Monday, June 30, 2008

Stand-up Soars

Stand-up comedy is doing well these days. Variety cites the tough economic times, but I think it also has to do with accessibility. It's now easier than ever to watch or listen to stand-up - podcasts, satellite radio, cable, college tours, expansive city tours and YouTube have risen on top of the usual clubs, which can be a little pricey these days. There's also a significant undercurrent of alternative comedy, especially in New York and Chicago, getting more attention and stage time.

I think another factor contributing to this surge is how specialized the entertainment has become. Almost everyone can find a comedian or two that closely aligns to a particular sense of humor, from blue collar Larry the Cable Guy to skeptical transvestite Eddie Izzard, Jim Gaffigan to Mitch Hedberg (he's still popular posthumously), Demetri Martin to Mike Birbiglia to Jerry Seinfeld - there's someone or something for everyone. And this goes without mentioning the attention that the late George Carlin generated both for his career and his influence on others.

So while the "tough times" surely influence some of this, I think a lot of credit should go to new media and the people plugging into it.

Pixar's First Short - From 1984

Yes, 1984!

More background here.

The Infernal Machine

Our second quantum-related post of the day (after the new Bond trailer). The Large Hadron Collider will go online in August with physicists and nerds eagerly awaiting some insight into the mysteries of the universe.

Of course, what's the fun in playing God with diabolical machines without fears and criticism? Will we create a black hole that swallows Earth? Will we, as the CNN puts it, be subject to particles that turn our planet into a hot dead clump?

"Ridiculous, say scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French initials CERN -- some of whom have been working for a generation on the $5.8 billion collider, or LHC."
Juvenile! Absurd!
"Obviously, the world will not end when the LHC switches on," said project leader Lyn Evans.

David Francis, a physicist on the collider's huge ATLAS particle detector, smiled when asked whether he worried about black holes and hypothetical killer particles known as strangelets.

"If I thought that this was going to happen, I would be well away from here," he said.

But where would you go, David? You think your PhD will save you now?? I'm sure some smart-ass dinosaur turned to his friend and said, "There's no way that asteroid hits Earth. If I thought that was going to happen, I would be well away from here."

Seriously, no worries though. Stephen Hawking says any black holes produced in this atom-smashing fest will evaporate quickly. Vegas odds of catastrophic global apocalypse: 1/50,000,000. I don't know how you would collect that winning payout though.

I'm secretly, and now openly, hoping for a 2001: A Space Odyssey journey into the ultimate transcendent nature of humanity when they hit the switch.

New Bond Film "Quantum of Solace" Trailer

Out in November. I thought the reboot with Casino Royale was great, so I'm looking forward to this one. Speaking of reboots in the second phase, The Dark Knight will be released July 18.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Obama's Seal

Regarding the new seal unveiled by the Obama campaign last week: I, like many, I think, initially cringed. It looks a lot like the official presidential seal and also includes a clumsy "Vero Possumus" slogan in the center - "Yes We Can."

Crazy. Is Obama overreaching now? Maybe, but perhaps this is the most brilliant idea since FDR's Fala. Yeah, the seal is kind of ridiculous, but think of the mind games. People are going to see Obama speaking from behind a seal that looks a lot like the real presidential seal. People are going to get used to seeing him speak about the war, the economy, hope and change accompanied by a symbol conjuring up images of the presidency. If he looks comfortable behind a presidential-looking seal, people might get comfortable with the idea of an Obama presidency. It's a pseudo-subliminal effect! Akin to having a band play a tune reminiscint of "Hail to the Chief" whenever he walks into a room. You may not like it, but if you wouldn't necessary be opposed to it, the same could happen with Obama's name on the November ballot.

A Different Kind of Claw Game

You know those claw games at arcades or Denny's that never ever ever give you a prize? Now you can try to win a live lobster in one, says the Denver Post.

Requisite PETA outrage:

"JD's Lobster Zone machine turns torture and death into a game, pure and simple," says PETA vice president Tracy Reiman. "Incarcerating lobsters in filthy tanks inside a boisterous club, making an abusive game out of their capture, and finally boiling them to death is every bit as reprehensible as tormenting cats, dogs, or any other animal."

Full Disclosure: Sports Allegiances

I figured I should state my sports allegiances for the record. They reflect a strange childhood of frequent moves and glory days past, but I figure as long as I'm loyal to these teams consistently over the years, no one can fault me for rooting for a cross-nation mosaic of clubs.

NBA: Chicago Bulls (lived in the Chicago area during the Jordan years and still love them...despite hard times)

NFL: Carolina Panthers (lived in North Carolina, decided to become a fan when they were included in the 1995 expansion along with Jacksonville, not really a big NFL fan, but this is my team, I suppose)

MLB: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Surrounding Territories including Riverside and Orange Counties and the Inland Empire (fan since I was 13 years old, spent my formative years in Orange County) See here for renaming fiasco.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks (same reasons as above)

NCAA Football: Notre Dame (2007 graduate); Nebraska (family ties, I was born in Lincoln, will cheer for ND over Nebraska, would ideally like to see both playing each other for the national title every year)

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame, Nebraska (see above)

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy (fan since 1995 when I proclaimed to my brother, "The Galaxy are going all the way" and they damn near did)

English Premier League: Arsenal (I arbitrarily latched onto them in the late 90s and decided they would be my horse in this race, my dog in that fight)

Dodgers Beat Angels Without a Hit

As an Angels fan, I am annoyed. 1-0 loss.

Save Ferris

Kingda Ka

This ride was the highlight of my trip to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey yesterday. Similar to Knott's Berry Farm's Xcelerator, but way more insane - faster, higher and headache-inducing. In the 2.5 seconds I was aware of what was going on, I didn't think the ride could possibly get any faster. Everything started to rattle and my body tried to tell me, through all the screams, that humans really shouldn't do this kind of thing. Zero to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds.

"You win again, gravity!!!"

Not Wanted?

John finds some allies in his lonely crusade against Wanted, which brought in $50 million this weekend.

Attacking Mars

The Phoenix Mars Lander continues to make progress. It's only a matter of time before we uncover this.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Euro 2008 Final

Germany v Spain tomorrow at 2:45 Eastern! At least, I think that's the right time. I always have trouble figuring out times for international soccer/football matches. Even ESPN lists it as "14:45 ET." It seems the United States (or maybe just ESPN) tries to be cool and international when it comes to soccer. Anyways, I'll be watching.

Teen Killed at Georgia Six Flags

Scary, sad news and on the same day I was at Six Flags in Jackson, NJ!

Out and Proud

I don't usually browse through Yahoo!'s omg! that often (not that there's anything wrong with that), but found this cool photo album of Hollywood's out and proud.

What the World Eats

Very cool gallery from TIME's website featuring photos of families from around the world and what they eat during a typical week. Weekend cultural education? Check.

The Way of the Future

Some website housekeeping announcements:

1) This blog's RSS feed is here if you're interested. Just bookmark it and you'll be notified when there's an update.

2) Note the new "On the Bound" section in the sidebar. I'm giving Twitter a try, partially for fun and partially out of curiosity. I'm not sure that adding another layer of information updates to my life is a good thing, but it would be nice to use as a way to check in when I can't make it to the laptop.

3) I've been updating the blog a lot more recently and hope to keep up the better pace. I finally got a feed reader set up and this has made me about a thousand times more productive and efficient with keeping tabs on news, blogs and people. As you can see, I'm trying to integrate feeds and updates into this site more.

4) Congratulations to Simon on his graduation from Stanford with a Masters in electrical engineering! I've known Simon since 7th grade and I credit him with getting me into blogging when we collaborated on the famed blog of old, IKWITA. Best of luck Simon! You're welcome to guest blog here whenever you like. Same goes for Brian, our other former IKWITAer, who has his new blog here.

Friday, June 27, 2008


A North Carolina grandmother learns about the "potentially offensive letter combination" WTF from her grandchildren and complains to the state authorities, who were surprised to find that a sample license plate on their website also contained The-Letter-Combination-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.

"Officials learned last year the common acronym stands for a vulgar phrase in e-mail and cell phone text messages."
Seriously? They're just now learning this? I clearly remember seeing "WTF?" emblazoned on an elementary school locker when I was in kindergarten. This was shortly after I had been introduced to the Biblical word for donkey several days before by an especially communicative class bully. And where did I attend kindergarten? Millbrook Elementary in Raleigh, North Carolina.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan picks up the case, too.

UDDATE: Brendan Loy, as well.

Candy Bar ID Quiz

How many candy bars can you identify based on a cross-section photo?

For the record, I got 14 out of 20 correct. I'm not sure if I'm more proud or ashamed. Anyway, let me know how you do!

The Setup

Michael Showalter and Mike Birbiglia sending each other up:

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

What's the deal with comedic set-ups on talk shows? Did you ever notice that Seinfeld is the easiest comedian to spot this with? I was watching some of his guest spots on The Tonight Show and it's very obvious when he launches into a stand-up bit rather than normal conversation. I love the guy, but man...

Tone Deafness Studied

90% of people can carry a tune.

Heat Burst in Nebraska

Since I just returned from a quick trip to Nebraska, it's worth posting this story about a recent heat burst in Cozad. Nebraska gets some of the strangest weather in the country.

From Wikipedia on heat bursts:

"A heat burst is a rare atmospheric phenomenon characterised by gusty winds and a rapid increase in temperature and decrease in dew point."

The phenomenon is not fully understood, apparently.

Apocalypse Watch 2008


Among other things, I suppose.

Facebook vs. Grammar

The challenges continue.

"Users who haven't specified their gender in their Facebook profiles will be asked to do so in the coming weeks. That way, Facebook doesn't have to default to "their" or the made-up word "themself," as it had been doing.

While not knowing someone's gender poses grammatical challenges in English, it has created even larger headaches as Facebook expands to other languages, where a gender-neutral option isn't available in plural form."

Letterman Ratings Hit Record Low

You know, it's probably people like me that made Letterman hit his lowest ratings since 1993. I'm a casual fan, but haven't been watching the show lately. I think Conan has assumed the younger, quirky niche. Maybe Letterman should try throwing snowballs at Brian Williams' office window...or Katie Couric's. (Unfortunately, I am unable to find of video of Conan doing this. If someone finds it, let me know!) My Dad told me that Letterman was big when he was in college - the Jon Stewart of his time.

In conclusion, Letterman needs to get his act together.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


He's quite popular. A collection of Obama magazine cover appearances. The New Republic's tripped me out for a second.

Love's Labors Lost at Sea

PZ Myers waxes lyrical about the romance of researching rotting squid carcasses:

"You have got to love cephalopod researchers. A rotting carcass, possibly of Architeuthis, is found in California — shredded by sharks, missing its eyes and most of its arms, torn by shrieking seagulls, described as bruised, battered, and chewed up — and the scientists are all "Helloooo, Nurse!", and you can just imagine one of their hind legs doing a spastic tarantella and their eyes zooming out big as saucers."

Remembering George Carlin (But Not Too Much)

I haven't had time to comment on George Carlin's passing due to travels and a hectic schedule recently, but I did want to say a few things about him, especially since I've been doing stand-up comedy for a few years and have certainly thought about his style and influence on people like me.

He would have mocked us for thinking about him, remembering him or talking of him in the afterlife. I think Carlin's independence and skepticism stood out more to me than his ranting about society's ills and absurdities. His comedy, at least for me, wasn't always the kind of positive energy I admire in Eddie Izzard, for example, but it was, for better or worse, usually true.

I first encountered Carlin on an HBO special aired sometime in the late 1990s while I was staying up late and unable to sleep. I found him incredibly clever and soon took the opportunity to borrow a copy of his Braindroppings book from a high school friend. I read the rest of his books within a month, but never had a chance to catch-up with a lot of his stand-up until the past year or so and the treasure trove that is YouTube.

Now that I've been performing stand-up for a little while, I can see that Carlin's biggest influence on me is not in the way I tell jokes or the attitude he imparted on several generations - it comes more from his way of thinking and trust in individual reason. Something seems absurd to you? Explore may be right. It's at the foundation of many comedic premises and certainly something most comedians are aware of, but it was the way Carlin's intellect made you laugh and then soaked into your brain to make you think, long after your belly soreness wore off that truly mattered. You remembered his take on the world as you learned about science and religion. Or evolution and psychic claims. Carlin was fiercely independent in his humor and his mind - and he only asked us to do the same.

Vatican to World: It's Tradition, Not Prada

The Vatican is jabbing back at papers and magazines that have speculated about the Pope's flamboyant fashion statements over the past few years. Red leather shoes and a brimmed hat dubbed "the Saturn" have led some to speculate that the old pontiff was wearing duds forged by major fashion houses like Prada or Gucci or Forever 21 or whatever.

But neigh! Apparently, Popes have always been dressing this way. The Pope wears funny red hats because the Popes of old have worn funny red hats and that's just the way it is. Tradition: the beginning and end of all reasons.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kona Koffee Kapers

From the AP:

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Police in Hawaii say a thief got his caffeine fix when he made off with more than 1,000 pounds of Kona coffee beans.

Police say the beans were taken from a home sometime between May 27 and May 29. The beans were in 100-pound burlap bags.

The Kona area of Hawaii's Big Island is famous for its premium coffee beans.

Police are asking the public to report anyone trying to sell green coffee beans.
Or experiencing convulsive twitches while chatting with 5000 of his/her closest friends. That's a lot of premium coffee to run off with. You can't even run off with that amount, can you? You would need a truck, a Boesky, at least two Jim Browns, one Miss Daisy, two Jethros and the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever.

How much caffeine would it take to kill you? Here's a good way to find out. Just enter your drink of choice and the caffeine calculator will tell you how many you'll need to punch a ticket to Ghost Town.*

(*Ghost Town is not a legitimate slang term for death and was made up for the purposes of this post. Then again, should any slang term be "legitimate"? Puzzles. Conundrums. It's what we do.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

RSS Feed

RSS Feed for this site is here in case you want to be notified of new posts, but would rather not check everyday (especially when I slack off).

Virtual Speedbumps

Philadelphia will install 100 virtual speedbumps, optical illusions that slow people down without damaging cars, slowing down emergency vehicles or being an annoyance. Cool.

Photo of the Day

Jenny's got it for you:

"People are dumb--Another perfect example of people being dumb. If you notice the picture on the left, not only is the purse on the floor, everything is spilling out and the floor is dirty. The right hand picture has the purse not only hanging from the table, nothing is spilling out, and the floor is perfectly clean."

Quote of the Day

Marc Ambinder on Obama and a snag with Muslim women circulating the Interwebs:

"Politics has found its Jack-In-The-Box story for the day, courtesy of Ben Smith's article on two Muslim women who were denied the chance to sit behind Obama because they looked too Muslim-y. The story itself is fine and worth the read, and my political take on it is banal: of course there is a sensitivity within the Obama campaign anything that fuels the rumors that Obama isn't a Christian. (I half expected Obama to join the First Christian Evangelical Catholic Christ Church of All Saints when he quit Trinity)."

Slackers! Multitaskers! Mythbusters!

A new study suggests that those of us who use the Internet for personal reasons at work aren't all slackers. I think it gives a lot of workers peace of mind to quickly check a ball score, scan recent headlines, exchange a quick email with the significant other or verify that Britney's latest uh-oh wasn't an oh-no. That said, it's also quite useful for slackers.

Have to read this update from Perez now....kthnxbye!

Yeti! Where Be You?

Alastair Lawson on the search for the Indian Yeti.

"The truth is out there somewhere," says Dipu Marak sincerely.

"But like the Loch Ness monster this creature is obviously not fond of giving too many photo opportunities."

It's only a matter of time before someone takes a great shot of a Yeti only to discover a UFO and JFK's real assassin lurking in the background, noticed only after developing or downloading the image. That last sentence was poorly constructed.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Crosswalk Countdowns

Continuing with our theme of urban spontaneity, a video from Urban Prankster, a group affiliated with Improv Everywhere in New York. This was a mission they did in Santa Monica. Enjoy!

Crosswalk Countdown - GuerilLA from Kelly Herrington on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Train Beats

Last night, my girlfriend and I, along with scores of other New York day trippers, were forced to discharge our Trenton-bound train at Newark due to a catastrophic and mysterious case of Train Won't Work. Aside from setting us back an hour plus, it was raining and we were tired after walking around the city all day. We just wanted to go home.

But amid the groans and idle meandering, a few people were making the best of the situation. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a shoe in the air, thankfully attached to a leg extended upward. It fell and that's when I realized someone was break dancing on the wet platform concrete at Newark Penn Station. By the time I reached the dancer, the requisite circle had formed and another guy was spinning like Michaelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (you know, during the opening where he screams "COWABUNGAAAAAA!). Just like that.

My ear lurched when I heard a shot to my right. Someone pulled out some drumsticks and was hammering on the trashcan. It was a nice 2-3 minute performance and lifted everyone's spirits a little. What the hell is a train delay when you can dance?

Friday, June 13, 2008

A League of Their Own?

I noticed that a lot of comedians come from fairly prestigious institutions of higher learning. This makes sense, in a way, but I still think it's surprising how many stand-up comedians and writers come out of these places. I suppose it seems like a relatively risky path for a graduate to take, but you have to do what you love, right? My curiosity sparked, I got Google-happy and here are my results:

Franklyn Ajaye - Columbia Law (dropped out)

Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G, Borat) - Cambridge

Lewis Black - Yale Drama

Mike Birbiglia - Georgetown

Graham Chapman - Cambridge

John Cleese - Cambridge

Jim Gaffigan - Georgetown

Greg Giraldo - Columbia, Harvard Law

Steve Hofstetter - Columbia

Eric Idle - Cambridge

Terry Jones - Oxford

Robert Klein - Yale Drama

Bill Maher - Cornell

Demetri Martin - Yale, NYU Law (dropped out)

B.J. Novak (The Office) - Harvard

Conan O'Brien - Harvard

John Oliver (The Daily Show) - Cambridge

Michael Palin - Oxford

Mo Rocca - Harvard

Michael Showalter - Brown

Robin Williams - Julliard


Vanity Fair has a Blogopticon, measuring blogs on axes of Scurrilous - Earnest and News - Opinion. By some obvious mistake, Caught on the Bound was left off. Letters have been written. Pitchforks have been raised. Torches have been conveniently found on the wall near the entrance and will easily light after centuries of non-use.

Skylines - Kuala Lumpur

Isn't It?

Ironic, that Alanis Morissette's song, "Ironic" doesn't really give any examples of irony?


If you're a fan of Demetri Martin or get bored doing math/science-related homework, you'll like GraphJam. A sample of what it has to offer:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Doomsday Watch 2008

Per yesterday's post, Caught on the Bound has been on the lookout for the nuclear holocaust predicted. Everything's fine here in Pennsylvania. Anyone else see anything?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And I Feel Fine

Ed Brayton covers the end of the world as we know it.

Money quote:

"Here's a simple rule I find useful: if you belong to a religious group that has a "compound," things are not going to end well."
I would add: it's also not going to end well if you try to leave your religion but keep getting caught in the barbed wire. Wait! Did I just get an idea/excuse to post this? Yes. Yes I did:

Anyways, stick around tomorrow for Caught on the Bound's Doomsday Watch 2008!
"The House of Yahweh recently gave ABC reporter Brian Ross access to their west Texas compound. Yahweh leader Yisrayl Hawkins says a nuclear holocaust will come June 12th and only members of his group will be saved."
Also, commenter Lilly de Lure says:
"What, again? You'd've thought people would have learnt by now that if you insist on predicting the end of the world at least be smart enough not to mention anything so tediously falsifiable as an exact date."
Personally, I'm sticking with the Mayan calendar's end date of Dec. 21, 2012.


Sunbathing? Deadly. Lawn mowing? Deadly. Sitting around? Deadly. Heat is the weirdest killer. Don't try to outrun it. In all seriousness though, it's sad to hear about this. Take precaution! I'm currently soaking my head in water and blogging with goggles.


It's been over three years since he passed away, but you never need an excuse to enjoy the comedy of Mitch Hedberg.

Hear Me? I Want Sugar in My Tea

Caffeine is even better with sugar.

It's time I got back to the good life.

Skylines - Napoli

The First Unicorn

Could something like this have been the inspiration behind the mythical creature? This made me think of the Lisa Frank unicorns adorning many a female classmate's notebook in elementary school.

Nailed It on the Head

Yet another nail-in-the-head story. OK, so it doesn't happen that often, but it's still impressive when you hear stories like this.

What if this guy wakes up one day a few weeks from now and discovers that he now has an IQ of 195? Maybe the nail hit a switch in his brain that unlocks the latent human ability to communicate through telepathy! Anyways, glad the guy is OK. Lucky stuff.


So only 77 votes tallied, but this is kind of a problem. The global warming question has fallen into this no-man's-land of partisan bias. I think the problem stems from:

1) The issue of global warming tries to explain long-term effects that extend beyond the scope of our immediate lives. Whether or not global warming is happening, it's unlikely to show a real tangible effect any time soon. In short, the answers gained from research aren't enough to sway people either way.

2) Even if global warming IS occurring, there is still rampant confusion as to whether or not this is a sign of something bad or simply natural climate change that would have happened without human interference.

3) The effects of immediately "going green" (in a forward-looking, long-term, change the world sense) for industry and corporations are written off as negligible for the foreseeable future. Why bother?

4) We don't need another film like this made. (No, I'm not talking about An Inconvenient Truth)

(Hat-tip: Matt Y)

Garfield - June 11, 2008

I haven't laughed at a Garfield since 2002 2008.

For a second, I thought Garfield had finally gone insane. Sweet snickering spiders!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Photo of the Day

Thanks, Jenny!

Obama on Religion and Politics

It's from 2006 and I hope he still thinks this way.

To Boldly Split An Infinitive and Take Things In A New Direction

So it's come to this. Having a blog is something that feels somewhat natural on one level, and wholly strange on another. I like the idea of having a place on the Internets to put my thoughts and interaction with the world, but have struggled to find a consistent lasting tone to sustain it. That's why Caught on the Bound isn't updated as frequently as the blogs I like reading. I think this is because, at its absolute best, blogging is a personal thing. Sure, there are links and rehashing news you could find on CNN, but it always comes branded with a personal reaction on a blog - something to identify with. You can nod along with the idea, shake your head and mumble, "What was he thinking?" or simply laugh at something we universally find funny.

That's why I declare this moment to be a crossroads for Caught on the Bound. I've tried to avoid dipping too deeply into political, religious or otherwise forbidden territory, but have found that this makes this blog a rather empty place. From this point forward, expect to see Caught on the Bound in a new personal light. I want it to be light-hearted and fun, but also in step with the world and developing events.

You'll be seeing more commentary on the things that interest me personally, but hopefully with a sizable layer of mass-appeal. I don't want this to be a log of my daily activities, but I will include something if it's cool - like skydiving or investigating the Telectroscope.

Onward. Caught on the Bound will prevail.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Chickens Are Restless

Sorry about that random week off I just took. I guess, when you look at the entire course of the blog, one week off isn't much compared to the 5 month stretches I seem to take, but still. You know? I mean, hey. Alright? Yeah. Here's a random picture:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Once You Pop...

Fredric J. Baur died May 4 at the age of 89. Baur was an organic chemist and food storage technician who specialized in research and development and quality control for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co.

Ordinarily, this news would never register on a national scale and since he passed away on May 4, you could argue that it didn't - until we found out how he would be buried - and why.

Baur was the inventor of the iconic Pringles can and requested that some of his ashes be buried in his creation. Thank you, Mr. Baur, for your invention. I have fond memories from my childhood/adulthood/right now of popping that top and tilting the salty chips into my mouth. I cut a slot in the top of one container and made a little bank for myself. I punched out the opposite end and made a telescope. I put little beads in it and made a rain stick. I lived a little better, Mr. Baur.

In memory: