Archive for the ‘TV’ Category
Over the past few years, we have come to the conclusion that the word “professional” is becoming the most abused word in the English language. “Professional grade” pickup trucks; as a dedicated amateur, can I save a few bucks by purchasing a non-professional grade one? “That’s not professional” has become a commonly used phrase in business; what that really means, as we see it, is “I don’t like it, but if I invoke the word ‘professional’, you can’t argue with me.”
What does this have to do with TMQ? Well, in this week’s edition, after the jump…
What a way to start the morning:
Jim Crane’s Astros ownership group filed a state court lawsuit Thursday against former Astros owner Drayton McLane, Comcast and NBC Universal, accusing them of fraud and civil conspiracy and accusing McLane’s corporation that owned the Astros of breach of contract in conjunction with Crane’s 2011 purchase of a 46 percent interest in the parent company of Comcast SportsNet Houston.
Hunting rats. With dogs. In Manhattan.
The hunts are conducted something like a country fox hunt, but in an urban setting. Members say it allows their dogs — mostly breeds known for chasing small game and vermin — to indulge in basic instinctual drives by killing a dozen or two dozen rats each time they are let loose.
This is legal in Bloomberg’s New York?
The group sometimes gets tips from homeless people or police officers, Mr. Reynolds said. In fact, he said, some officers have gone from initially being suspicious of what they were doing to suggesting rat locations and wishing them luck.
Save horce racing! Put USADA in charge!
The United States Anti-Doping Agency is the last and best hope to return safety and integrity to the troubled sport of thoroughbred racing, members of the industry told Congress at a hearing Thursday.
The state of Alabama has granted posthumous pardons to Haywood Patterson, Charles Weems and Andy Wright. You know them better as three of the nine Scottsboro Boys.
Ah, the 1970′s. What a time.
Remember Alexander Calder, the noted sculptor? Died in 1976? Well, he had a dealer, Klaus Perls, that he worked with exclusively. It was, by all accounts, a close and very friendly relationship.
In a recently amended complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court, the Calder estate says the Perlses surreptitiously held on to hundreds of Calder’s works and swindled the artist’s estate out of tens of millions of dollars. Perhaps most surprising, it says that Perls, a dealer with a sterling reputation who campaigned to rid his industry of forgeries, sold dozens of fake Calders. The suit depicts Perls as a tax cheat who stashed millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account, a secret his daughter said she maintained by paying off a former gallery employee with $5 million. She added that Calder had his own hidden Swiss account.
It looks like the Perls family stipulates at least part of these claims, specifically the parts about the Swiss bank accounts. But they also claim that part of the reason Perls had a Swiss bank account is so he could transfer profits to Calder’s Swiss bank account.
I knew there was a reason I liked Alexander Calder’s work.
The 1970′s were also a time when it was much easier to get your hands on explosives. Especially if you were 17 years old. And if you were peeved at the California Department of Water and Power.
The blast ripped apart a 4-foot-wide steel gate that regulates the flow of water to the aqueduct. Windows were blown out of the gatehouse atop the spill gates and its concrete floor buckled.
About 100 million gallons of water meant for Los Angeles were instead flushed into Owens Lake, which had been dry since the Department of Water and Power opened the aqueduct in 1913.
Nobody was injured. Mark Berry, one of the two men responsible, spent 30 days in juvenile detention. And he now works for the DWP.
(I love this telling detail: “The air was filled with the banana-like smell of nitroglycerin.”)
(And this one: “Berry said his father, as yet unaware that his son was one of the culprits, boasted to a neighbor, ‘If I ever find out who bombed the gates I’ll buy him a steak dinner.’” Gardner Dozois and Edward Abbey, please call your offices.)
(Since I made a “That ’70s Show” reference, I believe I have to link to this Penny Arcade. Especially since I am all about fish out of water prison dramas.)
We were vaguely hoping TMQ would address the Grambling State situation this week. We know that sounds weird, but we were hoping he might have an original or interesting take on it. Or, failing that, something we could mock.
So what does TMQ write about this week? After the jump…
Let us start off with one of TMQ Watch’s patented musical interludes. This one even has a small amount of relevance to this week’s TMQ:
You’ve got to love YouTube comments:
stephen scazzafavo 2 weeks ago
thumbs up for REAL COUNTRY none of this new age shiit
Yeah. About that, Steve.
Anyway, with that diversion out of the way, let’s get into this week’s TMQ, after the jump…
So, here, have some crap:
The complete “Mama’s Family” is being released on DVD, for those of you who were looking forward to this. And if you were, may God have mercy on your soul.
Highly local, but mildly interesting to me, and also picked up from the LAT: Mayor Garcetti has more or less fired the head of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Chief Brian Cummings, who announced his retirement Thursday, never fully recovered from his management team’s admission in March of last year that highly touted 911 response times were inaccurate, making it appear that rescuers arrived faster than they actually did.
Subsequent Times’ investigations documented widespread delays in processing calls for help, routine failures to summon the closest medical rescuers from nearby jurisdictions and large disparities in getting rescuers to life-threatening emergencies in different areas of the city.
I don’t know what to make of this NYT article, so I’ll throw it up for grabs.
The brief summary: In 2010, Sheriff Deborah Trout of Hunterdon County, New Jersey was indicted, along with two of her deputies, on charges that included
…hiring deputies without conducting proper background checks, and making employees sign loyalty oaths. Her deputies, the indictment charged, threatened one of their critics and manufactured fake police badges for a prominent donor to Gov. Chris Christie.
What happened next?
Attorney General Dow, in a highly unusual move, sent a deputy attorney general, Dermot O’Grady, to assume control of the Hunterdon prosecutor’s office. In Trenton, a spokesman for the attorney general offered a confusing explanation. “It’s still a Hunterdon case. But we control the office.”
The paper of record is not helpful in explaining why the state attorney general’s office took over a county prosecutor. That just doesn’t make sense to me; where is the legal authority for the attorney general to just simply take over a county prosecutor’s office, barring something on the order of massive corruption within the office?
But let’s set that question aside for right now. You can probably guess what happened after that:
Later that month, the chief of the attorney general’s corruption bureau announced that the state was dropping the indictments, saying that the charges “seek to criminalize what are essentially bad management decisions.”
And you can probably guess what happened after that: one prosecutor was fired, and two others (including the one who secured the indictments) were “forced to retire”. The news peg for this is that the fired prosecutor has filed a wrongful termination suit, which has led to the release of the grand jury records for the original indictment.
Here are my problems:
- I don’t trust the New York Times to be fair and objective in their reporting on a prominent Republican, especially one who is being spoken of as a possible presidential candidate.
- I don’t trust Chris Christie, either. I think he’s a RINO. I know he’s no friend of gun owners, no matter what he’s saying now. When I think of the man, I’m reminded of “Arlen Specter is for winning.“. If he gets the nomination, I’m voting Libertarian. (Okay, who am I kidding? I’ll be voting Libertarian no matter what.)
So I report, you decide.
We apologize for the delay in this week’s TMQ Watch. Allergies or a cold or something are still kicking our butts. It is our profound hope that, when science perfects the uploading of consciousness to machines, they choose not to emulate the human sinuses.
(On the other hand, are the sinuses necessary to fully emulate human consciousness? Is consciousness itself a chaotic system, with a sensitive dependance on initial conditions? Would leaving the sinuses out of the emulation change the nature of the emulation?)
But we digress. After the jump, this week’s TMQ…
(Worth noting before the jump: this week’s TMQ, and by implication, this week’s TMQ Watch, may contain possible spoilers for “Breaking Bad”, “Under the Dome”, and “The Bridge”.)
As best as I can tell, here’s the deal:
- CSN Houston is run by a four member board. Two members represent Comcast/NBCU, one represents the Astros, and one represents the Houston Rockets (who are also carried on CSN Houston).
- The board has to agree unanimously on any carriage agreement or retransmission deal.
- The board doesn’t agree.
- As long as the board doesn’t agree, they can’t make carriage agreements.
- Or, apparently, pay their bills. CSN Houston admits they owe the Astros three months of broadcast fees.
- Thus, the involuntary Chapter 11 petition.
But wait, it gets better!
Comcast SportsNet Houston, the cable network that carries the Astros games – the cable network that recorded a 0.0 Nielsen rating for last Sunday’s Astros game – is in a nasty dispute with various affiliates and with the Astros. According to the HouChron, CSN hasn’t paid rights fees to the Astros for the past
five months three months. (Edited to add 9/29: I swear the article said “five months” when I read it Saturday morning, but everyone says “three months” now. I’m not sure if the HouChron got it wrong and corrected it, or if I misread the article originally.) The affiliates are unhappy because they believe “structural issues” are keeping CSN from expanding.
CSN Houston is available in only about 40 percent of Houston’s 2.2 million TV households and has not been able to negotiate carriage agreements with DirecTV, Dish Network, Suddenlink, AT&T U-verse or Verizon FiOS.
And thus, the Comcast/NBC Universal affiliates have filed an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition against CSN, apparently in an attempt to address these “structural issues”.
It just hasn’t been a good year for the Astros. Good thing I didn’t bet on them to win the World Series.