Posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
I've had an HD-ready television for years, but haven't gotten a lot of use out of it because I can't get HD content with DirecTV. Apparently, the trees around here block the satellites or something like that. I didn't want to switch away from DirecTV, because I couldn't bear the thought of parting with my beloved TiVo.
But over the last year or so I've been freaking out while watching television because channels are starting to go widescreen HD-only. Then, to make the picture fit on older non-HD equipment, they slice off the sides of the picture. Needless to say, this sucks ass, so ultimately I decided to trade in my satellite dish for HD Cable. To get package deal pricing, I also switched over my phone and internet.
Overall, I have to say I'm impressed with the HD picture. It looks really fantastic, and most of the channels I watch are broadcast in the HD format. The phone line is okay, but kind of spotty over long calls. The internet, however, is total shit. It's blazing fast one minute, then taking EIGHT MINUTES to download a frickin' Google page the next. Contacting the really nice people at tech support has resulted in a house-call next week to investigate the problem. If they fix it, I will be a very happy camper. If they don't... well... this will not go well for anybody.
But the biggest piece of the puzzle was always going to be my new DVR. For the most part, everything I've tried blows when compared to TiVo, but the Motorola Moxi model they gave me isn't that bad. The interface is not as good as TiVo for sure, but it's speedy and gets the job done. The only problem I've found so far is that only a small number of channels are able to be programmed for recording over the internet (NONE of the HD channels are). This is an EPIC FAIL! because being able program my DVR while traveling is kind of important.
Oooh... speaking of important... do you think they have porn channels in HD??
Posted on Wednesday, January 13th, 2010
So televangelist and so-called "Man of God" Pat Robertson has gone and said something bat-shit insane.Again.
Apparently he feels that the Haitian people made a pact with the devil in order to end French colonization. He doesn't mention anything about who the Haitians made a pact with to end the United States occupation in 1934, but I'm assuming it's somebody pretty high up on the Evil Scale. Perhaps Bert from Sesame Street, myself, or Dick Cheney...
Never mind that none of us existed back in 1934, when you're talking about Pat Robertson, words like "logic" and "sanity" go right out the window. This is nothing new. I put Pat at the top of the Insanity Scale back in 2006...
Because here's the thing... when it comes to crazy shit, Pat Robertson is top of the heap. It doesn't get more crazy than this. He's so nuts that Wikipedia has to keep a separate page devoted to all the insanity.
Don't get me wrong, the fruitcake has the right to say whatever fucked up shit he wants to say (this being America and all), but the problem I have is that people buy into the stuff he puts out there. People actually give their hard-earned money to Pat Robertson so he can keep his crazy on the air. I understand that there are individuals out there who are just looking for a way to keep faith in their lives, and think that Pat Robertson fills this need... but how much ridiculous bullshit does it take before you go shopping for a new religious leader? Anyone? Anyone?
It's not just that Pat Robertson is a stupid, hypocritical, uncaring, opportunistic, lying piece of shit, it's that he's just plain evil. It doesn't matter if he actually believes that God is such an asshole that He would slaughter innocent children and animals who get in the way of His divine vengeance... it's that Pat is so lacking in compassion that he would actually SAY that to a devastated people. Couldn't he just say "I'm so sorry to hear about the tragedy in Haiti. It's sometimes difficult to see God's plan for us when things like this happen, but we have to trust in His wisdom. I pray that the people of Haiti let the Lord into their hearts so that He can help get them through this. God bless you all." — SEE?!? That's a COMPASSIONATE and TACTFUL way to tell people that you think God hates them and it's their fault that God had to smite their asses. But Pat Robertson doesn't have a compassionate or tactful bone in his body because he's just fucking evil. Tragedy strikes, and there's Pat to pass judgement (which is supposed to be God's territory, but maybe Pat Robertson has never read The Bible to know this). Just like Nancy Grace and Ann Coulter, "Reverend" Pat is a whore who just loves to turn other people's tragedies into a money-making opportunity. It's the very definition of evil...
If there is any justice, Pat Robertson's god will judge him using the same compassion and logic that Pat Robertson uses to judge everybody else.
Which basically means he's fucked.
And it couldn't happen to a nicer person.
More crazy Pat Robertson crap on Blogography...
August 23, 2005. I try to figure out why Pat Robertson is such a fucking moron.
January 6, 2006. I tell Pat Robertson to shut the fuck up.
June 25, 2007. I surmise that it's actually Pat Robertson who is a tool of the devil.
And now, on a more serious note...
I've written many times about my love, admiration, and respect for Doctors Without Borders and the incredible work they do. Often going where angels fear to tread, DWB is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. They are in Haiti right now, doing everything they can to tend to the victims of the earthquake. If you can help them to help others, please visit their website and make a donation...
Posted on Saturday, January 16th, 2010
I love how ABC Television is promoting their new show The Deep End by saying "FROM THE NETWORK THAT BROUGHT YOU GREYS ANATOMY"... like that's some kind of ringing endorsement. ABC is also the network that brought us such steaming turds as Viva Laughlin and Cop Rock, as well as cancelling such brilliant shows as Pushing Daisies and Cupid (the Jeremy Piven Original... not the shitty remake). Hardly a track record that inspires confidence.
I should adopt this ridiculous qualification system for myself.
From now on, whenever I write a new blog post, I think I'll preface it with "FROM THE BLOGGER WHO BROUGHT YOU PENIS SALAD"...
Because about the only thing more disturbing than this blog would be finding a severed penis in your salad.
Or maybe finding Lindsay Lohan's abused crotch in your chocolate pudding...
Though right now I'd have to say NOTHING is worse than finding David Caruso on your television...
Except perhaps finding your airplane in the Hudson River...
Can you believe that happened a year ago? Seems like it was only yesterday.
Time sure flies when the world is in a tail-spin.
Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
"Tonight's the night!"
"Tonight's the night! LOST is finally on again!"
"Oh. Sorry, I don't watch that show."
"WHAT?!?? ARE YOU CRAZY? THAT SHOW IS AWESOME! YOU GOTTA WATCH LOST!! These people are trapped on this island where weird stuff happens, but then they got OFF the island and then went BACK to the island but the island is in the PAST and tonight we find out if the BOMB can stop the ISLAND from --- hey... HEY! What are you... AAAAHHHHHH!"
Look, I am happy that everybody loves LOST, honestly, I am. I know what it's like to have a passion for a television show and have it consume your life (though any show I love that much usually ends up getting cancelled). But, seriously, it's okay that some people don't like the show and don't really give a crap what happens. It's not necessary to try and convert the non-believers.
We are perfectly happy just as we are, thanks.
Posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010
So... for the first time in a very long time, those of us living on the West Coast of these United States of America are in the SAME TIME ZONE as the Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Finally, we get to watch events LIVE and see competition outcomes AS THEY HAPPEN. How cool that we won't have medal results spoiled on the internet hours... or even days... before we get to actually see them taking place! Sweet!
So tonight I sit down in front of the television at 7:30 when NBC is set to start their coverage, expecting that I'll be watching the opening ceremonies LIVE from Vancouver.
But no... it's downhill skiing.
This is odd. Why would they start the opening ceremonies later than 7:30?
And then I notice on Twitter that people are talking about the opening ceremonies as if they're watching them.
So I look for the official schedule online and see that the opening ceremonies started an hour-and-a-half ago at 6:00pm. So now I'm thinking that I got the time wrong, NBC actually started broadcasting at 6:00, and I've completely missed the opening ceremonies altogether.
And so I look at my television channel guide and see that I haven't missed anything. The opening ceremonies won't be televised until 9:00pm. For reasons I can't even begin to fathom, NBC is TAPE-DELAYING these PRIMETIME events that are happening IN THE SAME TIME ZONE
FUCK YOU, NBC! FUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU!
FUCK YOU UP YOUR STUPID ASSES, YOU DONKEY-RAPING SHIT-EATERS!
And, since I'm sure that the reasons for this ASTOUNDING DISPLAY OF ABSOLUTE FUCKING IDIOCY somehow comes down to money in one way or another... FUCK YOU SIDEWAYS YOU GREEDY PIECES OF FUCKING SHIT!
I am beyond speechless as to why NBC is Just This Stupid. What incentive do Pacific Time Zone people have to watch their Olympics "coverage"? Sure if the event is being held in Asia or Europe or some other place that's fifty time-zones away, there's no choice, and we have to accept a tape-delay because nobody wants to watch TV at 2:00am (or whatever). BUT WHEN THEY'RE HAPPENING IN THE SAME FUCKING TIME ZONE?!?
And here I thought that NBC couldn't get more brain-dead than the whole Conan/Leno late-night fiasco.
It turns out that was just a warm-up for TAPE-DELAYING A PRIMETIME EVENT IN THE SAME TIME ZONE AS THE VIEWERS!
You would think that NBC shareholders would TAKE CARE OF FUCKING BUSINESS and like... I dunno... EXECUTE THE GROSSLY INCOMPETENT FUCKERS RUNNING THE NETWORK for being INEXCUSABLY STUPID. But maybe these particular shareholders are so heinously wealthy that they just don't care when the DUMBFUCKS looking out for their interests make bad decisions.
Gee... and here I thought I wouldn't have anything to blog about tonight!
YOU STUPID FUCKERS!!
Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2010
People are stupid.
This will come as a surprise to nobody (except perhaps stupid people, but that's to be expected).
But even so, there's got to be a limit as to just how much you have to dumb something down in order to be understood by even the lowest of the lowest common denominator when it comes to intelligence. Some things are so bloody obvious that pointing them out only serves to makes you the stupid one.
This morning on the TODAY show, Al Roker was yucking it up with some guy who wrote a book about choosing healthier alternatives when eating. Basically, it boiled down to looking at labels when deciding what foods to eat. Excess calories, empty sugars, and fat is bad. BAD!
Some comparisons actually had a little merit... showing how the self-proclaimed "healthy" cereal actually had more sugar than other cereals on the market, for example. But other comparisons where just pathetic in their obviousness.
And here I was actually becoming an Al Roker fan after he took on Spencer and Heidi.
Well all that went out the window when Al didn't puch this guy in the face just on principle...
And why? Because the douche felt the need to point out that it's healthier to eat dried prunes than it is to eat Mike and Ike's candies...
My first reaction upon hearing the news was...
"ZOMFG! Really? REALLY? It's healthier to eat DRIED FRUIT than it is to eat fucking CANDY?!? That's astounding! Somebody should alert the media! Fruit is healthier than candy! This is a revelation that transcends the entirety of accumulated human knowledge. I mean, imagine it! Fruit is healthier than candy! Can you believe it?"
I lie. My actual reaction was in fact...
Could this radical piece of advice BE any more obvious? IT'S FUCKING CANDY, MUTHAFUCKER!! I mean, this is right up there with ""Fire is hot!" and "Rocks can't swim!" and "Cutting off your penis is bad for your sex life!" You would have to be so astoundingly stupid to not already realize this that I doubt you'd know how to turn on a television, let alone open a box of candy.
And it pisses me off.
"Mike and Ike" is an awesome candy. There's no need to disparage such a delicious treat for the sake of making a bowl of prunes look good. Everybody knows that eating lots of candy is not very good for you. When eaten in moderation, however, there is nothing wrong with candy. And anybody trying to villainize "Mike and Ike" is trying to sell you something.
Something like... oh... I dunno... A BOOK CALLED "EAT THIS, NOT THAT!"
Next up, are fried potato chips healthier than freeze-dried wasabi peas?
ALERT THE MEDIA!
FRIED FOODS AREN'T AS HEALTHY AS FREEZE-DRIED FOODS!
Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
As I write this, I'm watching a series of disastrous runs in the Women's Downhill competition at the Olympic Games. The ladies are biting it hard on the mountain, sliding out of control for what seems like an eternity before they finally come to a stop... their Olympic dreams having come to a bitter end.
There's nothing to say that they won't shake it off and come back victorious in 2014.
Everybody has disasters, but very few of us have them broadcast around the globe with the entire world watching. Forget the pain of crashing into a mountain at 80 miles per hour, the psychological trauma would be enough to drive a person insane.
But that's part of the game. The victory is so much the sweeter because the defeat can be so brutal.
What's NOT part of the game is douchebag television commentators being complete and total assholes as they cut the athletes to shreds during their run. I already loathe sports commentary with a passion because it's so ridiculously banal and distracting... but listening to these turds tonight has elevated my hatred to an entirely new level.
My favorite commentary was when Anja Pärson from Sweden was starting her run and the male commentator was compelled to say she "was a big failure in last year's world championships." Well, screw you, asshole... she's earned her place as an Olympiad in the Twenty-First Winter Games. She deserves more respect than some idiot diminishing such an accomplishment by daring to saddle her as a "big failure" in a past competition. What the hell have you done lately?
Sadly, Anja wiped out later down the track, which makes such a disgusting comment even more hurtful.
I cannot for the life of me understand why sports fans don't insist that commentators take the "less is more" approach and SHUT THE HELL UP unless they have something meaningful and constructive to add to the event. Non-stop chatter is just stupid, unnecessary, and leads to dumbass commentators doing idiotic shit like branding an Olympic athlete "a big failure" to avoid a moment of blissful silence.
Posted on Sunday, February 28th, 2010
As the Olympic Winter Games come to a close, Bullet Sunday comes to the rescue!
• Gold. Congratulations Canada! The final hockey game was well-played on both sides, and I'm happy the local boys (and girls!) were able to keep the Olympic gold at home. Of course, since Canada is a part of North America, I guess that means the gold actually belongs to all of us here in America. America is awesome!
I suppose it's too much to hope that all the excitement from the fantastic hockey matches during the Olympics will make the sport more popular here in the USA. As a long-time hockey fan, it would be nice to get more enthusiasm for the sport outside The Great White North.
• Cubed. The design for the new USA Embassy in Britain was unveiled this week and I have just one question...
...when did Steve Jobs start designing our embassies?
Except I dare say that the Apple Store on New York City's Fifth Avenue is a heck of a lot better-looking than the "fuzzy" glass cube that they came up with for the new embassy. Blech.
• Lisa. It seems impossible that Lisa has been gone an entire year. It feels like only yesterday she was reminding us about what's important in life. You are very much missed.
• Coverage. I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating... NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games sucked ass. It was downright embarrassing to sit back and watch how they managed to screw up at every opportunity (The Olympics are about the SPORTS COMPETITION, dumbasses!). I simply don't understand why you would sign up to cover the Olympic Games and then NOT ACTUALLY COVER THE OLYMPIC GAMES! And don't get me started on the astoundingly fucking stupid idea of running coverage on tape-delay FOR THOSE OF US IN THE SAME TIME ZONE AS THE ACTUAL EVENTS! It would be nice if whomever wins the broadcast rights bid for the next Olympics is actually held to some semblance of competency and quality standards. Like telling your commentators to SHUT THE FUCK UP while the names at the awards ceremonies are read (Chris Drury fans didn't even get to hear his name because of the inane dumbfuck commentary). Or how about telling the commentators to SHUT THE FUCK UP period. 98% of the time, the banal chatter was more distracting then helpful, and made watching the Olympics almost unbearable. Here's a brilliant idea... why not put somebody in charge of broadcasting the Olympics who actually likes sports instead of letting suits in a boardroom dictate this reprehensible bullshit as coverage policy?
• Support. If you're looking for a way to support relief efforts in Chile, or the continuing efforts in Haiti, or help out wherever disaster may strike... my favorite charity, Doctors Without Borders, is doing remarkable work to provide aid "where angels fear to tread," and could use donations. If you've got some spare cash, why not check out their website and then toss a few bucks their way?
And that brings us to the end of another Bullet Sunday!
Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
I have a blog entry I'm working on, but my "Betty White" Google News Alert* brought some most excellent news to my attention, so I'll post it tomorrow.
TV Land PRIME's new original production of Hot in Cleveland starring BETTY WHITE will start airing in June on TV Land!
Frickin' amazing as always.
First she gets a Saturday Night Live hosting gig on May 8th, then a guest-spot on the season finale of The Middle, and now she's in a new television series. Sweet!
So glad Ms. White is showing no signs of slowing down, because everything's better with Betty!
I sure wish Chelsea Lately would book Betty as a guest. Now THAT... would be an awesome interview.
UPDATE: In even more Betty news... Betty White will be a guest on Larry King Live tomorrow night on CNN (6pm Pacific, 9pm Eastern). I positively loathe Larry King. I think he's about the shittiest "professional" interviewer working in television (yes, that includes Tyra Banks)... but you can bet I'll be tuning in for this one!
* For those curious about "Google News Alerts"... any time you do a search for something at Google News you can scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up for "email alerts" for whatever you just searched for (or anything else, for that matter). Then, at intervals you determine, Google will email you a report of things that show up in their news feed. Easy! And customizable...
I have alerts for people like Betty White, Elizabeth Hurley, and Steve Jobs... and things like ACTA, Macintosh, and Chocolate Pudding. Very handy... and free!
Posted on Sunday, April 11th, 2010
It's Bullet Sunday and, if I remember to hit "publish" instead of "draft," then maybe it will actually appear on Sunday.
• Hostess. One of my favorite childhood treats was Ding Dongs snack cakes. But since I became a vegetarian in 1988, I haven't been able to eat them because Hostess fills them with DISGUSTING LARD!! I still miss them though, because nothing quite compared to peeling off that foil wrapper to get to the chocolatey creamy goodness inside. Anyway, yesterday when I was shopping, I noticed that Ding Dongs are no longer wrapped in foil. They're wrapped in DISGUSTING PLASTIC!
I refuse to eat DISGUSTING LARD, so I can't say for sure... but I bet they don't taste as good without the foil wrapper.
• Dixie. I was very sad to learn that Dixie Carter passed away. As Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women, she had some of the funniest moments on television, and provided some clever insight on events of the day. They don't write them like that anymore, and now that Dixie Carter is gone, they won't play them like that anymore either...
She will be missed.
• Lust. And in other sad news, Seattle's "Lusty Lady" is closing! I've only been once, but it was a peep-show experience that lasts a lifetime. Believe it or not, many consider the most entertaining part of the place not to be the naked women on the inside, but the clever puns on the marquee outside...
Ah, if only I could make it to Seattle with a roll of quarters just once more for old-time's sake! The Lusty Lady... she will also be missed.
• Palinesque. About the ONLY benefit of Sarah Palin's never-ending stupidity still being in the public spotlight would be Tina Fey popping up every once in a while with her flawless parody of it. Well, actually her parody of Palin's parody of Marge Gunderson, but still, amazing. In any event, Fey totally nailed it once again with last night's hosting duties on Saturday Night Live...
On one hand, it would be heaven for Palin to run for president in 2012... the comedy gold that such an undertaking could provide would be epic. On the other hand, she's set back women in politics by at least a decade, and it would be nice to have a fully-functional woman enter the next presidential election.
And on that hopeful note for the future, it's time for Oreo Cookie dinner.
Posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
Tonight on the news they used the word "sexting" without bothering to define it. The fact that such a word is so pervasive that it is assumed to be generally understood is bizarre to me. They then went on to a segment about how "experts" have declared "texting" to be an addictive behavior for teens, who send text-messages by the hundreds. Next up: "experts" declare water to be wet.
I'd blog about the insanity of it all, but I have to get back to making TequilaCon Attendance Merit Badges...
One. More. Day. To get everything together. As usual, I am so swamped with work that I'm hopelessly behind.
What is it like to be caught up with everything in your life?
It's been over a decade for me and I can't remember.
Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2010
Last night was when Adobe allowed their customers who purchased Creative Suite 5 to download it. Since I spend almost my entire day working in either Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, this is a pretty monumental event that affects nearly all of my professional life... and a sizable chunk of my personal life too. All-in-all, they've added some amazing features that will make what I do a lot easier. But they've also made some mistakes of such astounding obviousness that it has me wondering if they bothered to beta-test the apps before release. Oh well. I guess you can't have it all.
Alas, the best new tools and hot new features are no substitute for creativity and good design.
All you have to do is watch television for an hour to see that.
Even with all the special effects and killer graphics available today, most television commercials are annoying crap that I can't wait to fast-forward through. But every once in a while a good commercial comes along that I actually want to watch. I dunno what it is about this latest 1-800-CONTACTS ad that strikes me funny, but it does...
It's as if companies are finally getting a clue that their commercials have to entertain if they expect people to want to watch them (especially in the age of DVRs). Sure there have always been great ads every once in a while, but they're really upping their game now. Like that great commercial from Old Spice... or those funny commercials from Ally Bank... or the amazing Betty White ad for Snickers... and now this one from 1-800-CONTACTS. All money well-spent.
Of course, we have a long ways to go before we can reach the awesomeness found in Japanese commercials...
And for those of you with the pizza toppings song permanently stuck in your head... you're welcome!
Posted on Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Okay then... I will be doing a triple backup of my laptop most of the evening in preparation for installing a bunch of software updates I've been holding off on. Hopefully nothing will go wrong but, given my luck earlier today, I am taking no chances.
I made copies of all my files before I left work yesterday because I wanted to work at home today. But when I actually sat down to get started this morning, I discovered that a critical component... THE FRICKIN' CABLE FOR MY WORK HARD DRIVE... was missing, and so I ran into town to get it. Of course I had to wait for a train on the way. Then I got to work and realized that I didn't have a key because I had removed it when valet-parking my car in Seattle. So I had to go back home to get my key. And of course I had to wait for another train on the way back to work. Couldn't find the cable at work, so came home to find that it had been in the bottom of my backpack all along. That's a half-hour of my life I'm never getting back.
Hence the backups.
And now before I get on with all that, I have one big questions...
WHY IN THE HELL IS BBC AMERICA AIRING "STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION-???"
Seriously. Why? It's not a British show. It's barely an imitation of an American show. I think of all the awesome material from the UK that BBC America could be airing, and I just want to punch somebody in the face. There are tonnes (heh) of ways to better spend that hour of programming 5 nights a week.
I'd kill to see episodes of Nevermind The Buzzcocks or Mock The Week (even in reruns!) but instead I get a 23-year-old show I've seen dozens of times. Hell, I'd settle for being able to buy Nevermind The Buzzcocks DVDs, but I don't get to do that either because they're region-encoded. Why won't some smart person at the BBC sell their fucking shows to iTunes here in the USA so that they could make money off them? Especially if BBC America is too damn stupid to air them, and is instead airing boring old American television now.
What a bunch of bloody wankers.
Posted on Saturday, May 8th, 2010
What better way to spend my last night in New York City than to meet up with good friends for dinner? After a visit to Pinkberry... Dawg, Poppy, Robyn, and I took a look at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art then wandered around the Village for a while trying not to get blown off the sidewalks by gusting winds. I don't know if the wind was better or worse than the rain that was forecast, but it certainly made the little things... like walking... an adventure.
Eventually we all ended up at Cowgirl Hall of Fame where we met up with ETinNY for Dave York 3. It was also an opportunity to hand over ETinNY's winnings from his sponsorship of "Team Therapy In The Making" for Blogathon 2009. His prize was to name a topic for a custom DaveToon print, which was "Bad Monkey on the Empire State Building," and it turned out like this...
After dinner, we moved on to a bar for drinks before saying our goodnights. I may have flown to New York City for an a-ha concert, but getting to spend time with these fantastic people is what makes me want to stay.
Betty White on Saturday Night Live.
From the minute I heard that Betty would be hosting and it coincided with my trip, I've been trying everything I can to get tickets. I called in every favor. I wrote dozens of emails. I contacted everybody with even a hint of a possibility of helping me out with my Betty White fixation. All for not. Tickets were practically impossible for mere mortals with no connections to get. And people here in NYC had been lining up since Thursday for a chance at any extras that might be released. Betty was the ticket in town, and the huge popularity of musical guest Jay-Z assured that it would be nigh impossible...
So I made due watching it live in New York, where Betty White killed on the show. She was genius from start to finish. At first I thought the addition of Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon, and Tina Fey would be to lighten the load on Betty, and have her appear in less sketches. Not so! Betty appeared in every sketch plus the cold open, plus Weekend Update, plus an SNL Short. And at every turn, she stole the show... saving mediocre sketches from themselves, and elevating them to something that was actually funny! Genius. I sure hope she gets an Emmy for this, as she's certainly earned it.
For years I've been saying that every television show should feature a guest-appearance by Betty White because "everything's better with Betty" and she has totally proven it tonight. Congratulations to Betty White... and SNL for exploiting her genius to the max.
And now I will try to come down off the high of two fantastic days in New York City so I can get some sleep.
Like that's going to happen.
Posted on Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
It should come as a shock to nobody that I'm writing up a review of the Betty White episode of Saturday Night Live which aired this past weekend. As a massive Betty fan for decades, it's an event too big to ignore. I actually wrote it as I watched from my New York City hotel room, but decided to wait on posting it until I could be sure people who recorded on their DVR had seen it.
In spoiler-free generalities, Betty exceeded my every expectation and turned in a performance so amazing that it's set a new benchmark in greatness for every guest host that comes after (I feel badly for Alec Baldwin having to follow her in this week's season finale). She was funny, timely, genuine, and showed the world exactly how it should be done.
The overwhelming praise for the show by just about everybody on the entire internet is sweet validation that her appeal is universal, and not just something fans like me are blinded to. And while I am sure there are people who didn't care for Betty ditching her innocent and naive "Golden Girl" character for a much edgier turn, I think most everybody can agree that her comedy skills are above reproach. Any time I've found somebody critical of Betty's hosting duties, they either have no knowledge of Betty or are ignorant of Saturday Night Live's history. And since I won't have any of that ugliness tarnishing Blogography, I've addressed that in my "Blogography Bits" Tumblr Blog (warning... naughty language ensues!).
For those who still haven't seen the show and live here in the USA, you might check and see if it's still available on hulu... or you can buy a butchered version from iTunes. If you live outside the USA... well, I'm sure you can get it wherever you usually get your American television shows (sorry stupid-ass network licensing is screwing that up for you!).
So... if you have watched the show and want a run-down of my thoughts, I've put that in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
This morning I was awakened by crippling leg cramps. They were so severe that even after they subsided, I was in excruciating pain. Just walking was an exercise in agony. With no other option, I took some industrial-strength pain-killers and spent most of the day in a drug-induced haze. Sure my work productivity took a hit, but there are certainly worse ways you can spend your time. Like screaming your head off because your legs are wracked with stabbing pain.
So tonight I have the unenviable task of trying to catch up with all the work I couldn't do during the day. It's difficult, because I've got a lot of television stacked up on my DVR that needs to be watched.
Alas, I only managed to find time to watch the season finale of The Middle because Betty White had a guest spot...
To the surprise of nobody, she was brilliant as usual.
This time Betty played "Mrs. Nethercott," a school librarian who has a mean streak when it comes to Brick (the Heck's youngest child), who has checked out 31 books that he hasn't returned. Mrs. Nethercott is threatening to have him held back in the 2nd Grade until he returns all of them, thus begins Brick's quest to find the books and make it to the 3rd Grade.
The show is usually pretty funny, but Betty definitely kicks it up a notch.
Now I guess I really should get back to work.
But first... PIZZA!!
Posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010
Bullet Sunday from Chicago! It's a good place to be!
• Lost. When the television phenomena known as Lost debuted, I was a serious fan. I obsessed over the show and was lauding it as "genius" with each new incredible revelation and juicy mystery. It was everything I loved about television come to life. But then, somewhere in the middle of Season 2, I slowly began to realize that the the show was all smoke and mirrors with no substance whatsoever. It was nothing but mystery on top of mystery, and the writers were quickly building a house of bullshit from which the show would never escape. They just kept piling on "cool stuff" until NO resolution would ever be worth it. So I gave up the show. Every once in a while I'd tune in because people would tell me how awesome it was getting, but all I ever saw was more shit being dropped on a big box of bullshit...
And so tonight, after a lovely dinner out in the 'burbs, I got back to my hotel where the final episode of Lost was nearly over. So I decided to watch. I decided that if I liked what I saw, I'd admit I was wrong all along and go back and watch everything I missed.
Except I wasn't wrong. In my humble opinion, it was the single biggest wimpy cop-out bullshit of an ending the writers could have possibly come up with. It just validated my belief that they really didn't know what the hell they were doing, which is why they kept adding "cool shit" to distract everybody and keep the audience watching. That would have been fine, except you have to be able to really deliver at the end. And they didn't. So when I hear how show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse imply that they knew what was going on all along, I think they're either A) LYING, and just slapped on some lame shit that "explains" nothing and everything at the same time... or, B) THE WORST WRITERS EVER that they think THIS was a worthy end to a six-year investment of people's time. I'm not saying that every detail had to be wrapped up and explained at the end, I'm just saying that, ultimately, the end has to be a satisfying conclusion to everything leading up to it, and I didn't see that.
Whatever the case, I thank heavens I never wasted any more time with the show than I did.
And yet, if there are fans who loved the show and felt the ending was perfect... more power to you! Not everybody has to like the same things, and so congratulations on getting what you wanted out of Lost.
• Grey's. If there's one guilty pleasure of mine to be found on television that's NOT Lost, it would be Grey's Anatomy. Overall, despite some very notable set-backs and other stupidity (e.g. Dead Denny), I find it to be highly entertaining. Somehow, the writers are always managing to come up with these clever twists and interesting stories that keeps moving everything forward.
Except for the season finale last week, which was a total load of crap. What kills me is that the premise was outstanding. Genius, even. But then the writers got lazy and stupid and just decided to fill time with scene after scene of characters going into needless fits of hysteria. It was enough to make me want to bitch-slap half the cast through my television. Maybe two hours was too much time to fill... I just don't know... but by the time they finally got to the end, I was to the point where I never wanted to watch the show ever again. Not exactly the best way to wrap-up a season.
• Kinda. This afternoon I was lucky enough to have RW (of 1 Step Beyond fame) invite me out for his own recipe "Kinda Mediterranean Pizza" with him and Mrs. RW...
Just as he claimed when he published the recipe, it was fucking delicious. I think the secret must be his homemade Carrettiera Sauce, because it adds a lot of flavor while managing to keep things light and fresh (which makes me wonder how many other ways it could be used). Most definitely worth your time to make... especially since he has a step-by-step guide free for the taking.
You'd think that hanging out drinking beer and talking with friends on a beautiful Chicago day would be enough... but RW had to go and make awesome pizza too. The bastard. How can I in good conscience order out from Dominoes when I have friends over? I can't! From now on I'm going to have to go to the extra effort to buy frozen pizza and pretend like I made it! Thanks a heap, RW!
• Interview. Many thanks to Troy of Blue Goo Ate My Mom fame for giving me a heads-up to the great interview with a-ha posted over at CBC's Q Uncut. It's well worth a listen, even if you never heard of the band after Take on Me disappeared from the airwaves. They went on to a lot of great music, and the interview helps North Americans get "caught up" with all the things we missed...
Though Minor Earth Major Sky is probably my favorite a-ha album, their latest (and last) album Foot of the Mountain is exceptional, and harkens back to the sound that made them famous. Sadly, stupid-ass record labels have tied up the distribution rights so you can't buy the album in the USA unless you pay for an import, but a good (but incomplete) "singles" collection is for sale on iTunes.
And now, I suppose it's time to get some work done. What else is there to do on a Sunday night?
Posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Today's word in the TWENTY/TWENTY meme is ANCIENT!
This is kind of cool, because I'm a bit obsessed with seeing the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World"... which is mostly impossible, because many of them don't exist any more. In an attempt to rectify this, they came up with the "Seven Wonders of the Medieval World," which is kind of crazy because some sites (like Stonehenge) vastly predate structures in the "ancient" list (like The Great Wall of China). But oh well.
Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, I've been to the Pyramids at Giza and the site of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia (now just ruins)...
Of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World, I've been to Stonehenge, The Great Wall of China, The Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and The Hagia Sophia...
I don't know exactly where The Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu fit into the scheme of things on these lists, but they would be my next choices to visit.
In other news, one of my favorite television shows, Tales of the Gold Monkey, was released on DVD two weeks ago and I finally got around to watching it. The good news is that it totally holds up nearly twenty years later. In fact, with the exception of rubber monkey suits in the two-hour pilot, I'd say it's just as fresh and entertaining as it was back in 1982...
Tales of the Gold Monkey is set in the South Pacific in the days prior to World War II circa 1938. The show stars Stephen Collins as "Jake Cutter," an ex-Flying Tiger who has become a cargo pilot based on the fictitious island of Bora Gora. Plenty of intrigue, espionage, and adventure ensues, and it's a lot of fun. Highly recommended.
Posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010
I am not a big fan of the new "Dr. Who" as portrayed by Matt Smith, but when I saw that last week's episode was pretty much being billed as "Vincent van Gogh, Monster Slayer" I had no choice but to set my DVR to record it. Vincent is one of my most favorite artists, responsible for my favorite painting of all time, and the idea of seeing him doing cool stuff in Dr. Who was too much to resist.
I was not disappointed. SPOILERY STUFF AHEAD, if you haven't seen it yet!
Admittedly, my expectations were pretty low... mostly because I fully expected van Gogh to be treated as a novelty throw-away character who was done all wrong. Imagine my surprise when a real effort was made to portray him in a sympathetic and realistic manner. Kudos to writer Richard Curtis for a great script!
The episode did indeed end up being a monster hunt, but that was almost secondary to Vincent's real-life story of torment and unappreciated genius, which was the real focus of the story...
The casting was perfect, as they managed to not only find an actor (Tony Curran) who resembled Vincent van Gogh, but was also talented enough to play the more subtle intricacies of the tortured artist...
The production values were amazing, as they faithfully recreated the world that Vincent inhabited, including his room at Arles...
No detail was too small, as the set designers even added a few touches to make everything seem like Vincent actually could have lived there. Like occasional glimpses of the irises and sunflowers that inspired so many of Vincent's paintings...
And I thought it was utterly fantastic how they took the time to explain the wonderful way that Vincent sees the world. It was like an art appreciation moment...
But it was the ending that made the show so sublimely awesome.
The Doctor, feeling sad that Vincent lived a life of depression and pain in a time when his every effort as an artist was rejected, decided to show him a glimpse of the future. A quick trip in the TARDIS later, and van Gogh gets to see that one day he will be regarded as one of the world's greatest artists. It was a magical scene that righted a terrible wrong, and has to be my feel-good moment of the year so far...
And then came Vincent's moment of vindication when The Doctor arranged for him to overhear what people thought of his work...
Listening the museum curator (played by the ever-awesome Bill Nighy) talk about Vincent in a way that could have come from my own brain was an almost surreal experience...
"In a hundred words, where do you think van Gogh rates in the history of art?"
"To me, van Gogh is the finest painter in the world. Certainly the most popular great painter of all time. The most beloved. His command of color is magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray. But to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world... no-one had ever done it before. Perhaps no-one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world's greatest artist... but also one of the greatest men who ever lived."
Alas the ending was bittersweet but, where Vincent Van Gogh is concerned, it pretty much had to be...
The entire episode was like a love letter to Vincent van Gogh and his beautiful art, and I loved every minute. Even when he was fighting monsters. Highest possible recommendation. If you didn't catch it on BBC or BBC America, you can grab it on iTunes (well, in the US you can... other countries may vary).
Many thanks to Steven Moffat, Richard Curtis, Edward Thomas, Tony Slater Ling, and everybody else who had a hand in this wonderful episode.
Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
I am nursing a massive headache this evening... probably from staring at a computer screen for entirely too long today. So I'll be keeping this brief.
After tweeting about Betty White guest-starring on the season premiere of Community this Fall, and saying how much I envy Joel McHale for getting to work with her, I was surprised to see that Joel responded with "Yeah!" Right after Vahid tweeted about an exciting new experience with his colon...
I've been a massively huge fan of Joel for years (I even had my DVR record his home shopping appearance!), so this was kind of cool. The fact that he'll be appearing with the incomparable Betty White in the most excellent Community is going to be like catching lightning in a bottle. Because two huge comedic talents in the same scene? Guaranteed electric...
The new Fall television season suddenly seems so far away.
Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
It's a boring day for Bullet Sunday, but here it comes...
• Read. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Curious George. It was George who ignited my life-long love of monkeys, and his books remain some of my favorites of all time (the best being Curious George Goes to the Hospital. For this reason, I was happy to see that the Library of Congress was using him to promote reading with a series of cool ads...
Books come and go, but the classics are forever.
• Digital. As a long-time fan of comic books, there's something... wrong... with the idea of reading them digitally on an iPad or computer screen instead of the wonderful tactile experience of flipping through the pages of a book. But, after downloading a bunch of freebies on my mom's iPad using the Comixology app, I have to say... I'm almost convinced. I'm growing to love the effortless navigation, brilliant colors, and distraction-free panel-by-panel "Guide View" that leads you through the stories. As if that weren't enough, you can store a lot of comics on a digital device, which beats having to lug around stacks of books and finding room to store them all...
However... pricing and availability sucks ass.
Take for example the acclaimed Vertigo series Y: The Last Man. I've never read the series, but have always wanted to. The first issue was FREE on Comixology so I snapped it up and was immediately hooked. I wanted more. So I click on the "Full Series" button only to find this...
WTF?!? They have just THREE issues of a SIXTY issue series... FOR A DOLLAR-NINETY-NINE EACH!! Even if the entire series was available, who is going to pay $120 when you can get PHYSICAL COPIES of all ten trade paperback volumes for $90? Heck, you can get all the OVERSIZED DELUXE HARDCOVER volumes for $100. This is insanity. Nobody wants to pay more for less. No printing. No shipping costs. No distribution. No retailer markup. No resale value. Nothing extra or special. Except the price, which just sucks. I would gladly pay $60 for the entire digital series, I may even pay $90, which is what the trade paperbacks would cost me. But $120? Screw that. Especially since there's no guarantee they'll ever release all the issues for digital sale in the first place. If this is the future of publishing, count me out. EPIC FAIL!
• Emmy. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Betty White won an Emmy for her hilarious guest host performance on Saturday Night Live...
To this day, I remain astounded at how she cut no corners... she appeared in every sketch, plus an SNL Short, plus all the MacGruber interludes plus Weekend Update. Truly one of the hardest working people in show business (she just signed on for a TWO-book deal!), this is Betty's fifth Emmy win and she deserved every bit of it. As always, I can't wait to see what she'll do next.
• Miyazaki. Good news for fans of Hayao Miyazaki (perhaps the greatest animator in history). Despite saying he was going to retire years ago, a recent interview revealed that he has no plans to retire. In fact, he's planning two films and is musing over a sequel to his underrated gem, Porco Rosso...
When I flew to L.A. and met up with Howard for a rare live appearance of Miyazaki-san discussing his career, I thought it was a kind of "retrospective farewell," and am happier than words could express that this is not the case. Next up, Karigurashi no Arietti (The Borrower Arrietty) based on Mary Norton's 1952 novel The Borrowers...
If there's anything you can rely on, it's that this movie will be yet another awesome Miyazaki work of art.
• Eggs. My fried egg sandwich was delicious. So far so good... but salmonella can take up to three days to incubate, so I could have a diarrhea explosion any minute now. I'll keep you posted.
Annnnd... I'm spent. This is going to be a loooooong week.
Posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
Today was an incredibly challenging day, as all the things I need to do my job ended up failing... internet... fax... voicemail... pudding... everything... it was disastrous.
Especially the pudding. I took a tub of my beloved Snack-Pack Chocolate for my traditional afternoon treat only to find that it wasn't sealed properly. So my pudding was all dried out and totally un-pudding-like. I thought about stabbing it with a pencil and licking it like a Tootsie-Pop to get my fix, but I didn't want to get some kind of stale-pudding-related-disease, so I reluctantly threw it out.
Ultimate Snack-Pack FAIL!
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
There's a lot of FAIL! going around now-a-days.
With every passing day, I detest FOX News more and more. It's not because their "news" is so heavily biased and filled with exaggeration and lies... it seems like all mainstream media "news" today is tainted in one way or another. It's because they consistently and constantly claim to be fair and balanced while they're pushing their obvious political agenda... THAT is was pisses me off. But what's even worse is that their viewers actually believe it.
At least once a week here in redneck rural America I either overhear or am drawn into a conversation because of some outlandish shit that FOX News has unleashed. This past weekend, it was the outrage over possibilities of terrorist funds being used to build the Islamic community center and mosque planned two blocks away from Ground Zero on private property. Maybe it's true. If it is true, I don't like the idea of terrorist money infiltrating American lives any more than anybody at FOX News does... but the heavy bias at FOX leaves a lasting impression that this is typical of Islamic endeavors and all Muslims are secret terrorists, which is total bullshit, of course.So imagine my non-shock when I watched The Daily Show last night, only to learn that FOX News itself has been funded by THE SAME SOURCE they're so pissed off about with the "not-so-Ground-Zero-mosque"...
I'd hold my breath waiting for FOX News to get all "fair and balanced" and explode with outrage that FOX News has terrorist ties, but I don't fancy the idea of suffocating to death.
The Daily Show's inescapable conclusion that FOX News is either EVIL or STUPID seems solid.
I am embracing the very real possibility that they're both.
I don't care if people watch FOX News. If that's where they choose to get their "news" because it best aligns with their needs, more power to them. I just wish more of the people devoted to the station would question what they learn there rather than accept everything as the "fair and balanced" reporting they're being sold. Like ANY news source, nothing should be taken as gospel.
Especially when the people providing the information which shapes your viewpoint are evil and/or stupid.
Posted on Monday, August 30th, 2010
Food Network has a show called The Best Thing I Ever Ate where they invite their own network "food stars" along with famous chefs to talk about (surprise!) the best thing they've ever eaten. Each episode starts with a theme like "Hot & Spicy" or "Sliced" or "Crunchy" or "Totally Unexpected" and then everybody has to pick a "best thing" to match. It's a surprisingly engrossing show, because the answers run the gamut from sublimely extravagant to dead simple... from impossibly expensive to dirt cheap... from around the world to around the block. It's a fun show to watch, especially if you're a foodie like me.
The episode I saw tonight was the most interesting show so far. The theme was "Last Supper," where everybody had to choose their final meal as if they were going to die once they ate it.
After reading Satoshi Kon's touching goodbye letter to his family and friends yesterday, death has been on my mind lately, so the topic seemed apt.
My last meal would be here...
It's the birthplace of Fettucini Alfredo... which is Alfredo alla Scrofa Ristorante in Rome. I had eaten Fettucini Alfredo many times before I first came to this restaurant in December of 2000 but, once I ate the original, I realized that I had never really eaten it before. My meal was so good that I ended up eating here for both lunch and dinner the next day, and dinner the day after that. I couldn't get enough, and was thankful that I'd be leaving soon so I didn't end up with an Alfredo-induced heart attack.
After my final supper at Alfredos, I'd walk to a neighborhood gelateria for some authentic Italian stracciatella gelato. I think then that I'd be ready to die. Or have a triple bypass. One of those.
Five days and counting...
Posted on Sunday, September 19th, 2010
Even though I'm not quite home yet (only made it as far as Amsterdam today) I'd have to say my vacation is definitely over. So after a two-week break from Bullet Sunday, here we are again...
• Newsworthy. I made a very concentrated effort to avoid any hint of "news" while I was on vacation. I never visited news sites. I turned off any news feeds I subscribe to. I even avoided anything news on the television. Just about everything on the news is horribly depressing now-a-days, and I just wanted to leave it behind for a while. Then yesterday while waiting for a room at my hotel in Barcelona, I finally broke down. I really wish I hadn't. The state of politics back home are so embarrassingly sad that I almost dread going back home where I'll have to live with it every day.
• Fried. I arrived in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport just after 10:00pm. Naturally, the Patatjes met stand was closed...
Life doesn't get much more depressing than that.
• Tunisia. As I pack up all the various postcards and souvenir crap that I accumulated on my vacation, there's a notable lack of anything from Tunis. This really sucks, but there's not much I can do about it. Not only did the tour bus get a flat tire, we were delayed getting back to port, so there was no time to shop for stuff. No time for anything but running through the customs checkpoint and climbing on the ship. So now all I have are memories and photographs, which should be enough... but, strangely, are not. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a website where you could purchase postcards from around the world? That would be helpful to people who want a souvenir from places they've been, but don't have one for whatever reason.
• Feet. It always blows my mind how people just lose all sense of manners and decorum when traveling. This nasty shit was on my plane...
Do you think this bitch puts her feet on her own walls? What about when she's invited to people's houses? I'd hate to know what goes on inside a bathroom stall with her, that's for sure.
• Televised. The new television season is starting up back home. When it comes to new shows, I record everything and then weed out the losers, so I dread to think how much crap is stacked up on my DVR. If previous television seasons are any indication, at least 50% of the stuff will be unwatchable right off the bat and dropped immediately. The other half will be interesting enough to continue recording for a while but, in the end, only one or two of the new shows will end up being something I want to keep watching. For the most part, I'm grateful, because I don't have a lot of time for television any more.
And now I wait for my flight home tomorrow morning. Good night, Amsterdam.
Posted on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
I hate new television season.
Because there's always one of those shows that you end up really liking that ends up getting canceled. This makes being a television fan kind of an abusive hobby to have. It doesn't help that a show's fate is determined by the American public at large... most of which have the attention span and interest level of an epileptic hummingbird on crack.
This season my early favorite show is the very funny Raising Hope...
The show is flawlessly cast and really well-written. This alone is grounds for its cancellation, but it's also kind of goofy and has a little white trash appeal which gives me hope it will stick around for a while...
But I'm not holding my breath.
I'm sure there's some shitty reality television show we can't live without that's looking for a time slot.
Posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Today as I was driving home from work, I was very nearly broadsided by somebody in a hurry to leave a parking lot.
As my life was flashing before my eyes, I was temporarily blinded by the awesomeness of all my earthly endeavors. Being blinded while driving caused my life to flash before my eyes... again... as I very nearly ran off the road into a bin of apples. Not the coolest way to die, but I do like apples so there's that.
It was nice I didn't die, because Betty White was guest-starring on Community tonight. AND SHE WAS TOTALLY AWESOME AS USUAL!
Of course, my Betty joy was short-lived once I had tuned into the two new shows of the evening...
S#*! My Dad Says. Truly, gut-wrenchingly awful. About as funny as having diarrhea while getting a root canal after totaling your car. So not-funny that I started laughing at the commercials because they were hilarious by comparison. I love William Shatner more than cantaloupe, but he is given nothing here worth anybody's time. His Priceline Negotiator commercials have more substance than this show. And are a hell of a lot funnier. How the bloody fuck did this show ever get greenlit?
Outsourced. This television show totally gutted a rather charming movie I liked of the same name... with absolutely no payoff. The film had an exotic feel of foreign lands and performances that drew you into the story. The television show has none of that and just feels petty, small, and even a little offensive. I don't like the lead character, hate the amateurish and unfunny digs on Indians and their culture, and everything just falls apart from there. When I see messes like this, I can't help but think of all the amazing shows which were canceled so that total shit like Outsourced has room to air. Even more tragic? Parks and Recreation was moved to mid-season so this show could have a time slot. Blergh.
So... the scorecard for this new television season so far is looking pretty grim. Only one show so far is in my "love it" column (Raising Hope), a mere handful in my "maybe" column (Undercovers, Lone Star, Running Wilde), a few in the "last chance" column (The Event, Hawaii Five-0, Better With You), and everything else in the "abort" column. With only a few shows left to debut, it's looking like slim pickings. After inevitable cancellations, I'll probably only be left with one or two shows to carry over.
Oh well... I watch entirely too much television anyway.
Posted on Sunday, September 26th, 2010
It's time for Bullet Sundayyy! It's time for Bullet Sundayyy!
• Sharktopus! As a fan of stupid crappy horror movies, I was ecstatic when SyFy Channel (the queen of stupid crappy horror movies) announced SHARKTOPUS!!!
Well, the movie finally debuted last night, and I am happy to say that it was indeed so unbelievably stupid and crappy that it's raised bad television to an entirely new level of awesome. I can't wait for the Director's Cut Extended Special Edition Blu-Ray release!
• Elmo! Yes, it was a little odd that Katy Perry decided to wear a very low-cut dress so she could stick her boobs in Elmo's face for an appearance on Sesame Street. But Katy Perry is Katy Perry, so what can you do...
That being said, whoever it was at Children's Television Workshop (now called "Sesame Workshop"... the production company behind Sesame Street) who decided to leak the video on YouTube is a complete genius. Not only do they get a preview of the reaction that the clip will receive, but they get free publicity for the show with millions of YouTube hits. Well, to the surprise of NOBODY, people across the country lost their minds over the thought that children might be exposed to Katy's cleavage, so her appearance was canceled. Heaven only knows how these puritanical nutjobs react when taking their kids to a pool or the beach. As usual, the young children they are so desperate to protect probably wouldn't even understand they're looking at something "dirty" and it's the ADULT REACTION that MAKES it "dirty" and damages their kids, but whatever. I still think it was kind of cute.
• Beheaded. I received a comment while I was on vacation asking me if I had changed the DaveToons that rotate randomly across the tops of all Blogography pages. Apparently they hadn't seen their favorite header in a while, and wanted to know what happened. The answer is YES! I replaced all of the old "flat color" DaveToons with newer "shaded color" DaveToons a couple months ago. Thanks for noticing!
8 old ones were kept, 2 were updated, and 40 were replaced. If your favorite is gone, I'm sorry... maybe it will come back one day. But the good news is that all the old headers have been archived from the past five years so you can look at them whenever you like...
• TV Scorecard. For anybody who cares, I've put a quick rundown of the new shows for the 2010-2011 season with my score (based on their first episode) in an extended entry. For everybody else, I'll see you tomorrow when we're back to the daily grind...
Posted on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
And so Betty White was on Inside The Actors Studio tonight.
It's kind of odd seeing her relatively recent massive surge in popularity when I've been a huge fan of hers for as long as I can remember. I first saw her on game shows like Match Game, Pyramid, and (of course) various Password reruns and revivals. And while I didn't watch a lot of Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes, I (of course) remember her genius performances there. And then came appearances on everything from The Love Boat to Mama's Family... and (of course) The Golden Girls, where she (rightfully) became a huge star again.
From there, Betty gave me no shortage of reasons to remain a die-hard fan. Dozens of amazing guest appearances in just about everything... including a ballsy role in Lake Placid and her wicked turn as Catherine Piper on Boston Legal.
Now she's appearing everywhere, including her mind-boggling awesome guest-hosting gig on Saturday Night Live.
So what in the hell took James Lipton so long to finally get her on Inside the Actors Studio?
I have no idea. But it's about frickin' time.
Sadly, as Karl noted on Twitter, it was absurd that they cut the interview down to a mere one-hour show. Her career is so brilliant, varied, and long that TWO hours would barely scratch the surface. Yet they butchered it down to just one? Stupid. I mean, hey, it's Betty White... so the show was understandably fantastic. But it was a rushed superficial hack-job of an interview and James Lipton should be ashamed to air it. All I can hope is that eventually they release the full two-plus hours they recorded on iTunes or DVD or something.
Updating my New Television Season Scorecard... tonight was the premiere of No Ordinary Family...
Now, I've made no secret of my scathing hatred for the pile of shit television show Heroes which featured boring super-powered people rarely using their super-powers (unless they were lame-ass powers that didn't require special effects). Now, for reasons I cannot fathom, ABC has decided we can't live without a mash-up of Heroes and Modern Family by way of ripping off Pixar's The Incredibles. Along the way, they steal from comic books left and right (the "super-speed" wife has to eat huge quantities to maintain her metabolism, just like The Flash, for example). Not to mention a blatant rip-off of TV's Greatest American Hero ("instructions not included?"... SERIOUSLY?).
The result is an all-new show that we've already seen a dozen times before.
And while it doesn't 100% suck, it does mostly suck. Because there's nothing surprising enough... exciting enough... new enough... to draw me in. Hell, even the big fight scene at the end (well done as it was) ended up being a rip-off of Nightcrawler's invasion of The White House in one of those awful X-Men movies. Nothing in the show has any semblance of originality to me. I was
On the plus side, I do think the performances were pretty good. And I think they set themselves up for the possibility of doing something interesting with the show's background mythology (unlike shitty Heroes which failed miserably with theirs). So, despite my better judgement, I will be tuning in for a few more episodes just to see if they go anywhere I want to be. Final score? C-
Posted on Sunday, October 3rd, 2010
I spent the entire weekend trying to get caught up with work but failed miserably despite working day and night. I suppose this is a FAIL! I can feel good about. But not really. I DO feel good that I've reached TWO HUNDRED Bullet Sundays though...
• Negatory. I am still trying to decide if there is a triple negative or a quadruple negative in this here sentence: "I ain't not never seen no deer there this time of year." What's odd is that even though this sentence is a grammatical nightmare, if you turn off your brain it makes perfect sense. It's like the more negatives you pile up, the more emphatic the "no" is. I'll have to remember this the next time somebody asks if they can have one of my cookies.
Though they're both great television, I'm probably most attached to Ice Truckers because I'm hopelessly in love with trucker Lisa Kelly...
I got to meet Captain Sig Hansen (from Deadliest Catch) totally by accident when I was at Walt Disney World's Norway Pavilion at Epcot a couple years back. It was pretty cool. But it wasn't Lisa. (insert winky smile face here)
ANYWAY... tonight was not only the season finale of Ice Road Truckers, but the debut of Ice Road Truckers: DEADLIEST ROADS! Here was me throughout the entire show...
Because I am afraid of heights, and they were driving these rickety trucks on this insane crumbling one-lane road carved out of a mountain with a million foot drop on the side...
And it gets worse next episode. Insanity. But good entertainment (even though not every driver is going to make it). If you're not watching the two Ice Road Truckers shows, I highly recommend them. Assuming your sphincter muscles are strong enough and you can get over the giggles every time somebody talks about "dropping their load."
• Closet. Annnnd you just know... know... what's going to happen six months down the road...
We've seen it a hundred times. The people who are most vicious in attacking and condemning homosexuals are the ones who ultimately end up putting their penis in a place they advocate it doesn't belong. And this flaming ball of "heterosexual righteousness" is actually stalking a guy... specifically because the guy is gay! Bizarre. Oh well... I look forward to adding another self-hating cock-master to my growing collection of hypocrites. It's only a matter of time.
And now... back to work. I've got three days before I fly out again, and entirely too much to do before then...
Posted on Sunday, October 17th, 2010
It's bullets over broken promises on Bullet Sunday!
• Tweet! Did you know the incomparable Elizabeth Hurley is on Twitter? It's true! She tweets fairly regularly about all kinds of stuff... but mostly about being Elizabeth Hurley, which is reason enough to follow her...
No tweets yet on the burden of being the most beautiful woman on the planet, but give her time.
• Better! I saw this video on Blair's Corner this past Wednesday, and it won't leave my head. Of all the inspiring "It Gets Better" videos floating around, this one sums it all up beautifully...
How can anybody watch this and be okay with a society that fosters such senseless hatred? As councilman Joel Burns says, it's not just about gay kids... it's about any kid that gets bullied just for being different. Six years ago somebody wrote to me from a life of pain and non-stop harassment. It broke my heart then, and the recent rash of teen suicides has brought it all back again.
Things have to change. Things have to get better. But it's not going to happen magically. We have to work for it by rejecting hatred and intolerance wherever we find it, and creating a world that embraces compassion and understanding. Though not always. I am quickly losing my compassion and understand for people who use religion and politics as an excuse to enforce a culture where kids are driven to kill themselves. They can just go fuck themselves.
• Beaver! Even though Leave It To Beaver was before my time, I remember it very well from reruns. "June Cleaver" is an American institution, a national treasure, and the epitome of television moms...
So when I heard that Barbara Billingsly had died I was understandably upset. Oddly enough, it's not June Cleaver that I most remember her for...
Go cups cut out to da Big Man, Big Momma. We fallin' out now you got your boots on an have a ball.
Huh. Feels like Monday.
Posted on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
I think I might have a problem.
I loathe Reality Television, but find myself watching it anyway. Well, selectively watching it. Most of it is total shit and filled with stupid drama I would never want in my own life... let alone to watch for entertainment. But there is gold to be found in the manure pile.
For me, it basically breaks down to four shows...
Okay then... one television program you do NOT see on my list is Hoarders, a show which focuses on the truly sick and sad world of "compulsive hoarders" (people who cannot throw anything away, and accumulate massive piles of crap and filth). The show has absolutely NO appeal to me, and the idea of watching scene after scene of freaky shit like this makes me want to vomit...
Until this past weekend when I realized I AM TOTALLY A HOARDER!
At least when it comes to old computers, electronics, and (especially) cables...
I would have taken a photo but, to be honest, I'm just too embarrassed.
But realizing you have a problem is the first step of recovery, so I threw out TWO HUGE GARBAGE BAGS worth of old cables. Some of them were easy to toss out... like old parallel printer cables and SCSI cables for which have no use, as I don't own any devices which use them any more. Others were more difficult... like USB and power cables which are perfectly good, but I have dozens (hundreds?) of them. The worst offenders were stereo RCA cables and phone line cables, which nearly filled an entire bag all their own. And yet, I have no idea how I got so many of them in the first place. I probably just got in the habit of grabbing them any time somebody had them left over or something, and they just piled up over the years.
The old computers and electronics, however, I can't bring myself to toss.
I have eleven old computers (mostly Atari brand) complete with peripherals that are just too awesome to be destroyed. Including an original Macintosh (still works!) and two Apple Newton models (still work!) and Atari 2600, ColecoVision, & Atari Lynx game systems (all working!)... among many others. Odds are, I will never seriously use them. But they are an important part of my computer and video game loving past, and I just can't bear to part with them. So back into storage they go.
So yes, I am a hoarder. Of a sort.
But it can't make me relate to the reality television show of the same name any easier, nor make me want to watch it.
Thank heavens. Isn't four of them enough?
Posted on Sunday, November 7th, 2010
Welcome to an ALL-REVIEW EDITION of Bullet Sunday!
• SIDEWALKS! I still haven't come down off the high I got from Matt and Kim's second album masterpiece, Grand, so when I heard they were dropping their third album, Sidewalks, I was skeptical. How could they possible come up with anything even near as awesome? Well, they're Matt and Kim, so how could it not be awesome? I love it, and have been listening to Sidewalks constantly. Here's a short video talking about the album with a sweet taste of the awesome first track...
The only song I don't much care for is Northeast, which deviates from the happy funtime sound that makes me love the band so much. The other nine tracks are gold, however, with my clear favorites being Block After Block, Cameras, AM/FM Sound, and Good for Great. My only criticism of Sidewalks would be that it seems over-produced compared to what's come before. The charm of Matt and Kim's music has always been the raw, unpolished, basement sound that lets their indie roots shine through. But everything here is polished so heavily that no rough edges show, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Kim's wild, unapologetic brashness when banging on the drums is kinda... muted... this time around. And while the complexity they've layered into their latest songs adds a welcome maturity to their sound, I'd hate for them to eventually be buried by it.
SIDEWALKS RATING: B (Recommended).
• THE WALKING DEAD! Comic book adaptations for television have historically been hit-or-miss, with even the most successful translations feeling like something is lacking. So imagine my surprise when one of my favorite comic books ever, The Walking Dead, actually managed to elevate the source material so high that it exceeds my impossibly high expectations. In some ways, it's even better than the comic book upon which it's based...
Shocking, I know. But no more shocking than a comic book where no character is sacred and anybody can die at any minute. What's truly shocking is the production values on the series. AMC is putting some serious cash into all aspects of the program, and it shows. The special effects and location shooting are brilliant. The zombies are works of art and not the schlocky B-movie retreads I was expecting. And the acting is top-notch, with Andrew Lincoln's flawless performance as Rick Grimes adding a sense of danger and realism that's almost too good to be true...
Genius television on every level, and already renewed for a second season!
COMIC RATING: A+ (Highly Recommended).
TV SHOW RATING: A (Highly Recommended).
• EARTH! As a huge fan of The Daily Show, I was quick to snap up their humorous primer on all things USA called America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. Even though The Daily Show is a comedy program, it still manages to have an intelligent discussion of news and politics between the funny. With America (The Book), they poke fun at the country by reducing our culture and history down to a ridiculous grade-school textbook filled with witty essays that illuminate while they amuse. It was a terrific book, which compelled me to pick up the follow-up tome, Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race...
It's reminiscent of America (The Book), but on a global scale. Except this time they dismissed with the essays and went with page after page of easy jokes and witty one-liners slapped on wacky infographics and amusing photos. While still funny and moderately insightful, it doesn't leave the reader with much to think about (which seems to be the point). So while I definitely enjoyed Earth (The Book) it was kind of a step-down from their previous effort.
AMERICA (THE BOOK) RATING: A (Highly Recommended).
EARTH (THE BOOK) RATING: B (Recommended).
• BLU-RAY COLLECTIONS! I've been opposed to wasting my money on re-purchasing videos on Blu-Ray that I already own on DVD unless there's a very good reason for doing so. Unfortunately, two new sets have dropped which left me with no choice, because they both contain some of my favorite films of all time PLUS very good reasons for buying them...
Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy. I am convinced that all three of these films are some of the most brilliant and inventive movies to ever grace the silver screen... and it's all because of the details. The original Back to the Future not only had a great story, but showed the consequences of time travel with numerous small details that geeks like myself go crazy over (such as when Marty destroyed one of Old Man Peabody's trees in 1955, causing the "Twin Pines Mall" in 1985 to transform into "Lone Pine Mall"). Then we got Back to the Future II, which managed to create an all-new story WITHIN the original film all while giving us a fantastical look at the future. Sheer genius. Back to the Future III was a bit more mundane, trading the future for the Old West, but managed to wrap-up the trilogy in a way that was satisfying and respectful to those that came before. This new Blu-Ray set has an incredible transfer to hi-def that's a marked improvement over the old DVD versions. Despite having been filmed in the 80's, everything looks crisp and new, and there's tons of extras that any BTTF fan will love (some of which I have never seen before). An added bonus... digital copies of all three films is included, so you can transfer everything to your iPod, which is awesome. Two down-sides. 1) The packaging can make releasing the discs a real challenge. You pull down on the disc to unhook it, but sometimes it doesn't work like it should, and I worried that I'd snap the thing in half. 2) The menu system is FUCKING STUPID! Maybe it's just my player, but every damn time I view something, the menu won't come back and I have to eject the disc, then wait the five minutes it takes for the menu to load again. A serious flaw that drops my rating... I'll take functionality over design any day.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY RATING: B+ (Highly Recommended).
Alien Anthology The issue here is picture quality. The Alien films are fairly dark, which is a real problem for DVD/TV. You can get some nasty compression artifacts and murky shadows that obliterate details and kill the spooky atmosphere that makes the movies work so well. Thankfully, the new Blu-Ray Hi-Def transfer is fantastic. The picture is probably better now than it ever was, which makes me wish they'd re-release the films in digital theaters. In any event, the original Ridley Scott Alien film was a masterpiece blend of science fiction and horror that can still scare the crap out of me even today. It was followed by Aliens, where James Cameron did the impossible by grafting a high-octane "space marine" action flick onto the original sci-fi/horror concept... and actually made it work. David Fincher's Alien3 was a disastrous disservice to the story from Aliens, but a pretty good film when looked at independently. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Alien: Resurrection has some amazing visual sequences that are tied together by a rather weak story which revives Sigourney Weaver's deceased character in a way that never really worked for me. And even though I hated the freaky-ass mutant alien that provided the "villain" for the fourth installment, I think I enjoyed the film overall. Everything is brought together beautifully with a shitload of awesome extras that will take me days to get through. The packaging (again) is a bit odd (WTF-?), but workable. For any fan of any of the films, Alien Anthology is a must-have.
ALIEN ANTHOLOGY RATING: A (Highly Recommended).
And now I'm out of money, so that will have to be enough unabashed consumerism for the day.
Posted on Sunday, November 14th, 2010
It's a blah blah blah kind of week. Thankfully it's Bullet Sunday with some good things to the rescue!
• Music! One of those shows that I wish I could quit, but can never seem to stop watching is Grey's Anatomy. They just keep doing things to keep it interesting, and the stories are (usually) pretty good. But the best thing about the show is the music, and I've lost count of the number of great songs I've found from watching Grey's. This week it was Mackintosh Braun (a band I had never heard of before) and their song Could it Be. Turns out the entire album is great, and now I'm a fan...
Well done Shonda Rhimes and the rest of the people responsible for Grey's Anatomy not sucking too badly. Now please fix Christina and move past the whole "hospital shooting" crap which has been lingering for far too long.
• Pooh! This caught be completely by surprise... Disney is coming out with a new Pooh movie on July 15, 2011 called (appropriately enough) Winnie the Pooh!...
Beautiful! Thank heavens they didn't feel the need to recreate the look of the series in 3-D or use computer animation or some other stupid shit like that. The Keane song is perfect, and just the icing on the cake. I hate seeing movies in theaters any more because people are assholes, but I'll make an exception for this.
• Veterans! Thanks once again to Applebee's for treating veterans to a free meal on Veteran's Day this week. It seems as though they were making money hand-over-fist from all the people who were there with veterans that were not veterans (like me!), so I can only hope that it's a win-win event for them.
• High! I've mentioned plenty of time that I have a paralyzing fear of heights, and always have to psych myself up when traveling because all the good touristy stuff seems to be up high. Recently I watched a television program about the "Grand Canyon SkyWalk" which goes beyond scary for somebody like me...
Photo from the official Grand Canyon Skywalk Site.
While searching for a photo on the internet which shows the glass floor, I came across this shot...
Shiiiiiiit! Photo from GloboTreks.
The GloboTreks article is called "7 of the Most Impressive Skywalks in the World", and I've only seen one of them in person: the Sears Tower "Ledge" in Chicago...
Yes, it's just as scary as you'd think it would be.
They might as well call this list "7 Places Guaranteed to Make Dave2 Crap His Pants"... because, damn... just look at some of these terrifying things. Of course, if I should ever visit any of these instruments of torture, I'd definitely force myself to experience them. I always do. But I'm sure my "experience" would consist of me crawling on my hands and knees while crying for my mommy. After crapping my pants. Because, damn...
• TV on DVD! Tonight I found out that one of those long-forgotten television shows I've been begging to come out on DVD, Palace Guard, actually DID get released on DVD back in July! Apparently all nine episodes are included on some kind of massive 10-disc retrospective called Prime Time Crime: The Stephen J. Cannell Collection. It seemed a total bargain at just $22, so I scraped together the money and ordered it immediately. I previously described the show thusly...
The best role of D.W. Moffett's versatile career, and a show that I find impossible to understand how it failed... The Palace Guard certainly seemed like a crowd pleaser, and was mindless fun in a way people usually respond to. PLOT: Moffett is a career jewel thief who is caught and imprisoned. As a part of his parole, he gets a job as a security expert in a megalith hotel chain. A Moonlighting-like twist is thrown in when he starts to fall for his boss (Marcy Walker) who pretends to despise him but, of course, is falling for him as well.
I can't wait to watch the show again and see if it holds up as well as I remember it. If only television studios would get off their asses and release some of my other favorites (even selling them on iTunes so they don't have to go to the expense of pressing DVDs would be great)...
Now it's back to blah blah blah...
Posted on Monday, November 22nd, 2010
I am staying all alone. In a huge house. On a dark street. In rural Georgia.
Now, I am not one to scare easily. I could sit through a marathon of horror flicks before bedtime and not give it another thought. But tonight every creak in the floorboards... every leaf scuttering down the roof... every branch tapping on the window... every noise in the night... it all added up to make me, well, not scared really... but uneasy.
Needless to say, last night was rough going in the sleep department.
There may not be any real undead wandering around Georgia, but I certainly feel like a zombie today...
In other news, LEGO Harry Potter (Years 1-4) for iPhone is pretty sweet. And I don't even like Harry Potter! But I do like the LEGO games (LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman, and LEGO Indiana Jones are awesome!). In the game you can play Harry and dozens of other characters you unlock, then run around solving puzzles and collecting LEGO studs to buy stuff. Just like all the other LEGO titles, you can play through each level multiple times as different characters to unlock even more secrets with their special abilities.
The game looks
Get used to this load-screen, you'll be seeing it a lot.
A lot of work went into this London cut-scene!
LEGO humor in full force: note the Harry Potter mini-fig on his keychain!
The game screens are no less detailed, but you're viewing them from rather far away, so you're not seeing game elements at their fullest. Still, an impressive picture...
Zooming in, you can see the clarity of the hi-res Retina Screen graphics (I'll bet the game looks incredible on the iPad!)...
Despite the fun I'm having with it, there are some problems, however. First of all, the load screen comes up A LOT, and scenes take a while to transfer. This results in a lot of staring at the load screen over and over again. It gets old in a hurry. But the biggest (and only major) offense is the control system. You control characters and interact with objects by dragging your finger across the screen... effectively covering up what you're supposed to be looking at! It's tough to solve puzzles when your finger is obliterating them. It's hard to control Harry when your finger covers him up. It's a heinous oversight that I don't understand. I can only hope that they eventually update and give you the option of controlling things with an
All-in-all, you can't beat the mind-boggling price of just $4.99. It's a fraction of what you'd pay on the Nintendo DS, Wii, XBox, or Playstation versions! If you have a supported device to play it, LEGO Harry Potter (Years 1-4) is well-worth the download.
I just wish I had the time to actually play it. :-(
These "It Gets Better" videos just keep flooring me. The crushing despair, fear, and pain that people go through every day just for being "different" is almost impossible to believe. If we weren't seeing the tragic consequences of the bullying in the news, it would be impossible to believe. I just can't fathom how somebody could intentionally make another human being feel as though their life was worth so little that death is the only option left. It's sickening on a level that makes my heart ache just to listen to it. But we must listen to it, because things have to get better. For all of us.
This video from people at Disney/Pixar is pretty amazing and hopeful...
I wish I wouldn't have to keep wishing that all the bigoted assholes who make this world such a horrible place would hurry up and die so we can have a world I'm not ashamed to live in.
Because, in truth, it makes me no better.
But I'm somehow okay with that.
Posted on Sunday, November 28th, 2010
It's a crash-and-burn kind of Bullet Sunday. Every time I get started on in on a project, something comes along to bring everything to a screeching halt.
• Goodbye. Leslie Nielsen, who will forever be Lt. Frank Drebin to me, passed away today. I've lost count of the times I've watched his Police Squad! episodes and movies. Absolute classics in every sense of the word. Thanks for the many, many laughs over the years, sir! You will be missed.
Oh, and one more thing... I faked every orgasm!
• Alcohol. There's a meme going around encouraging people to share an uncommon alcoholic beverage that they've enjoyed. Since the only thing I drink now-a-days is Jägermeister in Red Bull or Vodka with cranberry juice, this is a tough one. About the only "uncommon" drink I can remember would be "POGaritas" which was a favorite with my friends and I on our trips to Maui, Hawaii in the late 80's and early 90's. "POG" is a popular juice-like drink (POG standing for "Passionfruit, Orange, Guava") invented in Maui (but is now sold State-side as well). For a POGarita, just mix a decent tequila with POG. Instead of a slice of lime for garnish, you use a wedge of pineapple. You can put sugar on the rim, but it tastes best when simply blended and served plain in whatever clean glassware you can find...
You have to be careful though, because the fruity flavor of POG camouflages a multitude of tequila-rooted sins. You can drink one after another and not really notice you're getting bombed until it's too late...
Don't judge my drunken ass too harshly. When it rains in Maui, about the only thing you can do is drink. I think this was from a trip in 1987... which was 23 years ago. If I had tons of money and no responsibilities, this would be how I spend my life today.
• Radiation Check. Holy crap... it just keeps getting worse. Why you should never submit to the airport porn-o-scanners.
• Bottom Gear. Just about every attempt by American television networks to recreate a popular British television series has resulted in total failure. With the possible exception of The Office, I can't even think of a show that's managed not to suck. Hard. I guess you could include American Idol in there, but I can't watch that show, so I don't care. The latest travesty is one of my most favorite British shows, Top Gear. It's tremendously entertaining on just about every level, mostly thanks to the awesome presenters...
Richard "Hamster" Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, and James "Captain Slow" May
The big picture here is that the show doesn't need to be re-made. It translates perfectly to American audiences with almost no confusion, and BBC America should have just made a deal with one of our major networks to air it "as-is"... I think it would be a big success. Heck, it's already a big success for BBC America (which, unfortunately, not many people have here).
But oh no... instead we've got The History Channel (of all places) doing a re-make.
And it sucks.
I watched the first episode and hated it. But I chalked that up to having an emotional attachment to the original, and felt I probably wasn't giving it a fair shake. So I watched a second episode.
And it still sucks.
They're copying absolutely everything from the British original, but somehow failing at it. The presenters just aren't entertaining. They have -zero- chemistry. They're definitely not funny. All the "humor" on the show is badly forced and not even worth a chuckle. It's the exact opposite of what Jeremy Clarkson and Co. have going on the REAL Top Gear. Thankfully, my cable package includes BBC America so I can see it. I'm just pissed that many Americans will see the shitty re-make and think that "Top Gear" is terrible when they're not even watching Top Gear.
• DaveToon Redux. I rarely laugh at the cartoons I draw for Blogography. I'm usually too embarrassed over having slapped together yet another crappy piece of Colorforms art. Given the time constraints I almost always have, there's not much I can do about it, but it still bothers me. And yet... every once in a while something comes out of it that gets me to smile. This time it was the TSA cartoon I made for Bad Monkey. Specifically, one piece of one panel of that series...
I have no idea why, but seeing this makes me laugh my ass off every time. I'm laughing as I type this. I think it's because that one panel sums up who Bad Monkey is. He's once again gotten away with something he shouldn't have, and his smug victory stance as he walks away from all consequences of his actions defines his personality perfectly.
I need this on a T-shirt.
And, on that note, I guess it's time to put the computer down and see if I can get my crap together so I can get back to real life tomorrow. But first? Waffles.
Posted on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
As a television addict, there's three things that make me a homicidal mess.
1) Television networks canceling great shows before they have a chance to find an audience.
Television advertisers are Grade-A assholes who want to grab your attention at any cost. Even if it means hearing loss. Is it any wonder people want to record shows on their DVR and fast-forward through the crap?
Well, today Congress approved legislation that will hopefully fix this annoying bullshit. The Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act will force advertisers to adopt technology which prevents overly-loud commercials within one year. Now the bill lands on President Obama's desk so he can sign it into law.
And he had better fucking sign it.
If some Hollywood special interest group blows him so he'll take a pass, I will be very disappointed.
Next up on the bullshit list? DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!
Posted on Sunday, December 19th, 2010
It's a wacky kind of Bullet Sunday on this cold December day...
• Pink. Genius writer Blake Edwards passed away this week. He was the creator of a number of important works such as Breakfast at Tiffany's and Days of Wine and Roses, but will forever be best known as creator of The Pink Panther series of films he made with Peter Sellers. Out of the opening title sequences from those movies came one of my favorite cartoon characters ever... The Pink Panther...
I used to love those cartoons. For the longest time I've wanted to purchase the DVD sets so I could watch them again, but could never justify the rather high price ($60 at Amazon!). Fortunately, they're also available for rent at Netflix (alas, no instant streaming), so I'll have to get on that one of these days. As for Mr. Edwards... thank you for the laughs. May you rest in peace sir.
• Larry. Call me a hater, but I have never liked Larry King. I found his interviews to be to absolute crap. Half the time Larry seemed completely unprepared and left me wondering if he even knew who he was talking to. The rest of the time he was just plain boring. I never understood why he was so popular... except that he somehow managed to attract popular guests on his show. Probably because doing Larry King is so easy and risk-free since his interviews were always so embarrassingly superficial. Definitely not because he was any kind of appealing personality. He always came off as either a creepier version of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons...
... or a freaky alien...
Needless to say, I'm not sorry he's now retired. And while I'd definitely say that Joy Behar is a step up from Larry, I don't think she's particularly winning when it comes to interviews either. So I don't know what CNN is going to do now. Hopefully find somebody who knows how to give a decent interview.
• Shaun! A couple years ago when I was in Germany, I was introduced to a new television series starring Shaun the Sheep... a character from the Wallace & Gromit short fim A Close Shave. As you'd expect from an Aardman Animations production, the show was fantastically funny and clever... and dialogue-free!
Well, after waiting and waiting and waiting, they finally released the complete first season on DVD...
Highest possible recommendation. Seriously, you've got to see these short episodes. I bought it from Amazon, but episodes are also currently available for Instant Stremaing from Netflix!
• Lens. Every once in a while you get a glimpse of where technology is taking us... a little peek at what's coming down the pipe. This week it was something called "World Lens" for iPhone. It uses the iPhone's camera to "read" an image for text. Then, depending on the filter you select, the app will process it for translation or some other trickery... like reversing the letters in any words it finds. It then pastes the output onto the original live image...
The app is free from the iTunes Music Store. Currently there's $4.99 English->Spanish and $4.99 Spanish->English filters with more promised. To see it in action is pretty spectacular...
One day, they're going to be able to put stuff like this on a contact lens or as a chip implant in your brain so you can just look at something and get it translated directly. And I'm guessing audio translation isn't that far off. The future is all magic from here on out. Or it could be. If we let it.
And there you have it, Bullet Sunday begone!
Posted on Thursday, December 30th, 2010
2010 -> AUDIO -> VIDEO -> DAVE
I'm going to split my list of top ten video entertainments for 2010 between television and movies. I'm only including stuff I've seen, which is why films like True Grit (which I understand is great) aren't showing up.
Here is a list of my favorite television shows from 2010 :
#1 Raising Hope.
As perfect as a television show gets. Flawless cast. Priceless writing. Endlessly entertaining. Hysterically funny. Nothing I could say would do the show justice... just tune in and watch it.
#2 The Human Target.
To be honest, I don't quite have the words to describe how much I love this show. Loosely based on a comic book of the same name, The Human Target is the story of Christopher Chance, an ex-assassin who now works as a bodyguard for hire. His dark and mysterious past is always coming back to haunt him, but with help from his business parter (an ex-cop named Winston played by Chi McBride) and fellow rogue assassin (Guerrero played by Jackie Earle Haley) he tries to make up for past wrongs. Part of what makes the show so great is that it has a low bullshit factor. Bad guys die when the shit goes down. This is a welcome change from the unrealistic approach taken by other shows in this genre. Two new characters were added this season, which is a little annoying since it messes up the dynamic of the show, but it's not a deal-breaker for me.
It's Murder She Wrote for the 20th century! Smart, clever, and funny, Castle stars Nathan Fillion as famous mystery writer Rick Castle who gets inspiration for his novels by helping out the police, led by the brutally hot Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic). Hilarity and murder ensues.
#4 The Walking Dead.
Somewhat based on the comic book of the same name, this show is about a small group of people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse of unknown origin. It's totally brutal and kicks copious amounts of ass.
#5 Tower Prep.
I started out as a big fan of Lost but eventually grew tired of the show meandering without purpose because the writers didn't know what the fuck they were doing. Enter Tower Prep. Billed as a school for kids with special abilities, students are recruited for some mysterious purpose with no memory of how they arrived. With no escape possible, a small group of students make it their mission to figure out the secrets of this mysterious place and find a way back home. Unlike Lost, the writers behind Tower Prep actually seem to have a plan for what's happening. Don't let the fact that it airs on Cartoon Network and stars a bunch of kids fool you, this is a great show.
ALSO GOOD IN 2010: The Big C (smart, smart, smart television), 30 Rock (Consistently funny. Thank you Tina Fey), Community (Defining excellence in television comedy), Grey's Anatomy (Still managing to surprise me), Modern Family (Isn't running out of steam yet!), Fringe (I initially didn't care for this show, but am really digging it now), Breaking Bad (Um. Wow), Mad Men (Declining, but I can't help watching it), Cougar Town, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Burn Notice, White Collar, Psych, Project Runway, Graham Norton, Top Chef, On the Road with Austin & Santino, Rules of Engagement, Hot in Cleveland (BETTY WHITE!!), Doctor Who, Hawaii Five-0.
DISAPPOINTING IN 2010: Outsourced (Holy crap. Take a movie a really liked, strip it of everything that made it great, and you get this pile of FAIL!), The Event (Boring, plodding, meandering, bad television).
COMPLETE SHIT IN 2010: Survivor (Look, the formula for this show is dead-simple... find interesting people, make them play games. The end. Stop fucking up the show by having Jeff Probst inject himself into the drama at Tribal Council. Stop influencing the natural progression of things with producer-meddling bullshit. Stop picking boring-ass people to be on the show).
Here is a list of my favorite movies from 2010 (with ALL the films I remember seeing this year):
#1 Iron Man 2.
Look, I know that this was a massive drop from the sheer awesomeness of John Favreau's original Iron Man. I know it didn't crack the vast majority of "best of" lists this year. I know a lot of comic fans criticized the movie. I know. I know. I know. So how DARE I have it as my #1? Simple. I just don't care what anybody else thinks. I loved this film. Robert Downey Jr. embodies the role of Tony Stark so brilliantly that he's easily my favorite movie version of a super-hero ever... even surpassing Batman, my favorite comic book character. Add in yet another great performance by Sam Rockwell, plus Scarlett Johansson in her skin-tight Black Widow costume, plus an over-the-top Mickey Roarke as the villain Whiplash, and you've got a movie I am compelled to enjoy. I've watched Iron Man 2 on Blu-Ray no less than a half-dozen times, and will undoubtedly watch it dozens more.
#2 Toy Story 3.
It always amazes me how Pixar manages to pack such heartfelt emotion into a computer-generated cartoon, but they never fail to deliver. Near-perfect, Toy Story 3 is an amazing finale to two of the best films ever made. I love how Lasseter & Co. are not afraid to keep moving things forward as opposed to constantly re-treading the same stories over and over again. And, when you consider the fact that all the human characters are computer generated and could stay the same age forever, it's even more remarkable. This sequel sequel has the toys treading waaayyy outside their comfort zone and finding the value of friendship in even the worst of circumstances. Touching and funny, it makes me hope there's more Toy Stories to come.
Yet another comic book adaptation, and one that still surprises me it was ever made at all. Kick-Ass is the story of an ordinary teenage kid who decides to become a real-life super-hero. Things quickly get out of hand when he gets tangled up with Big-Daddy and Hit-Girl's mission to take down crime kingpin Frank D'Amico. Things also get more interesting. As a hyper-violent, foul-mouthed, and deadly "hero" of entirely another kind, Hit-Girl ends up stealing the movie. Assuming you can stomach all the bloodshed, it's bloody good fun.
In many ways, I'm not 100% convinced that I even liked this film, which is just part of the reason it's so darn compelling. Another reason would be that the story wasn't dumbed down for the typical movie-going audience. There was real complexity and ambiguity that you just don't find in the dreck that usually comes out of Hollywood. Even putting aside the mind-bending special effects, Inception has a lot going for it.
#5 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
This is one of those rare instances where I am very glad I saw the movie before I read the book... for one reason only: Noomi Rapace's absolutely brilliant portrayal of troubled punk-rock hacker Lisbeth Salander. Being able to picture her as I read the novel made it that much better. Easily one of the best movie characters ever, Lisbeth gets embroiled in an investigative reporter's quest to unwrap a mysterious murder in the powerful Vanger family. Since the film is Swedish, of course there's an American remake underway, though I can't for the life of me understand why. Maybe too many Americans are just too damn stupid to have to deal with subtitles? In any event, I genuinely pity whatever actress they get to fill Noomi's shoes on this one. There's just no way they can measure up. Dark, disturbing, violent, and wholly wonderful, I can't wait to see the two sequels (which, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were released in 2009 in the rest of the world, but are flowing like molasses here in the USA).
ALSO GOOD IN 2010: The Social Network (A much better film than the subject would imply, I loved it), The Illusionist (Wonderful animated feature from France that's a bit depressing but ultimately rewarding), Salt (Angelina Jolie brings it in this taught action-thriller), The Kids Are All Right (A much-deserved slap in the face to assholes everywhere who think their definition of "family" is the only one that matters), Exit Through The Gift Shop (surprisingly smart and entertaining), MacGruber (Go ahead, mock me, but this film was funny as hell), Red (Actually improved a bit over the comic book it was based upon. Not great movie fare, but highly entertaining), Despicable Me (Clever, fun, animated delight that ISN'T from Pixar... who'd a thunk it?), Last Train Home (Brilliant film from China that's guaranteed to move you), TRON: Legacy (As a fan of the original, I am compelled to enjoy this flawed sequel with lots of eye-popping visuals, but little character), Let Me In (Color me shocked. A fantastic remake of a fantastic Swedish vampire film that puts that Twilight shit to shame).
DISAPPOINTING IN 2010: Black Swan (My review is here), Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (It had such awesome potential but Michael Cera IS NOT SCOTT PILGRIM!), Alice in Wonderland (It has Tim Burton and some excellent production values... but didn't click with me for some reason. Maybe if I see it again but skip the 3D this time?), Jonah Hex (I have no fucking clue what in the hell they were thinking. While not a huge fan of the comic book it was based on, the source material is literary GENIUS compared to this bullshit, The Ghost Writer (I struggled not putting this film on my "GOOD" list but, despite some tense moments, I think it ultimately falls a bit flat).
COMPLETE SHIT IN 2010: The Last Airbender (What. The. Fuck. A joyful, fun, exciting, amazing cartoon had the very life sucked out of it to create this horrendous pile of shit. Shameful. Just shameful.), Skyline (Who greenlit this crap? HELLO, YOU NEED A STORY BEFORE YOU SHOOT THE MOVIE!).