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In June, DC Comics will be switching the sexual orientation of a well established character, so says DC co-publisher Dan DiDio (Bleedingcool.com). Here’s a little head start on trying to figure out who, though your opinion is also requested in a comment and poll.

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The Seattle Seahawks have just defeated the St Louis Rams to win the comical NFC West this year, with a losing record of 7-9. Yet, by existing NFL rules, they will get to host a playoff game next week. Should this rule be changed?

My personal feeling is yes, it should. However, I have an appreciation for “business” to involve teams from all parts of the country to maintain a true “national” interest in the game, so I propose a compromise.

Division winners should get in as they currently do. However, Division winners without a winning record (so .500 won’t cut it) should not be allowed to host a playoff game.

You still keep the national interest this way because the team is still in. Their fans will just have to travel or watch it on TV.

I think that’s just sick that Seattle got in with a 7-9 record and gets to host a playoff game. I want to see a competitive playoff game, not a butt kicking. Furthermore, it’s an absolute insult to all the good teams in the NFC with better records than the Seahawks.

You know, I thought football was a man’s game. Alas, if it were, the Seahawks should man up and let someone else in the NFC get in, or offer to travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints. But maybe it’ll be appropriate that their fans will get to see the Saints kick their butts as a lasting momento to end the season.

But to be a man, I’ll congratulate the Seahawks on making the playoffs and stepping up when they needed to and win a do or die game. I will thoroughly enjoy their annihilation next week.

What do you think of this rule about automatic playoff hosting for division winners?

Let’s Get Balloon Dad! BYOP (Bring Your Own Pitchfork)

"Let's Get Balloon Dad!!!"

"Let's Get Balloon Dad!!!"

Richard Heene wants fame? Let’s give it to him, full force, infamy style! He chose to attain his fame via infamy, not being talented, smart, patient, determined, charismatic and/or hard-working enough to do it any other way. So let’s give him everything he deserves rather than jail time, though make him pay for all the taxpayer money lost.

The Balloon Boy debacle is now considered a hoax, as I suspected Friday, along with many others, I’m sure. Charges are possible next week (Oct 25) against Richard Heene, who shamelessly concocted the lost boy in the weather balloon incident involving his 6 year old son Falcon, for this publicity stunt. It’s not Richard’s first failure to get fame, but let’s make it this manic obsessive’s last… as well as deter others disillusioned about getting fame via infamy at the public’s expense. If they want to do it at their own expense, they can go for it, for all I care.

For Richard Heene, though, let’s give him so much fame he will puke like Falcon did in the camera lights of the interviews last Friday. Let’s make Richard so sick of fame he’ll become a recluse for the remainder of his life! We don’t need criminal charges to put this guy in jail on taxpayer’s money for the next six years, which he could face pending the charges laid. Let him lay tiles for life, earning his living the way he is right now. The debt from this stunt should keep him busy for years to come. It should only cost over hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers’ money, after all the prosecution fees and law enforcement officer work times. But it will be an effective deterrent to keep him from ever doing this again, or others ass-piring.

So let’s bring on the paparazzi! This guy’s no flash in the pan. He’ll be in the news for a while. Who’s ever heard of a fast prosecution? And he’ll be whining and flip-flopping his personality between a macho storm chaser and besieged wimp as things drag on, unable to keep his mouth shut despite the advice of his lawyer. People will still want to hear what he has to say about it all for a while. So who’s tweeting for a flash mob of paparazzi to stalk Richard on his lawn or wherever he might be spotted? Or drive beside him wherever he drives, snapping pictures as they go? Make it impossible for him to go to Wal-mart or get groceries at the local store, though let him have some peace when he visits his kids they might take away from him cause the kids don’t deserve it.

Isn’t the National Enquirer or Perez Hilton going to have a contest for the craziest Richard Heene story or something? The guy’s pretty well known by now, and he’s done something stupid. Worse, what he did was stupid and expensive, with money and resources that didn’t belong to him. Hey, at least what Kanye West did to Taylor Swift at the VMA 2009 didn’t cost anything out of the taxpayers’ pockets. Let’s get some fair treatment for the infamous and give Richard his proper due, eh? Make him beg for jail to get away from it all! It’ll be good for the economy with all those magazines sold and stories told to tabloids and sites like Gawker (by 25 year old Robert Thomas). Who cares if it’s someone else possibly preying on him for a little cash and some short fame? It’s part of being famous!

On another front, Richard was answering questions by email before last Saturday when he was overwhelmed and said said he’d take questions on paper in a box to answer Saturday night. What ever happened to that? Anyway,  spam his email like crazy knowing it’s out there and he’s famous!

Heene also seems to have abandoned his MySpace page from 2005, possibly from having garnered only 7 friends, one of whom being “Tom”, everybody’s default first friend on MySpace. Ah, yes. Now we know why the fame was so elusive and the strength of the desire to obtain it. Go write what you think of him on his Comments page, or write a blog post like I am, or create yet another Facebook group or page dissing him. Make it all part of his Internet “legacy”.

Oh, while on Internet “legacies”, my condolences for any other “Richard Heene” out there. It’s so unfair to have your name hijacked like that. But look on the bright side. At least you can now misbehave a little bit more online and no one will likely notice. That’s because the Richard Heene Internet legacy is one populated by the Balloon Dad Richard Heene, and it’s a legacy that’s getting uglier by the second. That includes stuff from long before this balloon stunt, which only confirms the running public opinion, like this blog post by Stuff Frank Finds Funny on September 13 2008. I quote:

(Richard Heene) is an amazingly creative human (now turned mad scientist) who insists on repeatedly proving that there is a very fine line between genius and insanity.

You’ve proved at least, that, Richard! Too bad you did it by elimination in showing the insanity side. But that’s what you get for doing science without knowing your science.

So I say in a less conventional way than criminal prosecution, Let’s get Balloon Dad!

Bring your own pitchfork. I’ve got mine the way Stephen Colbert’s got his in the picture above. Do you?

p.s. I did not intend to offend anyone with this tirade, just Richard Heene, so my sincere apologies if you were offended.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.5

(about the level sufficient for Richard Heene to comprehend, although I haven’t known any sixth or seventh grader who’s done anything so dumb)

How do I know Richard Heene is dumb?

How can you be smart and name your son Falcon only to put him in a balloon to fly?

Falcons fly on their own!

Or didn’t Richard know that?

Oh, right. He’s an amateur scientist wannabe.

I forgot. I’m sorry. My mistake and I admit it. Hint, hint, Richard.

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Have you ever seen a video on YouTube you wanted to use that had embedding disabled so you can share on Facebook or other social media platforms? What about wanting to have just a part of a video for your use? How’s about a version to use on your blog that won’t be taken down in the early stages of the battle by certain people to have certain videos removed? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, or are curious about them, this post is for you.

Attempts by some to disembed videos happens all the time with the public posting stuff that are probably copyright violations, but so what? If the video is hot, there’s a whole bunch of people out there posting or reposting to thwart the efforts of those trying to remove the video, and to get views for their accounts. Those who try to prevent video posting or embedding usually fail in the end cause they can’t keep up with the reposters, but they don’t seem to learn. Your ethics here are only good for yourself.

Some examples of videos I’ve used that have been at the centre of such removal battles include these three within two months of this posting:

The first or subsequent versions I had were disembedded or removed. However, a quick 2 minute or less search yielded another one to replace the codes with and that was that. I actually just replaced the Taylor Swift interview on The View video in that post. They’re still trying! It’s just the way the world is these days and these people trying to take down the videos should just “get with it”.

In another situation, often, the best part or the part you want to share with someone is not the entire video. Or maybe someone’s corrupted the video with their add-on advertising and so on. Or maybe you only want the portion of Susan Boyle singing during her Britain’s Got Talent 2009 debut, rather than the entire segment. It’s annoying to have to use the whole video in those instances. They’re all good reasons to get your own version of a video.

Getting a video you like for your own use so you don’t have to let it load every time, or for when you don’t have Internet access, is another good reason, too. Convenience!

If you’ve encountered any of these situations, you can get around them a variety of ways using video capture software. It’s like how you can take a screen shot of what you view, then paste into a photo editing program to capture pictures or video stills you aren’t able to download or get otherwise. Only here, you’re doing it with entire videos, using a method similar to how you record music off the radio.

A good list of video capture software can be found at All Streaming Media. However, I want to share my experience with one called Replay Media Catcher by Applian Technologies. The demo is free at the previous link. They don’t even request an email! It’s very easy to use and works completely for YouTube, which is really where pretty much all the good videos worth sharing is anyway. Videos on other site only have 75% capture, but which may include the good part you want anyway. It seems to be the best of the bunch listed at All Streaming Media, with an Editor’s Choice approval. I don’t doubt it!
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To download the software:

  • Download the 13 MB software (version 3.11 is that size) at Replay Media Catcher (download right on page of link).
  • Double click on the downloaded file to install.
  • Click a few things like Agreeing with their terms of use that you probably wouldn’t read and you’re done.
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To open the software

  • Find it in your Start menu in Windows XP, or however your operating system starts programs, and open it like you open any other program.
  • You get a little screen asking for a code, for which you click the “Continue in Demo Mode” button.
  • Then comes a screen asking if you want to start recording now. Click NO.
  • You should then get the operating screen that looks something like the one below. The rest is below, but is really just opening your video, letting it load, clicking record in Replay Media Catcher, playing the video, clicking stop here when done and then closing out the video. It’s just like recording music off the radio in a lot of ways. Don’t let all the little steps below deter you.

Replay Media Centre

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To record a video:

  • Open your browser and go to the video you want to record. The video should start playing if it’s in YouTube.
  • Click on Pause and move the time slider all the way to the left at the start if you want the full video. If not, move it to the play time when you want to start recording. Then let the video load fully. This full preloading is not the exact instructions given by the Replay Media Catcher page, but I find it works best to let the entire video load before recording so uploading disruptions don’t ruin your recording.
  • In your menu bar at bottom (or wherever you have it), click back on the Replay Media Catcher button to get back to the software and screen seen above.
  • Click the Start Recording button.
  • Click back to your browser via the button for that software in your menu bar.
  • Click play on the video.
  • Click the button for Replay Media Catcher in your menu bar to bring that screen back up on top.
  • Move it out of the way of your video.
  • Put your mouse over the Stop Recording button, where the Start Recording button is in the graphic above, ready to click on it when you want to stop recording.
  • Switch back to your browser and close out the page with the video, or close out the browser. This is important if you want to do extract your video in Replay Media Catcher. Otherwise, it seems to maintain a link to the page and you can extract your video.

That gets you the video on your hard drive, but it is in some temporary storage space you can’t access. It is a permanent storage space, though, meaning you can exit out of Replay Media Catcher and shut down your computer and come back to find it again. However, until you get it out of that space, you can’t use the video.

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To extract your video
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  • Click on Tools at the top and choose Video History from the drop down menu.

Video History

  • Click on the video you want in the list. WARNING: This software records any video you watch on the Internet, whether the software is opened or not. The record button only seems to allow for some more control, so be careful what you watch knowing this!!! The only good thing about this is it separates the videos you watch so it’s not all one big video, but it only records what you watch so if you don’t watch the whole thing, not the whole thing is recorded. I was testing my Roger Federer video on my blog and had watched just part of the video at the end of this post shared on Facebook to test for this post. The software recorded them both even though it was closed!
  • Click on the Diskette button second from the top at right and it saves your file to your My Recording folder (in Windows XP), within the My Documents folder. It should tell you otherwise where it saves the file. Now it’s ready for use and is as good as the source! See sample of recorded video.
  • Click the Trash Can button third down from top to rid of the video in the temporary storage so you can free up disk space. Trash anything else you don’t want.

With your file, in Adobe Flash Video format or FLV extension, you can upload it to YouTube as is. That’s another lesson but I’m sure you can figure it out as YouTube does a pretty good job to make it easy. You just need to create an account on YouTube and follow their instructions there. The FLV extension doesn’t seem to be the most natural for YouTube. It took something like 10 minutes to process my upload. Maybe that’s normal. I’ve never uploaded a video on YouTube till now.

Getting the sound off the video as an MP3
With Replay Media Catcher, you can also extract just the sound track for those videos for which you can’t buy the soundtrack, whether that’s the Liverpool FC fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone, or Susan Boyle singing her Britain’s Got Talent debut in that electric atmosphere of people in shock and egging her on.

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Smart Reposting
Finally, a few points about smart reposting to give some longevity to your repost in the war between posters and those trying to take down your video. Well, they’d be trying to disembed it to prevent easy social media sharing (what you probably want to do most in reposting), because taking it down is another war altogether that they have with YouTube.

  • Repost on some other site if you can. YouTube is still the king of video sources, by far, for sure. That is the reason it sometimes is the only focus of those trying to take down the video. However, other video sites like Vodpod have a decent audience, and your video still shows up on searches outside that community. Using the Kanye West VMA 2009 incident video on VodPod, I’ve never had to replace it.
  • Repost using as few appropriate key words as you can, like maybe VMA incident without using the words Kanye West Taylor Swift. This won’t get you all the search results, but it’ll likely keep the video up longer from those searching to take it down. Meanwhile, you can use it for your blog or share it with all your friends, and they can further share it, without worrying about it being taken down. Basically, it’s for you and your friends to hustle rather than search engines and such, but this is a different motive than trying to get views. If you are just using it somewhere you can set it up with text, like on a blog, then really, who cares what it’s called? Call it Software Test, like I did, or something even obscure nobody will ever search while looking for the topic of your video.

Hope all this helps! Go be a rebel!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.3

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In a stunning move today, Snickers Candy Bar Corporation unceremoniously dumped Mr T as the spokesman for its British Get Some Nuts ad campaign. In his place is… of all people… Kanye West!

If you don’t know, Snickers has been running ads like this, with the charismatic Mr T, in its British Get Some Nuts campaign:

or this:

However, sales have actually decreased. Probably has something to do with calling your clientele (British men) wussies. That would be pussies in American English.

So today, Snickers revamped its strategy by making the target one that’s frequently mocked by British men – the American man. And they went for the current ultimate American pussy in Kanye West. If you don’t know by now, Kanye had a “September 13th” incident at the MTV VMA awards. He stormed the stage during the gentile Taylor Swift’s first ever VMA award acceptance speech and claimed Beyonce had deserved it more. He also proclaimed Beyonce had the “best video of all time (of all time)”. His unpopularity has since fallen below measurable levels. Yet, Snickers seemed unafraid to take him on as a spokesman.

“There’s a great, but very politically incorrect Internet meme parody going around about Kanye, and we felt we could capitalize on that. We see more benefit than risk because Kanye’s not taboo in Great Britain. We just laugh at him.”

No ads have yet been released, but Snickers has released some “comps” or concept sketches of what they’re thinking. They’re also inviting the public to submit captions or create pictures from some blank templates (below). Among them are two white crops of Kanye West from the “VMA incident”. You can easily cut out these and put on top of other pictures to contribute to the Internet meme with Kanye.

You don’t have to submit your pictures to Snickers, of course. You can just use them for your own blog to Facebook to share with your friends.

When asked about the possibility of having Mr T do a commercial with Kanye, shooting Snickers bars at Kanye and telling Kanye to “get some nuts”, Snickers would not comment. However, Mr T has already issued an ad to Kanye telling Kanye to “get some nuts” and to “Quit yo jibba jabba fool” cause “Mr T is watching” (last picture below).

So what captions would you put with the comps below?

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If it weren’t obvious by now, this is just a spoof I created for fun to share some of my own creations contributing to the Internet meme with Kanye West. I just have to mention it as a spoof to be “legally responsible”.

Flesh-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.8

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