Tuesday, July 22, 2014

An Injustice for Just Us

A couple of weeks ago, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its nominations for the annual Emmy awards for primetime television programs of the past season (Other television industry bodies handle the Emmys for other areas of programming and technical excellence).

Across the entertainment media, the bewailing and moaning began. Pop culture and entertainment news websites and columnists immediately began criticizing the Emmys for including certain obviously unworthy nominees and excluding other, obviously worthy nominees. I really couldn't help or offer any explanation. Mostly because the shows and actors being talked about were primarily boutique premium-cable shows which are viewed by audiences that, at their largest, make up five percent of the country's total population. I am, I'm afraid, part of the 95 percent and I don't have premium cable.

One thing that interested me was how often writers suggested these errors on the part of the ATAS made the Emmy Awards irrelevant, or sometimes the word was "meaningless." That interested me because I often used to say the same thing about the Emmys as well as the Grammys and the Oscars (and still do from time to time). The Emmys overlooked a show or an actor that I really liked in favor of another? They're worthless!

Then I started thinking about that. If the awards were worthless, then what did I care who they nominated? If they really couldn't see the obvious error of their ways and were therefore irrelevant, why pay attention to them? After all, if they really did mean something, then that might mean that their choices were more on target than mine. Maybe Ed ONeill really didn't deserve the Emmy for outstanding actor in a comedy series every year from 1987 to 1997 -- maybe he just played a character I liked on a show I liked but Emmy voters didn't.

So I figured out that I was huffing and puffing over the idea that not everybody liked what I liked as much as I liked it. Which I, being a fan of both the original Star Trek TV series and Dr. Who before the reboot a few years ago, should already have known. Apparently whatever native intelligence I can muster to rattle off opinions on a variety of subjects runs away and hides when it comes to self-evaluation and introspection. At that point, I decided my life could probably continue on its regular course without problems no matter who was nominated for what award.

And the best part about that is it doesn't prevent me from mocking the different award organizations when they pick their favorite half-caff-half-no-caff-double-espresso-with-a-hint-of-cinnamon show to champion instead of one watched by, you know, twice as many people just within the 18-49 demo slice, on its worst outing of the season.

Monday, July 21, 2014

With the Speed of Forms Submitted in Triplicate

Way back in 2001, the Australian patent office awarded a man named John Keogh "Innovation Patent #2001100012" for his "circular transportation facilitation device." Or what people who don't work in a government office would call a "wheel."

Mr. Keogh submitted his patent request as a way of illustrating that he thought the office had relaxed its standards a bit too much. He never tried to collect any money from people using wheels. So it turns out that the office recently revoked his patent, just more than a decade after issuing it.

What can you say? Apparently Australian government works much faster than ours does.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


At about 10:00 PM my time, 45 years ago today, men from Earth stepped onto the surface of the moon for the very first time.

Thanks to the shortsightedness and craven nature of bureaucrats and elected officials from that day to this, "men without chests" in the words of C. S. Lewis, we cannot celebrate that anniversary on-site. In fact, the only nation that has ever been able to go to the moon can't even leave our planet's gravity well without buying a ticket from the people whose behinds we kicked in the race to get there.

I shall be surly for awhile now.


This one's going to leave a mark.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Wet-Dry Affair

I have no intention of describing the method by which the following account came into my possession.

Being as how neither Mr. Sherlock Holmes nor myself were ever actual people but were instead fictional characters, we occupied our own little peculiar space in the multiverse after Dr. Doyle passed away. This enabled us to shape things quite according to our fancy, which was to say that our corner of that particular space greatly resembled the good doctor's description of our lodgings at 221B Baker Street in the London of Her Majesty Queen Victoria's day.

One day while we were enjoying an afternoon of reading Holmes called my attention to the peculiar item of news on something he read on one of those screen things which he has taken to greatly and which I cannot stand, preferring the reliability of my favorite newspaper. Surely, he does not have to fold his device, but I on the other hand have never dealt with the infernal problem of the Blue Screen of Death. I have suggested he use a more reliable device, but he insists that his mind, at least, should be capable of mastering this "OS" he calls "Windows."

In any event, the item concerned a couple living in a suburb in the American state of California. That region being under significant pressure because of a drought, the state assembly passed a law restricting water usage so as to save enough of the substance that necessary uses would not be curtailed. "Sensible," I said, and Holmes agreed with me.

"But listen further, Watson!" It seemed the suburb in which the couple dwelt also has regulations, which prohibit residents of their community from having lawns of unsightly or abandoned appearance. I fear my consternation showed plainly, and Holmes seized upon it.

"You see it too, then, do you not?" he cried. "One law will fine them if they use water on their lawn, but another will fine them if they do not! Every action is prohibited and they cannot win. A diabolical choice such as this can have but one author!"

"You mean...," I began, but he interrupted.

"Yes! That most evil of men, that most brilliant criminal Moriarty lives, Watson, and he is in California! We must be off at once; the game is afoot!"

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dinosaur Survival?

Dustbury notes some commentary on the fussin' between Verizon and Netflix about network capacities and streaming speeds. You will be unsurprised to learn that each company claims the other is at fault in the matter.

I have to say that I have noticed no problems with my Netflix playback. But then, I'm still getting physical DVDs in the mail, so my watching is not affected by download speeds.

If the Post Office runs slow, on the other hand, that will have a definite impact.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Monkey Business

At Acculturated, R.J. Moeller saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and articulates several questions about why anyone would. The questions he raises are pretty much exactly the ones I thought about when I first saw the movie was being released, and so I should probably send him a thank-you note.