Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Remembering pro wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano

Pro wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano died this morning. There've been some untimely deaths in the wrestling industry, but Albano lived a rather full life, dying at age 76.

Albano is one of the personalities that crossed over into mainstream pop culture in the 1980s alongside Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. I'm someone who's watched pro wrestling over the years, and while I didn't get into it until later on, I knew who Captain Lou Albano was.

Albano gained his greatest fame and perhaps most lasting legacy by appearing in a number of Cyndi Lauper's music videos, such as "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," "She Bop," "Time After Time," and "Goonies 'R' Good Enough" (below):

Those music video appearances made him a big part of the early days of MTV (back when they still played videos all day), and MTV News covered Albano's death.


Coming soon: 'Fully conservative' Bible translation

There's a project on Conservapedia (a conservative version of Wikipedia) to create a "fully conservative translation" of the Bible.

It's a bit puzzling coming from the same side of the aisle that promotes strict constructionism with the Constitution and that went hand in hand with the Christian fundamentalist movement. Both conservative and liberal religious commentators seem to agree that this is a bad idea.

Still, is it that much of a stretch to see this idea at the same time more from all parts of the political spectrum are seeking sources that reaffirm what they already believe? People already read news sources that reflect their political beliefs and seek out blogs that act as an echo chamber, so isn't politicizing spiritual texts a logical extension of this trend?

(Hat tip: Paul Krugman)


Google explains what a browser is

We talked earlier this week about how it's easy to get lost in cool new technology while forgetting the basics.

Well, Google apparently agrees, as they started a new initiative to explain what a Web browser is. They did a series of man on the street interviews asking people what a browser is, and less than 8 percent of those interviewed knew the answer.

Google then produced this excellent 1 minute video to explain the concept of a browser:

They also produced an accompanying Web site, WhatBrowser.org. I marveled at the need for these things in 2009, but it's a great reminder that I think applies to a lot of things in life: keep it simple. You need these building blocks in place to be able to do bigger, greater things. Not everyone else will always understand things the same way you do.


Loving the Next Thing

Several of us went to San Francisco this weekend for an online journalism conference. We learned a lot and had some great discussions about how the news business is evolving and how to better deliver the news to the public.

I'm not sure that I ever need to talk that much about Twitter over the course of three days again, but one thing I came away with was a reminder not to overcomplicate things. As someone who's both an overthinker and who always likes trying out the Next Thing, it's tempting to want to say that this Next Thing is going to come along and be our messiah, but that's just not the case.

It hit home with me during a discussion where one of the most buzzed about products, Google Wave, was being discussed. People were talking about how these other problems we were having were going to be moot because Google Wave was coming and would wash over us with its awesomeness.