acroyear: (grumblecat)
cross-posted from my FB:

I am not giving up on "The Onion". One really stupid idiot made one dumb post in the one and only context they have where stuff can get out without an editor's approval (their "live-tweeting" of events). They sincerely apologized, a real "yes, we screwed up" apology, not the typical "I'm sorry you took it wrong" that we usually get from comedians (and politicians) these days. They are taking action to prevent *anything* from getting away without editorial control again.

To continue to punish them would be the same as continuing to blame CBS and the NFL (and every CBS affiliate) over the 'wardrobe malfunction' - one person did one thing really stupid and ignorant, but everybody associated with them is to blame? I refuse to live like that. I refuse to treat whole companies like that when they have acted with honesty over their mistakes.

I believe the situation has been dealt with to the best it could be and that it won't happen again. Most importantly, this situation does raise awareness that the C word just isn't funny, EVER, and is perhaps the key event needed so that we can just excise it from the language for good.

When it comes to misogyny, there are more important fights to have than one guy who can't tell a joke and the company that's likely already fired him.
acroyear: (ponder this)
The one thing I captured from the film and music montage section of the opening ceremonies was this:

Everything we yanks started, and then got tired of, the British picked up and turned into a bigger success and reinvigorated it. Sitcoms (The Office?), soap operas (they invented the idea that one could go prime time), war movies, sports movies, rock and roll (remember, in America, the music died in February of 1959, and everybody at the time expected it to stay dead), and much more*. They didn't invent the art forms, but they turned them into something that can last and continue to be built upon where-as the Americans burn out an idea almost instantly and tire of it thinking there's nothing more to do.

Tim Berners-Lee didn't invent the internet, but he invented a technique that reinvigorated it in a way that nobody could ignore. And THAT is why he was there - what he did to internet technology was exactly what each of the British film and music groups represented in that section had done to the genres of American pop music they developed from.

*(game shows, for example, though the montage didn't include that genre)

[This is distinctive from the Canadian presentation 2 1/2 years ago, where the overall expression was "you know all that stuff you like? well, some of that is actually us, thank you very much...]
acroyear: (each must dance)
it is very interesting to compare the background music for various Yosemite Valley (or Grand Canyon or Yellowstone) documentaries over the years, the type they would show or sell at the visitors center. Each generation assumed it was creating a soundtrack to last, yet each sounds pretty well dated and is more a distraction than a support to the wonderful visuals each has.

The 70s attempted to use contemporary orchestral scoring to heighten the drama, but comes across as unnecessarily dark and tense.

The 80s countered by restoring friendliness to the parks through the synth-heavy newage vibe, which didn't last and now sounds as dated as disco (some artists like Kitaro are immortal but this particular stuff is quite dead). Think the same reason many people had the rock portion of Ladyhawk (I don't mind and quite like Ladyhawk, but I understand why many don't care for it).

The 90s countered that by going back to full orchestral scores in a neo-romantic vein (trying to restore what Grofe had mastered in his Grand Canyon Suite), but that tended to continue to over-dramatize the landscape, a landscape that doesn't need any help in producing drama. Still others latched onto the Clannad/Enya led "natural" synth sound, which like the 70s scoring, tended to make things too heavy for what one saw.

The 2000s followed (or led) Ken Burns in going to all acoustic instrumentation, mostly guitars and pianos, plus a lot of native american percussion and whistles and an occasional soft keyboard wash. Today that certainly sounds the most "natural" and feels the most comfortable, but I wonder if that too will sound dated to me in 10 years.

maybe I'll remember this post when we get there...
acroyear: (don't let the)
New NPR Head Comes From 'Sesame Street' | The Onion - America's Finest News Source | American Voices:
National Public Radio announced Sunday that its new CEO would be Gary Knell, CEO of the Sesame Workshop, home of Sesame Street. What do you think?

Their jokes are ok with this one but I liked my own first thought:

"Cool. Given Sesame Street's expertise in promotions and fundraising, I can't wait to go to "NPR Park", or see get the new NPR studio toy set from Fisher Price for my kid this Christmas!"
acroyear: (fof earplug)
Robert Fripp's Diary for Friday, 5th August 2011:
In the inbox, from an artist-pal, the tale of their difficulties getting paid when UMG took over the record company which released their albums.

It seems UMG do not do takeovers very well. We have had problems with BGM/UMG, Island/UMG and Sanctuary/UMG. What is the common factor here? The sharp-eyed among visiting DGM innocents may already have detected this. Even with my short-sightedness, it’s not hard to find.
acroyear: (oh that's clever)


Slashdot's had an interesting discussion on G+ - it turns out that if you violate their terms of service (generally, the main way is by not using your real name - actors beware!), not only will Google suspend your G+ account, they will (by virtue of the fact that they're all tied together) suspend you from ALL google services, including picasa and gmail.  And in spite of hiring a zillion people, customer service is not anything Google has invested one single dime in: there's nobody to call to get them to reinstate and nobody at google pays attention to the google user forums anymore.

Knowing this kind of an automated, senseless policy, I'll assume that they will tell you they're cutting off your gmail account by sending a mail to your gmail account.


Jun. 30th, 2011 09:24 am
acroyear: (don't let the)
“Weird Al” Yankovic | Music | Set List | The A.V. Club:
I wrote this song before 9/11 just because I felt a lot of that selfishness in our culture, and immediately after 9/11 it felt like our national attitude had changed, and everyone was pitching in and being helpful, and being supporting and loving, which lasted about a week. -- Weird Al, on 'Why Does This Always Happen To Me' (Poodle Hat, 2003)
acroyear: (ouch...)
Toy Story 2, Cars 2, Toy Story 3, Kung Fu Panda 2...

Blue Sky Disney: Titled...:
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'd love to have a great title and a really crappy film. I'm just asking why we can't have both? While I love John Lasseter's attention to detail focusing on the films his Emeryville studio makes, I just have to ask why they can't spend a day or two trying to come up with a title to give it other than a number.
Reminds me of that golden age of the 80s when everything had to name itself "Something : The Movie" (as if people were paying 6.50 to see something other than a movie in a movie theater), like Transformers and Robotech (among many others).

Spaceballs, of course, rode that trend to a decent joke in the film.

on DRM

Apr. 27th, 2011 10:30 pm
acroyear: (fof earplug)
I really, really, REALLY hate DRM. Especially when it screws honest people. - WWdN: In Exile:
This [the hassle it takes for Will to actually read his own works on the platform of his choice] is the sort of thing that drives honest people to piracy, because the pirates are providing a better end user experience for them than the legal alternatives.
Dan Bricklin, who was the coder that developed the first spreadsheet all those years ago, wrote more or less the same thing about the original Napster. "Theft" or not, it provided the interface of convenience that was more important than anything else to the user base.  What was important about Napster wasn't the music itself, but the direct ID3-based search model, something iTunes and Amazon took quite a while (re: years after Napster's legal demise) before really supporting.

Torrents are the same way - a simple search finds what they want, in a format that gives no restrictions on where it can be played, for how long, leaving the viewer in total control.  The lack of control (hell, the 2 dozen wasted DVD-ROMs I have of "Digital Copies" that have all expired, having never watched a single one) is actually a major turn-off.
acroyear: (don't let the)
it's sad to see daytime drama being replaced by reality TV. Especially when you consider that - back in the 1950s, 1960s & 1970s - one of the main reasons that soap operas were so popular with housewives was because these shows then gave their viewers a break from their sometimes desperate realities.
[Jim Hill Media] Could the cancellations of ABC 's "All My Children" and "One Life to Live" have been prevented?
One of the great curses of reality TV is that it is, to the studios, the best of both worlds: insanely cheap but with insane ratings.  So the curse of moving to this is that when the ratings drop a bit, they can still keep profitable enough to keep going even as a dying program a lot longer than a show with real writers and real actors would be able to do.  Thus, we're stuck with the dregs a lot longer than we used to have been (which in turn continues the drive away from the networks and more towards cable rerun marathons, or just giving up broadcast TV entirely for netflix).
acroyear: (grumblecat)
Shitty journalism for the sake of sensationalism and relevance, and Channel 9 just did it in spades:

High-Profile Montgomery Cop Paid For Not Working |
ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) -- Bound by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement with its police union, the Montgomery County Police Department continues to pay an officer who performs no duties after being charged and acquitted of perjury for making statements in a criminal trial that proved to be untrue.
it isn't the paid leave of absence, it is the fact that the bureaucracy around actually conducting this "investigation" is taking a year and a half with no sign of actually even taking place, nevermind ending any time soon.

as for the initial acquittal, that isn't enough - the department needs to close all open items of concern because even with an acquittal there can still be a civil suit that the department will have to deal with...but that still doesn't mean the department has to keep this person on the payroll doing nothing while waiting for said civil lawsuit to finally arise. i wouldn't be surprised if they're not finding a conclusion to the investigation just as a stalling tactic because the civil case can't be filed until the investigation is considered 'done'.

but trying to pin this as being "because of collective bargaining" - that's baiting a story as being political when no politics were involved, and there was no reason to do that. VERY bad reporting, channel 9. ALL police departments have "paid leave while under investigation" policies. the fact that this particular department founded it as a result of a particular union bargain was utterly irrelevant to the situation. it was a blatantly biased fact, solely put in (and in the first paragraph) to evoke emotional reactions from those following the Wisconsin situation, and making civil service unions look bad for no reason other than sensationalism.

This type of yellow journalism was (I thought) passe 95 years ago.

(Update: and when somebody decides to defend the anti-union stance by citing Walker's "teacher's union's rules forced me to fire the teacher of the year" editorial in the Wall Street Journal, I almost am too sick to laugh at the ignorance...)
acroyear: (fof earplug)
Renewable Music: Oscar rant obligato:
I do listen closely to sound editing and mixing, however, and find, as a composer, that the sound design is often the most interesting, subtle, and complex part of a film. As far as I'm concern, last year presented some classic examples of mainstream sound design done both very well and very poorly, particularly in the mix. But my ideas of what works or doesn't in a sound track seem to go against the grain: Inception took both sound Oscars this year, but boy, I thought it had a dog's breakfast of a mix.
I'm probably getting old, but increasingly I'm finding the sound levels in films to be overwhelming. If the original mix is muddy and indistinct (or filled with uninteresting elements), adding more volume (and more subwoofer) to the room is not going to help it.


Feb. 27th, 2011 10:20 am
acroyear: (lets try that again)
Ken Burns - Public broadcasting, a 'luxury' we can't do without:
Many say that what can't survive in the marketplace doesn't deserve to survive. Not one of my documentaries, produced solely for PBS over the past 30 years, could have been made anywhere but on public broadcasting. Each time a film of mine happens to reach a large audience, I am "invited" to join the marketplace. Each time I patiently explain to my new suitor what I have planned for my next project - an 11-and-a-half-hour history of the Civil War, perhaps, or a 17-hour investigation of the history of jazz, or a 12-hour history of the national parks - I am laughed out of their offices, sent, happily, back to PBS.

The marketplace can be wonderful. Its relentless forces do weed out many unnecessary things, but there are some things the marketplace cannot do. It won't come to your house at 3 in the morning if it's on fire, it doesn't plow the streets in a blizzard and it doesn't have boots on the ground in Afghanistan. I don't mean to suggest that PBS or the endowments have a direct role in the defense of our country; no, they help make the country worth defending.
acroyear: (fof earplug)
Journalists angry over the commission of journalism - Glenn Greenwald -
To Kurtz, when a journalist accurately points out that a powerful political leader is lying, that's "taking sides," a departure from journalistic objectivity, something improper. In reply, Dickey agreed with that assessment, noting that "part of the soul of [Cooper's] show is to take sides" and be "committed to a certain vision of the story." Like Rainey, Dickey was forced to acknowledge that all of the statements Cooper identified as "lies" were actually lies, and thus magnanimously decreed: "I think Anderson can be forgiven for using that word in that context." Kurtz then patronizingly noted: "And of course, Anderson Cooper was repeatedly punched in the head when he was covering the demonstrations" -- as though his departure from good journalistic objectivity can at least be understood here (though of course not justified) because of the emotional trauma he suffered.

Rainey, Kurtz and Dickey all have this exactly backwards. Identifying lies told by powerful political leaders -- and describing them as such -- is what good journalists do, by definition. It's the crux of adversarial journalism, of a "watchdog" press. "Objectivity" does not require refraining from pointing out the falsity of government claims. The opposite is true; objectivity requires that a journalist do exactly that: treat factually false statements as false. "Objectivity" is breached not when a journalist calls a lie a "lie," but when they refuse to do so, when they treat lies told by powerful political officials as though they're viable, reasonable interpretations of subjective questions. The very idea that a journalist is engaged in "opinion-making" or is "taking sides" by calling a lie a "lie" is ludicrous; the only "side" such a journalist is taking is with facts, with the truth. It's when a journalist fails to identify a false statement as such that they are "taking sides" -- they're siding with those in power by deceitfully depicting their demonstrably false statements as something other than lies.
acroyear: (so what's your point)
On An Overgrown Path: Do the arts need wide or deep audiences?:
But this performance, which prompted the BBC press office to spin a typically disingenuous "Radio 3 continues strong performance" story, ignores a more important underlying trend. Over the same period, which is when many of the popularising measures were introduced at the station, the average hours per listener declined by 14.1%. The average hours per listener figure is a measure of the depth of the audience and is a significant indicator of audience engagement and loyalty.

The answer to the question does classical music need wide or deep audiences? is, of course, it needs both. What matters is the total mass of the audience which is calculated as [width x depth], or in the case of a radio audience [audience size x average hours per listener]. When this calculation is made the total mass of the Radio 3 audience has declined over a two period by 3.9%, which is an interesting definition of a "strong performance".

on Beer.

Feb. 10th, 2011 11:55 pm
acroyear: (mug shot)
Scocca : Beer Commercials Are Not Stupid:
What are beer commercials about? The two central premises are these:

1. Beer—cheap, common, domestic beer—is a rare commodity that drives men mad with the desire to have it, at any cost.

2. Women are the great obstacle between men and the fulfillment of this desire.
This seems counter to the other standard beer commercial theme I see, which is where guys will always be guys, without beer, until a beautiful girl comes up to them and says "I have beer".

Not that I've been watching the right kind of TV to actually see beer commercials these days.  That would require actually watching TV besides The Today Show.
acroyear: (fof oooh perty...)
Blue Sky Disney: To Convert Or Not To Convert...:
In fact, it makes sense especially with the blockbusters that are using mo-cap or heavy fx, why would you want to shoot Optimus Prime or Yogi Bear twice by dual rendering? You have to shoot the left and than the right, instead you can just wait till the fx are done, hand the material over and then post convert it. Shooting a film in 3D is only right for the big boys, the studio tent poles, it costs over 30% more (sometimes up to 50%) to shoot a 3D show, where as converting is a fraction of that cost. And just because “Titans” and other hack job conversions are done, that doesn’t mean they should all be done that way. That is like judging “Batman and Robin” was a bad film, so nobody should see “The Dark Knight” because Batman sucks.

Don’t judge the conversion process by one, two or even five films, when the technology is so new and fresh. And that is the exciting thing about 3D, is we are on the cutting edge of technology. 3D gets us away from the music video Michael Bay like cinematography and makes us focus more on the classic style of film-making. 3D is a check and balances, because it makes the filmmaker focus on the frame and everything in it, makes them think before shooting –
I agree with the artistic conclusion: shooting in 3D does make one be more careful about what goes into a shot and thus it will inspire and drive a new generation of cinematographers to the fore in ways that under "MTV" style quickflash editing they were relegated out of shot.

On the other hand, I think he underestimates how clever computers can be.  Shooting real 3D with real cameras is tricky and expensive.  "Shooting" a CGI-rendered scene in 3D is trivial, once you've got the numbers right, and they've had the numbers right more or less since the 18th Century.  The animator only has to set where in 3D space the object is - the rendering system takes over and can give the left and right eye perspective with absolute consistency, and it is trivial to do.
acroyear: (coyote1)
WTF, CNN? : Dispatches from the Culture Wars:
There was a massive fish kill in Arkansas recently. Then there was a bizarre event where more than a thousand blackbirds fell from the sky in that same state. So who does CNN bring on to discuss this, wildlife biologists? Scientists with an expertise in migration patterns or life cycles of fish and birds? Nope. They bring on Kirk Cameron.

To his credit, even Cameron himself says, almost immediately, that they ought to be talking to a veterinarian rather than to him.
acroyear: (i'm ignoring you)
America, Fuck Yeah! (All Together Now) - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:
When Marco Rubio lauds the USA, we roll our eyes because we have not had our skepticism of politicians surgically removed: we understand that politicians pin on flag lapels and talk about the greatness of America because they're calculating pols, not because they think more highly of the United States than the rest of us. Our eyes tend to roll when politicians kiss babies too. That isn't because we object to the notion that babies are lovable - merely because most politicians aren't.
Lowry and Sullivan on American Chauvinism : Dispatches from the Culture Wars:
But I don't think Sullivan goes nearly far enough. The "America is the greatest nation ever" meme is not just a fatuous platitude, it's a dangerous bit of demagoguery designed to end discussion of the nation's many merits and flaws. It's a club used to beat anyone who questions the motives or actions of our leaders -- whenever the person wielding that club agrees with those motives or actions, of course; if they disagree with them, that's totally different.
acroyear: (lets try that again)
Aaron Sorkin: In Her Defense, I'm Sure the Moose Had It Coming:
I'm able to make a distinction between you and me without feeling the least bit hypocritical. I don't watch snuff films and you make them. You weren't killing that animal for food or shelter or even fashion, you were killing it for fun. You enjoy killing animals. I can make the distinction between the two of us but I've tried and tried and for the life of me, I can't make a distinction between what you get paid to do and what Michael Vick went to prison for doing.

And you didn't just do it for fun and you didn't just do it for money. That was the first moose [sic] ever murdered for political gain.
Actually, I think it was for the money. By inviting the wrath of PETA, that brings in controversy which may potentially bring in ratings as everybody goes to look at the train wreck. For Palin today, for the politics and for the money are utterly indistinguishable...and perhaps it was always thus.


acroyear: (Default)
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