Lady Miss Used-to-have-a-Career

Deee-Lite Singer Sues Sega

Kierin Kirby, known in showbiz as Lady Miss Kier when she was a member of the pop group Deee-Lite, has filed suit against Sega alleging infringement of right of publicity and various other complaints, reports Rolling Stone. According to the lawsuit, Space Channel 5 heroine Ulala bears too close a resemblance to Kirby's stage persona, and she's seeking more than $750,000 in damages.

"The similarities and likenesses include the same or nearly the same distinctive make-up, large eyelashes, doe eyes, red/pink hair, pony tails, cute backpacks, mini-skirts, knee-socks, knee-high boots, and platform shoes," says the suit. "The similarities and likenesses are so close that viewers, listeners, and consumers were and are confused or likely to become confused between Ulala and plaintiff." It also goes on to argue that the overall style of the game, including its art design, music, Ulala's dance moves, and even her name, borrow excessively from Deee-lite's video for the hit single "Groove is in the Heart."

The courts will have to judge the case for themselves, but Kirby has likely made a critical error in assuming that the public has retained any memory of her career, which one would think would be a prerequisite for confusing her likeness with that of Sega's own dance diva. We'll keep you posted if anything more significant comes of this case.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we feel the Great White love.

Some photos of the Fetish Ball are up now. I didn't take any pictures that night, and this is the only set I could find; I saw a lot of cameras, however, so if you have any, please send them to me! This goes for all of our events, actually.

And now, the news.

A few months ago, we got a letter telling us that our insurance company was no longer going to be selling insurance in California, and we'd need to find a new provider when our current term was up. We called our agent, who said he'd get right on that. Well, he dragged his feet. Months went by.

And then those Great White pigfuckers went and blew themselves up.

That left us two weeks from our insurance expiring, and almost nobody willing to insure us at all. The first company we found who was even willing to give us a quote wanted 5x as much as we were paying, and something like a 30% downpayment.

So now nobody wants to insure nightclubs any more. Barry, Casey, and Caroline spent many hours on the phone in the last couple weeks just trying to get quotes (sometimes calling back on the hour, like clockwork, just to make sure.) Each person they talk to took days, because that person kept calling back and saying, "oh, now we just need this one other piece of info..." They sell insurance, do they not? You'd think they'd know up front what info they need, but apparently it's always a learning process for whoever's on the other end of the phone, too.

One of the companies had agreed to insure us, and then they had a look at our web site and stumbled across a picture of some bait-and-tackle performance at one of our events where some guy hung from the ceiling by meathooks in his back, and apparently that freaked them out enough that they said "no thanks..." Whee! Oh, but here's the best part: it wasn't the fact that he was hanging from meathooks that bothered them: it was the fact that the picture made it look like the guy was dangling over the audience without a net, and they were afraid he might fall on someone! (I'm not sure which picture they saw, but if it's the one I linked to, he's actually on the stage, not above people, but whatever.)

So anyway, we did manage to get insurance again mere days before our last policy expired, and it's like 150% what it used to be. Dammit.

The insurance companies weren't even interested in the fact that we have an extensive sprinkler system. Apparently all they cared about was our annual income: not "how safe are you", but "how much can we take you for?"

To make matters worse (for anyone trying to get insurance) the families of the victims of the Great White fire are filing suit against everyone in sight: that's the American Way, after all. So not only are they sueing the band, whose show started the fire, and the club, who used flammable materials on their stage, but also the company who made the soundproofing foam that caught on fire (which, I gather, wasn't billed as being fireproof!) and also the Fire Department and the State of Rhode Island.

That latter one hurts, because there's a chance that it'll put the nation's fire departments into ass-covering mode, and make them hassle nightclubs even more...


"three strikes" for criminal corporations

Wow, this is hard to believe. I had to check the URL to convince myself that I wasn't reading some kind of Adbusters wet dream.

Senator Proposes 'Three Strikes and Out of Business' State Law
A company's third felony conviction would bring a ban on operating in California.

SACRAMENTO -- A "three strikes" bill that would prohibit companies with multiple convictions from doing business in California was launched in the Senate on Tuesday. [...] On a 5-2 vote over Republican opposition, they sent the bill (SB 335) to the full Senate, where its passage is expected. Under the measure, sponsored by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a business convicted of three felonies in state or federal courts in California would be prevented from doing business in the state.

Proponents of the bill argued that enforcement of existing laws that can put a corporation out of business is weak and seldom exercised. Romero said current penalties are civil fines or financial settlements whose effects are short-lived and can be chalked up by corporate bad actors as merely the cost of doing business. [...]

The bill drew opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce, whose lobbyist, Dominic DiMare, criticized it as unnecessary. He said it was so broadly written that the criminal activity of only one company executive could set off a chain of events that might bring the entire corporation down, including its subsidiaries in other states.

"It takes people to do the crime, not the corporation," DiMare said. [...]

The Romero plan would provide that the first two strikes against the criminal corporation could occur in any state, not just California. But the third felony would have to be committed in California.

The strikes would apply to virtually any type of felony, ranging from violations of the tax and consumer protection codes to offenses involving civil rights, antitrust and environmental protection, among others.

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Sue Telemarkers Fast! (well, not very fast)

Mark Eckenwiler says:

"In November 2002, a telemarketer called my home in D.C. at 5:24 a.m. This is the story of how that call cost him $500."


Bardcode: Shakespeare in barcode.


So today I not/iced that someone at the office has been printing out the calendar pages and taking notes on them. I never use paper, but I've long since gotten used to the fact that other people do; but this was just incredibly bothersome because it's extra wasteful: there's that menu on the left, and the text all comes out as gray on white, and is pretty unreadable.

I know that if you've drunk the CSS kool-aid, it's possible to make things print sanely: change colors, leave certain items off the page, etc. So I started poking around with using CSS on the DNA pages. <LJ-CUT TEXT="It did not go well.">

I thought I'd start off with something simple: instead of using tables to do my headings, like

   Contacting Us   

I should be able to just do

<H1>Contacting Us</H1>

and have it look the same once an appropriate style sheet was in place, right? "Here is how we render H1."

Wrong. As far as I can tell, that can't be done with CSS. The closest you can get is this:

Contacting Us

with the box going all the way to the edges of the page. As far as I can tell, there's no way to tell the size of the box to be based on the size of the text. You can tell it to be exactly 30% of the page width -- but that's not the same. The only way to do it is to wrap the H1 inside a TABLE!

Contacting Us

So I can replace my table-based layout with... table-based layout?

I have learned (or in some cases reconfirmed) a few other things about CSS, too:

  • Web designers, and especially blogging web designers, are self-important fuckheads. This might be tolerable if they were right, but by and large they're also dumbasses.
  • Everybody who fancies themself a CSS expert uses pixel-based layout for everything. Their shining examples of elegance always include boxes that are exactly 400 pixels wide, and that specify font sizes in pixels (not even points!) This is better than auto-flowing auto-sizing table layout... why?

  • Most of the time, these examples look like ass on my screen, presumably because I'm not running Windows and don't have the same fonts that they do. Or maybe because they're all using 50-inch monitors and sit with their noses on the glass, the only way those miniscule fonts could actually look readable to someone.

  • They never measure in "em" units, so that their boxes might have at least some relation to the size of the text inside them.

  • This may or may not be because "em" doesn't work consistently across various browsers.

  • Oh, "em", a term from the world of physical typesetting, is supposed to be the width of a capital letter M, and used only for horizontal measure; the vertical measures are ascent, descent, leading, and sometimes "ex" (height of a lower case "x".) CSS defines "em" as being the height of an M instead (making it synonymous with "ascent"), which makes it generally about twice as big as you'd expect if you know anything about this stuff. Nice. That's like redefining "centimeter" because it seemed more convenient at the time. (Except sillier, since "em" is an older unit of measure than centimeter is.)

Really what I'd like to do is just leave my pages as-is, but insert something that says, "oh, if you're printing, change all the colors like so, and leave the menu out." But I'm not sure that's possible without going whole-hog into the CSS madness, or at least starting to tumble down that slippery slope.

And a slippery slope it is. Here's a great example: once you start doing anything with CSS font sizes, you can't ever use the FONT tag again.

Have you noticed that when you post to LiveJournal and do <FONT SIZE="-1">, the font actually gets bigger? Feel the love as the Mozilla people mark my bug report Resolved Invalid. This is because the FONT tag, when used to request a font "one tick smaller than the current size" has no knowlege of what the current CSS font size is -- and they claim this is the right and sensible thing! Like, HTML thinks the font size is "3" and then it sets it to "2", instead of noting that the font size is "14px" and then setting it to "12px". You get screwed if, as is often the case with LiveJournal, your "2" font is still bigger than whatever the font specified in the style sheet is.

Let me say that again, because I still can't really fathom it: they think that the current behavior, of asking for a smaller font and getting a bigger font, is the correct behavior.

This kind of crap, among other reasons, is why web sites should never, ever specify the font family or size of their default text. Just use the default, always. Web browsers let users pick their default font families and sizes for a reason. Are you listening, brad?

Update: scroll down...

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Schemix is a Scheme system, implemented as a patch to the Linux kernel. It aims to attain R5RS compliance while remaining small, fast and easy to understand.

The intended use of Schemix is for exploration of the Linux kernel and for rapid, interactive prototyping of Linux drivers and other new kernel features. To achieve this, Schemix will attempt to make a large subset of the kernel functionality available to Scheme programs. Interactivity is via a character device, /dev/schemix which presents a REPL (Read, Eval, Print Loop) to anyone having access to the device.

    $ echo "(display (+ 1 2 3))" > /dev/schemix
    $ cat /dev/schemix
    $ cat > /dev/schemix
    (define foo (kernel-lambda (char*) printk))
    (foo "Blah, blah, blah")
    $ dmesg | tail -n 1
    Blah, blah, blah

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Keanu Reeves as John Constantine??? X2 producer Lauren Shuler Donner told SCI FI Wire that her next comic-book movie, Constantine, based on Vertigo Comics' John Constantine: Hellblazer, will be darker than her X-Men sequel. "It's PG-13, like X-Men, but the character doesn't have superpowers," Shuler Donner said. "It's really focused on John Constantine, and it's more spiritual. He sends demons back down to hell. It's a darker tone." [...] Production begins in September.

But at least we won't have to suffer through Keanu trying to do an accent. That's the lesser of two abominations, I suppose.

E Online: So what about the controversy? In which the movie version turns the very British John Constantine into an American? "Well, what we're saying is that he's American and this story does take place in L.A., but we do intimate that he works in many different cities," she said. "He's had many different adventures--in India, in London. He's a worldly character, basically."

Finally, we wonder if the Constantine plot was taken from a specific Hellblazer issue? "Do you know 'Dangerous Habits'?" Donner said, referring to one of the comic's greatest story arcs, penned by Preacher creator Garth Ennis when he took over writing the comic in 1991. "There's a lot of 'Dangerous Habits' in it."

Also: Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider, James Marsden (Cyclops) as Jesse Custer. Fear. Fear!
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Current Music: Chemlab -- Latex ♬

Mecca Cola

Mecca-Cola comes to Africa

"Being a Muslim, I was attracted by the name Mecca-Cola," said Hassane Brahim Fardoun, the businessman behind the drink's distribution in Senegal. "I will do my best to penetrate the Senegalese market with this new product." [...]

At first glance, the 1.5-litre Mecca-Cola bottles look just like Coca-Cola. But closer study shows a green mosque, Arabic writing on one side and the sales pitch in French and Arabic: "No more drinking stupid, drink with commitment". [...] On its website, Mecca-Cola says: "Don't shake me, shake your conscience" and runs pictures of Palestinian children firing slings at Israeli tanks and soldiers. [...] Mecca-Cola is not unique. There is a wide range of similar ideological drinks, like Muslim Up or British-based Qibla-Cola, whose website cries "Liberate your taste". [...]

But Mecca-Cola may not be everybody's cup of tea, especially those who like to spice up their soft drinks. "Please do not mix with alcohol", says a tiny note at the bottom of Mecca-Cola's label -- a polite nod in the direction of the Muslim faith which bans liquor.

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is that a rocket in your Cosmodrome, or are you just glad to see me?

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