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My MLK Project Could Beat Up Your MLK Project

Paul Greengrass is reportedly considering an MLK drama he’s written called Memphis, which would be produced by Scott Rudin. I’m told it’s by no means definite, but if Vulture’s scoop happens — it will happen fast, and will be done down and dirty like Greengrass’s United 93. It could push him past several percolating MLK projects, including: Lee Daniels’ Selma; a Ronald Harwood-scripted drama at DreamWorks that has Steven Spielberg producing and is authorized by MLK’s estate; and the HBO mini that Harpo Films is doing based on Taylor Branch’s book trilogy. There is also the film Wesley Snipes signed on to produce (before heading to prison) about J. Edgar Hoover’s campaign to discredit MLK…

I just enjoyed the ridiculous tone of this article. Everybody is racing to trump each other with a 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. movie. MARTIN LUTHER KING HAS NEVER BEEN HOTTER!!

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Louis CK & Marc Maron Believe Masturbation Is The Answer

"When you do things that you regret, like eating or jacking off in a shameful situation, you don’t have food or sex issues, you have anxiety. You’re doing these things to feel better. And maybe if you tell yourself this at the moment, it might help you get through it." And Louis CK says about this, "This really helped me. It made me realize where these things were rooted, and so I could just get on with my life."
"Jacking off is helpful. It’s not something shameful, it’s just a way to get rid of my anxiety." Marc Maron responds, "Right, just take a fucking breath."

Podcast #111:

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Magazines Give Prisoners a Link to World Outside

In prisons across the country, with their artificial pre-Internet worlds where magazines are one of the few connections to the outside and handwritten correspondence is the primary form of communication, the art of the pen-to-paper letter to the editor is thriving. Magazine editors see so much of it that they have even coined a term for these letters: jail mail.

At magazines like Maxim, with its male-heavy readership and sexy spreads that feature women in just enough clothing to avoid running afoul of prison standards, mail from inmates can easily make up three-quarters of the handwritten letters that come in. Maxim says it receives 10 to 30 such letters each week. Rolling Stone says it receives at least one a day. And at Esquire, editors receive about 15 to 20 a month, about a quarter of the magazine’s mailed letters. The rest come mainly from older readers.

Many letters are like the ones Mr. Bolick sends: from inmates with plenty of free time asking to meet famous people featured in profiles and photo spreads. But they take on all forms. Some are as simple as an inmate complaining about not receiving his subscription or writing with a change of address. Others are personal reflections on a recent article. Country Weekly regularly receives songs from a prisoner in Texas who has ambitions of being a country star.

The most impressive prison weapon I’ve ever seen (courtesy of Lock Up, I believe) was a spear/long shank created out newspaper

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Food for Thought: Google Is McDonald’s & Facebook Is Like A Local Coffee Shop

The internet is abuzz with conversation about Facebook’s ascension to become the #1 most-visited web site and recent investments that valued the company at $50 billion. Congratulations to Mark Zuckerberg and company because those are two serious feats.  But I have a serious problem with all of the analysis that has arisen based on those gawdy numbers.

All of the journalists in the world have declared the battle between Google and Facebook over.  Facebook is the new king!  Well, not quite yet.  Clearly, the social networking site has a very bright future.  You can’t really argue with near-ubiquity and serving a trillion ads a year (about a quarter of the total display ads viewed on the internet).  But there are definitely concerning aspects of Facebook’s numbers:

% of U.S. Web Minutes:

Revenue per user:

Facebook owns a substantial portion of America’s minutes on the internet but garners the LOWEST revenue per user out of the tech companies listed.  What does that mean?  It indicates that Facebook is not very good at monetizing the pageviews/activity of its audience.  

So that brings me back to the title of this post: Google Is McDonald’s & Facebook Is Like A Local Coffee Shop (note: this analogy is not about scale — but rather efficiency and margins).  Google is like McDonald’s because they know exactly how to make money with their core product.  Both McDonald’s and Google want you to visit as often as possible — but when you do visit, they want to get you out the door as quickly as they can.  If you “linger” at McDonald’s, they’ll have less space to seat other guests.  You’ll probably create more of a mess for them to clean up.  Additionally, your presence may also create an unwanted externality for other guests (noise, etc.).  So McDonald’s gains nothing by having you “enjoy” the experience of the restaurant (quite literally: time on site).  For this reason, McDonald’s gives you a standardized menu (makes processing your order quicker) and has an extremely uncomfortable and unaccommodating seating area.  Google’s search product operates in a similar manner.  They offer a standardized experience (Google search and results) and try to get you out the door as quickly as possible (accuracy of results, sorting results by type, intuitively providing conversions/definitions, Google Instant, simple/ugly search results page, etc.).  This means that Google is maximizing their capacity while minimizing serving cost — and also delivering a clearly defined core product.  

Right now, Facebook struggles to make money from their pageviews — their effective CPM (based on raw impression and revenue numbers) can’t be higher than $2.  It would be generous to call that number “average” and could even be considered bad.  For a site trumpeted with being incredibly engaging and having the ability for hyper-targeting, Facebook has a surprisingly low cost per thousand impressions and, as a result, an extremely low revenue per users.  The company still has less overall revenue and revenue per user than Yahoo… a company that many people consider to be dead.  Facebook’s main issue is that they only have one thing that people are buying: basic display ads.  And they’re selling them at a dramatically lower price than most people probably would have predicted.  Back to the eatery analogy, Facebook is like your local coffee shop that planned on breaking the bank with exotic coffee, pricey biscotti, and dessert dishes (or maybe all three, because they really like the atmosphere and spend a lot of time in the shop).  But instead, people come in to buy one cup of house blend coffee and then use the free wifi all day.  In this example, the coffee shop makes less revenue per customer than predicted and also can’t serve as many customers due to lingerers. It also becomes much harder for the shop to define their core product.  Sure, they may be selling an enjoyable experience.  But they’re not monetizing that experience in any meaningful way.

My guess is that the “Facebook coffee shop” expected to sell premium products by now — but can’t.  If that’s the case, it’s due to lack of sales prowess, attempting to sell premium products that are unappealing, or they simply haven’t created any premium products.  I’d also be very interested to find out facebook’s breakdown of ad impressions by content type.  I would be surprised if they weren’t serving at least half of their trillion pageviews on photo pages (at the time of this post, 1 ad appeared on the NewsFeed page, 4 appeared on the profile page, and 5 appeared on the photo page).  After all, Facebook is the largest photo-sharing site on the internet (over a year and a half ago, Facebook said they were serving 550,000 images PER SECOND at peak times).  But if that were the case, all of the hype about interactivity and engagement would be irrelevant.  Photos are probably the LEAST valuable aspect of facebook’s site in terms of ad space.  On top of that, photo pages are also likely to be among the LEAST profitable pages for Facebook to serve.  The first issue is transfer cost since images can rack up bandwidth in a hurry — the photo pages, in my test, contained 254KB to download versus 500KB for the NewsFeed and 365KB for a profile page.  Then there are also storage costs… Facebook is the #1 photo-serving site on the internet and recently crowed about having 750 million photos uploaded over New Years Weekend.  They also store 4 different copies of each image you upload (the original size and thumbnails).  So it’s likely that much of their revenue is derived from this costly, low-margin product that doesn’t have much value for advertisers.  That’s not exactly the future of the internet.

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Hugh Jackman Injures Face While Attempting To Please Oprah

In fact, one of them, “Wolverine” hunk Hugh Jackman, had a big surprise for Winfrey on Tuesday (December 14), when he slid down a cable from the top of the iconic Sydney Opera House toward a giant outdoor stage set up for broadcast. But, according to a Reuters report, the stunt went wrong and Jackman failed to stop his ascent in time and crashed into the stage’s lighting rig, smashing his face in the process.

"That was so much fun, until the end," Jackman joked. "I came down waving to everyone, looking over Sydney Harbor, saw my dad, the kids and you [Winfrey], went to pull the brake and then boing." Appearing later in the broadcast with a small bandage under one of his eyes, Jackman, whose two children were in the audience, told Winfrey that the excitement of sliding down the cable onto the stage caused him to hit the brake too late.

The actor reportedly suffered a black eye and was seen holding some ice to his face and taking a swig of red wine following the accident. Ever the professional, he shook off the mishap and appeared in a segment in which he gave Oprah some pointers on eating Vegemite, a traditional Australian spread made from black yeast.

This is from a conversation that I had with a friend last night:
9:30:52 PM Chris Duncan: “Rumors “flying” that Hugh Jackman will ride along a zip wire from the Opera House to Oprah’s stage. Full report tomorrow morning on”
9:30:55 PM Chris Duncan: that tweet rules
9:31:12 PM Chris Duncan: I’d like to get some of the pople that are extremely excited about that in one room
9:31:19 PM Chris Duncan: and hear some of their other thoughts about life

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No Matter Who Wins The Heisman Trophy, God Is The Best Bet

Rot Who will Heisman Trophy winner thank first Moneyline
561 God    
562 Either Parent    
563 University    
564 Coach    
565 Heisman Committee    
566 Teammates    

BetUS has a bunch of wagers available related to the Heisman. Most are based on the amount of points each nominated athlete will receive. But the best action going is wager on who the eventual winner will thank first. God is the heavy favorite. But I like “Teammates” as a sneaky pick. I might email BetUS and see if I can write in “Cammy Cam Juice.”

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NBC Developing 1960’s Period Piece Based on Playboy Clubs

NBC is putting together a period drama set in the 1960s at a Playboy club, according to Variety. Playboy (catchy name!) “would center on a group of women working as Playboy bunnies in the New York Club,” which would serve as a lens for the “changing mores” of the time. Chad Hodge (Runaway, Tru Calling) is the executive producer.

This is probably destined for failure. But I actually think it has a decent shot to get to pilot. The problem is that this is not even close to a fully formed television show concept. Note that the show centers on a “group of women working as Playboy bunnies” — meaning they haven’t even conceived an individual main character! This show will undoubtedly fail if the Playboy Club is the main character.

On top of that, period pieces cost much more to produce due to the high cost of set design and costumes. And the longer network television season for TV shows may work against this show. Mad Men certainly wouldn’t work with a 23 episode season. It also doesn’t seem like the presumably racy subject matter makes sense for NBC. Basically, there’s almost no way this can succeed in the current format on network television.

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It Only Takes A Smartphone To Help Anonymous Attack PayPal, Etc.

A JS version of LOIC is available for the participants of the attack, only a browser is needed, so you can even launch the attack from your fone, I just tested it with my iPhone:

A javascript version of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon is available to the members of Anonymous participating in Operation Payback. That means you can join the botnet (AKA become one of the drones in the attack) from a mobile browser. It’s also interesting to note that the amount of people participating is often in the hundreds and occasionally in the thousands. It’s a much smaller group than the media makes it out to be. And one expert speculated that most participants were between 18-24. I’d bet that most of the attackers are in their teens.

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Dutch Police Arrest 16-Year-Old Boy For Role In Attacks Against MasterCard/PayPal

Dutch police have arrested a 16-year-old boy for online attacks on MasterCard and PayPal, as the digital guerilla warfare between WikiLeaks’ supporters and its opponents escalated.

Anonymous, the loose group of internet campaigners that has been supporting WikiLeaks, claimed credit for disrupting the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal on Wednesday and Thursday, but were frustrated in their attempts to take down Amazon’s site, in spite of threatening the online retailer with a so-called “denial of service attack”.


I’m going to venture a guess that nobody will be arrested for bringing down the original site. Not that I really care. But keep in mind that NEITHER group is affiliated with WikiLeaks or any country/government. So apparently it’s “more illegal” to cyber attack a business than a site that has won awards from publications including The Economist. It’s also unfortunate that this bastardized version of civil disobedience (denial of service attacks) is so irritating.

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This Man Hates WikiLeaks More Than Anybody

The Milwaukee Brewers' Rickie Weeks reacts after being called out at first base on a close play against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, in San Francisco. AP Photo logo

Pictured above is Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. The WikiLeaks scandal probably bothers the hell out of him… but not for political reasons. Instead, his feelings are based purely on the fact that it sounds like people are saying his name on TV constantly.

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Tom Brady Wants To Suck Your Blood (Because He’s A Vampire)

Tom Brady may have looked like Superman against the Jets on Monday Night Football.  But if you noticed a cape flowing in the wind behind him, it’s because he’s a vampire rather than the Man of Steel.  Brady, who was named as a spokesperson for Uggs last week, opted to dress in all dark clothes like some sort of ghoul in the night for his postgame interview after the Jets game.  I think it’s probably his latest effort to horn in on “teen sensations.”  First, it was Justin Bieber and now it’s Twilight.  

Below is a video from his press conference.

Download now or watch on posterous
20101206_brady_press_web.mp4 (27755 KB)
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Joel McHale Signs With WME & Re-Ups On The Soup For 2 More Years

EXCLUSIVE: Joel McHale, star of the NBC comedy series Community and host of E!’s The Soup, has signed with WME for film and television. He will stay with Gersh, where he had been represented, for personal appearances, including his standup comedy gigs. McHale’s NBC series, Community, now in its second season, anchors NBC’s Thursday comedy lineup at 8 PM. And I hear McHale has just signed a new 2-year deal with E! to continue as the host of The Soup, a pop culture satiric news magazine which has run for 7 seasons and recently marked its 300th episode. McHale, who will continue to be manged by Jon and James Dolin, co-executive produces The Soup and is looking to expand further into producing. He has three movies coming out next year, What’s Your Number, The Big Year and Spy Kids 4, and is set to host the Independent Spirit Awards on Feb. 26.

It’s interesting that he kept the hosting gig on The Soup. I’m sure it’s a good job. But that original version of that show died for a reason… it’s only as good as the host. I’m guess he’s staying at The Soup to continue to expand his appeal. The E! show gives him a pretty good foothold in the young adult-adult skewing female demographic. He’s been on network TV for a year and a half at this point on a show that skews younger. And judging by the names of his upcoming movies, they’re mass appeal vehicles. It looks like Joel McHale has a big time five-year (two-year?) plan. I have a feeling he’ll upgrade to a network hosting job (or network host in-waiting?) in the near future.

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Brett Favre Has A Bad Day At The Office

The NFL’s most famous sexter got absolutely killed by a blindside hit today. Tarvaris Jackson replaced him at quarterback and helped the Vikings complete the beatdown of the Bills. So the Vikings season has finally turned into the movie Any Given Sunday.

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Everybody’s Drinking Cammy Cam Juice… Including Tracy Wolfson

Not only does Cameron Newton love it… but so does that creepy guy in the background.

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Boston Red Sox have deal for Adrian Gonzalez

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a deal in principle to acquire slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney on Saturday morning.


The Red Sox have received permission from Major League Baseball to negotiate with Gonzalez on a new contract, the sources said, and Gonzalez’s physical examination, one of last hurdles to the deal, could happen Saturday, when Gonzalez was expected to be in Boston.

The Padres would not receive any established major league players in the trade, but it’s likely the Red Sox would include their top pitching prospect, Casey Kelly, sources have said.

It’s going to be interesting to see how many bombs Gonzalez hits in 2011. He’s hit 107 of his 168 career homers in AWAY GAMES. Gonzalez has never played a game in Boston before. Apparently, Boston wants to give him an extension as soon as possible as he’s a free agent after next season. Adam Dunn got $14 million per year from the White Sox and Gonzalez should command much more than that.

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