Saturday, August 09, 2008

It's Not the Triumph But the Struggle


For the first time ever, the Olympics come to the Asian mainland for better or worse. Like pretty much every Olympics recently, the lead up was mired in questions on how the would come up thanks to construction and pollution questions. Then there was the added tension of political protest following the Olympics torch wherever it went. Politics aside (besides of course the Obama/Paria Hilton ad that ran) this should be the most contested medal count race since the Soviet Union desolved. Here aresome thoughts of the opening cerimonies that featured 15,000 performers and cost 300 million dollars.

- The Olympics just are not the Olympics without Bob Costas. I do not think I can remember on without him.

- I was surprised to hear that George Bush is the first sitting president to go to a non-American hosted Olympics. Considering most are lame-ducks by the time the Summer Olympics roll around that someone would like the vacation. Leave to Bush who took more vacation time in his first year than most had in their whole term to do so.

- Odd that the national anthem of a Communist country is called March of the Volunteers.

- And like many Olympics before it, the Opening Ceremonies is full with stuff that despite looking cool, I have no clue what they are trying to get to get across and that is even after the commentators explained everything. That whole painting scroll thing is just the most bizarre thing I have ever seen.


- And I am corrected already. After those flowing boxes stop and all the people popped out is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen.

- The Parade of Athletes is at the same time the best and worst part of the Olympics. It is excruciatingly long, but thanks to the length Bob Costas starts to go off script and says some inane things. But what was with the bagpipes through the parade?

- Another part of the Parade is the native costumes with African nation always being the best best. The Americans as usual are lane. This year created by Ralph Lauren complete with ascots and Berets.

- The whole footprint thing is pretty cool.

- Wait, there is no more Zaire? When did that happen?

- Okay, the torch lighting was the most bizarre of them all. Consider my mind blown.

- After all that I flipped throughall the NBC networks and no games yet even though it was noon over there.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Let the Games Begin


By the time you read this the Olympics will most likely already started (although we have to wait for the tape delay to witness the start later tonight). Below are a couple of widgets to to keep you up to date with what is going on with the games. And of course, for all things Olympic, head over to NBCOlympics.com.


TV/Online Listing




Results and Schedules




Medal Count



Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cleaning Out My Inbox vol. IV


A plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on My Boys, the Olympics, Monster Ark, Son of Anarchy, and Larry Flynt. Yes, Larry Flynt.

- Tonight is the summer finale of My Boys at a special time of 10:00. Will Bobby get married? Will the best man show up? Will anyone find out about Kenny and Stephanie? Will my prediction that Mimi Rodgers is Bobby’s mom be right? Here is a clip to hold you over:



- In a story I broke this past weekend, The Olympics start this tomorrow and despite all the blatant commercialism I am geeked about it. In fact the living room is stocked with two televisions, one with picture in picture, and a computer that I hope to log at least half of the proposed 3,600 hours NBC is offering. And if I were not geeked enough, then NBC sent me over this video:



- A couple more Olympics items, as previously mentioned NBC.com will be an interregnal part of the coverage this year. There will be exclusive live video of the action from trials and Olympics, access to Olympic Zone, stories, video and slideshows from your hometown and comprehensive TV and Online Olympic Listings. So head over to NBCOlympics.com and enter your zip code for all that.

- A little late on this one, but Man vs. Wild premiered last night yesterday for it its latest season on the Discovery Channel. But this is cable so I bet it will be repeated a few time before the next episode and I think it was Bear recapping his greatest accomplishments on the show, i.e. the nastiest. Catch future episodes of Man vs. Wild at its new day and time next week, Wednesday at 10:00. Here’s a promo:

video


- This Saturday on the Sci-Fi Channel is the movie premiere of the Sci-Fi Original Monster Ark starring Renee O’Conner and Tommy “Tiny” Lister at 9:00. Here is a synopsis:

In present day Turkey, a satellite photo reveals an ancient ship imbedded in the ice at the top of Mount Ararat. Believed to be Noah’s Ark from the great flood an expedition is formed to find the lost ark. What they discover is that Noah built two arks. His first ark was built to cast out a deadly creature, hoping to drown it at sea and protect mankind… and the creature still lives inside the ancient wreckage.

- Here is another promo for FX’s upcoming Sons of Anarchy this time with some actual footage of the show featuring Peg Bundy and Hellboy.

video


- When you receive an e-mail entitled “Larry Flynt Does IFC” you have to share. Tonight at 9:00 the channel is airing a new documentary on Flint called The Right to Be Left Alone which includes rare footage like the precedent-setting Supreme Court case against Jerry Falwell, Flynt’s prison sentencing for refusing to name his source in the FBI entrapment tapes of John DeLorean, and Flynt’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns. Head over to IFC.com for a nine minute trailer.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I Want My Music Television vol. XXXIII


There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.


Viva la Vida (Anton Corbijn Version) - Coldplay



Coldplay made two videos for the first half of the title track. The Hype Williams directed version (see here) just looks like an extended version of their iPod ad. Interesting enough people said that Violet Hill was a rip off of Depeshe Mode’s Enjoy the Silence and this version, by the band’s admittance, is an homage to that very video directed by Anton Corbjin.


Just a Dream - Carrie Underwood



Who had Carrie Underwood making the most poignant statement of the Iraq War? Dude, put your hand down. You do this by taking the politics out of it and have Carrie take the view of a young widow of an Iraqi Vet. The morphing from the wedding to the funeral is just chilling.


Carmensita - Devendra Banhart



You know when you are at the mall and you occasionally see an unbelievable hot chick waling with some weird dude and think, “Huh?” That is pretty much my whole thought process watching Natalie Portman prance around with Devendra Banhart.


Love Is Noise - The Verve



Not sure how I feel about a reunited The Verve. I was pretty much content with Bittersweet Symphony going down as one of the greatest one hit wonders ever even if Love Is Blind is a decent enough song.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hear the Piano do the Crying Now



From the opening notes of Green, it is surprising to learn that Brendan James self taught himself the piano. Not only that, but he did so by sneaking into hotel ballrooms to practice on their eighty-eight keys. Also a late bloom in the writing department, he never started taking down his lyrics until his sophomore year at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

This inexperience on the bench doesn’t shine threw on his debut album The Day Is Brave. There is grandeur about many of the songs that suggest a more seasoned artist. That is even if some of the songs do seem to blend together at some points. But the ones that stand out are striking. The Other Side (not to be confused with the great David Gray song) starts off like many of the others but quickly morphs into a bouncy fare on par with classic Elton John circa Captain Fantastic.

The other standout on the set is Hero’s Song. Where most songs about Iraq get bogged down in heavy-handed political statement that skimp on actual musicianship, the first person account in James’ song has a melancholy that pulls at the heart especially with lines like I cannot die this way.”

Elsewhere on the album the new songwriter does run into rookie mistakes like unneeded namedropping of Kurt Vonnegut, John, Paul, Ringo, George, and his parents whom both get mentioned multiple times. Maybe if James sneaks into a couple more ballroom, he may be able to nail out a classic in the near future.

Song to Download - The Other Side

The Day Is Brave gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.



Monday, August 04, 2008

Feed Your iPod vol. XXI: Two Wrongs


What ever happened to City High? They were poised to be the next big thing after the success of the great What Would You Do. Then nothing. Even when the hot chick from the group hooked up with Wyclef Jean on this great song it failed to get much recognition. Then continuing with that bad luck, the next time she hooked up with ‘Clef was for Dance Like This that later got turned into the massive Shakira hit Hips Don’t Lie two years later.


Two Wrongs - Wyclef Jean featuring Claudette Ortiz Wyclef Jean - Masquerade - Two Wrongs



Sunday, August 03, 2008

It's the End of the World as We Know It


It has been a while since I have read Revelations but I am pretty certain one of the signs of the apocalypse happened this past week and how appropriate in these days and times it can be viewed on YouTube:

Celeb


Yes that is Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in a political ad. When I first saw this I thought I was watching a Daily Show produced campaigned ad but no, it is from John McCain and he approved that message. Sadly this isn’t the first time with has crossed politics as Britney appeared in a Pepsi commercial with Bob Dole and four years ago Paris was seen sporting a “Vote or Die” t-shirt, but didn’t promptly die after not actually registering to vote. And if that wasn’t enough for McCain, he later released an ad with Moses, or at least Moses to gun nuts, Charlton Heston;

The One


Now here is a smart ad. If I were running the McCain campaign I would be going around, “Yeah because the last time we elected a drug addict with no experience and a God complex, that ended well.” And Friday Obama suggested a $500 energy rebate, because the last time a president gave us a rebate, that really helped the economy.

McCain wasn’t the only one with a silly brush with pop culture as Obama had yet another rapper write a song for him:

Politics as Usual - Ludacris


Naturally Barack distanced himself from the song calling it, “Outrageously offensive” with his spokesmen adding, “As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to.” This then begs the question why is Ludacris on Obama’s iPod to begin with if he truly believes this because almost all of Luda’s songs have misogyny, materialism or degrading images and some have all three. This is the guy who wrote Move (Expletive Deleted), (Expletive Deleted) Poppin, and written such profound lyrics as, “How you ain’t gonna (expletive deleted), (expletive deleted) I’m me,” “Stop, drop, kaboom, baby rub on your (expletive deleted),” “If you hold the (expletive deleted) stead Imma milk the cow.” And let us not forget that this was the guy who proclaimed he’s “got (expletive deleted) in different area codes.”

All this from a guy Obama has called “extremely talented.” Although shouldn’t someone who is “extremely talented come up with a line better than, “McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed.” Seriously, what does that even mean? Couldn’t he come up with a better insult than that? But, yeah, George Bush is mentally retarded.

All this ties into the theory that this election will disturbingly be decided by the so called “Low Information Voters” and you really don’t get much lower on the information ladder than from people who dress up an attend Comic Con. Of course the people behind the Obama Girl videos were there to take an informal poll.

The Dark Knight and Ron Paul


Interestingly enough the comic book nerds seem to be leaning Republican who lends some credence that The Dark Knight is a euphemism for the Iraq War with Batman doing his best George Bush impression. And yes, this election will be decided by people like the chick who said McCain but changed only because her friend said Obama. It is really time to bring back the IQ test before letting people vote.

Amongst all that low info crap, I was surprised to see someone actually talk about education this week for the first time in this presidential campaign. Keep in mind it Obama wrapped up his nomination in early June. I guess at that rate we will only hear about education one more time before the election. But anyways. Head over to MSNBC.com to read McCain Criticizes Obama over Education Policies.