Mr. Pibb + Red Vines = Crazy Delicious

Alright, alright, so I’m a little slow on the Chronicles of Narnia SNL rap. But it’s damn great.

Now children, as an excercise, let’s compare blog/media coverage of this event:

NYT:

Publication Date: December 27, 2005

Summary: Two white guys create the startup version of comedy. The Web helps them to get famous.

Best line: And Mr. Samberg found himself in the delicate position of having to explain to his mother that the song’s chorus is a play on words involving the name “Chronicles of Narnia” and the word chronic, a slang term for marijuana. “She’s like, ‘So is it actually about weed?’ ” Mr. Samberg said. “It makes you think it’s going to be aboit’s actually just about ‘Narnia.’ She’s like, ‘Oh, I think I get it.’ “

Worst use of an outdated late 80s/early 90s slang term combined with staccatissimo use of adjectives: For most aspiring rappers, the fastest route to having material circulated around the World Wide Web is to produce a work that is radical, cutting-edge and, in a word, cool.

Worst way to admit your coverage is way late: By the next morning, the video had burrowed its way into the nation’s cultural consciousness. (Note: A full 10 DAYS after the piece aired on SNL.)

Slate:

Publication Date: December 23, 2005

Summary: Two white guys create a cultish rap on SNL. It may be silly, but that’s precisely what makes it great.

Best line: Really, is “I’ve got mad hits like I was Rod Carew” any less ridiculous than “I love those cupcakes like McAdams loves Gosling”?

Boing Boing:

Publication Date: December 19, 2005

Summary: This SNL sketch is quite hilarious. Watch it.

Best line: Thankfully, network television does not kill all good things: The Chronic-WHAT-cles of Narnia kicks just as much tuckus as the online shorts that made Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer web celebs in the first place.

LESSON:

Here’s what the NYT is good at: providing breaking news. They’re good at telling you what happened, and providing some short term context.

Here’s what Slate is good at: Making you THINK. Challenging your ideas, and telling you what something in the news means. In this way, it doesn’t matter that much if it’s a day or two or three behind the event. People are still consuming it as news.

Here’s what BB is good at: We found this cool thing on the Web very recently (most likely within the last couple of hours) and we think you should check it out too.

CONCLUSION: When the NYT does cover something like this, they look really dumb and behind the times. I’d prefer to know more about what it means for the future of SNL/rap music (à la Slate) rather than a play-by-play of how the video was produced:

On the evening of Dec. 12, the four wrote a song about “two guys rapping about very lame, sensitive stuff,” as Mr. Samberg described it. They recorded it the following night in the office Mr. Samberg shares with Mr. Schaffer and Mr. Taccone at “SNL,” using a laptop computer that Mr. Taccone bought on Craigslist.

Then, while their colleagues were rehearsing and rewriting that Saturday’s show, the group spent the morning of Dec. 15 shooting their video with a borrowed camera, using the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Chelsea to stand in for a multiplex cinema and Mr. Taccone’s girlfriend’s sister to play a convenience-store clerk. Mr. Schaffer spent the next night – and morning – editing the video and working with technicians to bring it up to broadcast standards. Finally, at about 11 p.m. on Dec. 17, the four learned from Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of “SNL,” that “Lazy Sunday” would be shown on that night’s show.

Does anyone really care what time the group learned from SNL when it would be on the air?

Teach, Don’t Preach, the Bible

In the Book of Isaiah, God embraces the Persian king Cyrus and his respect for different religions, even though Cyrus does not know God’s name and does not practice Judaism. By calling Cyrus “the anointed one,” or messiah, God signals his tolerance for people who share his moral vision, no matter their nationality or faith.

Teach, Don’t Preach, the Bible Op-Ed by Bruce Feiler, The New York Times. December 21, 2005

Random Sighting

So Eston Bond spotted one of my articles on the website of an Australian graphic designer.

From our AIM chat from this morning:

Eston Bond (10:48:06 AM): he posted to a design forum I frequent
FarivarCJ (10:48:40 AM): random
Eston Bond (10:48:44 AM): yeah
Eston Bond (10:48:50 AM): I was like whoa, that’s kinda crazy
Eston Bond (10:49:14 AM): I told him about it, and he said “Really? There was a selection of about 4 texts that a lecturer gave us to choose from, and that seemed like the best one at the time. Cyrus Farivar is a cool name, if nothing else.”
FarivarCJ (10:49:23 AM): whoa
Eston Bond (10:50:00 AM): so yeah, this is the second day in a row that you have totally appeared out of nowhere.
FarivarCJ (10:50:10 AM): sorry about that :-)

USA Today should stick to its colorful pie charts

Kevin Maney’s Predictions for 2006 (USA Today):

This piece is just plain bad on so many levels. Here goes.

“Cellphone cameras will actually become useful.”

Wrong. First, I disagree with the premise that people want a camera on their phone. Yes, you can do it and have it and take pictures of your friends so that their photo comes up when they call you, but really how many of us were dying to have a camera on the phone? The camera isn’t very good, and while Maney is right that it’s difficult to get pictures onto the Internet or onto a computer, then you’ve got a new problem. He seems to forget that most cameras don’t have very good storage capacity. And by increasing the quality of the camera, you’re only going to produce larger files.

That will change in the coming year, says Bob Gove of Micron Technology, which makes the imaging chips in most camphones. Cellphone cameras are going to get good enough in 2006 to replace stand-alone digital cameras, Gove predicts.

Gee, this guy makes the imaging chips in cameras. He stands to benefit from people buying more cameras — Maney, don’t you guys at USA Today have any journalistic ethics? This guy seems like a real unbiased expert to me, yeah? Cellphone cameras are going to replace digital cameras? Give me a break. How long was it before digital cameras replaced stock film cameras? I thought so.

“We believe 2006 is the year of RSS,” says Mark Carlson, CEO of RSS company SimpleFeed. Adds author and consultant Steve Waite, “RSS is likely to take off in 2006 and could well displace e-mail as the killer app on the Net.”

Gag me with a spoon. The year of RSS? I still don’t think that most Web-surfing folks know what RSS is, much to Dave Winer’s chagrin. Yes, RSS is cool and is getting more and more attention as browsers have built-in RSS capability and such, but it’s still early. Displace email as the killer app on the Net? Dude, email’s been around a lot longer. My grandparents know how to email. They don’t know how to use an RSS reader. And by the way, what in the heck is an RSS company? Do any of them actually make money?

And finally, there is Apple’s Jobs — tech’s celebrity superstar. He seems due. Maybe he’ll humiliate a bumbling underling on stage at Macworld, unleashing a torrent of stories saying Jobs is the Lord Voldemort of managers. Or someone will discover malicious spyware hidden deep inside iTunes.

WTF?

New Pornos 4 Eva!

Pitchfork’s Interview with The New Pornographers:

Pitchfork: Will Dan be playing any instruments, or only singing with you?

Newman: I think he’s just going to be singing because he’s going to be doing his Destroyer set, and I think he’d rather just come up and do his thing with a pint glass in one hand. I didn’t want to burden him with too much. I also thought that it was conceivable that by the time our set hits, he might be so drunk that he would be incapable of playing an instrument. You have to plan ahead for those things.

Yeah, that pretty much describes their show at Bimbo’s a few months back. They’re so awesome.

Benjamin Harvey and Orhan Pamuk

Big ups to my Columbia buddy Benjamin Harvey, a reporter for the Associated Press, who is doing an excellent job of covering the trial of Turkey’s best novelist, Orhan Pamuk.

By BENJAMIN HARVEY
Associated Press Writer
© 2005 The Associated Press

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turkey’s foremost novelist goes on trial Friday in Istanbul in a free-speech case that has divided the nation, embarrassed its liberals and cast a pall over its dream of joining the European Union.

For Europeans who oppose Turkey’s membership in their prosperous club of democracies, the prosecution of Orhan Pamuk reinforces the view that the nation of 70 million Muslims, while a useful buffer between Europe and the Middle East, is no part of contemporary European civilization.

Pamuk, the critically acclaimed author of “My Name is Red,” “Snow” and “Istanbul,” faces up to three years in prison for saying to a Swiss newspaper in February that no one in Turkey is willing to deal with painful episodes in the country’s past treatment of its Armenian minority or its continuing problems with its 12 million Kurdish citizens.

His remark that “30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it,” is being prosecuted as a breach of a law against insulting the Turkish Republic or “Turkishness.”

On Thursday, the European Union made the stakes clear. “It is not Orhan Pamuk who will stand trial tomorrow, but Turkey,” said EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, adding that prosecuting “a nonviolent opinion casts a shadow over the accession negotiations between Turkey and the EU.”

The Web Will Read You a Story

Wired News:

by Cyrus Farivar

This summer, Hugh McGuire was searching for free audio books online from his home in Montreal. He didn’t find very much.

So McGuire launched LibriVox by recruiting amateur readers to create audio files of works of literature. The project now includes almost two dozen complete works, including Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, Jack London’s The Call of the Wild and other classic novels and poems.

At the current rate of recording, McGuire says he expects LibriVox to hit 30 complete works by the end of the year.

McGuire said the zeal that different readers bring to each chapter gives the project a certain intimacy.

“It’s a more personal experience, it feels like someone’s reading to you rather than a professional, packaged thing,” he said.

David Boyk: “Today’s Nugget of Political Genius”

From the genius of my good buddy David Boyk:

And for today’s nugget of political genius, I’m going to start with a question. Who do we not need in this country? Answer: Assholes. Another question: who says those retarded slogans like “love it or leave it?” Again, assholes. Final question: how can we combine these two facts?

My solution: ostracism. Whenever government employees break the public trust, they should have 72 hours before they’re deported. That amount of time should be enough to arrange for asylum in some other country; if it isn’t, then they can just go be illegals somewhere else. Think about how great a deterrent this would be – how are you going to make money if you can’t exploit your position? And it’s not just a punishment – it’s also a real solution that guarantees that we never have to deal with the assholes in question again, unless they go work for a Indonesian dictator! That San Diego $2.4 million bribe Congressman asshole? Gone! The asshole contractors who are stealing hundreds of million dollars from us in Iraq and Louisiana (no weak legalisms, please – if you’re taking money from the public, you’re a public employee)? Gone! Bush, who has lied far more brazenly than all his predecessors, stacked in a Washington Monument-style spire, put together? Gone! I think it’s pretty much a foolproof plan.

Macworld Podcast #17: Eddy Awards

Macworld:

By Cyrus Farivar

Around the Macworld offices, we don’t need a calendar to tell us when we’re getting close to the end of the year. All we have to do is take a look around at all the Eddy Award statues waiting to be doled out to the makers of the best Mac hardware and software of the past 12 months.

It’s that time of year once again, as we’re devoting this week to unveiling the winners of our 21st Annual Editors’ Choice Awards. And the Macworld Podcast is getting into the act as well, featuring interviews with three recipients of 2005’s honors.

First up, we talk to a relatively new Mac developer, Whitney Young, author of Senuti.

Senuti, for the uninitiated, is a convenient (and free) way to get your digital music files off of your iPod and to your Mac. Keep up the good work, Whitney.

Young is a 20-year-old sophomore majoring in computer science at Northwestern University. He’s had a nice little streak going lately, having won one of Playlist’s 2005 Plays of the Year just last week.

I also spoke with Dave Nanian of Shirt Pocket Software, developers of the great backup utility, SuperDuper. And this podcast wraps up with an interview with Rich Siegel of Bare Bones Software, which is receiving its third consecutive Eddy Award. This time around, Bare Bones takes home the prize for TextWrangler, one of the best text editors out there. Plus, it’s now free!

Download Macworld Podcast #17 (11.4 MB – 25 minutes).