No, no they haven’t

Lately we’ve been seeing a lot of nonsense like this, from people who apparently cannot read what they wrote (in this case, “Jessica Shambora, Reporter” at

Sales of Kindle books, meanwhile, have surpassed those of hardcover books: Amazon announced last week that it sells 180 Kindle books for every 100 hardcovers.

That second part of the sentence does not support the first part. All Kindle book sales go through Amazon. Only a fraction of hardcover sales go through Amazon. It sure is an exciting statement, though, if one ignores it falsity.

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mrs. Nat’s TV, on her lunchtime home improvement shopping

“I was looking into windows, to see what’s out there.”

Published in: on July 16, 2010 at 3:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Say the secret word, get a tension

Reading the article “Priest used church money on male escorts, lavish lifestyle“, I can’t help but notice something in its absence. There’s a word that shows up nowhere in the article… and that word is “Catholic”.

There are many crimes for which it would not be reasonable to name the perpetrator’s religion. It would be inappropriate to note that a mugger is a Jew, or a drunk driver a Protestant. But in this case, by avoiding the description of the religion, they’re avoiding saying just who the crime’s target was, as money would likely flow from the local church up the chain.

I can’t help but to suspect that this omission was not just a slip, that someone thought the news had been giving it too hard to the Catholic church in recent days. That would be a poor reason to duck covering the facts.

Published in: on July 14, 2010 at 4:59 am  Leave a Comment  

The Bridge

When Canadians make comedy shows, they are often quite funny, sometimes classically so.

When Canadians make drama, it seems like they read a book about drama and it seemed like a really good idea.

The Bridge isĀ  a cop drama set in a carefully unnamed city, a la Hill Street Blues, and is named for the location of an individual division, a la Hill Street Blues. It’s about a rather clean looking set of cops, in an area where we’re told there are low-income criminals on one side of the bridge and high-income ones on the other side, but most of the crime in this story has cops involved in its commission. There is corruption up high, grinding down and exploiting the workers. There’s corruption down on the low level There’s corruption in the union. When the cops go on strike during the second episode, you can’t help but to suspect that this will actually drive the crime rate down.

Even the lead, who we’re supposed to support, blackmails a favor out of a priest. These are all characters who don’t quite seem real, having problems that seem very manufactured. Big drama, unearned. But that’s not the thing that really hands me up here.

You see… the lead, Aaron Douglas? He doesn’t look like Aaron Douglas. Well, he probably does… but not nearly so much as he looks like a young Michael Badalucco. I don’t mean in that, hey, there’s a vague similarity way; I mean that if someone told me that they computer-added a scanned-years-ago Michael Badalucco to this, I wouldn’t ask “really?”, I’d merely ask “why?” So I spent my time staring at that, ignoring most of the rest of this series.

And I think ignoring the rest of this series is what I’ll be doing.

Published in: on July 14, 2010 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Victory is mine

So I’m standing there thinking “am I really going to buy 8 more boxes of Frosted Flakes?” ’cause you see, I’ve got I think eight boxes of Frosted Flakes in my cupboard already, and we don’t really eat Frosted Flakes, I’m going to take them and give them away to friends. Kellogg’s has been running this Toy Story 3-linked promotion, with codes from three specially-marked boxes you get a $5 gift certificate for the concession stand at certain theaters (including one local one), for 6 codes you get a free pass to any Disney movie, and I’ve been glutting up on these, because if you find the boxes on sale and have a coupon, you can actually get three codes for close to $5, sometimes even less than $5, and since I go to the movies anyway, it’s like the cereal is not only free, they’re paying you to take it. Rice Krispies, Cocoa Krispies, Bite-Sized Frosted Mini-Wheats, we’ve been glomming them up. These are how my family saw Toy Story 3 and snacked while we did so. But the promotion is near its end, and there are fewer and fewer boxes bearing the codes on the shelves.

BUT there I was at Albertson’s (which gets an apostrophe, unlike Ralphs), and there’s a big list of Kellogg’s products @ $2.50 apiece, or $1.50 if you buy 8. And they’ve got plenty of Frosted Flakes with the code, and I’ve got a $1.25-off-three-boxes-of-Kellogg’s coupon, so for $10.75 I’d have 8 codes…. that’s $10 worth of concession cash (I don’t know of any Disney movies coming up in the near future that I’d want to see) and two codes left over, which is only useful if I buy something else before the code promo runs out entirely, so I’m risking being out 75 cents of value for eight boxes of cereal that I really don’t need. But then I think, what if I only get 6 boxes of the Frosted Flakes and meet the 8 item requirement by buying some cookies, which might be useful, so it’s like I’d be getting two packages of cookies for 75 cents total, and that’s a deal, might even be profitable if I have any cookie coupons (I don’t, alas)… so I head over to the cookie aisle and there are Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies, they’re on the list of items… and one of them has a blurb on the side for a free movie ticket for five tokens! So I dig through the pile and there are exactly 5 packets of Fudge Stripes, an eminently edible cookie, bearing the token. So booya, for $10.75 I’m getting three boxes of useless Frosted Flakes, five packages of at least semi-useful Fudge Stripes, $5 in concession cash, and an any-time, any-studio movie pass that you gotta rank as being worth at least $10.

I don’t exercise pointless consumerism. I consume to win!

Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Things that are making me happy on TV

  • Jonathan Banks exuding competent confidence on Breaking Bad.
  • That Hot in Cleveland is getting better, although it’s still not there. The individual performances are better than the material at this point, and even the performances are still suffering from taking turns rather than being integrated. Wendia Malick is winning.
  • Saving Grace going out well. Oh, sure, its spirituality didn’t end up to much, but Holly Hunter delivered well right through the end. It was well worth watching for her.
Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Plane Ketchup: Downfall

There’s an old joke about the poor man who always wanted to try blintzes, but could never afford it. But one day, his loving wife comes with a plate of blintzes. “Only, I couldn’t afford the milk neededl I had to just use water. And the eggs are smaller than they supposed to be. And I couldn’t get the right cheese, I had to use cottage cheese. And I couldn’t get apple sauce for the topping; I had to go with cucumbers.”

He takes a bite. “Thank you so much for trying dear – but what those rich people see in blintzes, I’ll never know.”

The show Downfall is like that. It seems clear that someone said “lets have a quiz show on the top of a skyscraper… and while the contestant is getting the answers wrong, we’ll be dropping all the prizes they aren’t winning off the top of the building.” And somehow, by the time the expenses are worked out, and the lawyers get their digs in, and various other practicalities are thrown in… its a quiz show where replicas of the prizes are dropped from a 100 foot “skyscraper”.


Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 5:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Plain Ketchup: Huge

Of all the first episodes of this summer season, my favorite is on ABC Family, which may seem a shock; I am generally not their target audience, nor have I been fond of what I’ve caught on there in the past, but… well, it’s Huge. It’s a show about teenage girls from the creator of My So-Called Life, Winnie Holzman, teamed with her daughter. Behind the able lead Nikki Blonski are Gina Firefly Torres and Paul “actually, he’s as likable in person as he is on the screen” Dooley.

The setting is a fat camp, and the focus is on the girls, their self images, their images of others, and how conflicts arise from those. And yet, not all is darkness. There are signs that some of the girls will thrive here, because they have each other, and because when it comes to romance, they suddenly see the chance, as they are in their element with no one to outshine them. In all, they are seeing the power of creating a world of only the outsiders, who are thus no longer the outsiders. I have lived through this experience myself, and there is much to be said for it.

And teenage girldom is not all there is to it; the first episode gives us just a taste of a storyline with Torres and Dooley. Remembering how well the adult stuff played out on My So-Called Life (which is high on the list of “TV Worth Worshipping” around here), I’m looking forward to this.

By the way, for those looking for MSCL links, it goes beyond just Holzman. There’s Dooley, of course, who played a grandparent on MSCL (and is, not so coincidentally, Mr. Winnie Holzman). But as the end credits flew by, I caught the name of Snuffy Walden providing music yet again.

My cable system seems to have just dropped ABC Family, or maybe they’ve moved it – I had to watch it on the network’s website.

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 5:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Plain Ketchup: The Gates

It’s a soap opera about a town full of vampires and werewolves.

If you’re going to do that, you either have to:

  • have silly fun,
  • do a really slow build into it ,starting wth the soap opera and teasing the weird stuff in to make it seem real, or
  • be damn emotionally accurate, so real about human beings that the biting types are either a context to reflect on humanity, or a clear allegory

This ain’t none of that.

But hey, The Gates has high schoolers who can invent a single-write lie detector that actually works, and who trust it works without rigorous testing.


yuck yuck yuck

Published in: on July 1, 2010 at 6:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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