Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Not a lot of time to write tonight, but I have to mention that yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of my first concert (yes, you do the math).

The Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels Tour at the old Foxboro Stadium. September 29, 1989.

It's probably best that I don't get into the whole story about our trip down and trip back, that's another story for another day.

Good night!
posted by Josh at 9:59 PM | 0 comments
20090930_toystory.pngSo you know how they're re-releasing Toy Story and Toy Story 2 this weekend in 3D?

Well I just read this bizarre fact over at the Wall Street Journal: back in 1995 on Toy Story it took an hour to render each frame of film.

In 3Difying it this year, it took only 1/24th of a second per frame.

By my basic math that's 86,400 times faster in just 14 years, right?

posted by Josh at 6:04 AM | 0 comments
For further proof that Walt Disney was 33 years ahead of the times, check out this link from a blog at the New York Times: "Can “Charter Cities” Change the World? A Q&A With Paul Romer".
posted by Josh at 6:02 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Wow, considering these were made well before widespread use of the internet, I think they're pretty close to spot on ...

posted by Josh at 12:43 PM | 1 comments
In the newest Rolling Stone there's an interview with the lead singer of Paramore, Hayley Williams. Apparently their third album is coming out on Tuesday.

I'm not a "fan" per se, although I remember one of their songs got a lot of airplay when the Twilight movie came out, and after just checking I apparently have two of their songs in our iTunes. They're not bad, I'm just not an angsty teen girl.

Anyway, in between bits about their third album, Miss Williams mentioned that she really liked watching reruns of Nirvana's Unplugged episode.

Hey that's cool, because-- wait, reruns?

Oh, it seems Miss Williams is looking forward to turning 21 this coming December.

So as you can imagine she was only five years old when the show aired on December 14, 1993.


On the other hand, I guess I could be happy that she knows who Kurt Cobain is. Probably lots of 20 year olds don't even know that much.

Although, wait, he is in the new Guitar Hero video game ...


Dude, I feel old.
posted by Josh at 7:47 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, September 26, 2009
So I watched the premiere of ABC's new sci fi show FlashForward this week, and I have a few questions. But no, they're not what you think I'm thinking.

Just read along to see what it's like to be in my head.

First off, what the hell was Family Guy creator / hack writer Seth McFarlane doing in there as a FBI agent?

If you don't recognize him from those annoying Hulu commercials last year, you'll notice him as the FBI agent in the FBI meeting who totally doesn't belong there. McFarlane comes off as a normal person trying to act. But he does it badly.


Also you might notice his voice is just like the main character in his show American Dad.

And why is his mouth upside-down?


I think homeboy really is an alien, sent to earth to make us all stupider with animated shows he creates, writes and voices-every-character-for.

"Animation Domination."

It's kind of like V.

Secondly, hey, I thought Dominic Monaghan was in this show? What gives?


Did he get called away to some island or something at the last minute?

Also, when he shows up, I hope he's not American. It's weird enough to have Penny Widmore married to William Shakespeare, but then to make them both American?!

Although I might allow it if he writes "F-A-T-E" on his knuckles.

Next, didn't the receding "Four Hours Earlier" title look like one of 24's titles? I half-expected to hear the sharp tones of the digital clock and Kiefer Sutherland's gravely rasp to say, "Four hours earlier".


Lastly, since when do production companies get the first credit? I noticed this during the season premiere of Castle, too.


I wonder if they do it for series that air on other networks? Does anyone watch Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer or Reaper?

ABC Studios, that's very cheesy.

(You know every studio production company will be doing it next year.)

See, you thought it was going to be the standard fare, like "what's up with the kangaroo?" and stuff like that. Not so much.
posted by Josh at 10:52 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 24, 2009
20090924_moose.pngInteresting article at Time: "Abercrombie Faces a Muslim-Headscarf Lawsuit".

I don't know what's weirder, that the Abercrombie & Fitch "Look Policy" officially bans "hats or other coverings" or that it also bans "clothes that are the color black".


Semi-nude dudes and scantly-clad chicks are okay?

But no black tee-shirts?

no hijab?

Aryan bastards.
posted by Josh at 7:53 PM | 0 comments
Last night on the way home from work the Jetta turned 110,000 miles.

Seems like just yesterday it was only turning 7,500 (see My Car).

But I guess that was actually 68 months ago. To the day.

posted by Josh at 5:55 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, September 20, 2009
posted by Josh at 2:16 PM | 0 comments
Saturday, September 19, 2009
20090919_hydropolis_logo.pngOkay this is too weird.

In the last day I've found two seemingly unrelated blog posts about that underwater hotel in Dubai, Hydropolis.

Naturally they have two diametrically opposed stories:

"Underwater Hotel In Dubai In Financial Trouble"

"Hydropolis, The Underwater Hotel in Dubai Due To Be Completed Soon"

You might remember I first debunked Hydropolis on the Newlywed in Dubai blog just about three years ago (see Hydropolis is Waiting ...).

Time for more debunking, it seems.

The first article has several glaring mistakes. (And just what is by the way? Does is supposed to mean "Tha Indian" or "Thai Ndian"?) They state that the hotel has been under construction since 2005. That's insane.

Should have known we were in trouble when they called Dubai "a very open-minded and international community". Yeah, they're terribly open-minded over there. Downright liberal.

One of my favorite parts about Hydropolis is the ever-changing artwork. Here, in no particular order, are different architectural renderings. Notice how the construction material and even the overall design changes each time. That's not sketchy at all.

Um, if this has been under construction for half-a-decade, shouldn't they know what it looks like?

Hydropolis visual development

Hydropolis visual development

Hydropolis visual development

Hydropolis visual development

But my favorite is this "aerial photograph" of the "construction site":

Hydropolis visual development

The thing is, that open body of water at the bottom is Dubai Marina. Dubai Marina that's buildings were well under construction the first time I visited Dubai four years ago this autumn.

So this supposed construction photo is five years old.

Odd, considering I've been on that beach many times in that time. In fact, that photo I took of the camels in front of the skyscraper was on one of the two open beaches between the hotels in this photo above. It's tough to say exactly which one, as this photo above was taken waaay before the buildings were finished.

So why didn't we see construction going on out in the Gulf? I mean, we saw construction on both the Palm Jumeirah and the Palm Jebel Ali when were on the beaches near them.

But the kicker, the pièce de résistance, my closing argument, is that the official Hydropolis website is down, it's under construction.

Would the website for a half-a-billion dollar hotel be down just days (weeks? even a month?) before it opened?

posted by Josh at 8:14 AM | 0 comments
Friday, September 18, 2009
20090918_cloudy.pngThe animated Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs opens this weekend.

While not Disney (it was produced by Sony) I had a few friends who worked on it. And the designs aren't ugly, even if the female lead looks a bit like the lady from DreamWorks' abysmal Monsters Vs. Aliens.

So maybe it's worth checking out.
posted by Josh at 9:10 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Gosh, if the Cubs cost about twice as much as every other team in baseball, but the deal is still is this good, why doesn't everyone own a sports team?

"Buying Cubs could be a steal for Ricketts".
posted by Josh at 7:45 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
20090915_theworld.png... And I feel fine.

Apparently work has stopped on "The World" Islands in Dubai: "Credit crunch signals end of The World for Dubai’s multi-billion dollar property deal".


posted by Josh at 3:15 PM | 0 comments
Major League Baseball released the 2010 schedule today.

Highlights of the Red Sox 2010 season include opening the year at Fenway Park against New York Yankees (April 5, 7, and 8), playing the first game ever at Minnesota's new Target Field (April 12), home stand against the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles (June 18, 19, and 20) and six of their final ten games against the Yankees.

cough cough.

I'm sorry, let me repeat that: six of their final ten games against the Yankees.

Wow, you think MLB is trying to keep the AL East Championship (and thus the AL Wild Card, as well) exciting until the last minute?
posted by Josh at 2:59 PM | 0 comments
Monday, September 14, 2009
20090914_nbc.pngSo tonight NBC commits suicide, live in prime-time.

Yup, it's the premiere of The Jay Leno Show.

And sadly, this is not just my knee-jerk reaction to Leno's weak comedy. I think this show is a network-killer.

NBC, prepare to meet thy maker.

I just re-read James Poniewozik's cover story over at "Jay Leno Is the Future of TV. Seriously" and I've been thinking about this all day.

(I'm also thinking that Poniewozik was mocking Leno at a few points, too.)

Without knowing the real numbers like the fall-off of advertisers, I'm making this call completely in the dark. But I do know that The Tonight Show or Late Night would win in the ratings with only 5.7 million viewers, while hour-long dramas like CSI can easily quadruple that with 24-26 million viewers.

Of course, as we learned in Time it's cheaper to make five nights of Leno's show than it is to make one one-hour drama.

So who wins?

I don't think anyone does. The public certainly doesn't need another scripted talk-show - Leno will cannibalize Conan's audience, causing huge inter-network strife. He'll also provide a poor lead-in for the local 11 o'clock news, leading to network-affiliate strife. But he comes at such a bargain basement price, some folks in the network will want to keep him. Any debate over his low-low ratings will have to mention just how inexpensively his show is produced.

It's terribly sad how low NBC has fallen. Poniewozik had a good point about how NBC was the network growing up. They mention The Cosby Show, ER, Friends and Seinfeld, leaving out Cheers, CHiPs, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Facts of Life, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Knight Rider, Laugh-In, Little House on the Prairie, Punky Brewster, Quantum Leap, Taxi, Remington Steele, Saved By the Bell, Silver Spoons, The West Wing.

What do they have now? Three Law & Orders, two hours of The Biggest Loser, a couple of Office rip-offs and Dateline.


I honestly don't watch anything in their lineup. I used to watch My Name Is Earl, but they cancelled that. I know 30 Rock and The Office are good shows, maybe I'll give them both another chance this year. Oh, and then there's Heroes. Ugh, how they screwed that one up.

It's terribly fitting (and ironic) that the Seinfeld reunion will be on HBO.

Yep, NBC will soon take its place next to DuMont, UPN and the WB.

Next time - I debate the merits of the 9 pm Thursday showdown - Grey's Anatomy, CSI, Fringe and The Office go head-to-head-to-head-to-head.
posted by Josh at 4:03 PM | 1 comments
Sunday, September 13, 2009
20090913_espn.pngLooks like tomorrow's going to be a big day for Boston.

First, the dedicated website launches on Monday.

Second, WAMG-AM 890, ESPN Radio’s Boston affiliate, goes off the air the very same day.

posted by Josh at 10:24 AM | 1 comments
Friday, September 11, 2009
So I missed this last week, apparently the sprinkler system at Dubai International Airport went haywire.

This blog has a good first-hand take, with photos: "DXB T3 - What Really Happened".

posted by Josh at 10:04 AM | 0 comments
Politico (wait, do you italicize a news website?) has an interesting article about the guy running against Joe "You Lie" Wilson down in South Carolina in 2010.

Check out: "Within hours of outburst, money pours In for Miller".

Guess this guy pulled in $459,000 in donations in the last day, which is more than half of what he raised for the entire campaign in 2008.

Now if only every Democrat running for Congress could face an incumbent who interrupts the President in the middle of a Nationally-televisied speech to a joint session of Congress, we'd be getting somewhere ...
posted by Josh at 6:12 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 10, 2009
20090910_walmart.pngJust read a scary fact about Walmart over at - during the 1990s Walmart's stock price jumped 1,173%.

That's like going from $5 to $58.65 in the span of ten years.

posted by Josh at 9:46 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
20090909_dreamcast.pngGuess what happened ten years ago today?

The Sega Dreamcast video game system was released in the US!

Fun fact? This was the only video game system I've ever actually bought for myself. I love Crazy Taxi ...
posted by Josh at 7:28 AM | 0 comments
Since Dubai can't really pull off understated, muted, drab or tasteful, the Dubai Metro opens today - 09/09/09 (no matter if you put the month or day first) at 9 pm local time, about 5 1/2 hours from now.




In total the metro will cover 70 kilometers, making it the longest fully automated rail system in the world.

For more, check out Gulf News' interactive page or photo gallery.
posted by Josh at 7:23 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Just saw this from last week's Los Angeles Times: "Luxo sues Disney over hopping desk-lamp character".


Well actually it seems Pixar has the right to use the lamp in movies (and yes, technically their logo - I just thought the above illustration was amusing) but they don't have the right to go out and make lamps.


You know, like the Blu-ray version of Up with Limited Edition Luxo Jr. Collectible Lamp:



Disney also made a Luxo Jr. character for Walt Disney World, too.
posted by Josh at 3:50 PM | 0 comments
Monday, September 07, 2009
20090907_lego.pngOn Saturday the New York Times had a long article about the LEGO Group.

You might remember I worked for "LEGO Media Santa Monica" nine years ago.

Check out: "Turning to Tie-Ins, Lego (sic) Thinks Beyond the Brick".
posted by Josh at 8:26 AM | 0 comments
Stephen Fry in AmericaI just started watching the BBC program Stephen Fry in America in which British comedian Stephen Fry drives through all 50 states in 6 episodes. Apparently Fry was almost born in the States, making for the impetus of the show.

It got me thinking, all summer long I've wanted to take a road trip.

You might remember back in October of 2006 I talked about road trips and even made a map of which states I've seen (see On the road again ...).

Of course, at the time I made a mistake - sorry North Carolina, I guess I forgot we checked out Wake Forest on a college trip almost two decades ago. Here's the revised survey:


There's still quite a bit to see.

Of course, with no job I've got all of the time in the world, just not really the income to support myself. And thus the tragic irony of unemployment.

Which makes me think of a story from two weeks ago, did you see anything about the guy who's working 50 jobs in 50 states? Here's an article from the Portland Press Herald about his week in Maine: "Fifty jobs in 50 states means one week as a lobsterman".

Clever idea, as long as he can spin the media coverage into something more substantial at the end.

But hey, that's more than I've got.

Anyway, apparently Stephen Fry in America is making its American premiere on HDNet later this month.

And the book (with cover shot at New Hampshire's Mount Washington) will be out in November.
posted by Josh at 8:00 AM | 0 comments
For the record, it was 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3 Celsius) this morning when I woke up.

Autumn is here!
posted by Josh at 6:48 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Want a weird read?

Check out the wikipedia entry for Howard Unruh, a WWII vet who sixty years ago today became the first single-episode mass murderer in the United States.
posted by Josh at 9:39 AM | 0 comments
Back in February I wrote about a New York Times article telling how Dubai was failing. In fact, I believe the words "flee" and "spiral down" were in the title (see NY Times On Dubai).

The article also quoted local newspaper reports of 3000 cars abandoned at Dubai's airport.

Shortly thereafter the UAE drafted a new "media law" aimed at punishing media organizations that report news that "harms the country's economy."

Needless to say, Human Rights Watch isn't a fan of the new law.

Anyway, I bring all of this up because guess what's in today's issue of Abu Dhabi's paper The National?

"Abandoned, the dream cars of Dubai".

posted by Josh at 9:36 AM | 0 comments
Friday, September 04, 2009
20090904_iphone_04.pngI don't have an iPhone.

Shoot, I want one - I've wanted one since before there even was one (not lying - see 2005's iPhone & Newlywed in Dubai's iPhone).

But because of the economic circumstances surrounding our return to the States (i.e. joblessness) it's not really an option right now. It's tabled until next summer. And really, I'm okay with that.

The thing is, the iPhone is everywhere.


Just this week I had an email from a former coworker from that insurance company - a not very technologically savvy former coworker at that - and there down at the bottom is the tag "Sent from my iPhone".

I've actually lost count at how many "Sent from my iPhone" tags I've seen on emails. It's waaaay beyond my hard-core Apple nerd friends. Waaaay beyond my technologically savvy friends. Even waaaay beyond my artist friends.

It's everywhere.

Then this week I saw a former coworker from that event marketing company, and at one point she whips out an iPhone.

Is there a word for "even more than ubiquitous"?


When we were in Tahoe there were four iPhone kicking around - four iPhones for eight people. Okay, eight and a half people. The 13 month old was still shopping for cell phone plans, though.

Don't worry, she'll have one soon.

Because they're everywhere.

I'm not even jealous, though. Well, I am, a little bit. But I know that I'll get one.


Until then I can sing this song, "I Got No iPhone".


Of course, the follow-up to that song is clearly "I Got No Money", which I can also relate to ...
posted by Josh at 7:29 AM | 0 comments
20090904_ultraviolet_01.pngI haven't talked about soda for quite some time, so hey, have you seen the new Dew?

Mountain Dew (or is it "Mtn Dew" now?) has just come out with Diet Mountain Dew UltraViolet for a limited 3 month window.

For more info, here's a Brandweek article: "Mountain Dew Goes UltraViolet".

The only real piece of info there, besides telling us it's purple and supposed to taste like berries, is that this is the first "line extension" that's diet only - there's no regular version.

Aiming at the 30 year olds, are ya?


Well don't worry, we'll take it ...
posted by Josh at 6:56 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Hey, so guess what happened 226 years ago?

The Treaty of Paris was signed - officially ending the American Revolutionary War!

Thus shouldn't today be a national holiday?

Ah, such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies ...
posted by Josh at 7:42 AM | 0 comments
Did you see that, on the day that same-Sex marriages begin in Vermont, ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's has renamed their Chubby Hubby to 'Hubby Hubby' to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality?

That's pretty bad-ass.

Hubby Hubby

Meanwhile in Maine, yesterday lawmakers announced "Voters in Maine Will Decide Fate of Same-Sex Marriage Law".
posted by Josh at 7:11 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Oh yeah, I didn't get the job at TD Banknorth, or TD Bank, or whatever it's called right now.

Hmm. I wonder when Obama will start hiring for his Death Panels?
posted by Josh at 11:41 AM | 0 comments
So in April I talked about how the movie Duplicity took place briefly in Dubai (see Duplicity In Dubai).

This is pretty rare, few movies take place in our former town - off the top of my head I can think of Doug Liman's Jumper (see Dubai Was In That Movie Jumper!) and a deleted scene from Iron Man (see Iron Man In Dubai).

Oh, and there was the whole dust up about shooting part of Sex in the City II there (see Sex And A Different City).

Anyway, last night we finally watched Duplicity. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but it was okay.

Of course, the footage from Dubai is all fudged - the first shot of the movie is Jumeirah Beach Residence, up by the Dubai Marina. Thing is, ground was broken on JBR in August of 2002, and this shot is supposed to be July of 2003? Construction in Dubai is quick, but not this quick.

This footage has to be from 2005:

Duplicity in Dubai

Next, you might remember four months ago the controversy about this flick was the party takes place at the US Embassy in Dubai. Thing is, the US Embassy is in Abu Dhabi, Dubai has a Consulate.

But it looks like they fixed that for the video release:

Duplicity in Dubai

Sadly the Consulate is not nearly that cool looking. It's actually on the 21st floor of the Dubai World Trade Centre, a very utilitarian 1970s-style building:

Duplicity in Dubai

Anyway, the scene is pretty quick, and we center mostly on Clive Owen and Julia Roberts. Of course, I can still nit-pick the background extras, who seem to be mostly of African descent.

Duplicity in Dubai

The one dish-dash we see looks more like a white sweatsuit - I can't imagine there's no authentic Arabic gear in any Hollywood costume house?

Duplicity in Dubai

Anyway, Dubai isn't doing so hot as a true location in movies, but the same can be said for the state of Maine (insert joke about poorly-accented lobsterman saying "You cahn't get theya from heya" now.)

I just can't believe movies aren't real ...
posted by Josh at 10:47 AM | 0 comments
Last night as I was brushing my teeth I was thinking about Marvel Comics. Specifically, I was wondering just who is the most famous of the 5000 characters.

While older folks might remember the Lou Ferrigno The Incredible Hulk series, I bet the kids today skipped the two sub-par Hulk showings to re-watch one of the X-Men movies.

And then, of course, everyone knows Spider-Man.

But wait, does Joe Q. Public even know which super heroes are from Marvel, and which are from DC? (Of course, they're the only two companies who can even make "Super Heroes" - since the 1960s they've co-held the trademark on the phrase).

All this, and I was still brushing.

I climbed into bed and asked my wife, "so do you know the difference between Marvel super heroes and DC super heroes?"

She laughed at me.

And here I thought that was a valid question.

I brought up how Batman and Superman exist in the same universe. Apparently she never gave that idea much thought. My counter argument? The Hanna-Barbera Superfriends show.

"Oh, the one with the Wonder Twins."


"Yeah, but that also had Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman - they're all DC super heroes".


"Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Iron Man, they're all from Marvel."

"Do you have a point?"

"Um, I guess I don't. Love you. Good night."

But in truth, I do. Someone, somewhere, must know the Q Score for each of the Marvel characters - if people are aware that say, the Scarlet Witch exists, but also how they feel about her.

Marvel, I'd assume, has a handful of high scores, and a whole ton of low Q Score characters.

Of course, with good coaching these can go up - think Iron Man before Jon Favreau's movie. Shoot, I'm a comic book nerd, and I'd never even read a Iron Man book. But here I am at the movie, cheering.

My wife too.

So maybe it doesn't matter if she doesn't know that Spider-Man and Tony Stark live in the same world (they were supposed to live in the same city, until Favreau moved Shellhead to Malibu). And shoot, because of studio licensing, I doubt Spidey will show up in next year's Iron Man 2.

Maybe it's more important to get the characters out there, often, repeatedly - even if it's just Lou Ferrigno in body paint. Even if there are new, non-canon characters with the power to turn into, say, water, and, the form of a bucket.

Instead of looking for the next Lost maybe ABC could go old school, how about an Avengers show. X-Men, the series? Beat Heroes at their own game (which would be, quite honestly, rather easy).

And just plaster the Disney XD airwaves with old, new, shoot, even paper-cut out episodes of Marvel heroes.

Because without awareness there can't be popularity.

The more I think about it, I think Disney is sitting on a gold mine here.
posted by Josh at 9:20 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Justin Ellis' blog in which I am quoted is up now at the PPH website.

I especially enjoy his description of me, how "we share similar pop culture sensibilities". It sounds so much nicer than "fellow geek".
posted by Josh at 10:52 PM | 0 comments
With the impeding sale of Marvel to Disney, our friend Justin Ellis at the Portland Press Herald asked if I had any good Marvel / Disney mashups.

Here they are in no particular order:

    Honey, I Shrunk the Avengers
    The Absent Minded Professor X
    Swiss Family X-Men
    That Darn Black Cat
    Escape to Scarlet Witch Mountain
    The Colossus Wore Tennis Shoes
    Never Cry Wolverine
    Herbie Goes Bruce Banner (huh?!)
    The Shaggy Hulk
    Deadpool Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier
    Something Wolverine This Way Comes
    Snowball X-Press
    The Barefoot X-cutive
    Days of Jonas Past
    The Suite Life of Zack and Cannonball
    Phineas and Firestar
    The Dark Ashley Tisdale Saga
    Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters: The Musical
    The Hulk's New Groove
    The Little Magneto
    Banshee and the Beast
    Gambit and Stitch
    20,000 Leagues under the Sabretooth
    Moira MacTaggert and the Little People
    Shi'ar and the Beast
    One Hundred and One X-Men
    Herbie vs. the Fantasticar
posted by Josh at 2:26 PM | 2 comments
Awww jeesh. From the Portland Press Herald: "Man shot leaving Portland mosque".
posted by Josh at 1:37 PM | 0 comments
So today's September 1st - 70 years ago today Nazi Germany invaded Poland - pretty much starting WWII.
posted by Josh at 6:51 AM | 0 comments
If I missed this, you might have too. A month ago it seems that Fox News misplaced Egypt:


posted by Josh at 6:46 AM | 0 comments