Thursday, July 31, 2008

Microsoft In Deep

In an effort to promote it's image search engine, Live Search, Microsoft has hired Thin Martian, a British web design firm, to run it's Iconic Britain photo 'contest.' The buzz was big and bold, attracting Nikon as a major sponsor and prize provider, and reeling in actors Brian Blessed and Joanna Lumley as well as a Nikon rep and a media mogul as judges. The 'contest' is now in the first judging stage, culling entries down to 500 before the final 100 Iconic Britain photos are revealed.

Except the photographers may be unaware that they have entered the contest.

Using Live Search, 'entrants' are asked to look for images representative of Britain. Phone boxes, Stonehenge, steak and kidney pies, bad teeth, that sort of thing. Then, when they find one they feel best represents Britain, they are instructed to submit it to IB, where, if they are lucky, they may win a Nikon Coolpix camera, or even a Nikon DSLR! And that's where the whole thing spirals into a fiery crash.

I was made aware of this contest at the last minute, before it closed, entered my name, 'M Styborski' and there were six of my photos, six of my copyrighted photos, from Flickr. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. I have never visited Britain. The returned photos are rather odd for a Brit-centric contest as well. A local DJ, a local bartender, one of the Holy Cross Steamboat houses, A dirt road in Rodney, Mississippi and two shots of Bobby Jindal.

In response to claims of copyright infringement, Microsoft has stated that all images returned through Live Search are in the Public Domain, however look through some Flickr groups and you will find that this is not the case. All of my images are explicitly marked "© 'respective year' M Styborski, All rights reserved." Yet they show up as eligible for the contest. Not only that, but the Banner on my Flickr profile, created by Big Huge Labs specifically for display only on my profile page shows up. It is not my property, it belongs to BHL.

Further insulting is the fact that some cockney git, (and I use that as a term of endearment,) can submit one of my copyrighted works to a contest in which I am not allowed to participate in, even if I was inclined to do so. And win a nice camera. He gets a prize, Microsoft gets page hits and contact info and I get nothing. Nowhere in the rules does it say anything about compensation for the image owner, or copyright holder, but in subsequent correspondence from Microsoft's legal representative, I have been assured that they will arrange licensing rights to any copyrighted materials chosen.

Of course, they also claim that any copyrighted image which the owner does not wish to be included in the contest will be removed from the voting as long as the owner contacts them and sends a Notice of Infringement. What this boils down to is that once the final 100 Iconic Britain shots are chose, Microsoft will contact the copyright holders, (of which there should be none since all images are supposed to be in the public domain,) but if the owners do not want their images used, they will be removed and replacement images chosen. So essentially the final winners will actually be a lot of second and third choices, meaning the contest itself is moot.

As to the many people out there who seem to think that people like me are worried for no reason, (the ones who say, "It's a search engine, if you don't want people looking at your photos, don't post them on the web,") It's not a search engine. The original site had two search boxes; one which returned images with copyright and EXIF data attached and linkbacks to the original host site, and the "Submit" search which retured only images, stripped of EXIF and linkbacks and renamed by another party.

I have no problem with search engines; that's how people find me. But the minute the search engine returns an image that does not credit me, it's a violation of the law, and without a linkback, it violates Flickrs API agreements. Essentially they are using my work to promote their brand without compensation. That is theft, and I will not stand idly by while another of my human rights disappears.

The following is my correspondence to date with JK Weston, Microsoft's lead copyright lawyer:

I have recently found out that some of my copyrighted work has appeared on your Iconic Britain contest website. This amazes me because I have never taken a photo in Britain, much less visited. I understand that Microsoft swears all photos returned in the submission search are in the public domain, but this is not the case. Enclosed, please find a screenshot of the works in question. The Escher print is not mine, but the rest are from my Flickr site. Please contact me at your earliest convenience regarding the immediate deletion of my work from your host servers. thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

M Styborski

Weston's reply:

Dear Mr./Ms. Styborski,

Thank you for your correspondence in relation to this matter.

At Microsoft we take copyright very seriously and endeavour to provide all users of our products with guidance on respecting copyright. However you have informed us that you object to certain of your images being submitted by users and displayed through the competition mechanism and that you do not wish these images to be included in the competition. We appreciate the fact that you have informed us of this situation and want you to be reassured that we will take steps to ensure that each image you have reported to us will not be used again within the competition.

The initial stage of the Iconic Britain competition, in which users submit entries, closes at 1pm on Thursday 31st July, after which we will be compiling all submissions ready for voting prior to the Final 100 reveal on Thursday 14th August. Naturally, we will exclude those images you have notified to us from this voting. Microsoft will obtain the consent of the copyright owner in relation to all images that will be featured on during the Voting and Reveal stages of the competition.

J.K. Weston
Legal and Corporate Affairs
Microsoft Corporation USA

I love the skillful way Mr Weston's form letter completely misses the point. My response:

Perhaps I did not make myself clear. My photos have nothing to do with Britain and I did not expect them to be voted on at all. This is not my concern. While I appreciate the form letter, I have read it before from other photographers whose copyright images have been misused by Microsoft's Iconic Britain contest. At the risk of being repetitious, I again ask that you contact me regarding the deletion of my work from your servers. The filenames do not match those on my Flickr site, which leads me to conclude that the works in question have been downloaded and are being illegally hosted by Microsoft and Iconic Britain. If indeed, Microsoft is not responsible for the hosting, I request that you send me the addresses of the sites which your Live Search engine found my works so I can have them removed from those sites. I know for a fact that one image came directly from my Flickr site, as it is a banner from my Flickr profile, created by Big Huge Labs expressly for my use and it has never been posted anywhere else on the internet.

The fact that Live Search returned only six of my 2,663 images on Flickr leads me to believe that Microsoft or Iconic Britain simply fished for a small sampling of interesting photographs in order to have something for the "entrants" to choose from in a hurried, slapdash attempt to market it's search engine. Otherwise, I think that you may have coding problems. Google returns over 7,000 hits for my search of M Styborski. Regardless, the software is not my concern. The misuse of my work is. I thank you for your time and understanding in the quick resolution of this matter.

Now there are two ways these photos could have been returned in the Live Search search:

1) Microsoft/Iconic Britain/Thin Martian downloaded my images, renamed them and is hosting them without my permission, in which case they are guilty of violating the Flickr API and my copyright.

2) Someone else has posted my photos, stripped of the EXIF data, and Microsoft is simply guilty of having pathetic web gurus who couldn't code a proper If/Then/Goto.

As previously mentioned, the BHL banner seems to point the blame directly at MS/IB/TM since the only place it resides is on my Flickr profile.

Add to this, the fact that according to Pro-imaging, Nikon withdrew all support, including the services of Simon Coleman, General Manager, Imaging Division, Nikon UK Ltd who was to be one of the judges. Nikon says it will still honor it's prize commitments, but that due to overwhelming concerns of copyright violation, it will no longer sponsor the competition.

I still have yet to hear from Thin Martian, the British based web designer, about my images and how they came to be stripped of EXIF data and renamed, but I'll keep you informed when and if I ever hear anything. I have visited their website, and I must say, for a "creative" agency, their site is about one step above some of the more basic 'point-and-click' web design software. Clearly Thin Martian bit off much more than it could chew in this instance. Never send a forty-something design school grad to do a twelve year-old Mac owner's job.

I'm sure that this is just the beginning of the storm. Keep in mind that Microsoft hired lawyers away from the US Copyright Office and set them to fine-tuning the Orphan Works Bill which is designed to strip copyrights from older works whose creators can't be found. (And depending upon individual interpretation, could strip copyrights from almost any Image you have.) I'll keep folks updated as best as I can. Until then, let the photographer beware.

From Pro-Imaging:

Microsoft Corporation Statement

We are grateful to Pro-Imaging for raising its concerns about the use of photographers' works on the Iconic Britain website. Although this was only a short marketing programme, it’s always very important to Microsoft that we respect the intellectual property rights of others. We apologise that we have not lived up to our ordinarily high standards.

We have since taken steps to obtain the rights to use every image to be featured in the subsequent stages of the Iconic Britain competition. We also welcome the invitation by Pro-Imaging to discuss with them best practices when using photographs in similar competitions.

Microsoft Corporation

We have since taken steps to obtain copyright? So, they admit that they didn't care about copyright issues in the first place? Their usual high standards? Similar competitions? They intend to do this again? Amazing, incredibly typical.

I have learned that the Iconic Britain "contest" closed two weeks early. Initially there was speculation that this was due to complaints of photographers around the world, but now the buzz is that someone hacked the website code so that instead of randomly picking a prize winner every hour or so, everyone who submitted a photo won. This supposedly went on for several hours before MS/IB/TM found out and closed the "contest." Microsoft is expected to to send "too bad, you lose" e-mails to anyone who "won" a camera during the last few hours of the "contest."


I have received Microsoft's reply to my last letter:

Dear Mr./Ms. Styborski,

Thank you for contacting Microsoft regarding and for your follow up comments.

Over the past few days, we have heard from numerous photographers and/or copyright owners. We very much appreciate hearing about your concerns and the opportunity to respond to each of you directly.

The site and associated contest was intended to provide an opportunity, via common search practices, to showcase your work and to have users praise your work by voting it into the contest. In no way was it ever our intention to misappropriate your work, misrepresent its source, or to inappropriately trade on it in any way. Microsoft is a significant holder of intellectual property and we do understand the importance of intellectual property and the need to respect its integrity, whether ours or yours. We take that very seriously and we are genuinely sorry the search feature on the "iconic" site did not live up to our high standards. It was a mistake and we accept full responsibility. We never intended to disrespect you, your works and your rights. Please be assured that your works were never distributed or otherwise used commercially, and all of the images resulting from random searches have been removed from the site and are no longer available for display.

As you know, the voting phase of the contest has been closed . The final phase of the contest, which ends August 14, 2008, will contain only fully licensed images for our users to vote on. If you are interested in participating in this phase, we would appreciate the opportunity to engage in such discussions. Time is of the essence in this regard, so please let us know as soon as possible.

Again, we truly regret the outcome caused by the initial phase of this contest. We hope you will accept our sincere apology and allow us an opportunity to regain your trust.


J.K. Weston
Legal and Corporate Affairs
Microsoft Corporation, USA

Form letter? No doubt. Sent by robot? Probably, considering I received it at 8:30 PM, meaning it left London at 2:30 AM. Does it make me feel better? Sort of. While Microsoft accepts responsibility for the search engine not working properly, they maintain that my work was not distributed or used commercially, yet state "and all of the images resulting from random searches have been removed from the site and are no longer available for display." So they did indeed hijack images and store them on the IB site. Where do I go from here? I'll have to ponder this.

For more info on this, here are some sites of interest:
Iconic Britain (no longer searchable)
Thin Martian
Other sites covering the debacle:

Monday, July 21, 2008

For Christ's Sake!

You retards just don't stop, do you? Hot on the heels of my last entry I get another "Pro-Bush" e-mail informing me that "yellow-cake uranium" was found in Iraq and this both vindicates the Bush Administration and proves that Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson were liars. Here is the e-mail:

Christopher Merola
Friday, July 11, 2008
On July 5, 2008, the Associated Press (AP) released a story titled: Secret U.S. mission hauls uranium from Iraq. The opening paragraph is as follows:

The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program – a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium – reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.

See anything wrong with this picture? We have been hearing from the far-left for more than five years how, "Bush lied." Somehow, that slogan loses its credibility now that 550 metric tons of Saddam's yellowcake, used for nuclear weapon enrichment, has been discovered and shipped to Canada for its new use as nuclear energy.
It appears that American troops found the 550 metric tons of uranium in 2003 after invading Iraq. They had to sit on this information and the uranium itself, for fear of terrorists attempting to steal it. It was guarded and kept safe by our military in a 23,000-acre site with large sand beams surrounding the site.
This is vindication for the Bush administration, having been attacked mercilessly by the liberal media and the far-left pundits on the blogosphere. Now that it is proven that President Bush did not lie about Saddam's nuclear ambitions, one would think the mainstream media would report the story? Once the AP released the story, the mainstream media should have picked it up and broadcast it worldwide.
This never happened, due in large part I believe, to the fact that the mainstream media would have to admit they were wrong about Bush's war motives all along. Thankfully, the AP got it right when it said,

The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" – the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment – was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy.

Closing the book on Saddam's nuclear legacy? Did Saddam have a nuclear legacy after all? I thought Bush lied? As it turns out, the people who lied were Joe Wilson and his wife.
Valerie Plame engaged in a clear case of nepotism and convinced the CIA to send her husband on a fact finding mission in February 2002, seeking to determine if Saddam Hussein attempted to buy yellowcake from Niger. The CIA and British intelligence believed Saddam contacted Niger for that purpose but needed proof.
During his trip to Niger, Wilson actually interviewed the former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki. Mayaki told Wilson that in June of 1999, an Iraqi delegation expressed interest in "expanding commercial relations" for the purposes of purchasing yellowcake.
Wilson chose to overlook Mayaki's remarks and reported to the CIA that there was no evidence of Hussein wanting to purchase yellowcake from Niger.
However, with British intelligence insisting the claim was true, President Bush used that same claim in his State of the Union address in January of 2003.
Outraged by Bush's insistence that the claim was true, Wilson wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in the summer of 2003 slamming Bush.
Wilson did this in spite of the fact that Mayaki said Saddam did try to buy the yellowcake from Niger. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence disagreed with Wilson and supported Mayaki's claim. This meant nothing to Wilson who was opposed to the Iraq war and thus had ulterior motives in covering up the prime minister's statements.
It was a simple tactic really. If the far-left and their friends in the media could prove Bush lied about Hussein wanting to purchase yellowcake from Niger, it would undermine President Bush's credibility and give them more cause for asking what other "lies" he may have told.
Yet, the real lie came from Wilson, who interpreted his own meaning from the prime minister's statements and concluded all by himself that the claim of Saddam attempting to purchase yellowcake was "unequivocally wrong." Curiously, the CIA sat on this information and did not inform the CIA Director, who sided with Bush on the yellowcake claim. This was made public in a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report in July 2004.
Valerie Plame also engaged in her own lie campaign by spreading the notion that the Bush administration "outed" her as a CIA agent. Never mind that it was Richard Armitage -- no friend of the Bush administration -- who leaked Plame's identity to the press. Never mind that Plame had not been in the field as a CIA agent in some six years.
The truth is, due to their opposition to the war, Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame, the mainstream media and their left-wing friends on the blogosphere engaged in a propaganda campaign to undermine the Bush administration. Now that Saddam's uranium has been made public and is no longer a threat to the world, do you think these aforementioned parties will apologize and admit they were wrong? Don't count on it. The rest of the American people should hear the truth about Saddam's uranium. It is up to you and me to inform them every chance we get.
As far as the anti-war crowd is concerned, the next time they say that,
"Bush lied," we should tell them to, "Have the yellowcake and eat it too."

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

Here's the deal, kids: Yes, over 500 tons of YCU was found in Iraq. As a matter of fact, it was found by UN weapons inspectors prior to 1991! It was documented, stored and legally possessed by Iraq according to international laws. This has nothing to do with Bush's supposed WMD's or Plame, or Wilson, or Nigeria. It is not weapons grade uranium.

The YCU has been moved to Montreal where it will be used to produce nuclear power. What I'd like to know is, why all the secrecy? Could it be that the Bush Administration didn't want the world to know what deal was made with Canada to obtain the YCU? Where does the money go? And how much of our tax dollars were spent moving an energy source that will not benefit Americans? Who profits here?

I'll tell you who: The Salem Web Network.

They are arguably the world's largest "faith-based" internet company and are owned by Salem Communications, the fifth largest radio network in the U.S., following Clear Channel, Cumulus, Citadel and CBS. For my money, I would disregard anything remotely called "news" from these people as the primary goal of SWN is to, "replicate Salem's leadership position in radio in the digital world."


Not save souls. Not promote peace and understanding. Not enrich the lives of human beings throughout God's universe. Just to become a huge self-serving conglomerate by any means necessary. I've read Dante's Inferno folks, and I know exactly where the good folks at Salem will be hanging out. There's plenty of space in the 8th Circle for people like this, and the sooner they get there, the better off we'll all be.

Look At That Big Distracting Thing Over There!

Recently, Republican spin doctors have been sending out cute little e-mails regarding the warmongering nature of the Democratic Party, citing that the last four major wars America has been involved in and the fact that there were Democrats sitting in the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This is an interesting smear campaign, and one that is a perfect lesson in misdirection.

The spin goes something like this:

U.S. Presidents taking us to WAR
A historical review
(In case you thought that
Republicans were the warmongers)

World War I - 1917: 116,708 KIA
Woodrow Wilson - DEMOCRAT

World War II - 19141: 408,306 KIA
Franklin D Roosevelt - DEMOCRAT

Korean War - 1950: 54,246 KIA
Harry S Truman - DEMOCRAT

Vietnam War - 1965: 58,159 KIA
Lyndon B Johnson - DEMOCRAT

Wow! That's pretty damning evidence there! Can't argue with facts, huh? Especially when the facts aren't even present in the equation. For all you denser kids out there let me drop some truth on ya...

World War I - Woodrow Wilson won his 1916 presidential election by promising to keep us out of the war, which started in 1914. It was only in 1917, two years and eight months later, that a captured telegram from Germany to Mexico, inviting our southern neighbors to invade us, that Wilson regrettably entered our country in the war. Time from entry until vitory: One year and seven months.

World War II - True, Roosevelt took America into our second global conflict. What's missing here is that it was after the Japanese sucker punched us in Hawaii, a full two years and two months after the conflict started. If anything, FDR waited too long to enter the war. Time from entry until vitory: Three years and eight months.

Korea - Our entrance into Korea was not designed by Harry Truman. We were already there and we were fired on first. The initial role of U.S. Troops was as observers and peace keepers, but due to tension of the Cold War, support of North Korea by the USSR, and constant attacks on our personnel, we had little choice but to defend ourselves and escalation was only a matter of time. From our entrance to the stalemate: Three Years.

Vietnam - Begun in 1959, U.S. troops were largely kept out of Vietnam until 1965 when we entered the conflict officially. By this time, the face of war had changed drastically. No longer could we send in troops, hand the enemy an ass-whooping, and walk out. Vietnam dragged on for eight years before we began pulling our troops out in large numbers; the first time we ever staged a withdrawal without a full victory, thanks to Republican Richard M Nixon. I don't fault him or the Republican party though. We were clearly in an untenable situation and retreat was the only vialble option.

In all four cases, U.S. involvement was provoked and began as defense of either our own lands or the lands of our allies who were being slaughtered by aggressive tyrants bent on domination by subjugation. Compare this to the current Iraq conflict, the only war started by America other than our own internal conflict, the Civil War, (unless you count that Manifest Destiny bullshit where we slaughtered American Indians, stole their land and wrapped it up in a bow to ease our own conscience,) instigated by Republicans, fueled by Republican fear-mongering and outright lies, and kept alive by Republicans continually changing the conditions for victory. But that statement isn't really fair; there are Republicans out there who are against the war and had nothing to do with it in the first place.

The real blame lies squarely at the feet of President George W Bush. True, he's not smart enough to have concocted the war on his own, he had plenty of people to do that for him; Libby, Wolfowitz and Cheney to name the major players, but as President, he should have had the balls to stare them down and do what was right and decent for this country and for the world. He had the power to stop it. He had the power to make sure our forces were aimed at the right targets. He failed. Miserably.

So here we are, five years later, mired in a losing battle and there are people out there e-mailing bullshit in order to make the current administration look better. While I don't begrudge them the right to try, (I still respect freedom of speech, unlike the current administration,) I do take umbrage at the cavalier disregard of facts, especially when our family members are half a world away taking bullets for oil. Oh yes, the oil! Did you ever wonder how we managed to win two World Wars with less technology and money than we presently have and in less time than the current war has been going on? Think about it. And when you're done thinking, do something about it.

This has been a Public Service Rant form the Nation of Morons. We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast day.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Welcome To The Nation, Orleans Parish Voters!

You have just been scammed by the Orleans Parish School Board, once again. Todays' millage renewal vote, which is on track to pass with 80% of the vote, will continue to do absolutely nothing to educate your children. The $32 million renewal will supposedly give $18 million to teachers, (not a raise, but it stops a possible pay cut,) and $4 million for books and supplies. The rest of the money goes for vaguely defined programs such as "safety concerns" and "student retention."

The OPSB swears that this money is needed to finance school repairs, avoid teacher pay cuts and educate children. There are a few problems. There are less schools in Orleans now than there were Pre-Katrina. This means less teachers and less students, so why do they still need this much money? Whatever they were doing with this money before was obviously ineffective as evidenced by the state of the Orleans school system, so why continue the funding. Also, if the millages failed to pass, teacher pay would remain unaffected! It would be up to the House and Senate to decide on a pay cut and there is virtually no way they would dare to even suggest that after the recent SB 672 fiasco. And regarding the claim that the money will be used to fix our broken down school buildings...? They've been getting this money for twenty years and the buildings just get worse.

Now before you start pelting me with rotten apples, I agree that we need to fund our schools, but this vote was based on misdirection and scare tactics. The Katrina damage is covered by federal and state money. Whether this money is sitting in banks waiting to be spent or tied up in red tape, I don't know, but we don't need the millage for this. As for the threat of teacher pay cuts, why not take the millions of dollars being given out as school vouchers and use that? The more children pulled out of public schools, the less effective they become. Next year, the voucher program will be pointed to as a great success, it will be expanded, more children will leave public schools and the remaining children will be pointed to as examples of an anemic, broken educational system in need of more funding, which you will of course run to the polls to vote for. It's a scam, people. Open your eyes.

By the way, this post is only directed toward the less than 10% of you who bothered to vote. I won't even acknowledge the 90% of you who were too busy sleeping in to get off your fat, lazy asses to vote.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Holidays (In July!)

After some searching, I managed to dig up one of the funniest holiday songs ever made. It's from a short-lived HBO series called "Hardcore TV" and I hope you enjoy it!

Hardcore TV - The Dreidle Song (Happy Hanukkah!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This Could Work...

Unverified, but still... it's worth thinking about.

(Actual letter from an Iowa resident and sent to his senator)

The Honorable Tom Harkin
731 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC , 20510 Phone (202)224-3254

Dear Senator Harkin,

As a native Iowan and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stems from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.

Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year.

Another benefit in gaining illegal status is that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as 'in-state' tuition rates for many colleges throughout the United States for my son.

Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car.

If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you for your assistance.

Your Loyal Constituent, Donald Ruppert Burlington , IA

Get your Forms NOW!! Call your Internal Revenue Service at

Thanks for forwarding, JAUG!

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Day Just Gets Better

Longtime senator and hate-monger Jesse Helms has finally died. Good riddance to bad rubbish. I don't know the details, nor do I care, it's just reassuring to know that evil people eventually die too.

It's Official!

Joey Chestnut wins the celebrated Nathan's Famous Mustard Belt for the second year in a row! Faced with the challenge of proving last years win was no fluke, Chestnut stepped up to the plate and downed 59 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Yes, ten minutes, the original time limit has returned. But it wasn't easy as former 6-time champion Takeru Kobayashi "tied" the 59-pup mark as time ran out. I place "tied" in quotations as anyone who witnessed the event can tell you, Kobayashi still had bun in his hands which he was allowed to finish as time ran out.


The rules clearly state that if it's in your mouth as time runs out it counts; if it comes out, it doesn't. But I guess after trying to eat his own vomit from his hands last year this was small potatoes. So there we stood, watching the first ever Nathan's Famous "tie."

It was a short 5-pup Dog Off and in less than a minute-and-a-half Joey Chestnut had proven himself as the world's champion once again. The fireworks rang out, eagles soared overhead, red, white and blue banners unfurled, and trumpets bleated out 'God Bless America!' The Mustard Belt remained here in these United States where it's suposed to be.

God bless Joey Chestnut, God bless hot-dogs and God bless America!