Thursday, November 30, 2006

'Army Strong' is all wrong

“…The Army launched its new recruitment slogan, ‘Army Strong,’ which replaces their previous slogan, ‘Army Strong.’ Meanwhile, the Navy is sticking with their recruiting slogan, ‘Iraq: It’s Almost Entirely Landlocked.’” -Seth Meyers

Facing yet another tough recruiting season, the Army has recently launched a new advertising campaign using television ads and Internet placements, along with a presence on popular youth destinations such as YouTube and MySpace.

The TV ads in particular, airing on stations like MTV (a youth-dominated media source… notice the trend here?), attempt to glorify service with thrilling (safe) images of soldiers jogging in formation, defying obstacle courses, and jumping out of helicopters. Predictably, all of the ads are set in familiar, domestic settings, conveniently excluding the Army’s current endeavor: the war in Iraq.

These new “Army Strong” ads ignore the harsh reality of our current state of foreign conflict; volunteering for the Army is depicted as being akin to a carefree summer away at camp rather than the crucial and life-threatening decision it truly is. Despite the fact that adolescents are influenced by media images, by choosing to target youth media outlets such as MTV or the Internet, the Army is intentionally misleading its target demographic of teenagers who are most likely wary of enlisting. Whether teens recognize it or not, in all actuality, volunteering these days inevitably means immediate deployment to combat zones in Iraq.

Unfortunately, it is obvious that the Army is more concerned with meeting its fiscal 2007 recruiting target and far less concerned with being an honest and “strong” government organization.


I dont get a chance to watch all that many television programs since I spend most of my life either on campus or asleep. Obviously I watch some television but i mainly rely on my DVR to record my "usual" shows such as The Office, South Park, and some other more embarrassing ones i wont get into right now. Recently however I had some tv time and i stumbled upon this new show on CBS called Shark. Its basically like all the other dramas in primetime, cops/DA's trying to solve mysterious murders and with about ten minutes left in the show they finally uncover that one piece of evidence to close the case. What makes this one different? It stars James Woods as the main prosecutor. I have nothing against Woods but why is this a show? Its not different or innovative at all. The Law and Order shows already show prosecutors and how they work their cases. The CSI shows give a different look at how the evidence is gathered. This is just a lamer version of Law and Order only with James Woods hilarious wit and arrogance(sarcasm). Basically I cant even take him seriously because all i keep seeing is a hyperactive poker enthusiast pretending to be a smooth talking lawyer. Maybe Im wrong but i think we have all the lawyer/cop dramas we need already and Woods should audition for a role on Las Vegas, at least then i might actually believe his character is realistic, that is if i ever watched that show either.

More on Music videos

I was a little harsh on Mr. Corbijn on my last post. Let me backtrack a bit and say that he is one of the most influential rock photographers/videographers of all time, and that bands like Green Day, U2, Depeche Mode, and Metallica wouldn't be where they are today without him.

...With that said, i'm kind of sick of music videos. i've been watching so many of them for the last week or so (I'm shooting one as my final project in my digital distribution class, so I've been looking for concepts to steal), and I can safely say that there are simply a lot of BAD music videos out there. However, I've run across a few that I had forgotten how good they are:
  • Madonna - Express Yourself (dir. David Fincher)
  • Madonna - Like a Prayer (dir. Mary Lambert)
  • Madonna - I'll Remember (dir. Alek Keshishian) ...she made my list three times? Damn.
  • Jimmy Eat World - Pain (dir. Paul Fedor)
  • Fatboy Slim - Weapon of Choice (dir. Spike Jonze)
  • Foo Fighters - Everlong (dir. Michel Gondry ...the man who invented the "bullet time" from The Matrix...and don't forget it!)
  • Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science (dir. unknown)
....and of course...the grandaddy of them all...
  • Aha - Take on Me (animated by Michael Patterson)
Youtube for those, as well as the two Depeche Mode videos I mentioned in my last post. It's good watchin's...

What Happened to Wrestlin'???

Every now and then I will be flipping through the TV and I will see that wrestling is still on. I remember wayyyyy back in the day (late 80's to early 90's) how much fun wrestling was. I thought it was the greatest thing on earth to see full grown sweaty men "try" and beat the crap out of each other. I remember the time when Hulk Hogan (you might know him now as the over baring gorilla on Hogan Knows Best) lost to the Ultimate Warrior at the Wrestlemania PPV and I cried. Hogan seemed invincible to me and he lost!!! That was when my dad realized I was taking something way to seriously that was fake and he told me the truth about wrestling. It took me awhile to come to this reality, and afterwards wrestling lost its appeal to me. It’s kind of like when you know how a magician performs a certain trick. It takes the fun out it. Now when I pass by wrestling on TV, it just seems trashy. Maybe it was my childhood innocence, but to me wrestling was cool. R.I.P. wrestlin'

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

PAWS Sucks.

Even with the brand new system or design or whatever they called it, it still sucks. It looks like crap and performs just at you would expect, like crap.

My first impressions: it's yellow, really yellow. I understand our school colors are yellow and black, but seriously, there is a limit to my daily dose of yellow. Beyond the simple lack of color contrast, the sections are blocky, clunked together, and not in consistent style across the screen. It's just amateurish for them to put out something as unpolished as this.

From a designer's perspective, what also sucks is the page refreshing and ill-thought navigation menus and architecture. With Web technologies developing so fast and the increasing use of AJAX (which allows for updating pages without completely reloading the page), it seriously makes me wonder what the thought process was behind this new version of PAWS. Perhaps it was merely done to annoy us college students - just to see my favorites in the menu I have to reload the entire page I'm on. That is, without a doubt, bull.

The next version of PAWS better not suck as much as this one or its predecessor; it's a real irritation to sit through dated technology when the better, faster technologies are readily available. Educational Web services are just left in the dust it seems.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Final Thoughts

Yeah I know the title is a little Jerry Springer circa 1994, but this being my 10th and therefore last class blog post, it’s that time of year again to reflect on a semester gone by…well almost.

When you really stop and think about all the stuff you learn in an entire semester, it’s mind-boggling. I mean, the first day of school you’re sitting there intently following along to the teacher reading aloud the syllabus. You have your new notebooks and laptop ready to go, and as you look around the room at people whom you (maybe) don’t know, you wonder what kind of state you’ll be in come late October when things really get rolling.

Ok, maybe that’s just me. Sorry. :-)

But seriously, I’ve done things this semester for my JMC major that last year seemed worlds away to me. For example, I’ve made a good number of print ads via Quark and Photoshop to put in my budding portfolio, I figured out what You Tube is (no, I really never heard of it before this class, thanks you) I learned how to construct a newspaper front page using InDesign, but from this class alone I’ve learned really valuable information about our media-hungry society which has helped me in other classes as well, and I’ve joined Ad Club (which people, if you are not in, you NEED to join. It will help you immensely come graduation) and I recently applied for an officer’s position.

Oh yeah. I also learned that when you work hard and are told you’re a shoo-in for the journalism department scholarship, and then do not get it…it really sucks to discover that the winner sits two seats down from you in your publication design class. (I never said this year was a cake walk.) PS he's a really nice guy too.

My point is that this year gave me a clearer picture of what the real world is like for journalism majors like me. And more importantly what I still need to do to prepare myself more. However, I think that just being in 262 we have all come away with a deeper understanding of what it takes to get noticed in media in today’s society. And isn’t that why we took this class in the first place?

Good luck with finals everyone, and see you next time!


vanessa carlton sells out

After Vanessa Carlton's label completely screwed up the promoting of her second album causing it to flop, Carlton knew she needed a change. However, instead of finding a label that would give her the proper promotion to the proper target audience for the type of music she makes, rap mogul Irv Gotti managed to talk Carlton into signing with his label Murder Inc. Carlton will be the first non hip-hop artist to join this label.

What is so shitty about this transaction is that Gotti appears to be poised to promote Carlton through MTV. In the past, Carlton has looked extremely uncomfortable on shows like TRL where she appears to be doing everything she can to keep herself from rolling her eyes at her "fans." But, to pick up the huge and lucrative teeny-bopper demographic Gotti and Carlton look like they will take this route. Carlton is probably afraid she will lose her career if she doesn't "sell out" and Gotti has dollar signs in his eyes with the idea of using fear to convince Carlton she has to use sex to sell her image which will sell her music.

Carlton has aggressively spoken out in the past against using image to sell music, but it appears she would rather be a successful hypocrite than be sitting at home with her integrity and no one to hear her play the piano.

On Harmonium, her second album, Carlton sings a song she wrote about vampires devouring unicorns. This is an analogy for how evil labels (vampires) charm, corrupt and kill artists (unicorns). One would think that the person who wrote that song would be more aware of someone like Gotti and what he is all about, but if she is aware of what's happening to her, she seems to think it's her only hope for survival in the music industry and that is very sad.

What's next? Regina Spektor signs to Shady Records?

Monday, November 27, 2006

ok go! is good

yesterday i had to work at the private ok go! acoustic set at the ladybug club. fm102.1 was doing this contest thing for people to win a chance to see their acoustic show before they opened for death cab for cutie at the rave. all i have to say is it's about friggin' time i get to meet some semi famous people. but anyways...for one, the ladybug club is sweet. it has a bunch of leather furniture and disco-y lights. i need to go "clubbing" more. for two, though ok go! isn't that famous they were really good. acoustic shows are harder to put on because you actually have to be good at playing the guitar instead of hooking it up to an amp and getting all that whatever it is that hides mistakes when playing. but there were only three guys and they harmonized really well. they played sitting down on the stage while everyone sat around them all indian style like a bunch of hippies. that's why i thought the ladybug club was a strange choice. anyway, my only negative comments about this band was that they were obviously trying way too hard to look bandish with their style. i hate when bands do that cause you know what they're wearing is uncomfortable. and also they had this one song where one of the guys sang the word "zero" like 10 times in a row in a monotone voice and it sounded really bad and annoying.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Rhythm Science Unbound

I had the extremely fortunate opportunity of catching DJ Spooky at the Basement last year thanks to a friend getting the gig together. Although it wasn't promoted well and turned out to be a lot less people than I would have expected for such a pioneer of the turntables, I look back at it now as true experiential growth. I saw one of his speeches at UWM on VHS yesterday where he both lectured and presented the philosophy of Rhythm Science. Essentially his perspective on this stage of the DJ is the role of a cultural guru, a storyteller, and a scientist. The power of rhythms and their direct link to cultures are peaked in their potential effect when the DJ can not only create the sound clash of one beat/record from the 60's to another from 2006. Or fusing Yates reading his poetry to Chuck D's 911 is a Joke. What Spooky has truly pioneered is the new use of in synch imagery to the beat, cut, and reflection. In one instance he synched a national flag sequence going faster and slower than 90 rpms to an "illbient" record clash where the flags, crests, and colors blinked, merged, transformed, and illustrated the cornerstone of rhythm science's converging vision of "the big blurry circle." Spooky, or Paul D. Miller, believes that in a service economy that has become so hyper condensed with information highways, any and everywhere we go in a day is packed with signs that lay in the vast subconscious of our mind. Billboards to food smells and stencil art in the city all effect us whether we register its effects or not. This is where the DJ intervenes with the promotion of culture over material commercialism. Essentially rhythm science unravels the confines of boxes, categories, and straight lines into that big blurry circle that seriously keeps coming up in my mind the more I think about it. I'm under the spell of Rhythm Science!!
Learn more about th philosophy, the musician, and his new novel at

Vinyl to MP3, Skip the CD

I have been a fan of music since as far back as I can remember. My musical tastes went from tapes of Ace of Base on Cassette to Green day on CD in grade school. As I got older I found out you could get free music on the Internet well before Napster became a household name. What a wonderful invention for music lovers and musicians alike (no matter what Metallica says). With all that said, my favorite form of music comes in the form of a disc three times the size of a CD. The sound of that needle hitting piece of round vinyl creating that soft crackle before the first note plays is almost as soothing as the price you paid for it. You can find almost everything you are looking for at a bargain. The hunt is as good as the trophy. Go to rummage sales, thrift stores, eBay, or even record stores like Atomic Records and you can find used treasures for a dollar or less. Turntables are not hard to find either; you can find a good one for under $100 at modern electronics stores. Record collecting is not only fun but also people think you are cooler (which you are) when they see your collection. If you like your music new, good music still comes in the classic form. If the band you want does not offer it on vinyl, it is probably not worth listening to (or at least paying for so just get it online). If you are into music, do yourself a favor and skip the CD. They are overpriced, over-rated, and just plain boring.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Too Young, Too Early?

I'm a little shocked at the recent release of JoJo's second album. I never heard her first one, and I won't bother.

JoJo is only 15 (will be 16 in December); that makes her a minor, and as a minor, it's illegal to have sex, do drugs, drink alcohol, etc, etc. So what the hell? Half the tracks on the CD are about having sex. Anyone see a problem with a 16 year old singing about sex? She sings about "going the distance," "some of that good ol'," "how to touch a girl," "the way you do me," and more.

My friends and I liked her first single from the CD, "Too Little, Too Late." I'll be blunt: we are all cooks at a restaurant and we sing more than anyone else we know. That song was a pretty damn good song to wail to in a hot kitchen to get the energy going. (Dance music and heavier rock work best though.)

While she has a good voice, I think either the record company or her parents screwed up on this one. People can have all the sex they want and sing about it (Snoop and Akon come to mind right away), but having a 15 year old do it is pushing it.

Anton Corbijn is a hack.

Ok, not really. But I can safely say that at least _two_ of the videos he shot for Depeche Mode are not nearly as good as he (or the rest of the world, for that matter) would have you think. Those videos? Enjoy The Silence and Strangelove.

Enjoy The Silence is a hell of a song. In fact, it's one of the best singles Depeche Mode has released, period. But the video? Boring. It features "king" Dave Gahan wandering around mountains and hillsides with a folding chair, so he can "enjoy the silence." Um...ok? And this is visually (In defense of the video, there are occasional black and white shots of the band and a rose. But they're sparse.) of the first videos banned from MTV. Corbijn gets credit for letting his girlfriend dance around the stage in her underwear. And, yes, a video featuring scantily-clad models would seem to fit damn well with a song about sexual fetishes. Except for one thing...the Strangelove '88 video, which is simply much better done. And who cares if it completely rips off Fritz Lang's Metropolis? It wouldn't be the first time.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Depeche Mode. And, most of their videos are excellent. But give me Clive Richardson's Blasphemous Rumours or D.A. Pennebaker's Everything Counts (101) over anything Corbjin's done any day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

because you're ugly

As i mentioned on the first day of class, is the best website ever. The guy who updates it is hilarious, and he updates it everyday. He always has the same stories as People Magazine and USWeekly, but sooner. The latest is, of course, Britney Spears. How did she suddenly loose 50lbs? Cheetos are definetly still around so that one is throwing me for a loop. Also, she dumped KFed via text message? Who does that? Isn't KFed the man of every woman's dreams? How could she break a delicate heart like his over text? If you go to the website there is a documentary of him getting the sad news. Also, did you know that the ever classy Kevin is threatening her with releasing a sex tape? Supposedly she is going to beat him to the punch and release it before he can. That is one amazing relationship.

As a side not, who does Tom Cruise think he is not inviting Oprah to his wedding?

That's enough celeb gossip for a lifetime for me, go check out the site and laugh :).


Here are some of the things I was talking about today.

-I quoted from an Advertising Age article about online video. Here is the quotation:
Until about five minutes ago, remember, almost all video-entertainment content was produced and distributed by Hollywood. Period. That time is over. There was a time when advertisers could count on mass audiences for what Hollywood thought we should be watching on TV. That time is all but over. There was a time when broadband penetration was too slight and bandwidth costs too prohibitive for video to be watched online. That time is sooooo over. "The era of the creepy blue light leaking out of every living room window on the block is now officially at an end," says my pal and occasional colleague Steve Rosenbaum, founder of video-sharing startup and one of the inventors a decade ago of citizen video. "The simple, wonderful, delirious fact is that people like you and me can now make and share content."

Delirious or not, it's a fact that's Jeff Jarvis believes has changed the meaning of TV. "Just as our kids don't understand the difference between broadcast and cable," he says, "the line between TV and Internet TV is about to disappear."
-The site for monitoring web traffic is Alexa. That's where I got the current top twenty list.

-The music site I mentioned is Rhapsody.

-The book I discussed is The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. Much, more more about it can be found on Anderson's blog. Anderson is the editor of Wired Magazine.

-Finally, the missed connections page for Milwaukee on Craigslist. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

PS3's and other random acts of violence

So I work at a local Best Buy in the area, and because of that, I was very fortunate to witness an unusual phenomenon occur last week. I saw a line of about 100 people sitting outside lined up in front of the store on a chilly November night. Why you might ask? For the release of the Play Station 3 last Friday. Die hard gamers could line up overnight the night before the “big day” to reserve a spot for themselves in securing one of the coveted systems.

I made the venture out to work last Thursday to see some of my friends (co-workers) who were some of the winners who were freezing their asses off in line that night. When I got there a local news station was setting up to do a portion of their 10pm broadcast, interviewing some of the hopeful gamers. The people in line (God bless them, but I truly think they were all idiots) looked absolutely miserable, which made me wonder what would possess someone too waste that much time and energy for a gaming system?!

Ok, ok I know there is a lot of money to be made once people start selling their PS3’s on EBAY, but seriously! It’s a gaming-thingy people!!!! Is two grand really worth risking hypothermia and wasting about 48 hours of your life?! I don’t think so, but hey, that’s just me. Anyways, the next day when the PS3’s were actually released, I saw a news broadcast on them. The reporter said people in line were actually being tackled, trampled, and seriously injured for these systems. This is ridiculous. I understand the amount of fat cash one can make from selling these, but causing personal harm to another human being basically over the supply and demand scarcity is just stupid in my book.

I do not “hate” on any of these hard core gamers (seriously, you should see my fiancĂ© and his roommates), just find their choice and methods of purchase a little interesting to say the least. You know with all this chaos over ONE product……it’s safe to say I’m not officially concerned to be battling the mobs at work the day after Thanksgiving sales!

Happy holidays everyone. Just don’t kill yourselves (or anyone else) over a PS3 and we’ll get along fine.

I Wasted My Sunday

This is more of a confession than anything else. My roommate and I spent the entire day, and I literally mean the ENTIRE day, watching the complete season of an MTV reality show called Beauty and the Geek. For those of you who have not seen the show, it's a pointlessly predictable reality show where one geeky guy is coupled with a beauitful woman as they compete in challenges that teach the nerds social skills and fashion sense, while teaching the beauties general knowledge like geography, car maintenence, and astronomy. (Executive producer? Ashton Kutcher)

So you might be asking yourself why I watched the entire season of the show. I simply could not turn it off. I liked watching the beauitful women in swimsuits, I liked seeing the nerds awkward interaction with the ladies, and I loved making fun of the stupid hosts constant need to re-establish the premise of the show every ten minutes. So with this type of hook built into the show, by 1 o'clock I found myself determined to find out how the show would end. What can I say? I like watching awkward dating situations, scantily clad women, and making fun of people. Please don't think less of me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

office merger

Last nights new episode of the Office(the XL 40 minute edition) was a huge move for the show. While episodes of the show have yet to disappoint me there is only so much they can do with the same characters in the same settings every day. The merger of the Stamford, CT branch with the Scranton, PA branch not only provided some hilarious new encounters, most notably Andy and Dwight competing to be Michael's "number 2", but the merger also provides so many new possibilities and assures a longer run for the series. The long running drama between Jim and Pam has had a wrench thrown into it by the addition of Karen to the picture. While this isnt my favorite part of the show and Id rather see more comedy, it is clearly central to the show and as long as the writers keep teasing their romance, you know they have more ideas and will continue to produce this masterpiece.

Big Papi-razzi

I found this article awhile ago. It amazed me the deceit and underhanded guile with which paparazzi operate. But the pay! Wow... read on:

5 Things You Didn't Know About The Paparazzi
By Craig Mazin
Entertainment Correspondent - Every other Sunday

Yahoo! Search Marketing Searches On Site: 32,937
according to the September 2006 report from Yahoo! Search Marketing

It isn’t often that you hear a good word about the paparazzi. Even if you aren’t moved by the shrill complaints of besieged celebrities; the idea of someone spending their life snapping unflattering, long-lens pictures of stars going about their everyday lives is still offensive to most people’s sense of decency. There’s also the perception that the job is easy and it lacks prestige. After all, snapping a photo of Cameron Diaz walking down Rodeo Drive without her makeup doesn’t seem to require much skill. Nor does the trade rank particularly high on the photojournalistic rung.

But believe it or not, not everyone can be a well-paid tabloid sharpshooter. Becoming a viable paparazzo actually requires a variety of skills, as it takes more than mere doggedness (although you will need that in spades) to succeed. The best celebrity photographers are equal parts glad-handers, sh*t-stirrers, independent businessmen, and secret agents. They cultivate a myriad of contacts and tightrope risky budgets, they are constantly on the make in a relentlessly competitive industry, and, yes, they actually have to know how to take a high-quality picture.

In the wake of the rare kind words I just threw their way, here are five things that you didn’t know about the paparazzi.
1- They have large networks of assistants
The general public’s widespread use of digital and cell phone cameras at movie premieres and galas has caused red-carpet celebrity shots to become a dime-a-dozen -- hence, they don’t sell for much more than that. Due to this intrusion on their traditional territory, successful paparazzi need to be as resourceful as possible in order to ensure that they can snag the rare candid shots that haul in the big bucks.

Therefore, the best paparazzi are now also the best connected, with networks of informants -- bodyguards, doormen, waiters, hairstylists, intimates, and even autograph hounds -- whom they cultivate or bribe in exchange for a tip about an elusive celebrity’s whereabouts. Noted paparazzo Mel Bouzad claimed to have nabbed $150,000-photos of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez together in Georgia after their breakup based on a tip from “Matt Damon's wife's hairdresser."

Find out the paparazzi's earning potential and their true power… Next >>

2- They can earn in the range of $250,000 a year
Paparazzi are so often viewed through a shady prism that it’s not widely known that they can rank among the best paid “journalists” in the world. In fact, while most established paparazzi earn a more modest $60,000 to $100,000 annually, quite a number of very successful paparazzi haul in the same income as your average medical specialist or corporate lawyer -- about $250,000 a year.

This salary doesn’t include the “big score” or one-time bonanzas like New York paparazzo Steve Sands’ reported $300,000 score from People magazine for pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s second child. Also, the market for a picture of Tom Cruise's and Katie Holmes' offspring reportedly reached seven figures. But aspiring photographers should note that, like in any profession, you have to work your way to the top. Unless you know Matt Damon’s wife’s hairdresser, entry-level positions generally pay about $3,000 per month.
3- Media savvy celebs share schedules with the paparazzi
Paparazzi commonly argue that though celebrities gripe endlessly about getting their pictures snapped every time they pick their noses, those same stars realize they need the paparazzi to ensure that they remain in the public eye and maintain their popularity. Some stars, at least partially, embrace this theory and have made a conscious decision to cultivate a more mutually beneficial relationship with their tabloid “friends.”

Common conciliatory acts include offers of temporary access or exclusives in exchange for a little privacy, and even celebs voluntarily coming out of homes to provide easier access for the paparazzi on stake-out duty. Some celebs actually work overtime to ensure that the paparazzi follow them around 24/7. Predictably, the talent-starved queen of all tabloid-anointed celebrities, Paris Hilton, has embraced this tactic by notoriously offering the paparazzi her schedule, ensuring a weekly parade of heavy-lidded, Jagermeister-addled, ”I’m about to retch in an alleyway” snapshots.
4- Paparazzi have organized "boycotts" of stars
Although they are historically on the wrong end of celebrity tongue-lashings and punches, the paparazzi have occasionally acted in tandem to eschew their usual state of victimhood. Witness the case of George Clooney, a notorious critic, after he blamed the paparazzi for causing Princess Diana’s fatal car crash in a 1997 interview. At his next public appearance at the premiere of 1997's The Peacemaker, the entire contingent of pissed-off paparazzi refused to take publicity shots of Clooney and booed him as he signed autographs for fans.

Clooney survived his freeze-out to become an even bigger star, but others have suffered long-term damage to their careers due to similar battles. Sharon Stone has had a running feud with the tabloids, and vocally backed a new privacy law aimed at stopping photographers from hounding celebrities. In response, the paparazzi has been ruthless in casting Stone in a poor light, including snapping an incriminating shot of her adopted son sleeping in a parked car -- under the chauffeur’s supervision -- as the star dined with a date.

They’ll go James Bond on you for a shot… Next >>

5- Their expenses can be enormous
The axiom that states that you have to spend money to make money certainly applies to the paparazzi. Photographers often have to shell out big bucks to get within camera range of a key celebrity sighting. Locked outside the gates of a swank star wedding or left ashore as a scandalous Hollywood romance blossoms at sea are mere obstacles to the determined paparazzo. It is common for the paparazzi to hire motorcyclists, helicopters, yachts, and even submarines to get in prime position for a clean -- and lucrative -- shot.

Yearly budgets aren’t publicized and the range depends on the size of the operation; one paparazzo estimated that the total expense of staking out Brad Pitt's and Angelina Jolie’s Paris apartment in the hopes of getting a picture of Shiloh would exceed $10,000 -- without any guarantee of return on the investment. In addition, pesky libel claims and restraining orders can eat away at earnings, so like the tabloid press they sell their wares to, independent paparazzi incorporate pricey lawsuit expenses into their budgets.

The paparazzi are endlessly fascinating because they so perfectly represent the double-edged sword of success in Hollywood. The lifestyle and money that come from fame and popularity is by all accounts pretty damn sweet, but the paparazzi serve as a prodding, aggravating check on that otherwise blissful existence. They also allow us regular folk to feel better about our lives by working up pity for the poor plight of paparazzi-tormented stars like Lindsay Lohan.

Although the paparazzi are almost universally criticized, their longstanding and increasing prominence is directly linked to the simple laws of supply and demand. In other words, the public has an insatiable appetite for all things celebrity and the tabloid photographers merely serve that market. Recent numbers indicate that the market continues to grow: While many magazines have recently suffered from stagnating sales, celebrity-focused operations like US Weekly and In Touch have seen their numbers soar.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Digital is the Best Ever!!!

I’ll be honest, I still live at home with my parents. There are many reasons why I like living at home: free food, free rent, and just this past week my parents got digital cable with HD on our big screen. So now I get that for free too. It is safe to say I have finally moved into the 21st. I never knew how clear the picture can be with digital cable. I was watching the Bucks game on Fox Sports HD and every now and then I would switch to regular Fox sports just to see the difference. Wow!!! I could see the sweat dripping off the players onto the court and I could see every little bump-grip on the basketball. It was amazing. When I would watch it on regular I could hardly see the crowd, but when it was on digital channel I could see every person all the way to the top of the arena. Then tonight I watched the college football game. I could see every blade of grass, even the missed patches the grounds crew forgot to cut. I noticed a little difference in the regular programming of the digital cable, but I would have to say watching digital mostly benefits those who watch sports. Lucky for me, my parents are huge sports fans.

Would the real Andy Griffith please stand up?

Again I am reminded that nothing entertains like the local news. I hope I'm not the only one who heard about the recent sasquatch or bigfoot sighting near Holy Hill. Indeed, some guy, whose job it is to clean up deer carcasses, said that some huge hairy beast jumped into the back of his pick-up and ran off with his roadkill. It's true that some tweekers out there make up stuff like this all the time, but for some reason TMJ4 decided that this story merited coverage on the ten o'clock report. The funny thing was that they didn't have anyone to interview. The lack of evidence is no surprise considering such lofty claims, but the only witness refused to be interviewed out of fear of being labeled a crazy fool. So there was this reporter out in the woods all by himself, in the dark, reporting live on an alleged bigfoot encounter. I hope the encounter really happened, but moreover, I hope TMJ4 does not consider blathering madmen and their moonshine induced hallucinations to be a reliable source for a news story.

There was also a story in the Journal Sentinel last saturday about Andy Griffith. Actually there was a story about both Andy Griffiths. Somewhere in Wisconsin, a man who was running for sheriff decided to legally change his name to Andrew Griffith. By assuming the identity of the renowned sheriff of Mayberry he had hoped to better his chances of winning the election. He lost the election and to add insult to injury he is being sued by none other than; Andy Griffith. If I was the guy being sued I wouldn't worry too much. I would just hire Ben Matlock to defend me in court. That crusty old S.O.B. never looses.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Movies getting to computerized?

We all watched The Matrix, one and two, the other night, but I still don't understand the point of the movie. It might be because I fell asleep through most of them, but it just seemed like a lot of computer work and jumping around. All of that gets distracting. Whatever happened to classic movies where people stay on the ground and the movie serves a purpose. Maybe they teach you something, or tell you a story from history, or answer an unanswered question. Maybe movies should go back to the good ole' days when you could watch them without just wondering what type of special effects they are going to whip out next.

Virtual Laguna Beach

For all of the ones living life in the square, things just got a little bit more 3-D. If you're an avid fan of Laguna Beach or MTV reality TV, or you're just a big time dreamer of wanting more out of life, you're digital fantasy has come true in the form of a virtual Laguna Beach. Like Sim City and other interactive games and websites, Viacom's MTV has come out with a version of the teen thriller that seems to be aiming younger and younger in the age bracket. With this site, you have the ability to be any number of different characters from the season of L.B. From hanging out at some posh beachside juice bar to getting your first kiss, the Virtual Laguna Beach is opening up to new territory. Past Director of Viacom was recently fired for not being friendly enough to the new direction of digital interaction with tv shows and their audiences. I'm pretty sure that one day, TV will simply be all digital and 3D for full on interaction. A Blues Clues for All ages, just more advanced. No doubt in my mind actually. Anyway, now you can click a mouse and have your character give a kiss, what's next?? Click your mouse here to read up a little more on the development or sign up yourself and transport yourself into a rich shallow princess living in the O.C...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Chad Vader

I found these clips when I was browsing on Youtube last night. The Chad Vader series are short films made in Madison, Wisconsin. The storyline centers around Chad Vader, the less-famous brother of Darth Vader, who works (at first) as a day-shift manager at a supermarket named Empire Market. It presents Chad's clashes with customers and other employees, especially Clint, the night-shift manager. Chad's infatuation with Clarissa, one of the grocery store's check-out girls, is a plot point as well. Chad makes frequent references to dialogue and concepts from the Star Wars films in the context of a modern-day grocery store. The first episode has been viewed over two million times. As of November 4, 2006, there are four episodes, each between five and six minutes long, written and directed by Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda. Here are the clips:
Episode 1:
Episode 2:
Episode 3:
Episode 4:

wedding crashers

so yes i know that wedding crashers is like a two year old movie now but i had a craving to watch it the other day so i did. i used to think that my favorite part was when they were playing football but i have come to realize that that part really isn't that funny. i must be growing up...anyway, i completely forgot about the part when they're at THE wedding and vince vaughn sees some chick that he hooked up with at some other wedding. it was so hilarious how they pretended that he was in a scuba diving accident that made him lose his memory and ability to speak. just his made-up sign language itself was hilarious but it was so funny that he was freaking out because he wanted to get crabs cakes and THEN go to the bathroom. i don't know. i just found that really funny.

Beware the Release Form

In my last posting about Borat, I said that the ignorance and racism of the Frat Boys would be available for all of the United States to see and, according to Yahoo! news, the frat boys are pissed off about it. Boo Hoo. They want to sue 20th Century Fox because they claim they were fed booze before hand to "loosen them up", and then singed waviers while they were drunk because they thought the documentary they were filming would only be shown outside the U.S. And so none of their friends, professors, future bosses, etc. would see what racist pigs they were.

I'm sure it was like pulling teeth to get a Winnebago full of frat boys to down free booze. This is the same technique used on the Girls Gone Wild videos. They get a bunch of girls drunk, get them to get naked and sign a release form, and then broadcast the material for a profit. These girls seek out Girls Gone Wild parties while their on vacation, so I have little sympathy for them when they try to sue the production company because their Dad and his golf buddies saw her straddling a bartender on a midnight infomercial. The lesson is the same in my mind. Those Frat Boys are racist and sexist and it was inevitable that they'd get busted. The girls want to go to Cabo San Lucas and get naked and drunk and party with the Girls Gone Wild crew, knowing very well that their actions will be taped. I don't mean to come off as unsympathetic, but these people KNOW THEY ARE BEING TAPED!!! If you don't want people to see what you're like when you're drunk, then maintain some level of decency while the cameras are rolling.

So if you get drunk and decide to take a shower with 4 other naked girls, or resort to Jim Crowe racism while being video taped, don't sign the release. Your parents must be proud enough as it is.

Best Week Ever!

I love recap shows, shows that tell you about everything that has happened ion the media the week prior, just in case you missed it. The best thing about it, is that they take real media and show you just how funny the actual story is by having comedians tell you about it. Best Week Ever on MTV, and the soup on E! network are probably two of the best and most recognizable shows that have this format. I also love list shows, any show like Best 80's songs 1-100, or greatest sports injuries coundown of all time.
The reason I say that I like all these different kinds of shows is because my attention span is so short for the garbage that is on tv and in the media that I just want to see little funny clips to satisfy me. Or maybe a little bit it is the nostalgia factor when i atch shows like I love the 80's, and I can say oh!! I remember Baby sister had that. Actually I think it is for all those reasons and I think most may agree that these shows are addicting, maybe not in their entirity,but if your flipping the stations and you find one, you wuill probably watch it through till commercial break.

United Artists to re-emerge...with TOM CRUISE at the helm?

Sometime last week, it was reported that Tom Cruise and MGM had come to an agreement to revive United Artists, the studio originally founded by Mary Pickford, D.W. Griffith, and Charles Chaplin.

My original reaction to this? Well, my original comments aren't suitable for print. However, after curling up (or in this case sitting in a rather uncomfortable chair in the basement of the UWM library) with the latest issue of Variety, I've come to a rather odd comclusion for me:

This may actually work. And, it may not suck too badly.

Don't get me wrong, I still hate Tom Cruise with all the loathing I can muster up from the darkest regions of my soul. But, as bad as some of his more recent films have been ("War Of The Worlds," anyone?), as a producer, Cruise does have a somewhat-impressive track record of success. Take for example, a small snippit of his work (as a producer) between 1996 and today:
  • Elizabethtown
  • The Last Samurai
  • Shattered Glass
  • Narc
  • Vanilla Sky
Not a shabby lineup, by any means.

Also, Variety has brought to my attention a fact that I was previously unaware of. Apparently, Cruise is not contractually obligated to star in any of these films, only to produce them. This lessens my disgust greatly, as I am generally opposed to much of what Cruise has starred in during the past 5-6 years. Not only that, without Cruise starring in these films, they may be more likely to live up to the legacy of United Artists and what the studio stood for so many years ago in Hollywood.

So, I'll wait to reserve judgement. Until I see UA release Battlefield Earth II.

At that point, all bets are off.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Star Wars

Cinemax is running all six of the Star Wars movies beginning with Episode 1 and culminating with Episode 6. I saw Episode 1 when it came out in the theaters, but I didn't go to Episodes 2 or 3--I'm not always the smartest guy in the world, but in this case I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice.

This weekend, I gave Episode 2 a shot despite warnings from everyone whose opinion regarding film I respect. Needless to say, that was over two hours of my life I will never get back. Slamming my baby toe with the claw end of a hammer would have been a less painful experience.

I decided to skip Episode 3 and went over to my friend's house instead. It was just my luck that he had some people over and they were all watching the six episodes in order. So, I sighed and sat down.

My problem with the latter three episodes is with the characters. The "good guys" in those movies always seemed like shallow wussies to me; whereas, the "bad guys" were pretty cool. I remember, even as a little kid, wanting Darth Vader and company to kill every last one of the "good guys." Because I knew that Luke and his friends would prevail in the end, my experience watching those films always was and always will be very frustrating.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Blinged Out Billboards

So, those of you that think technology is facinating and you can't believe how far we've come, you need to think again. Unless, you can fix my stupid computer that rarely works and convince my parents that computer techs really do know what they are doing and all my parents have to do is get a different computer. Ah, now that that is off my mind, onto the blog.

Driving I-43 everyday to work becomes quite monotonous and boring. I'm never entertained by the piles of construction cones blocking lanes, the hours of waiting for someone to come and move the construction cones blocking lanes so traffic can continue to move at the 10 mph speed that it typically does, or the horrendous music that WI radio finds pleasing to carry on every single radio station available. Finally I found something that will keep my mind at ease. Advertisers have finally become intelligent and invented the digitized billboard. Although there are no advertisements on the screen yet it is great to know that there is no longer risky man power that will go into hanging new panels every few months. Many years ago I worked at a movie theater and helped put up new movie names every other Friday. Although the movie marquee wasn't nearly as tall as most billboards, I had a frightening idea of what it could be like to be one of the workers hanging the enormous panels in 20 mph winds. I've really enjoyed driving down I-43 daily and seeing the billboard have different images on it like "TESTING BLUE" and "SPECTRUM TEST" with images of beautiful people with their hair blowing in the wind. I think this is an intelligent step for the advertising world. Now I'll be able to cut people off without them becoming angry at me; the blue on the digital billboard is just so calming and beautiful.

Pop Up Videos

Do you remember Pop Up Videos on VH1? I always loved watching them. They told you everything you never wanted to know about music videos. They always told the techniques on how videos were made, information about the band or artists, and the song. I could watch those segements for hours! I was just watching country music videos with my roommates and i started thinking about how no station really shows constant music videos unless it is after hours. The GAC channel shows them non-stop. We started talking about how on TRL they would have those dumb shout-outs at the bottom like "I wanna give a shout-out 2 ma grlz from chi-town. Represent. I <3 U BOO!" Those were so annoying, yet i always wanted my "shout-out" to make it on during the N'sync video. Regardless, I really miss the days when pop up videos were on. If you go onto YouTube and search for "pop up videos" you will get a decent selection.

Here is The Clash "Rock the Casbah":

If you go on YouTube you can also watch Dave Matthews, The Cranberries, etc.

celeb gossip DRIVES ME CRAZY

The week’s big break up: Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, or President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld?

Seeing as celebrity gossip is now considered newsworthy- included in both TV and print media, along with countless Internet pages and blogs devoted entirely to celebrity hearsay- it came as no surprise that on Wednesday, I had learned of the Spears-Federline split before finding out about Rumsfeld’s resignation as Secretary of Defense.

A Hollywood starlet was quickly stealing a well-known politician's spotlight, despite the fact that mid-term elections were held only a day before. This was supposed to be a week filled with political debates, professional analysts, and election coverage; citizens voted on Tuesday and then anxiously tuned into the local or national news stations for the election results.

However, as soon as the election coverage was winding down (actual winners wouldn’t be announced until the following day), several news stations quickly shifted to the “breaking news” from Hollywood. And this was just Tuesday night… Although Rumsfeld resigned the following day, the news media was still fixated on frivolous Hollywood happenings rather than White House politics.

By Wednesday, major TV networks’ newscasts that typically focused on current political and economical events were instead resembling the “ten to the hour, every hour” newscast format found on MTV: a brief up-date of current events that, coincidently, involve celebrities (i.e., Spears and Federline). Talk-radio personalities shared their thoughts and opinions about Britney and Kevin’s inevitable split and prenuptial agreement, with little or no mention of the election result and correspondingly, Rumsfeld’s decision to step down.

Eventually, come Wednesday afternoon, I was properly informed of Rumsfeld’s resignation by CNN (of course), since they designate most Hollywood tittle-tattle to the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen… And since CNN is 24-hours continuous news coverage, Rumsfeld’s split from the Bush administration was the latest, leaving Britney’s Tuesday night divorce filing as so 15 minutes ago.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

New Nike Ads

So Nike has been airing their new ads with LeBron James. In these ads, LeBron is shown as four different characters: himself, a little kid (which is LeBron’s head on a little kid’s body), an old man, and young stylish looking gentlemen (who is always getting hazed for being more concerned about his looks then basketball). I haven’t been able to figure what there message is, but my guess is that the new LeBron Nike shoes are made for all ages and styles? What I like most is the little LeBron. Something about a grown man’s head shrunken down to a little kid’s body is hilarious. Then I couldn’t help but reminisce about the good old days when Penny Hardaway did ads for Nike and were perhaps the best of all time. These ads featured popular Orlando Magic point-guard Penny Hardaway and a string puppet voiced by SNL’s Chris Rock. Unfortunately, this was the last time Chris Rock was funny. Just see for yourself

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

False Gods

I went to Church this past Sunday and the priest talked about "false gods." He was referring to television, celebrities (among other people), the internet, and the media in general. He did not mean that the media are evil. But that we spend so much time around it, in front of it, and our life surrounding it. He did not even mean that we are directly influenced by it (like we talked in class today), but that it DOES influence our values and beliefs.

It reminds me of a drawing my brother made several years earlier. Even as a high schooler then, he was perceptive enough to know that the media affect us. It was a drawing of a youngster sitting in front of the television, staring intently at the screen, and the boy saying "tell me what to do and think, master." It also reminded me of the cover of our textbook. Media is a cause and we are an effect.

Subjective opinions are often taken as objective facts by the audience. I am not infalliable to this. But I think that the more we learn about the media, the more we analyze, and the more we open our minds to such analytical ideas will lead to knowing what true and good values are.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wisconsin the Progressive state?

I've been watching the election results this evening and I'm sweetly surprised with the results (this is a blog, I don't have to be objective), but there are somethings that I just can't understand. The marriage referrendum is most likely going to pass and in my opinion this is a huge blow to the great state we live in. This is going to go down in the history books as one of Wisconsin's greatest mistakes. If you look in history books today there are none that shed a negative light on the civil rights movement (unless you go to the south maybe). To think that African-Americans should not have eqaul rights is not only absurd in today's society, it's downright unpatriotic. In 20 years the same will be said about gay rights. I walked around campus today and saw the hate graffitti on the sidewalks which read, "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." I never expected to read that much ignorance and hate spew from an educated brain. Let's get real here, no matter what you believe, even if you are religious, how can you actually believe in Adam and Eve? We go to school, we look at the facts and opinions and we are supposed to formulate an educated opinion. Adam and Eve are as real as Unicorns. I'm sorry if I'm crossing the line but let's get real, we did not decsend from two people, we evolved over thousands of years. The thing that really hit me the hardest was an advertisement in which children were used in favor of the amendment. How can those parents submit their own children to read these opinions and convince people to make a decision as controversial as this one? It was absolutely disgusting.

Lucky # Sleven

Wrong Time. Wrong Place. Wrong Number.

"Lucky Number Sleven" was released in theatres I believe in early 2006. I never saw it on the big screen; in fact I never really heard about it. But it came highly recommended from a friend so I finally rented the DVD. After viewing it, I believe that this film is very well done and largely underrated.

Without spoiling the plot, here is a little summary. The main character "Sleven" (Josh Hartnett) is just a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two big city mob bosses believe he is someone else; a someone who owes both of them big money. Long story short, Sleven has 48 hours to pay them back, each in their own way, before they off him.

Although the plot sounds simple, it is not nearly what it is made out to be. It is not until close to the end where you realize what is really going on, and how intricate the plot is. It ties back to things you might have thought were irrelevant in the beginning. It will even make you re-analyze the facial expressions of the characters and how they have interacted with one another. In short, it is brilliant.

But what really makes this film good, besides the clever storyline, is the acting. Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, and Stanly Tucci all play large parts in the film. The characters that they play are cast perfectly. This is also the first time that Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley have ever worked together in a film, and their scenes are spectacular.

I would higly recommend you to go out and see this movie tonight. You won't be dissappointed.

Borat goes to dating school (and other "US and A" adventures)

Alright, I know that someone else in this class has already written about the Borat movie….but I will too!

So, being the avid Borat fan that I am, I went to go see it last Friday, the day it was released. Words cannot describe the level of hilariousness (that’s a word right?) which that film contained. Unlike most movies which stem from TV shows, Borat’s (actor Sacha Baron Cohen) mirrored exactly the same stupid stunts he does on the show.
Here’s an example clip: an uncultured Borat goes to a dating service to learn more about American girls. Hilarity ensues.

However, after coming out of the movie, my fiancĂ© and I were talking about whether or not immigrants to America really see our country the way Borat does (i.e. the South is filled with racist, aristocratic snobs, and the big cities are sometimes as uncultured as Borat’s third world homeland). When you think about it that way, it’s amazing to see the image we’re portraying, even if the people shown don’t reflect your own personal values. Whether Borat intentionally chose to display these kinds of people or not, this film was not only side-splitting, but also brings out a kind of America most of us turn our heads to, pretending not to see it. It’s also ironic how it takes a British comedian playing a clueless European immigrant to show Americans this.

PS—I am SO seeing this movie again! :-D

Monday, November 06, 2006

drunk line

so i really never have anything media related to write about cause i suck at thinking, but i'll just tell you about my weekend which involved some media action. so me and my friend lindsay came home from the bar and were really giddy so we decided to call fm102.1's drunk line. the drunk line is just an answering machine for the station where anyone can call at anytime and say whatever they want that will maybe be aired that following monday on the kramp and adler morning show. as an intern for the station, calling this number while drunk was probably not the smartest move but thanks to losing my voice i hopefully remained unidentified. so we called this thing probably around 7 times cause we're retarded and kept laughing and then hanging up. one of our genius ideas for a message included me saying "hang on", lindsay farting with her mouth, and then me saying "see ya". you can only imagine how hilarious this immature idea was at the time. no matter how funny we thought we were we still didn't make the cut today. lindsay woke up at 6:30am to see if we were on the air but no dice.

network television

cable television is a luxury i can not afford at this time. and i think that it is better that i don't have it. i would probably end up sitting in front of it for too long, wasting too much time on my uncomfortable couch. i already waste large amounts of time in front of the tv (especially these last two weeks).

day time television is the hardest to watch. it's mostly obnoxious talk shows or soap operas, but there is always something to watch. unless you don't like news there are few times in the day that you can't find anything to put you to sleep or capture your interest.

late night television is probably the hardest to watch. there are very few shows on. it is mostly infommercials for windsor pilates or how to sell real estate or day trading. i'll usually tune into PBS at this time since they have the most interesting programs.

charlie rose is usually pretty interesting. his interviews are smart and fair. the man on after him, tavis smiley, can be pretty good in his own respect. i initially started watching tavis smiley because i thought his name was funny. but then i noticed he usually had on good guests and gave good interviews. now i'll watch him and the other quality programming on PBS when i'm up late.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Thanks Borat. I totally forgot why I live in a Blue State.

I just came from seeing the new Borat movie, which was hilarious. Aside from it's obvious comedic value, the movie managed to illuminate some things about certian parts of this country that I sometimes forget. Basically, their are still a lot of racist, sexist, homophobic citizens in this country. This movie has been considered "controversial" due to its satiracal treatment of Khazikstanis, its graphic depictions of penises (gasp!), etc. but no mention of the blatent ignorance of some of the people Borat meets. For example, an old white cowboy explained to Borat how he should shave off his mustache so as not to be mistaken for a muslim, which automatically means terrosist with a "bomb strapped to his chest." And that Borat shouldn't kiss people or he'll be mistaken for a homosexual. According to said cowboy, us Americans are trying to get these "types" hung from the gallows.

Then Borat gets picked up by a winnebago filled with frat boys, who expalin to him why women are just "stupid bitches" that are only good for sex, and minorities have it better then everyone else in this country, and so slavery should be reinstated. It's not that I didn't realize this type of mentality still existed, it's just interesting to see it. These people let their guard down because they thought this was a documentary for Khazikstani TV, and instead their ignorance and racism will be in what will no doubt be a very popular American movie. So while Borat did a successful job of making me laugh, he also reminded me why I'll never live in the South and I'll never vote Republican.

Friday, November 03, 2006

dddddd do you have it? GUTS.

I miss old school Nickelodeon. I watch the channel GAS sometimes when my roommates and I are hanging out in the living room at 1am. That channel is amazing! It has "Legends of the Hidden Temple," "Finders Keepers," "Double Dare," "GUTS!," "Global Guts," and "Figure It Out"!!! Could life get any better? All of those shows are so awesome. It takes me back to childhood when I wanted to be on the show and go to Mo for the scores. Mike O'Malley was so intense. I also miss "Hey Dude" and "Salute Your Shorts." I think if those shows were still on today it would ruin the nostalgia. During the summer two years ago Nickelodeon showed the first episode of "Salute Your Shorts" randomly, and it was terrible. All of those shows are "awesomely bad" as VH1 would say. The same goes for "Full House." If that show were to try and premier it would fail miserably. Well, I take that back because Bob Saget is amazing.

Anyways, I miss the days when Nickelodeon actually had shows with people on it. I'll just have to stick to the GAS channel and live my dreams of being on "Guts" during halloween. Honestly, who wouldn't want a piece of the awesome rock? And no, the AgroCrag is not on Ebay. Rumor has it they didn't even let the kids keep it! :(

I saw "Family Guy" when it was "Family Gu"

This week I was lucky to see the advanced screening of the “Family Guy” season premier…second premier? Not sure what it is, besides the episode on Nov 12th.
Now I won’t spoil anything about the show so you can keep reading, but the copy I got was a close-to, but no-quite finished version.
All the animation and dialogue was in place, but there was no sound track, nor sound effects in the episode. It was very weird.
“Family Guy” wasn’t the same. I realized how much “Family Guy” realizes on sound for their brand name, and how much there jokes need some sound track. I really wish I could share the episode with you all, but I am already risking getting sued by talking about it.
I’ve seen rough-cuts and partially done animations before, but this was so close to done I wonder why Fox would even send it out. Seriously the flaws of the show were exemplified by the lacking sound track. Should a company be so concerned with getting a news clip that they will sacrifice their show?
I saw this version of “Family Guy” that was locked in the attic, and forgot about for year. It was some demented evil twin, which could easily confuse anyone. All in all I am eager to see the finish version on the November 12th, so I can actually get all the jokes.

incREDible campaign

This past October marked the launch of (PRODUCT) RED branded products in the United States. (RED) was co-created by U2’s Bono and Bobby Shriver, who serve as the Chairman of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade Africa) to raise awareness and money for The Global Fund. By teaming up with the world’s most iconic brands who then donate a percentage of each (PRODUCT) RED product sold, The Global Fund is able to use the money to help African women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. All established brands that license the (PRODUCT) RED send a portion of the products directly to The Global Fund.

As of now, launch partners range from renowned designers, including Giorgio Armani, Converse, and Gap, to high-tech manufacturers like Motorola and Apple. You can purchase your new products with the special edition American Express (RED) card that will donate 1% of your total purchase. Since private businesses contribute less than 1% of The Global Fund’s resource needs, (RED) is a commercial initiative designed to kick-start a steady flow of corporate money into the Global Fund while creating awareness of the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

What I found most interesting about (RED) is that the goal of the campaign is to make the partner company pay money to The Global Fund by sharing a portion of its profits. According to the official (RED) website, this “consumer proposition” involves the company paying extra, not the consumer.

(PRODUCT) RED didn’t just limit itself to the retail market, however. (RED) Media Sponsors serve as “links” in the (RED) community network by donating space and raising visibility, and raising further awareness. Partners include MySpace and the AIM service, although AOL has been associated with Bono and DATA since before Live 8.

I am incredibly impressed with the (PRODUCT) RED campaign’s ability to cross consumer boundaries with virtuous, rather than monopolistic, intentions. All of the companies involved share the goal of seeing the powerful (RED) community mobilize for “hope, health and progress.” As a consumer, I’m use to companies or brand teaming up for their own personal (financial) gain, with the consumer paying (literally and figuratively). Instead, well-known companies are using their consumer popularity to involve their consumers in what is, and continue to be, one of the most influential worldwide campaigns.

I recommend checking out the (PRODUCT) RED website ( that includes links to products, information on The Global Fund, ways to become involved, and updated news on the campaign’s progress. Or better yet, stop by your local Gap or Apple store and check out the products in person: you’ll be astonished at the wide variety of product selections and how effortless it is to become involved in such a noble cause.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Unit

I never watched any network dramas, but my new roommate watches them all the time. During this TV season I've gotten my first taste of these things and, for the most part, they have been mediocre to bad which is all I expected.

Quality wise, CBS's show The Unit is conventional and mostly boring, but something else about it caught my ear as I was doing homework while my roommate watched it this week. There were some anti-war protesters yelling at troops on a base, which I thought was weird because anti-war protesters probably wouldn't yell at the troops, their beef is more with the government. My eyes got wider when a wife of one of the guys in the unit started yelling at the protesters.

Later this lady showed up at the college where the protesters were having a meeting and started putting them down for not supporting the troops and then began referencing 9/11 to bash them for not supporting the war. I kept waiting for the other side of the argument because what this lady was saying was very easy for liberal protesters to rebut by simply asking what does Iraq have to do with 9/11?

Instead of putting up an argument, the college kids just got up and said, "uhhh, should just leave..." The show made these college kids look like complete idiots who had zero answers to the lady's conservative statements because it was so obvious that she was completely right.

Then, on top of it all, the main protester guy tries to hit on this lady that he knew was married to a guy in the unit which made him look like an idiot and a total sleaze.

I couldn't believe that a script with this radically conservative of a slant to it could get produced in the "liberal dominated entertainment industry." I'm not really into politics, so I wasn't offended or anything, but, based on what I read about political views on TV, this show must be a bit of an anomaly.

Where is the respect that we deserve?

So I’m just sitting here watching the West Virginia vs Louisville college football game. Its turning out to be a great game between a 3rd ranked team against a 5th ranked team and I can wait to see who ends up winning. Then I think to myself, are any of these teams better then Wisconsin???? Of course not!! Although Wisconsin is ranked 17th (due to a loss they received earlier this season), i think they could easily beat either team right now. Then I realized something that I see every year in both college basketball and college football: Midwestern schools are ALWAYS underrated, and East/West coast schools are ALWAYS ranked higher when the preseason rankings are made. However when the season ends, these Midwestern schools always beat up on the favorite East/West coast schools. Now I’ll give credit to where credit is due; there are some good schools out on the coasts, and they are usually ranked correctly.

Now I’m sure most of you don’t care, but here is the problem: the people who create these rankings are sports writers/analysts from the USA Today/ESPN and the Associated Press. All of which come from either the N.Y., Boston, or L.A. area. I’m sure the Midwest often goes unnoticed and unrepresented outside of sports as well, but I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head. In addition, Midwestern journalists probably get overlooked as well. Which is unfortunate, considering there are many great journalists coming out of Midwestern colleges. Will we see a shift in power from the coasts to the inland area in the future??? Being a JMC major I sure as hell hope so!!

Local broadcasters are so insightful

Is there some kind of rule in Journalism that local news broadcasters should be less objective than other forms of news? It seems like at the end of every news briefing the two anchors have to put in their two cents worth in and it's never insightful. Most of the time it is just silly banter that they sprinkle with awkward pauses and forced laughter. For example, I was watching a channel 4 news story in which a community in Michigan experienced 15 house fires on Halloween night and they suspected arson (do you really think?). At the end of the story one of the anchors explained that she had grown up in Canada and they would toilet paper houses on Halloween night but never went as far as arson (what a shocker), then the other replied, "this is America, we don't do that here either." This remark was followed by an awkward pause a few strange looks and forced smiles. Then one of them asked, "It just seems wrong doesn't it," as they handed over the broadcast to the weather reporter who made another joke about the subject. Maybe it's just me but I could use more news and less bad humor with botched jokes. Does anybody else agree? Is this really the news team who wins all those Excellence In Broadcasting awards?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

South Park "hell on earth"

I just watched last weeks episode of South Park for the first time and i have to say it was my favorite one of the new season. WOW was hilarious mostly because my roomate is a huge gamer and plays for hours on end. The Dogg episode was very good as well but this one tops them all. It features the lovable Satan character organizing his "Super Sweet 16 Halloween Party." Satan has been a staple of the show since his love affair with Saddam Hussein. In this one he throws a huge party at the W Hotel in Los Angeles and invites "tons of celebrities" so his party will be the hottest ever. When Satan suggests a fondue fountain for his party he is told Diddy has already done it and explains "I dont wanna do it if diddy did it!"Satan then decides to make a Ferrarri cake as the grand finale instead. He sends serial killers Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy to pick the cake up for him. As you might imagine the consequences are hilarious. This episode is so classic because it makes fun of those horrible "Sweet 16" shows on MTV and portrays Satan as the spoiled rich girl character. The writing is brilliant and there are lines my friends and i will be quoting with eachother for years to come. Suddenly Im not so hungry for Acura cake.

Come on down!....

Recent news: Beloved Bob Barker is retiring at the age of 83 in June. What on earth on we going to do with out the price is right? Ugh, this makes me very sad. He was the host of this show for 35 yrs. (whoa)

Since The Price Is Right premiered Sept. 4, 1972, with Barker enticing people for the first time to "come on down," he has only missed three episodes (back in 1974). The longest running game show on the air is currently on in two half-hour installments every weekday, with the later one averaging 5.5 million viewers a day, per Nielsen Media Research....(found that info on E online)

The thing that upsets me more than the show ending is me not being able to decorate a crazy shirt, going to that studio, and listening to those sweet sweet words...Come on down!..haha

now this clip i have doesnt have the best picture, but the guy in it is funny.

Come on down!....

Recent news: Beloved Bob Barker is retiring at the age of 83 in June. What on earth on we going to do with out the price is right? Ugh, this makes me very sad. He was the host of this show for 35 yrs. (whoa)

Since The Price Is Right premiered Sept. 4, 1972, with Barker enticing people for the first time to "come on down," he has only missed three episodes (back in 1974). The longest running game show on the air is currently on in two half-hour installments every weekday, with the later one averaging 5.5 million viewers a day, per Nielsen Media Research....(found that info on E online)

The thing that upsets me more than the show ending is me not being able to decorate a crazy shirt, going to that studio, and listening to those sweet sweet words...Come on down!..haha

now this clip i have doesnt have the best picture, but the guy in it is funny.

The Weird World of Sports

As much as I love to watch sports on tv, I am always flummoxed by the marketing devices and commercials associated with pro football. There is one commercial, that to me, seems to be quite a stretch. While we are all reacting to the obnoxious chevy commercial with John Mellencamp, there is a ford commercial on during the games that always gives me pause. Who doesn't want to be a hero?... Well I want to be one. When I was a little kid I used to fantasize about pulling off some heroic act, usually in the form of some athletic feat. Well, now anyone can become a hero, and you don't have to be a professional athlete. Just buy yourself a big Ford pick'em up truck. In one particular commercial the owner of just such a truck approaches a traffic jam caused by a semi that is stuck under a bridge. No problem though, he just hooks a chain up to it and pulls it right out. Heroic indeed, but wait. Here comes the ambulance. This guy probably just saved a life because there was an ambulance waiting desperately to emerge from beyond the pinned semi. So, apparently Ford trucks provide enough torque to save lives.

Then we cut back to the game and Fox has created this little animated figure to fill in some screen space while they mention their sponsors. If you watch a football game there frequently appears this weird animated robot football player along the lower left hand side of the tv screen. What the hell is this thing? It jumps around and gestures like a football player, but why? I know football is aggressive and the players are, in some sense, like machines, but this is probably the lamest attempt I have ever seen to reinforce those ideas.

I am also seriously considering the purpose of the mascot. I thought that maybe mascots were intended for the enjoyment of little kids. Most kids seem to either be afraid of mascots or, if they're a little older, they think mascots are stupid. I, personally, feel embarassed for the person running around in an oversized badger costume.

So, all of these different marketing / entertainment schemes seem awfully weird to me, except for the Ford ad which is just silly. But the aggro little football robot, and the grown man carrying on like a buffoon in a giant badger costume? I shudder to think what this implies about me, the general sports fan. Although I love watching sports on tv, I abhor being lumped into a demographic that is presumed to be amused by these vacuous contrivances.

Oh, and if you stay up late enough you can hear some real freaks on 1250AM. This is Milwaukee's 24 hour sports radio station. There are definitely too many hours in the day to try to fill them up with sports talk. The wee hours of sports talk radio in Milwaukee are as volatile as the wild west.