Hey you, Blog, I remember you!

02.08.00 - Mark

I haven't had a good rambling blog entry in a while, despite some promises public and personal, and while I don't intend for this to be one, it may well be once I start venting some of the pressure.

See, I've sort of been in a die hard shipping mode, cranking out a site that I'm being paid to work on (Hey money, I remember you too!) I'm really, really happy with the way this new site is coming together and when its (hopefully) online next week I'll link to it. This one is easily some of my best work and it shows, its also helped to expose me to PHP/MySQL and all the fun things they never get around to mentioning in programming classes. PHP/MySQL seems to be a picky combination but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it and I am working towards applying the knowledge to my MountAiryNC.Net site. I really need to reorganize all my personal/portfolio sites. I've been dappling in web development for a while, and I think its getting to the point where I need to be serious. If I find the time, one of the big things will be hashing out a scheme that glues this into the .mac space, so I can move a portfolio and self promotion into the markw.us arena.

There's some other pretty hot tech news for Mount Airy, but I don't know how much I can say now. If your in the area I would recommend keeping an eye on Apple's local vendor database.

Getting away from tech, there have been other things, mostly small.
I went to Raven Knob on a Wednesday a couple weeks ago, and it was very nice. I saw friends I haven't seen in a while and got to enjoy a hot, but very nice evening in some of the most beautiful surroundings in the region. Part of me didn't like going up there for the evening, I wish I could have been up there all summer. Maybe next year.

Its amazing where some of my traffic is coming from. Its kind of mind-blowing that this blog and my .mac site are getting so highly ranked at google/yahoo/MSN. My stats have always been open to anyone's prying eyes, so if you're desperately bored you might look over the last 100 site referrals (click on the rainbow box at the bottom of the page)

Whole Foods rocks. Because Matt's back home from some government sponsored smart kid training camp (in Winston Salem, which will be a relevant fact in a few lines) we've been leaning more vegetarian (I swear Matt is the only fat vegetarian you'll ever know) I'm actually OK with vegetarian, we're eating better, more varied foods (which is driving my mom nuts because her idea of a meal involves coking around a block of low quality meat that may or may not be as hard as a block of lexan) Since Matt is also very good at finding things that he absolutely can't get in Mount Airy, we've made a number of trips to Winston Salem, and a few weeks ago we found the Whole Foods Market. 100% organic. I love it. It may be more expensive than the common chains, but the food is so much better, and the atmosphere is amazing. At Certified Big Box Hells it always feels like chaos can break out at any moment with the right stimuli. At whole foods the would be mob was very approachable, very kind, very, untypical of American culture. Its a neat experience and if you like food, try getting to a Whole Foods. (If you haven't gathered it already, Food is one of the things I love, but rarely blog about)

Speaking of food, I'm back to the no/low soda thing. Its really not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I seem to do this from time to time and I may get one major headache after dropping sugar water, but if you drop it before you have 3 or 4 days off, it really isn't bad since you can sleep most of it off. This time I'm not even so concerned about keeping off the caffeine, its more stay away from the bubbling water (however its mostly a linked thing. majority of anyones caffeine intake is though ingestion of the fizzy water) The really hard part is the lack of interesting alternatives. The only reasonable alternative to sugar water is just plain water. Juices go a little ways but most of the decent ones (ones that don't have the same ingredient list as soda) cost much more than a can of cold pop. So I'd say take what you'd sink on a 24 pack and invest in a decent water bottle. You'll want one.

The New SciFi season started a few weeks ago. I'm waiting to see where the new bad guys in the SG1 universe leads. Its going to prove interesting, if nothing else its going to be an option for when SG1 finally jumped the shark. I'm similarly happy that Atlantis can now access Earth, they need to be careful where they use it. In terms of the season I'm not sure where they're headed yet, but they know what they're doing. Battlestar Galattaca's new season is proving interesting as well, the people behind BSG are doing a masterful job of playing with concepts in fiction that some of our leaders seem to be playing with in the real world. I love that in SciFi. Extra Bonus points to Scifi for showing Firefly (I've made several posts on it, but here's one of them), even tho' I did just get it off Amazon. I'm up0 in the air on the Wednesday night lineup. Ghost Hunters is in the BS category that I simply refuse to watch, masterblasters, which looked cool, stoops to the same lowbrow level as Monster * on discovery, in other words 40 minutes of cussin' and yellin' then 10 minutes of shit blowing up. I would like them to follow the Junkyard wars format and do less bunkum and actually get me interested in the build. I mean I can watch any idiot blow up *, but its not as fun as following the construction of rocket propelled houses/cars/* (and then watching the complete and total destruction of *). Finally, while I'm thrilled to see the new season of Tripping the Rift, I hate the recast voices. I sorry Scifi, but Six isn't supposed to be the complete slut that Carmen Electra portrays, Six is supposed to be a smart, decisive character (who happens to like exorbitant amounts of sex) like Six was portrayed in the original short film and the first season (I said I was getting away from the technical, not the geek)

Anyways, this is probably enough to bring in some interesting referrals so I'll leave it at this and catch some ZZZs. I have a sizable pile of DVDs I really ought to watch before Firefly arrives in a couple days. I really am a media junkie (half a dozen DVDs I need to watch, days worth of audio content, 225+ RSS feeds, a pile of books, and I'm shopping for PC parts to build a TiVo like device so its easier to manage media. Information Fucking Overload Man....)

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16.43.00 - Mark

"Perfectionism is Procrastination Masquerading as Quality Control."--Steven Barnes

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Bush Bashing, or Something

02.14.00 - Mark

Dear cursed religious right,

Stem cells are good, and despite you best efforts to minimize my being to that no greater than 200 some cells in the eyes of an overly religious government, scientists are making progress, - like repairing damaged spinal cords in mice - so rather than spout bushit about stem cell research not leading anywhere, please educate your self.

And keep in mind that you might be able to take the redneck out of the trailer park, you can't take the trailer park out of the redneck:

Cuz' there's ain'ts nottin's likes a smallz screens TV ya'll

I will give him credit for watching the shuttle launch, presumably live, because it was a very nice launch, it's a shame there are only a few, if any, to be had in the next decade

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Choices Choices

13.48.00 - Mark

Someone with enough cash to blow on an Apple Intel Developer Kit has coerced Windows XP, a Linux Distro, and the Macintel OS onto the same system. Take a look. I have to admit I kind of like this news. If it makes it to the consumer releases, which Apple would be wise to do, it means that developers can test products on all three platforms with a single box. Very cool

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Headaches Suck

12.43.00 - Mark

That is all.

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Dark Humor

15.39.00 - Mark

How to get hit by a car. Because you know, "Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die." (unknown)

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23.46.00 - Mark

I just discovered this webcomic, and I already love it.

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Painfully obvious...

21.51.00 - Mark

The ever insightful CNN has this to say about teenage drivers:

"Following behind the District of Columbia as the deadliest states for teen drivers were North Carolina, Mississippi, Delaware and Louisiana."

Of course we can't always blame the teenagers (tho' there are a lot of teens in this state I wouldn't trust with a bicycle, let alone a motorized vehicle), the drivers in this state are reckless and outright stupid. (Its not just the DMV)

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Mad Scientist Zoos, Or...

16.55.00 - Mark

How to Pack a Hippo:

The Sequel to How to Pack a Brain

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The 8 Words you can't say in school

15.46.00 - Mark

Now this is foul mouthed.

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My Head Hurts

22.14.00 - Mark

I started writing this post several hours ago after watching Primer, which is an amazingly mind boggling movie and is one of the few movies I have seen that has such a complicated plot that I walked away from it feeling like my mind was flattened by a meat tenderizing hammer, a steam roller and a slice of lemon wrapped around a gold brick then haphazardly reshaped with a meat grinder and a pasta bowl.

In other words I loved it and am entirely glad I bought it. A lot of people seem to be comparing it to 2001 a Space Oddessy, and while I can see some of those connections I think its easier to describe it as the same sort of movie as Donnie Darko, if you take away the goth and the empathetic preppy teenager following then seriously amplify the science (even if Donnie Darko is more of a metaphysical/mysticism deal).

If the past two run-ons (or any of this blog) made any sense to you, Primer is certainly your kind of movie. Its not a movie you watch once so if you have a netflix account or access to a copy without buying you may want to go that route, but if you're like me and too cheap for Netflix and no where near a major metropolitan area, consider ebay or some other used outlet, its a lot of fun, and I can't wait to show it to people I know who have a chance of understanding it enough to hold an interesting conversation (because this is a movie that invokes conversation - at least it does once the headache starts to dissipate)

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01.03.00 - Mark

Some of the news stories that I am more than officially tired of seeing rehashed every 20 minutes

Harry Potter and related entries. I'm tired of hearing about the 20 some people though out the world who got an unofficial advanced copy then returned it. I'm tired of hearing about they haven't quite outsold the bible, and I've very tired of hearing how the Guinness Book of World Records is having problems awarding "Most people in a bookstore while not violating firecode" and its more illegal counterpart "Most people packed into a bookstore in violation of firecode"

Oil. If I wanted to know the current price of a barrel of crude I'd get a stock ticker. I don't need a full length article to tell me that Oil is $60+ every 20 minutes.

Hurricanes. Unless you're NOAA's NHC you don't know jack. Tho' I don't care as much about the neat pictures of half submerged drilling platforms

Michael Jackson and the lawsuit de'jour. He's weird. Get over it already.

Tom Cruise the psychologist. If he doesn't want Ridalin fine, he clearly has a psychoactive that is at least as effective.

The nitpicking over the BBC's use of the word "terrorist" (really anything dealing with isuragents in Iraq and the non-positive aspects of 7/7). Hello, nitpickers, under your own demented logic these arguments are just giving said terrorists more power over us. If you want to win your war on terror, keep them out of the media. If they can't send their message over the medium, what's the point of blowing your own ass up?

There are probably more, but I'm too lazy to skim over the RSS feeds right now. 20 extra points if you understand the title reference.

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Today's no Duh Moments

11.04.00 - Mark

Kids want a greater challenge from high school - how long have I been saying this? We aren't stupid we want to learn, not be forced to memorize a bunch of trivial facts that everyone knows we're going to forget for the test.

The realk reason Hollywood is collapsing Give me quality content, not mindless drivil. A good start would be to not remake every movie you've released in the last 100 years so it has more Big Fucking Explosions (tm) and whatever surgically enhanced nitwit is the current mass media focus.

Big name musicians padding credentials with "classically trained" in addition to padding their wallets, and other things...

and while not a duh moment, some people think that the Harry Potter fans were going nuts, look at these - no book release required. I will concede that there are lots of Harry Potter fanatics, the youngest brother needed his fix so we went to the nearest Barnes and Nobel for his copy and it was packed. I'll put the camera phone photos up on flickr later.

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Your ever trustful pharmaceuticals....

21.56.00 - Mark

This is another one of those things I've had for weeks and weeks and weeks, and I'm just now getting around to posting for assorted and mostly useless reasons. Anyways:

Artifically created vampires, though its not entirely artificaial, its just an evolutionary side step, sort of it involves...

Actually just watch the multimedia. is a lot of fun, and really well thought out as it accounts for nearly all of the vampire mythos.

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Questions answered.

12.59.00 - Mark

Thomas has finally posted the text to HJ Res 57, which if you remember, was driving me nuts a couple weeks ago with its nice vague and redundant description of :

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States protecting religious freedom.

I commented at the time that it looked like it was duplicating the 1st amendment, but now that I've seen the text I'm positive. Our wonderfully short sighted representatives want to protect "the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, the display of the Ten Commandments, and voluntary school prayer" in other words to people's right to practice religion. The thing is, the first amendment dosen't simply protect the Ned Flanders Sect's right to be all holy, it also protects the rights of humanists/Athiests/Buddists/etc to not be forced into the holy land Jews/Christians/Muslim seem to want to create anymore.

Our forefathers were not idiot. They were very careful about the wording of the constitution. Unfortunatly their modernday counter parts are no where near as enlightened...

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Global Frequency

01.57.00 - Mark

I'l a little late to this one as it has been as its been floating on the net for about a month now, but Global Frequency is the best show to not exist. Even for not existing it beats most television.

See global frequency (for the next to nil regular readers reading this not coming from technorati or a search engine) never aired on TV. It was dropped by network head(s) who must have been smoking something really good at the time as it is an amazing concept that can easily compete with (or compliment) shows such as 24, Alias, X-files, and many more. Its a genre bending show that isn't too far ahead of its time to succeed.

But if it doesn't exist how can I possibly be saying soo many good things about it? Well one episode was produced, and that one episode was leaked to the internet about a month ago. Its a choppy artifact ridden 500mb file that its amazingly gripping. But technically it doesn't exist, as it was never aired, and I have the feeling that, wasn't 100% ready.

What's amazing is that themes of the show are being played out in real life. Networks of people outside the traditional loops are, like the supporting characters in the show, trying to get around the system, and make something work.

I strongly recommend that you look at the creators' personal websites (Warren Ellis, John Rodgers, frequencysite.com are a great start) and look at what they have to say about it. I think that if the MPAA can get stop acting like a younger mimicking brother to the RIAA and accept that they can use this p2p thing to their advantage this is the perfect example of the future. So obey the law and don't go download the nonexistent show,, do go out and legally overview the Warren Ellis graphic novel then spread the word of the best TV that isn't but can be.

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Just No Posts

12.58.00 - Mark

I'm not going to apologize for not posting. Its my blog damn it not yours. Still it feels odd. Its not that I haven't had anything to post on (OK that may have been art of it) but I just haven't thought about posting. I've been too busy reworking MountAiryNC.net and sitting around doing basically nothing. I need tog et around to doing somethings, mainly out of a lack of money. I really hate Surry for somehow rationalizing summer course when it is clearly not in their mandate. I would much rather be spending the summer at Raven Knob

Anyways, here's a good blog post on how to win the "war on terror"

Foxtror 7/12/05

A tactic to remember next time the recruiters call. Its not that I have anything against recruiters, but when you can't find enough people willing to fight for a cause, maybe the cause is wrong. That's not the fault of their recruiters, its the fault of a president who is refusing to bow to the wishes of the people who give his office power.

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Chocolypse Now

18.45.00 - Mark

Chocolypse Now. Its a fun little distraction, found by way of BoingBoing.

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17.11.00 - Mark

There is a major moron in the NY Times OP Ed section calling for ever more extreme punishments for "hackers"

Needless to say all sorts of geekery and hacking sites are up in arms, and for damned good reason I might add. The ignorance of morons like this boggles the mind to no end. Its bad enough that that computer crimes are already treated more severely than their meat space counterparts, but calling for the death penalty or "something worse than death" is outrageous.

These morons forget the origins of technology and civilization. His suggestions for "something worse than death" (both in meatspace and the digital domain) are clearly cruel and unusual punishment. Even less extreme punishments that he refers to (like a 5 year ban from the internet) are regularly deemed unconstitutional

Not only does the moron disregard the wonderful document that grants him the right to publish such bullshit, I suspect that he has no understanding of where his high value productivity tools came from. If his moronic head wasn't cramed up his own ass perhaps he would understand that the vast majority of the technology he wishes to protect was created and popularized by those he wants to destroy. Or maybe he wants his Blackwing 602s back. Bad moron.

(by the way the over use of moron is intentional. You can insert your own string of derogatory terms at each occurrence on your own)

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All Night Hash

03.23.00 - Mark

I was up all night last night hashing though code and messing around with data (and it may end up being that way tonight as well) so I didn't decide to retire until about 6AM Before doing so I looked though my RSS feeds and, ironically, first heard about the explosion on Drunkenblog (who had also been up all night before learning of the attack and which is very much not a news site) at the time there were only one or two confirmed deaths and Blair was about to get up before the G8. Not to sound uncaring I went to sleep - there's nothing I can really do thousands of miles and an ocean away and there's no real point in blogging it at the time - it would just clog up technorati (which did happen). Really the only reason I'm posting this is because I found an amazing Londoner and Bombing victum's Blog post - A funny thing happened to me on the way to work this morning. My tube blew up
This one, by a London EMT is pretty good as well.

Speaking of big news today, Cindy came though town today, and did a pretty good job of flooding the area. I knew it was coming, NOAA RSS feeds are good for that. It make it really easy to keep an eye on the predicted storm path and cindy was tracking over the area for the week before it was downgraded. I'm kinda sad I slept though that. Apparently there was a tornado. Oh well. London deserves more attention at the moment.

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The Lost Promise of the Internet

21.21.00 - Mark

What ever happened to the idea that the Internet would be the Library with everything? I mean sure its cool that I can find a bunch of geeks designing an Open Source Sub and what not but the idea that the internet has everything listed. Thats just not true. Look at Mapping. Mapquest, YahooMaps, MSN Maps, Google Maps (and Google Earth) Map24 and who knows what else. Surely there's some difference, Right? Wrong. Nearly all of the Mapping services use the same database, resulting in little more than a new face with the same data. Books? You have Amazon, Borders and Barnes and Nobel but do they have vastly different data? Not really. Books are books and all of thier info probably comes from the publisher. What happens to their data? Its redistributed. How many pages are there that simply rehash Amazon information? A lot of them. Phone numbers, movies (lIMDB), Music (Gracenote), its a common practice (mainly because its economical - why reinvent the wheel?) but it has its problems. Despite how all inclusive these databases may be they have holes, lots of them. Its easy to start searching for something and simply not find it. Most people give up, because if its not in the major databases - "It's Simply Not There".

for some of us, like those who know whatever subject we need is on the internet (or those of us who simply refuse to give up) this reliance is above and beyond an annoyance. And chances are you know a few of us - we're the ones you turn to when those major sources claim "It doesn't exist" and you absolutely need it. Of corse that brings us to the never ending problem of format wars and being able to use the information once you find it (which is driving me nuts now).

All this said, if someone has a copy of the Let's Do Lunch JabberJaw Cartoon Network Shortie (Produced by Filmtecknarna with Music by Pain) in any digital format please let me know (I'd even be happy if someone could tell me if its on the Pain Jabberjaw EP Enhanced CD) It's a neat video.

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Its still the 4th of July Somewhere

01.45.00 - Mark

I function on West Coast Time, what can I say.

As you can easily tell by scrolling down I was both awake and blogging on the 4th of July, and I didn't throw up the usually hurray "Our country is 229 years old today" and while I'm proud to be a Citizen of the United States and I have been enjoying the day with the family (for the most part) I don't think many people have given a lot of thought into what the 4th of July really is.

Our country is not 229 years old today, 229 years ago we stated to unite as colonists to rebel against a government turned tyrannical with a single signature on a brilliantly worded list of grievances. It is a day to list problem with our government, and in many cases we fire shots of a revolution nearly all of us seem to have forgotten. While I have listed my own grievances in this blog on countless occasions past, present, and will easily continue into the future. While we haven't come to the cross roads our forefathers faced, we too face a government that is largely unresponsive to the needs and wants of the people.

July 4th isn't just a day to blow things up and savour gluttonous amounts of food with friends and family, the 4th of July is also a day to remember that the Government exists by the people - of the people - and most importantly for the people. More importantly it reminds of that when the government ceases to be those things we must take a stand. So now with the 4th of July over in nearly all of the Union, remember to take some time and study the countries history. Read the Declaration and Constitution, Understand the Bill of Rights and the other Amendments, and remind your representatives, Local, State, Federal, and International that they are here for you, and not the other way around.

That's True Patriotism.

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More Sweet Hardware

11.40.00 - Mark

A couple months ago MIT geeks rigged up a USB disco floor - and it made its way around the web.

I don't think I linked to it at the time, but I am now - because I like schematics and source code.. They're also selling kits but I'm far more interested in the fact that all the schematics and code was released under a creative commons license. I wonder how much it would cost to make a non-SMD setup (when they talk about SMD soldering being a bitch, they aren't kidding)

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iPod Woody

09.59.40 - Mark

Originally uploaded by ZapWizard.
This is the iPod mod I've been waiting for since November 10, 2001 (launch of the iPod) I saw the full photoset late last night and didn't think to blog it as I didn't know if or where a write up for it was, apparently I didn't look hard enough as its right here, but wow. Its mind-blowing, and I wish I would have blogged it earlier. Wow. What really gets me is that you can cover the clickwheel and still have it work. For some reason I thought it was electrically sensitive, but its not, its pressure sensitive, which I have tricked myself into ignoring. I hate to copy a mod but I can't think of a derivative version that would have the same effect. I might be taking up wood carving...


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Geek Test

23.22.00 - Mark

I was bored so I took a quiz, its actually one of the better geek tests I've taken (though slightly dated) anyways the results:

The Deviant Geek
You answered 84% of the questions as a geek truly would.
You're a geek and you know it. You've got all sorts of fringe hobbies and socially unacceptable tendencies. Chances are, whenever possible, you hate to be grouped with other people and sometimes go out of your way just to be different.

You're smart too. You're more willing to depend on your own brainpower to solve problems, instead of relying on others to pull you through life. You probably read a lot, and generally enjoy learning new things.

So what's it all mean? You may be considered by some to be uncool, but you probably don't care either. In social situations you may be either slightly passive or slightly loud (geeks always fall into the extremes).

In a nutshell, you answered enough questions correctly supporting a geek philosophy to be considered a more potent geek than 60% of the population.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 93% on geekness
Link: The True Geek Test written by ambientred on Ok Cupid

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More Confuserioms From Our Friends In Washington DC

23.28.00 - Mark

I've desperately trying to figure this one out.

H.J.RES.57: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States protecting religious freedom

Yes I know Thomas, and no its not in there, which is extra confusering.

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My Kinda Town

22.43.00 - Mark

< cue lame announcer voice over>The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is proud to slander select your village town city (insert city here) to be a contestant featured in our new reality game show "feel good" late summer program My Kind Of Hick Loosers Town. By being selected our team of suits Brain sucking zombies production assistants will scout out 200 of dumbest most pathetic best and most talented hicks individuals from your slums community sad enough to come to the audition hoping it will be a spring board to future success in acting. These individuals will make up a live audience since we can't find enough morons in the New England area

This audience will be shipped freight bussed to New York where they will be a participating audience to the recording of a show that combines elements of Daytime TV game-show and post prime-time variety programming (we can't say which ones because of copyright law but the list includes The Bong Show The Rice is Pright The Bed Sullivan Show) Other features of the show include B-List Celebrities and a "Grand Prize" element if one selected victum audience member can correctly answer a question. (who will likely be chased and killed by their 200 friends)

The goal of the comedy/variety is not to pick on small town values Oh wait, Yes, Yes it is. It is to help ABC continue with its evolution of programming (which happens to be very similar to those at Box Froadcastings)

I'm a cynical bastard aren't I?

I'm not a big fan of Reality programming, at least not ones billed as reality programming (30 Days could be called reality programming but it isn't billed that way, and its far to good to be scripted) This "My Kind of Town" from ABC might be claiming to be benign, but reality TV is far from that when you drag a while town into it. I did a google search and quickly found 5 cities where they have (or have had) casting calls. (Belvidere, NJ; Ellenville, NY; Greenville, AL; Mount Horeb, WI; Burlington, MI; Mount Airy - not a current google result will be the 6th out of 6 shows) I really can't see this being a good thing for the communities involved (Its a well known and easily provable fact that most people loose 90% of their mental capacity when exposed to the lens of a video record device, and significantly more than 100% when exposed to one capable of capturing a stream of video records at 30 frames a second)

While its hard to find more than the initial press release it seems to be that the people behind it are looking to embarrass at least one "audience member" by asking them one question for a "grand prize" - its not entirely clear if this is for the x number of people in the audience or if its for the community at large but no matter 200 or 11,043 its designed to make good entertainment - not good neighbors. I could be wrong, it is ABC (which hasn't sunk to Fox's level quite yet) However I did have a lot of fun banging out the first part of this post...

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