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Archive for the ‘“News”’ Category

You’ve Got Mail 2: You Don’t Got Mail

September 8, 2011

So the US Postal Service is on the verge of default. Have you seen this? Have you heard about this? With $5.5 billion owed to various pension funds and an ever-decreasing mail volume only making things worse, those dog-hating shorts-wearing deliverers of good and bad news are facing a pretty epic crisis. The White House is proposing a plan that would give USPS another three months to get their house in order, but no matter what the eventual outcome — jobs cut, Saturday service eliminated, the whole thing just shut down — it won’t be anything but a dramatic overhaul for a longstanding, indispensable American institution.

In some ways the (maybe) death of traditional mail was always bound to happen. Letters, for all their charm and sincerity, take time and effort to compose that today’s harried businessperson has NO TIME FOR. At this point many of us, especially those of us named DJ Steve, have adjusted to digital newspapers and magazines. Then you’ve got bills. Why pay them with pens and stamps and…licking when you can accomplish the same goal with a few keystrokes? Just like mp3s have all but killed physical music, so too did the dawn of email signal the end for its stamped-and-addressed cousin. All things must die. Cue the music!

…Of course it’s highly likely that, in true Congressional nail-biter fashion, the mail system will be saved or at least put on life support at the last minute and we won’t need to convert our mailboxes to compost bins. Which would be nice, because mail is nice. Has anyone in the history of ever (focus on years 1993-present) complained that they like the hand-written note and all, but it would have been a lot better in email form? Doubtful! And if they did, that person’s one of those deliberately contrarian jerks and what are you doing even writing him anyway? Get a better pen pal!

IN SUMMATION: the future is now and the world is changing but hopefully we can hold onto some standbys from the past, because not everything needs to be Back to the Future self-lacing shoes and Dippin’ Dots.

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It’s Labor Day. Let’s Talk About Jobs.

September 5, 2011

I don’t even know where to begin this post. There’s the fact that even bringing the words “jobs” and “recession” into the mix here at Lifting Fog means we’re already overextending ourselves, discussing BIG topics well outside our usual purview. Then you consider tone — can you talk about these things in a way that’s still funny, and entertaining? What number of Shia LeBeouf jokes is appropriate? (Two, probably.) Part of me wonders if tackling anything serious — and “Harry Potter reflections” DOESN’T COUNT — is in direct violation of our stated blogging mission:

…Sweet, ignorant relief.

That is definitely the target we tend to hit! But against the backdrop of a Labor Day underscored by continued 9.1% unemployment and zero job growth in the US this past month (and also the upcoming September 11th anniversary, so…), it feels oddly okay to cut the laugh track for a minute and dive into some actual, real issues. You think I’m kidding? Look at this serious face:

If that doesn’t scream “no bullsh*t editorial,” I don’t know what does.

Consider it your job to keep reading!

Thoughts on the Upcoming 2024 Presidential Campaign

September 1, 2011

We are too young now and will be too young for another three term cycles, but 12 years down the road — or 11 years post-Apocalypse, because it’s still definitely happening — we now-25-year-olds (…born in the United States) will finally be eligible to run for President. Brilliant! Finally we can make good on those “when I grow up” speeches we gave to our fifth grade class, as well as wow our previously underwhelmed parents.

But take a step back from the excitement of becoming President for a moment. Consider the world we now live in: one where almost every move we make is recorded (or at least noted) and the notion of “skeletons in the closet” is ridiculous because they’re right there in our Facebook pictures, drowning in Four Loko. We are the first true Overshare Generation. And when it comes time in 2024 for us to step out onto the public stage — to be held accountable for our lives led to that point — most of us will have left digital footprints too DIRTY and AWFUL for our campaign to stand any kind of a chance.

Keep reading!

Making the Most of Hurricane Irene

August 26, 2011

We feel you, New York (and Friends). Not only did you suffer through an out-of-nowhere earthquake earlier in the week and learn of the demise of Derek Jeter’s relationship with the Sexiest Woman Alive, now you’re wrapped around the corner of Duane Reade waiting to buy cigarettes and paper towels in preparation for a potentially awful storm. Hurricane Irene, that bitch, is about to make your weekend miserable.

But the benefit of sunny, uppers-fueled Los Angeles living has seen the Weather Tracking team at Lifting Fog working hard to think of fun solutions to your impending doldrums. Our first thought — “movies to watch” — was already written up by Videogum. Then Thought Catalog went ahead and compiled a handy 20-something survival guide. “What’s left to say?” we thought. “What can we offer that the other guys can’t?” Then we really dug deep — considered the skills and perspective we alone possess, that we might bestow on our readers — and figured it out: dumb videos held together by the lightest possible editorial. And so without further preamble, we arrive at our Way to Make the Most of Hurricane Irene: go hurricane surfing or something.

Keep reading!

The [Burger King] King is Dead. Long Live the King.

June 4, 2011

Food World, June 2011: it’s all changing, everywhere! First Mark Zuckerberg vows to only eat what he kills (inciting the Winklevoss twins to say the same thing, a few days later). Then the USDA tells us we picked the WRONG GEOMETRIC SHAPE to guide our well-balanced diets. And now — maybe three times as sad as either of those — Burger King decides to change tacks with its menu and overall design. You’re not crying yet? Consider that soon lost to the annals of fast food history will be its bizarre/genius Facebook initiatives; its line of Whopper-scented cologne (one presumes). But most significantly, undoubtedly, will be the loss of maybe the most disturbing mascot ever to grace a national commercial or fuel our collective nightmares. The Burger King…King is about to be sacked.

(Note: From here the royal icon will be referred to as “The Burger King,” his place of rule “BK.”)

Keep reading!

“Add Me on MyPlate,” A Fox News Special Report

June 4, 2011

Thursday afternoon the US Department of Agriculture, working alongside known Communist Michelle Obama, threw away the solid-as-a-rock Food Pyramid we’ve all known since First Grade and replaced it with a redesigned model: a food plate, “MyPlate,” that streamlines the American nutritional message. USDA Deputy Director of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Robert C. Post says they hope this new model will lead to the “behavior changes…we really need.” But are they changes we really want? And at what cost?

GONE are the colorful images of cereal (grains) reminding us that TV’s Jerry Seinfeld was, for all his sins, a consciously healthy eater; nowhere to be found are the peanuts and saltines and cheese blocks so paramount to our childhood growth, and parties. In their place now are colored pie slices, not even properly aligned, that serve only to confuse the discerning food shopper. Sure, green vegetables everyone gets. But blue dairy? Purple protein? If you think we’re not passing through the meat section wondering where to pick up our purple tenderloins, Mrs. First Lady, then you don’t know America.

“As long as [our plates are] half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden,” she said. “That’s how easy it is.”

…And now “golden”? We recognize Crayola’s eight basic colors as the visual building blocks of a healthy society, but only on special occasions and the Olympics should gold, silver, and the like be considered acceptable additions. MyPlate’s aggression will not stand.

Now: American Dad!

What’s the Deal with The Rapture?

May 20, 2011

It’s important to begin any kind of discussion of tomorrow’s foretold event with one clarification: the world isn’t going to end on May 21st, 2011.

…It’s going to end five months LATER, after the pious and penitent have had time to settle into their new Heavenly digs and the rest of us are too deep into football season (if it happens) to really care too much. Jesus is nothing if not one for delivering the unexpected encore!

But what is the Rapture? Will God’s chosen be pulled to Heaven on a ray of alien light, drawn skyward as though by tractor beam? Will they simply drop dead at the dinner table, parted from their weak manflesh? Are there some other heretofore un-imagined means by which they’ll be transported to their final reward? No one knows! Which makes the Vegas odds on this thing something of a disaster, but the countdown to 6pm — when it’s all supposed to go down — that much more captivating. If God’s hand literally scoops His elect people off the streets and into white satin robes and non-alcoholic beer, I am going to be a VERY RICH MAN for my last five months on Earth.

Keep reading!

Gypsies 1, Internet 0

April 8, 2011

While the US Federal Government prepares to go on a vacation from which we all hope they’ll return with t-shirts and souvenirs, it’s important to distract ourselves with less depressing news. Thankfully, there is always someone out there who knows EXACTLY what we need.

Several days ago an elderly Georgian “pensioner” (which in the Caucasus region is of course code for “gypsy”) digging for scrap metal in the town of Ksani accidentally struck a large fiber-optic cable…and summarily cut off Internet connections to both Georgia and neighboring Armenia. It’s a deep, convoluted story, but let’s really try to unpack this thing piece by piece:

1) Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha–

2) “Many Georgians’ Internet connections were also briefly cut in 2009 by another scavenger who damaged the fibre-optic cable.”

3) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA–

There’s something so…achingly perfect in the image of a 75-year-old woman unknowingly hacking away at an entire country’s Internet connection. Especially when it’s a real image, not even dreamt up (who would dream about that……right?) or composed for a Bergman-inspired student film! In a world so dependent on tethered computers that allow us to compare Doodle Jump scores while writing blog posts no one will read, all it takes to bring everything to a grinding halt is a persistent gypsy with a worn-out shovel. Life is BEAUTIFUL.

April Fool’s: ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ in Holiday Form

April 1, 2011

It’s by now mid-day on the 1st of April, which means someone in your office has already dyed the water cooler orange and your homepage has been changed not twice, but eight times to Bieberfever.com. APRIL FOOL’S, Y’ALL! It’s as much in our DNA to prank each other as it is to breathe and urinate, which makes today something of a nationally cathartic experience. We don’t have to hide that part of ourselves, relegating it to chat rooms where we pretend to be hot younger women or fake “dude, my mom’s dead” rejoinders. (Pranked!) We can live our lives OUT LOUD.

But no group gets more out of today than nerds. Or more specifically, nerds who also program web content. (Within the hierarchy of nerds it should be noted that while all nerds are computer experts, some are more expert than others.) Ten and twenty years ago, the guys who are today responsible for everything you do online were getting their heads dunked in toilets and watching their lunch money disappear. “I swear, Mom, the money literally disappeared. What else do you want me to say?” Their moms would give them wedgies before sending them off to karate class, which helped nothing, and again before bed. “You need to learn to HIT BACK, Sergei!” said Mrs. Brin as she pulled and twisted, a look of bizarre pleasure on her face.

Keep reading!

Are We Entering A Post-Piracy Era Of Music?

September 1, 2010

With the announcement today of new iPods and a new iTunes, I think it’s time we reflected on how far we’ve come since the days of Napster and the wild west of music downloading. Along with the introduction of brand new iPods, etc. come some cold hard facts about music downloads in the current music retail climate. The numbers are fairly impressive, at least from an iTunes standpoint. In little more than a decade, iTunes has become the largest music retailer on the planet. Translation: people are buying music. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t twice as many people still downloading music illegally, but it’s a significant change that’s worth noting.

I had an enlightening moment two days ago when I went to download a Prince song (…illegally). I wasn’t looking for an entire album (BitTorrent), but only a single track from Prince’s seminal Purple Rain. How to get it? All my previous methods of obtaining a song illegally have been exhausted. LimeWire has lost in court, the other P2Ps having dropped out years ago. Even Lala, a site I had high hopes for in its golden era, has been shut down. I chuckle to myself as I realize I have nowhere to go but Amazon or iTunes to procure the track I’m looking for. What has the world come to?

Keep reading!