Thursday, May 27, 2010


It's summertime and the living is easy...

Y'all know the sunlight skin damage basics, right? Let me sum up:

1. It's the UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun that do all the damage — from wrinkles and leathering to cancer. There are three types of UV rays (UVA, UVB and UVC), but for the foreseeable future, we really only have to worry about two of them.

2. UVB rays cause mostly superficial sun damage to your skin, as in sunburns, but are also responsible for skin cancer, particularly melanoma. Because, I imagine, UVB causes immediately visible damage, these are the rays that have been the focus of sunscreen since the 60s. UVB light is also weather and season dependent — the rays are absorbed by clouds and rain, diffusing their impact on your skin, and they are stronger the closer you are to the sun (e.g., depending on the season or the latitude of your location).

3. UVA rays, it turns out, are the real monster in the sky. These baddies don't care if it's July 4th or Christmas, and a little bit of window glass isn't going to slow them down a bit. Which is a real shame, because UVA light is responsible for the really bad things, like tanning, wrinkles and causing and accelerating skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate the epidermis (skin's top layer) to the dermis (skin's middle layer) below.

It's kinda like this: the epidermis is the grass and the dermis is the sod. The epidermis, layers of living cells topped by layers of dead cells, is what you see, and it can look lush, pretty and green or tired, brown and dry, depending on what's going on underneath. The dermis, entirely made up of living cells and blood vessels, is responsible for the firmness, elasticity, and strength of your skin.

Okay, yes, I said tanning as though it's a bad thing. Want to know how and why your skin "tans"? I'm going to simplify the heck out of this, but the fundamentals are sound. Tanning is the result of increased melanin production, which darkens your skins. Melanin production is regulated in your dermis (the sod beneath your grass), and is triggered as a protective measure when the cells in the dermis are damaged. Think of it as a shield against further attack. The problem is two-fold: a) the shield/tan only goes up after at least one hit, because your dermis can't see the sun coming, and b) the shield is imperfect, as in it's better than nothing, but it only ameliorates future damage somewhat, it doesn't prevent it.

Depending on your skin type, you'll tan less or more in response to UVA exposure. Regardless of your skin type, however, the UVA rays will damage your dermis. Think about the dermis as scaffolding. When the scaffolding is in perfect shape, it fits below the skin smoothly; when it's damaged, it breaks down and provides less than perfect support, which appears as wrinkles and sagging on the skin layer above.

4. So, skin cancer. My primary interest in all this is the photo-aging aspect. I'm in a perennial war against wrinkles. But... skin cancer isn't pretty. In any sense of the word. Recent research shows that while UVB rays are the primary culprit, especially behind melanoma, UVA rays can not only cause basal and squamous cancers (the other two types), they evidently initiate, accelerate or enhance (well, from the cancer's point of view) UVB-caused cancer. This really shouldn't be much of a surprise, since suntans are evidence of cell damage and mutations, and cancer is a result of mutating cells (vastly over-simplified, I know, but do you really want a cancer monograph here?).

5. And, lastly, Vitamin D. Which isn't a vitamin at all, it's a hormone. And another post altogether. But it's true that UVB exposure is necessary for your body to make Vitamin D. Or you can take supplements and eat Vitamin D rich food (including salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, egg yolks). Go figure, Vitamin D deficiency has been (though not definitively) linked with an increased cancer risk, among other things. How's that for irony?

6. Oh, wait, and the whole SPF thing. If you've hung around me for any time, you probably already know that SPF only measures a sunscreen's efficacy against UVB rays. There is not yet a metric for UVA protection. It is clear, however, that until recently, sunscreens didn't contain ingredients that blocked both UVB and UVA rays. Now that they do, there is a whole 'nother host of issues to address. Aha! Yet another post.

By the way, it's the ozone layer that absorbs the really bad rays (UVC and some of the UVB). So as that goes...

Third time's the charm?

A slacker he ain't.

Christian Slater takes yet another stab at TV with an upcoming pilot for Fox. This after My Own Worst Enemy, which really should have been so much better than it was, and The Forgotten, which was actually better than it should've been.

Currently untitled, the upcoming show from Adam Goldberg (that would be Adam F. Goldberg, writer, not to be confused with Adam Goldberg, actor), is reported to be a comedy about "a team of twentysomething geniuses who crack security systems."

But wait! Christian Slater isn't 20-something, you say? You are too right. He plays the "charismatic renegade who runs the Titan Team, a gruff ex-military misanthrope with a checkered past." Of course he does.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When is a nut not a nut?

When it's a coconut. Really. Well, almost.

The coconut is nut, I mean not, considered a "tree nut." According to US law (no kidding, there's a really a law about this) tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts/hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts (pignolia nuts), pistachios, and walnuts.

Coconut trees are not technically trees because they don't have bark, branches or secondary growth (the process by which trees increase their diameter through the production of wood and bark). They are, believe it or not, perennials.

Which means those of you who are allergic to nuts (and/or peanuts) are not necessarily allergic to coconut. I bring this up because there's been a lot of chatter (from all those health-nut stringers who camp out in lawn chairs and follow these things) about the health benefits of coconut water. Low in fat, zero cholesterol, electrolyte rich, and more potassium than a banana — this stuff was even used in WWII and Vietnam as a substitute for IV solution. It's being touted as the best hang-over cure, the better "sports drink" drink, and all-round hydration champ.

Consider this: 8 fl oz of Gatorade has about 50 calories, 0g fat, 16g carbohydrates (13g simple, or 'added,' sugar), 93mg chloride, 36.6mg potassium and 95mg sodium.

8 fl oz of coconut water has about 50 calories, 0g fat, 10g carbohydrates, 283mg chloride, 705mg potassium, and 60mg sodium. It is also listed as a good source of vitamin C, riboflavin and calcium, as well as dietary fiber(!) and magnesium.

By the way, peanuts aren't nuts either. They're legumes. Don't get me started.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Miss Life?

Although it seems as though Damian Lewis is headed to the silver screen and a theater near you, Sarah Shahi has found a new home on USA and the small screen in your living room.

USA has ordered a full (13 episodes) season of "Facing Kate" with Shahi. Created by Michael Sardo ("Caroline in the City"), the show centers on Kate, a top litigator so fed up with the system she becomes the ultimate anti-litigator, a (gasp!) mediator. Also starring Michael Trucco ("Battlestar Galactica", "Castle"), Virginia Williams and Baron Vaughn.

The show will premiere sometime in the fall, after the summer premiere of "Covert Affairs." As long as it's not Dr Laura meets Judge Judy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Who's not there?

I went to see "MacGruber" the other night (don't ask) and one of the trailers was for Stallone's entry into the summer blockbuster race, "The Expendables." When it was over, we were left asking "how'd they do that?" Not the explosions and jumps and falls — we know how they do that. But the cast. How'd they do that?

(video alert! video alert! can't see it? click here)

And for those purists out there, check out this one:

(video alert! video alert! can't see it? click here)

The Vulture

From New York Magazine's Vulture, some insights on the upcoming fall season:

The most lawyered-up hour on TV:
If you're not fond of attorneys, you might want to avoid 10 p.m. Wednesday on the broadcast networks, when three new law shows will battle it out: ABC's
The Whole Truth (Jerry Bruckheimer law); CBS's The Defenders (Vegas law); and NBC's Law and Order: Los Angeles (Old-school law).

We have a copy-editor rebellion in the making:
CBS should have called its new William Shatner comedy Shat My Dad Says. Instead, this Twitter-inspired (really) show has been tagged $#*! My Dad Says, which we're supposed to pronounce as Bleep My Dad Says. We're suddenly longing for the simplicity of Numb3rs.

The show most likely to replace Lost:
NBC is hoping it's
The Event, a 24-like thriller featuring Jason Ritter (Joan of Arcadia) as a man whose quest to find his missing fiancée leads him to uncover a multilayered conspiracy. The show's tagline: "The answers only lead to bigger questions." And just when we thought we were done with TV shows stringing us along for six years.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sports is art is life is sports is...

Whatever else they do or don't do well, Nike does good TV. This time, they asked Alejandro González Iñárritu to film a micro-short (okay, I just made that up, but you watch it and tell me you'd call it a "commercial") about the World Cup.

I don't know exactly (or at all, frankly) what guidelines Nike offered to Iñárritu, but I imagine they were along the lines of: we would like to send a message that illustrates the universal language created from the shared experience of talent, skill, determination and triumph.

(There should be a video here. If you don't see it, it's worth watching, or I wouldn't have posted it, so click here.)

Message received.

and, finally, CBS for the couch

The last of the big three to announce, CBS received rather different reactions to its fall lineup: Stuart Elliott at The New York Times said "CBS shook up the upfront week... with the most startling moves of any network for the coming season." The Wall Street Journal, however, summed up the news in an article titled "Playing it Safe: New CBS Lineup Includes Crime Dramas, Remake."

Given that CBS' Tuesday is already a powerhouse with NCIS, NCIS:LA and The Good Wife and their Thursday is two-thirds full with CSI: and The Mentalist, I'm not sure you could say they needed that much of a shake-up. So, ignoring those half-hour things that persist in cluttering up my television watching landscape, here's what's going to be new on the eye:

Hawaii Five-O. Did I say "new?" I meant kinda sorta new. Because what we really need is another cop show, and what we really, really need is another remake. On the other hand, we do need another (or just "a") good Alex O'Loughlin vehicle, so it's got that going for it. If you don't know, this is the show from whence we get "book 'em Danno!" O'Loughlin plays McGarrett (Jack Lord), Scott Caan plays Danno, and Daniel Dae Kim plays the other cop. Unlike all the other new shows, the producer and writer credits for this show are, well, buried. Deep. That worries me. After some serious digging, I did learn that the show will be exec produced by Peter Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the latter two of JJ Abrams/Alias/Fringe/Star Trek/and so on and so on fame). Here's hoping this isn't Hawaii Five-O meets Three Rivers.

The Defenders. Hey, look Ma, another lawyer show! (This is what happens when you announce last.) Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell partner up as partners in a law firm partnership. The family guy and the womanizer. The serious and sincere lawyer "balanced by" the reckless but brilliant wild-card. No law show would be complete without an eager new associate, a winsome assistant, and a beleaguered wife. Add those, stir and, presto, it's a TV show. They might be going for The Blues Brothers meets LA Law, but I'm thinking this sounds more like Justice meets Trust Me. Ruh roh.

Blue Bloods. ...aaaand, it's a cop show. But with Tom Selleck (we can only count our blessings that — so far — no one has green lit a remake of Magnum PI). Selleck plays the current NY Chief of Police, Len Cariou his father (and former COP) and Donnie Wahlberg his son (next COP?). Bridget Moynahan plays the daughter, a DA, while Will Estes plays the youngest son. You know, the one who turns his back on his stellar academic record, including Harvard Law, to, shocker!, become a cop? Yeah, that one. From Leonard Goldberg, longtime partner of Aaron Spelling, and Mitchell Burgess ("The Sopranos," "Northern Exposure"). NYPD:Blue meets Dallas?

At some point mid-season, we'll see the Criminal Minds spin-off with Forest Whitaker.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I think I've heard that song before

Nah, I just saw it on Lifetime.

Coming out this fall is yet another Katherine Heigl rom-com (when does that girl sleep?), "Life as We Know It." In and of itself, that's not really remarkable, and in fact, I only stumbled on it because I was busy researching Greg Berlanti, co-creator on "No Ordinary Family," a show just picked up for the fall season by ABC (see "Couch Potato ABCs").

What I did, however, find remarkable is the movie's uncanny similarity to a TV movie I recently watched (okay, I admit it), literally, on Lifetime. Here's the synopsis for the brand-spanking new, yet-to-be-released "Life as We Know It" floating around:

Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) is an up-and-coming caterer and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) is a promising network sports director. After a disastrous first date, the only thing they have in common is their dislike for each other and their love for their goddaughter, Sophie. But when they suddenly become all Sophie has in the world, Holly and Messer are forced to put their differences aside. Juggling career ambitions and competing social calendars, they'll have to find some common ground while living under one roof.

And here's the IMDB synopsis for "Raising Waylon" (as broadcast on CBS in 2004 and on Lifetime more recently):

Ten years ago, Julia (Poppy Montgomery), a globe-trotting photographer with a thing for rockstars, and Reg (Thomas Gibson), a blue-collar coffee shop owner with a thing for models, came away from their lone date together with an intense dislike for one another. Nonetheless, their mutual friends (responsible for that one date) named them godparents to their son. When the boy's parents unexpectedly die, they're forced back into each other's lives and under the same roof to take care of him.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Couch potato ABCs

What to expect from the alphabet network this fall?

No Ordinary Family
Greg Berlanti ("Brothers & Sisters," "Dirty Sexy Money") is co-creator of this show about a family who emerges from a plane crash in the Amazon with super-powers. Cast is promising, including Michael Chiklis ("The Shield," not to mention that movie where he played normal-guy-suddenly-has-super-strength), Julie Benz ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Dexter") and Kay Panabaker. "Sky High" meets "The Fantastic Four"?

Detroit 1-8-7
"Documentary style" cop show set in Detroit. Personally? Feh. The camera (hand-held and shaky?) follows two sets of cops as they, you know, do the cop thing. First we have (you'll never guess) a "damaged but driven detective," who also happens to be the "most respected and most misunderstood man in the division" (played by Michael Imperioli) and his brand-new partner, who (OMG!) has a baby on the way. Then, for a little change of pace, we've got ourselves a "sexy, edgy, rising star" female detective recently partnered with (now, isn't this a surprise?) a "streetwise, smooth-talking" detective for a "combustible pairing rife with conflict and sexual tension." This sounds like "Tired" meets "Retread" to me.

The Whole Truth
A courtroom drama from Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Donaghy ("Without a Trace"). One episode, one case, two sides (you know, prosecution and defense?). Could be interesting. Starring Rob Morrow (didn't take him long to bounce back from his "Numb3rs" cancellation) and Joely Richardson. "Law & Order" meets "The Practice"?

My Generation
Based on a documentary about a Texas high school's graduating class of 2000. Well sort of. Because this isn't a reality show (thank god). And it takes place 1o years later (i.e., now). And the students are played by actors. With lines. But anyway, it's based on that documentary. Created by Noah Hawley ("Bones"). Hmmm. "7 Up" meets "October Road"?

Body of Proof
"Quincy M.E." meets "Bones" meets "The Closer" meets "House". I don't know what else to say. On the other hand, any network that is willing to give Dana Delany her own show gets a thumbs up from me. According to ABC's press release, Delany will play Dr. Megan Hunt, former neuro-surgeon turned "Philadelphia's most notorious" medical examiner.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Couch potatoes, part deux

Raising Hope
...quirky guy raises baby girl with help from wacky family. The half-hour comedy stars Lucas Neff, with Martha Plimpton and Garrett Dillahunt (whom they liked so much on "Deadwood" they had him play two totally different characters). My Name is Earl show runner Greg Garcia is onboard, other cast includes Cloris Leachman and Bijou Phillips.

Running Wilde
...another half hour comedy, this one about a wealthy playboy (Will Arnett) trying to make time with his liberal, responsible childhood sweetheart (Keri Russell). Brought to you by Will Arnett and the "Arrested Development" brain trust, told through the eyes of Mssr. Playboy's former housekeeper's 12-year old daughter. Hmmmm... "The Philanthropist" meets "Dharma & Greg" with perhaps a dash of "The Wonder Years"?

... a prime-time soap, Fox-style — Texas, con-men, double wives and double lives — from the creators of "Party of Five" (remember when we all loved that show?) and the Weitz brothers ("About a Boy"), pilot directed by Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer"). Starring Jimmy Wolk, who is either a poor man's Kyle Chandler or the next Kyle Chandler, along with Adrianne Palicki (ironically, of "Friday Night Lights"), Eloise Mumford, David Keith, Mark Deklin, Bryce Johnson and Jon Voight. I'm going to say... "Big Love" meets "Dallas" meets "The Riches".

Where: Chicago. Who: Cowboy cop (is there any other kind?), played by Jason Clarke, and new, first female, Chief of Police, played by Jennifer Beals. What: kicking butt and taking names to clean up decades of corruption in the Windy City. With Matt Lauria, Devin Kelley, Todd Williams, Billy Lush and Delroy Lindo. From Shawn Ryan ("The Shield").

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Summer on the couch

My, how times have changed. Once television's recycling bin, summer may now be the best season on TV.

May 19th — The Good Guys (Fox)
The way I see it, this show has two very promising things going for it: Bradley Whitford and Matt Nix. Bradley Whitford was one of the best things on one of the best shows on TV, "The West Wing," while Matt Nix is responsible for one of the, if not the, most watchable TV shows in years, "Burn Notice." Taking place in Dallas, "The Good Guys" stars Colin Hanks and Whitford in a rookie vs veteran, old-style vs new-fangled, buddy cop show. Hanks is the by-the-book newbie to Whitford’s bumbling but always-gets-the-job-done-even-by-accident veteran. "Law & Order" meets "The Odd Couple"?

June 20th — Scoundrels (ABC)
A one-hour comedic drama based on a show from New Zealand. A wife decides it’s time her family goes “straight” after her career criminal husband ends up on the wrong side of a long prison sentence. Virginia Madsen plays the wife and David James Elliott her “scoundrel” husband. Patrick Flueger ("The 4400") takes on dual roles as the couple’s twin sons. "The Good Wife" meets "The Grifters"?

June 22nd — Memphis Beat (TNT)
Jason Lee, and who doesn't like Jason Lee?, stars as a Tennessee cop who lives with his mom and is very attached to the city he patrols. Produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov's shingle, Smokehouse Productions. This is too easy it's Earl meets Elvis (with a badge).

July 13th — The Glades (A&E)
Whadda ya know, it's another crime procedural set in Florida. This one about a relocated Chicago homicide detective. Australian actor Matt Passmore plays Jim Longworth, attractive, brilliant, and irascible and forced into exile after being wrongfully (of course) accused of having an affair with his former captain’s wife. Kiele Sanchez plays the love-interest, complete with a husband in prison and an adolescent son. Promisingly, the show was created and is exec-produced by Clifton Campbell ("White Collar," "Profiler," "21 Jump Street"). Really, Burn Notice is totally different. The guy forced to stay in Miami is a spy, not a cop. And the girl-friend doesn't have a husband in jail, though she spends a lot of time trying to stay out of it. Totally different. What do you say? "Burn Notice" meets "L&O: Criminal Intent"?

July 13th — Covert Affairs (TNT)
Piper Perabo ("Coyote Ugly") plays Sidney Bristow, I mean Annie Walker, a newbie CIA trainee who has to sink or swim when she is suddenly promoted to a field operative. Executive produced by Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity"), the show also stars Christopher Gorham ("Ugly Betty," "Jake 2.0") and Sendhil Ramamurthy ("Heroes" — and, may I say, a real hottie) as federal agents and Peter Gallagher ("The O.C.") as a CIA director. Think "Alias" meets... blonde?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Calling all couch potatoes

Coming this fall to NBC

The Event
...evidently trying to be the next "24" (even to bringing on some of that now available talent such as Evan Katz, one of "24"'s writer-producers, as show-runner), "The Event" is a conspiracy thriller about an average Joe, Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), who decides to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée (Sarah Roemer), only to unwittingly stumble on the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Co-starring in the pilot are Blair Underwood as the newly elected U.S. President Martinez, Laura Innes ("ER") , Scott Patterson, Ian Anthony Dale and "24," "Heroes" and "Damages" alum Željko Ivanek.

... the latest Jerry Bruckheimer effort. Think "CSI:" meets "The Fugitive". The show follows a team of U.S. marshals as they hunt down America's most dangerous fugitives. Kelli Giddish ("Past Life") plays U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy from Texas who tracks down violent criminals on the run. Cole Hauser ("K-Ville"), Amaury Nolasco ("Prison Break"), Rose Rollins ("The L Word") and Jesse Metcalfe ("Desperate Housewives") also star as members of Frost's elite team.

Think “Hart to Hart" meets “Mr. & Mrs. Smith." J.J. Abrams co-wrote, produced and directed the "Undercovers" pilot, which stars British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe as a married couple who, years after they retired, are re-activated as CIA agents by their old boss (Gerald McRaney) to find a gone-missing agent. Undercovers will be the first pilot Abrams directed himself since 2004’s “Lost.”

Law & Order Los Angeles
Simultaneously (close enough) with canceling the "mother ship," NBC picked up the youngest Wolf cub, "LOLA" (believe it or not, I didn't make up that nickname) to start in the fall—even though not only hasn't a pilot been shot, but the show hasn't even been cast (well, nothing has been announced, sniffed out or leaked, anyway). As recently as four days ago, the big rumor was still that the suits were 'approaching' Jimmy Smits. Not very promising, given that that same network has already committed to another show starring Jimmy Smits, Outlaw.

...follows Cyrus Garza (Smits), a Supreme Court justice ("playboy and gambler") who starts to see the flaws in the system and quits his job to go back to practicing law to represent the underdog. Jesse Bradford ("West Wing"), Carly Pope ("24"), Ellen Woglom ("Californication") and David Ramsey ("Dexter") also star. I'm thinking this could be "Shark" meets "Vegas".

Love Bites
...and from Cindy Chupack (“Sex and the City”) we get an hour-long romantic comedy anthology series featuring three loosely connected, modern stories of love, sex, marriage and dating (shocker). Becki Newton ("Ugly Betty") stars as Annie, the "bubbly optimist," Jordana Spiro (“My Boys”) plays Frannie, the "pragmatist" — they are the last two single girls standing after all their friends marry. Call me crazy but could Annie be Charlotte, with a little Carrie thrown in for good measure (or vice versa)? And Frannie, Samantha with a dash of Miranda? Their story will anchor the series, while other romantically-challenged characters come and go each week. The pilot’s guest cast includes Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Ghost Whisperer”), Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”), Craig Robinson (“The Office”), Jason Lewis (“Sex and the City”), Lindsay Price (“Lipstick Jungle”), Larry Wilmore (“The Daily Show”), Charlyne Yi (“Knocked Up”), Pamela Adlon (“Californication”), Stacy Galina (“Hidden Hills”), Brian Hallisay (“Privileged”), Kyle Howard (“My Boys”) and Steve Howey (“Bride Wars”). "Sex and the City" meets network TV?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Welcome to the party

Generally speaking, this blog—my blog—is not a "personal" log or journal. With few exceptions, I merely try to point out various interesting (or ridiculous or humorous or surreal) flotsam and jetsam I notice along the wayside of my life, without inflicting on you the flotsam and jetsam obstructing the path of my own life.

You might, however, have noticed a distinct slowdown of entries recently. Okay, okay, for the past year or so. Who's counting? That would be as much of my flotsam and jetsam as you were going to get—focus on what's not there, you'll get the point. Recently, though, I am happy to say that the, ahem, path of my life is becoming less littered and more clear. Which should mean interesting—ridiculous, humorous, surreal—bits of the world once again showing up with regularity on these pages. (Didncha miss me?)

All of which is a long introduction to a book and blog I found the other day, "Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness" by Dominique Browning, the not-so-recently laid off editor of House & Garden Magazine. I've got the first two down but good; I'm just still working on that elusive third item.

You might not be able to judge a book a by its cover, but perhaps by its title? Jobless, in sleepwear and happy. Now that's my kind of book.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I guess we're not in Kansas anymore

I'm a fan of Google, generally speaking. I remember, believe it or not, the first day my boss at Citigroup came into my office and told me about this new search engine I just had to try. Anyone remember Alta Vista or Lycos? Ya, I'm old.

(Think about that - I'm aging myself by remembering the good old days on the Internet. Not before there was the Internet, just those early, glory days, like remembering the wild west or something. Yeesh.)

In those days, the good ol' days, Google was cool. It was different (a blank page with no images? searches returned before you can blink? what?) and the company seemed different too. Part of the "air hockey instead of conference rooms," "free Coke and Oreos for programmers," kind of thing.

And even when it began to grow up, it seemed to stay cool. Eric Schmidt of Novell and Sun Microsystems? "Do no evil"? These guys weren't only geeky smart, they were business smart enough apparently, to admit their blank spaces and handle them. That's even cooler.

Sadly, however, I think I see the stocking clad legs of Google-the-good poking limply out from under the house that corporate greed and arrogance built. This company was founded on the premise of simple and uncluttered. One column of search results. No images, no ads, no fluff. They even fought for 5 years to patent that very look (think I'm kidding? Not. "Google owns the idea of having a giant search box in the middle of the page, with two big buttons underneath and several small links nearby.")

Apparently, they patented it only to ditch it, cuz the Google home page aint so simple no more. It's a mess. Seriously. We've got top nav (Google apps, options and whatnot). We've got right side nav (sponsored links). And, most recently, we now have a left side nav too. Ugh. And no way to turn any of it off.

If that weren't bad enough, you've heard the buzz about Buzz? How Google is opting its users in willy-nilly? Adding insult to injury by, almost literally, adopting the Facebook model of making it close to impossible to turn it off? Not nice, guys. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

They might want to rethink that whole "do no evil" motto. Or remember it.