Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TFL - Tabbed for Later

Alex Symonds over at Pajamarama has created a brand new acronym, TFL. She describes it as such:

TFL (tabbed for later), which you say when someone sends you a link to something and you don’t have time to look at it right then, but you’re opening it in another tab (or have already come across it and opened it in a tab) with the intent of checking it out when you can.  
There is an element of the social contract to TFL: it implies a promise to discuss the link in question once you’ve gotten around to it. TFL is for friends and lovers.

And a new acronym is born! Use it, enjoy it, and spread the word of this glorious internet language throughout the land.

Or, if don't have time to read this post right now, just TFL and let me know when you get to it, ok? Thanks!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Muppets 1, Fox News 0

There was no reason for the Muppets to respond to Fox News' absurd allegation that Muppets are socialist brainwashers hell-bent on promoting a liberal agenda.

But, they did, and it's as awesome and you knew it would be.

[via /Film]

New Web Comic: T-Rex Trying

Oh man, I am a sucker for web comics, especially ones involving dinosaurs and sight gags - T-Rex Trying features both in ongoing saga of a T-Rex attempting to do normal, daily activities with its tiny, tiny arms.

You're going to love it. Deal with it.

[via Neatorama]

Political Link Round-Up

Here are a few newsy-politicsy based articles I found interesting today:

91% of Western Voters Say Protecting Public Lands is 'Essential' to the Economy, ThinkProgress

And who said middle America wasn't filled with a bunch of nature-loving conservationists? Ok, I don't know who did, but the Republicans certainly believe they don't. Looks like they're way off.

What's a Fair Minimum Wage, Gawker

This article is strong reminder of how numbers that seem harmless, like raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour, can have a huge impact on people's lives. Conversely, it also shows how little of a safety we give to our lowest-paid workers. That raising the minimum wage to $8.50 would still only allow a low-paid worker to average $17,000 annually.

Outside Ad Buys Up 1,600%, Politico

Just another reminder of the disgusting amount of "legal" money the Citizen's United ruling has led to in this election.

Plaintiffs Challenging Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court Admit the Law is Constitutional, ThinkProgress

A brush-up on constitutional law (always fascinating) and how easily lawyers can lawyer-speak their way into holes - for once, though, this may work out in our favor.

More Puppy Bowl Pictures!

If you aren't excited enough about Puppy Bowl VIII, Gothamist's backstage photos from the taping in October will sure "bark" your interest (get it? Spark! I also could have gone with "Sparky")!

Don't miss out on Buzzfeed's too-cute behind-the-scenes shots from the kitten half-time show.


[via Videogum]

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ten Silent Sequences in Sound Movies

To honor the Oscar nomination for "The Artist," Flavorwire posted their ten picks for the best silent sequences in sound movies.

Naturally, my favorites are the segments from "Up" and "WALL-E," but I hadn't heard of a few of the other moments. Check 'em out and bask in the beauty of visual storytelling.

Herd, Rabbit, Herd!

This video is WAY too long for what it is, but if you want to see five minutes of an adorable bunny herding sheep - this is it!

[via Neatorama]

The Art of the Simpsons

Simpsons Park created this extensive and impressive list of artwork the Simpsons has recreated or parodied over the years. I'm pretty knowledgeable about art history, but there are certainly a few works in there I hadn't heard of, and a lot of paintings I wouldn't have thought to put into a cartoon about a dysfunctional family in small town America, that's for sure! However, the prevalence of Norman Rockwell, the classic Americana artist, is definitely on-theme.

[via Neatorama]

Mitt's Office

MoveOn and a very uglified Justin Long (seriously, the makeup team went a little overboard trying to make him not cute - We get it!) show us just how much Mitt Romney loves firing people:

He's just helping people have time to do what they love! Like segway races around their estates.

[via HuffPo]

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ben Folds Five Reunites (for an album)!

The title says it all. If you, like me, were (are?) kind of obsessed with Ben Folds Five, you'll be happy to hear they're getting back together for a new album. Here are my important questions:

How many songs will be named after a person?

How sad will they be? Super sad or super duper sad?

How many snarky songs will there be? I'm hoping for a snark level of at least seven.

Nothing beats piano rock. Chris Martin picked up where Ben Folds left off (minus his solo albums), so I wonder if new Ben Folds Five will be an updated sound, or if the album will be more of a rehashing of their old tunes. Either way, I'm sure I'll be happy, or, whatever. And ever.

[via Gawker, by an author who is clearly not a fan]

At Sundance, Women Filmmakers Get a Promotion

The Sundance Institute and Women in Film have joined together to track the women filmmakers at Sundance this year in order to help them understand and find ways to promote more women filmmakers in the future. 
Keri Putnam, president of the Sundance Institute, said the organizations were motivated by statistics that show that only 5 percent of the top 250 films last year were directed by women. That figure hasn't changed since 1998... By tracking the progress and challenges of female filmmakers participating in Sundance programs this year, the Sundance Institute and Women In Film hope to discover the pitfalls that prevent gender parity in film and television and devise means of overcoming them. - Yahoo News
This seems like a great way to help make a difference, but ThinkProgress suggests even more statistics we should look for when determining the differences between men and women in the film industry and how we can change the system for the better: salaries for women in the film industry, financing for projects lead by women, economic performance for films created and produced by women. 

I feel like that would really help, but seems a lot more difficult to figure out than what the Sundance Institute and Women in Film are tracking. How do you think we could figure out the stats ThinkProgress asks for?

Texans May Gain Four House Seats

An article in The Hill suggests that Texas Democrats are close to gaining at least four congressional house seats for their own by creating new, African-American and Hispanic-majority districts to reflect the growth of those communities in the state.

We should know for sure sometime early next week. Let's hope we get good news!

Sleepwalk with Me, the Movie!

Mike Birbiglia, popular standup comedian, directed his first feature, "Sleepwalk with Me," based on the stage play based on the book based on his standup. Basically, he's getting a lot of bang for his buck. Anyway, Ira Glass produced it, so it can't be all that bad. Check out the sneak peak below:

It looks pretty fun, even if the dream aspect of it goes on for way too long, and they don't properly close the clip. It's getting solid reviews at Sundance, so that's a good sign. It's always good when comedians break into new mediums, so I hope this gets picked up and is as good as everyone says it is!

Friday, January 27, 2012

One Minute Fly = Four Minute Delight

This is a fun animated short.

Clear, simple story with a lot of fun twists and turns. This isn't about character growth or change; this is a joke, a set-up and punchline. Very nice.

Does anyone understand why the end music is Auld Lang Syne? Was the fly born on New Year's Eve? Or do you think it was the only public domain music they could find?

[via Neatorama]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, You are the Huggablest

That voice. That smile. That jaw+cheekbone combo, come on.

Le sigh. Le swoon.

[via Gawker]

Who's the Best at Once Upon a Time Recaps? Hillary!

My friend Hillary has started recapping "Once Upon a Time" for Entertainment Weekly. She's the best! Seriously, if you enjoy the show as much as I do (and I do), then you'll love her witty comment and charming insights. She's not afraid to point out the show's foibles (sometimes truly terrible dialogue and seriously, ABC, either limit their CGI set pieces per season and/or give them a bigger special effects budget. That gingerbread house was sad.), but she readily points out the show's strengths and moments of heart, as well.

Way to go, Hillary! Keep up the good work. For all of you "Once" fans, you can read Hillary's EW work here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In the Day Apartment: Colbert and Sendak

Maurice Sendak. If only I could meet that man, I would shake his hand and he would probably spit on me. How cool would that be?

Am I the only person who thought it was coolest thing in the world that "In the Night Kitchen" showed the little boy's wiener? When I was a little lady, I thought to myself, "I must find this young gentleman, with his clothes made of cake and his comfortable nudity." I guess it's good that I didn't, though, because eating cake someone has been wearing all day would probably taste gross and present several hygiene and bacterial problems.

Yes, Maurice, I, too, think it's sad how much I enjoyed Stephen's book, but I prefer your Polish pole.

What Does Your Favorite Blog Say About You?

Slacktory lists (very nearly) all of the blogs of all time, and then proceeds to describe their readers. I don't know quite what it means about me, since I read so many of those blogs and consider them pretty much equals. Since I like the Hairpin, Neatorama, and Serious Eats, I guess I'm someone who "debates Five Guys vs. hand towels and spunkily amuses future hikers." Wow. I am a fascinating specimen.

I can tell you, though, that if Artful Stew is your favorite blog, then you are most certainly the prettiest, smartest, most super fun times person in the whole world! Also, you're probably one of my friends, and I very much appreciate your dedication to my "work."

[via The Hairpin]

Bouncing Puppies Unite!

Here is yet another video of a tremendously peppy puppy in an adorable situation.

Like the puppy who jumped into the leaf pile, this dog goes for it in this wheat field. Ball or no ball, he's running and jumping and having a great time.

PS. Have you ever wondered why dogs circle a spot before lying down in it? Mental Floss has the fascinating answer!

Springer Spaniels Spring for Springs!

Ok, I don't think this puppy is a springer spaniel, but Beckham here is definitely a spaniel, and he definitely springs all over the place over his love of the spring in the door stop.

Could he be more adorable? I'm glad his owner stopped him from chewing on those electrical cords, though! That could have taken this from a cute video to a tragic one.

[via Neatorama]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beast V Beast

Let's be honest, does "Beauty and the Beast" sound like it would make a good TV show? Ok, I know it did back in the '80s, but it was a different time.

Now, though, there are two separate pilot orders for "Beast" movies - one from ABC (don't they already have "Once Upon a Time"?) and one from the CW. I'm not surprised by either. Like I mentioned, ABC already has a successful fantasy series in "Once Upon a Time", and the CW has both "Vampire Diaries" and "The Secret Circle" which are holding strong.

My concern with the ABC version is that it will be a “a fantastical re-imagining of the classic fairy tale set in a mythical, dangerous world wherein a beautiful and tough Princess discovers an unlikely connection with a mysterious beast.” Umm... Belle wasn't a princess. She was an ordinary woman - pretty much a librarian. Beast was the prince. That was kind of the whole point. Seriously, can we ever get a female heroine in these fantasy stories that isn't a princess? For goodness sake...

In that sense, the CW's version is more promising, since the 1987 show was based around the (seriously kooky) premise of an asst. DA and her beastly lover living in an underground labyrinth protecting other not-quite-human characters. At least that's procedural. You can draw that out for a while. Plus, no princesses.

But can you really turn one fairytale into a sustainable primetime, network series? I love me some fantasy stuff, so I'd love to be proven wrong, but in the end, we shall see...

[via HuffPo TV]

So There's This Thing Called Sundance...

Unfortunately, I do not have the time/money/vacation days to go to such a wonderful festival. However, I practically feel like I'm there (no I don't) because GITS has been posting a links page to all the reviews and news from Sundance each day.

Here's the links recap from Day Six. It's a great way to catch up on all the film news so that you can sound super smart when chatting up your fancy film school buddies, or really just anyone at a bar. I'm sure there are tons of people who will be impressed by your knowledge that "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is this year's breakout hit, or Ted from "How I Met Your Mother" made a really good movie where he bangs Elizabeth Olsen (which is somehow not creepy? To be honest, that part's hard to understand through print). Anyway, there's apparently a lot of great stuff this year, so check it out!


Gift of Life: A Short Film

This is a sweet toys-in-love story, even though it was sponsored by a major corporation (I won't tell you which one or it will spoil the ending).

What did you think? It reminds me of another "inanimate" objects fall in love sponsored by a corporation story - and I don't mean "Toy Story" - but rather "I'm Here" which was actually quite nice, and directed by Spike Jonze. It was super depressing, though, whereas the one above was less so, but still a bit sad. I mean, the title alone says it all, doesn't it?

[via GITS]

Sometimes Obama is such a Badass

Before the SOTU last night, Obama gave Leon Panetta a firm handshake and said, "Good job today." During the SOTU, he gave a quick note on the unity of Seal Team 6 and their ability to work together and have each other's backs despite (possible) political differences.

A friendly gesture and a nice speech moment. Nothing more, right?

Oh wait, yesterday, unbeknownst to us but totally beknownst to Obama, Seal Team 6 rescued two captives from Somali pirates. Yeah, I said pirates.

Obama - cool as a cucumber, making sure shit gets done.

Seal Team 6 - insanely heroic, and insanely fantastic at timing.

[via Gawker]

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oscar Nom Noms!

ZOMG are you guys so excited about the Oscars this year!?

Let's check out the full list!!!

Ok, I'm not, either. This is probably because a lot of my favorite movies got snubbed, but also because I felt like I either missed all the super stellar movies this year or they didn't interest me very much.

Of the Best Picture noms, I've only seen three (Hugo, The Help, Midnight in Paris), and while I plan to see more (The Artist, The Tree of Life, The Descendants), I'm not really super stoked about any of them (except maybe the Artist, but I have to see it before I can make a judgement call). Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed both The Help and Midnight in Paris, but are either of them really the best picture of the year? I don't know...

Plus, I'm so sad that there's no Pixar feature to be proud of/outraged it didn't get nom'd for Best Picture this year. Cars 2 didn't even get nominated for Best Animated Feature, and while that's super sad for all of the amazing animators who work at Pixar, I can't say that a film targeted to five-year-old boys and no one else really does deserve an Oscar nod. I certainly hope they take this as a referendum on a) the whole Cars idea and b) unnecessary sequels. Pixar has never had a true "miss" before (and, of course, Cars 2 made plenty of money and I'm sure a ton in merchandise, but still...), so maybe this one will really teach them how to be better and stronger in the future - and also to remember to appeal to both genders and all ages, as they have done very well in the past! Anyway, they are nominated for their short film, "La Luna" which I have not seen, but have heard is just lovely.

I was happy to see Bridesmaids nom'd on Best Screenplay, but disappointed that in this super weird Best Picture group that it didn't even get nominated (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, seriously? Seriously?).

I was also super bummed that 50/50 wasn't on there. Hey, the kid had cancer and wrote a great movie about it, throw him a flipping bone, am I right?

Finally, and this is the pure plain Potterphile in me speaking now, where was Harry Potter? Come on! It deserves a special award just for completing the most epic and incredible series of movies alone, much less for them also being totally amazing! And HP7-P2, are you kidding me? It was incredible. You can't tell me otherwise. Only three noms? All for visual stuff? Yes, it was beautiful, but it deserves more than that. A Best Picture nod, for example. Is it the best movie ever? No, but it is a great film and a the crowning achievement in a beloved series. That deserves something.

The Daily Beast has a nice list of their own snubs/surprises here. In it they include Moviefone's list of snubs/surprises, as well.

PS. In case you didn't recognize a few of the Best Animated Feature film noms, you can check out their trailers at /Film. Interesting stuff!

Puppies Be Leaf-Pile Jumping

Oh man, this is exactly what I wanted to do when I was little, but my parents wouldn't let me because one time - one time! - my older brother got stung by a mysterious bug and he cried about it.

Sometimes being the youngest is really hard, you guys.

Seriously, though, that puppy is having the most fun.

[via Neatorama]

Why the Odds are Still Stacked against Women in Hollywood

A few weeks ago, the Hollywood Reporter ran this great article, to remind us that even though women have made great strides breaking into the white male ranks of Hollywood, it's going to take a lot more effort for us to truly become equal players.

Every time someone brings up women in Hollywood, though, I also feel the need to point out that we are not the only underrepresented group - that writers/directors/producers from all the Big Eight (what my race relations group called the major bases of discrimination in America: race, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation) all face an uphill battle to get their views and lives portrayed accurately (and sometimes even at all) in films and on TV.

We've got to work hard to make Hollywood a move inclusive society. It's not impossible, but it won't be easy, either.

Puppy Bowl VIII: Starting Line-Up

Get pumped, Readers. It's that time of year when we all gather together to watch one great day of programming, one glorious day of million-dollar commercials, gluttonous "artichoke" dip (the main ingredient is mayo, and we all know it), and our favorite competitors fighting for the ultimate title:

Winner of the Puppy Bowl.

Animal Planet released their starting line-up this year and they are adorable. You won't want to miss it (although I will, since I do not have cable. Boo!).

A few of my favorites:

York, because those ears be floppin'

Portia, corgi mix = duh! (despite the less-than-awesome name)

Salem, just 'cause he's a cutie (and I'm a "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" fan - yes, I went there)

Eureka, but just because she loves watching "Bones." (Nice work, Animal Planet writer!)

Leroy, but only because he's the baddest dog in the whole darn town (and those ears!).

[via Videogum]

The State of the Union

Today has been filled with articles on President Obama's achievements, promises fulfilled, and promises yet to be fulfilled to prepare us for his State of the Union address tonight.

You can find the full text of the speech via Talking Points Memo.

Some of the better background-information articles (and a videos!) I enjoyed are below:

Andrew Sullivan's extensive defense of Obama's record here from the Daily Beast.

ThinkProgress highlights what the Consumer Protection Bureau has already done for you!

The Daily Beast did a quick round-up of "Obama By the Numbers".

ThinkProgress posted Jon Stewart's interview with Kathleen Sebelius explaining what the Affordable Care Act law has achieved so far.

Plus, ProPublica notes some of the goals the President has yet to achieve.

More on tonight's speech:

Unfortunately, many of Obama's efforts to fight climate change have been stalled due to Republican backlash, and he, to my great disappointment, continued to push for more domestic oil and gas production along with his push for more renewable technology.

Obama pushes the "Buffet Rule" - that Americans making over $1 million should pay at least 30% in taxes (Many millionaires, like Mitt Romney, pay about 15% in taxes since their primary income is not filed as "income" but rather "capital gains" since they are from investments rather than actual work. Capital gains are taxed at about 15%, which is a significantly lower rate than the 26% that most Americans pay.)

Talking Points Memo highlights this argument on everyone paying their fair share of taxes as particularly succinct and clear:
We don't begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. It's because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference - like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That's not right. Americans know it's not right.
I have to agree. That's solid.

And just for fun, check out Key and Peele's "Obama's Anger Translator":

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TV Show Theme Medley

This mashup of TV themes is by far the classiest, and most creative, I've seen. Instead of putting the themes to videos from the shows, they've recreated the opening of each show themselves. How much fun!

I bet it was a ton of fun to make - jealous!

[via Neatorama]

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year's!

Welcome to 2012! Come on in, the water's fine.

Here's hoping everyone a happy, healthy, and safe New Year for all of the Artful Stew readers.

And thank you for reading.