Tuesday, June 30, 2009
My anti-favorite is that dog-shaped fanny pack. That's got to warrant a lot of double-takes. And the kids one. Please, think of the children!
(From my laziness)
Monday, June 29, 2009
I zipped up an entire work folder and was able to re-download it at home. It wasn't anything fancy, just a folder with 50 pdf articles plus a bunch of excel spreadsheets... But they survived the trip and that's what matters. I was able to give the link to my co-workers to do the same.
Solid A for ease and a non-scrambled transmodulation.
(From My serching the interwebs)
Sunday, June 28, 2009
As an extremly infrequent coffee drinker, the coffee one clarified a lot for me.
(From Dan S.)
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Pictures include anything from leopard print pimp cars in San Diego to an alleyway tummy show down in Barcelona. Sometimes the pictures have trouble loading and you have to click on the title of the entry.
(From Sarah W.)
Friday, June 26, 2009
Your Favorite Michael Jackson Memory is an article on Buzzfeed, starting the collective grieving process. Seriously, no one else is talking about anything else.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
"His literal version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” has received over 2 million views. But how does he choose which videos to satirize?
David Scott couldn’t quite put his finger on what it is about 80s music videos that makes them ripe for satire, but he said it has something to do with the fact that the 80s witnessed the birth of the medium and artists suddenly found themselves overwhelmed with three to four minutes to provide visual acrobatic interpretations of their lyrics.
“This is when it stops becoming just a performance clip and goes on to become this whole audio visual extravaganza,” he told me. “So everyone would be throwing everything and the kitchen sink into these visuals, whether they made sense or not. They could go for this grand metaphor that nobody gets or something else entirely.”
Scott lives and works in upstate New York creating videos and commercials for local businesses, and though you likely haven’t heard his name, you might have seen his work. A few weeks ago he posted a literal version of Bonnie Tyler’s music video, “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” to YouTube, and since then it has received over 2 million views. The literal music video is a meme that first gained popularity a few months ago, starting perhaps with a literal version of A-Ha’s “Take On Me” video. The genre involves taking a music video and dubbing over the original lyrics with ones literally describing all the actions and reactions of the characters in the video, often adding in humorous commentary and pop culture references. For instance, in the literal version of Total Eclipse, at one point you hear the Bonnie Tyler impersonator describe the “close-up on some candles and dramatically posing” of Tyler as she looks out a window.
Scott said he became intrigued with the literal music video meme when it first gained popularity and began playing with some ideas with creating his own, putting together literal interpretations of Monkees and Beatles videos in February. He went on to create a literal version of Meat Loaf’s “Anything for Love,” which proved to be especially challenging.
“There’s just quite a bit of technical trickery involved, so it can be more fun in hindsight to talk about,” he said. “The Meat Loaf one for instance, that took awhile to just get the instrumentals. There’s no karaoke track to match up against the video. He put that out as the album version, and there’s all these different single edits made from this 11-minute album version, and then they’re all different from the version that appears on the video, which to my knowledge never appeared on a CD. And so I had to take two CD versions, and then thankfully I was able to use Adobe Audition to filter out the vocals for the most part, and I was able to insert my vocals in there. It’s harder than it would seem. So you definitely have to really like the artist and the song.”
He explained that it’s not just a matter of replacing the lyrics, but also managing to uphold and mimic the inflection and context of the original lyrics, matching up how they’re being presented. This creates a kind of authenticity of the satire because it correlates with the “cognitive memory” of the original.
I asked Scott how the “Total Eclipse” video became so popular, and he said that the only thing he knew about how it spread was that it did so organically. When he launched it he only had a few hundred subscribers on YouTube, and he also placed a link to it up on his Facebook news feed. It eventually began to spread so quickly that his own friends were getting sent the link from people who didn’t even know him.
The artist puts together the videos from where he works, usually during after hours. He said it often can take a few hours a night to line up the lyrics and the music, and he can finish a video within a matter of days. He got the idea for the Total Eclipse video after someone on a message board thread about the literal video meme suggested it.
I asked him if he had any plans to somehow incorporate his YouTube exploits into his career, but he seemed to have little interest in mixing the two. He said that he prefers to keep his work life and his “goofy side” separate, leaving his more creative endeavors into his after hour video creations and acting in a local dinner theater group.
Though he said he wants to mix things up a bit, he has definite plans for more literal music videos. His next target?
The 80s soft rock duo, Air Supply."
(From Simon... Yeah, he got through.)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Why don't they just ignore you?
Most of them do. I'd say only 10% of people I write to write back.
What is with all the different names you use?
They are all me, just different e-mail accounts.
HEY! I recognize myself in one of these e-mails, you prick!
No you don't. You're wrong. Go away.
Why are a lot of these e-mails sexist?
It seems to piss the women off more. I'm not really sexist or racist, but I still find it hilarious.
How can I contact you?
Put up a classified ad, and try to sound like an idiot. I'll find you.
No seriously. I want to give you money.
In that case, firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll try to respond, but I do get a lot of e-mails so don't think I am a jerk if I don't."
And here are some samples, enjoy!
litter of 6 kittens up for adoption! they are all 3 weeks old and are looking for a good home. contact if interested.
From Mike Hunt to *********@***********.org
I am interested in taking all six kittens off of your hands. How much do you want for them?
From Shannon ******* to Me
Are you going to take care of all of these kittens? I want to make sure they all find a good home, and was expecting to sell them one at a time. Are you able to house all six of them?
From Mike Hunt to Shannon *******
To be honest, I own a pet Bengal Tiger and he is on a strict diet of cats. I usually feed him one cat every couple of days, so this litter should hold him over for a while. Don't worry though, I'll take good care of the kittens until I feed them to him.
From Shannon ******* to Me
That is horrible! You will not get a single kitten from me. I really hope you are not serious.
From Mike Hunt to Shannon *******
I was kidding. I seriously need all six kittens though. Disregard anything I said about a tiger.
From Shannon ******* to Me
And a second:
"Original ad:(From mjg and goosie gander)
if anyone wants a ride from baltimore to nyc tomorow let me know! i am driving up there sometime tomorow afternoon and would be glad to help someone out if they want to throw up some money for gas. i drive a hybrid, so i wont need much!
From Mike Partlow to *************@*********.org
I do need a ride to New York tomorrow. That would be great. My only concern is the fact that you drive a hybrid car. I don't want to give people the idea that I care about the environment. Do you have another, more manly car that we could ride up in? I really don't want to be seen in a hybrid. I'll gladly compensate you for gas.
From christine ********* to Me
no all i have is my hybrid. what is the big deal, who cares what people think? u should be glad to help the enviroment!
From Mike Partlow to christine **********
I'm sorry Christine but it isn't the 60's anymore. People aren't a bunch of earth-saving hippies that run around and hug trees anymore. Does your car have tinted windows? I really don't want to be seen riding in that bitch-mobile. My only request is that you stop by a lake somewhere so I can dump a can of motor oil in it, to make up for all of the earth that your car will be saving. Don't worry, I'll pay for the motor oil.
From christine ********* to Me
wtf is wrong with u! im not giving u a ride ur a jerk!!!
From Mike Partlow to christine **********
Well I am sorry you won't have the privilege of riding with me. Fortunately for me, I found a better, more badass ride to NYC. I'll be sure to wave at your crappy little hybrid as we pass you in our F-350, spraying cans of aerosol out the window and throwing empty six-pack holders into the sea.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The Home Duvet Cover Single is a recession chic item on Dutch By Design. According to the site,
"The Home Duvet lets you sleep under a cardboard box so a homeless person doesn't have to!Seems kind of a low percent that goes to charity (though better something than nothing, I suppose). I think its main selling point is the awkward novelty.
30% of the gross profits go to Centrepoint, the UK charity for homeless young people aged 16-25 (charity number 292411). Every night Centrepoint provides support and housing for 800 vulnerable homeless young people
Please note that the covers do not include pillow cases, you can order these via the drop down menu below."
(From JenK )
Monday, June 22, 2009
Seems like your typical lefty documentary. I like the creepy music and totally wan to see it. Shoud I bother?
(PS: Okay okay you caught me: I don't normally post things like this, it's really just a ploy to get someone to see it with me.)(From Tanya)
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
In it, Dr. Gawande discusses the peculiarities of our health care system, contrasting areas with high cost, poor-quality health care (such McAllen, TX) versus areas that have low cost, high quality care (Mayo, Grand Junction). The difference is in part cultural, and in part that there is someone at the helm working toward that goal. What's interesting about the article is that so far, the debate has largely been about single-payer insurance versus multiple, private versus government--but Atul states these arguments are neglecting the most important point--we need a contractor, a person actively working to lower costs while increasing quality:
"Providing health care is like building a house. The task requires experts, expensive equipment and materials, and a huge amount of coördination. Imagine that, instead of paying a contractor to pull a team together and keep them on track, you paid an electrician for every outlet he recommends, a plumber for every faucet, and a carpenter for every cabinet. Would you be surprised if you got a house with a thousand outlets, faucets, and cabinets, at three times the cost you expected, and the whole thing fell apart a couple of years later? Getting the country’s best electrician on the job (he trained at Harvard, somebody tells you) isn’t going to solve this problem. Nor will changing the person who writes him the check.The way I read this article, Atul seems to be asking for a Health Care Czar, a contractor in charge of lowering costs, increasing quality, and managing the totality of health care for the country:
This last point is vital. Activists and policymakers spend an inordinate amount of time arguing about whether the solution to high medical costs is to have government or private insurance companies write the checks. Here’s how this whole debate goes. Advocates of a public option say government financing would save the most money by having leaner administrative costs and forcing doctors and hospitals to take lower payments than they get from private insurance. Opponents say doctors would skimp, quit, or game the system, and make us wait in line for our care; they maintain that private insurers are better at policing doctors. No, the skeptics say: all insurance companies do is reject applicants who need health care and stall on paying their bills. Then we have the economists who say that the people who should pay the doctors are the ones who use them. Have consumers pay with their own dollars, make sure that they have some “skin in the game,” and then they’ll get the care they deserve. These arguments miss the main issue. When it comes to making care better and cheaper, changing who pays the doctor will make no more difference than changing who pays the electrician. The lesson of the high-quality, low-cost communities is that someone has to be accountable for the totality of care. Otherwise, you get a system that has no brakes. You get McAllen."
"Dramatic improvements and savings will take at least a decade. But a choice must be made. Whom do we want in charge of managing the full complexity of medical care? We can turn to insurers (whether public or private), which have proved repeatedly that they can’t do it. Or we can turn to the local medical communities, which have proved that they can. But we have to choose someone—because, in much of the country, no one is in charge. And the result is the most wasteful and the least sustainable health-care system in the world."
"As America struggles to extend health-care coverage while curbing health-care costs, we face a decision that is more important than whether we have a public-insurance option, more important than whether we will have a single-payer system in the long run or a mixture of public and private insurance, as we do now. The decision is whether we are going to reward the leaders who are trying to build a new generation of Mayos and Grand Junctions. If we don’t, McAllen won’t be an outlier. It will be our future."
PPS: Kottke points to a follow-up from Atul's address to the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine.
(From Margaret, that New Yorker I bought at the airport, the SF Bay Area's 88.5FM)
Friday, June 19, 2009
Mike uses a sparse, words-and-white-background minimalist prefab theme for the blog, which he decorates with a smattering of silly pictures for comic effect. The blog is named after a difficult-to-pronounce philosopher. Rorty Bomb features timely heavy-duty subjects like the financial crisis (proposing his own gloomy Do-It-Yourself stress tests!) and the impending Iranian Twitter Revolution.
But better yet, Rorty Bomb includes this gem, which was linked to by the New York Time's Opinionator:
There are too many negative 'I don’t remember last night' hangover stories that involve a tiger in the bathroom and people missing. I want to share a positive one. One night after finals weeks concluded in graduate school, me and my roommate were overserved by the local bar.
I woke up the next morning not sure how the night concluded. I went to check my email and saw 4 emails I didn’t expect from Ebay. Are you familiar with Ebay’s 'Buy it Now' feature? I had received two emails at 3 in the morning saying that I had won two 'Buy it Now' auctions, and two additional emails saying my payment via paypal had been received and my product would be shipping in the morning.
I was quite scared to open those emails, but it turned out I had purchased Toto’s Toto IV (featuring the hit songs 'Africa' and 'Rosanna') on vinyl, as well as a 7″ single for Bonnie Tyler’s 'Total Eclipse of the Heart.' With shipping, this was a total of about $11, perhaps the best $11 I’ve spent in my life.
We pieced together that this purchase was made to settle an argument over me playing Rosanna on the dive bar’s internet jukebox, when Africa was available. My stance, that you should switch up the Toto, was taken as me endorsing Rosanna as a better song than Africa, which is nonsense, though I may have said something akin to 'we really need to hear this on vinyl before we can make a judgement call.' "
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Also, apparently I'm a chick with puma tastes. Sweet.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Ms. X sent them to me via email, so they are technically on the interwebs, and they are pretty great.
Meanwhile, enjoy the baloons. I think the giant dinosaur one, while technically not a dress, is my favorite.
(From Ms. Wong and Bryna)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Total Eclipse of the Heart: Literal Video Version is a follow-up literal music video in the style of that AHA Literal Music Video. Basically, instead of the orginal song, the video images are set to replaced lyrics which describe what is going on in the video.
If you can bear through the singing, it's fun. And by fun I mean kidn of painful. The lyrics are great and the singing and talking is not. Still. I like getting confirmation that everyone else thinks these videos are as looney as I do.(From LL )
Monday, June 15, 2009
Wolfram Alpha is a science-y search engine with lofty goals. According to them:
"Wolfram|Alpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries."
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Kermit Bale is a Livejournal entry that Ferd (handle: ferdalump) wrote in Ohnotheydidnt.
It posts pictures of Christian Bale side by side with analogous pictures of Kermit the Frog. Clearly, we have a Superman-and-Clark-Kent situation here.
Enjoy the samples!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
30 Awesomely Bad Unicorn Tattoos: A Gallery is a self-explanatory article on holytaco.com. Less of an article really, and more just a string of pictures of awful tattoos.
I'm not sure which one is worse, white-power-corn or taz-corn. Tossup!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
At first I was disappointed that the video wasn't about fashion or one of my favorite British-safari-look clothing retailers (though they do allude to it). But then I wasn't. It's a delight! (Save that nasty reality part.)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
"what to do they do in summer? All that makeup, long black leather and rubber must get very sticky. I think we should show our respect for these poor unfortunates, struggling to stand out from the vanilla crowd despite blazing temperatures and sunshine that puts the rest of us in shorts and vest tops. Join me in celebrating the majesty of the Goth, who, eschewing any practicality whatever, still has the commitment to don a full length leather trenchcoat, stupid New Rock boots, and half a Superdrug counter of makeup. All hail the Hot Goth!"
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The intro is fantastic and inventive, the vocal performance is... okay. The song lyrics, are of course, problematic. I don't know why it's become such a standard in a capella circles, but there it is.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Tom Swiftly is a no-frills website devoted to generating Tom Swiftlies (for explanation, see previous day's post).
You can click on "Swiftly" to refresh, on "Challenge" to scramble and capitalize all letters, or "Submit" to submit your own. Enjoy!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
“ Tom Swifties' are curious puns that monkey with the description of reported speech for comic effect... This weekend, co-vocbularists are invited to submit their own Tom Swifties – the more convoluted the better. Additional points will be awarded for references to current affairs... For example:Get it? Get it? A BAND ON? VERY TABLE-EY? MIST-RUST-FULLY? Quite awful, and delicious. The comments are running wild.
'I manufacture table tops,' said Tom counterproductively.
'Let’s have a debate about cows,' Tom mooted.
'Who discovered radium?' asked Marie curiously.
'Just parsley, sage and rosemary,' said Tom timelessly.
'This sea-spray will ruin all the metal-work,' said Tom mistrustfully
'I can’t tell you how much it resembles a table,' said Tom veritably.
'Show no mercy killing the vampire,' said Tom painstakingly.
'It keeps my hair in place,' said Alice with abandon."
(From the K )
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
The cold hard facts of freezing to death is an article by Peter Stark that ran in Outside Magazine over 10 years ago. I remember reading this a couple of months before--I can't remember where--but now it showed up on Kottke so I thought it'd be worthy of a post.
Basically, it's a fictionalized narrative of a person who almost dies of hypothermia, sprinkled in with some facts. Exerpt:
"At 85 degrees, those freezing to death, in a strange, anguished paroxysm, often rip off their clothes. This phenomenon, known as paradoxical undressing, is common enough that urban hypothermia victims are sometimes initially diagnosed as victims of sexual assault. Though researchers are uncertain of the cause, the most logical explanation is that shortly before loss of consciousness, the constricted blood vessels near the body's surface suddenly dilate and produce a sensation of extreme heat against the skin.
All you know is that you're burning. You claw off your shell and pile sweater and fling them away.
But then, in a final moment of clarity, you realize there's no stove, no cabin, no friends. You're lying alone in the bitter cold, naked from the waist up. You grasp your terrible misunderstanding, a whole series of misunderstandings, like a dream ratcheting into wrongness. You've shed your clothes, your car, your oil-heated house in town. Without this ingenious technology you're simply a delicate, tropical organism whose range is restricted to a narrow sunlit band that girds the earth at the equator."
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Microsoft Bing is a new search engine by Microsoft. It went live 2 days early.
The India Times reports there are a few glitches:
"As Microsoft attempts to unseat Google, it unveiled a slate of convenient features for Bing, including an "autoplay" tool that lets users preview videos simply by hovering a mouse over them.
The tool may become a liability because users can have easy access to porn videos on Bing, and not have to log on to one of the porno websites."
In My Life Is Average, people write in with anectdotes of supreme mediocrity. Such as:
"Today I left the house without locking the door. When I came back, all my stuff wasn't gone. MLIA "
"Today, I opened my closet. Didn't find Narnia. MLIA."
"I'm a security guard at a museum. Nothing comes alive at night. MLIA"
"Today, my G string snapped. I had to get a new one for my cello. MLIA "
"Today, I experimented with another guy. We were great lab partners, and will probably work together again. MLIA "
"While downloading Limewire, it asked me if I was going to use it to download music illegally. I said no. I did. MLIA. "
"Today, a spider bit me. I did not get super spidey strength."
"Today, I saw a single lady. I liked her, but I didn't put a ring on it. MLIA "
"Today, I had some Frosted Flakes. There were good, but not great. MLIA."
The tone is understated apathy. Cute.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Live Mocha explains: "Members all over the world can utilize their native language proficiency to teach and learn from other members of the community. Users have the option of practicing structured conversation exercises with a native speaker or submitting a writing or an audio sample of an exercise for a native speaker to edit or correct. These community-based interactive tools in Livemocha help build a strong engaged language community."
In addition to the interactive stuff, they also have structured lesson plans with support for English, Spanish, French, Hindi, German, and Mandarin Chinese. Nice.
Monday, June 1, 2009
I think I will have to try this lotion thing, lest I start getting the nickname "crotch itch".