Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Watch Mens Short Track 1500m

Here’s what I love about the internet. Remember those days when you watched 3 hours of the Olympics on TV when the event you wanted to see was just a few minutes? Remember how before every single commercial they would announce that your event was just about to come up? And then it wouldn’t?

Well now I can watch one short commercial and I get to see the Mens Short Track 1500m speed skating. It’s brilliant. Although I did have to install Silverlight. Click here to watch.

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The Guy Has Got Class

Wish I could be as optimistic.

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I’m fascinated by aspects of advertising like where the ideas come from and who makes the decisions.  It’s interesting how advertisers can get it wrong so many times. What they thought was appealing just isn’t. I ordered a latte at the cafe the other day and watched the barista put on a Bodies the Exhibition cup sleeve. Continuing my trend to be a somewhat difficult customer at times I promptly removed the sleeve from my cup and said “I know this wasn’t your idea, but what makes Bodies the Exhibition think that I want to drink my coffee looking at that thing?” At least they weren’t making subway sandwich wrappers.

So here is an interesting ad which is a takeoff of Dow Scrubbing Bubbles. If you don’t know about the controversy involving this video, then you should watch the video before reading on.

Okay, what are your thoughts? I have to say I don’t think it’s a very good advertisement. It certainly doesn’t make me want to buy Method cleaners and I do think it’s a bit creepy. Well apparently there’s been a lot of talk about this advert on feminist blogs and you can read Kate Harding’s take here. I really don’t have a feminist opinion about this, but I can say it’s not a very good commercial.

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Paying to not watch TV

Here’s an interesting column on Ta-nehisi Coates’ blog where he talks about paying $1.99 per Mad Men episode on Hulu.

I think the problem in this thinking is the notion that people are going to Hulu because they don’t want to pay for TV. That’s part of it, but it’s a simplification. Again, speaking for myself, it’s not that I don’t want to pay for TV, it’s that I don’t want to pay for cable news recycling the same story, or Stuart Scott yelling “Boo-yah!” in order to get my Larry David fix.

What I want is to watch “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and then go on with my life–and I’ll gladly pay a premium for that privilege. I don’t want to have to flip through a hundred different channels of silliness in order to get to what I want to see. In other words, for me, the problem isn’t paying, it’s the lack of control.

I completely agree here. It’s not that I don’t want to watch tennis occasionally or Mad Men or Sex and the City. It’s that I don’t want to watch everything else, and I know that by having all those stations at my disposal I will watch those programs. When we had free cable TV I watched a lot of Keith Olbermann because it was there. Sure it was enjoyable, but I think I wasted precious hours of my life that could have been spent in a more positive way.

What I would really like is an a la carte television. I choose the channels that I want and that’s it. A la carte channels would also solve the problem of placing controls on what children watch. Just because Bratz is considered child-safe doesn’t mean that I want my (hypothetical) children watching it.

We’ve been primarily TV free for about a year now. I’d say about once a week I turn it on for a few minutes then turn it off. There is never anything good on anyway. Speaking of which there was some terrible femme-fatal Meryl Street/Roy Scheider movie on the other day. Don’t know what it was but it was really bad. That’s free TV for you.

My only regret is that I should be getting more accomplished with my life and I can’t say that I am. I do fill a lot of what would have been TV hours with radio, but the nice thing about radio is that you can do something else while listening to it.

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I have only now finished season 3 of Mad Men. I don’t have cable and a friend gave me his recordings a couple of weeks ago. I was very intrigued by the episode where Pete is left alone for a week by his wife who is vacationing with her family. Spoilers after the jump.


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I love this

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How do Swedish pop stars live?

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Dan Ackroyd as Julia Child

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Here’s an interesting column about Mad Men where the writer talks about how she romanticizes the job of secretary in the 60’s after watching the show.

It’s twisted, but watching the heckled, thwarted women of Mad Men made me want to be a better assistant, and not (only) because I wanted to dress like them. I wanted to be them. On the surface at least—and surface was powerful in those days—these women (even the secretaries) are femme fatales.

Personally, I know a lot of great administrative assistants who are smart and extremely competent at their job, but for me I could never do it.

I actually started my career out as an assistant and it just didn’t work. I’m too opinionated for one, and very rebellious. Oddly enough, the better I performed in that job the more I was resented by my boss. He didn’t want me to be any better at anything than I needed to be. And he wanted to nitpick about things that didn’t matter. My wardrobe was often criticized. How Mad Men is that? Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a flashy dresser. The criticisms were a lack of nylons and I was told once that I dressed like a postman. Looking back the fact that all of the executives were men should have tipped me off but I guess I didn’t have Mad Men, this was the year 2000, to know what I was getting into.

Just one of the final straws was when I designed a database application that saved collectively 10 hours of time per week from other employees. The male executives took my design and passed it off as their own. I was sitting there in the meeting watching them do it and I couldn’t believe it.

After quitting because I couldn’t take it anymore, I turned down other administrative jobs to take a lowly data entry position. I felt that I wanted to work on something which I owned. Something that wasn’t boosting someone else but actually belonged to me. 9 7 years later I’m a database specialist and programmer. My strategy worked.

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Update: The link is too small in this picture. So here it is: MadMenYourself.com

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The Implied Observer apologizes for being offline for so many days. I was moving this weekend and then unpacking. Just about the only thing I managed to do that was fun was see the new Star Trek movie. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then please do not read on. There will be spoilers a plenty.

Overall the movie was a fun two hours plus. I should add the disclaimer that I am not a huge fan of the original series, though I do like The Next Generation. So I should be in no way beholden to the original series like my friend Tom. And yet…..

Spock is not supposed to have emotions, and presumably the fact that he does not makes him a fun character. That’s why everyone loves Spock. And that’s why everyone loved Data in the TNG. So why would you take that one great part of the character and compromise it? Spock has a girlfriend? The girlfriend is Uhura? Again, not beholden to the original but this seems pretty out there and I don’t think it added anything to the film.

There was an utter lack of science fiction in this film. This is an adventure film pure and simple. All of our current technologies are replaced with newer technologies, but somehow those newer technologies don’t seem to change any aspect of human nature or cause people to reflect differently on how things are done. This is futuristic but it is not science fiction.

I think Leonard Nimoy was completely wasted and it was kind of embarrassing to watch.
One thing that was fun was that they appeared to make a conscious effort to cast actors that looked like the original actors. I especially enjoyed the guys they got to play Dr. MacCoy, Chekhov and Scottie. Sadly Sulu was the weakest link. Whether that be because they gave the actor nothing to work with or all his stuff ended up on the cutting room floor, I won’t try to guess. As for Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike? Fun, but minimal.

So have you seen the new Star Trek? Any thoughts?

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Yesterday I was talking to my friend Tom about the new Star Trek movie. Tom won’t be watching the movie because as he put it, the whole dynamic of the original series has been thrown out the window with story revision. Spock and Kirk did not know each other before working together on the Enterprise. To have them be colleagues in the academy completely changes their entire relationship. Tom went on in incredible detail about all the changes to the story and how the new film is really creating an alternate universe of the series.

Tom, this video is for you.

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For Project Runway fans.


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Here’s hoping Andy Murray ignores the hype and gets to work. He’s got a lot going for him right now.

I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to watch the matches without cable TV. Last year Wimbledon let you purchase a 2-week online pass to watch all the games. That seems like a really good idea which it doesn’t appear any of the other Grand Slams have tried. There’s a few sports sites around, but I’m not sure if the Australian Open will be available.

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I get a lot of hits for Neil Patrick Harris. Maybe it’s because he’s got excellent comic timing.

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This commercial was hinted at on the first episode of Mad Men.

Update: If you haven’t seen the video click more. I embedded this using the widget. (more…)

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Mad Men has entered the popular consciousness.

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For those of you watching Project Runway, here’s an article about last season’s winner Christian Siriano’s debut collection. I’m glad to hear he’s doing more than maternity wear. Here’s a link to view the photographs of the collection.

Interesting quote from the article:

“I just think there are so many reality shows that people become famous but they’re not really famous for anything,” Siriano said in a phone interview Monday while casting models. “At least people on ‘Project Runway’ are talented.”

Well….some of them anyway.

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I’ve just discovered “Mad Men” in its second season. What a great show. The show reveals the lives of the employees of an advertising firm in the early 1960’s. What I really like about this show is that it shows an earlier part of American history without the rose-colored nostalgia that we are so used to. It’s gritty, real and sometimes very depressing.

Because the characters work for an advertising firm, there is a lot of insight into the cultural norms of the time which I find fascinating. It also allows the show to have “Mad Men” intros to the actual commercials for the show. So this week it had a little intro into a pharmaceutical commercial that told us drug companies were not permitted to advertise on television until 1997. Normally that sort of connection between a show and its advertisers would be annoying, but since it’s not subliminal product placement it’s actually very interesting. And of course back in the 60’s they were much more open about what advertisers sponsored what shows.

Speaking of nostalgia, here’s a clip from the show.

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I posted this same youtube video of the Bernie Mac show during a recent controversy which you can read about here. The pettiness of the controversy seems so silly now that Bernie Mac has passed away.

The video really gives you the sense of what the Bernie Mac show was — a surprisingly smart sit com in a sea of sub par entertainment. While critics and the public laud shows like Seinfeld, Bernie Mac goes undiscovered by many. If you haven’t watched The Bernie Mac show before I highly recommend that you give it a shot. May the great Bernie Mac rest in peace.

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I was watching Verdict last night on msnbc when I caught this absolutely disturbing Saturday Night Live skit with John McCain. I guess the really disturbing part is that he is quite good as stalker. I always thought Bill Clinton was quite a thespian, but John McCain has one on him. McCain’s performance is a little too good to enjoy. Apologies for the adverts.

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Update: Not having luck with the add-on vodpod, but you can click on the link to see the video here.

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So I’m reading the Seattle Post Intelligencer (not sic) blog on the reality series “The Next Food Network Star” when all of a sudden this sentence pops out at me. Do I question it? Do I make any sense of it? No, I just assume it’s some weird Food Network language.

Luckily an astute commenter revealed the truth.

Susie Fogelson did not say that Lisa lost her virginity. She said she never lost her RIGIDITY.

I’m really glad you don’t have to be a virgin to be a Food Network star.

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First of all, he wishes. Second of all, Ian McKellan’s portrayal of King Lear will air on PBS possibly with full frontal nudity:

Ian McKellen’s acclaimed performance in “King Lear” is coming to PBS, but a public TV executive was coy Saturday about whether his on-stage nude scene will be exposed on air.

PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger, who saw the play during its brief run in New York, said she was impressed by the production and recalled thinking, “This is the kind of thing people should have a chance to see.”

Really? The jury is out.

Charlotte Rampling of course is the fabulous 62-year-old actress who seems to be appearing more nude than not in film lately. Swimming Pool, Under the Sand, Heading South…I could go on. I guess if you still have got it you might as well flaunt it. As for McKellan, we’ll see.

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Bernie Mac got some heat for telling a joke at an Obama fundraiser. Here’s the line that caused the problem:

“My little nephew came to me and he said, ‘Uncle, what’s the difference between a hypothetical question and a realistic question?”‘ Mac said toward the end of his routine. “I said, I don’t know, but I said, ‘Go upstairs and ask your mother if she’d make love to the mailman for $50,000.”‘

“Hypothetically speaking, we should have $100,000. But realistically speaking we live with two hos,” Mac said, delivering the joke’s punchline.

Do I think it’s funny? Well, I wasn’t there so I can’t really say. But it reminds me of Sonny and Cher humor where Sonny was always the cuckold. At least I think that’s how I remember it.

I like Bernie Mac. I think his humor is usually pretty smart. I wouldn’t say I watch a lot of black sitcoms on TV, but I did watch Bernie Mac. I liked how there was no laugh track on the show and you really had to think to get the joke. I haven’t watched much of his stand up comedy, but I think if he took Obama’s advice to clean up his act he’d probably be out of a job. Odd to think that George Carlin just died and stand up comedy is still controversial.

Here is the shortest clip I could find from the Bernie Mac show.

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