Mixed Media

Do GLAAD Network Ratings Matter?

| Tue Jul. 15, 2008 5:00 PM EDT

mojo-photo-gaynetworks.jpgThe Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation just released its annual "Network Responsibility Index," an exhaustive look at television programming that counts the percentage of a network's shows that feature LGBT people or characters. Once again, ABC was the queer juggernaut, so to speak, with gay-inclusive fare like Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty adding up to a whopping 24 percent of the network's prime time. The CW made it to 21 percent on the strength (?) of America's Next Top Model, and below that, things take a turn for the pathetic. Queers show up on CBS 9 percent of the time, on 6 percent of NBC's shows, and just 4 percent of whatever Fox does. Cable did a little bit better, as an FX viewer runs the risk of spotting a homophile 45 percent of the time, with HBO and Showtime just behind. A&E, Spike, TBS, TNT, USA all received grades of "Failing." Bravo doesn't seem to have been ranked, I'm assuming because it would have completely thrown off the grading curve: I'm sorry all other netverks, you are AOUUT, auf Wiedersehen.

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New Radiohead Video Made Without Cameras

| Mon Jul. 14, 2008 3:35 PM EDT

Unless you count super-geeky spinning laser detection systems as cameras. On the haunting "House of Cards" from last year's In Rainbows, Thom Yorke seemed to exhort a lover to let her old life dissolve and "get swept under" with him; exploring this theme of dissolution by pointing lasers at a suburban party and using computers to reconstruct the reflected data into a surreal, pointillist 3-D image of the scene may seem a bit on the elaborate side, but remember, this is Radiohead we're talking about. The end result is pretty interesting, although in the end it's the flickering image of Yorke himself that seems most compelling -- that shot of electrical towers collapsing is a little too reminiscent of the terrible Stephen King movie The Langoliers.

[Update: Aspiring video directors, take note. The band will partner with Google to allow fans to make "remixes" of the video footage; there is a specific YouTube page dedicated to the new versions as well as an iGoogle gadget that lets you stream the videos on your web site. Fun.]

Via the UK Guardian comes a "making-of" video that's actually slightly more interesting than the video iteslf. Watch that after the jump.

Hey Buffy Fans: Joss Whedon Back with Online Special

| Mon Jul. 14, 2008 2:55 PM EDT

mojo-photo-horrible.jpgIt turns out some people put their down time during the recent writers' strike to good use: Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon got around the TV- or film-writing prohibition by penning a musical for the intertubes. Because that's what you do, right? The result is "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," a 75-minute superhero spoof starring Neil Patrick Harris (!) as a maniacal supervillain, or at least someone who wishes he was a maniacal supervillain. The miniseries was produced on the cheap, using affordable (and sometimes real) locations, and Whedon fans will be pleased to know it features some old Buffy, Angel, Serenity and Firefly cast and crew. You'll be able to watch it for free at the Dr. Horrible web site, but the schedule is a little tricky: Act One debuts tomorrow (Tuesday, 7/15), Act Two starts Thursday, July 17th, and Act Three will be posted Saturday, July 19th. The videos will stay up on the site for free viewing through Sunday, July 20th, at which time Whedon promises they will "vanish into the night like a phantom." Or, maybe they'll be available on DVD or something.

[Update: Well, it turns out "Dr. Horrible" is pretty terrible at javascript too, or something, since there have been a ton of problems since the first episode went live at midnight. International viewers can't seem to use the site's Hulu player, the promised iTunes download apparently doesn't work, and overwhelming traffic crashed the main website, drhorrible.com, this morning. As of 3:30pm Pacific time, the site is still down. Boy, remember when you'd turn on this box across from your couch and shows would just be there? Those were the days...]

Holy Fist Bumps: New Yorker Obama Cover Features Turban, Afro, Flag Burning, bin Laden, Complete Lack of Concern for Humanity

| Sun Jul. 13, 2008 8:02 PM EDT

mojo-photo-nyerobama.jpgWeren't we just having a discussion here on the Riff about the thin line satire walks, between being the opposite of a thing and an endorsement of a thing? Well, brace yourselves, because the New Yorker has jumped right into the middle of that argument with a cover that made my jaw actually drop. The July 21st issue features a be-turbaned Barack and an afroed, gun-toting Michelle Obama, celebrating their arrival in the White House with a good old terrorist fist-bump. They've also apparently done a little redecorating, tacking up a portrait of Osama bin Laden and tossing an American flag into the fireplace for good measure. The illustration, called "The Politics of Fear," is described in a New Yorker press release as satirizing the "scare tactics and misinformation in the presidential election"; as the Huffington Post put it: "all that's missing is a token sprig of arugula."

After the jump: the full cover, the campaigns' responses, and when did the New Yorker become America's chaos-inducing art terrorist psycho?

New Music: Ratatat - LP3

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 6:57 PM EDT

mojo-photo-ratatatlp3.jpgMaybe you've been watching TV lately and you've seen the Rhapsody commercial where there are a bunch of balloons floating around that magically make logos and stuff, and there's an intriguing instrumental track underneath it, funky like '70s soul, but quirky like '00s electro, and there's also a tiger roar in it, nonsensically? Well, that's "Wildcat" by New York duo Ratatat, and it's a pretty great little tune from their 2006 album Classics. (See completely ridiculous fan-made video below). That track hinted at a new path for American electronic music, experimental but organic, an intriguing answer to European austerity. On their just released new album, the unfortunately-titled LP3, they seem to be on hold, turning again to the same disco-rock beats for an album that's sometimes intriguing but often fades into the background.

Slang White People Like, Part 2: The Bro-ening

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 6:40 PM EDT

mojo-photo-bro.jpgDebra seems to be taking a lot of guff from commenters over her piece on the possibly-ironic use of "holler" in an e-mail from a random publishing house, but I have to say I'm 100 percent behind her.

Seriously, who says "holler" unless they're singing along with Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On?" Even then you'd better be pretty drunk.

Esquire GQ (like I can tell those magazines apart) recently tried to pin down the best terms guys can call other guys, and since the ironic use of out-of-date buddy terms is a topic I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of, cap'n, I found their shakedown fascinating. It focuses on the current overuse of the term "bro" amongst, well, those doofy white guys with baseball caps and Linkin Park CDs who wish they were your bro but are not your bro.

Apparently first noted in a 1968 edition of Current Slang, the word has come a long way from its original expression of black unity, and now GQ calls "bro" the "most grating, embarrassing word a guy can use":

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Internet Time Waster of the Day: Idee Multicolr

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 5:16 PM EDT

mojo-photo-multicolr2.jpgVia the also-pretty-addictive Apartment Therapy, it's a crazy little internet widget that allows you to select a set of colors (up to ten) and then happily goes off and searches Flickr's "Interesting Photos" pool for pictures that prominently feature your selected hue or hues. First, pick orange, and watch the pumpkins, oranges, and fireworks line up. Then click on blue, and suddenly there are orange-brick buildings against blue skies, and spray-tanned babes in front of turquoise oceans. What's it good for? Well, I suppose you could click on your living room's color scheme and then print out a couple photographs for a do-it-yourself wall hanging, or something, but mostly it's just hypnotic, grid after grid of scenes whose hilariously diverse subjects are united by tint. Ooh, orange, black and pink gets you lots of nice sunsets. There goes my whole afternoon. Have your secretary hold your calls and click here.

Lab Equipment Slow Jam

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 3:40 PM EDT

In case you haven't had your fill of goofy-commercials-turned-Internet-sensations, man, do I have one for you.

So pretend you're a scientist. Which would make you want to buy a piece of lab equipment more? This slogan:


With our new Plug'n'Prep® concept for the epMotion pipetting system, automate virtually any nucleic acid purification kit with protocols from your favorite kit provider—just load the deck and press start!

Or this:

Yeah, I thought so. This excellent slow jam is a real ad created by a lab-tools manufacturer called Eppendorf. The product in question, epMotion, is some kind of automatic pipette system. Or so the lyrics seem to suggest:

Pipetting all those well-plates, baby, sends your thumbs into overdrive And spending long nights in the lab makes it hard for your love to thrive
What you need is automation, girl, something easy as 1 2 3 So put down that pipette, honey, I got something that will set you free

H/T Mental Floss.

Image and video courtesy of Eppendorf.

Chicago Tribune Redesign: Will Desperation Breed Success?

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 3:37 PM EDT

mojo-photo-papers.jpgThings are tough all over for newspapers, as Mother Jones has covered here, here, and just below. But could the prospect of, well, abject and total failure potentially spark some creative breakthroughs? It was reported this week that the Chicago Tribune is set to lay off up to 10% of its workforce, with COO Randy Michaels creepily announcing executives are "evaluating the productivity of individual journalists." Erp. But the Chicago Reader sees a possible silver lining amidst the despair:

Some 30 Tribune editorial employees have been appointed to the various committees that now meet daily to reimagine their paper. These committees take seriously the idea of giving quality some room to breathe, and they're looking hard at Britain's Guardian for inspiration. "If we can be anything like the Guardian," my source wrote in an e-mail, "I'd be over the moon."

Subscriber Sues Raleigh Newspaper After Layoffs

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 2:50 PM EDT

When the Raleigh News & Observer announced last month it would cut 70 jobs, Keith Hempstead could have written a letter to the editor expressing his disdain for the subsequent reduction in news coverage.

Instead, Hempstead, a lawyer, sued the paper for "fraud" because the N&O sold him a renewal subscription before announcing the layoffs.

Hempstead, a former reporter, seems like the overzealous type, but, as he told a Raleigh reporter, he's suing to make a point: