Friday, January 30, 2009

Who decides? The Boss decides.

In lieu of a traditional Friday Jams, which have earned me letters from the RIAA 2 of the last 4 times, we're gonna play a little game of Guess Springsteen's Super Bowl Setlist.

Rolling Stone already accidentally put the kibosh on any chance for you to make money off of your ability to guess what the E Streeters play on Sunday, having successfully figured out that "Any other combination" was probably the best place to lay your money, as opposed to four other randomly generated sets of 4 songs that would have to appear exactly in order for you to be a winner. Sheer genius, why didn't I think of that?

Fortunately, The Boss and his Band are in jovial spirits as they prepare for the big show (without us, way to answer the call, people) and even offered a rare press conference - his first since 1987 (I mean...really?). Fun topics covered Thursday:

  • The size of the audience, something that shouldn't phase a man who has made a 30-year career bringing rock to the fist-pumping stadium masses and earlier this month performed at the biggest, most historic Presidential inauguration ever: “You’ll have a lot of crazy football fans, but you won’t have Lincoln staring over your shoulder. That takes some of the pressure off.”
  • The timing of the performance and the release of the band's new album: “This is the year. I really believe our band is going through a golden age.” Lulling us to sleep for 30 years and then pouncing at just the precise moment - you sly boots Bruce.
  • The decision to finally play the Super Bowl, after years of turning down the invitation: “We have a new album coming out. We have our mercenary reasons, of course. Besides our deep love of football, blah-blah-blah.”
  • His aforementioned deep affection for the great American game of football: “I don’t know anything about it. I did play the game in my backyard around the summer of 1958. I haven’t played a lot since. When I hear Steelers, I think Terry Bradshaw.” Yes, Terry Bradshaw who last played a professional football game 26 years ago. Funny because when I hear Steelers, I think Pittsburgh hotties, and when I hear Terry Bradshaw, I think f-bombs.
Perhaps most importantly, The Boss gave us a teeny tiny glimmer of what to expect Sunday, promising "a 12-minute party," and reminding everyone that there's nobody out there who can possibly predict the 4-song setlist.

"Who decides? The Boss decides," he said.

Alright, so maybe there's one guy who can call the set. For the rest of us who aren't the most badass rocker of all time, we can only pump our fists while simultaneously belting out "Glory Days" and stuffing our pie-holes with egregious amounts of our favorite Ranch-flavored, deep-fried, made-in-America grease nugget of choice, and hope he plays four straight songs just for us. So here's my call (and you gotta call it in order, because no one, anywhere, ever has predicted a full set list in order): My Lucky Day, Promised Land, Dancing in the Dark (with Chad Ocho Cinco dancing on stage), Born To Run (with full house lights blazing).

What's your call?

One more item for the Boss Watch: Great New York Times story by John Pareles about the new record and rehearsals for the big show. And speaking of the NYT, why, what's that little box to the right of the story?

Third most popular story you say? I can see trailing the inauguration, but billable hours at law firms? "Our top story tonight, grass grows beside drying paint." Seriously? Thank you, glorious nation of Schiff Happens, for making third place possible, but there's still room to grow. Yes we can!

The King Can't Be Stopped

Slate's Chadwick Matlin weighs in on the Whopper Sacrifice, joining the ranks of prominent web media types who have reported on this story yet neglected to mention yours truly.
And for those of you who will try to tell me that this story is tired and nobody cares anymore, at the very least, this video will expose you to the fun new word, "Blogorrhea," which you can then utilize in the comments until that gets tired and nobody cares anymore.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

NYTimes facebook beef [nontroversy]

Gawker and their network of scurrying, wonky little blogging gnomes are on top of the New York Times story, although for some reason I can't understand, they don't give one single mention of yours truly. They've been coming down pretty hard on our buddy Mr. Quenqua as a passive aggressive type who turned his Thursday Styles assignment into an entire article written solely to publicly settle an old online score and blast a former colleague and un-friend identified in the story only as "Ehren S."

Personally, I found this to be an outrage. Mr. Quenqua was courteous, funny, engaging, and seemed like just the type of person I'd want to forge a virtual association with based on a one-time conversation conducted solely for business purposes. Plus, where's the shoutout to me? I don't need to be at the center of this dust-up, but at least throw my name in the ring. For kricesakes, any publicity is good publicity! For shame, Gawker. For shame.

Apparently, reckless defriender "Ehren S." wrote in to Gawker to fire back, once again making no mention of Schiff Happens, which certainly makes her deserving of the Whopper Sacrifice.

You may recall:
The article: Friends, Until I Delete You [New York Times]
The post that started it all: Because "People you may know" sounds nicer than "People you don't like"
Yesterday's update: Apologies for my absence, please accept my humble Whopper Sacrifice

Schiff Happens in the New York Times [We're totally famous now!]

More beef? Better taste? Okay fool, I'll let you live...

It's Thursday already, and while I'm still feeling under the weather from whatever random stomach flu I decided to come down with Tuesday morning, I'm recovered enough to the point where I'd rather suck it up and go back to work than sacrifice the additional days off. Therefore, it is with a lingering rumble in my gullet that I bring to you the joyous breaking news: The New York Times story hit newsstands this morning. Looks like Schiff Happens has finally reached the big time - famouser than you since 2009!

Many thanks to Karen for setting the whole thing up and to Douglas Quenqua for writing a thoroughly enjoyable article. I think it would only be apropos for us to commemorate this great moment by becoming Facebook friends (or enjoying our free Whoppers together), although I have to admit a tiny bit of dismay over Schiff Happens not getting a mention by name. After all the great pub I gave your little New York Times...

I've already started to hear from people who have seen the story, including a message from Africa (yea, that's right, international, baby!) and all I can say is it's fun. You wouldn't believe me if I told you, but I'm actually an old pro at this, having been quoted in the NYT before. So now when you show this humble little (now world-famous) weblog to your friends and co-workers, you can assure them that it is in fact a credible source of inane, idle silliness. Hopefully this means more big things to come for Schiff Happens and our extended fam. For now, just keep reading and commenting, add SH to your reader device of choice or join as a follower while I go out and buy 5 copies of today's Times for my mother.

The article: Friends, Until I Delete You [New York Times]
The post that started it all: Because "People you may know" sounds nicer than "People you don't like"
Yesterday's update: Apologies for my absence, please accept my humble Whopper Sacrifice

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Apologies for my absence, please accept my humble Whopper Sacrifice

I haven't posted in almost a week. I'm so upset with myself. At this rate, Arnold Diaz is gonna be climbing into my room from my balcony with a camera crew any minute now. That's one quick little dude.

Anyway, a couple of weekends ago I wrote that I was going to make a better effort to spread the knowledge more on the non-9-to-5 days. The next day I mentioned that I had already gotten back a bit of good karma before I had even finished said post, and promised to follow up on that in due time. Two weeks later, I have one weekend post to show for it and still haven't updated on the karma situation, so here it finally is.

Like I said, I was in the middle of writing a random enough post when a friend of mine who works in PR told me that she had responded to a query from the New York times which she thought I'd be perfect for. Turns out that some reporter was putting together a story for which he needed to interview someone who had successfully used the Burger King "Whopper Sacrifice" Facebook application, so she quickly responded to the query, told this guy all about me, and even attached a Schiff Happens post which, as loyal readers will recall, outlined my discovery and subsequent gleeful completion of the Whopper Sacrifice. In fact, just a day before all this happened, I received a most welcome surprise in my mail:

Maybe it was only a matter of time before all of this came together. Maybe the Whopper gods really received my sacrifice and were smiling down upon me from a flame-broiled paradise in burger heaven. Whatever the reason, my friend seemed very excited to tell me that there was a great chance that this NYTimes reporter would contact me for an interview, and of course, he did.

Without revealing too much, I will say that I spoke to a reporter named Doug Quenqua, a friendly and professional guy who was more than willing to listen to me babble on at length about why I think it's awesome to unfriend people on facebook, how I confused several people into thinking they had in fact been sacrificed with my cryptic status message, and why I decided to take on the Whopper Sacrifice in the first place.

NYTimes: So, you decided to install and use this application because you really love Whoppers, right?
Schiff Happens: Um.... well... not exactly.

The conversation was great, as I said, but the best part was when Doug said to me, seemingly expecting me to have known already, that facebook had pulled the popular application because it violated their privacy policy. The Whopper Sacrifice had been sacrificed!

(Gratuitous Parenthetical Side Note: 233,906 friends sacrificed for Whoppers! That means over 23,000 people out there besides me value a sandwich more than 10 facebook friends. And what about the one poor bastard who only got through 6 friends before fb shut down the app? Quenqua needs to get that guy on the phone, asap!)

Something about people getting a message from Burger King telling them "You've had your friendship sacrificed for a Whopper, and here's the guy that did it," didn't sit well with facebook I suppose. At the time, this was shocking news to me. I had absolutely no clue, which Doug found hilarious. Because it was removed from facebook so quickly, it had taken Doug a while just to find someone who had actually installed the application and used it to completion, despite its apparent popularity. We had a little laugh over this and wrapped things up, and since then we've been in touch, with me squaring away minor details ("Actually I'm 25, not 30") and him giving me the info on where and when I can hope to find the story ("Looks more like next week. I got bumped this week for Obama - so SICK of that guy!").

So, dear readers, I am elated to report to you that in due time, you will be able to read all about yours truly and the glory of the Whopper Sacrifice in the Style section of the New York Times. I have to admit that it was truly an honor to have a writer for the New York (freaking) Times read and compliment my blog, and even quote it to me in the midst of my interview. I don't know about you, but I don't typically wake up int he morning thinking, "Today is the day. A New York Times reporter is gonna call me up today and say, 'Hey, I really enjoyed your blog. Pretty funny stuff. And I had never seen those YouTubes before! Stupid Cleatus the FOX robot...'" Having it happen (even if not exactly like that) makes me feel like I'm doing something right.

I guess in the end it's really true what they say. If you work hard, and step on as many facebook friends you weren't really friends with in the first place along the way, you will definitely get famous. See you in the NYT - don't worry, I promise not to forget about the little people.