Category Archives: internet buzz

The strange case of Richard III

History is a funny thing.

It was announced today, and shortly all over the interwebs, that the skeletal remains of King Richard III had been positively identified “beyond reasonable doubt.”

The remains were found under a car park in Leicester, England, after a search for the “missing” church of Greyfriars, where the king had been hastily buried after his defeat at Bosworth by Henry Tudor, the future Henry VII.

Scientists matched the DNA of the skeleton to two of Richard III’s maternal line relatives. Radiocarbon dating also revealed the individual died in the second half of the 15th or early 16th century, consistent with the king’s death in 1485.

Image

What fascinates me though, is that while the mystery of the missing king is now solved, the mystery of the missing “Princes in the Tower” still remains.

Richard’s brother, Edward IV, inherited the claim to the throne during the Wars of the Roses in the mid-15th century. After defeating Henry VI, a Lancaster, in 1471, his claim was cemented, and the crown of England was destined to be passed down to his young 12-year-old son, Edward V, upon his death in 1483. The mistake he made was making his brother, Richard III, Protector.

Or was it a mistake?

There is little to no certain evidence Richard III was involved in the disappearance of Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, the Duke of York. Before Edward V could be crowned, his parents’ marriage was declared invalid, making him ineligible for the throne. Edward V and his brother were lodge in the Tower at this time, and were never seen again after Richard III was crowned. Many believed Richard III had the princes killed in order to cement his own claim to the throne, but the evidence against him is only circumstantial.

Other suspects in the disappearance of the two princes exist, most benefiting Richard III. But the question remains. Did Richard order the deaths of the princes? Did one of his cronies take them out without his knowledge to make Richard’s claim to the throne more valid? Or did Henry Tudor get rid of them after his defeat of Richard III in order to validate his claim to the throne?

It’s one of the great historical mysteries that fascinates me.

The other thing I find intriguing is the condition of the bones. History remembers him as a grotesque man, a limping hunchback with a withered arm who craved the throne for himself. But this image of Richard is taken from Shakespeare’s Richard III, a Tudor sympathizer. Of course he would paint the enemy of the Tudors in a negative light.

With the bones, scientists found evidence of scoliosis, a curvature of the spin, which would have made him shorter, but no evidence of a hunchback or withered arm. If our beliefs about his appearance are wrong, what else could be wrong? Could he be innocent of the princes’ disappearance? Was he, as some contemporaries and historians claim, actually a decent king?

History is written by the winners, and this may be one of the ultimate cases.

History really is a funny thing.

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I am a Twitter-stalker

A couple of weeks ago, Twitter released its top ten most retweeted tweets of 2010. (For those unfamiliar with Twitter lingo, a “retweet” is sort of like an online thumbs-up or a way of saying, “Hey, that was a funny tweet! Let me share it with my followers.”)

It comes as no surprise to find that the number one retweeted tweet of 2010 came from Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome). His tweet, from June 16, was “In honor of oil-soaked birds, ‘tweets’ are now ‘gurgles.'”

I admit, I was one of those who retweeted that one. I’m something of a Twitter addict.

Recently, I happened to catch a little snippet on a TV talk show. One of the guests commented that there were no big celebrities like there used to be. I thought it rather strange as I can probably name half a dozen without batting an eyelash, but then she went on to explain how celebrities of yore were more ethereal than they are now and I think I get what she means.

Of course, I wasn’t around during the age of Cary Grant, Grace Kelly or Katherine Hepburn, to name but a few, but I imagine they weren’t as accessible as the stars of today in this new technological age. Even celebs I used to crush on as a kid seemed out of reach. They only way we could “get to know” a favorite star back in the day was to buy an issue of Tiger Beat magazine and pore over the photos of our teen idols, or watch “Entertainment Tonight” for little snippets of information.

Then along came the Internet and the fourth wall was stripped away.

Access to celebrity gossip is just a mouse click away. Type in any star’s name, like Angelina Jolie, will bring you over 28 million sites to peruse. But it’s not just the ease of gathering information about a favorite celeb that has stripped some of the mystery away. The stars themselves have made themselves available to their fans via social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook.

I don’t consider myself someone who obsesses over celebrities. I’m not the kind of person who will go see a movie just because someone I like is in it. I see movies because the story looks good. I don’t google my favorite stars to see what they’re up to. I will look through my mother’s People magazine from time to time, but I don’t care about who is dating, or wearing, whom. I do admit to driving all the way to Montgomery, AL, with a friend to see “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival because one of our favorite TV stars was in it. But “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” is my favorite Shakespeare play. (Plus my friend did all the driving.) But it was just the one time. I swear, I’m not a celebrity stalker.

Until I discovered Twitter.

When I signed up for a Twitter account, the first people I followed were some of my favorite celebs. Kevin Smith, Wil Wheaton, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day. Pretty much the entire cast of “Star Trek.” It was amazing to me how I didn’t have to rely anymore on third party sources to hear news about Smith’s new movie or Wheaton’s guest appearances on “The Big Bang Theory.” I could see, firsthand, in real time, what they were up to.

Then I took a bold move and decided to tweet to them personally. Never did I think I’d receive a reply. But I did. Last February, I happened to be online at the same time as Kevin Smith. Impulsively, I shot him a question, “What are you getting the Mrs. for Valentine’s Day.” I was not expecting a response. I know celebrities rarely pay attention to their online followers. But when I checked my replies later that afternoon I was floored when I received an answer, “What every woman wants: obedience.”

The answer made me laugh. Then it made me giddy. For a moment, my thirty-something-year-old self reverted into a silly, screaming preteen who just got a glimpse of her favorite boy band. And it was a good feeling.

I didn’t let it go to my head. I’m not delusional to think that Smith and I are now BFFs (that’s best friends forever in Internet lingo). But it was fun getting a reply from someone I admire.

I do admit, I feel a little voyeuristic sometimes. Without Twitter, would I have known that Felicia Day was cooking Irish oatmeal the other morning? No. But that little peek into celebrities’ lives makes them seem more real and less out of reach. And I do find these little details fascinating.

I think Twitter has brought society closer together. I’ve “met” some interesting people from all over the world I might never have known without Twitter. I hear about breaking news before most of the major websites have it up. I get sneak peeks into parts of the entertainment industry which I never would have discovered. And I get to stalk my favorite celebrities without fear of being slapped with a restraining order.

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What’s with all the Megan Fox hate?

America's philosophy: hot girls should be seen and not heard.

I was disappointed to hear last month that Megan Fox would not be in the third Transformers movie. From reading Teh Interwebs, I think I’m the only one who was. I like Megan Fox. Yes, I have boobs, am not a lesbian, and I like Megan Fox. Flies in the face of everything you read online, doesn’t it?

I don’t understand all the Megan Fox hate, or the rejoicing that she would not be in the third installment in the Transformers franchise. Most of the vitriol seems to spring from comments she made in an interview regarding Transformers director Michael Bay.

“I mean, I can’t s**t on this movie because it did give me a career and open all these doors for me. But I don’t want to blow smoke up people’s a***s. People are well aware that this is not a movie about acting.”

This statement is so, so true. Transformers is not about the acting. It’s about giant effin’ robots blowing shit up while the audience gets to relive parts of their childhood. It’s why I love both movies so much, despite the actual plot that sometimes gets in the way. I don’t go to see movies like Transformers for the acting. I go to see the special effects and experience some nostalgia.

After her comments, Fox took some vicious verbal heat for daring to criticize the director and franchise that made her a star. As HollywoodScoop put it, “Megan’s head has gotten so big, she’s already forgotten the people responsible for her success. Let’s face it, she’s not exactly an Oscar worthy actress, she’s just great to look at. So maybe she shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds her.”

And here’s where the Hollywood double standard comes in. Recently, Shia LaBeouf has also made some critical remarks not only about Transformers, but Indiana Jones 4. Regarding Transformers 2, LaBeouf pretty much agreed with Fox.

“When I saw the second movie, I wasn’t impressed with what we did…There were some really wild stunts in it, but the heart was gone…we got lost. We tried to get bigger…Mike went so big that it became too big, and I think you lost the anchor of the movie…You lost a bit of the relationships. Unless you have those relationships, then the movie doesn’t matter. Then it’s just a bunch of robots fighting each other.”

(Poor Shia. I know you want to be considered a serious actor, but honestly, the movies really are just a bunch of robots fighting each other.)

Instead of the same condemnation Fox received, LaBeouf was lauded as being gutsy and honest. From ScreenCrave.com, “We give Labeouf props for recognizing where he went wrong…”

Oh, Hollywood.

We claim to be proponents of free thought, but when an actress is allegedly fired speaking her mind, what are we really saying? Why does Shia LaBeouf get a pass when Megan Fox is, from reading some reader comments, a “slut who got what’s coming to her”?

I’ve never heard of any major sex scandal surrounding her. Those are a dime a dozen in Hollywood anyway. Is Megan Fox a slut because she’s aware of her sexuality and uses it in her career? I don’t think so.

Fox has yet to prove herself as an actress. I don’t think she’s been given the opportunity to do so yet. I think it will come in time. It’s not her fault Transformers made her a superstar before she had a chance to prove herself. Right now she’s using her biggest asset — her looks — to land parts. And I don’t think that’s so wrong.

I will go see Transformers 3. I go to see the robots, not the acting. Who knows? The new girl might be a better match for the franchise, but I will miss Megan’s character. And I’m not ashamed to admit it.

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Friday Five: Making up for ‘Lost’ time

A combination of an unexpected day off, a little bit of sickness and some bad thunderstorms kept me offline last Friday, and I apologize for the lack of post, because I know it’s the most eagerly anticipated post of the week (I actually managed to type that with a straight face). So to make up for skipping a week, I’m giving you a double dose of the Friday Five, because there were so many cool things to be found on the Internets the past couple of weeks. I should warn you, due to the “Lost” finale airing this coming Sunday, this will be a “Lost”-heavy post.

1. Google celebrates Pac-Man

Before delving into the “Lost” goodies, we have a couple of anniversaries to celebrate. The first is Pac-Man, who debuted 30 years ago this weekend. To mark the occasion, Google changed its logo accordingly. However, what makes this logo stand above the rest is the fact that the logo is an actual Pac-Man game you can play. As if we needed more proof as to how awesome Google actually is.

Source: Google

2. The Empire Strikes Back — 1950s-style

Another icon is also celebrating its 30th anniversary. On this day in 1980, The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters. It was the first live-action movie I ever saw and I can still remember it, even though I was not quite 4 years old at the time. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this “premake” trailer for a 1950s version of The Empire Strikes Back “in the astonishing realism of 3 dimension!”

Source: Wired

Artwork by Mattias Adolfsson

Laugh not, or your ass, kick it I will.

3. If it’s not Baroque…

In other Star Wars news, check out these amazing artworks of a Baroque-style Star Wars universe by Mattias Adolfsson. Some people are just so damn talented and I am insanely jealous. But I’m glad they exist because… well, wow.

Source: Behance Network

4. “Lost” finale sitcom version

“Lost” finally ends this Sunday. I’m actually rather heartbroken over this, even though the show and I have been in a love-hate relationship since season three. I’m nervous and excited as to what the final episode will bring. At least it won’t end like a clichéd-filled sitcom… hopefully.

Source: Huffington Post

5. Previously on “Lost”

If you’re anything like me, you may have some trouble remembering everything that happened in the previous five seasons of “Lost.” Not to worry. If you have a few minutes to spare before the finale, check out this duo’s recap of all five seasons of “Lost” in five minutes flat.

Source: handsomeleroy on YouTube

6. “I’ll Never Be Lost Again”

I am not a fan of hip-hop music, but this hip-hop/R&B anthem actually had me in tears by the end. I’m really going to miss this damn, frustrating show.

Source: njusticeleague on YouTube

7. Doctor Hoo

As you probably know, I am a huge, huge fan of “Doctor Who.” And as you can probably imagine, I squealed like a school girl when I saw this amazing piece of art of all 11 doctors drawn as owls. I really wish I had a print of this to hang on my wall above my toy Tardis!

Source: pu-sama on deviantART

8. MOAR DOCTOR!

When I heard that a Doctor Who stage tour was kicking off in London in the fall, it almost made me wish the U.S. had lost the War of Independence over 230 years ago, because I really, really want to see this, but I am poor and my passport is expired. Woe.

Source: NOW magazine

9. Total Recall: The Musical

I am pretty convinced that you could add the words “The Musical” to anything and I’ll love it. (Hmm, maybe not “Twlight: The Musical.”) Take a look at how Total Recall was meant to be seen, complete with emo-Arnold lyrics.

Source: Huffington Post

10. Aussie ninjas to the rescue!

In the age-old battle of pirate vs. ninja, I come down strongly on the side of pirate. But I’ll give ninja props for rescuing a German medical student in Sydney. I don’t know about the muggers, but if I saw five ninjas running at me, I wouldn’t get very far since I’d be crapping my pants out of fear. Rock on, Aussie ninjas!

Source: Huffington Post

And so ends my double dose of Web goodies. Hope you enjoyed them. I’m sure I’ll be back next week to discuss what I think happened… or didn’t happen… or what might have happened… on the final episode of “Lost.” That is, if my brain hasn’t gone into total existential meltdown by then.

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Celebrate your inner nerf-herder

Today, May 4th, is the unofficial official International Star Wars Day. (And, in case you live under the same rock as I occasionally do and want to know why May 4th… “May the Fourth be with you.” Get it? Yuk yuk.)

By the time I was 7, I had built a droid, left home, won a major space battle and met the woman I would marry. What have you done? Look at yourself. No hand, no master and you can't even levitate your X-wing out of a swamp...

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, arguably the best of the Holy Trilogy. But Empire holds special memories for me because it was the first live-action movie I ever saw in the theater. I was either just about to turn 4 or had already done so when my parents took me and my baby brother to see Empire. As my mom tells it, my brother started crying, so she had to go sit out in the car with him while Dad and I finished the movie. (It would be a long time before they took him to the movies again.)

I really have only one memory of the movie, and that’s the very end when Boba Fett is loading a carbonite-frozen Han Solo into his ship. I remember wondering, with my 4-year-old brain, why Boba Fett was going to shoot Han Solo out of his cannon, because that’s what his ship looked like to me at the time. It wasn’t until years later when I saw the film again did I realize it was a ship and not a big gun.

I remember going to preschool after seeing the movie and playing Star Wars on the playground. I was always Princess Leia because I think I was a little bully at the age of 4, while the other two girls in our group had to be the droids. I obviously had not learned the lesson of sharing yet. I think I would have been better suited to play Vader, come to think of it.

Those are really the only memories I have of the entire Star Wars franchise. I’m pretty sure we went to see Return of the Jedi, but I don’t remember seeing it. All my other memories come from when I was older and better able to understand the actual plot.

Star Wars Day has been a trending topic all day on Twitter, and that makes my inner geek proud. These movies have been with me since I was very young, and will continue to inspire and awe me for years to come.

Happy Star Wars Day! MTFBWY.

And as a treat, some Star Wars humor. (Watch all the way to the end!)

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Boobquake 2010: Will the earth tremble?

I can’t remember where I first heard about Boobquake. Probably Twitter because that’s where I find the bestest stuff. But I remember thinking that, even though I don’t own much in the way of low-cut, “immodest” clothing, I’d participate. You know, all in the name of science.

Blogger Jen McCreight came up with the idea for Boobquake after reading a news article about an Iranian cleric who blamed the recent earthquakes on immodest dress and promiscuity.

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader.

I agree with McCreight that this kind of thinking is utter poppycock. McCreight decided to test this theory by urging those women who would like to participate to wear the most immodest, cleavage revealing piece of clothing they own on Monday, April 26. The idea was to see if the earth would move under the weight of so many exposed boobs.

My virtual participation in Boobquake. Let's face it, these are nicer to look at than my own anyway.

McCreight offered her idea as mostly a joke, but it took off, exploding on Facebook, Twitter, then TV. The Facebook page has dozens of photos of women daring the earth to quake today. So far, I haven’t felt a thing.

I wanted to participate. I even remembered this morning that today was Boobquake day. Unfortunately, I really don’t own anything that low-cut. The couple of shirts I do have that might have worked are in the laundry. So from what clean clothes I had left in the closet, I picked the lowest-cut top I could. Which isn’t very low at all. And then I had to add a sweater on top of it, because it’s been bloody cold this morning. So I may not be participating as much as I could, but I’m participating in spirit.

I’m not going to get into the controversy of this movement. I don’t care whether feminists feel empowered or pissed off. It’s the Iranian cleric and those who likewise believe that “immoral” behavior — by anyone — leads to natural disasters who need to be shown that their so-called theories are hogwash.

So ladies, today, if you’ve got ’em, flaunt ’em. And if you don’t got ’em… flaunt ’em anyway.

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Headline win!

One of the trending posts on the Huffington Post Web site at the moment is titled “The Funniest Headline Fails of All Time.”

I take exception to one of Huff Post’s headline fails:

Headline awesome sauce!

This is not a fail. This is a WIN. It’s always awesome to see a little bit of pop culture sneak into everyday life. This headline was obviously written on purpose, and not just a funny accident like “Colleagues Finger Billionaire.” Someone at that news organization is a Star Wars fan. And that’s absolutely made of win.

Working at a newspaper, headline fails can be hilariously funny, but also a worst nightmare. I live in fear of the day I don’t catch a misspelling, or let a funky headline get by me. It would have been really embarrassing to let the sports brief about the “Red Sex” baseball team or the “Police apprehend rolling math lab” headline get to print.

But sometimes it’s hard stay professional, especially when presented with the opportunity to write a headline for the Stout-Johnson nuptials. (Don’t worry. We didn’t go there. But it was so tempting.)

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