Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meow Super Trooper

Yes, that's Jim Gaffigan, and the point of the game is to see how many Meows you can fit into a "normal" conversation. Best game ever!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Teaching IBM's Watson to Swear

Best story ever here.

In trying to teach Watson, IBM's amazing experiment in AI to understand some of the nuances of our language, they had it memorize the Urban Dictionary. Problem- the machine started swearing.

Watson couldn't distinguish between polite language and profanity -- which the Urban Dictionary is full of. Watson picked up some bad habits from reading Wikipedia as well. In tests it even used the word "bullshit" in an answer to a researcher's query.


I like Watson more and more each time I read about him/her/it.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kanye and Kim, Joseph Ducreux Style

One of my favorite Memes is the Joseph Ducreux Meme. Take a current song and translate it into words more fitting for the 1700s, or as Joseph Ducreux, the man who made this awesome self-portrait might have said them. Like this:



It took me a minute to get the lyrics on this one. It's Gold Digger by Kanye West. More on that in a minute. (Oh, and the lyric from Kanye's song is: "Now I ain't saying she's a gold digger, but's she ain't messing with no broke n****s.")

First, Joseph Ducreux. Joseph, Baron Ducreux (June 26, 1735 – July 24, 1802) was a French portrait painter, pastelist, miniaturist, and engraver, who was a successful portraitist at the court of Louis XVI of France, and was able to resume his career after the French Revolution. His less formal portraits show an interest in expanding the range of facial expressions beyond those of official portraiture.


Ducreux specialized in portrait painting, and his early portraits were done in pastel, and include those done of the connoisseurs Pierre-Jean Mariette, the Comte de Caylus and Ange-Laurent de la Live de July. These works may have been copies after De La Tour. From 1760 onward, Ducreux kept a list of his works, but throughout his lifetime, he rarely signed his paintings. Thus, many of his works remain erroneously attributed to other artists.

Other portraits by Ducreux include those done of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos and Maria Theresa of Austria, as well as those mentioned above of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Ducreux also made several well-known self-portraits in the 1780s and 1790s, including one (now in the collection of the Getty Center in Los Angeles; c. 1783) in which he painted himself in the middle of a large yawn. In another, Portrait de l'artiste sous les traits d'un moqueur (c. 1793, Louvre;), the artist guffaws and points at the viewer.
As evidenced by these self-portraits, Ducreux attempted to break free from the constraints of traditional portraiture. Interested in physiognomy, the belief that the study and judgment of a person's outer appearance, primarily the face, reflects their character or personality, he attempted to capture the personality of his subjects, as well as his own, through his warm and individualistic works. Le Discret (ca. 1790), for example, is the portrait of a man asking for silence. His expression is timorous, his finger is pressed against his mouth in alarm as he silently demands discretion or prudence.

In this, these portraits recall the tronies of Dutch Golden Age painting, and the "character heads" of his contemporary the Austrian sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736–1783), some of whose busts were self-portraits with extreme expressions.

Now, Kanye and Kim. I have long thought that Kanye West has made a tremendous amount of money on a very small amount of talent and a lot of bravado. Good for him, I have no problem with that. The more outrageous he gets, the more he spends on stupid things, the sooner we'll see him in the MC Hammer school of broke ex-rappers. (Did you see MC Hammer hanging out with Psy at the New Year's Eve thing? I loved it when Anderson Cooper said "Oh wow, that was MC Hammer? Really?" after they'd left, (and after Kathy Griffin had told Psy he must have money falling out of his butt).

Kim Kardashian, on the other hand, is just a talentless skank in my humble opinion. She came to fame with a sex tape, which no one would have cared about except that that name "Kardashian" rang a bell thanks to her dead father's work as a "famous" lawyer. Then, once we learned that she is the step sister of then-famous Brody Jenner and step-daughter of Bruce Jenner, and that Ray J was in it too, we watched it again. By then, her OMG is that woman evil mother Kris had their show ready to sell and the rest is what we're stuck with.

Now, obviously Kim is not a gold digger because she now has money falling out of her own (huge) butt, but she's obviously looking for someone famous to date to keep her in the spotlight now that their ratings are plunging. Along comes Mr. Crazy himself, and voila, we get to watch this trainwreck happen. Personally I can't wait.

Thanks guys, America needs Court Jesters, Kanye and Kim, thanks for volunteering, it will be awesome watching you guys crash and burn!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saudis Behead Girl

I know it's not very culturally sensitive of me, but I read the following lines in a news story today and thought WTF!?! They really behead people? In public? Even girls? WTF is wrong with these people?

Saudi Arabia defied international protests Wednesday by beheading a Sri Lankan maid convicted of smothering an infant child, despite her being aged just 17 at the time of the offence.

A sword-wielding executioner carried out the death sentence on Rizana Nafeek in Dawadmy, near Riyadh, just hours after the Saudi Interior Ministry ratified the court verdict against her.

Seriously, when their oil dries up they will have no friends.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Great Video! Dog Teaches Puppy to Use Stairs



Hopefully the video above will embed properly, it's amazing. A little puppy is afraid to use the stairs and a grown dog comes along and shows the pup that it's ok. Will the little guy make it down? Watch the video and see for yourself!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The AFI Top 100 Film Lists

Ok, now that I've blogged my way through the 100 top movies of all time according to the American Film Institute, let's take a list at the two lists I used. One was published in 1998 and the follow-up in 2007. Despite the fact that only a few years passed between the two lists, there were significant differences in the lists:

Film Release Year 1998 rank 2007 rank
Citizen Kane 1941 1 1
Casablanca 1942 2 3
The Godfather 1972 3 2
Gone with the Wind 1939 4 6
Lawrence of Arabia 1962 5 7
The Wizard of Oz 1939 6 10
The Graduate 1967 7 17
On the Waterfront 1954 8 19
Schindler's List 1993 9 8
Singin' in the Rain 1952 10 5
It's a Wonderful Life 1946 11 20
Sunset Boulevard 1950 12 16
The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957 13 36
Some Like It Hot 1959 14 22
Star Wars 1977 15 13
All About Eve 1950 16 28
The African Queen 1951 17 65
Psycho 1960 18 14
The General 1927 — 18
Chinatown 1974 19 21
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1975 20 33
The Grapes of Wrath 1940 21 23
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 22 15
The Maltese Falcon 1941 23 31
Raging Bull 1980 24 4
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 1982 25 24
Dr. Strangelove 1964 26 39
Bonnie and Clyde 1967 27 42
Apocalypse Now 1979 28 30
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939 29 26
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948 30 38
Annie Hall 1977 31 35
The Godfather Part II 1974 32 32
High Noon 1952 33 27
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 34 25
It Happened One Night 1934 35 46
Midnight Cowboy 1969 36 43
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946 37 37
Double Indemnity 1944 38 29
Doctor Zhivago 1965 39 —
North by Northwest 1959 40 55
West Side Story 1961 41 51
Rear Window 1954 42 48
King Kong 1933 43 41
The Birth of a Nation 1915 44 —
A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 45 47
A Clockwork Orange 1971 46 70
Taxi Driver 1976 47 52
Jaws 1975 48 56
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937 49 34
Intolerance 1916 — 49
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969 50 73
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001 — 50
The Philadelphia Story 1940 51 44
From Here to Eternity 1953 52 —
Amadeus 1984 53 —
All Quiet on the Western Front 1930 54 —
The Sound of Music 1965 55 40
MASH 1970 56 54
The Third Man 1949 57 —
Fantasia 1940 58 —
Rebel Without a Cause 1955 59 —
Nashville 1975 — 59
Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 60 66
Vertigo 1958 61 9
Sullivan's Travels 1941 — 61
Tootsie 1982 62 69
Stagecoach 1939 63 —
Cabaret 1972 — 63
Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977 64 —
The Silence of the Lambs 1991 65 74
Network 1976 66 64
The Manchurian Candidate 1962 67 —
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1966 — 67
An American in Paris 1951 68 —
Shane 1953 69 45
The French Connection 1971 70 93
Forrest Gump 1994 71 76
Saving Private Ryan 1998 — 71
Ben-Hur 1959 72 100
The Shawshank Redemption 1994 — 72
Wuthering Heights 1939 73 —
The Gold Rush 1925 74 58
Dances with Wolves 1990 75 —
In the Heat of the Night 1967 — 75
City Lights 1931 76 11
American Graffiti 1973 77 62
All the President's Men 1976 — 77
Rocky 1976 78 57
The Deer Hunter 1978 79 53
The Wild Bunch 1969 80 79
Modern Times 1936 81 78
Spartacus 1960 — 81
Giant 1956 82 —
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans 1927 — 82
Platoon 1986 83 86
Titanic 1997 — 83
Fargo 1996 84 —
Duck Soup 1933 85 60
A Night at the Opera 1935 — 85
Mutiny on the Bounty 1935 86 —
Frankenstein 1931 87 —
12 Angry Men 1957 — 87
Easy Rider 1969 88 84
Patton 1970 89 —
The Sixth Sense 1999 — 89
The Jazz Singer 1927 90 —
Swing Time 1936 — 90
My Fair Lady 1964 91 —
Sophie's Choice 1982 — 91
A Place in the Sun 1951 92 —
The Apartment 1960 93 80
Goodfellas 1990 94 92
Pulp Fiction 1994 95 94
The Last Picture Show 1971 — 95
The Searchers 1956 96 12
Do the Right Thing 1989 — 96
Bringing Up Baby 1938 97 88
Blade Runner 1982 — 97
Unforgiven 1992 98 68
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 1967 99 —
Toy Story 1995 — 99
Yankee Doodle Dandy 1942 100 98

Twenty-three films from the original top 100 films list were removed in 2007:

39. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
44. The Birth of a Nation (1915)
52. From Here to Eternity (1953)
53. Amadeus (1984)
54. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
57. The Third Man (1949)
58. Fantasia (1940)
59. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
63. Stagecoach (1939)
64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
67. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
68. An American in Paris (1951)
73. Wuthering Heights (1939)
75. Dances with Wolves (1990)
82. Giant (1956)
84. Fargo (1996)
86. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
87. Frankenstein (1931)
89. Patton (1970)
90. The Jazz Singer (1927)
91. My Fair Lady (1964)
92. A Place in the Sun (1951)
99. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Four films released between 1996–2006 were added:

50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
83. Titanic (1997)
89. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Nineteen films made before 1996 were also added:

18. The General (1926)
49. Intolerance (1916)
59. Nashville (1975)
61. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
63. Cabaret (1972)
67. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
75. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
77. All the President's Men (1976)
81. Spartacus (1960)
82. Sunrise (1927)
85. A Night at the Opera (1935)
87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
90. Swing Time (1936)
91. Sophie's Choice (1982)
95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
96. Do the Right Thing (1989)
97. Blade Runner (1982)
99. Toy Story (1995)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Citizen Kane



Citizen Kane (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]

#1 on both the 1998 and 2007 AFI Top 100 Movies list!
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. It was released by RKO Pictures, and was Welles's first feature film. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories; it won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Herman Mankiewicz and Welles. Citizen Kane has been voted the greatest film of all time in each of the last five Sight & Sound's polls of critics, and is particularly praised for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure.

The story is a film à clef that examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a character based in part upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Welles's own life.[4] Upon its release, Hearst prohibited mention of the film in any of his newspapers. Kane's career in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but gradually evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power. Narrated principally through flashbacks, the story is revealed through the research of a newsreel reporter seeking to solve the mystery of the newspaper magnate's dying word: "Rosebud."

After his success in the theatre with his Mercury Players and his controversial 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, Welles was courted by Hollywood. He signed a contract with RKO Pictures in 1939. Unusual for an untried director, he was given the freedom to develop his own story and use his own cast and crew, and was given final cut privilege. Following two abortive attempts to get a project off the ground, he developed the screenplay of Citizen Kane with Herman Mankiewicz. Principal photography took place in 1940 and the film received its American release in 1941.

A critical success, Citizen Kane failed to recoup its costs at the box office. The film faded from view soon after but its reputation was restored, initially by French critics and more widely after its American revival in 1956. Many film critics consider Citizen Kane to be the greatest film ever made, which has led Roger Ebert to quip: "So it's settled: Citizen Kane is the official greatest film of all time." In addition to the Sight & Sound polls, it topped the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list and its 10th Anniversary Update.

The film was released on Blu-ray on September 13, 2011 for a special 70th Anniversary Edition