Saturday, November 04, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

"Do not touch Willy.' Good advice!"

IGN has a list of their picks for the 10 best segments of the Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" episodes-which as they point out, haven't aired on or before Halloween in about seven years. Good list, but I think I'd replace Starship Poopers, If I Only Had A Brain and Citizen Kang with Homer^3, Nightmare On Evergreen Terrace (both ToH VI), Nightmare Cafeteria (V) or Night of the Dolphin (XI).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just middling through*

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The Inland North
The Northeast
The South
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

*I'm awfully sorry. Terrible joke. I do beg your pardon.

"I have no problem making things up, because I have no credibility to lose."

Rolling Stone is publishing a joint interview with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert that they're excerpting on their web site, and I in turn am excerpting their excerpts here. It's all part of the food chain.

Ben Karlin, Stewart's thirty-five-year-old production partner who oversees both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, says that "the biggest mistake people make is thinking that Jon and Stephen sit down before every show and say, 'OK, how are we going to change the world?' or any bullshit like that. They both really just want to get a laugh." Though the shows clearly have a liberal bent, Stewart claims that they are emotional but apolitical. He does not, however, hide his disdain for the media. At a New York Times lunch, when Stewart was asked how his show did such a good job digging up clips catching the president and other officials contradicting themselves, the comedian shot back, "A clerk and a video machine." A recent Indiana University study found that The Daily Show was just as substantive as network television news during the 2004 election. I'm not surprised that young people who watch it are well- informed. I read about ten newspapers a day and three newsmagazines a week, and I have my TV tuned to cable news all day, and I still find myself taking notes from The Daily Show.

A fake news show, "The Daily Show," spawned a fake commentator, Colbert, who makes his own fake reality defending the fake reality of a real president, and has government officials on who know the joke but are still willing to be mocked by someone fake. Your shows are like mirrors within mirrors, using a cycle of fakery to get to the truth. You've tapped into a sense in society that nothing, from reality shows to Bushworld, is real anymore. Do you guys ever get confused by your hall of mirrors?

STEWART: I didn't know we were going to have to be high to do this interview.

My head hurts sometimes watching "The Colbert Report."

COLBERT: Then we've succeeded. We want people to be in pain and confused. I make up facts left and right. Liberals will come on the show and say, "Well, conservatives want this to be a theocracy." And I'll say, "Well, why not, the Founding Fathers were all fundamentalist Christians." And they'll say, "No, they weren't." I say, "Yes, they were. And, ladies and gentlemen, if I'm wrong I will eat your encyclopedias." And the person folds, 'cause they don't realize I have no problem making things up, because I have no credibility to lose.

But wouldn't, say, a President Obama be harder to make fun of than [the Bush administration]?

STEWART: Are you kidding?

COLBERT and STEWART in unison: His dad was a goat-herder!

COLBERT: Ashcroft is a douche bag.

STEWART: I think Novak is a douche bag.

COLBERT: I'm sorry. I apologize. It's Robert Novak who's a douche bag. That's just fact. I think it's his confirmation name.

This is a recording.

The Nine remains a "clinker" in the ratings. All right, America, I'm losing my patience with you. It's bad enough that most of you are stupid, credulous fools who supported our idiot-child president's war.

Rather than listen to any of the many people who told you it was wrong, because it hurt your feelings that they were smarter than you.

But now, to add insult to injury, you're letting The Nine fall flat with a sickening thud while making Dancing With the flippin' Stars a ratings blockbuster. Add to that the fact that you've got Studio 60 on life-support and making ratings the one case Veronica Mars can't solve.

It's almost as if you heard that some big-shot television producers were going around trying to prove that Americans actually can tell Jackson Pollock from pigeon-shit. And decided to say Oh, really?

As this fella Jonathan Storm writes:
Don't come complaining to me that TV has devolved into nothing more than stupid reality shows.

You're making your bed, you can sleep in it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

In these enlightened days of course... one believes a word of it.

According to three out of four online quizzes, if I...

...were a character from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, I would be...

According to the fourth I would be Slartibardfast, so you see why I felt the need to seek a second, third and fourth opinion.

Thank God for Halloween

Otherwise, Lindsay Lohan would have no excuse to dress like your average 14-year-old girl at The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And what would Paris Hilton's motivation be for taking a few naughty fashion risks?

Okay, the "Kerry's botched joke" thing

Reading the transcript, all I can think's a botched joke. And I promise you, whoever gave it to the senator was watching with his-or-her head in their hands. As Mark writes:
Yeah, he should have known better than to phrase his "joke" the way he did. Given the political climate, anyone in public life — Democrat, Republican, sane person — has to expect that his foes will twist statements into balloon animals to make them into something else, something they can use. In fact, one of the better arguments I've heard against John Kerry as President of These United States is that he lacks the p.r. skills necessary to get and do the job.

Then again, if Awkward Phrasing were a crime, George W. Bush would be getting the death sentence just before Election Day instead of Saddam.

Mark thinks we should give guys like Kerry and Bush a little more slack. I'm not prepared to give up yet on the idea that there might somewhere out there be someone who can both do and talk about the job. No doubt this is a result of watching too much West Wing, and I'm sure it'll pass.

But lord knows, that someone is not Kerry. I'm on Blue Gal's side with this one. If Kerry really wanted to help his party and his country, he'd join a monastery that requires at least a two-year vow of silence (and if he really wanted to play it safe, three-year).

Think I'm just kidding? Shakespeare's Sister has a transcript of Kerry's press conference in response to the entirely-predictable-and-should-have-been-anticipated "pouncing" of his one-time opponent's team.

I swear, before the first paragraph was over, I had decided to vote Republican. I can't stand listening to George W. Bush speak either, but at least he doen't go breaking my heart.


Looks as though, up against the return of "House" from hiatus, "Veronica Mars" lost the build in the ratings it's been getting over the past couple of weeks. It doesn't appear to have helped that "Gilmore Girls" ("Veronica's" lead-in) was a repeat, too.

As should come as a surprise to no one, the ironic thing is that I like "House" too-but I watched "Veronica" while I was taping it. This may not mean much to you, but for me it was a technological triumph on par with being able to build cybernetic organisms. With one red, glowing eye bouncing back-and-forth like a ping pong ball.

Perhaps even more ironic (and less surprising) "Veronica's" return to losing in the ratings came with an episode that I felt was one of "Veronica's" two strongest this year.

Darn it, I wish it would make up its mind. If "Veronica" is going to be good, I want to see it renewed for a whole season. If it's going to suck, I want to see it cancelled quickly to put us both out of our misery.

At least when "Huff" began its downward slide, there was no turning back...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Something really scary for Halloween

It looks as though Studio 60 is definitely coughing up blood. Whether or not Friday Night Lights is likely to follow seems to depend on what you read.

Now, I'm prepared to be philisophical should S60 in fact be cancelled. As I found myself reminding Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans a few years ago, even the best television show is, in the end, just a television show. Let's not do this like it was a member of the family who died.

(Although frankly, I'll have more right to complain than those whiny brats who said seven years of Buffy and five of Angel wasn't "a fair chance")

However. If Studio 60 goes, and 30 Rock makes it because of its new favored time slot, that's gonna piss me off.

Even if Friday Night Lights, which I like (although it's dimming every week), is saved it might aggravte me. Because it's getting lower ratings than Studio 60, but it might be seen as more "patriotic" being as it's about "how real Americans enjoy themselves" and not them Hollywood liberals.

Yes, that will aggravate me no end.

A little something for Halloween...

As you may know, there are a lot of horror movies, and tributes to horror movies, bouncing around the cable networks these days. I wanted to do something similar. But, as you must know if you've been reading this blog more than a week, what I really like to post are videos by '80s/new wave/alternative rock bands.

Songs that some less enlightened souls might find cheesy, but I simply and rightly find cool. So...what to do, what to do?

I know.

Trivia: That song was actually featured in one of the movies "clipped" above. If you notice the scene with the little punk chick doing the robot-popping dance, that's what she was dancing to. Unfortunately (or not...), she gets killed shortly therafter.

Oh, and the song's by Pseudo Echo.

Monday, October 30, 2006

It's like a blast of happy up my ass!

(As always, click to enlarge)

Or, if you look over to the right there, you'll see I've added a permanent link to the page for Sinfest, my favorite webcomic. Regular viewing is strongly suggested.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_0336: Awwwwwwww edition

Yes? What? Can I help you?

Original photo credit.

I can't believe you're wearing the same dress as me, you cow.

Original photo credit.

"My superhearing is picking up a robbery! Somewhere in the sprawling Metropolis, another job for the incredible..."

When dogs have rich fantasy lives.

Original photo credit.

This is insane.

TMZ has put together a photo gallery of those celebs they feel to have the most "ripped" bodies. Men and women alike, for you ladies and any gay men who may be looking in. Among them, Christina Ricci, about whom they say

Christina Ricci has the body every woman would kill for.

Um, no. Or at least, I hope it's not the body every woman would kill for. I know it's not the body every man would kill for, because I'm a man, and I wouldn't kill for this body. I might have 10 years ago (give or take), before Ms. Ricci had the "baby fat" beaten off her by a business that thinks Kate Winslet is somehow too heavy.

There goes the last lingering threat of my ever watching the new Battlestar Galactica

As mentioned in the past, I have yet to get into the new, improved (?) Battlestar Galactica, athough many sources and people I trust are fans. The reason I'm not is partly because every time I've tried an episode, the dialogue seems ennobled by the word "functional." And the whole thing has an air of such self-importance, like: This is serious science fiction.


But more importantly, and really, I can't stress this enough: Those are not Cylons. Cylons have one glowing eye bouncing back and forth on the middle of their forehead like a ping-pong ball. That's right, I'm old school, goddamnit.

But still, as I say, enough people I respect enjoy the show that I was prepared to say that just because I don't, it didn't mean there was anything wrong with it.

That was before I learned that it had been absolutely embraced by righties like Jonah Goldberg and John Podhoretz. A writer for American Prospect, Brad Reed, documents a number of examples of those on the right taking ficticious circumstances as justification for the real moves our government makes.

Everything from Star Wars to Star Trek to The Lord of the Rings is seen as reinforcement that what they think is absolutely correct which seems to me, at best, an interesting interpretation.

Of course, Roddenberry and Tolkien are dead so we can't ask them, but Tolkein is known to have disliked too much interpretation of his work. Roddenberry at least mouthed peace-and-love platitudes. And much as I may criticize most of Lucas' recent work as insults to the intelligence, I think Lucas might have a slightly different point of view of the lessons of Star Wars than

Jonathan Last, the Weekly Standard editor whose review of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was a love letter to imperialism. “The deep lesson of Stars Wars is that empire is good,” wrote Last, who justified his Empireophelia by arguing that the old Galactic Republic had become “simply too big to be governable,” and that the galaxy needed an empire to fill the void. Last acknowledged that the Empire was “sometimes brutal” but that acts of planeocide weren’t so bad “when viewed in context.” Last also showered praise upon Emperor Palpatine, whom he dubbed “an esoteric Straussian” and “a dictator ... but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet.”

A relatively benign one like Pinochet. I'll just wait here if any of you need to Google that name. Now, back to our story.

Strangely, Reed doesn't mention 24, which of course, is considered by its co-creator to be a rationalization for torture. So Republicans can enjoy it without fear, knowing that what they're getting out of it is exactly what they're intended to get out of it.

Unlike Battlestar Galactica, which they loved...

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who writes regularly about Galactica’s politics on NRO’s group blog, The Corner, also picked up on parallels between the show and the war on terror. Goldberg took particular glee in attacking Galactica’s anti-war movement, which he said consisted of “radical peaceniks” and “peace-terrorists” who “are clearly a collection of whack jobs, fifth columnists and idiots.” Goldberg also praised several characters for trying to rig a presidential election. “I liked that the good guys wanted to steal the election and, it turns out, they were right to want to,” wrote Goldberg.

...until (I am informed) events in the current season stopped looking like George Bush's war as they desperately want it to be, and more like it factually is.

“The whole suicide bombing thing … made comparisons to Iraq incredibly ham-fisted,” wrote a frustrated Goldberg, who had hoped the struggle against the Cylons would look more like Le Resistance than the Iraqi insurgency. “The French resistance vibe … is part of what makes the Iraq comparison so offensive. It’s a one-step remove from comparing the Iraqi insurgency to the (romanticized) French resistance.”

Fellow Corner writer John Podheretz shared Goldberg’s assessment, and chided conservative fans of the show who were still in denial about its sudden leftward drift. “Message to BSG fans on the Right,” wrote Podheretz sternly. “You cannot … come up with some cockamamie explanation whereby it’s not about how we Americans are the Cylons and the humans are the ‘insurgents’ fighting an ‘imperialist’ power.”

Goldberg is a poster child for the armchair warriors, those who are very gung-ho about coming up with reasons why other people should fight., and as Reed concludes,

Of course, it’s easy to talk tough about invading multiple nations if you’re not the one doing any of the work. The thrill the Galacticons get from watching the Iraq war on their TVs is the same thrill the typical Mountain Dew-swilling reject feels watching Battlestar Galactica; it’s only fun for them because they’re not going through it themselves.

Podhoretz, I learned back when he was calling Aaron Sorkin names, is incapable of imagining any piece of drama as without a political agenda. Do the writers of Battlestar Galactica have one? I dunno.

But, I do note with interest that (assuming what's been written here about the series is correct), they seem to be mirroring public opinion about Iraq-the more people think it's a mistake, the more the Cylons take the Americans role in this "allegory."

That's right, they're out on the edge of public opinion, taking their cues from the polls.

They must be Democrats.

Okay, the "Dave Vs. Bill" thing

Bill O'Reilly was on the Letterman show on Friday, and Letterman made it very clear that he thinks O'Reilly is at best disingenuous, at worst dishonest in advocating for the war in Iraq. It was very nearly gripping, compelling television, because people like O'Reilly rarely put themselves in a position where they're actually going to be confronted with dissent. Especially when they're not in the power seat.

And people like Letterman rarely take political positions more advanced than whatever the current caricature of a political figure is in the media. Like, George W. Bush is stupid. Bill Clinton is horny...

The reason it wasn't all that charged is mainly down to the fact that Letterman kept shooting himself in the foot with jokes about how he's just a big dumb guy like O'Reilly, himself. At first it made me wish that he would read a book (or even a blog) before getting into something like this. Because in a weird way, he ended up looking like the worst kind of teenaged political protester, all passion with no information.

But now that I come to think about it, I don't believe Letterman actually is all that uninformed. I remember reading in a profile of him that he habitually listens to the BBC world news service on the radio.

(Of course, that profile was written before Letterman's son was born. It's entirely possible, and understandable if, that changed his radio listening habits).

And I don't believe you get where he has gotten by being a stupid man. So, surely he must have had better ammunition at his disposal than he chose to use, for some reason. I assume it's because his instincts as an intelligent, sensitive man were at war with those as a broadcaster and host.

You see Jon Stewart getting caught between them sometimes too. But he's generally better at making the points he wants to make, and they're usually well-informed points, while remaining a gracious host.

Mark Evanier has some observations about the segment, and a link to a video and fact check of what O'Reilly said, here.