Steve Kulp

Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

the best 42¢ you’ll ever spend

In books on September 28, 2006 at 10:39 pm

The Dictionary of Theories is exactly what it purports to be, an alphabetized compendium of theories…all types of theories…5000 theories, to be precise. It covers “the arts, economics, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, hard sciences and more.” Ever wonder about glottochronology or the cosmic censorship hypothesis? This is the book for you.

I paid all of $6 for it on the clearance shelf at Borders.
It’s currently listed on Amazon starting at 42¢, used.


battlestar galactica? really?

In words on September 27, 2006 at 10:22 pm

Battlestar Galactica is the best show on television.

So there it is. I feel like a complete geek ever time I say those words. I figured putting it in writing would make it sound more authoritative and less dorky. Unfortunately, blogging about science fiction is actually the opposite of cool.

For the uninitiated, the 2006 Battlestar bears little resemblance to the 1970’s original. The original was basically a low-rent Star Wars knock-off mixed with a little Mormon theology for good measure. The new version is so much more. It transcends its “science fiction” moniker, working on a thematic level on par with the finest television dramas of all time. Its best moments are not about special effects, but the characters and the issues they are forced to confront, albeit in a galaxy far, far away. It seems to be a perfect piece of commentary on modern-day America. War. Terrorism. Genetic engineering. Paranoia. Liberty. Watch a few episodes and the social and political parallels become crystal clear.

I’ll say it one last time, proudly: The new Battlestar Galactica is, without a doubt, the best show on television. And don’t just take it from me, The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly seem to agree. Hell, it even won a Peabody.

The third season premeires on SciFi on October 6 at 9pm. The previous seasons are available on DVD and the iTunes store. For a quick recap of the show thus far, check out The Story So Far, free on iTunes.


In noted without comment on September 26, 2006 at 10:25 pm

Uncyclopedia…noted without comment.


In random, rants on September 26, 2006 at 6:58 pm

Stephen Colbert’s love/hate affair with Wikipedia…

the century of satire

In news on September 26, 2006 at 6:46 pm

A few weeks back, the New York Times Magazine featured a brilliant article entitled My Satirical Self. The article posits that “making fun of absolutely everything is defining a generation.” From the Onion to the Colbert Report to South Park, satire has quietly become the lens through which many view the world. (The Daily Show regularly bests most “real” news programming in the key 18-34 demographic.)

While the article seems to celebrate satire, its closing paragraphs are more cautionary:

“Can you take shelter in the ridiculous if evrywhere becomes ridiculous? For the tools of satire, the sharp knives of sarcasm and the pointy shivs of irony and the toy hammer of lampoon are being wielded with widespred enthusiasm, and not merely by cunning builders of satirical speeches and stories. Rather, they are being lent to us all, to enable every possible construction.”

one out of five-hundred

In news on September 25, 2006 at 1:45 pm

In an age when a phrase like “corporate transparency” are bandied about in the business world, it’s important to note that only one CEO of a Fortune 500 company actually maintains a blog. The lone blogger, Jonathan Schwartz of Sun Microsystems, kept a blog well before he ascended to the role of chief executive. This New York Times article from July 30, 2006 does a great job surveying the landscape of the corporate blogosphere.

I find the “1 in 500” ratio astounding. The argument could be made that these are busy individuals whose every word can be construed as a possible SEC violation. That’s bogus. They have executive assistants to help them maintain a blog and legal counsel to keep them withing the law.

 Is it possible that all of the talk about “corporate transparency” is just that, talk?

hybrid vigor

In random, words on September 24, 2006 at 10:24 pm

hybrid vigor n., Increased vigor or other superior qualities arising from the crossbreeding of genetically different plants or animals. Also know as heterosis.

Came across this phrase in John Grant’s new book The Brand Innovation Manifesto. (Great book, BTW.) Once you remove it from it’s original context in the world of genetics as Mr. Grant has, it loses none of its meaning and lend itself to endless applications.

For me, it speaks to the essence of what it meant to be creative. Two completely unrelated ideas can find strength in their combination. They have the possibility of becoming a third that that transcends its origins.

1+1=3, sometimes.

(quite possibly) the worst commercial ever

In rants on September 22, 2006 at 11:24 pm

I’m not sure why it bothers me so much, but everytime it comes on the air I MUST watch it. It’s like a thirty-second trainwreck of a spot. I’ve talked to pretty much everone I know about this and I have yet to find one person who isn’t completely turned-off by this catastrophe.

For your consideration, the extended :60 version of Gap’s Audrey Hepburn spot:

Maybe it’s the disrespectful post-mortem use of a beloved celebrity that bothers me so much. Or the utter lack the lack of originality in choosing Back in Black to sell, you guessed it, black pants. It could be the lame kaleidoscopic special effects. Better yet..all of the above.

It may just be hyperbole to call it the “worst commercial ever”, but it I almost mean it. To be fair, Gap explains their motivation in this press release.