Wednesday, October 31, 2007

News10 glimpses into the future of reporting: The Zombie Apocalypse

All I'm saying is that Melissa Crowley (the woman in the orange sweater on the right) has the kind of flight response and decision-making skills we'll need to defeat the zombies. Good on ya, Melissa Crowley.

You and I both know that that fool Monica, hiding under her desk, is about to become Brainmeat Rangoon.



(h/t BWE.tv and skilgore76)

Shake Your Chex Mix, Oh.

While these seventh graders went a little nuts with their video cameras and editing equipment, I will give them credit for inventing a hilarious new side effect disclaimer: "May cause glow-in-the-dark-ness."



I can't tell if the kid speaking at the beginning has a severe under- and/or over-bite or is wearing a retainer or is making up his speech issue, but in any of the above cases, it is awesome.

Also, it's interesting that simply searching for "Chex Mix" on YouTube gives you seven pages of results, almost none of which are officially sanctioned by the makers of Chex Mix.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lateral Thinking

Look, you and I both know that, despite my Dad-given Y chromosome's best efforts, I know jack about football. All I'm saying is if it was always like this, I'd watch it a lot more:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Grizzly Experience (Well, A Brown One, Really)

So, let's say you're a nature photographer, neck deep in a cold, Russian river taking pictures of salmon. Do you think it just might occur to you to keep an ear, eye, and/or nose out for bears?

You know, just in case?

Well, if you're Shell Wildlife Photography Award winner Sergey Gorshkov, then the answer would be "Nyet." Until it's too late and the brown bear in question is rightuponyou, literally about three feet away. To wit:



I mean, at least he won an award...an adult award (whatever that means) for animal portraits.

But can you imagine seeing that guy through your viewfinder?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's a meta-prank

So this is a variation on the now-classic "invisible rope" gag. I find it funny, but I have a post-modern inner prank monologue going on. First, the video:



Now, the po-mo: if you choose to step over the non-existent rope, are you being duped? That is, are you the victim of the prank? Or are you participating in extending the illusion to others, thereby making yourself a fellow prankster, a part of the prank team?

I mean, maybe I'm overthinking it (you: "Duh."), but I think there's more to this prank business than meets the eye, especially since it's invisible.

Curiosity killed the cat and almost made me barf.

The internets are a wonderful thing, but they can also be used for evil.

Last night, I followed a link from a link from a link from a funny (clean) video site and found myself watching the single most vile, disgusting, gag-inducing video I have ever seen.

Like, think of the most horrifying thing you could see and then think of twelve things worse than that, and you're about halfway there.

I was appalled -- and this is coming from a man who grew up on a steady cinematic diet of Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th (parts I through VII -- after that, it just got old), and Halloween.

This video is so disgusting that there are literally hundreds of videos on YouTube of people reacting to seeing the video for the first time. They don't show the actual video -- because, come on -- but the reactions of the people are quite telling.

I will not link to the video, nor will I link to the reaction videos, for I do not want to be a part of your corruption. I will take the hit for you, dear reader -- let us stop the video madness right here and now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Clever Meijer Ad

With a literally terrifying punchline at the 0:26 mark...

Falcon Crest - The appeal was what, exactly...?

In honor of the recent passing of TV's Jane Wyman, I give you the Season 1 intro to Falcon Crest:



Near as I can tell from this clip, this program was about a family of ruthless, yet beautiful, gardeners who often played with hooded birds of prey. I do not understand the appeal. I guess something about Napa Valley made TV audiences in the 1980s especially gullible.

Aside from their numerous -- and I mean, numerous -- appearances on various iterations of the (X)-Thousand-Dollar Pyramid, we haven't really seen a lot from the Falcon Crest cast. Unless, one supposes, you count Susan Sullivan's late career resurgence on "Dharma and Greg" or Lorenzo Lamas's brief turn as an utter, laster-pointing ass on "Are You Hot?". Ooh! Or "Renegade".

But I guess that's kind of par for the course with the major primetime dramas of the '80s: nowadays, Linda Evans and Joan Collins are physically killing each other in six shows a week at a dinner theater in Topeka, Corbin Bernsen is the least funny thing on a seldom-funny basic cable program (but at least he's working), and Patrick Duffy is the leg of a mountain monster on South Park.

It kind of makes the days of wine, oil, and whatever the hell Dynasty was about seem like simpler times.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Shall. We. Play. A. Game?

Perhaps the most poignant statement on the War on Terror crossed my inbox today: a simulation called September 12th: A Toy World.

It tells you up front that it's not a game -- you can't win and you can't lose. You are presented with an interactive village, like the one below, populated with civilians (men, women, and children in blue) and terrorists (in grey/white):


Here's the thing: like it says, the only rule is, you can shoot or not. Dig:

Here's where it gets dicey. When you shoot, it's on a delay as your missile flies in, so you seldom hit what/whom you intend to hit. And if you hit any civilians, which you almost certainly will, they are immediately mourned (the wailing cry is a haunting component of the game), and the one or more mourners per civilian immediately become terrorists.

It's almost like at the end of War Games: the only winning move is not to play. It ought to be required for everyone from privates to generals; lobbyists, staffers, Senators, and Representatives; interns and even the President.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's so romantic. And also, nude.

If you're offended by the human crack, do not watch the following video about Star-Crossed Streakers.

If, however, you still believe in Power of Love to overcome all barriers (geography, humility, soccer-field security), then click on, my fellow sentimentalists, click on!

This is kind of cool.

If by "cool" you mean "tremendously noisy and potentially life-threatening."

Which is generally my definition.

Anyway, turn down your speakers (and then turn them up to a suitable volume) and watch this:

Friday, October 19, 2007

"Mom, Dad -- I have serious reservations about this Halloween nonsense."

Pics of Madelynn on her first adventure in jack o'lanternsmanship:


I think she needs to lay off the caffeine. She looks like that guy from Mad TV.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

L'art, elle est une maƮtresse inconsistante.



Crime Time is a series of light-hearted, well-soundtracked animated shorts from FutureThought.tv that follows Shifty, a smalltime criminal with an even smaller mind for crime. Check out the other videos in the series some time.

I don't get it.

I started this blog just under a year ago, and it has gone from something I posted just to keep my four friends from receiving mass quantities of "Have you seen this video?!" emails from me to an infrequently visited page with folks checking in from all over the globe. Here's my Google Analytics summary for the last month:

Click to embiggen

I do not understand what Bounce Rate is, I do not understand why some days I get 48 visits and other days I get less than 20, and I am utterly perplexed that the average person would spend even one minute on the site, let alone 3 minutes and 8 seconds. But most frustrating of all is that the elusive 1,000-visits-in-a-month benchmark has remained just beyond my grasp for the last six months or so.

Any ideas on ways to get my average number of visits per day up over 50? I mean, I guess I could have a contest of some sort. Like a giveaway. Or I could just ask you all to tell one friend about my blog and how awesome it is (assuming you consider it as awesome as I do, which you must, because, come on).

Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Wing and a Prayer and Scrambled Eggs Benedict

This morning was the Indianapolis Leadership Prayer Breakfast, an annual gathering of religious, business, and government leaders who gather to pray for the future of Indianapolis and the various individuals who look out for us: elected officials, public safety officers, clergy, youth, etc.

The breakfast was great -- and seriously? Scrambled eggs benedict a la Indiana Roof Ballroom ought to be on every menu ever.

Rev. Mike, Scott C. and I had a nice conversation with the others at our table, and we enjoyed the program, which featured Josh Davis, a five-time Olympic medalist and "motivational" speaker. (His performance was "meh" but overall the program was pretty good.)

I was a bit surprised that the prayer breakfast was an exclusively Christian affair; I had assumed it would be an interfaith event, welcoming people of many faith backgrounds. But it was very much a Christian thing...I wonder if they've ever considered including Muslims, Jews, and others who, one assumes, would also be interested in praying for the future of the city?

It is possible that I just unintentionally...

...defeated a crippling, lifelong addiction to caffeine.

I haven't had a Coke since Saturday -- mostly because I forgot to buy them when I went grocery shopping.

Then I didn't bother on Sunday and I just drank water and lemonade yesterday. Today, I had orange juice with my scrambled eggs benedict at the Indianapolis Leadership Prayer Breakfast (which I shall post more on later) and Sprite with lunch.

Therefore, I am living the Caffeine-Free Dream!

One addiction monkey off my back, several dozen more to go. (I'm looking at you, TV. And buffalo wings. And buttery popcorn. And general slothfulness. And...)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Everyone needs a wee bit of Scandinavian surrealism...

...and wee Scandinavian Bjork is just the person to give it to you, with a hypnotically compelling soundtrack:

I McManage a Global Megacorp, McHilarity Ensues

Head on over to McVideoGame.com to see a challenging game that puts you in charge of a multinational burger-slingin' conglomerate.

You have to manage the process from pasture to profit, in four distinct operations: clear-cutting the rain forest to make room for cattle farms, managing a slaughterhouse (with options such as Pump up the hormones you're feeding the cows and Kill the cow before it gets Mad Cow Disease), running a real simulation of a simulated real McDonald's restaurant, and overseeing a headquarters so complex it makes you do actual math and analyze trends, so you can choose whether to corrupt a politician, corrupt a climatologist, corrupt a nutritionist, or corrupt a health expert.

Give it a go!

You'll have to let me know how you do -- I made it all the way to July of 2010 before I made the corporation go bankrupt. I don't think that's very good, though, as the angry clown chastised me. I tell you what, though: I'll definitely think more deeply about where my fast food comes from next time I'm in the drive-thru.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Just Cloning It In

Have I ever told you about Clone High?

It was an animated series on MTV for one season back around 2002-2003, and it was like Dawson's Creek meets The History Channel -- set in a high school that is secretly being run as an elaborate military experiment and the students are clones of famous historical figures: Abe Lincoln, Joan of Arc, John F. Kennedy, Cleopatra, etc. There's plenty of angst and drama, as well as a healthy dose of irony -- the Ghandi character is a hyperactive spazz, the Abe Lincoln character can't make a decision to save his life, the foster parents of the womanizing JFK character are a gay couple, etc.

Here's the show intro:



I think my favorite character is the robot/vice principal/dehumidifier, Mr. Butlertron. He was originally called Mr. Belvetron, but they had to change his name for legal reasons. Of course, that didn't keep him from being a parody of Mr. Belvedere (see below); in fact, in one of the hilarious ongoing throw-away lines, as he was counsleing the kids on any given subject he would call everyone "Wesley".

Anyway, for a variety of reasons, the show didn't make it -- maybe too brainy, maybe too controversial, maybe just the wrong show at the wrong time. In fact, only eight of the thirteen episodes aired in the US. But I found it hilarious, and if you want to get me a cool gift, this would be an excellent choice.

Friday, October 12, 2007

34 years ago...

...it was legally required that one out of every twelve boys born be named Scott.

OK, not really. But I swear: there were at least three Scotts in each of my classes growing up -- and a total of 24 in my graduating class of 588.

These days, however, "Scott" as a name has fallen by the wayside. In fact, "Scott" is not even in the Top 100 Names Given To Boys in 2006. (It's now 252nd in popularity.)

There's a handy tool called Baby Name Map (.com) that shows you the most popular names from different parts of the country. Here's what they've got on Indiana:

You can click to embiggen, or you can take my word for it that Indiana's most popular boy names in 2006 were Jacob, Ethan, Andrew, Michael and William. Pretty run-of-the-mill names, I'd say.

But check out Nebraska: Jacob, Alexander, Ethan, Andrew, Logan. LOGAN made the top five boy names in Nebraska in 2006. Huh? (And it's Number One in North Dakota. Double huh?)

In Saskatchewan it gets even better: Ethan, Noah, Owen, Logan and Carter. Sounds like a law firm. Or a Dawson's Creek cast list.

In Hawaii, Elijah was in the top five boy names.

I guess my interest in this stems from the fact that I thought it strange that our ambassador to Iraq's name is Ryan. Like, "Ryan," the 13-year-old who plays striker on his junior-high soccer team and whose mom makes the best Rice Krispies treats. Or "Ryan," the 32-year-old hipster who is your accountant but who really wants to write screenplays.

Not "Ryan," the fifty-something civil servant securing democracy in the powder keg of the Middle East.

But I guess names are just ways to keep track of each other -- they don't really have any empirical significance. It's like that guy wrote in that play that one time:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would something something..."
Or whatever.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cue the Confetti and the Streamers!

300,000!!!

It's finally here! My 300,000th hour!

I, of course, don't feel any different from when I was 299,999 hours old, but still -- 300,000 hours!

WOOHOO!

Today's the day!



Just a few more hours, and my personal odometer clicks over to 300,000 hours -- and my blogometer clicks over to 300 posts!

Still not sure what, exactly, I'm going to do to celebrate, but it's T-minus 5 hours and counting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Veritable Retroxtravaganza!

In honor of my turning 300,000, I figured I'd share with you some of the pop culture items that have been most influential on me over the hours. Here goes...













A prize for someone who can work the words "Tootsie Rolls," "Thundercats," "Interjections," "Murder, She Wrote," "Mr. Belvedere," and "Head of the Class" into one complete sentence.

299,976 hours later, it sinks in

It only took 34.2438 years, but I've had an epiphany.

Not like an old-timey religious epiphany -- there were neither cherubim nor seraphim, very few trumpets and harps, no bright lights nor cities on a hill. But a realization about my life and how I think it oughta work.

We're all -- each one of us -- just trying to do our best. From myriad motivations shaped by infinite personal, family, sexual, relational, intrapersonal and interpersonal experiences, we all have our own things to deal with and we're working on them in our own utterly unique way. Whether we're able to communicate those things verbally or otherwise makes no difference; the truth -- Our Shared Truth -- is that we're all just doing our best on our own journey as we bump into other humans on their own journey.

So I'm done taking things personally.

I'm done internalizing your disappointment, I'm done surfing on your celebration, and I'm done letting your emotional situation ooze over and influence mine. I will join you in your grief, and I will dance with you in happiness, but I will also fiercely protect my own emotional sovereignty.

I hope that the world will give me space to try that out, but I'm not sure that the world has that kind of patience. So, I'm going to give it a go myself and see what happens when I try to be patient, forgiving, and loving, AND self-protective, self-focused, and self-caring.

Who knows...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Let's Pretend

I got a comment from a reader from the UK earlier this week, and it's got me thinking. I clicked over to her blog and read about her plan for weekly blogging features (Monday Mystery, Tuesday Tea Party, etc.). Her description of Tuesday Tea Party particularly caught my attention:

Each week I will invite someone over to my blog for tea. This will be a bit like a short interview. Only I am pretending it is a tea party to make it seem more fun.

I read this from my couch, alone in my house and I actually said, aloud, "We need to pretend more." You know? It just seems like real-life stuff gets in the way of our pretending -- and while Julia Buckley may have just used that word casually, I think it's especially important in the context of pretending ... to make it seem more fun.

I mean, I guess there are all manner of sneaky reasons to pretend (undercover cops, supersecret superspying, corporate espionage, etc.), but at its core, pretending is about "making it seem more fun."

I think this is one reason why people respond so well to improv comedy. Shows like "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" tap into our natural tendency to pretend, which is systematically trained out of us over the years. It's perfectly fine for a four-year-old to have an imaginary friend, but not for a 34-year-old -- unless he's on stage at Second City, acting as though he's in a bakery fighting cupcake ninjas. (Or whatever.)

The idea of pretending Indianapolis is an exotic foreign locale has actually been a blast, and I've had the opportunity to explore the museums and parks and restaurants of Indy and experience the city in a new and different way. But I wonder if there are other things we ought to consider pretending...

What would you pretend? What should we ALL pretend?

I Miss Nell Carter

Growing up, if I'd had the opportunity to pick any TV mom figure to be my own -- you know, if, like, my real mom had died and a judge had ordered a celebrity to marry my dad and be my substitute mom, because I know this sometimes happens -- I totally would have chosen Nell Carter. I do not know why, but there it is. Three clips for your viewing pleasure:





And this...this? This is awesome!

FIXED!

OK, I guess this doesn't really count as a post, so I'll do six more. (You: "Great.")

For some reason, the post about identity theft (and underpants theft, and dignity theft...) was skewing my blog all to hell. So, I unloaded and reloaded it and it's all good. (For now.)

Identity theft online...

..."underpants theft," also, apparently.

And also, for the reporter, "dignity theft."

For you, it's "four-minutes-and-forty-one-seconds theft." Sorry.

Conveniently, my 294th post can be a complaint about Blogger

All of a sudden, my sidebar has become my bottombar. I do not understand this.

I can't identify anything that would have messed it up so much, and I'm afraid to play around with the template, lest I lose everything. I might do that on Thursday to celebrate turning 300,000, but in the meantime, if you'd like to check out the sidebar, head to the bottom of the page and then scroll up.

Only six more posts to go between now and Thursday! So, you shouldn't be subject to such random inanity much longer, my little Smurfs.

Spiders and Spiders and Spiders, Oh My!

So for the last two months, I've been renting my friend's condo while she's living in Arizona for (at least) a year. It is a delightful two-bedroom townhome right on a pond lake loch in a nice neighborhood. But there is a bit of an issue.

Spiders.

Lots of 'em. Many different species, even. And some of them are big.

I've never been arachnophobic, but I've also never lived somewhere where spiders just co-exist with humans.

So as I slayed a massive spider in the downstairs half-bath this morning (seriously massive: it was the size of a small grape when it was all balled up after I crushed it), I couldn't help but wonder: What The Eff? Do I need to undertake some sort of War on Spider Terror?

If you know of any homespun spider remedies, leave 'em in the comments. If, however, your advice is "Consider moving," I'm about three steps ahead of you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

That's just de-lovely.

So, last night, my friend Carolyn and I were scheduled to sing some Cole Porter songs at an intimate dinner party thrown by one of the heirs of Cole Porter himself. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do so because Carolyn's husband, my friend Will, got news that his grandmother had passed away.

When Carolyn shared the news about the death in her family, our hostess was understanding. In fact, she said, "Whenever I try to do one of these dinners, something like this always happens -- a broken-down car, a last-minute illness, a death in the family." She then went on to say that she thinks it's Cole Porter letting her know that he's still around, engaging in assorted mischief and hijinks.

So, basically, the ghost of Cole Porter may have killed my friend's grandmother.

The scary thing is that we're scheduled for another dinner of this nature on November 10. All I'm saying is, Hold on tight!

Quantity Over Quality: Exhibit A

Celebrating 300,000

Well, I've figured out one way to celebrate turning 300,000: post my 300th blog entry on Thursday. Which means I need to do twelve more (eleven after this one) in the next three days.

So, if the postings aren't up to snuff, you'll know why -- I'm shooting for quantity over quality at this point. But at least that sort of high-volume writing will give me some practice for NaNoWriMo, which is just around the corner.

Friday, October 05, 2007

No -- "CANCER"

So I was updating my Blogger profile just now and I clicked to see if anyone else had listed themselves as living in Eagle Creek (as opposed to Indianapolis). Here's what popped up at the top of the list...


...which I read as "34 year old male DANCER". Alas, while I do like to dance, I am not, ahem, a "male dancer."

Too funny.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Right -- See, this is why I'm an idiot.

I will see this movie. Lord help me, I will see this movie in the theater.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One Man, One Vote

...except, apparently, in the Texas Statehouse.


Monday, October 01, 2007

A Wing, a Prayer and a Monkey

My co-worker Mary's son, Michael, just shipped off for Peru as part of the Peace Corps. He's chronicling his adventures on a blog -- I'm adding it ("Kondrath in Peru") to my links at left. Check it out.

He's currently in Chaclacayo, a two-hour bus ride from Lima. One of Michael's missions is to return to the US (in a couple years) accompanied by a pet monkey. Which is why the title of his first post ("First Week, No Monkey Yet") is hilarious. Do not get me started on the hilarity of his Grandpa's first comment: "...your writing is descriptive and clear." Awesome. And how cool that his grandfather comments on his blog!

Michael hopes to post about once a week -- click on over and read about his work and drop him a comment from the ol' U S of A while you're there.

Go Blue!

Madelynn is working hard at being a Colts fan: