I Read Uber’s New Magazine for Drivers So You Don’t Have To

Momentum - The Magazine for Uber PartnersAmerica’s leading pleonexia concern, the evil Objectivist “ride-sharing” service Uber, has issued a glossy, full-color fuck you to its drivers in the form of Momentum, “The Magazine for Uber Partners.” This sub-airline-grade magazine comprises a tight 15 pages, not coincidentally the perfect size for Uber’s exploited non-employees to roll and shove right up their asses.

Uber — whose myriad inequities I’ve chronicled, and whose services you should never, ever engage, even if you’re stuck rideless in the middle of a blizzard today, especially if you’re stuck rideless in the middle of a blizzard today, because the company’s “surge pricing” policy will wrap you in the welcoming warming comfort of a $450 bill for a three-mile ride — has demonstrated its utterly backwards priorities in this latest suck-up to the “driver partners” it abuses.

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I’m Unemployed, But I Still Pay the Artists Who Work With Me. Why Can’t This Hollywood Mogul?
photo by https://www.flickr.com/people/vagueonthehow/ target="_blank">vagueontheshow

photo © vagueonthehow

The Internet it buzzes this morning about a “bootleg James Bond” video by producer Adi Shankar, creator of other “fan” videos based on copyright properties, including a Power Rangers homage/parody/rip-off that’s garnered 18 million play-presses. The premise for “James Bond: In Service of Nothing” actually sounds fascinating for a committed pan-media Bond-liker such as me: 1I do, after all, even have a 007 tag on my blog. a retired 007 struggles to figure out how to live when he no longer has to kill. I don’t know if the short lives up to the premise, though, because it’s already been yoinked from YouTube due to a (valid) copyright complaint from MGM.

But that doesn’t matter, because I’m less interested in Adi Shankar’s movie than I am in something he said to Deadline Hollywood while promoting it:

[Shankar] said it was done mainly with all volunteer work, favors and an animation collective. He said the costs were minimal. “When people are passionate about something, they just want to do it,” he told Deadline. “These are the same models that these digital artists are doing. They are doing things for the collective good.”

Adi not only didn’t pay the artists who worked on his movie, he also thinks asking people to work for free for his betterment is a legitimate business model.

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1. I do, after all, even have a 007 tag on my blog.
Listen to the First Sound from Special Relativity

It’s been three years coming, but yesterday production officially began on the first episode of my web-radio series Special Relativity. (Which, as you remember, is the story of the most evil woman on Earth, who attempts to foil her own plan to destroy the Universe by traveling back in time to kidnap her younger self.)

Recording kicked off for this suddenly and unexpectedly bicoastal project on a snowy Sunday afternoon on the upper east side of Manhattan, while I listened in my apartment in Los Angeles in my pajamas. I present to you now a brief and beautiful product of that session, this alluring and seductive first sound from Special Relativity:

 

That, of course, is the terrifying battle cry of the Chief of the Royal Guard of the Prince of the Pigeon People.

I can tell you the name of the actor who’s making it later this week, when I announce the truly exceptional cast of the podcast. Stay tuned!

Bill O’Reilly Clonked By Author Of NYT Article!
Bill O’Reilly Clonked By Author Of NYT Article He Read On ‘Mediabuzz’
The journalist whose New York Times article Bill O’Reilly read from extensively on Fox News Channel’s Mediabuzz yesterday has fired a shot at O’Reilly for dropping an important part of a sentence.

Deadline Hollywood, 2/23/15

Clonked

Help Me Destroy the Universe

Nearly three years ago, a bunch of people gave me money. Some of them did so because I bet them I could eat a wasp nest, but most of them were supporting my IndieGoGo campaign to fund my idea for a scripted podcast series Special Relativity, a sci-fi/comedy about the most evil woman on Earth, who travels back in time and kidnaps her younger self in a last-ditch attempt to save existence.

Despite their generosity, the campaign raised only twenty percent of its goal. With a lack of funds, I shelved the project while I awaited a more perfect future. TODAY, THAT MORE PERFECT FUTURE HAS (not) ARRIVED! Nevertheless,

I’m happy to announce that a 22-minute pilot episode of Special Relativity will debut online this spring.

Last year’s unprecedented success of the true-crime podcast Serial convinced me that the time was right for scripted radio to re-enter the online world. 1I say “re-enter” because 14 years ago, before there were such things as podcasts, or for that matter even iPods, I created a scripted online “radio” series for the children’s network Noggin. Radio Noggin streamed via RealAudio, a service which some of you might remember was almost as good as receiving shortwave broadcasts through your dental fillings. Anyway, you can listen to a highlight reel from the show here. But since the IndieGoGo money (plus my own contribution) isn’t enough to produce an entire first season, I’m making one episode. If people like it, I’ll find a way to make more. For now I can reveal the title of the premiere episode:

“First We Destroy the Universe”

I’m able to (barely) fund the pilot because I repaired and sold my 1968 Mercedes-Benz 250S. While I’m glad that makes this podcast project seem like an outtake from Darkness on the Edge of Town, sadly I have no more Mercedes to sell, let alone one per episode. The production could still desperately use money. So if you think you’ll like Special Relativity, or if you like me, please:


Meanwhile, stay tuned for more updates soon. Next up: the cast!

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1. I say “re-enter” because 14 years ago, before there were such things as podcasts, or for that matter even iPods, I created a scripted online “radio” series for the children’s network Noggin. Radio Noggin streamed via RealAudio, a service which some of you might remember was almost as good as receiving shortwave broadcasts through your dental fillings. Anyway, you can listen to a highlight reel from the show here.
How to Mail Something
Nancy the Maildog

Nancy the Maildog, courtesy of Kara Vallow

For those of us over the age of 30, mailing a letter is a task as mentally hardwired as dialing a phone or strangling a saber-toothed tiger with our bare hands. We often used to do all three at once. The same isn’t true for those under 20. I’ve on at least three occasions seen bewildered teenagers standing in the post office, envelope in hand, looking as helpless as children left behind at a rest stop. And I’ve heard firsthand accounts of university student workers frantically googling what the hell to do with a vital piece of mail they’ve been tasked to dispatch. This post is a public service for the youth of today. Be not embarrassed, young ones! And fellow elders, criticize not young ones for their ignorance! We shouldn’t expect a teenager today to know how to send mail anymore than we as teenagers should’ve been expected to know how to send a telegram. If you care why I think that, you can read this footnote, 1First of all, remember that digital communication largely supplanted letters and cards before today’s teenagers were born, certainly before they were literate. Now think of what you yourself still use the postal service for. Business documents? Government forms? The occasional bill? Christmas cards? Packages? None of those are things that someone under 20 has reason to deal with. (I don’t think I mailed a bill payment before I turned 18, with the exception of my subscriptions to the Columbia House Record Club and The Uncanny X-Men.) So it’s not at all surprising that a young person would never have mailed something before leaving for college or getting a job. It’s unfair and unrealistic for us to expect them to understand a service they’ve never encountered. I was taught how to use the mail in elementary school, but if I had children today, I’d prefer that lesson time be spent on something more relevant to our time, say how to keep themselves and their personal information safe online. but if you’re dripping panic tears onto an empty envelope, just keep scrolling. 2Note that this guide only applies to sending mail within the United States. International mail requires extra work. If you’d like to send something to another country, I suggest checking with your local post office or the Postal Service’s web site.

Mail something →

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1. First of all, remember that digital communication largely supplanted letters and cards before today’s teenagers were born, certainly before they were literate. Now think of what you yourself still use the postal service for. Business documents? Government forms? The occasional bill? Christmas cards? Packages? None of those are things that someone under 20 has reason to deal with. (I don’t think I mailed a bill payment before I turned 18, with the exception of my subscriptions to the Columbia House Record Club and The Uncanny X-Men.) So it’s not at all surprising that a young person would never have mailed something before leaving for college or getting a job. It’s unfair and unrealistic for us to expect them to understand a service they’ve never encountered. I was taught how to use the mail in elementary school, but if I had children today, I’d prefer that lesson time be spent on something more relevant to our time, say how to keep themselves and their personal information safe online.
2. Note that this guide only applies to sending mail within the United States. International mail requires extra work. If you’d like to send something to another country, I suggest checking with your local post office or the Postal Service’s web site.
NotFoolingAnybody.com Lives!

Hat Creek in Austin, TXOn May 3, 2012 I drove past Michelle’s Donut House on Santa Monica Blvd., a hilariously mangled former Winchells Donut House. I snapped a picture and then lamented on this blog that I couldn’t submit it to the long-lived but defunct Internet chronicle of such beautifully stupid storefront conversions, Not Fooling Anybody. Well, today I can. Not Fooling Anybody lives, and lazy entrepreneurs should not sleep well at night.

I daydreamed in that post about taking over and resurrecting NFA, but it turned out that its founder Liz Clayton had never given up on the site. She just needed a hand to resurrect it after a hacking and guide it into the twentyohteens. So I lent her one, and this week NotFoolingAnybody.com stepped out of its limo onto the red carpet (discreetly covering its personal area) just in time for its tenth anniversary.

The site now features 171 joy-inducingly awful repurposings, captured by an intrepid group of rangers from across North America. A couple of my favorites are below, but I encourage you to improve your day by perusing all 171. Better yet, submit your own. Any of my Milwaukee readers want to grab a shot of Siva Truck Rental and Leasing on W. St. Paul Ave.? It’s the place with the backwards Avis sign.

See some hilarious crap →