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Tuesday, March 28

What comes around ... 

How weird is it that BBC America is airing Ed Vs Spencer when GSN has aired its father -- Kenny Vs Spenny? Some explanation -- Kenny Vs. Spenny originally aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. but the creators have sold the format to other countries (incl. apparently the UK).

Both shows seem familiar -- two friends are challenged to be the best at a certain task (like lose weight or pass as a woman). The UK's Ed refers to his opponent as "Spenny." Even the presentation of the title graphic and promo materials are similar.

In KvS (as the hipsters refer to the series which now airs on the Canadian channel Showcase), Kenny cheated while Spenny tried to remain on the up-and-up. The loser, in most cases - Spenny, would be forced to endure a "humiliation" which was usually pretty childish and sometimes funny.

So we find ourselves in a situation where both the Brit clone and the Canadian original will have aired in the United States. I guess there are similar situations (like Food Network simultaneously airing Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, TLC airing the UK's Scrapheap Challenge as a part of its own Junkyard Wars), but those are most often an American take on the original format. How often do we see a Canadian show and its British knock-off airing on American television?

Of course, some GSN fans loathed Kenny Vs. Spenny. I wonder what sort of reception their Brit cousins will receive?


Saturday, March 25

Springfield meets Slough 

I'm pretty psyched about tomorrow night's broadcast of "The Simpsons." Ricky Gervais, best known for his work as crummy boss David Brent on "The Office," wrote the episode and will guest star.

I don't know what to expect. Most of my experience with Gervais has been with the cringing humor of the British sitcom. I'm curious to see what he does with Our Favo(u)rite Family. It will be interesting to see his take on the American version of "The Office" when he writes an episode next season.

Bonus cool -- Sunday's broadcast will include the live action opening credits developed by Sky One as a promo. The Simpsons take human form, if only for a few brief seconds.

Not-so-bonus cool -- It's a bummer that last week's rumor that "Futurama" is coming back for a full season didn't pan out (yet). Happy to see the DVDs seem to still be on track, but it would've been sweet to see the adventures of the Planet Express crew.


Sunday, March 19

Belated first look: MacBook Pro 

Apple's latest Intel-based notebook computer has been out on the market for a few weeks now. I was able to get my hands on a demo unit briefly during January's Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

It's impressive to say the least. Sure, there are concerns about running older software on the new computers, but the Intel chip has put some speed back into Apple's notebook lineup. My conclusion is based on my very basic testing method -- movie playback.

The Apple employee helping to demo the machin loaded 3 high-definition movies into QuickTime Player. The computer played all three simultaneously. The playback looked quite smooth even as I used Expose to zoom the playing movies in and out.

Compare that performance to the sluggish time a G4 PowerBook had playing one HD movie. It's a powerful indication of where we might be going with this new processor.

Aside from the Intel chip inside and the slight redesign of the MacBook Pro (which suceeds the PowerBook line), the operating system and the overall experience remains consistently Mac-like.


Friday, March 10

A list! 

I know I've done it before, but here's a list of things that I'd like to write about or expand upon in the coming weeks. I still want to write about most of those topics on the older list too.

Feel free to add a comment if there are other things you think I should get to.

- Expand "Drunk is when I say 'I love you'" if possible.
- Grannypoppers!
- The surprising disappointment after losing a karaoke contest.
- Working out a silly podcast.
- Writing to my friends and family.
- Recapping my travels over the past few years.

Deal or No Deal? 

No, I'm not talking about the TV show (which I've yet to see). On Tuesday, I was faced with a decision and I chose to make a deal. Just not with those cheezy costumes from the '80s.

Let's hope I don't find a barnyard animal behind curtain number one. I've stunk things up enough so far.


Monday, March 6

LostUP: Blasts from the past 

Lost on the U.P., Part 4 -- A quick post tonight as I fondly reminisce about posts past detailing the missing or misaligned Upper Peninsula.

Back in June 2005, I noted the Visited States Web site which omitted the Keweenaw Peninsula (the thumb of the U.P.).

Map showing my travels through the U.S., except the Upper Peninsula

They still haven't fixed their mapmaking program.

In an October 2004 broadcast of CBC's The National, host Peter Mansbridge notes the crew painting the 50 U.S. states onto the Rockerfeller Square ice rink initially omitted the upper portion of the Lower Peninsula and had to repaint it.

Missing Lower Peninsula

I don't know where that post went although I knew I wrote it. Oh well. It's back know.


Sunday, March 5

LostUP: Fantanas fail geography 

Lost on the U.P., Part III -- With all due respect to Stephen Colbert, I was just kidding when I said I was pulling the plug on my ongoing expose about people excluding the U.P. on their maps. As a matter of fact, I'm starting to doubt that there _is_ a Mustard County in Michigan.

I'll be slapping more examples on my site as we go forward. I might even build that standalone page one of these days.

Remember that Fanta commercial a while back featuring the "Fantanas"? The commercial asked "Where are the Fantanas going to turn up next?" Apparently, it won't be the Upper Peninsula based on the map they flashed on the screen.

Fanta screenshot of U.S. map missing the U.P.

This is a classic example of where the U.P. is present, but it's not included as part of the United States. I can only guess what the the illustrator thought the U.P. was when assembling this ad.

For the sake of full disclosure, I can't find the "Fantana Island" where the Fantanas are purported to come from.

Belated Olympics commentary 

Just some quick thoughts from this year's Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies (three weeks ago). Consider it super-tape-delay:

- It's interesting there were two Brian Williams on the U.S. and Canadian broadcasting teams. NBC's Brian Williams normally anchors the nightly news, but helped out with the opening ceremonies. The CBC's Brian Williams is a sports anchor who typically pitches in during the Games (although I heard he stayed in Toronto this time around).

- Is it a little hypocritical that it's impressive when the Italians bring out a racing car for their opening ceremony, but it's tacky when the Americans brought out their pickups during the 1996 Atlanta Games? I'm just asking.

- I really liked the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. It was very potent with the rings of fireworks culmonating with the lighting of the cauldron. Well done.

Well, those are my thoughts from the opening ceremonies. Let's see how the rest of the Games go. :-p



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