23 August 2009
Saturday/August/29 2009 Filed in: Weekend Showcase
More Movie Madness from Apocalypzia!
We've already told you about Angry Alien Productions and their Bun-O-Vision 30 second movies.
Thatguywithglasses.com can shave 25 seconds off that!
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
"Impressive, Young Skywalker..."
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
This film was over three hours long. And it's not as if we didn't know how it was going to end.
See other Apocalypzia posts in the Weekend Showcase category.
Friday/August/28 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
Armageddon! The Apocalypse! The Freakin' End of Days!
Will it all go down as Mike Hughes predicts in his innovative animated video, Apocylipto..?
Maybe you see the Apocalypse playing out differently.
If you do, why not express yourself at Xtranormal.com, a website that allows you to create animated movies from text and point-click maneuvers?
That's right. Release your inner Pixar and show the world your cinematic talents from the comfort of your own keyboard. There's a premium option, but there's a lot at Xtranormal you can do for free.
This could be your big break.
Xtranormal allows you to be the director, writer and producer of your own piece of movie magic. You choose the actors, the camera angles, sets, music, the works. Share it with your friends when you're done or upload it to YouTube.
Xtranormal's Felicity Van Der Bucks helps us cope with the econopocalypse.
We've tried our hand at this new tech and we'll be sharing our attempt in a future post. If you decide to give it a go, submit links to your work to Apocalypzia. We'll post the top three that we think best capture the Apocalyzian attitude and spirit.
Lights... Camera... Action!
Read other Apocalypzia posts in the Entertainment / Media category.
Thursday/August/27 2009 Filed in: Science / Technology
What is Reality, Anyway?
If we can see something, hear it and feel it, is it really there -- even if it isn't?
Touchable Holography - Seel and Feel What Isn't There
Image Isn't Everything
Holograms are three dimensional illusions that can make the brain believe that the image is the reality. But holograms are only optical experiences, right?
Not Any More
The holodeck on the USS Enterprise has moved a step closer to reality. Scientists at the University of Tokyo are pushing technological frontiers by using ultrasonics and Wii Remote tracking to give holograms a tactile dimension. This new tech allows you to see and feel raindrops falling on the palm of your hand or to toss a ball up and down.
The clip below shows you how. Captain Picard would be proud.
See another example of Touchable Holography in this silent video clip.
Holophonics - Hear What Isn't There
Hearing is Believing
Holophonics could be the next breakthrough in audio. Holophonics is to sound what holograms are to images. Think stereo on steroids.
Experience it for yourself in the example below. Close your eyes and find yourself in a neighborhood barber shop with a guy over in the corner strumming a guitar.
There is a catch, though before you can "Make it So."
You'll need earphones or earbuds. The effect just doesn't work without them.
(Be Prepared: At about 4:15 minutes into the clip the barber will whisper a word in your left ear (if you have your earphones on correctly). This isn't a screamer meant to frighten you, but it may be a surprise. You may think someone's really walked up behind you.)
Check out more amazing examples of Holophonics.
Read other Apocalypzia posts in the Science / Technology category.
Wednesday/August/26 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
Beam Us Out of Here, Scotty!
If William Shatner's 1978 rendition of Rocket Man wasn't a bona-fide Sign of the Apocalypse, we don't know what was. Somehow we survived that and a whole host of other singing TV stars along the way.
Lorne (Ben Cartwright) Greene - Bonanza
It's a little hard to believe that someone with as rich and mellifluous a speaking voice as Lorne Greene could have sounded quite this ragged when he tried to belt out the Bonanza theme. Maybe Little Joe and Hoss could have done backup. By the way, looking at this photo, who knew that Adam was so short?
William (James Tiberius Kirk) Shatner - Rocket Man
We imagine the people in the audience wish they could have used Priceline plane tickets to get them the hell out of there before Shatner chewed up all the scenery during this performance. The good news for Shatner was that he found his niche and 30 years later he's still at it on Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show.
Leonard (Mr. Spock) Nimoy - Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town.
Your choice. Does Spock deserve the Alien Nerve Pinch to spare you from listening to this...or do you want to give a poor Vulcan a chance? For our money, he represents the USS Enterprise a little better than Captain Kirk.
Star Trek, The Next Generation
Brent (Data) Spiner - Toot Toot Tootsie
It's obvious Data has acquired his emotion chip as he belts out this 1920's hit. Don't you wish he'd done a number like this as the yellow-eyed android on Next Gen?
Don (Sonny Crocket) Johnson - Heartbeat
Sonny Crocket may have relied a bit too much on the hook to get him through this too-long number. Actually, we don't think Don did a bad job singing, but the song itself is a little repetitive, even for the mid-80's. Keeping up with the heart idea, he followed up this release with a song called "Heartache Away"
Philip (Rico Tubbs) Michael Thomas - Just the Way I Planned It
This video screams 1980's MTV, doesn't it? Don Johnson's wing man tries his best here without too much to work with.
Read other Apocalypzia posts in the Entertainment / Media category.
Tuesday/August/25 2009 Filed in: TV Commercials
The Cash for Clunkers Program is Over and Done.
The Department of Transportation reports that, this summer, 625,000 applications were filed in the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) for a total of $2.58 billion in cash-back. J.D. Power predicts a 2% increase in US auto sales this August over August 2008.
We don't know yet if dumping clunkers created any sustainable economic impact, but we're reminded of a time when a previously-owned four-door sedan with an Earl Sheib paint job and an AmorAll shine was exactly what many people were looking for.
Used car dealers -- a dying piece of American-Dream Americana -- played an important role in local TV programming, running insufferably long commercials during dreary, unending black and white movies on late, late night television.
We're sure you had favorite used car salesmen on TV in your town. Here are some that were popular in Chi-Town, once upon a tiime.
Linn Burton (... for Certain!)
Linn Burton was the key pitch man for Bert Weinman Ford and was one of the most familiar faces on local Chicago television. Each month he offered another hardly-compelling reason to come down and buy a beat-up used car (Can't say No in November!). His own personal shtick was to refer to himself as Linn Burton - For Certain!. Ah, they don't make 'em like Linn anymore.
The movie clip that bookends this commercial says it all. Used car dealers were the primary sponsors of old and forgotten movies like the ancient and forgettable Glass Key.
We once went into a rib joint in Chicago's Hyde Park. Bert Weinman spokesman, Linn Burton, was working behind the counter. As it turned out, he owned the place. Something to do when he wasn't pitching clunkers. We asked, "Are you Linn Burton?" Without missing a beat he answered, "For certain." Linn was, indeed, a classic.
Harry Schmerler (Your Singing Ford Man)
Every used car dealer needed a gimmick. Harry's was Rock-a-bye Your Baby...
Timmy the Newsboy - Long Chevrolet
This is possibly one of the most annoying used car commercials ever. This may actually be the most annoying commercial in the history of television. Timmy the Newsboy screams the word Extra! at least 12 times in only 30 seconds.
Soupy Sales to the Rescue.
We're not the only ones that found this kid annoying. If you can suffer through another 30 seconds of Extra! Extra!, watch for the surprise that the producers had for Timmy at the end of this version.
Celozzi-Ettleson: Hard to Find, Tough to Beat
This duo was a real staple on Chicago televsion for many, many years. There was an early attempt to get these two guys to go for more humor in their commercials but it didn't take. The straight-on thousand-yard stare of these guys just seemed to work better for them.
Victory Auto Wreckers
And now a change of pace. No collection of Chicago commercials about clunkers would be complete without this one. Here's a company that's been offering cash for clunkers for decades. As ancient as this spot looks, please be aware that it's still in rotation on Chicago TV!
Read other Apocalypzia posts in the TV Commercials category.
Monday/August/24 2009 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
See Jane. See Jane run. Run Jane, run!
From roughly the Great Depression to the 1970's Gas Crisis, the monochromatic world of Dick and Jane was presented as the ideal for young school children from New York to California.
Dick and Jane were the main characters of a series of basic elementary school readers, written originally by William S. Gray. But as iconic as the see-spot-run dialogue of these books was, it was the hauntingly sterile illustrations of 1950's commercial artist Robert Childress that painted a portrait of a long lost America.
Dick and Jane were drawn against the pale, pure, playful backdrop of Pleasant Street where children knew their place and treated grown-ups with respect.
Well, not all grown-ups.
Zeke was the neighborhood handyman and gardener. While every other male on Pleasant Street was fair of skin and straight of hair. Zeke was swarthy with an unruly hairdo. Sometimes he even sported a mustache.
Dick and Jane called him Zeke. Not Mister Zeke. Just plain old Zeke.
This was a world with the kind of structure and culture that Glenn Beck pines for.
Men worked, women cooked, boys played with toy soldiers, girls played with dolls, fair skinned, straight haired people lived on Pleasant Street and swarthy, curly haired men were lucky to have the chance to pick up a few odds jobs here and there.
Currently, African-Americans and Hispanics combined account for over one-fourth of the US population. By 2050, it's expected that half of the US will be people of color.
Source for maps/graphs -- http://pewresearch.org/
Things were very different in the heyday of Dick and Jane.
The world was more homogeneous then. It was a much more comfortable place for people who liked things a certain way.
The Times They Are a Changin'
Eventually the winds of change came to Pleasant Street. In 1965, an African-American family moved in and things were somehow never quite the same.
That token tinge of cultural diversity and a sporty pair of aviator sunglasses weren't enough to pull Dick and Jane into a 20th Century that, by then, was already three-fourths over.
And by the early 1970's, this piece of Americana came to a close. The fun was done and Dick never saw Jane run again.
Sunday/August/23 2009 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
American Idol is Big.
You don't need us to tell you that. But we can certainly tell you that when it comes music competitions, something is bigger. Much bigger. You guessed, it. Eurovision!
Bigger than Idol?!
Oh, yeah. Eurovision is an international music competition that's been around for over 50 years. It's global viewership registers as high as 600 million people, not just in Europe but in Asia, the Pacific Rim, North America, Australia and just about every other place on the planet.
Never heard of Eurovision? Maybe not, but we bet you've heard of Abba. That singing group won Eurovision 1974 with their soon-to-be hit song Waterloo.
Maybe you can help us out.
We think it's possible that the same guy who won American Idol last season won Eurovision 2009. If they're not the same person they must have been separated at birth.
They both seem to like vests, white shirts and stringed instruments. This is definitely doppelganger territory, don't you think?
Eurovision 2009 Winner - Norway's Alexander Rybak
Rybak's I'm in Love with a Fairy Tale was the big winner the last time around. Wide eyed enthusiasm must count for a lot in Eurovision judging.
American Idol Winner 2009 - USA's Kris Allen
This is the guy who won Idol last time, right? I guess they can't all be as memorable as Taylor Hicks. Anyway, we think if he grew his bangs out, he could, at least, stunt double for the Eurovision guy.
Get ready to be Rick Roll'd
In our opinion, neither one of these guys should have won. Apocalypzia's vote goes to...