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About the Blog

The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?


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I Should Be Sleeping

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Famous Last Words? Apparently not...


Short of classical compositions, we haven't heard anything out of Billy Joel for The Longest Time. One might say he's maintained a Code of Silence. I'm sure he's had his reasons, but Don't Ask Me Why. (OK, OK, enough with the song title puns).

Anyway, today we got a triple whammy:

First, Joel has produced a new pop single called All My Life in honor of his (current) wife, Katie Lee Joel. Not only that, but he's gone all hi-tech on us:


The Phil Ramone-produced track will premiere February 7 on People.com, where it will be available for streaming and as music for a Valentine's Day e-card.

It will then be sold exclusively via Apple's iTunes Music Store from February 20 through March 6, after which it will available at most digital retailers. A commercial CD release of "All My Life" will follow on a date to be announced, according to Joel's label, Columbia.

Second, Joel will be performing the National Anthem at Superbowl XLI in Miami on February 4th. I have a bootleg recording of him singing the anthem at Yankee Stadium before a World Series game. Let's just say I hope he does a better job of it this time around.

And finally, there's a 20-stop tour beginning in February in Jacksonville, FL. Nothing in the NY/NJ area yet, though. Still, I'm Keeping the Faith that Worse Comes to Worst, he'll play Half a Mile Away from 52nd Street Somewhere Along the Line.

AAHHH!!! I can't stop! HELP!!!

posted by Brian at 5:27 PM | 2 comments

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Strangest Star Wars Video Ever...


Star Wars, acted out entirely with HANDS:


 

posted by Brian at 12:11 AM | 0 comments

Friday, January 26, 2007

Another Cliche Bites the Dust


Another classic quote from work today:


There is no "i" in "team." But there is a "me."

Wow...all these years, and I never noticed the "me?" Damn...

posted by Brian at 12:37 PM | 2 comments

Blogito, Ergo Sum (I Blog, Therefore I Am)


Wil Wheaton: T-Shirt designer.

I gotta admit, this one strikes close to home. Not close enough to buy the shirt or anything, but still, close to home...

posted by Brian at 12:35 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Keep your CD's away from my iPod


I don't understand this product:


The Sharper Image Dual CD Stereo with Universal Dock for iPod

The handsome wall-mountable Dual CD Stereo features a motorized door that automatically folds down at the touch of a button. Besides CDs, it also plays and charges all dockable iPod models.

Come on! If you have a CD and an iPod in the same machine, that machine ought to be ripping the songs off the CD and synching them to the iPod, so that you'll never need the CD again. This kind of setup just encourages indecisiveness...

posted by Brian at 2:24 PM | 1 comments

DST2K7 Just Doesn't Have the Same Ring To It...


Back in August of 2005, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which sent us off to fight in an unfair war based on dubious evidence. Oh, wait - wrong policy. What the EPA actually did was extend Daylight Savings Time by four weeks, beginning in 2007.

So, this year, for the first time, our clocks will "Spring Ahead" on the second Sunday in March (March 11th), as opposed to the first Sunday in April (April 1st) as has been the case since 1966. Similarly, we will "Fall Back" on the first Sunday in November (November 4th), rather than the old standby - the last Sunday in October (October 28th). If you're curious (as I'm sure that you're not), this site tells you everything you'd ever want to know about Daylight Savings Time, including a discussion about spelling and grammar. See, it's actually Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time, but (and I swear this is a direct quote):


Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an 's') flows more mellifluously off the tongue. Daylight Savings Time is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries.

Just about the only thing that site doesn't talk about is the effect this has on the world's computer systems. The whole "first Sunday in April through last Sunday in October" rule is baked into most computers, so a small change needs to be made to each one, and then all the programs that run on them need to be tested to make sure this "small change" doesn't break anything. Kind of like a mass recall for every computer ever made.

Astute observers (read: geeks) will note that this is similar to the infamous Y2K thing, in that any problems that aren't caught are going to come to light on March 11, 2007 - no extensions, no exceptions. Luckily, though, the implications of the world's computers being one hour off are relatively minor, whereas having them be 1,000 years off requires the building of underground bunkers, the purchasing of copious amounts of duct tape, and a deep introspection about our society's dependency on technology. But, I digress...

I bring all of this up because my boss at work is holding a two-day offsite meeting this week, and wants to talk about our plans for Daylight Savings Time testing at the end of the meeting. All of which led to this rather ammusing e-mail in my inbox:


John had requested that we add Daylight Savings Time to our agenda which means that our meeting's end time on Friday will be extended one hour, from 12:00pm to 1:00pm. Please adjust your schedule accordingly. Thanks.

OK, that was a long way to go for a bit of irony, but it gave me a chuckle...

UPDATE: The meeting ended at 11:00AM. Don't you hate it when you mess up the time change like that? SO embarrassing... ;-)

posted by Brian at 2:19 PM | 0 comments

Friday, January 19, 2007

Talking about Global Warming until Los Angeles Freezes Over


Here's Robert F. Kennedy Jr. discussing global warming on The Huffington Post:


Last week I saw robins and bluebirds in upstate New York where they don't usually arrive before April. Crocuses and daffodils were in bloom everywhere. A friend ate asparagus he harvested in the normally frozen Catskills in the first week of January. Turtles in downstate New York, like bears in Scandinavia, forgot to hibernate for the first time in human history.

For those last stubborn holdouts still skeptical about the existence of global warming--e.g., CNN's chief corporate fascism advocate Glenn Beck, who broadcast another of his denial tirades last week--and to those who exalt the warmer weather as preferable to a snowy winter, consider the impacts on our fellow creatures. Last April an early spring in Wyoming's Teton Range caused horseflies to arrive early. The young Redtail hawks, who were still unfeathered, were devoured in their nests by the voracious bloodsuckers. Not a single baby Redtail survived to fledge in the Jackson Hole valley.

The recent disruptions to animal and plant behavior are evident to anyone except for ideologically blinded right-wing flat-earthers and Exxon/Mobil's political and media toadies like Michael Crichton, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

This was published on January 16, 2007. Ten days earlier, the temperature in the New York area reached 70 degrees (average temperatures for this time of year are in the low 40's). Everybody was talking about the incredibly warm weather. Many people, like RFK Jr., took the opportunity to link it to global warming.

I blogged about it here:


A single warm winter in a single city proves absolutely nothing about global warming. And to suggest it does is to go down the slippery slope of having to explain why a particularly cold winter in a different year or different city . . . isn't equal evidence to suggest that the problem has magically disappeared.

Events of the last few days illustrate my point brilliantly. Two days before RFK Jr.'s rant was published, the temperature in Los Angeles dropped to 20 degrees. Soon after that, LAX reported its first snowfall since 1962. Here's today's weather map from USA Today (just 3 days after RFK's rant):


Note that except for Southern Florida, the entire nation is near or below freezing, including single digits in typically-temperate places like Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.

The awful thing about this is that RFK Jr. is right about global warming and its potential to affect our society and our way of life. But because he went off on such a hate-filled diatribe based on evidence that has nothing whatsoever to do with global warming, he opens the door for his opponents to call him an idiot, and further cloud the issue.

Apparently, in today's politics, it's not enough to be right about something. You have to seek out and take advantage of any perceived opportunity to bash your opponents into the ground, even if it means bending a few facts to make your point. Some folks will never learn...

posted by Brian at 2:52 AM | 4 comments

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The World Champion of All Sports?


Every once in a while, I read something on the web that reminds me to check Google's Zeitgeist page. Particularly in January, when they produce their End of Year Zeitgeist, the data provides a real, grassroots view of popular culture around the world. Since Google has become so ubiquitous, the number of Google searches for a given item has become a strong barometer of how much people are talking about a given person or event - a kind of a "water-cooler index," if you will.

Take, for example, the graph above. The (baseball) World Series is relatively popular in the United States in the fall. The (American football) Superbowl is more popular than the World Series, and more globally watched, for a short period of time in the winter. Hence, the green line has a higher peak than the red line. In an Olympic year, the Olympics generate more buzz than the Superbowl and the World Series put together, given their natural relevance to multiple countries around the world, which explains the still higher peak of the yellow line.

Then there's the (soccer) World Cup. I've always heard that it was the most popular sporting event in the world, but HOLY RIOTING CROWDS, BATMAN!, look at the size of that blue line! That's four times the interest of the Olympics, six times the interest of the Superbowl, and almost twenty times the interest of the World Series!

Ya learn something new every day...

posted by Brian at 2:29 PM | 2 comments

Even More Good News for Stem Cell Research


From Dr. Wes via Instapundit: Stem Cells Create Beating Heart Muscle:


The researchers, whose study appears in the on-line edition of the prestigious journal Circulation Research, created the heart tissue in their lab by sorting human embryonic stem cells that turned into heart muscle cells and growing them together with endothelial cells and embryonic fibroplasts. The culture was carried out in three dimensions on a scaffold made of self-destructing sponge material that the researchers also created in their lab. In the future, they will look into the possibility of implanting the engineered cardiac tissue, with the blood vessels improving the implantation of the new tissue and its connection to the blood system.

The technique is aimed eventually at helping patients who have cardiac insufficiency due to heart attacks.

They say it's too early to tell how this might be incorporated into an actual human heart, but still - amazing stuff.

Also note that all of this progress comes without significant government funding. Assuming the new Congress gets its way, it'll be interesting to see if increased government funding makes the progress speed up or slow down...

posted by Brian at 1:56 PM | 3 comments

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Did Dell Invent AppleTV before Apple?


I just got one of those Dell catalog e-mails, and discovered the
DSM-510 High-Definition Wireless Media Player with Intel Viiv Technology among the ads:


[The DSM-510] streams music, photos, and high-definition (HD) videos to your home entertainment system from your Intel Viiv technology based PC using Ethernet or USB connectivity. It supports high-definition video in Windows Media® Video9 (WMV9), MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and DVR-MS formats able to connect to HDTV with HDMI connection and standard TVs with Composite Video connection.

This sounds suspiciously like what AppleTV does, no? And the price ($181.80) is very similar as well.

Does anyone know if Apple was trumpeting something that has been around for a while now, or if there are real differences between these devices?

posted by Brian at 4:50 PM | 1 comments

Sunday, January 14, 2007

ISBS Review: Google Analytics


To quote the late, great Peter Boyle, "Holy Crap!" But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In a word, "Wow." In another word, "Awesome." And then there's "Cool" and "Slick" and, well, you get the idea. Google Analytics is a service provided by Google to track statistics about your website. It's easy to use and the results are user-friendly, visually pleasing, and extremely informative.

While I still don't have full access to my server logs, I do have a level of data analysis that approximates what some of the server-side aggregation tools provide. And, as is Google's style, it's very easy to use, easy to setup, and oh yes, lest I forget: free.

Read the full review (including screen shots) over in the Ramblings section.

posted by Brian at 10:47 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, January 13, 2007

CNET Doubts the iPhone Hype


CNET presents Thirteen reasons to doubt the iPhone hype.

They're even more harsh than I was, and they completely left out the question of scratching up the surface! Do I hear 14?!?

posted by Brian at 2:30 AM | 0 comments

Friday, January 12, 2007

ISBS Review - MacWorld 2007 Keynote Address


No, I wasn't there. But I did read engadget's liveblog, and have some thoughts on what Steve Jobs had to say:

1) Microsoft Bashing
Saith Jobs:


Our retail stores are selling half their Macs to people who've never owned a Mac before. Switchers. More than half the Macs sold in the US are to switchers.

OK, I know he's speaking to a very biased audience, but I'm surprised no one in the press called him out on this. He's suggesting that people who've never owned a Mac before are "switchers" (people switching from a Mac to a PC). But what about people who have never owned a computer before? Like, for instance, high school or college students buying their first machine. I don't have stats readily available, but I'm guessing Mac's market share among this crowd is 3-5 times its overall market share. Which makes his claim about switchers not only wrong, but very wrong.

On a related note, we have this:


We had a new competitor this holiday season, Microsoft's Zune. How'd they do? They garnered 2% market share in November 2006... We don't have data for December. No matter how you try and spin this, what can you say?

This was apparently followed by a video of a Zune bursting into flames. Here's my question: what do you think Microsoft's target penetration was for Year 1 of Zune? I'd be surprised if it was much more than 2%, given the iPod's 60-80% dominance in the space. Heck, later in his talk, Jobs boldly predicted that the iPhone would take 1% of the cellphone market in Year 1, and that market doesn't have a dominant leader like iPod. I guarantee someone at Microsoft has already created the internet commercial showing an iPhone bursting into flames after obtaining 1% of the market...

2) Apple TV
Like all Apple products, the physical device looks super cool. I'm also a huge fan of the onscreen menu, designed to look just like the iPod's. It might not have been the best interface for television in a greenfield, but since it's so ubiquitous now, it's instantly understandable by millions (particularly their target audience). So nice job there.

I think they're going to sell eleventeen billion of these suckers right out of the gate. But I think they're going to be surprised about how people use them. To wit: you can download content directly off the internet, you can synch content with your computer, and you can stream (but not synch) content from 4 other computers. So, question: why, except in rare cases, would you store videos locally on your AppleTV, as opposed to storing them somewhere on the internet? Or, if privacy's your thing, why not just store it on your computer & then stream it to the AppleTV when you need it? Basically, I'm predicting that the 40GB of storage is a bit of a waste. Also, the stream-but-don't-synch rule is the most half-hearted attempt at DRM I've ever seen. Most folks that buy this device will have wireless internet connections, right? So if I want to watch a video on my friend's AppleTV, I can stream it. But if I want to give him the video, I simply have to upload it to a web server, and then have him pull it down off the web with the AppleTV and store it locally. No extra hardware or software needed, and only a little bit of tech expertise.

3) The iPhone (soon to be called the ApplePhone)
Again, this device looks extremely cool. Thin, high-resolution, fully-featured, and with that "just works" quality that Apple is famous for. They'll sell five times as many of these as they do AppleTV's. But I'll never buy one.

Why not? Because they didn't solve my deal-breaker problem: I don't want to listen to music for a few hours, get where I'm going, and find out my phone is out of batteries because of all the music I've been listening to. Also, as a Blackberry user, I've learned very quickly that different applications use the battery at different speeds. With the Blackberry, I'd probably get five hours of talk time if that's all I did. But if I'm surfing the web, I can drain the thing in around two hours. When the battery gets low, I have to curtail my web usage so I still have a phone in case I need one. It's the worst of all combo-unit problems, and someone needs to solve it soon.

Ironically, Jeff Porten predicted what sounds like a perfect solution - two batteries. One for the phone, one for everything else. So one of two things is happening here: either Steve Jobs isn't reading The Vast Jeff Wing Conspiracy (and really, who's doesn't?), or someone decided it was more important for the device to be paper thin than to have two batteries.

Second point: I'm very, very curious to see what kind of coating the surface of this thing has. They're telling people to touch it all day long, drag their fingers around on it (including all manner of poorly manicured fingernails, dirt, sweat, etc.) AND they're telling them to put it up to their faces, complete with scratchy 5 o'clock shadow beards, more dirt, more sweat, etc. And this is the next generation of a device I wouldn't even breathe on unless it was inside it's clear plastic, protective case! Hopefully, at least one of their 200 patents was for scratch-proof surfaces...

Other things: Cingular as the sole provider. Jeff outlined some problems with this, although as I said in his comments, it doesn't surprise me, since this is how most cellular devices work these days. When iPhone is a huge success, I'm sure you'll eventually see a T-mobile compatible version. Then, we'll first start discussing "exclusive" content & features. That'll be fun.

Oh, and the pricing: $499 isn't so much, given what it does. But this logic about buying a $199 Nano and a $299 phone, combined into one device at "no premium" is pure spin. This thing costs them less to make than two separate devices. They're charging that much because they think people will pay. Plain & simple...

So, to summarize: Great product. Lots of potential pitfalls. Version 2 (or 3, or 4) will probably feature more memory, longer battery life, improved scratch-resistance, etc. and is probably the right move for the money-conscious customer. That said, lots of folks are going to "have to have it" right now, so look for killer success once again...

4) Corporate Strategy
To me, this was the most interesting thing in the keynote address:


So, today we've added to the Mac and the iPod, we've added Apple TV, and now iPhone. And you know, the Mac is the only one you really think of as a computer, and we've thought about this and we thought, you know, maybe our name should reflect this better than it does. From this day forward we're going to be known as Apple, Inc. We've dropped the computer from our name.

I think this is HUGE news. Why? Because it signifies two things:

First, that Apple is finally entering the fray as a world-class technology company. It's computers have always been niche products, hovering below the 10% market share threshold, even though their technology is typically superior to the competition. It's iPods, though, are category leaders, and they target the entire market: Mac & PC. The new products they introduced this year, AppleTV and iPhone, both target the iPod community much more than the Mac community (as a Windows user, I can use all the features & functionality of both devices). That means they're attacking the mass market, and that means the future is very, very bright indeed for Apple. In fact, I can now see the day where Apple gets out of the desktop/laptop business altogether (likely by splitting it off into a separate company & selling it to Dell or HP). Apple can continue to produce OS X and license it to the hardware guys (like Microsoft did with MS-DOS), and then focus on the mass-market, high revenue markets of music players, streaming TV devices and phones. Very, very cool.

Second, it means that Steve Jobs has found a very clever way out of the box the Mac Zealots had put him in. They winced at Intel chips, and mocked Windows on a Mac. But no one complained about the Windows version of iTunes, and no one is even mentioning the non-exclusivity of the iPod, the AppleTV, or the iPhone. Jeff and I have debated many times the reputational disaster that would occur if Apple tried to leave it's niche behind and go mass-market with its computers. We've talked about rebranding new products, sheltering the coveted Apple name, playing up to the zealots while pitching to the Windows crowd (like Disney did with Touchstone, etc.). Jobs has done a truly masterful job of achieving the same thing without changing brands. His new products have been so "Mac-like" in appearance and so undeniably successful, that the mass-market availability of them flew under the zealot radar and is now gone forever.

A couple years back, Apple sold more iPods than Macs for the first time. I'm sure that margin has grown since. And these new devices will expand it even further. In 3-5 years, when people talk about Apple's product line, the Mac will hardly be worth mentioning. And despite the zealot cry, that's a very good thing...

posted by Brian at 12:47 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More good news for stem cell research


I've posted before about amazing advances in stem cell research, but now there's this from CNN:


Scientists reported Sunday they had found a plentiful source of stem cells in the fluid that cushions babies in the womb. The announcement may make it easier to sidestep the controversy over destroying embryos for research.

Researchers at Wake Forest University and Harvard University reported the stem cells they drew from amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women hold much the same promise as embryonic stem cells. They reported they were able to extract the stem cells without harm to mother or fetus and turn their discovery into several different tissue cell types, including brain, liver and bone.

One of the more promising aspects of the research is that some of the DNA of the amnio stem cells contained Y chromosomes, which means the cells came from the babies rather than the pregnant moms.

The doctors go on to say that actual embryonic stem cells may "do more tricks" (I swear those are the words they used) than these stem cells, but that these are a giant leap forward, and represent a way around the ethical concerns that currently occupy at least our federal government, if not some percentage of the citizens as well.

As before, I'm amazed that this isn't bigger news...

posted by Brian at 12:21 AM | 0 comments

What a Weird Day...


For anyone who didn't follow the news today, a few updates:

First, New York City was not the target of a massive chemical weapons-based terrorist attack:


A natural gas-like odor hung over much of Manhattan and parts of New Jersey, confounding authorities. The smell seemed to be gone by early afternoon. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there was no indication the air was unsafe. "It may just be an unpleasant smell," he said. He said sensors did not show an unusually high concentration of natural gas, and the city's major utility company reported it found no gas leaks.

Some commuter trains running between New Jersey and Manhattan were suspended for about an hour as a precaution. A few city schools were briefly evacuated. Some apartment dwellers were advised to close their windows.

(Unreported in that article were the evacuations of both the Empire State Building and Macy's flagship department store.)

Also in the news today, the Port of Miami was not attacked by terrorists who put C4 explosive in one of the packages bound for a cruise ship:


A package that was going to be loaded onto a cruise ship at the Port of Miami tested positive for plastic explosives Monday, the Coast Guard said. The package was tested six times and each time it came back positive for C4, said Petty Officer James Judge. Miami-Dade police were examining the package to confirm whether explosives were present.

And finally, Austin, Texas was not the site of a massive avian flu epidemic:


Police shut down 10 blocks in downtown Austin for several hours Monday after 63 birds were found dead in the street, but officials said preliminary tests found no threat to people. Workers in yellow hazardous-materials suits tested for contaminants in a cordoned-off section near the state Capitol and the governor's mansion before authorities finally gave the all-clear in the afternoon.

So, just to recap: no chemical weapons in New York, no C4 explosives in Miami, and no avian flu in Austin. Is it just me, or is it astounding just how much didn't happen all in one day?

posted by Brian at 12:08 AM | 0 comments

Monday, January 08, 2007

Go Wil, Go!


I've been slowly catching up on blogs this past week, since I was away on vacation at the end of December (how dare the blogosphere not stop updating while I'm away? Now I have all this stuff to read...). Anyway, Wil Wheaton's blog is always entertaining, but over the last couple of weeks, he's pointed out some pretty cool stuff:

First, we have Gregory Wester, who scaled a security fence at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at 3:30AM one night, and calmly boarded a Delta 737 jet, which was scheduled to take off at 6:35AM. Authorities arrested him on various charges, and after thinking about it for a while, cancelled the flight & booked all the passengers on other planes. Here's the money quote:


"It blows my mind that you can't get 3.5 ounces of toothpaste on a plane," [said Steve Shaw, 27, a passenger on the plane], "yet somebody can sneak on a plane and take a nap."

Next, we have the Magic Eye website. This kind of thing was hot for a while when I was a kid, and I remember getting quite good at it, although I wasn't able to see any of the 3-D images on the computer screen. That could be that I'm so out of practice (it must be 25 years since I last tried), or something to do with looking at the image on a screen and not on paper. Probably the former.

On a somewhat related note, Wil linked to a site called The Image Mosaic, which will let you update dozens of your personal photos, and then use them to re-create another photo. I might try this with various pictures of my kids one day, but the site claims it's down until February. Check it out, though, the samples give you a good idea of what it (claims it) can do.

And then finally, we have Wil's review of the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I'm not sure if I blogged about this before or not, but rather than shunning his iconic early role as Wesley Crusher on ST:TNG, Wil has taken a paying gig at tvsquad.com to occasionally review one of the episodes. They make great reading because a) he's often brutally honest about what he did and didn't like about the episode, and b) he reviews it both from the perspective of a Star Trek fan, and also as an actor who was there during shooting. So you get to hear both sides of the story, so to speak. Tvsquad.com has a categorization feature that will let you look at all the ST:TNG reviews if you're so inclined. I recommend you do...

Anyway, that's the list of cool stuff I found on Wil's blog lately. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogosphere...

posted by Brian at 1:03 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New York's Subway Superman


This is one of the coolest stories ever.

Basically, a 20-year-old film student, Cameron Hollopeter, had a seizure on a New York Subway platform and wound up falling off the platform and on to the tracks. Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old father of two, who's daughters were with him at the time, saw the train coming, and jumped onto the tracks after him, pinning him in the 21-inch space below the train. The conductor saw them, made an emergency stop, and turned off the power. By then, Mr. Autrey and Mr. Hollopeter were underneath the second car of the train. The train was so close to Mr. Autrey, that the ski cap he was wearing had a grease stain on it from the bottom of the train.

Mr. Autrey is being treated like the hero that he is. He's been interviewed by all the major news programs, the mayor of New York called to thank him, Donald Trump gave him a check for $10,000, the film school that Mr. Hollopeter attends gave him $5,000, as well as $5,000 scholarships for each of his daugthers, and he's received interview requests from David Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres and Charlie Rose. I'm sure there's more where that came from, too.

Well done, Mr. Autrey. Well done, indeed!

posted by Brian at 12:45 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Holiday Gift Guide Worth Reading


'Tis the season for the unending streams of lists - The Top 10 Outrageous Moments of 2006, The 40 Most Offensive Celebrity Arrests of 2006 (categorized by offended ethnic/religious group), and of course the always reliable List of Dumb Holiday Gifts You Can Buy on the Internet. If you're like me, you dread the arrival of these lists, but find yourself compelled to look. Much like passing a traffic accident on the road, or receiving a hyperlink to a picture of Britney Spears getting out of her car at a nightclub.

So trust me when I tell you that I feel your pain. Really, I do. And I completely understand your skepticism when I tell you that this list, created by Matthew Baldwin of the Dallas Morning News and the very entertaining Defective Yeti blog, is different. Not different in an "every single one of these damn things says their different" kind of way. No. This one is more of the "made me seriously consider clicking through to some of the products even though I read this at work and would probably earn myself a visit from the corporate internet police for doing so" variety.

Let's face it. At this point, you're going to click on the link, if for no reason other than the insane curiousity you'll feel if you pass it by. So providing a couple of examples isn't really necessary per se; it's more of a credibility thing. I wouldn't want you to think I intentionally steered you wrong. After all, how can one resist a list that contains The Beer Belly (pictured above-left):


The beer belly [is] a polyurethane "bladder" that straps to your stomach, allowing you to sneak up to 80 ounces of hooch into your favorite sporting event. . . . The company has a companion product for women that fits into a bra and has been christened "The Wine Rack."

Still not convinced? Perhaps you'll enjoy the USB Humping Dog (pictured below-right):


Plug the adorable plastic puppy into the side of your laptop and he'll enthusiastically thrust away, thereby reducing your already ADD-addled attention span to mere picoseconds. And it's a dog! That's humping! What could possibly be funnier?

If you like those, you're sure to enjoy the Barbie Doll with Pooping Dog and the Breath Capture Test Tube. Go ahead, give it a look!
 

posted by Brian at 1:51 PM | 0 comments