Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Link rot, a problem with no end in sight

Every year I run a scan of Tech-media-tainment to check for broken weblinks and each year I’m saddened by how many I find.
I like to include weblinks to news articles, blog posts and websites to provide additional resources for readers. But as the years pass, a lot of those links stop working. People clicking on those hyperlinks will get 404 and other error messages.
That’s frustrating for readers. And it’s frustrating for blog editors like me. I spend a few hours every year deleting dead links, a problem known as link rot.
Link rot makes it difficult to preserve information and research online. What’s here today might not be here tomorrow. It is the biggest failed promise of digital content.
Once again I used the free online tool at BrokenLinkCheck.com to scan for web pages with broken or dead links. The tool processed 1,513 web pages at Tech-media-tainment and found 161 broken links.
Quite a few websites simply went kaput, including specialty sites and viral media aggregators on Tumblr and elsewhere.
Among the websites that shut down were those for older movies and canceled TV shows, including “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” “Terminator: Salvation” and NBC’s “Do No Harm.”
Defunct businesses that let their websites expire included the Bikini Hockey League and Lingerie Basketball League.
Another website that closed was for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That website, Recovery.gov, was President Barack Obama’s plan to get the U.S. out of the Great Recession. I guess his administration said “Mission accomplished” and shut it down.
At least 16 of the bad links belonged to the Huffington Post. In many cases, HuffPo had run an Associated Press story, but the licensing rights likely expired.
News websites especially need to be better stewards of online content and keep weblinks from expiring. There needs to be more permanence to online content.

Photo: Huffington Post 404 error page.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Donald Trump takes a commanding lead … in porn parodies

Since announcing his bid for president, New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has been parodied in eight porn movies. And the election is still four months away.
Including earlier depictions of Trump in two porn parodies of “Celebrity Apprentice,” the Donald has been parodied in 10 porn movies. That ties him with former Alaska governor and one-time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as the politician with the most porn parodies.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been parodied in four porn movies, the same number as her husband Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. President Barack Obama has been mocked in five porn parodies to date.
Here is a list of porn movies featuring depictions of Donald Trump:

Celebrity Apprentass (2009)
This Ain’t Celebrity Apprentice XXX (2010)
Donald Tramp: The XXX Parody (2015)
Megyn Gets Trumped (2015)
Latinas Play Their Trump Cards (2015)
Republican Candidate Wife Swap (2016)
The Donald (2016)
Brazzers Presents Erection 2016 (2016)
Make America Gape Again (2016)
The Donald Trump Sex Tape from BaDoinkVR (2016)

Related article: List of the top real-life targets for porn parodies and exploitation.

Photos: Promotional art for “Erection 2016” by Brazzers (top) and screenshot from safe-for-work trailer for “The Donald Trump Sex Tape” from BaDoinkVR. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

‘The Shallows’ joins the ranks of the best animal attack movies

The Blake Lively shark attack thriller “The Shallows” opened this weekend to generally positive reviews. It joins the ranks of some of the best-reviewed animal attack movies in cinematic history.
It’s a small subgenre of thrillers to be sure, but one that I enjoy.
In April 2015, I compiled a list of the best-reviewed animal attack movies, based on ratings from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. I’ve decided to update that list today.
New to the list are “The Shallows,” “Roar” and “Moby Dick” (1956).
What follows is a list of animal attack movies, ranked by percentage of positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I also included what kind of killer animal is featured.
  1. Rogue (2008), crocodile; 100% positive reviews
  2. Jaws (1975), great white shark; 97%
  3. The Birds (1963), birds; 96%
  4. Grizzly Man (2005), grizzly bear; 93%
  5. Arachnophobia (1990), spiders; 91%
  6. Backcountry (2015), bear, 88%
  7. The Naked Jungle (1954), soldier ants; 86%
  8. Moby Dick (1956), whale, 84%
  9. Black Water (2008), crocodile; 79%
  10. The Grey (2012), wolves; 79%
  11. The Reef (2010), great white shark; 78%
  12. Roar (1981), lions and tigers, 76%
  13. The Shallows (2016), great white shark, 75%
  14. Piranha 3-D (2010), piranhas; 73%
  15. Open Water (2003), sharks; 72%
  16. Piranha (1978), piranhas; 72%
  17. Creepshow (1982), cockroaches; 69%
  18. Snakes on a Plane (2006), snakes; 68%
  19. Alligator (1980), alligator; 67%
  20. Willard (2003), rats; 64%
  21. Frozen (2010), wolves; 62%
  22. The Edge (1997), grizzly bear; 60%
  23. Grizzly (1976), grizzly bear; 60%
  24. Cujo (1983), rabid dog; 59%
  25. Willard (1971), rats; 57%
  26. Ben (1972), rats; 57%
  27. Jaws 2 (1978), great white shark; 55%
  28. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996), lions; 50%
Photos: Promotional artwork for “The Shallows.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lying click-bait articles: transgender celebrities and what actors look like today

The scourge of deceptive click-bait articles continues unabated.
I’ve written a couple of times about how content promotion services will use misleading photos to get people to click on article links. Often the photo has nothing to do with the article or it uses an obviously incorrect photo.
In a previous post, I cited examples of articles about transgender celebrities, which used photos of celebs who aren’t transgender. Those examples included Pink and Julia Stiles.
Here are two more examples.
One article titled “25 Transgender Celebrities We Have Come to Admire” shows side-by-side photos of actor Elijah Wood and actress Mischa Barton.
These photos have been used together so many times in articles about celebrities who look alike that a reverse image search on Google for the Elijah Wood picture suggests it might be Mischa Barton.
In this case, the article suggests they are one in the same after gender reassignment surgery. The doctors also must have made their patient taller. Wood is 5-foot-6 and Barton is 5-foot-9.

Another article titled “20 Transgender Celebrities You Need To Know!” shows two photos of actor Cillian Murphy, one dressed as a woman for the 2010 movie “Peacock.”

Another type of click-bait article tells the reader that they won’t believe what some actor or actress from an old movie or TV show looks like today.
An article titled “24 Celebs Who Aged Drastically!” uses a photo of Anna Chlumsky from the movie “My Girl” (1991). She was almost 11 when the movie was released. The article pairs her photo with that of some ugly woman.
Chlumsky, 35, is actually a very attractive lady.

Related articles:

The rise of lying click-bait photos with promoted articles (May 16, 2016)

More lying click-bait articles (June 5, 2016)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Election 2016: What would Dad do?

The 2016 U.S. presidential race has created a dilemma for many voters. Both major party candidates are equally repugnant (Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump). The majority of voters have negative opinions of each.
I’ve been trying to convince my friends and family to vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico. His running mate is William Weld, a former two-term Republican governor of Massachusetts.
Rather than vote for the lesser of two evils, I suggest voting with a clean conscience. In this crazy election maybe the Libertarian Party has a chance.
In July 2009, I asked my parents for their opinions on politics and the government.
Here are their responses:

My dad, James A. Seitz:

As a young lad, I wasn’t tuned into politics. My parents didn’t talk much about politics. Because my parents both went to college, they were judged to be smarter. My dad was asked to be on a county group to review some problem. It only lasted a few days. Generally they were Republicans.
I do not like what our governments are doing today. Too many elected officials are only interested in what is financially in it for “me” or “my” friends.
The federal government is going to destroy our current health system and it will result in higher costs and poorer quality treatment. Hospitals and doctors will receive less money.
Illinois government is a mess. Too many on the payroll and doing too little for the taxpayer. Look how the elected pay off their supporters by giving them state and federal jobs.
I believe we need two-term limits for all elected positions. I also believe there should be no retirement pay for elected persons. Two to four years in an office does not earn a retirement pay.

My mom, Alice L. Seitz:

The government today needs term limitations. The benefits for elected officials is far too generous today. The emphasis is too focused on themselves and being re-elected.
The founding fathers stated that this new form of government should be “by the people and for the people.” This is fast disappearing.

Of the top three presidential candidates, only Johnson is pushing for term limits. He also supports smaller government and lower taxes, which my father would have appreciated.
Dad would not have liked Johnson’s socially liberal stands like marijuana legalization and pro-choice on abortion. But I think he would have appreciated Johnson as an honest man fighting a corrupt two-party system.

Photo: 2016 presidential candidates (from left) Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson and Donald Trump. 

Other stories about Mom and Dad:

Father’s Day without Dad (June 19, 2016)

The Gorilla and the Bear (June 11, 2016)

Lessons from my father (June 19, 2011)

Looking back on the Korean War (April 25, 2010)

Pearl Harbor was my parents’ 9-11 (Dec. 7, 2009)

Today’s 9.4% unemployment is bad, but not like the Depression’s 25% unemployment (Aug. 21, 2009)

The current Great Recession has nothing on the Great Depression (Aug. 16, 2009)

Skis, Princess Elizabeth doll were prized Depression-era gifts for my parents (June 28, 2009)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father’s Day without Dad

Today is my first Father’s Day without my dad, who passed away on June 6.
He was a great father and set a high standard for me as a father myself.
It was nice to share stories about Dad with my siblings during the days leading up to his funeral service in suburban Chicago. It’s the little things that make up our memories of him, not the obituary highlights (Army veteran, research pharmacist, etc.)
He had a weekday routine. He would get up early for work, have a cup of coffee, read the newspaper and listen to WBBM AM news radio. If he needed to get us kids out of bed in the morning, he’d come in to our bedroom and say, “Up and at ’em.”
After work, he liked to go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Before dinner, he’d often ask Mom if she wanted to “split a beer.” (Dad didn’t drink much.)
At the dinner table, he’d ask how everyone’s day was and lead some spirited discussions. He would get an encyclopedia to settle disputed facts or a dictionary to get the definition of words.
After the evening chores were done, he’d settle into the couch to read a book and later watch the 10 p.m. news and “The Tonight Show.” He frequently fell asleep on the sofa. He’d wake up later and head upstairs to bed.
He was a Green Bay Packers fan, sticking to his Wisconsin roots even as he was surrounded by Chicago Bears fans in Illinois. He liked the Chicago White Sox, but could enjoy himself watching practically any baseball game. He enjoyed filling in a scorecard when we went to the ballpark.
He’d take the family on an annual outing to the Arlington Park race track to watch thoroughbred horse racing. He studied the racing programs and newspaper reports to make calculated bets. He usually came home a winner, while the rest of us lost money.
Dad had an analytical mind and took a scientific approach to many pursuits, such as investing. He was a classic value stock investor. He liked to chart stock performance by hand on graph paper in three-ring binders.
Dad was a humble man. His children didn’t know he was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in the Korean War until they began researching his obituary.
He was also a deeply religious man too. A devoted Catholic, he could still recite the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” prayers a week before his death, even though Alzheimer’s had robbed him of most of his memory.
I miss him, but am comforted by the belief that we will meet again in heaven.

Photo: My dad, James A. Seitz, celebrates his 87th birthday in January.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

E3 2016 booth babes, or lack thereof; How Microsoft killed a tradition

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, the annual video game convention better known as E3, was lacking several things: the participation of some key companies (Electronic Arts, Activision and Walt Disney), some rumored big games, and the once ubiquitous “booth babes.”
I didn’t attend E3 this year, but after reviewing media coverage from the show, I noticed a lack of promotional models, those typically attractive young women also called booth babes.
Feminists would applaud the lack of booth babes, because the use of such models has been criticized as sexist. Booth babes as eye candy for male conference attendees has been on the decline for several years.
What likely killed booth babes at E3 this year was the controversy Microsoft stirred up at the Game Developers Conference in March.
At the GDC in San Francisco, Microsoft held an event that featured women dancers dressed as “erotic schoolgirls.” Many attendees were offended and took to social media to register their complaints, Crave reported.
Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer issued a public apology after the event, the Hollywood Reporter and others reported.
Usually after E3, some gaming websites run pictorials of beautiful women working as booth babes at the show. This year I could find none.
The closest I could find was a video by Hobby Consolas of Madrid, Spain, titled “Las Chicas del E3 2016.” The website obviously couldn’t find that many booth babes at E3 this year because its video repeats the same few.
The hottest women at E3 were celebrities.
Actress and model Emily Ratajkowski tried out EA’s “Battlefield 1” at a special event with other celebrities including Zac Efron and Jamie Foxx.
And actress Aisha Tyler presided over the Ubisoft press event.

Photo credits: Photos of Emily Ratajkowski by the Entertainment Software Association. Photo of Aisha Tyler by Ubisoft.

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