Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"If I Were Jack Bauer..."

Maybe this should go on my TV blog, but these guys have lots of street cred, so it's going here instead. I actually know these guys (Stuckey and Murray) because they're friends with my coworker and come out for drinks with us sometimes. They're so funny in real life. Check out their other vids here. American Crisp-Off is one of my personal favs. Anyway, here's the Jack Bauer video. Good stuff:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"These are energy puns. TURBOPUNS."



Yo ho, yo ho

From CNN.com: "Crew wins deadly pirate battle off Somalia"
Nope, not a joke. 'Nuff said.

Top (...ish) Ten

I've been posting less often and about more serious things lately, and it's kind of getting me down. So in an effort to bring back some fun - and a little funk - I've decided to post a companion to my Bottom 10. Youuu guessed it! My Top 10. For someone as cynical as I am, thinking of ten things I love was pretty difficult. I tried to avoid anything obvious (TV, coffee, chocolate, books, peace, Mac products, tequila...):

10) Stationery. (I don't even know why. It's not like I write letters anymore. But there's something about stationery, matching envelopes, cards, stamps that just makes me happy.)

9) Toasted pop tarts. (I never eat them because they're terrible for you and who even knows what's in them. But a good toasted pop tart with a little butter on it makes for one happy Lisa. I should buy some.)

8) Bendy straws. (They can't be the straight kind like they pawn off on you at most fast food restaurants. Gotta be the kind that bend at a 90 degree angle. And if they're colored, that's a bonus. I have a package at home that I use in my drinks. Simple pleasures.)

7) The words "perplexed" and "inexplicably." (Fun to say, fun to spell, fun to use in a sentence. "Inexplicably" is also incredibly useful, especially for an extra comedic punch when used on its own as a sentence. Or maybe it's the x in there that I like. Or the nice strong syllables. Whatever it is, I love those words.)

6) Men's cologne. (This one might seem like it should be on the obvious list, but I'm uniquely obsessed with nice-smelling men's cologne. In college my old roommate used to buy me small sample bottles of men's cologne that we would spray around the room, just because. Give me a nice-smelling man any day.)

5) Water. (Lakes, rivers, oceans, rain, boats... anything that has to do with water. Maybe it's because I'm a water sign. But it's completely relaxing to me, and it makes me really happy. When I'm older I want to have a vacation house or cottage with a boat. Someday.)

4) Ballet shoes. (The flat kind, not pointe shoes. Mostly because of the way they smell. They smell like... new leather, September, after school snacks, cute little girls. And they're adorable. Ahh, Capezio.)

3) Sprint yellow. (It's a combination of things here. Mostly the actual shade of yellow Sprint uses in the ad combined with the fantastic branding job Sprint has done. Anytime I see that shade of yellow with black writing, I think of Sprint. There's something ingenious about that.)

2) Stories. (Not people who blab on and on about things you don't care about - those aren't the stories I'm talking about. I mean two kinds of stories. First, stories like fairy tales, etc. that are told out loud. Classic bedtime story format. Not necessary that they start with "once upon a time," or even that they be fictional, just that they be told aloud, with appropriate story intonation. The second kind is books, novels, short stories, etc. that someone reads aloud. The Hobbit is a particularly good one to read aloud. Try it sometime. It's very relaxing. And it makes me happy.)

1) Grammar. (I said at work recently, "I'm not trying to be a know-it-all. I just really love grammar." I don't think I'll ever live it down, which is okay with me, because it's absolutely true. I like copy editing and helping people understand commas and apostrophes and other punctuation. There's something about the rules of grammar that I love. There's also something about saving other people's writing from a misplaced piece of punctuation, a little noun-pronoun disagreement, etc. It's my thing. I love it. It makes me happy. Mock as you will. I'm a self-proclaimed grammar geek, and I don't care who knows it.)

There you have it. Ten things I love. Not necessarily my top ten, but a great ten nonetheless. Your turn.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Politics: Apocalypse

Fantastic article this weekend in my new favorite read, The New York Times Magazine. It's called, "The Evangelical Crackup," by David D. Kirkpatrick, and it's about the state of the evangelistic movement today, specifically as it relates to the 2008 election. (You might get a better idea of what the story's about by its billing on the front cover: "End Times for Evangelicals? They don't have a natural presidential candidate. They don't have a unified leadership. They no longer seem to share even the same political beliefs.")

This story is compelling on many levels. It grants some insight into the allegiance of religious followers to the Republican party, and how that's shaking out in light of the Iraq War. It explores the religious rhetoric of both the Republican and the Democratic candidates for presidency, and how religious followers are responding. It also deals with the changing generations of fundamentalists and what that means for religion and politics. Most interestingly, it talks about social change and how evangelical faiths are either adapting, embracing, or condemning the changing ethos.

Whether you're interested in politics, sociology, religion, or any combination thereof, you should read the article. Anyone planning to vote (which all of you better be) should read the article as well, if only to gain some insight into both the candidates for 2008 and the political process. The article might seem long at first, but it was worth every minute.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

But I thought ninjas were the good guys...

I wish I could tell you this is a joke. Sadly, this is for real.

The CIA (yes, I mean the Central INTELLIGENCE Agency) has created this "Terrorist Buster logo":



Think I'm kidding? Check it out here.

This logo gives ninjas, Chewbacca, and the Michelin Man a bad name. Forget the other countless ways that it's offensive... and lame.

Just remember, these are the people keeping you safe! (And THIS is what your tax money is going to...)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

About the issues

[Okay, my disclaimer for this is that I realize it's very simplified, boiled-down, color-by-numbers politics. This is the reason people hate USA Today - because they create Cosmo-like quizzes to tell you who to vote for.]

BUT... Disclaimer aside, I actually think this a really valuable exercise. Take this quiz from USA Today: here -- it asks you 11 questions about the issues in the 2008 presidential campaign. Based on your answers, it will tell you the top three candidates who match your views.

Why, you ask, do I think this is a good idea? Because voting for president SHOULD be about the issues, not about party affiliations, popularity, or campaign finance.

I've been very confused by the presidential campaigning. There are so many candidates, and I have trouble finding the bottom line amid all the lies. This helped clear things up a bit - and helped me realize which candidates I should start reading about in depth. Candidates aside, it will at least get you thinking about how you really feel about some of the issues.

So try it for yourself. After all, knowledge is power. (And come on, quizzes are cool. Yeah, you know it.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beatboxing Flute Player... whoa

OK this guy is amazing... how does he even do this?!

Inspector Gadget remix:


Super Mario Bros theme:

Copyright or copywrong?

Copyright stuff in the news today, which I figured I should post since I'm a pirate.

An article from USA Today: "YouTube gets media providers' help foiling piracy."

And my favorite, Slate.com, with a special (also interesting and enlightening) feature: "American Lawbreaking: the copyright problem," which debates whether or not copyright infringement is a bad thing.

And in the spirit, I figured I'd post a YouTube video -- the parody trailer for Scorsese's "Sesame Streets." If only because it undoubtedly violates two or three copyright laws.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Causality

I honestly can't believe this is in the news again: "Several U.S. cities snapping over baggy pants."

What I'm most shocked at, though, is not the fact that these bans are spreading - although I'm alarmed at that too, especially considering that it's proposed in Yonkers, N.Y., just north of where I live in the Bronx. No, I'm most shocked at the newest argument these people are making in support of these bans. Ready for it?

"If we have kids going around wearing pants below their butts, it's not nice, not decent," says Timothy Holmes, a city commissioner in Opa-locka, Fla. "If you ask six of these kids, 'What are your grades?' four will tell you they're making C's, D's and F's."

First of all, can we talk for a second about causality? Hello, Mr. Holmes. Saggy pants do not CAUSE bad grades. Therefore, stopping saggy pants will not STOP bad grades. Take a research class, for heaven's sake. Or a logic class. Or a class at all.

Secondly, if you read my blog regularly, you know I take issue with the racism behind these laws. Nevermind freedom of expression.

If you want to stop bad grades, how about attacking poverty in cities, wages paid to inner-city teachers, quality of the the education system, inequality of resources, or the Digital Divide? I'm telling you, banning baggy pants is not gonna do it.

Sigh.

Advertising tactics

Some would say this is advertising at its best. Some would say this is advertising at its worst. I don't think I need to explain why. So what say you, blog readers? How do you feel about this commercial? Is this a good way to sell beer? Could other companies who aren't as famous as Budweiser get away with this successfully? (Or did you not even know it was Budweiser that was being sold here...) Does this make you want to choose Budweiser over other beers -- and do you think it would differently impact someone who is less media-savvy than you are? As a consumer, how do you feel about the tactics used here? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Google Spy?

Article from Slate: "Google's Evil Eye: Does the Big G Know Too Much About Us?"

Daniel Brandt's Google Watch

Google Trends

Scroogle.org - search Google anonymously and without having ads served up to you

Video below: "Web 2.0 - The Machine is Us/Ing Us"

Monday, October 8, 2007

Scary... and scarier.

I read two articles today, both about Broadway and Hollywood.

First of all, watch the preview below for the new film version of the Broadway musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." I saw the Broadway revival of the musical last year. LOVED it. Brilliant reinterpretation of the show. (See a clip from the Tonys here.) Anyway, I couldn't be happier to find out they're making a movie starring Johnny Depp. Say what you want about this guy, but he's the best when it comes to playing creepy. (Edward Scissorhands and Secret Window immediately come to mind.) I'm not crazy about Tim Burton, but I'm definitely giving this one a shot. I recommend you do too:



On a scarier note, guess what's coming to Broadway? Yes, yet another Disney musical. This time starring a certain red-headed mermaid. Saw this coming a mile away.

I'm not trying to hate on The Little Mermaid here. I love the movie. But Beauty and the Beast on Broadway was awful. The Lion King worked, because of the way the show is structured. (In fact, it's BRILLIANT. If you haven't seen it, it's a life must.) But Beauty and the Beast was set up the way Little Mermaid will be - a high-budget, brightly colored rip-off of the movie, with huge puffy costumes, ugly wigs, and mediocre talent. Also, there are only 3 songs from the movie that will be in the show, with 10 originals composed for Broadway. Kill me now.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Free Burma

Today is the day bloggers around the world join together and take a stand.

International bloggers are supporting the peaceful revolution in Burma and setting a sign of freedom by blogging one post to raise awareness about Burma on October 4 - and refraining from posting anything else on this day. To take a stand too, visit http://www.free-burma.org, and sign the petition to the right.

Also, check out one of the only remaining blogs from Burma, CBox, this video below about what has happened in Burma, Ben's post about the protests in Burma, or CNN's article this morning about Burma: "Myanmar troops launch nighttime roundups to intimidate activists."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

If ever a "your mom" joke was appropriate...

From USA Today: "Teens to parents: It's our Facebook"

Ick. Bratty kids. And strange parents.

But it's interesting to think about, now that Facebook is open to adults. I think it's a little strange that parents of current teens would be making profiles and leaving messages on their kids' walls. But as my friends are slowly marrying off, I can't help thinking that they have Facebook profiles now - and will likely have kids in 10 years. Which brings me back to the same questions I was thinking about earlier. What's the future of Facebook?

Regardless, someone needs to tell these teens to stop being so irritating.

(Also, sorry, I can't help using this picture again. It's SO appropriate for this story...)

Avon calling?

Since I've gotten into the habit of blogging about industry news of interest, I thought I should mention this article from the NY Times. I've seen this story in three news sources today: "Company Will Monitor Phone Calls to Tailor Ads."

In a nutshell, Pudding Media is an internet phone service (like Skype) that's supported by advertising. Calls are free for the user - but the catch is that voice recognition technology listens to your call and serves up ads on your screen related to what you're talking about on the phone. Again, I say - creepy.

Looks like this is the future of advertising, though. I found out in reading this article (apparently I'm behind the times) that Google does the same thing with the emails you send, serving up ads related to the topics of your conversations.

Again, I raise the privacy question. What are your thoughts? My regular readers know this is probably the 5th article I've posted recently dealing with the same issue. So what do you think? Is it a violation of privacy? I tend to think this one isn't, since you voluntarily sign up for that phone service. But it does sketch me out a bit that the founders of Pudding Media used to do intel for the Israeli military. These people aren't playing around.

I leave you with a quote from the NYT article. This should give you something to think about. What say you, blog readers? Or should I call you "targets":

"We can never obtain too much information from the targets, and I would love to get my hands on that information," said Jonathan Sackett, chief digital officer for Arnold Worldwide, a unit of the advertising company Havas. "Still, it makes me caution myself and caution all of us as marketers. We really have to look at the situation, because we’re getting more intrusive with each passing technology."

Food for thought.

Face-booked

Read this article from the ever-colorful USA Today about Facebook: "Tech giants poke around Facebook," and see what you think.

For me, this article raises a lot of questions. I've thought about them all before, but this kind of brought them all together for me. Just a sampling... Does Facebook have staying power? Do you think it's better than My Space? Do the benefits of Facebook outweigh the privacy risk? How will targeted ads (currently experimented with on My Space, and making their way to Facebook within the next year) impact users - or are Facebook users smarter than the average Internet-surfer-slash-ad-clicker? How will it impact usage of Facebook if one of these mega-companies swoops it up? And more importantly, are these social networking sites just a fad, or are they here to stay?

So many questions, so little bandwidth.

I hope Zuckerberg has a great lawyer.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fly Green

Interesting article from Slate.com on how to be more environmentally conscious in your air travel. As someone who's planning to fly a bit in the next year (well, mostly to Seattle for Heather and Brian's wedding... but you never know where else), I know it's something on my mind. Any little bit of carbon savings can help.