Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Dies at 91 — pundit from another planet

Hugh Hefner, Playboy Magazine founder, and star of ‘The Girls Next Door’ dies at 91. The iconic founder of Playboy Magazine Hugh Hefner died Wednesday at 91, the magazine announced Wednesday night. The publisher of the quintessential men’s lifestyle magazine built an empire around the alluring business. Playboy announced his death in a tweet. American […]

via Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Dies at 91 — pundit from another planet

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10 Classic Movies, Re-Engineered For 2015

  1. Thelma and Bleu Cheese (Photo by Liaison)

An unhappily-married woman gets fed up with, well, everything, so she hops in a car and decides to just drive places and see what happens. All of her girlfriends have mani-pedi appointments that they don’t dare break, so Thelma is forced to take along a bottle of salad dressing to keep her company. The two of them stop for cocktails at a trendy sushi and martini bar, where there is a misunderstanding about global warming and an uneducated bigot ends up dead.

Rather than being rewarded for this thinning of the herd, Thelma and Bleu Cheese are instead accused of not liking men very much, a concept that is unfathomable to most straight males and therefore worthy of incarceration. Thelma and Bleu make a run for it, but after a few poor decisions and some windswept cinematography, the girl and the condiment find themselves trapped with no escape, and decide to end the party by driving off a cliff into Cobb Salad Canyon.

  1. The Gizzard of Oz

A quartet of laid-off poultry workers set out on a journey to find gainful employment in Emerald City. Along the way, they are beset by mean witches throwing fireballs at their social security cards, flying monkeys stealing their access to health care and a horrid little poppy field where people are lulled to sleep by flowering lies from a fake news channel named Fox Spews.

Upon arriving at the fabled City of Campaign Promises, our gang learns that the whole thing is an evil charade, run by an embittered man from Australia who has a penchant for megalomania and controlling countries that are not his own. There are NO new jobs, and there never will be as long as his monkeys keep flying through the air and stupid people can’t think for themselves. Happily, the gang finally discovers that if they click their heels together three times, they will be transported back to a time when politicians had decency and private sex lives. Sadly, it’s unclear when this time might have been, so they aren’t sure what to pack for the trip.

Soundtrack features the hit song, “Somewhere over the Free Clinic”.

  1. Rosemary’s Baby Daddy

Home-girl with an odd haircut and a fondness for sack dresses gets pregnant despite following Rhythm Method-Acting procedures. While her belly bulges, she starts to suspect that her man just might have promised their offspring to a coven of Junior Leaguers.

Rosie don’t play that, so she tries to get help, but she calls all the wrong people, mainly because everybody in her deluxe apartment building in the sky is part of this jacked-up coven. (One fool even gives her an ugly necklace that smells like ass, to “protect the baby”, but it only takes Slow Roe a few months to figure out there’s something wrong with that mess and she throws it in the gutter.) Eventually, with a dedicated effort to actually pay attention to what’s happening around her instead of binge-watching “Orange Is the New Black” every night, she puts the pieces together and realizes that she’s had sex with the devil. Her impending bundle of joy is going to have cloven hooves, which puts a damper on her plans to have a natural childbirth whilst attendees play harps and quote poetry.

This leads to a lot of angst and hair-rending and binge-eating at the local Burger Hut drive-thru. But once Rosie shoots Satan Junior out of her demonic portal and gets a gander at his slightly-horned face, her maternal instincts kick in and she decides that raising the spawn of Beelzebub can’t be all that bad, especially if you get a rent-controlled apartment out of it.

  1. Star Whores

A long time ago, in a galaxy known as California, a band of resistance fighters decided that it was far too much work becoming famous due to actual effort and merit, and that it was much more sensible to be popular just because you exist. All you should have to do is find a robotic friend or two, wear really cool clothes that the 99% can’t afford, accept the fact that your offspring will become socially warped, and then allow cameras to film you brushing your teeth, yelling at household servants, and contributing absolutely nothing to society. Bingo. Your own TV show. And nobody has to write a script. Yay!

  1. Sigh Ko

A remake of the Japanese hit, the story innocently starts out as the tale of a bored website designer who, after sleeping with a married man on her lunch hour, is inspired to steal all the money in the cash bar at work and drive to a motel in the middle of nowhere so she can take a shower in peace. Much to her moist surprise, the proprietor of said hotel has mommy issues, un-medicated twitching, and a startling dexterity with culinary implements. Calamity ensues amid vague images of dripping plumbing, barren trees, and recipes for miso soup. Cameo appearance by Anthony Bourdain, despite the fact that he shouldhave had reservations before checking into one of the 12 vacant cabins.

  1. Some Like It Shot

Documentary wherein NRA representatives detail their Jesus-blessed right to bear arms, fire these weapons at anything that moves and then hide under the Constitution that they never finished reading. This leads to several eye-opening revelations, such as the inability of many gun-rights supporters to be non-racist, spell correctly, follow logic, or grasp the concept that they don’t look as smart on TV as they think they do. In an interesting climax, several NRA leaders escape a confrontation with outraged citizens by wearing dresses and pretending to be in an all-girl ska band led by Gwen Stefani and her ponytail.

  1. Raiders of the Lost Spark

Harrison Buick stars as a shape-shifting man trying to find out what happened to the rest of Karen Allen’s career. Complications arise when Nancy Allen also shows up, demanding equal billing and explanations as to what went wrong where. As the trio race about the globe in search of answers, they are continually hounded by vindictive Nazis, giant runaway boulders, bipolar snakes, whip-wielding nuns, menacing vats of popcorn butter, and Tori Spelling in a Lifetime movie.

  1. Jurassic Park Avenue

Woody Allen directs this probing study of really old people living on the Upper East Side of NYC, a locale that Allen apparently never leaves, even when tempted by possible wins at the Academy Awards ceremony. Rumors abound about a mad scientist running a clandestine facility under Central Park, where people with trust funds undergo experiments to keep them looking dewy and fresh long after they should have been extinct. The plot takes an abrupt turn, however, when suspicion arises that these rumors are merely the invention of officials on Wall Street, who are trying to divert attention from what’s going on over there, where any type of regulation is an endangered species.

In typical Allen style, the carefully-paced film is brimming with lots of angst-ridden dialogue spoken by people who talk too much, understated but expensive couture worn by suppressed and unsatisfied women, a jazzy soundtrack that evokes better movies, and a daycare center for Allen’s wife.

  1. The Silence of the Jams

A vicious serial killer is loose at a charming country inn nestled in the midst of a Vermont orchard, and no one is safe. Guests live in fear that their breakfast trays will arrive without the exact artisanal marmalade they ordered, a sure sign that they are next on the maniac’s menu. The survivors are forced to band together and overcome terrifying obstacles to ensure they make it to the next meal. (Of course, no one even considers just leaving, because the deposit is nonrefundable.) To make the movie seem more important than it really is, Jody Foster has a small role recreating the “bee charmer” scene from Fried Green Tomatoes, giving the film an artsy edge so snooty film critics at the Sundance Film Festival can make themselves feel important by praising it.

  1. Crease

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John join forces again as singing drycleaners responsible for keeping the garments of celebrities properly ironed. They start out as a gay man and a shy lesbian, but after several rousing musical numbers (including “Hopelessly Devoted to Using Starch”, “Born to Hand Iron” and “Look at Me, I’m Wrinkle-Free!”), they can’t help but give the straight thing a spin, at least until the producers make a decision about the sequel. (Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow show up for the critical scarf-folding montage wherein love blooms amid the billowing steam and chemical solvents.)

The amazingly bouncy finale has the entire cast doing intricate choreography while they wrap John and Olivia’s car in plastic as it moves down the production line toward matrimony and whoever has the right ticket receipt. Directed by Elton John and Martha Stewart, with an exciting soundtrack that will help you overlook the unbelievable concept of people singing and dancing in the workplace for no apparent reason.

(Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 09/06/11. Revised and updated with extra flair for this post.)

(Note: Bates Motel GIF “borrowed” from the Movie Forums site, found here.)

Bonnywood Manor

tumblr_mu7nuaBJ6e1qa70eyo3_500

  1. Thelma and Bleu Cheese

An unhappily-married woman gets fed up with, well, everything, so she hops in a car and decides to just drive places and see what happens. All of her girlfriends have mani-pedi appointments that they don’t dare break, so Thelma is forced to take along a bottle of salad dressing to keep her company. The two of them stop for cocktails at a trendy sushi and martini bar, where there is a misunderstanding about global warming and an uneducated bigot ends up dead.

Rather than being rewarded for this thinning of the herd, Thelma and Bleu Cheese are instead accused of not liking men very much, a concept that is unfathomable to most straight males and therefore worthy of incarceration. Thelma and Bleu make a run for it, but after a few poor decisions and some windswept cinematography, the girl and the condiment find themselves trapped with…

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Reddit Wants to Combat Its Homepage Problems

‘You can’t code an algorithm and expect it to work forever’

Users of Reddit have bee complaining about the site's algorithm, which is slow to update. (Photo: Reddit)

In an ironic twist, some of the most popular recent threads on Reddit have been about the site itself—specifically, the problems with its front page.

It all started on September 22, when Reddit’s chief technology officer Marty Weiner took part in an AMA with users. The most common complaint was that the homepage content was “static”—for example, one user pointed out that on September 3, the day Kentucky clerk Kim Davis went to jail and Tom Brady won his “Deflategate” case, none of the posts on the front page addressed these topics.

Mr. Weiner and his staff went on the defensive, saying both that the problem may be imaginary and that it may have existed for years:

Capture-19

This answer contented users until last week, when the shooting at Umpqua Community College took over news feeds on every social network—except Reddit. As Motherboard first pointed out, stories about the shooting didn’t reach Reddit’s front page until 12 hours after the event.

Multiple threads popped up, both complaining about the site’s issues and trying to guess why they exist in the first place:

(Photo: Screenshot)

(Photo: Screenshot)

The problem seemingly lies with Reddit’s algorithm. To begin with, the site is structured so that stories that get a lot of downvotes (i.e. those with negative or controversial topics) are ranked lower on the site. No matter how important it is, a story about a school shooting would not do well under this criteria.

Also, Reddit’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years—there are now 36 million user accounts. Casual users now treat the site like any other social network, skimming the homepage and upvoting stories they like. More upvotes gives a story higher placement on the site—and a funny animal video will always be more popular than news about murdered college students.

Web developer Chris Fohlin told the Observer that Reddit, like any website, has to adapt in order to succeed.

“You can’t code an algorithm and expect it to work forever,” Mr. Fohlin said in an email. “The flow of content and behavior of users changes over time.”

To its credit, Reddit is working on ways to fix this. Mr. Huffman said that his team is revising the in-house simulator which approximates an average day on Reddit. These new figures will hopefully show how to keep the site interesting, and thus keep users coming.

One long term fix that Reddit is considering is personalized homepages—once a user has clicked on a post, it would simply disappear from the homepage.

The fact that it took a while for Reddit to discover these new metrics for user engagement is a function of its size, according to Mr. Fohlin.

“The larger a company grows, the slower it moves,” Mr. Fohlin said. “Ultimately, users have to decide if they’re willing to stick around.”

Reddit did not reply to an Observer request for comment.

Arnold Pranks Fans as the Terminator for Charity

Taylor Swift

Arnold Schwarzenegger Pranks Fans by Posing as His “Terminator” Wax FigureSource: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/entertainment/entertainment-news/Arnold-Schwarzenegger-Pranks-Fans-by-Posing-as-Terminator-Wax-Figure-308199241.html#ixzz3dW8UzjfF
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U2 Tour Manager Dennis Sheehan Dies

TIME

Dennis Sheehan, U2’s longtime tour manager, has died, Arthur Fogel, Live Nation’s CEO of global touring, confirmed on the band’s website. Details regarding the nature of his death are not currently available, although Fogel specified that he “passed away overnight.”

“We’ve lost a family member, we’re still taking it in,” Bono said in a statement. “He wasn’t just a legend in the music business, he was a legend in our band. He is irreplaceable.”

As of early Wednesday afternoon, U2 is still scheduled to play a show at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles this evening.

This article originally appeared on Ew.com

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FURIOUS 7 (2015) movie review

Splatter: on FILM

fast-and-furious-furious-7-770x430I attended the most unconventional funeral this weekend…twice. The theater held showings every 1/2 hour, and still our theater was packed. People flocked to pay homage to the deceased actor Paul Walker after his tragic death this past year.paul-walker-furious-7Fueled by vengeance and loyalty, the gang reunites for one last ride. “You ride, I ride. You fight, I fight. You die, I die.” With a call out for no more funerals, they succeed with zero body count.

fast-and-furious-7The FF franchise is known for shocking car stunts, fast action, insane fight scenes, catchy one-liners, and throw downs starring The Rock, Jason Stathem, and Vin Diesel.

546b4ee64d5ff_-_ff7_trailer-lgSomehow these films define the all-American culture. I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing. Competing for bigger-and-better somehow allows the freedom to objectify women, to race for hierarchy, to do things “your own way and with your own crew.” America. Sinatra would be proud.  I…

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Lynyrd Skynyrd’s original drummer dies in car crash

fox8.com

CARTERSVILLE, GA – Bob Burns, the original drummer for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Lynyrd Skynyrd, was killed late Friday in a single-car wreck in  Cartersville, Georgia, according to the Georgia State Patrol and the local Patch website.

Burns was the only passenger in a vehicle that drove off a road, hitting a mailbox and a tree. He was not wearing a seat belt and it is not known if weather was a factor in the accident.

Burns was the original drummer for the band, which formed in 1968 and is known for their signature songs “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Freebird.” He left the band as a full-time member in 1974,  but sat in with them band during their 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Here’s a video of Burns sitting in with the Artimus Pyle Band playing “Sweet Home Alabama.

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