Pop Rocks: Airlines Demonstrate How to and How NOT to Do Twitter

Categories: Pop Rocks

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American Airlines managed to do Twitter right, but who did it wrong?
Social media is complicated for corporate America. All companies feel the need to be involved in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, but not all of them know exactly what to do. It has led to a lot of missteps, some real triumphs and a bunch of people getting hired whose only resume qualification was "has over 1,000 followers and more than 20,000 tweets!" For a time, corporations were actually researching the Klout scores of prospective job candidates. Yeah, it was that stupid.

This week provided another couple of lessons in why this new technology platform is so difficult for corporations to handle, and both involved airlines. But, of the two airlines in question, one fared much better than the other.

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Pop Rocks: SPOILER ALERT! I Don't Care if I Hear the Ending Before Seeing Something

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Oops.
I'm a big basketball fan. I have been since I was in elementary school. In the early '90s when the Houston Rockets were winning titles, I was obsessed with watching the games. I had superstitions and rituals, all of which I thought would help the team. I sat in the same chair, drank out of the same glass; it was ridiculous.

I was also heavily involved in the game emotionally. I would yell at the television screen and pace around the living room of my apartment. And let's just say my remote control had to be held together by Scotch tape thanks to the numerous times I slammed it on the floor after a disappointing moment during a game.

Then, I realized something. I love the game of basketball, not a game of basketball. I enjoyed the athleticism, the strategy and the precision as much if not more than the dramatic moments. As a means of calming myself down -- nevermind saving remotes -- I began video taping games (this was WAY before the DVR) and finding out the final score before I watched. Suddenly, the games became more interesting and far less stressful.

Later, I employed that same technique as a means of watching scary movies when I knew I was going to have to partake of them. Because I don't like horror films, I blunted the fear with knowledge and I learned that, much like basketball, it wasn't the end result that ultimately kept me interested, it was the story.

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Pop Rocks: 5 Reasons It Isn't Weird to Watch a Movie Many Times

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"I didn't know they could DO that."
Sometimes I'm convinced my wife thinks I'm nuts. She cannot figure out why I watch movies repeatedly. She has a few chestnuts she enjoys and will watch on occasion, but I'm not sure she'll ever understand why when certain movies happen to be on TV, I feel almost compelled to watch them. They run the gamut from funny to thrilling to dramatic. The ones I really love I've seen sometimes a few dozen times.

It started with The Empire Strikes Back. I was 11 when it was released and there was a movie theater in the mall less than a mile from my house. My friends and I went to see it first thing in the morning, standing in line with the other nerds. Once we were in, we didn't leave except to pee and get popcorn through a half dozen showings. We went back and saw it multiple times after that. I don't know how many times I've seen it now that I own the DVD, maybe 100 or more, yet that whole "Luke, I am your father" crap never gets old.

It might be because I watched reruns a lot as a kid. I would see the same episode of The Jeffersons or Three's Company more times that I or anyone else would care to. It bled over into film. This isn't to say I don't like watching new movies. I do. But, once I get my claws into one, I go back for seconds, thirds and twentieths on occasion. Here's why.

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Pop Rocks: U.S. Economy Looks Blah But Your Ass Looks Great

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Taxes under the knife? No. It's our faces.
This week's Gallup Economic Confidence Index was released yesterday with complete stagnation from the week prior. While no news is also good news, this doesn't mean we are all excited over the country's current economic situation. According to the poll's trend, Americans "remain in negative territory, where they have been since the start of Gallup Daily tracking in 2008." Additional reporting states that only 39 percent of people think that the economy is getting better with more than half of the country saying that it's getting worse.

In related news, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) just released its annual report, which found that among other things, "more than 11 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed by board-certified plastic surgeons, dermatologists and otolaryngologists in the United States, totaling more than 12 billion dollars."

You read that correctly.

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Pop Rocks: Patrick Stewart Should Be Everyone's Favorite Movie Star

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean Luc Picard.
Gene Hackman. Denzel Washington. Tom Hanks. Bill Murray. Some of my favorite movie stars are in that list for good reason. Hackman, a wonderfully brutal character actor, was Bob Knight with a heart in Hoosiers. Denzel Washington was Malcolm X. Tom Hanks is, well, Tom Hanks and Bill Murray delivered some of my favorite comedic performances of all time.

But, Patrick Stewart is now at the top of my list.

When I was first introduced to Sir Patrick Stewart, it was as Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise. I was not a trekkie and paid only passing attention to the original Star Trek series, but when Star Trek: The Next Generation hit the airwaves in the early '90s, I was hooked, mainly thanks to their captain and star in Stewart.

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Pop Rocks: In Honor of the Poltergeist Remake, 5 Scary Movies I'll Actually Watch

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They're baaaaaack.
I would argue that it is surprising, all the remakes of classic horror films lately if it weren't so typical of Hollywood to remake anything it thinks might sell. From Carrie and the new Poltergeist to the TV series prequel to Psycho, Bates Motel, everyone wants in on some of the great scary movies of all time. Of course, all the true classics have been done over and over again. Dozens of variations of the Dracula story, zombies, mummies, werewolves and Frankenstein have filled theaters for decades.

But, when I saw that there was going to be an actual remake of one of the best scary movies ever made in Poltergeist, I thought it might be time to face up to my fears and admit there were a few terrifying films I enjoyed, some of them quite a bit.

I don't like horror movies. I'm easily startled by loud noises and things jumping out at me, so seeing The Omen, The Exorcist, Carrie, Friday the 13th, Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street as a kid left me traumatized, even if I didn't admit it to my friends. But, even through all the actual nightmares and freak outs, a handful of films made it to my list of all time classics.

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Pop Rocks: My Love-Hate Relationship With Lena Dunham

Categories: Pop Rocks

Lena Dunham, star of the hit HBO comedy Girls, leaves me terribly conflicted. On one hand, I loathe her insanely selfish and entitled character on the show. On the other, her portrayal is brilliant. Part of me feels like she represents a certain kind of annoying hipster that often makes my skin crawl. Another part of me just thinks she is damn funny.

The way-too gratuitous nudity on the show with seemingly no rhyme or reason leaves me thinking she is either trying to make some ridiculous point, or she's just an exhibitionist. But, when I see her make fun of herself on Saturday Night Live in a skit about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, I think maybe the joke is on me for taking it too seriously.

This is the quandary I find myself in every time my wife suggests we watch Girls. Let's be clear, were it up to me, I wouldn't watch it. It's not that I don't think it is a well crafted show. It is. But I have such intense dislike for the characters, I wonder out loud every time why I sit through it.

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Pop Rocks: Ann Coulter Tweets to Black America During Oscars Over Racism of 12 Years a Slave Win

Categories: Pop Rocks

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Queen Coulter of Blowhardia.
I am routinely amazed by the way pretty much any topic can be spun into a belief that suits the speaker. Take puppies, for example. Everyone loves them (or do they?). They are entirely benign (or are they?). Yet, discuss them with someone who has a political slant to support and, miracle of miracles, that person will find a way to turn puppies into a political topic. For example, I bring up puppies. You are are obsessed with the second amendment and immediately suggest that, next, Obama will take away dogs because they might be used for protection... unless the puppies are pit pulls and then you'll say you need a gun to protect you from pit bull-wielding thugs (i.e. black people).

Think this won't work? Just give it a try on the crazy uncle at the next holiday. You'll be blown away with the results.

Speaking of crazy, there's Ann Coulter, the author and political commentator who loves to ruffle the feathers of "libtards" about as much as a fat guy enjoys a cheeseburger. During the Academy Awards on Sunday, she took to the Twitter and spent a few tweets ranting against the reverse racism of Hollywood and cheering on Matthew McConaughey's speech that included reference to God. Sure, McConaughey's "God" is probably about as similar to Coulter's as Ghandi's, but nevertheless, she went on with her typical business.

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RIP Harold Ramis: His Four Films That Shaped Adult Comedy Filmmaking

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Harold Ramis as Russell Ziskey in Stripes.
In what must be one of the most succinct one-sentence descriptions of a person's character in history, Harold Ramis said of Bill Murray, his longtime collaborator with whom he had a falling out during the making of Groundhog Day, "Bill will give you a kidney if you need it, but he won't necessarily return your phone call." This was, in part, the brilliance of Ramis, who died Monday at the age of 69. He understood that comedy wasn't just about writing jokes, but the inherent humor in the lives of everyday people.

By the late '80s, the rated R comedy that Ramis virtually invented was all but dead, replaced with teen, coming of age films and rom-coms. But, as comedians and writers who were still teens themselves when Ramis's films were made began to reach their 20s and 30s, the genre had a resurgence. From the Farrelly brothers and Adam Sandler to Adam McKay and Judd Apatow, it could be argued that Ramis is responsible to a great degree for popular comedies like The Hangover, Forty Year Old Virgin, Old School, Wedding Crashers, There's Something About Mary and Happy Gilmore. Ramis's poking fun at the institutions of snooty privilege opened the door for future writers and directors to do the same and still be part of the Hollywood mainstream.

In a wonderful 2004 New Yorker profile of the writer/director/actor and his films, Tad Friend wrote, "Will Rogers would have made films like these, if Will Rogers had lived through Vietnam and Watergate and decided that the only logical course of action was getting wasted or getting laid or--better--both." The films he was describing were the Mount Rushmore of Harold Ramis movies and four of the most iconic comedic films of all time. They would help to define a generation of comedic filmmakers and set the bar for adult comedies moving forward.

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Pop Rocks: Dear Florida, We Need to Have a Talk

Categories: Pop Rocks

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All canceled. Coincidence?
Hey, Florida. How's it going? We see you all sunshine and old folks down there. We admit we enjoy your beaches, your drag queens and your television shows. Hell, we even admit to wearing a white jacket and a brightly colored button down in the '80s. That was a wild time, wasn't it?

So, listen, we're beginning to get a little concerned. You've been saddled with your share of problems over the years, some of which weren't your fault. Hurricanes have been a bitch and you look like a flaccid penis. God can be cruel, Florida. But, you also have LeBron James, so there's that. But, the problem we are having right now is the crime. You see, we're no angels in Texas. We carry guns like the residents of most states carry spare change. We literally make change with 9mm sidearms.

Still, we can't help but wonder what is going on down there. Back in 2012, you pretty much destroyed us in the "whose criminals are worse" contest. We like to win around these parts, but that was one we were glad to hand over to you. For years, you have had face eating bath salts freaks, serial killers like Ted Bundy and Danny Rolling. Then there was the whole George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin disgrace (Zimmerman still thinks it was Obama's fault). But, in the last week, all hell has broken loose.

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