Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"True" Men's Channel

For the first time in my life I watched a television channel that features hunting. All hunting. I was with a couple of guy friends who let me shoot a couple of guns up north during labor day weekend. Anyhow, we were watching the hunting channel long enough for me to notice some things:

1. The commercials were cheesy.

2. The commercials looked like the homemade videos. America's Funniest Home Videos without the Funny.

3. They featured mostly guys, which is really what I want to talk about in this posting.

The men featured in these commercials were average looking. Most of them had the "hey der"-type accent. There was no makeup applied to these men's faces. I don't remember seeing any women in these commercials. So, no women... no attractive men. It seems more obvious why women aren't featured. Hunting is a "manly" thing. There are "no women allowed." It's as if they say, "if we let women in, it will emasculate the sport."

There are no women... but wouldn't you think that there'd be at least some sexy women doing the commercials? Like the typical commercials that want to attract men to a product. Nope, not in hunting. My theory is that hunting isn't supposed to be sexy. It's all guy. You're not using the product to feel sexier or to attract women. It's pure sport.

There are no good looking men... why? I will theorize that good looking men who have an attractive face, body, and styled hair are too metrosexual. It's like if they are attractive, then they spend too much time in front of the mirror. Again, it comes back to the sexy thing (and perhaps an adversion to homosexuality). What is the point in having an attractive guy on camera you don't care how you look like when you hunt? Do hunters really want to look like a model when they're hunting? They may want to, but hunting is not a realm in which you should care. Why would you want to look like a "pretty boy" (i.e. "pansy") when you're around other men?

Thus, attractive men and women are not needed to produce these commercials. Well, good for them for not using commercial models. Saves money!

"Our Country"

The new Chevy Silverado truck ads, using the same John Mellencamp song as the one we watched in class, seem to have gone too far for some people by using images from the Civil Rights and Vietnam/Watergate era, as well as from more recent troubled times, to make the GM brand seem somehow essentially American and triumphant. Here's how Slate puts it:
It's not OK to use images of Rosa Parks, MLK, the Vietnam War, the Katrina disaster, and 9/11 to sell pickup trucks. It's wrong. These images demand a little reverence and quiet contemplation. They are not meant to be backed with a crappy music track and then mushed together in a glib swirl of emotion tied to a product launch. Please, Chevy, have a modicum of shame next time.
You can watch the ad at Slate. There is also an instant parody on YouTube:

The New York Times has another take on it:
Critics have attacked the ad, in part because it also invokes Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to sell trucks. But something more subtle, perhaps more cynical, may be at work here: the image of America (and its leading auto manufacturer) as victim, mostly of itself, but still worth loving.

“The first time I saw it, I thought, holy mackerel, they are using negative images to generate positive emotions,” said Bob Garfield, the advertising critic of Advertising Age. “I have never seen that in a commercial.”

“I feel a little violated when I watch it,” he said. “I don’t mind when they have a tent sale on President’s Day, but those guys have been dead for 200 years. I’m not sure I’m ready for a Rosa Parks sale-a-bration.”

Kim Kosak, director of advertising and sales promotion at Chevrolet, said there was no thought given to drawing a parallel between the struggles of a nation and the struggles of a corporate icon.

“We never discussed that or thought about it,” she said in a phone interview. “The idea was that the pickup consumer is honest, hardworking, authentic and real. In order to be real and honest, we needed to show the scars and bruises, as well as the triumphs, of this country in order to be true.”

Presumably, as the Slate article eventually points out, this ad appeals mainly to "red state" Americans, where there is the biggest market for pickups. The response on YouTube is clearly from a left-of-center perspective. Slate and the Times are both left-leaning publications. This ad is thus a good example of something we should always consider in analyzing media texts, and which we will be discussing in the coming weeks: meanings are different for different people. To ad critics in big East Coast cities, the Chevy spot smacks of bad taste. But to television viewers around the country it might (how can we know?) seem "authentic and real." When it comes to matters of interpretation, media texts rarely have a single "correct" meaning.

(Beware: if you watch the ad or the parody you are likely to get "Our Country" stuck in your head for hours or days. Even if you hate it. Especially if you hate it.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

"CRIKEY!" What's going on here?!

Last Friday night before heading out for the usual Halloween weekend bash, I heard something strange on the TV I had on for background noise. An anchor from Entertainment Tonight was discussing a particularly offensive new South Park episode. South Park? Offensive? “Wow, big surprise there,” I thought to myself. As I watched what remained of the story, I found that the episode was about a Halloween party of sorts hosted by Satan. One of the characters at this party happens to be the recently deceased Steve Irwin aka “The Crocodile Hunter.”

Irwin fans and network execs being interviewed on ET were claiming how South Park should have more couth in dealing with sensitive matters such as this man’s untimely death. He was a wonderful person; it’s not like he was a politician or celebrity—people whose misfortunes are standard on “harsh” comedy shows like South Park. However, the quote given by the South Park reps simply said that they have been and will continue to offend people for years, that’s how their money is made, and that’s how their shows will still run—people should just get used to this fact.

Wow. So much for compassion of television. Now, I’ll admit. I’m a huge fan of edgy shows similar to South Park (Family Guy being my favorite), but picking on poor Steve just mere weeks after his death is a little much. I mean, his 8-year-old daughter spoke at his funeral, which was replayed on the news for quite some time after. Millions of people were effected by his death, and apparently are not ready (and perhaps never will be able) to laugh yet. Myself included.


Michael J. Fox

You have to give Michael J. Fox credit folks, and not just for Back to the Future (Parts I, II, and III I might add). In case you haven't heard yet, Fox recently sponsored some political candidates in a somewhat startling television ad.

Fox has suffered from Parkinson's disease for several years now, but he has been able to keep it under control and out of the public's eye for most of that time. Fox and other individuals who suffer from the same disease have uncontrollable shaking and bodily twitching as a side effect of the medicine they take. Well, in this particular ad (for political candidates in support of stem cell research), Fox is shown shaking back and forth, occasionally going off the screen— a slightly moving scene.

Rush Limbaugh went on the air and said Fox was faking and exaggerating the disease's effects, selling out to political candidates for media coverage. What an ass. Fox has the courage to get on national television to support a cause that's more important to him than anyone realizes, and he gets bashed for it. Fox doesn't need pity, nor would he want it. He's out there doing what he wants to do, how he wants to do it, just like every other person supporting a cause should. Props to Michael, and cheers to Back to the Future Part VI (it could happen...).

Lynne Cheney is a Hypocrite

I try to avoid watching the 24-hour corporate news cycle, but I happened to stop on CNN the other day to hear Lynne Cheney talking with Wolf Blitzer. She was on the show to promote a childrens book about the 50 states. But Wolf was asking her some questions about the self destruction of the Republican Party and the Mark Foley scandal, and Mrs. Cheney freaked out. In true neo-conservative fashion, her response was that there is no problem with the Republican party, it's just that the citizenry of the U.S. are being duped by the "Liberal Media" into believing that the War in Iraq is going bad and that the Bush economy is economical poison!

I really hate this myth that the media is liberal. It is overtly and unequivocally corporate and pro-business. If the media is so liberal, why didn't they question the Bush administrations suspect grounds for going into Iraq? Cheney would clearly prefer a media that doesn't question the actions of the administration, as long as that administration is Republican; a media that serves as a propaganda tool as it did on the run-up to the war. It's not the media's fault that the War in Iraq was a mistake, it's not their fault that Mark Foley is pervert and the GOP covered it up. What happened to "personal responsibility"? This is the path the Party has taken, and they are responsible for the consequences, so don't blame the media for covering it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


My roomate just got back from Saw III and it got me thinking about scary movies and camera angles. When i was in 10th grade my English teacher taught us about how camera angles are used to tell a story. She told us that she studied film making in college and she learned that certain things can give a movie away. She told us that when she went to see"The Sixth Sense" in theaters, she immediately knew that Bruce was dead. She claims she knew this becasue they placed him in the lower left corner or something like that in a specific scene. She told us that they always put the person who is going to die in whatever certain spot (I completely forget what it was). When we talked about camera shots in class a couple of weeks ago i started thinking about what my English teacher had said. COULD IT BEEEEE that movies really do give away the story line through the camera angles? OR, was my teacher just trying to be a hot shot since no one else knew Bruce was dead?

Can you cry at movies?

So I went to see "Flag of Our Fathers" the other night and the guy I was with said that I was not allowed to cry during the movie. He just got back from serving two tours in Iraq and said that this was what war was like. I decided that I could never go to war because I would always be crying. Why though is it that when told the girls that the movie was good but sad they all agreed but the guys said I was being a baby. I think that people should be allowed to express any emotion that hits them when they watch a movie. It's like at horror movies where instead of screaming I laugh. Why you ask? Because that way I am convincing myself that the movie is not real and it is just entertainment; otherwise I would be freaking out for awhile. But no one gets that reaction and everyone just thinks that I am so wierd. Therefore I think that whatever emotion hits you feel free to express it and enjoy yourself.

Friday, October 27, 2006

You is Killing MTV

I really think that Youtube, is becoming the new MTV. Numerous bands have begun uploading their videos onto Youtube. Big, small, just starting bands are all getting there video on to the site. Giving access to many thousands of viewers. I was reviewing the new “the Hold Steady” album for the Post this week. Having only seen this band live in concert and on Conan O’Brien. I wondered if they had any Music video that could potentially play on MTV that is if MTV actually played videos now a day.
What I was amazed to find is that the band had loaded quit a few video that were made from all there albums, even before they broke on to the indie scene.
As of recently I notice on the side bar of Youtube that each day they feature a new music video. Useless garbage paid for buy the record labels, yet I though, maybe it a little more no corporate than I thought.
I know that music videos have been on the net for many years now, but I think Youtube and it scope is just the best format for them. Because, anyone can post a video this can really help to boost a local band. Think about how fast a band would be signing if their video became a big hit on Youtube.
Music videos are Youtube are more of a promotional device than ever, where MTV just played what they thought everyone want, Youtube plays what will most likely become the next big thing.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cheap Seats De Ja Vu???

I’m a big fan of the ESPN Classic show Cheap Seats. This is a show that has two twin brothers, Randy and Jason Sklar, making humorous comments about old sporting events. These events range from spelling bees to old 1970s wrestling. The jokes never stop and they’re usually related to what they’re watching and some times the jokes are related to little skits that they create. The show is basically a joke itself and if you watch it, you’ll notice it doesn’t really take itself seriously either. After watching an episode, I finally realized why I like the show so much: because it is basically like Mystery Science Theater 3000. The only difference is Cheap Seats makes fun of bad old sporting events, while MST makes fun of bad old movies. Unfortunately this end of November, Cheap Seats will stop making new episodes, and ending long before its prime, much like MST did. p.s…I actually met the guy from MST, Mike Nelson at party my parents were throwing. I didn’t really know who he was at the time (it was the early 90’s and I really wasn’t a fan of the show until my parents had turned me onto it), but he was a really nice down to earth kind of guy.


So it happened again, I got sucked into another series on television, first it was Prison Break and the OC(guilty pleasure), and many more thanks to the invention of TIVO. Now the new one is Heroes, the show is awesome, it has everything from a dude who can paint the future when he does drugs to a cheerleader who can regenerate and never get hurt, one of the greatest scenes with her being getting accidentally stabbed in the back of the head with a tree branch and she pulls it out when she wakes up spread open on the autopsy table and folds her skin back together and walks out of the morgue...YES!!!!!!
Anyway my advice is that its not too late to start watching this show, and get addicted, because if no one watches this show and it gets canceled I'm gonna be mighty pissed off. Above is a picture of the indestructable cheerleader from the show, just because shes hot, and shes probably like 16 and I'm goin to hell.... but your comin with me cause you agree.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sports Radio

Being a commuter to UWM I spend alot of time in my car. Since the car has no cd player or tape deck i must resort to the radio. In the morning the music stations are all DJs talking about nothing and long commercials so I have turned to sports radio on the am dial. There are two such stations in Milwaukee these days(1250 and 1510) so i mix it up. I have become addicted not because of the quality of the shows but because I have such disdain for pretty much all of the hosts. I hate their arrogance and shortness with callers. Even if I find myself agreeing with their points of view, I still feel the same hatred. What makes these guys(aside from the few ex-pro athletes) the authority on the issues? The callers sat on the bench of their high school football team just like the hosts did so why do they know more? The answer is for the most part they don't and they just love the power they wield being on the airwaves. If I hate these shows so much why do I listen? Because I love starting my day off with a bowl of cheerios, a look at the Journal Sentinel, and a good verbal lashing of the voices coming from my car stereo.

newfound myspace obsession

so i've been a member of myspace for quite some time now. i never really cared about it that much because facebook was already consuming my life. besides, i've never been a real internet kind of person, except when i didn't have my license and lived on yahoo messenger. but anyway, i set up a myspace profile awhile ago just because i felt it was the thing to do since "everyone" was on myspace. but one night about a week ago i honestly spent around 5 hours non-stop on myspace editing my profile, searching for people from high school, uploading pictures, trying to find the perfect profile song, etc. when you're on that thing for awhile it is so hard to stop. i thought it was kind of funny though that hardly any of my high school friends that have facebook had a myspace account yet a bunch of my friends from high school who never went to college were all about their myspace profiles. in my opinion, myspace is different from facebook in the way that you can lie so easily about anything. i'm not talking about the whole pedophile thing, but just about creating completely different identities. i found out things about peoples' personalities that i really did not know before. like one of my semi friends who dresses pretty preppie and seems fairly normal comes across as this huge death-is-so-cool-and-i-love-fire emo chick on her profile. so if people are putting this on their profiles yet acting completely different in person, do you really KNOW anyone?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bonan O'Crien

Late Night with Conan O'Brien is one of my favorite talk shows. I always thought that hosting a show like that would be fun. I love being a goof, acting obnoxious, and being inappropriate. All the things that Conan is. Then I came to realize that there are really no talk shows like that with women hosting. Yes, Rosie O'Donnell (sp?) and Caroline Rhea (?) had fun shows. But there were on during the day, and they were never as obnoxious as Conan's or Jay Leno's. I tried to replace Conan with a woman host in my head and realized that maybe it would never work. That does not mean that I would never try it myself or discourage anyone who wants to attempt it.

But having a woman do such inappropriate things may be considered absolutely inappropriate and overly obnoxious. Not in a humorous way, but more of an annoying way. People may think, "Wow, she has to stop because she is too much... too annoying." Why? Because society has constructed such constraining ways that women cannot act like that? Sex is not a biological determinant of comical behavior.

One more thing: why is it that when I say light "inappropriate" things in humor, it is such a surprise? The things I may say/mention/talk about are those similar to what my guy friends may say. But what I say is sometimes a shock to both guys and girls. I am told that "I'm cool" because I sometimes act like a guy (assumed simply through my rhetoric) yet, I dress fashionably as a girl (i.e. I dress femininely). If a tomboy-type girl acts like a guy, then it's because she is "just one of the guys" or she is a lesbian. If someone sees a girl who dresses like a "girly-girl," they assume that she will act like what society deems a "girl." Stop being so surprised! Get used to it! My humor/behavior is not going to change to appropriate the way I look.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This is our country... sounds familiar.

While I was studying hard for a midterm exam (for a class that I really enjoy) Sunday night, I heard John Mellencamp singing his new song before the World Series Baseball game. "From the east coast to the west coast" blah blah blah "this is our country." It sounded mighty familiar. Maybe it's because it's the Chevy theme song, who by the way advertises heavily during the World Series (ah, synergy). Maybe it was because I heard it in a class I was taking (that I really enjoy), or maybe it was from something else in my memory. I felt myself changing the lyrics a little without changing the tune too much..."From the Redwood Forest to the New York Island" blah blah blah "This land was made for you and me." Strikingly similar. Two very partiot songs. I mean "This Land Is Your Land" was H.W. Bush's campaign song and Mellencamp's song has been the campaign song for Chevy trucks and Football. But hold on a second, "This Land" was written by Woody Guthrie in disgust with "God Bless America." It was also an anthem for American working class and Communist parties. The irony is amazing.

Oh yeh, I checked out the Mellencamp website and this is a quote he had to say about the song that's coming out in 2007. (If anyone hasn't heard it enough by now.)

"About a year ago, I wrote this song to tell a story about some of the challenges our country faces and how our beliefs and ideals can help us meet them. This partnership with Chevy -- an American company that is creating jobs and supporting our communities -- makes perfect sense for a song that is all about standing up for the working people who are the backbone of our nation."

I swear this is the actual quote. What's the definition of selling out again???

Sad that this is where i grew up...

Racine, WI. Just 45 mins south of milwaukee. Beautiful city right on the lakefront. Yeah, well recently racine has had a lot of negative publicity. Racine has a lot of gang violence and this past thursday there was an article dealing with numerous shootings and a fire. Supposidly these shootings were related. Besides the obvious violence that occured, racine ran out of police to respond to all of these incidents. WHAT is this!?....how bad can it get!? Another thing that is a shame is the fact that my catholic high school is one block away from one of the shootings. yikes. and in the summer time there was a man stabbed at the convenient store right across the street from St. catherines high school. how unsafe is racine becoming? this is terrible. The link to the journel sentinel has the full story to what happened on thursday night along with about a million commments from citizens or concerned people of racine.....take a look!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Humans for sale.......HELL YEAH!!!!!!!

There is so much talk, at least in my house, about how poor the market is for homes. Yeah, exciting conversations, I know. We have tons of people in my neighborhood who are in the process of trying to get rid of their homes for an exceedingly rediculous amount of money and then two days later they bring the price down again. Anyways, after making the half hour trek down to school everyday, and finding that the only place where you never receive a ticket is on Summit Ave, I've begun to discover that my neighborhood is not the only place where homes have continuously sat on the market for months. As bored and as over tired as I usually am in the mornings I find lame amusement in counting these homes, and was caught off guard when I got stuck trying to decide if a particular house I passed was on sale or not. Sitting on the lawn of this house was a sign that read, "FOR SALE JEAN HENNING" with a picture of this cute, little-old lady sitting next to her name. I was at first flabbergasted at whether or not they were selling their grandmother or whether they named their humble abode. Then I thought to myself a little longer and realized that no longer would the world have to worry about homes not selling on the market place, humans were the new commodity! In actuality I understood the sign completely, but I just thought it funny that whatever relator was working on selling that particular house really needed to rethink their signage. I mean, if it was that lady for sale and not the house, they would've sold that thing months ago.

Asian Persuasion!!!

The other day we watched the Indy Jones clip and I had made a few comments about how the movie clumps all Asians together (e.g., the use of a Japanese name inserted into the spoken language (Chinese)). There was another inconsistency among that spoken language. There are many dialects in the Chinese language. However, the two main ones are "Mandarin" (spoken in most of China and what most U.S. universities teach), and "Cantonese" (spoken in parts of Southeast China and the main language of Hong Kong). The Asian men who delievered the scene in the lounge/bar spoke in Mandarin, some of it quite broken. But the little boy who helped Indiana spoke in Cantonese. For example, he was screaming at people to "get off to the side of the street" when he was driving through the side streets at the attempt to lose the men behind them.

Trying to incorporate an Asian culture into a Western film should be applauded, as it seems to be an attempt at pluralism (i.e., the idea of asserting a culture's distinctive identity) instead of simply attempting to assimilate the subservient culture. However, it was sloppy work (at least in the eyes of those who understand the language, behavior, and stereotype of the Chinese). I realize that it is not an easy thing to employ so many actors that may fully understand / speak the language (as most minorities born in the U.S. today are more eager to assimmilate and Americanize themselves than anything), but sometimes I still get annoyed at that seemingly lazy attempt. I guess whatever looks even halfway viable in the eyes of the mass audience (i.e. English-speakers) would suffice in inauthentic filming.

See a MOvie See the WOrld

So the International Film Fest is back! Yesterday was opening night for the festival and I'm told that it was opened to a packed house. The festival is definitely multiplying in populairty every year. Last year, I got a friend's pass and saw about half a dozen films which were all really excellent. It's an excellent opportunity for all of our Milwaukeeans that are surely sheltered in this midwest tundra to the world of culture outside keggers and thirsty thursdays. The two movies I definitely want to see this year are Blak Gold, about the global movement of fair trade and taking place in the birth place of coffee, Ethiopia, and also Suffer and Smile, which is about the legacy of fantatstic afro-beat jazz music and the legacy of activism attched to the Fela Kuti, his son Fema, and the generations to come. I saw Femi play at a MIlwaukee festival 2 years ago, when they were filming this doc, and it was really cool to see his son on stage with him (could't have been more than 10), playing the sax up front with his dad and with the rest of the horn section. The history of this family and their roots in the movement of music is extremely interesting. Fela Anikulapo ("the man who carries death in a pouch") Kuti once even declared his house and large yard his own state and brought in hundreds of the oppressed around Nigeria. He passed away in his late 40's due to AIDS. REGARDLESS, the international film fest is defintely a great opportunity to get out of the conglomerate box office and see some real films. It is a bit taxed at around 9.00 a showing (which is inflating like summerfest tickets when you look at years past), so try and get a friend's pass or mug a judge for his and make your way to see the world! PEACE.

See a MOvie, See the WOrld

So the International Film Fest is back! Yesterday was opening night for the festival and I'm told that it was opened to a packed house. The festival is definitely multiplying in populairty every year. Last year, I got a friend's pass and saw about half a dozen films which were all really excellent. It's an excellent opportunity for all of our Milwaukeeans that are surely sheltered in this midwest tundra to the world of culture outside keggers and thirsty thursdays. The two movies I definitely want to see this year are Blak Gold, about the global movement of fair trade and taking place in the birth place of coffee, Ethiopia, and also Suffer and Smile, which is about the legacy of fantatstic afro-beat jazz music and the legacy of activism attched to the Fela Kuti, his son Fema, and the generations to come. I saw Femi play at a MIlwaukee festival 2 years ago, when they were filming this doc, and it was really cool to see his son on stage with him (could't have been more than 10), playing the sax up front with his dad and with the rest of the horn section. The history of this family and their roots in the movement of music is extremely interesting. Fela Anikulapo ("the man who carries death in a pouch") Kuti once even declared his house and large yard his own state and brought in hundreds of the oppressed around Nigeria. He passed away in his late 40's due to AIDS. REGARDLESS, the international film fest is defintely a great opportunity to get out of the conglomerate box office and see some real films. It is a bit taxed at around 9.00 a showing (which is inflating like summerfest tickets when you look at years past), so try and get a friend's pass or mug a judge for his and make your way to see the world! PEACE.

See a MOvie, See the WOrld

So the International Film Fest is back! Yesterday was opening night for the festival and I'm told that it was opened to a packed house. The festival is definitely multiplying in populairty every year. Last year, I got a friend's pass and saw about half a dozen films which were all really excellent. It's an excellent opportunity for all of our Milwaukeeans that are surely sheltered in this midwest tundra to the world of culture outside keggers and thirsty thursdays. The two movies I definitely want to see this year are Blak Gold, about the global movement of fair trade and taking place in the birth place of coffee, Ethiopia, and also Suffer and Smile, which is about the legacy of fantatstic afro-beat jazz music and the legacy of activism attched to the Fela Kuti, his son Fema, and the generations to come. I saw Femi play at a MIlwaukee festival 2 years ago, when they were filming this doc, and it was really cool to see his son on stage with him (could't have been more than 10), playing the sax up front with his dad and with the rest of the horn section. The history of this family and their roots in the movement of music is extremely interesting. Fela Anikulapo ("the man who carries death in a pouch") Kuti once even declared his house and large yard his own state and brought in hundreds of the oppressed around Nigeria. He passed away in his late 40's due to AIDS. REGARDLESS, the international film fest is defintely a great opportunity to get out of the conglomerate box office and see some real films. It is a bit taxed at around 9.00 a showing (which is inflating like summerfest tickets when you look at years past), so try and get a friend's pass or mug a judge for his and make your way to see the world! PEACE.

The Nine...LAME

For weeks before it started i had seen ads telling me how great "The Nine" was going to be and how it would be the hit of the fall season. Being easily persuaded as i am, i gave the show a shot for a few weeks now and i have to say the first 2 weeks had me. A great concept of these people being in the bank at the time of a robbery and bonding afterward with some nice twists. The problem comes after the first two episodes when the writers seem to be reaching. This is a problem ive seen with multiple shows of the last couple years. The success of Lost and 24 makes producers think they have to have these week to week dramas(basically super long movies with commercials and no cussing). The problem is the writers of these other shows(The Nine, Windfall, etc..) are apparently not as good as the writers of Lost and 24. Their shows have good concepts but seem better suited for movies rather than television. OK they were all at the bank robbery and their perspectives change after the ordeal but i really don't care about their love lives and affairs with eachother. What makes Lost and 24 good is that there is constant action, no fluff time. Hopefully producers of the next shows will realize this...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"The nicest ads in town"

A picture of an innocent looking toddler holding a large butcher knife fills the overhead projection screen, as a room full of students gasp in shock. Does this sound like a clip from a scary movie? Well it’s not. This was the scene at UWM’s Ad Club meeting this past Tuesday evening. Ok, ok, yes I am an avid new member of Ad Club, and being both that and a JMC major consider this my impromptu plug for Ad Club. Now, back to the creepy knife-toting baby….

The guest speaker for this month’s Ad Club meeting was Gary Mueller from Serve Marketing. Serve is not your everyday local advertising firm. This group is the only branch in the city to promote numerous local non-profit org chapters. Serve represents all the diabetes, AIDS, brain injury, child sexual abuse, shaken baby syndrome, and drug addiction collations who strive to stop these tragedies. The problem is, creating advertising for a group against pedophiles isn’t exactly as cool as advertising for a new clothing brand or car company. That’s where Serve comes in. They “serve” all these non-profit groups which other local agencies turned down.

The selection of ads Serve has done for these groups was just incredible. Mr. Mueller’s slide presentation contained ads that were definitely edgier, stronger, and more memorable than any mass produced “it” item I have ever seen. These ads really told a story—most often without words, which made the ads more compelling. To check out some of Serve’s work, I highly recommend taking a look at their site:


They really are “the nicest ads in town”

Oh yeah……and join Ad Club too!!!! :-)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

House (the TV show) sucks

I had never seen the show House before, but my new roomate likes it so I've gotten a chance to watch a few episodes. After seeing roughly four and a half shows, I am thoroughly convinced I live in the twilight zone. How is this show so popular? The overall story is the exact same for every episode. I know that comes with the territory in TV, but this show is ridiculously simple...

...somebody is sick, House figures out what's wrong with his contraversial methods, and then it has some sappy sentimental ending. What's worse is that the little things between the characters are the same in every episode too (or at least the 4 and a half I saw). His helper doctors always question his methods the same way even though he always ends up being right. And their dialoge is never witty or compelling, it is always drab and conventional. The female helper doctor is always trying to get House to show his feelings because she thinks he is too guarded or too self-centered or something. And in every show I saw, it is apparent to the audience that House has done something for a patient that shows he really does care. Awwwwwww...isn't that nice.

Maybe this program seems so stupid to me because it's just not meant for my demographic. Most network shows are targeted toward females now; I guess that's why I have such a tough time relating to anything on free TV. Thank god for cable and old movies.

"Wow, what a heroic dog."

I experienced a miracle today. I was on my lunch break at work, there was a newspaper there, and I got to read it. Being a JMC student this would seem commonplace, but with work and school there is literally no time for luxuries. Today, however, I smashed convention to pieces and I read the paper.

We all know the sad story of the UWM student who was shot dead while delivering sandwiches in Riverwest. Well, I searched farther into the paper and found yet another story of violence and death. A man in search of drugs shot and killed two brothers in their 30s and their mother - point blank, in the head and chest. Subsequently, I found, on the opposite page, a quite dissimilar story. A housefire with a woman inside. She was an amputee - one leg was missing. Her dog brought her the phone so she could call 911. The dog then retrieved her prosthesis so she could get out. Having troubles the dog assisted her yet again. Once outside it was discovered that the cat was trapped upstairs. Indeed, the dog rushed into the house to rescue the cat, but sadly, both perished in the fire. "Wow, what a heroic dog," I thoutht. I don't believe I have ever read two more contrasting stories on two opposing pages of the JournalSentinel. On the front page was an article about the threat of asian carp in the great lakes. Reading the article I learned that in Chicago about 100 years ago they some how reversed the direction of the Chicago river water. They altered the geography enough to shift the slope of the riverbed and cause it to empty into the Mississippi instead of Lake Michigan.

There is no point here. Maybe my point is that the newspaper is really great. During my lunchbreak I was saddened, shocked and appalled, inspired, and above all, educated (and I didn't even pay for the paper).

Monday, October 16, 2006

Movie Genres Get Beat to a Pulp

While every type of product has a recipe for success, not every product is going to make it big. In fact, most suck so bad that they have to come right to DVD instead of hitting up theaters first.

Horror movies seem to be getting more gorey, more bloody, and most importantly, more prolific. The best part is someone can expect to go to a movie and pay a reasonable (pfft) $9 for a scary movie, and then walk away disappointed, possibly laughing at how bad it was.

I would have spent wasted my time going to see The Grudge, Saw, The Ring II, Descent and the rest, but why? It's all the same crap. Granted I like seeing movies where crappy actors get torn to pieces or get a pole through the head (Paris Hilton deserved it), I want to see a movie that really freaks me out or keeps me interested throughout the entire movie.

Hollywood just seems so bland these days.

I Hate I-Pods

I just figured out how Apple could convince me to buy a new I-Pod Nano-thing. All they have to do is convince me that if I buy it, it will actually work. Let me briefly set this up. I had to drive with a friend to Columbus, Ohio for a marathon that took place there this last weekend. I knew that the drive would be crazy long, and I wanted to have sufficient music to listen to on the way, because I don't like country or bible music, and I was sure to encounter this sort while driving through Indiana and Ohio. I also didn't want to lug a bunch of CD's with me, so I started to refill my I-Pod with music for the drive.

Now when I say refill, I mean I had to fill it again because for some unknown reason, all of music was deleted about 2 months ago and I was super pissed. I didn't want to use it anymore. I had several albums on it that I didn't have physical copies of, and were now lost. But the prospect of taking my CD's seemed to cumbersome, so I decided to just use my I-Pod.

On Friday night, I was filling it with music while I was studying and I had about 850 songs on it, when I-Tunes decided to automatically update, which again deleted all the music on my I-Pod. And again, this included music I didn't have physical copies of. I nearly smashed the f*c$ing thing on the ground. I hate being forced to engage with a product that doesn't work. I can't lug cd's and discmans around with me, but if I want to listen to music on the go, I'm forced to engage with a product that seems hell bent on pissing me off.

Uncensored, my A**!

I've got a bone to pick with some television producers, specifically MTV.

When you have a television show that you release to DVD (aka Jackass), and you have a disclaimer stating that it's for "Mature Audiences Only"...why do you keep the bad language bleeped out? And, if you're going to consistently bleep out any occurrance of the F-Word on your commentary track, WHY do you insist on labeling it as an "uncensored" commentary track? Why do you tease me with wonderous promises and then promptly proceed to pull them away like an old man teasing a young kid with candy?

What, exactly, DOES the word "Uncensored" mean these days? Because, if "Uncensored" now means "We bleep the F-word", then I must have missed the memo. And, it pisses me off.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Girly Stuff

Ok boys, it's time to close your eyes because gross "girly stuff" is on the agenda. Women, how many of you have a great, non-painful, (maybe I'm stretching it with this one) fantastic time when you've had your period? I mean, come on....maybe there are a few blessed individuals out there who have no problems and don't mind the monthly burdens of being a woman, but I know that the majority of us would basically like our time of the month to burn in hell. Not only is it a physical distraction from our enjoyment of everyday life but it probably costs us about $70-170 dollars a year depending on certain products we may use. Now I understand that some of us may dream of making it all go away or at least having someone around to help us through these monthly distresses, but I never knew that a "sanitary napkin" company would feel that they would be the ones to make it all better. Always, famous to many woman across the globe. Always there for you, always around when you need it most, always a happy period.......WHAT? AlWAYS A HAPPY PERIOD?!?!?!?! I guess I don't understand Alway's new take on their packaging. Never have I known ANYONE to have a happy period, and believe me I've known plenty of women who have gone through everything. (I know at this point some of you may be thinking "what about the women who've had a hysterectomy?" That doesn't count, they don't have to experience periods anymore.) All in all, no offense men, but I think it was a man on their creative team that came up with that one. So boys, if you have a girlfriend or are married or are just simply free spirited with your dating life, have some sympathies for those women. Periods are not always happy, nor are they ever.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Duel

I jsut got done watching MTV's The Duel on Tv. This was a mix of emotions. Diem, one of female contestants on the show is recovering from ovarian cancer, and her hair is still growing back. The very first challenge involved jumping in mud, so she knew she was going to have to take off her wig. Well she took it off and won the challenge. Thats when i got my goosebumps. Then classic Road Rules/Real World challenges. The drama starts. Tina and Beth get in a fight, Tina punches beth, and blah blah blah....i noticed in all of the previews for The Duel, they showed events leading up to the punch, and not when Diem shows her courage by revealing he nearly hairless head. Just goes to show what "our society" wants to see on Tv.

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights was a book, then it was a movie, and now it's a prime-time drama on NBC. I didn't read the book or see the movie, but the TV show is making me want to. One thing I like about it is that there is nothing else like it on television. It's not a thriller, it contains no hint that supernatural powers govern human affairs (unless you count the notion that praying to God might help teenagers win football games), and it's not about cops, docs, lawyers, detectives, forensics experts or sketch-comedy writers. I like that it's set someplace other than New York or L.A. and that the dialogue sounds like the way real people talk. Unlike many prime-time shows, there isn't too much plot. Many shows now cram in so many scenes with so many little incidents and twists that it can be hard to keep track of everything. Friday Night Lights is by comparison slow-paced and I like the way you can take time to get to know the characters. Unfortunately, the ratings have been poor so this may end up another in the long line of good programs that didn't make it. But it did score fairly well with a demo that is considered very hard to reach, young men, which might keep it on the air long enough to attract a loyal audience. (Apparently NBC has been promoting the bejeezus out of it during its Sunday football broadcasts.)

One difference between this program and most others in prime-time today that I'm not that crazy about is its visual style. Every shot of FNL is shot handheld, and often the framings are deliberately off, with a character's head cut off at the eye or obscured by a foreground object. Like many of the techniques we talked about in class, this is probably supposed to give the scenes "energy." Handheld cinematography is typically also considered gritty, raw, immediate. It can suggest realism because of its use in many documentary films. It certainly makes the show look and feel different from, say, Grey's Anatomy. But after two episodes I'm tired of the jittery feel and disorienting effect of this technique and I wish the camera would just stand still. (I've seen lots of movies and television that use this technique and I do think it can be effective in certain contexts, I just don't like it here.)

You can watch the show at NBC's website, and even just viewing the "previously" segment at the beginning of the episode online will give you a sense of the kind of style/cinematography I'm talking about. Of course, if you want to watch it online you'll have to view a Nissan commercial first.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

LPBW is back!!!

So this past Saturday marked the return of Little People Big World on TLC. I absolutely love that show. The show is basically about a married couple, who are little people. They have a set of twin sons (16), a little girl (12), and a younger boy (9). One of the twins is also a little person, while the other kids are normal size. Each episode brings the viewer into their home and their daily lives. I first started watching the show last season when it first came on and it really opened my eyes as to how little people lived. It turns out; they have normal lives just like everyone else. In addition, I found it interesting that two little people can have normal sized children. There some humorous parts in the show, which you would expect to see in a “family type” reality show. This show not only educates people about little people, but it gives them a chance to have fun and look past the fact that they are somewhat different.

theater audiences in Madison

Last weekend I was in Madison to see a Badger game. The night before the game we decided to go see Scorsese's new movie, The Departed. I was amazed at how into the movie the audience was. Not only did they laugh at every line of dialogue that was remotely amusing, but they actually cheered when one of the antagonists got shot and gave the film a standing ovation when the credits came on. Also, NOBODY left the room until all of the credits finished rolling.

This wasn't a small arthouse theater either. It was just a basic Marcus Cinema by some mall. What surprises me about all this is that films don't get anywhere near this type of audience interaction in Milwaukee and I found it fascinating that there is such a stark difference between Madison crowds and Milwaukee crowds.

My SPACE is your SPACE??

Throughout the third world, the inherency of community is engrained into the cultures of these countries that thrive off of their interdependence and remain the "happier" people in the world.
Family and friends stop by anytime without notice and the hosts are extremely thankful and hospitable for their presence. Open doors really are open doors.
Here on the west side of the hemisphere, the home is some kind of embodiment of private property, a protected armor against intrusion of privacy. Why the HELL are we so damn private about everything? Really, what do we have going on behind closed doors? This place and its glorified independence does have some flaws.
Technology such as My Space is one cyber accomodation that allows us to feel like we can be hospitable without getting off our butt and degluing the glare from the screen in the comfort of our independent privacy.
Let me stop by and drop you a couple lines, and you can stop by My Space a little later and drop me off a few lines. Yeah I know, its intended to be more so for long distance and it really is a great promo tool for musicians. You can hear their latest jams and it probably makes people feel pretty good to be able to leave celebs a couple lines as well. But I just see this kind of stuff as a double edged sword. It can be used in good ways and bad. I do feel that technological advances such are hindering the confrontation of issues with becoming a community in America.

the information

i recently bought the new beck album, "the information". beck is always making good music and doing things a little bit different and this album is no exception. the neat thing about this album, and why i think it is relevent to this class, is the media convergence that takes place. for each song on the album beck created a different video on a seperate dvd. the production is pretty low, but that is besides the point. also included in the album were stickers and a blank cover so it is possible to create your own cover. in an article in rolling stone beck says that this is the way he has wanted to make an album for a long time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


So Google bought YouTube. That's not that surprising and it doesn't seem like a big deal either. Why wouldn't one site that offers so much to the public for free be interested in another site that does the same? It's not surprising until you hear the price: 1.65 billion dollars. That's right $1,650,000,000. Everyone reading this has no doubt used Google's services and I bet not one person has ever paid a dime to do so. So how do they become one of the richest media companies on the Earth? With all of the information they gather from you every time you visit their site, doesn't that make you a little nervous. Personally I love Google and it's the only search engine that I use. I find it very easy to navigate and it appears that they aren't trying too sell me something with every click like Yahoo. Granted there is sponsored links but it's not hard to go around them and find a website that hasn't given a dime to Google. It seems like yesterday when Google first appeared. It didn't take a lot of press to get them started. Just word of mouth. Now they are worth over $100 billion dollars with more than $10 billion in the bank. Why didn't they buy Myspace too? Newscorp bought it for only $580 million. I'd much rather have Google own Myspace than Rupert Murdoch... or would I?

By the way I also love YouTube.
These are my friends doing what I call the Shirts Off For Freedom Burrito Rain Dance at center street daze.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Disclaimer: I love Christmas. I really do. It’s my favorite holiday. With that in mind, please read on:

Monday October 9, 2006. 12:30pm. Greenfield, Wisconsin. I saw it. The FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE OF THE SEASON!!!! Here is my tale:

I was walking into Sears in Southridge mall with my fiancĂ©, when we stopped dead in our tracks. Barely inside the door was a cluster of displayed Christmas trees and stockings. Looking at him wide-eyed I asked, “Is that a Christmas tree?” I didn’t need to ask because yes, indeed that was a Christmas tree, and a few feet away from it was a huge inflatable snow globe for your lawn! I’m not kidding, this thing was monstrous. Inside the blow-up globe spun a carousel of reindeer, surrounded by thousands of flying “snowflakes.” I remember wondering why anyone would put such a huge thing on their lawn (I believe I asked out loud how much this globe must cost), however, more importantly I wondered if I somehow fell into a time warp, and it was now December.

But I was obviously wrong. It’s still October. On one hand, I was kind of excited, because Christmas is my favorite holiday. On the other…..come on!!! It’s freakin’ October!!!!! And who knows? It’s been awhile since I was at the mall; these displays have probably been there for weeks now! When all the displays are up this early, it’s not about being festive and pretty for the holidays, it’s just about a marketing ploy. (Now I know some may argue that it ALL just a marketing ploy WHENEVER it’s put up, but I digress.) So yeah, the trees are up now, sucking all the fun out of everything. It’s as if all the stockings and tinsel are saying, “Quick! Hurry up and start thinking about the crap you want to buy! Time’s running out! Hey—maybe you’ll find something here at Sears as long as you’re being reminded of it in our store!”

Yep gotta love it. Advertising with reindeer, snow globes, stockings, and trees. In October. Way to go commercial America and stress people out earlier than you have to. (I did mention that Christmas is still my favorite holiday right?)

the red carpet question

Since we recently discussed fairness, balance, and objectivity in journalism I wanted to reccomend a documentary movie called "Outfoxed." Perhaps many have seen this documentary about Fox news. It is an in depth look at how many Fox news reporters were asked, in some cases directly by executive personnel, to censor if not disregard many news stories if they didn't shed a favorable light on the Bush administration. The documentary also highlights some strategies Fox used to sway viewer opinion to the right like frequently interviewing meek and sheepish guests that are supposed to represent the progressive or leftist side of an argument. Certain catch phrases were used incessantly to affect public views of liberal people or ideals. We all remember how frequently John Kerry was called a "flipflopper." Well, Fox news took that strategy to the highest degree in order to sully the reputation of myriad leftist people and ideas. Most remarkable is Bill Orieley and his badgering of liberals - usually he would just end up yelling at them to "shut up." It's hard to get fair representation in the news media when the anchor man is telling you to "shut up."

This brings me to the topic of my posting. Often when you listen to a presidential press conference you get to hear the president attempt to field questions about his policies and actions as they relate to current events and politics. Many of these questions are challenging and it is mildly entertaining, if not totally pathetic to hear the president try to sideline the point of the question and skirt the issue. And then the president, much to his own relief, will field a question from a reporter representing a conservative publication or news source like Fox. I call this the "red carpet question" and it goes something like this; a reporter will ask a cheap set-up question like "How should the parents of soldiers recently sent over to Baghdad expect to feel five months from now?" Then cue the patriotic music and unfurl old glory because the president, in all his trashy pomp, is about to astound us with a tale of "bravery, sacrifice, heroism, courage, and the price of freedom, blah blah blah..." And after the waves of applause subside and tears of triumph are dried, the scary thing is that many Americans are still buying it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dane Cook Blowin Up!

So one of my favorite comics that i have followed for about 6 years is finally becoming the huge success my friends and I knew he would. We would watch all his specials and drive to see his stand up acts in different cities, and suddenly hes blowns up and becoming the rock star of the comic world. The only comic to hit number 3 on the billboard charts for best selling album.
Alot of directors and producers are starting to take notice of his enormous and rising fame and want to cash in on his popularity. Talk show hosts are scrambling to have him as a guest, sit com producers want to put him in a new show, and movie directors are desperately trying to throw him into any crappy script they can find (Hence the new movie Employee of the Month him starring Jessica Simpson). Even Saturday Night Live who once asked him to become a cast member knocked at his door once again to host the show for the second time in less than a year. All of this hype is reminiscent of other comedians who started small and now are household names, like Ellen Degeneris, whos stand up career made her so big she is recognizable even by only her first name, and Jim Carrey, who went from funny, physical comedian to serious actor who rercieves critical acclaim for his films now. In another 5 years or so, who knows where Dane Cook will be, maybe hosting his own talk show, maybe starring in or directing the next Hollywood Oscar winning movie, or maybe still starring in crappy movies because they give him a paycheck. For anyone that has never heard of Dane Cook check some of his stand up at www.danecook.com under the videos section.

Is facebook addictive?

So Friday night my sister, one of my friends, and me went to my little brothers football game. Before we left for the game we were at my friends house and they both checked their facebook account. How long does a football game last? I think this one was three hours. But when we got back to her house from the game they both ran to the computer to check their accounts on facebook, again. Seriously how many times a night do you need to check it? It's not like either of them had nothing else to do or were sitting at home bored. Maybe it is just something that I don't understand, but once a day, maybe even once every three days is plenty. Don't you think if it was something really important that needed to be discussed they could call you?

i take it back

so in response to my last post, i am no longer that big of a fan of dane cook. i was so excited that he was going to be hosting saturday night live along with the killers, whom i am also a big fan of, until i actually saw it. he's funny and all but i can only take so much of his high energy humor and he really sucks at acting. he almost tried to be too funny when he was doing skits and it was taking away from the actual points of those skits. he can only act one way and that way is how he does his stand-up, which for me is now getting old. also, the killers sucked. i was actually getting embarrassed for the lead singer when i saw him "warming up" which consisted of him pacing around the stage looking like a freak. for one, i hate their new song. it sounds all shaky in the first place and then add on an off-key performance by the lead singer and it will suck even more. i think the only reason why i really like the killers is cause the lead singer's hot. he's not as hot as he used to be with all that scattered facial hair he has going on but i'm still a sucker for guys in eyeliner. but now that i saw him perform live, along with the fact that he's a mormon or something, i just can't like that band anymore.
p.s. i have nothing against mormons but i just feel like it naturally makes him weird and lowers my chance of ever being with him...haha riiiiiiiight....

Women magazines: for women AND men???

I never, ever, EVER buy women's magazines (unless they're ones on celebrity gossip). Why? Because they are useless. They provide bad examples for girls AND women and you can only learn so much about sex. And I will assume that most young girls will not buy magazines such as Cosmopolitan, but they are in the stands right by check out lines at grocery stores. What is the primary text on the covers? SEX. Anyhow, that was not the point of this blog. I bought "Allure," which is a beauty magazine. No articles about sex or trying to "please your man." I brought it over to a friend's house to flip through while hanging out. He flips to a Victoria's Secret Ad and tells me that he used to take them from his sister or mom (or buy them if there were none around) to "look" at them. I'm sure you know what I mean by that. That made me ask myself how many male "readers" there are looking at these magazines? And then I laughed to myself, maybe some men actually do buy Cosmo or such women's magazines because they are not as "taboo" as actual pornography.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Steve Miller Band!

I recently downloaded all the Steve Miller Band Songs to my itunes. I was watching a commercial, maybe for a car?..and i heard the song: Rockin' me. (I think it plays the part that goes: I went from Phoenix, Arizona, all the way to Tacoma, Phillidelphia, Atlanta, L.A., Northern California where the girls are warm....)

I love how all these old songs that are really good are making there way back into the media via tv commercials, haa. (no sarcasm either) Its better than most of the stuff that we hear on tv. Although i couldn't find the "Rockin' Me" video i did find the "Joker" one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNflXup27gA

Now some of his music is kinda funny (he might have been on something). Like the lyrics for Abracadabra: Abra Abra cadabra, i wanna reach out and grab ya. haha. luv it.

Anyone see/hear any good old songs on tv recently?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ellen Degeneres: Here and Now

I don't know how many people have HBO or browse through the DVD bin at Wal-Mart where they have $5.50 gems. I must say, i found a true prize in the bin about a month ago. At my house in Ohio we have HBO and i have caught the end of the Ellen Degeneres' comedy special a couple times, and it was always hilarious. When i saw her sitting in the bin, i spared 5 bones for a good laugh. My roomates were very skeptical about watching the video with me because no one can really stand her talk show. Little did they know that we would be quoting her until the day we die! The video is hysterical. I've said a lot of things are hilarious and amazing in this blog, but this time a I'm serious. She makes fun of random things that everyone does everyday. One of my favorite topics in the video is when she talks about tripping. You think you're having a great day and you're looking great and all it takes is one little trip to suck the coolness right out! haha, SO TRUE. everyone has done it! Also she makes fun of how if you can't get a jar open there is always that one person that is like, "give it, I got it. I got it. give it."

Seriously, if you have HBO you have to try to watch it. If you don't, the 5 dollar bin at Wal-Mart on Capitol is calling your name. It changes lives.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rep. Mark Foley (D/Rep-Florida)

Why am I not surprised that Fox "News" made an error in reporting the party affiliation of the creepy REPUBLICAN Mark Foley? Possibly because I'm certain it wasn't a mistake in the first place. Here is why:

1. Fox "News" is completely obsessed with the differences between between Republicans and Democrats. Pointing out the inferiority of the Democratic Party is the basis for their entire existence. If these borderline criminal actions were committed by an actual Democrat, the pundits on that network wouldn't stop singing about it. They'd be having a party on the air complete with champagne and a burning donkey.

2. I took McBride's boring media writing class and the only thing I learned was that obsessive fact checking and spelling is the neccesary cornerstone of good reporting. I'm not accusing Fox "News" of good reporting, but the staff is clearly capable of simple fact checking. Something this simple and obvious wouldn't slip past them unless they wanted it to. And trust me, if it were true, they would want it to be out. (See reason #1)

So I'm convinced they let this "error" slip past because enough people would see it and believe this pervert was a Democrat.

Fox News: Fair and Balanced
(as long as you are a white, straight, Conservative, rich, protestant)

The Rick Hoyt Story

I don't know if anyone knows about the Rick Hoyt story. Rick was disabled at birth by a loss of oxygen to his brain because his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and he also suffers from cerebral palsy. Twenty years ago his father, Dick Hoyt, ran a 5k run while pushing him in a wheelchair. The run was a benefit event for an injured lacrosse player who was a schoolmate of Rick's. After the race his son told him that while racing he did not feel disabled. They have since competed in a total of 911 events, including 206 Triathlons (6 of which were Ironman competitions), 20 Duathlons, and 64 Marathons, including 24 consecutive Boston Marathons. They also biked and ran across the USA in 1992 -- a 3,735 mile journey that took them 45 days.

When asked what one thing Rick wished he could give his father, his reply was "The thing I'd most like is that my dad would sit in the chair and I would push him once."

Here is a link to a video of TEAM HOYT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryCTIigaloQ

WoW!!!! South Park's season premier

The new season of “South Park” started off with a bang this week. And their point of pop culture scrutiny this week was the “World of WarCraft.”(WoW) About two weeks before, the season premier, on Wednesday night, there was a mini trailer for the episode on the “WoW” website. It later moved to Youtube, Google and such.

After seeing the episode I was enthralled with the amount of production effort that Blizzard, the game design company for “WoW,” put into the episode. The “WoW” scenes within the S.P. episode were animated by Blizzard.

Although, players do have the ability, through certain programs, to capture videos and screen images, they can’t capture what was captured in that episode. One can easily tell that the South Park animation team did not animate the “in game” scenes, using one of the games various capturing programs.

A huge give-away is characters in “WoW” never move their mouths while speaking in the game, which happened all the time in the episode. This is a first for the Blizzard animators add that kind of in game animation just for the TV show. These weren’t blizzards A games typical CG rendered sequences. The amount of time it must have taken Blizzard to achieve these were pretty impressive.

Also the amount of misuse use of “WoW” game features spells, abilities and such really prove how much Blizzard and WoW were in on the joke. It was go to see the target of South Parks scrutiny helping out with the joke. Only true player of the game really got every joke that came out of their potty-mouths.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Emerson disposes of NBC

This past week, NBC used the In-Sink-Erator name without the permission of the manufacturer, Emerson, in its premier episode of Heroes, and is now facing a lawsuit based on Emerson’s claim that the scene depicts the garbage disposer “in an unsavory light, irreparably tarnishing the product” while implying that severe injuries will result “in the event consumers were to accidentally insert their hand into one.”

Thanks for all the consumer-confidence Emerson...

Emerson is seeking to both block rebroadcasts of the pilot episode, which are already airing on NBC Universal-owned networks USA and Sci Fi, and stop NBC from using any Emerson trademarks in the future.

Emerson insists the suit is more about NBC’s improper use of the In-Sink-Erator name than the content of the scene, which features a cheerleader who possesses the super-hero capability to withstand a running garbage disposal. And although her mangled figures return to normal seconds later, Emerson is taking a stand on behalf of all product-placements gone wrong, arguing, “it’s a trademark thing.”

With an arguement like that, who wouldn't be eager to support PROPER product placement?

Interestingly enough, Emerson is more concerned about its OWN image rather than the consequences of children who, after viewing the pilot and in proving to themselves that they, too, possess super powers, stick THEIR hands down a garbage disposal… yet never experience hand re-growth.

And with all the ongoing media hype caused by Emerson’s suit, the company is gaining more (free) exposure than it could have anticipate (and paid for) in the quick 5-second scene included in the NBC episode… because as we all know, in the world of entertainment, even bad publicity is publicity.

A nice unbiased doc from discovery

The other day I was flipping through the channels, and I came across a documentary show on the Waco Texas Raid and Siege that happened in the early 1990s. The documentary was shown on the Discovery Channel. I thought it was very good in that showed both point of views. I felt it was a strange coincidence that in class recently we were talking about objectivity in the media. The documentary was mainly filmed with reenactments. In addition they had interviews with several witnesses who were with the Davidian Branch, and members from the ATF and FBI. It also showed sympathy towards the Davidians and government agents who were killed in action. With all the chaos that happened at that time, they didn’t put any blame on either side for who was at fault for the killings. Since I was too young to remember what happened back then, I thought this unbiased documentary was nicely produced.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Family Guy and the freakin FCC

So I, like many awesome people out there, am a huge Family Guy fanatic. Every Sunday night at 8pm I’m usually found in front of my television, VCR (yes, I still use a VCR) set to record, and FOX’s wonderful programming reassuring me that my show is on next. This past Sunday however, I raced home from work to discover a repeat of Family Guy being aired that night. No biggie, as any diehard fan knows I was in for any number of hilarious celebrity spoofs, fart jokes, explosions, language that young children shouldn’t hear, and Stewie’s latest installment of world domination. That night’s episode dealt with Peter being fed up with the FCC blocking out “all the good stuff on TV” as he puts it. So what does he do? At the advice of the local news anchorman, Tom Tucker, Peter creates his own television network.

Obviously, hilarity ensues as Peter’s network shows are offensive to just about any demographic one can name. However, as in any TV masterpiece, they “bad guys” (in this case the FCC) come in the nick of time to foil Peter’s plans. Even though I’ve seen this episode before, the song Peter and his family sing (in tribute?) to the FCC cracks me up every time. It’s so true, how every little thing that could possibly be misconstrued and be deemed as offensive, the FCC jumps on immediately. It’s also ironic, however, that Family Guy has been named one of the most controversial shows in the past decade, yet somehow manages to still have shows airing which include gags people like myself find side-splitting, and have people like my parents in disbelief how I can watch something so “vulgar”.

So to please all the addics out there like yours truly, I included a little something special in this week’s post. Yep, you guessed it, it’s the FCC song as preformed by the lovable Griffin family!!!! (you're welcome) And here’s to all the “vulgarity” that still makes it on the air for us to enjoy! TAKE THAT FCC! :-)


Monday Night Football Sucks.

I can remember my elementary days when I longed to stay up up past my bedtime to see the end of Monday Night Football. To a young kid like me the opening theme song and fireworks seemed magical and at the same time very adult. For adults it seemed like something to make Monday's seem tolerable. It didn't matter if your team was playing, you knew that you could go to work the next morning and talk about the game, even if you weren't a huge football fan. Unlike Sunday when there is too many games going on at once, Monday Night Football was a time that teams you rarely watched could show you what they could do. It was really a national event. Last night I watched the first ESPN production of Monday Night Football and it was horrible, even when the Packers looked like they could actually compete. The beginning sequences dragged on and on with one Disney-like production after the other, trying to hype up the game but creating the opposite affect on many football fans. The commercials were way too often and way too long. The announcers were annoying and the coverage of what was going on on the field was terrible. Even while plays were happening, they were interviewing Steve McNair, a qaurterback who is probably going to be on next week's Monday night football. Instead of covering an important play they were shamelessly promoting the next weeks game. Cable can have Monday Night, because it would just poison the airwaves. Good riddance.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Axe commercials really annoy me!

What's up Media Studies Crew! How many of you have studied the Axe commercial? I actually caught a couple (a variation of three, sometimes back to back) when I was over at a buddies house the other day. They were watching some stand-up on comedy central. It was this Indian American, and he must've been targeted for the teenage-college crowd because the Axe commercials dominated the breaks in the show. They were on at least three times between the stand-up, and were ABSOLUTELY ridiculous. They were funny at first. Apparently the stand up was bad enough that the Axe company wasn't satisfied with paying for one or two spots in the breaks. They wanted to make sure anybody momentarily tuned in to the show would get a glimpse of some dude sprigging himself with a spraypaint can of some cologne/ deoderant, and getting mauled by a group of sex-starved women that sniffed in on his pheromone. I dunno, with a pitch like that on every single commercial, I would be really embarrased to be seen with a can of that. For the college man that's still a virgin, one spray of this, and you'll be A OK. RIDICULOUS...

Horror movies!

My favorite time of year has come where the cable stations are saturated with my favorite genre of movies....horror flicks. they have already started and will continue all month. Movie companies i have found use this to their advantage; for example there is a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre coming out in theaters this month, and last night there was a True Hollywood Story about the TCM movie series, and furthurmore I'm sure it will be replayed all this month and the previous mmovies will dominate the stations which are owned by the company that is affiliated with the film.
There are alot of people that are very turned off by all of the Scary movies that come out during Halloween, saying that they are satanic or too disgusting....well to that I say shut your mouth and grow a pair! I think that watching horror movies holds the potential to possibly save your life one day. They teach you not to trust creepy strangers when you are in a strage redneck part of town, also i think they are just good times. Furthurmore, alot of these movies are based on true events; such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacere, which was based on the true story of Ed Geen who commited his vile murders right here in Wisconsin, weraing the flesh of his victims as masks and makinf lampshades out of it. They make you yell at the t.v. and feel a sense of terror that you never want to be a part of but you have a morbid curiosity as to wanting to know what it feels like to be in that position without any reprecussion of danger.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


The premier of One Tree Hill was on last wednesday on the new "CW." I have to say it was intense. I have followed the show forever and it is always great, they know how to deliver. I don't think me or any of my roomates were breathing during the first ten minutes. OTH always has interesting plot lines. I can not stand The O.C. I think that show is absolutley rediculous. A lot of my roomates were obsessed with that show until i made them watch OTH with me and now they are hooked. On the O.C. every show was about the same thing; Ryan and Marissa having a tiff or Seth and Summer are on again, off again. Nothing ever changed. I am for sure not tuning in this year. One Tree Hill actually knows how to keep the viewer interested. I also love all of the music they play on their episodes. During the show they played an awesome song by Dashboard Confessional. I came back to my room and downloaded it afterwards. I listened to it on repeat...a little too much. After this weekend I heard it in the Oakland Trat on friday, George Webbs at 4am on early saturday morning, and I heard it in American Eagle yesterday. It's wild.
Here is a link to listen to the song...
You should check it out, especially all the ladies. The lead singer, Chris Carrabba, is very easy on the eyes.