Tuesday, February 28, 2017

When pennies are useful

The only good use of pennies is to prevent the accumulation of more pennies.  For instance, if you're buying food and the total is $4.76, there's a desperate moment as your scrounge in your wallet for a penny, cause the last thing you want it to get two dimes and four pennies back from the cashier.

Fuck pennies. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wall Street Journal woes

Rosie Gray reports that the Wall Street Journal is laying off reporters in its European bureaus.  Overall, things sound barren:
The Warsaw bureau lost one of its two reporters, and the Budapest bureau has been shut down, as has the bureau in Madrid. The one-man Riyadh bureau has also been closed. The paper’s operation in India has lost two reporters, according to a source with knowledge of the reduction. All staff in Scandinavia have been laid off except for one.
Just imagine.  You're covering international affairs for the Wall Street Journal...you get laid off...your bureau is closed...then you see three different people are on the PewDiePie beat.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tomorrow's TV, Today

Huh.  The YouTube channel for Late Night with Seth Meyers just posted tonight's "A Closer Look" segment, about 3 hours before the show is scheduled to air on NBC.  That seems like a new approach.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

TV recap: The Great Indoors, S1E12, "Paul's Surprise"

This was the first bad episode of The Great Indoors.  You know why?  Because it ended with Jack learning an important lesson and apologizing for his actions.  To heck with that!

The episode opens with the introduction of Paul, who is Brooke's fiancĂ©.  Of course, the guy is a dweeb.  He has a lame sense of humor and he's obsessed with preserves.   Jack is asked to read a speech at Paul and Brooke's re-engagement party, and halfway through Jack decides to ditch the speech and rag on Paul instead.  It's a great roast, but Paul runs away because his feelings are hurt.  Then Brooke gets mad, and the apology routine begins.

GRADE: C-

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cataloging Netflix

I was looking around at all the different Netflix-themed blogs to get a sense of their current library.  There was an article back in November which said the library contained about 5,300 titles, but I don't want to rely on sporadic news articles.

There's Allflicks.net, which provides a database of all the movies and TV shows on Netflix; the site seems to be a source for those "What's leaving Netflix" articles that get written each month.   

There's cordcutting.com, a blog devoted to cord-cutting.  There's exstreamist.com a blog devoted to streaming.  There's whats-on-netflix.com, which has regular blog posts about new Netflix arrivals for each region.  And there's justwatch.com/us, which also provides a list of movies and TV shows on Netflix.    

The best site might be unogs.com, because they actually provide details for how many titles are available in the Netflix library for various countries.  The U.S. right now has 5,194 videos--3,903 movies and 1,288 series.  Unogs also shows all the recent titles that have arrived in each country, categorized by "past 24 hours," "past 5 days," and "past 10 days."  Did you know that Captive, the 2015 movie starring David Oyelowo and Kate Mara, recently arrived for subscribers in Ukraine?  Those lucky Ukrainians!  

Kate Mara is a big deal in Ukraine!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My precious loophole!

Digiday reports that the Wall Street Journal is doing away with the loophole that allowed you to google an article's title and read it for free.  I've been using that loophole for years!  (Or what feels like years.)  Now how will I read the occasional WSJ article?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

More on Clutch Powers

It's true.  Netflix has removed The Adventures of Clutch Powers.  When I search for the title, I get the message that: "Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers is available on DVD only."  What grinds my gears is that none of the articles about what titles are leaving Netflix seem to mention it.  Which means...those article might be incomplete.  Or maybe LEGO kids movies aren't worthy of inclusion on these precious lists.

For example, here is a Gamespot article about what titles are leaving Netflix in February, 2017:
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/netflix-february-2017-new-arrivals-and-whats-leavi/1100-6447217/

And here's a Gamespot article about what titles left Netflix in January, 2017:
http://www.gamespot.com/articles/netflix-january-2017-everything-coming-and-going/1100-6446302/

Friday, February 10, 2017

Clutch Powers

Damn, I think Netflix decided to remove The Adventures of Clutch Powers from their library.  It was a perfectly harmless LEGO movie, and I liked it because it was the sort of movie you might write as a 10-year-old.  (It's about an Indiana Jones-esque character who goes on space adventures and helps medieval knights fight a wizard.  Awesome!)

Instead they've got a couple dozen episodes of that Ninjago crap.  What gives??  And why are they making a Ninjago movie, with the voices of Olivia Munn and Dave Franco?  Is Ninjago a popular thing that I simply hadn't heard of until two days ago?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

ESPN and kayfabe

In the aftermath of any big football game, the talking heads dwell on the same debate topics.  They ask questions like:  "Is Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all time?"  Or:  "Is Tom Brady the greatest clutch athlete of all time?"

By comparison, podcasts about professional wrestling don't dwell on those sort of questions.  You won't hear Dave Meltzer discussing whether John Cena is the best wrestler of all time just because he defeated The Rock at WrestleMania.  You know why?  Because that would be a dumb conversation.  However, those conversations do take place on the pre-show panels produced by WWE.   They get veterans like Jerry Lawler or Booker T to sit together and discuss legacies.  It's kayfabe, of course--Jerry Lawler and Booker T are filling time.  It isn't a real debate.

In a way, I don't think the debates which Skip Bayless or Mike Wilbon or Tony Reali have are real, either.  I would actually love it if there were podcasts that discussed the NFL in the same way that wrestling journalists discuss professional wrestling.  Those conversations would be real.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Medium woes

Last month, Medium laid off 50 employees, citing problems with ad-driven economics: http://nypost.com/2017/01/04/medium-ceo-announces-layoffs-lashes-out-at-broken-system/.

I've read several articles on Medium, but as a blogging platform it holds no appeal for me whatsoever.  I assume it holds appeal as a hosting platform, since there are a bunch of popular websites like The Ringer and The Awl that are published on Medium.  But when I go to the Medium homepage and browse around, I don't get a feel for what its "purpose" is supposed to be.

It's just a whole bunch of think pieces.  Think pieces about politics and technology.  Is there a spot on Medium for someone like me, who isn't involved in politics and technology?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bootleg YouTube videos

For a while on Sunday, the #1 trending YouTube video was a bootleg version of the "Melissa McCarthy/Sean Spicer" sketch from SNL.  The video was uploaded by a YouTube channel named "learn more."  When I took a screenshot, the "learn more" video has 285,145 views.  At the same time, the official version from Saturday Night Live's channel had 315,910 views:



If you're asking why the video with the greater number of pageviews wasn't the #1 trending video, that I don't know.  However, I find it interesting that the bootleg version proved so immensely popular.  The footage was low-definition, and the camera had zoomed in.  You couldn't even see the full picture!  It didn't matter.  Hundreds of thousands of people just wanted to see the sketch and didn't care about the quality. 

The video is gone now, and in fact all but one video from the "learn more" YouTube channel have been deleted: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr9x8sYHLWhhDSC-FNtMOfw.  Earlier, the channel had contained other bootleg versions of Saturday Night Live sketches.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Everyone loves a good comeback story

What a ridiculous catch by Edelman!  What a beastly run by James White!  Check out the highlights of Superbowl LI:


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Dunkaccino and time

Remember that "Dunkaccino" commercial from the end of Jack and Jill?  The Adam Sandler character (I assume his name is Jack) says the commercial is 32 seconds long.  But it's clearly 49 seconds long.  You can look at the timer on YouTube.

Are we to assume the version of the commercial we (the viewers) see is not representational of what the characters in the movie see?  Do we experience the passage of time in different ways?  Or did the editors of Jack and Jill simply not bother with details like making the clip exactly 32 seconds?

I looked for answers in the YouTube comments section.  A commenter named Kraine wrote: "that wasn't 32 seconds."  Exactly, Kraine!  But what does it mean?



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Math and Shawshank

During the climactic scene of The Shawshank Redemption, Red narrates that Andy had to crawl 500 yards to escape:
Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can't even imagine.  Or maybe I just don't want to.  Five hundred yards.  That's the length of five football fields.  Just shy of half a mile. 
So...does Red just suck at math?  Half a mile is 2,640 feet, and Andy crawled 1,500 feet.  That's a difference of 1,140 feet. It's not really "just shy." It's only 57% of the "half a mile" distance.  Don't get me wrong, it's still one of the best scenes from my favorite movie, but it's the sort of dialogue you wind up thinking about twenty years later.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Movie football drama

During the final drive of Friday Night Lights, the Permian Panthers were trailing 28-34.  It seemed like a really weird choice to put the Panthers down by 6, because what would've happened if they scored the miracle touchdown at the end?  Would the movie then go through the extra drama of showing them kick an extra point?  Did we even know who their kicker was??

I figured they weren't going to score for that very reason.  There had been no set-up for the kicker.