01.08.10 – A Friday

WORD

colloquial [kuhloh-kwee-uhl] adj. 1. characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary or familiar conversation rather than formal speech or writing; informal 2. involving or using conversation

BIRTHDAY

Hans von Bülow (1830), Frank Nelson Doubleday (1862), Larry Storch (1923), Soupy Sales (1926), Elvis Presley (1935), Bob Eubanks (1938), Graham Chapman (1941), Robby Krieger (1946), David Bowie (1947), Mike Reno (1955), Paul Hester (1959), R. Kelly (1967), Ami Dolenz (1969), Sean Paul (1973)

STANDPOINT

As I type this, I’m watching a TNT promo for Southland. Last year, NBC dropped the cop drama before it even debuted. TNT scooped it up and will start running the series, in its entirety, this Tuesday. (TNT is waiting to see how the ratings go for the seven episodes NBC aired plus six never-before-seen ones before deciding to order a new season.)

As I’ve felt in the past, I’m currently confounded why some quality shows get the boot and other crappy shows (According To Jim, The Real World, Judge Judy, JAG) seem to run on forever. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me since quality entertainment seems to be a notion no one concern themselves with.

It got me thinking about some other shows that were inexplicably dropped before their time. The following is a list of my favorite shows abandoned too soon.

QUOTATION

The National Rifle Association says that, “Guns don’t kill people, uh, people do.” But I think, I think the gun helps. You know? I think it helps. I just think just standing there going, “Bang!” That’s not going to kill too many people, is it?Eddie Izzard

TUNE

There’s not a ton of information out there on Seattle-based band The Pale Pacific (formerly The Pale). I came upon the 2005 release Urgency a while back and it became one of my favorite “half albums” – those containing an equal amount of both good and so-so songs. (I’ve got a lot of those, by the way.) One of the better songs is “Identity Theft.” Give it a listen.

GALLIMAUFRY

I’m not so naive to think all of this wintry weather going on is proof-positive that global warming is hogwash. But -50° wind chills in the Midwest don’t exactly help Al Gore’s cause.

→ Someone needs to be in a world of hurt to attempt to stab themselves to death. That’s exactly what Howard Stern’s sidekick, Artie Lange, did. Nine times. Long bouts of depression and numerous episodes of drug abuse apparently led him to it. Here’s hoping the guy can find some kind of peace and shake loose of his demons.

→ The other day, I reported that Vampire Weekend and Spoon were releasing albums next Tuesday. I lied. Vampire Weekend is releasing Contra next week, but Spoon’s Transference won’t come out until two weeks later. In any case, should be a good couple of months coming up for new music with Ben Kweller, Eels, Beach House, David Bowie, Midlake, Hot Chip, Peter Gabriel, Field Music, Jason Falkner, Shout Out Louds, Rogue Wave, The Whigs, Aloha, Frightened Rabbit, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Morning Benders and White Stripes all poised with fresh material.

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11.30.09 – A Monday

WORD

outlier [out-lahy-er] n. 1. a person or thing that lies outside 2. a person residing outside the place of his or her business, duty, etc 3. Geology. a part of a formation left detached through the removal of surrounding parts by erosion

BIRTHDAY

Jonathan Swift (1667), Mark Twain (1835), Lord Frederick Cavendish (1836), Richard Crenna (1926), Robert Guillaume (1927), Dick Clark (1929), G. Gordon Liddy (1930), Abbie Hoffman (1936), Ridley Scott (1937), Terrence Malick (1943), David Mamet (1947), Mandy Patinkin (1952), Billy Idol (1955), Bo Jackson (1962), Ben Stiller (1965), Clay Aiken (1978), Gael García Bernal (1978)

STANDPOINT

Several years ago, when the reality-television craze began kicking its ugly way into our living rooms, I boldly declared, “This won’t last. It’s a fad. It’ll go away.”

Man, was I wrong.

It has lasted. It’s not a fad. And it refuses to go away. As a matter of fact, it’s continuing to grow. From what I can tell, it’s also making society as a whole dumber. So, of course, that fascinates me.

First off, let me say I don’t think all reality-television is bad. Some of it’s actually worthwhile. Top Chef, The Amazing Race, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Those are some I’ve watched without becoming agitated. And that’s inasmuch as those shows are chronicling individuals doing things I can’t (or won’t) do.

For example, Top Chef. I’ve worked in the restaurtant business for almost two decades, in both the front- and back-of-the-house. I’m no chef, but I know my way around a kitchen. Basically, I can make food people like, but not necessarily rave about. So, when I watch Top Chef, I’m entertained because I’m watching individuals do something I can’t, something I find extraordinary. To me, that’s interesting.

In contrast, when I view programs like Big Brother, The Real World, or The Real Housewives of Atlanta, all I see are a group of unexceptional individuals supposedly living lives we’re expected to perceive as somehow “real.” But it’s not at all. Just a collection of nitwits trying to outsmart one another while simultaneously positioning themselves for more camera time.

From the little I’ve seen of Big Brother, it’s never failed to confuse me. Besides the participants, none of which I feed redeemable, and the events, few of which aren’t orchestrated, being actual, what the fuck is so real about it? The answer is exactly none of it. Everyone in the house has a motive. The producers stage events that, without prodding, would never come about. All the footage gets edited to death so the true sequence is lost. To me, that’s uninteresting.

What truly sucks about all of this is that I’m apparently squarely in the minority. I’m relatively sure most of us find things capable of bothering us daily. Also, I was under the impression watching television was supposed to be fun and less bothersome than our daily routines.

If I’m wrong about all this, I’ll accept it. But, before you start popping off on how I’m completely wrong about reality television, I need you to answer the following question: If these shows are so enjoyable, why is it every single conversation I’ve ever heard about them is basically a discussion on which character is more annoying and why?

QUOTATION

This is what politics is to me: Somebody tells you all the trees on your street have a disease. One side says give them food and water and everything will be fine. One side says chop them down and burn them so they don’t infect another street. That’s politics. And I’m going, Who says they’re diseased? And how does this sickness manifest itself? And is this outside of a natural cycle? And who said this again? And when were they on the street? But we just have people who shout, “Chop it down and burn it” or “Give it food and water,” and there’s your two choices. Sorry, I’m not a believer.John Malkovich

TUNE

MewithoutYou is a band from Philadelphia. That’s here. In Pennsylvania. I’ve heard them mentioned from time-to-time, and I think I may have seen the band live once but that might be entirely untrue. In any case, I was recently introduced to the video for “The Fox, The Crow and The Cookie,” and, to put it mildly, it’s pretty fuckin’ great. The song is solid but the whole concept and execution of the video is pretty unique and remarkable.  

CALLIMAUFRY

→ OK, so the whole Tiger Woods car accident thing. I have two questions. (1) Where was Woods going at 2:25am, the morning after Thanksgiving. (2) Why did the wife, after hearing the accident, decide to head out to investigate with a golf club? Woods is going to live to golf another day. He’s fine and that’s great. Truly. Still, everyone’s going to want to discover what really went down. The truth is no one besides Woods and his wife are ever going to know what happened. And, so far, it appears they’re not going to tell. Sadly, for everyone who’s dying to know, it’s bound to become one of those events marked for countless decades of endless speculation. When you’re a billionnaire, you can crash your car and not be expected to give some valid explanation.

Rush Limbaugh is America’s most influential conservative. Still, who cares?

→ No post tomorrow. If you’ve a problem with that, you’ll need to get in line behind my good friend Joe Taylor, who I’ve started affectionately calling “Boss-Man.” OK, I only did it once, but I plan on doing it again real soon.