Sunday, August 23, 2015

One area where Donald Trump is leading Hillary Clinton: porn parodies

Republican Donald Trump is trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton in polls for the 2016 presidential race. But he’s beating her in one area: porn parodies.
Trump is featured in two recent porn parodies: “Donald Tramp: The XXX Parody” and “Megyn Gets Trumped.” (See media reports by Maxim, AVN and Broadly.)
The billionaire real estate mogul was earlier parodied in porn movies based on his NBC reality TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Those movies were “Celebrity Apprentass” (2009) and “This Ain’t Celebrity Apprentice XXX” (2010).
To date, Trump has been featured in four porn parodies vs. three for Hillary Clinton.
But the presidential race is still young.

For an updated list of the top real-life targets for porn parodies and exploitation check out this article.

Photos: Promotional photos for 2015 porn parodies “Donald Tramp: The XXX Parody” (top) and “Megyn Gets Trumped”.


Monday, August 17, 2015

High school reunions and watching the obits

My high school classmates recently got together for a 35th anniversary reunion in Lake County, Illinois. I did not attend, but was struck by the conversation in the class group on Facebook about deceased schoolmates.
Now that we’re all over 50, the pace of deaths seems to be accelerating. Heart disease and cancer are more likely to take their toll as we age.
A memorial at the reunion included the senior year photos of 15 dead classmates. But some group members mentioned a couple more to add to the list.
So, about 6% of my class of 305 graduates are now deceased. The number could be higher because quite a few classmates (17, at one point) could not be located by the reunion organizers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

10 melancholy summer songs

In just a few weeks it will be time to crown the song of summer 2015.
I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to be a summer song.
Usually summer songs evoke vacations, the beach, partying, being young, acting crazy and falling in love. But some summer songs take a darker view of the season.
What follows is a list of 10 melancholy summer songs.

1. “Summertime Sadness” (2012) by Lana Del Rey 

Sample lyrics:

Kiss me hard before you go
Summertime sadness
I just wanted you to know
That, baby, you’re the best

2. “Cruel Summer” (1984) by Bananarama 

Sample lyrics:

It’s a cruel, cruel summer
Leaving me here on my own
It’s a cruel, cruel summer
Now you’re gone

3. “Summertime Blues” (1958) by Eddie Cochran 

Sample lyrics:

I’m gonna raise a fuss, I’m gonna raise a holler
About a workin’ all summer just to try to earn a dollar
Every time I call my baby, and ask to get a date
My boss says, “No dice son, you gotta work late”
Sometimes I wonder what I’m a gonna do
But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

4. “Suddenly Last Summer” (1983) by the Motels 

Sample lyrics:

One summer never ends
One summer never began
It keeps me standing still
It takes all my will
And then suddenly
Last summer

5. “It Must Be Summer” (1999) by Fountains of Wayne 

Sample lyrics:

It must be summer
Cause the days are long
And I dial your number
But you’re gone, gone, gone

6. “Our Last Summer” (1980) by ABBA 

Sample lyrics:

I can still recall our last summer
I still see it all
Walks along the Seine, laughing in the rain
Our last summer, memories that remain

7. “Lazy Old Sun” (1967) by the Kinks 

Sample lyrics:

Lazy old sun
What have you done to summertime?

8. “The Warmth of the Sun” (1964) by the Beach Boys 

Sample lyrics:

The love of my life she left me one day
I cried when she said, “I don’t feel the same way”

9. “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” (1971) by Stevie Wonder 

Sample lyrics:

I never dreamed you’d leave in summer
But now I find myself all alone

10. “’Til Summer Comes Around” (2009) by Keith Urban 

Sample lyrics:

Another long summer’s come and gone
I don’t know why it always ends this way
The boardwalk’s quiet and the carnival rides
Are as empty as my broken heart tonight

Monday, August 10, 2015

It’s a jungle out there: Wildlife in my backyard

While my neighbors are cutting down trees to expand their lawns, I’ve kept my backyard in Vienna, Va., pretty wild.
I like the privacy afforded by the trees and brush, but most of all I appreciate the wildlife. My little forest in Northern Virginia is home to or has played host to menagerie of creatures.
Mammals on the property include the usual rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, mice and moles, along with woodchuck, deer and fox. I’ve heard coyotes (maybe they’re coywolves) at night howling in nearby Difficult Run park, but haven’t seen any in my yard.
My property is home to toads, snakes, blue-tailed skinks and the occasional box turtle. There’s also a great variety of birds from yellow finches and cardinals to red-headed woodpeckers and hawks.
I feel like friggin’ Henry David Thoreau sometimes.

Photos (from top): Eastern box turtle, fox caught on night stealth cam, common five-lined skink, Eastern American toad and Northern brownsnake. 




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Virginia man suffers loss after crash

When my Verizon FiOS DVR crashed recently I lost a bunch of TV episodes I was saving up to binge watch.
In hindsight, the incident did me a favor. I had too many shows on my watch list anyway. I decided after the crash that any show that isn’t worth watching within a day or two of airing probably isn’t worth watching at all.
By the way, my headline is a takeoff on the Onion parody news article titled “Devastated Family Struggling To Cope After Losing Everything On DVR.”
The shows I’m axing from my watch list include AMC’s “Humans,” TNT’s “Falling Skies,” NBC’s “Hannibal” and CBS’s “Extant.” The first show didn’t grab my interest after the pilot episode and I had grown bored with the latter three.

Photo: My new DVR, the VMS 1100, for Verizon FiOS Quantum TV. I used the crash of my previous DVR to upgrade to a more capable service.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

BattleBots recreated in Legos

ABC’s robot-fighting show “BattleBots” aired its season finale on Sunday with Bite Force vanquishing the heavily favored Tombstone.
In honor of that epic battle, my kids and I created a Lego diorama featuring the two finalists.

Here’s hoping the show gets renewed for another season.
Since ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Co., maybe the next season can feature Star Wars robots fighting each other. (Disney also owns Star Wars.) See photo below of C-3PO defeating R2-D2 in a death match.

This is the latest in a series of Lego dioramas of reality TV shows.

Here is a list of previous ones.

2014 Winter Olympics recreated in Legos (Feb. 22, 2014)

Lego diorama of the Weather Channel’s ‘Prospectors’ (Feb. 11, 2014)

Lego ‘Tanked’ diorama (Dec. 8, 2013)

Lego ‘Gold Rush’ diorama (Sept. 22, 2013)

Lego ‘American Ninja Warrior’ diorama (Aug. 23, 2013)

Lego dioramas of reality TV shows, including ‘The Voice’, ‘AGT’ and ‘Wipeout’ (Oct. 7, 2012)

More Lego recreations of reality TV: ‘Billy the Exterminator’ and ‘Hillbilly Handfishin’’ (March 25, 2012)

Lego ‘Finding Bigfoot’ (March 5, 2012)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sponsored content, aka native advertising, sparks controversy

The use of sponsored content or native advertising appears to be growing. While it provides a new revenue stream for media companies, it also could be damaging their reputations.
Native advertising is online advertising that looks like a regular article on a website, but is actually written by an advertiser to promote their product.
A recent survey by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that a third of news consumers in the U.S. and U.K. feel tricked or let down by sponsored content or native ads.
Half of news consumers surveyed grudgingly accept sponsored content because they understand that it helps provide them with free news. But more than a quarter think less of the news outlet that publishes native ads, Poynter reported last month.
New media outlets like BuzzFeed, Gawker Media, Huffington Post and Atlantic Media have aggressively pursued native ads. Old media like the New York Times and Washington Post also have gotten in the game.
Even the satirical news website The Onion runs sponsored content. But at least they do so with a sense of humor and an in-your-face attitude.
“Commerce is the blood that feeds the black heart of avarice. Enjoy this #sponsored content,” the Onion tweeted with a weblink earlier this month.

Art: Joy of Tech comic lampooning native ads.

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