Nineteen lovely degrees: we’re saved. Worst is over. Now we need snow. Or is it too cold to snow? Is that possible? This site says: “One phrase that is heard from time to time is that, "it is too cold to snow today". In actuality, earth's troposphere is not too cold to snow but rather it is "too dynamically stable to snow” So say that instead, and people will nod: yes, you’re right.


MONEY WELL SPENT  I saw all three Star Wars prequels in the theater. Hated the first, really liked 5/8ths of the second, hated the third. I bought them all on DVD just to make sure my reactions were solid; they were. You can say it was all a waste of money on an infantile half-baked poorly-written story directed by someone with no grasp of human speech, and yes: that’s so. But it turns out that all the money we spent on Star Wars prequels was worth it, because they greenlighted the sequels - and J.J. Abrams will direct. It’s a done deal says Deadline Hollywood. This is good. If we hadn't shelled out for the prequels en masse, they wouldn't have gone forward. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to suffering,-  and suffering leads to sequels!

Before you laugh at the entire idea of guys in spaceships flying around shooting lasers: well. Our fleet should be fully operational by 2014.



DUDE ABIDES One man has the answer to the sinking fortunes of Dell Computer. You may not find this all that surprising:

Ben Curtis, the actor made famous by his role in Dell commercials early last decade, says he’s got the solution to the problems that led Michael Dell to seek a leveraged buyout: Resurrect the “Dell Dude.”

“I think they’re making a huge mistake and simply need to bring back the Dell Dude!” Curtis wrote to me in an e-mail. “That’s it. That’s all they need to do. If they brought me back, their sales, stock and media presence would skyrocket. That is by FAR the smartest move they could make.”

his career was derailed when he was arrested for buying weed - a sting the cops called OPERATION CONDOR! This tarnished the brand, somehow - as if the Dell Dude wasn’t a full-size serving of baked Spicoli in the first place.

Click here if you dare for a picture of the Dell Dude now. Terrifying eyebrows.




BLOCKBUSTED Remember Blockbuster? They’ve got a great new strategy lined up and rarin’ to go:

Multiple outlets are reporting that Blockbuster now plans to close 300 stateside stores in the next few weeks, leaving the chain with only 500 stores in the U.S. Though that may sound like a healthy amount, consider that Blockbuster once laid claim to over 4,000 locations.

The surviving stores may now shift to selling smartphones and/or wireless subscriptions, as parent company Dish Network hopes something will stick to a wall that has repelled every projectile.

There was a Blockbuster in my neighborhood, and I remember driving past every week thinking “they may have movies to watch, but I really wish they would replace them all with telecommunication devices.” Cellphones! That’s brilliant.

There was another chain of video stores in our neighborhood; closed a few years ago. Hollywood. I have fond memories of it, party because it had big photographs of Minneapolis theaters - Radio City (the old Minnesota), the Gopher, the Boulevard Twins. They sold candy and games and books, and usually had enough DVDs so you wouldn’t suffer something future generations will never know: you cannot watch that movie because omeone else is using it right now.

But mostly I remember the place for a bygone ritual parents of the future will never know: going to the video store with your kids on Friday. You stocked up o movies for the weekend, and the kids scampered up and down the Tot Section aisle, investigating and discarding all the obscure stuff before settling on something they’d seen six times already. My daughter loved to go to the video store. Something for her. That’s never coming back.



Sitting together on the sofa scrolling through the Netflix listings isn't the same. 


SECRETS OF ANIMATION Did you ever see smoke coming out of Dale’s cigarette on King of the Hill? No. That’s because of Rule #29.


The entire list of do’s and don’ts for KOTH animators is here. These are the things the audience never notices or thinks about - because someone else already did. (via cartoonbrew.)


WEB Government doesn’t like what you tweet; government asks Twitter to take them down; Twitter says d’accord:

A French court ruled Thursday that Twitter, which has steadfastly refused calls to police its millions of users, must hand over data to help identify the authors of racist or anti-Semitic tweets.

In a test case that pitted the right to free speech against laws banning hate speech, the court granted a request lodged in October by France's Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) which argued that many tweets had breached French law.

I wonder what will happen when someone in college asks Twitter to take down a nasty tweet because it violated a campus speech code. On the other hand, shiny new Twitter toy!

Vine, a three person startup just acquired by Twitter (or acqui-hired, as the case may be) has created an easy way to make and share fun little six-second video loops. These are sore of like the omnipresent animated GIFs that are looping all of the web—but somewhat longer and noisier.

Sore of like that? Sort of like that. The author doesn’t seem to like it much, complaining that Twitter is getting noisier. Meaning, I guess, there may be ads. Perhaps I’m just hungry and impatient - it is lunchtime, after all - but the entire article seems incoherent. He’s worried that Twitter will turn into something else. Meh. Instead of a link to a gif, it’s in the tweet, if you hit EXPAND. So? This ruins everything, I guess.

For some reason, this is a threat to the Zuckerplex:

That was fast! Within hours of Twitter launching its Vine video-sharing application on Thursday, Facebook has cut off access to Vine’s “find people” feature, which lets used to let Vine users find their Facebook friends using the Vine application.

There are lots of “instagram of video” apos, and I’ve tried and discarded them all. Another feed to check, another thing to like or favorite, another set of follower counts, separate from all the other stuff - tumblr, Facebook, Google+, Instagram. It’s great if you’re 14 and your friends are on the same service and you’re passing stuff back and forth; otherwise no. Putting this stuff into twitter, however, integrates it with your existing networks, and that’s good.

Off to look at the ruins of yesterday's Beeks Pizza fire; see you around.