Tag Archives: TV

FCC may fine NBC for Miley Cyrus “Bangerz” show

According to Rolling Stone magazine, the FCC is considering disciplining NBC for airing an indecent performance on July 6, Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz Tour”. I watched it. It was provocative, but artful. Bertolt Brecht would have loved the production: live dancers against rear-projection oversized animation with creative costumes and lighting. I loved it. Some of the images, such as Miley riding a giant “Mr. Wiener”, were sexually suggestive.

Click to stream or download full 862 Megabyte video performance

The concert (recorded in Barcelona) reminded me of Madonna’s shows twenty-five years ago. Both performers have acceptable contralto voices, energetic dance skills, and assemble exciting Brechtian spectacles. I love the costuming and choreopgraphy. Shocking? “Bangerz” pushed the limits on prime-time American TV, I suppose. But that week on television, the atrocious performance by the Brazilian football team was truly shocking.

I’d prefer that the FCC take no action on this. They have enough serious issues on their plate already. Censoring art is, in my opinion, a slippery slope for any government agency . . . and I think that this production can be labeled “art”. Here’s the full show (862MB H264 1h 25m mp4 video file, 720 x 404 pixel) for download or streaming:

Miley Cyrus Bangerz show in Barcelona
Click to stream or download full 862 Megabyte video performance

You’ll need a fast Internet connection to smoothly stream this. You might be better to download the file and then play it locally with a good video player such as VLC.

Is it Miley’s performance or just modern low distortion recording technique that for the first time makes John Lennon’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” lyrics (at 44m 35s) sound so . . . so . . . clear, logical, and complete?

What do you think?

Grace under pressure

Show host chef Gordon Ramsay
Christine Ha
photo: MasterChef
My money is on Christine.

Ever since reading the delightful Kitchen Confidential c 1997 by chef Anthony Bourdain (quipped one critic: “Julia Child meets Keith Richards”) I’ve had respect for the work that takes place behind kitchen doors.

The Simpsons’ Principal Seymour Skinner, in an attempt to impress a shapely female, once bragged, “I’m thinking of becoming a gourmet cook”. I’m not thinking of becoming a gourmet cook, but I do admire the talent needed to produce beautiful, delicious meals. Mr. Bourdain assures us that making meals is like making anything: it’s a production job, and to produce a good product every meal requires precise logistics, artistry, skill, and plain old hard work.

I’ve become a fan of Fox’s cooking-based “reality shows”, which are hosted by Englishman chef Gordon Ramsay. My fave is MasterChef, which pits amateur cooks against each other and against the clock. My favorite contestant is Christine Ha, who has prepared terrific dishes every week, and presents them with soft-spoken dignity. She has a well-written blog, complete with her own recipes that include lip-smacking photos of each dish.

I’m cheering for Christine.

Her blog’s URL is www.theblindcook.com. Yes, she is blind.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

DirecTV’s CEO becomes an Undercover Boss

Every CEO should periodically go undercover.

DirecTV’s CEO in two roles
photos: CBS

Last week I watched a 2 year old re-run of Undercover Boss. It followed 58 year old Mike White, DirecTV’s new CEO as he posed as a trainee at several sites within DirecTV’s 23,000 employee organization. Mike learned how to crawl through attics and perform field service, materials warehousing, new customer installs, and customer call handling.

My impressions:

  • DirecTV has taken a technology that was exotic, expensive, and demanded the attention of highly-skilled engineers, and turned it into a profitable, affordable commodity. I’m impressed. (Their fleet of geostationary satellites orbit 22,000 miles from the Earth, yet most customers’ dishes are tiny.)
  • Their front-line personnel are conscientious.
  • Something’s wrong with their technician support helpline: an installer waited on hold for 21 minutes while she, the customer, and Mike waited for someone at DirecTV to answer the phone.
  • Something’s wrong with their materials logistics: A field service technician wasted time at a customer’s site trying to locate a working receiver to replace the customer’s failed receiver.
  • The frontline employees work harder than the company’s officers. Management needs to provide prompt support to their field technicians.

CBS-TV’s promotion of this episode.

I hope that after his week undercover, Mr. White shook up his management team.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

IMDB has teamed with Hulu

Alfred Hitchcock Presents THE DERELICTS episode
screenshot: Hulu
Here’s a terrific Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, available in full on line, thanks to Hulu.



For many years I’ve been a fan of IMDB (Internet Movie Database). Its power from the start was its multiple indexes: you can search for a movie by director, title, character names, actors, etc. Amazon bought IMDB in 1998. Now IMDB provides integration with content streaming services such as Hulu. Hulu is full of TV episodes, including some real gems.

I love the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode from 1956 that’s titled The Derelicts. Robert Newton steals the show from its strong ensemble of actors. All the main characters are severely flawed and Newton’s boozy Dickensian villain, Peter J. Goodfellow, adds a comical dimension. He’s simultaneously charming, pompous, larcenous, and obnoxious. The episode takes a cynical, comical look at a Hitchcock paranoid nightmare that twists and turns until its last moment.

It’s a pity that Mr. Newton died not long after this production when he was only 50, apparently of alcohol-related causes. That may explain why his always buzzed Peter J. Goodfellow character is so spot-on.

All about Alfred Hitchcock Presents series 1.

Get your free DTV converter coupons now!

After June 12, US television broadcasters will no longer transmit programming via analog signals. To view TV programming that’s received on an antenna, you’ll need to have either a digital- ready TV or a digital to analog TV converter.

The U.S. government has freshened up the funding of its digital television converter coupon program. It entitles each U.S. household to a 40 dollar discount on each of up to two converter boxes.  I ordered mine in early December and received the coupons about February 10th.
The government claims that the turnaround time has been reduced to 5 or 6 days. If you don’t have your coupons, go to https://www.dtv2009.gov/ to  order yours now.
Read about the upcoming switch to digital television: http://www.dtv.gov/
Visit my website: russbellew.com

Woz dances!

He did it! Steve Wozniak (58 year-old legendary Apple Computer founding engineer, builder of blue boxes, philanthropist, financier of the US festival, billionaire, über-techie, and all-around good guy) danced last night with dancing partner Karina Smirnoff on Dancing With The Stars. Karina’s dancing was fantastic, and Steve’s was um, stunning. The emcee’s reaction: "Take that, Bill Gates!"
I give Steve and Karina 4 big gold stars. Read Steve’s post-dance comments on his personal website: http://www.woz.org
I had no idea that Kathy Griffin and Steve had been an item. I like Kathy’s opinion.
View a video clip (3 minutes:27 seconds) of Steve and Karina’s dance and the judges’ opinions. Because of copyright issues, this clip may not remain long on Youtube.

Visit my website: russbellew.com

Get the straight story on TV, DTV, and HDTV.

Are you confused about DTV, HDTV, satellite TV, cable TV, Internet TV, webcasts, changeover from analog TV broadcasts to digital TV broadcasts, etc? I am!

Alfred Poor writes a blog that does a good job of keeping the poor consumer informed about television and home entertainment. Read it here: http://hdtvprofessor.com/HDTVAlmanac/. I enjoyed reading Alfred’s column many years ago in PC Magazine. I like his easy to understand presentation and respect his knowledge of his subject.
Visit my website: russbellew.com