Showing 1 - 10 of 144 posts found matching keyword: television

After years of pandemic-driven disruption, the 44th annual Metropolis, Illinois Superman Celebration returned to its traditional calendar slot this weekend. The highlight of this year's event was last night, when Smallville Superman (Tom Welling) and Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) reunited to re-enact scenes from their television show on stage.

As it happens, the 2022 Celebration is marking the 50th anniversary of Metropolis being the "Home of Superman," a title they gave themselves. While 1972 was inarguably a significant milestone for Metropolis in several aspects, not the least of which is the agreement with National Periodicals to license Superman's name and likeness, many websites, including Wikipedia, mark the start of Metropolis' official relationship to Superman with the June 9, 1972, passage of State of Illinois General Assembly House Resolution 572, which reads:

Whereas, Metropolis is, as everyone knows, the base of operations of SUPERMAN, the Man of Steel, battler for Truth, Justice, and the American Way; leaper of tall buildings in single bounds; overpowerer of powerful locomotives; outspeeder of speeding bullets; changer of the course of might rivers; and performer of other important functions of not inconsiderable civic utility; and

Whereas, the civic leaders of Metropolis, Illinois, have finally decided that their illustrious citizen is, in fact, neither a bird nor a plane but a resource of not inconsiderable civic utility; and

Whereas, the familiar red and blue caped Superman uniform has been seen of late draped on other prominent citizens of Metropolis on important civic occasions (giving one pause to reflect that Clark Kent must have been considerably embarrassed when he last dashed into a telephone booth to strip for action and found that his Superman uniform had mysteriously disappeared);

now therefore be it Resolved By The House of Representatives in the seventy-seventh Session of the General Assembly, that we do hereby commend and congratulate Mr. Robert Westerfield, Mayor J.P. Williams, and Mr. C. Harold Mescher of Metropolis, Illinois, for conceiving and organizing ‘Project Superman’ by which outstanding citizens are honored as recipients of the Superman Award for their contributions to the civic welfare of Metropolis; and we extend the thanks of the civic leaders to Mr. Carmine Infantino of National Periodical Publications, Inc., for his kind permission to use the Superman format and for supplying the original uniform of the television Superman to use in the promotion of Project Superman; and finally we congratulate the Reverend Charles Chandler on his selection as the first recipient of the Superman Award and find it wholly appropriate that a man of his calling be so chosen;

and be it further Resolved, that a suitable copy of this preamble and resolution be forwarded to Mr. Robert Westerfield for acceptance by him on behalf of the Project Superman Screening Committee.

Personally, I'm not particularly confident about that June 9 date or whether the Illinois Senate ever had anything to do with this particular resolution. The actual online records of the 77th Illinois Senate meeting that day do not remark on that specific piece of legislation. Admittedly, that does not necessarily mean the date is incorrect, as the online records themselves warn of their incompleteness. The text above is taken directly from the Illinois House record for April 25, 1972, the date the resolution was introduced and passed the House.

And while we're on that topic, I should mention that House Resolution 572 was just one of many non-binding resolutions passed that day. Resolution 569 congratulated a congressman for staying married to the same woman for 19 years. Resolution 571 gave Chicago Cubs pitcher Burt Hooton a pat on the back for throwing a no-hitter, and Resolution 573 pledged undying loyalty to the Chicago Black Hawks "no matter what."

But the real kicker is House Resolution 575, congratulating Illinois native Gene Hackman for receiving the Oscar for Best Actor (in The French Connection). Though Superman: The Movie would be six years in their future, the Illinois House of Representatives still managed to praise both Superman and Lex Luthor in the very same meeting!

That's congress for you.

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About halfway through my hatewatching of last night's Oscars telecast, I was planning on writing today about how Dune won 6 Oscars last night despite the fact that I strongly disliked it. Sure, it's well made from a technical standpoint, but it's all in service to the pretentious direction of a very undeserving script with two-dimensional characters in a world with only two colors: brown and browner. To their detriment, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn't ask my opinion about any of that.

Instead, what I am writing about today is Will Smith's battery of Chris Rock live on-stage after the comedian made a joke about Will's wife's short-cropped hair. That was captivating television!

Smith's behavior was not telegraphed. Before walking onstage, he initially appeared to be laughing along with the joke. Thirty seconds later, he was telling Rock to keep his wife's name out of his f-ing mouth. At least I think that's what he said. In their infinite wisdom, ABC chose to keep the cameras rolling but cut the sound. (Despite what we tell children about sticks and stones, in America violence is acceptable but a few choice words are not. Our ears are delicate and need to be defended. Much like Will Smith's wife.)

I did not at the time know that Jada has lost her hair because of alopecia. If Rock knew, I'd agree he made an inexcusably tasteless joke on live television. I'd also agree that's good cause for holding a grudge, but physically slapping the comedian in front of the audience seems a bit over-the-top. Be a professional, Will! That's what backstage is for. (One can only imagine the carnage of Will Smith watching a Don Rickles performance.)

If the Academy Awards was a sporting event and not a movie industry circle-jerk, Smith would have been sent to the locker room for his outburst. Instead he was given the Best Actor award and allowed to demonstrate he deserved it by playing the teary-eyed victim in the solo spotlight. Give that man a second statuette!

Frankly, when first I saw it all, I thought it was staged. I was glad to discover it wasn't, if only because that meant that Rock and Smith hadn't collaborated on creating an artificial Jerry Springer moment just to break up an otherwise dull evening of entitled movie stars delivering political screeds. The Awards could use a little more unscripted drama — though I'd prefer it to be of the sort where Faye Dunaway (rightly) gives away Moonlight's Best Picture award to La La Land. A little genuine spontaneity isn't always such a bad thing.

Speaking of bad things...

38/2047. Dune (2021)

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After years of lackluster commentating on Monday Night Football, ESPN has giddily hired an all new 2022 crew, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (stolen from Fox Sports for something in the neighborhood of $100 million), thereby ensuring another year of lackluster commentating.

The labor of calling a football broadcast is divided into two roles: the play-by-play announcer who tells the fans who weren't looking what just happened on the field, and the color commentator who explains why what just happened was a good/bad thing. Good crews inform you about what you might not have noticed and teach you about football. Really good crews get you excited to see more. Then there's the Buck-Aikman combo.

Competent play-by-play announcing is an art, and each sport is a different discipline. I'll give Joe Buck credit for being far above average at calling baseball games, but after years and years of trying, he comes across as disinterested and generally ignorant of the football games he calls. If the announcer doesn't care about the game, why should anyone listen?

As for the other side of the booth, I might have been the only person in the world who didn't enjoy John Madden's broadcasts because he reduced his commentary to idiot-level "BAM"s and "YAK"s to reach the average television-watching moron, but Aikman appears to have the actual vocabulary of the average television-watching moron. As a teacher, he's more a substitute than tenured professor; he's proven completely unable to elevate the game. At least he's really grumpy.

So did ESPN buy themselves a good crew or a great crew? The Buck-Aikman combo certainly has me excited... to see what's on a different channel.

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I would like to thank ESPN for redirecting their overnight coverage of the Australian Open to ESPN+.

In Januarys past, I would stay up until the sun rose watching live tennis coverage on ESPN2. It left me grumpy all day.

This year, I am getting to sleep at a regular hour while ESPN2 forsakes live tennis for those sweet, sweet NBA reruns. I'm still grumpy all day, but at least it's not tennis' fault anymore.

I mean, I *could* pay extra for streaming ESPN+ coverage, or, just maybe, I could realize that I don't really need to watch professional tennis until dawn.

Thanks, ESPN!

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What am I thankful for this year? Hmm. Let me think.

I know! Bluey. I caught a couple of episodes on Disney Junior in the middle of the night and was instantly hooked. It's a very, very charming cartoon, and I've been watching it when I can.

A cartoon aimed at preschoolers might sound like a strange thing for me to like, but I'm not exactly completely unaware of children's television shows. PBS's Odd Squad has long been must-watch tv for me. (Have I mentioned that around here? No? That's odd. I really do get a kick out of it.)

And I'm sure that a certain Randy somewhere in the world will be quick to remind everyone that I was a big fan of Lazytown back in a day I was already too old for it. Pink is still my favorite hair color.

So, yeah. Happy Bluey, everybody!

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UGA is playing their home opener today versus UAB. ESPN was late switching to the game, and by the time they did, UGA had already scored their first touchdown, essentially winning the game before any television audience was looking. Thus reinforcing why, if you really want to watch a football game, the best way to do it is be in the stadium.

Assuming it's not the middle of a pandemic.

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Obviously, I'm not there. I told you why I wouldn't be going earlier this month. The statewide COVID-19 infection numbers haven't improved significantly in the past two weeks, and if you are wondering why, I suggest you take a look at the pregame pictures posted by the student newspaper, The Red And Black where the only people wearing masks*... are in the band. You know, the group of people who actually have to use their mouths.

*Ok, I admit it. I saw one person wearing a mask who was not in the band. So, yeah, technically I'm a liar, but I'm still not going to the game.

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If any commercial could get me to start drinking beer....

For those of you who don't watch the right kinds of television, I created that advertisement from footage of the 1978 The Incredible Hulk television show episode "A Child in Need," in which the Hulk solves a case of child abuse by beating the shit out of the child abuser. Violence is always the answer!

By the way, the title of that video, "Flagler Hits the Spot," was suggested by my mother. So blame her.

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My father's aging (10+ year old) DIRECTV satellite receiver finally died, so he called AT&T for a replacement. That was the easy part. The new receiver came within 3 days, and Dad installed it (correctly!). He then visited the url the device displayed on screen for remote activation. That link re-routed to a page that told him to call a telephone number, so he did.

The first customer service representative he spoke to tried to remotely activate the receiver and failed. Repeatedly. Dad ultimately had to abort this attempt for a pre-scheduled doctor's appointment. Afterwards, he had me try again in the hopes that I would be better able to communicate with the technician. The customer service representative I spoke to also tried to remotely activate the receiver and failed. Then she hung up on me. I don't think it was her fault. She was using AT&T phone service, after all.

At this point I stopped waiting for a customer service representative to suggest what I suspected: that the problem might be in the receiver's access card. The receiver was reporting an on-screen ID number of "0000-0000-0000", which happens to be the default number if there is no card installed. When I opened the panel, I did indeed discover that whoever had inserted the card before shipping had installed it upside down. The old receiver model took cards face down; the new model required face up. I pulled the card, turned it over, plugged everything back in, and called DIRECT a third time. This time, the customer service representative was able to activate the receiver on the first try.

The terms for the new receiver required the old receiver to be shipped to DIRECTV for recycling. Again, the url that DIRECTV provided for generating a label was outdated, redirecting to *another* page that returned a 404 page error. After a little creative Googling, I found an AT&T electronics recycling link that appears to do what the suggested link was supposed to have done. By this time I was not surprised when the website instructions (and generated label) made it clear the receiver was to be mailed via USPS but the downloaded file called it a "FedEx Shipping Label." AT&T seems to have a real problem with modernization.

Hopefully, Dad will get credit for returning his receiver as instructed, though given how hard it was to do almost everything else, I'm not holding out strong hope. I'm starting to feel like I'd have a better chance if I sent a telegraph to the company to tell them it was coming and personally handed the box to a Pony Express rider.

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I think all commercials should be like perfume/cologne commercials.

I want to see a movie star digging holes in the desert to sell me the invigorating fragrance of Charmin Flushable Wipes™.

I want to see a model riding a unicorn across the Seine to hold up a magical box of Hefty® Ultra Strong Drawstring Kitchen Trash Bags.

I want to see a rock star BASE diving off the Empire State Building to showcase the ethereal sensation of eating Campbell's® 25% Less Sodium Cream of Mushroom Soup.

Sell me a feeling this Christmas, Madison Avenue. I've already got plenty of stuff.

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If I needed a new look after a reputation-damaging series of bad press resulted in a ratings nosedive, I know whose style I would swipe.

Ellen DeGeneres and Dan Marino: Separated at birth?

Looking good, Ellen! Now if you can just master that South Beach tan.

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To be continued...

 

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