10.30.2004

Tarzan want to know

Why Blogger no allow Trackback?

10.29.2004

No shit, Sherlock

O the tales one could tell.

TV Bosses Lament 'Dried Up' Comedy Genre:

The programing chiefs at all six broadcast networks held forth on the sorry state of televised comedy Thursday, blaming a shortage of originality and an abundance of executive meddling.

'I think it's dried up. It's like a prune,' said Gail Berman, president of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Co., who pinpointed her network's own Emmy-winning 'Arrested Development' as an exception. 'There's nothing new going on.'

Berman and her network rivals shared their thoughts at the Hollywood Radio & Television Society's annual Newsmaker luncheon Thursday at the Beverly Hilton.

Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment at NBC, laid the blame on the excessive amount of creative notes scriptwriters are inundated with by network executives.

'I think the process of making sitcoms is smothering creativity,' he said. 'I think it's a miracle anything gets through.'


So don't blame us (entirely).

Just a democracy-eroding thought.

I see this in TAPPED:

"As a side note, one of the Fox hosts tried out what I expect to be a new line of attack emanating from the GOP and its surrogates: If someone is legally registered to vote, why should they worry about being challenged? Now, in fact, this is much in the vein of 'if you haven't committed any crime, why would you object to having the police perform an anal cavity search on you?' I think most people of good common sense can understand why it can be intimidating to have an aggressive, official-looking person sitting behind a desk at the voting station claiming you're a fraud and committing an illicit act. (Especially if that person is challenging your right to vote because the GOP sent you a piece of registered mail and you, not wanting any GOP literature, refused to sign for it. See this important story out of Ohio for the details on that one.) But I expect to hear this line a lot come Election Day."

Why don't the Democrats do this? Why don't they go into suburban, or rural, Ohio, and mete out the exact same treatment? Don't people in suburban, or rural, Ohio have a curiosity about how the other half lives? Sure they do! And here's a chance to live it, cost-free.

One if by Whiskey

Billmon is back.

10.28.2004

Gosh, the Red Sox

Because I know more New Englanders than Missourians (and the ones I know like the Royals), I was tickled by the BoSox win.

Who's cursed next? I think the worst thing would be a Blackhawks fan. That team might not even exist anymore. And they, too, have been close (ask Jacques Lemaire).

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis

From Kos :

"Jerome and I are writing a book about this very topic. Over the course of the last year, after observing the work of the party and the third-party groups first-hand, I am more convinced than ever that the national party's heydey is past. The third-party groups (527s, PACs, 501(c)(3)s, big money donors, think tanks, blogs, Air America, and our army of motivated ground soldiers), with their spirit of entrepreneurship, will lead the way to the promised land." Emphasis added

The right takes a Communist-cadre-like organization from the left. The left takes aZig Ziglar-like "Make it happen" ethos from the right.

No wonder they won't talk to each other. They're afraid of theft.

10.25.2004

I know funny

and this is not funny.

How unfunny is it? This idea has been done better by Art Buchwald, that's how unfunny it is.

More seriously -- that is, from a professional perspective -- the problem here is that Brooks can only write in his own voice. And he can be amusing/droll, if not funny, in it. What he doesn't have is the comedy writer's trick of changing voices. Why the readers of the New York Times need to be informed of that is beyond me.

Also, I hate Washington, so the subject matter is loathsome to me.

10.22.2004

Shout At Cops The Celebrity Way!

From today's New York Post:

In his most embarrassing small-screen performance, a bumbling Rip Torn stumbles and grumbles at cops in his police video from a January DWI arrest in Greenwich Village.

"You're an egregious bunch of bull- - - - artists," the allegedly ripped Torn growls loudly at one point, staring into the camera.

"Go to hell you guys!" the veteran Emmy-winning actor tells the cops. "Take these cuffs off! Let me take a p- - -!""


Remember: it doesn't work without the "egregious" (which is an excellent word to growl while drunk).

Tarzan want to know

How come Democrat web site no run ads in QuickTime?

10.19.2004

If there is a God

Why doesn't He tell us to relax?

On The Room

For once I can actually talk about something firsthand. The bad news is that it's the writers room article from the NY Times on Sunday. Sample:

Ms. Lyle's suit said that while joking about the supposed infertility of the actress Courteney Cox, one writer described her reproductive system as "full of dried up twigs" and speculated that if she tried to have sex, "she'd break in two."

It's all true, of course. The kiddie-table aspect of comedy writing is never more apparent than during a smutty room run. And even I was surprised at the writers of distinguished genius and accomplishment who enjoyed fart-n-shit humor, which isn't particularly my thing. (I'm a corpse-humor man, myself.)

Nevertheless: a lawsuit? My own defense of the rooms, in addition to the ones offered already, might be called performance-based. If you go into a comedy club to sit through two hours of well drinks and sex humor, you don't sue, no matter how much you might be tempted. Just so a writers room.

Note, too, that the performance aspect of being in a room can detract from the quality of the written product. A room that's too much about shouting and acting out is going to select for the extroverts and the former stand-ups, which doesn't necessarily correlate with excellence on the page.

I could go on about the room system but I am tedious on the subject, especially to myself.

10.15.2004

Vocab

Brad DeLong notices something:

"Dubbed... declaimed... reflexive... inquisitive... sustenance... enumerated... demeaned...harangue... munificent... straitened... divestment... sinecure... corollary... culmination... manifestation... constellation... amalgam... embodies... sanguine... impudent... reiterating... carapace... antennae...

We are going through the practice PSAT book. The Fourteen-Year-Old is only in ninth grade, but the only way to get good at something is to practice, and the best practice is that which is the most realistic. Hence having him take the PSAT now is the best way for him to practice for standardized tests in the future.

And it's hard to avoid noticing something about the vocabulary that they are testing. It's not, by and large, science or engineering vocabulary. It's not financial or commercial vocabulary. It's not political or quantitative vocabulary. What they are testing is the high humanistic vocabulary of the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section, of the New Yorker, of the New York Review of Books."


My reactions:

A) I have to do PSAT drill with my kid?! My parents didn't do no testing drills with me. Of course they knew I would get into good colleges anyway, because I was so weird. But still.

B) The New York Times Arts and Leisure section? Which "Sex and the City" articles is he referring to?

C) He's right, of course. Financial/economic vocabulary isn't that difficult, but one can look like a nerd even to Harvard guys by, say, referring to the satisfy/optimize distinction.

D) Actually, experience shows any specialized knowledge that isn't about pop culture is viewed with suspicion by highly degreed generalists. This applies even to useless specialized knowledge, like deconstruction. Far better to know about "Amish in the City," even if your crew consists of people whose parents spent $200,000 on their education.

Stewart contra Delicious

Jon Stewart disses the bow tie on Crossfire. (Via Wonkette):

"Stewart said that Carlson was a 35 year old man with a bowtie, and that he is a joke."

Delicious enjoys the occasional bowtie, so I resemble that remark, I guess.

But Delicious is a fat guy. We manage to make the bow tie look work a little better, I think. Old, nearly retired doctors also tend to pull bowties off successfully; not many else.

Work less

I have added a link to the Work Less Institute of Technology, and I add a hearty, anachronistic "right on!"

If you don't think we work too hard, find a happy lawyer.

What a country!

Fred Kaplan in Slate:

"For the moment, the combination of Bush's war in Iraq and his disavowal of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process -- which many Muslims see, however misleadingly, as two fronts of a broad U.S. war on Islam -- has gravely diminished the very concepts of democracy. Gilles Kepel writes in his new book, The War for Muslim Minds:

The word 'democracy,' preceded by the adjective 'Western,' has negative connotations for a large swathe of the educated Muslim middle class -- although that class was the potential beneficiary of democratization. The Arabic word damakatra, which designates the democratization process, is frequently used pejoratively, signifying a change imposed from without. This disillusionment is of course highly beneficial to the region's authoritarian governments. Rulers go from one international venue to another, insisting that they are favorable to reforms but that change cannot be imposed externally. ... Posing as the champions of nationalism, they wage facile battles against foreign imperialism while postponing any meaningful reform. .... The Bush administration's ineptness in the region could not have led to a more complete dead end.

NPR's Deborah Amos recently returned from a tour of the Arab states with similar findings. Reform-minded figures in Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia told her that they don't want Bush to endorse their goals or programs -- that association with the United States these days, for any cause, is a kiss of death. (Amos' five-part series runs next week on All Things Considered.)"


And to think that Bush wants win the election on the back of Mary Cheney. If people vote against Kerry because of his Cheney remark, which was lame, and in doing so ignore the evidence that Bush is increasing the numbers of people who hate us and wish to get us all killed, then we probably deserve what we get. I'm just saying.

Nonviolent resistance, Army style

Via Kos:

A 17-member Army Reserve platoon with troops from Jackson and around the Southeast deployed to Iraq is under arrest for refusing a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel, the troops' relatives said Thursday.

The soldiers refused an order on Wednesday to go to Taji, Iraq -- north of Baghdad -- because their vehicles were considered "deadlined" or extremely unsafe, said Patricia McCook of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Larry O. McCook.

10.10.2004

Climate fear as carbon levels soar

Really, though, read the whole thing:
"An unexplained and unprecedented rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere two years running has raised fears that the world may be on the brink of runaway global warming.

Scientists are baffled why the quantity of the main greenhouse gas has leapt in a two-year period and are concerned that the Earth's natural systems are no longer able to absorb as much as in the past. "

Human progress watch


Yahoo! News - Man Sets Record for Burgers in Mouth
:

SINGAPORE - Spurred on by shouts of 'shove it in, shove it in,' 19-year-old Ezra Nicholas set a world record by stuffing more than three McDonald's hamburgers into his mouth -- without swallowing -- at the close of Singapore's contest to be the world's wackiest.

Nicholas jumped up, pumped his fists in the air and shouted, 'Yes! I am the Burger King!' as he spat out the last bits of the 3 and one-fifth burgers that could put him in the Guinness Book of World Records.

'I just thought to myself, I've got to do this, I've got to do this,' Nicholas said. 'I'm on top of the world right now, because everyone's going to know that I can shove more than three burgers in my mouth!'

10.05.2004

listen.

I'm still tied up with my work job, but I'm trying to add to the karma of this link: The 101 essential pieces of 20th Century Concert Music.

10.04.2004

Lie to your Pollster

Honestly I can't stress this enough. Far too many people, not only the televised imbeciles but those who should know better, are reading these digitized entrails. In this way discussion of what is actually going on is crowded out.

Accordingly it should be our mission to fuck these polls up. An excellent outcome of this election season would be to have the polls lie shattered and smoking on the ground, thoroughly discredited. Too much to hope for, of course, but it could start with you.

Lie to your pollsters, everyone.

10.01.2004

My debate joke

Bush's performance was so bad I thought he was going to raise the terror alert halfway through.