Goodbye Sherwood

Sherwood Schwartz died yesterday. I felt kind of melancholy when I heard about it. He was responsible for two of my favorite tv shows; Gilligans’s Island and The Brady Bunch.

When I was a kid, I wanted to live on Gilligan’s Island. Daily social situations and interactions appeared a lot easier when there are only 7 people involved.
As a child I always related to Gilligan. He was always getting into trouble and goofing stuff up. So was I.
When I was in high school I came up with the idea that all of the castaways had died in the ship wreck and the island was their Heaven. Eventually, that Rescue From Gilligan’s Island movie came out and wrecked the whole theory.

Interesting trivia
In the opening credits of the first season, you can see a flag flying at half-mast in the background. President Kennedy had just been assassinated not too long before it was filmed.

Schwartz was also responsible for The Brady Bunch. I was 12 when the show premiered in 1969 and most of the kids on the show were in my age group. I was able to relate to most of them. In the beginning, Jan was my favorite. I had a crush on her. Later on she went all wacky and Greg became my favorite. He was the oldest and the boss. So was I.
I always thought it was interesting that there were 12 steps on the Brady stairs. Kind of like the 12 Step Program.
It’s interesting to me that in most of the publicity shots, where the family is standing on the stairs, Jan is usually on the 6th step. In the 12 Step Program no. 6 is Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. It did seem that Jan WAS the most defective Brady. Or at least had the most neuroses.
I have no talent.
I can’t find a boyfriend.
I’m ugly.
I won the essay contest, but OOPS, it was a mistake. I didn’t really win.

I’m so glad I finally stopped relating to her.

Anyway, RIP Sherwood Schwartz. Living to be 94 is pretty damn good.

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Television = It’s one evil
Adolf Hitler = Rill of death
Perry Mason = Smeary porn
George Washington = War on: He gets going
Alex Trebek = Exert bleak
Albert Einstein = Ten elite brains
Arkansas = A rank ass
Ronald Reagan = An oral danger
Planet Earth = Plant heater
Alexander Graham Bell = Real bad hex – All rang me
American Citizen = Cretinize maniac

It’s July and hot

Hmmmm…I haven’t done a post in about a week. Slacker! I’ve been kind of busy and distracted. The 4th of July, birthdays, people coming to the house to fix stuff, blabbity blabbity blah.

Speaking of which, UGH, I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks. Again UGH. It’s not so bad if you’re like 12, but when you get to be in your 50s it’s just another step closer to Forest Lawn.

It has been really hot here. It was 106 today. Lucky for me this house has state of the art super saver hospital quality air conditioning. Everything else may be Levittown commensurate, but the air is right on fabulous. Just like the kind that they put in those houses on that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show when the kids have some type of breathing disorder. I used to like that show, but now I can’t change the channel fast enough. Ty Pennington is like Pollyanna in dire need of ritalin, or whatever the crap they give hyperactive kids these days. – P.S. I abhor that show!

I won a caption contest, yay. It’s on Jamie’s blog. Go here to see it.

I got over 1000 hits on my Jeopardy post today, and not one complaint about how I was ruining someone’s life because they came across and read the final  question and answer before they saw the show. Anyway, I got it wrong, as did all 3 of the contestants. I said Louis XVI. They did too. It seemed like a logical answer. Too bad it was Robespierre (I prolly spelled that wrong. IDK.)

I think I’m done now. Bye.

Thanks for nothin’

I’m kinda pissed. I was actually making money with the Amazon Associates program. Then I get this email.

Hello,
For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with a large number of Arkansas residents. Unfortunately, a new state tax law signed by Governor Beebe compels us to terminate this program for Arkansas-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by Arkansas-based affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.
We opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by big-box retailers that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that its enactment forces this action. The unfortunate consequences of this legislation on Arkansas residents like you were explained to the legislature, including Senate and House leadership, as well as to the Governor’s staff.
As a result of the new law, contracts with all Arkansas residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program will be terminated on July 24, 2011. Those Arkansas residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to Amazon.com, Endless.com, MYHABIT.COM or SmallParts.com. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before July 24, 2011 will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.
You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Arkansas. If you are not currently a resident of Arkansas, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here. And if you relocate to another state after July 24, 2011, please contact us for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.
To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to continue to offer the Associates Program to Arkansas residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from http://www.amazon.com.
We have enjoyed working with you and other Arkansas-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to Arkansas residents.
Regards,
The Amazon Associates Team

All I have to say is “Bite me Mike Bebee and bite me Amazon”!

Rhinestone Ropers

Woohoo! My friend Melody made it to the top 48 on America’s Got Talent. She is one half of the Rhinestone Ropers. They are one of the 10 acts that got to go straight through to Hollywood without having to audition a second time. If you watch the show, make sure that you vote for them (if you vote, that is).

Number 12 Looks Just Like Facebook

This morning MySpace was no. 7 in the trending now on my Yahoo page. MySpace? I haven’t heard from them in forever. So, I went to read some of the articles.

The article from Fortune Magazine was titled MySpace’s doom was in its DNA. I must admit that the reason I got a computer in the first place was because of MySpace. Up until then I was a technophobic quasi-luddite. I had read WAY too many conspiracy theory books and was still in my bar codes are the mark of the beast and the internet is satan phase.

I liked MySpace because of it’s creative aspect. It’s where I learned html and how to make gifs. I got tips and tricks from people that I had friended. Later on, I was one of the people giving out the tips.

In his BusinessWeek article, Felix Gillette argues that MySpace users’ ability to tweak their profile designs was one of the site’s “first breakthroughs.” The developers had accidentally allowed users to insert HTML into their profiles, “allowing them to play around with the background colors and personalize their pages, leading to the site’s kaleidoscopic, techno-junkyard aesthetic, which became its trademark.”

For the site’s users at the time, this was a feature. For users who might otherwise have signed up, it was a bug. MySpace has almost willfully discouraged older people, smarter people, and more mainstream people from joining. Facebook, meanwhile, has kept tight control over its design, which has remained free of blinking graphics and gaudy color schemes. Your elderly aunt could join it if she wanted to. And as time went on, she did.

I was one of those people with the blinking graphics and gaudy color scheme. I would add, update, and alter my page all of the time, and yes, there were times when it looked like a cross between Las Vegas, Oompa Loompa land and a really bad acid trip… but I didn’t care. I was being creative. I was discovering new techniques and increasing my digitally artistic repoirtoire.

Some people didn’t like it. I would get comments about the flashing pictures or about how ‘busy’ my page was. At first I took umbrage. I would respond back with, “It’s called MYSPACE, not YOURSPACE. If you don’t like what’s on my page then unfriend and block me.”

People kept insisting that I ‘tone it down’, and after a while I did. I just got tired of the comments.

I still can't believe that people complained about my glowing Thomas Edison. I took me 5 days to figure out how to do that.

One day I signed up for Facebook. I had heard about it and decided to investigate. One I had signed up I spent hours trying to figure out how to change the page. I wanted to add my own flair. I tried to upload gifs and much to my chagrin the pictures just would not move.
What? Facebook doesn’t support gifs? What kind of crap is that?
No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get my Facebook page to be anything other that a big white page with nothing but text. How boring!

Once I finally admitted ‘I can’t figure out how to tweak this thing’ defeat, I quit going on Facebook. It wasn’t until I started getting friend requests from family members and old schoolmates that I started back up with it. It was still boring. I didn’t want to talk about what I did today or ask people how they were doing. I wanted to create.

The differences between MySpace and Facebook reminded me of that episode of the Twilight Zone called Number 12 Looks Just Like You.

Synopsis (from wikipedia):

Which one? You only have 2 choices. You can look like no. 8 or no.12.

In a future society, all young adults go through a process known as “the Transformation,” in which each person’s body and face are changed to mimic a physically attractive design chosen from a small selection of numbered models. The process gives everyone a beautiful appearance, slows deterioration due to age and extends a person’s lifespan, and makes the recipient immune to any kind of disease.

The motive of the Transformation is social harmony. According to Professor Sig, a psychologist with the Transformation service, “Years before, wiser men than I . . . saw that physical unattractiveness was one of the factors that made men hate, so they charged the finest scientific minds with the task of eliminating ugliness in mankind.”

"And the nicest part of all, Val, is that I look just like you"!

18-year-old Marilyn Cuberle decides not to undergo the Transformation, seeing nothing wrong with her unaltered appearance. Nobody else can understand Marilyn’s decision, and those around her are confused by her displeasure with the conformity and shallowness of contemporary life. Her “radical” beliefs were fostered by her now-deceased father, who gave Marilyn banned books and came to regret his own Transformation years earlier (we learn that he committed suicide upon the loss of his identity).

Despite continued urging from family, doctors, and her best friend, Marilyn is still adamant about refusing the operation. She insists that the leaders of society don’t care whether people are beautiful or not, they just want everyone to be the same. Her pleas about the “dignity of the individual human spirit” and how “when everyone is beautiful, no one will be” have no impact. After being driven to tears by the inability of anyone to understand how she feels, she is put through the procedure and (like all the others) is enchanted with the beautiful result.

Dr. Rex, who operated on Marilyn, comments about how some people have problems with the idea of the Transformation but that “improvements” to the procedure now guarantee a positive result, thus indicating that there may be modifications made to the mind as well. Marilyn reappears, looking and thinking exactly like her best friend Valerie. “And the nicest part of all, Val,” she gushes, “I look just like you!” The last shots are of her, admiring herself in the mirror and smiling.

I saw the episode for the first time when I was about 11 or 12. I totally related to Marilyn. I hadn’t read 1984 yet, so it was my introduction to the idea of totalitarianism and conformity.

I had experienced the comformity issue somewhat. As a kid, I had been pressured into Little League. I was no good at baseball. I was placed in right field and never caught a ball that came my way. I struck out every single time I got up to bat. I would walk up to the plate and the other players and parents in the bleachers would groan.
Why was I being made to play a game that I obviously wasn’t any good at or had no interest in?

Then there was the issue of my clothes. I wanted to wear the brightest colors. I wanted to wear the bell bottoms with the biggest flair, the hip huggers with the hippest hug, the shirt with the most psychedelic and trippy design and the widest belt available. I was told by my parents that people would think I was weird. I was also told the same thing when I acted certain ways.

When I wanted to practice twirling my sister’s baton I was confined to the basement. I had learned very quickly that doing so in the front yard would result in admonishment, strange looks and the occasional ‘sissy’ comment.

I eventually gave up the baton and turned to juggling. It was considered more appropriate and masculine. When I practiced juggling, I didn’t have to hide in the basement and people didn’t laugh or look at me funny. I remember thinking that they were both skills that involved manual dexterity and coordination, so “why should it matter which one I choose to do”?

Reading that article about MySpace this morning left me feeling sad. MySpace used to be fun. I lost interest somewhat after they changed it to be more like Facebook. Some of the HTML features were disabled. I could no longer be as creative as before.
I don’t know how much longer MySpace will last. I guess it doesn’t really matter since it is no longer the way that it was when I joined.

For me MySpace was about originality. Facebook has the look and feel of conformity. Maybe that’s why it’s so popular. Maybe everybody wants to look like Number 12.

 

Update:
When I went to the blogging section of freshly pressed, this was the title of the blog post that came right after this one.

Google Launches Google+, a Facebook Look-Alike.

It Speaks, Yet Says Nothing

Sometimes, when I go back and read some of the other posts that I’ve written I think, “Dude, you sound like a crackhead”! Such as with the post from yesterday. I guess that’s what happens when the write a post around the pictures instead of the other way around. IDK.

Today is the day that I call to see if I have jury duty tomorrow. It’s almost been two months and so far nothing. My sister’s friend, Mike, is coming in tomorrow, so more that likely when I call this morning the recording will say, “There WILL be a trial tomorrow. Please report to room blah blah at 8 am.”
In addition to calling the JD hotline, I’m also going to have to call the Bailiff afterwards and leave my new phone number.

Every Tuesday I get an email with trivia from Ken Jennings. There are 7 questions and I usually suck at them. The last question is always a list and you have to find out what the items have in common. This is the list from today:

7. What unusual distinction is shared by these historical figures? Julius Caesar, Thomas Chatterton, Cleopatra, James Cook, Lady Jane Grey, Leonardo da Vinci, Jean-Paul Marat, Montezuma, Horatio Nelson, Socrates.

I have no clue. I know that Caesar got stabbed, Cleopatra got bitten by an asp, and Marat was stabbed in the bathtub. I thing that Lady Jane Grey got her head chopped off. I’m thinking that the answer has something to do with the way that they died.
If you figure it out, let me know.

This was the final question from last week:

7. What unusual (and fairly specific) distinction is shared by all these movies? The Barefoot Contessa, The Brothers McMullen, Frankenstein (1931), Great Expectations (1946), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Night of the Living Dead, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Saving Private Ryan, Under the Volcano, Volver.

The answer is that they are all movies that begin in a cemetery. I didn’t get that one either. I had to wait until the answer came out today.

I just called and there is not a trial tomorrow.

In addition to being the smallest state west of the Mississippi, Arkansas is also the most boring. I guess nobody ever commits a crime. Either that or they all plead guilty.

Here’s a gif that someone posted on Tumblr. I thought it was cool. I think it’s Timothy Leary.

Timothy Leary was famous for this saying:

I never did any of that. I think the closest I ever came was watching a trippy Marshall McLuhan film in 9th grade Civics class. 

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian who is known for coining the expressions The medium is the message and The global village. He also predicted the World Wide Web almost 30 years before it was invented.
His most widely known work is the book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.
My favorite of his media and their messages quotes is the one about television.

“It speaks, and yet says nothing”

I can agree with that. Even when I was a kid I remember thinking that television was the world’s greatest propaganda tool. People believe just about everything that they see and hear on television.