snap culture: February 2004

  1. ben, 2/29/2004 0 comments
  2. William, 2/29/2004 0 comments
  3. Sam, 2/29/2004 0 comments
  4. ben, 2/26/2004 0 comments
  5. William, 2/25/2004 0 comments
  6. William, 2/24/2004 0 comments
  7. meghan, 2/22/2004 0 comments
  8. meghan, 2/22/2004 0 comments
  9. Sam, 2/22/2004 0 comments
  10. William, 2/21/2004 0 comments
  11. William, 2/21/2004 0 comments
  12. ben, 2/20/2004 0 comments
  13. ben, 2/20/2004 0 comments
  14. Ian, 2/20/2004 0 comments
  15. Ian, 2/20/2004 0 comments
  16. ben, 2/20/2004 0 comments
  17. William, 2/20/2004 0 comments
  18. Sam, 2/19/2004 0 comments
  19. Sam, 2/19/2004 0 comments
  20. Pablo , 2/18/2004 0 comments
  21. ben, 2/17/2004 0 comments
  22. ben, 2/14/2004 0 comments
  23. ben, 2/14/2004 0 comments
  24. ben, 2/13/2004 0 comments
  25. ben, 2/13/2004 0 comments
  26. William, 2/13/2004 0 comments
  27. William, 2/13/2004 0 comments
  28. William, 2/12/2004 0 comments
  29. William, 2/12/2004 0 comments
  30. William, 2/12/2004 0 comments
  31. William, 2/12/2004 0 comments
  32. William, 2/12/2004 0 comments
  33. ben, 2/11/2004 0 comments
  34. Pablo , 2/11/2004 0 comments
  35. William, 2/11/2004 0 comments
  36. William, 2/11/2004 0 comments
  37. William, 2/10/2004 0 comments
  38. ben, 2/09/2004 0 comments
  39. William, 2/09/2004 0 comments
  40. ben, 2/09/2004 0 comments
  41. ben, 2/09/2004 0 comments
  42. ben, 2/08/2004 0 comments
  43. ben, 2/07/2004 0 comments
  44. ben, 2/06/2004 0 comments
  45. ben, 2/06/2004 0 comments
  46. William, 2/05/2004 0 comments
  47. William, 2/05/2004 0 comments
  48. ben, 2/04/2004 0 comments
  49. ben, 2/04/2004 0 comments
  50. ben, 2/03/2004 0 comments
  51. Ian, 2/03/2004 0 comments
  52. ben, 2/01/2004 0 comments

2/29/2004 Add a comment

It's a Hummer vs. Prius showdown on Slate, and it appears that from recent 2004 sales projections the partially-electric-powered Prius is kicking some gas-guzzling Hummer ass.

Want to know how I feel about Hummers? Check out F.U. H2 (and be warned for lots of vulgar language and middle fingers). ben

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2/29/2004 Add a comment

WashPost media writer Howie Kurtz, whose faults are numerous but occasionally comes up with something good, gets a good one. He says Howard Dean's advisers saw that Dean didn't really want to become president. William

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2/29/2004 Add a comment

 
Are Adams & Jefferson rolling in their graves?

At the very end of the Times article on government borrowing against the Social Security surplus:
Mr. Greenspan told Congress earlier that Mr. Bush's tax cuts should be kept in place. The biggest beneficiaries would be the top 400 taxpayers, whose average income in 2000 was $174 million each. They paid 22.2 cents on the dollar in federal income taxes and, under the Bush tax cuts, would have paid about 17.5 cents.

Over all that year [2000], Americans paid 15.3 cents on the dollar of income in income taxes, but many middle-class Americans paid a larger share of their incomes to the federal government than the top 400 when both income and Social Security taxes are counted.
Bonus links: Nixon on tape: The quiz. And excerpts from May 13, 1971. Sam

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2/26/2004 Add a comment

I suppose it was only a matter of time before baseball players started pointing fingers at each other in the steroid fiasco. First Turk Wendell says about Barry Bonds, "I mean, obviously he did it. [His trainer] admitted to giving steroids to baseball players. He just doesn't want to say his name. You don't have to. It's clear just seeing his body." Then Barry responds with "You got something to say, you come to my face and say it and we'll deal with each other." And Denny Neagle follows up, ""It is a pretty good coincidence that some of the names that are linked to them are the guys that are the big, massive, overmuscular looking guys. I don't know or remember what Jason Giambi looked like back in his early days, but I know he wasn't as big as he is now. The jury is always going to be out on Barry."

Expect plenty more accusations flying, a response from Giambi, and much, much more as the 162-game season gets started in a few weeks.
ben

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2/25/2004 Add a comment

More reality TV: The WashPost talks about the "Sista With an Attitude" that's popping up on every reality tv show: Alicia on "Survivor," Camille on "America's Next Top Model," and Omarosa on "The Apprentice." William

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2/24/2004 Add a comment

Newyorkish links to a story about companies using NBC's Donald Trump ego-stroker "The Apprentice" for inspiration and ideas on how to run their businesses and make their employees compete against each other.

Also, Newsweek puts Trump on its cover (he talks about his hair, among other things). Hmmm... gay marriages, a presidential campaign, or a good reality show? I guess Newsweek knows what America wants. William

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2/22/2004 Add a comment

If you don't mind the smell of cow dung, this might be a good way to get Bush out of office (as long as they vote a straight dem ticket). You might also have to think strategically where to locate your herd. Cows like Florida, don't they? meghan

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2/22/2004 Add a comment

Nader Sucks. Dean supporters better not vote for him. He is an old man that should retire or finish his work with the DC library system...anything but run for president again! meghan

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2/22/2004 Add a comment

From The Believer:
Even evolution can’t explain why male dolphins leap for joy after corralling terrified females for a spot of rape. Or why they laugh their dolphin laughs, high-fiving each other with their flippers. Or why dolphin penises stand erect after a murder most foul. Or maybe we made that up. We do not know for sure. We do know there is such a thing as evil, and dolphins, it appears, know it too.
Sam

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2/21/2004 Add a comment

13,200 on that Japanese game. William

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2/21/2004 Add a comment

Wonkette links to a NYT story about the town of Frederick, Maryland, becoming a purveyor of pornography. It's not quite how it sounds, though almost is. Authorities closed a house of ill repute and have been court ordered to release the seized documents, video, black book, etc. to the public. So the town is now selling a homemade porn video for $20, or one can view it at City Hall. Eww. William

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2/20/2004 Add a comment

A truly weak column by CNNSI columnist Tim Layden on the fallout from the Willie Williams' recruiting diaries and the Colorado strippergate. He suggests an overhaul of the college football recruiting process by 1) making the athlete contact the University first, and then be "approved" as a suitable candidate for admission by the admissions office. and 2) on recruiting visits, have the recruits stay with students instead of athletes.

How are either of things going to make a real difference? Doesn't Layden get it that it's a dominant strategy for programs to ignore these two meaningless reforms and just keep doing with they're doing? Oh, it's all well and good to say "please do away with the strippers and prostitutes." I've said it for years, college football and basketball should become semi-pro and these athletes should be paid for their services. Especially with college basketball players leaving midseason for lucrative international contracts. Haven't we reached a crisis point yet where the NCAA needs to change? ben

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2/20/2004 Add a comment

Point / Counterpoint:

Howard Dean "may yet be remembered as the herald of something new.": The Nation

"In the end, the tragedy of Howard Dean's impressive grass-roots campaign is that he will be remembered not for any lasting reform agenda, but for the missed opportunity to create one.": The New York Times

Discuss. (You would think I follow politics.) ben

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2/20/2004 Add a comment

You'll never listen to NPR again (and I am assuming that you do now)--the BBC online is great. My favorite is the quiz show "Just a Minute", see for yourself since you can listen to last week's show, updated every monday. Timing, puns, and dry british humor. It's like freestylin' for white british public school boys. Ian

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2/20/2004 Add a comment

This Craigslist personal ad is a bit onionesque, but I will forgive it because it's so damn on the money Ian

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2/20/2004 Add a comment

I wish I could figure out why this super-weird Japanese game is so much fun. Maybe it's because I'm done with midterms.

Plant each item and get inexplicable bonus points for the order you use. The goal is 20,000 points. I've come nowhere close.

(Link from Boing Boing.) ben

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2/20/2004 Add a comment

How long before we're turning Japanese on the cell phone front? The WashPost's Anthony Faiola writes about Japanese keitai culture. It's in the same vein as Wired's "Japanese Schoolgirl Watch"--this cultural subset is the harbinger of technology to come. William

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2/19/2004 Add a comment

The future of nonlethal weapons: bowel-shaking infrasound; epileptogenic infrared strobes; red smoke to disperse Negroids and Latins; jellifying microbes; and the [holographic] projection of the image of an ancient god over an enemy capital. Sam

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2/19/2004 Add a comment

I wonder if Edwards is really the "electable" one: in the Wisconsin vote, he led Kerry among independents, Republicans, voters concerned about the economy, voters who decided within the last week, and voters who said they chose a candidate because of his views on major issues.
 
Sam

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2/18/2004 Add a comment

This article on Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University’s debating team was very interesting to me for a variety of reasons. First, it hit upon the Christians in debating phenomena. When I was a very active debater in high school, my teammates and I were always struck by the style and success of the debaters from Grenville Christian College (in Canada College = Prep School.) Christian schools, other than Catholic Schools, are extremely rare in Canada. In fact, Grenville was the only overtly Christian school in our league of about 22 schools and they consistently placed in the top 5, well above the level their “academic” reputation would have them.

Even better, the article hit upon the current crisis in American debating; namely its decent into a research driven, factoid talk fest. In Canada, British style parliamentary debating is still the dominant form and rhetoric and style in addition to knowledge are emphasized. I think this makes particular sense at the college level, as one would assume that research skills could be developed through the regular curriculum. Once I got to Swat, I gave up on debating (a rather successful career, I should immodestly add) and instead started doing improv comedy which I found more similar to the style of debating I experienced in Canada. Pablo

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2/17/2004 Add a comment

Outkast says: Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

Polaroid says: Don't shake it. ben

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2/14/2004 Add a comment

The highs and lows of the baskeball world in this weekend's NYT magazine:

Of course I don't approve of the Maloof brothers' original source of income (their dad was a Coors distributor, and I've been boycotting Coors for their extreme political views), but they seem to have the business world under their thumb. Aside from owning the Palms Casino in Vegas (which features a penthouse designed especially for MTV's The Real World), they also own the Sacramento Kings. In my opinion, they've got professional sports franchise ownership figured out. Let the GM evaluate talent, let the coach coach, and pay your players well with nice practice facilities.

On the flipside, the Times profiles Stephon Marbury's NYC high school teammates who never made a career of basketball. So many kids waste their time dreaming of the NBA. But how many good basketball players can't make a living doing it? Most of them. But how many unemployed MDs and JDs are out there? It's the dream of a $100 million contract like Marbury's that keeps kids wasting their high school education on basketball. Great to see someone digging into the world of broken hoop dreams in the same vein as the superb documentary of the same name. ben

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2/14/2004 Add a comment

What do you get when you combine the lyrics from Jay-Z's latest "The Black Album" with samples and beats from the Beatles' "The White Album"? You get DJ Danger Mouse's "The Grey Album". It's the remix album so creative that even the friggin' New Yorker is writing about it. You have to download some of this and check it out.

Not surprisingly, EMI has issued a cease and desist to DJ Danger Mouse against releasing his album. Good thing you can download the whole thing online. Jay-Z apparently released a vocals-only version of his album to encourage this kind of creativity. What's next, remixing with Weezer for the dark-green and dark-blue albums? I can't think of any other colored albums. ben

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2/13/2004 Add a comment

Big big ups to Sam on his redesign of the SnapCulture family room. I love the wood paneling, and the stuffed duck really goes well with the shag carpeting. Me, I wouldn't have put the leg-lamp near the front windows, but hey, I'm the rapper, he's the DJ. I look forward to Sam's posts...

I already posted this on my blog Wednesday, but I think this article by Paul Krugman in the NY Review of Books is the kind of thing that needs to be shouted from the mountaintop these days. As well as Krugman's columns in the Times, particularly today's. If you aren't reading them, you don't know just how awful this government is. It's time to get angry, people! ben

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2/13/2004 Add a comment

Is NASCAR a Christian sport? With Bobby Lebonte putting an ad for Mel Gibson's new movie on the hood of his car, who knows anymore. I have to say it is brilliant P.R. by the people distributing that movie though.

I wonder what NASCAR-fandom would think if Mel decided for a more accurate portrayal and made Jesus black, or, heaven forbid, "Arab", like he really was. Then do you think he'd end up on the hood of a race car? Instead they've got some kid from Washington State playing him. Come on, do you think a guy who can play golfer Bobby Jones really looks like Jesus did? ben

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2/13/2004 Add a comment

The UK Sun is reporting a woman's name in the John Kerry brouhaha. They allege it's one Alex Polier, a writer for AP. William

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2/13/2004 Add a comment

Wow, if this isn't the greatest idea for a reality show ever, then I don't know what is. Miriam's got a huge secret. Or maybe not so huge with all the hormones. William

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2/12/2004 Add a comment

Drudge is reporting that John Kerry has a Clinton problem, and in typical Drudge style is claiming this "world exclusive" will turn the campaign on its head. I just can't believe it's true. How in the world could any politician allow this to happen? William

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2/12/2004 Add a comment

Following on the success of "Queer Eye," Showtime is working on a "makebetter" show involving cool African-Americans telling others how to be cool. William

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2/12/2004 Add a comment

You know what's been missing from snap culture? Paris Hilton. Well, her full-length "intimate" video is now available for download on an Internet near you. William

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2/12/2004 Add a comment

Colin Powell scolds a Hill staffer for shaking his head during Powell's congressional testimony. William

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2/12/2004 Add a comment

One of my friends at the Chicago Tribune reports that some clothing donation boxes have ties to a mysterious European organization called Tvind. (Registration may be required.) William

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2/11/2004 Add a comment

Sports Illustrated knows about the "dead month of sports" phenomenon better than anyone. Why else would they release their swimsuit issue in the second week of February every year?

Also, great to see Pablo posting as well. Unfortunately, it's the oldest performer's trick in the book to say, "Boy, doesn't [insert town here] rock!?!" So I can't say I'm surprised that Conan is using it to his advantage. Hope to see the posts keep coming. ben

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2/11/2004 Add a comment

I saw Conan O'Brian's first show in Toronto this morning and I have to say that I have mixed feelings. I’m proud that he picked Toronto and there are tons of great Torontian/Canadian guest for him to draw on for a week or so (i.e. Mike Myers last night). His jokes were great and he acknowledged the whole stereotype as a crutch problem, while making some great (and surprisingly insightful) Canadian stereotype jokes. When he was playing around with Tie Domie and a bunch of third line leafs, I honestly thought his life was at stake.

My problem was the audience, which proceeded to burst into hysterical applause and whooping every time something--anything--related to Canada and Toronto was mentioned. Not only did this interrupt the flow of the show, but it also made Canadians seem so desperate and needy. The media also seems to be playing this up into a bigger deal than it is. A quick google news search shows about 140 stories on it. The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail both have about 20 articles. That's the equivalent of the Post and Times doing a investigative report of on David Caruso leaving NYPD Blue for a career in movies-who knows maybe they did.
Pablo

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2/11/2004 Add a comment

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2/11/2004 Add a comment

Lisa DeMoraes follows up today on the Westminster dog show. William

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2/10/2004 Add a comment

WashPost TV columnist Lisa DeMoraes, one of my favorites, steps away from the television and heads to the Westminster dog show for a behind-the-scenes peek at how the dogs are prepped for the show. Dog owners are insane. William

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2/09/2004 Add a comment

The Willie Williams saga continues...a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of violating probation and misdemeanor battery after a woman said he hugged her without permission. The saddest part is that his 18-month probation was to end Wednesday. ben

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2/09/2004 Add a comment

The Westminster article appeared on A1 and jumped to the inside of the sports section. Doesn't bother me too much, especially because a Kerry Blue Terrier, dog of my childhood, won last year, and "Best in Show" is one of the best movies in the last 10 years.

Bush substituting for Blair before the House of Commons would be a pay-per-view event I'd pony up for! William

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2/09/2004 Add a comment

One of the best things on tv has to be the Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. You can watch video from CSPAN here. The PMQ airs Sunday nights at 9 pm EST on CSPAN. Though I suppose there's some reality show or something on against it, this is the only time you'll see a politician have to defend his beliefs and policies face-to-face with the opposition. None of the kid-gloves Tim Russert treatment. Imagine if Bush had to explain himself every week in front of Congress! ben

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2/09/2004 Add a comment

Does anyone out there get the print edition of the NYT? This is a sports section article about the Westminster Dog Show, FIVE DAYS BEFORE the show, and it's not even about the show but about the, and I friggin' quote, "pre-Westminster social whirl". What page of the sports section did this article end up on? Is there an easy way to find that online? This is truly a new low in "Dead Month" sportswriting. So many questions and so few explanations. ben

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2/08/2004 Add a comment

Continuing in my documentation of sports' "Dead Month", a Washington Post article on the The NBA's minor leagues, the NBDL.

Also, the New York Times has had a series of articles on track star Marion Jones, and today they offer us a story on Boston's World Series dreams and one on catchers changing teams in search of more money.

None of these items are "news", per se. But it sure is a convenient time to write long articles about this kind of stuff to fill those sports pages until March Madness rolls around. ben

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2/07/2004 Add a comment

The New York Times catches up with SnapCulture: Their first Willie Williams article. ben

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2/06/2004 Add a comment

Rob Walker's column in the NYT Magazine is apparently now a regular item. This is good news for anyone who finds new products and gadgets interesting, and who laughs at commercials, but not because they're trying to make you laugh. Here's his latest column on the Cialis ad campaign, and here's the link to Walker's column archives (4 previous columns). ben

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2/06/2004 Add a comment

First I want to correct Will and say that it was Ian who first posted the Willie Williams stories.

On to more important news, at least according to the New York Times: Hip-hop fashion is growing up. First of all, I'm almost certain I read this identical article in the NYT just a few months ago. Rappers wearing suits is apparently a big deal to NYT style nerds. Come on, P.Diddy is 98% businessman, 2% "artist" (read: sampler of other people's music). Of course the man is going to wear a suit. He's been wearing suits for quite a while.

I particularly like the very end of the article about the rapper who thinks he's still keeping it real with baggy jeans and over-sized sweatshirts, as though the New York Times can mock him about missing the hip-hop fashion boat. ben

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2/05/2004 Add a comment

Disney and Pixar are in the middle of an acrimonious split. What's interesting is that Disney owns the rights to any sequels of Pixar-made movies, so they could make a bunch of cruddy straight-to-DVD movies like "Finding Nemo 2," etc., that cheapen the original but please the toddler set. William

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2/05/2004 Add a comment

Those Willie Williams stories are hilarious. Thanks for finding those, Ben. I've been kinda holed up doing work, so I haven't been posting much lately. I did update my blog tonight, though, including a couple of reviews of shows everyone should be watching, A&E's Airline and UPN's America's Next Top Model.

Also, no one has mentioned a few of the elephants in the room. Janet Jackson? Not going to be at the Grammys it seems.

And the other elephant, er, donkey, is the 2004 primary campaign. In retrospect, I think Joe Lieberman should have gone with a G.I. Joe theme. "Real American Hero! Go Joe!" That would have won over the NASCAR dads.

Which brings me to one of my favorite parlor games: Which underrepresented group will be the first to field a president: a black, a Latino, a women, or a Jew? And how long will it take?

My answer: If Bush wins reelection, it's Hillary in `08. William

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2/04/2004 Add a comment

An update on the Willie Williams story from Ian's earlier post. Williams visited the University of Florida over the weekend. His amusing report on the trip features quotable lines such as "I'm not the Crocodile Hunter, I don't touch reptiles" when offered alligator tails, and "It was a weird beauty pageant because there were some people talking about black history the whole time."

His summary of the trip conveniently leaves out that Williams reportedly got into an altercation at a Gainesville night club at 2:30 in the morning and repeatedly punched some guy in the face.

Today Williams signed with Miami, and the Miami Herald has an audio clip of his phone call to Miami Head Coach Larry Coker, which is only mildly entertaining, mostly for the fact that these coaches are absolutely salivating over him and you can hear their hooting and hollering when they found out that he'd be playing for them for free for at least the next three years (unless Maurice Clarett shakes up the NFL's eligibility rules). ben

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2/04/2004 Add a comment

Sometimes the classic Steve Martin movie "The Jerk" seems awfully prescient. Recall the "Pizza in a Cup" vs. "Cup 'O Pizza" debate when Navin R. Johnson works for the traveling circus? Well now due to the nonsensical demands of our "eat as much bacon as you want and you'll lose weight" Atkins diet-crazed society, pizza chains seem to be seriously considering (and some have already started selling) pizza in a bucket. Direct quote: "It has all the pizza toppings placed in a crock or, for takeout customers, a metal can." ben

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2/03/2004 Add a comment

So you always wanted to know how to win at "Super Mario Brothers"? No, I don't mean strategies or tips or maps of where to find the one-ups, I mean exactly which buttons to press at exactly what time. Then this RSG-SMB-TAB website is for you. Watch one of the videos...they've found a way to make Nintendo boring!

(link via BoingBoing) ben

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2/03/2004 Add a comment

This is quite possibly the perfect NYT travel section headline. I didn't read the article but the mixture of 'luxury' with 'off the beaten track' in a quasi pun is what all travel sections strive to obtain. Ian

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2/01/2004 Add a comment

A while back I posted on journalist Rob Walker's decision to step down from Slate's "Ad Report Card" column. Well, he's resurfaced in the NYT magazine, writing a new column called "Consumed", which will hopefully become a regular occurrence. This week, an analysis of Michelob Ultra. I still don't get how they can market a beer like it's gatorade and get away with it. Beer dehydrates you, people! ben

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