Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catch 22

So, in the Star Trek series, the red shirt-wearing folks are the ones who invariably die on every mission.

But what would happen if it was an away mission where they were fighting the Star Wars Storm Troopers, who seem to be unable to hit the broad-side of a barn?


Thursday, October 30, 2008


Mad Simpsons

I love the AMC show Mad Men. I don't know what it is really... the 60s outfits, the fact that people are pretty much allowed to do anything at work or the cool opening sequence... I think it's the opening sequence. Which is why the Simpson's spoof of the opening for their Halloween special this year is awesome:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

TSA and Travel

I travel a lot.

This freaks me out - and it's what *I* think about when I'm sitting on the runway, hoping I successfully make it to my destination and back.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Embarq Advertisement for Free TV

I'm sure you've seen it or heard it. I'm talking about the Embarq advertisement for free TV.

Obviously it's a popular ad.

But what's the appeal? I simply don't know. What bugs me most, however, is the little ditty "they don't call her Queen Tut, for nothin'"

It's about her being made of gold and calling her Queen Tut. Anyone else see the problem?

RIIIIIGHT. It's King Midas who was tied to gold, not Tut! So "Queen Tut" doesn't make any sense at all. Even the fact that King Tut was buried in a coffin made of gold doesn't validate the ad. I wouldn't buy Embarq now if for no other reason than their misappropriation of history. Get it right if you're gonna' hang your hat on it.

So, while I'm hip with the various dopey yet catchy jingles, the Embarq one just irks me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kevin Smith Protests Dogma

OK. So regardless of what you might think about Kevin Smith, or Dogma, the movie he wrote and directed (and played Silent Bob in), this is pretty funny:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Updates on a few of the things I've written about

Well, it's not like I'm some sort of prescient person and know what the world is really thinking about... but there have been a few instances of things I write about in the last few months actually capturing some amount of world-wide attention. So this post is simply a note to the file on what happened.

Randy Pausch
Remember the post from a few months ago about the Last Lecture? Randy was diagnosed with cancer, fought a hell of a fight and along the way, delivered what many people consider to be the greatest inspirational speech of all time. He died on July 25, 2008. It's not only a tragedy for his wife and children... but also for the millions of people he was able (and will continue) to inspire.

McFly Nikes
Much less important than Randy, Nike actually responded to the cultural request of my generation and has released the Hyperdunks's. Here is info. And more info. And even more. Awesome. Now people are working on the auto-lacing mechanism.

Pandering to my Generation
Songs from the 80s continue to permeate the current cultural zeitgeist. Which isn't really saying much. In fact, with the Olympics on TV, I get the same round of commercials over and over and over and over and... oops, sorry. Stuck in a loop.

Anyways, what I was saying is that I get to see a lot of the same commercials. One of them is for JC Penny. The commercial's background music is Simple Minds' classic "Don't You (forget about me)" from one of my favorite movies, The Breakfast Club. The kids in the commercial are reenacting several of the scenes from the movie - and I turn to Tina and ask - "so, do you think the director had to explain to them: OK... now I want you to run down this hallway really fast, then do a floor-slide past the turn and run back towards the camera? Or do you think he just showed them the movie?"

But commercials aren't the only things participating in this recycling lifestyle. I actually saved money by getting digital cable the other day... which now gives me access to all of my favorite shows from my formative years. Emergency!, CHiPs, Quincy, Kojak, A-Team, Knight Rider (though the new series starts on 9/24!!!). But I realized that these shows, while all cutesily fatally flawed (it's really funny to see some of the "procedures" performed by John and Roy on Emergency! and compare them to what I learned as an EMT 19 years later), are really the genesis for almost all of TV today:

Emergency! is now ER or any other hospital/ambulance show
Quincy is CSI before they realized that people WANT to see the science
Kojak is The Shield; and Barney Miller is The Closer, Law and Order and any other cop show
A-Team is Burn Notice
Brady Bunch is now Jon & Kate Plus 8 (why invent what really exists?)
Knight Rider is now Knight Rider (some things have to be cloned exactly)

Friday, August 08, 2008


I grew up watching all sorts of shows about people my age trying to deal with life. The Facts of Life, 90201, then on to Melrose Place and Friends. Most of these shows had a fatal flaw. They were populated by self-centered, narcissistic, vapid characters.

Well, no more. Now's there's 'llectuals.

Friday, July 25, 2008


One of my favorite toys as a child (and yes, even as an adult), is Lego. The bricks are great fun for stress relief and they require at least some amount of imagination. I have sets back from the early 70s all the way to a pristine, in-the-box collection of all of the Harry Potter-related sets (I don't know why I'm keeping them in the box, other than to say I have them... maybe I'd let my kids play with them?).

But the toy villain from my youth has got to be the Rubik's Cube. They musta' released a billion versions of that thing in the 80s. And if 9 squares/side wasn't bad enough in about 10 different sizes (from microscopically small to desk-size large), the 12 square/side version (Rubik's Revenge, I believe it was called) was awful. Then they released them in ball-shaped versions, triangle-shaped versions... even a thing called the snake.

So I'm quite happy to see that someone took the time to build a Lego Mindstorms (computer-controlled Legos) set that is designed to solve a Rubik's Cube. It works by color-reading each side, generating a solution set and executing it. Check it out:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Flashpoint TV Show

There's a new show on CBS called Flashpoint. It's about hostage negotiators and snipers.

Now... I'm into negotiation, so you'd think that I'd love this show. I mean sure, the technology is cool - I wouldn't mind having someone assist every now and again with a voice in my ear while I'm in the middle of a negotiation... but the rest of the show just drags on.

To be honest, I was hoping for a little less talky-talky and a little more shooty-shooty.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Miss Universe Pageant Curse

So, tonight I was watching the 2008 Miss Universe pageant on TV (don't ask, it was the only thing on). Apparently, tonight was near the end, so there were 8 or so women left - evening gown competition time. Miss USA tripped down the initial step and fell flat on her butt. She was poised, got back up and kept moving as if it never happened.

Tina immediately wondered aloud how long it would take for video to appear on YouTube. So I went to look. Nope... not yet.

UPDATE (7/14/08): Video is now posted:

BUT, there WERE other videos of Miss USA 2007 at the Miss Universe 2007 pageant also falling on her butt.

So, two years in a row, the Miss USA contestant falls at the Miss Universe pageant during the evening gown portion of the event. Doesn't this qualify for some sort of curse, chant or other superstition?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

More on Apple and customer service

About 2 years ago, I wrote a story about getting my PowerBook G4 fixed as a result of a hinge problem. At the time, I was indignant that Apple had a known defect in their product and wouldn't repair it for me. I spent some time in the AppleStore in Durham, NC (this was before the one in Raleigh opened) trying to see if they would assist under warranty... and they didn't. So my post was a result of my frustration at trying to get help for something I thought Apple should've taken care of, yet didn't.

However, I didn't lose my cool at the AppleStore, on the phone with Apple or anywhere else. If anything, I was mostly upset with myself and sad that I was going to have to pay a few hundred dollars for something I knew I was going to replace relatively soon.

Today I saw a post on Gizmodo about another guy who "Lost his S#?!" at the AppleStore in DC. It linked to a comic he wrote about the experience. (The comic is safe, but the comments afterwards are a little NSFW, so view this at home and away from young eyes).

Essentially, the guy had a very similar machine that I used to have... and he wanted to install a wireless card in it after purchase. He was upset that the screws on the machine weren't "standard" (they're TORX, which are, as you'll see from reading the comments, standard) and that he says he had trouble finding them at various stores (which people in the comments refute). He was upset that Apple wouldn't give him a screwdriver in the AppleStore to fix his own machine (for the same reasons that your auto mechanic won't let you use their tools to fix your car).

He ultimately lost his cool at the AppleStore and wrote the comic as a way to vent.

Now, per my other missives above, I do understand venting. I also understand being frustrated by a situation that I believe is somehow unfair.

But I do NOT take it out on others (Tina may disagree, since she hears me at home). So let me clarify... I don't take it out on the customer service person who really doesn't have much control over the situation.

[Update - about 3 seconds after hitting Publish]: OK... so I realize that by posting this little story, I'm probably perpetuating something that should just die. And, as Tina reminds me (man, I really love this girl) arguing with everyone I ever disagreed with isn't productive. Which, in turn, reminded me of one of my favorite comic artists of all time. So I'm converting this post from a semi-rant to a positive suggestion for you all to read on a regular basis. Here's one of Randall's drawings, completely on point.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Knight Rider GPS

If you were born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s and were male... you LOVED Knight Rider. The Hoff wasn't a dweeb yet (we had no idea he wanted to sing). KITT (the car) was awesome - and so was Bonnie. But I digress.

Mio just released their Knight Rider GPS - which comes STANDARD with William Daniels as the voice of this turn-by-turn speaking device.

Sweet! Hey Tina!!! I want one. My birthday is coming in a few months! :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Followup on Stolen Credit Card

I waited a few months before writing this... mostly because I was busy, but partially because I wanted to see how it all played out.

The long-story-short version of the stolen credit card saga is that one of the drivers of the limo service we used in Orlando was the culprit. They used the card to charge their household bills on (not very bright)... and they confessed once cornered.

I still need to followup with the DA on the case, as I asked to press charges. So we'll see what happens. So far, no restitution or anything like that.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Again and Again

The new video for Again and Again by The Bird and The Bee. If you're not a Mac user, you might not notice all of the intricacies of the movement through the Mac operating system... but you should still find the video interesting.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Psycho Ex Girlfriend

It's 2:31 AM. The Democratic Party is sleeping peacefully when it hears its phone buzz on the night stand. It rolls over and sees "Hillary" on the caller ID. It pauses briefly, considering pushing "END" and not dealing with this shit tonight. The thought is appealing but the Democratic Party knows that if it doesn't take this call, another one is only minutes away.

DEMS: ...Hello?

Hillary: Hey baby.

DEMS: C'mon Hillary. Enough with this.

Hillary: Don't you get it? You NEED me.

DEMS: No, I don't. It was fun while it lasted but I'm with Barack now. I made my choice, it's done.

Hillary: You can't really mean that. How can you say that after all the good times we had?

... continued at:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Mole - Subliminal Advertising?

Back in 2001, ABC television launched a new reality gameshow called "The Mole."

The concept was simple... play a game to win money, but try to figure out who is trying to sabotage the game (thus reducing the amount of money available to win). Each week, players would attempt to identify the Mole - and eliminate those that they thought WERE the Mole.

There were two sequels, Mole 2 and Celebrity Mole (if I remember correctly, Stephen Baldwin was the best Mole ever). In any event, I'd pretty much forgotten about the show until a few weeks ago.

It's no secret that I have Tivo and love skipping commercials. But even with a great trigger finger, I still usually have to pop back with just a few seconds left before the end of the commercial break. And a few weeks ago, I caught sight of a single dark frame with "the mole was here" written on it during Lost. I didn't think much of it... thinking that maybe someone was just playing around and messed something up.

But I'm watching Brothers and Sisters right now... and here it is again at the 21 minute mark.

A quick jump to IMDB says that it looks like they're doing a new "season" in 2008. And Wikipedia confirms what I'm seeing, too, as an advertisement for the Mole.

But how is this not subliminal advertising? I think the argument is that it's actually consciously visible (ie: you actually KNOW that you're seeing the logo and words) and thus it's not actually subliminal.

I don't know that I buy that, though. Any experts in advertising law out there?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

And the gene pool just got a bit more murky

Hmmm... lemme' guess. Now there are more women who actually WANT this guy, right?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pandering to my generation

I was walking with one of my MBA class teams through an open-air mall the other day (don't ask why... not relevant to the story). These types of malls always pipe-in music, and today's selection was "Maneater" by Hall & Oates. I mentioned that if getting older wasn't enough, I'd noticed that advertisers realized that I'm in my mid-thirty's too. I suppose they believe I have money to burn, because there are just WAY too many ads that use 80s music.

The lone female in the group says "So....... you must have all been born in the 70s, right?"

"Yes," we collectively reply. "When were you born?"



Anyways, here's the list of songs that I've heard that are featured in various ads on TV and radio.

  • "All Out of Love" - Air Supply - Denny's Breakfast
  • "Blister in the Sun" - Violent Femmes - Wendy's
  • "Cruel Summer" - Bananarama - Kellog's Special K
  • "Da Da Da" - Trio - Volkswagen
  • "Don't You Want Me" - Human League - Chips Ahoy
  • "Final Countdown" - Europe - Nintendo Wii
  • "Hungry Like The Wolf" - Duran Duran - Old Spice (my personal favorite because it also has Bruce Campbell singing it at a piano)
  • "I Melt with You" - Modern English - Taco Bell Cheesy Melt
  • "I Melt with You" - Modern English - GMC Acadia
  • "I Want Candy" - Bow Wow Bow - Pringles
  • "Love My Way" - Psychedelic Furs - CBS Cold Case teaser
  • "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" - Air Supply - Wendy's
  • "Maniac" - Michael Sambello - Kia
  • "Money for Nothing" - Dire Straits - Toyota
  • "One Thing Leads to Another" - The Fixx - LendingTree
  • "Our House" - Madness - Maxwell House
  • "Over the Rainbow" - Israel Kamakawiwo Ole -
  • "Rockit" - Herbie Hancock - Visa Checkcard
  • "Tainted Love" - Soft Cell - Levi's (ok, this one is from a few years ago, where they bring a pair of jeans back to live... but still)
  • "Talk" - Talk Talk - Cingular
  • "Tarzan Boy" - Baltimora - Listerine (also from a few years ago)
  • "We're Not Gonna Take It" - Twisted Sister - Bee Movie
  • "Whip It" - Devo - Pringle's Pack-It

What other songs have you heard that bring a smile to your face, but don't really cause you to go buy any of their products?