Posts filed under ‘entertainment’

sometimes the obvious works

Adidas Jersey Switch- US Rugby @ Rugby World Cup, New Zealand 2011.

Absolutely genius ad for Rugby WC 2011, Adidas, US Rugby and, frankly, for getting the female and gay male demographic.  Maybe Adidas has been paying close attention to Bravo’s rather clever strategy.

2010/07/06 at 14:39 Leave a comment

So you bought an eBook but still have no e-lit? Announcing: The Electronic Literature Directory 2.0

So you bought an eBook but still have no e-lit?
Announcing: The Electronic Literature Directory 2.0

ELO Part 2 Pending (with another piece on InanimateAlice): Press release to Uni’s around the US

For Immediate Release                                                                        Contact: Mark Marino
(310) 420-4481 or
Director of Communication
Electronic Literature Organization

Los Angeles, Calif. (May 25, 2010) — What good is an iPad if you only read 19th-century novels? The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) wants you to spend less time fretting over your gadgets and more time exploring new literary forms.

This June, ELO announces the Electronic Literature Directory 2.0, the latest version of its online directory of 21st-century electronic literature, full of novel interactive works, like:

Inanimate Alice:

And that’s just the beginning….

The Directory will officially launch at Brown University at the fourth International Conference and Festival (, June 3-6, 2010, hosted by professor and poet John Cayley.

“Print books on a Kindle are not electronic literature. E-lit uses computer processing to deliver new forms of story, poetry and drama,” says ELO President and University of Illinois professor Joseph Tabbi. “And we’re even seeing works that, while they’re clearly literary, fit none of those settled genres inherited from print.”

The works in the directory run the gamut from the first pieces of e-lit, such as Michael Joyce’s “afternoon,” to Jhave Johnston’s 2009 “human-mind-machine.” Authors include novelists, such as Kate Pullinger; poets, such as Stephanie Strickland; and literary scholars, such as N. Katherine Hayles of Duke University. The Directory includes international e-lit authors Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (South Korea) and Jaime Alejandro Rodríguez Ruiz (Colombia).

The latest version of the directory leaves behind the static layout of version one to take up the “Web 2.0” model of collaborative curation through a wiki structure. “However, unlike the just-about-anything-goes format of the Wikipedia, the Directory relies on the review and detailed annotations of an extensive directory review board,” says Davin Heckman, who currently coordinates the working group and teaches English at Siena Heights University.

“The Directory is ready to serve you some outstanding 21st-century summer reading or novel novels for your Fall 2010 syllabus,” says Heckman.

“Did you really buy that iPad just so you can read Sense and Sensibility? Reading print books on your iPad is like using your e-mail to send Morse Code,” says Mark Marino, Director of Communications of ELO and writing professor at the University of Southern California College of Letters, Arts & Sciences.

Although just in its initial stages, the working group has vetted more than 150 works and has as many more in the pipeline of this ever-expanding collection. Along with artistic pieces readers will ultimately find critical essays on electronic literature and venues for publication.

At the June conference entitled “ELO Archive and Innovate,” ELO will honor Robert Coover, whose New York Times essays ushered in and out the “golden age” of hypertext. Coover’s son Roderick appears in the Directory with his work “Unknown Territories.”

This year, ELO will also be publishing the second volume of its Electronic Literature Collection. To view the first volume, go to

Media passes to the conference are available upon request. Contact Mark Marino at (310) 420-4481 or

More electronic literature is just a click away!

Inanimate Alice: Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph
A multimedia online novel in four episodes set in China, Italy, Russia, and the protagonist’s “Hometown,” featuring a girl growing up in the 21st century. Reader participation and interactivity increase as the series progresses, reflecting Alice’s engagement and influence in her environment as she grows older.

Roulette: Daniel C. Howe and Bebe Molina
A language game for readers, a single work that can be read in roughly 64,000 ways. The lines of the poem shift every time readers interact with one of the three lines of the poem.

The Jew’s Daughter: Judd Morrissey with Lori Talley
An interactive, non-linear, multivalent narrative. A hypertext, but one that transforms the text (rather than just linking from one stable text to another). As soon as the reader moves the mouse over highlighted keywords (links), segments of a page replace one another fluidly.

JB Wock: Eugenio Tisselli
JB Wock is a self-described “English-speaking blogmachine” created by poet and programmer Eugenio Tisselli. JB Wock, a PHP script, searches the web for a phrase that it “likes” (from a site that publishes notable quotations), “twists” these phrases by substituting synonyms, and publishes the results daily on its blog (which also includes a comment feature, inviting readers to respond).

slippingglimpse: Stephanie Land and Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo
A 10-part generative Flash poem combining videos of ocean patterns with text.

Sydney’s Syberia: Jason Nelson
A poetic meditation on urban space presented through a Flash-based “infinite zoom” interface, which Nelson has repurposed and re-titled as “infinite click and read.”

Founded in 1998, The Electronic Literature Organization is a non-profit, multi-institutional organization that draws together an international body of artists and critics.

—— End of Forwarded Message

2010/05/26 at 15:16 Leave a comment

Augmented (Demented?) Reality: Fictional B&B gives a huge boost

Quite possibly my favorite media cross-over story of, well, ever.  Proving most Americans do have a sense of humor, and likely, too much free time.  A throw-away joke from NBC’s The Office sitcom boosts’s mindshare among the pop-culture obsessed.

As a constant female traveler who prefers to go solo, trips can be made or broken by a lodge/ hotel/ pension; wherever I choose to stay in any given place.  The safety, help, food, security, cleanliness and especially the advice from the proprietors is the most indispensable tool a traveler can have in a far-away, unfamiliar place.  Yet, few people I know (including myself) do more than rate a place by clicking on one to four stars, if they do anything at all.

We’ll spend days obsessing over the possible meaning of a specific article of clothing on LOST, or the many bad days of Jack Bauer on 24, the injustices (and fashion disasters) of the Academy Awards, churning out blog after tweet after Facebook status about any number of things- as long as they’re not real.  Music and books and iPads and bubble tea inspire furious commenting and speculation, but the truly useful information regarding experiences for families, business folk and leisure travelers alike-in numbers or alone inspire less effort, for reasons I don’t quite understand.

I’m not blameless, I do and don’t do the same things.  Though I realize how important accurate, descriptive and diverse-perspective travel advice can be, I rarely take the time post-trip to warn or recommend, to describe or lament missing an event or destination or critical interaction with hotel staff, restaurant owners, local guides, you name it.

But a fictional, thoroughly improbable establishment run by a non-existent ridiculous character (and beet farmer) from what isn’t exactly a hot-spot destination in Pennsylvania?  Well, that warrants a post and a piece in The New York Times, now doesn’t it?

For a B&B That Doesn’t Exist, the Online Reviews Keep Coming

Published: March 28, 2010

One recent TripAdvisor review of the agrotourism destination Schrute Farms awarded four stars, lavishly praising the food, while another yielded just one star, casting aspersions on the owners’ sanity. This wild disparity is especially odd because Schrute Farms doesn’t even exist.

The farm “belongs” to Dwight Schrute of the NBC series “The Office” (and his eccentric cousin Mose). In September 2007, the show asked to use TripAdvisor, a travel Web site, in an episode in which Dwight turns his beet farm into a bed and breakfast. Christine Petersen, the chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor, was thrilled. “We don’t have a big marketing budget and don’t do TV ads,” she said. “This was the big time.”

TripAdvisor set up a review page, thinking it would be good for a quick laugh or two. Paul Lieberstein, who wrote the episode, called “Money,” never even went back to the site afterward. “We thought it would be fun, but then we didn’t think about it anymore,” he said in an interview.

But Schrute Farms is still doing big business — for TripAdvisor. Reruns and DVDs keep inspiring new visits to the site and there are now over 600 reviews (more than for many major Manhattan hotels, Ms. Petersen said).

Many reviewers add their own funny flourishes, enhancing the show’s mythology: Mandy Pyszka from Milwaukee, who stumbled upon the TripAdvisor site while searching Google for Dwight Schrute quotes, raved about the beet pudding.

by Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, beet farmer and agrotourism hotelier.

Carla Harrington of Fredricksburg, Va., was surprised to find 82 percent of reviews recommended Schrute Farms. “I thought about what it would feel like not to know them as TV characters but to really go to this B & B,” she said in an interview. Her one-star slam called Dwight “an overbearing survivalist who appears to have escaped from the local mental asylum.”

Mr. Lieberstein, who also plays Toby Flenderson, a human resources staff member, on the show, said that “The Office” might someday revisit the farm. TripAdvisor executives said they would love that. “We’ve started many a meeting with Dwight’s quote that TripAdvisor is ‘the lifeblood of agrotourism,’ ” Ms. Petersen said. She has contemplated adding the Bates Motel and “The Shining’s” Overlook Hotel.

But not everyone gets the joke. Recently, TripAdvisor added a caveat explaining that Schrute Farms was fictional, Ms. Petersen said. “We had a complaint from someone who had wanted to go there.”

A version of this article appeared in print on March 29, 2010, on page B4 of the New York edition.

2010/03/31 at 22:35 1 comment

10 Rules for Increasing Community Engagement

10 Rules for Increasing Community Engagement

Courtesy Mashable,

10 crucial things you need to do to keep your audience engaged with you and with your business/community.

Posted using ShareThis

2009/12/16 at 18:26 Leave a comment

Snuggies: the 8th Wonder of the Modern World?

We’re all feeling the recession.  We’ve heard recently in the U.S. that it was over and the markets were stable, employers were just not hiring yet.  Then, it seemed things might not be so rosy.  This week brought rumors and reports that Dubai, Dubai, might be going bankrupt*.  In this increasingly intertwined global economy, every little up or down (or report of one) can have incredible ripple effects.

Imagine my surprise, then as I’ve recently returned to the States after an over-seas, TV-less assignment to see a new and expanded Snuggie infomercial.  At first I thought “ha, ha!  Snuggies in leopard print, just when I thought things could not get tackier!”  And then I started thinking about it: Snuggies are releasing a “designer line” of their product.  Unless it’s a marketing ruse to make the product’s profitability greater than it actually is, this meant something truly scary and of a significance I have yet to figure out: Snuggies are making money.  Making money, and enough to expand their product line.

For those of you that don’t know what a Snuggie is, yet are still here, I’ll try to explain.  In the States, and most English speaking nations, we have infomercials for products that seem to be completely superfluous, useless and usually are so ridiculous in their uselessness to the average consumer that they are laughable.  This particular product has been the latest in a long series of “As Seen On TV” products that have been lampooned and scoffed at in their inanity.

Essentially, It’s a blanket with arm holes, made of fleece.  The original advertisement points out how cumbersome and just plain inconvenient blankets and sweaters can be: you have to move your hands from under a blanket to, say knit, or answer the phone.  The actors seem have their spirits broken by this unfathomable act of uncovering their arms to perform menial tasks.  They can’t believe humanity has made it this far with such a burden.  But then!  Blessings!  Someone has invented a product that looks like a blanket with sleeves.  You can use your arms now!  You can lift the remote control from the couch without having to negotiate that insidious blanket.  A huge weight has been lifted and a milestone in the evolution of man has been reached.

As my 22 year old sister pointed out: it’s a robe you put on backwards.  That you pay a lot of shipping and handling for.

Everyone from news shows to parody programs (like The Soup and Saturday Night Live) and late night talk show hosts (Jay Leno, David Letterman) have all taken potshots at the Snuggie.  It’s just too absurd to believe, but too real not to mention.

Well, look who’s having the last laugh.  They know have leopard print.  And zebra print.  And camel (of course).  And THERE’S EVEN ONE FOR YOUR DOG.**

How can there be a recession, with reports of empty stores on New York’s always busy upper Broadway on Black Friday, and the run away success of a completely useless and superfluous product?  According to their website, they’ve sold over 4 million units in three months.  That means more than one percent of the US population has bought one in the last quarter.  Now, a lot of this is through TV marketing trickery (buying sets, up-selling, confusing ordering practices), but still.

Clearly half of this me joking, but it raises a real point: what in the french are consumers thinking?  We hear about belt tightening and foreclosures and bankruptcy, but the completely unnecessary products of the world go on, and do well.

It’s not marketing.  The ads are too targeted, too cheesy, too insignificant to have the impact they claim to have.  So I ask: what do you think drives consumers to these purchases when they are tightening budgets elsewhere?  It’s not escapist and it’s not essential.


* Dubai is also a cautionary tale of excess, proof of the adage of location, location, location and bubble budget spending (use it or lose it), but it’s a very serious development.

** I’m not making this up.  Please see the second video below- there’s one that combines both, but then you wouldn’t really be getting the full Snuggie experience.

Designer Snuggie Infomercial here (brings you to youtube)

And for your little dog, too infomercial (youtube)

2009/11/28 at 20:42 Leave a comment

it seemed a little too easy, didn’t it: hiccups appear in disney/marvel takeover

from today’s new york times:

Heirs to the comic book artist Jack Kirby, above, have sent notices of copyright termination to Marvel, Disney and other media companies.

Heirs to the comic book artist Jack Kirby, above, have sent notices of copyright termination to Marvel, Disney and other media companies.

LOS ANGELES — Walt Disney’s proposed $4 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment may come with a headache: newly filed claims challenging Marvel’s long-term rights to some of its superhero characters.

Heirs to the comic book artist Jack Kirby, a creator of characters and stories behind Marvel mainstays like “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four,” last week sent 45 notices of copyright termination to Marvel and Disney, as well as Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and other companies that have been using the characters.

The notices expressed an intent to regain copyrights to some of Mr. Kirby’s creations as early as 2014, according to a statement disclosed on Sunday by Toberoff & Associates, a law firm in Los Angeles that helped win a court ruling last year returning a share of the copyright in Superman to heirs of one of the character’s creators, Jerome Siegel.

Reached by telephone on Sunday, Marc Toberoff, the firm’s founding partner, declined to elaborate on his firm’s statement. A spokeswoman for Marvel had no comment.

Disney said in a statement, “the notices involved are an attempt to terminate rights 7 to 10 years from now, and involve claims that were fully considered in the acquisition.” Fox, Sony, Paramount and Universal had no comment.

Marvel’s management agreed to sell the company to Disney last month, though the deal still requires the approval of Marvel’s shareholders.

Even before the Kirby family sent its notices, Disney was facing criticism from some Wall Street analysts who expressed concern that Marvel’s complex web of copyright agreements might prevent Disney from capitalizing on some Marvel assets.

Sony has the film rights to Spider-Man in perpetuity, for instance, while Fox has the rights to X-Men and Fantastic Four. Paramount has a distribution agreement for a few movies that Marvel is producing on its own, including a second “Iron Man” film.

Hasbro has rights to produce certain toys, and Universal holds Florida theme park rights to Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, among other characters.

Mr. Kirby, who died in 1994, worked with the writer and editor Stan Lee to create many of the characters that in the last decade have become especially valuable to Hollywood. Mr. Kirby was involved with the Incredible Hulk, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man and the Avengers, among other characters that have been adapted for the screen since his death.

The window for serving notice of termination on the oldest of the properties opened several years ago, and will remain open for some time under copyright law. But Disney’s pending purchase of Marvel has given anyone with possible Marvel claims more reason to pose a challenge.

Under copyright law, the author or his heirs can begin a process to regain copyrights for a period of time after the original grant. If Mr. Kirby’s four children were to gain the copyright to a character Mr. Kirby helped create, they might become entitled to a share of profits from films or other properties using it.

They might also find themselves able to sell rights to certain characters without consent from Marvel, Disney or the various studios that have licensed the Marvel properties for their hit films.

In July, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that Warner Brothers and its DC Comics unit had not violated rights of the Siegel heirs in handling internal transactions related to Superman. But an earlier ruling had granted the heirs a return of their share in the copyright.

Copyright matters have become increasingly tangled for Hollywood, as it continues to trade on characters and stories that were created decades ago but are now subject to deadlines and expiration dates under federal copyright law.

2009/09/21 at 07:50 1 comment

Software companies are funny, too.

A friend of mine turned me on to this series of Norton Anti-virus ads. I had to climb up on top of a box to spit out water. Classy, I know, but the smart choice when one’s office is lousy with hardware.

The first pair of commercials features the highly underrated 80’s metal band with whom I had a deep, deep (one way) relationship when I was what is now referred to as a tween. The love began with their eponymous title song contribution to the return to excellence that was Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors, which was excellent, despite and in spite of, the casting of Patricia Arquette.

Anyhoo, there are a series of four commercials on YouTube, showing what happens when you allow bad things into your computer. The first Dokken one, the “allow” is kind of weak.

Now, I knew “Deny” would be better because I had seen Dokken as part of the legendary Monsters of Rock tour (at Giant’s Stadium, no less). These guys we no slouches, the line-up in which they were included was:
Kingdome Come
The Scorpions
Van Hagar

My neck muscles were toast for two weeks from the headbanging. It was that good.

Ah, youth.

Anyway, my faith was rewarded by the “Deny” version:

Now, in case you’re thinking I just have some giant Dokken hang-up (come on, that’s so 1987, there are a couple featuring UFC beast Kimbo Slice, which are better.


and, of course,

For substance about the product, I refer you thus (from PC Mag/ Ziff Davis):

Norton 2010 review

and, of course, Intel, which is also doing a rather interesting rebrand of its packaging using coding symbols.  more on that soon.

2009/09/16 at 20:11 1 comment

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