Talking about comic books, TV shows, movies, sports, and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Teebore's Ten Favorite Simpsons Characters: Sideshow Bob

Hey, remember when I was counting down my favorite Simpsons characters ? In light of the most recent episode, let’s take a look at Springfield’s resident clown-sidekick turned psycho-killer, Sideshow Bob.

‘Sideshow’ Bob Underdunk Tewilliger is the best kind of villain, in the Dr. Doom mold: erudite, cultured, and intelligent; the kind of guy who could be a bestselling author, famed classical actor or renowned university professor, if not for the fact that he’s a homicidal maniac.

Despite (or, perhaps, because of) his sophistication and high class pedigree, Bob was forced to endure physical gag after physical gag as Krusty’s sidekick, forced to remain silent, communicating only via slide whistle.

His career as a frustrated criminal mastermind began when he framed Krusty the Clown and took control of Krusty’s show, transforming it into a kind of “Masterpiece Theatre” for children. Exposed by Bart, this led in turn to Bob’s psychotic obsession with killing Bart Simpson in revenge. From there, Bob engaged in scheme after scheme, only to have each foiled in turn by Bart (and, to a lesser extent, Lisa). He married Aunt Selma (planning to kill her for the money), ran for mayor, set off an atomic weapon, and tried to kill Bart, a lot, all the while humming a Gilbert and Sullivan tune or spouting off Shakespearean quotations.

Favorite Sideshow Bob episode: I have three: season five’s Cape Feare, when Bob’s desire for revenge forces the family to enter witness protection, season six’s Sideshow Bob Roberts, in which Bob runs for Mayor, and season eight’s Brother from Another Series, where Bob claims to have reformed and helps his brother Cecil build a hydroelectric dam under the suspicious eyes of Bart and Lisa (I wish the ending of this episode had stuck, with Bob legitimately reformed and over his obsession with Bart but imprisoned alongside his criminal brother nonetheless. I was disappointed when Bob had seemingly returned to his murderous ways in his next appearance. But I digress).

Amongst those three, the favorite is easily Cape Feare. I remember the first time I saw the rake sequence (in which Bob, tracking the Simpsons to their new home, inexplicably finds himself surrounded by rakes, all turned so they slap him in the face as he takes a step) it caused one of the hardest and longest laughs of my entire life. If I had to pick a favorite overall episode, that one would definitely be in the running. But that’s another post.

Favorite Sideshow Bob lines: You want the truth! You can't handle the truth! No truth handler you! Bah! I deride your truth handling abilities!

Well, if it isn't my arch-nemesis Bart Simpson. And his sister Lisa to whom I'm fairly indifferent.

No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it.

Your guilty consciences may force you to vote Democratic, but deep in your hearts you long for a cold, Republican leader who'll cut taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king!

"Attempted murder?" Now really, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Movie Review: American Gangster

American Gangster...American Gangster...American Gangster has a beginning, and a middle, and even an end. People talk, do stuff, want things. Other people get killed and beat up, and eventually the movie ends.
I've debated whether or not I should review this movie. It's not because I didn't like the movie, I've been waiting to write a review savaging a film. I was unsure because I didn't love the movie nor did I hate it. It was just there. And I'm not even sure what about this movie didn't click with me. It just didn't. But I suppose nobody said movie reviews are easy.
American Gangster is the "based on a true story" movie that follows Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) as he becomes a New York City druglord and follows Richie Roberts (Russel Crowe) as the straight arrow police officer who attempts to rid the streets of drugs. In some ways, the two men are mirror images of each other. Both are consider outsiders in their industry. One lives a good personal life but has a morally suspect occupation. One is moral in his occupation but has issues with his personal life. One man is living the "high life" while the other is struggling financially. I suppose all this duplicity somehow fits into some overall theme or meaning but it's all Greek to me. Or Ebonics, as the case may be.
The acting is superb. But with a cast including Denzel Washing, Russel Crowe, and Kevin Corrigan I would expect nothing else. OK, I mention Kevin Corrigan (better known as Eddie from Grounded for Life) because he seems to show up in a lot of movies that I watch. Particularly gritty gangster movies. But I digress.
Despite good acting and solid plot, nothing grabs me with this movie. It was, for lack of a better word, boring. Most people think this means there wasn't enough explosions for me. And while I do believe a good explosion can only improve a movie, there are plenty of movies I like that are not considered "action packed." One of my all-time favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption and last I checked Andy and Red weren't engaging in breathtaking gun battles and setting off massive explosions. (That's what sequels are for.) There are other movies I could list but my point is I don't need high octane action to enjoy a movie. But I need something that grabs my attention, and this movie didn't have that something. I suppose watching a gangster use shrewd business tactics and a sharp tongue to rise the to the top of New York's illegal drug ring only to head for a painfully inevitable downfall just doesn't interest me. It felt like Scarface without the action and funny accents.
In the end, I'm not sure if I'd recommend this movie or not. It was critically acclaimed, that's why I was excited to see it. But, despite the good acting, I just wasn't engaged. So if I was asked what my opinion of this movie was I'd have to say that it was just plain boring.

The Good: Great acting. There was also female nudity, which is always a plus.

The Bad: Missing that special something to keep my attention.

The Disappointing: You had rooms filled with topless women and they didn't make out. For shame. And where was everyone's favorite American Gangster?

I am 350 pounds, all muscle.

Sure you are Kingpin. Tell that to the two dozen Krispy Kremes your downing.

Drink to Best Accompany this Movie:


Classic, sophisticated, perhaps a little boring? I figure American Gangster is like an well-aged, unseasoned steak. It'll taste good enough (supposedly) but don't expect to be wowed. Nothing goes better with a bland steak than a fine Merlot.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Teebore's Thankful For

Ah, Thanksgiving, that time of year wedged between Halloween and Christmas when families gather, football is watched, food is devoured, and bloggers make lists of things they’re thankful for. Ever the trendsetters, we Gentlemen of Leisure are. Here is my list.

Heroes: Yeah, it started slow this season, but the last three episodes have been pretty awesome. Too bad we’ve only got two more episodes before it goes into Writer’s Strike Limbo. Now there’s one thing I’m not thankful for…

Marvel’s Essentials and DC’s Showcase Presents volumes: We live in a golden age of accessibility, when a plethora of comics from all ages are available in thick black and white tomes, crammed with countless comics goodness, all for under twenty books. There are more released in a month than I can possibly afford to buy, and that’s a good thing. It’s better than having all the money in the world and nothing to spend it on. And that’s not even mentioning things like the Complete Peanuts collections and DVDs of favorite old TV shows.


My Nintendo Wii: The missus and I are having a blast playing Star Wars Legos. And I can’t wait to download and revisit a bunch of classic games: Castlevania II, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Ocarina of Time, the list goes on…

Fables: Consistently excellent, month in, month out. Probably my favorite of all the books I read. If you’re not reading it, you should be.

The Comics Blog-o-verse: It is often more negative and snarky than I care for, but it can also be a daily celebration of everything that is awesome about comics, and about being a geek.

That episode of GI Joe where Cobra Commander uses a giant laser to carve an image of his face into the moon.

The first ten minutes of last week’s Simpson’s episode: For ten minutes, I was watching the best Simpsons episode in ages (the last twenty minutes: meh). It was pandering to my bias and I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as funny for non-comic book geeks, but for those of us who are, man, it was hilarious.

Rogue Unicorns: Sure, they’re fearful in and of themselves, but they help control the rogue dragon population by eating their eggs, so I’m thankful for that.

Finally, I am thankful for the lovely Mrs. Teebore, of course, and all my family and friends who are, for the most part, hale and healthy and reasonably happy, and a job that keeps a roof over my head, puts food on the table and comics on the floor by my nightstand.

Monday, November 19, 2007

American Movie...Classics?

As part of the basic cable package in my city, I receive two “classic” movie channels: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and American Movie Classics (AMC). They are next to each other on the “dial” and both purport, through their names if nothing else, to feature classic movies.

TCM is certainly closest to the mark: they air old school “classic” films, many of them obscure to all but the diehard film buff and most introduced by film historian and guy-who-strikes-me-as-being-an-awesome-grandpa, Robert Osborne. They run a “Thirty Days of Oscar” in the time leading up to the Oscars each year, and often in the catalog of Oscar wining movies they air are winners for more obscure awards, like costume design or production design, in addition to the traditional run down of best picture/director/actor winners.

Now, this is not going to devolve into a discussion of what is or isn’t a classic, or how we define classics. I am not a traditionalist when it comes to those discussions; as far as I’m concerned, “classic” is a term that can be widely defined and highly individualized based on tastes and experiences. There are certainly subsets: classic horror movies or classic westerns, for example, films that are classics of their genre but perhaps not classics when placed alongside the entire catalog of film.

Of these two channels, AMC is certainly the one that plays faster and looser with the definition of “classic.” Nothing is more fun than to see one of the movies they are playing and quip, “That’s a classic? Hardly.” But I’m willing to stick up for them, and for the most part, give the programmers the benefit of the doubt in my mind. Like I said, I have a liberal and circumstantial approach to defining classics. I understand AMC’s desire to both develop an identity independent of TCM (“they’re the classic classics, we’re the modern classics”) and to feature more modern, potential “hip” films, which might appeal to the more sought after “youth” demographic. Jaws? Well, that’s a classic. At the very least, classic Spielberg. Halloween? Classic horror movie. Mission: Impossible? Okay, well, that’s a classic Tom Cruise movie, I guess.

But of late I have noticed them airing at least two films that I cannot, under any circumstances, define as “American Movie Classics”: Tomb Raider 2: Cradle of Life and Catwoman.

Hell, I’m not even sure they are movies, let alone classic movies. Classic pieces of crap, maybe. Catwoman isn’t so much a movie as it is a make-up commercial and the second-to-last nail in the coffin of Sharon Stone’s career. And it wasn’t even successful enough that you could defend it on the “kids will like it” platform. I heard its total revenue was just enough for the studio head to splurge on lunch one day and supersize his #2 at McDonalds.

As for Tomb Raider 2…I don’t even know what that movie’s deal was. It was just horrid. Ask Dr. Bitz; he’ll tell you all about it. All I remember is that the bad guys had no motivation (“We’re evil! Mwah ha ha!”) and that the whole movie seemed like an excuse to get Angelina Jolie into skin tight outfits, then make her bend all over the place. And look, that’s all well and good but if you’re going to make a movie for the sole purpose of showing off a hot body, air it after ten on Skinemax and stop trying to pass it off as an “American Movie Classic”.

So, sorry AMC. I was willing to go to bat for you, but not any longer. Until you stop trying to pass off Catwoman: You Kids, You Like Halle Berry, Right? and Tomb Raider 2: Isn’t Angelina Jolie Hot? as classics, you’ve lost whatever defensible position you once may have held.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving's Looming

Well, Halloween is over. According to the last poll, most of you don't miss Thanksgiving either. Instead, most of you are just anxious to shoot your eye out. In case you were interested in what I was for Halloween, here it is:
I was Senator Larry Craig!

Anyway, whether the retail industry likes it or not, Thanksgiving is closing in and will occur before Christmas. As a kid I was never excited about Thanksgiving Day (aside from enjoying the days off from school). As far as I was concerned Thanksgiving was that lame holiday between when I got candy and when I got toys where I had to dress up for dinner and eat something that wasn't pizza. But I hear for some people Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday....losers.
Since I'm a vegetarian now I'm not very excited about the food these days either. But visiting with my family can be fun...sort of......sometimes.
Well, that's the subject of the poll located the left of this post. Vote on it or forever be known as the person who didn't vote on the Thanksgiving Day poll!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back to Back: Alternate History

Settling Accounts: In At The Death by Harry Turtledove

This is the fourth and final book in the Settling Accounts tetralogy, which is the third and final series in Harry Turtledove’s American Empire series. The entire series is an alternate history tale that chronicles events from World War I through the end of World War II in a world where the Confederate States of America won the Civil War and became a political power on the North American continent.

In At The Death opens with the United States firmly possessing the upper hand over the reeling Confederate armies. However, the Hitler-esque President of the Confederacy, Jake Featherston, has largely succeeded in “reducing the population” of his country’s African-Americans, imprisoned in numerous concentration/death camps (a clear Holocaust parallel). For the most part, the book deals with the race for the atomic bomb (or Superbomb, as the book dubs it) and the aftermath of the war.

I read Turtledove mainly for the plot. His characters, which exist mainly to serve as eyes for the reader on events as they take place, are largely one or two dimensional (with a few exceptions; for the most part, the characters that have been around since book one) and his writing style is simple and repetitive (annoyingly so, in some cases). In many ways, his books read like history books, with token space given to character development. This is fine with me, though, because I read Turtledove mainly for the plot (in fact, if someone wanted to write an alternate history textbook, jettisoning the viewpoint characters and fiction structure entirely, I’d read it).

I want to know what happens next in this alternate world he’s created. No matter how unlikely his deviations may be, it’s interesting to see where they lead, what ripple effects they create, and also, what events stay the same. Despite the differences, in this world, post-war inflation and worldwide economic depression leads to a rise in fascism and while the details are vastly different, there is still a holocaust during the Second World War. It’s that push and pull between what is changed and what is the same that makes reading alternate history fun.

I also enjoy the way Turtledove weaves actual historical characters into the story alongside his fictional ones. George Patton is a general during WWII in the series, but he is the aggressive and headstrong leader of the Confederate armies. Daniel MacArthur is a leading United States general. Also interesting to note are the fictional characters who are clearly analogues to real people, and the sides they are on in this divided world: the Hitler-esque Featherston, the Irwin Rommel-like US tank general Irving Morrell.

In the end, Turtledove is all about plot, and In at the Death was a suitable wrap up to this long, sprawling story. I remain intrigued by this world, and still want to know more. How does the Cold War differ in this world? What does the future hold for the Confederate States? Who will be the post-war presidents? I haven’t heard if Turtledove is planning on playing in this world anymore, but if he does, I’ll be there to find out what happens next, flaws and all.

The Plot Against America by Phillip Roth

If In At The Death is an alternate history text book, then this is an alternate history memoir (the main character even shares his name with the author). Phillip Roth is a Jewish school-age boy growing up during the late thirties and early forties. Through his eyes the reader sees the events of the world around him: the fear of his parents as the anti-Semitic Charles Lindbergh captures the presidency from FDR, the rage and frustration his cousin experiences at America’s growing friendship with Nazi Germany and its fierce isolationism, the growing family schism as his brother embraces the patriotic zeal of his opportunistic aunt.

This is, of course, a much better book than Turtledove’s. Roth is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of such books as The Human Stain and American Pastoral. This was my first experience with his writing. He has a tendency to start a narrative thread, and then deviate from it before doubling back to his original thread. I’m not sure if that’s indicative of his style as a whole but I enjoyed it.

The focus here is more on character than plot, and the alternate history is more a backdrop for a coming of age story than anything else (but then, ‘coming of age’ is entirely too simplistic a label for what young Phillip goes through). Roth does an excellent job of making the mundane exciting and keeping Phillip’s voice young and enthusiastically naive without becoming annoying and insipid; Phillip doesn’t always understand exactly what’s going on, but we do, and we feel sympathy rather than impatience with his ignorance.

The book’s biggest failing is the ending, which unfolds rapidly, outlining the titular plot and its ramifications by abandoning Phillip’s limited viewpoint and speaking in an omniscience that seems more akin to the author’s notes than the preceding pages. It’s almost as though Roth hit a deadline and handed over the outline for the ending rather than the ending itself. Some critics have called it a Deus Ex Machina, but that term is too over-and misused nowadays; instead it simply seems that there were elements of the story that needed to be told and Roth couldn’t figure out how to tell them using the limited viewpoint he had employed in the novel thus far.

Still, I greatly enjoyed the book. It tells a much more personal and limited story than standard alternate history but the characters and the situations they find themselves in are captivating enough. I am intrigued to further explore Roth’s writing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hip to be Green

Kermit the Frog once sang a song about how it's not easy being green. Well, that's becoming not the case. Now, don't get me wrong. Being environmentally friendly still requires sacrifice and self discipline. But being green has slowly become the cool and hip thing to do. These days, I can recycle a plastic bottle without people thinking that I'm some hippie that never bathes and frolics through the forest naked. (OK, that happens to be true, but I hate the immediate assumption. Get to know me first and then judge.)
I always thought that the only way to make being an environmentalist cool was by making the outdated slogans that are used hipper. Let's face it, slogans like "Give a hoot, don't pollute", "Only you can prevent forest fires", and "Please be kind, rewind" simply don't resonate with today’s kids. I figured using slogans like "Stop playa' hatin' the environment", "Make not starting forest fires your bitch!", and "" would really strike a chord with the youth of America. I was wrong. It really only took one person to make environmentalism cool, Al Gore. You heard me right.
Al Gore made being environmentally conscious cool.
Read that sentence again and try to absorb its complete meaning. Be careful though, your head may explode.
If seven years ago you told me that in the future being green would be cool then I would've laughed in disbelief. If you told me that in the future Al Gore would make ANYTHING cool then I would've slapped you and called you a liar. If you told me that in the future Al Gore would make being environmentally conscious the cool thing to do, then I would have had you committed. But you would have had the last laugh because you would have been right and I would have had to say I’m sorry. Although, I doubt my apology would make up for the years of genital electroshock therapy that you’d have endured. But a guilty conscience would be the cross I'd have to bear. Unfortunately, the inability to be aroused or procreate would be the cross you’d have to bear.
Anyway, my point is being green is cool now and we have Al Gore to thank for that. But I’m a bit wary of this. You see, I’ve been pro environment for a long time. It's not like I've given up all my possessions and live off the land, but I do try to do my part. And I’ve been this way long before it was the ‘cool’ thing to do.
Now, this isn’t a rant like how someone thinks some indie rock band is cool, and then the band becomes popular and that person gets all bitter that everyone else likes the band now because it makes that person less special or makes everyone else posers or...some reason. But speaking of which, what’s up with that? You spend all this time talking about how great something is and how you wish everyone could see how great it is but now you’re upset that people agree with you? Shouldn't you be happy that what you like is now popular and more accessible? Oh well, I’ve been guilty of such bitterness myself from time to time, so I can’t talk about it too much without being a hippogriff.
No, the environment is much bigger than a rock band or TV series and is not something to be petty or jealous about. I’m glad that more people are being environmentally conscious. I’m just suspicious of their motives.
On the one hand, it doesn’t matter why you’re being environmentally conscious just as long as you are. The results are the same regardless of motive. Who cares if you recycle because it’s the right thing to do or just because you’re trying to be cool? The point is you're recycling and that’s a good thing to do. However, what will happen when recycling isn’t considered the cool thing to do anymore? That’s where I worry.
I’m worried that this whole movement to be green is a fad. And that, like all fads, it will die away and once again, when I recycle, people will think I’m a dirty hippy that smokes pot all day and can’t get a real job.
I hope people realize that you can’t just be green while its hip, being green has to be a complete lifestyle change. If people make only a short term attempt to aid the environment than the effects will be minimal and we won’t be any better off than before Al Gore stormed onto the scene.
However, if everyone abides by these lifestyle changes and does what they can to help out the environment for rest of their lives, then I think we can have a positive effect on this planet and this generation can leave the Earth in a little better shape than how we received it. That’s what I hope for.
Of course, if being green does go the way of the slinky and yo-yo, then we can always count on Pimp Gangsta’ A Doggy G to make it hip once more.
Waddup yo! Big ups to trees, mad props to clean water, and recycling is nowhere near the hook. Word!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Few Thoughts on the Writer's Strike

You know what really grinds my gears? The Writer's Strike. As most everyone probably knows by now, the Writers Guild of America went on strike last weekend. Although it’s been widely discussed all over the blogosphere, here’s my take on it. No one ever said originality was a hallmark of the Gentlemen of Leisure…

Near as I can tell, the sticking point between the writers and the producers is how much of the profits of DVD sales the writers get, and some issues regarding compensation for “new media” (internet and cell phone downloads, crazy futuristic holographic downloads or other such things that haven’t been invented yet). Last I heard the dispute over DVD sales amounted to this: the writers currently get $.04 for every DVD over $20.00 sold. That’s right, 4 cents. They would like to double that, to $.08. This is apparently too much for the producers to part with. At a negotiation session before the strike, the writers agreed to drop this requirement in an effort to avoid the strike, and focus solely on the new media revenue. The producers still have yet to budge.

Obviously I’m biased in favor of the writers. I am a writer, and hope someday to actually get paid to do it. So of course, I am inclined to sympathize with them. But I try to stay open minded about it: I’m not witnessing the negotiations, I only know what I know through the media's filters (granted, most major media outlets are controlled by the people fighting against the writers, so if anything, I should be biased against the writers).

And I’m not some crazy pro-Union firebrand, either. I’m fairly neutral on the subject; unions can be good, and they can be bad. They do some good work, and were certainly necessary a hundred years ago when rich people looked like the guy on the Monopoly game and Teddy Roosevelt was busting trusts with his big stick. But they can also be corrupt, laborious (pun intended) and paralyzed by the weight of their bureaucracy, more concerned with their well being than that of the people they represent.

But the fact remains: the writers demands seem more than fair. According to the information available to me, in this instance, the writers are the good guys, fighting a valiant struggle against their evil fatcat masters. Granted, I don’t know anything about the specific new media demands, but I’m pretty sure that at least meeting the writers halfway will cost less than what the industry is poised to lose if the strike continues.

Of course, another factor in this whole debacle is that the actors (SAG) and directors (DGA) are poised to renegotiate their contracts later this year and the prevailing thought is that the producers are playing hardball with the writers to show the actors and directors (who, of course, are far more important than writers…) what they can and can’t get away with when they come to the bargaining table. If the producers cave to the writers now, then it’ll be that much easier for the actors and directors to get the same kinds of terms. So it sounds more and more likely that the strike will continue on for awhile yet, simply so the producers can show everyone how tough and powerful they are.

Then again, the last strike in 1988 went on for 22 weeks and cost the industry an estimated 500 million in lost revenue (and helped bring about that wretched finale to the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, largely considered the worst season finale in the history of existence). In 2007 numbers, that amount would be significantly larger, and the industry today, including DVDs and whatnot, is a juggernaut compared to what it was 1988. So the longer this strike goes, the more money everyone, especially the producers, are poised to lose. And the last thing anyone wants is that (or another episode of Riker flashing back to important events in his life which, coincidentally, all took place during the first two seasons). So maybe the producers will come to their senses ad wrap this thing up early.

In the meantime, what does all this mean to you, Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Couch-Potato? Well, the late night/comedy news shows are already in reruns; I’m sure you’ve noticed Jon Stewart suddenly talking about less than topical news items. Those kinds of shows are written and produced on a daily basis, so without writers they can’t do much. Next to go will be the soap operas; they generally work a few weeks ahead but not much more. Then the sitcoms (I heard today that several sitcoms like The Office already halted production) and dramas, your CSIs and Law and Orders, which should have enough new episodes in the can or scripted to last at least through November sweeps and into December, when they’d be going on hiatus until after the new year anyway. But if the strike lasts, chances are they won’t come back from hiatus. Heroes has allegedly filmed an alternate ending to their December 3rd episode that they can tack on so the episode seems more like a season finale, in the event the show doesn’t return.

Looking further into the future, some yet-to-premiere shows may or may not air. 22 weeks (the length of the last strike) puts this one running until sometime around the beginning of April. The word is that Lost has anywhere from 8 to 14 of its 16 episode season completed (or at least past the point of needing the writers) so presumably, they’ll be back on the air in February as planned. Then again, there is some talk that in the event of a prolonged strike, they may put the kibosh on the whole season, not wanting to risk starting and then stopping after eight new episodes when the strike still hasn’t ceased, meaning we won’t get any new Lost episodes until February of 2009! (Seriously, if this strike cancels Lost, we will have words, producers. We. Will. Have.Words.) 24, which was delayed by a variety of factors, has only 6-8 episodes in the can, and it sound like they’ll pull the season rather than run the risk of airing eight episodes and stopping mid-story. Mid-season replacement shows, like The Sarah Conner Chronicles, should air in their entirety, as they’re done and in the can. Of course, many mid-season replacements suck and get yanked accordingly, but it’ll be hard to get the ax when you’re the only scripted shows around.

There may be no award ceremony for the Oscars this year (someone has to write the jokes for the host, and the stuff the presenters read off the teleprompter) and if the strike lasts long enough, even the film industry could be affected (because films operate even farther in advance than scripted TV, it’ll be awhile before they run out of scripts, but it could happen).

But if you’re a reality TV fan, boy, are you in luck. The reality TV writers (yes, they have writers too) are not part of the WGA so prepare yourself for an even greater onslaught of reality TV. CBS is prepping a post-hiatus launch for Big Brother, and rumor has it NBC may pull some shows from their cable networks and air reruns of shows like Top Chef and Project Runway to fill airtime. And of course, I’m sure American Idol will be back and really, isn’t that all America cares about anyway?

The more I read and hear about this strike, the more it seems the writers are in the right and the producers in the wrong. Bottom line, the writers are hard working and generally under-appreciated; I don’t think there is anything wrong with their wanting some share of the revenue their product helps generate. After all, without the creative talent the producers would have no product to make any money on. From what I’ve read, a lot of the writers aren’t even striking for themselves, but for future writers, so that twenty years from now those writers won't have to go on strike to a get quatloo for every TV show we purchase and download directly into our brains. To me, that’s perfectly fair and reasonable.

It seems like the producers are quibbling over pennies on the dollar while poised to lose millions, maybe even billions, as the industry grinds to a halt, all so they can save face and look like a Big Man. Seems asinine to me. In the meantime, the writers don’t have jobs and we’re left with nothing but crappy reality TV to watch. And that really grinds my gears.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Greatest Game Ever Played in the History of Greatest Games Ever Played

"I figured you'd have to be living in a cave to not know about the Patriots and Colts game. That game is going to be wicked awesome." Scott McMullen, a resident of of Boston, Massachusetts and bonafide New England Patriots fan, said on Thursday, November 1st. "But apparently people living in huts in Somalia don't know about this game either!"
"The situation in Somalia is even worse than we thought," added Phil Martin, who hails from Evansville, Indiana and claims to be the biggest Indianapolis Colts fan of all time. "I thought it was bad when they didn't know it was Christmas time at all. But this Colts/Pats game is bigger than any Christmas could be and the Somalis won't even be able to see it! It's unconscionable."
On Sunday, November 4th the New England Patriots (8-0) will face the Indianapolis Colts (7-0) in Indianapolis for what seems to be football dominance. This is the first time in NFL history two undefeated teams play each other this late in the season. It has NFL fans buzzing with speculation and hyperbole. This football contest has been billed as "The Game of the Century" and "Superbowl 41 and a half". Debate has raged between fans and experts alike on podcasts, in sports bars, and in chat rooms regarding who will win. The latter of these places is where Scott McMullen met Phil Martin.
"If you told me two weeks ago that I'd be teaming up with PatsFan12," Martin noted, "I would've but punched your lights out. Yet here I am."
In an NFL chatroom McMullen (known as PatsFan12) argued with Martin (known as SluttyManningXOXO-M42) about this "clash of the titans" of a football game. Martin claimed that Indianapolis Quarterback Peyton Manning was the greatest quarterback of all time and would prove it on Sunday.
McMullen responded to this saying that New England Quarterback Tom Brady was, in fact, the greatest quarterback of all time. And when Tom Brady hooks up with, according to McMulllen, the greatest wide receiver of all time, Randy Moss, for 102 points the whole World would be in awe.
This was when another chatter by the screen name of GreenTeaSexpot52 (actual identity unknown) chimed in. GreenTea said that the World couldn't be in awe because only the United States would be watching this game. GreenTeaSexpot52 continued on to say that, for instance, people in Somalia have bigger things to worry about than the Patriots/Colts game, like eating. This revelation caused McMullen and Martin to join forces.
"GreenTea was absolutely right," Phil Martin conceded, "people in Somalia wouldn't be watching this game. They wouldn't see Peyton Manning prove his superiority."
"You mean Tom Brady," Scott McMullen corrected under his breath.
"Who won the last Super Bowl?" Martin asked McMullen.
"Who has the most rings?" McMullen rebutted.
After a brief scuffle and after a few bandages were applied the interview continued.
When Martin and McMullen realized that the starving people in Somalia would be submitted to the torture of not seeing the Patriots/Colts game they started the Non-Profit Organization of PPGGEPHGGEPIYDWWTGTYIQB (People for the Propagation of the Greatest Game Ever Played in the History of Greatest Games Ever Played and If You Don't Want to Watch This Game Then You're an Idiot or Queer or Both). Despite the massive amount of letters, the goal of the organization was simple. They wanted to send TVs and satellite receivers to all the residents of Somalia.
"Let's face it," Martin explained, "if this game can't end world hunger, nothing can."
"A lot of people are calling us heroes," McMullen added, "but I'm not having any of that. I'm no hero. Tedy Bruschi is a hero. That guy's wicked courageous!"
"He recovered from a stroke to play football," Martin said looking visibly annoyed, "big freakin' deal!"
"You've got no heart!" McMullen argued back. "Tedy is the truest of true heroes!"
After another, longer scuffle the interview resumed.
"Anyway," McMullen said getting back on track, "our organization is having great results. It even appears that we'll be able to set up a pseudo-sports bar for the Somali people to gather and watch the game."
"Yes," Martin agreed, "that should work out great. Especially since it seems the TV and satellites we are sending to individual families are reportedly being traded in exchange for food."
"It's so sad. Those Somalis just don't understand what's really important." Mullen began to tear up and failed to add that because of the large volume of TVs and satellites being shipped to Somalia the value for this hardware has decreased so much that they have become worth only a single maggot-ridden biscuit.
"This World can be so cruel." Tears flowed from Martin's eyes, too. The two men embraced.
"Don't worry Phil, we'll make sure the Somalis know what's important." McMullen consoled Martin, "We'll make sure the whole World sees how great the Patriots are."
"Colts!" Martin screamed back.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Christmas?

Alright, so the it polls have closed. Apparently the general feeling is that the Gecko is a bit partial to fellatio. Who knew? A couple of people have asked what really is going on in that add. I have to be honest, I have no clue. All I know is that ad haunts my dreams.
Anyway, the Halloween season is over. My favorite part was going to the store with Mrs. Dr. Bitz and looking at Halloween costumes. You could notice that at the aisle just beyond the Halloween costumes was the Christmas paraphernalia. The lights and ornaments were there just to remind us that we can have fun with that rinky dink holiday called "Halloween", but the true holiday, the ONLY holiday, Christmas, is right around the corner. (Thanksgiving who?)
I'm serious, if it was up to the department stores, the Christmas "season" would be 365 days a year. 366 days on a leap year. They'd completely fail to realize that despite declaring it the Holiday Season on June 15th, people would still buy the same amount of presents and would still wait till the 25th to actually celebrate.
But I suppose I should be more angry at the general public. The stores wouldn't do this if people weren't so gullible as to decide to buy Christmas stuff 8 months in advanced.
Regardless of the whys and hows, it just grinds my gears. The reason the Holiday Season is so great is because it only lasts a limited time during the year. Lengthening the season simply makes it lose its luster. Kind of like football. So that's the premise of the new poll.