Tuesday, January 29, 2008

US Citizenship Test

This test gives you 14 of the questions that are currently used in the US Citizenship Test...

Take the test

Apparently you have to get 7 or 8 out of 10 right in order to pass. I don't know about you...but I definitely did not know the amendments that address voting rights. Thankfully, I knew most of them...I guess that barely makes me a US Citizen. I wonder what percentage of current US Citizens would actually pass that test though...

Monday, January 28, 2008


Have you seen those Bud Light commercials that demonstrate the flexibility of the word, "dude"? They're awesome. Maybe I appreciate it more because I use "dude" a lot. MSN Slate gave the ad an A-. Now...since I'm a marketing-minded person, I always wonder about the effectiveness of Bud Light commercials. Collectively, they're easily some of the funniest commercials out there. But funny doesn't always mean it's a good advertisement. As a beer drinker, their ads don't make me want to go buy Bud Light. The only time I drink Bud Light is if it's a special at the bar...if I'm slumming to a generic, cheap beer, I'm going with Coors Light (but it sure as hell isn't because of their love train commercials).

I think the majority of Bud Light ads do a good job though. They almost always have to do with drinking/getting a Bud Light, whether they actually say the name or not. The "Dude" commercial, for example, demonstrates the different pronunciations of dude, and ends with the "dude what the hell?" inflection when his friend gets champagne at the bar (and he has a Bud Light of course). Or the other version, at the football game, when he yells dude as if to say "hey...I'm coming to get a beer," as they lock up the counter that sells it. But the only dialogue of the commercials is "dude."

Do their ads make people get up, go out, and buy some Bud Light? Maybe not...but what does these days? Does it stick in people's heads, remind people that they're the "funny commercial" beer, make them laugh when they think about it later on, and possibly persuade some people to buy it? I think so.

I know Bud Light always puts out a few different commercials during the Superbowl, and it's gotten to the point that I expect them to be one of the, if not the, funniest commercial(s) during the game. I'm thinking they might even put out another variation of the Dude commercials...we'll see. I'll be sure to give my commentary on the game and the commercials next week.


I've discussed the digitization of music and film in previous posts, but one other source of entertainment that I failed to mention is books. A NY Times Article reminded me of this less-popular phenomenon. Books are, much more slowly, beginning to become adopted digitally. Amazon tried to jump the gun by releasing its Kindle in November '07, a 10-ounce digital reader, that can store over 200 books, as well as newspapers, magazines, and even blogs such as this one (yes, if you're concerned that you can't read my blog everywhere you go, there's a solution...don't worry). Sony had actually already released a product like this in 2006, but the Kindle's kicker is that it can wirelessly download content. People's first reaction to these products is their display...which apparently is quite similar to an actual page of a book thanks to E Ink Technology.

With our booming trend of "being green," I'm sure environmentalists will love a product like this that eliminates printing on paper (imagine if all printed materials went digital...I wonder how much paper would be saved). But...it will probably take a much longer time for this technology to become popular. For one, there's just something about having an actual book and physically flipping through pages that would be taken away with a digital reader. For another, Amazon's Kindle sold for $400...people don't want to shell out that kind of money...especially considering point #3: people don't read!

Let me enlighten you on some statistics. A study done in August 2007 showed that 27% of Americans had not read a book in the previous year. Let's just say that 26% of those people are either illiterate or can not afford to buy books...that still means billions of people can not find the time in an entire year to even read a single Harry Potter book. I don't want to sound all high and mighty as if I read every day...I admit I give in to the urge of watching TV and playing video games all day sometimes. But it's something I'm working on...and not even a month into the year and I'm well into a second book (and no, it's not Goodnight Moon)...but I'd like to read more than that. I want to be part of the 8% who read 51+ books a year.

So the statistics are severely skewed...you'd think the book industry would be severely suffering. In reality, that small percentage of people who read a lot are maintaining a balance in book sales. And thank God...otherwise our country would end up like it did in the movie Idiocracy.

So next time you can't really find something worth watching from 400+ different channels...pick up a book!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Praise for Eagles Fans

I love this article put out on FoxSports, claiming Eagles fans as "The Cadillac of NFL fans." Perhaps I'm biased because I am one, but it's definitely true. Philly fans, in general, are insane. Years of failure will make you insane. We'll boo the hell out of our own team if they play bad and muck up the entire season...but every single year, our hope and pride builds in the off-season, leading to massive crowds building up at Training Camp in my new home, the Lehigh Valley, and then another season starts. The trend exists with our other teams as well. I went to one Flyers game this season, and one fan from the other team had the audacity to cheer for her team multiple times. Had she been of the male persuasion, more severe consequences probably would have resulted, but she was met with an entire stadium booing her. But ultimately, the Eagles are the team. I've talked to homeless guys while tailgating for Phillies games about the prospect of the new Eagles season. Eagles fans have a special link to each other, no matter who you are (isn't that special?)

This NFL season hasn't officially ended, but the Eagles' season has, so the season has ended for us. Some people may still be bitter about how this season ended (especially since our mortal enemies are in the Superbowl), but I'm already awaiting next season. Considering how insane Eagles fandom has become, God knows what would happen if we won the Superbowl.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ridiculous Home Theaters

I just saw an article that listed 10 "stunning ultra-geeky home cinemas." Of course 1/3rd of them were modeled after Star Trek (which has a new movie coming out Winter '08). I'm not gonna lie...one of them was pretty sweet-looking. Some of the concepts were cool, but weren't really executed well (like the Pirates one...imagine how sweet you could make a pirate-themed home theater...the one they made was too Disney though). My favorite though...the Batcave:

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind watching movies there. Pretty awesome. "Hey I picked up that new movie today...TO THE BATCAVE!" Of course, I already decided that if I ever won the lottery or made enough money to be able to create something like this, I'm going to recreate "The Assault" course from American Gladiators in my home.

The Hoagie

As we debated over what to get for lunch today, hoagies became an option. We didn't get them, but I found myself pondering over the origin of the word "hoagie." I've eaten many hoagies in my life, and I don't think that I have once questioned why we call it a hoagie. I have come across the regional differences of the food item - heros in NY, grinders in New England, Subs in other places. I'm not going to debate that terminology (because they're obviously all wrong - it's a hoagie and that's final!)

Wikipedia gave a few origins, but was not very conclusive on a single one. The first comes from what street vendors were called in Philly back in the 19th century: hokey-pokey men. Odd term but apparently they sold a variety of food items, including antipasto. A bakery opened up that sold long loafs, and these "hokey-pokey men" cut the loafs in half and put antipasto salad in them.

A second theory comes from the Italians who used to work in the old Navy Yard in Philly, which was called Hog Island. The sandwiches they made evolved from the "Hog Island sandwich" to the hoagie.

The older, South Philly Italians consider the hoagie to come from the phrase, "on the hoke," which described someone as down-and-out. Apparently those were "on the hoke" tried to get scraps from deli owners and they put cheese and meat scraps between Italian bread. The sandwich was called a "hokie," which was transformed by Italian accents to the hoagie.

Personally, I like the third theory. Maybe I just trust it because it comes from older South Philly Italians. Anyone else heard of any other theories?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Starbucks is apparently playing with the idea of using a select number of their stores to sell a $1 cup of coffee. Shocking considering their coffee seems to average around $55 for a viente (not large...viente). They are also considering offering free refills in their stores. Now I don't know what kind of coffee this is going to be (probably bollocks as the English say)...you don't just make a 75% price cut on your coffee for no reason. It does look like their sales have gone down a bit, but they've fluctuated before...they're a freakin' powerhouse.

I think they've established themselves pretty well among the urban, business-class people who can shell out $5K a year on coffee. This move is probably a test to see how they can compete with the reasonably priced coffee retailers, like Dunkin' Donuts and McDonalds, who already do offer their coffee in the $1-$2 range. I won't lie...I treat myself to some Starbucks once in a while and browse the J. Crew website with Hilary (sad but true...we're such wanna-be yuppies). But I'm pretty content with my 63-cent refills here at work (plus 7th cup is free!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cloverfield / Heath Ledger

*Don't worry...if you're planning on seeing this movie, I will not spoil it.*

So...I gave into the hype and just saw Cloverfield with my brother and his girlfriend. If you haven't heard of it, you live under a rock. I was a bit hesitant to see it right away because I felt like disappointment was inevitable with something that had so much hype. Creating teasers and trailers for movies is difficult. You want to intrigue people and suck them into seeing your movie but you don't want to give too much away. You want to create a lot of hype but you want to be able to back up the hype that you create.

Anyways, I was not disappointed. I wasn't beaming with excitement either though. I was somewhere in between...but mostly, I was confused, because I felt like there had to be something more to it. I avoided the massive amounts of articles on the movie that popped up over the weekend, but I just had to check some of them out when I got home about an hour ago. It turns out there is a lot more to it...and I haven't read everything, but it seems a bit interesting...atleast cool that this movie (assuming that this is all intentional) has connected with the online community to make the movie more than just an hour and a half in the theater.

I'll leave it at that...if you do end up seeing it, or want to give in to your curiousity, this article sums up the super-secret stuff.

In other news, which I found out right before we went to the movie, Heath Ledger died. He was found today, 28 years old, with sleeping pills around his body. Especially sad and surprising since a lot of people (definitely myself included) are looking forward to his performance as the Joker in the new Batman film coming out this summer.

Oscars 2008

After seeing the nominations for the 2008 Oscars, I thought I would put out my predictions. I have not seen all of the movies...the ones that I have seen include No Country For Old Men, Sweeney Todd, Juno, and Eastern Promises. But I've heard a lot of buzz around There Will Be Blood. Here's my predictions:

Best Picture: There Will Be Blood (2nd choice: No Country For Old Men)
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (for There Will Be Blood)
Best Actress: I'd like to see Ellen Page (for Juno) but it will probably be Marion Cotillard (for La Vie en Rose) just because I've never heard of her or the movie
Best Supporting Actor: Definitely Javier Bardem (for No Country For Old Men)...dude was badass
Best Supporting Actress: Tough call...haven't seen any of them...although weird I could see Cate Blanchett winning (for I'm Not There)...she portrays Bob Dylan...I wonder what Bob Dylan thought about that..."Hey Mr. Dylan, we want to make a movie about you" "Oh far out, who will play me?"
Best Director: Coen brothers (for No Country For Old Men)

I'll throw in a couple of the less-popular nominations too...

Best Original Screenplay: Should be Diablo Cody (for Juno)...very witty and visually on point
Best Visual Effects: Transformers (and I want to see Optimus Prime accept the award)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mario Bros 2

Ok, call me a geek, but I think anyone who grew up playing Mario will think this video is AWESOME: (By the way...4 Posts in One Day! A New Record!)

The Evolution of Communication

A recent IM (Instant Message) conversation opened my eyes to how lazy our communication has become...

Anonymous: we're going to S&S at 4
Me: S&S?
Anonymous: stp n shp
Me: good lord ur lazy

For those of you with your decoder rings out (Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!), trying to figure out what they were getting at, it was Stop & Shop (a grocery store). Now our acronyms have become acronyms for abbreviations! It reminds me of the wildly-annoying cell phone commercial where the kids are speaking in online acronyms (bff, jk, ttyl, etc etc). And my self-righteous, hypocritical response even had "online slang" (ur). I'm right there with the laziness that technology has created (less-so than others thankfully), but soon we're going to be adopting Ethiopian (or whatever it is...forgive my ignorance) clicking noises as our communication.

When Customer Service Goes Wrong

As many people are well aware, CompUSA is going out of business. Their stores everywhere are offering up to 40% off what they have left in stock (although most of it is only 5-10% off). I went to one last weekend (in CT...I don't think they have any in the Lehigh Valley) and picked up a carrying case for my Wii. I just read a story on The Consumerist about a man's experience in attempt of purchasing a 10% off iMac. Apparently, he was turned down when he tried to pay with cash, and was impolitely informed that "a purchase like that" needs to be paid with a credit card. Odd policy for an electronics store, but apparently legal for each store to set its own policy. Maybe they had an incident when someone purchased something expensive with counterfeit bills.

Anyway, I understand that the story is coming from the consumer's perspective, but it sounded like the CompUSA's employees handled it very poorly. They lost a sale for it. It's amazing how rude people at the register can be...and they contribute to lost sales.

I ran into one of these incidents last weekend (also in CT), at an Express. I found something to buy. Now, first of all, their store layout was not conducive to organization (the registers were formed in a circle, and racks were placed too close to the registers (point being, it made it difficult for customers to form a line).

I decided that a line extending from this circular register formation was the most appropriate, but noticed that another customer was already there, who took on the "wrap around the circle" formation. I would have moved, but there was a rack in the way, so I stayed put, duly noting that the other customer would go before me. "Do you need a fitting room sir?" "Umm, no, I'm ready to checkout" "Ok, because there's actually one line, over here [pointing behind the wrap-around customer]" I hesitated (because she said it in a bitchy tone), then walked all the way around the racks behind the other customer. About 2.9 seconds after I got there..."Can you all form a line over that way? [pointing exactly where I was previously standing!]"

I quickly debated in my head whether she was screwing with me or simply dumb enough to make me move twice (I decided on the latter). Now, I'm a very patient person...there are people who would have jumped over the register and ripped the girl's head off for doing what she did. But even in my patience, I debated just throwing the item back on a rack and leaving. I decided to go through with my purchase (remember that MTV show Boiling Points? I totally would have won the money on that show). My point is, if you're ringing people up at the register, shouldn't you realize that you're making a huge impression on the customer's experience? I went through with the sale (at a whopping 16 bucks), but the next time I see SALE signs in front of an Express, I won't go...and just because of one sales rep's actions (16 bucks/year down the drain for them!)

The Football Gods Hate Me

Well...the Packers lost. Way to come up big Favre! Of course I'm pissed that the giants are going to the Superbowl...on top of that, one of the AFC teams that I don't like is going too (the Patriots). But you better believe that I'll be the Patriots' biggest fan come February 3rd.

If you're a giants fan (and I know of atleast one who reads this blog...you know who you are), you may be enjoying all of this in spite of Eagles fans everywhere. One thing I noticed in last night's game though, that I'll always remember. The giants (if you noticed, I don't think they deserve a capitalized G) could not get through the whole game without one standout asshole moment. You'd think they could considering Shockey wasn't playing. But no...when Brandon Jacobs ran 1 yard (correction...it was about half a foot considering the boneheads on the Packers who ran offsides TWICE), he made an unnecessary celebration. Now...I enjoy an enthusiastic celebration once in a while, if it's made at noone in particular...rarely when it's made at someone on the opposing team (even if they deserved it). But to taunt the fans of the opposing team like Jacobs did, in THEIR stadium, in an NFC championship game? That shows no class.

And don't call me a hypocrite...I know T.O. once played for the Eagles and did similar things. I never liked the times that he taunted fans though...and he never really fit in with the Eagles. He was like someone you pay to be your friend.

I won't be completely bitter about this situation though. Congratulations to the giants. I know the Patriots will be favored, but I don't want the game to be a blowout. I want it to be close (kind of like, say, when the Eagles played the Patriots in the Superbowl 3 years ago). Eagles fans have sustained enough heart-breaking losses in close games...it's about time the giants feel that pain.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Burt Reynolds is the Man!

At 71 years old, Burt Reynolds is still a BAMF (if you don't know that acronym, listen to Dane Cook). I try to avoid the celebrity gossip unless it catches my eye, and "Burt Reynolds Will Kick You" definitely achieved that goal. Apparently, old Burt has gone bald in his elder years, so he has been resorting to a toupee. He claims that no matter how old he gets, his reputation precedes him as a crazy guy who will kick you if deemed necessary.

Pranksters in Hollywood, I'm sure, would love to snatch the wig off of Burt Reynolds. Burt's response to that: "If you can get it off my head before I kick all the air out of your body, let's do that."

Now the question is...is it cooler to steal his wig and try to get away with it...or is it cooler to be able to say, "Burt Reynolds, a 71-year old man, kicked my ass."

My Award

I'd like to take this time to accept my chair position as "Distinguished Member of the LVH Web Team," bestowed upon me by the other three members of the Web Team, Kathryn, Gail, and Dave.

It's an honor.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hungarian Dog Translator

At Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, scientists developed a computer that translates a dog's bark. Using Hungarian sheepdogs, they performed a series of experiments to pick up on the differences between their barks. Amazingly (sarcastic), the computer is able to pick up when a dog is in any of these scenarios: dealing with a stranger, in a fight, wanting to walk, being alone, wanting a ball, or wanting to play.

Just a hunch here, but I'm guessing most dog owners can already pick up on these things.

Hmm...I'm holding my dog's tennis ball...and my dog is wagging its tail, staring at the ball, and barking. I better consult my dog-translating computer for this one! Dogs have a pretty simple vocabulary...developing a computer to translate the songs and sounds of the humpback whale? Now that would be pretty sweet (that was an inside joke...I was lucky enough to get an audio tape of humpback whales yesterday from Kathryn...it's far out).

Aside from (what I think is) unneccessary work that these scientists have done, they took the wrong approach. They should have worked with little Timmy, the owner of Lassie...that kid could read dogs like a book! "What's that Lassie? You have the cure for AIDS? And you know how to solve world hunger??"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Brad Renfro Found Dead

One of the headlines I noticed this morning was that actor Brad Renfro was found dead in his home. He was only 25. Although not exactly a big-name actor, it caught my attention because he is in a couple movies that I like...Sleepers and Bully. Cause of death was not determined, but apparently he struggled with substance abuse so it could be linked to that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"English Surfing"

Believe it or not, people surf in areas other than Hawaii, California, and other tropical locales. Warm weather is not a requirement to surf...big waves are. And big waves hit a small coastal town off of Cromwell, England. In fact, stormy weather created 50 FOOT WAVES. If you know anything about surfers, it's that they have one of two things: a low brain cell count or brass kahunas (the good ones have both). Naturally, a couple guys fit the bill in this town and decided to battle nature. Check them out (on left). I love looking at good images and video of surfing. I admire the surfers that do it - I think it's awesome. That right there though...that's just stupidity at its peak. The waves don't even look like waves - they look like a giant mess of evil water. Don't get me wrong...I think it takes some real guts (or some hard substance abuse) to get out there. I would NEVER do what they did.

So let's give it up for the surfers of England. Dumb and tough. It takes a lot to bring a surfboard out in a mess like that...oh wait, let's take another look at these guys (right). They're riding BOOGIE BOARDS. I can't take them seriously anymore. I admit I cruised the waves of the Jersey shore quite a few times on my yellow boogie board...when I was 12. It's hard to admire someone for using something called a "boogie board." Besides, not surprisingly, they couldn't even ride the waves (they couldn't boogie!) I love the caption on this picture: "The surfer stands no chance of riding the wave as the foaming white surf closes in. He is seen being violently tossed in the air as it crashes in over him. Incredibly, he managed to avoid injury. The other surfer is nowhere to be seen." Yep...that about sums it up!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Musicians going for Homerun Record

The NY Times just put out a story that there is an inquiry into "entertainers" using illegal steroids. Here's the list: 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, Timbaland (ok, I get the trend...all hip hop artists) and Tyler Perry? Now, you may be asking yourselves, "Who the hell is Tyler Perry?" I asked myself too...apparently he's an actor/producer/writer...I think he put out that "House of Payne" show on TBS. But how's that for a random member of a list?

Anyway, what the hell is going on in the world?? First, MLB-ers are using performance-enhancing steroids. I think every single player that did is a cheater...no acceptions. However, atleast I see why they would take performance-enhancing steroids. They're trying to swing a bat so hard that they hit a baseball 400+ yards. Some added strength and vitality could help you out with that one. What the hell does Mary J. Blige need steroids for? Holding up a platinum microphone? Getting through an iPod commercial shoot? I understand that steroids can improve things other than muscles (like anti-aging steroids...she's only 37 though!), but what's the world coming to when a female hip-hop/R&B singer is taking steroids to step up a career?

These are all allegations of course, and they could be entirely false (let's hope so). It's made me skeptical though. I'm sure it's difficult if you're a big star in the industry, but let's leave steroids out of the music industry though folks (and the acting/writing/producing industry...I'm not naming any names with that one though).

NFC Hatred

So yesterday was a day of upsets for the NFL playoffs...

Prior to the NFC battle between the Cowboys and Giants, I pondered over the hatred I have for each team. I came to the conclusion that I hate the Giants more (although it was close), which therefore led me to hope that the Giants would lose (note: that I wanted the Giants to lose...NOT the cowboys to win). As it goes with what I want and what actually happens in the NFL, that did not happen. The Cowboys lost. Now, my hope is that Brett Fav-ruh can embarass the Giants.

However, I suppose one good thing did happen...TO cried.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Give Your Dog a Treat

So my Mom got me this magazine that she found..."Beer." A magazine dedicated to beer news and information...you can't beat that kind of reading material. I've only gotten through a few pages of the magazine, but I've seen some pretty interesting stuff already. I can tell that it's new and NOT widely distributed because there are a number of little grammatical errors. It's either that, or they drink beer (aka "do research") before they edit their issue.

Anyway, one little blurb they had was on beer for dogs. Yes...dog beer. Happy Tail Ale. Don't call the Humane Society! It's not really beer...a woman was inspired by an "accidental" incident in which she discovered that her dog liked beer. I know my brother's corgi, Midge, always sniffs around and salivates when I have a beer in my hand (but then again, she'd sniff around and salivate if I had gun powder in my hand). Anyway, the "beer" is non-alcoholic and non-carbonated, keeping in mind that dogs can not metabolize beer like us awesome homo sapiens. So what kind of flavor does this beer have? Is it a fruity ale? Blueberry? Apricot? Or maybe it's a darker, more traditionally flavored beer? Nope...it has BEEF flavor. Yum! [Picture all of the dog owners who buy this, looking around to make sure noone is looking and regrettably give in to their curiosity]. What's better? A news clip on their site explains how the Governator was in the town where it's brewed and he bought some (noone is sure if he has any dogs though).

I don't know about this idea...I mean look at this dog - he obviously has a drinking problem!


I just saw this image on Digg...pretty funny...probably more funny for the guys who work there who just happened to put the movies in that order.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Just noticed...

I was just checking my Gmail...and interestingly, this was the advertisement at the top of my inbox...

Now that's advertising!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I'm sitting here watching the end of the first episode of the revived American Gladiators. As I wrote before, I was excited that they were bringing the competition back but also skeptical of how they would bring it back. So far, I'm moderately entertained...but I'm also pretty doubtful of its genuity. I just watched the women run through "The Eliminator," the final obstacle course, which was of course redone. As far as the course goes, I think they did a good job...the women were struggling to get through it. Swimming under fire was a nice add-on...as far as the barrel roll, they totally stole that from Ninja Warrior. I just find it hard to believe that the leader of the course struggled for about 45 seconds to get up a 10-foot, inclined treadmill that had a rope to help them get up it...struggling so much that she lost. I mean...that's a dramatic finish...a little too dramatic.

The men just finished...the NYC firefighter beat the skateboarder from San Diego. I bet zero people lost money on that one.

As far as the Gladiators go, there's no Malibu-like character, but they did a good job of creating some personalities. There's Wolf, probably my favorite so far, who lives up to his nickname physically AND vocally. They created an American Indian persona, named Toa, who belted out what HAD to of been an authentic Indian war-chant before one of the events. The others seem pretty standard in comparison...just purely jacked-up meatheads. The female gladiators...well let's just say that the OLD version of the show had female Gladiators that would give you nightmares. There's been improvements...BUT they still have much bigger guns than me and could probably easily give me a black eye.

Well...what I thought was only an hour-long episode turns out to be a 2-hour episode...so I'm gonna go enjoy it!

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Downloaded Movie Debate

The music industry has seen drastic changes result from the technology that more and more people are adapting to. Downloading music used to be something that everyone did and thought was perfectly fine. Eventually, it caught on, and scared the s#$% out of the RIAA. Then, legal battles cracked down on "illegal" downloaders. It made an impact on many people, but of course people still download their music for free. Businesses caught on to those who became scared off, and companies such as Apple cashed in on their legal $0.99/song iTunes shop. Now, brick-and-mortar CD stores are seeing less and less foot traffic as people continue to digitally download their music.

Now...focus has been shifted more toward the digital movie download. First, to accommodate the all-American increase-the-laziness effort, companies such as Netflix offered movie rentals through the mail (because God forbid you would have to physically move to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video) [note: I'm sarcastically commenting on American laziness...but I'm practically the poster child for it...Netflix is a great idea]. Companies such as Blockbuster perked up once they saw this concept going successfully, so the new twist was added: a service that also allows you to stream the movie from your computer to watch. The obstacle: not everyone wants to watch movies from their computer monitor. This is because God created large televisions and surround sound systems.

Just two days ago, Netflix made a deal with LG to offer a set-top box that will act as the middle-man between your computer and your TV, so you can watch the streaming videos accessed by your computer...on your television. This is not the first of its kind...but I bring it up because it makes you wonder how people will watch their movies 50 years from now. Will movies go digital like music has? Or will the whole Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD battle prove a victor and become the standard?

It's hard to tell...whatever happens, nothing will completely dominate in music or film. People have different lifestyles...it's hard to change formats constantly...and if you were to make a decision to change, it's not exactly easy to pick.

I'm pretty comfortable with standard DVD's right now...I'm in no rush to change. I'd be quicker to change to the winner of the Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD battle than to go digital. I think digital movies still have a long way off of becoming dominant...but they'll definitely become popular. Once a change is made, though, you better believe I'll be updating my copy of Braveheart.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Return of Late Night Shows

Last night was the first night of new episodes of late-night talk shows since the writer's strike, and I say it's about time. I was only able to watch parts of the two shows that I normally watch (not that I watch them a lot). Leno vs. Letterman? I watch Letterman...almost everyone my age prefers Leno but personally I think Leno is pretty corny. Letterman is insane...his weirdness is hilarious though (most of the time). I think his writers are pretty horendous a lot of the time too, and you can tell that he hates some of the material that they give him...so why not continue the show without them?

As for the Conan vs. Ferguson debate...it's a tougher call I think...both of them are funny. However, I think Conan is downright hilarious.

Jimmy Kimmel? I like the guy but honestly...who watches him?

So all 5 of them came back last night...Letterman and Conan came back with beards! I enjoyed how Conan compared his bearded self with Kris Kringle from the claymation Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.

Anyway, from what I saw, both shows were as funny as they usually are. Granted, they played off of the "no material because we have no writers" to add to the humor (like when Conan spun his wedding ring on his desk for as long as he could). Ultimately, however, the humor in late night talk shows (I think) comes from the improvisation. The funniest parts of those shows are when things go wrong or when something unexpected happens or when the hosts or guests are just goofing off. I hate when interviews are so scripted...it makes the conversations stiff.

Either way, these shows can't last long without solid writers, even if a lot of the writing is corny or dumb. Other shows that have been put on hold absolutely need writers no matter what. Granted, reality tv show producers are probably wetting their pants over the strike, but I can only watch so much Rock of Love...and let's be honest...even some of the "reality" shows are scripted. I don't really have a whole lot of sympathy for the writers who are on strike. I suppose they are entitled to more money, but quit whining and get back to work. As Conan sarcastically put it..."because of the strike, people have been forced to read and actually talk to each other." Who wants that?