Thursday, December 31, 2009

Culture Lesson: The Nudie Magazine Empire

I want to first disclose that this post was directly inspired by mass confusion when I insisted that Larry Flynt didn't own Penthouse and was then forced to look it up, and the only way that came up was because I found out that Playgirl is not the female version of Playboy, which I only learned because I read about the ailing Playgirl Inc. on The Awl. (It is, but I thought it was owned by Playboy Enterprises.) I can't think of a reason we need to know this, except for random arguments and cocktail parties. Luckily, that's my real goal here, so we'll have to forge onward. Anyway, I don't want Old People, or Young People, thinking I'm some kind of porn afficianado, because quite frankly, porn freaks me out. (It's the one residual effect from Catholic School. OK, two things: fear of nudity and a love for a specific kind of sheet cake.)

Publication: Hustler
Publisher: Larry Flynt Publications
Ignominious Celebrity Associated with Ownership: Larry Flynt
Honorary Title for Centerfold: N/A. Just "centerfold." (I inadvertently use the phrase "hustlerette", so if that comes up in conversation, my apologies in advance.)
Associated Properties: Asian Beaver, Barely Legal, Chic Magazine, Hustler XXX, Juggs, Leg World, Tips & Tricks (videogames!). Hustler Casino, Hustler Club, and Hustler Video,
Additional Notes: 1) Australian and Canadian version of Hustler license material, but are not owned by Flynt or Flynt's company. 2) is operated by LFP Internet Group, LLC. That would stand for Larry Flynt Publications Internet Group. 3) Flynt is still alive, despite whatever balderdash my parents tell you. 4) Flynt still mails a copy of the magazine to each member of Congress. Remind me if I run, and win, a seat. 4) If you're going to read porn "for the articles" read Hella Nation: Looking for Happy Meals in Kandahar, Rocking the Side Pipe, Wingnut's WarAgainst the GAP, and Other Adventures with the Totally Lost Tribes of America by Evan Wright. (The introduction provides interesting insight regarding the office culture at Hustler, too.)

Publication: Penthouse
Publisher: Penthouse Media Group (previously General Media, Inc. under ownership of Penthouse International Inc.)
Ignominious Celebrity Associate with Ownership: Bobb Guccione
Honorary Title for Centerfold: Penthouse Pet (Ed. Note: I learned this from Rock of Love with Bret Michaels)
Associated Properties: AdultFriendFinder, Penthouse HDTV, Various Inc.
Additional Notes: N/A

Publisher: Playboy Enterprises Inc.
Ignominious Celebrity Associate with Ownership: Hugh Hefner (Currently CCO; Linda Harvard is CFO, Alex Vaickus is President, Scott Flanders is CEO and Executive Director)
Honorary Title for Centerfold: Bunny
Associated Properties: Playboy on Campus, Playboy Online, Playboy Radio, Playboy TV, Spice Network, every stupid item stamped with its logo on it.
Additional Notes: Trades publicly on NYSE as PLA

Publication: Playgirl
Publisher: Playgirl Inc.
Ignominious Celebrity Associate with Ownership: N/A
Honorary Title for Centerfold: Man of the Month
Associated Properties: Previous ventures in TV and film. And print.
Additional Notes: No longer in print.

I feel so dirty now. The things I do for you Old People.

Additional Resources:
Jessanne Collins: The Truth About 'Playgirl' and Levi Johnston, The Awl

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Short Lesson in Hip-Hop

The Washington Post made a rather grievous error last month, an error which may have gone unnoticed if not for the publication's Dec. 3 correction:

A Nov. 26 article in the District edition of Local Living incorrectly said a Public Enemy song declared 9/11 a joke. The song refers to 911, the emergency phone number.
(The original article is here.)

It was a correction heard 'round the Internet, reaching far beyond local and journalism-based blogs. And rightfully so. The correction speaks beyond a journalist's inability to grasp Public Enemy's heavy impact on pop culture, but to the slow, torturous demise of journalism.

(For what it's worth, The Washington Post reports that the responsibility is not at the hands of Akeya Dickson, "who writes about hip-hop for The Post", but "veteran Post copy editor Maria Henriques," who needs this blog to recognize that her hollow apology seems...a bit insensitive.)

Let us review!

9/11 (pronounce "nine eleven"): The short-hand, short-tongue reference to the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001 in the United States. It is considered one of the largest terrorist attacks in U.S. history.

911/9-1-1 (pronounced "nine one one"): Emergency telephone number in the United States.

Public Enemy: 1982-founded New York-based hip-hop group known for its political lyrics. Members include Chuck D, Flavor Flav (now better known for his VH1 reality-dating shows), Professor Griff, DJ Lord, The S1W, Terminator X, and Sister Souljah. The group found popular stardom and critical acclaim in the '80s, and a permanent place in history (admittedly, the group's work had already earned a spot) with 1990's Fear of a Black Planet, which features the previously referred song "911 is a Joke."

Here is the video:

And the lyrics:

Hit me
Going, going, gone
Now I dialed 911 a long time ago
Don't you see how late they're reactin'
They only come and they come when they wanna
So get the morgue embalm the goner
They don't care 'cause they stay paid anyway
They teach ya like an ace they can't be betrayed
I know you stumble with no use people
If your life is on the line they you're dead today
Late comings with the late comin' stretcher
That's a body bag in disguise y'all betcha
I call 'em body snatchers quick they come to fetch ya?
With an autopsy ambulance just to dissect ya
They are the kings 'cause they swing amputation
Lose your arms, your legs to them it's compilation
I can prove it to you watch the rotation
It all adds up to a funky situation
So get up get, get get down
911 is a joke in yo town
Get up, get, get, get down
Late 911 wears the late crown

911 is a joke

Everyday they don't never come correct
You can ask my man right here with the broken neck
He's a witness to the job never bein' done
He would've been in full in 8 9-11
Was a joke 'cause they always jokin'
They the token to your life when it's croakin'
They need to be in a pawn shop on a
911 is a joke we don't want 'em
I call a cab 'cause a cab will come quicker
The doctors huddle up and call a flea flicker
The reason that I say that 'cause they
Flick you off like fleas
They be laughin' at ya while you're crawlin' on your knees
And to the strength so go the length
Thinkin' you are first when you really are tenth
You better wake up and smell the real flavor
Cause 911 is a fake life saver

So get up, get, get get down
911 is a joke in yo town
Get up, get, get, get down
Late 911 wears the late crown

Ow, ow 911 is a joke
So you see how confusing a song about the politics regarding one's neighborhood and socioeconic standing and the resulting attitudes from emergency personnel with 9/11 Truthers/ 9/11 Criticism might be a problem. (For what it's worth, I can't find any negative response from Public Enemy regarding 9/11.)

Now, Washington Post, if you're looking to employ a young, savvy, thorough fact checker, I'm your girl. I promise I'd never let a mistake like this go to print. You know how to reach me. (And by the way? It's Howard University, not Howard university.)

Additional Resources:
Washington Post Dec. 3 correction
A note of hope from voices of experience, The Washington Post
Oops: Washington Post Realizes 9/11 And 911 Are Different, Gothamist
WaPo Correction of the Week: When 911 Really is a Joke, DCist
Washington Post disses Flav and Chuck D, then apologizes, Boing Boing
Washington Post Forced To Correct Report That Public Enemy Called 9/11 A Joke, Huffington Post
Correction goes viral, blame is misplaced, Washington Post
Post Corrections Policy Victimizes Reporter, Washington City Paper City Desk blog
"911 is a Joke" lyrics

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Mother Joined Facebook

In an effort to outdo herself, my mother joined Facebook last week. She didn't get help from anyone, and didn't tell anyone. Instead, she added us. (And I was so surprised I asked her to confirm that she had joined, and that she wasn't being impersonated, because my mother on Facebook?! ...Sacre bleu!)

This was a particularly hard blow to withstand, as I'd been preparing a post to guilt her, and hopefully prompt her to join. I wrote:
Facebook is a social networking Web site I've provided only a cursory glance to. As part of my new campaign to encourage my mother to use it—because she'd love it, and because I wish she'd stop asking me to do things for her with my deactivated account—I plan to provide more insight and details in hopes of goading her into joining the service.

I'm starting my goading with reasons why my grandpa should join. Not just because he should, but because as an octogenarian, and therefor expected to lack the technological wherewithal to use the site, but because the sheer shame will force my mother in to action. The truth of course, is that my grandfather is very savvy. More than my admittedly very capable mother. But stereotypes remain, and my list will serve as my starting point.

Reasons My Grandpa Should Join Facebook

  • It's so easy that an orangutan can use it. It's true! Nonja, an orangutan in a Vienna zooz, photographs her surroundings and uploads the photos to her Facebook via wifi. Nonja doesn't maintain her Facebook page, and didn't set it up herself, but she uses Facebook, and that's the point. Grandpa already knows how to e-mail and navigate the Web, so "learning" Facebook won't be a challenge.
  • My brother-in-law needs help fighting a crime boss in Mafia Wars. According to this post on Lamebook, this young man's grandfather has reached level 36. I'm at what, level 4? My grandfather is smart, and has more time to figure out this stupid application. Maybe he can teach me. Alternatively, Grandpa can start his own family and annihilate us all. I guess if anyone should be allowed to get away with it, it's Grandpa, right?
  • He knows a ton of people. My Grandpa can't go anywhere in the Midwest without seeing someone he knows. This is not an exaggeration. At his age, he knows every resident in North Dakota (perhaps that's not so hard), and seemingly anyone who crosses his path in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Montana. Wait. Maybe that's not hard either. Still, the fact remains, that Grandpa has hundreds of relatives and knows thousands more, and these people span several generations. If Social Networking is about amassing an impressive friendcount, this should not be a challenge.
  • He knows a ton of people on Facebook. To start, I'm a begrudging member at the behest of my sisters. My cousins are savvy, and it turns out, adults are flocking to the site in droves to share photographs and keep in touch. It's not just the Young People Grandpa knows (and there are plenty of Young People)! It's older people too. From CNET:
    According to iStrategyLabs, from January to July of 2009, even though the population of Facebook members over the age of 55 grew 513.7 percent, the site now sees 16.5 percent fewer high-school users, and 21.7 percent fewer college users. Which, naturally, is cause for panic because when the cool kids leave it's all totally over. Or so the common wisdom says.
    513%! That's a ton of people. The 50+ demographic is the largest growing generation on Facebook. As my people, the 20-somethings, abandon their accounts to get a job, and my sisters' generation abandons their accounts because...they're bored? parents and my grandfather are joining. They're making up for my inactivity with endless hours of Scrabulous.

  • I think he'd like it. From Time's February 2009 article "Why Facebook Is for Old Fogies" (fogies referring to my mother, not my grandfather):
    There is very little that old people enjoy more than forcing others to pay attention to pictures of their children. Facebook is the most efficient engine ever devised for this.
Additional Resources:
Orangutan Photographer Has More Facebook Fans Than You, Mashable
Nonja the Orangutan Tagged a Photo Of You On Facebook, Popular Science
Family Still Matters, Lamebook
Why Facebook Is for Old Fogies, Time
So is Facebook for old people now or what?, CNET

The Dec. 10 episode of 30 Rock lampoons Facebook, its youth-related fervency, and its old people hopelessness.
I guess I won't have to provide a list of reasons if she's already joined, but consider the Facebook-themed posts an official feature of Lessons for Old People.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Vocabulary Lesson: Smashed A Homie

WARNING: Under no circumstances should you really use this phrase, with exception of opportunities, online and offline, to shock and scare your young relatives.

Note: This is a VH1-provided bonus clip from Season 2. But still includes repetitive use of the phrase and fake acting!

Smashed a Homie: Cheat on your partner with his or her good friend. Variables include "smashed da homie" and "smashed a shortie."

I learned this new phrase last month when I accidentally watched the end of For the Love of Ray J on VH1. The show, which I don't reccomend to People, Old or Young, is a Bachelor-style show where the producers of VH1 vet possibly unstable women as ideal mates for Ray J, a 28-year-old man famous for being Brandy's little brother and starring in a sex tape with Kim Kardashian.

In this context, "smashed a homie" can be translated to "had sexual relations while in a relationship with an otherwise D-list celebrity." I can't prove anyone has used this outside the cast of For the Love of Ray J—maybe they're trying to Start a Thing—and I doubt it will really take hold, outside of my own tongue-in-cheek colloquialisms. (Just in case I have support from Urban Dictionary.)

Go forth and live with less confusion!

Additional Resources:
Urban Dictionary definition

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Vocabulary Lesson: Dropsy

Dropsy! It's more than another (formal) name for edema. It's also an informal reference to a deliberate drop of one's contraband before one evades the law. This may be limited to the Baltimore court system.

I read this in the Baltimore Sun last month. The article provided the following situation as the lede. I think it makes a fine explanation:
At 7:40 p.m. Jan. 17, a police officer pulled his marked cruiser to a corner on Woodbine Avenue in Northwest Baltimore, got out and approached Antonio Walker-Bey, a face so familiar he knew him by his nickname. The officer, standing three to five feet away, said he saw the young man toss something to the ground and quickly walk away.
I think the term can probably be used when the drugs are planted, but I also think it's probably meant to be commonly used as the abandonment of one's stash.

Additional Resources:
A common case, an unending war, The Baltimore Sun

Culture Lesson: Ben Folds

I took my mom to see the NSO Pops last month as an early Christmas gift. We took the Metro to shuttle us to and from the Kennedy Center, and on our trip home, we shared earbuds and listened to Ben Folds. This was my mom's first formal introduction—that is, she's heard Ben Folds in one incarnation or another on the radio with me—and she loved what she heard. So to continue the introduction, I thought I would write a lesson. (For what it's worth, a few other Old People asked if I "knew who" Ben Folds was a week later. It was unrelated and kind of strange.)

Ben Folds is a 43-year-old singer-songwriter/musician from North Carolina. Folds is best known for his solo career and as frontman for Ben Folds Five, a piano-powered, guitarless pop/rock trio. (The group thought "five" sounded better than "Ben Folds Three".) The group attracted mainstream attention in 1997 for the song "Brick" and their album Whatever and Ever Amen.

Ben Folds Five disbanded three years later in 2000, following 1998's Naked Baby Pictures, and 1999's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (the title was originally a reference to the drummer's fake ID, and the liner notes "thanked" Messner for his cooperationat the time, the group was unaware of Messner's fame, and was later contacted by the real Messner, who expressed his pleasure with the group's work). The group's work following Whatever And Ever Amen was adored by critics and spawned hits (videos below), but did not match the success of "Brick." (That's my way of explaining why you may have mistakenly assumed that the group was a one-hit wonder. There were other hits!)

Warning: This song has the "B" word in it.

Following the split, Ben Folds sought a solo career. He released Rockin' the Suburbs in 2001, which again stole the hearts of critics and Young People. (Ed: Cool young people. Like, the cool person who sits in the back of Spanish class, gets all As, yet oozes apathy cool.) The album included an eponymous hit, which skewered the white, affluent middle class. (Yet spoke to me, as a bored suburban youth.) Folds stated that the song was also an attack on whiny Nu Metal (think Papa Roach). Here's the video, directed by Weird Al:

(I think the profanity has been obscured here.)

Folds followed Rockin' the Suburbs with a live album, two EPs in 2003, an EP in 2004, Songs for Silverman in 2005, and Way to Normal in 2008. There have also been compilations, a Web-only release, and other miscellaneous materials. Way to Normal debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200.

Folds is married, seemingly likes his wife, and has two children. As far as I can tell, he is not a Republican. (That's what's imperative here if you're my mom.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Vocabular Lesson for Young People: Horde vs. Hoard

Today's bonus post is by special request! A former co-worker of mine (hi Hillary!) asked that I explain to the Young People the difference between horde and hoard. She makes a great point, as illustrated in the above screenshot from the Wikipedia entry for "horde." Following yesterday's enlightening vocabulary lesson, I felt up for the challenge! Let's dive right in. Let's not hold back! Let's go there.

Hoard: To collect and store items. She hoarded all of the delicious cookies under her bed and refused to share.

Horde: A group of people. Or, from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: "A teeming crowd or throng."

You can not horde the candy canes and your hoard can not storm the bar for grog. Yet! Dragons hoard shiny things and hordes of foolish knights and drunk peasants attempt to reclaim the valuable artifacts.

...Sorry. These words just remind me of my nerdier days. Days where my interests were all fantasy-based. I think I'll slink off to a corner with my fantasy novels now, with promises to return when you misuse hoard and horde so that I might point and laugh. Ahem. Yes. See you Tuesday!

Additional Resources:
Hoard, The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Horde, The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vocabulary Lesson for Young People: Ho vs. Hoe*

I find this issue extremely bothersome, and an issue amongst Young People. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that Old People don't have this problem, as Old People are generally the ones to refrain from derogatory slurs, and are well-versed in basic vocabulary. Still! The fact remains that People are misusing the word "hoe." (I find that misuse is a plea for skewering. I always oblige.)

So I present! A quick primer on "ho" vs. "hoe."

Ho: A derogatory slur toward women. (And used for women only.) Note that there is no "e" on the end. Note that using it in my family results in severe consequences. (*Note that I've never dared or considered using it.)
Plural: hos

Hoe: A gardening implement used to till soil. It can sometimes cause strain on ones back, and in rare, tragic incidents, provide splinters to fingers and sharp whacks to unsuspecting toes.
Plural: hoes

So it's all on you, dear Internet, to start using these words correctly, lest I start asking for additional information regarding glaring accusations against gardening implements. Ultimately, it would be best to use constructive arguments that focus on a person's character and not her gender and perceived actions. (In fact, let's all be good to each other and throw out the glaring accusations altogether!)


*Sorry, Mom.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Vocabulary Lesson: Nom

My, this pumpkin bread is delicious. NOM NOM NOM NOM. MMMM.
Yes, I used Internet slang "nom," and no, I didn't mean hate group National Organization for Marriage. Instead, I mean the onomatopoeia used as a verb ("nomming"), adjective ("nom-worthy", "nom"), and noun used to identify tasty, delicious, must-have treats.

Here is an all-encompassing definition from Urban Dictionary (see the above video for "nom" in action):
1) The act of eating
2) An act of affection
3) A sound to express satisfaction through eating
What is nom's etymology? At best, I'm open to crediting Cookie Monster, but I have no conclusive evidence. As an Internet-credited word, I'm willing to let the history of this word go, so long as we all agree to use it in reference to the very best food items (cookies, cake, pie, tacos).

Additional Resources:
Nom definition
, Urban Dictionary

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Technology Lesson: A Lesson in Re-Tweets

If you've logged in to Twitter in the last month you may have noticed some changes in your friends feed. In addition to lists (a post on that is coming next month), Twitter has added a new function to your friends feed, by displaying re-tweets in a new way.

But wait! What is a re-tweet? A re-tweet (or "RT") is when a person finds a tweet he or she wants to share with his or her follows. Traditionally, a RT would look like this:

(Text too small? My friend @mshwn wrote: RT @kaitlin_olson I just absentmindedly ate an entire can of black olives. I'm so confused.) Meems read It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia actress Kaitlin Olson (@kaitlin_olson) and decided to share it. (Heck, I almost RT'd it too!)
(You should follow @mshwn, by the way. Her tweets are hilarious, and it's always good to know who is shopping on Rodeo Drive.)

When I read the tweet in my Tweet Deck, a third-party application, it looked like this:

Most Twitter users user other applications to read and tweet, and I was waiting to see how Tweet Deck would adapt to the new RT function on Twitter's stream. But when my Twitter home page was inundated with Twitter's new display, I decided to stop waiting. Right now it looks like third-party applications probably won't show RTs in Twitter's new way. However, applications still allow users to RT with ease. Personally, I don't think we are missing too much. And I expect applications will find a way to integrate Twitter's new policies before long.

You may have noticed Twitter's new plan when you logged in. The notice sits at the top of the page:
If you click the notice, Twitter will take you to a page detailing what a RT is, and how to RT yourself. An excerpt:
Like a tweet? Retweet!

Sometimes you come across a tweet that you just have to share- tweets can be a big deal when they're newsworthy, informative, or even just really funny. Twitter's new retweet (RT) feature helps people quickly share information, which is pretty much what Twitter is all about.

Twitter writes that a new section has been added to the sidebar, to filter RTs. Twitter also instructs users how to remove RTs, and how to RT. Twitter also notes that you can identify a RT by its arrow icon in front of the tweet. Here is something you might have seen if I were a follower. (The yellow star is because I also favorite'd the tweet.)

And here is what the tweet looked like on @boburnham's page:

Underneath the date (1 a.m., Dec 2nd) it says, "Retweeted by you and 53 others." That indicates that I retweeted the tweet, and 53 others (and counting at press time) also RT'd the tweet.

If you want to RT... find the tweet you want to share. In this example, I want to RT @martyfnday's tweet about Spiderman.

I've hovered my mouse over the tweet to display "REPLY" and "RETWEET", as seen at the bottom right of Marty's tweet. Twitter wants to make sure, as Twitter is both thoughtful and aware that its technology is sometimes baffling.

I do! So I clicked YES. Twitter acquiesces and adds it to streams of my many adoring Twitter friends. (I never did get the story on his refusal to dress up as Spiderman.)

So easy! If you want to make sure the tweet is seen in all feeds, you can copy and paste the full tweet (and include the user's name). Make sure you type "RT" before the "@" symbol before hitting enter. (Anywhere else and only mutual followers will see the tweet. This sounds OK in theory, but mutual followers already read the tweet, and the copy + pasting will mostly confuse and possibly annoy others.)

You can also refer to the third party program you are using. Most include functions that will do the copy + pasting for you!

Again, be sure to check Twitter's announcement for more information.

Additional Information:
What is a retweet? (RT), Twitter forums

All Twitter posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

David Letterman Sends First Tweet

I think David Letterman is having some technology troubles. He sent his first Tweet Tuesday night, as seen in this clip below, but the process was filled with worry.

Maybe he needs to browse the Lessons for Old People archives?

...Speaking of Old People, Chris Matthews is confused, and possibly appalled, as to what "STFU" means.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Technology Lesson: Follow Someone on Twitter

I can't believe I wrote all of those Twitter manuals and forgot to tell Old People how to add a friend to their Twitter feeds. I'm sorry, Old People! Allow me to rectify the situation:

1. Turn on your computer. Open your browser. Direct your browser to Log-in to your account.

For the purposes of this exercise, I wanted to make sure I was adding someone I wasn't following, and someone I wanted to follow. Good news! I haven't been dutifully following The Current, a radio station related to Minnesota Public Radio. I am an otherwise devoted listener, so today you get to watch me add @TheCurrent.

2. Find the user you want to follow. You may need to search this person. (You can search through Twitter or try typing the user's name + twitter in an Internet search.)

3. When you've found the account you want to add, you'll see a small button below the account's name. The button says FOLLOW. If your cursor hovers over the button, a pop-up bubble will appear, as seen above.

4. Click FOLLOW.

5. After you click the button Twitter will add the account to your friends' feed. You will immediately see a confirmation. The above graphic will display when you have successfully clicked the follow button. You will see the green check mark and FOLLOWING indicator on other accounts you are following.

6. Now that I'm following @TheCurrent I can see the account listed in my list of followers. You can check your followers at @TheCurrent is at the top of my list because it is the account I've added most recently. Likewise, because I am a nerd, and have been using Twitter for more than two years, I'm listed at the bottom of my friends' follow lists. You can confirm that you've added a follower by checking your following list.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Technology Lesson: Copy + Paste Files From One Drive to Another

I did something wild and complicated, last month dear Internet. I transferred files from my personal hard drive to my mother's hard drive (which, to date, is going unused, except for instructional exercises on this blog). I live dangerously.

I thought it might be worth documenting, even if only for my mother as part of public record, so I took photographs and screenshots as I completed this ridiculously easy task.

Onward to the file sharing!

Find both of the external drives you plan to use. (Or three! Let us live wildly!) Get them out and put them near your computer.

If you use a drive that requires a power source, plug it in. If your drive doesn't require extraneous power, skip this step.

Open your laptop if necessary.

Turn on your computer.

Open any cases your drive may be stored in for safekeeping. Take out attachments, put drives together. (See more here.)

Hook it all up, dude.

If your drive has an on/off switch, turn it on.

Repeat. (Put drives together, plug in, hook it up.)

Realize the drive you bought your mom for her birthday is not Mac compatible. Sigh and resign yourself to completing this task in another room, even though you were so close to finishing the task. Tell your readers that though the above (and below) photographs are on a Mac, you forgot that the drive wasn't Mac compatible, and completed the task on a Windows-based machine. Realize that this is for the best, because your mom isn't using a Mac anyway, so the real directions should be Windows-based anyway!

Check out My Computer. Note that the two icons at the bottom denote the two drives you have successfully connected to your PC. (The type here is small to accommodate the blog's layout, but it's true.)

I've highlighted the drives here. Double click the names to open them. I prefer having one drive in each window of its own.

Open the destination folder in the receiving drive. Find the location where you want to drop the files. In this case, that's the folder labeled MUSIC.

Create a new folder in the MUSIC folder for these new files. Do this by clicking FILE, NEW, and FOLDER. (This is how you create a new folder. Look at all the stuff you are learning!)

Go to the other window with the first drive, where you are copying materials. Find the folder in the drive with the files you need. Here, those files in are a folder called CHRISTMAS MUSIC. (Yes, I am copying music files. We have the physical copy available too, one copy to each of us, but darn if I know where my copy is, or if I feel like finding another copy, and this is why I back up my files, don't you know?)

Open the folder. Find the files, or folders, you are looking to copy. Select the files. You can select one at a time, or select them all at once. One trick to selecting multiple files it to hold CTRL while you click the files.

Apparently I left this image out, but go to the menu at the top, choose EDIT, and COPY. (Or, CTRL + C)

Go to the second window, where you want to paste the files. In the same way you copied the files...go to EDIT. Click PASTE. (Or CTRL + V)

The files will appear. You'll see them if you're successful. I promise.

When you've finished, eject the drives. (See here.) If your drive has an on/off switch, turn it off.

Remove your drives.
Both of them.
If you required a power source for your drive, unplug it.

You did it! High five!

You And Your External Hard Drive

Lesson: How to Eject Your External Hard Drive

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Link: Facebook Changes

If you use Facebook, you might want to look at 5 Big Changes to Watch in Facebook's Upcoming Redesign by Ben Parr for Mashable. I would hate to think that you would log in to find a bevvy of surprises without proper warning.

Facebook hasn't yet been a target of this blog. One of the reasons is that the site is constantly modifying its appearance and objective, making screenshots and instructions rapidly out of date. (Another reason is that I haven't had the time to sit down and hold your hand while I walk you through it.) But I'll get to it eventually. Until then, you can check out this social network overview and Mashable's article linked above.

December Posting Schedule

Wow! That was some month, wasn't it? If you need time to catch up on NaBloPoMo, don't worry! Posting 'round these parts will be lighter for the month of December. Articles will still post at 8:08 a.m., but will be restricted to Tuesdays and Thursdays.

That should give us all time to catch up. :) (Confused? The emoticon entry is here.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Let Mrs. Brady Help You

Is there something you need help with right now? Something I haven't yet covered? Call Mrs. Brady! She wants to help.

Called the FloH Club, Florence Henderson is on call to help you with your technology needs. Subscription rates cost $124.99 for six months or $249.99 a year, and promise to solve ALL of your problems. Technicians are waiting by the phone to take you calls seven days a week, 8 a.m. through 2 a.m.

Henderson spoke to the New York Times last month. She said:

“I didn’t grow up with this technology,” she said. “It’s like learning a new language.”

Now, as a proficient text-messenger, Skyper and active member on Facebook, she wants to help others learn to do the same.
Later, she calls her service "roadside assistant for computers"!

And, I guess she doesn't have an equally savvy daughter to blog about these things for free! Admittedly, this blog has covered a great deal of pop culture over the course of NaBloPoMo, and also taken Twitter to task. (Henderson won't tell you how to identify a juggalo or reply to a Tweet.)

Anyway, if you have needs, you know where else to turn!

Additional Resources:
The FloH Club
Here’s a Story, of a Tech-Support Lady…, New York Times

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ryan Seacrest's Jobs

I know, Old People, is does seem like Ryan Seacrest is everywhere. Yet! He is not on your beloved Dancing with the Stars. Just E! and prime time!

Here's an abbreviated version of his working resume:
  • American Idol, host
  • American Top 40 (radio), host
  • Denise Richards: It's Complicated, executive producer
  • Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest, host
  • E! News Daily and E! News Live, host
  • Larry King Live, occasional substitute
  • Live with Regis and Kelly, occasional substitute
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians, executive producer
  • Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, executive producer
  • On Air with Ryan Seacrest (radio, TV since cancelled), host, producer

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Technology William: Twitter Celebrities

You're on Twitter. You're posting and replying!
The celebrities are too! (There's a good chance Oprah or Ashton Kutcher brought you to Twitter.) Where are they? Right here:Are they real? Twitter is currently using a system where celebrity or well-known profiles are verified. You can check the profile's verification by looking for the blue check mark next to "verified account."

Please, keep in mind the above list is only the beginning! Take the liberty to find someone for yourself.

Additional Resources:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Vocabulary Lesson: Billabong

When I was in middle school, the Washington Post published an article about popular skateboard brand Billabong. I nearly worshipped the local skate shop and Pac Sun (then Pacific Sunwear), but I generally strayed from Billabong in favor of Independent, Volcom, Girl, and DC. Nevertheless, I was cornered and accused of supporting not just an asshole (the article was not favorable), but also a pothead. Beacuse, you know.


(For the record, I didn't know! I don't know what a bong was! I'm fairly naieve.)

Well! A billabong is something else:
Billabong: Stagnant, unmoving water. (Australian.)

Australian English word meaning a small lake, specifically an oxbow lake, a section of still water adjacent to a river, cut off by a change in the watercourse, cf. an oxbow lake.[1] Billabongs are usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end. Despite some claims of a Scottish Gaelic origin,[2] the word is most likely from the Wiradjuri term bilabaƋ.

I think the Washington Post, and an Old Person, owe me an apology.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Technology Lesson: Shopping and Online + Getting the Best Bargains

My family pulls names every Thanksgiving for a Christmas gift exchange, and naturally, there was much debate regarding the spending limits and getting the best deal. Now, my family members agree that getting up before the sun rises to scoop the best Black Friday deals is far from ideal, but some Old People may disagree, and as a master Internet shopper, that worries me.

So before you camp out in front of the store at 3 a.m., I thought I'd extol my tips to Black Friday shoppers (and my mom), in hopes of providing both solace to your wallet and some shut eye.

  • Big-box stores do not always control, or share ownership under the same entity, as the official Web site. (I think this is silly, confusing, and counter productive.) This is worth knowing as prices in store, and online, may not match. Check the Web site to verify that the store will match online prices in-person before confronting a lowly employee to demand reparations.
  • If you choose to buy online, you may have early deadlines. Plan accordingly. Most merchants have posted their deadline by now, so be sure to check that before you order.
  • Worried about your private information? A store's Web store is generally safe. Buying from an unknown merchant? Look for the VeriSign logo or pay using PayPal. Verisign is generally a sign that the Web site has been verified as "safe." PayPal will transfer funds from your credit cards or accounts to the merchant without providing the merchant your private information. is also considered safe and does not provide your information to merchants.
  • Most stores provide their ads online. You can compare all ads, including the ones you accidentally recycled, side-by-side in your Internet browser to compare the best prices. Because, before you join the mobs, that's what you need to do: Compare prices from one store to another, and compare the discount from the original price. Is 15% worth the missed sleep?
  • You should also compare online. I like to use as a barometer as it will offer a bevvy of merchants, from the manufacturer to big-box stores and individual sellers. I feel like I get a good idea of the range or prices.
  • Is there a store you know you'll frequent? Sign up for the mailing list. Mailing lists often include weekly coupons, and are more likely to include special savings and coupons during the holiday season. Borders and Barnes and Noble e-mail weekly coupons customers can print at home and bring to the store. American Eagle and its related companies are having a special one-day sale online. Mailing lists also include the much beloved coupon codes, a series of letters and numbers you enter near the end of your online transaction for additional discounts. Mailing lists are free, and if you decide you receive too much e-mail, you can always unsubscribe.
  • Many Web sites are devoted to providing you with the best deals. Some will re-direct you to the direct site, some will provide coupon codes or printable coupons, and some will host the deals on their own. Here are some resources to get you started:
    Cheap College Gamers
    Coupon Cabin
    Coupon Mountain
    Fat Wallet
    Gamer Hotline
    Retail Me Not
    Tech Bargains
    Tech Deal Digger
    woot! (an article about this site is forthcoming)
    I also like to check Consumerist's Morning Deals and Lifehacker's Deals of the Day.

  • You can also search the Web for coupon codes for discounts and free shipping. Add "coupon codes" to the name of the retailer or merchant in an Internet search. You may find a code for free shipping or a discount. Retailers are smart to this now, and some may be blocked. I feel like this is sneaky, but I also can't afford anything full price. (So yes, I do it, all the time.)
Advantages to Online Shopping
  • Many retailers and merchants offer free shipping.
  • Coupons coupons coupons.
  • There's usually a larger selection of sizes, styles, colors, and number of items in stock
  • There are often lower prices online, and the prices are offered post-Black Friday
  • Free shipping, free returns, in-store returns, and special online prices are often available
  • ...And if free shipping isn't an option, it probably is if your order meets a minimum price requirement. If the order is from a larger retailer, such as Target or, see if you can combine the items on your shopping list to reach the higher price point. (Don't get just one thing if you might end up ordering again, or getting the item elsewhere.)
  • Less stress, more sleep.
  • I take a special joy in shopping online in my pajamas while watching crap TV.
  • You can have time to hem and haw over items. (And no one is trampling you for the same item.)
  • And, you have a bigger selection. You can buy anything you want.
Disadvantages to Online Shopping
  • Shipping can add up when it's not free.
  • You can't try anything on. Or pick up the item to feel it or examine it. (Sizing charts are usually available for clothes, and many items are reviewed online.)
  • Shipping can take longer than a "few days," and waiting for an item to arrive is sometimes stressful.
  • Some retailers will accept your order and then e-mail you hours later to let you know that the item is out of stock. (Looking at you, J Crew!)
  • ...That's all I've got, people. I love online shopping. I bought kitchen gadgets, a giant tub of Utz chips (shipped to Oregon!), fashion tape, clothing (in fact, I bought a hoodie last Thanksgiving from the confines of a hospital bed!), and handmade goods from Etsy last year. Nearly everything was online. And it was awesome.
Well, that's all the help I have for now, Old People. It's 11 p.m. EST here, which means it's time for me to turn in. Here's hoping none of you are camped outside in the rain and winter weather advisories waiting for a good mauling over that Xbox.

Additional Resources:
Lifehacker's Guide to Making the Most of Black Friday, Lifehacker
Busting Myths About Black Friday And Cyber Monday, Consumerist

What A&E Owns

And what does American Eagle Own?

American Eagle owns:
  • 77 Kids
  • Aerie
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Martin + Osa
Well. That was anti-climatic, wasn't it?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What A&F Owns

So! We know what Nike, Viacom, Yahoo!, and Gap own. What about Abercrombie and Fitch? (Have you been boycotting one store but not the other(s)? Oh noooo.)

Abercrombie & Fitch owns:
  • Abercrombie Kits
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Gilly Hicks
  • Hollister Co.
  • Ruehl No. 925

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Gap Owns

Yesterday we looked at Nike, following Yahoo! and Viacom. Today, Gap.

Gap owns:
  • Athleta
  • babyGap
  • Banana Republic
  • Editions
  • Gap
  • GapBody
  • GapKids
  • GapMaternity
  • Old Navy
  • Piperlime

Additional Resources:
Gap Inc.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What Nike Owns

Following this month's unnoficial series about who owns what...

Nike owns:
  • Air Jordan
  • Cole Hahn
  • Converse
  • Hurley International
  • Nike
  • Nike Golf
  • Nike +
  • Nike Pro
  • Nike Skateboarding
  • Niketown
  • Umbro

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Culture Lesson: Alternative Newsweeklies

An alternative newsweekly is a city-centric magpaper that focuses on local and national news, and provides additional, less traditional, coverage than the average daily newspaper.

Alternative newsweeklies are usually released weekly and free to the public. (They subsist on add revenue.)

Here’s some copy I lifted from the Wikipedia article because I am clearly a busy woman (and it seems, when my mom knows about something, I’m lazier):

Alternative papers usually operate under a different business model than daily papers.[citation needed] Most alternative papers, such as the Houston Press, the Los Angeles Free Press, the Village Voice, the New York Press and the Long Island Press are free, earning revenue through the sale of advertising space. They also often include ads for adult entertainment, such as adult bookstores and strip clubs, which are prohibited in many mainstream daily newspapers.[citation needed] They usually include comprehensive classified and personal ad sections and event listings as well.[citation needed]

Many alternative papers feature an annual "best of" issue, profiling businesses that readers voted the best of their type in the area. Often these papers send out certificates that the businesses hang on their wall or window. This further cements the paper's ties to local businesses.

Alternative newspapers represent the more commercialized and mainstream evolution of the underground press associated with the 1960s counterculture. Their focus remains on arts and entertainment and social and political reportage. Editorial positions at alternative weeklies are predominantly left-leaning, though there is a small contingent of strongly conservative and/or libertarian alt-weeklies. Their styles vary sharply; some affect a satirical, ironic tone, while others embrace a more straightforward approach to reporting.
Newsweeklies provide many of the same services as a daily newspaper. In addition to local and national news, plus a deep devotion to the code of journalism ethics (I’ll argue a deeper devotion, personally), you can get your sudoku and crossword puzzle fix.

Newsweeklies also syndicate columns in the same way Ann Landers might be found in city dailies nationwide. Except, instead, newsweeklies syndicate racier comics and columns such as The Straight Dope (it’s a weekly column much like this blog, but more reverent), Savage Love.

To the detriment of journalism education, the only newsweekly in the Newseum is New York City’s Village Voice (which is perhaps the best known example). A copy of the Voice is the Newseum’s history hall and mentions newsweeklies in passing as the rebellious, pot smoking, little brother of Real Journalism. (Bite me, Newseum.)

Many newsweeklies are owned independently. In recent years however, newsweeklies have been purchased in much the same way as daily newspapers. The Tribune Company, which owns the Baltimore Sun, the Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune (among others) previously owns altweeklies Hartford Advocate, New Haven Advocate, Valley Advocate, and Fairfield County Weekly. Village Voice media owns fourteen publications, and Creative Loafing, which has been languishing in bankruptcy court, owns four, including Washington City Paper and Chicago Reader.

*Disclosure note, I freelance for Baltimore’s newsweekly, City Paper, and happily worked as an intern and research assistant.

Additional Resources:
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
Alternative newsweekly Wikipedia article
Village Voice Media

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Vocabulary Lesson: "Man" As A Prefix

I love a portmanteau more as much as the next guy copy editor, but I am not a fan of unnecessary, overly gendered, additions to our pop culture vocabulary. Despite my misgivings, new, inane words, may be here to stay, and continue to grow in our ever expanding lexicon, so we might as well as shoulder the burden by tolerating its existence when we can't stamp it out. (That's right, Old People, stamp it out. You have my permission to correct open a discussion with the misbehaving whippersnappers!)

Most newfangled portmanteaus are my thing, but the one trend that most decidedly is not is adding "man" as a prefix to...just about anything. The general idea seems to enhance an action via an implied Y chromosome, but the effect is an emasculating, sexist term implying the meaning of the regular word is doubly wussy, because, at its default, its inherently womanly.

The most egregious of the man as a prefix is mantrum, the male tantrum, because a childish tantrum can be, apparently, manly. The word proliferated last month in reference to Jon Gosselin (and the whole affair sounded emotionally abusive, how brave, manly, and Brawny-man like is emotional abuse, anyway?) As we all know, Jon Gosselin is a bastion of gentlemanly behavior.

With disgust in mind, I present a variety of man- words, wherein "man" seems inefficient:
  • man bag, mansatchel, man purse (items used to carry things—messenger bags, briefcases, book bags—used by men)
  • manbase (mostly male fanbase)
  • man bench (a bench a man sits on, preferably outside an area, while waiting for his woman)
  • man brush (hairbrush, comb)
  • man cave (underground layer where a man does his manly things, playing Playstation, surrounded by neon beer signs, a game table, and surrounded by dank, dirty carpet; a feature men require on House Hunters)
  • man cleavage (butt crack, butt cleavage)
  • man cry ("To be emotionally or physically sad enough you feel the need to cry, but don't because you're a man.")
  • man cold (a cold)
  • man decorating (any "decorating" done by men*, specifically Christmas)
  • man period (moodiness)
  • manscaping (hygiene)
  • mansentials ("all things that are needed by a true man")
  • mantrum (tantrum)
  • Manwich (brand name for canned Sloppy Joe's introduced by Hunt's in 1969; eaten by adorable children in the commercials; “A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal.”)]
  • Hegan (a male vegan; particularly perplexing to me, as I know twice as many male vegans as I know female vegans)
Remove from your lexicon, forthwith!

Additional Resources:
Gosselin's Gal Pal: Jon Throws 'Mantrums', ABC News (What is 'gal pal' anyway? It's his girlfriend.)
Virility Wikipedia article

*For the record, my job at home is decorating. (Admittedly, I am too lazy or too busy in some seasons to get it done, but Christmas is mine. Last winter, when I was mostly immobile, I dictated.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vocabulary Lesson: Tweet vs. Microblog

I've noticed that the Twitter explosion has had an unfortunate affect on Old People (and some Young People): the term "tweet" is used interchangeably for long, short, analogue, and digital updates. At the risk of face-palming myself to the afterlife, I thought I might step in.

Tweet: A short 140 character update posted to one's Twitter account. Please note that the update must be 140 characters or less and must involve Twitter.

Microblog: A very short blog. When I was in college the in-class rule was a 200-word minimum. (200 words was also an idea goal, no one wants to read 5,000 words in a single entry.) If your contribution to the Internet is a few sentences at its maximum, without a specific structure (inverted pyramid or otherwise), you have a microblog. A microblog is quick, brief, and may include a photo, audio clip, or bit of text.

Blog: A singular post to a Web site. Like this one. An article on The Huffington Post, an update in a person's LiveJournal, is a blog. Again, if it's 200 words, it's no longer a microblog. A blog can be closed to membership, but it is not an e-mail.

How do you know what to call the item in your hands?

Did you post it (or are planning to) post the update to Twitter?
You have a tweet.
Is the item longer than 140 characters and not going to Twitter? You have a microblog.
Is the item longer than 140 character and going to Twitter? You have a tweet. It needs to be edited or it won't post. (If you post from your phone Twitter will cut you off after 140 characters.)
Is the item 200 words or more? It's a blog. Post that baby online!
Is the item offline? It's not a tweet, dude. It's not a blog, or a microblog.
Is the item spoken? Then it's words. Coming out of your mouth. Don't get smart by calling your words "tweets."
Is the item an e-mail? It's an e-mail. An e-mail may be public discourse in the eye of the law in a libel suit, but it's not public enough to be considered a blog, even if the material is sent to 1,000 of your closest friends and family. (That is spam.) It's not a blog. Don't get smart with me, Mom.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Yahoo! Owns

Yesterday we looked at what Viacom owns. Today? Yahoo!

First, Yahoo, like Google and AOL, owns its own subsites. These include Yahoo Alerts, Answers, Autos, Education, Entertainment, Fantasy Sports, Finance, Foods, Games, Greetings, Health, Horoscopes, Maps (Directions), Personals, Real Estate, Shopping, Sports, Travel, TV, and Weather.

Yahoo! owns:
  • Babel Fish – Yahoo! acquired the translator in the late '90s or early '00s.
  • Fire Eagle
  • Flickr
  • FoxyTunes
  • HotJobs – Yahoo! purchased HotJobs in 2002 and later add its name to the title.
  • IndexTools – Purchased and later renamed Yahoo! Web Analytics.
  • Upcoming
  • Zimbra
Additional Resources:
Yahoo! Everything

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Viacom Owns

So many channels, newspapers, and stores are larger entity. Today, we examine Viacom's ownership. For example, Martin + Osa is owned by American Eagle, Hollister is owned by Abercrombie & Fitch, and Nike manufactures Converse.

Viacom owns cable and satellite network, Paramount, various Web sites. Viacom is No. 3 media conglomerate, ranking behind Disney and News Corporation.

Viacom split in 2005, forming "old" Viacom (now called CBS Corporation) and "new" Viacom.

Viacom owns...
  • BET Networks
    BET Canada
    BET Gospel
    BET Hip-Hop
  • MTV Networks
    Atom Films
    Addicting Games
    Comedy Central
    Country Music Television (CMT)
    CMT Pure Country
    CMT Canada
    MTV Tr3s
    MTV Hits
    MTV International
    MTV News
    Nick 2
    Nick Jr.
    Nitrome Limited
    Spike (formerly TNN)
    TV Land
    TV Land Canada
    VH1 Classic
    VH1 Soul
  • Paramount Motion Pictures Group
    MTV Films
    Nickelodeon Films
    Paramount Home Entertainment

    Paramount Vantage