Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Common Threads #3

What do these three series have in common?
  • ''The Boys of Twilight'' (CBS, 1992)

  • ''Day by Day'' (NBC, 1988)

  • ''Good Heavens'' (ABC, 1976)


Monday, February 27, 2006

Awards Update

Nothing too spectacular today. I've updated the trivialTV Awards database, increasing the number of records from 43,917 to 44,359. This most recent update includes:
  • American Cinematographers Award: 2006 winners
  • Annie Awards: 2006 winners
  • Art Directors Guild: 2006 winners
  • Cinema Audio Society Awards: 2006 winners
  • Costume Designers Guild Awards: 2006 winners
  • Daytime Emmy Awards: 2006 noms
  • Gold Angel Awards: 2006 winners
  • Golden Eddie Awards: 2006 winners
  • Golden Reel Awards (MPSE): 2006 noms
  • Kids Choice Awards: 2006 noms
  • People Magazine's 10 Sizzling Shows of 2005
  • Saturn Awards: 2006 noms
  • Time Magazine’s Best/Worst List of 2005
  • TV Land Awards: 2006 Legend, Impact, Pop Culture Award winners
  • Visual Effects Society Awards: 2006 winners
  • Writers Guild Awards: 2006 winners

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Contented My Network Is a Perpetual Feast

You've probably already heard about Fox's announcement for My Network TV, and you may have even read a few of the analyses. I just want to add my $0.02 to the pot.

Fox has an incredible opportunity for real market analysis this Fall. No focus groups. No questionnaires. No hypotheticals. Real market data. That opportunity really excites the stat geek in me.

My Network TV won't be available nationwide. Viewers in New York, LA, and Chicago will definitely see it. People in Boston and Philadelphia? Maybe not. In a way I hope that Fox keeps the roll-out of My Network TV limited to its one independent station and its nine former UPN stations this Fall.

Think about it.

Fox can present the same content:
  • for free at scheduled times on My Network TV;
  • for a rental fee on DirecTV Video-on-Demand (VOD) for satellite subscribers;
  • for a rental fee on DirecTV VOD online (streaming);
  • for a rental fee on DirecTV online (day pass download);
  • for an ownership fee on DirecTV online;
  • for an ownership fee on My Space pages for each series.
All Fox has to do is analyze utilization and demographic data to estimate content consumption habits. Fox can monitor the effects of:
  • access to free viewership;
  • access to DirecTV satellite service;
  • geographic location;
  • city size;
  • show type;
  • consumer age;
  • consumer income;
  • other consumer habits & attributes;
  • other series attributes;
  • maybe even price.
I just love the fact that Fox will be able to estimate the effects of the first four factors and really let the market determine what combination of content delivery methods satisfy the customer and generate significant revenue for Fox.

Take a look at a snippet from this article:
But he [News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch] did not sound convinced that selling Fox TV shows online was the answer. "We're in discussions with all major players in this arena and we'll announce deals when we're convinced they'll create real value," he said.
Maybe Murdoch is waiting for results from this real market study to determine their strategy.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Out of Sight, Out of Microsoft

IPTV is on the way. at&t rolled out IPTV in San Antonio this past December. Nothing unusual there. Just another test of new technology.

But wait.

For an article about at&t, you sure do read a lot about Microsoft. Don't you?

It sounds like Microsoft will be charged with handling all of the server software for at&t IPTV.

This fact isn't really new, as you can read in this transcript of Ed Graczyk's conference call with investors in September 2004. at&t (when it was still SBC) discussed IPTV with Microsoft back in June 2004. You can also read all the press about Microsoft TV on their website. Nothing new, but relatively quiet.

Microsoft TV's focus was recently confirmed by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) when it published these nine patent apps on February 16, 2006:
  • Delivering a geographic-specific comprehensive program guide (Pub. App. #20060037060)
  • Rendering graphics/image data using dynamically generated video streams (20060037054)
  • Dynamically generating video streams for user interfaces based on device capabilities (20060037053)
  • Dynamically generating video streams for slideshow presentations (20060037052)
  • Dynamically generating video streams for user interfaces (20060037051)
  • Cycling of recording states for program selections during video recording conflict resolution (20060037048)
  • Video recording conflict management and user interface (20060037047)
  • Aligning video data to create a comprehensive program guide (20060037046)
  • Pausing television programming in response to selection of hypertext link (20060037044)
These patent apps cover most of the features for how you'll navigate, select, view and record images and video on whatever device you might use to receive IPTV.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Don't Say Anything BaseBall

In honor of spring training, I thought I'd stick with the baseball theme for one more day and turn a triple play.
Back in 1967 theater goers first heard Simon & Garfunkel's song, Mrs. Robinson, in "The Graduate." Simon finishes the song by paying homage to a baseball player with these lyrics:
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
(Woo woo woo)
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson
‘Joltin Joe’ has left and gone away?
(Hey hey hey – hey hey hey)
TV shows actually took a long time to riff off these lyrics to honor DiMaggio and other fave players:
  • Where Have You Gone, Jackie Robinson? (''Brooklyn Bridge,'' 12/11/1991)
  • Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio? (''Murphy Brown,'' 9/26/1994)
  • Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio? (''Step by Step,'' 4/28/1995)
  • Where Have You Gone, Sandy Koufax? (''Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family,'' 4/2/2000)

While looking through ep titles, I was shocked — I say shocked — to find two shows refer to the famous double play combination from the very early 1900s, Tinkers to Evers to Chance:
  • Tinker to Evers to Tucson (''Empty Nest,'' 11/26/1988)
  • Tankers, Cadavers to Chance (''Dynasty,'' 2/9/1989)

Even people who don't like baseball often use baseball terms. The most famous example? The bases and dating.
  • Getting to First Base (''Homefront,'' 2/18/1992)
  • Second Base (''Blossom,'' 9/16/1991)
  • Home Run (''7th Heaven,'' 9/26/2005)
Astonished. Blossom and 2nd base? The family series, "7th Heaven," and sexual intercourse? Say it isn't so.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Time Heals Baseball Wounds

According to ESPN, today is the voluntary reporting date for other players for Major League Baseball's spring training. What if baseball teams in TV Land also started spring training this month? What teams would we root for?

I don't mean real teams that are referenced on TV. Sam Malone's Red Sox are excluded.

And I don't mean fictional teams that appear only once or twice on TV shows. The Springfield Isotopes and the Capital City Capitals of "The Simpsons" are also excluded.

I only want to include fictional teams from scripted TV shows about baseball teams. I know baseball is no longer America's pasttime, but I was still surprised at the short list of TV series:
  • "Bad News Bears" (CBS, 1979): Hoover Bears
  • "Ball Four" (CBS, 1976): Washington Americans
  • "Bay City Blues" (NBC, 1983): Bay City Bluebirds
  • "Clubhouse" (CBS, 2004): New York Empires
  • "Hardball" (Fox, 1994): Pioneers

Monday, February 20, 2006

Weekly iTunes Update

If you haven't noticed, Apple releases new TV shows on iTunes every Monday evening. Here are tonight's additions:
  • ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos"
  • NBC's "Conviction" (Pilot, free)
  • Nickelodeon's "The X's"

Eat, Link and Be Merry

I've been integrating the trivialTV database with other TV sources so that you'll have a one-stop source for TV info. Starting today, you'll now see many links to tv.com in the TV listings when you search for the TV schedule by date. Each link takes you directly to tv.com's summary front page for that series.

Over the next few months, I'll unveil links to other sources as I finish integrating with them. At the beginning of summer, I'll redesign the interface for the trivialTV database to make it more user-friendly.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Big Norris Is Bliss

Back in October Chuck Norris returned to TV in the CBS Sunday Movie, "Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire." In January he appeared on "The Tony Danza Show" to hear Tony Danza read Chuck Norris 'facts' to him. What's next for Carlos Ray Norris?

The grapevine says that he's forming a martial arts league for television. The league will include at least four teams, including:
  • Dallas Dragons
  • Denver Destroyers
  • Las Vegas Gators
  • Los Angeles Stars

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Every Ad Man Has His PR Ice

Think about the last Olympic ice event you watched. Figure skating. Speed skating. Short course. Curling. Doesn't matter. They all had one thing in common. Lots of white space just screaming for ads! Right now we see flags, but we'll soon see ads.

Let's take this concept one step further. What if the network broadcasts the show with a blocked-off area for targeted ads? Your cable box, which tracks what you watch, chooses the ad with greatest appeal to you. Advertisers only pay for the number of ads actually shown.

The same concept can be used for product placement in scripted series. You watch "CSI" and see a can of diet Coke, but your neighbor — who is watching at the same time — sees a can of Wolfgang Puck's self-heating coffee.

Now you see the power of Microsoft's patent application that I mentioned last week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

All You Need Is Love-ly Ep Titles

Well, it's the day after Valentine's Day. Maybe bloody Wednesday for some guys who now think they know nothing about love.

What if you knew nothing about love? And what if you turned to TV to learn?

No. Not the "Bachelor" or "Joe Millionaire." If we learned anything from these shows, we learned that people find some infamy. But not love. Definitely not love.

If you've ever read episode titles, you know that they can be pretty profound. Are there any pearls of wisdom hidden in TV land that most people don't know about? What if everything you knew about love came from ep titles? What would you know?

Here are the top 15 things you can learn about love from TV:
  • Love Is a Skinny Kid (''Route 66,'' 4/6/1962)
  • Love Is a White Sea Bass (''The Baileys of Balboa,'' 9/24/1964)
  • Love Is a Nickel Bag (''Dan August,'' 10/7/1970)
  • Love is a Four-Letter Word (''McNaughton's Daughter,'' 3/24/1976)
  • Love Is Sweeping the Counter (''Alice,'' 12/11/1977)
  • Love Is a Free Throw (''Alice,'' 1/15/1978)
  • Love Is a Three-Way Street (''Trapper John, M.D.,'' 10/21/1979)
  • Love Is the Tar Pits (''Laverne & Shirley,'' 1/12/1982)
  • Love Is Debatable (''Head of the Class,'' 2/10/1988)
  • Love Is a Really, Really, Perfectly Okay Thing (''Cheers,'' 9/20/1990)
  • Love Is Like Pulling Teeth (''Wings,'' 1/10/1991)
  • Love Is a Many Blundered Thing (''The Nanny,'' 2/12/1996)
  • Love is a Download (''Spicy City,'' 7/11/1997)
  • Love Is a Pain in the A** (a.k.a. Love Stings) (''Off Centre,'' 9/19/2002)
  • Love Isn't Blind, It's Retarded (''Two and a Half Men,'' 2/6/2006)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hotel Is Where the Heart Is

Uh-oh. Who forgot about Valentine's Day? Was it you? Good luck trying to get dinner reservations for tonight.

Here are two hints.

First try OpenTable.com. You might be surprised. Since V-day is mid-week this year, you might actually find some availability at the last minute. I've used OpenTable multiple times and have never been disappointed.

Couldn't find availability? What if you reserve a hotel room near your fave cafe and get take-away?

Now the big question. Which hotel. I can't solve that problem as easily, but I can give you a list of TV's hotels, motels and inns for you to match with the correct series.
Series NameHotel, Motel or Inn
1.''Big Shamus, Little Shamus'' (CBS, 1979)a.Caesar's Palace Hotel & Casino
2.''Have Gun, Will Travel'' (CBS, 1957)b.Dragonfly Inn
3.''Hearts Are Wild'' (CBS, 1992)c.Ansonia Hotel
4.''Hotel'' (ABC, 1983)d.Grand Waimea
5.''Gilmore Girls'' (WB, 2000)e.The Monkey Bar & Hotel
6.''North Shore'' (Fox, 2004)f.Hotel Carlton
7.''Bosom Buddies'' (ABC, 1980)g.Desert Flower Casino
8.''Tales of the Gold Monkey'' (ABC, 1982)h.St. Gregory Hotel
9.''Vega$'' (ABC, 1978)i.Desert Inn
10.''The Watcher'' (UPN, 1995)j.Susan B. Anthony Hotel


Monday, February 13, 2006

The Older the Piddler, the Sweeter the iTune

''School House Rock'' and ''Saved by the Bell'' (Season 1) are now available on iTunes.

Step It Updated

I've updated the trivialTV database with four more weeks of airings from 2006. I've also updated Total Tube Time in the near right column. No other major changes.

Enjoy the update!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies & Nielsen Ratings

I love this headline at thefutoncritic.com:
thursday's ratings: 'office' continues growth
latest episode holds 93.88% of 'earl's' adults 18-49 audience
Sounds like great news for NBC, doesn't it?

Let's look a little closer at the numbers.

"My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" aired back-to-back since "My Name Is Earl" preemed on September 20, 2005. NBC was initially very concerned since "The Office" couldn't hold the audience of its lead-in. For the first few weeks, "The Office" held only 60-65% of households from "My Name Is Earl." That's outrageously low, but NBC kept airing "The Office" since it didn't have many options and since "The Office" attracted a large percentage of affluent viewers.

Let's add more fuel to the fire. Here is all historical data for the percentage of households that "The Office" retained when it immediately followed "My Name Is Earl."

(Click on the image to see a larger version.)
Figure 1. The percentage of total households that a new ep of "The Office" retained when it immediately followed a new ep of "My Name Is Earl."
NBC should be thrilled, right? Look at that nice consistent growth over time. What great news for "The Office!"

But should NBC really be happy?

Remember, to calculate percent retention you take the rating for "The Office," divide that number by the rating for "My Name Is Earl" and multiply by 100. Simple enough. Percent retention increases if: (a) the rating for "The Office" increases, (b) the rating for "My Name Is Earl" decreases, or (c) some combination of these two. How did the ratings for each series change over time?

(Click on the image to see a larger version.)
Figure 2. Household ratings for "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl" when the series air new eps back-to-back. The data in this Figure are used to calculate % households retained in Figure 1.
NBC shouldn't be so thrilled, should they? Instead of spinning the numbers to convince us that "The Office" is doing so well, NBC should be more concerned about declining ratings for "My Name Is Earl."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Fall's Well That Ends Well

In a previous post I made my first prediction for the pilot season. I suggested that Fox was likely to air "Welcome to Paradise" this coming Fall.

What other series do I think are likely to be on the networks' Fall schedules?
  • ''Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'' (Warner Bros. filed for trademark protection on January 31, 2006. Sorkin, Perry, Peet. It's probably a shoe-in.)
  • ''Play Nice'' and ''Jericho'' (CBS Studios filed trademark apps on February 1, 2006 and January 27, 2006, respectively. You can find more details about these two shows in the list of current cbs projects in the futon critic's devwatch database.)
  • ''Fugly'' is my dark horse pick. (Comedy Central filed for protection on January 24, 2006. Otherwise, I've heard very little about the show. The last update for ''Fugly'' is November 18, 2005 in the futon critic's devwatch database.)
In May I'll revisit these two posts after the networks announce their schedules. We'll see if early application for trademark protection really improves a pilot's odds of being picked up.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

That's the Way the IPTV Cookie Mumbles

Let's look into the near future of targeted online advertising.

You're downloading TV shows from iTunes and Google Video. You're watching free TV eps on AOL's in2tv and some of the other free broadband networks. You look for TV information on this site, imdb.com, tv.com and tvguide. You use MSN, Google, or Yahoo! to search for additional info about TV shows.

If you have cookies enabled, your entire viewing and search history is stored locally on your computer. (Really, how many people manage their cookies so this doesn't happen?) These local files provide a pretty complete picture of your tendencies, preferences and likely buying habits. They contain much more complete and specific info than typical demographics like age, gender, household income and geographic location.

What if advertisers use these cookies to determine which ads to present to you when you view a web page? This idea is the main thrust of a recent patent application (20060031405), "System and method of inserting advertisements into an information retrieval system display," which is a continuation of an earlier patent app (20030135853).

Who owns the rights? Microsoft.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Miss Is as Google as It's Vile

Strike Two.

Google Video recently updated some of its TV series offerings, but you certainly can't tell from the front page. Once you click one of:
  • "Macgyver" (10 eps added)
  • "The Brady Bunch" (6 eps)
  • "Star Trek: Voyager" (4 eps)
  • "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (19 eps)
you might know eps were added if you remember how many eps you could buy last time you visited. You have to look in the upper right corner at the text that reads 1 - 9 of about 9. Great. Now you know how many, but can you find which ones?

And are you sure that all the eps from last time are still there? You'd think so, wouldn't you. But don't be so sure. For instance, Google removed the 'Brace Yourself' ep from "The Brady Bunch" list and the 'Babel' ep from "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." You can't even access these eps anymore even if you know document IDs and manually type the URLs.

On top of all of that, about two weeks ago Google removed the handy pull-down menu to let you select TV shows. Now try finding vids for "Have Gun, Will Travel" if you didn't already know the series is offered by Google Video. The skein doesn't appear on the front page. If you search for have gun will travel, you find five eps of the series and 21 other entries. If you search for type:tvshow "Have Gun, Will Travel", you'll find exactly what you're looking for.

I continue to be unimpressed.

Easier Right Said Fred Than Done

On this date 14 years ago Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" reached #1 on Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 list. What a great Valentine's Day gift!

It's one of those songs that quickly permeated all aspects of pop culture. Love it or hate it, you could name that tune in about four notes. In the long run I think most people hated it. At least Blender Magazine despised it — Blender listed "I'm Too Sexy" at #49 on its 2004 list of all-time worst songs.

TV writers often play these hit songs in show ep titles. So imagine my surprise when I searched for "too sexy" in the trivialTV database and only discovered three series that acknowledged this certifiable song:
  • I'm Too Sexy for My Brother (''The Wayans Brothers,'' 1/25/1995)
  • I'm Too Sexy for This Shot (''The Jamie Foxx Show,'' 5/3/1998)
  • He's Too Sexy for His Fat (''Family Guy,'' 6/27/2000)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Everything from Souper Bowl to HUTs

You're going to hear a lot about the Nielsen ratings record for Super Bowl XL since it aired in the most US households in Super Bowl history. Here's the top ten list (source: Nielsen Media Research weekly ratings):
  • 45.8 million households: 2/5/2006, Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Seattle Seahawks 10
  • 45.0: 2/6/2005, New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21
  • 44.9: 2/1/2004, New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29 (OT)
  • 44.2: 1/28/1996, Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
  • 43.6: 1/30/2000, St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16
  • 43.6: 1/25/1998, Denver Broncos 31, Green Bay Packers 24
  • 43.4: 1/26/2003, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48, Oakland Raiders 21
  • 42.9: 1/30/1994, Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13
  • 42.6: 2/3/2002, New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17
  • 42.0: 1/26/1997, Green Bay Packers 35, New England Patriots 21
Big deal!

If you look at the list, you'll notice that the last three Super Bowls each held this same title. With the recent housing boom and Nielsen recounts, the number of TV households has increased each of the last five years. Take a look at the following stats:
  • 1999-2000 season: 100.8 million TV households
  • 2000-2001: 100.8
  • 2001-2002: 105.5
  • 2002-2003: 106.7
  • 2003-2004: 108.4
  • 2004-2005: 109.6
  • 2005-2006: 110.2
What about the percentage of households that watched the game? What if you look at Super Bowl XL's rating instead? Here's the top ten list (source: Nielsen Media Research weekly ratings):
  • 49.1% of households: 1/24/1982, San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21
  • 48.6: 1/30/1983, Washington Redskins 27, Miami Dolphins 17
  • 47.2: 1/26/1986, Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10
  • 47.2: 1/15/1978, Dallas Cowboys 27, Denver Broncos 10
  • 47.1: 1/21/1979, Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31
  • 46.4: 1/20/1985, San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16
  • 46.3: 1/20/1980, Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Los Angeles Rams 19
  • 46.1: 1/28/1996, Dallas Cowboys 27, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
  • 46.0: 1/22/1984, Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington Redskins 9
  • 45.8: 1/25/1987, New York Giants 39, Denver Broncos 20
You'll notice that none of the last ten Super Bowls appear in this list. Who knew that Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl (and the new Kitty Halftime Show) had such a huge ratings effect? With so many entertainment choices, we're unlikely to ever see a new entry on this list. Super Bowl XL finished a distant 25th place.

Unless the game is extraordinary, you can expect 40.4-41.6% of households to watch the Super Bowl these days. The last six Super Bowls all fell in this range. Super Bowl XXXIV (1/30/2000, St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16) was the last Super Bowl to break out of this range when it scored a 43.3 rating for a game that went down to the final play.

Monday, February 06, 2006

ForeWarnered is Forearmed

Time-Warner-AOL is really taking its time with in2tv. Back in November they were vague and only officially committed to an early 2006 launch. Most of us expected in2tv to go live in January based on unofficial comments. Well, January has come and gone and in2tv is still "coming soon." Now sounds like in2tv will make its appearance in March.

Maybe AOL learned a lesson from Google Video? Since AOL and Google are in business together, can we expect Google Video to relaunch in March and compensate for its false start?

Regardless, I had planned all of my new features (and the associated Monday posts) for the first five months of this year. I haven't sufficiently tested any of my upcoming features and won't unveil them early. That means I'm stuck unveiling what I had planned for today anyways.

In the far right column I'll keep track of all network broadband portals on which you can legally view free video of past or current TV shows. Here is a short list of portals:

Friday, February 03, 2006

Don't Cross Your World Series of Bridges Before You Get To Them

Poker remains a huge draw on TV and shows no signs of slowing down. Blackjack is living off the winnings of its older brother. Now I see the World Craps Championship is scheduled for July 2006.

Maybe craps will develop into a third-tier TV series. You can't easily play it at home and it requires less skill than blackjack, but it does generate a ton of excitement at the table. One out of three — probably not a huge draw. Even though blackjack is the younger sibling, it already has three shows to its name ("World Series of Blackjack," "Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament" and "Celebrity Blackjack") with one more series ("World Blackjack Tour") on the way this summer. I reckon craps deserves one series on the Wealth Network sometime at the end of this year.

What other card or casino table games might we see on TV? Pai Gow or Caribbean Stud? Too few people know the rules. Baccarat? Too James Bondish.

What about bridge?

It's a distinct possibility. The demos might skew a bit old, but it has many of the same elements as poker. You can play at home with friends. It requires skill. Small cameras transformed poker by giving the viewer full information, and these same cameras can be used for bridge. (Bridge players are already used to similar gameplay because of Sharif's syndicated newspaper columns, which also means you have a built-in audience.) Make the stakes high. Find unique characters. Show only key moments of each hand. All that's missing is a sponsor.

Or is it? Back on December 15, 2005 Harrah's filed a trademark application for "World Series of Bridge."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Leave Smell Enough Alone

About two months ago I presented a retro tech entry about Smell-O-Vision and Aroma-Rama. Well, some things never change.

I was looking at recent US patent applications and came across Patent Application 20060018787 (Guo, Yixin; January 26, 2006), entitled "Synchronized electronic smell emission method and device for television programs, movies and other programs."

How does the proposed invention work? You'll likely buy a box that contains small cylinders of compressed gas — each small cylinder has its own unique smell and its own valve. You'll plug a program card into the box, which synchronizes smells with TV video and audio. As you watch the program, the program card sends signals for valves to open and close, allowing odor to leave the cylinders. A fan causes the odor to move across the room.

There's really nothing novel in this invention, but the Patent Office will probably push it through anyways.

If there's really nothing new, why do I bring it up at all? It struck a chord with me and made me laugh. The inventor describes the invention and is very specific — yet quite vague — about the types of smells that are included in the first design. The smells include:
the scent of flowers, perfume smell, coffee smell, smell of a fried dish, fruit smell, smell of sourness, spicy smell, stinking smell, fishy smell, smoke and fire smells and ammunition smell.
From this list I personally love stinking smell. Might I suggest cadaverine or putrescine?

There's nothing quite like the smell of rotting flesh on your clothes. You just can't wash it out. Trust me. In a former life I worked on a project where we used a device to "smell" dead bodies to determine time of death. We used straight cadaverine (without the dead bodies) to run prelim tests. Despite my best efforts, a minute amount of cadaverine spilled on my shirt sleeve one day. I smelled so bad that I cleared offices wherever I went. Now that's stinking smell.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

After the Beast Comes the Wreck 'n Zing

Over the past few days I saw a lot of ads for the Route 666 ep of "Supernatural."

I'm sure political types read something into the fact that WB aired the ep opposite Bush's State of the Union Address. The right says that Hollywood disrespected Bush somehow by playing an ep with that title. The left says that you could've watched the devil on every network last night.

Personally, I thought about that commercial parody for Motel 6: "This is Tom Bodett for Motel 666, and we'll leave the burning goat out for you."

I was surprised how few series used 666 in ep titles. Here's the short list:
  • Reply Box No. 666 (''The Champions,'' 10/9/1968)
  • Route 666 (''Married…with Children,'' 4/28/1991)
  • Get Your Kicks on Route 666 (''Cheers,'' 9/26/1991)
  • Flight 666 (''The Immortal,'' 11/25/2000)
  • Motel 666 (''The Apprentice,'' 1/27/2005)
  • Route 666 (''Supernatural,'' 1/31/2006)