Friday, March 27, 2015

The Nightly Show!

I wanted it to be good.  I wanted it to succeed.  So I tried.  For two months I was a regular listener.  But it didn’t work.  The show never got better.  A format that depended on strong guests – who rarely showed up.  Silly, insipid diversions that didn’t help.  And a nice guy host, Larry Wilmore, who wasn’t strong enough to overcome the other deficiencies.

Going in I thought that black-focused subjects might not be enough to work for a diversified audience.  But that wasn’t the problem.  Whatever the night’s focus, the writing and the format fell flat.

So I gave up.  For years I recorded Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert for an hour and watched the next day.  When Colbert left I kept the DVR set to record the full hour.  But no more.  Now it is 8 to 8:30 for the Daily Show and that’s it for Comedy Central on a daily basis.  I didn’t expect the Nightly Show to be as good as Colbert, which was brilliant, but I did expect more than I got.  So I gave up.

I’m happy that John Oliver’s show, Last Week Tonight, has turned out so well.  As with the Nightly Show, I was skeptical that he could pull it off.  But in this case I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was dead wrong.  What Oliver has done is perceptive, thoughtful and entertaining.  Brilliantly done.

So win some, lose some.  Such is life on the small screen.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Wonder If . . .

I wonder if the Israelis will care when the U.S. stops supporting them in the U.N.?  My guess: Yes, but they won’t say it too loudly.

I wonder if it will be a problem for colleges when the sanctimonious label “student athlete” is dropped and players can be paid?  My guess:  No.  They’ll still get more than enough money from TV.

I wonder if the Republicans will come up with a viable alternative if the Supreme Court votes against Obamacare and millions lose their health care coverage?  My guess:  No.  Not for a long time.

I wonder if Robert Durst will be convicted of killing Susan Berman if his recorded comment, “I killed them all,” cannot be introduced as evidence in his upcoming trial?  My guess:  Yes, if it gets to a trial.  The L.A. jury won’t let him off the hook.

I wonder if information collected by corporations and then used by the government under the guise of “protecting the homeland” will be misused to violate the privacy of unsuspecting Americans?  My guess:  This question is already overtaken by events.  Already happening.

I wonder if Apple’s stock will take a hit when Apple Watch sales fall short of expectations?  My guess:  Yes, but it won’t be dramatic.

I wonder if the Fed is going to raise the interest rate too soon?  My guess:  Yes.  The irrational fear of inflation will trump common sense.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

People in the News!

Silvio Berlusconi:  Italy’s highest court upheld his acquittal in the ‘bunga bunga’ case, in which he was accused of paying for sex with an underage Moroccan prostitute.  Right!  No way would Silvio do such a thing.

The Dalai Lama:  He has speculated that he might not be reincarnated.  Should that happen (or, more accurately, not happen) he would have outfoxed the Chinese who, it is said, want to engineer a succession so as to control the new Dalai Lama.  The Chinese are not happy about this.  “He is trampling on sacred traditions,” they say.

Jeremy Clarkson:  One day after this popular host of the TV show, “Top Gear,” was suspended by the BBC, more than half a million people had signed an online petition supporting him.  It is unclear why he was suspended.  Some say he threw a punch at his producer.  Clarkson has made a career out of being politically incorrect.  His fans (the show is watched by 350 million people in 170 countries) obviously love him.

Harper Lee:  Does she or doesn’t she really want to publish a novel she wrote more than a half-century ago?  It would be her first book since “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 1960.  Those who stand to profit from it say she’s alert, engaged and all for it.  Her protectors say she has memory problems, is often confused, and the new old book is sub-standard and will harm her reputation.  This is a case of elder abuse, they say.  She is 88 and lives in an assisted living facility.

Isaac Herzog:  The latest polls say that he is running slightly ahead of Netanyahu in Israel’s election, which will be held next week.  They also indicate that support for Netanyahu is eroding.  My humble opinion: A Herzog-led coalition would be the best news out of Israel in a long time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Skeptical About Apple Watch!

Apple announced its new toy yesterday, the Apple Watch.  I may be shortsighted and/or old fashioned, but I can’t see how this is going to be a big success.  From a technology point of view, it is dependent on a phone, which everyone already has, doesn’t do much more than the phone already does, and is expensive.

As a piece of jewelry it is a high-end watch, which means that Apple is now competing in the world of fashion.  So is it an advance in the world of mobile devices (Apple’s core competency) or has Apple launched itself into the fashion business?  What I’m seeing is a mixed message and that may be the source of my skepticism.  Should I consider it a useful tool in my day-to-day life or are they asking me to buy a fancy new watch?

Yes, up to now Apple devices have led the way in design.  They are beautiful.  And from what I read Apple Watches are also beautiful.  However, to distinguish themselves, to set themselves apart in the game they’ve now decided to play in, is a tall order.  Seems to me they’ve overreached and aren’t likely to win this one.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Not Interested!

What doesn’t interest me today:

Netanyahu's speech to Congress and arguments about whether he’s right or wrong.
Sparring and posturing by potential Republican presidential nominees.
Conjecture about whether the Supreme Court will vote against Obamacare.
Guesses about what Putin will or won’t do in Ukraine.
A possible strike by MLS players before the season starts.
Opening arguments in the Boston bomber trial.
When and if the Fed will raise interest rates.
Whether Rahm Emmanuel is reelected Mayor in Chicago.
Fashion news of any kind.
The price of gasoline.