A penguin and a polar bear are sitting on an iceberg. The penguin yells, "No Soap Radio!" They both jump in the water.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Congratulations universe, you win

Variety.com -- Dunder Mifflin is going interactive.

In a rare deal to turn a network live-action sitcom into a videogame, casual gamemaker MumboJumbo has licensed rights to "The Office" from NBC Universal.

Peacock net comedy will be the first-ever Hollywood license for the publisher, which makes inexpensive arcade-style games. It plans to turn "The Office" into a humorous game in which players have to handle jobs and play pranks at Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch.
Full article here

I stopped playing video games a few years ago when school and writing began to take over my schedule. Don't get me wrong, I still fit in a game of Madden here and there. My serious gaming days have been over for quite some time though.

But a video game based on The Office? Why God? Why create temptation you know I can't resist?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fallout from the F-bomb - Colorado style

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- The editor of the Colorado State University newspaper says he has no plans to resign amid criticism about an obscenity used in an editorial about President Bush.

The four-word editorial, published Friday in the Rocky Mountain Collegian, said in large type, "Taser this. (Expletive) Bush."

J. David McSwane, the Collegian's editor-in-chief and a CSU junior, said the newspaper's governing board may fire him but he won't voluntarily step down.

"I think that'd be an insult to the staff who supported the editorial," McSwane told the Fort Collins Coloradoan in Monday's editions.

The newspaper's business manager has said the operation lost $30,000 in advertising in the hours after the editorial was published, and that the pay of student staffers would be cut 10 percent to compensate.

McSwane said the newspaper's student editors decided to use the obscenity because they believe CSU students are apathetic about their freedom of speech and other rights.

"We thought the best way to illustrate that point was to use our freedoms," he said.
Full article here

Those who read The Carolinian may remember my opinion on cursing.

In a college paper there are times you can defend "adult language." We are, after all, printing our paper for adults. But that decision has to be defensible just like every decision has to be, from whether you run an article to hiring or firing a writer to changing the color of your skybox.

Oddly enough, my column on cursing also included the phrase "Fuck Bush."

And, like all words, curse words carry meanings and can be used for a purpose. During the course of any political discussion with friends, I will never say "I disapprove of President Bush's stances and I dislike him very much as a person." I will say, probably a number of times, "Fuck Bush." Those two words won't be the crux of my argument, of course, but it's a perfect description of how I feel about our president.

Of course, it wasn't a full 50 percent of what I had to say, and I went on to tie that usage in with the 60s Supreme Court case Cohen v. California that defended a man who had the phrase "Fuck the Draft" posted on the back of his jacket. The difference there being that the back of a jacket is only so big. With a newspaper you'd have to come up with a reason not to include seven or eight hundred words explaining your opinion. The problem with the Colorado editorial is that there isn't one.

Running a four-word editorial like that seems to be the equivalent of having an opportunity to speak with a person in great detail about your political beliefs, and instead screaming "FUCK [political group here]!" over and over. Doesn't make a lot of sense. In fact, it's a pretty stupid decision on their part, and they deserve the flak they're catching for it.

Seeing the difference between a situation where something is defensible and when it isn't is what you call editorial judgment. And, like McSwane, before writing that column I asked the rest of the editorial board what they thought about it. A couple were a little surprised that I even asked. Yes, is the obvious answer. Yes, that column is defensible.

But the same word isn't always the same word, and just yesterday I cut the word "bullshit" out of someone's column because I couldn't think of a single reason for it to be there. Being an editor sometimes means being a dick and not giving someone their way. It also means thinking long and hard about a decision and then making the right one, even if you really don't want to. On a college paper you have to realize that can include anything up to and including firing a friend. Or, more importantly, realizing when you have messed up so badly that you can't defend keeping your own job.

You shouldn't think: can I get away with this one decision?

You think: can I defend myself to the inevitable litany of questions and accusations to come? There's no defense like making consistently ethical, based on the rules decisions. No chance of a "what about that time you did this?"

In the end, it's not about you. It's about defending the newspaper that was around before you and, assuming you don't screw up too badly, will continue on in the future.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My stupid friends

I have a couple friends who occasionally play "the knife game." I don't know how they got the idea, but it's the very definition of stupidity.

There are two ways to play. Both of them involve tossing a knife to each other, at which time the person hopefully catches it by the handle.

Version 1) You toss the knife until someone bleeds.

Version 2) You toss the knife until someone catches it three times in a row.

There is a third version that ends with me calling the hospital and later a friend's parents with an embarrassing explanation. They haven't played that version yet, but only by luck.


In my last semester of Spanish I was surprised to find out that different countries have different words for the sounds animals make. After listening to all of those, I think "cock-a-doodle-doo" is the most ridiculous of the bunch.

Video courtesy of Rives.

Just like the Anchorman joke

After a half-hour drive up what had to be the most crooked and dust-covered mountain road in existance, evilly two-way but wide enough for just one car and teetering on a death-promising drop, my friend Ryan's boat of a car fish-tailing constantly, we got to Amanda's wedding ten minutes before it started. Just enough time to change, we thought, until we walked off the road to where we thought the wedding was located.


We asked a pair of hikers if they'd seen a wedding in the area and they pointed up. Way up. Up a hill/mountain that looked back at me with a "bring it on" steepness. "They're on the top," one sweaty hiker said.

There are few friends for whom I wouldn't have turned around and begun wording an apology note. Luckily Amanda is on that short list.

Pressed for time, we attacked the beast head-on, ignoring the hikers' suggestion of a flatter trail that curved around the back of the mountain, and a sign threatening a fine for walked in that restricted area. The couple was locking lips by the time I finally caught my breath. At least the view was worth it; Amanda said we could see five different states from up there (N.C., Tenn., Va., Ga. and S.C.). I didn't believe her until the sun set and we saw town lights through the Smokey Mountains' fog farther off than I thought was possible.

Amanda walked down the aisle/dirt trail barefoot, had the preacher recite a Pablo Neruda poem and refrain from saying "Jesus" or "God" once, and was later seen at the reception walking around in her wedding dress sipping a Corona.

The girl's got style.

At the reception we were challenged by Josh, the new husband, who claimed Ryan and I weren't fulfilling our reputations for drinking. We set about creating makeshift drinking games, beer pong with not enough cups and beer caps instead of pong balls was the crowd favorite. Ryan slept in the yard. I made it into the house and onto the floor. Sam, the lightweight of the group, left the bed I made for her and was found in someone's closet. Whether Sam thought the closet was a bedroom or a bathroom is still in debate.

All in all, it was the best wedding I've been to, and made me change the few things I've actually thought about for my hypothetical and very, very far off in the future wedding. It will be outside, my friend PV will be reciting the Rives poem "Glaucoma," and the wedding bulletin will be in 1940s-style newsprint.

One breakfast, 199 miles, a coffee, two Red Bulls and one rest area stop later, I'm home, minus two single friends but gaining my second set of married friends, my ex-turned-friend Leslie having gotten hitched last Sunday. PV's engaged too. They're dropping like flies.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Krasinski in Jarhead

If you know me, have met me, or have shared an elevator ride with me, I've probably had enough time to ask you if you watch The Office. I'm of course referring to the hit NBC show and not its inferior British parent show, which pales in comparison to the rich characters in the American version. I usually watch an episode daily, whether online or DVD, and because there's only three seasons thus far I've seen every episode quite a few times.

So, I'm a little obsessed, so much so that The Office theme song is my unashamed ring tone.

That being the case, I'm also obsessed with the actors in the show, Jim and Pam bearing the brunt of my two-steps-from-stalker interest. I'm always surprised to learn something new about the show or the actors in it, and with the season four premiere slowly approaching (ten days and counting) I'm kicking my stalkerdom into high gear so that there's not one single piece of The Office datum I won't have in my cranium come next Thursday.

For instance, did anyone else know John Krasinski (Jim) played a small part in the movie Jarhead?

Or did you know Jenna Fischer (Pam) wrote, directed, and starred in the 2004 mockumentary LolliLove.

They have lives outside of the television. How weird.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

When does "dog bites man" become news?

When it's the dog of two-time Pro Bowler first-round draft pick Bengals corner Deltha O’Neal, that's when. That's when you know you're big time; the local news reports on things your pet does.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Everyday Ardor

On a bench in Boston Common
a stranger, brown-papered whiskey bottle in hand,
told me to fall in love every chance I get
I was desenchanted 'til I realized what he meant

So I fell in love

with the grocery cashier
who shyly eyed me under thick glasses, carefully packed my bags.
with that boy from my class
the one with sunstreaked hair and careful comments of Monet.
with the gentle faced stranger on the street
her sleepy eyes and ready smile.

and I'm falling in love with you.
You, who considers my words
Who curls your tongue around my rough words
Who fingers my pages
A romantic
A cynic
A critic

You who never let yourself believe
Love is so simple, humanly possible and uncomplicated.
It occurs with the ease of puffed breath
quicker than a skeptic can cough.

- Noelle Hartbarger

I found this in a friend's Facebook page. I'm putting it here so it will spread the way a forest fire does, wind-carried glowing embers raining down on too-dry grass patches.