near the price that they ought to be. Think about it... raising the price of something by $2.00 and then discounting it $0.50 is NOT saving you money. It's an old trick, and one that relies on the assumption that the average person is dumb enough to fall for it. Sure, the folks in charge of this sort of thing will try and tell you that they're working as hard as possible to keep the prices under control, but do you really think they are trying as hard as they can when they directly benefit from the higher prices?

The President of the United States doesn't seem as though he's in any particular hurry to institute any sort of regulations on gas prices. Ever wonder why?

Let's look at a few things to put this into perspective.

George W. Bush is a rich man. Striking oil tends to have that effect on one's bank account. However, George the younger is only rich because of the "inherited" wealth of the Bush family. His father, George H. W. Bush, made quite a fortune as a Texas businessman who successfully drilled for large amounts of oil. The Bush family is insanely wealthy, and most of that money comes from their oil investments.

Bear in mind that this is domestic oil, and the war we're fighting in Iraq is over Middle Eastern oil. At a glance, you might think that the two aren't connected, but they are. The higher the price of Middle Eastern oil (ie - the more we interefere with those nations' affairs and disrupt their production), the more valuable domestic oil becomes. Therefore, the higher the price of Middle Eastern oil, the richer the Bushes ultimately become.

But that isn't enough. Anybody can screw with commodity prices by hijacking the appropriate market. It isn't kosher, but people do it. But in this case, being a public figure and all, G-dubya, most likely on the advice of his father (a professional conspiricist by way of being the former head of the CIA, the ever so upstanding "public face" of America's secret police), decided that it would be much better to actually get a signifigant portion of the nation on his side before he set about with the price fixing, and what better way than to wage war on Iraq, and with 9-11 as the perfect excuse, he set about doing so.

In this endeavor, he had the assistance of warmonger Dick Cheney, the former CEO of Halliburton. It is to note that Halliburton has become a household name since Cheney has been in office, and that Halliburton has received extremely preferential treatment from the US government, despite the fact (not theory, but hard fact) that Halliburton has repeatedly cheated the US government. Guess where that money comes from? That's right... my pocket and yours. Well, I say "screw that" to this particular policy. If I were to cheat the IRS out of money, do you think they'd not only let it slide, but continue to let my tax forms slide through without extreme scrutiny so that I could intentionally and maliciously cheat them over and over and over? Not a chance.

Ok, so let's get up to speed. GW's in charge, and he has a direct financial benefit from the rising price at the pump. Cheney's former company (and Dick himself, no doubt) is also making gazillions from a war that should not still be going on. I mean, come on... We went to war over the September 11th bombings, a worthwhile reason, but after all of this, we still don't have Osama. We managed to capture Sadaam, but when it comes right down to it, he wasn't even related to 9-11 other than the fact that he probably cheered at our tragedy when he saw it on television.

The bottom line is that those in the highest offices of power in this country directly benefit from the rising gas prices, so we can't really expect them to do much about it other than make a big fuss about the whole thing when they're on TV.

I, however, have a solution to this whole mess. Instead of raising gas prices every time the wind blows, let's legalize marijuana, tax the hell out of it (after all, it is a bit of a luxury item), and move on. Everybody benefits. Pot smokers benefit because weed will finally be legal. Non-pot-smokers benefit because they no longer have to pay exorbitant gas prices when fueling their SUV's on the way to their respectable jobs. Drivers benefit because there will be fewer cars on the road since everybody will be at home watching cartoons. Hell, even Iraq benefits because once all the Americans are stoned, we'll be too busy eating potato chips to really care how they run their country, and we'll leave them alone, which is really all they wanted in the first place.

Angry Internet Guy says, "Legalize weed and gas prices will go down."