Friday, May 26, 2006

Dot Dot Dot

Last Sunday, Jason Fox tap danced in Morse Code. There may be a few of you who did not bother to translate what he was saying. His message was "Some day I will rule you all."

Click to enlarge.


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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lonely at the top

There are some things I will just never understand.

So somebody sneezes at the dinner table. And this sneeze is so powerful, it actually manages to blow this poor guy's meatball clear off his plate. And it doesn't just fall off the table; this magical meatball somehow rolls right out the door and into the garden.

Now if somebody sneezed on my dinner, I would be finished right then and there. But what does this guy do? He heads outside, crawls under a bush, and then starts eating the dirty, snot-covered mush. And loves it. How gross is that?

One good thing comes out of this; summer rolls around, and now there is a beautiful meatball tree in his lawn. That's pretty cool. After all, who wouldn't enjoy going out to their backyard in the late-afternoon to pick some fresh meatballs for dinner? You would think this guy would want everyone to share in his joy, right? Wrong. Instead, he tells us to make sure we hang on to our meatballs and not to sneeze, thereby preventing us from ever having our own beautiful sauce-covered trees.

None of this makes any sense to me.


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Friday, May 19, 2006

You're Toast

The long-awaited Toast-Off finally happened. I feel... incredulous. We probably had a dozen people in the kitchen watching the toaster CLEARLY blowing the pants off the oven, yet there were STILL people giving Hot Oven Love. We had one protestor show up holding a sign begging "Think of the croutons!" and another wacko holding a "John 3:16" banner.

I suppose I have no one to blame but myself; apparently I did not make it clear why the oven was teh sux0r. This whole thing started because I felt Toast-R-Ovens were too damn slow. So when I first announced to everyone that the Toast Off was going to be a race, all of a sudden people started back-pedaling; "well of course a toaster is faster, but it's the QUALITY of toast that's important!" Good toast in 2 minutes is better than great toast in 10 minutes, if there even is such a thing as great toast. Speed seemed to be the only objective measure of the two appliances, so I said "let's just see what happens."

We placed 2 slices of white Wonder Bread in each machine and started them up. An outside viewer might think it's odd that a dozen professionals would stand around watching bread warm up, but if you weren't there you can't possibly understand the tension and the excitement. After about 2 minutes, the toaster popped up and we immediately took the bread out of the oven. And yes, I do mean bread. The toaster made 2 pieces of dark toast and the oven had just started crisping the bread. Clearly, the toaster won round one.

"But what about making GOLDEN BROWN toast?!" The crowd was demanding more, so I said fine. I set the toaster to "extra tastey" and in about 60-seconds made 2 decent-looking pieces of toast. Cruftlabs also changed his settings and after an excruciating long couple of minutes, produced two golden-brown slices of bread. Well, mostly golden brown if you don't count the burnt crust on top. Cruftlabs tried to wave it away by saying "oh, I just didn't center the bread on the rack. Had I done that, it would have been perfect". Operator error? Round 2 Ease-of-use: toaster.

I tried to get better photos of round 2, but the crowd started eating the evidence.

Cruftlabs had been bragging about how evenly the oven toasted bread, and held up his golden-brown slice as "evidence". I told him to flip the bread around, which he did to reveal 4 thick white stripes running along the back, where the bread sat on the rack. The toaster toast had very faint lines, which I felt was evidence that the toaster browned bread more evenly. Cruftlabs' rebuttal? "Look at how much nicer my stripes are!" Round 3 Uniformity: Toaster.

You would think I'd be happy about all of this, right? Wrong. Throughout the challenge, the ignorant crowd kept yelling out things like "yeah but, like, can you make bagels with a toaster?" That's not the point. The Toast-Off, by definition was scheduled because of this claim by Cruftlabs:

"I demand a toast-off then. I submit that a toaster oven does a better job than a traditional toaster at the task of toasting bread."

They just didn't seem to get it. After all the toasting was done, I held my hand over each appliance one at a time to let the audience decide the victor. It was close, but the oven got more applause. How is that possible?! People didn't seem to understand the point of the Toast-Off. They told me " well you should of told us the rules". I replied "you mean THESE?" and referred them to the typed set of rules hanging on the kitchen door. "Oh, well I didn't see those." Not my problem man.

Several people came up to me privately afterwards and told me "the toaster definitely won." But where was the love when everyone was watching? People lack the courage of their kitchen convictions. I feel that the toaster won, but I lost.


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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Let's Roll

I saw United 93 last night. It's very good. If you're one of those people who think "it's too soon", go talk to Travis; Preach it my brother.

United 93 is probably the most realistic film I've ever seen. Note that I did not say "historically accurate". I wasn't there, so I don't know what really happened. The fact that this is based on actual events is irrelevant; a movie doesn't have to be real to be realistic. There are many powerful films out there (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List...) which get great praise, but they all contain those big Movie Moments; the dramatic close-ups, the long eloquent speeches. People in real life don't talk like that.

There are no Movie Moments in United 93. It's just total chaos, both on the ground and in the plane. When you ask yourself "how would people react on a hijacked plane?" the dialog in United 93 seems very true to me. People stutter and stammer and repeat themselves over and over. They all talk at once. The infamous line "let's roll" is in the film, but it's not what you'd expect. I think we all imagine Todd Beamer standing up in the aisle, gritting his teeth a-la Tom Cruise and snarling with great confidence "Let's Roll" as everyone else goes silent. But when you think about it, that's probably not how it really happened. In United 93, it's an almost flippant comment and is just one of many voices.

Sometimes it's tough to separate the actors from the roles, and I feel a little guilty praising the terrorist actors, but they are very, very good. They have very little dialog, but you can see... or FEEL how nervous they are about what they are about to do. Make no mistake; they are not sympathetic characters at all. But they are REAL in a way that Hollywood's $20 million club could never come close to potraying.

If it's too soon for you to see a 9/11 movie, by all means stay home. But allow others to appreciate what a unique film this really is.

I have one question though: how does product placement for United Airlines work for something like this? (what, too soon?)


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Friday, May 05, 2006

Fair and Balanced

As if we didn't know this already... Fox News is the Al Jazeera of America:

"a new survey... found the BBC, Fox News and Al Jazeera the most trusted brands in their respective home regions."

Yahoo News article


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