Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Obscarvations.

The nominations are in. I think these are the biggest news stories therefrom:
  • Clooney is everywhere: Best Picture, Supporting Actor, Director, Original Screenplay x2... Was I right to devote my 2005 New Year's Speech to him or what?
  • Michelle Williams - Best Supporting Actress nomination. Acting: the other way to go from being "that Dawson's Creek chick" to movie stardom.
Nearest to dead certs are, I think, P-S Hoffman (Actor), Witherspoon (Lady Actor), "Don't make me" Ang Lee (Director) and Brokeback Mountain (Picture).

Bumments?

Education - Attending lectures in Oxford may become legal requirement

This would have made me an even bigger multiple felon than I am now...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What have we done?!

According to this 'Internet lawyer and safety expert', and the scum-sucking, bottom-feeding newscaster that decided to incorporate his views into a truly awful bit of shock journalism designed to ensure no soccer-mom sleeps soundly tonight:
"It’s a one stop shopping for sexual predators, and they can shop by catalogue... If someone knows you 'like pina coladas and walks in the rain,' it’s very easy online to be exactly what it is you’re looking for— to be your 'soul mate.'"
Jesus, who knew airing your pop-cultural prejudices online could be so dangerous?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Society - Cold calling

Why oh why anyone would choose this as the way to make their living, escapes me.

Friday, January 27, 2006

9 more gallons and I'll have me a hat

Rick Moranis has written a rockabilly album. And the two songs you can listen to online are really rather good.

Wrestling - Misbehavin'

Yikes - a Mexican serial-killing female wrestler doing bad things to little ol' ladies - economic necessity my ass.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Family Guy - Stewie gets own talk show


Stewie-hosted online-only talk-show coming-soon (I sure hope that it's Seth doing the voice) - the press release doesn't really offer any hints as to content/format/guests.

Comedy - Twofer

1) Boosh Movie? Yes, please.

2.) Reports on Iannucci's Oxford lecture (1 of 4) here and here.

In Pictures - 0 to 60 in 5 sec

Oh Lord, protect this rocketbike and all who ride upon the rocketbike1.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Science - Funny sexy

From an article in Nature:
[...]the conclusion of two recent studies that confirm a long-standing stereotype of flirting: that women like joky men, while men like women who laugh at their jokes.

[...]
Women ranked the humorous men as better potential partners, the researchers found - and as more friendly, fun and popular. Men's view of a woman, on the other hand, appeared to be uninfluenced by her wit.

Bressler suspected that men and women do, in fact, both value a sense of humour in a mate, but that they might be looking for slightly different things: women valuing an ability to be funny and men valuing an ability to see the joke.
According to one theory, proposed by psychologist Geoffrey Miller at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, women prefer funny men because their wit reveals an active and healthy brain - and a fine set of underlying genes. "It's a very powerful and reliable way to show creativity and intelligence," Miller says.
Exactly what I've been thinking all along. Sadly for us:
The entire idea remains speculative, however. And this particular study only looked at humour in North American college students.

This does remind me of one of Roger's (from Roger Dodger) little speeches:
- Ask any woman, "What's the single most attractive quality a man can possess?"
And what do they invariably answer?
- Sense of humor.
- Sense of humor.
- Sense of humor is huge. Definitely.
And yet, if two lean, mean, play-by-their-own-rules, motorcycle-riding men strolled up to this booth, and beat the shit out of us two humorous guys, right, and asked you out for a ride, you would be weak at the knees.
- No way.
- Weak at the knees.
- Well, actually, guys who ride cycles are pretty sexy.
- Thank you. You see?
- Sorry.
The fact is that touchy-feely, weepy, in-touch-with-their-feelings guys...
make you sick-- you're repulsed by them.
Give me the Ice Age, okay? Survival of the fittest.
No mixed signals. No bullshit.
Just the meanest, hairiest bastard wins all the time.

Entertainment - Take that, Spielberg

What's the deal with these movie-making 10 year olds today?

Entertainment - Lazy Sunday Redux

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - the Samberg impersonation made my lips twitch upwards (it's far better than what I was doing when I was 10).

Work - Love what you do

A good version of the Neil song, in essay form. I like and agree with the constant productivity thing.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Freaky-deaky


Young Chuck Norris

Looks like the SNL producers are giving their new Lonely Island recruits a fairly free rein to infect the show with a bit of Channel 101 and hopefully repeat the bazillion-download success of their rap. This time, it's about a young Chuck Norris.

Andy Samberg made it onto Letterman.

Voice-over Watch

This trailer seems to be promoting a good film, but the voice-over is shockingly, hilariously bad. If I were Hirokazu Koreeda, I'd be PO-ed.

Religion - The third way

I think that this article rounds off the Mew's gay/Scarlett Johansson/sex week nicely.

Literature - Self-made Man

This just confirms what we hipsters all knew already - being a jock blows.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sufjan Stevens

We're not an MP3 blog, but I thought this was worth breaching protocol for. I've just encountered Sufjan Stevens, an amazing singer-songwriter who's currently engaged in the task of documenting all 50 states of America in album form (he's finished 2). His beautiful song Casimir Pulaski Day, just entered my list of 'nuanced American works on religion' alongside Craig Thompson's Blankets.

Education - US graduates apparently stupid

This seems to go a long way towards explaining why Bush is in office - zing! (it tickles me that they define "identifying a location on a map" as an intermediate skill).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

In Pictures - Robo-Conan

Clearly, separated at birth

More Hodgman

If you go to the website of They Might be Giants, you'll see the aforementioned John Hodgman. And you can sign up for their podcast, which is excellent.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Music - Stephin Merritt Chinese Operas Coming Soon

Stephin Merritt (he that is Magnetic Fields) has written 3 Chinese folk operas, apparently (a bit more info here), and now a "best of" is coming out in March. Potentially interesting...

Robo-hansson

Sexiness, nano-enhancements, whatever next for the girl?

(couldn't choose just one of these snaps, so here they all are - Ed)


Entertainment - See my vest, see my vest


made from real gorrilla chest... (he really likes the vest)

If you lived here, you'd be dead by now (at home)

Bitter Russian winter kills homeless, drunks

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Entertainment - It's all about confidence


Are we positively sure that he's gay?

You better watch your mouth, sonny

Props to Sam Venables (formerly of Keble) for finding and scanning this in.

Arrested Development - Some good news at least

The good news: we'll get to see the last 4 episodes of AD after all. The bad news: we will have to wait until Feb 10th, when they'll be shown in a 2 hour block (apparently they're up against the Winter Olympics opening ceremony over at NBC).

In Pictures - When Toons Collide

These "zingers" appeared in a recent Simpsons episode - ouch! (it's got an o at the end because the Simpsons are in Italy, see?)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Daily Show - John Hodgman (and the tie) returns!


Renowned hobo specialist and author of "My Areas of Expertise" John Hodgman made a highly decent return appearance on The Daily Show (the original one here) - the dryness and the delivery made me wish that they'll get him back on soon.

Technology - iTunes boosts ABC and NBC ratings

NBC and ABC reckon that iTunes availability of their shows has significantly boosted ratings and viewer retention. This can only be good news as it should encourage other providers to make content available on-line, thus driving the mobile media device market forward (which is really what interests us BitTorrent monkeys).

"Press 1 to oppose same-sex marriage"

Here's how Christians roll in the US.
  1. Set up your own, Christian company
  2. Cold-call with a hard sell that your competitors support the gay
  3. Profit!
Eugene Mirman is a so-so stand up from New York, but he hit comedy gold when he recorded himself conversing with these lowlifes. The calls get better as he realises how much they'll swallow, so to speak: call 1, call 2, call 3.

Religion - Islam + Sexiness = Mighty confusion

An utterly compelling read, with some great quotes, on the subject of all matters downtown. My favourite bit of advice is:
While administering the kiss of life, IslamOnline adds, rescuers should be careful to do it with "neither lust nor pleasure".
although
if it is certain that the victim has already died, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation becomes impermissible, for there is no necessity in such a case.
comes a close second.

B'oh!

Parrots, Nature's Helen Lovejoys...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Wrestling - The Fighting Irish


...And just like that, Jordan Ellison is a SmackDown man.

The introductory vignettes are where the true wisdom lies. With the departure of Mohammed Hassan, the Mew hereby adopts the "Tough Irish Bastard" as its favourite wrestler. Expect regular career updates.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Arts - Tracy Emin through Melf-o-vision

My posting of these Observer interviews is fast becoming a regular Mew feature; I hope that I'm not boring anyone...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

TV - One for the Peg.

Main points from this Linehan-probe:
  • The IT Crowd is a "fairly conventional sitcom", "unashamedly old fashioned",
  • He wrote Ted when he was 25 (hence, time's almost up for us),
  • He gives props to the Woody,
  • IT Crowd is trying to undo the work of The Office,
  • There'll be a second series.

Music - Is there anything cooler than a harpsichord?

Only a fully functional harpsichord made entirely out of LEGO, of course!

From the webpage:
With a 61 note range, the instrument's size is 6 x 3 ft. weighing approximately 150 lbs, and built with an estimated 100,000 LEGO pieces! [...] The project took two years of theorizing, designing, collecting parts, building, testing, and rebuilding.
She don't sound too good, though..

Friday, January 13, 2006

Conan

He doesn't need to ask questions to be incisive.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

TV - The IT Crowd


Some more info emerging.
A new sitcom - set among IT workers in the dingy basement of a glamorous company - is due to arrive on the UK's Channel 4 next month. The IT Crowd, written by Graham Linehan (the scribe behind Father Ted, Black Books), will debut on the internet on 27 January, a week before its terrestrial broadcast on Friday, 3 February at 9.30pm.

Channel 4 describes the show's premise thus: "The high-rise towers of Renham Industries are full of go-getters, success stories, and winners... apart from in the basement. While their beautiful colleagues work upstairs in fantastic surroundings, the I.T. department - Jen, Roy and Moss - lurk below ground, scorned by their co-workers as geeky losers."

The six episode first series was filmed in front of a live studio audience and stars Chris O´Dowd, Richard Ayoade and Katherine Parkinson. Chris Morris, the well-known satirist, makes a rare acting appearance as the trio's dour Scottish boss, a character more akin to 70s corporate fantasist Reggie Perrin than The Office's David Brent, according to Linehan. The series is produced by Ash Atalla, whose previous credits include The Office.
There is also an official site up now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Entertainment - Colbert Vs. Conan


Watch them go at it - thanks Ricky for this link.

Technology - The Gadget Wars Part II

The Gadget Wars are hotting up; Apple's just announced a remote for the iPod, which doubles up as an FM tuner. All for the low low price of $50. See here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New York - A Trendy Burning.

Check out (in the video) what hipster "resident" got his stuff all singed in this NYC fire...

In Pictures - Frankenstein Wastes a Minute of Your Time

The CGI blew me away - check out the detail on the face of the guy (click to enlarge - courtesy of CGSociety.com)


Technology - The Gadget Wars

Recently, there's been a bit of an internet buzz around the newly released Creative Zen Vision:M, which is Creative's answer to the ViPod. Both products have a great deal in common, e.g. same height/width dimensions, same screen dimensions, practically identical menu look and layout... Here are some of the distinguishing features though.

Advantages (of the M):
  • supports DivX, XVid, Mpeg4, etc natively, meaning that you don't have to convert TV/movies before uploading
  • much longer battery life (14 hours music, 4 hours video)
  • FM radio
  • screen can show 4 x the number of colours of the ViPod, with every review saying that this makes it brighter and more vibrant
Disadvantages:
  • almost twice as thick as the ViPod
  • no iTunes integration (and I like iTunes)
  • the bottom half looks much lamer than the ViPod (the top half looks exactly the same)
  • $30 more expensive
  • not Apple
The thing is, all the disadvantages are one-offs (the extra $30 is upfront, you get used to its look, thickness and its software, but the conversion thing can become a deal-breaker. I still have flashbacks to my first MP3 player from 5 years ago - one of those Sony memory stick players - the user experience was awful, because of all the format conversion (Sony didn't support MP3 natively back then), the DRM and terrible, buggy software.

Savs, as a ViPod owner, could you provide an insight as to how big a deal the converting is?

In Pictures - What do we think of this look?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Nerd Fight!

Ebaumsworld may just have stolen their last meme.

Entertainment - What's the deeeeeeeal...

with these Sopranos actors? Always getting in trouble (and he joins a long list):
  • Tony Sirico, who plays "Paulie Walnuts," was indicted on charges of extortion, coercion and felony possession of a gun in 1971. He was sentenced to four years in jail.

  • Vincent Pastore — "Big Pussy" — pleaded guilty to attempted assault for a scuffle he had with gal pal Lisa Regina in April. Prosecutors said he threw her from a car. He was sentenced to community service.

  • Robert Iler, who plays Tony Soprano's son, A.J., pleaded guilty in 2002 to taking part in the mugging of two tourists on the Upper East Side and got three years' probation.

  • Richard "Richie Blue Eyes" Maldone, who played capo Albert Barese, was arrested in 2003 and charged with buying drugs.

Perhaps it's the method acting.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Entertainment - Flashes of Quincy


A quite decent 'ardian interview with Niomi Campbell - how many celebrosphere fathers does one need?

Entertainment - Hot on the heels of Federline...

From the 'ardian:

Actor Patrick Swayze may be about to release a rap song. The Dirty Dancing star reportedly told website allhiphop.com that he is working on a track that will show that "rap rhythms are an emotional undercurrent for ballads". If confirmed, this would not be the first time that the 53-year-old actor has turned his hand to singing. In 1987, Swayze had a global hit with She's Like the Wind, from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Games - Flight Simulator X Screenshots

(click to enlarge)
Flight sims aren't normally my cup of tea, but this really surprised me by its level of visual realism - several of those shots are on the photo-realism boundary. Bring on the next-gen hardware.

The Simpsons - Behind The Laughter


While the show appears to have fully entered the "cranky-and-forgetful" stage of its TV life, this behind-the-scenes piece may be of interest.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Politics - Cameron's iPod

Musically, my vote's Tory.

Technology - Sony Bookumajig


Film - Based on real events

At the moment i'm not really seeing how any good can come of this.

Post-modern Misogyny

Lucy Mangan in today's Guardian seems to believe that sarcasm is no longer the lowest form of wit, as she employs it effectively throughout a review of Jimmy Carr's latest DVD.

World Affars: CIA + Iran + Nucular + Espionage = Intrigue

The moral of the story is, never trust a Russian!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Education - Methods for minimising "badness"

Would the teacher(s) like to comment?

Unruly classes 'tamed by praise'
'No blame' bully plan rethought

Showbiz - We Call This "Stepping Up a Level"


Look who's an entertainment big-shot now!

Forgettable Celebrities - Idiot Boy

A bad idea.

"Williams has already had one brush with comedy..." - his career, presumably.

"so long and thx fer all the FISH!"

What happens when the powers that be decide that the MMORPG you've invested time and money in is no longer financially viable? Here's a transcript

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"60% of what you say is crap"

In a massive indicator of Middle America's growing impatience with the war in Iraq, Letterman pulled off an almost Stewart-esque takedown of Bill O'Reilly last night.

Bill O'Reilly also manages to make himself look like an idiot, calling British intelligence "M one six" among other things.

Arrested - The Clues Were There...

If you haven't seen Arrested Development Season 3, Episodes 1-6, for goodness' sake don't look at this link.

If you have, I think we all underestimated the genius of M. Hurwitz.

www.saveourbluths.com

The Enemy - Sympathy for the Ricky

I must admit, I think I'm starting to see where the problem lies. Groening just said that he loved working with Gervais, and implied that the character might come back. If that happened to me, and if that many microphones were in front of me every time I opened my mouth, I doubt that my system would be able to cope and I'd develop illusions of grandeur in much the same way.

Having said that, I don't think that I'd ever try to write an episode of the Simpsons/Family Guy/AD or play alongside Thom or Neil, because I'm sure that my participation would ruin the magic (although I wouldn't say no to a cameo of some sort).

Society - Happy

Well, perhaps the Professor was partially right.

Technology - Don't stamp and squish your old iPods just yet


The idea behind the iSee is quite neat: turn your old 3G or 4G (or mini) clunker into a brand spanking new ViPod-alike, by snapping another gadget onto it (well ok, so what if all it really does is use the iPod as a hard drive).

I really am in two minds about this product, because on the one hand,
  • it's got a bigger screen than the ViPod (3.6" vs. 2.5"),
  • a longer battery life (4 hours vs. 2-3 hours),
  • it comes with better software (has its own transcoder program) while supporting more formats in the first place (its native format is MPEG4),
  • you can hook it up to your VCR or cable box and record off the TV,
  • if you have an ipod already, it's cheaper to buy the iSee ($250) and a new ViPod ($300 or $400)
but conversely
  • it's clearly going to be heavier (5 oz. + iPod vs. 5.5 oz) and bulkier (4.5" x 2.8" x 0.9" vs. 4.1" x 2.4" x 0.55") than the ViPod,
  • the Video-In record is completely manual as far as I saw (as opposed to using a PC with a TV guide to record stuff)
  • shows/films off Bittorrent probably take just as long to load onto both systems, since in both cases you need to run a conversion
  • from the documentation, the iSee seems to work badly with iTunes (if at all)
  • it looks nowhere as slick as a ViPod

Here's a news thing about it.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Comedy - SNL Resurgence?


The internet's going nucking futs about this white-boy clip. Not a groundbreaking idea, but sure is well executed.

And nice to see Parnell get some attention at last.

The Enemy - Tipping Point is Reached

I urge you to find this week's issue of the Radio Times and look at its cover. It has Ricky Gervais in a white suit and messianic pose on a cloud background, and the phrase 'Heaven Sent'.

I've had trouble finding a good pic, but you get the idea. The dinesery continues on the inside pages.

If he wasn't a parody of himself before, my God he is now.

Entertainment - The next Pegg/Wright project


It's called Hot Fuzz and here's some info on it (#1, #2).

Comedy - Frost/Eldon Collabo

From the 'ardian:
In The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan (Father Ted, Black Books) turns his idiosyncratic eye on office life in a new comedy produced by Ash Atalla (The Office). Chris O'Dowd (Festival) and Richard Ayoade (Nathan Barley) are Roy and Moss, IT support staff sequestered in the kind of dingy basement that could only ever make you deeply strange; Katherine Parkinson is Jen, their boss, who thought she was going for a job in the glamorous offices upstairs but was sorely mistaken. Meanwhile in Hyperdrive, writing partners Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley (Black Books, Smack the Pony) turn their gaze to the cosmos in a new science-fiction comedy in which Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) and the wonderfully strange Kevin Eldon (Nighty Night) play everyday guys on a mission to the stars: to promote British interests in a fast-moving galaxy.