Archive for the ‘ Entertainment ’ Category

The man behind NBC’s improbable return to the top of TV


You can never tell where the good stuff is going to come from.

I stopped watching TV in the Eighties – if you can remember that far back. But everyone else was still addicted to it – so I have developed an interest in it, myself. As a study of mass-insanity.

This guy is flourishing in the middle of it.

Carl Sagan on YouTube


You can view the entire Cosmos series here – with stunning scenic beauty and classic music in the background – British culture at its finest.

What more need I say?

The Impact of the Machine on People

This is what the Industrial Revolution amounted to – our discovery of the Machine. Or perhaps is was the other way around – when the Machine discovered us.

To this day, we cannot define what a machine is – we can only point at one, and say “Like that!” This can be misleading because the first industrial machine was the Sailing Ship – which operated with wind power. These had been in existence for thousands of years. But with dawn of the Modern World – with its invention of Banking, Bookkeeping, Manufacturing, and the Market – these were mass-produced in shipyards. such as those that existed in Venice.

Later, as this combination moved into Spain and Portugal – these ships started sailing further and further – and discovered the New World! The Spanish Empire became the largest, and richest, ever known. And now, in greatly reduced form, after losing out to England – forms Latin America.

England is where the Industrial Revolution really got started. With its use of coal to operate the Steam Engine. And its invention of clever machinery to manufacture cloth – in large quantities, and very cheaply. This was the beginning of Capitalism – because Capital was necessary to finance these new factories and railroads. Which, in turn, because of their profitability – created more capital. Everyone benefited – except the poor, who were forced to work at starvation wages.

This takes us up to the middle of the 19th Century, when Industrialization had moved to the United States, which had its Civil War – the first Industrial war, with unbelievable destructiveness. This pattern continued – with WWI, the Depression, and WWII. Unbelievable destruction!

You will now be saying “I don’t want to know about all this bad stuff!” Everyone was feeling this way – and to cope with it, they went to the movies – which showed them a much better world – for a very modest price – but all those movie tickets added up to a lot of money.

This takes us up to the middle of the 20th Century – and Television. Its effect on us was unbelievable – we didn’t have to go to the movies – the movies were brought to us – for free! All we had to do was sit and watch them – and not think about how it was affecting us. I eventually decided not to watch – but I was unusual. Most people wanted to be told how to be – which is what TV was doing.

At this point in my story, I am not sure how to proceed – how can I describe the whole complex of changes that resulted from Television – all over the world? I cannot – all I can do is point at the people that resulted, which are all around us.

What do they look like to you?

A Very Singular Girl

NY Review

This is about Helen Gurley Brown – no doubt you have heard of her. Everyone knew about her – and Cosmopolitan Magazine. Whether they read anything by her or not.

I enjoyed the article – its easy to read, and requires no thinking at all. Another person from Arkansas (this time a woman) makes it big!

Here is the final paragraph:

But girlfriend, or, rather, pussycat, no matter how evolved, we all contain our basest selves, right up until the end. Get out the fishnets and cast them. Seize life—it’s really there. Such are the ongoing tidings of Heelen Gurley Brown—no amens or ahems.

Woman Charged in Kayak Death

NY Times

My subscription to the Times is paying off with some scandalous gossip.

This story leaves a lot of questions unanswered – but it appears to me that the man in the story was suicidal. I have taken a kayaking course myself – where I learned how to used plenty of safety equipment – so much that made it impossible for you to drown.

Starting at the top – a whitewater helmet, the same kind used by rafters. Then a flotation jacket with plenty of foam padding, in front and the back – including an extension at the back to protect your neck, and make you float face-up.

Then a skirt of neoprene rubber around your waist, that fits around the kayak opening – and prevents the entry of water into the kayak. Before getting in the kayak, you have so much protective equipment you can hardly walk. Once seated (with some assistance) you brace your knees against pads on either side, so you become part of the kayak itself.

You learn how to use the paddle to right the kayak in choppy water – and even turn it over in an Eskimo roll!

Evidently, the man had none of these. When he was tipped of of his kayak in freezing water – he asked his companion to call 911! She grabbed his paddle instead – and his body was never found.

And then she confessed everything!

Being Too Well-Informed

This is something Americans are very careful of –  they take great care to not to be too well-informed.

You might want to read that twice – and give it a careful taste-test before you swallow it.

I discovered this after my posting Beyoncé – when I came close to stepping on some hidden land-mines. No one wanted to learn about Beyoncé – she was far too important for that kind of vulgar activity.

She is an entertainer – but also a goddess. Her image is sacred.

We are dealing with Religion here – and we are as religious as we ever were – perhaps more so. We are surrounded by strange forces we do not understand (in the real world) – and we need a magical way of dealing with them (using the religious world). This magic has one purpose – to make people feel powerful, to feel they are in control.

This may seem like a strange state of affairs – but it would be familiar to most people – until a few hundred years ago. We need to go back to living in two worlds – the real world and the religious world – simultaneously.

It’s not hard.

What is a Consumer?

The first response that comes to mind is “Anyone who consumes things.” But this is clearly inadequate – people have been consuming things forever, but the Consumer is an artifact of Television.

TV viewers were mesmerized into buying things, or more importantly – thinking things. They had been turned into Consumers – robots under the control of the Tube. The TV industry had taken control of their minds.

When the Computer came along a few years later – it took advantage of the mental vacuum created by Television. Its networks (the Internet and the Wireless) became another way of controlling Consumers. And no one thought this was unusual or even undesirable.

Consumers are people under the unconscious control of global business. They are incapable of questioning (or even recognizing) its dominance in their lives.

I have named the villain – Global Business, or Business, for short. Globalization. It doesn’t have complete control of the world, but something close to it. If anyone or any group serves it – it cannot go far wrong. It controls our money and our jobs.

You might ask about Islamic fundamentalists – are these guys part of Global Business? In a strange way, they are. By their opposition to it they are helping to define it. They are the loyal opposition – completely dependent on it for their fuel, weapons, and communication. There is no way they can exist independently of it.

You may think “That’s only crazy Hal and his crazy ideas!” But if you think my ideas are crazy, look at these:

The business of Things

Year Zero: Our life timelines begin