Thursday, April 30, 2020

Easy million-pound questions

It's amazing how different the questions are on the British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  Check out the million-pound question this guy received:

Which of these is not one of the American Triple Crown horse races?
A. Arlington Million
B. Belmont Stakes
C. Kentucky Derby
D. Preakness Stakes
It's the Arlington Million!  Duh!  I can't believe that question was worth a million pounds!  The contestant also used his 50/50, which wound up leaving the Arlington Million and the Kentucky Derby, at which point it was a gimme.

And then there was another million-pound question that asked "How many stars are on the American flag?"  Come on!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Dunkey exposes the FFVII Remake

I watched the Dunkey review of Final Fantasy VII Remake, and I learned that the remake only takes place in Midgar City.  What the fuck???  They've left out 75% of the game! 


Are you telling me there's no Cid?  No Golden Saucer?  No Costa del Sol???


Fuck all that.  Why would the developers do such a thing and create such an abomination?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Google Play Store conspiracies

I saw this post on /r/WayOfTheBern.  It claimed that CNN removed the August 11, 1993 episode of  Larry King Live from Google Play:

https://www.reddit.com/r/WayOfTheBern/comments/g84c25/cnn_removed_the_august_11th_1993_larry_king/

Here's the attached image:


Let's get one thing out of the way:  /r/WayOfTheBern is picking up the slack for /r/The_Donald.  It's a low-effort subreddit where people can post memes and conspiracy theories attacking Joe Biden and Democrats and the media in general.  It has 78,000 subscribers right now.  We'll see if that grows.

Now, for the conspiracy theory itself:  It's...weird.  I won't say it's impossible that CNN got the episode listing removed, but the OP makes no effort to explain how the Google Play Store works.  It should be noted that none of these Larry King Live episodes are watchable or purchasable.  Were they able to be watched or purchased in the past?  I don't fucking know.

It is odd how the August 11th episode is the only one in its row that's missing, but it's hard to say why that is unless you know how these listings were generated in the first place. 

Here's the link to the 1993 episode listings:

https://play.google.com/store/tv/show?id=7A759298BC2363D8SH&cdid=tvseason-40218FBD1AFA6A82SE

A notification says "This show is currently unavailable."  Wouldn't it be more interesting to figure out if the episodes were available at some point in the pastwhether on Google Play or through some other service or digital collection?

Some blogger named Patterico did a write-up about this conspiracy, and he embedded a tweet from a CNN employee named Matt Dornic who huffed and puffed but didn't really say how the listings were generated:

http://patterico.com/2020/04/26/about-that-conspiracy-theory-that-cnn-removed-a-critical-episode-of-larry-king-from-google-play/



Monday, April 27, 2020

A possibly-hard puzzle

I completed this puzzle in 1:24:05.  A lot of these puzzles seem to take over an hour.

Afterwards, when I watched the video introduction again, I realized that the numbers inside each little cage aren't allowed to repeat.  So, with the "30" cage for instance, I was anticipating it could be something like 9-9-8-4.  And, when I was solving the puzzle and figured out it was 6-7-8-9, I thought 'Oh wow, that's convenient!'

The first thing I did was determine that all the digits in each of the "Clone" areas must sum up to 40.  Then I figured out, somehow, that the 1 couldn't be in the Clone area.  Looking back...I forget how I figure that part out....

How did I solve this puzzle, exactly? 


https://cracking-the-cryptic.web.app/sudoku/BDnqQjb3GN

Saturday, April 25, 2020

A Medium-Fedium Puzzle

This puzzle wasn't too hard.  My problem was that I kept messing up.  Once I stopped messing up, I was able to solve it.



https://cracking-the-cryptic.web.app/sudoku/p6Pb99bbDr

You see, I kept using the "Centre" feature to insert a pair of potential numbers into one square at a time...but I learned that I should only use the "Centre" feature if I'm putting the same potential numbers into multiple squares at the same time.  Otherwise, I get confused by my own notes, and leap to conclusion that aren't valid.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Sarah Silverman parody

I know this is a parody, but...I do find the parody Sarah Silverman pretty funny.  Probably a lot funnier than Kelly Bachman's normal comedy (he says, having never seen it):


Thursday, April 23, 2020

A Hardy-Fardy Puzzle

This was the hardest fucking puzzle I've ever solved in my life.  It took me about a day to figure out.  (And that was without any trial-and-error, which is a blasphemous approach.)   

https://cracking-the-cryptic.web.app/sudoku/pH83rGHQRR

I kept messing up the puzzle and having to start over.  And then, when I finally solved it, I hit "Restart" and solved it again, just to make sure I hadn't gotten lucky.  Then I solved it again, just to make sure I hadn't gotten lucky a second time. 

There are other puzzles on the channel that I haven't solved yet, and I have to decide just how much time I'm willing to sink into something which I can't solve.  Like...at what point do I say "Fuck it" and just watch how the guy in the video does it? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Manic movie review: Sleeping with Other People

Sleeping with Other People answers the question:  What if someone made a movie in the spirit of When Harry Met Sally, but forgot to make it good?  Or what if someone made a movie in the spirit of When Harry Met Sally with some references to The Graduate thrown in, and still forgot to make it good?

The movie is streaming on Netflix right now, although it's not a movie that I would recommend giving your full attention.  It's probably a better movie to play on the TV in the background while you do other stuff, so every once in a while you can glance up and go, "Huh.  Faces."

Sleeping with Other People stars Alison Brie as Lainey, and Jason Sudeikis as Jason Sudeikis.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Trump's lampshade

Whoa, Donald Trump actually lampshaded the thing I wrote about recentlyi.e. the notion that there's no way Joe Biden is writing his own tweets.  During a press conference, a woman started claiming that Joe Biden had "attacked" Trump in a tweet, and Trump replied:
"He didn't write that.  That was done by a Democrat operative."


And it's probably true!  So what will reporters do now?  Will they acknowledge that someone else is probably writing Joe Biden's tweets, or will they carry on the charade?  Also check out the dumbass reporter holding up her phone, as if to prove to Trump it's a real tweet, like she's saying: 'No, I really saw this thing Joe Biden wrote!'

Monday, April 20, 2020

Right-wing donors

Here's a short article about right-wing donors supporting the protests against stay-at-home orders:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/18/coronavirus-americans-protest-stay-at-home

I haven't heard of these donor groups before.  I never heard of the Michigan Freedom Fund or the Virginia Citizens Defense League.  I can understand by its name that the "Virginia Citizens Defense League" is probably a gun rights group.  But the Michigan Freedom Fund?  I would guess that they...fund...freedom?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Not an easy peasy puzzle

This was an actual fun logic puzzle:



And by "fun" I mean it was challenging.  It took me over 90 minutes to solve!  Granted, I did it in the middle of the night, so maybe I would've gone faster if I wasn't ready to fall asleep.  Or...maybe I just suck at Sudoku normally.  Either way, fun puzzle.

I did watch the video up to the 3:08 mark, and the guy gave a hint about how to tackle the middle square.  But right at the 3:08 mark I hit "pause," since I figured the rest would be solvable.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Roger Stone supports Laura Loomer

I was reading a hype piece about Laura Loomer in the New York Post:
https://nypost.com/2020/04/18/republican-aoc-laura-loomer-gains-steam-in-congressional-run/
This paragraph in particular stood out:
“She’s the Republican’s AOC,” longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone gushed to The Post. “She’s young. She’s energetic. She’s feisty. She’s anti-establishment, and she has an enormous national following, as does AOC, which can help finance a congressional race.”
I did a double take, because...isn't Roger Stone in jail by now?  I checked, and the latest update (courtesy of Axios) is that he was denied a new trial.  So he might start serving his sentence soon:
https://www.axios.com/roger-stone-trial-denied-prison-trump-f55be4e2-d521-4f48-80a4-45f369ab7958.html

Friday, April 17, 2020

Fusion aims at Millennials

Here's another hype video for a media company that must have cratered morale:


It's from October, 2013.  I wonder how Fusion is doing these days?  This New York Times article from May of 2015 didn't exactly paint the rosiest picture:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/25/business/media/fusion-media-aims-at-millennials-but-struggles-to-find-its-identity.html

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Gannett "Everything is Awesome" video

If you were in the audience, watching this video, wouldn't you just want to blow your fucking brains out?




That video is from April, 2015.  I started reading a Nieman Lab article about Gannett's current financial state, and was just puzzled.  How does this company still exist if its financial state is such shit?  Isn't it just going to disappear completely?
https://www.niemanlab.org/2020/04/newsonomics-poison-pill-swallowed-whats-next-for-reeling-gannett/

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Zaysan.com

Here's a random blogspam site being posted on Reddit:
https://www.reddit.com/domain/zaysan.com/
It's called Zaysan.com.  I don't think it's a straight-up plagiarism site.  But the articles are still sloppily-written.  It's being spammed in /r/Futurology a lot, and the articles posted there have a slight tech and science-y bent.  Check out the opening paragraph of this post:
https://web.archive.org/save/http://www.zaysan.com/u-s-cancer-deaths-continue-decline-with-sharpest-1-year-drop-new-data-says/
According to this report from the American Cancer Society, since 1991, the overall cancer mortality rate has decreased by an average of about 1.5% per year. In 2016-2017, the overall mortality rate fell by 2.2%! This is the largest decline in this statistical value since 1930 (since the statistics on cancer data will be delayed by 2-4 years, the latest statistics on cancer morbidity and mortality in this report are as of 2017). What factors have caused a significant decline in cancer mortality? Now let’s take a look at the detailed contents of the report.
That paragraph doesn't actually contain a link to any report, so anyone reading the article will feel slightly disoriented and not know why.

Here are a few recent posts that were sitting at the top of /r/Futurology:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/fyonu4/cancer_deaths_continue_decline_with_sharpest/ 
https://www.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/fys7o6/norwegian_waste_plastic_bottles_have_achieved_97/
Those links were posted by these two accounts, respectively:
https://www.reddit.com/user/mansour1 
https://www.reddit.com/user/jalfar36 
Here's another likely spammer:
https://www.reddit.com/user/aboelez005/submitted/
His only visible submission right now is an hour-old post in /r/Coronavirus.  We'll see if it stays visible for long:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Coronavirus/comments/g22ms1/new_york_state_issues_an_executive_order_all/ 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

PenielAgency.com

PenielAgency.com is a random plagiarism site.

Here's an article from April 14, 2020, titled: "Man expecting to get stimulus check finds millions in bank account"
https://web.archive.org/save/https://penielagency.com/man-expecting-to-get-stimulus-check-finds-millions-in-bank-account/
It was copied from an April 14, 2020 New York Post article titled Man expecting to get $1,700 stimulus check finds millions in bank account"
https://nypost.com/2020/04/14/man-expecting-to-get-stimulus-check-finds-millions-in-bank-account/

Monday, April 13, 2020

Manic movie review: Marriage Story

Marriage Story is a dramatic movie directed by Noah Baumbach.  It stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a married couple going through divorce.  There are tears, and laughs, and blood, and a whole lot of acting.  Serious acting.  Acting with a capital "A."  Check out this scene:


It's clear that both Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson have taken the online Masterclass taught by Natalie Portman.  You knowthe one where she teaches acting.  She describes (among other things) how to act as if you've just discovered your partner was cheating on you, and I'm sure many of her insights were useful. 


What's even more impressive about the above scene from Marriage Story is how they were able to demonstrate such a high level of acting without having a large number of props in the room from which to draw emotionally.  They were acting in a mostly bare apartment with blank walls.  So, maybe they paid special attention to Natalie's lesson about green screen acting. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Manic TV review: Community S4E3: "Conventions of Space and Time"

This episode has the strangest fucking opening.

Let me transcribe what Abed says to Troy at the start of the episode:  "Are you watching Inspector Spacetime?  We need to go over the convention schedule again.  Troy, it's a week away, and we need to revise our whole strategy.  Troy, I've printed out several maps of the convention center and color-coded the best potential routes.  Now we know I have a longer stride, but I'm assuming your superior physical fitness will allow you to compensate with greater speed.  One thing's for sure, though.  We need to save time by changing into our costumes in the car."

His delivery is even weirder.  It's like the creative team wanted to turn Abed into a copy of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.  (Also, Abed is a faster runner than Troy; this was established in season 1.)   

And, while Abed is talking to Troy, Britta is getting dressed while racing through the hallway of the apartment building, and the camera shows that she has placed her shoes in spots along the hallway so she can...get dressed faster(?)  It doesn't even make sense.  Why wouldn't she just get dressed before racing through the hallway?  Or take her shoes with her the night before? 

The rest of the episode is relatively normal. 

The director of the episode was Michael Patrick Jann, and this is the only episode of Community he directed.  If I ever had the chance to interview him, I would only ask him about this episode and ask what was up with the opening scene. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

An easy peasy puzzle

I found this through Digg.  It's a post on Popular Mechanics titled:
This 'Open the Lock' Logic Puzzle Is Stumping the Internet. Can You Solve It?
https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/a32071853/open-the-lock-puzzle-riddle-answer/
Titles like that annoy me in hindsight, because anyone who's really stumped by this puzzle is clearly an idiot.  Here's the puzzle:


The only "tricky" part is figuring out whether or not the clues can be taken at face value.  For instance, when it says "One digit is right and in its place," does that mean only one digit is right and in its place, or does it it mean at least one digit is right and in its place?  Turns out...you can take all the clues at face value.  There's no trickery.  So the first clue means only one digit is right and in its place.  And, since there's no trickery, the puzzle takes only a few minutes to solve.  

But look at how the author describes the puzzle:
"Like a riddle, this problem uses context clues and tricks to hide a fun solution."
It's NOT a riddle, you dumbass.  It's a simple logic puzzle.  
"...the puzzle is delightfully devious and has stumped tons of people on Facebook and Twitter."
There's nothing devious (or delightfully devious) about it.  It's a straight-forward puzzle!  Fuck.  

Friday, April 10, 2020

Vox Lied, People Died

The people at The Daily Show put out a video called "Heroes of the Pandumbic."


This is another thing I don't get.  I mean...I think I know what the purpose is.  But it doesn't compute with me personally for whatever reason.  13.8 million views so far.

Vox had to delete a tweet, originally dated January 31, 2020, that contained the words: “Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.”

https://www.thewrap.com/vox-deletes-january-tweet-coronavirus-not-deadly/

So, you know...Vox Lied, People Died.

There was an image floating around on social media showing a media collage with all the "wrong" headlines about Coronavirus.

https://www.reddit.com/r/kotakuinaction2/comments/freyvm/thank_you_media_for_keeping_the_public_informed/



For some reason that collage includes a headline from CCN.com (CCN Markets), which is some overseas cryptocurrency news site.  I'm not sure why that would be included with the other media sites, but whatever.

Then there was Bill De Blasio, who said at a press conference on March 15, 2020: "If you love your neighborhood bar, go there now...."  There was more to the quote, but that specific portion of the quote has been highlighted multiple times by other media outlets, like the New York Post:

https://nypost.com/2020/04/09/coronavirus-de-blasio-doesnt-regret-telling-new-yorkers-to-visit-bars/

You can listen to the quote at the 1:08:07 mark of his press conference:

https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/150-20/mayor-de-blasio-holds-media-availability-covid-19

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Hillary knocks Donald...on Twitter

Here's another thing that doesn't make sense to me.

Hillary Clinton sent out a tweet saying "Please do not take medical advice from a man who looked directly at a solar eclipse."



It has 422,300 retweets and 1,800,000 likes.   I don't know what the tweet is really meant to accomplish, but the main thing I find weird is how news publications attributed the words in the tweet directly to Hillary Clinton.

What I mean is...there's no indication it was really Hillary Clinton who wrote the words and hit the "Tweet" button, right?  I kind of assume she has people who help her handle social media, the way that Donald Trump has Dan Scavino to help him write his tweets.  Yet, publications like The Hill attributed the words directly to Hillary:

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/489230-clinton-please-do-not-take-medical-advice-from-a-man-who-looked

If I were writing for a news website, I'd start using phrases like: "Hillary Clinton's Twitter account said..."  I would do that every time, and I would do that for every major politician:  Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, etc...  Like, come on, do you really think JOE BIDEN is writing all the tweets that appear on his Twitter account?  They have impeccable spelling and pronunciation.  At least when Donald Trump puts out a typo-laden tweet, I get the sense he may have written it himself.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Plum Line

Articles like this make no sense to me:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/08/hannitys-latest-propaganda-actually-exposes-trumps-epic-failures/

https://outline.com/DZ3M8D

I mean...I get that the author is speaking English, and he's writing about American politics.  But it's as if I'm reading the words of some fictionalized character from a 1990s television show.  It's like the author is playing a character who doesn't exist in real life.  And I have a hard time wrapping my brain around this particular approach.

Greg Sargent.  The Plum Line.  Writing for the Washington Post. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Kaz dreams of shilling

I was watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and remembered this Grammarly ad featuring a sushi chef:


I don't care if Kaz Matsune is a real person, or if he really uses Grammarly to write books.  The commercial is fucking dumb. 
Making sushi is a lot like writing??? 
Get this 2-bit version of Jiro out of my pre-rolls!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Bunch breaks the 4th wall

I was on YouTube listening to some songs from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and I'm pretty sure there are some points where Rachel Bloom (the actress) is breaking the fourth wall.


In the above song, there's a lyric at 1:38 that goes:
I was brought up by a fat-shaming Mom
Who made me take laxatives the week before prom
(Yep)
Now I overeat ever since that abuse
I think that the "Yep" was meant to be an out-of-character moment.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

"Hero" talk

This was an interesting exchange on Twitter:



https://twitter.com/obiwormkenobi/status/1247626452536905732

https://twitter.com/opnmindtexas/status/1247560373709963273

(I posted two links in case one of them disappears in the future.)

One of the replies to the exchange said how calling those workers "heroes" comes as either cynical or condescending--possibly both.  And, you know, I kind of agree with that.  I mean, look at Mike Sington's face.  Does it not scream "cynical" and "condescending", among many other things?  ("Smarmy" would be my first choice.)

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Stark Girl clickbait

An actress from Captain America was arrested for stabbing her mother to death:  
https://deadline.com/2020/01/captain-america-actress-stabbing-death-kansas-mother-self-defense-1202819260/
The actress is Mollie Fitzgerald, and she appeared in the movie as "Stark Girl."  She said the stabbing was done in self-defense:
Mollie Maxine Fitzgerald, who appeared as “Stark Girl” in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, claimed that her mother tried to kill her during a call to 911 to report the stabbing.
Now let's be real.  Mollie the (alleged) Murderer had no lines in the film, and she appeared on-screen for about 10 seconds.  She barely had a role.  Putting the words "'Captain America' Actress" in your headline is clickbaity as fuck.  Here's the scene in question; she appears at the 1:30 mark:


Imagine trying to convey that information to someone in real life:
Person 1:  Hey, did you hear?  The actress from Captain America was arrested for murder! 
Person 2:  Oh no!  Hayley Atwell was arrested? 
Person 1:  No, I'm talking about a different actress from the movie. 
Person 2:  Oh.  Was it that girl who kissed Steve Rogers and made Peggy jealous?  Who was that, again? 
Person 1:  Natalie Dormer.  And no, it wasn't her. 
Person 2:  Oh.  Was it....um....was it the actress who played Captain America's mother? 
Person 1:  What?  No!  Steve's mother wasn't in the movie!  Are you stupid?! 
Person 2:  Geez, sorry.  Um...Was it the nurse who spoke to Steve after he came out of his coma at the end of the movie? 
Person 1:  No, it wasn't her. 
Person 2:  Okay, I give up.  Who was it? 
Person 1:  It was the actress who played Stark Girl. 
Person 2:  Who??? 
Person 1:  Stark Girl, stupid!  {Smashes a vase over Person 2's head.}
By the way, do you think Bucky got laid after that expo?

Friday, April 3, 2020

Math is (not) hard

I was thinking about this Brian Williams math goof.  At the 0:25 second mark, he says, "Don't tell us if you're ahead of us on the math."  When I first heard that, I assumed Brian Williams knew the correct math in his head, and was preparing to debunk the tweet.  So it caused me a bit of a double take to realize he didn't know the fucking math.

What an idiot.  And the woman in the clip is no better.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

TrumpNation20

Have you ever taken the time to browse these stupid pro-Trump meme accounts on Instagram?

I'm looking at one now called @TrumpNation20.  It has a total of 1,200 posts and 42.8k followers. Some of the posts are pandering, with messages like 'If you're pro-life, give a follow.'  But then you have stuff like this:


That's bordering on out-right fakeness.  The quote isn't real. (If it were, there would be 10,000 Google results for it.)  And there's no real humor to it, either.  They're just claiming that a Congresswoman wants to do harm to Trump.  And then you've got responses from idiots like briannk3, who says "Threatening the President is a felony, I believe!" and marycrockettsleezer, who says "Isn't that a threat against the President? Thought you got thrown in JAIL for that."

Idiots. 

Anyway...I'm curious who runs these various accounts.

The @TrumpNation20 account contains a discount link in its bio to the website LibertatumApparel.com, which apparently is a company in Raleigh, North Carolina that makes American hats.  I don't necessarily think the two are connected.  I mean, look at the rest of the bio for @TrumpNation20:
⚠️AOC doesn’t want you to follow us⚠️
Conservative 🐘
America First πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
Pro-Life πŸ‘Ά
Pro-Gun πŸ”«
R.I.P @trumpnation2020 1-3 πŸ’”
🚨 DM ME FOR ADS πŸ’΄
"America First US"????   Would a person from Raleigh really write something that janky? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

I.Q. CinemaSin

I was watching I.Q., the 1994 romantic comedy starring Walter Matthau as a crazed Albert Einstein who tries to murder his own niece.  There's one scene where Tim Robbins's character has to take a science quiz, and I decided to pause the scene to read the questions on the index cards.  It turns out...he answers some of the questions incorrectly!!!!!!!



The question above reads:
Rebecca has a Coin Which is Twice as Likely to Come Up Heads than Tails.  What is the Probability of Her Flipping Four Consecutive Heads?
So the coin has a 2/3 chance of coming up Heads and a 1/3 chance of coming up Tails.  The probability of coming up Heads four times in a row would be 2/3 x 2/3 x 2/3 x 2/3, which is 16/81, which is answer "D."  But the guy answers "A."  And he had four of the most brilliant minds in the world helping him cheat!

Boy, I can't wait for CinemaSins to highlight that boner!