iTunes

For a first time podcaster I think he is doing a fine job. This is an enjoyable podcast to listen to with some interesting points of view. Whether you agree with any of the content or not, it is one person’s take on a variety of issues. I definitely enjoy hearing what is instore for every new podcast and can’t wait to see how this evolves. If you only listen to this once, it is something you should try before moving on to another podcast. Even a Yankee fan can enjoy listening to a Red Sox every now and then.

4 stars out of 5

by South of Boston -December 5th, 2009

I have been waiting and waiting and I finally received the first review of my podcast in iTunes. Well, here it is! One review! An empire is built one stone at a time isn’t it? Wow, my first review! Can’t you see this snowballing into a multi-media empire? Howard Stern who? Sirius/XM HERE I COME!!!! Let’s take a look at the timetable:

  • October 28, 2009: Where Icarus Flies goes live and my first podcast is posted. Multiple episodes ensue.
  • October 30, 2009: First comment on the Where Icarus Flies blog by Kevin Crossman
  • November 12, 2009: Joey Hoover joins show on our 3rd episode. Hilarity ensues and we would never be the same again.
  • November 13, 2009: Joey gets a “Twittah” account.
  • November 18, 2009: WhereIF has it’s first retweet (RT) regarding the podcast by @kevincrossman.
  • December 5, 2009: Our first review is posted in iTunes by South of Boston. The positive buzz it generates is incalculable!
  • December 11, 2009: Additional iTunes reviews begin poring in!
  • December 14, 2009: Where Icarus Flies is top link on Digg and #WhereIF becomes a top Trending Topic on Twitter!
  • December 21, 2009: The Where Icarus Flies buzz is felt all over The Net. Where Icarus Flies is featured on ABC KGOTV, Channel 7, 6pm and 11pm newscasts.
  • December 22, 2009: NBC KNTV, Channel 11 and FOX KTVU, Channel 2 also have feature stories.
  • December 23, 2009: OK Magazine interviews Joey for the January edition.
  • December 27, 2009: Where Icarus Flies tops Bing, Yahoo! and Google’s revised top searches for 2009
  • December 30, 2009: Bill & Joey appear on NBC’s The Today Show. Joey begins dating Meredith Vieira who leaves her husband of 20+ years, Richard Cohen.
  • December 31, 2009: Joey breaks up with Meredith Vieira after he realizes she is not Katie Couric. Bill & Joey become the new hosts of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (now called WhereIF Rocks the New Year). Ryan Seacrest is outraged and decides to quit American Idol and live on a mountain in Tibet. Dick Clark doesn’t seem to notice.
  • January 4-8, 2010: Bill & Joey make the rounds, appearing on Connan, Leno, Letterman, Kimmel & Fallon.
  • January 12, 2010: Bill takes over as the host of American Idol. Joey begins dating Kara Dioguardi, who ends her 7 month marriage to Mike McCuddy.
  • January 22, 2010: Joey becomes both a columnist for ESPN’s Page 2 and an anchor for Sports Center.
  • January 25, 2010: Joey breaks up with Kara Dioguardi. She dives into deep depression and must be removed form American Idol. Joey takes over as the new 4th judge.
  • January 26, 2010: Bill is hired as a voice actor on The Simpsons & Family Guy.
  • January 30, 2010: Bill & Joey host SNL. Joey begins dating Kristen Wiig.
  • February 2, 2010: Joey breaks up with Kristen Wiig after realizing that she is not Amy Adams.
  • February, 4 2010: Bill appears on Larry King and Joey appears on The View. Joey begins dating Elisabeth Hasselbeck who leaves husband Tim Hasselbeck.
  • February 7, 2010: Bill & Joey become the new CBS Sports Superbowl booth duo. The game is a dream come true as an improbable Patriots victory over the Saints, 40-34.
  • February 8, 2010: Joey breaks up with Elisabeth Hasselbeck after he realizes he broke up a relationship between two BC Eagles.
  • February 10, 2010: Joey counsels Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Tim Hasselbeck back together. They thank him with lifetime tickets to The Beanpot in the BC section.
  • February 12, 2010: Bill & Joey attend the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver, Canada. Bill is given the honor of lighting the Olympic Cauldron!
  • February 13, 2010: Bill & Joey are asked to visit the White House and have lunch with the President and First Lady. Joey begins dating Kristen Jarvis (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady).
  • February 17, 2010: TMZ posts pictures of Joey with Rachel Uchitel and Nicole Bobek. Scandal ensues after TMZ reports Bobek is on bail for a methamphetamine bust in July. Joey denies any drug involvement.  Kristen Jarvis stops taking calls from Joey.
  • February 20, 2010: Bill and a very emotional Joey Hoover sit with Barbara Walters in a new 90-minute special. Joey clears his name.
  • February 25, 2010: Joey appears on Oprah and Bill appears on Ellen. Joey cries a lot and gets a makeover while Bill has fun in a guest chef segment with Ellen.
  • March 1, 2010: Bill & Joey enter into discussion with Sirius/XM for a Where Icarus Flies show and channel.
  • March 7, 2010: Bill & Joey host the 82nd Academy Awards. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are stunned at the last minute change. Highest rated Oscar broadcast in 30 years. Joey begins dating Jennifer Aniston.
  • March 10, 2010: Sirius/XM sign Bill & Joey for an undisclosed amount ($120 million).
  • March 13. 1010: Joey beats the crap out of Brad Pitt for his treatment of Jennifer. Joey is heard screaming, “Fight Club this bitch!” Brad understands and is sorry. Bill and Joey are brought into the inner circle of Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
  • March 20, 2010: Where Icarus Flies goes live on Sirius/XM to overwhelming critical success. Brad Pitt is their first live guest. After the show, Bill & his family, Joey & Jen, Brad & George fly off to Clooney’s estate in Italy. Angelina is pissed she does not get an invite. They all have a great time!

Wow! All of this because of my first review on iTunes! I can’t wait!!!

I would love for you to add a review of my podcast in iTunes.

Bill

2

Dec

by WhereIF

Neverwhere: A NovelThis is another stellar job by Neil Gaiman! American Gods was my fist serious foray into the world of Neil Gaiman. I fell in love and it was moved into the category of one of the best books that I had ever read. When it came to Neverwhere, I had already read a handful of Gaiman’s other works. Although I enjoyed everything I have read from him, I was not sure I would enjoy a book as much as I enjoyed American Gods.

Anansi Boys was also quite good, but Neverwhere had a different feel to it than the other works of his that I read. Oh, Neverwhere is distinctly Gaiman, but at the same time he takes you in a different direction. You can see the influences Neverwhere had on both American Gods and Anansi Boys. As much as I revere American Gods, for me, it is not a re-read novel. I’ll certainly return to it again one day. Neverwhere, however, is for me, a novel that will not get old.

I grew up enjoying roll playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons, Gamma World, Twilight 2000 and Call of Cthulhu. I thought that Neverwhere had a real RPG feel to it. I could easily see this as a much better RPG than Call of Cthulhu.  Hmmm, a new business opportunity. 😉

The Marquis de Carabas is an excellent character and has now become one of my favorite literary figures of all-time! The duo of Mr. Croup and Vandemar are also a treat. I’d love for Gaiman to explore more of the world of London Below. It would also be interesting to know what became of Richard Mayhew. Since reading I have heard rumor and conjecture that there will either be a sequel or a companion novel set in the world of London Below, although it will likely be in a different “Below” setting (meaning, not London but some other city’s Below world). I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

WhereIF Rating: 5 sets of wings out of 5, our highest possible rating!

5 of 5

Einstein: His Life and UniverseI had put off reading this for a long time. Einstein is someone I am interested in, but enough to read an entire biography? WOW was I surprised how good this book was! If you think this book is all about physics and relativity, you are wrong.

Einstein was a complex, loving, flawed, amazing individual. From his boyhood in Germany through his struggles in Switzerland back to Germany to his eventual residence in America at Princeton University, Walter Isaacson brings us on an incredible journey into the life and mind of a seminal character in our human evolution. We learn of his politics, faith, cultural impact, philosophy of science, lustrous affairs, powers of abstraction, secret daughter and how he helped shape science for the rest of human history. All while dealing with rockstar fame in the second half of his life!

Seriously, I really didn’t think I would get drawn into this book as much as I did. Einstein’s personal life was fascinating. Did you know he was asked to be President of Israel? For those who are interested in his science and theories, that is in the book as well. The book takes us through Einstein’s major thought experiments, his Theory of GEneral Relativity, Theory of Special Relativity and more. Isaacson has the ability to give us Einstein’s science in a manageable and understandable way. You will not get lost in Physics while reading this book.

Einstein: His Life and Universe should not be missed. Learning about the humanity of one of the foremost minds the Earth has produced is worth the time.

WhereIF Rating: 5 sets of wings out of 5, our highest possible rating.

5 of 5

16

Nov

by WhereIF

Twilight PosterAs we approach the release of the next movie in the Twilight saga, let me post a review I wrote and posted on Facebook back in August after I finally watched the Twilight movie with my wife. I have updated and added some content to my original review.

First let me start by stating three things:

  • I have not read the books, remember this is just a review of the movie, not the books
  • I understand I am not the target audience
  • The book is normally better than the movie (not always, just read the abysmal Chronicles of Narnia series and you’ll see how much better the movies have been)

This was a horrible movie from start to finish. I am not interested in hearing about how much better the books were. I will concede that the books are probably really good. One day I’ll take a stab at them, but I have other books on my list first.

Given #3 above, there have been movies that have been pretty darn good based on really good books. Where did Twilight go wrong? I think we could spend all day picking the movie apart, so here is my list of the big problems with this movie:

1. The Cast

I did not like he casting at all. Bella (Kristen Stewart) was awful. I will say that over the course of the movie she grew on me. By the end she was not annoying me as much as in the beginning.

Edward (Robert Pattinson) was abysmal. Not only was he an awful actor, but he is not good looking. He had some kind of Johnny Depp 21 Jumpstreet wannabe kind of look going on. I don’t have a problem going with no-name actors, but he was the best they could find?

The rest of the cast was mainly just as bad. James (Cam Gigandet) cold have been a great character in the movie, but he was wasted (he was Twilight’s Darth Maul). Jessica (Anna Kendrick) was the only other character in the movie I liked. She played her part well, although that is not saying much.

2. The Acting (see the cast, above)

3. The Screenplay/Directing/Editing

The books may be great, but the writing for the movie was terrible. The plot didn’t move along it was just pushed along by various scene cuts. This Perfect Storm of bad Screenplay/Directing/Editing is probably to blame for a lot of the poor acting, let’s face it, the actors didn’t have much to work with. That being said, it was still poor casting (Edward).

I understand that it is all but impossible to capture the book completely without making a 6 hour opus, but the screenplay really missed the mark. How do I know this without reading the book? My wife made sure to tell me while we were watching the movie! Every 10-15 minutes she gave a groan and said something like, “That is not how it happened” or “They messed that part up.” This was the 3rd time my wife watched the movie and she has read the complete series of books three times as well (including the version of Twilight written from Edward’s point of view).

A good comparison to give us some context: Look at the DaVinci Code. For my money, a decent movie. Did it do the book justice? No. The first 15 minutes of the movie took 20+ chapters to tell in the book. Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings are some recent examples of really good book adaptations for the silver screen. It can be done.

4. The Romance

So, I was told the romance should have carried the story. Due to #1, #2 and #3 above, there was no believable romance for me. I am a sappy, romance movie liker. It wasn’t there. My wife told me that the scene in the movie where they lie down in the field was a huge, awesome part of the book. In the move it just plain missed. Bella and Edward did not connect on screen. EVER!

Conclusion

So, all-in-all, it was a pretty poor movie. Given that it has vampires in it, it should be inherently cool. If the books had not been a phenomenon this movie would have flopped and no talk of a second one would be out there. I am also not a tweener or a Gen X mom, so this movie was not targeting me, so it wasn’t likely to resonate well with me anyway.

Another possibility I still have to keep in mind… When I finally do ready the books someday, I may find that they really weren’t that good either. That is a review for another time. Until then , I will go with the assumption that they were as good as people (the Gen X moms I know) say.

Now, I noticed they canned the director of the first movie and hired someone else for New Moon, which comes out this weekend. I have to say, the previews seem decent. New Moon has the potential to shed the stink of Twilight. I’ll let my wife watch it two or three times before I give it a go. 🙂

Twilight did give me the opportunity to insert a new phrase into my repertoire, “Wow, that was Twilight bad!”

Where Icarus Flies Review: 1/2 of a set of wings out of 5 (our lowest rating possible)

angel-wings-half

V RebootIt has almost been a week since ABC broadcast the reboot pilot for V (for those not in the know, that is an uppercase letter V not the roman numeral 5). This has given me time to digest the pilot episode and give a fair review. Before I get there, let me give some very brief background on the various V series. I do not intend to write plot summaries, except a brief one for the first mini-series, in order to set the stage.

The Original Mini-Series

In 1983, NBC release a two night mini-series, V (for simplicity, I will call this V:The Original for the remainder of this post). V:The Original was the brainchild of writer, producer and director Kenneth Johnson. It is about an alien race, which call themselves “The Visitors,” who come to Earth pretending to be our friends and who need our help to revive their ailing homeworld, but who ultimately want to enslave humanity and take over the planet. Humans are mostly a food source for The Visitors. A news journalist camera man, Mike Donovan (who is played by none other than The Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer) discovers The Visitor’s secret and with others, tries to warn the world. In the meantime, The Visitors turn the world into a Nazi Germany type place, turing family against family and using the children to start a Nazi like Visitor Youth squad.

Were the special effects cheese? Yes (by our current standards, anyway). Was it more like a Soap Opera? Yes. Was it wonderful? Hell yes!

The Final Battle

V:The Original was very popular. According to Joe Flint and the Los Angeles Times, V:The Original posted a 25.4 Nielsen Rating. Although that does not crack the top 100 ratings of all time, it is still a very good rating. To put that into perspective, TV’s current #1 Show, NCIS, generally gets a 10-12 Nielsen rating each week. Due to this popularity, Kenneth Johnson produced V:The Final Battle in 1984. It was set a few months after V:The Original and had all the main stars back in their roles for the three night event. After searching hi and low, I could not find information on ratings for this, but I remember it to have not been awesome but also not embarrassing. In my memory it was decent and most folks thought the same.

The TV Series

Due to the popularity of V:The Original and V:The Final Battle, NBC decided to make a TV series in 1984-1985. Although I personally enjoyed the series, I will admit it was ill-concieved and was ultimately cancelled. Kenneth Johnson was not involved with the weekly series and it was a shock to the producers that the show was cancelled. Instead of trying to wrap-up the show quickly for the fan’s sake, the season ended in a cliff hanger, which was never resolved.

On a side note, in 2008 Kenneth Johnson released the novel V:The Second Generation. Set 20 years after V:The Original, it disregards both V:The Final Battle and the original V:The Series.

ABC’s Reboot

Although some reboots have been successful, the new Battlestar Galactica and J.J. Abrhams’ Star Trek come to mind as recent examples. Far more remakes and reboots have been awful, The Bionic Woman and Knight Rider jump out as present-day failures. I won’t get started on the parade of horrific movies made from old TV series.

So, what about ABC’s offering (which I will call V:The Reboot)? Let me start with a couple of quotes from friends of mine. Chris Shannon says, “I’m not sure how I’m going to scrub the stink off my TV. Sooooo bad. If you missed it, don’t worry, just watch last week’s commercial and I think you got everything of importance, except the bad pacing.” While Brian Olsen adds, “It was rapid-fire plot point to plot point, with no depth. It felt like an hour-long ‘Last week on V…'” My own feelings echo theirs. Watching V:The Reboot made my television bleed Velveeta!

I think both Chris and Brian nailed it. The entire episode was running from plot point to plot point with no story in between. It was like they were told that they had to get to a certain point by the end of the pilot, plot be damned! The cinematography was bad and I do not like the casting choices that they made. I don’t mind them rewriting the story a bit and making the main character a woman FBI agent instead of a male TV cameraman (among other changes). I just don’t think that Elizabeth Mitchel (from ABC’s Lost) can pull of that character. Joel Gretsch (USA’s The 4400) could not sell the role of Father Jack Landry, a Catholic Priest who does not believe in The Visitor’s motives. For some reason I just can’t take Scott Wolf (ABC’s Party of Five) seriously as a TV news anchor. As Anna, leader of The Visitors, Morena Baccarin (Firefly, but who I remember more as Adria from Stargate: SG-1), lacks the charm crossed sinister with an added dash of sultry that Jane Badler had as the original Diana, leader of The Visitors.

A friend asked me if I was just trying to compare the new series with my childhood memory of the original. Although that may be true to some extent, I was open to liking this new telling. As I stated above, I really WANTED to like the new version. As a corollary, I really WANTED to hate the new Battlestar Galactica, but I couldn’t. It was blow-you-away awesome from the get-go. So it wasn’t that V:The Reboot could not compare to the old. It just isn’t well done. The writing, acting and visuals were very sub-par. The new V pilot was just not good. At one point I thought that they may have hired the ABC After-School Special writers!

Is there hope?

There were a few spots that made me think there *could* be hope. A former student of mine pointed out that a great many times the pilot is much worse than the rest of the series. Thinking about it, there have been many times I cringe when watching the pilot, but the series turned out okay. Also, some series just need time to develop. Star Trek:The Next Generation is an excellent example. Most of season 1 is trash. Regurgitated TOS plots (Star Trek:The Original Series, for those not in the know), poor writing, embarrassing sets and more. Oh, I’ll get hate mail for saying that, but you know that I am right! I am a HUGE Star Trek fan. Some of the TNG episodes are examples of Science Fiction at its best, so I don’t dump on the first season lightly. Although, I never questioned the casting in TNG, like I do for V:The Reboot.

Final Rating

I will keep watching, because I have hope that things will gel and a better product will emerge. The ratings for the pilot were decent, but there was also a lot of buzz around the reboot. I am predicting a huge drop-off this week. Unless they find their groove and raise the bar for quality, it won’t finish the season. So for now, I can only give V:The Reboot 1.5 sets of wings out of 5.

1.5 sets of wings out of 5— Bill


Facebook AdI was on Facebook today and came across this advertisement in the sidebar. Is it me, or is this just plain sad? Holy destroy our self-esteem as a society and make fun of others, Batman! I hope they paid the guy who is in the picture or at least got a consent form. Is it just that I am getting to be older and beginning to see things more clearly or am I just turning into a prude? I am disgusted by this ad. I see no humor in this at all, although I understand that many will find it hilarious and that is also sad.

The ad ultimately points to Zwinky.com, which wants you to install a web browser toolbar. Total Ad Ware crap, if you ask me.

Zwinky.com is owned my IAC Search & Media and MANY users beside me also consider it adware. When looking at Zwinky.com on McAfee’s Site Advisor out of 176 people who left feedback, 6 rated the site good. The majority (140+) rated the site as “Adware, spyware, or viruses” and the rest was mixed between “Browser exploit, “This site spams,” and “Excessive popups.”

Do I think Facebook is to blame? No, but not only is this and Ad Fail, but a total Experience Fail/Company Fail.