Mr. Bill George Presents

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Mind: Blown.

In Science on April 28, 2009 at 2:48 PM

This is one of those things that was introduced to me a couple years ago from TIAW contributor Matt Rawding and has preoccupied my thoughts on and off ever since. It is required viewing for anyone who likes to think. It definitely calls for multiple watches and is fascinating every time. Leave reactions in the comments section.

[Thanks to Rob Bryanton. This animation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.]

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Fake Guns: Menace to Society?

In Society on April 26, 2009 at 6:33 AM

A few days ago I was with some friends when a somewhat troubling notion struck me, though it is easiest explained by relating the actual events of the day.

So on this day me, my friend Jack, and my friend Angela were driving to the jolly ol’ land of taco bell. While driving, my friend Jack (in the passenger seat) stretched his hand out the window and formed a fake gun with his hand, tracking someone walking on the sidewalk and shouting “bang!”. Now this was simplistically funny to me but my friend Angela seemed to think that it was a terrible idea, one that would involve the fuzz (police) to become irate with us.

Comparing our two different reactions surprised me somewhat, it was one of the first instances where I realized a child-like action looks very very bad as an adult. In all probability we could’ve got picked up by the cops and had our intents questioned given the slew of school shootings that have taken place. Which is both ridiculous and somehow not surprising.

We live in a society that is scared of many things, and because there are so many people doing so many things, childish actions like these will most likely catch some activists eye and cause them to start propagating their concerns  all over the place like a loose fire hose thrashing about. I don’t know whether to be pissed off or to just accept the state of our society, because although such fear is ridiculous, it isn’t completely unfounded.

So do you think if you were driving in a car and someone started pointing their fingers at people and saying “bang”  you would be amused? Or might you be taken aback?

Am I A Facebook Addict? Let’s Ask CNN

In Technology on April 23, 2009 at 4:52 PM

I was perusing the interwebs just now and I stumpled upon a headline that grabbed my immediate attention:

FIVE CLUES THAT YOU ARE ADDICTED TO FACEBOOK (according to CNN Health)

So I thought I’d take this time to let us discover together whether I, MrBillGeorge, am addicted to Facebook:

1. You lose sleep over Facebook

What they are referring to here is not losing sleep due to anxiety over what occurs on Facebook (but the fact that that was my initial impression of the headline, might in and of itself be an indicator). Instead, they are asking if you stay up late on Facebook when you should be sleeping and thus lose sleep because of it.

Before Twitter and before the latest Facebook update: definitely, yes.

Now I spend more time interested in tweets, but I use a program to read my tweets and rss feeds and status updates all in one place (EventBox) so I find myself visiting Facebook less and less.

However, because I visit it less often, when I do visit, there are lots of new things to look at, people to stalk etc. So I spend more time per visit. Whether those visits occur before bed depends but, yes, they do occasionally. Count it.

2. You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook

Hmm… in college: yes. Now? No. (One for two so far, for those keeping score at home.)

3. You become obsessed with old loves

The article specifically refers to friending old flames and getting back into unhealthy relationships or even breaking up that person’s current relationship in order to rekindle your own romance. But I’m guessing becoming obsessed with any love interest through Facebook would fall into this category of addiction.

Which begs the question: does masturbating to people’s photos count? (More specifically college photos around Halloween time?) If so, I… I have a friend who would be guilty as charged…

4. You ignore work in favor of Facebook

Oh yea, this one is a gimme. Chalk up another point.

5. The thought of getting off Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat

CNN says, “Try going a day without Facebook. If you find it causes you a lot of stress and anxiety, you really need to get some help.”

As previously mentioned, I go many days without actually visiting the site so this one does not count against me.

RECAP: I show 2 signs out of 5. Not addicted but not totally independent either.

How’d everyone else do? Sound off in the comments section.

Hello CEO… Go Ahead & Fly Privately

In Business, News on April 20, 2009 at 8:25 PM

It has been a while since I have read anything regarding aviation.  However, this past weekend I decided to get back in tune with my roots.  I was reading some past articles regarding companies and their private jets.  Most of them were about how the government discourages the use of this form of “luxury” transportation and the negatives of a CEO flying privately rather than commercial.  Just take a moment and think about it with me.  It is not always about the luxury.  These articles seem to center on words like: luxury, expensive, abused, impractical and so on.

Let me tell you.  If I ever become a CEO of a significant company, I would expect to fly privately.  I would 100% expect it.  Do not put me on a commercial aircraft that flies numerous times a day with 150+ people on board.  Okay, relax… I have my reasons… and they are legit.  I am not stuck up.  I am not materialistic.  I do not feel like I need to be showered with only the best.  I am being reasonable here.  Let me explain why flying privately is beneficial for a company.

Being the CEO of a company is such an important role.  With a great CEO, you have a great company.  We all know examples.  He or she is a public figure, the face of the company.  In my own opinion, there are three major reasons why a CEO or other key individuals of a company need to fly privately.  First… security.  There are limited threats and access to a CEO compared to being on a commercial aircraft with complete strangers.  There are some whacky people out there.  We all know that.  Second… maintenance.  The maintenance done on private jets is incredible.  The owners and companies flying these aircraft expect them to be in perfect working condition and nothing less.  This high level of maintenance allows the CEO to know he or she is safe on their trip.  Third… scheduling.  There is nothing like having multiple meetings in one day around the country and being able to attend all of them with ease.  I have seen it done.  When a CEO from the east coast has a meeting on the west coast, then in the midwest, and finally back up north… it can be done.  The CEO could arrive at the airport, board the jet, and depart the airport getting him or her off the ground before any of the commercial companies can get half their passengers in line to board.  These are not the only reasons why flying privately is beneficial, but they are three great reason why it is beneficial.

Obviously there have been companies that abuse their private jets but realistically, this form of transportation is justified.  They just should not be using a 16-passenger aircraft when flying only three or four people.  Purchase or charter the aircraft that is most practical.  That’s all.  Now, with all that said… go ahead and fly privately.  I support the idea.

Susan Boyle Is Overrated

In Music, Television on April 20, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Yea I said it! Someone had to say it!

I grant you, the crazy cat-lady turned international darling is a darn good singer. But she’s being talked up as if she has the voice of God. Now if God were to release a CD, I might get it. Boyle? Not so much. I’ve heard her sing ‘I Dreamed a Dream,’ and on Larry King she did ‘My Heart Will Go On.’

Both songs I like (the former more than the latter) but I’ve also heard them both done better. I would never trade my International Cast Recording of ‘Dream’ for hers. And that makes me a problem for the media because they are in the business of selling CD’s. Synergy baby, synergy.

My mother noticed the headline of this article when I was writing it and immediately said, “You’re such a killjoy! It’s her story that’s amazing.” And that’s exactly my point: they’ve already got my mom! She’ll probably end up buying a CD because of this ‘amazing story!’ Which is precisely what they want!

Am I being an insensitive, cynical jerk who should be ashamed of myself because I can’t just let this poor lady have her fifteen minutes of fame without trying to diminish her accomplishment (which far surpasses any of my own)?

Yes, yes I am.

Now, do I think Susan Boyle is some kind of financial mastermind behind this whole thing? No, she is probably legit. But that doesn’t mean others aren’t trying to cash in on her appeal. And in doing so they are using artificially exaggerated language to describe her talent.

The problem is that now, a new contender as entered the ring. I saw a recent CNN headline about this other kid in the same competition. They are calling him a ‘young Stevie Wonder’ and now it’s his turn to steal the news cycle for another week (and inevitably sign a record deal).

My point is: there are a lot of great singers in the world, so exactly how long are we going to keep glorifying these talent show stand-outs?

Fmylife: Yay or Nay?

In Technology on April 18, 2009 at 7:05 PM

Fmylife.com is a weird and wonderful addition to the web. It’s a collection of everyday anecdotes and stories likely to happen to anyone and everyone… This is a space where you can let it all out and unwind by sharing the little things that screw with your day, and maybe realize that you are not alone in experiencing day to day crap.”

Above is the mission statement of the quickly growing website Fmylife.com. I’ve been hearing more and more about it from a wider variety of people every week. But I’m curious just how widespread it has become. Thus, this post and the following poll:

I personally have never visited the site (besides right now for research). But I’ve been with people who will hop online at random and see what’s new, laughing with delight at all these poor sap’s misfortune. But my question is: are these stories really someone’s misfortune? Some of the entries I’ve heard read aloud to me sound down to Earth, but the majority sound ridiculous and made up purely for shock and awe.

Example: Today, I was sitting in class and I fell asleep during the lesson. I was wearing sweatpants and had an erection. My teacher came up to me and grabbed my penis. She thought it was my phone. FML.

Umm… really?

So am I alone here? Am I missing out on the next big thing? Or are there other skeptics out there? Or if the posts are fake, do people just not mind? I think I do. Sound off in the comments!

Red Bull: A Way Of Life

In Comedy on April 17, 2009 at 11:50 PM

Right there on my desk is the quite familiar can.  I’m staring it down as I try and figure out… “Why do I buy this so-called energy drink?”  I think I have probably drank 1,000 or more of these cans.  I highly doubt I am exaggerating either.  I’m looking at this 8.4 fluid ounce can that costs me about $2.26 each.  That’s right… $2.26 for only 8.4 fluid ounces.  You could get two 2 liter bottles of soda for that price.  It’s not like it really gives me “wiiiiings” like this advertisement states: Red Bull Gives You Wings.  Could it be the slim physique that is the perfect shade of blue and silver with the dueling bulls as its logo?  Honestly, I have no idea.

Red Bull has become a way of life for me.  Anyone and everyone who knows me understands that Red Bull and I have a relationship.  My wallpaper on my iMac contains four Red Bull aircraft painted in the same scheme as the can.  The wallpaper on my iPhone… a Red Bull can.  What is that on my dresser in my bedroom you ask?  Three different types of Red Bull products from Austria (where the product originated).  Some say I am pretty obsessed… wait… they shake their head and say, “you’re addicted.”

Could someone like myself really be “addicted” to Red Bull?  I know it has caffeine and all but… seriously.  Couldn’t I just be like that person who is obsessed with a BMW 5-series car?  No wait.  How about that person over there that is just obsessed with some singer like Jimmy Buffett and his Margaritaville type of music?  Is it bad that I love Red Bull as much as they love their car or their music?

Actually, forget it.  I thought I’d come up with an answer to why myself and so many other people drink Red Bull… I was wrong.  The product is amazing.  The company is amazing.  They hold over 80% of the market share.  I’m not the only one here.  I know I’m not what everyone says… “addicted.”  So, I am not too worried about why I get sucked into buying a can for $2.26 and drinking as if it was my last one.  I’m just going to go ahead and drink this can and enjoy it.  Ahhh… like I said.  It is a way of life… for me at least.

Pirates Vs. Pirates

In Comedy, Film, News, Politics on April 17, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Lately there seems to be an abundance of news regarding pirates. Mostly of the Somali variety, but also the web kind. And this got me thinking: What would be worse? Being captured by Somali pirates on the high seas? Or being forced to sit through all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies again?

My seething hatred of the Pirates movies has been well documented but any chance I have to reiterate it, I take. They are a worthless heap of cinema with Saturday Morning Cartoon level writing, aggravating performances and frustrating plot developments throughout. (Which is understandable given that the basis for the trilogy is an animatronic water ride in Florida.) Yet, inexplicably, they were some of the most popular films of the last decade.

Meanwhile, pirates keep boarding ships off the coast of Somalia and endangering the lives of those onboard, at times leading to hostage situations and standoffs. That is, of course, when they are not busy getting pwned by Navy Seals. (I love America.)

So what’s worse: being captured by pirates? Or watching Pirates?

Well, right off the bat, being captured by pirates dramatically increases my chances of being murdered. But watching Pirates dramatically increases my chances of committing suicide. So that’s a wash.

You may think the movies should get a point for having Keira Knightley, but you’d be wrong. She’s not the sweet Knightley from all those Red Carpet specials. She’s the bitchy, complaining, phony Knightley who gives the worst inspirational speech in the history of film during At World’s End. Meanwhile, if my ship is captured, perhaps I’ll be locked up with a Knightley-esque fellow hostage. Those types of life endangering experiences often bring people close together and we’ll be in contact for years to come. Point for the Somalis.

At the end of the movies I will have accomplished nothing besides successfully wasting 463 minutes of my life (7.7 hours for those wondering). At the end of the standoff with the pirates, while I may end up dead, I may also end up alive with a fantastic story to tell. Not only to everyone I know for the rest of my life, but more importantly to a ghost writer. The book and movie deal would make me boatloads of cash (pun intended).

Which I guess leaves one last question: who would I want to direct the movie based on my story? …I wonder if Gore Verbinski is available…

Sound off in the comments: which would YOU prefer?

Officially Open For Business

In Site on April 17, 2009 at 2:15 AM

Okay, so I’ve made some changes already. I’m slowly assembling a team of the best and brightest I know to get involved as contributors. This site is going to be a place to share ideas, thoughts, art, work, stories, links etc. And it has but one prime directive: content is king.

I promise you, dear reader, that none of us will simply post a link to another site or story because it’s cool. I want everyone to include some sort of commentary or insight with every post. I want the comments section to be a place for thoughtful discussion as well as the normal banter. Polls, top lists, reviews, news, politics and opinions. At this point, anything goes. And that is what will make it such an exciting place. The variety of the content will be unlike most blogs, which are dedicated to driving one subject into the ground. And everyone’s unique perspectives will bring something new to the table and make you think with every post, as well as being entertaining.

https://thisisaweblog.com/ is now officially online. If you are interested in joining this pet project/crazy experiment/time-suck feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email: mrbillgeorge@gmail.com. Everyone else, bookmark the site, subscribe to the RSS feed, leave plenty of comments and enjoy the train wreck that will soon follow!

(Check out the ‘About’ page above for more.)

One Question: Why?

In Site on April 16, 2009 at 3:13 PM

So, why did I create this blog? Well, because I’m a self-indulgent narcissist who is obsessed with the sound of my own voice and doesn’t think the world has had enough of my bullshit even with the likes of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, my own personal site, my own film review site and my own movie blog.

Some other reasons being: I’m bored, I think too much (and the thoughts have to go somewhere) and I often find neat stuff on the web that I’d like to share in a more detailed way than just tweeting the link.

So this is my new sanctuary. My ‘Fortress of Solitude’ if you will, to say whatever. If you are so inclined, stop by and leave your thoughts. I like to pose discussion questions frequently and take polls. Also, subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t need to visit all the time but still see the content. (I live by my Google Reader.)

Well, I guess that concludes my first legit post on the blog. I’m sure I’ll be back soon with a bunch of posts as I am flooded with new ideas, only to stop posting all together in two months. Can’t wait!