TFS: Ask Not What You Can Do For Your Country Edition

The important thing to know about this site is that we're here to help. We know you're busy people with things to do -- which is why the staff here does our very best to find and feature the kinds of things that make your day easier. Whether it's a light in the dark, a place to keep your money, or the best way to fix your appliances and small electronics (should it break within a decent distance of 7th avenue).

We also offered you the insane rantings of a madman, a tool that lets you figure out some of the crazy words he used, pictures of criminals (you know -- the gangster controls) so you'll know who to watch out for, and even a ..kind of effective way to try and figure out the name of the song that's stuck in your head might be. All because we know your time is valuable. All because we care.
..None of which seems to matter ever
since you started fucking Matt Damon.
Then again, I suppose it could have been worse.

Really? Nothing to Do With That Soccer Guy?

Pele's hair (PAY-lays hair) noun

Thin strands of volcanic glass, formed when lava is thrown into the air by the explosion of a volcano.

[After Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes.]

I now know this thanks to one of the many nifty services from Wordsmith.org, so they get the official Monster HRTotM seal of, uhm, recommendation. It's a low-tech interface (be prepared to click around a little) but it's got a set of great cross-web expansions on a typical "a word a day" service.

There's just something about a site like this on today's web that makes me smile. Loads of info presented in a stripped down, no-frills manner. Just the simple premise... no goofy" Vocabularious!" podcast or "Libragarious", the social network for uppity English speakers.

Hmmm... I should check to see if libragarious.com is taken...

Guess My Crime

Looking for a Friday afternoon time-waster? Want to see just how good a cop you might make -- not so much in the donut eating/tasing each other for fun department, but more in the Judge Dredd "I Am The Law" sense?
Then perhaps this site is for you.
The premise is simple: You're presented with a real mugshot to look at. Above the picture are a list of crimes. All you have to do is choose the correct crime the person committed.

Now first of all, what's with all these people smiling for their mugshot? There's no way any of these folks could possibly be happy about getting booked, is there? But if I'm right in that suspicion then the only possibility I can imagine is that the cop taking the picture is asking these people to say "cheese" or something -- which is disturbing in it's own right.

Of course, speaking as someone who does their best not to get arrested -- the whole idea is just sort of bizarre to start with, which is probably why I didn't feel so bad playing a game based off these people's criminal activities.


Happy Banking

Leave it to a bank to be the ones dedicating funds and manpower to researching something like happiness. Not the government, not some mega-pharmaceutical company, not a restaurant, not the science wing at the Playboy Mansion -- but instead a bank. In Australia.

Bank marketing (especially the kind that is intended to be cute/funny and sorta never mentions the bank or any of its services at all) is sort of an odd thing to me, but it does happen. I guess the idea is to humanize the cold imagery most people associate with the financial industry -- which is a nice thought, but always sorta melts away when you get your balance statement at the end of the month or a check bounces without you realizing it.


Concerned that Australians aren't happy, Bankwest has started what it calls "Happy Banking" -- which at least at this point apparently means jumping on the personalized flash animation widget sort of thing that Fast Food restaurants usually take it upon themselves to handle for those of us living on this side of the pond.
So without further ado, courtesy of Bankwest -- Singing. Kittens.
Now give us your money!

The Song Tapper

Have a song stuck in your head that you can't figure out the title of?
The Song Tapper can help!
All you have to do is "tap" in the vocal melody of the song you're thinking of on the space bar, and then click the link. The website will then give you a list of songs that match the rhythm pattern of that melody.

WARNING: If you're a musician who tends to want to tap in musical accents, drum beats, and the best part of the guitar solos from the song you're thinking of, this thing won't work -- which tends to become frustrating if you don't realize what the problem is at first.
I mean, I know the how the vocal melody goes, but you can't just tap in Robert Plant without tapping the John Bohnam part too -- that's just plain wrong.
Still, a cool idea for a time waster, even if it hasn't heard of Skindred.


J&R Television and Air Conditioning

This is one for Brooklynites. J&R is a local, independent consumer electronics repair shop on 7th Ave. in Park Slope. They are honest, will give you an estimate, do great, fast work, and are completely reasonably priced.

In a day when most places will just recommend you get a new one whenever your old one breaks, this place is a comparative joy.

Ok, I'm through being my grandfather now. Back to giving Sarah Silverman more air time. ;)



With the exception of that godawful last season, I'm a huge 24 fan. In one episode Jack Bauer was using a super-cool tiny bright flashlight. A little search lead me to a treasure trove of cool toys.

I was surprised to learn that the messenger bag Jack Bauer carried was less than $20, as was the flashlight.

Although the Gerber Infinity is awesomely small, lightweight, and has a convenient clip, it ain't all that bright. You don't want to shine it in your eyes, and Tom Hanks could have wooed Wilson in the dark in Cast Away if he had had it, but it's not really bright enough to compete at night with city lights.

Fast-forward two years. I've lost my bag with a bunch of stuff in it, including the flashlight.

So, after some hunting, I found this site, with fantastically geeky reviews of all kinds of flashlights.

The flashlight pictured above is what I ended up getting.

Flashlights have been basically the same thing for a hundred years or so: an incandescent bulb (breakably thin wire filament in a sensitive glass bulb) powered by a battery that wasn't going to last super-long no matter what. They were the type of plastic junk that Radio Shack used to give away in order to sell batteries.

Now they have improved dramatically within the last five years, thanks to LEDs, circuitry, and battery improvements (thanks, cellphone researchers!). Incredibly tiny lights are super-bright, and you can spend up to $500 on flashlights that will signal airstrikes, or freak out the man on the moon. And then there's this guy.

If there's any part of you that's a gear junkie, I highly recommend getting yourself one of these nifty new lights. Remember, it takes 65 lumens or more to disorient or blind a foe with night-adapted vision.

J-Lo Was Never This Eager

So for those of you not up on the celebrity pairings, Jimmy Kimmel (of Man Show & Win Ben Stein's Money fame) is romantically linked with Sarah Silverman (of, you know, fame... sort of. Oooo she was in that School for Scoundrels movie!). Due to the crazy life of Hollywood b-listers, they'd been apart for a while, until Sarah showed up to appear on Jimmy's late-late talk show (NSFW, language):

On last night's post-Oscar special, Jimmy responded (also NSFW, language):

Johnny Carson it ain't, but that is some funny 21st century late night television goodness.

UbuWeb Sound - Francis E. Dec

Interesting find here from a site called UbuWeb -- uncut recordings of several the infamous Francis E. Dec. Esquire rant readings. These are the same recordings that were used as the basis for a great Psychic TV song called "St. Francis E" from a CD called Ultrahouse, The L.A. Connection.

This is one of those things where probably like 2 people will stop and say "oh cool!" while many others will scratch their heads and wonder what the heck the deal is. Fortunately, the site offers help by reposting an essay about Francis Dec from another site.

Make no mistake here -- Dec is about 10 sandwiches short of a picnic, and these rants quickly make that fact clear, but the odd thing is that as you listen to him go basically berserk about the government it's hard to not occasionally wonder if some of the stuff he's talking about might be based on some sort of truth.

Well, OK -- maybe not, but it's hard not to sorta root for the guy once he gets going, even if it's just in the hope that his head will sort of explode from all the suppressed rage it sounds like he's channeling.

Of course the interesting thing I learned here is that the voice on the recordings isn't Dec's, but instead belongs to a DJ known as Doc, who apparently was a newscaster/talk show host on KROQ-FM back in the day who got hold of a couple of Dec's letters and decided to read/perform them on his show.

Before you listen to this speech, do know that it occasionally veers into strings of pretty harsh and occasionally racist language -- which isn't cool, but gives us another opportunity to remind you that the guy behind these words is completely off his rocker.

I guess I always find it interesting when I have a chance to learn something new about samples and speeches that make their way into songs that I like. Of course knowing (and sharing) little stray facts like this always seems to cause me problems whenever I'm in social situations, but I'm a music nerd -- so I guess it just sorta comes with the territory.


TFS: Everything Old is New Again Edition

A recent discussion at the HRTotM home office noticed that one feature everyone really liked about this site was The Friday Smile -- which is why we're bringing it back, hopefully better than ever.

And really, in this age of American Gladiators and Knight Rider on the television, a Clinton running for office, and oldies but goodies music making a comeback (of sorts) -- the time has never been better for a return engagement of everyone's favorite weekly recap.

I mean let's face it, The Friday Smile is like a classic movie -- it's the kind of thing you can study and appreciate for years, share with a friend, do impromptu performances of at the subway station, or send to a loved one so they can know exactly how you feel.
Besides, whoever said new things were all that great anyways?
To be honest, it was probably wrong of me to have killed the thing off so early. It was proving to be a very popular feature with the ladies
..or was it the men?
(Just because I can't remember right now doesn't mean it didn't happen).
So here it is again, better than ever --
Your Friday Smile
What you're looking at is the winning entry from Filmmakingfrenzy.com's recent contest to help promote the new film Be Kind Rewind (which I'm dying to see, btw). The site features all sorts of homemade remakes of recent films -- which as you can imagine, leads to some pretty entertaining stuff. Enjoy!


Framework is an online movie fanzine of sorts. Always nice to see something that's independent, passionate, and well-executed.

And the Winners Were?

Frikkin' English Patient.

Not only was it an awful book, a worse movie, and the kind of thing that people who drive me up the wall continually try to convince me is the best thing ever invented, but it's also one of the 6 movies that I absolutely could not remember the name of while I was taking this surprisingly difficult quiz where you're asked to name as many Best Picture Oscar Winners from the last 15 years as you can within five minutes.

And yes, English Patient is a hint. Honestly, anything I can do to help people name-drop that piece of crap without having to actually suffer through it I consider a public service.

Satorical and Monster are both big fans of films that are actually good. As such, I predict they'll both trash my score in this.
Game on, bitches!


Spock Reznor

A really brilliantly produced video for Nine Inch Nail's "Closer", comprised of clips from Star Trek.

Just in case you've never heard "Closer", this is NSFW (unless you work in that sex shop in the movie "Seven"... then it's probably okay.)

It's True, We're So Lame

What do things like Traveling, Diversity, Expensive Sandwiches, Mos Def, Lawyers, Michael Gondry, Standing Still At Concerts, Sushi, Public Radio, Co-Ed Sports, and NetFlix have in common?
They're all Stuff White People Like!
This relatively young wordpress blog offers evidence and explanations for anyone out there wishing to try and understand what makes white people happy.

For added entertainment, the comment sections on many of the posts feature messages from a number of white people who are apparently unhappy about their "secrets" being put out in one place like this.
Which oddly enough, makes this white person laugh even more.


Well, You Asked

In his last post, Hex mused...
I used to think there was nothing more cheesy/doomed than a Valentines day proposal (save for maybe using the Jumbotron at a Knicks game), but apparently I was waay wrong.

Indeed you were, good buddy... because you forgot the Valentines Day/Pro Basketball combo. Your sentiment, though, was apparently right on.

Dude got consoled (and escorted off the court) by the mascot.

I Kid Because I Love

This ones for Satorical, who loves Wii Tennis but absolutley hates lolcats.
Also, if you haven't heard -- Last week over at icanhascheezburger.com (on Valentines Day, no less) a guy used a Lolcat picture to propose to his girlfriend (She said yes).

I used to think there was nothing more cheesy/doomed than a Valentines day proposal (save for maybe using the Jumbotron at a Knicks game), but apparently I was waay wrong.
I mean, good luck to you kids and all -- but geez.
PS -- No word yet when Match.com will launch its LOLdating site yet -- but rest assured, it's coming.


Elevating the Clubhouse Prank

Say what you want about the state of major league baseball, its players, or society in general...

... but this is the funniest thing I've ever seen.

The Official Ninja Homepage

1. Ninjas are mammals.
2. Ninjas fight ALL the time.
3. The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.
Site includes background music.
Incredibly ..ninja-esque background music.

Not in that sort of stealthy, sneaks up on the bad guy and kills him silently before dissapearing into the shadows sort of Ninja way --
..No, not really like that at all.

The Dyke Duck

Not much explanation needed here -- It's a duck. And ..she's a dyke.

Sorta reminds me of the short-lived but hilarious Jim J. Bullock character Queer Duck, just without all the Jim J.
..or, you know -- the Bullocks.


You Make Me Feel Like a Pudgy, Naked, Winged Child has Shot an Arrow Into My Chest Cavity

Considering the fact that we're all linking to e-card sites on Valenties day, I'd be remiss if I didn't include one of my all-time favorites, Someecards. We've given them love on this site before -- but it's holiday's like this when you really get to see their particular genius in action.

Happy V-Day, everyone!

My Turn!

For those of you totally turned off by conservatively designed blue suits and horribly designed spandex suits, I give you cards that are likely to result in law suits.

American Gladiators Ecards

Screw the Republicans, check this out!

Love and Taxes

If you've forgotten what today is, don't worry -- the Rebublican National Committee has got your back with this charming selection of Valentine's Day e-cards featuring Hillary and Obama.

If jabs about tax increases and voting records make your honey swoon, this one is for you.

ps -- No you're not mistaken, there don't appear to be any cards on this GOP site from their own candidate. Luckilly, the internet has (as always) quickly employed Photoshop to correct the problem.
- image redux spotted @ Patriot's Quill


New Star Wars Animated Film Coming to Theaters

This isn't really new news, but still worth mentioning -- to kick off the new animated Clone Wars series that's coming to TV, the premiere "episode/film" will be playing in theaters this August.

By all appearances this series continues the connecting storyline that Lucas worked with Genndy Tartakovsky to create around the time of the prequels coming out. The catch here is that this new series apparently is directed by someone else, and utilizes more of a 3D style of animation than the Tartakovsky stories.

It would probably be easy to nitpick at the trailer (because my honest first impression wasn't what I would call excitement), but at this point it's kinda hard to get really mad anymore. After all, I was one of the ones years back who thought making prequels would be a great idea, and look how that turned out.
So yeah, this is sorta my fault.


Porous, Yellow, and Oscar Worthy

Classic scenes, classic films, the voice actors from Spongebob Squarepants.

God bless America.


Cool Performance Art. That's Right, I Said It.

The super-cool and extremely dedicated folks at Improv Anywhere pulled off another good one... they all got together and, well, just watch it:

It's things like this that keep me from entirely dismissing the "move to NYC" idea.

The Jagg Off

Help me out here, because I'm kinda torn on this one. I mean, no doubt -- The joke = funny. But the video in it's entirety? ..I'm not so sure.

Something about it feels like one of those latter day Jim Carrey movies where the slapstick humor is replaced with something else that's ..not quite as worth the time.

And not fer nothing, but who answers the phone in the middle of a crunch?

A few moments NSFW.
Upon watching this again, trying to figure out what my deal was, I think my problem is that as much as I love the idea and more or less bought into the concept -- I feel like the real issue is that I'm kinda not loving the actors as much as I need to for this to be effective (in other words, by the time the ending finally arrived, I was beyond ready for either of them to get zapped in the junk). Or maybe the thing is just a minute or so too long, or they wrote themselves into a corner and didn't know how to effectively get out.. I don't know.

The funny moments ("It's nothing, Bums are fighting") are totally worth it, but in the end I guess the problem I'm having is that since we haven't had the time to start a site called "sorta recommended thing of the moment" -- this is the best place for me to post something like this.
ps -- Hey Satorical? Do your best Jagger!


I am Jacks Complete Lack of Product Knowledge

IKEA is your home for shoddily made Sweedish crap, but has also provided the world with a catalog full of items that might as well be named after minor Tolkien characters. Sure it's affordable, but that doesn't mean it's any easier to pronounce names like FJÄRDING, LYSVIK, or GÖK.

Luckilly, the catalog has pictures.
The IKEA game does not.
Yes, it's the IKEA game -- where you're asked to match the unpronouncable names with the actual items themselves.

Not at all easy -- but it does match the carpeting.


Journey to Saturn

I'm there.


I shouldn't have laughed, but I totally did.


Stuntman 1.0

No CGI. No green screen. No stunt doubles. No second takes.

Buster freaking Keaton.
(Radiohead's pretty cool too).

It's What's for Dinner

I'm sure there are a million "I feel like Chicken Tonight, Chicken Tonight! jokes I could make here -- but instead I'll just point you to what ends up being a fairly interesing Wall Street Journal article about the latest food fad going on in Vietnam these days,
Restaurant-prepared rat.
Apparently with bird flu running rampant, people are searching for alternate food sources, leading many to discover the flavor-sensations of animals like rats, snakes, and cats.
It even includes (I'm not kidding) 3 recipes.
The Wall Street Journal.
..Rat recipies.
Think about that one for a moment.


11 Personalities Guaranteed to Ruin Your Super Bowl Party

Another list from Cracked.com -- this time out discussing the kinds of people that would ruin any and all chance of enjoying yourself at any and all upcoming Superbowl parties, including the one you might be at this Sunday.

Oddly enough, Tom Brady doesn't appear on this list anywhere.

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