Was it a Miracle?

In honour of the Super Bowl, here’s a clip of the “Immaculate Reception.”  It occurred in a 1972 playoff game between Pittsburgh and Oakland.  Oakland was ahead 7-6 with 22 seconds left on the clock.  The Steelers were fourth and 10, so this was their last chance to avoid ending their season.

The Steelers obviously won the game, which was their first playoff win since their inception in 1933.  They lost the following week to Miami, who were of course enjoying their “perfect season,” and who went on to win the 1972 Super Bowl.

But, this marked the end of 4 decades of failure, and Pittsburgh went on to win 4 of the next 10 championships.



Wrath of Khan – the Opera

This whole making a living thing has really been interfering with by bloggage.  Another lame post.


Wanton Botanical Lust

Apparently, PETA wanted to put this ad in the Super Bowl, but it was deemed too raunchy.

Um, PETA?  Yeah, I’m talking to you.  You know who watches the Super Bowl, right?  They’ll love the ladies, but you’d have to pry the BBQ ribs from their cold dead hands.


Work Prevents Blogger From Meaningful Post

So here’s a link to a strangely hypnotic slideshow of flickr photos from all over the world.


Walks, Ministry of Silly

I saw on BoingBoing this morning that Monty Python has placed all their material up on YouTube for free, in their own channel.  Here is the famous “Parrot Sketch.”

They explain their reasoning like this:

For 3 years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube. Now the tables are turned. It’s time for us to take matters into our own hands.

We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we’ve figured a better way to get our own back: We’ve launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube.

No more of those crap quality videos you’ve been posting. We’re giving you the real thing – HQ videos delivered straight from our vault.

What’s more, we’re taking our most viewed clips and uploading brand new HQ versions. And what’s even more, we’re letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there!

But we want something in return.

None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years.

According to the Mashable blog, this approach has resulted in a 23,000% increase in sales of their stuff at Amazon.  I hate to say I told you so, but I did.


Weird Advertainment

arma1I was over at one of my favourite sites, YesButNoButYes, just now, and spotted the box you see at the left in the advertising column of their site.  Normally I am blind to banner ads and the like – I’m not sure what drew me to this one.  Anyway, when you click on it, you get sent here.  You should go look at the site yourself, so you’ll understand what I’m going to write about.

I have already blogged about “advertainment,” the practise of making something interesting and entertaining, then inserting a product plug into it somewhere.  This appears to be “advercryptology.”  You have to look long and hard to figure out what the heck is being advertised.  If I was more into video games, I would probably have cottoned on to this sooner, but it took me 10 minutes to figure out what was being promoted here.  It turns out that F.E.A.R. is a first-person shooter game, and version 2 is set to drop in February.  The (obviously) fictional company “Armacham Technology Corporation” is a major element of the game – they supply armaments and created the super-human characters featured in the story.

I think this is brilliant.  It’s reminiscent of Easter Eggs, which I’ve discussed before, and creates a feeling of inclusion in a special tribe  (as Seth would call it) of F.E.A.R. enthusiasts.  Only they know what “Armacham” is, so only they are likely to click on the link and only they will appreciate the content and only they will be excited about the fact the the new version is coming on February 10.  It’s almost one-to-one marketing, but in a broadcast medium.

The problem is, of course, that Monolith Productions, the maker of F.E.A.R., is paying for a lot of views and some clicks that will be useless to them.  YesButNoButYes is a fairly general site – I wouldn’t think they’d get a particulary high proportion of gamers visiting there.  And by making their ad generically tempting (to conspiracy theorists, tabloid reader types, believers in ESP, etc.), they will probably get a lot of clicks from people (like me) who will never buy their product.

But maybe that’s the cachet – do you think their fans  know  that Monolith is wasting money just to communicate straight to them?


Where Should Your Bar Be?

Here’s a link to a story about the importance of a bar’s location.  That’s all you’re getting today because I’m wall-to-wall work.


Wiccan Prime Minister?

Barack Obama is being inaugurated today.  What?  You already knew that?  Dang, so much for my blog being a source of late-breaking news.  It is of course significant because he is black.  Just as JFK’s election was significant because he was Roman Catholic.

I know it seems silly now to think that Catholicism vs. Protestantism would be an issue in selecting a President, but 50 years ago, it was.  (Maybe in another 50 years, skin colour won’t matter either.)

But back to religion.  I have a friend who is a practicing Wiccan, and who ran for office in the last federal election.  I don’t for a moment believe her religion affected any of the voters, but what if she had been on a bigger stage?  What if she had been running for the leadership of her party or even Prime Minister?  Even if you believe that Canadians are tolerant enough to handle that, imagine a devout muslim or sikh running for the US presidency.

Why should it matter which invisible friend you believe in?  I personally don’t believe in any supreme being.  But then I don’t believe in acupuncture or meditation either – and that doesn’t lessen my regard for those who do.

So why is it that people can get over an obvious physical difference like race or gender, but not a subtle variance in belief systems?


What’s in a Name

This is a map of the word people use to describe carbonated soft drinks in the different parts of the US.  Clicking on it will take you to a much more legible version.  It’s very territorial:  in the northeast, right in the middle around St. Louis, and in the southwest, people call it “soda.”  In the north and northwest, it’s “pop.”  And in the south and southeast, no matter what brand or flavour you’re referring to, you say, “coke.”  (Except for right around Miami – I guess the snowbirds have transferred “soda” down there.)

I wonder if the folks at Coca-Cola in Atlanta think of this.  We’ve all heard that it’s bad for your “brand” to become genericized like Xerox or Kleenex.  But in those states, if you were running down to the corner store, and someone said, “Grab me a coke,” and you didn’t know what their preference was, you’d get a Coca-Cola, because that’s clearly different from, say, Sprite.  It would be another matter if they asked you to grab some Kleenex – you know that all facial tissues are essentially the same, but soda isn’t.  So I think they’d be happy about this instance of genericization.  (Word?)

Anyway, reminds me of a story.  I was sitting in a bar in Auckland, when a nice American girl walked up and ordered a “7 and 7.”  The bartender looked at her quizzically, saying he didn’t know that one.  (It’s rye and 7-Up, jigged into a fancy name by the folks at Seagram’s Distilleries, makers of “Seagram’s 7” rye.)  Now, in New Zealand, they call clear soda like 7-Up, “lemonade” (I never did find out what they call what we  call lemonade…)  So I said to the bartender that what the girl was asking for was Canadian Rye Whiskey and Lemonade.   She said, “Eww, gross – I don’t like whiskey and I wouldn’t want it mixed with lemonade!”  I assured here that that’s what a 7 and 7 was, and said I’d pay for it if I was wrong, so she acquiesced and was pleased with the result.  But the thought left in my mind was, how can you drink something without knowing what’s in it?