Friday, October 30, 2009
The first one is choice of coverage. I once read a newsman state that all journalism is biased because you can only cover so much with limited resources (so many pages of newsprint, so many hours of broadcast time). A choice must be made what to cover based on the public interest and what the journalists themselves think is a worthy story. Obviously, by those two criteria, FOX News is doing no wrong when their morning show "FOX and Friends" mentions ACORN 23 times in a single broadcast but mentions a historic growth in the GDP twice. The journalists think it's right and the audience think it's right; Therefore, it is right ("Right" being the operative word here).
The other aspect is more clear (and more icky), and that is the expression of individual opinions on issues by the journalists themselves. To take the example of the aforementioned "FOX and Friends", this is the network's morning show, which means that it is supposed to be in the league of the Today show or Good Morning America. That is, it's a fairly pleasant mix of fluff and news stories by friendly people sitting on couches and comfy chairs. Well, ideally that's what "FOX and Friends" is supposed to be, but every time I have caught footage of that show and their hosts, I have always been repulsed by their transparent tone of smugness and acrimony.
Yet even having seen this in action doesn't prepare you for when they have a good laugh over someone yelling about Nancy Pelosi burning in Hell. I don't have a ready archive of broadcasts at hand, but I feel relatively safe is saying that nowhere in their history of any network morning show do you have Matt Lauer of Charles Gibson laughing about a politician's eternal torment. This is the key, FOX: Of all the programming on your channel, this is supposed to be the lighter stuff. You can go on and on about O'Reilly and Beck being opinion shows and not reflective of the network as a whole, but when you have stuff like this going on in your morning show, then it's not longer a debate about choice of coverage. It's about pure bile.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Fortunately, they weren't awoken by "Kevin Hoeffer", who is the make believe schmuck who appears in the ads. Actually, he's one of many make believe schmucks that are used, but the ads are virtually the same.
There are two things that I have found more irritating than the popups themselves. First, when Googling about these ads, I find all sorts of message board and blog postings talking about how these things are a scam, but absolutely none of them address how to get rid of the popups themselves. Sorry, maybe I'm a bit jaded, but if you have to be told these things are scams, you might be a little too gullible to be on the Internets in the first place.
The second thing was how the ad had a comments field like in a blog post in order to provide "testimonials" from every day folk who made big money through this process. When you scroll down to the place where a text box should be for more comments, this is what you find:
In case you can't read that, it says "Comments disabled due to spam". Yes, Kevin, ain't spam just awful?!?!?!
So what's the solution? Well, it may be what my wife decided to do earlier this year with her laptop: Uninstall Internet Explorer. I've never been of the anti-IE mindset that a lot of other people have been. It's always worked just fine for me. But after this, I may have to move to Firefox (which has not been experiencing these popups).
Boy, saying goodbye to both Internet Explorer and Geocities in the same week? The Nineties really are over.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Please put a moratorium on these cutesy names for special edition DVD releases, because it's gotten ridiculous. When they're short, they're more palatable (such as the Clueless "Whatever" edition), But when you start using entire quotes, it begins to be ungainly.
Worse, it might just reek of desperation. Although I know Planes, Trains and Automobiles has lots of fans (I don't happen to be one of them), could the use of the most famous quote be a way to remind people of what movie this is? Hey you thirtysomethings out there: Remember that scene with John Candy and Steve Martin in bed together? Yeah, it's from this movie right here, so don't forget to buy the right one!
And on one final note: It's my considered opinion that Edie McClurg gets the best line in the movie. But as short and concise as it is, It probably wasn't a likely contender for the name of this edition.
As much as I love Obama, I must respectfully disagree. I think it's an excellent decision to send Rush Limbaugh to Afghanistan.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Legally barred from discriminating against individuals who submit large claims, the New York-based insurer simply canceled lines of coverage altogether in entire states to avoid paying high-cost claims like Mr. Pearl's. In an e-mail, one Guardian Life Insurance Co. executive called high-cost patients such as Mr. Pearl "dogs" that the company could "get rid of."Conservative Christians need to get it in their head that the bottom line for the GOP is nearly always money and rarely what is right morally.
A federal court quickly ruled that the company's actions were legal, so on Dec. 1, barring an order by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Pearl will lose his benefits.
In other words, when it comes to "Death Panels", the Democrats aren't the ones you need to worry about.
Ticket to Ride was a board game we had our eye on for quite awhile (I first heard about it on Defective Yeti). It has been great fun playing it, though Mrs. Mosley has warned me that if I continue to defeat her time and time again, her interest will quickly lapse. Point taken.
The second was a long standing item on my Amazon wish list. It's a great CD, and it helps build the Jazz collection I want little C.C. to have access to when she gets older.
Finally, I purchased a gift for myself. Having determined to get a LEGO set, I was surprised at how underwhelmed I was at the choices available. Nothing seemed to really spark my interest until I revisited their Power Miners series. Perhaps it's that great color scheme. Perhaps it's the incredibly cool wheels. At any rate, I'm seriously thinking of pursuing this line further.
And it doesn't hurt that the two sets I now own in this line have a combined set instructions on the LEGO site.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
First there was Tim Langdell, who I wrote about earlier this week. Here is a guy who copyright a simple company name two decades ago and then decided to torment dozens of folks in his industry instead of, you know, actually making something useful. On that final note, a small update: Some bloggers decided to call his bluff on a recent claim to have created a new video game (and all it took was twenty-five bucks).
The latest bit of outrage falls in my own bailiwick, as it were. Boing Boing and Metafilter both highlighted today the story of Constantine "Connie" Xinos, who states proudly that two of his chief hatreds in life are poor people and libraries. I'll let Boing Boing sum up:
He dislikes being near poor people (he successfully blocked a permit for a senior's home, stating, "I don't want to live next to poor people. I don't want poor people in my town"). He reportedly worked to elect an Oak Brook village council who would shut down the town library, which he also campaigned against. When local kids showed up at town meetings to ask that their library be left open, he is quoted as saying, "I don't care that you guys miss the librarian, and she was nice, and she helped you find books;" and to the library staff to "stop whining."Words fail, folks. But there is justice in this world. Just as Electronic Arts will likely hand Langdell's ass to him on a platter, so too will "Connie" get his just desserts at the hands of the Teamsters Union. It may not be spiritually healthy, but sometimes Schadenfreude can't be beat.
Another piece of advice for those who would rip off DVD artwork: If you're going to steal a movie's art, at least steal it from a good movie.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
But I can appreciate more subtle forms of the art that doesn't just scream "Rip off". Take, for example, a semi-obscure James Coburn movie from 1966 titled Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round. For film buffs, the movie was primarily notable for featuring the first film appearance of Harrison Ford (at the tender age of 23). That's too bad, as the movie is a serviceable caper film all on its own. When I looked it up on the IMDb, however, I was taken by the DVD cover art it displayed:
I did some quick searching and found that, like the DVD covers of most older films, this was new art manufactured from original ads. Two of the original posters are below, the second being where they got the image of Coburn for the DVD cover:
So the thing that interested me most was those arrows pointing left and right. Where did that stylistic choice come from? Well, let's look at the plot. The main character is a con-man and thief who assumes multiple identities and travels back and forth across the United States in the course of the film. All the while, the authorities are in pursuit and doing things like staking out airports to try and apprehend him. Does that plot sound familiar? It should:
It would appear I'm not the first to notice this. DVD Savant beat me to it (smart little bugger that he is), but I can still admire the effort. The DVD of Dead Heat was released only a four months after the DVD for Catch Me If You Can. The release dates are not quite close enough to capitalize on the film's popularity, and the artwork is too subtle to fool people into confusing one for another. No, this is more a subliminal work, and one that I applaud. If only more DVD cover art had such finesse.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Two weeks ago I was in Target with little C.C. strapped to my chest. I was killing some time while Mrs. Mosley went shopping. As is my habit, I proceeded to hit two sections: LEGO and DVD's. LEGO came first, and as I turned into the aisle, I found a mother, father and son there looking at the sets. Their verbal exchange was a familiar one: Son wants a set and mother is telling him they aren't buying him one today. What wasn't familiar was the reasoning the mother gave. I'm paraphrasing here, but this is the gist of what she told her son:
"I'm not buying you another set. You never build the kits anymore. You build them once and then use the pieces to build something different. You don't need any more bricks."As I stood there looking at sets of my own, a part of my brain said "Did I just hear that right?". I didn't say anything to the child or either parent. Most of this was because of an already established rule I have formed for such situations. Although I might think it would be cool to discuss LEGO with a kid and show that you can be grown up and love LEGO too, there are two possible reactions from the parents: Either they will think you are a child molester, or they will become irritated by a complete stranger interfering with the "I'm not buying you that set" argument by seeming to take the kid's side.
These aren't the only two possible reactions, of course, but they're likely enough to give one pause before jumping into the conversation. Still, the utter nonsense of the mother's argument should have spurred me to do something.
While doing all of this eavedropping, I didn't look directly at them. Therefore, I didn't see the kid's face to see if there was genuine dissapointment there when his mother made this argument. The mother was, for all intents and purposes, arguing against creativity itself. On the other hand, the kid might have just completely ignored his clueless mom after possibly hearing this inane argument before.
I comfort myself with the likelyhood that it was the later. Shortly after the exchange, they left the aisle after agreeing that the new Space Police line was "stupid" (speak for yourself, kid). He'll probably be fine, and it's a reminder for me to be understanding of such things with little C.C. Don't worry, little girl. I got the Duplos all ready for you.
Monday, October 05, 2009
"Writing at Belief.net, Rod Dreher highlights a new initiative on the religious right: the Conservative Bible Project. The effort aims to rewrite the Bible to remove its notorious liberal bias and clarify the gospel basis of free-market economics."I am fully in support of this effort. These folks have been saying that their party is the party of God for years now and that liberals are all godless. Well, now they're inadvertently fessing up that Christianity as currently drawn from the Bible is liberal. I guess they got tired of all the "forgiveness" and "giving to the poor" and "blessed are the meek" and all the rest of that pinko garbage. What do you want to bet they somehow shoehorn an eleventh commandment in there about homosexuality?
Incidentally, the comment thread at the Metafilter post is a great read.
UPDATE: This comment is in the running for my favorite:
"I'm perfectly happy with any distractions that keep these "conservatives" from their attempts to rigorously buttfuck the rest of us. Hell, I'm in for ten bucks towards a fresh pack of crayons, have at it jackasses."
"When your dealing with time travel, its important to establish whose rules are in play. Is this 12 Monkeys rules where you cant change shit. Or Back to the Future rules where you can change shit but the time line is kind of easy going about it. Or Terminator rules where you can change shit but then maybe you can’t change shit and then you make a god awful TV series and Christian Bale yells at someone."
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
This clip manages to upset me more than the trailer. The trailer showed this destruction and more, but in viewing it I was more just absorbing the violent and horrible end of all that we know. This clip isolates us into one city with the main characters as thousands upon thousands die around them and we are supposed to be having... fun?
Roland Emmerich's biggest hit, Independence Day, handled the destruction differently. CGI wasn't nearly as advanced, so most of the more notable destruction (such as the White House) was model work. The new technologies allow not only multiple skyscrapers falling over but also the level of detail that shows individual bodies and cars being tossed around. Also, the method of destruction in ID4 was by alien weaponry, which was pretty much instantaneous death. Cities get wiped from the map pretty quickly. Here, it is a loooonnnnnggg drawn out death that is rendered so vividly that you want to look away (or at least I did).
Then there is the manner of escape. To be sure, ID4 had escapes both plausible (the White House staff on the helicopter) and ridiculous (Vivica A. Fox and her immortal dog). Yet having Cusack and family perpetually inches away from collapsing earth seems too much. They also try to get too cutesy with the driving through a glass building and (heaven help me) that damn rolling doughnut. Add to all this their choice of a limo to escape in. A limo?!?! Not exactly the most spry of vehicles. I suppose that's part of where my anger comes from: It's OK for a movie to say that these specific people will survive out of millions because they are the main characters, but at least give them an escape that doesn't insult those poor schmucks in faster and more agile cars.
So what do you get when you have this level of technology but a far more somber treatment of the subject? You get Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds. I've already gushed at how incredible I thought that film was when I saw it in the theater. In a way, the beginning of that film very much mirrors this scene: The main character runs home after witnessing the beginning of the destruction, rounds up the family quickly and gets them all into a vehicle to get out of the city. Yet, Spielberg handled it with so much more depth and sensitivity that it's almost an insult to compare the two.
In the end, the escape from New Jersey in War of the Worlds was an exercise in terror and suspense. The scene in 2012 is a theme park ride with people being killed by the thousands all around you.
Steven, I find that I appreciate you more and more with each passing year.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Philip Harrison: "I've been in this office many times, and I have talked with many men sitting in that chair. The best of them was
Roosevelt, and I had to threaten him with a mass march on the Capitol before he would issue decrees prohibiting job discrimination in the war industries on the basis of color. Just so he would do –"
Robert F. Kennedy: "Yes, that's all very well, but you see, I am the Attorney General of the
United States, and right now, at this very moment, there is a group of your freedom riders in a church in , surrounded by a mob that wants to kill them! How am I going to get them out of there?!" Montgomery
Philip Harrison: "Let them kill them." (pause as everyone looks at him) "Let them kill them!" (pause) "Churches have been bombed. A minister's been beaten to death because he wanted to give support to black people. Children have been on the verge of starvation. What do you give a damn about those people in that church for? Because some newspaper stories have been written about them?"
Robert F. Kennedy: "Well, why don't you get proof for me, and then we can prosecute. Because we can't prosecute without proof."
Philip Harrison: "The FBI gets proof every day of beatings, rapes, and, yes, murders! But those reports are suppressed- or destroyed. There hasn't been one single conviction! But you won't do anything about that, will you? And I'll tell you why. Because you don't want to have a confrontation with J. Edgar Hoover! Do you?!"