Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘television’

24

Posted by Richard on January 12, 2009

The long-awaited season premier of 24 didn't disappoint, IMHO, and my Dish DVR is set up to record the entire season. But I've got to say I'm with Jack on this — I really don't buy the idea that Tony Almeida is in cahoots with terrorists. I foresee suprises and plot twists aplenty.

Here's my real question, though: where the heck is Chloe??

UPDATE (1/12): I was right, and we only had to wait until hour 3 to find out that Tony's working undercover. And he's teamed up with Bill. And Chloe!

Woohoo, it's going to be a great season!

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24 teaser

Posted by Richard on November 22, 2008

I just saw a clip from the season premier of 24: Redemption (airing Sunday, Nov. 23, at 8 PM Eastern, 7 PM Central/Mountain). As all hell breaks loose in the distance, Jack Bauer says to a UN peacekeeper (who just declared "we remain neutral"), "Why don't you go hide with the other children?"

Excellent! I can't wait.

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TV viewing update

Posted by Richard on October 30, 2008

No, I'm not watching the Obama infomercial. Don't be silly! You can't trust infomercials.

More importantly, Pushing Daisies is on.  Thanks, ABC!

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New John Stossel special

Posted by Richard on October 18, 2008

John Stossel has a new one-hour special on ABC's 20/20 tonight, John Stossel's Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics. It dares to suggest that if you know more about Judge Judy than you know about the Supreme Court, maybe it's your civic duty not to vote.

That sounds like must-see TV to me. Like all Stossel specials. Check it out — 10 Eastern, 9 Central/Mountain.

UPDATE: Great show! I especially liked the New Orleans segment. I hope you watched it.

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George Clinton!

Posted by Richard on September 17, 2008

Wow, what a great surprise! A blue-haired George Clinton, as freaky as ever, was the musical guest on the Tonight Show tonight. With a terrific band he's calling The Gangsters of Love All-Stars (I think it's most of the current P-Funk crew plus whoever was hanging around and looking sharp). Great guitar work by Blackbyrd.

Ain't That Peculiar!

If you missed it, maybe when they update the Tonight Show website, it'll be one of the featured videos. Or you can see the full show (when it becomes available) here. Clinton closed the show.

You youngsters who have no idea what I'm talking about don't know what you're missing. Check out some of the Clinton "diskography" here (Flash player required) or poke around at Amazon. (UPDATE: The new album was released just yesterday. Sounds great — check it out!)

The last time I saw George Clinton was also on the Tonight Show back in 2005. Go read my post about that for some history and background info. It's got some other links you might want to check out.

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Mobile Pie Hole in Denver

Posted by Richard on September 16, 2008

If you're a fan of the charming, quirky, and seriously surreal ABC fantasy series Pushing Daisies (I am), and you'll be in the downtown Denver area this Wednesday, September 17th (I won't be, darn it), drop by Larimer Square (1430 Larimer Street) between 10 AM and 2 PM. The "Mobile Pie Hole" restaurant will be there. They'll be giving out free pie, pie cutters, spatulas, etc., and playing footage from the show on plasma TVs as waitresses on daisy bicycles ride around.

If you've seen the show, that made perfect sense. If not, take my word for it, it'll be fun.

Other upcoming Mobile Pie Hole visits are scheduled in Dallas, Chicago, Philly, and NYC. More info at Pushing Daisies Touch of Wonder Tour (requires Flash player).

The new season of Pushing Daisies begins Oct. 1. If you've never seen it and have a broadband connection, check it out online — you can watch several complete episodes here. I bet you'll become a fan.

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Game 1 of the World Series

Posted by Richard on October 25, 2007

No, I don't want to talk about it.

Hey, did you see CSI: New York tonight? That was an interesting cyberworld story. A contract killer murdered a girl who was popular in Second Life in order to assume her online identity, and then used it to lure the congressman she was hired to kill. Pretty entertaining.

And the ending wasn't a blowout. 

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Kid Peoples Republic

Posted by Richard on August 28, 2007

I dropped by Babalu Blog to see if they had any fresh news about the rumors of Castro's death — no news, but some interesting and intelligent speculation. While there, I spotted this post from Saturday about one of the kids in the new CBS "reality" show, Kid Nation. He's 11-year-old Guylan from Massachusetts, and here's his answer to the question, "What world leader do you admire?":

Fidel Castro is a world leader that I admire for many reasons. Firstly, he led a revolution against a corrupt government ruled by an evil dictator named Fulgencio Batista. Then he went on to lead the country of Cuba by ousting their existing political system in order to instill a socialist government throughout the country. That meant out with the rich and corrupt and in with a more fair and balanced environment for his people. …

There's much more in his CBS Kid Nation bio. I don't suppose this will surprise you: Guylan thinks that George W. Bush is one of the worst presidents ever, that we invaded Iraq for the oil, and that we should be "severing our ties to fossil fuels" in order to save the planet.

I wonder how many 11-year-olds use phrases like "severing our ties," "putting it aside," "foster the skill," and "specify the artistic value" when they write. You think maybe his commie mommy helped him with his responses?

You couldn't pay me to watch Kid Nation. After all, I've never watched Survivor or any of the umpteen other reality shows, and I'm not about to start with this piece of crap example of the genre. But I'm at least idly curious about how many of the 40 kids think that Bush is the worst president and that people are destroying the planet. I suspect a comfortable majority think the former and probably 90% the latter. I think "progressive" parents are much more likely to send their kids off to play Lord of the Flies in front of cameras in the desert, and the kids' political thinking (such as it is) would reflect that.

I'm not curious enough to check out all those bios, though.

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Gun Free Zone

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2007

I generally don't watch TV on Sundays except during football season, so I keep forgetting about the Fox News Channel's 1/2 Hour News Hour on Sunday evenings. Judging from a couple of clips, I've been missing some great stuff. For instance, this past Sunday's show included this marvelous two-minute bit exposing the idiocy of the gun control crowd. (HT: Frank J.)

 Start Your Own "Gun Free Zone"

Some years ago, a Denver community group, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, actually distributed buttons that said "I Am Unarmed," and the enlightened, caring liberals of Capitol Hill proudly put them on. Some of us couldn't contain our laughter. As with the clip above, if you don't see the humor, I don't suppose there's any point in explaining.

On a totally different subject, here's another 1/2 Hour News Hour clip that's got to be one of the most devastating put-downs of a public figure ever aired on television. Not so much funny as satisfying.

 Dennis Miller Slams Harry Reid

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Ferguson on the fall TV shows

Posted by Richard on May 15, 2007

According to Craig Ferguson, the networks are showing their new fall TV shows to advertisers this week. I'm pretty sure Ferguson is the only talk show host who can pull off an extended riff on the new series, Law and Order: Restless Leg Syndrome. Or another proposal for a TV series, Ghost Chimp, M.D.

One of my favorite recent Ferguson quotes illustrates both his self-deprecating humor and a keen sense of how enamored we are of technology: "I have no idea what a megapixel is, but I'll pay three hundred bucks for an extra one." 

On a much more serious note, Ferguson's extemporaneous February monologue about Britney Spears has been nominated for an Emmy, and deservedly so. CBS posted it on their site, where you can watch it with Real Player (which is not as obnoxious as it used to be), but they've also put it on YouTube, so here it is. I highly recommend it. This may be the most compelling, powerful, moving, and genuine twelve minutes of television you'll ever see. And did I mention that it was entirely unscripted and extemporaneous? Truly awesome.

Ferguson Speaks From The Heart

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Satellite on the road

Posted by Richard on April 18, 2007

Live TV on your cell phone is so last month. How about live TV in your SUV or minivan? Via satellite? Yes, I'm Sirius. It's coming to a Chrysler dealer near you, it provides high quality of service (QOS) while you're zipping down the highway (unlike other wireless TV solutions), and it's practically guaranteed to keep your rug rats mesmerized until you reach grandma's house. It's called Mobile Digital Television (MDT), and it's even reasonably priced:

Sirius successfully demonstrated satellite mobile television at the 2004 CES, but it lacked one major component – a partner with equal vision to make delivery of the service to the customer a viable commercial reality. Chrysler had that vision. Chrysler realized the most important customers for MDT are not the drivers, nor the front seat passengers, but kids in the backseat. With an increasing number of automobile purchase decisions being made by women (approximately 45% – up from 25% just 15 years ago) and with those decision focusing on family travel, safety and convenience, accommodation the kids becomes a major selling point. Further, today's family structure is increasingly mobile with both parents working, a greater variety of children's activities, and widely separated family members (not to mention the worsening hassle or air travel) driving the desire and demand for high-quality, in-car multi-media entertainment.

In response, Chrysler and Sirius will start augmenting this demand by offering MDT in selected 2008 model year Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, followed by the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The MDT hardware price premium will be $470 above a required Chrysler entertainment center that includes dual DVD players and a front seat screen (not to mention several cup holders). The Sirius MDT service will cost $7/month when bundled with the standard $12.95 Sirius Service. However, the first year of service will be free.

The initial programming package will consist of Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon, so there's no question who the target audience is. If you're going to have a DVD player in your minivan anyway, the extra $7 a month over the satellite radio subscription is less than the cost of keeping a fresh supply of DVDs on hand for the kids. I'm sure there are lots of people who'd like to have satellite radio, but can't quite justify the cost to themselves. If they're parents, this relatively inexpensive add-on may be just what it takes to get them to sign up.

I hope MDT is a big hit for Sirius, which so far hasn't been one of my better stock picks. It's currently worth less than half what I paid for it in 2005. C'mon, parents! Hurry down to your Chrysler dealer and order one now!

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Enough!

Posted by Richard on March 25, 2007

Last Friday, ABC TV broadcast another great John Stossel special, this one entitled "Enough!" It showcased some people who'd had enough of something and decided to take action. My favorites were:

  • New York Knicks star Stephon Marbury, who remembered growing up poor and asking his mother in vain for some $200 Air Jordan sneakers. The kind some kids have been beaten and even killed for. After Marbury became "Starbury," earning $17 million a year, he decided to come out with his own line of sneakers. They sell for $14.98. And he plays in them.

Starbury's sneakers have been a big hit. One fan is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who wears them, loves them, and said about Starbury:

… "They're aren't many things we will do in our lives that will have an impact on culture and social change. To be able to send a message to kids and sell millions of shoes so the message gets through saying, save that extra $85 and buy your kid a guitar or some clothes. That is huge."

"You can look at 'NBA Cares' all you want. You can look at the things I've done for charity all you want. The NBA has never done anything as impactful as what he has done."

  • Chicago restauranteur Dan McCauley, who got fed up with out-of-control kids in his A Taste of Heaven cafe. He told one mother, whose kids were climbing the wall while she paid no attention, not to come back. Then he posted a sign that said, "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices when coming to A Taste of Heaven."

There were the predictable expressions of outrage from the parents who think saying "stop that!" to their kids is a form of child abuse. But the surprise was the tidal wave of support:

Letters applauding the restaurant's stand against rowdy kids began to arrive from around the country, some from as far away as Singapore and the United Kingdom. McCauley even received some small checks from supporters worried he would lose business.

Macauley didn't lose business. People are flocking to his cafe, grateful for a place where they can enjoy a peaceful, relaxing meal. Some of them are parents with children taught how to behave in public and how to be considerate of others. What a novel idea!

  • New York writer Maryann Reid, who was bothered by the fact that 70% of children in the black community are born to single mothers. She decided to do something about it:

"There is no stigma anymore in the black community about having a child out of wedlock," said Reid, which led to the creation of Marry Your Baby Daddy Day. For those who don't know, Reid explains that "a Baby Daddy is simply…an unmarried father. But they've become caricatures in the ghetto."

Reid said, "Enough of that! Enough of upholding this 'baby daddy' and 'baby momma' as the norm. I am really just fed up with…the decline of marriage in the black community…It's about bring black love back in style. And that's what I want to do."

Reid persuaded a bunch of wedding industry people to donate their goods and services for her project. The first Marry Your Baby Daddy Day was in September 2005, and ten couples were wed. All are still together. She's currently screening couples for the next one, this September. Meanwhile, she's also got a novel and a website promoting the idea that mommas should marry their baby daddy.

Of course, I'm just hitting the highlights. And there were other good segments, too. If you missed it, keep an eye out for a rerun — it was an uplifting hour about some decent and interesting people.

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Cat kneads dog

Posted by Richard on March 21, 2007

"The position of cats is highest when civilization is at its peak. The uses of the cow, the horse and the dog are obvious even to the illiterate, but one must be educated in the uses of a cat."

— Olivia Manning

One of the uses of a cat that I've certainly appreciated is kneading. The late Grizzly used to knead on me with a wonderful dedication, seriousness of purpose, and continuous big purr. God, how I miss him.

It never occurred to me that a dog might appreciate a cat's talent for kneading until Craig Ferguson played this video clip on tonight's Late Late Show. Note: Before the video begins playing, mute or turn down your speakers. The video seems to have been recorded while a shop vac or small jet engine was running nearby.

Hmm, I wonder if the PETA animal-rights types object to a cat being exploited by a dog, or if they only object to both being kept by humans. 

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Ed McMahon likes Craig Ferguson

Posted by Richard on February 27, 2007

I’ve expressed my admiration for Craig Ferguson before. I’m pleased to discover that the legendary Carson sidekick, Ed McMahon, shares my opinion:

Johnny Carson‘s former sidekick, Ed McMahon, says he still watches some of today’s late-night talk show hosts, but only one guy comes close to being as good as the late Carson.

"Johnny certainly set the standard and raised the bar very high for anybody else to follow," notes McMahon, who many remember for his catch-phrase "Heeere’s Johnny!"

"I don’t think there’s anyone who even approaches Johnny. The closest thing I think is Craig Ferguson," he states. "He’s got that self-deprecating humor that Johnny had. He really does a very lively monologue, which he seems to make up as he goes along. He gets one subject matter and then goes with that. I really like his show, and I like him."

I couldn’t agree more. Ferguson is down-to-earth, genuine, and funny. For example, here’s Craig Ferguson talking about cars:

You know what’s amazing? It’s NASCAR. Anybody who criticizes NASCAR has never been there. Forget watching it on TV, it’s not the same. You have to be there. If you have even the tiniest amount of testosterone in you — the tiniest amount — and you hear one of those engines — BRRRRRWRRRRR! — all of a sudden, you’ve got a mullet.

Craig Ferguson on dental care:

The dental hygienist — I just lie to her. "Have you been flossing?" I just lie. It’s the only two times I lie — to the dental hygienist and when I’m in a relationship. That’s why I can’t date a lady dentist. The lies would mash together — and the truth could come out.

On the Welsh:

I’ve gotten drunk with every ethnic group on earth. You can’t outdrink a Welshman. The Welsh make Australians look like Mormons.

On MTV’s 25th:

I"m so old, I remember when MTV showed music videos.

MTV gave us Real World… Hats off to them. They figured out how to make reality TV more boring than reality.

McMahon is right — Ferguson is by far the best. As McMahon noted (along with Walter in Denver, commenting here), Ferguson’s monologues are remarkably spontaneous and inventive. I wish to hell that the increasingly tiresome Letterman would retire and let Ferguson take his slot.
 

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Who cares about Oscars?

Posted by Richard on February 26, 2007

Ed Driscoll borrowed Orrin Judd’s wonderful title, “The Unspeakable Toast The Unwatchable,” for his observations about last night’s Academy Awards show:

Regarding the Oscars, Orrin Judd writes, “When we were kids everyone used to watch them–they used to celebrate the movies. Know anyone who still does now that they celebrate Hollywood’s politics?”

Drudge has the early ratings:

ABC PULLS 27.4 RATING/42 SHARE IN EARLY OVERNIGHTS AT ‘OSCARS’… MORE… IF NUMBERS HOLD, WOULD BE 3RD LEAST- WATCHED OSCARS, JOINING LOW 2006, 2003… MORE…

In 2006, Hollywood switched from a mass industry serving the public to a niche market for blue/green activists. It invented a strategy that junks the Red States. But every year flyover country gets to remind Hollywood that the loss is reciprocal, at least for one Sunday.

If the Drudge numbers are correct, at some point in the future, just as C-SPAN covers the bulk of national political conventions, watch for the Oscars to move up the dial, out of the over-the-air networks and into the realm of cable. Maybe E! or HBO could host them. Or Current TV.

I remember watching the Oscars — in fact, I remember looking forward to the show and caring about who won.

But I haven’t seen it in years.

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