Another Quick Music Post

We've been cleaning the house, so I flipped on WERU out of Blue Hill, Maine for the tailend of their world music show and their Sunday afternoon, music and commentary program called "Women's Voices.

One of the songs jumped out at me, so I moved over to the computer, when the DJ was going through the playlist of songs that we had just heard. Unfortunately, I can't find a full-length copy of Christine Lavin's "Happydance", the title track from her new album "Happy Dance of the Xenophobe", but I did find that it may have been previously called "Quit Your Sobbing - She's an Idiot".

Nonetheless, if you've got a couple of minutes and would like a taste of this song and the other fun, bouncy tunes on her new album, I suggest playing through its Amazon Sampler and perhaps viewing a live, festival performance of what may be an older song, "Sensitive New Age Guys".

Pop Tarts

If you go to the supermarket, you can't miss the many stories about Britney Spears and her custody battle with Kevin Federline.

I don't know the facts of her life, but if you look around the headlines and actually look at the photographs, you see what appears to be a fairly normal family. And, if you bother to read the stories (click the mags), you'll find that a lot of the accusations are that she prefers for the nannies to change the kid's diapers and to see them to bed; she's sometimes naked in front of the kids; some of the staff, whom she considers to be her friends have seen her undressed; she drinks and takes a prescription medication.

None of those things are really outlandish and other than the time, when she nudged a car in a parking garage recently, almost all of the stories are coming from unnamed sources and they always appear in an article surrounded by quotes from his lawyer.

Well, we all know how unnamed sources or senior White House officials sometimes go.

I don't know if she's a normal, single mother, who is worth about $120m and isolated from society by the paparazzi or a trainwreck, nor do I know if she's going to keep living in the limelight or eventually head back to Louisiana. All I know is what I see and among those things that I have seen over the years have been stories about the occasional millionaire's ex-spouse collecting tens of thousands in monthly child support, so I have to take all of the Britney character assassination with a grain of salt.

Jeff Bezos Should Take Another Cross-Country Drive

The founder and CEO of blogsearch Technorati has announced that he's stepping down from his executive position and installing a team of the company's Vice Presidents to serve as President. In his post explaining the move, Mr. Sifrey notes that their search for a replacement CEO has taken longer than anticipated, while others have noted that Technorati has benefited from several influxes of cash and may be headed toward oblivion because latecomer Google has been eating their shorts with a less functional tool.

I've long held that from the outside, Technorati looks like a good acquisition target for Yahoo! because it matches a lot of the criteria they've used in the past and a simple implementation of contextual advertising could be what the doctor ordered. Though I can speak only for myself, but I'd say that one of the big reasons that Technorati's widgets don't litter the web is because there's no back end from the results. Sure, Google hasn't offered an embeddable blogsearch and you're just left with their plain vanilla service, but if you use it or their "search within this site" functionality, the possibility does exist for you to monetize the results with AdSense.

Of course, Yahoo! is also in the business of contextual ads, plus their blogsearch tool was only available for a while and then it disappeared, or at least I can no longer find it. Nonetheless, it wouldn't take much for them to marry advertising to the Technorati widgets, but they have their own problems at this time and though I still think they should consider the purchase, if somebody were to ask me the solution to Yahoo!'s woes, the acquisition of Technorati would be the somewhere around third on my list.

It's still a good idea and the price is obviously ticking down, but since Mr. Sifrey made his announcement another scenario has popped into my head and because they aren't plagued by an infernal internal memo, it may actually be a more realistic option.

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Job Description: Make Believiologist

I was fishing through Fox News the other evening, when I ran across a video titled "Post Porn Effect" and because it obviously discusses one of the topics that I've blogged about in the past, I clicked to view.

If pressed, I can say that I may agree with some of the stuff spouted by "Sexologist" Yvonne Fulbright, but I don't believe all or possibly most of it by any means and the following quotes jumped out at me, as being worthy of note;
Up until today, we've seen people with a warped sense of their sexuality because a Puritanical background. Twenty years from now, it'll be because we're a porn-obsessed culture that really is perverse in the way that we're handling what it means to be sexually healthy.

And a few seconds later, Ms. Fulbright declares;

Women especially have such a warped sense of what it means to be sexually liberated and empowered; they're disconnected from their bodies and they're not really sure what true sexual pleasuring means in this day and age.
Apparently, if you're a "sexologist", you're also qualified to be a "futurologist" and to speak for all women, plus if you watch the thing through to its conclusion, she presents herself as an expert on the value of social networking.

Warning: The 3:36 clip uses thirty seconds from a Girls Gone Wild infomercial as b-roll.

One for the Newsers

Earlier, I made mention of a new "feature" from Google which would allow whomever they decide is the subject of a news story to post a response, which would be hosted by Google and posted alongside their link to the original story.

The context of my post was that it was another example of Google releasing a "feature" which has no revenue stream, but then during the afternoon, I ran across a post on TechCrunch highlighting that Google News does not allow spiders to crawl their site and that they own the rights to everything which isn't from another news source.

So, in effect, the NYTimes can write a piece, Google can scrape it from the NYTimes site, one of the subjects can write a response which Google will host and nobody, including the Times will be allowed to reprint it or make a derivative work.


When Yahoo! hit the IPO jackpot, they invested a lot of the extra cashflow into other standalone, web startups and as a result, they took a big hit when the bubble burst. The Google IPO has created a lot more liquidity for the younger search company, but they seem to be putting an inordinate amount of their money and effort into questionable in-house ventures which appear to only enhance the brand and which do not provide obvious income opportunities.

Over the past week, two such endeavors have come to light;
  • Yesterday, Google announced that the subjects of a news story may now submit a written response and after the author's authenticity is verified, the response will be posted alongside the original story using AJAX, so a new pageview would not be required and no additional advertising would be displayed.

    An example of this setup can be found in relation to a story about McDonalds.

  • On Monday, Google announced that they'll be recruiting "Business Referral Representatives", who will be independent contractors that will be paid per verified listing for going to local businesses to collect data like phone number and hours of operation, plus take a photo of the business so that this information could be added to Google Maps.

    While in contact with these businesses, the contractors, who could be anyone and anywhere are encouraged to talk-up the functionality of Google Maps and Adwords. Though, none of their pay is tied to the contracting for these services. The only way Google would make a return for this effort is if the business were to purchase Adwords and in my opinion, they may get some sales in markets larger than a hundred thousand, but in the smaller cities of this country, Adwords doesn't seem to make a lot of sense for the average brick and mortar business.

    For example, if you punch the name of my town, the postal abbreviation for the state and the word "hardware" into Google, the first three listings are from Google: Local. All three of these businesses belong to a national buying cooperative and their phone number and map position are already displayed.

    There's the "Ace", the "True Value" and a "Do It Best"; Two of the three do have freestanding websites which lists the kind of data that Google will be collecting, but they're already linked from the initial listing and an additional link to such a limited site would just be redundant. For shopping, specials or price comparisons, all of the businesses redirect to the national chains where the catalog is more extensive and the database is easier to maintain.

    If I were the owner of any of these businesses, I don't see how I could justify buying an Adword. My listing already appears at the top of the Google results and though a geographically-targeted Adword would put another link on the page, I don't see how it would benefit me. There's three hardware stores in this town, much like there's three auto parts stores and two laundries. This situation and these numbers are fairly typical for the smaller markets, so why should Google pay somebody up to ten dollars to collect their phone numbers, which are already in Google anyway because of their lookup service?

As a user, I may get some benefit from these efforts, but the hosted responses to news articles raises legal, ethical and competitive questions. I pretty much know what my local hardware stores look like and where they're located, so since the phone numbers are already listed and their hours are a click away, I can't see any value in the second effort for anyone in a small to mid-sized market.

If I were an investor in Google, it may be time to start questioning the reasoning for these and other ventures because I see only limited return, beyond a simple and non-revenue-producing enhancement of the brand.

Though, if I were unemployed and in need of an income, I'd totally bank some of Google's misguided funds.

(Valleywag and Lost Remote contributed links to this post)

From the Massachusetts General Statutes

Chapter 207: Section 1. Marriage of man to certain relatives

No man shall marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, stepmother, grandfather's wife, grandson's wife, wife's mother, wife's grandmother, wife's daughter, wife's granddaughter, brother's daughter, sister's daughter, father's sister or mother's sister.

Chapter 207: Section 2. Marriage of woman to certain relatives

No woman shall marry her father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, stepfather, grandmother's husband, daughter's husband, granddaughter's husband, husband's grandfather, husband's son, husband's grandson, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother or mother's brother.

Chapter 207: Section 3. Application of Secs. 1 and 2

The prohibition of the two preceding sections shall continue notwithstanding the dissolution, by death or divorce, of the marriage by which the affinity was created, unless the divorce was granted because such marriage was originally unlawful or void.

At first glance, one might wonder why such an explicit list and why they didn't use common titles like "Aunt" and "Uncle". Though, once you delve beneath the surface and load the lists into a spreadsheet to make sure: You're left asking why a man can marry his son's wife and a woman can marry her husband's father, but a similar union is forbidden, the other way around?