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

Google’s Dogfight

National Geographic

I (Storm) love Google’s products. I’ve carried an Android phone for years, I use their services almost constantly, and I’m also a shareholder (albeit a minuscule one).

I’m also a huge believer in free speech, no matter how repugnant, and that the open exchange of ideas among informed, thoughtful people creates a stronger society. So I thought long and hard before signing a petition asking Google to pull a dogfighting app from the Android Market. After doing so, I doubled down on my stance by tweeting about it.
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And I Feel Fine

I generally don’t like to acknowledge personalities or events that use the media to achieve idiotic or nefarious ends, much in the way that a hurricane feeds on warm waters to increase its power. So much so that I’m not even going to provide specific examples*. Monsters can thrive on even the smallest amount of attention, so the best solution comes from Paul Anka’s song on The Simpsons: “Just Don’t Look“.

So I was hesitant to write about the latest in a centuries-old line of end-of-the-world scares. Why add fuel to the moronic fire? To refute it? Nah. Anyone buying into it is clearly beyond reason. To poke fun at it? Compelling, but it would come at the cost of helping those fueling the stupidity to achieve their ends. Because it’s 10:30 p.m. and I couldn’t think of anything else to write about? No comment.
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Seals Club Man, Film at Eleven

Thanks to social media, every possible comment and joke about Osama bin Ladens’ recent retirement party is already out there. Paul and I contributed our fair share as events unfolded last night, but it seems appropriate to muse a bit, now that I’ve gained an entire twelve hours’ worth of additional perspective.

I was amazed by the wide variety of reactions people had to events as they unfolded, and in particular through the lens of our tweets, the majority of which were jokes: those that were retweeted or Favorited the most were also the ones most likely to draw condemnation, usually on the grounds that humor was not appropriate at that particular moment.
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Empathy Club

Turtle on its back with cooling towers in the background

As someone who applies humor to deal with difficult situations in their own life, sometimes it’s hard to know when it’s inappropriate/insensitive to make certain jokes in public. But even someone (like me) who barely passes the voight-kampff test knows that you’d better triple-check your judgment before attempting humor related to the recent tragedies in Japan or the massacres that have been taking place in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Part of the difficulty for me is that epic disasters just don’t seem real–especially when there’s video. It’s simply too outlandish for it to possibly be true. Yes, my eyes and ears take it all in, but my brain sends it straight to the “fantasy” bin, where it settles in alongside the destruction of Alderaan and talking dogs selling baked beans.

That’s terrible, I know. Even after successfully holding my tongue, and donating to disaster relief, I still feel shitty about the jokes percolating in my head. I mean, I know that flesh-and-blood people are actually suffering and dying as I sit at my keyboard eating Cheez Its, yet I often don’t feel a damned thing (Real Cheese satisfaction does not count.)

But I have a plan to trick my brain into directly relating to distant human suffering. And if you suffer from the same dyspathy-with-a-side-of-disaster-fatigue, I invite you to try my new simple remedy: every time I see footage from or hear about a horrific non-fictional event taking place, I will punch myself.
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Your Dog Wants Steak

Preface: I love my two cats, and Mrs. Storm and I consider them to be part of our family. This despite the fact that one of them has drawn more human blood (mostly ours) than some vampires. That said, when I read this in an article on…

Shelley Boyle says having a vegan food option for her dog, Cleo, allows them to share the same ideology.

…my brain started to stammer, and my voice followed suit. After vomiting unintelligible syllables for a solid ten seconds, I read the rest of the article and came to several conclusions:
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Thank You, Phil Collins

Grocery aisle photo by ThomasHawk (Flickr) (alterations by me)

I am not a Phil Collins fan.


I have never been to a Phil Collins concert or bought a Phil Collins solo music or video product. And I don’t say it to be mean, but many’s the time in the past 20 years that I changed the radio station because I heard his voice.

So yes, my first reaction to the news that Phil Collins was retiring from music was “so what”, and my second was “he’s still doing music?” I’ll even confess that I had other, less kind thoughts, fueled by memories of treacly ballads pushed into my ears in grocery store aisles, at shopping malls, and other public spaces that disgorge music that’s “universal”–and bland as bleached white rice. And don’t even get me started (or most especially Mrs. Storm) about “Sussudio”.
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