kottke.org posts about John Hodgman

John Hodgman's RagnarokJun 20 2013

As part of the media company's push for original programming, John Hodgman's comedy special, Ragnarok, is exclusively streaming on Netflix right now.

Deranged Millionaire, John Hodgman, and his infamous moustache dispense their survival guide to the Mayan apocalypse or as he's deemed it "RAGNAROK". With his eccentric list of post-apocalyptic necessities, beef jerky dollars, sperm whales and mayonnaise, John Hodgman entertains the audience in the face of impending doom.

Heeeeere's a trailer:

Hobo MattersNov 27 2012

A spoof episode of American Experience on hobos, narrated by John Hodgman.

I posted this a few years ago but ran across it randomly the other day and had to feature it again. See also the Human Planet episode about The Douche.

New Hodgman book: That Is AllAug 22 2011

John Hodgman has the details and release dates for his "FINAL BOOK OF COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE", That Is All.

YOU WILL SOON start to see changes in both design and mood that will reflect the dark, apocalyptic vision of my book, which deals with the very last information you need to know before the coming global superpocalypse called RAGNAROK, plus some information on WINE and SPORTS.

That Is All is available for pre-order on the Kindle but if it's anything like Hodgman's other books, it's more fun in paper (or in audio format).

Your TV might contain even more John Hodgman soonSep 20 2010

John Hodgman is filming a pilot for an HBO show called Good Evening, My Name is John Hodgman. Jonathan Coulton and Spike Jonze are involved.

THE THEME OF THIS PARTICULAR PROGRAM is "JOCKS vs. NERDS," the culture war of our time, and a subject that you know I have been thinking about for some time now, and also talking about with the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

IN THIS CASE, the "NERD" shall be played by me, John Hodgman, and the "JOCK" shall be played by the New York Jet, NICK MANGOLD, as I confront all of my deepest fears (humiliation/being punched/Nick Mangold) and attempted to learn from him the virtues of jock culture and the rules of football.

And YOU are invited: September 28th in NYC. Tickets are free and they have an unlimited supply because they are filming it in some sort of massive rocket ship hanger. All you Little Hobos (that's what Hodgman calls all his fans) click through for details on how to get your tickets.

Hodgman and Obama nerd it upJun 20 2009

Video of John Hodgman's speech at the Radio & TV Correspondents' Dinner.

With Obama in attendance, Hodgman wonders if our Commander in Chief is indeed as nerdy as we've hoped.

Matters hoboNov 06 2008

An American Experience clip about the American hobo narrated by John Hodgman. Hodgman does a pretty fair David McCullough impression. (via cyn-c)

John Hodgman on loveOct 21 2008

John Hodgman tells a story of aliens, love, Enrico Fermi, and people who are both sexy and deformed.

John Hodgman on his unique celebritySep 29 2008

In an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released More Information Than You Require, John Hodgman shares how he became a famous minor television personality and how he deals with all that fame.

As a matter of fact, sometimes now, if I'm feeling tired or a little sad, I'll go put on my UPS-man outfit and hit the subway. I'll hope that maybe someone will recognize me. It's very embarrassing, isn't it? But most of the time, it doesn't happen. No matter how crowded it is, no one says anything. They are reading, talking, thinking about where the train is taking them next. They don't say anything to me at all. And that's when I sit back, and look at them all, and think to myself: Don't any of you have a television? What THE FUCK is wrong with you people? I'M SITTING RIGHT HERE!

Some of this is from a bit Hodgman did for an episode of This American Life earlier this year.

The new Microsoft adsSep 19 2008

After a couple of teasers starring Jerry Seinfeld, Microsoft is airing some new ads that take Apple's "I'm a PC" out into the real world. So instead of John Hodgman's dorky PC character (who is parodied in one of the new ads), they've got all sorts of people -- basketball players, actresses, scientists, fashion designers, etc. -- proudly declaring "I'm a PC". As Michael Sippey mentions, the ads do communicate a "message of joy and abundance and widespread use of Personal Computing", but they're not "great".

I briefly worked for a design firm in the late 90s that did a lot of advertising work. One of the hard and fast rules in the office -- which was taken from a book written by a successful ad man whose name I cannot recall -- was that if a company was #1 in a certain space, their advertising should never ever mention the competition, not even in an oblique fashion. And even if a company was #2, they should do the same and act as if they were #1.

That's the problem with Microsoft's ads. They're still #1 and the bigger company, but by referencing Apple's successful ad campaign, they're acting like Apple is #1. (John Gruber made this same point the other day.) The ads fail because they serve to remind people that Apple comes up with good ideas that Microsoft then takes and shapes into something that so-called "normal people" can use or understand. Except that this isn't 1993. With the iPod, iPhone, iMac, OS X, the Apple Stores, and the iTunes Store, Apple has their finger firmly on the pulse of what normal people want and Microsoft's recent attempts (the Zune, Vista) to keep up by emulating Apple have failed. If MS had created the "I'm a PC" message on their own, the ads would be great, but these copy-and-paste ads lack soul and are merely "eh".

What's interesting is that with the I'm a Mac/I'm a PC ads, Apple mentions Microsoft explicitly, over and over, proving the old adage that rules are made to be broken. What works in Apple's favor is that they are the #2 company and were clever about how they attacked #1. Microsoft's hamfisted ads are almost saying to Apple, "nuh-uh, my mom thinks I'm cool" while the image of Hodgman's frumpy PC is hard to shake and makes Windows seem lame without being overly insulting about it.

Thread countSep 18 2008

Finally! The truth about thread count.

In a quality product, the incremental comfort value of increasing thread count over 300 is very little. A 300 thread count can feel far superior to a 1000 thread count. Thread count has become a simple metric used by marketing people to capture interest and impress with high numbers. The problem with mass produced high thread count sheets is that to keep the price down, important elements of quality must be sacrificed, meaning in the end the customer gets a product with an impressive thread count but that probably feels no better (or even worse) than something with a lower thread count.

I am hoping that John Hodgman will shed further light on the thread count controversy (working title: CountGate) in his new book, More Information Than You Require.

Update: Even more about thread count. (thx, jeremy)

Road runner rulesSep 08 2008

The simple but strict rules for Road Runner cartoons.

1. Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going "beep, beep".
2. No outside force can harm the Coyote -- only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products.
3. The Coyote could stop anytime -- IF he was not a fanatic. (Repeat: "A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim." -- George Santayana).
4. No dialogue ever, except "beep, beep".
5. Road Runner must stay on the road -- for no other reason than that he's a roadrunner.
6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters -- the southwest American desert.
7. All tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.
8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy.
9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
10. The audience's sympathy must remain with the Coyote.

Charles Miller argues that John Hodgman's PC character in the Mac vs. PC commercials is like Wile E. Coyote...likable but inept. (via df)

A list of drag queen names compiledMar 07 2008

A list of drag queen names compiled so far. Perhaps when we are through we can get John Hodgman to draw caricatures of each.

Update: Lenny reminds me: "Hodgman didn't draw the hoboes, he just named them. A bunch of cartoonists drew them, most notably Ape Lad, a.k.a. Adam Koford."

This year's AIGA Holiday Party features anDec 02 2007

This year's AIGA Holiday Party features an auction conducted by Mr. John Hodgman to benefit a design mentoring program for NYC high school kids. Also, free wrapping paper.

John Hodgman reports that the audiobook forDec 19 2006

John Hodgman reports that the audiobook for The Areas of My Expertise is available for free at the iTunes Music Store.

Update: From what I can tell from the first 3:34, THIS IS THE WORLD"S BEST AUDIOBOOK!1!!

Profile of John Hodgman, "archly amusing nerd".Oct 24 2006

Profile of John Hodgman, "archly amusing nerd".

Interview with John Hodgman. Funniest computer spokesman/Sep 26 2006

Interview with John Hodgman. Funniest computer spokesman/former literary agent/blogger/writer/Daily Show correspondent ever?

Scans of video game magazine advertisements from 1982.Sep 13 2006

Scans of video game magazine advertisements from 1982. My favorite features George Plimpton in an ad for Intellivision, which John Hodgman parodies in a new ad for his book.

Good new series of ads for Apple; "May 02 2006

Good new series of ads for Apple; "Get a Mac". I'm pretty sure the chap playing the PC is John Hodgman (author, Daily Show correspondent, This American Life commentator, former literary agent, monthly readings holder, hobo expert). Can anyone confirm? (via df)

Update: According to MacRumors, the Mac is played by Justin Long.

Update #2: Yep, seems to be Hodgman.

John Hodgman comments on the first few "Apr 19 2006

John Hodgman comments on the first few "shuffled" tracks of his mp3 collection.

The NY Times Magazine has launched TheSep 22 2005

The NY Times Magazine has launched The Funny Pages, their comics+ section. PDFs of the comics are available online...here's the first Chris Ware strip. They're also podcasting and the first episode is an interview with Ware by John Hodgman, assisted by organist and radio-man Jonathan Coulton.

Tags related to John Hodgman:
video books TV interviews advertising MP3 NYC Apple

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