Automaker BMW has created a unique product-placement promotional proposition: Rather than merely have their cars featured in commercial hollywood films (a concept they've also embraced), they've commissioned a series of short featurettes depicting ace stunt driver Clive Owen at the wheel of a BMW Z8 Roadster.
One of the funniest things about the Simpsons episode featuring the Japanese cleaning product "Mr. Sparkle" (whose logo bore an uncanny resemblance to Homer) was that the commercial it displayed was just about as wacky as Japanese commericals sometimes are.
I'm disrespectful to dirt! Can you see that I am serious?
What a brave corporate logo! I accept the challenge of Mr. Sparkle!
One big I reason I don't go to the movie theaters much any more is because of my daughters...after our first was born, we had precious little time. Another reason, frankly, is because most of the offerings just aren't that interesting any more. And then there's this: theater chains are increasing the amount of "pre-show" ads and program shorts to 20 minutes' worth.
This summer, I only saw a couple of films in the theater, and was generally annoyed at the endless previews of endlessly uninteresting movies. But it's really infuriating to have to sit through commericials before the flick--and pay for the privilege, yet. if I wanted commercials with my films, I'd stay home and watch American Movie Classics.
Update:IssuesGuy has, um, issues with pre-movies commercials--and lousy popcorn--too.
w00t! The BBC plans to air a previously unreleased episode of Dr. Who--one written by noted science fiction author Douglas Adams, who died last year--some 24 years after the project was shelved. And it'll premiere as a Webcast, no less!
The episode, called Shada, was described as "the greatest Doctor Who story never shown" and began filming in 1979 but production was halted by industrial action.
Following several false starts in attempting to bring it back, the drama will finally be premièred in a webcast on BBCi in the spring.
Paul McGann will star as the doctor, backed by a well-known cast including James Fox, Andrew Sachs, Hannah Gordon and Melvyn Hayes.
Director Nicholas Pegg hailed it as "a tremendously exciting project".
Excellent news! Small Internet radio stations will face lower royalty payments under a deal just approved by the US Senate and House of Representatives in a late-night portion of its lame duck session. Small Webcasters had feared that royalty rates set by the Library of Congress would force them out of buisiness, but the new regulations would enable a deal worked out between the Webcasters and copyright holders to take effect. Stations unable to afford the official rates could pay no more than $2,500 annually, or a percentage of their revenues. Nonprofit broadcasters such as college and religious station can also work out a separate deal under the legislation.
File this one under C for Clueless: A Wisconsin teen accused of boosting more than 100 cars blamed the popular Grand Theft Auto video game for his actions. Nineteen-year-old Micah A. Zoerner was caught red-handed breaking into a car in an apartment complex; at the time, he weas in posession of yet another stolen vehicle with a trunkful of hot goods to boot.
Detectives said he told them he had been inspired by the video game "Grand Theft Auto" in which the characters steal cars from parking garages and other places.
"He (Zoerner) said that actually going out and committing these crimes was challenging and fun," Pleasant Prairie Police Chief Brian Wagner said.
"A video game is fantasy and you can turn it off and walk away without consequences — there are no victims and no one gets hurt. Reality is not as forgiving."
It shouldn't have to be said that thousands upon thousands of people (including myself, with GTA2) have played these video games without developing the irreseistable craving to go out and jack someone's wheels. For a superb rant about idiots who can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, see Teleport City's review of the fine Japanese film Battle Royale (My DVD of which arrived about a week ago, and man, it is superb).
Congrats to Cooped Up, which is six months old as of yesterday. The six-month mark here passed unobserved in October, when I was concentrating on other things. I'm fairly pleased with the way things have gone, so far.
The result of the approach Stan [Lee] and the other guys used is to render those stories timeless. Sure, the dialog might be a bit hokey occasionally, and the monsters and other plot devices somewhat hoary -- but a civilian today could pick up an FF, or a Spider-Man, or an X-Men and not have to worry about understanding the popular culture of the time. It's there -- but it's there almost subliminally, as background noise.
Look at it from another direction: comedy. The Marx Brothers movies are considered comedy classics, even as they race toward being 70 years old. I'm not a big fan of the Marx Brothers, I admit, yet I can watch one of their movies and not find myself going "Huh?" at Groucho's one-liners. His comments are funny, not hip and topical. How many comedy films made in the last 10 years can make the same claim? Some people think the Austin Powers movies are hilarious. Will they be 70 years from now? Or will the audience of 2072 wonder what the heck the characters are talking about (while still laughing at the hijinks of Chico and Harpo)?
And now -- comics. Today, when I flip through the latest books I see so many topical references I cannot help but wonder what a reader of even a year from now will make of the fare. There are writers who seem so tragically hip they can't seem to get through a book without trawling in as many heavy-handed (and often inappropriate) references as they can.
Why? My guess: it's easier than writing good stories. Keep the readers entertained with a kind of cultural Where's Waldo? and many of them will, alas, come away thinking their money was well spent -- even when the "stories" go on for forty issues, largely because they are so full of extraneous fluff.
Ah, it's sad when the idols of my youth get down into the mud. Stan "The Man" Lee, creator of many of Mavel Comic's pantheon of classic super heroes--including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, the X-Men, and Daredevil--is suing Marvel Entertainment Inc. on the grounds that the company is not sharing profits from the hit Spider-Man movie per an agreement. The company claims that, despite the film's reported US$400 million domestic gross, it has yet to see a profit as defined by the agreement.
Just for the record: Yes, Clinton lied. Yes, it was outrageous. No, I am not for a minute defending him. But for my Republican friends, this bit of perspective:
Nixon: Lied about Watergate. Lied about his "secret plan" to end the Vietnam war (to wit, send more troops)
Reagan/Bush I: Lied about the Iran/Contra scandal
Bush II: Lies about the economy and the Wars on Terror and Iraq
Clinton: Lied about sex
...yes, Johnson, a Democrat, kicked off the Vietnam War lies with the Gulf of Tonkin (non) incident. Which is exactly why the case for a war with Iraq must not be built on a foundation of "embroidering key assertions,""omitted qualifiers" and statements that are "dubious, if not wrong."
That's really the bottom line on the whole Iraq thing. Of course Saddam's regime is counter to our interests, and the world's. Of course Saddam has failed to live up to the terms of his Gulf War cease-fire. Of course Iraq should not be allowed to develop weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no confidence in the Bush administration to deal honestly with it. And the fault is entirely theirs.
Eric Alterman notes a peculiarity of the so-called "liberal media:" a reluctance--if not outright refusal--to acknowledge that it, and by extension the American public, are being lied to on a routine basis by the current administration.
In the one significant effort by a national daily to deal with Bush's consistent pattern of mendacity, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank could not bring himself (or was not allowed) to utter the crucial words. Instead, readers were treated to such complicated linguistic circumlocutions as: Bush's statements represented "embroidering key assertions" and were clearly "dubious, if not wrong." The President's "rhetoric has taken some flights of fancy," he has "taken some liberties," "omitted qualifiers" and "simply outpace[d] the facts." But "Bush lied"? Never.
...Reporters and editors who "protect" their readers and viewers from the truth about Bush's lies are doing the nation -- and ultimately George W. Bush -- no favors. Take a look at the names at that long black wall on the Mall. Consider the tragic legacy of LBJ's failed presidency. Ask yourself just who is being served when the media allow Bush to lie, repeatedly, with impunity, in order to take the nation into war.
Update 2:Spinsanity notes that Bush's misstatements lies have hardly been limited to Iraq. And he accurately notes why it matters: "This dissembling is a betrayal of Bush's promise to restore honor and dignity to the White House. With so much at stake domestically and abroad, it's time to hold the president and his administration to a higher standard of truth." A higher standard, I might add, that Bush himslef promised as a centerpiece of his 2000 campaign.
Here's a juicy bit of doublespeak: A Wiccan's bid to be included on a list of clergy who say prayers before meetings of the Chesterfield County, Va., Board of Supervisors has been rejected. In a letter explaining the decision, Chesterfield County Attorney Steven Micas explained that the First Amendment-friendly policy of "nonsectarian" prayer shouldn't be taken too literally:
Chesterfield's nonsectarian invocations are traditionally made to a divinity that is consistent with the Judeo-Christian tradition.
A quick recap of the First Amendment's position on the subject:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. [emphasis mine]
(via FARK, who sums it up rightly: "1st Amendment surrenders in disgust")
Attended a friend's wedding in Louisville this past Saturday; we drove down and back the same night
Fell totally ill Friday; spent a miserable day at work and more or less crashed as soon as I got home
Last but not least, I took the girls and their friends to the park Saturday aftenoon
I owe Musashi at Destroy All Monsters several pieces, so things may not be exactly full steam right away, but we're definitely ramping up. I should be posting a notice of new stuff by me there very soon, and of course Musashi has kept the content coming, so check it out.
Everything's OK here, despite a line of severe thunderstorms that just rolled thru the area. In fact, we spent about 45 minutes in the basement due to a tornado warning affecting Indianapolis. We took some books, juice, Graham crackers and a radio, so the only hard part was keeping the girls still for the 45 minutes we were down there.
WFUS53 KIND 101956 TORIND INC063-097-102045-
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED TORNADO WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE INDIANAPOLIS IN 256 PM EST SUN NOV 10 2002
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN INDIANAPOLIS HAS ISSUED A
* TORNADO WARNING FOR... SOUTHEASTERN HENDRICKS COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA MARION COUNTY IN CENTRAL INDIANA THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS
* UNTIL 345 PM EST
* AT 252 PM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 5 MILES SOUTH OF CLAYTON...OR ABOUT 22 MILES SOUTHWEST OF INDIANAPOLIS...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH.
* THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF THE STORM IS EXPECTED TO BE NEAR... SPEEDWAY AT 315 PM EST INDIANAPOLIS AT 320 PM EST WARREN PARK AT 325 PM EST
THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. IF NO BASEMENT IS AVAILABLE...GO TO THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM. GET UNDER STURDY FURNITURE OR USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO COVER YOUR BODY.
IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT.