Monday, July 31, 2006

BB All Stars: Janelle's Nomimations

Following exactly the reasoning that I outlined in Saturday's post, Janelle, enjoying her second stay in the Big Brother All Stars Head of Household bedroom, almost nominated Diane, which is what I predicted she'd do. However, she decided to go after a different so-called "floater" while making it look like she's targeting Boogie. Whether her plans work out depend first on the results of the Veto competition, and secondly, I believe, on James.
James seems to think that Janelle should abandon the strategy of picking off the "floaters," which, as I pointed out, hasn't quite worked yet, and concentrate on breaking up Boogie and Dr. Will's "Chilltown" alliance. I agree with James, especially since "Chilltown" is only two people, and all you really have to do to de-fang Chilltown is get rid of one of them. That would, however, leave the five "floaters," who, if they actually start working together, could potentially become the largest alliance in the house. I do think that Janelle is giving them a little too much credit right at the present time, however. They're not an alliance yet, just a group of five unaligned players, thus the name "floaters." The danger is that going after them aggressively could be the impetus that draws them together as a force in the game.
So, with Erika and Boogie nominated, things could go either way. It could be the end of "Chilltown" or the real beginning of the "floater" alliance, and James' vote may be the one that decides. I think that, in the end, James will, as he should, look out for his own interests even if they conflict with the stated goals of his allies and vote to evict Boogie.
Of course, the nominees may change after the Veto competition. Erika's already won a Veto once, while Boogie has yet to win anything. If Erika's nomination is negated, either by her or whoever may win the Veto, then Janelle should just go full bore after "Chilltown" and put Dr. Will up beside his pal Boogie, though I doubt she will. It's more likely that Diane goes up if that happens.
We'll see tomorrow. Talk to you later.

It Is What It Is

A review in The Other Paper puts down the new Miami Vice film as just "...a bad rap video," and the reviewer seems surprised by this. I can't imagine why.
Sure, Michael Mann may have matured artisticly in the years since the TV show ended, and may have made some good films, but this is, after all, Miami Vice, and if it were anything but an extended music video, it just wouldn't be.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

BB All Stars Week 3 Wrap-Up

This is getting ridiculous.

Never before have I seen one block of players so dominate the Big Brother house so early as the four returnees from Season 6 (Janelle, Kaysar, James and Howie) have in this year's All Star competition. Their reign continued as Janelle won her second turn as Head of Household in just four weeks on Thursday night's episode.
I would guess that she and the other 6ers will continue with their strategy of picking off the so-called "floaters" despite this ploy coming back to bite James in the ass when Chicken George came home to roost during the Veto competition and the fact that, so far, this strategy has not resulted in the actual eviction of even one "floater."
I wrote on Tuesday that the "floaters" should send the 6ers a message by getting together to thwart James' wishes and evict Will instead of Jase. No such message was sent, as Jase was ousted by unanimous vote. Perhaps the bizarre reverse psychology strategy that the evil Dr. Will is employing really has convinced his housemates that he's no threat to them.
I've written in earier entries about how most of the so-called "reality" shows seemed designed to bring out the worst elements of human nature in their participants. Thursday's profile of Will seemed to underscore this, with friends and family from outside the BB house telling America what a nice guy and good doctor he is in everyday life, while in the house we see only a shrewd manipulator and unrepentant liar. For Will, and other "reality" contestants, it seems that being cut off from society, even though that very society is watching their every move, gives them license to unleash the worst side of themselves and behave unscrupulously seemingly without consequence.
After the Veto competition, it seemed that, whoever won HoH, the obvious nominees were Kaysar and George, who had to agree to give up the right to compete in the next Veto competition in order to stay in the running for last week's Veto, thus renering them unable to save themselves if nominated. However, its highly unlikely that Janelle would even think of putting Kaysar up on the block and it's possible that the respect George won as a result of his performance at the Veto competition and ceremony may earn him at least a one week reprieve.
So who goes home this week?
To me, it makes sense to target Diane. Not only is she supposedly one of the so-called "floaters" that the Season 6 block makes so much noise about eliminating, but with the back to back evictions of her Season 5 housemates Nakomis and Jase, she's pretty much alone in the house, with no friends or allies, and most likely zero support for her continued presence in the house.
Well, we'll see what happens on tomorrow night's episode and I'll be back afterward with my impressions.

Friday, July 28, 2006

(STRAY THOUGHTS) Topic: Measure Of A Man

I saw a car commercial this morning that sort of surprised me.
In it, a man is at a supermarket checkout counter with his veggies and tofu regarding, with a mix of embarassment and jealousy the man behind him in line and his big stack of steaks. Upon leaving the store, however, tofu guy reasserts his manhood by climbing into his Hummer and driving off.
What surprised me is that in the commercials not too subtle subtext, it would appear that a car company is actually admitting what many critics of SUVs have asserted for several years now: That one of the main motivations for a man to drive of these big honking gas wasting monsters is as an attempt to compensate for having a small penis.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Network Viewer Grows Desperate

I just finished NY Times TV columnist Bill Carter's new book, Desperate Networks, which goes behind the scenes of the four major broadcast networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX) to detail how--and why--broadcast television has changed in the first years of the twenty-first century. Judging from last nights offerings on those very same networks, however, one thing has not changed, and that is the tendency of networks to fill their schedules with endless clones of whatever the year's hot show happens to be.
This year the template of choice is
American Idol and this summer, following the unprecedented success of Idol's fifth outing, there are no less than five Idol style talent competitions currently running, with four of them all competing for viewers during last night's eight o'clock hour. While NBC offered up America’s Got Talent, ABC countered with The One: Making A Music Star, CBS put up Rock Star: SuperNova and Fox threw in with So You Think You Can Dance.
This is precisely the kind of network programming “strategy” that has fueled the growing and ongoing defection of viewers to cable and the Internet (where I am glad to have you) or away from TV altogether, a trend that doesn’t seem likely to reverse itself any time soon--not if last night is any indication of what the networks are doing to win back viewers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

BB All Stars:George Gets His Game On At Last!!!

All right. So I said I wasn't going to write anymore about Big Brother All Stars until after the eviction on Thursday, but even though I don't want to turn this into an all BB all the time blog, last night's episode contained quite a bit that I want to comment on.
First off, The Evil Dr. Will's "I Hate You All" speech at the Veto ceremony ranks, for me, at least, right up there with Sue Hawke's "rat/snake" screed from the first series finale of Survivor as one of "reality" TV's great moments.
But the biggest surprise of the Veto ceremony was the guy conducting it. I, and I would hope his housemates, have gained a profound new measure of respect for "Chicken" George after he went all out to win the power of Veto and nix his own nomination for eviction. I told my sister as the season began that the main thing George had going for him in the game was that no one was going to take the tubbly, middle-aged guy from Season One seriously. This actually worked against him this week as it was pretty much the reason James nominated him. Kayser certainly underestimated Georgie in the Veto competition, failing to realize just how badly he wanted the veto and how far he was willing to go to get it.
Not me, however. When only George and Kaysar were left after completing a series of six progressively more humiliating challenges that culminated with them each getting their head shaved, Janelle, acting as "host" because Head of Household James was one of those competing, asked a tie breaker question: With 60 days left in the game, how many days in a row would you be willing to eat Big Brother Slop in order to win the veto? As soon as I heard the question, and sensing how desperate George was to stay in the game, I knew immediately what number he would write on his chalkboard, and I was right. Saying, "Heck, I'll take'em all," George turned over his chalkboard to reveal a big, fat 60 written there. Kaysar could only come up with 15, because, as I stated above, he didn't give his opponent full credit for being willing to go the distance.
Now that George has shown he's got game, I'll be eager to see what he does next.
As for Dr. Will, I think that he should be the one to go home tomorrow. Goerge and the four other "floaters" have the votes to save Jase, George's replacement on the nomination block and the BB6 alliance's newpick to go home this week. This would have the advantage of not only getting Will out of the house, but of sending a message to the BB6 block that their days of pushing the rest of the house around are numbered, as well as, as George's Veto victory already proved, not to underestimate any of the so-called "floaters."
I've also got some thoughts on who should be nominated next week, but those I will save for Friday after the results of this week's vote are in and a new HoH is chosen.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

BB All Stars: Nomination Analysis

Turning our attention once more to the Big Brother All-Stars House, it is time to consider Head of Household James' nomination for eviction. In typical Jamesian fashion, he has said so many different things to so many people that it is difficult to fathom his exact reasoning or true intent. One thing that is becoming clearer as the weeks go by is that, for James at least, the BB6 "alliance" of Kaysar, Janelle, Howie and James is more an invention of the other Houseguests than a true alliance. He seems to be hooked up with them more out of familiarity that solidarity. He may even be carrying a grudge or two from last year. There were really three factions in the house last summer--Kaysar and his alliance, the so-called "Friendship" or, as I called it, the Cult of Eric, and James and Sarah. Frankly, the Kaysar faction treated James and Sarah far worse than the "Friendship" did, especially Howie, who essentially sold them out when he nominated both of them during his first HoH week.
Anyway, James has put up for eviction Dr. Will and Chicken George and seems to have convinced Will that George is his true target, though even if this is what he wants, somehow I doubt the rest of the house will easily fall in line. As the only past winner amongst this summer's returnees, not to mention an insufferable jackass, Will came back into the house with a neon blinking target on his head that the domination of the game so far by James and his BB6 compatriots has only partly obscured.
While it seems that Will is James' real target, I can see the logic in his stated reasons for wanting to get rid of George. A non-player like George, the type the Houseguests this summer have taken to referring to as a "floater," could easily fly under the radar right into the final four or even further. Frankly, in BB4, Jun pretty much "floated" away with the half million dollar first prize, and BB5's Cowboy got as far as the final two without doing much except being a big cowboy hat wearing goofball.
Whatever he's thinking, James, although this time he's the one doing the nominating and not himself nominated, once again has a compelling reason to win the power of veto and protect his nomination. Of course, if the power were used, it would probably be to save George. The only one in the house who would even think of taking Will off the block is his buddy and business partner Boogie.
That's all for now. I'll have more on Friday.

Monday, July 24, 2006

An Uncontrollable Attack of Nostalgia for the 1990s

In the dead of night, or the wee hours of the morning depending on how you look at it, unable to get to sleep, I found myself listening to Jesus Jones' one wondrous hit from 1990, "Right Here Right Now." Heard in the light of George W. Bush's post 9/11 "new normal" America, the song sounds dated; as much an artifact of its time, a time long passed into the mists of history, as Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco" or other hippie-dippie odes to the summer of love, yet it remains that rare song that captured the zeitgiest of the era and summed up the national mood; a mood of almost ebullient optimism that seems almost quaint when looked back upon from the perspective of a mere sixteen years. Having lived through this time, I hesitate to call it a simpler era, for me personally it was a far more complicated and emotionally trying period, though it must be admitted that there was a lot for America as a nation to be optimistic about as we entered the final decade of what many historians had long called The American Century.
The haze of nostalgia that has already settled over the 1980s makes it easy to forget that the tough talk of Ronald Reagan's "cowboy diplomacy" had increased tension with what he termed the "evil empire" of the Soviet Union and, more than any time since the administration of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, war with the USSR loomed as a very real possibility in the hearts and minds of many Americans. Two graphic novels from the period, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight and Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, perfectly capture the paranoia of the era.
By 1990, however, all that had changed. The Cold War, that half century game of chicken between nations with the firepower to annihilate the world's population several times over, was drawing to a close and the good guys, as we saw ourselves, had won. The Berlin Wall had come down; the USSR was in turmoil and on the verge of collapse; and democratic governments were springing up in former Soviet satellite nations such as Poland and Czechoslovakia. It truly seemed as if a new era of world peace and prosperity, led by "the world's only remaining super-power," was truly beginning.
That feeling hung around for most of the decade as the economy boomed and it really seemed as if the most important thing Americans had to worry about was whether their President inhaled or if his girlfriend swallowed.
We know now, we found out the hard way in the very early days of this new millenium and century, that we were fooling ourselves as our relief over having survived and, indeed, triumphed in our struggle with the now defunct Soviet Union led us to turn a blind eye to a growing threat to our new found era of peace that may yet prove a more formidable and enduring foe than the old USSR.
As I sit at the Whetstone library typing this, the refrain of "Right Here Right Now"--"Right Here, Right Now; There's no other place I want to be. Right Here, Right Now; Watching the World wake up from History"-- floats through my thoughts once again and I wonder if during my lifetime I will ever again see the spirit of triumph and optimism that inspired those words.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Old News

The Columbus Dispatch has finally caught up to The Word From On High.
This week in her "Fine Tuning" column, Molly Willow touted the advantages that the merger of UPN an the WB into the CW has for the Columbus market, mainly that we'll actually be able to see the former WB shows (Gilmore Girls, Smallville, 7th Heaven, et al...) at a reasonable hour. Our UPN/WB outlet, WWHO (channel 53), has been pushing these shows further and further into the night until they currently air at 11:30 p.m after reruns of Friends.
Of course, I pointed this out back in February, just as soon as I heard of the new network, thus scooping the Dispatch by five months and putting me squarely on the leading edge of stating the blindingly obvious.

Friday, July 21, 2006

BB All Stars Update

Well, it looks like people who missed Big Brother 5 won't get the chance to see why I was so hot to see Nakomis re-admitted to the house this All Star summer as she ignominiously exited after a mere two weeks. I think that Kaysar made a smart move, taking her out before she really had a chance to get her game on, but I think it might have been better to try and bring her into the BB6 alliance.
The 6'ers, meanwhile, continue to dominate the game this season. Not only do they outnumber the remaining representative of any single season by at least two to one, but one of their number has once again taken the coveted and powerful Head of Household position.
What James might do this week there's really no way to say as, despite his being one of last summer's most formidable players, he never won HoH on BB6. My theory, however, based on what he has said to others and in the diary room, is that he's going after the so-called "Chilltown" alliance: BB2's Mike Boogie and the Evil Dr. Will.
At least that's what he'll do if he's smart. Will and Mike are really the only serious threat to the supremacy of the 6'ers, and thus must go.
I just hope that the dominance of the BB6 block does not result in Howie winning HoH any time soon. His first HoH week last summer was a disaster. He had the chance to evict the eventual winner (Maggie) and blew it, quite possibly costing everyone in his alliance the game and alienating James and Sarah. If Howie does get HoH this summer, I hope that he's at least more willing to listen to advice this time out. If he'd paid attention to hsi partner Rachel, the so-called "Friendship" alliance would have been effectively neutered right then and there, with its two main leaders, Eric the evil and Maggie, gone.
Oh, well--that was a year ago, and its a new game now.
More next week.

(Now, THAT'S Trivia #20) Whodunnit

At last, it's the triumphant and long awaited (or not) return of the Friday trivia question.

Last weekend, I was watching the first season of the classic 70's soap-opera parody sitcom Soap on DVD. Now, you may remember that main story of that first season concerned the murder of tennis pro Peter Campbell, who was shot, stabbed, strangled, suffocated and bludgeoned in his shower. The first season ends with Jessica Tate being convicted of the crime, though she eventually is revealed to be innocent. Today's trivia question is the same one that Soap's announcer, the late Rod Roddy, intoned at the end of the first season finale:
Who really killed Peter Campbell?
In 1978, viewers had to wait three months to learn the answer. All you have to do is go to The Answer Blog.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


"If you can't be with the one you love
Love the one you're with"
Stephen Stills;
Love The One You're With
Sometimes I wonder what exactly Stills meant by those lyrics.
Is it, as some of my more puritanical friends have insisted, a wonton celebration of casual sex?
Or is it, as I, through the lens of my multiple neuroses, see it, an invitation to settle for less?
So, what do you think?

Computer Warfare

It occurred to me the other night that eventually people are just going to get sick and tired of computer animated movies. As Rick Blaine said, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. Just look at the sheer number of them that Hollywood is throwing at us. Already this summer movie season we've seen Cars and Over The Hedge, and three more--Monster House (opening tomorrow), The Ant Bully, and Barnyard--are coming our way in the next couple of weeks. And if these do well, we'll see twice as many next summer and even more the next until the saturation point is reached, the bubble bursts and people start staying home.
One thing is certain....
The main reason we're seeing so many of these damned things is because they inevitably end up in the #1 box office position their opening weekend, but with both Bully and Barnyard opening on August 4, one of them is going to be perhaps the first computer animated film not to be #1 its first weekend. There can only be one #1, after all. (Me, I'm betting on Barnyard being the also ran. The ads I've seen so far make it look even lamer than Madagascar.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Lazy Blogger's Guide to Life

I'm just too tired to even think straight, let alone write a coherent post on any topic....but I still have the ridiculous idea that there is, somewhere in the world, someone who cares whether or not I update this damned thing on a daily basis, so I feel some responsibility to that perhaps mythical nameless loser to post something....
So, here are some links to stories on the Columbus Dispatch web-site:
The "these losers need to get a freaking life" story:
Yet another dead famous guy:
Article that includes the phrase: "... a suspicious bulge around his groin...":
...Aaaand my work here is done. Who says blogging can't be fun and easy?

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Major Announcement! Pay Attention! And Sit Up Straight!!!

Well, I was going to post the first of my Big Brother All Star updates on Saturday, but several factors converged to make that impossible, including the fact that all the PCs here at the Whetstone library were down on Saturday. Of course, the most important thing keeping me from expounding on the consequences of Alison's eviction is that I didn't actually see Thursday's eviction show.
All day Thursday the cold I'd been fighting all week was making a late round rally, not to mention that I hadn't been sleeping well all week. Well, I didn't need to be sick and tired for my meeting the next day (more on that in a sec), so after completing Thursday's entry in The Word, I went home, chugged some NyQuil and fell asleep listening to the audiobook of Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation. I slept for nearly twelve hours and ended up being late for work. Fortunatedly, I made it to my meeting on time.
The meeting, by the by, was with Brian Lindamood, managing editor of Columbus Alive! (the other major free weekly paper in town). Alive! recently began a program of publishing 6 week runs of comic strips by local cartoonists, and I headed to the Alive! offices on Friday with my comic strips in tow to see if I had a shot at getting in on that.
Well, Brian liked what he saw and my strip, Wasted Potential, will be running in Alive! There's two more weeks of the inaugural run of Phonzie Davis, then another artist is lined up for the next six week run, so my contribution to the world of comic strip art will begin its run in mid September.
Keep your eyes out for it, although if you keep reading this blog you can bet that I won't fail to tell you all when my strips hit the street.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Brief Detour Into Politics....

I'm puzzle by something I read in The Other Paper last week...

No, this is not my usual and, by now, tedious rant about how TOP is a worthless waste of paper and all of its writers are talentless, lazy hacks with the maturity level of a 13 year old boy. Actually, Dan Williamson, who wrote the column in question, is the onlyTOP writer I can read without screaming.
Except when he writes about the strange behaviors of Republicans. But it's the Republicans who make me want to scream, not Williamson's prose.
Last Thursday, Williamson related how the Democratic candidate for Ohio state Treasurer was virtually a lock to win because his Republican opponent was unknown and underfunded. It seems, according to Williamson, that Republican voters rejected the re-nomination bid of the Republican incumbent Treasurer because of her positions on abortion and gay rights.
That's the thing that I don't understand...
Certainly those are core Republican wedge issues that they love to use to lord their moral superiority over us ungodly liberals, but what the bloody hell do they have to do with the Treasurer's office????
I don't want or need any office holder, Republican or Democrat or Communist or Green or whatever, telling me how to live, and I certainly don't see how it's the busines of the Treasurer. It appears that Ohio Republicans, in some twisted quest for moral purity in their candidates, have screwed their party of an important statewide office.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Another Damned Obit: Barnard Hughes

While surfing the Dispatch site today, I learned the sad news that one of TV and movies favorite curmudgeons, Barnard Hughes, has died. He would have turned 91 years old this Sunday.
Hughes had a long list of acting credits, mostly guest appearances and cameos on TV, although he did star in two short-lived sitcoms: Doc and Mr. Merlin. In the latter he played the legendary Merlin the Magician of Camelot fame, now calling himself Max Merlin and running a garage in modern day (early 80's) San Francisco when he takes a curious teen who discovers his true identity as his apprentice. It was a silly premise, but the show had some good, and funny, moments if I recall correctly. For me, though, Hughes' most memorable role was as Doctor Proctor in Norman Lear's satirical masterpiece Cold Turkey, which is one of my all time favorite films.

Branding Hilary

According to an article on the Columbus Dispatch web-site today, the inexplicably popular Hilary Duff will be making a play for the allowances of her impressionable, naive (and taste challenged) pre-adolescent female fans (or their moms' paychecks) by launching a line of clothing and other items indispensible to preteen girls (though God Knows what they might be) under the brand name Stuff by Hilary Duff.
Catchy...but I've got a better name.
How about: Crap from A Chick Who Can't Act (or sing, for that matter)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pink Floyd's Barrett Dies

Although he was only with the band for a short time, and only one album, without Syd Barrett, there would be no Pink Floyd: no "Money"; no Dark Side of The Moon; no The Wall; no A Momentary Lapse of Reason; no enigmatic lyrics for stoners to endlessley debate the meaning of between tokes. Rock and Roll, and all of Pop Culture, would be vastly different and, I think poorer.
As the "lost genius" of the early Floyd, Barrett, who shunned publicity, became an almost mythic figure and although he is gone, his legend will only continue to grow as new generations of fans discover the music that he made and/or inspired.

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Reality" Watch: Rock Star: SuperNova

Hey, I'm back--rested and refreshed. Well, not exactly. I came down with a cold this weekend which I'm still fighting off, but I'm nonetheless ready to resume my self-appointed duty to share my ill informed opinions with you, the starved for a social life denizens of cyberspace.
So, what's been going on in the world of Pop Culture since I last posted herein. Well, Superman Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest both hit theaters, and on TV the summer onslaught of "reality" shows continued unabated with the debut of new seasons of Big Brother and Rock Star.
I will be going on at length about the goings on in the Big Brother house over the course of the next couple of months, so today I'm going to say a few things about Rock Star: SuperNova(That's the full official title).
One thing I like about RS compared to other American Idol style talent searches is that they skip showing you the audition phase and cut right to the meat of the competition. After all, there's only so many times you can see self-appointed entertainment industry "experts" delivering savage groin kicks to the hopes and dreams of naive and untalented youngsters before it starts to get old. RS also flies in the face of the Idol template by failing to include a snotty, pain in the ass Brit amongst the judges. (Maybe its because all the other "reality" shows have already taken all the jerks in Britain and all thats left over there are the nice guys--but I doubt that. The world will never run out of jerks.)
The advantage that this season's edition of Rock Star holds over last year's, for me, at least, is that I can watch it without feeling like some sort of ghoul. As I wrote at the time, I felt that the idea of INXS replacing their deceased lead singer in a televised spectacle that was more about ratings than rock and roll was tacky and disrespectful to the memory of Michael Hutchence. SuperNova, however, is a brand new band with no history or baggage of its own (though the three members, especially Tommy Lee, have plenty of history--some of it caught on tape and distributed over the Internet), so I don't feel bad about enjoying the performances.
By the way, am I the only one who noticed that the chick who sang "Pinball Wizard" messed up the lyrics. Dave Navarro and the members of SuperNova didn't seem to notice, but where the songs says,"...The Pinball Wizard has such a supple wrist" she sang "subtle." Admittedly, it's a small, nitpicky kind of thing, but it does change the meaning of the phrase in subtle (or is it supple) ways. Actually, "...such a subtle wrist" renders the phrase meaningless; it's nonsense. Once again, it's kind of nitpicky, but I'll bet that if Pete Townshend was watching, he was screaming at the TV, "It's 'SUPPLE'!!! SUPPLE--not SUBTLE!! You f****ed up me bleedin' song, you bloody wanker!!" (He's British, ya know--they talk like that.)