Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Potential WGA Strike

A federal mediator has taken bother parties aside in the labor dispute between the Writer’s Guild of America and the producers in hopes the WGA will continue working while good faith negotiations continue. The odds of that happening are pretty slim. The producers have stated they will not increase any royalty payments off new media sources such as DVDs and iTunes sales. The WGA is not going to budge on it demand for a bigger piece of the pie. It is a sticking point which neither side is going to negotiate.

The WGA will hold a rank and file meeting tomorrow night in which they will almost inevitably opt to strike. They could begin picketing Friday.

What does that mean for us? Hello reruns and reality shows for the most part. Producers always claim they have stockpiled scores of scripts ready to fill out the remainder of the season, but that never has come to fruition in the past. During the last huge strike in 1988, Hollywood made that claim, but the season limped to the finish line with hurried rewrites on sub par scripts and clip shows. Maybe the Powers That Be have learned from experience. There have been some noticeable moves. Shows such as Lost and 24 began production sooner than normal so they can run uninterrupted through the potential strike. Other signs say TPTB are unprepared. Heroes: Origins, a spin off which attracted big names like Kevin Smith and Eli Roth, has been scuttled. Networks are not going to risk hoiles in their schedules by counting on scripted shows.

So what does this all boil down to? It can be most easily summed up as DVD sales are huge and only growing and producers want to keep as much of the money for themselves as possible. With me saying that, it sounds as though I have solidly aligned myself with the WGA. As one who would like to become a WGA member, it is a fair accusation. But I am actually rather torn. Not just because I have the lingering Southern aversion to unions in general, but this is a unique labor dispute. It is hard to sympathize with either side.

It is different than, say, the baseball strike of 1994, which was a battle of millionaires v. billionaires and if there had been a way both could lose, it would have suited most everyone watching from the sidelines. The thing here is a matter of wealthy producers, many of whom are writer/producers and therefore part of management as well against an eclectic group of employees, 91 % of whom are not primarily television or movie writers and will continue to derive income from other sources (novels, plays, Comic books, and regular day jobs, in fact) as well as continued residuals from past scripts produced. Yes, writers do often plead poverty and writing for Hollywood is not necessarily the ticket to easy street it is made out to be, but it is difficult to sympathize with either side when poverty is not knocking on anyone’s door.

What is almost certain to happen instead is people will begin turning off their television sets and finding something better to do. It is going to get worse. The Director’s Guild and the Screen Actor’s guild both have contracts up for renegotiation in the next year. They have the same demands as the WGA and are going to look to this labor dispute for an indication how well their bargaining position will be. This could be a long battle involving many sides which could be Hollywood to a screeching halt and make already decreasing audience numbers plummet. All parties need to tread carefully, or many folks may not turn their televisions back on when it is all settled.
Primary Concerns

Last night the Democrats held their eighth debate. Eighth! That many get togethers and they still have not whittled down their ranks. Well, actually they have, but egos and pet interests seem to be in the way. I would say some are aiming for Cabinet posts or even the Veep slot, but after the way they ripped into frontrunner Hillary Clinton, one suspects that sort of opportunity is not going to come about.

Why are not more of these guys dropping like flies? Biden knows it is over for him. John Edwards ought to. Dennis Kucinich is on an idealistic crusade, so I cannot fault him for staying in. at least he knows he has no chance. I have already gone on record as saying Barack Obama is the Howard Dean of 2008—all sound and fury, signifying nothing. But is it not time everyone else running embraced reality? Are they really thinking the accelerated primaries are going to help them pull out some strategic miracle?

I would have the same gripe on the Republican side if I thought any two candidates really stood out. They do not. Outside of the fact Rudy Giuliani is about the only one I do not dislike. I did, however, find Biden’s quip that Giuliani uses three words in every sentence, “A noun, a verb, and 9/11” darkly amusing. Modern politics is getting back to the post-Civil War days of waving the bloody shirt. As a history and political buff, I am not sure if I should be amused or repulsed.
Dennis Kucinich Questions Bush's Mental Health

This from a guy who believes spotting UFOs and bankrupting Cleveland qualify him to be elected president..
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Buyer's Remorse

Bush’s timing on his criticisms make me want to bang my head against the wall hard. I am not certain who all his closest advisors are at the moment, but they desperately need to take a page from Turd Blossom’s playbook. Here is the deal: it is perfectly fine to criticize Congress under normal circumstances, particularly when it is controlled by the other party. But right now, Congress has an 11 5 approval rating, thinks its highest priority is setting a four day work week, and cannot get any other legislation off the ground other than meaningless resolutions blasting people and organizations for exercising free speech. Uh, back off, Mr. Bush. They are committing hari kari just fine without you.

But Bush could not do that. Rather than having the media dwelling on the Congressional implosion, all they can talk about is Bush’s critique. A critique, I might add, in which Bush complains Congress would like to spend money on health care for children as opposed to funding the war in Iraq. Is it any wonder his approval ratings are only slightly higher than the legislative branch? No, he has to open his mouth and put himself front and center on the nightly news.

Make no mistake, Congress is in trouble. It ought to be the top news item of the day. The Democrats are having buyer’s remorse over appointing Nancy Pelosi their leader. They screwed up years ago when selecting her as Minority Leader instead of Steny Hoyer. Had the California House delegation not chosen loyalty over wisdom, their take over of Congress might have had some meaning, rather than the GOP failing so badly voters had no choice but to throw the bums out.

Pelosi did not lead them to victory. She is no leader. She is no innovator. She is not inspiring. Heck, she is not even particularly articulate. But they are stuck with her. Watching the frustrated House members exercise a passive aggressive revolt over the next year is going to be quite amusing.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jessica Simpson Wants to Be a Country Singer

What? is country music now the last refuge of the no talented? The news-- not to mention her awful performance --is probably what finally killed Porter Waggoner.Here is a boobs shot for youin a futile attempt to make up for the travesty.
Offseason Baseball Distractions

I always feel a bit of a letdown the day after the World Series ends. I like a few other sports, but to me there are only two seasons: baseball season and not baseball season. The latter produces a sense of malaise for me that last quite a while. It adds to the winter blahs I usually go through. It is doubly worse if I did not find a team to root for with enthusiasm. This time around, I started pulling for the Colorado Rockies. They had heart. They just did not have much else. The best thing they had going for them in my opinion was they were not representing the worst denizen of Yankees known to man, Massachusetts. But we all know how that turned out. It was a pretty boring series and ended badly.

But there is no use crying spilt milk. Now it is time to console myself as much as possible with the nearly as much fun game of off season, business of baseball shenanigans. It is not as good as watching the boys of summer take the field, but you get your kicks where you can. There is already tons to talk about and the champagn has not had the chill knock off it in Boston yet.

The big deal is Alex Rodriguez turning down a $ 250 million offer from the New York Yankees. Folks, that dude wants to get the heck out of Gotham to give up money like that. No other team in baseball can match that kind of dough. With A-Rod’s Me First, Middle, and Last attitude, There are not going to me many teams fielding serious offers at all. But never mind that. On a personal level, as much of a Southern partisan as I am, for $ 250 million, I would play all nine starting positions for the Yankees at the same time. Just like Bugs Bunny against the Gashouse Gorillas.

While we are on the subject of ex-Yankees, Joe Torre may find a home managing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers clubhouse has been in disarray this season and manager Grady Little, who was nearly run out of Boston on a rail in 2003 for blowing it in the playoffs, is probably a goner. Good for Torre. The man deserved better. He lead the Yankees to the playoffs for twelve straight year. There is no way he deserved the inglorious exit he received. Whether the Dodgers would be a blessing orcurse remains to be seen, but If I were not such an Atlanta Braves fan, I would wish for a Dodgers v. Yankees World Series next year and hope the Bronx Bombers limp home whimpering.

Home is an interesting concept in baseball. Two teams are on the verge of being homeless. Despite winning two World Series in their short life, the Florida Marlins have surprisingly never built up a fan base in Miami. It baffles me the NHL has flourished there, but baseball cannot. Are there that many Canadian snowbird making a go of it? The team’s lease on Dolphins Stadium is up in 2010 with no particular local efforts to find them a new place. Talk about unloved. It is a similar story in Oakland where a small market team wants a new stadium to generate excitement, but is not going to get it.

Here is the catch: while talk of contraction surfaces anytime a team winds up in this spot, it absolutely cannot happen here. The Marlins and the Athletics are in different leagues. Getting rid of them would leave both leagues with an odd number of teams necessitating at least one inter league series going on at all times. So the business end of baseball is going to have to step in to either do heavy duty lobbying for new stadiums or relocating the two teams. My guess would be the latter.

Time to speculate! Let us assume MLB wants to keep the divisions geographically sound. That means the Marlins would likely relocate to Indianapolis, Charlotte, Buffalo. A few years ago, I would have suggested New Orleans, but that is no longer possible. I suppose Orlando is a possibility, leaving the Sunshine State entirely is probably the best option. I would be happy with a team in Carolina. As for the Athletics, pickings are slim. Las Vegas, Portland, and San Antonio are about it. Monterrey, Mexico would probably be a logistical nightmare with a miniscule payroll to boot. There is Vancouver, but I doubt baseball will give it another go in Canada after Montreal Expos never really flew. Expect to hear many threats and arm twisting directed towards local pols in the next bit of time as those two teams plan their futures. It will be fun to watch.
Barack Obama: An Idealist's Pipe Dream

Barack Obama may be leading the Democrats in fund raising, but it is not having any effect for him in the polls. I figured from the beginning his presidential run was him foolishly buying into his own hype and now I am sure of it. In my less cynical moments, I thought he might be aiming for the Veep spot, but now I am convinced he has to much ego to settle for second fiddle. He is going for broke without realizing he is the Howard Dean of 2008.

The thing is, few others seem to realize it, either. Obama is being courted by Hollywood and music industry celebrities, left wing church leaders, and liberal idealists of every persuasion. Therein lies the problem—there is no room for idealism in politics. Obama’s supporters appear to like him because he is new and different. Maybe he is, but when it comes time to pull that voting booth lever, people are not going to hand over the reins to “new and different.” They want yuppies with a social conscience or tired old men to watch their purse strings and smack a third world dictator when the notion strikes, depending on the national mood. They want someone safe who corporations do not mind funding and whose ideas can be reduced to a bumper sticker Pardon my French, but that ain’t Obama.

This election is not his turn. His turn may never come, to be honest. Somewhere inside him, he had to know that when he decided, “What the heck. It might be fun.” Fun is what I think his campaign boils down to. The left does not have The West Wing to get their fanciful leftist kicks from, so they are using Obama for a while. Right up until they help Hillary Clinton sweep the primaries and Barack Obamas becomes the answer to a future Trivial Pursuit question.
Red Sox Win World Series

The Rockies had heart, but what they really needed was pitching, hitting, and Red Sox uniforms.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nostalgia

I have had a recent epiphany regarding nostalgia as of late. I have finally decided nostalgia is not a remembrance of things past but an idealized fantasy of things past instead. The possibility arises I may have come to this realization far later in the game than everyone else, but I have no further ego to be bruised at this point, so who the heck cares. What matters now—and this is something I have yet to work through –it was value the new revelation has for me.

I spent a solid dozen years or so watching my mother go into an emotional freefall spurred on by alcohol abuses and bad decisions. Not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea. As she descended further and further, she would lament the loss of relationships, jobs, and what have you as losing the best times of her life even though when she had them, she claimed she was miserable with them. I used to think it was her sense of narcissism. She always had this deepe seeded need for people to feel sorry for her. I came to realize how safe that was. You know, if you succeed at anything, you have to constantly prove that you are as good today as you were yesterday. It never ends until you just cannot go on anymore. But if you fail, you constantly have a safe excuse why. There is always some sinister, dark force to blame and being an continual victim of fate enables one to always seek the sympathy of others. Ergo, if what you need is for others to constantly console you, you must always be miserable and it can never, ever be your fault.

The problem I saw with this is even the most caring people expect you to get a hold of yourself and straighten up at some point. Indeed, even our most intimate relationships dropped like flies right up until the end when my mother and my relationship was pretty much nonexistent. I think I played her sympathy game longer than anybody else did. I was never really sure how I should feel about that. It certainly did not help me any. It left me open for years have guilt ridden emotional abuse, in fact. But these days, I have soften my stance a bit. Oh, I am absolutely certain she was a narcissist and probably an unmedicated manic depressive, but these days I understand why she thought her previous life situations were better in retrospect than she did while she was experiencing them. It was all about nostalgia.

There seems to be a bemusing habit of seeing only the bright spots of previous times in our lives when our current lives seem really bad. It is the funny memories of carefree days of yore which were not actually so carefree. I remember times when my mother would lament things long gone and I would go through a laundry list of how much she hated the things she now says she missed. I was met with different responses depending on how much alcohol was in her, but they all generally came back to the point where she decided not to remember those parts of her life. I thought she was lying for sympathy. Now I am not so sure.

She would have turned 61 yesterday had she lived, by the way.

To apply this to myself, I was not really thrilled with life at any point. I always barreled through the crap because I always thought the future would be brighter. But I will be honest, I have left behind just about everyone I have ever known to continually pursue something different because I was never satisfied with my lot in life, either. The idealism of youth served a double whammy to me. First, despite my cynicism, always had this notion there would one day come a time where I would be free of emotional conflicts. I think a lot of people do, but it will never happen. Second, since I always looked ahead to an impossible utopia, I never paid much attention to dealing with life as it came. I think I could have gotten more out of life had I been less of a forward looking soul for something that was never going to be there.

Oh, but wait—am I not being nostalgic by thinking I could fix things in retrospect? Yes, I am. I am looking at bright spots and opportunities that were not there. I am thining about times I was happier than I am now and thinking I could have done even more to make them happier despite the fact I was actually dissatisfied and had absolutely no clue how to improve things, never mind the improvements I now wish I could have made were a utopian fantasy. In other words, I am now coming to the realization has to embrace reality, past, present, and future, for better and for worse, without being fanciful about how things were or lamenting the present and fute will never be as pain free as you hoped. As cynical as I am, it surprises me to be on the cusp of turning 31 before the realization dawned on me.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Some Ali Larter to Soothe the Soul

Faith can supposedly move a mountain, but it apparently cannot make the rockies win the world Series. It looks like the Red Sox are the superior team. I shall myself and any downtrodden brethren with photos of the lovely Ali Larter.


BBC May Cut Episode Orders

When I have written about the likely WGA strike effecting television shows I like, I have mentioned the bright spot—two of my favorites are on the BBC. Just to prove that I was either born under a bad sign or United Kingdom tabloids read my blog, news from the UK is now discouraging. Apparently, the BBC is going to receive lower than expected television licensing fees. Lower fees mean lower budgets for shows.

Truth be told, the BBC’s offerings have always been done on a shoestring. The BBC tends to emphasize the writing quality of its offerings instead, usually to good effect. The only complaint I have had about Doctor Who or Torchwood as a whole is the short seasons of thirteen episodes each make it difficult to hide the inevitable dud. Bad episodes stick out like a sore thumb in those short seasons as opposed to being buried in a typical 22-24 episode season for an American show. Imagine my disappointment to hear one of the most likely options for the BBC is to trim seasons.

There has not been a definite decision and no word at all on Doctor Who, but the 2009 season of Torchwood may be cut from thirteen episodes down to eight. The same is expected to happen to Robin Hood a show I have not tried. I do not think this is a particularly unusual move for many shows. The BBC appears to make a schedule certain shows haphazardly. It has not bothered me as I have been selective with my BBC viewing, but I have friends who appreciate their sitcom offerings but definitely not the odd production schedules.

Doctor who is going to take 2009 off, for the most part, with only three specials to air until the fifth season begins in 2010. I previously thought the new plan was a concession to keep show runner Russell T. Davies and Tenth Doctor David tenant onboard. They allegedly wanted time to do other things, such as Tennant playing Hamlet for The Royyal Shakespeare Company. Now I have some doubts creative freedom was the sole motivation. Is the BBC testing the waters to see how it can save cash and still not lose Doctor Who.
Heck of a Job

FEMA planted fake reporters for pre-decided questions to show what a great job it was doing in handling the California wildfires situation. if this was some effort to prove the agency has learned its lessons from Hurricane Katrina, it failed.

At least President Nero did not compliment the FEMA head this time like he did two years ago.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hybrid

Here is our first look at the Alien/Predator hybrid from Alien v. Predator: Requiem. It looks like Bob Marley.
Daniel Dae Kim Arrested for DUI

If Lost tradition means anything, his character will be killed off like the previous three cast members who tarried at the vine and got behind the wheel anyway.

On a brighter note, Death Proof's Zoe Bell is headed to Lost next season. the former stunt double for Xena's Lucy lawless will most likely play the rumored role of Regina. Whether that should illicit some excitement or not is beyond me. I report, you decide.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

California Fires & the Human Toll

The contrast I noted a couple nights ago about Hollywood gossip sites covering the Southern California fires versus the regular news media coverage have subsided. The human tragedy of if has even made the tabloids pause in weeping over celebrity mansions getting scorched. Not that sensationalism has completely gone away. Matt drudge was attempting earlier to aarrouse suspicion of foreign terror as the fire’s origin. I recall the FBI taking about that as far back as the 2002 fire. It did not pan out then and Drudge must not have gotten much traction with it now. The item disappeared from his front page rather quickly.

There is a suspicion of arson, however. Federal and state agents are seeking a suspect and were in a fatal shootout with another. One assumes there must be something to the suspicion if a guy is willing to fire at police and lose his own life rather than answer questions. Arson is one of those incredibly puzzling crimes to me. Is there some sort of thrill to it? There is no obvious tangible benefit. A fire of this magnitude could not have been started as an act of revenge against a specific target. I can only assume there is some sick, nihilistic pleasure in knowing an arsonist can destroy so many lives just by dropping a match. That there could have been at least two perpetrators seeking the same ego boost is baffling and upsetting.

Something else that is bugging me about all this is comments, never from pundits, mind you, that people who have lost their homes do not deserve much sympathy because they knew this sort of thing had happened before. Indeed, many of them have rebuilt from previous fires. I think that is a load. All you have to do is look at the number of people whose homes have been lost to realize this fire has spread far beyond anywhere previous fires have. Furthermore, there are risks everywhere you live. My hometown faces tornadoes and hurricanes regularly during their respective seasons. Many are incredibly destructive, but heck, you have to live somewhere. Life is a dice roll. No matter where you go, you are going to run into something: hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, mud slides, criminal violence. You cannot show me a place where you will not find more than one, most likely.

I have seen the attitude many times before. People complain that tornadoes and hurricanes destroy mobile homes, so why in the world would people rebuild those again and again? Because they have to, people. You work with what you have and often times, that ain’t much. I heard the sentiment often after Hurricane Katrina when people wondered why blacks did not just leave instead of just riding it out or better yet, live somewhere else where they do not have to worry about hurricanes in the first place. I call that the luxury of stupidity. It is an epidemic. I am just glad human resiliency is more common.
Phosphor Dot Absorption

I hinted last week I was no longer going to cover the Bionic Woman and I did not. The show never clicked with me. It was neither had the campy charm of the original, nor did it do dramas very well. There was nothing there that was any fun whatsoever. Ergo, I have dropped it from my must see TV. Dropping BW brings my grand total of current television shows I watch to zero. That is right. Other than the occasional rerun, I do not watch television any longer.

I still plan to follow my favorites, but just by sheer coincidence, they all start in the sprin and run through the early summer. The hiatus makes for a long drought. I try every season to line up a few shows I might like, but I am perpetually disappointed. This season, in addition to BW, I have tried Chuck, Pushing Daisies, Cavemen, and Moonlight. The latter came close to a repeat visit, but I was still too meh about it. Remember Forever Knight and Angel? All three are pretty much the same show with different character names. I think a lot of folks are watching Moonlight because it reminds them of Angel in the same way Buffy addicts flocked towards Veronica Mars. I am sympathetic. I hung in there with Bones a while because of X-Files withdrawal. I could not last. Mulder and Scully did it so much better. Bring on the new movie, says I.

I did watch the first five innings of game one of the World Series. The Red Sox were pounding the Rockies 6-1. I do not really have a dog in that fight other than my greater familiarity with the National League makes me gravitate towards the Rockies. I am still lamenting the fall of my beloved atalanta Braves and hoping the Bambino Curse pays a return visit long enough to crown the rockies world champs. I am not sure I should hold my breath at this point.

But back to television. I am beginning to think the almost certain WGA strike will not effect me at all and many of us may hardly notice. Currently Lost and 24 are filomng, although some shoots for the latter have been delayed because of the fire All their scripts are already in the can. Ditto for Battlestar Galactica. Doctor Who and Torchwood are BBC shows that are not subject to WGA rules, so it looks like I am sitting pretty with all the shows I enjoy. As for the rest of viewers, it will take about two or three months for producers to run out of new shows if there is a strike. By that time, American Idol will be rolling through a new season and killing the competition. Will a writer’s strike actually be that big a deal? I am starting to wonder if reality shows are so prrvasive, it might be a strike of sound and fury signifying nothing. We shall see. .
Britney Spears (Almost) Gets an Oscar

There was a rumor floating about for around twenty minutes or so Britney Spears was going to appear on Sesame Street and sing a duet with Oscar the Grouch. I was not certain if the plan was to improve her image or if she just two garbage dwellers discovering they were kindred spirits. Either way, the idea of spears, the epitome of parenting skills, appearing on a kids show of thatcalibre made my irony meter explode.

Apparently, it made a few other things at the Children's television Workshop explode as well. Representatives adamantly denied the rumor and then mandated tetanus shots for everyone just to err on the side of caution. you cannot be too careful about these things.

Here is a photo of Britney Spears in a bikini for any of you still interested in such things.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Laura Bush's Middle East Tour

First Lady Laura Bush meets with breast cancer survivors in the United arab Emirates. she is there to promote breast cancer awareness. do you get the impression just by looking at this photo she has a tough row to hoe getting Muslim men to care about women's issues period, much less one as serious as breast cancer?
Stephen Colbert's Errs

Stephen colbert's faux run for president is breaking election laws. So much for a round next generational Pat Paulson, huh?
Live for Nothing or Die for Something

Here is the second, this time an official trailer, for the newly titled Rambo. I had some pretty excited flashbacks to the ‘80’s while watching. It has been a long time since there has been an action movie that really generated a vibe from that Golden age of action heroes. Inexplicably, the trailer is attached to showings of Saw IV. I have doubts there is much overlap in the fan base (although I have liked all the Saw and First Blood films) which may be a further indication of the lack of decent action flicks. There is no movie out there right now to appropriately attach the trailer.

A lot of folks around the web are critiquing Sylvester Stallone for playing Rambo again at age 60. I like the idea myself as long as things do not get too farfetched. I also thought Rocky Balboa was a good bookend to the story without being too unbelievable, so you may draw your own conclusions about my ability to suspend disbelief to the breaking point and beyond. Honestly, it reminds me of John Wayne’s last few movies. He was clearly ailing in several of the and obviously giving a definite end to his archetypical characters. Clint Eastwood did the same in Unforgiven. Rambo will not win any Oscars, but I can appreciate the sentiment. Winning awards is not the the franchise was ever about.

I do note with some cynicism the line Rambo is a man without a country. I understand, despite conservative claims the character was a Republican Communist buster in his heyday, Rambo is actually an apolitical jaded character. But I still think he is a patriot. One who distrusts the government and probably the fickle whims of the masses, but a patriot nevertheless. I imagine the line was emphasized because of the United State’s unpopularity in the rest of the world. Having an American hero might upset foreign box office returns in the current political climate. I do not know what to comment on that, other than it is upsetting sign of the times. It used to be foreign countries loved American stuff but hated our government. Now there does not seem to be much distinction at all. There is no way to fix that, either, considering freedom fries and other such nonsense.

Anyway, I am heading into a rant best left for another time. Here is the trailer for Rambo:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jessica Simpson to Co-host The View

If you needed another reason to avoid that show, consider this news manna from heaven. they managed to find someone to fill in for Elizabeth Hasselback who is actually more unwatchable, if that is humanly possible. Well, unwatchable save for that rack, no?
New Rule

If Stephen Colbert is polling higher than you, you need to drop out of the presidential race. I am looking at you, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden.(NOTE: I just added this star rating system and wanted to test it out, so I rated this post. It was just a test this once. In the future, all ratings will be exclusively from readers.)
Do You Have a Flag?

Or Everything I Ever Needed to Know About International Relations I Learned from Eddie Izzard.

Monday, October 22, 2007

LoveFest 2000 Redux

No one thinks John McCain won lasts night's umpteenth GOP presidential debate, but most every pundit is swooning over McCain's woodstock line at the expense of Hillary Clinton. It reminded me that McCain was nothing but sound bytes during the 2000 campaigns but Democrats, independents, and the media loved every minute of it.

I am trying to figure out if that means we are stupid or just have short attention spans I cannot dwell on the issue too long (Ironically?) because i statrt lamenting it will happen all over again between now and November 2008.

Uggh.
Anderson Cooper on Famine Relief

While I am being an inexplicable sour puss regarding journalism, I want to note a peculiar scene during a 60 Minutes segment last night. No, I am not going to mock Katie Couric’s attempt to earn serious journalist creed by filing an interview with exposed ex spy Valerie Plame that was about two notches above any given Tuesday afternoon Oprah. Considering the nosedive the nightly news is taking at CBS, even I do not have the cold, cold heart to pile on. This is all about Anderson Cooper.

He is still with CNN, but has some sort of arrangement to file reports for 60 Minutes. Last night he was in famine stricken Africa reporting on a new miracle food product that is saving children’s lives. It is a peanut butter based paste that is sensitive enough on malnourished stomachs for small children who are literally on death’s doorstep to hold down. Even the final stages of malnutrition can be reversed within a few weeks if children are regularly given the paste. The paste comes in MRE like packets and cost only a dollar to produce I believe I heard, although searching the internet I have been unable to confirm, the developer was recently awarded a Nobel Prize for the invention that can literally save millions of lives.

It was a feel good piece. There are no warlord snatching up shipments or any scandals regarding stolen aid money. The whole purpose wad to show how effective the product was and urge the United States and the European Union to invest more relief funds toward buying the paste. There were only two odd bits. One was an intentional bit to induce guilt and the other was a head sccrtcher. The first was the pronouncement the main food source of the country was a thin grain which in the US is used solely for bird seed. That revelation has to make you pause. So does Anderson Cooper standing in the middle of a filthy village, pressed khakis and expensive shirt in front of expensive camera equipment and crew, sampling a packet of the paste while surrounded by starving children.

I understand that is all part of audience expectations and in some respects, I think the move was staged to appear he had done that when he had not wasted a pack that could have gone to a malnourished child. Network news is just as manufactured as most television and maybe I am making too much out of it, but does it not seem a bit tasteless for Gloria Vanderbilt’s Yale graduate son to be doing something like that for the sake of, what? Telling us how it tastes? Contrast the scene with the previous one of the nineteen month old child whose heart gave out on him before the paste could doits work (because the mother waiting too long to travel to the relief center) and you have to wonder how well the producer thought this segment out.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Malibu Fires Expose Media Duplicity

As part of my newfound fascination with media coverage of events, I note the dichotomy of disaster coverage with regards to the Malibu fires currently raging and draw a parallel to Iraq war coverage, of all things. I assume most Americans still do not realize this, but the big reason the rest of the world is now and pretty much always has been against the war in Iraq was because they were seeing it through a less manufactured journalistic lense. The war was packaged to the American public and sold as a new product roll out while other aspects, such as what a cluster bomb actually does, that smart bombs are not so smart, and the museum looting removed irreplaceable ancient treasures, were ignored by American media. I do not believe it was until Hurricane Katrina the media got its act together and remembered there job is to find the truth.

They are do so fairly well, if I may begrudgingly say with skeptical eyes. The big news organizations are reporting the fires as a major news story. Several fires are burning out of control, there has been one days and several injuries, homes and a church have been burned, and Pepperdine University has been evacuated. The mayor of Malibu has gone on record as saying the fires will burn another two or three days and thanks to strong winds, virtually no home is safe. Some of those homes happen to be owned by celebrities. Okay, all of that is good reporting on an issue of national interest.

Now look at the gossip rags. They finally have their Hurricane Katrina. Some blogs are literally going minute by minute reporting on which celebrity’s home is currently in peril. It is like they are talking about peasants running from napalm with nothing but the shirts on their backs. I do not want to make light of anyone’s loss in the emotional sense. It does not matter if you are a billionaire or a janitor, when you lose stuff, you lose stuff and it hurts. But come on, people. David Geffens’ hotel is being threatened? Egads. What is the most tasteless thing to say, oh the humanity or wow, think about that fat insurance check he will get?

Does anyone else out there see at this point how our media and the international one covered the war in Iraq with the same contrast as regular news sources and the Hollywood rags are covering the Malibu fires now? I will be curious to see if any media watchers pick up on this point and run with it. If not, it amuses me regardless. Still, I hope the fires are contained with little damage and Britney Spears does not use them as an excuse for her bad parenting skills.
Bobby Jindal Elected Louisiana Governor

I cannot go so far as many conservative pundits are in touting the virtues of Bobby Jindal –blogger Capt. Ed is running the guy for president in 2016 –but I do have to note the significance of his victory. At 36, he is the youngest governor in the United States. Taking on heavy responsibilities at a young age is not new to him. Jindal was placed in charge of the Louisiana college system at the age of 28. He held only a master’s degree, albeit from Oxford, so I do not know if the appointment is a compliment to him oran insult to higher education in the pelican State. Considering a student athlete practically earns four academic credit hours for knowing how to change a light bulb, it could go either way.

Second, he is of Indian descent. His election would be an accomplishment anywhere in the United states, but to be elected not only in the South but a commonwealth that not too long ago nearly made David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, governor, it is a very positive sign.

Of course, I cannot write about Jindal’s election without speculating future GOP prospects. Fret not, I will not attempt predicting the 2016 nominee. Is this a hint of good things to come for the Republicans in 2008? In a couple, probably not. The Louisiana electorate was angry about the poor leadership of the democrats, particularly Gov. Blanco, during and after Hurricane Katrina. There is a good possibility Jindal has the keys to the governor’s mansion not so much because of his conservative credentials, but because he is not a Democrat. It is interesting to not, however, that Louisianans have as much, if not more, animosity for the Bush Administration, in which Jindal was an undersecretary until 2003. Whether they did not hold it against him or did not know it in the first place, is not clear, but my money is on the latter.

Either way, this could be a sign for better days in Louisiana. I am not convinced it spells out any brighter times for Republicans election prospects as a whole.
Why I Like Bill Maher

One of the many reasons, actually. The scene is proof more television ought to be live. There is some foul language for the hypersensitive amongst us who still are not used to the concept of living in the real world.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Reese Witherspoon Promotes Rendition

There has been a distinct lack of celebrity photos around these parts as of late. I have had my mind on other things, folks, but here is a favorite of the Eye: Reese Witherspoon promoting her new movie, Rendition, on The Tonight Show a couple nights ago.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The WGA Authorizes Strike

The Writers Guild of America has authorized a strike. The result itself should not come as a surprise, but the numbers should. The WGA has some 12,000+ members. Roughly thirty percent participate in any given vote. This time around, 5,507 members voted with 90% deciding to strike. Bottom line: they are serious and dug in for the long haul this strike may linger well into 2008.

What does all this mean? Two things. First, being a television and/or screenwriter is not the cushy job I have always envisioned it to be, which is frustrating. No matter how good something sounds, it will always be subject to outside forces ready to crush any perks you might find in it. Second, within a few months, there is going to be nothing but rerurns, reality shows, and news specials not covered by the WGA on television. If you think networks are limping along now, just you wait.

For the record, I am going to fair much better. My two favorite American shows, Lost and Battlestar Galactica, already have their season scripts written and are filming. Doctor Who is a BBC production not not subject to the WGA. Add in the ridiculously low odds I was going to sell a script anytime soon, and I am going to coast right through this work stoppage.
Jessica Simpson

Despite not really having anything going for her right now, Jessica Simpson is being featured in InStyle. go figure. Here is the best photo out of slim pickings.
Bionic Woman Plummets

Looks like I am not the only one who wanted to like the show but could not. It was the highest rated premiere of the season, now it is heading into cancellation territory. It lets me off the self-imposed hook of reviewing five episodes before dumping it. There is no point in following a lost cause that is on life support.

I think I managed five episodes of Studio 60 last year based on the strength of Aaron Sorkin. I only lasted four with Bionic Woman and David Eick.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Building a Better Robot

A few days ago, a friend remarked her surprise I was a Rudy Giuliani supporter. I have written numerous posts over the last few months regarding the issue because, yes, it is unusual for me to throw my support behind a pro choice, social liberal. But as I explained to her, I have thrown my support for Rudy Giuliani for several reasons. I do not think his moderate social positions really matter since he seems as eager to sweep them under the rug in order to win the alleged “Red States” anyway. Saint Reagan did pretty much the same thing. He was in favor of abortion and affirmative action as governor of California but conveniently forgot all that (as did his supporters) when he made a White House bid.) they hated Carter enough to do so then. I’ll bet they hate Hillary enough to do so now. Rudy is a fiscal conservative. I think that is more important than whether he will be a national babysitter concerned with social issues best left to state of local governments. Besides, McCain is a nut, Thompson seems like a senile old man, and Romney reminds me of a slick televangelist. The pickings are a little slim this time around, no?

It would have been inconceivable for me to draw such a conclusion just a few short years ago. I used to dismiss Christopher Hitchens’ views on religion out of hand as well. I still do to a large extent. What he claims about religion as a whole, I blame on fundamentalism. I would have never ad that until recent times. Spending three years of one’s adult life watched watching many brainwashed bigots studying 9often in vain) to be lawyers will do that to you. With all this rot in mind, I have drawn the inescapable conclusion I have irreparably changed.

The change in political viewpoint is not really a surprise. I used to have political ambitions and was careful to toe the conservative party line even if no one really cared if I did. I can chalk that one up to the idealism of youth. It was the same idealism that kept me from seeing other people snicker about me having political ambitions at nineteen or twenty. I see the folly of it now just as well as I see the folly of partisanship. Honestly, if you have already made up your mind about an issue just because that is what some partisan politician believes, too, then you are an idiot. Do not feel bad. Like I said, I used to be the same way. Now I am happy to say I am conservative on some issues and liberal on others, although I will grant you I usually come to the leftist positions by way of civil libertarianism.

My view on Christianity is a bit dicier. I have not lost my faith by any means. Granted, it is a bit of an emotional challenge at this point. What I am coming to realize is the difference between religion and spirituality. Not too long ago, I would have poo pooed the notion as some New Age watering down of Christianity. That was before I saw pure, fundamentalist Christianity in all it ugliness with adult eyes. I had grown up around Bob Jones types, but I had never recalled things being so bad at any point in my formative years. Perhaps this is what is meant by growing in the faith. I honestly do not know, but I feel better putting on my critic’s hat and taking a scalpel to both politics and religion to see what I can find once I peel back the skin.

But self-discovery is not about warm fuzzies of personal satisfaction. Am I progressing or regressing? In regards to politics, it does not matter. In regards to religion, it may matter a great deal. I have laid off the blogging as of late because the question has been on my mind, but did not need to be on the computer screen. But now I have figured, what the heck, throw it on out there. So here it is. I have come out of a cocoon of sorts and spread my new wings, but I am a butterfly or a slouless robot who now believes in nothing of merit?
Andrea Roth Joining Lost?

Insider sources says Rescue Me's Andrea Roth is joining the cast of lost in a recurring role. Details are being kept under wraps, but i have to wonder hot so many hot looking women can wind up on DHARMA Island? sheesh.
Joe Torre Quits Yankees

The contract offer was low balled giving the impression there was a lot of ego involved in the decision.
Lost--Ben Linus

Here is another Lost music video. This one centers on Ben Linus.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bionic Woman--"Faceoff"

I am still not particularly excited about this show in episode four of the five episode trial I told myself I would give it. Some critics have complained BW is too dark. I cannot say that has really bothered me, although I do wish there was more action to it. The premise is campy any way you slice it, so there ought to be more outlandish plots and memorable villains. So far, the only thing most anyone remembers is Jamie Summers having random sex in a bathroom. Maybe it was all about her wide stance. Either way, that is not the hook I want to remember this show by.

But mt biggest gripe thus far is the awkward division between family politics and the cloak and dagger stuff. All right, I will admit it was funny, if predictable, for Jamie to use her bionics to spy on her sister out on a date she should not have been on. That should have been a comic relief moment in the episode. Yet it leads to Jamie having a mortal crisis over leading a double life and lying to her sister about it. It struck me as childish for Jamie to be on her way to some exotic locale on a dangerous mission where, as far as she knows, it is kill or be killed, and whining over a fib. I do not know what sensibilities that is supposed to appeal to, but after the aforementioned sex incident, it seems awfully out of place. Is Jamie grown up or not?

The episode was the first actual mission Jamie has been on, something that should have happened earlier in the season. She is supposedly rescuing a doctor in Paraguay, but not much effort is made to look like Paraguay. Do shows not use stock footage anymore? Turns out the doctor she rescues her bionics have a five year limit at which point she will die. So it looks like Will, who must still be alive, is a traitor. Now we have the makings of a five season story arc with all the predictability of a Mexican soap opera. The show is not going to make it that long. Even an appearance by Sarah Corvis could not save this one.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bush Meets Dalai Lama; Richard Gere Spontaneously Combusts

My knee jerk reaction to Bush meeting the Dalai Lama was his attempt at a Nixon Goes to China moment. I think they refer to that kind of error in thinking as paraplegia, or responding with an answer only tangentially related. But such appears to be the quality of my thought process as of late. Reality is the meeting does not mean much at all passed giving Hollywood stars with “Free Tibet” as their pet issue taking pause and scrubbing off three layers of skin in the shower for even remotely sharing an issue with Bush.

China may wring its hands over the meeting and the awarding of the Congressional Medal, but there is not much else it can do. Our two nations are too intertwined in the global economy and political stage to do much even though, since Tibet is officially recognized as part of China, Bush is commenting on an internal Chinese political matter. Our foreign policy is not going to change on this one, so the meeting really is not much more than symbolism and a nifty photo for the history books, assuming Bush is ever branded as a peacemaker by history. A long shot, no?

I did find it amusing the Chinese government announced it would institute democratic reforms by 2020, but would maintain one party rule. It reminded me of Henry Ford’s claim that customers could have any color car they wanted as long as it was black. The news makes me feel at ease. All I have heard from my International Relations classes a decade ago on through foreign policy pundits today is the 21st will become the Chinese Century. Well, it probably will not because Communism poisons everything it touches like a cancer. Of course, our republic is on the downhill slide and has been since the modern day Visigoths destroyed the World Trade Center, so they may win by default.
Colorado Rockies Win the Pennant

The red hot Colorado Rockies have won 21 of the last 22 games, including 7 straight playoff victories, to rise from fourth place in the NL west to NL champions by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks. How poetic was it for Eric Byrnes to be the D'Backs last out after shooting his mouth off about the Rockies' success being all luck?

This team has a date with destiny.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Battlestar Galactica Fourth Season Trailer

Looks cool, but did they have to go ahead and confirm Starbuck is the Fifth Cylon? Sure fans had pretty much figured it out, but I hope the revelation has not blown every card the creators have for this final (*sniff*) season.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Just like Yassir Arafat.

All right, I am being unfair with this one. Arafat was a murdering terrorist who spent his life destroying the peace. Gore won for his global warming crusade, which is totally irrelevant to peace. Being irrelevant is marginally better than being an outright obstruction to peace.

Congrats there, Albert. Now please go back into the obscurity of liberal arts college lecture tours and the like. You can even wear your metal. Unshaved hippie chicks will dig it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Smear Campaigns

Do you hate politics? I do not mean real politics, which is the allocation of scarce resources and a necessary evil. I mean the game of politics. The rich man and women who grow bored counting their millions and decide they need to run your lives. I am referring to the talking points, the lobbyists, the pundits. Basically the pageant of it all. I used to like it, truth be told. I studied Political Science, which was the study of the allocation of scarce resources, but I volunteered in real campaigns, served in student government, and basically debated current events with buddies, which was all about the pageantry. Call it the worst of both worlds.

These days I have grown sick of it all. I wish I had studied something else. I view the left and right with equal disdain. Maybe it is because I understand now how the game is played and realize how distasteful it all is. Maybe it is because I realize I will never run for office myself considering my health issue so I am having a Pavlovian reaction to it all. Or, and I hope this is true because I would sleep better knowing something like this can still eat at my conscience, I just hate hear stories like the one I am about to tell you.

I wrote a bout a week ago that despite my conservative leanings, I was against Bush vetoing S-CHIP. I felt like we have a responsibility to preserve the health of children. Heck, that is not a conservative or liberal issue. That is a matter of humanity. Shortly after the veto, both parties took the low road in critiquing the other to the point I am fed up with the entire process and most everyone in it.

For the weekly Democratic radio response, the party trotted out 12 year old Graeme Frost. Frost is from a double income, but still working poor family. Frost was in an accident some time ago in which he was severely injured. He spent over five months in the hospital and today lingering effects. Most are physical ailments requiring constant therapy that that limit his range of motion, but most notably, he has a prounced lisp because of some paralyzed vocal cords.

Let me put this in simpler terms, because it bears repeating: the Democrats exploited a young, now crippled boy by putting him on the radio where his speech impediment would be front and center.

That, in and of itself, is reprehensible. Now, I understand what they were doing. An appeal to the emotion argument is a cheap shot, but very effective. Heck, inn my law school years, I learned how valuable they are. What is selecting a jury if not trying to seat twelve people you believe can be easily manipulated? But the law has passed me by as a career as much as just about everything else has, so I have fresh perspective. These days, I think the Democrats’ stunt was just as bad as all the firemen, soldiers, and children Bush has hauled out for photo ops since 9/11. But it gets worse.

The Republicans have since tried to smear Graeme’s family as misleading everyone on their income. They have posted photos off the private school Frost attends because iit is easier for him to handle the smaller environment. In a particularly deranged act, blogger Michelle Malkin, has driven to the Frost home to scope out its value. Wildly enough, this sort of smear campaign is continuing.

What in the heck is going on? How did our political system come to this? Better question, how the heck can you throw your support to either the Democrats or Republicans considering how they have managed the veto and its aftermath? I do not think I can. The republic is on an irreversible downhill slide.
Braves GM John Schuerholz Retiring

This certainly is the end of an era.

Schuerholz has been the Atlanta Braves general manager since their rise to contention in 1991. In that time, the team has made the playoffs in 14 consecutive seasons. he demonstrated an extraordinary ability to judge talent during his tenure. The only disappointment has been a lone World Series win in 1995. For some reason, something has always fallen apart at the end through no fault of Schuerholz himself.

Schuerholz is from Baltimore and there is a GM position open there, but I doubt at 67 Schuerholz would want to leave a team with a good chance of contending like the Braves for a rebuilding team like the Orioles, but you never know how hometown boys really feel about such things. Either way, it is probably going to be tough going for the Braves without him.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bionic Woman--"Sisterhood"

I am pretty sure I hear the ticking of the clock for this show. Tick tock, tick tock. Hear it? Of course you do. Ratings fell thirty percent in last week’s episode versus the series premiere. One has to assume the pattern will continue. There has also been some behind the scenes drama with the original show runner, Head writer Jason Katims is in charge while Glen Morgan, Laeta Kalogridis and Jason Smilovic are no longer creatively involved. Such drastic changes so early on do not bode well. Nevertheless, I liked this one. It was not great, but I liked it.

The episode had at least one of the clichés I predicted earlier. Jamie has gotten over her reluctance to be a secret agent even after she discovers her masters have installed a GPS so they can track her at all times. She puts up surprisingly little protest. She is assigned to babysit the hellion teenage daughter of a Canadian defense contractor. The mission sets up the personal theme of sisterhood. It not only involves Jamie and her younger sister, but the first BW returns to ask for Jamie’s help. It appears her bionic parts have a limited life span. Do Jamie’s as well?

The show tries hard to cast parallels between the two women. The accident prompting the first BW’s creation killed her sister. While she is supposed to be an emotionless killing machine, there is a sad spark of memories as she watches Jamie and her sister dancing to some goofy techno music through her apartment window. I will confess the moment is a bit forced, but I have to give the writers an “A” for effort. This show is not winning any Emmys though, folks—especially not for writing.

I have still not shaken the idea Katee Sackhoff should have been the star. She is better looking and exudes more charisma as a stone cold villain than Michelle Ryan as an emotionally torn, goody two shoes. She even shines more in the fight scenes. Ryan is trying too hard to out Sydney Bristow Jennifer Garner while she has neither the look nor style to do so. Speaking of fight scenes, using extreme close ups on a shaky camera does not actually make the battle more exciting. It just makes it more confusing. Nevertheless, I do not regret watching yet again. That is as high a compliment as I can pay. Something more monumental has to happen soon or else whatever viewers BW has left are going to drift off to other shows.

Ratings: ** (out of 5)
Flotsam & Jetsam

Here is one long potpourri of a post. I could have made separate posts for all this stuff so you did not have to sift through news bits you are not interested in, but I have no juice for the effort right now. Not that there is not a lot of interesting stuff going on, but there is not a heck of a lot to elaborate on. Of course, every time I say that, these things wind up being huge rants. We will see at the bottom.

Remember how many pundits were saying Fred Thompson has a month to get his campaign legs or else he would be dead in the water? I said that was going to put people in the mindset if he did not jump to the lead in the polls, people would automatically consider him a loser. Well, they are. He stumbled over a question about a potential economic recession last night at the GOP debate in Michigan. It was nothing, honestly. Every debater, no matter has skilled, has moments like that. But pundits have been harping on it all day long. For whatever reason, they are trying to make Thompson look as incompetent as they tried and succeeded to make Howard dean look crazed in 2004.

The big story with the debate was the sparring between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. Thompson was right between the two as they went at it over tax policy. (yes, it did make Thompson look pitiful.) It does seem pretty clear those two will be the front runners. I still cannot get behind Romney. He reminds me too much of a slick televangelist. Rudy is still my man.

Something else interesting there: Hillary Clinton. She was mentioned repeatedly last night while Barack Obama’s name was never uttered. I think this is evidence of two things. First, Republicans want to run against her because she is such a polarizing figure. By mentioning her repeatedly, they are putting it in people’s minds she is the assured candidate. Or maybe she is just the biggest boogey man. Secondly, if thatis not true and maybe even if it is, they do not want to criticize Obama and risk accusations of racism. Can you imagine the tap dancing the GOP candidate, whoever he is, would do if he was running for president against Obama? It would be unreal. Not to mention comical.

Eric Bana has singed on to the latest Star Trek movie as the villain, Nero. Fan sites are speculated what kind of character he will play, but it seems pretty obvious he will be a Romulan. The alien race is modeled pretty tightly around the Roman Empire even down to the name of their home planet. It seems pretty obvious to me. This is the role Russell Croew, late of the Roman epic Gladiator, which sounds like another clue pointing towards Romulans as the bad guys.

Tom Glavine would like to end his career with the Atlanta Braves. His family home is in Georgia even while he pitches for the New York Mets. Glavine is 41, would likely only pitch a season, but would want upwards of $ 10 million. I doubt the Braves would pay it, but they would offer somewhat less. They need at least one more good starter and a decent prospect. But they will need some more power with Andruw Jones leaving. It will be interesting to see how the team prioritizes its resources versus its needs.

Yes. That was not much ultimately, was it?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Yankees Lose

If only that were an 1865 headline. Federalism might be in the dustbin of history.

Alas, it only refers to the much despised baseball team. The Cleveland Indians took game four of the American League Division Series and advanced to the American League Championship Series against the somewhat less despised Boston Red Sox. The series begins on Friday.

Does the Yankees' loss signal the end of the Joe Torre era? I am pretty sure it does. Torre managed the Yankees to world championships in 1996 and '98-2000, but has demonstrated a great deal of futility since those gravy years. I recall specifically how ambivalently the Yankees played against the Florida marlins in the 2003 World Series. owner George Steibrenner is definitely a "what have you done for me lately" kind of guy even in a sport full of that attitude. I imagine Torre is already gone...
Lost--Jack & Juliet

For the Jack and Juliet 'shippers, my most recent music video. It is set to "Other side of the world" by KT tunstall.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Britney Spears is No Parent


But i guess you already knew that. I keep writing about the whole Britney Spears custody affair (I have to stop calling it a battle since she is not really fighting.) because I am still amazed, even with my own personal experience, how family members can do such rotten things to each other. the latest mess really takes the cake, but it does fit into my theory she lost custody on purpose in order to be free and unfettered.

Spears missed her first parenting time visit with her sons last week supposedly because of a broken intercom? Well, it turns out Britney might have ignored the people at the door on purpose. Spears did not answer the buzzer because she wants nothing to do with the court-ordered parenting coach who will tell her how to be a good parent. Apparently Spears was aware that the boys were coming at 10:00 am and had had telephone conversations about it 10 minutes before they arrived. But when the parenting coach arrived with the boys, she wouldn’t let them inside the house. Instead, she just didn’t answer the buzzer and her kids cried in front of the house for 40 minutes. Eventually Kevin Federline’s bodyguard returned home.

Spears is refusing any help in raising her kids, even a nanny. Rumors are circulating that she might not even attend the Oct. 26 hearing`as well. Frankly, I do not think there is much more I can say about the woman other than she needs a good, swiflt kick in the rea end. I believe we have moved beyond therapy here.
WGA Sets Strike Date

The Writer's Guild of America will begin its work stoppage on November 1, 2007.
Return of the Sontarans

Jane Tranter, the BBC comptroller of fiction, dances around several either implausible or already denied rumors regarding Doctor Who. Among them, she refuses to deny the possibility of a theatrical movie (unlikely) with Billie Piperr (discounted), James Nesbitt becoming the Eleventh Doctor (denied), and Steven Moffat taking over as show runner (unlikely, since he has now gone Hollywood and working with Spielberg.)

Tranter does say David Tennant is likely to return for the fifth season even though he has not yet signed on. The fifth season will not air until 2010. In the interim, Tennant will play Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Reading between the lines, I suspect the nearly two year hiatus for DW was a concession to Tennant to allow him to take on the Hamlet role in exchange for another season as the Doctor. Nothing official says that, but you have to figure it given all the evidence.

Finally, the classic returning villains for the fourth season will be the Sontarans, the militaristic potato head race. Presumably this knocks down the farfetched rumor Ben Kingsley would play Davros, the creator of the Daleks. But the Sointarans’ return does not necessarily preclude Davros’ reappearance.

The fourth season begins spring 2008 after the Christmas special with Kylie Minogue.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rockies Soar; Torre on the Hot Seat

The Colorado Rockies defeated the Philadelphia Phillies last night 2-1 to complete their sweep of the Division Series. The upstart Rockies move on to face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Championship Series. Both teams have been a surprise, but the Rockies especially after being reasonably out of contention in the middle of September to beating the San Diego Padres for the wild card spot. Their rise was almost as impressive as the new York Mets’ collapse. They may very well be the Cinderella story of 2007. I think they have a fantastic shot at moving passed the Diamondbacks and making it to the world series.

The other big story of the post season is George Steinbrenner shooting his mouth off. It is a big story, but it comes as no surprise. Steinbrenner is always shooting his mouth off. This time around he has declared if the New York Yankees lose the Division Series—and in a few more hours, I suspect they will –he will fire manager Joe Torre.

It is bad form to publicly announce that before a big game. Torre must be a class act because if Steinbrenner had done that to me, I would resign right on the spot and let him manage the team. The Yankees are down by two games in the best of three series. No team has ever come back from a two game deficit and it is not likely to happen now. I would go ahead and quit so as to rob Steinbrenner of the satisfaction. I am sure some of the more unquestioning Yankees fans would blast him for being disloyal, but I think they should take a more honest look at what a jerk Steinbrenner is first.

UPDATE: The Yankees forced a game four instead.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Slippery Slopes

I was curious the other night when I criticized Bush for vetoing the expansion of health care for low income children whether other conservatives would sing a different tune en masse. A few have, of course, but pundits on both the left and right are drawing the conclusion the veto made virtually no political sense. Taxing cigarettes to pay for children’s health care sounds win/win unless you are from a tobacco growing state.

So what was the deal? Bush vetoed the bill because it would be another step towards socialized medicine and he honestly believes non-market medical care is a bad thing. I do not fault him for that. First, it is a stepping stone towards socialized medicine, a system which is inferior in many ways to a market driven system. Then again, so was his prescription drug plan passed four years ago. Now, old people vote and children do not, so there is your reason for that. It proves conservatives in general and Bush in particular understands socialized medicine is inevitable here. Neither wants the plummet to begin on their watch, but it already has.

I am certain low income families know they are at the very bottom of Bush’s compassionate conservative list. But frankly, not signed this bill into law makes Bush look like some mustache twirling cartoon villain. You know the kind who want to bulldoze an orphanage and put up a parking lot? Very bad form. I really have lost what little respect I had left for the guy which had been squandered down to the size of a mustard seed anyway.
Lost--"Letting Go"

I finally have all the stuff together to make new music videos with my now not so new computer. If you have seen the third season of Lost, you will get what this video is about. if you have not, humor me and watch it anyway.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Save the Puppies!

It is not as exciting a battle cry as, "Sink the Bismarck," but it is about the best PETA has ever been able to come up with. The animal rights organization, which once protested the PLO's use of donkeys in suicide bombing attacks, not because they were killing innocent Israeli citizens, but because they were using donkeys, has written a letter to Kevin Federline urging him to seek custody of Britney Spears' puppies as well as the children. Which brings up an interesting question: can Kevin Federline read?

They are barking up the wrong tree as usual. Federline can seek child support from Spears (Come on, you know that is all the dope cares about) but not puppy support. what would be the point of the added aggravation?

You know, I tried to slip in the phrase "Puppy Power!," in there somewhere just to make all the Scrappy Doo haters groan. Then I remembered I do not like Scrappy Doo, either. Oh, well.
Kristin Bell in a Bikini

Here is our latest hero in a teeny bikini:
Bionic Freefall

I am not the only one skeptical of the new Bionic Woman. The ratings for last night's episode fell 30% from the premiere.
Let Them Eat Cake

I am not an advocate of socialized medicine. I do not believe the quality of government sponsored medicine is anywhere near as good as that which is privately provided. I look at the poor state of veteran's hospitals and the status of many of our elderly stuck on Medicare or Medicaid as evidence we do not have-- and perhaps there is not --a way for government to run a health care system.

All that said, I am resigned to socialized medicine eventually arriving on our shores. I do not believe it is a bad idea in principle. Even as a libertarian leaning conservative, I think there is an obligation to help others, particularly those who cannot help themselves. In that vein, I was not terribly uncomfortable with the (more or less) bipartisan bill Bush vetoed yesterday which would have expanded health insurance coverage for children. you have to sacrifice some wealth now to preserve the future, folks. Take care of the kids.

Bush is as shortsighted and stupid in this regard as he is with most everything else. Listen to what he told a crowd a few weeks ago:
The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.
Spoken like a spoiled rich dude who has never had to rely on an emergency room or figure out how to pay for the care later. Nor does he seem to no how swamped they can be or how overworked the staffs are. No, it is billions for Iraq and not a dime for our ailing. that is just plain wrong.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bionic Woman--"Paradise Lost"

I expressed lukewarm interest in last week’s review of the Bionic Woman pilot. Things have not improved a whole heck of a lot. It has only been two episode—barely enough time to establish an identity –but I am already confused as to whether BW wants to be Sex in the City or 24. It does neither particularly well, but it does ape Alias in the fiercest way. Consider the opening gambit. Jaime’s fiancé is dead, but her friends seem completely ambivalent. Before she can deal with that, Jamie has to save the world!

She goes through the usual reluctance to accept a mission from the Shadowy Organization You just watch. Probably by next episode at the quickest, she will have nothing but enthusiasm for the dangerous adventure of it all. One bit I did not think was cliché for this type of show was the cheap, random sex a brokenhearted Jaime decides to have in the men’s room with a stranger. Tawdry, unnecessary, and does not make the character any more likeable.

Along that note, having noted homophobe and established jerk Isaiah Washington guest star was not a feather in the show’s cap, either. I did not think he brought anything to the role some other wage scale actor could not have. What audience group were they trying to lure?

Jamie does eventually accept her mission and winds up investigating a small town of 201 people in which everyone has been killed. Military men are everywhere. IO would call it shades of the X-Files, but it would just remind me of two things. One, Mulder and Scully did it better. Two, Gillian Anderson is hotter and more likeable than Michelle Ryan.

Were there any good points? The writers seemed aware things were lagging, so they included a scene with Jamie doing one armed pull ups and showing off her enormous boobs. I am more of a leg man and even I took note. But it did not save the episode for me. The BW needs to decide what kind of show it is and stick with it. Right now, we have conspiracy theories, secret agents, science fiction, romantic drama, and dramedy affair with Jamie’s little sister caught pot smoking at school. It is a sirdid mess thus far.

Rating: ** (out of 5)
End of An Era

After a dozen years in Atlanta, the Braves are parting ways with centerfielder Andruw Jones.

It has been a wild ride since the then 19 year old Jones hit two home runs in his first world Series game in 1996. since then he has won nine Gold Gloves and put up MVP numbers. But Atlanta needs the money to bolster its once fabled pitching staff, which has John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, and not much else, and resign first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is up for arbitration.

Whether those moves while be the shot in the arm the Braves need to make the playoffs is anyone's guess. But it is clear the departure of Andrew Jones is going to leave a big hole emotionally if nowhere else.
Touring the Slums

I try to have a good mix of posts here. I like to think of myself as an observer of the human pageant in its entirety. Such scope means I keep an eye on lofty foreign affairs and I go intellectual slumming with Paris Hilton’s legal problems. I do so because at the heart of all of it, it is the same corrupt human nature in action. Many bloggers and pundits arrogantly claim the former has more merit. I say poppycock. People are people no matter how meaningful they would like to think their actions are.

Case in point is Britney Spears. I do not give one shake of a lamb’s tail about her or her music. As far as I am concerned she is no talent white trash who got too lucky too fast. There is a lesson in that worth noting. It is the same principle that says some people, particularly of the liberal persuasion if you ask me, are educated beyond their intelligence level. In Spears’ case, she has been made a celebrity beyond her level.

Spears was ordered to hand over her kids to Kevin Federline by noon Wednesday. She took them out for fast food yesterday and dropped them off with Federline’s bodyguard (not even him) two days early and went out partying. You get the impression she wanted to lose the kids? I do.

Over the years, I have known a number of social workers. My neighbor became one. I knew several people studying for the profession in college. I knew one law school classmate who spent years with child services in Alabama before becoming too frustrated with situations like Spears. What it boils down to is a couple of people who do not need to have kids, are not mature or even intelligent enough to have them, but the kids are trapped between them. The scenario plays out silently all across the country. It is a sad state of affairs Spears just magnificently shined a spotlight on.

Hence wh I write about what I write about. It is not slumming. It is holding up a mirror to society and making you take a good, long look.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Senate Democrats Condemn Rush Limbaugh

Senate Democrats took time out of their allegedly busy schedule today to condemn radio personality Rush Limbaugh for his “phony soldiers” commentary a couple days ago. Accusations have flown from both sides. It has been suggested Limbaugh be taken off Armed Forces Radio while the commentator himself has claimed the whole brouhaha is to distract people from the government’s inability to successfully process the war in Iraq. As for me, I am just embarrassed about the whole affair.

I was not big on Congress condemning MoveOn.org for its “Betray Us” advertisement or even the condemnation of the Iranian president’s appearance at a Columbia University forum last week. I certainly do not think our national legislature ought to be wasting time blasting a radio personality whose job—whose only job –is to criticize one political viewpoint in order to appeal to another. I am not even talking about the broad principle of free speech, although there certainly is that. If you want John Stuart M8ill’s marketplace of ideas, sometimes you have to let Nazis march through Peoria. It is the idea that the government now feels the need to condemn people for doing what they do.

Some people think Gen. Petreaus was being a dishonest mouthpiece for the Bush Administration and said so. Fine. There is a good argument for that viewpoint to be made. I do not agree with it, but it can be made. I am certain an old warhorse like Petreaus can handle the heat. It would shock me to no end to discover he went back to Iraq and cried into the Euphrates over the accusation. I also figured the Iranian president (I am not even bothering to try spelling out his name or just call him Mammoud.) was going to make himself out to be a bigoted idiot and he did. So did a number of pundits who claimed he said all the right things about the “evils” of the Bush Administration and American imperialism. There was no point in Congress coming out and passing a resolution to condemn him. Why validate him?

That is what it boils down to. By taking a pointless stand, on three occasions, all it has done is offer free publicity and frankly, empowerment. Heck, that is a buzz word liberals ought to understand inside and out. Especially in Limbaugh’s case, having Democrats attack him is going to do nothing but solidify his conservative base and fire them up. Not to mention pointless actions like this are not going to boost that 19% approval rating Congress currently suffers.Can these bozos not find something more worthwhile to do?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Billie Piper Returning to Doctor Who?

Take this rumor with a huge grain of salt, since even the least discriminating parakeets will not poop on the News of the world, but the paper is quoting a BBC insider as saying Billie Piper will return for the final three episodes of Doctor Who season four.

Fans have been clamoring for her return as soon as she left in the first place. with news Noel Clark has some attachment to the fourth season, there was much speculation Rose tyler could not be far behind. So will the Doctor ever get the chance to complete saying, "I love you?"

Two answers: no and I hope not.

I have already written about the credibility of the source, but Piper has also been a busy actress since leaving Who. I cannot imagine she will fit it into her schedule which is full not only with acting jobs but wedding plans. Secondly, I like Martha Jones better than Billie Piper as Rose even if no one else seems to. I think adding Catherine Tate to the mix for next season is bad enough without bringing Piper back. I hope this does not pan out.