Thursday, April 09, 2009

Recession makes for good TV

From the WaPo, 4/7/09...gotta love it

Sacked Employees To Provide Fox with Ratings -- Everyone Wins!

Coming to Fox: a reality series in which actual companies that are struggling to stay afloat in this lousy economy agree -- presumably in exchange for money -- to let their staffs decide which among them is going to get pink-slipped to save money.

To populate its new "Lord of the Flies"-esque series, "Someone's Gotta Go," Fox has lined up actual companies -- smaller, Dunder Mifflin-esque-sized (15-20 employees) ones -- having financial difficulties.

In each case, the company's boss or owner will call all the employees together and tell them someone's going to get laid off. But rather than the boss/owner making the decision, he or she will instead give the employees all the available information about one another -- salaries, job evaluations, etc. -- and let the employees decide who will get pink-slipped.

Fox -- or at least its genius/madman head of reality-TV Mike Darnell, whom no one over there seems willing or able to reign in -- thinks people will flock to this show. Because it is about -- wait for it -- wish fulfillment. Because we've all been there when someone -- we'll call them Mister A -- once again cons their way out of getting shown the door at our place of employment, while poor old hard-working slob -- Mister B -- gets the old heave ho, and wished we were in charge so it hadn't played out that way.

We called Darnell to ask how, among other things, Fox is handling the legal quagmire when it comes to revealing details of employees' personal evaluations, etc. on national TV. He declined to comment.

Fox's latest effort in the art of television programming was developed, and is being sold internationally, by Dutch-based production company Endemol, who also brings us CBS's "Big Brother," which used to seem mean-spirited and skanky, but which suddenly looks quaint and charming.

An Endemol spokeman told a Reuters reporter in Amsterdam the new show "will be an interesting experiment." The reporter, in turn, likened "Someone's Gotta Go" to NBC's "The Apprentice" -- to which this new show bears virtually no resemblance, in that the "employees" of The Donald are fake, and when he shouts "You're fired!" they're not losing their actual jobs, they're only losing a made-for-TV competition.

By Lisa de Moraes | April 7, 2009; 4:59 PM ET

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back from a break...

As usual, I have let my blog slide...lots of excuses, plenty of reasons...most of them I've given before. But I am back, for now...

Primary reason I come back to the blog is to keep in touch with of maybe 4 people from my days in the AF that I want to try to keep up with. One of the many things Beav and I have in common is our love of the Karaoke. He has been ROK'ing a while (be back this summer). The wife and I have found a new place to hang out. The County Grill in York County now has karaoke on Friday nights after 10PM. We go just about every week, the KJ is awesome (nowhere as strict as the one at York Lanes), and the selection is almost limitless. There are a few hardcopy catalogs, but you just write the name of the song you want to sing on the list...he has about 50,000 songs on his hard drive. Can't wait for him to get back so we can wow the crowds together.

PS Beav...I posted a comment on an older post of yours...I am ready for my interview.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Uncle Sam's my boss again!

No, I didn't re-enlist or get a commission as an officer. I am now a civilian in the employ of the US Navy.

Basically the JFCOM folks I was supporting as a contractor loved what I was doing and didn't want to lose me so they offered to transition my contractor position to a GS position. So what does that mean? Well, the pay is about the same and the Thrift Savings Plan has a little better match than I was getting, but the primary reason is that as a contractor I was getting a total of 19 days/year for general leave (vacation + sick) and only 9 holidays/year. Now as a GS, my 11 years prior active duty service counts toward leave calculation (because I didn't retire). So I start out with 20 days/year annual leave + 13 days/year sick leave and 10 federal holidays and every base down day/extra day given to the military. 14+ extra days a year off is worth it I think.

Basically the only thing that has changed @ work is the source of my paycheck...oh, and the fact that I get to go to more meetings now since I can officially represent the gov't. They don't know what they have done...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's been a while...

Okay not too bad...less than 3 months (barely) since my last post.

Okay, HERE is my Johari quad--it isn't really a square--if you want to add your insights into my personality. (Insights into - isn't that redundant?)

And no, before you even check, obsessive-compulsive/anal-retentive/stickler/picky isn't one of the options.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Clone Wars...I Surrender

George, what have you done?

I went to see "The Clone Wars" with my 6-year-old daughter this past weekend. It was...okay. That is about as positive as I can get with this review.

And to answer the question above (since Mr. Lucas doesn't read my blog)--"I have completely sold-out. I have milked the Star Wars franchise for so long it is now completely dry, but all I know how to do is tug on that udder so I will keep on a-yanking until I die or the cow does." I understand that it has long since become simply a revenue source for Mr. Lucas...gone are the days when he had a vision and a real story to tell. That doesn't mean I have to like it. With A New Hope, Lucas paid homage to Kurosawa. Now he just pays homage to himself.

Enough with that...let's talk about the movie...

I was gonna write a bunch a stuff, but I found way to many other reviews out there, so I will repost one...

Aug 15, 2008, Eric D. Snider

The only thing slightly mollifying my hatred for Star Wars: The Clone Wars is that it's meant for kids, not adults. It's shallow, cheap, and silly, just like a Saturday-morning cartoon -- which is what it's supposed to be. The Clone Wars will launch as an animated series on Cartoon Network and TNT in October, and this movie serves as a sort of pilot episode.

The story is set between prequels 2 and 3, with the clone wars raging and Count Dooku's separatists fighting the Republic. In this episode, Jabba the Hutt's infant son has been kidnapped, and the Jedi Council tasks Obi-Wan Kenobi (voice of James Arnold Taylor) and Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) with rescuing him. Why? Because Jabba controls space routes that the Republic needs to pass through safely in order to fight the war. This fact is mentioned at least a dozen times, in case the viewer forgets why the Republic wants to curry Jabba's favor.

While Obi-Wan participates in a less-important subplot that I have already forgotten about, Anakin goes on the rescue mission with his new trainee, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein). Yes, surly Anakin has a padawan! And she's a teenage girl, and she's really spunky, and they get on each other's nerves! And they have to rescue a baby Hutt and take it to Tattooine! It's Star Wars: The Sitcom!

It's every bit as awful as it sounds, and maybe worse. The dialogue, credited to three TV-cartoon veterans, has Anakin and Ahsoka bantering and teasing each other relentlessly, though never in a way that's funny or interesting. It's always drivel like this:

ANAKIN: (as Ahsoka catches up to him in the heat of battle) I knew you'd get here eventually!
AHSOKA: Always in time to save your life!

Repeat that formula a hundred times and you get the idea.
Then there's the fact that Jabba refers to his son as his "little punky-muffin," Ahsoka calls Anakin "Sky-guy", and the battle droids' moronic personalities that turn them all into stooges, and Ahsoka's cutesy nicknames for everything (the junior Hutt is "Stinky," while R2D2 is "Artooie"). There's the ongoing battle scenes, which are completely devoid of suspense or excitement -- partly because we know who's going to survive them (we've seen the stories that come after this one), and partly because they're animated in generic, assembly-line fashion.

And then there's Ziro the Hutt, who is bound to become the most infamous Star Wars character since Jar Jar Binks. Ziro is Jabba's uncle, a jazz-club denizen who seems to be a gay pimp, or possibly a drag queen, and whose voice (provided by Corey Burton) sounds like a combination of Truman Capote and Droopy the dog. He is painfully unfunny comic relief in a movie that's already lousy with shtick, shenanigans, and cartoon lameness.

Say what you will about the Star Wars films, at least they never looked cheap. The Clone Wars looks cheap. The computer-animated faces are expressionless, and the general quality of the art is light years behind Lucasfilms' usual standards. They went with mostly no-name voice actors to save money, hired somebody cheap to bastardize John Williams' musical themes, and slapped together a movie that insults everyone's intelligence. Anakin's conclusion while investigating the kidnapping sums up the entire movie: "This smells like Count Dooku to me." Yes, Ani, it smells like Dooku to me, too.

Grade: D-

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Got Drunk?

Recent quote from our President, the leader (sic) of the Free world...

Bush on Economy: 'Wall Street Got Drunk'

Explaining the current economic downturn to a closed-door fundraiser last week, President Bush said, "Wall Street got drunk."

"There's no question about it," Bush said. "Wall Street got drunk, that's one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras. It got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."

Bush made the remark at a closed-door fundraiser for Republican Pete Olson, who is challenging Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas). No cameras were allowed in the fundraiser, but an ABC affiliate in Houston acquired the video and posted it on its YouTube page Tuesday. Last week, Bush indicated that he fears YouTube moments such as this making it to the web.

After asking a room of 400 supporters gathered for a fundraiser in Tucson, Arizona to turn off any recording devices, Bush said, "I don't know a lot about technology, but I do know about YouTube."

I don't know what bothers me the most about this. Could it be that President can only relate the current financial crisis in the terms of a drunken fratboy? Could it be that he knows he is gonna say something stupid and wants to make sure the cameras are off? Could it be that, regardless of whether he is going to say something stupid or not, the President doesn't want a record of what he says? Or maybe that he knows more about YouTube than technology, and the economy too, it seems?