Saturday, December 03, 2005

What The Bleep Do We Know?

I am working on my article on Mind Over Matter. In the meantime, get the What The Bleep Do We Know DVD. Really.


You know the different terms for flock, like a "murder of crows", or a "gaggle of geese"...
Well, I coined a couple:
A "giggle of schoolgirls".
A "hassle of boys".
An "obstruction of pensioners".
A "distraction of stewardesses".

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Howard Bloom

Listen to an excellent radio interview with Howard Bloom.
He talks about how a do-good approach can earn far more money than a "bottom line" approach. And how western civilization will not die, and does not deserve to, how it is the only system that has ever uplifted the poor for real.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Great comedy shows

I am a fan of many of the obvious shows (Keeping Up Appearances, Arrested Development), but maybe I should point out some good shows I have on DVD which I think more people should hear about.

Quirky comedy from Niagara Falls

The Tick
Great superhero comedy

Game On
Nice britcom, three young people in one apartment, the girl is nice.

Vicar of Dibley
Very cute britcom, from when female vicars were a novelty in the UK.

Black Books
Very funny British show of a curmudgeonly owner of a small bookstore and his friends. Again a fan of the girl, a very unusual face, but gorgeous.

Far out UK comedy of several friends. Full of wild ideas and parodies of movies. Great stuff.

League of Gentlemen
Another British phenomenon. Indescribably weird and wonderful.

Dead Like Me
A wonderful funny/deep show (US). Season one was excellent, and amazingly season two even surpassed it, to everybody's surprise. It is about people who, after they die, are recruited as "Grim Reapers", whose job it is to collect the souls of people just before they die. How do you make such a thing funny? Watch it and learn.

Greg The Bunny
Another one which is so seminal it is hard to compare. Really excellent.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I am watching Seinfeld on DVD. I like Seinfeld. Seinfeld is funny. I like short sentences.

It took me a looooong while to get to like Seinfeld though. Why? Because all the characters are such despicable people! It took me a while to realize it, because nobody on the show realizes it.
OK, maybe Kramer is not a bad person, but he is so eccentric that, while hilarious, he is not really a character you can identify with.

Not only do the characters not have any love, affection, or empathy for anybody else (contrast it with Friends), but the main thing that grates my nerves still (even while I enjoy the show) is how small-minded they are. ALL of their concerns and problems and conversations are about these tiny, minuscule issues that any sane person would not even notice, or so it seems to me.

It became clear that a lot of this personality came from Larry David, who co-created the show with Jerry Seinfeld. This is clear from his show Curb Your Enthusiasm, and from various interviews. Jason Alexander, who played George, said that at one early time he went to Larry and said: "Not only would this not ever happen to anybody, but if it did, nobody would react that way!" And Larry said: "What do you mean? This happened to me, and that is exactly how I reacted!"
And Rob Reiner, who is a friend of Larry David's, calls him "Curmudgeonly, misanthropic, and dyspeptic"!

Now for a while I thought I had wrapped it up. But I got to thinking, if this is all Larry's personality on the show, where is Jerry's? Where is the kindness and large-mindedness that should be there in contrast?
Then I saw the episode in season five where Jerry on the show offers some pie to a date, and she refuses. And Jerry not only gets upset, but can't talk about anything else for days. Why did she refuse the pie!
I was just thinking, who the f**k cares?? She didn't want any pie! Who would even think twice about that??
And it turns out that the writers of that episode got the idea from Jerry Seinfeld in real life. It really happened, he really got upset, and he really could not stop talking about it. So Seinfeld is almost as weird as Larry, and that is why the show is like it is!

Thank god these people have a sense of humor, otherwise they would be insufferable!
But how do they function in life? How do they handle actual problems, if total trivia has them in a knot of negative emotions?

Another characteristic of the characters on the show (and the real people they obviously represent) is that they can never communicate anything directly. They have a tiny problem with somebody, or they need to find out something, and it never occurs to them to just ask directly. For example, it is clear that not even in real life did it occur to Jerry to simply ask the girl why she did not want any pie. A simple, direct question, what could be easier? Instead he seems to prefer to be upset for days.
Again, how the hell do they function in life, much less get to the successful positions they have? Very weird.

... I do have to admit though, watching more interviews and so on, I am starting to warm a bit to Larry David. There is a sort of... precision in what the man does, and what he says and the way he speaks that I admire. I like precision. And I think he does too, for 1) he is good at golf. And 2) he has said that when he makes appointments, he is likely to say 14.43 or 14.41 instead of round numbers. Which I admit is taking it a bit too far, you should not take anything, not even precision, farther than the point where it actually matters. But anyway.