Late Night Talk Show Politics – Late-Night Leaning?

Ask a late-night talk show host whether he’s liberal or conservative and the answer will likely be — what else? — a wisecrack.

Still, anyone who believes Jon Stewart is doing anything but voting for John Kerry in this political cycle is being, to use one of my favorite phrases, willfully ignorant. After all, he’s appeared at Democrat fundraisers before, along with other members of THE DAILY SHOW staff.

The thing that gets me about the humor on that show is that it falls into two categories: Attacking Republicans, and “Woe Is Us” towards Democrats. The latter kind is almost self-deprecating, while the former often eschews the facts for a cheap gag. And there are times where he even forgets to make a joke in favor of a political point. Of course, there is the chance he does that for a cheap applause line from the studio audience. It is, after all, filmed in NYC.

Posted in TV

Pipeline #372: 27 July 2004

This week’s Pipeline is filled with reviews:

  • Steve Lieber on art with FAMILY REUNION. (Sean Stewart is on story.)
  • The Olsen Twins on the cover of ULTIMATE X-MEN #49
  • If OZ were a comic, it might be BLOODHOUND #1
  • THE FADE TRADE, Volume 1
  • The very funny EGG STORY

Next week: A San Diego con wrap-up on Tuesday, and a look at PREVIEWS on Friday.

An Interview with David Gerrold – David Gerrold Interview – Part 3

And I finally got the very clear message that Gene [Roddenberry]’s lawyer didn’t like me. And that whatever Gene promised me, the lawyer was going to take away. And the lawyer was afraid that Gene was going to lose control of the show. So what he was doing was significantly undermining everybody [at ST:TNG] that might be a threat to Gene, so that he could stay in control. And he appointed himself chief of staff. And the result was that we had a lawyer running the show. A lawyer who had no knowledge of how to do television. No knowledge of what Star Trek was supposed to be. And he was re-writing scripts. And I said, “Gee, this is going to be the worst possible situation to be on. How can we do a real Star Trek when we’ve got a guy here who’s thinking only in terms of how much money he can make?” He thought he was protecting Gene, but in his efforts to protect Gene, he was hurting Gene. I was the second or third person to leave, but there were 30 other people who followed me out the door in that first season alone.

This is from the third part of a fascinating three part interview with science fiction author, David Gerrold. He talks a lot about writing, television, his career and more. He’s not particularly shy about it, either.

I wonder if the lawyer Gerrold talks about here (at the beginning of ST: TNG) is the same one that Peter David clashed with over the STAR TREK comic books in the early 90s. . .

Posted in TV

The True Story of Figwit

Figwit Lives! FAQ

He’s the elf you never knew, but might have noticed. He’s the strange fan-favorite that Peter Jackson called back for more screen time on the third movie. This is the story of living the impossible dream, thanks to fans.

Or something melodramatic like that.

And just in case you wanted the extended extended cut of the movies, here you go. Something else to look forward to.

The next R.E.M. album

Music Article |

The first single from R.E.M.’s as-yet-untitled new album will be “Leaving New York,” which is tentatively set for a Sept. 27 commercial release in Britain, where the veteran Athens, Ga. group retains a fervent fan base.

I saw a few t-shirts this weekend with the phrase, “I’m big in Germany” on them. Is that what it’s come to with R.E.M., too? Sad.

UGH, more negotiating ploys

Pierce Brosnan is getting into the act:

Pierce Brosnan appears to be turning in his license to kill, according to Entertainment Weekly. “That’s it,” Brosnan told “I’ve said all I’ve got to say on the world of James Bond.”

This is, what, the third time he’s declared this?

On the other hand, it would be cool if they gave him his wish and let him and Quentin Tarantino do a Bond movie.

In the meantime, should we believe this story?!?

British actor Orlando Bloom actor has been signed by Miramax to play young James Bond in his new movie which is based on the college days of this widely popular secret agent.

Makes me yearn for a JAMES BOND JR. DVD collection. ;-)

Big Brother 5

Is this season filled with some of the most despicable and annoying reality TV show contestants ever cast? Or —

Nah, it’s definitely that. Pretty boys Jase and Scott are two of the most obnoxiously immature people I’ve ever seen on television. They remind me of all the people who made high school hellish for others. They are the very definition of “frat boys” that I often use as a perjorative. For some reason, they’re so intimidating that they have cowed Cowboy and Drew onto their side. Evil Doctor Will was a puppy dog by comparison. This gang is abrasive and abusive.

My only hope for the redemption of this season now is that Drew bumps off Holly after a tie vote on Thursday night, ending the Four Horseman alliance and officially switching sides to Diane’s group. Drew choked on the Veto decision, but it’s not too late to redeem himself. I can’t believe he let them bully him around yet again.

I hate reality shows that come down to boys versus girls, and this one seems to be doing that again. This time, however, it’s obvious that the men really are all the evil and stupid things the women make them out to be.

Posted in TV

Ken Jennings and Jeopardy!

In the past 24 hours, I watched the last four episodes of JEOPARDY!’s most recent season, mostly comprised of the Ken Jennings steamroller making mince meat of anyone who dares stand next to him. It’s been entertaining, but it’s also been enlightening.

Things I’ve learned:

  1. A lot of Jeopardy! clues have nothing to do with the categories they’re in. Notice how often the category is used as a segue to the real question/answer. It’s bizarre. Often, the clue belongs in the category, but the hint that gives away the response has nothing to do with the category.

I’ll make up an example here: Given the category of “Presidents,” the answer might read, “President George Bush calls this his home state, the capital of which is Austin.” You don’t need to know the president’s home state, so long as you know the state capitals. That’s a minor example, but there are plenty just like it on any given board.

  1. Being a movie buff certainly pays off. Movie-themed clues can show up in just about any category.

  2. That said, Jennings’ scope of knowledge is very wide. He answers Shakespeare, geology, alcoholic beverages, European history, royal history, geography, pop culture/celebrity, mythology, and more. Lesson learned here? Being an English major is a very good thing. Being well-read is even better.

  3. Thursday’s game had a very fast buzzer. Usually, the contestants are cleared to ring in just a split second after the camera cuts to them. On Thursday’s show, the buzzers were opened just before or just as the camera cut to them. Someone different was opening them up, and Jennings was able to notice it and correct for it.

  4. If you’re looking for Daily Doubles, don’t bother with the first clue in a given category. This is basic Jeopardy! strategy, but there are many people who don’t understand this. In one game, there were two Daily Doubles left and two categories left. Once Jennings found the first one, he immediately switched to the other category, starting at the second clue in.

  5. On Final Jeopardy, I got the Shakespeare clue right (actually naming 3 of 4) and the Presidents clue correctly. Both shot right to mind. It shows that sometimes, your first guess is the best. =) (I didn’t answer the Singers category right, which irked me. I should have gotten it.)

  6. September 6th. Mark the date on your calendars. That’s when KenJen returns to go after the Tic Tac Toe record of consecutive game show wins, even if the stat is comparing apples to oranges. On the bright side, this gives him a few weeks to study. On the down side, it does the same for everyone else. heh heh

To sum this all up: Ken Jennings is a very smart man, using good Jeopardy! strategy*, and with an excellent sense of timing for the buzzer. And people want to know why he’s winning? I think it’s obvious.

(*) Some might challenge some of his betting in the name of being cute with the round numbers, though.

Posted in TV

New Releases, 27 July 2004

Courtesy of those friendly folk at, this week’s release list has been culled to a fairly short, but promising list:

Hellboy (2-disc set) (2004)

There is a 3 or 4 disc set coming out for Christmas that promises to have even more stuff on it, so choose carefully.

Pennies from Heaven (3-disc set) (1978) Pennies from Heaven (1981)

One of these is the Steve martin musical remake that bombed very very badly, becoming an object lesson in Hollywood.

Showgirls: V.I.P. Edition (1995)

This is a very good punchline to a very awful flic with a big cult following. Now you can see the movie with video commentary from actual dancers, and get your own shot glass and tassels to go with it.

Sledge Hammer!: Season One (4-disc set)

This is, without a doubt, the release of the week. Let’s all journey back to the mid-1980s and the lowest-rated sit-com in television history (at that point) to be renewed, despite a season-ending cliffhanger that seemed to doom a second season.

V: The Complete Series (3-disc set) (1984)

I throw this in here because I know that someone else will mention it in the comments thread if I don’t. Never got into the series or the movies, but now you can. ;-)

Next week: THE BLACK HOLE is released again (and hopefully this time all the speakers in the surround sound will work the first time out), KNIGHT RIDER, the PICARD set for ST:TNG, and DARBY O’GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE. Maybe the following week will be better… (It is. ALF comes out that week. =)

Posted in DVD

Ladies and Gentlemen, the cast of “Serenity”

Yesterday, on the last day of the San Diego Comicon, Joss Whedon gave a “Serenity” presentation. It was pretty damned cool to see the special trailer they made up specially for comicon based on what footage was available at the time.

It was even cooler when Whedon introduced the entire cast of the show:

The cast of "Serenity"

Loads of fun was had by all.

Update: More pictures and audio from the panel can be found here.

When to run a marathon – Astronomers revise likely date of Marathon run

A team of astronomer gumshoes has pinned down the date of an ancient Greek battle at Marathon that led to a long-distance run and the sport that survives today in its honor. Analysis of lunar records show the 490 B.C. battle occurred not on the long accepted date of September 12, but a full month earlier, researchers said. According the Greek historian Herodotus, Plutarch and others, after the Greek army routed their Persian attackers at Marathon the long-distance runner Pheidippides sprinted the 26 miles (46 kilometers) back to Athens to announce the victory and warn of an attack from the sea. He then collapsed and died. Having the run occur in August “makes it a little more plausible that he keeled over and died,” said physics lecturer Russell Doescher… Temperatures in August can reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) along the Marathon route, which could lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke in even the hardiest of athletes, researchers said.

I love the oddball historical stories like this one. Of course, I never plan to run a marathon, but it does make for interesting history.

That took longer than expected…

So George Eads and Jorja Fox are back on CSI. I’m not quite cynical enough to label this a complete publicity stunt, but I do wonder. Nor do I completely believe the stories about “oversleeping” and “misunderstandings.”

Still, it’s all rather predictable in Hollywood, isn’t it? And, in the end, CSI will be a better show with them than without them, so it’s a good thing all around.

Lesson learned: When you’re making $100,000 a week and are contracted to do so for another couple of years, deal with it. Life’s tough, you know?

Posted in TV

Some things just never get reported


Michael Barone: The ‘Bush Lied’ folks can’t be taken seriously

The Senate Intelligence Committee report also refuted completely the charges by former diplomat Joseph Wilson that the Bush administration ignored his conclusion, based on several days in Niger, that Iraq had not sought to buy uranium in that country. Democrats and many in the press claimed that Wilson refuted the 16-word sentence Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech, noting that British intelligence reported that Iraq sought to buy uranium in Africa. But British intelligence stands by that finding, and the committee noted that Wilson confirmed that Iraq had approached Niger, whose main exports are uranium and goats, and intelligence analysts concluded that his report added nothing else to their previous knowledge. And the report flatly denied Wilson’s statements that his wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, had nothing to do with his mission to Niger — it quotes Plame’s memo taking credit for the appointment.

Joseph Wilson, the media darling who cried that President Bush had lied about Iraq approaching Niger for weapons part, has now been outed as a complete liar. Mind you, the fair-minded middle-of-the-road mainstream press is ignoring this, much in contrast to the way they front paged the news for days when he made the charges. So I’ll do my part to help educate the masses.

Also, check out InstaPundit, where this whole topic has been covered in great detail for the past couple of weeks.