Archive for the ‘TV’ Category
After a long wait (and some frustrating customer service experience with Foxtel, worth recounting later), we finally have cable TV at home. The big advantage is that we can now resume watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on the The Comedy Channel here (yes I know, I should be geeky enough to torrent the shows, but I like to watch them on TV).
The shows are delayed by a day here, so I only just saw Colbert’s smack down of the bizarre decision by Fox News and CBS not to air the following ad for Trojan condoms, apparently because the commercial does not promote “health-related” uses of condoms over “pregnancy prevention”!
Here is the original ad:
Its bad enough when the government assumes the role of a moral guardian, but private TV channels trying to do so is rank hypocrisy.
Anyway, Colbert gives it the treatment it deserves. Here is the link. “You can’t use sex to sell sex !” Priceless.
Never watched the show. Never had HBO and never felt like placing the DVDs on a Netflix queue. But since almost everyone in the blogosphere, from economics-/sociopolitical- to science-blogs are talking about it, I thought I would do a mandatory post.
Doesn’t add to the discussion. But then how many of my posts do ?
While not as heavily anticipated (nor as expensive) as the SuperBowl Ads, I found most of the advertisements running during the Oscar ceremony breaks quite enjoyable. For obvious reasons, if Budweiser and Coors dominated the SuperBowl, it was L’oreal for the Oscars. This allowed Aishwarya to make her Oscar appearance ! They even had an user generated commercial.
But the two best commercials of the night would have to be Apple’s iPhone and American Express’ Wes Anderson directs. Both were movie-themed and you can check them out here:
Apple’s iPhone: at Apple’s website.
Wes Anderson Amex commercial:
A day late (the day for recovery, which I will tell you – and have a large number of people agreeing – needs to be declared a holiday), but here is the mandatory SuperBowl post.
The SuperBowl is supposed to be a culmination of the ‘football’ season in the US – with the two arguably best teams playing each other. However, more than the actual sporting event, it’s the marketing hype surrounding the game that’s more prominent. Why this particular game has attracted so much attention from marketers would be an interesting study. Anyhow, it provides an excuse to have the first party after the New Year, so its all good.
Like last year, here goes my bulleted post-SuperBowl The Party, The Event and the game, thoughts.
1. Starting-off with the food and drink: home-made chicken wings (best investment we have made on a kitchen appliance – a deep fryer) dipped in five different home-made sauces, thick juicy burgers, Nathan’s hot-dogs – all washed down with Warsteiner (from a min-keg) and an assortment of other beers.
2. In an attempt to be classy (ie pre-beer guzzling) – we had Bloody Mary cocktails. Now, Bloody Mary is more of a Sunday brunch than evening drink – but no one complained on the anachronism. I made it from scratch of course – using mixes available on supermarket shelves would have been a travesty (I ‘cheated’ only insofar as using bottled tomato juice, instead of making the puree fresh). With an unnatural lack of modesty, I have to declare that it rocked! The drink was hot and zesty with kick at the end to keep you buzzing for a while. Recipe shall be posted soon.
3. The SuperBowl Ads concept is now a victim of its hype and heightened expectations. Last year was disappointing and very few from this edition stuck in the mind. As usual, Budweiser, otherwise makers of the most awful lite beers in the world, had some of the better ones. The ‘wedding conducted auction-style’ and the ‘education of immigrants’ (featuring Carlos Mendia) were the funniest – with the Blockbuster animals trying to use a mouse a close second. FeDex was plain stupid.
4. The New York Time’s Stuart Elliot thinks, and I kid you not that all the SuperBowl commercials somehow reflected the violence of the war in Iraq ! You can’t make this stuff up.
5. Okay – we know that two black coaches were facing off in the game and it would be eventually an historical event with the first win ever by an African-American coach. But did the TV network, play-callers and ad agencies have to beat us over the head reminding it ? Prejudice will be a thing of the past only when an incident such as this happens and no one notices.
6. Probably one of the better half-time shows in recent memory (click the link for video). Prince channeling Jimmy Hendrix on a song by Dylan – priceless. Now, there were no wardrobe-malfunctions, but errr….I wonder how many complaints the FCC received for this:
7. The game itself: figuratively and literally messy in the steady rain with many turnovers and what-not. Exciting first half though. As Chicago made the punt-return touchdown, our first thought was the Ohio St-Florida game – the Bear met the same fate as Ohio St ! But I was rooting for the Colts all along and I am happy for both Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy – they have taken enough crap for supposedly being chokers. This should shut up the pundits for a while.
Now for 8 months of deciding what to do on Sunday afternoons.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, its no longer the town crackpot standing at the corner of Main Street with a sign – it’s your ‘reputable’ news-source that will have you scurrying to empty your bank balance and check out that neighbour’s wife who’s been eyeing you for all these years !
On July 31, CNN’s Paula Zahn Now featured a segment on “whether the crisis in the Middle East is actually a prelude to the end of the world,” marking the third time in eight days that CNN has devoted airtime to those claiming that the ongoing Mideast violence signals the coming of the Apocalypse. The segment included a report from CNN correspondent Delia Gallagher, which showed video clips of Christian author Joel C. Rosenberg comparing apocalyptic Scripture in the Bible to modern events.
Throughout the segment, an onscreen graphic of fiery horsemen appeared alongside the words, “Is it the End?” The segment also featured images of biblical drawings interspersed with video of toppled buildings and rubble from what appeared to be the current Middle East conflict.
On July 27, ABC’s Good Morning America joined CNN in featuring a segment on the potential coming of the Apocalypse, as indicated by current conflicts in the Middle East. Interviewing Christian authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, co-host Robin Roberts asked: “You see what’s going on: the bombing in Haifa and Israel and it’s so close to the valley of Armageddon. And when you think about that, and people see this and think about [it], is it indeed Armageddon?” Jenkins replied that “it seems like we are heading toward something, and people want to know what it is and want to be ready.”
Since I do not watch TV news, I would have been blissfully unaware of such media tomfoolery. But alas, about a week and half ago I was at the Denver airport waiting for a red-eye flight. It was pretty late at night and the TV sets in the gate area kept blaring out CNN News and in particular, Paula Zahn’s shrilled plugging of her upcoming ‘news-story’ about the impending apocalypse. I was in a drowsy semi-conscious state at the time and half-expected (or perhaps hoped) that it was all a figment of my satrical imagination, fuelled by the print edition of The Onion I had been perusing recently. Unfortunately, it was all too real – as I found out while watching The Daily Show a few days later (see clip below).
And here’s another data point: Joel C. Rosenberg, who writes Christian apocalyptic fiction, told me in an interview this week that he was invited to a White House Bible study group last year to talk about current events and biblical prophecy.
Rosenberg said that on February 10, 2005, he came to speak to a “couple dozen” White House aides in the Old Executive Office Building — and has stayed in touch
with several of them since.
Rosenberg wouldn’t say exactly what was discussed. “The meeting itself was off the record, as you could imagine,” he said. He declined to name the staffer he said invited him
or describe the attendees in any way other than to say that the president was not among them. “I can’t imagine they’d want to talk about it,” he said.
“I can’t tell you that the people that I spoke with agree with me, or believe that prophecy can really help you understand what will happen next in the Middle East, but I’m not surprised that they’re intrigued.”
Post-Scripts: 1. I started writing this on Wednesday – did not get a chance to post it earlier. But Wednesday evening, the local WB affiliate was showing a re-run of The Simpsons’ episode ‘Thank God, Its Doomsday‘, which has Homer predicting and waiting for the rapture ! Coincidence ?
2. If you really want to be prepared, keep an eye on the Rapture Index.
3. Finally, Jon Stewart at his mocking best, as usual.
Started watching the World Cup games (and don’t ask me which World Cup) from today (missed yesterday’s action due to a conference). After a while, was extremely fed up with ABC/ESPN’s coverage – the ‘play by play’ commentary is too inane, full of unnecessary jargons borrowed from American sports and too dumbed down, perhaps in an effort to target the ‘ignorant American’ audience. On top of that they had this sappy half-time feature that somehow tried to tie-in Germany’s Nazi and World War II past and their revival with the 1972 Olympics, the 1974 and this World Cup.
Anyway, finally switched to the Spanish channel, Univision – don’t understand much of what they are saying – but the inflections in their voice, especially the excitement whenever a shot is taken at the goal or someone is brought down by a heavy tackle etc, indcates that their heart is in the right place. Couple of points about the coverage. Firstly, crowd noise is more prominent in the Spanish channel – ABC mutes it down for some reason. Secondly, ABC has a 10-second delay in their coverage. What are they worried about – a waldrobe malfunction on the field ?
Any of you remember Yannick Noah – the flamboyant French tennis player sporting dreadlocks and sunglasses – he won the French Open in ’83 and captained their Davis Cup side for a while. He later went on to have a relatively succesful musical career.
Anyone ? Here is a picture to refresh your memories:
I used to like watching him play because he was quite the lively character on court. However, the reason for this post is that I saw him again today on TV – he was in the audience as his son, Joakim Noah, played a very important role in the University of Florida, Gainesville victory over University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Championship tonite. College basketball championship is quite the big deal out here. Especially, I live in a part of the country where there are four major colleges with great basketball programs – Duke, UNC, NC State and Wake Forest. So its tough not to get sucked into the sport. Besides, college basketball is quite fun.
Coming back to the point – seeing Yannick Noah on TV after a long time brought a flood of memories of watching tennis coverage on the venerable Doordarshan. This was way back in the dark ages when the period between overs in a cricket match would consist of analysis by Narottam Puri and Sunil Doshi, when the Saturday evening movie was a neighbourhood social get-together time (not everyone had TV) and when the start of Channel 2 was like the second coming! Good days those.
Side Note – while on college basketball, even those who do not follow it, but live in the US must have heard about George Mason University’s amazing run in the tournament. Regular blog-surfers will however be more familiar with its Economics department and the impressive list of top-shelf bloggers hailing from there. These include, among others, Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution, Bryan Caplan of EconLog and Don Boudreaux and Russell Roberts of Cafe Hayek. Here is an interesting Slate article comparing the successes of its basketball team and the ‘unusual’ economics department.
Several long posts are piling up as drafts, but I am really busy tying up some loose ends before I land up at Salt Lake City for a conference starting this weekend. Therefore more random thoughts as fillers. Read on if you must.
A day late, but here goes…..
Bunch of us joined several hundred million others to waste a perfectly good Sunday evening watching SuperBowl XL. For the uninitiated, the Super Bowl is championship game of the American football league, where for some reason the winner gets annointed as the ‘world’ champions in football. Now since every other country in the world actually plays real football, the moniker is almost true for this sport. However, the Super Bowl is much more than a game – its a TV event – undoubtedly the biggest one of the year in the US. I was reading somehwere that more people tune in to watch Super Bowl than vote in the elections ! Ever since Apple aired its famous 1984 commercial, Super Bowl ads have also become an event by itself. Companies pay sums equalling the GDP of some countries for 30 second exposures during the game. The half-time event usually involves performances by big rock/pop stars. This year featured the aging, but seemingly still going strong, Rolling Stones.
Much fun was had during the mandatory Super Bowl party at our house on Sunday. We did some backyard ‘tailgating ‘. Temperature was in the low 40s – bit chilly, but it warmed up with increasing beer and chicken wings consumption ! Click below to read my various thoughts related to the weekend event.
(From the CFS blog)
Btw, CSF is also hosting the latest Bharateeya Blogmela.