Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sex education courtesy of Katy Perry

The other day, my 8-year-old son asked me what a hickie is.
“Where did you hear that word?” I asked.
“From a Katy Perry song,” he said.
In her new hit song, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”, Perry sings about waking up and finding a mark on her body. “Is this a hickey or a bruise?” the song goes.
In the same song, Perry says she blacked out from drinking too many shots, possibly had a ménage a trios, maxed out her credit cards, committed property damage and other things today’s teenagers can relate to, I’m sure.
My son didn’t ask me what a “ménage a trios” is, thankfully.
I did my best to explain what a hickie is and moved on.
I should probably get ready for when he asks me what S&M is, because Rihanna’s song “S&M” still gets a lot of airplay on the radio.

Photo: Katy Perry via The Superficial.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lingerie Football League needs stars

Any pro sport that wants to break through to the mass market has to have stars.
In two seasons, the Lingerie Football League hasn’t developed any name players. To raise its profile, the LFL needs stars that will be the ambassadors of the sport. Stars get butts in the seats and give fans someone to cheer for.
For season three, the LFL has two stars in the making: Seattle Mist quarterback Angela Rypien, the daughter of Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mark Rypien, and Toronto Triumph linebacker Krista Ford, niece of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and daughter of City Councillor Doug Ford.
They’re relatives of sports and political figures, so that gives news writers a hook to cover the games. So far, the LFL has gotten scant coverage from the mainstream media, which treats it like a peep show. Adding stars can only help the fledgling league.
The first exhibition games for the Lingerie Basketball League last weekend got some press coverage thanks to an appearance by actress Jenny McCarthy, who came to cheer on her sister, Jo Jo McCarthy, who plays for L.A. Beauties.
The LFL should find more celebrities by association and even borderline celebrities (C-list actresses, reality TV stars, etc.) to fill out their rosters.
Before she made it big on MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” Jenni “JWoww” Farley tried out for the Lingerie Football League, according to Media Daily LA.
The WNBA got some badly needed press when it picked up disgraced Olympic sprinter Marion Jones to play for the Tulsa Shock. She was cut from the struggling team mid-season this month. Maybe the LFL should find a role for her. We know she’s fast.
Something to think about as the LFL plays its annual All Fantasy Game tonight in Hamilton, Ontario.
The LFL's third season kicks off on Aug. 26.


Photo: Seattle Mist quarterback Angela Rypien (top) and Toronto Triumph linebacker Krista Ford (bottom)

Related articles:

"Angela Rypien Discusses Her Dad And Getting Ready For The LFL Season" (The Redskins Blog; May 16, 2011)

"Daughter of ex-NFL quarterback Mark Rypien to lead Seattle Mist in Lingerie Football League in Kent" (Kent Reporter; May 6, 2011)

"Former Super Bowl MVP's daughter playing lingerie football" (Q13 Fox; June 7, 2011)

"Built Tough: A one-on-one with Toronto Captain Krista Ford (LFL 360; July 30, 2011)

"Krista Ford named to captain Toronto's Lingerie Football League team" (Toronto Sun; July 6, 2011)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

News aggregators: the good and the bad

Websites that aggregate news and other online content are here to stay.
Some are beneficial to the websites from which they source articles by driving traffic to those sites. Those aggregators provide snippets of articles and if readers want to learn more they have to go to the source.
Other websites push the boundaries of fair use by writing their own articles that borrow heavily from the source material. They take so much detail from the original articles that readers feel like they’ve gotten the whole story and don’t need to check out the source.
Media pundits often divide aggregators into good ones and bad ones.
The good ones are those that drive online traffic back to the source of the news, commentary, photos and other content.
By that standard, Drudge Report is one of the good aggregators.
Drudge Report drives way more traffic to news sites than Facebook and Twitter, according to a Pew Research study. (See articles by PBS, GigaOm and the Associated Press.)
Drudge Report is curated with an eye toward attention-grabbing news articles. It links to source websites with simple headlines.
Google tops Drudge as a traffic source to newspaper and other content sites. But it also keeps a lot of web surfers to itself. Google News runs the headlines and first paragraphs for news stories and that seems to be enough for a lot of readers.
Another good aggregator is Techmeme, which covers the information technology industry. Its website and Twitter feed provide just enough information in a headline and summary to get readers interested in clicking through to the source sites to find out more.
Among those singing the praises of Techmeme have been the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Silicon Valley Watcher. I’m a fan as well.
The most often cited bad aggregator is AOL’s The Huffington Post. It has made a business out of condensing long newspaper stories into easy-to-digest articles. In doing so, it stretches the definition of “fair use” in copyright law. It satisfies visitors with its summaries of the news and keeps the traffic – and advertising dollars – mostly to itself.
MondayNote and eMedia Vitals have put together their own lists of good and bad aggregators. Both articles are worth checking out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lack of attribution online is a problem

When writing research papers in high school and college, we’re taught the importance of sourcing our facts. This practice tells our instructors and others where we got our information. The use of footnotes and other references helps to back up our claims.
However, many writers and editors online today seem to have forgotten the importance of attribution.

Photos

I’ve written several times about websites that run funny or shocking photos, but provide no information to back them up.
Without supporting information, these photos are pretty useless. We don’t know if the photo is real, when or where it was taken or what it purports to show.
In June, I wrote about a popular photo of a fisherman being inked in the face by a squid. I still don’t know when or where that shot was taken.
A reverse image search service called TinEye can help expose incidents where old photos are passed off as new and photos from far away are passed off as local.
But TinEye was of no use to me recently when I tried to find information about a series of photos of a leopard attacking forestry workers. (See sample above.)
I first saw the photos on Break.com, which is one of the worst offenders for lack of attribution. Break seems to think that a picture is worth a thousand words and it doesn’t need anything more than a punchy header like “Photos of Crazy Leopard Attack.”
Luckily the photos were recent and a simple Google search for “leopard attack” came up with articles about the incident. Six people were mauled by a leopard that strayed into a village in India on July 19. (See articles from BBC, CNN, MSNBC and The National.) The dramatic photos are by Diptendu Dutta with AFP.

Articles

On Monday, I wrote about how articles from Tech-media-tainment are occasionally copied and put on other websites without attribution or sourcing.
Apparently musician and former "Entertainment Tonight" co-host John Tesh has plagiarized content for his blog in a similar manner.
Another area where attribution is lacking is when mainstream media outlets don’t give credit to blogs for breaking news stories.
For example, offenders here include AllThingsD, CNet and Rolling Stone in one case and the Associated Press and others in a second case.
Sourcing in the digital age seems to becoming a lost custom.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ripping off content is commonplace online

On Friday I posted an article about the start of the Lingerie Basketball League in Los Angeles. On Sunday, less than 48 hours later, another blog ran the article word for word and claimed authorship of it.
I posted a comment on that blog, The Sport Tirings Stuff, pointing out that the article was plagiarized from Tech-media-tainment. But I doubt I’ll hear back.
This isn’t the first time content from Tech-media-tainment has been lifted whole cloth and published without attribution elsewhere. Judging from what I’ve seen, it seems to be a pretty common activity online.
It’s ethically wrong.
All I’m asking for is some respect. I don’t mind bloggers reprinting my articles or artwork, as long as they give me credit and provide a link back to my website. I’d also appreciate it if bloggers didn’t take my entire article. They should leave something for readers who are interested in checking out more at the source website.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Photo: Screenshot of the Tech-media-tainment article on The Sport Tirings Stuff blog.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

If Wacky Packages were made by pornographers



When I was a kid, a popular collectible was Wacky Packages. They were stickers that made fun of brand-name consumer products.
Cap’n Crunch cereal became Cap’N Crud, and so on.
I recently became aware of a porn studio that’s been doing Wacky Packages-style packaging for its adult films. Over the last two years, Caballero has released at least 45 movies with names and packaging artwork that parody popular brands of breakfast cereal, snack foods and candy.
Here are some examples:

Porn Flakes (Corn Flakes)
Cherry Ho’s (Cheerios)
Slutty Bunches of Ho’s (Honey Bunches of Oats)
Cap’n Munch (Cap’n Crunch)
Count Cockula (Count Chocula)
Pop Shots (Corn Pops)
Cream of Meat (Cream of Wheat)
Asian Bran (Raisin Bran)
Crack Lickin’ Ho’s and Trans (Cracklin’ Oat Bran)
Goo Berry (Boo Berry)
Reases Muffs (Reese’s Puffs)
Alpha Tits (Alpha-Bits)
Horitos (Doritos)
Clits Ahoy (Chips Ahoy)
Nookie Crisp (Cookie Crisp)

You get the idea.

Photos:

"Slutty Bunches of Ho’s," a 2011 porn movie from Caballero that riffs on Post’s Honey Bunches of Oats cereal

Honey Bunches of Oats cereal box

Wacky Packages featured on the Oct. 1, 1973, issue of New York magazine

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lingerie Basketball League tips off

It had to happen. The success of the Lingerie Football League, where attractive women play tackle football in their skivvies, has spawned imitators.
First up is the Lingerie Basketball League, which has the slogan “Where beauty meets the hardwood.”
The LBL is hosting two exhibition games on Saturday afternoon at Venice Beach in Venice, Calif. It will feature the L.A. Beauties vs. L.A. Glam, followed by L.A. Starlets vs. L.A. Divas. The regular season kicks off July 29 and runs for six weeks, followed by a championship game.
Los Angeles certainly has no shortage of beautiful women seeking attention. So the LBL probably didn’t have any problems fielding four teams.
It’s interesting how the player stats online include bust, waist and hip measurements in addition to height and weight. Maybe they’ll add stats for points, rebounds and assists during the season.
The LBL isn’t to be confused with the Bikini Basketball League, which has the slogan “Excellence or bust.”
The BBL was announced in February. In March, organizers said the Bikini Basketball League would start its first season in “summer 2011” with six teams, located in New York, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, California and Indiana.
“Games will feature attractive, bikini-clad females playing 2-on-2, half-court basketball,” a press release said. Judging from a video posted by the BBL in April, the emphasis is on jiggling breasts and rears, not basketball skills. (See below.)
What’s next? Lingerie baseball, lingerie soccer and lingerie hockey?



Photo:

LBL player Briana Blair at the league's draft party in June.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

More cat names for Apple to consider for the next Mac OS X release

Apple uses cat names to identify its Mac OS X software releases. It’s already used Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard and Snow Leopard. The latest release – Lion – came out Wednesday.
Are they running out of cat names? Not by a long shot.
I’ve blogged several times (in jest) about other cat names that Apple could use. They include: Felix, Morris, Salem, Toonces, Hobbes and Mr. Bigglesworth. (See links at bottom.)
Here are 10 more cat names Apple could use for upcoming Mac OS X releases:

1. Rum Tum Tugger

Rum Tum Tugger is a finicky cat from the musical “Cats,” based on T.S. Eliot’s poetry book “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” And just like Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Rum Tum Tugger is never satisfied.

2. Shere Khan

Shere Khan is the powerful Bengal tiger from Walt Disney’s “The Jungle Book.”
As Disney’s largest individual shareholder, company director Jobs could use his pull to get Shere Khan as the cover cat for the next Mac OS X release. Of course, the same could be said about …

3. Figaro

Figaro is Gepetto’s cat from Disney’s “Pinocchio.”

4. Jonesy

Jonesy is Ripley’s cat from the sci-fi horror movie “Alien.” He stayed out of harm’s way and ended up being the only survivor from the spaceship Nostromo. Ripley died in the third movie.

5. Cat Cora

Celebrity chef Cat Cora can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and look great doing it.

6. Puss in Boots

“Puss in Boots” is a French fairy tale about a cat that uses trickery and deceit to gain wealth, power and the hand of a princess in marriage for his low-born master. The character is the subject of a DreamWorks Animation movie, “Puss in Boots,” set for release in November.

7. Selina Kyle

Selina Kyle is the supervillain Catwoman from the Batman comic book and media franchise. She’s been played by Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfeiffer (pictured), Halle Berry, and soon Anne Hathaway.

8. John Cougar Mellencamp

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Mellencamp used to go by John Cougar and then John Cougar Mellencamp when he first made a splash on the pop music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

9. Cheshire Cat

The Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is known for his mischievous grin and baffling banter. He was most recently portrayed in Tim Burton’s movie “Alice in Wonderland” for Disney (pictured).

10. Cat in the Hat

“The Cat in the Hat” is one of the most popular children’s books by Dr. Seuss. It features an impish anthropomorphic cat wearing a tall, red and white-striped hat and red bow tie.

See earlier posts on the same subject:

Top 10 cat names Apple hasn’t used yet for its Mac software (Aug. 26, 2009)

More suggested Mac OS X names for Apple (Aug. 28, 2009)

Top 10 Mac OS X names Apple hasn’t used yet (Oct. 20, 2010)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

‘Pie in the face’ as an act of protest

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch took a pie to the face from a protestor Tuesday while testifying in London about his company’s involvement in a phone-hacking scandal.
Pieing is an infrequently used form of protest because it’s criminal assault and is difficult to pull off successfully. It’s been used to embarrass authority figures, politicians and celebrities.
Among the victims of pieing are Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, singer and anti-gay rights activist Anita Bryant, conservative commentator William F. Buckley and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
Wikipedia has an entry on pieing that recounts its use in slapstick comedy, protests and celebrations. It also has a list of people who have been pied.
Bloomberg Businessweek used the occasion of Murdoch’s pieing to put together a slideshow of famous people who have been pied.
It's one thing to smack an able-bodied young man or woman in the kisser with a cream pie. But Murdoch is 80 years old. The shock could have killed the News Corp. CEO.

Photo by Dan Hayes on Twitpic.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

‘Adventure Time’: The best show on TV

When the Emmy nominations came out this week I was glad to see that Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” was nominated for outstanding short-format animated program for the second year in a row.
“Adventure Time,” now in its third season, is hands down the most entertaining show on the air right now. The 15-minute episodes follow the adventures of Finn, a 13-year-old human boy, and his magical dog Jake in the fantasy Land of Ooo.
They battle demons, monsters and other bad guys on quests to rescue princesses, protect the innocent and obtain magic powers and treasure. Finn and Jake like to kick evil’s butt and have a good time.
“Adventure Time” is written to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. The dialogue is super quotable. I find myself repeating lines from the show all the time.
The episode nominated for an Emmy is one of my favorites, “It Came from the Nightosphere.” So come on, Emmy votes, give “Adventure Time” some love.

Web resources:

Official “Adventure Time” website

“Adventure Time” wiki on Wikia

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sexy lists: Adulterous professions, top states for online porn, and the CEOs of sex

Most adulterous professions (Momlogic; Feb. 26, 2010)

Top U.S. states for online pornography (CNBC; July 14, 2009)

The CEOs of sex (Bloomberg Businessweek; Feb. 10, 2011)

The 10 funniest ‘To Catch a Predator’ screencaps (Guyism; Dec. 3, 2010)

The best-selling adult DVDs of all time (CNBC; Jan. 9, 2009)

Photo: Screengrab from NBC’s “To Catch A Predator.”

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fun movie lists: Most paused movie moments

Top 10 most paused movie moments (Geektyrant; March 2, 2011)

Five ridiculous gun myths everyone believes – thanks to the movies (Cracked.com; June 15, 2010)

Top 5 movies that will never ever get made (Geektyrant; Nov. 6, 2010)

14 movies that were better than the book (PopCrunch; Sept. 22, 2010)

20 awesome elevator scenes (EW; Sept. 17, 2010)

Nine examples of prominent actors and actresses unexpectedly and quickly killed off in movies (Unreality Magazine; Sept. 3, 2010)

Photo: Scene from "Tron" (1982).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Most promising new shows for fall 2011 season: 'Awake' and 'Smash'

The fall TV season doesn’t start for a couple of months, but some networks are advertising their new shows anyway. I’m already sick of seeing NBC’s “Whitney.”
I’ve checked out the synopses and preview videos for a bunch of new shows and have already picked my tentative watch list.
My main concern with some of these shows is that they sound like they’d make better movies than episodic television series.
Too many interesting dramas start out assuming that they’re going to have a long time to tell their stories, so they stretch out their revelations and plot points. Viewers soon get frustrated and quit before the shows can get anywhere.
NBC’s “The Event” and ABC’s “FlashForward” both suffered from slow plotting. Each sci-fi drama lasted just a single season. Even AMC’s murder mystery “The Killing,” which was renewed for a second season, was bogged down by plodding storytelling and lack of resolution.
What series like this need to do is show more urgency and keep the story moving.
The two shows I’m most looking forward to are midseason replacements on NBC: “Awake” and “Smash.”

“Awake” stars Jason Isaacs as a police detective living in two different realities following a car accident. In one reality his wife died in the accident and in the other his teenage son died. The drama deals with how the detective tries to live two separate lives to keep his family with him and the toll it takes on him. “Awake” was created by writer Kyle Killen (“Lone Star”).

“Smash” is about the making of a Broadway musical and stars singer Katharine McPhee. The executive producers are Steven Spielberg and Craig Zadan & Neil Meron (producers of “Chicago” and “Hairspray”). Songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray”) also are on board. Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston co-star.

I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach to several other intriguing shows. They are Fox’s “Terra Nova,” CBS’s “Person of Interest,” NBC’s “Grimm,” ABC’s “Revenge,” and the CW’s “Ringer.”

Photos: Artwork from NBC's "Awake" (top) and "Smash" (bottom).

Friday, July 8, 2011

‘Falling Skies’: Another disappointing TV series with Steven Spielberg’s name attached

Director Steven Spielberg has a great track record with movies, but not so much with TV series.
The TNT series “Falling Skies,” which concerns a band of human survivors after an attack by space aliens, was promoted as being “From Executive Producer Steven Spielberg.”
That sort of billing carries high expectations from the director of such classic movies as “Jaws,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Jurassic Park” and “Minority Report.”
Unfortunately “Falling Skies” is another disappointing TV series with Spielberg’s name attached. It joins NBC’s “Amazing Stories” (1985-87) and “SeaQuest DSV” (1993-96) in that category.
TNT has aired just four episodes of “Falling Skies,” but the cable network this week renewed it for a second season. TNT made the decision despite a significant drop in viewership.
“Falling Skies,” starring Noah Wyle, has gotten off to a bad start. The storytelling is weak and the special effects are second rate. The first episodes have been bogged down by maudlin family drama and unrealistic scenarios.
I get that the point of the series is to show the characters’ humanity when times are their bleakest. But the series would be more entertaining if it focused more on the military strategy of the humans trying to retake our planet from the alien invaders.
Quit dawdling and get to the good stuff already. Viewers want to know what the aliens are up to and what their weaknesses might be. Less yapping and more action.
I can only hope that Spielberg’s next foray into episodic television, Fox’s “Terra Nova,” will be better. It’s set to debut this fall.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Andy Warhol: Remix artist

Andy Warhol was a remix artist before it was cool.
Warhol took photos and graphics from other sources and turned them into works of art. He used news photos, Hollywood publicity stills and even food packaging to create his unique works. He morphed them to his signature style using bold colors, repetition and other effects.
Last weekend, I toured the “Warhol Live” exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tenn.
Warhol (1928-1987) impressed me as a remix artist ahead of his time.
Now with personal computers, digital photography, the Internet and other tools of the digital age, anyone can be a remix artist.
But I think people were more forgiving of artists in Warhol’s day. He was able to make artwork of Campbell’s soup cans, Heinz ketchup shipping boxes, celebrity photos and even news photos without getting hassled by lawsuits.
Today, copyright holders frequently sue artists for doing an homage to their work or altering it to make it something new.
Take Warhol’s work “White Burning Car III” (1963), silkscreen ink on linen, on display at the Frist. It uses a photograph by John Whitehead from the June 3, 1963, of Newsweek as a source image.
Flash forward to today’s litigious society where the Associated Press sued artist Shepard Fairey for using an AP photo of Barack Obama as the source image for his “Hope” poster.
How times have changed for the worse.
One more thing about the “Warhol Live” exhibit: Warhol would almost certainly be against the museum’s policy prohibiting attendees from taking photos of his art.

Photo: Andy Warhol self-portrait
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