Tuesday, May 31, 2005 

Mario Pickup Lines

Pickup lines used by Mario

"Are you a magic feather? Because my heart just grew a tail, and flew away."

"If you were a warp tube, I'd be in you all day."

"Are you a magic mushroom? Because you are making me grow."

"Are you a magic flower? Because you are burning me up."

"I'd rather ride you than Yoshi any day."

"If Princess Toad looked liked you, I would have killed Bowser years ago."

"If I had the choice, I would gladly spend my 100 coins on you instead of on an extra life."

"You don't have to turn on a game to play with me."

"They don't call me Super for nothing."


Fox News - Biased?

Fair and balanced.....Fair and balanced...

Fox News Admits Bias!
Its London bureau chief blurts out the political slant that dare not speak its name.


The usually disciplined foot soldiers at Fox News have long maintained that their news organization is not biased in favor of conservatism. This charade is so important to Fox News that the company has actually sought to trademark the phrase "fair and balanced" (which is a bit like Richard Nixon trademarking the phrase "not a crook"). No fair-minded person actually believes that Fox News is unbiased, so pretending that it is calls for steely corporate resolve. On occasion, this vigilance pays off. Last year, for example, the Wall Street Journal actually ran a correction after its news pages described Fox News, accurately, as "a network sympathetic to the Bush cause and popular with Republicans." Getting one of this country's most prestigious newspapers to state that up is down and black is white is no small public-relations victory, and if we can't admire Fox News' candor, we can at least marvel at its ability to remain on message. Or rather, we could admire it, before Scott Norvell went and shot his big mouth off.

Norvell is London bureau chief for Fox News, and on May 20 he let the mask slip in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal. So far, the damage has been contained, because Norvell's comments—in an op-ed he wrote decrying left-wing bias at the BBC—appeared only in the Journal's European edition. But Chatterbox's agents are everywhere.

Here is what Norvell fessed up to in the May 20 Wall Street Journal Europe:

Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren't subsidizing Bill's bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don't enjoy that peace of mind.

Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That's our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb's institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it.



Slate.com Bushism of the day:

"We discussed the way forward in Iraq, discussed the importance of a democracy in the greater Middle East in order to leave behind a peaceful tomorrow."—Tbilisi, Georgia, May 10, 2005


Monk Fight


BANGKOK (Reuters) - Five Thai Buddhist monks have been defrocked and fined after a brawl with monks from a nearby temple, police and newspapers said Tuesday.

The street fight was the culmination of years of antagonism between monks from the two temples who had often exchanged curses, insults and rude gestures as they collected alms on different sides of a road, the Manager newspaper said.

"When an ordinary person is given a middle-finger sign, he will be mad. So am I," it quoted one of the defrocked monks, Boonlert Boonpan, as saying after the brawl in the northeastern state of Nong Khai Monday.

Boonlert said he usually carried a knuckle-duster in his shoulder bag during the morning collection of alms on which Bhuddist monks depend, it said.

Boonlert and the four other monks, all aged between 15 and 28, were each fined 1,000 baht ($25) by police for public brawling and were defrocked by senior monks, Wut Pomraksa, head of Nong Khai police station, told Reuters.

But Boonlert was unrepentant.

"If senators can fight in parliament, why can't monks?" he said.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 

AOL for Sale stuff

For the AOLers, interesting article at Motley Fool that indicates the asking price for AOL last year when all those rumors were floating around about possible purchasers:

AOL Up for Sale?

Rumors that Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) languishing America Online service is on the bidding block have been around for some time. Whether it was last year's report that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was snooping around or whispers that former chieftain Steve Case was looking to take back the company he navigated toward prominence, the speculation -- which invariably stemmed from third-party sources -- was ultimately unfounded.

But yesterday, at the D3: All Things Digital conference in California, InterActive Corp (Nasdaq: IACI) CEO Barry Diller mentioned that his company was once looking to buy AOL, but scoffed at the $20 billion asking price.

Wait a minute. That's no third party talking. That's a real name with a real price, presumably proposed by Time Warner. While we don't know how it all went down -- or if AOL is still up for sale -- it is an intriguing tidbit. With $20.5 billion in debt, the alleged asking price would help the company wipe its leveraged balance sheet clean.



Apprentice Stuff

Reality TV is fake. We all know it, but its entertaining nonetheless. I like how The Apprentice made Tana's task seem like a total failure, but according to this:

Tana Goertz Talks About 'Apprentice' Experience

From Burger King to music auctions, Goertz was the star -- until week 12 of the show's competition.While Craig and Tana slept, Kendra stayed up all night and singlehandedly designed the Magna team's winning brochure."That was my design and the camera crew and the producer had that on tape, but they showed me go[ing] to bed," Goertz said.She said the Pontiac ad project was a turning point."So I think that was the way they wanted people to say, 'we've got to knock Tana down. We've got to start knocking her down because she's not going to be the one,'" she said.But Goertz pushed on, making it to the final tough task of marketing New York City's Olympic hopes. She was proud of her performance, until she watched it on TV."I got a job offer from the CEO of NYC 2012 and I got a job offer from the AVP human resources project manager," she said


Ken Jennings

But....I thought he was unbeatable...well except for that loss to that Zerg women...all three matches? Ken....you let us down

'Jeopardy!' names its 'Ultimate' champ

NEW YORK (AP) -- Maybe Ken Jennings isn't so tough after all

The "Jeopardy!" brainiac met his match this week, losing a three-day tournament of champions from the game show and a $2 million prize to Brad Rutter of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Rutter was hardly intimidated by Jennings' 74-game winning streak in the game show last year. He beat Jennings in all three individual games, and his final total of $62,000 easily eclipsed Jennings' $34,599.

Rutter, a former record store clerk, won more than $1 million on "Jeopardy!" in 2002, and whipped several other former champions to earn the right to face Jennings. He is host of his own local quiz show in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 


Slate.com Bushism of the day:

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."—Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

Monday, May 23, 2005 

The Future of Television

Conan Obrien contributed the article "The Future of Television" to newsweek. Read the whole thing, some highlites though:

  • To begin, the trend toward larger and larger televisions will continue as screens double in size every 18 months. Televisions will eventually grow so large that families will be forced to watch TV from outside their homes, peering in through the window. Random wolf attacks will make viewing more dangerous. And, just as televisions grow larger and more complicated, so will remote controls. In fact, changing channels will soon require people to literally jump from button to button. Trying to change the channel while simultaneously lowering the volume will require two people and will frequently lead to kinky sex.

  • TiVo, the digital recorder with a brain, will continue to evolve with alarming speed. Super-TiVos will arrange marriages between like-minded viewers and will persuade mismatched couples to throw in the towel and start seeing other people. Tough-talking TiVos will even confront viewers, saying, "You've watched 40 straight hours of 'Sponge- Bob'—get off the weed!" One of TiVo's best loved features—its ability to provide viewers with commercial-free television—will inevitably force TV advertising to go extinct. As a result, celebrities will be forced to find new and creative ways to compromise their integrity. (At this moment, the writer pauses to slake his thirst with a delicious Diet Peach Snapple... now with less aspartame!)

  • Meanwhile, computers will continue to be used more and more to watch digital streaming video, eventually turning them into televisions. With no computers available to solve complex math problems, people will have no choice but to return to the abacus. Within a few months, this ancient device will be abandoned when it's realized that there is no good way to make "abacus porn."

  • And there you have it: the future of television. In fact, I am so sure I'm right about every detail that I encourage anyone with doubts to place this magazine in a vault and, 50 years from now, compare my vision to the world around you. If I've made even one mistake I'm certain the good people at NEWSWEEK, who never make mistakes, will refund you the price of this issue.

Friday, May 20, 2005 

Google Rules Pt 50

Google now has a personalized homepage....and if you dont like the layout, just drag and drop.....

Google's home page is about to get a face-lift.

In what appears to be a broadside aimed at MyYahoo, Google rolled out a new feature on Thursday that lets people set up a personalized Google home page.

The feature, which has not yet been named, lets people with Gmail and other Google accounts create a home page with different modules that they can drag and drop across their page, giving them one place to go for e-mail, headlines, weather reports, maps, movie schedules and, of course, Web search.

Google officials presented the introduction as another step in the company’s efforts to tie its products more closely together. During a question-and-answer session with reporters, CEO Eric Schmidt said the product was not conceived as a direct answer to MyYahoo or to compete with an existing offering already in the market.

Google will start by offering content from the BBC, the New York Times, Slashdot, Wired, the Quote of the Day and the Word of the Day. The company also plans to let users add syndicated Web content from news sites and blogs via RSS, or really simple syndication, technology, said Marissa Mayer, who directs consumer Web products for Google.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 

Netflix Rules

Wal-mart gave up!

Netflix Takes Over Wal-Mart DVD Rentals

SAN FRANCISCO - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is turning over its online DVD rental business to Netflix Inc., signaling that the world's largest retailer couldn't beat the Internet upstart at its own game.

Netflix shares surged after the agreement was announced Thursday, rising $2.61, or 17 percent, to $18.11 in midday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Wal-Mart is offering its existing online DVD rental customers the chance to continue their subscriptions with Los Gatos-based Netflix at their current price for the next year. Those who don't sign up with Netflix by June 17 will lose their service. Wal-Mart plans to continue promoting the Netflix service on its Web site.

In return, Netflix will remind its subscribers that they can buy DVDs from Walmart.com.

The companies didn't disclose how many customers Netflix will inherit nor the financial terms of their partnership. About 70 percent of Wal-Mart's DVD rental customers pay $12.97 per month for the right to check out up to two titles at a time. Most Netflix customers pay $17.99 per month for three titles at a time. Wal-Mart charges $17.36 per month for three titles

Wal-Mart is believed to have fewer than 100,000 online DVD subscribers, said industry analyst Dennis McAlpine of McAlpine Associates. "This is a nice deal for Netflix, but it still doesn't mean Netflix will win the game," he said.

Netflix still expects to lose $5 million to $15 million this year as it tries to thwart Blockbuster Entertainment Inc.'s aggressive push into online DVD rentals, but getting Wal-Mart to drop out of the competition represents a major victory for the tiny company.

It takes Wal-Mart less than a day to surpass Netflix's 2004 sales of $506 million.

"It's a very nice endorsement," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said during an interview Thursday.

Despite its size and merchandising savvy, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart couldn't overcome Netflix's head start in the rapidly expanding niche of online DVD rentals. Wal-Mart concluded the service didn't blend in well with its stores, said John Fleming, an executive vice president who oversees the company's online operations.

Formed in 1999, Netflix already has attracted 3 million subscribers and shaken up the home entertainment industry by establishing a new way to rent DVDs.

"Netflix is a pioneer in this space and we have always admired what they have done," Fleming said during a Thursday interview. "We think this (Netflix partnership) will be a big win for our customers."

The Netflix service requires subscribers to create an online wish list from a library consisting of more than 40,000 titles and then delivers up the DVDs through the mail.

Netflix allows subscribers to keep the DVDs for an unlimited amount of time without late fees. Once a DVD is returned in postage-paid envelope, Netflix sends out the next selection on the subscriber's online list.

The concept caught fire as more households bought DVD players and surfed the Internet, inspiring Wal-Mart to introduce a copycat service two years ago.

After initially deriding Netflix as a passing fancy, Blockbuster is investing heavily in an online rental service that costs $3 per month less than Netflix.

But Blockbuster appears poised to raise its prices, a change that could provide Netflix with another boost. The company recently began charging some its new subscribers $17.99 per month — the same price as Netflix.

Blockbuster has budgeted $170 million for its online expansion and underscored its resolve to win back customers by dropping the late fees that inspired Netflix to launch its alternative approach. Eliminating the late fees reduced Blockbuster's first-quarter revenue by $145 million.

Blockbuster expects to have 1 million online customers by next month, but its long-delayed response to Netflix's increasing popularity irritated many shareholders. The angst sparked a rebellion by the company's largest shareholder, billionaire Carl Icahn, who last week won a battle to win three seats on Blockbuster's seven-member board.

Meanwhile, Netflix is aiming to add an additional 1 million subscribers by the end of the year.

The cutthroat competition has battered Netflix's stock, which has plunged from a high of $39.77 reached early last year.


Pre-K Student Brings Handgun to School

ummmm...a pre-schooler?

Pre-K Student Brings Handgun to School

AUSTIN, Texas - A pre-kindergarten student brought a handgun to school, where it was seized by a fifth-grader and turned over to the principal, school district officials said Tuesday.

The 5-year-old reportedly displayed the loaded weapon outside the Blanton Elementary School cafeteria where students were gathered before class. The fifth-grader recognized it was real and took it to the principal.

Investigators were trying to determine how the child got the gun, Austin Independent School District spokeswoman Carmen Luevanos said.

District police said they will pursue charges against the adult who allowed the student to bring the weapon to school. The adult was not identified.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 

Arrested Development Renewed

and Rowe swoons:

(from the fox Arrested Development website - allow popups)

For two years, it has been the best comedy on television. And now there will be a third year. Congratulations to show creator Mitch Hurwitz, the amazing cast and the 100,000+ people who took the Arrested Development Loyalty Oath! Your efforts have ensured that we’ll all be treated to another season of our favorite show!

But you don’t have to wait until fall to introduce people to the Bluths. With some of the best Arrested episodes encoring this summer, you can find a friend who’s never seen the show and sit down with them so they can see just how great this show is!

Monday, May 16, 2005 

Fortune TW Article

For the AOLers, a story from Fortune magazine about Time Warner. Interesting/long read.
(You may need to load this in AOL)

Will Wall Street Ever Trust Time Warner

Some highlites:

* Parsons says the company is likely to use some of its cash to pay a dividend or buy back shares; the stock would probably get a small bump from either move. He also predicts that the cable unit will continue to post strong results, which might give shares a further lift in the second half of the year. The biggest surprise: If AOL fails in its latest effort to capture more online ads through its free portal, which will offer an online search engine and features that previously had been available only to AOL subscribers, Parsons says he would consider spinning off the division as a separate stock. "If it works," he says, referring to the portal strategy, "this business looks like our publishing business, it looks like our TV business, it looks like our local cable advertising business." He has no timeline in mind, but says, "If this doesn’t work, then you start to think about AOL much differently. You start to think about AOL in somewhat the same way I think about the cable company—we’d have access to the platform, but it would have its own currency to go out and do acquisitions or other deals. We’d have to find a way to maximize the value for our shareholders

Not that Parsons or his lieutenants—Jeff Bewkes and Don Logan—are considering a full-fledged breakup like those other media companies are currently mulling. Time Warner would retain a controlling stake in the cable and probably in any AOL spinoff too. "We’re not trying to figure out the flavor of the day," insists Logan, the blunt former Time Inc. CEO who now serves as chairman of the corporation’s communications group. "Look at Viacom: Now they’re going to break it in two. What the hell for? I can’t figure it out. Can you?"

* America Online CEO Jon Miller is standing on the balcony of his office—Steve Case’s old digs—in Dulles, Va., showing off the sprawling campus. He points to a huge building filled with AOL programmers and a bustling day-care center. It is a reminder of just how big AOL remains. "I still have people come up to me and ask, ‘Do you guys make any money?’" Miller says, shaking his head. Last year AOL posted $934 million in operating income and contributed about $1 billion in cash flow to Time Warner

* Test versions of the AOL.com site, which will launch later this year, look promising: True to AOL’s heritage, it is easy to navigate and boasts some consumer-friendly features such as a pull-down bar on the browser that contains little images (not just web addresses) of the sites you’ve just visited. Almost all AOL content, including news and information—and even goodies such as a hit online concert series—will be available free.

But one can’t help getting the impression that AOL’s strategies are a little stale. Indeed, it seems to be reinventing itself in the image of a more successful and more highly valued company—Yahoo. AOL’s big plan for retaining subscribers—partnering with cable companies—feels a lot like Yahoo’s alliance with telcos SBC and Verizon. (The only company AOL has announced a deal with is its sister Time Warner Cable.) Similarly, the plan to capture online ad dollars, the hottest area of advertising right now—shouldn’t AOL have been on that years ago?


Arrested Development Renewed?

From Klancer/Rowe last week, hopefully this is true. It is an E-Online gossip column though...

Development Resurrected! At-Risk Househusbands Get Desperate! Amazing Dark Side Defeated!

Hallelujah! Arrested Development fans, brace yourselves. I have some good news and--well, you might want to sit down for this--some mind-blowing, earth-shattering, out-of-this-world fantastic news.

Earlier this week, a friend here at E! interviewed Jason Bateman at a charity event with his good friend Ben Stiller. When asked the status of Arrested Development, he lit up like a banana stand: "Actually, great. Supergreat. There is a heartbeat. There is no flatline. And there may be twins. I'm going to let Kristin figure out what that means. I can't comment any further, but there will be an announcement next week."

After various calls to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Pamela Anderson and Jennifer Garner's OB-GYN re "twins," I can tell you that Jason's little hint had nothing whatsoever to do with any of those things. And while there are 17 listings for a J. Bateman in the local Hollywood white pages, none of them know a damned thing about the fate of Arrested Development. But glory be, after much badgering and pestering, two rock-solid Fox sources, who have never failed me before, caved and gave me the lowdown.

Arrested Development is coming back! These highly placed sources confirmed late Friday it has been renewed for a full season of 22 episodes. How freaking fantastic is that?

Initially, Fox president Peter Liguori's plan was to order two seasons--hence, the "twins" reference--in order to keep the licensing fee down. But ultimately he went with a single season. And hey, I'll take it.

According to these insiders, even though the ratings weren't exactly American Idol numbers, Liguori, bless his perceptive little heart, has faith that the show will do well in a different time slot. He also wants to bring AD up to the magical episode number required for syndication and feels the show will do very well in repeats and also in DVD. Can I get a "Hell, yeah!"?


Apprentice Prize

Interesting article about how the prize for the Apprentice is some bs...but, we all knew that

What's Second Prize

A reality check on what 'The Apprentice' winners won

May 23 issue - As the winner of the second "Apprentice," Kelly Perdew should be in line for a top job in the Trump organization. But you'd never know that from his office. His desk is in a small, windowless space next to the assistant to Donald Trump's wife, Melania (Perdew has no assistant). The walls are bare, except for a dry-erase board and a U.S. map, stuck with pins marking the distributors he's signed to buy his boss's new line of bottled water, Trump Ice. "This is going to be big," he vows.

That, of course, is the same promise Trump made about the job waiting for the lucky contestant who survives long enough to hear him say, "You're hired.'' (He'll be picking this season's winner on Thursday.) In the series premiere, Trump promised the top prize of a job as president of one of his companies. But spend some time with winners of the first two seasons, and the reality of this reality show becomes clear: the apprentices' $250,000-a-year gigs are less about climbing the corporate ladder, and more about using their "Apprentice" celebrity to promote Trump. Then again, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Trump may have engaged in a bit of overselling (or "truthful hyperbole'' as he's called it). "It's a little bit too much to ask someone to be the president of a $800 million building when they haven't had that kind of experience,'' he says.



More Chappelle

For those of you who don't pay $23.90 for AOL (I still don't understand why you wouldn't) heres the Time.com Dave Chappelle article:

Dave Speaks

It was a clumsy dismount," says Dave Chappelle. For the past couple of weeks, everybody has been looking for Chappelle. Turns out, all this time Chappelle has been looking for himself too. He is without a doubt the hottest, edgiest and most talked-about comedian today. But on April 28, he walked away from his highly rated sketch-comedy series, Chappelle's Show, and vanished into speculation, rumor and the whispers of unnamed sources. His agent, his publicist, even his writing partner didn't know where he had gone. Comedy Central had to put on hold a show that was scheduled to begin its third season at the end of this month, a show that ranks as its most buzzed-about offering, a show that had been put together in a deal worth $50 million. Chappelle, however, who had fled to Durban, South Africa, on what he describes as a "spiritual retreat," was eager to portray the sanity of his decision when he spoke to TIME exclusively last week.

"I'm not crazy," Chappelle said. "I'm not smoking crack. I'm definitely stressed out."

In the past year, Chappelle, 31, has emerged as the most revered comedian among the youth of America, with a fresh, satiric take on race, sex and pop culture that's often profane, sometimes profound, always provocative—and incredibly popular. The DVD of Chappelle's Show: Season One is the best-selling television-series DVD of all time; Chappelle's Show: Season Two is due in stores May 24 and has already generated almost 2 million preorders. Says trailblazing comic Dick Gregory, who challenged social and racial taboos in the '60s: "When you mention his name among young folks, it's like mentioning Jesus in a Christian church." So Chappelle's MIA act set off a storm of media that hadn't been seen since, well, maybe the week before or so, when news broke that Tom Cruise was dating Katie Holmes. But it seemed as though everybody had questions and nobody had answers. Was Dave off the show for good? Was he a party animal? Was he on drugs?

Was he smoking too much marijuana? Was he smoking too little? Oh—and was Dave crazy?

Chappelle's hasty hiatus was an unexpected turn in a success story that TIME started following last November. I introduced myself to the notoriously press-shy Chappelle through a shared connection (my wife's brother-in-law is a childhood friend of his), and as the conversations unfolded, Chappelle decided to give TIME extensive access to the production of his new season. He even stopped by TIME's offices in New York City several times, always coming off as approachable, engaging and irreverent. (At one encounter, he tweaked TIME's editors by saying he was reporting a story for Newsweek.) But in conversations before he skated for South Africa, the tension was showing. "Later today I gotta call the head of the network [Comedy Central chief Doug Herzog], and I gotta face the music," Chappelle said on April 19. "I gotta tell this dude either I'm doing it or not.

Or if I do it, this is how I gotta do it. But what if he says no?

Then I gotta muster up all the balls I got just to say, 'Well, then, I'm walking away.'" Chappelle's words didn't sound that serious at the time—he is a comedian, after all. Just over a week later, he left the country. Our conversations, however, continued by phone after he reached Durban: TIME Are you on drugs?

CHAPPELLE I haven't smoked marijuana in months. My drugs these days are nicotine and coffee.

TIME Are you in a mental facility?

CHAPPELLE No, no, I'm not in a mental facility. I'm actually staying with some friends [at the home of a man named Salim], although I did consult a doctor when I was here.

TIME A psychiatrist?

CHAPPELLE It was a 40-minute session. I guess he was a psychiatrist.

We just chewed it up, and that was the extent of it.

TIME Why did you take a break?

CHAPPELLE My personal feeling is I didn't like the direction of the show. I was trying to explain it to people, and no one was feeling me. There's a lot of resistance to my opinions, so I decided, Let me remove myself from this situation. You hear so many voices jockeying for position in your mind that you want to make sure that you hear your own voice. So I figured, Let me just cut myself off from everybody, take a minute and pull a Flintstone—stop a speeding car by using my bare feet as the brakes.

Herzog confirms he gave the comic a firm deadline to deliver the season's shows—but says Chappelle never called him before going AWOL. He notes that this was the second delay Chappelle had asked for. The show had been postponed in December. During that break, Chappelle, who developed an interest in Islam in high school and became a practicing Muslim in about 1998, tried to perform the hajj—the pilgrimage to Mecca. (He got only as far as Turkey, he says, because he couldn't get a visa for Saudi Arabia.) As for the direction of the series, says Herzog, it was ultimately up to the show's namesake: "He absolutely has complete creative freedom.

There's no one from the network sitting on his head. Dave is in charge of his own world." Chappelle's writing partner, Neal Brennan, agrees. He tells TIME that Chappelle had "literally absolute, complete, creative freedom" and plenty of time to work. To some extent, his colleagues profess bafflement about Chappelle's reaction to what seemed to be garden-variety creative differences. "There were 1,000 ways to deal with this," says Brennan. "By the numbers, this was the worst way to have done it. He couldn't think straight. It was fight or flight—and he chose flight."

And then there are those voices in his mind that Chappelle speaks of.

While no one in his circle will talk publicly of it, some describe him as exhibiting increasingly paranoid and erratic behavior. At one point, Brennan says, "I told him, 'You're not well.' He didn't answer." Brennan won't speculate on Chappelle's health but argues that something about his pal of 14 years is different: "Has he made changes in his life? He's 140 degrees different than he was a year ago."

According to Chappelle, it's the people around him who have changed.

His wife Elaine and two children live on a farm in Ohio. Except for a cutting-edge hip-hop concert he sponsored last September in Brooklyn, N.Y.—among the acts were the reunited Fugees—he says he doesn't go out much: "I didn't buy a farm in Ohio to support my party habits. I drive a Toyota. My lifestyle hasn't changed at all."

As Chappelle sees it, his flight to South Africa was an extreme version of his efforts to keep his feet on the ground. He met in Durban late last week with TIME's Johannesburg bureau chief Simon Robinson, although he declined to meet at the place where he was staying, choosing instead the uShaka Marine World on Durban's shore.

As Chappelle walked along the beach, he painted a picture of someone struggling to come to terms with his position and power as well as with the people around him and the way they were reacting to that $50 million deal. Without naming specific people--"Out of respect, I'd rather say those things directly to the people involved than through the press"—he seems to blame some of his inner circle and himself (but not his family) for the stresses created by last year's contract. "If you don't have the right people around you, and you're moving at a million miles an hour, you can lose yourself," he says.

"Everyone around me says, 'You're a genius!'; 'You're great!'; 'That's your voice!' But I'm not sure that they're right." Among those close colleagues, Chappelle's growing distrust has apparently set off no small amount of anxiety. His publicist, Matt Labov, called TIME as this story was being edited, demanding to know if Chappelle had said anything inflammatory about his agent or manager.

Chappelle accepts some blame as well for the stalled third season.

"I'm admittedly a human being," he says. "I'm a difficult kind of dude." His first walkout during shooting "had a little psychological element to it. I have trust issues, things like that. I saw some stuff in myself that I just didn't dig. It's like when I brought a girl home to my mom, and it looked as if my mom really didn't like this girl. And she told me, 'I like her just fine. I just don't like you around her.' That's how I feel in this situation. There were some things about myself that I didn't like. People got to take inventory from time to time."

He turns to his faith for help in that regard. Says his friend Salim: "If he wants to talk religion, then I'm there as someone to talk to."

Yet Chappelle is low-key about his beliefs: "I don't normally talk about my religion publicly because I don't want people to associate me and my flaws with this beautiful thing. And I believe it is a beautiful religion if you learn it the right way. It's a lifelong effort. Your religion is your standard," he says. "I want to be well rounded, and the industry is a place of extremes."

Chappelle says he has been recognized by about six people in Africa.

"It happens so sporadically that when it does, it freaks me out because I have to remember, 'Oh, yeah, I'm famous.'" During the interview an American woman hails him. "No. 7!" he says. "Wow, I'm not that big in Africa. I've got to do an action film here."

By fleeing to South Africa, Chappelle may have found some peace of mind, but he has threatened a career for which he has long yearned.

Born in Washington, at 17 he told his father, a music teacher at Antioch College, and his mother, an African-American-studies professor at Prince George's Community College, that he was passing up college for comedy. He had been doing stand-up since he was 14, cracking jokes about Jesse Jackson's presidential run on an open-mike night in D.C. Comic Mario Cantone recalls Chappelle performing in Manhattan's Washington Square Park in the '90s for strangers and loose change. "I remember thinking, Boy, that takes balls," says Cantone. "It's tough enough for me to get on a stage."

For Chappelle, humor comes as easily as conversation. "Telling jokes is like a language I know really well," says Chappelle. "When I'm up there, I speak fluent joke. I'm up there, and I'm talking about seeing Hotel Rwanda, which is an incredibly sad movie, and I'm getting laughs. It's that kind of language. You just have to know how to do it." Comedy titan Mel Brooks, who gave Chappelle his first significant film role as one of the Merry Men in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), says he spotted some special qualities in the fledgling comic early on. "He had timing," says Brooks. "That's very rare, even in our better comedians. He really knew when to deliver a line."

But Chappelle's talent wasn't universally and instantly recognized.

Not in his own mind anyway. There's a concept in the African-American community called the HNIC—the Head Negro in Charge. The notion holds that for various reasons in the U.S.—having to do with limited opportunities, pervasive racism and fear that if too many black people get too much stuff there won't be anything left for white folks—only one black person is allowed to be on top in any field.

Colin or Condi. Denzel or Jamie.

50 Cent or the Game. Chappelle certainly felt it was true in comedy—and the HNIC was Chris Rock. He was on Saturday Night Live; he was hosting the MTV awards; he was starring in big-ticket movies like Lethal Weapon 4. Meanwhile, Chappelle was starring in cult movies like Half-Baked and appearing in failed TV series like Buddies, and he was struggling to get himself recognized as one of the funnier participants on Def Comedy Jam. "When Chris Rock was real big, the word was, I was irrelevant; they don't need you," says Chappelle. "I almost felt like I was in his shadow. People would come up and say, 'Chris, can I have your autograph?' I would say to myself at that point—this is a young man's ego--'I wish just once that people would say that I'm the best. I just want to touch it. I just want this industry to admit it.'" Chappelle didn't wait for a break—he decided to create one. He and his co-writer Brennan (the two met at the Boston Comedy Club in New York City) launched Chappelle's Show on Comedy Central in 2003.

Chappelle was the show's co-writer, co-producer and singular star.

The show combined the pop-culture instincts of early Saturday Night Live, the satiric inventiveness of the Ben Stiller Show and the racial daring of In Living Color. The sketches on Chappelle's Show poked fun at new-school stars like Lil Jon and R. Kelly and old-school stars like Samuel L. Jackson and superfreak Rick James.

One sketch imagined a "racial draft" in which multiracial figures like Tiger Woods had to pick a race. Another featured a send-up of MTV's Making the Band, in which P. Diddy dispatches would-be pop stars on increasingly ridiculous tasks ("Walk uptown to the Bronx, and get some breast milk from a Cambodian immigrant!"). And one of the show's most electric characters appeared on the first episode: a blind white supremacist who doesn't realize he's black.

The show worked because it talked about what America finds difficult to talk about: race. As mixed-race marriages multiply (Chappelle's wife is Asian) and more kids check "Other" on census forms, the racial conversation may be getting even more difficult. Racial divisions are becoming more complex, harder to understand, more challenging to discuss. That's where Chappelle comes in. He takes all those hang-ups about race and lifts them up, spins them around, puts them in our face. Deal with it. Laugh at it. But don't ignore it.

"[Chappelle] illumines the idiocy, the sheer lunacy, of racial bigotry," says cultural commentator Michael Eric Dyson, author of the new book Is Bill Cosby Right?, "while also fearlessly pointing the finger at black folks' loopy justifications of questionable black behavior. He's great at taking particular events, episodes and escapades and using them to show America the unvarnished truth about itself."

But as the late rapper biggie smalls once observed, mo' money, mo' problems. In August 2004, after Chappelle's big deal was announced, people started calling him a genius a lot more. They started laughing at the wrong jokes for the wrong reasons at the wrong times. And to his mind, the show became more like working at Wal-Mart, although for a much higher salary. But he kept on with it. Says Chappelle: "Fifty million dollars is a lot of money. And what I'm learning is I am surprised at what I would do for $50 million. I am surprised at what people around me would do for me to have $50 million." Although news of the deal was heavily reported, the conflicted Chappelle didn't actually put his name on the pact until last March. Says Chappelle: "I was thinking for the longest—I'm not even gonna sign this s___."

Chappelle's misgivings about his success kept growing. Increasingly, when he walked down the street or slipped offstage at comedy clubs, people would approach him—black and white and Hispanic and Asian and other—and say things like, "I love your show, I don't care what anybody says. Don't let them change you." The phrase echoed in his head: Don't let them change you. Chappelle used to work Washington Square Park with a stand-up named Charlie Barnett, a brilliant jokester and crack addict who died of AIDS. Barnett, who co-starred in the movie D.C. Cab in 1983 and later fell on hard times and slept in the streets, used to tell Chappelle, "If you fight change, you'll end up f_____ up like me." Chappelle realized he was caught in a paradox: he had always embraced change. Now he was resisting change.

And resisting it was having its effects.

The third season hit a big speed bump in November 2004. He was taping a sketch about magic pixies that embody stereotypes about the races.

The black pixie—played by Chappelle—wears blackface and tries to convince blacks to act in stereotypical ways. Chappelle thought the sketch was funny, the kind of thing his friends would laugh at. But at the taping, one spectator, a white man, laughed particularly loud and long. His laughter struck Chappelle as wrong, and he wondered if the new season of his show had gone from sending up stereotypes to merely reinforcing them. "When he laughed, it made me uncomfortable," says Chappelle. "As a matter of fact, that was the last thing I shot before I told myself I gotta take f______ time out after this. Because my head almost exploded."

That led to him to the hajj. After his return, he got back to work, and by mid-April enough sketches had been filmed to fill perhaps five shows (Chappelle's stand-ups, which introduce and close the pieces, have yet to be filmed). One sketch riffs on the fact that slain rapper Tupac Shakur seems to still be releasing up-to-date songs. (In the segment, a man in a club hears a Tupac song that's so uncannily topical it talks about specific people in the club.) There was also a sketch called "Celebrity Injustice" examining newsmakers, like Howard Dean, who in Chappelle's opinion had been treated unfairly in the press. In the sketch, Chappelle demonstrates how Dean should have turned his much-maligned scream into a trademark instead of accepting it as a liability. "Every time I look at raw footage of that sketch, it makes me laugh," says Chappelle.

Although he felt that the sketches he had finished were funny, he wondered if they were as riotously funny as his prior work. Not everyone shared his fear. "I finally saw the sketches two nights ago," Comedy Central chief Herzog said last week, "and they looked great to me. I sat in a room full of people and watched them, and everyone had the same opinion—they're as good as anything he's ever done."

Brennan too feels Chappelle has lost none of his touch: "They're really, really funny. And I'd be confident showing them to anyone on Earth. Literally—Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, Richard Pryor." He thinks the real problem was indecisiveness. "Dave would change his sketches so much, and it just got to the point that the show never would have aired if he had his way," says Brennan. "He would come with an idea, or I would come with an idea, pitch it to him, and he'd say that's funny. And from there we'd write it. He'd love it, say, 'I can't wait to do it.' We'd shoot it, and then at some point he'd start saying, 'This sketch is racist, and I don't want this on the air.' And I was like, 'You like this sketch. What do you mean?' There was this confusing contradictory thing: he was calling his own writing racist."

Chappelle defends his standards. "When they say I make $50 million, it's not like the network is shelling out $50 million," he says. "I get part of the DVD revenues. Each person that buys the DVD, they're buying it because they believe in something I did. I could make a s_____ product for these people, but then that breaks the respect bond. I don't want to make a s_____ product. I wouldn't feel good about it. I'd be rich, and I'd still be miserable, and then I'd have to lie to myself more and more just to make myself feel cool about it."

So what does Chappelle do next? And what will happen to the show?

Herzog says he has told advertisers and staff that he believes there will be no Chappelle's Show in 2005: "I don't know what the guy's thinking. This is a guy who walked off his own show and kind of left everybody bewildered." But he also leaves the door open—wide open—for the comic's possible return. "Do we still want to be in business with Dave Chappelle? Of course. Dave's an enormous, enormous talent. We're in the comedy business, and Dave's a comedy genius." As for Chappelle, last week he sounded raring to go but not sure he had a place to go to.

TIME Do you plan to start up the show when you return to the U.S.?

CHAPPELLE Hopefully, yeah. Since I've been gone, I haven't really talked to anybody. I've only talked to my family. So when I get back, [I hope] everything will be up and running, or we'll make other arrangements. I don't know what the lay of the land is.

TIME Your idol, Richard Pryor, had his own difficulties. Is there something about the comedic mind that brings them on?

CHAPPELLE There will be no lighting myself on fire, man. I think it does have something to do with the comedic mind. For the most part, ever since I've been going through this, I think a lot of entertainers, black entertainers in particular, have been really helpful in giving me some perspective and shedding light on it.

TIME Which entertainers have reached out to you?

CHAPPELLE Lauryn Hill. She did give me some advice. She told me to be truthful at all costs. Which is a tall order, but which was really good advice. Otherwise you're going to run into one embarrassing situation after another.

But the advice that seems to be uppermost on Chappelle's mind is that of his father, who died in 1998. Upon hearing that his son wanted to try comedy, says Chappelle, "he said, 'Name your price before you get there. And if you ever find it's more expensive than what you're prepared to give, then get out.'"

Friday, May 13, 2005 

Free Frosty Weekend

From Dan Adams:

Wendys Free Frosty Weekend:

No purchase required. Walk in and demand one.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 

More Chappelle News

Chappelle Reportedly Checks Into Facility

NEW YORK - Comedy Central star Dave Chappelle has checked himself into a mental health facility in South Africa, the magazine Entertainment Weekly reported on Wednesday.

The comedian's whereabouts and condition have been unknown since Comedy Central abruptly announced last week that the planned May 31 launch of the third season of "Chappelle's Show" had been postponed and production halted.

Chappelle flew from Newark, N.J., to South Africa on April 28 for treatment, said the magazine, quoting a source close to the show it would not identify. Entertainment Weekly said it had corroborating sources for its story.

"We don't know where he is," Comedy Central spokesman Tony Fox said. "We've heard about South Africa. We don't know. We haven't talked to Dave."

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

Church & Politics

The Church and Politics should not mix like this...this kinda stuff makes me angry:

N.C. Church Kicks Out Members Who Do Not Support Bush

WAYNESVILLE, N.C., May 7 -- Some in Pastor Chan Chandler's flock wish he had a little less zeal for the GOP.

Members of the small East Waynesville Baptist Church say Chandler led an effort to kick out congregants who did not support President Bush. Nine members were voted out at a Monday church meeting in this mountain town about 120 miles west of Charlotte. Forty others in the 400-member congregation resigned in protest


During the presidential election last year, Chandler told the congregation that anyone who planned to vote for the Democratic nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), should either leave the church or repent, former member Lorene Sutton said.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 





Chappelle's Show is a no go, bitch!

In a surprise announcement Wednesday, Comedy Central announced that the highly anticipated third season of Dave Chappelle's will not make its May 31 premiere date.

"Comedy Central has suspended production on the third season of Chappelle's Show until further notice," network spokesman Tony Fox said in a brief statement. "All parties are optimistic that production will resume in the near future."

No official reason was given for the shutdown, but sources told E! News that Chappelle has been MIA from the set for weeks.


Ipods Rule

58% of the flash market...thats just crazy
I love my shuffle....and my 20gig...now just need a mini

iPod shuffle snaps up 58% of the US market for flash-based MP3 players
A report by market research firm NPD concludes that Apple’s iPod shuffle has gobbled up a full 58.2% of the US market for flash-based MP3 players in March, up from 43% in February (the bulk of Apple’s sales were for the 512MB version of the shuffle). Whether Apple tapped into what has turned out to be a vastly underestimated demand for flash-based players, or simply employed their massive marketing muscle to get consumers lusting after a product that four months ago they didn’t know they wanted is (it’s probably a little bit of both), but what isn’t up for debate is that Creative, iRiver, Sony, Rio, et al. seriously have their work cut out for them.



I swear it seems like Slate.com puts a new one up everyday. I try to post only the ones I really like:

"Well, we've made the decision to defeat the terrorists abroad so we don't have to face them here at home. And when you engage the terrorists abroad, it causes activity and action."—Washington, D.C., April 28, 2005

Monday, May 02, 2005 

Bushism of the Day

Latest GDub:

"We expect the states to show us whether or not we're achieving simple objectives—like literacy, literacy in math, the ability to read and write."—on federal education requirements, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2005

The Blog

    My blog full of random crap.
    History/Stages of this blog:
    1. Completely random crap
    2. G-Dub is stupid...really stupid. why are you voting for him..seriously
    3. everyone sucks (for voting for G-Dub)
    4. Google Lovefest
    5. YouTube Lovefest
    6. The Wire Lovefest
    7. Wii Lovefest
    8. Sporadic Posts
    (with UMD sports stuff mixed in everywhere)


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