Friday, October 04, 2002

Call off the search! Apparently, the world's funniest joke has been discovered, and here it is:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other man pulls out his phone and calls emergency services.

He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator in a calm, soothing voice replies: "Take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead."

There is a silence, then a shot is heard.

Back on the phone, the hunter says, "Ok, now what?"

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

According to this story, a Christian conservative organization is all up in arms because Lifetime Television ran an ad for Applebee's during a show called "Gay Weddings." Please. Like this is anywhere near as upsetting as the Jimmy-Olsen-coming-out-of-the-closet thing mentioned last week. Like anyone really cares about where Applebee's commercials show up. I mean, isn't Applebee's the restaurant people go to when TGI Friday's and Chili's are just too fancy for them? (This venom comes from a really atrocious meal I had at an Applebee's one night, right before I took the GRE.)

And, of course, Applebee's is desperately backpedalling, insisting that they had requested that their ad not run during "controversial shows" like "Gay Weddings." Because, of course, if they advertise during a show like "Gay Weddings," well, the next thing you know, gay people might start coming to Applebee's, and all the nice, good, pure, Christian, Focused-on-the-Family folks might get gay cooties, or whatever the heck it is they're afraid of. And it's possible that if people of all sorts of different beliefs--sexual, religious, whatever--started associating with each other, it might just lead to some sort of horrible understanding of one another, which might consequently lead to hightened awareness and sympathy for the diversity and complexity of life, which would just be awful. Because, after all, if people start thinking that the world isn't just black and white, but a million shades of gray--or, even better, an explosion of an infinity of colors--then they might start realizing things like how maybe, just maybe, there's more to consider about stuff like going to war with Iraq beyond simple rhetoric like, "This country is determined to disarm Iraq and thereby bring peace to the world." And that just opens a whole new can of worms.

And, no, I'm not saying that this Applebee's thing is tied into the war-drum-thumping at all. But willful ignorance is a bad thing, in whatever form it takes, and I'm getting sick and tired of seeing people use it to gain the upper hand.

Something positive: To help our library promote Teen Read Week (the theme of which is Get Graphic @ Your Library), Dark Horse Comics sent us a bunch of posters and buttons.

Monday, September 30, 2002

First, a note about TV reviews: I won't write them. Same goes for movies, comics, books, music, whatever. There are plenty of sources for "thumbs up/thumbs down" sorts of reviews, and I'm sure there's at least one out there that has something interesting or insightful to say. As far as I'm concerned, it's okay to like something despite its flaws (this is pretty much the basis of most relationships), and that's what I'll write about. It doesn't matter so much to me whether or not The Tuxedo was a good movie (which it wasn't); what matters is whether or not I had a good time watching it (which I did). So, with that said, here's my comments about last night's TV:

I have fond childhood memories about Sunday night television. I remember the whole family gathering around to watch The Muppet Show and The Wonderful World of Disney. In recent years, much has been made about cable TV (particularly HBO) dominating Sunday night television. Well, as much as I love The Sopranos, it's not the only thing on Sunday nights any more, and in even more recent years, I've actually found myself watching more network shows on Sundays. And now I'm adding two new ones to the list: American Dreams and Boomtown.

A confession: I'm a sucker for sixties pop music. (Not sure how my friends who work at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame will react to that, but there you go.) So the idea of American Dreams, a family drama set in the sixties, revolving at least partially around American Bandstand and produced by Dick Clark had some obvious initial appeal. Plus, I needed something to fill the emotional void left by the shameful cancellation of State of Grace. Heck, American Dreams even stars Tom Verica, who had a recurring role on State of Grace. And, the good news is, I liked it. Not a perfect show--the father was painted a little too broadly as a complete jerk, for example--but the characters were likeable and believable. There's enough timeless family drama to keep it relevant, but enough historical detail to keep things interesting. I was caught off guard when the family's oldest son gave a typically heartfelt speech to his priest/Catholic high school football coach about how he doesn't want to play football any more because he no longer finds it enjoyable or fulfilling, only to have the priest tell him to get his head together, that it doesn't matter what he feels, just that he has a duty to his family, his school, and his parish. A few minutes later, we see the father of the family, who has spent most of the show throwing his authority around, lamenting that his family is unhappy even though he has achieved almost everything he ever dreamed of. Why, he wonders, isn't that enough for them? These are the sorts of things that wouldn't play in a contemporary drama, but in a historical context, when the world was a lot more comfortable pretending that a woman's place was in the home, and her husband was the king of his castle, it works. And, of course, there's the music. And next week: Michelle Branch!

For a show being touted as one of the most impressive new series, I was less impressed than I expected to be with Boomtown (although I loved the opening credits). The gimmick is that they show the investigation of a crime--or whatever the week's story might be, I guess--from the perspectives of a bunch of different characters: beat cops, detectives, a paramedic, a DA, and a reporter. I like the diversity of roles the characters represent, and I liked watching the pieces come together, instead of seeing the story unfold in a straightforward, linear fashion. And it's a good cast. But the actual story was nothing spectacular, and there was one scene in particular (a cop, played by the usually fantastic Gary Basaraba, runs into an old woman in the middle of a police chase, and the dialogue exchange is just embarrassing) that really turned me off. And although the show started off with a soliliquy about the Los Angeles River, it didn't have the same sense of LA-place-ness as Robbery Homicide Division on Friday. Nevertheless, I'll be back next week.

And, of course, sandwiched between these two new shows came the season premiere of Alias. If I refuse to offer an objective review of anything, that goes double for this show. I love it so. It's the only TV show I turn the phone ringer off during. It's a great action show, and it's a fantastic family drama, and everyone in the world should watch it and love it. 'Nuff said.
From the fanboy/geek department: It seems that one of my favorite comics from my childhood, The New Teen Titans, is being Cartoon Network, home of the excellent Justice League cartoon, as well as the unwatchable He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Transformers revivals. Only they're going to set it in the future and make it more of a science fiction story. And, of course, die-hard fans are already complaining. Hey, maybe there'll be a petition...

And then there's the Roomba Intelligent Sweeper Vac... As it happens, I have to vacuum today. And I'm sure the cat would get a huge kick out of it, considering how terrified she is of the regular vacuum...
I didn't think anything could top yesterday's story about the cheerleader-lawsuit mom. (That's not entirely true; what I didn't think was that I'd accidentally stumble across anything better.) But here it is, from Warren Ellis's blog at Woman sues God!.
From the "this is why I'm a librarian" department: Everyone knows that every piece of information in the known universe can be found on the Internet using Google. As it happens, I work part-time for a local community college at their reference desk, which is located in the computer lab, which is in a separate building from the college library, because the college administration apparently believes that more students will be doing research online than at the library. Which is probably true. Which is why it's nice to read things like this, because it justifies my existence.
Okay, I was going to steer clear of the politics today and just talk about TV. But then I read this, and I can't help thinking that if this new sort of war (against, well, whoever) is going to be won through intelligence and information, we are so completely screwed it isn't even funny any more.

On the lighter side, I received this in my e-mail this morning from a friend:

"Well, just a little something that a friend passed on to me. It was somewhat entertaining, though I suggest you make sure to turn down the sound if you're at work..."

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Now, I'm not saying I advocate any sort of political stance or anything like that. Because heaven forbid anyone should have an actual informed opinion when they could wave a flag instead. But if we're beating the war drums, shouldn't we be considering points like these?
So, once again, we see that the American answer to not getting your way is to sue somebody. On one level, I'm sickened, but on another, I'm trying to see the glass as half full. Maybe my new pick-up line should be, "Go out with me, or I'll sue you."