Tiny Pineapple

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Well, folks, the Librarian of Congress came back with his/her final ruling on the CARP’s Webcasting royalty recommendations…and it ain’t much better than the original.

In other words, we’re toast.

As of 2:00pm MST, Radio Free Tiny Pineapple will be closing its doors to the general public and will simply revert to what it was in the beginning: a way for me to listen to my CDs at work.

Tears will be shed, garments rent, sack-cloth and ashes worn.

But, if you’re unhappy about the ruling, don’t blame the Librarian of Congress. According to U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee and Rick Boucher:

We are moderately encouraged that the Librarian of Congress reduced the rates for Internet-only webcasters to the same level AM/FM radio Internet broadcasters. We remain very concerned, however, that this rate will lead to the elimination of hundreds of small businesses and does not provide a viable model to serve both the Internet radio industry and recording artists.

Unfortunately, these rates are a direct result of the flawed ‘willing-buyer/willing-seller’ standard that Congress mandated the Librarian of Congress use in determining these rates. Instead of assessing a fair rate, the flawed standard instead requires the arbitrators to try to replicate willing buyers and willing sellers in an already flawed marketplace.

While the Librarian of Congress clearly went to great lengths to change the burdensome Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) ruling, we believe that such a contorted process and poor outcome can be avoided by changing the standard guiding the Librarian’s decision-making and removing other obstacles in current copyright law that were identified by the Librarian.

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For our recent move, I rented a 26′ Super Mover from U-Haul to carry our belongings across town.

When I went to pick up the truck, they handed me a small piece of paper that featured a diagram of the truck and told me to inspect the truck, marking the location of any pre-existing dents or scratches. After circling the truck and making all of the proper notations, you could barely make out the outline of the truck underneath all the ink.

That, along with the 129,000 miles on the odometer, should have been my first clues that this was not going to be a quality moving experience, but I ignored the warning signs, signed the contract, hopped in, and started driving to our old house to pick up the first load.

There were two things emblazoned on the side of the truck. First, it stated:

Gross Vehicle Weight: 18,000 lbs. Max

Second was the assertion that the truck featured a:

Gentle-Ride Van

They got it half right because, while it was indeed a “gross vehicle,” the ride was anything but gentle. In fact, the vibration inside the cab was so bad that two-inch gaps kept appearing between the doors and the door frames. I was sure that the doors were going to pop off at any moment, but when I tried express this fear to my friend Dan who was riding with me, the engine noise was so deafening that he couldn’t hear me.

The ride was so unpleasant that after making one trip to the new house in the truck, my wife refused to make the return trip in our “Gentle-Ride Van.” I think she was also a little embarrassed because as we drove down the street with doors rattling, engine whining, gears grinding, and chassis creaking, passersby would reel around in horror thinking that a cargo plane carrying malfunctioning band instruments was bearing down on them.

Another problem was that second gear didn’t exist. OK, to be fair, second gear existed, but it was easier to shift from first to third rather than spend the five minutes it took to find the magic combination of clutch position, engine speed, and expletives necessary to get the beast into second. (To accomplish this yourself, simply put the truck into first, let out the clutch, wait until the engine gets to about 162,000 RPMs, and then kick it into third.)

The emergency brake didn’t work, either. It was more like a “suggestion” brake, suggesting to the truck that it would be really nice if it didn’t roll down the hill, but it wasn’t going to insist on it. And once you got the loading ramp out, someone would have to climb underneath the truck and put it back on track before you could push it back in again. The air coming out of the air conditioner was hotter than than the air outside. Even the AM/FM radio was DOA. (Not that you would have been able to hear anything anyway, but still…)

All of this wouldn’t have been nearly so bad if, two weeks after our U-Hell fiasco, my brother-in-law hadn’t pulled up in a gleaming Penske moving truck that he had just driven out from the Bay Area. As I stroked the unblemished paint, listened to the purring engine, and eyed the spotless interior, he talked about how great his moving experience had been.

I hate him.

What On Earth Do We Have To Complain About?

The June 3, 2002, issue of Newsweek has a cover story entitled, “In Defense of Teen Girls” that discusses the current state of teen girls in light of two recent books, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls and Queen Bees and Wannabes.

This is an oversimplification on my part, I’m sure, but the books seem to portray most teen girls as mean-spirited and manipulative spoiled brats who “use backbiting, exclusion, rumors, name-calling, and manipulation to inflict physical pain on targeted victims.”

(Of course, that pretty much describes my life in Junior High School, too, although you’d have to add actual physical pain to the list since, as a boy, I didn’t have the luxury of non-violent nemeses.)

The Newsweek article tries to point out that there are a lot of teen girls who have avoided the pitfalls outlined in the books and who essentially have their heads screwed on straight. My favorite quote from one of these well-balanced “gamma girls” was:

“What on earth do we have to complain about? Everyone has at least one little thing, but compared to the rest of the world we are doing pretty dandy.”

— Jennifer Teschler, 15
El Cajon, California

If nothing else, Jennifer’s use of the word “dandy” gives me hope for her generation.