Monthly Archives: September 2009

10 Things We Miss About Middle School

Written by Max

10 Field Trips


Remember the pleasure of getting to miss a day of school to goof around with your friends while not listening to a weirdo museum tour guide go on about some crap you’re not going to be tested on? I do. Now the closest thing I get to a field trip is forcing myself to eat an extra Taco Bell Chalupa on my lunch break so I can spend the next hour of work taking a shit.

9 You were bigger and better than somebody


The hierarchy that existed within middle schools is the only social system that has ever made sense to me. Whenever life got you down or someone was giving you a hard time, there was an entire grade of kids younger and smaller than you to take it out on. This safety net was enough to make the humdrums and hardships of middle school life tolerable. Now, when your boss yells at you, you turn around and bitch out your intern. The intern calls his dad, who knows your boss and you get yelled at again. Something here is messed up.

8 You could still be anything you wanted


Remember being told that you could grow up and be anything you wanted? The parents of our generation filled our heads with this idealistic propaganda that the world was a place of opportunity. On my block alone there were three astronauts, two rock stars, five presidents of the United States , 12 profession athletes and one tattoo artist (Timmy was a bit odd).  The inveterate concept and all likelihood of being able to be anything you want slowly washed away as the tide brought in more practical prospects. Now you’re 24, working at a Chuck E. Cheese and throwing a fit because some little bastard kid beat your high score on Time Crisis III. Your mom, instead of telling you that you can be whatever you want, is telling you to move out of her basement and the closest you get to being an astronaut is getting blazed out of your skull from an eighth of this new hydroponic shit that just came in from Canada sold to you by old neighbor Timmy.

7 Pranks and sexual harassment were still acceptable


In the old days a good, elaborate prank went a long way. Whether it was something like a whoopee cushion or peeping in the girls locker room, it was guaranteed good fun. Try and pull a stunt like that in the office and you’re guaranteed a lawsuit. For example, a colleague of mine, or should I say former colleague of mine, got fired for turning his pockets inside out, whipping out his dick and pretending to be an elephant. It’s just not fair.

6 Girls Weren’t Ruining My Life

In middle school all you had to do was treat a girl like dirt and she would stick to you like mud. If that didn’t work just have your friends do all the talking. They didn’t care how much money you made, because no one made any. Every girl was a virgin, no one had STDs, and shooting blanks was the most effective contraceptive. A girl’s body was still uncharted waters and unexplored territory rather than that neighborhood that used to be nice, but started to wear down a bit; now cops don’t go there and there is a hooker on every block. Those were the days. I don’t know why I wasted them begging my older brother to buy me playboys. there were way better porno mags to be had.

5 You were able to eat anything


Fresh off my latest coronary, I long for the days when ice cream was a meal, candy was a snack and pussy wasn’t too laced with mercury to eat.

4 You didn’t need alcohol to have fun


Remember when you are a kid and you could have fun without the help of drugs and alcohol? Imaginary force-fields, crayons, sticks, spinning around in circles and thumb wars were just a few of the things we used to find thoroughly entertaining. Now, I can’t even imagine sitting down to a family dinner without at least 3 drinks in me. It’s gotten so bad that I can’t even go to the movies anymore because by the time the previews are over I am not even high anymore.

3 Summers meant something


The first large chunk of our existence on this planet was spent crossing off calendar days until summer arrives. You used to relentlessly look forward to flipping all your teachers the bird and entering those golden days; the days where it was socially acceptable to play your Alice Cooper CD on repeat and fulfill every human being’s dream of doing absolutely nothing. Now, if anything, summers mean back sweat, swamp ass, getting your ball sack stuck to your leg and dick stuck to your sack. Summers mean weekends at your girlfriend’s parent’s house and getting weird looks from people because you’re an overweight, balding man running after an ice cream truck. No worries, only about 14,479 days left until retirement.

2 People were proud of you for things

There was a time when parents, teachers and friends used to shell out vast amount of praise for even the most pedestrian of accomplishments. Shit, we had it so good people were even proud of us for flat out failing at certain tasks. Whether it was doing some god awful performance at a talent show, striking out 3 times in a row in a little league game or making fun of the foreign kid’s glasses, we were rewarded with applause, ice cream and high fives. Now, no one is proud of you for anything, there’s just different degrees of disappointment.

1 Energy


Remember the days before energy was served exclusively in a can and our bodies just produced it naturally? It’s hard to believe that as a kid we actually had too much energy, so much so that our parents refused to serve us certain foods. Now, regardless of what I am doing, where I am or who I am with, I am pretty sure I could fall asleep on command. I need about three red bulls, two mountain dews and a line of cocaine just to finish a game of Madden.

Top 10 Ways to Get More From a Cameraphone

Written by Kevin Purdy

The best camera, the saying goes, is the one you have with you. Whether that’s an impressive iPhone 3GS or a $20-with-2-year-plan flip model, you can pull off great shots and make life easier with these cameraphone tactics.

10. Get macro-style close-ups

Macro shots aren’t just for passionate foodies with tolerant friends. We’ve shown you how to use an old DVD lens to create a simple, portable cover-up lens to get serious short focus on whatever you’re shooting. Lack an old player to tear apart? You can probably find some cheap add-ons for your makeshift macro shots. Either way, you’ve got a nice little macro package that’s cheap enough to bring everywhere and shoot everything, without worrying too much about it.

9. Capture your car travel


iPhones and other web-capable cellphones can be used as turn-by-turn GPS navigators, so accessory makers have cranked out lots of mounting gadgets for them. That’s very convenient, but not half as fun as directing a low-budget thriller about your drive to work. To give your character his mood-setting opening montage, simply drill a hole in the camera spot and find an app that allows for time lapse photography, or a video recording function that doesn’t require too much fiddling while driving.

8. Find your car in huge parking lots

Remembering where one parked is one of those skills everyone assumes they’re great at until put to the test. The Digital Inspiration blog suggests that, among other creative uses of cameraphones, using it to snap a picture of the exit or elevator you’re closest to in a ramp, or landmark or other marker in an open lot, might save you a lot of hassle upon returning from an epic shopping trip or sports event. It takes less time than texting yourself the coordinates, and you’ll earn instant respect when you’re the only one with a bead on where to find the ride at the end of the night. Photo by Luciano Meirelles. (Original post)

7. Document what you packed

A lot of bags are packed in frantic fashion, but take the 15 seconds to snap a shot or two of what you’re throwing in the case before you close it. If the airline, hotel, or shuttle service loses or damages your luggage, you’ll know exactly what’s in your right to claim inside it. If you want to be absolutely sure you didn’t pack sunglasses before you run out and buy them, you’ll know whether to keep digging. Months or years later, you’ll get a laugh out of how much you thought you needed to do nothing on vacation. Photo by Muffet. (Original post)

6. Create PDFs from document pictures

One hour and many arguments later, the whiteboard at work is filled with actually feasible ideas and team commitments. Now, how will you remember it tomorrow morning? Free cameraphone conversion service Qipit can, depending on your camphone’s quality, accept whiteboard snapshots, printed documents, or handwritten notes with white-ish backgrounds and convert them into plain old PDFs, then email them to your regular address. We just wrote out a potential work-related use for that convenience-let’s assume you can think of many, many more interesting uses than that. And if you ever need to actually fax one of these documents, Qipit has you covered.

5. Punch them up on your Desktop

Some cameraphone shots capture perfect moments, but were taken in not-so-perfect conditions. Whether you like doing it yourself or leaving it to some well-considered software, it’s fairly easy to drag a decent-looking image out of a rough snap. Windows users should grab the Mobile Photo Enhancer for a quick fix that corrects common problems. Got Photoshop, the GIMP, or another photo editing solution handy? Try Jackson West’s tips on punching up a photo in under 60 seconds tested out on a pretty sweet shot of a bulldog taken with the lackluster iPhone (2G) camera. (Original posts: Mobile Photo Enhancer, Punch Up a Photo)

4. Enforce a diet

Back in the day, when the idea of phones with cameras was new to the world (okay, this was only 2005), the MyFoodPhone service offered, for $149/month, then $10/month, to have a dietitian review any photos you send in of your food and ping you back with a quick take or suggestion. As you might imagine, that service doesn’t seem to be around anymore-perhaps because, for many people, the act of simply committing what they’re eating to a camera, and maybe even making it public, is enough to start dropping pounds. It’s akin to the idea of calling a parent every night you hit the town and telling them how much you had to drink or how much you spent-you would, almost certainly, cut back, and you’d also have photo evidence and reinforcement of the times you managed not to kill off that entire Cheesecake Factory plate. Photo by Sebastian Mary.

3. Grab and send photos without fees

Tied to an older phone that won’t let you get pictures out without paying exorbitant MMS/email/"upload" fees? Enter BitPim, a free software tool that connects to your phone over Bluetooth and opens it up in a major way, even if your Bluetooth capabilities seem very limited. We walked through backing up and syncing your phone with BitPim, performed on a very limited clamshell model, the cheapest that came with a Verizon contract. Check to see if BitPim supports your phone. If so, feel free to reach into your little bundle of circuits and free the pictures, videos, and tunes that are rightfully yours. Oh, and throw some custom-made ringtones in there, while you’re at it.

2. Master the form

Even with the high-end 5-8 megapixel models on the edge of being available, shooting with a cameraphone is not the same as with a standard handheld camera. The sensors, lens curvature, capture abilities-it’s all been optimized for a device mostly meant to pass voice and data from twisted antennas. That said, you can learn how to get better shots out of the camera you always have with you, as Gina learned and related:

Plan for shutter delay
Like many consumer digital cameras, there’s most likely a delay between the exact moment you press the shutter button and when your cameraphone captures the image. Plan for this: hit that button half a second in advance to get the exact moment you’re looking for, and keep the phone steady for a few seconds after it’s pressed, too. A little practice will help you perfect this.

1. Make it your second brain

Get a free Flickr account, and add your secret, automatically private, instant-upload email address to your phone’s contacts. You’ve now got a tag-able, high-quality, almost infinite space to stash everything you’re likely to forget or need to pool your thoughts on. Wine you want to buy, the perfect gift you stumble across in June, your new gadget’s serial number-anything not already in this list, in other words. If you’re more likely to actually organize your camera thoughts, Evernote offers a similar free space and private email address, but doesn’t allow for tagging by email, making the otherwise brain-expanding service, oddly enough, a bit less useful for this hack you’ll find convenient at just the right moments. Photo by solson.

What secret superpowers does your cameraphone have, through your own doing or others’ suggestions? We want to hear about them in the comments.

5 Awesome Cases of The Internet Owning The Mainstream Media

Written by Robert Brockway

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In case you haven’t seen the ads framing these past few day, Family Guy starts back up tomorrow. Which is kind of strange when you consider that Fox canceled it almost 10 years ago. It’s still on the air because the unwashed masses demanded it. In fact, the little guy has been increasingly making huge media companies his prison-wife thanks to the two most dangerous things in existence: incredible amounts of spare time and knowing how to use the Internet.


The Internet Programs TV, Greenlights a Movie

Right at this very moment, you most likely have a device in your pocket that can show you your location from space, give you directions and reviews to your favorite restaurant, play a few rounds of virtual golf against a man in South Korea and stream whatever amateur fetish porn is currently floating your boat… and it can do all that within the next five minutes. And yet, most TV decision-making is based on Nielsen Ratings, which apparently consists of a small random sample of evil, inbred Nazis who rejoice in poisoning the zeitgeist with reality shows about fat people dancing for Brett Michaels’ anal virginity (or whatever). But when they canceled Family Guy, the Internet made its presence known and massive online petitions and email campaigns led to the resurrection of the show on two separate occasions. If you’re counting, that’s one more than Jesus Christ.

Then, in 2003, the Fox Network decided to cancel the most exciting new science fiction show in decades, Firefly.

Nerds suddenly felt like the entire world had turned upside down; it was like entering Jaynestown (that’s 14 Nerd Points! We’re going to level up into Geeks any minute now). Bespectacled women in brown trench-coats sobbed hysterically in the corners of darkened rooms, listening to "You Can’t Take the Sky From Me" on endless repeat. And really, nobody else cared. They were just nerds, right? They’re always whining about something. Ignore them, maybe throw them a Star Trek marathon or get a girl to talk to them or something; they’ll go away.

Pictured: Nerd not thinking about how much he misses Firefly.

But thanks to the word of mouth on the web, DVD sales skyrocketed; organized email campaigns flooded the networks and the show leapfrogged the entire medium of television, and became an actual big budget Hollywood movie. That’s like being fired from Burger King and then getting re-hired as official blowjob tester for Ice Cream Island.


Twitter Vs. Breaking News

Conventional news outlets have always treated the Internet like a foster parent treats their child at the supermarket: With thinly veiled disdain only kept from becoming outright physical abuse because people are watching. But that all changed last year, when Twitter scooped them all on the "Miracle on the Hudson" story with the above picture, two sentences and one fragment (if you wanna be a dick about it): "There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy."

Breaking News! The Internet is making our jobs unnecessary!

Suddenly, it became clear that when bad stuff happens, you don’t always need Anderson Cooper on the scene to tell you about it. Not when every asshole in the world has a camera, a printing press and a worldwide distribution network in their pocket.

Not a big enough story for you? Well, Twitter also scooped every news outlet in the entire world, and broke the history-making story that there is, in fact, water on the moon. That’s right: That thing you use to update family members on the consistency and difficulty of your bowel movements? Yeah, that just broke the biggest story to happen on the moon since Neil Armstrong got flashed by a three breasted woman.

And then his head exploded.

This all happened because Science Magazine, who were responsible for the ground-breaking research, wanted to announce their findings with the appropriate pomp and circumstance. There was to be a worldwide press conference attended by all the major news outlets, and an embargo was placed on reporting the story up until the conference. But as the scientific community went about gathering the trumpeters and confetti for their first major announcement in ages, Twitter was all "lol they found water on the mooooon, whuuuuuuuuuuut?!"

This generation’s Edward R. Murrow.

OK, so in reality it wasn’t some random jerkoff, but a concentrated, amorphous movement. When they announced the press conference, Science Magazine made the mistake of announcing which scientists would be in attendance. The Internet, loving nothing more than to check facts (to the frequent chagrin of Cracked writers), figured out that the common denominator between all of the scientists was water on the moon, and just went ahead and made the announcement themselves.


Newsweek Vs. The Drudge Report

If you touch this jpeg, it is sticky. Nobody knows how! It is the mystery of The Clinton.

There’s nothing all that special about Twitter; it’s just the latest service that illustrates the point. Before Twitter it was Facebook, before that it was MySpace, before that it was blogs. But the start of this trend is easy to trace. The Internet first started schooling conventional journalism all the way back in 1998, when Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff got word that special prosecutor Kenneth Starr was investigating political BBW Monica Lewinsky. Isikoff did extensive research. He dug through every lead, did all of his footwork and finally placed what he thought was the story of the year before his editors who promptly shut him down. This was probably because Lewinsky was "not a reliable source," but more likely because they didn’t want to alienate their connections in Washington.

But when the Matt Drudge got hold of this news, he–being big on the Internet in the late 90s–didn’t have to worry about stuff like "destroying relationships" (blogging was still mom’s basement territory back then) and so he freely covered the story with all the understated solemnity he’s famous for:

We should probably just be thankful that he managed to restrain himself to appending it with five exclamation marks and a "1." In the past, if a major publication dropped a story, that was it. It would be swiftly swept under the rug and forgotten about. But thanks to one screaming Internet News Queen and his tenuous grasp of grammar, this story was dragged screaming (and probably still sticky) into the public eye, and became so important it nearly dethroned the leader of the free world.


Internet Forums vs. Dan Rather

A series of memos known as the Killian documents were released by an "expert" (take note of quotation marks, they’ll become important later) to CBS News officials, who used them to put together a potentially politically devastating story critical of George Bush’s service in the Air National Guard right before the 2004 Presidential Election. CBS thought they had it all. This is the kind of story that takes down careers. This is the kind of story that knocks the reigning power on its ass and changes things forever. And it did exactly that. It just did it to Dan Rather instead of George Bush.

CBS’s problem was that the documents in question were what is politely referred to as "a pack of barely concealed lies." Where previously it could have taken months to discount the validity of said documents, thus allowing the damage to be done for the impending election, Internet forums and bloggers were able to call bullshit within mere hours of its release.

While there were all sorts of problems with the document, the one that played to the Internet’s strengths was the typography: The formatting, which was supposed to have been from an early 70s typewriter, looked suspiciously like the default settings in Mircrosoft Word.

The "original" document compared with the default settings in Microsoft Word. FAAAAAAAAKE!

CBS eventually admitted to shoddy journalism once they realized their only other option was a Bill Gates time travel conspiracy. Several people lost their jobs, and one of the most esteemed news anchors of all time had to live out his remaining days knowing that a bunch of Internet Cowboys derailed his entire career, probably without ever putting on pants.


The Internet Might Just Force Hollywood to Make … Good Movies

It seems the prevalence of (you guessed it) Twitter is putting pressure on Hollywood’s age-old tradition of green-lighting any script that’s title ends in a number or that can be described using the words "heart-warming" or "Will Smith." It used to be that if a movie sucked, word of mouth would get out in a week or so and your movie would tank… after the public had bought a few million tickets on opening weekend.

Word of mouth, much like herpes in a hot tub, inevitably spread. But it took time. And that buffer zone used to allow even the crappiest of Police Academy sequels to survive through their opening weekend, before everybody met at the water cooler on Monday to talk about how this one didn’t even have Steve Guttenberg. And that was still long enough for the movie to rake in more money than you will ever see in your lifetime.

If you could harvest the fury generated from that statement, you could use it to power a city.

Now, Twitter users are changing all that. Because no matter how omnipresent your ad campaign is, armchair reviewers can now gauge the level of "fail" or "gay" in your movie and have it out to the masses in a matter of hours. Some of them probably have their 140 character reviews up before the opening credits have finished.

As a result, movie studios are seeing a massive drop in box office of crappy movies, not after the first week, but after the first day. The disappointing Jack Black/Michael Cera comedy Year One is a great example. When it hit theaters in June of 2009 critics hated it, but fans lined up on opening night to see it anyway. It’s Jack Black! It’s Michael Cera! How can it not be awesome?

The numbers tell the story: First night, $8.5 million. Second, $6.5. Third, $4.7. It just kept plummeting from there, as vigilant tweeters spread the word Paul Revere-style, to keep their fellow citizens from getting screwed out of eight bucks.

Jesus Christ, has this… has this been an entire article about the Internet being used for good? What is this, Jaynestown?

Sound Familiar? 20 Reasons You’re Still Single

Written by The Manolith Team

There’s nothing wrong with being single, but at some point most people reach the point of wanting a relationship. If you reached that point a while back, but still haven’t had any luck, you might want to check this list to see if anything sounds familiar.

You’re Shallow


If within a few seconds of meeting a woman you have already calculated an estimate of her weight and located any problem areas where cellulite might lurk on her body, you may hereby consider yourself shallow. No matter how hot she is, you’re inevitably going to find her flaws. You will likely remain single until you get over yourself.

You’re Too Independent


Being a bachelor certainly has plenty of perks. You don’t have to wait that extra hour for her to get ready for an outing, and you generally come and go as you please. The thing is, at some point you may actually no longer want to be all alone, and you’re going to have to compromise. Give up a bit of your independence to avoid growing into a lonely old man.

You’re Afraid of Commitment


Tying into your fierce sense of independence is your equally strong fear of commitment. On top of losing your freedom, you don’t want to get married, only to get divorced later and lose half of your stuff. The future is unpredictable, and you can bet that once you settle down, you’ll meet a woman who is hotter, smarter and more successful than the one you’re with. Oh, and she’s going to flirt with you, but too bad – you’re in a committed relationship. Knowing this, you have every right to fear commitment, but getting over that fear is what men do.

You’re a Slob


You need a shave and a haircut. Your dirty laundry is more like a mildew-laced pile of odorous rags, so you wear your t-shirt inside out. There is leftover food on your desk from last week. What’s not to love? Look around, then look at yourself in the mirror. Are you a slob? Chicks don’t really dig slobs.

You’re a Douchebag


Get your collar popped and layer on that spray-tan – let’s talk about why you’re still single. Could you be a douchebag? Some women actually like douchebags, but these ladies are generally not the type you’d take home to meet mom. If you want to meet a nice girl, you’re going to have to tone it down a notch. Or several.

You’re Addicted to Gaming


If by some divine intervention, you actually manage to acquire a girlfriend between day-long bouts of questing, you’re probably in for a let-down since she won’t be around long. You need to cut back, drastically, on your playing habits if you want to maintain a relationship. Just remember, your guild isn’t going to keep you warm at night.

You’re Desperate


Desperation reeks. It’s a fact. Men who are desperate repel women. If you are initially cool enough to get a woman’s phone number, by no means should you ever call her more than twice without her returning your call. She may be busy when you call, but if you call repeatedly, you are ensuring that she will never call you back, and even worse, she’ll hope to never see you again.

You’re the Nice Guy


You’re always helpful, polite, and kind – the type of guy every woman wants, right? Apparently not. Guys that are too nice have a more difficult time moving out of the friend zone than guys who act like complete dicks. Some women even perceive excessive niceness as a weakness of character. You shouldn’t go full douchebag, but don’t be afraid to be a little hard, at times. It just lets her know you’re not a doormat.

You’re a Control Freak


It’s your way, or the highway. There’s no room for compromise in your life. You like things the way you like them, and as long as everything goes according to your plan everything is cool. If you throw a temper tantrum the moment something is out of your control, you may need to lighten up a little.

You’re Too Shy


There comes a time in your life when you have to either man up and deal with your insecurities or face the fact that you’re going to die alone. If you don’t have any confidence when approaching women, enlist some friends to help you out. You may need to serve as a wingman for a while, but pay attention to what the pilot is doing. Observe him and learn how the game is played. And remember this: Alcohol is your friend.

You’re Selfish


Did you fail “Sharing” in kindergarten? If you only ever think of yourself, get used to it because you’re the only person you’ll have to consider as you’ll be single for a while. If you can bring yourself to be a little less self-absorbed and a little more considerate, you may have a shot at a relationship. Try putting others before yourself a little more often.

You’re Broke


If you’re broke all the time, how can you expect to maintain a relationship? You don’t have to buy a girl expensive gifts, but she will like to go out from time to time. If you’re tired of being single, you’ll have to work some dating funds into your budget.

Your Friends Are Assholes


It’s true, you’re judged by the company you keep. If you hang out with jerks, you’re likely a jerk too. Even if you’re not, you can’t stop your friends from acting like assholes and ruining any relationship you might have. Get some better friends.

You’re In Love With Yourself


You’re wonderful and perfect. You don’t need a relationship because everything you do, say and have is so delightful there is really no void to fill. It must be great to be you.

You’re a Workaholic


Being career and goal-oriented isn’t a flaw, but it may take away relationship opportunities. If you’re too busy to have any kind of social life outside of work, you’re already married – to your job.

You’re a Pervert


We all think about sex – a lot. However, if you fail to disengage your eyes and mouth from your perverted thoughts you will repulse women. If you are looking for a relationship, you will need to learn this skill. It’s also a good idea to learn how to clear your cache and browser history.

You’re In Love With Your Ex


Your relationships may never work out if you’re still hung up on the one that got away. It’s best to move forward and let it go, especially if you’re looking for something new. No woman wants to live in the shadow of your ex. It’s also pathetic, so get over it.

You’re Boring


What were you saying? Sorry, I fell asleep. You’re boring. Nobody wants to listen to you tell the same unfunny stories over and over. We’re sure your cat is awesome, but come on. Be interesting if you’re going to talk so much, otherwise just shut up and work the mysterious angle instead.

You’re Obnoxious


You always interrupt when people are speaking, usually to interject a random rude comment. You’re loud and you’re the only person who thinks you’re funny. You’re like nails on a chalkboard to most women, so grow up and try listening to people for once.

You’re a Liar


Telling her that her ass doesn’t look big in those jeans isn’t a lie, it’s self-preservation. Telling her you were at church while you were at the racetrack is a lie. You only have to get caught in one big one to spoil something that could have been nice. Have the balls to tell the truth, just don’t be brutal about it.

The 20 Best Cartoons Of The 90’s

Written by

The 90’s were a golden age of cartoons. We had a blast putting together the 20 best, and we’re sure this list will inspire some discussion. Our only criteria was that the cartoon had to start in the 90’s, meaning a couple of very late in the decade entries were still eligible. We did make a small exception for one show, but we think you’ll agree it was warranted. Enjoy!

20. Darkwing Duck

Production Period: 1991-1995

This Disney smash followed Drake Ballard and his alter-ego, Darkwing Duck. Darkwing and his adopted daughter, Gosalyn Mallard resided in the town of St. Canard and used their powers to perform good acts all over their town. Darkwing Duck was a spin off of the Disney Series Duck Tales.

19. Doug

Production Period: 1991-1994, later 1996-1999

Doug Funnie and his best friend Skeeter got into all kind of adventures in the fictional town of Bluffington. Alongside Doug’s dog Porkchop, the trio got into all kind of trouble. Although the show eventually switched from Nickelodeon to Disney, it ran for a total of 116 episodes and even spawned one feature film.

18. Talespin

Production Period: 1990-1994

Using characters adapted from the 1967 movie, The Jungle Book, Talespin was set in the town of Cape Suzette. Baloo the Bear is out of work until he lands a job as a pilot. An orphan boy and former air pirate named Kit Cloudkicker attaches to Baloo and becomes his navigator. The pair share their adventures as Baloo becomes a permanent fixture in the child’s life.

17. Rocko’s Modern Life

Production Period: 1993-1996

Rocko’s Modern life followed the life of wallaby Rocko. The show, which was more adult than anyone could have imagined, was full of sexual innuendos and was written by a man who had no experience with cartoons or kids. After 52 episodes, the show called it quits, but the unique animation and brilliant storylines earned it a place on our list.

16. Pinky and The Brain

Production Period: 1995-1999

Originally starting as a recurring segment on the hit show Animaniacs, Pinky and The Brain finally landed their own show in 1995. Pinky and Brain are genetically enhanced laboratory mice who reside in a cage in the Acme Labs research facility. Each episode involves one of Brain’s plans for world domination with Pinky’s assistance, and the ultimate failure of that plan. The series took home several Emmys, including the 1996 Award for Best Animated series.

15. The Critic

Production Period: 1994-1995

The Critic focused on movie-critic Jay Sherman, who gained a reputation for hating most films he saw. The Critic brought satire to the masses, in his negative review of each film, frequently offering a list of diseases he would rather have than seeing a movie again. The show ran for only 2 seasons, getting canceled after just 23 episodes. We think it was just a little too brilliant for it’s time.

14. Tiny Toon Adventures

Production Period: 1990-1995

Another animated venture by the great Steven Spielberg, Tiny Toon Adventures followed the toons at Acme Acres. Following the everyday lives of characters set to resemble Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat and Elmer Fudd, they attended school at Acme Looniversity, where they learned how to be funny. Tiny Toon Adventures took home 2 different Daytime Emmy Awards for Animated Show and is ranked 41st in the Top 100 Animated TV Shows.

13. Bobby’s World

Production Period: 1990-1998

Bobby’s World was truly a unique show. Created by Howie Mandel, the world was shown through four-year-old Bobby Generic’s over-imaginative eyes. Bobby faced the same trials as most young kids, but dealt with it through comedy and laughter. The show ended its run on February 23 1998 after an 80 episode run. FOX Kids has released some episodes on DVD, and even created a game based on the intellectual property.

12. Animaniacs

Production Period: 1993-1998

Animaniacs was presented by Steven Spielberg and was the second highest rated cartoon in the 2-11 and children ages 6-11 demographics. The storyline followed The Warners, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, three cartoon stars from the 1930s that were locked away in the Warner Bros. water tower until the 1990s. Upon their escape, they often interacted with some of the human characters working at the studio. The Animanics took home several awards, including multiple Daytime Emmy Awards. It also comes in at #17 on the All-Time Best Cartoon Lists.

11. King of the Hill

Production Period: 1997-2009

King of the Hill follows the Hills, a Methodist family from Texas, and their mundane, everyday sort of life. Since it’s creation in 97, King of the Hill has been nominated for 7 Emmy’s with 2 wins, and was even named one of Time Magazines Top 100 Television shows of all times. ‘Hill’ was recently canceled to make way for ‘The Cleveland Show’ (a Family Guy spin off), but the show finishes as one of the longest running prime time animated shows of all time.

10. Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Production Period: 1994-2004

Space Ghost Coast to Coast was one of the most refreshing and inventive cartoons to come out of the nineties. Set up like an animated talk show, the series brought back 60’s cartoon Space Ghost as the awkward, and sometimes painful show’s host. Space Ghost’s question often left the guests feeling confused and the audience was sometime led to believe the guests didn’t even realize they were on a talk show. The cartoon was even equipped with a laugh track. Space Ghost opened up the network to other "talk show" concepts, which eventually made the way for spin offs like Cartoon Planet and The Brak Show.

9. The Tick

Production Period: 1994-1996

The Tick is one of the animated series that didn’t run for very long, but reached cult status quickly. The Tick focused on a super hero who was well known for his "Spooooooon!" battle cry and his skin-tight blue suit. This satirical take on the super hero craze is considered one of the best animated series of all time, even though it only ran for 36 episodes.

8. Ren and Stimpy

Production Period: 1991-1996, later 2003

Ren and Stimpy, a dog/cat pair, were one of the most neurotic duo’s to hit television in the 90’s. When the show first started, it was described as frightening and often violent, which paired with the slow production schedule, caused the shows first director to be fired. When the show came back in 1993, it was re-formatted to suit the masses, and eventually led to four years of success for the show. The duo returned to television briefly in 2003, only to be removed once it began delving into plot-lines that were considered "too adult" for television.

7. Spongebob Squarepants

Production period: 1999-Present

When Spongebob Squarepants premiered on May 1 after the 1999 Kids Choice Awards, Nickelodeon didn’t know they had just launched one of the most popular kids cartoons of all times. Spongebob reached popularity in the middle of its second season, and hasn’t slowed down since. The low-budget show proved that you didn’t have spend a lot of money to make a lot, and eventually made way for cartoons like ‘The Fairly Odd Parents’ and ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’. The show follows a sea sponge (Spongebob) and his best friend star fish (Patrick) on several of their adventures around their hometown of Bikini Bottom. The show is made to be enjoyed by kids and their parents by including more adult innuendos and soundtracks that feature artists like Wilco, The Shins, Twisted Sister and David Bowie (who appeared in the shows most watched episode of all times). Spongebob is still going strong and can be viewed on Nickelodeon!

6. Daria

Production Period: 1997-2002

Daria, a spin-off of Beavis and Butt-head, also aired on MTV. Daria followed a misanthropic, intelligent high school aged girl (Daria) and her daily encounters with the world around her. The show often referred to the unfortunate circumstances that usually affect teens as well as references to pop culture, especially music. The series followed Daria through her awkward high school years and ended eventually with her graduation and acceptance into college. After 65 episodes and 2 TV movies, the series called it quits on January 21st of 2002.

5. Family Guy

Production Period: 1999-2002, 2005-Present

Much like Futurama, Family Guy took everything positive from the cartoons of the early 90’s combined it with the lack of political correctness of the 2000’s and forged it’s way through the depths of animated comedies. Family Guy, which first aired on January 31 of 1999, is one of the most iconic cartoons of all time, even producing a spin off show in ‘The Cleveland Show’. Focusing on the Griffin family, the show follows their day-to-day life in suburbia. The show often features other characters (Cleveland, Quagmire) but most story lines revolve around Peter, Lois, Chris, Meg, Stewie and their trusty talking dog, Brian. Nothing on Family Guys is what it seems, but it seems like everything you’d want to see in a cartoon.

4. Futurama

Production Period: 1999-2003

Futurama might barely make our list, only premiering on March 28, of 1999, but the quality of the show makes it a must include. The show is essentially a workplace comedy, focusing on three main characters, Bender, Leela and Fry as they go about their days as ‘Planet Express’ delivery employees. Futurama was officially canceled in 2003, but can still be seen as syndication on Comedy Central.

3. Beavis and Butt-head

Production Period: 1993-1997

Beavis and Butt-head first appeared on television on MTV back in 1993. Beavis and Butt-head are two teenage guys who get by obsessing over music videos, contemplating their sarcastic version of life and testing out really bad ideas. The show ended in 97, but it is still considered a pop icon of the nineties.

2. South Park

Production Period: 1997-Present

A cartoon that focuses on 3rd graders at a Colorado elementary school. It doesn’t exactly sound the like the recipe for a successful television series. But South Park is possibly the most successful animated series of all times. Since 1997, Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny have been presenting political topics and taboo topics with a comedic ease that leaves audiences laughing, even when they know they shouldn’t be. In 2000, the boys made the switch from third to fourth grade, where they have remained ever since. During the first 5 seasons, the show was infamous for killing Kenny near the end of every episode, then bringing him back the next week with no explanation of his death or return. The show always reflects pop culture phenomenons, or current fads in society, addressing everything from ‘High School Musical’ hysteria to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ madness. After a motion picture and over 180 episodes, South Park is still going strong, and will be for at least a couple of more years as it has been renewed through 2011!

1. The Simpsons

Production Period: 1989-present

Probably one of the most iconic cartoons of all times, we realize ‘The Simpsons’ didn’t technically get their start in the 90’s, but since it was just a couple weeks shy we felt we could bend the rules a bit. The original run date was December 17, 1989, which was a date that set the bar for all cartoons in the next decade. The Simpsons quality has certainly declined of late, but during the 90’s it was consistently cranking out top notch entertainment, and easily takes the top spot on our list of best 90’s cartoons.

The Most Controversial Magazine Covers of All Time

Collected by Webdesigner Depot

We’ve put together a collection of magazine covers that have stirred up controversy through the years.

These covers can serve as object lessons for what to do and what not to do both with design and editorial.

While some controversial covers have worked and sold more magazines, or won awards for the editors who made the decision to go to press with them, others were embarrassments that the publication had to either apologize for, or fire an editor over.

Here are some of the most controversial magazine covers of all time. Feel free to suggest other covers that you think should be part of this collection.

Time Magazine, January 2, 1939: Hitler as Man of the Year

This cover featured an elaborate illustration of Hitler playing “his hymn of hate in a desecrated cathedral while victims dangle on a St. Catherine’s wheel while the Nazi hierarchy looks on.” Baron Rudolph Charles von Ripper was a Catholic that fled Hitler’s Germany, and the artist of this disturbing piece. By 1938, Hitler had firmly seized power in Germany, taken over Austria and Czechoslovakia, and had been given a free hand in Eastern Europe by the English prime minister of the time, Neville Chamberlain. Time has had to defend this choice throughout history, and at the time defended it by stating that the “Man of the Year” was a title bestowed on the person who had most influenced events of the previous year.

Time Magazine, April 8, 1966: Is God Dead?

This cover has been called the most controversial of all time. The related article concerned the “death of god movement” that had sprung up in the 1960’s. The cover and article enraged readers.

Life, November 26, 1965: War In Vietnam

Paul Schutzers captured this arresting image of a VietCong prisoner being taken prisoner by American forces during the Vietnam War. Photography and news coverage like this helped to turn the American public against the Vietnam war. While Schutzers was one of LIFE’s best photographers, he was killed on assignment during the Six-Day War of 1967 between Israel and its neighbouring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

Esquire, April 1968: The Passion of Ali

This smart rendition of Muhammad Ali was created to illustrate his martyrdom to his cause after he refused to join the US military due to his religious beliefs and was subsequently stripped of his heavyweight boxing title. The piece was done after the same manner as “The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian”, a popular theme through medieval art but most recognizable in the painting by Andrea Mantegna.

Esquire, May 1969: The Drowning of Andy Warhol

Another triumph of Esquire’s former visionary Art Director, George Lois, this picture combined two separate shots of a soup can and Warhol. In the first ten years of his employment at Esquire, circulation was boosted from 500,000 to 2 million, a figure for which his covers were partially responsible. This shot references Warhol’s famous “soup can” exhibits that symbolized the American avant-garde art movement.

Playboy, October 1971: First Playboy African-American Woman

This cover was the first Playboy cover to feature an African-American woman. The model is Darine Stern and the photographer was Richard Fegley.

National Lampoon, January 1973: If You Don’t Buy This Magazine.

While this cover didn’t do much more than make people laugh when it came out despite its violent overtones, Ronald G. Harris’ famous cover shot definitely raised a few eyebrows in pre-Photoshop days.

The New Yorker, March 29, 1976: Steinberg Map of New York

This portrayal of a New Yorker’s idea of what the rest of the United States looks like was drawn by Saul Steinberg. The artist sued Columbia Pictures over their movie poster for “Moscow on the Hudson”, which does seem to be derived from Steinberg’s cover down to the placement of the title. Steinberg won the case.

Rolling Stone, January 22, 1981: John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Annie Leibovitz took this shot just hours before John Lennon was shot outside of his apartment building, the Dakota, in New York City on December 8, 1980. Leibovitz originally wanted to take the shot of Lennon alone but he insisted that his wife be in the pictures. This cover was named the most popular magazine cover of the past 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Publishers.

Vanity Fair, August 1991: Demi Moore, Pregnant and Nude

This cover was shot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz and was decried as shameful and disgusting when it was released. Some stores sent back the issue, or only sold it with a brown paper covering the “offensive” image. It has spawned countless celebrity nude pregnancy shots done in the same fashion, and helped to launch Demi Moore’s career into the stratosphere.

Vanity Fair, August 1993: K.D. Lang and Cindy Crawford

The cover was meant to be as controversial as the country star’s career. According to the cover story, Lang got more grief from the country music industry over her decision to join PETA than her decision to come out as a lesbian.

Time Magazine, June 27, 1994: OJ Mug Shot Controversy

In 1994, OJ Simpson was accused of murdering his wife, Nicole. In 1995, he was acquitted after a long and highly publicized trial. The photo used on the cover of Time Magazine was manipulated to make OJ look darker in skin tone and more menacing. For comparison, see the Newsweek cover which uses the original shot without any alteration.

The Economist, September 10, 1994: The Camel-Humping Issue

Obvious Black Eyed Peas references aside, this cover drew some fire for the UK-based magazine. The cover was printed for the North American market only.

Time, April 14 1997: Ellen’s Coming-Out Issue

Time’s cover and exclusive story left no doubt in the minds of all Americans that Ellen was, in fact, gay. Even in 1997, coming out could be perilous for a star’s career. While it may now seem like a mere bump in the road due to Ellen’s stunning success, at the time TV outlets in rural America pulled her show.

Wired, June 1997: 101 Ways to Save Apple

When this magazine went to press, Steve Jobs had just rejoined Apple through Apple’s acquisition of his NeXT Software Inc. While the cover was a bit more pessimistic than the story it was meant to illustrate, it remains one of the top magazine covers of all time. We don’t think anyone would try to give Jobs advice today, but back then Mac fans would have done anything they could to help the ailing corporation.

Time, Dec 21, 1998: Devil Horns on Clinton

This was one of several magazine covers that featured Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In 1995, Lewinsky was an intern at the White House during Clinton’s presidency, and they had an intimate affair. The scandal broke when Lewinsky confided in a colleague in January of 1998. The scandal eventually resulted in Clinton’s impeachment. The top of the letter “M” in the Time masthead appear to be resting on the top of Clinton’s head as horns. The devil horns were written off by Time as an accident of masthead placement rather than a deliberate act.

Esquire Magazine, December 2000: The Crotch Shot

This shot of Clinton was said to be inspired by the Lincoln Memorial, but was interpreted as an obvious reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Like the Obama couple satire in the New Yorker seen further down, this cover drew fire from both sides of the political fence.

The New Yorker, Sept. 24, 2001: Twin Towers in Silhouette

This cover was a graphical as well as an editorial success. The magazine succeeded in creating a fitting and classic memorial to the victims of the tragedy and the buildings themselves in true upscale New Yorker fashion. Covers editor Franoise Mouly created a testament to the Twin Towers that drew on the inspiration of Ad Reinhardt’s black-on-black paintings.

Entertainment Weekly, May 2 2003: Dixie Chicks

The Dixie Chicks set off a firestorm when they criticized then-president George W. Bush for invading Iraq on the grounds that Iraq was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. The Dixie Chicks used their weapons of mass distraction on this provocative cover.

Seventeen, May 2003: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Zombie Arm

This horrendously manipulated stock photo of Sarah Michelle Gellar made the mag send an expensive purse by way of apology. Gellar returned the purse since she didn’t wear leather. While the practice of using stock photos for covers is common, flagrant abuse of Photoshop is something that the art department and editor usually catch before print time.

Rolling Stone, January 2006: The Passion of Kanye West

Rolling Stone tipped a thorny hat to Esquire’s portrayal of Ali with this 2006 cover. It isn’t known if the cover was meant to be a joke about the singer’s ego, but most people found it very funny. Religious fans of the magazine didn’t find it as hilarious, and the odd cover story that went with it in which the singer admits to a porn addiction just made the whole thing awkward. The tone of the cover feels current in light of the singer’s recent mike-grabbing moment at the 2009 VMA’s.

Baby Talk, August 2006

While this image seems benign to most people who have been involved with a baby in one fashion or another, the cover was decried as obscene. Even though moms made up the target demographic, a survey of 4000 of them turned up the fact that 25% had a negative response. One mother actually shredded the magazine so that her 13-year old son couldn’t see it. Not that he likely noticed; he was probably on the computer downloading porn watching tips from Kanye.

Texas Monthly, January 2007: Dick Cheney Cover Issue

Building on the famous 1973 Lampoon cover, Texas Monthly took a jab at the Vice-President’s hunting accident where he shot a colleague in the face. This cover won the 2007 Best Cover Line of the Year Award from the Magazine Publishers of America.

Time, August 29, 2007: Devil Horns on Billy Graham

The blogosphere was rife with rumours about this cover. This was probably not intentional. Time Magazine has claimed that all of its “Devil Horn” covers through the ages are mere coincidences. For a defense of the Time Magazine position, this blog post has a list of Time Magazine covers that have devil horns but no potential hidden meaning. Accident of their masthead design, or subtle editorial statement? You decide.

Golfweek, January 19, 2008: The Noose that Hung an Editor

This cover was born out of the comments of a golf anchorman, Kelly Tlighman, that fellow players should “lynch (Tiger Woods) in a back alley” and the subsequent feature story that was published in that edition of Golfweek. PGA Tour director Tim Finchem had this to say about it: “Clearly, what Kelly said was inappropriate and unfortunate, and she obviously regrets her choice of words, but we consider Golfweek’s imagery of a swinging noose on its cover to be outrageous and irresponsible”. A day after the cover was published, the editor was let go.

People Magazine, March 2008: Brangelina Twins

This cover and photo shoot sacrificed People’s editorial soul for a first shot at the Brangelina twins. Instead of their usual journalistic even-handed approach, they seemingly acquiesced to the couple’s need for nothing but positive coverage in order to get a scoop on the rest of the world with the first baby pictures. While People magazine denied these charges as “categorically false”, the coverage was nevertheless very rosy-cheeked in tone.

Vogue, April 2008: King Kong Cover

This cover of model Gisele Bundchen and sports star Lebron James was considered to be a racist portrayal of “King Kong”. Images that portray black males as threatening “reinforce the criminalization of black men,” said Damion Thomas, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at University of Maryland. The cover was supposed to showcase two stars with excellent bodies, in keeping with the “Shape” theme of the issue.

The New Yorker, July 21, 2008: The Obama Couple Satire

This cover by famous New Yorker cartoonist Barry Blitt was heavily criticized by both the McCain and Obama camps during the 2008 US election. While the piece was meant to be a satire of allegations lobbed at the couple by their detractors, its inopportune appearance during a campaign didn’t have Obama’s supporters laughing as hard as the magazine intended.

OK Magazine, June 2009: Michael Jackson Death Photo

Fans were upset over the magazine’s decision to publish this photo. Sarah Ivens, editorial director, said that the cover decision was made since they wanted to stand out from all of the tribute covers that were dominating the stands that week. Jackson died on June 25, 2009 after being given a cocktail of drugs by his physician.

Compiled and written exclusively for WDD by Angela West.

Got a controversial magazine cover that rocked your world? Post a link below or send it to us and we’ll add it to this post.

10 Best Things We’ll Say to Our Grandkids

Written by Streeter Seidell

Illustration: Nishant Choksi

1. Back in my day, we only needed 140 characters.

2. There used to be so much snow up here, you could strap a board to your feet and slide all the way down.

3. Televised contests gave cash prizes to whoever could store the most data in their head.

4. Well, the screens were bigger, but they only showed the movies at certain times of day.

5. We all had one, but nobody actually used it. Come to think of it, I bet my LinkedIn profile is still out there on the Web somewhere.

6. *

7. Our bodies were made of meat and supported by little sticks of calcium.

8. You used to keep files right on your computer, and you had to go back to that same computer to access them!

9. Is that the new iPhone 27G? Got multitasking yet?

10. I just can’t get used to this darn vat-grown steak. Texture ain’t right.

* Translation: "English used to be the dominant language. Crazy, huh?"

6 Tips for Perfect Composition in Portrait Photography

Written by Christina N Dickson

Every on-location portraitist is faced with the challenge of paying attention to the details regarding his or her subject, such as posing, lighting, composition etc. Perhaps the greatest mistake made by amateur on-location portrait photographers is the lack of emphasis placed on a portrait’s background surroundings.

Photographers who do not closely examine the surroundings within the frame of their image are those who come away with images that have great distractions. No high school senior or bride will purchase a portrait in which a tree limb is sticking out of her head. Such distracting elements take emphasis off the subject, and are detrimental to the portraitist’s sales. There is nothing more painful for a portraitist than taking a portrait that is beautifully posed, gorgeously lit, and absolutely unusable . simply because no attention was given to background composition!

Posing and lighting both play enormous roles in the creation of a dynamic portrait. However, background composition is a forgotten component that requires an equal amount of time and thought.

Some things to consider when creating a perfectly composed portrait:

1. Fill the frame with your subject

A portrait is about the person, so don’t be afraid to zoom in close! Remember that zooming in does not mean capturing only face shots. You can also capture “tight”, close up shots of your subject sitting on a stool or leaning into a tree.

2. Keep eyes in the upper third

This is the most natural spacing for a portrait. Try not to divert from this rule unless you are deliberately creating tension. Another exception of this rule is when a subject is full-bodied in the bottom third of the frame.

3. Use framing to concentrate all attention on your subject

Rather than eliminate the environment, use it! Doorways, arches, windows, gazebos are all creative solutions that allow for maximum subject focus and heightened visual interest.

4. Create texture

Once again, if you can’t eliminate a distracting background, use it to your advantage! By pulling the subject away from the background and shooting on Aperture priority (f4.0), you will create a small depth of field to blur the backdrop and allow for artistic texture. Your subject will stand out of the background without completely removing all creative interest in the shot.

5. Use lines

Brick is the perfect background for a portrait! The lines add creative interest, but they also draw attention to your subject. Keep in mind that any “line” used in a portrait is strongest when it comes outside the frame and leads to the subject.

6. Change your angles

Sometimes eliminating a distraction is simply a matter of moving the camera to another position. To make the best use of perspective, work to change your camera-to-subject angle. Often by moving a little to the right or left, or getting higher or lower, you can completely abolish that distracting tree branch or telephone pole.

You will be guaranteed to sell your portrait creations when you concentrate on background details, make your subject stand out, and invest creative interest in the portrait’s composition.