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Archive for April, 2010


Unlikely Twins, Part III

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

These two guys, both celebrating birthdays today, have the same horoscope:

Jerry Seinfeld,
Well-Liked Comedian
Bernie Madoff,
Notoriously Hated Criminal

Categories: Unlikely Twins | 3 Comments »

Animal’s Secret Identity . . . Revealed!

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

So, good news! The awesome Viral Videos from Muppets Studio have been nominated for two Webby Awards. Animal is very excited:

Interesting thing, though – I don’t think I’d ever heard Animal speak (other than one or two words at a time – between the screaming and the banging on the drums…). Now that I get a listen, though, I’ve come to a startling conclusion.

Animal has the same voice as The Cookie Monster! Watch:

Google as I might, I wasn’t able to find a video that showed both Animal and Cookie Monster on screen at the same time. From this investigation, I can only conclude that Animal is actually Cookie Monster in disguise! This is the biggest news since the whole Kermit the Frog / Ernie debacle…

Categories: Primetime TV | 3 Comments »

Hollywood “Faces Off” with Reality and Wins…again!

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

A hospital in Spain has completed the first ever full face transplant:

The patient now has a completely new face from his hairline down and only one visible scar, which looks like a wrinkle running across his neck, said Dr. Joan Pere Barret, the surgeon who led the team. “If you look him in the face, you see a normal person, like anyone else we have as a patient in the hospital,” Barret told The Associated Press on Friday.

He declined to name the patient or give details of the accident five years ago in which he lost his face, saying only that he was a Spaniard between the ages of 20 and 40 and is recovering well. He cannot yet speak, eat or smile, but can see and swallow saliva.

So here’s my question: now that he has a new face, does he look more like Nicholas Cage or John Travolta?

Categories: Movie Talk, The Future is Now | 1 Comment »

Vice President Out My Window

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Vice-President Joe Biden just left 30 Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan. Since 30 Rock is visible outside my office window, I can provide you a blow-by-blow account of what it takes for this man to actually leave a building:

1:15pm – Three limousines, two black Suburban SUV’s, and a few NYPD police cars come down 50th Street and park in front of the Observation Deck entrance to 30 Rock. All three limousines have American flags on their right fender, and another flag I didn’t recognize (the State of New York flag, perhaps?) on their left fender. The second and third limousines have the Seal of the Vice President on the doors.

1:16pm – The NYPD sets up metal barricades along 50th Street from 6th Avenue down to Rockefeller Plaza (the length of the building).

1:17pm – 1:30pm – People walking along (or across) 50th Street, as well as people coming out of 30 Rock, are slowly but surely corralled behind the metal barricades. A crowd begins to form behind the barricades, all of whom seem to have cameras, most of whom are carrying signs of obvious tourism – NBC Studio Store bags, I Love NY T-Shirts, and the like.

1:30pm – With the street completely clear of cars and people, about half a dozen NYPD motorcycles appear from inside the parking garage in 50 Rock (right across the street from 30 Rock, and the building my office is in).

1:30pm – 1:45pm – The police motorcycles, along with secret service agents and on-foot NYPD officers fan out – standing roughly 10-15 feet apart along the entire length of 50th Street. Their main function seems to be to direct startled tourists who walk out of a building or try to walk across the street, unaware of what’s been going on for the last half hour, to stand behind the barricades and gawk with everyone else. Various men & women in suits mill about in front of 30 Rock, shaking hands with each other and smiling. One gentleman takes out a soft brush and begins dusting the third limousine. After he’s gone all around it, he puts the brush away and takes out a soft cloth, and then wipes the car down again. This is one clean car!

1:45pm – Joe Biden, along with about a dozen other people (including a small child dressed in a jacket and tie, who I assume was his grandson?) emerge from 30 Rock. There is a brief cheer from the crowd, stifled immediately by the concentration they require to take pictures. Biden briefly uses the interior car floor as a step-ladder, lifting himself up a foot or so, and waves in both directions. Secret Service then grab him from both sides, push his head down so as to avoid him banging it on the car roof, and begin putting him in the car.

(Click to slightly enlarge – this was a cellphone camera, after all…)

1:46pm – Vice President Biden stops the secret service, re-emerges from the car, greets a blonde woman standing in front of 30 Rock and poses for a picture with her in front of his limousine (one of the people that came out of the building with him appeared to be an official photographer).

(Click to slightly enlarge – as above…)

1:47pm – Vice President Biden gets back in the car (this time under his own power), and all the cars pull away, heading east down 50th Street.

1:48pm – The police remove the metal barricades, people begin walking down/across the street, and everything looks as though nothing ever happened.

I’d guess it took about fifty people just over a half-hour to prepare for and execute the procedure, “Joe Biden leaves a building.” And we wonder why it takes so long to get things done…

Categories: New York, New York | 2 Comments »

Unlikely Twins, Part II

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Both celebrating birthdays today:

Kate Hudson,
Actress, NY Yankee Ex-girlfriend
Eliot Ness,
Iconic Crime Fighter

Categories: Unlikely Twins | 1 Comment »

The Best of TED: Are we in control of our own decisions?

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Wow…has it really been two weeks since I posted anything here? Sorry about that, folks – and thanks for coming back. I’ll try to not stay away so long again…

Today, I continue with my Best of TED series, in which I share talks from the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference that have struck me over the years as particularly insightful or fascinating.

Today’s entry is by behavioral economist, Dan Ariely. In it, Dr. Ariely offers some frighteningly simple examples of how quickly and frequently we behave irrationally, even when we firmly believe we’re not. Here’s a taste:

Imagine I give you a choice. Do you want to go for a weekend to Rome? All expenses paid, hotel, transportation, food, breakfast, a continental breakfast, everything. Or a weekend in Paris? Now, a weekend in Paris, a weekend in Rome, these are different things. They have different food, different culture, different art.

Now imagine I added a choice to the set that nobody wanted. Imagine I said, “A weekend in Rome, a weekend in Paris, or having your car stolen?” It’s a funny idea. Because why would having your car stolen, in this set, influence anything? But what if the option to have your car stolen was not exactly like this. What if it was a trip to Rome, all expenses paid, transportation, breakfast. But doesn’t include coffee in the morning. If you want coffee you have to pay for it yourself. It’s two euros 50. Now in some ways, given that you can have Rome with coffee, why would you possibly want Rome without coffee? It’s like having your car stolen. It’s an inferior option.

But guess what happened? The moment you add Rome without coffee, Rome with coffee becomes more popular. And people choose it. The fact that you have Rome without coffee makes Rome with coffee look superior. And not just to Rome without coffee, even superior to Paris.

The kicker is this: having read the story, most everyone believes that they, themselves, would overcome the phenomenon. Other people may be silly enough to be swayed toward Rome simply because an inferior option is presented, but you would simply disregard that option and judge Rome vs. Paris on their merits, right? So if everyone, individually, is immune, why is it that as a group, we behave this way?

Watch the rest of the video for more:

Categories: The Best of TED | 1 Comment »