Guess the Headline - Murdered Man Arrested in Texas? (Blog Post)

I read and reread and reread this news headline and couldn't make sense of it. Do you understand this without reading the story?

Father of 2 girls found fatally stabbed with mom in NYC apartment arrested in Texas

To me it seems that a man was stabbed to death with his wife in New York, they happened to have two daughters together, and then he was later arrested in Texas.

(Fox News)

Veronica Mars: The Movie (Funded via Kickstarter) (Blog Post)

If you're a fan of Veronica Mars (and if you've ever seen it, you must be), you'll be half as elated as I was to learn just now that Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell are pushing to make it a movie.

Fuck. Yes.

This was one of the best shows on TV before it was taken down for being too smart to garner more than a fanatical cult following. It was put on Kickstarter yesterday with a goal of $2,000,000 and as of this writing it's reached $3.46 million, so it looks like the project is one hell of a history-making go.

There are only 27 days left for the Kickstarter campaign, so head over and pitch in your two cents just to drill home how loved Veronica Mars and how much it needs to live on in any and every possible way.

Why do so many Asian-American kids do so well in school? (Blog Post)

By Kathy Seal of Pacific Standard Magazine:

Researchers are zeroing in on one important reason: the unique style of Asian-American parenting.

A visit to the University of California’s most selective campuses shows how very well Asian-American kids do academically: While Asian Americans constituted 14 percent of the state population in 2008, this fall they made up about 40 percent of the freshman class at UCLA and 37 percent of the entering class at University of California, Berkeley.

But it’s not just in California, and it’s not just in college. The 2000 Census found that 44 percent of Asian Americans had a bachelor’s degree, compared with 26 percent of the white population. Their outsize presence in higher education — critics charge some universities with enforcing tacit Asian-American quotas — has made their success legend.

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Community - One of the Best Shows on TV (Blog Post)

I recently started getting into the show Community, which just started its highly anticipated fourth season. I had never seen it and had never heard much about it, but I'm always in need of more content to run during my middle-of-the-night programming hours, so I finally got around to giving it a shot.

It is one of the funniest and best-written shows on television. It's really smart and hilariously meta. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. The first couple of episodes might not draw you in, but it really gets going after those and just soars, so stick with it.

I just finished season 2 episode 9 and it has by far one of the funniest scenes I've seen on TV in a long, long time. I couldn't help sincerely laughing out loud.

Please do yourself a favor and check the show out. And if you can get through all 3 past seasons quickly, start watching the new 4th season as it airs every Thursday to help its ratings and to keep it on the air. (Live viewings and DVR viewings same as air date help most.)

Are you already watching Community? Do you love it as much as I?

The Americans on FX (Blog Post)

Has anyone else seen the series premiere of The Americans on FX?

If you're not familiar with the show, it's about a pair of male and female Russian spies who were trained to be indistinguishable from real Americans then paired up as husband and wife and sent to America to do the dirty work of the KGB.

Only the pilot episode has aired thus far, but I think it is extremely well written with excellent performances. The gritty, hardcore realness of the bad-ass Russian sleeper agents is phenomenal. I really love Cari Russell's character; she's really one tough spy and one hell of an ass-kicker. (Felicity is back and better than ever.)

It's rare that a show portrays such realistically hardcore situations without actually sensationalizing them at all. It's just business as usual, but it's so intense for we the viewers at home.

Anyhow, if you've missed it, go back and see the first episode:

And don't miss the new episodes as they air each Wednesday night at 10pm.

Celebrity Encounters (Blog Post)

This comment by @deathcow got me wondering about any run-ins with celebrities that other Sifters have had. With what celebrities have you been been in semi-close proximity and under what circumstances did the encounter take place?

Here's what comes to mind for me, and I'm not including any instances where I went somewhere specifically to see someone (e.g., at a stage show or a book signing):
  • I walked around a t-shirt store in the Venetian casino in Las Vegas with Howie Mandel during his Deal or No Deal days.
  • I was at the Beverly Center. While just my wife and I were waiting at the elevators to head back down to the garage and leave, Jimmy Kimmel and a couple of his friends stood next to us also waiting for the elevator. He was looking at me over my wife's shoulder as I whispered to her "That's the guy from that talk show," and as she turned around to look he just continued smiling at us like, "Yeah, I know you're talking about me. Go ahead and say hello." But I couldn't bring myself to do it. Finally, more people started coming to wait for the elevator (it took forever) and he walked off as not to get mobbed I guess.
  • Looking for parking at South Coast Plaza I saw Kobe Bryant getting into his car after exiting the back door of a baby store with his wife and escorted by mall security.
  • At Disneyland I was at the exit of the Matterhorn where Kobe Bryant was getting off the ride and putting his wife up on his shoulders surrounded by a couple dozen screaming fans.
  • I've said hello face-to-face with Kobe Bryant on 3 other occasions as he was walking to or from a local cafe next to where I used to have lunch every day. (He lives nearby.) One of those three times I told him something lame like "Bring home that three-peat!" That was after the end of their last back-to-back championship season, obviously.
  • I snapped a photo of my wife with Marg Helgenberger (Catherine Willows of CSI) at the end of a Lakers game while heading up the stairs to the exit. She made sure to tell her "You're so beautiful!" to make up for us bothering her for a picture.
  • I stood next to Elizabeth Banks at Comic Con pretending not to notice her as she was standing around talking to a couple of friends.
There's something built into me that makes me almost unable to bring myself to speak to a celebrity when I see them. I guess I just don't want to waste their time and be an annoyance, and I know they don't care that I recognize them.

Image HotSpotter - WordPress Plugin for Interactive Image Maps (Blog Post)

I'd like to introduce WordPress bloggers to a plugin I just launched called Image Hotspotter. It allows you to create interactive image maps in your WordPress posts and pages with a rich, attractive user interface.

The plugin has a click-and-drag interface allowing you to easily create hotspots in an image. You can set each hotspot to give your blog readers a few options. While hovering over a hotspot, a custom HTML box can appear next to your mouse cursor, and upon clicking a hotspot, either a URL will open or a custom HTML pop-up box will appear.

This allows the aesthetic blogger to create very elegant image-based content. Check it out at!

Crumbs Outfitters for Dogs (Blog Post)

Just thought I'd take a moment to share this neat site that launched a few days ago called Crumbs Outfitters. It's a shop that was started by a friend of mine, and she has a lot of great stuff available for your favorite canine companions.

It's short notice, but if you order anything by the end of tomorrow, you can get 10% off with promo code OPEN2012.

If you'd be so kind, please pop on over and give it a look-see, especially if you're a dog person! And let me know what you think!

Zombie Decomposition (Blog Post)

If survivors of the zombie apocalypse just waited long enough (and it wouldn't be all that long), wouldn't the zombies just decompose beyond the point of being a threat to humans?

First of all, their skin and muscle would wear away so they would start by losing mobility. Eventually their joints would start loosening and breaking apart. Most importantly, their brain would shrivel up into a raisin and cease functioning.

I'm surprised I've never really considered these things before.

I guess what all of it means is that in addition to having some kind of virus living in and controlling the brain, that virus would also need some kind of special properties that prevents decomposition completely. And, of course, it would have to infect all the tissues of the body before it is dead.

I like that all modern zombie stories have some kind of scientific explanation for how and why people become zombies, but it'd be great if they could also work on addressing why it is they never decompose.

(Side note: I also enjoy it most when characters know what the hell zombies are, as in Zombieland. It's annoying when the world in shows like The Walking Dead act like they've never heard the concept of the dead coming back to life and go out of their way never to use the word "zombie.")

"Text" or "Texted" ? (Blog Post)

I keep hearing people from all walks of life using the past tense form of the verb "text" (as in "to send a text message") as "text."

- Hey, bro, I totally text you after dinner last night.
- I said I would text you, and I text you as promised.

This is bothersome to me because it seems everyone thinks they're speaking the word "texed," and I argue they should be saying "texted."

- I texted her and she texted me back.
- I texted yo' mommy, yo' daddy, and yo' bal'-headed granny.

It was one thing when it was just a few people using this annoying, strange, broken grammar, but it seems to now be taking over. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!

Just me or everyone?

Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (Blog Post)

Was just reading a little about Thomas Paine and his ideas on the authenticity of the bible and organized religion. His writings triggered a short-lived spike in deism (though his earlier writing Common Sense helped trigger the American revolution). I thought it was interesting to read his words from 230 years ago and how much they still apply to the religions of today. Some excerpts below.

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Happy Memorial Day? (Blog Post)

We're a few days after the holiday now, but I've been seriously wondering: Do you wish people a happy Memorial Day?

I have never have done so for what I think are obvious reasons, but as it seems they're not obvious to everyone, Memorial Day is a day to remember/honor dead soldiers. I'm not dead nor a soldier and for the loved ones of those who are, remembering them is surely not a happy event.

So do you wish random people a happy Memorial Day? For the past few years now and in increasing numbers each year, I'm having people sincerely wishing me a happy Memorial Day. Every time they do, it leaves me perplexed. As I'm caught off guard, I usually have to stop my knee-jerk response of "You too!" and instead answer with a soft, quizzical, "Thank... you?"

Am I completely off my hinges?

Text Beautify WordPress Plugin (Blog Post)

I've just completed my first full-featured, standalone WordPress plugin. It's called Text Beautify and can be found in the WordPress Plugin repository here or installed through the WordPress Plugins page of your blog.

You can read more about it in my Clog, but the gist of it is that it makes text in your blog posts and comments beautiful by adjusting casing and punctuation.

One of the features allows you to specify a custom list of terms for which the case should always be preserved, and not made lowercase or uppercase. I include just a few basic examples with the plugin to give you an idea how to use it, but it was suggested to me that it by default include a much more exhaustive list of likely terms to be in the list.

Some of the examples are: Los Angeles, PHP, HTML, API, URL, iPhone, iPad, iPod. I will be adding some web acronyms like WTF, OMG, and ROFL, but can you help come up with a list that would adequately cover most common terms whose capitalization should never be modified?

Also, if you try installing the plugin, let me know your thoughts about it.

Thanks for your assistance!

My Online Garage Sale (Blog Post)

I'm selling a bunch of DVDs (and Blu-Rays and HD-DVDs) in sort of an online garage sale. I'd do it in meatspace, but I'm not allowed to where I live.

Before I opt for CraigsList or for "trading in" my stuff at Amazon, I thought I'd see if any Sifters wanted to pick at the bones of my DVD cabinet. Please peruse what I have available and if you're so inclined, purchase something. It will make both you and me feel good inside.

Check it out here:

Watch "New Girl" (Blog Post)

If you're not watching the new Fox show "New Girl" starring Zooey Deschanel, you're doing it wrong.

Go watch the pilot and set your DVR to record the series. It's a very smartly written, well executed, and sweet new comedy that had me laughing out loud from start to finish, and for me, that's saying a lot. It's not every day a TV show has me genuinely cracking up LMFAHS.

Zooey says it's the strong script that convinced her to star in the show. I'm very glad for that because she's phenomenal in the role.

The premiere did great in the ratings and even better than Glee (yay), so I'm hoping it's here to stay.

Are you already watching it? What'd you think? Were you as impressed and in love as I?

Does Anyone Still Use "The Club" (Blog Post)

I'm watching Swingers for the first time (after many years of hearing people reference it) and just realized something: The Club seems to have become extinct or at least an endangered species. I don't think I've seen one on a steering wheel in I-don't-know-how-many years.

Do people still use those things? Why do they seem so rare nowadays? They used to be on every other car I'd walk past.

(Boy, I'm starting to sound like an old fogy.)

On the Broken Time Travel Logic of Back to the Future Part 2 (Blog Post)

Great Scott, this is heavy.

It never occurred to me until a few months ago during my latest viewing of the Back to the Future (BTTF) trilogy, probably because I just never examined the logic much before, but I was a little surprised at how obviously broken the logic is in BTTF 2.

So, 2015's 80-year-old Biff (Old Biff) steals the time machine and goes back to 1955 on the night of the lightning storm. (I definitely appreciate Doc pointing out the unbelievable coincidence of Old Biff choosing that of all possible days to travel back to, but I digress.)

So Old Biff goes back to 1955 and gives 1955's Biff (Young Biff) Grey's Sports Almanac, then returns straight back to 2015 and returns the Delorean where he found it (although it would have made more sense for him to just keep it, unless maybe Old Biff thought Doc had a spare time machine he could use to catch him, but I digress).

Doc and Marty go from 2015 back to 1985 where the world is turned upside-down. Doc realizes that Old Biff borrowed the time machine and Marty suggests they just return to 2015 to stop Old Biff from taking the car. This is where the science becomes fiction (yes, it was factual until now).

Doc replies that if they returned to 2015, they'd be going forward in the skewed timeline where Biff is a billionaire and has destroyed the world, so it wouldn't work. Hmm. Once Old Biff gave Young Biff the almanac, that changed the future and the timeline that Old Biff was existing on, right? That being the case, why is it that when he returned to 2015 he landed back exactly where he left from? And for that matter, why is it that Doc and Marty left from that very same 2015, but when they landed in 1985 it was on the skewed timeline?

Anyway, there's no real point to this little diatribe. It was just on my mind and thought I'd share. I do wonder, though, if I'm the last person on earth to have realized this paradox.

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