Snoopy vs. Red Baron Redux

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Snoopy WWI Flying Ace postage stampIf you know anything at all about me, you know that I love Snoopy.   So you can imagine how jazzed I was to learn about the eye-popping upcoming videogame Snoopy WWI Flying Ace. *

Autumn always rekindles fond memories of the great old Peanuts animated holiday "specials" we always watched as kids.   Snoopy’s heroic World War I fighter waged aerial battle and crossed imaginary wartime France as a downed pilot in Charles Shulz’s "It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" in October 1966.

Smart Bomb Interactive’s new game, scheduled for release in the 1st quarter of 2010 for all major consoles, once again pits Snoopy against Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. the Red Baron and the rest of those dastardly wartime Germans.   From the sneak preview trailer, it looks like they’ve certainly met their match!

If you can’t get enough of the Flying Ace, there’s even a Snoopy Flying Ace USB hub for your desktop.   Just plug the hub into your PC’s USB port and watch Snoopy & his faithful Sopwith Camel come alive!

And though you’ve probably seen it countless times, just how well do you know "It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?"

* Okay, never mind that we don’t even own a game console — I can still get excited about a game, right?   Maybe this will push us over the edge?

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Posted by Rob at 6:51 AM 3 comments links to this post

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Command Nonperformance

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Michigan J. FrogDede, Ashley & I were griping outside the daycare yesterday that we can never get our kids to repeat in public the latest especially cute or impressive thing they’ve been doing at home.   I suspect getting kids to perform on cue is a universal problem all parents face.   In fact it seems however much you’d like your child to recite or reenact some cool thing, that’s exactly inversely proportional to the likelihood that he/she will actually do so.

I call this the Michigan J. Frog syndrome.

Well after I made that comment, Dede was blown away that I even knew the name of that silly singing frog from the old Saturday morning Looney Tunes cartoons.   Furthermore, she insisted that there’s no way anyone else would ever catch such an obscure reference.   Ah, but I know that if all else fails, there’s at least one guy who would — without hesitation — know precisely what I was talking about.

So this post is for you, Pete C.!

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Posted by Rob at 6:28 AM 2 comments links to this post

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Digitally Dismayed

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

As I mentioned in my Digital Daze Ahead blog post recently, analog television broadcasts will cease on February 17th, 2009.   And sure enough, it seems that many people are still unsure about whether they’ll need a digital converter box to continue receiving their favorite shows.   The government, cable companies, & many merchants have plenty of helpful advice available on the Web, but much of that info is still biased towards selling new televisions.   And opportunistic retailers are milking the public’s confusion for all it’s worth to rack up massive profits on truckloads of needless new TV sales during the holidays.

Here’s a hilarious video that perfectly captures the confusion surrounding the forthcoming switch to digital television broadcasts.   Like Clems says, it’s funny ’cuz it’s true!

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Posted by Rob at 5:16 AM 7 comments links to this post

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Digital Daze Ahead

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The date for the end of civilization as we know it is set.   At the stroke of midnight on February 17, 2009, millions of TVs across America will go blank.   Cars will cease to run.   Cell phones will go dead.   Rampant hordes of people will roam the streets in a zombie-like daze.   We’ll be plunged back into the Dark Ages and the survivors will be forced to scavenge for food like packs of wild beasts.

Okay, okay, that’s mostly not true.   But that date does signal the end of one thing:   Per congressional mandate, over-the-air analog TV broadcasts will cease as of February 17, 2009.

Why The Switch?

The primary reason for the switch to digital television (DTV) broadcasting is to free up portions of the old analog transmission spectrum for public safety & emergency services broadcasters like police & fire departments.   This will also allow the auctioning off of other parts of the analog spectrum to companies like AT&T to increase wireless broadband technology for faster wireless use.   retro television showing a nuclear explosionAdditionally, DTV offers far better picture & sound quality and switching to digital gives broadcasters the ability to deliver enhanced technology services to the public with greater efficiency.

(By the way, on September 8, 2008, the lucky folks in Wilmington, North Carolina will serve as a pilot market for the digital switchover.)

Does This Affect Me?

But what exactly does that mean to you & me?   Honestly, probably not too much.   If you have satellite or cable service, your existing setup should keep on serving you just like always.   And that’s even if you’re still only using analog cable.   However, be mindful that while the switch to digital broadcast won’t affect analog cable subscribers directly, many cable provider companies will probably use this as an opportunity to strongly encourage their analog customers to make the transition to digital service.

Ah, but what if you’re still relying upon the old "rabbit ears" or some other antenna to pluck a free TV signal out of the ether?   Then you definitely will be affected.   But even then, unless you have an incredibly ancient TV with no line-in options, all you should need is a digital converter box.   What’s more, your Uncle Sam will give you a $40 voucher towards the purchase of a digital converter box.   (You can call 888-DTV-2009 or go to for more details.)   And if you’ve bought a new television since 2004, you’re probably already covered since most newer TVs have a digital converter inside.

Does DTV Equal HDTV?

But wait a minute... Don’t you still need a "High Definition" television (HDTV) to handle the digital signal?   No, not at all.   Your TV does not have to be HD to receive digital broadcasts.   Certainly, there are some HD channels in the digital lineup that will take advantage of a HDTV, but the singular, simple truth is that even if you’re still clinging onto an old-school, tube-based television from two decades back, it should still work fine — you do not need a new TV to receive digital broadcasts.

However, this basic truth isn’t going to stop Circuit City, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and every other retailer from doing everything possible to cash in massively on the public’s misconceptions & fear.

Starting with "Black Friday" sales after Thanksgiving — if not sooner — these opportunistic retailers will profit handsomely off of the perception that most older TVs are going to go dead in February.   And of course, there’ll also be the post-Holiday "we didn’t bleed you dry enough already" sales frenzy in January and continuing right up to D-Day.   So for the next several months, you’re almost certain to see rampant hordes of zombie-like neophytes roaming the aisles of stores with a crazy twitch in one eye and nervous shake that intensifies when a salesperson draws near.

Get Set?

So we’ve established that you don’t need to kick that old TV to the curb for the sake of the February deadline.   Your old TV will most likely keep right on working just fine.   But while your older analog TV can handle a digital signal, either via cable or a converter box (and look better than it did with analog broadcasts) it won’t display high-definition resolutions with a converter box.   So, if you’re itching for a TV that can display "High Definition" (HDTV) — or just want a big, new, widescreen, flat panel plasma or LCD TV with all the trimmings — you’ll need to make the move to a newer TV.

If you’re ready to shop around for a new TV, you’re bound to find some enticing deals in the coming months.   So this might be just the right time to be in the market for a replacement for your old set.   But before you join the ranks of those living dead scrabbling through sales fliers and hopelessly trying to rationalize dropping a grand or more on a new TV so you can get it home in time for the next season of American Idol & NBA playoffs, take a deep breath and spend a little time seriously considering "need" versus "want."   Don’t let the paranoia & hype surrounding the looming digital broadcast switchover deadline pressure you into a costly move if you’re otherwise happy with what you’ve got.

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Posted by Rob at 4:48 AM 1 comments links to this post

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Earth Day Warm Fuzzies

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In honor of Earth Day, here’s a great commercial from the Discovery Channel.   As if you didn’t already have enough reasons to love this network — what with great shows like Mythbusters, Cash Cab, Dirty Jobs, & Survivorman, just to name a few — this inspiring ad titled "The World Is Just Awesome" will even give manly men a few warm fuzzies.   Boom de yada!

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Survivor 15: China

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Survivor: China logo

Premiering Thursday, September 20th on CBS, Survivor: China will be the 15th season of the reality TV series.   As usual, we’re participating in our Survivor game at work.   This time around I drew Dave and Rob drew Frosti for our survivors.   Since neither of us has ever won, we’re due this time around!

This season will include several historical Chinese locations, including the Shaolin Temple and the Great Wall of China.

Instead of Exile Island featured in previous seasons, the China contestants will have the ability to kidnap a player on the opposing tribe as part of winning a reward challenge;   the kidnapped player remains with that team through the next immunity challenge, and will receive a clue to the location of a hidden immunity idol at that camp.


Posted by Dede at 10:51 PM 1 comments links to this post

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Survivors Ready?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Survivor: Fiji logo

The 14th season of Survivor, Survivor Fiji, starts tomorrow night. As usual we have drawn for our survivors at work and this time I have Stacy Kimball and Rob has Rita Verreos.

They’re a survivor short this season, with only 19 instead of the usual 20 contestants, because the 20th person dropped out a day before filming started. The twist for this season is that one tribe will live in luxury while the other tribe has virtually nothing — the Ravu orange buff tribe are the "Have Nots" and the Moto green buff tribe are the "Haves." Exile island is back again this season with clues to two immunity idols, one hidden at each camp.


Posted by Dede at 7:04 AM 0 comments links to this post

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Made in America Marathon

Thursday, November 23, 2006

When our TiVo has nothing better to do, it often records shows that it thinks we might like, based upon our past viewing habits and ratings of previously recorded shows. Thanks to this TiVo Suggestions feature, I recently discovered "John Ratzenberger's Made in America" on The Travel Channel.

Ratzenberger, (a.k.a. Cheers' Cliff Clavin and a vocal talent in every Pixar movie) goes across the country touring factories & businesses that make everyday items — like Crayola crayons, Craftsman tools, Airstream trailers, Tootsie Roll candy, Serta mattresses, Delta faucets, & Campbell's soup, just to name a few.

For those of us still too stuffed on turkey to move — or smart enough to avoid shopping on "Black Friday" — The Travel Channel is airing an all-day "Made in America" marathon tomorrow (Friday) beginning at 8 a.m. Check it out!


Posted by Rob at 3:11 AM 0 comments links to this post

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The Office: 2006 Fall Season Previews

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We're big fans of NBC's The Office sitcom series. It's kinda scary just how much most of the characters are just like some of the people we work with...

A few weeks ago, our TiVo recorded a Season Preview Promo that featured 3 otherwise unavailable mini-episodes of The Office. In the hilarious episode 3, Dwight Schrute's bobblehead doll gets kidnapped & held for ransom. I discovered yesterday that a video with all 3 of the promotional commercials is available, so click the above link to watch & enjoy!

Dwight Schrute Bobblehead

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Feasting on Asphalt

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Alton Brown sinks his teeth into road food!
Did you catch the funky new "Feasting on Asphalt" mini-series on the Food Network recently? If not, you're in luck — all 4 episodes are being re-aired back-to-back this Saturday, August 19th.

Foodie Alton Brown and a camera crew hop on motorcycles and set out across the country to discover how and where we eat when we’re on the road. Highlighted by archival photos & film, the series also serves as a history lesson as Alton journies down back roads exploring every aspect of eating on the go, from foraging for grub, to camp cooking, to the evolution of "road food" icons — the diners, cafes, and truck stops that once flourished beside America’s highways. And along the way, he often reflects on how changes in eating on the road have influenced today's culture.

Click here to see Wikipedia's page on the show and for a link of a cool pushpin map of the series' route.

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Posted by Rob at 8:39 PM 0 comments links to this post

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TV Time Machine

Monday, August 14, 2006

In Deb Shinder's July 25th issue of WinXP News, she included a link in the "This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints and Fun Stuff" section for a page on the Millennium Music Homeplace website that features classic TV theme songs. All of the theme songs are in mp3 format and are free for your enjoyment. It's suprising how just the theme song or music can take you right back to relive some of the old television shows you grew up with — it's a little bit like a time machine.

One of my favorites, naturally, is the Flipper theme song, so think of me when you listen to that one! ;-)


Posted by Dede at 7:11 AM 0 comments links to this post

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Survivor: Guatemala - The Maya Empire

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Survivor: Guatemala - The Maya Empire

Kicking off it's 11th season, Survivor: Guatemala - The Maya Empire started tonight! And its safe to say that this season's castaways had the most brutal beginning yet with a grueling 11 mile jungle trek.

And we're especially happy to see two of our favorites, Stephanie & Bobby Jon back in the game this round. Looks like the 2 tribes are going to need the extra boost from having these experienced players because this season looks like it'll make the earlier ones seem almost easy.

Buzz around the office is that 3 or 4 of the Survivor: Guatemala castaways have twin siblings and that this may come into play at some point during the season, but host Jeff Probst has officially denied those rumors, despite the fact that twins do play a major role in Mayan culture.


Posted by Rob at 8:16 PM 1 comments links to this post

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Cowbell Tipping

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I've Gotta Have More Cowbell!

The tipping point seems to have certainly arrived for the lowly, underrated cowbell thanks to the skit featuring Christopher Walken & Will Farrell that aired on Saturday Night Live five years ago. The classic skit parodied a VH1 "Behind the Music" episode showing the fictitious genesis of Blue Öyster Cult’s "Don’t Fear the Reaper." I’ve always been a big fan of Christopher Walken, and you can’t help but love his straight-faced delivery during this skit, but Will Farrell definitely steals the show.

"Gotta Have More Cowbell" T-shirts are all over eBay, Wired magazine July 05 issue showcased the skit’s timeline to critical mass, and there’s even a website, The Cowbell Project, that’s obsessively devoted to cataloging every rock song that features the cowbell — and even a few that don’t but should.

Read up on the entire scoop on the SNL skit over on Wikipedia or click here to view a Google Video clip of the entire parody.

And if you decide you’ve just "gotta have more cowbell" of your very own, grab a copy of the SNL: The Very Best of Will Farrell DVD.

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TiVo = TV Survival

Thursday, February 10, 2005

TiVo rules!

What more appropriate time could there be for buying a TiVo than right now so you'll be able to record those upcoming Survivor:Palau episodes? You can get the 40-hour Series 2 model for an additional $30 off of the normal $99 at Add a network adapter to your new TiVo and you can view photos and even stream MP3 music files off of your home PC and play them thru your living room sound system. Just doesn't get much more cool than that! Don't forget to give us a referral if you sign up for the TiVo service! We'd sure appreciate it!

Already have a TiVo and just can't get enough of those cool funky sounds? Thanks to Sean Burke, you can download the TiVo Sounds and use them on your PC. (Windows' Sound Theme settings are located in the Control Panel under "Sounds and Audio Devices." Give me a yell if you decide to try this and need a little help.)


Posted by Rob at 5:52 PM 0 comments links to this post

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Survivor: Palau - Premieres 2/17

Monday, February 07, 2005

Survivor: Palau

The ever-popular series 10th season kicks off with Survivor: Palau next week and we can't wait! This time there are 20 survivors (instead of the usual 18) to start. The previews that we have seen say that 3 of them will go home the first night. I'm not sure where Palau is located but it looks like there are dolphins there so I am happy! Check out the CBS Survivor website for bios of the 10th season's survivors.

Survivor: Palau


Posted by Dede at 10:07 PM 0 comments links to this post

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TiVo At Last!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

I've been wanting TiVo for well over a year now but the problem was that I didn't know anyone personally that had TiVo who could answer specifics regarding what it could and could not do. That all changed Friday when one of my co-workers (thanks Scott!) filled me in on what a "life change" it has been for him. So, I did some research last night at the TiVo website and found out they have a $100 rebate special going on. I took that as an omen and we headed once again to our favorite adult candy store, Best Buy to take the plunge.

Rob & I just finished the simple hookup and TiVo is now in the process of downloading and updating itself with the current TV listings (a process that takes about 6 hours the first time). Even though we can't record anything until it finishes, we are able to replay live TV and that is way cool!

We also purchased a Linksys wireless USB network adaptor (Linksys rules!) to connect TiVo to our network. The network setup was a snap and this will allow us to play MP3 music and view photos from our PCs on the TV. I can't wait to test that out!

Can you spot the hidden suprise?


Posted by Dede at 10:08 PM 1 comments links to this post

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Starbucks Survivor Commercial

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Check out the Starbucks Doubleshot commercial featuring the band Survivor:

16 Days and counting until Starbucks opens at MCH!!!!

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Survivor 8 Wrapping Up

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Well, Survivor 8 is all but over and, as predicted, Rob Mariano & Amber Brkich were the final two, with Amber winning the cool mil. Now all that’s left is to wait until Thursday evening to see who we viewers chose to get the bonus mil – we’re pulling for Rupert – and find out where Survivor 9 will be located. Congratulations to Paula for winning the $90 work pool! Not a bad haul for someone who doesn’t even watch the show, huh?


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Shii Ann Was Right!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I think Shii Ann summed it up best when she said, "Stupid, Stupid people..." Yes, I'm talking about Survivor. Weeks ago she tried to warn them about Boston Rob taking control and then tonight, they showed their stupidity again. Will they ever learn? Every season its like this... What's wrong with these people?


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