Category Archives: oprah winfrey

The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog ~ This was a lot of fun. Yes, it was a bit formulaic when compared to Disney animated features of the last two decades, but that really didn’t matter as I enjoyed myself with this flick – and really, how often can you come out of a theatre and say that?

The songs and soundtrack are a wonderful blend of jazz from the region and era – New Orleans in the 1920s. Yeah, amazing, non-annoying Randy Newman music! And while I thought the stereotypes of the Cajuns might be a bit insensitive there’s nothing left to worry about when it comes to African-Americans. After much rewriting Disney managed to tell this tale of a young black woman of the time without seeming too politically correct. It works, and it works well.

The cast is well chosen, although I have to wonder why Alicia Keyes or Tom Waits weren’t in the studio’s sights. And oh yeah, blink and you’ll miss Oprah Winfrey. The Bride thought it might have some scary moments for the kids, but I don’t think so. Really, there’s nothing here more frightening than anything in Sleeping Beauty or Snow White.

Again, this is a lot of fun, and a terrific return for Disney to traditional animation from computer generated stuff – recommended.

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Is Local News Dead?

Is local news dead, or have they just given up?

This afternoon was marred by the tragic shootings in Fort Hood, TX, and details are still coming in. I spent a lot of my afternoon switching channels back and forth between CNN, Headline News, MSNBC and Fox News – and they were all covering the story.

I noted the time, and realized that two of our local network affiliates had news programs on air (ABC had “Oprah” and you don’t mess with Oprah) so I turned to them. I was informed of Wyclef Jean was in town and that Sarah Palin is on a book tour. I switched a few times more between channels 3 and 10 and learned that pets can get the H1N1 virus and that Phillies fans are sad.

Wtf? No coverage of Fort Hood??? Shocked, just shocked. Now I know where not to go for my news. Apparently local news is anxious to go the way of the newspapers.

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The Price of Satellite Radio

I love my satellite radio. I love it so much that I rarely listen to terrestrial radio any more. Maybe some WXPN and maybe some NJ 101.5 FM, but let’s face it, my favorite terrestrial programs like Coast to Coast AM and some of the NPR stuff are all on satellite now. Not much reason to turn on the old fashioned radio any more.

Just got a notice from XM (yeah, they merged with Sirius, but they’ll always be XM to me) that my subscription rates are going up. The reasons cited are as follows:

”Music royalty rights were established by the U.S. Congress as part of the Copyright Act. This Act requires payment of copyright music royalties to recording artists, musicians and recording companies who hold copyrights in sound recordings.

“These royalties have recently increased dramatically, principally as a result of a decision made by the Copyright Royalty Board, which is designated by the Library of Congress to set royalty rates for sound recordings. Beginning on July 29, 2009, a “U.S. Music Royalty Fee” of $1.98/month* for primary subscriptions and $.97/month* for multi-receiver subscriptions will be effective upon your next renewal. This fee will be used directly to offset increased payments from XM to the recording industry.”

Now really, that’s fine. As a writer, I’m not someone who’s ever going to begrudge anyone royalties, that’s just how things work, and furthermore should work. I don’t have a real problem with the price hike, as long as my favorite stuff remains on the XM. What irked me was what I found when I went to the XM website and took a survey.

The survey was about my listening preferences, but seemed to mention little of what I actually listen to on XM. I stopped finding Howard Stern funny some time before he left terrestrial radio, so that’s not for me. I can count on one hand the number of times in three years I’ve listened to any of the nearly hundred sports channels, and Oprah barely amuses me even when she’s on TV. The big guns don’t interest me.

Most of what I listen to is talk radio. I’m addicted to Coast to Coast AM, which while occupying nearly eleven hours of programming per day, was not mentioned by the survey. Opie and Anthony get a brief mention, probably because they bitch on air about Sirius’ prejudice mercilessly. But nowhere did I see other things I listen to faithfully like the old time radio shows on Radio Classics and the wonderful audiobook variety at Book Radio. All there was in the survey was the rather vague description of ‘talk entertainment.’ That covers a lot of ground, and a lot of stuff I really don’t like. How can this survey really tell them anything?

The XM world has been getting smaller and smaller since the Sirius merge – mostly because it was more of a takeover than a merge. The mega-powered Sirius, with the ratings powerhouse (apparently) Stern behind it appeared to change everything on the XM dial as if they and they alone were calling the shots. We lost truly entertaining music stations in favor of the inferior Sirius versions of them.

My point is that for the price increase, how about some verification we’ll keep the programming we enjoy? How about it, XM? Sorry, I mean, how about it, Sirius?

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Oprah’s Un-Fried French Fries

And Now a Message from the President… of KFC

Never Underestimate the Power of Free

Thanks Oprah!