Sunday, June 30, 2013

10 entertaining websites, including You Had One Job! and Blackboards in Porn

Occasionally I like to spotlight some of the interesting websites I come across in my travels online.
This is one of those times.

You Had One Job! 

“You Had One Job” is an expression used to call attention to blunders made by careless individuals on the job. The website of the same name posts the embarrassing mistakes of those workers.

Blackboards in Porn

Blackboards in Porn celebrates pornographers who go the extra mile when set decorating classroom porn scenes by writing something on the blackboard. This website examines whether what they wrote is correct.

‘Would you rather’ questions features over 41,000 questions that start with ‘Would you rather …” A lot of the questions are morality based. Others provide insights into your personality.
Questions include “Would you rather your daughter had no friends or was a slut?” and “Would you rather be paralyzed from the neck down for the next five years and then fully recover or be in a coma for the next five years and then fully recover?”

Lists of Note

Lists of Note posts interesting lists from famous people including Albert Einstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Stanley Kubrick. The website is edited by Shaun Usher, who also does Letters of Note.

Letters of Note

Letters of Note publishes letters of historical interest from famous people.

Art Descriptions

Art Descriptions posts artists’ descriptions of their work without showing the actual art. The descriptions are typically pretentious and self-congratulatory.


Nonstartr makes fun of startup business pitches where entrepreneurs describe their companies as a mix of two other companies.

Zombie Dead Blog

Zombie Dead Blog posts screenshots of abandoned blogs from Blogger and elsewhere. Typically these blogs are ones that never really got started, but still exist on the Internet for all to see. The results are quite humorous.

Time Travel Project 

Flora Borsi, a photographer based in Budapest, created a series of pictures called the “Time Travel Project,” where she Photoshops herself into historic photos of famous people. In the pictures, she is taking photos of Elvis Presley, the Beatles and others with a camera phone or digital camera. features humorous photos of flawed English use, mostly in Asia.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Washington Nationals batting music

When Major League Baseball players step up to bat, they usually get a signature piece of music to announce them. This entrance music is called walk-up music.
I attended the Washington Nationals home game against the Colorado Rockies today and kept track of Nationals players’ walk-up music using Shazam on my iPhone 4.
Here’s what I recorded for each player:

Roger Bernadina – “Take You Higher” by Goodwill & Hook N Sling
Ian Desmond – “Warriors” by Ky-Mani
Ian Desmond – “One Sixteen” by Trip Lee, featuring KB & Andy Mineo
Steve Lombardozzi – “Cinderella Man” by Eminem
Chris Marrero – “Don’t Stop the Party” by Pitbull, featuring TJR
Anthony Rendon – “Still D.R.E.” by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre
Craig Stammen – “Pump It Up” by Joe Budden
Kurt Suzuki – “One Drop” by Bob Marley & the Wailers
Kurt Suzuki – “Night Nurse” by Gregory Isaacs
Chad Tracy – “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker
Jayson Werth – “The Walking Dead Theme Song”
Jayson Werth – “Warehouse” by Dave Matthews Band
Ryan Zimmerman – “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Ryan Zimmerman – “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)” by Fall Out Boy
Ryan Zimmerman – “Whatever You Like” by T.I.

This lines up pretty well with earlier accounts of Nationals player walk-up music selections. See reports by District Sports Page, Washingtonian and

Photo: Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon at bat on June 23, 2013.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

In defense of clever graffiti

I don’t condone graffiti, but if you’re going to do it at least make it clever.
Today I noticed that someone had spray-painted graffiti on a fence near my suburban neighborhood. It was the same sort of graffiti you’d see in the inner city – some kid spray-painting their tagger name. Not very interesting or original.
If you’re going to go through the trouble of vandalism, you should at least make a statement – social, political or humorous. I get a big kick out of the latter.
What follows are some examples of clever graffiti or creative vandalism that I’ve seen posted online.
Listverse has the “Top 12 Examples of Graffiti Humor.” Some are gems, but a few are pretty weak. One of my favorite recent examples was a sarcastic remark spray-painted on a public health billboard. (See photo above from HappyPlace.)
Adding funny remarks to billboards is a tried-and-true way to get laughs. Street artist Jilly Ballistic added computer dialog boxes to a number of billboards in New York City poking fun at the products or movies they were advertising. (See PSFK article and photo below.)

Ji Lee, a communication designer at Facebook, took aim at the ubiquitous advertising in New York City for his Bubble Project, which started in 2002. He puts blank speech bubbles on advertisements and invites passersby to fill them in with their expressions. (See sample below.)
In Dublin, Ireland, someone put dresses on billboards featuring a nearly naked Rihanna, who’s currently on tour promoting her latest album. (See article on Yahoo’s music blog Stop the Presses!)
And finally tech-savvy pranksters occasionally hack into portable electronic traffic signs. A sign in Los Angeles was changed to read, “LAPD anal probing. Guard your butthole.” In Winter Park, Fla., a sign was changed to read, “Smoke weed erryday.”

Sunday, June 16, 2013

In praise of public service graffiti

Not all graffiti is bad. Some of it does a public service, such as correcting bad grammar, making an important social statement or even helping traffic flow.
What follows are some examples of public service graffiti.

The Great Typo Hunt

Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, described as editors with no off-switch, formed the Typo Eradication Advancement League to correct misspellings and poor grammar on signs across the U.S. They chronicled their adventures in a book, “The Great Typo Hunt” (2010).
“Armed with markers, chalk, and correction fluid, they circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park,” the book’s description says.

The Tutor Crowd

U.K.-based online tutoring service The Tutor Crowd created a Tumblr blog of its viral marketing campaign to bring English language education to the streets. It corrected poor spelling and grammar on graffiti around London and added a sticker for its service as a signature.

Guerrilla Public Service

In 2001, artist Richard Ankrom surreptitiously installed a new traffic sign over the 110 freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Frustrated by the lack of signage to point drivers to the I-5 North exit, Ankrom took matters into his own hands and crafted a replica directional sign and installed it. He called it “Guerilla Public Service” and hoped it would ease traffic congestion and perhaps save lives.
The sign was so authentic that Caltrans officials let it remain for more than eight years, even after it was revealed shortly after its installation to be an art project. It was replaced as part of a signage upgrade initiative in 2009.
See articles by LA Weekly and Good.

Stenciled Compass Project

In 2010, an unknown street artist began stenciling directional compasses on the sidewalks outside subway stops in Manhattan. The compasses likely proved helpful to many disoriented tourists and other New York City visitors.
See article by NYC The Blog.


An unknown street artist in Hamburg made a statement about an H&M ad campaign that featured photos of a model heavily altered with photo-editing tools. The artist affixed a Photoshop toolbar to billboards with the ad campaign.
See article by Brandflakes for Breakfast.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Apple changes Mac OS names from cats to California locations

It was a sad day for cat lovers on Monday. No, Grumpy Cat and Princess Monster Truck are safe and sound.
I’m referring to Apple’s decision to stop naming its Mac OS X releases after big cats.
Starting with the next release, the computer software updates will be named after locations in California.
“Our latest release, Mountain Lion, is the ninth of our big cat-named releases in just over a decade,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said Monday at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference. “As we turn our attention now toward the 10th, we’ve hit a real issue. We do not want to be the first software in history to be delayed due to a dwindling supply of cats.”
Before announcing the new naming convention for Mac OS releases, he joked that the next release would be “Mac OS X Sea Lion.”

Apple chose California locations to honor its home state and to provide a source of inspirational names for at least the next decade, Federighi said. Apple’s next release will be called “Mavericks” after the dangerous surfing spot in Northern California.
Slate joked that future releases could be named after other perilous Golden State spots like “La Brea” and “Alcatraz.” I’d suggest “South Central” and “Emerald Triangle.”
I disagree with the thinking that there are no more cat names. Sure, wild cats are few and far between, but Apple never used “Mac OS X Ocelot.”

Also, as I’ve written about before, there’s a vast supply of cat names from popular culture.
What follows are several that creative folks on the Internet have come up with.

Maru, the Internet’s favorite box-loving feline.

Japanese icon Hello Kitty.

The aforementioned Grumpy Cat.

Nyan Cat, the Internet meme featuring a flying cat with the body of a toaster pastry that streams rainbows.

Meowingtons, a cat companion to progressive-house music producer and performer Deadmau5.

Rapper Snoop Lion.

Celebrity cougar Courteney Cox.

Celebrity cougar Demi Moore.

Related articles:

Top 10 cat names Apple hasn’t used yet for its Mac software (Aug. 26, 2009)

More suggested Mac OS X names for Apple (Aug. 28, 2009)

Top 10 Mac OS X names Apple hasn’t used yet (Oct. 20, 2010)

More cat names for Apple to consider for the next Mac OS X release (July 21, 2011)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The 2013 fall TV season: initial impressions

After reading up on the fall 2013 TV season and checking out many of the trailers, here are some of my impressions:
  • ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” looks like a surefire hit. A spin-off of the hit superhero movie “The Avengers,” the show was developed by Joss Whedon of “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fame. 
  • There are going to be way too many vampire shows on TV this fall. We already have “The Vampire Diaries,” “True Blood” and “Being Human.” This fall, we’ll also get “The Originals,” a spin-off of “The Vampire Diaries”; and “Dracula” from the producers of “Downton Abbey.” 
  • The Robin Williams sitcom, “The Crazy Ones,” on CBS looks wretched. So it’ll probably be a big hit. 
  • We’ll see no shortage of shows that would work better as feature films. These include CBS political conspiracy drama “Hostages,” NBC’s action thriller “The Blacklist,” and ABC’s racy girl comedy “Super Fun Night.” 
  • Literature in the public domain is the source of many shows this fall. New shows based on off-copyright works include “Sleepy Hollow,” a modern-day retelling of the 1820 short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving; “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” based on the 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll; and “Dracula,” based on the 1897 Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker. They will join returning shows “Beauty and the Beast,” based on the traditional fairy tale first published in 1740; “Grimm,” inspired by “Grimms’ Fairy Tales”; “Once Upon a Time,” based on assorted fairy tale characters; and “Elementary,” based on the Sherlock Holmes detective stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 
  • The new fall shows I’m most interested in watching are “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “The Tomorrow People,” which looks like “The X-Men” mixed with “Heroes” and cast with CW pretty people. 
  • A few midseason replacement series look intriguing as well. They are Fox’s “Almost Human,” the CW’s “The 100,” NBC’s “Crossbones” and “Believe.”

Photo: Promotional art for ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (top) and Fox’s “Almost Human.”

Thursday, June 6, 2013

U.S. maps showing movie and TV show locations

As a pop culture fan, I got a kick out of these three U.S. maps showing the settings of movies and TV shows.
The most comprehensive is “America: the home of television” by graphic artist James Chapman.
The map includes “Friends,” “Frasier,” “The O.C.,” “The Wire,” “Community,” “ER,” “The Office,” “Breaking Bad,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Portlandia,” “Dexter,” “Homeland,” “Glee,” “Parks & Recreation” and many more. (See articles by Laughing Squid and the Huffington Post, as well as Chapman’s Tumblr blog.) It’s for sale as a poster on his Etsy shop.
Reddit user Subtonix made a map of what movies best represent each state. EW had some bones to pick with it, but I think it’s pretty good.
Andrew Shears, assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley in Menasha, Wis., responded with a map showing what TV shows best represent each state.
Shears followed up that map with a second map that used input from others. (See article by the Huffington Post.)

Maps from top down (click images to enlarge): “America: the home of television” by James Chapman; U.S. movie map by Subtonix; “50 States, 50 TV Series” Remixed: Popular Feedback Edition by Andrew Shears.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

America continues to punish sexy women

Many Americans have hang-ups about sex. They’d much rather their children be exposed to violent imagery than sexuality. They shun women who have worked as sexy models or porn performers and treat them like lepers.
In January, I documented a host of cases where women lost their jobs for having worked as strippers, nude models, lingerie models or porn performers, even years earlier. (See “Public treats porn performers, nude models like criminals.” I covered the same topic in April 2011 for the article “Being a porn actress isn’t a crime, so women shouldn’t be harassed because of it.”)
The harsh treatment continues.
In May, an English teacher at Martin County High School in Stuart, Fla., lost her job after one of her racy modeling photos came to the attention of the school’s principal. Olivia Sprauer, 26, who models under the name Victoria James, was forced to resign.
Thankfully, Sprauer is taking it all in stride and enjoying the publicity, according to the Huffington Post. You can check out her photos at Model Mayhem and her Facebook page.
Also last month, porn actress Chanel Preston had her bank account shut down because the bank didn’t like her line of work. Others in the porn industry have been denied loans on moral grounds, according to CNBC and AVN.
In December, the Daily Beast published a first-person account of a former Craigslist call girl, Melissa Petro. Petro, who left sex work in 2007 to become a public school teacher in New York City, made headlines in 2011 when she lost the teaching job after blogging about her past sex work on the Huffington Post. (See coverage of her firing by the Village Voice, the New York Times and Jezebel.)
Petro defended women who choose sex work and urged compassion for those in that line of work.
It’s time for Americans to live and let live and not be so judgmental of others and their lifestyles.

Photos: Victoria James (top) and Chanel Preston.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Prostitution cases frequently a waste of law enforcement resources

Last week, Alexis Wright, a Zumba instructor and part-time hooker who plied both trades out of her Kennebunk, Maine, dance studio, was sentenced to 10 months in jail on charges related to prostitution and state tax evasion.
The media covered the heck out of the story because it involves sex and Wright, 30, is an attractive woman.
Prostitution, when between consenting adults, should not be something cops and courts are concerned with. Sexual slavery, human trafficking and child prostitution should be targets for law enforcement.
As with marijuana dealing, prostitution needs to be taken out of the shadows, legalized, regulated and taxed. U.S. state and federal governments don’t need to play morality police.
Having Wright, a single mother, sit in jail isn’t going to improve the world. The streets aren’t any safer with her behind bars. As for the charges that Wright evaded taxes and defrauded the state to receive welfare, she absolutely needs to make good and settle up. She was ordered to pay $58,000 in restitution. (See articles by U.S. News and World Report and the Daily Mail.)
Or, consider the media coverage of three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton, who admitted in December to working as a high-priced escort for the prior year.
Once again, attractive woman plus sex equals popular news story. The fact that she was a public figure with lots of available photos helped the story even more. (See articles by the Daily Mail, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and Radar Online, which even had a photo slideshow.)
Then, there’s the case of hockey mom madam Anna Gristina, who ran a call girl service in New York that was broken up last year. Her partner in crime was gorgeous glamour girl Jaynie Mae Baker. (See articles by the New York Daily News, the New York Post, the Christian Post and the Daily Caller.)
Last year, porn actress Nichole Heiress was arrested in northeast Ohio for soliciting sex on the classified website (See articles by NewsNet 5 in Cleveland and Xbiz.)
Personally I don’t see much of a difference between getting paid to perform sex on camera or off camera. It’s the same thing, although the former is considered protected speech under the First Amendment.
Somehow this reminds me of a joke Johnny Carson used to tell about an indecent proposal.
On “The Tonight Show,” Carson told the story of a wealthy man who was entranced by a beautiful woman at a social function. He introduced himself, made her aware of his wealth, and asked her if she would have sex with him for one million dollars.
“Yes, I suppose so,” said the lady.
“Well, would you do it for one dollar?” replied the man.
The woman was shocked and offended. “What kind of woman do you think I am?” she responded.
“We’ve established that,” the man said. “Now we’re just haggling over the price.”
(Note: Quote Investigator has traced the humorous story back to 1937.)
A website called blurs the line between online dating and prostitution.
Members of the service are divided into two groups: “the generous” (men) and “the attractive” (women), the Huffington Post reported.
“Attractive users are invited to create profiles on the site, featuring all the basic information you’d find on most dating networks, as well as the amount of money they’d accept for someone to go on a date with them. The generous, meanwhile, can browse through these profiles, and make offers to any attractive users that catch their eye. Once an offer is made, the attractive member can choose to accept it, reject it, or come up with a different price.”
The service is not prostitution because the men are bidding on first dates, not sex, the company told Gawker.
That may be true. But even massage parlors only advertise giving massages.

Photos: Jennifer Love Hewitt, star of “The Client List,” a show about a single mother who becomes a prostitute to make ends meet.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Big public art displays put a smile on my face

I love big, bold displays of art in public places. The more fanciful the better. I’m sure a lot of people share my feelings.
Growing up I was enchanted by the work of Christo, who would drape buildings and landscapes in colorful cloth for a limited time.
I’m originally from Chicago, which has a tradition of large outdoor art displays, such as the Picasso in Daley Plaza and Cloud Gate and the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.
What follows are some examples of big whimsical public art displays.

Rubber Duck

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman has created a 54-foot high inflatable artwork called Rubber Duck. It visited Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong last month. Rubber Duck previously has toured Sydney, Osaka, Sao Paulo and other cities on its world trip. It’s set to visit the U.S. next.
See Hofman’s website as well as news coverage by Huffington Post, Laughing Squid and Yahoo.

RedBall Project

Chicago-born artist Kurt Perschke has a traveling art exhibit called the RedBall Project. He embeds a 15-foot inflatable red sphere within a city’s urban environment to dazzle and amuse residents from limited periods. (Red Ball pictured here in Grand Rapids, Mich. Photo by Daniel E. Johnson.)
Check out Perschke’s website and news coverage by Huffington Post and Damn Cool Pictures.

Red, Yellow and Blue

Brooklyn-based artist Orly Genger created “Red, Yellow and Blue,” an installation in New York City’s Madison Square Park consisting of 1.4 million feet of repurposed nautical rope and 3,000 gallons of paint. The exhibit will be on display from May 2 to Sept. 8, 2013, according to Laughing Squid.

Cloud Parking

Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya turned a rooftop parking lot in Linz, Austria, into her “Cloud Parking” exhibit in 2011. She created the fog effect with a 600 nozzle high pressure water misting system. Nakaya has been making site-specific fog installations around the world since 1970.
See articles by My Modern Met and Laughing Squid.


To mark the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the Australian city of Canberra, the creative director of centenary celebrations commissioned Australian sculptor Patricia Piccinini to develop a hot air balloon. The Skywhale balloon was publicly unveiled in May.
See articles by Kuriositas and Wikipedia. (Photo by Joccoaa Phillips.)

Street art

I’ve written previously about street art, which can be very whimsical.
Check out the website Street Art Utopia for photos and descriptions of many notable works, including the work above by Nuxuno Xän in Fort De France, Martinique.
And then there’s the niche of 3D chalk art street painting, including the amazing work of Tracy Lee Stum. (See article by Laughing Squid.)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

‘Supernatural,’ ‘Revolution,’ ‘Walking Dead’ bright spots of 2012-13 TV season

The 2012-13 TV season is drawing to a close and it’s time to assess the hits and misses.

The Hits 

“Supernatural,” which just concluded its eighth season on the CW, continues to find ways to entertain and surprise me. The finale featured a great cliffhanger, capped with angels falling from heaven.
The mythology around the Winchester brothers as demon and monster hunters is every bit as rich as the worlds created by Joss Whedon of “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fame.
The post-apocalyptic science-fiction drama “Revolution” is my pick for the best new show of the season. It was created by Eric Kripke, who also created “Supernatural.”
NBC’s “Revolution” improved as the first season progressed, especially as details emerged about what caused the global blackout.

In its third season, zombie apocalypse drama “The Walking Dead” hit its stride. The body count increased and the situation grew more dire for the survivors. The AMC horror drama series has gotten more intense and suspenseful.
Fantasy-adventure cartoon “Adventure Time” is perhaps my favorite show. Creator Pendleton Ward has made a show that works for both adults and youngsters. He’s created a weird and amazing world and populated with colorful characters. The Cartoon Network show packs a lot of heart, humor and intelligence into each 11-minute episode. The dialogue is brilliant and I frequently find myself quoting from the show.
I also liked the second season of the FX show “American Horror Story,” called “Asylum.” It was sick and twisted, but compelling TV.

The Pretty Good 

I’m still watching “The Vampire Diaries,” but after four seasons it’s definitely past its freshness date. In a perfect world, the CW would look to conclude the series before they drain all the blood out of the story. I’m about ready to bail on this show, especially with a spin-off series, “The Originals,” coming this fall. Two shows is too much for this property.
NBC’s serial killer drama “Hannibal” has moments of brilliance, but I’m looking for more suspense and surprises. Hopefully the producers will improve upon the show in season two. I want it to feel more like the Hannibal Lecter movies “Red Dragon” and “Silence of the Lambs.”
ABC canceled two shows that I rather enjoyed, but won’t miss too much. They are edgy sitcom “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23” and supernatural drama “666 Park Avenue.”

The Misses 

Like a lot of viewers, I opted out of the second season of NBC’s musical melodrama “Smash.” The first season was entertaining enough, but a narrative mess. I also felt like the finale of the first season was a good place to end the show.
I tried watching ABC’s soapy drama “Revenge” at the start of its second season, but quickly gave up. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first season. The narrative in the second season got too confusing for its own good, adding some new conspiracy to an already far-fetched plot.
I also sampled the premieres of “The Following” starring Kevin Bacon and “Zero Hour” starring Anthony Edwards. Neither grabbed me.

Photos: Scene from “Supernatural” season eight (top); promotional photo from “Revolution”; “Adventure Time” title card; “666 Park Avenue” advertisement; and “The Walking Dead” season three poster.