Archive for the ‘television’ Category

Einstürzende Cosgrove

January 4, 2011

The kids had dueling stereos playing in the living room this morning. In the one corner was Sparks Fly by Miranda Cosgrove, and in the other corner was Halber Mensch by Einstürzende Neubauten.

I swear I am not making that up. They were also perfectly content to have both playing on repeat mode for several hours.

The overall effect of the aural clash was the impression that Dieter from Sprockets had been tapped to run Nickelodeon (which, now that I think about it, would do a lot to explain how much of the humor in shows like iCarly and SpongeBob SquarePants somehow makes it in there).

Dieter from Sprockets, from Wikipedia.

We all know who SpongeBob's real creator is.

The Cosgrove CD was a Christmas present from the grandparents to our three year-old son, while the Neubauten album is something I’ve had in one format or another for many years.

That a couple of preschoolers would enjoy listening to treacly tween pop isn’t the least bit surprising, but their enjoyment of Einstürzende Neubauten is only surprising until you stop and think about it for a moment:

  • What do toddlers and early preschoolers enjoy doing? Banging and scraping stuff together loudly, especially if they’re metal pots and pans, with occasional random screaming.
  • What has Einstürzende Neubauten made a career out of doing? Banging and scraping stuff together loudly, with occasional screaming.

Add the two together, and of course little kids are going to like avant-garde German industrial music from the mid 1980s. They haven’t had the chance to form a preconceived opinion that it’s strange yet; all they know is that it sounds kind of like what they like doing anyway.

Add processed pop music targeted at kids to the mix, and they’re all over it — which is how we ended up with Einstürzende Cosgrove playing in the living room, over and over again, all morning. To them, that isn’t weird at all. I, on the other hand, was ready to curl up into a little ball muttering, “Can’t sleep – clowns will eat me,” by lunchtime.

I can’t help but wonder what a DJ mashup of the two albums would sound like, if only for the entertainment value provided by potential track titles like “Kissin’ Yü-Gung” or “Shakespeare Brennt.”

Anyway, now is the time on Sprockets when we dance.

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Quote of the Election Day

November 1, 2010

“Okay, ’bout half and half. That means half of you are stupid. Discuss.”

— Eminent TV philosopher Sam Puckett

Ye Olde Scotland Ho, Scurvy Dogs!

September 18, 2010
Two crudely drawn stick figures in ninja costumes at "Ye Olden Ren Faire" saying, "Yarr Matey! We be Klingons!"

When Nerds Go Senile.

Speaking of dorks, my wife has our three year-old son at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire for the second time this month. The theme this time is “Scottish Weekend,” which makes no sense at all to me since International Talk Like a Pirate Day is tomorrow. “Pyrate Weekend” (yes, that’s how they deliberately misspell it) was in August for some reason.

Does knowing when Talk Like a Pirate Day falls every year and criticizing the PA Ren Faire on a blog for not synching up with it make me a dork, too?

Anyway, for now I’m at home with our one year-old daughter and focusing on activities that hopefully won’t result in her getting beaten up on a regular basis in school, like learning to shout, “Hab SoslI’ Quch!” to random passers-by, especially if they’re Scottish.

I Don’t Know Whether I Should Be Proud or Ashamed

September 3, 2010

Our 19 month old daughter climbed onto the sofa, grabbed the remote control from the top of the sofa, and flopped down on the couch.

She then proceeded to press the correct button to turn on the TV and put the remote down. The satellite receiver was off, so the screen just showed snow. She then picked up the remote again and pressed the right button to turn on the satellite receiver.

Luckily the receiver was set to a Sirius music channel rather than actual television. All the same, she tossed the remote to the floor and proceeded to lounge back on the couch with her head on the armrest.

An Update on “The Loungie”

May 20, 2010

Back in December, in the kind of groundbreaking work of serious investigative journalism for which this site is held in wide esteem in my mind alone, I reported the existence of what may perhaps be the stupidest television commercial ever created: “The Loungie.”

At the time, no video footage of the commercial existed on the Internet. In fact, I and one other person on Twitter were the only people to be found online who mentioned seeing it.

In April, the ad apparently started running again. It would only be a matter of time before it, like the coelacanth, would be captured.

Finally, on May 8, an alert reader (I’m kind of amazed this blog has readers, let alone alert ones), posted video footage of the commercial in the comment section of my original Loungie newsflash.

I, in typically alert fashion, only noticed this tonight, nearly two weeks later. So, here’s the video for your edification:

I love that it’s an English language commercial now airing on Telemundo. That’s some smart marketing jujitsu right there.

How the Occult Can Save NASCAR

May 18, 2010

While I’ve always been a sports fan, there are certain sports that I could never get into. Stock car racing is one of them. It’s not that I don’t recognize the tremendous amount of athleticism, finely trained reflexes, and incredible reserves of stamina it takes drive a car 500 or so miles in heavy, darting traffic at breakneck speeds, nor is it that I don’t understand how physically and mentally taxing it is to work on a pit crew.

The NASCAR logo

From Wikipedia.

For whatever reason, I just have no interest in it. Maybe it has something to do with my background in track & field, distance running, and cycling. On some very visceral level for me, any race where people don’t propel themselves under some direct form of their own power doesn’t qualify as “racing,” no matter how well I understand intellectually just how physically demanding it is to drive a race car or jockey a horse.

I’m not like a few of my relatives, who will gladly sit in rapt attention for hours while listening to a NASCAR race on the radio, which is a behavior I find truly baffling. There are certain sports that lend themselves well to radio broadcasts. Baseball, for instance. Any race of any form longer than a sprint really doesn’t fall into the category of “radio-friendly,” though. I also don’t find NASCAR even remotely interesting on TV — not even when there are crashes.

The problem for NASCAR is that while I’ve never been alone in that opinion, I’m increasingly less alone with every passing year. After a rise in interest in the late ’90s and beginning of the last decade, the size of TV audiences for NASCAR races has been dropping precipitously for several years now, declining almost 19% from 2006 to 2009.

NASCAR's "Racing with Jesus" car.

"Racing with Jesus." From Flickr.com.

The time has come for NASCAR to adopt a new, radical approach to boost viewership and win over new fans across a broad range of demographic subsets. Too many NASCAR teams have owners or sponsors involved in automotive parts or services. It’s time to go way “outside the box” to reach people who aren’t gearheads or other automotive aficionados.

Something like the Morgan Shepherd’s “Racing With Jesus” car reaches out to a slightly different demographic, but it merely reinforces a stereotype of the typical NASCAR fan which is frankly more inaccurate than one might think, and it doesn’t help draw in many new fans. What NASCAR needs is something completely different that will really turn people’s heads.

It’s high time that an organization like the O.T.O. got involved in NASCAR team sponsorship. After all, the precedent of open religious sponsorship has already been set, and some occult group like Ordo Templi Orientis getting involved in NASCAR would certainly turn heads and be a strong attention-getter, much to the benefit of both parties.

The Eye of Horus.

NASCAR has its eye on a comeback. The Eye of Horus, from Wikipedia.

Just imagine: “And number 777, the Crowley Car, wins Talladega! Let’s talk to the winning driver, Billy Joe Shaved. Billy Joe, is there anything you’d like to say?”

“Well now, I just wanna start by thankin’ Thoth fer givin’ us all the wisdom to come up with a winning race strategy based on the rock of truth found in The Book of Lies. I hope this win gives glory to almighty Horus and Nut, Queen of the Air.”

Television ratings would spike, I tell you. Spike. It would be the beginning of NASCAR’s new Golden Dawn.

Today In Lousy Sports Broadcasting

April 21, 2010

“It’s all about timing. Timing is everything.”

— Insightful color commentary from the broadcast booth on Comcast SportsNet Washington during tonight’s Montreal–Washington NHL playoff game. Maybe I should press the mute button.

You Are Watching Bad TV

March 5, 2010

My wife has always possessed an uncanny ability to discover and be endlessly amused by some of the worst television shows ever created. Some of her all-time favorites include Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Wherever-the-Hell It Is (note: if you ever wanted to start a violent, anti-American revolution in an impoverished country, I’m convinced that all you really need to do is jam all television broadcasts in said country and replace them with a continuous loop of The Real Housewives of Orange County), and Bridezillas on WE (I’ve always found it incredibly ironic that the flagship show of a channel calling itself “Women’s Entertainment” consists of essentially an endless parade of walking apologies for misogyny).

One thing that has thankfully never graced our television screen is MTV’s Jersey Shore, the experience of watching which I’ve heard is something closely akin to being Jane Goodall observing chimps for the first time. However, I did recently stumble across a little doodad called the “Jersey Shore Nickname Generator.” It told me my Jersey Shore nicknames are “DJ Douchebag,” followed by “The Sausage Party.”

“The Loungie”

December 22, 2009

For a day or two, I thought maybe I’d fallen asleep and dreamed this commercial. Something so stupid couldn’t possibly exist, and the fact that my wife could find neither a single mention of it on Google nor a single screen grab or video of it on Youtube over the weekend seemed to confirm the dream hypothesis.

But now, unfortunately, comes proof that I’m not insane. Someone else saw a commercial for “The Loungie.” I’m not the only one, and knowing for sure it exists makes me shudder.

A brief background: It was around 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday, and I was watching something about shipyards on History International (Yes, I was watching History International on a Saturday afternoon. There was a blizzard going on outside. DON’T JUDGE ME!!!!).

There was a commercial break, and this spot came on for a tote bag that unfolds into a blanket that can be tied down to a beach lawn chair, as though some meth addict in a manic phase got hold of a Snuggie and decided he could improve it. It was called “The Loungie.” The ad’s intro veered dangerously close to the brilliant iCarly parody commercial of the Snuggie (a.k.a. “The Sack”), as it began by asking how often you’ve tried to put a beach towel down over a lawn chair only to have it fly off in the wind.

The commercial only grew more ridiculous from there. It hawked the Loungie’s thick, luxurious fabric of some sort, as well as the super secret compartment for storing your valuables which anyone who sees the commercial will know about. Then came the coup de grace: the optional versions of the Loungie with chessboards and backgammon tables printed on them.

I swear I am not making any of this up.

The Kids Are All Weird

October 26, 2009

I have to wonder what the exact purpose of all the baby toys we own is when it’s painfully obvious that the baby’s current favorite toy is a can of mushrooms. It’s shiny, and it has a label with bright colors! Plus, you can roll it around the room. What more could anyone possibly want?

As for our two-year old, he completely polished off a heaping bowl of leftover lentil and tomato curry with brown rice for breakfast this morning. It’s one of his favorite foods. He also likes to pull my wife’s paperback copy of Nightmares and Dreamscapes off the shelf, point to the picture of Stephen King on the back cover, and shout, “Dad!” He’s also done this to the TV on the few occasions he’s seen Barack Obama on television. For the record, I look nothing like Stephen King, nor do I resemble the President. He also refers to Abby Cadabby, and only Abby Cadabby, as “Mom” when watching Sesame Street.

No, my wife is not purple.


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