Homer Simpson’s voice on GPS tells you where to go and more

Earlier today Mike wondered what Bob Dylan’s voice would be like in a GPS system. Here’s another voice idea. Greg Phelps, the art car aficionado who tells me about car oddities from time to time, told me about this one. Homer Simpson’s voice can be downloaded to a portable TomTom GPS device.

Along with giving directions, Homer makes side comments to ramp up the amusement value. Homer pipes out with lines that carry the hope for food stops, as well as, lines like “You’ve reached your destination. You can hold your head up high because you’re a genius.”

In addition to helping you get where you want to go, I can see how Homer’s voice would be fun to have as a companion in a traffic jam. I once gave my husband a bottle opener with Homer Simpson’s voice that was triggered by popping the cap off. I didn’t know there could be something better than that bottle opener.

Family Guy in a corn maze at 105-year-old farm

In Utah, Edward and Jacob, the two guy hotties in Twilight, have found corn maze fame. At Connors Farm in Danvers, Massachusetts, Brian and Stewie from Family Guy are representing pop culture in an elaboratelyy, mowed cornstalk design.

The presence of both of these mazes is an indication of how many family-owned farms have stayed in business over the years. To stay afloat, keeping up with the times through ingenuity, multi-tasking and hard work is a must. Connors Farm is a perfect example of how many farms have changed.

Back in 1904, when the farm was established, the family took the produce by truck to Boston to sell the goods wholesale. This worked out fine until the price of sweet corn fell in the 1950s. Opening a small, roadside stand became the best option for making money. That move has developed into a family-fun, farm produce fresh gold mine.

Over the years, the stand has expanded to include fresh baked goods, gourmet pastas, jars of jams, jellies and sauces and the farm’s own products. The farm also partially operates as a U-pick establishment where visitors pick what’s in season. The annual Strawberry Festival, pony rides, hay rides, and autumn corn maze have made Connors Farm a multi-purpose, multi-age destination most of the year.

The Family Guy corn maze has turned out to be a brilliant choice. It’s attracted serious, media attention, for one thing. The video after the jump is a fun trip through the maze blended with Family Guy footage from FOX25NEWS in Boston.

There are two weeks left for this corn maze. The last night is October 31.

Sound of Music family’s Vermont lodge and ski resort still going strong

Certainly any kid who imagined him or herself a singer pictured what it would be like to be dressed in a play-suit made of curtains leaping about Salzburg, Austria with the von Trapp children as they sang “doe a deer.” I certainly did.

When the von Trapps escaped from Nazi-ruled Austria during World War II, they eventually landed in Stowe, Vermont as the Trapp Family Singers who made money by performing and opening a ski resort lodge. After the movie “The Sound of Music” came out in 1965, the real family and their ski resort and lodge gained even more notoriety.

I read in this New York Times article that Sam von Trapp, the grandson of Maria and the captain, immortalized by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, is the newest von Trapp to take over the business. He’s happy to do it since, from what I understand, no one asks him who he was in the movie. A generation of distance from tinseltown fame helps.

Recognizing that “The Sound of Music “connection is one that brings business, Sam is running commercials advertising the Trapp Family Lodge on tonight’s showing of the movie on ABC. He also plans to bring back holiday singalongs like the good old days.

The one song I can sing reasonably on key is “Edelweiss.” If you’re ever at the singalong, see if that’s on the list of options. If you want to sing the song along with the movie von Trapp’s, click here.

Oprah a hit with women in Saudi Arabia

Admittedly, I watched Oprah’s talk show when I lived in Singapore. Not often, but sometimes. The room with our TV was the only one with air-conditioning, so that had something to do with it. Still, there was a familiarity in all the advice.

Plus, since the shows were not aired in any particular order, some days Oprah would be thin, other days heavier, and along with her weight shifts were shifts in her hair style and clothing. Because Oprah was on every day, sometimes twice, I assumed it was because she was a big hit with the Singaporean audience.

In Saudi Arabia, women also watch Oprah, and with far more attention than I ever did. Oprah, according to this article in the New York Times, is a bit of a life-line for many Saudi females. The article starts by describing one woman who writes to Oprah Winfrey every month even though Oprah has yet to write back.

Nayla said that Oprah gives her hope and energy, and that Oprah is the only one who understands her. This feeling is echoed with Saudi women of all ages, but particularly with younger women. Part of what the women relate to is Oprah’s own struggles that she has overcome. As women in Saudi Arabia struggle to find their voice and use it, Oprah gives them a sense of how it is done.

The women also relate to Oprah because her style of dress fits Saudi Arabian women’s sensibility and taste. They would probably love Oprah’s closet, the store in Chicago where you can buy Oprah’s old clothes.

As I read the article, besides being interested in this particular Western influence on the Middle East, I wondered if Oprah has read the article yet and thought how terrific it would be if she would visit Nayla and Nayla’s friends–quietly and sincerely. It would not need to be a visit that showed up on TV, but one that would make a fairy tale ending to this story of a cultural mixing. I certainly hope Oprah has written Nayla back by now.

(About the photo: I couldn’t find a Creative Commons photo of a Saudi woman. This woman is from Iran. Yes, I know the difference. Please Don’t Smile, the photographer of this shot has several lovely photographs of women in Iran posted on Flickr.)

Sex and the City: You can catch up with a craze in the modern age

Sex and the City was the hot topic the summer between our two years living in Taiwan and our two years in India. I saw it once at a friend’s house when I stopped over in Albuquerque for a few days visit. I liked it, but nothing I couldn’t live without. I was jet-lagged anyway. Two years later, I saw one more episode. Friends we were visiting in Pochetello, Idaho had TiVoed it—something else that was new phenomenon in the U.S. cultural scene.

Five years after that, there I was last night with two of my women friends at the opening night Sex and the City event at Drexel East, one of the independent movie theaters in Columbus, Ohio. One friend was wearing a black dress. Since living overseas has made me totally out of tune with what to wear on many occasions, and I don’t travel in glamorous circles very often, I wasn’t paying attention to my attire. Plus, this was a back to back event–the first event was the end-of -the-year potluck at my son’s elementary school. With ten minutes in between the two, I had on a very nice T-shirt, black jeans and a pair of new shoes that fit into casual nice. Ooops.

I was all caught up with the Sex and the City storyline, however, thanks to videos and cable television. It used to be that living overseas meant huge chunks of popular culture were totally gone. It wasn’t a terrible loss, but there were movies I hadn’t seen, or events that happened in celebrity-ville that I wasn’t privy too. There were some conversations at parties I couldn’t join in. No loss really, but it was clear who had been living a life out of the American mainstream.

These days, it is not hard to stay caught up, or to catch up, even though people started miles before. When we lived in New Delhi, we rented Season 1, 2 and 3 of The Sopranos, and with each new season rented those too. Although, we weren’t where everyone else was who saw the series as it was unfolding, with the speed of being able to watch back to back episodes in a row at one sitting, it didn’t take long for us to be in the know of the latest whack job.

It is true that watching the TBS rerun version of Sex in the City is not the same as the HBO version, and at times it’s hard to keep the episodes in order as to what events happened first when one doesn’t start watching at the beginning, but last night I was caught up. It has taken five years, but I do know when it comes to Sex and the City what everyone is talking about, and I finally found out what a Cosmos is. As part of the event you could buy one.

Because I lived overseas during the Cosmos craze, I had a beer instead. It’s summer and I was hot. And, yes, I did like the movie. I think Manohla Dargis’s review in the New York Times is off the mark, although, I usually agree with this particular film critic.