EppsNet Archive: Television

The Hedgehog and the Fox

6 Dec 2014 /

Stuffed hedgehogs outside a store in Athens

Hedgehogs “know one big thing” and have a theory about the world: they account for particular events within a coherent framework, bristle with impatience toward those who don’t see things their way, and are confident in their forecasts. They are also especially reluctant to admit error. For hedgehogs, a failed prediction is almost always “off only on timing” or “very nearly right.” They are opinionated and clear, which is exactly what television producers love to see on programs. Two hedgehogs on different sides of an issue, each attacking the idiotic ideas of the adversary, make for a good show.

Foxes, by contrast, are complex thinkers. They don’t believe that one big thing drives the march of history . . . Instead the foxes recognize that reality emerges from the interactions of many different agents and forces, including blind luck, often producing large and unpredictable outcomes. . . . They are less likely than hedgehogs to be invited to participate in television debates.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: “He Was Even Better as a Person”

12 Aug 2014 /
Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi greeting supporters from Bago State on 14 August 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A person named Will Arnett was taping the Conan O’Brien show yesterday when they found out about Robin Williams’ untimely demise.

Arnett said this: “As funny as he was — he’s truly one of the all-time greats — he was even better as a person.”

That’s a reliable formulation: As great as he was as a [thing the person was known to be great at], he was even better as a person.

Of course because the person was known to be an outlier at the one thing, he (or she) was almost certainly NOT even better as a person.

How great was Robin Williams as a comedian? Top 10? I don’t know, that’s pretty competitive . . . I’m thinking of Groucho, Cosby, Charlie Chaplin, Steve Martin, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Leno, Letterman . . .

But I’d say Top 20, definitely. So according to Will Arnett, Robin Williams was one of the 20 best people of all time!?

Was he a better person than Buddha? The Dalai Lama? Jesus? Mother Teresa? Abraham Lincoln? Gandhi? Socrates? Albert Schweitzer? Raoul Wallenberg? Nelson Mandela? Aung San Suu Kyi? Mr. Rogers? Your sweet, elderly grandma? Billions of other people doing their best to get along in the world?

I get that you might find yourself on the spot to say something nice about a person and you can’t think of anything to say but this “even better as a person” bullshit cannot be eradicated too soon in my opinion.


Are There Any Intelligent People Currently Living?

4 Aug 2014 /

I was at LA Fitness this morning . . . one of the TVs was showing an interview with Jameis Winston on ESPN. Winston is borderline retarded but thinks he’s articulate — a deadly combination.

He’s a very talented athlete. Just show clips of his athletic accomplishments. They’re impressive and fun to watch. Why would anyone want to talk to him or listen to him talk? The interviewer is paid to endure it, I get that, but why foist it on the viewing public? Maybe it’s the train wreck element. It was very painful to watch and yet I couldn’t look away!

Rarely is one person gifted in multiple ways. Some people are great athletes, some people are intelligent and interesting . . . the overlap between the two groups is very small.

Venn diagram: Athletic / Intelligent

Listening to Jameis Winston talk is like watching Milton Friedman take batting practice or Albert Einstein work on his five-step drop.

(I know the Milton Friedman and Albert Einstein references are dated but I’m having trouble thinking of anyone who’s a) highly intelligent; b) well known to the general public; and c) currently alive.)


One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: Tony Dungy Edition

24 Jul 2014 /
Tony Dungy

“What’s your beef with Tony Dungy?”

He said he wouldn’t draft Michael Sam. He’s not showing the requisite level of tolerance and inclusiveness toward people who are different than he is.”

“Isn’t Dungy himself entitled to tolerance and inclusiveness?”

“Oh, no. No. Absolutely not. Because he’s being different in a way that’s totally unacceptable.”

“So you’re not against intolerance as a matter of principle, so long as the ‘right’ people and groups get ostracized.”

“Right.”

“I don’t remember anyone until fairly recently saying that having openly gay players in the NFL is a good idea. Now that we’ve reached a point in history where everyone in America has a breezy indifference to homosexuality . . . everyone knows people, works with people, has people in their family who are openly gay . . . every single TV show and movie has at least one gay character — NOW people like you are ‘brave’ enough to support the idea, for the same stupid reason you never supported it before: because you don’t want to be on the wrong side of public opinion.”


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Stuart Scott

17 Jul 2014 /

I’m hearing on the radio this morning that Stuart Scott received something called the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs last night . . .

Who knew you could get an award for having cancer? I am exhausted by sports people, media people, entertainment people, sports media entertainment people sucking each other’s dicks.

Stuart Scott and people like Stuart Scott have killed my enjoyment of sports with their endless self-promotional bullshit while I’m trying to watch highlights. I hate sports and it’s all because of Stuart Scott. And now he gets an award for having cancer.

Everyone unfortunately has family members and/or friends who get cancer and battle it to the best of their abilities without receiving a goddamn award. It’s insulting to all of those people to give someone an award for having cancer and it’s doubly insulting to accept an award for having cancer.

I have come to bear witness! I have faced my own mortality. I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat and snicker.

Yes, you and 1.7 million other people diagnosed with cancer every year in the U.S alone.

I am exhausted with people putting their lives on display based on a delusion about their own uniqueness and importance. Oh what a plague.

Fuck Stuart Scott.


Raising Our Kids

10 Jul 2014 /


People I Thought Were Dead

26 May 2014 /

If There’s One Thing I Can’t Tolerate, It’s Intolerance

23 May 2014 /
Phil Robertson

NEW YORK (AP) — A&E has declined to comment on new video of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson reviving past anti-gay remarks.

His comments are included in a sermon delivered at his church in West Monroe, Louisiana, on Easter Sunday. Robertson includes homosexuals with other groups such as thieves and adulterers as hell-bound sinners.

Oooh, new anti-gay remarks. I’m trying to get appropriately offended about this but I can’t do it:

  1. As previously noted the last time he said the same thing, he’s not ad-libbing those remarks, he’s quoting a bible verse:

    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

    — I Corinthians 6:9-10

    He’s giving a sermon in a church and quoting scripture. If scriptural quotations offend you, stay out of churches. That’s pretty simple.

  2. There are a lot more adulterers than homosexuals. Why aren’t people offended by anti-adulterer remarks?
     
  3. “Going to hell” is not a real thing that happens to people. It’s a fairy tale. Calm down.
     
  4. There’s an old joke: “If there’s one thing I can’t tolerate, it’s intolerance.” If you see yourself as a fan of tolerance, diversity, “live and let live,” etc., apply it to everyone, not just people who think exactly like you.

Geoff Edwards, 1931-2014

6 Mar 2014 /

Geoff Edwards

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Geoff Edwards, the hip-looking 1970s and ’80s host of TV game shows including “Jackpot!” and two incarnations of “Treasure Hunt” died Wednesday, his agent said. He was 83.

“Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I’ve worked with,” said fellow game show host Wink Martindale. The two were DJs at pop radio station KMPC in Los Angeles.

Shocking, shocking news . . . Wink Martindale is still alive?!

RIP Geoff Edwards


Japan, Day 5: Snow Monkeys, Yudanaka

26 Dec 2013 /

Snow Monkeys

Jigokudani Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen Koen) is in Yamanouchi, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park (locally known as Shigakogen), and is located in the valley of the Yokoyu-River, in the northern part of the prefecture. The name Jigokudani, meaning “Hell’s Valley”, is due to the steam and boiling water that bubbles out of small crevices in the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs and formidably cold and hostile forests.

The heavy snowfalls (snow covers the ground for 4 months a year), an elevation of 850 metres, and being only accessible via a narrow two kilometre footpath through the forest, keep it uncrowded despite being relatively well-known.

It is famous for its large population of wild Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata), more commonly referred to as Snow Monkeys, that go to the valley during the winter, foraging elsewhere in the national park during the warmer months. Starting in 1963, the monkeys descend from the steep cliffs and forest to sit in the warm waters of the onsen (hotsprings), and return to the security of the forests in the evenings.

Wikipedia

Today we ventured into the cold and hostile forests above Nagano to visit the legendary snow monkeys.

The monkeys aren’t friendly or unfriendly. They don’t approach you but they don’t try to stay away from you either. They might sit still for a selfie but they won’t smile.

Snow Monkey

Snow Monkey

Snow Monkeys in Hot Springs (Onsen)

Snow Monkeys in Hot Springs (Onsen)

Yudanaka

We stayed the night at a ryokan (bed and breakfast) in nearby Yudanaka Onsen, a hot spring resort, where we enjoyed traditional accomodations, including a multi-course Japanese dinner and sleeping on the floor (on tatami mats and futons).

Our room didn’t have beds but it did have a flat-screen TV. There’s a limit to how much deprivation up with which a traveler is willing to put.

Traditional Japanese Meal

Traditional Japanese Meal

Onsen

Onsen

Traditional Japanese Accomodations

Traditional Japanese Accomodations


We’re Supporting Tolerance and Inclusion by Telling People to Shut the Hell Up

19 Dec 2013 /

“Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson has been put on an indefinite hiatus from filming the smash hit A&E reality series following inflammatory remarks about gay people he made in an interview with GQ magazine. . . .

In the interview, which appears in the January issue of GQ, Robertson, founder of the Duck Commander family business of duck calls, referred to gay people as “homosexual offenders” who would not “inherit the Kingdom of God.” He also said a woman’s vagina was “more desirable” than a man’s anus.

Phil Robertson

LET’S ENCOURAGE TOLERANCE AND DIVERSITY BY MAKING THIS GUY SHUT THE HELL UP!

Here’s Robertson’s full quote on “homosexual offenders”:

“Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. … Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

That’s a pretty accurate paraphrase of I Corinthians 6:9-10, which says

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the Kingdom of God.

A lot of people believe that’s the word of God. I don’t, but a lot of people do. In any case, it’s hardly extreme or “inflammatory.” It’s a bible verse. Why is it inflammatory to quote a bible verse as the word of God, but it’s totally cool to characterize Christian scripture as “vile”?

Also: you can’t be on TV if you find a woman’s vagina more desirable than a man’s anus?! A vagina is more desirable than an anus. That’s what keeps us going as a species.

A woman’s anus is more desirable than a man’s anus, but it’s not as desirable as a vagina. A man’s anus is a distant third in the desirability sweepstakes, and it’s even lower if you include mouths, sofa cushions, food products, etc.

This guy Robertson is on a “reality” show. That’s funny. There’s reality and then there’s “reality.”

He talks to a magazine and it turns out that in reality, he’s not as nuanced in his thinking as the people at GLAAD — whose job, by the way, is to be perpetually offended — would like him to be, and because of that, he can’t be on TV anymore.

I guess there’s such a thing as too much reality.


Why Aren’t Women Interested in Computer Science?

30 Nov 2013 /
The Big Bang Theory

According to this recently published research paper, women aren’t interested in computer science because of media portrayals like “The Big Bang Theory,” in which technologists are depicted as socially awkward, interested in science fiction and video games and physically unattractive.

If that seems like a compelling line of reasoning, you can read a more complete write-up in this WSJ.com article.

What I’ve never been able to figure out is why people are so interested in why women aren’t interested in computer science . . .


Rearview Cameras in Cars

15 Aug 2013 /

Gov’t delays requiring rearview cameras in carsAssociated Press

Rearview cameras in cars seem like a good idea. Who wants to accidentally back over a child or a pet, right? It’s upsetting, not to mention whoever the child or pet belonged to is probably going to hold it against you forever.

Let’s make rearview cameras required by law.

In fact, let’s make rearview and frontview cameras required, because kids and pets can get under the front of your car too, and running over them is bad, no matter what direction you’re going.

I’ve seen TV commercials where cars can detect obstacles in their path and stop automatically to avoid a collision. That’s great. Let’s make that required too.

In fact, let’s make so many features required by law that you can’t even buy a car anymore for less than $50,000.

You know what else is a good idea? Freedom, which is the reason we started up this country in the first place. Let people buy and sell whatever they want.


EppsNet at the Movies: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

11 Aug 2013 /

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

When you are young, your potential is infinite. You might do anything, really. You might be Einstein. You might be DiMaggio. Then you get to an age where what you might be gives way to what you have been. You weren’t Einstein. You weren’t anything.

That’s a bad moment.

Chuck Barris was way ahead of his time in recognizing how many Americans are willing to make an ass of themselves on television.

The tone of the movie is inconsistent — is it a comedy? a thriller? a tragedy? — but it’s entertaining.

Thus: Recommended!

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

An adaptation of the cult memoir of game show impresario Chuck Barris, in which he purports to have been a CIA hitman.

Director: George Clooney
Cast: Sam Rockwell (Chuck Barris), Drew Barrymore (Penny), George Clooney (Jim Byrd), Julia Roberts (Patricia Watson)

IMDb rating: 7.1 (64,041 votes)


Dog Eat Dog

2 Aug 2013 /
Cover of "Dog Eat Dog"

Land of snap decisions
Land of short attention spans
Nothing is savored
Long enough to really understand
In every culture in decline
The watchful ones among the slaves
Know all that is genuine will be
Scorned and conned and cast away

Joni Mitchell, “Dog Eat Dog”

You’re Gonna Like the Way You Look

31 Jul 2013 /

I know George Zimmerman has had a lot on his plate lately, but when is he going to get back to doing those Mens Wearhouse commercials?


Jane Lynch, Gay Divorcee

14 Jul 2013 /
Jane Lynch at Outfest 2010

Jane Lynch at Outfest 2010

Jane Lynch and her wife of nearly three years, Lara Embry, are planning to divorce.

“Lara and I have decided to end our marriage. This has been a difficult decision for us as we care very deeply about one another. We ask for privacy as we deal with this family matter,” Lynch told ABC News in a statement.

This is a great time to be a divorce lawyer. Legalizing gay marriage means more marriages, which means more divorces.

Also, emotion equals money in divorce cases. More emotion means more money for lawyers, and gay people are very emotional.

In keeping with a stupid but time-honored custom, the couple announces the divorce, then asks for privacy, which they’d be more likely to get if they just skipped the announcement.


James Gandolfini Will See You in Hell

21 Jun 2013 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

James Gandolfini is in Hell now. He says hi, and thanks for all the kind words.

I’ve been at this gig a long time now but it still amazes me the hyperbole that surrounds the death of actors. Every one of them who dies is one of the great thespians of all time, if you buy into the post-mortem hype.

Most lines of work have objective standards. When Joe Shlabotnik bites the dust, you can’t eulogize him as one of the great ballplayers of all time. But acting is something anyone can do well. You learn the script, say your lines and pick up your check.

“He died too soon,” people say. When was he supposed to die? Like we can’t find another fat Italian guy to learn a script, say his lines and pick up his check?

As George Burns used to say, “Good acting is when Walter Matthau says to me, ‘How are you?’ and I answer, ‘Fine.’ That’s good acting. If Walter Matthau asks me, ‘How are you?’ and I answer, ‘I think it fell on the floor,’ then that’s bad acting.”

George is in heaven now.

Gandolfini’s in Hell for a couple of reasons. He was married — not when he died, but a long time ago — to a woman named Marcy Wudarski. He divorced her in December 2002, after he got famous from being on the television. They had a young son together.

Listen up, big shots. And this goes for the ladies too. You wake up one day and realize that you’re famous and you’re married to a Polack from New Jersey. You took what you could get at the time but you could do a lot better now. (Gandolfini’s widow is an Asian ex-model.) Do you have kids? No? Fine! Do whatever you want!

But God likes for married couples with kids to stick together. He says that all the evidence points to kids with intact families doing a lot better in life. Yeah, I know you’re bored with your relationship but your kids aren’t bored with it so quit being selfish.

Reason number two: God gets angry when people pretend to kill and be killed for entertainment purposes. Heads up: A lot of folks are going to Hell over this one. Death is the main source of entertainment in the U.S. at this time. Death and karaoke shows. And God doesn’t like karaoke shows either.

Gandolfini is famous for being on a TV show that entertained people with violence and death. Who’s laughing now, fat boy?

See you in Hell . . .


You Say Anarchy, Sir, Like It’s a Bad Thing

15 Jun 2013 /
Thomas Jefferson

Frankly, one of our political parties is insane, and we all know which one it is. They have descended from the realm of reasonableness that was the mark of conservatism. They dream of anarchy, of ending government.

My fellow Americans —

I’ll tell you who’s insane: anyone who’s not dreaming of anarchy at this moment in history is insane. People forget that this great nation was founded by anarchists, born out of an armed revolution against a corrupt government.

As I said at the time, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

I assure you, though, that regrettably neither current political party dreams of anarchy. They both dream of exactly the same things: self-aggrandizement and rewarding their most powerful supporters with political spoils.

 

The well-known liberal cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a book a couple of years ago advocating a new American revolution. Unfortunately, while popular uprisings do continue to occur around the world, I am not optimistic that it will ever happen again in America.

The great majority of our citizens now are far more informed about fantasy football and reality TV than they are about current events. They understand politics at only the most simple-minded level: Team Red vs. Team Blue.

I’m Team Blue! Let’s go, Blue! BOOOOO, Team Red! Or vice versa.

Notice, for example, that all of the things that Team Blue hated so much about the George W. Bush administration are okay now that they’re being carried out by President Obama.

Obama didn’t stop the wars or the torture or the spying. He’s just as cozy with Wall Street. Gitmo is still open for “prolonged detention.” Moreover, he’s killing foreign civilians, and sometimes American citizens, with drone strikes, and he’s eliminating whatever civil liberties you think you have left.

Torture and war and economic collapse don’t matter as long as they’re being supervised by my team! Go Blue! We’ll all be in a gulag in 10 years. Go Blue!

Some despotic regimes around the world rely on starvation and threats of violence to keep the people in a state of submissive compliance. Here in America, the same collective stupor is effected via mindless entertainments and gadgetry.

I should raise myself out of depression, paralysis and failure and resist this massive government/corporate dystopia — but I might miss my TV programs.

In 1776, we decided that being Americans meant being free men and women, not serfs and lackeys. We mutually pledged to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor to throw off the abuses and usurpations of the Government, and to secure the blessings of Liberty.

How soon they forget.

I bid you God speed,

Thomas Jefferson, anarchist

Thomas Jefferson


We Know What You Like: Cox

8 Jun 2013 /
Cox Communications' "Digeez" mascot

A commercial for Cox Communications comes on the TV, the gist of which is that no one knows what the young woman in the ad likes. A sushi chef, for example, serves her an oddball concoction that she doesn’t like, and I forget the rest, but you get the idea.

“But here at Cox,” the ad goes on to say, “we know what you like.”

I say, “She likes Cox.”

My kid gives me a look.

“C-O-X. Cox. Come on, man.”


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