Digging the Cool Stuff Early

Ok, here's your chance to know about something super-cool before it goes national. Animator Nina Paley has made a by-all-accounts-amazing movie called Sita Sings the Blues. Unfortunately, she can't get it distributed because she used some copyrighted songs from the 1920s.

Not only does the movie look killer-diller (see trailer below), but Ms. Paley's distribution plan makes for an excellent overview of how new artists earn revenue in the ever-evolving world of digital distribution.


Bad Brains at the Presidential Inauguration

Disclaimer: My father told me never to discuss religion and politics with family or strangers. But I'm breaking the rule.

I hate linking facebook. I'm breaking that taboo.

Because I love the idea of Bad Brains playing Obama's inauguration. It won't happen, but it would be stellar. The only idea that comes close is Public Enemy and in light of Flava Flav's clown prince roles on Flavor of Love, bringing down the PE credibility, I'll go with Bad Brains back in DC on inauguration night. I know they played election night, and even if they don't play the inauguration- maybe they'll play DC on that historic evening.

Banned in DC


Paying the Piper

Sometimes movies pose unanswered rhetorical questions that are really offensive.

Exhibit A: In The Sound of Music, perfect-pitched nuns ask sweetly "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" Judging by the movie's resolution, the answer is "Marry Her Off."

But Wendell Jamieson of The New York Times goes one further. He's found a plothole in the Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life:

What about that banking issue? When he returns to the “real” Bedford Falls, George is saved by his friends, who open their wallets to cover an $8,000 shortfall at his savings and loan brought about when the evil Mr. Potter snatched a deposit mislaid by George’s idiot uncle, Billy (Thomas Mitchell).

But isn’t George still liable for the missing funds, even if he has made restitution? I mean, if someone robs a bank, and then gives the money back, that person still robbed the bank, right?

I checked my theory with Frank J. Clark, the district attorney for Erie County upstate, where, as far as I can tell, the fictional Bedford Falls is set. He thought it over, and then agreed: George would still face prosecution and possible prison time.

“In terms of the theft, sure, you take the money and put it back, you still committed the larceny,” he said. “By giving the money back, you have mitigated in large measure what the sentence might be, but you are still technically guilty of the offense.”

He took this a bit further: “If you steal over $3,000, it’s a D felony; 2 ½ to 7 years is the maximum term for that. The least you can get is probation."

Now we know.

Sock and Awe

At a recent press conference, Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi threw his shoe at George W. Bush during a recent press conference, a move that is considered one of the highest insults you can make towards someone in that culture.

And while opinions and reactions to the incident have varied, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who quietly thought to himself,
"Why didn't I think of that?"
Luckily for you, the Internet has come through (just as we knew it would) with the video game version of the incident.

Maybe it's because I'm not Bush's biggest fan -- but it's a lot more addictive than it probably should be.


How Addicted Are You?

Interesting little quiz here for the movie lovers among us. The basic idea is this: Sure you love the movies you love and quote your favorite lines and all, but how many classic films have you actually seen?

There's a long list of films here spanning from the present to the earliest days of cinema, and all you have to do is check off whether you've actually watched them or not. At the end you click a button and your score is tabulated (I came out with 69.6%).

Knowing Monster, Satorical, and Wernda as I do -- I get the feeling that my score is easily beatable, but it's an interesting exercise in realizing that there are a bunch of films I've read about and know a lot about that I've actually never watched.

I will also caution you that some of the more modern choices that are on this list qualify as head-scratchers (In Bruges??) -- which makes the film nerd in me a little agitated that my score was somehow negatively affected by my choice not to watch Colin Farrel try to be funny.

But as with all lists, it's a subjective thing -- and being that it's all in the spirit of fun, it's not worth really freaking out about.


Mining the Chestnuts

One thing to love about the Web is the extended life it gives to really great work. Here's a 1996 short that's getting a whole new audience thanks to the FutureShorts channel on YouTube. Beware the double-cross, er, triple-cross, um, quad-ah, forget it.

Props to Dorie at Clicking? for the find.



It's hard to put into words just how cool this is.

Here's what you're going to see when you click on the link: A crappy television set complete with rabbit ears, a remote control with only five buttons (channel up/down, volume up/down, and an option to make the playback fullscreen) and a classic issue of TV guide.

For those of you who might be a little too contemporary to get the joke, here's how it works. Much like days gone by, you check the TV Guide to see what's on, and then you use the buttons on the remote to try and find the appropriate channel. Some of them show up, some of them don't (which was always the worst part of being a part of that era in technology -- knowing something you might like to watch is on, but having no possible way where your house was situated to tune it in).

The volume controls work. The commercials are awful. The static won't go away. And, as many of us remember -- during Christmas season the only thing you got to see was ultra-schlocky Christmas versions of the shows that were normally on (a practice that still happens today on the networks, but with the vast expanses of cable isn't a month-long trap the way it used to be).
The other day all I could tune in was the Christmas episode of Perfect Strangers.
And just like the old days, instead of going outside and playing or, I don't know -- reading a book, I watched Balki in a Santa suit butchering every joke.

The only thing missing is a way to hit the side of the set to try to "help clear up the signal" (or perhaps the broken channel-changing dial with the pair of vice-grips attached to it).

Another cool feature that I've discovered since I've first stumbled across this thing is that just like old-time TV, the shows that were on last week aren't on this week, and unlike modern programming practices, there's basically no chance to see them on repeat broadcasting later in the day. In other words, if you missed it -- you truly missed it, which then (for some reason) you actually felt bad about when you realized all the other kids at school had seen it.

Let me be clear about something, though. Watching TV like this sucked ass. But it was all we had, and we fought tooth and nail for the chance to do it. In that sense, what makes this site great is that it recalls that suckiness and somehow makes it feel nostalgic and sweet.

Fortunately, after about 10 minutes I remembered how frustrating TV like this was, and came back from the visit with this particular ghost of Christmas past with a renewed appreciation for the improvements in equally vapid programming that we have today.


Fuck You, Penguin

It's a blog where some guy tells off cute animals.
-- The cuter they are, the madder he gets.

The word "awesome" doesn't even begin to describe the awesome.



The first time I saw this I said to myself, "This has to be useful ..to someone."

Admittedly, the sheer amount of stuff heaped across the page at CEOExpress seems well planned and organized to give busy people easy access to much more information than they could possibly use at any given time. And yet that seems to also be the problem -- because there's simply sooo much here that it's hard to know where to even start.

I also found myself sort of cringing when I discovered the "sister site" to this thing -- called Execudiva (complete with a high-heel icon that just sort of screams "The Sexism is OVER HERE! Click this link and then go make me a sandwich!")

Of course it's pretty clear that this thing isn't aimed at me -- but even I can't deny the possible usefulness of this particular linkdump (even if they did somehow forget to add a link to HRToTM).


Catch the Frak Up

Like a lot of people, I enjoyed watching the new-fangled Battlestar Galactica when it came out a few years ago. But I haven't really been keeping up with it the way I should, and now several seasons later I honestly have no idea what the hell is going on.

Fortunately, I discovered this, and now I guess I know everything.
I still don't really know what the hell is going on, but I laughed a bunch.

ps -- the vid is 13 minutes long. Pack a lunch.


Prop 8: The Musical

If you ask me, this is a better joke about musical theater than it is about Prop 8, but it needs to be said (again and again and again until they fix it) -- and if nothing else, Jesus shows up -- and I'm hoping for a good Christmas, so I'm kissing butt until the 25th.


The Fall

Odds are good you didn't see this. If so, fix that.


listening to stories at the moth

A pretty eclectic collection of verbal stories by many different people. Some authors, radio personalities, performance artists and the like do short stories.

Available here:


or search for the moth on itunes podcasts. It is a bit hit and miss, but the few that I listened to were great stories. To me they fit a short drive or train ride better than the audio books that I often listen to as each one is self contained.


The Ugly Sweater Store

Let's just be honest here -- It doesn't really get all that cold here in Florida. We get some chilly nights and windy days, but any Floridian out and out complaining about winter is full of it.
But that doesn't stop people here from buying sweaters.
And now, I finally know where they got them all -- The Ugly Sweater Store. Here you can shop, buy, and even learn to care for your ugly sweater so it can be worn year after year.
Which people here do, regardless of how hot it gets.

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