Archive for March, 2006

My New Favorite Search Engine

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

Remember my Big Print Bank idea? I’ve just learned there’s big print search at, appropriately enough,

And they mean big. Check out the search button:
green circle labeled 'Search'

I’ve only just heard of it, but I have to give it, well, big props because right now a search for “jsp” gives you me as the first result: search capture
Shown at 40% size.

That’s huge!

Data Not Found

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Here’s something that I don’t get.

The people in this White House (like many before them) have often claimed that they don’t govern by polls. Here’s just one representative sample, from Bush in 2005:

THE PRESIDENT: Polls? You know, if a President tries to govern based upon polls, you’re kind of like a dog chasing your tail. I don’t think you can make good, sound decisions based upon polls. And I don’t think the American people want a President who relies upon polls and focus groups to make decisions for the American people.

Yet on the flip side, they love to make blanket statements that announce what the American people ostensibly want. Hell, Bush tacked one on the tail of that answer! Here’s another one, from Monday’s press briefing:

MR. McCLELLAN: [in response to a question on domestic wiretapping …] The American people have made it very clear they support the President’s efforts to defeat the terrorists and prevent attacks from happening.

As here, this is always presented confidently, usually without the slightest bit of data to support the assertion.

So here’s my deal: just once, I’d like to see a reporter respond to the stock “the American people want…” phrase by asking “well, given that you don’t follow polls, how do you know?”

(And for bonus points, the followup: “Did Jesus tell you?”)

Words of Warning

Monday, March 13th, 2006

Let’s play a matching game. Other than the fugly background on the top and the terrible justification on the bottom, how do these two screens differ?

From Junebug, a Sony Pictures Classics release:
FBI warning

From Separate Lies, a Fox Searchlight picture:
FBI warning

Do you see it?

Minor Movies Update

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

OK, by request (hi Josh!) I have now added my ratings to the full movie list. To this point, the ratings were only shown in the “Recently” sidebar, and once bumped were no longer available.

I didn’t do this originally because I thought having just a handful of movies with ratings would look weird (I’ve seen roughly 50 movies so far in ’06, so not even 3% have ratings) but: oh well. I have a bunch more I will be doing with the movies section, but all in due time…

Corpse Cheney?

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Just finished watching Corpse Bride, and I have to tell you: when one character (a mean, humorless old man) was forced to grind out a smile…
Finnis Everglot, from Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

…it just seemed so familiar somehow:
Dick Cheney

Big It Up

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Several months ago I wrote about what I saw as a trend towards much larger online photos, particularly on entertainment websites. I see more and more examples of this every day (e.g., compare the width of the image on Apple’s new Mac mini page as compared to the tabs bar above it) but yesterday I saw a site that took it to the next level.

For really large pictures — and big video to boot! — check out Fox’s Walk the Line DVD site (note: check your volume first.) Is this the wave of the future for movie sites?

Oh, and though I strongly support larger video, I have to roll my eyes at their use of the heretofore non-existent “HD website” label.

McCaw Cellular is now AT&T Wireless is now Cingular is now AT&T Wireless (almost)

Monday, March 6th, 2006

Another day, another merger.

Fresh from gorging themselves on AT&T, team SBC will now try to fulfill their long-held dream of buying BellSouth, their partner in Cingular. Cingular, of course, bought AT&T Wireless about a year and a half ago, and just spent big money renaming those stores.

I hope they kept the signs. Should this new deal go through, there is a very strong possibility that Cingular will revert to the AT&T Wireless name.

…at least until Verizon buys them all.

Letdown Much?

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

Well, the Oscars were a letdown, I thought. Jon Stewart wasn’t as funny as I hoped, and the winners I wanted (e.g., Felicity Huffman and any of the other 4 BP noms) came up empty.


(By the way, did you see Mel Gibson speaking “in Maya” in the intro? Apocalypto will be even worse than I thought!)

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

Last week, CBS2 ran a story about how (IL) Gov. Rod Blagojevich did a “Daily Show” interview without even realizing it was fake news.

Following the story package, I watched the anchors joke with each other about how a) Blago could have asked any “kid” about the show to get the real story, and b) the governor would probably fire an aide as a result of the embarassment.

I don’t know about the “kids” part (remember that dust-up awhile ago when O’Reilly made disparaging comments and Comedy Central revealed that adult “Daily Show” viewers are 78% more likely to have a college degree than the average adult?) but I think the staff change idea might not be so bad.

I say that not just because somebody failed to brief the man, but also because his official re-election site is… wait for it…:

Rod for Illinois? Who thought that was a good idea? When Senator Richard J. Durbin runs again, is he going to use

Seeing Red

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Anyone who’s ever been to an American movie theater knows the green screen that precedes each preview, famously proclaiming the ad’s suitability for “ALL AUDIENCES” as judged by the motion picture industry’s rating board.

I wonder, though, how many people have seen the much-less-common “restricted” variant, with its arresting background:
Preview for Restricted Audiences

I see plenty of movies, but I only remember a few times, mostly in art houses or independent theaters, where I’ve seen restricted trailers (and of course, only before R-rated pictures.) And then, what did that distinctive red* glow signal? In my experience, it basically meant “standby for breasts.” Sure, sometimes a little violence, perhaps some profanity, but mostly you could count on some nakedness.

Or so I thought until I saw the trailer for Temporada de patos (“Duck Season“), soon to be released by Warner Independent in this country. In that case, the trailer was restricted because it showed… um, a quarter-second of a guy (sunk low, showing nothing) in a bathtub? A pellet gun? A flash of a violent video game?

No, I have no idea why this trailer is restricted. I’ve watched it three times, and I’m still at a loss. The film’s in black and white, and the trailer has no spoken dialogue (probably because Warner would just as soon you forget it’s actually in Spanish.) The boys shoot a vase with a pellet gun, but it’s pretty clear it’s not a real gun. There’s a somewhat weird-looking (I had flashes of Austin Powers) pizza delivery guy who has the aforementioned bathtub moment plus another when we see his bare back, so maybe we’re supposed to be worried he’s around these kids, but it doesn’t seem the least bit sexual.

Seriously: what the hell? I don’t know what these people are worried about. But maybe y’all are bigger prudes than I am and you can tell me. Watch the trailer and let me know what you think. (And yes, as far as I’m concerned, it’s totally safe for work. Hell, call your boss over and have him/her join the hunt.)

* “The color is to alert the projectionist against mismatching trailers with the film being shown on the theater screen,” sayeth the MPA. You know, back when they had a projectionist stay in the booth…