Category: entertainment

Listen To The Music, Ladies

Picture of Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung Galaxy Note

This article is for my lady blogger friends who have yet to enter the twenty-first century, which is a great mystery to me. You see, these outstanding network nannies (Leticia, and Z) do not have smart phones, iPods, or even a cheap MP3 music player.

So, ladies, here’s my pitch for your technological redemption and explanation of what smart phones are all about.

Let’s take a look at what happens with my smart phone. It can do almost anything my computer can do.

1. Address Rolodex – All my email and phone contacts are in my Google mail (gmail) account, and I have my phone sync to gmail for phone contacts, email addresses, and Google calendar. Most smart phones will sync up with Microsoft Outlook, too. The smart phone is your portable address book, calendar, and birthday list if you wish. I have Google calendar send me a short text message to remind me of every appointment, prior to the appointment. This is the ultimate cool for forgetful old men, like me.

2. Music – My entire collection of music CD’s have been transferred to Apple iTunes, and from there to the iPhone. Since I got rid of my iPhone I have transferred all the music to my  new Android phone. All my music is with me, where ever I go, and I can listen to it anytime I want.

3. Books – My entire library of Kindle edition books (e-books) is available on my smart phone. I take my library with me, everywhere, and can read my current book anytime, anywhere. Not only do I have print books, but I also carry my Audible.com books, listening to them while I drive, and before I go to sleep.

4. Important Notes – With the note taking function in my smart phone, I have made list of my prescription medications. Also, I have my extensive list of pin numbers, passwords and usernames for my countless internet accounts. I have password protected my smart phone to keep busy fingers away from this information.

5. Google – Yes. I take Google with me. I can even talk to Google, and it will understand my search. Several times I have been lost, or could not find an address, and would speak that address into the Google search application. The result would be links and map references. Cool, huh? Now, us guys don’t need directions. They are always in our pockets.

6. Bank  – I use my Bank of America application to check my bank balance, move funds, and to find an ATM or bank branch. Everybody needs this one. There is probably an app for your bank, too.

7. Movies – I can stream movies over the internet to my smart phone. The small screen is not very satisfying, but if I really feel the need to see the Magnificent Seven, again, it can happen.

8. Text Messaging – You might think that texting is just for teenagers. Not true, girls. I used my smart phone last night to cast my American Idol votes for Skylar Lane a couple of dozen times. I voted for two others, also, many times. With a smart phone, you have a tiny little virtual keyboard that is touch sensitive, and you can actually get used to using it.

9. Camera – With my smart phone, I have a good camera with me all the time. My Samsung Galaxy Smartphone has two cameras built-in, one in front, and one in back. The eight megapixel camera in back is almost as good as my Nikon Koolpix camera for which I paid over $100. The pictures are about as good, and I can upload them to my computer via USB connection.

10. Picture Gallery – I have my grand children’s pictures on my smart phone. I do not carry pictures in my wallet. Pictures can be taken by the smart phone itself, or just downloaded from my computer.

11. Cell Phone – I take my telephone with me, everywhere. This feature was saved for the last because I wanted to enumerate many of other features, first.

There are two main types of smart phones, the Apple iPhone, and the Google Android phones. Several major manufacturers make the Android phones including Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC, and many others. Android phones have been selling faster than iPhones, and they all do about the same things. Neither has an advantage over the other.

Microsoft Windows is late to the smart phone lineup. The first Windows Phones were recently introduced, and there are only a couple of manufacturers signed up to make them. Even at that, AT&T sells the Nokia Lumia series of Windows Phone, and has found it to be a great sales success. The Windows Phone does not offer any advantage over any other smart phone.

You can see that the primary benefit of a smart phone is that it is an all-in-one entertainment device. I always have something to do while waiting, driving, or walking, or even in bed before sleeping. Last night, I listened to one of my Audible books until I went to sleep.

If the features listed above don’t sell you on smart phones, I can’t help you. Maybe you are dead, and haven’t realized it, yet.

All Stars On Idol

Picture of American Idol promotional graphic from WikipediaI am gobsmacked! The only thing I could say about last night’s show is, WOW!

American Idol is one of those shows that has dominated the ratings for a long time, now, and deservedly so. As opposed to earlier years, this year’s lineup of wanna-be artists is very, very talented. Any one of the contestants can be a top rated entertainer.

In my opinion Josh is the best entertainer on the show. His performance last night was nothing less than electric. Even the judges gave him a standing ovation. However, I don’t think Josh is the best singer. He is great with rhythm and blues, but can be eclipsed in other areas.

Phillip and Colton are good, also. I think Phillip gave a great performance last night, and as the judges remarked, made you think of a Johnny Cash who had Steve McQueen looks. As far as Colton goes, I like his performances, but I think he is limited by his voice. I could be wrong.

What can you say about the women, but, wow? All the young ladies are beautiful, sexy, and are great singers and entertainers. From Skylar Laine’s country performances to Jessica’s hot numbers, to Elise’s Lady Gaga piece, they were all great. Once again, all these girls can become great recording artists.

It is important to bring notice to the backup artists and show sets that are furnished by the Idol management. All the backup artists are quality, and the settings are quality. This has to give the contestants confidence that they show their best.

Right now, American Idol is the most entertaining show in television, and is well worth you time.

I am not an entertainment blogger, but I do like to be entertained.

Swamp People

Glen & Mitchell Guist Picture
Swamp People

In this election season I get tired of seeing nothing on the news but nodding, talking heads pushing out their daily journalistic distortions. I usually know what is going on, anyway, because I use the Internet to get my news from multiple sources. You can, too. See Google Reader.

So, if I am not wasting my time looking at talking, bobbling heads read me distorted accounts of the news, just how am I wasting my time? Swamp People!

Yep. This is the best show on the History Channel since the first episodes of Ice Road Truckers, and the Swamp People are in more danger than the IRTguys, anyway. I would much rather drive a truck across a lake frozen with three feet of ice than to pull an alligator’s string.

Picture of Willie Edwards
Willie Edwards

The most seen characters include Troy Landry, Joe LaFont, Willie Edwards R.J. Molinere, and several others with their crews. The picture at the top is of Glen and Mitchell Guist, a two-man alligator hunting team.

You must have gathered by this time that the point of the show is to watch grown men schooled in the ways of the Louisiana swamp, hook, kill, and carry their catch to market. I am not sure what the price of alligators is now, but after Katrina the alligator harvest shrank to the point that the price for ‘gators hide went up to $50 per foot.

Picture of Troy Landry
Troy Landry

That’s still not enough money for me to stick my hand in an alligator’s mouth, or to even let one get six feet from me. Come to think of it I don’t think there is enough money in the world to even get me within a hundred yards of one of the beasts. After all, on dry land they will out run a man, any day.

What makes the show entertaining is not only the distinctive Cajun accents, but the way these men of the wilderness handle themselves in the wild. They know what they are doing, and understand the risks. They are for the most part poor men, and are willing to work around the clock to make their living. Some of them live off the land, a particularly interesting choice with the availability of modern-day grocery stores and other conveniences. Maybe, they have to with their meager incomes.

The stories get repetitive with each crew baiting alligator hooks, checking them, and harvesting their catch with treble hooks and 22 caliber rifles. To kill the beasts, they have to shoot the ‘gator in a small area of the top of its head about as big as a quarter. If you miss and hit him in the head or back, all you’ve done is piss off an animal that wants to eat you.

It can get old after a while. That’s why I am always scouting for more shows similar to this one. My new one is Storage Wars. But, that’s a different story.

Fighting On The World-Wide-Web

cartoon by xkcd - somebody on the internet is wrong
Cartoon by xkcd

When I surf across a political or scientific blog, I always read the latest articles and dive into the comments. It’s the comments where you find the really juicy stuff. This is where you can have some fun. I am not talking about a flame war. Simple arguing, preferably with someone dumber than you, can be very entertaining.

In the more popular blogs, not only will you find the everyday Joe-Sixpack type of commenter, but you will also find some real heavy weights of that particular blogging genre. You really need to be careful about who you are attacking.

You can mount an attack on what you think is a relatively uninformed person, and they can wind up having a PhD in that particular subject.

Having a PhD doesn’t mean a person is correct. It just means that they can throw around credentials and category relevant words. If you are smart, you can kick some academic ass, but don’t try it unless you are really sure. Be prepared to abandon your made-up name if the PhD gets the best of you. They are smart, and won’t forget your name. They enjoy a good fight, too.

Stay away from legal blogs because lawyers don’t have any sense, and will argue in their best law school Latin. It makes for an embarrassing spectacle to try logic on these guys. They don’t get it, and will  try to use courtroom tactics to befuddle their adversaries. You can have a really trying time Googling the language they use, just to discover they don’t have a clue.

Another pain in the blog is the internet philosopher. You can tell the internet philosopher by their language and by their name-dropping. Anybody that shoves words at you like, “postmodern”, or “epistemology” is an internet philosopher. They try to dazzle you with knowledge of different branches of philosophy,or their knowledge of various philosophers from Aristotle to Descartes, to Hayek and Popper.

I don’t know anything about philosophy, so I steer clear of that kind of argument. You might consider that if somebody is busy dropping names and philosophic categories, they probably never had an independent thought. That’s their Achilles’ Heel. Keep your arguments to the physical world, and let somebody sympathetic to your side intervene and tackle the philosophy stuff. You can still win.

Most of all, if you get into a pissing contest over somebody’s arithmetic, you have just fallen into a trap. NEVER attack your opponents numbers. Chances are he has spent the last week or month getting his arithmetic right. Always look for weakness in his assumptions. That way you don’t have to do any work at all. Just dismiss all his hard work because of his mistaken assumptions, and watch the fireworks in that comment section.

I once kept an argument going for two days because I confidently asserted that my opponents assumptions were wrong. When he blasted me to offer better work, I replied that just because he couldn’t do a decent job was no reason for me to educate him. He didn’t like that, and his language degenerated into all sorts of insults. Obviously, I won because he was the one to come unglued.

The last, and one of the most important rules about getting into an internet fight is to not argue with women if you can help it.

First of all, women are smarter than men. Secondly, women have no ethics when it comes to arguments. They go for the jugular and they never forget.

Have fun on the internet. It is all sorts of fun, and you can keep your brain cooking on all burners just by some fun arguing. Never take it seriously, though.

Live is too short for peace on the internet and cheap beer.

American Idol – I’m Hooked

It happens every year. American Idol is one of those so-called reality shows, and is almost always in the number one spot among all television shows. Talent shows have always been popular television shows, and one of the most famous was Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.

The Original Amateur Hour had its beginnings in radio, and was a smash hit in that medium for about a decade from 1934 to 1945. Ted Mack brought the show to television in 1948. The biggest talent to become famous from the radio era was Frank Sinatra, one of the most popular male entertainers and vocalists of the twentieth century.

The television era produced Pat Boone, Gladys Knight, and Ann-Margaret. A man named  Louis Wolcott played the violin on the show in 1949. Wolcott would later become known as Louis Farrakhan, leader of the militant Nation of Islam.

American Idol has proven to be even more popular, producing talented recording artists like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson, and Chris Daughtry. There are other successful Idol alumni, but these seem to have top spots in the American music scene.

American Idol is different from any other talent show because they start the process with raw, sometimes embarrassing auditions. Sometimes the talent of the applicant jumps out during the initial audition, and sometimes the judges will invite someone to continue when I don’t think they can sing their way out of a wet paper bag.

The process is what gets you hooked. They start with the raw, amateur talent. Through weeks and months the applicants receive coaching, wardrobe, practice with bands and orchestras, and they perform. Idol uses this process to gradually weed out the less promising over the length of the season.

By the time the season is half through, the audience is voting on contestants along with the judges. The process seems dynamic and participatory. In the past there have been some scandals over audience voting by texting their votes. Voting services have sprung up so people can dial/text hundreds of votes for their favorites.

I don’t know who are the best talents this year. There seem to be lots of talented people in the competition, most of whom make good music.

Have fun watching Idol. Vote early, and vote often for you favorite talents. That’s what makes the show so popular.

Burt Reynolds And Mel Gibson – Good Movies

movie ad for Smokey and The BanditSometimes, you just cannot find a decent movie in the 350 channels that the cable company is delivering. True, I do not subscribe to HBO, but I do get the Showtime and Encore collection of movie channels.

It is a real bummer to buy all these entertainment channels only to find stuff for either high-school students or soap-opera addicted imbeciles. It makes you want to watch one of those ridiculous reality shows. Oh, yeah. More Atlanta Housewives. Just what we need here in Atlanta.

The best movie we could find on the movie channels was, “Smokey And The Bandit” with Burt Reynolds, Sally Fields, and Jackie Gleason. The movie is a slap-stick classic, and got me in a better mood. I tell people that the Bandit movies are among my favorites, and they look at me like I am an ignorant Tennessee hillbilly . They would be correct, except there are not many hills in my part of Tennessee.

movie ad for Apocalypto
Apocalypto by Mel Gibson

After Bandit, my lovely wife and I went channel surfing, again, and found a really good movie. It was not on a movie channel, and we had to endure commercial breaks. It was worth it.

Apocalypto, directed by Mel Gibson was the movie, and it was very good. It is set in the Yucatan area of Mexico at the sunset era of the Mayan civilization. The dialog was in a native language, and all we got were English subtitles. Even so, it is a very good movie. Mel Gibson really sets the bar for movies about ancient civilizations.

This weekend, we got lucky. Our selection of good entertainment is very poor, even though we are buying 350 channels via ATT Uverse, a high quality service with digital HD. It is too bad that the content can’t match the technology.