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The perks of delinquency, 80s dashboards and more in this week’s Staff Picks

the perks of delinquency 80s dashboards and more in this weeks staff picks 08 17 2013 header

jeff-van-campJeff Van Camp: Stephen Colbert confronts the ‘Gay Mafia’

I cover iPhones and Galaxy phones all day long, but when I get home from work, I usually unwind with some Daily Show or Colbert. This is one of the best segments I’ve seen on the show. Apparently there are parts of the south where a small town can have an openly gay mayor and pass an ordinance banning discrimination of those in the LGBT community. Colbert is, naturally, extremely disappointed in the progress of this “Gay Mafia.”

Hopefully we’re getting to the point where more people around the country think like this, finally.

Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: Everything that’s wrong with YouTube

It has been a long time since I last went on a YouTube binge. For whatever reason, my habit of clicking through an endless array of videos, each more odd and obscure than the next, seems to have dwindled away with my fondness for MySpace. In other words, I’m now just busy and old.

Fortunately, YouTube user JelloApocalypse, a self-described “writer and voice actor,” has released a brilliant new animated video that makes me appreciate all the time I’ve not wasted on the world’s largest video-sharing site. From the poor design to the wretched comments, the video (above) gives you a sense of all that’s wrong with YouTube. The damning summation almost makes it seem as though Google, YouTube’s parent company, has given up on improving one of its most popular properties, just to screw with us. Perhaps YouTube’s saving grace is that this video is itself hosted on YouTube.

jennifer-bergenJen Bergen: Dashboards were like totally tubular in the 80s

Without divulging my age, my memory of the 80s is a bit fuzzy. However, I’m pretty sure I’d remember if my parents’ car had a Knight Rider-esque dashboard. That’s not really something you forget, and after reading Dark Roasted Blend’s awesome post compiling photos of car dashboards from the 80s, I feel like my childhood car rides were much less disco-fevery as they should’ve been. I’m just learning now that many a car during that decade did indeed resemble KITT.

Dark Roasted Blend showcases dozens of flashy dashboards in this hilarious post. After ogling over these cars, I’m seriously having a hard time understanding a few things. For one, how people could focus on driving with these bright neon lights everywhere? For another, how they could take driving seriously? To me, 90 percent of them look like video games, especially the Cadillac Allante. And how about the Lancia Orca? What the hell are all those buttons on the steering wheel for, and what are all those crazy lines on the dash?

As author Avi Abrams points out, when LEDs, LCDs, and CRT displays started getting big, and “when applied to car dashboards, all this could turn some otherwise cheap plastic car interiors into futuristic spaceship control panels.” Yes, back in the 80s, if you were driving one of these cars, it was almost like driving a ground spaceship (yes, I made that term up). Another reason why the 80s were totally radical.

Lancia Orcabill-robersonBill Roberson: Delinquents rule (literally)

Most parents, self included, work hard to keep their kids on the straight and narrow, no matter what age they are. No one wants to see their offspring doing bad things to others, getting in trouble, going to jail, or worse.

Or should we?

An article in the Wall Street Journal says youthful miscreants make better entrepreneurs ostensibly because they’re bigger risk takers later in life than those kids who went to the library after school or chose Bible study over keggers on Friday nights. Well, I guess that sort of makes sense in a “well-behaved women seldom make history” kind of way, but I’m not sure teaching my son to sell weed or skip school is the best way to craft a Leader of Tomorrow.

Right now he’s in Tae Kwon Do (white belt), rides his little Honda motorcycle as fast as he can, races bicycles and he can throw a pretty good spiral for a 6-year-old. He’s pretty full of himself and his capabilities so despite the research, I don’t think steering him towards a life of crime and deception is going to help his future prospects. Plus, it will just make me lose sleep and more hair.

“Of course, you have to be smart but it’s a unique combination of breaking rules and being smart that helps you become an entrepreneur” says one person in the article, and I can see his point. I just think there are better options for teaching risk-taking that don’t result in prison time, hospital stays or pregnant teen girlfriends. Call me crazy.


natt garunNatt Garun: Bored of ‘Grand Theft Auto IV?’ Not yet, you’re not!

Aside from taking place in the best city in the United States of America, Grand Theft Auto IV is one damn good game. It’s every teen’s fantasy of being a badass without actually breaking any law. Even better than living vicariously through a video game is when said game gets the Internet treatment smothered all over its intended violence. Yep, we’re talking about mods, and this one in particular is an ode to a certain pop song back in 2002 whose video shows the singer riding all over town in a piano-on-wheels. The 2013 version? Riding all over town in a similar piano car, running over every hot dog stand in sight. Internet, you’ve done me proud. Somehow, you managed to turn one of the most controversial, violent games into a romantic cruise in the magical Big Apple. Now where can I Uber me one of these babies?

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