Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Virtual walking tour

This is Microsoft's Virtual Earth which lets you "drive" or stroll around my two favorite U.S. cities outside of Austin: Seattle and San Francisco. Although this scores many cool points, Austin would be much more interesting.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Wal-Mart CEO looking Presidential

Wal-Mart may be among the most destructive non-military forces on the planet (There's some good competition out there). Already an unbelievable financial burden on local taxpayers, this weekend Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott made an audacious claim that would make a corrupt politician's jaw drop. He says Wal-Mart needs help with health care because they can't do it alone.

Saturday, February 25, 2006



The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Book Review: Get Back in the Box

Last month, I mentioned I was reading Douglas Rushkoff's Get Back in the Box. I finally got around to writing a Cliffsnotesque review. The notes are a study aid and are not intended as a replacement for reading the book.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Electronic Gaming Monthly Top 200

Miss Pac-Man is ranked only #107. Defender only #54? Blasphemy.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Walking the Room and Disclosure

When a standup comedian says something (usually deliberately) that offends the fragile sensibilities of some members of the audience to the point they get up and leave, it's called walking the room. The great thing about people consuming your blog through a newsfeed (the little XML button on the right) is that you can see this happen with your blog too! Now I know why the comedians do it. Thinning out the audience feels really good.

The reason people leave is that they're only used to the sanitized comedians who perform on TV. When those comedians accept money, they give up their right to freedom of speech. The people who leave have an expectation that the comedian at the club shares the same dull sensibilities they've inherited from TV.

The same goes with journalism. Often, journalists and authors of "scientific" articles not only take their paycheck (from who?) but also accept money from other undisclosed sources. Earlier this week, George Monbiot wrote about tobacco's influence. It goes without saying that you should always consider who is paying the journalist or other "objective" source.

As best as I can tell, Jill Carroll went to Iraq to report without the funding the reporters on TV get. She went to report without the expectation of a steady paycheck or audience. She is real. When was the last time we saw a real reporter on TV?

In Paris, they are demonstrating for Jill's release. The French gave us the Statue of Liberty. In the meantime, we in America are busy reworking the law so that journalists can be legally spied on by the government.


So this is how liberty dies - with thunderous applause.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


DisneyBowl XL Post Mortem

You missed the Super Bowl, Tom?

Well, I wouldn't exactly say I missed it, Bob.

No, I spent Sunday with my sister's family and my mom working on a home-improvement project for my mom. I did catch at least half a dozen re-caps on the television...Steelers win 21-10...so I missed Jessica Simpson shooting pizza rolls from between her legs. Otherwise, it seemed like an uneventful SuperBowl. :)

And this is why the Internet has made Oliver Stone's career irrelevant. It seems Peter thinks it odd how what American media reported was totally different than what viewers experienced: although I didn't know it from watching the news or reading the paper, there were some serious officiating problems.

Unfortunately, it's not about the game anymore. It's about the advertising. The SuperBowl used to be about the game and it used to be great. Same with skateboarding, the Muppets and Jesus. But money finds great things and turns them into avenues for advertising. If we dig up the old SuperBowl, skateboarding and Muppets video, we'll see the real thing. If we read the Parables, we'll see the real Jesus. There's a shelf life to things that are real. Then, Disney or the mega-church buys them and sucks the life out of them.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Doc Hopper and the Super Bowl

The big game is tomorrow. Steelers vs. Seahawks. Are you ready for some football? America consumes more food on this day than any other day of the year except for Thanksgiving. It is also the big TV ad day. Kermit the Frog will be shilling for Ford and Miss Piggy for Pizza Hut.

Jim Henson died on May 16, 1990. Since then, Kermit has been employed to do TV advertising for Kohl's Department store (1995), Apple IMac (2000), BMW (2005) and now Ford. Miss Piggy did Lay's Potato chips (1996) and now Pizza Hut.

The plot of the Muppet Movie is that Kermit has to choose between doing TV advertisements for Doc Hopper or following his dream to make people happy. The climax has a man to frog showdown in a ghost town.

You gonna do my TV commercial live or stuffed?...
If what I'm saying doesn't make any sense to you, then go ahead and kill me.
Kermit would rather be dead than do the TV commercial.

I have not been able to find any instances of Kermit or the other muppets doing commercials while Henson was alive (other than to promote muppets stuff). Please let me know if I'm mistaken.

There's more I could say about how I feel about this dilution of Kermit, but instead, I think this version of Rainbow Connection captures it just fine.

Update 2/4: After some more research, I read a description of a talk History of the Muppets given by Jane Henson where she is to have said that in the early 60's, Kermit was in a commercial for Eskay hot dogs:
While the announcer is talking about the hot dogs, kermit and harry are next to her, dancing in time to some music. At the appropriate times, kermit and harry sing "es-kay!", "hot-spots!", and "yum-yum!" in time with the music. This proceeds for some time, until the announcer says "eskay" instaid of kermit and harry. The two stop the music, and explain to the announcer that _they_ are the ones who say "eskay!", etc. The music starts up again and they proceed.
Also, around this time, Cookie Monster did an efficiency training film for IBM and commercials for Frito-Lay's Munchos, and Rowlf made his debut in a Purina dog food commercial. Nothing found after the early 60's.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


What did the Banner say?

Like CNN and perhaps most of the rest of the major media, ABC obediently reported to me as I ate my nachos during the State-of-the-Union pre-game that Cindy Sheehan was thrown out for attempting to bring in a banner she could drape over the second-level balcony as you would at the Super Bowl. Of course, if there wasn't such a cover story, what would her expulsion say? Why didn't they just report that she was trying to carry in electronically-controlled flying attack monkeys?
Wait...wait...we are now hearing reports that in addition to the Super Bowl banner, Cindy Sheehan's arrest in the capitol was due to the fact she had brought in a bullhorn and a paddle game and an ashtray and a chair...and a remote control (for the flying monkeys).


Seth Finkelstein on Google

As usual, Seth's post cuts to the heart of the matter:
That is, they'll make a fuss if it's good PR and relatively costless, but not make any real sacrifice. What incentive is there for any publicly-traded company to act differently?

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