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One big American Idol audition

LisaNova - YouTube to MADtv - YouTube springboards another person into a professional show business career.  I wouldn't say the celebrity barrier is being broken yet, but it's surely just a matter of time... or is it?  They real kicker line in this brief entry asks, "The question is: will TV always be the pinnacle of fame?"  Should I be saying that TV served as a springboard for Saturday Night Live's considerable online success and the online celebrity of its actors?

Meanwhile, in the political arena, Amanda at Pandagon is to be the new Blogmaster for the John Edwards campaign.  Suddenly I have an image of the blogosphere as a giant American Idol audition to which we tune in regularly to see some ridiculous, some middling and some excellent performances and watch the more popular performers rise to the top and become professionals.

"ZINK is a breakthrough technology that produces on-demand color images and photos - without ink, ribbons or toner."  The trick is the paper.  It has some kind of color crystals that are activated by the printer.  The site has video of it working.

Speaking of photos, Lightning porn photo of the week.

Blog fight of the week:  The Washington Post's William Arkin, in responding to a report by NBC's Richard Engel about frustration among U.S. troops with the lack of public support for the war, jokes/sneers that the U.S. military is a mercenary force.  Needless to say, that didn't sit well with some bloggers, the most prominent of which is Milblog Black Five.  Back again to Arkin who recoils at the hostility of the reaction to his post.  ... and pong ... and the inevitable concession.

Speaking of Washington Post blogs, Barry's freezing out Fox.  I can't decide if that's a good thing because he's holding them accountable for the whole madrassa mess or if it's a bad thing in principle for a politician to pick and choose the media outlets he'll deal with.

"Penguin claims to be the first major publishing house to use a wiki for writing a novel from scratch. ...  It's not quite from scratch, though: it's being seeded by a team of students; a Penguin editor will write progress reports."

The Guinness Book of World Records cheerily offers you the opportunity to break the record for most people killed in an act of terror.

How cool is it when the band meets you in the atrium of the theater after the show?

AskMen.com's Top 99 women of 2007 - I never heard of half of them.  Many are beauty queens turned pin-up girls, so they're mostly popular with the "lad mag" set.  I tried to get a sense of whether there are any cultural indications to be observed in the list.  It seemed like there were a lot of Hispanic women I guess, but other than that I didn't really have any ah-ha! moments.

Speaking of women on the list, Tyra Banks is on it.  I happened to click her "kiss my big fat ass" rant today.

Most obvious headline ever: AIDE QUITS AS NEWSOM'S AFFAIR WITH HIS WIFE IS REVEALED - You had sex with my wife?  Can I still work for you?

I feel like I've seen these microgardens before, but just in case I've never shared it, check them out.

"A December 2006 survey has found that 28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online such as photos, news stories or blog posts."  I admit that I predicted tagging would never catch on; one of my bigger clunkers as predictions go.  But even though I use the tagging on Flickr and YouTube, I find it an awkward and sometimes almost arbitrary feature.

"The Volcano is the Ferrari of tobacco and herbal vaporizers. Instead of burning, it atomizes. There's no smoke, and no carcinogens. Just sweet, sweet, vapor that is so efficient that your herbs will be 3-4 times more effective..."  It captures the fumes in a bag.

"You can now learn foreign languages and stay current on politics all at once. How so?  By taking advantage of a smart podcast concept being used by French and German broadcasters."  Basically, you listen to the news in a different language.  I think the technique works better when you already know the news, so you get an idea of what they're talking about.  Otherwise all I hear is, "Badda badda badda Presidente Bush badda badda badda."

The West And The Veil: Think Again - The point of this one is that just because Muslim women cover themselves in public doesn't mean they shun sex or looking sexy in private.

Speaking of hiding behind things, is the United States erecting an Iron Curtain?

The illusion behind the photographer's leap in the Grand Canyon.

No way!  Unlock your car with a tennis ball??  I don't believe it.  I think it would take way more air pressure than you could squeeze out of a tennis ball to move a car door locking mechanism.

Speaking of blowing up cars, Car Bomb will have its single featured on Headbanger's Ball tomorrow.  Go Jon!

Speaking of finding new uses for things, "The Gulf Coast is littered with the carcasses of unused oil equipment. Now those structures are being repurposed to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States."

The underbed lift is a great idea.  Reminiscent of an automatically retracting roof on a convertible car, this slides a huge TV out from under your bed and lifts it into position for viewing.

"Burger King is now reporting that because of the sales of the three games, their company has achieved a 40% increase in profits for the financial quarter, with a total of 3.2 million game sales so far."  This is sure to have an impact on the marketing industry.  Maybe we won't have to watch any more of those creepy Burger King ads on TV if they sink their marketing budget into hooking kids on their video games.

When people testify before Congress and say "I'll get back to you on that" because they don't have the right information handy or something, I always wonder if they actually do get back.  Turns out, not necessarily.

A savant with no obvious mental disability is able to describe his ability from the inside.  Turns out he's got synesthesia.

Burn almost any file to a playable DVD - I haven't tried it yet, but I have downloaded the (free) program and no alarm bells went off on my machine.  Obviously use your own discretion when downloading unfamiliar software to your machine.

10 shopping tricks that stores hate - There's a general theme of not taking the "switch" in "deals" that are basically bait and switch.

Can you imagine going into the hospital to give birth and coming out with no arms or legs?

I saw this one linked to as a "why they hate us" example, but as the caption points out, my understanding is that in many cases American troops cannot afford to sit still for too long.  For that matter we don't know where they're going or coming from.  I give them the benefit of the doubt, particularly because they're not laughing or taunting or anything.  NOTE: One F bomb at the very end.

Oh, and I added one more update, but I swear I'm trying to move on.