Thursday, June 24, 2010

McChrystal Clear...

Posted By on Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 9:53 AM had his head up his ass when a Rolling Stone reporter was following him around. Why else would he speak so contemptuously about his bosses that he got himself fired before the article was even out in print?

Part of the reason, of course, is that the article was old news by the time I got the offending issue of Rolling Stone in the mail yesterday. It was posted online earlier this week and the controversy was in full swing by the time McChrystal showed up for his meeting with President Obama yesterday.


Reading it in print — on glossy new pages with subscription cards falling out everywhere — was a little surreal. It was reminder of the disconnect between long-form journalism and the 24-hour news cycle we have gotten accustomed to... But I'll spare you the "gosh, the world moves awful fast these days" crap. I was reading it thinking this article ruined this guy's career; Most of the stuff in it is now past tense. So — as my girlfriend asked when I was explaining the situation to her — what did he say that was so bad?

Let's be honest. Most RS profiles are cool-porn. You get to read about another person doing cool things that you are unlikely to be doing yourself any time soon. Be the subject a drug-addled rockstar, a sex-addicted comedian, or in this case a "highly intelligent badass," the writer's goal is to bring you into the subject's inner sanctum and show you how they live in a nonstop state of cool.

In this case, the writer showed a smart, tough, career military man without much patience for politicians — looking smugly at his bosses seems to be part of his shtick. Whatever the reason — caught up in the spotlight, resentment, ego, etc — you can't bad-mouth your boss in Rolling Stone and expect no consequences.

There's a reason for civilian chain of command and this kind of subordination is not only counterproductive, it's potentially dangerous. Generals going rogue is how military juntas rise to power.

One final note...

Is it just me or does McChrystal sound like some hellish fast-food burger? Like some bizarro sci-fi future in which McDonald's and Krystal have merged to compete against the Burger King's White Castle empire?? Or is it just me?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!

Posted By on Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Summer has begun, just don't go outside. The whole map is red!!!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

US Goalkeeper Tim Howard Loves Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Yesterday I found myself reading Men's Health. I'm not proud of it, but I was in a waiting room for a very, very long time. An article about members of the US World Cup team mentioned goalkeeper Tim Howard's "home in Memphis, Tennessee."*

Er, what?

How did I not know this?

Turns out our relative obliviousness to the world of soccer is precisely the reason:

SAM- How did you end up making your summer home in Memphis? [...]

TIM HOWARD- That's where my wife's from, and we don't get a chance to spend loads of time in the states, for me its usually just a few weeks. We get to have some peace and quiet. It could have been any number of places, but that's just the place we settled and to be honest I love it there. [Soccer By Ives]


"It's great. It's quiet, it's easy living, which is important," he says. "[Not getting recognized] is always a good thing for me." [CBS Sports]

Here's hoping that the US team's performance in the World Cup will gain gain him some well-deserved recognition stateside. Just not so much that it chases him out of Memphis.

(* You can find the passing Memphis reference here. You have to click the "Tips" tab.)


Monday, June 14, 2010

Horns Blow

Posted By on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 9:08 AM

At the risk of sounding like the ignorant American I am, I'm blogging about the vuvuzelas at the World Cup again.

I'm not the only one who's been annoyed by the sound of the hornet-swarm-from-hell that apparently loves soccer:


Now I have no idea how many people have to search for "vuvuzela annoying" for it to register with Google's auto-fill feature, but I'm going to say it's somewhere between "a hell of a lot" and "everyone everywhere."

I was heartened yesterday when I heard that World Cup CEO Danny Jordaan wouldn't rule out a ban on the plastic trumpety things. Turns out, he only meant they'd be banned if they're being used as weapons. In other words, they're here to stay.

I respect tradition and I don't think people should have to tone down their enthusiasm either. But I think Jordaan's response (We think they're FUN! / Just hit mute!) to a legit complaint is lacking.

Like many Americans, soccer isn't a part of daily life for me. (I mean, I call it soccer.) But this is the World Cup. It means more to most Earthlings than the Olympics, so I'm trying to stay informed and engaged. Part of that process is just learning about the game itself, which — I'm not too embarrassed to say — still escapes me at times. I'm still getting used to the clock counting up. The play-by-play commentary helps a lot, teaches me what to watch for. So muting the TV has its drawbacks.

It's almost like being invited to a party where they're blasting techno the whole time. You ask the host if they could turn it down so you can have a conversation with the person standing next to you, only to be told that you can either go outside (and miss the party) or plug your ears (and block out the noise you want to hear, too).

I joked on Facebook yesterday that I wished my TV had a vuvuzela audio filter. As dumb as it sounds, the solution might not be far from that. Can't we come up with a way to let the fans in the stadium enjoy themselves making all the noise they want without bugging the crap out of everyone else?

Let's get some people on that. Or it's going to be a long month.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts/suggestions in the comments.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Word of the Day

Posted By on Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 11:08 AM

The word of the day is vuvuzela.


They're the instrument making that annoying-ass dissonant sound incessantly during all of the World Cup games, thus insuring that I will be watching the whole thing on mute while streaming cool stuff like this.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Okay, Start the 'Leaky iPad' Jokes...

Posted By on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 9:46 AM

... right about now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Posted By on Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 4:23 PM

WTF, people? Seriously.


[People are giving their cats tattoos (real and fake) and dressing them in bondage gear.]


(Would you call that a cat-too?)

I digress... I was asking... WTF?

Someone please tell me. I'm asking.

Scrubbing Beaches or Brand Image?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 10:36 AM

BP is buying Google and Yahoo search results to put a positive spin on the Gulf disaster.

Google "oil spill" and this comes up:


A Yahoo search (Yahooing?) gets you this:


Seems pretty harmless right? Except...

According to Kevin Ryan, the CEO of California-based Motivity Marketing, research shows that most people can't tell the difference between a paid result pages, like the ones BP have, and actual news pages.

Oh. Well, shit.

I'm not even sure where to start with this one. That some people don't know how search results work? That BP still hasn't stopped the leak, yet continues in their attempts to shine us on?

Just fix the damned thing, then we can talk about whether anyone in this country will ever buy your gas again.

11:35a Update: ORLY?

(full version)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Apple WWDC Update(s)

Posted By on Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Note: This blog will be updated throughout the day with rumors, hearsay, and baseless speculation regarding Apple's WWDC.

10:08a: Looks like my hunch about how Apple might handle the next iPhone release after such a massive leak may be accurate.

It would be a great way to effortlessly acknowledge the elephant in the room and poke a little fun at themselves. Should be fun to watch.

10.45a: After hearing a rumor on Twitter, I found out...

A number of users have reported that their eligibility for an iPhone upgrade has been updated, allowing them to buy Apple's next-generation iPhone as soon as it goes on sale, fully subsidized with a 2-year contract agreement. (Via AppleInsider)

This seems like a really smart move for several reasons.
1.) With all the other smart-phone options available, Apple wants to hang on to as many iPhone users as possible by putting a shiny new device in their hand, for next to nothing with a 2-year contract.
2.) It gets the more casual iPhone user in with the early-adopters. Usually it's just the hardcore Apple fanatics that get new devices when they first go on sale. Apple is hoping to give regular folks a taste of the excitement this time. They'll make fanboys of us all.
3.) It gets the old phones off the network. If the new one does something the old one can't, it's best for everyone if more people have the newer version. I see this as a sign of a major leap forward in functionality.

Photos of trackpad peripheral leaked.

When the iPad was first announced, one of the things I was most excited about were the possibilities for the multi-touch display. I've been thinking of it as the "wizard factor," meaning that once you've got the hang of the various pinches, drag/drops, and swoops, you feel like a wizard when you're using it.

This seems like it would work just like the screen of an iPad or iPhone, just without the content displayed behind the touch surface.

1:45p Gizmodo's iPhone 4 Guide, including specs.

It seems like my earlier inclination that a major function would be unveiled that would only work between two of the new iPhones was correct. Video calling is a new feature and it only works between an iPhone 4 and another iPhone 4

1.58p No Hodgman-as-bartender video, but....

“Stop me if you’ve already seen this," he said, referring to the leak of the phone by Gizmodo. "But believe me, you ain’t seen it." (via LATimes)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bonnaroo Giveaway!

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 12:34 PM

UPDATE: This drawing is now closed. Congrats to the winners!

Since I have this shiny new blog -- and thank you for noticing -- I thought I'd use it to give away some tickets. We've got a few tickets to Bonnaroo still floating around, even after our drug-addled writers have had their pick. Wasting tickets is wasteful, so I'm putting them up for grabs.

Use this form to enter. All entrants will be added to our Upcoming Shows music/event e-newsletter that's sent once a week on Thursdays. (If you just want a shot at the tickets, you can unsubscribe later. But you shouldn't.)

I'll draw winners at 4pm today and notify the lucky festie-goers by email.

In the meantime, I'm getting a kick out of the thought of GWAR playing Bonnaroo at 2:30 a.m.

There are going to be some freaked out kids stumbling across this in the middle of the night...

Leaky Leaks: iPhone, not BP.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 11:59 AM

The Interwebs are a-flitter with talk about the next-gen iPhone, expected Monday.

My preferred source for iPhone chatter is Gizmodo, especially since they're the source of one of the biggest product leaks in Apple history.


To summarize, an Apple software engineer left a prototype at a bar where he had been celebrating his birthday. It was found by another bar patron who attempted to contact Apple when he realized it was no ordinary iPhone 3Gs. Gizmodo got a hold of the bricked prototype for $5,000 and dissected it. They became convinced it was a prototype of a next-gen iPhone and posted a gazillion blogs about it. Apple wanted it back and got it. (Here's a page with links to all chapters of this saga of geek curiosity.)

I'm interested to see if Apple handles this release any differently considering the leaked info. Product leaks are a fact of life nowadays, and I'm curious to see if the usual pomp-and-circumstance will be toned down. I think the smart thing to do would be to acknowledge the leak with a wink or a joke and swiftly shift to talking about the features.

Will the leakiness spoil the unveiling? Probably not. There are almost certainly features and functionality that you simply cannot glean by dissecting a bricked phone. The leak has generated so much speculation from bloggers and Apple fans, it could end up being a boon for sales.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Like getting work done?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 10:29 AM

...then don't start playing this game.

It's called Building Blaster 2 and it's addictive as hell.

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