Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Nintendo turns 25

As a child who grew up with the Nintendo being the first item I remember desperately wanting as a tyke, I got a little sentimental upon reading that today is the 25th anniversary of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).

Nintendo created an empire with hit systems including the Nintendo, the Game Boy, the Super Nintendo, the Nintendo 64, the GameCube, the Nintendo DS, the Wii and the Virtual Boy (maybe not so much that last one).

They defeated long time rivals Sega and, when faced with new competition from Microsoft and Sony, decided to play an entirely different game with the Wii. It's a system that doesn't try to have the best graphics or play to hardcore gamers, but changed the way people interact with games; Microsoft and Sony are doing their best to imitate the Wii with various peripherals, but these have yet to catch on.

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Saying goodbye to soul legend Solomon Burke

I was saddened to read that soul legend Solomon Burke passed away Sunday. I had the pleasure to see him do two sets at the 2003 Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. He also played this year's Bumbershoot just last month, showing his continued vitality until the end.

Here he is performing the title track off his 2002 comeback album, "Don't Give Up On Me":

He was a star in the '60s, left the industry for decades, then made a comeback in the early 2000s. I had received Solomon Burke's Don't Give Up On Me as a gift and hadn't listened to it much or really gotten into it, but seeing Burke live showed me how wrong I'd been.

When I saw him, he sat in a throne as he performed, as he did during his later years due to health issues. Even sitting down, Burke commanded the stage and completely held the audience's attention. Burke's large body filled the throne, but his charisma and confidence made it work.

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Bit.ly and Libya, sitting in a tree...

The most popular URL shortener is bit.ly. Most don't often think about the letters that come after the period at the end of a domain name, other than knowing that most sites end with ".com."

However, there's been renewed interest online in the fact that the ".ly" suffix is controlled Libya, a nation which has been, to say the least, controversial when it comes to relations with the West.

Another site that uses the .ly suffix? Republican Mitt Romney's Mitt.ly. The Politico's Ben Smith reports that this has led Romney's political action committee to change the domain for their site, though Mitt.ly is currently still in operation.

The new domain is scheduled to be Mi.tt, though it has yet to go live.

(via Ben Smith)

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Comedian Charlyne Yi vs. TMZ over charity Oxfam

Comedian Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up, Paper Heart) has recently been working with charity organization Oxfam America, which works to fight hunger and poverty worldwide. According to Yi, Oxfam asked her to participate in a publicity stunt that TMZ would film, with Yi canvassing for Oxfam on the street.

It... well, it didn't go well. TMZ's coverage involved making it look like Yi was keeping the money that was being donated and tagging the event as "Annoying Things Celebrities Get To Do Because They Can: Yelly Street Edition." TMZ also joked about Oxfam's name, claiming it was an organization feeding hungry oxen.

Yi wrote an angry post on her blog responding to what happened entitled "Compromising my beliefs: TMZ is the Devil." You can see Yi's response video below. Being a comedian, Yi did make it funny, drawing an analogy to "The Simpsons" and including some footage from a classic episode.

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The Onion on 'This American Life': Hard to explain

As a public radio employee, this Onion headline caught my eye today: "Ira Glass Tries To Explain 'This American Life' At High School Reunion."

I've stood around trying to explain what "This American Life" is to friends before, and likely falling short of capturing what it is that makes it so special or even how to best explain its format and subject matter, so this rang true for me.

The universal public radio closer to the article: "After Glass left the reunion early, a number of sympathetic attendees took up a collection for their old acquaintance, as Glass had mentioned that he relied almost entirely on donations."

This dynamic has gone the other way before; "This American Life" did one of my all-time favorite segments a couple years ago taking a look at the Onion writers' room. It's a fun look at what goes into creating the Onion's articles; you can check out the episode here.

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