They Just Don’t Want To Know

Twice within the last 10 days or so I’ve gotten phone calls from survey firms. The first wanted to know about my radio listening habits. 70's TV with rabbit earsThe second was asking about how I get news on the Television. (Funny enough, I had to pause a podcast to answer this second call.)

Neither was very interested in learning much about my real listening or information-gathering habits though. When I told them that I listen to my iPod, not radio, and that I get all my news from Internet-based sources, not TV, they thanked me and hung up.

It sure seems like the companies that hired these survey firms (radio and TV marketing groups, I’m betting) are satisfied staying stuck in yesterday’s model and just aren’t ready to learn about alternative avenues that they might use to reach today’s potential customers.

Transformers

Nerdy guy, pretty girl, obnoxious parents, fast cars, hidden government organizations, chase scenes, giant robots, explosions… good times. Fun movie.

Transformers

Just make sure you see it in a theater where the projector’s in focus and the sound system doesn’t keep skipping. Truly, there’s less and less compelling me to spend money on such a mediocre experience.

It’s been a Harry Potter week

On a lighter note, I read book 5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – last weekend and saw the movie this past week. The book was, of course, much better than the movie. I understand that parts of the book needed to be cut to fit a script into a reasonable length, but what was left was pretty disjointed. The most disturbing though were the parts that were mostly cut, but little bits left in with no context or explanation. Much of the rest of the night was spent discussing the movie, and filling parts in for my wife who’d not read the book.

Yesterday and today I read book 6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and this afternoon started the final one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I may not get to sleep tonight, there are plenty of pages to go.

[nope, didn’t make it through that night. but I did finish Sunday afternoon. Very Good Book.]

War

My wife and I, along with our sons and their girlfriends, went to see The Bourne Ultimatum tonight. It was a good flick, a fun story, a satisfying ending to the trilogy. The camerawork and editing were way too jumpy, though perhaps that was magnified by the fact that the only seats open for us were in the third row, way over on one side. Yea, the theatre was crowded to say the least. I’ll be happy to watch it again on DVD when it’s released, in the comfort of our home on a screen that’s in the “right” place.

Before the movie started there were of course some previews. A western that looked pretty interesting, and a stack of propaganda movies. Pro-war, anti-war, pro-government, anti-government… I couldn’t tell by the previews and I don’t really care. They all blended together and I couldn’t tell you which ones went with which titles.

One scene stuck in my memory though, that of some government official trying to convince a reporter to write for him. He’s berating her, and ends with this

Do you want to win the war on terror? Yes or no?

[louder, with emphasis on each word] Yes   or   no?

What a crock. Despite what some people in the current U.S. Government and/or media may want you to believe, there can be no “war on terror” and there certainly can’t be a “win.”

War is a conflict carried on by force of arms between nations or between parties within a nation.

War is a fight against a defined enemy, one that can be defeated or which can defeat you. War is a set of actions with a concrete end, a defined event or set of circumstances by which success or lack thereof can be evaluated.

A country can declare war against another country – Germany vs. Poland etc., United States vs. Japan.

A country can declare war against an organization or government, or an organization against a country – Colonial Revolutionaries vs. Britain, United States & other countries vs. al-Qaeda.

But nobody can declare war against an idea or an emotion. “War against terror” indeed — that’s a non-sequitur. What does victory in such a war look like? How do you know when you’re finished? You may as well say you’re going to have a fist-fight against unhappiness.

If you’re going to Declare War, and have a justifiable reason to do so, fine. But be honest and call it by it’s real name. Don’t hide behind a nonsensical policy term.

(btw, “war on drugs” is just as stupid a phrase.)

Don’t Show the Video

For whatever it’s worth, I completely agree with Tim Sanders’ Don’t make killers rock stars [part 1] & [part 2].

Sports directors have long ago gotten smart enough to not show streakers or other fans who jump onto the field, knowing that the reason they do it is to get attention. Once the TV stations made it clear that they woudn’t show this nonsense, that there wouldn’t be any attention given, there was no longer a reason to do it.

Now this guy goes on a killing spree, and why? Because he feels he was ignored. He just wants posthumous attention, and probably felt he could get it because of coverage given to others. Let’s stop showing these idiots’ names, pictures, videos and manefestos. That won’t stop them all, but if it even would stop one person from acting out it would be worthwhile.

Dead Like Live TV

Today my wife and I finished watching the final episodes from the second season of Dead Like Me. The final episodes ever, as only two seasons were ever produced. I seem to have quite a knack for finding – and enjoying – quirky series’ that have already been cancelled. Dead Like Me. Carnivàle. Firefly. I even started enjoying the original Star Trek after it’d been cancelled and brought back in syndication.

These days I’m not as interested in syndication as I am in DVD releases and Internet distribution. it’s all much more convenient that way, watching on our own schedule. it’s much more enjoyable to watch through a season or two in a few weeks than it is to have to wait through months and months as shows’ network schedulers allow it to dribble out of their clogged pipes (or is it “tubes?”).

Anyway, I recommend Dead Like Me. It’s a good story, with humor and depth. There are still some unanswered questions but on the whole it had as good a season ending as might have been asked for.

Al Pacino, Inside the Actor’s Studio

When watching movies on DVD, I really like the “extras,” the looks behind the scene and the interviews with actors, directors and writers. Likewise, one of the non-fiction shows I enjoy is Inside The Actor’s Studio, getting a look into the actors’ lives.

Al Pacino

Today I was watching an interview with Al Pacino, of The Godfather and so many other excellent movies. As a fan of the entire, marvelous, Godfather trilogy, it was fascinating to learn some of Al’s childhood.

Al Pacino’s nickname when very young was “Sonny.” Not only that, but his parents separated when he was young, and he & his mother lived with his maternal grandparents. His grandfather, James, who had lived in the Bronx most of his life, was born in a small town in the Province of Palermo in Sicily… none other than the town named Corleone.