Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hours of Crime TV Everyweek: 2011 Edition

I ran a post, exactly a year ago which captured the fascination with crime television in America. Crime television can take a lot of different formats, but in the broadest sense, I can't think of a single type of television prime time drama more popular.

Looking at this year's pilot television and what's been renewed for another season, here is the list of new fall seasons of crime.

This list does not account for affiliate networks that might error reruns of previous seasons.

Last year's list captured 35 different crime series, this year I was able to put together a list of 40 shows that met this criteria of crime, police, agency TV.

Here's a look at crime/police/agency related television you can watch this fall, it's hours of crime, murder & suspects every week:

  • Alcatraz (Fox, New Mid-Season Replacement)

  • Blue Bloods (CBS, 2010-present)

  • Body of Proof (ABC, 2011-present)

  • Bones (Fox, 2005-present)

  • Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008-present)

  • Burn Notice (USA, 2007-present)

  • Castle (ABC, 2009-present)

  • Charlie's Angeles (ABC, NEW)

  • Chuck (NBC, 2007-present)

  • COPS (Fox, 1989-present)

  • Covert Affairs (USA, 2010-present)

  • The Closer (TNT, 2005-present)

  • Criminal Minds (CBS, 2005-present)

  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 2000-present)

  • CSI: Miami (CBS, 2002-present)

  • CSI: NY (CBS, 2004-present)

  • Dexter (Showtime, 2006-present)

  • The Finder (Fox, New Mid-season Replacement)

  • Fringe (Fox, 2008-present)

  • The First 48 (A&E, 2004-present)

  • Grimm (NBC, NEW)

  • Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, 2010-present)

  • Human Target (Fox, 2010-2011)

  • In Plain Sight (USA, 2008-present)

  • Justified (FX, 2010-present)

  • The Killing (AMC, 2011-present)

  • Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit (1999-present)

  • Memphis Beat (TNT, 2010-present)

  • The Mentalist (CBS, 2008-present)

  • NCIS (CBS, 2003-present)

  • NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, 2009-present)

  • Nikita (CW, 2010-present)

  • Psych (USA, 2006-present)

  • Rizzoli & Isles (TNT, 2010-present)

  • Rookie Blue (ABC, 2010-present)

  • Southland (ABC 2009, TNT 2010-present)

  • Person of Interest (CBS, NEW)

  • Prime Suspect (NBC, NEW)

  • Unforgettable (CBS, NEW)

  • White Collar (USA, 2009-present)

Shows From 2010's list that have ended/been canceled:

  • Chase (NBC, 2010-2011)

  • Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (CBS, 2010-2011)

  • Dark Blue (TNT, 2009-2010)

  • Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC, 2010-2011)

  • Human Target (Fox, 2010-2011)

  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC, 2001-2007; USA, 2007-2011)

  • Law & Order: LA (NBC, 2010-2011)

  • Lie to Me (Fox, 2009-2011)

  • Medium (NBC 2005-2009; CBS 2009-2011)

  • The Chicago Code [Ride-Along] (FOX, 2010-2011)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bored at Borders - Revisited

In August 2008 the economy was melting down, but the crazy events that would transpire just months later hadn't occured yet. Yet, in August 2008 I was writing about Borders bookstore and a change in the way I felt about the store.

I would have had no idea that a couple years later they would enter bankruptcy and be sold to a liquidation company through the bankruptcy courts.

Today, the discussion around a major retailer like Borders closing center around new media and economic down turn.

While new media and economic down turn combined is clearly one explination (and the easiest) for why the Border's brand has failed, but I was talking about this before, and at least economic down turn had no impact on my general disinterest in with brand.

I wanted to revisit my 2008 post titled "Bored at Borders." In the post, I don'tt come to any final conclusions or explinations about my growing disinterest, but in discussing the rise of Borders and Barnes and Nobles (along with my bordom) I drew out the following potential reasons why I didn't enjoy Borders Bookstores like I previously had.

I have to wonder if beyond new media and economic down turn if these reasons also should be part of the conversation:

  • A market full of gimmicky books

  • Overblown advertisement for fad novels and movies

  • Online sites recommend to me what I might be interested in, creating a different browsing habits

  • Online pricing beats big box retailers

Just some thoughts, three years following the previous post about my thoughts on the retailer, with an image in the post of a liquidated Media Play story, a similar retailer that also rose and fell.

I think limiting the conversation about store failures to technology and general economic data might limit the opportunity from missing some other lessons that can be learned in these company closures.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Graham Cracker Crumbs

Graham Crackers: We're Always Crushing Them Up

I can't think of another product quite like graham crackers.

There's no other cracker, cookie, chip that we crunch up as much as graham crackers.

I write this not doing research, but just with the experience and knowledge that it seems like at some point every year I'm crushing up graham crackers.

Occasionally, I crunch up some Oreos or chocolate wafer cookies - but graham crackers take the cake.

This past weekend my wife was making a cheese cake and I was the official graham-cracker-cruncher. I thought to myself - why don't they just sell graham cracker crumbs themselves instead. It probably wouldn't be an extra production cost other than new exterior packaging. I'd think you'd just have to sweep the floor at the graham cracker factory and throw it in a bag.

So, when I bought graham crackers the other day, I actually bought two packages. Each package had a recipe on it (neither, for graham cracker crust). One recipe was for crunchy ice cream topping (with a graham cracker crumb base). The other recipe was for graham cracker cookies (also with a graham cracker crumb base).

The Crumb Product DOES Exist

Well, I did a little online searching and apparently you can buy graham cracker crumbs - but clearly, these recipes indicate that most people are probably crunching them up themselves (I checked my local store, and they don't sell this crumb product).

But, I know for certain, I have never bought the crumbs themselves. I have bought a pre-made pie shell, but not the crumbs in a box. Nor do I think I've ever seen this product available despite it's existence.

What is a Graham Cracker and the Graham Diet

But this online searching lead me to ask even the most basic question, "What's a graham cracker?" since the first ingredient is wheat, why in the world are we grinding this thing up in the first place.

This little graham cracker search led me to learn all about Reverend Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister who invented the graham cracker as part of the Graham Diet that was a unique form of puritanical vegetarianism that was designed to ward off bad thoughts and sexual urges. Which his food philosophies among other influences crept into the thoughts of two brothers Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and Will Keith Kellogg, who's religious and health roots led them to create corn flakes, a food that stemmed from the Graham Diet.

Honestly, you read this well over a century later when graham crackers and corn flakes continue to be a part of the American food experience and you could hardly believe the origins, religious roots, and initial intentions behind these products.

And I sense that the current graham cracker is a little more flavorful than Rev. Graham's initial design, and he certainly wouldn't like that I crunched it up, added a little sugar and butter to make a cheese cake crust.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jobs, Steve Jobs

Anytime I turn on the news, it seems like there's a good dose of "business intrigue." Somehow the drama of business, while serious is more exciting then the old hat stories of political drama that most people seem to find more disheartening than news worthy.

Business news seems like it has faces, personalities, and characters.

Thank about this weeks main characters: Warren Buffet and his personal Bank of America bailout or the retirement of Steve Jobs (and the new CEO, Tim Cooke), and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz gets political by encouraging businesses not to donate to political campaigns.

One of things that we learned from The Social Network is that pop business can be intriguing film, because frankly how all the different story lines of business come together is plot, climax, and an opportunity for drama.

I laughed initially at the idea of a Mark Zuckerberg Facebook film, but it was one of my favorites of the year by the time it came to theaters.

The political film has long been a staple of the film industry, but I think the real life business story has a place too.

I think there would be a number of people who would love to see a movie about Steve Jobs. Or Howard Schultz, or Warren Buffet.

Other recent character bios that are film worthy include Bernie Madoff, Meg Whitman, Sergey Brin & Larry Page, Sam Walton and family, Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Ingvar Kamprad, Ruport Murdoch, Phil Knight, Jack Dorsey or Walt Disney.

If it's done right, I'll show up to the Steve Jobs movie.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I wanted to title this post "Clint Eastwood is Eighty."

But I didn't because....

You might think this is a post about it being Clint Eastwood's birthday (which it's not) and actually Clint Eastwood is 81 years old (birthday May 31, 1930).

So, why did I title my post "Eighty" and paste up a picture of Clint Eastwood (in younger days).

Because Clint Eastwood's age starts with an 8 - and he's still churning out movie after movie like there's no tomorrow, and frankly I find it pretty incredible.

This year, Clint Eastwood directs J.Edgar (his tenth film in ten years). I can hardly get over it.

Clint Eastwood is already the oldest winning best director winner (Million Dollar Baby, he was 74), and the oldest nominee is John Huston (he was 79 when he was nominated for Prizzi's Honor in 1986).

So the fact that Clint Eastwood is doing "buzz worthy work" (even though some recent efforts have had both praise and detractors), at eighty (or eighty-one in his case), I'm amazed.

There's something very exciting about the thought of creating as he is doing at in his eighties.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Time for a Modern Kramer v Kramer - The Story of the No Marriage Baby

Brad Wilcox, a report co-author and head of the National Marriage Project, says divorce rates have steadily dropped since their peak in 1979-80, while rates of out-of-wedlock childbearing have soared. Forty-one percent of all births are now to unwed mothers, many of them living with — but not married to — the child's father.

Wilcox notes that the iconic 1979 movie of the divorce revolution, Kramer vs. Kramer, is no longer emblematic of the drama facing families today.

"It'd be Kramer vs. Kramer vs. Johnson and Nelson," he says with a small laugh. "We're moving into a pattern where we're seeing more instability, more adults moving in and out of the household in this relationship carousel."

--From the NPR stroy "Study: Are Cohabiting Parents Bad For Kids?" by Jennifer Ludden

The NPR story about the new study was just fascinating to me. My wife and I both heard it this morning during our morning commute and were floored. 41% of all births to unwed mothers.

Now, I'm sure with statistics that high many people who for various reasons have made a conscious choice to enter relationships and have kids out of wedlock might have found this news story based on the University of Virginia study offensive, but I think as a cultural trend it's phenomenal.

Numbers like that certainly mean that there will be a social impact. This impacts schools, this impacts families, this impacts the relationship of our children will have with other children, and the relationship standards they will have in the future.

I'm not sure what the impact of popular culture might have on this topic, because it seems to me that pop culture has been already been weighing in with an opposite message - messages that say do what you want, what's satisfying, meaningful, you are your own person and you don't need conventional marriage to have a satisfying family, including children.

So, I will wait for the new movie that changes the tide, but I can tell you looking at this year's line up - it's not coming.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Reel People: Matt Damon is Benjamin Mee

The movie is We Bought a Zoo. We Bought a Zoo is based on the memoir We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals that Changed Their Lives Forever by Benjamin Mee. The film is directed by Cameron Crowe, with a screenplay adaptation by Cameron Crowe and romantic-comedy screenwriter Aline Brosh.

Benjamin Mee

Benjamin Mee was a freelance writer for the Guardian writing do it yourself articles for the Guardian UK, as well as his own book published in 2005: The Call of DIY: A Toolkit of Practical Wisdom.

After living in England for most of his life, his wife Katherine and their two young children (Milo & Ella) moved to the French countryside where there family took on a substantial remodel of a property and tried to live the simple life. They had married in 2004 after being together for nine years.

It was during this time that two big events happened in the life of Benjamin's family. His wife, Katherine Mee, was diagnosed with brain cancer when a life threatening tumor was discovered. The other event was that his father died, leaving his mother (mum) Amelia a widow living alone.

In the midst of these events, and particularly with the death of his father, that Benjamin Mee encountered that the struggling Dartmoor Zoological Park was up for sale (his sister Melissa sent him the sale information in the mail with a note "your dream scenario" attached.).

The struggling zoo was in disrepair, and while Mee had no zoological experience, he was intrigued by the very large "do-it-yourself" effort, and saw the park as an opportunity for him and his family to be closer together, particularly so that Benjamin could be close to his mom.

October 20 2006, Ben's 76-year-old mother, brother Duncan, wife and children (Milo, aged six, and Ella, four) had bought the park and moved into the 12 bedroom house on the 30 acre property, buying the house with the proceeds from selling there mom's house. They had 10 days of zoo running cost in the bank. (The cost of buying the zoo was 1.1 million pounds).

After a struggle to get finances in order, the zoo repaired, enclosures updated, and appropriate staff, the zoo would open up to the public in July, 2007. Prior to the zoo opening though the Mee's met another struggle with the death of Katherine.

After the return of the brain tumor in early 2007, Katherine experienced a steep decline in health and died March 31, 2007 despite every attempt to bring her back to health through traditional and experimental treatment options.

Yet, the zoo still opened, with a rebranding (a name change from Dartmoor Wildlife Park to Dartmoor Zoological Park), as well as some added boost from a four part documentary series aired on BBC Two called "Ben's Zoo" which ran towards the end of 2007.

The zoo remains open today owned by the Mee's where he lives with his brother Duncan, mother, and raisees his two children.

Benjamin Mee wrote his book We Bought a Zoo, which was purchased in 2009 by 20th Century Fox film studios to be made into a feature length film.

We Bought A Zoo

In addition to Matt Damon playing Benjamin Mee, other star cast fills out the film. For roles of his family members, Thomas Haden Church plays the part of Duncan Mee, and Stephanie Szostak plays the part of Katherine Mee.

It would appear that the names of the Mee children have been changed in the film to Dylan and Rosie played by Colin Ford and Maggie Elizabeth Jones.

Scarlett Johansson plays what seems to be a lead role in the film as Kelly Foster, the park's caretaker who had been at the park prior to Mee's purchase, and Elle Fanning plays the part of Lily, Foster's niece.

Patrick Fugit plays the part of handyman Robin Jones.

Matt Damon's not a stranger to biographic films, and with a prime award season release date, I can't help but ask if Matt Damon will receive an Oscar nomination (and maybe even a win) for his portrayal of this Real (Reel) Person.

A Saturday Morning Play List

Here's a Saturday morning play list that just happens to end with songs at the end titled "Work" and "Home."

Pictured is the band Harsh Krieger who pick up the #1 spot in today's Saturday play list.

10. "Bright Lights" by Well Behaved and Working For You
9. "Lazy Eye" by Silversun Pickups
8. "All Around Me" by David Crowder Band
7. "All the Right Moves" by One Republic
6. "You Only Live Once" by The Strokes
5. "Daylight" by Matt & Kim
4. "You & I" by Future of Forrestry
3. "All These Things I've Done" by The Killers
2. "Work" by Jimmy Eats World
1. "Home" by Harsh Krieger

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So You Think You Can Be the Next Top Accounting Star?

We all know there is a lot of reality shows, but I'm sure network executives are trying to dream up the next big thing.

A lot of professional based shows have formed around arts and entertainment (Making the Band, American Idol, Nashville Star, Kings of Comedy, Project Runway, The Next Food Network Star, The Voice, etc.), not to mention shows that also feature realestate agents, cupcake artists, movies, home designers, and hot lunch cars. And of course, don't forget the Apprentice.

Yet, we don't need more singers and dancers, but maybe it's time for reality shows around these positions. If you read and think "he's got to be joking." Well...the truth is I am. So, Imagine away.

How about competion style programs around these positions?

  • Accounting

  • Bank Branch Manager

  • Blogger

  • Car Salesman

  • Electrician

  • Farmer

  • Hotel Manager

  • Kiosk Owner

  • Librarian

  • News Journalism

  • Mayor

  • Paramedic

  • Plumber

  • Postman

  • Sixth Grade Teacher

  • Toy Salesman

  • Unemployed

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Melon Talk: Santa Claus Melon

Introduced this series with the canary melon, but today we talk about the Santa Claus Melon. This melon, also called a Piel de Sapo ("Toad Skin") is a unique melon worth trying.

Before cutting in we let the melon guessing begin - and it seemed pretty clear that with the name Santa Claus we could only expect it insides the be bright Christmas red.

But look at the final image in this post below, and you will see whether that pans out...

Red...not even close, kind of a fleshy translucent cream color. Certainly not white.

You will find the Santa Claus melon has the taste of a cantaloupe, but the juicy translucent sweet flesh of a watermelon.

The seeds are centrally located like a cantaloupe as well - easy to scoop out giving you a decent amount of sweet fleshy fruit to enjoy.

But why it's called Santa Claus melon, I have no idea. But feel free to come up with an explanation (real or imaginary) if you wish.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Cameron Crowe - Will This Director Finally Be Invited to Join the Club?

When it comes to directors with name recognizably, Cameron Crowe would certainly has some name traction, for work that at times has balanced itself somewhere between popular filmography and critically embraced.

Cameron Crowe has been nominated for three Oscars (a screenplay and best picture nomination for Jerry Maguire, and he won for Best original screenplay for Almost Famous), but never received a nomination for directing, making you wonder if this year could be the year they let him "join the club."

Previous film efforts with Crowe as director:

  • Elizabethtown (2005)

  • Vanilla Sky (2001) [1 Oscar nomination, Best Original Song

  • Almost Famous (2000) [4 Oscar nominations: 2 supporting actress nods, editing, and won best original screenplay]

  • Jerry Maguire (1996) [5 Oscar nominations: best picture, original screenplay, editing, lead actor, and won supporting actor, Cuba Gooding Jr]

  • Singles (1992)

  • Say Anything (1989)

Will Cameron Crowe be invited to "join the club" with an Academy Award for his 2011 effort We Bought A Zoo?
Crowe's film is a little different from his most praised works because the screenplay is adapted, and while Crowe's hands are still on the script, the story is not in own. Instead it's source material is the memoir We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee.

This will either be a really great new move for Crowe, perhaps allowing the story to be separated from his previous work, or then again - the source material might mean that Crowe isn't able to fold in well crafted memorable lines, scenes, and human moments.

It's hard to tell how We Bought A Zoo fits into the landscape of the upcoming year, but at this point, the buzz behind the film is positive in pre-release and maybe people will be talking about Crowe more as the director of a powerful film than a smart writer.


Previous directors in this series who have joined the club:- David Fincher (post from 2008, since then has received two director Oscar nods)
- Darren Aronofsky (post from 2008, Aronofsky was nominated in 2011 for Black Swan)

Previous directors in this series who still have not joined the club:- Cristopher Nolan (post from 2008, since then two more nods, but not for directing)
- Edward Zwick (post from 2008, and additional 2010 post, still no additional nominations)

Melon Talk: Canary Melon

My Little Melon Adventure

At our regular neighborhood grocery store there is always crates full of Watermelon scattered out front and inside the produce section. Cantaloupes get a little section somewhere in the middle of the produce section, and maybe there's some Honeydew Melon's hanging near by.

Occasionally, during peak season there will be a Melon bucket of obscure and random melons.

But when I go to a different market, that I prefer, one with more "earthy values" the melons, although not adorned with a fancy display, are further separated, labeled, and reasonably priced.

So I decided, it was time to delve into the world of melons. And so I decided to share some of my discoveries here with you, in hopes you might decide to go on your own little melon adventure.

Canary Melon

Pictured above, is a Canary Melon. I have purposely put the dissected image in the bottom of this post so that if you have self control, you can revisit the top picture and imagine "what is a canary melon like? What color is it inside? What doe the seeds look like, etc."

With the name canary melon we were not surprised that the inside was light colored, but I think I was surprised at just how creamy white the insides were.

I love this melon. The texture is firm like a cantaloupe (maybe even firmer), but so sweet. Sweet like sugary water, and a little creamy notch of sweetness above honeydew.

The seeds scoop out, you're left with tons of delicious melon and it's just fabulous. Hooray for Canary Melon. Plus, the kids love it too.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

George Clooney's Every Other Year Trend to Continue?

Geroge Clooney has sort of started a pattern where he gets an Oscar nomination for acting every couple years. He got his first nod in 2005 (a handful), including his first acting nomination for his role in Syriana. In fact he won.

Two years later he was nominated for the first time as a lead actor for the 2007 film Michael Clayton.

Two years later he was nominated again for the 2009 film Up In the Air.

So will he continue this every other year pattern?

Clooney who is in two potentially critically favored films, Ides of March and The Descendants, which will be released later this year, and I don't think it's a stretch to consider Clooney a favorite for a nomination for his lead role as a father who has to care for his two daughters, and deal with other baggage after his wife slips into a coma.

Who knows about Ides of March - but at this point the buzz seems in favor of other performances (like Ryan Gosling as lead actor, and Phillip Seymore Hoffman, supporting).

Now, it's another story with The Descendants. This seems like the type of role, project, director that gets an actor nominated.

Watching the preview, it'd be easy to argue Clooney is just repeating his performance and persona of previous roles...but those previous roles he seems to draw on are similar to what we've seen in Up In The Air and Michael Clayton. He's not drawing on Dodge Connelly from Leatherheads or Danny Ocean from the Ocean Eleven this is Clooney doing what Oscar has honored before.

Clooney seems like a strong potential to score a spot as one of the 5 Best Actor nominees for this upcoming award season.

So...maybe we should also start paying attention to what Clooney's doing in 2013?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Random Children's Book Illustration: Lily's Big Day

I find this a very random children's Book Illustration, Lilly's Big Day by Kevin Henkes. The dad's ying-yang T-shirt, bottle of alcohol, and wine glasses behind his back.