Sunday, August 31, 2008

MORE HURRICANE COVERAGE


CNN has gotten into the act. Why am I not surprised?! Get ready for a week of doom and gloom hurricane coverage interrupting your favorite shows over at CNN.

GOP CONVENTION HISTORY

As promised: some clips from some of the more memorable GOP national conventions over the years:

1956:


1964:


1976:


And here's some fun video of current VP nominee Sarah Palin from her sportscaster days on TV in Alaska!


Maybe I should post video of myself from my own sportscaster days on TV. That's all for now.

HURRICANE MESSING UP POLITICS

Well, I had been planning to share my thoughts here about Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night at the big football stadium, and how it was a monster TV event watched by millions of people, bla bla bla.

Anyway, who cares about that today. Obama was just on TV telling people to heed all the warnings and evacuations. And now George W. Bush is telling people to get out and has cancelled plans to be at the Republican convention in St. Paul to deal with the hurricane. (Some Republicans might consider that a good thing.)

Anyway, I do plan to put up some historic video of past Republican conventions soon -- only because I put up Democratic convention stuff and want to provide equal time. But it's clear this convention next week threatens to be totally messed up by the hurricane. It'll be just another reminder of the botched job done by authorities during Katrina. If the levees break again -- well, Bush will never hear the end of it.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

GUSTAV HEADING TO N.O.: EVERYONE GET THE F OUT

I'm up late watching the live continuing coverage from New Orleans TV stations of Hurricane Gustav. (And how am I able to watch TV stations from New Orleans here in frozen Canada? By the Internet, you dummy!) All I have to say is I am really sad for New Orleans and sad they are going through this nonsense again. From the sounds of it Gustav is going to be even worse than Katrina, and might finish the job Katrina started of totally destroying the city. These weather forecasters are pretty much all doom and gloom down there.

Mayor Ray Nagin calls this the "mother of all storms". It just hit Cuba and may be Cat 5 by landfall when it hits the States. Pretty scary stuff. Everyone is getting the H out of town.

Anyway, here are the links, again: http://www.nola.com/; http://www.wwl.com/ (radio), http://www.wwltv.com/ (TV), http://www.wdsu.com/, http://www.abc26.com/, and http://www.hurricanenow.com/. And that is all for now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

ON SARAH PALIN (WHO?)

There are two schools of thought out there about John McCain's selection of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today in Dayton, Ohio.

One is that by appointing a reform-minded female to the ticket, McCain has made a bold move worthy of an independent thinking, maverick politician.

The other school of thought has it that by appointing an inexperienced first term governor nobody has ever heard of to the ticket, McCain has made a reckless move worthy of an absolute lunatic. Take your pick.

In fact, Palin is governor of a state located north of most of Canada! Think about it. She truly is from the boondocks. Which can be construed as either a positive or negative, I guess.

As for what the headlines are reading: the two most common ones I see on this choice consist of (a) Who is Sarah Palin? and (b) McCain chooses beauty queen for VP. (She was runner-up for Miss Alaska.)

Well, it's good to know the next Vice-President of the United States could be a BABE. That's all for now.

NEW ORLEANS ABOUT TO GET SOCKED BY A HURRICANE (AGAIN)

Everyone in New Orleans is freaking out over Hurricane Gustav which is still on track on a projected path through the Big Easy. Is this city still going to be around come the middle of next week? This is just too much for New Orleans to handle: one hurricane after another.

WWL TV has live coverage here. It's live webcasts of the regular evening and nightly newscasts right now. But don't worry: if N.O. is about to be hit by a 'cane it'll go 24-hour in a hurry.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

DAY 4: OBAMA TO SPEAK

Not a very long post from me right now. Barack Obama speaks at the big football stadium later tonight.

Oh, and by the way, I'm going to be able to watch Day 4 of the convention after all; the freaking mechanics aren't done fixing my car, so I'm stuck at home and the news event I was going to cover is going to be reported on by someone else. Needless to say, I'm mighty ticked off.

And the Republicans must be even more ticked off that Hurricane Gustav is going to hit New Orleans right in the middle of their big national convention next week! What awful timing, eh? Everyone will be reminded of Katrina, and if Bush botches the job of evacuating the Gulf Coast again then John McCain will be sunk, for sure.

Incidentally, word on McCain's running mate could leak out any moment now. And that's all for now.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DAY THREE HANDED OVER TO THE CLINTONS (AGAIN)

It's Day Three of our live blogging of this booooring snoozer of a Democratic National Convention in Denver. It's hard to stay awake through these dull, monotone speeches, it really is.

Well, Barack Obama has finally gone over the top; he was nominated officially as the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. The roll call took a bit longer than what people expected. They got up all the way to the "N"s before New Mexico yielded to Illinois, who yielded to New York, where Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton asked for the rules to be suspended and Obama to be nominated by acclamation. And so that was that.

You know, it would have been far more exciting a moment if this had been a contested convention and Obama had won on a truly contested roll call. We would have seen people celebrating, and crying, and all the emotion with Obama hugging his supporters and the rest of it, and people jumping up and down and holding up their fingers in "V for victory" signs.

That's what real conventions ought to be about. Not this scripted Kumbaya-party-unity stuff. This was pretty "meh" stuff today on the floor.

Obama isn't helping himself any with his plans for a concert-style outdoor speech in front of a circular seating arrangement at Invesco Field Thursday night. It's so grandiose a setup that it's inviting criticism that Obama is an "inflated celebrity" and that his ego is way too big.

That's tomorrow's news, though. Tonight, still at the hockey arena, it's back to being a boring scripted show. We get Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Biden and the star attraction of the night: William Jefferson "Big help to the ticket" Clinton.

You get the feeling ex-President Clinton is going to be a loose cannon up there tonight?! Holy moley, this is a disaster waiting to happen. I gotta say this: it's been a pretty dismal week for Obama. We've had two days straight of Clintons hogging the spotlight. Obama, meanwhile, is getting very little attention of his own so far. You get the impression that he isn't commanding the spotlight of this thing all to himself. It's either the Clintons, or these bigshot entertainers getting all the attention. All that needs to happen is for John McCain to announce his running mate on Thursday afternoon. That would cap off a perfect week, not.

As for what's going on right now, I see Melissa Etheridge is up there singing and all I will say about that is it's about time the entertainers showed up; they've kept a low profile up until now. Still, I was watching CBS News' webcast after Tuesday night and saw Katie Couric chatting it up with Morgan Fairchild and then with these WWE wrestlers.

Personally, I think these Dems are better off keeping the Hollywood bigshots far, far away, because quite frankly I think a lot of people see these big actors and musicians as a bunch of elitists. They are no help in the heartland, where Obama needs to score votes.

That is all for now. Now the bad news: it looks like I am going to be out of commission reporting the news tomorrow night, so I doubt very much I will be around for the big Obama speech to rant and rave about it. I do expect, though, to give my own wrapup thoughts about it later tomorrow night right here, after the big speech is over. So keep it here at the CAIRNS BLOG for more convention coverage and assorted rants.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LIVEBLOGGING THE SECOND NIGHT OF THE CONVENTION

I am watching the network coverage tonight of the conventions right now -- I had missed it all on Monday as I had news reporting commitments to tend to -- and boy is it ever a change.

No Peter Jennings. No Dan Rather. No Tim Russert. No Ted Koppel. And where the heck is Tom Brokaw?! Brokaw still has a job at NBC, and we're getting Brian Williams all the time right now! Where's Brokaw?!?!

I guess this really is "passing the torch to a new generation" in more ways than one.

BORING SNOOZEFEST SO FAR; CANADIAN POLITICS MORE INTERESTING

You know, this whole convention looks like a freaking Jerry Lewis Telethon so far. You get these guest speakers going up there to the podium and then they sprinkle in a few pro-Barack Obama pieces of tape, and that's basically it.

Actually, there's sudden excitement about the political situation here in frozen Canada. Stephen Harper has been doing some major sabre-rattling about calling an early election and we have learned today the Governor-General has cancelled her planned trip to Beijing, presumably so she could be ready for a visit from the Prime Minister to drop the writ.

ELVIS IS IN THE HOUSE

Woo hoo! Bill Clinton has shown up! (8:20pm)

Anyway, Harper's trying to get some sort of commitment from one of the opposition parties that they will keep his government propped up until the set election date of October 2009, but fat chance that will happen. So he's just going to pull the plug. Anyway, these are fun times in both Canada and the United States. And the good news is that after this election is over, we're going to get another Liberal leadership convention which we'll be able to cover, right here at THE CAIRNS BLOG.

Anyway, that is all for another day. Right now Hillary Clinton is due to go up to the podium and try and hit it out of the ballpark, so I'm just going to tune in to that. We're into a commercial break now, and we're getting John McCain negative ads blasting Obama and Hollywood actors on TV here. Fun stuff.

UPDATE: FINALLY, Tom Brokaw makes it onto NBC!! (8:31pm).

DAY TWO NEWS FROM NOWHERE

Welcome to a special convention edition of News from Nowhere. I am just finished listening to Dennis Kucinich rant and rave on the stage with a fiery "wake up, America" speech, and all I gotta say is there's a reason why Dennis Kucinich was turned loose on the dinnertime audiences instead of prime time. The guy was just too nuts, ranting and raving up there. I mean really, Kucinich really needs to drink less coffee.

Other news happenings on this day two of the convention: there was a plot on Barack Obama's life! That's right, the nutcases are out in force in Denver and four arrests have been made. Well, I hope this snuffs out this awful plot against Obama. The one thing that can ruin good convention programming on TV and the Internet is an assassination.

Here's a wrap on Ted Kennedy's heroic "dream lives on" speech from last night.

Tonight, the big speech is from Hillary Clinton who gets to rant about how united the party is and how great a guy Barack Obama is. Straight from the heart kind of stuff -- uh, right.

Her die-hard supporters have been a big help for party unity.

Noticed there is slightly more TV coverage this year than last; the networks are up to four hours a week from three hours four years ago. I guess they figured this was a captivating race, so they added more time. More likely, though, they realize they have no original programming to put on a Tuesday night at 10PM, 9 Central.

Still, these networks plan to miss out on the first two hours of the prime time convention program. Instead, NBC will show America's Got Talent, CBS will show NCIS and Big Brother 10, FOX will show House, and ABC will show Wipeout and Wanna Bet. Real crap -- except maybe for House, but even those are reruns.

People who are fed up with the network selections can always turn to Comedy Central. Oh, by the way Jon Stewart, shut up.

Back for more later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

DEMS DAY ONE: DEAL ON DELEGATES, AND TED KENNEDY TO SPEAK

Welcome back to my unexciting live coverage of the Democratic Convention. A couple more links to pass along: one is to http://www.politico.com/ and the other is to that bastion of liberalism, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/. Also, Fox News has some great live video coverage you can find here. Right now I notice they have Greta Van Susteren yakking. Good stuff.

Anyway, the Democratic National Convention is finally on, I watched Howard Dean bang the gavel earlier today, and then a bunch of people from the rules committee and the credentials committee were up at the podium.

The highlight of tonight at the convention is Ted Kennedy's appearance at the convention, a Lou Gehrig moment if there ever was one. As everyone knows, Ted is fighting a brave battle against brain cancer and has apparently defied doctors' advice to show up at the convention in Denver. Well, that should be quite a YouTube moment. Too bad, I won't be able to see it, as I'll be away covering the news. But that ought to be a very big moment.

Also, there are some behind-the-scenes machinations going on today about the presidential roll call. As you know Hillary Clinton still has a chunk of delegates and they want some show of unity on the floor, so the plan is apparently to have a couple of states give their roll call votes before yielding to some state like New York, which will then throw its votes to Obama and call for him to be the winner by acclamation. You know, this is proving to be a big story in Denver. The fact is, that hall is full of disappointed Clinton delegates, people who hated Obama.

I think it's a lot easier to do things the Canadian way: decide things on the convention floor and let it all hang out. The problem is that the Obama people are trying to run a "Kumbaya"-type convention and get all the fighting out of the way behind closed doors, and that's pretty hard to do. No doubt the folks over at Fox News will have their floor reporters looking for disgusted Clinton people looking to complain on national television. ( And on streaming video on the Internet, for that matter.)

This is also a big night for Michelle Obama who appears to give a speech. Now I have to say, this is all a bunch of nonsense. Here in frozen Canada, they never let the wives speak at conventions. Why should they, anyway? They're spouses, they've got nothing to say!! At Canadian conventions they have one night devoted to the old leader who's quitting, and then a second night when the candidates all give their speeches, and on the third day they elect someone! Nothing in there about wives speaking.

All they are doing here is trying to get ratings and justify network TV coverage, and they figure that having Mrs. Obama speak will get people interested in the convention. Problem is she probably won't give a good political speech. And that's what conventions are meant for: great political speeches.

Who knows. Maybe Michelle Obama's speech will be good.

TELEVISION COVERAGE SUCKS

You know, the Internet really is the place to go if you want to actually watch coverage of this convention. In addition to the multiple live streams over at Fox News, the folks at ABC News Now have a live stream going. CNN has their live streams going, too; same for C-SPAN, MSNBC, CBS News and everywhere else. You are also getting good coverage from cable TV, although the folks over at CNN talk way too much.

But conventional TV? Forget it. Right now on TV, CBS is serving up a rerun of How I Met Your Mother, ABC is serving up High School Musical, and NBC is showing a repeat of Deal or No Deal. And FOX is showing Prison Break. I guess the networks figure most people are dumbbells who would rather watch reruns than be enlightened by the political process. Then again, nothing important happens at these conventions anymore, anyway.

ABC, CBS and NBC do, however, plan to somehow squeeze in an hour later tonight. In the meantime, you must make do with live streams such as the one below from MSNBC.



That's all for now.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

Tropic Thunder won the weekend, hopping over The House Bunny. Read about it here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

MORE CONVENTION HISTORY

I already showed some Democratic coverage from CBS: now here's a look back using the footage from NBC. Here's a look at the 1956 , 1968, 1976 and 1980 conventions; all footage courtesy of the Peacock itself. And you can see all the historical footage here.









Plus here's what you saw live on NBC when they covered the 1968 Democratic Convention - the first convention they covered IN COLOR! God, what a debacle of a convention this was, looking at the footage. No wonder the Democrats lost after this performance.

DENVER CONVENTION COVERAGE

Welcome to THE CAIRNS BLOG coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention!!! Live from my computer, thousands of miles away, plopped in front of a TV.

As you all know, I've done a lot of convention coverage over the years here at this blog, whether it be of the 2004 conventions or that Canadian Liberal effort back in 2006. You can expect more of the same junk.

As I normally do at convention time I am going to post links to all the usual places that have coverage. Of course, the folks at National Journal, The Hotline and Roll Call have opened up their subscription websites for free during the conventions so that you can get all their top insider political coverage of the conventions.

Also you can check out convention coverage at the following TV websites:
CNN
MSNBC
Fox News
CBS News
ABC News
C-SPAN

For blogs you can go to http://www.wonkette.com/ and also http://www.dailykos.com/. And I am sure there are plenty of other bloggers. There's a story in the New York Times saying the "year of the political blogger has arrived." I thought 2004 was the year the political blogger had arrived. How quickly they forget over there at the Times.

For my part I expect to give a wrapup of the first day's events late on Monday, whenever I get a chance to get to a computer. I expect it will be quite difficult Monday because I have other news reporting commitments to tend to (I need to eat, after all). The rest of the week should be clear, though. So be ready for more of my usual irreverent (and irrelevant) rants about the convention happenings right here.

Keep it right here for more links and more breaking news about the political happenings down in Denver.

CONVENTION STUFF FROM THE YOUTUBE VAULT

With two weeks of coverage coming up of conventions on TV I thought I would show this gem from the YouTube vaults of the TV coverage of the 1956 Democratic convention which nominated Adlai Stevenson.

This was from way back in the days when they used to cover conventions gavel-to-gavel on network TV. Convention coverage was a point of pride for these networks: sort of the news version of the World Series. So they always put a big effort into it and big resources into floor coverage and so on.

This year, these nets plan to devote four freaking hours to each convention, leaving gavel-to-gavel to cable and of course the Internet. Of course, in the old days things actually happened at conventions, too -- they were not the glorified infomercials they are now. If you want real political conventions the way they ought to be done, with all the excitement and so on, you really need to come to Canada and check out the ones up here. But in the States they want to get all the excitement out of the way beforehand so these conventions are as boring to watch as possible.

The 1956 coverage is from CBS with Walter Cronkite anchoring and with Betty Furness doing the ads for Westinghouse. This is from just before the big votes took place. Note also that the main competition came from NBC and their legendary duo of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.







ROEPER'S PARTING SHOT: MEDELLIN GETS A BIG THUMBS DOWN

Richard Roeper may no longer be doing his famous movie-review show for Disney any more (his final original episode aired last weekend), but he ends with a parting shot: a cameo on the upcoming season of Entourage.

On the show Roeper and stand-in co-host Michael Phillips give Vinnie Chase's bomb Medellin a rough ride. In his review Roeper called their debut at Cannes a "Hindenberg of a screening" and said he "booed along with the rest of the angry mob". See it for yourself: the link here.

The new season of Entourage begins Sept. 7.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

BUNNIES AND MORE BUNNIES

Here's my latest predictions at the Reject Report about what is likely to go down this weekend at the box office. Among the new releases is a silly comedy called The House Bunny, featuring Anna Faris as a goofy Playboy bunny who is kicked out of Hef's mansion and has to get a job as a sorority house mother. Here's what Kevin Carr had to say about it at Film School Rejects.

With House Bunny coming to theaters this weekend, Entertainment Weekly had a photo feature looking at a bunch of different movies with a Playboy connection to them.

They mentioned: The Asphalt Jungle featuring Marilyn Monroe, Playboy's first cover girl; Beverly Hills Cop II, where Hef appeared as himself; a movie starring Dorothy Stratten called They All Laughed; and a movie about Dorothy Stratten called Star 80. I wonder why they didn't mention Dorothy Stratten's star turn in Galaxina. That was her best role.

To be honest, though, I was steamed that they forgot to mention my fave Claudia Jennings and all those campy B movies she did (Gator Bait, Unholy Rollers, The Great Texas Dynamite Chase etc.).



Just my small attempt to keep Claudia's memory alive and get her inducted into the Babes Hall of Fame. What can I say? I like these "drive-in" classics and the women in them.

WAITING

Barack Obama is supposed to be alerting all his supporters by text-message about his VP choice today and the latest betting is now that Joe Biden is the frontrunner for that nod. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

OLD YOUTUBE ELECTION STUFF

I thought than in the runup to the convention coverage next week that I would show some old historical YouTube footage of election nights.

I think this is great stuff, real history of the drama of those elections. I'll just show network coverage from two of those elections, 1980 and 1984.

Here's footage from CBS election coverage in 1980, which was billed as Walter Cronkite's historic last election night. It proved to be his last election night in more ways than one, because, well, CBS News finished dead last. They didn't call the election for Reagan until very late, long after NBC called it based on exit polls. They didn't even call the race for Reagan until after Jimmy Carter conceded! If it seems like Carter conceded especially early, well, he did: he conceded before the polls closed out west. Boy was he HAMMERED by Reagan.

Interesting, too, that Reagan's states were colored BLUE!!!







And here's a look at coverage from the Reagan blowout of Mondale in 1984, the first election night for Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw as anchors.







Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"WATCHMEN" IN LEGAL TROUBLE

As this year's summer movie season draws to a close, we look ahead with trepidation to next year.

Already, one of the expected top superhero-movie draws for summer 2009, Watchmen, is in legal trouble with 20th Century Fox trying to block the release by Warner Brothers! In fact, Fox won a courtroom victory against Warners this week.

The vast fanboy community is outraged. Read it here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TORONTO FILM FEST LINEUP ANNOUNCED

Well, it promises to be a busy next three weeks at the CAIRNS BLOG. Two weeks of political convention coverage, and then it's right into the coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.

And once again, it looks like I will probably be covering the fest from in front of a TV, because I won't be there.

Here is the complete schedule, plus CTV has a brief rundown of what to expect in terms of films and big stars. Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Ethan and Joel Coen, Renee Zellweger, and many more roaming the streets of Hogtown!

But apparently no W.

You know, these jokers at TIFF actually killed off W. at a previous festival! Doesn't anyone remember that lousy Death of a President flick from a couple of years ago where the filmmaker bumped Bush off?

Monday, August 18, 2008

JUST A FEW SNIPPETS OF NEWS FROM NOWHERE

I don't have much to say, today, really. I had a non-stop day covering political happenings, mostly provincial politics.

I interviewed the newly-elected leader of the Liberals in Saskatchewan Ryan Bater, and the not-so-new leader of the NDP in Saskatchewan Lorne Calvert. And on the weekend I interviewed former lieutenant-governor Lynda Haverstock. None of which means too much, I am sure, to people living outside Saskatchewan. Oh, and I am just back from a city council meeting, which I am sure none of you care about.

Anyway, all this reporting is good, because then I don't feel left out of all the political happenings that are going on right now in the world, especially in the United States. These are fun times for political watchers. Seems Barack Obama is set to choose a running mate pretty soon. I have a feeling it might be Evan Bayh, but it could be someone else.

And in further political news, the Democratic convention is next week in Denver, followed by the Republicans in St. Paul the week after. Keep it right here for all the latest political coverage here at the CAIRNS BLOG as I plan wall-to-wall blogging of the conventions in between city council meetings and automobile repairs. (Yes, my car is on the fritz again.) I also found cool American political stuff on YouTube recently, so watch out for that.

In totally unrelated news, Tropic Thunder won the weekend box office and The Dark Knight has passed Star Wars for the second-highest gross of all time, behind Titanic.

Michael Phelps won his record eight gold medals on the weekend.

The hurricane has not yet hit in Florida.

And the Russians haven't withdrawn their troops from Georgia yet.

That's it for now, I'm just beat.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

THE FUN HAS BEGUN

Tropical Storm Fay could become a Hurricane! It's heading to the Florida Keys and you can tune in to coverage at www.wsvn.com. Also see www.cbs4.com and www.nbc6.net.

ON MIKE AND THE MAD DOG'S SPLIT

Thought I would post another "radio is in the tank" post as I learned about bad news for WFAN Radio, the all-sports station in New York City that I listened to ad nauseum when I lived in Ontario. I'm out of signal range where I am now, but I still tune in online whenever I can.

I gotta say, WFAN is going downhill fast. Their number one drive time show Mike and the Mad Dog is no more. Chris "Mad Dog" Russo said no to a new deal (presumably so he can sign with Sirius XM Satellite Radio) and that leaves Mike Francesa all alone looking for a new partner for his show after 19 years.

It was bad enough when the FAN lost all those Madison Square Garden sports to ESPN 1050. (True, they were replaced with better teams in the Nets and Devils, but those teams are in Jersey and it just isn't the same.) It was even worse when Don Imus self-immolated on national radio with his Rutgers women's-basketball remarks that cost him his job. But this is big news. This is the marquee show of WFAN's drive time, and if Mad Dog goes, who's going to stick around? I'd compare it to the CBC trying to break up Don Cherry and Ron MacLean from Hockey Night in Canada!

Anyway, this is yet another example of the decline and fall of AM radio, and further evidence of the rise of satellite radio, which is attracting more and more talent (including the likes of Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony and others). The other thing that I am hearing about is that the next Congress could attempt to force the FCC to bring back the "fairness doctrine" if a Democrat gets in the White House. That would put a ton of right wing talk show hosts -- and left-wing hosts, for that matter -- out of work on terrestrial radio, because these stations would need to put on programming that's "fair to both sides". And it would force all these talking heads onto Sirius XM radio where they'd be free of all these FCC government regulations.

Now granted, some of these political guys on the radio are lunatics, but some are actually worth listening to (ie. Rush Limbaugh). It'll be more of the same: the FCC "socking it to the talent", as usual.

I'd hate to do it, but I may well have to shell out for satellite radio yet.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

CANADA WINS MEDALS AT OLYMPICS

About time, because I was fed up with these commentators saying we send too many athletes to the Olympics, that our athletes aren't showing up, that there's no funding etc. etc.

Gold, Silver and bronze. In the medal count, Canada moves ahead of Poland and Mongolia. Woo hoo!!!

BIG WEEKEND AT THE MOVIES FOR WOODY ALLEN FANS

Here's a look at what I expect for the weekend box office, with Woody Allen's latest Vicky Christina Barcelona not expected to top the charts in spite of great kissing from both Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz.

Too bad.

OLD TV SHOWS COMING BACK

In a sure sign that the folks who run your favorite television networks are truly out of ideas, the latest trend in TV development concerns the revival of Seventies cop shows. That's right, these series are being revived for a new generation.

CBS is looking to bring back that old Karl Malden-Michael Duuglas crime series The Streets of San Francisco and are planning a re-boot of Hawaii Five-O! Complete with theme music. Also, NBC is bringing back the old David Hasselhoff series Knight Rider. Without the Hoff, of course.

To which I go: what are they going to bring back next?! Gilligan's Island?! Really, it was bad enough when you had all these old TV series reviving themselves by appearing on the big screen in the movies. But this is too ridiculous. Bringing back old shows and old concepts and transplanting them in the 21st century for a new generation seems quite desperate.

But on the flip side - it does harken back to a period of time when network television was actually good! There's a big nostalgia factor involved with these Seventies shows. People watched these shows and loved them! But what is there to love about network TV these days? The only real groundbreaking shows out there these days are shows on cable networks such as HBO, Showtime, USA, TNT, you name it. Right now the show that is the biggest hit with critics is Mad Men, and it's on a freaking movie channel, AMC!!!

Fat chance you will see any good original shows on network television anymore. Instead, they have to dip into the vaults. Mind you, these efforts beat reality TV by a mile. You have to admit that.

CAN YOU BELIEVE SHE'S 50?!

Madonna hits the big 5-0!

Yes, the woman's still got it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

NFL IN TORONTO

Well, this was the first night of the big "NFL in Toronto" series involving the Buffalo Bills. Apparently 48,000 fans forked over a king's ransom to watch Buffalo play Pittsburgh tonight in a totally meaningless exhibition game. So meaningless, in fact, that I forgot it was even on!! I was too busy writing my usual column for Film School Rejects, so I didn't even watch!!!

There are still plenty of people out there worried that these Bills games in TO will hurt the Canadian Football League. In fact there were people picketing the game, protesting what the bad old NFL might do to our own league here.

Let me tell you, though: if the Bills keep on charging over a hundred bucks a ticket for these Toronto games, the CFL will have nothing to worry about. People are saying the attendance at Rogers Centre was disappointing at 48,000 people, well short of a sellout. Well, no wonder it didn't sell out! These prices they were asking for, ranging from $75 to $575, were RIDICULOUS.

When you think of it, though, these folks did pretty good. 48,000 people showing up for a meaningless preseason game? Involving the stinking Bills? At the cost of an arm and a leg? When you think of it, that's pretty good attendance. And a pretty big waste of money by every single idiot who forked over the dollars to go to the game. Heck, why don't these folks simply drive to Buffalo and watch games there? Even if you factor in the price of gas on a round trip, it's cheaper!! It's even cheaper to buy a television set and watch the Bills on TV!!

It's even cheaper to go watch the Argos! Or the Blue Jays!!! I just don't get it. These folks in Toronto don't seem to care about blowing lots of money on watching entertainment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CANADA STINKS AT THE OLYMPICS

Well, we are getting plenty of boohooing and handwringing here in frozen Canada over the lousy showing of Canada's athletes at the Olympics in Beijing.

As of this writing Canada has won a big fat zero medals. That's right: zero, zip, none. Nada. Some folks are calm about the situation, but most people in Canada are up in arms over the poor showing so far and calling for a royal commission to look into this debacle, and blaming it all on a lack of government funding for our athletes.

I blame Canada's showing on the fact that people in this country devote all their time and effort to winter sports instead of summer pursuits. Heck, Canada always does well at the Winter games. But the summer games are kind of a different story.

How bad is Canada doing? So bad that we are trailing countries like Vietnam, and Uzbekistan, and a whole bunch of countries that end in "stan". So bad that our basketball team didn't even qualify for the freaking tournament! It really is getting to be an embarrassing situation. But look, it's better to lose with honor than to be doped up with steroids to win at all costs. I am not the biggest fan of the Olympic Games or the whole movement anyway, mainly because it seems to me that the biggest supporters of the Games are these totalitarian regimes in far-flung countries. Places where people have few rights. So I am not too broken up over our Olympic performance.

Personally, I don't think there should be more government funding for these Olympic athletes. Instead, I think businesses and ordinary Canadians ought to start stepping up to the plate and start contributing more money to these athletes, instead of leaving it up to government to do all the work!

Anyway, we'll keep you posted on this situation and on the reaction from shell-shocked Canadians to the disasterous showing at the Games so far.

LETTERMAN'S MORNING SHOW

This has been circling the Internet for the last number of days and I thought since there is so much rubbish on TV right now that it woould be a good enough time to post it. It's YouTube video of the old David Letterman Show that aired in 1980 in the morning on NBC. I actually remember seeing this show on TV, but then again, back in 1980 I watched everything on TV anyway.

On the negative side, Dave's morning effort was a notorious bomb: it only ran for 19 weeks. On the positive side, though, it was a good show that got a cult following of loyal viewers, and it did win two Emmys. The show may have been a flop, but obviously Letterman made a good enough impression to be invited back to do a new and better show in late night -- where he belonged.

Here's a look at the first several minutes of a typical episode of The David Letterman Show from 1980 and you can check out the links to the rest of the show.

TROPIC THUNDER PREVIEW

Sorry for the intermittent posts this week. I was away attending city council meetings and was also writing this preview of the box office of the controversial Tropic Thunder in my special Reject Report column.

Ben Stiller's latest movie rolls out today.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

R.I.P. BERNIE MAC

This has not been a good year for comedians. First George Carlin dies and now Bernie Mac.

Not funny.

Friday, August 08, 2008

GEEK POWER

Read an interesting article in the Hollywood Reporter wondering: Is Hollywood overestimating the clout of the geek?This is all in response to the recent spate of big-budget movies this summer featuring superheroes from the world of comic books, like The Dark Knight ($400 million and counting), and Iron Man (over $300million). And they're huge hits, so that's why they keep on making them!!

That seems to be all we are getting as far as big budget movies are concerned. They are either based on superheroes or popular sci-fi franchises, like Star Wars! Or Star Trek!!

And we are seeing the Hollywood studios swarm places like San Diego, home of the recent International Comic-Con which is now over, and hawk their latest movies there. Personally, I would like to see some more movies that go beyond the kind of stuff we are getting now, stuff aimed at fanboys and other geeks. And I truly believe that the geek crowd is but a small segment of the audience and they don't have as much clout as many of them think they have. The geeks couldn't make Snakes on a Plane a hit, or Grindhouse for that matter.

And a lot of these "geek" fans will go nuts making snap judgements over whether an upcoming movie will be any good or not before the thing is even shot! Then the movie will come out, it will turn out to be pretty good, and the geeks will look like a bunch of fools!

Anyway, I do think that the geeks don't have quite the power people think they have, but that doesn't matter to the folks in charge in Hollywood. All that matters is that executives THINK the geeks have clout. As long as the people in charge think that geeks matter, that's what will get made: movies aimed at fanboys and other obsessives.

The people in Hollywood are bent on one thing: making money. As long as that's all they care about, they'll keep on churning out superhero movies for the geeks to watch.

OLYMPICS ARE ON

Well, I'll say this: having the Olympics on in Beijing makes for much better television viewing at 3 am in the morning than what we'd otherwise have gotten with all the test-patterns, infomercials, repeats and other junk you usually get at that hour.

AMERICAN POLITICS BACK TO NORMAL

Well, it is safe to say the American political scene is back to normal. Instead of talking about serious issues like the economy and so on, people are concerned about important items such as affairs of former presidential candidates like John Edwards.

Holy cow!!! I'll bet the Democrats are glad they didn't nominate him.

But you know, people were going after John McCain over his personal life, too. I'm kind of sick and tired of this nonsense in presidential politics. This has been going on ever since Gary Hart self-immolated over the very same topic. People are concerned about which candidate is sleeping with who, and it lowers the level of political debate.

Unfortunately, the climate in America is such that candidates don't feel they can come clean on matters like this. If they admit an affair, they're screwed. If they don't they're also screwed! So why not try and hide the truth? No wonder John Edwards lied to the press about it.

In other strange American political news Kwame Kilpatrick, mayor of Detroit, was thrown in jail the other day. What a farce in the Motor City right now.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I'VE SEEN IT ALL NOW

Paris Hilton is running for President!
See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


Funny stuff from the folks at Funny or Die.com!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

BRETT FAVRE OF THE NEW YORK JETS

Well the breaking news over on the all-sports radio networks run by ESPN and Fox Sports is that Brett Favre has just been traded by the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets, apparently for a draft choice.

Thank G. Maybe these sports talk hosts will finally shut up about Favre's fiasco un-retirement, and talk about something else.

WHY RADIO SUCKS

It's the pit of rerun/reality TV seaon on the boob tube right now and as someone desperate for an alternative I have been trying to tune in to radio for some decent, informative entertainment.
Unfortunately, where I live right now, the radio situation is pretty dire. There are few local stations and the only good big-city ones you hear are all far away ones in places like Chicago or Seattle. In fact, it's a vast wasteland around here. It seems like every AM radio station in these parts plays country and western music. Which is fine if you like that sort of thing. But if you are university educated that stuff can end up being boring to listen to.

As well, there are these talk stations here in Canada that run Charles Adler and Roy Green on the Corus radio network, but it gets kind of boring when the only talk stations you can find on your radio dial in Canada are only serving up Charles Adler and Roy Green ranting and raving.

American talk radio is even worse. Let's face it, a lot of talk radio these days is just dreck. I did a whole rant ages ago about the politically-charged junk from the likes of Michael Savage and everyone else, and then there's George Noory with his late-night piece of nonsense that's all about UFOs, conspiracy theories and other stuff.

I have to admit, I miss the old days when old Larry King used to be on the radio. I'd put his show on hoping Larry's show would put me to sleep, and instead it would always keep me awake because the guests were so interesting.

In the old days he'd be on for three hours. For the first two hours he'd have on some guest who had a new book out ( that was basically what you got from him every night, prominent people with books coming out) and then the third hour would be turned over to the inmates to run the asylum with Open Phone America, where every weirdo could call up Larry and talk to him on the radio. And sometimes these folks would be really nuts and that would prompt Larry to hang up on them and say "rest well." And then the show would close with them playing the song Duke's Place, in honor of Duke Zeibert's Restaurant where Larry was a regular in Washington D.C.

I miss that show. These days, Larry is lurching from week to week on his miserable CNN show, and the rumors always keep flying about "who is going to replace Larry King??" Well, I can tell you that when Mutual/Westwood One replaced Larry on radio in the early Nineties, Jim Bohannon lost a ton of Larry's old network stations. Sadly, no one replaces Larry King, and CNN will find that out soon enough when (a) they get rid of him or (b) he dies.

Personally, AM radio lost a lot when Larry decided to do TV full-time. Radio ended up getting turned over to these political talking heads and other idiots on all sides of the spectrum. Sadly, a lot of these folks are total lunatics, and their listeners are even crazier.

The other thing that has happened is the rise of sports talk radio -- or should I say, one singular kind of sports talk radio. I have to say that ESPN Radio is getting on my nerves. It used to be that there was once a variety of sports talk stations around that you could listen to with a variety of opinions. But ever since ESPN came along, these stations have been dropping their local late-night stuff and airing ESPN's boring stuff.

You know what they've been talking about on all these ESPN stations late at night lately? Brett Freaking Favre! His soap-opera un-retirement from the Green Bay Packers and his demand for a trade and the whole mess that has ensured, has made fools out of everyone in the National Football League, especially him. That's all we've gotten from ESPN radio for weeks: same for Jim Rome and all these other shows. It's depressing when you are looking for intelligent stuff to listen to on the radio late at night after the baseball games are over, and all that you get is ESPN Radio ranting about Brett Favre this or Brett Favre that. Who cares! It would be nice if they talked some more about auto racing or other sports on ESPN Radio, but they don't.

This is why I miss living out East: at least there you can tune into WFAN and hear some real talk radio with real fans calling in and ranting and raving. ESPN Radio is just too generic.

Anyway, the selection on the AM dial these days is driving me nuts and making me seriously consider satellite radio. And what kind of sports do you get on satellite radio? Why, what else: ESPN Radio!!! So buying a satellite radio kind of makes little sense. Actually, the reason I resist getting satellite radio is because I don't want to pay for it. Heck, I wouldn't pay for half the stuff on conventional radio these days.

It really is pathetic when the only options on AM radio at night are George Noory, ESPN, political loudmouths, or the news!! And that's it!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

YET ANOTHER ROUNDUP OF NOTHING NEWS FROM NOWHERE

Well, here's my latest News from Nowhere rant, where I once again bring you the latest drivel from the world of news.

Morgan Freeman was in a car crash the other day.

And California is pondering a tough anti-paparazzi law to try and get rid of the paparazzi. Fat chance.

And LAPD chief William Bratton is in hot water for outing Lindsay Lohan, saying she's "gone gay".

Speaking of privacy: people are all tied up in a knot because nude photos of hottie Anne Hathaway that were seized by the FBI are apparently about to be released on the Internet. I don't know why people are so excited, because everyone's seen Annie naked already! (Havoc, Brokeback Mountain, etcetera).

In related news, it seems actresses are getting naked everywhere these days. In addition to the occasionally-nude Miss Hathaway, sexy Eva Mendes stripped for a Calvin Klein ad that got banned from TV!!

People Magazine paid a ridiculous $14 million dollars to Brad and Angelina to take photos of their kids!!
And what the heck is Paris Hilton doing in political ads anyway?!

Bad cancer news: Robert Novak is the latest prominent American to suffer from a brain tumor. And Christina Applegate has breast cancer.

Box office news: The Dark Knight hit $400 mil on Monday.
In weather news, Edouard hit the Texas coast.
And I read that Larry King is getting yet another divorce! How many divorces is he up to now? Seventy-two?

And that is all for now.

Friday, August 01, 2008

CAN THE DARK KNIGHT BE STOPPED?

Here's my preview of the weekend's movies where The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor threatens to bring down The Dark Knight. There is an outside possibility, though, that The Dark Knight could still prevail.

Also, the "fastest-movie-to-$400 million" record is about to fall pretty soon, likely Monday.

That should be about all the posting I am likely to do for the weekend. The long weekend is coming up where I am, I'm burned out from a long week (and a long drive to Edmonton last weekend)and need to lie in bed, and I have nothing of value to say. I really do need to spend this weekend relaxing. Otherwise I'm going to end up in hospital from carpal tunnel syndrome.

That's my rant: back to watching the TCM Michael Caine marathon for me.

UPDATE (Sunday): I have my answer to the above question: no, The Dark Knight can't be stopped. Third straight weekend at Number One, likely to hit fastest-movie-to-$400 mil record on Monday. Back to the vacation for me.

CHANNEL RESHUFFLE

Good news! My cable system in my new home community added AMC!! Great news for me. Mad Men! Sunday Morning Shootout!

I am celebrating of course by watching Alfie on TCM. Typical.

GORY STUFF

All I have to say about this gory decapitation on that bus outside Portage la Prairie is simply to say: this is gross. Talk about something right out of a horror movie, ladies and gentlemen. Story from the Winnipeg Free Press. And that's all I want to say about that.