Friday, August 26, 2011

Ghost Hunters Are Lame: Every Show is the Same

Have you ever watched the SyFy channel? If so, then you may be familiar with ads for the following shows:

Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters Academy
Ghost Hunters International
Haunted Collector

Now, SyFy must really have a fascination with the paranormal and ghosts, or their audience really does. I'm betting it is the audience, since SyFy bases their programming on ratings of shows. Seriously, this channel is all about ghosts. These shows seem to have been sparked on the heels of MTV's show, Fear, which aired from 2000-2002.

The sad thing is: Every commercial for the Ghost Hunters shows look the same. Two or three people huddled together, filmed in night vision. One person will say, "Did you hear that?" and then someone will act as if they were surprised by a ghost.

Do you actually think anyone will watch these shows if they went into a "haunted" building, and came out empty-handed? The answer is no. But yet, every episode they find their ghost. Sounds like it is rigged, and staged.

Now do I believe there are occult things out there and haunted places. But, I also know that I do not want to go to those places and mess around with things that are evil. Haunted Collector even frames its episodes around "haunted" objects. Keep that stuff away from me!

I grew up watching Unsolved Mysteries, and each episode seemed to have similar type segments of ghost hauntings, demon posessions, and so forth.

Oh, and by the way, I won't be getting the Haunted House Finder App either. Lame!

And don't get me started on Crossing Over with John Edwards (1999-2004). He is dealing with evil, every time he "speaks" with family members that are dead.

I will depart now and go eat at the Chinese Buffet, conveniently located next to the psychic/palm reader.

Interesting Follow-up read for Christians: Do you Believe in Ghosts?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kevin Bacon Makes Everything Better

Kevin Bacon Mosaic portrait made from 15 lbs. of bacon


Do you like bacon?


Bacon

Kevin Bacon, that is.

Kevin Bacon

In 1994, Premiere Magazine interviewed Kevin Bacon about the movie, The River Wild. In this interview Kevin Bacon said that he had either worked with everyone in Hollywood or worked with somebody who’s worked with them.


A few months later, there was an article that circulated via a newsgroup, titled: “Kevin Bacon is the Center of the Universe.”

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon book
That same year, four students at Albright College came up with this game to connect any celebrity name to Kevin Bacon. They started this game after watching Footloose, and then The Air Up There. The Bacon-movie-marathon (or Bac-a-thon) inspired these bright young men to speculate on how many people Kevin Bacon had worked with. They published the book, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.






In the summer of 2011, Kevin Bacon played Sebastian Shaw in the move X-men: First Class. When I found out he was in the movie, I thought, "This guy is in everything!"
Emma Frost (left) talking to Sebastian Shaw (right) in X-Men: First Class


Kevin Bacon actually started an organization called SixDegrees.org as a charity.

Which should not be confused with the Oracle of Bacon.

The Oracle of Bacon is a computer program that compares over 800,000 people from the Internet Movie Database, and assigns them a Bacon number. This website says that about 12% of all actors can't be linked to Kevin Bacon. What a shame.

If you happened to be watching the 83rd Academy Awards (2011), you would have seen James Franco make a reference to the Six Degrees of Bacon.

So what is my Bacon number, you ask?

My great uncle Fred Smith in Kentucky, was Diane Sawyer's uncle by marriage. Diane Sawyer was in a TV special Independence Day 2001 with actor Morgan Freeman, who was at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2011) with Kevin Bacon.

Using one relative connection and two TV connections (at the Oracle of Bacon), my Bacon number is: 4.

Kevin Bacon holding Golden Globe Award:
(photo credit: Casey Rodgers/AP Photo)
So we will just have to wait until the next big Kevin Bacon movie comes out in 2013 - titled: R.I.P.D. - an action comedy about undead police officers.

Sources:

Monday, August 22, 2011

The HP Touchpad has Magically Disappeared


Last Friday, something big happened in the tablet PC world. The HP TouchPad reduced its price. The 16 GB went on sale for $99, and the 32 GB version for $149.

Any local stores selling this product sold out. According to this article, there is another batch coming in from the warehouse.

The HP website is supposedly taking names and contact info., so they can contact those who were not fortunate enough to get in on this deal. Only problem - my first two attempts to submit my details came back with a "Server is Busy" reply. You can also register at the HP site.

My third attempt is still processing. No, I am not on dial-up.

1st Update: It appears my third attempt has also been swallowed into the abyss of lost information. My 3 out of 3 attempts to register have failed.

I personally know several people who did get an HP TouchPad. They are dancing in the streets, rejoicing that they did not have to get an Apple product.

Shouldn't the other tablet-makers pay attention to this uproar over the HP Touchpad selling like hotcakes, and reduce their prices?

2nd Update: The HP Touchpad has had such a response, that you are now unable to give your information. The response to clicking the "Notify me" button is this:



Basically, there are no more, so you are now officially out of luck.

Update (8/30/11) HP announced they will manufacture more TouchPads to meet the temporary demand. Awesome! Article link here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

3 Things That are Free for Some, Yet Expensive to Others


1. U.S. Healthcare - Have you ever heard of the saying: If you thought healthcare is expensive now, just wait until it is free.
Guess what? That applies here.
While the current Prez is on his re-election tour in the Midwest, the price of healthcare (and unemployment rates) continue to rise.

The unconstitutional healthcare bill that was pushed through by the Democrats en masse has actually increased the price of healthcare for many. And pointed out in his latest town hall meetings, it not offend the Prez if you want to call it 'Obamacare', which can be read here.

If you don't believe me - pay attention to your deductible and premiums now compared to last year. The price of healthcare has gone up all over the board. My last family physician (as of 2 years ago) saw the writing on the wall and switched over to a MD VIP system that will gladly accept the first 600 patients that are willing to pay $2,000 up front, then the cost of your visit which has a deductible.
But, if you are covered by the Gov't, your healthcare is free...
...and don't forget to sign in, because the current waiting list for your heart transplant is three years. This is a reality in the UK and other places where healthcare is provided to all citizens after being taken out in taxes.

2. Fees - We took a family vacation this summer, and I didn't even realize that I would have to pay for my checked bags. I assumed that this was covered in the price of my tickets. Well, it was not. $50 dollars to check bags flying there, and $50 extra for our bags to fly back. This is just annoying and adds to the price of traveling.
But I can say that I had a 7% savings over the lowest priced airfare by using Priceline. Thank you, Price Negotiator!


But, as advertised in Delta's in flight magazine, had I used my American Express Delta Skymiles credit card, my first checked bag is free. I wonder how many people actually have this credit card and use it.

The same can be said about ATM fees. Depending on your bank, all ATM fees can be waived or else you will have to pay $1.75 or more to use just any non-branch ATM.

Had I flown Southwest, I would not have paid fees for my checked bags. Too bad I don't live in the Southwest. Yet I have a feeling that the ticket price would have been higher to begin with.

3. Free-to-Play Video Games - The new trend for video games happens to be free-to-play. If you want to unlock premium items or levels, you will have to pay extra.
Example: If you pay $20 right now, we'll start you on level 20.

I think the game makers know that the user will want to experience the same 'fun' that the other guy in that cool getup is experiencing, forcing us to pay extra for those great customizations. They are banking that as a human, we want to be independant and will not want to use a generic fomat. That way we can stand out in the crowd, and get recognized.

Not so sure that I am a fan of this new trend. Then again, I'm not hooked on Farmville or Mafia Wars on Facebook, either.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Not Yo' Daddy's Monkey Business

Caesar is angry monkey! Caesar want freedom!


In the monkey movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, chimpanzees, apes, and gorillas alike, become smarter.

But before going any farther, the movie poster says, "Evolution becomes Revolution." In the Hollywood-movie world that may be cool, but evolution is bad science and doesn't really happen. So let's squash that bug before going any further.

Spoilers coming. (According to the University of California, spoilers don't ruin the movie to movie-goers. Read about that here.)


James Franco playing Will Rodman
Dr. Rodman, a brilliant scientist works for a cure for Alzheimer's. His dad has Alzheimer's, which is all the more reason to cure it. He works for a large corporation, and they test on chimps.

Disclaimer: I must now say that no chimps were tested on in the writing of this blog. So get off my back, PETA!

Now, the Alzheimer's tests seemed to create smarter monkeys with the first round, but only temporarily helped real humans with the disease. So the corporation canned the project after a wild chimp runs a muck and no one will now fund the project.

The CEO says to axe all of the monkeys. But one of them is pregnant. She has a baby before she is killed. His name is Caesar, and he will come under the care of Will Rodman (no relation to Dennis Rodman).

Caesar is very smart, and winds up in a chimp lockup, because he is taken away from Will. After a stay in the lockup, Caesar becomes the alpha chimp, being the smartest, and takes on the takes of freeing the apes. But wait, "chimps are stupid," and this is a direct quote from the movie. So Caesar, armed with the ability to create weapons with his opposable thumbs, runs home to Will. He finds the next batch of Alzheimers cure, and releases the gas at the chimp big house.

Monkeys have escaped! Sound the alarms. Get out your tranquilizer guns and water pistols, and dogs to hunt them down!

All the while the deadly Alzheimers 2 cure is having the reverse effect on humans. It is spreading like the plague and traveling from San Francisco to NYC, 'causing a worldwide pandemic.

This sets the stage for Monkey Movie 2.

My Thoughts:
As a pet owner, I could really relate to how hard it would be to give up a beloved pet. I think the movie did a great job with connecting with the viewer's emotions as Caesar struggled with corrupt humans and other apes.

This movie did do a great job as a prequel to the Planet of the Apes Universe. Knowing that the apes will take over in the future, it does make sense that the human population will diminish so quickly, while the monkey/ape population booms.

I wonder if they will make any more in this franchise.

And for everyone that has seen Stargate: Atlantis, Dr. Rodney McKay, is in this movie, and is the first human to catch this contagious virus from patient zero, a monkey handler. 



Where does Mark Wahlberg's movie fit into this scheme?

Here is my theory: When Mark Wahlberg followed Pericles into the space storm, he crossed over into an alternate universe, and crashes on an alternate Earth. This Earth he lands on would be in the future in the dimension in which Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes place.

Most people hated the (2001) Planet of the Apes. I think it was interesting and creepy at the same time. Humans and monkeys talking together; it is just not natural.

Not long ago, I went to the Nashville zoo, and couldn't resist putting on a monkey mask. See my Planet of the Apes picture here.

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