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CNN Headline News to Rebrand Itself as No Longer About Headlines Or News

Monday, February 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

CNN execs will soon learn that most Americans learn about social media somewhere other than cable TV stations. Namely, on social media.

HLN plans to rebrand itself as a TV gathering place for the social-media generation.

The network says it will reformat its programming to curate news, trending topics and other viral content from all media platforms.

In doing so, it will depart from its recent identity as more of a traditional talk-TV channel.

HLN executive vice president Albie Hecht says other networks may report on the conversation, but “HLN will be part of it.”

No it won’t.

 

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What’s This? No More Flappy Bird?

Monday, February 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The creator of the mega-hit mobile app Flappy Bird has pulled it from both the iTunes and Google Play universes.

The game’s creator kept his word and pulled down the mobile hit on Sunday, ending a short but incredible climb up the charts on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

The game’s official pages on both stores have been pulled, and any sight of Flappy Bird on the top Games charts has been scrubbed.

Fans of Flappy Bird who still have the game on their smartphone or tablet can still play. Others who later deleted the game should be able to download the game again by accessing their purchase history on either iTunes or Google Play.

The removal of the game followed a tweet by Nguyen on Saturday, saying he planned to yank the popular game from app stores. “I cannot take this anymore,” he wrote.

The free game shot to the top of both iTunes and Google Play stores over the past week, hitting number one. The developer said last week he was making $50,000 per day on ads displayed in the game. But all the attention it was bringing him was ruining his life.

So now it’s gone from both stores, but if you have it installed you can still play it. If you installed it but deleted it, you can still get it from your download history. But new players are out of luck, at least for now.

Phones and tablets with the life-destroying Flappy Bird app installed are asking insane prices on eBay.

Just so folks know, I have a nearly new Android phone with Flappy Bird installed. Make me an offer…

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Bumper Sticker Of The Week (Year Already?)

Friday, February 7th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Distribute freely.

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The World’s Most Expensive Drink

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Go big or go home.

A Russian entrepreneur blew $50,000 for a cocktail purported to be the world’s most expensive.

Andrei Melnikov bought the pricey drink, which was made with a rare Hennessy blend described as the “jewel in the crown of the Hennessy Cognac range” that was served in a glass studded with four carats of diamonds from Italian Crivelli jewelers.

It was mixed up at an event to mark the opening of Moscow’s first-ever ice terrace at Reka Moscow restaurant, which opened the bar in the run-up to the Winter Olympics.

The 80-seat ice bar was created using 20 tons of Siberian ice. It comes complete with ice seats, ice bars and ice sculptures — and has special infrared heating system to keep the guests warm.

This latest Hennessy cocktail beats out the tab for a cocktail the Guinness Book of World Records recognizes as the world’s most expensive drink, called The Winston. Made by Joel Heffernan in February 2013, that cocktail was $12,970 and contained Croizet’s 1858 ‘Cuvee Leonie’ cognac –a cognac which also holds the world record title as the most expensive bottle of cognac.

Apologies to Steve Green if I am stepping on his territory here, but after two and a half days of listening to people argue about a TV commercial I felt like some liquor dreaming was in order. We all need goals.

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Singing Pets Arrive to Rescue Obamacare

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Enroll America — the Obama/Organizing for America offshoot — produced this ad in an attempt to get more young American women to sign up for Obamacare. The non-profit is spending multiple millions of dollars on this.

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Clearly, singing cats, goldfish and pugs will fix everything. All of it. No more problems.

They’ll fix the bad Healthcare.gov website. They’ll fix the fact that you can’t get basic errors on your applications corrected. They’ll fix the website’s inability to calculate subsidies. They’ll fix all the uncertainty that Obamacare has brought to part-time and full-time workers. They’ll fix the fact that several state exchanges are on the verge of collapse.

Singing pets will fix the damage that Obamacare is doing to jobs and productivity. Singing pets will fix the fact that Obamacare depends on young people signing up, but also allows those same young people to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans until they’re 26 years old. Singing pets will fix all of it. Singing pets will even fulfill Obama’s promise to bring your premiums down, let you keep your doctor, and even his promise to hold the people who botched Healthcare.gov accountable.

I wonder sometimes, do the Josh Marshalls, Ezra Kleins and Greg Sargents of the world ever feel embarrassed for being such hope dopes? They have staked themselves to the ground defending Obamacare. Now they’re sided up with singing goldfish.

By the way, since the ad is supposed to cater to young women, why is there a model ship with a Japanese flag on it in the background here? It’s an odd set design choice.

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What’s the Problem with Coke’s ‘America the Beautiful’ Ad?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Global American brand Coca-Cola graced Sunday’s anti-climactic Super Bowl with this ad.

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Just about anything can provoke an online reaction these days, and some viewers weren’t happy with Coke’s ad.

It was that last aspect that unfortunately, brought out America the Ugly, at least on some parts of the Internet. “WTF?” asked one post on Twitter. “@CocaCola has America the Beautiful being sung in different languages in a #SuperBowl commercial? We speak ENGLISH here, IDIOTS.” Some of the vitriol may have been satire for all I know, but there was much too much for that to explain all of the “English or GTFO” sentiment–not all of it in impeccable English itself. To wit: “Dear @CocaCola : America the beautiful is sang in English. Piss off. #DontFuckWithUs.” (To be fair, not every Tweet brought up by a search on “Coca Cola English” agreed: “Coca Cola brings the commercial of the night: America the Beautiful sung in Spanish, English, Arabic, and other languages. Beautiful.”)

It probably wasn’t the best ad of the game. Budweiser’s “puppy love” ad may have been, but it’s all subjective.

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This Bud ad probably drew out some tears.

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This Chrysler ad was probably the clearest recording ever made of Bob Dylan’s voice. It’s also 2 minutes that feel like an hour.

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But getting back to Coke’s “America the Beautiful” ad, apparently some people think you can’t be patriotic if you don’t speak English as your first language. English isn’t the only language spoken in my own home. Does that mean that we’re somehow less patriotic?

To me, Coke’s ad says the same thing that the Statue of Liberty says — you can become American no matter where you’re from. America the idea is beautiful. It’s not bound or limited by the fact that English is the dominant language here. It’s a powerful idea. America is the anti-tribal, anti-ethnic origins nation.

English probably should be our official language for the purposes of official government business and to unify us along a basic language standard. Also, to save the government money in operating costs. Immigrants should be assimilated and Americanized, as they once were, though many immigrants come here and learn a deeper appreciation for the freedoms to be found here than many of us who were born here, because we take it for granted. The fact is, proficiency in a land’s dominant language is just about mandatory if one wants to get anywhere in life. If you move to France, learn French. If you move to Spain, learn Spanish. If you come to the United States, learn English. We should have an orderly process for legal immigration that serves America’s interests, secures our borders, and keeps threats out. Immigration shouldn’t be politicized, but we’re far beyond that now. The problem we have now is that our current government doesn’t defend the value of American citizenship, and politics are cracking common sense. President Obama can’t be trusted to implement any changes to immigration law well, or fairly. Just look at how he has sold and is running Obamacare. Coke’s ad wasn’t a comment on any of that, though.

Last night’s Coke Super Bowl ad was nothing new. It wasn’t a direct or indirect commentary on government or immigration (there was an embedded comment on gay marriage in it, though, but that’s not a language thing). Coke has been sounding a similar theme since at least 1971.

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If anything, Coke’s latest ad is an improvement over the globalist hippie “hilltop” ad. Maybe Coke has come home.

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OPEN THREAD: Finally, Wine Pairings For Fast Food

Friday, January 31st, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Never let your fancy drop.

A good weekend project would be to try all eight.

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California Enlists Richard Simmons to Save Obamacare

Friday, January 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Really? Is this where we are as a country now?

Facing a $78 million budget shortfall, California’s ObamaCare exchange has spent $1.37 million to fund an outreach video featuring exercise guru Richard Simmons gyrating on the floor and hugging a contortionist who is kneeling with his buttocks in the air.

The “Tell a Friend — Get Covered” campaign by Covered California features other celebrities Olivia Wilde, comic Billy Eirchner, Fran Drescher and Tatyana Ali. The centerpiece of the effort was an eight-hour live web stream that ran on Jan. 16.

Richard Simmons is a remarkable figure. He has managed to build a career as a “health guru” on having a mediocre physique and running around shouting like a maniac and hugging people at random. Nice work if you can get it, I guess. Not everyone is cut out for it.

California is a basket case verging on bankruptcy. Its answer to every single problem boils down to empowering government by spending more money. It’s also a Democrat stronghold, but that fact is never held against the national Democrats. Here in Texas, we often hear allegedly neutral media lament the failings of the Wendy Davis campaign, because “Texas deserves a real race.” Funny, we never hear that in regards to California, Maryland, New York or any other true blue state. It just never comes up. Apparently the people in those states don’t “deserve a real race.”

 

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Cheers for Scarlett Johansson

Thursday, January 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Actress Scarlett Johansson has stepped down as OxFam ambassador over a disagreement with the group on Israel.

A statement released by Johansson’s spokesman Wednesday said the 29-year-old actress has “a fundamental difference of opinion” with Oxfam International because the humanitarian group opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, saying they are illegal and deny Palestinian rights.

“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She is very proud of her accomplishments and fundraising efforts during her tenure with Oxfam.”

At issue is Johansson’s contract to promote SodaStream. She will appear in an ad for the homebrew soda kit that will air during the Super Bowl on February 2. SodaStream has a factory in an Israeli settlement on the West Bank, which employs Jews and Palestinians. But the location of the factory upsets anti-Israel activists. OxFam, which has advocated anti-Israel boycotts in the past, came under pressure from anti-Israel activists to sever ties with Johansson. It released a statement saying it would review its contract with Johansson. After Johansson herself came under criticism, she released a statement in which she supported economic cooperation and “social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine.”

The actress decided to end her relationship with OxFam, which she has represented and raised funds for since 2007.

Here is Johansson’s SodaStream ad.

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More NFL Bad Lip Reading, the Little Sisters of the Poor, And Other Very Important Stories that You Must Not Miss

Friday, January 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s Friday. I’m going to close out my shift celebrating a victory — the Little Sisters of the Poor are winning against Obamacare’s abortifacient mandate.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Friday will enable a religious-affiliated non-profit and other groups like it to remain temporarily exempt from Obamacare requirements to cover birth control and other reproductive health they oppose for religious reasons.

The justices extended an injunction first granted on an emergency basis just before the New Year for a Catholic charity for the elderly run by nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The order will remain in effect while lower courts continue to wrangle with the merits of the primary challenge to the health law mandates on contraception.

Still, it is an important victory for the two groups that appealed socially charged requirements that were a negotiated compromise aimed at allowing coverage but also giving those who object a way around having to provide it directly.

The Obama administration continues to insist that nuns should pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control, which is utter madness.

The earth-shattering news that the mainstream media refuses to report. Because reporting it threatens to shatter their world.

A blueprint for creating viral Interwebs content.

A prototype for Noah’s Ark? A prototype for Noah’s Ark.

LONDON (AP) — It was a vast boat that saved two of each animal and a handful of humans from a catastrophic flood.

But forget all those images of a long vessel with a pointy bow – the original Noah’s Ark, new research suggests, was round.

A recently deciphered 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia – modern-day Iraq – reveals striking new details about the roots of the Old Testament tale of Noah. It tells a similar story, complete with detailed instructions for building a giant round vessel known as a coracle – as well as the key instruction that animals should enter “two by two.”

Round? That doesn’t fit any of the drawings I’ve ever seen. The thing on Mt. Ararat is rectangular.

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We say we’ll die for America. Will we buy for America?

I’m conflicted over the Super Bowl. The NFL is too — they might have to move it if the polar vortex demands it. Gee, a snow storm in New York in winter. Who coulda seen that coming?

I don’t have a team in the game. That’s been true since 1996. I do like the Broncos. I’ve always liked Peyton Manning. I’ve never had a problem with the Seattle Seahawks. Richard Sherman’s post-game interview, the one he has apologized for, made me like him and the Hawks. Every subsequent revelation about him has made me like him more.

So I’m not sure what to do. Hope for a good game, I guess.

I will associate myself with this comment. Sherman had no reason to apologize. Justin Bieber, a burgeoning criminal who is not an American citizen, does.

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Egads, the horror.

Obama says he has confidence in all of his nominees. That confidence is often misplaced. Obama was never vetted, and he doesn’t vet many of his appointees.

This made me laugh.

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Is Obamacare Forcing the Captain and Tennille to Divorce?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The nation was shocked this week when the duo behind the smash hit “Love Will Keep Us Together” announced that they are getting a divorce. The Captain and Tennille, those 1970s icons of soft rock, were splitting up after 39 years.

But like all sad songs, there’s a backstory.

In 2008, the pair moved into their dream home in Prescott, AZ. Shortly after that, the “Captain,” Daryl Dragon, was diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s Disease. The couple haven’t had a hit song in decades. Medical bills pile up, and his ailment makes it increasingly hard to tour and perform on stage. What’s Tennille without the Captain?

Remember this story, about the New York couple who are considering divorce because Obamacare makes health insurance cheaper for singles than for married couples? They discovered that they could save a significant amount of money if they lived as married, but are divorced in the eyes of the government. That marriage penalty — an odious social policy embedded in what was sold as a fiscal/economic policy — may be relevant to the Captain and Tennille’s situation.

TMZ, of all places, first posed the question:

Here’s what’s unclear — whether it’s possible Toni really filed for health insurance reasons … whether his coverage might be better if they were divorced.

In the age of Obamacare, the government echoes the pair’s famous lyrics — “you belong to me now.” But the IRS, not love, is what keeps us together.

The Captain and Tennille apparently still live together. The National Enquirer (I know, I know, but they got John Edwards when the national media couldn’t be stirred) report that the Captain’s condition has forced them to downsize their lives. They couldn’t take care of the dream home anymore — deteriorating health plus tight finances.

It all seems crazy, but so does the divorce of the Captain and Tennille, and so does the idea that the government can now force you to buy a product or face the loving embrace of the IRS, and that people who shout “Keep out of my bedroom!” support all this. We live in crazy times, so crazy that I’m citing TMZ and the Enquirer in an article about singers I haven’t even thought of since I was a kid.

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New Caption Contest: Clint Eastwood’s Empty Chair Seen in White House Photo

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 - by Myra Adams
"POTUS speech research" is the official White House caption.

“POTUS speech research” is the official White House caption.

 

Today Politico featured this heartwarming piece with the headline, ”Backstage SOTU peek on Instagram.”

The White House, which is no stranger to social media, took to Instagram on Wednesday to give Americans a behind-the-scenes look as the president prepares his State of the Union address. President Barack Obama’s chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, took over the White House Instagram account to post a few snapshots of the speech being prepared.

The series of five images shows Keenan at Obama’s desk discussing a speech draft; a fat binder and stack of papers labeled “POTUS speech research” next to a cup of coffee bearing the presidential seal; …..

 STOP RIGHT THERE! 

Is this the most perfect photo for a photo caption contest in our glorious history of photo caption contests?

For now we have proof that Clint Eastwood’s empty chair from the stage of the 2012 Republican National Convention resides in the White House speech writing room!

Eastwood’s infamous “empty chair performance” has personal meaning for me because I was in the audience watching, thinking and HOPING that his act was playing out better on television then it was in the Tampa convention center. But I was wrong because it came across WORSE!

So back to now….just how much fun will our brilliant, creative and snarky readers have while writing captions for this photo?

How many hilarious “thought bubbles” will emanate from the chair, the coffee cup, the binders full of  ___.

I can hardly wait…..

 

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Open Thread: ‘Price Is Right’ Winner Awarded A Most Unfortunate Trip

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

The poor thing face-plants Drew Carey right in the future Careys. On national television.

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Warren Buffett Has A Cool Billion For Anyone Who Fills Out A Perfect March Madness Bracket

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

As bracket challenges go, this one is worth a shot.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans are partnering to award anyone who fills out a perfect 2014 Men’s NCAA Tournament bracket with $1 billion.

The prize will be paid out in 40 annual installments of $25 million. If there’s more than one winner they’ll have to share. The winner or winners can also take or split up an immediate $500 million lump sum payment.

Don’t worry, they’re dishing out plenty for some less-than-perfect brackets too.

In addition to the grand prize, Quicken will award $100,000 each to the contest’s 20 most accurate ‘imperfect’ brackets submitted by qualified entrants in the contest to use toward buying, refinancing or remodeling a home.

Of course, if the grand prize is won it will be by a 20 year old woman who hasn’t watched ten minutes of college hoops in her life and completely spitballed her bracket.

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NFL May Dump the Extra Point, but Probably Won’t

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Fox and others are reporting that the NFL is considering doing away with the most routine scoring play in football — the extra point kick.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the NFL Network on Monday that the league’s Competition Committee is looking at proposals that would end extra point kicks after touchdowns in favor of a revised scoring system.

“The extra point is almost automatic,” Goodell told the network. “I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd (attempts). So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”

One proposal would have touchdowns count for 7 points automatically, but teams could elect to go for two. If they did and succeeded, they would get a 2-point conversion, but if they failed, would only get six points.

When I first heard this idea I didn’t like it, but upon further review, it’s not bad. Football games now seem to run about twice as much ad time as game time, especially when games like this season’s Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos shootout went go to 51-48. The game was exciting, but ad time between scores made it seem like it would never end.

If you’ve gotten the impression that there isn’t much action in televised football, that’s not a mistaken impression. Commercial time takes up roughly six times as much airtime as actual football, according a study by the Wall Street Journal.

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Game action only accounts for 11 minutes out of a typical 3 to 3.5 hour football broadcast. Soccer haters are gonna hate, but one thing that I love about watching that sport on TV is that once they kickoff a half, there are no commercial breaks. Commercial breaks do not interrupt the flow of the game. Game time is game time and 45 minutes usually ends up taking between 45 and 48 minutes, accounting for stoppage time. Football delivers far less action time, but far more opportunities to air ads, so it will always be more viable as a TV product in the US than soccer.

The extra point kick is usually one of the dullest moments of football, coming after the excitement of scoring a touchdown and before what is now usually a booming kickoff through the back of the end zone. But eliminating it would come at a price. A worthless play is worth a lot of ad revenue.

As football games are aired now, networks tend to run a full commercial break after a team scores a touchdown, return for the all but automatic extra point kick, run another full slate of commercials, then return for the kickoff, and run a full slate of ads after the kickoff, then return for first down. Eliminating the extra point kick would eliminate a couple of those commercial breaks. That would cost between three and six minutes of air time after every single touchdown. Eliminating that many commercial breaks would be great for keeping the game going and flowing and would shorten overall airtime, but runs the risk of bringing in fewer ad dollars per game. The NFL could remedy that just by charging more per spot, but that might also drive some ad buyers away. If teams and players stand to haul in less revenue due to the elimination of the extra point kick, they will fight to keep the extra point kick.

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Media Bias Primer 101: Duck Dynasty Season Premiere Edition

Friday, January 17th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

When it comes to bias from the MSM, it isn’t always what is said but often what isn’t. For example, look at these headlines regarding this past Wednesday’s season premiere of the show:

TV Line: Ratings: Duck Dynasty Premiere Down Sharply

Huffington Post: ‘Duck Dynasty’ Ratings Are Down Dramatically From Last Season

Talking Points Memo: Ratings Plummet For ‘Duck Dynasty’ Season Premiere After Star’s Gay-Bashing Interview

All, of course, mention the Phil Robertson interview to imply that there was a definite cause and effect in play.

It is true, the numbers were down sharply from last season’s premiere. Here is one tiny fact that none mentioned: last season’s Duck Dynasty premiere was the highest rated nonfiction series broadcast in cable history.

Oh, one other little salient point not noted in any of the three (there were more articles/posts I could have added but I felt three examples would suffice) is that the Duck Dynasty premiere easily won the ratings battle that night.

The way the lefties set this up was clear: if Duck Dynasty didn’t break it’s own record and have the best night in cable ever, Phil’s interview ruined the show. This is easy to do if no other context than last year’s number was provided.

While it may have been a big percentage drop, are they really in trouble with an 8.5 million viewers premiere? Here is more context: the much anticipated final season premiere of Breaking Bad drew 5.9 million.

The Robertsons are fine.

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Weinstein UNCHAINED — The Top 7 Most Violent, Gun-Toting Harvey Weinstein Films

Friday, January 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Hollywood kingpin Harvey Weinstein told Howard Stern this week that he is making a movie to take on the NRA and “make it wish it weren’t alive.” Mr. Weinstein further claimed that he hates guns, and we don’t need them in this country. Courtesy the great folks at Grabien, let’s take a gander at some of Harvey Weinstein’s cinema fare. Weinstein seems to need guns — lots and lots of guns — in his movies.

The movies shown include Django Unchained, Pulp Fiction, Rambo, Planet Terror, Inglourious Basterds, Sin City, and Piranha 3D.

Hollywood hypocrite Harvey Weinstein hates guns, except when they’re making him richer than a medium-sized country. Which, incidentally, you could probably invade and take over if you just used the guns Weinstein shows in his movies.

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Open Thread: #WINNING-Hershey’s Wants To 3-D Print Chocolate

Thursday, January 16th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

NOW.

Hershey’s has partnered with a 3-D printing company to make headway in chocolate innovation. The chocolate maker announced Thursday it was entering a multi-year agreement with 3D Systems to produce confectionary treats leveraging 3D Systems’ technology, which includes two new sugar and chocolate printers unveiled at CES earlier this month.

“We believe that innovation is key to delivering relevant, compelling consumer experiences with our iconic brands,” William Papa, Hershey’s vice president and chief R&D officer, said in a statement. “Whether it’s creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3-D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future.”

This, then a hover car, and technology has done all it can for me.

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Get Ready, NRA: Harvey Weinstein Is Coming After You with a Movie Starring Meryl Streep

Thursday, January 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s hard to improve on Ed Morrissey’s* take on this, so I won’t try. What we have is one of Hollywood’s most successful purveyors of wanton violence pledging to produce a film that he says will make the NRA “wish it weren’t alive.”

It’s not “alive,” as it’s not a living thing but a constitutional rights group. But you get his point.

Big-time movie producer Harvey Weinstein revealed Wednesday that he is making an anti-gun movie with actress Meryl Streep that is going to make the National Rifle Association “wish they weren’t alive.”

During an interview with Howard Stern on his radio show, Weinstein said the new full feature drama will take the NRA “head on.” He also said he’s never owned a gun and never will.

“I don’t think we need guns in this country. And I hate it. I think the NRA is a disaster area,” Weinstein said.

Well, I don’t think we need most of Weinstein’s hyperviolent movies in this country, but I don’t have a Hollywood name and massive bankroll that I can use to attack him. He also has the benefit of the First Amendment, while he pretends that the Second Amendment doesn’t exist. He has the financial, if not the moral or intellectual or historical, highground here.

Weinstein is to violent movies what Alfred Nobel is to explosives, more or less, as regards this movie that is sure to alienate the majority of Americans who support the NRA and its purpose. Nobel created the prizes that bear his name out of guilt that he created dynamite, which was quickly turned into a weapon of war. He also used the fortune he gained from dynamite to create those prizes, which have succeeded in ennobling his name. Weinstein is up to something similar here, plus creating a movie that the liberal set will love and nod at among themselves knowingly. It’s a self-centered attack on better, wiser people.

Dynamite at least has useful, civilized purposes. Its prime use has been to help create roads linking cities and countries together and quarry stone for construction. Many of Weinstein’s products can’t be argued to be as useful, or even useful at all. Through movies like Kill Bill and the Grindhouse flicks he tosses blood and bullets onscreen and into our brains to make himself rich and our culture more and more coarse. His products are mostly odious and destructive. Yet he keeps making them. And they keep making him richer and richer.

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Open Thread: Smashing Security Camera After It Takes Your Pic Doesn’t Work

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Money line:

“…turns out, they already had him in custody.”

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Lone Survivor Shocks Hollywood, Becomes the First Movie Hit of 2014

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

“Box office experts” seem to be every bit as surprised by pro-military media hits as economists are when the Obama economy tanks. Which is to say, if they really knew anything they wouldn’t be surprised at all. Moviefone:

When “Lone Survivor” expanded from limited release to 2,875 theaters this weekend, box office experts didn’t expect much. “Zero Dark Thirty” aside, movies about the fighting in Afghanistan haven’t done very well. Predictions ranged from $17 million to $27 million — nothing that would upset the annual January doldrums. So everyone was taken by surprise with the movie opened wide with an estimated $38.5 million. That’s the biggest January debut for any movie since “Cloverfield” earned $40 million in 2008.

Lone Survivor, the book, was a runaway bestseller when it debuted in 2007. So the movie comes to the big screen with a built-in audience. Marcus Lutrell, the SEAL who survived the ordeal and wrote the book, has become a household name, at least on the right, for his philanthropy and his life after the military. He’s making himself count. That Lone Survivor the movie would do well is a no-brainer. What media critics tend to deride as “jingoistic,” millions of mainstream Americans tend to see as patriotic and worth a few bucks to see and support.

I haven’t seen it yet but hope to before long. Have you seen it? What do you think?

 

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Open Thread: Opening A Wine Bottle Without A Corkscrew

Monday, January 13th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

In a pinch, it’s worth the risk that the bottle will smell like feet.

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Handy Infographic About How To Avoid Irritating The Police

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Not saying any of our readers need this…but most of us know someone who could use the help.

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Comedian: Quit Turning SNL Hires Into a Racial Issue

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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Since When Has MSNBC Sought or Delivered ‘Highbrow Intellectualism’?

Monday, January 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

NRO’s Eliana Johnson has written a fascinating piece on how Rachel Maddow, who was once Keith Olbermann’s mini-me, now pretty much controls what’s going on at religious cable net MSNBC. But one phrase Johnson deploys in the piece jumped out at me. Emphases added.

Behind her back, colleagues call her “the queen,” a not so subtle suggestion that Maddow gets what Maddow wants. And what she wants is a network filled with young wonks such as Chris Hayes, Ezra Klein, Alex Wagner, and Harris-Perry, whose highbrow intellectualism can, she hopes, push the Democratic party, and the country, to the left. On Twitter, Harris-Perry’s show proudly uses the hashtag #nerdland. Alex Wagner’s move to the 4 p.m. hour, where Bashir’s show once aired, has Maddow’s fingerprints on it.

Maddow herself is the highest-paid and highest-rated talent at MSNBC, but beyond her own program, her quest to fill the network with her protégés may be dragging down ratings. Being an intellectual and a true believer is not, it seems, a good thing if you’re in the ratings business. Though Maddow looks askance at populist showmen such as Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, and Al Sharpton, their shows regularly outperform those of Maddow’s wonky acolytes. In fact, Hayes’s show has created a drag on Maddow’s own ratings as his anemic numbers provide her with a weak lead-in.

Throughout the piece, Johnson uses “wonk” or “wonkish” and “intellectual” to describe what Maddow and her friends are bringing to the network. If words still mean things, those words shouldn’t be used in connection with that crowd. At all.

They all pretend at wonkery and intellectualism, but they routinely show all the intellectual curiosity of slugs. They don’t address the substance of political philosophy or policy, preferring instead to fire off rants and create wedge issues out of nothing. Republicans hate minorities! Republicans hate women! All Democrats are angels, all Republicans are devils! Intellectuals seek out viewpoints other than their own, and are capable of changing their minds when presented with new information. They deal in weighty issues that transcend the day-to-day. Since when have any of Maddow’s acolytes been anything but doctrinaire leftists and hard-bitten ideologues?

MSNBC’s Maddow gang never let thinking get in the way of a good persecution. They would have fit right in in Salem circa 1692, so quick are they to inflame first, and think never.

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Clay Aiken ‘Seriously Considering’ Being Runner-Up a Second Time

Friday, January 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The failed American Idol finalist turned gay activist is considering a run for Congress as a Democrat in North Carolina. Because, well, why not? The Democrats recruiting him must have the same thinking — since they can’t recruit a qualified candidate, why not try running another celebrity?

Former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken is reportedly looking at a challenge to Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.).

According to the Washington Blade, the openly gay entertainer has spoken to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as well as prominent North Carolina Democratic strategist Betsy Conti, who worked for former North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue and Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore.

Prior to his run on Idol, Aiken was a mild-mannered crooner and Sunday School teacher. After losing the second season final to Ruben Studdard, Aiken was more or less forced out of the closet and has since gone far left in his politics. North Carolina’s District 2 is more Republican now than it was when Ellmers was first elected, thanks to re-districting.

Aiken is likely to face scrutiny similar to that which drove another Democrat entertainer out of a Senate race in conservative Kentucky. Movie star Ashley Judd considered taking on Sen. Mitch McConnell from the left. The Golden Globe nominee was soon convinced that running for office probably wasn’t the best role for her, and she bowed out quickly.

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Monty Python Star Reveals Why Comics Won’t Lampoon Islam

Friday, January 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Because they’ll be killed if they do. Duh.

During his Monty Python days he poked fun at everyone from the Establishment to Christianity.

But thanks to the threat of ‘heavily armed’ fanatics, Michael Palin has admitted there is one comedy taboo he is too scared to break- Islam.

The 70-year-old said religious sensitivities have increased so much since his comedy days it would now be impossible to make 1979 film Life of Brian – which satirised the life of Jesus – let alone laugh at Muslims.

He said: ‘Religion is more difficult to talk about. I don’t think we could do Life of Brian any more. A parody of Islam would be even harder.

‘We all saw what happened to Salman Rushdie and none of us want to get into all that. It’s a pity but that’s the way it is. There are people out there without a sense of humour and they’re heavily armed.’ 

Mocking Christianity is the safe thing for “edgy” comics to do. Has been for decades.

Only one major comic goes anywhere near mocking Islam. Jeff Dunham’s puppet “Achmed the Dead Terrorist” is a failed suicide bomber who has already earned a fatwa of sorts. And he doesn’t really lampoon Islam in the way that Python once took on the Catholic Church’s birth control policies in The Meaning of Life. Achmed is a send-up of suicide bombers who, by definition, aren’t really around to make any fuss about it.

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“Silence! I kill you!” Achmed threatens, Python listens.

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See also Kathy Shaidle at PJ Lifestyle: “Michael Palin: Monty Python Would Never Mock Islam

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Family Sources: Duck Dynasty Is Likely to Be Canceled

Friday, December 20th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Breitbart’s on the story.

On Friday, sources close to the Duck Dynasty Robertson family told E! Online that the family was “very serious” about ending the show if Phil Robertson’s suspension stood. The source said, “They’re an extremely tight-knit family and they’re not going to let this get in the way. [Phil] is the reason for their success – they’re not going to abandon him. They’re also not about to let anyone threaten their religious beliefs.” Another insider at Duck Dynasty told E!, “People who work on the show feel like it’s a big pissing match and there is no way that anyone can win.”

A&E may be the dumbest, luckiest cable network around. They created a monster hit show despite themselves, they’re killing it by kowtowing to militant extremists instead of championing the freedom that allows them to broadcast their shows, and they may have already lined up its replacement — which is almost surely set up to fail.

A&E may have already lined up what it thinks will be Duck Dynasty’s replacement. The Robertsons have publicly said that DD’s producers tried to get them to behave like a typical “reality show” family — swear, bicker, act off against one another, have conflict, etc. The Robertsons refused, because that’s not who they are. The producers also tried cutting the family prayer at the end of each show. The Robertsons refused, because for them, the prayer is a major purpose and source of their fame.

Now, look at the show that started following DD this season. It’s called Rodeo Girls. A&E has been heavily promoting it during DD for weeks now. I caught about half of the pilot episode, and it’s terrible. The women on the show are rodeo competitors. They’re “rednecks” like the Robertsons. But they’re not like the Robertsons in the important ways. Where the Robertsons are self-deprecating and funny, the Rodeo Girls are mean and vile. They swear, a lot. They bicker. They’re self-absorbed and obnoxious. There are no prayers but they do throw the name of God around a lot — not in a good way. It’s Jersey Shore on horseback, without any charm whatsoever. Perhaps I’ll watch an episode and review just how awful the show is.

A&E may hope the Robertsons become divided. Phil’s granddaughter, Sadie, tweeted that that’s not happening.

 

A&E might do well to note that people like me have hours of Duck Dynasty stored on our DVRs. We can watch them in glorious HD whenever we want. Personally, there will never be one frame of Rodeo Girls on that DVR, ever. The shows share superficial similarities and there may be some crossover in the audience, but they’re not the same. There’s only one Duck Dynasty.

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‘Boycott A&E’ Page Tops Half a Million Supporters, Passes A&E’s Official Facebook Page

Thursday, December 19th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Did you know that Facebook will suspend an administrator if their Facebook page is too popular? I didn’t. But they do, at least in the case of the Facebook page set up to support Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson.

As of Thursday afternoon, over 570,000 thousand people have “liked” the “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty” Facebook page.

“This page is to show support for the freedom of speech of Americans. Unless Phil is reinstated to the show, we refuse to watch the A&E Channel!” the page states.

The page exploded when it was launched Wednesday, breaking over 200,000 likes in less than six hours. The administrator was even banned from Facebook for 12 hours because the page was generating 4,500 likes in one hour.

“The administrator of this page was banned for next 12 hours because this page generated 4.5K likes in ‘1 hour.’ People you are getting the word out! Continue to spread that we will boycott A&E until Phil Robertson is put back Duck Dynasty,” the page states.

Thousands were voicing their support on the page.

Here’s the page. Its popularity is now greater than A&E’s own page.

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Of Course: Pajama Boy Is An OfA Activist, Likes the Movie Love Actually

Thursday, December 19th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

According to IMDB, the 2003 movie Love Actually “Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.”

Of course it does.

And of course, Organizing for Action activist Ethan Krupp, better known by his alter ago Pajama Boy, would like that movie.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Update: He also started a croquet club at his high school.

 

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Open Thread: Just Say ‘No’-Warner Bros. To Make ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Movie

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 - by Stephen Kruiser

Officially out of ideas.

Warner Bros. is about to go on a fateful trip.

The studio is putting into motion a big-screen version of Gilligan’s Island, the classic 1960s television comedy, that will serve as a vehicle for Josh Gad, the Broadway star who is one of the voices in Disney Animation’s hit Frozen, THR has confirmed.

Gad will write the script with Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez, who were both writers on the Gad-starring NBC sitcom 1600 Penn.

Well, at least it’s got three people from a heavily hyped and promoted sitcom that lasted all of thirteen episodes last year.

Soon they will be making movies based on shows that even the people who starred in them don’t remember.

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Friday Night Open Thread: Air Hockey Beer Pong

Friday, December 13th, 2013 - by Stephen Kruiser

They’re calling it “Alcohockey”. Happy Weekend, everyone!

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‘House Of Cards’ Season 2 Trailer

Friday, December 13th, 2013 - by Stephen Kruiser

Everyone on my side of the aisle was raving about season one so, having broken ribs and nowhere to go, I watched it. It usually takes just four minutes before the first awful liberal cliché shows up in any recent American political television or movie production so I braced myself. When four minutes passed and there wasn’t one, I committed to the entire first episode. Then I devoured all thirteen. Yes, there are a few ridiculous moments but it isn’t full of that “Republicans the way liberal screenwriters who have never met one would write them” tripe that plagues entertainment these days.

Season two looks delicious.

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Godzilla Reboot Emerges to Leave Theaters in Ruins in 2014

Friday, December 13th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Godzilla returns.

But will the reboot turn out better than the awful, un-Godzilla-like 1998 treatment that starred Matthew Broderick?

The first teaser-trailer for 2014′s Godzilla is out. Take a look. You should take it full screen. Chromecast it if you’ve got it.

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The teaser opens with a group of soldiers HALO leaping into a city that is already being ravaged by the beast. We get to fall along with the troops, then see fleeting glimpses of the wreckage on the ground, reactions from the puny humans in the city, and then the monster, shrouded in a massive cloud of dust and debris.

The teaser doesn’t show much of the legendary monster, whose name is an amalgamation of the Japanese words for “gorilla” and “whale,” but what is shown already looks far better than the villain from the 1998 version. That Godzilla was more of a leaned-forward speed-walking dinosaur-like creature than the upright plodding disaster of the Toho films. It neither moved nor felt very much like Godzilla.

The 2014 version appears to be standing upright in the sequence that leads up to the frame below. The sequence begins with a shot of Godzilla’s feet at ground level, tracks upward showing the spikes on his back, and around his neck to his head. And then we hear a bona fide Godzilla roar. This is no man in a rubber suit, and the cinematography that brings him to life is spectacular.

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Godzilla’s cast looks decent. Hollywood notoriously lacks any original ideas these days, and returning to a giant monster that first leveled Tokyo in 1954 certainly doesn’t speak to the film industry’s originality now.

But still…it’s Godzilla. In 3D. And IMAX 3D. Movies just don’t get much bigger than that.

Godzilla destroys us all starting May 16, 2014.

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Jimmy Kimmel Has a Sign Language Interpreter Translate the Delusional Fraud from the Mandela Funeral

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

It turns out that Thamsanqa Jantjie is more than just a fake signer who punked the entire world, standing next to American president who has also punked the entire world. He was having a schizophrenic episode right there on stage at the Mandela funeral.

Jimmy Kimmel had some fun with the whole bizarre episode. Last night he brought an actual sign language expert onto his show to translate Mr. Jantjie’s work.

Or, punk the country one more time. Either way, it’s hilarious.

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CNN took Mr. Jantjie’s fraud a little more seriously. Anchor Chris Cuomo brought on an expert to tell the audience how to spot a fake sign language interpreter. That information would have been a bit more useful to the committee who arranged Mandela’s funeral, before the fraud actually stood on stage.

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