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I'm a pretty loyal 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' viewer. It usually comes on after I'm done with dinner and I'm too lazy to get up, so I just sit there watching it. I've seen some viewers get some very easy questions wrong on the show, but I'd find it hard to believe that anyone would really need help on this question. I'm guessing that either the question has been changed in this screenshot, or answer B has been altered to make it the obvious choice.
Categories: Entertainment, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 30, 2005
Comments (42)
image Rubber Chicken has posted an interesting account of their experiment in spreading rumors and misinformation via their internet. What they wanted to do was plant one seed of misinformation, and see how far it would spread. As it turned out, it spread quite far.

Their seed of misinformation was this: they made up a rumor that actor John Rhys-Davies, of Sliders fame, was going to provide the voice for General Grievous, the new CGI villain in Star Wars Episode III. They emailed this rumor to Ain't It Cool News, where it was promptly posted as a hot new piece of movie gossip. They then sat back and watched the rumor spread, which it quickly did. Other movie sites quickly picked up the news, and newspapers such as The Guardian even reported it: "Later reports listed IGN and The Guardian - yes, the god damned Guardian - as sources, which effectively meant the news progressively got more reliable. Barely 48 hours after the original announcement, many were already discussing Rhys-Davies' role as if it were confirmed."
Categories: Entertainment, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 27, 2005
Comments (9)
A recent documentary about the legendary '70s porn film Deep Throat includes the assertion that the movie was the most profitable film ever made. Why? Because it cost around $25,000 to make, and grossed over $600 million. Michael Hiltzik, writing for the LA Times, has been busy debunking that claim, first in an article that appeared February 24, and again in a follow-up article on March 10. He uses the technical term 'baloney' to describe the claim. He points out that a) the movie was financed by the mob, so any financial figures about it are suspect; and b) to have made that much "it would have had to sell tickets to enough customers to populate the entire United States one and a half times over" (given 1970s ticket prices). It would also have had to sell far more tickets than Star Wars ever sold. The makers of the Deep Throat documentary responded to Hiltzik, defending their claim (actually they end up claiming Deep Throat could have made far more than $600 million), but their defense reveals that they're basically pulling numbers out of thin air.
Categories: Entertainment, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 13, 2005
Comments (25)
Nobody Wants Your Film appears to be a site dedicated to promoting an independent film that's been unable to find a distributor. The site encourages people to register at the site (and tell their friends to register) so that the creator of the film can convince "investors & money men that this thing is really happening" and "that they'd better jump on board before it's too late". The weird thing is that the film has some pretty well-known actors in it (Steve Buscemi, for instance), so you wouldn't think that it would be that hard to get it distributed. However, the film itself is about "the making of an independent feature that nobody wants, at least that's what money man Alan Smithee thinks." So this independent film that can't find a distributor is about an independent film that can't find a distributor. Which suggests that the site is a viral hoax marketing campaign that plays upon the premise of the movie. Or maybe they really can't find a distributor. I don't know. Either way, I've allowed myself to be sucked into their publicity campaign.
Categories: Advertising, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 26, 2005
Comments (9)
Here's some truly shocking news. The most recent castoff from Survivor claims that "one-third of the castaways are actually professional models who are appearing on the show after being cast through their agencies." I'm devestated. How could they do such a thing? Although I stopped watching Survivor two years ago because it got too boring, I still regarded it as a single shining beacon of truth and honesty in this otherwise corrupt world. Now I have nothing left to believe in.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 24, 2005
Comments (25)
The Guardian offers their selection of the 10 greatest rock 'n' roll myths ever. Top of the list is the one about Mama Cass choking to death on a ham sandwich. It was also news to me to find out that Michael Jackson doesn't own the Elephant Man skeleton. I always thought he did.
Categories: Entertainment, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 23, 2005
Comments (9)
image I just got an email from Bob Pagani (aka Cranky Media Guy) pointing out that one of the female characters in Will Smith's new movie Hitch is named Allegra Cole. This sounds as if it's a homage to Allegra Coleman, who was a hoax movie star created by Esquire back in 1996. Not having seen Hitch yet, I have no idea why its creator would have wanted to include this allusion to a hoax from the 1990s. Is the Allegra Cole character fake or artificial in some way? Looking at my page about Allegra Coleman, I also noticed an eerie similarity between her and the girl from the Dusty ads. Just a coincidence, or does this have some kind of deeper meaning?
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 14, 2005
Comments (45)
Back when I was writing The Museum of Hoaxes (the book) I exchanged a few emails with Jenny Abel, daughter of professional hoaxer Alan Abel. During the course of our correspondence she mentioned that she was making a movie about her father. Now I see that she's completed the movie, titled Abel Raises Caine. It can be seen at the Slamdance Film Festival in LA next week. Phil Reisman describes it in this way (his article also tells about some of Abel's more famous hoaxes):

It's an entertaining and at moments a laugh-out-loud film about growing up in a creative, dysfunctional family in the vein of "Capturing the Friedmans" and "Crumb," but minus the sinister elements that made those documentaries especially creepy. Using archival footage of now defunct talk shows, press conferences and long-forgotten news broadcasts, Jenny Abel attempts to explain her antic father, who has never held a 9-to-5 job and it would appear has never had much of an attachment to the truth. About anything.

The only Abel hoax I describe on this website is his most famous one, the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals. But I included many more of his hoaxes in my book. I've been meaning to describe more of his hoaxes on this site for ages. Just never got around to it.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 19, 2005
Comments (2)
I spent my Sunday night watching FoodTV's new show, Iron Chef America. I've long been a fan of the original Japanese Iron Chef, but I quite liked Food TV's adaptation of it. However, I was upset to read in this NY Times article that the 'secret ingredient' presented to the chefs at the beginning of the competition isn't that secret after all:

Both teams are readier for the challenge than most viewers realize. They have come to Kitchen Stadium knowing that they will be cooking with one of two ingredients, striped bass or buffalo, a choice negotiated in advance with the network.

Hmm. Instead of calling it the 'Secret Ingredient' perhaps they should call it the 'Previously Negotiated and Agreed Upon Ingredient'.
Categories: Entertainment, Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 18, 2005
Comments (23)
image Up for sale on eBay is a roll of toilet paper rejected by the Beatles. It supposedly once occupied the toilet in the E.M.I. Abbey Road Studios in 1962 when the Beatles were recording there, but it was removed because the Beatles found it to be too hard and shiny. Plus, it had E.M.I. printed on it, which the Fab Four thought to be a bit strange. Bidding has already reached over £5,000. If you're a Beatles fan it would be a pretty cool souvenir, but my question is how anyone can be sure that this is the actual roll removed from the bathroom? What if it's just an old roll of E.M.I. toilet paper?
Categories: eBay, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 14, 2005
Comments (8)
According to an article in the Economist, quoted here by the Washington Monthly blog, a British grocery store chain has been successfully deterring rowdy youths from hanging around their stores by playing classical music. Mozart and Pavarotti appear to be especially potent at warding off juvenile delinquents. The same technique has been working in underground stations. Something about this strikes me as a bit odd. Why would it work? Just because the kids don't like having to listen to classical music? Could it really be that easy? Perhaps it is.
Categories: Entertainment, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Tue Jan 11, 2005
Comments (26)
image What's the one thing sure to liven up any party? How about a midget? That's not the answer that would have occurred to me, but it's the premise behind Rent A Midget, a California company that rents out midgets (or little people) to 'hang out at parties'. Based on their website, this company looks real enough, though the only way to be certain would be to go ahead and try to rent a midget through them. The midget entertainment options range from "Midget Strip Shows, to Christmas Cookie Servers or Office Pranks." As shocking and slightly cruel as the idea sounds, I suppose it's no different than what circuses have been doing for centuries (i.e. using midgets as entertainers).
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 07, 2005
Comments (101)
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