Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bill Gates rips off Cathy Filan

Years ago, my friend (of a friend) Cathy had an idea for a Tip-O-Meter, a small digital-readout device that would clamp to a restaurant table-top, designed to let the server know how he or she was doing, service-wise, by indicating the percentage tip he or she had earned so far.

Prompt service with beverages? Bloop-bloop-bloop! 20% tip!

My mashed potatoes on your plate and your fries on mine? Zorf-zorf-zorf! 10% tip!

Well, proving once again that if there's money to be made on it, Microsoft will make money on it, Bill Gates recently showed off his new computerish, coffeetablish, Frankenstein furniture hybrid on The Today Show. So, this new table surface is a computer, and your finger on the surface is the mouse.

You can get it for home or for business or for restaurants. So when you're splitting up the bill, you put your credit card on the surface, and it knows it's a credit card, and you can just drag the items from the bill to your corner of the table. And then comes the Tip-O-Meter.
Just dial in the tip amount, and you're good to go.

On behalf of Cathy Filan, whom I've not seen in roughly 6 years, but whose Tip-O-Meter idea still haunts and inspires me, I call SHENANIGANS.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"What are they saying? 'It's Raining Something'? I can't understand them."

We all know that I enjoy watching the local high school TV channel as they replay choir concerts from grades K through 12. (See also: my father's penchant for Lifetime movies)

So I was delighted when the remote control randomizer recently led my mom and dad to Channel 21, CHTV, which was playing CHS's Spring Choir Concert.


One of the girl choirs was singing a song that neither my mom nor my dad had heard before. "Something about 'humidity rising'," I heard my mom say. "'Hallelujah, it's raining Something'," Dad replied. "But I don't know what they're saying. I can't understand them. It's raining What?"


You can imagine this conversation went on, over and over and over and over, for roughly 4 minutes and 52 seconds.


Putting aside the inappropriate nature of "It's Raining Men" for freshman and sophomore girls, let us discuss the hilarity of my parents dissecting the song, trying their hardest, with the volume reaching rock-concert proportions at times, to determine what those plucky young show-choir-wannabes were singing. Picture Morty and Helen Seinfeld in a deep discussion of this seminal disco hit and you're juuuuuuuuuuuuuust about there.

I want Brandy's PR person

See, I had completely forgotten that Brandy (allegedly) killed someone.

How does this happen? Not the car accident -- my recent near-death experience on the way back from Chicago provided clear insights on that. I mean, how do I forget that Moesha wielded the ultimate power of vehicular death?

I'd think that would be something that I'd keep in the front part of my brain -- you know, the brush-my-teeth, go-to-work, speak-only-when-spoken-to, i-before-e-except-after-c part of my brain. But somehow it got back to the Annapolis-is-the-capital-of-Maryland, someone-from-Guam-is-called-Guamanian, a-baloo-is-a-bear-remember-a-baloo-is-a-bear part.

I can only chalk it up to PR wizardry. And Brandy's apparently got the best wizards in the 'wood, because it was just a few months ago that it happened, and I'd already forgotten about it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Juxtaposition

n. The act of situating close together (or side by side); "it is the result of the juxtaposition of contrasting colors"


Yikes.

Apparently the chief and sheriff are taking these curfew sweeps pretty seriously.

Huh?

Oh, rightrightright. That picture goes with the shooting range story.

Nice work, IndyStar.com web team!

What are you gonna do? Release the dogs? Or the bees? Or the dogs with bees in their mouth and when they bark, they shoot bees at you?

...or the swimming tigers?

Can't sleep. Swimming tigers will eat me.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Charles Nelson Reilly, 1931 - 2007

I read this morning that Charles Nelson Reilly, star of stage and screen best known as Snarkmaster General on the many iterations of Match Game, has passed away.

You know, I didn't exactly grow up watching the Match Game, as it was a bit before my time. But when we moved into The Fields in Bloomington and had satellite TV with the Game Show Network, I got hooked on the reruns. The laidback, inexplicably-looking-like-a-Confederate-flag set, the smoking and drinking right on the show, the six witty celebrities painfully mocking the two mere-mortal contestants, the creepy Gene Rayburn as the skeletal ringmaster of it all -- it's very compelling television.

And it's also very dated.

The attempts at remaking the Match Game phenomenon all failed miserably...and not just because the celebrities were the likes of Nell Carter and ALF.

No, the 80s and early 90s versions of Match Game failed for two reasons: (1) By the late 80s, innuendo was pretty much dead. We'd already seen the words "boobs" and "hiney" on Match Game '74, so the quaintness had rubbed off by 1987. And (2) by the early 90s, the clubby, gin-and-tonics-and-Menthol-Kools atmosphere of the original Match Game was forbidden. So the most recent incarnations of the Game were too sterile to really allow for the tongue-in-cheek, raised-eyebrows humor that made the original so fun to watch. It's like karaoke without the booze -- everyone goes through the motions, but it's not exactly the same.

It was CNR who embodied all that was right with Match Game: the snarky in-jokes and hilarious side glances to the camera, inviting the viewer to be one of the cool kids.

And it was CNR who (along with Paul Lynde and, later, Jm J Bullock) pioneered gay TV before gay TV was gay TV.

And it was CNR whose acting career (which included a Tony for How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying) never went anywhere because he did game shows for ten years...for us. Not that a sacrifice like that verges on the Christlike or anything, but I remember. And I'll keep remembering.

And it is CNR who will be missed.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Seriously. Atlanta?

My Google Analytics tells me that, in the last month, 111 page visits on this blog have come from the greater Atlanta area:


If you are from the greater Atlanta area or you know someone who is, would you do me a favor and leave me a comment? THANKS!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Best. Headline. Ever.

Kathleen Ensz has anger issues.

Click here to find out what happened after she tried to exercise free speech and expressed her anger to her US Representative.

Apparently all manner of things are Constitutionally protected.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Circle of Life is a bit crowded today.

I am exhausted from watching this throwdown between some lions, some buffalo, and some crocodiles.

I don't even know whom to root for in this exchange, but I'll tell you this much -- in our time of PhotoShop and whatnot, I find myself wondering if this video is actually real.

Have we reached an era where seeing is no longer believing?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Bermu-duh Triangle: Charo, Love Boat, Facts of Life

You take the good, you take the bad, you ask the bad never to wear its hair that way ever again, you celebrate the good being elected to the US House of Representatives, you take them both and you make them play Spanish guitar, and there you have The Facts of Charo's Life on The Love Boat.

So, something weird just happened. In my post about names (immediately below), I linked to this video of Charo on The Facts of Life. I almost linked to this video of Charo on The Love Boat.

Here's what's weird. I just now decided to go back to Television Without Pity (.com), which I haven't visited in a long time because I actually get to watch TV now, instead of reading snarkily written synposiseseseses. Anyway, easily the funniest thing I've ever read -- ever...just slightly funnier than Nat's 1998 recap of a Baywatch episode -- is TWOP's recap of The Facts of Life Reunion movie. Which in the second paragraph mentions ... wait for it ... The Love Boat.

So when tonight I'm haunted in my dreams by The Facts of Life, Charo AND The Love Boat, we'll know why.

Still seeking explanation of why they've haunted my dreams for the last 20 years...

"Hmm. You look like a Charo."

Researchers at Miami University have proven, quantitatively, that there's a reason why you can remember some people's names but not others'. Turns out your brain naturally associates certain names with certain physical features.

For example, my brain naturally associates the name "Charo" with enthusiastic maracas and the name "Chewbacca" with excessive body hair.

Here's another example. One of the people pictured below is a Fester, one is a Dweezil, and the other is a Scott. Which, do you think, is which?


All my life, when people get my name wrong, nine out of ten times they call me Steve. I guess I just have a "Steve" face. Which actually worked out great because the day before I was hired at the gallery in Chicago, they hired another guy named Scott, so for 2000 to 2002, I had to go by my middle name (Steven) in the art world.

Luckily, these days, I am myself, fully a Scott. But then around Broadway, that gets confusing since there are a number of Scotts in leadership around here. So sometimes I'm "Scott S." and sometimes I'm "Scott who works here."

And sometimes -- but only to Broadway's hospitality and security guy, Jim -- I'm "Scotty!" (exclamation point added to reflect the enthusiasm with which Mr. Jim pronounces my name). There is a special feeling that comes when you can hear the exclamation point on the end of your name. Mr. Jim's pretty cool that way.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Who's looking out for The Intolerant?

Now I'm HUGE in Atlanta

Google Analytics has this new interface, and it shows you the frequency of visits by country/state/whatever by the shade of green on a map.

For example, the map below shows this blog's stats with the (expected) dark green Indiana, the (completely unexpected) dark green Georgia (huh?), and the (completely predictable) light yellow Alaska, indicating no visits from our Eskimo brothers and sisters. Green means visits; more green means more visits...


Don't really know what to make of this. If anyone knows how to interpret Google Analytics other than "Hey, cool map!" I'd be pleased as punch to learn from your Yoda-like powers of marketing research.

Awwwwwwwww! Also: Ew.

Three new tiger babies (often called "cubs" in China) were rejected by their tiger mom (often called "tiger mom" in China), so they're being nursed by Huani, a dog.

I get the whole Circle of Life, all mammals nurse, blah blah blah scientific truths about raising tigers -- truly, who among us has not had to figure out an alternative for nursing tiger cubs? But the article linked above includes the line:
The trio's adoptive mother, a mixed breed farm dog called "Huani," is expected to nurse them for about a month or until their appetites outpace her supply, Chen said.
Which, really? I don't care to think about what it's like when a dog runs out of milk for her suckling tigers.

I mean, I'm still reeling from third grade when I saw Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom's Lion vs. Gazelle episode.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It certainly is "Amazing"

You know, even though this guy has no idea what he's singing (or even, indeed, where he is), you gotta give him credit for feeling "Amazing Grace" so completely.



One of the "YouTube moments" Mike talked about in his sermon on Sunday was the Coke ad where the woman sings, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free". I think this guy knows how it feels to be free, and while it looks odd strange hilarious to me, he's just being himself, utterly, completely.

That's freedom, man!

(A tip o' the hat to JJ for the Amazing Grace video above. And don't worry, JJ -- as requested, if this guy shows up at your funeral, we will cut power to the mic and escort him off the stage.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

...but you can't stop Debbie Downer!

Just too weird not to post

You know, I originally decided not to post this video that a friend e-mailed me the link to. It's. Just. So. Strange.

But here you go...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Good News, Bad News: Snack Edition

My friends, I have good news, and I have bad news.

The good news is that I seem to have defeated my crippling addiction to Just Pop In's cheddar popcorn. I tried to defeat the addiction by making the chedcorn my Lenten sacrifice, but I disappointed God and myself by giving in to temptation about three weeks after Ash Wednesday. Devil Corn!

Anyway, it became clear that if I was going to overcome that addiction, it was likely that another would have to take its place.

Enter, the bad news part of the equation, my own personal Devil Drink! I'm serious, y'all, have you had the Double Chocolate Chip Frappucino from Starbucks? It's like a triple chocolate chocolate chocolate shake from Paradise Island, blended by the hand of Wonder Woman herself.

But at 420 calories (140 from fat) in 12 ounces, it's not an everyday treat. So I am making this commitment: from now on, I am allowed to have one double chocolate chip frappucino on Friday afternoon, if and only if I have engaged in a healthy amount of exercise and eat nothing from a bag (fast food is my downfall) for at least 24 hours prior to the frappucino indulgence.

I'll let you know how that goes...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

We're going to India!

A team of folks from two Indianapolis United Methodist Churches (Broadway UMC and St. Luke's UMC) will be heading to India in January or February 2008. I've started a blog to keep track of our planning -- then, when we're actually on the trip, it'll turn into our travelogue, like my Africablog did. Check it out!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Breakin' it down, zombie-style

So back in the day, I posted about World War Z, a fun read that imagines what life would be like ten years after a global fight against the undead, as a virus unleashes a zombie epidemic.

Now I've found a new game that has creeped me out just enough to start thinking seriously about zombie attack preparation..

Here's the thing: I don't actually believe that zombies are a clear and present danger. But I also don't want to get caught unawares, especially after having read World War Z. I mean, can you imagine a level of I told you so that ironic?

So I kind of feel like I should be training or something. You know, just in case. But I don't know if there are any zombie defense academies in Indianapolis.

What I do know is this: 28 Weeks Later (the not-really-all-that-anticipated sequel to 28 Days Later, presumably picking up 4,032 Hours Later after that first one left off) is coming out on Friday, and here's what's scary as H-E-double-hockey-sticks -- the zombies they imagine are not your garden-variety moaning, shambling Nana-could-outrun-them-with-her-walker zombies. These are superfast, Carl-Lewis-style zombies who are simply famished and heard you taste good with a lemon cream sauce. They are here to eat you. Like, now.

*shudder*

True fact: Zombies are pretty scary. Clowns, too. But can you imagine...CLOWN ZOMBIES?


Pray for us all.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

PIVOT!

Sorry for the lack of posts, my little hamsters.

You see, I am at The Fund Raising School this week, learning how to do the job I've done for five years. :) Actually, I'm having a ball, but class has been so exhausting that I've not had much time to post.

This video is awesome, because it illustrates how funny a normal word can be when pronounced in all capital letters with an exclamation mark.

Such as jazz hands vs. JAZZ HANDS! Or shotgun vs. SHOTGUN! Or norm vs. NORM!

Friday, May 04, 2007

You're Invited To This, Too!

On Tuesday, August 21, at 7:00pm, St. Luke's Stephen Ministry will be hosting a fundraiser to support caring ministries at that church and in the community.

It's a karaoke contest and ice cream party and stand-up comedy all rolled into one. The centerpiece is the karaoke contest, though, so we're calling the event CARE-EOKE. (Get it?)

Hope you can join us -- drop me an e-mail with any questions. Here are the details.

For, you see, Gene Shalit was not funny-looking enough as it is...

...so he decided to go ahead and put on the ridiculous TiVo antennae in their latest ad:

The concept of sending movies straight from Amazon.com to your TV is cool. The concept of sending Gene Shalit to my house promises to keep me up at night.

Interesting tidbit: Wearing those antennae, Gene Shalit can hold his breath for over 40 minutes. So don't even think about trying to drown him.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"So don't even think about trying to drown them."

On my way into the office this morning, traffic personality Mindy Winkler explained that her report was sponsored by The Orkin Man. The Man's promo spot contained the following statistic and melodramatic admonition:

Did you know roaches can hold their breath
for over 40 minutes? So don't even think
about trying to drown them.

What. The. Huh?

OK. I get that roaches are gross. They freak me out, too.

But are there people out there with roach infestations who have so much roach fury built up, so much roach rage, so much Repressed Roach Syndrome, that they feel the need to individually drown cockroaches, one at a time, but they forgot that roaches can hold their breath for over 40 minutes, so they need a helpful reminder to call Orkin, rather than proceeding with their slow and ineffective sick and twisted plan?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wow.

I don't know if this is all factually accurate, but it both scares and excites me.

Luuuuuuuuke, I am your hot-air balloon

So, over at the Daily Mail, they have a brief article on evil Belgian genius Benoit Lambert, who designed a hot-air balloon in the shape of Darth Vader:


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: in the immortal words of Billy Ocean, it's "simply...awesome."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

One plus two ... plus one ...

I first watched Clue the movie on VHS shortly after it came out in 1985. Freaking brilliant!