Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reading Exercises

I've never understood why people bring reading material with them to the gym. I certainly can't concentrate on reading under even moderate levels of physical exertion. Ever more puzzling is people who read books while exercising, since you really need two hands free to read a book, which eliminates pretty much all gym equipment except for exercise bikes, seated leg machines, and really slow treadmill walking. One of the bookworms I noticed at the gym today was a guy who was reading a book called Fraternity Gang Rape. With a title that provocative, I was hoping that it was from the true crime genre and not the how-to section, but it turns out that it's a semi-scholarly text on this disturbing phenomenon. I'm all for literacy and reading things that address uncomfortable issues, but this has got to be one of the stranger gym reads out there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Surge Protector

Parade Magazine has yet to publish its annual list of the world's worst dictators, but it has been running an awesome advertisement for the Heat Surge space heater. Call me a cynic, but deep in my heart, I knew anyone willing to pay for a two-page advertorial in Parade had to be running some kind of a scam. This blog post does a good job explaining how much of a rip-off this product is, but I'm more intrigued by the "brains behind the beauty" section of the ad, pictured below.

Yes folks, the Heat Surge is controlled by digital circuity developed by actual Asian engineers. I also really loved that they felt the need to explain that the on-board computer wasn't developed by the Amish. Because if there's one thing the Amish are known for, it's semiconductors. People credulous enough to fall for this sales pitch are presumably the target audience for Parade's annual list of the world's worst dictators.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


February 20, 2010 | 3:11 pm | Hyannis, MA

Friday, February 12, 2010

Governor Roger Sterling

Is it just me, or do Florida Governor Charlie Crist and actor John Slatterly of Mad Men fame look the same (at least, in profile)?

For what it's worth, Roger would probably be pretty good at politics, but if the writers decide to have him run for election and win, it would completely ruin his character since he'd no longer be able to just say whatever he felt like saying all the time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Double Fantasy

As you may have heard, KFC was recently test marketing the Double Down, a bun-less chicken sandwich. Apparently, Americans still have too much dignity to eat bacon and cheese sandwiched between two pieces of boneless friend chicken, because I haven't seen any Double Down related advertising in several months. I recently saw a commercial for a very similar menu item called the Doublicious, which appears to be the same ingredients that were included in the Double Down (boneless fried chicken, bacon, and cheese) served on a sweet Hawaiian bun. The only Doublicious sighting I could find (other than the commercial that I saw) comes from Nebraska. Does this mean that the Doublicious is a retooled Double Down that is once again being test marketed in Omaha and Providence? It's hard to say, since with the exception of the aforementioned post, the Internet is blissfully unaware of the Doublicious right now. One thing is for sure - if this concoction sounds appetizing to you, you might want to get to a participating KFC before time runs out.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Crazy from the Heat

We saw Crazy Heart over the weekend. It's kind of a confusing film. The folklore surrounding the decadent and depressingly short life of the stereotypical country western troubadour is so thick that I went in to this movie expecting to see awful things happening to people who in no way deserved such a fate, but that's not how Crazy Heart plays out. Instead, it focuses on redemption and tells an uplifting, but still mostly believable story. I really liked how story was told using a cast of characters as sparse as the landscapes of the American Southwest that Jeff Bridges' character traveled trying to scratch out a living. The music obviously wasn't as memorable as Walk the Line, Crazy Heart's most obvious antecedent, but it was still enjoyable.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Enhance Image

I've always joked that designing the software used in movies is my dream job. You get to make software that looks really cool but doesn't actually have to do anything. NPR recently ran an interview with Mark Coleran, a user interface designer who is living the dream. It's a decent interview, but I was disappointed that doesn't discuss the ubiquitous "enhance image" feature that allows a spy to take a low resolution parking lot surveillance photograph and zoom in until he can read the VIN off of a car parked in the lot.