Archive for November, 2010

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WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: Suicide By Spook?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on November 30, 2010 by admin in Editorial & Opinion

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Although some aspects of what WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is doing are admirable, given his arrogant and self-aggrandizing approach, one can only wonder how long he will remain free or even alive. No matter how things turn out, I nominate Julian Sands to play him in the movie.

Rumor has it that there’s a movie in the
works, with another Julian starring as Assange

Earlier today I joked with a friend that if Julian Assange wants to live, he should get in touch with Osama Bin Laden’s people; they seem to do a pretty good job of keeping the US government off their tails. So it was with a certain glee that I read that Sarah Palin went all fuzzy in the head again, demanding we hunt Assange down like Bin Laden. I guess meaning “in a fashion that never leads to his capture”. Assange is often referred to as being in an “undisclosed location”, a place made famous by another narcissistic freak, Dick Cheney. Although in Dick’s case, he had the benefit of a global superpower’s intelligence agencies to undisclose him. Assange’s undisclosed location is England, which I personally wouldn’t refer to as particularly undisclosed. The fact that Interpol is gunning for him doesn’t bode well for his future either. Although some would argue that Assange and the Swedish legal system deserve each other, the fact that the case was brought forth once, dropped, and then brought forth again to coincide with the release of more documents smacks of the kind of spy-novel intrigue one would expect in a situation like this. In an era when White House staff members out our own spies for domestic political revenge, it would be naive to assume for certain that the rape allegations are legit. Unfortunately, in spite of the many possible virtues of what Assange is doing, many – including a co-founder that has run a “purer” version of what WikiLeaks is doing at – agree that he’s going about it all wrong, letting money and his own celebrity damage the integrity of the information. Even his key tech people left en masse just a couple of months ago. I personally believe that the essence of what Assange is doing is crucial at this point in history; the age of nation states with their legacy of smiling mutual deceit and spy vs. spy charades is approaching its obsolescence. A new world order probably is in the works, and I don’t think we want it defined by the likes of any of the people being exposed in the recent diplomatic cables. I honestly just wonder how long Assange will remain free, or even alive. I hope long enough to take down a few banks. I also think it’s about time someone got to work on the movie; given Julian Assange’s foppish dislikeableness, it could easily be a career-reviving role for Julian Sands.

Thomas Dolby’s Oceanea & Eno’s Seven Sessions On A Milk Sea

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on November 29, 2010 by admin in Music

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Two pop legends succeed at being themselves musically, and even seem to sort of get the hang of that whole “internets” thingy, with lots of barnyard puppet sex and nocturnal urban hillbilly parkour. And the Dick Flash interview with Eno.

I have some compassion for the Thomas Dolby and Brian Eno fanboys of the world today. In fact, I might have to confess (as I did back in May with He Blinded Me With Silence) to being one of them. Both artists were a major influence on my early songwriting and recording work, and coincidentally, both announced special releases today. Brian Eno, with his “Seven Sessions On A Milk Sea”, and Dolby with “Oceanea”. Eno’s release is actually a series of videos of live sessions playing music from his release “Small Craft On A Milk Sea” (available for download on iTunes or as vinyl, CD, or download on Amazon). Dolby’s release is the second of three EP’s to be rolled out before his 2011 release A Map Of The Floating City, and is only available by going to his site and registering. So what’s a media overloaded pop sycophant to do? Well, download everything of course, and worry about grocery money later! I must confess that as much as I respect both artists, I find Eno’s marketing methods a little off-putting compared to Dolby’s. For me it’s interesting to be in the position of watching pop legends whose musical accomplishments I once aspired to duplicate now attempting to market their material in a rapidly evolving environment that I’m confident I understand better than they do. I’m quite happy with music they’re both producing; Dolby has shown that he still has some of that pop-smart Thomas Dolby-ness in him; his first two EP’s – “Amerikana” and “Oceanea” – reflect his quirky, catchy pop and sonically somber reflective sides respectively. And Eno has managed to imbue Small Craft On A Milk Sea with a nice balance of various aspects of the familiar Eno palette in a way that should please lifelong Enophiles like myself. But I have to tip my hat a bit to Dolby on the marketing. Ever since the announcement of Eno’s first release in five years, tidbits have been released exclusively here and there. I would receive e-mails announcing some news about the release, and as even this exclusive Wired piece points out – arrive at a page that didn’t even have a preview snippet. And while today’s announcement of Seven Sessions On A Milk Sea was originally intriguing, Eno’s site sends you to seven different other sites (including the Guardian and the New York Times, for instance) to watch a video of three guys bent over their gear “jamming”. And then you find that the embedded videos themselves are “Private” Vimeo clips that aren’t shareable. Way to use the video sharing service, marketing people! Dolby, on the other hand, announced a free song download early on, and then announced the two EP’s at a discounted price to subscribers with a painless payment and download process. And any videos he’s sharing are all on YouTube, and readily embeddable. I snagged all three Dolby releases right away, but in spite of originally being anxious to pick up Eno’s release, forgot all about it until another artist I admire (Christen Lien) mentioned it on Facebook and with a facepalm and a “DOH!” I finally bought it. Both artists are releasing a lot of “making of” clips; Dolby’s can be found on his YouTube page if you’re interested. Me, I’m more interested in the music or the music videos themselves. I”m pretty partial to Dolby’s “Toad Lickers”, featured below. Although he talks in the Toad Lickers Dissected video about how it was inspired by the toad smoking research of anthropologist Wade Davis in his book Shadows in the Sun, I personally hear it as a tale of deluded tea party rednecks taking over America. Clip below, but we don’t recommend watching it if you’re disturbed by barnyard puppet animal sex or nocturnal urban hillbilly parkour. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Christmas Gifts To Pray Your Workplace Secret Santa Doesn’t Give You

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on November 28, 2010 by admin in Holidays

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

This Cyber Monday, we’re exploring the REAL Island Of Misfit Toys: the strange and disturbing products in Amazon’s “Sexual Wellness” department.

Sure. The Pipedream Products Christmas Tree
harmless enough. Until you look
closer and realize Santa has a little secret.

Last year on Cyber Monday , we compiled a list of the weirdest things we could find on Amazon. This year, we thought we’d “push the poor taste envelope” a bit and instead of just rounding up the weirdest things we could find on Amazon, we thought we’d round up the weirdest things we could find on Amazon’s sexual wellness section. For the record, after spending an hour or so “researching”, we’re not so sure about the “wellness” part. So although we’ve spared you the more offensive items, if you’re the least bit prudish and are looking for gift ideas, we recommend maybe checking out Amazon’s regular Cyber Monday specials. But if you’ve never delved into this section of their site – it’s buried under “Health & Personal Care” and items don’t show up in normal searches – then join us for a brief excursion to the real Island of Misfit Toys. And pray that the creepy nerd three cubes over who visits our site isn’t your Secret Santa. For the most amusement, try guessing what the items are before reading the details. Sometimes a flashlight is just a flashlight. Sometimes it isn’t.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Blip Toys Squinkies Crisis Of 2010

[ Comments Off ]Posted on November 27, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

You probably haven’t even heard of them, but Squinkies are poised to be the Beanie Babies of the twenty-first century. Or at least this year’s Zhu Zhu Pets.

Have you heard about Squinkies? Nor had I, until today. But you can bet you will. After making the Toys “R” Us 2010 “Hot Holiday Toy List” and getting featured in this New York Times piece, Squinkies (say it out loud, it’s perversely addictive) are poised to be this year’s Zhu Zhu Pets. Never mind that they’re essentially just pencil toppers, the toys seem to have the kind of nearly-demonic hold over children that are exposed to them that Pokémon had several years back. But whereas Pokémon was a massive media franchise owned by Nintendo, Squinkies were created by a small company in Minnesota called Blip Toys. I’d like to meet Bill Nichols, the CEO of the company; he’s clearly a product creation and marketing genius. Aside from developing a clever line of products with names like Zubber, Zoom -O and Squinkies that play into long-standing but neglected markets, Nichols’ marketing strategy pulled a page out of the bottom-up manual and rewrote it with less nag marketing. He created early buzz by delivering the product early on to “mommy blogger” sites like and, which got the buzz going before the product was widely available. My bet is that Nichols is destined to become as wealthy as Beanie Baby billionaire Ty Warner if he plays his cards right. And he appears to be playing them right; Squinkies are obviously making a splash, but he’s already had success with products like Nature’s Wonders HD, which won’t let you into its web site without a code from the toy you bought. Almost all the toys Blip has developed not only play into existing niches as we mentioned (Zubber is kind of like Sculpey, Whimzy Pets fit the “My Little Pony” niche), almost all the toys also have an extra level of engagement like the Nature’s Wonders site, and the company seems to have a knack for punchy or phonetically fun names like Hairballs, Pin Print, and the ones we’ve already mentioned. C’mon. Say it. SQUINKIES!!!!! It’s fun and spongy and springy. Like Twinkies. And Slinkys. And that’s one example of what’s cool about what Blip is doing; they’re not paying a branding consultancy for these names, Nichols apparently just comes up with them. For extra agony, check out the commercial below. The jingle totally earwormed me. It sounds sort of like if the chick from The Flying Lizards joined a J-Pop band and got hired to do a video game soundtrack. I imagine they’re already working on film, television, and sportswear rights. Read the rest of this entry »

More Absurd & Expensive Christmas Gift Ideas

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on November 26, 2010 by admin in Holidays

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Eventually, those spoiled and entitled little brats you see at FAO Schwarz grow up. And become spoiled and entitled ADULTS. Here are some expensive holiday gifts for the person who has everything. But wants more.

3 Carat Diamond Pacifier One of the unfortunate side effects of the Christmas season is that all of your favorite websites suddenly become a massive blogjam of crazy and expensive gift ideas. This online shopping linkfest isn’t necessarily a bad thing; as we all know, shopping in person can actually be lethal. But rather than compile lists of the kind of hi-tech doodads you’ll find on NewEgg’s holiday pages or Amazon’s Cyber Monday specials like everybody else, we thought we’d focus on gifts for people that really matter, i.e.: people with seemingly limitless disposable income. We already covered some gift ideas for their precious little snowflakes, but eventually, whiny entitled children will grow up, and become whiny entitled adults. Which is why in this roundup, we’re featuring items like the 3 Carat Diamond Pacifier pictured here. Kill two birds with one stone (actually 278 of them), with the perfect gift for that spouse or partner who never seems to stop whining no matter how much you spend. Put your money where their mouth is for just $17,000. Isn’t it amazing how much money you can blow on Amazon these days? Below are a few more expensive gift ideas for the person who has everything. But wants more. Read the rest of this entry »

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