Monday, August 27, 2007

CrankCast Vid Picks: "Baby Got Back"

Sir Mix-A-Lot's timeless ballad of lust and love is one that still echoes through the tubes. A close textual analysis of Mix-A-Lot's ode to ass reveals the emcee's respect for women, a condemnation of other "punks" misogyny and womanizing, and Mix-A-Lot's own search for a long term relationship:

A word to the thick soul sistas
I wanna get with ya
I won't cus or hit ya
But I gotta be straight when I say I wanna f*ck
Til the break of dawn
Baby, I got it goin on
A lot of pimps won't like this song
Cuz them punks like to hit it and quit it
But I'd rather stay and play
Cuz I'm long and I'm strong
And I'm down to get the friction on
So Cosmo says you're fat
Well I ain't down with that!
'Cause your waist is small and your curves are kickin'
And I'm thinkin' bout stickin'
To the beanpole dames in the magazines:
You ain't it, Miss Thing!

And, like all great art, this poet's work has inspired many others to go out and create.

I Like Big Bibles

Baby Got Back as Realised by Gilbert and Sullivan

Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine

Jonathan Coulton - White Boy Acoustic

Friday, August 24, 2007

NewTeeVee Pier Screening Event - Citizen News

The fourth Pier Screening event is coming up next week on Wednesday, August 29th. We will be back outside on the actual pier in all of its picturesque splendor and heat lamp warmth. This month's theme of "citizen news" really excites me and we've gotten some excellent entries. We have the Wall Street Journal tech columnist Kara Swisher, the documentary filmmaker of 24 Hours on Craigslist Ferris Gibson, and citizen media guru JD Lasica on our esteemed panel of judges.

Go check out the entrants at our screenings site and start using the 1-to-5 star rating system to vote for your favorites. If you'd like to attend the event just R.S.V.P. on our EventBrite page. We're also planning on streaming this event live online again with Veodia, so you can watch it here next week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NetFlix Knows Me!

It's eerie when those algorithmically produced ads and suggestions in your GMail or amid your Amazoning really hit close to home. It is strange to think that some Stanford engineer can write a couple of lines of code to figure you out - your habits, your preferences, your dislikes - and make new, smart, recommendations on new things you are likely to like. Here is what NetFlix has most recently suggested I might enjoy:

Let's breakdown NetFlix's stated logic here. NetFlix is recommending Strong Bad's Emails to me. I've been following Strong Bad, and the greater online cartoon world, since 2002. But NetFlix doesn't know that.

Here, NetFlix supports it's suggestion by saying this recommendation is made "because you enjoyed" several other movies.
  • The first is Throne of Blood (1957). Set in feudal Japan, Throne is Akira Kurosawa's samurai-infused update of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Starring the venerable Toshirô Mifune, the film's conclusion is a visually stunning mix of diatribe, blind ambition, and thousands of arrows.
  • The second is Double Indemnity (1944). Billy Wilder defined a huge swath of film noir with this pulpy murder/insurance fraud/lust fiction. Based on the James M. Cain novel, it was adapted for the screen with Raymond Chandler and was nominated for seven Oscars. Every noirish film since owes a great deal to Indemnity.
  • The third was Arrested Development: Season 3 (2006). Though sadly canceled after only two and a half season, Arrested is hands-down the best television I have ever seen. Pushing the structural limits of the sitcom in new ways, once into its third season Arrested's referential jokes and layered writing was a marvel to behold. R.I.P. Bluths.
So, what do we have? We have a recommendation for an online cartoon based upon my liking a Japanese samurai Shakespeare adaptation, a pulp fiction noir film, and a canceled Fox sitcom. And yet NetFlix is right on the money. Perhaps my taste isn't so nuanced after all.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I've wound around in New York's Strand. I've explored the color-coded stacks of Portland's Powell's. I've paid homage to Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg's ever challenging City Lights. But only in San Francisco's Green Apple Books did I find this shelf.

Beyond preparing the city of San Francisco for the rising of the undead, Green Apple has many other attributes that make it my literary purveyor of choice.
  • The newly released books have hand written recommendations and reviews.
  • I managed to snag a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows without having a ne'er do well spoil the mediocrity.
  • Oh, and one of the cashiers is really hot.