Archive for the ‘Telly’ Category

Video Fun, pt. 1 (PG Porn)

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

So, let’s say that you are a male actor who has had a couple of bites at the “leading man” apple without a whole lot of success. Let’s say that your buddy producer/pimp, let’s call him “Joss”, then turns his attention to an all-female lead cast with his latest project after having killed off several of your co-workers in the movie finale to your short-lived series. What do you do? Well, there is always the other side of the Hollywood Hills, if you are man enough. Maybe no one will notice if you just do a few money shots, but to be safe, you may want to dip your toe in with a slightly safer project…

On a serious note, Spike TV, the artist formerly known as Turner Network Television (TNT), apparently commissioned some shorts under the guise of “PG Porn. For people who love everything about porn, except the sex”. Nathan Fillion, formerly of Firefly/Serenity, is the male lead in one of them, and the job he does acting like a bad porn actor is pretty hysterical. Oddly enough, it’s almost safe for work:

So this is what happens to Joss Whedon’s actors once Joss is done with them. So sad! In case you are curious, the other video in the series is a bit more risque. You can find it here.

Your cable bill? It’s Comcastic!!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

For those of you who are Comcast victims from Hurricane Ike, check your most recent cable bills. Comcast is not automatically crediting you for any downtime you had as a result of Hurricane Ike. Instead, you have to call into the billing department and have them calculate and apply the credit individually. Wasting 15 minutes on hold? It’s Comcastic!! (713-341-1000)

Oh, yeah, they are also jacking up rates nationwide as of November 1st by 3.7% nationwide. We will have to see with the next billing cycle how much we get hit from this. On the one hand, there may still some protection left from the Time Warner separation agreement*, or we could get hit more as we “catch-up” to those Comcastic! national rates.

* I will put my editorial remarks into the comments.

UPDATE (10/29/2008): Comcast just released its third quarter earnings. They’re Comcastic!, too!

Comcast said its net income rose 38% to $771 million, or 26 cents a share. Excluding special items, the company reported earnings of 24 cents a share for the period, beating the average forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters of 22 cents a share.

Revenue was $8.55 billion, in line with expectations and up from $7.78 billion in the year-earlier period. Its free cash flow jumped 77% to $928 million, thanks to reduced capital spending of $1.3 billion as the weak housing market led to lower equipment costs for the company. Capital spending in the year-ago period was $1.6 billion.

Comcast now expects to exceed its previous free cash flow target for 2008 of $2.3 billion, due largely to continued reductions in capital spending. It reiterated its previous forecast for revenue and operating cash flow growth of 8% to 10%.
[..]
“It’s good to be a subscription-based business when times get tough,” said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett. “And it’s even better to be the only high capacity pipe into the home — in the overwhelming majority of markets — at a time when people are using more and more bandwidth, and are spending more and more time at home.”

With that kind of earnings, I’m feeling Comcastic! all over.

On the lighter side…

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

With all of the stuff going on around here, I thought it would be good to post a couple of bits that I’ve come across that I find refreshingly funny. Oddly enough, they come from Saturday Night Live. I gave up watching SNL at the end of the Dennis Miller (sell out) era, since the shift to more physical and whiny comedy just didn’t work for me. However, with the Presidential campaign in full swing, one has to respect how well Tina Fey can mimic Sarah Palin. This bit from a “joint message from Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin” is particularly funny:

I had heard all over the news that Ms. Palin’s interview with Katie Couric was “disastrous”, and the Tina Fey spoof is also really funny (especially about 3:45 in when they get to “the bailout”):

What’s frightening is that the funniest piece of it is less absurd than the actual portion of the interview it mocks. For those of you who missed it, check this out:

Yikes!

So DirecTV apparently does want us back

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

We used to subscribe to DirecTV back when they had the uber-cool HD TiVo. However, when Rupert Murdoch finally got control of DirecTV, he consolidated their hardware with a company he owns that also makes the boxes for Sky Broadcasting (his other major satellite television holding). As a result, when DirecTV said “good bye” to TiVo, we said “good bye” to DirecTV.

Well, time has passed, and John Malone got control of DirecTV from Rupert in an entertaining “raid on a raider” type story. For TiVo’s sake, one hoped that the DirecTV decision would be re-considered so that TiVo can keep cranking out a groovy little DVR that we’ve come to enjoy (after you swap the anemic internal hard drive for a 750GB+ one, of course!). Apparently, today was that day where DirecTV realized that without TiVo, their DVR sucks ass. From the folks at the Wall Street Journal:

TiVo Inc. on Wednesday said it has extended its distribution agreement with DirecTV Inc. by five years to Feb. 15, 2015, and the companies said they plan to develop a new high-definition TiVo offering.

Under terms of the agreement, TiVo said it will develop a new version of its service for DirecTV’s broadband-enabled high definition digital video recorder, or DVR, platform. DirecTV will pay a substantially higher monthly fee for households using the new high-definition DVRs with TiVo, compared with fees it paid for previously deployed DVRs with TiVo service, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.[..]

¬†Hmmm… 90+ channels of HD, inluding Sci Fi, for assuredly less than we pay to Comcast now. It may take a year, but this definitely bears watching. Who knows, I may even go pull down the creeping vine that has shimmied up the ground cable to our “old” DirecTV dish that’s mounted on our chimney.

My psychic DJ is calling for happy tunes!

Friday, July 18th, 2008

I’m in spring cleaning mode of an abstract sort. I’m sprucing up my mental landscape, trying to reduce my exposure to stressors of all kinds, including virtual ones. Research suggests that human brains are unable to distinguish between physical threats, abstract threats, and representational threats. What that means is that to some extent, one’s endocrine system reacts the same way to:

  • being chased by a saber-tooth tiger,
  • being chastised by your boss at work,
  • and being engaged in a “thrilling” movie,

…releasing cortisol, adrenaline, and other fight-or-flight hormones.

Stress hormones are helpful in the presence of an actual tiger, enabling a speedy attempt to escape, but unless you run away from your boss or scary movies, stress hormones simply take a toll on your system. Research has linked chronically high levels of stress hormones to a host of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and infertility. So I would like to produce less of them.

I obviously cannot prevent all stressors, but I’m determined to eliminate ones I can. I started several weeks ago by adjusting my entertainment choices. On the telly that means I’m trading high-suspense cop dramas like “24” for feel-good shows like “Eureka” and “So You Think You Can Dance”. For flicks I’m trading action binges like “Bourne Identity” for romances and comedies like “Pride & Prejudice,” “Music & Lyrics,” and “Barefoot in the Park”.

Now I’d like to make similar shifts in my tunes. So many songs are filled with angst or sadness or anger or longing. They were great for a moody teenhood, but don’t fit my current agenda at all.

Trout Fishing Big TroubleYesterday, I swapped out Fall Out Boy’s “Infinity on High” for Trout Fishing in America’s “Big Trouble”. That had me laughing for an hour, and humming whimsical tunes for the rest of the day. Now I’m looking for more!

Do you have any favorite pick-me-up tunes that are boppy or funky or cheerful or whimsical, that will make me want to dance and/or sing along? If you do, please share your suggestions!

Shocker rocker ending: Cook takes 2008 Idol title

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Wednesday night, I watched the two-hour American Idol finale with Amy (by phone). Actually, Bill watched it too from NYC (and he knew how it ended two hours before we did since his hotel room doesn’t have a DVR). Eight weeks ago, I mentioned that I was impressed by David Cook‘s Idol performances. Of the top dozen contestants, this 25-year-old rocker struck me as both the smartest one in the lot, and also the most mature performer on the show. I wanted him to win!

However, Idol is only partly a talent competition; it’s also a marketing machine for corporate sponsors, including Apple, AT&T, Coke, Ford, and of course, Fox. Their brazenly pervasive use of product placement is truly something to behold. This show is all about cash and marketability, and there’s no question that audience demographics determine the winner.

So, while David Cook made an impression on this thirty-something married lady, the 17-year-old David Archuletta seemed far more compelling for all the cute teeny-boppers in the show’s audience. When it came down to the final vote, Amy and I figured that Archuletta would capture the title, and consoled ourselves that David Cook is good enough to be assured of a recording contract tomorrow anyway.

But that’s not what happened. The first surprise was that the show ran long and our DVRs ended the SD broadcast with host Ryan Seacrest saying, “The winner, by 12 million votes, of American Idol 2008 is David…[click]”. Fortunately, the HD feed revealed the surprise outcome. In the end, with 96 million people voting, David Cook beat Archuletta. Woo-hoo!

If you’re interested, you can watch the finale recap and David’s final performance online at AmericanIdol.com. But if you miss these videos, don’t worry. I know we’ll see this guy again! Whee!!!

David Cook wins American Idol

Amy observed wryly that as many votes were cast for American Idol Tuesday night as in the last U.S. presidential election. But then, Idol lets people vote early and often. I only got to vote for president once in 2004. :-)

WFN…WTF?!?!

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Fishin'...in HD. Seriously.
With Comcast raising rates and testing the limits of how much we like TiVo vs. going back to satellite, I perused the lastest offering from Dish Network over the weekend. What compelling content do they have to entice us to switch? In a word, fishin’. Yes, there is now fishing. As a channel. In high def. That someone pays for. To watch. Sober.

WTF?

Guilty pleasures… David Cook

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

OK… I confess… I have been following American Idol. I even admit that I watched the back half of last season, too. It may sound cheesy but there’s something really compelling about getting to watch these talented twenty-somethings hone their performance abilities. I dig it.

David Cook, American IdolRecent weeks have winnowed away weaker contestants, allowing some real talent to emerge. One of these, David Cook, is a 25-year-old rocker from Blue Springs, Missouri. He’s fun to hear/watch on well-known rock standards, but his unconventional rock adaptations of songs like “Hello“, “Eleanor Rigby“, and “Billie Jean” are just phenomenal. I would love to see this guy win the competition.

Check him out on YouTube!