Cycling Through The Same Christmas Episodes Over And Over Again

I’m currently nearing the end of a many month long endeavour to catch up on a couple of shows that I had not watched during their first run but am now watching in syndication where they are airing one or more episodes per day. Checking the current episode against the episode listings and even taking into account special days like Christmas where they may not air an episode, I calculated the exact date when I will finally be done. Unfortunately the networks have done something I did not anticipate. For the past week—the week leading up to Christmas—instead of airing the episodes properly like they should be, they are exclusively airing Christmas—and winter—episodes from those shows. What this means is that my whole schedule is thrown off track because instead of seeing the 10+ episodes that I should be seeing this week past week, I’m seeing episodes that I’ve already seen over and over, and over and over and over again. One show only lasted five season—a lot by today’s standards—so they had AT MOST that many Christmas episodes while the other had nine. As you can imagine they run out of these Christmas episodes quickly so they just cycle through them again and again until Christmas comes and goes; and they call it “A Special Christmas Episode”. This is absolutely ridiculous.

Always A Human Example In Science Fiction

I’m watching a sci-fi show right now and once again got hit with an annoying little consistency that seems to be prevelant in sci-fi shows that have aliens and alien cultures in it everywhere. What happens is that someone in the show will mention something and give a few examples—usually historic ones—which will pretty much always include at least one human reference and at least one alien reference. For example lets say a character is talking to another character about art and wants to give a few master artists as examples, then they’ll say something like “…great art from people like Michaelangelo, Greetblaczag, or Blorgjlob.” or “…like Zeepledorb, Marktong, or Cézanne.” They’ll always give a few alien examples to indicate that this is a sci-fi show with aliens, but always include a human example. I suppose it could be because it’s a human show, or maybe because humans think they’re so great. Maybe it’s because the writers think that viewers would feel alienated if they didn’t included at least one human reference each time. *Pardon the pun.*

Nov.16.04 – 1:28am *UPDATE*

It’s worse than I thought. I was watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager the other day and noticed the above statement taken to the extreme. Instead of just listing a couple of alien examples and a human example, they were talking about human matters (Starfleet captains) and two unknown captains were listed as well as one well known one. I found this fitting but shocking because this is not a lone incident, in all situation where a science fiction show self-references in a list, they will list a few names you have never heard of, but will always throw in a name from a previous episode, previous series, or film, or something that you DO know.

Just once I would like to hear someone list a few things that are completely unknown and leave it at that.

Why The Push To Vote?

This past year has seen a lot of pressure to vote. Politicians, musicians, actors, athletes, and pretty much anyone who has any celebrity has been pushing voting like a back alley drug dealer pushing crack. Why? Well, if you do vote and the winner makes your life miserable, they can just say “Hey, you voted for me!” The blame then falls on yourself instead of them. Of course if you don’t vote and they do a terrible job then they’ll say “You should have voted for the other guy!” but this latter argument is weaker so they go with the former.

It’s quite clever really, they avoid blame no matter what you do. Maybe it’s just me but isn’t the government supposed to exist for the purpose of making the lives of it’s citizens better? Should not they they be doing the work rather than putting the onus on the people? If the current regime is not working shouldn’t it be their responsibility to fix it rather than expect the people to completely replace it? Of course I don’t propose an entirely self-sufficient government where the people have no input or power, I just think the government should not be trying to scapegoat on it’s citizens.

TV Guide, Shmeevee Guide

Is it just me or is anyone else sick and tired of the declining usefulness of television listings?

In the past a TV magazine like TV Guide or even those free recycled things you’d find in the rack at the door of the grocery store were accurate 99% of the time. Unless some sort of unscheduled event like breaking news of war or something occurred, you could generally rely on them.

These days the TV Guide magazine is pretty useless since networks make last minute changes a lot more often than they used to. Because of the nature of the printed magazine they cannot keep up with all the changes. That is excusable but the TV Guide channel which should always be quickly updatable, while a little better, is still not accurate all the time. If that weren’t bad enough, Internet TV listings and EPGs should be able to be accurate 100% of the time no matter what and yet they are not!

This is ridiculous.

I Just Can’t Just (a.k.a. “I Can’t Just Can’t)

I just can’t believe how many people have difficulty with the word JUST. It is one of the most misused words there is. It is used incorrectly most often when used in combination with another word. Can’t is the most common one. This topic never came up in any of the linguistics courses I’ve taken so I figured I would take it upon myself to educate the masses. I have not done a full linguistic analysis to technically demonstrate the differences but trust me, they are different. For now I will try to highlight the differences by giving examples. One note, the ones I can remember right now seem to be negatives which may mean something or not. I’ll have to try to remember some others to check.

Can’t.

The phrase “can’t just” is very different from the phrase “just can’t”. Respectively, one is exclamatory, the other is explanatory. Saying “I can’t just walk in there.” means that you are capable of walking in there but it is not easy or appropriate for some reason. For example, you may need identification or you may not be dressed appropriately. It gives an feeling of resistance. Saying “I just can’t walk in there.” means that you are unable to walk in there even if it were possible. For example you may have a broken leg or the doors may be locked. It gives a feeling of helplessness.

Don’t.

The phrase “don’t just” is also different from the phrase “just don’t”. The former is a statement minimal requirements while the latter is a statement of fact. For example saying “You don’t just go out and buy a house.” means that you cannot just go out and buy a house because there is more to it than that, and that buying a house requires more work, planning, research, etc. beforehand. Saying “You just don’t buy a house.” is an unquestionable factual declaration indicating that you cannot or may not buy a house.

There’s several other combinations (like can’t and don’t) where just is usually used incorrectly but I cannot remember them right now. I’ll add them to this post as I do.

rEsUMéeeE

I’m only going to say this once. It’s “resumé”. Not résume, not résumé, not resume. I am sick and tired of people spelling it incorrectly. It’s gotten so bad that even dictionaries are listing multiple or even all variations because they are now accepted as de facto spellings. It’s ridiculous.

Resumé is from the French word résumer which means to summarize. Anyone who knows French knows that the accent on the e is a l’accent aigu. It makes the e below it sound like a long a as in dAy. While the French term puts the accent on the first e, it is not pronounced as -ay; instead that sound is achieved at the end with the -er. In English, we don’t pronounce -er as -ay, and so drop the r. If you are going to Anglicize the word, then it only makes sense to put the accent on the last e. Without any accents at all, resume is pronounced reesum, you know, as in “the break is over; resume your work”. Now, with this knowledge try this exercise: say the various variations of resumé, pronouncing correctly. You’ll find that the only one that sounds right is resumé. Raysumay is wrong, raysume is wrong, and reesume is wrong.

You may get away with saying rèsumé if you really want to give it that French accent, but unless you are French, then just write resumé.

Rich celebrities sound like they are high

I was watching an analysing-the-movies type show this weekend and noticed something. When interviewed, the celebrities would talk about the film, the characters, the story, the metaphores, etc. in a very “deep” way. They would wax philosophical about this and that. Now normally, I would just ignore what they were saying because I really don’t like those kinds of “deep thoughts”. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to ponder the universe myself, but I reserve that activity to when I actually know what I’m talking about and when I have something profound enough to make it worth doing.

However, this time I did not just ignore them. I listend closely. By the time it was over, I could not help but think two thoughts.

First, the celebrities sounded a lot like pot-heads who suddenly get a brilliant idea, “Woah! That was deep!”. You know what I mean, they think they have suddenly hit on something that could change life, but in reality (and in sobriety) is really just a glab.

Second, I realised that a LOT of celebrities talk like this; in fact they are almost exclusive in that right. Why is that? Because actors have a better education than most people? Because that is part of an actors training? Because they really are better, more sophisticated, classier people than everbody else? No. It’s because they are rich. That’s right, celeberities have more money than most people, as a result, they have less stress, less pressure, less work. When I say less work, I mean things that everone else does like cook and take out the trash because they have servants to do those things. Yes, yes, I know not all actors have servants and not all actors are rich, but I am talking in general. I always talk in general. Anyway, because they have less worries, they have more free time. They have time to just sit around and think about stuff where normal people do not. Normal people are busy trying to stay alive so they do not have the chance to think about things like that, otherwise they could do so as well.

Well that’s it for now. I’ve probably offended some people and I try to keep the number of people that I offend per day as low as possible (well at least I say that I try).

The Lowering of Career Standards

As I sit here and watch television, I cannot help but notice the increase in education advertisments. There are now a lot of commercials trying to get people to go to this college, that institute, or whatever. I remember long time ago there were only a small handful of these “lesser institues of higher learning” of which the main one was DeVry. These days there seems to be dozens. This is not such a bad thing since these places allow for people who cannot afford the time or money of a full University education to get some post secondary. The problem however is that I find that I am noticing a trend toward lowered career standards. That is, I find that these places try to promote people getting “careers” in positions that are rather lowly compared to real careers. They entice people with fancy names into positions like “sanitation engineer” or “maintenance technician”. I’ll admit that some of these jobs are pretty fun, like film animator, but a lot of them are mroe like support staff. For example, I keep seeing all these new medical ads where they show some happy person with their new job which is even lower than a nurse.

Instead of people—and society in general—reaching and thriving for higher and better careers and education, it seems that they are going for the lowest common denominator; whatever is available here and now.

Celebrities Who Lose Weight Are Not That Special

I just saw a (repeat) article on the Discovery Channel about how Brad Pitt sculpted his body for Troy. The fitness professional they had on said pretty much EXACTLY what I figured out a few days ago.

People see these celebrities who lose a bunch of weight for a movie and they think Wow!. They figure that because the celebrity lost a lot of weight, and is rich and famous, combined with the fact that they themselves have had such difficulty losing weight, that the celebrity must have used a personal trainer, expensive equipment, liposuction, and a fancy up–scale gym. While it may—and probably does—happen a lot, it is not always the case by any means. In fact a lot of celebrities lose weight exactly the same way that “normal” people do.

So, why did they manage to drop 40 pounds when you are still struggling to lose 5? As the guy said, MOTIVATION. Here’s the long and short of it: You want to lose weight, the celebrity needs to lose weight; it’s their job.

Most people who try to lose weight just want to do so because they feel unattractive and want to shape up. They only want to do it. The celebrity who loses weight for the film HAS to lose weight or they do not get the part. They are not doing so because they want to but because it is a job requirement. Think about all the difficult things that you would never want to do but do anyway—and complete successfully—because it’s part of the job. It’s the same thing. There is also another category of people who lose a lot of weight because they have to; the people who do it for medical reasons. I have recently seen several celebrities (there are plenty of “normal” people who fall into this category as well, I just don’t know any), who lost a lot of weight because their health was failing.

(And on the topic of celebrities losing weight, I was quite peeved when a few years ago I heard about a friend of poker celebrity Doyle Brunson’s making a $5,000 bet with him that he could not lose 100 pounds. He lost because Doyle lost—the weight. The reason I thought the bet was absurd was because it should have been skewed in Brunson’s favor since he was 400-500 pounds at the time. It is easy for a 500 lb. person to lose 100 lbs. compared to say, a 150 pound person. In fact, it’s basically impossible for anyone under ~150 to lose 100 lbs.—Ask a 100 lb. person to lose 100 pounds!—But for someone who is 500 pounds, 100 pounds is only 20% of their weight. In fact, someone who is 500 pounds must have to eat a fairly large amount to maintain that kind of weight, so they could drop 100 pounds by simply eating one whole chicken or pizza or whatever less per day.

Of course it turns out that was not the only time that Doyle had partook of a weight-loss related bet. Apparently he has been involved in many bets that he could/could not lose weight for years. Somehow he has been losing most of them, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars—now that’s a gambler. Either he kept making badly thought-out bets, or else he was really bad at losing weight—he certainly should have had enough motivation. However he more than made up for it when he broke 300 pounds and won $1,000,000 dollars from a group of fellow players. On one hand, it’s lame that he had so much trouble losing weight. On the other hand, he did lose a lot of weight since I first saw him on the WPT years ago. That’s always a good thing.—Poor Wayne Knight; he had lost a bunch of weight after Seinfeld and 3rd Rock, but he seems to have gained it back later.)

So, what is the moral of this story? It is that while a lot of celebrities do use their fame and fortune to lose weight, they are not required to do it. You too can lose a lot of weight simply by forcing yourself to do so. Just stick to it and keep yourself motivated. I know that sounds lame and even impossible, but just find something that you really, really, really want where it requires that you MUST lose weight. If you can get yourself thinking about losing weight in terms of NEED to rather than WANT to like the others do, then you will lose a lot of weight in no time. (Hey, I did and I’ve already lost more than 30 pounds putting me over 60% of the way to my goal.)

(I plan on soon writing an article on how to lose weight relatively easily.)

Update:
Christian Bale gained a lot of attention when he had to lose 63lbs. for his role in The Machinist. Again, he had to lose the weight for his job, it wasn’t really an option. It’s just like how getting up in the morning to go to school, work, an appointment is much easier than getting up on the weekend. Self-motivation is just not as powerful as external motivation from a third-party.