Posts Tagged 'television'

Reason #93105 Summer Olympics>Winter Olympics

About a year ago, NBC added those little Olympic rings to its network bug. Maybe they never went away after 2008, who knows. Usually they’re translucent, but on rare and joyous occasions, they light up with the five colors of Olympic glory (that symbolize togetherness or competition or something). And that constant subliminal reminder that the Olympic games really shouldn’t ever be broadcast on anything but the National Broadcasting Company comes down to tonight’s spectacular Opening Ceremony… that’s being held indoors.

There’s nothing not to love about the Olympics. It happens so infrequently that clichés like the Super Bowl Party or World Cup Skivving Off Work For A Month To Watch A Sport Americans Can’t Even Pretend To Care About don’t hold water, and people can’t help but come together to root for their country and against whatever communists are hosting it. But the Winter Games are the bastard stepchild of that great athletic competition thought up by the ancient Greeks (who did nothing but think, when they weren’t waging war on each other).

I always loved the Winter Olympics. Snow capped mountains, figure skating, cereal tie-ins that let my brother and me send away for hockey sticks and proceed to ruin our parents’ living room–I didn’t realise these games were any less important or prestigious than their balmy-month counterparts, and wondered why newsmen started off their Olympic reports with how low the night’s broadcast rated. But it was that doubt, planted in my head during the 2002 games, that made me wonder whether the Winter Olympics really did matter. And the answer was, sadly, not really. Tonight, as I watch the Opening Ceremony, I’ll attempt to reflect on why.

First of all, it’s cold. Maybe it’s the 3 feet of snow I just lived through talking, but watching people be cold makes me cold. Sideline reporters, all be-parka’d and mittened, look like they hate their lives, and would give anything to kill Bob Costas and use his skin for warmth (or, conversely, be in  the studio with him, but that’s splitting hairs). I have the sympathetic chills, and that’s no fun.

It's an orange body condom.

And because it’s cold, everyone in the Winter Olympics is wearing a body condom. Even the figure skaters are wearing nylon mesh. Cos they’re skating on ice, and it’s effing cold. Summer Olympics feature shirtless men in pools and bikini-clad volleyball players on hot summer sand. They’re tan and sweaty and their struggle is raw and volatile. Winter athletes are windblown and red once they’re done flying down a mountain, and goggle lines are not a good look on the medal podium.

Winter sports require a tremendous amount of planning and money to participate. Truth be known, any kind of Olympic-level athlete has poured money and dedication into the pursuit of his goals, but there are far fewer barriers to entry into competition in the summer. A runner in Kenya needs only a long, flat path on which to run in order to become world-class, whereas a skier in Mexico needs access to a snow-capped mountain, money to afford the highest-caliber skis and equipment (and body condoms), and a desire to bolt down a mountain at 80 miles per hour. The Jamaican bobsledders made it work (or, didn’t), but when you watch the parade of nations, check out how many obscure island nations only have one poor schmoe representing them. Good luck, Cayman Islands.

Finally, it’s in Canada. We have to listen to the freaking Canadian anthem every freaking day. Sure, they’re our good-natured neighbors to the north, but they’re also our inconsequential neighbors to the north. They can’t even make it snow to host the games. Ninety-eight percent of Canada is an ice sheet, and the parts that aren’t are snow over permafrost. Watching the Olympic torch trace its route around such barren lands as Alert evoked a strong feeling of existential pointlessness that even a moderately more populated state, like maybe Algeria, wouldn’t. Canada is no China.

I do love the Olympics, really. Any kind of fortnight-long, every-four-years event makes that time feel special and different from any other in the year. We can compete with our global neighbors without banks or battlefields and learn about sports we wouldn’t even watch on ESPN Ocho on a normal day. But something about seeing such hot women athletes as Lindsey Vonn bundled up in a chunky cable knit turtleneck sweater and snow pants seems to lessen at least part of the appeal for watching otherwise unwatchable sports. I’ll watch, and I’ll try not to grumble through the whole 2 weeks. Go America.

Did I mention it’s cold?

UPDATE: Why is everyone a secret Canadian? Leonard Cohen? Joni Mitchell? If they were really proud of their Maple Leaf heritage, we’d know they were from there. Shania Twain, Alanis Morisette, Celine Dion–now those are proud Canadians. Bryan (Ryan?) Adams. But we forget that most people who are Canadian, are Canadian.

UPDATE 2: DONALD SUTHERLAND IS CANADIAN!?!?!?!

UPDATE 3: ARE WE EFFING SERIOUS?? MECHANICAL PROBLEMS?? China would have taken a sword through the torsos of every person responsible for this embarrassing as hell failure to launch.

Controversy, schmontroversy. She's hot. Go America.

Advertisements

I will never sneeze into my elbow

https://i0.wp.com/newsday.today.com/files/2009/09/artelmo_flu_gi_.jpgAt the risk of sounding like an old woman who yells at her TV, I offer this direct response to Kathleen Sebelius and Elmo, and everyone else who advises the public to do impractical and potentially dangerous things: I will never sneeze into my elbow.

Remember when we were kids, and, to our mothers’ horror, we would wipe our runny noses on our sleeves, from elbow all the way to wrist and sometimes fingertips if we were wearing gloves? It was after washing that umpteenth snot-encrusted sweater that mom thrust a box of Kleenex into our hands and taught us to blow our noses. Tissues go in the trash, where their nasty germ-filled contents are destined for a gruesome incinerated death. And that fact gives me comfort.

Advance 20 years. We live in an age of bird, swine, beef, ground lamb, and Cornish game hen flu, and it’s best not to spread that sort of thing around. As the Secretary of Health and Human Services, that wonderful catch-all department that’s supposed to be most in tune with the Public Interest but really only in the event of an epidemic, Kathleen Sebelius was charged with the responsibility to keep all those foreign animal influenzas from breaching our shores and mixing with our women infecting the American population. For the better part of 2009, this job consisted of holding regular press conferences to tell us just how fast the H1N1 was spreading, and when we should expect to have to start wearing surgical masks and burning anyone who coughed or scratched their nose. But when FLU SEASON started, Sebelius took it upon herself to re-teach all of America how to sneeze.

Evidently, we’d been doing it wrong (though those incorrigible folks who sneeze openly into the air to shoot their 45-mile-per-hour spit droplets onto everyone and everything around them always do it wrong). Rather than sneeze into our hands, then proceed directly to the sink to wash said hands or OCD apply hand sanitizer as a stop-gap, she told us to sneeze into our elbows. Sneeze all that grossness into our bare (gross) or beshirted (GROSS) elbows, then sit around with a wet spot on our arm until it dries and all the germs turn into spores and… sorry, I’m gagging.

I was horrified when I first heard this cockamamie advice, and promptly decided to ignore it. But today I was watching PBS (full disclosure, I enjoy watching Arthur and have ever since… well, high school), and there appeared some old guy and Elmo to feed this nonsense to children! They’re undermining mom’s stern guidance to instead teach kids to sneeze onto their clothes, and by extension each others’ clothes, until every Kindergarten across this great nation devolves into one massive snotty sticky mess (well, more so than they already were). This is worse than the corn lobby’s ministrations against people who spurn high-fructose corn syrup, because it’s “nutritionally the same as sugar and fine in moderation.” (They leave out that pesky little detail that HFCS is so dirt cheap that food manufacturers may as well put it in everything, everywhere. As a general rule, any ad or congressman that advises you to “get the facts” is probably lying to you.) Because the idea of sneeze-laden shirtsleeves is just SO GROSS.

No amount of elbow grease can out those damn spots.

Bye bye Butterstick

I never went to see cute little Tai Shan panda bearface when he was born. It was 2005, and I was too busy not going to class and cloistering in the isolated nook of Georgetown, DC to schlep all the way out to Connecticut Ave.

But in the past few years (i.e., since I’ve been living with Id and Ego), I’ve tended to regress into a dysfunctional fit of giggles and squeals whenever I see anything cute or cuddly. If someone even so much as describes to me their adorable puppy or cat or puppy dressed as a cat I devolve into smiles and gushing. So I’ve developed a retroactive affection for the once-cuddly (ok, still cuddly; once-small) Tai Shan.

With that background, I share a pitch I wrote (but didn’t actually pitch, which means it certainly wasn’t considered or approved) to try to gin up at least SOME interest in Tai Shan’s unfortunate departure. It’s clearly a stretch, but that absurdity makes it all the more fun.

Adieu, Butterstick. I hope you make lots of panda babies.

PITCH: Panda farewell reminder of Chinese-owned American Assets

A child born in the United States to foreign parents is being extradited to a communist country with one of the most abysmal humanitarian records on Earth. Now, we’re talking about a giant panda here, not a human child, but that surely got your attention. Tai Shan, the beloved panda born in 2005 to panda parents on loan to the US from China, is being sent home to China next Thursday. While the panda loan program is considered an act of good will between the nations, the reality is China owns a lot of the US—including nearly $800 billion in foreign debt—and recalling Tai Shan is just one example of the vise grip with which the country with the world’s third largest economy holds so many American assets.

Project Runway recaps are all about vision and delusion

I have no intention of getting into the business of doing television recaps. I don’t have an entertainment department, and I usually take several weeks to catch up on most programs that aren’t re-aired in endless marathons on girly cable networks. Also, I have a deep rooted personal fear of spoilers, to the point that I don’t even want to hear people discuss Gossip Girl on Tuesday morning in case they spoil anything beyond the first disc of season one. That said, here’s my one-time SPOILER ALERT version of gawker’s recap of the Project Runway finale, because I’ve grown weary of gawker’s recaps and this is my opportunity to gripe at them in prose.

Things we hated:

  • That tragic model in Carol Hannah’s short gold dress who couldn’t walk to the bathroom at 7am, let alone walk down a runway as a model. Did she think she was playing dressup in mommy’s heels? Learn to walk in stilettos: it’s what you’re paid to do.
  • No, Marc Bouwer, you shouldn’t say strongest ever. Even last season’s snoozefest and winner (Jane? Sarah? I don’t remember, something vanillay) was more inspired than oversized knit sweaters and skinny pants, even if the crazy cat lady, Katy Perry or whoever, stole all her designs from real designers.
  • Althea’s politics Obama blah blah fashion on the streets blah. At least she didn’t send this overt monstrosity down the runway.
  • Harem pants. No girl wants her vag to look like it hits her knees. Ever.

Things we loved:

  • Suzy Menkes, fashion director for the London Daily Fog or whatever, bc ProjRun used up all its celebrity tie-ins throughout the season and now it’s time for real fashion people to judge the winner.
  • That Garnier Fructise commercial where the girl tied her hair in a knot, which I’m sure says something about Lifetime and our collective shame in having watched it each week since August.
  • ProjRun season 7 is in NYC again. Los Angeles is where fashion goes to die and get arrested for absurd dui’s.
  • That ninagarcia cautioned Irina against not using color three days before the final show and then called her out on the runway, as though she expected Irina to splatter dayglo paint on all her pretty black clothes as her 13th look. “We talked about that…” mmhmm. Like there’s anything I could’ve done, and besides, where were you all season long?
  • Jaslene “ChaChaDiva” Gonzales walking for Althea! It’s great to see ANTM alumni (except Saleisha) work, even if it is in the inbred circle of fashion reality shows, because, I mean, if Cindy Crawford can deign to be on ProjRun, maybe Jaslene’s not in such bad company.

In the end, Irina totally deserved to win. The other girls’ lines were ready-to-wear, and I would totally wear them (mostly), but I can see Irina putting in the work to be a real designer who actually makes her line happen. But I still hold out hope that one day I’ll be rich and fabulous enough for Christian Siriano to sew me a whole new wardrobe.

CNN makes me laugh almost as much as Tyra Banks does

And NewsMax is selling Sarah Palin’s book for TWENTY-FOUR whole dollars off the cover price on Fox. I thought things had to go to the discount rack at Loehmans next to Donna Karan velour lounge pants and one last massive Tahari pantsuit before they could be infomercialed alongside the dog-Snuggie and that douchebag that sells SlapChop? But I guess the caveat is you have to subscribe to NewsMax (for “free”), wamp wamp.

Anyway, on one of my TVs, CNN’s most Asian-looking reporter has been called up to the majors to report on Obama’s trip to Singapore, just like their most black-looking reporters anchor the “CNN Presents: Black in America; What it’s like to be black in America and Other tales of woe” specials. To be fair, he probably anchored the entire hour, and is doing cut-ins now, but since I watch most TV on mute, the OBAMA IN SINGAPORE lower third accented the talking head in the top box, or vice versa, whatever. Jeanne Moos summed up “TV’s Week of Awkward Moments” on the Soup–er, on CNN–and even though CNN had the most awkward moments this week (Carrie Prejean? Lou Dobbs’ “F-you, f-you, f-you, you’re cool, f-you, I’m out”?), she still carried it off with CNN on top. Which, I mean, well done Jeanne Moos.

Meanwhile, Tyra Banks actually said “smizing” on America’s Next Prettiest Reality Star. For serious, not ironically. I know this has been blog fodder (which from now on I’m going to call “blogder”) for months, but whatever I don’t watch ANTM any more but for Oxygen and Bravo marathons. “Smiling with your eyes” wasn’t a real thing to begin with, Tyra. It’s called being a good model, and I don’t even know what that is anyway since everything I know about modeling I learned from “All About” Tyra Banks and everything I know about “fashion” I learned from Project Runway. Which is why I love TV. TV makes me “smize.”


November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Categories