Another Head to Head Matchup

Sure, we’ve pitted Tommy Lee Jones against Michael Ironside to see who’s the tougher, and we’ve matched Ani DiFranco against Pink to see who’s the grittier authentic singer, but now we’ve got a monumental battle of epic proportions: Who’s the tougher vampire slaying hottie?

Buffy “The Vampire Slayer” Summers

versus

Anita “The Vampire Executioner” Blake

Both of them have frequent romantic dalliances with members of the supernatural, but I can forgive that. Gee, Buffy’s perky and endowed with super powers which leaves her with martial arts skills and super strength. However, Anita Blake can raise the dead and doesn’t mind usign firearms from time to time (every couple of minutes, almost). Advantage: Blake!

Full disclosure: I read the Anita Blake books in the mid nineties and had a crush on Anita Blake, who would be a perfect woman except for her undead fetish. I’ve only seen the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer and haven’t seen much of the television series. Because face it, Buffy’s an also-ran.

It Was Toilet Paper

MSNBC has picked the Worst (and Best) Television Series Finales, wherein they find M*A*S*H worst of all:

1. “M*A*S*H*” — “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” (Feb. 28,
1983)

M*A*S*HWe know, we know, there are lots of you out there who think the two-and-a-half-hour finale is pure genius, but we think after 10-and-a-half increasingly sentimental seasons, the still top-rated show had lost the plot — literally. In the syrupy, self-righteous swan song, earnest Everyman surgeon Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda, who co-wrote and directed) suffers a nervous breakdown after witnessing a mother smother her baby on a bus. He recovers and returns to the 4077th in time for the war to end. Tears, manly hugs, and more tears build up to the big heart-tugging conclusion. As Hawkeye’s helicopter takes off, he sees that best bud B.J. (Mike Farrell) has spelled out “goodbye” in stones on the ground. Someone give us a schmaltz-ectomy — stat! Still, 106 million people tuned in for the pop-culture event (it’s still the all-time ratings champ), many of whom we expect will write in to tell us just how wrong we are.

Undoubtedly, they’ve already gotten numerous letters pointing out that Honeycutt spelled out goodbye with rolls of toilet paper, not stones.

I just wanted you, gentle reader, to know that I am much smarter than someone who’s actually figured out a way to earn money getting paid writing for the Internet.

Common Sense Check

Today, in the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper takes on the American Idol racism manufactuversy. He sums it up:

That’s what happened recently when Chicago’s Jennifer Hudson and two other young black women finished in the bottom three in viewer voting, while that Doogie Howser-lookin’ 16-year-old, John Stevens, was among the top vote-getters, despite the fact that he CANNOT SING A LICK. (To the shock of the judges and anyone with working ears, Hudson was sent home, which turned out to be a great career break. You don’t get to read a Top Ten List on “Late Show With David Letterman” unless you’re making real news.)

How could this happen? How could arguably the three most talented performers finish with the three worst vote totals? Hmmm, could it have something to do with the fact that they’re black?

A lot of people, including Elton John, seemed to think so.

Roeper’s take?

I thought the cries of racism in the wake of Hudson’s ouster were emotionally cheap and intellectually lazy. (Personally, I was glad to see Stevens go because I’m a rabid anti-schmaltz-ite.) To slap the “racist” tag on millions of people because they preferred a hokey teen-boy singer to some over-emoting junior divas is quite a leap. Maybe there are just a lot of Nebraska grandmas and New York teenyboppers who voted for Stevens, while fans of the Bottom Three felt so secure about their favorites that they didn’t bother to vote. I mean, if the vote two weeks ago is proof that America is racist, then last week’s vote means America has learned its lesson, and isn’t racist any more. Right?

I agree it’s not about race, but for a different reason.

From what I understand, you vote by calling a 900 number for your favorite singer. You can vote as often as you want or your parents can afford. That sort of election process selects a special subset of viewers, a subset that has superfluous money, time, and motivation to call a 900 number.

It’s not white versus black. It’s idiots versus people with lives apart from the television.

Thank you. Please note, this Internet is not an idiot box because it has more than a box. It is two boxes, a big calculator with letters on it, and a unicycle with two buttons on it. That is all.

Unions Outsource Television Production

Look, guys! Not only are the Evil Greedy Corporations sending jobs away, but so are the Nice, Defending-The-Little Guy Greedy Unions.

Philadelphia proved a little too real for The Real World.

After squabbling with local unions, the producers of the MTV series yesterday gave up on Philadelphia as the site of its 15th season. Taping was to begin in three weeks.

Wait a minute…. You don’t think…. The obstructionism and agitation of labor, organized or not, for overpriced wages might have a hand in all outsourcing, could it?

Paranormal Columnists Read Reagan’s Mind

Although this column by Leonard “The” Pitts, Jr., deserves a full fusking, I’ll only fusk the chewy bits:

Now, this is “Must-See TV.”

I mean, I had no intention of watching CBS’ Ronald Reagan miniseries. But given the furor raised by the Republican party and assorted conservative pundits over what they perceive as a hatchet job on the former president, I don’t see how I can afford to miss it.

This week, CBS gave in to the pressure and announced that it had pulled The Reagans from its November schedule. The movie has instead been shipped off to the Showtime cable network, which is expected to run it next year.

The Republican faithful are counting that as only a partial victory. They’re pleased the show won’t be run on a major broadcast network. They’d prefer it not be run at all.

Mind you, they haven’t actually seen the movie. Their antipathy is based on a number of other factors, including the fact that Reagan is portrayed by James Brolin, husband of the ├╝ber-liberal herself, Barbra Streisand. Then there are the script excerpts published by The New York Times, particularly one that portrays Reagan as lacking in compassion for gay people dying from a then-new disease called AIDS.

Yet as everyone knows, the Reagan administration stood silent on the sidelines in the early years of that plague. Reagan may never have said the words the script reportedly puts into his mouth — ”They that live in sin shall die in sin” — but the sentiment was certainly there. That’s an unalterable element of his legacy.

Oh, for crying out loud, Lenny, enough with the deduction of the interiors of men, huh? I understand that to a certain segment of the population, it’s the heart and not the actual words or deeds of men that matter. I even suspect that when Leonard Pitts, Jr., Googles himself and this site comes up, Lenny would reject any argument that intuition is a good source of premises for argument. Because it probably feels right to him. You like it, Lenny? I just know what you’re thinking!

    Which is ultimately what this argument is about, the battle for Reagan’s legacy.

Legacy, truth, they’re all a part of the great pastiche of grey that comprises relativism in all its beatuiful monochrome.

Who Is That Again?

In his column entitled Tiffany Trips Up: CBS’s problems are bigger than “Reagan.”, John Fund quotes some member of Congress to flying buttress his argument against CBS, specifically the ill-conceived The Real Beverly Hillbillies:

Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia suggested that, instead, Mr. Moonves program a reality show that relocated network executives to “the sticks,” where they would have to find a job. Mr. Moonves admitted the “phenomenal” opposition to the show left him “pretty surprised.”

Doesn’t Fund mean the old, out-of-touch, slow-drawling former member of the KKK pork-hauler Robert Byrd?

Come on, as a conservative, you’re supposed to bury this seizure, not to quote him as a relevant thinker.

At Least They’re Not the BBC

Ananova reports that Sky, an independent network in Britain, has decided to shelve its reality show Find Me a Man, wherein a number of male contestants vied for the affection of a woman who, like Joe Millionaire, was not what she seemed to be. As a matter of fact, it was a pre op transexual.

Please play it. It’s not that I want to see it, even for the schadenfraülein; instead, I want the pool of idiots who sign on for these shows to dry up. And nothing will do it better than watching men unknowingly kissing another man. Who would sign up thinking, “I could be that guy!”

Come to think of it, it probably wouldn’t diminsh the pool of attention starved nutbars who sign up for these things anyway. I take it back. Don’t show it and inspire one of the diminishing-returns US networks to pick it up, too.

Old School Geeks Rejoice

Dr. Who is really coming back this time.

You damn Matrix-loving, Zelda-playing (instead of Dungeons and Dragons on the kitchen table as the geek gods intended) kids don’t even know what I am talking about. Go write your Java, your .Net, and play command line guru on Linux, and leave the heavy duty geekin’ to your betters.

Colin Baker rox. I’ll lick any man who says Tom Baker was better.

(Link seen on Samizdata, whose location in Britain has saved them from a lickin’.)

Coastal Marketing Types Can’t Be Wrong!

Looky here, according to iWon, network executives have realized that current television speaks mostly to the cosmopolitanly-inbred coastal types, that there are people with televisions in the hinterlands of America, and that The America Channel will attract Joe Working Man.

They say:

A new cable channel aimed at showing real American life between the East and West coasts is planned for launch next year, its top executive said.

“We think that Middle America has fantastic stories to tell, and we’re going to go out there and get them,” said Doron Gorshein, chairman and chief executive officer of The America Channel.

The channel, to be formally announced Monday, is aimed at filling a void created by television’s tendency to focus on life in New York and Los Angeles, Gorshein said.

I wouldn’t be so cynical if the channel were based in Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Des Moines, Lincoln, Wichita, or any of the other cities, yes, cities in the middle of America. However, this story’s dateline is Los Angeles, so I can only assume it’s going to be twenty-four hours, seven days a week of what cosmopolitanly-inbred coastal types think life is like in the rest of the country.

Sorry, bud, you have no road cred.

We Gave Up On Cable Too Early

I dropped off our digital cable box on Monday (and then dropped off, reluctantly, the remote Monday afternoon) after my beautiful wife and I determined the cost of “content” piped to a television most likely turned off exceeded our complete monthly electricity bill. We decided we could do without television and digital commercialless music. We might have thought too soon.

We made that rash decision before Rascall Flatts decided they would put nudity in their next video and before Country Music Television (CMT) decided they would play it.

If only I had known you could see naked people on cable television! Having the ability to see the human form–well, okay, the female form– on cable television any time I want is worth $1100 a year!

(Thanks to Fark for the pointer.)

Jennifer Garner: Some of That, Hold the Chips

As I passed through the den on my way to do battle with the ominous Dark Load of Sith in the laundry room, I passed my beautiful wife stretched out upon the sofa, whereupon she was soaking up some primetime television. “Doesn’t she have a great body?” she asked. By she, she meant Jennifer Garner, and by she, I mean my esteemed spouse, or at least we did until the pronouns began straying from their antecedents.

I cast the slightest glance at the television set, and she (Jennifer Garner she, star of television’s Alias, not Heather she) was slinking, sashaying, and I think I caught a glimpse of some provocative undulation across a room in an expensive strapless dress.

As a student of some famous tacticians, from Sun Tzu to Machiavelli, I immediately hearkened back to the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar of the Calamari, who once said, “It’s a trap!” For although we men, and by “we men” I mean some men who are not happily married like we are, honey, we men sometimes have been known to appraise the aesthetic value of women and occasionally might even think about sitting on rocks and listening to birds singing madrigals with one (and dismiss it out of hand, of course), it’s always bad to be called on it, immediately, and out of any context we can use as a defense in future discussions (not arguments, of course). I might even have frozen for a second or two, speechless, while Jennifer Garner wiggled across the screen into some clandestine meeting with either a really good guy or a really bad guy.

Unfortunately, I was not so much leering as running an algorithm to sort appropriate responses. “She’s okay,” I offered, unsure what question my wife had really asked. Of course, within every object-oriented male, when running the examineChick(object chick) method (sorry, but within Existentialist object-oriented males, all parameters are of type object), compares a woman to a static set of attributes, and the method returns a static value. For Jennifer Garner, I got back a SOME_OF_THAT response. (Contrast with my wife, who returns ALL_OF_THAT+BAG_OF_CHIPS+MEDIUM_DRINK+SMALL_SUNDAE.) Perhaps it’s the coastal body type, perhaps it’s the way the eyes crinkle, but some attributes within Jennifer Garner did not meet the specification. Sorry, Garner, now stop calling and hanging up without leaving a message.

“Look at those shoulders,” she (Heather she, not Jennifer Garner she) said. Of course, she (Heather she, not Jennifer Garner she) was comparing her (Heather her, not Jennifer Garner her) shoulders to those in the white strapless dress. Both women have subtly muscular, but distinctly feminine, shoulders. All Heather wanted was for me to appraise Jennifer Garner’s shoulders.

Unfortunately, as I indicated, guys don’t throw out a Web Service Definition Language (WSDL) document to indicate the nature of the methods available; the methods are by nature private. If only she had known she could ask if I like Jennifer Garner’s shoulders, I could have answered more quickly, without worrying about the ramifications or consquences or the dreaded marriage crash.

“They’re okay,” I repeated since it didn’t seem to get me into any trouble the last time. And before I could get into trouble, I fled into the comfortable confines of the laundry room.