Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The 10 Most Significant News Stories of 2008

2008 certainly kept the media busy. Between Obama, the war in Iraq, and the recession, there never seemed to be a dull moment. Here is a list of the 10 most significant news stores of 2008 (from the perspective of a United States citizen):

10. Illinois Governor Blagojevch Arrested for Attempting to Sell/Trade Obama's Vacant Senate Seat - The biggest political scandal of the year that initially gave Obama quite a bit of bad PR soon after he was elected. Governor Blagojevch attempted to trade or sell Obama's vacant senate, but wound up arrested on conspiracy charges instead.

9. Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes Die - One great comedian and an excellent musician / actor (South Park) unexpectedly died one day apart. Bernie Mac passed away from complications due to pneumonia while Isaac Hayes died from a recurrance of a previous stroke.

8. Russia Attacks Georgia - The Georgian/Russian conflict that eventually led to a brief war between the two countries.

7. Sarah Palin: First Woman to be Republican Candidate for Vice President - Although she was ridiculed constantly during her campaign run for Vice President, Sarah Palin achieved a big accomplishment in becoming the first female Vice President candidate for the conservative Republican Party.

6. Marriott Hotel Bombing: Islamabad - On September 20th a dump truck filled with explosives detonated in front of a Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, killing at least 54 and injuring at least 266.

5. Somali Pirates hijack Ships - Pirates??? Apparently so. Somali pirates invaded ships in order to steal money. The motive behind the crimes supposedly had to do with illegal fishing and dumping that was taking place in their waters.

4. Hilary Clinton: First Woman to Win a Presidential Primary - She might not have won, but there is no question that Hilary Clinton's race for Presidency has had a huge impact on women everywhere. She became the first woman to win a presidential primary.

3. Mumbai Terror Attack - The Mumbai attacks were a series of ten coordinated terrorist attacks that killed at least 173 people and injured 308 others.

2. United States in Recession - The economic recession that has left (and is still leaving) Americans in a crisis. Stocks are plummeting, unemployment rate is sky high, and numerous businesses are going bankrupt.

1. Barack Obama's Presidential Victory - In one of the most important elections in US history, America chose for the man promising change, Barack Obama. His victory is not only important because of the fact that he's the first African American President (although that is a big reason), but because of the situation that the United States has found themselves in at the time of the election

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Top 10 Most Underrated Television Shows

Certain television shows such as The Simpsons, Lost, and 24 have received the recognition that they deserve. The fact that they are enormously entertaining have made them as popular as they are today. However, there are dozens of television shows that are just as good (some can argue even better), but for one reason or another never receive the fan base of the aforementioned tv shows. Here is a list of the top 10 most underrated television shows (must have aired in 2000 or later to qualify).

1. Supernatural - Anybody who has seen an episode of the brilliant Supernatural can vouch for the number 1 spot that it has received. Any fan of the horror/suspense genre must see this show. Two brothers's mother was murdered in front of their father by something "supernatural". This caused the father to take an interest in the supernatural, raising the boys as warriors to fight the unknown. When the brothers grow up, the father disappears on a routine supernatural hunt. The brothers go on a search for their missing father. This highly addictive show is not only entertaining, scary, and intelligent, but the character development is practically unrivaled amongst other shows that exist.

2. Robot Chicken - The show is starting to receive the recognition that it deserves after the popularity of the Star Wars episode, but I still think it is highly underrated. This 10 minute claymation show has brief clips (lasting anywhere from 2 seconds to 2 minutes) that pretty much mock everything possible. 90% of the time, the jokes work and the briefness of it all is perfect for the ADD generation. Sometimes you won't get the jokes (when it refers to a TV show/movie you haven't seen), but when it's on you'll laugh until it hurts.

3. Dexter - Dexter remains an underrated show because of its placement on Showtime. Had it been aired on HBO, the popularity of this show would grow tremendously. Dexter has one of the most unique plots that currently exists on television. Dexter is an employee of the Miami Metropolitan Police Department's crime lab. When you see him interact with other coworkers, he seems like your every day typical guy. Dexter is far from it however. He is a vigilante. When he is on the crime scene for a brutal murder he decides to extract his own brand of justice by solving the crime himself and killing the murderers. Dexter is original, addictive, and entertaining. You really will never see a show quite like this.

4. Morel Orel - Morel Orel's 3 year run unfortunately just ended on December 18th . Morel Orel is the second best Adult Swim original show behind Robot Chicken. Orel is a well-behaved Christian child who seeks to better himself and his community on a daily basis by following the teachings of the church. The humor aspect of this show lies among Orel's interpretation of each sermon. Example: a teaching stated that you must be loyal to your friends. Orel is introduced to a new "friend" who happens to be a bad kid. He ends up beating up other kids and destroying property because he was simply following the church teachings. The dad is also a great part of this show. Hes an alcoholic who is battling his own inner demons. Very sad to see this show go.

5. Jericho - There's a reason why CBS received a substantial amount of people protesting the cancellation of this show. The show focuses on residents of Jericho, Kansas in the aftermath of nuclear attacks. This is a highly entertaining show that always leaves you wondering "whats going to happen next". Similar in what makes Lost so entertaining, except not as frustrating.

6. Oz - Due to the popularity of the Sopranos and Six Feet Under, Oz was highly overlooked show that was actually just as good as the Sopranos and better than Six Feet Under. Oz takes a look at prison life in the maximum security prison known as Oswald. Oz refers to a unit within Oswald that is known for it's "leniency" compared to the other units. This show doesn't hold back in it's depiction of prison life which provides an authentic feel to the show that is rarely seen. Everything about it feels so real and you actually sympathize with half of the prisoners while hating the other half. It's hard to imagine a show like Oz ever existing again.

7. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Any fan of improvisational comedy should check out It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Boasting Danny Devito among it's lead actors, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia provides a humorous look at an extremely dysfunctional family.

8. Arrested Development - Here comes the boos. Not because it doesn't deserve to be on the list, but because it's ranked "8" instead of "1" or "2". Arrested Development is often looked at as the funniest show that ever existed on television, or one of them. In my opinion, this show is slightly overrated in that sense, but extremely underrated in terms of how unpopular this show was when it was aired. You need to have a certain sense of humor to appreciate this show. Those who fit the target audience, will no doubt be one of the many who are still pissed off to this day that this show was canceled.

9. MXC - MXC can only be described as stupidally brilliant. This show is an actual Japanese game show that is dubbed in English (although not accurately). MXC highlights the ridiculousness of some Japanese shows in an extremely amusing manner.

10. Everybody Hates Chris - Critics love it, viewers love it...so what's the problem? Not sure, but for one reason or another this show never received the fanbase that it deserved. A very funny show nonetheless.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 10 New Websites of 2008

Each year millions of new websites are created, but only a few actually succeed. The reason for their success usually is related to a variety of factors including: offering a unique(s) feature that can't be found elsewhere, providing interesting content, and having a good marketing strategy in place. These new websites, the best ones of 2008, have successfully broken through the clutter of other sites by offering unique and interesting content.

1. BreakingNews.com - The BreakingNews.com website does exactly as you would expect it to, provide the most up to date News stories from around the world. Because it provides feeds from various reliable Internet sources, it offers an unbiased approach to the News, which is something seldom seen on the web. BreakingNews.com offers "breaking news alerts" in a variety of categories, including "world", "US", "politics", "entertainment", "sports", "business & tech", "health & science", and "odds & animals". A unique feature about this website is that it allows you to sort your category preference simply by clicking on an up arrow or down arrow. If that's not enough, BreakingNews.com features a "water cooler" section that allows visitors to see which stories people are receiving the most attention.

2. findingDulcinea.com - Technically formed at the end of 2007, findingDulcinea.com was not released from Beta mode until early 2008 (therefore allowing it to qualify for the top 10 list). Boasting a creative tagline of "Librarian of the Internet", fidningDulcinea.com more than lives up to its claim. Whether you're looking for general information (on pretty much anything), a directory of websites, or top new stories, you will be able to find it on this website. My favorite part about findingDulcinea.com is how it encompasses all the best characteristics of the Internet. It is informative, human-generated, as well as additively entertaining. There is a "Web Guide" section which provides an extensive overview on a variety of topics (including links to reliable sources), "Beyond the Headlines" which offers a unique viewpoint of the top stories of the day (as well as links to the outside sources), and "Netcetera" which has offbeat, original content (i.e. notable figures birthdays, essential websites for New Years, etc.).

3. SpliceToday.com - Refreshing, entertaining, informative, and unique are all words that can be used to describe SpliceToday. SpliceToday.com produces unique stories about a variety of topics including sex, sports, politics, music, pop culture, and more. I've been a fan of this website since June and have been addicted ever since. Just read any of the articles on the website and you'll grasp what I'm referring to.

4. Yahoo! Buzz - If you're a social media nerd like myself, you were eagerly waiting for the launch of this website. Being that it is controlled by Yahoo, a high expectation level was set for this website. So far it has been meeting these expectations. While it offers a very similar approach as Digg and Propeller, I've seen a significantly less amount of spam than on Yahoo! Buzz which is a huge reason why it gets my vote. I can only see this website getting better over time.

5. AnswersTV - AnswersTV provides a concept that makes you wonder why no other website has thought of it. To put it simply, AnswersTV is a website that has a bunch of informational videos relating to a variety of topics (Magic, Travel, Health, Food, etc.). Think of these videos as a cross between "how to" videos and if Wikipedia converted it's pages into videos. The content that AnswersTV.com provides is unique, interesting, and most importantly, informative.

6. Who's Your Champion - Check out their "Wall of Champions" and you'll grasp what exactly Who's Your Champion is all about. From the typical (Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger) to the wtfs?? (2 men creating a "Let's Put the Fork in the Garbage Disposal" dance, nerdy fat kids awkwardly singing), Who's Your Champion allows you to upload videos of pretty much anyone that makes you go "wow that person is a champ" while voting for other people's videos as well. This is such a refreshingly unique type of social media website that I can see sky rocketing in popularity in the near future.

7. AlcoholAbuse.com - Why does this make the list you might ask? Well, from what I've seen this new website has the most relevant information pertaining to alcohol abuse from symptoms, treatments, and general information. This website even includes an alcoholism test that allows you to assess whether you have a problem or not. This is such a prevalent problem that exists (we all know at least one person who suffers from this) that it makes this website very important, thus ranking on the top 10 list.

8. Smilebooks - The only product that makes the Top 10 list. Smilebooks allows you to create a digital photobook (a pretty kickass looking one if I might add) of pretty much anything that you want. Ranging from weddings, graduations, vacations, baby showers, etc. Smilebooks has a variety of different themes/categories to choose from.

9. JuicyCampus - Go to college? Have something juicy to say about somebody? Or maybe you just want to bash somebody, anonymously. Well you can with JuicyCampus.com. What surprises me the most about this website is that it doesn't require a user name or registration, but yet the spamming is kept under control. If you go to college, it's cool to see what is being said about your campus and the people who go there.

10. MakeupProducts.com - My last girlfriend was a fan of this website, and I can see why. Although this definitely is targeting women more than men, guys can still find it useful when searching for a gift for that special lady. This website includes hundreds of different makeup product reviews, tips and tricks, as well as industry news and overviews of different brands.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The 10 Most Hilariously Offensive South Park Moments

South Park, one of the funniest shows in the history of television, is known to push the envelope no matter what topic they are discussing. You can't sit through an episode for more than five minutes without witnessing something that is hilariously offensive. Every once in a while, there will be a moment that is so "over the top" that it will shock even the most hardcore South Park fan (in a good way). Below are the ten most hilariously offensive South Park moments.

10. Tom Cruise - Trapped in the Closet: A favorite by many, this episode hilariously makes fun of Scientology, Tom Cruise's gayness, and R. Kelly's violent nature. Instead of just selecting one scene from this episode, I'm going to include the entire episode.

9. Cripple Fight: Move over Timmy, there is a new cripple in town and he can do a lot more than just say his name. Timmy becomes enraged with jealousy because everybody thinks Jimmy is a much cooler handicapped person than Timmy. Eventually Timmy has enough and they both throw down in a parking lot for a good 5 minutes while a crowd of hundreds of bystanders watch.

8. Cartman Gives Kyle AIDS: Cartman gets AIDS due to a botched blood transfusion from a tonsillectomy (don't worry, the doctor gives him free ice cream for it). Kyle finds this very funny (in an ironic way) and frequently laughs about this. Cartman has had enough, so he ends up injecting Kyle with his AIDS. Kyle tells the principal about this, only to be told "not to be a tattle tale".

7. Cartman has Tourette's: Cartman fakes having tourette's syndrome so he can whatever he wants. Need I say more? Cartman uses this to his full advantage by saying all the most offensive things he can think of.

6. Butter Gets a Surprise in his Mouth: Cartman keeps inviting Butters over for a sleepover. Not because he likes him, but because he keeps taking pictures of Butters is in very awkward positions (one has Butters with a tampon in his mouth). Cartman takes a picture of Butters' penis in is mouth. When the boys tell Cartman that doing this makes Cartman the gay one, he freaks out and (because of Kyle's suggestion) invites Butters over to "reverse the gay polarity" by sticking his penis in Butters' mouth. He tells Butters he has a surprise, blind folds him, and just before anything happens Butters Dad walks in and witnesses everything. Because of this, Butters gets shipped off to a Christian retreat to turn him straight because (according to his father) he is "bi-curious".

5. Kyle's Cousin Kyle's Jewishness: This isn't so much as offensive as it is hilarious. Kyle's cousin Kyle was the best non-main character on South Park (I wish he was used more often than just two episodes). He takes pretty much every Jewish stereotype imaginable and brings it to the forefront. This ranges from his voice, his lack of athleticism, his dream to become an investment banker, his constant complaining, and his frugality.

4. The Death of Strawberry Shortcake: All of the Imaginationland episodes were easily the weirdest in the South Park catalog. One scene that stands out for its offensiveness and hilarity is the death of Strawberry Shortcake. The evil imaginary characters have her tied up and pluck out one of her eyes. The woodland critters don't think this is evil enough so they decide that her dying by having somebody pee in her with AIDS would do the trick. Later on in the episode Stan mentions that all he sees is Strawberry Shortcake dead with pee in her eye.

3. Eric Cartman Gets Sexually Excited Over Butters Getting Beaten by his Parents: Butters is grounded (as usual), but he needs to leave his house for a scheme that the boys have came up with to make money. Cartman tells Butters he will stay home and pretend to be him when his Dad calls in to check on him. Cartman takes advantage of this opportunity and when Butters' Dad calls in, he is overly offensive towards him and ends up calling him a pussy. He follows this trend when the Mother calls in as well. Butter gets back in time, Cartman leaves and sets up a lawn chair in front of the house, and when Butters parents arive home Butter happily exclaims "Hi Mom and Dad!". Butter's Dad responds with a "Don't you hi Dad me!" and proceeds to beat him. Cartman enjoys this tremendously and mentions his sexual excitement over this.

2. Scott Tenorman Eats his Parents: This was easily the most evil thing Eric Cartman has ever done. In my opinion, this was the best overall episode of South Park. Cartman hates Scott Tenorman because of all the tricks he plays on Cartman. Cartman tries to seek revenge multiple times with very little success. How does he finally do the trick? He gets Scott's parents killed by luring them into a crazy farmer's property (where he shoots them for trespassing). Cartman takes the bodies, chops them up, and puts them into a chili. He then hosts a Chili Con Carnival where he ends up feeding Scott the chili and makes him eat his parents. Scott starts to cry, Radiohead (his favorite band) comes to the carnival, sees him cry and calls him a cry baby repeatedly. Cartman takes pleasure in this and starts drinking his tears. Messed up, but very funny.

1. Randy Marsh's Wrong Answer on Wheel of Fortune: This was the most brilliant opening scene in South Park history. The producers were smart in not giving away any part of this episode in the previews. Randy Marsh is in the final round of Wheel of Fortune. The category is "people who annoy you". It is seven letters long and after receiving the letters "r", "s", "t", "l", and "e", it is spelt out _ _ _ _ E R S. Randy guesses B, G, N, and an "O" to reveal N _ G G E R S. The audience looks on with blank faces as the black cameraman has an angry look on his face. Randy becomes nervous and starts to say how he knows the answer, but shouldn't say it. Eventually, with time running out, he exclaims eagerly in anticipation of winning a lot of money "NIGGERS!". Time runs out, Vanna (looking very ashamed) walks over to the puzzle to reveal that the answer was actually naggers. Extremely funny and genius opening scene to a great South Park episode.