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  • Why I'm Over 'The History of Rap'

    So there's another edition of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake performing 'The History of Rap' on the Tonight Show. It's the fifth volume of this, apparently.

    I remember when they did the first one, a thousand years ago. It was cute. I watched it, appreciated the gimmick, and moved on with my life. Once in a while, the interweb pages I visit would become obsessed with a new edition of the skit. I never went back to see another one.

    I didn't lose interest because I have anything against rap, or either of the performers. I love old school rap music. (On a side note, it's become disconcerting that there are rap songs not even remotely old school in my mind are included, but that's for another time.) I appreciate the talents of Fallon and Timberlake. Fallon has the potential to expand far beyond the long forgotten skits done by Johnny Carson. And Timberlake's music may not be my thing, but his SNL appearances are always can't-miss events.

    I lost interest because 'The History of Rap' is a gimmick. The performers' skill is a given, so all we're being exposed to are slides of someone else's vacation near someplace we have also been at a previous and unrelated time. 'Oh, I recognize that slide, we've driven past the Gateway Arch, too. Next?'

    In today's era where virtually all music is available anywhere, anytime, 'The History of Rap' doesn't even seem all that nostalgic. You know what was nostalgic? Getting the De La Soul catalog for free on Valentine's Day in a never before, never again type event, then going back and listening and hearing lines, samples, and voices you'd forgotten.

  • What I hate about DirecTV

    I should have written this some time ago, but at least I'm getting around to it.

    By and large, I love my DirecTV. Channels, picture quality, sound quality, reliability, all those are wonderful.

    But the still-lingering absence of providing my local channels in HD is absolutely infuriating.

    When we moved into our new house over 2 years ago, our first purchase was an HDTV. And we had our DirecTV moved from the old house to the new one.

    When the installer got us hooked up with the HD receiver to get HD channels, he told us that within 6 months (the end of 2006), our market should be getting local channels in HD.

    We're now closing in on the end of 2008, and still no HD local channels. And according to the latest press release from DirecTV, we won't be getting them until next year at the earliest.

    What really makes me mad is that Lexington is the 64th largest TV market, and by the end of the year, DirecTV will have local HD channels available for over 120 markets. So our market is getting passed over. By a long ways.

    I have contacted DirecTV a number of times about this, and can get nothing more than assurances that we will get local HD channels before I die, presuming I live to a ripe old age.

    It might not bother me as much if my antenna picked up the HD channels completely and reliably. But CBS comes through occasionally, NBC is good more often than not, and ABC is the most reliable signal. But I can't get FOX at all.

    While I'll never, ever go back to cable, I've seriously thought about going to Dish Network if only they offered the same HD channels that I'm getting now. But they don't offer my local channels in HD, either.

  • The return of The Wire


    Wow. When I saw David Simon’s statements that all stories will be resolved, I didn’t realize how serious he was.

    The Season 5 premiere of The Wire dug deep into the history of the show, and even though this is going to be a shorter season, this one’s going to be the bomb.

    Ellis Carver is the SIC of the Western District, and it may be too much for him to handle. The school district’s budget problems are so bad it’s destroyed police morale. Budget cuts have eliminated overtime pay, court pay, vehicle repairs, and anything else that costs money.

    The school district’s budget problems are so bad it’s destroyed police morale. Budget cuts have eliminated overtime pay, court pay, vehicle repairs, and anything else that costs money.

    Our beloved Major Crimes Unit started by working for free on the tail of Marlo, and by the end of the episode had been disbanded as another cost cutting measure. Kima and McNulty got bounced back to Homicide, prompting Sgt. Landsman to see Jimmy and make a prodigal son comment. Sydnor and Freamon were sent to the DA’s office to assist in the grand jury proceedings against Clay “Sheeeeeit” Davis. And Herc, banished from the department as a result of Bubbles’ payback and a lost video camera, is working for Levy, the slimy attorney for the Barksdale clan.

    We only saw two of the child stars from last season. Michael is still working for Marlo, and Dukie is still with him, now apparently relegated to being Bug’s ‘manny.’

    The Baltimore Sun cast was also introduced, but since I’m not entirely sure of who is who yet, I won’t go into much detail. Budget cuts are hurting there, too. And some of the higher ups don’t seem that interested in being good journalists.

    I was somewhat surprised to see Amy Ryan return in her role as Beadie, otherwise known as McNulty’s new woman. Glad to see her, though. I was afraid that she’d be too busy with her movie career after all the good press she got after Gone Baby Gone. Sadly, it looks like she’s going to be going down the same path as the first Mrs. McNulty.