Sunday, February 21, 2010

Annoying Things of the Week

These are the things that annoyed me this week:

5. Eating - While this was something that I clearly learned to do at a very early age, every once in a while my mouth just forgets how to do it and just decides to crunch down on the side of the inside of my mouth. It's amazing how this can happen. Yesterday I took a nice chunk out of the back of my mouth with my molars. And as you most likely have experienced, it's not just the pain that sucks. It's the fact that now I want to keep biting that part of my mouth when I eat. I think it's a conspiracy. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

4. Target - Speaking of eating, this is one of the best times of year. The Valentine's candy is gone. In its place is Easter candy. When I was a kid I HATED Cadbury Creme Eggs. Then about five or six years ago I had another just because it was handed to me. And that's what you do when someone gives you something to eat. You eat it without question, right? And now I love them. But it isn't the Creme Eggs that I love. It's the hollow chocolate bunnies from Target. They are in the pink and purple foil (Superior brand).

But I always have two problems. The first is that my mind builds up how good they are during the time they don't have them, April through the end of February. So the first one is always really good with the first taste, then that hit of - "That's it? No different from other decent chocolate." I get over that quickly enough and have a few more. Then a bunch more. Because I need to make up for missed time, you know?

But this year, Target jacked up the price. They used to be 99 cents. For something that's barely more chocolate than a candy bar, I was OK with that. But $1.59? Sorry. This economy sucks. So this year, I'll have fewer bunnies. Probably a good thing, since I wouldn't continue losing a pound a week if I were to eat a fleet of bunnies.

3. Olympics - It isn't the event itself that bugs me. I find some of the Winter Olympic Games to be interesting enough to watch for 15-20 minutes once every for years. The halfpipe thing was pretty cool. Again, for just a few minutes, and I've had my fill for quite awhile. Figure skating is possibly the most boring thing on TV. I'll take the test patter over that, thank you very much. And I know most people aren't watching because they like it. They're watching to see if they fall or not. The rest of their (what feels like) 30 minute each routines are horrifically dull.

And I'm also bugged by the time delay. I'm offended that NBC thinks that I need to watch the Olympics during prime time instead of when they actually happen. With their logic, and they going to delay the Super Bowl the next time they get it? I don't want to sift through four plus hours of coverage to see the one thing I want to see which I already know the results of because it's all over the internet.

But what annoys me the most is the lack of counter programming. Everyone is so afraid of the Olympics that there isn't much else to watch. It seems like the only shows showing anything new are Lost and American Idol. I've made the same complaint about American Idol in the past. Every other channel runs away from showing anything at the same time Idol is on. Come on, network execs. I like TV. Put something on that I want to watch and I'll watch that instead of making my way through season 5 of the Sopranos, something that you aren't making any money off of me watching.

2. Eighth Graders - So lazy. SO lazy.

1. At the Movies - This show started as Siskel and Ebert, two guys who love and REALLY understand movies. Then Siskel died. Richard Roeper took over. He took some time, but soon because a suitable replacement. Now I really, really miss him on the show. Ebert then went through a whole bunch of stuff which you can read about in this excellent Esquire interview that prevented him from returning to the show. Roeper went through a rotation of guest critics before the show decided to completely shift gears.

"The Two Bens" time period for the show was clearly the worst. I rarely watched. When I did, it felt like a high school newspaper really liked its own couple of critics and gave them a TV show. It's what you imagine a movie critic would be like who had no knowledge of movies prior to the 1980s. Now I know that one of the Bens was much brighter than the other - Ben Mankiewicz. But Ben Lyons was a joke. And the other Ben gets lumped in with the other. Too bad.

The makers of the show soon went back to the more tried and true version of the show, hiring Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott, two guys who were frequently in the critic rotation opposite Richard Roeper. I was exciting and actually started watching the show again. For the first couple months, I was trying to figure out which guy I agrees with more. And this was a problem for me. I really wanted to know which guy to "trust."

You see, with Roger Ebert, I don't always agree with him, but when I don't I know why. I can read one of his reviews and know whether I'll agree with him or now. And even if I totally hate a movie he loved, I'm going to learn something new about the movie. I'm going to look at it in a different way. So at the very least, I can use his reviews.

But A.O (Tony) and Michael? I just can't get their reviews. And I think I finally figured out why. Siskel and Ebert discussed the movies. When they argued, they were defending the movies. Roeper soon came around to doing the same thing. But these two guys, while they have some good movie knowledge, they seem to be defending themselves instead of the movies. And with this, I've finally come across the word to describe these guys. "Smarmy." I'll still watch the show because I enjoy being introduced to movies I wouldn't have known about otherwise. But I now can skip past most of their reviews because I know that it's going to be more about them than it is about the movies. If I want Smarmy, I'll read my own stuff, thank you very much.

So what annoyed you this week?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Annoying Things of the Week

These are the things that annoyed me this week*.

5. The Star Spangled Banner - It's Super Bowl Sunday, which means that instead of all of the lame pregame activities going on in the background, we have to get to watch the festivities. This means we're going to be subjected to someone famous belting out their shitty version of our Anthem. I have no idea which Grammy winning abortion is crooning this year's Anthem, but I have a feeling that they've spent a little too much time over the past few weeks listening to Whitney Houston's horrific version.

Now I'm not annoyed for patriotic reasons. I'd prefer to skip the whole thing together. Along with our misleading and inaccurate Pledge of Allegiance, I'd rather we get rid of the whole flag worship and concentrate on making the promise real for everyone. I generally skip the Pledge in the morning because I have first period prep. While I'm in a classroom, though, I'll mumble select parts of it that I'm interested in. It pretty much consists of me saying "Liberty and Justice" and that's about it.

But the Star Spangled Banner has become somewhere between a funeral dirge and a Barry White tune. Sorry, but it's not a song to which I'm interested in getting it on. I'll save that for the flag hugging right wingers. I can imagine McCain telling his wife that "No need for the blue pill tonight!" right after listening to the Anthem. But let's pick up the tempo on that thing and get rid of the runs that show off the majesty of your digitally altered voice. How about we keep it under three minutes? And another thing. The song is in 3/4. Don't change it to 4/4 just to make it sound hip.

4. Inmates Dancing - Many of us saw video of the inmates dancing to Thriller. And about a week ago we got some fantastic news - they were back with more Michael Jackson dancing goodness! Ummm... they're inmates. I don't want to see them do anything except sit in their cells and rot or quietly rehabilitate themselves so that they can be productive (or at least nondestructive) members of society if and when they get out of prison. This is a fascination that I can't comprehend on any level.

3. Jury Duty - Well - look who decided that he didn't have to go to jury duty. "I'm the President and have to give a speech, so I'm not going. Blah blah wah." He should have been right by his phone at 5 o'clock dialing that number to see if he had to get his butt down to the courthouse like the rest of us. I have a feeling he might have been excused. But still - do your civic duty.

I had jury duty scheduled for December 31 of last year. I was worried that I would have to go since I was in group one, but the phone call told me that I didn't have to go. Speaking of phone call, why isn't that on the internet now? How hard is that?

I've only had to go to the courthouse once for jury duty. Every other time my phone call told me to call back the next day or stay home. The one time I did I sat around for most of the day until we were called in to the courtroom. They started jury selection, then told us to go home and come back the next day. I returned, and after a couple hours I was next. The conversation went a little something like this.

"What is your profession?"

"I'm a teacher."

"What do you teach?"

"U.S. History."

"Does that involve the Constitution? Do you teach the Constitution?"


"We'd like to excuse Mr. Harris."

The End.

2. Eighth Graders - I don't understand why they exist.

1. Pants on the Ground - Usually, I have no problem with pants being on the ground. In many cases, I encourage it. We, as a society, are wearing too much pants. But enough with the American Idol "next phenominon "crap.

This isn't a new rant by any means. Plenty of people repeat the same thing every January when it returns to the air. We're making fun of the mentally challenged as a nation. While that might sound like I'm trying to be funny by using that phrase, mentally challenged, but it's accurate. These people who we like to laugh at have problems. For many of them, they are simply socially awkward. For many others, they don't have a connection with reality.

One thing I certainly don't want to do is jump on Sarah Palin's ban the R-word band wagon. I almost want to use the word retarded even more just because of her. I probably use it much more often now than I used to thanks to Adam Carolla and his usage of it. And also, I have my American Idol make-fun-of-ness weakness. There's always an occasion to bust out some William Hung.

And then again, that's where it really started, isn't it? Yeah, there were plenty of people on the show that we as a nation made fun of while it was on. But Hung was the one where Fox sold the show on him and him alone. Commercials told you that you HAD to watch the episode just to see... what you were already seeing in the commercials. And Pants on the Ground was the same thing.

And I think where I draw the line is when it becomes a national thing. I feel my own hypocrisy when I sit to watch something like that on my own. Or when it's a private joke. A racist or sexist or whatever other offensive joke among friends isn't such a bad thing, especially because the people you're doing it with know that you don't really feel that way. But when we do it as a society, you know that a lot of people don't consider it a joke - they're serious about that thing.

I know this particular rant has been all over the place an inconsistent, but I'm getting to my real point. Why did Brett Favre really lose the championship game? payback for singing Pants on the Ground in the locker room.

So what annoyed you this week?

*If it seems like a few of these are a bit out of date, they actually annoyed me last week. I just didn't finish writing it and decided to wait until this week. So it's really Annoying Things of the Past Two Weeks. #2 counts for both weeks.