Life in the Slow Lane

November 25, 2009

Oprah, Jon & Kate bid farewell

Filed under: Entertainment,Television — pauljlane @ 1:05 pm

The past week has seen two of the bigger names on television either leave or announce their intentions to leave.

Will Jon and Kate ever disappear for good?

• First off, Jon & Kate (and their eight) departed TLC on Monday, as their reality series concluded.

I had never seen the show prior to Monday, and I have to say that I don’t know what the attraction was. Jon complained about having eight kids, Kate complained about having eight kids, they both complained about the paparazzi which they helped bring into their lives, the end.

Granted, the show has wildly changed course since it debuted, what with the couple’s marital woes and string of publicity. But in the episode, Kate didn’t even have one of the hissy fits she’s famous for, and it was still lacking for anything that made for compelling viewing. I honestly could not care less about what happens to either of these attention whores. Life’s hard with eight kids, no doubt, but stop making a spectacle about it.

So, good riddance. My only regret is that they’ll undoubtedly milk every TV show, interview and other cash-in opportunity that’s available while they still have some of their 15 minutes left.

• And Oprah Winfrey announced last week that she’ll hang up her microphone in 2011, giving up her talk show to pursue other interests in cable television.

At least Oprah IWnfrey tried to improve the world with her TV time.

I hate the hardcore Oprah fans who blindly follow her every word and turn off their minds in her midst. But Oprah has had a greatly positive influence in her quarter-century of doing talk shows. She’s made a difference in a lot of ways, and her show was one of the few good things about daytime television. She will be missed there.

Not that the richest woman on the planet can disappear, mind you. She’ll be visible in her other work and will continue making the world a better place. But she was the person who made modern talk shows what they are and carried great clout in nearly every circle (I requested to review a sample of a glasses-type device that projects movies to review for the paper, and they told me that Oprah got the only sample that would be issued).

If any good comes of this, it’s that Oprah’s most fervent fans might start thinking for themselves again. But regardless, Ellen DeGeneres, Rachael Ray or anyone else who might step into her spot won’t be quite the same.

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November 16, 2009

Heidi and Spencer are among the worst people ever

Filed under: Entertainment,Television — pauljlane @ 5:40 pm

Heidi and Spencer Pratt said recently taht they want another reality show, claiming that viewers don’t get to see enough of them.

(Choking back vomit)

Heidi and Spencer, two of the main reasons people from other nations hate America.

OK, first of all, how pretentious do you have to be to think that people WANT to see more of you? Just about the only people who actually care about reality stars are unemployed losers and empty shells of beings with way too much time on their hands (note that I mean people who follow reality stars’ lives off-camera, not watch reality shows; there’s a clear distinction).

And, as the following AP story states, if the description preceding your name in a story is “reality TV personality,” you’ve accomplished nothing with your life and are a complete waste of resources and time. Where are you in life that, rather than trying to do something meaningful that might help your family or society, you push for more TV time? Do you have absolutely no skills whatsoever? Or are you just a complete moron?

Of course, if they see this post, they’ll be happy to see their names circulating around the Web some more (no doubt they have a Google alert of themselves set up), which is the entire point of every move they make (“Look at us! We do stuff!”). And they might never know how very, very sad that is.

•••

This is from The Associated Press:

Reality TV personalities Heidi and Spencer Pratt said Monday they want to branch out from MTV’s “The Hills” and star in their own reality show to give viewers a bigger peek into their lives.
In an interview to promote their new book, “How to be Famous: Our Guide to Looking the Part, Playing the Press, and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture,” the couple told The Associated Press they’re shopping the idea around to various networks.
They said that while “The Hills” — which doesn’t acknowledge its cast members’ fame — only focuses on a small part of their lives, their own show would reveal everything that happens to them. They also said they’d be even be willing to include live segments.
“You don’t get to see our everyday lives and what we do,” Heidi Pratt said.
But the Pratts also said they don’t plan to leave “The Hills” and hope to appear in both shows.
Last summer, the newlyweds also appeared on NBC’s “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” during a break from “The Hills.”

‘Shrek the Halls’ and ‘Grinch’ Christmas shows to air back-to-back

Filed under: Entertainment,Television — pauljlane @ 5:13 pm

ABC announced that its annual airings of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Shrek the Halls” will take place back-to-back Monday, Nov. 30.

"Shrek the Halls."

The 1966 classic “Grinch” (8 p.m. EST), based on the Dr. Seuss book, tells of an evil creature whose experiences while thieving Christmas from his neighbors in Whoville opens up his heart to the meaning of the holidays. And “Shrek” (8:30 p.m. EST) will air for the third time in 2009 and sees new dad Shrek struggle to meet his family obligations while keeping his friends happy as he tries to find out the “right way” to celebrate Christmas. All of the voice actors from the film series return, including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas.

While I would take “A Charlie Brown Christmas” if only given one Christmas show to watch per year, this is as fantastic a back-to-back pairing as could be. Both of these shows are splendid in every way.

November 10, 2009

Who are the parents who would read this book to children?

Filed under: Entertainment,Literature,News — pauljlane @ 4:18 pm

Every once in a while, I get a product pitch that defies explanation, something that’s shocking in its offensiveness, uselessness and warped agenda.

DanaRightSide_FinalCOVER

Worst ... book ... EVER!

The new book “Help! Mom! Radicals Are Ruining My Country!” fits that bill and then some.

The book is by Katharine DeBrecht, author of the kids book “Help! Mom! There are liberals under my bed!” The book tells of two boys whose lemonade stand is seized by the government. The follow that up with a swingset business, but the government forces the boys to sell swingsets to kids who can’t afford them.

I hate the idea of political parties and people who ardently defend either side, but garbage such as this makes me think I’d lean left if I had to. Why would any parent want to poison their children with this drivel? This country’s imperfections are in part due to the divisiveness that political parties create, and teaching your kids to hate someone else simply because they see the world a bit differently seems almost criminal.

I’m all for someone believing whatever they believe. But don’t let your party define who you are. Think for yourself. You can agree with the guys on the other side of the aisle every now and again. You won’t melt. I promise.

Any parent who actually thinks that this book is quality material for their children is doing irreparable damage to their kids and is ruining them.

November 9, 2009

2009 Charlie Brown Christmas special to air Dec. 1

Filed under: Entertainment,Life,Television — pauljlane @ 5:00 pm

ABC announced that the 2009 airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will take 67505_003place at 8 p.m. Dec. 1.

The holiday classic, perhaps the best special that airs during the Christmas season, sees Charlie Brown debate the true meaning of the holiday while dealing with a Christmas play, a possession-obsessed sister and a lackluster lil’ Christmas tree.

Click here for details on the 2009 airing of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”

2009 Charlie Brown special to air Thanksgiving night

Filed under: Entertainment,Life,Television — pauljlane @ 4:55 pm

ABC announced that the 2009 showing of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will67501_005_ful take place at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night (Nov. 26).

The annual special sees Charlie Brown try to arrange a special dinner for his crew, only to have the caterers — Snoopy and Woodstock — screw things up with a toast and popcorn entree.

Airing with “Thanksgiving” will be “This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers,” a cartoon that takes the Peanuts gang back to 1620 and the 65-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to North America.

Click here for details on the 2009 airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

November 5, 2009

Anniversary issue offers gender-based food for thought

Filed under: Entertainment,Life,Television — pauljlane @ 3:41 pm

While watching an episode of “White Collar” last night (the USA show is excellent, by the way), I was taken aback by the subplot involving the FBI agent’s inability to come up with a sufficient anniversary gift for his wife.

yes_dear copy

The doofus husband who often forgets dates is a staple of sitcoms such as "Yes, Dear."

He eventually did, of course, but she didn’t get him a single darn thing.

And that got me thinking.

In any TV program or movie you see, it’s the man who’s the gift-giver on anniversary day. You have the ridiculous stereotype about the “Forgetful Father” who bumbles his way through life while not remembering the anniversary date and other special occasions. You have fictional men going all-out to please their wives with vacations, jewelry, dinners and the like. And even the diamond commercials lay heavy into this sentiment (“this anniversary, give her something that shows you actually care”).

So, what gives? Why is anniversary giving (in fictional worlds, at least) all on the man?

Wasn’t the woman at the wedding, after all? And don’t they say that weddings are all about what the woman wants? So why does she get to just sit back and be lavished upon year after year.

No, for the record, this sentiment isn’t reflective of any real-life misgivings on my part. My wife and I decide each year not to give gifts to each other, instead just enjoying dinner and/or a movie together.

But TV and movies can persuade some viewers, so these stereotypes – while not as harmful as those beer commercials with the nearly naked women – can do harm to relationships. If you’re saturated with any message to a certain extent, it will rub off on you in some form.

I’ve never been married to anyone else (nor will I be), so I don’t know what the “normal” anniversary gift-giving arrangement is. But I hope it’s nothing like what TV would have me believe.

November 3, 2009

Volbeat looks to put beat down during U.S. tour with Metallica

Filed under: Entertainment,Music — pauljlane @ 11:04 am

Having made a mark in its homeland and across Europe, the Danish hard rock band Volbeat sees the United States as its next land to conquer.volbeat
The fact that Metallica is on the band’s side is a huge step in that direction.
Speaking from Denmark during a recent phone interview, Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen said his band’s connection with the biggest metal group on the planet began about 18 months ago. Volbeat supported Metallica during a show in Denmark, Poulsen said, and he quickly formed a bond with Metallica singer James Hetfield. The two talked music, cars and family before Metallica left, but within months Metallica called Poulsen to have Volbeat perform with them when they returned to Denmark.
“We saw Metallica wearing a Volbeat T-shirt on YouTube,” Poulsen said. “(Hetfield) knew song titles and everything, and I’m thinking, wow, this is crazy. I’ve been a fan of this guy since I was a teenager, and now he knows my songs.”
Two days after that second concert, Hetfield called Poulsen looking to hang out. They did that night, then again two days later, when Poulsen had to call his wife home from work to cook dinner for the two men.
“She screamed when she heard the news,” he said. “It was so weird, seeing James come into my living room and play with my dog.”
When the talk turned to business, Hetfield said Volbeat should tour with Metallica on this side of the pond. A call from a booking agent transformed that talk into action, and Volbeat’s been touring with Metallica for a few weeks now, beginning with an Oct. 26 show in Toronto.
The support helps, but Volbeat might not have needed a boost here. Since forming in 2001, Volbeat has topped the charts in Denmark and Finland while receiving heavy radio play in seven other European nations and performing sold-out shows across the continent. The band’s latest effort, “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood,” puts a metal spin on Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams and other vintage U.S. pop stars.
“That’s all I listened to growing up,” Paulson said. “I just love that type of music.”
That love led Paulson to vacation in Memphis and Nashville, Tenn., in February. He quickly fell in love with America, he said, and the band quickly spawned a U.S. tour that began and ended this past spring.
“I was really eager to go over there. It was such a beautiful feeling. I was actually looking for the camera. I thought I was in a movie. I just fell in love with America,” he said.
The current tour, which last through Dec. 12 and includes a handful of headline shows, is what Paulson considers a natural next step for the band.
“In the beginning, only concentrated on playing Denmark. Suddenly, that turned into … Europe. Now we’ve been doing that for a while, we pulled very big crowds,” he said. “Now I think it makes more sense to do the U.S. We knew one day we were doing to do the U.S. It was a matter of timing.”
Paulson said regardless of how his band’s music is received here, he would consider moving to the United States to live — although he was quick to defend his home nation’s history and living climate.
But before any homesteading considerations come up, there’s work to do. He hopes that Volbeat takes North America just as the Viking ancestors of his homeland did, but he knows that any success won’t come easy.
“People can expect a lot of energy at our show,” he said. “We’re so much into people buying tickets, buying merchandise and buying our CDs. We always go out after the show and talk to people. We have a lot of dedication.”

IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Metallica in concert with Lamb of God and Volbeat
• WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 10
• WHERE: HSBC Arena, 1 Seymour Knox Plaza, Buffalo
• MORE INFORMATION: Call (888) 223-6000

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