As I was carrying in the groceries today, the phone rang. I picked it up, and a recorded female voice said “You are currently the only person in this conference.”
When Hugh Laurie showed up on US TV as a medically-brilliant, personally-nasty doctor with problems on the series House, it was a performance both brilliant and shocking, being diametrically opposed to the light comdy bubbleheads that Laurie had been appropriately known for.
When Stanley Tucci shows up on US TV as a medically-brilliant, personally-nasty doctor with problems on the series 3 Lbs, he’s playing the basic Stanley Tucci performance. He’s a good actor, but there’s no surprise there. And the show feels like House without the degree of interesting medical mystery or sense of whimsy. Nothing special shines through the first episode. If you want more medical drama, here it is.
Just saw a L’Oreal spot advertising “The most advanced Revitalift in ten years.” So… why did they stop reusing the more advanced one they had a decade back.
While searching for small pillows that will fit our daughter Allison’s new bed, we found this pillow, which has this useful information on the web page:
Ah, those feathers from the Pacific coast of Europe… which is where, exactly? Sounds like horsefeathers to me! (And yes, that next line does say it has an allergy free warranty. Good to know that the warranty has no allergies.)
And while looking around, we also found a product with the tough-to-parse name of Save The Children On My Papa’s Farm Drapes.
It’s voting day. It’s a flawed system… but less flawed than any other way one might fix the system.
So, you weren’t planning to vote? Hey, it’s cheap fun. If the person you voted for wins and do well, you can be proud of them; if they do a bad job, you’ve earned the right to be pissed at them for not living up to your expectations. And if they lose, you can look at all the bad things the new guy does and take satisfaction that you at least tried to stop that schmuck.
Don’t know the candidates well enough? You can still cast a meaningful vote — me, I cast most of my votes for third-party candidates. In my state, the incumbent who got into office under ridiculous circumstances and took a while to learn that bullying doesn’t work in office here is running against a guy who is so uninspiring and uninspired that his campaign relied primarily on equating the incumbent to Bush. Problem is, no one in the state was about to fall for that, as the incumbent is pretty much the other end of his party’s spectrum. The outcome of this vote is decided, so there was nothing to lose by casting a vote against the whole “two party” system, showing a little support for a third. Remember, the big thing standing in the way of third party candidates is people feel they can’t win and thus don’t support them – every vote you send their way make them look more viable in the public’s eye.
That’s not how I voted every race, mind you. If there was someone truly competent, I voted. The odds of me knowing they’re competent is slim, as my attention has been elsewhere this year. But there was a vote to cast that way.
I can’t tell you much about the local candidates… but in certain realms, I don’t think things are being handled well, so I cast on the “throw the bums out” system, voting against incumbents.
And then there are the propositions. We had a bunch of those this year… and luckily, on most of them I didn’t have to consider the issues too deeply. Look, here’s a bunch of things they want to finance by issuing bonds. Sure, improving the schools and the roads are good, even necessary… but none of these are unexpected interuptions. Schools and roads always need to be improved. This should be an ongoing expendeture and part of the budget, not a one-time expendeture with ongoing payments. Nay, I say!
Here are a bunch of ones that are clearly underwritten by some special interest in the hope of lining their pockets at our expense… generally “Save the puppies” laws. You know, “this proposition will save all the puppies and give the plastics industry millions of dollars to help them pollute the sreams.” I’m too smart for that.
Then there are the taxes. I’m not a “no new taxes” kind of guy (although I think the world would be better if we found a single point in the economic cycle to drain taxes from – the amount of effort that goes into tracking all of the different taxes is silly.) However, don’t give me a tax that adds a lot of overhead effort to small effect. That kills one of the new taxes on the list. Two others seem similar – a tax on cigarettes to fund medical stuff, and a tax on gas use to fund alternative energy. Both are pushed as taxes that discourage bad behavior by making it more expensive. The difference? Discouraging gas use is fighting against actions that harm everyone through pollution. Taxing smoking is charging people money for choosing to damage primarily themselves. I’m more freedom-oriented than that. (Besides, while smoking isn’t my vice, it sounds too much like taxing a vice I like. No comic book tax!)
And one badly=-placed tax to pay for election reform — it’s one of those “you get the benefits, we tax someone else” pushes (and yes, there’s some of that in the gas tax as well.) That rankles me — ask people if they’re willing to pay for the government they want. That would be the honest thing to do. But I want the reform, so I held my nose while voting for this compromise.
Did I vote right? Vote wrong? Danged if I know. But I kept my right to complain!
Apparently, the Tim Minear series Drive has been picked up by Fox. Now, I’ve seen the first few minutes of the pilot, and this is kind of an odd series. It’s about an undercover cross country road race, which means that much of it (or at least of the chunk I saw) is taking place in cars, with discussions among people in the car. This leaves it effects-heavy; with that much work in cars, you can’t just use the usual car-filming tricks (and there are some smooth but played up transitions between cars.
I’m not one of those built-in Minear fans. Angel didn’t get really good until he left and Joss became more clearly involved. Wonderfalls was something I was supposed to like, but didn’t. I won’t claim to do a full judgment on this based on a few minutes of a pilot that is likely to be released before it airs, but I will say it kept my attention for those few minutes, despite being dubious that the premise has the depth for a good series. There were’ some people I like in it (Alan Ruck, and the stalking next door neighbor gal from Two and a Half Men.) I look forward to seeing a full episode, at least.
Things have been slipping off of my viewing list. Gone are Brothers & Sisters, Six Degrees (the one interesting storyline has fizzled off on a silly level, with some ridiculously-designed problems being thrown in the way of the photographer who strives to rebuild his life), and my goodness, Desperate Housewives. I missed taping one, and realized that I may have missed it, but I didn’t miss it.
I’ve actually been catching up on Heroes.
I have to keep remembering to videotape House. Yes, I have two DVRs. What are they taping at that time? Oddly, they’re both taping Veronica Mars. Why? Well, my TiVo is borrowed from some VM fans who are currently touring the country, so I’d like to return it to them with the full third season. But frankly, the vieo quality of the TiVo in high-compression mode is two grating on Mrs. Nat’s TV, so we tape it on the ReplayTV so that we can watch it.
Neil Patrick Harris has outed himself.
For a while, when this happened, folks would say “how can we take x-and-x seriously in his romantic roles now that we know he’s gay. And besides, the gay ‘lifestyle’ will give him no insight into real love.” Harris is currently doing a brilliant turn on How I Met Your Mother as Barney, the nattily-dressed urban professional who spends his life using deceptive practices to make sexual conquests in bars, going to extreme measures to make sure thatno personal entanglements ensue. Somehow, I don’t see the gay-uncomfortable folks saying that he’s got no insight into that lifestyle.
(The timing’s good; coming close on the heels of another coming out which was met largely with shrugs, this is likely not to have much more impact than that. Of course, the real question is not whether it will cost either of the actors their seats on their current successful shows; that’s not the world of today. It’s more about how people will consider them when casting for their next role.)