Google Places Dating Ads on Strauss-Kahn Rape Video

Um, wow. I know search ad algorithms are mysterious, but seriously, what Google ad algorithm matches Dating Ads with Rape Stories?

Google Ad in Strauss-Kahn rape video offers dating service for pretty Chinese girlsChecking out the news on the latest rape allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I was presented with a Google ad proclaiming:

“Date Pretty Chinese Girl: Chinese women for dating and marriage Join free and find your love now.”

Okay. It’s disturbing enough that Google thinks people watching (or reading) a news story about the repeated alleged rape accusations against Strauss-Kahn (and his other questionable sexual activities) are ripe for conversion to a dating service. Continue reading Google Places Dating Ads on Strauss-Kahn Rape Video

Weiner Admits Future Self Traveled Back In Time To Hack His Own Twitter Account

Anthony Weiner Terminates Future Presidential Debacle With Time-Bending Twitter Hack

Anthony Weiner Weinergate Twitter Hack
Artist’s rendition of Twitter hacking Future Weiner

Representative Anthony D. Weiner today took responsibility for hacking his own Twitter account. A desperate 2023 Weiner, his Presidential bid compromised by an even more damning news story that had come out in 2011’s original June, used a classic stainless steel Tesla to return to 2011 and hack his own Twitter account.

Only time will tell if the time-bending Twitter hack has been successful at deflecting attention away from the story that will — or would have — ruined his Presidential bid. The revelation that threatened to destroy Future Weiner’s political career is now lost to history, obfuscated by the now-famous “Weinergate”.

We can only imagine what original 2011 action demanded the time-bending Twitter hack. But whatever the original sin, according to one social scientist who has thoeorized on the subject, the resulting Weinergate will not affect the future campaign, because “in 2023 all candidates will suffer some form of classic social media embarrassment; some self-inflicted, some the result of well-meaning parents sharing bathtime pics and poop videos. Weinergate will prove no roadblock to the White House.”

my new job and why it made me disappear

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. A few folks have been asking where I’d disappeared to, so I figured I’d catch everyone up.

screenplay writingIn September of 2009 I took the first full-time job I’ve had since 2002. Well, that’s not entirely true… it’s the first full-time job working for someone else. See, back in 2002 I was working in the dot-com web development space, doing project and account management. Then everything went to hell (remember when web developers wore black turtlenecks and had cappuccino machines at their desks? Remember that? Yeah… good times… ) and I was unemployed. Prior to that I’d spent 17 years in the office products industry… ever seen “The Office”? I was Jim. I couldn’t bring myself to go back to that, so I sat on my couch for 7 months ruining a perfectly good credit score. Then, since no one would hire me, I decided to start my own web-development company – groupofpeople.com – with two other unemployed guys from my old job.

That worked out pretty well… we did a bunch of really good work for about 2 years, employed 12-16 contractors at any given time, and had a cool little office (no cappuccino machine though). I did all the business management, plus project management, usability audits and information architecture. Then my partners realized they didn’t want to be owners, they wanted to be employees – regular paychecks and no headaches, who could blame them – so they took off. I closed up the office and ran the company out of my house for a couple years, then closed it up completely to pay attention to my real passions… writing and art. Continue reading my new job and why it made me disappear

It’s a boy – officially

When Cheryl and I got married, I wrote vows to Max as well as Cheryl, and gave him a tiny silver ring of his own (he was four at the time). I married both of them that day, since they came as a matched set.

Max at baseball
Max on the Bees

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary, and when I picked Max up from theater rehearsal I wished him a Happy Anniversary. He said “Oh, it’s your anniversary?” and I said “No, it’s OUR anniversary” and reminded him about the details of the day.

When we got home, there was a moist (it’s been drizzling) non-descript envelope waiting for us in the box. I tossed it on the counter and went to hang up my coat, and Cher grabbed it and opened it up. Interestingly, it was made out to her. Continue reading It’s a boy – officially

"functionable" should not be a word.

Add this to the list of words that shouldn’t be words.

“functionable”

I was watching HGTV’s Design Star, and runner up Dan was constantly using the word in describing his spaces. “This is really a functionable space. This kitchen is really functionable. I wanted to make sure I gave them a functionable living room.”

Yes, it’s a word. No, it shouldn’t be a word. We already have a word. It’s called “functional“.

Yes, I’m wrong.

No, I shouldn’t be.

Yes, I’m petty and small.

no nicholl for you!

Did I mention? Both scripts were turned down by the Nicholl.

I was heartbroken.

Well, no, not really. But a little disappointed. It does feel good to be in the majority, though. From the Nicholl:

With a record number of entries and a readily apparent increase in quality, this year’s Nicholl Fellowships was more competitive than in any previous year.  Now that scores have been tallied for all 6,380 entries, we have to inform too many writers of scripts featuring compelling stories, intriguing characters and excellent craft that they have not advanced into the next round.  Regrettably, Grampa Was A Superhero was not one of the 321 entries selected as a Quarterfinalist in the 2009 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.

You should realize that while we strive to make the evaluation of screenplays as objective a process as possible, it is inherently both a personal and an extremely subjective matter.  A lack of success here may not have any bearing on your reception in the marketplace where a sale is the ultimate measure of success.  I’ll even venture a prediction: several non-advancing writers will become professional screenwriters in the near future.

To tell you a little about the process: each script was read once.  After receiving an initial positive evaluation, over 2,700 scripts garnered a second read.  Just under 800 scripts were read a third time.  Each read resulted in a numerical score being awarded.  Scores for each entrant’s script were totaled, and the Quarterfinalists were selected on the basis of highest scores.

Since then I talked to a friend who talked to an L.A. reader, who said:

Yeah, Nicholl. We’ve met finalists before. Nothing seems to happen for them. They’re in the same boat. Good script, looking for work…

Then talked to another good friend who has quarterfinaled in the Nicholl twice. His comment (to paraphrase):

Yeah, it didn’t do anything for me. Maybe ten requests to see the scripts, nothing came of it, here I am.

Me, I’m so glad I couldn’t reach those grapes. They look so sour.

Maybe they’ll be ripe next year.

My top 5 american kids tv cartoon series of the past two decades that you may not have heard of

Okay, that’s a long title. Here’s why.

  • First, I wanted to keep it to five just to make it exclusive. I’ve spent nearly the last thirty years raising kids, and find myself occasionally referencing shows that other folks (non-parents maybe) don’t know.
  • Second, I don’t watch international tv, so who knows what great series might be on, say, Australian tv? I mean, they gave us Bananas in Pyjamas, right?
  • Third, I focus on tv series because I’m not familiar with all the web series’ out there, though there are some cool ones (Happy Tree Friends, Blah Girls).
  • Fourth, I limited it to the past two decades so that I wouldn’t have to do all the obvious “what about the Flintstones/Jetsons/Road Runner” questions.

So this is about series that I think were under appreciated, uniquely creative and smart. They’re series I think you should see if you’ve missed them.

In no particular order…

zim.ponderingInvader Zim: Official Site – IMDBWikipedia
Nickelodeon
Zim was a great series, cut short in its second season. Zim is an incompetent alien sent to Earth to do reconnaissance for an impending invasion, aided by his dim witted robot dog GIR. He lives in a house with robot parents, attends elementary school, and is under investigation by Dib, a boy obsessed with the paranormal who can’t get anyone to listen to him. Classic elements, smartly presented, great character design. I still fondly remember the “fantastic voyage” episode…

aahrealmonstersAaah! Real Monsters: Official Site – IMDBWikipedia
Nickelodeon
Real Monsters ran four seasons, telling the story of three kid monsters who attend monster school under the city dump, where they learn how to scare humans. Sweet and funny and smart, the show didn’t last long enough and isn’t getting the long term love from Nickelodeon that it deserves. I had a stuffed Ickis toy from some fast food restaurant. Wish I still had it.

fostershomeFoster’s Home for Imaginary Friends: Official SiteIMDBWikipedia
Cartoon Network
Foster’s is a recent series, and probably the most well known on the list. The premise is that kids manifest imaginary friends through their imagination, but when they outgrow them, the friends are simply abandoned. Mrs. Foster has set up her halfway house, where imaginary friends can stay until they’re matched with a new kid who needs them. Friggin’ brilliant premise, wonderful character design, from the creator of Power Puff Girls.

renandstimpyThe Ren and Stimpy Show: Official SiteIMDBWikipedia
Nickelodeon
Yeah, you probably know this one, but it had to make the list. This twisted show set the tone for all the modern violent, inappropriate, fart obsessed kids cartoons to follow. I don’t think in today’s climate it would be seen as so controversial, but I still love it for its absurd surrealism and smart but childish tone.

rockospunkyRocko’s Modern Life: Official SiteIMDBWikipedia
Nickelodeon
Rocko was a huge favorite in our house, clearly a precursor to Spongebob in style and structure. A lovable protagonist, his faithful pet, his dimwitted big boned friend, his irritating boss and his unfortunate neighbor. Many of the folks who went on to bring us Spongebob met while working on Rocko.

If I could make it 7 … oh wait, I can. It’s my blog.

chowder-showChowder: Official SiteIMDBWikipedia
Cartoon Network
Chowder is a … cat? … and an apprentice to a chef named Mung Daal, who owns a catering company serving the fictional Marzipan City. The show combines traditional animation with stop-motion and puppetry, and has a wild throwback style that looks like a paisley shirt threw up on the Yellow Submarine. Visually arresting, narratively wacky and entertaining, Chowder is a wildly creative alternative to magical animals that can be forced to fight one another by kids with trading cards. This is the creation of a former storyboard artist on the show that just keeps on giving, Spongebob… surprised?

the_marvelous_misadventures_of_flapjack-showThe Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Official SiteIMDBWikipedia
Cartoon Network
Ohmigod… Flapjack may be creeping into first place for me. The surreal design style of the show, both charming and icky at the same time (blood flies, anyone?), combined with a terrifically satisfying fictional universe that runs on candy, responsibility and a thirst for adventure, all revolving around a sweet little cabin boy who only wants to be the best friend he can possibly be to everyone he meets… does it get any better? It feeds your ick and your goodness at the same time. Like Chowder, the show includes some stop motion and puppetry. Absolutely brilliant and must see.

There’s others… they’ve been more successful, and had bigger influences, and you’ve heard of them.

  • King of the Hill (almost not a cartoon, you don’t watch this one for good drawing or animation. It’s simply a great sitcom and could work just as well live action)
  • Spongebob Squarepants
  • The Simpsons
  • Futurama
  • South Park
  • The Tick
  • Power Puff Girls
  • etc…

I’m sure others have their opinions, and I bet I forgot a couple. Feel free to set me straight.

the other estrada to return to filmmaking

Just found this funny. Don’t know why.

Deposed former Philippines president Joseph Estrada, who was once an action movie star, is returning to the big screen with his first film since he was kicked out of office on corruption charges.

The 72-year-old started filming a laffer Wednesday about a minibus driver trying to deal with his daughter’s plans to marry her Filipino-American boyfriend.

“He really thinks that the poor, who are already suffering, should not be made to cry some more in the movies. He wants to make them happy, even if only briefly,” his spokeswoman Margaux Salcedo told the Associated Press.

Isn’t it about time our Estrada got involved in politics?erikestrada

nailin palin

sarah-palin-katie-couricPalin is quitting. Because the media has been hard on her and her family (that’s today’s excuse).

The Extreme Right still loves her because she’s an everymom, joe sixpack, anti-intellectual who’s a victim of the Liberal Media.

“Palin is a victim of the media” is like saying “The Elephant Man was a victim of the mirror”.

Ooh. Gotcha.

I was kind of hoping she’d be the front-runner in 2012. I hope this doesn’t hurt her chances.

why I've already decided not to like bing and I haven't even tried it yet

bing-logoI know plenty has been said on this subject already. Microsoft’s new search platform bing is lame.

I don’t know if it’s lame to use (haven’t tried it – love Google) but lame in name. It’s a lame name, bing, and I don’t think it’ll catch on as a verb, which appears to be (Microsoft CEO Steve) Ballmer’s goal (everyone’s Googling and Facebooking and Twittering, we want them to bing! How’d you find me? I binged you! Do me a favor, and bing bing crosby, will ya? Bing bing cherries. Bing Chandler Bing. Crap, Bing means “disease” in Chinese!).

But I have more trouble frankly with their tagline… The Decision Engine. Clearly they’re trying to set themselves apart from other search engines… and not just any particular search engines, but all search engines, in that they’re trying to say they’re NOT a search engine. They’re saying “We’re different. We’re not a search engine. We’re a decision engine.”

But that doesn’t change the fact that their core competition is/are, in fact, search engines. Of which, like it or not, they are one.

The problem with claiming they aren’t a search engine is that they’ve got to first get people to buy into the concept that there is such a thing as a decision engine, and then get them to believe that bing’s the one they should use (theoretically easy, since they’re the only one – and likely will remain so).

And even more fundamentally, deciding that you’re a decision engine assumes that a decision engine is what people want, which assumes that people use search engines to make decisions.

I don’t have any metrics to back this up but I’m fairly certain that people use search engines to search after they’ve already decided. I “decide” to see a movie, and I go online to find out what’s playing and what time it’s on.* I “decide” I need to know the definition of “vomitory” and then I go online to look it up. I don’t “decide” what time the movie’s on, and I don’t “decide” what the definition of “vomitory” is.

I “find” those things.

If Microsoft really felt it needed to redefine what kind of engine they were launching, the obvious choice would be “find engine”. It’s shorter, easier to remember, is already a verb, and addresses what it is people want to do on search engines… “find stuff”.

Had Microsoft called me (don’t laugh, it could happen… really) I’d have said “Be a search engine. It’s what people know. Differentiate yourself by taglining with the “find” thesis. Go buy find.com. You can afford it. It’s already a verb. People will happily and comfortably say “go find that for me”. And then promote the fuck out of it as The “find what you need” search engine. As Don’t just search. Find. Either of which is better than The Decision Engine.”

That’s what I would have said.

But then they didn’t ask me, did they?

That’s why bing is lame.

*Yes, I know, one could say that we go online to “decide” which movie to see. But that doesn’t suit the case I’m making. So I’ll just assert that we “decide” which movie to see based on the information we “find”.
NOTE: I just binged myself. I’m 5 of the first 10 results. Now I like bing.
NOTE NOTE: Naw, never mind. I just googled myself. I’m 5 of the first 10 results, 6 of the first 11 if you count my resume PDF. Bing’s just a search engine.