Fox Better Than NBC At Philanthropy, Both Bad At Broadcasting

In the wake of the tsunami that devastated south-east Asia at the end of 2004, many philanthropic initiatives have been started to help.

Recently Rupert Murdoch, the head of Fox Corporation donated $1,000,000 dollars to the efforts for that area and it’s people. Not to be left out, NBC has also taken a step to help, except that NBC’s help is much more indirect and comes at much less expense to themselves. NBC has decided to air a telethon during primetime.

Why is Fox better than NBC? Because Fox donated cold hard cash—and quite a bit of it too—which is tangible and has a direct impact. NBC on the other hand has not donated cash—or anything else for that matter—that can be immediately used. Instead, they have donated airtime; airtime that was previously dedicated to an episode of LAX, a show that NBC had already cancelled.

So, what do we have in the end? On the one hand we have Fox who has alreedy donated a whole bunch of cash that can immediately be used. On the other hand we have NBC who is going to donate some airtime that had already been deemed worthless—since the show that was scheduled had such poor ratings that it was cancelled—to run a telethon in hopes of getting other people to donate money. Clearly Fox is better here in it’s philanthropic abilities than NBC.

Of course regardless of any charitable actions, both Fox and NBC are terrible—and crappy, horrible, worthless, !#$%^&*—at broadcasting.

Remakes Of Sequles To Remakes Of Sequles

Every now and then Hollywood catches a theme and it seems that all the movies churned out follow that theme. For example when Twister came out, there were lots of tornado and weather related movies, Jurassic Park spawned dozens of dinosaur movies while Independance Day caused alien movies and similar events with volcanos (Volcano), viruses (Outbreak), and so on.

Unfortunately the theme for these past few years has not been a traditional theme as much as a template. These past few years many—I don’t want to use actual numbers but what the heck, let’s say 90%+—of the movies made have been remakes of old films, and in some cases, of not so old films. There is little more dissappointing than to watch a movie that you think is good only to learn that it is just a ripoff/knock off of another movie that was good way back when.

If a movie made in the past few years isn’t a remake then it’s a sequle, maybe a sequle of a remake (ala Meet the Fockers).

Things are really getting out of hand now, it seems that Hollywood has pretty much completely run out of ideas and is resorting to using existing ones to make movies now. It’s not really worth watching movies anymore.

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.

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.

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.)

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.