Archives for the month of: February, 2010
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About one month ago, Link Girl hit the Reddit forums (fora?) and caused an unimaginable groundswell of cuteness and "awww!"s. Yesterday, she may have met her match. Voltron Girl, fresh, no doubt, from slaying a robeast with her adorably intimidating glare, showed up and drew immediate comparisons to Link Girl. Now there are two and, if the movie Highlander is to be believed (and it should be), there can be only one.

What do you think? Which cute-girl-in-80s-video-game/cartoon-costume meme reigns supreme?

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I wouldn't ever call myself a connoisseur of anything; it's like saying that you're not just a "fan" but also that you're really, really good at being a fan. Like, better than other people are at being fans. To boot, it just plain sounds pretentious and pretension is something to be avoided. So, although I wouldn't consider myself a podcast connoisseur, I would say that I'm somewhere between fan and connoisseur without being a crazy person or a jerk.

I've got sports podcasts, humor podcasts, historical podcasts and news podcasts and one of them is always playing in the background while I work.

The best one–by far–is Uhh Yeah Dude.

Uhh Yeah Dude is a podcast about America through the eyes of two American Americans. Those American Americans, Seth Romatelli and Jonathan Laroquette, put together my favorite podcast in the whole, wide world on a weekly basis.

Since I first heard my first episode, I have completely disregarded all my other podcasts. If my other podcasts were houseplants, they would all be wilted and brown from lack of water. There is no podcast that I've ever heard that has such a satisfying combination of comedy, honesty, heart and personality.

To anyone looking for a new outlet for comedy, I would highly recommend checking out Uhh Yeah Dude. Do yourself a favor and start at the beginning and give yourself three full episodes to get into the swing of it. Once you've gotten that far, you either will be hooked or will have diagnosed yourself as a person missing one sense of humor.

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I usually try to keep an open mind, trying not to judge a book by its cover. Having said that, you've got to respect whichever restaurant/bar this sign belongs to. I don't think that Affliction shirts make you a jerk, I think it's just that you have to already be a jerk to be allowed to buy one. [Reddit]

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Isn't he cute? They are gonna call him Abydosaurus mcintoshi. Egyptian-Greek-Irish, that's kind of a cool combo!

So, new dinosaurs pop up all the time, so why is this a big deal? Because sauropod skulls are exceedingly rare.

Why? Well, picture yourself as your favorite sauropod: Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus… Now picture that you are dead. Sorry! Don't worry, your giant corpse now represents over 10 tons of the easiest and tastiest meat around. Normally, you're there to beat up people who try to eat you, but not anymore! Now, you're a school bus-sized buffet and the sound of you hitting the ground rings like a dinner bell in the ears of every carnivore around.

These guys are hungry, strong and chock full of teeth.

The small ones come first and pick off as much meat as they can, going after the tender underside of your neck, belly and tail. They tear full chunks and run away, knowing full well that bigger, hungrier meat-eaters aren't far behind. Now repeat with the medium sized dinosaurs. Eventually, an apex predator like an Allosaurus** is gripping and ripping at your picked apart corpse. Whatever is left isn't going to be attached by much because these guys haven't lived long enough to read Dear Abby's advise on how to eat politely.

Chances are really, really good that after all of this along with wind, rain and other means of erosion that your tiny head has been separated from the body that normally lies at the other end of your ridiculously long neck. Add to that that sauropods generally have light skulls for their body size and you've got a recipe for disaster when it comes to preserving a fossil for posterity.

So, as you can imagine, people in the paleontological community are pretty stoked about digging up these Abydos! By the way, I'd pronounce that "ab-bee-dohs," but that's just me. Even though this is exciting, it's sure going to be tough to get people to remember the name of this guy! Couldn't we have gone with Blockosaurus? No? Well, a guy can dream! [Yahoo News]

**To be fair, an Allosaurus wouldn't be munching on our buddy Abydos because they existed in different periods. So, if you were picturing yourself as an Abydosaurus, just switch in a Acrocanthosaurus in Allosaurus' place. Not much better, I know but more technically accurate!

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Please go to the Wpromote blog and check out the latest edition of the Tues News: 2/23 (Sexy Edition), my weekly feature on current news in search marketing. Thanks!

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I was in New York this past weekend for the purpose of taking a Google test. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to talk about that, plus it’s not very interesting, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Anyway, whenever you travel to New York, it’s important to choose your restaurants and bars with care. There are so many great places that you don’t want to waste a single meal with a less-than-phenomenal selection. I had two dinners in New York and they were at two amazing places: the Spotted Pig and Otto. The former is a New York institution and served me one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. The latter is one of global restaurateur and chef extraordinaire, Mario Batali’s places and the appetizers, entree and dessert were all just terrific; I don’t even know which part I enjoyed most!

What’s amazing, though, is that my best experience wasn’t at either of these places! That title goes to Momofuku Ssäm, where my buddy, John, his brother, Michael, and I went for drinks and a late night snack after dinner. Our waiter was a nice, young gentleman of Korean descent by the name of Don Lee and he seemed to be the most knowledgeable waiter I had ever had. For example, I asked him why they had several drinks called “Old Fashioned” despite the fact that they weren’t bourbon or whiskey-based drinks. Don proceeded to explain the entire etymological history of the term “Old Fashioned” and it blew my mind as well as answered my question perfectly. The three of us each ordered different Old Fashioneds right away. The second surprise that Don had up his sleeve was that he was not only our waiter but our bartender to boot! We watched him work and it was immediately obvious that he knew what he was doing.

The drinks arrived and John and Michael each had a single 2″ x 2″ super-clear ice cube in theirs; that’s generally a telltale sign that a place respects the art of mixology because the water in the cube is probably extra pure and the size means that the ice will not water down a drink as quickly. All three drinks were outstanding. Michael had to leave to go to another party but John and I stayed and order two more drinks each over the next couple of hours. Of course, we tried to talk to Don as much as possible as well. He seemed to know everything not only about mixology but also about food and restaurants in both New York and Los Angeles. He even gave me a list of places to check out when I got back to LA**. Oh, and before I forget, we each got one of the pork belly steamed bun sandwiches and they were truly outstanding. As it turns out, Momofuku is just as good at preparing food as drinks.

When we settled the bill, Don let us know that the last round was on him. No reason, he’s just the greatest! As we were leaving and aiming a chorus of thanks at Don, I added, “By the way. Not only was this phenomenal but I noticed that although you only carry four Scotches, each one is an outstanding choice. I see Asayla and Peat Monster from Compass Box (the best blender of Scotch in my opinion), Laphroaig Cask Strength (you almost never see this gem in bars) and Glenlivet 12 (a classic). I just think that’s awesome because I love Scotch and if I had to choose four to carry in my bar, these would all be finalists.” Don then asked me if I had ever tried the leading Japanese “Scotch equivalent” called Yamazaki. No sooner had I responded with “no,” and there was a dram poured in front of me. I tasted it and passed it to John so that he could try it. Not bad! We thanked Don and were about to leave before he stopped us and said, “Wait, I’ve got one more for you.”

Don reached under the bar and pulled out a drink I had never heard of called Tyrconnell Irish Whiskey. He claimed it was the only true single malt from Ireland. “Wait,” I countered, “I have a bottle of Bushmill’s 10-year single malt at my house.” For a moment, I thought I had bested the master but Don responded, “Oh yeah, well, that’s not really a single malt in the true sense.” He went on to explain that Bushmill’s used a single type of malted barely, however, the barley was taken from multiple harvests. This is sort of against the rules when labeling a whisk(e)y as a single malt. For the umpteenth time that night, Don was right. No worries though, he poured me a dram of Tyrconnell to try. It was delicious and, even though I didn’t want to, I passed the rest to John who agreed.

Let’s take a moment to recap: John and I each got five drinks over the course of the night; Don paid for three of them. Not only that but these were some of the best cocktails that I’ve ever had. In fact, my second drink was a Manhattan and it was easily the best one I’ve ever gotten and I order a Manhattan at almost every decent bar I visit (it’s my “litmus test” cocktail). By the way, if you order one and it’s served up–like a martini–don’t get your hopes up; Manhattan’s are meant to be served in a tumbler and that’s how Don prepared mine. As John and I paid Don our final compliments and made our way out the door, John said to me, “Man, I can’t wait until Don opens his own place. It will probably be even better than this one!” I agreed; Don seemed pretty young, so it was only a matter of time before he had his own restaurant.

When I got back to LA, John sent me this link, revealing that although Don did indeed seem young, he does, in fact, pretty much run the place! So, as it turns out, I won’t need to send an email to Momofuku’s management letting them know that they are the lucky employers of the greatest waiter and bartender in New York; seems like they probably already knows that!

So, if you’re ever in New York, do everything in your power to go to Momofuku Ssäm. And while you’re there, if you run into Don, do yourself a favor and get to know this guy. Some day, if there’s any justice in this world, he’s going to the biggest name in food an drink in New York. Trust me, that’s a guy you want on your side!

**The places that Don recommended in LA were: The Varnish, Seven Grand, Tar Pit and Copa D’Oro. If Don says they’re good, they are most certainly great!

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Last year, after the failed takeover attempt of Yahoo by Microsoft, the two much smaller legs of the search marketing tripod (which also includes Google as a much, much bigger leg) came together with a different sort of deal. Microsoft will still be taking over Yahoo's search marketing but not taking over Yahoo as a whole. Today, the deal was finally approved by the US government and the European Union.

This brings us full circle. It started with Overture, a smart little company that sort of invented search marketing, in a way, which was purchased years ago by Yahoo. Trhough Overture, you could not only advertise on Yahoo properties, but also on Microsoft's search engine: MSN/Live. Eventually Microsoft realized that they could be making the sort of money that Yahoo was raking in with Overture and decided to part ways and develop their own platform which they labeled MSN adCenter. Overture was renamed Yahoo Search Marketing and carried on with an improved interface. Now, with Yahoo in financial dire straits, Microsoft has come a-knockin' to save it from the revenue stream that it helped to bring to prominence.

This is a really sad development, in my mind. Yahoo was far from perfect and far from Google AdWords, but one thing that it was not, was MSN adCenter. Confused? Fair enough. Basically, Google AdWords is the alpha dog. Not only do you reach more people through it than through Yahoo and MSN/Bing combined, but it is also–by leaps and bounds–the best interface with the best user experience and best tools. Yahoo is a distant second. However, as distant a second as Yahoo may be from Google, MSN is more so a distant third to Yahoo. Using adCenter is the search marketing equivalent of Sisyphusian toil. I won't bother with the details here. My worry, of course, is that, eventually, adCenter and all of its dreadful shortcomings will replace what is a flawed but working Yahoo interface rather than the other way around.

Most people think of me as a pessimist and they're right. I'm the guy with low expectations who is secretly hoping to be pleasantly surprised all the time. I mean, it's possible that a Yahoo/Microsoft cooperative effort will actually increase competition with Google and, therefore, drive improvements all around, right? I don't know, my hopes are pretty low; they are almost as low as when I saw the movie Valentine's Day this past weekend. Those were some monumentally low hopes. Even still, Valentine's Day still managed to disappoint. So, to Microsoft, I proffer, "Please, if possible, consider that if you blow this, you will have succeed in trumping the movie Valentine's Day at being remarkably terrible despite impossibly low expectations."

Please don't blow this. [ReadWriteWeb]

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The Cleveland Cavaliers just picked up Antawn Jamison and it looks like Sports Illustrated is handing them the trophy. I’m not so sure about that…

Is it just me or does this trade reek of the Spurs trade for Richard Jefferson this past off-season that I accurately predicted would end in disaster for the Spurs? Think about it: a title contending team with great chemistry trades for a talented but inconsistent swingman and gives up their starting center in the process. For San Antonio, they lost Oberto and got Jefferson; for Cleveland, they lost Big Z and got Jamison. The loss of Oberto forced an aging Duncan to pick up even more of the slack under the boards on both ends as well as duty guarding the other team’s center. This deal puts similar pressure on an aging Shaq. It’s possible that Ilgauskas will return to Cleveland but it’s also foolish to take this for granted.

I’m not saying that this was the wrong thing to do, however, I’m not as sanguine for the Cavs as is Sports Illustrated. Integrating a scorer like Jamison into an offense that includes Lebron James would be a tall order, if the Cavs actually ran offensive plays. Since they don’t, it will be interesting to see if Jamison can contribute as a pure, spot-up shooter, which Cleveland will need him to be. Currently, Jamison is shooting 34.5% from downtown; that will have to improve if he hopes to contribute right away.

My heart is still with and my money is still on the Lakers. As far as I’m concerned, the addition of Jamison makes the Cavs the team to beat in the East, however, since they already had the best record in the league, I’m not sure if this move was necessary or even wise. Time and the playoffs will tell! [SI.com]

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Please go to the Wpromote blog and check out the latest edition of the Tues News: 2/16 (What You Don’t Know Edition), my weekly feature on current news in search marketing. Thanks!