Thursday, August 31, 2006 is the "definitive commentary track database" featuring reviews of DVD commentary tracks their list of the 100 best DVD commentary tracks.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In 2004 Ricky Gervais made two in-house training videos for Microsoft as David Brent, his character from the Office. These videos which Microsoft said were "a light-hearted way of getting our staff to think about the values they attach to working at Microsoft," have now been posted on Google video. This Reuters article has more information on the videos.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sportswriter Henry Abbot attempts to explain how the NBA works by investigating the life of a man named William Wesley in this post from the blog True Hoop.

"In many ways, the most important things I have learned from the William Wesley investigation so far are not about Wesley at all. They are about the nature of celebrity and power in the NBA. Here's an attempt to explain.

You can see it in pictures for yourself online. There he is: arriving late at night at a hotel in Shanghai with Allen Iverson, helping to break up the famous Piston-Pacer squabble in Auburn Hills, and in snappy formalwear arm in arm with the birthday boy at LeBron James’ 21st.

He has a clean-shaven head, a ready smile, and an appearance that has been compared to a grown-up Urkel.

His name is William Wesley, and for more than a decade it has been something of an open secret in the NBA that he is about as connected an NBA insider as there has ever been."

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Beloit College Mindset List "is a general statement of the experiences and events that shaped the view of the world maintained by entering students" of Beloit College's Class of 2010, who were mostly born in 1988. Some examples from the list:

1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.

7. They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.

23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.

24. Madden has always been a game, not a Superbowl-winning coach.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Game Over" is a short film that uses stop-motion animation to turn various household objects into classic video games like Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I don't follow tennis, but every few years David Foster Wallace writes an article about tennis that makes it sound fascinating. In this New York Times Magazine article, Wallace explains why Roger Federer is the best tennis player in the world.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

In this Atlantic Monthly article, Jack Beatty explains why the current state of the economy could mean trouble for Republican candidates:

"In short, either falling real incomes or rising unemployment strongly predicts defeat for the incumbent—that is, the president’s party in off-year elections. If the experts quoted in the Times are right, real personal incomes, which have fallen since 2001, will fall this year—that’s what inflation means. If, to moderate inflation, the Fed raises interest rates to slow the economy, then unemployment will rise. Both are likely to rise together, if Gordon is right, between now and 2008. Thus, if history is any guide, economic retrospective voting should cost the Republicans the House this year and the presidency in 2008."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The word planet has never had an official definition. As this article explains, the International Astronomical Union's proposed new definition of planet could mean the solar system has at least 12 planets.

"The proposal, which sources tell is gaining broad support, tries to plug a big gap in astronomy textbooks, which have never had a definition for the word "planet." It addresses discoveries of Pluto-sized worlds that have in recent years pitched astronomers into heated debates over terminology.

The asteroid Ceres, which is round, would be recast as a dwarf planet in the new scheme. Pluto would remain a planet and its moon Charon would be reclassified as a planet. Both would be called "plutons," however, to distinguish them from the eight "classical" planets. A far-out Pluto-sized object known as 2003 UB313 would also be called a pluton."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Recently Geraldo Rivera said that Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert "count for nothing" because they "make a living putting on video of old ladies slipping on ice." Colbert responded by appearing on the Daily Show to demand that Jon Stewart apologize to Geraldo. Stewart refused to apologize. Later, Colbert brought Stewart to his show to convince him to apologize by getting him to walk a mile in Geraldo's moustache.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I have been watching and enjoying the second season of Deadwood on DVD. Deadwood was created by David Milch, who had previously worked on Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. This profile of David Milch originally ran in the New Yorker and tells the interesting story of Milch's life and how he created Deadwood.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Minnesota Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kennedy has endorsed Connecticut Senate candidate Joe Lieberman. The Blotter tries to make sense of this endorsement here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

As this Salon article explains, Democrats in Wisconsin think that stem cell research could be the wedge issue that will help them win in November.

"In 2004, observers attributed much of President Bush's slim margin of victory to the clever use of a single wedge issue. Ballot initiatives banning gay marriage may have lured more conservative voters to the polls in 11 states, and Bush won all those states except Michigan and Oregon.

Two years later, Republicans are again using gay marriage to rouse their socially conservative base. In November six more states will vote on whether to ban same-sex unions. But in the battleground state of Wisconsin, early polling suggests that gay marriage may be losing some of its Election Day magic -- and that Democrats have found a wedge issue of their own with as much or more drawing power."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

In this Washington Post column, E. J. Dionne surveys the political landscape and asks, "Is conservatism finished?

What might have seemed an absurd question less than two years ago is now one of the most important issues in American politics. The question is being asked -- mostly quietly but occasionally publicly -- by conservatives themselves as they survey the wreckage of their hopes, and as their champions in the Republican Party use any means necessary to survive this fall's elections."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Republicans are in trouble, if even their own candidates don't want to admit they are loyal to their party. Republican Senate candidate Mark Kennedy is running TV ads that say he's really "independent" and often "crosses party lines." But as this Minneapolis Star Tribune article explains, he "voted along with the majority of Republicans on about 95 percent of all partisan votes."

In response Kennedy said, "that measuring how often he votes with other Republicans or in agreement with the Bush administration position in no way proves that he lacks independence." I guess Kennedy is independent about 5% of the time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

This Los Angeles Times article explains how man-made chemicals have "altered the basic chemistry of the seas."

"In many places — the atolls of the Pacific, the shrimp beds of the Eastern Seaboard, the fiords of Norway — some of the most advanced forms of ocean life are struggling to survive while the most primitive are thriving and spreading. Fish, corals and marine mammals are dying while algae, bacteria and jellyfish are growing unchecked. Where this pattern is most pronounced, scientists evoke a scenario of evolution running in reverse, returning to the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Film selects the Top 50 Movie Endings of All Time.