Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


And also, why did Wang Chung as a verb never take off?

Filed under : Music,The Internets
On November 4, 2012
At 6:30 pm
Comments : 2

In the “Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?” department comes the puzzled discussion amongst YouTube commenters that appears on the page of the below video. It centers on whether Wang Chung were aware that 2Pac already had a song called To Live and Die in LA when they released theirs.

My favorite comment is, “Try googling it I but I just think these guys made this song with the same name without knowing Pac made a song with this name also.” Yes, that’s exactly what they did in 1985, over ten years before the hip-hop song with the same name was recorded. Good call!

Of course, Some Kind of Wonderful was on this afternoon, reminding me of the time I saw it in the theater as a teen and remarked to Brother1, “isn’t it cool how they found a song with the same name as the main character, Amanda Jones?”

But then that one comes from the “hey, look at that, there’s a Duane Reade on the corner of Duane and Reade Streets” file.

Not to mention that picking on YouTube commenters is the lowest of low-hanging fruit. But I am using it all as an excuse to post this video to a song I forgot existed but always loved. The production and arrangement are way, way dated, but the moodiness and perfect pop writing shine through. Why did I suddenly remember it? Why, it appeared in “80’s Collection” the other day when I was playing Songpop against Tami. Are you my Facebook friend? Are you playing me in Songpop? WHY NOT????? Let’s remedy that. Right after this song.


I’d hate to see the ones they disliked

Filed under : The Internets,Travel
On June 29, 2011
At 11:30 pm
Comments : 8

Presented without further comment and discovered when I was researching my trip, from Tripadvisor, hotels travelers recommend:

Nirvana – Stay Away


Ric Ocasek knows EVERYTHING

Filed under : The Internets
On January 20, 2011
At 7:30 pm
Comments :Comments Off on Ric Ocasek knows EVERYTHING

I don’t know the answer to question 1 but I sort of wonder if this person also asked “Where can I get a good manicure?” in the Nine Inch Nails category.

Just another reason I wish these inane questions were out of my sidebar. But in the meantime, we’ll just file this one under “Facebook Idiots, volume 16.”

The Cars – I’m Not the One


Hold me closer, Tony Danza

Filed under : News,The Internets,TV
On October 18, 2010
At 9:30 am
Comments : 3

I see a lot of TV, my TV is on all the time… and yet I watch almost nothing. I have no idea what’s on any of the big networks or what reality show everyone is buzzing about right now. Names go by in blog posts like Snooki and Taylor Momsen and it’s hard for me to know what makes them famous. But it wasn’t always this way. When I was a kid, I watched all the big primetime shows and the reruns of ones which had been on before I was born. Even now I can tell you the plots of almost every episode of The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, The Flintstones, Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Friends, Law & Order, and lots more. But somehow, by the time I got my first DVR in 2002, I wasn’t really watching episodic TV. I know this because I never once used the function (you who have TiVos may know it as Season Pass but there’s no particular name for it on the ReplayTV) which records an entire season of something. I suppose the closest I ever came was Lost, which I started watching because I have a thing about plane crashes. Anyone who has watched Lost knows it had about as much to do with aviation as Gilligan’s Island had to do with boating, but I felt good having something to talk about in the office kitchenette and on the Internet. Frankly, as I’ve said many times, I never had any idea what was going on at any time in that show.

I actually watched the very first reality show of the new generation, Survivor. In fact, on the ultimate show where the winner was decided, I had a guest visiting from Israel where Survivor was unknown and he could not believe that I wouldn’t go out until the show was over. “Don’t you have a VCR?” he asked (this was in, I think, 2000, remember). But I was too afraid of hearing it somewhere else. By the second season, it was devoid of any interest for me because everyone in it had seen the first season and knew how to play it. Of course, there were other reality shows and I have tried to like them. I liked Trading Spaces and Queer Eye For the Straight Guy but after a couple of seasons (or sooner) you realize it’s always the same show. I watched some of Flavor of Love, because I happened to flip past it one day and was stunned by its over-the-topness. I tried Biggest Loser and Wife Swap because they seemed like interesting concepts but in the end I just cringed and felt embarrassed for everyone on them. When I watch most reality TV, I feel like a voyeur, and maybe a little dirty. So I stopped watching most of them except sometimes Cake Boss, because, well, I like cake, and it’s often the only thing on in the middle of the night.

Nowadays, I mainly watch these things: local news (Pat Kiernan on NY1 specifically), magazine shows like 60 Minutes, sports, movies I have already seen, and reruns of shows I watched in the 80’s and 90’s. Again, I am not sure how this happened, even as I just traced the history of my waning interest in the last two paragraphs. And somehow, I, who was the person at the school lunch table who could skillfully dissect the plot of the previous evening’s Mork & Mindy, have become some sort of freak. And I am aware of this. It happened twice just this weekend. First, I had a Twitter conversation with Noshowmo were I felt like I was from Mars because I did not realize a comment about housewives in Beverly Hills was about a TV show. If you could tweet, “I am a moron, explain your tweet like I am a moron,” and not humiliate yourself, I probably would have done so.

Later, I had this conversation with my sister.
She: Have you watched Teach? I bet you’d love it.
Me: Oh, I saw a billboard at the US Open for that. Oh hey, does Tony Danza have the name Tony on the show?
(I then proceed to laugh uproriously at my own joke while my sister looks utterly blank)
She: Uh… yes… his name is Tony Danza
Me: But on the show! Is his name Tony?
She: Yes, it’s Tony Danza.
Me: Really? They just gave up and gave him his full real name?
She: It’s a reality show! He’s himself.
Me: Oh. Yes. Right.

I may actually find this show on the Internet. But this is part of the problem. You have to know what’s going to be good or big if you want to join in the global conversation. Somehow, by the time you find out it’s 30 Rock or The Office, it’s too late. I don’t have Netflix or the time to watch DVDs of five years of a show. And let’s face it, half the fun is being able to discuss the show with other people. When I had HBO, it was easy. A show would come on, it would be made clear to you that This Is A Big Show! Watch This Show! And there would be a manageable season of eight or ten episodes that you could handle. This is why, aside from Lost, the last series (serieses?) with which I kept up were Big Love, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Six Feet Under. So now I am that freak. That freak who understands no cultural reference and doesn’t even get the joke because she doesn’t know the name of a hugely popular (apparently) TV show.

Speaking of TV news, last week I watched a lot of Chilean miner coverage, but I watched it on the Internet. In fact, I got into a tussle with a technology writer I very much admire, Farhad Manjoo, who writes for Slate. I’ll have to put words in his mouth because it was on Twitter and all statements were 140 characters or less, but he seemed to be saying that I was only getting meaning out of what I was seeing because it had been so hyped. Even when I explained that I was seeing an unedited raw feed from the mine with no voiceover, he claimed that my emotional response was manipulated because I had already seen “a month of commentary.” I didn’t know how to say in 140 characters, “are you kidding? Did you notice that no one watches the news or reads the newspaper anymore? I read technology blogs and Gawker. And it wasn’t big on NY1 this month either; they’re more concerned with bedbugs.” It’s claimed that most people get their news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert but I don’t even watch them unless someone posts an interesting clip online.

But, you see, it wasn’t until I had this conversation on Twitter that I realized I no longer watch CNN or MSNBC or even Fox, which is comforting to watch when something’s happening in Israel. I only get the weekend NY Times and I skim it. While I am cooking or baking, I listen to 1010 WINS in the kitchen, but that’s mostly local news, as well. So wow, I am that person. I get my news from blogs. And Twitter. I’m following a trial, the one for the murder of the Petit family in Cheshire, Connecticut, almost exclusively on Twitter. I have a list of all the reporters I could find who are tweeting from the courtroom (it is here) and I have that page open all day. Every now and then I will check back and see what is happening and if it’s a big moment, I stay for a bit. Back in the day, I watched the OJ trial on TV, just like everyone else. I was working at my first label and my boss had a TV. When she was out, which was often, my co-worker and I would eat lunch in her office and watch the trial. But somehow, this is better, because frankly, it’s a gruesome trial and I don’t need to hear every detail, I am just curious about the case and the way it is built and tried (you may remember I like Law & Order as well). But it’s like instantaneous reporting from ten different people and it’s an amazing thing. So much so, that the NY Times covered it. Sometimes I look at the Times app on my iPod, so I get some news there, too. In this case, I saw on my iPod that the NY Times had recognized that people are getting their news from Twitter.

Yesterday, I laughed at someone on Twitter for not getting a visual joke that’s been going around about the Gap logo redesign. And that’s when it hit me: I know every Internet meme and I can tell you what happened at the Windows Smartphone press conference, but I didn’t really know much about the Chilean miners until I happened upon a discussion of it on a forum, whereupon, I flipped to and watched a streaming video. I have replaced almost every form of media in my home with something viewable on a device with software and memory.

I haven’t yet decided if this is a good thing, but as soon as I do, I’ll be sure to let you know here, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Elton John – (Hold me Closer) Tiny Dancer


Chutzpah bushah cherpa!

Filed under : Rants,The Internets
On April 23, 2010
At 2:15 am
Comments : 9

When I was in high school, there was a girl in my class who thought it was hilarious to yell this out any time the teacher would reprimand someone for acting out. This is because it was hilarious. Maybe you had to be there. Ah, yeshiva high school. It translates, loosely, as “audacity, shame, disgrace!” Well, I call this out at Facebook… again. I can’t really think anything else about a company whose business plan seems to be:

a. Create a great service with few downsides and great privacy control.
b. Sign up everyone and make your service indispensable.
c. Nibble a bit at people’s privacy in an opaque way.
d. When they don’t really notice or are too confused to understand, sell them all out!

Very soon, you see, even more of your information will be available for anyone, whether it be your stalker or your ex or your least favorite corporation, to see. Naturally, they say it’s to give you “a richer experience” but it would seem to me that it’s only a select group of executives getting richer. This week I saw a screening of the movie Tapped (I love documentaries and had seen another great one by that team, Who Killed the Electric Car) which is a heavy-handed but important look at all the damage that’s being done by the bottled water industry. The first third of the film is devoted to the town of Fryeburg, Maine and their fight against Nestle who is mining their town for Poland Spring water. So not only is the town losing a natural resource but it’s so someone else can profit. My friends, Facebook is Nestle and we are Fryeburg. Your information, of course, is the water.

But, honestly, that’s not what bothers me most as a private person who believed what was originally stated by Facebook: that my name, my picture, and my information would remain private. Now, you may say, why not just delete my account? And, in fact, that’s what people are saying all over the Internet. The blasé, “get over yourselves” comments fall into three categories:

a. Who cares if the world finds that picture of me playing beer pong shirtless?
b. It’s free! So shut up already and stop demanding things.
c. Just cut the cord. It’s not like you need Facebook to live.

So, let me answer you, “stop whining, Facebook users” people.

a. I’ll tell you who cares: your next employer. Or not, they probably won’t be your next employer. Or your ex. Or your current significant other’s ex. Or whomever! It’s my desire to be private. Maybe you don’t care but I do and guess what? We’re all different and that’s what makes the world a fun place. Not to mention, they told us our info would be private so whatever my reasons are, I expect them to honor that. That’s why I joined.

b. It’s not free, it has advertising. If I have to see all those ridonculous ads for Acai berries, then someone’s getting paid on the basis of my checking into Facebook several times a day.

c. I always use this description to get people to join Facebook, people who say, “what’s the point? I have other ways to communicate with people.” Well, I have other ways than the phone to communicate with people but yet I still have a phone. People, in 2010, Facebook is the phone and if you’re not on it, you’re Amish. It’s nice to be Amish, but I can’t really reach you unless I happen to be in rural Pennsylvania. When I have this conversation with people, I usually refer them to Farhad Manjoo’s excellent Slate piece, “Everyone else is on Facebook, Why Aren’t You?”. It states it all perfectly. In my world and in many of yours, if you’re not on Facebook, you’re cut off from friends, contacts, and careers.

So Facebook, now that you’ve made yourself the phone, now that you have expended lots of effort getting even people like my Luddite, privacy-crazed friend and my 73 year old aunt to join, now you’re going to sell us all out? What’s the opposite of that “Don’t Be Evil” philosophy?

Oh right.

Should you want to read more, including how to fix your settings as much as possible to not have people you don’t want getting their hands on your information, try these excellent resources:

Gawker: How to Restore Your Privacy On Facebook

Simplehelp: How to reclaim your privacy by disabling Facebook’s “Open Graph”

Protect Your Privacy, Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization

Depeche Mode – Shame

In the absence of a replacement for Napster’s free streaming links, I’m going for the time being with a link to the Amazon page for that song. It’s only a 30 second snippet but on the plus side, you can buy it if you like it.