Another thought on the plane and the conveyor belt

The theory behind the Airplane on a Conveyor Belt myth is that the wheels don’t move and thus the plane never moves.

So the easier test to prove or disprove this myth would be to lock a plane down to the ground and see if the nose ever starts to point upwards, no matter what speed it would theoretically have attained had the wheels been spinning against the ground.

I’d like to see someone test that, which could easily be done with an RC plane, too.

Going back to the place where I first heard about the myth, I see the correct answer was the one originally posited.

TV Shows On DVD (Dot Com)

All three links come from the must-read site,

American Idol 7 – Miami Try-Outs

Before we begin, a quick YouTube link: Making the American Idol Crop Circle. You saw it in Omaha Tuesday night.

Also, thanks to the Jeff (who just beat Josh) for pointing out in yesterday’s American Juniors-related post that Lucy Hale had a regular role on BIONIC WOMAN this season. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

juliedubela.jpgIn fact, the American Junior in Miami was Julie Dubela, who has a website at Be careful — she starts singing as soon as you load up that page. And even that recording sounds a little weak.

But, yeah, she’s grown up thinking she’s the next star without anyone ever telling her she’s NOT all that. And it’s a big giant ugly blotch against the Red Sox that they’d ask her to perform the National Anthem for them so many times. She probably did them a favor by going to Miami instead of the game.

She also sang at a Rudy Guliani fundraiser last year. Now he’s withdrawn from the race. Coincidence? (Yeah, probably. She sang at the Patriots/Giants game and the Pats still won.)

She’s a professional Star Spangled Banner singer, basically. I’m sure she has every note of that song down pat. She should have gone with that one. It worked for a contestant in Season One. (A.J. or R.J. or E.J. or one of those guys. . .)

You can check out many of those performances on her YouTube Channel. Yes, she has one of those, too. God bless the internet. You’ll also see her appearance on “America’s Most Talented Kids” there. So she’s a reality TV child star of some sort. I wonder if this IDOL appearance will show up on YouTube next. Probably will. I doubt she’ll link to it, though.

But now I have “One Step Closer to Heaven” stuck in my head. And “Rainy Days and Mondays,” which sounded a lot better coming from her four years ago than her song did in Miami last summer.

Her website, by the way, hasn’t been updated to mention this appearance on IDOL.

The show opened with an homage to MIAMI VICE, a series that aired before many of the auditioners were even born. Yes, just like DALLAS a couple of weeks ago.

Shannon McGough, 18, was the first contestant. She comes from a family with a meat market. But her father’s t-shirt looked to include the dreaded comic sans font on it, so you knew there was trouble. But she was young and cute and they did a whole video package on her, so I had hopes. Then she opened her mouth and screamed through the audition.

Lke Julie, she was DESTROYED.

Robbie Carrico went from boy band to rocker and, with this audition, back to boy band. It was a bad song for an audition: terribly monotone and repetitive. He never opened his eyes. But he made it through to Hollywood. It may have been repetitive, but it was solidly sung.

First Simon quote of the night to a failed contestant: “Nobody will ever pay you to perform. Never.”

Ghaleb Emachah (my handwriting is sloppy, so my apologies if I got that wrong) claims to be 27, but looks about 35. He’s from Argentina. I’m reminded of Mariano Rivera, who I think still claims he’s about 29. Ditto El Duque. Baseball players from the islands are notorious for shaving years off their birth certificates on the way over to play ball in the States. I think Ghaleb might be in that club. He sang too fast and his accent was too thick, but they put him through.

Simon’s quote for Ghaleb: “I would like you if I was drunk.”

Corliss Smith and Britanny Wescott are BFFs of great mass. They sandwiched Ryan on the holding room, and smothered the judges after they made it through. I think Britanny is the better singer of the two. (She sang to Simon.) Corliss was a little too Broadway, but could still sing.

Suzanne Toon is a single mother, because we haven’t had one of those on the show in a couple of episodes. And it’s very trendy these days, anyway. She sounded nervous in the audition, but I’m sure she’ll loosen up and do better in Hollywood.

Day Two started off with a Barenaked Ladies song playing in the background. Cool. First TMBG. Now BNL. What’s next week? Weezer?

Syesha Mercado, 20, has a rehabbed druggie father who she loves. And she believes in the power of positive attraction. She didn’t refer to it by any specific trademarkable name, but you know she saw that episode of OPRAH. She sang “Freedom” in a very shouty way, but there was enough talent underneath that desperate shout for help to put her through to Hollywood.

Natasha Blanc we only saw briefly, singing “At Last.” She could actually carry a melody, which is a rare thing this season. She wasn’t just shouting. Thankfully, she made it through.

Next Simon quote of the night: “Grant, I’m tempted to say come back in a dress.”

Fabienne Hyppolite sang with one finger in her ear, like an old time radio star. She didn’t sound good through either ear, though.

Brandon Black wrapped things up as the joker of the show, looking like someone who made a wrong turn on his way to a Diddy All White party. He was a joke. Skip past him.

17 people went through. Atlanta comes up next.

American Junior on American Idol

juniors1.pngWho could tonight’s American Junior be? Judging by the brief snippet we saw on IDOL last night, we know only that it’s a blonde teenage girl. That only eliminates one of the people in this picture. And this is also assuming it’s one of the finalists.

I hope it’s not Lucy Hale. She was the one with the most singing talent, but she couldn’t dance worth a lick and she was noticeably older than the rest of the group. I’d hate to think she grew up to be a total airhead.

Two of the finalists in the group were twins, as I recall. (Whoops. They were sisters, but not twins.  Thanks, Shelle, for the comment.) I guess we’ll see who it is tonight.

Previously, on

American Idol 7 – Omaha Try-Outs

First, let’s get to the most exciting tease of the new season: Next week’s Miami try-outs include the return of an American Junior. Whoo-hoo! The five of us who sat through that

But first, back to Omaha, where talent seemed sparse, and nerves were a major factor.

Chris Bernheiser led things off. He was very very very excited to be auditioning for American Idol. And he was happy. He said that he was going to explode and happiness would go everywhere. If your mind wasn’t already in the gutter, he just put it there.

He also said that this experience would be “life-alternating.”

Not surprisingly, he wasn’t so good a lot. Doing a handstand in the middle of “Since U Been Gone” was about all the proof you need.

Jason Rich is a farmer from Stout, Iowa. And though it took four or five tries to remember the third lyric to his song selection, he had a pretty darn good voice. It was a good huskiness. Simon warned him that he couldn’t do that on live TV, but he gave him a chance. Off to Hollywood he went.

Rachael Wicker is the tall blonde 20-something with several arm wrestling championships under her belt. She took on one and all and beat them all. She’s Yet Another Country singer with a twang to her voice, but she’s on to Hollywood.

Sarah Whitaker is the big scary Goth chick who once professionally wrestled. At this point, there has to be some corn-fed jokes coming up. Wrestlers, arm-wrestlers, what’s next? Thumb wrestling state champions?!? I’ll give her this — she was entertaining. She just couldn’t sing very well. And, as Randy put it, “Completely not right. Wrong.”

The Go Fug Yourself girls haven’t touched these episodes yet, but I’m sure they’d have something to say to Sarah for wearing leggings as pants, especially at that size. Samantha Sidley is a little whisp of a thing who might be able to sing, but needs so desperately to work on her nerves and her showmanship. Twisting back and forth to the song ain’t gonna cut it. But the judges — being in a kindly disposition this season — sent her through to Hollywood.

This is also the point in the show in which Paula and Ryan switched places for a contestant, and Simon and Randy gave Ryan a very very hard time to his honesty and truthfulness.

Going out to commercial, another winning contestant looked earnestly at the camera and said (paraphrasing), “I can’t wait to prove Simon wrong. I am America’s Next Top Model.” She caught herself right away. Still, it might be the funniest moment of the season thus far. TOP MODEL’s new season begins in three weeks, though there’s some sort of special on next week. Don’t know what that’s about. . .

Angelica Puente is sure to be a favorite if she makes it to the point where America starts voting. She’s got a great sob story about loving her father but not getting along with him and so moving out to her grandmother’s place. She can sing, but this is all about the voting process now.

Then came the rockers. David Cook seemed to be the cream of the crop, going with Bon Jovi’s “Living’ On A Prayer.” This should be my first time typing it this season, but he truly made the song his own. It might not work as a song on its own, but it’s perfect as an audition peice. He showed good musicality and was able to work around the notes without losing the melody. His eyes are dead, but he’ll learn.

Johnny Escamilla is the joker of the show – that one contestant they constantly tease you about to keep you coming back, knowing full well you’re about to see something beyond awful and memorable. His gold shiny jacket and confident attitude were about all you needed to know. Simon said something along the lines of, “In every single way, it was everything I hate.”

Actually, the best part of his audition was Paula’s hiccup.

Finally, Leo Marlowe ended the day as Yet Another Great Contestant Being The Last Contestant of The Day. He sang Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You,” no doubt making Elliot Yamin a very happy man. The opposite of all the husky male voices, Leo’s proud to be his mother’s queen. He can definitely sing. He made it through, along with 18 others.

5 Ways to Save Dance War

Dance War5. Dance War? Meet Dr. Kevorkian.

  1. Reality TV Show Producers Strike With The Writers.

  2. New Kids on the Block reunion show starts next Monday at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.

  3. Dance War? You know how OLD YELLER ended, don’tcha?

  4. Nope.  Can’t be done.

Seriously, the show is just bad. Bad bad bad. It’s a bad cast incapable of performing on live television. It’s not easy; I don’t blame them. Just get off the air now before your careers all go from zero to absolute zero. It’s painful. Go away.

If you have a shred of dignity, Carrie Ann and Bruno, just– oh, wait. Dignity? Nevermind.

Coming up tomorrow morning: The sanity, the dignity, the professionalism, and the talent of AMERICAN IDOL auditions.

Posted in TV

Compiling Twitter Posts of the Last Week

Once again, here are some random quick thoughts from the last week that I want to archive for eternity.  Follow me at Twitter to catch them all.

  • In the case of a Dance War, I’m afraid nobody wins. (A full post on this topic to come later today. Stay tuned.)
  • Gave the new SLR its first real workout today. Now importing 3 GBs of photos. Let’s see how well RAW works on this machine. . .
  • Oh, yeah, need to clear off A LOT of room on the hard drive to handle this many pictures.
  • Everything they say is true: Camera RAW files do take forever to import, compared to JPGs.
  • So we were moving on to the last disc of VERONICA MARS Season 3 only to discover that we had just seen the finale. NOOOOO!
  • Stats count: I’m following 21 people on Twitter. 103 people are following me. I’ve Tweeted 1060 times, counting this one.
  • @jbacardi – I kinda liked Papyrus when I first saw it. And then I saw it EVERYWHERE and now I hate it. Bring on TRAJAN! ;-)
  • GH3 – Medium – Bonus Songs – “Radio Song” by Superbus – 100%. Go me. Up next: “Ruby” (Didn’t make it, but did miss only one lousy note on that Stone Roses “She Bangs the Drum.” See the video here.)
  • GH3: Playing “Knights of Cydonia” without first mastering hammer-ons is enough to make your eyes tear up and left hand cramp badly.
  • GH3: Whoo-hoo! 100% on Easy level for Rock And Roll All Nite. (So easy that I didn’t even take a pic of the screen like I usually do for such an accomplishment.)
  • Scored 100% on “My Name Is Jonas” again. Whoo-hoo! GH3 FTW!
  • The creator of Clam Shell packaging ought to be dragged to the gallows.
  • Am so far behind on comics that I decided to spend an hour catching up – and wound up reading Kraven’s Last Hunt. Only 22 more years to go.
  • Almost Live Blogged American Idol, but then realized it would mean sitting through commercials. No thanks.

New DVD Releases for 29 Jan 2008

For a change of pace, let’s do this on Monday instead of Tuesday this week.

It’s a pretty darn good week, with some exciting releases.

  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Season 5

I know some of you will be looking forward to this one.

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 6

I’ve only seen Season One, but it’s a darn hilarious show.

  • The Invasion

Remember this one? Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig? Yeah, most people don’t. (Also available in both HD-DVD and Blu Ray.)

  • Daddy Day Camp

They only wish they could forget about this movie, though it does make for a funny punchline.

  • Lake Placid 2

Unnecessary Sequel of the Week! If Betty White isn’t in it, does anyone care?

  • Damages, Season One

FX must really like it, despite the low ratings it got last summer. They’ve renewed it already for a couple more seasons. This is the legal show starring Glenn Close and Ted Danson. Really wanted to see it, but didn’t have the time. (It’s also available in Blu Ray.)

I am looking forward to making the time for the final season of THE SHIELD in a couple of months, though. THAT is the best show on television that never gets the rewards it deserves.

  • The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

This is the documentary tracking the controvery over who holds the World Record for best Donkey Kong score of all time. If you haven’t read about this one yet, go Google for it. I think WIRED had a pretty good article on it, and I think I linked to it on this blog before. Call me a geek, but this might just be the Release of the Week.

Weekend Link Dumping

  • Yes, I realize the verbiage in the last link (“your own personal”?!?) is a tad redundant.
  • Not everyone lives in the real world. Here’s a petition to prove it: Save HD-DVD! What would the web be without another meaningless petition?

Baby’s First dSLR

Baby’s First dSLR, originally uploaded by AugieDB.

Finally pulled the trigger:

Don’t look at this pic too closely. I shot it with the 50mm, too high an ISO, not lit brightly enough, and with an aperture that needed to be closed a little more. Maybe a tripod. Ack, screw it. It’s the web. Who’s ever going to look that closely?

Your Questions, Answered

At the beginning of the month, I did an Open Mic Friday, and let you all run with your thoughts in the comment thread. A number of questions came up that I promised I’d respond to at some point, and that turned out to be today. So let’s have at it.

Nick asked about the guitar controller compatibility issues with Guitar Hero III. Truth be told, as a Wii owner, i didn’t pay much attention to it. I know there’s some confusion between platforms and with ROCK BAND, but I have my one controller for my one game and that’s all I need.

I know a couple of the major gaming sites actually had charts set up to show you which guitars worked for which games for which systems. Check out or and search around for that. It sounds like it would be most helpful.

I prefer never to have to ask a Best Buy employee for technical assistance. I only head out to there after I’ve done my own research. And never buy the extended warranty!

ShyGuy asks a question that made me think:

Have you found that posting daily in a blog is good for your writing skills? I mean in terms of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. Does it keep you fresh and make you better at communicating ideas?

I’d like to think it has, but it’s a combination of this blog and writing Pipeline for nearly 11 years now that has done that. I fall into traps and routines and pet phrases and patterns that I find myself working through all the time. I start way too many sentences with “and” or “but” or “oh, and” or “I.” I try to keep an eye out for those and minimized them, where possible. It’s just not always feasible. It’s always time to move onto the next thing.Writing all these thousands of words a month, though, makes your eye more attentive to certain problems. In that regard, I think all of this writing has made me a better writer, and not merely more prolific. There’s still a long way to go. I qualify too many sentences. I’m often too nice in my reviews. I wish I were more entertaining — whether that means more humorous or more pop culture references or more stylized, I don’t know.

Most of the writing I do both here and in Pipeline is fairly conversational. Even with all the writing I do, it’s very hard for me to write something more scholarly. I think of these blog entries and the columns as written chats. I try to go back and make sense and order of those thoughts, but sometimes it’s just a bunch of disassociated things that merge together.

It’s definitely helped with grammar and punctuation, of which I’m very proud and very sensitive when reading others’ writings.

I also wish I could watch a movie or read a comic without thinking of an angle I could review it from. That gets annoying sometimes.

Matthew M. has lots of interesting questions:

  • Why don’t women like the Three Stooges?

And why does my wife NOT think that commercial with cars drifting into parking spots is as cool as I do?

It has to be genetic.

My wife doesn’t like the Marx Bros., either.

  • Why do subtitled films make most American audiences scream in anger?

Americans are a lazy illiterate lot, on average. Sad, but true. They don’t want to “work” at anything. They want everything handed to them on a silver platter, at no obvious cost.

  • What ever happened to Phoebe Cates?

Someone fed her after midnight while hosing her down with water and she died.

Lots more after the break!

Continue reading

Some recent Tweets

Just to give you all something else to read aside from American Idol chatter, here’s some recent Twitter postings, with my editorial comments/updates in brackets italicized afterwards:

  • I’ve gotten to the point where I get home from work and have three or four pages of Tweets to read. Might be time to cut back.
  • I just picked up the MacHeist bundle. I feel slightly dirty, but I couldn’t pass up the price for a few of these programs. [I need to do screencasting now, don’t I?]
  • But, really, does App Zapper exist for the sake of being given away in Mac bundles?!? [And slower days on MacZot.]
  • This just in — Heath Ledger is still dead.
  • Added to my To Do list (long term): Read ABSOLUTE WATCHMEN before the movie hits screens.
  • I fear “Story of My Life” on Hard level might be the end point for me on Guitar Hero. Ouch, my fingers. . .
  • No, dumb customer who thinks he’s funny, that item is NOT free if the register scanner has a problem reading the bar code. IDIOT!
  • I love on-line retailers who accept PayPal. Makes it so much easier. [I Heart Adorama.]
  • Given the results of Week 17 of the regular season, the Super Bowl, er, “The Big Game” should be an interesting one this year.

The internet has shrunk the word; it’s 24/7 living out there, across the globe. But the major blogs still shut down for the weekend. . .

Air Plane On A Conveyor Belt episode of Mythbusters is January 30th. You’ve been warned.

American Idol 7 – South Carolina Try-Outs

American Idol logoI briefly toyed with the notion of liveblogging American Idol. Once I realized that it meant sitting through commercials, though, I gave up on the idea. Instead, I typed as I watched off the DVR. So this one might feel a little different.

Tonight’s commentary was taped before a live DVR recording. . .

Let’s move onto Charleston, then, and see how long it takes before people are doing that dance. . . (They didn’t. Holy cow!)

Raysharde Henderson: Fro Man. The Black Clay Aiken. Possible just as gay. Belongs on Broadway. Simon thought he was going to do a magic trick in the middle of the song. Simon called it “1970s Cruise Chip Cabaret.” That’s the first time this season he whipped that comparison out.

DeAnna Prevatte – Slapping her chest. On her knees. Screaming. Warbling out of key. Yes, there is sexuality in rock and roll, isn’t there? She’s just an angry waitress. “Little tiger,” Simon called her. Sadly, she can’t sing.

AI Msg BoardCouple: He gives out pointers? Do as I say, not as I do, I guess. THey didn’t really give her a chance to sing, though, did they?

Then there was the huge guy with a tie around his head, and his twin-looking sister. They’re not Gnarles Barkley. But they both made it through.

Ooh, a MacBook Air commercial.

Wow, they took a camera man to the hospital with the pregnant couple. Sadly, their MapQuest Directions weren’t great.

TinTin sang, with orange hair and a Clay Aiken glasses look.

Amy Catherine Flynn — FINALLY! A teenager is on the show. She’s a cheerleader. She’s cute. And she’s a committed virgin. Great. Find another cliche, IDOL.

Then she spoke. “Like like like like like” is not “said.”

Then she sang. She’s weak, but she shows promise. Give it a couple years of training, and she’ll be there. Her Thumbs Up in reaction to Paula’s “yes” was really cute and no doubt in violation of Roger Ebert’s trademark. Randy thinks she has “Mad Potential.” But she’s not going to make it.

We’re still in the hospital with the contestant’s wife.

London Weidberg took care of her father when he came down with cancer. She’s a professional singer. She’s got the chops. Put her through.

Day Two:

Paula has arm warmers on. Where are those Go Fug Yourself girls when we need them? Must check blog tomorrow.

Lyndsey Goodman. Air Force pilot. Looks a little like Angelina Jolie. Must be the lips. Cool plane. Wow, I like that voice. One bad transition, but great tone and control. And power. No showmanship at all. Wow, they gave her a no. =(

Aretha Codner has huge boobs. That’s all you need to know about her. Baby also has back. Little head, though. She’s a Rob Liefeld drawing come to life, isn’t she? And Simon isn’t being nice to her. Ouch. This is the meanest Simon has been this season, though it’s still far from his previous shenanigans. I love her soliloquy after being rejected.

I wonder how that pregnant lady is doing? Oh, she’s coming up after the break.

TMBG singing “NO.” Whoo-hoo! Best montage of the season!

They got the baby to the auditions the next day?!? They let the baby leave the hospital that quickly?!? They’re MAD!

Oliver Highman: Good voice, but he looks like a Dilbert character. He has a falsetto. He oversang everything. We’ll talk about “melisma” soon enough in thsi blog.

Kid’s name is “Emma Grace.” And she meets the judges as Oliver goes home.

The show then ran over by a minute or two.

Finally, 23 people go through to Hollywood. One brought his dog with him. Hunh. I guess sometimes a prop can be ignored and you can go through to Hollywood.

Next week: Omaha, Nebraska.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a new and hopefully regular VandS segment: Viewer Mail!