....LMB: "Dark Clouds Keep on Turnin'"....

April 25, 2004

Jake's soap opera life is still in full effect. I'd really like this shit to stop.

Well, we can go to the good news first. The fellow who stole my car took a plea bargain on Friday, so that case is closed. I didn't hear the final sentence, but as part of the settlement, he had to pay me $100 (a too-low number I gave the city attorney for the value of my stolen CDs). And that check already arrived yesterday. Guess I donít care about the guy's punishment. I've been remarkably laid back about this whole care theft thing, even for me. I wonder what that says about me.

In other positive news, my apartment building has been declared "substandard" by the city. This means that my asshole landlords will likely face massive fines, and unless they can get the place up to code in the next 5 weeks (which seems ... improbable), me and all the other tenants will be eligible for reduced rent rates.

But apart from that, things aren't so good.

The insurance company has declared my damaged car "a total loss", which is apparently insurance-ese for "it's cheaper for us to cut you a check for a lowball estimate of your car's worth than to actually pay to repair your car." Not sure what to do there, lotta options involving full or partial repairs or buying something new with the pittance they give me. Either way, I'm carless in LA for days or weeks to come. Damn good thing I don't need to commute to work.

Most of the rest of my week's sorrow is more about other people's problems, people I care about a great deal.

One friend of mine, who Iíll call "Sally", revealed to me this week that doctors misdiagnosed a health problem of hers two years ago, but they have now discovered that her malady is actually lung cancer. She's 28 fucking years old.

"Sally" called me Tuesday, said in a sad cheerful voice, "I'm in the hospital. Wanna visit me?" It was a one-day thing, she'd come down with pneumonia as a complication of the disease, "Sally" would be going home by nightfall. I of course went over and sat bedside for a little while.

She asked if I would come with her to some of her future chemotherapy treatments. I agreed, but fuck, that is gonna be hard. My mother died of cancer in December. I spent countless hours with her at the oncologist's office over the years, while the chemo dripped into her arm.

"Alright, I'll go with you. But no Scrabble," I joked. Mom and I had nearly always played Scrabble during her treatments. It's a boring game, and I'd almost always lose, but Mom enjoyed it.

Worst joke backfire of my life. I laughed for a couple seconds, but was then flooded with all those Mom-chemo-Scrabble memories and just broke down into sobs, overcome. "Sally" got off the bed, came over and hugged me tight. "I don't want to leave you either," she said. But I wasn't crying for "Sally." For some reason, I'm optimistic that she's going to be okay. I was crying for what Iíve already lost. Just pure grief. How stupid and complex and awkward. "Sally" needs me to comfort her and support her through her illness, but my own head isn't screwed on completely straight these days. And all the things I might do that could help her out, might unscrew me further. Still, you gotta do what you gotta do.

But "Sally" agreed, no Scrabble. She said we'll watch DVDs instead.

On top of that, I've got another friend who it seems is headed for a train wreck. I'm really scared for them, but there's nothing I can do.

Happily, the week ended on a better note: good friends, Kill Bill 2, and yellow cake (the kind with eggs and milk and no uranium).

Things have got to start getting better. They just have to.

Posted by Jake at 10:53 PM | TrackBack (0)
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Hang in there, Jake. I'm rooting for you.

Posted by: Chris at April 27, 2004 04:41 PM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

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contact: jake+at+lyingmediabastards.com

Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

Failure.

What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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