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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Suggested California names for Apple’s macOS

Apple on Monday announced that its latest Mac computer operating system will be called macOS Sierra, after the mountain range.
Apple started naming its Mac operating systems after California landmarks in 2013 with Mavericks. The next two annual releases were called Yosemite and El Capitan.
Apple reportedly has registered trademarks on a host of possible names including Redwood, Mammoth, Sequoia, Mojave and Ventura.
Here are some suggestions that Apple is unlikely to choose for future macOS releases:
  • Alcatraz (former maximum security federal prison)
  • Donner Pass (where the ill-fated Donner Party resorted to cannibalism to survive)
  • Emerald Triangle (Northern California region known for its illegal marijuana production)
  • La Brea (after the famous tar pits in Los Angeles)
  • Loma Prieta (location of the devastating 1989 earthquake)
  • Lompoc (known for its federal prison)
  • Neverland Ranch (home of late entertainer and accused child molester Michael Jackson)
  • Porter Ranch (site of a massive natural gas leak and environmental disaster)
  • San Andreas (the earthquake-prone fault line)
  • South Central (a crime-ridden section of Los Angeles)
  • Spahn Ranch (home base for the murderous Manson family)
Engadget suggested a few more unlikely candidates, including The 405, Compton, Muscle Beach and Tenderloin.
Macworld UK took the exercise a bit more seriously and suggested Hollywood and Long Beach, among others. But Death Valley seems to be a humorous pick.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Gorilla and the Bear

My father was strong until the end. After six years of battling the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, his 87-year-old body finally gave out last Monday.
He was moved into hospice care when he developed abdominal pain and stopped eating a week earlier. I wasn’t there when he experienced that pain, but am told it was hard to watch him moan in agony, unable to describe what he was feeling.
The hospice workers gave him two small plush animals to squeeze while he suffered through the pain – a gorilla and a bear. Two strong animals, they symbolized my dad’s strength of body, spirit and character. He gripped one in each hand until the pain subsided and he slipped into a coma.
His death looked imminent as six of his seven children traveled to be at his bedside. I was the last to arrive. I was racked with guilt over whether to fly to Chicago from D.C. if the chances were good that he’d die before I got there.
But one of my sisters told me he was waiting for me to visit and hear my voice before he could move on. My father was a deeply spiritual and religious man.
I arrived just after midnight Monday morning and spent the night with him, listening to his labored breathing and saying my last goodbyes.
During the day, my mom suggested that we end our constant vigil. She said Dad would not have wanted anyone to watch him die. She knew him best after nearly 62 years of marriage. We agreed with her wishes.
We left for dinner and shortly thereafter he passed.
And there by his bedside were the gorilla and the bear.


James A. Seitz obituary (Libertyville Funeral Home)

James A. Seitz obituary (Legacy.com)

Alzheimer’s Association (Alz.org)

Seitz Update (June 12, 2016)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

More lying click-bait articles

Last month I wrote about the trend of content-marketing services using “lying click-bait photos” to promote their articles. They’ll often use a photo that doesn’t match the subject of the article to trick people into clicking on them.
For instance, an article that promises historical photos might use a staged photo or a picture of an attractive woman. Celebrity articles will use a photo that is inaccurate in the context of the article headline.
Here are the latest examples I’ve seen.
An article titled “Photos That Almost Broke the Internet” featured a photo of an attractive blonde woman in a light blue top. The picture of the mystery woman is nice, but certainly isn’t anything special.

Another article titled “She Didn’t Notice Drone Filming” shows a busty young lady on the beach. But the photo clearly wasn’t taken with a drone.

An article titled “13 Celebs You Might Not Know Are Twins” shows actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes, who are brothers but not twins. Ralph is 53 and Joseph is 46.

An article titled “10 Celebs You Had No Clue Were Married To Each Other” features a photo of actors William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum, co-stars of the Showtime series “Shameless.” Macy is married to actress Felicity Huffman.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

List of movies featuring time machines

I’m a sucker for time travel movies. But most are pretty terrible. My favorites are the “Back to the Future” and “Terminator” movies.
The mode of time travel in movies is usually magic or something supernatural. Here I’ve tried to compile a list of live-action movies that feature time machines that are presumed to be science-based. So, no time machines that look like hot tubs or phone booths.
I tried to include only movies where the film revolves around the time machine, so I left out the “Terminator” and “Austin Powers” movies. In those movies, time travel is more of a device to launch the action or set up the fish-out-of-water plot.

Movies featuring time machines, with review score 

The Time Machine (1960), 77% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes
The Time Travelers (1964)
Journey to the Center of Time (1967)
Idaho Transfer (1973)
Time After Time (1979), 86%
My Science Project (1985), 14%
Back to the Future (1985), 96%
Back to the Future Part II (1989), 63%
Back to the Future Part III (1990), 74%
Timecop (1994), 43%
12 Monkeys (1995), 88%
The Time Machine (2002), 29%
Timeline (2003), 11%
Primer (2004), 71%
A Sound of Thunder (2005), 6%
Timecrimes (2007), 88%
Looper (2012), 93%
Predestination (2014), 84%
Project Almanac (2015), 35%

Photo: Movie poster from "Back to the Future."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Actresses who have played Alice from ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’

With the latest Alice in Wonderland movie now in theaters, I thought it would be fun to look at how many different actresses have played the part.
Mia Wasikowska has now played Alice in two movies for Walt Disney: “Alice in Wonderland” (2010) and “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (2016).
Alice is the lead character in two children’s novels by Lewis Carroll: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865) and its sequel, “Through the Looking-Glass” (1871). The two literary works are in the public domain, which allows anyone to produce their own adaptations without restriction or having to pay for usage rights.


May Clark, “Alice in Wonderland” (1903)
Gladys Hulette, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1910)
Viola Savory, “Alice in Wonderland” (1915)
Ruth Gilbert, “Alice in Wonderland” (1931)
Charlotte Henry, “Alice in Wonderland” (1933)
Carol Marsh, “Alice in Wonderland” (1949)
Fiona Fullerton, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1972)
Kristyna Kohoutova, “Alice” (1988)
Maggie Gwin, “Alice’s Misadventures in Wonderland” (2004)
Maggie Grace, “Malice in Wonderland” (2009)
Mia Wasikowska, “Alice in Wonderland” (2010) and “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (2016)


Ursula Hanray, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (BBC, 1937)
Vivian Pickles, “Alice In Wonderland” (BBC, 1946)
Iris Mann, “Ford Theatre: Alice In Wonderland” (CBS, 1950)
Robin Morgan, “Kraft Theatre: Alice in Wonderland” (ABC, 1954)
Gillian Barber, “Alice in Wonderland” (NBC, Hallmark Hall of Fame, 1955)
Jeannie Carson, “Alice Through the Looking Box” (1960)
Anne-Marie Malik, “Alice in Wonderland” (BBC, 1966)
Judi Rolin, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (NBC, 1966)
Sarah Sutton, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (BBC, 1973)
Meryl Streep, “Alice at the Palace” (NBC, 1982)
Annie Enneking, “Alice in Wonderland” (1982)
Jenny Agutter, “A Dream of Alice” (BBC, 1982)
Kate Burton, “Great Performances: Alice in Wonderland” (PBS, 1983)
Natalie Gregory, “Alice in Wonderland” (CBS, 1985)
Giselle Andrews, “Alice in Wonderland” (Anglia Television, 1985)
Kate Dorning, “Alice in Wonderland” (BBC, 1986)
Elisabeth Harnois, “Adventures in Wonderland” (1992-1995)
Kate Beckinsale, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (Channel 4, 1998)
Tina Majorino, “Alice in Wonderland” (NBC, 1999)
Caterina Scorsone, “Alice” (Syfy, 2009)
Lauren Cuthbertson, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (BBC, 2011)
Sophie Lowe, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” (2013–14)

Porn movies

Kristine DeBell, “Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Comedy” (1975)
Allysin Chaynes, “Wonderland” (2001)
Stacy Saran, “Alice: A Fairy Love Tale” (2010)
Sunny Lane, “Alice” (2010)
Sasha Grey, “Malice in Lalaland” (2010)
Lexi Belle, “Wonderland” (2013)

Photos: Mia Wasikowska (top), Carol Marsh, Maggie Grace, Kate Beckinsale, Meryl Streep, and Lexi Belle (second from left).