Friday, December 18, 2009


The show “Teen Mom” on MTV follows a few teen moms. You see how hard it to be a teen mom, but at the same time this show is showing teens that if you get pregnant you can always just get on a show. The US has a growing number of teen pregnancies and shows like this do not help the statics go down. Once I turned the show, it was hard to turn the channel. The editing makes each scene flow into another. This show type is typical on MTV. They try to bring reality into every home but by doing that they are in a way making important issues not seem so important. Shows like “My Super Sweet 16” shows the world how stuck up so American teens are. Shows like the “Real World” on the other hand show how editing can create an event out of one saying. I do not know what on TV is considered real anymore.

Fantastic Mr. Anderson!

Wes Anderson has made his genius ever-apparent once again in his latest move Fantastic Mr. Fox!. The movie is, of course, based off the classic Rohl Dahl book of the same name. I personally have never read the book, though it seems that most school aged children have become familiar with it at one time or another, but it made no difference to me when viewing Anderson's eye-catching new piece of cinematic art.

Anderson uses his distinct style of animation, that we previously only catch a glimmer of in his previous films (The Life Aquatic, etc.), to create a full length feature that is both witty and mesmerizing. George Clooney is a great fit as Mr. Fox (as is Merril Streep for Mrs. Fox), and who would not love Bill Murray as a badger? The anthropomorphism of the characters is so strong, one almost forgets they are supposed to be animals. The soundtrack sets the tone -- and is perfectly in sync with the animation -- with original composition, indie music, and, yes, a little bit of the Beach Boys. Even though the plot is about coming to terms with one's true nature, I couldn't help but think the film itself was a beautiful exercise in escapism.

It seems to have been the season of fantasy and whimsy with one "fantastical" film after another. Fox echoes the idea of an other-worldliness that could also be seen recently in Where the Wild Things Are. Both are based on best-selling children's books, are retold by renowned indie directors, and both provide a visual feast for the eyes while touching on deeper psychological themes. Although this move may be more child-friendly than WTWTA, it still has many aspects that seem tailor made for adults to enjoy. And enjoy it I did!

Goths Vs Emo

Recently in class we discussed and article called Lessons From Littleton. This article goes into the perception of teenagers in schools and how some schools were banning certain types of "looks." In one incident, the article tells of a teenagers who wore the Star of David and one teacher mistook it as a gang symbol.

Another topic the author, Jenkins, touched on was Goths. Goths appear in dark clothing, crazy colored hair, and many piercing and tattoos. Most goths also wear dark make up such as thick eyeliner, black lipstick, and dark eyeshadows. Goths do this to separate themselves from the social norms that surround them. They feel different, so they want to portray their differences through their looks.

Incidentally a friend of mine recently asked me what the difference was between emos and goths. Interestingly enough, I kind of had an answer. I took a class last semester called Media and Popular Culture. In this class we watched a video called Goths Vs Emos: Differences. The video was produced by a goth to show people what the differences were between the goth lifestyle and the emo lifestyle. One prominant messages was, "Goth is a lifestyle, emo is a trend." I found it every interesting that these individuals spend so much time separating themselves from the social norms when some spend so much time conforming to them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Surfing Perezhilton, I came across the headline, “Brad and Angie trying for baby #7?” For those of you who don’t know Brad and Angie have a lot of kids. At this point I don’t know how many they have anymore, I’d guess six after reading this headline. A lot of people think they adopt and have all of these kids to be an even larger part of the media than they already are. Some articles about Brad and Angie have been dealing with where they chose to take their children in one reading people were worried about the safety of their kids in the countries Angie was bringing them to. For Brad and Angie it’s always about going above and beyond what other couples do.

Recently though there have also been rumors that the couple’s relationship is not at its greatest point, but they always look so happy with all of their kids. An insider said, “"Angelina decided about four months ago that she really wanted to try to get pregnant again. She basically told Brad that if it happens, it happens and that she wasn't going to concern herself with birth control. Angie's most at peace when a baby is coming." I guess if they have another kid maybe they can fix the bumps in the road, seems to me this is what they’re implying.

The Battle to Leagalize it!

The leaglization of marijana has been an on going public debate for years now. Visiting friends in San Francisco, California has brought to my attention the large difference in leniency between Wisconsin and California in regards to marijuana. I met people out there that have green cards, allowing them to purchase medical marijuana whenever they want, whatever amount. They simply go to the website, browse the online "catalog" of the different kinds of marijuana available, choose their amount and order it! They then, within the hour, deliver your order, even right to your dorm! Coming back to Wisconsin, is another story.
This past Tuesday December 15th, Wisconsin lawmakers sat down to disucss the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. The bill would allow patients that qualify to be able to recieve the drug from compassion centers or grow it on their own. The bill was denied. Despite its inital rejection, they were said to have decided to give it another month of debate before their final decision is made.
I am in no way claiming to be a "pot head" or smoke marijuana, etc; however, I do condone and support the idea of leagilizing it in Wisconsin. If other states have, and there was not a large increase of abuse or anything due to the use of the drug, there seems to be no real reason to oppose the idea.

'Avatar' already selling out for this weekend

The movie Avatar, due to be released in theaters tomorrow, is already being sold out nationwide.

Directed by James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic, Aliens, Rambo), Avatar is a 3D sci-fi fantasy movie about a paraplegic who travels to the world of Pandora, a land inhabited by "Na'vi" humanoids to take the place of his fallen brother in battle.

The film had an enormous $300 million budget and has received mixed reviews thus far. Some have the said the dialogue is clunky, but famous critic Roger Ebert went in to the showing not sure what to expect, but came out thrilled with Cameron's work.

Cameron had pledged to take 3D to the next level, whatever that may be, and the movie seems to be generating a ton of buzz. Will it be as successful as his previous movies? Time will tell, but if you don't already have a ticket for this weekend, you might be waiting awhile to see it.

R.I.P. Chris Henry

NFL wide receiver Chris Henry passed away today, due to injuries he sustained in a car accident on Wednesday. His story marks one of the biggest tragedies and saddest stories that I’ve heard in a while. It's not just the untimely nature and unfortunate situation that resulted in his premature death, but the circumstances surrounding his troubled life. A few years ago, Henry was one of the top receivers in the NFL, in addition to being one of its biggest troublemakers. For many, he was a symbol of everything that was wrong with the struggling Cincinnati Bengals. At the time, the club was notorious for all the wrong reasons. Numerous players had been arrested for serious crimes. Henry himself had been arrested several times for such offenses as criminal damaging, driving under the influence, and marijuana possession. He was released by the team in April 2008, at which time owner Mike Brown explained that he had “forfeited his opportunity to pursue a career with the Bengals, and that his conduct could no longer be tolerated.” In the following months Henry turned his life around. With the help of former NFL wide receiver Michael Irvin, who was no stranger to legal troubles in his playing days, Henry found a way to get his life back on track. With the Bengals injury list piling up, and their poor performance continuing last year, Brown took a chance and re-signed the reformed Henry to the team. It worked out and Henry managed to be productive on the field once more, this time while keeping his personal life in check. Unfortunately, right when he found the road to redemption, Henry’s life was snuffed out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tiger Woods vs everyday men

It seems that Tiger Woods and his affair make the major news stories of the day. My main issue with Tiger's affair is that he affair is causing more waves than an affair between a normal run of the mill man and women. I feel that there are more newsworthy stories than an affair. Another thing with the Wood's drama is the fact that the media won't let it go. It seems that almost every other day a new women comes forward saying that they were with Woods. Why can't these women stay in the shadow? I don't know about most people but I am tired of hearing about affairs on the news when there are other events happening in the world that affect more people than an affair involving the mayor, police chief and "celebrity". I now will not click or watch a certain news show if they start off with breaking news about another affair.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sing-Off: The New Vampire?

Despite their khakis, ties, and jackets, the all-male Beelzebubs are no fans of uniformity. Their energetic performances include flailing arms, stamping feet, and running around on stage. They edged out nearly 1,000 other a cappella groups that vied last summer for spots on ‘‘The Sing-Off.’’

Watching the latest performance based music talent show, I thought how much they are exploiting the already popular American Idol, America’s Got Talent and Glee. That is how the show is advertised but then I began to see how what is popular usually is what is profitable. Let’s see who else has done this… Vampire Diaries, Tru Blood, Twilight? As popular as vampires have become, good old fashioned talent with musical influence seems to resonate with many fans. There is something about music that draws us in, kind of like how the undead allure of a vampire makes the teens fall over themselves. If Sing Off does well, how many more shows like it will emerge?

Based on the vampire trend, we should be prepared. Not to say that the show has no draw for me, I am a sucker for great singers and vampires, I grew up watching Star Search and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But it would be lovely if the shows kept to talent, I always feel terrible watching auditions that are not only painful to watch but just downright embarrassing to witness. The best group so far (opinion of course) on Sing-Off is Nota, a Puerto Rican group, that makes the show worth watching.

Monday, December 14, 2009

We Cause Scenes!

Improv Everywhere is something everyone needs to be familiar with! It is a performance group that carries out skits and pranks with group members and volunteers who are called “uncover agents.” The group’s tagline is “We Cause Scenes,” and their mission is to create scenes of public joy and chaos. Usually the improvisations occur in big cities like New York and L.A., where they attempt to bring joy and a bit of randomness to the dullness and monotony of city life. All pranks are done in good fun with simply the intent of putting a smile on people’s faces.

The group has performed countless “missions” but some more well known pranks include Frozen in Grand Central and I Love Lunch! The Musical. In Frozen in Grand Central, for example, tons of volunteers all stop and freeze at exactly the same time in Grand Central Station. They remain frozen in mid-action for 5 minutes as bystanders become confused, entertained, and sometimes irritated. After time has passes, all frozen people come to life and nonchalantly go back to their business as if nothing happened.

Beware! Once you start watching the videos, you will become addicted!

The skits are usually recorded and the group has videos on their website and youtube, a book explaining improvisations, and dvds for sale.

Homeless to "Blind side" (NFL Left Tackle)

Michael Oher, 74, recently known as Baltimore Ravens rookie left tackle. Or as others might know him as, the inspiration of the new movie Blind Side. He was an African-American homeless, overweight highschooler, who was taken in by a wealthy, white family, the Touhys who helped provide Oher with his full potential and become now, an NFL first draft pick left tackle.

The movie is named after his position in football. The left tackle is also known as the blind side. The left tackle position is on the offensive line. (Basically blocking for the quaterback). He is a young 23 year old who didn't have it so easy at such a young age. Since being taken into the Touhy family, he had to opportunity to play a sport he loved, and attend college at Mississippi. What a great example of someone following their dream while being very underprivileged. As the left tackle position, you may not create a profile full of statistics, but it is a crucial position and as a rookie he as even strived to the starting spot.

Two weeks ago, Monday, Oher and the Ravens played the Packers at Lambeau field. Before the game there was a tribute of the recent movie out about the Blind Side's inspiration. As a football fan, I find it as an incredible story and incredibly heartening. I watched the Packers, cheered for Aaron Rodgers, but also watched and cheered for the 'famous' number 74. Even watching the game, gave me goosebumps to know he once had absolutely nothing in his life and now he is living his dream.

Of course since the recent release of the movie, many intereviews with Oher and his adoptive family have been proposed and taken place. However, in some interviews I have read, Oher simply wants to talk about football, not the book or the movie. He doesn't care about the fame from the movie, he cares about his job playing left tackle for the Ravens. He didn't strive get this far and become egotistical. If anything he knows what is like to have nothing and now he is just doing what makes him happy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Life without TV

one of my first blogs for this class was when I first started living without television. My roomates and I are poor, and dont have enough money to buy one of those boxes to get even standard cable. Me being a pretty devoted television viewer, I thought that I would go crazy. It's been about five months now that my roommates and I have been without television, and surprisingly we are doing just fine. I have found that I generally miss tv when there is a packer or badger game on or the news. We have found that normally on a daily living basis, to do something together in the house, would normally involve us watching a tv show or a movie on the tv. now we sit around and talk about anything, my roomate knits, one plays the drums, and i have taken up the harmonica. I have come to value the conversations between my roomates and I more now, because I know that if we had a TV we would not be learning and exploring and enjoying each others company as much as we do without tv. However, we have all found a way to access shows that we love whether it be on network television websites, or through renting seasons on netflix. If I have learned anything from this experience it would be that television is a luxury, not a necessity. I would recommend to anyone going without a television for a certain amount of time, it brings back the person to person conversation that people in this day and age are lacking.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Growing pains for Wikipedia"

I never thought about editing or submitting entries to Wikipedia. It sounds so scholarly to be able to contribute to an encyclopedia - doesn't it? Well, I found this article from 2005 (kind of old) and it explains why Wales had to monitor submissions and change the rules.

Hackers are infamous for 'hacking' into entries and changing information, as discussed in lecture. Wales had to put a stop to it when someone tried changing information about the Kennedy assassination. I think that steps like this should be taken to build credibility to Wikipedia.

I often use Wikipedia to gain an understanding and background of my topic. I am never allowed to count it as a scholarly source,but most of the time it is more relevant and "beefier" information than scholarly sites. I think that I would love to edit and contribute to Wikipedia. I would love to have passion for a subject that I cared about how accurate the information is.

In fact, once I graduate I would like to be a user and begin my Wikipedia-ness. I want to become someone who can say they helped write entries for an encyclopedia.

Chad Ochocinco no more?

This will be the third time I've wrote about Chad Ochocinco this semester because he just can't manage to stay out of the media spotlight. Lets recap...Chad Ochocino is a wide receive in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals. Chad legally changed his name this past season from Chad Johnson. He decided to go with Ochocinco because his jersey number for the team is 85. There was talk about him legally changing his first name to Esteban to go with his Spanish last name, but those rumors ended. Now, according to sources, Ochocinco is thinking about changing his last name yet again. This time to Chad Hachi Go which is Japanese for 85. A Japanese film crew was in town doing a piece on the Cincinnati Bengals because Chad is very popular over there. His Japanese fans suggested he make the change to Hachi Go.

Chad Ochocinco's reality show life is getting out of hand, but people continue to cover his life. The only reason I'm still talking about him is because its gotten so ridiculous that you just have to laugh. I was a huge fan of the original Chad Johnson when he was just a great football player. It's too bad his celebrity status got to his head and created what we see today.

Snowball Fight!!!

These pictures illustrate a snowball fight that took place on the Madison UW campus just a couple of days ago on December 9. The makings for this massive snowball fight originated over Facebook and then transformed into a reality that involved over 3,000 students. The fight went on for approximately forty minutes and some students were even armed with shields and water balloon launchers, and luckily, cameras!

I think this is an amazing example of the power of online networking groups. The idea for the fight began just two days prior and the message was followed and executed by thousands of people! I actually found this article posted on Facebook. It cheered me up in this bitter cold to see proof of why winter is actually fun. I personally can think of no better way to break up final exams than by hurling balls of snow at thousands of fellow students! If only I had known....

All I want for Christmas is Rage?

We won't be seeing any new Christmas anthems at the top of the charts this year, at least not if Jon Morter has anything to do with it.

In an effort to destroy Simon Cowell's "music machine", Morter has launched an all out Facebook attack on the X-Factor. X-Factor is a television show that originated in the U.K. as a replacement for Pop Idol. Think of it of the U.S. version of American Idol. The winner of this show, The X-Factor, has had the number one Christmas song in the U.K. the last 5 years, and Morter is sick of it.

So what does he plan to do about it?

Morter fashioned a Facebook group encouraging everyone to download the song, "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine on the same day in order to boost sales and shoot this song to the top of the list in order to destroy any chance that the X-Factor will have of retaining its crown at the top for the sixth year in a row.

The facebook group as of now contains a little more than 550,000 members. The song is predicted to com ein second place on Christman day, right behind the X-Factor, however come Christmas day we will see if this muscial uprising stands strong.

Simon Cowell's retort calls this facebook movemnet both "stupid" and "cynical" says

I guess we will just have to wait and see when the results are in. Will Christmas music prevail or will Rage truly topple the machine?