Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'M A VIEWER, GET ME OUT OF HERE

You know the sure sign that summer has arrived?

The fact that the junk is back on network TV. America's Got Talent is back, and that makes any viewer want to get out of town.

Apparently, they're looking for someone who can be the Susan Boyle of this show. I think they should just plain forget it, because the novelty has been lost. Besides, the show is too far gone as a freak show in my mind.

And of course all the other reality junk is still going strong. The Bachelorette is still looking for a husband, Jon and Kate are also looking for new spouses, and television has turned into one big fat gong show. And let's not even get started about that show with those idiotic celebrities stuck in the jungle.

There really is nowhere to turn. It's either the reality junk and talent shows, or live continuing coverage of Michael Jackson on Larry King and the other cable news shows -- that is, if you aren't into sports.

Thank God for major league baseball, that's all I have to say. And thank God some of the cable nets are putting on new shows like True Blood. If it weren't for cable, believe me, television would be dead on its feet.

Oh, in other TV news I notice CHCH in Hamilton was sold today.

Monday, June 29, 2009

ROGER EBERT WEIGHS IN ON TRANSFORMERS 2

I am still digging my way out from under the hate mail I received for my mad Transformers 2 box office report rant, in which I was accused by readers of all kinds of terrible things (like insulting middle America, and so on).

For the record, I did not specifically say that the people who went to Transformers 2 were idiots. Instead, I was implying that the filmmakers were idiots, and that people were ignoring what everyone was saying about the movie and giving these jokers a free pass. They're giving Michael Bay a free ride for doing exactly the same kind of moronic things they accuse other filmmakers of doing in other movies (ie. the nuke-the-fridge moment in last year's Indiana Jones movie as one obvious example). And they don't reward those other movies for it, yet they made a huge hit out of this one.

Oh well, anyway, my rant is up to 111 comments and counting. Heck, even I'm impressed -- I thought maybe it would get 20 or 30. Usually I'm lucky if I get any comments at all from the bored readers of my column.

Incidentally, if you thought mine was a venomous rant, just you wait and see what Roger Ebert had to say. My God, the popcorn must have been REALLY bad in the theater he was in, because he just ripped this flick to shreds.

EVERYONE IS KICKING THE BUCKET

What the heck is going on here? It's the month of June and everyone's choosing this month to drop dead.

Billy Mays, TV pitchman. Dead.

Fred Travalena, impressionist. Dead.

Bernie Madoff, criminal: 150 years. Might as well be dead.

One day left in June, thank God.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

SOME OLD FARRAH FAWCETT STUFF FROM TV

You know, there has been far more coverage about the Michael Jackson death than of Farrah Fawcett, but to be honest I'm more broken up about Farrah's death. I've been watching some of the TV reports and realizing all over again what a hot babe she was.

I guess it kind of hits home because Farrah was not only in so much stuff on TV with Charlie's Angels and the rest of it -- she was in these commercials as well. I've been looking at TV Squad which re-ran some of the old commercials Farrah appeared in -- some really silly stuff.

It's like you can't believe the cute girl in the ad is no longer with us, because the ads seem like they were yesterday.







I really like the Mercury Cougar ad-- Farrah driving a Cougar and then slipping into the ocean in a swimsuit.

You know, this is really cheesy, embarrassing stuff -- not like those serious Eighties roles she took on that got her all the accolades. But it's stuff like this, along with her sexy Nineties Playboy pictorials, that loopy Letterman interview, her reality show, and of course Charlie's Angels, that are the reasons we all love Farrah. You never got the sense that she was some ultra-serious diva who was above it all.

Check out another silly clip from the Dating Game, yet another piece of cheesy pop culture that Farrah was part of. I'd date a woman like that.



RIP, Farrah.

LIFE IS BAD FOR MICHAEL JACKSON'S DOCTOR

Aren't you fed up yet with all the Michael Jackson coverage on TV and everywhere else? Well, get used to it for at least another month, because the investigations are all in full swing.

Speaking of which --- aren't you glad you are not Michael Jackson's doctor right now?

Everyone is after him -- Jackson's family, the police, Larry King, TMZ.com, everybody -- and this is all bad news.

First of all, thanks to the publicity over his famous client's death, people will know not to go to him for their medical care. But worse for him, he is likely to be sued right into bankruptcy, investigated for malpractice, probably stripped of his medical license and possibly even convicted and thrown in jail.

That's the price you pay if you have a famous client. When he's alive, you can brag to your friends about being his doctor. But when things go south, boy, you want to find a secure, undisclosed location to hide out in.

That's my continuing coverage of the death of Michael Jackson for tonight. Still to come: more Farrah Fawcett stuff.

$200 MIL FOR TRANSFORMERS 2? GET OUT.

My angry rant about it is here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I AM DEFINITELY NOT MISSING MUCH IN TORONTO

It's days like today when I think back to the happy days I spent living in Ontario, what with the Ontario PC leadership vote results being announced today just north of the city, in Markham.

As you may know I was involved pretty extensively in the last two leadership races, and sitting this one out may seem weird, but don't worry - I still get way too much of a political fix where I am. In fact, just the other day I was reporting on three politicians inspecting a drought-ravaged field in northwest Saskatchewan.

I know, that's not as exciting as a political convention. You got me there.

I don't think I am missing much in Toronto this week. There is a big garbage strike going on in Toronto so the whole town is starting to smell really, really bad. Also, tomorrow is Gay Pride day in Toronto so I am DEFINITELY not missing anything with that big parade ensnarling downtown.

Not that there's anything wrong with it. It's just not my thing.

Oh, and I hope the people marching in the parade are in good health. I understand the EMS people might not even be working in Toronto tomorrow because they, too, might be going on strike. What a farce. First the garbage folks walk, now possibly EMS. The whole freaking city is falling apart.

And in other news, the Toronto-based newspaper The Globe and Mail is considering walking out on strike. In fact, the union voted to reject the latest offer today. Unbelievable. While everyone is losing their jobs elsewhere, people in Toronto are wanting to walk picket lines.

I hope these Globe and Mail people come to their senses and do NOT go on strike. If those reporters walk, they might find the people may not miss them. There are a lot more options for people to turn to these days for their information, like the Internet. Or, for that matter, this blog.

And some particularly sad news to report about Toronto sports radio. Apparently there were rumors afloat for a couple of weeks about changes at the FAN 590, and the rumors came true this week when the Late Night Vampire, Stormin' Norman Rumack, was let go.

This is one of those kind of things that jolts you, because Norm was an institution at the FAN. No matter how bad or how boring his show got, you got the impression he would be there in latenight forever, doing his Hammerhead Alerts! and jiving with his buddy Roger Lajoie on the radio. I remember the ads on his show for places like Treasure's Gentleman's Club -- real classy establishments. Also, you could always count on Norm to provide opinions about his favorite topic "God's Team" --the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I wonder how much the nosedive of the Leafs in the standings has contributed to Rumack's downfall. When the Leafs were winning you could never get enough Leafs coverage on the FAN -- even though the actual Leafs games were on a rival station.

But with the Leafs in the toilet the fans are all over the team and especially its management and owners. The Leafs are so deeply unpopular right now that you have all this talk about a second NHL team for southern Ontario, as fans are fed up with exhorbitant prices for Leafs tickets. Combine that fan disgust with a losing team that has no playoff games and you have a recipe for bad radio ratings. Since the Leafs were pretty much all that Norm would ever talk about, I think that probably did him in. Also, he plays to the older crowd and the FAN might be trying to get a younger audience. A lot of the younger fans in Toronto are more into basketball and soccer, two popular sports the FAN has rights to.

It's sad learning about the departure of the types of things that marked my tenure in Toronto, like your familiar radio personalities. Maybe Norm Rumack can move out west and get a job ranting on the radio around here with one of the Calgary or Edmonton stations.

As for the FAN, boy, has that radio station ever changed for the worse in late night -- they also got rid of ESPN radio and replaced it this year with Fox Sports for less money, and then when that didn't go over too well they just put on reruns of their daily programming. Just weird changes. But what do you expect, with this economic climate? Radio is a mess these days. Television is also a mess, what with the changes at Citytv and the moaning about money problems at CTV, Global and every other place.

At least there will be an Indy race in Toronto again soon. That's some positive news -- the only real good news. But of course, there is auto racing close to where I live, so I'm not too broken up about it.

That is all from me for now -- I have better things to do than talk about Toronto, such as enjoy my life here.

ON THE ONTARIO PC LEADERSHIP RACE

Well, I am trying to follow the Ontario PC leadership vote today, but it has proven to be an even more impossible task than it was following the Saskatchewan NDP leadership race a few weekends ago. Beyond a few updates on the radio there's just nothing going on media-wise.

Keep in mind, the 2002 Ontario PC race got a ton of coverage and there was considerable coverage of the 2004 race. But it's been a chore finding any wall-to-wall coverage of this. Right now I'm tuning in to 680 News on the Internet and they just have the sports report on. And there's no video anywhere at all, not even on CPAC. So I'm absolutely having no fun at all.

Of course, another reason this convention is no fun is because all the voting took place earlier this week, and instead of counting the votes all at once, party officials are dragging it out with a big convention today where they bid a final farewell to John Tory and all the rest of it. So it really is a very weird sort of convention going on in Markham today.

By the way the first ballot results are in and it is kind of a surprise that Frank Klees is running second, ahead of Christine Elliott. But you don't want to count out a guy like Klees, he's got a lot of fans in the party. I notice a few people I knew from politics in Ontario have backed Klees, and it's well known that he sold a lot of memberships. So I don't think people should really be surprised. What people should be surprised with, though, is if Tim Hudak doesn't ultimately win this contest in the end.

From the sounds of it, Hudak stands to pick up on the second and third ballots and is well positioned to win. The results of the first ballot are as follows:

Tim Hudak 3512
Frank Klees 3094
Christine Elliott 2729
Randy Hillier 1014

Here's what Stephen Taylor, ace Conservative blogger, is saying from the convention floor and I gotta say, it's really sad when you have to turn to the bloggers for good political coverage. Not that they don't do a good job -- it's just sad that the mainstream media have dropped the ball so thoroughly in this instance. Here's Taylor's interview with leading candidate Hudak below, courtesy of his website, proving he has the radio and TV guys all beat:



I notice that the tribute is going on at the convention to John Tory right at the moment and all I gotta say is: talk about a sad, sad situation. I understand there are people who are arm-twisting him to run for mayor of Toronto again next year, and frankly no one could blame him if he decided to chuck politics completely after what he's gone through this year -- but there's no question he'd be much, much better as Toronto mayor than the fool who currently occupies the office - David "Garbage Strike" Miller. That man has been a disaster.

More soon.

UPDATE: Here's CTV News with the story of Tim Hudak's victory on the third ballot.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

MICHAEL JACKSON HAS DIED

Reports. The obituaries have already started on TV.

And we all feel a little older than we felt earlier today. Sad, sad times.

MICHAEL JACKSON NEWS


I am watching the live continuing coverage of the possible death of Michael Jackson right now on TV -- and I am tuning in to CNN and everyone else. I'm listening to Fox News on the radio and Geraldo is on there, basically saying he was rushed to hospital in "full cardiac arrest" -- which basically means he's dead, but there is no word that he has been successfully resuscitated. The King of Pop is in really, really bad shape. In factTMZ is reporting already that he's dead, but nothing is confirmed.

Now the word is that Michael Jackson is in a coma.

Wow, what a day for death in Hollywood. The grim reaper is having way too fun a week in the southland.

UPDATE: Reports from the LA Times now that Jackson is dead.

FARRAH FAWCETT HAS DIED

Sad, sad news --a true angel has passed away.

For more on the story click here, and for a story on her big impact on popular culture see this story here.

It's days like today when we all feel a little older.

In other news, this has been a big day for health crises for celebrities: Michael Jackson has apparently suffered a cardiac arrest and I had read one headline that he had died -- but apparently that isn't the case. Yet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

FORMULA 1 SAVED, THANK FREAKING GOD

There's been a peace deal to scrap the budget cap and avert the breakaway series, and also Max Mosley walks the plank. Maybe he should have walked the plank ages ago over his sexual shenanigans and so on, but anyway, he's gone. Good riddance, finally - and it's about time this whole mess was cleared up, because a breakaway series would have ruined the sport.

MY NOT VERY CONFIDENT BOX OFFICE PREDICTION IS UP FOR TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN

It's here.

And the reason it's not a confident prediction is because of so many rants out there blasting the movie and saying how bad it is. Check out Harry's venom-fueled rant at Ain't it Cool News. In fact I even notice my compatriots over at Film School Rejects are being uncharacteristically quiet about this movie, which I think says a lot in itself because usually they would trip over themselves praising a Transformers movie.

This is a movie that's going to challenge The Dark Knight? I really dunno. We'll see. Transformers 2 opens today.

BYE BYE ED MCMAHON

So long to one of the truly great sidekicks of TV. Here's Conan O'Brien's tribute from last night's Tonight Show. (Here and here.)



Sunday, June 21, 2009

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

Enjoy the golf. Or at least, try to -- you never know with this weather.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

THAT's ALL FOR THE BROOOOAD-CAST

Bye bye to a class act -- Don Newman of CBC Politics. His last Politics show was Friday.

And bye bye to Parliament after Michael Ignatieff finally made a deal with Stephen Harper to prevent an unwanted summer election. Good. We can all go on vacation this summer, now.

FORMULA 1 FAST BECOMING A JOKE

Well, it's been interesting times for auto racing fans as the Le Mans race ran last week, won by Peugeot which knocked off the Audi team.

At least Le Mans is less of a gong show than Formula 1. F1 has turned into a disgrace with the feuding over a possible breakaway series, all because Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley want to put a cap on the spending associated with the sport. So the teams have rebelled, and a breakaway series is being proposed involving, well, pretty much all the teams in F1 except for Williams and Force India.

Haven't all these folks in F1 learned the lessons from the infamous CART-IRL split?? Civil war in motor racing has happened before and done nothing for the sport. I sure hope this is all posturing by the teams. Maybe the F1 honchos will back down amid the news that the TV rightsholders the BBC might back out of their F1 deal if the teams split.

Actually, you know, a rival series might be a good thing after all-- they might put a race in Montreal. (Another one of Bernie's stupid, freaking decisions -- pulling out of North America. Way to grow the sport, buddy. Is it any wonder why the teams are rebelling, given the morons in charge of the sport??)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DAVID LETTERMAN FACES THE ANGRY MOB

Well, a lot has happened in the time I have been gone from the blog. (I have been working a lot of nights recently, which explains a lot.)

As a result I have pretty much missed the big David Letterman-Sarah Palin brouhaha.



He was making a joke about one of Palin's daughters being knocked up by Alex Rodriguez, and I guess he thought he was making jokes aimed at A-Rod or at Palin's 18-year-old daughter who had been pregnant before. It turned out it was the 14-year-old who was at the Yankees game, though, and people thought the joke was about her!

Uh oh.

Just the other day, a few protesters held a big "Fire David Letterman" rally outside the Ed Sullivan Theater, and not surprisingly, it was all a bunch of conservatives doing the protesting. The usual humorless political crowd yet again, doing the usual thing they do. It doesn't seem to matter whether they're conservative or liberal, these people always take life too seriously and they always call for boycotts or for people to be fired.

I gotta say, I can't go along with this. Letterman made a bad joke, people, and it backfired on him. But that is what comedians do, they try and tell jokes! Take life a little less seriously, that's all I gotta say. If he's fired, it's the fans who end up being the people who lose in the end.



Talk about bad luck for Letterman. He finally starts winning in the ratings in late night, and this mess happens. That's it for now.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

BUSY FOLLOWING THE NEWS

I have been very busy the last few days covering the news, which kind of explains why I was not here. But today was fairly light, all things considered. So, apart from filing my box office column, what have I been doing today?

Why, what else? Watching the news.

I definitely need to get a freaking life. (Now that the NHL and NBA are over, maybe that will actually happen, too.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG

Well, after just seven days on the air as host of Tonight, Conan O'Brien lost in the ratings. To Letterman. And CBS didn't even have a strong prime time lead-in for Dave either, because they lost the night.

And now the knives are out. Stay tuned.

MORE SCHLOCK FROM THE CBC

Well, after roasting CTV for its TV schlock this week, I thought I would do the same to the CBC. I mean, honestly, did you really think I'd let the CBC off the hook? Those guys have produced plenty of their own schlock over the years, and I am pleased to show off some prime evidence of that right here at the CAIRNS BLOG.

So without further ado, from the Seventies, here is The Rene Simard Show!


Holy crap, if this isn't total schlock, I dunno what is. (Here's another good question: where the hell is Rene Simard now? In a secure, undisclosed location, no doubt.)

Stay tuned, I am far from finished mining the gold mine of schlock that is Canadian TV.

CARRIE, YOU'RE FIRED!!!!

Well, given that it is Schlock Week at the blog here, I think it's totally fitting that this big Carrie Prejean story, about her getting the boot as Miss California, happens to break this week.

And apparently it came down to Carrie being a b!tch about performing her duties. It wasn't her big mouth or even her bare breasts that got her in trouble in the end, although those definitely greased the skids. The great Donald Trump finally gave in to the desperate pleas from pageant officials to get rid of her, apparently.

Thank G. It's about time this pathetic story ended.

Monday, June 08, 2009

SAVE NETWORK TV

Schlock Week continues at the CAIRNS BLOG as I post another video from YouTube about the good old days of CTV, home of the great schlock shows of Canadian TV.

Found a video that has promos for both the Alan Hamel Show and Stars on Ice, two cheap CTV shows that aired in the late Seventies. This clip is apparently from 1980 and features promos for the two shows. Stars on Ice was actually hosted by a pre-Jeopardy Alex Trebek, believe it or not. During the time he hosted this one, he also hosted High Rollers which was on NBC.

Interesting about Alan Hamel -- he left the Alan Hamel Show around 1980 so he could manage the career of his famous sitcom-star wife. You may have heard of her -- Suzanne Somers.


And for those of you who want to know how that movie piece of schock Land of the Lost did this weekend with Will Ferrell, my movie column is up.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

JERRY LEWIS HAS A BIG MOUTH

As I said earlier, this is Schlock Week here at the blog, as I am basically putting up some old YouTube clips of old stuff to amuse myself, since, well, there's nothing on TV (see post below).

Anyway, I'm putting up some Jerry Lewis stuff since, well, he appeared in some real schlocky stuff himself. Here's something he appeared in on TV years ago: The Big Mouth.



You know what? This is exactly the type of movie a guy like Adam Sandler would appear in. If Adam Sandler were living in the Sixties he'd be in The Big Mouth. No doubt some clod in Hollywood will try and stick him in the remake.

And I have a big mouth. I'm probably in deep trouble with the French for associating Jerry Lewis with schlock.

I leave you with another trailer, for The Bellboy. And for The Geisha Boy and Rock a bye Baby. Have a nice Sunday evening.


US TV IS A MESS

In the wake of my Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine/Girl Bombs post I have decided to officially declare this week to be Schlock Week at THE CAIRNS BLOG. Stay tuned for more YouTube videos of amusing trailers and other junk I love.

Now onto the schlock on TV. I have already ranted about Canadian TV, which of course has just had its upfronts. But quite frankly the state of American TV is no better. A week from now is the final digital conversion when all the analog signals are shut down, and I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. It just seems like another link to what TV used to be is ending.

You may have not had as many stations to watch in the old days, but it sure seemed like TV was better back then. Now, it seems as if American TV is bent on showing more and more reality schlock and other trash, and less of the series TV that most of us normal people want to see.

For example -- I notice the big Kendra TV show is about to roll out, and this sounds just terrible. It's all about Kendra of Girls Next Door fame living life out in the real world, learning to cook and clean and do boring things. Now, why the heck would anyone in their right mind want to watch that?! Don't you see enough of that sort of thing live in your own home?! I guess people want to see Kendra be a train wreck, then. Or maybe people really don't want to see it, but they are getting it anyway from the E! network people. And you wonder why Internet usage is up.

Another blight to modern TV is a silly show called The Cougar, which is littering the TV Land network. TV Land, as you know, is supposed to be devoted to those old classic TV shows that we used to see on TV. You know, like Gunsmoke and Andy Griffith. Well, instead of seeing what goes on in Mayberry, you're seeing a hot cougar running after a bunch of young studs. On TV Land.

People can't believe TV Land is stooping this low, but apparently the net is going for younger viewers. I guess most of the people who like Gunsmoke are dead anyway.

And let's not get into this Jon and Kate Plus 8 nonsense. That marriage is a mess, and the show is falling apart. Richard Huff at the Daily News is saying yank it already.

Meanwhile, network TV continues to lurch, what with reality TV stars Spencer and Heidi quitting I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here, which was on five nights a week this week. Later this summer we are in for America's Got Talent, which promises to be yet another freak show. And next fall we are in for Jay Leno to be littering our screens five nights a week, taking away valuable TV real estate from prime time drams, comedies, and other efforts.

I guess what I am really mad about is that prime time has turned into reality time on TV these days. I mean, I can understand why we get this junk programming on cable TV -- they can't afford it. But come on, this is supposed to be network TV, man. Give us some decent programming to watch.

I don't think I have much more to say about the state of TV in the States. It just seems to me as if we are witnessing the decline and fall of TV everywhere. Everyone wants to give you cheap junk, it seems, and who loses? The viewers. We always get the shaft in the end.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

FEMBOTS

Was reading one of these posts over at one of these spy movie blogs I've been reading, all about fembots in the movies. I'm kind of interested in fembot movies ever since seeing that cool Austin Powers movie starring the famous fembots. The Austin Powers series parodied a lot of spy-era movies, not just the James Bond ones, and I'm sure they singled out a few of these Sixties fembot movies for particular punishment.

The two biggest fembot movies of all time were from American International: Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, both starring Vincent Price. The sequel was an El-Cheapo followup that was shot in Italy, based on the original flick's big popularity there.

Anyway, I was reading that post about Dr. Goldfoot and decided to go online to find some YouTube stuff about these flicks, and you can see the results below. One video has rare radio ads for the Bikini Machine and the other two are trailers.







I notice in Girl Bombs they have an Italian comedy troupe in the movie, in addition to setting the movie in Italy. They must have taken advantage of tax credits or something like that (!!!!) -- I had read that American International did a lot of movies in Italy in the mid-Sixties.

I gotta say, I am a big fan of these cheesy American International flicks -- they just look so schlocky and far out, man. Most of all -- I like the fembots in the bikinis. The Sixties were fun times -- not like the uptight 21st century.

FIVE YEARS AND STILL COUNTING FEMBOTS

Incidentally - I just realized today is the fifth anniversary of this blog! How time flies.

And as you see from my post below, I returned this blog to its politics-centric roots for the day, reporting on the Saskatchewan NDP leadership convention and the happenings there. Fear not, though. This blog is now back to spewing junk, full-time.

BLOGGING THE SASKATCHEWAN NDP LEADERSHIP RACE

Welcome once again to THE CAIRNS BLOG's live continuing coverage of Canadian politics! Today, I'm liveblogging the Saskatchewan NDP Leadership Convention.

Except -- I'm not there. I guess I could have gone down there to Regina, but I finally decided that I needed the weekend off more than I needed to hang out with more politicians. Besides, I've been to enough conventions and the NDP are known for leadership races that are the least fun of all of them -- although the Saskatchewan NDP conventions tend to be a bit more lively than the rest of the country, given that Saskatchewan is the birthplace of democratic socialism and on and on.

Finding information on the leadership vote has been tough. There's live coverage on CKOM/CJME radio in Saskatchewan and the NDP are streaming the vote live at the NDP website. But beyond a few NDP blogs like this one, that's about it.

I gotta say -- WHERE is the MEDIA?! I know the NDP are in opposition, but you would expect more of these media organizations to show up. I guess I should blame myself, too, though, because I didn't bother to show up, but then again I don't live in Regina.

At least I'm blogging about it here, which is more than you can say for the rest of the media. I can't believe that the people you would expect to be there -- the CBC, CTV, the papers -- aren't covering this in more depth. The only mainstream guys really going all-out are the guys at CKOM and CJME. I mean, come on guys -- do something for the political junkies in the audience and provide some coverage of this thing. No wonder the media is in the sink if no one will bother to cover the news!

It couild be that the media thinks this is a one-horse race and that Dwain Lingenfelter has it all wrapped up. He seems to have a big lead over Deb Higgins, Ryan Meili and Yens Pedersen for the first ballot. A few people are predicting he'll win on this first ballot coming up, but he had baggage. Among other things he is on the right of the party and could fall victim to a gang-up by supporters of the other three if there are multiple ballots today.

The big problem for Lingenfelter is that some over-enthusiastic Lingenfelter campaign worker signed up 1100 NDP memberships up north without the knowledge or consent of any of the people he signed up. Man, you'd think the NDP has turned into the Conservative or Liberal party with this sort of thing happening. You expect this kind of stuff to happen in those parties -- not the NDP.

The memberships ended up being thrown out by the party and a big report was written up on the whole issue by a guy I knew from university years ago, Swift Current lawyer Robert Hale. Except when I knew him back in school he was known as Bob Hale. I don't know where along the way he stopped being Bob Hale and became Robert Hale, but in any event Robert Hale has his 15 minutes of fame, writing up this big report on this Lingenfelter membership nonsense.

Another odd thing is that a lot of the votes were already cast before the convention speeches even happened today, so that makes for a really bizarre convention because in a lot of ways the die has been cast regardless of what is going on on the floor. So it's an odd sort of convention, but this is the way a lot of these parties are going with leadership votes in this country. The Ontario PCs are basically going to do the same thing with their vote.

I'll update this post as I get more information as the balloting goes on. Voting has now closed and results are expected for the first ballot very soon. In the meantime, here's the video of the convention as it is happening.




UPDATE: First ballot results are in and Dwain Lingenfelter has the lead with 46 percent of the vote, with Ryan Meili second. Kind of a shocker in that Deb Higgins placed last, but that's politics. In any event, it's on to the second ballot and we'll see what happens. If Lingenfelter doesn't win on the next ballot all bets are off.

ANOTHER UPDATE (1:25): Yens Pedersen is at the podium now and he's decided to withdraw from the race. It will be Meili vs. Pedersen for all the marbles on the next ballot.

THIRD UPDATE (1:31): CKOM is talking to Pedersen and he is endorsing Meili on the second ballot.

The actual first ballot results, by the way, ended up being Lingenfelter 4360, Meili 2401, Pedersen 1380 and Higgins 1303.

FOURTH UPDATE: (1:41): Wow, the gangup is on. Deb Higgins just declared for Meili and is sitting down talking to John Gormley and everyone else on the radio explaining her choice. This second ballot is going to be pretty interesting.

Second ballot voting begins in a couple of minutes.

FIFTH UPDATE: I'm going to hit the road pretty soon, so you'll probably have to click here to find out who won. I'll have a further update here, later.

SIXTH UPDATE: Uh, I'm finally back. Lingenfelter won on the second ballot with 55 percent of the vote. Can't say I was surprised.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

TRANSFORMERS 2: BOX OFFICE COULD BE HUGE

Was just reading Jeffrey Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere. He says on his blog that HitFix's Gregory Ellwood is reporting that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is tracking so strongly that it could be on a pace to shatter the $203 million mark set by The Dark Knight for a five-day period.

$203 million?! That much? Really? Well, I guess so, eh? Especially since there really isn't much else out this summer that has really excited people to the Nth degree -- except maybe for Star Trek, but even that movie opened to only $75 million. It would be amazing if the five-day record were to fall, though, because I get the impression there are a lot of Michael Bay haters out there who fully intend to stay home.

Remind me to rant about it tomorrow for my box office column, which, might I add, is getting to be more and more a thankless chore to do with every passing week -- especially given my lousy prediction record. When you start to feel that a column is getting in the way of the more important things in your life -- like, uh, actually going to the movies or watching them on TV -- you've got trouble.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

MORE BIG NEWS FROM NOWHERE

Welcome to another edition of News from Nowhere.

I know, I know, I should be posting about GM going bankrupt. But I don't feel like it. Besides, I did a story last week on it, where I did a writeup about news concerning a local dealership that got the dreaded communication from GM, telling them they had been cut. Sad, freaking times.

And an Air France plane went down in the Atlantic. More sad times.

In other news, Susan Boyle has checked in to a hospital suffering from exhaustion from all the stress over that talent show she was on.

This, my friends, is a sure sign she has "made it". Heck, doesn't every celebrity go to hospital, or rehab, or whatever?! It's par for the course.

Federal news: the Liberals in Ottawa are huffing and puffing about forcing yet another freaking election, and not even a year after losing the last one. These freaking fools do not know when to stop, do they? They won't quit until they are back in power, these people.

And in Latvia, the blonde babes are marching in the streets in order to cheer people up.

Finally, things may appear hopeless in trying to get into TV, but cheer up. Jenna Lee said she was getting discouraged after being rejected from so many on-air jobs, but persevered and is now seen on Fox Business billboards all over New York. (Unfortunately, she now has to get up very early in the morning, so she's missing out on all the great late-night TV!!! Ha! Such is life. )

For those journalists who are, indeed, ready to throw in the towel and give up, here is a link to JiltedJournalists.com.

That's all for now -- I gotta get up to go to work tomorrow, in my journalism job.

TENSION BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE NEW LENO SHOW

Watched the first Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and it was weird, just weird. You tune in, and you're wondering where the hell Jay Leno is. It just doesn't feel right, for some reason.

I know it was weird when Dave Letterman started out at CBS, too, but this is different. It's like the inmates from Late Night have taken over the Tonight Show asylum and turned it into Late Night. Yet the cast seems to be trying to channel the Johnny Carson show at the same time. It's a weird dynamic in play, and it doesn't work --these guys need to be their New York selves. Andy Richter, especially, needs to drop the Ed McMahon routine right away and go back to being himself. He was laughing way too much at the jokes.

Meanwhile, a report from Kim Masters at the Daily Beast indicates there is word of tension behind the scenes already at the new Jay Leno Show. Apparently there are stories going around of the network bossing him around and ordering him to pare staff, and telling him to put on more comedy bits for prime time. They want to try and avoid booking wars with the new O'Brien Tonight Show and give people something to watch after Leno is over.

I guess this tinkering from on high might be in response to all those reports from people saying they have no need to stay up late under the new NBC arrangement. People are bragging on these blogs everywhere about how they plan to hit the sack as soon as Jay's new show is over. That wasn't supposed to be part of the grand NBC plan -- losing regular viewers to bed at 11 o'clock. They still want people to tune in to the Conan show.

You can bet that never happened under Carson -- people saying they would rather go to sleep. Yet so many people are saying late night television is finished and the glory days are over, so why not go to bed early?

You get the feeling this new Leno show might be a train wreck waiting to happen, based on these reports? Leave it to NBC to again find a way to mess things completely up in late night.

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Oh, and in other news I heard Heidi and Spencer quit I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here after a single episode, which doesn't surprise me at all and is more fodder for that rant I plan to do about how big a mess US TV is at the moment.

Bob Sassone at TV Squad does not pull any punches in beating up this show: "Every time I think I've seen the worst of television, another show comes along to scrape the bottom of the barrel. This is that show. It's stupid and despicable in almost every single way."

Monday, June 01, 2009

CONAN O'BRIEN TAKES OVER TONIGHT

Well, this is a historic evening in American TV because The Tonight Show is getting taken over by this dumbbell, Conan O'Brien.

Like I say, I think he'll be better than Jay Leno, who had an utterly low-key departure from his show last Friday night. All in all, I thought his final show represented a dignified exit by a guy who, of course, will be back this fall for more punishment. It's too bad the rest of the series couldn't have been like that classy last show. What a waste of 17 years.

As for Conan, I'll be watching what happens closely. He could be a hit, but who knows -- he could be off the air in no time flat. Seems that the Conan critics are coming out of the woodwork now, including apparently lots of women who argue that Conan's type of humor doesn't appeal to the female of the species.

I gotta say, they have a point. I don't think you'll see too many female viewers impressed with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog or, heaven help us, The Masturbating Bear. Yecch.

Incidentally, Will Ferrell is the first guest tonight for Conan, and I gotta say -- if he shows up in that awful Irish outfit again I guarantee you that plenty of guys will be joining the ladies in changing the station.

REEL TALK CANCELLED

Ahem. Remember when I was ranting about those three TV movie review shows still on the air these days? Well, they're down to two now because Reel Talk with Jeffrey Lyons and Alison Bailes is, in the words of Anne Thompson, kaput.

Incidentally, this now means that Ben Lyons is now one up on his dad Jeffrey Lyons, because Ben still has his hosting gig -- to the non-amusement of all the serious critics who of course are on the street.

Meanwhile, his dad not only has no show anymore-- he also has no job. Canned at WNBC. Another critic bites the big one. Ouch.

No word yet on that Roeper-Ebert effort they're still cooking up.