The Web Hostess: Online manners, memes and must-see video

Apr 25, 2012

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme.

Hi Everyone -- Thanks for stopping by. And look at how I did not forget it was Wednesday this week!


The column-about-the-Internet I've been talking your ear off about debuted on Sunday. Here's a link.


And then on Monday I wrote something else that I'm linking to just because I think it's probably in the wheelhouse of a bunch of chatters here. It's all about the Library of Congress preserving our old mix tapes and video games and electronic ephemera.


And then today (because this is apparently the week I force you to read all of my stuff) I wrote something about the inaugural class of inductees into the Internet Hall of Fame, which included, delightfully, the man who decided on the @ symbol for email addresses.


But who would you have inducted? And what else  should we talk about today?

There's a video with a partial song at the very start, on youtube. Its the first vid that lists with search term: "Det var en gang en biltur". The song only plays for the first 30 sec or so. Does anyone know the title/artist? The video has a plus - Norway.

Is this the video you're talking about?

I love a good mystery. It seems to me that in order to figure out this one, we need one of the following:

1) Someone who happens to know this song or band.

2) Someone who speaks Norwegian.

3) Someone who has more time than I do in the middle of a live chat to mine this video for context clues and develop some excellent search terms that would help us Google our way to the answer.

(Hint. We should probably start by finding an online Norwegian/English translator to help us figure out what Det var en gang en biltur" means. Please don't let it be a bad word thing. Who wants to get on that?)

Hi cupcake/chatters, I remember a while ago there was a discussion about on-line resources for language learning. I can vouche for Mango (available from your local library website) and BBC Languages, they rock. But now I'm looking for some podcasts to download, ones where I can talk to myself in the car and ones where I can just listen while walking down the street. Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!

Ooh, I can see this will be a "let's all help each other out with difficult requests relating to foreign languages" chat. Fabulous! Anyone have any recommendations? Perhaps in Norwegian?

Maybe it is my computer, yet I sent a submission to "Reliable Sources" and afterwards I found myself on the "Web Hostess" pages. I don't know where the submission went, but if anyone wants it, you are welcome to it. It was a report of the Hollywood Show and the LA Book Fair.

I received this report. I was utterly baffled as to why someone was submitting it to this chat. But delighted nonetheless. Here, I'll go ahead and post it anyway, just because I don't want your typing work to have been for nought.

I attended both the Hollywood Show in Burbank and the Los Angeles Book Festival, and I can make the following report. Of course, just meeting celebrities for a few minutes or seconds should not be a major indicator of their personalties. Yet, sometimes there are things to note in how their threat their public during these moments. For instance, Bethany Frankel did not personalize her books, her signature looks more like her initials that she quickly scribbles, and she did not appear to speak to people in line. She acknowledged me when I thanked her for being there but she did not appear up to engaging with her fans. Betty White, on the other hand, was the symbol of happiness and vibrancy. She personalized books, she added an inscription in my book when I thanked her for her work with the LA Zoo, she spoke back and forth with fans in line, posed for photographs, stayed say beyond when she was scheduled to appear, and saw to it that everyone in line had a chance to meet her. Betty White is a real class act. Michael Ian Black was ask great. He joked with people, posed for photos, and really seemed to appreciate that there are people who appreciate his work. As a side note, he was the only person who stood in front of his table to meet people, whereas everyone else was sitting behind their tables. There were two people at the LA Book Fair who ignored their public who spoke and then declined to sign afterwards: John Cusack and Gil Garcetti. I will write this, but please note this is unconfirmed vicious rumor, yet one of the workers in explaining why John Cusack was not signing actually stated he appeared too stoned to sign. No idea if that is true, but that is what someone said. As for Gil Garcetti, I have no idea, He just didn't show up and the person had his table had no idea what happened to him. At the Hollywood Show, there was the longest line to meet the child stars of "A Sound of Music". They all were pleasant and seemed happy that so many people remember the movie. Garry Marshall was fantastic, joking with people and engaging with fans. At the Show, the atmosphere is more intimate, as the celebrities are there all day, so sometimes I think those was appreciate their fans like Garry Marshall enjoy having some time to speak with people. One of the most cheerful and pleasant people there was Aileen Quinn, who seemed to want to speak to fans and see how they are. Larraine Newman was very pleasant and I felt sad because she is such a great talent and a part of TV history and there were not as people going to see her. Thus, she was very nice to speak with. Now, this also goes into the unconfirmed vicious rumor mill, yet someone I normally consider a trustworthy source told me he mentioned Garrett Morris to her and he claims she did not appear to know he was still alive. I can't believe, or maybe I don't want to believe, that could possibly be true. Maybe it was a poor attempt at a joke. IAs an aside, some of the fans are becoming famous. I kept seeing James, who is among the most famous autograph colletors there. It seems everyone in LA knows him, as he is at every event gathering autographs. We joked that James must never sleep, and he confirmed that is just about true. Next time, I hope to get James's autograph. I should interview him sometime.

Et voila. Just in case anyone would like a dollop of celebrity gossip mixed in with their Internet today.

Here's the video:  Attentive thoughtful parenting or documenting instead of parenting?

Hmm, I'm not getting "documenting instead of parenting" at all. The videos say they were shot once a week -- not once an hour -- and it doesn't look like they ever took more than a few minutes a week, which seems like a perfectly reasonable amount of time for a parent to photograph their kid.

If there's an ethical one, I think it's more about whether the parent should have made this project public -- since it's taking reasonable documentation into public performance, and since the girl wasn't old enough to give consent about her images. But you could ask that about the parent of any child actor, too.

Would a phone with Shazam on it work for this, or does it need lyrics? I'd imagine you could just hold it up to your computer speakers. (Full disclosure, while I have Shazam on my phone, I've never been efficient enough to get it running before the song I was curious about ended.)

Excellent thought. (And here's a link to the music-identification site Shazam's Wiki page, for those who aren't familiar) I'll admit I've never used it. But it does seem like it would work for this...

I found this which is supposed to compare a sound sample to an online database. No idea if it works or not, or how likely it would be to find rare/foreign matches, but it's a start.

Looks to be anothyer Shazam-like service. (Original poster, are you getting this?)

(Sorry guys -- kicked off the chat. Back now. Hold tight).

I've FB messaged a friend in Norway to see what I can come up with... I'm on it!!

Good work, 007.

I'm finding it frustrating to find a good monthly Prime book for my Kindle. Is there a way to sort for the books available for Prime on Kindle? And is there a way to sort out the self-published books? It seems like so much of Kindle's loanable inventory was written by Jeff Bezos' less talented relatives... I don't know how else to explain it. Maybe I should open an online business as an editor for the self-published.

Here are the basic instructions for sorting out Prime books on Kindle. That might handle your first question. As for sorting out self-published books. Hmm. I would say that there might be a way to arrange by star rating, but often it seems like horrible books receive high star ratings on Kindle, just because they're so cheap (you rate high because you expect little?).

Is anyone here a Prime member and also a Kindle owner who might have suggestions?

Literally, "There was a car trip." (Road trip?)

I here that line being spoken in Werner Herzog's voice.

Speaking of, do take a minute to read this parody of a Werner Herzog letter to his housecleaner.

Did you see the latest episode of The Flog from your BFF Felicia Day? I love the quirky humor as always, but it appears she is a fairly talented violinist (at least according to my untrained eyes and ears). Life continues to not be fair.

Guess what? I was at that very taping, squinched into a tiny chair behind the camera man!

And yes -- she majored in violin performance at the University of Texas.

Two things: First, the Norwegian apparently translates (thanks, Google Translate) to "There was once a road trip." Second, re: the LA Times Festival of Books, I met a pair of celebs: DWTS pro Cheryl Burke just further enchanted me as a complete sweetheart; while Food Network chef Anne Burrell was quite coarse, and rather distant in her interactions with us hoi polloi.

Goodness, was everyone at this book festival but me?

Additionally, Hoi Polloi should obviously be an exceedingly tasty noodle dish, and I am irritated that it means something different.

A few times in recent months we've had some boy girl banter during the chat that has prompted you to offer to get people together if they emailed you... has anyone taken you up on that and has there been any love connections?

I heard from one half of that bantering pair, but alas not the other. I mean, really -- for as many people as join, you would think I could get a few people to entrust their entire romantic futures to a crazy stranger journalist they have never met in person.

Google translate says: "There once was a road trip" if you select Norwegian, but if you select "detect language" it thinks it's Swedish and says "There was a gang ride".

Maybe "gang ride," in Swedish is like, "a fun little jaunt with all your buddies."

Per Google Translate, the phrase means "It was once a scenic drive." So it could be a melancholy comment on the over development of...something... This is fun!

Oh, this is for more melancholy than "There was a road trip."

(Y'all can stop sending in your translations of Det Bar En Gang En Biltur now. We need to move onto the next phase of the investigation. Has anyone tried Shazam yet?)

The instructions from Amazon are awful. The best way is to just type "prime eligible kindle books" in the amazon search field. Then you can sort however you like (release date, rating, price, etc). It doesn't make sense to search for them the way Kindle suggests. .


A friend of a friend posted on FB this week that her husband of many years, and father of their children, died after a long battle with cancer. Three people LIKED the post. Seriously? You like it? Does "like" have a definition of which I'm unaware? Or did you actually hate the guy and you're glad he's dead? (I don't know/am not friends with the OP and only saw the post because my friend commented on it, and the OP didn't set the post for friends only.) This just boggles my mind. Are we truly reduced to using the "like" button instead of expressing sympathy? Ugh. Hating FB right now.

Here's the deal.

You need to stop thinking of "like" on Facebook as if it has the same definition that "like" in real life has.

Remember when Facebook first started, and everyone got their knickers in a twist over the word friend? ("I don't want to be FRIENDS with my boss. My boss is not my FRIEND.") Soon, everyone realized that "Friend" on Facebook did not mean, "Someone that I go out to dinner with and who cat sits when I go out of town and lend books to." It just meant, "Someone I like to keep up with online."

Similarly, "Like" on Facebook does not mean, "I am glad this happened; I hated that jerk." It means, "I acknowledge this. I am here. I am virtually stroking your arm. I am present in your life."

Yes. It would be better if people could take the time to write a few lines -- or send a few lines on a card in the mail -- but the word "Like" does not have all of the meanings and context that you are imbuing it with.


(I think that a lot of people are bothered by this, though. I might capture this question and explore it in an upcoming column).

I was going to start by asking "what is the world coming to?" but the following confirms that it's too late to ask that question. The WaPo is reporting that White House party crasher Tareq Salahi says he will run for Va. governor. WTF

Reality Show To Follow.

I wish I had a solution, but I wanted to chime in with the same complaint. I received a Kindle for Christmas, signed up for Prime and feel like the selection is CRAP. Pure crap. On a sad sidenote, in a fit of desperation/on a lark, I downloaded some stupid free romance novel. There was not even ONE STEAMY SCENE. Who writes romances with no steam? In other news, I have since read Fifty Shades of Grey and have OD'd on steam.

Perhaps you can alternate one chaste chapter of the bad book with one steamy chapter of Grey, so as not to burn out.

I would happily hand you the reins of my love life, but I live in Portland. I have been steering this horse in circles for years and am pretty sure I can't be trusted to drive.

Put the horse away and buy a bicycle. I hear it's what everyone rides in Portland.

MONICA: "Additionally, Hoi Polloi should obviously be an exceedingly tasty noodle dish, and I am irritated that it means something different." It's saying things like that that make me hate you, and hate myself for reading this chat. Sadly, not enough to make me get a life & leave.

Really? I feel like I've said so many stupider things on this chat, and this is what gets you?

I've used it in the car when I wanted to know what a song on the radio was. I've attempted to use it in public spaces, when a friend and I were trying to figure out the name of something, but it didn't work well in a larger space.


The song is NORWAY by Beach House. :) SoundHound to the rescue.

Cue the choir of angels!


Excellent work. Really top notch there.

Chicken (pollo) with hoisin sauce, over noodles?

Yes, or maybe something Meditteranean, with olives, to honor the Greek heritage of the word.

I use SoundHound (similar to Shazam) and it says it is Headless Sky by Autolux.

Noooo! Wait, are you saying that the same service has given us two different answers? This is madness.

I'm on about a million dating sites, but don't troll them much. However, POF notified me that someone picked me as a "speed date". I wasn't sure what that meant, and when I looked at the guy's profile, I was intrigued...but also convinced that it was just POF trying to get me to log on. (I have zero self-esteem--this guy was pretty darn cute.) But I decided to drop him a quick note, and to my surprise, he actually wrote something back, which ended with "What are you up to tonight?" I panicked and went to bed. Not sure that I have a question. It's just striking how different the various sites can be. Because that wouldn't happen on, say, Match. I don't think.

Happy to let you have a wee, miniature freakout. FWIW, "What are you doing tonight" would also alarm me, after just one email exchange. Unless it ended with something like, "Because I have been invited to be the Green Knights personal guest at Medieval Times, and we get to ride on the jousting horses, but it's one night only, otherwise I wouldn't be so forward and I would ask you out in a week instead."

To think, only a decade or so ago there was a professor at one of the University of Pittsburgh branch campuses (first name Kim or Kimberly, as I recall) who declared that people who spent more than an hour a day online were Internet addicts! I wonder if she ever got tenure.

It would be fascinating to find out whatever happened to this person. I may have to Google.

Northern Norway here...biltur means literally trip by car -- i.e., road trip. The quote in the very beginning is the first line of the fairy tale of the three billy goats gruff. I'm on minute 3, day 2 of a road trip which goes by Kragerø, via a quota-busting stop by Sweden (way cheaper booze and cigarettes), and onwards in Norway. Basically just a bunch of guys documenting part of their summer vacation trip.

Thank you so much! We were just looking for the song, and look, here we got so much more context.

Per Wikipedia: Autolux is an avant-garde rock group consisting of Eugene Goreshter (lead vocals/bass), Greg Edwards (guitar/vocals) and Carla Azar (drums/vocals). The trio formed in 2000 and although initially lumped into the Silverlake alternative rock scene, they have soon come to be categorized by their unconventional sonic moods and have recently started incorporating electronic rhythms and beats into their music. Autolux released their second full-length album, Transit Transit, on August 3, 2010 on ATP Recordings worldwide and TBD Records in North America.[1] Oh no, not the "Silverlake alternative rock scene."

Thank you.

It's Greek for "The People." "Hoi Polloi" -- never "The Hoi Polloi," because it's redundant, not to mention a tautology (LOL!), because "Hoi" means "The" -- are not recommended for eating.

Well, I wasn't saying the noodle dish should be made of -people.-

I have Kindle and Prime membership. So far from the lending library I have read the first two books in The Hunger Games and have just started the third. I'm pleased with it.

Yes, I think that they lure you in with some first class entertainment. Please check back in with us in a month or so -- I'll be curious to know if you're still finding good stuff.

I was the one who, erroneously it now seems, posted about SoundHound saying it was Headless Sky by Autolux. I did it again and got Norway by Beach House. This seems dispositive to me.

Well, now we all have had an Autolux tutorial, regardless. Which I'm sure will come in handy at some point.

Nah, it's a classic marketing trick. Put a rapidly approaching deadline on an offer to force a decision when in reality the offer will be repeated or extended. Take heart PoF chatter, you can still respond!

Well, yeah, but doesn't that bring up another question? Do you want to go out with someone who uses "classic marketing tricks?"

I'm betting that for everyone with this reaction, there are dozens for whom, like me, it's saying things like that that makes us love Monica.

Indeed, I have received many messages of support. Additionally, I have received many recipe suggestions for what a dish called Hoi Polloi might include.

Could we please have a shoutout to Portugal, on its 38th anniversary of freedom, namely the Carnation Revolution that overthrew decades of fascist dictatorship?!? Since this was before the Internet era, the way the military was signaled to start the revolution was through an earlier medium -- when a particular song was to be played on the radio soon after midnight. Only took 24 hours, only cost 4 lives.

Shout out!

Robert Crais! Start with "The Monkey's Raincoat" and just keep going. Judging from your book suggestions (spot on!) and general wit, Cupcake, you'd like Crais too, if you don't already.

(Throwback to last week's chat. Putting this out there, in case the querier is here again.)

"The Internet is not Oz. The Internet is Kansas." I have to tell you, that is one of the best lines I have heard all year. Thank you for writing it.

I'm really glad you liked it. Thanks for noticing.

I have similar problems searching the Kindle store to find anything good to read. It's easy to find the latest best sellers, but really hard to find anything else interesting. I sometimes end up browsing in real book stores to get ideas of good books to read on my Kindle. And yes, I know this is wrong and I feel very guilty about it.

You know what? I do the same thing. It does feel very wrong, though. Like learning to dance with the nerdy girl, and then asking the popular girl to prom.

Maybe you can make sure to buy a coffee or a magazine, at least, to atone. Or, make sure that you're buying real, tangible books as gifts for all of your friends who don't have Kindles. And their kids -- children's books are not the same on digital media.

Yeah, read the Hunger Games was back several months ago and now.... I have to really search to find something halfway decent and then it's still mostly crap


Oh, I get the FB convention of "Like" not really meaning "like" in the Webster dictionary sense, truly, I do. Although I do think to a lot of people there's still a strong literal component -- think about the ongoing debate/call for an "unlike" button, which FB will add when pigs fly. However, this was about someone dying. I polled my FB friends and we all agreed that we've "liked" posts we didn't really like, but wanted to show support for: "I'm home sick, but watching a Law & Order marathon" or even "Junior is still in the hospital, but loved all the cards everyone sent." But a death announcement seemed over the line. We even wondered about making the announcement on FB, but figured it was probably the easiest way to spread the news to a lot of people, as the post made it clear the guy had been ill for a while.

Gotcha, makes sense.

However, this is one of those instances where it's easy to blame the Internet for something that's not the Internet's problem. Lots of people are just idiots when it comes to death and sympathy. The people who "Liked" the announcement are the same people who would have avoided eye contact in church rather than have to talk about your loss, or made clumsy comments ("Well, at least its over now") because they didn't know what else to do.

I'm not allowed to drive anymore either: horse, car or bike. Walking, ONLY. And if I F that up, I'll have to tie myself to a chair. Sigh.

No Norwegian road trips for you.

maybe it was an icebreaker--what do you do on weeknight evenings, what are you up to? etc. Maybe it seemed a little aggressive, but if she went to bed right after, seems like it was a later night thing and he wasn't asking her out. That's booty call time. Or was, back when I got/made those.

It's true. There were really two possibilities there. One was, "Booty call." The other was, "Don't flatter yourself. I'm not asking you out. I was just making polite conversation about your evening plans before I head off to my Laser Tag game."

(Or, the third: "You seem awesome so I'm going to go for it, and not realize that I'm coming on strong.")

If the noodle dish were made of of people, wouldn't it be Soylent Polloi?


It took me a while to get into the whole "Like" button on facebook since I rarely posted anything myself at first. It seemed pretty dumb to click on a button saying "I like this!". But after a while I realized there's nothing worse than posting what seems like a brilliant status update and getting absolutely no response. It's amazing how much self-affirmation a few likes and one or two general vague comments can provide. But yes, I agree it's weird to "like" a status about a death or other negative event.

Yes, some people, in some instances, would rather have a "like" than silence.

Dr. Kimberly Young, formerly of University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, now of St. Bonaventure University:


Water for Elephants is available as well

You just have to be ready to skip past the scenes where [SPOILER ALERT] the bad guy beats the elephant. I couldn't handle it. Not at all.

I think people may be reading too much into this. To me, it's just a getting-to-know-you question. Basically, "How do you like to spend your evenings?"

Definite possibility.

Pedants. "The Hoi Polloi" has long since passed into the language. Get over it. And I speak as a prescriptivist.


So, Monica, what are you doing tonight?

Dinner with friends. No Hoi Polloi.

I love that song!!! There is a remix on youtube here:

And I love that in the matter of one hour, we have located the nameless song, learned about the band that wrote it, learned about another band that did not write it, had a Norwegian lesson, and then found a remix.

I think this was all in a day's work, don't you?

Good chat, everyone, and see you next week.

In This Chat
Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

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