Bad week for Extreme Makeover

I can’t watch [tag]Extreme Makeover[/tag]: Home Edition anymore. I can’t deal with the So Sad stories and the heartwarming and uplifting stuff that gets piled on. I like the concept of the show but, as I’ve mentioned here before, I’m far more interested in the house construction part of the story than the heart strings-tugging portion.

But it’s been a bad week for the show.

First, news comes out that a baseball field and rec center they helped to rebuild was robbed:

Months after the hit TV series came to town and remade Field No. 2 and the clubhouse, a thief broke in and took a donated 46-inch plasma television, a $500 microwave and $40, according to a Boynton Beach police report. That happened despite a $50,000 donation in March for a security system. The money is still sitting in city coffers.

That’s part of the show that’s always interested me. These homes have insanely high profiles in their local towns. The whole world has (theoretically) seen all the plasma TVs and high end equipment stuffed into them. They’re ripe for the robbing, particularly those in the middle of bad neighborhoods. How we don’t hear more stories like this one is a miracle.

But now we go one better. Remember the Easter edition last year for the five orphaned kids living together with a family from their church? The foster family kicked the kids out of the rebuilt house:

The Higgins’ happy ending did not last. The family that took them in asked them to leave the beautiful nine-bedroom home because it did not belong to the Higgins. The eldest child, Charles Higgins, who is also legal guardian for the minor children, contacted the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, who could not help. Apparently the 24-page single spaced contract did not give the Higgins any right to the home built as a result of their tragedy. It did, however, give ABC the rights to their story and the episode was rebroadcast complete with happy ending after the Higgins children were already evicted.

The show was, thus, a lie before it even aired. Ouch.

Posted in TV

Friday Link Dump

*If you thought the [tag]statue[/tag] seen on the final of LOST this season was weird, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  • The [tag]Baseball Card[/tag] Blog is counting down the Top 10 sets of all time. These were all during my baseball card collecting hey day in the mid- to late-80s. I remember them well, but I never really thought of them in the way this guy does.

  • Super Mario hangs himself. And suffocates. It’s all rather sad.

  • That was fast: CBS has divested itself of the summer bomb, GAME SHOW MARATHON, so fast that the website is gone already. We discussed the show back here.

  • Not only will you be paying an arm and a leg for the PlayStation 3, but Sony’s warning you now that the games might be more than $60 a pop. Who can afford all this stuff? I’d like to think that [tag]Sony[/tag] is shooting itself in the foot with each new silly announcement, but we’ve seen stranger stuff before. The proof will be what shape the PS3 is in a year from now.

  • I can’t find it now, but I also saw a rumor recently that there’s be limited [tag]PS3[/tag] availability — a fraction of the units the XBox 360 had for Christmas last year! I think the number was 20 units per store. Oh, it’s gonna be ugly.

Insurance again the RIAA

First, the Swedes bring us Pirate Bay. Now, we get this bit of genius:

Boing Boing: P2P insurer will pay your fines if RIAA sues: $19/year!

Apparently, a company in Sweden is offering file-sharing insurance – they’ll pay your fines if you’re sued by the RIAA. The /. submitter translates the link as follows: ‘For a mere 140 SEK ($19 USD) per year, they will pay all your fines and give you a t-shirt if you get convicted for file sharing.’

I love it.

Posted in Web

Cheap Ford Cars Go Relatively High Tech

Galway Independent

Based on the LX and Zetec lines, the Focus Connection boasts extras worth over $2,500 for just $1,300, including a “KeyFree” entry system and high-tech voice control. The Fiesta Connection, meanwhile, comes complete with voice-activated Bluetooth, voice-activated audio and an MP3 socket. […] The KeyFree feature on the Focus Connection eliminates the need for fumbling for keys in handbags or pockets. As the driver approaches, the car unlocks the doors automatically. You even start the car without a key, just turn the ignition switch, nothing to insert, nothing to press– it’s as easy as that. Voice-activated controls and Bluetooth technology means the driver can manage the audio, navigation, climate control (where fitted) and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone simply through voice commands.

All they need to do is add Remote Starter to that list and it would almost be worth downgrading from my Jeep to a [tag]Ford[/tag] Fiesta or Focus for the cool “geek” quotient of the MP3 hookup, keyless entry/startup, and Bluetooth. ::sigh::

The Fiesta starts at $16,000. The Focus is at $22,000 with all this cool stuff included.

No, these [tag]cars[/tag] are not hybrids.

No DVD Podcast this week

In case you haven’t noticed, the Various and Sundry DVD Podcast hasn’t gone up this week, nor will it. I never recorded one, which makes it tough to post one. The podcast will return next week at some point with an announcement of some sort.

How’s that for a series of vague generalities, masquerading as a blog post?

Great. Now I’ve gone meta.

Circuit City and DS games sale

Nintendo DS LiteThere’s been a story going around all week that Circuit City is set to have a big video game sale this weekend. Don’t know if it starts on Sunday or on July 4th or July 3rd or when — but it appears to be happening.

In any case, here’s a list of Nintendo DS games included in the sale. Each will be going for less than ten bucks. Anyone have any recommendations from that list?

Update: Oops, just read the comments on the site I linked to — looks like the sale started at the beginning of this week, and supplies are limited to non-existent. Oh, well.

Spain’s Idiotic Move of the Week

Spain Adds ‘Copyright Tax’ to Blank Media //

On Thursday, June 22, 2006 the Spanish Congress voted to implement a tax on all blank media, including flash memory sticks, blank cd and dvd-rs, even mobile phones and printers. There is no word on how much this new tax will be, only that the revenues will be collected by the government, and will then be given to the “copyright holder.”

In the eyes of Spain’s government, buying blank CD media is tantamount to admitting to piracy. It’s not conceivable to their government that you might be buying a CD to backup important files you created, or listen to Creative Commons-licensed podcasts, or burn songs you’ve legally purchased with a license to burn copies of. Nope, you’re paying no matter what.

It reminds me a bit of the way Linux users wind up paying for copies of Windows they never use just to buy a computer. And then Microsoft won’t honor their own EULA when said customers try to return Windows for a refund.

The one detail left out of this story that I’d love to know is, “Who are the copyright holders who get this money?” They don’t know whose stuff you’re theoretically pirating, so who gets the money from the taxes they collect on this?

That’s the detail that makes me partially suspect the whole story is an urban legend. I’ll keep my eyes open for that.

Where do TrivChamps go after Jeopardy?

Ken Jennings – Blog

I spent the morning being interviewed for a series of GSN documentaries. Here’s your inside-baseball trivia about having TV interviewers in your home: they will inevitably want to unplug your fridge, to get better sound. Then they will put their car keys in your fridge, so they don’t forget to turn it back on.

That, and other interesting factoids and Life After Jeopardy! stories can be found on Ken Jenning’s blog.


New Releases, 27 June 2006

Full List.

My List:

30 Days: Season One (2-disc set)

If you want to feel guilty over just how good you have it. . .

Alice: TV Favorites Step by Step: TV Favorites

Because nobody really wants to own a full season of those shows.

Family Affair: Season One Fear Factor: Season One (2-disc set)

Yet someone wants full season sets of these shows. Go figure.

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman: The Movies

There’s a joke here somewhere, I just know it. But, hey, the show had a strong fanbase of people who aren’t likely to start internet campaigns and host massive fan-fic websites. We shouldn’t judge them harshly for that. Grandma needs TV, too.

Failure to Launch (2006)

This is the “big release” of the week. Pity us all. Wait till next week — there are only four releases for July 4th.

Independence Day: 10th Anniversary Edition (1996)

NOOOOOOO!!!!! I can’t believe it’s been ten years since this drek washed up on the silver screen.

Jamie Kennedy: Unwashed

Oddly enough, that’s also how I feel after seeing anything with JK in it. Unwashed.

Leroy & Stitch (2006)

The end of the franchise. Here’s a positive review of it, too.

Monk: Season Four (4-disc set)

Found out recently that the show’s creators/writers are locals here. Interesting.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

Now with commentary from Mike Nelson, of MST3K fame!

Puppets Who Kill: Season Two

I have no idea what this show is, but I need to look it up now.

Ultraviolet: Unrated Edition (2006) Ultraviolet (R-rated) (2006)

It’s not based on a comic book, though they want you to think it.

Posted in DVD

Monday Mini-Link Dump

Geek Edition:

  • A book of algorithms. They’re PDF files, but it looks like a nice text book. I’ll stick with my Mastering Algorithms for Perl book, though.

  • Classic CompSci texts, free for the reading. Everything from the Google founders’ paper on search engines to Knuth.

  • Picture: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Walt Mossberg sit down for dinner. Can you imagine that conversation?

  • The ultimate for TV Geeks: DirecTV Titanium. For $7500 a year, you get everything. Literally, everything they have to offer, from HD channels to sports channels to pay per view movies — and up to 10 HD receivers. If I were a rich man. . .

This link is not good for long

Digg is down while they push over the new version 3.0 of the software. Not only do they have a list of suggested sites to waste your time on while this is happening, but they have the headline:

Get Ready for Awesomeness [tag]Digg[/tag] v3 is Coming…

And an embedded MP3 file of what I imagine is a MIDI recording of Europe’s “The Final Countdown.” Pretty cool.

See it now. It won’t last for long.

(And then visit the Digg Blog, to laugh at all the posts that have time stamps, but no DATE stamps. Whoops.)

Posted in Web