December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays from your basic cable channel!

Posted in Random Oddments, Television at 5:53 pm by Calico Jack

Ah, Christmas. It’s that time of the year where everyone gathers together to celebrate the season, open gifts, gain twenty pounds from eating too much, which leads to a panicky New Year’s weight-loss resolution. But Christmas is also the time for those ubiquitous made-for-television holiday “specials.” I’m not quite sure why they’re special, since every single one of them shamelessly rips off the Christmas classics. I have no idea how people get suckered into watching these saccharine, derivative timewasters; but there are evidently enough to justify producing thirty more every year — and replaying all of the ones from years past. To cash in on this craze, how would you like to create your very own made-for-television Christmas movie? Courtesy of Washington Post writer Paul Farhi, here is a visual aid for contributing to this season’s cheer/depression, depending on who you are (click on the thumbnail for the full picture):

Christmas Movie

December 20, 2006

Space Marines!

Posted in Random Oddments, Technology at 11:06 pm by Calico Jack

From Popular Science:

As any battlefield commander will tell you, getting troops to the fight can be as difficult as winning it. And for modern-day soldiers, the sites of conflict are so far-flung, and the political considerations of even flying over another country so complicated, that rapid entry has become nearly impossible. If a group of Marine Corps visionaries have their way, however, 30 years from now, Marines could touch down anywhere on the globe in less than two hours, without needing to negotiate passage through foreign airspace. The breathtaking efficiency of such a delivery system could change forever the way the U.S. does battle.

The proposal, part of the Corps’s push toward greater speed and flexibility, is called Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion, or Sustain. Using a suborbital transport—that is, a vehicle that flies into space to achieve high travel speeds but doesn’t actually enter orbit—the Corps will be able, in effect, to instantaneously deliver Marine squads anywhere on Earth.

This really excites my inner military geek, regardless of how practical the idea Space Marines really turn out to be. For one thing, the cost must be astronomical for this kind of insertion. And once the Marines are on the ground, they’ll need a way to extract themselves (the spaceship rides on a carrier aircraft which takes it out of the atmosphere, allowing the spaceship to gain high speeds before igniting its propultion system.) The Corps expects to have a working prototype in fifteen years, and possibly a production model by 2030.

I don’t care if this never ends up working out; how cool is the idea?

September 19, 2006

Facebook’s Strategy

Posted in Random Oddments, Technology at 11:51 am by Calico Jack

First of all, apologies for the dead zone over the past week or two. It’s amazing how unimportant certain things (like blogging) become when life gets in the way. Now on to the post…

Last week came the news that Facebook was planning to allow open registration based on geographic locations. No longer will Facebook adhere to an increasingly transparent facade of exclusivity. With potentially millions of new users flooding the site, and without such features as a music player and video, Facebook needs to find a way to gain some appeal to new users.

Today, Facebook introduced a new feature (again!) called “The Facebook Friend Game.” In their words:

The game is very simple – a trivia question, five friends to choose from, one correct answer, and the clock is ticking. As always, this maps to your privacy settings, and since only your friends are involved, the actual content is protected by your Limited Profile privacy settings. If you uncheck ‘Personal Info,’ the friends on your Limited Profile list will never see you in the game.

There is no score kept, and you aren’t competing against anyone else. The questions follow a general pattern along the lines of “Which of your friends listed ‘There are two absolutes in life: friends and vodka!’ as one of his or her favorite quotes?” Trivia is drawn from profiles, and it’s surprising to see how wacky some of the information is.

I might be easy to dismiss this new feature as a minor footnote in Facebook’s history. But it’s important to realize that this is an additional way for users to spend more time browsing the site — as if they needed another reason. Over the past several months, Facebook has taken several steps towards openly competing with MySpace; and anything that encourages people to spend more time on their site is less time spent elsewhere.

I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see video uploads and a Flash music player be added to Facebook profiles. It seems that the Powers That Be are trying desperately to take a big chunk out of the dominance of MySpace. There’s a feeling of general unrest in the air among a lot of users, however; and if Facebook ends up becoming a prettier version of MySpace, I suspect that many college students who made this site so popular will leave. What’s been done before can be done again — only better.

September 7, 2006

Ignorant who?

Posted in Random Oddments at 5:22 pm by Calico Jack

It’s always fun to realize just how strongly some people react to innocuous things. Today, a reader named “Chasz” wrote a comment about my experience with Applebee’s a few weeks ago. I was a bit disgruntled that I had to pay a 15% automatic gratuity, even though the service was lousy and the food terrible. I explained in some detail the reasons for my unhappiness, and I was careful to point out that I am not against tipping at all — but I believe that tipping should come as a result of good service, and not be automatically added on to my bill. Although I was a bit firm, I also tried to be fair. So let’s take a look at Chasz’s comment, shall we?

I’ve been to Applebees and will never go back the service was good but the food I didn’t like. There seems to be an issue of you tipping more than the food or service and if you don’t like to tipp stay home and don’t go out, you ignorant piece of trash. The audacity you have to complain on the net and you probably never said a word to the manager cause your too chicken people like you hide behind a wall and make life rough for those who get out and try. I am a very successful in my Profession I’m out all the time and see people like you everywhere your filth and you discuss me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be thankful I didn’t feel like adding a [sic] or two…or ten. But I would like to invite our dear reader Chasz to feel free to “discuss” me any time.

Keep ’em coming, folks. I’ve just gotten my entertainment for the day.

September 6, 2006


Posted in Random Oddments at 3:49 pm by Calico Jack

Once upon a time…

September 3, 2006

Hello, Australia!

Posted in Celebrities, Random Oddments at 12:43 am by Calico Jack

(Erin McNaught and Jennifer Hawkins)

I never hear about this happening in the States:

SYDNEY schoolboy Jordan Avramides was “a bit bummed” when Jennifer Hawkins (Miss Universe 2004) took up Bathurst lad Daniel Dibley’s invitation to go to a school formal.

Jordan had also written the beauty queen a letter but had been rejected because Hawkins had filming commitments.

Enter Hawko’s understudy, Miss Universe Australia 2006, Erin McNaught.

McNaught, 24, is now off to the Trinity Grammar School Year 10 formal in November as Jordan’s date – and the 16-year-old is “totally” stoked.

“She’s cute. Let’s hope she’s a nice one too,” he said. “My mates are on the formal committee and they choose the tables so they’re loving it. Dad’s pretty happy too. He’s baggsed driving us there.”

There’s one small problem, however…

The only hurdle was the girl he’d already invited before McNaught agreed to step in.

“She’s fine with it. I went over to her house with mum and told her and she was really happy – she’s a good mate,” he said. “I double checked she hadn’t bought a dress or anything yet.”

But good old-fashioned chivalry will be alive and well on the night with a traditional corsage in order for McNaught.

I guess his chivalry doesn’t extend as far as to keep his promise to another girl. However, if offered the chance to take a Miss Universe to the prom, I suspect I’d have to think for a little while about what I should do. No, who am I kidding? I’d make it up to my date later.

And in an ironic twist, Jennifer Hawkins has now declined to go to the first boy’s formal:

The former Miss Universe-turned TV presenter had accepted an offer from Bathurst student Daniel Dibley to be his partner for his big night.

But Hawkins yesterday rang the 17-year-old to tell him she would not go because of the media hype.

“It wasn’t really like ‘Oh, actually, I just don’t wanna go’,” she told Southern Cross Broadcasting today.

“All this publicity and pressure just got a hold of it. And honestly, when I said yes to it…I thought it was really sweet and I didn’t expect all of this. It’s been a media circus and I just apologise.”

However, poor Daniel’s efforts will not be entirely wasted; Ms. Hawkins will meet him for a lunch date instead.

So, which girl do you think is hotter?


Captain Morgan adds: Jennifer

August 20, 2006

Quality Dates Quality, Or, You’re Not Good Enough For Me

Posted in Personal, Random Oddments, Relationships at 11:01 pm by Calico Jack

Once in a while, I run across something on the internet that seems so laughable as to be a parody…until I find out that it’s completely serious. Take Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey, for example. I had never heard of her blog until I ran across a link to it this afternoon. It seems that a week ago, this woman decided to write her list of qualities that potential boyfriends should know about. That’s nothing new, right? I mean, people strew personals all over the internet in the hopes that someone will find them interesting and/or attractive. But Paisley Passey (sounds like a children’s book title) is apparently unique in that she is hit on by guys everywhere she goes, and she felt the need to try to fend off some of their advances. Let’s take a look at her lovely blog post, shall we? I’m being selective in what I put on here; otherwise I’d spend all day on this.

I’m slim (whereas 62% of American women age 20 to 74 are overweight)

I’m attractive (my new picture has been rated more attractive than 86% of the women on Hot or Not — and the women who upload their pictures are a self-selected sample that is probably already biased towards being more attractive than the general female population)

Ahem. Let’s look at the evidence.

I’m relatively young (whereas 82% of American adult women are over 30 years old)

I’m intelligent (IQ tested at 145 when I was a child, which is 3 standard deviations above the mean — higher than 99.85% of the population. Even if I’ve gotten dumber as I’ve aged I’m probably still at least a 130, which is higher than 97.5% of the population.)

Three standard deviations? Umm…I hate to break it to her, but three standard deviations above a mean only makes her smarter than 99.73 percent of the population — a full .12% lower than she thinks she is. That must account for her inaccurate statistics. I think she should stick to blogging; leave the math to people who actually know what they’re talking about.

I’m educated (whereas 77% of American women do not have bachelor’s degrees)

I really, really doubt this.

I have my financial s*** together (no debt, perfect credit history, 6+ months living expenses saved, adequate insurance, self employed)

And she curses? What a catch!

Most of my interests tend to be more popular with men than women: science fiction, libertarianism, blogging, politics, economics, guns, gambling, etc.

Given that self-improvement is an ongoing project of mine this list will continue to grow (I’m currently working on adding bilingual, very physically fit, well-traveled, higher income, and fantastic cook to the list). So even when “relatively young” (an important criteria for most men) drops off that list, I should have added enough other things that my overall dating market value should remain the same or even improve.

“Overall dating market value”? What is she, a commodity to be traded at a livestock fair along with other swine?

The above list explains why I typically receive 50-100 (sometimes more) responses whenever I post personal ads. This is in addition to getting hit on almost every time I go out alone (and all that those men know about me is that they like the way I look, they don’t even know about all the other qualities I have that make me more appealing than most other women).

I just have one tiny, insignificant question. If she’s such a great catch, why is she posting personal ads? Shouldn’t she have found a great guy by now? And if by “other qualities that make me more appealing than most other women” she means “arrogance, insecurity, and a forehead with its own ZIP code,” then yes, I agree with her.

I realize that some of you will find this post depressing because you’ll realize that you don’t qualify as a high quality man and thus won’t be able to get a high quality woman.

Now that I realize I can’t get a high-quality woman, my life is over. I have no future. I must cry myself to sleep, sobbing in my pillow. “Why can’t I be a high-quality man for you, Jacqueline? Why?”

You have a few options:

Whoopee! I’m saved!

Lower your standards and stop pursuing women who are out of your league. There are lots of fat single mothers out there who can’t find dates either.

Wait a second…if you’re implying that all of the guys who hit on you can’t normally find dates, wouldn’t that mean that you are a last resort for many of them, a desperate attempt to find a mate after going through the entire barrel? You’re the dregs, Jackie. Hate to break it to you.

Look in the developing world. If you’re literate with a home computer and an internet connection you are very wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Citizenship or legal permanent residency in a rich country makes you more attractive to women in poorer countries. Your value on the dating market is thus much higher there.

I have no comment.

Self-improvement! I used to be a fat unattractive college dropout who couldn’t get her life together. Now I’m thin, attractive, and successfully self-employed after graduating. You can make yourself over into a higher-quality man capable of winning a higher-quality woman too.

Hey! You don’t have a boyfriend, but you feel the need to write this long, self-love post because you’re insecure! We have a word for people like you, Jackie…loser.

I do still want to spend time with *friends* as *friends* over the next few weeks, but I am *not* in the market for a new boyfriend right now.

On this, I completely agree. You’ve just spent an entire post going over all of your ugly attributes, which means that every guy in America now knows to stay away from you. I’m so thankful you aren’t looking for a boyfriend; I’d hate to see you so disappointed.

One final note: on her About Me page, Jackie Mackie Passey (hey, that rhymes!) reveals that she has previously been married (read: damaged goods) to a guy for a year and a half before he revealed to her that he was, in his words, “GAY GAY GAY.”

I have no idea what could have brought on his sexual orientation switch. None whatsoever.

Read the 500-some-odd comments after her post, too. This woman has become the latest celebrity in the blogosphere, as everyone seems to be lining up to take a crack at her. We here at Ignorant Critics never want to be left out of the party, of course. This is true entertainment.

Thanks go to Ace, pretty much my favorite blogger of all time, for bringing my attention to this barrel o’ laughs.

Princess Sela adds: Woah! Some people take themselves waaay too seriously! While reading her post I constantly had to ask “Are you kidding me?!”

August 18, 2006

On Kissing

Posted in Personal, Random Oddments, Relationships at 12:14 am by Calico Jack

Thanks to Digg for this article

So how does one gesture come to signify affection, celebration, grief, comfort and respect, all over the world? No one knows for sure, but anthropologists think kissing might have originated with human mothers feeding their babies much the way birds do. Mothers would chew the food and then pass it from their mouths to their babies’ mouths. After the babies learned to eat solid food, their mothers may have kissed them to comfort them or to show affection.

In this scenario, kissing is a learned behavior, passed from generation to generation. We do it because we learned how to from our parents and from the society around us. There’s a problem with this theory, though: women in a few modern indigenous cultures feed their babies by passing chewed food mouth-to-mouth. But in some of these cultures, no one kissed until Westerners introduced the practice.

Other researchers believe instead that kissing is instinctive. They use bonobo apes, which are closely related to humans, to support this idea. Bonobos kiss one another frequently. Regardless of sex or status within their social groups, bonobos kiss to reduce tension after disputes, to reassure one another, to develop social bonds and sometimes for no clear reason at all. Some researchers believe that kissing primates prove that the desire to kiss is instinctive…

Scientists don’t entirely agree on whether kissing is learned or instinctive. There’s support for both arguments, just as there’s support for the different theories of why people started doing it in the first place.

There is quite a lot of disagreement over this issue, isn’t there? I, for one, suggest that we do some more research to solve this problem. Are there any volunteers?

August 16, 2006

Intelligence wanted

Posted in Games, Random Oddments, Television at 12:57 am by Calico Jack

Out of all of the game shows that are on television, The Price is Right has to be one of the easiest to understand. The minigames are simple to play…right? Not so fast. Watch this video of a girl who is truly “dumber than a doornail.” I laughed so hard when I saw this…

August 15, 2006

Poop on a Plane

Posted in Random Oddments at 11:11 pm by Calico Jack

The most useless Reuters article ever.

Other than that, no comment.


Princess Sela adds: Does that article even count as a complete thought? ….

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