Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Lately I've developed an addiction to courtroom shows but they are all pre-empted due to disaster coverage. I suppose I enjoy Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown, etc. for the same reason I like Hoarders I can watch it and say "At least I'm not as bad as that. My house isn't that cluttered and I would never loan money to such a creep." When I was little and if I stayed home sick I would watch game shows (Sale of the Century, Snap Judgement, etc.) in the morning and cartoons like Speed Racer in the afternoon. It's interesting that the only game shows still around on broadcast TV are classics like Let's Make a Deal and The Price Is Right. Of course at 3:30 we all watched Dark Shadows. When I wasn't sick, my sister and I would run home from school, turn off all the lights, draw all the shades, and try to scare ourselves to death with the supernatural melodramatics goings-on with Barnabas Collins and Dr. Julia Hoffman.
Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles. Superheroes were really my thing and so were supervillains. This shows was stocked with them. Batman was on at the time and there was a colorful baddie every week. This cartoon consisted of one Frankenstein Jr. segment and two for the Impossibles. I didn't understand why Frankenstein got the top billing if he had only one cartoon and his co-stars had two. Anyway, the Impossibles were a trio with superpowers disguised as a pop band. Every week they faced two different wonderfully bizarre characters--these included the Bubbler, Mother Gruesome, the Twister, the Paper Doll Man, and my favorite, Televistron who could shoot you with a ray gun and you'd be teleported into a TV show. Frankenstein Jr. was a robot version of the classic monster built by a boy genius Buzz Conroy to fight evil. It was fun and silly and well-drawn as compared to the Thundercats crap of the 1980s. Today's cartoons seem to be returning to the high production values of yore.
Last week on Comic Book Men, Ming and Mike lost a bet and had to recreate the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four. Very funny.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Project Runway ended (Dmitiri or Boris or Vladimir or whatever his name is won), I tried to DVR the first episode of Project Runway All-Stars and the latest of The Fabulous Beekman Boys, the damned thing didn't do it. Fortunately, it did get The Amazing Race. Episodes four and five both took place in the same city in Bangladesh which shows that the producers are still trimming the budget. But they are also trimming extraneous scenes which is a good thing. When they began in Indonesia not every team was shown opening their envelope and we didn't waste any time viewing the rush for the airport ticket counter. Once they all got to Dhakka, the first task was to repair a damaged bus. The Sri Lankan twins make the most noise, while Mutt and Jeff trailed behind.
The next challenge was a choice between sewing a mattress or banging out a crowbar thing. Naturally the Beekman Boys chose sewing, but so did alpha teams World Domination and the Chippendales. At the mattress sewing challenge, Chippendale dancers James and Jaymes brightened right up when Josh mentioned that he had been a drag queen and made his own costumes. Interesting. I had just finished reading Josh's memoir I Am Not Myself These Days in which he recounts his adventures playing Aquadisiac, a drag creation with goldfish swimming around in her plastic tits by night, and working in an ad agency by day, all while living with a drug addict-hustler. I'd say that was more life experience than most of the alpha teams have probably had. In addition, Josh is running a farm in Sharon Springs with Brent while he still holds down an advertising job. James and Abba, the rock and roll guys, went for the Fast Forward--a relatively easy job of rounding up dead rats--and won, Mutt and Jeff were eliminated.
In episode five, James and Abba were ahead the whole time, benefiting from the Fast Forward the week before, which was kind of unfair. They rarely put a fast forward in if they are not going to change cities. Usually there is some levelling event, like an airplane trip or park or a location that doesn't open until the next morning. James did receive some bad news at the top of the leg that his father had inoperable cancer. They came in first and Ryan of Team World Domination proved what a jerk he is. There I said it and I'm glad. It's not enough that Ryan and his love slave Abby are the only team who could possibly win $2 million for coming in first in leg one, he has to break the record set by Dave and Rachel last season of winning the most times. He opened up leg five by declaring this ambition. Then when he and Abby come in second at the end of the episode, he acted all downcast because they were only second and his dreams of being the most powerful Amazing Race contestant ever were dashed forever! (they can't possibly break the record now since there aren't enough legs left.) This caused poor Abby to tear up since she sweated bullets all day and thought she'd actually done a good job. But no, it wasn't enough for Mr. Super Alpha Male. He forced himself to smile and accept second place.
The Beekman Boys were almost eliminated having lost their way in trying to find a cab and then having trouble with building a gigantic scale with bamboos and ropes. But it turned out to be a non-elimination round and they will make it to Istanbul nest week which we have not visited season seven with the accursed Rob and Amber. Since then I have visited Istanbul myself and am looking forward to this episode.
Monday, October 22, 2012
|Mitt Romney's foreign policy manifesto.|
It could really go either now. It's all up to Ohio. At least that what John King was showing us with his nifty colored map on CNN. Wouldn't it be great if the votes went nothing like predicted? Even better, what if Obama lost the popular vote, but won the electoral college? Then we Democrats could say to Republicans, "Now you know how we felt in 2000, baby!"
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
|What does this comic book cover have to do |
with The Amazing Race?
Just read the blog, fanboy!
I've started watching The Fabulous Beekman Boys on the Cooking Channel. I saw all of season one on Netflix on my Kindle Fire, now the Cooking Channel is running season two. They are up to the third or fourth episode where Josh has to fly to California for his advertising job and Brent meets with a chef who has been on Top Chef to sell his caramelized hot sauce. (Six degrees of separation in the reality TV world: Top Chef-Beekman Boys-Amazing Race) Meanwhile, I'm reading I'm Not Myself These Days, Josh's memoir of his days as a drag queen by night and an advertising art director by day (I found it at the Claverack Library book sale, the same place where I bought those three sci-fi collections for a few dollars.) To top it off, the third episode of the Amazing Race in which Josh and Brent the Beekman Boys are contestants, was a real knuckle-biter.
Before I give you my impressions of this week's TAR, let me just observe that Josh and Brent have become an omnipresence (I just made up that word. Take that, Lewis Carroll!) in my warped pop-culture universe. Two TV series and a book in addition to meeting them in person. It's like I'm looking into their lives at four different times as if in a sci-fi novel. The Amazing Race must have taken place a few months ago, season two of Fabulous Beekman Boys was last year and Josh's book is probably 10 to 15 years in the past. Plus their Facebook page puts them in the present.
|Team World Domination in a loving embrace. (just kidding)|
In the next town, the roadblock is a choice between wearing a heavy lion dancer costume and marching in a parade or having eggs fried on a coconut on top of your head. The first four teams go for the lion costume and Josh and Brent, being farmers go for the eggs. The Chippendales let slip some Freudian innuendo when they laugh about squeezing together into a tiny rickshaw. ("It looked like we were on a honeymoon," giggles one of the Jameses.) Team World Domination wins again--I'm beginning not to like them--and they get a free trip to Fiji, the first travel prize of the race. I prefer it when the team you don't expect to win triumphs. When it's a young athletic couple taking all the prizes, it's gets kinda predictable. The Beekman Boys stay in fifth place and appear to have enjoyed the egg experience. They are having a good time, unlike the next four teams.
The real drama starts when the "stragglers" arrive on the second train. One of these four teams--Mutt and Jeff, the Sri Lankan twins, Mr. and Mrs. Monster Truck, the Barbies--will be eliminated. You'd think it would be Mutt and Jeff, the TAR fans who've applied seven times, who are always dangerously at the bottom of the pack. This time there's a double U-turn and you just know these two are going to get it. Mr. and Mrs. Monster Truck fulfill their destiny by U-Turning Mutt and Jeff who, not knowing who is ahead or behind them, uselessly U-turn the Monsters who have already made it to the finish line by this time. While the ill-fated duo are completing the second part of the roadblock by having the eggs fried on their heads, the Barbies get utterly lost thanks to a bad rickshaw driver. It turns into a close race to the finish with the Barbies just losing to Mutt and Jeff. Boy, are those guys lucky. But their good fortune won't hold out too much longer as the number of teams shrinks.
Monday, October 15, 2012
I wound up spending all afternoon at Starbucks. It was weird. I pictured a future where no one works in an office, the population gathers in cybercafes and lounges, sipping coffees and lattes as they virtually connect with their co-workers. Everyone will have thousands of friends through Facebook and followers through Twitter, but few flesh-and-blood friends. Hey, that's not so different from now. But I still won't get a flying car like on The Jetsons.
Another thing I've noticed in my own digital dealings: Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn have become competitive rather than just for pleasure. When I first got on these social media platforms, I thought "This is going to be fun. I can write all kinds of silly stuff about what I had for lunch and what movie I saw last night." Now it's become a race to see how many likes you get and you feel like you've failed if you get less than 1,000. There are marketing strategies on the right time of day to tweet and which words to use in order to draw the most hits to your blog (I must have been sick on the day of that class.) The phrase "social media" is a misnomer, it should be called "self-promotion media." The joy has sort of gone out of it because it's become a business tool instead of a mechanism for what I used to call being busy (meaning the exact opposite. An example of being busy would be to chat about Golden Girl reruns instead of filing a vital report). I have to stop worrying about the number of pageviews and just concentrate on having fun, then the page views will follow--to paraphrase some self-help business model.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Brief follow up to yesterday's blog: No sooner were the words about softening his abortion stance out of Mitt Romney's mouth during an interview with the Des Moines Register than his trusty spokeswoman Andrea Saul shook the Etch-a-Sketch and put out a press release "clarifying" what Mittens said. The statement basically imparted that if Romney is elected he will support any pro-life legislation. So first he's pro-choice as a Mass. governor and Senate candidate, then he's pro-life in the Republican primaries, supporting a personhood for fetuses amendment. Then he takes it back a little by saying he doesn't see himself supporting any restrictions on abortions, then his campaign says yes he will. Obama needs to point all this out in the next debate.
The polls are shifting because a lot of middle-of-the-road people are disappointed in Obama but they couldn't stomach Romney. Now that he at least look moderate they are drifting over him. Bad news.
The polls are shifting because a lot of middle-of-the-road people are disappointed in Obama but they couldn't stomach Romney. Now that he at least look moderate they are drifting over him. Bad news.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Just today Romney said he wouldn't change anything about abortion laws to make them more restrictive even though he told Mike Huckabee he was in favor of a personhood amendment and had on many occasions said he opposed Roe V. Wade. The only thing Obama has right now is defending Big Bird and unemployment falling below 8 percent. Why didn't he punch back at the plastic man? He'd better rally or we could have phony Mitt and Queen Anne and those five Pat Boone sons to stare at for four years. The VP debate on Thurs. will not matter even if Biden knocks out Ryan.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
The earlier flight turns out to be a mistake for Mr. and Mrs. Monster. The four-hour layover in Hong Kong puts them behind everybody else (The Hong Kong airport isn't so bad and the landing is spectacular because you come in right off the water.) When they finally get to the first clue, they are dead last. The gates to the event don't open until the next morning. Unlike with most overnight challenges, the teams have to chose numbers instead of racing to the gate. The task turns out to be racing bulls on a motorcycle. You don't even have to beat the bulls to get the clue, just finish without breaking your neck.
Here's where the speed freak editing comes in. We only see some of the teams perform this challenge. The production team evidently decided to concentrate on only a few contestants. We don't even get to see my favorites--Josh and Brent, the gay goat farmers who I met at the Hudson Farmers' Market (see yesterday's blog). One minute they were waiting for their turn at the bull race, joking about being on a diet so they go faster and the next minute they're at the next clue.
Anyway, Team Rock pulls ahead, but get lost along with Amy and Daniel who gave away the pitstop clue last week and the chance for $2million, Mr. and Mrs. Monster, the Barbies (there's always some Barbies on every season), and Mutt and Jeff. The Chippendales, the Sri Lankan Twins, the Texas team, Team World Domination, and Josh and Brent get to the next task first--operate a kiddie ride while blowing up balloons and twisting them into animals and hats.
Everyone flies through the event and Brent astutely observes, "The gays know how to make balloons." But Mutt and Jeff get stuck. Fortunately, Team World Domination falls behind (I want Amy and Daniel to catch up because of their mistake last week.) This time the first-place prize is the EZ Pass or whatever it's called when you can skip a task and go straight to the pitstop.
The next task is a roadblock--either haul ice or arrange fish. The twins beat the Texans, who are their best friends all of a sudden.The Chippendales and Team World Domination are next but we never get to see the guys with their shirts off. Josh and Brent are fifth which is a great improvement from last week's seventh place. Again one minute the Beekman Boys were reading the clue, the next they were at the finish line. I bet they would be good at hauling ice since they have do all those chores on the farm.
The episode ended sadly with Amy and Daniel coming in last all because they had the bad luck of getting a bad cab driver. I really felt badly for them because they were so close to coming in first last week and being in the running for $2 million. Next week is the double U-turn and hopefully Josh and Brent who are flying under the radar will not be seen as a threat, so no one will put the whammy on them.
Not such an exciting episode this time.
|With Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, The Fabulous |
Beekman Boys and Amazing Race contestants,
at the Hudson Farmers Market
Getting back to the Racers, during this past week I discovered that not only are these guys on my favorite reality show, but they also one of their own--The Fabulous Beekman Boys (the estate they bought is called the Beekman) which is in reruns on The Cooking Channel starting this past Thursday. This series premiered on Planet Green (which I don't even know if I still get in my cable package) and details their lives on the farm with Brent, a former VP with Martha Stewart, staying upstate all week, while Josh, a best-selling author is in the city working in advertising and coming up on the weekends. I found the first season on Netflix and have seen the first few episodes on my Kindle Fire. The second season, plus a Christmas special is on Amazon Prime ($1.99 per episode), but I guess I can catch up with these segments on the Cooking Channel. They overlap with the last half-hour of Project Runway which is almost finished, but then there's Project Runway All-Stars. I'll have to DVR the middle-of-the-night repeats.
I enjoyed the Beekman show since it kinda parallels my life as a gay husband with a weekend place in upstate NY. But I don't have 30 goats or a cheese and soap business and I don't know Martha Stewart. But I do have to mow the goddamn lawn and spray for spiders. (Well, Jerry does the second thing mostly.) And I have a Martha Stewart cookbook (the recipes are HARD!)
As I learned more about the Beekman Boys, I saw they would be appearing this weekend to sign their new cookbook at the Farmer's Market in Hudson, which is right next door to us in Stockport. Always ready to meet an Amazing Race team in the flesh, I woke up at the ungodly hour of 10 AM to say hi. Both guys were very nice (see picture taken on my cell phone). Josh explained that he didn't let the monster truck guy push past him at the airport in the last segment. He was just obeying the rules of not cutting in line or ducking under the special Racers Only rope stanchion (is that how you spell it?) I had rushed over to the Spotted Dog Book Store to buy a copy of The Bucolic Plague which Josh autographed for me. As soon as I finish Cloud Atlas, it's first on my list.
I told Josh about The David Desk and he asked to link their site so here it is. Josh has two other books out I'm Not Myself Today, a memoir on his days and nights as a drag queen, and Candy Everyone Wants, a novel. I will have to download those to the Kindle.
I'm looking forward to tonight's Amazing Race episode now that I now so much more about The Beekman Boys. This is probably the most I've known about any TAR team since the despicable Rob and Amber who thankfully have not graced my TV screen since Rob resurfaced on Survivor.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Well, today that's all changed. A Pennsylvania judge ruled the law is temporarily suspended until after the general election. He didn't dispute the constitutionality of requiring a photo ID, but ruled that the state has not provided enough time to fairly implement it so there is not an undue burden on citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote. I believe that after the election there will be a review and theoretically the state will have enough time and training to make sure everyone who wants to vote can without undue hassle.
This just happened this morning and I was in Planet Fitness in Manhattan where they have numerous huge TV screens with closed captions. As I hit the 30-minute express workout area (as I do maybe once a month), CNN and Fox News were on screens next to each other, so I could compare coverage of this breaking story. No MSNBC for some reason at Planet Fitness, only the major broadcast channels, Fox, and CNN. I will have to complain about that.
Anyway, the story broke and CNN devoted about 10-15 minutes to it with reports from their legal reporter and interviews with political strategists on how this might affect the president race (P.S. Romney was going to lose PA anyway in spite of what the Republican State Senate Leader said about delivering the state to Mittens thanks to Voter ID). Fox was covering two murder trials, a planned sky dive from space with neat photography, reports on how bad the security was at the American consulate in Benghazi and the White House is covering up its prior knowledge of it. The news of the PA decision was confined to a headline on the news crawl at the bottom of the screen. After CNN had finished with the story, Fox finally got around to it about 45 minutes later with an interview with their legal expert, a judge (apparently retired). During the interview, not once did they mention the difficulties PA voters where having getting their IDs and how the state was placing an undue burden on nondrivers by not being fully prepared to issue all the IDs that would be needed in a timely and fair manner. The interviewed judge explained that there might be a possibility that some voters might be denied their rights and the anchor did not follow up be asking "What about these stories of four-hour lines and untrained staff at the Penn. Dept. of Transportation?"
I should get to the gym more often so I can compare and contrast coverage of these issues. It would be even more interesting if MSNBC were in the Planet Fitness mix.