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March 2009

March 10, 2009

Today I Broke the Internet

Any hugs I get today, I earned.

From Edible Apple:

Apple rejects latest version of popular Twitter client from App Store, and here’s why

Tue, Mar 10, 2009

News

Tweetie is a full-featured and popular Twitter client for the iPhone, and Apple recently rejected the latest version of the application because one of the top Twitter trends at the time Apple reviewed the update contained a swear word.  Specifically, the offensive and trending topic in question was “#FuckItList.”

Following ‘trends’ via Tweetie is hardly a new feature in the program, and there are a number of other Twitter clients currently available that also had the same offensive topic on their trendlists.  This is clearly an obvious mistake on Apple’s part, and hopefully they’ll rectify it soon and allow Tweetie version 1.3 into the App Store.

Now its common for people to jump out of their seats anytime Apple rejects a program from the app store, and even more so in cases like this where the rejection is so obviously rooted in a misunderstanding.   The App Store is still relatively young and Apple is still working on getting some of the kinks out, but in a case as obviously transparent as this, Apple will hopefully fix it sooner than later.

What the hell is the “FuckItList”?

Now you might be wondering what in the world is a “FuckItList”, and how in the hell did it manage to become one of the top trending topics on Twitter.  Well, as luck would have it, we happen to be big fans of the comedian who started it, Michael Ian Black.  Michael Ian Black, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, was a cast member on the hilarious early 90’s MTV sketch comedy show The State, and went on to star in the cult comedy film “Wet Hot American Summer”, and the short-lived Comedy Central series “Stella”. But most people probably recognize him best as the sarcastic talking head from VH1’s “I Love the 80’s”.  And the (70’s, 90’s, and millennium versions as well).

Anyways, on Twitter today, Michael Ian Black tweeted that he was creating a list of all the things he doesn’t need to do before he dies.  An anti bucket list of sorts that he aptly titled the FuckItList.  Some of the initial items on the FuckItList included touring Europe’s great cathedrals, learning about birds, and attending a MLB baseball game in every stadium.  Ian Black proceeded to ask his 71,000 followers to come up with their own FuckItLists, and they apparently responded en masse, causing the term “#FuckItList” to rise to the top on Twitter Trends.

March 07, 2009

"Hair" - My Review

A friend of mine secured two excellent tickets to the first preview of the Broadway revival of “Hair” last night. Normally, when somebody asks if I want to go see a Broadway musical, my response is, “No thank you,” because most musicals are like model railroading: fun to do, not to watch. 

But I love a lot of the songs in “Hair,” and I thought there might be some nudity involved, so I quickly accepted the offer. (As an aside, it seems like any modern theatrical production has to have at least a little nudity these days to ensure success, the exception being Blithe Spirit, which stars Angela Lansbury.)

Hair

There is much to love about this new “Hair.” The cast is uniformly great. They are young and exuberant, and all the guys have stomachs that made me feel bad about myself. In fact, among other themes, this show seems primarily to be about a celebration of the male form. The women are attractive too, but it’s a lot more dude parts than lady parts, which I suppose is a wise decision when you consider who is attending most Broadway shows: old women, 'tween girls, gay men, and at least one transvestite who was there last night and making an annoying show of being all transvestited out. (Note to aforementioned transvestite: it’s not necessary to dress like Kim Cattrall for us get the idea. We get it.)

All in all, the cast are an infectious tribe, and you get the feeling that they are probably as friendly with each other offstage as on. In fact, at the end, when they are dancing onstage with members of the audience flashing the peace sign and saying “love… love… love,” you can almost believe they mean it. 

The music is also terrific, as I expected, and the sets are pleasingly colorful without ever descending into nauseating psychedelia. Even better the strobe light effect is thankfully kept to a restrained minimum, which is good because I suffer from grand mal seizures (not true, but I never pass up an opportunity to say “grand mal seizure.”)

So that’s the good. Here’s the bad:

“Hair” is fucking depressing. Not because (SPOILER ALERT EVEN THOUGH YOU KNOW THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN PRETTY MUCH FROM MOMENT ONE) the guy dies at the end, but because a show that is supposed to be about the hopefulness of youth and the possibility of change, ultimately ends up being about wasted youth and the status quo. Why? Because it is impossible to separate the show from its context: we know who all those hopeful young people grow up to be – assholes.

What should be a relevant musical about war, change, and optimism is instead a nearly total indictment of the Baby Boomer generation. These people who marched to stop The Vietnam War grew up to give us The Iraq War. The people who decried materialism grew up to give us hedge funds and sub-prime mortgages. These people who sought to change the world, did. For the worse. I left the show last night feeling so angry at all those self-indulgent long-haired hippies who tried to levitate the Pentagon, but instead sank the whole country.

As a result, I had the uncomfortable thought running over and over in my mind last night while watching the show: it’s too soon. Too soon to restage a forty year old museum piece about a bunch of hippies? Yes. I don’t want to be reminded of their sunny naivete, I don’t want to hear about the fucking Age of Aquarius. There was no Age of Aquarius. It didn’t happen. Ultimately “Hair” doesn’t work because we know the ending before it begins: everybody sells out. In fact the truest line in the show is when the doomed Claude says something to the effect of "I don't want to change the world. I just want a lot of money." Amen, brother. It's telling that the only time the truth is spoken in "Hair" is when the character speaking is tripping out of his mind.

Unfortunately, "Hair" teaches us that, despite all of their pretensions, Free Love was just about getting laid, that Dropping Out was just about getting high. That there never was a real counter-culture. It was just a bunch of spoiled kids who didn’t want to go to war. I don’t blame them; I wouldn’t want to go to war either. So what did they do about it? Ask the current crop of kids in Baghdad and Kabul.

If all of this sounds incredibly cynical, it is. But sometimes cynicism is deserved. It’s like that old line, “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.” We were got.

I suspect “Hair” will be a big, rousing success this time around, as long as everybody just sits back and lets the sunshine in, which is what Broadway is, of course, all about. Sales of souvenir love beads will probably be pretty strong. But I left the theater feeling pretty pissed off at the world in general. Oddly, the people I ended up feeling the most sympathy for in the show were “the squares:” the parents and teachers and authority figures who “didn’t get it.” You know what? I didn’t get it either.

But the nudity was pretty hot. 

March 06, 2009

Thank You, Erik Ebeling...

for this picture, which is pretty much how I envision myself at all times. Please note that I am made from titanium.

Mib

Read My Thoughts On Barbie In, Of Course, Forbes Magazine

You can read the full article here. Why you would want to read anybody else's quotes is beyond me, but they are available.

Michael Ian Black


Michael Ian Black

One, I found their outfits very difficult to take on and off. The snaps weren't snappy enough, and I had a great deal of difficulty fitting their arms through the psychedelic pantsuits. Keep in mind I was only dressing and undressing Barbies at my sister's request. I preferred manly toys like the Bionic Man, who had a much more limited wardrobe. When I undressed them, like all children, I studied their nether regions intently. There was never anything there, either on Barbie or the Bionic Man. Because of this I was very concerned about the changes puberty would bring.

Michael Ian Black is a comedian. His first children's book, Chicken Cheeks, was published in January 2009.

--Anna Vander Broek

March 03, 2009

Is A Flying Unicorn Really Such A Difficult Concept To Understand?

Somebody offered to make me a Twitter background this evening, which quickly degenerated into a screaming match between me and the rest of the Twitter world.

Obviously I accepted the offer and obviously I requested that the background include a flying unicorn. (I also requested that I be pictured shirtless and totally ‘roided out, but again, obvious.)
Now, anybody who knows anything about design would naturally assume the presence of a flying unicorn for a Twitter background. After all, why even have a background if it's NOT going to contain a flying unicorn?

Well, immediately I was besieged with dozens of unhelpful messages saying things like, “Don’t you mean Pegasus?” No I do not mean Pegasus. Pegasus is simply a winged horse and does not have a horn. If I wanted a winged horse, I would have asked for a winged horse. But I didn’t. I said a flying unicorn.

Why don’t people believe that I have a command of the English language and a working knowledge of Greek mythology?

“Don’t you mean a centaur?”

No, you moron! A centaur is half man, half horse. Why would I possibly want a picture of some half horse, totally ripped dude that isn’t me on my Twitter page? Answer: I wouldn't. Plus a centaur doesn’t fly and it doesn’t have a fucking horn on its head. It is about as far from a flying unicorn as a mythological horse creature can be and still be a mythological horse creature. Perhaps a centaur would be an appropriate background if I was putting together a Twitter page specializing in horse gayness. But I’m not putting together a Twitter page specializing in horse gayness. I’m putting together a Twitter page specializing in me.

And I want a flying unicorn.

“Don’t you mean a hippogryph?”

A what? I'd never heard of such a thing. So I looked it up. Here is the definiton: a mythical creature with the body of a horse and the wings and head of an eagle.

Probably the reason I’ve never heard of a hippogryph is that they’re fucking stupid. A horse with an eagle head? Come on. Stupid. Feathers on the head, horsehair on the body? Stupid. Horse with a beak? Stupid. Plus the eagle head would be totally out of proportion with the horse body so you’d either have a monster-sized eagle head or a tiny little horsy body. Either way, stupid. And let’s not forget the most salient fact: no horn. At this point, I was getting pretty depressed. I felt like my request was pretty straightforward: a unicorn that can fly or, if you like, Pegasus with a horn.

Question: shouldn’t it be a called a unihorn and not a unicorn? It doesn’t have one corn. It doesn’t have any corns.

Eventually, somebody alerted me to the “pegacorn,” which as you can probably imagine, is exactly what I was talking about. What a relief! At last I knew I wasn’t crazy. But as relieved as I was to learn that the pegacorn existed, I was dismayed at the name. Pegacorn? That’s horrible. It sounds like something you’d see on some cut-rate Saturday morning cartoon show that couldn’t afford good Korean animators.

So yes, that is exactly what I meant, but I decided to stick with my preferred term, flying unicorn.

One thing I’ve learned about people is that they love unicorns, and especially flying unicorns, but nobody thinks through the ramifications of a herd of flying unicorns passing overhead. If you’ve ever been behind a regular horse for any extended period of time, you know what I’m talking about. Now think about a herd of flying horses. That could potentially be terrible. Not to mention dangerous. Because flying unicorns don’t shit regular manure, of course. They shit candy corn. Which is delicious in theory, but they shit so much of it that it could kill somebody. Especially if they’re flying really high. And the damage to automobiles would be atrocious.

And they cum leprechauns.

Which is also disgusting.

But I'm not going to mention that fact on Twitter because they'll all just yell at me again.
Pegacorn
(Please note the rainbow wings, an often overlooked but critical detail.)

Click after the break to see a potential design for my Twitter page courtesy of @chrisarneil

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March 02, 2009

Ski Update

We returned from our ski trip (Everest, VERY challenging) all in one piece. The kids really took to skiing. Alarmingly so. And, might I add, disappointingly so. I wanted them to enjoy it, but in the same way that they enjoyed the carousel at the mall: as a one-time event that need not be repeated. Sadly, my son loved skiing and now wants to go every day. This is bad news for several reasons.

First of all, skiing is really expensive. Everybody knows this already, but it is worth reiterating if only because I just shelled out more money than I thought humanly possible for the privilege of hurtling myself down a mountain at speeds I wouldn’t drive my car at. There was a time when I thought of this activity as “fun.” That time is now past. I’ve now gotten to an age where the thought of breaking a hip is omnipresent. At all times, in all endeavors, I am aware of the possibility that I might sustain an injury from which I may never fully recover. As a younger man, I never entertained those thoughts. Now those thoughts constitute what passes for my entertainment.

The kids, meanwhile, were getting lessons from competent and tan young people with mysterious accents who made skiing cute by giving the various ski motions names from the children’s menu at Applebee’s. Turning your skis inward was a “pizza wedge.” Pointing them straight was “French fries.” A little jump? “Popcorn.” Why they were encouraging my children to jump up and down while on skis I do not know.

I am of the opinion that ski instructors should give more honest names to the skiing maneuvers. Turning your ski inwards should be called, “I do not know how to stop so I am trying this.” Pointing them straight should be called, “I am out of control.” And jumping up and down should be called, “I am about to have a spinal fracture.” I wanted to offer these suggestions to the instructors but I was too intimidated by their radiant health and blindingly white smiles.

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