Archive for 2008

Microsoft Recommends… Firefox?

Thursday, December 18th, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

This week hell has officially frozen over, or so it would appear to the number of IE users who have been referred by Microsoft to switch to the browser’s immediate competitor.

A warning to users surfaced this week, claiming that a flaw in Microsoft’s premiere surfing engine could allow would-be hackers to infiltrate and gain access to users’ personal files - or even take over their computers.

The “flaw” was spotted last week when hackers started attacking users of IE 7. However, it’s not limited to 7 and  has also been found in earlier versions of Microsoft’s browser, IE 5 and IE 6.

The Redmond software giant acknowledged on Dec. 16 that more than two million Windows users had already become infected via the IE flaw, according to an article by the Press Association. How many more people will get hit before the patch is widely distributed is anyone’s guess. Read the rest of this entry »

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SMASHgods TV: Top Chef New York, Weeks 4 and 5

Monday, December 15th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Rocco diSpirito is a tool. He was the guest judge on last week’s episode of “Top Chef: New York”. Somehow he doesn’t have the flair and respect that someone like Thomas Keller or Daniel Boulud have earned, or even a Mario Batali with his orange Crocs. No, Rocco is all about being Rocco, getting maximum face time and talking too much. Sure, he was once a hot young chef in Manhattan (Union Pacific), then he had the ruinous reality show on NBC, “The Restaurant”, that exposed him in rather unflattering ways. No, Rocco is someone who is around still to add a name or B-level kitchen cred to this show, and besides, it looks like Padma likes him. Even the wonderful Fabio, intensely full of natural (and not manufactured) charm himself, couldn’t resist digging at him in an aside —that Rocco is American, not Italian—but in some ways I suppose he understands the appeal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stalking, Courting or Pimping Condi?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Pop Culture with 6 Comments

Courting Condi

Remember that lumpy older brother bully who made life hell for Macaulay Culkin’s character in the holiday classic “Home Alone”? I didn’t think so. Former child actor Devin Ratray is hoping to reprise his bullying ways, or at least become a gadfly or find some newfound publicity. This time his attention is turned toward the current (and outgoing) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “Courting Condi” is a new film by Brit Sebastian Doggart that depicts Ratray’s quest to get close to the Secretary to get her attention and declare his love for her. Fiction? Documentary? I haven’t seen it yet, but the trailer has made its way around the Internet and I guess that Doggart wants to do both: create a Michael Moore-style documentary and also imbue it with some snarky satire, because, well, it focuses on a woman who has apparently been part of the evil “vulcans” that took us into a fraudulent and costly war in Iraq, let’s see, approved of torture methods, ignored terrorist threats before 9/11, um, hold on, kowtowed to the hawks like Cheney and Rumsfield and let the henchmen call the shots, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

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Goodbye Shiba Inu Pups!

Monday, December 8th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with No Comments »

So it may time to say goodbye today —finally, and sadly, after 8 weeks of virtually uninterrupted happiness and an addiction for millions around the world. Yes, it’s true. The 6 Shiba Inu puppies that have been on puppycam via UStream for the past eight weeks from here in the SF Bay Area are about to find homes by disparate owners. We’re in desperate times economically; the headlines of home foreclosures, layoffs, our dwindling 401Ks, and all around malaise, but many of us certainly knew where to go to escape all of these glum times. And it was in the precious bundles of these tiny Japanese hunting dog breeds: three males (Aki, Akoni, Ando) and three females (Autumn, Ayumi, Amaya), all mischievous, all gnawing at each others’ little furry legs, all barking, and all identified by different-colored collars. (I have been partial to Ayumi.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Smash TV: Survivor Gabon, Weeks 9 and 10

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Survivor Gabon

After Week Eight’s GREATEST EPISODE EVER in the “Survivor” enterprise, this week’s episode was CBS’s way to do the yearly Thanksgiving catch-up. This is the time for all families who have been belching up their turkey meals on a Thursday night to snooze in front of their fireplaces and remind themselves what a blast Survivor Gabon has been this season. And, there is ample opportunity to hop in and join all the shenanigans. Because this week, CBS managed to actually show not just some nicely edited recaps from the first several weeks, but it also unveiled some of the contestants’ application videos. Some were quite revealing because it helped explain some of the treacherous and evil behavior of some of the castaways up to now. Read the rest of this entry »

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The VW Pickup Does Baywatch

Monday, December 1st, 2008 | SMASH Technology with No Comments »

VW Pickup

Does VW know what it’s doing? Will they ever get the pickup right? We covered this ongoing struggle before over the summer, and the results were not all that pleasing. Acting as if it has just come up with something totally revolutionary, VW’s new “Pickup Concept”, which premiered this fall in Hanover at a commercial vehicle show, is probably a few decades too late. Why is the usually uber-practical “car for the people” trying to reinvent the wheel? With foreign companies like Toyota, Nissan and Honda already successful with their tons of steel, and sometimes with way too much horsepower, what would possibly behoove VW to want to trot out a fully-designed truck now. Read the rest of this entry »

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SMASHgods TV: Top Chef New York, Weeks 2 and 3

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Week 2 of “Top Chef New York” was all about teamwork as the chefs were put together a “New American” menu and they would be judged by some pretty cranky and knowledgeable people –that is, apart from Tom, Gail and Padma: a group of chefs who were not chosen to be on TCNY. Now that’s a bitchy bunch, and some of these people did not disappoint with their probably scripted hissy-fits or snap dismissals of some of the food they were eating. More about that later. However, as Tom said to the judges at the end, this wasn’t, collectively speaking, a wondrous event for the ages since the chefs’ creations probably “set American cuisine back about 20 years”. Ouch. Read the rest of this entry »

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Macys’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Gets Rickrolled!

Friday, November 28th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

So there I was –so there we were, all 50 million of us, according to the ratings—sitting down on Thanksgiving Day to watch the 82nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s an institution and each year the “Today” show hosts try to uncomfortably sit through all the corny floats and engage in mawkish conversations with Al Roker and other C-list NBC actors (yesterday’s were Oscar and Meredith from “The Office”). What would this most precious of holidays be without firing up the TV and watching high school band after high school band, dopey float (with a special nod to Disney) after float.

Yesterday seemed to be going as planned, and in fact everything did work out pretty smoothly during the 3-hour telecast. Hey! There’s slutty teen phenom Miley Cyrus! She’s singing that song “Bolt”! And there’s the asexual American Idol runner-up, little David Archuleta! What the heck is the Varsity Fanclub and why do they look like they’re in their 30s? It’s the Broadway production of “Into the Heights”! Can’t wait to get tickets to that! And how do they lay down that green pavement stage area in front of Macy’s on Herald Square. Read the rest of this entry »

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Superwoman Ann Curry Does Not Reach The Top of Kilimanjaro!

Friday, November 28th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture, SMASH TV with No Comments »

Ann Curry

What was on NBC’s mind last week? Ratings for the “Today” show must be down. It’s November sweeps time and I guess it was time for the obligatory, flashy gimmick destined to generate ad dollars and publicity. Let’s see. We send balding, prickly Matt Lauer around to some exotic locations and call it “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” while the equally queasy hosts back in Studio 1A try to mockingly guess where he is, whether it’s on a plaza dancing a tango in Buenos Aires, or the kingdom of Bhutan. Never one to be tired, Matt and NBC News crew go to five different places during that week. And for what? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why We Say ‘Thanks’ to Sarah Palin

Monday, November 24th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

Palin Turkey

Someone definitely has it out for Sarah Palin. Come on. First, the nasty backbiting while she was John McCain’s running mate, about how she was going “rogue” and acting like a “diva”. Then, the leak about how she and her family ran up a $150,000 tab at Needless Markup and Saks, all the while acting, according to how it was printed, like “redneck hillbillies”. Then, just days after Election Day, Fox News (Fox News!) reported that McCain staffers were dumping on her about what a rotten candidate she was –not knowing that Africa was a continent, how she refused any prep before the trainwreck Katie Couric interview, etc., all of which made her mad, calling the press “stinkers” and “cowards” for having all this stuff come out the way it did. Read the rest of this entry »

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Smash TV: Survivor: Gabon, Week 8

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Survivor Gabon

27 days in captivity with the contestants and this is what we have learned about the Survivor: Gabon this season thus far:

•    This has been a season of blindsides. And not just this, but, in true safari style, some of the victims have been big lions. Ace the mastermind, the sometime British-accented guru: gone. Marcus, the ringmaster doctor who felt he could sway anyone with a wave of a hand: gone. And last week, it was Charlie, the lawyer from New York, who was also as self confident as Marcus, and was possibly in a bro-mance with him, and was trying to call the shots on Fang with evil Corinne: gone. Not that the remaining players are all weaklings, because they’re not. But there is some kind of triumphalism in that comparative weaklings like Susie and Ken, and especially Crystal are moving past the established players. Read the rest of this entry »

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SMASHgods TV: Top Chef New York, Week 1

Monday, November 17th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Top Chef

Tim Goodman of the SF Chronicle wrote an insightful post this week about what makes a good reality show.  For all the “dreck” in current so-called reality shows like “The Hills” and “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, there is also a slew of decent reality shows that are in fact competition shows that, as Goodman states, are “acceptable” non-scripted programs. A show like “Project Runway” inspires awe because the contestants/designers literally have to produce each week, creating, fussing, crying, screaming, and then one of them is deemed “Out” by the Teutonically blunt Heidi Klum, who usually shows up wearing something pretty amazing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Keith Olbermann and the Prop 8 Vote: “This is What Your Heart Tells You to Do?”

Thursday, November 13th, 2008 | SMASH Politics, SMASH Pop Culture with 1 Comment

Keith Olbermann Prop 8

There have been a lot of post-mortems in the wake of the disturbing passage of Proposition 8 in California, which would have upheld the state Supreme Court’s decision in May to allow same-sex marriages. Protesters have taken to the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco voicing their dissent. Some have marched on the steps of the Mormon temples, especially since it’s been revealed that LDS money from Utah helped fund the Yes on 8 campaign throughout the state. Tens of thousands have also taken to signing petitions that seek to overturn the vote.  Other petitions charge that because of its overt involvement in the campaign, the Mormon Church should lose its precious tax exemption status. Read the rest of this entry »

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Smash TV: Survivor Gabon, Week 7

Monday, November 10th, 2008 | SMASH TV with No Comments »

Survivor Gabon

How the mighty have fallen! Wow! Score one for the underdogs! After last week’s searing blindside of Ace from Fang, at the hands of his supposed kewpie doll/sorta love interest, Sugar, this week’s ouster was just as stunning. Marcus, the mighty doctor, leader, motivator, who liked to hear his own voice, was knocked to his knees at exactly the moment when he thought he was controlling his entire tribe. Uh uh. Here on “Survivor”, people’s fates can change in an instant and this was a classic, if not entirely unsurprising, moment. Here’s how this all went down: Read the rest of this entry »

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Britney and JT Together Again?! Not Quite!

Monday, November 10th, 2008 | SMASH Pop Culture with 1 Comment

That’s it?!

Madonna JT Together Again

Governments sign agreements or treaties, even arms control deals every day. Armed conflicts find resolutions or ceasefires. Mergers between companies that run into the billions happen all the time. Tribes sit down and settle centuries-old differences every so often. Marriages end in divorce, sure, but every once in a while there are reconciliations. People do find a way to patch things up. Sometimes it takes some special intervention to make things a little more peaceful. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama Victory: Two Black Women React

Friday, November 7th, 2008 | SMASH Politics with No Comments »

The utterly transformative and historic moment in Chicago’s Grant Park last Tuesday night held millions around the world spellbound. The image of the newly-elected 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and two young daughters waving to the crowds was something many people genuinely thought they’d never see. An African-American first family. A Black man who finally and most decisively achieved whatever this mythical “American dream” represented. A 20-month-old campaign was finally over, and Barack Hussein Obama triumphed, winning not only the popular vote on Tuesday but also the electoral vote by a margin of more than 2 to 1. Obama won in states that had not voted for a Democrat since 1964. The Commonwealth of Virginia, where the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War stood, went for Obama, as did North Carolina. As did Iowa. As did many states. They voted –Americans voted in large numbers for a Black man. Even in a country where racial attitudes still exist, one of the remarkable facts about Tuesday’s election was that Americans put aside those differences and took a proud and measured chance on a new leader and a new hope. Read the rest of this entry »

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