Friday, January 29, 2010

game show failures...

sometimes you need to be happy with what you've got...
(cough cough... too bold... cough cough)

dude, really... dude.

not technically a game show but a classic clip none the less.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Crying Wife

There are a few reasons why I am not married at this point in my life...

One of them (that I am pretty sure will never be remedied) is that I don't understand when girly folk get emotional. I'm not saying guys don't have weird stuff, but as a guy I feel like I understand our emotional issues. Not ladies.

One thing I don't really get is girls crying at the drop of a hat.

Exhibit A:

I am sure she's a nice girl, but she's also a little nuts too.

(Kudos to Russell Barrett, creator of Outer Space Astronauts, for the link.)

Monday, January 18, 2010


Growing up, my dad was calculated with the things he had us do on Sunday Afternoons. Once a month we would visit some kind of museum. It was his desire that we be educated beyond our schools. He wanted us to consider the world; the complexity of science, the beauty of art, the gravity of history, all of it. I recall visits to the African-American Museum in Exposition Park. I can remember standing in front of a television in that museum the first time we visited and listening to Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech. I remember being around seven years old and thinking that this dream had been accomplished; I went to school with children of various races and didn't see the big deal. As I got older I realized that while progress had been made, we had further to go. Today when I searched YouTube for this speech and began to read the vile comments that were posted by ignorant anonymous fools, it made my heart ache.

I appreciate the day off, and am spending it like most people relaxing. But I did take a few minutes and listened to this speech below. I listened to the whole thing, not just the sound bites. I considered the words of Dr. King and how they remained true. My hope is that one day I can take my child to the same museum that I visited. That we'd stand before a similar display and that in that moment my son or daughter would also think that the dream had come true.  My hope is that on that day, they would be more right than I was in my youth.

Thank you Dr. King, for shining a light on the darkness that remains.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Conan vs. Leno

1/16/10- "It breaks my heart that the man for the job will need to find a new job."

(skip below for latest update)
1/9/10- "If this is really happening, then NBC is showing it is short sided and doesn't know how to program...again."

It was a bad idea. Plain and simple, the Jay Leno show at 10 was a BAD idea. Now they are going to remedy this bad idea by trying to put things "back the way they were", well that is a HORRIBLE idea. If you haven't heard, the hot rumor right now is that NBC is canceling the Jay Leno show at 10, and they want to move Leno back to 11:30. They are giving Conan O'Brien the option to stay at NBC and have a show start at 12, or to leave NBC. While this is all unconfirmed, NBC has made comments that seem to point to this being a real possibility. I am absolutely shocked at how this is going down.

First off, they never gave Conan the chance to figure things out. Leno struggled against David Letterman for the first 2 years he was on the Tonight Show. His ratings took a dip when Johnny Carson left, that just happens. The reason Conan saw a bigger dive is because NBC split his audience. He had people following him from Late Night, but Leno's audience didn't give him a shot because they weren't required to. It's funny how people are very firm in their distaste, yet will be won over time. Conan needed that time, those two years to establish himself with that audience.

The problem for NBC is those people may not come back. With TiVo, Hulu and a wide open field with basic cable TV viewers have more options. So, they left and very likely may not come back. Plus NBC is playing a short game that will harm the long term. Back in 2007, everyone looked at the Tonight Show as a great place for Conan. Unfortunately a few years later, Leno is not ready to retire and therefore has set his replacement up for failure. Johnny Carson was a class act when he left and you'd think Leno would do the same thing. I understand Leno sees himself as still being a viable option, and maybe he is an option in another slot. I bet if Leno had pursued a weekly comedy show, hour long gig, it would have had HUGE ratings! All the old people could watch their Jay Walking segments and Leno could knock it out of the park with a weekly monologue instead of a nightly monologue. I wouldn't of watched it because I really don't care for Leno, but I am pretty sure that of worked.

Instead, when Leno signed off in May of last year he didn't say goodbye he basically said "I'm off for a summer vacation and on in Prime-time, see you there." Take a look at how his predecessor operated...

Johnny Carson's Goodbye
"And so it has come to this: I, uh... am one of the lucky people in the world; I found something I always wanted to do, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I want to thank the gentlemen who've shared this stage with me for thirty years, Mr. Ed McMahon... Mr. Doc Severinsen... and... you people watching, I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you—and I hope when I find something that I want to do, and I think you would like, and come back, that you'll be as gracious in inviting me into your home as you have been. I bid you a very heartfelt good night."

That is a class act and Leno strikes me as a guy who is afraid of not working. Leno does stand up on the weekends, he doesn't have a night where he's taking a break. When he goes on vacation from TV it is just to do more stand up. He has to be working all the time, and in the Tonight Show, he found a job he loves. When the economy took a dump, and NBC was petrified to loose Leno to another network, the Jay Leno Show was born. This is a show that came out of fear. The fear of loosing Leno to another network and fear of the economic downturn and spending money on dramas. I watched the show a few times and while I admittedly don't like Leno so that makes me bias, the format just didn't work. It wasn't different enough, it was a standard Carson-style show but it took away a desk and it added awkward "young talent". By young talent I mean, they found other comedians to do bits on the show. Now, the bits were tired and clearly had a Leno style. Coming from non-Leno comedians, it seemed ridiculous. It was not very funny at all. And the "Hip/Fresh" talent was not very fresh or hip (i.e. "the dan band").

I am really bummed at these rumors, I am truly disappointed because I like Conan O'Brien and I want to see his show succeed. He was handling the House that Carson built with care, while putting his own stamp on it. This situation means everyone looses (except for maybe FOX). If O'Brien looses The Tonight Show at 11:30, well he is a victim of a man who can't grasp changing times and embrace time off. Leno, move on.

1/16/10- "It breaks my heart that the man for the job will need to find a new job."

It is nearly official, Conan is out and Leno is back in. I greatly appreciate Conan doing what he did. He took the high road and basically said If NBC doesn't want me as the host of 11:35, then they don't want me to host "The Tonight Show".

Here's Conan's Statement:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.
Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over the Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Showinto the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of theTonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

NOW... there is a guy that is going to take the high road and do his best with the franchise he inherited. From what friends that work on the show have told me, Conan's greatest concern is for the people that work for him. Many people have said that this whole situation is show business and people get fired all the time. In general that is true but "The Tonight Show" is something very different.

Loosing the future of the franchise to squeeze a couple more years out of Leno is a mistake. NBC has been ridiculous in response to the situation, leaking things to the press saying that they are disappointed that Conan didn't get the ratings they wanted. They are making claims that he didn't listen to requests to broaden his appeal. It's a smear campaign and a way of making their mishandling appear warranted. I was shocked that Leno would have Jimmy Kimmel on his show (video here). Kimmel said some pretty blunt things about the situation and Leno just stood there and took it.

I assume that Leno is going to just take the slack for the next 6 months. He will make jokes about NBC (an easy target), but at the end of the day he is a man that went back on his word. Leno said he chose to exit because he didn't "want to see anybody ever have to go through that again." (If you are wondering what I'm referring to, take a look at the video bellow.)

I thought I had a great resolution to the situation, but my hypothetical didn't work out. I was reading an article that talked about how David Letterman had till 2010 on his contract and that he was indifferent about whether or not to renew hit. In essence he said he could do another year or not, and it was up to CBS. My idea was simple, have O'Brien take over for Letterman in the Fall. Letterman could become the Executive Producer and give him full support. Letterman owns "The Late Show" and licenses it to CBS, which gives him a lot more creative control which is a perfect situation for O'Brien. Back in June of last year, Letterman foiled my plan be renewing his Contract until 2012. That is a good fit for Conan and doesn't over-saturate the market. As of right now there are 3 white guys on at the same time during late night to tell jokes and interview celebrities. Conan elsewhere makes it 4, and considering this formula needs reinvention, I don't think it will work. The other issue is, Conan would go on at 11:00 on FOX, competing with The Daily Show which shares his audience. I'd say ABC at 11:30, but they've said in statements that they're sticking with their current late night line up with News and Kimmel. So, Conan is in a tough spot and I blame a single person... LENO.

I think this is the best way to sum things up...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

ding dong the witch is dead...

Ha ha ha ha ha... I couldn't be more excited about this. The NFL looked so good to Carroll that leaving his players and pending NCAA sanctions was too good to be true.

I think this sums it up and is more relevant today than ever before...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Random: Adam & Eve Art

I'm doing some work on series art for something we have coming up at church. Here's one of the paintings I found of the fall. While the baby heads with wings are great, my favorite is Adam. He's looking up to God and has the greatest look on his face.... "Whaaaaat? I didn't do anything??? It was the lady...." Very funny.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Education: Yale

1/4/10 "I'm going to Yale SUCKAS!!!"

So, it turns out Yale is providing online courses for FREE. Sure, you don't get credit and can't really justify wearing a YALE sweatshirt if you took a free class online, but STILL! I think it's great to know that one of the most prestigious universities in our country is just giving education away. I like the challenge of taking an Ivy League level class so I think I'm gonna take a class.

Now I am planning on starting next week when school starts for me. It may seem backwards to start this while I am doing grad school already, and maybe it is. But why not try it! If it doesn't work, I will try it in Summer. This semester I am thinking about taking Hist 119 about the Civil War and Reconstruction or Eng 220 about Milton. What do you think I should take? History or English??

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Movie: You've Got Mail

1/3/10- "Sleepless in Seattle part 2, not as good as the first."

Today was my last day of vacation before getting back to it tomorrow. I am looking forward to getting back to work, but will miss the days of just going to the beach, reading a book and watching some TV. After watching a little football this afternoon I flipped the channel to E! to see that "You've Got Mail" was just starting. Now, there is something about catching the start of a movie on TV. Sure, you've got 200 dvds with far superior films 20 feet away, but you'll go ahead and watch this.

"You've Got Mail" is a film built on a formula and titled after an AOL trademark. (Remember AOL, it was the only way to get on the internet when you first started going on the internet.) {If you say, "What about Prodigy?" you're identifying yourself as being old and nerdy.} The movie is really based on the success of "Sleepless in Seattle", a good little movie in my opinion. 2 problems with this follow up explain why this movie fell short.

1. You've got the two people together the whole movie: Okay remember "Jaws", how you didn't get a chance to see shark until the end? It's the same thing with Sleepless in Seattle. You fall in love with the individuals separately and revel in the idea of them being together. You really theorize what their interaction together would be like, your imagination wrote the relationship. Remember "Jaws 2", where you saw the whole shark the whole time? I didn't think you'd remember that and that's a reason why "You've Got Mail" is forgettable.

2. An Endearing Tragedy vs. Corporate Greed: "Sleepless in Seattle" starts with the main character's wife dying, going right after your heart strings and showing the guys ability to love. This appeals to a persons desire to help the hurting. (i.e. "Mommy, I found this puppy, can he live with us?" / "Mommy, I'm dating this convict, can he live with us?") If it were not for this tragedy, we couldn't have the romance. It brings the Characters together. What brings the characters together in "You've Got Mail"? The fact that Tom Hanks character wants to move into her neighborhood with his giant book store. What redeems his character and makes him love-able? It's certainly not the Godfather quotes he makes all the time. Sure he's witty and still Tom Hanks, so that makes it bearable. What about the fact that Tom Hanks character is dating a horrible woman. Not a hapless nerd, like Bill Pulman's character in Sleepless. The characters don't come across as people ready to love each other. They spend most of the movie being negative to each other and that is what you walk away with.

This movie is sending a message to girls that they should just settle for that guy they already know but would never think about dating because he's probably the guy of your dreams. I know some of you are going to argue that this isn't a sequel and its just a good movie on its own. Well, I know it's saturday night and you're by yourself so you're a little bias. Put the half empty bottle of merlot and the completely empty carton of Ben & Jerry's to the side. Think about it. This movie is garbage. You  like the idea of romance, you like the two actors that play the main characters, you romanticize New York; that's all. The movie didn't win you over, the idea of the movie did.

I hate to be a downer in the New Year, but I'm keeping it real in 2010!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

List of 2009

1/1/2010 "When I just think about favorites today, this is what I think of." 

These are things I found in 2009, they may have come out long before that but this was the year that I came to know them and loved them.

Best Movies:
1. UP
2. Up In The Air
3. 500 Days of Summer

Best Albums:
1. Only By The Night- Kings of Leon

Best Rediscovered Music:
1. The Beatles
2. Jay-Z
3. Yacht Rock- Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, etc...

Best Musical Acts I fell for in 2009
1. Frightened Rabbit
2. The Roots
3. Obadiah Parker

Best New TV Show
1. Modern Family on ABC
2. How I Met Your Mother on CBS

Best New Web Show
1. Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog

Best New Websites:
1. Woot
2. Awkward Family Photos
3. 1001 rules for my unborn son

Best New Book I read for Fun:
1. Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
2. Live from New York by James Miller & Tom Shales
3. To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

Best New App for the iPhone:
1. Tweetie
2. Dragon Dictation
3. Scrabble

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thoughts of Trent: The Evolution

When I started this blog 2 years ago, it was a chance to share my opinion about things. What it evolved into was a chance to write articles. Articles take time, require structure and are more work than just posting thoughts. The last year has been one of the busiest of my life and consequently the blog suffered. I just didn't have the time in my day to write a fancy article for every bit of media I encountered.

Now I am not saying life is going to change and I will find more time to blog, because that isn't going to happen. I simply want to redefine what this blog is going to be about which will allow for more content. I guess overall I'd like to lower the bar on what I write here. I'm not going to feel the need to write a long witty article that I secretly hope would end up on The Daily Beast. Instead this will be like my online Moleskine, you know those hipster journals made famous by Hemingway. Now, with that said this will not be my diary or journal where I share my deep dark secrets. I will not use this as a passive aggressive tool to make a point.

Content will vary:
Sometimes the writing will be deep and sometimes shallow.
Sometimes I will post content I've seen other places and sometimes I will post content I've created.

Content will be fluid:
Posts will not be definitive. For instance, my opinion may change or something new may come up. If that's the case, I will simply add to my existing post and change the date so it gets a bump to the top.

Content will be about everything:
I will write about things that I've seen and my thoughts. Just because I write about something doesn't mean I'm endorsing it. Everyone needs to use their judgment about what is good for them to watch.

So, I we will see how this new direction goes. I hope you enjoy the ride. I hope that you discover some new things threw this blog. I hope that you agree and disagree with me, but comment accordingly. I hope that my blog becomes a representation of who I am, not who I want to be.

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