“Here’s looking at you, Kid-N-Play.” Play the #Oscars #Grammys #mashup Game!

"I'll get you my pretty, and your little Snoop Dogg too!" #Oscars #Grammys #mashup

Let’s play a fun game!

Since the Oscars were last night (and they were boring, from what I hear – I didn’t even bother watching) let’s play a game! Mashup your favorite movie quote with a famous artist! Here’s a few to get you started:

“Nobody puts Babyface in a corner.”
“Goonies never say Diana Ross!”
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could Missy Elliott.”
“I’m B.B. King of the world!”
“Here’s looking at you, Kid-N-Play.”

Share yours on Twitter with #Oscars #Grammys #mashup or leave a comment below with yours! If you include @deafgeoff if your tweet I’ll add them to this blog later :)

Top 5 Super Bowl XLV commercials – and the ones that you’ll never buy from again

If your team isn’t playing, then the best part of the big game is the ads. Of course, you care about the game (there were a few great plays) and want great performances (Christina messed up a line of the National Anthem but still sounded good; Black Eyed Peas were one of the better halftime shows in a long time, though my predictions were off).

Here’s my take on the best and worst commercials of this year’s game…

#1 NFL – Best Fans Ever
Simple, and simply awesome. Hits every demographic by including clips from nearly every popular show of the last 40 years: “Full House,” “90210,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Family Matters,” “The Office,” “Happy Days,” “South Park,” “Seinfeld.” Genius. (Anyone else find it odd that the best commercial was for something that we’re all already watching?)

#2 Pepsi Max – Love Hurts (aka The Jealous Girlfriend)
The girls loved this one the most, and it was pretty funny – no explanation required, just watch. All the Pepsi Max ads were good, but this one was the best.

#3 VW Passat – The Force
This plays on the sympathies of every Star Wars fan who ever tried the Jedi mind trick, but it’s cute, and you can’t help but love the little Darth Vader kid. I wonder how much George Lucas got paid for it. See what the kid looks like without the helmet – cute (and a little like Mark Hamill, oddly enough).
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5 Predictions for the Black Eyed Peas #SuperBowl Halftime Show

I’m excited for the Super Bowl XLV halftime show for three reasons: Black. Eyed. Peas.

Black Eyed Peas are, like, so predictable... or are they?

First of all, Fergie’s existence in the group means this is the first halftime show for the Super Bowl with a female artist since Nipplegate 2004.

Second, also since Janet and Justin, this is the first halftime act under the age of 50 as networks played it safe the last six years: Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and The Who. (The oldest Black Eyed Pea, apl.de.ap, is only 36.)

Third, as someone who’s seen BEP perform live, I can tell you that they are talented, energetic and fun performers.

So what can we expect at this year’s halftime show? Place your bets, people.
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All’s vanity: 8 self-indulgent websites that feed your ego

You’re so vain, you probably think this blog’s about you. This time, you might be right.

According to MSN, today’s college students would rather be praised than have food, money or sex. So it comes as no surprise that the hottest thing on the Internet are vanity sites that serve little purpose save for a cheap ego massage. Here’s eight sites that’ll do just that.

About.me is a business card-like monument to vanity.

1. About.me
A site for the especially narcissistic, About.me lets you fill the screen with a huge photo of yourself. Add a super-short bio and some links to your Twitter and Facebook, and boom, you’ve basically just posted a giant business card. However, a smarter and more useful business card would be your actual blog or site.

[Pictured: Lauralie Lee, who claims she’s “more than just a pretty face.”]

2. Facto
Is one of your ears bigger than the other? Do you have a hidden talent for karaoke? This is the site where you post random facts about yourself, if for no other reason than to talk about yourself.

3. Klout
You have Twitter, and you have 4,978 followers. You might think that makes you pretty cool, but you’re following 6,239 people. Most people that are following you are probably just following you back out of “you follow me, I’ll follow you” blind courtesy. But you still want to know just how influential you really are, and Klout analyzes your Twitter profile and gives you a score. It doesn’t do much more than that, but it’ll certainly give you a pat on the back.

4. Who Gives A Tweet?
Maybe you don’t care about influence, and you just want someone to tell you that you’re funny. Who Gives A Tweet? won’t tell you who cares, but they will let users rate your 140-character posts on a scale from completely useless to totally worth reading.

5. Formspring
You have a lot of secrets that you bet people are just dying to ask you. Well, put your money on the table. Formspring lets anonymous people ask you questions about anything – usually about yourself. So, in other words, you get to answer questions by talking about yourself.

6. Quora
Sort of a Q&A version of Wikipedia, Quora is a strange cousin of Formspring and Ask.com. The interesting difference is that non-experts get more of an opportunity to pretend they’re experts and answer questions that they might have no background on. Quora has recently gotten a lot of attention, but the buzz will die out once people realize the site serves no useful purpose.

7. Foursquare
Ugh, Foursquare. Businesses and brands love the idea of people “checking in” to their location because every check-in is like a little shout-out for their products. I see the advantage for companies to use it for promotions, but I don’t understand why people enjoy it, because they’re basically endorsing them without compensation. However, there is one fun activity that feeds a hungry ego – badges. If you check in enough times someplace, you can be “mayor” and brag to all your friends.

8. Three Words
Ask your friends to describe you in three words. Even if they’re not using nice words, they’re still talking about you, and isn’t that the point of any of these sites? To have people talking to you and about you. Still, it’d be nice if someone wrote “I love you.”

Happy Internetting, you egomaniacs.

Happy 25th anniversary, Calvin and Hobbes!

On November 18, 1985, the very first “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip appeared.  25 years later, it’s still a funny and relevant strip whether you’ve been a long-time fan or if it’s your first time discovering Bill Watterson’s magic world of a six-year old and his tiger.

As a tribute, I’ve put together a list of 25 awesome facts and links from Calvin and Hobbes:

  1. Calvin is named after 16th century theologian John Calvin who believed in predestination, and Hobbes is named after 17th century British philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who had a dim view of human nature.
  2. In the very first strip, Calvin and Hobbes met when Calvin set a tiger trap using a tuna sandwich.  Watterson later said he regretted it, saying it was unnecessary to show how they met.
  3. When the strip first ran, it appeared in only 35 newspapers – not even Watterson’s hometown paper. It would later appear daily in over 2,000 newspapers.
  4. Author Bill Watterson has never given licensing permission for “Calvin and Hobbes” to be turned into stuffed animals, cartoons, t-shirts, stickers or other merchandise.
  5. The only officially licensed “Calvin and Hobbes” items were two calendars (1988-1989 and 1989-1990) and, earlier this year, a U.S. postal stamp.
  6. It’s been theorized that the movie Fight Club is a grown-up version of “Calvin and Hobbes,” where Edward Norton’s character is an adult Calvin and Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden is his pseudo-imaginary friend Hobbes. This site makes a pretty impressive case, including suggesting that G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS) is a precursor to the actual men-only fight club.
  7. Is Hobbes real? From Calvin’s perspective, the comic strip shows an anthropomorphic tiger that has his own thoughts and actively participates in Calvin’s shenanigans. Other characters simply see a stuffed tiger.
  8. “Calvinball” is the made-up game that Calvin and Hobbes play often.  Watterson has explained the rules very simply: you make them up as you go, and you can’t play with the same rules twice.
  9. Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie and the “Noodle Incident” are referred to in the strip, but never explained or elaborated. Use your imagination.
  10. Calvin has three alter-egos: intergalactic hero Spaceman Spiff and film noir detective Tracer Bullett are both daydream manifestations; the third, Stupendous Man, is Calvin in a mask and cape doing battle with schoolwork, parents or his babysitter Rosalyn.
  11. Watterson wrote many hidden jabs at high art and academia, illustrated through Calvin’s “suburban post-modernism” rants or his “avant garde” snow sculptures.
  12. Many of the Hobbes illustrations are based on Bill Watterson’s cat, Sprite.  The famous “I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each others dreams, we can play together all night!” strip was written to cope with Sprite’s death.
  13. Watterson fought with newspapers quite a bit, struggled with deadlines, and tried to get Sunday strips to break free of the box format to allow for more artistic creativity.  Much of this is revealed in the Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book.
  14. There are 18 “Calvin and Hobbes” books which encompass every strip that ever appeared in a newspaper as well as some originals created solely for the collections. Altogether, 45 million copies have been sold.
  15. To Calvin, a cardboard box is multi-purpose: it can be used to sell things (like a “swift kick in the butt”), it can be a Transmogrifier (he turned himself into a little tiger) and it can be a Duplicator (where he tried to duplicate himself and make the double do his homework).
  16. Calvin has several enemies: Susie Derkins, Moe the bully, Miss Wormwood, Mr. Spittle the principal, baseball coach Mr. Lockjaw and the babysitter Rosalyn.
  17. Contrary to popular belief, Bill Watterson says he was nothing like Calvin as a kid.
  18. For a quick refresher of some of the great strips, ProgessiveBoink.com has posted what they consider the 25 greatest strips, including the Raccoon story and the Transmogrifier.
  19. Many newspapers still publish reruns of “Calvin and Hobbes” that can also be seen daily at GoComics.com.
  20. Before “Calvin and Hobbes,” Bill Watterson worked in advertising and occasionally drew political cartoons.
  21. An Asian kid recreated every image from the strip of Calvin’s hilarious school potratits – see the pictures.
  22. Mike Lee compiled a list of advice & wisdom quotes from “Calvin and Hobbes,” including classics like “Reality continues to ruin my life” and “You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help.”
  23. Actor David Spade has a tattoo of Calvin on his upper arm done by Sean Penn.
  24. Earlier this year, in his first interview since 1989, the reclusive Watterson told Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer, “I think some of the reason ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it. I’ve never regretted stopping when I did.”
  25. The last strip ran December 31st, 1995 with Calvin and Hobbes on another snowy adventure and the last lines, “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy… Let’s go exploring!”

What do you remember/love most about Calvin and Hobbes?

Nintendo doesn’t want you to say ‘It’s on like Donkey Kong’ anymore

Donkey Kong Country Returns for Wii

Donkey Kong Country Returns hits Nintendo Wii on November 21st

Donkey Kong is, indubitably, a pop culture icon and has been a recognizable character since he first appeared in 1981, throwing barrels at a simple plumber named Mario.

You’ve also surely heard (or even said) the phrase “it’s on like Donkey Kong” at some point in your life.  The phrase might have first come from a 1992 song by Ice Cube called “Now I Gotta Wet’cha” but has now become a staple of modern expression for when it’s time to throw down something fierce, appearing in movies such as American Wedding and even songs like Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.”

No more monkey business, though.

Now Nintendo has filed to trademark the phrase, meaning you won’t be able to say it without their permission anymore. (You could likely get away with saying it in conversation, but some trademarks become an issue if you publish it even in something as simple as a tweet or utter it in a YouTube video.)

Not coincidentally, Nintendo has their latest Donkey Kong game coming out this month – Donkey Kong Country Returns hits the Wii on November 21.  A press release even said “it’s on like Donkey Kong.”  Of course the game’s updated for the Wii system, but the most fun improvement is that you can now play it as two-player, side-by-side – you can be Donkey Kong, and your friend can be Diddy Kong as you fight evil Tikis and go banana huntin’ on Donkey Kong Island. [Read the review at IGN.com]

According to Wikipedia, the Donkey Kong character has appeared in countless video games and sold more than 49 million copies.  Nintendo Power ranked him the 8th most beloved arcade hero of all time.

The game looks like fun, and the phrase is certainly fun to say, but is this just a stunt to bring some attention to the new game? Or does Nintendo have a case?  Apple managed to trademark “there’s an app for that,” so stranger claims have certainly succeeded with the U.S. Patent & Copyright Office.

With ‘Speak Now,’ Taylor Swift becomes just the 7th artist in the last 10 years to sell one million albums in first week of its release

Taylor Swift - Speak Now (Big Machine Records)

Taylor Swift’s second album Speak Now has sold 1,047,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

No other album sold even 100,000 copies this past week, as major labels avoided releasing other artists’ albums in the same week.  Is that a testament to Taylor Swift’s talent?  Or is she still enjoying a blissful combination of timing and good PR?  It’s no secret that her awards and chart success didn’t start coming in until after Kanye West famously stole her moment at the VMAs.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Kanye’s next album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy comes out, scheduled to be released November 22nd.  However, even before public backlash started for his now most infamous ego-trip, Kanye never sold one million copies of any of his albums in its first week.

In fact, in the last 10 years, only Taylor Swift and six other artists have accomplished that feat:

  • NSync: Celebrity – released July 24, 2001 (1.8 million copies sold its first week)
  • Eminem: The Eminem Show – released June 4, 2002 (1.3 million copies sold its first week)
  • Norah Jones: Feels Like Home – released Feb 10, 2004 (1 million copies sold its first week)
  • Usher: Confessions – released Mar 23, 2004 (1.1 million copies sold its first week)
  • 50 Cent: The Massacre – released Mar 3, 2005 (1.1 million copies sold its first week)
  • Lil’ Wayne: Tha Carter III – released June 10, 2008 (1 million copies sold its first week)

Obviously, album sales have been hurt by the Napster revolution and the growing availability of illegal music online.  But just how difficult has it become to successful move one million units in an album’s first week?

Well, not even Shania Twain’s Up! in 2002 or Outkast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below in 2003 had first week sales of one million copies, though both have sold over 15 million copies since their release.

Is there hope for album sales to ever get back to where they once were?  Probably not.  But if someone like Taylor Swift can still sell a million albums in one week, then there could be hope for the music industry yet.

>> MTV: Taylor Swift tops Billboard 200 charts with Speak Now
>> EW: Taylor Swift leads the Billboard 200 album charts with a million records sold
>> WSJ: Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ sells one million copies in first week

And now your cell phone is a hotel room key? Cool!

I’ve had a smartphone for only about six months, but it’s dramatically opened my eyes to the future of technology.

According to MSNBC, a Clarion Hotel in Stockholm will be replacing their room keys with temporary mobile phones for guests.  A chip is embedded in the phone so that, when you hold it up to the door, it opens!  Huffington Post reports that the registration process could be cut out, replaced with entering in information on the phone itself.  Security would also be easier because room access could be cut from the phone immediately, says Yahoo.  The technology is being tested at the Swedish hotel before they expand to others.

This is awesome.

And it means so much more for the future, too.  In futuristic movies, doors are opened by pushing a handprint on a panel or a voice command – it’s even easier!  One button on a phone and you could open your hotel room, and soon your house front door, and then unlock your car.

Other things I believe will be true in the near future:
1. Cable TV and renting movies will cease to exist as we know it now.  will be  All video content will be delivered online and your big-screen TV will actually be a large computer monitor.
2. GPS, flashlights, iPods, and more will all be replaced or combined with your cell phone.  I don’t have a GPS in my car, but my iPhone tells me where I am and any directions I need. Power goes out? I turn on the flashlight app.
3. The cost of video games will go down, but people will have to pay for video game subscriptions to providers as they’ll be downloaded, instead of bought in a physical store with a disc or cartridge.  Interactive online gaming will continue to grow as the industry flourishes with improved systems and greater wi-fi accessibility.
4. Credit cards will no longer be physical cards, but rather applications on a phone that you can use to scan bar codes and pay for it.
5. Satellite radio will die out (or be forced to merge with other content providers), and pay-per-download will lose steam as Rhapsody and other paid music subscription services will become the predominant form of getting music, since increased free wi-fi availability will allow users to connect to these services anywhere, anytime.

It’s a Brave New World out there.  And if you’re still thinking “gosh, I wouldn’t know what to do with a smartphone” just tell yourself that in 10 years you won’t know what to do without one.  Maybe sooner.

Halloween Jell-O Shots

Happy Halloween!  The guys at myscienceproject.org spend a lot of time working on Jell-O Shots for some reason, and they’ve got an awesome collection of Halloween Jell-O Shots and how to make them.

Clockwise, from Top Left: Candy Corn Jell-O Shots, Eyeballs In Toxic Jell-O, Gummy Worms In Lime Slime, and Great Drunken Pumpkin Jell-O Shots

Last year, my friend Danielle made the candy corn jell-o shots and, not only did they look perfect, they actually tasted good too!

Also on their list of recipes?  Intensive Jell-O Ward, Jagermeister Black Jell-O Shots, Apple Cider Jell-O Shots, Brain Hemorrhage Jell-O Shots, Coconut Malibu Eyeballs and Boo-Berry Black Light Jell-O Shots.  Click here for the whole list and how to make them

Note: you should only be making/having these if you’re over the age of 21. Trick or treat!

Getting married on 7-7-07, 10-10-10, 11-11-11… what’s the big deal?

People are strange creatures.  We trust Chinese fortune cookies as wisdom, but if your Happy Meal said “You will live a long and prosperous life,” you’d laugh at it.  We bought gallons of water, flashlights and batteries in preparation for Y2K.  Tap water is bad to drink in any city, it seems. We think a fried chicken sandwich is healthy if we don’t eat the bun – where do these ideas come from?

We believe them.  Somewhere along the line, it got in our heads that certain things are true without any basis or evidence.  We believe in all sorts of superstitions like black cats and four-leaf clovers that we might as well call them stupidstititions.

So when 7-7-07 became the biggest wedding date of our lifetime, people started rushing to tie the knot on other “lucky” days like 9-9-09 and most recently 10-10-10.  What’s next?  11-11-11 is a Friday, but  12-12-12 is a Wednesday.

Is there a cosmic significance to any of these dates?  “Well, it won’t happen again for another 1,000 years.”  That’s true, it won’t.  And it also won’t be 10-12-10 for another 1,000 years, either.  We’ll see 4-14-11 in 6 months, but it won’t be the fourth month and the 14th day and the 11th year again until 3011.  Who cares?  The Jewish calendar says we’re in the year 5771, and other ancient societies would be arguing different dates too if they hadn’t been killed by the Roman Empire or by diseases spread from European colonization.

Over 30,000 couples got married on 10-10-10.  More than twice that on 7-7-07.  “A lot of repeating numbers are lucky in a lot of cultures. With divorce rates what they are, you need to have everything going for you that you can, I guess,” said a wedding company owner in Denver.

No one gets married with the intention of getting divorced (except maybe gold diggers), but we’re aware that many people do get divorced. However, if you examine the numbers closely, you’ll find that the saying “Half of marriages end in divorce” is actually a myth, too.

First of all, the divorce rate has gone down steadily since 1980, and rapidly in the last 5 years.  Per 1,000 married women, it was 22.6 in 1980 and steadily dropped  to 17.3 in 2005, according to the National Marriage Project.  In these tough economic times, people might be sticking together to save money because in 2009 it was only 16.4 divorces per 1,000 marriages.

A New York Times article also explains the myth that one out of every two marriages end in divorce, analyzing the numbers so you don’t have to.  The truth?  It’s never been more than 41% and, as the divorce rate is going down, it’s probably in the high 30’s now.  So the odds of getting married (and staying married) are in your favor.  Really.

Younger generations are also more patient about marriage than previous ones, and that wisdom that comes with age may be helping.  27% of couples who got married between 1975 and ’79 got divorced, compared with only 16% of those who got married between 1990 and 1994.  The average women get married now is between 30 and 32, where you’re less likely to make stupid decisions than when you’re 18.

So relax.  Don’t put too much stock in your wedding date.  Just remember your anniversaries, and you’ll have no trouble being in that majority that actually has a successful marriage.  And if you’re looking for a wedding DJ, I’m available.  :)