Tag Archives: America Online

Duck and cover

Can you quack like a duck?

Then Gilbert Gottfried’s loss may be your gain.

After the comedian’s insensitive tweets about the Japan earthquake and tsunami, Gottfried was dismissed by insurance giant Aflac as the voice of their iconic duck.

The company has said a nationwide search will be held in the near future for a new ‘quacker,’ but no dates have yet been announced.

That hasn’t stopped folks from getting their ducks in a row — sorry, couldn’t resist — and uploading their audition videos on Youtube.  America Online is further encouraging the practice by promising to have a professional voiceover agent review any videos tagged “aol jobs aflac video” and posting their favorites.

Quack me up.

Personally, I think Aflac is going to have to find a pretty perfect match to Gottfried’s distinctive squawk, or the switcheroo will just be a distraction. Everyone is aware of the circumstances and the timing, and folks are going to be listening and comparing and critiquing and no doubt finding fault…

Even if there’s none on the bill.

Deja news

The year end lists are coming out — best of, worst of, most, least.  I think I’ve read them all (and sadly, appear on none).

AOL has posted their “Most Searched” list for 2010.  l like this one a lot.  Being ‘most searched’ doesn’t place any judgments of good or bad — it just says that a whole lot of people wanted to gawk at photos of you and read about you online.


And here’s their list:

10.   Bed Intruder Antoine Dodson:  I missed this one
9.   Foursquare: I missed what’s fun about this one
8.  Jeggings:  Are they jeans?  Are they leggings?  They’re jeggings!
7.  Old Spice Guy:  I’m pretty sure folks just wanted to look at him
6.  Paul the Octopus:  May he rest in peace
5.  Silly Bandz:   Are they silly? Are they bandz?  They’re Silly Bandz!
4.  Vuvuzelas:  Shhhhhhhh
3.  Pants on the Ground:  The ultimate revenge of the old auditioner
2.  Chat-roulette: No gun, but just as deadly

And the number 1 search on AOL….

1.  Betty White:  There’s nothing left to be said

And there it is — 2010 in searches.  The funny thing is…it looks kinda familiar, doesn’t it?

I mean, jeggings are just the new leg warmers, right?  And we had that other hot Old Spice Guy (Matthew Perry’s father) back in the day.  The Taco Bell dog was hot a few years ago — may he rest in peace — and those braided friendship bracelets were just low-tech Silly Bandz.

Vuvuzelas are simply much larger, louder kazoos, and the ‘Pants on the Ground’ guy is just the ‘She-Bang’ dude way older (and a way better singer).

And Betty White?

Oh, she’s still Betty White.  This is just the second time that she’s trending.

Soon, I promise

Change is good.  I preach it; I teach it.

So why can’t I change my email address?

I am old enough to remember not having an email address at all.  When I was at Hallmark Cards in the early to mid-1990’s,  working on the first iterations of Hallmark.com and e-cards, the company didn’t even have email addresses for their employees yet.

That’s when I got my very first one through America Online…the email address I continue to use this very day.

Sure, I’ve had others…through different employers, for different interests. But my main email address, the one I give folks for my primary correspondence, is that AOL address I signed up for way back in 1995.

That’s one of the reasons I haven’t changed it – so many people from my past know it.  I’ve lived and worked in three different cities, with numerous individuals and companies since I became email-literate.  If I change that address, some might lose their only link to me.

But I also recognize that an AOL email address makes me look as dated and old as AOL itself.  Now that I have my own website, I should transition everyone over to an  email address branded with my name — not with some Internet dinosaur.

But change is hard.  I mean…

Change is good.


I don’t think it was an April Fool’s Day joke.

AOL is asking — and letting people vote, ’cause that’s what we like to do —  what is the best live reality show competition:  “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars”?

As of this writing, “Dancing with the Stars” was winning 60/40.


AI may have been first on the scene, but DWTS is doing it better.  Here’s why:

1.  Judges — There are three unique personalities who each know dance, have distinct opinions on dance, and give actionable critiques after each performance about the dance. They are entertaining, yes — and Bruno just might be insane — but the celebrities and their pros know what they are doing right and what needs work.

2. Host — Tom Bergeron is simply the best host working in television today.  He runs the show with perfect pacing and energy, never baubles a scripted intro and — most importantly — can ad lib on the fly no matter what is thrown his way…and this show really throws it.

They have added a new co-host this year, former model and  DWTS champion Brooke Burke — gorgeous, but you could prop up a mannequin and not notice any difference.

3. Casting — This is where “American Idol” has the big disadvantage.  The judges and producers can pre-cast to their hearts content, but they are still dealing with raw, undeveloped talent. And the viewers decide who stays or goes.

“Dancing with the Stars” can choose from actors, singers, athletes and celebrities whose fame (infamy?) is an immediate audience draw.  Add their existing stable of pro dancers and you’ve guaranteed tears, injury, illness, scandal, laughs — oh, and dancing.

How can you not love it?

I’ve told friends to only watch an episode of DWTS if they are committed to following the rest of the season…’cause you can’t watch just one.

No foolin’.

Free rent

When I logged into AOL today — yes, I have an AOL account, have since the dawn of the Internet, and dang it, probably always will — one of the homepage headlines read:

How Facebook Is Tricking Its Users

It’s a good headline.  It applies to a large and ever-growing audience, and smacks of scandal and intrigue.  I immediately clicked on the link.

Turns out it was referring to the recent changes in Facebook’s privacy policy.  The mega social network’s default privacy settings for a member’s personal information went from ‘friends only’ to ‘everyone,’ and no less than 10 privacy organizations have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission.

Oh, the humanity.

I suppose I shouldn’t make light of the situation.  But I am.  Facebook announced the change to members in a pop-up window on their homepages.  That window included instructions outlining, step-by-by, how to change your personal privacy settings from the new default to whatever you wanted them to be.

It was pretty darn straightforward, I thought.

Let’s remember how much we pay for Facebook, everyone — not a frickin’ cent.  Nada.  Nothing.  We are occasionally annoyed by an ad or two in the right-hand column, but they are easily ignored.  Heck, ads in television shows are much more in your face, and they certainly don’t stop us from watching “Modern Family” or “GLEE.”

So, instead of crying to the FTC or to each other about this change, why not just accept the new privacy defaults as rules of the house?  Rules we have been given free rein to change…in  the house that we live in for free...that we can move out of at any time that we like.

There’s that word again — free.

When you think about it, Facebook is hardly the big bad boogie man.  He may just be the landlord of your dreams.