Predictions of 2014 and 2015

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Well, it is that time of year again where I dig out my crystal ball and look back at the 2014 predictions and make new ones for 2015.  I reported that at least 3 would come true – let’s see how close I came.

 

Here are the predictions and the results in parenthesis:

 

  • Justin Bieber will go to jail.  (It happened at least once maybe more.)
  • Kim Kardashian will admit that “Baby North” really never existed and that her pregnancy was fake.  (No, it did not happen.)
  • Kim Kardashian will marry and divorce Kanye West all within the year.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • RadioShack will be out of business.  (No, it hasn’t happened yet.)
  • JCPenney will be out of business.  (No, it hasn’t happened yet.)
  • Kmart will be out of business.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • Amanda Bynes returns to TV in a new comedy show, but will also do an interview with Oprah describing the last few years.  (No, it didn’t happen.)
  • Time Warner Cable will be sold and broken up into pieces leaving smaller markets such as where I live without any providers at all.  This means that many small independent cable operators will start up after many years.  (No, in fact a possible merger with Comcast might happen instead.)
  • Lady Gaga will do a Playboy layout proving that he/she is dual gendered leaving many fans disgusted. (Thankfully, this didn’t happen.)
  • Nickelodeon will scrap “Sam & Cat” and Dan Schneider will leave the network and produce shows for rival Disney.  (The first half is true, the second is not.)
  • Hilary Duff will divorce and sister Haylie will marry.  (Not quite on both.)
  • ABCFamily cancels that horrible “The Vineyard” and “Twisted”.  (Fortunately, yes to both.)
  • Fox News fires Karl Rove after making offensive statements that the network hates.  (No, it didn’t happen.)

 

So last year I once again scored 2 ½ right out of a possible 13.  I barely missed my goal of 3 correct, but I was close.  Now let’s gaze into the crystal ball for 2015 predictions:

  • The merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast will be placed on hold as both companies would have to discharge some of their market holdings.
  • The possibility of a Staples/Office Max (Depot) merger is canned as neither side can agree on any merger details.
  • Given no merger, Office Max (Depot) shuts down at least half of their remaining locations.
  • As well, Staples shuts down an additional 300 stores as the hack attack of 2014 grows larger.
  • On the brink of bankruptcy, RadioShack is saved by a last minute investor who wants to merge it with another big box retailer.
  • Walmart suffers a major hack attack, which causes millions of credit and debit cards to be compromised.
  • The E! Network finally cancels everything Kardashian as the network struggles to survive.
  • Adam West, TV’s 1960’s Batman, will be the voice of an aged Bruce Wayne on an episode of the Fox series “Gotham”.
  • California will suffer a substantial earthquake in the area north of Los Angeles.
  • Keystone pipeline will be defeated in Congress.
  • MTV will cancel “Eye Candy”.
  • My ex Tanya will get a divorce and return back to Maine wanting to search me out and try and patch things up. Of course, I accept (what choice do I have?).
  • I will either get a new job or a new girlfriend in 2015, but not both.

Out of my 13 predictions for this year, I predict only 2 of them will actually happen.  Maybe it is time for a new crystal ball.

Next time, I expect that my 2 blogs will each have their own unique content again.  At least that is my plan for now, but I can’t make any promises because I can’t predict what happens in the world especially given my seemingly defective crystal ball.

TV Picks and Axes for 2013-14 Season

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As the television season winds down, this year so a lot of shows that saw the ax and some that should have seen it long before.  To add to that are several missteps this year of shows that just didn’t get it right.

 

Let’s start with “Jeopardy!” (syndicated).  This 30th season saw the multi-week contest of “Battle of the Decades”.  Over the years, we have seen other contests that somehow ended this same way.  Was anybody not surprised that the final battle would be once again between Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter?  Maybe they should stick with their other championships for a while.

 

The battle between “The Michael J. Fox Show” (NBC) and “The Crazy Ones” (CBS) landed both of these highly anticipated shows in the cancelled list after one season.  While I watched the latter show a couple of times, I felt this it was boring and just wasn’t funny.

 

While on that subject, “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS) had a season-long wedding weekend, which had to be the most boring season I have ever seen.  I was so confused by the time the series finale happened that I was thankful that it ended.

 

This year also saw the end of “The Carrie Diaries” (CW) and “Suburgatory” (ABC).  These shows which lasted 2 and 3 seasons respectively both were given 13 week runs instead of the normal average of 20+ weeks.  Unfortunately, both of these shows were doomed by the lack of a great storyline and bad time slots.

 

One of the worst shows of the year was “Super Fun Night” (ABC).  I watched about 5 minutes of the first episode and hated it.  It wasn’t super or fun, but I wish it was on late at night.  Its replacement of “Mixology” fared no better.

 

Of course, the worst show of the year was “We Are Men” (CBS), which lasted all of 2 episodes.  I cringed after less than 5 minutes, a new low for me.

 

On the other side of the fence, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC) was probably one of the best shows of the season as it featured more twists during its freshman run than most shows have during its entire series run.  One episode entitled “Turn, Turn, Turn” had more twists than anything I have ever seen in a very long time.  Hopefully, next season lives up to its first.

 

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the aging “American Idol” (FOX).  Now in its unlucky 13th season, this show flew way under the radar and was very boring.  None of the contestants were interesting and putting Randy Jackson as a mentor didn’t help.  As in past years, I was on the losing end of the finale by picking the wrong person to win again.  Rumor is that next season will possibly be one day per week instead of the two or three from past years.  Maybe this is the boost that it needs to survive.

 

Overall, this year saw over 30 shows cancelled, many of them for their own good.  Others were never given a fair shake.  Hopefully, most should live on on video in the next year or so.

 

 

 

 

Feeling the New Pain from Time Warner

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This week Time Warner Cable upgraded (downgraded?) their lineup here in New England.

 

This was not a minor reshuffle.

 

Consider it more of throwing multiple decks of cards up in the air and having them land wherever.  Then take this deck and put them together not by decks but by card rank instead.  Then take a few of these small packs and stack them and deal them out as any card game at all.

 

No matter what you will either make people angry, win every time, or nobody win ever.

 

Unfortunately, with TWC we got the latter answer.

 

Yes, once again TWC screwed up with its new improved lineup.

 

Certainly, everything is fine up to channel 99.  Most of these channels haven’t changed in years and some have never changed since cable was introduced to the area nearly 40 years ago.

 

Beyond channel 99, good luck.

 

While the channels are grouped by types such as news, kids, sports, etc., the logic of the grouping within each group is horrible.  Forget alphabetical order or any order at all, the stations seemed to be assigned their number positions totally at random.  This makes it even more difficult to figure out what channel you are looking for.

 

Of course, you could read the small foldout card that was mailed to you to see what channel you are looking for.  Again, good luck for that as the print is so small that it is almost impossible to read especially for those with old tired eyes like mine.

 

Then there are the local channels.  Forget about putting them in numerical order by their station id unless you think 8 come numerically before 6.  Did these people graduate kindergarten?

 

We also have the continued problem with standard definition vs. high-definition.  Now it seems that it is completely an all-or-nothing option.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had to change the resolution manually just to see the picture properly the way I want.  If you need to read about how to fix the resolution, search for “high definition resolution” on this blog.

 

Finally, there is the remote control.  Many of the buttons no longer point to the right resources when a button is pushed.  Many of the channels that existed before now just give information to turn to a different channel to learn how to program the remote to set it to the right channel.

 

Seriously.

 

Should the customer need to do so much work for so little benefit.  I think they should have kept the stations pointed to by the remote alone.  Given that we are paying for remotes now, then this should have been a given.

 

Last but not least, TWC wants to raise their rates by about 14% next month.

 

So let’s summarize:

 

  • Fewer choices for channels
  • Mixed up order for channel
  • Remotes that point to the wrong channel
  • Higher bills next month

 

Isn’t it time that TWC was sold to Comcast?  It can’t get worse but it may improve.

 

We can only hope.

 

 

 

 

Time Warner Cable Small Upgrade, Big Ad Missteps

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In my other blog, I write about the scams that companies like Staples produce and have produced.  Now it seems that Time Warner Cable are becoming liars and scammers as well.

However, before I discuss that, let me say that last night TWC pushed through a mini update to their navigator system.  Not much changed with this minor upgrade except that DVR Compensation is now gone.  I am very thankful for that because this feature was more confusing than helpful.  In case you never heard of it, the feature basically controlled how far the DVR would advance when going from fast-forward to play.  The choices were normal, more, less, and none.  No indication was ever given how much time these times actually were which led to the confusion of this awkward feature.  I will not miss this feature whatsoever.  However, now going from fast-forward to play could either be a sudden change or put your position a little further ahead from where you want it.  I have seen both of these scenarios happen in the last few hours since this update.  It also appears that the phantom recording bug has been fixed as well.

 

Now onto the scams and lies:

Besides being nickel and dimed to death with charges for modems, cable boxes, and now even the simple remote control, it seem that TWC has now introduced some misleading and false advertising.

The first television ad features Emily VanCamp from the ABC show “Revenge”.  It is promoting the “Start Over” feature of their system.  The problem is that ABC television DOES NOT SUPPORT the “Start Over” feature and neither do any of the other major networks.  In fact, only a handful of cable channels support this feature.

Another ad touts the “Look Back” feature.  However, like the previously mentioned feature, it only works on some cable channels, but their website states that NBC supports it, but here in Maine it is not supported.  In fact, many of the channels on this list don’t have the feature enabled.  Is this a scam or just misinformation? It could be possibly a little of both or maybe jumping ahead in anticipation of future support.  I don’t think TWC should announce features until they have been firmly implemented because changes seem to put TWC further behind the competition all the time.

 

So, overall is TWC working in the best interest of the customer?  My answer as with Staples is overwhelmingly NO!  What should be real isn’t in any way real, but instead is based on speculation on hopes that the customer won’t notice the difference.  problem is that this customer knows the difference and is getting good at spotting the scams.

 

 

 

The End of American Idol?

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Here we are at the end of another year of American Idol.

Personally I am glad it is over.  This has been a very bad season for the show.  This is especially true if you were a guy.

Week after week, the guys got knocked out of the competition until there was nothing but 5 girls remaining.  Was this a setup or was it just coincidence?  My belief is that people purposely voted all the guys out just because they were just no good at all.  The only exception to this was Curtis who I believed could have won it all.  Surprisingly, he was the first one to go.  However, I found it ironic that Nicki Minaj didn’t hear his performance and didn’t show up until the second person performed.  Coincidence or purposely done—hard to tell what the truth really is.  No matter what it was still strange nonetheless.

After the guys were gone, we saw other better girls like Janelle and Angie exit leaving us with Kree and Candice.  So who will win?  My money is on Kree winning it all, but it will be very close no matter what.

The next big question is who will be next year’s judges.  Randy is already got his bags packed to leave and the others will probably get their walking papers soon (hopefully).

Here is who I think should be considered judges:

  • Kelly Clarkson – Who better than the original idol being a judge?  A perfect fit as far as I am concerned.
  • Pink – Her songs are used regularly on the show so why not put her in a chair?
  • Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus — A daddy/daughter reunion from two different genres would certainly shake things up.
  • Harry Connick Jr. — He has been a mentor several times so it’s time for a chair.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen – She is hot and cute and I wouldn’t mind looking at her every week.  Who cares if she is Canadian?
  • Any Disney female star – It’s worked on “Dancing with the Stars” and “X Factor” so why no this show?

 

And now for those who should never be a judge:

  • Elton John – Too much British.  Too much diva.  Just too much.
  • Ke$ha – Too much glitter everywhere, but I still love her.  Just leave the glitter at home please.
  • Any former judge from Idol – Please no rejects from years past.
  • Anybody NOT in the music business – On the road judges have seen some interesting choices none of whom would know enough about music to be a real judge for the show.

 

I believe wholeheartedly that there should not be an unlucky 13th season to Idol as paranoia would settle in on everyone.  Let’s end it now at an even dozen and call it a wrap.

 

Lastly, I must comment on the season-long building of Carly Rae Jepsen’s song of “Take a Picture”.  It was hard to understand without closed-captioning turned on and overall was a mess.  This should be a lesson:  NEVER LET THE PUBLIC WRITE A SONG EVER!!  My ears and eyes are still bleeding over that song.  Certainly not her best work.

 

Seacrest out and done…

 

American Idol Day 1 Should Be the Last

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Just as expected the season premiere of American Idol sucked.  Unfortunately, this episode was all about the divas and less about those trying out for the show.  What made this show worse were the profiles of those people who were rejected by the judges.  Why waste time on these people when they don’t make it anyway?  I guess they have to fill 2 hours somehow.

This is the whole problem with the show:  Why can’t we have just one hour shows and use the other hour for some other show?  It’s apparent that FOX expected the downward plunge of the ratings and down by almost 20% they declined.  Maybe this is a sign that this may be the last season of the show and won’t live to see unlucky season 13.

Sad that this show has become the “Battle of Fake Boob Divas”.  I really thought that this show was much much than that.  I will unfortunately continue to watch to see if things get better, but my hopes aren’t very high given the preview for episode #2.  I will write more on this as the episodes continue on.  Right now, there were no stand out performers that should or could make it to the finals.

My score:  5.

Summary:

This show is now for die-hard fans only.  It won’t make anybody who never watched before tune in now.  This is just more of the same as previous years, but with more fighting.

 

TWC & SiriusXM Kicks Off Stations

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Almost as soon as I wrote my last post and Time Warner Cable has dropped yet another channel.  CurrentTV, which just hours before sold to Al-Jazeera, the big oil company which has links to terrorist activities.  Anybody who doesn’t believe there is a connection between the removal of this channel and the selling of it is just an idiot.

Yet, this now makes 2 channels gone and NO price reduction from TWC.  How many more channels are going to disappear just because the channel doesn’t fit TWC’s political agenda?  It’s apparent that TWC only cares about profit and cares nothing at all about content.

On another front, SiriusXM has removed Fox Talk News from their satellite radio lineup.  Apparently, the satellite service has the same sort of agenda as TWC.  Since both Fox News and CurrentTV could be considered extremes of the media spectrum, it is no surprise that both of these channels have disappeared from the respective sources.  If I were a subscriber to SiriusXM, I would be extremely angry of the removal of Fox News because I watch their news and stock channels on a regular basis.

Both TWC and SiriusXM need to be big boys and return their channels to their respective sources, otherwise their subscribers may start disappearing when they are charged the same price for fewer choices.  It’s sad that these companies think they can restrict our 1st Amendment rights.  Let’s hope these companies wise up very soon.

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