Naked and Afraid

The Web just showed me an ad for a Discovery Channel show called “Naked and Afraid”, a show featuring a male and female survivalist put together in a survival situation. But they’re totally naked.

I hate television.

p.s. a survival challenge where the participants have literally no clothes to start with would be a cool idea, maybe. This show, however, seems to cynically exploit the male/female together naked thing, making it sucky.

iCal should be taken out back and shot

Pop quiz: How many different types of windows should a calendar app have for editing event info? 1

iCal has three. Three identical, redundant windows. You see, iCal’s designers weren’t confident that they knew how to design the UI for a calendar app, so they left that to the user.

iCal with it's multiple, redundant info panels

Why stop at three?

You’ve got your “attached” window. That pops up when you double click an event. For some reason, you then have to click “edit” if you want to change any values there (in the image I’ve already clicked that button). Unless you click on the window and drag it far enough away from the event that it detaches. Then it becomes an “info” window.

You can also just get the “info” window by clicking on an event and choosing the “Get Info” menu item (CMD-I). That window has some funky behaviors, but that’s not the point of this post.

And finally, you’ve got your “inspector” window… that one is identical to the “info” window, except that like the prizewinner in The Highlander, there can be only one, and it’s intended to float over your calendar displaying the info for the last event you’ve clicked on.

Damnit, Apple. Get your shit together on this piece of crapware.

  1. The answer is one per context. In iCal’s case, it has only one context, so one event editing window. 

Yet another reason that iCal is the worst calendar app ever

As if I needed more reasons. iCal is the SYSTEM app for calendaring. Made by Apple. Should integrate with everything right? Well, it does not respect your setting for 12-hour or 24-hour time. So while my menu bar says 15:46 right now, my appointment for 17:00 on my calendar says 5pm.

Fuck you, iCal. Do you realize the iPhone calendar app is a better desktop app than you?

Dove’s dissembling

I’ve just seen this Dove bar commercial for the bazillionth time on Hulu. They claim that ordinary soap leaves behind a residue, which Dove does not. They claim this residue is what causes your finger to “drag” across your skin after washing with soap, while Dove does not leave this residue, so your skin is smooth.

I call bullshit. Say you’re washing your dishes, and you’re washing off a plastic container that had some oily food in it. Leftover seared salmon, say. Is it that nice slippery feeling that you look for that lets you know you’ve washed all the grease off your item? No, it is not. You rinse that thing off, and if it’s still slippery, you hit it with the detergent again, because until that thing squeaks, it’s not clean.

If washing with soap leaves your skin with the same feeling as a squeaky clean dish, and washing with Dove leaves it a little slippery, I’d say it’s the Dove that’s leaving a residue.

Interestingly, they make no attempt to reconcile this whole line of reasoning with their product’s advertised feature of moisturizing your skin. You say “moisturizer”, I say “residue”.

Why Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be repealed

The following is a letter I just sent to my senators via the HRC.

I believe that our military must reflect the society we are and aspire to be. I believe that it must affirm, not deny, the dignity of all Americans loyal and courageous enough to serve in our armed forces. Under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, being openly homosexual — which is no crime — is to be unfit for military duty.

Our history is replete with examples of these concessions to fear and hatred, and every time we overcame them, we became a stronger and better nation for doing so. Today it is no different. Supporters of DADT foment fear over military readiness, hoping to scare us with the prospect of a military so undisciplined that to acknowledge the existence and equality of the thousands of gays currently serving in the military would leave it unable to execute its duties. That is an insult to the military and citizens alike.

We must take action to overcome these forces now, for our own dignity is on the line as well. If we do not, history will record that we chose comfort over challenge, and cowardice over righteousness.

Please, for the honor of all Americans, you must repeal this shameful law.

Take it somewhere else

It’s no secret that I am a serious hater of the MTA’s PSA copywriters. They are complete hacks. It’s like they’re mining for coal, but forgot what coal is. Take this example:


Let’s examine the copy…

You can take it with you!

Take care. Take it light. Take the subway. Take responsibility. Please take your trash with you when you leave the train or station.

Using your powers of pattern recognition to a degree easily achievable by most lizards, you quickly realize that they’re going for a theme of “phrases that start with the word take.” If you were a trained rhetorician, you’d know that is called anaphora. If you were a master rhetorician, you’d call it “for fuck’s sake, you’re embarrassing yourself.”

If they had started and stopped with “you can take it with you”, it would have been lame, but not “fails so hard it hurts me” lame, because it’d be a basic play on a well known phrase. Rhetorically, you’d classify it as simple, tried and true reversal negation — lame merely in the way that most PSAs are lame.

But they did not stop there. Laboring under the sad delusion that they know catchy from painful, they decided to drive home the point with some phrases that start with the word ‘take’… and came up with this list:

  • Take care.
  • Take it light
  • Take the subway.
  • Take responsibility.

Um, excuse me… “take it light?” When was that ever actually said by anyone? Anyone not answering the question “How do you take your coffee?” Never mind, that would actually be “I take it light.” Or just “light.” No, “take it light” has simply never been a phrase, anywhere, ever. And they put it on a poster as one of four phrases that start with the word ‘take’.

The most painful thing about this latest MTA PSA copy travesty is that it was completely avoidable. Here, allow me:

Take care. Take it easy. And if you take the subway, then please, take responsibility.

See how it’s done? It’s not so hard when you actually know English. Now paypal me $50, bitches.

Why I don’t get my news from a TV

[Update: corrected NBC to WNBC]

I never watch news on television. Why? This image, I think, sums it up nicely:

NYC-based NBC affiliate WNBC was doing a story on rats in NYC, I think related to a spate of health-code violations that happened over the summer. Up comes the above graphic.

Let’s examine the bullet points in this illuminating slide of “Rat Facts.”

Not as big as cats.
OK, so right out of the gate WNBC is insulting me. Hello, people, the “new” in “news” means what you’re telling me shouldn’t be something that everyone in North America over the age of 3 knows.
Successful mammal.
Depending on your definition of “successful”, this is either debatable, or self-evident from the fact that Rattus Norvegicus is not extinct. Or maybe they meant that some rats wear fancy wristwatches and drink lattes as they listen to music on their iPhones. But I’ve never seen that.
1 for every human?
Ok. Come closer, WNBC news. No, no, closer… yes. Are you listening? Ok. NO PHRASE THAT ENDS WITH A QUESTION MARK CAN BE A ‘FACT’.

So, rounding up this list of “facts”, we have one which is insulting (minus 10), one which is ambiguous at best (minus 5), and one which is not a fact (minus 100). F-bloody-minus, WNBC.

I have struggled to imagine how this travesty of newscasting occurred. It makes me angry to think of the number of people who were shown that graphic with the expectation that they would just swallow it along with the rest of the stream of garbage that passes for information on TV. A fourth-grader could do better.

Despite this anger, I do try to have some understanding for my fellow humans (who are much bigger than cats, I’ll have you know), so I came up with what I think is the only possible explanation that does not incorporate sinister motives or a blatant and egregious lack of respect for the public. Here goes:

The story was already running on air when the news producer realized that they needed a slide to show. Who knows, maybe they had blocked out a graphic but never filled in the actual information, or they thought they had some video footage to roll and it was missing… but somehow, with 60 seconds to go, the producer screams “oh my god, we need three facts about rats in 30 seconds, people, get me some facts!” Some people pound in google searches, some poeople shout out the most rudimentary things they know about rats, and one person says “I think I heard that there’s like one rat for every human!” And thus was produced the dumbest slide ever.