Universal sets screenwriters loose on Twitter – helped Ted to gross near $200 million

The teddy bear’s first tweet, from an account called @WhatTedSaid set up by the Universal Pictures marketing department, was “Hello, Twitter. Kindly go f— yourself.”

The author of the greeting was Alec Sulkin, co-screenwriter of the R-rated comedy “Ted,” who together with his collaborator Wellesley Wild was paid extra by the studio to build buzz on social media ahead of the film’s June 29 release. Who better to embody the random musings of a foul-mouthed stuffed animal than the writers of the script? The suits left them alone.

“The parameters were, ‘Just go to town,’ ” says Doug Neil, Universal’s senior vice president of digital marketing. The tweeting started March 30, two days before the “red band” (uncensored) trailer appeared online, depicting the namesake bear smoking weed, cuddling with co-star Mark Wahlberg and pantomiming suggestive acts for a supermarket checkout girl.

It worked spectacularly. Tracking polls, which movie executives rely on to guide box office expectations, suggested an opening-weekend gross of $35 million to $40 million for the film, which was co-written and directed by Seth McFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” who also provided the voice for Ted. Instead, “Ted” generated $54 million, catching the industry by surprise.

 

More on this: The Wall Street Journal – Twitter Goes to the Movies

 

Continue reading Universal sets screenwriters loose on Twitter – helped Ted to gross near $200 million

The rise of mountain lions in the Midwest

Cougars are on the rise in the Midwest. From 1990 to 2008, the number of sightings confirmed by wildlife professionals increased. That’s good news for fans of big cats, which were extirpated from most of that area around 1900.

Here’s a breakdown of the rise of mountain lions in the Midwest, by the numbers.

3: Number of known breeding populations that now exist in the Midwest: In the Black Hills of South Dakota, in the North Dakota Badlands, and in western Nebraska.

8: Percent of land in the Midwest that makes for suitable cougar habitat.

0: The number of cougars the average person is likely to see in the wild in their lifetime. “Really, one of the most important things I like to make sure people know is that it’s very unlikely that they will ever see or encounter a cougar,” says Michelle LaRue. “It’s slightly more likely than winning the lottery; your chances aren’t that great. But with that said, always be aware of your surroundings, especially in the wilderness.”

 

Source: Outside – By the numbers: The Rise of Mountain Lions in the Midwest

 
 

Continue reading The rise of mountain lions in the Midwest

Amazing photo of a blue whale feeding on krill (her mouth is full)

After reading a recent story about local blue whale sightings, San Diego photographer Jerry Allen shared a stunning image of a blue feeding on krill off the county’s coast at Nine Mile Bank.

He took the photo in November. “There were about 10 blue/fin whales that day. I now call it the ‘magic day,'” Allen said.

Allen said blues are very difficult to photograph. “I figure I’ll get a photo op about one time in 10 trips,” he said. “It’s also illegal to chase them, so you have to get lucky with an animal choosing to come to you.”

 

More on the story‘Magic’ image shows blue whale munching krill

 

 

 

More Photos from Jerry Allen – visit his website

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What kind of muppet are you – chaos or order?

A fascinating, tongue-in-cheek piece about the dynamics in relationships. Believe it or not every relationship is made up of chaos muppets are order muppets. Which one are you?

Every once in a while, an idea comes along that changes the way we all look at ourselves forever. Before Descartes, nobody knew they were thinking. They all believed they were just mulling. Until Karl Marx, everyone totally hated one another but nobody knew quite why. And before Freud, nobody understood that all of humanity could be classified into one of two simple types: people who don’t yet know they want to sleep with their mothers, and people who already know they want to sleep with their mothers. These dialectics can change and shape who we are so profoundly, it’s hard to imagine life before the paradigm at all.

The same thing is true of Muppet Theory, a little-known, poorly understood philosophy that holds that every living human can be classified according to one simple metric: Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet.

Chaos Muppets are out-of-control, emotional, volatile. They tend toward the blue and fuzzy. They make their way through life in a swirling maelstrom of food crumbs, small flaming objects, and the letter C. Cookie Monster, Ernie, Grover, Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and—paradigmatically—Animal, are all Chaos Muppets. Zelda Fitzgerald was a Chaos Muppet. So, I must tell you, is Justice Stephen Breyer.

Order Muppets—and I’m thinking about Bert, Scooter, Sam the Eagle, Kermit the Frog, and the blue guy who is perennially harassed by Grover at restaurants (the Order Muppet Everyman)—tend to be neurotic, highly regimented, averse to surprises and may sport monstrously large eyebrows. They sometimes resent the responsibility of the world weighing on their felt shoulders, but they secretly revel in the knowledge that they keep the show running. Your first grade teacher was probably an Order Muppet. So is Chief Justice John Roberts.

 

Keep readingChaos Theory: a unified theory of Muppet types

Continue reading What kind of muppet are you – chaos or order?

First ever video of the world’s most elusive whale

Scientists on a research voyage in Bass Straight (south of Australia) got an exhilarating surprise when they chanced upon what might be the world’s most mysterious and elusive whale: the Shepherd’s beaked whale. It is believed this is the first time the species has ever been captured on video (shown below).

Since the Shepherd’s beaked whale was first described in 1937, there have been only 3 confirmed sightings of the animal besides this one. Due to its extreme rarity, almost nothing is known about the species. What little is known has mostly been derived from strandings or carcasses that have washed ashore. But just over 40 such strandings have ever been recorded.

Adults of the species can reach lengths of about 20-23 feet and typically weigh about 2.32 to 3.48 tons. They have a dark brown color on their dorsal side but are cream-colored ventrally, and males display a pair of tusks at the tip of the lower jaw.

One of the reasons the whales are so difficult to spot is that they are typically found only in deep, offshore habitats where sighting conditions are rarely ideal (i.e., along the latitudes commonly referred to as the “Roaring 40’s” and “Furious 50’s”). Like other beaked whales within the family Ziphidae, Shepherd’s beaked whales can also dive for long periods– over an hour at a time– and to extreme depths. In fact, most beaked whales dive to such great depths that they must surface slowly to avoid decompression sickness.

All sightings and strandings of the Shepherd’s beaked whales have occurred in waters off New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.

via Animal Planet

 

Shepherd’s beaked whale is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List given that there is so little known about the marine mammal.

Hollywood Dogs – from Rin Tin Tin to Uggie

Featuring author Susan Orlean, animal trainers Sarah Clifford and Omar von Muller and a screening of “Clash of the Wolves” (1925) starring Rin Tin Tin, with live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

“Man’s Best Friend” has gotten a wonderful publicity boost from the movies. Canine cinema mythology has enhanced human appreciation of a dog’s loyalty, heroism, humor and intelligence from the earliest days of film with such immediate audience favorites as “Rescued by Rover” (1905) and “The Whole Dam Family and the Dam Dog” (1905).

More than any other four-legged actor, the dog has achieved a unique stardom with such long-lasting box office stars as Strongheart, Teddy, Lassie, Pete the Pup, Benji and particularly Rin Tin Tin. The original Rinty (there would be several over the years) was rescued in Germany during World War I by a U.S. soldier who would mold him for Hollywood stardom, resulting in his becoming one of the biggest box office draws of the late 1920s. The popularity of Rinty’s films would practically underwrite a struggling studio known as Warner Bros. and afford a young writer named Darryl F. Zanuck some of his earliest success.

Join Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, for an evening of photographs, film clips, behind-the-scenes secrets and surprises featuring more dogs than you can throw a stick for. No pawtographs, please!

Event Information

Wednesday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Boulevard – Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Ticketed seating is unreserved.

Tickets

$5 general admission/$3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID (limit 2 at the discounted price) – Tickets

via Oscars.org

Make Your Dreams Come True – the Muppet Babies intro theme song

Muppet Babies, we make our dreams come true

Muppet Babies, we’ll do the same for you

When your world looks kinda weird and you wish that you weren’t there (Kermit)
Just close your eyes and make believe and you can be anywhere (Piggy)

I like adventure (Kermit)
I like romance (Piggy)
I love great jokes (Fozzie)
Animal dance!! (Animal)
I’ve got my computer (Scooter)
I swing through the air (Skeeter)
I play the piano (Rowlf)
And I have blue hair (Gonzo)
Me, I invent things (Bunsen)
Mee mee mee meee! (Beaker)

Is everything all right in here? (Nanny)
Yes, Nanny. (all)

Muppet Babies, we make our dreams come true
Muppet Babies, we’ll do the same for you

Muppet Muppet Muppet Muppet
Babies Babies Babies Babies
Make dreams come true.

 

If you like this also check out Cookie Monster – C is for cookie!

Great documentary to watch: A Murder of Crows

Crows live everywhere in the world except Antarctica and are a part of myths and legends in many cultures. Their reputation in the stories varies from comical to frightening, godlike or wise, bringers of light and bringers of death, though a “murder” of crows refers to a flock of crows, and not to anything murderous, at all.

They may be all these things, but what we are learning is that they are especially smart. New research has shown that they are among the most intelligent animals on the planet. They use tools as only elephants and chimpanzees do, and recognize 250 distinct calls.

They thrive wherever people live and have used their great intelligence to adapt again and again to a constantly changing world. Some memorize garbage truck routes, and follow the feast from day to day. Others drop nuts in the road and wait for passing cars to crack them open.

via Introduction to A Murder of Crows

The full documentary, which was featured at the 2011 Environmental Film Festival, can be watched online at, A Murder of Crows.