A Rigged Game

  • 4 Comments

Last evening I had a chance to meet up with a friend and a friend of a friend to have a girl’s night out. Our respective spouses were together at the baseball game and so we fell to conventions and did a boys night/girls night thing.

The ladies decided that dinner and a movie sounded all right, so we stopped off at a fabulous San Francisco restaurant that served a very nice sangria and happy hour soft tacos. The prawn and also the pulled pork tacos were divine.

And then off to the movie theatre across the street from the restaurant where we got three tickets to see Magic Mike.

Now, the IMDB summary of “A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money” didn’t make this seem like my kind of show, but it the film was directed by Stephen Soderbergh. He does good stuff. And the film gets a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

So we decided to give it a try.

Let me cut to the chase: It was awful. The acting was terrible. The script was embarrassing and even the editing was terrible. In one scene the main actress had a tattoo. Then she didn’t. In one scene a supporting character had a full bottle of Pepsi, then it was empty, then it was full again. Sheesh!

Walking out of the theatre we wondered aloud how this crap movie could get such good reviews.

Which reminded me of the kerfuffle around the movie John Carter. The Good Man is a fan of the books and went to see the movie in the theatre. He genuinely liked it.

He said then that he felt the poor reviews were unfair. John Carter only gets a measly 52% on Rotten Tomatoes.

On the plane to London with time to kill, I decided to watch John Carter. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but I love a well told story in any genre.

I have to say, it’s a pretty good movie. Solid story line, well defined characters. The acting was a little sketchy here and there, but what rollicking lasers blasting sci-fi film has perfect acting, eh?

So after watching John Carter, I commented to The Good Man that the producers must not have paid off the right people to get the good reviews. I said it facetiously but after this whole Magic Mike debacle, it’s become my full on conspiracy theory.

Did the Magic Mike team pay off the right people while the John Carter crew did not?

Are movie reviews really bought and sold like trinkets on eBay?

Are movie reviewers on the take?

Could the whole movie industry maybe possibly be entirely completely corrupt?

Is the truth really out there?

Hmmmmmmm……







Image by Abdulhamid AlFadhly and used royalty free from stock.xchng.



Bits and Bobs

  • 3 Comments

Been here in England for a full week and I’m having a lot of fun. And working hard.

Ok. Mostly working hard.

But sneaking in a little fun where I can.

It appears that England’s newspaper industry is still going strong, and every morning I can hardly wait to read the latest edition of the Independent, known as the i, and the local Newbury newspaper too.

I love the Brit sense of humor, and I also love the i’s ability to report every little bit of local news with both journalistic seriousness and humor. I’d read more US newspapers if they gave me a little chuckle now and again.

Here’s a few clips from just this last week.


The Fonz and Me. That’s right, the same day I arrived, The Fonz was in town. He was visiting a primary school and promoting reading. Go Fonz! I’m not kidding when I say this was front page news.





Civic pride.This story made me laugh out loud on the train. I actually startled the young businessman sitting next to me.

It seems the mayor of a fairly small town decided that when it came time to greet the Olympic torch, she wanted to really bring forward the pride of Louth to the world.

So she dressed up as a sausage.

Read the short clip, especially the last line.





Very descriptive.As an avowed linguaphile and word nerd, I love, love, love listening to the Brits speak and their colloquialisms.

This is just the end of an article complaining about HSBC Bank’s new piped in music and adverts.

In the last two columns are the phrases “cock-up” and “crap the music altogether” that I want to use.

A lot.




“Hey boss, it looks like my team cocked-up the invoices this month, can we just crap the May payments altogether?”

I’m gonna guess US HR is gonna say no to that.


Stop or I’ll say stop again. And finally, this is my favorite. I’ve shown this photo to everyone who will look at it and even the locals shake their heads.

Here’s how I understand the story: the town of Newbury wants to cut down on people drinking way too much then getting rambunctious, so to that end, local bartenders have all agreed not to serve people who are already drunk.

Great, fair enough.

The article goes on to say, “Newbury Pubwatch has also introduced the concept of a warning letter which is hand delivered when an individual has been involved in a drink-related incident.”

Um. A letter?

That’s gonna curtail the hooliganism. I’m sure if it.






Whaaat? I Can’t Hear You.

  • 10 Comments

It’s so rare that I express any sort of kindness for ANY California politician from either side of the political spectrum, but today I am feeling a small bit of fondness for one Mz Anna Eschoo.


_____________________


Loud TV commercials to leave quietly, thanks to FCC


The Federal Communications Commission today is expected to pass regulations requiring broadcasters and cable and satellite TV systems to maintain constant volume levels. The order, which goes into effect one year from today, “says commercials must have the same average volume as the programs they accompany,” says FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Last year, President Obama signed into law a measure that Congress passed giving the FCC authority to address the problem. A Harris poll taken around that time found that 86% of people surveyed said TV commercials were louder than the shows themselves — and, in many cases, much louder. “It is a problem that thousands of viewers have complained about, and we are doing something about it,” Genachowski says.

While normal listening levels average about 70 decibels for a typical TV broadcast — 60 is equivalent to a restaurant conversation; 80 to a garbage disposal — levels on a TV channel can vary by as much as 20 decibels.

To comply with the new law, broadcasters can use audio processors to measure the loudness of a program over its entirety and adjust the volume of commercials accordingly, says Joe Snelson, vice president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. He said the goal is to avoid an abrupt change in volume when a show goes to commercial break.

Some broadcasters and pay-TV providers already have begun implementing the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM). DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer says the satellite provider is “ensuring that our commercial inserts are at the proper volume level and … (we) are working with our programmers to be in compliance with the rules the FCC adopts.”

Similarly, Cox Communications plans to make sure that local ads and commercials on national networks “are compliant,” says Cox spokesman Todd Smith.

“Slowly but surely, consumers are going to get something they have been wanting,” says David Butler of the Consumers Union.

“I never characterized this as saving the Union,” says Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., the original sponsor of the bill. “But consumers have been asking for it. We may not have peace in the world, but we may have more peaceful homes.”
_____________________



All that said, one *might* ask why, exactly, this issue had to pass through legislature.

I mean really, people.






Original link found on Shoeboxblog.com


A Party For A Glass

  • 4 Comments

There are a lot of adjectives that can be used to describe the City of San Francisco. Some flattering, some less so.

One word that always leaps to my mind is nostalgic. For a big bustling city, on the forefront of technology and food and lifestyle, the town can get really bundled up about the past.

From toppled clocks to fiberglass dog heads to the preservation of graffiti, the town will vehemently unite around a little quirky slice of the past. After the lamenting and handwringing, people will unite to lobby government, business owners and each other to put things back to right.

The latest example? Glasses. Plain ol’ glasses manufactured by the Libby Glass Co. of Toledo, Ohio.

But a special glass that oh so perfectly fits the town’s specialty of Irish Coffee. I, myself, have held onto many a glass of the type and shape that makes a perfect warm beverage. The same glass that the manufacturer decided to stop producing.

The City’s biggest purveyor of Irish coffee, the iconic Buena Vista at Fisherman’s Wharf, had stopped buying from the Toledo company and moved over to a Chinese manufacturer. With such a huge drop in business, the Libby Co. didn’t see why they should keep cranking them out. It just made good business sense.

Enter the tenacity of a nostalgic people. There was an outcry! There was vocal frustations. Pleading, begging and enough of a ruckus was made that the story hit the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle.

When the company read about the good people of San Francisco mourning the loss of the right glass, they made the decision to swallow some not-insignificant costs to resuscitate the glass mold and do a new run. If this stack of inventory sells well, they’ll consider doing another run.

And Irish Coffee drinkers rejoiced!

From the article in the SFGate:

“The queenly, petite glass…allows for just enough whiskey and not too much coffee, with barely room for three C&H sugar cubes at the bottom and aged whipping cream that floats like a halo on the top.”

Indeed. It’s another cool foggy summer evening in the City. Tourists and locals alike seem to get along pretty darn well over a perfectly poured Irish Coffee in the beautifully shaped, heat retaining glass.

For reference, in the photo below, the one on the left is all wrong. The glass on the right is our little beauty.



Photo credit: Susana Bates / Special to The Chronicle


Side note: A few years ago, the Buena Vista also changed their whiskey brand in favor of a private label. It was a shocking transition and the purists were not pleased, including me. The new whiskey isn’t as smooth as the other variety. Doesn’t keep me from drinking it, but it gives me something to complain about.


No Substitute for Sense

  • 2 Comments

As I’ve been fighting the demon of lactose intolerance, lately I’ve been sampling several different milk alternatives.

Soy, hemp, almond, grain, etc. All of ’em.

The one thing they have in common in the strongly worded admonition on the side of the container that the product shouldn’t be used as a substitute for baby formula.

All because of that one couple who fed only soy milk and apple juice to their baby, and the baby died.

So I’d been thinking about just this very topic recently when lo and behold, my friend NewMexiKen posted this today (from a 1956 Life Magazine):



Via The Consumerist, click image for full story.


From the ad copy: “For a fact, you can even give this sparkling drink to babies—and without any qualms. Lots of mothers do just that!”

Faboo! Sort of reminds me of the old family scrapbook I have where my grandparents wrote down the formula to feed their first baby. The recipe is Karo syrup and milk. My Aunt turned out fine, so I guess it was ok.