If the cable companies really gave a damn, they would look at changing their business… 2

If the cable companies really gave a damn, they would look at changing their business models and forcing the networks to unbundle all the channels we don't want to watch or pay for.  Stop forcing those of us with no interest in watching sports to subsidize Disney and ESPN and don't make us pay for stuff like the Golf channel. Let us create our own bundles for a reasonable price.

Cable companies want to ‘re-energize’ TV with new Silicon Valley research center
Cable TV executives are to establish a new research center in the heart of Silicon Valley to try to halt the emerging trend of “cord-cutting,” according to Reuters. CableLabs, a non-profit research……

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Watching the new Top Gear right now and the boys have come up with another brilliant… 3

Watching the new Top Gear right now and the boys have come up with another brilliant comparison test. They tested a trio of track day cars, the Caterham Seven R500, the KTM X-Bow and the Hamster brought a Morgan trike. They started off with a 0-100-0 mph test which Hammond insisted should begin with a tradition Le Mans start. I won't spoil the winner for you, but let's just say that the Morgan powered by an air-cooled V-twin never made it to 100 mph on the road course the boys were testing on.

#topgear #cars #caterham #ktmxbow #morgantrike

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Transmission – BBC Top Gear All the discussion from Sunday’s Top Gear «
And there you have it for another week. Would you buy the gorgeous Merlin-engined Bentley for close to half a million? Or willingly drive a three-wheeled Morgan down the A3 in a cloudburst? And isn&#3…

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The definition of original

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If a TV show successfully runs in Britain for three years and few Americans see it, is a remake original?

If the definition of original is “new, fresh, inventive” as says, the answer is obviously no. Nonetheless, SyFy channel is promoting “Being Human” as a new “original” series. While it is new to the American cable channel formerly known as SciFi, it isn’t even really new to American audiences that have been able to see it on BBC America for some time now.

There is nothing fresh about remaking shows from other countries with American actors and backgrounds. It has been done with varying degrees of success (mostly commercial vs artistic) for years now with the likes of American Idol and The Office on the popular side and Coupling and Top Gear USA garnering somewhat smaller audiences. Ripping off a successful concept goes back to the origins of entertainment, with most of Shakespeare’s classics being based on older tales retold. There is nothing inherently wrong with adaptation it if executed well and especially if adds something new when redone.

However, the way its typically done by American producers, original is not a word that should be connected with the practice. I haven’t seen the American version of Being Human and I probably won’t. The British version was a reasonably entertaining tale of a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost living together and trying to make their way in the modern world.  But did it really need a rehash? Are Americans too parochial to deal with British accents? Why not just show the real original to a wider audience here.

TSA Misses 12 inch razor blades while looking at Adam Savage’s tiny penis

Adam savage of the Mythbusters demonstrates yet again the ineffectiveness of American airport security theater. Like most frequent fliers Adam has a plan that he executes before heading off to the airport in order to minimize his hassle factor.

For me that includes moving all loose change and other metallic items to my carry-on before even leaving the house so that I’m not fumbling around in the line holding up everyone else. In my case I do it as much as a courtesy to my fellow travelers as for myself. I know I hate standing in lines and I’m sure others do as well especially if they are running late or have kids that may end up whining. But as usual I digress.

The nature of the work that Savage does on Mythbusters means that he frequently has odd-ball items in his bag when he goes home from the “office.” Fans of the show might get a kick out of such items, but airport rent-a-cops tend to have a less nuanced view of things. Prior to a recent trip to Seattle, Savage neglected to remove a couple of items from his bag before heading to the airport while he was worrying about the way his genitals tend to shrivel when observed through a full body scanner. He tells the tale about a minute into the video above.

You never who you’ll see in Yellow Springs

It’s funny who you see when you visit a small town in Southern Ohio. Jules and I went down to Yellow Springs Ohio on Friday for a yoga workshop that she wanted to attend.  Jules has been there four or five times before and never seen one of the most famous residents of this small town.  It was my first visit.  Jules went to a morning class on her own while I sat in a coffee shop writing.  After about  45 minutes I looked up and noticed this gentleman standing there.  I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pics but decided not to bother him further.  You may recall seeing him previously on his former show on Comedy CentralDave’s father was a professor at Antioch College in Yellow Springs.

What the … !

After storming into TV viewers collective consciousness eight and a half years ago, The Sopranos stumbled out punch drunk and not knowing when to quit last night. The first two seasons were absolutely brilliant with top notch acting and writing. Ever since then David Chase and his team have taken longer and longer between successive seasons as all manner of famous and not so famous actors have gotten in on the action.

In engineering there is an old saying that in every project there comes a time when you have to shoot the engineers and get on with the job. It appears that someone needed to whack Mr. Chase at some point and finish the damn story about four years ago. As the wait time for each season stretched out the result seemed to be that Chase was just trying to jam in too many meandering, pointless story lines. The Sopranos needed some serious editing, but most definitely not the kind the final episode got last night.

By the time we finished watching that final hour last night, it seemed like they had shot three or four hours of footage from three or four separate scripts produced by different writers and then just through threw together randoms sequences from each into a one hour episode. At the end Chase looked at what they had wrought and just said “Aw Fuck It!” and turned off the lights. That was without a doubt the most unsatisfying ending I have ever seen. For a series that brought us so many brilliant performances over the years along with exposing some great but obscure music to go out in this way was a disgrace.

Not the Daily Show 4

The other day Jules and I saw about ten minutes of the Half Hour Comedy Hour (I’m not going to bother with a link, because it’s not worth linking to), and boy did it suck!  if you haven’t heard about the show, it’s supposed to be Fox News’ answer to the Daily Show.   There is a very important difference, the Fox show is the opposite of funny.  Where the Daily Show and Colbert Report take real people and real events and hold them up to the mirror, to show how absurd or ridiculous they are, the new show had to resort to a really lame SNL style sketch parodying political correctness.  I’m not going to dwell on the details, except to say that it was typical of the worst of SNL, it went on too long and offered nothing to even smile at.  I’m no fan of politcal correctness, but this sketch, was just plain mean spirited and dumb.   Stewart/Colbert in ’08!

Ricky Gervais is a one trick pony 6

Jules and I watched the original British version of the office when it was on BBC America, and although it was funny at first, it’s a good thing that it only ran for two six episode seasons.  By the second episode I was finding it painful to watch.  The majority of the characters, particularly Gervais’ David Brent were fairly one dimensional and didn’t seem to grow, and you can only take so much of the situations he got himself into.

After The Office ended he went on to do his podcast.  The first couple of episodes were funny, but the next ten were almost identical.  Again, by the end,  I’d had enough and when he decided to charge for the second and third seasons, I had no problem at all unsubscribing.  Apparently enough other people felt the same way that almost no one else has tried to charge for a podcast since.

Now he has a show called Extras on HBO that is in its second season.  The first season was pretty funny, but midway through it was becoming clear that there was no second joke.  Now midway through the second season Jules and I have both called enough.  The last two episodes were totally unfunny, and without even a single character to like, we’re done.  I doubt we will bother with any of his future projects either.

Battlestar Galactica as a mirror

When I was a kid, the year after the release of the first Star Wars movie, a television series appeared called Battlestar Galactica. The show was not much of a success at the time. The effects were not particularly impressive, the dialog made George Lucas’ writing look good and beyond the basic premise of the pilot there wasn’t much of a plot. The basic premise revolved around a civilization of humans who lived on a group of 12 planets. They had created machines known as Cylons, The Cylons had rebelled and broken away from the humans. The Cylons attacked the humans and attempted to exterminate the humans. The rest of of the original series consisted of the surviving humans, escaping in a rag-tag collection of space ships led by one battlestar, the Galactica going in search of the mythical 13th colony known as Earth. All the remaining episodes consisted of the chase with the humans always making a narrow escape. Nothing particularly compelling.

Then came 2003 and the Sci-fi channel which had been showing re-runs of the old Galactica. They decided to create a new mini-series based on the original plot but with some distinct differences. The new mini series did well enough that they decided to extend it into a regular series. Unlike the original, the plot went way beyond the basic chase, battle and escape. In the new series the Cylons had evolved and some of them had taken human form. They were actually hybrids that were virtually indistinguishable from full humans. As such they were able to infiltrate and attack the humans from within. Unlike most such stories, the new Galactica actually included a lot of self examination. The characters are complex and flawed. The humans aware of the fact that they had created the Cylons, who were now trying to exterminate them, began to look at what they had done. They were at least partly responsible for their fate. The writers actually asked a question which few other shows dared to ask. Should the human race survive.

Galactica has become an allegory for the world around us today. The survival of the species is under direct threat from something created by the actions of the the threatened. In addition as the series enters it’s third season this week we find that the the Cylons are now not just machines but god-fearing religious extremists. They had been trying to eradicate the heathen humans, but now as they occupy the planet that the humans thought would be their new sanctuary they are telling the humans they no longer want to destroy them but rather they want to co-exist in peace. However, as in the world we live in today, the religious extremists regardless of their creed, while professing a wish for peace actually want assimilation. They will live in peace with us as long as we accept what they say as the one true word. We can live together in harmony as long as we accept their variation of god as the true one. Those who resist simply disappear. Arrested, detained, never charged, never given independent legal counsel, never tried. Much like they did in Argentina, in the 80s or in Chile under Pinochet, or as they do today in Iraq, or the United States.

The new Battlestar Galactica, is an exceptionally well executed television series. But it also asks some very important questions. Can humans survive? Should humans survive? Can they overcome a threat of their own making? Should they?

Too many kitchen gadgets!! 4

Jules was just flipping through channels and stumbled across some show on the Home and Garden channel where the hosts were going around some kitchen gadget trade show. I was sitting here in the dining room and overheard one of the hosts say, “You can never have too many grille gadgets, can you?” Well clearly based on this report the answer is YES YOU CAN HAVE TOO MANY GRILLE GADGETS!! Among the items shown was this device were you put some hot dogs on it and move it back and forth and it rolls the hot dogs. Excuse me, just use a pair of tongs and turn them. I have a fish basket which is very handy, because fish always sticks to the grille. With the basket I just put the fish in, do one side and flip it over to do the other side. fish basket I never have little pieces of fish falling into the grille anymore. On this show, the host said “your corn will never stick to the grill again” as they showed a corn basket. corn basket
I don’t know about you, but I have never, ever, ever had an ear of corn stick to a grille. Another problem with this thing is you actually have to do more work. You have to cut the ears of corn to fit in the basket. I just pull off some of the outer layers of husk and slap the corn on the grille. I flip the ears over a couple of times and I’m done. A lot of people in this country definitely have too much time on their hands. They are going to have a rude awakening when everything goes to shit.