Saturday, June 30, 2007

An evening with Ms. Sony

Watch out world, it’s Saturday night! Some folks may be heading off to the movies. Others might have a dinner date. Others may have a far more crazy night ahead. Me? I just finished “You, Me and Dupree,” (not as funny as I’d hoped) grilled up a burger and a hot dog (thank you, George Foreman), and am now preparing for the wondrous TV lineup that Saturday evenings are known to provide… OK, actually it’s all the crap they throw on, since they figure most people have lives and won’t be watching TV on a Saturday night… Boy, I sure showed them. What follows are the highlights of a night of channel flipping and junk sifting, stationed from the home office – my couch.

7:08 p.m., Spike TV- “When Animals Attack 3” is showing the recreation of an alligator attack on a seven-year-old boy… Nothing about this scenario should be humorous, but the creators of such a masterpiece of television production have decided to cast a 30-year-old man to play the youngster in some of the scenes. I’m not quite sure if it was the size or the 5 o’clock shadow that gave the actor's age away. They may as well have cast a box turtle to play the gator. Instead, the fake alligator they're using is somewhat reminiscent of the inflatable alligator pool rafts. Apparently the creators of the show obviously didn’t realize that, if they used real animals in the reenactments, they could potentially make even more money… Who wouldn’t watch an episode of “When Animals Attack While Filming Episodes of When Animals Attack”?

7:20 p.m., Local Access Channel – Some grade school kids are putting on a program where they sing western-themed songs while wearing cowboy hats and bandannas. Several of them have the glazed look on their faces that you might see in a hostage video, and they’re singing with the enthusiasm of an odontophobic person waiting to get a root canal.

7:36 p.m., ESPN2 – Maria Sharapova is competing against a woman from Japan named Ai Sugiyama. Sharapova just scored an ace with a 111 mph serve. As a result, the eternal question, “Is it possible to be attracted to and afraid of a person simultaneously?” has now been answered.

7:45 p.m., The Disney Channel – Your one-stop shop for horrible acting… Wait, I mean, no, I’d never stop on the Disney Channel!

7:48 p.m., CNBC – Uh oh, the banker just called on “Deal or No Deal.” Howie says the offer will be more than a quarter of a million dollars, before cutting to commercial. My guess is that the banker doesn’t actually exist. When the phone rings, it’s simply people calling up and requesting that Mr. Mandel get Bobby’s World back on the air… Now that was quality television.

7:50 p.m. – Scantily clad women dancing seductively to catchy music right before a children’s toy is advertised? That can only mean one thing - we’re on Univision! I took two years of Spanish in high school, and I’ve recognized exactly one sentence I’ve heard. How’s that for comprehension?

7:54 p.m., BET – Oh boy, it’s the constant hilarity of the Wayans Brothers… This brings only one thought to mind, from the mind of Dave Chappelle. “The Wayans brothers… There’s more?”

8:00 p.m. – Back to Univision for some “Sabado Gigante,” and right in time for some sort of game show segment. It involves numbers… Quatro means four.

8:05 p.m., Animal Planet – A man best described as… well, a fool is walking in a swampy area, feeling for anacondas with his toes. Now he’s just gone in to tackle one, after describing the snake as feeling like an elephant's trunk. Excuse me for a moment as I run to the zoo to feel an elephant’s trunk with my bare foot, thus establishing a point of reference. Shows like this make me glad that my hobbies involve writing and watching TV, as opposed to hunting snakes and planning my own funeral.

8:25 p.m., FX – “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Take that, kid from the Mac commercials! I’ve seen it so many times, yet it never gets old.

8:30 p.m., ESPN – A quote from Baseball Tonight, “Grady Sizemore, what doesn’t he do?” … Well, hopefully he doesn’t punch war veterans or kick puppies. I know it would be weird to bring that up on the air, but you asked the question.

8:35 p.m., MTV – A kid is singing a horrible song to a crowd at a baseball game, as the crowd members sit uncomfortably… I guess he wants to be “made” into someone who ends up getting booed at Wrigley Field while singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” They really must be running out of ideas. As a result, I am “made” into a person that continues to grow disgusted with MTV and must change the channel.

8:47 p.m., ABC Family – Holy smokes, it’s Ziggy from “What About Bob?” post-puberty. I always wondered what happened to that kid. Apparently he got to be in a movie with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Seth Green and the Rusty Griswold kid from “Vegas Vacation.”

After further examination (and serious thought wondering what in the world my life has become), I’ve discovered that I’ve actually heard of this movie before; it’s “Can’t Hardly Wait.” After the mandatory awkward pause, I realize I can’t hardly wait to change the channel and the subject.

8:55 p.m., CBS – It’s Tom Selleck, but he’s not playing Thomas Magnum…. Boooooooooo! I think some actors should never be able to play new roles after achieving success with a particular one. And has any role been more successful than Thomas Magnum? Channeling my inner Ricky Bobby, I believe “Magnum P.I.” won the award for greatest TV show ever made.

9:01 p.m., TNT – Tom Hanks speaks to his volleyball, Wilson, on “Castaway.” Meanwhile, a baseball with George Brett’s face on it sits on top of my entertainment center. Time to change the channel before I start asking it about the ’85 World Series.

9:05 p.m., ESPN – A commercial with former World Series MVP, and former Royal, Jermaine Dye wearing his White Sox uniform… Urge to punch wall… rising.

9:07 p.m., VH1 – Whoa, whoa, whoa…. Paris Hilton was in jail??? Have you heard about this??? Boy, that story really slipped under the radar. I guess we can all be thankful that the stations dedicated to covering news in our country devote time to stories that really matter, and not the imprisonment of someone who is only known because she was born into money.

(We must pause for a moment while my computer attempts to process the last paragraph. I may have overloaded its sarcasm accepting circuits.)

9:20 p.m., Spike TV – More animal attack action, now featuring actual footage. This time we’re treated to a kangaroo in an Australian backyard, and then a possibly diseased lab monkey that got loose in a suburban neighborhood. Thank goodness the people involved had the foresight to film these situations, as opposed to, you know, HELPING CATCH THE DANGEROUS ANIMALS!

9:34 p.m., MTV2 – An utterly disturbing video by Queens of the Stone Age may have just taken a few years off my life. I guess it’s all part of MTV’s continuing “let’s try to get Derek to skip our channels” campaign.

9:55 p.m., FX – Another great quote from Dodgeball, in FCC-edited fashion, “Freakin’ Chuck Norris.”

10:02 p.m., Food – Iron Chef Cora gets the call on “Iron Chef.” Since this show is almost treated like a sport, should we, as viewers be treated to statistics? I’m curious how many cuts of pork Cora can slice per minute. Seems like this would really open things up for the commentators, as well. The commentary could be upgraded from “pointless drivel” to “pointless, stat-driven drivel.”

Three hours of my life later, what do I have to show for my Saturday evening? A written-account of three wasted hours, and some progress at breaking in my couch. Now I’m off to find a recap of the Royals game (John Buck wasn’t in the lineup and the offense struggled? But Buddy Bell’s boy Jason Larue was in… Urge to punch wall… rising).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Argument Solver

Life is filled with a number of great debates. Pepsi or Coke? Paper or plastic? Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Such questions can be so mind-boggling that they keep people up at night, wracking their minds for a solution.

My friends, you can all rest easy, for I have found the answer to it all – Google. For those that are unaware (folks raised by lemurs, and such), Google is a “search engine” on the “Internet” that allows users to type in keywords and find results from around this “World Wide Web (if you are unfamiliar with this Internet, I pity you… but I’m also going to steer clear of you, because you apparently have some sort of amazing mind powers, being able to read this sans a browser).

Anyway, let’s start with a simple argument – Should Buddy Bell have a job managing in Major League Baseball? With baseball, as with most athletic competitions, success is measured by wins and losses. Therefore, to test my argument solver, we first enter “’Buddy Bell’ winner” into the search engine. Such an entry nets 33,900 results. Not a bad pull for Mr. I-Like-To-Bat-A-Sub-.200-Hitting-Shane-Costa-Cleanup. Unfortunately for Buddy, the argument comes down to the results for “’Buddy Bell’ losing,”… a whopping 41,500. By a 7,600-result margin, it seems the skipper is more associated with losing, and therefore should not be managing at the big league level.

The beauty of the “Google Solution” is that it works with any argument. Is Brodie Croyle a talented young quarterback, or an injury waiting to happen in the Arrowhead backfield. Net results… “’Brodie Croyle’ talented” garners 29,900, while “Brodie Croyle’ injured” nets 44,400… Looks like Damon Huard better start warming up and hope that opponents don’t catch on to the limited playbook he worked with last season.

With the answers to all life’s questions at my fingertips, I obviously couldn’t just sit back watch television… I needed more (with the TV on in the background, naturally). Being the considerate person that I am, here are the answers to more of society’s great debates:

The ceiling… worthless or wonderful?
“ceiling worthless” – 586,000
“ceiling wonderful” – 1,330,000
This just serves as a kind reminder that we should all appreciate everything ceilings have to offer.

KU… underrated or overrated?
“KU underrated” – 44,600
“KU overrated” – 61,900
If first-round exits and tournament disappointments weren’t enough to convince you, Google can show you the way. The high expectations for the Jayhawks are as fictional as the bird they portray.

Dwight Schrute… genius or freak?
“’Dwight Schrute’ genius” – 17,900
“’Dwight Schrute’ freak” – 15,700
With that, we now all know that, despite his eccentricities, Dunder Mifflin’s Assistant to the Regional Manager in Scranton, Penn., is a genius… that knows several facts about bears… and has a purple belt.

Derek Larson… great or mediocre?
“’Derek Larson’ great” – 1,050
“’Derek Larson’ mediocre” - 8
Perhaps the convincing argument of all for the “Google Solution”… The search doesn’t lie.

This column… a useful tool or a waste of time?
“’this column’ ‘useful tool’” – 57,800
“’this column’ ‘waste of time’” – 78,800
This shows… well…
… D’oh.