Archive Page 2

07
Apr
10

Fast and Fattening Faster

Amidst the frenzy of America’s more health-conscious and green-going self-conscious state, it makes perfect sense that consumers would demand healthier options from restaurants and fast food establishments across the country. This movement towards healthier product development has been in effect for some time. Low carb and/or fat alternatives to traditional fast food meals have held their place on overhanging menus at McDonalds and Burger Kings ever since the Atkins diet gained popularity in the early 2000’s. Even after the Atkins Nutritional company folded, many fast food chains have catered to the dieting needs of consumers who followed other tweaked versions of the famous weight-loss system.

However, in watching recent television advertisements, I’ve noticed a reemergence of shameless, more-is-better menu items at popular fast food joints. Ever since the public pushed for these restaurants to publish nutritional facts in more conspicuous locations, it’s been no secret that few–if any–of the items on their lists are actually “healthy” choices. My concern comes from the fact that many of the same chains that had once made attempts to present a health-conscious front have reverted to the Hardee’s Thickburger product model. That’s the, “beefy middle finger to your heart and liver” stance–without the decency of, at a minimum, misleading appearances or a clever marketing strategy.

Let me show you.

KFC's new Double Down "sandwich."

Yup, that’s a chicken filet+KFC sauce+bacon+cheese+cheese+chicken filet combination coming straight to your right ventricle April 12th. It is advertised as the world’s first “bunless” sandwich, but in reality, its 540 calories of unattractive meat, zesty mayo, and meat will most likely hit those buns first. I guess KFC had to find a way to get rid of their new over-sized chicken nugget boneless filets quickly–by the two’s. Next:

Burger King's new Steakhouse XT

I can’t help but think of the Mondo burger from Keenan and Kel’s breakout performance in Goodburger. And to think; those burgers were infused with shark poison to make them as tasty as they were. Good thing this colossus is only packed with 950 calories instead. The XT is only outdone by:

Hardee's Monster Thickburger

1,320 calories of pure regret. Enough said.

These three choices are only a few of the more absurd sandwiches flavoring fast food menus across the country. One need only to visit a few websites and skim nutrition facts to find the more subtle–but equally unhealthy–food choices. If the stuff-your-face-and-deal-with-the-consequences-later trend of food consumption is truly back on the rise, so be it.  I hope that the average American is sensible, and these types of products will only raise awareness concerning the importance of a healthy diet once again.

Meanwhile, somebody needs to opt for McDonald’s “healthy” alternative and tell me if this thing tastes as disgusting as it looks…. because it doesn’t seem to be going away.

Mac Snack Wrap

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07
Apr
10

Blogtalkradio – Social Media Edge

This morning, as I was wrapping up my routine browsing of web favorites, I ventured into the world of blogtalkradio in search of an interesting broadcast. I scrolled through the various descriptions of shows featuring such topics as politics, fitness, national news, and hollywood gossip, but eventually settled on a show listed in the “popular” secition called Social Media Edge.

The show is described as an investigation of social media, new media, online marketing, search engine optimization, tips-tricks-tweaks-tools and more. It is co-hosted by Jason Crouch and Ken Cook with tech reporter Mike Mueller and airs every Tuesday at Noon Eastern. Every week, Crouch and Cook invite personalities from the industry to phone in and speak on any number of subjects. The conversation is intelligent and progressive, and, show by recent broadcasts, addresses current and relevant internet content. It is especially geared toward the integration of social media into marketing for almost any industry, and expanding the idea of using more interactive internet platforms to reach consumers.

This week’s episode features Bryan Person, founder of Social Media Breakfast, a breakfast and networking series that has spread to 40 cities outside of Boston where it originated. Crouch and Cook gave Person the floor for a majority of the show, asking him to speak on how to launch a business marketing plan online. He described what he saw as the most effective process for initial penetration of the internet world–beginning with a basic domain with a catchy title, and eventually moving towards a synchronized blog or twitter page. He spoke on his experience with using Twitter and Facebook to initiate the process of networking and organizing, but not limiting communication to these platforms, or abandoning the fundamental importance of face-to-face report-building.

Person also spoke on the success of his Breakfasts, and told a few stories about the more recent events.

Clocking in at an hour, I was impressed by the amount of information that the hosts were able to cover. I felt as though the dialogue between the guest and the hosts was technical, yet not so dense that the average social media user could not tune in and quickly get up to speed on the topic. The guests, as with this weeks show, are valuable and have experience beyond everyday exposure to social media platforms, and discuss tips and tricks in a fashion practical enough for any listener with internet access to use.

My only criticism of this week’s broadcast is that, at first, the show began sluggishly, with the hosts chattering about sidebar topics or inside experiences. The interruption and overuse of cliche “radio show soundbites and effects” gave the show a meandering feel at first. And finally, at the conclusion of the episode, only one caller was able to phone in and offer an observation and/or ask a question, and this was after the host had left the line already.

Those points aside, I would highly suggest this show to anyone interested in taking the social media platform into a more lucrative realm or attempting to conduct serious networking through websites like Facebook, Twitter, or Foursqaure.

Catch the live broadcast of Social Media Edge next week on Tuesday, right here.

07
Apr
10

NBA Jam 2010. On fire.

Get as ready as you’ll ever be. This is going to be gold.

31
Mar
10

Fudging It

Early this week, the following video divebombed the Youtubesphere, triggering a wide array of responses. The clip depicts what appears to be an elementary school reenactment of the final scene from Brian De Palma’s bloody cult classic remake of the 1932 film, Scarface. Lasting only a little over 2 minutes, the actors, all ages 7-10 drop a slew of fudge-bombs, lock and load Nerf rifles, and sit behind mounds of popcorn-flavored cocaine, all before the main character, a short, wide-eyed Al Pacino Jr. “dies” in a hail of imaginary bullets. An audience of proud parents and teachers erupt in applause.

Shocked? You should be. But not because these children have been encouraged to portray such violence and immorality–but because, according to Marc Klasfeld who staged this viral video fiasco, children are exposed to this type of thing daily in the media.

The video is a fake, but is intended to bring about real conversation concerning the content that young children are subjected to while watching television and playing video games. The debate is ongoing, but most commonly fizzles in an indictment of the poor parenting which allows negative images to permeate the household in the first place. However, Klasfeld, with two young children of his own, thinks that presenting “evidence” in this way will truly stir the pot. It is a bold approach.

I’m torn between whether or not this display will truly aid in conversation or simply serve as a media spectacle in itself. Will its message be lost in the sensational delivery? What do you all think?

31
Mar
10

Exposed

Erykah Badu’s music video for her first single, “Window Seat” off of her latest album, New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh), finds her playing the role of nude neo-soul victim to a grassy knoll crime. The word “Groupthink” appears in purple at the conclusion of the video to provide the viewer a glimpse into the grim consequences of collectivism and the tragic end to Badu’s nakedness it can yield. Watch below. (Video contains nudity)

Introducing the video is a title screen reading “Inspired by Matt and Kim.” Below is the video referenced. It accompanies a song called “Lessons Learned,” from the duo’s 2009 album entitled, Grand. (Video contains nudity)

Honestly, my only reactions are these:

1) Congratulations to both artists for keeping production costs low.

2) How far does an “inspired by” disclaimer go when one video is practically identical to the source material?

Don’t get me wrong–I like you, Erykah. I’m just curious.

31
Mar
10

Senioritis

As I strolled across Hampton University’s campus today, I experienced an elated sensation of accomplishment. It was freeing, uplifting, and unexpected in the way it entered my body on the tail-end of a breath of warm air that filled my lungs. Exhaling, I experienced a momentary high, brought about, undoubtedly, by a combination of sunny skies, the cool and calm solitude that surrounded me, and the ever-present knowledge of my soon-to-be future. I’m leaving this place in little more than a month. For the past three and a half years, I have claimed a shared dorm on this campus as my temporary residence. I have attended plenty of classes, skipped a few others, and generally attempted to give my undivided attention to whoever it was presenting their interpretation of the course’s subject matter to the class. I have eaten side-by-side with hundreds of other undergraduate students in the same crowded cafeteria day in and day out, asking for little more than my neighbor to pass the ketchup. But on May 9th, I will ask for something more. Something I’ve earned.

My degree, my diploma, and my ticket outside of the walls of this tiny community called Hampton University and into the “real world.” But first, I must tackle a beast much greater than any obstacle of mundaneness that these past three years have set before me. This challenge will be greater than any I’ve faced as course-work for any number of classes led by the “hard” instructors. It has already proven to be a more imposing foe than any social situation could produce in the form of meeting new people or approaching a lovely young lady. It’s called Senioritis, and it has struck me hard and deep.

If you haven’t noticed, my posting has slowed.

I’m trying desperately to shake this affliction and re-rail my train of thought back on a track that will lead me through the gates of graduation with an honest desire to keep this thing going. I can only hope. In the mean time, however, I’ve found this type of writing to be therapeutic. It helps reveal to me that not everything I’ve accomplished during these past three years has been all towards the purpose of a good grade. This blog, I truly feel, is an expression that belongs to my passion for communication and my tendency to do so in abundance. In other words, this is fun.

I found this excerpt from the entry in Wikipedia for the term “Senioritis.”

Studies and Solutions

“To claim the term senioritis to be one of recent origin ignores the events on college campuses of the 1960s. Many public school administrators in the 1970s felt that changes in family and community life had failed youth in their transitions to adulthood. Writers like James Coleman, Chairman of the President’s Panel of Youth, urged changes in the high school curriculum to address the problem of senioritis. These concerns gave rise to the implementation of a “Senior Semester” in many high schools throughout the country, which allowed Seniors to spend time outside of the school or attend seminars in their specific interests. In 1974, for example, McKeesport High School in Pennsylvaniareceived a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to establish a “Senior Semester” Program.

The College Board, the National Youth Leadership Council, and other youth-serving organizations suggest that there are many ways schools can help young people make the most of their senior year instead of succumbing to the temptation to take it easy once graduation is assured. Giving young people opportunities to make their academic work more meaningful throughservice-learning, or other forms of experiential education, can increase students’ academic aspirations.

Some students who are experiencing senioritis believe that they can simply “get it out of their system” by taking weeks off at a time. This is a fatal error when dealing with this disease. It causes the near instant destruction of the grade point average, followed by the deflation of the student’s reputation with professional staff. This is because laziness is an addiction, and feeding it only causes it to become worse, exacerbating the condition of the afflicted individual. Senioritis has no theorized cure, and although research is being done there seems to be no slowing of the constant increase of infections as time goes on. Experts in the field recommend that teachers “leave the kids alone,” and “just give them A’s” especially in the difficult subjects (such as physics and chemistry) in order to discourage the active destruction of the classroom environment by those severely infected individuals. Some teachers who attempt to curb senioritis have been subject to horrible pranks from mischievous students, including but not limited to, surprise birthdays, flatulence noises in class, and random pencil breaking.”

I don’t know about the flatulence, but I do know that if sufferers of Senioritis need one thing–its rest. I’ll be out on the waterfront recovering.

31
Mar
10

Freaknik Pt. 2

Ladies and Gentlemen, in case you missed it earlier this month, Freaknik–in all its cartoonish lewdness– has returned! Thanks to the good (and indulgently twisted) people over at Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, the ultimate Spring Break celebration has landed square in almost every living room with basic cable or household with internet access across the country. Hosted by a handful of hip hop’s most outspoken and outrageous voices, the broadcast, which actually aired early this month, is now available in its entirety on the adult swim website.

I missed the original airing of “Freaknik: The Musical” but  recently watched it online. From a historical standpoint, you’d be better off learning about the origins of the original Black Spring Break by reading my last post. It’s pretty good, if I may say so myself. But from a pure entertainment standpoint, those of you who don’t mind unabashed ignorance, blaxploitation, depictions of Jesus-like figures voiced by incarcerated rappers, and a television event most likely as ludicrous as the Freaknik celebration itself, will find yourselves truly enjoying this one.

Coming in at a full hour, the cartoon is definitely not meant to be taken as a serious investigation into any aspect of black culture–other than the fact that we like to laugh too. However, the attention that  some websites have brought to the broadcast have shed a more political light on the comedy, claiming that the show was misguided and insensitive. The New York Times even took a minute to acknowledge the musical, giving a somewhat objective review of the rowdiness that took place on television screens during the March 4th broadcast.

My own personal review of “Freaknik: The Musical” is short and simple. It could have been a little bit longer to include more of the actual Freaknik celebration, and sometimes the cheap, racially-charged jokes fell a little flat. But a cause for alarm? I say no. Unless that alarm is the signaling for part two of Freaknik in April… I could bear to listen to a few more original T-Pain melodies introducing me to the “party 101” classroom.

Here’s a short promo. The official trailer was a little more explicit than what I wanted to include in this post…. yeah yeah yeah, here you go.




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