Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If Only She Could Get Americans to Sound This Good

I Can't Believe I Didn't Win Big Brother!

I really thought I had a shot.  See, when Zach described how he had played out his brilliant, master strategy, he said it involved:

1.  Not talking to anyone in the house
2.  Coasting
3.  Eating alone

Then I realized: Hey!  I've done those things, too!

But both of us lost.  I was rooting for Dick almost all along, so I was pleased.  If you really think about it, except for Carol or maybe Nick, Dick might have been the nicest person in the house.  Seriously.  Think about it.  

As always with Big Brother, the evil people don't know that they're evil.   Dustin is still trying to process the notion that America hates him.  And Amber!  Did you see her summon up all that indignation over Danielle's "immoral" behavior toward her boyfriend?

It was great.  Amber, a former meth addict who hid abortions from her boyfriend, is the arbiter of morality.

Eric swore to Jessica that the America's Player thing had nothing to do with what happened between them.  Uh, Eric?  Didn't America actually dictate your first kiss?  

Jessica will be SO pissed when she finds out (and Amber will surely be outraged).  I have a feeling that's why that moment was left out of the montage.  Eric must have begged them, on bended eyebrows, not to include it.

Speaking of Jessica, last night was fascinating.  All summer long, forced to make do without a lot of makeup and clothes, she looked so cute.  But last night she had the chance to put her Kansas trash look back on.  She went from looking like a semi-hot UCLA student to looking like someone you can bang in the Dairy Queen parking lot if you bring beer.

(I had previously predicted that Jessica's looks would break really bad in about a year.  After last night, I'm cutting that down to three months.)

And Amber, for some reason, wore a California King sheet.  If only she had been one of the dogs Michael Vick killed.

Zach is an imbecile.  You really shouldn't have more hair product than hair.

Why was there no second hour?  Survivor gets two hours for a really boring town meeting, so why did this show end just when it got interesting?  So they could show an NCIS rerun??

Forget blood diamonds, the real tragedy in this world is the amount of body glitter Julie Chen and the jurors were wearing.  Unless you've had a run-in with Auric Goldfinger, your skin should not look like that.

The only good thing about Big Brother ending is we'll never again have to hear Julie say, "Eric is working for yooooooooo, America."

Jameka and Amber still believe they were in the LNC alliance.  They went to the first meeting, then never showed up again!  They're like the Rudy Giuilianis of the house.

I still want someone to explain to me what happened after Amber's big anti-Eric blow-up. The chain of events has a big hole:

Dick warned everyone that Eric and Dustin were liars.  Amber found out it was true: Eric had betrayed her.  Dustin promised to vote Eric out.  Next thing we saw was Dustin betrayed Amber, kept Eric, Dick was proven right... and still everyone hated Dick and loved Eric and Dustin.  Why?   What did we miss?  I gots to know.

Jen, you moron.  It is not possible to grab a lit cigarette from someone's hand without burning your hand.  And it's not the smoker's fault.  

My Head Hurts

Something happened the other day, and I still haven't recovered.

Sean Hannity was red with rage about something Hillary Clinton said. (The "willing suspension of disbelief" thing.) He and his guest were shouting about it. (On Fox News, they even yell when they agree.)

Is she calling General Petraeus a liar? Suggesting that a decorated soldier would lie to Congress? A brave hero of the Armed Forces, say something that's not true? The gall of it! That's treason!

Who was the guest?

Convicted felon and liar Oliver North.

Are We STILL Debating About Michael Vick??

Lawrence O'Donnell is a very smart man. But he said something very stupid last week on NPR. And three times in this still-young week, I saw someone on TV say the same thing. It goes like this:

"Isn't it ridiculous to send a man to prison for killing dogs, when we as a society kill cows and pigs every day? What's the difference?"

Specious doesn't even begin to describe this argument. When someone says this to you, please repeat after me:

"The difference is we don't kill cows and pigs for fun."

It's not "entertainment" to watch cows and pigs die. It's not something we do while drinking beer with our friends. The people who actually kill the cows and pigs do it as a job, not a diversion. None of them would describe it as "invigorating" or "amusing." They wouldn't do it in their yards.

And hunting? I despise hunting. But at least hunters stress the importance of killing quickly, of lessening the suffering. Even the proudest, most ardent hunter wouldn't describe the death of the animal as "entertaining."
He wouldn't kill the animal an inch at a time while cheering.

Forcing dogs to fight is a bloodsport. Seriously. Bloodsport.

Thunderdome, Spartacus, Christians-and-lions kinda stuff. Who could defend it?

Michael Vick did not make a mistake. He sponsored and enjoyed a savage bloodsport for six years. Presumably enough time to realize it was wrong. Or at the very least, illegal.

Plus, and it bears repeating:

He killed dogs with his bare hands!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's Sorcery, I Tell You!

Teleport is a free (donations accepted) software KVM switch for Macs. In other words, it lets you control all the Macs in your network using one keyboard and mouse (or trackpad, if you're 'Booked). Just as if you were using multiple displays: drag the cursor to the edge of the screen, and you're controlling the other computer. You can drag and drop items, even cut and paste. Easy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sheikh Yersoda

If you know any old wives, they've probably told you the Tale of the Shaken Soda Can Tap. Today alone I've gotten two emails about it.

The story goes like this: If some bastard shakes up your soda, and you don't want to be wet as a Mento, simply tap the side and/or top of the can a few times and you can safely open it.

People. Trust your faithful and friendly correspondent:

Make no mistake, this trick does work. The same way tapping your head after you drink the soda will eventually make you piss.

In other words, it's not the tapping that works the magic. It's the time it takes to tap.

Soda packaging technology has come a long way. For years, soda's been canned such that all you have to do is wait 20 or 30 seconds after shaking for the pop not to pop. (It's probably less than 20 seconds, but who wants to experiment?)

Speaking of the tapping/time equation, I've always believed that the pleasure of smoking comes not from the tobacco, but from the fact that smoking forces you to stop and take long, deep breaths. God, I miss smoking.

Now I Know Where The Washington Times Gets Its Editorials

"I wasn't pondering the great events of the world last week. I was pondering my putts..."

-- TWT Editor Tony Blankley, on how he spent his vacation

Emmy Notes

I can't think of a year when there were so many categories crowded with worthy nominees. It was hard to pick. I'm glad Emmy mixed it up for a change (no offense, Tony Shalhoub).

Some of the wins made me very happy. Terry O'Quinn is extraordinary on Lost, particularly this past season. His work is so delicate and precise, his gifts should be the envy of every actor. I wish Michael Emerson could have won, too... but he already has an Emmy for his astonishing work on The Practice, so I don't feel too bad. Still, Ben is an incredible, complex character, and Emerson fleshes him out in a million unexpected ways. (The same could be said of the unjustly ignored Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly)

As a longtime Emmy judge, I always feel it's important to separate the actual work from the show. (Actually, I think it's vital.) People in the media don't understand that you can honor great work even if it's on a mediocre show.

For instance, I thought Grey's Anatomy had a dreadful season, but I thought Katherine Heigl was great, her best work ever. The show could have used a lot more Izzie. (And by the way, it was inexcusable that the Emmy announcer mispronounced her name.)

And while I love James Spader, I was hoping for Hugh Laurie or Keifer Sutherland to win. For Laurie I make no apology; he was incredible this season. Whatever you thought of 24 this season (and come on, relax, it wasn't that bad) Sutherland's work was as good as ever. And not since David Duchovny and X-Files has one actor been called upon to appear in so many scenes every week. (Compare Keifer's shooting week to, say, Marcia Cross's. When she's there.)

Moving on... I honestly don't get the not-shaving thing. I can see if you're sporting a rugged layer of stubble. Or if your image demands some scruff. Then it's cool. But Jeremy Piven showed up with the full Fred Flintstone. And by the way, I honestly don't understand how it's possible for Jeremy Piven to not have time to comb his hair. Especially since he doesn't have to be in the room when it's combed.

Those censorship cutaways were disgraceful. Haven't we all learned to live with the silent bleep by now? Do we have to flee to the roof every time someone says something iffy? If Ray Romano's bleeped word was, in fact, "screwing" then that's just ridiculous. The 'Til Death promo was racier than that.

And I certainly hope that Sally Field was censored for the "goddamn" and not for the sentiment. I don't think being anti-war is so controversial, do you? Not in any time, and certainly not in this time. But I will say, her speech would have been a thousand times more effective had she not accidentally revealed it was memorized word-for-word. Takes the fun out of it.

The Office and 30 Rock are the best comedies on TV. And Tina Fey is, perhaps, the sexiest woman on TV. With Jenna Fischer close behind. Speaking of Jenna, it's impossible for me to believe that there exists a human who thinks America Ferrera is better than Jenna Fischer or Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

If Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell had to lose, at least it was to Ricky Gervais. His work on Extras was jaw-droppingly good. But if ever there was an argument for a three-way tie, this category was it.

Lewis Black is the king. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Conan O'Brien just make me smile by existing. I may be the only one, but I became weary of Elaine Stritch's schtick about ten years ago.

Whether you love or hate Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, they are not now, nor will they ever be, comedies.

I did not think it was possible, but the Jersey Boys medley was both incredibly boring and incredibly gay. All I could think of while watching those guys was, "Is the opposite of an 'electric performer' an 'acoustic performer'?"

And if you only favor one-quarter of the audience, that is not called "theater-in-the-round." That's called "using humans as scenery."

And, finally, I won't name names, but three of the winners last night have been personally rude and/or assholic in encounters with me. I'm just saying.

Some Stars' Fans Are Super Devoted

"My assistant is following me around with a fan blowing me."

-- Patricia Heaton, on the Emmy red carpet