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First of all, let me apologize for my lack of posting in this fine month of August.  I realize that many of you rely on for your daily dose of propaganda, intellectual stimulation, humor and mirth, and so I profusely apologize for the acute absence of said things this past week.  (Especially the mirth)

This blog is going to be a bit of a scattered catch-up (as opposed to a Catsup or Ketchup).

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And Thus We Were Manipulated

And Thus We Were Manipulated
Why Mormon Pop Music and CES Videos Bug Me

A while ago, on my way home from church, I was listening to a mix CD of Sunday music. When the song “His Hands” came on, I quickly pressed the next button, but unfortunately it was too late… the other person in my car had identified the tune. “I LOVE that song… why did you change it?” they said. So I was forced to go back and let them listen to it.

It took the rest of the trip home to try and explain the following:

Growing up, I listened to a lot of Mormon pop music. A lot. It mostly grew out of the fact that I often sang in church, so I tended to listen for new material, and to be part of that universe. I was practically an authority on all things Perry or Cope.

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If You Got It, Please Refrain from Flaunting It

There’s an old saying:

If you got it, flaunt it.

Well, friends, countrymen (and especially countrywomen in this case), in today’s blog I am going to make a case why if you got it, please refrain from flaunting it.

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The Best Acceptance Speech Ever

Having been interested in the entertainment industry for most of my teenage and adult life, I have watched more than a healthy dose of Awards shows.  Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like some nice industry self-backpatting to really get me going…

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The Future of Digital Media

TV, Movies, and Music have undergone major changes in the last decade, a revolution brought on by high quality digital compression (mpeg 3 and mpeg 4), which have made high quality video and audio a reality for distribution over the internet.

We now store gigabytes of music, movies, and television shows on our home computers. We can micro-target the content we enjoy, while filtering out that which we don’t. This is a far cry from the ‘olden days’ of buying a whole CD, cassette, or LP just to hear the one good song on the album.

We now ‘time-shift’ all our TV programming, watching what we want when we want. We can now download movies on demand through our cable providers or online services.

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Goodbye Thompson, Hello Recession, Goodbye Heath Ledger

Yesterday was a crazy day!

First, Fred Thompson finally dropped out of the race. Well… I can’t say “dropped out” really… I mean he was barely even running. He was more walking, skulking, or sauntering. Maybe he was mozying. Yes. Mozying. And now he’s undoubtedly back in his overstuffed armchair watching old Law and Order reruns (like the rest of us)…

Also, Bernanke announced that the Fed would cut interest rates by .75% yesterday, one of the biggest cuts in over 20 years. Way to show no one’s panicked in this country, especially in the financial sector… whoa! Big write downs again today by Bank of America and Wachovia… awesome. More correction…

BRING IT ON! I’m not trying to tempt the fates. I don’t want good hard working Americans to lose their jobs or retirement money, but I’m OK with some of those billion dollar hedge funds and executive bonuses to be brought down out of the sky. But there’s another, better reason for wanting our economy to slip… it’s the only way a republican will get elected this fall — and by then, we’ll have probably pulled out of this bagel anyway.

And who better to lead the republican party and the nation during a financial crisis than the man who made a fortune making turnarounds for a living. Americans will be desperate for an aggressive economic policy, giving President Mitt Romney the Carte Blanche he needs to clean house in our federal government and give us our tax dollars back. Every percentage point that slips off the Dow is one more for Romney.

Lastly and sadly, Heath Ledger died yesterday from an apparent overdose. He was a certainly a gifted actor, but it wasn’t his death that shook me… it was the fact that he was less than 2 years older than me. Talk about making you feel mortal… Sadly, Ledger will now only be remembered for playing a gay cowboy, (who incidentally is one of the most tragic characters in all cinema) rather than for the great body of work he had yet inside of him. Perhaps it is that loss that we should grieve most of all.

The Writer’s Guild Strike – Networks make a fatal flaw.

While we were all hustling and bustling about getting our last minute Christmas stuff taken care of, a major development occurred in this Writer’s Guild strike which ultimately came to fruition last night.

David Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants Inc., struck an independent deal with the Writer’s Guild in order for his show to get back on the air by Jan 3rd.

Not to be outdone, NBC quickly wrangled to get Leno and Conan, arguably the only real assets and ratings kings NBC has left these days, back on the air as well, lest they lose some of their late night market share and advertisers to rival CBS. But, because Late Night and the Tonight Show are owned by NBC, not by an independent company like Dave Letterman’s show, they were unable to begin with their writers. Their brilliant solution? Writers! Who needs writers!


So Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien came back on last night without any writers. ERRR… umm… check that. They came back having written their own show (which is arguably crossing the picket line). Jay wrote his own monologue, making hay of the fact that he checked with his wife to see if the jokes were funny. Conan didn’t present much of an official monologue, just yammered on for an hour straight about the strike and had an unusually large number of guests.Even Dave, who had his writers, was sort of squirmy all night, obviously not comfortable with working while the rest of the industry languished.

The verdict on last night’s off-the-cuff late night episodes?? Yes, we need the writers… badly! The whole thing was just awkward, not because these guys can’t craft a joke, but because they all looked incredibly uncomfortable going on the air while their unions picketed. Even the guests squirmed.

Oh yeah, and Conan grew a beard in solidarity… who knew that guy could grow facial hair!?

So the real question is, how long can these guys last? They certainly won’t be able to remain funny for long just going out night after night and free-associating their way to a funny show. On the other hand, if they try to write everything themselves, they just won’t be able to fill the hour, or the material will be awful. Never mind the struggle they will be facing to get talent to appear, with other union members fearing to cross WGA picket lines.

So what is really going on here? How will this thing play out? In my opinion, Late Night programing will singlehandedly be the one to end this strike and put Hollywood back to work. I see it coming down like this: Leno and O’Brien will last about a week before they are absolutely exhausted from writing their own hour long shows. They make a personal, perhaps public, appeal to the execs and lawyers to get their writers back. NBC knows where its bread is buttered, and fearing the loss of their best programming the execs will be forced to re-enter negotiations with the writers and come to a quick settlement. Once NBC reaches a settlement, all the other networks will obviously have to as well.

Really, late night TV is the absolute best place to broker this solution. These programs rely heavily on writers so their hosts can just be funny (and not necessarily creative), but the programs aren’t necessarily “scripted” themselves, because of their variety aspects… a perfect storm.

Sesame Street: Not suitable for Children

We have a problem. A big problem. This problem is bigger than Iraq and iRan put together. It’s bigger than the medicare and social security problems put together.

Recently the original seasons of Sesame Street were released on DVD. However, the package carries a clear warning: “These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”


Um… OK. So either 1) today’s preschool child has drastically different needs than I did as a preschool child or 2) we are just too freaking hypersensitive to the creative programming our children watch.

Apparently while no one was looking, cookie monster became “vegetable monster” and Oscar the Grouch was sent to rehab and years of group therapy. The Count had to go for sensitivity training, and Grover had to go get his narcissism evaluated.

Is it just me, or have they taken the “character” out of the characters?

I really don’t think I was adversely affected or scarred by these rogue sesame street episodes. If you want to talk about shows I am scarred by, let’s talk about the guy with the affro who wore the skin tight unitard with a representation of his internal organs on it.

Sesame street is innocuous. In fact, I feel so strongly about it, I think I’ll buy these DVDs, and purposefully show them to my children, just to make sure they end up as awesome as me!