National Review Tries to Ruin Music

Via Radosh, National Review posted a list of the top 50 "conservative" songs. Their definition of conservative leaves a lot to be desired, though: it doesn't take much to get on the list. Anti-communist? Or even hinting at being anti-communist? You're in. Making fun of teenagers? Welcome aboard. It's pretty clear that the quality of the list is poor when the author of the #1 song on your list (“Won’t Get Fooled Again,” by The Who) bashes your article.

I guess if this list helps some conservatives enjoy their music better, ummm.... well that's just sad, actually. For the rest of us, we can continue listening to music that we don't necessarily agree with. Just Imagine*.


* That song sure didn't make the list!


Ruby on Rails

I've been getting into Ruby on Rails, a web development platform based the Ruby programming language. Here's a nice tutorial to get started.

Update: Oops - I forgot that I already wrote about Rails two weeks ago. But the tutorial link is new... And I've been thinking about what other stuff could go on "Rails" - Video Game development, natch. Any other ideas?




Mmmmmm... Acronyms. My friend T from work sent me this Boing Boing today - They Might Be Giants made a cute little ringtone (available for free as a stand-alone mp3): "Call connecting through the NSA". Well, now you can't say you didn't know...


Oprah Takes a Trip...

...to Auschwitz. Gawker posted a picture of the somewhat surreal billboard promoting her trip - maybe they could have picked a less smiley picture? The trip is with Elie Weisel, the author of Night, which is the book currently selected for Oprah's Book Club.

Anyway, the show started (in NYC area, at least) 20 minutes ago - sorry... I just found out about it, though.



Re-Re...Re-Releasing Star Wars

Lore Sjöberg has a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek take on Lucasfilm's announcement that they are re-releasing the original versions of the Star Wars trilogy in September (Limited Edition, of course). Now, the more cynical among us (myself and Sjöberg included) may wonder about the timing of such a release, seeing as how Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are just about upon us, making the new releases almost immediately irrelevant. More likely, we cynics groaned about the fact that they are not simply releasing the original trilogy, but the modified additions with the original version thrown in as "bonus material". Hmmmm. As Sjöberg puts it, "people who bought the special edition when they really wanted the original version will have to buy the special edition again, and people who didn't buy the special edition because they only care about the original version will have to pay more to get the special edition anyway! Yes! Use your aggressive feelings! Let the hate flow through you!" He then comes up with some hypothetical future re-releases, such as "The All-Wampa Edition". Check it out!


p.s. Lucas is really good at giving fans exactly what they want while completely pissing them off at the same time. It's his inner Palpatine, I guess...


Can I Take Your Photo?

A nice article on the legality of photography these days, via Consumerist. Wired also has a piece this month on the topic, by Clive Thompson. Intellectual property laws being what they are today, it's important to know what the law actually is (although it differs from country to country and even from state to state). But for the most part, common sense prevails - in the public domain, for non-commercial purposes, you can photograph just about anything without permission, as long as it's not a security risk. Read the article, though, and/or consult your lawyer if you plan on making use of this information, though. Damned if you're going to try to take me down with you, paparazzi pond-scum!


p.s. I'm being generous - pond-scum is the nicest kind of scum.


Preaching On Rails

Via Slashdot - an IBM article on the incredible new Ruby on Rails technology. The article is geared towards skeptics, particularly in the Java world. If you're a web developer, Rails is definitely big news!


The Ultimate Resource for Gold Diggers

Does your economic success make it difficult for you to meet that special someone? Why try other dating websites that can only claim success, when you can meet tens of thousands of successful and quality singles and friends right here!

Oh, yes - it's so hard to meet women when you're loaded. They just flee in terror as soon as they see that $8000 Breitling watch. Such a turn-off.

My favorite link? "Click here If you are making less than $150,000 per year". And so it begins...

The craziest part? It's cheaper than JDate.



Fun For All Ages (NSFW)

More fun from Consumerist, this time regarding Hasbro's Oozinator, a water gun-like toy that shoots... ummm... ooze... all over the place. The commercial is a little disturbing. Most of the Amazon reviews were taken down, but Consumerist dug up some of the funnier and/or less subtle ones. My favorite:
As much fun as this toy is while it lasts, it does indeed tend to shoot the ooze much quicker than I would want. It’s good for me but my partners don’t enjoy it.

Oh, Hasbro...

Update: The official site doesn't help matters:
Sneak up on your opponents with a surprise bio-ooze attack! Just when they think you’re coming at ‘em with water, blast ‘em with a shot of icky bio-ooze! Shoot out globs of gooey bio-ooze and then drench ‘em with water! It’s a double blast attack that’ll keep your opponents on their toes and running during every water fight. With the OOZINATOR blaster you don’t just get soaked, you get drenched!

Icky indeed...


That's One Way to Get a Parade...

Consumerist posts a video about a Dutch store owner who, "sick of shoplifters, decide[d] to give the 10,000th shoplifter a big prize, including party hat, cake and an in-store marching band." Unfortunately, the shoplifter was sweating so much that the chocolate bars hidden in her armpits melted, ruining her blouse and an otherwise wonderful day.



Another Satisfied Customer

Overheard on YodaYid's phone today:
*ring ring*
YY: Hello?
Robot: Hello - you have an important business call from XYZ. Are you able to take this call?
YY: Uh, sure.
Robot: I'm sorry - I didn't catch that. Are you able to -
YY: Yyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssss.
Robot: Thank you. Please wait while I transfer your call.
Robot #2: We're sorry. All of our customer service representatives are unavailable right now. Please hold for the next -


The Third Guitar Is In A Secret Place...

Witness Michael Angelo Batio and his skillz: two guitars at once. Well, it's really one creepy siamese double guitar, but he's playing both at the same time. It's a little uncanny, really...



IP Madness

Slashdot reports that Walmart is considering trademarking the yellow smiley face. I'm actually for it - there's something deliciously ironic about an evil corporation purchasing a smiley face. Be that as it may, it's another step in the descent into the IP (intellectual property) madness that has been going on these past few years (well before that as well, but not like this).

I wrote about this almost a year and a half ago when "I had to agree to some Terms and Conditions to read an electronic brochure about IBM Websphere".

Anyway, seeing as how absurd the situation is these days, I have an idea. We (the people) should start a corporation whose sole purpose is to trademark every day phrases so other people can't.

Really? Yes, Really.™ Why Not?™ Everyone is Doing It.™ You Could Too.™ Join Us Or Die.™

Catchy, huh?™


p.s.™ Sorry if this post got annoying towards the end, but That's My Point™.

What's Your Name, Little Dolphin?

Dolphins have "names", or as techies might say, "unique identifiers":
Dolphins communicate like humans by calling each other by "name", scientists in Fife have found, BBC News Online reported. The mammals are able to recognise themselves and other members of the same species as individuals with separate identities, using whistles.

Via MediaFax.


p.s. Funny - women don't seem to respond so positively to whistles. They should take a page from the dolphins.

Wii Will Wock You

As reported on Gamasutra, Nintendo showed off some of the cool new Wii features in Zelda: Twilight Princess, among other games. One very cool one: you can use the motion-detecting controller to pull back an arrow on your bow, and while you're doing that, a speaker built in to the controller plays the sound of a bow being pulled, so it sounds like you're actually doing it. Cool!

And the game also has motion-detection-based nunchucks. And you can never really have enough nunchucks - let's face it. I would play Tetris more often if it had nunchucks in it.

Less interesting? Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.

Anyway, the Wii should definitely be a unique platform - great moves by Nintendo!



Some Star Wars Stuff For Ya...

It's been a while since I actually posted about Star Wars, so here's a few treats for you (mostly via Table of Malcontents:

And it's all fan-made! Huh.



Bubble Man

David Blaine is at it again in "Drowned Alive". See him on Columbus Avenue between 63rd and 64th (look for the man inside a giant bubble). From the Gothamist, the stunt is thus:
[He will spend] a week under water, get dragged out of the water and then get shackled wtih 150 pounds of chains, put back in the water to hold his breath for 9 minutes and break out of the chains.

That doesn't sound healthy. You can also write a message on a piece of paper and show it to him. Anyway, I'm a fan of his magic - less so his stunts - but this sounds pretty cool. I might just check it out. I'm in that area fairly often anyway. I just have to think of what I would write... hint: not what this guy wrote.



What Color Is Your Wii?

New Nintendo Wii colors revealed! Via Table of Malcontents.


p.s. Slashdot asked if the name change is a marketing gimmick. Of COURSE it is - it's all about marketing at this point. Otherwise they would ship it in a cardboard box with the name "New Nintendo System".

p.p.s. Sorry about the RSS mess-up - I was using Konqueror to blog, and it apparently does not play nice with Blogger.

Who's Gutsier?

Stephen Colbert or Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G)?

It's a close call. Colbert recently did the White House Correspondent's Dinner, "(attended by the President, the elite of Washington politics, and the White House Press Corps) and told the truth. Jaws dropped. Eyes popped. The live audience gasped. Scalia laughed his ass off. You want to see a brilliant comic display some real courage? Look no further. Enjoy the reaction shots, and Colbert's audition for Press Secretary job." (quote from Slashdot). I'm not sure who in the West Wing decided to hire Mr. Colbert, but I'm sure they've been spending a lot of time on Monster.com recently. Among other things, Colbert joked about the Plame Affair, Cheney's Birdshot, Iraq, Fox News, Bush's approval rating... My favorite line? "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." :-D So, a gutsy man for a tough crowd.

As an aside, that's one of the problems when a Republican president is elected - Republican comics are few and far between. Both Ben Stein and Drew Carey have done the Correspondent's Dinner under Bush, and I watched Stein - he bombed so badly that the Pentagon immediately bought him for $2.6 billion. It's kind of like the Academy Awards (going to the opposite end of the political spectrum, but staying elitist). Jon Stewart bombed because Hollywood types can't take a joke that's not approved by their publicist. But I digress.

Ali G takes risks far more often, and with people who are much less restrained when it comes to physical retaliation. I.e. he and his crew have been both assaulted and arrested in the line of duty. Mainly when he plays Bruno - his flamboyantly gay Austrian character - schmoozing with the folks at, say, a gun show in Atlanta. Or Borat, the Kazakhstani who is clueless that Americans may find some of this customs to be a bit awkward. And finally, Ali G, "the only interviewer prepared to ask the really difficult questions like "what was it like to walk on the sun?" to Buzz Aldrin or asking the ex head of the FBI to cast his mind back to the grassy knoll and ask "who really shot JR?" (from Official Site).

So who's more gutsy? All I know is, Colbert probably shouldn't say anything private on his home telephone anymore.