November 28, 2013

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013

Our annual tradition is, of course, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade telecast on the National Broadcasting Company. Today's initial personnel are Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie from NBC's Today, covering the 87th version of the parade.

0902 - The Macy's house band has drummers strapped to rolling stars, dressed in something that looks Daft Punk inspired. Interesting.

0904 - Macy's Executive Producer Amy Kule is, of course, chatting with Al Roker. They've got robots from some STEM organization named FIRST. We haven't seen robotic scissors yet, and that's interesting.

Joan Jett and Kristin Chenoweth ought to be interesting; I've heard of most of the acts they're mentioning, but the NBC stars are unknown. The Duck Dynasty crowd and Sandra Lee ought to be interesting. Vic Matus seems to consider Sandra Lee some sort of evil force; when I dig up the article, I'll link it up.

It'll be good to see Namath and others; good to see that they're still getting work.

0910 - Hooray! Savannah Guthrie informs us that there will be balloons. The massive storm that headed to the East Coast from the middle of the country had placed the deployment of balloons in question.

0911 - Hines Ward and Al Roker. Ward doesn't miss playing football, while Sonic the Hedgehog drifts by in the background. Tonight's football will be Pittsburgh versus Baltimore. Up next is Motown: The Musical. I like this guy's suit. I've never been a big fan of Berry Gordy's very profitable enterprise, but it's arguably a powerful part of our mid-century musical heritage. From what I'm seeing, Motown is probably a variety show that covers a lot of chart-topping hits. Those poor actors and actresses are probably freezing.

0917 - Oh boy, a stupid husband commercial from Chevrolet. Whoever Kristen and the blonde are in the M&Ms ad are attractive. Meanwhile, I'm simply not interested in the Wii U. Maybe your correspondent has gotten old, but nobody's been able to sell me on the notion.

Allstate's "People Live for Good" ad falls flat.

0918 - Sanrio's Hello Kitty float is vaguely creepy, while Al Roker gets a jacket from Chicago Fire. This musical, Matilda, is something about revolting children, if I understand their lyrics right. I've never read much Roald Dahl, so this one's not aimed at me. Whoever sings the "When I grow up" song is eye-catching.

0924 - This may be a Wells Fargo ad, where a snowman group feed carrots to a Wells Fargo wagon team is great. I hate that they had to dump on the USPS for the set-up, but this commercial was a hit with the TCP viewing audience. Meanwhile, I think I'm over the notion of Black Friday.

I've never read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Roker may have gotten someone in trouble. Now we have Harvey Fierstein, Cindy Lauper et al. I think we could have done without Kinky Boots. That really doesn't seem family-friendly, especially men in high-heeled sequined boots. We'll check and see if ABC or CBS has anything. Nope.

0933 - A commercial featuring James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell is almost guaranteed fun. Well played, Sprint. On the other hand, Tyler Perry's newest movie doesn't interest me.

0935 - There's an excellent chance I'll watch The Sound of Music as a live performance. Carrie Underwood circa 2013 isn't as attractive as Julie Andrews circa 1965, and certainly can't sing as well, but not liking that story is a right reserved only for Christopher Plummer.

0939 - Whatever musical that was, I missed it. Meanwhile, I had no idea that NBC had a series named The Blacklist. Megan Boone sounds somewhat entitled. I think we've seen the story of "High-grade criminal wants to deal with a junior FBI agent" before. Hello, Clarice.

Robin Williams for St. Jude is always good. "Never wear sandals on the farm" is funny, and the mission of St. Jude is eminently worthy. Danny Thomas' project does good for a lot of people who often don't have the resources to slug it out with some sort of eminently hostile illness.

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Posted by Country Pundit at 09:02:12

November 22, 2012

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

Our usual coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade continues, courtesy of the National Broadcasting Company's telecast.

0901 - Matt Lauer and the recently-promoted Savannah Guthrie are the main commentary team, selecting from amongst the Today team. I vaguely remember Jane Pauley as being reasonably good at the job.

Amy Kule, the parade's executive producer, introduces the apparent equivalent of Eagle Scouts from the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and they count down the ribbon-cutting. Here we go!

We'll apparently be unimpressed by McKayla Maroney, to remark on an ancient meme.

0912 - The Al Roker promo for a Jillian Michaels project annoys. Back to Guthrie and Lauer. One wonders if Natalie Morales intends to strangle Martha Stewart---I managed to miss the majority of the last cooking segment, but such is life.

0913 - A musical version of Elf? You'd have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat Zooey Deschanel, but this is more interesting than other acts they've had here in the past.

0917 - Looks like the centering bug from last year has reappeared. If it can be fixed, it will be. Jets-Patriots on NBC, apparently.

0920 - Nice Work, If You Can Get It sounds like an interesting musical. Mr. Lauer, it's prounounced "Swonderful". There's a strange allure to the 1920s, essentially a Caprica-before-the-fall world, even when we know what sort of disaster was coming in the 1930s.

Matthew Broderick needs more bass in his voice---he sounds like a slightly grown-up David Lightman. I can't say that I'm crazy about the arrangement used here, but then again, there's only two voices. His female counterpart's reasonably good at her job and the sofa dance wasn't objectionable. I'm currently reading a biography of Alice Roosevelt and the 1920s seems like a world that might as well have taken place on Mars, featuring John Carter.

0927 - Milton DeLugg gets an extended thank you for his 40 years' service as music director of the parade. Up next, excerpts from Annie. Oh, here we go, Franklin Roosevelt. Bringing a New Deal for Christmas sounds to me like something that you get for being bad. I suppose the 'W' on the childrens' sweaters must mean they're in a Warbucks-supported home, but that's not made clear. This little pig-tailed moppet doing tap-dancing for the rural couple is doing pretty good for an imitation of the Warner Brothers characters, which is a staple of such things.

0934 - Rogers and Hammerstein wrote their version of Cinderella, I believe in the 1950s, and we're going to get a preview of what'll open on Broadway relatively soon. I wonder what it costs a production to get a slot in the parade---it can't be cheap. Oh, interesting: Julie Andrews had the lead in the original telecast, a 1957 production of the Columbia Broadcasting System.

0938 - Oh wow, it's Sidney from Once Upon a Time, Giancarlo Eposito. Of course, he's in NBC's Revolution, which I've only vaguely heard of. He was a good actor when I saw him, so it's good that he's getting leading roles. Nobody else seems interested in Roker, which is weird.

0941 - "Hail to the Chief Life Officer" fails as a campaign.

0942 - American Airlines has a nice ad regarding veterans.

0943 - John O'Hurley's voice is so different than Roker's. Looks like someone told the kid with balloon to move.

0945 - The viewing audience has revolted in the face of NBC's coverage; we switch immediately to the CBS version and get Charlie Brown and the elusive football. There's horribly bad Peanuts fanfic that has Charlie Brown kicking Lucy van Pelt in the face. Henry Winkler is infinitely more interesting than anyone that NBC has brought in, so we'll watch him.

Bring It On is gently invited to go away.

0950 - The CBS position must be somewhere ahead of the NBC crew because Guthrie & Lauer are just now showing Charlie Brown.

Ah, the Rockettes. An antiquated thing from several eras back, but hey, pretty women dancing. They're popular among the family, but I'm simply not getting into this particular routine. Camera work, maybe? Or perhaps it's not much of a Christmas theme to the music.

0957 - Savannah Guthrie announces a troop of NYPD motorcycle officers and the arrival of the parade in the NBC broadcast area at 34th Street.

NC A&T out of Greensboro has a visually impressive band. Twenty-five hours per week of practice appears to have paid off; I liked hearing them. Good for them!

1000 - Chris Isaak aboard the Ocean Spray Thanksgiving animal float singing "Great Balls of Fire". I don't know why he continues getting work, but someone likes him, which is fine. He's not as good as Jerry Lee Lewis, but then who is?

I'm not sure why a "rapper" gets time on a Macy's parade. The Ocean Spray "Unofficial Official Fruit" ad is funny. Nobody can tell dates and figs apart anyway.

1006 - Texas State University's Strutters are left hanging during a commercial. Music written for the Macy's effort is annoying. Here's the Macy's turkey---that float's nicely assembled and animated. Robin what's-his-name is on top of the float instead of having to walk the route, so good to see him again.

1007 - There's a new Muppets single featuring someone named Cee Lo and Kermit the Frog gets about fifteen seconds of discussion. Now we have kids playing hockey while Carly Rae Jepsen autotunes her way though a disposable pop number.

1010 - Niceville HS, of Niceville in Florida's jazz rendition of "Jingle Bells" is not bad. Their uniforms feature some sort of fringe band that looks vaguely reminiscent of something that Michael Dorn would have worn in his capacity as Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation. OK, so they did well.

1011 - Charlie Brown comes back on the NBC telecast. Guthrie mentions the endless determination and hope of Charlie Brown---more like his ignorance. Yay, Woodstock signaling with flags while Snoopy, Linus and Lucy wave from the float. Up next: Jimmy Fallon and his band, Trace Adkins and Muppets.

1015 - An ad for Deception features Victor Garber, who's doing well for having drowned in the North Atlantic in 1997 aboard RMS Titanic.

Sesame Street's float is next. How do you get to Sesame Street? Well, you make a right turn at Lucrative Avenue, whether CPB funding flows to the Sesame Workshop or not. This musical number failed to make an impression, but the float

Kenton Ridge out of Morefield or Springfield, Ohio (Lauer stumbles here) plays "Alexander's Ragtime Band". Good coordination for amateurs. I enjoyed watching that---more than the Sesame Street float.

1019 - I'm not really interested in Kung Fu Panda.

1020 - Jimmy Fallon and the Roots on a Gibson float, covering Queen. Looks like they've grabbed some of the cheerleaders shown before the parade started. The guy rapping really takes away from the strength of the original song, which did have some appeal. The Gibson float's new and I like it, whether I like Fallon or not.

1025 - Banda Musica Delfines out of Vera Cruz, Mexico. I don't realy remember much effort being expended on attracting non-American acts until the last year or two. This slot could have gone to an American high school band somewhere, but someone thought differently.

The girl on top of Louis the Duck is relatively attractive. She's billed as a pop duo Karmin. Er, yes. One woman is actually two. This one's brought to us by Homewood Suites, which I've never heard of it. I have heard this song before, something about not leaving someone broken hearted tonight. Maybe the keyboard guy is the other half?

1028 - The Oneida Nation gets a creepy-looking Thirza Defoe to sing a Thanksgiving song. Well, that almost works, something about a tree of life. OK.

There may be nothing left of Squanto's people, so I suppose the Oneida will have to do. Meanwhile, Governor McDonnell of Virginia has received the annual tax tribute from our local tribes, so there's that.

There's an ad for Wii U but The Hobbit looks interesting. Geez, Phil Mickelson's got a fixed stare in his ad. It sounds like taking Enbrel is a serious risk to your health, something you take as an absolute last ditch effort.

1033 - The star-spangled chapeau from Macy's features Olivia Culpo of Cranston, Rhode Island. OK. That was fast---now is South Dakota's Mount Rushmore float. Don McLean sings at the foot of this one, the one song of his I know. He invites the crowd to sing along, but we can't hear them. His "Good and loud" is unsynchronized. Well, that was nice.

1036 - Spider-man is back again. Now we have the USAF band, which is, of course, visually impressive. Their rendition of "This Is My Country" impresses, as does what little of the Air Force theme we get to hear.

P.S. 22 from Staten Island has children singing something, but they're not really clear---Don McLean had the same problem. Must be an audio mix thing.

The JP Morgan ad really, really strains credulity.

Power Rangers Megaforce, the 20th anniversary team that's been assembled for whatever reason, has a dance gig that's barely seen. They'll be on Nickelodeon---oh, the Hess float. It has a helicopter aboard a bridge and some Brit pop quintet. I don't know who "The Wanted" are---I don't appear to be missing much.

1045 - Pokemon apparently still going strong---I prefer Garrymon (available in 1 episode)

Father Ryan HS from Nashville, Tennessee in very strange uniforms. Laure doesn't other to say what they're playing, but it sounds like there are familiar strains in it. Oh, they've got some kind of robotic theme. Maybe the flags are supposed to convey circuitry. Roker now arrives in the NBC broadcast booth.

Now the TMNT float. The lead for Neon Trees looks like someone who's escaped from the evil tower stage in Fable II with the black jacket, red headband and shaved head. That's not a compliment---I hated that arc and levels associated with it.

1049 - At least B&N aren't using Jane Lynch to sell their Nook HD. I've got a friend who swears by his Nook Color against any other electronic reader, so apparently people like them.

Tom Brady and the Patriots versus Rex Ryan and the Jets. One wonders if there's something to the fact that Rex Ryan doesn't play, yet is the headline name there.

1051 - The Spangles Dance Company---dear God! I had hoped to eventually forget certain elements of the 1980s and this doesn't help. The Zhu-Zhu Pets float may wipe that strange sight from the memoy; the group Kidz Bop will probably induce a sugar coma, but go figure.

1055 - I wouldn't describe Whoopi Goldberg as a national treasure, but well, at least she was shuttled off quickly. Rex the Happy Dragon, class of '60, is a welcome sight. NBC appears to be running very fast on individual segments. I don't have timing data, but the impression stands.

Saratoga H.S. from Saratoga, California, plays a "2012 American Overture" that owes a certain debt to a Russian composer who used artillery in his composition. Roker brags that the band has 20 languages.

Papa Smurf---head of the Smurfland soviet---shows up to advertise Smurfs 2. I missed the recent movie but watched hours of that as a child. The Windows Phone ad is weird, but I like the USPS ad. American Airlines with another military ad.

The Spirit of America dancers at least have an interesting mix of music supposedly inspired by the work of Stefani Germanotta. I could have sworn I've heard elements of this in 1980s soundtracks, but maybe not. I wouldn't recognize Germanotta if she walked right past me---indeed, I thought this was a remix of Coldplay's "Clocks". A 649:1 female to male ratio. One hopes he's taking advantage of those odds. "May the odds be ever in your favor."

The next float is off the signature work of an artist named "Coz", spelling uncertain. The NYPD marching band follows it, playing "Proud Mary". The New York Daily News Big Apple float trails them, with kids in Rangers' jerseys. Flo Rida covers an old 1980s song that I can't remember who sang it. I'm distinctly unimpressed.

1105 - Now the character from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Ah, here we go: the Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team. Hooray! This was funny and half way amusing. I could do that kind of work; it'd be fun and exciting.

1108 - Net10 cellular ads annoy.

Ah, NBC will be re-running the parade this afternoon. That's more interesting than ads for the McRib, although the latter is like a barbeque on the bun without the bone.

The Breakfast Clowns is interesting, but we don't get to see them. I'm curious as to what the red crosses on performers mean---nothing's been said about the American Red Cross. Sing along with Chica, do the squeak squeak squeak. This is oddly interesting.

1112 - Kool-Aid Man is always welcome---Oh yeah, indeed. I miss the era when him smashing a wall was new. Now comes the Macy's Great American Marching Band, something about "Up the Lazy River".

Marion Carole has a veteran employee whose name I miss; she's 93 years old and retiring soon. Whoever these two are, they're disposable. Up next will be the 2012 US womens' gymnastics team.

Meanwhile, Windows 8 commercials continue to leave me wondering what the point of the OS is other than tablets and gestures.

1600 Penn looks like a disaster---give me Bud Hammond and Elaine Barrish any day, with a bit of Susan Berg on the side. The King Charles Unicycle Troupe is interesting---that looks difficult. Jumping rope on a unicycle is a worthy talent. Meanwhile, Lew Alcindor and Christian Laettner appear briefly.

Sonic the Hedgehog shows up. They might as well play "Sonic Boom", which would be nice.

The Wyoming All-State Marching Band, playing the Silverado theme is up next. I don't recognize the work, but they're pleasant to watch.

Ronald McDonald went by too quickly and the sustainable Mr. Peanut annoys.

Colbie Caillat performs atop the Morton Salt float. She's a decent act, but I don't consider her albums to be must-haves. Her voice is pleasant and all, but generic. "Christmas in the Sand" fails to impress.

1129 - The Pillsbury Doughboy is always a welcome sight. The University of Louisiana-Lafayette band is good, the Pride of Acadiana. Black and red are overdone as a color scheme but the few seconds we see this band is acceptable.

1132 - Heartland Hoedowners cloggers are youthfully entertaining, out of Elkhorn, Nebraska. It's a good show with choreography that seems for older people, but these kids pull it off. Congrats!

1135 - Penelope Cruz sells me coffee. I don't drink it, but Penelope Cruz has my attention. Tap-dancing Christmas trees? OK. They've tapdanced for three-plus miles, so they have my respect.

AFLAC's duck rides a toboggan and Lauer says he's nearly ended a career---must have been another miscue---so here comes the Oak Ridge HS from Conroe, Texas, playing a carol medley. I'm not getting enough time to really enjoy these performances, which is unfortunate.

1141 - Trace Adkins appears with a song while people in the stands try to be be seen. The Cookie Express float from Domino Sugar looks interesting, but I didn't get a good look of all of it.

1143 - The "Elf on the Shelf" is a brand new Christmas tradition, spanning generations, having started in the early 21st century. Oh wow, human candy canes.

1146 - Universal Studios will apparently have elements from the parade on display until New Year's Day.

Cody Simpson of Australia sounds like a lot of other tenor-voiced pop types whining about their desire to be with you while dancing and beating his chest. It must be some sort of lower-class thing.

Buzz Lightyear cruises in, looking relatively like the character in question.

1150 - The Pepperidge Farm float has someone named Jeanette McCurdy, who looked like Taylor Swift from a distance, but doesn't sound like her at all. The people in the background aren't paying attention.

1155 - The Macy's ad is always great. Delta pays for Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller, but they didn't buy much---this piece is cut short, like pretty much everything else. Good job, NBC. The Macy's Virginia balloon is always a treat.

Stagedoor Manor puts on a song about the universality of Santa Claus, but it's my understanding that the concept of Santa Claus is generally a Western thing. Meanwhile, Charlie, Kit and CJ "clear the way for Santa Claus"; and here's Santa Claus himself, along with Mrs. Claus. I didn't get a good look at the belief meter, but one can imagine it's full now.

Confetti snow rains down---the meter's almost full---and it's now the Christmas season. Next up, something I'm going to be watching. Thanks to Macy's and the National Broadcasting Company.

Posted by Country Pundit at 09:00:38

November 24, 2011

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011

0901: Matt Lauer and Ann Curry are our Today anchor team; apparently, it's her first time in the slot once held by Jane Pauley and Katie Couric. Al Roker is at Central Park West and 77th. Amy Kule must be new on the job as the Macy's producer. She's in purple; if memory serves, her predecessor used to wear blue trimmed with blue.

0902: Shelby Lynne Moorer? Yay! This year's cast is huge; the guy's been talking for two minutes. Isn't Priscilla, Queen of the Desert something not for the general audience? One wonders.

0908: The 85th dancing types are amusing. Meanwhile, we're suffering a bit of a technical malfunction here and there's a rogue centering tag running around somewhere. If it can be found, it'll be fixed. It has snuck in from somewhere; I've not done anything to the blog as you, viewers, are quite aware.

0911: New Year's Eve is not reaching me, and neither is Smash. More importantly, the parade. It's 38 degrees in NYC per the on-screen graphic, but Roker says it's 41. Go figure.

I haven't seen a single episode of Parenthood ever, so I don't know who Peter Krause is.

0914: Newsies---wasn't this a movie in the 1980s? The lone woman in this snippet is reasonably good-looking; big-eye brunettes are not a bad thing. I don't know that I'd pay money to see this musical, but I would like to learn more about the strike or movement these people were in. This song was, "King of New York".

0917 - Well, well, well, it's Elle McPherson and others less notable than her. Kristen Bell for Neutrogena and other commercials prove this program isn't targeted to my demographic.

Arthur Christmas, featuring Justin Bieber, isn't interesting. NBC helo support above Columbus Circle is a quick shot of---wow, Elle McPherson's tall, or Roker's really short. At least she's still good-looking, and this may be the first time I've ever heard her speak.

Sweetheart, you're probably part of the percentage of America (albeit with an Australian accent) that will never worry about money or employment. It's almost insulting to hear that from you. At least I won't be watching your program.

Sister Act is so 1990s. I of course love how a Roman Catholic convent choir can only be improved by the injection of a lounge singer's performance standards, but then again, of course Hollywood & Broadway wouldn't understand the value of a Gregorian chant or the like. There's probably some sort of unwritten moral imperative in these two burgs that fairly traditionalist Christians must lose anytime they're compared to a secular influence---or perhaps it's posted somewhere in a writer's room. The title's something to do with spreading love around.

An ad for Hugo and "Peggy" is back, hooray---this is a great concept for a credit card commercial.

0928: Sailor Mickey Mouse, the first balloon noted. There was some concern with the wind in the the City of New York but they're going forward. Now, Daniel Radcliffe. I'd rather seen Alan B. Shepard in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Flying...Much. At any rate, this looks like a musical with the cast of Mad Men. Nevertheless, I'd go see it.

Having quickly checked, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert is in no way, shape or form valid for a "family" broadcast. That is, unless you're a "modern family" approved of by the Left. If I had kids, I'd change the channel. A "wild and life-affirming" story, Ann Curry? Really? Breakfast time.

Sonic the Hedgehog, hooray. Jane Krakowski with, hopefully, her husband.

The Spider-man outtake is surprisingly entertaining. I wonder if a "$65 million dollar freak show" is a reference to the production of Spider-man. The people watching with me enjoyed that more than anything else thus far.

0951: State Farm has licensed the theme song to Cheers, and that's amusing. M&M's desert island ad is funny. More Macy's stars, which are far superior to Justin Bieber.

0952: The Radio City Rockettes, hooray. This year, they're red and green, looking vaguely like something from the 1920s. They're quite precise. There's something marketable in attractive women performing precision dance numbers, and hey, I'm watching. I'm generally unimpressed with modern NYC, but the Rockettes aren't modern, and that may be why we like them.

0955: The Believe clock is set to about 11:30 or so.

0957: The Macy's Great All-American Band is well put together, as it should be. Some sort of music by Tyler Brandt (phonetic) and they're moving on. Here's the NYPD motorcycle unit arriving on 34th Street. Amy Kule replaced Robin Hall for the first time this year.

Sonic the Hedgehog is 20 years old? Well, I feel old. If there's a new Sonic game out, nevermind. The Macy's Pilgrim caricatures are always welcome. I wonder how they're supported. Tom the Turkey is deployed for the Cooking Channel's entry. Debi Mazar and her husband are atop the thing, with Avril Lavigne singing some song. Since I don't really watch TV, Cooking Channel must be new, and Ann Curry says something to that effect. Lavigne really needs to lay off the eyeliner.

1003: The Chevrolet 1965 Impala ad where the guy gets his back is great. "Chevy Runs Deep" is a bad tagline, but I can sympathize with recovering something once lost. I wouldn't mind having one of those; it looks like a Dodge Charger.

1005: Homestead High School of Cupertino, California in "Silicone" Valley, performing a fantasia on an ode to joy. Whether it's the Ode to Joy is yet to be seen. Yes, it is. Eyecatching uniforms from the hometown of Apple. Wait, they're done? Wow. Give them 20 seconds, would you?

The Ocean Spray float, representing cranberry growers, is impressive. An Indian groundhog or woodchuck, whatever, is amusing. The kid in gray beside whoever this singer is leaned into the camera, and that's funny. Wouldn't you, if given the chance?

1009: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid has a balloon. Can't say that I'm really familiar with this series. The Sesame Street float is lively, but the song's not holding me. Cookie Monster and Elmo hang out with Big Bird in a nest---if I remember right, Pat Nixon visited Big Bird once. NAMM wants us to believe in music and that anyone can perform it. Well, that's sort of true, but only certain performances are worth listening to, and that doesn't generally include anything I do, either. Ah, the Ocean Spray ad. "The fig's going to be bummed". Heh.

Katharine McPhee is good-looking and has a good voice, but I'm not interested in helping reignite Debra Messing's career. I do have to quibble with "introducing" McPhee, but perhaps---oh, nevermind. Harold the Policeman from Macy's, class of '47, is worth looking at. Wow, the woman on the Hamburger Helper float has---oh, it's Ingrid Michaelson in glasses that would be well fit for the 1980s. I have one of her albums, but she's so mind-numbingly generic that I can't recall a blessed thing about her, and this segment ends mercifully fast.

Harold is also a fireman. This is more interesting than a young Ingrid Michaelson, so you know there was a problem.

The Dobyns-Bennett High School from Kingsport, Tennessee plays "Dynamite". Maroon and black uniform jackets with white plumes on a black shako and black pants. I've never heard of the tune, but hey, good band. Alex Hice gets some sort of Bob Hope scholarship.

1020: Buzz Lightyear. That one looks bulky.

1021: Red Wing Larry Murphy and Bruin Cam Neely on the NHL/Discover Card float with some kids playing hockey. There's something incongruous about 1970s R&B or whatever being played with a hockey theme. Shouldn't it be Sarah McLachlan warbling "Oh, Canada"? Or perhaps Avril Lavigne; she was already there.

1023: AFLAC has a duck float. Wonder if that's Gilbert Gottfried's voice being used. Dice or a version of a Rubik's Cube float behind it. Discover's USA Prime Credit with Peggy has a hockey star. This AFLAC animal ad is really sort of funny. The major medical pigeon is annoying, as it's supposed to be. I'm umpressed by the Kinect, and I want to punch the fool responsible for Justin Bieber for Macy's.

1027: The Zhu Zhu Pets float is apparently new. I've never heard of Savannah Outen---apparently targeted to a younger demo than mine. Something called Camp Broadway supplied the dancers for this float; they're all kids.

1029: The Pillsbury Dough Boy requires 54 handlers? Interesting. Three million biscuits to fill their balloon? Impressive. Home Baked Goodness float, courtesy of Morton's Salt. Someone named Scotty McCreery just missed his intro, or the audio synch guy did, so the McCreery lip synch is a touch off. Hey, my family's used Morton Salt for decades, so I've bought a tiny percentage of this float. Get someone better than McCreery!

1031: I can't say that Michael Feinstein is legendary; I've never heard of him. Does Shelby Lynne Moorer count as country? I suppose so. The AT&T Blackberry ad, with Will Ferrell or someone who sounds & looks like him, was amusing. However, the Prudential ad with the Muslim-named dude is boring and reaches me not.

1034: Ah, it's the Kool-Aid Man. Oh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! An upbeat version of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" accompanied it. 160,000 cups of Kool-Aid would fill him; there's 500 million or so servings of Kool-Aid consumed yearly, says Ann Curry, if I heard her right. Yawn, Spongebob Squarepants. Next float, please.

Hawaii All-State Marching Band's up next. Nearly five thousand miles to play "The Hawaiian War Chant". I don't hear a martial theme here, but eh. It's more like something you'd hear in the Tournament of Roses Parade, but go figure. The dancers are reasonably skilled.

Cartoon pirate ship Jolly Polly with Michael Feinstein. Can't say I've ever heard of him, and this ship appears to have second- or third-tier Muppets aboard. OK, now we see Sailor Mickey, a "symbol of Disney Cruise Line". The Disney Fantasy will join the Disney Cruise fleet in March with some sort of ride aboard, and it will be the fourth ship in their fleet.

NBC and Microsoft ads are sort of amusing. This Bieber Macy's ad is infuriating. The Lincoln Financial Group is not meaningful. Meanwhile, St. Jude's has an ad---they're worthy of donation. Cancer's an awful thing to stick a child with, and the work of St. Jude's is useful against that.

1044: The Power Rangers Samurai scene was boring. Maybe it's because I've known of that franchise since the first Clinton Administration. OK, a globe balloon, followed by the Kung-Fu Panda. The Hess float is "Bridge to the Future", which was the Boy Scout National Scout Jamboree theme in 1993. Cobra Starship is a band on this float; it sounds to me like something Grace Slick dreamed up in the mid-1980s, but whatever. I heard of these people last week; I don't appear to have been missing anything.

1047: Carmel High School of Carmel, Indiana. I missed what they're playing and there's some connection to the weather-destroyed locale of Joplin, Missouri. They're not as snazzy as Dobyns-Bennett HS, but budgets may be different.

1049: Louis the Duck is a nice float set. Makes me think of an old Fisher-Price toy. That might be exactly what it is. This singer is annoying---just like Cobra Starship, she's heavy on the Autotune distortion. That was novel in 1990-something when Cher's people came up with it. Julius is some kind of monkey with a jet pack. Never heard of it, or Paul Frank.

Snoopy and Neil Diamond are next, along with a "salute to America". Sherlock Holmes will be seen. I'm not convinced that a LeapPad would be useful for any kids of mine. I could, however, be convinced to watch the NHL game tomorrow. It's better than the NBA or the NFL, for sure.

1054: The Oneida Iroquois tribe dances and sings for us, with one of their own, Joba Chamberlain, looking on. I would like to have seen more of that. The World War I flying ace, binoculars in hand, is next. That's always welcome, as is Woodstock signalling with flags. Woodstock the LSO? Could be.

The Homewood High School Patriot Band of Homewood, Alabama, wins the uniform contest, with Revolutionary War Colonial-inspired kit. Reportedly, that's a third of the high school, playing the Sewanee River song, the old Al Jolson standard.

South Dakota's tourism board has its Mount Rushmore float, with Neil Diamond singing that one about people coming to America. Given that we're now north of 300 million people, can we retire this song? I wonder if Mark Krikorian likes it. (I'm thinking not.)

Looks like we'll miss the locomotive. Coldwell Banker's "stupid husband" ad is hackneyed. John Herlihy's joke about a dog looking like a cigar just blew up in his face was amusing.

First error in the broadcast that I've caught with the cameras being on a dance troupe that hasn't started yet. The colors are sickening, but that might be the point. At least they say Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I want the briefcase drill team back; they were fun. I suppose singing a song about joining the circus harkens back to an earlier era when that was a viable career. Who cares if these people have never been to New York? Lauer says this as if going to NYC is some sort of world-historical event. (Newsflash: Having done that myself, it's not.)

Ronald McDonald on the ground and in the air. I've somehow managed to skip McDonald's food for quite some time. Next float, please. OK, that brings us a circus wagon from 1903. Barry Lubin, some veteran clown, is leaving a NYC circus.

The Macy's float has Felix the Cat. Jean McFaddin and Robin Hall, prior parade producers, with their signature cowboy and top hats, respectively. They have thirty-five years of parade service, which is appreciated.

Barbie might be able to go to the moon, but America can't and we'd like to thank Mattel for reminding us that NASA and the government are no longer interested in tremendous feats of engineering and daring. I can't get excited about a Lorax movie, especially after remembering that the American space program lacks the capability for a modern lunar system.

1110: Cap 21 Dancers and United We Sing handle "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". The Andrews Sisters were better, but they were professional veterans and should have been. Ah, a veterans' display. This is more interesting than Ann Curry. Ah, the Liberty torch. Teresa Scanlan, Miss USA or something. The USNA Glee Club is doing a good job. The fireworks from the torch was nice.

NYPD's Tony Giorgio leads the NYPD Marching Band, so that's nice to see. They're followed by Spider-man.

1115: The New York Daily News float has Mary J. Blige. That must be the worm in the Big Apple. I don't care for this song.

1118: War Horse might be a good film, if it shows World war I. The Canon ad with the walking buildings is unnerving. This Estee Lauder ad has an attractive woman, but eh. NBC Olympic ads. I simply no longer care about that event. The 610 Stompers dancing to Bonnie Tyler's "I Need a Hero", also heard in Saints Row: The Third---wow. It's like the Superfans in a dance troupe.

1121: The Energizer Bunny float, followed by Pikachu in the air.

Nation Ford High School of Fort Mill, South Carolina. I don't know that their piece was announced.

1124: Some national cheerleading unit in---Varsity Spirit Cheerleaders---in seemingly Green Lantern-inspired outfits. Seriously, green and black with white trim. The music they're performing to is awful, except for Rock & Roll, Part 2. That was either Gary Glitter or Raymond Castoldi, and I can't remember, because it's been years since I listened to ESPN's Jock Jams.

Up next: Shelby Lynne Moorer. Hooray, finally a singer I can cheer for.

Coca-Cola wants to save polar bears. Good. They're filthy rich and can afford essentially---oh, they want me to pay.

Mobile's Azalea Trail Maids are resonably attractive. The Marion Carole showboat is nifty. And here's Shelby Lynne, singing something about there being nothing like Christmas. One of my companions says she's got to be in her mid-60s. Ow, that's got to hurt, since Shelby's 43.

A solar panel on the Mr. Peanut makes sense. Why a wind turbine is on a float that does 20MPH or so is beyond me. That doesn't look like Mr. Peanut, though.

The Tim Burton float is bizarre, which fits. The Plymouth-Canton Educational Park Marching Band of Canton, MI, is next. They're playing something connected with the Grinch. OK. This is unusual.

1134: The International Clock Tower from Build-a-Bear looks like it belongs. Someone named Zendaya must be Miranda Cosgrove's replacement. I've never heard of her. Someone, maybe Jonathan Last, has written about how Disney can basically switch out its teen idol singers with very similar replacements constantly.

Hello Kitty from Sanrio---yawn. I'd rather see Hello Cthulu. This Citi credit card ad with the woman climbing a rock sounds like it has Cerys Matthews on vocals. This Katharine McPhee project, Smash, is ubiquitous. And annoying.

Some sort of Spanish-language dance troupe that Roker introduces as "influential". OK. Never heard of 'em. I wonder how many English-language dance troupes are prevalent and "influential" in Spanish-speaking countries.

I don't care about Dora the Explorer. I'd rather her be Dora the Deported.

1142: Legacy High School of Bloomfield, Colorado. Roker suggested about 281 hours of practice for them. That's appreciable. I wish NBC would leave the school ID on a banner at the bottom of the screen.

Johnny Weir is this year's "Winter Monarch" aboard a rocking horse float. I don't know that he's a "pop culture icon". A new Macy's elf, which is inspired by a green cheese moon, apparently called "Gazer". A Smurf float and balloon, with a 200-apple high Clumsy Smurf.

The Delta Central Park float is nice, but Straight No Chaser is not catching my attention.

1150: Virginia O'Hanlon is a float this year. That's nice---a good call back to history. A better history than what we have now, anyway.

1153: Mannheim Steamroller and the David DeMarie Dance Studio elves. Well, this is nice. Chip Davis is on his feet, so that's good. I may actually like this performance piece better than any other. Thanks to OfficeMax.

1155: Miami University of Oxford, Ohio is up next, having followed Kermit the Frog. Kudos to Roker for the Swedish Chef voice over. The Miami band is good.

Charlie and CJ and others from the Macy's class of '47 are welcome sights. Again, a better world. Here's Santa Claus---with a CBS ad in the background. A Victoria's Secret telecast, to boot. Meh.

We thank the National Broadcasting Company for its telecast. I like this Santa of course, but I think I'd rather see Roger Sterling in a Santa suit. He'd know what I might want for Christmas. It seems as if the NBC crew has been a lot less interactive with each other this time out. There wasn't a mid-parade cut with an NBC personality in a helicopter this time, and that's strange.

Oh well. It's National Dog Show time.

Posted by Country Pundit at 09:06:28

November 25, 2010

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2010

As always, this publication will provide live coverage of the National Broadcasting Company's telecast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

0906 - The Spirit of America Dance Team is pink. Yikes. It looks like a Susan G. Komen rally. They must be a Texas thing. Oh, there goes the obligatory R&B dance number, for which women in cowgirl outfits are spectacularly unsuited. At least they've got Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".

0912 - Oh, a calliope in the background of this NBC promo for something called The Event. We don't see enough of those things.

0913 - I can't get excited about Memphis; nothing seems to attract me about it. Sorry. The lyrics of this song are banal; the rock and roll of your soul? Please.

0922 - Breakfast; sorry about that, Green Day. Having to explain American Idiot to family is not something I'm particularly interested in. I would rather have seen the Disney steamboat than Terrence Howard, but oh well.

Wow, it's the Tommy Westphal universe, courtesy of Coca-Cola. Nifty commercial.

0926 - Roker, stop interfering with the musicians.

0927 - Million Dollar Quartet sounds like something I'd want to see. Elvis looks like John Cusack. Is that supposed to be Buddy Holly on the drums? Nobody in the room can figure out who the woman is supposed to be, and the bass player is totally anonymous, but so far this segment s the hit of the broadcast. Jerry Lee Lewis isn't bad, either. That was worthy of applause.

0932 - Scrabble Flash looks like an interesting game. Our local NBC affiliate's commercial is slick. Meanwhile, I can't get excited about diamonds. If that old Atlantic article is still true, they're worse investments than Goldline.

Since I don't watch NBC, The Sing-Off is essentially dead air. I do, however, have respect for a cappella performances.

0938 - Yawn, Roker and another NBC actor.

0940 - Yawn, Twilight. Kristen Stewart isn't hideous.

Is this Summer Glau? Well, it is. She's overrated but hey, she's a terminator. I haven't any idea of what the series is about so the actual interview is somewhat lost on me. If Keith David is in it, that can't be too bad. Well, yee haw, an Australian says we know how to throw a party. What a compliment.

0945 - Ah, Elf. I think that's where I first heard of Zooey Deschanel. That's enough to overwhelm the annoying Will Ferrell. One of the dancers has a visibly shorter skirt, so I suppose we're intended to watch her. The song itself isn't entirely bad and the big black dude's little part was good. He's appropriately hammy, so this wasn't bad. Hey, it's Juan Valdez!

0949 - Dear George Lopez, when you ask me for money, do it in English.

0952 - Hooray, the Rockettes. Here's what I'm interested in. This year's costume looks like a North Pole barber's pole or something similar; it works. Talk about beauty and precision! One wonders what level of training and practice is necessary to get that down pat. Y'know, we could watch them for a while.

0958 - The Purdue Boilermakers aren't playing anything I recognize, but we're glad to see them, though. Confetti cannons herald the arrival of the NYPD, so here goes the official arrival of the parade.

This is Robin Hall's tenth and final time leading the parade, with a World War I flying ace bringing up the rear. A Peanuts float follows, and I don't know what Woodstock's signal flags say. There's the Tom Turkey float, "desperately hoping not to be a statistic". Alton Brown rides on this while some guy I've never heard of sings. Apparently, the Food Network has sponsored the float itself. The Macy's belief meter is about three-quarters of the way to full.

1006 - The creatures on the Ocean Spray float are creepy. Sandra Lee is somewhat attractive and Arlo Guthrie is old. A member of the audience observed that he sounded like Bob Dylan. Indeed. Was that Jennifer Love Hewitt with him?

Ah, here's Kermit the Frog, with a mention of Amy Adams. Hooray?

1010 - The Blue Springs High School (Missouri) Golden Regiment Marching Band's "North African?!"-inspired Bacchanal. Half of these kids had never flown, and so what, Meredith? Not everyone is like you. I don't know what North Africa has to do with Thanksgiving, but I did like the piece.

Sesame Street's float is here. Wow, one of those guys looks like he should be seeking a warm throat full of pulsing blood as he ventures forth from his crypt. He's also the only one I recognize. I have no idea if we all have music deep inside, but whatever.

1012 - Never heard of this next character, something about a diary and a wimpy kid.

1014 - Sorry, Microsoft. Your Kinect ad fails to connect. Meanwhile, Peggy is a good Discover ad. Ocean Spray's ad is good; nobody can tell dates and figs apart anyways. The Windows Phone ad fails. A bunny to Blur's song 2; er, what? Called "Hop" from Universal Studios.

1016 - Oh, this is nice. Got to like

1018 - Waukesha North High School's (Wisconsin) Northstar Marching Band has something called "American Fanfare". Home of Trains magazine and I can't hear them clearly. They have swords, which is nice. It's not a memorable tune, but I did like their performance.

1019 - Jimmy Fallon rides aboard the Macy's Golden Eagle Express, a weirdly-proportioned replica of a 4-4-0 American locomotive. To answer your question, I'm sure that the Christian children of Africa have an idea that it's Christmastime. As for the Muslim or miscellaneous, who knows?

1022 - The Mount Rushmore float is great. Here's Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller, a modern Christmas tradition. Too bad they didn't give this band time to actually play.

1026 - The Statue of Liberty float is cluttered by something from a movie I didn't see. Here's Southern Mississippi's marching band playing "Get Happy". Can't remember who made that tune famous. They were on the bounce getting into the performance area and they've now moved on.

The Marion Carole steamboat from Macy's is nice, but we got seconds to look at it. Bother!

1030 - The Pizza Team is weird but this is impressive. I wasn't aware that pizza crust dough was that cooperative.

1033 - Ashton Kutcher is not a serious photographer and I've got a sneaking sensation that our current Miss USA or Miss America, whatever, is a sign of national decline.

1035 - Whoever this bunch is, they're a Technicolor nightmare on my HD television. They're pitching folks around with aplomb, but the quick cuts on the music aren't attractive. The Beach Boys don't mix well with mid-1990s quasi-hip-hop.

1036 - The Seminole High School (Florida) marching band is weirdly muted. One wonders if Macy's looks for frenetic action as opposed to musical talent.

1038 - Spongebob Squarepants, yawn.

1039 - Juanes, yawn. I'd rather see the Victoria's Secret ad again, but why bother having Katy Perry and some guy named Akon (What, couldn't spell Akron?) along? I don't imagine anyone watches that for the music. Meanwhile, the Jolly Polly is fun to see. Why are we wasting time with a Latino foreign national singing in Spanish on an American holiday broadcast?

1041 - Ooh, a Yogi Bear movie. Something looks wrong about that.

1043 - Memo to Kim Kardashian: Those aren't misconceptions; you're simply trash.

1044 - The Oneida nations' float is nice. I've never heard of Crystal Shawanda, but whatever. Inasmuch as Indians did have a hand in the Thanksgiving event, might as well let them have a place in the

Wait, what's a rocking turtle?

I missed the name of the next band, Lassiter High from Marietta, Georgia. They're doing a Black-Eyed Peas medley, yawn. The color scheme on their flag corps is nice but I don't know enough BEP to comment beyond that.

Louis the Duck is epic. Lois hauls Lance and Lisa. Kylie Minogue is on this float. Wow, she's fully clothed, amazing. Do I hear Autotune? Why, probably. She's attractive and all, but Australia's pop princess is probably past her prime. I have yet to get one of her albums; perhaps next year.

Sanrio's Hello, Kitty float, augh. Whatever happened to Hell, Cthulu? The Japanese are insidious! I've never heard of Gloriana and I refuse to buy Gwyneth Paltrow as a country singer. She must be really hard up for work. Taylor Swift is only marginally more believable as a country act. Dear Leighton Meester: Stay in New York City playing a Knickerbocker woman of ill repute, because you're also not credible as a country music singer. P.S. Your single, heard on XM, hurt my ears to listen.

1053 - Jimmy Dean's breakfast products are good. Country acts, on the other hand, do not have fauxhawks. Good riddance to Shrek's float; didn't really care for that series.

1055 - Grants Pass High School from Oregon is going to play Fantasmic March. It didn't leave an impression, primarily because I can't hear them.

1057 Takashi Murakami is er, weird. Never heard of him or his designs. Hmm, it appears that someone named Keri Hilson is singing. Never heard of her, Princess Academy or anything they're talking about.

1059 - When you grow up, you can't be whatever you want to be. The sooner a child learns this, the better. They need to know this so they can adjust and plan accordingly.

1105 - Green Valley High School from Henderson, Nevada (or Oregon; people are making a lot of noise here) plays "Luck Be A Lady". Well, I totally agree. I'd rather have a lady than say, Kim Kardashian. They do a good job.

1107 - The Hess trailer has an F/A-22 on the back of it; I suppose that's a zero length launch system. Cool.

1115 - NYPD's Marching Band, yay. Oh, the theme from Star Blazers! Shut up, Lauer.

I'd rather hear Star Blazers than Spider-Man. I'm just not a fan of the friendly neighborhood webhead, other than where the 1980s cartoon was concerned, 'cause it had Firestar.

1117 - The imminent arrival of company, ahead of schedule, has severely disrupted liveblogging.

1118 - Yo Kanye, something something, and I'mma let you finish, but Kanye West hates white people! If I was a Macy's stockholder, I'd be irate that this illiterate simpleton was allowed in the parade. A group of human pool balls is more interesting than Kanye West. At least he was barely on.

1121 - Great, here's the suck-up to India. Moving right along.

1123 - Horton Hears a Who Cares! Now, here's the Kool-Aid Man, hooray! Oh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I actually could use some Kool-Aid, a family member says, since apparently I'm rather sour.

1124 - Dora the Explorer doesn't belong in an American celebration; Thanksgiving has no significance to the Mexican peoples and this sort of multi-cultural pastiche offends on a variety of levels. Hasta luego, indeed! Perhaps Jan Brewer will have her arrested and deported.

1126 Why is the Pedro Molina Latin band here? I'm not enjoying their annoying Latin beat---let the Guatemalan government sponsor them in Guatemala. We don't march with American flags in Guatemalan holiday parades; I suppose it's too much to ask the same courtesy.

1127 - Yay, Hershey's kisses handbells. How old is this? Who cares, it's a great ad.

1129 - Hmm, people as penguins. I hate this arrangement, but hey, it's penguins.

1131 - The Build-a-Bear Workshop float is neat. I've never heard of whoever this teenager Victoria Justice is, so we'll focus on the float. It's got a nice set of design. Well, they're focusing on her basic R&B hand jive, which is annoying. I'd rather see the float. Freak the freak out. Aren't you cute.

1132 - Buzz Lightyear's float is waving his right hand, which isn't animated.

1137 - Oops, company cost me a look at whatever was on. OK, so Jessica Simpson. Is it some sort of cruelty to have her dancing with food? Heh. Even better, the Pillsbury Dough Boy is chasing her! (I kid, I kid; she's not overly rotund.)

1139 - The Macy's cornucopia is nice. Can't recall Betty Buckley. This float is the sort of thing we ought to be seeing more of.

1144 - NBC doesn't appear to have told me who this bunch of elves singing "Need a Little Christmas" are.

1148 - The Smurfs, yay! Those little Communist Belgians did apparently manage to give us zombie films before George Romero, so that's something.

1150 - Angelina Jolie sort of looks good. Joan Rivers on a snow queen float? Well, I'm sure her face is about as frozen in place as Arctic ice. Ditto her daughter, Melissa. Ha!

1152 - The Delta Airlines Central Park float is nice looking. Whoever Ann Hampton Callaway is, she's got a decent voice.

1155 - Ah, Virginia O'Hanlon. It looks like we're still honoring part of the legend. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. The Macy's All-American Band is doing a nice job. I don't know that a remix of "When the Saints Come Marching In" is really appropriate, but whatever; Macy's is paying the bills.

1156 - Hooray, Macy's elves. I've lost the audio for the most part since relatives are now chattering at volume. I like the Macy's "Believe" sign; it's a nice backdrop.

1157 - Here's Santa Claus! I think I'd like to be one of the singers on Santa's float. Dear Macy's, call me. The Macy's belief meter may be full; can't tell from the angle that the NBC crew is set up.

Robin Hall and Amy Kule were responsible for this parade, and I suppose she's his replacement. At least NBC still says Merry Christmas at the end. Now, we've got the National Dog Show presented by Purina. Thanks to NBC for the broadcast and we'll be here again next year with the same blend of cultural snobbery, sarcasm and snark.

Posted by Country Pundit at 09:08:40

November 26, 2009

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2009

As always, this publication will supply live commentary on the National Broadcasting Company's live television broadcast of the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

0900 - The 83rd parade begins now.

Al Roker is at Central Park West with Macy's Robin Hall. Wow, a 70-year veteran of Macy's service! Looks like Robin Hall gets the first cut followed by the woman who's been in company service since 1939. Addendum: Her name is Rose Syracuse.

Interesting, Carly Simon and Alan Cumming. We'll also get the usual group of----wow, a lot of people this time, more than I remember being announced.

0907 - Courtesy of two instantaneous crashes of Mozilla Firefox, there's a bit lost. One has to wonder why it is that "American Woman" is being used in this cheerleader revue; the song doesn't particularly like Americans. I wasn't aware that anyone could improve on the Andrews Sisters' rendition of the "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B", but obviously someone thought they could. I respectfully dissent.

Hmm, this Jeep commercial used a Samsung remote. What the devil is NBC beatboxing?

0910 - Oh, here we are, the cast of NBC's Mercy. From what I understand, Taylor Schilling's character is a veteran of our current war in Iraq and it's had an effect on her, except when she's trying to wreck someone else's marriage.

0912 - The cast of Hair should be arrested and this song banned; it was a blight on the otherwise interesting soundtrack to Carl Sagan's Cosmos. I think I left it off of my MP3 copy of the second disc. At least we have a mute button.

What's creepy is that Meredith what's-her-face (it's been spelled a couple of ways on the screen so far, I think) and Matt Lauer saw fit to remind us of what these clowns were about. Has it really been that long ago that people have forgotten what these deliberately unwashed types were? Perhaps it has. That this gets a Tony is a bad sign.

Continue reading "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2009"
Posted by Country Pundit at 09:00:12 | Comments (0)

November 27, 2008

Macy's 2008

0844 - This site will, of course, provide live coverage of the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as presented on the National Broadcasting Company. Your correspondent is firmly ensconced in a comfy chair staring at David Gregory and a cast of unknowns playing with a kitchen set.

For comparison, the Columbia Broadcasting System has a segment with one of Billy Graham's daughters reading a prayer. Dear NBC: That's more appropriate than a Food Network yokel.

0901 - Well, it's Matt 'n Meredith, just like last year. At least they're on the parade route, not nestled in a set like Jane Pauley used to be.

And here's Roker with Robin Hall in a blue or purple suit; here we go!

0907 - Hooray, Kristin Chenoweth will be on later. Meanwhile, I'm not really impressed by the musical selection of this huge cheerleader group.

0911 - One wonders what "Kings 2009" is. Selma Blair fails to impress---nothing new there.

0913 - Interesting. In the Heights seems like one of those things where a neighborhood is destroyed and we're supposed to Celebrate Diversity, but who knows? Can't really understand this guy between the pseudo-rap delivery and his weird accent, so about the only thing I've gotten out of it is that he's an immigrant from the Dominican Republic.

0920 - Ryan Seacrest fails. Justin Bruening and modern Knight Rider? Bother, Roker complains about environmental correctness in regards to lunchboxes; I would have figured that a long-lived metal or plastic lunchbox would be preferable to a brown bag.

0922 - This looks like an interesting musical---I'll take the blond on the left. There was something about the now-vanquished era of the 1940s and the like that had an undeniable style and glamour, something this rotten century has lost. I watched this segment pretty closely, better than the bodega bit.

0925 - Blah, Harry Connick as the nuisance aloft. It could be worse. Robin Williams for St. Jude's is a good commercial. Meanwhile, Subaru's commercial annoys. Ooh, an Apple commercial that doesn't tell me anything about the operating qualities of the Macbook.

0928 - Michael Flatley, who's probably making more money standing there than I do in a year, is out of his element. Roker annoys and Flatley is wasted here. Meanwhile, South Pacific.

Yet another artifact from the 1940s, something that suggests a world that I'll never know. If we were at war in the South Pacific now, there'd be plenty of dames out there, and I am not reassured by that fact.

0934 - Good God, stores opening at 0400? Why?

0935 - This segment with Harry Connick, Jr., is not intolerable. It's really short and his joke is a bit (just a bit) flat. It's much better than Martin Short. I don't care about The Office. Scranton mattered for the Lackawanna, and that's been over for some time.

0938 - Apparently teen performers are up next. I'll pass. Time for boiled custard.

0943 - I appear to have missed New Jersey's own Ali Larter. Well, I'll manage. Disney's stage renditions of its animated musicals come well recommended, but this leaves me flat; The Little Mermaid isn't something that's ever had traction with me. Maybe I'm not into fish except as a consumable.

0947 - Thank God I don't have to consider purchasing Zwinky Cuties. Best commercial so far? AFLAC and Rankin-Bass. Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise commercial is annoying. Yay, Rockettes next.

0949 - Here's another artifact of a bygone era, one that's more attractive than our modern era. Dear current culture mavens: You fail. Of course, I'd tell Meredith Viera to quit her day job too. Talk about precision; apparently this sort of thing was done on a large scale back in the 1920s and 1930s. Great, the digital signal's gone crumbly again, so a row of sleek and elegant Rockettes isn't reliably visible.

0953 - Why is Ashton Kutcher shilling for Nikon? Meanwhile, the The Christmas Classics set might get bought. The Black & Decker ad is amusing. This State Farm ad is weird and the Amway Global ad bores me; nothing I have involves this. Ooh, more Rockettes. That's always a good thing.

0956 - These Soul Tigers fail to interest me. Hooray, the Pilgrims and the turkey!

0958 - The band from Sioux Falls is rather quiet relative to the Viera audio mix. Papa Smurf, Smurfette and some anonymous Smurf; amusing. Welcome to 1985 or so! This Ocean Spray float is nice; I like it. Here's James Taylor singing an appropriate song for the event.

1005 - Baton twirling is something I can't do; I'd probably hit myself in the head or the face. Meanwhile, The World War I Flying Ace, escorted by Uno, some prize-winning beagle. That's aviator cap, Meredith. Anyways, United Features Syndicate has another good balloon.

Hmm, the Georgia Tech band. Shouldn't that be reserved for high schools?

1009 - I wish nobody listened to you, Miss Cyrus.

1011 - The NYPD's Mounted Unit and marching band, hooray. I suppose that's an ancient tradition, again something that wouldn't come up today.

1016 - Oops, I missed the Hawaiian dancers. Life continues. The signal keeps freezing, so all I know is that a rhinoceros has people on it with some R&B singer. Not impressed by "Shontelle".

1018 - The Nogales Noble Regiment does Bernstein, yawn. West Side Story should have ended with a police crackdown on the gangs, not some schmaltzy death sequence for young lovers separated by gang loyalties.

Can we deport Dora the Explorer? She's probably exploring the Rio Grande for better places to bring across more illegals.

1020 - Harajuku girls? No thanks; Japanese youth culture fails. Gwen Stefani can stay over there, so far as I'm concerned.

Hooray, the Energizer bunny. I think the drums are mixed in for NBC's tranmission. I think I'd threaten that annoying "He's gonna leave" kid with shooting Santa's sled down.

American Express ads fail---Gwyneth Paltrow in particular. She's in her element as Pepper Potts, and that's about it. I still want to see Sylvia, though.

1024 - The Heartbeats Jump Rope Team from Ohio looked like Southern Railway locomotives in black and (what appeared to be) gold trim. They're skilled and all, but really, a jump rope team? Now, it's Sesame Street and I've never heard of this "popular piano virtuoso". The white guy---Bob?---is starting to show age. I vaguely remember him.

1035 - Bother, service interruption. The Clique girls fail. I wish the producers of the parade would have focused on that street parade wagon. Hair should have stayed off Broadway and in the history books; so far as I'm concerned, it is irrelevant to our cultural pantheon except as an example of how far we've fallen.

1038 - Ronald McDonald has a shoe car; that's something new if I remember. I supose you can put a fiberglass body on anything.

1042 - The Ailey Academy piece doesn't impress me much, but then black spirituals have usually not resonated with me. I've never heard of Keith Haring; it appears that he died in 1990. Well.

The Hess float explanation is interrupted when the Haring float apparently nails the NBC booth; we have no video but Viera was startled. This bunch, PushPlay, fails. Meanwhile, Copiague High School seems to be Immigrant High; therefore it is uninteresting to this publication.

1048 - Idina Menzel sings; yay?. I wasn't aware that Wicked is the longest running Brodway show; I presumed that Cats, Les Miserables or something like that would have worn that honor. I might have missed something in the regular signal snags.

1050 - Who's David Archuleta?

1056 - Macy's gets rickrolled. At least the guy's having something of a career resurgence, but being stationed on a cartoon float is probably not what he had in mind. Rick Astley, I remember your career when it was new---at least he's got the professionalism to smile and laugh when that thing mentions rickrolling. Oh, and when the puppet talks about it as well.

Continue reading "Macy's 2008"
Posted by Country Pundit at 08:54:54 | Comments (0)

January 09, 2008

Good Riddance

Per the AP, ex-CIA officer Philip Agee has died in Havana, Cuba, after a failed ulcer operation. For further details, do see Wikipedia.

As Unicron said a couple of years back: Proceed on your way to oblivion.

Tip of the ol' Wisconsin hat to Mark Krikorian.

Posted by Country Pundit at 20:44:28 | Comments (1)

January 07, 2008

Jack Kemp, Snicker Snicker

Lawrence Kudlow gushes with regards to the endorsement of Senator J.S. McCain, III, by former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp. Sayeth Mr. Kudlow:

Jack Kemp’s endorsement of Sen. John McCain for president is both interesting and significant. Kemp was one of the founders of the Reagan supply-side tax-cutting movement. And of course, he’s been a prominent free-market advocate for economic-growth policies for several decades.

Mr. Kudlow takes six paragraphs, more or less, to talk about how great this is. Mark Levin, on the other hand, takes a pair of sentences to shoot it down.

Ha ha. Either of Secretary Kemp's Levin-specified positions are sufficient to turn my opinion against him, but oh well.

The one thing I've never really sat down and analyzed about the former Secretary is his apparently legendarily bad performance against Vice President Gore in 1996. I remember watching it, but I can't concur off-hand in the judgment of, well, everyone else. It has been twelve years, after all.

Posted by Country Pundit at 13:32:38 | Comments (0)

January 04, 2008

Streamlines Shifts Its Stance

As far as repaints for Train Simulator go, Stream Lines has been one of the most restrictive payware companies out there. For whatever reason, they chose to ban the distribution of repaints on their models.

This is in stark contrast to Maple Leaf Tracks, which eagerly approved the distribution of repaints of its models, with an eye towards driving up sales of the base product. I have a friend who, while not really caring for modern Canadian National/Canadian Pacific routes, purchased MLT products to get access to the base models which wound up being repainted in NSR, CSXT, or other liveries. He is particularly fond of the SP/NS SD70M model as repainted for the Susquehanna, and regularly complains that a good F45 is not available.

The problem with the SLI policy was twofold: One, in that some people chose to ignore it and distribute repaints on the sly to their friends and two, some folks chose to continually show off their repaints of SLI models as if to say, "Look here what I have, and what you won't". One chap in particular took great pleasure in posting his SD70ACe repaints---such that I often wanted to tell him to knock it off, since he could only be in it for the self-aggrandizing adulation of the MSTS user base.

This all changed with the new year: SLI announced a change effective 01 JAN 2008, specifically allowing the creation and dissemination of repaints. This is a very good move in my opinion; not only does it restore them in my opinion, but it also makes me have a reason to look at their product catalog with renewed interest. (Set aside for the moment that I have no particular use for BN/ATSF/BNSF/UP merchandise.)

For an Eastern railroading fan, the SLI policy shift means that I can have

from this

If you're wondering, NS 2702 and CR 4106 are both EMD SD80MAC locomotives. The NSR currently has 17 of the 30 SD80MACs built on the roster, hauling coal and local traffic in Pennsylvania. CSX Transportation has the other 13 units doing various work on the Eastern end of the system.

I eagerly await the release of additional repaints to the model, and hopefully we'll wind up with all of the CR, NSR, and CSXT fleet in the near future. Want your own SLI SD80MAC? Get it here. If you're looking for the NSR repaints, NS 7202 and 7211 are available from as and respectively.

I'm told that the best sound configuration to use is the SD90MAC/43 provided with the MLT Rogers Pass route, with a Conrail-specific RS3L. Likewise, the SD90MAC/43 cab is reportedly the preferable arrangement.

Posted by Country Pundit at 01:42:16 | Comments (0)

January 02, 2008

Dear Cadillac

I personally applaud the signing of Kate Walsh as your current pitchwoman for the Cadillac CTS sedan. It's certainly a better move than the "The Caddy that Zigs" line for the unlamented Catera.

That being said, your design studio failed. Like the proverbial poor marksman, you keep missing the target. If I had the income to consider a Cadillac sedan, I wouldn't. They're ugly, just like the entire Cadillac line has been for some time, and your continuing production of the Escalade is an affront to aesthetic design. If it can't go off-road, it's not a sport utility vehicle.

Anyways, the two ads in question:

To be totally honest, I'd listen to Kate Walsh read the phone book. I've never seen either of her ABC medical programs---and never will---but she's easily the best from either in terms of purely audio-visual appeal. Well, once you get past the fact that she is/was a smoker---either the lungs will go or the looks will, on an accelerated basis.

Kate asks, "[T]he real question is, when you turn your car on, does it return the favor?"

Even you and your voice couldn't get me to say 'yes' if the vehicle in question was a Cadillac of the current century. Bring me a vintage Allanté in mint condition and overhauled to acceptable performance standards, a finalized divorce, yourself, and we'll talk of favorite things and starting cars.


Addendum: I didn't know that the Catera line managed to snare Cindy Crawford to pitch for it. All that, and it still was an eyesore. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Posted by Country Pundit at 22:04:45 | Comments (0)

More Kudlow versus Huckabee

I hold no particular regard for either John Edwards or Mike Huckabee. The former is a slimeball and the latter is a former Governor of Arkansas----the last one who was promoted to Pennsylvania Avenue was a disaster; thank you but no, Mr. Huckabee. That being said, Lawrence Kudlow writes at The Corner that,

Both are anti-business, anti-Wall Street, and anti-CEO. They would employ government regulation, and perhaps taxes, to work against free-market forces.

Both are anti-trade. Both are tax-and-spend. (Governor Huckabee has tried to inoculate himself against the tax charge with his Fair Tax national sales tax idea that would go nowhere in Washington.)

Oh darn. I am instantly reminded of what Ross Douthat said earlier in the week:

...many social conservatives don't give a tinker's dam what the Club for Growth thinks about Mike Huckabee's record.

Indeed. Why the animosity, you ask? Ross Douthat said it earlier in the piece:

[T]hat many tax-cutters and foreign-policy hawks, for instance, would happily screw over their Christian-Right allies to nominate Rudy Giuliani

I can't remember the last time I considered a CFG and/or Kudlow endorsement as a positive factor where any policy or candidate was concerned. They could largely care less about my particular issues, and the favor is returned.


N.B. I may yet be proven wrong about Huckabee. I am not, however, particularly expecting it.

Posted by Country Pundit at 18:17:10 | Comments (0)

December 30, 2007

Speaking of the Pats

Someone at the Wikipedia is a sore loser:

Ha ha ha. It's been reverted, and I'd name the individual responsible for the vandalism if I was more certain of how to manipulate the revision history tool. In the meantime, woo hoo.

Posted by Country Pundit at 00:49:29 | Comments (0)

December 29, 2007

Yee Haw

Congratulations to Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the rest of the New England Patriots organization.

Thanks for playing, Eli.

Posted by Country Pundit at 23:31:59 | Comments (0)

December 03, 2007

OTB's 2008 Season Wishlist Response

(Note the lazy minimalist title of this post. We at TCP are very avant garde.)

So, Aaress over at On the Baseline has assembled a wish list for the coming WTA campaign. I'm nowhere near as well informed on the subject of tennis and will probably look amateurish, but I figured I'd compile something anyways:

1. A muzzle or something for Maria Sharapova. Seriously. I hold out faint hope that someone, somewhere, will lose it and scream something on the order of, "SHUT UP", with a few choice expletives thrown in for regional flavor.

One is sorely tempted to take that annoying dog/feather duster/whatever from the Canon PowerShot commercials and stuff it in her mouth. When one actively thinks about playing Virtua Tennis 3 on mute due to facing Sharapova in an upcoming match, well, there's a problem. And it's not me.

Bud Collins, not surprisingly, says it better.

2. The Third Coming of Martina Hingis. I can't say that I've ever sincerely cheered for the Swiss Miss on her own merit, but if memory serves, she was an original thorn-in-the-side of the Williams sisters. That's got to be worth something, and she's not a bipedal artillery piece. Besides, she makes me laugh. Perhaps some sort of exhibition schedule, assuming anyone would play with her.

3. Best wishes for Lindsay Davenport. I don't know if that's going to work out, and I'm not betting the farm, or any other property, real or personal, on the subject.

4. A return to form for Mary Pierce. This is an even longer shot than Lindsay Davenport, but hey, it's a wish list for a reason.

The last two don't relate exactly to the WTA tour, but are relevant nonetheless:

5. Top Spin 3. With a mode for rank amateurs, like me. I need the AI to have a setting equivalent to "Slack-Jawed Moron", and then perhaps I will enjoy the game. That, and have a chance to last beyond a first-round appearance in any tournament. (Yes, I'm awful at that game.)

EDIT: And by the way, how about on-the-fly character editing? EA figured it out for Tiger Woods '07, so you can too. Neither of the current generation games seem to allow for this, and it's annoying.

6. The Clean Air Fairy to visit Beijing and clean that stinking hole up so that a certain Belgian (assuming she's not a Wallonian or a Frenchwoman by that point; see Brussels Journal for more details) can defend her Olympic title.


So yeah, as you can see, I got nothing.

Posted by Country Pundit at 00:24:13 | Comments (3)

November 26, 2007

Yeah, So Brain Age

I managed to borrow a friend's Nintendo DS Lite and played a bit of Brain Age 2. Inspired by the example of Nicole Kidman playing BA2---commented upon here---I figured I could give it a shot. Given my highly trained legal background, I expected to combine age and guile with youth and agility.

Mrs. Urban got 52 as her brain age.

Your correspondent, doing terrible at rock, paper, scissors, got 54. An outrage. I'm going to crawl away and hide or something. Nearly 2.75 times worse than the predicted peak, and it confirms deeply held suspicions that my intellectual capabilities have been declining since some time in undergraduate. Fantastic.

This depressing news was offset by an ad for The Golden Compass in which Kidman featured reasonably promptly.

EDIT: Great. I can't even type on the computer this evening. The closing sentence should read " which Kidman featured reasonably prominently." Hi, my name's Charlie Gordon. This is my pet mouse, Algernon.

Posted by Country Pundit at 22:50:31 | Comments (0)

November 22, 2007

Macy's 2007

And here we are again with live coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, presented by the National Broadcasting Company.

Again, we're glad to be rid of Katie Couric. She really added nothing to the broadcast. I seem to vaguely remember Jane Pauley running the show down there, and she was always superior to Couric, who was too busy being Perky. I can't remember the Deborah Norville era, but then again, that was two years nearly twenty years ago.

Menudo? You have got to be kidding me!.

Faith Hill? You fail. Meanwhile, we're very glad that the Patriots are doing well. The Roker interview with Jane Krakowski falls flat, because I've never seen 30 Rock. Meanwhile, Legally Blonde is another thing that I've passed by. When it made the splash into theaters, I was in the middle of Stalingrad law school myself, so I wasn't interested in the adventures of some foolish girl who glides through law school because she's blond. Had enough of that in the real world.

Whoever's playing Miss Woods ain't quite the looker, and this is with a 46" screen. Pity. This guy in the bowtie is great so far---her great argument for her admission is love? Rubbish.

Oh, a quick cut of Joe Torre? Haha.

A whiny kid like that ought to be dragged out and beat. "He's gonna leave, he's gonna leave!" "Yes, and I guarantee you that it won't matter as to the presence of cookies."

Izod kayaking? I could go for that.

Young Frankenstein seems at least interesting. If I was in the foul city of New York and had some spare scratch, I'd give it a look. Too bad my surround speakers are overpowered the primary audio channel, so there's always the default TV speakers. Blah.

Meh, Meredith Viera. I could really care less about the writers' strike. I've got ye olde intarwebs and more than a hundred movies & television series on DVD, so stay on strike as far as I'm concerned. I have nothing to lose!

The new National Treasure sounds potentially interesting. You've got to admit that Diane Kruger looks great in high definition, so I'll probably hit the theaters for that.

Someone please shoot Bob Saget's helicopter down. The hugs on the bench bit wasn't funny, and neither was a reference to The Golden Girls, because nobody remembers that show. It seems that an annoying comedian is brought up each year---Martin Short in years past---to fly over the route and make annoying jokes. Get him out of there!

Hmm, it appears that we can't create anything new in this country. Seriously, Xanadu? Sure the song from twenty-odd years ago is not puncture-your-eardrums bad, but a musical on the general premise of the movie? Whatever. The singer does do a passable of aping Olivia Newton-John, which is, I suppose, a considerable attribute. However, men in tight leggings, jeans, whatever, and wearing roller skates offends the moral and aesthetic conscience. She's not that good-looking, either.

Moving right along.

I've never seen an episode of Heroes, but Ali Larter is still rather decent-looking. The cheerleader, Pan-whatever, is annoying. Oh, yay, there she is.

Hmm, The Golden Compass. Starring Nicole Kidman. Hooray, even if just as a visual treat. Too bad the author of the series is a whiny, miserable wretch who's jealous of C.S. Lewis.

Can't hear Al Roker. This is getting to be a habit. Someone from the SVU branch of the Law & Order franchise with his dog and a porkpie hat. Meanwhile, Mary Poppins. You've got to cheer for Julie Andrews, even if this isn't her. I liked this movie as a child---not really sure why---and then I realized that Miss Andrews was a looker. I don't remember the original having lyrics about the collapse of the Roman Empire, but whatever.

I utterly hate these Canon commercials, but at least they've put Maria Sharapova in them. She's pleasant to look at, and she's not bad at tennis, either. Of course, none of this gets her in good with the Russian tennis authorities. I'd still like to punt that annoying dog into the next county, though.

For Chrissakes, appropriating 1984 to sell a music-playing toothbrush? Yawn. Once again, we seem to be reliving the 1980s, with Menudo, Xanadu, and ripoffs of old Apple Computer ads. Oh, I'm missing the Rockettes.

I can't say that I care for those weird outfits. Y'know, the Rockettes are supposed to be in top hats and modified tuxedos, kinda like that DC character Zatanna. Christmas in New York is probably just like any other time in New York, a filthy and miserable mess that I don't like. There seems to be a distinct lack of balloons and/or floats this year, and I wonder why.

Oh, hmm. Maybe I've just forgotten the sequence of the thing. Robin Hall of Macy's marching in. Well, at least he didn't embarrass himself this year.

0958 Oops, I forgot to timestamp the entries. Well, we'll do that now.

0959 Please go away, Dolly Parton. Retreat to Dollywood---a nice park---and don't bother me. Please.

1001 Viera, we give thanks for the Divine Providence that delivered our ancestors from death and famine. (Admittedly so that we could deliver said things unto the Indians, but that's not important.)

Tom Turkey is always appreciated. Traditions are, of course, important. Hope the marriage between those two pilgrims on the float works. Bonne chance, as it were.

The new float, Abby Cadabby (sp), annoys. The CTW ought to be focusing on its proven money-makers.

Ooh, Tea Leoni. If she wasn't Mrs. David Duchovny---hiya, collapsed career!---then perhaps I'd be more inclined to watch. Nicholas Cage is still a reasonably worthy-to-watch actor.

1006 - I never watched Sesame Street---our PBS reception was always lousy---and so this one's lost on me. Here we go with Stephenson High School from Stone Mountain, Georgia. Wabash blue, it appears. Nothing particularly memorable about the music, but it appears to be well-done.

1009 - Meh, Scooby Doo. It appears that he has a leak. Build-a-Bear Workshop, yay. I've never heard of the Jonas Brothers, and it appears that I haven't missed anything.

1012 - Wynonna Judd coming up? Eek, I didn't know there was an excess weight float in service. Meanwhile, Jessica Simpson fails in a Macy's ad---would that Martha Stewart might kill that obnoxious buffoon. I hate this Quizno's ad. Quizno's: Too much cost, too little sandwich. I wonder if Elizabeth Mitchell is in that third Santa Clause---she certainly made the first one.

1016 - Yeah, I don't get Barbie. An island princess? The only island worth being princess of would be Great Britain.

1017 - A high school from American Fork, Utah, at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains---perhaps they have seen UPRR Big Boys? Not impressed with their costumes, but then again, I prefer the ones popular in the East. Yawn, Hello Kitty. A brand that's been around for years, even when I was a kid---again, this is the 1980s all over again.

1022 - Up with people, down with this song. Is that one of the Duff sisters or something? Meh, I'm hungry.

1024 - Eek, Steve Irwin's daughter. That float looks like it's going to disintegrate under the pounding. I wonder if that's ever happened.

1025 - This all-hobo clown medley fails. However, I see nothing wrong with never having been to New York City. Why should that be important? I managed to miss Mumbles Viera's note of who they were, though, so they'll be anonymous. Meanwhile, Ronald McDonald.

1028 - This M&Ms float is innovative. Meanwhile, we swap to the Columbia Broadcasting System to see what they're doing. They're actually talking about the floats instead of just yammering, so we'll give them some time. Hmm, amateur hour. Might be more interesting than this insipid NBC telecast.

1033 - Back to the NBC. Just in time for the !@#$% Virginia Tech band. Bring back Washington. Lauer, you idiot. The people are already standing and clapping; there's nothing special about it. Who are Lifehouse? Thumbs up to the giant Federal eagle on the Postal Service float.

P.S. I don't care who Lifehouse are. They're annoying. I wish Don Imus would show up in this parade.

1037 - Hooray, it's the World War I Flying Ace! Too bad Snoopy is famous for root beer mugs or a swagger stick, not binoculars.

1041 - Wow, Marilu Henner is pretty well preserved. Nadia Comaneci is reportedly still good-looking, and well, Carol Alt might have seen better days, but she's a model and can probably get the kind of advice necessary to look like she just stepped off a Raymond Loewy scratch pad. Dear God, whoever Nikki Blonsky is, she's going to crush that float. Message to Al Roker: That looks more like a 1950s malt shop, not something from the 1960s.

1043 - I thought they meant Joanna Levesque instead of some animated clown. Meanwhile, the clock is still running on the former. Clowns annoy me. Universal Cheerleaders & Dance Association annoys already.

1047 - It's probably no coincidence that you can nearly spell 'annoy' from "Ne-Yo". Falsetto vocals and poofter dance moves are not the sort of thing to attract my attention. Sorry, kid.

1051 - The National Dance Institute impresses with a reasonably coherent display of choreography. It's about 50-odd degrees, so it's probably not all that cold in Herald Square. Pulling all those dance moves in sweats must not be easy.

1052 - The Big Apple float is nice but no great thing. This band needs to die. Whoever---Menudo? Pasa the eggplant!

1054 - "Gee, Officer Krupke"? That guy should have called for backup and murdered the Jets for singing that song. Yay, fat firefighter balloon.

1057 - I'd rather have the Hell Gate Bridge, as far as NYC infrastructure goes. The Hess float is always fun to look at, but this wanna-be Blues Brother, i.e. the lead singer of Good Charlotte, should die.

1058 - The only thing that's "never say quit" is Viera's annoying string of adjectives about the Energizer Bunny. I wonder if that thing's on wheels. Up next, Sarah Brightman. Never have bought one of her albums.

1100 - An insurance company about the California fires? Uh huh, I hear "claim denied" ringing. Ooh, Jennifer Aniston. She's still reasonably attractive, and she's got Angelina Jolie beat. Ow, Marlo Thomas makes my eyes hurt. Blah, POTC 3 was a terrible movie.

1102 - Jewels of the Caribbean? Yawn. I could care less about Caribbean-American organizations. If they want to celebrate their identity, they can bloody well stay down there in the islands. Cripes, Euro-pop for Sarah Brightman? Well, at least she's decent looking, far better than on some of her album covers, but once again, Euro-pop fails us. It's almost indistinguishable from something that Kylie Minogue might come up with, and really, is that anything to be proud of?

1105 - A 1947-style balloon? Oh, nice. I vaguely remember seeing black-and-white footage

The Paul Laurence Dunbar H.S. Band from Lexington, Kentucky plays a selection from the Nutcracker, yay. I don't see how being in a high school band teaches young ladies and gentlemen about life through music, but whatever. It's the standard pablum rolled out by the arts vultures when shilling for funds. You can stop with the lie---music for music's sake and the preservation of high culture is reason enough.

1107 - Shrek balloon, yawn.

1110 - Oh, the imaginary friends home---Mrs. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, perhaps---again. This is creepy.

1112 - A silver rabbit that apes a statue of some kind. Nice. Albertville H.S., from Alabama, is doing OK. Why can't I really hear Al Roker?

1114 - Those climbers look...really bored. Ashley Tisdale fails. I am amused at how she's important now that the other HSM individual has fallen from favor. Too bad Tisdale's a bad singer and really not all that good-looking in any objective sense. I suppose she's going for Gestapo chic.

1115 - Say "Immigrations and Customs Enforcement!" to Dora the Explorer. This "Latina heroine" can go back over the border as far as I'm concerned. Bloody annoying multiculturalists. This Citibank prodigal son commercial is annoying.

1117 - Rachael Ray? Blah. Give me Giada de Laurentiis in high definition, thanks. I think there's something instructive in the fact that we've never managed to surpass the original Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. Decline of the culture? Certainly. Meanwhile, an American Gladiators revival. I think it's utter irony to have these two things together.

1119 - Oh, that's mean. Cherokee Indians on a float in a parade celebrating the successful landings in Plymouth. "We are very glad you nearly wiped us out. We salute our new overlords."

1121 - Hmm, the Al Roker float. Oh, wait, that's Mr. Potato Head. International Year of the Potato? I suppose we're already out of International Geophysical Years. Meh, celebrations of commercialized cowboy culture. I'm afraid to ask what this really is.

1123 - The Oklahoma band? I'd rather have Kristin Chenoweth singing its praises; at least she's good-looking.

1124 - Another American Idol winner? Meh, who cares. Another disposable R&B wanna-be.

1129 - Huesca Brothers acrobatics are impressive. Having said that, the missed one looks painful.

1130 - Pikachu, I choose you. Nearly five hundred Pokemon? Good grief. This balloon has illuminated cheeks, but you can't really see them.

Service terminated.

Posted by Country Pundit at 09:19:26 | Comments (0)

October 23, 2007

Covering the Bases - Anniversary Edition

The date on the calendar says one thing, but the date on the posts say another---either or Thursday marks the four year anniversary of this publication. Note it now, celebrate it on Thursday. Hopefully the Sox'll be leading the World Series by that point.

I'm willing to bet that something's gotten fouled up in dates at some point in time; the electronic calendar's highly unlikely to be wrong.

Posted by Country Pundit at 23:12:37 | Comments (0)

Because Some Bostonians Aren't Happy

This is a treat.

One Susie Davidson of Brookline, Massachusetts, is not happy that Bostonians are celebrating the near-epic comeback by the 2007 Red Sox in the ALCS against the Indians.

In her newly-founded blog, BostoniansNotRedSoxOrBaseballFans, she unloads on pretty much anyone who cheers for the Sox, because they're bad people. As she puts it,

We believe that the environment, health care, education, global genocide and so many other problems could really benefit from the time and energy (and money!) expended by these buffoons who haven't actually played the game themselves in decades, decked out in $900 worth of Red Sox clothing, armed with $700 tickets and $10 junky hot dogs, with their cars parked at $50 lots.

Thank God I didn't shell out $200 for a Jonathan Papelbon jersey, because then I'd be within her sights as one of the Enemies of the Environment/Health Care/Education/Global Genocide (wherever it may be), etc.

Meh, more Northeastern whining. For what it's worth, she's a Yankees fan:

We actually become Yankees fans by default, even though we never pay attention to their own games. We love being in New York and other states where there is not a Red Sox cap to be seen.

Methinks I hear sour grapes coming from the Mystique and Aura section.

EDIT: These guys have approximately the same view of it that I do.

I'm also hard-pressed to figure out how a single man can wear $900 worth of merchandise. Figure one authentic jersey at $200 from the MLB shop, regular pair of khaki pants or blue jeans (approximately $30-$60), a nondescript pair of tennis shoes ($75), a hat ($30 max) and er...yeah, that's not adding up. T-shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch ($60), cologne by Ralph Lauren ($45), uh...socks and underwear ($10), er, foam #1 finger (~$15) and yeah, that's not $900. You'd have to throw in something like a replica of the World Series championship ring and maybe a Franklin Mint commemorative watch or something similar before you can get towards that magic number.

But hey, what do I know? I'm merely a knuckle-dragging Sox fan.

Posted by Country Pundit at 15:06:08 | Comments (0)

October 22, 2007

Very Troubling

"I am terribly vexed", said Commodus, and I echo his sentiment.

I was allocating funds from the recently-acquired paycheck and had finished that for the night---never enough for all line items, but that's why one budgets---and trundled off to bed. I sat down to read this evening's devotional from The Upper Room, as I have for years at this point. Finances were, literally, the last thing I had thought about before climbing the stairs.

And then this evening's reading is Saint Mark, Chapter 12 vv. 41-44. Were this the original Mobile Suit Gundam from the late 1970s, I bet that the Newtype flash would have played in the background.

I have of course included ten percent of net income---see here for an alternative viewpoint---but when one of the major calculations of the evening concerned the percentage, shortly followed by Jesus' harsh analysis, er, one of my particular religious persuasion starts to wonder.

(Mud in your eye, Hitchens, Sam Harris, and the rest of you atheistic lot; give my regards to whatever circle of hell y'all wind up assigned to.)

At least one meaning is implicit---carve your percentage off the gross, not the net. Others may come to me as I think about it. Either way, one gets the sense that the ol' ELF receiver's buzzer may have rung.

Posted by Country Pundit at 22:52:53 | Comments (0)

October 21, 2007

Let's Go Red Sox!

Whew, talk about a nailbiter!

Thank God for a Red Sox victory---I predicted as much to a friend that, "Look, the last time they were facing elimination in the ALCS, they won the World Series. I'm not overly concerned. Yet."

I didn't know if I'd eat my words---accurate or not---but I was distinctly concerned with the Red Sox offense and the wisdom of rehashing the Beckett-Sabathia and Shilling-Carmona matchups. Obviously, there's a reason why I'm not in Terry Francona's shoes.

I like these Miller Lite commercials. Certified purveyor of the High Life, indeed.

Posted by Country Pundit at 23:16:53 | Comments (0)