Monday, February 28, 2005

Hollywood's most stuck-up event.... Zzzzzzz...

As you can probably tell, no I did NOT watch the Academy Awards. There really wasn't any reason to. Maybe once upon a time I was interested in whether or not a movie won an award, but I don't really give a care anymore about it.

Look, there's a basic reason why the Academy Awards were created... it was to encourage you to watch those "quality" movies that just didn't sell at the box office! You probably had more people watching "Spider-Man 2" than all of the movies nominated for Best Picture combined. And "Spider-Man 2" was a really good movie as well!

The people who vote for the awards don't vote for whom they think is the better movie, they vote for which movie OUGHT to win. It's all about culture guilt. They want you to feel guilty about going to see "Spider-Man 2" when they WANTED you to go see "The Aviator".

"Spider-Man 2" pays the bills. "The Aviator" cures the Tinseltown conscience. I can't explain it to you any more simpler than that.

Of course you do get the occasional fluke... "Star Wars", "ET", and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" are the biggest examples of popular movies that also ended up winning key awards. But for the most part the Awards are Hollywood's attempts to push you to go see those "quality" movies like "Sideways" and "Million Dollar Baby".

Isn't it funny that while moralists blast Hollywood for the supposed lack of values, the Academy Awards are all about praising movies with values?

And to get you to take notice of the Awards (so you can turn around and go see these movies), they have to put on this big extravagant show, so they have to bring out people that will get your attention. That's why I don't understand the hysterics over having Chris Rock be the host. He was basically doing what the show's producers WANTED him to do! They WANTED him to be outspoken and controversial, and from what I've been hearing about it, he didn't disappoint!

Okay, so the liberal tone is not your cup of tea... WHO CARES?? If you don't like the show, do what I did and NOT WATCH IT! You'll spare yourself a lot of grief and needless teeth-gnashing.

Remember that this whole thing is about Hollywood telling the public which movies they SHOULD HAVE watched. It's all about culture guilt. If you don't buy into it, then there's no reason why you should be watching the show anyway.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The new conspiracy theory about Memogate

There's a US congressman that is trying to give an interesting spin to the whole CBS "Memogate" fiasco. According to this wild accusation, CBS News and CBS ego Dan Rather were given the forged memos about President Bush's Air National Guard service from none other than the Sith Master himself, Karl Rove.

You see, this was supposedly all part of an elaborate operation to discredit CBS News and get back at Dan Rather for the ax that regularly he grinds against the whole Bush family. Of course there is no PROOF that the memos came from Rove. In fact, nobody knows who created the memos that were given to the Texas finger-pointer who then gave to CBS News producer Mary Mapes. It could have come from Darth Rove. It could have come from Rush Limbaugh. It could have come from Hillary Clinton. It could have come from Dan Rather. Cripes, it could have come from ME! It could have come from anyone!

But all of this is pretty much irrelevant to begin with! Okay, so it may have been a trap. So what? That still does not excuse or detract from the fact that CBS News ran with the story, even when their own experts couldn't vouch for the validity of the memos. That still does not excuse or detract from the fact that Mary Mapes contacted the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign office and tipped them off about the story before it was aired. That still does not excuse or detract from the fact that Dan Rather continued to push for and defend the forged documents as though they were the genuine article.

If these people did their jobs as they were supposed to, the memos would have been dismissed, the story would have never run, and the "trap", if it really was one, would have never been sprung. That is it in a nutshell!

There are people who get caught up in police stings who have no idea that they're about to get arrested. Sure, they may have some hints about something being wrong, but they're so caught up in the moment that they just ignore those warning signs. That doesn't excuse from the fact that they got caught. The same holds true for CBS News and Dan Rather. They got caught and now they have to pay the price.

By the way, I'm told that the three CBS executives who were "asked" to resign have instead retained attorneys. They feel that they did nothing wrong and are being made scapegoats for Dan Rather. Well I hate to break it to you, but, yes, you are! That's what underlings are there for! And at least you were ASKED. Producer Mary Mapes was just canned outright. So go ahead, fight away. You'll probably get offered a more generous settlement package for your troubles, but you won't get your jobs back. THE EGO that is Dan Rather needs his scapegoat, and guess what? You're it!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Online peeve: failure to update

This is something that has really bugged me online... the failure of certain people to update in a timely manner.

One of the big things about doing my commentary site was that I wanted people to know that I was going to have fresh material up on a regular basis. And I do that with a firm deadline that I have set for myself. I set midnight on Sunday as the deadline for getting a new column up. Sure I have had to push the deadline by several hours (or even a whole day) on a few occasions, but the midnight deadline has remained firm. And aside from the month-long period of time before Christmas when I take the holidays off to retool the website, I strive to keep that deadline.

But it really bugs me when you have a few websites that don't keep up with things that go on. And I'm not just talking about your amateur website... It's understandable when you have a fan site that isn't up with all of the immediate nuances. Those people have jobs and bills to pay. I'm talking about websites set up by big companies. The websites where this stuff actually IS their job!

I have two examples that should show you what I mean...

Cartoon Network: Okay, I'm a big "Justice League" fan. I'll admit it. But their JLU website SUCKS! They've been running new episodes for weeks now and they haven't introduced them to their web page. In fact their web page looks pretty much like it did when they first put it up! The same limited number of character bios (from the first episode no less), the same episode guide, and the same links to online games based on the show. Come on guys! I know you guys don't really give a frell about the show... you're just keeping the whole series going because of the strong fan support. That's pretty much a given. But that's still no excuse for you to neglect the website! Get some new info up there!

NBC's The Apprentice 3: Yes they're quick on the episode updates, which is a plus, but there are a couple of parts that they are lagging in. Specifically the commentary section. It's one thing to have a former contestant give a weekly comment on the current show and be late by a day or two... it's another thing entirely to have two former contestants and have them BOTH be late for comments by as much as a week. That's just inexcusable, because either they're both late, or else the webmaster just doesn't give a damn, and that's just unprofessional. Also, why is it that only the video clips that get aired are of the firings? Show some other stuff about the episode... or at least something special about the episode. At least give us a VIDEO clip of what to expect next week!

Now compare that to CBS and their various reality TV sites and you'll see it done RIGHT. You have behind-the-scene segments, you have graphs and charts and a listing of challenges performed and who won those challenges. And they're pretty much up-to-date! They don't lollygag around for a week or two before deciding to put something up.

Like I said, I wouldn't mind too much if these were amateur websites done by avid fans. But clearly even the avid fans are doing a better job at these than the so-called "professional" webmasters! These guys need to get their acts together!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Senator Doth Protest Too Much!

So Senator Harry Reid, the MINORITY leader for the gang of 100, is DEMANDING that President Bush pipe down the GOP spin machine being churned against him. He objects to the GOP spin machine painting him as the "chief obstructionist" in the Congress, and he is DEMANDING that Bush Junior - as the highest elected Republican in America - do something about it.

Sorry, senator, but you're pleading your case to the wrong person. You need to stop dealing with the apprentice and take it up with the sith master himself, Karl Rove.

Oh, wait a minute... asking Rove about the "obstructionist" comment is like Red Riding Hood asking the wolf what happened to grandma.

But truth be told, Reid should be glad that being branded an "obstructionist" is ALL that he is accused of. I mean, isn't that what Reid said he would be doing when he gave his various rebuttals and "pre-buttals" to the President's State of the Union speech? Remember that bit about holding the President accountable, senator? Those were your words, right?

And in all fairness, how many times have there been liberal attacks against Bush Junior? How many different ways has he been mis-characterized? Sometimes he's seen as the most evil, devious, manipulative, tyrannical man on the face of the planet. Other times, he's seen as simple-minded. A clueless buffoon. He's even been seen as an immature child. A father of two adult college-age women being seen as a child!

So truthfully, the senator is getting off pretty light by just being branded an "obstructionist".

Let's face it, folks, the political world has become a game of no holds barred smashmouth football. Bring your padding and be sure to wear a cup. We're just a couple of buzzwords away from all-out brawling on the floor of Congress, so now is definitely NOT the time to talk about being "slighted". If the senator doesn't like the pressure, then he should never have accepted the job title of MINORITY Leader.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Will the censors act?

Watched the Super Bowl the other day, and I have to give Fox credit for a good show.

Few thoughts:

* I liked the opening ceremony with the military and the veterans of World War II and the joint efforts of the armed forces to sing the national anthem.

* Now, amidst all of the pomp and ceremony, did anyone notice the thing that did not belong there? There was someone in that group that basically had no reason to be there. Here's a hint: he's got grey hair, he's from Arkansas, he's been kissing a lot of UN butt of late, and he never served in the armed forces. Oh, and once upon a time he was impeached. Okay, that were some big hints, but you should figure this one out.

* Halftime was predictably clean... When you have Sir Paul McCartney on stage, you know you're not going to have any wardrobe malfunctions or anything like that. And that's fine. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the guy, but I have to wonder why the NFL even bothers with a big halftime production anyway? Come to think of it, the pre-show production is just as lame, and they don't really need to have that going anyway.

* The minute I saw Paul up on stage with just a guitar my first though was "Oh geez, Ashlee Simpson all over again!"

* Kudos to Fox for pulling the plug on that whole post-game "groups are more important than individuals" speech that the Patriots owner was about to lay on America. That really wasn't needed or called for. The team may have done a superb job of shutting down Donovan McNabb and company, but they're a team of individuals who knew what they had to do and they did it!

And now the list:

Sure, most of the commercials were squeaky clean, and some of them were even cute. Budweiser did a great job with the commercial with the servicemen showing up at the airport and getting a standing ovation from the passengers. Definitely the best of the best.

BUT... there were some commercials that I have a feeling that the Parents Television Council, the self-appointed grand mullahs of moralism, are going to declare jihad over.

Here's the list of commercials by sponsors...

Tobasco: Attractive girl in a bikini full of Tobasco images walks around on the beach, comes home, shakes a few drops of Tobasco sauce in her shrimp dip, takes a sample, then pulls her top partly to one side to show she got an under-suit sunburn. You know the PTC will declare the girl in the bikini to be offensive! Girl in halter top and jeans testifies in front of the Censorship Committee about what she would like to do in a commercial when her spaghetti-string top pops off in an apparent "wardrobe malfunction". But she doesn't stop, she simply gyrates around while the censors gasp for oxygen. I'm pretty sure the PTC will object to the characterization of their efforts as being a bunch of old farts. It's a far greater sin to challenge the censor than it is to question their decisions. That and the girl and how she is dressed.

FX: Yes, Fox's own cable channel. Why? Because they put a promo out for "The Shield", which is an "M"-rated show! The PTC has been trying to get rid of that show since day one, even though it airs at 10pm. Oh sure the promo is clean, but that doesn't matter. Moralists do not want ANY mention of a program they object to! EVER! The only news that they EVER want to publicly hear about a show they object to is its cancellation. They certainly don't want to hear a commercial asking people to WATCH the show!

And finally,

Ameritrades: The commercial about the kitty spilling over the tomato sauce and the conclusion the guy's wife makes when she walks in. Remember that the implication of violence is just as bad as showing violence according to moralists.

So I guess we'll just find out which commercial gets the PTC's official campaign of censorship.

Stay tuned....

UPDATE: It turns out that the folks at GoDaddy got the first slap of censorship. After visiting the website (which does domain registrations, in case you're wondering), I found out that there was a SECOND ad that was supposed to air at the 2-minute warning of the fourth quarter.

Fox was supposedly ordered by the National Football League to pull the ad.

So it turns out that the golden rule of not ridiculing censors does apply here. Shame on Fox and shame on the NFL for being the censorship pricks they are! You folks are each due one bitch-slap.

Friday, February 04, 2005

SOTU thoughts

Hey folks... just wanted to give a few thoughts about the State Of The Union speech.

First, sorry, but I didn't do a freedom count this year. By the time I finished my rant for the week, Bush Junior was already into his little speech. But if I did one, it probably would still show Bush Junior uttering words like "freedom" and "liberty" more times than the Democrats ever could in both their rebuttal and their various "pre-buttals".

Oh, by the way, I hope you do check out this week's rant, which talks about the Democrats and their asinine "pre-buttal" arguments.

Second... Bush Junior flipped the talk around. Normally he would talk about world affairs, and then get into domestic agendas. Now he starts with the domestic agenda and then ends with world affairs. Since he puts his greatest emphasis on what he starts out with, I can imagine Social Security will be his new crusade... as long as nobody gets him started on gay marriage again.

It's nice to see Bush Junior actually lay out the problem with Social Security in a way that people can understand. They may not like it, but it IS going broke. It HAS BEEN going broke for quite some time. It's just that nobody wants to mess with it because they don't want to cross the old fart mafia, otherwise known as the AARP.

Booing and hissing the President certainly is disrespectful, but it beats the legislative process in other countries where outright brawls start.

So now we have the War on Gangs, huh? Great... Let's add that to the War on Muslim Terror, the War on Corporate Scandals, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the War on AIDS, the War on Stupid School Students, the War on Indecency (see also FCC), the War on Steroids, the War on Smoking, the War on DUI... and the War on anything else that hasn't been declared "war" on yet.

Now I know why Republicans are obsessed with the early 1950's... back then there were only TWO wars... the Cold War and the Korean War.

The only "War" I ever want to be interested in is the "war" on stupid politicians who can't resolve any problem without putting the word "war" in front of it.

"Activist judges"... right! The only reason why there are "activist judges" is because of irresponsible "activist politicians" who forget to obey the US Constitution. When the President and Congress stop giving lip service to the Constitution and start obeying it like they they were the Ten Commandments, then you wouldn't see any more "activist judges".

And now the world front...

Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria... you guys were just put on notice, in case you weren't paying attention. Clean up your act or Bush Junior will start nosing in your affairs. His people are already talking about a "regime change" for Iran... and the last time those words were uttered, the bombs ended up falling.

Nice touch with the "purple-finger people".

By the way, is it me, or did every time Bush Junior introduced someone else in the peanut gallery, you started to hear the original theme song for the "Tonight Show"? I was waiting for Bush Junior to mime a golf swing while VP Cheney lets out a hearty "Ho!" Or maybe it was just because it was too close to the death of Johnny Carson.

And now the Democratic response... pathetic.

Seriously. At least they put Senator Reid up first so they wouldn't scare the children! My god, people... Nancy Pelosi looked like she had botox right after electroshock therapy! Her face was rigidly locked in a smile! Somebody call Batman, the Joker hit the House Minority Leader with Joker Gas!

"We will hold the president accountable." Yeah, right. You Dems can't hold YOURSELVES accountable! You let talk radio and the GOP define who and what your party stands for and then you wonder why you lose elections!

And, you know, Social Security wouldn't BE a problem if you guys didn't use it as your rainy day slush fund as you have been doing for the past few decades. You've been bleeding the pot dry all this time, and now you want to talk about RISKS?

Oh, by the way, did you know that members of Congress are EXEMPT from having to pay into or receive anything from Social Security? Yeah, that's somthine that Reid and Pelosi never mention to the great unwashed. They have their own cushy PRIVATE retirement system that will ensure that they retire in luxury. Meanwhile, they're busy scaring the crap out of your grandmother, who worries about whether she'll have enough money for either food or medication. The only risky scheme being played out is from Reid and Pelosi.

Look, the system is broke. It's been broke since Congress decided to stick their greedy little pork-laden hooves into the system before it was mature enough to be self-sufficient. That's decades of corruption and greed. Every attempt to "save" Social Security as is only served to bide time. It needs to be FIXED... and it needs to be fixed NOW, not when it is too expensive to do anything about it.

All in all, I wasn't really thrilled by the SOTU... but it is still important that people listen to them. After all, this is what the White House will be bitching about for the rest of the year.