They’re watching you…

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:12 pm by George Smith

After running this brief comment on fake Louboutin red soles being seized last week, the blog spam filter was surged with ads for fake brand name women’s shoes, counterfeit Rolex watches and sportswear.

It was like chum had been dumped in the water.

The ongoing stunt is to mimic a reader who likes the blog but is concerned about the alarming number of spelling errors. Or perhaps it is the paucity of pictures and embedded videos that is holding back the reputation.

Bears, mountain lions, terrorize California

Posted in Extremism, Ted Nugent at 1:46 pm by George Smith

Ted Nugent in the WaTimes:

Only an ignorant, uneducated society will fall for scams such as California banning mountain-lion hunting and turning a thriving black bear population from an asset into an instant liability by banning the use of hounds. Watch the media for reports of increased out-of-control bear-nuisance hysteria now that bait and hounds are no longer allowed to adequately harvest the annual surplus of California’s amazing bear population. More and more mountains of wasted tax dollars will be spent further compensating more ranchers and landowners for destroyed livestock, multiple relocations and ultimately the killing of bears and burying of these precious resources by government-hired killers for guaranteed lose-lose insanity …

The lunatic fringe is winning in California, and that should be a wake-up call to all concerned conservationists that when allowed, logic will be tossed to the wind and conservation will go out the window with it.

Ted, of course, is still sore because the state of California whacked him on a deer-baiting charge.

And with two convictions on hunting infractions in the last three years, he now has a reputation as something of a hunting scofflaw.

As for southern California and wildlife, we have a lot of it. Pasadena has raccoons, skunks, opossums, coyotes and the infrequent bear strolling into neighborhoods for trash and pool swimming in the housing developments up against the mountain.

This year, the Glendale bear known as “Meatball” became a semi-celebrity in the Los Angeles Times.

And recently a young male mountain lion has moved into Griffith Park, intriguing Park Service biologists who marveled at how the animal traversed the highways surrounding it without getting killed.

There is no evidence of hysteria in the locals. In fact, pretty much everyone likes such stories.

However, you shan’t want to miss this bit of smart phone video from Nugent at the House of Blues.

It’s a grenade. So fast forward to 12:15. I won’t spoil it for you.

Earlier in the summer Ted’s drummer was arrested for DWI with a golf cart. If you had to do that routine every night to earn a living, you might do the same thing.

Ted drummer: Uncle Ted, do we have to do that tonight?

Ted: STFU, I sign the checks and I salute our soldiers. You won’t be a lazy anti-American bloodsucker as long you’re in my band!

Ted drummer: But my daughter says her friends have all seen it on YouTube and make fun of her! She says they tell her we look like a bunch of old fools playing army and no one knows what it means.

Comedy writers need not apply …

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 9:34 am by George Smith

If you watch too many Susie Sampson reports you’re almost tempted to step in front of a bus on seeing the reality of an army of American dolts.

This was shot here.

Famous line: “I went to Cal State Long Beach but I took biology, chemistry, physics and calculus.”

Hat tip to Pine View Farm.


I vould like to vork you out

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 4:07 pm by George Smith

Good rock and roll should often be funny and have the ability to offend the easily offended simultaneously. It’s just the hint of a smile in the statesman-like portrait that does it.

“Does humor belong in music?” Frank Zappa once asked. Rhetorical question.

The Los Angeles Times political gossip page: Nov. 3, 2003:

A couple of MP3 online musical parodies by “Arnold and the Gropinators,” a “Venice Beach garage metal” band, have surfaced … the A-side title, “I Think We Should Make a Carla Sandwich,” is taken from a description in The Times of an alleged movie set incident in which Schwarzenegger and his stand-in trapped stand-in [Carla] next to a food service table. Schwarzenegger supposedly said, “I think we should make a Carla sandwich,” and the men squeezed her between them. After they released her, [she] said, Schwarzenegger stuck his tongue in her mouth.

One of the best notices I ever had.



Posted in Permanent Fail, War On Terror at 1:12 pm by George Smith

From the wire:

The U.S. military trainers handed the new recruit, Mohammad Ismail, his AK-47 to defend his remote Afghan village. He turned around and immediately used it, spraying the Americans with bullets and killing two — the latest of nine U.S. service personnel gunned down in two weeks by their supposed Afghan allies.

The shooting in western Farah province was not the only such attack Friday. Hours later a few provinces away in Kandahar, an Afghan soldier wounded two more coalition troopers.

One turncoat attack per month raised eyebrows last year. One per week caused concern earlier this year. But when Afghan forces turn their guns on international trainers twice in a day — as they now have two weeks in a row — it’s hard to argue there’s not something going on …

“There’s no positive spin on this,” said Andrew Exum, an analyst with the Washington-based Center for a New American Security who has advised the top U.S. generals in Kabul.

And he used to be a military blogger.

“I have never heard of anything in Vietnam comparable to what we have recently experienced in Afghanistan,” said James McAllister, a political science professor at Williams College in Massachusetts who has written extensively about the Vietnam War.

Neil Sheehan. David Halberstam. Bernard Fall … James McAllister. Doesn’t ring a bell.

“We took some fire — fire from South Vietnamese soldiers who probably felt the Americans had betrayed them,” writes Philip Caputo, at the end of “A Rumor of War.”

Exhibition of short term memory problems, too:

Officials say an American soldier has died after an attack on U.S. troops in northern Iraq.

They say two policemen opened fire on U.S. soldiers visiting an Iraqi police station. An Iraqi interpreter was also killed. Three Americans were wounded.

It was the fourth such shooting in the Mosul area in just over a year purportedly involving Iraqi security forces …

BAGHDAD – Two U.S. troops were killed Saturday by an Iraqi soldier who apparently smuggled real bullets into a training exercise and opened fire, raising fresh concerns about the nation’s security forces as the Americans prepare to leave by the end of this year …

Afghanistanization — from the archives.

Thank God for Customs!

Posted in Made in China, Uncategorized at 11:58 am by George Smith

Not satire:

It’s a crime of fashion even worse than wearing a white bra under a white T-shirt: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a shipment of more than 20,000 pairs of fake Christian Louboutin shoes yesterday!

As ABC News reports, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection confiscated 20,457 pairs of counterfeit Christian Louboutin shoes at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport. According to the CBP, the knock-off shoes that were transported in five different shipments on a cargo ship in large boxes from China had a domestic value of more than $57,000, meaning it cost just less than $3 per pair to make them. Officials said there were enough of those red soles to add up to a suggested retail value of $18 million, an unbelievable profit.”

So, what tipped authorities off that the stems were phonies? “The original [Christian Louboutin] shoe is made in Italy,” said chief CBP officer Guillermina Escobar. “Once we saw it was coming in from China, we knew there was a problem with the shipment.” The fakes are also pretty awful, if you ask us–check out the photo above, where they’re clearly labeled “made in China” of “all man made materials.”

Thankfully, all 20,000+ pairs will be destroyed, likely by burning.

The Stud

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 11:34 am by George Smith

He coulda been a professional skier. He’s a bow-hunting he-man of the back woods. He does a routine of jumping jacks and stretching every morning called P90Btfsplk. He’s really cut. Or he’s the ‘before’ pic in an old comic book ad for a body-building scheme.

Which of these is most likely true? Clue: When DC journalists who resemble pantywaists are writing about the alleged physical might of others …

Mark Fiore on Deficit Hawkman.

How Facebook knows what you really ‘like’

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 10:53 am by George Smith

It’s vaunted advertising algorithms scan your profile and status updates for simple keywords. If you post something like ‘alcohol’ or ‘drink,’ you get beer ads linked to the ‘likes’ of your ‘friends’, then offers for rehab. If you live in southern California, you get anything local. If you talk about playing guitar, you get ads and ‘giveaways’ run by every music store in the country. If you play guitar really well and post evidence on your wall, Facebook will give you links for lessons from Esteban or some local jazz blues and cocktail bar-playing dad. If someone in your ‘friend’ list is from Canada, you will get a pitch to vacation in Alberta.

And if you are in your fifties you get blandishments for treating Alzheimer’s before it strikes.

It’s not at all like this bullshit written by Cade Metz and printed in Wired:

Facebook is different from Apple or Google or Amazon or Microsoft, says Mark Zuckerberg, because it doesn’t build products. It seeks to improve the products built by everyone else …

But Zuckerberg wants more. As the Facebook Platform enters its sixth year, the company is expanding its mission through something it calls the Open Graph. This isn’t a visual graph. It’s not a line graph or a bar graph or a pie graph. In this case, graph is a mathematical term. It’s a way of representing connections between pieces of data …

But Open Graph is more than just way of moving song names from one place to another. It’s at least a small step towards what has long been called the semantic web — a web where information is structured in a way that it be more easily analyzed and refined and reused by outside services. Facebook’s more than 900 million users generate so much data on the social network — and beyond — the company can’t just shuttle all this information into your Newsfeed. Open Graph provides application and website developers with a way of structuring their data, so that Facebook machines can readily use it and restructure it and reuse it as need be.

“We could have just done text analysis,” says Vernal. “But we decided that if we could create a framework where developers can tell us the structure of this information, we could build much more interesting and much more compelling visualizations of this data both in Newsfeed and on Timeline.”

In short, Facebook is striving to organize and use data generated by other companies in much the same way it has always organized and used data on its own site. Facebook beat out the likes of MySpace because its data was structured in a way that gave it some context …

If you’re in a tech firm you can tell a Wired reporter you piss iced tea and they’ll publish it without blinking.

Then there’s the real world where companies are getting the idea that Facebook’s advertising engine isn’t that great, that like Google Ads, it’s more suited to Internet bottom-feeders and chumming for suckers.

Today, on my Facebook wall:

If you ridiculed Chik-fil-A or ‘liked’ a straight-to-video movie called “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives” as whimsy you will certainly want to go to a bar in WeHo this weekend. And the ‘semantic web’ of your language also tells us that you might wanna run criminal background checks on your ‘friends’ and family.

311 people ‘like’ this. Facebook advertising value: Effin’ priceless.

And if they keep going great guns there’s a “free credit report” in your future, I hear.

Throw your own little share of sand in the gears. Either unlike all the stupid shit that points to businesses, movies, tv, books and bands that your ‘friends’ aren’t really interested in, anyway. Or “like” a lot things you know to be total crap or which you actively hate. Or only “like” stuff that is defunct and/or decades old. All these strategies work, reducing your value while pumping corrupt or un-useful data into the system.

From the Los Angeles Times, on a judge’s rejection of Facebook’s offer to compensate plaintiffs in a class action suit over users being used in ads against their will:

As part of the proposed settlement, Facebook had agreed to give users more control over whether they became unpaid endorsers in ads aimed at their Facebook friends. Facebook also agreed to pay $10 million in legal fees and $10 million to nonprofit organizations specializing in privacy including the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Facebook has said that Sponsored Stories is one of its most effective forms of advertising on computers and mobile devices. The ads feature the name and photo of a Facebook friend who has clicked that he or she “likes” the advertiser.

It has begun testing expanding the ad feature to let marketers drop more messages into users’ News Feeds. Those messages would target users on their mobile devices and computers even if they have not “liked” the advertiser.

So, if for example you follow DD blog advice and ‘like’ Dos Equis beer, even though you think it’s urine, Facebook will want to use your name on a ‘friends’ feed to sell it to them.

Also, from the Times, on poor, poor, pitiful Facebook employees and their dwindling value:

For many staffers, the precipitous drop means their Facebook stock is not going to yield the returns they hoped, at least not right away. They have had to defer or downsize their dreams of buying a home or a new car.

“People made life plans and calculations,” said a Silicon Valley chief executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his relationships inside Facebook. “This is very, very painful.”

And the noisy public criticism of Facebook has become nearly impossible to shrug off, hurting employee morale.

“These are people who like to win. Now there’s this external measure of winning which is difficult to ignore,” said one former Facebook employee who also requested anonymity to preserve relationships at the company. “It doesn’t feel good.”


Publish it yourself!

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 3:52 pm by George Smith

From this blog, yesterday:

All the publish-it-yourself and make-it-on-demand Internet fulfillment houses furnish terrible products which are almost always, by default, overpriced. To keep the prices down you had to select for the cheapest quality materials.

Same goes for book publishing. If you want your book to look respectable, and read respectably (everyone needs a copy editor), the fees at the publish-it-yourself houses begin to stack up. None of them are the deals they are most often made out to be.

There’s another key difference. The editor in charge of your book, and his or her staff, at a traditional publishing house, is likely to actually have an interest in seeing your book is good and does well. The people who do copy-editing and other service packages at publish-on-demand don’t give a shit. Nature of the job.

The New York Times has a swell cover it today:

Not long ago, an aspiring book writer rejected by traditional publishing houses had only one alternative: vanity publishing. For $5,000 or $10,000, or sometimes much more, he could have his manuscript edited and published, provided that he agreed to buy many copies himself, often a few thousand or more. They typically ended up in the garage.

Digital technology has changed all that.

Actually, it would be more precise to say it has changed the terms of the equation, but not the frustration and chance for success, and added the option of having only digital goods.

The article goes on to tell what most know. Traditional book publishers have gone into the business by buying some publish-on-demand sites so they can have a piece of the expanded trash books market as their in-house operation becomes more miserly.

Follow it to a natural conclusion and one can reasonably argue that there is more money to be made in aggregation — publishing all digital or print-on-demand books that sell only a few copies, if any, to friends, than books the in the old fashioned way, except for maintenance of a couple hundred or so print superstars.

But that’s perhaps … too cynical.

However, one of the most important things in selling a book cannot be addressed by publish-on-demand: Publicity.

Without publicity no book stands a chance. And the market of individuals served by publish-on-demand cannot do publicity, or command the respect through reputation of traditional publishing houses.

Consider your list of favorite authors through the years.

Do you really think all of them could have just run out on the Internet, uploaded their books as e-copies to digital stores, e-mailed journalists and celebrities on tv shows to please, please, please read and review them, and still had results that put them where they are in your library?

On-demand and digital publishing has caused an explosion in rubbish, a fact gently acknowledged by the Times, generating a market of place-holder titles, as DD blog described about a month ago, here: Amazon’s numbing list, just for novels on electromagnetic pulse attack on the US.

All these books with titles brainlessly alike, all with virtually identical plots, all very badly written, all published through the same company that acts as a sales platform, Amazon. All worthless. The old slush pile published — and then some.

An eye-watering collection of what can only loosely be called “books” — a digital world’s equivalent of beach sand with Amazon getting a commission on every grain.

The wonderfulness of Facebook

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:08 pm by George Smith

It’s vaunted advertising engine, on my page today, rolling out the sales pitches for chump small businesses where the bosses haven’t yet figured out that “likes” from the locals don’t actually mean money. And more popularly, various Internet bottom feeder salesmen:

The spiel from some Dr. Ironbeard begins …

Money line: “Unfortunately, people don’t know they have brain damage until it’s too late …”

Then this, when you logoff: Facebook adapting its mobile interface for the kind of semi-smart cheapest in the line cellular phones marketed to retirees and the underclasses, those most efficiently targeted by Internet bottom-feeder advertising.

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