Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Fish

Continuing the theme of happiness, I bring you this environmental story.

When you think about it, this is more than an environmental story. Of all the substances we flush through our systems and our plumbing, the fact that it's anti-depressants that are showing up in fish is astounding. There must be a lot of people on anti-depressants. I get that these drugs are a boon to people who are clinically depressed, but shouldn't we be concerned that so many people these days seem to need them? What's going on? While the economy has a lot of people down, there must be more to it than that. Anti-depressants sell well in boom times too. What's wrong with us?

Here in the U.S., our lives are vastly easier and safer than in many other parts of the world. We have clean fresh water any time we want. We have more food than we need. In spite of Dick Cheney's fear mongering, we can go outside without worrying about organized groups trying to kill us. Sure, losing a job or a house is traumatic, but you can live through it. Your standard of living may drop, but you can still always enjoy simple pleasures. Why can't we just be happy?

The Happiness Project offers some interesting thoughts on the subject. I like how she thinks.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Women

Here's another news item that sounds made up, but is actually true. I imagine guys all over the world gleefully clipping it out of the paper to show their wives. (In those cities that still have newspapers.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

100th Episode -- Laser Love

You'd think I would have a more "special" clip to mark the 100th episode milestone. Actually, I did create a very special clip -- a moving farewell video that ended with Brad and Lily saying farewell and dissolving to white, like the death scenes that opened every Six Feet Under. I'll hold on to that one for a little while. So I had to throw together a replacement quickly, but I think it came out okay.

On the occasion of this milestone episode, I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who has let me know they are enjoying my semi-funny films. It is very gratifying to hear from you. It's fun to check my site stats and see that I've had thousands of visitors from 47 different countries, but it's always nice to hear from people who come here on purpose (vs. those who stumble on the site searching for a picture of Oprah's fat wagon).

One of the people who has been encouraging me to keep this going is Erik Marcus, the publisher of Vegan.com. I'm not a vegan, but if you're interested in pursuing that lifestyle, Vegan.com seems like a good place to start. Apparently they eat a lot more than beans, tofu and nuts. The pictures that accompany the recipes look mighty tasty. Erik has been kind enough to post links to DI episodes that would amuse vegans (most notably Brain Worms), and I appreciate his support.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lawn Painters

If you are reading this, you may be happy to know that I've decided to keep Deadpan Inc. going for at least a little while past the 100th episode. I've gotten some good advice regarding building an audience that I'm going to try. Let's see how it goes.

You'll notice I've started using YouTube for the embedded player -- it seems a bit more feeder friendly. Leave me a comment to let me know if this works better for you.

Speaking of feeds, have you subscribed to Deadpan Inc. yet? If you have, you can ignore the following. If you use a news aggregator and haven't subscribed, please do -- subscribers like you are what will keep DI alive.

If you don't use a feed reader (news aggregator), I highly recommend it. It's a much better way of keeping up with your favorite sites than a list of bookmarks. On one page you can see all the new content of your favorite sites, and you'll never have to check the individual site to see if there is new content. An aggregator like Google Reader is free and easy to set up. Just choose a user name and password (with the Google Reader, if you already have a Google account that's already done) and list the sites you want to subscribe to. Most semi-professional sites you visit now have feeds that work with these readers. Try it, you'll like it. And by subscribing to Deadpan Inc., you'll be doing your part to keep Brad and Lily alive.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Terrafugia Transition

The flying car is finally here. Now just give me my robot maid/lover and I'll be all set. But I'm still disappointed we can't take commercial flights to the moon like in the movie 2001.

Let me apologize for the cheap joke about the driving abilities of Asians. I didn't really mean it -- I was just going for an easy laugh. My wife is Asian and she is an excellent driver. Apart from the way she continually randomly punches the gas pedal instead of maintaining steady pressure on the accelerator, and the way she fell asleep at the wheel twice while we were on vacation last week, she is an excellent driver. Top notch.

Here's the video of the Terrafugia, if you're interested.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Recession Brothel

As I mentioned yesterday, this week we are counting down to Friday's 100th episode. For those of you checking my calculations, I'm not counting the results of the Blind Man musician challenge, nor the one vacation rerun. I'm also not counting the Facebook exclusives. This is #97. Only three left. Enjoy.

Seriously, what man could make love to a woman for a full hour if this temptation was nearby?

Okay, I admit it -- making fun of German food was one last blatant pander to my vegan friends. Sorry.

If you're bummed about the end of Deadpan Inc., you can do something about it. Help me find a way to make this endeavor financially viable. Is there a popular, well-funded site that you think could be a home for DI? Contact them and tell them they need to hire me and pay me for my work. Is there a TV show that you think could use my writing talent? Flood their message boards with suggestions to check out my work and hire me. Is your uncle an agent who represents writing talent for television? Tell him about me. Know an ad agency that needs a sharp CD/copywriter? Tell them to hire me.

I'm not looking to get rich off DI. An astoundingly small amount of money would justify keeping it going. No matter what happens with DI, there will soon be other things online from me that you might enjoy. I'll use this blog to let you know what's next -- so keep checking back.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pirate Bikini Waxes

Sometimes an item just cries out for the Deadpan Inc. treatment. The news that the New Jersey legislature was considering a law banning Brazilian bikini waxing was one of those. Enjoy.

By the way, this week will bring a milestone for Deadpan Inc. -- Friday will be the 100th original episode. I'm not sure there will be a 101st. These may be the last five for awhile -- I'm thinking it might be time to focus my energy on projects that offer greater potential for financial reward. Gotta keep the wolves at bay. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, March 20, 2009

March Madness

Our household is rooting for Wisconsin, even though their chances are slim this year. But if they did somehow manage to be this year's miracle Cinderella team, how sweet would that be? Pretty damn sweet, I'd say.

I have to admit that even though I'm a graduate of a Big Ten school (Purdue), I don't follow college sports, so my method for filling out the bracket isn't much better than his. I'm impressed by people who actually know enough about all 64 teams to fill out those things knowledgeably, even though upsets always screw them up and some idiot like me ends up winning.

UPDATE: Brad was right -- Badgers beat Seminoles in OT.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Drive-Thru Bank Robbery

The premise of this episode sounds like an old joke, but it's based on an actual news item. I think the punch line of the old joke is that the robber put his gun in the canister and sent it to the teller. I went somewhere else with it. Some of you will like it more than others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Italian Porn Star Protest

This is one of those episodes that was so easy, I feel compelled to apologize for not putting in more effort. But I think the final line is rather artful -- I'm proud of that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Favorite Color

This episode was inspired by a rant on Dan Piraro's BizarroBlog. He apparently is not fond of teal. I can't see spending so much time writing about a color, but then again, I'm not a visual artist. I'm word guy, so I'm more likely to go off on a rant about how people can't figure out how to use your and you're, not to mention there, their and they're.

I have a theory about color perception that I think makes the whole discussion of favorite colors moot. Color is simply how our brains perceive different wavelengths of light. There is no evidence that we all perceive colors the same way, and in fact there's evidence (color-blind people) that people perceive color very differently. We all agree that an orange is orange, because that's what we all call the wavelength of light that reflects off an orange. But it's quite possible that the color I perceive the orange to be, you would perceive as blue. Neither of us would be right or wrong, but if we saw the world through each other's visual cortex (I think that's were this color perception happens, but I could be wrong), we would freak out. The colors would probably be all mixed up. Or just some of the colors would be mixed up and others might look the same. The chance that we would both perceive all the wavelengths the same way seems remote to me. So even if you say you like magenta and I say I like teal, we both might be perceiving the same favorite "color" but calling it different names (because it's attached to different things).

Now, artists and designers are probably wondering if color perception is so random from person to person, how can the color wheel work? How can some colors always work together and others not? Well, our brains might be wired to like certain combinations of wavelengths, regardless of how we perceive the individual colors. Kind of like how even tone deaf people can tell the difference between harmonious and discordant music.

And how is green always soothing and orange always energetic if people are not perceiving them the same way? Maybe that's an evolutionary trait, where over the eons we've come to identify the wavelength that comes off leaves as restful, and the wavelength that comes off fire as fiery.

I think I should probably point out here that I was not high when I wrote this.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Vacation Rerun -- Hubble Repairs

Just got back from vacation and I'm a little behind. Nothing new today, so please enjoy this classic.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bionic Eye

If you're going to have a glass eye, why not put a camera in it? Brilliant.

After finishing this clip, it occurred to me that sighted people can see through the eyes of a blind person simply by closing their eyes. I'm surprised that didn't occur to Lily.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Say Please

Call me twisted, but I would have loved to have witnessed the incident they are talking about.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

iPhone Massager

Don't have much to add for this one. Thanks to the reader who suggested this story. You know who you are. I hope I met your expectations.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Narcoleptic Police Dispatcher

The source footage for this episode was destroyed when a Production Assistant sat the tapes on top of a strong magnet. Luckily we were able to salvage this episode by using the office's security cam footage. Enjoy.

Please feel free to suggest other occupations for narcoleptics.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Who's Watching the Watchmen?

I don't have a lot of time to work on Deadpan Inc. this week, so commentary will be brief. Hopefully you'll find the clips as funny as ever.

I'd be willing to bet that any guy sitting through Confessions of a Shopaholic this past weekend is not the boss in his relationship. Not that the guy should be...I'm just sayin'...those guys clearly are not.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Worst Food

Continuing a theme of "the worst in the world," here's something delicious -- deliciously disturbing.

Here's the product. Check out the percent of daily recommended value for cholesterol.

Do I have to urge to run out and try this product to find out if it really is the worst food? No. This is a case where ignorance is bliss.

Feel free to leave your suggestion for worst food product. Is there anything worse than pork brains (in milk gravy!)?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Worst Band

Let the debate begin. Who do you think is the worst band in the world?

I thought about not using the name of one of the bands mentioned here -- I didn't want to risk giving them any publicity. But then I thought that there probably aren't many Deadpan Inc. fans that are going to suddenly become fans of hate-pop-folk music just because I mentioned a band name.

Here's something scary -- I almost knew all the Spice Girls from memory. I thought Ginger was Cinnamon, but I knew the others. I sat through their movie with Daughter Stratton, and in spite of the excuse to spend 90 minutes looking at attractive young women, it wasn't much fun for me. But when the lights came up, Daughter Stratton looked me in the eye and said with all earnestness, "That was the best movie ever." She was 18 at the time.

Feel free to leave your suggestion for the worst band in the world in a comment below.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Juggling Genius

No, it's not about a really smart guy who can juggle. It's about the geniusosity of juggling.

After yesterday's rant, I'm sure many welcome the return to "childish things." Speaking of juggling, this guy Greg Kennedy has a unique twist on it. He juggles balls within an eight foot tall inverted cone. Check it out.

I can't help but wonder how he came up with this. Did he just find this cone (stumble into it?) and think, "Hey, I can juggle in here"? Or did he have this vision and then have the cone fabricated just for this purpose? If so, that would be creative thinking almost as impressive as that first caveman juggler. I have another more likely theory. A cruel despot has a political prisoner thrown into this cone with seven balls and tells him you don't get out until you can entertain the shit out of me.

I'm getting ready to go on vacation, so I want to get a bunch of clips made in advance and I don't have a lot of time to look for noteworthy news items. If there is a subject you'd like to hear Brad and Lily talk about, now would be a good time to let me know. Don't worry about coming up with the jokes -- I like to do that -- just give me the ideas you think have promise. If I like 'em, I might do something with them. No promises. Thanks for your continued support.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Republican Logic

I couldn't resist commenting on the commentary about the economic stimulus plan. I tried to keep it more entertaining than "rant-y."

Here are some other comments the loyal opposition are making that are driving me nuts. Why don't the news people call the pundits on this crap?

"Infrastructure construction just creates temporary work, not real jobs." Really? Apart from road repairs around Chicago, aren't all construction jobs temporary. You build something, it gets built, then you have to find something else to build. Are the Republicans saying that all of us sole-proprietors (small business owners!) who go from project to project don't have real jobs?

"Obama's plan doesn't offer enough long term solutions." A stimulus plan is temporary by definition. The government takes an action, the economy is jump started, and hopefully the private sector takes it from there. Do the Republicans want a long term engagement of the government in private industry? That sounds like socialism. Is that what they want?

"Taxes increases will hinder job creation." This is what I was getting at in the clip. Name one entrepreneur to whom the threat of paying a higher tax rate made them not want to get rich. Did Edison say "There might be something to this light bulb idea, but if I pursue it and get rich I'll be bumped into a higher tax bracket"? Health insurance costs are a much greater obstacle to job growth than the tax rates, but you don't see Republicans clamoring for universal health care. I get it. Wealthy business owners don't want to pay more taxes. Nobody does. But to say their objection is about anything other than wanting to keep more money for themselves is disingenuous bullshit.

"How many of you responsible homeowners would pay your hard earned money to keep your deadbeat neighbor from foreclosing?" I would! If you could pay five dollars in additional taxes to keep your neighbor's house from depressing your own home's value by tens of thousands of dollars, wouldn't you? I don't know if it's five dollars we're taking about -- I haven't done the math -- but it's certainly not equivalent to one good homeowner being fully responsible for one deadbeat on the block. Depending on the burden to the individual taxpayer, stopping the flood of foreclosures could be financially beneficial for everyone. I understand standing on principle -- we shouldn't have to bail out people who made mistakes (or were victims of predatory lenders), but sometimes the pragmatic choice of doing something for the greater good is the more intelligent self-serving choice.

It's obvious to me that most Republicans are just posturing to gain advantage in the 2010 and 2012 elections. They know what they're saying doesn't make sense -- that's why they all talk really fast when saying these things. What happened to "Country First"?

Sorry for the rant. Hope I haven't alienated too many of you.

If you want to see the dentist office sign they are talking about, check out the Ten Commandments episode.