Let's See that Again! 10 Landmark Viral Videos of 2007

Top 10 lists have been bubbling up out of blogosphere with torrential tenacity this year. The Internet is brimming hysterically with them. And who doesn’t love lists, rankings and countdowns? I know I do! And so does everyone else who watches Vh1 or E! or even Animal Planet.

Anyway, this latest top 10 compilation comes straight from Gawker, and it’s one of the craziest and most hysterical I’ve seen so far — it's pure, unadulterated digital shock and awe. So what is it? It's a ranking of the most most popular and pop culturally (ir)relevant viral videos of 2007, of course!

Bet you can't watch any of these just once, no matter how much you try and pry your eyes away. Trust me: You'll be doing double-takes and re-clicking that Play button to get a good glimpse of the nutty goings-on in these videos, many of which I'm positive you've already seen.

Also, I think this list captures online zeitgeist the best, spouting absurd precision and one-up sarcasm with understated charm. The list makes a task of documenting the digital events that made the noisiest splash online this year, stopping Internets in their tracks and making them take notice.

Watch this “marvelous cut-the-chase montage” put together by the Gawker gang over and over again, then snap out of your dumbfounded daze and love on this post with some comments!


“I Personally Believe” These are the Most Illustrious Quotes of 2007

Like such as. Nothing like the Internet to mushroom kooky one-off events into pop cultural phenomena. Below a ranking of the five most memorable quotes of 2007, as reported by Reuters.com (I have no clue as to what metrics they might have used to come up with this list, btw):

1. “Don’t tase me, bro!”

2. “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for ourgghh.”

3. “In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country.”

4. “That's some nappy-headed hos there.”

5. “I don't recall.”

Can you match the quote to the person who uttered the infamous words?

Don Imus college student and rabble-rouser Andrew Meyer Alberto Gonzales Lauren Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Check out the entire Top 10 list here for some more of those reckless and hare-brained verbal spews that rang and rattled with venomous viral force around the Net this year. Curiously tho, “Leave Britney alone!” was overlooked. What’s that about? Whatevz… Anyway, I’m sure these would all make some funky-ass t-shirts, don't you think?


Honest to Blog? Best and Worst of 2007

Tune in to iMediaConnection and find out which online marketing campaigns the experts are touting as cutting-edge for 2007. Widgets, UGC, touch points, mobile, video, clickthrough, viral, rollout, social media, BT, analytics… all the trendy marketing buzzwords and phrases are tossed around freely and without restraint here.

The article is chock-full of interesting opinion and fanciful forecasts for 2008, and will have you making conjectures and coming up with ideas of your very own.

So check it out to see which campaigns have been labeled phenomenal flops and which are considered the best and the brightest of 2007 (high-five for automotive and film!); also, find out what’s in store for next year and what's shaping up to be the next big marketing platform. Will it be mobile? Facebook’s Beacon? What do you think will be the biggest online marketing trend of 2008? And which up-and-coming marketing blogs deserve our praise?


Interactive Motion Logic: Groovy Lines for Groovy Minds

Yugop.com is a site unlike any you've ever made your way to before. This experimental online art house, brought to you by avante garde Japanese digital artist and branding expert Yugo Nakamuro, is making pixelated waves online — both literally and figuratively — thanks to its synchronized, mouse-sensitive motion animation experiences.

This Mr. Roboto-infused digital destination includes an RSS feed ready to stuff your reader with tons of eye-catching, precision-crafted digital goodies, as well as a comprehensive archive of interactive artworks created for edgy, high-profile clients like UNIQLO and XBOX 360; it also boasts fluid and futuristic functionality that serves up a myriad of techno-inspired surprises, all with a distinct and modern Japanese edge. Check it out. Domo arigato!


Music as Brushstroke — When Sounds Splash on a Digital Canvas

Here’s a standout site that a friend of mine sent my way last week. It’s really somethin’ else — and in an effort to keep you dialed in on the latest innovations popping up around the Web, I’ve decided to blog this one out.

Check it: The Life House Method is an imaginative proposition that uses specialized software to create musical portraits. Here's how it works: The software, created by a team manned by a composer/mathematician and comprised of Web developers and musicians, reads jpegs of your likeness as if following a grand staff, and then patches together musical notes and auditory references with sonorous, skillful sensuality to paint a unique musical masterpiece that captures your precise mood and personality.

It’s an all-out celebration of synesthesia — by merging the senses into one hallucinatory adventure, The Life House Method manages to blur the line between vision and sound by weaving pitch-perfect online sensory experiences that are bound to surprise. And with the latest news of Leonardo da Vinci encoding music into The Last Supper, the idea of creating harmony from images rings right on target.

With sweet pings, sultry arrangements, colorful notes, melodic clangs, pulsating beats, and at-attention rhythms, most of the portraits showcased have the power to both intrigue and provoke. So check it out. I know it has left me wondering: What would my very own musical portrait look— I mean, sound — like? What about yours?


Attention Internets: Has Web 2.0 Jumped the Shark?

Na-ah, not from where I'm standing! Alas, others would tend to disagree. Check out this video, courtesy of The Richter Scales, to see what I mean. It’s a riot, yes--and even though it brings up a significant point, I think on a deeper level tho, it totally misses the mark. Why? I believe that this time around, the digital money-making model online is already barreling full speed ahead, way past the point of no return.

As opposed to 2000 when the dot.com bubble burst leveled start-ups and interactive advertising constructs like and enraged e-tsunami, 2.0 has already gained enough critical mass and grown strong-enough roots to weather a stock windfall or an economic crisis--or even an ominous onslaught of postmodern parody.

And more than that: Interactive is no longer simply about reeling in some green: It’s about conversation, social participation, empowerment, and meaningful connections. Hell, even my mom's on Facebook now.

So if you haven't already, it's time to get in on the online game. The paranoia and trauma that resulted from the first Internet implosion is all but a bad dream now. Watch this video, laugh it up, and then blog about it! Oh, and let me know what your take on it is, obvz.


Wacky Wikis That Can Cut: Edgy Alternatives to Wikipedia

As a regular Wikipedia contributor, I've found it's not easy to be as remiss with your entries as many would tend to think. Wikipedia editors pull down anything they deem spamy, overtly commercial, or suspiciously fabricated with lightning-bolt speed. And when they think an article's content is a little off-kilter, they're not at all afraid to slap it with a loud label that questions an entry's neutrality, accuracy, or credibility.

Which is all fine and good. With Wikipedia regularly taking hits from the media both online and off, Wiki gatekeepers have become increasingly dedicated to guarding the veracity and integrity of this mega-contribution site as jealously as possible.

Which has left Wikipedia wanting on some fronts, from my POV. But there's no need to fret: As far as edgy Wikis go, there are a couple that are a cut above the rest.

As a "slang dictionary” built around user definitions, UrbanDictionary.com has been able to tap directly into the online pipeline by capturing the evolution of e-language with Polaroid-style instancy, leaving "innovative" and "serious" propositions like Wikipedia in the dust.

Thanks to the veritable flood of contributions from opinion-prone, avant garde onliners hellbent on molding, owning, and leveraging everything from techno idioms and pop-speak phenomena to niche-centered language, UrbanDictonary has become the go-to resource for e-trend setters, Internet anthropologists, and cool hunters alike.

And then there are sites like Encyclopedia Dramatica, which turn the notion of the Wiki on its head by taking on an unapologetic, eff-you attitude with a decided punk rock style. If sarcasm, irreverence and dark humor are not your cup 'o tea, better hightail it back to the land of mainstream online media (yawn), and leave this site to the big boys.

So remember: If you wish to ready yourself for a stint as a high-profile blogger/commenter or evolve into a bona fide online connoisseur, make note of keeping UrbanDictonary and Encyclopedia Dramatica at the top of your del.icio.us bookmarks list. If anything, they'll help you find your way in an ever-changing digital landscape. Thoughts?


Guerilla Marketing Thru Instant Messaging

You’ve just come up with a standout sitelet-based marketing campaign. The creative is sparkling and spot-on, the messaging is laser-focused, and the troops are ready for deployment. There’s just one problem: There’s zero budget for an effective e-mail blast or OLA campaign to reel in some targeted traffic. So what to do?

There’s one alternative that might do the trick: Instant Messaging! That’s right. I’ve found that you can jump-start a promising campaign thru some of the chat channels most commonly used on the Web: MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger, Google Talk, AIM, or any other app you use to quick-relay digital dialogue.

And I’m not talking about IM spam either. Dialog windows that pop open with unwarranted commercial messages and interrupt you while at work will do your guerrilla campaign in. However, a simple URL in your IM status might be enough to pique your contacts’ curiosity.

This, in turn, can spark an engaging conversation, which can snowball into something unexpected. And if you have enough people doing this on your end, your brand can gain some edgy, underground awareness from a few much-coveted influencers and trendsetters, eventually pushing your campaign over the tipping point with some welcome viral force.

After all, it’s no secret that today, a well-intentioned e-mail campaign can disintegrate into garbage and unwanted spam in your recipients’ inbox if not executed with delicate precision and technological know-how. And no serious company wants that—even a start-up in desperate need of getting noticed.

So take a stab at a well-crafted guerilla strategy that leverages your IM contact lists. Can it yield the results you’re after?


Wordsmiths, Wield Your Sassy Social Consciousness!

I don’t mean to come across as completely insensitive, but social causes shepherded online usually rub me the wrong way. Cause invitations on Facebook are by far the most annoying: They’re pat and patronizing and a complete waste of my time. I seriously doubt that joining an online cause will magically-inexplicably put a dent on the world’s most insidious problems.

But today, I ran across a great site that helps you simultaneously improve your English skills and your social karma. Awesome! Now here's a cause I'm glad to sink my teeth into.

If you’re a word junkie like me, you’ll greatly appreciate FreeRice.com, an offshoot of the socially conscious world poverty site poverty.com. FreeRice promises to donate 20 grains of rice for every guess-the-synonym question you answer correctly on their site. Go ahead and put your knowledge of Webster's to the test. How much rice can you chalk up for those who need it the most?

What I really like about this site is that it helps you grow as a writer, it conveys an immediate sense of urgency when it comes to world hunger, and it prompts you to act on this urgency. And for those with a competitive edge, this social-aid-site-cum-verbal-quiz-machine also keeps score.

Offsetting your carbon footprint is sooo five minutes ago. After all, it’s not much fun to help save the world or whatever if you can’t get something out of it yourself, right? So play the game, donate some rice, and let me know how you fared!


Jazz Up the Internets with Sonic Images and Sound Events

Reading is a highly visual exercise, not only because eying a snippet of text is a visual act in-and-of-itself, but also because words and phrases call on memory and abstract association to evoke shapes, moving images and mental pictures.

This is especially true when it comes to ad copy, as most advertising is crafted so users “see” precisely what it is they're about to gain or miss out on. Evoking mental images through brisk, pithy and colorful writing is a proven, seductive way of piquing consumer interest, and produces effective calls to action.

Something I also try to do when authoring any piece of writing is to cater to the sense of sound. Whenever possible, I use alliteration, loud words, musicality, onomatopoeia, and other sonorous literary devices to spark auditory buzzes in the reader’s mind. This way, words not only pop in a user’s head, but seem also come at them as if mouthed from within earshot.

And today, the interactive space is not simply about seeing, it is also about hearing. As I roam online for juicy bits of information or plug away at work, I’m almost always listening to streaming radio and pretending I’m droppin’ it like it’s hot. Every so often, I’ll also download a podcast or two. And for the most part, I’m pleasantly surprised when I land on a corporate webpage that employs sound in ways innovative.

Do you know the difference between a sound event and a sonic image? You should, if you wish to learn how to leverage audio online without annoying the hell out of everyone. Check out this insightful article from iMedia Connection for a crash course on auditory website enhancements. It’s an eye- (or ear?) opener, and includes several real-life examples of how on-target audio cues are used by companies to further consolidate their branding online.

Does this ring true to you? What do you think are the best ways to use sound effects as auditory flashbulbs on the Web?


The Flighty Faux Pas of Shopping While at Work

I don’t mean to stifle your digital shopping habits with vexing online survey results, but I’m sure some of you are at least a tad curious as to how many professionals partake in the joys of Christmas capitalism while at work, right? Well, I’ve got, um, odd news.

First of all, it seems consumer organizations and consulting agencies are at a loss when it comes to accurately figuring out how big a chunk of the corporate workforce is bent on shopping at the office. Check out this post on Consumerist, which semi-successfully attempts to explain why the latest shopping-while-at-work surveys are all over the place with their numbers.

In the end tho, who cares! I already know that a lot of people shop from their desks, especially during the Holiday season, and more so than they care to admit. What I really want to know is: Is it considered socially acceptable to do your Christmas shopping online during office hours? My verdict: Totally! It would motivate me to think others believe so, also. Survey says: Not so much.

According to Spherion, a firm that conducted one of the aforementioned polls, more peeps seem to think shopping online while at work deserves some tsk-tsking, as opposed to those who think it’s completely acceptable. Dang. Interestingly, however, the same survey says the amount of workers buying online is up 27% from last year.

So what does this mean? Does it mean users out there are being naughty instead of nice? It seems like some working onliners are having a sort of moral-ethical crisis and supplanting it through their e-purchases, only to feel guilty later on... or something. Or, the surveys are simply meaningless PR ploys.

Whatever the case, no one can deny shopping online is now mainstream. So the question remains: Are you one of these shopping-while-at-work offenders? Come clean with a comment!


Will TXT for Food, Better Mobile Messaging

Sometimes I feel I'm standing on the gimp side of the digital divide. Let me explain: Seeing as texting in Costa Rica isn’t the most reliable of wireless services, I've automatically defaulted from taking part in the TXT-for-takeout trend currently taking the fast food industry by storm. I feel I'm missing out; I can read about texting orders online, but that's about it.

Papa John’s and others have the right idea, fer sure, and many digital early adopters are already all about ordering thru text messages. Send a text message, get your pizza in half an hour. It’s simple, super-quick and surprisingly secure, despite what some skeptics would think. Here in Central America, however, the mobile situation is SNAFU as usual, making a TXT-placed order next to impossible.

Check it: If I send a text message using my all-sorts-of-embarrassing, olden Third World cell phone, it might take up to 12 hours for it to reach the desired recipient—if it gets there at all. So when it comes to ordering food, it’s the phone for me, chuck.

1 lrg pzza pls, xtra cheez? Sounds good. But what I really need is rlble txt msging, mos def. Alas, no amount of shorthand can help me inveigh against the state-owned cell phone provider. I guess I’ll resort to in-person complaints at the local agency. Ugh. I feel so savage.


Quirky Online Games for the Plucky Office Procrastinator

I have to admit I’m a sucker for branded online games. I love the old-school feel that comes from playing them, the throwback to the Atari and original Nintendo-style graphics, the simplicity of the keyboard controls, and the thrill and gratification that comes from beating a game of low-to-medium difficulty. I’m hooked. And many users throughout the Internets are, too.

And more to the point: As viral marketing campaigns, online games almost always hit a bull’s eye. The reasons are obvious: They grab user attention for long periods of time, serve as free advertising, provide a distinct interactive brand experience, and help players self-identify with a specific corporate messaging.

Of course, any sort of online gaming experience—especially that of a nostalgic nature—will inevitably cut into the productivity of anyone’s day. It’s hard to hype up a time-consuming hobby frequently frowned upon at the office by administrative types. I’ve found, however, that dabbling in a little online fun can do just the trick to mushroom that imaginative spark and transform it into spot-on creative execution.

If, for example, you have a slam-dunk idea but still need to hash out the details, a dash of online gaming can help you carve out the finishing touches. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and check out some of the following branded games. If they don’t help you come up with some quirky and totally awesome digital marketing ideas of your very own, I invite you to go off on me on this very post with an irate comment or two. So here goes:

Headcase, from Wrigley’s Candystand: Use your mighty brainpower and oversized head to collect green diamonds and bounce your way out of chewy situations in this land of bubblegum wonders.

Absolut Disco, from Absolut Vodka: Not so much a game as a groovy online experience, this Studio54-inspired disco affair lets you boogie down to a myriad of keyboard-controlled late 70s psychedelia while using your webcam. Far out!

Zuma, by Yahoo! Games: From the makers of Bejeweled and Bookworm, this PC-only game is guaranteed to swallow up tons of your time. Swivel your stone frog and chuck your colored balls in the right direction before the hungry Aztec idol gobbles up the entire string of balls with a single swooping gulp.

Now that you know where to go, go ahead and kill some of that valuable office time. Let me know if these games get your creative juices flowing. Happy gaming!


Your Reading Companion for 2008: Make it a Kindle?

I’m not really known to suffer from the kind of Asian gadget fetish that has stricken many of today’s in-the-know urban professionals, who at times seem to be in sears need of intervention from their iPhone and Blackberry dependency.

Every so often, however, I’m blown away by the news of an innovative technology to the point where I feel I must jump head-first into the online conversation and offer up my two cents on the latest and greatest whiz-bang device.

Which is what I have decided to do now. So let's begin: If you haven't already, say hello to… drum roll please… the Amazon Kindle! Check it out: The Kindle is an all-new e-book reader, a crafty contraption brought to you by Amazon.com that builds on the functionalities of the Sony Reader by offering wireless connectivity and the possibility to subscribe to newspapers, blogs, magazines, and online comment streams, as well as the option to purchase e-books on the spot. In other words, it bitch-slaps the Sony Reader into technological obscurity with a definite techno sleight-of-hand.

Many in the blogosphere and in traditional media are calling the Kindle a milestone in technological innovation. And when it comes to traveling light, it really can’t be beat. As soon as I get my hands on one I’m totes buying it.

Online reviews have been mixed but promising: The Kindle’s screen is mellow and crisp, it’s easy on the eyes, and the e-ink reads perfectly under direct sunlight or in pitch dark—no need for sunglasses or a lamp to guide your eyes. It doesn't have a trackpad, but the keyboard and intuitive controls are getting high scores. It's not perfect, but it has potential.

And the Kindle has an undeniable advantage: It is eco-friendly through-and-through. No longer do we have an excuse to plow down patches of rainforest to ensure bestsellers make the global bookstore rounds. So let’s all rekindle (ha!) our reading habits through digital. Might we all soon say goodbye to books altogether?


Creative Spotlight: Orangina Amps it Up with Lusty Busty Wilderness

Here’s one for the books: Orangina just came out with a smutty ad campaign of sexed-up human-animal weirdness that’s so silly and off-kilter it hits the creative nail right on the marketing head. It’s the kind of proposition that’s so sexually over-the-top and cartoonish, it’s at once prudishly offensive and completely inoffensive. Which is why it's such a fun ad campaign to showcase—after all, the TV spot features a Flashdance reference!

No doubt, this “Naturally Juicy” campaign does a hell of a job of getting the Orangina brand name noticed and out there, even if at first it garners wide-eyed incredulity; watching the television ad is sort of like darting into a kaleidoscope-colored sex shop for the first time out of curiosity—you can’t help but feel a little bit dirty, even though you’re only looking. The entire campaign is so incredibly odd, so unapologetically in-your-face in a “sex sells” kinda way, and so fruity and explosive, you simply can’t look away.

Todd Mueller of Psyop, who worked with French-based FLL PARIS to produce this wacky marketing campaign, proudly defends it by pointing out that “it goes without saying that when you get the opportunity to spray Orangina all over the chest of a sexy bunny girl, you go for it." Wha...? Whatevz, it works (smirk).

Sure, it’s eons beyond anything this maker of fizzy-pulpy orange drinks has crafted before to market its stuff in Europe, but this titillating take on the otherwise lackluster refreshments is already making waves, leaving it’s fair share of WTF-blog entries and noisy ad campaign analyzes throughout parts of online.

Take note: After watching this television spot, you won’t be able to buy an Orangina during your next visit to the zoo. Actually, scratch that. I’m sure you won’t be able to NOT buy an Orangina next time you go to the zoo. It’s too much fun not too. Right?


3 Off-the-Wall Widget Ideas for the Tired Mac's Desktop

My MacBook Pro's dashboard currently serves up the usual fare of garden-variety widgets—simple, run-of-the-mill apps now ubiquitous on every young, on-the-go professional’s laptop. Here's the breakdown: I have a world clock, a calendar, sticky notes, a dictionary, a unit converter, a calculator, an online translator, and a kooky widget that lets me know the current mood of the world.

This last one is my own personal offbeat selection, downloaded as part of an effort to feel edgy and unique or whatever. It's not cutting it. My drab collection is definitely wanting, as I'm sure you can evidence for yourself.

After checking out the Chuck Norris Facts widget on one of my coworker's computers, I now feel like shaking things up a bit on my own dashboard. However, none of the available widget downloads on the Apple website seem to float my boat.

So here are three pop culture-soaked ideas for non-branded widgets I would put up on my dashboard fa sho:

The Sorceress of Eternia Conspiracy Theory widget: This revisionist app is meant to provide the skeptical cartoon fan a refreshing take on the 80s He-Man episodes. Am I the only one who doesn't buy into the whole “Sorceress is the protector of Grayskull” bit? Didn't think so. This widget can spit out a different theory on the Sorceress' true situation every time you click on it. What's the real need for this doped up bird woman to be all up in that castle cooking up strange potions anyway? Does she continuously pull her tired "I'm fainting" act just to get some attention from muscle retard He-Man? Is she on drugs? Did she cheat Skeletor out of his true home? This widget will let us know.

The Live Blogging for Britney widget: It's like Twitter, but funner. It will be solely focused on Britney and her downward spiral by providing an engaging way to love-hate on this trashy celebrity trainwreck, all in real time. What's Britney doing right now? Are you rooting for her, or hoping she runs over some more paparazzi? Be the first to know about her next trip-up. This widget will give us round-the-clock status updates.

The Literary Devices as Used in Contemporary Media widget: How is syllepsis employed in pop songs? What TV shows are using deus ex machina to try and make sense out of their convoluted plots? Is there a cable news network more prone to the use of alliteration when it comes to the newsticker than others? What's the latest film to employ iambic pentameter in it's dialogue? Check this widget whenever you want to be hit with a pop-culture info nugget of literary wisdom.

These ideas might seem a little off-the-scale for some, but if you ask me, they'd make spot-on apps in today’s world. What widgets would you like to see on you own dashboard? You know you want to share!


At the Office, the iTunes Shared Folder is Fabulous Fodder for Gossip

That’s right, peeps. If you really want to pulse on what’s going on at work, there’s a digital grapevine often overlooked that can serve up a hefty portion of juicy. This promising info-pipeline is, no doubt, the iTunes shared folder.

As an ostensibly innocent application of audio wonders and song compilations, iTunes at the office also doubles as a treasure trove of racy rapports—if you learn how to read between the lines, that is.

There’s a lot to be said about a person depending on the music he or she decides to share over iTunes, especially in a corporate setting. And how you name your collection? That's where the honey is, hands down.

Check this out: Recently, one hot-to-trot employee at my office “anonymously” declared his love for a female coworker by naming his iTunes collection Ana, you are the reason I come to work. The songs were sappy and romantic. This digital PDA surprised many an audio junkie at work, especially after the messages started getting racier as the days rolled by.

Quickly, IT set out to catch the horny culprit, and by tracking the music collection-in-question’s IP address, they managed to hone in on the would-be sexual harasser. Everyone found out, and nonstop ridicule ensued—on the iTunes shared folder, no less. Awesome. Technology rocks!

In keeping with the spirit, here’s my online rundown of some music collections currently making the daily rounds at my office’s iTunes shared folder. I hope no one feels slighted (cross my fingers):

take it from behind non-stop hit parade.com
Name: “take it from behind”? Okay... It’s a little aggressive and sexually charged, and the whole thing reads over-the-top. Closeted, much? And what’s with the dot com? That techno-suffix stopped being cool in 1997.
Music: Comprehensive collection, but definitely not a "hit parade." There’s a lot of mainstream alternative, some punk, and… Ricky Martin! Hmm.

Name: So this person resorted to the old lowercase-uppercase-lowercase trick. It’s not chalking up too many creative points in my book, unless she's a third grader that rides the short bus. She could be new, maybe.
Music: It looks like it might be good, since I currently cannot access her collection because of user saturation. Interesting.

Name: Meh.
Music: Blah.

Name: As in Marley? Could this be a hardcore reggae fan?
Music: No. It’s all trash metal. Pfff, poser. Very disappointing.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. So... are there any breakups and make-ups to report from the iTunes front at your office? Let me know!


Busted Big Time: Facebook's Late Adopters Turn the Tables

Be real: no matter how sure you are that you’re getting away with murder (metaphorically speaking, that is), there’s really no need to post pictures of it up on Facebook. Especially if you don’t want certain people eyeing your misadventures. It’s the social networking equivalent of filming a private sex video and then being surprised it popped up online somewhere.

Sears, all the latest controversy bubbling up in the blog circuit over the evident lack of privacy on Facebook has totally missed the boat. If you don’t want someone checking out your every personal detail, don’t make a point of posting it on Facebook. Or My Space. Or anywhere else on the Net, for that matter.

Because no matter which way you slice it, it will end up being your fault, and you'll be kicking yourself to the grave. Take note: if you upload something you don’t want others to see, it will come back and bite you in the you-know-what, guaranteed.

The reason for this rant is that I am all sorts of embarrassed for one Kevin Colvin, bank intern by day, wand-toting party fairy by night. It turns out this Facebook “early adopter” (ha!) didn’t go to work for a couple of days, claiming he had a pressing family issue. Ok dude, do what you have to do, hope everything works out.

But then... oops! A coworker jacked some pictures this guy posted on Facebook during the days he was away from work that clearly show him NOT attending to a family situation. His boss got a hold of one of these not-so-flattering photographs (with the dude partying it up in a fairy costume), and responded by attaching the photo to an email reply and bcc’ing the entire company. Uh-huh, that's right.

Harsh. And a tad extreme. Anyway, online ridicule ensued, as the e-mail thread landed in the inboxes of friends and colleagues throughout the land. And of course, blogs are eating this one up. Go ahead and check out the cringe-worthy e-mail exchange here. I'm still reeling.

So my whole point is, if you are going pull one over The Man, at least make sure to cover your tracks. Geez. I’m sure all of us have done something similar at one point or another in our careers. But we have the decency and brains to be smart about it. Right?

I’d actually be laughing at this if it wasn’t so painfully embarrassing. I mean, check out the picture! Some one put him out of his misery please, for my sake.

As one commenter noted on Valleywag (the blog that broke the story): “Okay, that’s one way of letting the entire office know you’re gay…” LOL. And all of online for that matter. I wonder if this kid has what it takes to become the next Chris Crocker. Thoughts?


Online Inventions for the Postmodern Imagination

Go ahead and admit it, you love reading about quirky inventions and wacky machinations. And I’ve got great news: The Internet is chock-full of these. Across online, there are improbable creations and crazy inventions for all tastes, stripes and minds. Some of these are slightly jarring, some are cute; others seem to start off with right idea but resort to ridiculous execution, and still others don’t make any sense whatsoever. Like, at all.

Anyway, despite (or perhaps due to) the fact that I have been swamped with work of late, I decided to explore the inner nooks of digital this morning in search for something that could afford me a much-needed sweet escape.

Luckily, I didn’t have to look too far. A friend and colleague of mine hit me with a link to Weird Inventions by Saddletrout Studios, a wacky site featuring a collection of totally-out-there devices that have absolutely no functional use you could think of—image renditions and all! The descriptions read like how-to copy pulled straight out of a product features catalog (awesome!), infusing the page with an decided dash of deadpan humor.

From an indoor sundial to hypno-glasses, these inventions-that-never-were are guaranteed to provide the stressed-out office rat a welcome dose of comic relief. The disclaimer at the top of the page says it all:

“Many of the items on this page could very well be dangerous if actually built and used. I can not be responsible for accidents, and do not encourage anyone to actually build or use these contraptions. All that aside, please enjoy your visit.”

My heightened interest in nonsensical and otherwise batty creations then led me to the following site, the Patently Absurd Archive, a comprehensive collection of offbeat-yet-real, USA-patented inventions that, for what you would think should be obvious reasons even to the creator, have not yielded runaway commercial success. The archive chalks up one sears impressive list. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

The question remains tho: Is there anything you believe this world is in need of? Put on your inventor’s hat and get to it! And send the idea my way!


"Provocative Paranoia" of 2.0 Pays Off In Spades

No doubt, blogging has become the standalone tool for up-and-coming journalists and media critics to jumpstart their careers by blazing a trail online. Because of this, the blogosphere is thriving as a vibrant and dynamic patchwork of media musings, observation, and news analysis.

The spectrum rolls wide: There's incisive commentary, vapid criticism, innovative writing, false reporting, nuanced gossiping, quirky news gathering, and more, much of which has the ability to disseminate at brushfire speed. It’s information democracy.

Still, many an old media partisan holds a staunch fealty to the tenants of a journalism that is no longer, discrediting the merits of online with off-putting, chip-on-the-shoulder contempt.

Which is why I was elated to read mediabistro's interview of John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist. After some interesting insights, Micklethwait buoyantly announces that, as opposed to other newsweeklies which have been blindsided by the advent of online, The Economist has actually fared quite well with the rising tide of digital. Here’s a snippet of what he had to say:

“We remain provocatively paranoid about the Internet; you have to be thinking of ways in which you can deal with it. When I first came on I thought of the Internet as this sort of hurricane coming right towards us that had already hit newspapers and now would come to magazines, which were further ashore. But now it seems to be sort of glancing magazines, rather than hitting directly. It's not true for all magazines -- there are some that have been hit quite badly -- but the sort of thing that we're doing at the moment seems to be helping us rather than hurting us, because it's putting so much more information out there.”

In seven years, as the explosion of Web 2.0 has caused many a print publication to tumble, The Economist has managed to increase magazine sales by 107 percent—all thanks to an aggressive (if belated) courting of the digital space.

This sends a powerful message to old media advocates, one that many Internets have been toting with aplomb for a long time now: Embrace digital, or face an agonizing death... Yes?


Kids, There's a Killer in Your Midst

Here’s a post on Consumerist I think is all kinds of awesome. It turns out that a German Christmas advent calendar designed for kids, just released by the city of Hanover, features a cartoon depiction of… guess what… A serial killer!

That’s him above inside the yellow circle. He's lurking behind the tree, ominously looking around for potential victims amongst the chirpy families playing about. What's that in his hand? A butcher’s knife! And this bloodthirsty sadist has a name: Fritz Haarmann.

The calendar is currently for sale at major bookstores across northern Germany. And Hans Nolte, Director of the Tourism Board of the City of Hanover, is all about the serial killer, it turns out. “He’s part of our history,” he boasts.

Love it. No Holiday calendar would be complete without some sort of allusion to kid-happy blood splatter. Not surprisingly, no matter how many vexed and concerned citizens belt out in disbelief, most seem to be eating it up.

“People are cueing up to buy the calendar now,” notes Nolte. I want one too, and I don’t even live in Germany. “It’s like a twisted Where’s Waldo. I like it,” a Consumerist reader opines. LOL. It really does look like Where’s Waldo. It’s the artwork, no? Talk about postmodern irony.

According to Reuters, Fritz Haarmann, who murdered more than 20 people in the 1920s, including kids, is only one of 23 local historical figures in northern Germany that are portrayed in the calendar. Other notables include band members from the 80’s heavy metal hair band The Scorpions. I suppose the calendar is meant to teach kids about history and instill regional pride?

It’s quite the dicey proposition. There's something definitely very Simpsonesque about it, wouldn't you agree? And there's nothing like having a murderer up on your kid’s wall to really capture that Christmas spirit. I hope next year they sprinkle the calendar with hard-to-find cartoons of other famous serial killers, like Jack the Ripper maybe, or that busted chick from Monster. I know they’re not from Germany, but whatevz. Thoughts?


Television News Rolls Way Off the Tracks

I was watching CNN last night for the first time in about four months, thinking about how much I used to enjoy television before the digital space seduced me oh-so-deliciously, when I realized just how dorky the anchors on this cable news network really are.

I know most people have beef with the in-your-face attitude of the Fox News correspondents, but at least it seems like they have something important to say, and they’re not two-faced about their political slant. The delivery of the CNN folks just doesn’t cut it for me; it comes off as hypocritical. And the news! It’s a joke.

I was actually plugging away at my laptop and wasn't particularly interested at what was coming from the screen last night, but I did manage to capture a little of the awkward banter that was exchanged so profusely by the talking heads during Anderson Cooper 360.

There was some chitchat about a high-priced hybrid cat for sale in California (okay...), and then the show ended with the silver-haired anchor urging users to send in v-mails, because at CCN, they not only like to read our opinions, they love seeing us, too. How Web 2.0. Whatever. This could have passed for innovative like 5 years ago, maybe.

Then it was time for Larry King Live. Ok, I’ll stay tuned, I thought. I was too busy crafting an e-mail to change the channel. To my utter dismay, the guest was “CNN’s own” Lou Dobbs. Snap.

I need to call a time out here and let you guys know how much I hate this guy. He’s been the bête noire of television news for the past few years, at least for me. I try never to watch his show; it’s bad for my liver. I find him a doughy, thinly-veiled bigot--a man who claims to stand for “American” ideals of days gone by, or of days that never were. He spews gruff condescension and touts an inward-looking, nationalistic doctrine that irresponsibly dismisses the powerful forces currently shaping the world that he so blindly decries. And, he had the audacity to proclaim that his viewers never disagree with him. Right.

Television news is blowing chunks at epic proportions. Lou Dobbs can bite it, for all I care. My last hope for television news was CNN, but now I realize that even this network has become too self-serving for its own good. It’s no longer about news—it’s about self-promotion, ego pandering, and needless filler. Maybe I’ll try BBC News next time. Which is when I decided: No one’s forcing me to watch this. Time to turn it off.

I went for the remote and quickly zapped away the noise coming from my TV, and then contentedly dived back online.


Can Civil Oppression Offer Up a Dash of Sexy?

Saucy women's gossip blog Jezebel has decided take on a very pressing issue by crafting a morally weird online poll that throws religion, politics, and gossip into fever pitch. Let's honor this nutty poll and take some time to ponder: Just who, exactly, are hotter—the Bhuddist monks in Burma calling for an end to the ruling military junta, or the scruffy lawyers in Pakistan protesting in favor of democratic institutions?

How to decide? It is quite the predicament for many an informed Internet opinionator. The results currently register a statistical dead-heat. I’m trying to drum up some support for the lawyers myself. Shaved heads on peace-loving monks? Not so much. Middle-class Muslim intelligentsia rallying against an oppressive dictatorship fueled by hyper-religious zeal? Way sexier. Let’s make sure these guys come out on top!

At first, I was a little taken aback by this ridiculous, in-a-thousand-ways objectionable poll. I mean, c'mon, these people are suffering! But after giving the post a once-over, I couldn’t stop laughing. And I voted. Twice. It’s the kind of proposition that’s so offensive, it’s not at all. In some ways, it's actually sympathetic to the plight of these democracy-clamoring revolutionaries.

Here’s how I figure: I’m pretty sure the average Jezebel reader simply doesn’t care what goes on in those far-off parts of the world. With this post, Jezebel manages to pique reader interest in two salient, violence-fueled crisis situations that are escalating as you read this, and does so with a solid dose of tongue-in-cheek humor.

I know, I know, it’s unsavory, insensitive and superficial to create a poll asking which group of oppressed yet “fine-dressed men in Asia” is hotter. But Jezebel makes a good point: As a rule of thumb, what gets more girls, bald heads or shaggy beards?


Creative Spotlight: Oregon Trail Reloaded

Here’s an online experience I’m elated to endorse: Check out Thule Road Trip! If you ever played Oregon Trail on Apple II--and I’m sure at least a handful of you did--you’ll be overflowing with excitement at the thought of an all-new Web-based game, brought to you by Thule Sweden, that plays just like the original. As a digital marketing campaign aiming for higher consumer awareness, this game is right on the money.

Thule Road Trip, accessible on the Thule homepage, recaptures the spirit of Oregon Trail and the American Western Expansion with 4-bit programming, clunky graphics and choice-led gaming, and then infuses the pioneering experience with some modern-day Manifest Destiny.

What was once a desperate plight to stay alive before reaching the promised lands of Oregon is now a postmodern party-on-wheels experience that threatens to end too quickly if you can’t keep your passengers entertained or your car tuned and on the go. It's standout creative and impressive execution rolled into a can't-miss experience for retro gamers and cool hunters alike.

Remember the embattled oxen, the cholera-prone companions, and the ease with which a broken hand or leg could bring about sudden death on the Oregon Trail? Now, you can run out of fresh CDs to play, blow a tire or two, read through all your magazines too quickly, or even have your passengers freak out and give each other purple nurples. And don’t burn all your money! If you get pulled over for speeding and can’t cough up enough dough for the ticket, it’s game over, roadie.

As a manufacturer of car rack systems, RV accessories, and vehicle spare parts, Thule has really hit the nail on the marketing head with Thule Road Trip. Not only does the branded game offer a solid dose of digital nostalgia, it also celebrates the great outdoors and the thrill of automotive. It’s creative concepting at its best, no doubt. Play the game, have some online fun, and let me know if you make it all the way to Santa Barbara!


Pop! Goes the World (Wide Web)

I love the media because it’s at a frenzy: It brims with postmodern delights, and provides at once disarming and unsettling experiences. It dispatches a myriad of visual and auditory episodes at a constant, rapid-fire rate, forcing even the most jaded introvert to wield at least a dash of pop-culture literacy.

The vortex of media today lies online. The Internet is where television, movies, literature, advertising and art all come together, and as such, digital powers up pop culture in ways unprecedented. It both defines and lends pop media (historical?) significance; what was once a trackless waste of disjointed and oftentimes creatively tone deaf cultural concoctions is now the stuff of online analysis, legend and sticky speculation.

Flummery to some perhaps, saddled with meaning and humor for others, pop culture as captured by online is a dynamic, circuitous, and trashy-chic phenomenon that reflects the absurdity and fleetingness of the human condition. Thanks to digital, it is beginning to take on unexpected importance in business, art, and even architecture, as well as in the day-to-day lives of many online professionals.

From comprehensive sites like Cracked.com offering up pop cultural fare such as assessments on the “15 Most (Painfully) Unforgettable Cartoon Theme Songs” and a rundown of the “7 Most Easily Escapable Movie Monsters,” to ezines like PopMatters, “an international magazine of cultural criticism” where literary condescension is par for the course, online is now where pop culture takes its shape.

There’s no denying it. In the catchy words of Men Without Hats, “pop! goes the world.” And my heart. What about yours?


Let’s Love on the Wooden-Leg Goats

Here’s a post that’s not at all salacious, hair-raising, or meaning-laden. Just as I promised, I’ve decided to spill a bit amount of blog ink on… yes… farm animals! Not ponies though. I’ve taken a scant amount of creative license here and departed from my earlier commitment to talk about gimp horses to revel in something way better: fainting goats! Yes, that’s right. Fainting goats.

They don’t really faint at all though. They’re actually called myotonic goats. They’re all the rage in some parts of online, and for good reason. When they get excited, their muscles stiffen up, causing them to topple over like dominoes. Petrificus totalus!

In a world where no one bats an eye at the latest news of massacres or bombs or flash floods, these guys are making quite a splash, garnering their fair amount of much-deserved attention. Why? Check out this clip and see for yourself. It’s hilarious.

It sure beats looking at Britney Spears in a hot pink-purple tigress costume. Ew. I’ll take fainting goats over Hollywood trainwrecks-on-a-suicide-mission any day.

So how else can I spruce of this post? How about videos of plucky cats and their crazy antics? They’re straight-up super cheesy, but they still amuse. If it’s not your cup ‘o tea, well, we can just stick to the fainting goats. What do you think?


Creatures on the Canvas: Horror Invades Art

Not for nuthin', but it seems horror is everywhere these days. I've been feeling extra ghoulish of late myself, to be honest. I guess it's because it's Halloween? Whatever the case, I'll start off by apologizing for the back-to-back bizzaro posts on bilious bloodletting and horror hysteria. Next time, I'll author a post dedicated to ponies or something.

But back to it: Today's recommendation is a real treat, both for horror film followers and fine arts fans alike. Go ahead and indulge your inner Tales from the Crypt keeper and check out this "Horror Inside Fine Art" contest by Worth 1000, courtesy of Mario Bucolo Museums Blog, a site which touts itself "a blog about museums and culture."

The contest is a whirl of digital imagination where painting, legend and film collide to provide a raison d'être for pop cultural experimentation; it is digital art at it's best, to be sure. So I say, move over MoMa! Online is where avant garde art lives today.

Anyway, scroll down through all of the Photoshop-enabled creations. “Samara Lisa” is one of my faves, as it's a wry, immaginative twist on the ubiquitous Mona Lisa painting, and out of all the Mona Lisa entries, it's by far the cleverest. “Comte de Darkness” is another one I like, mostly because I'm a big a fan of Legend. “Roticelli” is good too: It looks like the guy in Boticelli's "Portrait of a Youth" took shrapnel to the face before zombiefying, turning this classic painting on its head.

Some entries are lackluster, but whatevz; all are fun. Maybe a few of these could work as crafty Halloween costumes? What do you think? And which entry is your favorite? Let me know, creatures of the night!


Mystery Trailers Hype Gore Galore

Hands down, digital is the ideal medium to hype up and build buzz around an upcoming film, this because online allows marketers to cast a wide-enough digital net across The Long Tail, leverage behavioral targeting techniques with skill, pique curiosity, and hone in on the desired audience with laser-guided precision.

Moreover, the Internet encourages innovative, creative ways to build up a marketing campaign before a movie opens that are not plausible in traditional media and that can help ensure a first weekend box office slam-dunk. This is always a cool phenomenon to watch. I will forever be a sucker for hype, I have to admit, especially when it snowballs online.

So on this note, and after my two-second analysis of the status of online entertainment marketing, I give you three movie trailers meant to leave you with an itchy case of what-was-that whiplash:

1. REPO! The Genetic Opera. Is this a musical? Is it sci-fi? Is it splatter cinema meets musical torture porn? Whatever it is, it looks awesome. Think of it as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, only more gore, less gay. This movie is gonna blow up next year, I'm pretty sure. The fact that Paris Hilton stars (and sings!) in it is a marketing ploy that will pay off in spades. Check out the teaser trailer here.

2. Cloverfield. So no one knows the real name of this much-anticipated, J. J. Abrams-produced monster movie, but many Internets tip "Cloverfield" as the most probable title. This "what the...?" inducing trailer has been causing endless speculation in the mainstream media since it first reared its head in cinemas this past summer, playing for packed movie houses before Transformers, and it's been gaining momentum online ever since. It looks like it will offer audiences a good dose of gory goodness, or at the very least, provide moviegoers with no-frills, feel-good frights and jump-out-of-your-seat jolts. It's one for the books.

3. Mystery movie trailer. Here's a "trailer" that might probably not be a film trailer at all, but the ending is still pretty freaky. If it's not a movie, it totes should be. What the hell is this castaway building?

Handheld camera shots a lá Blair Witch, singing henchmen hell-bent on disembowelment, Internet hype and marketing mayhem. It looks like 2008 will be an interesting year for celluloid. Thoughts?


Digital Pings to Primp and Preen

Is it just me, or do you find the ping factor excessively annoying? Let me explain: Throughout the day, as I plug away at the office, I’m constantly interrupted by different types of digital notifiers calling for my attention: email alerts, meeting reminders, Google alerts, IM messages, RSS feed updates, incoming VoIP calls, virus scans, Facebook updates, and even cell phone calls and text messages.

I believe that's the entire list—I might be forgetting something. The point is, my computer sometimes feels like the 4th of July, with windows and pop ups blanketing my screen without care or compunction.

Every day, I am forced to cull through these and separate the urgent from the important from the remind-me-later, and then trash the thanks-but-not-necessary and the waste-of-my-time. I find this irksome, since it’s hard to focus on a single task at any given moment and it makes me feel like I’m treading water instead of getting any work done.

Amidst the madness, however, there’s the one-off, totally inspirational, captivating or useful blog post or e-mail that makes it all worthwhile. And if it wasn’t for computer pings, I would never remember anyone’s birthday, to be totally honest.

As I uncork the most urgent pings and follow through on these, I become decidedly glad that my computer keeps track of my obligations for me, and a sense of accomplishment settles in. After all, there’s no way I would remember everything on my own. Sure, an agenda could help I guess, but it feels crass and I would treat it askance. I need digital pings to remind me of my day-to-day commitments, to clip away at the useless, and to keep me from dropping the ball.

So what about you? Can any of you claim you don’t depend on digital pings to get through you day?


I Want My Own Reality TV Intern!

Ah, the life of interns. It can be exciting, it can be cut-throat, and sometimes, well, it can be a little degrading. It can push doors wide open when you play your cards right: If you’re lucky and skilled at jockeying for open positions, you can give yourself a shot at life in the fast lane.

The pressure is on and the stakes are set high: You know that at any moment you can severely mess things up, have an entire project go off the rails, and bring death and despair to an entire industry. Or at least that’s how it seems after watching an episode of The Hills.

Alas, interning isn’t the stuff of intense drama, at least not usually. But it can, however, shed compelling light on the ins and outs of a particular career and help you find out if you can hack it in your field of interest. And thanks to the Internet, we now have high-profile interns sharing their experiences through blogs and articles of their very own, posted on corporate websites.

If you are exploring career opportunities, I recommend you start by checking out what these up-and-comers have to say. These blogs are a unique, insider’s view at what goes on behind closed doors. Tap into them for a real treat.

My friend Claire, who’s working at Bravo TV, has started an awesome blog as part of her interning gig at Project Runway. Her posts read like the down-to-earth, thinking woman’s version of The Devil Wears Prada. Not to mention, they’re LOL funny. If you’re into style and entertainment and want to know what it’s like running into famous TV folk at the office, I sears recommend you check out her blog.

By the way, another friend of mine who works in PR just hired her own personal assistant straight out of reality TV. That's right! She now has a pseudo-famous employee at her beck and call. How cool is that? I definitely need to get my hands on one of those, fer sure. Plus, I really need an assistant. A celebrity assistant, no less. Who doesn't?


Political Automotive: Zero to 60 in 3.5?

For the past couple of days, I’ve been putting together a user-friendly glossary of vehicle parts and features for a corporate client's online help center, and as a result, I’m feeling straight-up Motor City--more so than ever before. I've suddenly turned vehemently vehicular. Automotive to the core! That's right, baby!

Ahem. Anyway, to honor this carefully cultured enthusiasm for all things Car And Driver, I felt like penning a post in tribute to that grand, global industry that’s gifted us with cruise control, hybrids, and variable valve timing (oh my!).

To look for fresh ideas, I started perusing my e-mail inbox this morning, when lo! An unread day-old message from a fellow colleague that my hurried eyes had inexplicably missed. It included a URL to a nifty little online game, created by ABC News, called Candidates and their Cars. Check it out! It's quite amusing. Do you think you know your presidential candidates? Are they being consequential with their political stance against global warming? Can you match them to their wheels? Put them and yourself to the test!

Most of these candidates drive American cars, which is always good politics, I’m sure. Those who don’t, drive hybrids, which is also a political plus. Solid. There are a couple of gas-guzzling Republicans, a Democrat with a mystery machine that runs on E85, and a lone 'vette enthusiast. One candidate purportedly drives some sort of ghetto Ford Focus. My favorite ride is McCain’s.

Anyway, go ahead and play the game. The political race is on: Will knowledge of the candidates' rides sway your voting preferences? Do you even care? Let me know!


Screenwriters Call Dibs on Profit 2.0

So Hollywood screenwriters are all up in arms about not getting enough dough from Web 2.0 and are calling a strike. Basically, they're fighting over residuals from new media and compensation over work distributed through mobile and online. They want their cut, and they want it now. The consequence is clear: If there's no settlement, the world will suddenly be devoid of those hokey scripts churned out daily out of LA that seem to keep this globe a-turnin'. Reality TV might take over for good. Reruns could rule the land.

Hmm. Ok, I get it. That could be serious. I think. But my question is: Do these copywriters know anything about Web 2.0 that they seem so adamant about collecting from it? I'm all for writers getting paid for their work, but part of me can't help but think this is just a bunch of entitled geeks gunning for the studios so they can keep pretending they're cool and influential or whatever.

My point is, if these Hollywood screenwriters understand new media so profusely, why aren't they using technology to their advantage, rallying troops online, using 2.0 to spread their word (content), and stirring up some support on the Web? And why, when things are down to the wire, haven't they been able to churn out an effective and realistic proposal to monetize their work online, aside from a percentage of DVD sales?

To me, this seems another case of old media realizing too late in the game that the Web is driving nails into their coffin; they're desperately vying to hold on to good days gone by. And producers are doing the impossible to prevent others from taking a dip in their revenue stream, whether it comes from online or off.

Old media can blow chunks, and will inevitably blow away like daffodils in a storm. Soon this will all just be a flash in the pan. Is it really that big a deal if prime time takes a hit? I don't think so. Bring on those reruns. Want to see where scriptwriting is headed? Click here for a sneak peek. It might not be award-winning work, but it evidences this much: The testing grounds for new entertainment--both from an artistic and a business standpoint--are being laid out on the pages of MySpace and YouTube, not on cable or network TV.

So what do you think? Are the screenwriters' demands totally called for, or is this just old media wriggling desperately to survive a changing landscape? Can the Internet somehow strip this strike of its intended impact?


Way Cool! 80s Pop Culture Explodes Online

Pop culture hit a high note in the 80s, fer sure. Neons and New Wave lit up the land. Are you one of those who yearn for that totally awesome decade? No need to fret: Online offers a veritable treasure trove of 80s digital memorabilia for the pop cultural connoisseur—from movie reviews to photos to trivia and games, you’ll be elated to find anything and everything to quell that bodacious appetite for 80s pop culture. To the max!

By the way, no one can call themselves a true pop cultural literato without a deep-rooted knowledge of the 80s. Don’t know who Max Headroom is? That deserves a techno-stuttered "spazz-o-rama." If you never wanted to play Global Thermonuclear War or wished to be friends with Molly Ringwald, you better start reading up some online. And go buy a Rubik’s cube or something, STAT.

Anyone who doesn’t know the 80s but claims pop cultural supremacy should be dragged through the coals for their heinous crime. For example: I was googling pop cultural quizzes online so I could link to one from this post and was appalled at what I found: quizzes like this one asking users to name all the members of New Found Glory. Please. Gag me with a spoon! (NOTE: I know the answer, but that’s beside the point.)

For all you 80s lovers, here are some online destinations designed to tickle your joystick or floppy disk in all the right places. Wondering if you are a true child of the 80s? Click here and find out. Want to put your 80s movie knowledge to the test? Play this Vh1 game, and decide if you’re more Revenge of the Nerds or Heathers. Finally, for some He-Man turned on it’s head, don’t miss The Skeletor Show. It’s no Jem, but it's still truly outrageous!

So what’s your fave thing about the 80s? Hit me with your best shot!


Fun Times: Kitschy Christianity

Check it out, it's Talking Jesus action figures! I so want one. I wonder if the cross and nails are sold separately? I dunno, but I do believe Wal-Mart totally has the right idea—as long as they make sure there’s no toxic lead paint in these probably Chinese-made toys and whatnot (as one commenter joshed, "How would you go about recalling Jesus?").

And by the way, I think Catholicism is by far the best branch of Christianity. We have loads of nutty fun! Perishable food apparitions, flying nuns, cryptic codes, singing monks, loopy saints, wacky exorcisms. I love it. I’ll forever have a sweet spot for the Catholic in me. So pass down that rosary! I can always use it as a lethal whip to fend off evil doers.

In honor of all this kooky Catholic fun, check out this light-hearted post featured earlier this week on Guanabee poking fun at the latest saintly sighting. It’s Pope John Paul II in a bonfire, you guys!


Advertising Rising — And We're Watching

There’s nothing like a snarky blog ripping on a ridiculous ad campaign to really get me going. That’s why I love the Internet and everything that spews out of it. The parody, the sarcasm, the lively ads. The Web makes for a digital platform that gives us a chance to examine and tear apart the marketing almighty with a distinct guerrilla edge.

And I must say, ads today rule. I’m sorry, but they really do. Not only are they an increasingly valid form of artistic expression, they also have the power to color and enlighten anyone’s day, and can even raise awareness by providing fantasy fodder for frustrated frumps. They can also severely offend.

Ads range from the dim-witted to the super clever, from the kill-me-know creepy to the LOL funny. And one thing’s for sure: Advertising pushes creative to the limit. After all, how many viral videos are actually quirky, inspired ads that hit a comedic bull’s eye, surprising us from where we least expect it?

A well-executed ad campaign is a tasty treat for media junkies like myself. And if an ad blows chunks, it’s all the better. We can go off on it online. This is because Internet has paved the way for a new kind of ad consumption, helmed by the deconstructive skill of nonplussed advertising watchdogs ready to point out how deliciously absurd the business of selling really is. No doubt, ads have become true pop cultural compasses.

To better wrap your head around what I'm talking about, check out this review of the Snorg tees ads, courtesy of Logged Hours. It’s a riot. I haven’t laughed this hard since running across Adrants’ assessment of the Quiznos’ “not lacking any meat” campaign, featuring a (sexually frustrated?) sappy Asian woman letting out a spastic laugh. Awesome. Both are poignant observations on the ludicrous yet alluring nature of the advertising industry.

So what do you think? Are ads adding something positive to our cultural discourse? And if this is so, can we effectively bite back at advertising execs through online and hold them accountable for crappy creative?