Thursday, March 25, 2010

Culture Lesson: Young Starlets

Who are all these starlets? Are all of these slender young women from American Idol? GEESH, I'm so tired of these American Idol people. Can't you make them go away?

I can't, but I can help you figure out who these people are!

Anna Kendrick
She's in Twilight and Up in the Air
Hit Song None. She's an actress.
Claim to Fame
Jessica in Twilight, award nominated for role in Up in the Air
Additional Media Credits Camp, Rocket Science
Additional Resources

Ashley Greene
Who? She's one of the bit players in Twilight. (What? Only Edward, Bell, and Jacob matter. Duh.)
Hit Song No songs. (Yet?)
Claim to Fame She's Alice Cullen in Twilight; Brief nude photography scandal in August 2009
American Idol? Nope.
Additional Media Credits All those Twilight movies.
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Carrie Underwood
Who? Country-pop star!
Hit Song "Jesus, Take the Wheel", "Before He Cheats"
Claim to Fame She was on American Idol, she won; Grammy (5), AMAs (5), Billboard (14), ACMA (8), People's Choice (6), CMT (4) award winner
American Idol? Season 4 winner!
Additional Media Credits
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Chelsea Staub
Who? One of Disney's actresses.
Hit Song She has some albums, but nothing Old People have heard.
Claim to Fame Lead female in JONAS, The Jonas Brothers TV series. I know! They have a whole series! Even though one of them is married, and the dudes are supposed to be high schoolers. We live in a strange, icky world.
American Idol? No, she's with Disney.
Additional Media Credits Bratz: The Movie, Starstruck
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Demi Lovato
Who? One of Disney's back up singer/actresses when Miley ages.
Hit Song She has two albums, but no serious hits
Claim to Fame Star of Sonny with a Chance and Camp Rock
American Idol? No, she's with Disney.
Additional Media Credits Camp Rock 2, Princess Protection Program
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Fantasia Barrino
Who? Won American Idol. She's the one who was illiterate? Come on, I know you remember.
Hit Song "I Believe", "Truth Is"

Claim to Fame Winning American Idol; starring in The Color Purple on Broadway; Numerous successful songs and albums; best-selling biography Life is Not a Fairy Tale and Lifetime movie Life is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story
American Idol? Season three winner
Additional Media Credits Reality show Fantasia For Real
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Jennifer Hudson
Who? Singer/Actress
Hit Song "If This Isn't Love"
Claim to Fame American Idol, Dreamgirls
American Idol? Season Three finalist
Additional Media Credits Sex and the City
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Jordin Sparks
Who? Youngest American Idol winner
Hit Song "Battlefield"
Claim to Fame Youngest American Idol winner
American Idol? Season six winner
Additional Media Credits The Suite Life on Deck ( episode)
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Katharine McPhee
Who? Singer
Hit Song Her new one is called "Had It All"
Claim to Fame American Idol
American Idol? Fifth season runner up
Additional Media Credits The House Bunny
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Katy Perry
Who? She's a singer.
Hit Song "I Kissed a Girl," "Waking Up in Vegas"
Claim to Fame Sang "I Kissed a Girl", "Ur So Gay"; engaged to Russell Brand
American Idol? Nope. Just a regular pop star.
Additional Media Credits Appears in miscellaneous shows (Vampire Diaries, Greek) and romantic comedies (When in Rome) as self.
Additional Resources Wikipedia, IMDB

Who? She has that song E! uses all the time; backing vocals to Flo Rida's "Right Round"
Hit Song "Tik Tok"
Claim to Fame "Tik Tok"
American Idol? No. She doesn't really sing.
Additional Media Credits The Simple Life:

Additional Resources Wikipedia

Lady Gaga
Who? She's a singer with a flair for fashion.
Hit Song "Just Dance", "Poker Face", "Bad Romance"
Claim to Fame An outspoken support for gay rights and feminism; an outlandish, avant garde style; hit songs
American Idol? Heck no!
Additional Media Credits None
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Lea Michele
Who? She's on Glee.
Hit Song Uh. She's on Glee?
Claim to Fame Dude. She's on Glee! She can sing, dance, and act. She seems really sweet.
American Idol? Nope.
Additional Media Credits Broadway in Les Miserables, Ragtime, Fiddler on the Roof, and Spring Awakening; rumored lead in 2011's Dorothy of Oz.
Additional Resources Glee Web site, Wikipedia

Miley Cyrus
Who? Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter
Hit Song "Party in the USA" (FUN FACT, CYRUS HAS NEVER LISTENED TO JAY-Z*), "See You Again", "The Climb"
Claim to Fame Famous father; Star of Hannah Montana; Drama tween
American Idol? No, she's with Disney.
Additional Media Credits Bolt, Hannah Montana: The Movie, The Last Song
Additional Resources Wikipedia
My mom knows who Miley is. Please. But I know someone my age who doesn't, which is...crazy.
*Yes, I'm going to be bitter about that for awhile.

Selena Gomez
Who? Disney actress
Hit Song She has an album, but no serious hits
Claim to Fame Wizards of Waverly Place
American Idol? No, she's with Disney.
Additional Media Credits Another Cinderella Story, Princess Protection Program
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Taylor Swift
Who? Country pop singer
Hit Song "Love Story", "Fifteen", "You Belong with Me"
Claim to Fame Interrupted by Kanye at 2009 VMAs; dated Joe Jonas and Taylor Lautner; won a bunch of awards for her platinum album Fearless
American Idol? No. She's a "real singer"!
Additional Media Credits Saturday Night Live, Valentine's Day
Additional Resources Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

John Mayer, Tool

A Late Night with Jimmy Fallon joke, as seen on the cutting room floor, and documented by Questlove

John Mayer is a tool. There's no way around it.

The problem, I think, is not just that Mayer is a narcissistic meaniehead*, but that his many bloopers, scandals, and jackassery are regularly forgotten, while substantially less offensive narcissistic meanieheads like Kanye West are rarely forgiven. (This may be more because Mayer is a scrawny white dude from Connecticut, and West is African-American. Truth be told, both make accessible, suburb-friendly music.) Feathers have not unruffled since West proclaimed George Bush's slowness to aid New Orleans inappropriate in 2005 ("George Bush doesn't care about black people."), never mind his 2009 Taylor Swift interruption.
*This blog, and specific article, are for my mom, so generic—and accurate—profanity is on hold for now.

Of course, I haven't. I spent the last holiday seething as his Battle Studies commercials played, occasionally muttering, "You're a tool, John Mayer!" My mother called me out on his toolishness, saying I was a little over-the-top. (She acquiesced when I reminder her that he wrote "Daughters," a pandering tune that belittles and dehumanizes women while masquerading as thoughtful.)

The guy really gets under my skin with his unending quest of misogyny and bad decisions. For my defense, I present a brief compendium of his asshattery. There's so much, and the fallout from Mayer's Playboy interview so great, that it's hard to find a link and/or verify everything. If I've left something out, please leave a comment.


September 2006: One of Mayer's charming stand-up jokes, as told by Rolling Stone:
"I'm not worried about how small my penis is — I'm worried about how dark it is. I have a Dominican penis. My penis hit six home runs last year; my penis wears shoes without socks."
Rolling Stone also reports that it was around this time that Mayer took to the stage and began freely using the N-Word, which caused a brief furor. This is why David Chapelle walked away from bajillions of dollars. And a bonus grab from that article:
Mayer's own sexual adventures are less exotic. Six years ago, on one of his first tours, he decided it would be "fun" to sleep with some fans. "I slept with, like, three girls in a week," he remembers. "I thought that's what you did, but there was one girl, I don't remember anything about her, but I left my own body and looked down at myself and said, 'Nuh-uh. Not you.' I stayed up all night and didn't sleep." He never had sex with a fan again — though that doesn't rule out voyeurism. "Totally different. There's ways to have fun with people without ever worrying about violating somebody." Mayer has plenty of platonic female friends, but he finds himself seeing a lot less of them when they find boyfriends. "If your girlfriend knows me, she's really not allowed to see me," he says. "Guys assume that 'Wonderland' guy wants to take their girl." (Later that night, Mayer shares a list of rules on "How to be John Mayer's girlfriend." Jessica, you can clip this out: "One: You've got to be really careful with me on the phone. Distance makes the brain grow more maniacal. Two: Twenty-four-hour phone-sex assistance. If there's a cute girl in the front row, I'm gonna run offstage and call you. Three: You have to run every single fantasy you've ever had through me. You'll never cheat. You see a cute guy at the gym, I'll be him. Or we'll get him. I don't care.")
(Before you whine, compare to On the Road, The Stranger's stories and advice regarding long distance relationships with Ben Gibbard and Brian Cook.)

December 2007: Mayer starts a "129-part series" on his blog to "define douchebag" as an argument that he is not one. He does not complete the series.

September 2009: Mayer brags about his sexual prowess:
I have great balance and co-ordination. Inventiveness. I am a very inventive lover - that's the secret to my success.
October 2009: Mayer threatens to sodomize an editor at New York magazine, because he doesn't like the questions she has her reporter ask at a party. Really.

Highlights from the interview:

These are questions my editor wanted me to ask. I'm trying to build my journalistic career here.
You're not building a journalistic career. You're making yourself look like a moron and you're not a moron. Who's your editor?

Jada is making you sound like a moron in front of people.

Why don't you tell me about your new album? You've been in the studio for a while.
I have a record coming out November 17.

Any particular theme or inspiration behind this one that makes it different from previous albums?
Look what we're doing right now! We're connecting right now! This is great! Yeah, it's going to be quite melodically bright, but the themes are all about heartbreak.

How is that different? Haven't you written a lot about heartbreak?
I think most artists do, but this is really breaking into the theme of it as a concept.

Is there hope behind the heartbreak?
The melody is the hope. The lyrics are the heartbreak, the melody is the hope. If you have the lyrics being the heartbreak and the music as the heartbreak, your editor made you ask stupid fucking questions! You're standing in front of me acting as if these questions are fair, but now we're talking about something real. So there was stuff I wanted to put on the record that just didn't fit the concept. So the next record will have that concept.

What concept?
More political things, worldly things.

Such as?
Nothing rhymed with public option.

You don't always have to rhyme, though.
I'm going to forcefully sodomize your editor.

It should go without saying that even as a "joke" Mayer's threat at assault isn't funny.

December 2009: Mayer tells Details that though he thinks he's a d-bag, and other people do too, he's not really a d-bag:

When he's not adding to his impressive collections of watches, guitars, and automobiles, Mayer is clearly obsessing about those people who, for whatever reason, find him loathsome. "What if I had a booth on the street and I said, 'Attention, everybody who hates me: If you have a problem with me, I'm ready to hear your gripes! I will be outside the Barneys store on 60th Street from two to four this afternoon. I will not be speaking to fans. I will only be speaking to people who do not like me. Come out and let me have it. I will not speak back.'

"How many people do you think would be standing there? I'm talking about people getting the chance to tell me directly, 'I think you're a douchebag.' You know how many people would do it? Ze-ro. You know what they'd do? They'd walk up and say, 'I'm just messin' with ya.' And you know what I'd say? I'd say, 'You're a douchebag!'"

January 2010: Mayer says ridiculously offensive (even by my standards) things to Rolling Stone. The full article isn't online, but the Internet has taken up the cause of sharing each salacious detail it can. Check the resources at the bottom of this post. Here's what Mayer had to say:
Blowing me off is the new sucking me off!
(Because of his "reputation", which is says is totally unfounded, he can't meet new girls.) And:
Do you think it’s going to take meeting someone who I admire more than I admire myself? But isn’t it also about a beautiful vagina? Aren’t we talking about a matrix of a couple of different things here? Like, you need to have them be able to go toe-to-toe with you intellectually. But don’t they also have to have a vagina you could pitch a tent on and just camp out on for, like, a weekend? Doesn’t that have to be there, too? The Joshua Tree of vaginas? …I’ll be happy when I close out this life-partner thing. Think of how much mental capacity I’m using to meet the right person so I can stop giving a f–k about it.
I imaging it going this way, "Well, it turns out, I admire you than me. Not only have you cured AIDS and cancer, but you helped save thousands of orphans. You saved the world, which is great, because that gives me the right to play guitar in my Costco sweatpants all day. Unfortunately, your vagina is only a nine. Sorry, but I need to evaluate a perfect vagina. Could you get a transplant? Because I really need to smoke weed before noon these days." Anyway:
I am the new generation of masturbator. I’ve seen it all. Before I make coffee, I’ve seen more butt holes than a proctologist does in a week.
February 2010: Mayer takes jackassery to a new level with an interview with Playboy. (I read the whole thing for you.) Highlights:
PLAYBOY: What’s strange about this time in your life?

MAYER: In one way or another, people probably know my name now. I’m squarely nestled in the crosshairs of their criticism and media reproach. I originally played music because I was an underdog, because I didn’t want to be in school, and it always had this quality of an uprising. When you first start out, you want people to know you. There is a quality of the unknown that is very sexy—like thinking, There might be a girl in this crowd who will have a conversation with me because she knows my music. For me, it has never been about fucking lots of girls. I could have fucked a lot more girls in my life if I hadn’t been trying so hard to get them to like me. If I have a conversation with a really hot girl that lasts all night and she says, “Wow, I had no idea I was going to like you this much,” that is the equivalent, for me, of getting laid.
MAYER: I’m a self-soother. The Internet, DVR, Netflix, Twitter—all these things are moments in time throughout your day when you’re able to soothe yourself. We have an autonomy of comfort and pleasure. By the way, pornography? It’s a new synaptic pathway. You wake up in the morning, open a thumbnail page, and it leads to a Pandora’s box of visuals. There have probably been days when I saw 300 vaginas before I got out of bed.
PLAYBOY: You seem very fond of pornography.

MAYER: When I watch porn, if it’s not hot enough, I’ll make up backstories in my mind. My biggest dream is to write pornography.
MAYER: It depends on what I picked up. My two biggest hits are “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters.” If you think those songs are pandering, then you’ll think I’m a douche bag. It’s like I come on very strong. I am a very…I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.

PLAYBOY: Because you’re very?

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a [n-word; I don't want any crazy people Googling here just to get John Mayer] pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’"

PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.

MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

PLAYBOY: Let’s put some names out there. Let’s get specific.

MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.” And you’d be like, “What? We weren’t talking about that.” That’s what “Heartbreak Warfare” is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.
MAYER: I feel like women are getting their comeuppance against men now. I hear about man-whores more than I hear about whores. When women are whorish, they’re owning their sexuality. When men are whorish, they’re disgusting beasts. I think they’re paying us back for a double standard that’s lasted for a hundred years.
It gets worse! But it's too inappropriate. (Plus the interview is full of claims that he is a Nice Guy. Ick.)

He apologized, first by Twitter, a decidedly inappropriate venue for "apologies", and then in public, but there's no taking back racism or the N-word this rambling, navel gazing, narcissistic attempt at saying sorry because he just wants to be clever. Look, either you are or you aren't. And given your music dude, you aren't.

So! Have I proven my point? (I hope so. I feel so dirty now.)

Additional Resources:
John Mayer Threatens to Sodomize Us, New York
Breaking News: John Mayer is a major tool, Judge For Yourself
John Mayer Labeled an ‘Accidental Racist’ After Interrupting Kumail Nanjiani’s Recent Stand-up Set, New York
John Mayer Apologizes Again for His Racist Penis, New York
John Mayer, Playboy
John Mayer and his white supremacist man-bits, Feministe
John Mayer: “My dick is sort of like a white supremacist”, Womanist Musings
What's Wrong with John Mayer?, Jezebel
The Tao of John Mayer, New York
The Dirty Mind and Lonely Heart of John Mayer, Rolling Stone (print; more here and here)
John Mayer: Rolling Stone Shirtless, Just Jared
Big Mouth Strikes Again, Rolling Stone
On the Road Eight Stories About Being in Love While Being on Tour
, The Stranger
John Mayer: The Douchebag Challenge, Celebuzz
John Mayer: Death To Douchebag, Hollyscoop
a Very Inventive Lover', The Sun

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Culture Lesson: Tall boy

Tall boy: n. A 16-24 oz. can of beer. (Slang)
The Free Dictionary and say 16 oz. but Urban Dictionary argues:
Also know a as a tall can. A 24 oz can of beer. Not to be confused with a pounder a 16oz can of beer, or a deuce deuce a 22oz bottle of beer
If we can all agree that the can must hold a lot of beer, I think the understanding will be sufficient.

Forever immortalized by Har Mar Superstar:

(Fun fact, Har Mar told Daytrotter that he wrote this song for Britney Spears!)

Additional Resources:
Tall boy, The Free Dictionary
Tall boy, Urban Dictionary
Tall boy,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Culture Lesson: Photobombing

Photobomb (or Photocrash): v., adj.; the act (to photocrash, to photobomb) of anonymously appearing in the background of a planned photograph. Participants often pop up in the foreground or background just as the photograph is taken. Participants are often strangers, and are sometimes not human.
Photobombing is not a new phenomenon, but has seen a resurgence in popularity with the aid of various blogs and celebrities. Actor Michael Cera (Juno, Arrested Development) loves to pop into the background of photographs, and a curious, brazen squirrel popped into the foreground of two tourists last year.

Here is Cera discussing his hobby:

A reverse photobomb is when a person poses near an unsuspecting person for amusement and documentation. (Some images on that link are NSFW.)

Additional Information:
Photobomb, Urban Dictionary definition
This is Photobomb
Cheeky Squirrel Photo Crasher, Intelligent Travel
Top 23 Reverse Photo Bombs on the Net, Comedy Central/Tosh.0

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Abigail Breslin Sends First Tweet

In this Hulu-provided clip from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which aired Monday, actress Abigail Breslin types her first Tweet:

Don't the Old People out there feel technologically advanced?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vocabulary Lesson: NSFW

NSFW: An abbreviation for Not Safe at Work; A warning that viewing material may not be safe for viewing in the workplace. This may mean that it includes nudity, and generally does, but may sometimes mean that the content may contain salty language, violence, or content that may lead to general awkwardness if anyone looks over your shoulder or through your digital files.
NSFW may be substituted for NWS (Not Work Safe). The warning is usually accompanied at the end of a link:
Did you see what John Mayer said? (www.something.something! NSFW)
Or in a blog, article, or message with the accompanying information.

If something is Safe For Work, but appears or may seem like it may not contain appropriate content. This is often abbreviated to SFW. creator Drew Curtis tried to trademark (make profit) on the commonly used abbreviation in 2007. He was denied.

Additional Resources:
Wikipedia article

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Culture Lesson: Bret Michaels

Are you ready for part two of today's very special bonus lesson? Was that Ludacris lesson a doozy or what? Take a deep breath, it's time for Bret Michaels!

Bret Michaels is a 46-year-old former rock star. (He has a career as a solo artist now, but as a music critic, and a music lover, his career is a J-O-K-E.*) He is also the lead singer and guitarist for 80s hair/"glam" band Poison. (Wikipedia notes that there is a black metal group and Detroit band of the same name. Poison was popular in the '80s, for the confused Old People reading.)

In its heyday, Poison toured with illustrious acts Ratt, Warrant, David Lee Roth, Winger, Quiet Riot, and Skid Row. Poison has topped the Billboard Top 40 chart ten times, the Billboard Hot 100 six times, and has one No. 1 song. That hit was the Michaels-penned "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." (Here is the video.)

Poison started its glorious fade in the early '90s. The band is still together, but not as active, or popular, as it was in the '80s. Michaels set out on his own after Poison, with a solo career, a film production company with Charlie Sheen, and a notorious reality television career.

VH1 aired the first season of Rock of Love, a Bachelor-style dating show in 2007. (The name is a take on Flavor of Love, the Flavor Flav dating show. That name is a take on Strange Love, Flavor Flav's reality show about his relationship with Brigitte Nielsen. They met on the set of VH1's reality show The Surreal Life.) VH1 has aired three seasons—I can't confirm a fourth, but the show was casting in Hagerstown, Maryland while it aired season three—plus two seasons of spin off show Daisy of Love, Rock of Love Charm School, and Megan Wants a Millionaire.

The show is nothing but debaucherous. Here are some clips:

...I watched every Rock of Love episode. If you have any questions, let me know. I HAVE ANSWERS.

Last June Michaels performed at the Grammys and fractured his nose. It was briefly in the news.

Michaels was cast for the third season of Celebrity Apprentice. The show will begin March 14. (This is probably why he was on TV this morning.) He will join Rod Blagojevich and Sharon Osbourne. Osbourne hosted Rock of Love Charm School, so this writer hopes for an extra intense evisceration on set.

*This is something the world widely agrees upon. Exceptions are limited to Rock of Love contestants.

Additional Resources:
Bret Michaels Wikipedia article
Poison Wikipedia article

Culture Lesson: Ludacris

Ludacris co-hosted Live! with Regis and Kelly this morning. (Regis Philbin is on vacation.) In the middle of attempting to explain the hip hop star's existence, I was tasked with defining Bret Michaels' importance. I think my reasons and definitions were decent, but if my Facebook and Twitter feeds are any indication, legions of you are just as baffled by both of these men by my mom. I thought a Very Special Bonus Lesson would be a good idea.

Let's start with Ludacris! The 32-year-old actor and rapper was born Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign, Illinois and is considered the greatest-selling Southern rap artist. (Southern hip-hop is a subgenre of hip-hop. The culture, sound, and content is generally radically different than the work associated with Los Angeles or New York. This is best covered in a separate lesson.) His name is a portmanteau of "ludicrous" and "ridiculous". Ludacris' origin city is Atlanta, where he graduated from high school, went to college a year (Georgia State University), and lives with his wife and daughter (who he called his "best friend" on television this morning).

My mother pointed out that last bit particularly odd because I noted that the content of Ludacris' music is vulgar. When I said that, I was thinking of his feud with Oprah and his 2000 song "What's Your Fantasy." The song was (and still is) wildly popular upon its release, climbing as high as #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #5 for Billboard Hot Rap Singles and Billboard Rhythmic Top 40. I feel uncomfortable quoting the song with my mom reading, so here is the video:

(I would like to add that I know all of the words to this song, and other not being a fan of Ludacris in general, it wasn't until college that I started to appreciate hip-hop. The song was just wildly popular with Young People and very pervasive.)

A short list of his other well-known hits (links will take you to his Vevo channel) include 2001's "Roll Out", 2003's "Stand Up", 2004's "Get Back", 2008's "What Them Girls Like" and "One More Drink", 2009's "Nasty Girl", and this year's "How Low". Ludacris receiver a Grammy for appearing on Usher's 2004's hit "Yeah". He also receiver a Grammy for "Money Maker" and his album Release Therapy in 2007. His most recent album was released in 2008 and title Theatre of Mind. The "sequel" is expected this year and titled Ludaversal.

Ludacris' acting credits include 2 Fast 2 Furious, Hustle and Flow, Crash, Fred Claus, RocknRolla, Max Payne, Gamer, and Repo Men. (He also appears as himself in a number of films.) He received an award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2005 for Crash, and was nominated the same year for Hustle and Flow.

Ludacris also has a deal with TAG body spray, a collaboration with Birkedal Hartmann for Conjure cognac, and his own foundation.

In 2002 he went head-to-head with Bill O'Reilly, who called for Pepsi to drop the rapper from a lucrative partnership. In 2003 the company reached an agreement, with the help of Russell Simmons and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, to donate $3 million dollars in three years to the Ludacris Foundation. Pepsi offered a new series of commercials, but Ludacris declined.

Four years later, Ludacris started a small yet memorable feud with Oprah. He said Oprah heavily "edited" his comments from her show (he was promoting Crash). He complained that her anti-rapper stance was biased, considering her apparent non-editing with guests Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock:
"She edited out a lot of my comments while keeping her own in. Of course, it's her show, but we were doing a show on racial discrimination, and she gave me a hard time as a rapper when I came on there as a rapper. Initially, I wasn't even invited on the show." The rapper reveals Winfrey insisted on further lecturing him on his lyrics once the show was over. He adds, "After the taping, she pulled me into a room and we had a five-minute conversation. What I got was that by having rappers on her show, she feels like she's empowering in them. "It was like being at someone's house who doesn't really want you there." The rapper admits he'd think twice before agreeing to return to the show: "I don't see why (comedians) CHRIS ROCK and DAVE CHAPPELLE, who I am huge fans of, it's OK for them to go on Oprah. "They speak the same language as I do, but they do it through comedy, so I guess that's acceptable to her (Oprah)."
The moratorium has been lifted; Oprah had Jay-Z on her show this year. Not that it should matter to Ludacris, he's co-hosting the most boring, mundane, and inoffensive talk show on television!

Additional Resources:
Ludacris Wikipedia article
Ludacris Blasts Opinionated Oprah, Contact Music
Russell Simmons And Pepsi Reach A Firm Agreement, Yahoo! Music

Late tonight: Bret Michaels!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Technology Lesson: Chatroulette

Chatroulette is a Web-based "instant messaging" service that pairs users for video chat. I would link to the Website, but the site is mostly noted for its thousands of users who prefer nudity and sexual activity to harmless chatting while clothed. I worry about Old People.

Chatroulette was created last November by Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17-year-old in Moscow. From a February New York Times blog post:
The site, which gets about 20,000 users on a typical night, generates one-on-one Webcam connections between you and another randomly chosen user. The results are occasionally serendipitous, putting you face to face with an interesting person from another corner of the planet. More often though, the site is reminiscent of those old anything-goes AOL chat rooms, only with video. Let’s put it this way: Parents, keep your children far, far away. The site was well described in a New York magazine article recently and, oddly enough, was featured on “Good Morning America” on Saturday.
In case you can't tell, I really want to emphasize that I'm not comfortable with my parents visiting this site. For extra oomph, here is an explanation from Sam Anderson at New York magazine. (It wouldn't be untrue to say that I'm handing over explanation and hard work to others. I'm staying as far away from Chatroulette as I can.)
The site activates your webcam automatically; when you click “start” you’re suddenly staring at another human on your screen and they’re staring back at you, at which point you can either choose to chat (via text or voice) or just click “next,” instantly calling up someone else. The result is surreal on many levels. Early ChatRoulette users traded anecdotes on comment boards with the eerie intensity of shipwreck survivors, both excited and freaked out by what they’d seen. There was a man who wore a deer head and opened every conversation with “What up DOE!?” A guy from Sweden was reportedly speed-drawing strangers’ portraits. Someone with a guitar was improvising songs for anyone who’d give him a topic. One man popped up on people’s screens in the act of fornicating with a head of lettuce. Others dressed like ninjas, tried to persuade women to expose themselves, and played spontaneous transcontinental games of Connect Four. Occasionally, people even made nonvirtual connections: One punk-music blogger met a group of people from Michigan who ended up driving eleven hours to crash at his house for a concert in New York. And then, of course, fairly often, there was this kind of thing: “I saw some hot chicks then all of a sudden there was a man with a glass in his butthole.” I sing the body electronic.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Technology Lesson: Updating Your Facebook Status

If social networking Web site Facebook "pioneered" anything common in today's world of social networking (there is, believe it or not, the Old World—Makeoutclub, Friendster—in the social networking wonderland), it is the status update.

When Facebook started, the site didn't have status updates. When updates were implented, a user would fill-in-the-blank to "[Name] is..." For example, I would write, "writing a post for her blog." Facebook would post, "Katherine M. Hill is writing a post for her blog." In present day Facebook, the site asks, "What's on your mind?" The updates includes only your published name and allows you to share your status, thoughts, links to sites or articles, photos, videos, and events.

Personally, I think it's better form to translate your status update in to a complete sentence. For example, "Katherine M. Hill wishes her mother would use Twitter more!" is better than "Katherine M. Hill wish my mother used Twitter more!" (I also think it's poor form to ignore punctuation.)

I also think it's poor to use passive aggressive, rude, or mean language, provide Too Much Information, reveal secrets or embarrassing information about others, pick fights, or behave in a manner that opens judgment and ridicule in a status update. (It is better to read Lamebook than provide fodder for it.)

In short: look smart, be brave, be nice, and don't overshare.
To Post Your Facebook Status

1. Log in to Facebook.

2. Find the bar that says "What's on your mind?" The status bar is in the center of your screen at the top. It is under "News Feed Live Feed"
3. Put the cursor of your mouse (it's the arrow you move around on your screen) in that box.

4. The cursor has changed, and the question from Facebook should be gone. Enter your status.
-If the status is just an update about your activities, type the message and click SHARE.
-If the status is a link, click the fourth icon under the status bar.
When your mouse hovers over the icon, or clicks the icon, a bubble will appear that says LINK. Paste your link in the status bar, provide commentary for your link in the status bar, and click ATTACH.
5. Click SHARE.
6. Facebook may ask you to confirm that you are not a robot. If it asks you to fill out the captcha, do so. If you decline, your status will not post!
Your status will post immediately:

Additional Resources:
Previous Facebook posts

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Technology Lesson: Uploading a Profile Picture

As you have doubtlessly read, my mother joined Facebook. Her family rejoiced, but only weeks later she assigned your faithful blogger with the task of managing her profile. Aghast, I have agreed to some small tasks (changing her profile picture, providing small edits at her repetitive requests) with the provision that the task is a one-time favor. I promised a lesson in return. So today we learn how to upload a photo to Facebook! Note: I did this lesson my Mac, using a photo saved on my hard drive. Facebook is also notorious for changing its interface, so this lesson may appear outdated in the future. This lesson also uses my mother's profile. Most lessons in the future will probably use mine.

1. Log in. You'll find the are requiring your e-mail and password at the top right of the screen.
2. Click PROFILE. The tab is located at the top of the screen.

3. This is your profile page. (My, it is sparse!)

Hover your mouse over your profile image. Click change picture, located in the top right of your profile picture.


5. Facebook will provide a pop-up dialogue box. Click BROWSE.
6. Choose the photograph you want as your profile picture.

7. Facebook will automatically upload the photograph after you confirm your choice. Facebook will then ask if you want to broadcast this to your friends. If you don't want your new profile picture to appear on your friends' streams, click SKIP. The pop up will also include a space to provide commentary (Facebook asks, "WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?"). You can leave this blank or provide a caption or note with the photograph.I was not above stooping so low as to add a caption and click PUBLISH.
Either option will publish your photo as your profile picture. You're finished! Good job, Old Person.