Thursday, June 1, 2017

Certified Fresh

Alien Covenant has a Tomatometer rating of 71%.  It is "Certified Fresh."

Beauty and the Beast has a Tomatometer rating of 71%.  It is NOT "Certified Fresh."

How does that happen, you may ask?  Well, a movie is labeled "Certified Fresh" under the following conditions:
To receive a Certified Fresh rating a movie must have a steady Tomatometer rating of 75% or better. Movies opening in wide release need at least 80 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics). Movies opening in limited release need at least 40 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics). 
So I'm assuming there was a greater concentration of "fresh" reviews for Alien Covenant during the first week of the film's release, and after 80 reviews the score was over 75%.  As time went on, and as more "rotten" reviews came in, the Tomatometer dropped.  In the case of Beauty and the Beast, the Tomatometer must have been below 75% when the 80th review came in.

They've got nearly the same number of reviews, too.  Alient Covenant has 281 reviews, of which 199 are positive (for a score of 70.82%).  Beauty and the Beast has 277 reviews, of which 196 are positive (for a score of 70.76%).

It's weird how movies will sometimes use the "Certified Fresh" label in their marketing, but the label itself is kind of arbitrary.

Shit, though, what if Alien Covenant keeps getting bad reviews...?
If the Tomatometer score drops below 70%, then the movie or TV show loses its Certified Fresh status. In some cases, the Certified Fresh designation may be held at the discretion of the Rotten Tomatoes editorial team.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Vidbiz.me

Vidbiz.me is another site whose homepage is cribbing from iPlayerHD.  Here's an archive of the homepage:  http://archive.is/ne7Vu.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

VirginiaNews.co redesign and Imgnet.co

The VirginiaNews.co homepage no longer resembles a TEGNA website.  Now it resembles the "Virginia newspapers" section from AllYouCanRead.com.  Here's an archive of how the page looks now: http://archive.is/pJAdI.

And there's another website, Imgnet.co, which is mimicking the homepage of iPlayerHD.com.  Here's an archive of the Imgnet.co homepage:  http://archive.is/zaIIi.

What are the odds the same person is behind both sites?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Man sues girl over movie ticket

Brandon Vezmar:  Petty asshole, or an American hero?  My vote is for American hero:




Thursday, May 18, 2017

Medium authors: Fred and Sue

I like to browse the TwoXChromosomes subreddit.  It's where I get all my feminism news and commentary.

Yesterday, the #1 link was an opinion piece from Medium, titled "Abortion Rates Drop When Birth Control Usage Goes Up, Yet Republicans Want to Limit Access to Birth Control."  It was posted by a user named gitssa.  It's a breezy, two-minute read, well-written, and with no indication of being plagiarized.  Heck, there's even a line about how a 2016 Gallup poll found 87% of Republican voters approve of birth control, and that statistic is true: http://www.gallup.com/poll/192404/birth-control-divorce-top-list-morally-acceptable-issues.aspx.  

And yet...

At the end of the article is a random hyperlink, embedded in the phrase "women's health services," for KnockYourHealth.com.  It's a website which sells medical machines, and the machines don't have anything to do with contraception.  They're actually lipo laser machines.  So why would the author of an article about birth control link to a site about lipo machines?

The author of the Medium piece is named Fred.  Just "Fred."  The URL of Fred's profile shows the name @lifred.

Fred wrote another Medium post on May 8, titled "Advances in Medical Technology are Giving Obese Women a Better Chance at a Healthy Life."  That article was linked on Reddit, again in the TwoXChromosomes community, by knifeandforrk.  (Knifeandforrk later deleted the link, and I originally tried to save a cache of it.)  That Medium post also contained a hyperlink to KnockYourHealth.com.

Curiously, there was another author on Medium who wrote an article titled "Advances in Medical Technology are Giving Obese Women a Better Chance at a Healthy Life."  That Medium user is @lifeshine, aka "Sue."  Sue later deleted her post, but you can see the removal message here.

Sue wrote one other post back in December titled "Lipo Laser Buyers: 3 Critical Factors You Cannot Afford to Ignore."  That article also contained links to KnockYourHealth.com, and Sue acknowledged working for KnockYourHealth.com.

Sue's second article was submitted to Reddit by HollaDouble2.  HollaDouble2 later deleted his link, but that's what archives are for.

The contact number on KnockYourHealth.com is 1-888-547-5296.  Their about page says:
KnockYourHealth.com is a fully owned website run by CWGLive, under its KnockYourHealth vertical. CWGLive has been successfully reviewing products since 2009, and has been successfully running its product reviews since its inception. 
Founded and led by Sudeshna Dey Nee Choudhury, we have been able to perform, through our trusted business associate network, a number of trials to experience different health products. In this website, we summarize the experience of the distributed team and its business associates. 
WhoIs information for KnockYourHealth shows it was registered by Sudeshna Dey (nee Choudhury), in Rampurhat, West Bengal, India, using the e-mail address brishti1007@rediffmail.com.  I assume it's really based in India and Sudeshna Dey really is the owner.

There's nothing outright insidious about the Medium article.  But it strikes me as weird how so many people can read a piece of commentary and not seem to care who the author was.

Anyway...we've got two Medium authors who linked to the same site:  @lifred and @lifeshine  And we've got three Redditors who linked to the Medium posts:  Gitssa, Knifeandfork, and HollaDouble2.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hanging???

I'm surprised no one has revealed the origins of the Facebook video that (supposedly) showed a black girl getting hanged: https://mic.com/articles/177032/video-of-a-black-woman-s-hanging-went-viral-on-facebook-the-site-marked-it-as-mature#.t1aIqVQU6

I remember several months ago, someone stumbled on an old YouTube video titled "Hi Walter! I got a new gf today!" and people freaked out, thinking it might be linked to the abduction of a Wisconsin girl.  Before long, police investigated and concluded the video was fake.

The hanging video is probably fake, too.  Perhaps it was produced by some porn/fetish studio.  Snopes looked into it, and said the video was unrelated to the death of a college student named Kendra Shanice Reid.  There was also speculation that the girl in the video was a porn actress named Trazcy Kush, but she shut down that rumor on Twitter.  GhettoGaggers has also denied responsibility.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Waxra

Come on, Waxra.com.  Who are you trying to fool?

Your article from May 9 was titled:  
"Discovery Of Two New Saturn-Mass Exoplanets"

Phys.org article from May 8 was titled:  
"Two new Saturn-mass exoplanets discovered"

Your first two paragraphs:
An international team of astronomers has discovered two new giant alien worlds rotating distant stars. The newly found planets are estimated to be as huge as Saturn and are orbiting M dwarfs beyond the snow line. The findings were published on 2nd May in an online paper on the arXiv pre-print server. 
The planets were discovered by researchers working as part of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) group and the Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) collaboration.
The first two paragraphs from Phys.org:
An international team of astronomers has detected two new giant alien worlds circling distant stars. The newly found planets are estimated to be as massive as Saturn and are orbiting M dwarfs beyond the snow line. The findings were presented May 2 in a paper published online on the arXiv pre-print server. 
The planets were discovered by researchers working as part of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) group and the Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) collaboration. 
You're just taking the words from Phys.org and changing a few of them.  AND you're making money with Google AdChoices?  That ain't right.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Eyes of the world

The eyes of the world are on New Hampshire.  That's what Concord resident Brian Harlow said at a legislative committee yesterday, regarding the controversy over Robert Fisher:
http://www.eagletribune.com/news/lawmaker-behind-misogynistic-forum-i-ve-never-hated-women/article_ff0d6bd6-2d76-577d-bb39-1c800680416d.html

Now, the committee will have to decide its course of action:
The legislative committee could recommend the full House reprimand, censure, expel or take no action against Fisher.
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast published another article on Monday laying out evidence that Robert Fisher is still the top moderator of r/TheRedPill, using the alias "RedPillSchool."  I glanced at the evidence, and if I had to answer the question of whether Robert Fisher and RedPillSchool are the same person, I'd say: "Probably...?"  Either they're the same person, or they're close buddies.

I think the onus is on Fisher to prove that he's NOT RedPillSchool.

Monday, May 8, 2017

ClickLancashire


It's titled: "66 percent of Americans under 30 disapprove of President Trump, poll finds."

And the first three paragraphs read:
There's an unconventional new president in the White House, but Washington is still up to its old tricks, engaged in familiar brinkmanship just days from a potential government shutdown. 
The latest University of Virginia Center of Politics survey found that 93% of Trump voters said they approved of the President's job performance. 
He also cited the 30 executive actions, many rolling back Obama-era orders, and one calling for the elimination of two regulations for every one added.
The title of the article is from an ABC News article.  The text of the first paragraph is from an AP bulletin.  The text of the second paragraph is from New York Daily News.  The text of the third paragraph is from BroadcastingCable.com.

When I checked the site, it had several AdChoices boxes, along with some content.ad boxes.  But it seems like the entire article was scraped together by some bot program.

ClickLancashire.com looked a lot different back in 2013.  Here's an archive from June, 2013, so you can see yourself: https://web.archive.org/web/20130621072431/www.clicklancashire.com.  It actually focused on news in Lancashire.  Now the header logo says "Click Lancashire--Independent News."

I wonder what happened?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Outfielders hate him!

Learn how to turn a single into a double with this one easy trick from Billy Hamilton:


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Brett f'n Gardner

They don't call him "Brett the Jet" for nothing!


Um...why does the media player look so weird on my blog?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fisher under fire

I googled "Robert Fisher" to see what happened since the Daily Beast article came out.  I figured the situation would've died down and been forgotten by now, but instead the opposite has happened.  According to the Concord Monitor, there's a group of protesters outside the State House:  http://www.concordmonitor.com/robert-fisher-house-session-9672914:
More than two dozen people gathered outside the State House waving signs and calling for Fisher to step down Thursday morning. “His behavior and attitudes toward women is deplorable,” said Becky Cawley of Concord.
Shit.  You know things are fucked up when Rebecca Cawley is protesting you.

Furthemore, Fisher's fellow Representatives are looking to take action:
The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to look into the conduct of embattled state Rep. Robert Fisher, recently accused of being the secret creator of a misogynistic online forum.
The decision came hours after more than two dozen people rallied outside the State House calling for the Laconia Republican’s resignation.
I don't know what the House can ultimately do regarding Fisher.  But if people are disgusted with Fisher, he may get booted out of office during the next election cycle.  I checked whom Fisher ran against to win his seat, and it was a woman named Beth Arsenault.  Beth shared three articles about Fisher on her Facebook timeline, and she sounds kind of salty!  A friend wrote, "Beth, you should have been elected. Are you going to run again?" and Beth replied: "I am not sure, but someone needs to defeat him."

I for one hope we'll see Fisher vs. Arsenault, Round 3, in 2018!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Large bodies in local politics

What I like best about this Daily Beast article on Robert Fisher (founder of the "Red Pill" subreddit) is it makes you interested in the makeup of New Hampshire's state legislature.  The New Hampshire House of Representatives has hundreds of members400 seats!  I had no idea it was that big.

I also like the profile pages they have for each state representative: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/member.aspx

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Trending

If you see a celebrity trending on Twitter, but they're not in the top spot, then you know they're safe.  Right now there are 13.7k tweets about Jack Nicholson, and he's in the #9 trending spot for New York City.  And the reason he's trending is because it's his birthday!

It's good to be a trending topic.  But it's not good to be the #1 trending topic.

Monday, April 10, 2017

AARP

I clicked one of those content recommendation widgets, and wound up on an AARP article titled "9 Stars Who’ve Surprisingly Appeared on ‘Star Trek.’"  The fourth slide was Whoopi Golderberg, which...isn't really that surprising?  I mean, she was a recurring character on the series:
Inspired by Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura in the original TV series), Goldberg lobbied the producers of Star Trek: The Next Generation for a role. They came up with just the thing: The wise (and fashion-forward!) Guinan dispensed cocktails and counsel from shipboard bar Ten Forward in 28 episodes
What does all this have to do with AARP?  And what's the background of the author, Justin Kirkland?  And why did I wind up on that AARP page to begin with?

Those are rhetorical questions.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Movie quote compliations

Is there a term for those commercials where they insert a bunch of movie quote to advertise a product?  You'll often see them before the trailers at the movie theater, and it's presented as if the characters are reacting to an amazing new cable offering or audio development.

So, you'll have that part from Wonder Woman where Chris Pine is lying in a boat and he says: "Well that's neat."  Or you'll have that part from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World where Knives says: "Amaaaazing!"  The classic example would be the part from Gladiator where Maximus shouts: "Are you not entertained?"

I've always wondered how they put those commercials together....

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Scrawling on ScarJo

Somebody scrawled "Fuck you white bitch" on a poster of Scarlett Johansson at the 1st Avenue L station.  Was this person upset with the fact Scarlett Johansson (a white girl) was cast as Major in the live-action Ghost in the Shell?  Or did they have some other reason for disliking Scarlett Johansson?


  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tebow Time!

It was only a matter of time before Tim Tebow recorded his first multi-hit game in spring training, and it happened today against the Marlins.  Check out the highlights over at SECCountry.com: https://www.seccountry.com/florida/watch-tim-tebow-rips-base-hits-back-back-bats-new-york-mets

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Duke wins the ACC Tournament!

This was an exciting game.  I'm rooting for Duke to go all the way in March Madness, even though I didn't fill out a bracket.  Check out some of the highlights, courtesy of the ACC Digital Network:


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Border Security: Canada's Front Line

I saw this on Netflix, and it's my new favorite show.  Low stakes.  Low drama.  Just some friendly Canadians doing an honest day's work.  I don't even want to know what the American equivalent is like!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

When pennies are useful

The only good use of pennies is to prevent the accumulation of more pennies.  For instance, if you're buying food and the total is $4.76, there's a desperate moment as your scrounge in your wallet for a penny, cause the last thing you want it to get two dimes and four pennies back from the cashier.

Fuck pennies. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wall Street Journal woes

Rosie Gray reports that the Wall Street Journal is laying off reporters in its European bureaus.  Overall, things sound barren:
The Warsaw bureau lost one of its two reporters, and the Budapest bureau has been shut down, as has the bureau in Madrid. The one-man Riyadh bureau has also been closed. The paper’s operation in India has lost two reporters, according to a source with knowledge of the reduction. All staff in Scandinavia have been laid off except for one.
Just imagine.  You're covering international affairs for the Wall Street Journal...you get laid off...your bureau is closed...then you see three different people are on the PewDiePie beat.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tomorrow's TV, Today

Huh.  The YouTube channel for Late Night with Seth Meyers just posted tonight's "A Closer Look" segment, about 3 hours before the show is scheduled to air on NBC.  That seems like a new approach.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

TV recap: The Great Indoors, S1E12, "Paul's Surprise"

This was the first bad episode of The Great Indoors.  You know why?  Because it ended with Jack learning an important lesson and apologizing for his actions.  To heck with that!

The episode opens with the introduction of Paul, who is Brooke's fiancĂ©.  Of course, the guy is a dweeb.  He has a lame sense of humor and he's obsessed with preserves.   Jack is asked to read a speech at Paul and Brooke's re-engagement party, and halfway through Jack decides to ditch the speech and rag on Paul instead.  It's a great roast, but Paul runs away because his feelings are hurt.  Then Brooke gets mad, and the apology routine begins.

GRADE: C-

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cataloging Netflix

I was looking around at all the different Netflix-themed blogs to get a sense of their current library.  There was an article back in November which said the library contained about 5,300 titles, but I don't want to rely on sporadic news articles.

There's Allflicks.net, which provides a database of all the movies and TV shows on Netflix; the site seems to be a source for those "What's leaving Netflix" articles that get written each month.   

There's cordcutting.com, a blog devoted to cord-cutting.  There's exstreamist.com a blog devoted to streaming.  There's whats-on-netflix.com, which has regular blog posts about new Netflix arrivals for each region.  And there's justwatch.com/us, which also provides a list of movies and TV shows on Netflix.    

The best site might be unogs.com, because they actually provide details for how many titles are available in the Netflix library for various countries.  The U.S. right now has 5,194 videos--3,903 movies and 1,288 series.  Unogs also shows all the recent titles that have arrived in each country, categorized by "past 24 hours," "past 5 days," and "past 10 days."  Did you know that Captive, the 2015 movie starring David Oyelowo and Kate Mara, recently arrived for subscribers in Ukraine?  Those lucky Ukrainians!  

Kate Mara is a big deal in Ukraine!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My precious loophole!

Digiday reports that the Wall Street Journal is doing away with the loophole that allowed you to google an article's title and read it for free.  I've been using that loophole for years!  (Or what feels like years.)  Now how will I read the occasional WSJ article?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

More on Clutch Powers

It's true.  Netflix has removed The Adventures of Clutch Powers.  When I search for the title, I get the message that: "Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers is available on DVD only."  What grinds my gears is that none of the articles about what titles are leaving Netflix seem to mention it.  Which means...those article might be incomplete.  Or maybe LEGO kids movies aren't worthy of inclusion on these precious lists.

For example, here is a Gamespot article about what titles are leaving Netflix in February, 2017:
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/netflix-february-2017-new-arrivals-and-whats-leavi/1100-6447217/

And here's a Gamespot article about what titles left Netflix in January, 2017:
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/netflix-january-2017-everything-coming-and-going/1100-6446302/

Friday, February 10, 2017

Clutch Powers

Damn, I think Netflix decided to remove The Adventures of Clutch Powers from their library.  It was a perfectly harmless LEGO movie, and I liked it because it was the sort of movie you might write as a 10-year-old.  (It's about an Indiana Jones-esque character who goes on space adventures and helps medieval knights fight a wizard.  Awesome!)

Instead they've got a couple dozen episodes of that Ninjago crap.  What gives??  And why are they making a Ninjago movie, with the voices of Olivia Munn and Dave Franco?  Is Ninjago a popular thing that I simply hadn't heard of until two days ago?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

ESPN and kayfabe

In the aftermath of any big football game, the talking heads dwell on the same debate topics.  They ask questions like:  "Is Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all time?"  Or:  "Is Tom Brady the greatest clutch athlete of all time?"

By comparison, podcasts about professional wrestling don't dwell on those sort of questions.  You won't hear Dave Meltzer discussing whether John Cena is the best wrestler of all time just because he defeated The Rock at WrestleMania.  You know why?  Because that would be a dumb conversation.  However, those conversations do take place on the pre-show panels produced by WWE.   They get veterans like Jerry Lawler or Booker T to sit together and discuss legacies.  It's kayfabe, of course--Jerry Lawler and Booker T are filling time.  It isn't a real debate.

In a way, I don't think the debates which Skip Bayless or Mike Wilbon or Tony Reali have are real, either.  I would actually love it if there were podcasts that discussed the NFL in the same way that wrestling journalists discuss professional wrestling.  Those conversations would be real.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Medium woes

Last month, Medium laid off 50 employees, citing problems with ad-driven economics: http://nypost.com/2017/01/04/medium-ceo-announces-layoffs-lashes-out-at-broken-system/.

I've read several articles on Medium, but as a blogging platform it holds no appeal for me whatsoever.  I assume it holds appeal as a hosting platform, since there are a bunch of popular websites like The Ringer and The Awl that are published on Medium.  But when I go to the Medium homepage and browse around, I don't get a feel for what its "purpose" is supposed to be.

It's just a whole bunch of think pieces.  Think pieces about politics and technology.  Is there a spot on Medium for someone like me, who isn't involved in politics and technology?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bootleg YouTube videos

For a while on Sunday, the #1 trending YouTube video was a bootleg version of the "Melissa McCarthy/Sean Spicer" sketch from SNL.  The video was uploaded by a YouTube channel named "learn more."  When I took a screenshot, the "learn more" video has 285,145 views.  At the same time, the official version from Saturday Night Live's channel had 315,910 views:



If you're asking why the video with the greater number of pageviews wasn't the #1 trending video, that I don't know.  However, I find it interesting that the bootleg version proved so immensely popular.  The footage was low-definition, and the camera had zoomed in.  You couldn't even see the full picture!  It didn't matter.  Hundreds of thousands of people just wanted to see the sketch and didn't care about the quality. 

The video is gone now, and in fact all but one video from the "learn more" YouTube channel have been deleted: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr9x8sYHLWhhDSC-FNtMOfw.  Earlier, the channel had contained other bootleg versions of Saturday Night Live sketches.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Everyone loves a good comeback story

What a ridiculous catch by Edelman!  What a beastly run by James White!  Check out the highlights of Superbowl LI:


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Dunkaccino and time

Remember that "Dunkaccino" commercial from the end of Jack and Jill?  The Adam Sandler character (I assume his name is Jack) says the commercial is 32 seconds long.  But it's clearly 49 seconds long.  You can look at the timer on YouTube.

Are we to assume the version of the commercial we (the viewers) see is not representational of what the characters in the movie see?  Do we experience the passage of time in different ways?  Or did the editors of Jack and Jill simply not bother with details like making the clip exactly 32 seconds?

I looked for answers in the YouTube comments section.  A commenter named Kraine wrote: "that wasn't 32 seconds."  Exactly, Kraine!  But what does it mean?



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Math and Shawshank

During the climactic scene of The Shawshank Redemption, Red narrates that Andy had to crawl 500 yards to escape:
Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can't even imagine.  Or maybe I just don't want to.  Five hundred yards.  That's the length of five football fields.  Just shy of half a mile. 
So...does Red just suck at math?  Half a mile is 2,640 feet, and Andy crawled 1,500 feet.  That's a difference of 1,140 feet. It's not really "just shy." It's only 57% of the "half a mile" distance.  Don't get me wrong, it's still one of the best scenes from my favorite movie, but it's the sort of dialogue you wind up thinking about twenty years later.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Movie football drama

During the final drive of Friday Night Lights, the Permian Panthers were trailing 28-34.  It seemed like a really weird choice to put the Panthers down by 6, because what would've happened if they scored the miracle touchdown at the end?  Would the movie then go through the extra drama of showing them kick an extra point?  Did we even know who their kicker was??

I figured they weren't going to score for that very reason.  There had been no set-up for the kicker.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TV Recap: The Great Indoors, S1E11, "Mason Blows Up"

Another above-average episode!  Mason gets a viral scoop by locating a stolen tiger, and Jack feels conflicted about Mason's overnight fame. I like how the show has transitioned to the point where the Millennials are writing their own features--they're no longer just newbs.  I also liked the montage of Jack typing out an article, because that's how real life goes a lot of the time.

Monday, January 30, 2017

TV Recap: The Great Indoors, S1E10, "The Explorers' Club"

Another great episode.  I was worried the show might reveal Roland to be a massive fraud who had never actually explored the wilderness.  Things began heading in that direction, but it turns out Roland really is an experienced adventurer.  Will Roland one day go down as one of TV's iconic characters, on par with Nigel Wick?  It could happen!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Express Observer

Does anyone know who publishes the Express Observer?  The "About" section says: "WE PROVIDE BREAKING NEWS & HEADLINES ON NORTH US."  It doesn't sound like the person in charge is a native English speaker.  Furthermore, their social media links don't direct to anything. Here is the website: http://expressobserver.com/

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Final college grades

Cool, I got straight A's in my final semester.  I haven't taken the GRE or applied to grad school, but I've got a decent GPA in my back pocket, which is nice.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Janice Bond and the fake Maddow tweet

There was a fake screenshot circulating on Twitter recently, showing a tweet supposedly sent by Rachel Maddow asking for the President to be "taken out."  Maddow, on her own Twitter page, acknowledged the hoax and shook her head at the thought anyone might believe it:
One of the accounts responsible for spreading the fake screenshots was @JaniceSBond.  Her bio says: "Democratic elector from the state of Hawaii."  When posting the fake screenshot, she wrote:
I just lost all respect for you @maddow I can't believe you just tweeted this. I'm glad you deleted it, but it's still wrong. #SeanSpicer
By the next day, the message had 1,358 re-tweets and 988 likes (archived here):



When I saw the tweet, I genuinely wondered if this old woman had lost her mind.  Her earlier tweets felt more-or-less normal.  There actually is an elector in Hawaii named Janice Bond, and she led Bernie Sanders's campaign on Kauai.  Earlier tweets from @JaniceSBond's timeline said she was planning to cast her vote for Sanders.  And on December 19th, a Hawaiian elector did cast a dissenting vote for Bernie Sanders.  However, that vote was cast by David Mulinix.  The three other electors, including Janice Bond, all voted for Hillary Clinton.

It wasn't until I found an article from TheGardenIsland.com, which profiled Bond, that the situation became clear.  The article described Bond's thought process leading up to the vote, and included this paragraph:
But it wasn’t over for Bond. Someone later called to tell her a fake Twitter account under Bond’s name was created and it declared she voted for Sanders. Not true. Not at all. She was unaware of it and set a new course to have it taken down.
So @JaniceSBond was under the direction of a troll since December!  It's kind of ingenious, when you think about it.  The troll picked an old lady who wasn't famous, but whose duties carry great political significance.  She didn't have much of a Twitter presence, so she didn't have a large platform from which to debunk the troll.  And he effectively played up the narrative that some electors were overly loyal to Bernie Sanders.  Then he waited a month before striking again.

Another question I had was whether @JaniceSBond originated the hoax.  So I looked for the earliest instances of the image.

1:55 P.M.: @JaniceSBond sent her tweet.

2:00 P.M., @FoxNewsYemen5 re-tweeted Bond, saying "BREAKING NEWS. @maddow from @MSNBC just send out crazy tweet about #PresidentTrump."

2:03 P.M., @CHughes63 tweeted "@JaniceSBond @maddow Another threat sounds like calling for someone to kill the President no other way to take this tweet"

Those were the earliest traces I could find.

On January 6, 2017, Kim LaCapria of Snopes.com wrote about a similar hoax in which a Twitter account called @Fox_News_Yemen was spreading screenshots of fake tweets supposedly made by DeRay Mckesson and Shaun King:
Both tweets were seemingly intended to stoke racial tensions by suggesting well-known civil rights advocates tacitly approved of the Chicago incident. A common ploy to pass fake tweets off as real ones involves (falsely) claiming a given tweet was briefly published and then rapidly removed, preventing users from viewing the tweet directly and verifying its authenticity. Donald Trump is the frequent target of such falsehoods, and Mckesson has also previously been the subject of fabricated messaging screenshots.
@Fox_News_Yemen was suspended at some point, and @FoxNewsYemen5 was suspended about the same time that @JuliaSBond was suspended.  Is there a connection between JaniceSBond, FoxNewsYemen5, and Fox_News_Yemen?  If so, what could that connection be?  I'm going to need a cork board, push pins and some red string to solve this.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pence profile is gone

It looks like Facebook removed the @VPMikePence page.  But why would they do that?  It had great zingers like:

The only way to plan a parenthood is to ask Jesus when it's time.
#PlannedParenthood #Jesus #MAGA #DJT

R.I.P., imposter:  http://archive.is/QYwFg.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pomodoro

Lately I've been utilizing the Pomodoro Technique, with a small twist, to focus on my work.  The twist is that instead of setting a 25-minute timer, I set a 3-minute timer.  It's a lot easier to focus for 3 minutes than for 25 minutes.  #Productivity

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Great Indoors got robbed!

The Great Indoors did not win the People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy.  Instead, the honor went to another CBS show, Man With A Plan.  Clearly, people still love Matt LeBlanc.

Still, it wasn't a total wash for The Great Indoors, because the whole cast got to participate in a self-aware pre-taped opening.  Check it out!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

C-Siccness is sick!

I was watching Jimmy Kimmel the other night, and he was joking about the San Diego-based rapper C-Siccness, who, like all San Diego residents, was despondent about the Chargers leaving town.  So of course I had to check out C-Siccness's videos to see if he's any good.


Those are some nice beats!  They should invite C-Siccness to perform at Trump's inauguration.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Updating the news

I've got to stop checking the news throughout the day, because I wind up getting fixated on updates and interpretations.

For example, there was a story today about the Giants trashing their plane after their loss to the Packers.  (Sidenote: Fuck the Packers.)  The New York Post originally ran the headline: "Giants trash airplane following embarrassing playoff blowout."  The writers based a large chunk of the story on some tweets from passengers whose flight had been delayed.  I archived the old headline, since I knew it was probably going to change:  http://archive.is/0rGRB

Later, the headline changed to: "Giants blamed for trashing airplane after playoff blowout."  A Giants spokesman denied the story, and United Airlines said there had been a mechanical problem with the original plane set to depart from Newark, necessitating a swap: http://nypost.com/2017/01/09/giants-trash-airplane-following-embarrassing-playoff-blowout/

So I still have no fucking idea what the truth of the matter is.  Maybe the plane the Giants took was kind of dirty, and had to go through a routine clean-up?  And then people assumed that was the cause for the delay?  It's pretty significant that the headline changed from 'This thing happened' to 'People say this thing happened.'

And that's just a harmless story about whether some football players made a mess.  Imagine all the updates and interpretations that occur with political stories.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Seattle has no news!

The Stranger reports that 23 people are going to leave the Seattle Times.  That includes the book editor, Mary Ann Gwins, and Matt Pentz, who covers the Sounders.  (I think they play soccer, or maybe baseball, or maybe lacrosse?)  Meanwhile, the KOMO television station just went through layoffs that included their investigative reporting team.  And Northwest Cable News is going off the air.  That's a lot of layoffs in a short amount of time.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bye-bye viewcounter

I got rid of the pageviews widget, since it was essentially useless.  I can still check the stats on my blog's dashboard, though.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Official election numbers

Last month, I tried to keep track of how the Presidential vote counts would change as a result of recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.  I should probably check how the numbers ended.

I'll use the New York Times elections page for the official results.  (At least, I hope they're official):
http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president

In Wisconsin:
Trump has 1,405,284 votes.
Clinton has 1,382,536 votes.

In Michigan:
Trump has 2,279,543 votes.
Clinton has 2,268,839 votes.

In Pennsylvania:
Trump has 2,970,733 votes.
Clinton has 2,926,441 votes.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission posted their official results on November 25, showing Trump with a lead of 22,177 votes.  After the recount, Trump had a lead of 22,748 votes.  So his lead increased by several hundred votes.

The Michigan recounted was halted, and the certified results are the same as were reported back on November 28.

The Pennsylvania results tightened a little, but the recount bid itself wound up getting rejected.  I wrote on December 3 that Trump had a lead of roughly 49,000 votes.  (In the days after the election, it was reported Trump had won Pennsylvania by a little over 70,000 votes.)  The final margin was 44,292 votes.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Cone Zone not shrinking yet, says TBS boss

Contrary to what was reported in The Wrap, TBS boss Kevin Reilly says there are no plans at the moment to make Conan a weekly show.  This was the statement he gave to the Hollywood Reporter:
"As the media landscape continues to evolve, Conan will continue to lead the evolution of what a talk show will be in the digital age. At this time, we have no plans to change the format or frequency of his popular TBS show. In addition to Conan's daily responsibilities to his talk show, we continue to have very ambitious plans that will further broaden and evolve our relationship with Conan."
It all sounds vague.  When asked directly if Conan would shift to a weekly format, he said: "No, but it will shift."  So...maybe Conan will wind up doing the Howard Stern schedule of working three days a week?  The original statement about the shift was made by John Martin, the CEO of Turner.  Maybe the two execs just have different opinions.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cone Zone Shrinking!

According to The Wrap, Conan will be switching from airing four nights a week to airing just once a week:  http://www.thewrap.com/conan-obrien-weekly-tbs/

It might improve things!  A lot of the comedy sketches on Conan are really dumb nowadays, and it doesn't help that Conan usually sits there with a fatigued expression on his face, like he can't believe he's been reduced to this material.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

HitFix

I used to regularly visit this website called "In-Contention."  It was run by Kristopher Tapley and Guy Lodge.  They covered the Oscar race in-depth, and they had a sidebar listing of the major awards categories and the movies or actors they predicted would get nominations in each category.  In 2012, In-Contention.com was acquired by HitFix.com.  From that point, you would have to visit www.hitfix.com/in-contention.

A few years later, the writers of In-Contention were hired by Variety.  Now, you have to visit www.variety.com/in-contention.  Guy Lodge and Kristopher Tapley still write for In-Contention, but it's missing the convenient sidebar.

Last April, HitFix itself got acquired by Woven Digital.  According to a report from Variety, HitFix's 17 employees would be joining Woven Digital.  (Good for them!)  But six months later, Woven Digital laid off 20 employees, most of whom came from HitFix.

At some point, the standalone HitFix website was absorbed by UpRoxx.  So if you want to read anything from HitFix, you have to visit www.uproxx.com/hitfix.

I liked how HitFix would actually go to movie premieres and tape sit-down interviews with the actors.  The interviews weren't really that insightful, but it was cool to see examples of "press tour" interviews.  Those seem like they would be fun to conduct.  Without actual material, you just wind up with lots of aggregated news and press releases.

Monday, January 2, 2017

So many TV shows...

I barely know the plots of TV shows nowadays.  The Great Indoors is an exception, but after that there are about 100 other shows.

From what I can tell, The Magicians is about college-aged people who go off to magician school.  It's like Harry Potter, but not really.  I thought The Librarians was also about magicians, but apparently it's about librarians who investigate the supernatural.  And Supernatural is a show about....supernatural people, I guess?

Then there's The Crown and Royals.
There's Stranger Things and Better Things.
There's Preacher and Rectify.
There's The Mick and The Knick.
They just don't stop.