Monthly Archives: February 2009

Full House Screws Up Walt Disney World

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One thing that I get annoyed with is when TV shows take liberties with established facts about existing places.  For example, MTV’s Road Rules screwed up in their first season by showing the Winnebago driving north on a highway. The problem was that each subsequent highway shot was from a section of road that was further south than the previous one.  All the editors had to do was place those highway shots in their correct order.  They were going to show those shots anyway, so at least be smart about it.  It was like insisting that the first five letters of the alphabet are “A-B-E-D-C”.  Continue reading FULL HOUSE SCREWS UP WALT DISNEY WORLD

Text Messaging is Good For Your Brain

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New Scientist magazine reported this week that TEXT MESSAGING IS GOOD FOR YOUR KIDS.

It all has to do with how our brains work, in that using text abbreviations helps brains think about what the abbreviations really mean, thus providing a smart workout.  The initial thought was that using abbreviations and bad spelling, as frequently seen in SMS messaging, would hinder both reading and spelling abilities. A study of British pre-teen children showed that text-happy kids were better readers than those that were not frequent texters.

A follow-up study showed that it wasn’t just reading that improved, but that literacy also increased.

The results of this study are similar to what we’ve seen about speed reading,  in that a paragraph doesn’t need to be grammatically accurate – or that the words even be spelled correctly, in order to be understood.  Here’s an example from that study, that you should be able to read just fine:

In a puiltacibon of New Scnieitst you could ramdinose all the letetrs, keipeng the first two and last two the same, and reibadailty would hadrly be aftcfeed. My ansaylis did not come to much beucase the thoery at the time was for shape and senqeuce retigcionon. Saberi’s work sugsegts we may have some pofrweul palrlael prsooscers at work.The resaon for this is suerly that idnetiyfing coentnt by paarllel prseocsing speeds up regnicoiton. We only need the first and last two letetrs to spot chganes in meniang.

How to Easily Interpret Text Messages

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Do you have friends who text-message you a lot, each time with more and more obscure abbreviations and short codes that are beginning to annoy you because you don’t know what they mean?

I know, it would be easier for your friend to just call you or send you a normal email instead of trying to thumb their way through a cell-phone keypad to tell you where to meet them for dinner.

Luckily, you can pop over to TRANSL8IT, type in the message you received, and have the site convert the undecipherable message for you into ordinary English.  Plus, if you have text-addicted friends and you want to look like you have a clue about how to text yourself, you can type in your plain-English message and have the site convert it into text-speak.

Improving Disney Shopping

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Just read the latest post on Progress City USA, TEN WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR #8: OVERHAUL PARK MERCHANDISE.  I completely agree with the points raised about the depressing increase in  homogenization of merchandise available throughout the Disney parks.  

I too, remember a time when the Orange Bird was found at the Tiki Room, and where land-specific merchandise was available.  A time when Main Street, USA’s Emporium shop didn’t run the full length of the street (when Center Street was an actual street separating the two show buildings instead of what we have today).

I want to buy a “Walt Disney World” sweatshirt, not a “Disney Parks” sweatshirt.

I have found myself visiting both Disneyland and Walt Disney World on numerous shopping missions over the years, only to walk away empty-handed and with a full wallet.  There is no doubt that there are plenty of things to buy at the Disney parks, especially if you are a once-in-a-lifetime visitor — but there is often nothing new of interest to the Disney Fan to buy beyond pins.   (Pin collecting and trading is a wonderful hobby, but it does not appeal to everybody.)     And really, how many Duck Butt hats does one family need? Continue reading IMPROVING DISNEY SHOPPING


By web gangsta | Published:

Here is a new use for your old record albums:  SLEEVEFACE.

All you have to do is take a picture of yourself holding a record album cover up to your head (or other, appropriate part of the body… although, since this site is called SleeveFACE, you would think that a focus on the face would be the way to go).

The goal in the photo is to mimic the body gesture, photo angle, and any significant clothing in the album cover to make the image on the album sleeve appear seamless with the person holding the album cover up.

This is just another example of a great idea for a website being made into a book topic.  Who said that the Internet was going to make books obsolete?

iPhone: Ocarina

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I love how creative people can get when given access to the iPhone developer application.

Here’s a video of someone using the iPHONE OCARINA APPLICATION. An ocarina is a small flute-like instrument, sort of a cross between a fancy kazoo and one of those recorders you played in kindergarten. 

So some dude figured out a way to turn the iPhone into an ocarina. The touchscreen is a reasonable fascimile of the finger holes on the ocarina itself, but you make music by blowing into the iPhone’s microphone.  Brilliant!

Giving up Facebook for Lent

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that many ADULTS ARE PLANNING ON GIVING UP FACEBOOK FOR LENT.

It seems to be a growing trend, with such Facebook groups as

  • Giving up Facebook for Lent
  • Can you give up Facebook for Lent…?
  • No Facebook for 40 days
  • Mike Gave Up Facebook for Lent, so Write on his Wall
  • James, be a bad catholic and come back to Facebook
  • I tried to give up Facebook for Lent… and failed
  • No, I didn’t give up facebook for lent

While giving up Facebook for Lent was an act mostly practiced by college students last year, as Facebook usage by older adults has increased over the past year, it is not a surprise that more adults have taken this pledge.

The justification is that Lent is to abstain from something that would be difficult to do.  One quote in the article said “it’s easy to give up clams, because I hate clams”. Facebook users have a bit more of an addiction to posting their daily exploits.

Because of the addictive nature of Facebook and other social networking sites, most users who are giving up Facebook for Lent are concerned that they won’t be able to make it through the 40 days.  So they’re already justifying in their minds what to do in case they slip up and fall back into their old habits.  As one interviewee stated: “It’s not like when I took a solemn vow to my wife,” he says. “It’s just Facebook, for goodness sakes. I’m not wearing a ring.”

Michael Jackson Auctions Off His Stuff

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April 22, 2009 can’t come soon enough for many people – that’s when MICHAEL JACKSON WILL BE AUCTIONING OFF HIS STUFF.

Sure, it will cost you $20 just to attend the freakshow, but you know that will be money well spent just for the opportunity to browse through the King of Pop’s underwear drawer. 

Bad example, perhaps.  Think of that more figuratively than literally, please.

The auction will be broken up into 5 different categories, each taking place on different days:

  • Garden Statues and Outdoor Furniture
  • Furniture and Decorative Arts
  • Antiques, Paintings, and Fine Decorative Art
  • Amusements, Arcade Games, and Disneyana
  • Memorabilia from the Life and Career of Michael Jackson

Individually numbered and signed copies of the catalog will be available for $500. 


Gambling on Entertainment

By web gangsta | Published:

With the Academy Awards this weekend, Dancing with the Stars gearing up in a few weeks, American Idol still whittling away singers, the NCAA Basketball Tournament coming up in March, now is a good time to take a look at who the oddsmakers are saying is going to win.

The bookies at BETUS have the following for Dancing:

And while some of these singers may be gone in a few weeks before the competition even gets rolling, they currently show American Idol favorites to be:

  • Danny Gokey – 350:1
  • Adam Lambert – 450:1
  • Matt Giraud  – 450:1
  • Anoop Desai  – 1000:1

Weird Body Quiz

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The New York Times, for all its supposed stuffiness, sometimes has some odd offerings on its website.

Today’s entry:  THE WEIRD BODY QUIZ, a 10-question test to see how well you know odd bits of human biology trivia.   Like, the best way for you to tell if your own breath stinks.

A Business Analyst Reviews Pixar’s “UP”

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Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield has taken it upon himself to turn movie reviewer, and according to a blogger at Barron’s Online, has offered THIS REVIEW OF PIXAR’S UPCOMING FILM “UP”.  The film was partially screened for movie critics at ComicCon in New York. 

Here are some of his thoughts:

  • Although he only saw the first half of the movie in an unfinished state he came away “concerned” that the movie won’t be able match last summer’s WALL-E performance.  WALL-E  generated $224 million in domestic box office receipts, and $534 million worldwide.
  • The early stages of the film were “somewhat slow”.
  • He doubts younger boys will be that excited about Carl (the older protaganist), though they should like Russell (his young sidekick).
  • There is no female lead character, “which may be an issue in terms of the movie’s appeal to young girls.
  • “We did not come away from Up with the sense that consumers would view it as a “must-own” DVD.” 
  • Finally, he thinks it may be challenging to monetize the characters in the form of consumer products.


TheChive – a Photo Blog

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By now, we’ve all taken the time to troll through Flickr or PhotoBucket to see what types of photos people have uploaded to their accounts.  These sites have turned online voyeurism into more of a hobby than it has been already.

But going through those sites can be a little too much work.  Don’t you wish there was a place that went through all those photo sites for you, found all the interesting photos, and lumped them all into various categories – all to save you the time of doing it yourself?  Well, then you need to check out TheCHIVE, A PHOTO BLOG.

Started by John and Leo Resig,  TheChive is to photos what The Onion is to news – taking what’s already out there, twisting it around, and making it funny. 

Have you seen some of these photos they feature before?  Sure you have.  Are a lot of ’em badly Photoshopped?  Definitely.   Will they make you laugh?  That’s the goal.

Some of the galleries that they have compiled include:

Pixar’s WALL-E Snubbed at the Oscars

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You would expect The Los Angeles Times to have a blog dedicated to The Oscars (it is Oscar season, you know).  Their latest entry is entitled CAN WALL-E MAKE OSCAR HISTORY?

You know how WALL-E would make Oscar history?  If WALL-E had won the award for Best Picture or Best Director (had they been nominated, of course).  Sure, Andrew Stanton and the rest of Disney/Pixar are going to put their best face forward and graciously accept the nominations they did receive (Best Animated Feature, Best Music Score, Best Song, Best Original Screenplay, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)… but deep down, you know that this is one case where the Academy needs to stop considering animated films as a red-headed stepchild to be regularly ignored or swept away. Continue reading PIXAR’S WALL-E SNUBBED AT THE OSCARS

Doctors Use Natural Orafices For Surgery

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CNN is reporting on a new trend in experimental surgery: DOCTORS USING NATURAL ORAFICES FOR SURGERY.   A few weeks ago, for example, a woman made the news by being able to donate a kidney by having it removed through her vagina.  

It certainly makes reasonable sense to do surgery this way if it’s possible.  There is less recovery time, no external scarring, and less risk of infection – a combination that should help reduce overall healthcare costs associated with some surgeries.  But for now, this is still considered an experimental process.

According to the article, this new technique to access areas via the mouth or the vagina is most often used to perform bariatric surgery, but has also been used to remove gallbladders, kidneys, and appendices…as well as doing other internal surgery to the stomach and related areas.  

CNN makes sure that we have all our questions answered, even when the answer seems obvious.   They make it a point to quote a doctor saying, “Women have an advantage because the vagina provides a direct access into the body,” just in case we need that pointed out to us. 

The article continues:

“For men, there have been ideas about using the penis as a natural orifice, but that’s been dismissed because the point of entry is too small. 

“If you’re male, you’re going to have to go through the rectum,” said Dr. Sayeed Ikramuddin, director of gastrointestinal surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. That procedure hasn’t been done on humans because, it’s “dangerous because there’s a lot of bacteria that could be spilled. If you leak, it’s a disaster.”

Let’s reiterate: someone actually considered, however briefly, trying to pull an appendix or a gallbladder through a penis. You know, because we can do it through a vagina, so it must work the same way.

I wonder who decided doing surgery via the penis was a bad idea – the doctor who considered it, or the potential first patient saying “You want to do what…where?  HELL, no.” when told of the opportunity.

Running a Mistress Contest

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CNN is reporting on a CHINESE MISTRESS CONTEST that resulted in one of the losing contestants dying while trying to kill the other mistresses, along with the man who came up with this brilliant idea.

The contest was held by a married businessman who had five mistresses, and he decided to lay off four of them due to the economic downturn.  His goal was to determine which mistress to keep.  None of the women wanted to lose their “job”, which came with a rent-free apartment and $730 monthly allowance. 

In case you were thinking of running your own “best mistress” contest, this is what CNN reports are the three sole criteria used to pick the winner from this private talent show:

  • How the women looked
  • How the women sang
  • How much alcohol they can drink

In the end, the businessman ended up paying $84,744 in compensation to the victim’s family and also shut down his business.  The four surviving mistresses also left him… as did his wife after learning of the affairs.