D is for the Dixie Chicks

Natalie Maines’ comments caused an almost immediate and massive backlash against the Dixie Chicks in the US in 2003.

When I first bought the 1998 Dixie Chicks album Wide Open Spaces, I knew the group had copped their name from the Little Feat song Dixie Chicken. What I did not realize is that the group had been around since 1989 as a bluegrass quartet, with the sisters Martie and Emily Erwin and two others. When those other two left – one quit, the other apparently forced out – Natalie Maines became the lead singer. The sisters expanded their instrumental repertoire, and their sound became more contemporary country.

The 1999 album Fly was even more successful. It “debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, selling over 10 million copies and making the Dixie Chicks the only country band and the only female band of any genre to hold the distinction of having two back-to-back RIAA certified diamond albums.” It was not without controversy, though. Continue reading “D is for the Dixie Chicks”

Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Copyright Week

If any single entity owns a copyright in the law, it can buy, sell or ration the law, and make all sort of rules about when, where, and how we share it. People should never have to pay a fee to review and compare the rules and regulations they must obey, and no private entity should be the gatekeeper to the law.

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has celebrated Copyright Week last month with articles on these subjects:

Day 1: Transparency

Copyright policy must be set through a participatory, democratic and transparent process. It should not be decided through back room deals or secret international agreements.

Continue reading “Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Copyright Week”

Mom’s grave marker

It seems like yesterday, and a long time ago, that Mom died.


As I have mentioned, my mother is buried at Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina; the place has an interesting history. My father had died in August 2000, and it was a great stress for the family to figure out the logistics. But when my mom died three years ago today, the situation was considerably easier; since Dad was cremated, Mom was likewise.

What I did not know is that Continue reading “Mom’s grave marker”

Don’t sell tickets to your 55-inch TV Super Bowl party

Michael Powell admits that he wasn’t terribly outraged by seeing a woman’s breast for 9/16ths of a second,

All you football freaks: the National Football League can be rather fussy about your Super Bowl party. From Now I Know:

Unless you’re a sponsor of the NFL or the Super Bowl, you may want to pass on using the words “Super Bowl.” The NFL and its lawyers don’t take kindly to such commercial use, seeing it as a violation of their copyrights or trademarks… many advertisers simply don’t use the term “Super Bowl.”
Continue reading “Don’t sell tickets to your 55-inch TV Super Bowl party”

MOVIE REVIEW: Saving Mr. Banks

It was Julie Andrew and her husband Tony Dalton Disney personally toured Disneyland with, not Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers.

SavingMrBanks The Wife and I saw Saving Mr. Banks a few weeks ago at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, and it was well-crafted, with Emma Thompson quite good as P. L. Travers, creator of Mary Poppins. Even more impressive was Annie Rose Buckley, in her first film, as the writer as a child. I immediately “recognized” the composing Sherman brothers (played by Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak), and other performers, including Bradley Whitford as a Disney creator and Collin Farrell in the flashbacks as the future writer’s father.

So why has it taken me so long to write about this film? Was it about Meryl Streep lashing out at the memory of the real Walt Disney over his purported sexism, at an event honoring Thompson? Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Saving Mr. Banks”