Music and pranks

On 23rd March 2009, the commuters in Belgium’s Grand Central metro station suddenly got to hear Julie Andrews “Do Re Mi” on the announcement system. Soon it broke out into something they will remember for their lives.

A musical prank played by VTM – a 200 strong flash mob dance stunt to announce their newest reality television program “Op zoek naar Maria”. The idea was to search for an actress who would play the leading role in the The Sound of Music. See the video below to know what happen. Be prepared to be enthralled.

Earlier this year in January, T-Mobile in the UK launched an advertising campaign that had a similar flash mob dancing in London’s Liverpool Street Station. 350 dancers made the day for commuters passing through the railway station. That was an advertising campaign aired on TV later in the same month.

I am not anyone’s idea of a good dancer, but there is something about well choreographed dances that just make you feel GOOD. Real good.

On a related note, it’s not news to anyone that I absolutely love pranks. I love pranks made on public like the above few examples – not the ones that are for slapstick fun though. I am talking of those that deliver a tiny message – take a deep breath, and appreciate what’s around you. A while ago, I wrote about Prangstgrup, a group based in Columbia University that did simply amazing things – a musical in the middle of a lecture, in a library, teaching architecture to absolute strangers in the metro – 17 masterpieces since I checked!

Have you seen the one where about 200 people in the Grand Central subway, New York just froze in their steps? Or when in a book store, about 60 cellphones in bags outside the store started to ring simultaneously? Surprise a random couple who just got married in the city hall with a complete wedding reception? Visit Improv Everywhere and you will be surprised at the things they have done. 🙂

Early in 2007, the Washington Post decided to conduct an experiment. A man dressed ordinarily in jeans, t-shirt and a baseball cap took out his violin and played music on a street during the morning rush hour. He played six classical pieces in 43 minutes, and a total of 1097 people crossed him at that time. 7 people stopped what they were doing to listen to him for a minute. A total of 27 people dropped in change amounting to a total of $32 or so. The rest 1070 people were too busy to pay attention. Probably irritated with poor people who present an unbecoming look to them every morning. This nondescript fiddler was Joshua Bell, who is a child prodigy when it comes to playing the violin. People pay hundreds of dollars to see him play at concerts. A man who earns $1,000 a minute. Why does beauty such as this need to be set up for us to appreciate it? [Source]

Edited to add: Bollywood Heroes did a similar thing to promote their own show. Last week on August 4th, 2009, dozens of Bollywood dancers suddenly began to dance in the middle of Times Square, New York. Nice low budget advertising, I would say. Oh and I ABSOLUTELY ADORE the girl in the yellow dress! Via Indiequill

Losing perspective

Why on earth is this NEWS?
How necessary. President bumps his head. So had Bush, apparently, towards the start of his presidency.
Turns out there is a video too.

Possible headlines that are repercussions of this event:
  1. President Obama bumps his head, sends America to war again
  2. President Obama bumps his head, helicopter dented
  3. President Obama bumps his head, needs to comb hair all over again
  4. President Obama bumps his head, secret service arrests helicopter
  5. President Obama bumps his head, president bumps head not
  6. President Obama bumps his head, so did Bush; similar presidencies forecasted
How is this relevant to anything at all? I know he is living the life of a goldfish in a fishbowl, completely in the eyes of the country. But bumping his head? Come on! It could be a part of The Daily Show or Late Night or even Saturday Night Live – but not CNN main news! Next we would know about when his dog poops and whether the secret service cleans up after the first dog.
It’s not even a slow news day, thanks to the bailout and stimulus plans being on everyone’s minds…

Google Earth 5.0

If it were Sarah Palin, she would say “Gosh darn it Google, hold your horses!

So Google is out with Google Earth 5.0. What’s new? Diving under the ocean, historic imagery, and recording tours.

Dive under the ocean? Yes, dive under the ocean.

What’s historic imagery? Well, you can surf a landscape and click the tiny clock that appears on the toolbar, and can see how that landscape has changed with time.

Wow. Here’s the video from Google.

Hook, check, uppercut and checkmate

Chess boxing. No, really, it’s a legit game! And has been around for 6 years now. Officially, i.e. There is a federation and all, with sponsors too!

Originally a figment of the imagination of French comic book creator Enki Bilal, chess boxing was probably intended to show that boxers can think. Or may be to show that chess players can fight. artist Iepe Rubingh decided to turn fiction to reality when he officially started this game. Twelve alternating rounds of 4 minute chess sessions and 2 minute boxing sessions. Winner defeats by knockout or checkmate.

I guess punching during the chess game is not allowed.

Also in the list of crazy sports are included Wife Carrying and Cheese Chasing. Yes, they are exactly what they sound like.

Number crunching

This is the current cost of the Iraq war:
Iraq War Cost

I knew it was big, but I did not know it was this big. As of when I saw this ticker, the number was $612 billion. These are the other numbers I calculated:
Considering it started in 2003 and now it is the end of 2008, that is 6 years.
Yearly expenditure: $102 billion
Monthly expenditure: $8.5 billion
Daily expenditure: $280 million

Now let us look at the daily expenditure. We have (had?) a bailout plan costing $700 billion. The auto giants require a $14 billion bailout. Considering daily cost of the Iraq war, it turns out that it would take US just 50 days to equal the cost of the auto bailout.

Also, did you notice that the cost of the Iraq war is almost equal to the cost of the economic bailout of $700 billion?

Nice going, George.

Bush has good reflexes

So this happened earlier today… when US President Bush made an unannounced visit to Iraq, and a reporter threw shoes at him calling him a dog. While Bush ducked well in both shots, I feel a little bad for him.

Video Courtesy: CNN

Smile please!

Guess who this is. Lindsey Evans, Miss Louisana Teen USA 2008.

Guess what this is. Her mugshot when she was arrested recently.

Is she smiling? Yes.
Is she posing for Miss Congeniality? Probably yes.

Who smiles like that when their mugshot is being taken? :-O

What happened? She decided to dine-and-dash at a restaurant with her friends, i.e. leaving the restaurant without paying, over a $46 bill. For one thing, if you are stupid enough to commit a crime, don’t leave your purse behind. Yes, she left without paying, and left her purse behind. DUH.

That’s not even the best part. When the cops were called, they obviously found the purse. Within the purse was some weed! Wow. She got arrested, and thereby came that photo up there. Why on earth did she decide to smile when she was being arrested?

Obviously, the pageant “dethroned” her on 20th October 2008; she lost her crown 11 days before her reign ended. Girl, you could have waited 11 days more.

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