Talking Points: Local Conversations and Culture

Photo courtesy of eye2eye

I've been thinking about what topics of conversation seem to dominate all the social interactions that I undertake. I realized that many of them were location specific. For example:

  • Seattle, WA: Conversations frequently mentioned the rain.
  • Irvine,CA : Conversations always get around to real estate prices.
  • Washington, D.C. : National politics because they are also local politics.

Others report:

  • Annapolis, MD: Boats and the Army-Navy football game (according to Luke)
  • Amherst, MA: Yard machines: leaf blowers, snow throwers, riding mowers, and community supported agriculture.

Maybe not the most incredible thing ever observed but very real when you are at these places. What are the periennal topics where you live?

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Columbus, Ohio: Anything about Buckeyes. Before the season... what high school prospects there are. TV shows are broken into for live views of the first training session of the season. There is a brief respite in October when discussion turns to how stupid (or sensible) it is to have Halloween on a day other than Oct. 31st. Why do they do it? Because of the Buckeyes.


Posted by: haasebert at December 1, 2006 7:13 PM

Honda Element Commercial with Pinching Crab: Update 2

Gil the crab

So Honda made a funny set of commercials for the Element which a friend of mine had a key role in designing (the car, not the commercials). He sent me a link. The funniest one is the crab one.

This viral marketing thing is sort of wierd. It seems strange to be sending out news about commercials, but I guess if it's funny then good for Honda for making some decent content.

Update 1: I guess this was so popular that they had to take it further. Now all of the commercials have been rolled up into a game that you play. Now you drive your Honda Element around to different locations on an island where the dialogue from the commercials is played. It's elaborate, but still funny. Find the crab on the lower left of the island to get a sense for what the original commerical was like.

Update 2: Clearly this has gotten far out of hand. Gil, the crab from the Honda commercial, now has his own myspace page. He has fans who are singing songs to get Honda to make a new commercial about him (see here.) Again, this is really weird to be talking about. It's a viral ad campaign. The myspace page, and probably even the song are likely plants from Honda. The whole thing could be a completely fake grassroots campaign to bring Gil back for another commercial (a process called Astroturfing). But I guess, who cares. It's funny. Gil has a new commercial out as a result. Click on the image on the left to YouTube it.

Thanks for the update Charles!

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I can't believe I went and watched commercials on purpose. Twice. Clever.

Posted by: Mike Wilkerson at October 28, 2005 7:19 PM

I love that Crab!

Posted by: amber at November 14, 2005 11:59 AM

That is the funniest commercial!

Posted by: Lori at November 15, 2005 10:07 PM

This commercial is so great!!

Posted by: Jenn at November 16, 2005 8:49 PM

this commercial makes my [snip -ed.] jiggle around

Posted by: Flower Power at January 4, 2006 1:30 PM

In addition to the animals featured in the commercials, a chameleon has been added. Find the sarcastic sucker and play his game. Oh, and "no pinch".

Posted by: Charles at January 4, 2006 4:38 PM

The game is pretty cool, but why do all the roads look like pieces of paper that have been laid down on the ground?

Posted by: Don at January 5, 2006 10:41 AM

This is the funniest commercial.

Posted by: Diane at February 16, 2006 1:26 PM

My husband and I watched it and laughed so hard. I can say it is all over my work now. Thank you for making a car commercial interesting

Posted by: Aprille at April 10, 2006 7:01 PM

I don't pinch. I burn.

Posted by: Rugburn at April 20, 2006 11:58 PM

This commercial saved my life. No pinch.

Posted by: at April 27, 2006 9:51 PM

i literally pissed myself laughing when i saw this couch smelled bad 4 a week,then i bought a new one but aha u got to keep making commercials with talking animals they make me and my mom laugh soo hard:)thx

Posted by: strongbladder at May 4, 2006 4:45 PM

The Babykeeper


You either want this badly, or you don't have children:

" The Babykeeper by Mommysentials, LLC :: Infant carrier style seat for Moms on the go

The BabykeeperTM is a patent pending infant carrier style seat, that hangs from the stall wall in most public restrooms, and can also be used in many public fitting rooms."

And for the record "Dad's on the go", so to speak, need one too.

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The Pain of Death

The pain of Death

This comic just cracks me up. It's goth, but it's not. It's from a comic strip called "The Perry Bible Fellowship" which frequently has humor which is more crude than funny, but there are some gems in there.

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My dreams are realized


The Beam Machine from November 2004

In November 2004 I wrote about a toy that I wanted called "The Beam Machine". It was basically a spy-style laser trip wire system that you could install in your yard/home to enhance games of capture the flag or tag or whatever. It appears that someone read my blog and created the toy - because certainly no one else could have come up with the idea on their own.

laser trip wire

Sold at HearthSong, where you can buy toys that you feel good about giving - like the Laser Trip Wire -MUHAHAHAHAH

Thanks Charles!

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I got my friend this for Christmas two years ago. Recently he left for his Mission in Mexico and I don't think he brought it. He does think he's Jack Bauer though. Your office is really well set up for one.

Posted by: Growly-Pants at April 23, 2007 6:53 PM

Trunk Monkey, the complete set (update)


This is an ancient (in Internet time), but very funny series of commercials about a hypothetical car add-on available only at the Suburban Auto Group outside of Portland, Oregon called the Trunk Monkey. I think they get funnier as they go on. But it's also good that they quit while they were ahead. Below I present the complete set as I know it:

The original links went down, so here are the YouTube links:
1:Road Rage

Thanks Nate!

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Derek Webb Agathos Mashup Desktop Background Screen Saver Image


The other night I felt compelled to make this Desktop / Screensaver image. It is inspired by the work of Agathos and the music of Derek Webb

Naturally it is made for a 30" apple cinema display at the appropriate resolution of 2560 x 1600

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Evangelical Diversity Article in the Washington Post

Photo courtesy of carf

A thoughtful article about the diversity of perspectives in the Evangelical Christian camp. I think this is important because the religious media czars are all a lot of people ever see, but there is a lot more out there.

Let's Stop Stereotyping Evangelicals

"Whether or not that's true, these evangelicals -- Bible-believing and socially conservative -- are redefining social justice. They're mindful of the material conditions that breed poverty and despair, but they emphasize spiritual rebirth. Though willing to partner with government agencies, they prefer to work at the grass roots, one family at a time.

Thanks Nate!

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An unnamed Department of Labor employee sent me this factoid by email:

"To the stereotyping evangelicals entry... To illustrate the last couple lines, FEMA (I think and if not, some other org. down there), has said that churches have been by far the most beneficial and effective, in all aspects of the Katrina recovery project. Too bad that doesn't go any further than the parishes in which they were/are working."

Posted by: DJP3 at November 15, 2006 8:20 AM

Flight Patterns


This cool YouTube video shows a handful of visualizations of flight data in a time lapse mode. The creator did some creative things with color and trails which makes for some neat images - if you are kind of geek and into this sort of thing.

Thanks Charles!

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Risk of Death

Driving off the road: 254,419
Falling: 146,542
Accidental poisoning: 140,327

From:Wired News: One Million Ways to Die

"Comparing official mortality data with the number of Americans who have been killed inside the United States by terrorism since the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma reveals that scores of threats are far more likely to kill an American than any terrorist -- at least, statistically speaking.

In fact, your appendix is more likely to kill you than al-Qaida is.

With that in mind, here's a handy ranking of the various dangers confronting America, based on the number of mortalities in each category throughout the 11-year period spanning 1995 through 2005 (extrapolated from best available data).

Dying from work: 59,730
Walking down the street: 52,000.
Accidentally drowning: 38,302
Killed by the flu: 19,415
Dying from a hernia: 16,742
Accidental firing of a gun: 8,536
Electrocution: 5,171
Being shot by law enforcement: 3,949
Terrorism: 3147
Carbon monoxide in products: 1,554

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I don't understand this one. Where does alcohol and tobacco come into play. Does alcohol have to do with the first three items? And it seems as if they placed tobacco down as the very last thing. Unless they consider tobacoo not the reason for dying. Unless cancer becomes the reason for dying and not tobacco, I don't see how it could not be higher. Smoking, I believe, causes more deaths than they talked about here.

Posted by: Growly-Pants at April 23, 2007 6:58 PM

More cool ice cubes

diamond ice

Following up on a previous post here about ice cube trays that make ice cubes in the shape of legos, here is an ice cube tray that makes ice cubes in the shape of enormous diamonds.

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Pie-Chart Joke


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