Monday, April 30, 2007

Minty-fresh addiction

It's hard to know how to feel about this.

Today we got a press kit with samples of Ariva and Stonewall, two new tobacco products. They are advertised as "Smokefree and discreet," which they are. They're essentially wintergreen-flavored tobacco lozenges, which dissolve completely in the mouth and require no spitting.

A Google search turned up an unsurprising controversy, dating back to the beginning of the century, when manufacturer Star Scientific was running the lozenges past the FDA. The standard complaints all seem to apply. Yes, they seem to be a safer alternative to smoking, and thus remove incentive to quit altogether. Yes, they are packaged like candy and can be used, undetected, by kids who know unscrupulous drugstore clerks. Sure, they could present a gateway to full-on tobacco addiction.

My policy regarding things that fit in my mouth and come in the mail is to ingest them, so I did. I am a smoker, after all, and my curiosity was piqued.

The thing is, the lozenge was pretty tasty and made my breath minty fresh, two things I could never say about cigarettes. It left a tingly feeling in my mouth and gave me just a slight stomachache - probably to be expected, since I've never used any kind of smokeless tobacco before.

The materials that came in the press kit say that one lozenge contains about the same amount of nicotine as a light cigarette, but only 20 percent of the nitrosamines (the carcinogenic component of tobacco) in even the lowest-nitrosamine smokeless alternative - so again, it's hard to know how to feel about them. If they were only available to people who offer sworn affidavits affirming that they're nicotine addicts, I think they would be great.

As it is, I'm just glad that they're not currently available anywhere closer than Littleton; we probably need some time to figure out how to keep non-affiants from getting their hands on them.

It's a musical Incoming!

Read about Pete Townshend's DNA music project, hear Avril Lavigne songs in Portugese and Japanese (and other languages), see who's covered LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" and more at Incoming! (scroll to bottom of page).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

PowerPoint PWN3D

Yeah, no one needs to be told about The Onion anymore - I hope - but as a decade-long reader, I'm thrilled that in the last year or so they've opened up all their archives on the site. Today I mined this gem:

Project Manager Leaves Suicide PowerPoint Presentation

PORTLAND, OR-Ron Butler left behind a 48-slide presentation explaining his tragic decision, coworkers reported.

Monday, April 23, 2007


We haven't visited our pals at asap and their Incoming feature for a while. They're almost always good for a laugh.
What's up right now? Don't miss the reference to NYC's smoked-fish communty.
Nor the May time trivia.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Go ahead and Jump!

Time to tune up, dudes. The 5th annual U.S. Air Guitar Champtionships kick off in June. The competition stops in 14 cities, but nothing here. Not even close. We play too much nonair guitar, I guess.

The best part: Bjorn Turoque, star of "Air Guitar Nation" and author of "To Air is Human" is MC. Who the heck knew?!?

Plan your summer vacation around this tour:

June 6 Washington, DC
June 7 New York City
June 8 Boston
June 13 Cleveland
June 14 Columbus
June 15 Chicago
June 16 Minneapolis
June 20 Dallas
June 21 Austin
June 22 Houston
June 23 New Orleans
June 27 San Jose
June 28 San Francisco
June 29 Los Angeles

One winner from each city, along with the top three winners from the online competition, and defending champ Hot Lixx Hulahan will be flown to New York City in August for the championship.

The 2007 U.S. Champ will then be sent to Oulu, Finland, in September to represent the USA in the World Championships.

What's on the set list? In Round 1, each competitor performs to a song of their own choosing. In Round 2, the top competitors from Round 1 perform to a surprise compulsory song. Full songs? Nope. Contestants perform for one minute of a song and are judged on a combination of technical merit, stage presence, and “airness." All guitars must be invisible.

DON'T MISS THIS: "Air Guitar Nation," an award-winning documentary about US Air Guitar is in theaters nationwide through spring.

OR THIS: US Air Guitar is devoted to taking our nation's unofficial pastime out of the bedroom and putting it up on the world stage.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I scream, You scream!!

for 31-cent ice cream!

Yep, the scoopers at Baskin-Robbins are kicking off summer a bit early - but in a great way: 31-cent ice cream. May 2 from 5 to 10 p.m. Ink it, baby!


++ 1534 N. Circle Drive
++ 3865 E. Pikes Peak Ave.
++ 4845 N. Academy Blvd.
++ 7489 N. Academy Blvd.
++ 6048 Stetson Hills Blvd.

B-R also is donating $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, a group that honors fallen firefighters and their families.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Party with Mrs. Brady!

Today's ominous e-mail:

Music superstars Third Eye Blind, Duncan Sheik, Lesley Gore, moe., and Florence Henderson are kicking off a series of exclusive after-concert parties benefiting LIFEbeat, the Music Industry Fights AIDS. By making a donation to the charity, a limited number of concert-goers and fans have the opportunity to join the stars at their official AfterParty as they mingle with celebrities and industry bigwigs, enjoy complimentary cocktails, and party like a rock star --- while making a difference in the fight against AIDS.

All right, so it sounds like a tremendous cause, and a glance at their event calendar shows that there are some impressive artists on board, but that list is less than awe-inspiring - especially in New York City, which I understand is lousy with real celebrities.

For a trippy good time, checkout, Ms. Henderson's Web site, whence that photo came.

Oh, and before you worry yourself to death trying to remember (or click over to Google or something), Lesley Gore sang "It's My Party." Word.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Look out for Energy Vampires!

Here's a fax I've been waiting for:

How positive is your life?

Mayor John Peyton of Jacksonville, Fla., was asked this very question. He responded by declaring April 27, 2007 as Positive Energy Day. A proclamation was drafted making the day official.

The lack of positive energy in workplaces, and all around us, is increasingly high. Only 15% of workers say they are strongly energized by their job's mission, according to a Harris Interactive Survey. A statistic that alarmed Jon Gordon.

Gordon, who seems to have been quoted at random, goes on to say that "Energy Vampires can hinder productivity resulting in fatigue." I assume he's talking about his garage band; no other reading makes sense.

Anyway, if you're tired from being all sanctimonious on Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (also April 27), here's a feel-good holiday we can all get behind.

Oh, wait - "The hope is that everyone will choose to make positive energy a habit in their daily lives, changing the world from the bottom up." That sounds exhausting.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

We LOVE Pop-Tarts

... Just a tad too much. Cuz the Tart site is too fun. Check it here and send us a Pop-Tart postcard!

Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time

If you haven't heard the news, Kurt Vonnegut, the standardbearer of seriously sardonic writers, died yesterday after sustaining injuries in a fall a few weeks ago. He was 84.

Vonnegut's best-known works are Slaughterhouse-Five, which provides this post's headline, and Cat's Cradle, which introduced the world to "ice-nine" and, by extension, the catastrophe that could befall us at any moment in a postnuclear world. Sometimes dour and always dealing with somber subjects, Vonnegut injected an everpresent, and quite genuine, sense of humor, which made his works quite accessible.

To simultaneously entertain and edify is a hard trick to pull off, but Vonnegut made it seem less so. The absence of his voice from the crowd will be conspicuous, and will diminish the crowd by several orders of magnitude.

"A 60-year truth embargo"

Many thanks to the Paradigm Research Group, who faxed us this press release today:

"Almost one year ago on April 24, 2006 the Paradigm Clock, which tracks proximity to a formal acknowledgement of an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race, was reset to 11:59:45 - 15 seconds to midnight. Such an acknowledgement is referred to as Disclosure and would mark the end of a 60-year truth embargo imposed by federal authorities."

Here, we had lost hope that any group was tracking the likelihood of the government admitting that they know about aliens, and putting their definitive, objective data in a nice "clock" form so we can tell at a glance how hopeful we should be that today is the day.

We hope that next year they fax us again, to remind us of the second anniversary of the clock's moving to 11:59:45. If, that is, the government hasn't broken its 60-year truth embargo by then.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Delivery in 30 min. or less

This photo is from the Web site of the new Minuteman Missle National Historic Site in South Dakota. It's labeled "Ranger at Blast Door."

That missleman humor slays me!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What a cow says when it's choking

The same company whose wide range of DVDs I mentioned in a previous post now threatens us with Moogfest 2006.

Featuring an incredible array of the world's leading keyboardists, Moogfest, the annual festival celebrating the groundbreaking achievements of maverick inventor Robert Moog and his namesake synthesizer, captures the spirit that altered the course of modern music for all time and has since become an integral part of our musical culture. Filmed live at New York's famed B.B. King Blues Club, this DVD features from some of it's greatest practitioners including Keith Emerson (The Nice, ELP), Jan Hammer (The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Bernie Worrell (P-Funk), Roger O'Donnell (The Cure), The Mahahavishnu Project and DJ Logic.

Mind you, I think Moog synths are fine, fun instruments. I wouldn't mind playing around with one . . . if there was no one else around to bother.

I'm not sure a 70-minute Moog-centric concert DVD is a good idea, but I suppose the public can decide.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Porkchop: Heard about any stupid criminals lately?

Why, yes, I have. How 'bout this:

SHARPSVILLE, Pa. — A man who stored child pornography on his cell phone faces five to 20 years in federal prison. Kenneth Patrick Jeffries II, 23, of Sharpsville, pleaded guilty to the child porn charge on Friday before a federal judge in Pittsburgh.

Jeffries was charged after he lost his cell phone at a rib cook-off in Niles, Ohio, last July. The people who found the phone turned it on to try to locate Jeffries and discovered the images, which they reported to police. Authorities said they found 168 images of nude children and adults on the phone. Jeffries confessed to making some of the images, and to storing others, authorities said. Jeffries will be sentenced July 9.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Virtual card trick

Ahh, e-mail forwards. OK, so this is certainly not from David Copperfield, who is nothing if not exclamation-point-savvy, but it's still creepy, right? Do it a few times and see.
Then highlight the text below for the secret, first sniffed out in the newsroom by editorial assistant Carlotta Olson:
The cards in the second slide have had their suits reversed (hearts>diamonds etc.) from the first slide.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The world is flat

Seen this? Google maps now allows you to make customized maps. You can make a map of your neighborhood and add photos and video for a cool tour.
I haven't tried it yet, but it looks way cool. Check it out.


Hey, we pay for this service, so we may as well share it. Check out Incoming, a compilation of the wacky and weird from asap, an arm of the Associated Press. Click here and scroll down to the wild, wide-mouthed logo at the bottom of the page.

What were they smoking?

Or, perhaps, drinking?

Reef, the flip-flop maker that brought you sandals with integrated bottle openers
now brings your a flip-flop with integrated flask.

(It's difficult to see in this product shot, but there's a 3-ounce pouch for the liquid of your choice buried in the foam, mid-sole.)
Buy both styles, pair one with the other, and you'll never go thirsty again.

So dark the con of rabbit

The Catholic League has responded to South Park's response to the Catholic League's response to South Park, you'll be glad to know.

It would appear that the April 4 episode, "Fantastic Easter Special," was a parody of The Da Vinci Code, with League president Bill Donohue cast as the dark, powerful villain who must protect the secret of Easter at all costs. Wikipedia's article has this to say:

"William Donohue is parodied as a ruthless executioner leading a band of ninjas. Donohue has been a vocal critic of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's work in the past, in particular but not limited to the South Park episode "Bloody Mary." Bill Donohue's character in the episode calls Kyle, Stan, and Randy "whores," which is a reference to Donohue's real-life labelling of Trey Parker and Matt Stone as "little whores."

...all of which is a lot more interesting than anything Rosie O'Donnell has done lately.

In the press release we got this morning, Donohue says "I stand convicted and have no defense. Now I have to get back to business - I hear someone just took some liberties with the Easter Bunny."

No, really. He said that. Click it and see.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

She's no Dale Carnegie graduate

A Vonage PR rep certainly didn't win my friendship with this press pitch:

"Hi Dena,

At cocktail parties, around the water cooler or over grande lattes at the local coffee shop, everyone loves a well-informed conversationalist. But who these days has time to catch the evening news or read the paper - or even boot up a computer ... Your latte will be cold by the time you find the news you're looking for."

What? NO ONE HAS TIME TO READ THE PAPER?!!? No one has time to boot up a computer!?!?

You're sending a PR pitch - which goes on for paragraphs, I must add - to a newspaper, and the "hook" is that no one reads newspapers!?!? How much thought went into THAT tactic? I forwarded the note to advertising and suggested we sell an ad to Vonage.

Is this proposed response to the PR woman OK?

Hi, Hillary.
A press release about how people don't have time to read newspapers sent to a newspaper to tout a competitive service?


Fax spam for dummies

The newsroom has gotten this mystery fax several times in the past few weeks - a fact you'll want to keep in mind when you read the first sentence. Because we don't want to encourage them, the numbers have been changed; the rest is verbatim, in all its caps- and punctuation-challenged glory.


Respond: 800-555-5555


This will be the last chance for all employees to have your choice of World Class Beach Front Resorts on the Mexican Caribbean.

As of today all employees still have access to our corporate vacation packages at our COMPANY RATE (up to 80% off retail). All vacations are good for one year with no black outs. Call if you are interested because every year these go fast!

This year we can all choose from:
Mayan Riviera, Cozumel or Puerto Vallarta.
All Trips are 6 days and are All-Inclusive (meals and drinks!)
All packages are $329 per person.

If you like diving (like my husband), then ask about the Cozumel Package.

You must call now to take advantage of this company offer.

-Mary W.

If you feel you have received this company memo in error, please call 1-800-555-5556.


Question: Is it possible to receive a company memo in error? I would call the number to ask, but something tells me I'd wind up buying a vacation.


I'd like to tell you about Guy Finley, as a faxed press release has just told me.

"This amazing fellow, author of more than 30 popular books and audio albums, has spent the last two years perfecting a 16-CD audio program that reveal (sic) the Secrets of Being Unstoppable."

Used by Godzilla, Tiger Woods and the audacity of the Bush administration (zing!), the CDs evidently teach us to use "the vast storehouse of untapped energy within you that makes all things possible." That doesn't mean that the creator is exempt from some ribbing at the hands of his publicist:

"So what is the secret of this 'Guy?' What is it about this revolutionary new porgram that makes everyone want to applaud him? Just what is the 'secret' of this groundbreaking set of talks?"

If I were Guy Finley, I'd be all like "Get bent, press release. You'll see. I'm gonna realize my vast storehouse of untapped energy all over you." Then I'd hit it with my nunchucks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

My dog likes to sit in the rain

Just had to share this.
From a syndicated consumer column in the Austin Statesman-American

Q: I have an otherwise intelligent dog (12 years old) who apparently does not have the sense to go to the patio when it rains. He just sits in the yard. I’d say he was staging a “poor me” sit-down, but he does it even when we’re not home. Any suggestions?

A: Is this a new behavior? If so, have your veterinarian check your dog, advises Susan Smith, behavior consultant at Raising Canine. The dog could have a physical problem, or it could be psychological change, which are common as dogs get older.

If this is a big, furry golden retriever spending considerable time outdoors without being bothered by the elements, no problem. An indoor dog such as a Chihuahua might not fare well under these conditions. If your dog is healthy (mentally and physically) and has always enjoyed sitting the in the rain, do not worry about the situation, Smith adds.


I got an e-mail from MVD Entertainment Group a couple weeks ago when I wrote a Cracker concert preview. MVD, as it happens, had made a Cracker DVD and failed to inform me about it until it was too late to include. Determined never to let it happen again, they put me on their e-mail list.

My curiosity was piqued this week when I learned they have new DVDs by Frankie Laine, Vic Damone, and Sam Moore, and a compilation called "Cruisin' Hits of the '60s." So, I clicked on over to their Web site. The link is omitted here for reasons that will soon become clear.

The site bills their business as "eclectic DVD distribution." I'll say. Here's a handy bulleted list of titles they can provide you, now or soon:
  • Boo Yaa Tribe: West Koastra Nostra
  • Appetite for Deconstruction: A Punk Rockumentary
  • Marilyn Chambers: All Nude Peep Show
  • Pilates Essentials
  • High Times Presents Jorge Cervantes: Grow Film
  • Sleepytime Down South: Slow and Easy Tracks from the Golden Era of Jazz
  • Project Alf
  • Strip Joint Magazine
  • Stryper: Greatest Hits - Live in Puerto Rico
  • Killzone Double Feature
Bottom line: I absolutely must party with these guys some time.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Stuff Junction: What's your function?

Just in time for Father's Day - you know, like September is just in time for Christmas - Stuff Junction announces gifts to "End the Boredom of Socks, Flashlights and Ties!" They are divided into different, hyphenated dad genres: Travel-Dad, Party-Dad, Barbecue-Dad and Fishing-Dad.

Most intriguing? For Travel-Dad, "The new Powermonkey keeps Dad's cell phone, iPod and camera powered up wherever he travels." Mind you, your dad is unlikely to ask for a Powermonkey by name - if we may make assumptions about your dad - so we (and they) figure you'll appreciate the heads-up.
A close second is the FireHawk (pictured above), which goes by Firedragon on the Web site and answers the age-old question "How can I breathe on something three feet away?".