Weird Al. Super Bowl. YES.

UPDATE: there’s now a petition, plus a “Weird Al as Super Bowl xlvii Halftime Show” Facebook page. Patton Oswalt-approved Twitter hashtag is #SuperAl.

So go forth and help make the Super Bowl “Weird”!


The movement has begun. First in a NY Daily News article, then picked up at Nerdist. Tickles the brain, doesn’t it? But it goes way beyond that “wouldn’t it be neat?” feeling.

There is a serious case to be made. And so I present, point-by-point, why “Weird Al” Yankovic is the ideal entertainer for the Super Bowl XLVII Half Time Show:

  • Incredibly wide, positive appeal. Not only is he a genuine American icon, and not only has he continued to win NEW fans decade after decade, but if he were a politician, his negative poll ratings would be negligible. To quote The Simpsons: “He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life.”
  • Featuring Weird Al is to feature a wide swath of musical styles. “Another One Bites the Dust”…”Beat It”…”Smells Like Teen Spirit”…”Amish Paradise”…”Lump”…”Ridin'”…”Born This Way”. Musically, what do they all have in common? Very little! But through his humor and personality, Weird Al appeals to fans of many types of music. No need to have gratuitous walk-ons by the musical Flavor of the Month. And that’s even before you get to his original songs.
  • Unparalleled showmanship and production values. Weird Al’s live show is a rock show disguised as a comedy show. All the elements are there: lights, video, costume changes, general spectacle. And given a stadium-sized budget? It would be awesome in every sense of the word. And though he wouldn’t need to include the musical Flavor of the Month, odds are he’d find inventive ways to include them nonetheless.
  • Nerds are now cool. Yep. Geeks and nerds are currently at the leading edge of popular culture, a trend that doesn’t show signs of ending any time soon. Tech innovators are celebrated. “The Big Bang Theory” pulls in killer ratings. EVERYONE carries little computers around in their pockets. Now is the time to bring one of nerdhood’s heaviest guns to one of America’s most celebrated events.

So go forth and spread the word. If a Facebook page can get Betty White on SNL, and netroots action can reverse the course of a major bank, there’s no reason a strong net consensus can’t help the NFL see the basic wisdom of having “Weird Al” Yankovic as the featured entertainer for the Super Bowl XLVII Half Time Show.

Make it so.

– Storm DiCostanzo

Weird Al Super Bowl Progress

Last update: April 24, 2012

Total as of Mar 15 (9:52 pm Eastern): 20,811 signatures

Check out the Facebook page
Twitter hashtag is #SuperAl


April 24, 2012


Feb 26, 2012
All Voices
Vintage Vinyl News

Feb 25, 2012
NY Daily News – Julian Garcia battles on!

Feb 23, 2012 – Al accepts the challenge!
Huffington Post
TMZ, in which Al accepts the challenge!

Feb 14, 2012

Feb 13, 2012 Five Reasons Weird Al Should Perform at Next Year’s Super Bowl
The Laugh Button
Ross and Burbank on 97.3 KIRO FM

Feb 12, 2012
CBS Chicago

Feb 11, 2012
Patton Oswalt picks up on it and establishes #SuperAl hashtag
NY Daily News – Julian Garcia update. Al retweets it.

Feb 10, 2012

Drew Curtis green-lights the petition on the front page of Signatures quickly jump from 700 to over 1,500.

Feb 8, 2012
SB Nation (Minnesota)
Paul and Storm post on Longer Thoughts, inspired by Nerdist article, in turn inspires dAVE Inden to start the petition and Facebook page

Feb 5, 2012
Nerdist post, inspired by the NY Daily News article.

Feb 4, 2012
NY Daily News article by Julian Garcia. Al retweets it.

Special thanks to dAVE Inden for starting and maintaining the petition.

Rating Muppet Beauty

Like most non-insane folks, I only want to be associated with things and people that are beautiful. But how do you know if someone is truly attractive, and that you’re not just being tricked into thinking something is beautiful and, therefore, worthy of attention?

It’s a question that’s flummoxed philosophers and poets for thousands of years. Now, thanks to The Internets, we no longer have to guess! While trawling, I came across a number of pictures in which people posted results from the website (yes, if you scan it quickly it appears to be “Anal Face”), which allows you to empirically quantify the beauty of any face to within 1/10th of one percent.

I know! I could hardly believe it, either! But after extensive research and testing, I determined that it was 100% accurate. I don’t have time to get into my methodology, but suffice it to say it involved lots of tubes and wires, and careful notes. Once satisfied, I decided to double-check my internal calibration of beauty by running a Muppet through the test. Specifically, Bert, who had always been my lode star against which all other stars’ beauty was rated. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the results when I ran Bert through the process.

Poor Bert! But I didn’t stop there, and ran two dozen Muppets through the process. And because I’m that kind of nerd, I arranged them into a convenient chart:

…and as you can see, most Muppets turn out to be absolutely hideous. And so it is with great sadness that I must no longer profess love of the Muppets, with the exception of Gelflings and Dr. Bunson Honeydew. But just barely. And maybe the Swedish Chef when I’m drunk.

Check out a sampling of individual results after the “More”, but beware…they’re HIDEOUS.

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Om Nom Mom’s (Leftover Restaurant)

In the tradition of Soup On Tap!, today I’m offering up another MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS IDEA. From yesterday:

[S] Today’s Million Dollar Idea: a restaurant that only serves leftovers.

Uh-huh. Although the premise runs counter to the “fresh food” movement that’s sweeping the nation from Brooklyn to Portland, the majesty of leftovers can not be denied. Is there any greater joy than a serving of chili from a batch that’s been in the fridge for three days? Or a few handfuls of ripened turkey, picked straight off the bones? Sure, that lasagne was plenty good when it came riding out of the oven on a cloud of garlic steam. But after Chef Time weaves her magic…ah, bliss.

A logical point that several people pointed out is whether or not they’re “leftovers” if they haven’t been served at least once before. Maybe not technically, but the march of Commerce cares not for such trifling details! Commerce has enough to worry about with the health inspectors, who may not cotton to an eating establishment that keeps batches of food around, unfrozen, for a week or more at a time. Yes, I’m sure it happens ever day at non-fictional/non-silly restaurants. But it’s not their stated business model.

As for what this gastronomical gold mine will be called, I’ve settled on “Om Nom Mom’s”. Like many who posted name suggestions, the first one that came to mind was “Mom’s Kitchen”, but a quick Google search shows that there’s one “Mom’s Kitchen” for every ten people in the United States (one for every two in Tennessee). But for the sake of putting other people’s cleverness to good use, here are some of the other highlights (links go to the source tweets):

As with Soup On Tap!, please do pursue this if you’re inspired. If successful, all I ask this time is for a trip on SpaceShipTwo (or a comparable craft), a vellum transcription of ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” signed by Jeff Lynne himself, a gold-plated zeppelin, and a high-quality vanilla milkshake.



Like A Boss

Let’s say you just had an interesting or funny thought, and you want to get the most mileage out of it on social media. Where should you post it? Facebook? Twitter? Or a community like Reddit or Fark? Or your blog? All of them?

Of course the answer is “it depends on what it is”. But just for grins (and until I have the time to put together a detailed flow chart), I decided to post a picture that I thought might have “legs” to several venues, and see which garnered the most feedback.

Surprisingly, the venue where we have the smallest footprint (Reddit) was the surprise winner (35 karma as of this moment). Facebook, where we have ~1,100 Friends / ~2,000 Fan Page Likes, also showed strong with 19 Likes and a few comments. Twitter, ostensibly our strongest outlet at ~24,000 Followers, not so much: 7 Retweets, 4 Favorites, and not a word was spoken.

So what gives? To be fair, when the Boss Hogg image first popped into my head, Reddit came to mind. Redditors gobble up pictures as a core part of the experience, and loooove them some memes! Facebook, too, is geared for in-house picture viewing, and I’ve found that feedback is almost always proportionally higher–probably because people know that when you post on someone’s wall, they’re almost guaranteed to see it.

That’s not always the case with Twitter. Picture-viewing can be a little more cumbersome on Twitter, depending on what interface you’re using. And yes, Paul and I are diligent about checking our @ Reply list, especially after posting something that especially tickled us, but there’s no way for people to know for sure. But more than that, most of our Twitterfolk aren’t broad-meme oriented. Appreciating obscure hastag memes like #ScatHistoryQuotes, where they can demonstrate their own powers of clever, yes. Acknowledging a well-framed “repertory” meme? Less likely.

Conclusion? Keeping up with several different channels is a pain in the ass. Though the jury’s still out on blog feedback…

Cats In Tanks

(go ahead and watch the video first. you know you want to, and it’s totally cool with me.)

Yesterday I touched on Jonathan Coulton’s appearance on NPR’s Planet Money podcast, in which one of the participants argued that, on the whole, the internet has been bad for individual musicians. Then I made some easy jokes.

Today I saw a short video called “Cats In Tanks”, which is another demonstration of why the internet as it exists today is absolutely a good thing for creative people and organizations. In short, if you’re doing something good that people are interested in, they will be able to find you without going through a host of middle-men and gatekeepers, giving you the opportunity to directly profit from your creative output.
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Snuggies, Slim Jims, and a Siamese Slanket

By now you’ve probably heard about our friend Jonathan Coulton’s podcast interview with NPR’s Planet money, in which his career and success were more or less written off as a “fluke”, and was smugly labeled a “Snuggie” by Frannie Kelley of NPR’s music blog The Record. If you haven’t, follow the links to get up to speed and share the outrage.

I am not writing today to defend Jonathan, or to argue against Planet Money’s assessment of the internet’s effect on the music industry. Jonathan has already done both of those things earlier today in magna cum laude fashion in a blog post.

Instead I’m going to focus on Jonathan’s idea that ALL musicians are Snuggies:
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Raising a Glass to Jim Henson

Usually it’s round numbers that mark the biggest anniversaries, probably because it’s easy to divide by ten. I’m sure some people celebrate their 7th wedding anniversary like it was their 50th, or make a point to fete their 27th birthday like it was some kind of Turbo SuperChristmas. But our digital biology isn’t always what makes occasions momentous. Certainly not for me today, here at the end of the 21st anniversary of Jim Henson’s death:

[S] Jim Henson died 21 years ago today. Long live Jim Henson (LGT @jimjeroo’s Tumblr)

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Twitpicpocket? (Or: Say It Ain’t So!)

UPDATE: May 13, 1:43 p.m. At least one concern has been answered, regarding Twitpic’s ability to sell deleted items: the ToS does indicate that they will only access user images “in the event of a legal issue”…

You understand and agree, however, that Twitpic may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of your media that have been removed or deleted. The above licenses granted by you in user comments you submit are perpetual and irrevocable. Deleted images are only accessed in the event of a legal issue.

…though when combined with the previous clause that states “any sub-license by Twitpic to use, reproduce or distribute the Content prior to such termination may be perpetual and irrevocable”, deletion will not prevent a user pic that’s already been farmed out from being displayed. So in the alien photo scenario, if a user were to delete the image from Twitpic before it was farmed out to an affiliated partner, they would have the sole copyright from that point onward.

Thank you to TwitPic Software/Systems engineer Ryan LeFevre (@MeltingIce) for helping clear that up. The question of Twitpic’s rights within the ToS to sell user content remains fuzzy to me, but I hope it’ll be cleared up as well.

[S] Twitpic to sell user photos and not share proceeds ♫ Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain ♫

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Soup On Tap!

My brain am still kinda broke-down and glum, so today I’m giving away a MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS IDEA!* I’m practically making money just by thinking about it. Why is it so valuable?

  • It doesn’t require a lot of retail space
  • Its appeal is as novel as it is practical
  • Startup costs are low
  • It involves soup

That’s right, Soup On Tap is just what it sounds like: a storefront quick-serve soup joint where the meals are served through a modified beer tap. Read More »