June 2009 Archives

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Japanese body inflation photo by John Stone

Thank goodness for our trendsetting friends in the Land of the Rising Sun, without whom Western Culture would be without such important pursuits as Pokemon, Iron Chef and dressing like Elvis. Now, the cooler-than-you kids have got something that just defies explanation, though bizarremag.com gives it a shot: Body Inflation.

And really, it puts anything our modder, club kids and hipsters can think up into a shame spiral so rapid and deep that they may actually be able to achieve time travel on the way down.

Think of it kinda like this: You can create a saline-based fake breast anywhere on your body, with huge, cartoon-like effects and shapes. And the photo above is nothing. Check here for a gallery of more of this Dunkin-Donut-inspired body sculpting trend.

After you do that - and maybe throw up just a little bit - realize that the good news is the saline injection is temporary. It apparently takes a couple hours to show up and, depending on what part of the body you inflate, and a night at the club to dissipate. So these misfortunate urban body pioneers won't be taking their cyclops foreheads to the grave. Then again, maybe they want to. It's clearly a fetishest practice geared toward a certain culture that values the aesthetic. Or, maybe just to the crowd that doesn't believe in wearing motorcycle helmets in lieu of simply making their head a saline cushion.

Whatever the case or personal preference, it's good to know there's no real risk involved.

BMEzine.com (a social site for fetishists of all types) founder Shannon Larratt tells Bizzaremag that it's nothing to take too seriously. You know, it's just fun:

"It's primarily a play activity," he says. "I think most of the time it's done on its own, rather than with other types of play. I've seen people combine it with play piercing but, on the whole, that's not something I'd recommend because of infection risks."

Yeah, there's that. There's also the EXTREME risk of looking like you have a hemorrhoid cushion growing out of your skull - or chest, arms, testicles ... well, you get the picture. All of the sudden infection sounds like the least of the risks associated with this trend.

But hey, before you think these folks might be loners or societal castoffs, think again. They have mixers:

In February Keroppy and Bizarre body mod favourite Samppa Von Cyborg held a Dolphin vs Birds night, pitching the saline enthusiasts (dolphins) against the hook suspensionists (birds). Although the techniques are radically different, they both hold the same appeal - the temporary transformation of the body. Keroppy likens the experience of suspension to bungee jumping and the infusions to scuba diving: "Inflation isn't painful, it's more of a weird sensation - but it is the act of using the body and seeking another experience. It's a bit tight. If your head gets really full, you feel a lot of pressure."

So, if you're looking to expand your horizons - and your forehead - there you go. But remember, kids, don't try this at home - just in case "never" is not an option - as there needs to be some professional involvement, apparently. But you may want to brush up on technique, helpfully broken down to Bizarremag by someone they refer to as a "body mod pioneer," and real-life cyborg, Samppa Von Clyborg:

The professional body piercer will use a saline bag, tube and needle. It works in a similar way to a hospital drip, so the bag needs to be raised above the body part picked for puffing.

* Body inflators never make their own saline solution and steer clear of tap water, due to the risk of infection.

* The needle is placed under the skin but not in a vein - or the build-up of pressure could mean exploding blood vessels all over the show.

* While it's not that dangerous, some people who've done it regularly have found their skin has permanently expanded.

* The most interesting place to inflate is the forehead, as the taut skin means the effects are extremely obvious.

* Inflatees can prod the inflated lumps to make them look more interesting.

Sometimes, for absolutely no reason, you just need a little hardcore, NSFW Sesame Street hip hop to get you through the day (Bert and Ernie are Channeling M.O.P.'s "Ante Up," by the way.

Play on, playas.

After a highly influential pop career and tragically marred life, there will be many opinions offered on Michael Jackson, who died Thursday afternoon, apparently of a cardiac arrest.

But there can be no argument that Thriller is the best pop song - and video - ever made.

Of course, you can see a load more of his video work after the jump to come to your own conclusion ...

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For any male child of the '70s, this image serves as an iconic totem to a decade that morphed from the misery of Vietnam and Watergate and recession to the carefree Disco days and "Me first!" '80s.

At the very least, it may be the one thing we all had in common - OK, two things if you include the obligatory "Frampton Comes Alive" album you know you had but are embarrassed to admit to - since there's almost no boy's closet door that it didn't grace.

You know, except for the Amish and weirdos.

The soft, pure seduction of Farrah smiling down on us night after night. In an age before celeb TV and TMZ and the 24/7 omnipresence of gossip, there was our sunny, golden goddess of pre-pubescence. Sure, there was sex dripping out of that red swimsuit, but there was also genuine joy and innocence in those curly golden locks and megawatt smile.

The news of Farrah's passing after a lengthy battle with cancer is sad, to be sure. For her family and friends. For her suffering. Even for the hint at our own mortality as we remember the youthful days long gone that poster represents - 30 years and counting. But, there is the glittering ode to joy, too.

Remembering Farrah for that smile and that hair and her youthful beauty - and remembering the kinder days of youth we all shared under her sunny gaze.

To be clear, Flight 447 was not a Pan Oceanic jet and the Smoke Monster did not bring it down. Or did it?

Oh boy, and they say Internet news sources can't be trusted.

Bolivian news channel PAT was either egregiously stupid or criminally hoaxed when it ran a couple still photos from "Lost" last week as "exclusive" final moments from the doomed Air France Flight 447, according to a report from The Telegraph. Running the images of pandemonium in the cabin over breathless reporting from the anchor, the viewer was intended to think they were looking in on the doomed passengers in the last seconds before tragedy.

(But some of us simply spent an extra second or two looking for Evangeline Lilly. Sigh.)

Anyway, there's a reasonable explanation for the spectacular blunder: The photos came via the Internet. Or so says the station's hopefully now ex-news director. He also says he's sorry:

"On Thursday, two photographs were aired on our prime time news report and on Friday we apologized," said Eddy Luis Franco, PAT's news director.

Right. Nevermind the fact that the black box had yet to be found - and apparently is lost for good. Nope, we got some picture of the Internets - must be real. Run 'em!

Good grief.

"These two photos were apparently taken by one of the passengers on the airliner the instant before the collision and after the aircraft crashed," the anchor "reported" while the images aired in background, claiming they came from the recovered digital camera of actor Paulo Muller

Uh-huh.

wtctourist1.jpgBut wait, we've seen this sort of nonsense before. Remember the famous shot of the smiling tourist at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and a jet hurdled toward the tower? It was everywhere via e-mail forward bomb, most people sniffed out the rat and it stayed out of the media as a moment of fact.

Perhaps the first clue on the "Lost" images should have been that they were shot in HD widescreen. Just sayin'.

Obama Poster Artist.jpgFor those of you who are fans of self-professed street punk artist Shepard Fairey, this video by Arktip Magazine is a 2-minute treat of creation in process.

Shot to coincide with their focus on the man, perhaps now best known for his Barack Obama "Hope" image, for the upcoming issue, it plays to the tones of "Everything Down" by Los Angeles noise band No Age. And it's a spot-on accompaniment as he sprays, pastes and draws a work together in slap-dash fashion. It's almost a shame it's not a longer video.

obey.jpgOf course Fairey, who came to fame for his "Obey" works created as a student in the Rhode Island School of Design in the late '80s and street art, has been in the news lately for a legal tussle with the Associated Press over the use of an AP photo as the background for his Obama image. AP says he stole their intellectual property, Fairey claims fair use. But while that drags out, The Onion's AV Club caught up with the artist recently to chat about the case, his work and where his life's at now.

As it turns out, he's got at least one reason to be OK. Looks like his latest brush with the law fizzled after 14 charges of vandalism in Boston were dropped earlier this month.

Raptor attack! from Billwhit on Vimeo.

Eagle.jpgLest you think man has finally gained control of the skies again after that whole Flight 1549 bird attack, well, let this be a lesson to you:

The birds will not be that easily defeated.

As you can see from the video, they're scaling down their ambitions a bit, turning in the Airbus 380 attacks for, in this case, a remote-control eagle (pictured). Still, quite the assault. The culprit? A raptor of some sort, though it's a little hard to tell in the lightning strikes whether a hawk or a real eagle.

As the pilot says, quite the harrowing ordeal:

A large raptor attacks my remote controlled eagle. I barely get away by making quick dives until some crows come to my rescue!

Either way, we land-dwellers should consider ourselves warned:

it's on.

And not just in the skies, apparently, as you can. Seems our feathered frienemies are taking the fight to the streets, no longer content to wait for us to enter their airspace.

(Best part: The woman who just keeps talking on her cell phone or the guy who flips the bird the bird?)

Watch. Your. Heads.

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You've likely seen President Obama's lightning strike on the fly that would steal his spotlight during a CNBC interview this week.

Well, even if you haven't, the People for the Ethical Treatment of animals has, and they are buzzing about his brazen act of incecticide - even if he was merely following in Lincoln's footsteps. Hand it to their consistency, even the plight of a garbage-eating housefly is not too small or disgusting to warrant their sympathy. And being none-too-pleased that the flyswatter-in-chief chose to use force instead of diplomacy, they've offered up a solution for the President - and it is good enough for a PETA staffer's cat!

flycatcher.jpgIn a nutshell, our position is this: He isn't the Buddha, he's a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act.

If all this has you wondering how you can be a bigger person (figuratively, as well as literally) in your dealings with exoskeletal beings, check out our handy-dandy bug catcher--one of which we are sending to President Obama for future insect incidents. I can tell you from personal experience that it sure came in handy the other day, when one of my cats was chasing the World's Largest Palmetto Bug around the house.

And if the week of the animal rights fighters ended there, with all the publicity and ridicule it usually takes them a week of Pamela Anderson ads to accumulate, you'd probably be right in calling it a success. But wait ... there's more!

The granddaughter of Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara is at the forefront of another revolution -- PETA's battle for vegetarianism. And, in true PETA fashion, she's doing it in a nearly naked state.

The print campaign is expected to debut in October in magazines and posters, but will be launched first in Argentina, where Che Guevara was born. PETA approached the 24-year-old in recent months after finding out she was a vegetarian, said spokesman Michael McGraw.

"It [the photo above] very much evokes the tag line of the ad, which is 'Join the vegetarian revolution,'" McGraw said. "It's an homage of sorts to her late grandfather."

che-guevara1242900104.jpg"Homage" roughly translating into Argentinian for "exploiting the name of a beret-wearing revolutionary hero to millions of college students."

Che Guevara was a Marxist leader who played a pivotal role in Fidel Castro's rise to power in Cuba. He was executed in Bolivia in 1967 - a death PETA would likely have had less reaction to than the blatant murder of a White House fly.

As Che himself would say: "If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine."

Here's one, striking a blow for yearbook nerds everywhere who tried to get a good prank by the unfortunate teacher assigned to overseeing the publication.

The cover artist for the Shaker Heights, Ohio, an outgoing senior, managed to slip an F-bomb into the illustration. Granted, you have to flip the book upside down to see it. And even then it's a bit like picking the sailboat out of the hallusion art posters that were all the rage a couple years ago.

But, there it is, in black and red glory. F-U-well, you get the idea.<.p>

You damn kids with your fancy art and authority-thwarting curses!

For their part, the scofflaw illustrator is all broken up about it, issuing a statement that says:

"I cannot begin to explain the miserable feeling I brought upon myself, when I betrayed the trust of all of you. I apologize for offending anyone and everyone. It is unfortunate that I did not recognize the big responsibility and honor given to me when asked to design the cover of the Shaker Heights yearbook. I offer my sincere apologies."

Uh-huh. Of course this clever youth has already graduated, so the "you" in this effing equation turns out to be the school, which is now offering "cosmetically altered" yearbooks for the three kids actually offended by this stunt. Bring in your book and they'll turn that eff-rown upside down with a Sharpie and a smile.

Come on, though! It's not like the kid got a yearbook photo taken without underwear on. That would be epic.

OK, youth of America. The bar has been raised and the authorities have their defenses up like a post-9-11 airport screening station. So what are you gonna do now to mark your place in yearbook history?

And, can you even see the errant eff?

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'You want my Styrofoam peanuts? You can have 'em all!'

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We can always count on "Weird Al" Yankovic for a constant flow of genius that works on both levels, the ridiculous and the sublime. Here's his latest, a really rich parody of the Doors and a light jab at "Craigslist" ...

Dig it? It's his new single -- because, of all people, "Weird Al" was tailor-made for the mp3/YouTube era -- and it's available now on iTunes.


Post-It note animation!

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Enjoy this time-wasting Hump Day treat -- and daydream about having this much free time ...

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The Dr. Frankenstein of the barrel monster has been punished by the angry mob.

When Joseph Carnevale chopped up three stolen orange and white traffic barrels from a construction site to create a massive sculpture of a roadside monster thumbing a ride, the North Carolina college student said he saw it as a form of street art.

Police just saw vandalism.

They dismantled the 10-foot "barrel monster" and arrested Carnevale. Hundreds of online supporters want the charges dropped and the publicity has turned the history major and part-time construction worker into a local celebrity.

Even the construction company has become a fan, and wants the 21-year-old to create a replica of the figure that led to his arrest on June 10.

"It's surprising how many people have called attention to it," Carnevale said.

A&E, you can't make me watch "Hammertime," no matter how many brilliant, gold-pantsed, M.C. Hammer flashmob dancers you roll into the malls of America (OK, maybe just a sneak peak based on this review).

But this dance-a-thon - yes, I know it's an ad and I don't care - is like a smile made of shimmery dance garments. You can't not smile when you watch it. Go ahead, try ... I'll wait ...

Is it effective advertising? Makes me think of Hammer, but not want to watch the show, so I suppose it's good marketing at least. But you're not supposed to want to watch the ad more than the show, are you?

And, of course, here's a look at the original Hammertime brilliance, complete with his powerful influence on the baggy pants movement of the day:

OK, so this isn't the iPhone 3G S. It's probably hard to fit in a pocket and the camera isn't much to speak of, to say nothing of call quality.

But it's hard to imagine a much cooler use of mobile operating system technology in a desktop setting - all of which adds up to limited usability, but no less "wow" - than this touch screen wonder running iPhone OS off a Mac Pro. The clever developer has gotten around the need for the iPhone Home button by using an Apple remote.

Crunchgear tracked the hack (or is it hoax) down to Swedish design firm Dreamfield, which seems to have done it as a messing-around project. Here's a look at another of the projects they work on, this one is a music video for British hip hop artist Dizzee Rascal where they actually walk you through the process of creation. Pretty cool.

In the grand tradition of iPhone mockups that crop up before each release, though, the big question is the same here: Is it real?

Answer: Who cares? It's pulled off with starry bits of awesomeness.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog is betting it's bust through some careful study of the video. Sometimes, though, you just have to suspend disbelief and enjoy the movie.

Pointless toilet humor post of the day

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Don't tell me the economy is sour. If we were in a real depression, or even a recession, would we have people (a) manufacturing luxury products like this or (b) needing to discuss them publicly? It ain't exactly selling pencils.

Here's a semi-viral video making its rounds on the Web -- the commercial for Comfort Wipe, a plastic tool that holds your toilet paper for you as you, er, use it. "The first improvement in toilet paper, as we know it, since the 1880s!" the narrator declares. (I love that the writers added that clause, "as we know it," as if there have been outlaw toilet paper cults experimenting clandestinely with radical TP tech. Of course, I thought we'd made a major improvement in the stuff when, as teens, we discovered how artfully it could decorate someone's lawn in the middle of the night ...)

Buy now and receive a free "Get a Grip." Irony not included.

OK, so it is possible to be slightly skeeved out, by a basically heartwarming, happy-ending kinda story.

Case in point: Daniel Blair, a 4-year-old in North London, and his twin Nicky decided to bathe one of the family's week-old puppies in a bit of smother love common to kids and dogs. Unfortunately, kids chose to give the cocker spaniel pup a post-walk scrub in the loo (that's the toilet over here in America).

Not the worst thing in the world - until Daniel flushed the little critter. And here's where panic ensued.

Mother Alison called the fire department, to no avail. And the fire brigade rang the local sewer folks, Dyno-Rod, to try to get the poor little poop, err, pup, unjammed from the pipe where it had become lodged about 20 yards down the drain, wet and disgusting, but still alive.

With a little ingenuity, some microfiber camera technology and some gentle pushing, the pup, now named Dyno for his heroic saviors, was nudged fare enough for a firefighter to grab at a manhole. And this time Dyno really did need a bath.

"I never thought a dog could survive being flushed down the loo. He's a real little fighter," mother Alison told the Daily Mirror.

That he is.

And you thought only alligators were flushed down city drains.

The Oak Ridge Boys, proud purveyors of goosed-up 4-part harmonies and down-home songs about faith, family and American, have dipped into Detroit dirt rock for one of their covers on the album, "The Boys Are Back." Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban latch onto The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" in a very passable rendition that tames down the in-your-face guitar work in favor menacing vocalizations and a drumbeat-of-doom piano track that really adds to the song.

Is it Johnny Cash taking on Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt?" No, but it's not bad. Judge for yourself - who does the song better.

Can't take the progress of the Oaks tackling modern music? Slip back into the classics, my friend. No Shame here.

Humorless minions unite behind Letterman protest

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It's the bad joke that won't go away.

Gov. Sarah Palin took great offense to late-night talk show host David Letterman's wisecrack about one of her daughters getting "knocked up: by baseball star Alex Rodriguez, and he sort of apologized on the air. But reaction to the manufactured bruhaha goes on, and on, and on, and on -- and now sympathizers are attempting to rally a crowd to protest the show and demand that ol' Dave get the boot.

A new Web site, FireDavidLetterman.com, has popped up, demanding -- and this is their own poor grammar -- "David Letterman Must Held Be Accountable For His Disgraceful Statements." The Drudge-like site, created by conservative author Michael Patrick Leahy, allows users to print their very own protest letter to send to the CBS show's sponsors, plus news of a protest planned for tomorrow afternoon outside Letterman's theater on Broadway in New York City.

Think this will affect Letterman's current contract negotiations?

Finally, we just have to say: Why is no one in this mess worried about A-Rod's feelings?


Tommy Sparks "She's Got Me Dancing" from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo.

Stumbled upon this bit of glammy, campy video electropop for British musician Tommy Sparks, "She's Got Me Dancing" - cringingly awesome to see how uncomfortable he looks in his get-up - and thought: Fun. Laser nipples. You know, like most people would.

A quick glance at the director's name, though, popped up someone interesting - Eric Wareheim. You may recognize that name as the half of "Tim and Eric's Awesome Show Great Job," among others, of of the non-kiddie offerings on Cartoon Network's late-night Adult Swim programming block.

It seems that in addition to the tweaked comedy offerings Wareheim and partner serve up, the man also has a penchant for over-the-top, electronica music videos. Who knew?

If you've never jumped into Adult Swim, Tim and Eric's various shows kinda defy description themselves. It's kind of Napoleon Dynamite meets hipster meets mentally challenged sketch comedy - the claim to fame might be bring the world Zach Galifianakis before he went volcanic in "The Hangover." But Wareheim's music video work quickly tells you two things: A) He has an eclectic taste in pop music and B) he wants to give us all seizures through an innovative use of pulsing lights, animation and music that never allows your mind to settle down.

And if his selection of '80s-inspired laser-and smoke machine 3-minutes epics aren't enough to fry your mind for a bit, well, there's always Dance Floor Dale.

That would be this video for the crazy-catchy - and really crazy-NSFW - "Parisian Goldfish" by L.A.-band Flying Lotus that eventually turns into a cartoonigraphic porn shoot with plus-size Dance Floor Dale and a friend. Oh, and of course, there's the flashing lights to make just that much less safe for viewing in any decent place outside a public library.

There really are no words to describe how disturbing, yet hypnotic that video is.

Happy Monday. Good luck recovering for the rest of the week.

With Bike to Work Week set to start Saturday, it seems like the appropriate time to remind everyone that while you may want to take the Beer Bike in, it's probably a better idea to take it home.

Unfortunately you would have to work in Amsterdam to take advantage, anyway. And now it seems like that fine city may not be able to enjoy a 10-seater bike built around a bar.

Various outlets are reporting that Hans Gerson, the city counselor responsible for squashing fun, is mad that drunks get to peddle through the city center for some reason:

"This beer bike is completely legal, but he (Gerson) is not very enthusiastic about this idea of people drinking while being amongst traffic," a spokeswoman said.

Surely a knee-jerk reaction over what? A couple of accidents with the keg-speed since April?

Just goes to show you, you try to help the environment AND enjoy liquid refreshment and you get in trouble. No good 10-speed deed goes unpunished.

Hey, at least these rolling punters weren't on their cell phones (though, as with all good drunks, they really should be wearing helmets).

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Elijah Morton and friends test the waters of Foster Ave. Beach last June.(Rich Hein, Sun-Times)

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A sailboat and a sunny Chicago skyline to steer her by does it get any better? (John J. Kim, Sun-Times)

You can find some more sunny Chicago photos here.

And now for the weather ... blah, blah, blah.

OK, you can just make that one, big BLAH

Seem like the sun has been a rumor all spring, not to mention the warmth and happiness it brings? Well, you're right, the big orange ball has been conspicuously absent since April1.

Shockingly so according to Andy Boxell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Chicago office. Andy pulled out the following stats to quantify our misery, so far, and it ain't pretty. Keep in mind, this is just days with precipitation, too, since the NWS doesn't really track crappy, err, cloudy in and of itself.

APRIL PRECIPITATION:

18 out of 30 days, for 5.19 inches

MAY PRECIPITATION:

14 out of 31 days, for 3.63 inches

And the worst of the bunch so far ...

JUNE PRECIPITATION:

8 out of 11 days, for 1.08 inches

Wow, it just keeps getting better, huh? Oh, and if you think it's also been cold to complete the gloom pie, you're kinda right.

According to the measurements at O'Hare, April was a little below average daily temperature, at 47.25 degrees, and May was actually a little above average, at 60.45 degrees.

June the jerk has been way below the historical average, a balmy 68.2 degrees, keeping us in coats at 59.2.

And yes, it is cooler near the lake - but not in a good way. Boxell points out that we have seen a steady stream of days with the wind blowing out of the northeast keeping things frost for the city.

So what does all this mean, apart from increased sales of sun lamps and cases of seasonal affective disorder?

Not much, of course. In a month or two we'll all be whining about the heat and humidity and pining for Bears games (you may be able to forget about October baseball). But in the meantime, enjoy the photos of sun in the Second City and keep telling yourself there will be more soon enough - just not too soon, according to the week-ahead forecast. Damn weather.

Beaker's electrifying, Webby-winning performance

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Bless that Beaker. The doomed Muppet's efforts always seem to, well, explode. But he keeps on keepin' on, and even created this viral video that won a Webby award on Monday ...

At the Webby ceremony, the tradition is that all acceptance speeches must be limited to five words (take that, Twitter!).

Some examples from this year's ceremony:

  • Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, took the prize for breakout of the year. He said: "Creativity is a renewable resource."
  • "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane was honored for his Web series "Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy." Said MacFarlane: "What is this for again?"
  • Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post won for best political blog, said: "I didn't kill newspapers, OK?"
  • Jimmy Fallon, cited for using the Internet to flog his taking over NBC's "Late Night," said: "Thank God Conan got promoted."

And Beaker himself, said, well ...

UPDATE 11:50 p.m., June 11:

We've had the "Don't Tase me, bro!" guy. Now it's "Granny, get on the ground ... or else!"

In this dashboard video from Travis County (TX) Deputy Constable Chris Bieze's patrol car, you see Kathryn Winkfein end up getting Tasered following a traffic stop for speeding in a construction zone.

Winkfein is belligerent, antagonistic and disrespectful to Bieze as the two argue on the edge of a busy, dangerous highway. Oh, and she's also 72 and about half his size - if not at least twice his age.

That's right, Deputy Bieze was unable to manually subdue this dangerous traffic scofflaw, so he went with his last resort - the Taser.

According to news reports, the deputy said that when he asked Winkfein to sign the speeding ticket he issued, she refused, used profane language and became violent, at which point he tased her.

So she got the juice from the deputy charged with training his department in Taser use and practices as the compliance officer for the weapon.

For her part, Winkfein says she'll be baking no cookies for this cop:

"I wasn't argumentative, I was not combative. This is a lie. All of this is a lie, pulled away from him I did not."

You can be the judge of that from watching the video. Certainly seemed like she was at least uncooperative. But did he need to zap her?

UPDATE: Department responds

In an interview with the Associated Press, Bieze's boss says yes he did - and they stand behind the deputy's actions as correct and necessary:

But that may not be the last word on the matter as the Travis County District Attorney iis looking into the arrest, reports the Austin American-Statesman.

Taser International asserts that the weapon is safe for use on anyone weighing 60 pounds or more - an assertion that points to medical studies like this - though there are no age guidelines. A child as young as 6 was Tased in Florida in 2004, but this might be the oldest person knocked down with 50,000 volts by a law enforcement official.

Do the Burris & Blagojevich mambo!

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While more and more people and organizations are calling on Sen. Roland Burris to resign, the club kids have turned the whole newsy mess into another reason to dance.

Here's a dance mix made of the phone conversation between Burris and dethroned Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, made for The Second City to use as part of a promotional package for their hit show "Rod Blagojevich Superstar!"

Dig it? Download it!

Take that, Bret Michaels!

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Last night's Tony Awards telecast was full of the usual kow-towing to the TV audience -- lookee! we've got movie stars, too! -- and this year that included dropping real rocker Bret Michaels into the middle of a number celebrating the God-awful '80s-camp musical "Rock of Ages." But the Poison singer and reality whore got dropped, too. Watch him nearly get decapitated by the falling scrim in this video from last night's show ...

AP says the accident fractured Michaels' nose and busted his lip, requiring three stitches. According to Michaels' spokeswoman, the rock singer had X-rays and a CAT scan taken after the event.

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It's been a pretty good week for trumped-up holidays - Leave the Office Early Day, Neil Diamond Day, National Running Day, etc. - but it was all just sturm and drang leading up to the real deal today.

donut.jpgNational Doughnut Day (or Donut, if you prefer), my friends.

Right up there with Christmas and your birthday as one of the real worthwhile dates to remember on the calendar. And it's not just because doughnuts (great history here) are delicious and fatty and filled with goodness.

No, just like Christmas, there are gifts involved in the form of free doughnuts from Krispy Kreme - no purchase necessary - and Dunkin' Donuts - with a drink order.

And if that's all there was to it, life would be golden brown and glazed. But it gets better! Turns out actual good deeds could be involved as you stuff your face. A good cause is at the heart (hole?) of the day. Or one was originally, anyway.

DoughnutGirl.jpgDoughnut Day got its start right here in Chicago thanks to the Salvation Army:

National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to raise much-needed funds during the Great Depression, and to honor the work of World War I Salvation Army volunteers - specifically Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance - who prepared doughnuts and other foods for thousands of soldiers.

Why is this important? Because in theory it's still a fund-raising day for the Salvation Army, or any other charity you feel attached to, which is worth remembering while you dunk and salivate.

So by all means, do enjoy free doughnuts, but maybe try to buy a few from an organization that can use the help. Sure, you may still feel guilty for gorging, but you can wash it down with the milk of human kindness, safe in the knowledge that your sacrifice will help somebody in the long run.

Four discs worth of unreleased demos, alternate takes, rarities, and live cuts are on tap for hyper-influential altster band Big Star this fall when Rhino releases "Keep An Eye On The Sky" on Sept. 15.

The 98 tracks cull from 1968-1975 and include pre-Big Star bands Rock City and Icewater, solo work from Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, and unreleased material from the "#1 Record," "Radio City" and "Third/Sister Lover" sessions.

Never a household name band, Big Star's 1970s power-pop sound helped more well-known acts like Cheap Trick, R.E.M. and the Replacements find their respective sounds.

"Just when you're thinking everything has been released, apparently it hasn't," Big Star drummer Jody Stephens told Billboard.com.

Big Star broke up in 1974 after the commercial failure of their first two albums, "#1 Record" and "Radio City," before a third album, recorded that year, could be released. "Third/Sister Lovers" was rejected for release at the time for not being commercial enough, but finally made it into print four years later.

Gay marriage illegal where you live? Try 'The Sims 3'

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People in the real world are still grappling with whether or not to allow gay couples the right of marriage and/or civil unions. But in the virtual world, the matter appears to be settled.

A blogger at AfterElton.com, Lyle Masaki, checked out the new edition of the popular pretend-life game "The Sims 3" and reports that "after a week of game time, I was able to get a male couple to plan a wedding party and tie the knot." A week of game time translates to about six months of dating in real life, right?

"The Sims" has always been inclusive of gay couples, Masaki writes. The first version of the game allowed gay pairs to live together but not get married. "The Sims 2" allowed a coupling that granted all the same basic rights as marriage without specifically calling it that. Now two simulated guys can hook up, tie the knot and be called "husbands" to each other.

Some gamers report online that gay couples can even adopt young'uns.

Strangely, too, there have been no virtual protests. What would the signs say, after all? "The Processor hates fags"?

Yet more indication that the Internet is proof of the duality of man - our ability to be brilliant and moronic at the same time.

Case in point: The Shoot Paul Cam. It's a site that allows you, via live, streaming video, to blast away with paintballs at this guy, Paul Jackson, as he lives a "normal" life, 24/7 in front of a camera.

In a room filled with exploded paintballs.

And strangers trying to shoot him.

Right.

Sounds a bit loopy on both the shooter and target's part, right? But like the site advertises, "you have nothing better to do..."

The creator says he's offering a way for you to get some stress out at work to keep you from taking aim at your fellow cube dwellers. It's just meant as a bit of fun to break up the day that also serves as an essential tool for ensuring workplace safety.

Like a crack dealer, he doles out a couple free shots to start, but then have to pay for more trigger time and options like rapid fire once you're sucked in. And that's the brilliant part. He's turned being essentially a live video game character into gainful employment.

So who is this Paul guy and why is he choosing to have complete strangers blast away at him several hundred times a day? Let's find out, in a lightly edited interview, after the jump ...

The pure Disney character also known as one-third of the Jonas Brothers - I think this one is Joe, but they're kinda hard to tell apart - takes a crack at the most over-parodied music video ever.

What do you think, how does he compare to the original:

Or even to Justin Timberlake's inspired version on SNL:

Or, perhaps my favorite, The Dan Band's version, complete with auto shop background. And the Prius is a nice touch:

"The Tonight Show" guru had a run at the banality of Twitter when it meets the mundane life of the stars on the microblogging service. Pretty great stuff - especially the SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY excitement level.

'Han Solo, P.I.'

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Apropos of absolutely nothing ...

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sonicx.jpgHey, more free food! This time it's Sonic passing out the grub in the form of a free root beer float til midnight tonight.

Add this to the growing list of companies trying to find their way to your heart - or wallet, anyway - through the stomach.

Yes, the ice cream weather still eludes us in Chicago, but a free float is a free float.

And yes, there are a few locations around the city, but you better be ready to travel for that free goodness.

The word: Newsweek's first guest editor is Stephen Colbert

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Newsweek magazine relaunched a few weeks ago as "a new magazine for a changing world," including a significant redesign, and for the first time in its 76-year history the news weekly will feature a guest editor. Next week's issue will be edited by none other than Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert.

060309colbert.jpgAccording to the New York Observer: "Mr. Colbert will help design the cover of the magazine, he'll write an editor's note and he'll be adding annotations to Mr. Meacham's weekly editor's note. Mr. Colbert said that he helped hand out assignments, and will play around with columnist's biographies and help pick out pull quotes for stories. There will be a section dedicated to all the unpublished letters to the editor Mr. Colbert has written to Newsweek since he was a kid."

Newsweek's editor Jon Meacham was "just very impressed with the range of his knowledge" and "almost encyclopedic feel for anything that came up" during a lunch they had.

EW: "Colbert promises to pepper the 'conventional wisdom' of his ultra-conservative Comedy Central character throughout the June 8 issue, but insists much of the content will be treated with the utmost seriousness."

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2008 Chicago Marathoner pound down LaSalle. (John j> Kim~Sun-Times)

Did you drag yourself out of bed at 6 this morning, strap on the running shoes and push off into the cold wind blowing down Chicago's streets? Or did you just hit the snooze bar and settling for walking briskly to Starbuck for a latte and a muffin.

On of these was a poor choice today. Here's a clue:

It's National Running Day.

RD_Logo_NoDate.jpgFrankly, I prefer National Leave Work Early Day, but you take what you can get.

And if your were in the muffin and coffee camp this morning, there's always time after work for a brisk jog. Hell, they don't really specify what kind of running, actually. You could always commit a crime and run from the cops or maybe just run off at the mouth. Maybe those count, too.

But if you do choose the Prefontaine route and pound some pavement, these Running Superfan guys might get you fired up. Sure, they're shilling for Brooks running shoes, but they're still pretty funny. And everybody ... EVERYBODY ... can use some sound advice on nipple care.

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If you're reading this right now ... stop. Especially if you're at work.

Close up the laptop. Turn off the Blackberry or iPhone. Spin around in your chair and creep quietly to the exit.

It's officially National Leave the Office Early Day, but why confine a good hooky excuse to the cube farm dwellers. And if you've gotten this far, you're missing it.

What, don't think you can get by Lumberg on the way to the door? Gotcha covered. Just use this handy excuse generator, no, Epstein's Mom is not involved, and find an excuse that works for you.

Not get gone, people. Just don't tell the boss it was our idea. Or do tell, we may not be here in a few minutes, anyway.

It's apparently National Neil Diamond Day in the U.S. today. Not sure why or what that means as there's lots of googling going on to find info about the even, but precious few answers.

No matter, any excuse to play Neil is a good excuse.

Well, there is this bit of news, from the Boston Herald. Apparently Neil will belt out "Sweet Caroline" as part of the annual "Pops Goes the 4th" celebration from the banks of the Charles River in Boston on July 4. He'll play along with host Craig Ferguson for the nationally televised show. Both wearing blue jeans, you would think.

BioWare's massively multiplayer online role-playing game "Star Wars: The Old Republic" isn't close to release, but with this trailer released at the Electronic Entertainment Expo today, we can wait.

Sure, it's light on actual gameplay scenarios - OK, there are no gameplay scenarios - but that's OK because it's hot like a cauterized lightsaber wound. Nearly 4 minutes of slick animation and non-stop violence from blaster and blade alike.

This is the much-anticipated sequel to "Knights of the Old Republic" and takes place about 300 years after that story - and about 3,500 years before Luke, Leia and Han were stomping around a galaxy far, far away.

"The Old Republic" is set against the backdrop of a massive galactic war between the Galactic Republic (allies of the Jedi) and the Sith Empire. Players will be able to select from a number of character classes from either faction, including Bounty Hunter, Trooper, Smuggler and others still to be announced.

And lest you think the Jedi and Sith are the only ones have violent fun in this release, check out this developer update on the making of a Republic Trooper:

OK, who am I kidding? This is great, but I can't wait. Hurry up with that release date, BioWare!

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

If you thought Illinois was up the creek with a massive budgetary shortfall, it's nothing compared to our former first lady and her efforts to ford a stream in Costa Rica. She's a celebrity (sort of) who can't get out of there.

But for all the glory - err, infamy, whatever - clan Blago has brought the Land of Lincoln, they still look like class on a cracker compared to celebrity/Christian/annoyance couple Spencer and Heidi Pratt. In fact, this hip hop effort the "Hills" "star" put out might be the best thing about this show and his contribution to it:

UPDATE: While the Pratts went wandering in the jungle and spent some quality time throwing a terrible two fit on their fellow contestants, Patti came of looking, well, classy might not be the word. But certainly sympathetic.

Lady McBlagojevich spent some heart-to-heart moments professing her husband's, disgraced ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, innocence. She also got to chow down on a smashed tarantula as part of a challenge with actor Lou Diamond Phillips. True, she finished last and ate the whole arachnid, but at least she maintained her dignity. Or something.

You can relive the gory details here.

Popsicle. Daniel Craig popsicle.

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Well, if you've ever admitted to wanting your mouth all over James Bond star Daniel Craig, now's your chance. And here's the weird thing: He tastes like blueberry.

Or pomegranate. Or cranberry. Those are the flavors of the new Daniel Craig popsicles, available this week in Britain from Del Monte Superfruit Smoothies. Why make a popsicle in the shape of 41-year-old hunk Daniel Craig, you ask? Why the hell not, we say. But here's the marketing answer: "'Daniel Craig topped our poll of Britain's coolest celebrities and thanks to our Del Monte lolly replica he is officially immortalised as super smooth and licensed to chill," said spokesman Matt O'Connor. Sigh. You knew that pun was coming.

The frozen treats are modeled after Craig's appearance fresh out of the ocean -- hubba -- in his first film as Bond, "Casino Royale" in 2006.

The others topping the poll of male celebs that British women would most like to see on the end of a stick? Jude Law was second, Hugh Grant was third, Steve Jones fourth and Tom Jones fifth. Hmm, what flavor should they have been?

The twilight of the 'New Moon' trailer

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We know you didn't tune in to the MTV Movie Awards last night to watch Forest Whitaker sing "Dick in a Box." You were probably waiting for this ...

... the new trailer for "Twilight" sequel "New Moon," which debuted during the broadcast. The second film in the vampire saga is out Nov. 20.

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E Ink, the maker of the display for the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, has been bought by a Taiwanese company for $215 million.

Ho hum. "So what?" you say?

Well here's why it's cool. The Taiwanese company, Prime View, is the E Ink parthner that actually makes these displays for Amazon and Sony and this deal is supposed to speed up the development of color displays on these type devices, according to the Associated Press:

The deal will help the combined company develop color versions of its displays and mass produce them by the end of 2010, said Sriram Peruvemba, E Ink's vice president of marketing. Current models show shades of gray.

Privately held E Ink is expected to demonstrate its latest color display prototypes Tuesday at SID Display Week 2009 in San Antonio.

Why no color on Kindles and other readers yet? Amazon, at least, says it's not happy with the quality on current prototypes.

So now Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, is that much closer to his goal of Kindle color.

E Ink's displays are used in e-book readers because they look similar to regular paper and consume very little power. However, they take a relatively long time to switch between images, making navigation slow.

E Ink makes the top layer of the electronic ink displays, then ships them to Prime View, which adds a bottom layer that's similar to those used in LCD panels. Prime View bought the electronic ink technology of Royal Philips Electronics NV in 2005. E Ink, which was spun off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it had raised more than $150 million from investors, including Intel Corp., Motorola Corp. and Hearst Corp. E Ink had first-quarter revenue of $18 million. It has not revealed whether it is profitable.

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