Since a test pattern is what television sets used to show after the programs have faded to black, what happens when a test pattern itself fades to black?
That's too complicated for this bear of very little brain to process, but it's one way to say that this Entertainment blog, Test Pattern, is shutting down after today. I began the blog solo in 2003, and it turned into a group effort in 2008.
|The toenail monster: Test Pattern's unofficial, and super-creepy, mascot.
Highlights of the Test Pattern days for me included the annual TV commercial contest, which began in 2004 and ran every summer, with the most recent one just concluding a week ago. If when you think of creepy toenail monsters you think of msnbc.com, well, my work is done, but your sleep will be severely disturbed.
We also had a great time dishing on misheard lyrics ("Help me Rhonda, help me get a ride on my horse!"), trying to define Steve Miller's "pompatus of love," and highlighting a lot of fun time-wasting sites in Multi-link Monday. We unwrapped our favorite holiday specials (Heat Miser!), shared the scariest movie lines, resurrected dead TV characters, quoted John Hughes and mourned "My Name Is Earl."
We made things up: The Rod Stewart Rule involved musical artists who cannot be played in your car, and The Klaputis refers to that one episode of a popular TV show that you somehow missed ever seeing.
I wasn't the only msnbc.com editor who kept the blog hopping. Anna Chan shared her confessions of a band girlfriend and mourned Nine Inch Nails. Paige Newman joined "True Blood's" Team Eric and praised Meryl Streep. Denise Hazlick dissed the "Sex and the City" movie and raved about Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory." Kurt Schlosser mourned both Paul Newman and his own carefree, childless moviegoing days.
And, in the end, we were outlasted by Samantha Harris.
We'll still find ways to give you a chance to have your say on msnbc.com. Our community site, Newsvine, features moderated discussions of issues including entertainment, and also lets you weigh in via votes. You'll see more and more Newsvine links popping up in our stories. And our staff isn't going away, we'll still be here, just spending our time on other things. And other msnbc.com blogs, including Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log, will continue to publish. Self-plug: If you're a fan of pop-culture Weblogs, I run one called Pop Culture Junk Mail and would love to see you there.
I've been blogging since 1999, and without reader reaction and comments, it's kind of like talking to yourself in the mirror. You made the blog fun and carried it for six years. Thanks for that, and don't touch that dial. This blog may be going off the air, but the show goes on.