Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
First, watch this:
Then, my take:
I totally forgot about the best side-effect of posting a video on YouTube...INSANE COMMENTS!
So far, I have three. They all RULE in their own unique little way, like deranged snowflakes.
dude.. what the hell is wronge with you.
i was in that limo too. that guy was blowing the chimpanzee.
[May I just add that this is particularly clever considering that the entire joke of the video is that I am admitting to engaging in perverse sex acts with fringe political candidates? Is he heckling me or trying to play along?]
Obama Hussein Barack is the fringer...
[So many questions...Did she spell his name backwards intentionally? Are we actually going to have to hear about Obama's middle name for another calendar year? Is "fringer" actually a word? Okay, I know the answer to that last one, but...you get what I'm saying.]
Keep 'em coming, YouTube lunatics.
More comment madness! This next one may be the best response I have ever received to anything I have ever done, ever:
Well Buster, that's probably the most feeble attempt I've seen to smear a candidate. To stretch the truth is one thing, but to make up ridiculous stories is another. I see your buddy "LarrySinclair0926" is doing an identical video like this for OBama. You guys aren't just stupid...You are why women have abortions.
[How could anyone have seen Larry Sinclair's original video, recognize that mine was done in the identical style and not get that I'm doing a parody of him? IT'S NOT POSSIBLE, I TELL YOU!]
The "views" stat on YouTube hasn't changed since early this afternoon (around 1700), but I know people are watching the thing, because the comments are coming in fast and furious. Most of them are complimentary, which is very nice. Some of them are really disgustingly racist, violent and horrible. I've been deleting them thus far, but I know eventually I'll get tired of doing this and they'll overtake the entire page. There truly are a lot of sad, insane, ferociously angry people out there.
One guy has posted two "response" videos, featuring himself discussing, at length, some perverse sexual proclivities of other candidates. It seems like he's continuing the joke, but in a vein that, I must say, is fairly creepy. I think the thing to remember here is the key role of a director. I had the multi-talented Michael Gallagher behind the camera telling me to keep the thing under 2 minutes. I think Mitt Romney dendrophilia guy would benefit from an collaborator of some kind. Or a prescription for Lexapro.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I've been so enjoying Hulu, the free streaming video site where I just watched the entire first season of "Arrested Development," I completely forgot that I still have a beta membership to its competitor, Joost. I went back over to Joost for the first time in a few months today.
The problems began immediately. See, Joost requires you to download software to watch videos (unlike Hulu, which plays videos right there in your browser). But apparently, the beta software I had downloaded a few months ago was no longer operational, not that there was any actual message letting me know this. So, I deleted the old version and went back to the website and downloaded the newest Joost. The whole operation probably took 5 minutes, but it would have been nice if the old software had just told me to download the latest counterpart, rather than just giving me an error message.
Once I downloaded and started up the software and gave them a lot of information they really shouldn't need, I was ready to watch shows. Unfortunately, there is next-to-no genuinely worthwhile content on Joost. They have a lot of film channels, but they're almost entirely devoted to short films. (One "horror movie" channel was devoted to a few, old public-domain black-and-white horror movies, such as you might find on late-night UHF television in the '80s. Most of these can be obtained on DVD for under $5.) Seriously...this is their heavily-invested business plan? Post a couple of public domain horror movies and some shorts?
I was excited to find, on the Saturday Morning Cartoons channel, some Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes, but they don't even have a single full story arc. (Fans will recall that Rocky and Bullwinkle stories carried over from week to week). Weak.
Hulu, on the other hand, contains whole seasons of its shows, and in many cases, that means the current season. So if I miss "Family Guy," it's streaming, free, online (with a few commercial interruptions so money can be made) a few days later. Now that's in the neighborhood of what I'm talking about.
(I see that Hulu has just added several whole episodes of "What's Happening" to their line-up. Well played.)
So I'm not sure if Joost saw itself as directly taking on Hulu, but so far, it's a total rout. (Not only in terms of content and the pain-in-the-ass of downloading software just to watch videos, but the Joost interface also leaves much to be desired. It crashed once on me, froze my computer temporarily on another instance, and twice, I clicked a video on a menu only to be told that it wasn't currently available.)
Joost calls itself "Free Online TV," but that's using the notion of TV pretty loosely. Most of their content reminds me of what you'd see on a public access channel, or the channel in your hotel room that tells you about all the great amenities, maybe featuring Eric Estrada showing you around the resort, letting you know where the clubhouse is located so you can get clean towels.
It occurs to me now that Joost is brought to you by CBS, a Mahalo investor, and the same VC firm that is invested in Mahalo, so maybe I shouldn't even go ahead with this post...I might make some powerful enemies. But hey, I'm helping out the Joost people. Everyone loves feedback, right?
As my job largely concerns news aggregation, I spent most of this afternoon compiling pages about Heath Ledger's untimely demise. It can get a bit grim around the Mahalo News section on days like today.
Anyway, I realize that, in some ways, this implicates me in the media's saturation-level focus on grim celebrity news, whether it be Heath Ledger's and Brad Renfro's deaths, Eminem's weight problem, Owen Wilson's suicide attempt or even La Lohan's trips to the police department and/or rehab. My excuse is actually identical to the archetypal "sleaze journalist." I write pages about whatever's being searched. Majority tastes dictate my focus.
A look at Google Trends right now, hours and hours after the news of Ledger's death broke, confirms that he's the main concern of Americans at this moment in time.
Among the top searches are Ledger's name, searches for "Keith Ledger" by idiots who don't know his actual name and presumably don't know how to get to any news sources to find out, his former fiancee Michelle Williams, the term "heath ledger found dead," his daughter Matilda Ledger, his film "10 Things I Hate About You," the term "michelle williams heath ledger," his film "Brokeback Mountain," Gemma Ward (a model Ledger was rumored to have dated) and "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," the Terry Gilliam film which Ledger was in the midst of filming.
So it's not a mystery why Mahalo or anyone else is covering the story so enthusiastically. That's what the public wants, and the media only exists to inform and entertain the public. Interestingly, right now, all the cable news channels are running with the story on their front page. CNN.com, MSNBC.com and FoxNews.com clearly think that's what everyone wants to see. Unsurprisingly, FoxNews.com goes with the most melodramatic, tabloid graphic, showing people crying at a Ledger memorial:
"Tears for Heath"...Wow...
I'd also like to point out that this was featured just below the Ledger story on FoxNews.com just now:
It's an O'Reilly Factor INVESTIGATION! I actually saw a bit of this interview at work today (I watch Fox News at work! Just like Dick Cheney!) and it was hilarious and awesome. I'd love to embed it here or provide you with a direct link, but FoxNews.com has apparently not updated their technology since the late '90s, so it's only available in the next 10 minutes or so on their actual website, in a shitty little pixellated box after you watch an ad. I guess they blew the entire year's website budget on Sean Hannity's Brylcreem. The best part of the segment was when the (I swear this was his caption) "Expert on Demonology and Mystical Theology" said that he has scientific evidence of demonic possession. It's like, "did he just say that on national television? Cause...that's clearly not at all true."
But back to Heath. I was intrigued that, though obviously the Google-searching public and the cable networks felt this was Top Story material, a lot of newspaper's websites (like NYTimes.com) and even web news sites didn't feel the same way. This was the headline box on Yahoo! News just now:
Heath's not even in second place! Is this based on genuine market research, I wonder? Does Yahoo! know that it's news readers are primarily concerned with politics, then economic and business news and then celebrity gossip? Is this just an editorial decision by the staff of Yahoo! News, who personally felt that the story about Bush lying was more important than the movie star who took too many sleeping pills? I'm curious...
Wow, this is surprising. I never thought of him as one of the REALLY TROUBLED, NEAR DEATH celebrities. I'm sure we'll get more info in the days to come.
Is it bad that my first thought was, "Oh crap, I hope this doesn't impact the release of The Dark Knight!" At least I had the class to regret this reaction afterwards...