Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wasn't flying around the theater technology pretty much mastered over 40 years ago during the Broadway production of Peter Pan?
How is it that not one, but four actors (including children) were able to be flown safely, and relatively invisibly, about the stage in 1960, but come 2010 Julie Taymor and $65 million dollars can't produce a stage visual that doesn't seem like a kid with some clothesline, a pair of Spidey underoos and a really bad idea?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
So I ran a mile in the cold yesterday in tight red boy shorts and Santa beard. For charity. See?
It was the first annual NYC Santa Streak, sponsored by the site Why Leave Astoria?!. Modeled on the one in Boston, basically a bunch of people got together, donated either canned food or a gently used coat, stripped down and raced along side the East River on a cold and incredibly windy day.
More pictures here.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Not having basic cable, I scrambled around the internet looking for a live stream, eventually finding one, I'm somewhat ashamed to say, thanks to Twitter.
I missed the excellent cold open (which I watched this morning), but enjoyed Conan's return to the airwaves immensely. Was it a brilliant show? Only at times, but it was certainly was a strong show throughout. The set is a little underwhelming, especially when compared to George Lopez's raucous, sprawling concert-style setup which followed, but I laughed out loud when the giant remote-control moon began moving across the panoramic background view of the Pacific ocean. Andy actually had the best two lines of the night, with his "Mayans are freaking out" line at the prop moon, and especially his comment regarding the Conan Halloween mask ("It smells like tears inside!") All in all, a really good show and enough to make me tune/stream in for more.
In reading a bit of feedback and reporting on the first show, however, I find it odd that, because he referred to the NBC debacle in several of his bits, people are accusing Conan of wallowing in self-pity, and that he should "get over it."
It was his first show. For him not to reference the transition from NBC to TBS would have been disingenuous, as well as ignoring a particularly large elephant in the room. I suspect the NBC references will drop off considerably after the first week, other than it's use as the usual late-night comedy fodder for being a 4th place network.
It is hard to imagine someone dealing with the NBC Tonight Show situation with more class, wit and grace than Conan did. He was never whiney, he was never self-pitying, and he always kept things in perspective; in fact, he actively requested people not to feel bad for him, reminding fans that he was a multi-millionaire former host of the Tonight Show, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Those suggesting otherwise either have a short memory, or never really heard or read any of the relatively few choice words Conan had to say on the whole subject. They are, instead, attributing the media and fan furor over Leno's nonsense to O'Brien himself, when, in reality, he pretty much stayed above the fray, playing music and growing his beard.
Jury's still out on the beard, however.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
This year's Nerdtacular is a "Greatest Hits" event, featuring other encore presentations on Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride, the causes, treatments and science of cancer, and a discussion of race in role-playing games.
The evening will also feature "music and mental hygiene videos by indie-rock supergroup Overlord between presentations, and you’ll even have a chance to get the autograph of one of the original 20,000 Leagues crew members."
For more information on the presentations and presenters, go here: http://nyc.nerdnite.com/
And to purchase tickets, go... here: http://www.smarttix.com/show.aspx?showcode=3RD10
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Why do you insist on "fixing" things that aren't broken and, in fact, making them worse?
- You now have to go through multiple clicks to get to these "charts,"
- They display LESS information at a glance than the previous Most Viewed/Subscribed/etc... format (only 10 videos/channels per page?), forcing people to go through twice as many pages to view the top 100 of any particular category.
- it wastes half the screen with blank space, which is probably part of the ultimate plan, leaving a spot to clutter up the page with Google ads and forcing users to look at twice as many.
- You still only allow access to the Top 100. What if I'm tired of the same 100 channels and want to see, say, the Top 400-500th most subcribed channel, to get a sense of what everyone else is doing?
Your layout changes in general just seem to be for the sake of moving things around, not for any practical reasons. YouTube's design philosophy should be to ADD functionality, not just CHANGE functionality. Give us MORE features, don't bury existing features in an endless hole of drop-down menus.
I realize in the corporate world, various departments have to "show their work," so they can justify their existence, but this is pointless.
At the very least, do the following two things:
1. A view-style option so that people can go back to viewing more than 10 videos per page, and
2. For frak's sake, let us see the channel/video database past the 100th; it's favoritism of the worst kind.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Scene opens on a beer garden in Brooklyn. Man has just arrived from a roller derby bout where he watched an ex-lover from last year cuddling with an ex-friend in the stands, while also seeing his most recent Ex of a week ago's current lover, who is a member of said derby league. This recent Ex is also at the beer garden for the birthday party of a mutual friend. Some brief small talk occurs amongst the group before Man and Ex finally face one another. She stands and speaks...
Man shrugs sadly. She gives him a comforting hug and cheek kiss.
Man exits.And scene.
Monday, March 15, 2010
She then told me she was bringing me brown rice, which I didn't ask for (nothing new). I suggested to her that if her computer was so heavy, she should leave the rice at home and bring her computer.
She decided to bring both.
This is the computer she said was "too heavy."
And this is the computer with the bag of brown rice she brought me:
But now my blog finds me in Atlanta. Arrived this afternoon (Monday) and after finally scouting out a free source of WiFi in the airpoirt (Delta fliers take note: Screw ATL's lack of free wifi and go to the Delta "Recharge" Station, where you can find both an outlet AND a free linksys WiFi access point), I easily made my way to the OMNI hotel in Downtown Atlanta via the MUNTA ($2.25 each way).
(A bit of back story: I'm here visiting with my mother, who is in town from Thailand for a conference; her birthday is this week and she asked me to come and hang out with her. I've never been to Atlanta in my adult life, so voila, mini-vacation. Hence the hotel swankiness that I wouldn't otherwise be experiencing.)
After checking in, browsing the local Yelp for food recommendations, I went to wander around Downtown a bit. I didn't get all that far, but it seems to be a bit of a cultural and gastronomic wasteland. Lots of empty storefronts and streets, and what eateries were about are designed to cater to the college and convention crowd in the area. I popped into one recommended joint, the Calypso Cafe; about average Caribbean cuisine, stark decor, moderately priced, but they seemed to be out of half the menu. I had the "spicy" jerk chicken with plantains and rice and peas. Nothing to write home about (though here I am, writing about it.)
I strolled around the area a bit more. One thing I found confusing was that it was 50 degrees F, incredibly windy, yet some people seemed to be under the impression that it was much warmer, walking around in t-shirts and spring clothing. Furthermore, no one seemed to realize that they were supposed to be cold. The residents of Atlanta really need to learn to be cold and complain about the weather more - it's positively uncivilized.
Then back to the hotel to exercise a bit in their swanky fitness/spa center, take a bath, finish reading my sugary vampire novel and wait for my mom to arrive.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Folic Acid), Water, Malt, Sugar, Whey, Malted Barley Flour, Yeast, Soybean Oil. Zzesty Blend: Butter Flavored Oil (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Artificial And Natural Butter Flavoring, Vitamin A Palmitate And Beta-Carotene for Color), Imitation Parmesan Cheese (Water, Modified Food Starch, Casein And Or Caseinate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Powder, Salt, Sodium Phosphates, Stabilizers [Mono And Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan], Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid [As A Preservative]), Onion And Garlic, Spices, Salt, Lactic Acid, Butter Flavor, Tomato Powder, Bell Pepper. Dextrose, Citric Acid, Extractive Of Paprika And Lemon And Orange Oil With No Greater Than 2% Calcium Silicate And/Or Soybean Oil Added to Prevent Caking, Corn Meal (used in preparation).Not one, but TWO forms of artificial butter. "Zzesty" blend? What, because you were afraid of being liable for using "zesty?" How pathetic.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Back in 1992 they screwed up royally by not giving The Tonight Show franchise to David Letterman. The end result was that they split up their monopoly on late night. So while Leno may have been "winning" the late night wars against Letterman and Nightline, at best he was only ever capturing just over a third of the viewing audience, an audience that had been overwhelmingly watching The Tonight Show exclusively when it was the only game in town.
What followed was 17 years of mediocre, middle-of-the-road comedy. Ironically, during Leno's early, lean years, he and Jerry Seinfeld purportedly would sit around and make fun of the very sort of pablum he churned out night after night. Meanwhile, Letterman was proving his worth by being able to create and maintain a competitive late night franchise at CBS from scratch. The only good thing to come out of the Leno Tonight Show was the arrival to the scene of Conan O'Brien, a virtual unknown at the time who ended up, after a rocky first year, creating cutting edge, absurdist late night comedy that appealed to a young audience, and paving the way for the likes of the Farrelly Brothers, Todd Phillips and Judd Apatow.
On to the present, and NBC's complete lack of class and common sense. As of today, according to some sources, they have to decided to give Leno back the Tonight Show and fire Conan. To make matters worse, they are now blaming Conan for the ratings failures of the Tonight Show, refusing to lay any of the blame at the feet of the IDIOTIC decision to replace hour-length narrative and reality programming with 5 nights-a-week of Jay Leno. Even though Leno's show clearly was going to dilute the appeal of The Tonight Show from the get go by presenting what was an identical show an hour and a half earlier. Plus, Leno was a complete disaster, revealing that he is, in fact, simply not funny. The audacity of this revision of history makes one's head spin.
So who or what is to blame? Back to some history. When Jeff Zucker took over as Entertainment President in 2000, NBC was the number one network, and now it's in fourth place. Plain and simple, the buck stops with Zucker.
In the 9 years since, Zucker failed to create and grow a single, lasting narrative program, maintained only one reality show, The Biggest Loser (developed by Ben Silverman, who NBC then fired) and allowed their other successful programs, Fear Factor and The Apprentice, to whither and die on the vine. He had numerous chances to try to develop long term shows to replace exiting ones (Friends, ER, West Wing), and even had a handful of critical hits which could have done the job, such as Kings and Studio 60 (which ironically predicted the network's woes during it's run), but promptly cancelled them all after single seasons. He failed to acquire A-List shows such as Mad Men, letting other broadcast and cable networks pick them up and run with them, choosing instead to develop clunkers like the Friends-spinoff Joey and the meandering Las Vegas. Even going back to the proverbial well he failed to deliver, taking recognizable commodities such as Knight Rider and The Bionic Woman and creating properties that were, respectively, less than B-movie quality and mind-numbingly pretentious. And of course, recycling Leno at 10pm proved to be his most public failure to date.
It's easy to understand why Zucker has been such a poor choice to head NBC. He spent 12 years at the Today Show, where he helped make that brand a dominating number one morning show. Good for him. However, after 12 years of producing people talking about soft news and entertainment, that's ALL he was qualified to do. He hadn't the faintest idea how to create interesting and narrative programming. And because he produced a daily "news" show, he didn't have the attention span to understand that shows that rely on stories rather than sound bytes need time to develop an audience.
But Zucker's not solely to blame here. Jay Leno bears a huge share of this burden. Because "Emperor" Leno isn't wearing any clothes. He's NOT FUNNY. His 10pm show was even weaker than his Tonight Show in terms of content, and no amount of band riffs can cover up his over-reliance on typos, viral videos and making fun of unexpecting people on the street.
"Oh yes, Jay, show us how stupid people are by asking them simple trivia questions - you're quite the everyman. But don't attack the people in power who have created the educational void that's led to that ignorance - no, no, that would rock the boat! Comedians don't do that, right? "
Even the opening of his new show was unbearably egomaniacal. A montage of clips of Jay Leno growing up? Are you SERIOUS? Where was the ending shot of him awarding himself the Congressional Medal of Honor?
Meanwhile, back in the present, Conan O'Brien has been conducting himself with poise, humor and dignity, releasing a brilliantly worded (and quietly hilarious) statement of his position. And in response, NBC executives, Dick Ebersol in particular, have started hurling dirt at him, trying to scapegoat O'Brien for all of NBC's late night woes. Truly school on a Saturday boys... school on a Saturday.
But why? Why is NBC screwing over O'Brien so badly and not standing by him to try to maintain both the Tonight Show and NBC brands? It hardly makes business sense - the sanctity of the brand is far more valuable a commodity than short term ratings and revenue; it's obvious NBC understands this as they plan on losing $200 million on the upcoming Winter Olympics.
So why? Well, and this may be a stretch, I think it's personal. When Jeff Zucker was at Harvard he was editor of the Harvard Crimson, the school's newspaper, where he encouraged competition with the Harvard Lampoon. The Lampoon was always funnier, better written and more popular than the Crimson. And the editor of the Harvard Lampoon? Conan O'Brien*.
For Jeff Zucker, revenge is a dish best served pathetic.
Join the "I'm With Coco" movement on Facebook!