The funeral for the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, will take place at the downtown Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on Tuesday, July 7 at 10:00am. This date and time have been confirmed by the Jackson family’s publicist. AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips has said that tickets will be free, but there is only room for 20,000 in the Staples Center. Furthermore, there are only 11,000 tickets available for fans. And if you wanted to register for tickets, there was a two day registration period. If you wanted a ticket, I hope you registered.
Registration ended Saturday. And guess what? There were over 1.6 million fans who registered for tickets during the 2-day registration process. Only 11,000 of them will get tickets to the funeral at the Staples Center. However, there will be 6,500 tickets given away for the overflow location at the Nokia Theater, which is next door to the Staples Center. I’m not sure how the math adds up here, but apparently 8,750 names will be randomly selected. Each name will be given 2 tickets to the funeral, and they will be notified via email. [Note: Of course they are using a wristband system. It’s crazy to me that in the year 2009, there is nothing more efficient and secure than a wristband system. I hope they are looking out for hackers, scalpers and thiefs.]
I’m not sure how Los Angeles is planning to brace for the amount of people that will decend upon downtown LA on Tuesday morning. The city anticipates anywhere from 250,000 to 700,000 people will show up at the Staples Center arena on Tuesday. For the fans who do not get into the arena, be aware that there will be no funeral procession through the city, and the funeral ceremony will not be broadcast on the giant screen outside the arena. If you want to watch the funeral ceremony live, your best bet is to watch it on TV at home.
Also, there will be a private ceremony for the family before the public memorial. In an interview with CNN’s Larry King, Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s brother, discussed the private memorial service on Tuesday. He also discussed the family’s desire to have other memorial services around the United States.
And here’s a post about the Michael Jackson fans who were lucky enough to get tickets to the funeral: link
Michael Jackson to be buried without his brain (mirror.co.uk)
Tickets to Jackson memorial being sold for thousands (breitbart.com)
Today is July 4th! You know what that means, right? It was time for Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island in New York. Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA had to down 68 hot dogs to hold off six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan. Even though Kobayashi finished with a personal best of 64.5 hot dogs, the day belonged to Joey Chestnut.
As you can see in the picture, Takeru Kobayashi wore a shirt that was signed by many of Japan’s Olympic athletes. With six world titles under his belt, Kobayashi has an immense fanbase at this competition. In my opinion, Takeru Kobayashi is the Tiger Woods of hot dog eating competitions. If Kobayashi is there, you know there will be a crowd. He makes me tune in every year without fail. Even when he’s not winning the yellow belt, Kobayashi makes the competition more exciting. God bless him.
But alas, 2009 is in the history books. Joey Chestnut is the champion. Maybe next year someone will break the 70-hotdog mark. Goodness. That will be a sight to see.
I am sure you have heard of energy drinks. In fact, you’ve probably had one in the past few years. According to RateItAll.com, here are the top 20 energy drinks (in order from #1 to #20):
Red Bull, XS, 5 Hour Energy, Monster Energy Drink, Rockstar: Original, SoBe Adrenaline Rush, BAWLS Guarana Energy, Red Stallion, AMP – Mountain Dew – Green Flavor, Reload, Hype Energy, Source Burn, Full Throttle, Pimpjuice, Red Devil, Liquid X Euphoric Energy Drink, Boo Koo Energy Drink, BOMBA, Battery, NOS
Yeah, I’ve had a few of those at some point during the past several years. And from my experience they pretty much do what they say. They give you energy. And why do we need energy? It’s because we’re a nation of people who are exhausted, busy and always wanting to do more (or less). It’s weird. People who are high strung drink energy drinks when they are not at their A Game of anxiety. On the other hand, people who are exhausted drink energy drinks to get an energy boost, as they are exhausted from doing so much already that day. Everyone’s so busy and exhausted, yet we crave more. It’s a wild circle of logic, and no one can escape the need for energy. And make no mistake, the energy drink market is thriving:
If energy drinks aren’t yet on your menu or even your radar, consider this eye-popping news: The market for energy-boosting beverages has ballooned by more than 400% over the past five years. Sales have grown from $1.2 billion in 2002 to an estimated $6.6 billion in 2007, according to market-research firm Packaged Facts, which projects that the market will reach $9.3 billion by 2011. (R&I)
But there is good news on the horizon, and on the shelves of your local 7-Eleven. It’s called Drank, and it claims to be an anti-energy drink. The slogan is “Slow your roll.” Drank is everything you would ever expect from a drink that called itself an anti-energy drink and an extreme relaxation beverage.
I grew up in Austin and Houston. In Houston, rap music is huge. I remember the first day that 97.9 The Box went on the air. Ah, memories. I still listen to rap music here and there. As recently as a few days ago, I was familiar with purple drank because several prominent hip hop musicians and famous rappers have referenced the drink in several hit rap songs. In those songs, purple drank is also referred to as sizzurp, lean, syrup, drank, barre and purple jelly. What I did not know was that a brand of anti-energy drinks had actually been created.
Think about it: Most Americans are pumped to the max on sugar. Everyone’s got ADD at some level. We want it our way, right away. We crave drama. And all of that leads to us being tired and exhausted. The logical evolution of beverages would be the creation of sugary drinks that give you more energy to deal with your day. That is why the energy drink market has surged over the past decade. But with Purple Drank, we have a drink that actually relaxes you. It slows you down. It’s meant to decreases your nervousness and anxiety levels, so you can just chill out a little.
From what I know, Houston has been celebrating a slowed down lifestyle for a long time. You can hear this in the chopped and screwed music that’s been playing in Houston for the past 20 years. You can see this if you go out on a Sunday night and see people cruising down Richmond Ave at slow speeds. People down there love the slowed down lifestyle. And why not? It’s probably not any worse than being high strung, anxious and exhausted all of the time.
The history of purple drank is also quite interesting. While the Drank Beverage brand is relatively new, purple drank has been around for some time. According to the Wikipedia:
Houston, Texas producer DJ Screw first popularized the concoction, which is widely attributed as a source of inspiration for the “chopped and screwed” style of hip hop music. Originally, the active ingredient of “syrup” was cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine. The concoction first gained popularity in the underground Houston rap scene and later spread to other southern states.
In June 2000, Three 6 Mafia’s single “Sippin’ on Some Syrup,” featuring UGK brought the term “purple drank” to a nationwide audience. Three 6 Mafia’s single “Rainbow Colors” featuring Lil’ Flip pertains to the consumption of purple drank; the addition of a Jolly Rancher candy to a cup of purple drank creates a spectrum of colors, hence the name. “Rainbow colors” can also refer to a mix of different narcotic cough syrups containing codeine, hydrocodone, and various other anti-histamines, expectorants, and such. So-called “yellow syrup” is a blend of XR hydrocodone and atropine or chlorpheniramine and “pink syrup” is Cheratussin AC brand codeine and guaifenesin. Cheratussin AC (and other similar brands), which is legal for over-the-counter purchase in some states (e.g., Washington), is sometimes seen as an alternative to purple and yellow syrup.
In 2004, the University of Texas found that 8.3% of secondary school students in Texas had taken codeine syrup to get high. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports “busts” involving syrup across the southern United States, particularly in Texas and Florida. Its use has spread to other parts of the United States and the world, including Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, United Kingdom, Vietnam, India, Israel, Russia, and Japan. (Wikipedia)
That is the story of Purple Drank. I hope you found all of that very enlightening. If you don’t know about purple drank, you are really missing out on a huge cultural phenomenon that originated in the southern United States. And just a word to the wise: do not abuse prescription-strength cough syrup. Codeine, which is found in prescription-strength cough syrup, was likely a big factor in the deaths of DJ Screw, Big Moe and Pimp C. Just thought you should know that.
BusinessInsider.com is reporting that MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson has signed a new deal, which pays him $500,000 per year for two years. All he has to do is not show up for work. That’s right. Everyone’s favorite MySpace friend is being told to stay away from the office for $1 million.
A single source close to Tom tells us that in the wake of Chris DeWolfe’s departure, Tom signed a new, two-year-deal worth $500,000 per year. As a part of the deal, Owen and new News Corp digital media boss Jon Miller asked Tom to stop coming to the office.
It seems like a great deal on the surface, but after researching it further, this deal is not really a deal at all. It turns out Tom Anderson was making $7.5 million per year for the past two years. He and the other MySpace cofounder, Chris DeWolfe, were both making $7.5 million per year. News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch was the only person at News Corp who was making more than Tom and Chris. Therefore, by signing this new contract, Tom is basically taking a $7 million pay cut. That makes this new deal seem terrible.
I guess it’s only fitting that Tom and Chris have no part in their invention any longer. They sold out to News Corp for a ton of money (supposedly about $327 million), and now News Corp is calling the shots. But it’s okay. At least they got out before MySpace is phased out by Facebook and Twitter. Tom got in, got rich and got out. Some people don’t have it so good. Nice work, Tom. Nice work, indeed.
Jon Lajoie is awesome. I enjoy his work. The day after Michael Jackson died, Jon released the video for his song Michael Jackson is Dead on YouTube. With this video, I think he makes a great point about the media’s relationship to Michael Jackson. They made cash money by labeling him a freak on the cover of every major magazine at some point over the past 30 years. Anyways, I’ll let the video speak for itself. The most poignant lyrics are just before the last verse:
oh it’s so sad that michael passed away
we loved him so much
oh really, really, did you love him
cuz from where i’m standing it kinda looked
like you hated him
and that you called him freak
and that you wanted him to die
but now that he’s dead
you love him and he’s a legend
and he’s so amazing
and we love michael jackson
how about you go fuck yourself
you big bunch of fucking hypocrits
The media is nothing if they are not hypocritical, but I will accept the argument that they are often nicer to people when it involves death. However, it is a flimsy argument, so all you media defenders should try to avoid using it.
This song was written (and the video was posted) less than 48 hours after Michael’s death was announced. Jon Lajoie’s got some skills. Well done, Jon. Well done indeed.
Hey Burger King! I saw your ad for the BK Super Seven Incher today. I think it’s kind of suggestive, but I’m not here to judge. I am only going to advise that you not make this a kids meal. And don’t put too much mayo on this sandwich because if that lady bites into it too hard, mayo might get all over her face. And the only reason that would be funny is because mayo on someone’s face is quite inconvenient. And also, I was under the impression that size matters to some people. Do you realize that Subway has footlong sandwiches? That’s like 12 inches, right? Subway’s got you by 5 inches. Subway owns you, if you ask me.
Oh yeah, how about that copy: It’ll blow your mind away. Is there a cocaine joke in there? Maybe it’s a funny play on words – a pun or a euphamism that goes well with the proximity of the 7-inch sandwich to that lady’s open mouth. Wait a minute?! Is this an ad that is trying to sell me a sandwich by stimulating both my stomach and my lower region with sexual overtones in picture form? I think it is. Goodness. There I was thinking that this pretty lady just had her mouth open because she was so compelled to take a bite out of a 7-inch sandwich. Oh no. A bite? That sounds painful. Your ad is making me think of my special guy getting bitten by a hungry lady. That’s not good marketing. At all. In fact, I no longer want anything to do with this 7-inch sandwich. Don’t even mention the BK Super Seven Incher around me ever again.
I’d rather go to Quiznos anyways. They’ve got a sexy commercial where this sexy hot oven says, “Put in in me, Scott.” And Quiznos sandwiches are bigger than 7 inches. And their sandwich is called the Toasty Torpedo, which sounds much tastier than a sandwich described by its length. And torpedo makes it sound longer and harder, and it also sounds like it would take longer to finish. Maybe you should have taken notes from Quiznos because they know how to do it right.
Note: Honestly, sarcasm aside – really, Burger King and Quizno’s? Really? I see what you’re doing, but I have to ask one question: Will heterosexual men ever want to eat the BK Super Seven Incher or the Toasty Torpedo? It’s almost like the ad is screaming at me, “Hey! Put 7 inches of meat in your mouth.” And it’s doing it in an overtly sexual way that does not have a clear target. Is this ad for men, women, or (god forbid) kids? And Quiznos, don’t think you’re off the hook. In the Toasty Torpedo commercial, the hot warm oven has a man’s voice. WTF? This whole line of advertising is just confusing me. I don’t think of fast food as sexy. Fast food is gross. The two just don’t mix. It’s like that time in the Simpsons where Comic Book Guy says, “But, Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills. You’re from two different worlds… .” Fast food and sexy just don’t mix. Even though this pretty lady is about to take a seven inch sandwich like a champ, it’s just plain confusing. But job well done in creating a viral ad. I respect that. Kind of. But still.
Spoiler Alert! I spoil everything! Read further at your own risk of Knowledge.
Year One was a very funny movie, but the surprising part was the way that it pointed out how ridiculous people are – back then and now! Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) are two dudes in a tribe of 60 or so hunters and gatherers. After failing at everything (i.e. hunting and gathering) Zed comes to the realization that maybe there is more to life than just the life they have in front of them. That sounds very familiar. I suck at everything I try, so why not move somewhere else. Maybe I won’t fail in another part of the world as badly as I’ve failed here. That thought process has crossed all of our minds at least 10 times. Anyways, back to the movie. Of course, everyone knows that if you venture too far into the distance, you will simply fall off the edge of the Earth. But Zed’s not buying it. He decides to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, and surprise – nothing happens! But at some point, Zed gets the idea that he is the chosen one. Sound like a familiar archetype?
Zed goes back to the village only to have the girl of his dreams, Maya, tell him that because he’s not good at providing for her, there is no future for them (It was something like this: “Sure you’re funny and all, but that’s pretty damn useless in the long run.”). Then everyone finds out that he had eaten from the tree, and through a completely predictable sequence of events, Zed finds himself venturing into the unknown, far away from his home village in the Garden.
No surprise here. Zed and Oh encounter Cain and Abel, and before you know it Cain is murdering Abel…continuously. I had never really thought about the fact that murder occurs in the Bible very early on. If you ask me, Abel started it. He was kind of a jerk. And the way he died was funny. David Cross playing Cain and Paul Rudd as Abel – this was a brilliant casting choice. Cain takes Zed and Oh back to his father’s house, where good ol’ dad questions Cain about his brother. That’s right. It’s the whole “Am I my brother’s keeper?” routine. I’ve heard so many sermons on this topic. Today when I hear it, I imagine one as Abbott and the other as Costello. It’s become a comedy bit in my mind. But the best part is that Adam is played by Harold Ramis. He’s awesome.
After listening to Cain lie every which was from Sunday, Zed and Oh realize that they’ve gotta get outta there. There was a funny scene involving Lilith, who completely confused Zed about only wanting to lay with women. Then some dude farted all over Oh for the entire night.
Realizing that someone’s going to catch on to the fact that Abel’s dead, Cain ends up giving Zed and Oh a ride out of town (after telling them that they would be blamed). Then Cain sells Zed and Oh into slavery. And then Zed and Oh escape from slavery. Then comes another run-in with two well-known Left Testament characters (yeah, I was the kid in Sunday school who called it the Left Testament). Zed and Oh approach Abraham just as he’s about to kill Isaac on the top of that mountain. Zed yells out and stops Abraham. This is when it really hit me: What the hell was Abraham thinking?
To Zed and Oh, the scene looked amazingly creepy. They have never heard of God(s), and here they are about to witness a murder in God’s name. Today we look at that story and think about how pious and devout Abraham was for following God’s command all the way up until the murder. And we think to ourselves: “Gosh. Now that guy is devoted to God. If only I could be as faithful as Abraham was.” Without any context, Zed and Oh were simply going to witness a murder. Just imagine if this scene played out today. Imagine some guy taking his son up to the roof of a downtown skyscraper and then (almost) killing his son in cold blood. How would that fly in today’s society? What would you think when the guy told the police, “I was only doing what God told me to do.” I would think that guy was cuckoo for Coco Puffs. And therein lies the real observation: People have always been doing crazy things, and people were no different back then. What makes us turn our minds off when hearing this story today? If all Biblical accounts are even remotely close to accurate, Abraham was, by today’s measure, a sociopath who did crazy stuff that God told him to do. I can think of some headlines from my life that involved that very scenario. Some guy doing what God told him to do, and then many people die because of it.
After Zed and Oh convince Abraham not to kill Isaac, Abraham takes them back to their village. It’s here that Zed and Oh first learn about the whores of Sodom and Gomorrah. While Zed and Oh would really like to chase some tail in Sodom, they really just want to go there to rescue their lady friends, Maya and Eema (they were not lucky enough to escape slavery, and Zed overheard that they were going to be taken to Sodom). And then another amazing event occurred: Abraham proposed circumcision for every man int he land. I guess that’s what God was requesting this time. Again, it occurs to me that people did really weird stuff in the name of God. No matter how it was rationalized, wasn’t it strange to attribute it to God. Why didn’t anyone just have the balls to say, “I’m going to cut off my foreskin because I said so.”? Well?
Just after this proposal, Zed and Oh bolted. They were on their way to Sodom. Once they arrived at Sodom, they were taken custody and then I was certain they would be killed. Nope. They were rescued by Cain, who was serving on the royal guard in Sodom. Then Zed and Oh join the Royal Guard of Sodom. The scenes in Sodom were funny and ripe for jokes. And the writers made every opportunity to get every last joke in there, but I applaud their efforts. I mean, with so many possible jokes, I’m glad that someone had the confidence to actually go for it.
Sodom had some issues. The High Priest was this flaming bear of a man who enjoyed Oh’s soft hands and oil lathering skills. The Sodomites would sacrifice virgins to the god(s), presumably for rain. But there was some debate about whether or not any of it worked anyways. At one point Princess Inanna talks Zed into going into the Holiest of Holies. It was a room that only the High Priest could enter. Other people who enter it are immediately killed dead on the spot. But surprise – both Zed and Oh get into the room, and neither of them die. Shocking, right? But Zed knew it all along. After all, he was the chosen one. Apparently so. As it turns out, Princess Inanna and/or Cain sold them out, and next thing you know, both Zed and Oh are on trial for all sorts of crimes (one of which was the refusal of sodomy). And also, the crime of hyperbole.
This scene was fantastic. When Cain was reading off the list of crimes, I was practically falling out of my plush movie chair. Zed and Oh are sentenced to death by stoning, and just as it had been all movie long, Oh takes the brunt of the brutality and bad luck. But then it occurs to Zed that he is the only person to enter the Holiest of Holies and not die an instant death. He must be the chosen one. The crowd reacts to this in a positive way, and the King has them sentenced to life in slavery. And through another random yet predictable sequence of events, Zed and Oh rescue the Princess, save their lady friends and oust the King and the High Priest.
But the real message came at the end when Zed said something like this: “Don’t worship me. Don’t follow me. Follow yourself. You have a voice. Create your own destiny. Make your own fate. Live your life.” These are simple, cliché statements. However, after watching this movie and seeing some of the weird stuff people will do in the name of God(s) and religions, Zed’s statement was more relevant than ever.
In the end, the movie was great. It was 100 minutes long. I never looked at my watch. The cast was brilliant.The writing was awesome. Jack Black and Michael Cera made a great comedic duo. I definitely recommend this film to anyone. Well, anyone who can take a joke and not get all bent out of shape about religious stuff. But even if you do, I think you will still laugh a lot when you see this movie.
In a scene straight out of 2008’s Iron Man movie, New York Times Reporter and Pulitzer Prize Winner David Rohde and a local reporter, Tahir Ludin, escaped Taliban captivity by climbing over a wall. They had been abducted along with their driver, Asadullah Mangal, on Nov. 10, 2008. For the past 7 months, they were held captive in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. So maybe it wasn’t like Iron Man with all the explosions and gunfire as they made their escape. Regardless, we are extremely excited about David’s return to America.
One of the more interesting aspects of this ordeal is that it was kept relatively quiet by all major media outlets in the United States:
From the early days of this ordeal, the prevailing view among David’s family, experts in kidnapping cases, officials of several governments and others we consulted was that going public could increase the danger to David and the other hostages. The kidnappers initially said as much,” said Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times. “We decided to respect that advice, as we have in other kidnapping cases, and a number of other news organizations that learned of David’s plight have done the same. We are enormously grateful for their support. (source)
This is one of those times where I’m happy that the US media held back a little on this story. If David’s abduction had become a viral internet/news story, I do not think he would have ever been able to escape. Welcome home, David. Get back to that awesome reporting.
For more on David Rohde’s amazing escape from the Taliban:
New Mexico broke ground for Spaceport America yesterday. Spaceport America is going to be the first spaceport built specifically for commercial space tours and space travel. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Virgin Atlantic offering trips to space for $200,000 per ride. Spaceport America is where paying customers will take a flight into Earth’s low orbit.
The New Mexico state government is funding the entire project, and it is estimated that the Spaceport America project will cost $198 million. But it doesn’t stop there. Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic are also investing $300 million to develop a space launch system on the site. And don’t fool yourself into thinking they are not going to make money. According to Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn, the company already has 300 space flights booked! That’s right. Here we are in the midst of a wrecked economy, and there are 300 people willing to spend $200k per person to take a trip to space. Gosh. I wonder what it’s like to have that kind of money. But more power to them. We need more demand to drive the price down. And if there is a profit to be made, more companies will enter this market, creating more competition, supply and lower prices. Maybe in the future I will be able to take a space tour! Go economics-based reasoning!
Where is Spaceport America exactly? Well, according to all sources, the simple answer is: it’s out in the middle of nowhere in the New Mexico desert. But more precisely, Spaceport America is near Upham in Sierra County, New Mexico. That’s about 30 miles east of Truth or Consequences, NM and about 45 miles north of Las Cruces, NM. Also, the Spaceport America facility is close to the perimeter of the White Sands Missile Range. That’s odd to me. Planes bound for low orbital space will be taking off near a missile range. Are you kidding me? I hope those two places are on good speaking terms.
There are a ton of facts out there about Spaceport America. Here are a few:
Just in case you missed it, the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships were held on May 23, 2009 in Anchorage, Alaska. Surprisingly, the United States dominated the competition, winning 12 of the 18 categories and the overall champion, David Traver of Anchorage, is also American. He was the hometown favorite (and rightfully so!), and he is a member of the Southcentral Alaska Beard and Moustache Club (WBMA).
Also known as the”Facial Hair Olympics,” the competition got its start in 1990 in Germany. Germans typically dominate the competition, but this year it was the US that shocked everyone. There were almost 300 competitors, and those competitors represented 15 different countries. For full results, visit the official site of the World Beard and Moustache Championships. In fact, here are some links for further reading if you are interested:
Official Site of the World Beard & Moustache Championships (link)