Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cute cats sleeping in weird places

Editor’s note: Journalism today is all about page views. And with Tech-media-tainment approaching 1 million page views, we’re pulling out all the stops to reach that milestone. On Tuesday, we ran yet another article on wardrobe malfunctions in the women’s Lingerie Football League. Today, cute cat photos! So there you go. Full disclosure.

Here are two photos that I had hoped to post to LOLcats with funny captions. But I couldn’t think of anything clever.
They are photos of my beautiful, but lazy, cats Leah and Sherpa.
Leah passed away about three years ago. The top photo is Leah sleeping in a baby stroller. She was a retired show cat and breeder when we adopted her. Her official name was Shaolimar’s Leading Lady. Leah was a Himalayan-Persian mix.
The bottom photo is Sherpa sleeping in the bathroom sink. Sherpa is a Himalayan cat, so he likes to stay cool.
Aren’t they adorable?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lingerie Football League uniforms aren’t functional; Wardrobe malfunctions continue

Fans of the Lingerie Football League enjoy both the sport and watching attractive women run around in skimpy uniforms.
I don’t have a problem with revealing athletic outfits in women’s sports, but they should be functional. LFL uniforms aren’t functional.
Players shouldn’t be mooning the crowd when they’re escaping a tackle. And they shouldn’t have to wear pasties to avoid a nip slip because their top is inadvertently pulled down during a play.
Italian-language blog Very Special Girls on May 8 posted a photo (above) of the latest LFL wardrobe malfunction. It occurred May 5 in Mexico City during the league’s All Fantasy Game. Cleveland Crush cornerback Tamara Fennell exposed her rear end during one play.
Fennell suffered a similar wardrobe malfunction in an LFL game in Brisbane, Australia, on June 2, according to Very Special Girls. SMP Images of Australia caught another angle of the action.
On June 9, at an LFL game in Sydney, it was Jaleesa McCrary’s turn to get her panties pulled down. (See photos at Zimbio.)
Instead of modified lingerie, these athletes could be wearing sports bras and shorts. Still call it the LFL, but make the first “L” stand for “Ladies.”
Women wear skimpy, form-fitting uniforms in beach volleyball, tennis, and track and field. But they’re sexy and functional.
Occasionally a sports columnist will write about how inappropriate the outfits worn by some female athletes are. I wonder if there were similar complaints during the ancient Olympic games when athletes competed in the nude.
Male and female athletes have always traded on their looks and sex appeal. They use their appearance as much as their sports prowess to attract fans and advertisers.
The Lingerie Football League has taken flak for its uniforms since it launched in 2009.
On Nov. 29, 2011, LFL officials posted a note on the league’s Facebook page about a Business Insider article called “The Sexiest Athletes Alive.”
“Take notice uptight people and conservative media that solely target the LFL,” the league rep wrote. “Sex appeal has been used by both genders for years in marketing themselves as athletes or their chosen sport. At least at the LFL, the league is upfront about it.”

Articles addressing sex appeal and uniforms in women’s sports:

Aussie Chloe Butler is a big hit in the Lingerie Football League (The Courier Mail, Australia; Nov. 18, 2011)

50 Skimpiest Outfits in Sports (Bleacher Report; Nov. 16, 2011)

WTA’s new campaign shows why tennis No. 1 women’s sport (Orlando Sentinel; May 26, 2011)

Venus Williams French Open outfit: “The illusion of bare skin is beautiful” (Orlando Sentinel; May 27, 2010)

In Tennis, Fashion Police Look the Other Way (New York Times; May 26, 2010)

Badminton Orders Women to Wear Skirts (Newser; May 27, 2011)

LPGA Purists Furious Over Olivia Munn’s Under Armour Golf Uniform (The Backyard; Sept. 6, 2011)

Monday, May 28, 2012

‘Supernatural,’ ‘Awake,’ ‘Smash’ are highlights of the 2011-12 TV season

The broadcast network TV season has become less relevant with the rise of original programming on cable TV and even Internet video services like Netflix and Hulu.
Shows on cable channels like AMC and TNT don’t require the same size audience as those on the major networks of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to be considered successful. So, edgy or complex storytelling on the broadcast networks is mostly doomed to failure.
That explains why the broadcast networks are playing it safe with traditional cop and lawyer shows and low-cost reality TV programs.
Here are my highlights and disappointments from the 2011-12 TV season.

‘Supernatural’ continues to surprise after 7 seasons

Some critics grumbled about this season’s plot line on “Supernatural” involving the Leviathans as the big bad villain. (See Huffington Post review of the season finale.) But I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s main arc, especially corporate Leviathan leader Dick Roman, and the stand-alone episodes.
I’m excited to see how the writers handle season 8, with the demon-hunting Winchester brothers split up. At the end of the season finale, Dean is stuck in Purgatory and Sam is left to deal with demon leader Crowley. “Supernatural” airs on the CW.
(See EW article on the season finale.)

‘Awake’ ends after one season

NBC’s “Awake” lasted only one season. The drama about a man living two realities – one in which his wife is alive, but his son is dead, and the other in which his son is alive, but his wife is dead – was a bold risk. It was a mind-twisting story that was obviously tough for uncommitted TV viewers to stick with.
“Awake” would have been a better fit for cable TV, on a channel like AMC or FX.
I’m glad the producers were able to come up with a satisfying series finale in what should have been its first-season finale.
(See articles about the finale on EW, Hitfix and Many Media Musings.)

‘Smash’ strikes a chord with music lovers

NBC’s “Smash” isn’t a smash hit, but it’s pretty darn good.
I like musical theater and enjoy seeing the stage-craft involved in putting on a Broadway show. I like the leads, especially Jack Davenport and the beautiful Katharine McPhee, and the original songs are top-notch.
However, I wish the show was more realistic and edgy. Much of the storytelling is pretty conventional and some of the characters lack depth and motivation.
Still, I’m looking forward to seeing how the show’s Marilyn Monroe musical shapes up in season two.
(EW wasn’t a fan of the finale. The reviewer found it “exasperating.”)

‘The River’ comes to an end

ABC’s found-footage horror series “The River” never caught on with viewers. It suffered from monster-of-the-week storytelling early on that turned off viewers. But once the show found its sea legs, it was a pretty good ride.
Like other shows this year, it had a premise that probably couldn’t sustain itself for several seasons. So, even though it didn’t get a second-season pick-up, it was fun for viewers who stuck with it.

‘Vampire Diaries’ maintains high quality

Season three of “The Vampire Diaries” had the second-best cliffhanger of the year, after “Supernatural.” Human protagonist Elena Gilbert (played by Nina Dobrev) died, but unexpectedly arose as a vampire in the season finale’s final moments.
The show is a hit for the CW, which will likely run it into the ground. In the best of worlds, the producers would set an end date for the show (maybe after season 5) and go out on top. But this is show business, not show art.
(See EW article on the season finale.)

‘Revenge,’ ‘Missing’ and bric-a-brac

ABC’s drama series “Revenge” is a hit with viewers. But my wife likes it more than I do.
Loosely based on “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “Revenge” isn’t hard-edged enough for me. Plus, lead actress Emily VanCamp doesn’t have the chops to pull off her role.
ABC promotes the show as a “guilty pleasure,” which usually means something is so bad it’s good. In truth, “Revenge” is neither that bad nor that good.
I gave several other shows a try this year, including “Ringer,” “Missing” and “Terra Nova,” but didn’t stick with them. All three were canceled, so no great loss there.
The CW’s “Ringer” started off well, but got more and more far-fetched as it went on. Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar was good in it, but she couldn’t carry the series on her own.
ABC’s “Missing” was a C-grade Hollywood feature stretched into a series with lousy writing, poorly staged action and a lead actress (Ashley Judd) who was out of her depth.
Fox’s “Terra Nova” had expensive special effects, but strictly pedestrian storytelling. The new prehistoric world it portrayed didn’t seem dangerous enough. “Terra Nova” was too family-friendly when it should have been a high body count, survival action show.
Among cable shows, I enjoyed the second season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (pictured above), even though it dragged its feet moving the story along. I also liked the first season of FX’s “American Horror Story,” dark and down beat as it was.

Related stories:

“4 Big TV Gambles That Failed This Season, and What That Means for the Next One” (The Wrap; May 13, 2012)

“The 2011-12 TV season in review: What went wrong, what was done right, and what should have been” (EW; May 22, 2012)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TSA agents can’t keep their hands off porn stars

Tracking citizen complaints about the TSA on Twitter, you notice a lot of porn stars reporting that they were violated by TSA screeners.
It’s clear to me that TSA agents are more interested in getting their hands on big-breasted adult film actresses than in airport security.
Think about it. The adult film industry is an anathema to the beliefs of Islamic fundamentalists and the terrorists that spring from that religion. You’re not going to see a Muslim terrorist who looks like a porn star. Ever.
Patting down their curves is security theater at its worst.


Porn star tweets about the TSA:

“I just got the most stimulating pat down by TSA. I especially enjoyed the inner thigh massage. Find anything in my 34DD bra bitches?” – adult film actress Nikki Benz (March 11, 2012)

“I’m super entertained by the TSA agent who asked me if there was anything “in my girls” while feeling up her own tits to show what she meant” – adult film actress Kayden Kross (March 29, 2012)

“Pretty much just got strip searched at the airport.... ‪#FML” – adult film actress Hailey Jade (April 2, 2012)

“Why am I always randomly screened?” – adult film actress Tasha Reign (Jan. 8, 2012)
Is that a trick question?

“Geez... Got a full pat down at the airport. Do I really look like I’m gonna blow up the plane?! Lol” – adult film actress BiBi Jones (May 20, 2012)

“Cant believe the TSA agent did a full pat down of my boobs.... (she was checking 2 make sure they were real)” – adult film actress Nikita Blade (April 8, 2012)


More celebrities speak out against the TSA

Twitter has given celebrities the perfect outlet to complain about the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and spread the word about the wasteful, oppressive agency to their followers.
Yesterday, I documented instances where celebrities complained on Twitter about being groped by TSA screeners. But their complaints about the reviled government agency don’t end there.
Here are more celebrity tweets about the TSA, grouped by category of complaint.


Confiscating innocuous items

“Thank Goodness the TSA took my 7yr old’s liquid lava souvenir from Ripley’s. We can all feel much safer now. ‪#uckingfridiculous” – singer Natalie Maines (Jan. 3, 2012)

“Dear TSA I hope you enjoy my toothpaste that was .1 ounces over in size and almost empty. I hate you!” – reality TV star Donald Trump Jr. (Feb. 27, 2012)

“Hope beverage industry appreciates the boost it gets from airport security. We have to discard beverages before TSA and repurchase after.” – CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller (Nov. 22, 2011)


Concerns about radiation scanners

“Hey TSA I will ALWAYS refuse ur radiation X ray box. So get ready for me and my hostility! Yeah police society is AWESOME!!” – actress Juliette Lewis (Jan. 25, 2012)


Dumb TSA agents

“TSA agent checked my ID, matched it to my ticket, then looked up. “you look like Tony Hawk!” You mean like it says on my Driver’s license?” – pro skateboarder Tony Hawk (March 22, 2012)

“Are TSA agents recruited from the Mensa pool? ‪#imguessingnot” – actress Charisma Carpenter (Dec. 15, 2011)


Getting molested

“Terrorism takes less lives in the USA then honeybees ... I’ve had enough of the TSA grope Downs in the airport! How bout u ?” – Olympic gold-medal snowboarder Hannah Teter (Feb. 5, 2012)

“Just gunna say that I really love being groped down by TSA, and brought into the backroom... totally my favorite. ! WTF” – snowboarder Hannah Teter (Feb. 12, 2012)

“Yoga pants, tank top, socks... nowhere to hide aaaanything, but still get the pat down by TSA. Ma’am next time, dinner first, maybe flowers.” – pro wrestler Madison Rayne (Nov. 30, 2011)

“Because I recently tweeted I’m awkward being touched, irony would make sure I was firmly patted down by TSA in the b-cup region today.” – WWE Smackdown diva A.J. Lee (Nov. 28, 2011)

“TSA looked at my butt like it was some foreign object. I had to pull my pants down. Then they asked me what panty brand I had on! WTF” – Playboy model Sandy Garza (March 26, 2012)

“Hey TSA: 75 year old breast cancer survivor just got intrusive pat down at Logan despite going thru fullbody scanner. Why?‪#outraged” – NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell (Feb. 11, 2012)

“#tsa‬. I don’t understand why US airport security has to be the most humiliating in the world” – NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel (Jan. 31, 2012)

Photo (top): Skateboarder Tony Hawk and tweet by Horror Barbecue.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Adam Levine, Kyra Sedgwick, other celebs talk about getting felt up by TSA agents

When public figures get hassled by the TSA, it often makes news and gets people talking about their own experiences with the agency and how worthless it is.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and TV host Geraldo Rivera recently made headlines for their run-ins with TSA agents. Both men were frisked at airports by overzealous screeners.
Last November, I wrote an article listing celebrities who have spoken out against the TSA. They included country singer Miranda Lambert, “Dancing with the Stars” pro Cheryl Burke, actor Sean Penn, actor Alec Baldwin, ex-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, and reality TV stars Jenni “JWoww” Farley and Khloe Kardashian.
Since then, there have been many more examples. What follows are some of them.

Actress Gabrielle Union made news when TSA agents patted down her hair on Feb. 8 and she took to Twitter to complain. (See articles by Us Weekly, the New York Daily News and E Online.)

Rapper 2 Chainz was arrested at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on May 22 after the TSA mistook his four-finger ring for brass knuckles. (See articles by TMZ and Rap-Up.com.)

In a radio interview, actor Charlie Sheen unleashed on the TSA for groping children. (See article at Alex Jones’ Prison Planet.)

Actor Mark Ruffalo was placed on a terror watch list by U.S. officials after organizing screenings for a new documentary about natural gas drilling. He now gets further security checks from airport TSA officials because of his status. (See articles by the Daily Mail and Jaunted.)

Tweets by celebrities groped by the TSA: 

“First time being felt up by a TSA. ‪#uncool” – singer Adam Levine (Jan. 9, 2012)

“The TSA agent just felt my lady parts 5 times...5 TIMES! Is this really what things have come to? It is ridiculous.” – Candace Bailey, actress and host of “Attack of the Show” on G4 (Feb. 5, 2012)

“I think TSA Officer Collins liked my cords, particularly in the groin area, where his hand lingered during “opt-out”. ‪#GotTo3rdBaseWithTSA‬!” – actor Kal Penn (Nov. 27, 2011)

“Just got a pat down by TSA before my flight. Yowza! Very intimate!” – actress Kyra Sedgwick (Feb. 28, 2012)

“Just watched Austin, TX TSA totally grope my 14 year old daughter. I am PISSED!!!” – Megadeth singer and guitarist Dave Mustaine (April 10, 2012)

“Everytime we go thru airport security I feel like we’re being trained to live in a police state. Searching my wife like she’s a terrorist?!?” – rocker Joe Perry (Feb. 5, 2012)

“TSA. No. No. No. You don’t have the authority to do a full pat down on my 3 year old simply bc I opted out of the x ray …” – actress Mayim Bialik (March 9, 2012)

“TSA officer just accidentally brushed my tip during the pat down. He knew & I knew but neither of us said anything ‪#ModernPolite” – actor Seth Green (Jan. 11, 2012)

“I just got pulled over for a pat down by the TSA. It must be my ‪#ExplosiveWeiner” – Pro football hall of famer Thurman Thomas (March 4, 2012)

“If the TSA guy patting me down yells out, “Must be cold in here!” that’s a diss, right?” – singer-songwriter Richard Marx (Feb. 22, 2012)

Photos: Screenshots of TSA rants on Twitter by Adam Levine (top), Candace Bailey and Joe Perry.

Monday, May 21, 2012

McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger with Bacon: Advertising vs. reality

Just the other day I went to McDonald’s and fell victim to misleading advertising.
I saw a poster at the restaurant for McDonald’s new Double Cheeseburger with Bacon. See exhibit A at top.
The sandwich in the poster looks delicious. It’s stacked with toppings, with lots of bacon visible.
Now check out some photos below (exhibits B and C) of the sad-looking sandwich I got. It was flat and ordinary, with just a sliver of bacon showing. Lifting the top, I could find two small pieces of bacon and the whole thing was mashed together in an unappetizing way.
I'm not lovin’ it.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Frisking Henry Kissinger is a joke and doesn’t help make our airports safe

Prominent public figures getting dehumanizing pat downs at U.S. airports has become commonplace.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is the latest such well-known person to be subjected to a frisking by TSA agents.
I’ve been saying for some time that putting celebrities and other public figures through the same airport screening procedures as everybody else is idiotic. The TSA is so scared of being accused of racial profiling or any type of profiling that they will pat down people who pose virtually no risk – children, senior citizens and recognizable celebrities.
The current costly and time-wasting TSA screening methods need to be scrapped. Airport screening should be returned to private contractors and the process for air travelers needs to be sped up and simplified.
At my Tumblr blog Celebrities vs. the TSA, I’ve been documenting the lunacy of the TSA screening procedures. Check out the website for photos of TSA agents frisking the likes of Denise Richards, Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, Chaka Kahn, Mike Ditka and Anna Kournikova. (Update: Tumblr shut down my blog in mid-2013.)
In addition to Kissinger, other public figures who have endured recent TSA pat downs include U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, TV host Geraldo Rivera, supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio and singer and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.
Supermodel Bar Refaeli complained on Twitter about a rough, sexual feel-up by an airport security person, but didn’t identify whether it occurred at a U.S. airport. (She later replied to a tweet by Perez Hilton, who said it occurred in London.)

Photos: A TSA agent pats down singer-actress Jennifer Hudson (top). 

A TSA protest T-shirt from Zazzle (below).

Related stories:

Henry Kissinger gets TSA pat-down (Washington Post; May 14, 2012)

Henry Kissinger praises ‘professionalism and courtesy’ of TSA agents after pat down (The Hill; May 16, 2012)

Geraldo Details Graphic TSA Experience: ‘I Got Manually Raped by a Guy Who…Was Getting Off on it’ (The Blaze; May 11, 2012)

TSA gropes celebrity as revenge for speaking out? (Americans For Constitutional Government Reform; May 14, 2012)

Jennifer Hudson, Bar Refaeli not happy with airport screenings (MSNBC; April 18, 2012)

Bar Refaeli: An Airport Security Officer Groped Me (Huffington Post; April 18, 2012)

Israeli Supermodel Decries Woman Who Gave Airport Patdown: ‘Left No Doubt About Her Sexual Preferences’ (The Blaze; April 18, 2012)

Bar Refaeli Gets Felt Up & Patted Down At The Airport! (Coco Perez; April 17, 2012)

Friday, May 18, 2012

TV shows and advertisements tap into citizen hatred of the TSA

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is a frequent target of criticism by government watchdogs and citizens’ rights groups. It also has been lampooned by the entertainment and advertising industries.
Prime-time cartoons “South Park” and “The Simpsons” have taken aim at the TSA this season. A villain on the sci-fi drama “Fringe” turned out to be a TSA agent. The lead characters of the NBC comedy “Up All Night” endured the indignities of a TSA screening this season. And Barney Stinson (portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris) on the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” also faced off with the TSA on a recent episode.
The TSA has been parodied by comedians on “Saturday Night Live” and “Conan.” It has been mocked in music videos (Sean Paul’s “She Doesn’t Mind”), porn parodies (“TSA: Your Ass Is In Our Hands”) and commercials for everything from chocolates to power tools.
For a sampling of advertisements that have portrayed the TSA in an unflattering light, check out this post on One Stop Video.
It’s a case of art imitating life. Creative professionals are tapping into citizen outrage over the TSA and its procedures for a laugh or to get people to think and take action.
In December 2010, I did a roundup of the funniest TSA parody videos at the time. As long as the TSA exists, it will continue to be a target of the entertainment and ad industries, because artists know it’s a hot button for viewers.

Photos:

“South Park” parodied the TSA in the episode “Reverse Cowgirl.” (Top)

“The Simpsons” also took on the TSA this season.

The NBC comedy “Up All Night” made fun of the TSA in an episode titled “Travel Day.”

The Fox sci-fi drama “Fringe” featured an evil TSA agent in one episode this season.

Barney Stinson, played by Neil Patrick Harris, squared off with the TSA recently on “How I Met Your Mother.”

Olivia is searched by airport screeners in the children’s book “Olivia Goes to Venice” (2010).

Actress Pamela Anderson as an abusive, but hot TSA agent, in a PETA advertisement titled “Cruelty Doesn’t Fly.” (See video here. And read articles about the controversial animal rights video on Ace Show Biz and the Boston Herald.)

Hustler takes on the TSA in the porn movie “TSA: Your Ass Is In Our Hands” (2011).
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