Citizen video of Norm Coleman catches fire

I knew this video on The Uptake would be a hot tamale. So far we've been linked by Wonkette ("MN Senator Norm Coleman was caught on tape inadvertently saying something about Iraq informed by reality."), Daily Kos, The Atlantic's Matthew Yglesias, the Americans Against Escalation in Iraq newsletter, and more. Woohoo!

Citizen video, even when relatively poor quality, can really strike a chord when it's exclusive content like this.

September 19, 2007 at 12:52 PM in Current Affairs, The Uptake, Videoblogging, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Ads suck

I've gone back and forth on Google Ads over the last few years, on various blogs including this one and Minnesota Stories.

My main problem? They're freaking ugly! And these are about the least offensive ads can be, but they're still an eyesore. The other problem: Half the time they're not remotely relevant to the page content. I've tried to eliminate most instances of the word "b-l-o-g" here because all the ads were about starting a b-l-o-g, even though hardly any of my posts are about that activity.

I'm not at all opposed to advertising, but because of these problems I feel resigned to the artsy not-for-profit realm. Rocketboom has a perfect model going for video, and I think a localized version could work well for Minnesota Stories. As for the non-video world, why isn't there some kind of indie rock version of Google Ads or Federated Media? Or is there?

Related post from Eric Rice: What advertiser would you just die to have?

June 13, 2007 at 04:47 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2)

What, me blog?


TypePad says this here blog has garnered almost half a million page views. Suckers!
My guess is a lot of Google surfers end up on these posts:

Pink's "Dear Mr. President" Video (hilarious comment thread)
Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny (sorry, no blow job video)
Hottt Paris Hilton Commercial! (tricked into watching my sweet mashup)
Blog History (finally some honest content from Blogumentary)
Godaddy CGI Sucks (#1 result for "Godaddy cgi")
Naked Friday (duh)
PARTY SLUTS (duh, part deux)


June 1, 2007 at 12:27 PM in Funny Crap, Personal Crap, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (4)

Edwards blogger resigns

Amanda MarcotteAmanda Marcotte, the controversial blogger hired by John Edwards, has resigned just days after Edwards agreed to keep her on.

If you haven't been following this, I won't go into too much detail, but after the Edwards campaign hired her she was targeted by Catholic League president William Donohue. Follow that link to see what a whacko he is.

She got in some hot water for past inflammatory writings about Catholics on her personal blog. The tamest of them: She almost always refers to Jesus as "Jeebus" - you know, from the Simpsons? Yeah. The best, ickiest, and most incendiary language may be her description of the conception of Jesus. Something about the Lord "filling [Mary] with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit." Wooo-eee! That's good material for Sarah Silverman, but just a tad racey for the button-down tone of national politics.

Still, it's sad that we can't criticize a religion like Catholicism as being anti-sex and anti-woman within the context of a political campaign. Mainstream America apparently can't handle a serious debate on that topic, and somehow blowhards like Bill Donahue get legitimacy from the mainstream media. Maybe that's why the debate is best conducted on the uninhibited blog frontier.

Andrew Sullivan has the best take:

Her coarse mockery of others' faith, while perfectly within her right to free speech, is nonetheless a liability for a political campaign. I can see why she quit, and I don't think she has any reason to complain. To be honest, I find the whole idea of bloggers as an integral part of political campaigns a little creepy. When I started blogging, many saw it primarily as a way to challenge those in power - whether in the media or politics or the church or wherever. It was a way to expand the individual's ability to speak and be heard, as a means to deepen scrutiny of the powerful.

That reminds me of a great comment on my video, Citizen Journalists and the Edwards Campaign. At the end of the video, we hop on a private jet with Edwards and I joked that this movie is called Bloggers on a Plane. Bicycle Mark commented, "Get them bloggers OFF the plane and back to critical reporting."

This may be a valuable lesson for political campaigns. Let the passionate and sometimes shrill bloggers remain in the wild, where they can run free and do more good than harm.

(ps - Al Franken, please hire me)

More posts: Captain's Quarters, Blue Mass Group

February 13, 2007 at 08:24 PM in Current Affairs, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (5)

Valleywag? More like... Valleylame


Apparently Valleywaggers have never seen a videoblog before. They dutifully reject any editing style or content outside the rigid confines of network television. Poor saps. Nice try on the video though -- not particularly entertaining, but I applaud the effort.

Valleywag's new post-Nick Douglas logo says to me, "amateur cyberporn thriller." I can't beat this comment though:

How many photoshop filters had to throw up before you got that logo treatment? It may be the single most ugly thing I have ever seen in my life, and I just saw the "Naked Jen" flickr set from Dave Winer.

See also: Memo: Valleywag Gets Down to Business, 10 Zen Monkeys

November 16, 2006 at 04:05 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (3)

A Letter from Christopher Tolkien's Lawyer


I never imagined, when attempting to read The Simarillion in high school , that I would one day get a letter from Christopher Tolkien's lawyer. Today is that day!

The letter is a response to this blog post ("CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN IS A BIG PRICK") from January 2004. Yes, it was a little harsh. But many Tolkien fans were upset by published news articles saying  Christopher Tolkien was unreasonably opposed to the Lord of the Rings films and was impeding any possibility of The Hobbit reaching the silver screen.

Tolkien's lawyer looks like quite an affable fellow, doesn't he? I have complied with their requests to the best of my ability, all detailed in the revised blog post ("CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN IS APPARENTLY A CHARMING AND NOBLE OLD CHAP, PRONE TO OCCASIONAL BOUTS OF STUBBORN PRICKISHNESS."). My very favorite part of this whole affair is their demand that I publish the following statement:

(5)  Christopher Tolkien does not guard his house with a wild boar.

Of course he doesn't... (barely suppressed laughter) Tolkien's Internet Movie Database bio says otherwise. I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to make up your own mind on the presence of boars on Mr. Tolkien's estate.

On a more serious note - can any legal folk tell me if I need to worry about comments on my blog post calling Tolkien a "big prick" (my words) "friggin' bastard" (blog commenter)? This was a common reaction among some Tolkien fans to news reports that Tolkien was holding up a film adaptation of The Hobbit.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Blogger's Guide to Defamation strongly suggests I'm well within my legal rights, due to Tolkien's status as a (obviously rather sensitive) public figure, my lack of "actual malice," my quoting of published news articles on this controversial matter, and this web site's status as a blog – which are opinionated forums by nature.



October 5, 2006 at 11:08 AM in Dandy Foppery, Media, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

DOPA Danger

Andy Carvin writes: Yesterday, the US House of Representatives unexpectedly moved forward in voting on the Deleting Online Predators Act, or DOPA. [It] passed the House a whopping 410 votes for it, 15 votes against it.

Although aimed at MySpace, this legislation restricts library and educational use of nearly every social networking site or interactive tool out there. Typical overreaction by an uneducated legislature looking to score easy points with frightened soccer moms. More background here and the latest news at DOPA Watch.

July 27, 2006 at 09:45 PM in Current Affairs, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I'm on Almanac Friday


The topic: Local political blogs. The other guests are Michael Brodkorb from the infamous Minnesota Democrats Exposed blog, and U of MN Political Science Professor Larry Jacobs.

If you haven't followed the hubub, this Pioneer Press article is a good place to start.
WARNING FOR DEMOCRATS: BEWARE OF BLOG GOP Web pundit broke story that knocked Entenza from race

Almanac airs locally on TPT-2, Friday night at 7PM. This panel will be at the end of the show, and will be online later. (That used to me my job!)

July 27, 2006 at 02:05 PM in Local, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MN Stories offers hope, salvation


Check out today's Star Tribune:
Minnesota's blogosphere is intensely personal

Especially check out the last bit, from our bloggy friend Honey Bunny:

Blogging to lift spirits

It was a blog that brought the Honey Bunny to Minnesota. Jeanne Griffin started blogging in 2002, when she lived in Boston. She ran across Minnesota Stories, a popular local blog.

"That was one of the reasons I wanted to move to Minneapolis -- I just thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen," said Griffin, who blogs as Honey Bunny. "Then, once I started writing about how I was going to be moving to Minnesota, a lot of people who were complete strangers started saying how happy they were that I was moving and offering to meet us."

Griffin's favorite blogging topic is her cat, Lola, but her posts range from cooking to movies to her fledgling jewelry business.

"If I'm depressed or not feeling good, writing helps me," she said. "Even if nobody reads it, just writing helps me feel better."

Yay! Thanks for the shoutout HB. Cookin' with Honey Bunny makes me hungry for tasty treats.

July 24, 2006 at 03:04 PM in Local, Minnesota Stories, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

If right-wing bloggers were photo editors


The right-wing blogosphere is all atwitter over this photo of a Shiite sniper supposedly firing towards U.S. positions in Iraq. In particular, this comment has been repeated ad infinitum:

Incredible courage? Well, far be it for me to question such self-congratulatory enthusiasm, but it seems to me that actual “incredible courage” would have entailed, say, Joao Silva getting word to US troops, or his bumrushing the sniper and beating him unconscious with a heavy telephoto lens.

That's right. Apparently, the right wing blogosphere thinks photographs of the enemy are a new development; a morally reprehensible act limited to the New York Times. Also, journalists should now take active part in the war and beat snipers with their weapons of choice (cameras, pens, laptops, etc.) rather than observe or report on events. Do not seek to document or understand - only seek to kill.

What a sea of dangerously uninformed idiocy. That's how we got into this mess. So let's have a little fun! How might these right-wing bloggers comment on other memorable photographs?

NY TIMES: Karen Janoch is surrounded by friends as she lay dying after taking a Seconol solution prescribed under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Karen was terminally ill with liver cancer and decided to legally commit suicide.

RIGHTWINGER: The photographer shoulda smashed these murderer's heads in with his camera. How could he jsut sit there and let these God-haters kill Karen? I love Karen more than they do and she looks fine to me. The New York Crimes has blood on their hands, AGAIN.

NY TIMES: U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945.

RIGHTWINGER: Traitor! This idiot moonbat photographer is revealing the location of these soldiers and should be imprisoned. Better yet, nailed in the crossfire. Nice flag though.

NY TIMES: Karl Rove.

RIGHTWINGER: This traitorous mirror is revealing the confidential location of a top Presidential advisor, and should be smashed into a million pieces with an assault rifle. The photographer is in prison now, right? Send him to Gitmo, along with the entire New Dork Times.

NY TIMES: Fire in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

RIGHTWINGER: This is the most spineless, heartless photo I've ever seen. To think this asshole stood there while fire raged and people are dying. Drop your pansyass camera and go save some goddam lives! Oh i forgot, your a moonbat and only care about pretty pictures and fags and stuff.

NY TIMES: "Removal from Gaza...we really feel her feelings."

RIGHTWINGER: If I was there she'd feel the butt of my army assault rifle! No sympathy for these Palestinian terrorists, unlike the moonbat photographer.

NY TIMES: While Marines continued to push deep into a southern part of Falluja where the last elements of Mujahadeen fighters are holed up, four men surrendered saying they were students trying to escape the fight.

RIGHTWINGER: I like this one, assuming the terrorist was slain immediately after the photo. Why didn't the photogapher get a shot of that? Probably because they're a moonbat pussy.

NY TIMES: Police use water canons to disperse rioters in Place de la Republique in central Paris on March 28, 2006.

RIGHTWINGER: Haha, yesssss! Spray those Frenchie moonbat motherfuckers down. How'd they sneak this one into the Moonbat Times? Probably a mistake because their stupid.

NY TIMES: A man refuses to be evacuated from his home in New Orleans without his missing cat.

RIGHTWINGER: Goddamn, I can just picture our boys blowing this asshole to kingdom come.
The photographer shoulda held this bastard down while our boys taught him a lesson. "Oh you can't find your pussy? Looks like we got a pussy right here! BAM!" Heh, heh.

NY TIMES: Sen. John Edwards and Sen. John Kerry and their families gathered at the Heinz estate in Pittsburgh, Pa.

RIGHTWINGER: Good God, not these dipshits again? Just the site of John "Fairy" Kerry makes me want to pump some lead into his sorry swiftcoward be-hind. Photog should've beat them all unconcious with his telephoto lens. Yes, even the offspring.

NY TIMES: "Life goes on amidst the rubble from the tsunami. Heart-wrenching."

RIGHTWINGER: It's okay, would be better if she was naked. Photographer should have intervened and ripped off her clothes. They're wet anyway, what's the diff?

NY TIMES: Prisoners sleep in cramped positions before being woken up at dawn inside an overcrowded cell in the Maula Prison in Lilongwe, Malawi, where certain cells have as many as 160 prisoners.

RIGHTWINGER: Boo-fuckin-hoo. Who cares? not me. Looks pretty comfy, I bet they eat better than U.S. soldiers. Go cry on gandi's shoulder ya moonbat.

NY TIMES: Phan Thi Kim Phuc, center, with her clothes torn off, fleed with other South Vietnamese children after a misdirected aerial napalm attack on June 8, 1972

RIGHTWINGER: Hahaha! I don't know, this one makes me laugh.

NY TIMES: Iraqis chanted anti-American slogans in Falluja yesterday as burned bodies of Americans were suspended on a bridge over the Euphrates River.

RIGHTWINGER: Gaaaah! Nobody should ever know this happened. The entire NY Crimes staff should be burned and hung from this bridge. Then I would frame this photograph.

RIGHTWINGER: American killing machine, right there. Don't fuck with us you sand n*ggers! Look at all that mud... that's war right there. I mean, I've seen all the Rambo movies and keep Soldier of Fortune magazines under my bed, so I've got a pretty good idea. Yeah man, more pictures of guns!

July 17, 2006 at 02:50 AM in Current Affairs, Media, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack