People are STUPID!

MSN has published this list of stupid scientific studies that someone paid good money for. Here’s a sample from a study about cigarette smoking: “While a causal relation cannot be proven, smokers appear to pay for tobacco expenditures out of income that is saved by non-smokers. Hence, reductions in smoking will boost wealth, especially among the poor”. Translation: “cigarettes cost money”. In other feats of science conquering the obvious, researchers from the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that meetings are stressful (it took two sets of researchers to figure that out?), a study in the February 2005 issue of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review notes that “it is a matter of common sense that a person is easier to recognize when close than when far away”, and the British Department of Health sponsored a study that concluded that “the farther away you are from a hospital, the more likely you are to die”.

But at least these researchers aren’t in charge of your security, right? It seems that the Department of Homeland Security sends out a daily email called the Open Source Intelligence Report. But rather than use, ya know, actual mailing list software to send out the report, the private contractor used by DHS simply set up a single email address on a Lotus Notes server, and set up a rule to forward any email sent to that address to thousands of people. On Wednesday, a reader replied to the message asking for a change in his subscription; since DHS was using forwarding rules instead of a proper mailing list app, his reply was sent out to thousands of people. A “couple of dozen” people replied to the man’s reply, and soon millions of emails were bouncing back and forth. The DHS admins even replied to the message themselves, asking list members to “kindly stop now please”; they were apparently clueless that the problem was on their end. These people are in charge of securing our nation… and they can’t even secure a simple email list? God help us all! Read all about it at Ars Technica.

Thanks to my sweet hunny for sending me the link to the MSN study!

A quick word…

Some of you might have noticed that there was no post about last week’s football games. Some of you might think that the omission had to do with the fact that the Steelers lost. Well, that’s simply not true. To be perfectly honest, I just haven’t watched the game yet. For some reason, it took a couple of days for the game to even show up online, then it took another day just to download it. By then I was square into the middle of the week, and with all the fall season premieres, I just haven’t had the time to watch Arizona beat up on my beloved Steelers.

So there’s no conspiracy here. I haven’t posted about it because I haven’t had time to watch it.

WKRP Update…

A few days ago, I posted this about the passing of Atlanta DJ “Skinny Bobby” Harper. Harper spent many years at WQXI, and while he was there, a guy named Hugh Wilson worked in the advertising department. Wilson would go on to create WKRP in Cincinnati. As part of the article about Harper, I noted that Wilson based WKRP’s “Dr. Johnny Fever” character on “Skinny Bobby”.

Little did I know that a lot of WKRP was based on Wilson’s time at WQXI. Did you know, for example, that everyone’s favorite episode of WKRP – the one where they dropped live turkeys from helicopters – was based on an actual event? It seems that WQXI DJ Gerry Blum once rented an 18-wheeler, filled it full of live turkeys, and tossed them out the back at a parking lot of an Atlanta shopping center. Whether the truck was moving or stationary, I do not know. Blum was also behind the “dancing ducks” promotion – something WKRP ripped off wholesale – where ducks were made to “dance” by putting them on hot plates (presumably kept high enough to make them uncomfortable, but low enough not to burn them). It’s hard to imagine a radio station getting away with either of these promotions today!

Lastly, contrary to anything you might have heard from rabid WKRP fans (and believe it or not, there are rapid WKRP fans), the show’s closing theme does not have lyrics. Well, it does have lyrics, but they’re gibberish. The song was written and performed by Jim Ellis, an Atlanta musician (another Atlanta connection!). While he was working on the song, he used gibberish lyrics just to see how the song sounded overall. Wilson loved the song “as-is”, plus he knew that CBS would have an announcer talking during the end credits – so no one would ever heard it anyway. So he told Ellis to record it exactly as it was on the demo tape that he’d heard.

The Curse of the Colonel

The MLB playoffs are upon us, and while I’m not a huge baseball fan, I do like a lot of the lore that surrounds the game… especially the curses. You’re probably familiar with the Curse of the Bambino, where the Boston Red Sox were condemned to eternal failure (and the New York Yankees eternal success) after Red Sox manager Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees to (allegedly) fund Frazee’s production of the musical No, No, Nanette. The curse was finally broken in 2004, when the Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918.

And then there’s the far more colorful Curse of the Billy Goat, where the Chicago Cubs were condemned to eternal failure by a Greek immigrant named Billy Sianis, who owned a tavern close to Wrigley Field. It seems that one fateful day a goat fell off a passing truck and limped into the bar. Sianis nursed the goat back to health and eventually took him to Game 4 of the 1945 World Series between the Cubs and Detroit Tigers. Billy and his goat were allowed on the field before the game, because the goat was wearing a blanket embroidered with the phrase “We got Detroit’s goat!”. As gametime approached, ushers shooed Billy and his goat off the field and into the box seats that Sianis purchased two tickets for (one for the goat and one for himself). All was well until Cubs owner Philip Knight Wrigley decided to eject Sianis and the goat due to the goat’s “objectionable odor”. On the way out of the stadium, Sianis cursed the Cubs, saying that they’d never win another pennant in Wrigley Field because of the ejection. Sianis went back to Greece for a vacation, and the Cubs ended up losing the series, prompting Sianis to write “Who stinks now?” in a letter sent to Philip Wrigley from Greece. And then there’s the Curse of the Black Sox, the Curse of Rocky Colavito, and the Curse of Billy Penn.

But did you know that baseball teams in other countries have curses of thir own? It’s true! Just ask the fans of Japan’s Hanshin Tigers!

Continue reading “The Curse of the Colonel”

Family Guy CENSORED!

Did you know that Sunday’s episode of Family Guy was censored for American television? The bits that were cut weren’t that funny in my opinion, although the premise is pretty clever: you know how Fox loves those animated “crawlers” (advertisements) at the bottom of the screen? Imagine what would happen if Marge Simpson met Quagmire in one:

Sorry for the low-quality capture. It was apparently done with a cell phone camera pointed at the TV screen. I haven’t seen a scene rip of this, but if I do, I’ll let you know!

Random Celebrity Musings

Nothing too important here, just some random musings about celebrities:

1) A lot of people in my age bracket say that Debbie Harry “looks rough”. And while I agree that she has seen better days, I think a lot of folks don’t understand that she was kind of old (for the music business) when Blondie took off. People forget that she was 33 when “Heart of Glass” made her a superstar; by contrast, Madonna had already released her first greatest hits album – The Immaculate Collection – when she was that age. Debbie Harry was born in 1945, which makes her 62 today. So she doesn’t “look old”… she is old!

2) You know how the occasional celebrity death will sneak past you? Sometimes you’ll be talking with the missus or friends and you’ll say something like “I wonder what Robert Stack is up to?” and they’ll say something like “not a whole lot… he died in 2003”? Well, a few nights ago I was chatting on Yahoo! Messenger with Richard, my best bud from high school. We were talking about Atlanta radio personalities, and we were looking up various people on Wikipedia and Google.

Come to find out, Atlanta radio legend “Skinny” Bobby Harper died back in July, 2003. Born in Saskatchewan, Harper first hit it big in Cincinnati, then moved to Atlanta, where he was a mainstay for 30+ years. He was even the color commentator for Atlanta Flames radio broadcasts, for goodness sake! And although you might never have heard of “Skinny” Bobby Harper, you definitely knew him: a guy named Hugh Wilson worked with him at WQXI in Atlanta; Wilson went on to create the show WKRP in Cincinnati, and the “Dr. Johnny Fever” character is based on Harper. R.I.P., Bobby – sorry it comes so late!

3) Lastly, from the “Who DIDN’T See That Coming?” file… it seems that Lou Pearlman – the man that created the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, and who started the careers of Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter – is a filthy pedophile. According to an article published in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, Pearlman took liberties with dozens of young boys, including Carter and several early members of the Backstreet Boys. Amusingly, Pearlman is is jail in Florida now, but not for being Chester the Molester – apparently he swindled 1,000 people out of $315 million. He was on the run, living in Indonesia under an assumed name, until busted in June.