Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Perfect iPod Case

When it comes to iPod cases, I sound like a gypsy in a Richard Bachman novel: "Thinner!"

Well, I've found the ultimate case: It's called The Invisible Shield, and it's transparent and only .008 inches thick. It's a clear adhesive skin originally designed to protect helicopter blades, and it's amazingly strong and truly invisible.

You obviously have to apply it with care, but you can lift and reapply if you make a mistake. I managed to get it installed without any air bubbles in less than fifteen minutes (you then let it set and shrink-to-fit for 24 hours).

When you're done, you have the perfect case: one that protects your iPod without hiding its beauty or adding to its bulk.

First the Drive-Through Starbucks...

...and now my Xbox 360 came. This is the best Christmas ever.

What Kicks Ass?

Butch Walker's hilarious new EP Cover Me Badd. It's available only on iTunes.

Batoen!

It's almost as if the creativity of Japanese children has been combined with the disobedience of American children to create Batoen, or battle pencils. Boing Boing reports that Batoen pencils are standard hexagonal pencils that you roll, and then you score based on which face lands up. Sort of like dice, but with pencils. Genius.

And of course, since this is Japan we're talking about, this simple game -- probably meant to let kids get around prohibitions on game equipment in schools -- has spawned a giant industry of accessories and adornments for the pencils.

Look for pencil-rolling to come to the U.S. as soon as savvy marketers can bring it here. Then look for the inevitable campaign from Hillary Clinton and Joseph Lieberman for a Federal ban on pencils.

What?! The Media Made Something Up???

So Bill O' Reilly runs a year-old clip from The Daily Show and tells his viewers it's new. And we now know that, despite media reports to the contrary, no one was murdered in the Superdome and no snipers fired at rescue workers during the Katrina disaster.

And then we found out that the whole Cyber Monday thing was a completely made up term for the busiest online shopping day of the year (the Monday after Thanksgiving).

Now, as Techdirt reports, turns out that's probably not the busiest day of the year at all. And yet we all saw the wall-to-wall media coverage of the Big Day.

The few times I've been quoted or mentioned in a newspaper, it's been 100% wrong or made-up. And when it comes to subjects I know about personally, I've never seen them accurately reported in the media.

Try it sometime: Google something you know really well, and read the news articles about it. You'll see they miss really important things. Sometimes small things. Sometimes big things.

So why do we ever believe them about anything else?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Paramount Buys Dreamworks SKG for $1.6 Billion

Dreamworks Should've Asked Me still very much available.

LETSCATCHFISHALLDAYTHENTHROWTHEMAWAY


That's what the Morse Code apparently says at the bottom of the picture of the two army men at www.bigspaceship1.com, the strangest (and apparently at times, most disturbing) of the
Lost viral websites.

Oh, trust me, I don't know any Morse Code, I just Googled the answer... and also found out that this site just might change to other odd images
every 108 minutes. I can't wait that long.

If you can't wait until January's new episodes for your next dose of
Lost, here's how to get a sneak peek... but it's really sneaky. Just go to www.oceanicflight815.com and click on the bar code at the bottom. When it asks for your code, enter theislandiswaiting and you will get a page of the script for the next episode. Just don't tell me what it says!

And, of course, if you haven't already, check out Oceanic Air, The Hanso Foundation, and (the unofficial) Mr. Cluck's. And the Lost Numbers Blog.

By the time you finish it should be January and time for new episodes.


How To Get To Talk To a Human

Courtesy of The Today Show, here is a link to Paul English's IVR Cheat Sheet, an amazing resource of secret codes for immediately bypassing all the voice menus when you call customer service and getting right to a human being.

My trick was always to simply press absolutely nothing, so they assume you need help and jump on the line... but this is MUCH better.

Max Your TiVo... Or Have An Expert Do It For You

Continuing my quest to help you make it a merry, techy Christmas:

One of the greatest resources out there is Weaknees.com.

If you don't know about Weaknees, and you love your TiVo, you're in for a treat. What they do is install new, gigantic hard drives in your TiVo so you can go from having 40 or 60 hours to having 700 or 900 hours!

It's insane. And I love it. I've done one level of Weaknees'ing or another to all my TiVos.

You can buy your TiVo from Weaknees already upgraded, you can buy an upgrade kit, or you can arrange to ship your present unit to them for upgrading. They treat it with TLC, and they send you constant updates on the process right up to when they rush it back to you, all souped up. Outstanding customer service; I can't rave about them enough.

Q: When is it Okay To Brag About Ignorance?

A: When it's about tech

How many times have you seen it on TV? The host or anchor who proudly proclaims, halfway through a segment on the hottest Xmas gadgets, "It's all too confusing!" Or "I don't understand any of these things!"

(You never hear an interviewer, halfway through a book segment, brag, "Hey, it's all just squiggly lines on a page to me!")

I heard a variation on an NPR podcast this morning. The host was interviewing a legal expert about the RIM patent case, which could result in an injunction shutting down service to millions of Blackberries.

At the end of the interview, the host felt obliged to answer a question no one had asked: "Now I should mention I don't have a Blackberry. Do you?" The guest said he did, and it was his cell phone as well, and that it was very useful. He added that you could even use it on the New York City Subway.

The host chuckled condescendingly and then she added, "If you have nothing better to do."

Seriously. That's what she said.

Then she thanked the guest and sent him off, presumably to go fuck himself.

I don't have a rolling pin or a pashmina or a duck, but I wouldn't make fun of someone who did. Nor would someone on the radio or TV. But it's routine to make fun of someone who has a tech gadget. How many millions of people have to have something before it is no longer "exotic" and "odd"? We're talking about a Blackberry, for God's sake.

Now let's put aside for the moment what "better" there is to do on a subway. I mean, it's a little too jostly for lab work, so devising a cure for cancer is out of the question. And African children can't afford to get on, so you can't feed them.

But of course we all know what she means he could be doing. She means Reading a Book. (I would write it in solid gold letters if I could.)

Ah, Reading a Book. The only thing you're allowed to do to pass time in this society without being treated like King Asshole.

Watching TV? You could be Reading a Book! Playing video games? You could be Reading a Book! Listening to a book on your iPod? You really should Read a Book. The way it was meant to be enjoyed.

(How many other activities do we enjoy the way they were meant to be enjoyed? Do I say to my dentist, "No novocaine, no gas, just yank it, the way dentistry was meant to be enjoyed." Do I turn off my furnace, and enjoy winter the way it was meant to be enjoyed?)

It's fun to read, sure... in balance with other things, not to the exclusion of all other things. Whatever makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone. It comes down to the same question I've asked before: How long will we let the haughty few dictate to the many?

I say at some point we rise up and overthrow the Time Police and Book Snobs and Tech Nazis and demand to be treated at least as well as the people who have rolling pins.

Whose Advice Would You Rather Listen To?

Both quotes are from the November/December issue of Creative Screenwriting:

"Who says universal brand acceptance is the answer to everything? Show me one product, one person, one idea that appeals to everybody. You can't. What you want to create, when you're selling a brand to the public, is a passionate constituency."

-- Donny Deutsch, multi-millionaire advertising legend


"Dodgeball
was very successful, and was funny for the sake of funny. But if I was given Dodgeball as a spec, I might have pushed the writer to create a romance at the center of it."

-- an agent, who has grossed considerably less than Dodgeball or Donny Deutsch

Thursday, December 08, 2005

FCC, Start Your Engines


Monday night, Elton John's Red Piano concert comes to NBC. It will be interesting to see if some of the more risque multimedia elements (including giant inflatable breasts, giant phalluses, and giant Pamela Andersons) survive the trip.

Thursday Night Random Reality Questions (Spoilers!)

On Survivor, after all these years, why are people still stunned and offended when their competitors have the temerity to vote them out? Have they never seen the show? Do they not get that someone has to go? In the case of Judd, he himself made that very speech just moments before! It's hilariously hypocritical.

What would you have done about the car choice? I think I clearly would have given up the car, but I also wouldn't have begrudged the girl the choice she made. I also would have told her to shut the fuck up about her new "vehicle."

On Apprentice, at dinner, why was Rebecca making that face? That "coy" face? That "I've got a sly secret" face? Does she believe it's a "cute" face? A "power" face? Does she not realize it's a face that makes me want to hit her with a brick over and over?

The whole season, Randal dressed conservatively. Now that he's in the final two, why is he suddenly wearing one of Michael Jordan's old suits?

How much do I hate Toral? Answer: Lots.

How awkward was it at the end, when the announcer said, "If you want to contribute to any of the charities shown in tonight's show..." that they showed Joe Piscopo? That's not right...

A Great Event, A Worthy Cause


A NIGHT OF COMEDY
TO BENEFIT THE CITY OF HOPE

At the World Famous Improv
8162 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood
Thursday, January 12, 2006

Raffle sales start at 6:30 PM
Show starts at 8:00 PM SHARP!

Tickets are $50 per person
2 Drink Minimum
Must be 21 years of age

Comedians include:
Dan Smith
Paul Gilmartin
Jimmy Dore
Paul F. Tompkins
Greg Behrendt
and more

Hosted by Ralph Garman of
KROQ’s Kevin & Bean Morning Show

Raffle prizes include:
Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas 2-night stay
plus dinner at Bradley Ogden
Dinner at Hollywood’s Amalfi restaurant
Tickets to the Pantages Theater
$400 basket of Temple Spice organic spices
Spirits and apparel from Red Rum
20 inch TV with DVD player
$400 worth of apparel from Sassybax.com
Sex and the City package from TBS
DVD’s and CD’s from Comedy Central
Plus so much more

Grand Raffle Prize: 27 Inch Sony Flat Screen TV with DVD player from DSI

The last Comedy Night was oversold!!!
Reservations will be confirmed by phone once your check is received.
Please make checks payable to City of Hope and send to
Comedy Night, c/o POP ART, P.O. Box 55363, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

For Reservations call 1 866 284 8714
You will be called back to confirm your reservation
FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED!
Checks must be received by Monday, January 9, 2006

Would You Buy a Camera From This Store?


Thanks to the Consumerist for reminding me of one of my favorite websites from back in the day: Brooklyn Stores... a site that actually ran photos of the physical locations of the NY camera stores mentioned unfavorably by consumers in rec.photo.digital.

When you're buying an expensive piece of equipment online at a too-good-to-be-true price, odds are you will never get your camera at that price.

The most common problems run into, in no particular order, are:

1. shoddy, counterfeit or grey-market goods
2. the phone call trying to upsell you accessories you don't need. Don't buy them, you won't get the camera.
3. You just never get what you ordered.

As you know if you read these postings, I buy everything online, but I buy from trusted dealers. Just check around before you buy, and you'll never be sorry.

Television on DVD's Most Wanted

By request, here are TVShowsOnDVD's most requested unreleased shows, and the number of signatures they have:

Beverly Hills, 90210 (6107)
JAG (5345)
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (4600)
The Wonder Years (4115)
The Facts of Life (4052)
Wings (3738)
Batman (3528)
Get Smart (3404)
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (3341)
Third Watch (3280)

And here is my number one TV Show on DVD request: that Warner Home Video stop cheaping out and putting West Wing box sets on two-sided discs. So lame.

"It Sucks To Be a Clown"

"Quirky" doesn't begin to describe singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton. But "witty" does. And listen to his incredibly well-crafted music long enough and you'll love what you're hearing.

And for a lot of folks lately, there's no better way to be introduced to him than his unbelievably perfect cover of the seminal "Baby Got Back"... Check it out at Jonathan's website, check out his other songs there and/or on myspace or iTunes, and get to know a unique talent who won't creep you out the way that guy on SNL did this past week.

Buy One Get One Free on DVD Box Sets

DeepDiscountDVD.com is running a rather amazing special on select DVD box sets. Check it out, if you're in a buying mood.

Jon Stewart Totally Busts Bill O'Reilly... Hilarious!

If you missed it last night, catch it today, or go to the Daily Show website and click on "Secular Central." There's literally no way for O'Reilly to explain this away. None.

Breaking News: Probst Sticks With Survivor

From Broadcasting & Cable:

Ending widespread speculation that Survivor’s Jeff Probst would walk away from the show he has hosted since its inception in 2000, CBS Thursday confirmed to B&C that he has renewed his contract.

“We have a new agreement with Jeff Probst to continue as host of Survivor,” a CBS spokesman said.

Sources said it is a two-year deal that will take him through the hit show’s 16th edition in 2008.

Whole Foods and the Price of Friendship

I'm in Whole Foods right now, which is usually the highlight of my week,
but it's a dark day.

A very dear friend, who shall remain nameless, needed me to TiVo the season
premiere of "America's Next Top Model" for her, and I volunteered to wait
to watch it with her.

And as weeks went by, and the episodes stacked up, and we never got
together to watch them, I was simultaneously juggling storing these
recordings and the torture of keeping myself spoiler-free.

And it was really hard. But I succeeded.

Which is why I'm in pain. Because a couple just walked by loudly
discussing who won.

Oh, well. This friend is worth it. And I'll head over to the chowder now
to make it all better.

Our Top Story: It's Cold. In the East. In December.

Seriously, that was the top story this morning on The Today Show. I would watch any morning show that would make a pact to never, ever cover another non-catastrophic weather story. That's what those five minutes every half hour of local news should be for.

"Cold in New York in December" is no more a news story than "Local Dog Likes to Eat Meat" or "Dropped Object Falls Downward." And it certainly doesn't merit deploying a batch of corrrespondents in heavy gear to various cold places to tell us how cold it is. It's cold. I get it. It's December.


Besides, I frankly don't give a shit if people in New York had to scrape their windshields. I've been watching tape of people in New York scraping their windshields every December for twenty-some-odd years. If they don't want to scrape their windshields in December they should move to Hawaii. Or stop bitching about it.

TMZ.com Premieres Today... Or Sometime in Past


AOL's new gossip site, TMZ.com, officially premieres today. It's dishy and hip and hot.

Defamer has nothing to worry about.

First warning sign: it's from AOL.

Second warning sign: it's called TMZ, which it turns out is some Old Hollywood nonsense.

Third warning sign: it's run by the decidedly non-hip and non-hot Harvey Levin.

Biggest warning sign: news all seems to be old. (check out the screenshot above... "This Just In"?!)

Scott McLellan, Sign This Woman Up!

"I believe I'm a star and I have the record to prove that."

-- Leslie, whose record was 0-2, on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart

More Uses For Your DNA

(Hey, minds out of the gutter)

A while back I told you about a way to turn your DNA into art. Now Quicksilverscreen (via Boing Boing) shows you how to turn your DNA into truly unique -- okay, weird -- gifts like music, a tie, champagne flutes, or even jewelry.

Wait... Let Me Be Part of The Solution...

Let it never be said that I'm not about helping.

So I'm going to be positive. And I'm going to offer an answer! This is the solution to the whole problem for Brent Bozell and all his pals, and it will make them a billion dollars, and I'm giving it to them for free.

Ready?

They start their own satellite service, offering nothing but family-friendly, child-safe, decent programming.

Hallmark Channel, Nick (during the day only), Fox News, Noggin, Poggin, Woggin, Zoggin, whatever else those people like to watch and don't complain about.

There's such a huge outcry for it, right? So many Americans want it, right? So they start their own service and make a mint.

What's that? They're not doing it?

You know why?

Because no one wants that.

No one's going to subscribe to a service that doesn't offer HBO and FX and MTV and USA and Bravo and Skinemax and Spice and all that other stuff. That's why Howard Stern gets a $500 million dollar contract.

So next time Brent goes to Congress with a list of demands, they should tell him to go fuck himself. And if they don't, we should tell them to go fuck themselves the next time they run for reelection.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Brent Bozell Sets Conditions Under Which He'll Allow America To Remain Semi-Free

Terrorist Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, says unless his financial demands are met, he will bring the cable television industry and the United States Government to a standstill.

I mean, let's just say that. That's what it is. So let's not be coy.

According to Broadcasting & Cable:

He is proposing to Congress that cable can remain free of FCC regulation if the following demands are met:

1. That they "quickly" pass legislation to raise per-incident fines from $32,500 to $500,000.

2. That they require cable companies to provide channels a la carte

Okay, first things first:

I was not aware that it was up to Brent fucking Bozell to propose to Congress what the FCC does and does not regulate, or to set fucking conditions. I will be sure to not vote for him the next time his name does not come up in the next non-election in the organization he leads that I'm not a member of.

Second of all, if the FCC tries to regulate cable, I think we should all head down there with pitchforks, because it's a completely voluntary, opt-in system, even in its present, bundled state.

Third of all, I hate the cable companies as much as the next guy, but they say no one is going to buy certain channels if they're not bundled, so they can't unbundle them. I can tell you this: If Bozell gets his way, how many Americans do you know who will pay for CSPAN and CSPAN2? So they'll pretty much go away. And won't Bozell and his buddies like that just fine?

Fourth of all, the FCC is a disaster. If they get ONE letter or email, that is all it takes to start the Indiana Jones boulder rolling.

There was a sharp uptick in FCC complaints after the Janet Jackson "incident." Then complaints steadily declined until the middle of this year.

Now, I want you to read the next set of statistics carefully, because they're fascinating. They also come from B&C, earlier in the year:

After a steep drop in indecency complaints at the FCC in second quarter 2005 -- following several quarters of large declines -- the number bounced back in the third quarter.

"For the three months ended Sept. 30, indecency/obscenity complaints quadrupled to 26,185 from 6,161 logged during the previous three months. Almost all of that spike came in July (23,547), with only 1,716 complaints in August and 922 in September.

"According to PTC's Web site, the group filed a total of 23,542 complaints in July (10,775 against Fox and 12,767 against ABC). That would account for all but five of the FCC complaints for the month.

"Let's repeat that. Out of 23,547 complaints in July, PTC claims 23,542."

Wow.

So yeah, by all means, let's do whatever Brent says. He's created a movement. Or at least the appearance of one. At the very least he's got a Xerox machine, a website and 20,000 nuts. No question he should tell millions of us what to watch.

What fucking year is this?! What fucking country is this?!


TV Shows on DVD

If, like Ken Levine, you're wondering why random TV shows are showing up on DVD, yet your favorites are not, you're not alone.

Retailers are thrilled to stock crowdpleasers like Family Guy, CSI, 24, The Simpsons, Buffy, The O.C., The Shield, Desperate Housewives, Seinfeld and Lost...

...but not so pleased to open up their Christmas stockings to find lumps of coal like Baa Baa Black Sheep, Emergency!, Too Close For Comfort, The Flash, and Seaquest DSV.

(Now, to be sure, we are deep into YMMV and IMHO territory here. One man's shit is another man's shinola. For instance, I eagerly await and preorder each new volume of Millennium on DVD, a show I recognize might not be to everyone's taste. To each his own.)

And in this age of online delivery and "the long tail" everyone's favorite show should be available in some kind of digital format.

Still, brick and mortar retailers sometimes want to cry out, "No mas!" ... and yet the studios clean out their closets with the zeal of HGTV hosts in April. In fact this year, for the first time, there will be more TV box set DVD's than feature film DVD's. And why not? They're a license to print money.

So why can't you buy your favorite show?

Could be a lot of reasons. Most of them dumb.

Sometimes -- often -- it's about music. When the deals were made to include original music in these shows no one ever anticipated that someday they'd be sold. That possibility opens up whole new legal cans of worms that keep armies of lawyers busy for years. The sane solution is to do what Freaks & Geeks did: simply charge more. Fans supported it. Let's hope that sparks a trend.

Get a Life is a more curious example. There have been rumors of simple heel-digging on someone's part being the reason it's unavailable, even on VHS. But Chris Elliott recently said in TV interviews that he's recorded commentaries, even if it's for boxes that might never happen. Fingers are crossed.

The number one reason, however, for a non-release is usually apathy. Not from fans... never from fans. It's from the studio types themselves. They just haven't gotten around to it. They're busy repackaging the shows they've already sold you.

You try to be sanguine about it. But I have to admit being rankled when I see the number of boxes a show like, say, Space Ghost has gotten, as opposed to a show demonstrably far more popular that's gotten none, like... oh, let's pick a hypothetical example: Duckman?

So we know it has nothing to do with the size of the audience.

It has to do, in part, with the passion of the audience, and how loud and clear that audience can make itself heard. That's where a site like tvshowsondvd.com comes in. More than just a clearinghouse for information, it's a site that lets you sign petitions for your favorite shows.

Do the studios listen?

Who knows? But it's better than doing nothing.

The Difference Between a Great Gift and an Awesome Gift

There's a great way to give someone an iPod as a Christmas present, and a awesome way. (I used to think there was no bad way to give someone an iPod, until I saw last night's hilarious episode of The Office.)

Giving someone an iPod is a great gift, but giving someone an iPod with their CD's already loaded onto it is an awesome gift.

You can not only load all their CD's onto it, you can already have it loaded up with playlists with special meaning for the two of you: Friendship Songs, Vacation Songs, Romantic Songs, Weekend Songs, Songs About Your Kids, etc. (Am I sweet or what?!)

If you're far too busy or selfish for that kind of thoughtfulness, I even have you covered there: LoadPod will do the CD part for you. They'll pick up your iPod and your CD collection, marry them in digital bliss (even providing cover art), and get the whole shmear back to you within five days. They even provide training if you like, and gift certificates are available.

The sentiment is still up to you.

Where To Buy a Christmas Present For The Hard-To-Shop-For Gadget Freak

My best friend, Mary, likes to joke that when I walk into Best Buy I look around and mope, "Damn... I have all this already."

What's not a joke is that I'm very hard to shop for, because I pre-order the few things I want -- gadgets and DVD's -- months in advance, and don't really want anything else.

If you have someone like me in your life -- and you've exhausted your willingness and/or ability to give them sex as a gift -- then you should get to know dynamism.com. It's the website where you can go to buy stuff you didn't even know existed.

Notebooks, cell phones and other gadgets from Japan and other faraway places find their way here through dynamism.com and nowhere else. It's not cheap -- they often have to adapt the software and even the keypads to English -- but you are often looking at the lightest, fastest coolest gadgets with the longest battery life imaginable.

It's stuff that will, for one reason or another, never get to our shores. Probably because U.S. marketers figure we'd prefer to keep buying 1.5 lb burgers over 1.5 lb. laptops.

The New Nightline Multi-Story Format May Not Be Perfected Yet

On tonight's show: an American Airlines passenger shot dead by a federal
air marshall. And a look at the film version of "The Lion, the Witch and
the Wardrobe."

Countdown: Keith Olbermann's 3 Worst People In The World

THE BRONZE

The clerk at a Citgo station in Gary, Indiana. When Rosetta Heffner was robbed at knifepoint while filling up her church van, she ran to the clerk and shouted to him to call 911. He ignored her. She tried again, and he told her, "Use your cell phone." The station manager told the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel that clerks are instructed not to call police because the station fears retaliation. "They can hear... We have to protect ourselves."

THE SILVER

Anyone who drove past that thing on the side of the road this weekend on Route 157 in Pinegrove Township, Pennsylvania and didn't stop. Turned out it was Jason Knight, 32, who was struck and killed by an SUV on Friday, but laid there until Monday.

THE GOLD: KEITH OLBERMANN'S WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD

The D.C. cop who saw 73-year-old Charles Atherton get hit by a car while crossing Connecticut Avenue. As Mr. Atherton lay there, knocked out of his shoes, bleeding, and struggling to breathe, the cop issued him a $5 jaywalking ticket and walked away. Mr. Atherton later died.

"He was issued a ticket because he was at fault. That's all I can tell you," Lt. John Kutniewski of the police department's major crash investigation unit, told the Washington Post. "If he's outside the crosswalk, he would be at fault." (Salon)

Sure, Saddam's a War Criminal and a Dictator, But Come On, He's Not a Sadistic Prick Like Rumsfeld!

"After Witness A recounted mistreatment in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, a defence lawyer said: 'I agree things in Abu Ghraib were, until recently, bad. But did they use dogs on you? Did they photograph you?' When the witness was silent, the judge prompted her. 'Did they?', he asked. 'No,' said the witness.

-- The Guardian
, 12/7/05

"Culinary Cheat Sheets"

That's how Real Chef describes its Flavor Magic line, and it seems like a good description to me. I've been using them for a while, and they're a quick and easy way to appear to be a much better cook than you are.

Here's the idea: You take one of these sheets, which is like a piece of heavy Saran Wrap with dried seasonings on one side. You know, the kind of mix of a million seasonings that I would never have the expertise or patience to come up with myself? That kind.

You place whatever kind of meat, fish, or poultry you like on this sheet and put it in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Then peel off the sheet (the spices stick to the meat) and prepare as you usually would. Delicious!

The sheets come in Asian Citrus-Ginger, Lemon Peppercorn, and Memphis BBQ. I like them all. And, if you go to the Real Chef website, be sure to check out their delicious table sauces. (And use the coupon C1025 for 10% off all orders over $25)

By the way, this has been a completely unpaid commercial. Dammit.

Paparazzi Performance Art


From the Gallery of the Absurd: "What do you get when you combine one unemployed actor with one stir-crazy artist, and then throw them both into a room with a stack of gossip tabloids and a camera?"

(Of course in the example above they're both unemployed actors.)

The Original Name Was the "Why The Terrorists Hate Us" Burger

Meet Ruby Tuesday's Ultimate Colossal Burger.

Your move, Hardee's.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Whatever You Do...

...make sure you catch the beginning of the Daily Show repeat tonight or tomorrow (the listed guest is Michelle Yeoh). The first segment is a priceless report on last week's idiotic hearings on Decency in the Media (what else?)

You will go from laughing your ass off, to outrage at your government's lunacy, to gratitude that The Daily Show, alone among all news outlets, is shining a light on these cockroaches for us.

So... Too Soon To Start Making the Popcorn?


In Retrospect, It Was a Mistake to Hire Ken Jennings to Head Customer Service

It's All How You Look At It


"DeLay's Felony Charge Is Upheld"
-- Washington Post

"DeLay's Money Laundering Charges Upheld"
-- Associated Press

"Judge Upholds Some Delay Charges"
-- CBS News

"Delay Conspiracy Charges Tossed"
-- Fox News

"Dismissal of DeLay Charge Barely Touched by ABC and NBC"
-- Newsbusters

"There was a partial victory for Congressman Tom Delay..."
--Ann Curry, beginning her story on the lead newscast on this morning's Today Show with a sunny optimism that must have cheered Delay and Fox, but which Newsbusters must have missed.

Why Would "Dirty Negroes" Be Considered Racist or Insulting?!

I guarantee you will read this news story several times, and you still won't understand it. At least that's what happened with me.

Near as I can figure, some Italian men beat some Colombian women -- keep that in mind -- but the news story is about the fact that an Italian court ruled "in favor of one of the men, who argued he was not being racist when he launched the assault with the words: 'Sporche negre -- cosa ci fanno queste negre qua?' ('Dirty negroes -- what are these negroes doing here?')"

Now, let's put aside for the moment that I'd like to see Enzo come and try that shit here. Or better yet, in Inglewood. They'd be mailing him home in a puddle of his own marinara.

And let's put aside for the moment that the judge is clearly an idiot.

But unless I'm missing it, nowhere in the story does it say what kind of knuckle-rapping these guys are going to get for beating on these women. Is that not the same kind of no-no there that is it is here?

And what was the occasion for hauling off and beating up some Colombian women? Is that, like, the Italian version of laser tag? Spot a Columbian chick, wallop her, but God forbid anyone think you're a racist?! WTF?!

"This Could Very Well Be the Stupidest Person On the Face of the Earth"

Thus was Earl Mott (Bill Pullman) described in the classic Ruthless People

But Earl is owed an apology once you get a load of this guy, courtesy of The Smoking Gun.

Just When You Think You've Got This Blog All Figured Out

I'm going to call your attention to... a baby sling.

Whaaaa?

A friend of mine has a newborn and her baby sling is a model of simplicity
and ease of use. And the baby loves it.

It's called the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder (!) and it's available at
numerous places online in a variety of colors (careful: some are hideous)

NBC Joining iTunes?

The Hollywood Reporter says yes. Says the Reporter, "It is expected that the deal will encompass some NBC Uni-produced primetime series and NBC's late-night franchises The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Night With Conan O'Brien and possibly Saturday Night Live." Says me, if I can (legally) download Conan to my laptop that will rock.

SIX MINUTES LATER: Okay, so I open iTunes, and sure enough, there is the NBC content! Law & Order, The Office, the freaky Surface, old fave Dragnet... but unfortunately only selected Conan bits. Top marks, however, for some of those bits being Triumph bits.

Great Moments in Advertising

Monday, December 05, 2005

Most Offensive Oprah Ever

They're repeating it today: the Oprah that, I think, is the most offensive one she's ever done.

It's the one where she reveals her "Wildest Dream"... that "Legends Weekend" she threw to honor African-American women who blazed trails, led the way and made history. Some of the greatest figures in history were there, along with celebrated entertainers.

And all were used as human props to the glory of Oprah.

From the ball where they had to dress in black and white (except Oprah, of course, who wore red)...

...to the commemorative photograph that took hours to pose and shoot, in front of Oprah's mansion, Promised Land, all around Oprah, celebrating Oprah, praising Oprah...

Anyway, catch it today if you like. It's vomitatious.

Wood


A friend said this item about the erotic furniture designs of Mario Philippona reminded him of me. He knows me too well.

See more of Philippona's designs at www.sexyfurniture.nl
.


24: The Countdown Begins

Despite the fact that 20th Century Fox TV president Gary Newman wants people talking about 24, I'm going to talk about 24. That's how much I love this show.

The Season 4 DVD set coming out this week has a 10-minute Season 5 prequel on it. That's much longer -- and apparently more elaborate and action-packed -- than the one on last year's Season 3 set, though that one did have Jack Bauer dropping the F-bomb.

Read more about it in Variety.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Great Song, Great Cause


Alicia Keys' and Bono's cover of Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up" is available as a Cingular ring tone, and will be available from iTunes on Tuesday. All proceeds will go to Keep a Child Alive to fight AIDS in Africa.

An Open Letter To Whoever Changes Andy Rooney's Diaper

Can you at least have the decency to talk to CBS about getting him off the air? Out of respect to his family? Or to the legacy of CBS News? Or to me?

And can you please tell him, after all these years, that the cotton in aspirin bottles is not put there to fool him? After all, they do put the number of aspirins on the outside of the bottle, so it really wouldn't be much of a trick, now would it?

No, the cotton is there to make sure the pills don't break. Can you please tell him? Because he literally brought it up again tonight.

I have watched Andy Rooney six or seven times in 25 years, and twice I have seen him mention cotton in aspirin bottles. Can you shut him the fuck up about the cotton? Because I'm this close to getting on a plane and flying to New York and shoving cotton down his throat and up his ass until the two masses of cotton meet.

Fortunately, There Have Always Been Bad Girls

From Boing Boing comes a link to fascinating MP3's of recordings made in the 1890's, including one by Miss Beatrice Hart called "I'm a Naughty Girl." A taste of the lyrics:

If some youth with manners free,
Dares to snatch a kiss from me,
Do I ask him to explain?
No — I kiss him back again!

I'm a naughty girl!
You needn't sham;
You know I am!
Rome is in a whirl,
Because they're all afraid
Of this naughty little maid!
Don't'cha wish your maid was naughty like me?

Okay, I added that last part. Still, it's an interesting listen.

Seeing Daylight


A couple of weeks ago I was disappointed by the execrable TV remake of The Poseidon Adventure. Today, I rented a relatively obscure 9-year-old disaster movie that was every bit as entertaining as Poseidon wasn't: Daylight, with Sylvester Stallone, Amy Brenneman, Stan Shaw and Viggo Mortensen, written by Leslie Bohem, and directed by Rob Cohen.

It's a 100% pure old-fashioned disaster movie, loosely inspired by the true story of an explosion and near-collapse in the Holland Tunnel. I know, you probably remember seeing it back in the day and not being wowed, but I'm telling you, if you like disaster movies, look at it again.

Astonishing special effects, some dazzling camera work, plus it's so refreshing to see an involving popcorn movie that just moves from one exciting set piece to the next. Sure, it's pure hokum -- there's even a dog -- and I might not remember it next week, but I was completely swept up in it today.

I'm thinking of revisiting all the genre movies of the '80's and '90's... I'll probably find out they, too, have aged a lot better than I expect.

Paris? You're Very Pretty, But Whoever Told You To Make This Face Whenever There's a Camera Nearby is NOT Your Friend

What If You Are Going To Australia, But You Still Want To Watch Your American TV Shows While You're There?

That's the question I was asked last night at a party (yes, I go to parties) by a friend (yes, I have friends)...

If you use Windows, it's really easy, thanks to the Slingbox and the Sony Location Free TV, just to pick two examples of systems that let you transmit shows from your home network to any computer in the world.

Also, I'm sure there must be a way to log onto your Windows home network so you can transfer TiVo to Go recordings.

But this friend is a Mac guy, and that's more challenging. Thank goodness I listen to the MacCast podcast, which had just covered this very topic, so I was able to seem smarter than I am and suggested CyTV.

Of course, actually making CyTV work looks really complicated, and that smart I cannot seem... so as far as hooking it all up goes, my poor friend is on his own. But don't feel too bad for him: he is, after all, going to Australia.

By the way, just as a postscript, according to the TiVo blog, Mac support for TiVo to Go and the iPod is scheduled for mid-2006.

Which Cliches ARE Acceptable?

"Gamers report glitches with Xbox 360. Problems include (but are not limited to) crashing, error messages, and a wide-spread inability among users to interface successfully with women."

Entertainment Weekly, 12/9/05, page 14

"Xbox 360 sales surge. Nintendo inaugurates wireless gaming network. Nerds rejoice."

Entertainment Weekly, 12/9/05, page 22

"2005's holiday-movie cornucopia runneth over with characters of all sexual persuasions. Some are innovative; others merely update the hammy caricatures that have been Hollywood's traditional -- or, to some, offensive -- fallback for decades. (Progress is never quick, but at least the hoary lisp cliche seems to be a goner.)

Entertainment Weekly, 12/9/05, page 37

Okay.

Some facts, courtesy of the Entertainment Software Association:

U.S. gaming sales in the U.S. in 2004 reached $7.4 billion, more than twice what they were in 1996. Seventy-five percent of American heads of households play video games.

Forty-three percent of all game players are women. In fact, 28 percent of game players are women over the age of 18, vs. only 21 percent who are boys between 6 and 17.

Thirty-nine percent of the most frequent gamers are over 35 years old, as many as are between 18 and 35. In 2004, 19 percent over the age of 50 played video games, an increase from 9 percent in 1999.

The average adult woman plays virtually the same number of hours per week as the average adult man (7.4 hours vs. 7.6 hours). Online game players: 60% male, 40% female.

In 2004, more than 248 million computer and video games were sold... almost two games for every household in America.

At what point can we finally put this particular hoary cliche to rest?

04 , 08 , 15 , 16 , 23 ... 24?

Yes, those were the winning numbers in the Irish National Lottery on November 19th. An improbably high number of people, 298 (Lost fans?) matched 5 out of 6 and won 341 euros each. Unfortunately, they are all doomed.