Your Daily Phil

Archive for July, 2007

“If You’re Reading This”

Posted by lozenp on July 26, 2007

I’ve been hearing a song from Tim McGraw for the past month and it always gets to me. He performed it live at the ACM Awards and it’s been on country radio for about a month or so.

It’s basically a letter written from a soldier to his family in the event he dies in combat. Take a look at the video link below. Yes, it is country music. For those of you who are not country music fans, bite the bullet, it’s only 4 minutes long.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7ixC-LYDGc

It’s pretty touching. While the whole song is emotional, there’s one line that I really like:

“Just remember this, I’m in a better place, Soldiers live in peace and angels sing amazing grace.”

What a cool picture that paints. Peace. Soldiers from all walks just singing along with the angels.

MSNBC.com published some actual letters from U.S. soldiers if you’re interested. I haven’t had time to read any yet, but I’m sure it’s eye opening.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Evil record companies

Posted by lozenp on July 25, 2007

Universal Music Group, who publishes music for the artist Prince, recently went through legal actions to petition YouTube to remove a video that it said infringed on it’s copyright. The video was removed, and let’s hope the hardened criminals are punished to the full extent of the law. Watch the video and come back for my take.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KfJHFWlhQ

No jumping ahead now, really watch the video to get my sarcasm.

Back, ok. How amazingly ridiculous is that? 29 seconds of a 20-year-old Prince song playing in the background of a video of someone’s kid dancing that was probably only put on YouTube so they proud parents could send it to their family. And Universal demands it be removed.

Obviously, the video was put back up once sanity returned, but the fact that it was even a discussion is just stupid. If you noticed, as of about 3 p.m. today there were only 441 views (update, just two days later and following the publicity the story got, nearly 60,000 views). Universal decided this was big enough to take a legal swipe at? It just ticks me off so much to see how far entertainment companies are trying to force themselves into our lives.

If I pay 10 bucks for your CD, that likely has three good songs and seven crappy ones, I should be able to use it as I see fit. No, I don’t want to just give it to other people for free, or sell it myself. But if I want to put Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way” on while my kids takes his first steps and record it, I should be able to do so. I’m not selling the video, in this case it’s only like 20 percent of the song! And what if I have Comcast’s music channel on in the background when I’m taping something? Can I then sue Comcast for putting me in a position to break the law?

Here’s a link to the artists that form UMG, I’m not encouraging anyone to break the law, but if you’re making a home video to post on YouTube, maybe make sure that someone from this list is playing in the background. Jack seems to like Rap, so don’t be surprised to hear some 2pac in the next vid we post on his site. I’d also encourage you to forgo buying full CDs and just buy the songs you want from ITunes or something like it. Labels hate singles, so anything we can do as a consuming public to show them how fed up we are with their invasion of privacy, the better.

Oh, and for those of you who listen to Internet Radio, those days may be coming to an end. Recent moves are now in effect that is forcing Internet Radio stations to pay crippling amounts of money per song played, and we will likely see the amount of stations disappearing. Thanks RIAA.

Posted in copyright, RIAA | 2 Comments »

World War II

Posted by lozenp on July 23, 2007

One of the things I mentioned when I started this blog was that I would let people get to know me and the things that interest me better. Let’s start with World War II.

I’m fascinated with World War II history. The people, the battles, the stories, the music of that time, all of it intrigues me. I think it started when I first saw the Band of Brothers mini-series on HBO. If you haven’t seen it, rent it. Even Amy, who is by no means a huge history buff, watched the entire series with me and was so emotionally attached that she found herself crying during the final episode. It’s just great TV.

For those that don’t know, Band of Brothers follows Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, U.S. 101st Airborne Division from their time training at camp Taccoa to their drop into Normandy on the eve of the D-Day invasions, through the Battle of the Bulge and to the end of the way. Along the way you get to know many of the soldiers very well amidst their struggles to survive.

It was this miniseries that taught me what kind of sacrifice this country made during WWII (a sacrifice that, I believe, there’s no way this country would ever make again because we’ve gotten to self-serving, but that’s another post). So many men put their lives on the line for half a decade in Europe and the Pacific, to ensure a safe and free world. I even found out little things from my grandma, like that during the war, butter looked like lard because the country rationed the coloring used to make it look yellow (side note: my grandma was in NYC to visit my grandpa, who was in the navy, on the day an airplane hit the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945. They were planning to go to the Empire State after breakfast that morning. She remained in the city until August and was there on Aug. 15 for VJ Day and the end of the war).

I’m fascinated by the sense of brotherhood you hear any WWII vet talk about. Two years ago, the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, the History Channel ran a 26-week series called the Last days of World War II. It earned the coveted #1 spot in my Tivo series priority, as well as “Save until I delete” status, high praise indeed. It was my Saturday morning ritual to watch this show.

People always talk about the bonds of friendship, and how tight they are. I don’t think any of us can really understand how far that bond can take you. Imagine sitting in a foxhole, in the middle of a snow-covered forest with temperatures well below freezing and nothing to keep you warm but the guy sitting next to you. Add in thousands of soldiers all around you  aiming to kill you. And then the next day that buddy gets shot right next to you. I find that I’m having a hard time even articulating what I’m trying to say. There’s a reason they were called “The Greatest Generation.”

Obviously I’m biased because I’m already interested in it, but I really encourage you to watch Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan and not be amazed by what our soldiers went through. I’d love to see a movie that details the situation at home during the war, if you have a suggestion, let me know, because without the support of the country, without the manufacturing power, without the women back home going to work for the war effort, things might have been very different.

It’s amazing to me that in a short time, there will be no more survivors from this world-changing event. Stats say that WWII vets are dying at a rate of 1,000 a day. I just think that it’s so important that Jack and the rest of the younger generation know the sacrifice made in the 1940s and how it still impacts them today.

Just a note, in September, Ken Burns is premiering an 11-part miniseries on WWII on PBS, it looks very good. You can bet I’ll be watching all 11 episodes.

Sorry for the long rambling post. I’ve had this one started for some time now and I still don’t know how to write what I want to say so I’ll just get it out.

Posted in WWII | 2 Comments »

Catching Up

Posted by lozenp on July 17, 2007

It’s been more than a month since my last post, I’ll admit, I’m lazy. I always have good intentions and so much I want to blog about, but when it comes down to 10 p.m. and I have some time to myself, I always end up finding other things to do. Anyhow, here’s what’s happened in the last month.

Amy’s had a lot of meetings to run, so I’ve been spending a lot of time with Jack by myself. It’s been a ton of fun, and work, but it’s been so cool to see him grow and change in this last month. Amy’s been working hard and I’m so proud of how well she does in her work.

Had a birthday, somewhere in the 30s, after 25, it’s just not exciting anymore until AARP benefits kick in at 65 (5 cent coffee at McDonald’s, here I come!) Spent a fun weekend at my parents with Jack after July 4. Amy and I could see Milan’s very impressive fireworks show from our deck.

Amy and I got to go to a movie together for the first time since Jack was born (thanks Ross and Angela). We saw License to Wed and had a lot of fun that night.  The movie was ok, but jsut to be out at a movie together we could have been watching paint dry and it would have been fun. Also saw Letters from Iwo Jima on HD DVD, excellent movie. So much better than Flags of our Fathers. And excellent on HD DVD, great sound, picture.

Amy and I are in the market for a new laptop. Hers is more than 5 years old I think and it’s her work computer so it’s about time to replace it. Waiting to see if any good sales come up. Also will likely get one of the new HD DVD calibration discs, either Silicon Optics HQV or Digital Video Essentials.

Very excited to hear that HBO is producing a Pacific War miniseries in the vein of Band of Brothers, currently called The Pacific, focusing on the War in the Pacific in WWII. Same people that made Band of Brothers as well, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks producing.

My friend Jesse is helping me get into flight sims with a cool birthday gift, and I can see how people get hooked.
Finally, got a very cool birthday gift from Amy. Since we needed a new video camera, we decided to use part of my birthday present on a Sony HDR-SR1 hard drive HD camcorder. It’s pretty sweet. It has a 30GB hard drive on the camera so I’ll never need a tape again. The video is great, it records 5.1 audio, takes still photos and best of all, IT’S HIGH DEFINITION! Another cool bonus, I can output the HD video on my PC and play it in the living room on my HD TV via my XBox 360 giving me HD video of Jack playing at grandmas, for instance. I’ll post a Windows Media Video (WMV) HD clip for download on the blog this week that you can download and play on your PC to see the quality. If you have a 360, you can play it in HD on your own TV using the 360’s media blade.

That about catches us up. I’m hoping to do more frequent, short posts this month coming to stay on top of things. I still haven’t posted anything really about WWII, which is one of my biggest hobbies so I’d like to get something out about that.

Posted in General Stuff, HDTV | 3 Comments »