Pop Culture & Current Events

Five People, One Guitar, and a Better Version Than Gotye

If you have recently turned on a radio or network TV, entered a shopping mall or grocery store, or simply been in any position to hear music … chances are you have heard the song ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ by Gotye featuring Kimba. What initially caught our attention when we heard it on the ’80s, 90, Now’ channel of Slacker was how the voice in the chorus sounded like Sting. This weekend we discovered a cover version of…


RIP Author Ray Bradbury at 91

Late last year Ray Bradbury reluctantly allowed his classic novel Fahrenheit 451 to be published in ebook form, which was initially problematic but later resolved nicely. Today we learn that the famed author has died at age 91 after decades of creating amazing stories and characters and visions of potential futures based on the human-technology interaction. He is best known for Fahrenheit 451, but through his short stories and collections he painted visions of the future based on the realities…


In a Sea of Canceled TV Shows, How Did YOUR Favorites Fare?

I had started to write about canceled shows last fall after the abysmal Charlie’s Angels was unceremoniously dumped along with Playboy Club and a couple of others. What stopped me? The cancellations never seemed to end! But then the season settled in and suddenly it was time for holiday breaks, then mid-seasons shifts and so on. But now we are nearing the end of Season Finale month, and the networks have spent the last few weeks compiling lists of shows…


Check Out A Cool ‘Live Lip Dub’ Wedding Proposal

Photo courtesy of Alysha Beck and The Oregonian Way back in the stone ages when I proposed to my wife, cell phones were very rare and barely functional outside of cities (and only made ‘phone calls’), video recorders were bulky and tape based and left behind large rectangles no one ever saw again, and a ‘flash mob’ would call to mind a bunch of people with no clothes on. Oh, and my thoughts involved a romantic setting, relaxation and solitude…


How Common Is Your Birthday?

Here at Gear Diary we have just gone through a period where it seemed that two-thirds of us had our birthday within the same month. So when I saw a link to a NY Times article that compiled some data on the most common birthdays, I was intrigued. Turns out that the plethora of April birthdays at Gear Diary is an anomaly, with the greatest density of births coming in mid September to early October. If you follow the link…


RIP Eugene Polley, Inventor of the TV Remote at 96

Image courtesy of Wikipedia I remember reading an article about 25 years or so ago! on how everything wired was going wireless and everything wireless was getting wired. The article was mainly about cordless phones and wired cable television, but it is one that comes back to me often about the transformative effect of technology and how quickly we acclimate to changes. One thing that pretty much everyone takes for granted is a full-function wireless remote. Yet many of us…


Windows XP’s “Bliss” Background: A Blissful Happenstance

Most people who have been using PCs in the past decade or so have doubtless seen this image, the default background image on Microsoft Windows XP. “Bliss” it is called. I’ve always had a soft spot for this image, plus images like it for my desktops. To my mind there is something soothing about undulating fields of green grass under a bright blue sky. In the back of my mind I simply assumed that it was a tweaked photo taken…


Google Doodle Celebrates Bob Moog

Today’s Google Doodle is a fully interactive synthesizer to celebrate the life of synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog. The sound of so many classic recordings from the 70s owes almost entirely to Moog and his crew from the small Trumansburg, New York manufacturing facility hand-wiring these innovative musical instruments. The ‘Moog Sound’ is not just due to analog circuitry, but more due to the limitations of the technology and some errors made in designing the circuits. I remember having to do…


RIP Donna Summer, Queen of Disco and More!

I remember way back at the beginning of High School the dances always seemed to conclude with one song – Last Dance by Donna Summer. It was just one of the iconic songs by the 5-time Grammy Award winning singer, who died yesterday at age 63 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Unlike some celebrities, she kept very private during her illness. For someone who bore the mantle of ‘Queen of Disco’, she refused to let that destroy her career…


The 50 Best “Very Special” Sitcom Episodes

Coming out of the 1970s social awareness which turned into popular After School Specials and dramatic mini-series ‘events’, the early 80s spawned an endless stream of ‘Very Special Episodes’ in sitcoms, which continue to plague shows as some of the worst and most awkward moments in the series. The folks over at Jest Comedy have compiled a video of 50 memorable episodes, from caffeine pills to shoplifting and more. Here is the info: The people at Jest Comedy bring us…


All the Things a Star Trek Doctor is NOT!

If you think of quotes from the classic Star Trek, one of the first few would be ‘I’m a doctor, not a …’. These were uttered brilliantly by DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy in the series, and have become a standard line in later series entries. You heard it in Deep Space 9, Voyager and even the Enterprise prequel – but ironically never from Dr. Crusher on The Next Generation. Anyway, here is a great video showing a ton…


RIP Legendary Bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn

This weekend we learned of the passing of one of the most influential bassists of the electric era – Donald “Duck” Dunn. He was 70 years old and ‘died in his sleep’ according to long-time collaborator guitarist Steve Cropper. The pair were touring and had just played two sets at the Blue Note in Tokyo earlier that night. Here is more information: Dunn is perhaps best known as the bassist for Booker T. & The MGs, the highly influential house…


A BBC Series Will Attempt to Dissuade People Who Believe In Alien Abductions

It’s interesting to hear the reasons given when people believe in things which seem contrary to what evidence otherwise proves, but there are plenty of people who do. Whether it be the country of Obama’s birth (and whether his US certificate is forged or not), that the earth will be destroyed in 2012 when the Mayan Calendar ends, that the events of 9/11 were not a terrorist attack, that childhood vaccinations cause autism, or that Beyonce was ever actually pregnant; there…



RIP Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boys MCA

Sad news today as we have just heard of the passing of the Beastie Boys MCA, Adam Yauch. He was 47 and had been battling cancer, which we learned about back in 2009. Here is more from USAToday: The music world is mourning again. Adam Yauch, known as Beastie Boys rapper MCA, has died. GlobalGrind.com, Russell Simmon’s website, reports that Yauch died after a long battle with cancer. He was 47. In 2009, Yauch announced he was being treated for…


May the 4th Be With You as Donny & Marie Do Star Wars!

If you go back 35 years to the late 70’s, it seemed that everyone had a variety show – and one of the best things was that they were all live. I loved watching the Carol Burnett show, and one of the best parts was that Harvey Korman could never keep a straight face once Burnett and Tim Conway got going. Donny & Marie had an enormously popular variety show in the late 70’s based around their singing, dancing, charming…


Belgian ‘Responsible Young Drivers’ Puts Drivers Through ‘Mandatory’ Text-While-Driving Course

If you want to convince kids (or adults for that matter) that texting while driving is dangerous, what is the best way? You can read them statistics, show them gruesome videos or death-scene photos … but all of that is a bit dry and academic. Why not put them through tests and tell them that by a new rule they need to prove competency at texting while driving in order to get their license! That is what a group in…


Dark Knight Rises Final Trailer

It has become a common tactic for a film studio to attach a trailer for a hotly anticipated release to help bolster interest in another release. It was already widely known that the final trailer for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ was planned to show with ‘The Avengers’. But now that ‘The Avengers’ is breaking records in its international release and seem assured a tremendous box office, Warner Brothers has released the final trailer to YouTube! And based on the trailer…


Ellen Reads from ’50 Shades of Grey’

If you follow pop culture and popular books at all, you have heard something about the novel 50 Shades of Grey. If not, I’ll catch you up quickly: it was a Twilight fan-fiction which gained interest from publishers but needed a change of characters, which basically puts a young college student and a rich older man together … but rather than vampires and werewolves we have whips and chains. In fact, Christian Grey makes young Anastasia Steele sign a contract…


Boston’s Fenway Park Celebrates 100 Years of Baseball Traditions

Even as the world was still reeling from the sinking of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic, a new era dawned in Boston, and in sports history. On April 20, 1912 Fenway Park opened to the public with a capacity of 35,000 seats … and the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Highlanders in an extra-innings thriller to launch the storied baseball stadium. At this point, Fenway Park is the oldest professional baseball stadium. Chicago’s Wrigley Field is the only other ‘classic’…


Music as Art … Sheet Music Art, That Is!

An artistic duo called ‘People Too’ from Novabrinsk in Russia are known for their amazing papercraft that seeks to bring small scenes to life, but apparently they can also bring sheet music to life as well! We all know that music is art, and therefore sheet music contains art … but it is amazing when the sheet music ITSELF becomes art! The site linked below has more than a dozen examples of great art done in between the stanzas –…