Monday, December 06, 2010

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

"Insane Hand Model"

The phrase "insane hand model" is Buzzfeed's opinion of Ellen Sirot.  Not that I disagree.  On the other hand, she's wise to pamper her hands, lest she end up like poor Ray McKigney.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Genius: The Sad Bookshelf


"And the Flowers are Still Standing!!" How to Do the Tablecloth Trick, Plus Good Advice for Parents: Get Your Kids Excited About Science





In case any of your guests tomorrow want to go for it.  Via SteveSpanglerScience.com, an amazing site with all kinds of cool experiments to get your kids excited about science.  I added one of my favorite Steve Spangler videos: the Cornstarch Walk, the most fun a kid can have learning about non-Newtonian fluid.

Browse the site for ideas for fun things you can do at home.  Science is fun.  Many of the experiments on the site are goo- and/or ooze-related, and what's more fun than that?

My five-year-old goddaughter is crazy about math and science... though not as much as she is about Ariel and Ghostbusters.  She loves learning about the elements, anatomy, astronomy (her favorite planet is Saturn), and many more subjects, and has been that way since she was two-years-old.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

What I Imagine Every Conversation Between Chris Matthews and Mike Barnicle is Like:



Chris Matthews:  Here in America we don't make things anymore.

Mike Barnicle: I know!

Chris Matthews: Right??

Mike Barnicle:  Absolutely.

Chris Matthews:  We used to make things.

Mike Barnicle: Not anymore.

Chris Matthews: I was just thinking that.

Mike Barnicle: You're so right.

(pause)

Mike Barnicle: And nobody shares sacrifice.

Chris Matthews: But mainly we don't make things anymore.

Mike Barnicle: You nailed it.

(pause)

Mike Barnicle:  Where are we?

Chris Matthews: Never mind that, where are your pants?!

Proof That Bush & Cheney Intended to Invade Iraq From Day One


I keep tweeting and reposting this post, and I'll keep doing it as long as the media ignore it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

From 2007: "Who Says We Haven't Had a Terrorist Attack Since 9/11?!"



You hear it all the time. Cheney says it all the time. Bush says it all the time. Barbara Walters said it this morning. She doesn't like Bush's foreign policies, "but you have to admit, we haven't had a terrorist attack since 9/11."

I'm really sick of hearing that. It's... what's the word? A canard? Hogwash? Bullshit?

First of all, it's been less than six years since 9/11. After the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, American soil went unattacked for eight years. In hindsight, did it make us safer on 9/10? Then why would it now?

Second of all, when someone tries to kill the Vice President (forgetting that it requires a wooden stake) and kills 32 troops instead, does that not count as a terrorist attack?

But put that aside. Because there may be an even simpler reason why we "haven't been attacked."

Because, like Pizza Hut, we delivered.

We sent thousands and thousands of Americans right into Iraq, then took out the only guy keeping the terrorists out of the country. It was like throwing our troops into the water and filling it with chum.

Why should the terrorists go to all the trouble of plotting and planning to come over here to kill 2900 people, when we have, so far, hand-delivered into their laps more than 3300 beautiful young souls?

For the terrorists, it's fish in a barrel.

When Bush says, "We have to fight them over there, or we'll be fighting them over here," he doesn't mean that we'll defeat them over there. Because he knows full well we can't.

His plan is a very old one, as old as ignorance itself. Human sacrifice is the last refuge of a leader in over his head, whether he uses burning, beheading, burial, bloodletting, or a "surge."

Bush will just keep shoveling young bodies into the maw of this beast and hope that it pleases it, mollifies it, hope that it satisfies its hunger, slakes its thirst. At least until January, 2009, when the beast becomes someone else's problem.

Let's make it someone else's problem now.


originally posted 4/25/07

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If This Doesn't Inspire You to Explore Science With Your Kids, Nothing Will: Launching a Video Camera in a Homemade Spacecraft


Video from a camera attached to a weather balloon that rose into the
upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space.

Visit   www.brooklynspaceprogram.org   for all the info.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Man's World

(By request, a repost of a 2005 post)

Of all my pet peeves, this is my peeviest. My friends will be amazed it's taken me this long to bring it up here. But the truth is, I didn't bring it up, The Washington Post did.

In an article recently, the Post addressed what they perceived as a shift in marketing strategy. They used the 2003 Miller Lite ad wherein two guys fantasize about two women getting into a wrestling match in a fountain as an example of how ads used to appeal to men's egos. Then they use several contemporary examples to illustrate how men are ridiculed and belittled in today's ads. They question the wisdom of this approach, and rightly so.

One problem: they missed a key point in those Miller Lite ads.

Beyond the fact that they arguably mocked men by reducing them to their baser impulses -- impulses I readily admit to heartily sharing -- the ads were, in fact, female-friendly. Like all ads.

Don't believe me? Think back.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

America's 100 Best Communities for Young People



At a ceremony today in Washington DC, America's Promise Alliance honored 100 communities for "extraordinary community-wide efforts to improve the well-being of youth and end the nation’s dropout crisis."  

In a column on CNN.com, founding chairpersons Alma & Colin Powell explain why the examples set by these communities are important, and what you can do to get involved.

To see if your community is on the list, visit AmericasPromise.org. If your community isn't on the list, send your leaders the link and ask why not.

Katy Perry & Elmo on Sesame Street: Hot N Cold

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I Love This: Northwestern University's Happiness Club


Happiness Club Gives Northwestern Plenty to Smile About from Northwestern News on Vimeo.



"On a warm and sunny day in May, 30 Northwestern students gathered outside the Technological Institute, turned on their iPods and danced to the beat of a drummer no one else could hear.
"The Silent Dance Party was the first of several offbeat spring events organized by the Happiness Club, a student group with a simple mission -- increase the overall happiness of the Northwestern community.
""It's just to make people feel happier, and it does it in the simplest possible ways," said Weinberg sophomore Paul Geringer.
"The group celebrated Happiness Week from May 24 to 28 with a series of events designed to bring the campus together or simply elicit smiles..."


Monday, August 30, 2010

How the "Obama is a Muslim" Lunacy Took Hold and Grew, Since the Media are Asking

So some nuts online whisper that Obama is a Muslim (which he's not).

And some right wing idiots believe it.

So the mainstream media start discussing it, to "debunk" it.

But in pursuit of some bizarre perversion of "objectivity" they always have one of the nuts or idiots on to spew his/her bile.  For balance.  Because apparently truth always needs a lie to balance it out.

The host subjects the nut or idiot to "tough questioning" which, of course, never gets through to nuts and idiots, so the bile just keeps spewing for four or five minutes.

Afterward, instead of saying, "Get out of the studio, you moron!" the host says, "Thank you very much for joining us."  Giving a nut or idiot credibility he/she wouldn't deserve in a civilized society.

And a few thousand more viewers are convinced that Obama is a Muslim (which he's not).

Repeat.  For years.

Then wonder with mock exasperation why people increasingly believe Obama is a Muslim (which he's not).

And invite a nut or idiot on to discuss how this idea possibly caught on.

Repeat.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Thomas Pynchon's First Simpsons Appearance (2004)

I was reminded today of the incredibly cool and unexpected Simpsons appearances by the reclusive Thomas Pynchon. So here's the first, where he provided a blurb for Marge's book:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why I Haven't Read a TV or Movie Review in Years (SPOILER: Because of Spoilers)

These two "classic posts" still ring true today.  Maybe even truer. (Except that since then I have seen a couple of Harry Potter movies.)

DEFENSIVE MOVIEGOING (12/17/05)

So I don't get to the movies nearly as often as I like to, because I work a lot. (And because I'm busy tracking Japanese women's flatulence statistics.)

But this morning I had to go see King Kong, which was fun. Don't worry, I won't give anything away. And when I say that, you can bet on it.

Because, you see, I had to go see King Kong.

Had
to.

Even though I really didn't have time, I had to engage in what I like to call "Defensive Moviegoing."

D.M. is the necessary shields-up protection against a mass media that seems hellbent on telling you each and every key plot point of every new movie before you have a chance to see it.

Never mind the trailer that tells the whole story. That's the trailer's job. We have to live with that.

I'm going to focus on the critics and reviewers. (And yes, there is a big difference.) They ruin movies for no reason other than... I don't know what it is. Sadism?

I first noticed it when I saw Siskel & Ebert review The Crying Game. Now before I tell this story, remember two things:

1. I'm telling this from a very old memory, so it may not be exactly right, okay, Comic Book Guy?

2. Revealing that there IS a twist in a movie IS THE SAME AS REVEALING A TWIST.

Okay, so: Roger (an actual critic) reviewed the movie, careful not to mention that there was a twist at all. Good for Roger.

Then Gene mentioned that there was a shocking twist. (D'oh!) Roger -- I like to think a little exasperated -- admonished him not to tell what it was. Gene assured him he wouldn't, but "suffice it to say, it's a twist that will make you question your beliefs about sexual identity."

Gee, thanks, Gene.

Here's a typical, modern-day example. It's made up, but I'm sure you've read sentences like this one all the time in reviews:

"Sinise is fine for much of the movie, but it's only in the last act, when a plot twist calls upon his character to take a darker turn, that he really gets to let loose."

WTF??!

Or the more subtle variation:

"Hackman is effective, as a cop apparently helping Jackman track the missing gold."

Now what on Earth would motivate the reviewer to add the word "apparently"? Is it to prove to us that he's smarter than we are? That he really saw the movie?

Is he afraid that if he didn't add that word, that we'll see the movie, be surprised that Gene Hackman turns out to be the bad guy, and then write a mocking letter, "Hey Reviewer Asshole! Didn't you see the whole last half hour? Gene Hackman was the bad guy!!"

Trust us, Reviewer Asshole. If anyone writes that letter, you don't have to print it.

Maybe -- and this more likely -- someone just held Reviewer Asshole's head in the toilet in high school, and he swore then and there that he'd never let anyone ever have fun ever again.

I swear to you, I am going to start a "burning torches" club. And I need your help.

The next time a reviewer mentions that an actor is excellent as a "doomed" character, let's go down there with burning torches.

The next time a reviewer says any movie "has an ending reminiscent of The Sixth Sense," let's go down there with burning torches.

The next time a reviewer mentions how delightful such-and-such is in a "surprise, unbilled cameo," let's definitely go down there with burning torches.

Until then we'll have to practice Defensive Moviegoing.


HERE'S HOW PERVASIVE AND UNAVOIDABLE SPOILERS HAVE BECOME (8/12/07)

I have never read a Harry Potter book nor seen a Harry Potter movie.

Nor have I ever read a single article ever about Harry Potter, nor watched a single news report about Harry Potter. I've never talked Harry Potter with a fan.

Nothing against all of you, I simply have no interest. But I instantly turn off anything about Harry Potter because someday I might want to read the books.

So I deliberately avoid everything Potter-related.

And yet, I KNOW HOW "DEATHLY HALLOWS" ENDS!!! By sheer cultural osmosis!

How is that possible???

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The 20 Most Unhealthy Drinks, Dramatically Illustrated

Eat This, Not That has a slideshow of the 20 Worst Drinks in America 2010. Even if you knew these drinks were bad for you, you may not realize how bad until you see startling comparisons like the ones below.






Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Debbie Harry and Shirley Bassey sing "Don't Stop Believin'" at Carnegie Hall Rainforest Benefit

This would have been the best Glee episode ever. For more great performances from the show check out waytoocoolforschool's YouTube Channel.  And to contribute, go to RainforestFoundationFund.org.

Elena Kagan and Mediaite's Massively Mixed Metaphors

"Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan would probably prefer that her sexual orientation not be the subject of a heated national debate, but since CBS News flung that door open, the genie just won’t go back into the bottle. In fact, the Wall Street Journal’s use of a softball-themed dog whistle seems to have set the genie on fire in a fireworks factory, and an overly-cautious White House is drawing attention to it like a blaring red fire engine. "

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Duckman Tea Party - Public Education Moment

Maybe the Greatest Motivational Speech in Movie History

John Belushi from Animal House:

I Do Appreciate the Deal, Domino's Pizza, But You're Playing With My Mind


This is kind of like those scenes where a computer is given a paradox -- like "Everything I say is a lie" -- and starts smoking and sparking. Or like when Buy.com, because I was a valued customer, used to send me discount codes every day "for new customers only"... until I stopped shopping there.

But here's the deal. Literally, the deal: Domino's just sent me an email for their "2X Tuesdays Deal" which is good on "Tuesdays Only." Today. Which is Wednesday. With an "Order This Deal Now" button. 


I need to lie down.




For Those Who Thought President Obama was Unfair to CNN's Rick Sanchez at the WHCD, Check Out This Ron Burgundy Moment: "Ad Lib Tease"


Rick Sanchez is fascinating. He's like Yogi Berra, but without the talent, wisdom and lovability.




(via Mediaite)

Monday, May 03, 2010

How Do They Pick People-On-The-Street Who Aren't On the Street?


I'm always amazed when a newspaper story begins with something like this:

"James Garvin of Pomona loves to watch TV, but often loses his remote control in the sofa cushions. Now there is a device that will help Garvin and others like him..."

Often there is a picture above the story of Garvin in his living room with his remote.

I always wonder, why this guy? Why Pomona? You could walk out your door and ask the first person you see, and get the same answer. How do they find these people? Why them?

The other night Ana Garcia of KNBC did a revealing investigative report about unregulated valet parking in Los Angeles. Ana Garcia has done great work in the past, and this was no exception.

But her "James Garvin" was "Fashion Designer ____________." We were told she uses valet parking all the time. Well, who doesn't in L.A.? Isn't the premise of the story that we all deal with this? So why interview this one woman?

As it happens, throughout the interview, she stood in front of a sign with her website's URL on it. I'm not accusing KNBC or Garcia of wrongdoing, but I do think such a set-up gives off a bad smell and should be avoided.

Of course, then there's the opposite end of the spectrum, and its worst offender: Janice Lieberman, The Today Show's consumer reporter. Taking the fictitious remote control story as an example, Matt Lauer will say something like, "We all know how frustrating it is to lose the remote control." He and Meredith will talk about how they do it, and Al will join in. They will tell us the segment is coming up.

When it's time, Meredith introduces the segment by saying something like, "Do you lose your remote control? We all do. Here's Janice Lieberman."

Then Janice Lieberman will say something like, "We all know how frustrating it is. You are watching TV, and you can't find the remote."

Yes. I agree. We all know. GET TO THE STORY.

But no. Invariably, Janice will then cut to five or so people-in-the-street:

"I lose my remote all the time."
"It's so frustrating when I can't find the remote."
"It's like it just disappears."
"You look and look but it's like, where is it??"
and so on.

Then comes "funny footage" of Janice juggling ten remotes. "And these days we have SO MANY remotes..."

By this time there is only one minute left for the actual story and I've changed the channel. It's as if you went into a restaurant and the waiter spent an hour suggesting you were probably hungry before giving you a menu.

Somewhere in between Ana Garcia and Janice Lieberman there has to be a sweet spot.

The Simpsons' Ke$ha "Tik Tok" Opening

Sunday, April 18, 2010

From Chunky Candy to My Favorite Movie: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World


So the post about Chunky Bars reminded me of the series of Chunky commercials voiced by the great, recently-departed actor, Arnold Stang. That reminded me of Marvin Kaplan whom I was privileged to work with years ago. (Marvin is,fortunately, still with us.) I was thrilled to meet him because among the many films in his remarkable career was my favorite, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

In that film he and Arnold Stang appeared in a scene with one of my favorite comic actors of all time, Phil Silvers. One of his lines in this movie, "What is it, a staring contest?!" was a running joke in my family throughout my childhood.

So I decided to grab this excuse to post a chunk of the movie. I've seen Oscar-winning dramas that didn't capture human nature as perfectly as some of the scenes in this movie do.

But a suggestion: If you've never seen this movie, skip these clips, rent it and watch it on the biggest screen possible. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is such a milestone in the history of widescreen movies that the construction of Hollywood's historic Cinerama Dome theater was scheduled so the film and theater could premiere the same night. (The opening-night photo above is from the L.A. Public Library Archives.)

Straddling the first two clips is, I think, one of the best pieces of comic writing in movies, the "fair share" scene. From the "two-eights/one-quarter" line to the the subtle, hilarious line after "drop dead" it's a work of genius.

Then there is Phil Silvers' priceless first scene with Jonathan Winters, with its great last line. (And pay close attention to Silvers when he first hears about the $350,000). I could have happily kept watching and posting to the end, but I forced myself to stop when Arnold Stang and Marvin Kaplan appear, since they kicked this whole thing off to begin with.

Nearly every comedy legend was in this movie. In these clips alone you get to see, among many others, Spencer Tracy, Jerry Lewis, William Demarest, Andy Devine, and the beginning of the mistreatment of some classic automobiles. You also get the great Terry-Thomas. He has a brilliant speech later in the movie where he bemoans America's matriarchal society and "preoccupation with bosoms"and (perhaps presciently) predicts that "if American women ever stopped wearing brassieres your whole national economy would collapse overnight."




By Request: Vintage Nestle Chunky TV Commercials



Saturday, April 17, 2010

Angelina Jolie To Give Up Sex With Women, Lickety-Split


I'm reposting this post from 2007 for no defensible reason. Except that if you click any of these pictures, you'll be taken to a page where you can donate to the UN Refugee Agency.





"I've never hidden my bisexuality. But since I've been with Brad, there's no longer a place for that or S&M in my life."

-- Angelina Jolie


There's a little black spot on the sun today.
-- Me



Top 10 Ways to Access Blocked Stuff on The Web


Say you want to access Hulu from overseas, or the BBC from America. Here's a useful guide from Lifehacker:


Top 10 Ways to Access Blocked Stuff on The Web - Proxy - Lifehacker

This is Weird: Pi/Pie



Friday, April 16, 2010