Monday, January 31, 2005

More Cowbell

The Washington Post (registration required) explores the studio space of Saturday Night Live's infamous "More Cowbell" skit. They also provide a handy link to a video of the skit so you can enjoy it again and again.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Toon comrades in arms

Disney's Toontown Online game has been a big part of my family's gaming time for the past 15 months. Now, thanks to my toon comrade at the "Politicalities" blog, I understand why: the game feeds my innate Communist leanings. A brilliant satire.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Buster gets busted

I didn't even realize that Buster, the white rabbit friend of PBS's Arthur, had his own spin-off series. But Buster is now boiling in a rabbit stew of controversy, because an episode shows a real-life Vermont family that is headed by two "moms". The episode hasn't even aired -- PBS decided to pull it before it could be seen -- but its very existence has allowed new Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to make a name for herself by denouncing it.

It's not as if the show was attempting to teach kids about lesbians. The actual focus of the episode was showing how Vermont food products like maple syrup and cheese are made. The parents were mainly just in the background.

For those who followed last week's SpongeBob/"We Are Family" controversy, I think this is even more ridiculous. At least the complaints about "We Are Family" have some basis -- that foundation's website DOES suggest that kids pledge their tolerance of "sexual identity". I think there's a legitimate question whether schools should be teaching that to young kids, or should it be left to parental choice. But in Buster's case, sexual identity is never even mentioned -- it's just a house with two adult females. Oooh, scary!

Plus, a interesting double-standard is going on here. PBS and the Department of Education apparently have no qualms about presenting divorced families to kids. Buster himself is a child of divorced parents, an issue that has been featured, sometimes prominently, in episodes of "Arthur". But divorce plays better in the red states, I guess.

Phil Vischer, the creator of the kids' Christian video series "VeggieTales" has some interesting insights about kids TV and the thorny issue of "tolerance". Somewhat surprisingly, I agree with many of them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


A happy day it will be on February 22, it being the release date of "Nashville", the new album from singer/songwriter extraordinaire Josh Rouse.

Josh's previous release, a gorgeous concept album titled 1972, is my favorite CD of the past couple of years. That thing has had an anaconda-like grip on me since I first heard it last July.

As for the new title, I'm betting that it's so named after the city where it was recorded -- I doubt it's a country album. A video for the new song "Winter In The Hamptons" (requires QuickTime) seems to confirm this.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Google: is there anything they can't do?

Picasa is a new photo editor/organizer software thingee from Google. Yeah, it's free. CNET says you'd be nuts not to give it a try. Seeing as how I'm not nuts, I'm downloading it now.

Simpsons spoiler

At the San Diego Comic-Con last July, a producer of "The Simpsons" revealed that a character would be coming out of the closet during the upcoming season. Now, Slate claims they have the answer. (Scroll down past the news on "The O.C."). So I guess Smithers still hasn't worked up the nerve yet.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Live Nerd Models

For your viewing pleasure, a seductive Bill Gates photospread from 1985 has recently surfaced on the net. "I was young and needed the money"?

Saturday, January 15, 2005

It's Saturday morning, time for some cartoon trivia

I'm not a toon, I just play one in Toontown. Grey De Lisle, on the other hand, is a professional toon. Let's see, she's the voice of Emily Elizabeth from "Clifford the Big Red Dog", Vicky the evil babysitter from "Fairly OddParents", Vicky the smart girl from "Jimmy Neutron", Daphne from "Scooby Doo", Frankie the teenage girl from "Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends", Mandy from "The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy", Yumi from "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi", and more and more. On some days, it's likely that my 7 year-old hears this woman's voice more often than he hears his own mother's!

Oh yeah, and she has a pretty good folk music album out too!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Guess the Dictator or Sit-Com Character

In this game you think of a sitcom character or real-life dictator. The computer will ask you a series of yes/no questions as it tries to figure out who you are thinking of. It's fun and very accurate, but be prepared to answer a LOT of questions.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Oops, never mind.

March 17, 2003 (President Bush's last speech before war began):
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
"Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed."

January 12, 2005: Search ended last month, no weapons found.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Must. Have. New. Shiny. Thing.

Damn, there's a new $99 iPod. Finally, a price point that won't require justification to my significant other! Finally, a price point that won't piss me off when it inevitably gets damaged by my kids! Apple, thank you for speaking my language.

Slicing up eyeballs

...or "Alt-Rock Trivia for $1000, Alex". Here's a perfect example of the obscure information that just totally makes my day. Did you ever wonder about the strange lyrics to the Pixies' classic song "Debaser"? C'mon, sure you have. Today I learned that they're based on images from a 1929 Spanish film called "Un Chien Andalou", which recently came out on DVD.

You're welcome!

Carlos goes yard

The former Royal gets his wish.

Monday, January 10, 2005

"Yeah, I got your Monster Thickburger RIGHT HERE!"

Presenting Hardee's "Fist Girl". I guess all we can do is sit back and wait for the protests (from feminist groups) and lawsuits (from parents whose children get injured trying these stunts).

New Craig

I kinda like the gamble that CBS is taking with its new "Late Late Show" host, Craig Ferguson. Too many late-nite hosts (Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly, and former CBS host Craig Kilborn) style their shows to appeal to the 'wasted frat guy' audience. But Ferguson, a forty-something Scotsman, seems to be a going for a smarter crowd. Even his new theme song (which you can hear at the link above) has a clever Beatles-ish vibe to it. Will he succeed? Probably not, but it's still interesting.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Civil Liberties 101

I recently found a transcript of the best speech I ever heard. In autumn 1988, in the thick of the Bush Sr. vs. Dukakis election campaign, the elder Bush described his opponent as a "card-carrying member of the ACLU". A few weeks later, ACLU Director Ira Glasser responded during a speech to the National Press Club. I heard this live on the radio, and it blew me away. Still does. I actually bought a cassette copy of it and listened to it occasionally over the years until it got lost somewhere. (Warning -- it's fairly long).

Hot Knights

The Kansas City Knights, our local ABA basketball team, had a promotion last month that featured, uh...strippers. Scroll down to the photo -- you'll know it when you see it (safe for work). The expression on the kids' faces is priceless.