Osama bin Laden, tree hugger

Not making this up, not a “news” item from The Onion or The Daily News. It’s in the Washington Post, not known for its whacky sense of humor.

Osama bin Laden wants us to be kind to Mother Earth. Yes, that Osama bin Laden. His prescription, apparently: Do a tree a favor, fly a fuel-laden jetliner into a skyscraper.

Osama wants to save the world

Your favorite terror group, al Qaida, has released an audiotape claiming to be of Osama bin Laden, speaking from an undisclosed location  (Osama bin Spelunkin’?) thought to be somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan, in which he  declared jihad (well, he might not have actually said “jihad”) on global warming.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the A&P:

“In the tape, broadcast in part on Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden warned of the dangers of climate change and says that the way to stop it is to bring ‘the wheels of the American economy’ to a halt.

“He blamed Western industrialized nations for hunger, desertification and floods across the globe, and called for ‘drastic solutions’ to global warming, and ‘not solutions that partially reduce the effect of climate change.’

“Bin Laden has mentioned climate change and global warning in past messages, but the latest tape was his first dedicated to the topic. The speech, which included almost no religious rhetoric, could be an attempt by the terror leader to give his message an appeal beyond Islamic militants.”

He wants folks around the world to stop by Coca-Cola and Chevrolet. Well, that Chevy part was pretty well taken care of until Toyota’s gas pedals started getting stuck in “GO.” Think GM and Ford (and Little Chrysler too!) aren’t rubbing their hands in glee?

Ahem, back to Osama bin Laden.

Why isn’t he dead yet? Oh, yes, I remember.

Osama = the ball. Saddam Hussein = mosquito. We went for the mosquito. Dropped the ball.

Terrorist. Environmentalist. And now economist (also from AP):

“ ‘We should stop dealings with the dollar and get rid of it as soon as possible,’ he said. ‘I know that this has great consequences and grave ramifications, but it is the only means to liberate humanity from slavery and dependence on America.’ ”

Hey, Osama, Wharton has a global economics chair waiting for you. Really. No catch. They may even name a new building after you.

Maybe Osama is even smarter than we give him credit for. Is he trying to sucker the liberal tree huggers of the world into agreeing with him, and giving the righties even more ammunition in their never-ending battle over who’s righter-er?

Is Osama bin Bombin counting on reactionaries on both sides to be too stupid to know when they’re being played like cheap bongos for his entertainment?

Here’s the worrisome part. He probably can count on ’em.

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iHype

Behold!

Well, ya gotta hand it to Steve Jobs. The guy knows how to trump up a production.

Thousands of Tweeters and MyFaceSpaceBookers reacted to the big announcement made as Saint Steve descended from Mount Cupertino with the much-awaited iPad.

Amid the oohs and aahs  (and underwhelming applause) arose the question: So how much does the thing cost?

Ah, you say, how can I be so critical of the hype when I myself blogovate about it? Hey, I didn’t say it didn’t work!

In fact, take a look at this Apple vid to get a better idea of this thing’s capabilities.

Of course, not everyone is smitten by the iHype. Philip Zannini, for one is skeptical. He calls it the iDoody. But hasn’t seen the swell Apple video!

This is TOO FUNNY

One funny Tweet from Tim Magaw  (retweeted by Colin Morris) “The reason Apple is releasing a tablet is because @THE_REAL_SHAQ‘s fingers are too big for the iPhone.”

And the Apple Event tested the server capacity of a few sites.

Howard Weaver:  “Cover It Live died. Twittered faltered. What else did Steve Jobs crash?”

Sarah Lane http://onion.com/bVZa8N via @TheOnion – Frantic Steve Jobs Stays Up All Night Designing Apple Tablet

“his device is really called the iPaid” — Tweak589 at engagdet.com

iSnob — cartoonist extraordinaire Nick Anderson to Washington Post reporter

Sounds like a mini diaper for old people — David Savka on Facebook
Muddy at egadget:  “Can Apple not see past the iSomething naming convention? It’s naming for morons.”
iGuessnot
on Twitter also reTweeted by Colin Morris: “the 64G iPad is called the Max iPad.”

And THIS JUST IN:    iPad starts at $499.

Loaded: $829. Is that thing turbo charged?

But wait! there’s more! Here from NPR’s very own Monkey See blog by Glen Weldon:

“I haven’t been following the hype, and even I’ve read speculation that The New Flatness will save, in no particular order: Book publishing, newspapers, magazines, music, textbooks, games and the music industry. Also: The Whales, the Children, the Tiger, The Cheerleader/World, Energy, Ferris, and The Last Dance for Me.”

There’s an app for that.

Air America! &;#% No!

Ah, well, it was fun while it lasted.

RIP, little yapper

Lefty lovers are bereft today of their favorite whacko uncle, Air America. The unabashedly liberal talk radio network had barely escaped toddler age when its owner pulled the plug yesterday. No more Rachel Maddow (well there still is MSNBC). No more Al Franken (oops, there still is CSPAN). No more Randi Rhodes. Ummm, well, she was a little over the top. No more Lionel, Lino Lino. No more the rest of those guys.

Thank God for iPod, cuz if I had to listen to gawdawful FM radio or the Rush/Beck/PickYourLoonie echo chamber all day I’d fling myself off the local Suicide Bridge.

Bye-bye Big Boy

Fare thee well, little big man ...

Alack and alas, our friendly neighborhood Big Boy family-style restaurant is gone. Shuttered. No more.

Been there once, maybe twice. Victim of weak economy, I suppose. Corporate spokespeeps said it was “underperforming.”

Kind of like my PT Cruiser was underperforming.

But instead of hauling it off to the scrap heap (not sure it qualified for cash-for-clunkers anyway), I coughed up $$$$ to get it – the PT Cruiser, not the Big Boy, do I look like I’m made of money? – back up to speed. Yeah, $750 is a fair amount of dough, but assuming it lasts another three months that’s still cheaper than car payments.

So, yeah, I’m a bit disappointed to see the Big Boy go away. Not devastated, mind you. Just disappointed. Where will I go for a Big Boy burger and greasy fries now? What’s that? You say there’s a McDonald’s just across the street?

Oh, so there is.

Big Boy has a certain nostalgia associated with it, I suppose. It harks back to the days of polished steel and Formica countertops, having a burger with Grandma, waiting what seemed like forever for that burger to arrive while coloring some inane placemat designs with crayons. I had a high school girlfriend who waited tables at that same Frische’s Big Boy  (this flashback only just now returning as I reminisce about other Big Boy experiences).

Maybe if Big Boy had followed the lead of Ernie’s Family Style Restaurant as featured in The Onion, it would still be going strong. Maybe.

Those bibs, those checkers, that leer

And here’s another, slightly creepy throwback to Big Boy, from the archives of the Akron Beacon Journal, my former employer, if I can dig it up … but no, the ABJ has squirreled it away deep within the crevices (or would that be crevasses?) of its archives. Time to nudge my former co-colleagues at the ABJ to find that gem. Anyway, it had a photo of a storage room or warehouse full of Big Boy statues. All those Big Boys, leering at you, knowing what you’re eating.  Creepy.

And who could forget, unless you haven’t seen it, an homage of sorts to Big Boy in the sci-fi classic The Terminator. There’s Sarah Connor doing her best impression of my old girlfriend (again, Holy Flashback, Batman! Not that they looked alike, but jeez), just before the cybernetic artificial organism tries to erase our pre-Beauty and the Beast heroine. And from before Linda Hamilton developed biceps that could crush coconuts. Awesome!

A few random observations.

A blog entry I posted nearly nine months ago suddenly generated a whopping nine views today. Why? See for yourself here.

SEO keeping MSM off DOA

Bloggers and crackpots (is that a redundancy?) love to heap their scorn upon the mainstream media, the liberal elite (Wall Street Journal excluded, of course) of the East and West coasts. Too stodgy, too out of touch with Real Americans. Nobody reads them anymore.

Well, not so fast.

Turns out, if we are to believe Bnet, and I do, the five “major” newspapers in the United States see some of their biggest readership traffic come via the most popular Web aggregators and search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing. And to prove that I’m not making this up (that is someone else’s job), I’m going to paste up a graphic shamelessly ripped off from BNet’s site. Making the graphic a downloadable GIF amounts to tacit permission to reuse it. [See the terms of my blog written in indecipherable legalese so hard to find that even I don’t know where it is. Of course if BNet objects, I’ll take it down. But that would mean BNet took notice, which is OK by me. After all, this is all a pathetic cry for attention anyway, isn’t it? ]

I don’t know whose bright idea was to let the WSJ slip in with those other bastions of liberalism, but there it is, with fully 30 percent of its online traffic directly attributed to Yahoo.com.

BNetter David Weir, citing metrics service comScore, says: “These figures, as of September 2009, are some of the firmest evidence to surface to date illustrating the reliance that the big newspapers have on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft to drive their online revenue models.”

What this tells me, beyond how ubiquitous – I just love using that word, “ubiquitous,” whenever possible, even if it’s not appropriate, although it certainly is here … ahem, where was I? –Ahem.  What this tells me, beyond how ubiquitous search engines have become, is that if you have content worthy of an information consumer’s attention, it will attract attention. Eventually. SEO and other processes obviously manipulate the figures to some degree, but repeat traffic is repeat traffic. The Big Five MSM (incidentally, the linked definition to MSM is No. 2 on Google thanks to SEO) of Ye Olde Presse, or YOP, (Sorry, no credible links yet available for this term, seeing as I might have just coined it) have lumbered their way into the hearts and minds of Internet users.

Now all the little, medium and mid-major market media outlets have to do is work out ways to carve their little, medium and mid-major niches. And make money doing it. That, of course, is the tricky part.

Meanwhile, I just learned today of still more of my friends and former colleagues losing their jobs in the media. These aren’t “elite” media Beltway types that certain commentators love to bash. These are decent people who happen to be pretty good writers, editors, artists and photographers. And now they’re screwed.

If something isn’t done to stop this soon, we will witness during this generation the creation of a new permanent underclass. Bright, educated, underemployed. And broke. And people, I am here to tell you, that is f***ed. But I shall save the remainder of that rant for another day.

The King says No, thanks

He soars with the greatest of ease!

No doubt NBA All-Star hoops fans are disappointed that his royal LeBronness won’t be playing in the slam-dunk games this year. LeBron had teased NBA fans (not to mention officials hoping for a ratings bump his star power would bring) by hinting he might join the fun.

But no.

Reports Justice B. Hill in Real Clear Sports:
LeBron has enough ready-for-prime-time dunks to fill two weeks of SportsCenter, which is the reason people waited and wished and hoped and prayed he would enter the contest this year.

Now, it’s wait till next year. Maybe then, King James will enter and breathe life into the morbid Slam Dunk Contest, making the event the must-watch spectacle it used to be. His entry might draw Kobe back or Dwight Howard back or bring ‘Melo Anthony or Kevin Durant or O.J. Mayo or Michael Beasley into the event.
But by then the bigger story will probably be, Will He Stay or Will He Go?

Disclosure: I’ve known Justice Hill for 20-plus years.

Conan the non-Barbarian

NBC seems to have taken a cue from the print media: When changes you make to your product don’t reap immediate rewards, pull the plug. Right now. Don’t give it a chance to develop, to innovate and grow an audience. Just kill it now.

And so NBC is killing the Jay Leno Prime Time Experiment. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea. But rather than send Jay off to pasture, NBC is shoveling 15 pounds of, um, stuff, into a 10-pound sack.

Conan: I'll be baaaaaack. Or I won't.

To take that analogy of, um, stuff, a little further:  Late-night TV is kind of a reverse corollary to being on a hill. On a hill, the um, stuff, rolls down. On late-night TV the um, stuff, gets pushed later and later. If you live in a valley, the guy at the bottom of the hill catches all the stuff. And in the case of late-night TV, the guy with the latest show catches more, um, stuff. A funny happened, though. Jay found the stuff in Prime Time wasn’t what he thought it would be. He apparently wants his old stuff back, and he wants Conan O’Brien to give him his old stuff back, because apparently that’s the really good, um,  stuff.   And Jimmy Fallon is about to start getting more stuff sent his way. He’s gonna need a bigger sack. Or a really big raincoat.

Conan O’Brien has decided he will not be the good Company Man and play along with NBC’s plans to kick Jay Leno back to the 11:30 (or 11:35, 11:36 whatever) slot and push Conan’s Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon’s Whatever Show further into the night.

Instead, he issued a thoughtful, sane response with a fun punchline at the end (he is a comedian, after all).

And NBC executives end up looking like clowns.