Tuesday, September 28, 2010

American Idol, you are dead to me

I'll admit it:  I've watched American Idol more than a few times in the past several years.  I particularly have enjoyed the auditions, to be sure, as they have provided lots of opportunities for the judges to give some fairly entertaining feedback.

One of the things I've liked about American Idol was the way in which it could appeal to everyone, regardless of creed, color, politics, or whatever.

Until now.

When the revolving door of AI judges stopped this time around--in case you've been living under a rock or truly don't care about pop culture, or both--three of last season's judges were gone and two new judges were ready to take their places alongside the only remaining original judge, Randy Jackson.  And those two new judges seemed to be people who would have the same universal appeal:  Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.

Sounds good so far, right?  I mean, Steven Tyler fronted Aerosmith for what, as long as I've been alive, at least, and J-Lo is, well, J-Lo.

But something nagged at me.  And I've finally remembered what it was.

J-Lo, on national television, called Sarah Palin a bitch.

See for yourself, if you can stand watching her:

And since, as people have implied to me before, it's not a long road from thinking little of Governor Palin to thinking similarly of people who happen to agree with Governor Palin's politics, who's to say that J-Lo doesn't think similarly of me, as well as many, many other conservatives and/or Tea Partiers?

And before it's asked:  no, I don't think that everyone in the public eye has to shut up about their opinions.  But there is a respectful way to air one's opinions, and Ms. Lopez severely missed the mark.

So, then, is Jenny from the Block someone who deserves to be on my television, as she put it, "discovering and nurturing that spirit [of success]?  Is this someone that I want to present to my children as an example of someone worth my respect?  Not even close.  No, Ms. Lopez, you are definitely a useless celebrity.

American Idol/Fox/whoever is calling the shots, you blew it on this one.  And I'm done watching AI.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The well-deserved appeal of Bristol Palin

Last week, I wrote about the all-too-predictable onslaught of nasty comments from people with nothing better to do than to snipe at Bristol Palin.  While that has continued this week in many places (including Ms. Palin's brand-new Facebook page), there has been a very nice outpouring of support for Ms. Palin and her Dancing With the Stars partner, Mark Ballas.

(Picture courtesy Team Ballin' page at ABC.com, used under "Fair Use" doctrine)

In the past week, Ms. Palin's Facebook page has garnered almost 4000 fans with little fanfare since its creation last Tuesday.  Sure, a lot of that has to do with many people's support of Sarah Palin, but Bristol has earned that support with her character and her actions.  She has had to deal with situations including the announcement of her pregnancy to the entire world as well as the continued idiotic rantings of people who believe that she is the mother of her little brother, Trig.  (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Andrew Sullivan, and as far as I'm concerned, that is the only time I ever want to mention you in this blog.)  She's also had to deal with a true publicity hound in the person of her ex, who has sold out her family more times than I can remember.  And in all this, she has maintained a positive attitude in the face of trials.

And to me, that's what makes Bristol Palin worth my support.  While some of the things that have happened in her life are of her own doing (and she has owned up to those), many things have been thrown at her unfairly just because of who she is and because of who her mother is, and through all that nastiness, she has handled herself with grace and poise (and also the occasional bout of nerves, as DWTS viewers saw in her first dance).  She has stood up for what she believes in speaking out about pregnancy prevention and the value of life.

So states Missy Stewart:

The mainstream media has not always been kind to Bristol offering much harsh and undue criticism of her decision to keep her baby while remaining a single parent.  Not one to cower in the face of adversity, Bristol used the media spotlight to bring awareness to the consequences of teen pregnancy.  She was appointed as a teen ambassador for the Candie's Foundation, an organization that works to shape the way American teens think about teen pregnancy and parenthood.  In a May 2009 interview with "Good Morning America", Bristol explained that, "Regardless of what I did personally, I just think that abstinence is the only ... 100 percent foolproof way to prevent pregnancy."

Bristol Palin is using the events of her life, good, bad, or whatever, to advocate for good choices.  And that is what makes her worth supporting, both in her Dancing With the Stars endeavor (that number, for those so inclined, is 1-800-868-3407), and in her public life.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Time Warner, KVUE reach an agreement

As of this evening at about 7:00pm, KVUE and Time Warner Cable of Central Texas have come to terms, thus avoiding the worst-case scenario of KVUE disappearing at midnight tomorrow.

Per Patti Smith, general manager of KVUE:

Dear valued KVUE viewer,

I am pleased to tell you that KVUE and Time Warner have reached a tentative agreement that will allow the cable company to continue to carry the station's broadcast signal in Central Texas.

This means that we do not anticipate a disruption in service for viewers who watch KVUE on the Time Warner Cable system.

I would like to thank our viewers for their patience during this process. We are grateful to those who called and/or wrote the station over the past few weeks. We received interesting and thoughtful comments, and appreciate that viewers would take the time to share them with us.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at the station by calling 512-459-6521or e-mailing cable@kvue.com.


Patti C. Smith
KVUE President and General Manager

No other comment is necessary except I told you so.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bristol brings out the haters

Wow, some people hate Sarah Palin so much that they are taking their hatred out on Bristol, just for having the audacity to appear on Dancing With the Stars.  Good grief, y'all, they asked her if she wanted to do it; it isn't as if she went begging for them to let her on the show.  (No, the publicity hound most closely associated with this family is someone this blog no longer wants to mention.  So I won't.)  But because she is Sarah's daughter, the hate drips from them.

For example, film critic Richard Roeper brings the class with these two tweets:

Bristol Palin is dancing to "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)"??? Good God.

Guess there's not a song called, "Got Knocked Up by a Mope, Now What?"

Sigh.  Let's move on.  

And other non-celebrity types have added their two cents on Twitter as well, going so far as to wish Bristol a broken leg

And, if you can stomach it, you can check out the comments at E! Online's recent article, "Will Sarah Palin Steal Bristol's DWTS Spotlight?"  Here's a sampling.  You've been warned.

Yeah E...continue to make a superstar out of a teenage whore and her flaky, right-wing, nut-job of a mother. ABC is a horrible network. Attempting to put lipstick on Alaskan trailer trash pigs isn't going to change the fact they are still going to be Alaskan Trailer trash pigs. Caribou Barbie SUCKS!!! DEFEAT THE TEABAGGER LOONIES!!! Obama should enact a law require all white trash like this to sit in the back of the bus. Just a joke people. Lighten up and stop being so politicall [sic] correct. HA! 

Due to this show's track record, expect Bristol to have her leg snap in half and/or be pregnant with her dancing partner's baby. I think Brick, Rock, or Cement would be an appropriate name for baby #2.

Ding Ding Ding!!! We have a winner for the Trashiest Family in America 

Hopefully those that didn't vote for Palin in the election won't be voting for her hoebag daughter on DWTS. I'm hoping either her or the situation are the first to go. A double eliminiation [sic] would be priceless **

And yet somehow it's Sarah Palin who is seen as a hate-spreading idiot.  I don't get it; do you?

In the meantime, if you do happen to support Bristol Palin's foray into dancing, Rachelle Friberg gives the info on how to do that:

VOTE FOR BRISTOL AND MARK- TEAM BALLIN!!! The number to call to vote for Team Ballin is 1-800-868-3407.

Time Warner Cable finds new ways to irritate its customers

I've laid off Time Warner Cable for a couple of months, but somehow they manage to do something to tick people off enough that I feel a need to write.  ("Time Warner" is still one of the most popular search terms leading to this blog, just behind "92.5 Austin" and "is Scarlett Johansson a slut".  Yes, I'm serious.)

So, what's the latest with our friends over at Time Warner?  Well, Time Warner has lots of things going on at the moment, none of them great.

For starters, Time Warner is, once again, in the midst of a staring contest with a local station about retransmission fees.  This time, as you may have seen, given that it's the highest-rated channel in town, the station is KVUE.  (You can see what has happened up to this point over at Austin360.)  KVUE, of course, has a webpage up giving their side of the story, and Time Warner, of course, has updated their perpetual website, RollOverorGetTough.com, with the latest info giving their side.  (I've spoken previously about the push-polling that Time Warner does to get people to tell them to "get tough" with these awful, awful channels wanting to be compensated for retransmission.)

The deadline for these negotiations is September 25, but I do not see Time Warner dropping KVUE.  They didn't drop KTBC last year, possibly (my conjecture) because they knew they would face a lot of angry customers wanting to see a Dallas Cowboys team in the midst of a playoff run (and playing a whole lot better than they are this year, but I digress), and similarly, I doubt they'll want to upset a lot of people who will want to watch UT playing Oklahoma in a couple of weeks.  Yes, they dropped KXAN two years ago, but KXAN wasn't showing any football games of local interest.  And yes, I do think football is the main consideration for a lot of local viewers.  As Time Warner has said before, most network shows can be streamed online at this point, but for people who want to watch their football games live and uninterrupted, they need these channels on their cable system.

After that, the other things going on at Time Warner seem rather boring, I suppose, but I'll cover them anyway.  First of all, I reported two months ago that Time Warner was moving all the access channels to digital-only (and was slightly corrected in my interpretation), so that people like me who haven't shelled out several hundred dollars for a digital set (it's below the line right now) will no longer be able to see them without a converter box.  Well, that is supposed to happen on October 1, but I hear that Time Warner will, for those customers who have only basic cable but can't live without their city council meetings (and I suppose there are some like that) can get one free converter box from Time Warner.  The catch:  you have to go to one of their locations and pick it up; if you have them come to install it, they'll charge you.  Luckily, the converter boxes are not difficult to install.  But I still don't want one.

And you may have noticed, if you are a Time Warner Cable customer, that in the past few evenings, especially last Friday and Saturday, that some channels had a nasty tendency to pixelate or go completely black.  Jim McNabb expressed his annoyance with the situation and Time Warner's seeming lack of concern about it.  But I noticed one strange thing about the problems I saw while I was watching KVUE Saturday night:  while there were problems multiple times during the pre-game show, there were no problems at all during the Texas-Texas Tech game.  The problems magically disappeared once the game started.  I'm sure that's a coincidence.

Update:  KVUE, as predicted here, will not be dropped.  More information may be found here.

The River gets Spirit

Listeners to 105.9 the River in Austin may notice a change in their favorite station starting today.

As conjectured in this space a few months ago, 105.9 KFMK was sold.  Specifically, the station went to a company called Crista Broadcasting, a company known for operating several Christian radio stations in the Pacific Northwest.  The sale is to receive final approval today, September 20, according to All Access

(Link courtesy All Access)

So what does this mean for The River?  Well, it means that the gradual trending toward adult contemporary music (with some Christian music intermingled) is going to come to an abrupt end.  The format of KFMK, now dubbed "Spirit 105.9", will return to contemporary Christian.

Crista VP/GM Stan Mak, for one, is excited about this change to Austin's radio landscape:

SPIRIT 105.9 is here because of the overwhelming support for this format that we heard time and time again in our conversations with AUSTIN listeners. SPIRIT 105.9 is going to provide uplifting music and message to the great people of AUSTIN.

The new general manager of the station, Tim McCoy says that they "have done extensive research to ensure [they] are programming the type of local station that ‘Austinites’ have been asking for."  Whether that will translate into ratings success is left to be seen.