Thursday, December 22, 2011

FedEx Responds to Viral Video

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 6:38 AM

Earlier this week, a YouTube video titled "FedEx Guy Throwing My Computer Monitor" went viral, garnering millions of views, spawning parodies, and generating thousands of comments on YouTube and other sites.

Here's the video:

In the busy week leading up to Christmas, the video seems to have touched a nerve with viewers that may have recently dealt with shipping difficulties.

Memphis-based FedEx posted this video on the company's YouTube account following the spread of the video. As of this posting, however, it only had 49,386 views (compared to over 4.4 million for the original).

Here's the response:

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Making of Food Porn

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 11:59 AM

  • Damon Winter/The New York Times

I've always been a little curious about the artistry involved in making food look good for TV ads. Donuts rolling by in slow-mo, chicken landing plumply on a grill and sizzling, cheese bridges. Wait, cheese bridges? Yep, that's one of the terms I learned from this fascinating piece from the New York Times about how those tasty-looking shots are produced.

"Tabletop directing," as it's called, inhabits a tiny niche that lies at the intersection of several of my interests. I minored in studio art in college and I've loved to cook since my first restaurant job at 16. Not to mention my professional interest in advertising as the Marketing Manager of the Flyer.

The artist in me admires the composition and dynamics of these images, but my inner cook knows that food is inexact. It's not supposed to look that good.

And the food really doesn't. Not on its own, at least.

I love looking at the luscious images of slow-mo food and knowing that it's almost certainly inedible — smeared with shiny vaseline, sprayed with glue, or filled with a cheese-delivering hypodermic needle*.

It's a job I think I could enjoy. Until something like this happened:

"Seven people, looking at a sandwich, saying things like: ‘There’s a hole here. Move that piece of meat.’"

Then again, maybe not. I'll leave the donut-throwing and chicken dropping to the pros.

*Actually, that one sounds delicious.

Friday, August 12, 2011

This Cat & This Owl Are Playing. That is all.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Cat and owl playing brought to you by Funny Videos

Friday, August 5, 2011

NOT the Way to Calm a Spooked Horse

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I'm may have to create an 'Animal + Moving Vehicle = Freakout' tag for this blog...

Update 8/11/11 2:10pm The video has been removed from YouTube, but you can still view it here.

Maybe the horse saw a snake crawling on its windshield.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Great Snake Debate

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 10:31 AM

First, some background from The Commercial Appeal on the acrimonious debate that ensued as the above video went viral (a debate that continued in typically civil fashion (har) in the comments.)

Not that I don't think we should talk about this. We really should - all of us - be prepared, mentally and morally, for the snake that will inevitably, one day, crawl from beneath the hood of our speeding, child-filled automobiles.

Are you the kind of person that calmly pulls to the side of the road, apologizes to the snake for displacing it from its previous habitat then sends it on its way after demurely offering it some of your granola as a peace offering? Or maybe you'd just pull out your .357, blow it's head off, and tie the remaining skin around your cowboy hat?

Serious question here, people.

What are YOU going to do when a snake crawls across your windshield?

You'd better know for sure, otherwise... well, what kind of person are you anyway?

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Nose Knows

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Does a sane person do this?
  • Does a sane person do this?

I ran across this nose-stylus on Wired.

For some reason, this thing seems to be a perfectly absurd totem for the present moment. It's a mechanical solution to a digital problem. It's a device that's inherently connected to a certain kind of lifestyle. It's flippant and vaguely sexual. And deeply weird.

The idea of it is appealing on all levels, save one: only an insane person straps on a prosthetic nose in order to use their iPhone in the tub.

I'm not sure what it says about our society. I'm even less sure what my fascination says about me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Elusive Bieber Lemur

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 3:27 PM

While working on today's Tuesday Twitter Trivia question, I opened a few links to read later. One of them was the Wikipedia entry on The Evolutionary History of Lemurs, which was the "featured article" on Wikipedia.

When I went back to read it, I saw this:


Obviously someone decided to have a little fun with the story on the main page. When I refreshed the page (after taking a screenshot, of course), it was back to normal.

But I couldn't help but laugh when I pictured a lemur with a Justin Bieber haircut. I know a good number of art/design folks follow the Flyer on Twitter, so I put out an APB for lemurs with Bieber haircuts. Here's what I got:

  • @crystalchick

  • @thedevine1

  • @jarrodbtaylor

Great stuff. Thanks guys!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Memphis Frogger

Posted By on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 9:32 AM

My girlfriend and I have a running joke about pedestrians in Memphis' roadways. Driving around town can be like playing Frogger, except you're in one of the cars and the idea is to keep from hitting someone. This game is called Memphis Frogger.

regular Frogger
  • regular Frogger

Drive around Memphis on any given day, and you'll likely see someone on foot crossing a street at an inopportune place or time. If jaywalking is even a crime in Memphis (is it?), it's not policed.

I'm convinced that this phenomena is entirely unrelated to gender, race, economic status or any other designation I determine while passing at 35-45 miles per hour. But it's a peculiarly common behavior in Memphis. (More than anything, it's a statement about our car-centric society and the lack of pedestrian friendly roadways, but that's a topic for a post that's not titled "Memphis Frogger.")

This morning, I saw a group crossing the street from a parking lot to an office building. As the group came to the curb and looked at traffic, two waited on the curb while one person stepped into the roadway.

It occurred to me that these are the two styles of crossing the street.

Style 1 are the people who stay on the curb until they see a gap in both directions of traffic. They've calculated a way to get all the way across before they step off the curb.

Style 2 takes it one lane at a time, starting with the closest. This is where Frogger begins.

about to lose.
  • about to lose.

The one thing that amazes me is that I've never seen anyone splattered by traffic (see above). As far as I've seen, both styles will get you across the road. Style 1 may cause you to wait for a few minutes. Style 2 may land you on the center stripe of Union Ave. with traffic screaming past on either side of you. But you'll get across.

Crossing the street is mundane. It's just about the definition of a mundane activity. But I think it says something about how we make decisions in our lives.

I'm not trying to sermonize about risk taking - "Are YOU the sort of person who will jump right out there?" - because I don't think there's a right or wrong here. I just know my style, and you won't see me stranded halfway across the street.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Whores in the Land of Walmart

Posted By on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 3:44 PM

I did a double-take when I saw a link on Twitter to a story by Memphis' WREG about prostitution in Bentonville, AR.

I wasn't surprised about the prostitutes. I was surprised because it's 5 hours away from Memphis. And I grew up there.

If you don't know, Bentonville is the birthplace and headquarters of the world's largest retailer, Walmart. To say that Walmart dominates the landscape there is an understatement.

Bentonville, Arkansas, has changed a lot since my family and I moved there when I was 11. The population has more than doubled and the once-ubiquitous cow pastures have been replaced with chain restaurants and coffee shops.

I've always been frustrated when people I talk to are willing to write off Bentonville as just-another hick town. Really, it's pretty interesting.

It's like a suburb, but with no adjacent "urb." The place people commute to is the Walmart Home Office, a fortified campus located a mile or two from the historic square of Bentonville.

But the majority of people doing business with Walmart don't come from Arkansas. Businesses that want to sell their stuff at Walmarts around the world set up offices in Bentonville and send their people there — that's how I ended up there.

A lot of people find it to be a pleasant place and settle down like my parents did. But, since it was (and still is) a small town, the large number of bored transplants with money to spend created a thousand niches to be filled.

I usually think of it in terms of food and restaurants. Bentonville has a thriving dining scene with everything from fine dining to locally sourced vegan cuisine. What other town in Arkansas has that? I think it's interesting that Bentonville got Dunkin' Donuts about 2 years before Memphis, if memory serves. Not that DD is a measure of status, it just says something about their priorities of expansion markets.

When you import a whole bunch of people with money to spend, you create a market for the stuff they miss from their previous homes. And new businesses will crop up to meet those needs.

Since Walmart is nearly synonymous with "globalization," I wonder what Thomas Friedman (author of The World is Flat) would say about the free-market forces at work in Bentonville?

I'll have to think about that one.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

App-ostolic Succession

Posted By on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 10:14 AM

There is now an app for Catholics who don't make it to the confessional booth as much as they'd like. That's right, a confession app. [via CNN]

A practical concern: if the app functions at all like a confessional booth, users will presumably enter their "sins" into the app in some way. And apps store user data. Even if it's password protected, PASSWORDS GET HACKED. (Google "celebrity sex tape" and tell me they don't.*)

According to the blog CNN cites, this is the first imprimatur (permission given by the church for publication) for a digital application.

On some level, I understand why the church would think this is a good idea - Kids love apps, right?

In the constantly expanding realm of digital technologies, every business/brand/entity has had to find where they fit in. But in some cases, those efforts to fit in only serve to highlight the total irrelevance of the business/brand/entity in the lives of the people they're trying to reach.

The idea that a sheet of plastic with flashing pixels can somehow absolve your mortal soul because a particular bit of code was sanctioned by the church is just silly. It's a collision of science and superstition that confronts our common sense.

When I see certain institutions fighting to maintain relevance, I think back to this bit from Bill Hicks:

Will the Confession App help the Catholic Church recapture that oh-so-coveted 18-24 demographic? I doubt it.

But then again, religion survived the printing press and the shift from manuscripts illuminated by the hands of cloistered monks to mass-produced Bibles (which I'm sure at least one monk called heresy).

* don't actually Google that. You'll get in trouble at work and end up knowing more than you want to about something called a Kardashian.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sunday's Televised Sporting Event: A Poll

Posted By on Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 9:17 AM

I'm compiling ideas for the Official [televised sporting event] Drinking Game.

(These are in addition to these words/phrases that are always in play: "Tebow," "trickeration," "game of football," "indisputable video evidence.")

Drink when...
- Anyone mentions the irony of a snowy [televised sporting event] in Texas.
- Anyone talks about Clay Matthews' or Troy Palomalu's hair.
- Anyone says "road to redemption" in reference to Roethlisberger OR they show a picture of him looking contrite. Like this:


or this

Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tonight's (Drinking) Game

Posted By on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 2:48 PM

If there happens to be a sporting event on television tonight and you happen to be watching it, here's a little play-at-home-game* to keep you interested if your team isn't playing in said sporting event.

All you need is a glass of your favorite beverage.

Sip your drink once when the following occurs:

- A commentator uses the word:
- or the phrase:
"game of football"
"indisputable video evidence"

- The Auburn Band plays Eye of the Tiger.
- Any predictions about or analysis of Oregon's uniforms.

Feel free to suggest others in the comments. Enjoy!

*Please "play-at-home" responsibly. Meaning, don't drink and drive. Or sue us.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

3-D Everything

Posted By on Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Last night I was watching TV with my girlfriend when a commercial for Tron: Legacy came on. We were wondering if the Pink Palace IMAX theater would be showing it. (For the record, it doesn't look like it.)

Anyway, this led to a conversation about how ubiquitous 3-D entertainment is becoming. Avatar — the highest grossing film of all time — was largely seen in 3-D, stores have 3-D TVs on display for holiday shoppers, and sports in 3-D is now a reality.

It occurred to me that the shift to 3-D over 2-D is similar to the shift from mono to stereo in audio reproduction.

There are some obvious parallels: Stereo sound seeks to reproduce how we hear in the natural world — our ears hear things slightly differently and we can therefore determine a sense of distance and direction. Our eyes determine depth and distance the same way. 3-D technology gives each eye a separate "channel" of information to replicate the slightly different points-of-view our eyes see in the natural world. (Which is why 3-D stuff looks weird without the glasses and even weirder if you have the glasses and close one eye.)


Will 3-D reproduction become the standard the way stereo audio is?


And just for fun...

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