5 Lunchtime Links: Daughter of Abe Vigoda angry

FILE - In an April 10, 2011, file photo, actor Abe Vigoda arrives at the 2011 TV Land Awards in New York. Famously long rumored to be dead, beloved character actor Vigoda died for real in January 2016 at age 94. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t seem to notice. In any case, it omitted Vigoda from the "In Memoriam" package on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 during the Oscars, and his daughter is incensed. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)
Actor Abe Vigoda arrives at the 2011 TV Land Awards in New York. Famously long rumored to be dead, beloved character actor Vigoda died for real in January 2016 at age 94. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t seem to notice. In any case, it omitted Vigoda from the “In Memoriam” package on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 during the Oscars, and his daughter is incensed. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)

1. Abe Vigoda’s daughter angered by Oscars snub.

The daughter of late actor Abe Vigoda, who died in January at the age of 94, was not pleased that the actor was excluded from the Oscars’ special “In Memoriam” portion of its show, the Associated Press reports. Rumored to be dead several times ahead of his actual passing, Vigoda played Salvatore “Sal” Tessio in “The Godfather.” Carol Vigoda Fuchs called the snub “an injustice” and said her family “feels disappointed and cheated by the Academy.” Vigoda also starred as Phil Fish in “Barney Miller” and its spinoff, “Fish.”

2. Waterloo Records releases free SXSW show lineup.

You don’t need a wristband, or money, or a badge, or a pass. Waterloo Records has released its lineup for your favorite kind of South by Southwest show: A free one. The record store will have four day parties between March 16-19 featuring acts like BORNS, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Sweet Spirit and Peaches, the American-Statesman’s Deborah Sengupta Stith reports. The shows will be held in the store’s parking lot and will include artist autographs after the shows.

3. What you didn’t know about Leap Day.

Happy extra day! This Leap Day, when you’re busy doing whatever you probably would have done had this been March 1, take a moment to consider why Leap Day exists and what it actually does. The American-Statesman’s Marty Toohey spoke with UT astronomer Keely Finkelstein about the importance of leap days and years, and came back with five things you should definitely know about February 29.

4. Flight of the Conchords to return for summer tour.

Flight of the Conchords are back, and better yet — they’re coming to Austin. As the American-Statesman’s Deborah Sengupta Stith reports, the musical, comedic duo will make an appearance at Bass Concert Hall on July 9 as part of their full summer revival tour. Although the pair have yet to officially update their website and the American-Statesman hasn’t quite received its copy of the official release yet, a schedule posted online shows the Conchords taking flight in Ohio and eventually ending their tour in California. In between then it’s business time.

5. Oops. That’s not Oprah.

One company learned the hard way who is and who isn’t Oprah when they mistakenly tweeted out a picture of actress Whoopi Goldberg identifying her as the famed talk show host, CNN reports. The tweet shows a picture of Goldberg on the red carpet at the Oscars and reads “We had no idea Oprah was tatted, and we love it.” The company, Total Beauty, has since apologized for the mix-up and said it will donate $10 thousand to the charity of Oprah and Golberg’s choice. We still haven’t decided if this mix-up is more embarrassing than the America Ferrera/Gina Rodriguez confusion during the Golden Globes.

Gawker tricked Donald Trump into retweeting a Mussolini quote

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump flashes thumbs up after an address to a group of supporters at a campaign stop at the Flynn Center of the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. Photo by Charles Krupa via AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump flashes thumbs up after an address to a group of supporters at a campaign stop at the Flynn Center of the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. Photo by Charles Krupa via AP

Blog site Gawker tricked Donald Trump into retweeting a Benito Mussolini quote.

Editor-in-chief Alex Pareene wrote about the organization’s success, a mission that took a little over two months to complete:

Our Fascist bot was anything but subtle. It was, after all, directly named after Mussolini. The New York Times today swiftly recognized that it was a parody account. At the time of the account’s creation, Gawker Media Executive Editor John Cook expressed some concern that the joke behind the account was far too obvious, and wouldn’t trick anyone but a complete idiot.

Today, Donald Trump proved him—and all of us—right.

Pareene asked Ashley Feinberg to create a bot that would tweet the Italian fascist dictator’s quotes, and attribute them to Donald Trump as well as tweeting at him with every quote. The account started tweeting in December 2015, under the name @ilduce2016, and has 1,987 tweets.

No word yet from Donald Trump’s Twitter page about the retweet, but it’s since been favorited over 8,000 times and retweeted over 3,000 times.

Chris Rock’s daughters sell Girl Scout cookies at the Oscars, raise $65,243

Chris Rock told audience members at the Oscars on Feb. 28 to dig into their millionaire pockets and buy his daughters’ Girl Scout cookies.

“Look at my babies up there,” Rock said as Girl Scouts filed out onto the stage. “Are you going to deny my princesses some cookies?”

His daughters, along with other Girl Scouts, passed out boxes of cookies to celebrities as cameras followed their progress around the room. Kate Winslet examined a box of what appeared to be Tagalongs:

John Legend shelled out for some cookies (is he buying Lemonades?):

And of course, Mindy Kaling picked up some. Because she has her priorities straight.

Chris Rock announced his daughters raised $600 last year.

This year? $65,243.

The Academy Awards is officially be the best place for Girl Scouts to set up shop during cookie season.

 

The best milkshake in Texas is in Austin, Spoon University says

"Roasted banana and brown sugar milkshake, baby size!" Photo via Ashley S./Yelp
“Roasted banana and brown sugar milkshake, baby size!” Photo via Ashley S./Yelp

Spoon University, a website geared toward college students and centered on food, released a list titled “The Best Milkshake in Every State of America” in January. The data, presented by a writer from Georgia State University, was informally gathered—the writer said she polled college students and searched social media—but, unsurprisingly, Austin made the cut.

 

Photo via Spoon University
Photo via Spoon University

More specifically, 24 Diner featured on the list of the best milkshakes in the U.S. While all of 24 Diner’s milkshakes are delicious, if you want to “order like a local,” try the roasted banana and brown sugar shake, the list suggests.

The brown sugar milkshake appears multiple times in Yelp users’ reviews of the restaurant. Zagat also recommended it last June on its list of milkshakes to try in Austin.

Could Wonderball be making a comeback?

Photo via MyWonderball.com
Photo via MyWonderball.com

Wonderball seems to have made it back to stores—in Ohio, at least.

A Redditor posted on Feb. 19 that a Walmart in Mississippi also stocked the Minion-themed throwback candy.

If you don’t know what a Wonderball is, watch this early 2000s compilation of commercials:

The Wonderball was a hollow chocolate sphere filled with a surprise in each one. When Nestlé first debuted the candy, it was called the “Nestlé Magic Ball” and had a plastic toy inside. In 1997, Nestlé announced immediate and total withdrawal of the Wonderball due to complaints of the candy-toy combination’s choking hazards.

The company reintroduced the product in 2000, swapping the plastic toy for candy inside the chocolate ball, but sold the brand to private candy company Frankford in 2004. Frankford then later on discontinued the product.

Europe has long had candy-toy combination products, starting with the Kinder Surprise, which were born in 1974. The egg-shaped chocolate is made of a milk chocolate shell and holds a toy inside, hidden in a plastic container. Nestle’s adaptation of this popular candy is still lamented on various Internet platforms; there have been petitions, a GoFundMe campaign and Facebook groups dedicated the the candy.

A quick search on Walmart’s website offers nothing but a toy kitchen-esque product.

Walmart customer relations representative John (who could not give his last name as policy) said he could not find the product anywhere on the national database. Regional products don’t usually make it to the national list of products, though.

“If you have a large specific community, like a large Hispanic or Asian community, they’ll have things specific to that community that won’t be sold nationally,” he said.

He said he thinks that the Walmart stores that the Facebook and Reddit posters bought their Wonderballs from probably worked with a local distributor that only supplied the stores in the region.

“That would be my only guess, that that store is carrying it at a regional level,” he said. “We cater to whatever region we’re in. We don’t sell a lot of snow tires in Florida.”

No sign of Wonderballs on Austin store shelves yet, but you can still buy the candy on Nationwide Candy’s website, or get a similar product from Candy Treasure, called the Choco Treasure.

On this day in 2015, Internet history was made with two llamas and #thedress

Today, Feb. 26, marks the anniversary of one of the biggest days in American history.

On Feb. 26, 2015, Americans forgot all of our troubles, put aside our differences and collectively lost our minds over two escaped llamas and a dress that somehow changed colors. Maybe it was gold and white. Maybe it was black and blue. We’re still arguing about that one, actually.

Is it gold and white? Is it black and blue?
Is it gold and white? Is it black and blue?

 

As for the llamas, well, they took off from a petting zoo opportunity at a Sun City retirement home and eluded authorities for most of the day. It even got the attention of The Washington Post. Its story about the incident had six bylines on it to boot.

The dress meme picked up steam later that night, as if some Internet God chose that day to bend to its will. You couldn’t go on Twitter or Facebook without getting into an argument about what color it was, and some people took the opportunity to combine the two memes into one.

The llamas and the dress combined for a shared cultural experience that dominated discussion for about 24 hours. It boosted Buzzfeed to more than 670,000 simultaneous views on its site. America experienced a new high in viral content. The Buzzfeed oral history of the day is a fascinating read, too.

Something actually newsworthy happened that day, though. The FCC’s historic ruling on Feb. 26, 2015, would allow the communications entity to more fully regulate the Internet and would prevent internet providers from jacking up prices on faster speeds. The two viral stories we all reacted to that day almost seemed like a celebration of our newfound Internet freedom.

(That “newfound internet freedom,” however, would be scaled back on Dec. 19, 2017, when the FCC voted to repeal several rules surrounding net neutrality. The new rules will take place starting in April 2018.)

On Feb. 26, 2016, it seems some people tried to celebrate with another color-blind test. (Please, not again.)

That one hasn’t gone as viral, but at least Damn, Daniel is probably happy he’s out of the spotlight.

5 Lunchtime Links: Bizarre Katy Perry conspiracy

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2015 file photo, Katy Perry arrives at the 57th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. A dispute between a group of elderly nuns and the Los Angeles Archdiocese over who owns a Hollywood hilltop convent has caught Perry in its crosshairs. The singer is named in a lawsuit filed on June 19, 2015, over the scenic property in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
In this Feb. 8, 2015 file photo, Katy Perry arrives at the 57th annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. A dispute between a group of elderly nuns and the Los Angeles Archdiocese over who owns a Hollywood hilltop convent has caught Perry in its crosshairs. The singer is named in a lawsuit filed on June 19, 2015, over the scenic property in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

1. Is Katy Perry actually JonBenet Ramsey?

A Youtube video posted by user Dave Johnson asserting that Katy Perry may actually be the 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant whose 1996 murder has gone unsolved, JonBenet Ramsey, the Houston Chronicle reports. If that doesn’t give you pause then surely watching the video (which isn’t even new, by the way) will. Johnson’s reasoning behind the theory? When you overlap pictures of Perry and Ramsey they sort of match up, and the same with pictures of each one’s parents.

2. What’s missing from the second to last SXSW band drop?

Where all those big names at? Although today’s 216-band drop was the second to last big SXSW reveal, the number of major acts listed left much to be desired. Acts like Chvrches, Kacey Musgraves, Vince Staples and Miguel have all been confirmed for the Spotify House lineup. J. Cole will be playing President Obama’s DNC fundraiser. Jenny Lewis, Lucius and Blitzen Trapper will all be included at Willie Nelson’s annual ranch blowout. So where are all these performers on the actual festival’s band drop? According to the American-Statesman’s Deborah Sengupta Stith there’s a chance their performances are still being scheduled.

3. Another take on the taco, San Antonio vs. Austin war.

San Antonio City Councilman Joe Krier refuses to see sister cities Austin and San Antonio torn apart by breakfast tacos — what he calls “a uniter, never a divider.” The recent spat between the two “sister cities” began with an Eater article that claimed Austin as the home of the breakfast taco, and was perpetuated with a “10 reasons to hate Austin” piece by the San Antonio Express News; and was again perpetuated by a piece by the American-Statesman’s Eric Webb, in which he called the Alamo “an old adobe shed that takes 10 minutes to stroll through.” Krier instead asserts that a taco filled with “rivalries and misunderstandings between our cities, differing priorities and cultures, and decades worth of mean-spirited jokes we’ve told about each other” will never taste very good, and asks why we can’t “find a decent taqueria halfway between our cities” where we can make a “peace accord.” Keep in mind: He doesn’t even go here. 

4. Mayor announces Austin music industry recovery plan.

Following a recent report, which revealed the Austin music industry has suffered the loss of 1,200 jobs in just the past four years, Mayor Steve Adler has announced his plan to boost the local scene, the American-Statesman’s Gary Dinges reports. Included in a six-page list of more than 50 ideas to bolster the music economy are suggestions like adding mandatory gratuity for musician’s to customer’s bills and creating land trusts to prevent the displacement of music venues. The City Council will take up Adler’s resolution during its meeting next week.

5. Kelly Clarkson performs on American Idol.

She’s made a full 360 and returned to the stage that led to her fame. Kelly Clarkson performed “Piece by Piece” on American Idol last night and left most of those present (and watching from home) searching for a tissue, Time reports. Clarkson was the winner of the first season of the show, which announced last May would end with its current season. “I’m pregnant and it’s nostalgic and I can’t believe it’s the last season,” Clarkson said after her performance.

 

Whataburger and Texas State social media combine for the perfect Twitter exchange

Whataburger and Texas State University combined to reach peak Twitter this week.

The social media-savvy burger chain and the frequently viral San Marcos school traded some banter Thursday afternoon on Twitter.

Courtesy of Whataburger
Courtesy of Whataburger

“No, I don’t know what I want to major in.. I don’t even know what I want from Whataburger,” the first Whataburger tweet reads.

Texas State’s reply came a few hours later, urging them to get on with their choice. Apparently, whoever runs the social account for the university loves double meat Whataburgers.

The exchange ended with Whataburger thanking Texas State for their meal advice.

The brief conversation is merely the latest in a month full of viral moments for both companies. Whataburger masterfully trolled Kanye West shortly after his new album dropped last week, and Texas State made headlines twice in February for some interesting student antics.

 

 

5 Lunchtime Links: Joe Biden to introduce Gaga

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at St. Paul's Union Depot on Feb. 18, 2016 to praise the successes of the federal stimulus program that the administration used to help lift the country out of the Great Recession in St. Paul, Minn. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at St. Paul’s Union Depot on Feb. 18, 2016 to praise the successes of the federal stimulus program that the administration used to help lift the country out of the Great Recession in St. Paul, Minn. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

1. Joe Biden to introduce Lady Gaga at the Oscars.

Maybe one of the stranger headlines you’ll read today, but nonetheless true. Vice President Joe Biden will attend this Sunday’s Oscars during which he will introduce Lady Gaga before she performs her nominated song “Til It Happens To You,” the Associated Press reports. So… why? Biden says he will take the opportunity to speak out against sexual assault, as Gaga’s song is about her own experience with sexual assault and featured in a documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” about the subject. Biden, who has long been vested in the issue of domestic violence, will also support the administration’s “It’s On Us” campaign.

2. Why we don’t need to start a San Antonio vs. Austin feud.

What you gotta say S.A.? The American Statesman’s Eric Webb took a stand in the burgeoning Austin/San Antonio feud to both “bury the proverbial tortilla-wrapped hatchet” (this argument, like many before it, is rooted in a taco-controversy) and call the city’s prized and historic Alamo “an old adobe shed that takes 10 minutes to stroll through.” Even when we’re not fighting we’re fighting. Webb’s piece was in response to a “10 reasons to hate Austin” list compiled by the San Antonio Express-News, and offered instead, 175 reasons to love the city — none of which are its proximity to the home of the River Walk.

3. “black-ish” takes look at police violence.

ABC’s comedy “black-ish” took a hard look at a hard subject when it addressed police discrimination and brutality in its Wednesday night episode, the Associated Press reported. The shows executive producer Kenya Barris said the episode is intended to get people talking about how they address the issue when speaking with their children about “the world they’re living in and they can’t avoid anymore.” The episode revolves around a fictional case of police brutality against a black man in Los Angeles and the different family members response to the situation.

4. J. Cole to play Obama fundraiser during SXSW.

J. Cole will return to Austin, after a popular performance at last year’s South by Southwest, to make a guest appearance at President Barack Obama’s Democratic National Committee fundraiser the first day of the Interactive Festival, the American-Statesman’s Deborah Sengupta Stith reported Wednesday. No word yet on whether or not the “Dreamville Takeover” artist will perform at the festival, as his appearance is scheduled four days before the music festival actually begins, but here’s to hoping.

5. David Bowie gets the Lorde tribute he deserves at BRIT Awards.

Anyone who wasn’t fully satisfied with Lady Gaga’s David Bowie tribute at the Grammys has Lorde to lean on. The 19-year-old gave an emotional and moving performance of Bowie’s “Life on Mars” during the 2016 BRIT Awards Wednesday night in London, Time reports. Among those who couldn’t get enough of Lorde as Bowie? The late artist’s son who took to Twitter to voice his appreciation.

5 Lunchtime Links: Dr. Phil diagnoses Kanye

08/26/04 Matt Rourke/AMERICAN-STATESMAN Dr. Phil addresses the audience at a taping of his show at Elgin High School on Friday August 27, 2004.
Matt Rourke/AMERICAN-STATESMAN Dr. Phil addresses the audience at a taping of his show at Elgin High School on Friday August 27, 2004.

1. Dr. Phil diagnoses Kanye.

Kanye’s Twitter tirades had gone on long enough without a doctor weighing in, but, luckily, Dr. Phil is on the case. Television personality and psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw offered a little insight into the mind of Kanye when he appeared on James Corden’s “The Late Late Show” Monday, Rolling Stone reported. “Does it really take a professional [to assess West]?” McGraw asked before commenting, “You can’t be wrong that many times in a row unless you’re working at it.” McGraw summed up “The Life of Pablo” artist by saying, “He’s just an artist who’s very, very passionate, like over-passionate, in what he does,” and, “You used to be stupid and get away with it.”

2. Willie Nelson releases Luck ranch reunion lineup.

Who can you expect to see when you pop in at Willie Nelson’s next month? Just as in years past the country singer is hosting a bash at his ranch west of Austin March 18 during South by Southwest, The Austin American-Statesman’s Peter Blackstock reported Tuesday. Previously called the Heartbreaker Reunion and renamed the Luck Reunion, the event will feature performances on its three stages by artists like Jenny Lewis, Billy Joe Shaver, Blitzen Trapper and more than a dozen others. Tickets will be available on the reunion’s site.

3. The ice cream diet that worked.

During an experiment for GQ Shane Snow took one for the team and dedicated himself to eating nothing but ice cream for 10 days. As sweet as the challenge might sound, Snow reported that he began to hate the restriction as early as the first day. In total, he ate 50 pints of ice cream during the 10 days and lost 9.9 pounds. Yeah, that’s right. Lost. Granted, Snow did only indulge in a very specific kind of ice cream. Halo Top, a low-calorie, high-protein ice cream that reportedly tastes a lot like regular ice cream. We don’t suggest you swear off all foods other than ice cream any time soon; ice cream is completely devoid of necessary vitamins and minerals, as became evident when Snow developed both a cold and canker sore.

4. Kate McKinnon does her best Ellen DeGeneres on “Ellen.”

Only one person does a better Ellen DeGeneres impression than Kate McKinnon and that’s Ellen. Get them both in the same room and you’ve got yourself a baby with twin dads type scenario. Which Ellen better rocks a white blazer? Which do we more want to dance with? What does the real Ellen think? Before McKinnon joined her on stage, Time reported, DeGeneres commented, “You’re like, well that’s such an exaggeration, I mean it’s funny, but it doesn’t sound like me at all,” but added the day following the impression she had friends calling to say McKinnon sounded just like the real thing.

5. Strikingly few Austinites participate in Houston-Austin bike ride.

Uncharacteristic of one of the United States’ most bike-friendly cities,  Austin only contributes about 900 cyclists to the BP MS 150 bike ride from Houston to Austin every year, Austin American-Statesman reporter Pam LeBlanc says. A total of 13,000 cyclists participate in the ride, which ends in a party near the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. That means less than 7 percent of the participants come from Austin. Organizers, who believe people generally see the event as more for those originating from Houston, are trying to bolster Austin participation by offering information about a shuttle service that can transport participants.