Saturday, March 31, 2007

Flaming Lips bringing "Yoshimi" to life as musical

The Flaming Lips are known for their outlandish stage shows, which can involve fake blood, mock UFOs, giant bubbles and scores of people jumping around in animal costumes. Now, the group is hoping to bring that sensibility to Broadway with a musical based on its 2002 album "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots."

The project will be directed by Des McAnuff, who of late has directed hit productions such as "Jersey Boys," "700 Sundays" and "Urinetown."

I think therefore I am, I think

Two neuroscientists working in Australia have ... found that, when asking people to choose to move either their left or right hands, it was possible to influence their choice by electronically stimulating certain parts of their brains. So, for example, the scientists could force the subjects always to choose to move their left hands. But despite their choice being electronically directed, these patients continued to report that they were freely choosing which hand to move.

Friday, March 30, 2007

NASA Scopes Binary Sunsets

The double sunset that Luke Skywalker gazed upon in the film Star Wars might not be a fantasy. Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have observed that planetary systems -- dusty disks of asteroids, comets and possibly planets -- are at least as abundant in twin-star systems as they are in single-star systems like our own.

Deep-fry diving for goldfish in Japan

Because oil floats on water, despite the massive heat (163 degrees Celsius) the goldfish simply stay away from the surface and all is well. They eat the crumbs of croquettes and other fried foods that fall to the bottom, and can live in there for years as they happily clean away, ignorant to the fact that certain death awaits any potential escapees.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Teen's kidnapper gets 20 years

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Cinda Fox sentenced Tuy on Monday on a handful of felony convictions related to the kidnapping. Onesavanh, who was convicted of fewer felonies, is expected to receive a nine-year sentence next week for her part in the kidnapping
The criminal trial of 19-year-old Khampong Onesavanh is the one I would've served as a juror on if I had made it through the jury selection process. The defense attorney said her friends and family call her 'Penny.' There were 13 charges against her, so I'm curious exactly how many 'fewer' is: 12? 5?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jedi Shipping and Mailing Master

Announcing a new stamp pane from the U.S. Postal Service, featuring 15 stamps in celebration of the Star Wars 30th Anniversary. Available at your Post Office May 26.

And now, for only the second time in its 256-year-history, the U.S. Postal Service invites you to vote for your favorite stamp. Choose one of 15 iconic images: Darth Vader, Yoda, Luke Skywaker, Princess Leia and others.
Although they are from a 'long time ago," these are 41-cent stamps, making them ready for the future.

Microsoft Sends Secret Dossier on Reporter, to Reporter

While reporting a story on Microsoft's video blogging initiative – something called Channel 9 – the dossier that Microsoft and its outside public relations agency Waggener Edstrom keeps on me accidentally ended up in my email inbox
Maybe that's what I would've ended up doing at Waggener Edstrom.

Dairy Queen's new logo

The logo is not actually new this month, it's existed since at least August 2006. But only this year is it being introduced to more than 5,600 locations worldwide and is slated for a complete rollout by the end of 2007.

I have to agree with Brand New that the new logo isn't worth the effort:

Dreary Queen

More than once the 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' adage applies to the logos we review on this site. But I think this one takes the crown for the least broken with the worst fixin'. Dairy Queen's ellipse is one of the most highly recognizable marks, it is (was) unique, memorable and impactful. Despite this equity, Dairy Queen considered it was time to change and make the wrong moves in all the wrong places
In the press release describing the logo change, DQ's chief brand officer said "Our original DQ logo is one of the most revered in the quick service restaurant industry." Yeah, so why wreck that?

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games Announce LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEOGAME

In LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEOGAME, TT Games brings the world of DC Comics' Caped Crusader to life in an entirely new way. Players can explore a richly interactive LEGO Gotham City as Batman and Robin, capturing infamous villains - and even take control of the villains themselves.

"We're sure our fans will be excited to know that we have the same fantastic team at Traveller's Tales responsible for LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Star Wars II working on LEGO BATMAN," said Tom Stone, Director of TT Games Publishing.
Yes, I am excited. Of course, I don't currently have what would be considered in 2008 a next-generation or current generation platform. Are they trying to make me want to buy a new videogame system?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My "new" blog

Google brought out of its beta status a little while ago, but I've been neglecting to "upgrade" my account.

Last week when I tried to upload the image to Tax Fun I discovered that my EarthLink account space was full (all 10MB!). So because Google is offering free hosting space I took the plunge and have set up shop here at (I really could not think of a better domain prefix).

One great result of this change is that the Blogger toolbar at the top of the page will now successfully search this blog! Which means I was actually able to search and find this relevant post from November 2004.

I'm sure you've noticed some other changes to the sidebar, text, etc. Some of these are under my control and some aren't, but let me know what you do or don't like in the comments.

The Lame Show: Episode 14

This episode is a little shorter than normal, but we still had fun.

TV, Popcorn & McNuggets

The Apple TV is now shipping, offering Eddie another chance to question its value. And Viacom is suing YouTube, leaving Mexican residents like Noah without a chance to illegally watch The Daily Show.

Nominated to the Lame List this episode are (which we clearly did not heed) and some creepy commercials featuring a zombie popcorn-maker.

Picks of the Week include a new take on the portals of old and notes from a free Cascadia.

The truly burning questions are asked: If Google owns YouTube, why does the latter's search suck? Should the TV version of This American Life have an international audience? Does Jamba Juice use pig hoofs?
Episode 14.m4a (37:46)

The Lame Show on iTunes

'Stardust' trailer

Watch Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro and Claire Danes in the exclusive trailer for "STARDUST," based on the fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman.
Typically it's more fun to see trailers first in the theatre, but I know a lot of folks don't go to the theaters as often as I (1-3X a month?). I was aware of this film being made, but was unaware of the list of stars involved.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tax fun

I saw this a while ago while preparing our tax return:

Dang, I received no Ottoman Turkish Empire Settlement payments during the last fiscal year. Now, on the other hand, Beverage Container Recycling Income...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Star Wars USB Flash Drives

mimoco, in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd., proudly presents…Star Wars mimobot® Series 1 Designer USB Flash Drives!!!

Each are available in 1, 2, & 4GB capacities and will come preloaded with bonus removable Star Wars mimobot content like trailers, soundbites, avatars, and wallpapers!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Online anonymity lets users gets nasty

the Internet — and the anonymity it affords — has given a public stage to people's basest thoughts, ones that in earlier eras likely never would have traveled past the watercooler, the kitchen table or the next barstool.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Worth a peek

It's long but if you wait till the very end there's a twist. Worth waiting for it.
If you like Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, you'll want to watch this.

Sales can't buy love for some top bands

Chris St. Peter, 26, of New York, witnessed this hatred years ago at a concert in Boston, where Nickelback was opening for another band in front of an indie-rock crowd.
"They threw batteries at them, which is terrible but also really funny," St. Peter said. "Nickelback represented everything I think they hated."
It's only terrible if the batteries are unused.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Morrissey to embark on US jaunt

The 40-date trek will hit theaters all over the US starting with an April 27 gig in Stockton, CA

Superman Returns elevator marketing

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The most ambitious prank in history

During the second quarter of Super Bowl XLI, a team of elite, highly-trained pranksters quietly distributed 2,350 packets to the lower east section of Dolphin Stadium. These "Party Packs" contained a six-inch light-up necklace, along with official-looking instructions. By wearing the necklace lights during the halftime show, Super Bowl fans believed they would be spelling out the word "PRINCE."

But they weren't. They were spelling a secret message that was broadcast to 93.1 million people around the globe.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cryptographer Solves Psychic Challenge

In January, James Randi secured a mystery item in a specially designated locker in his Florida office, and challenged clairvoyants everywhere to use their remote viewing skills to divine its nature and claim a million dollar prize.
Cryptography was a topic of the now-playing Zodiac film and I found it interesting though (wait for it) cryptic.

'Star Wars' droid R2-D2 to collect mail

The post office is wrapping mail collection boxes in some 200 cities nationwide in a special covering to look like R2-D2.
An amusing video is available at

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Producer Ballard finishing Annie Lennox album

Grammy-winning songwriter-producer Glen Ballard is putting the final touches on Annie Lennox's first album in four years, which will be released in the fourth quarter.
Although I would prefer it be produced by Marius de Vries (1992's Diva), I think the best songs on Aerosmith's Nine Lives album were the ones produced by Ballard.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

BART passengers to see mini movies out train windows

SideTrack Technologies, INC and CBS Outdoor have installed a series of high-tech posters resembling a filmstrip mounted on the tunnel's wall. As trains zip by the posters at 35 miles per hour, many passengers will see what appears to be an animated advertisement playing before their eyes.

Iranian official lashes out at Hollywood movie "300" for insulting Persian civilization

Javad Shamqadri, an art advisor to President Mahmoud�Ahmadinejad, accused the new movie of being "part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological war aimed at Iranian culture"

Monday, March 12, 2007

Jim Hill on Disney

Jim Hill's blog is one I've been greatly enjoying for the past few months. He writes about Disney, and often about Walt Disney Feature Animation (WDFA). I haven't posted links to any of his posts to date because every time I think about doing so an even more interesting post comes along. For instance, did you know:

Disney tried to make a 'Beauty and the Beast' movie in 1954

In a 1965 interview with columnist Peter Bart, Disney actually said that he'd "never again" allow WDFA to make an animated film that was based on a well-known children's classic or fairy tale.
There are plans for a live action, martial arts 'Snow White' movie
Walt Disney Pictures is looking to put a martial arts spin on the studio's animated masterpiece, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the studio's 2008 release, Snow and the Seven. This live action feature (Which the studio hopes to shoot on-location in China) is set in the 1880s, when an reluctant English princess suddenly finds herself in need of protection while traveling overseas. And who then comes to her aid? Seven Shaolin monks.
John Lasseter helped 'fix' Meet The Robinsons
So we gave him a lot of notes, some really strong notes. We were very honest with him about the movie, but then I gave it back to him. I said, Steve, make the movie you want to make. Tell your story.
The Frog Princess will feature the first-ever African-American Disney Princess
Randy Newman and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band played "Down in New Orleans" (i.e. one of the many songs that Newman has written for The Frog Princess)
And those are just a few of the interesting gems Jim Hill reveals about Disney's past, present and future.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Lame Show: Episode 13

Noah and I didn't have much to talk when this episode started, but managed to do so for more than 50 minutes. We enjoyed it and hope you will too.

Piracy Unboxed

Amazon has brought its Unbox service to TiVo and Eddie is pretty happy about it (except for 3-5 complaints). Noah's experience in Mexico brings a new perspective to a discussion on piracy. And Apple is taken to task for doing ... well, nothing, basically.

Noah's Pick of the Week is congregate, but misspelled. The Apple Blog is the subject of both Lame List nominations, but for two completely different reasons (one far better than the other).

The truly burning questions are asked: How many terabytes would be needed to store every movie ever made? How much should a good review cost? Do we need another Resident Evil or Mummy movie?
Episode 13.m4a (54:10)

The Lame Show on iTunes

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More WonderCon video

Now that I'm finished posting video clips from the Masquerade, this post will contain clips from other portions of WonderCon.

First up is a short clip of the Namco booth — an unexpected and fun presence on the show floor. I've re-posted this video clip because the previous one was missing its audio.

In this 38-second clip, director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant) talks about how his upcoming Pixar film, Ratatouille, fits in the summer.

Jeph Loeb, who is currently co-executive producer for NBC's Heroes, answers a question about writing for ABC's Lost.

Brad Bird is joined by Ratatouille's voice, comedian Patton Oswalt, who made the Q&A quite funny.

More Brad Bird and Patton Oswalt. The comedian is the funny one.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

WonderCon 2007 Masquerade

I videotaped a few things while at WonderCon 2007 yesterday (mostly Masquerade contestants) and am in the process of uploading them to YouTube (so keep checking back on this post). There were a lot of great entries, but this one truly deserved (and won) First Place.

The runner-up for the Lucasfilm award was this pair of Jedi, one who is very young ... and gets blindfolded!

From the Spider-Man family of characters: Electro and the Black Cat

Sailor Moon dancing to the ever-popular music from Edward Scissorhands

In the fun vein of mixing up characters who don't really belong together: Defending Alice from the Queen of Hearts is ... Young Link and, uh, some anime guy ...

Earlier in the day, I saw someone dressed as Willy Wonka (the Johnny Depp version) enter the women's restroom. That knowledge came in handy during the following Masquerade entry:

Watching that previous clip will help prepare you for this one, where the LEGO Star Wars characters accepted their first place trophy:

Monty Python nerds at a comic convention? Shock! They won Best Recreation for this entry:

But I think the real winner should've been this House of Flying Daggers entry, which had exquisite costumes and choreography:

A funny entry from Raven and Starfire (based on the Cartoon Network Teen Titans series)

World of Warcraft. LOL

This guy made a good Halo costume (Master Chief?) but somebody played the wrong music

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command

Superman Returns to stop Lex Luthor and female accomplice. Funny, but not really on purpose.

While the judges were deciding the winners of the Masquerade, we were subjected to "entertainment" from Mr. Lobo and the crew from Cinema Insomnia. The least awful portion of that interminable time is the following thumbwrestling battle featuring one of the hecklers from the group sitting behind us.

macCompanion March 2007 review

The March 2007 macCompanion is now available and I have one review in this issue:

  • iMain Go
    The iMainGo is a zippered iPod case that has a clear, touch-sensitive window on one side and a pair of high output, stereo speakers on the other. You wouldn't expect to hear great audio from speakers this small, but that's what's so surprising about the iMainGo.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Robots decide: Apple or poison?
The Apple Blog

In their experiments, the robots were set loose in an area containing two types of objects – one classified as “food” and another designated “poison.” The “poison” object was marked with a skull and crossbones, a common designation that has existed since the 19th century. But the “food” object was marked with the logo of Apple Inc.