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|•||Pretend chef on five morning TV shows 03/04/2014|
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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.
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).
There's a well known urban legend about the phone number 867-5309. Supposedly phone companies no longer issue this number to customers because of the popularity of that Tommy Tutone song from the '80s, "Jenny (867-5309)", about a guy trying to call a girl named Jenny whose number he sees on a wall. Dan Wiki (not sure if that's really his last name) set out to prove this urban legend wrong. How? By dialing every 867-5309 in the country. He got a list of all the area codes and set to work. The results are posted on his site. He lists in bold the numbers for which someone claiming to be Jenny actually answered. I couldn't resist calling some of the numbers for myself. All my results were identical to his.
Ever wondered how John Lennon is getting along in Heaven? According to 'internationally known' psychic Linda Polley he's doing very well. She's been channeling his spirit and reporting on what's going on with him. You can read all the latest news on the John Lennon and George Harrison's Official Website from the Afterlife. The biggest surprise is that John has "officially divorced his former partner Yoko Ono Lennon for her support of homosexuality" and decided to marry a dancer named Mary Marie Francesca. Oh, and John has also penned many news songs, which he shares with the people back on earth via Linda Polley. Most of the songs are about his new pro-war views and his strong support for the Bush administration's policies in Iraq. For instance, one recent work is titled Hussein's Butt Song (it's all about how we kicked Hussein's butt), and there's also the catchy Vote for Allawi! To be honest, I'm not sure whether or not any of this is meant to be taken seriously (I kind of suspect it is). But one thing I do find oddly incongruous. Linda Polley claims that all the songs have been composed by John Lennon, and yet she simultaneously makes a point of claiming copyright, warning that "None of the lyrics or the audio files may be copied without the precise consent of Speaker Linda Polley." But if John Lennon wrote the songs, why does she own the copyright?
Filmthreat.com has a list of the "10 BEST URBAN LEGENDS IN FILM HISTORY". It's an interesting list, but I think they've chosen an odd choice for number one: the 'urban legend' about President Woodrow Wilson allegedly remarking that the ultra-racist film Birth of a Nation was like "history written with lightning" and "all terribly true." I've heard these comments attributed to Wilson many times. In fact, I can remember sitting in quite a few classes and listening to the lecturer make this exact claim. The remarks also appear in numerous history books. To be honest, until I read filmthreat's list I wasn't aware that there was any controversy about their truthfulness. Personally, I think Filmthreat may be cutting Wilson too much slack. While they point out that there's no definite evidence that he said these comments, there is anecdotal evidence that he did say them. When this is combined with Wilson's well-known views about race (he was the president who chose to resegregate the federal government after it was desegregated following the Civil War), it doesn't seem that unlikely that he might have said words to this effect, even if it wasn't those exact words.
Here's a TV show I'd be interested in seeing: Hometown Tales. It's all about various hoaxy/folklore-type things that happen in communities throughout America. The show also has a blog. Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to ever see the program because it's only on public access channels in New Jersey. Well, if they ever make it to the San Diego area I could definitely find some hoaxy things to share with them, such as the landing spot on Mt. Palomar where George Adamski first made contact with the Venusian Scoutcraft (I think I'm one of the few people ever to check it out... It's now a baseball field). Or the Monster of Deadman's Hole.
Normally whenever characters on TV shows or in movies give out phone numbers, they're fake. One of those '555' numbers. But the new trend seems to be to give out real numbers that people can actually dial up. For instance, on Scrubs the surgeon Chris Turk recently gave out his phone number: 916-CALL-TURK. If you call the number, you'll hear a message from one of the characters. Apparently a real number has also been given out on an episode of the Gilmore Girls.
Reality TV has definitely sunk to a new low. Reuters reports that Channel 4 in Britain is considering televising a human corpse as it decomposes. They're currently searching for volunteers willing to donate their body after they die. This reminds me of two things. The See Me Rot Decomposition Cam, and also that theater group that held auditions to get someone to donate their corpse.
According to the Guardian, RTL2 TV in Germany is constructing an entire fake town outside of Hamburg which will provide the setting for their version of the Big Brother Reality TV show. It'll be just like a real-life version of The Truman Show. Residents of the artificial town will be filmed 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In addition, fans of the show will be able to visit the town "to see the residents just as if they were visiting a zoo." The German broadcasters say that the only difference between the premise of The Truman Show and their planned show, is that in their show "contestants will be willing participants in this next-generation leap into voyeurism." Then, in the next breath, they say, "We hope couples will get pregnant and family groups will interact with all the usual family frictions." So if a couple gets pregnant, will the child be given any choice about whether it wants to grow up monitored by TV viewers 24 hours a day?
I haven't watched Saturday Night Live in years, so I didn't witness Ashlee Simpson's 'Milli Vanilli moment' live when it happened, but I did see the clips which are downloadable from a number of sites (and check out this Benny Hill remix of it). Oddly enough, her record company is claiming that the goof-up (Ashlee's voice coming out of the speakers before she started singing) was not evidence of lip-synching or any other kind of vocal aid. They say what happened was simply a computer glitch. Right, and the tooth fairy is real. Ashlee Simpson herself is blaming the snafu on the band, even though the band members weren't even playing when the music started (she must be a joy to work with). My impression is that lip-synching is more of the norm than the exception nowadays, and personally it doesn't bother me. Musical performances have become such choreographed, dramatized events that it makes sense there would be a large element of acting involved in them.
If you're a wanted criminal you may want to think twice about showing up to appear on a TV game show. British police created a fake game show, Great Big Giveaway Show, to which they invited twenty people on their wanted list. Seventeen of them were arrested. I guess no one can resist a chance to be on TV. (Thanks to Andrew Nixon for the link)
According to News.com.au an email has been circulating around Australia claiming that the town of South Morang has built a replica of the house where the Simpsons live. On the cartoon, Homer and Marge live on 742 Evergreen Terrace, and South Morang does have an Evergreen Drive. Apparently many Simpsons' fans have been spotted driving aimlessly around South Morang searching for the house. Unfortunately for these fans, the replica house doesn't exist. The email is a hoax. But if you're a Simpsons fan the place you should actually visit is Portland, Oregon, the boyhood home of Matt Groening, whose streets apparently inspired the names of many Simpsons characters.