Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, June 21, 2003 ]


My friend Steve has hipped me to the likely perpetrators...the Interactive Digital Software Association. (Seems Ryan from the Abuse Department had the initials right, but didn't do so hot on the actual name.)

On the box right now: Blind Boys of Alabama, OH LORD STAND BY ME.


Dove With Claws [4:20 PM]

[ Friday, June 20, 2003 ]


So here's why I'm an outlaw now...

Yesterday when I got home, there was a message on my voicemail from a stern-toned guy named Ryan, representing my internet provider. The general gist of the conversation was "please call me immediately, there's been a complaint on your account, if you don't call me by Monday we're temporarily disabling your account" etc. So, needless to say, I hopped on the phone immediately. I reached Ryan, who worked in the "Abuse Department" (which is a punk band's name waiting to happen), and he sternly informed me that something called the "Internet Software Development Association" had "recieved information" that I was sharing, on my computer, files of several popular video games (Grand Theft Auto, Harry Potter and Warcraft, plus another one whose name I don't remember). This was my "warning"; if I did not remove these files immediately, my provider would be forced to disable my internet access.

Now, I was somewhat taken aback by this pronouncement. First and foremost, I DON'T HAVE THESE FILES ON MY COMPUTER. I'm not much of a video gamer, and I'm certainly not avid enough to waste valuable hard-drive space with them. Now, it is true that I do use Kazaa, and have downloaded quite a few files, but I have NEVER downloaded these video games. It's possible, I suppose, that these files were hidden within others that I may have downloaded, although I find this hard to believe (I mean, do Harry Potter fans tend to encrypt the video game adventures of their hero within 101ers and Prince files? Also, if the whole purpose of these files is to illegally play these files, why would they be so tightly hidden?). But, in any case, the larger issue is...well, how can I put this...

WHO THE FUCK IS THE INTERNET SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION? And, perhaps more importantly, how has this group - which I have never heard of and have never been informed of the presence of - been able to somehow not only establish my identity (which is supposedly protected by Kazaa, for privacy reasons) but also what files I have downloaded (more accurately, files I have supposedly downloaded). Think about it: Kazaa, who are supposedly the opposition of the downloading police, have either been hacked into - a scary thought - or they have provided my information to the ISDA - a much scarier thought. Furthermore, even if the ISDA established my identity, HOW THE HELL DID THEY FIND OUT WHO MY INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER IS? (I also don't like the fact that, for all intents and purposes, they have no sense of due process, i.e. "We at the ISDA hereby decree that this person has these illegal files, and therefore you MUST disconnect them!")

I hate to sound paranoid, but let's review: an organization I have never heard of (but am avidly now attempting to identify), one which is seemingly operating without any kind of oversight, is putting the squeeze on my internet provider (whom they SOMEHOW identified, despite the fact that my personal information SHOULD be protected through the supposedly "safe" Kazaa service) to disconnect me for downloading files that I honestly don't think I downloaded, even in hidden form. Even if I delete ALL my files, which is one of my options, how can I be sure that the ISDA won't decide that I still have these files? If they decide I have these files, and they contact my provider, my "Warning" has been violated and my internet access is in jeopardy.

Of course, perhaps I protest too much. I have downloaded plenty of files in my time, knowing that it wasn't exactly "legal," but this whole thing smacks a little too cloak-and-daggerish for my liking.

I'll keep y'all posted....assuming I don't get hauled away by the internet police. Who was it that said that you're not paranoid if there actually are people after you?

On the box right now: Various Artists, PEACE NOT WAR. (A fabulous, budget-priced collection of new anti-war songs, from a nice variety artists including Ani DiFranco, Public Enemy, Billy Bragg and Massive Attack.)


Dove With Claws [9:26 PM]

[ Thursday, June 19, 2003 ]


Just got back from an absolutely fantastic rock and roll experience in Milwaukee, with Neil Young & Crazy Horse (plus their most excellent opener Lucinda Williams) reminding me of exactly how intense a musical experience can and should be. Too much to say, too tired to say it, but suffice it to say that Neil's new concept project "Greendale" is a powerful, political and thunderous piece of work (with some of the most energized songwriting and playing that Neil's done in years), and the encore set ("Like A Hurricane," "Hey Hey My My," "Powderfinger," "Roll Another Number (For The Road)" and "Mr. Soul") was nothing less than perfection. (Lucinda was also completely wonderful, which probably goes without saying.)

Anyway, more tomorrow. Also coming tomorrow, I'll tell you about how I've now become an outlaw.

On the box right now: Otis Redding, OTIS BLUE


Dove With Claws [11:42 PM]

[ Wednesday, June 18, 2003 ]


Check out this disturbing news item from Billboard about Orrin Hatch, everybody's favorite cranky, conservative, part-time songwriter (and full-time asshole).

See, this is CLEARLY the way to combat the annoyance and aversion so many have to the record industry...Instead of LOWERING prices, or DEMOCRATIZING availability and airplay, or ENDING the monopoly of big chain stores (who use semi-legal, or sometimes flat-out illegal methods of squeezing the life out of independent retailers), we'll set up a system that DESTROYS THE COMPUTERS of those who download music.

As somebody who owns a few copyrights, and proudly displays my ASCAP card, I too am concerned with the way songwriters and performers are being shut out of downloading money. I could give a fuck about the record companies, but the creative community is being negatively affected by the proliferation of music outlets that operate outside of copyright. Still, this seems like about as crazy an idea that has come down the legislative pike in a while (and isn't THAT saying something). Oh well...

On the box right now: Various Artists, THE MUSCLE SHOALS SOUND. (If you're looking to buy any one soul disc, buy this one. Arthur Alexander, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, etc. Classic shit, as good as the best from Memphis.)


Dove With Claws [9:05 AM]

[ Tuesday, June 17, 2003 ]


I watched the premiere episode of I'M WITH BUSEY on Comedy Central tonight. Laughed my ass off. Catch this show if you get the chance.

Then I happened to catch the editor of Harper's magazine being interviewed on THE DAILY SHOW, and he referred to modern conservatives as not actually being "conservatives" in the true sense, but rather a combination of "radical nationalists and utopian anarchists." Well said...

On the box right now: James Mathus and His Knockdown Society, STOP AND LET THE DEVIL RIDE


Dove With Claws [8:47 PM]

[ Sunday, June 15, 2003 ]


I gotta tell you about a dream I had last night...

Somehow, I had gotten the chance to spend some quality time with George W. Bush. Well, we were sitting there - there were a few other people there too, but I don't remember them really doing anything - and I was doing my best to make him look like a fool (I know, I know, that's not very hard). We got on the subject of his tax cut. He kept pressing on with his straight-from-the-page homilies and generalizations, finally climaxing with the following words:

"You know, when my grandmother was taken ill, very ill, nobody knew whether or not she was gonna make it through this sickness. But even when things looked to be at their worst, she kept on fighting just as hard as she always had, and when I asked her how she could keep going through all this, she looked at me and said 'Well George, you either die now or die trying.' And that's what I've always believed, and that's how I conduct myself as president. I'd rather die trying. And that's the point of this tax cut."

(Note: Now, you may not believe me, but I swear I've never heard anybody say this; in other words, my subconscious made it up, as far as I know. Maybe I've got a career in speechwriting that I didn't realize.)

Despite this little witticism, I wasn't impressed, at which point I replied - in characteristically sardonic fashion - "Oh yeah, when the oil company you were given DIED, then your dad succeeded in TRYING to get you another one, and when that one DIED, then you TRIED real hard to BUY that baseball team with your DAD'S oil money," etc. He wasn't pleased, and tried to pass me off with some more "homespun" flak, but I wasn't buying. Finally, he started walking away.

By this point, I was pissed. I was thinking of the sorry state our country - and world - is sinking deeper and deeper into, and how this smirking, goofy-lookin' motherfucker is so responsible for that continuing catastrophe. So, despite the presence of a couple ready-for-business Secret Service guys...

I hit him. Hard. I hit the President of the United States of America. Right in the back of his dirty, greedy little head.

To dream the impossible dream...

On the box right now: Dropkick Murphys, BLACKOUT!


Dove With Claws [5:08 AM]