I wasn’t going to say anything about Mickey Rooney dying …

… because I figured everyone knew who Mickey Rooney was, so why even bother?

And then I saw this:

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

And this is why I don’t watch television news anymore. I can see maybe one person confusing Mickey Rooney (famed child actor and legendary movie star who died April 6, 2014) with Andy Rooney (famed old curmudgeon and irritating television guy who died Nov. 4, 2011). … No, strike that. I can’t see anyone confusing either of them.

This is Mickey Rooney:

This is Andy Rooney:

Jeez. I know who Lady Gaga and Ella Fitzgerald are.

But one thing for sure. Andy Rooney unlike his television brethren, knew who Mickey Rooney was.

When Walter Cronkite predicted the future

Back in the 1960s, CBS News produced a program called “The 21st Century,” with host Walter Cronkite. In one of the segments, he gave a display of what the home of the future would look like.

In 1967, Cronkite said this was the way people would experience home entertainment in the 21st century:

And in that same episode, this is how Cronkite said people would work in the future:

That’s a ton of equipment, and obviously no one considered the possibility of microprocessors back then. And the who setup looks outrageously expensive. Too many computer terminals.

But this is how we live today. We’re all plugged into the grid.

Attach your speakers to a few Airport Extremes throughout the house and pipe music anywhere you want. Attach an Xbox or computer to a flat panel wall monitor, get an Amazon Prime or a Watch ESPN app and see all the movies, television and sports you want. Use your computer or tablet or iPhone to do everything in the “work at home” segment.

In 1967, a 12-year-old me might have watched this show and been amazed at the possibilities of the future. In 2014, your 12 year old will look at these clips and think “why did they need all that junk? I can do all this with the phone in my hand.”

And that’s the way it will be. January First 2014. This is the hologram of Walter Cronkite, CBS News. Good night.

(Thanks to IO9 for posting these videos)

Family stories from StoryCorp

StoryCorp is an audio-history project that’s been around for a decade in which people talk about their lives and the lives of others. Here are three stories of American diversity.

A working black family:

A working Hispanic family:

A working white family:

You can see these on YouTube, or order a DVD from PBS here.

 

Today’s shiny object: “Duck Dynasty”

OK. So there’s a controversy concerning something some guy on the reality show “Duck Dynasty” said. I’ve never seen the show, but …

duck-dynasty-hed-2013_0

… that’s a family photo. They’re dressed in camouflage. They’re in Louisiana.

I checked out a random clip on YouTube:

So, really? I’m supposed to be appalled that some Bayou-bred extras from a ZZ Top video would say something that wasn’t progressive? They have a show BECAUSE they say weird shit like this.

Do you think, perhaps, that MAYBE these folks (honestly, I don’t even know their names. Duck? Is that it?) have done something like held a Confederate flag? Hey, let’s go out on a limb here. Are they now or have they ever been members of the Republican party? (Oh, what’s that? They helped a Tea Party Republican win a congressional primary in Louisiana?)

Give me a break. You want to know what we should be upset about?

Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, said in a recent story in The Washington Post that the FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years.

Now research from Johns Hopkins University provides the first public confirmation that it’s possible to do just that, and demonstrates how. While the research focused on MacBook and iMac models released before 2008, the authors say similar techniques could work on more recent computers from a wide variety of vendors. In other words, if a laptop has a built-in camera, it’s possible someone — whether the federal government or a malicious 19 year old — could access it to spy on the user at any time.

That doesn’t razz your berry? How about this?

Target confirmed Thursday morning that it was investigating a security breach involving stolen credit card and debit card information for 40 million of its retail customers.

In a statement, Target said that criminals gained access to its customer information on Nov. 27 — the day before Thanksgiving and just ahead of one of the busiest shopping days of the year — and maintained access through Dec. 15.

Hell, someone hacked my job this week, so now I’ve got to change passwords on everything I log into.

The “Duck Dynasty” “controversy” is just another shiny thing to divert your attention from the really horrible things that are screwing us over.

At least the “Duck Dynasty” guy knew that what was coming out of his mouth was going to be used against him. That’s more than the rest of us can say.

Jennifer Lawrence and the evils of Photoshop

We all know fashion magazines have an obsession with making the celebrities on their covers look perfect. But explain this to me:

original

This is the before and after shot of Jennifer Lawrence for a Canadian magazine called Flare.

Why do you need to alter Jennifer Lawrence. They’ve moved her collar bone, stretched out her fingers, narrowed her hips and … well, you see it.

Why bother using real people. Just create Photoshop avatars of perfect humans. (Via Jezebel)

Nelson Mandela: 1918-2013

New York Times correspondents remember Nelson Mandela:

And Mandela speaks:

Workers were paid more in the 1970s

Robert Reich, the labor secretary during the Clinton administration, has a documentary out called “Inequality for All.” It focuses on the nations growing economic inequality.

The most frustrating revelation in the documentary though is the realization that a worker was better paid and had more economic opportunity 40 years ago than today.

If you get a chance, go see the movie. But do it quickly. If it arrives in your city, it won’t be there very long. The multiplexes are making room for the holiday fare you’ll go to see in order to forget your financial problems.

 

The Wall Street Journal’s expert on health care

According to Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, Suzanne Somers is an expert on the Affordable Care Act and its impact on retirees.

Yes, that Suzanne Somers.

She says the health-care law is “a Socialist Ponzi scheme.”

You can judge by reading the column here, but I feel the following is the most important part of the opinion piece. It was tacked onto the end after publication:

CORRECTIONS AND AMPLIFICATIONS:

An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin (“Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state”) that has been widely disputed. And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill (“Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens“) that the Journal has been unable to confirm.

Also, the cover of a Maclean’s magazine issue in 2008 showed a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline “Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.” An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (no matter how air headed it may be). But no one is entitled to back up their opinion with their own facts. And, unless it was a photo of a great dane, I don’t know how you confuse a horse with a dog.

may12-08-cover-204x273

Yep. That’s a dog. Horses aren’t allowed to sit on exam tables. That … and the word “dog” in the headline … should have been a giveaway.

 

The case against BuzzFeed

When I look at the Internet, it seems a lot of sites want to be like BuzzFeed. Here’s why that’s a bad idea. (Some pretty rough language here)

I’m referring to this because:

BuzzFeed announced a major new investment in hard news with the creation of an investigations unit, led by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Schoofs. Schoofs will build and lead a new team of investigative reporters, and will work with BuzzFeed’s growing teams of journalists across a wide array of topics.

Someone is in for a rude awakening.