Patrick Warburton, Linchpin of the Universe

Patrick Warburton, Linchpin of the Universe

People, TV & Radio
You know that feeling of total satisfaction you get when you find something great in life, and you didn't even realize you were looking for it?  I got that very feeling late last year when I discovered The Venture Brothers. I remember seeing ads for the show last year on Cartoon Network before its debut. I wasn't really all that impressed by what I saw. Maybe I was just jaded because most of the original programming on Cartoon Network is garbage that barely passes as animation. So in case the marketing team behind the show reads this, it's not necessarily your fault. When I did happen to catch the show it was purely by accident. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but it probably had something to do with me killing time on a Saturday night to avoid getting to sleep at a decent
Brian makes me SMiLE

Brian makes me SMiLE

Music
I don't normally plunk down any of my hard-earned (well, just earned) money on any form of entertainment unless I have a reasonable expectation that it will be worth it. But when I found out a few months ago that Brian Wilson was coming to New Jersey and performing his seminal work, SMiLE, I knew I had to take the chance. I'll cut to the chase and say that I was not disappointed. In fact, I had a great time. It's not that I didn't think I wouldn't, but Brian's musical output since the late '60s has been inconsistent at best, wretched at worst. But I think that sometimes gets glossed over by critics, and especially by his fans. And I think the reason is that so many fans and critics want so desperately to be able to view him as the musical savant he really was in the '60s. Brian's mental...
But can it core a apple?

But can it core a apple?

Advertising, TV & Radio
I'm a sucker for a good infomercial. There were times (before I graduated college) when I would literally stay up all night and watch nothing but infomercials. This was in the mid 1990s, or what I refer to as the Golden Age of the Infomercial. Perhaps not coincidentally, the mid 1990s were also the Dark Ages of My Dating Life.I challenge anyone to name five prime time shows of that era that were as consistently entertaining as the infomercials of that era. (more…)
So long, Peter

So long, Peter

People
I have avoided television news like the plague since the 2000 US general election. While the legal battle between then-Governor Bush and Vice President Gore was certainly excellent fodder for the talking heads, I grew very tired of hearing them analyze every single word uttered by anyone even remotely connected to the two sides. The venom that spewed forth from that debacle is still coursing through the veins of this country, and the partisan lapdogs who constitute the majority of the national news media are only too happy to contribute to that environment. It is precisely this brand of scorched earth journalism that Jon Stewart so successfully exposed on the now-defunct CNN show Crossfire. Stewart, incidentally, is a pompous ass who is entirely too satisfied with himself, but on that occa...
“That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”

“That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”

Movies
I hadn't intended to use a Popeye quote, of all things, to start my first blog entry, but such is the capriciousness of life. I decided to start this blog to chronicle my take on Western culture; from the obscure to the popular, from the enriching to the mind-numbing. Speaking of which, we have been presented with yet another reminder that the collective taste of the American moviegoer seems to be about as sophisticated as the children's menu at Denny's. I am referring, of course, to the roughly $30 million (yes, that's US dollars) that The Dukes of Hazzard managed to swindle over the weekend. I'm still holding out hope that some absent-minded auditor accidentally shifted a comma one number to the right, but something tells me I'm in for disappointment there. (more…)