Saturday, February 26, 2005

The price of Internet fame

I saw the "Numa Numa" video thingie last week. I thought it was kinda cute but not so entertaining that I felt compelled to send it to anyone. (But my daughter likes it and has asked to see it a few times). I thought the whole "Star Wars Kid" phenomenon was more interesting. Or the lesser known but equally entertaining "Metallica Drummer!" from 1999 (although I can't for the life of me find a link to that actual video now).

But I do find it disheartening that "Numa Numa Guy" is no longer happy about the attention and won't talk to the press. He's an adult who seems to have some comedic talent. It's too bad he can't appreciate that people enjoy his performance, and it is obviously a performance. I'm not laughing at him, I'm laughing with him, right? (Ok, maybe both). The article says he works at Staples -- maybe that company should hire him to make a commercial.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Live from Jeter Arena in Boston

A Yankees fan won a charity auction to rename Boston's FleetCenter Arena for one day. So of course, he wants to name it after Derek Jeter. They should make a MasterCard "priceless" ad for this.

Speaking of which....

By the way, if you have a couple grand sitting around, you too can rename the FleetCenter for a day by bidding at one of the eBay charity auctions. Maybe I'd name it the "Paige Sports Arena" just for kicks. Or maybe I should aim higher and name it the "Harvard University, Please Give My Kids A Scholarship Arena" and hope that the attendant publicity pays off.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Not Joshing You

Josh Rouse's new album Nashville is mind-bendingly good stuff: smart, well-produced pop music, hooks that attach themselves to your very being, and moments of breathtaking beauty. Really remarkable -- in fact, here are a few remarks:

"Somebody will really have to pull off a miracle to top Nashville as far as intelligent, honest and entertaining guitar pop goes in 2005. Or any other year." -- AllMusic

"There are approximately 2,138 white-guy singer-song-writers currently vying for your attention, and while they all seem like perfectly nice fellows, it's hard to imagine any of them topping themselves six albums into their career — a feat Rouse accomplishes with the persistently gorgeous Nashville.... A-" -- Entertainment Weekly

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Dead Pixel Society

CNET reveals how various flat screen retailers handle the annoying issue of dead pixels. Our 18-month old laptop has one -- it's near a corner and not all that noticeable, so I didn't even bother to ask Dell about replacing it. But if I were paying big money for a large PC or TV screen and it had one, they would know my wrath!

A franchise founded in fishnet

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue - An intellectual history. I enjoyed how he specifically mentions a 1978 Cheryl Tiegs photo as "a watershed moment for cheesecake". Since I was 15 at the time, I remember that photo very well. (He says it was a "white fishnet top", but most males my age could tell you that it was a one-piece suit). As for it being a "watershed moment", let's just say there's an easy joke there that I'm feeling too polite to tell.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The KC Call gets called out

Pundit Payola, Up-to-Date in Kansas City. I realize that low-budget newspapers which target small populations will sometimes bend the rules. But this is ridiculous.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Swear word bleeped. We've got team coverage.

Yahoo! News - Green Day Tests Grammy Censors. This was on the front page of Yahoo just now, and I have to wonder: how is this news? Green Day performed a song that contains an expletive and it got bleeped...just like it does every time the song is played on the radio. In this post-Janet Jackson world, the entertainment media are eager to hyperventilate over any trace of a live-TV controversy. What's the big deal? "Oh my God, I heard a bleep!" Hmm. Some of the local radio DJs around here bleep themselves (or a caller) about once every five minutes.

BTW, the Green Day album (bleeping) rocks.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Behind the scenes at "World of Warcraft"

World Of Warcraft has quickly become the most successful online role-playing game ever, having sold several hundred thousand copies since its November 23 release. This New York Times article (reprinted at CNET) gives a glimpse behind the scenes as the software company (Blizzard) struggles to keep up with the growth.

If I ever move out of Toontown's family-friendly confines, I'll be deciding between WoW and City of Heroes. If quotes like this one are to be believed, it's a bit like choosing between crack and heroin:

"Computer Gaming World, the game magazine, called 'World of Warcraft' a 'game world so insidiously addictive, so rich in imagination, so fun and beautiful and funny and charming that we have no desire to ever log out and resume our real lives.'"

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Pain and suffering, in bar chart form

From this week's Onion: Project Manager Leaves Suicide PowerPoint Presentation. Be sure to check out the slides attached to the bottom of the article. (And just in case there's anyone left who doesn't know it -- The Onion is satire).

The snow divide at State Line Road

I drive down State Line Road every morning to take my daugther to preschool, and this KC Star editorial has it exactly right. State Line is a two-lane road on this stretch, and yesterday morning the Kansas-side lane was clean while the Missouri-side lane was still yucky. This was several hours after the snowfall had ended, and the difference was ridiculous. (I look forward to retirement, when I can complain about the government full-time).

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Who's Your Daddy?

The Super Bowl commercial for GoDaddy was one of few that caused any controversy. According to the company's president, the ad was scheduled to air twice during the game, but FOX cancelled the second airing after they received complaints about the first one.

For those who liked the commercial, you can actually view a two-minute version of it here. Fill out the little survey and select the "Full 'Web Only' Censorship Hearing". I provide this information purely for the benefit of your research, ahem.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Ad Nauseum: the Super Bowl commercials

Slate provides a reasonably good analysis of the best and worst Super Bowl ads. I watched most of the game and laughed out loud exactly twice: the Diet Pepsi "Staying Alive" ad (when Carson from "Queer Eye" joined the hoard of women following a male model), and the Ameriquest ad with the cat killer. You can view most of the ads online at USA Today. (EDIT: Ok, the Bud Light skydiver made me laugh too).

Big kid in a candy store

Oh, the thrill of a new toy. After having tons of fun playing with configurations, I ordered a new desktop PC from Dell this weekend. I'm pleased to see how prices have come down. I tend to buy these things in the upper-middle price range -- not top of the line, but darn close to it. When I did this 5 years ago, I spent $2400. This time, I bought even closer to top of the line but spent only $1400. (Even better, a hefty portion of this will be subsidized by my employer. Yeah, I know, I'm spoiled.) And I certainly could have spent a few hundred dollars less and still gotten a great system.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Sweet Smell of Success

Two years after NYC banned smoking in all public places, most New Yorkers (even bar & restaurant owners) are happy with the change. (NYTimes, registration required). I would love for a ban like that to happen here.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Sports Guy in Jacksonville columnist Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) has been sharing his experiences in Jacksonville this week in a Super Bowl blog. Despite the fact that he's actually getting paid to watch his hometown team compete in their third Super Bowl in four years, an event that most of us will never get the chance to see in person, he manages to find plenty to complain about. Yet somehow he still comes across as likeable -- an impressive trick.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Click "Leave gun", click "Take cannolis".

Get ready for "The Godfather" the video game, coming this fall from Electronic Arts. Latest news is that the game will feature actual voices and likenesses of Marlon Brando, James Caan and Robert DuVall. Brando apparently recorded voice-overs for the game before his death.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

CBS News: 'Captured GI' A Real Doll

This war is getting weirder every day.

Johnny Carson: A Revisionist View

Entertainment critic Ken Tucker dares to challenge all the fawning over the late Mr. Carson:

"...millions don't recall that the late-'70s-to-late-'80s was a fallow period for Carson. He was increasingly out of touch, with his wide-lapelled suits drawn from the closet of his own clothing line, mildly contemptuous of post-Beatles popular culture; his monologues slowed to a series of 'It was so hot today… ,' followed by the audience's chant, 'How hot was it?' He doled out yuks and the sort of bipartisan political humor whose toothlessness was exceeded only by the gummy suck-up of a Bob Hope TV routine."

Ouch, did he really have to make a jab at the suits? Didn't everyone wear bad clothing then? But he does have a valid point. Reminds me of Dana Carvey's old SNL impersonations of Carson, which absolutely hinged on the theme of Carson being out of touch. "That is some weird, wild stuff".