Monday, February 27, 2006

You know, Homey, there's so much more two wives could do for you...

"I hear digging, but I don't hear chopping."

This story of religion, politics, sex, TV and US culture is only one Scarlettboob/suplex away from being the ultimate Mew fodder.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Education - Pop Quiz

Q. Which celebrity is being discussed in this extract?

Mr ____'s performances on the [___'s place of work] may frequently add up but _____ concedes that his six-year-old son's maths homework once left him baffled.

The 30-year-old star said his eldest child _____ approached him for help with a school assignment one night but the task was too much for _____.

"Their homework is so hard these days," he told The Mail on Sunday's Live magazine.

"It's totally done differently to what I was teached [sic] when I was at school, and you know, I was like, 'Oh my God, I can't do this'," he added.

The answer can be found here.

J. Stewart - A Profile

Some interesting trivia in this biog of our guy, from The Observer.

Friday, February 24, 2006

World Affairs - Marry me!


Society - The Kings of Crime

I suppose there's a touch of the Ocean's 11 thing in there...

Culture of Fear - National Security

The ironing is delicious.

Culture of Fear - The new drug of choice for kids

Another chilling local TV report on the dangers of modern living has cropped up; its topic: "the new addiction that's causing kids to ditch their homework, friends and family".
They get that intense look, a face of serious concentration, eyes darting back and forth, and the little ones learn from their older brothers [...] and while they sat in the same room, they wouldn't make connections with one another.
The expert is wheeled out:
We get kids that act out more; they don't think about what they're doing, they don't see the consequences, they tend to act less respectfully to their parents, and it just keeps going on.
Have you guessed what it is yet? Find out here.

Science: Err - Why?

Don't you science-ists still have cancer to cure?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Science - The Hive Mind

Read about what happens when 5000 people in an auditorium play video games.

Culture of Fear - The Nintendo DS

Another installment in the Mew's fear culture analysis:

Asian reporter Nydia Han caused a mini-storm on the internet with an Action News Special Report, entitled "Nintendo DS System Warning: Are unsuspecting kids being lured into dangerous chat rooms using this toy?" (video here, transcript here)
We have an important warning for parents. Today marks the three-month anniversary of the launch of the Nintendo DS Wireless Connection. But Action News has learned this popular gaming system could put kids in harm's way. Parents buy the system so their children can play video games. But we have made an alarming discovery. Strangers can use this toy to lure unsuspecting children to dangerous places.

Nintendo's hot new creation markets primarily to children. It even comes complete with playmates. The handheld gaming system is like a mini computer. It has built-in wireless capability. That allows kids to battle fellow Nintendo DS players across the room or across the world.

[...] Theresa's 11-year-old daughter, Emily, likes to doodle so she's using the Nintendo DS Pictochat feature. Pictochat puts you right into a chatroom and lets you send messages wirelessly, and on this day we are in one of Philadelphia's many Wi-Fi hotspots.

An "Internet Safety Expert" pitches in:
Keith Dunn/Internet Safety Expert: "Predators are using Nintendo DS anywhere in the world. And it's going to be really hard to track down those individuals because of course, they're on a wireless network from a hotspot such as a coffee shop. Or if they're in a wireless environment, say a coffee shop or whatever, they jump on the wireless network so now you have predators who are trying to get at our kids."
Oh no! Will somebody PLEASE think of the children! But hang on a minute; the report does make a one-sentence acknowledgement right at the very end:
Nintendo confirms what happened to Emily is possible but the company claims that person must also be using another DS system and be within 65 feet.
This is backed up by the game expert guy that Tricia contacted during her investigation:
What's not in the story is anything explained by the GamerDad this reporter consulted before going to air. On Monday morning, I received a call from Nydia Han of Channel 6 Action News, asking me about this exact story, the workings of the Nintendo DS, Pictochat and Wi-Fi. I was at first sort of dumbfounded by the idea of a child being contacted by someone through Pictochat because it's not Internet enabled in any way. In order to talk to someone through this application, you must be within 30 to 100 feet of the person (or persons... it supports 16 person chat rooms) you're talking to. When you're in that range, you can either type or draw pictures that are sent line by line to the people in the chat room. The most important point is that you have to be in that range, meaning you could probably see whoever it is you're talking to if you just got up and walked around looking for someone holding a Nintendo DS.

When contacted for the story, I talked for a good fifteen minutes about the possibility of this situation occurring and what might have to take place to facilitate it. I specifically explained that turning on the DS in a public place has never turned up a Pictochatter. Never. I've tried a bunch of times to see if anyone attempts to use it in public. I also said at least three or four times that Pictochat was not Internet enabled, even after I received a call-back asking if it were possible for this to happen at one of Philadelphia's "Wi-Fi hotspots" which are also mentioned in the article. I stated specifically that Pictochat would still not work because it doesn't ever make any connection with a network as it has no means of connecting to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). I thought I did a good job of relaying this information. I went even further and speculated that the child would almost certainly have to have prior contact with a person about where to meet in order to make this possible. Whether that were a relative or someone met through an Internet messageboard on a PC, it just didn't seem likely that this was a random thing.
Paedo-geddon is truly upon us.

Society - The smile in the crowd

This makes a lot of sense...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Music - David Cross, indie guys talk about their pods

There's a new feature over on the A.V. Club, where in which they "ask rockers, writers, comedians, etc to set their MP3 players to "shuffle" and comment on the first few tracks that come up". This week, they have David Cross, Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, comedian Eugene Mirman, and David Berman of Silver Jews.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Movies - Every punch accompanied by a honk?

'Cause hindu youth have masculinity issues to explore too...

Mew Enemy #1 - Cha-ching

There are reports circulating on the intraweb that:
The Ricky Gervais Show is to become the first paid-for Podcast.

The show features British comedy personalities Ricky Gervais, Steven Merchant and Karl Pilkington. Their irreverant brand of monkey-based comedy has seen the weekly half-hour podcast storm to the top of the iTunes charts and stay there.

The first run of 12 episodes was sponsored by UK newspaper the Guardian and were free to download via iTunes. Following on from the success of the show, the second run of episodes will be hosted on and will be accessible only to those who've paid a subscription fee.

iTunes doesn't currently support the purchasing of podcasts through its own store, but does allow the purchase of audio spoken content through its link with Audible, which can be accessed through the Music Store.

An Audible subscription to the show will cost $7 a month in the US and £4.50 a month in the UK. For the money, you'll get four half hour shows.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Society - Bad cops, bad cops

Oh man, scary shit, or am I just being paranoid? You decide: story 1 (here and here), and story 2 here. I cannot really fault the following thinking:
"I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" Chief Harold Hurtt told reporters Wednesday at a regular briefing.


The dude who drew Ren & Stimpy take you through his caricatures of Tom and Katy. The rest of his blog is great too.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Politics - Danish Hate

Reward for killing Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi: $25 million.
Reward for killing the Danish cartoonist: $12 million and one car.
For everything else, there's Mastercard.

Music - A percussion treat

I think that we should invite Thom to the Mew...


Is this high fashion or a Mighty Boosh costume?

Comedy - Iannucci Heart Keaton

Silent cinema, eh?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Interviews - Nick Frost

You can tell that things are going decent when:

In Pictures - A garment

Music - Some Beck goodies

All you Beck fans out there may be interested to know that is streaming some more unreleased tracks - all Nick Drake covers. Luckily for us, somebody's already turned them into MP3s, which can be found here (and you might check out the new Flaming Lips single and Gillian Welch's cover of Blackstar from the same music blog while you're at it).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Entertainment - Osama Vs. Batman

Who will be victorious? Find out in the next issue! (one thing's for sure though, he's all man)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

TV - Fox = Dines

It's kinda depressing that the same Fox that's cancelled Arrested Development, has just commissioned the pilot for the remake of Al Murray's The Pub Landlord (more analysis here).

Interviews - Kiefer

"24: The Musical"? I'd like that.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney - The deadliest prey of all ... man

Dick Cheney has finally crossed that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish super-villainy, by "accidentally" shooting a 78-year-old man during a hunting trip. In the words of a (clearly Texan) bystander, the victim, Harry Whittington got "peppered pretty good", suffering shotgun injuries to the cheek, neck and chest, but is said to be "doing fine" in hospital (luckily for ol' Harry, the medical team that is on constant standby to keep Cheney alive, was able to treat him on the scene).

According to Wikipedia:
This is the second documented instance that an American has shot another person while holding the office of Vice President. The only other time this has happened was the Hamilton-Burr duel over 200 years ago.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Technology - Apple mystery

I haven't quite put all the pieces together yet, but this image and the patent application it's attached to seem to indicate that Apple may be releasing a touch sensitive device of some sort soon.

Soft Sciences - Procrastination

After reading this article, my two questions were "what is cognitive behavioral therapy?" and "where do I get some?".

Saturday, February 11, 2006

In Pictures - Caption competition time

Technology - Pee-mail

I think that searching questions regarding lifestyle and career choices need to be asked of oneself, when one feels compelled to install touchscreens and phones in the john (aren't there some serious hygiene issues as well?)

Entertainment - Pete D'oherty's Prison Diary

in the Guardian today.

Health - Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

I hope that a prescription of this comes free on the NHS someday.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Entertainment - Monsieur Brent

That man we love is in the news again, although this time only passively - the French have made their own version of The Office.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In Pictures - Abu Hamza

I am not utterly convinced that this was the correct look to go for when you're facing legal proceedings.

Entertainment - Scarlett Nudehansson (and Kiera too)

Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

Mew Enemy #1 - Show cross-over here we come

... because Gervais & Merchant have been asked to write an episode of the US Office, which has been recommissioned for a 3rd season.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Entertainment - The Book of Daniel

While the gang was in Munich, we came across a true media gem that was brought to our attention by a Conan O'Brien skit. I'll say no more and let the show website's own description and promo shots tell the story:

A provocative, edgy and compelling new drama, "The Book of Daniel" stars Emmy nominee Aidan Quinn as the Rev. Daniel Webster,

an unconventional Episcopalian priest who not only believes in Jesus – he actually sees him and discusses life with him.

Webster is challenged on many levels as he struggles to be a good husband, father and minister, while navigating an often rocky relationship with the church hierarchy, led by Bishop Beatrice Congreve and Roger Paxton, a senior warden of the parish and stalwart churchgoer.

Webster also has loving, but challenging relationships with his three children: Peter, his 23-year-old gay son, struggling with the loss of his twin brother;

his 16-year-old daughter Grace, a talented Manga artist dealing with typical teenage angst;

and Adam, his 16-year-old adopted Chinese son, a handsome and cocky high school jock with a wicked sense of humor.
Keeping Webster grounded is his strong, loving wife Judith
– who is also coming to terms with the loss of her son and her own future and ambitions now that her children are nearly grown – and Jesus, his best friend and confidante who serves as a sounding board and encourages Webster to find the answers to his questions within himself.

On top of all this, the family's household includes an African-American doobie smoking grandma, although I'm yet to ascertain her role in the proceedings...

NBC's Book of Daniel website features full episodes each week for your streaming pleasure, and the Conan sketch that exposed all this can be found here.

Politics - He's a sexy boy

Bad news for Gordon Brown:
Russell Crowe [...] has lost out to David Cameron in a vote on the world's 100 sexiest men. Mr Cameron was 92nd in the poll, just ahead of You're Beautiful singer James Blunt and Hollywood star Crowe. He was the only politician to feature in the top 100, chosen by more than 10,000 New Woman magazine readers. Deputy editor Cath Rapley said Mr Cameron was "young, dashing" and promising things for the future.

Entertainment - The Elton Show

I suppose that it was only a matter of time before somebody turned Elton John into a sitcom:
Actor Anthony Stewart Head, formerly of WB series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," has landed the lead in "Him & Us," ABC's comedy pilot inspired by the life of Elton John.

The project revolves around an over-the-hill gay rock star and his relationship with his long-time manager and the rest of his colourful entourage.

Music - The family guy

Many topics were raised over the recent Mewnich '06 weekend, the Mew's inaugural symposium (attended by myself, Savs and Ricky M); one of these was the question of whether great creativity and family life are mutually exclusive. So, perhaps picking up on signals pulsing through the indie ether, Thom Radiohead weighed in on the issue in his recent blog post:
we ar e having to shake the dust off. no more bullshit.
stop answering the phones and thinking of excuses to leave the building.
instead get on with it.
jonny said today that since we were last radiohead, between us, we've had six children or rather our partners have, this may perhaps have something to do with our lack of focus.
but as this rock n roll we aint supposed to discuss this.. deny it every happened etc. what bullshit.

Politics - La la la i'm not listening

More psychology studies to mull over:
Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.

[...]The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.

Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.

The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.
"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," Westen said. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."

[...]Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning.

[...]The brain imaging revealed a consistent pattern. Both Republicans and Democrats consistently denied obvious contradictions for their own candidate but detected contradictions in the opposing candidate.
I wonder how much this affects us, and the people that we respect.