This awesome clip from the Arrested Development Season 2 DVD set is profane and right on the money. Check it out on IFILM.
If MILFs are more your speed, there's also a sexy (but strange) 2004 Martini commercial with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
This awesome clip from the Arrested Development Season 2 DVD set is profane and right on the money. Check it out on IFILM.
"If all the science comes in, and global warming is proven to be true, how will you hold Saddam responsible?"
If you missed Triumph the Insult Comic Dog interviewing four Republican congressmen on the very funny Earth to America special, you owe it to yourself to watch it. They've got it posted at onegoodmove.org. It is amazing.
You will laugh and gape and you will wonder who is more clueless: the congressmen, or the handlers who allowed them to be interviewed by Triumph. Either way, it's awesome and scary.
And if, after watching, you decide you'd rather side with Triumph and the Earth than with the forces of Evil, you can go to www.stopglobalwarming.org and join the Virtual March. They don't want your money, just your voice.
My friend Jennifer sent me an article from the New York Times (from which comes the photo above) about a controversy raging in the world of competitive chess.
Yes, it's true: controversy apparently does occasionally rage in the world of competitive chess. Who knew?
(I wonder if when people in chess argue, one person says something, then he hits that clock thing, then the other person says something, then he hits that clock thing, and so on?)
Anyway, apparently there is a new breed of chess players drawing crowds in tournaments all over the worlds. They are models, who are being criticized for using their beauty to get ahead, for being too attractive or distracting to participate, or for being bad for the game.
The article was very educational. What I learned from the article, and from the accompanying pictures, and from Googling the other women mentioned, is that in the world of chess, words like "beauty" and "attractive" and "distracting" have very different meanings than they do to you and me.
From the other day, Classic Oprah:
So, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, she's going to help all these Katrina victims build new houses, and then they all took buses to where their new houses were going to be built, so she could show them their neighborhood (on, of course, "Angel Lane"... presumably because "Gayle Drive" would be unseemly).
Okay, fine, that's nice.
So then she points to a big floor plan on an easel and says to them (I swear), "This is called a floor plan."
Really, Oprah? Tell me more about your world!
Later in the same show, which also was about party-planning (don't ask, there's never a theme to these things), she actually asked the audience (I swear), "Do you all throw parties?"
They answered yes.
She would probably be surprised to learn they also use cutlery and wash themselves.
So now Alias is cancelled, and rather unceremoniously, too.
The network slipped out the word that it would end its run in May, almost as if the news were micro-encoded in some kind of encrypted lipstick transmitter slipped into a holographic keypad in the laser-protected safe of a high security facility in the basement of a rave in Prague.
Or, more accurately, the network announced it in a press release flung out on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving (which all West Wing fans know is "Take Out The Trash Day"). Oh, well.
First Arrested Development, now Alias. If West Wing goes, too, I can only ask if network television is trying to chase me away.
Friday, November 25, 2005
One of my favorite desktop views is actually a website, and an incredibly busy one at that. It's a view of the news of the world, weighted and conceptualized and ever-changing.
It's called Newsmap, and it takes Google News and "squarifies" it, giving more heavily-covered stories bigger squares. Hover over the squares to find out more info; click on them to read more.
It's as if Mondrian had a blog.
When I asked the gentleman who does my landscaping to put some path lights in, I'm glad he was nice enough to do it. But why would he think I'd want disco colors? Do I send out a "disco color" vibe? I'm freaking out!
Now don't you think they're happy they waited to have sex?
[There is a knock on the door]
FREE SPIRIT: Who is it?
LANDLORD: The landlord. Um, listen, could you not throw flaming trash off the terrace?
FREE SPIRIT: But we were celebrating life and love.
LANDLORD: Yeah, well, someone has to clean up your "celebration." Namely me. Celebrate inside. And not by running up the beams and doing flips. Which by the way, I can hear you doing all night.
FREE SPIRIT: Oh. Sorry.
LANDLORD: While I got you, you realize you haven't paid your rent in a year. Do you know how many minutes that is?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Okay, so remember a couple of weeks ago, when Donald Trump made his infamous gay/straight analogy? About how some guys are guy, some guys are straight, "That's why they have menus in restaurants. I like steak, somebody else likes spaghetti."
It was odd and people were sort of skeeved out.
But it's been nagging at me ever since. I've heard it before.
And tonight during the Apprentice clip show I finally remembered where.
It was in the restored version of Spartacus, in the bath scene with Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis, when Olivier (I think it was actually Anthony Hopkins dubbing for him) says that some people like snails, some people like oysters, and he happens to like both, implying that he is bi (all for the benefit of glistening young Tony).
(Which actually then made me think of Clay giving Donald a bath, so I put the whole thing out of my mind and looked at the Jessica Simpson pictures again.)
One hour and forty minutes in:
The passengers have actually been able to email for help.
That's right. They emailed for help.
Also, all kinds of British and American Naval and Intelligence types are completely aware of their plight and are sending rescue teams, including Navy Seals!
Sooooo... why is there still over an hour left? In the original movie, we never left the ship.
In this one, we are always flitting from one "situation room" to another. Why did they take such a good, simple, exciting yarn and ruin it with "storytelling skills"?
To quote The Joker, this town needs an enema.
I personally thought Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson deftly and graciously avoided holding their marriage up as an example of perfection, so I'm dismayed to see the unseemly schadenfreude the media are showing in reporting their separation. Well, what are ya gonna do?
Anyway, instead of dwelling on the sadness of any marriage ending, I'll just wish them -- and you -- a very happy Thanksgiving, and take the rest of the day to celebrate and give thanks for Hotness... our most precious natural resource.
If you get time somewhere between the turkey and the shopping, you can literally find time to make a miracle happen: you can donate blood.
I know, it sounds sappy -- and we'll get back to the gadgets and girls soon, I promise -- but it really is true: it takes so little time, no effort, and it literally saves lives.
I was just told that at Cedars- Sinai here in Los Angeles (as at many facilities) there is a desperate need for blood. When a crisis happens, it's too late; the blood needs to be in reserve in advance; unfortunately, the blood "spoils" after 42 days so there's a constant need for new supplies.
Sadly, in Southern California, where usage is high, only 2% of the population donates blood. (The national average is 5%... not exactly bragging rights.) Meanwhile, 90% of us will need a transfusion in our lifetime. Let's hope it's there. And no, there is no "synthetic" substitute for human blood. Ask Spike.
If you can, please donate blood, and do it now, don't put it off.
If you live in the L.A. area, Cedars is in dire need, and they could really use your help on Friday, Saturday, or any day next week that's convenient for you. It takes no time at all, and your smug feeling of having done a good deed will last for days.
Call 310-423-2637 or 310-423-5346 to make an appointment or go to http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/1756.html for more info.
They even give you juice and cookies. I mean, come on... juice and cookies!
Some Black Friday deals are actually already available online, and the savings are substantial. A list of online bargains you can already get at WalMart, Sears, ToysRUs, Circuit City, CompUSA, Target, RadioShack, EBGames, and Best Buy (Seinfeld and 24 box sets $19.99??) are available at blackfriday.gottadeal.com.
At Digg, pdenton was nice enough to pore through all the Black Friday circulars and list the best deals on computer and gaming gear available tomorrow. If you are baffled by what's a good price, say, on a monitor, PS2, hard drive or router, this is the place to go. Check it out, and you'll look like a genius on Saturday.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Three thoughts that ran through my mind while watching the cast of Seinfeld on Live! With Regis & Kelly this morning:
1. It was nice to visit with them again.
2. I don't think this episode was "Live!"
3. Kelly's new hairdo makes her look mad, sick, crazy hot.
One of the many reasons I love the show Call For Help is because of the new people and ideas I get exposed to. For example, it was on Call For Help that I first saw Mike Hogue and his clever flash-animated Jinx the Black Cat.
What makes Mike so great is that he generously draws back the curtain on his talent and shares the secrets of Flash in his Call for Help appearances. He truly inspires you and makes it look easy... even if you know deep down the amount of skill and talent he brings to breathing life into Jinx.
And I even just bought some suitable-for-framing Jinx for my wall, to keep the inspiration going even when my computer is off.
Anyway, do check out Jinx, and if your cable or satellite has G4 -- the awful channel that sprang up where TechTV used to be -- set your TiVo for Call For Help. I guarantee if you watch a couple of episodes you'll learn something that will make you smarter.
The Pussy Wagon!
(or at least a Pussy Wagon)
... and I love Plushpod, the modern furniture and design store. But I do not love my cats or Plushpod enough to order The Cat Cocoon, a $279 cardboard playhouse/scratching post. No matter how cool it looks.
However, I do encourage you to check out the many amazing things Plushpod has to offer, either online or at the store. And if you go there it's so close to Toast, there's no excuse not to stop by for some soup and coffee.
When you read that the networks are mad at TiVo for letting people download their programs to handhelds like the PSP and iPod, and then you check the TiVo website and see they've always been able to download to less-popular models like the Zen, Iriver and Yepp ("Yepp?")... well, it's just not nice.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
As Thanksgiving nears, I thought I'd take a moment, and list just a few of the things I'm thankful for this holiday season:
That those who despise our American way of life and would love nothing more than to see it destroyed are content to stay home in Paris and do nothing.
That airliners aren't fueled by the Power of Positive Thinking.
That the dinosaurs are extinct, because these days we barely have room for Hummers.
That it's customary to fuck women in the vagina, and not men in the ear
That the authors who wrote all that boring shit they made me read in high school are dead.
That the teachers who made me read all that boring shit in high school are dead.
That there is a side of the world where hippos can bite you in half, lions chase you up trees, and you have to hit yourself with a bunch of branches all day to chase the flies away... and I live on the other side.
That they limit eligibility for the Miss Universe pageant to Earthlings.
That our skeletons are on the inside.
That love at first sight doesn't happen all the time.
That I will never, ever risk being stuck on a ship with any of those losers in the Royal Caribbean commercials.
That so far the Housewives are not so desperate that they wire themselves with dynamite and commandeer a city bus. So far.
That phone sex does not literally mean what it sounds like.
That while it is a small world after all, it's still large enough so that my house is sufficiently far from Disneyland so I can't hear that "It's a Small World" song over and over all day and night.
That although there is a Lou Gehrig's Disease and an Alzheimer's Disease, fortunately there is not a Markowitz Ass-plosion Syndrome.
That the dead stay dead, and do not walk around slowly eating our brains like in movies. That would suck.
That I don't live in one of those cities where effigy-burning spontaneously breaks out.
That the spam I get in my computer is not literally Spam.
That while bear-baiting became a common practice, bear-masturbating never did.
That I don't own a company that makes carbon paper.
That Pompeii threw itself on the volcano grenade for the rest of us.
That there really is such a thing as sewers and septic tanks, and they're not a hoax, and someone didn't just dig big holes under our houses that have been slowly filling up with shit all this time.
If James Joyce talked like he wrote, that he did not live next door to me, because I would always have to rush from my car to my house muttering, "Oh, shit... Here comes Joyce!"
That fetuses are not human beings, because if they were they would count in the Nielsen ratings, and I'm fairly sure they would all watch UPN.
That I have never been "void where prohibited." Nothing could be worse.
That George W. Bush is the President, instead of my pharmacist, because I really need my pharmacist to be smart and good at his job
Back in the day, there used to be a program called Konfabulator. Very inexpensive, ran on both Windows and Mac, and it ran these unbelievably handy and easy-to-design little programs called Widgets. Anyone could design them, even with no programming ability, and soon the web was flooded with useful examples. Literally: think of something you wish your computer could do, and SOMEONE invented a Widget that did it.
Then Apple came out with Dashboard, which also had Widgets. Same thing -- thousands of awesome examples cropped up -- but a little less useful because you had to invoke them with the F12 key, and then dismiss them when you wanted to use your computer again.
Then along came a cool tool called Amnesty, which let you free Widgets from the Dashboard and put them on the desktop. Free to try, $19.95 to keep. Very cool.
But remember Konfabulator? Well, they're still around and a few months ago Yahoo bought them and now it's free for everyone. (Don't you love when huge corporations do the right thing?)
Whether you have Mac or Windows, you can now have Widgets on your desktop where God intended them to be. You can have something as useful as an iTunes remote or a volume control or a battery meter to something as fun as a live Venice, Italy webcam or the talking Stewie Griffin and Ron Burgundy Widgets I have.
Download Konfabulator free at http://www.konfabulator.com/download and then peruse the dizzying array of thousands of Widgets you have to choose from. Even try designing your own.
So I've told you before about Google's price comparison site, Froogle, which is my first stop for all my price comparison needs.
Well, as of today, looks like Froogle has added Froogle Local, for those who still like real-world shopping. Just put in the zip code where you're shopping, and what you'll be shopping for, and you get a list of stores and prices, along with a map with coded pushpins. That's going to be a huge timesaver for those crazy enough to be out shopping this weekend.
And for those of you even crazier -- in other words, those of you who are driving around trying to buy an Xbox 360 today -- check out the ingenious Best Buy Inventory Locator, a Google Map hack that lets you plug in your zip code and then shows you the nearest Best Buys and -- in theory -- how many Xbox 360's they've got in stock. I suspect the data is only as accurate as Best Buy's willingness to disclose their inventory, so I would take it with a shaker of salt. Still, it's cool and fun, and that's what we're all about here.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Dudes, if you're not watching Surface you are missing the most stupefying show on TV.
And tonight, with "Dr. Gaspy McJuggs" and "Cletus the Wild Eyed Yokel" trapped with no oxygen in the homemade submersible -- and who could have predicted that plan would go wrong? -- it was a Ham-Off Royale. (with cheese) Fortunately they were able to survive by chewing on scenery.
Score one for Donald.
To quote from the November 18th Media Life:
"Unlike the past two seasons, Trump’s “Apprentice” is actually starting to build as the season finale nears. Last night “Apprentice” tied its second-best overnight rating of the season among adults 18-49, a 4.9. It came airing opposite the much-hyped conclusion of a two-part “CSI” episode on CBS.
"That’s up 4 percent over his 4.7 season-to-date average. More impressive, the show was up 7 percent over the 4.6 average for the first four weeks of the season."
Digg cites an eweek item about a new and nasty security flaw in Internet Explorer that puts "millions of Web surfers at risk of computer hijack attacks."
Broken record warning: If you won't get a Mac, please at least start using Firefox instead of IE.
iTunes now sells more music than Tower or Borders, and in a brief but brilliant item, Techdirt puts the news in perspective, in a way that the media are likely to miss.
As Techdirt points out, iTunes sells music as a loss leader to move iPods, just as the top three music retailers (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target) also use music as a loss leader. "The recording industry hates to admit this, but their products are best served being promotional goods for other offerings. Recognizing that fact certainly would open up plenty of new business models -- but the industry can't seem to let go of the idea that they can get a premium for music alone."
In other words, everyone likes to make money off the razors, but that means someone has to admit he's making the blades.
The New York Times today has an article about the genesis of a new ad campaign from the Ocean Spray cranberry growers co-op. I don't know if you've seen these ads, showing two guys standing waist deep in a bog full of cranberries.
To quote the article, "The unspoken, implied message the actors deliver: Because cranberries come straight from the bog, they are fresh, natural, authentic, the real deal."
To the creative director of the campaign, it was about “being more true to the brand... There’s something unique about a bog, a sea of red berries."
To Ocean Spray's COO, it was about being "the only ones who can say ‘Straight from the bog.’ The image is that no one else can do what we do.”
For me it was about wanting to vomit the minute I saw the ad.
I thought cranberries grew on bushes or trees, like normal fruit!
Cranberries come from a bog??!
Are you shitting me??!
Like in standing water??! Like a swamp??! With leeches and mosquitoes and malaria and those squid from Invasion?!
And what's worse, these assholes just stand around in the bog, bullshitting?! In their hip waders? That they wore to walk through mud and dog shit and spat-out-chaw to get to the alien-squid-disease-infested bog??!
And you know if one of them has to fart or piss, he doesn't say, "Oh, excuse me, guys, I'm gonna have to knock off for a bit, I'll be right back." No way.
He does it right there, in the cranberries!!
Hey, I don't know about you, but that is not the wave I crave.
Trio -- home of pop culture programming, Brilliant But Cancelled series, and classic Letterman -- always seemed like the channel I was born to watch.
I have been miserable because by the time I finally got DirecTV, they no longer offered Trio. The channel's obituary had been written. I feared Trio would die without my ever getting a chance to bathe in its glow.
Now, according to AdAge, NBC/Uni has announced that they will make it available as a broadband offering. YAY!
Now if they can just promise not to make it Windows only (like Comedy Central and MTV, sadly, did) they will continue to be my newest and bestest friends.
From Techie Diva comes news that fellow game-freaks the Barenaked Ladies' newest music, videos and content will be released on a 128MB USB thumbdrive tomorrow. (Available at Werkshop.com.)
The thumbdrive is PC/Mac compatible, and is reusable, which makes the $29.98 price fair and reasonable, considering you also get a Barenaked Ladies album.
Okay, actually it's not an album... and it's not a CD... and I refuse to say "joint." We'll need to come up with a new word for these things someday.
I've been using the TiVo ToGo software off-and-on since the day it was available. It's a little kludgy, and it doesn't always work effortlessly, but when it does, it's a dream:
You have a show recorded on your TiVo? Fire up your laptop, download it wirelessly (that takes a while), and watch it on your computer or burn it to a DVD. That also takes a while, and you're stuck with the buggy software they're partnered with. Still, it's a nice, inexpensive feature.
Now comes news (I got it from AdAge) that TiVo is adding the ability to move your shows to your iPod. Cool.
Now a couple of caveats: so far the TiVo ToGo software is Windows only (arrgghhh!)... here's hoping they eventually fix that. (Since I moved 90% of my life to Macs I can't use TiVo ToGo at all.)
Meanwhile, here's what may be obvious to most of you but many others of you may be unaware of: you already own something that probably does the above beautifully, if not wirelessly.
Just hook up the AV input on your camcorder to the second set of outputs on the TiVo (the ones for VCR dubbing) and record the show on your camcorder. Once that's done, you can plug your camcorder into your computer and edit, burn, or whatever as you normally would, to watch anywhere you like at your convenience. Until they ruin that.
Speaking of which, NBC/Universal has become the first broadcaster to make a deal for peer-to-peer distribution of its content. Wow, huh? Don't get excited. The deal calls for downloaded films and TV shows to be viewable for (you knew this was coming didn't you?) 24 hours only.
Oh, but here's the good part: You can still keep the file on your computer for 30 days, so others can download it from you.
Gee, can I?
When will they learn? Remember Circuit City's disastrous Divx format? Where your DVD player called in to tell them how long it'd been since you started playing that particular DVD so Circuit City could decide whether you were still allowed to play it or not? That got a giant "fuck you" from the public, and rightly so.
I don't subscribe to any music service that applies similar restrictions. Once something is on my computer, it's mine. I don't want it phoning home, I don't want it checking what I do, and if it's ever going to tell me "no" then it's not invited in. End of story.
From radio to the Walkman to the iPod to PVR's and beyond, we want our media to be free. We want our media to be mobile. We want to take our media with us, to listen or watch at our convenience, where and when we like. Tech manufacturers and content providers should be working every day to help us do that, because (as torrents prove) we have whole generations coming that will do it whether they get help or not.
So I find out there's this movie, Brokeback Mountain, that has a controversial gay sex storyline, and it stars Anne Hathaway, Linda Cardellini, and Anna Faris.
Psyched, right? Mikey likey!
Then I find out the gay sex is -- get this -- between Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal! WTF?!
Consider my congressman written to.
As you might have guessed, I have a lot of stuff that plugs in. Jigawatts of stuff.
And I hate power strip surge protectors, because they're fugly, and those big-brick transformer plugs all bump into one another.
The best solution used to be the Power Strip Liberator from Cyberguys, essentially a 14-inch extension cord that gets the bricks out of the way. It's still handy to keep a few of these on hand for quick and dirty solutions. (They also come in Y-splitter... very useful.)
But then came the Power Squid
An inexpensive surge protector in an octopus shape, it's the answer to a tech-lover's prayers. I have them everywhere.
(One quibble: Though the manufacturer says they're available in all sorts of colors, I've only been able to find them online in utilitarian black-and-yellow. However, according to ExtremeTech, there's a schmancy version with new features coming in Q1 of 2006.)
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Apparently the long trip to China made a reporter forget that Bush doesn't answer follow-up questions. So the reporter asked one. The President didn't want to answer.
Holding his breath until he turns blue not being an option (China being low-stocked on pretzels) the President chose an even more petulant means of avoiding doing something he didn't want to do:
He turned and headed for the nearest door.
Which was, unfortunately, locked.
Or, fortunately, I think... but that's only because it put me in mind of Captain Parmenter from F Troop.
After tugging on the door handles and wondering why they didn't work (insert your "Made in China" joke here), the Leader of the Free World was pointed to an open door, so he could relax and once again avoid speaking to anyone who challenges him.
For a glorious few minutes, it looked like something might actually happen on Desperate Housewives. False alarm.
Elsewhere tonight on TV, 60 Minutes had reports that online gambling is very popular, as is U2. Also, apparently Lindbergh landed.
I haven't seen it yet, and I realize that The Poseidon Adventure is probably awful, but trust me: It is stored on my TiVo with a giant green Don't-You-Dare-Delete-This dot.
And I get why some people have been disappointed with some of this season's episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I thought tonight's was soda-out-the-nose funny.
Remember the Other Day When I Wrote How the Media Love to Needlessly Scare You With Far-Fetched Dangers They Pull Out of Their Asses?
Actual news promo on TV in Los Angeles tonight:
VO: Monday on the Channel 4 News at Eleven: Millions of us ride them every day.
shots of gashed legs
WOMAN #1: People said they heard me screaming all the way down
VO: Where you work, where you shop, where you live... But just how safe are they? And who's checking?
shots of gashed arms, gaping wounds
WOMAN #2: It was violent. It was very violent.
VO; Think it can't happen to you? Watch what happens when Joel Grover starts asking questions about elevator safety.
JOEL GROVER [to inspector evading him]: We are rolling now, and I'm telling you-- I'd like to finish this interview!
VO: Ride at your own... ELEVATED RISK. Monday only on the Channel 4 News at Eleven.
Immediately followed by a different promo:
ANCHOR: Is a perfect smile worth it? Cosmetic dentistry nightmares... at Eleven.