Tuesday, August 29, 2006

LEX 18 officials shocked by Emmy Awards’ plane-crash spoof intro

Are you kidding? This is ridiculous. It looks like I'll have to expand my "Stuff that isn't racist" segment to include stuff that just isn't offensive in any way that people somehow twist into something to be outraged by. NBC aired the Emmy awards with a skit that parodied LOST. And some idiots in Kentucky, perhaps trying to live up to some stupid hick stereotype, are outraged since a plane crashed there not too long before. There are a million reasons why this shouldn't bother anyone, but I'll just list a few.

First, there is absolutely no connection between a plane crash in Kentucky and a parody of a plane crash on a TV awards show. None. The only small shred of logic that can be used to be upset by it, by extension would make it impossible for TV shows to depict any tragedies that can mirror real life, since someone watching may have been affected in real life by the fictional tragedy being portrayed. So no plane crashes, certainly no automobile accidents, no cancer victims, no heart attacks, basically nothing realistic. So shows would all have to be some sort of fantasy set in Mr. Rogers' land of make-believe. Can ABC still show LOST this season? After all, they do occaisionally have scenes that flashback to the plane crash, which may trigger upleasant memories for these people in Kentucky. Maybe they can just pull it from any market where a plane has ever crashed.

Second, I seriously doubt that anyone who was seriously affected by a plane crash earlier in the day is kicking back watching the Emmys. And even if they happen to be, they can easily change the channel when the skit comes on that bothers them (much like people not involved in the American Famly Association do normally when they see something on TV that they don't like). Anyone else acting outraged about this is just being an attention whore.

Finally, the Emmys are a national broadcast, and the plane crash in Kentucky, no matter how tragic, is a much more local event. It's impossible for an event like that to cater to the myriad sensibilities of all the local markets that will see it. Again, if something on TV bothers you, just change the channel.

Posted by 6 comments

Monday, August 28, 2006

Emmys

I'm not big on watching awards shows, so I forgot this was even on. Especially with the season finales of Deadwood, and Entourage on last night. But after seeing the results, I have to wonder what the hell is wrong with the idiots voting for these things. I like 24, it's a very good show, I am looking forward to next season already. But Best Drama? Not even close. But I guess it's difficult to pick a legitimate winner when they shot themselves in the leg at the nominations step. The best dramas weren't even eligible. No LOST, no Battelstar Galactica, no Deadwood or Rescue Me. at leas they didn't give it to The West Wing after being cancelled. And Kiefer Sutherland shouldn't have won either. Denis Leary plays a much better character, and does it better. And I like 24. At least The Office got some credit. But with so few decent comedies on TV, it's harder for them to screw that up.

Posted by 2 comments

Friday, August 25, 2006

Things that aren't racist - Chapter 4

I think I may have to start a weekly segment about things that people are outraged about that aren't at all racist. PSP ads, beer ads, misunderstood comments by politicians, and now Survivor splitting the tribes up by race. A lot of people seem to be outraged by this, but I honestly can't figure out why.

No where else do we tolerate racial segregation and we certainly won't stand for it in this battle-of-the-races scheme to prop up sagging television ratings

This from Some New York City Coulcilman. and he's right that we don't tolerate racial segregation in everyday life. However, we also don't segregate by sex or age either, which are other ways they have split the tribes up in the past, which absolutely no one had any problem with.

I truly don't know what it is that people think is going to happen here. Do they think the tribes are going to kill each other rather than compete just like other tribes in the past shows have done? Do they think when the tribes merge, they'll suddenly not be able to get along with each other because they were separated by race instead of sex, age, or random draw? Do they think because they're divided by race, that there will be racial slurs at the competitions? I don't. And anyone who does isn't giving the contestants much credit. Why would any of these things happen, because different races are inherently unable to get along? I don't think they are, I think this will work out fine.
"This is not the type of premise that promotes unity," council member Robert Jackson said at the Friday press conference. "This show does not foster an environment that is conducive to diversity."

Is it supposed to? This is a game show where people compete against each other (against everyone, even on their own team), mostly by dishonesty and backstabbing, I don't think it's really the place to look for social lessons. The driving factor here is greed, race doesn't have much to do with anything.

I don't care how they divide the teams, Survivor is a show I like, and I'll watch anyway. But to anyone outraged by this and making a big fuss, all you've done is ensure that more people will watch. So, even if CBS did this maliciously, they still win. But I don't think there was anything malicious to it.

"The idea for this actually came from the criticism that Survivor was not ethnically diverse enough, because for whatever reason, we always have a low number of minority applicants apply for the show," [host Jeff] Probst said.

And good for them. So, they go out of their way to put more minorities on the show, and get criticized because they split the teams up by race. Well, great, that probably insures that next season they'll have an all white (or probably with a token black guy) cast to avoid all the fuss. I think some people just see the word race and automatically freak out without putting any thought into the actual situation, I just don't understand why. Other than it seems like some people just like to freak out.

Posted by 4 comments

NFL Predictions

I've never done this before, but I'm pretty excited about the start of the NFL season this year, so I thought I would give it a shot. In February, I can look back and see how stupid I look. Anyway, I'm pretty excited this season because I think the Cowboys have a good shot at getting to the Superbowl for the first time in ten years or so, and I have tickets to the opener here in Jacksonville, which will be the first time the Cowboys have beeen here for a regular season game.

AFC East - A lot of people seem to be picking Miami to overthrow the Patriots this year. But while I like the addition of Culpepper and I think Ronnie Brown is going to be a good back, I'm not ready to take that leap yet, so I'll stick with the Patriots. The Jets and Bills will both suck.

AFC North - Carson Palmer is coming of a major injury, or I might consider picking them here. I'll go with the defending Superbowl champs. I think Baltimore is going to be improved with Steve McNair, but not enough. Cleveland will blow.

AFC South - A lot of people locally think the Jaguars are going to be really good this year, but looking at their schedule, I think they'll be lucky to go 8-8, and could easily start 0-4. I'll take the easy pick in the Colts. I want Vince Young to do well, but I don't think Tennessee has much to work with this year. Houston fans will spend all year trying to compare Mario Williams to Reggie Bush, and no matter how well Williams does, he'll come up short somehow.

AFC West - I don't have much of a read on this one. Last season, I like the Chargers a lot, even though they missed the playoffs, and I would probably pick them if they had held on to Drew Brees, but I don't know how Rivers will do. The Chiefs have a good running game, but that's about it. I'll take Denver here. Javon Walker is a good addition for them, and it looks like Cutler may push Plummer to do better so he won't have to look over his shoulder all year. Aaron Brooks is the worst off season acquisition and will help the Raiders suck. The only good thing for the Raiders is that Brooks can throw the long ball, and Moss may get some big plays, but it won't be nearly enough.

NFC West - This division sucks. I think Seattle wins it again, but I don't really like them much overall. I think they made it to the Superbowl with smoke and mirrors last year, and will use the same tricks to win the division this year. I think Arizona takes a step forward this year, but they're still Arizona, so they'll find a way to screw it up. St. Louis will be exciting but mediocre, and San Francisco will suck ass.

NFC North - Did I just say that the NFC West sucked? Well, I only thought that until I looked at the NFC North. I'm not sure they have any players at all left in Minnesota, and Detroit has three first round wide receivers and not much else. Green Bay will suck, despite Favre's best efforts. So, I think Chicago wins this again, mostly because someone has to.

NFC South - This could be a very good division, especially if Bush and Brees can make a significant impact for the Saints, which I think they will. I still think they fight with Atlanta for last in the division, but it wouldn't surprise me if they came in second somehow. Atlanta will be exciting and run the ball well, but Vick still hasn't demonstrated any command of a consistent passing game. Tampa will be solid, if boring. Carolina, I think, will be one of the best teams in the league, and I'll take them to win this division. I think Keyshawn is the perfect complement to Steve Smith.

NFC East - I saved the best for last. This division was for quite a while, the best in the NFL, and I think it returns there this year. The Eagles will be better than last year as they put the controversy behind them for at least 14 out of 16 games, but they'll still be in the cellar here. The Redskins I would like better if Portis wasn't injured, but I still think they can be pretty solid with the good receivers and a verteran at QB. The Giants will be about the same as last year, but it won't be enough to win them the division this time. That leaves the Cowboys, and this pick may look biased (like I give a shit), but the Cowboys would have been the top seed in the NFC last year if they had a kicker (they lost 3 games (Seattle, Wshington, and Denver) as the direct result of a missed FG, which would have put them at 12-4, tied with Seatlle and owning the tiebreaker), which I say not as an excuse, but to demonstrate how close they were. Now, they've added one of the best kickers in the league to make sure they don't lose those close games, and upgraded at WR, and on defense. They've made moves on the Offensive line that will hopefully solidify it, but it remains their biggest question mark. The runnign game is solid, with two good back, though hopefully Julius Jones will stay healthy and carry the load and have a big year, then Barber can be a good changeup.

AFC Playoffs - Pittsburgh and Indianapolis get the byes. Cincinnati and Miami come up with the wild cards.
NFC Playoffs - Dallas and Carolina get the byes, and the Giants and Tampa get the wild cards.

I'm not going to pick the playoffs, because that would just be picking imaginary games that will probably never happen, but when the real playoffs come around, I'll make predictions. And if the matchups match my predicitons here, I will remind you all to shower me with praise and gifts.

Bonus Prediction - Subway Series again, but the Mets take this one.

Posted by 9 comments

Pluto is still there

I can't believe all the people whining about Pluto being demoted. It's not like we blew it up or something, it's still there, it's just not officially called a planet anymore. Most of the whining seems to be from people who are upset that the mnemonic device that they learned in elementary school is no longer valid (like they used it all the time, anyway). Here's a new one:

My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos!

Problem solved, shut up already.

Posted by 2 comments

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dear Fox Sports

You did the world a favor by introducing the little box in the corner of the screen with the score and other game info. However, it's now out of control. This stupid bar you have on top of my screen just makes my TV seem smaller. What was wrong with the box in the corner? All the other channels manage to convey the same info without hogging the screen. And, if you must have a bar, why not put it at the bottom where it is less conspicuous? This bar is worse than that stupid flaming puck. Mostly because it affects a good sport.

Posted by 7 comments

NSA eavesdropping program ruled unconstitutional

Nice to see at least one branch of government still functions as it should (sometimes), since the other two clearly suck.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

Wow, that's a convenient defense. Worse, though that the judge didn't just laugh at this argument but instead reasond that "the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for [her] to rule." So, if they had just kept their secret better, they'd be allowed to continue doing whatever the fuck they want? No wonder they hate the New York Times.

I was getting a little worried that I hadn't heard the term "activist judge" enough lately. This should get that back out there.

Of course no one will care very much about this ruling since some guy was arrested in a 10 year old murder case.

Well, whatever, I'm sure this will mean we'll stop catching all those terrorists we've been catching lately. whether it's those guys with no plane tickets who were going to blow up planes, or those guys who bought too many cell phones at once with only the lousy excuse that they could sell them for a profit of $18 each, or that woman who had notes from Al Qaeda* and some vaseline or something (or not). But that's ok with me, since I feel a lot safer now that people can't bring hair gel on planes.

* Do you want to be a terrorist? If so, check this box □. Sincerely, Osama.

Posted by 24 comments

Friday, August 11, 2006

On Notice


My wife showed me this site the other day, and I made my On Notice board, but I lazily neglected to post it, so now that everyone is doing it, it reminded me to post mine.

You may see noteable absences on my board, like The Bush Administration or Harry Potter, but anything like that that is obviously missing is most likely because they are Dead to Me.

Posted by 1 comments

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fighting the GWOT

Great fucking post at Toast's place. I've had these thoughts bouncing around for a while, but since he's a much better writer than I am -

Most everyone on the left who is against the Iraq war is quite cognizant of the threat of Islamic terrorism. Where we differ with folks like Weisberg is that we don't believe that the sole way to prove that seriousness is to out-hawk the hawks and sign onto every foreign adventure the neocons throw at the wall to see if it will stick. Rather, we'd prefer to:
  • Address homeland security in a practical fashion, taking the concrete steps we can to prevent further attacks and ameliorate the effects of another attack should one happen (something the Bush administration has utterly failed to do).
  • Work with our allies to track down and root out terrorists and terrorist organizations using targeted police actions instead of massive invasions.
  • Untangle the root causes of Islamic terrorism by understanding its cultural, economic, and geopolitical underpinnings.
  • Use the military as a tool of last resort.

That doesn't sound so crazy, does it? You don't need to have flowers in your hair and be smoking a joint for that to sound reasonable.

Posted by 2 comments

Football fans convicted for homophobic jibes in landmark case

Two football supporters have become the first fans to be convicted of chanting homophobic abuse.

James Monkhouse and Michael Church, followers of Norwich City, were found guilty by Norwich Magistrates’ Court of disorderly behaviour after reportedly shouting anti-gay chants aimed at Brighton football club fans earlier this year.

The defendants were filmed chanting the word “queer” from the stands, the court was told, and were later escorted out of the stadium by football intelligence officer PC Chris Watts, to the applause of Brighton fans.

...

Both men denied the charges and insisted thy are not homophobic, Monkhouse, 28, told the court, “I didn't think the word queer was derogatory. Most football banter is having a bit of fun and a bit of a laugh. It was meant to be a comic reply to what was said to us.


Ok, Mr. Monkhouse, bullshit that you didn't know the word queer was derogatory.

I've got no problem with you and your buddy being escorted out, and if they had banned you from the stadium, that would be ok by me too. What I do have a problem with is the legal proceeding. I realize that the UK, and other democracies don't have the same ideas about freedom of speech protections that the US has, but I think they should. Hate speech is bad stuff, but making it criminal isn't going to stop it. Criminalizing speech should only be done in extreme cicumstances (incitement to riot, direct incitement to violence).

Obviously, making hateful speech unacceptable is the ulitmate goal, and one I wholeheartedly support. Tacit acceptance of this kind of stuff just perpetuates it , and contributes to an atmosphere where violence against gay people, women, all sorts of minority groups is tolerated, if not encouraged. But I think there's a great danger in making it illegal to say certain things, and I don't believe that it really furthers the goal. The slippery-slope argument is overused, so I'll just say it sets a bad precedent.

We've got a guy here in Jacksonville, FL who has a public access type radio show where he says things like this (excerpt from his blog) -
This whole scenerio permeats [sic] throughout the educational system in Florida. American-Africans fail to even meet the minimum standards in school, and will bring down the quality of overall standards in schools they transfer to.

They are not capable of learning on the same levels as Whites or Orientals are. The more Blacks in the school, no matter at what level, the lower the tests scores will be for that school.


This is clearly ridiculous and obviously promotes racism, but does it qualify as hate speech? Should we be able to censor his speech because of the lies and the tone?

Ultimately, I think the best antidote to hateful speech is more speech. Ceding more power over the individual to the government, even in a good cause, isn't the answer.

Hat tip to Shakes (though she does disagree with me)

Posted by 4 comments

Lieberman Concedes Defeat In Senate Race

Good, I'm glad that's over (sort of). After the outcome of the 2000 and 2004 elections, my faith in our Democracy was dwindling. Results like this will help to restore it. This is what it's all about. People don't like the job the guy representing them is doing, and they are supporting someone else who they hope will do it better. Kind of sucks that Lieberman is going to try to screw things up by running as an independent. Not that I begrudge him that avenue, if he wants it, but if he did, he should have done that from the beginning. Kind of shitty to use the support of the Democratic party when it's beneficial to him, then shed it quickly when the results don't suit him. Though it shouldn't be surprising, since he certainly doesn't seem to hold too tightly to Democratic or progressive ideals. Anyway, to echo what Toast said earlier, I really hope the Democratic party unequivocally supports Lamont (which should go without saying since he won their primary), but I'm afraid that they won't. I know politics is a slimy business, but a party that won't even support their own nominees is a party that deserves to lose. Hopefully, they'll do the right thing and support the democratic process, which apparently does work occaisionally.

Posted by 16 comments

Monday, August 07, 2006

Comcast OnDemand Sucks Balls

I've had Comcast cable for a few years now, and haven't really had any problems with it. The DVRis about the best thing that has ever happened to TV. So, when they added OnDemand a couple of years ago, it seemed like a pretty good thing. They didn't change our rates at the time, so everything OnDemand was extra, and it seemed great. As I (tried) to use it more and more, though, I discovered it was a big pain in the ass. Shows would stop in the middle, or wouldn't play at all, or the menus would take more than a minute or so between selections, or you'd fast forward and wouldn't be able to get it to play again. Anyway, shortly after, I got the DVR, and therefore didn't have a lot of use for the OnDemand anymore, since I just recorded everything I ever wanted to see anyway.

So, with all the advertising of OnDemand I see on TV, I would assume they had all the problems worked out by now. But then my parents got the latest Comcast cable box when they got their new HDTV, and they got HBO and tried to use it to catch up on all the HBO series' they had missed. They had all the same problems I had, only worse. And since they had bought the service with OnDemand as part of what they were buying, and didn't have a DVR, and actually called Comcast to try and figure out the problem, it was much worse for them than for me. All this is enough to piss you off already. But then today, I noticed something else which to me was much worse.

It's bad that they obviously don't have the equipment to handle the demand for OnDemand. So, anyway, like I said I just record everything and watch it on the DVR. But, I've noticed lately that they always have the message up that "The program you've just seen will be available tomorrow on HBO OnDemand," at the end of shows, which is another reason I thought they had things worked out, since when I (tried to) use it, you'd be lucky if the episode was on 2 weeks later. So today, I was watching last night's episode of Lucky Louie with my stepson. After that was over, he wanted to watch Entourage, which I had already watched and deleted. So, we go to OnDemand, and look for it, and it's not there. So, I figure it's just a mistake or whatever, then he decides to watch Deadwood, which again, I had watched and deleted. OnDemand didn't have that either. So, they go to the trouble of putting this message at the end of all their shows, but it's a big fucking lie. I can kind of understand the service problems, since it's probably hard to guage that demand, but if you can't do that, don't advertise it like it's the greatest thing in history (particularly when I rarely see ads for the DVR which is pretty fucking awesome), when it doesn't really work. Also, stop adding all this new content that must greatly increase the demand for the service, until you can handle the demand. But then to tell people something will be available, and then just not have it available is inexcusable. How hard is it for someone to put those episodes up there?

This would be a great service if they can make it work, but apparently they can't (at least yet), so they need to stop advertising it so heavily until they can, since it's just going to piss people off. Advertise the DVR instead, since it's awesome.

Posted by 55 comments

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

White House Proposal Would Expand Authority of Military Courts

So, let me get this straight. The Supreme Court rules the trial system illegal, so they're going to set up something in its place that seems to do all the same things and more?

I know it's hard for some people to understand, but even really, really, obviously bad people deserve due process. If we don't give it to everyone, then it's pretty much worthless, since someone can always stick you in the category of people to whom it is denied. To me, this concept is pretty basic to the foundation of America, and I don't understand how we can even suggest that it should be tossed aside so easily. What the hell is this War on Terror bullshit supposed to be about if not defending American principles? The concept of a war on terror is pretty abstract to me, anyway, and there's really no way we're ever going to lose it (or win it) on a battlefield. But we can certainly lose it if we sacrifice our values in the name of fighting it. But I guess that doesn't matter to some as long as we can say we're winning it.

Posted by 3 comments