Sunday, March 29, 2009

Few Scattered Thoughts

I decided to entitle this entry “scattered” instead of “random”, because “random” has become one of the most overused words in the English language. People (especially Gen-Y’ers) vocabularies have become some limited that they use “random” because they are unable to come up with more situational specific words like: scattered, indiscriminant, or arbitrary. It’s a clear indication that people don’t read enough.
You might be saying “I read!”….well I’m talking about “Books, Jerry. Books…”
With that being said, let me smoothly transition into some bulleted thoughts….many of which have to do with television. Yeah, I’m a hypocrite:

- Ok so my NCAA brackets are basically busted right now. My team Pittsburgh went down the other night in one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time. I suppose because of that I have to eat a little crow, which is fair, but maybe that should be tempered somewhat by what I had written six weeks ago about Villanova. Back on February 12, I wrote:

“-Villanova gets the best guard play in the country and no one is talking about them. They handled another guard heavy team the other night then they beat up on Marquette. If Nova gets favorable match-ups and just enough out of Dante Cunningham inside they will make a deep postseason run. I like them A LOT in March. Remember I said that.”
So at least I had that insight. Ok…now you can rip on my brackets.

-I was listening to The Howard Stern Show on Sirius Radio Channel 100 last week, and Howard got into as discussion with resident in studio comic Artie Lange about the Sopranos finale from a few months back.

Now I was never a critic of the ending to the series. You know the last scene where Tony Soprano is sitting down with his family, with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” playing in the background. Right when Steve Perry gets to the third “…don’t stop.” The scene goes black. A lot of people didn’t like the ending, but I understood it. You can’t kill Tony off, because for one, it’s artistically too easy to just off him. Also, for financial reasons, you don’t want to kill the main character because you lose the opportunity to do a movie down the line. Think
Sex and the City Movie.

I had some thoughts originally what the last scene was supposed to represent, and by combining that with some of Howard’s insight I think I figured it out…and it’s brilliant.
The scene is the audiences glimpse into the paranoia that Tony Soprano has chosen. He has chosen this “mob life”, this life of crime and enemies, where he is constantly looking over his shoulder for the next guy that might be looking to whack him. The whole final season is tumultuous, with friction with the New York faction, but by the time of the final scene all has been seemingly resolved. Phil Leotardo has been killed and order has been restored.

\When Tony sits down at a restaurant to have a meal with his family he seemingly has no reason
to look over his shoulder. But we the audience do. His paranoia, has been transferred to us. We get a glimpse into Tony’s world, and we believe every restaurant patron is about to take a shot at him. We think the person coming in the door is not Meadow Soprano, but a hired hitman.

Why do we think this? We adopt Tony’s paranoia, because we assume since it’s the final episode, that there is a good chance he will be killed before the end. That is brilliant writing, because it’s an anticipation of the audience’s perceived state of mind. It also plays to one of the underlying themes of the entire series: the psychological effects brought on by this chosen life of crime (he did see a shrink every episode).
Brilliant writing, terrific ending….and I just now fully understand and appreciate it.

- While I’m on the subject of satellite radio, I‘d like to take the opportunity to say that I’m a big fan. It’s great for the car. When I’m driving I like to listen to Howard or sports talk radio, and in this regard satellite radio is way better than regular terrestrial radio. The sound quality difference between satellite radio and regular radio ends up being equivalent to the difference between high definition television versus the regular TV signal. It is way clearer with way crisper sound.

You also get about 180 extra channels to select from on satellite radio. You are not stuck with talk show hosts of the local affiliate. So if you live in New York you don’t have to be resigned to listening to Yankee YES man (pun) Michael Kay or “Egoman” Mike Francesa during the afternoon drive. Sirius also has channels that you can listen to television shows on the radio. A few times I’ve been able to listen to PTI while I’ve been driving.

Right now the per month cost of satellite radio is a little high for some people on the fringe, but before long I think the price will come down. When that happens I implore you all to try it. I bet once you have it you won’t want to go back to terrestrial radio.

Also, I’m pretty sure Sirius-XM inked a deal with Apple to include an application within the Iphone for satellite radio. Any of you that have Iphones should be on the lookout for this feature.
By the way, I’m not just up here flapping my gums. I put my money where my mouth is. Bought 4000 shares of
SIRI last week.

-No one beats the drum more for Friday Night Lights than I do, and I’m happy to announce that the best show on network television has been picked up for two more season by NBC. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you have never seen this show you really ought to try it. It’s a show centered around a small town high school football team that has something for everyone. I have known dozens of girls who hate football who have given this show a go, and become hooked.
This season the writing has been the best since the end of Season 1, with appropriate send offs to two of the shows strongest characters (Jason Street the paraplegic former QB and “Smash” Williams), and a full evolution of bad-boy Tim Riggins. Also this season, you have had some added screen time for
Minka Kelly (Derek Jeter’s girl), Adrianne Palicki, and my favorite, the coach’s daughter…Aimee Teegarden, which I haven’t exactly been complaining about.
If you haven’t ever watched this show, you need to do so now. I would not steer you wrong.
-How good is Planet Earth? I really enjoy this high-def nature show. I might have to go out and get the DVD set. I missed the first half of the Louisville-Michigan State game Sunday afternoon because I got so immersed in one of these installments about the Arctic Penguins.
I picked penguins over college basketball.

-View from the Couch favorite girls right now: Katy Perry, Blake Lively, Emily Blunt, Carrie Underwood, and Julianne Hough (from Dancing with the Stars). If asked to rank them:

1) Blake Lively
2) Katy Perry
3) Julianne Hough
4) Emily Blunt
5) Carrie Underwood

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