Saturday, February 28, 2009

It Was the Purple Dinosaur That Caused Nightmares

Words escape me. Oh wait, I have one: assholes

Disabled presenter 'scares children'

Vitriolic comments and complaints to BBC spark angry backlash by charities and parents in support of CBeebies' Cerrie Burnell.

Disparaging comments by adults about a children's presenter have led to an angry backlash in support of Cerrie Burnell, the 29-year-old CBeebies host who was born missing the lower section of her right arm. One man said that he would stop his daughter from watching the BBC children's channel because Burnell would give his child nightmares.

Parents even called the broadcaster to complain after Burnell, with Alex Winters, took over the channel's popular Do and Discover slot and The Bedtime Hour programme last month, to complain about her disability.

And some of the vitriolic comments on the "Grown Up" section of the channel's website were so nasty that they had to be removed.


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Friday, February 27, 2009

Talk About "Ass Wipes"

I could think of a better use for the Greenpeace national toilet paper ratings guide.  But I'm guessing that it would be too rough.

Mr. Whipple Left It Out: Soft Is Rough on Forests 

Americans like their toilet tissue soft: exotic confections that are silken, thick and hot-air-fluffed. 

The national obsession with soft paper has driven the growth of brands lik Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra — which in 2008 alone increased its sales by 40 percent in some markets, according to Information Resources, Inc., marketing research firm. 

But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them. 

Customers “demand soft and comfortable,” said James Malone, a spokesman for Georgia Pacific, the maker of Quilted Northern. “Recycled fiber cannot do it.” 

The country’s soft-tissue habit — call it the Charmin effect — has not escaped the notice of environmentalists, who are increasingly making toilet tissue manufacturers the targets of campaigns. Greenpeace on Monday for the first time issued a national guide for American consumers that rates toilet tissue brands on their environmental soundness. With the recession pushing the price for recycled paper down and Americans showing more willingness to repurpose everything from clothing to tires, environmental groups want more people to switch to recycled toilet tissue.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Two Year Studies Give ME Agita

Stories like this one in USA Today make we want to shout "NO SHIT!"  Or, at least, create an award with those words engraved into the front of it.
In 4-diet study, all lost weight if they watched their calories

When all is said and done, it comes down to calories.

A landmark study shows that people can lose weight on a variety of diets — including low-fat plans and low-carb ones — as long as they consume fewer calories.
I used to mock Morgan Spurlock, the guy who made Super Size Me, because it took him a full month to realize that pigging out at McDonalds each and every day will cause you to pack on some pounds. But, it took the bozos who ran this so-called "landmark" study TWO whole years to figure out that eating is the number one cause of weight gain!

Couldn't that research money have been better spent perfecting the electric car?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Format They Can't Refuse

I just learned a new term: "E-Babel"

From Wired.com:

Amazon's E-Book Strategy Re-Kindles Debate on Open Standards

While many salivated over this week's arrival of "the iPod of the book world," supporters of open e-book standards are opining anew that the Kindle's proprietary format is not only bad for readers but, in the long run, probably for Amazon as well.

"Either Amazon will succeed in locking people in, at which point it will become a kind of mashup of the worst elements of the Recording Industry Association of America, Microsoft and the mafia, or they’ll fail," said Cory Doctorow, open source advocate, science-fiction author and co-editor of Boing Boing.  

The issue isn't about DRM protections on the books, but on Amazon's decision to create — and now perpetuate — a non-portable format that a) denies readers the ability to read e-books they buy from the company on another device and b) books they might buy from an e-books competitor on the Kindle.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Big FAT Tuesday

I'm using the fact that today is Fat Tuesday as a lame excuse to post my favorite South Park song: "Kyle's Mom is a Big FAT Bitch."

It still makes me laugh like a ten year old and has 100% less calories than a paczki!


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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Hope I'm Not Protesting Too Much

As it reaches it's fifth birthday, Facebook has gotten a lot of it's own "face time" in the news. First, there was a bit of a brew-ha-ha over Facebook's new "Terms of Service" policy.  Then, this week's Fortune Magazine featured a cover story entitled "How Facebook is Taking Over Our Lives."

But the one that bugged me was Lev Grossman's article listing ten reasons "Why Facebook is for Old Fogies" in Time Magazine.  

Grossman states:
There was a time when it was cool to be on Facebook. That time has passed. Facebook now has 150 million members, and its fastest-growing demographic is 30 and up. At this point, it's way cooler not to be on Facebook. We've ruined it for good, just like we ruined Twilight and skateboarding. So git! And while you're at it, you damn kids better get off our lawn too.
First of all, the "middle-aged" user shown in the illustration looks like Alan Greesnspan (who is well past middle age).   I shouldn't blame Grossman for that.  I doubt he approved the picture. I'd also point out that the actual file name for that particular image is "a_lnerdworld_0223.jpg." But, I suppose, only a "nerd" would notice that.

However, all of the middle-aged lifestyle items Grossman lists may explain the surge in social-networking sites for that group in general, but, with the exception of number 5, doesn't really give any insight into WHY Facebook has more members than other similar types of websites, such as MySpace.  Curiously Grossman NEVER even mentions MySpace

My own theory for Facebook's success is that connecting with people in it is like having a cold beer with an old friend at a nice pub. MySpace’s environment, on the other hand, is the web equivalent of a urinal trough conversation in the men's room at a KISS concert.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

His Ratings Ain't THAT Great

I just joined a new Facebook group called: Countdown: Cut Olbermann's GE Pay to $500,000!

The premise, asked with tongue planted only partly in cheek, is "GE took the federal TARP money, so why is Keith Olbermann paid over the $500,000 limit?"

To which one member replies: "Hey, designer frames and hair spray ain't cheap!"

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Republican Doonesbury

Here's a sample panel from Day by Day Cartoon that's a conservative response to Garry Trudeau.

It strikes me as about as funny as a typical Doonesbury.


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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

All Dollars and No Sense

A supposedly real conversation between Verizon and an understandably frustrated customer.

My favorite part is when the befuddled support manager, referrring to the math, claims that "it's obviously a difference of opinion."

(H/T: Sports Illustrated)


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Monday, February 16, 2009

In Your Facebook

On the surface, Facebook's new terms of service are meant to protect them from lawsuits by users who upload content that somehow ends up on other servers.  BUT, it does open up more nefarious possibilities as well.

From the Chris Walters at The Consumerist.com:
Facebook's New Terms Of Service: "We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever."

Facebook's terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.

...Make sure you never upload anything you don't feel comfortable giving away forever, because it's Facebook's now.

Oh, you also agree to arbitration, naturally. Have fun with that.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fire Over Texas

Interesting story out of Texas.

Burning debris seen falling from sky

A few days ago an American satellite and a Russian satellite collided 500 miles above the Earth. Preliminary reports by Williamson County officials said a small aircraft went down, but officials now say it's likely just space debris from two satellites
crashing.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Fifth "One"

Christina Raines and accused murderer Drew Peterson on MSNBC. She's 24. He's 55 and suspected of killing two previous wives. She says he "has a good heart," and plans a summer wedding. What a sweet Valentine's Day story.


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Friday, February 13, 2009

She's Got a Great Set of Brains

Why does our society put so much emphasis on the size of a woman's head?

Yet another gem from The Onion:


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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Got Salma?

Take THAT Angelina Jolie!

From Time/CNN: "Salma Hayek, Breast-Feeding and One Very Public Service"

It was hard to pick ONE, but Hayak's most pretentious quote from the piece was when she said "I actually think that my baby would be proud to share her milk..."


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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shovel Ready...?

Supposedly when asked about his predictions for the stock market, banking tycoon J.P. Morgan once replied: "It will fluctuate."

That's a bit how I felt after watching economist Joseph Stiglitz's MSNBC interview posted on Bob Westal's blog: "The Stimulus Battle — Some of My Part" (h/t The House Next Door). The segment focused on the current debate over President Obama's $900 billion (or more) economic stimulus bill.

I hate to oversimplify, but Stiglitz seemed to be saying that if a large enough package is implemented, then our economic woes should be over by the end of the year. ON THE OTHER HAND, we should be prepared for the recession to go on longer and get worse. No wonder my eyes glaze over whenever I listen to financial prognosticators. My bad for taking all those marketing electives in college instead of accounting.

I caught an equally interesting exchange between another noted economist ("Left Wing Marxist"), Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, and former GOP Congressman turned MSNBC host ("Right Wing Nut Job"), Joe Scarborough, as they expressed their own qualms about the current rush to pass the stimulus bill.

Sachs reiterated his concerns as expressed in a Huffington Post piece. He's basically supportive of the initiative, but does harbor some doubts:
...taking something highly flawed now rather than a better framework that is never enacted (!) would make sense. I regret and worry, however, that we haven't yet had the kind of public discussion about what's really needed for the medium term, and how we can get there. I don't really know if it's "now or never." If that's true, let's have the legislation now. It just doesn't feel right to me, however. And I do worry that the tax cuts and coming mega-deficits might well frustrate a subsequent convergence on a more meaningful and sustainable trajectory in the coming months and years.
They were joined by Sen. Barbara Boxer, a self described economics major, who was there to give her side of it. Frankly, Boxer sounded like an idiot. She started off by sighing over the fact that people are expressing "so much pessimism." Well, golly, did she watch the President Obama's press conference? How else but "pessimistic" would you call comparing our economy to a car driving toward a cliff?

It may have been a weak attempt at humor, but Boxer then acted like she'd never heard of the Congressional Budget Office. This was mostly in response to the CBO's mixed prediction, as reported in U.S. News and World Report, that the stimulus package could create jobs and increase GDP in the short term, but may actually reduce GDP in the long run. She quipped something about that being their opinion "whoever they are" (punctuated with air quotes).

The senator took predictable slams at Republicans who are now conspicuously back in their familiar and comfortable role of opposing deficit spending. While the GOP's current stance is somewhat laughable after eight years of silence, I don't know why Boxer and Obama even care what they think. Republicans can't stop the stimulus bill from passing. Their loud complaints are no more effective than a child's rant from the backseat of a car (headed towards a cliff?).

Well, it was a Republican, Richard Nixon, who famously observed: "We are all Keynesians now." Then again, another Republican, Judge Smells (Ted Knight in Caddyshack) also once commented: "The world needs ditch diggers too."


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Monday, February 09, 2009

Quool-Aid Quilt

I've been suspecting this for a while...


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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tomb Raider Begins

Wired helps "get the ball rolling" with casting ideas for the Lara Croft reboot: Mila Kunis, Malin Akerman, Evangeline Lilly, Sienna Miller and Summer Glau.

From Wired.com:

Is there anybody out there, really, who can replace Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft?

Eight years after she brought the daredevil archaeologist to cinematic life in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Warner Bros. announced plans last week to reboot the franchise.

The new Lara Croft will have a tough act to follow. An exception to the videogames-make-lousy-movies rule, the original Tomb Raider grossed a whopping $275 million worldwide. But when fans weren't so thrilled with 2003's sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Jolie moved on.


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Friday, February 06, 2009

Read A M'Fng Book!

This left me speechless...


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Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Colon Club

My initial reaction to the Colon Club website was to snicker like a ten year old at their traveling exhibit, The Colossal Colon or laugh at mascots dressed like a polyp and an enema bag.

But after finding out more about the founder, Molly McMaster, a colon cancer survivor who created the organization to raise awareness, I must say I wanted to smack myself in the mouth for being so glib.

This is one really brave lady who has the audacity to draw attention to this serious  illness with her own brand of self-deprecating humor.

For instance, one of their fundraising activities is the 2009 "Colonder" that features different survivors each month.

You go Molly! 

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Well, Duhhh

The real sin is that GoDaddy thinks that Danica Patrick is still hot.

From Wired.com:
Christians Bailing on GoDaddy Due to 'Immoral' Advertising

GoDaddy's famously risque Super Bowl ads always pull lots of eyeballs, but the company's latest spots may have resulted in a little too much attention of the wrong kind.

Entrepreneur Brian Harrell, who manages hosting services for dozens of Christian churches and faith-based organizations and uses GoDaddy to host over 160 domains, says he's pulled several of his clients off of GoDaddy's servers after receiving numerous complaints about the company's racy ads that aired during Sunday's game...

...Christians are using GoDaddy.com for hosting? Haven't they seen the ads?

Harrell, who is a Christian himself, says he's no stranger to the ads or to the suggestive nature of advertising in general. But the ads are costing him business, and he feels it's time the company owns up to what he calls its "immoral and irresponsible" public image.

Read more!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Two Buck Chuck

I still have a headache from trying to watch last night's Chuck in 3D.

It was horrible.  The effect worked sporadically and wasn't all that exciting.

I think this set the cause of Pepsi, Monsters vs. Aliens, and the hype surrounding 3D movies in general, back about 30 years.

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My Personal Ball and Chain

I think I got another bum rap from the New Yorker "Cartoon Caption Contest."



I liked my entry for #178:
"My cellmate doesn't understand me."
The winners:
  • "If anybody calls, I'm not here." - good


  • "I'd kill for some peanuts." - fair


  • "Most men drink to escape. I escape to drink." - did nothing for me

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Just Wait Until Super XXXXX

Has anyone stopped to ask if maybe it was the Super Bowl broadcast that was interrupting the Tucson?

Station says porn clip interrupted Super Bowl

PHOENIX (AP)—A Tucson television station’s broadcast of the Super Bowl on Sunday was interrupted for some viewers by about 10 seconds of pornographic material, the station said.

KVOA TV in Tucson released a statement saying that the only viewers who were able to see the material were those who receive the channel through Comcast cable.

The station said it will investigate the incident.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Patti, Natalie, and the Boss

With Bruce Springsteen slated to do the halftime honors during this year's Super Bowl in Tampa, I thought it appropriate to dredge up one of those minor life decisions that, because of my obsessive personality, takes up an inordinate amount of my time.

My iPod Shuffle is a few years old and, by today's standards, a relic. Imagine how disheartening it is for me to see that all the songs saved in my player would barely register on the space indicator bar of my kids' Nanos. As a result, I can't afford to make playlist decisions cavalierly.

This led to a bit of a dilemma for me when trying to decide which version of "Because the Night" to add to my music portfolio. I had to choose between Pattie Smith's, Natalie Merchant's or Springsteen's version of the song. This may be sacrilege, but even though technically "the Boss" was the first one to record it, I've never been a fan of his rendition. The 1978 song that was made famous by Patti Smith from her album Easter was actually written by Springsteen.

Full post at The House Next Door.
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