The Virgin Megastore on Market and Stockton Streets is liquidating its inventory, announcing that it will be closing its doors in late April.  The company cites declining sales due to online downloads.  With on-demand downloads over satellite and cable, iTunes, AppleTV, Netflix streaming, and others, it’s no wonder they are going down.  It’s a bit ironic that the iPods which helped fuel this trend are sold directly directly across the street at the Apple store on Stockton.  Buh-bye.

Bobby Jindal delivered the GOP’s response to President Obama’s speech in the most condescending tone possible.  I was insulted not because I am a democrat, but because I am an American adult!  Others have already said that he was channeling Kenneth the Page from NBC’s 30 Rock.   Honestly, it would have been better if the GOP had simply outsourced the speech to an Indian call center instead.  At least the people in those call centers talk to us like adults! At least the speech would have ended with “Thank you for calling AT&T customer care.”

And where was the reasoning and logic?  He was saying that the government’s lack of a proper response for Katrina is proof that there should be less government.  Huh!?  That doesn’t even make sense.  If he had said that Katrina was proof that people need government during disastrous times then I would agree.  Or that there were mistakes made in the Katrina response and government should learn its lesson from the disaster, then maybe. But my absolute favorite part of the speech nursery rhyme was when he said that Republicans had given the American public good reason to not be trusted, but you know, trust us please!

Also, Jindal clearly did not read Obama’s speech before writing his “response” since he was saying essentially the same message.  Except Jindal chose to sound like a condescending douche.  Better than Palin?  Yes.  Awesome?  Not even close.  Chris Matthews on MSNBC summed it up perfectly before the beginning of the speech.  His mic was still on the air when he blurted out his preemptive annoyance with the speech, “Oh God!”  Indeed.

A Nigerian 419 gang created official looking documents to trick Citibank into wiring $27 million to bank accounts all around the world.  They illegally accessed an account that the National Bank of Ethiopia held with Citibank.  When Citibank contacted the fraudsters to verify the wire transfers they went as far as impersonating Ethiopian bank officials.

They were ultimately caught because several of the banks that received the wire transfers could not complete the transactions (for one reason or another) and contacted Citibank.  At which point the real National Bank of Ethiopia was contacted and the FBI were involved.  They would have gotten away with too it if they had simply used only a single bank account to receive the wire transfer and emptied it immediately.

This is a highly sophisticated con pulled off by a few very talented people.  Nobody thought that these Nigerian guys could pull-off an Ocean’s 11 type heist.  Well, it wasn’t that complicated, but it yielded amazing results.  Crazy.

Tiger Woods announced he would play next week after 8 months of recovery.  Sweet!

The chimp that attacked a woman in Connecticut reportedly had a closer relationship with its owner than those of some married couples. The chimp bathed, dined, and even slept with its crazy-as-bat-shit owner.

Needless to say, he was likely acting crazy becuase he was living with a crazy woman.  Never mind the fact that he is a wild animal.  According to animal experts, he likely thought he was protecting his mate when he attacked the owner’s friend.

Sad to think the chimp could have been free in the jungle somewhere instead of playing husband to a crazy widow.

According to Valleywag, Jennifer Siebel Newsom is expecting a baby and pissed that some of her friends let the cat out of the bag.  Per the article Gavin Newsom is likely very happy to be having the baby just in time for his expected gubernatorial campaign.

From the article: “Newsom’s wife expecting a child in the fall, he will have the perfect family-man campaign prop. What better way for a claimant to the throne to seem young and vital than to have his very own heir?”

I guess you can say he will have an heir to go with his hair.

The Pirate Bay trial began today in Stockholm, Sweden and it is what every geek is talking about.  It is the hottest ticket in town!  The operators of the Pirate Bay website, which is the biggest BitTorrent torrent tracker site in the world, are facing charges of facilitating copyright infringement by operating their site.

The operators are facing up to two years in prison, fines of up to $143,500 and civil penalties of up to $14.5 million from copyright holders like Warner Brothers Entertainment, MGM Pictures, Columbia Pictures Industries, 20th Century Fox Films, Sony BMG, Universal, and EMI.  All in the same trial!  It’s like a criminal and civil case all in one.  Crazy.

The trial is expected to last 13 days.

The story today in SFGate about eagles reminded me of the best video report about eagles ever produced anywhere! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

And no it wasn’t a two-year-old. This grown ass woman threw a tantrum after missing a flight at the Hong Kong airport and then had the nerve to yell at the gate agents and her own husband for good measure.  The calmness of the husband (the guy in the suit) leads me to believe that this lady has done this before.  She is not an “amateur” tantrum thrower.  How someone can be this old and not have more developed problem solving skills is beyond me.  This comedy is all over the Internets today.  Enjoy.

The Metreon opened to much fanfare in June, 1999.  Sony invested over $85 million dollars to create what it called a technology entertainment complex.  In fact, when it opened Sony officials were really upset if you called it a “mall.”  Never mind that it was simply a mall that sold no clothes.  Dig a little deeper and you find that the Metreon was a place for Sony to showcase its products, artists and technology in its SonyStyle and Playstation stores, the sound system in Jillian’s, and the 15 movie theatres, which were all developed with Sony technology and equipment.

In short, you could buy high-tech equipment from Sony or Microsoft, who also had a store there, and entertain yourself at the movie theatre, Jillian’s, or the huge state of the art arcade. Oh, and there was a kids entertainment section too on the top floor.  A year after The Metreon opened, over 6 million people had visited the new entertainment complex and Sony’s experiment was deemed a huge success.  I had my 30th birthday party at the Metreon in 2002 and really enjoyed Jillian’s and the arcade with a lot of friends.  It was great!

Then, as with all things that are centered around technology, it was all downhill from there.  All of the state-of-the-art equipment that filled the Metreon started to look commonplace after a while.  The Microsoft store closed.  The plasma big screens inside Jillian’s started to look dated against the LCDs that most people started to get in their homes.  The video games inside the arcade weren’t as cool as the video games that most people had at home with the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. Ultimately the arcade closed, and then reopened, but it was never really popular.  The big restaurant other than Jillian’s closed.

Sony couldn’t take it anymore and sold the Metreon to Westfield in 2006.  They finally realized that they had no idea of how to run a mall (retail space) in an urban area and called it quits.  Westfield immediately opened cart kiosks selling everything from mobile phone accessories to Rosetta Stone software.  The Metreon started to look like a cheap mall.  Then an Oakland teenager was shot at the Metreon in little over a year ago.  Westfield increased security at the Metreon after the incident but the damage was done.

The Long Life Noodle Company food court restaurant closed a couple of months ago.  Westfield boarded up the restaurant and put a sign on it saying that something new will open in its place in 2010.  It looks that there are no new takers for 2009.  Sony is now the biggest, and only original remaining tenant at the Metreon. But Sony recently announced that they would not be renewing their leases for their SonyStyle and Playstation stores this summer.  When those two stores close, it will be the official end of the Metreon as it was intended to be.  It will officially be dead and its metamorphosis to be just-another-mall (with a movie theater) will finally be complete.

The Metreon’s death may not be a bad thing, but it sure was a long time coming.  With its location, there is no reason that the Metreon shouldn’t be one of the most successful retail spaces in the city. Tavern on the Green announced last year that they are going to take the entire top floor of the Metreon.  Hopefully they will still be able to follow through with their plans given the rough economy.  Here’s hoping that Metreon’s rebirth is just around the corner.

Another jet crash lands in London–all survive.  How many more crashes!?

I just read this great article about the President’s BlackBerry and the security risks associated with its use.  It highlights different ways that spies, with simple equipment, can figure out the President’s real-time location.  Needless to say this would be bad.  However, I have to think that the NSA has thought about all of the possibilities already and are likely issuing new devices to all of the President’s staff at least every other day.  Also, I am sure the President does not roam on foreign network providers with his device.

A Continental flight heading from Newark to Buffalo crashed last night killing 50 people.  Also just before Christmas, a Continental flight had mechanical problems with its landing gear (and possibly the engine) in Denver, Colorado, veered off a runway and injured three dozen passengers.  That’s two crashes in two months for one airline!  I think it is fair to say that the Continental fleet is not being maintained as well as it should.

Gone without any explanation.

Dropped from the show like a bad habit!

I normally don’t comment on American Idol news because there are many more blogs dedicated to analyzing and over-analyzing every aspect of the show.  But I was shocked to find out that one of the contestants that “made it” into the final 36 contestants last night was already disqualified this morning.  Clearly, they could have disqualified crazy-as-bat-shit contestant Tatiana Del Toro before getting rid of this girl.

Joanna Pacitti was disqualified for unknown reasons.  Fans were already clamoring for her downfall because she had a recording contract with Geffen in the past. Many were urging the show to make a rule change to not allow those with previous record contracts on the show.  Well, perhaps they changed the rules but they are not saying.  Hell, her picture and bio are gone from the American Idol website already!

Bottom line, music seems to be a lot like fashion, one moment you are in and then you are out!

I actually know a couple of people that grew up in Stockton, California, and they have no allegiance to the city.  They will be the first people to tell you it sucks and that’s why they now live in San Francisco.  Well, according to Forbes, Stockton is the most miserable city in America right now.  That isn’t easy to do in this economy.

This scary ass graph shows 3.6 million jobs lost in 13 months!

This scary ass graph shows 3.6 million jobs lost in 13 months!

Nancy Pelosi’s blog posted this scary jobs graph that shows what 3.6 million jobs lost in 13 months looks like.  The graph shows the job losses (from the peak job month) for each of the last two recessions as a comparison.  This really shows how much worse it is this time around. Because by all estimates there are more jobs that will be lost before it starts getting better.

This is bad! I cannot believe that there isn’t more public outrage at the Senate Republicans trying to hijack and/or obstruct the stimulus bill approved by the House and remove aid to the states that will help create an additional 600,000 jobs.

A man thought to be using a counterfeit phone and/or battery died last week after his cell phone exploded.  The man had reportedly just charged his phone and placed it in his breast pocket.  Holy crap!  The article gave some helpful hints to avoid a phone explosion as follows:

  • Always use original batteries (and phone)
  • Do not expose phone to high temperatures and sunlight
  • Avoid long phone conversations (likely because phone heats up)

The most shocking part of the story is that this is the 9th time this has happened in China!  Coincidentally, this incident was not reported by U.S. media at all, only by the U.K. press.  I am now only buying my cell batteries at the phone store and not online.  I think there’s a good reason why batteries are less than half the price online–they can explode!

Google Latitude allows you to track where your friends are on your phone (or computer) using Google Maps.  This is great for finding out where your friends are in relation to you pretty much at all times.  And when you don’t feel like being social, you can get a little “latitude” by turning off sharing your location.  It works with the GPS and non-GPS enabled phones using Google’s funky cell tower range approximation method.  Check it out!

Home prices in the Bay Area have lost $202 billion in value this last year. Bay Area home prices also dropped 18 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, which is more than the overall U.S. decline of 11 percent. Only 12 zip codes in the Bay Area gained value. Those rare “appreciating” zip codes are in affluent areas such as Atherton, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, parts of San Francisco, Berkeley and Bodega Bay.

Via xkcd.

Via xkcd.