Bart Beats Balloon Boy

When I heard that balloon boy was safe, because he’d never been up the balloon in the first place, my first reaction was one of relief.

My second reaction was that this whole incident is uncannily similar to the Simpsons episode in which Bart seems to get stuck down a well. If you remember, Sting guest-starred as himself, contributing the song “We’re Sending Our Love Down the Well” to the apparently good cause of getting Bart out of the well down which he has fallen. Reaction 2.1 was that others must have noticed and written about the resemblance before me.

Indeed Phil Rosenthal, blogging at the Chicago Tribune, pretty much nailed it. He even included the very clip from the episode I’d have used.

At least I’m not as far behind Phil as balloon boy was behind Bart. I’m a day behind, BB was 17+ years behind Bart. The episode in question, “Radio Bart,” aired in January 1992. Its Wikipedia page provides further details, answering questions such as: on which 1951 movie is the plot based? who got the first shot at guest starring and declined, thus leaving the door open for Sting? how come the episode didn’t win an Emmy.

Grease Theft: Life Imitates Simpsons

When I saw the Reddit story about the theft of used grease from restaurants, I immediately thought of Lard of the Dance, the Simpsons episode in which Homer incurs Willie’s wrath by trying to steal his “retirement grease.” I was not the first to make the connection. Among those who beat me to it, I’ll link to Steve, since his blog has a cool name, and his post includes a relevant image.

You may also remember the episode from such voices as Lisa Kudrow’s; she was “Alex.”

A Network That Has No Site

Fred Wilson, VC in NYC, reports that Union Square Ventures has invested in Zynga. I hadn’t heard of Zynga, but Fred’s post caught my attention because it was essentially saying: I invested in a network that has no site.

Which of course owes much to the line “I gave my love a chicken that has no bone”. Which of course is from the song “I Gave My Love a Cherry” and, more to the point, is said by Homer Simpson in Marge vs. the Monorail. You may remember that he follows it with “Mmm…chicken.”

You may also remember that the late great Phil Hartman did the voice of the huckster who sold the people of Springfield on the monorail. The song with which he did so is reason enough to track down the classic episode. If you do track it down, I’d be interested in your comparison between the monorail, as on The Simpsons, and social networks, as on the web.

Hooked by Hulu

I remember reading about the online video service Hulu. I didn’t pay much attention to it until today, when several of the blogs to which I subscribe announced that they had invites to the private beta. I succumbed to what I think was the third such announcement: the one on ReadWriteWeb. It includes the word unimpressive, but it also includes Simpsons.

The first episode I watched was the most recent return of Sideshow Bob. Hulu allows you to embed a video, either in part or in the form of a clip you can define yourself. I clipped a minute or so toward the start of the show. The Simpsons have a Tivo, Marge has just been guilted into watching the ads rather than skipping over them, and then the main plotline of the episode gets under way.

Hulu includes ads, so my ad-related clip seems like an appropriate first selection. I’ve found the ads tolerable so far.

Due to WordPress.com policy, I can’t embed the clip in this post. By the way, the Hulu support/FAQ page explicitly addresses this aspect of WordPress.com, although it makes it sound as though the limitation applies to all WordPress blogs.

So I embedded it in a post at another blog. I’ve been meaning for a while to set up an annex to house embeds and other animals forbidden by the landlords of this blog. I just got round to it, in the form of Widget Way at Tumblr.

There are several limits on Hulu. One relates to what you can watch; for example, the current season of The Simpsons is there, but there’s nothing from previous seasons. Another limit relates to who can watch. The site is currently invite-only and US-only – but there are ways round that.

All in all, I’m glad to have bitten on the Hulu hook, although I wouldn’t say that I was hooked on Hulu.