Saturday, January 30, 2010

Say No to Leno

I watched the Oprah interview of Jay Leno and came away with the following reaction: The guy really is a conniving, self-serving narcissict. He tries very hard to present the everyman persona...but in reality he is as slick as any other hollywood shark.

Despite Jay's protestations here's the reality: Back in 2004 Leno wanted to retire. He agreed to give the show up in 2009. NBC quickly signed up Conan to succeed him to avoid a repeat of the 1992 Letterman vs. Leno Late Shift Mess. But as 2009 approaches Leno gets cold feet. He decides he doesn't want to leave the television business. He even told Oprah that he can't imagine not being on the air and predicted that she won't retire in 2012 like she has announced. Of course he wrapped this up in the humanitarian desire to keep his staff employed. But Conan wisely had signed a succession contract. NBC was obligated to give Conan The Tonight Show.

So NBC gives Leno is own show in primetime. The show bombs. Conan's show is still in infancy and has yet to build an audience. Remember it took him a couple of years to build up his Late Night audience back in the early 90's. In fact he was almost cancelled within a month of going on the air. But NBC showed remarkable patience and Late Night gradually became a hit with Conan O'Brien at the helm.

So with The Tonight Show dropping off in ratings Leno played his hand and demanded his old job back. And he got it.

Now the story he's spinning is that NBC told him in 2004 that they wanted to replace him with Conan and basically strong armed him into the five year retirement plan. He said he told a "white lie" to his audience that he wanted to retire but he never really wanted to. He states that he felt betrayed by NBC for wanting him to replace with Conan. He felt that he was being fired despite being #1 for over a decade.

What a load of crock. There is NO way that NBC back in 2004 says to Leno they want him gone in favor of Conan. Late Night's ratings were good...but not at Tonight Show levels. Plus, Leno was the undisputed king of the ratings (more proof that America is stupid).

All Leno had to do was to say no to the (fictional) deal. ABC was looking to replace Nightline. They or FOX would have jumped at the chance to get Leno from NBC. There is NO way NBC would try to force out Leno in favor of Conan.

But Leno has been shocked at the backlash. So he is revising history. He's trying to now paint Conan as the usurper. He's now saying he wants to keep his job to save the jobs of his staff (despite decimating Conan's staff and the thousands of people who work in network dramas who lost their jobs when the Jay Leno Show took over their primetime slots). He's saying he's been cancelled twice...which is completely ridiculous since NBC has given him three shots now at a show.

He has proven (although this was proven back in 1992 as well) to be a hubris filled liar with a persecution complex. This has been rumored to be true for it's out in the open. What a bum. Either he's completely delusional or he's a machiavellian operator under the guise of a blue collar everyman (despite his $800 million dollar networth). Oh yeah, one more thing...he tried to gain pity from Oprah saying he lives off the income he makes as a stand-up comic. All the Tonight Show money goes to the bank or to some charitable foundations he runs. Cry me a freaking river.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

R.I.P. J.D. Salinger

Got news that author J.D. Salinger died earlier today. Towering writer yet shunned all the fame. He lived the last several decades in seclusion outside of Cornish, New Hampshire.
I only read "Catcher in the Rye" and his collection of short stories "Nine Stories" But they had a huge impact on me. Part of the Salinger legend revolves around the idea that there are rooms full of manuscripts in his farm house. Be interesting to see if they ever see the light of day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

4 and 12

Well the Chiefs had a lousy 4 and 12 season. However, I'm actually feeling pretty good as a Chiefs fan. The poor season was not unexpected. There were many close games and they ended strong with a beat down of Denver. Two former Longhorns (cough) stood up and became stars...Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson.

But with the hiring of both Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennell as OC and DC...the Chiefs should be much improved next year. I didn't like Weis's hubris at Notre Dame but he was a heck of a coordinator. And Crennel was given a difficult job in Cleveland but still retains his defensive reputation. Both former head coaches will be able to help Haley as he continues to learn on the job.

There's also another top five draft pick this year. Super early prediction: 8 and 8 next year. That would be an amazing jump for this team as the Pioli-Haley era kicks off in earnest.

Photo: gotta love the old Chiefs logo used from 1963-1971. Unabashedly Politically Incorrect before people knew what that meant!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie Disappointments

For some reason yesterday I was thinking of the biggest movie disappointments during my lifetime. I'm speaking of movies in which I held high hopes and was let down immensely. Here are few that come to mind...

Goldeneye: The trailers looked amazing. It was the rebirth of 007 after a six year hiatus. But the plot was third grade and the final action set piece revolving around running over a big satellite dish was boring. The industrial flavored musical score was terrible. The trailers held showed so much promise that even now if I see one I think...I should give Goldeneye another look only to be disappointed again. And again. And again.

Hudson Hawk: This movie looked like it was going to combine the action DieHard Bruce Willis with the comedic genius Moonlighting Bruce Willis. Supercool James Coburn was cast as a badguy. But the movie fell completely flat. Unfunny jokes and stupid musical numbers equal lame flick.

Black Rain: Michael Douglas at the peak of the mid-80's Wall Street years and up and coming Andy Garcia fresh off The Untouchables in a Japanese Yakuza/Triad gangster flick set in Tokyo? On paper - awesome. On the screen...slow, ponderous and sleep inducing except for that cool scene when Garcia gets decapitated in a parking garage by a motorcycle riding Yakuza hood.
The Big Bounce: An Elmore Leonard book. Great cast with Owen Wilson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Sinese, Charlie Sheen and even freakin' Willie Nelson set in beautiful Hawaii! The screenplay botched both the story and Elmore dialogue.

The new Star Wars movies: Jar Jar Binks. Pansy Anakin. Bad acting. Terrible dialogue. I am still ticked at George Lucas for this disgusting missed opportunity. Could have been another Lord of the Rings. Ended up being Lord of the Crap.

The Pirates of the Caribbean sequels: Couldn't understand the creole and pirate accents. The F/X way overdone. Totally lost the charm of the original. I still have yet to pay to see the third one since the second one was so bad.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull: Lucas, Spielberg and Harrison Ford? How do you mess this up? Well you throw in stupid Shia LaBOOF, Kate's really bad haircut and bad Russian accent, monster fire ants and aliens from outer space? Aliens? Really!?! I almost cried to see Indiana Jones reduced to this tripe.

The Godfather Part III: Actually not too terrible...just pales considerably to the first two classics. Sophia Coppola, who's gone on to direct some awesome movies of her own, has been beaten down for years over her performance so I won't pile on. Okay, yes I will...her scenes make me puke (But I've forgiven her for her movie "Lost in Translation"). I don't understand why Pacino sounds like he's growling when he talks (very similar to Batman's voice in the new Christian Bale versions) and Bridget Fonda is just too light weight to be in a Godfather movie.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Have fun with Jesus!

Many of you know that my Grandfather White passed away last December. After much discussion we decided to take our three year old son to the funeral. Kimberly would keep him in the back of the sanctuary while I sat up front. We also wouldn't let him go up to the casket. We thought he was too young for that.

We did tell Jackson that his Great Grandpa White had gone to live with Jesus up in Heaven. That was about as far as we were willing to discuss it with him at this time in his life.

We also took him to the graveside service although Kimberly and Jackson stayed in the back of the crowd while I was closer to the front. As expected he got a bit squirmy and Kim began walking him back to the car so he wouldn't be a disturbance to others during the short grave site ceremony.

As they were walking off, my three year old son turns back and yells "GOODBYE GREAT GRANDPA...HAVE FUN WITH JESUS!"

I don't think most heard what he said. At first I cringed...but then thought no...that's a perfect sentiment for a believer in Christ. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Team Conan!

Once again Jay Leno is trying to screw The Tonight Show and ruin late night television. Leno likes to play the everyman persona but he is as ruthless and ambitious as the most machiavellian Medicis. He stole Letterman's rightful place as host of The Tonight Show. It was well known that Johnny Carson wanted Letterman to follow in his foot steps. After Carson died it was revealed that Carson had submitted jokes to be used in Letterman's dialogue on The Late Show. Although Carson never appeared on any show as an interviewed guest after his retirement he made many cameos on The Late Show. He never gave Leno his blessing.

But Leno used his backroom savvy to score the desk. The show devolved into lame humor and was aimed at the moronic jocularity I guess is popular with the proletarian masses. Jaywalking and the Dancing Itos strove for the lowest common denominator and proudly reached it.

Although I prefer Letterman to Conan, Conan is stratospherically more intelligent and witty in his humor than Leno. O'Brien's monologues are actually funnier in my opinion than even Letterman's. But they may be too surreally absurd for the literally minded. Leno is the Three Stooges, Letterman Ernie Kovacs and O'Brien The Marx Brothers. I hope I didn't offend Stooge fans.

Now intellegent America is being given the shaft again. Not only do we have to endure Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck on FOX we may have to endure Leno back at 10:30 (CST). I'm tired of smart America being ignored in favor of the ignorant masses. Fight back against Leno's America and join Team Conan! If I sound freakin' be it! Conservatives deserve better than Palin and Beck and Liberals deserve better than Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. America deserves intelligent humor like O'Brien and Letterman. The time of stupid America is over!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quote of the Week

Interesting quote by one of my students talking about hunting over the holidays...

"I like to shoot em, but I don't like to eat em."

KHS class of 2012.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Friday, January 08, 2010

The 2009 Book List

Well here it is...the final list of what I read in 2009. I'm already excited about 2010's reading list!

Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell

The Republic by Plato

The Prince of the Marshes (and other occupational hazards of a year in Iraq) by Rory Stewart

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

Wild at Heart by John Eldridge

The Fortune of War (Sixth in the Master and Commander series) by Patrick O'Brian

No Logo by Naomi Klein

The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron

The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia by Frances Wood

Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman

Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart

Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital World by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga

Race Matters by Cornel West

Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism by Cornel West

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Thoughts on 2010, 09, etc...


I am very glad 2010 is here. Overall 2009 was a good year. But the last three months ended fairly stressfully. Work issues, church issues and the loss of a loved one made the last 12 weeks of 09 a bit hard. Harder than normal.

So I'm ready for 2010. Some quick hits on the holiday season which were so busy I didn't blog much.

I saw Kimberly fall from a ski lift. Fortunately the lift was only three feet off the ground. Her ski-tips caught the ground at Paoli Peaks in Indiana. She landed face first into the ground below. A cat scan at the ER verified that all was okay. Before the fall the skiing had actually been pretty good.

Jackson got to sled in the snow in Indiana. Click the vid and check out pics on my flickr account.

At a family gathering on New Year's Eve I noticed the theme on Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve was stars who are past their prime and don't know it. Jennifer Lopez looked freakishsly weird, Britney Spears looked hungover and Beyonce looked way out of shape. And I couldn't take my eyes off of Ryan Seacrest's eyes were oddly hypnotized by his coiff updo.

I have too many gift cards and am overwhelmed on how to spend them. Bought four books today from half-books for $2.00 with a giftcard. Wander aimless around Best Buy and Borders and had book and video overload. I'm not much of a browser. I like to go in and know what I'm looking for.

My Christmas lights did not blow off my roof this year.

Okay gotta go. See ya.