It appears that for the first time ever, it is now possible to catch up on one’s favorite (or not so favorite) television programs without the aid of a traditional TV machine.
     Thanks to portable electronics as well as an internet connection, it’s now feasible to view an episode or episodes of many of the current or recent programs television properties out there because of streaming media–watching a video entry stored from a distant service or “cloud” through one’s computer based device, or from a video files on a local hard drive and/or storage device downloaded from a “torrent”-a video file shared by others that may have that same file stored on their hard drives or storage devices.
     The former source, streaming, is usually available from such places as Hulu, Netflix, or some other origin where the content is free (supported via advertising), or available through a paid subscription. The latter-torrents-are mostly free, but isn’t necessarily authorized from the company or group that may own the rights to the TV series in question.
     Streaming video is best suited for television shows rather than features since these program’s individual episodes ranges from 22 to 45 minutes of running time. Watching such a show on a very small screen (17” and less) would give one some form of eye strain after a while. And TV shows are created to be viewed in such a small confined space, unlike feature films where they were made to be seen in bigger than life sizes. Thus, watching a 100 minute flick on an iPhone device can be rather tiring to the eyeballs after a bit!
     There are many reasons why this is the new way to catch up on one’s TV habits. For starters, one can view ‘em wherever one goes, assuming that (for streaming video) one has internet access. And if one has a favorite program that comes from a specific non-broadcast (read: cable/satellite) channel, there is no reason to take up a subscription to pay for only one or two channels when one will only watch a handful of programming.
     This is what is called “cutting the cord”, where people will end their cable or satellite service because they now have a chose on how to watch the shows they want to see, rather than being stuck for other shows or channels that will never be gawked at.
     Harris Interactive, a company that conducts polls asking the selected public upon different topics, recently managed a survey on behalf of Belkin, a manufacturer and supplier of audio, video and computer cables and related accessories, on viewing habits of television in general.
     According to the poll, 39% of domestic adults between the age of 18 and 34 would consider replacing their television cable/satellite provider with a streaming media subscription service. Additionally, 41% plan on using either their desktop or laptop computer device as the primary source of news and entertainment.
     As age increases, so does traditional TV usage. 43% of those age 35 to 44, 56% of those age 45 to 54, and  67% of those age 55 and over still rely upon a TV set to view their said news and entertainment programming.
     Now to the latter. Watching their chose TV shows via downloaded torrents have been on the increase over the few years. This is because if one doesn’t want to subscribe to a special Tv channel (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.) in order to view only one or two series titles, one can download episodes via such torrent files to view later, or to keep as part of a personal archive.
     Much of what can be downloaded may have questionable legality attached, as what is made available is through “peers”; fans of said programming that is willing to share these shows to other fans.
     TorrentFreak, one of many web sites where one can gain access to such shows and related video contact, stated that the HBO series Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV show. Within a few hours, or in some cases, just minutes after its first airing of an episode via HBO, some 163,088 simultaneous peers – the number of people sharing a file over the internet at one time – has made this title available to anyone that desires to view it! And it’s not just an episode, but the entire series is made available for those that get into “binge viewing”–watching an entire run as a mini-marathon.
     Clocking in as the second most pirated show is Showtime’s Dexter at some 3.9 million downloads. CBS’ The Big Bang Theory at 3.2 million downloads, and How I Met Your Mother, (3.0 million downloads) checks ion at number three and four respectfully.
     Rounding out the rest of the lest at number five is Breaking Bad (2.58 million downloads) with The Walking Dead with 2.58 million downloads comes in at number six. (Both titles air on AMC) Homeland (Showtime) is in seventh place at 2.55 million downloads, Fox’s House which concluded its run last season stands at 2.4 million downloads. Fringe (Fox) is in eighth place at 2.34 million downloads, and NBC’s first season drama Revolution has 2.28 million downloads and stands in ninth place.
     This writer isn’t necessarily supporting nor damning the usage of torrents to view these shows, since is stands as a loss of revenue to those involved such as the production companies, TV networks, etc. However, most people that do download these shows only do such for their own personal consumption, or what’s called “fair use”. However, this same writer is not a lawyer or is within a legal background, so whatever is performed by the user or users is done at one’s own risk.
     Of course, this way to watch TV is only on its way up. Besides the 42% stated they will use a computer/laptop as their “television set” as noted in the Harris poll, smart phones are used at 27%. 20% play a tablet (i.e. an “iPad”), or related device, followed by a video game unit i.e. Xbox, PS3 and Nintendo Wii (6%). Streaming devices such as a Blu-Ray machine or an Apple TV-type device (3%) or eReader such as an Amazon Kindle or Nook (2%).
     In spite of all of this usage, traditional TV sets are not going on their way out. (Not yet, anyway!) One can’t beat the size and quality that a big screen monitor can put out. It may not be portable per se, but at least it’s a lot easier on the eyeballs! (No comments will be made on the quality of the TV shows consumed, since that’s a whole different topic as it is!)
     Theater Palisades presents THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, a musical contest of a group of eclectic kids who compete with one another by spelling complicated sounding words!
     The contest in question is the titled annual spelling bee taking place in a dumpy looking gym at the local junior high school. A half dozen kids from different backgrounds attending different schools compete for a top prize of a two hundred dollar saving bond, supposedly for use to pay for their future higher education. The kid contestants that battle to win the prize consists of Boy Scout and returning champ from the 24th competition Chip Tolentino (Brad Akerman), Logainne Schwartandgrubenniere (Darcy Silveira) a girl by birth who was personally coached to spell by her two dads, Leaf Coneybear (Dorothy Blue), a humble girl raised by freewheeling parents, William Barfee (Peter Miller), who’s the allergy prone “nerd” in this matchup, Marcy Park (Kana Koinuma) a product of an overachieving Catholic school educational upbringing, and Olive Ostrovsky (Candice Courtney), the rookie. The adults in the crowd who dispense the words, give the statements their meanings and when asked by the contestants, to present an example of the word used in a sentence, is Rona Lisa Perretti (Cynthia Rothschild), Vice Principal Douglas Panch (David Holguin), and Madge Mahoney (Ariella Fiore), whose assignment in this rivalry is to play as referee, and to complete her sentence doing “community service”. When you have a group of kids that must spell words they they will never use in their normal conversations, the usual strife and tryings break out with a few lively tunes added in between!
     This rather witty and charming musical with songs by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, and conceived by Rebecca Feldman with additional material by Jay Reiss, takes an academic based attempt (in this case, a spelling bee) and turns it into an amusing stage piece. The cast of six “kids” (all played by adults of course) show that they must succeed while not really taking the spelling match as serious as they should. They are not just competing for the prize bond (it’s only worth a chump change amount), they exist in the match to discover how they fit into their own surroundings! As for the adults in the bunch (performed by adults, ‘natch), Cynthia Rothscild as Rona is a person that’s into teaching, but is far from being an old school marm. David Holguin as VP Panch is one of those elder principals that is up in the ranks of elementary education, and isn’t like a principal–just somebody from the school board! And Ariella Fiore as Madge Mahoney is the most amusing character that doesn’t say much. She’s more of a tough rebel ready to ride off in her Harley hog than to sit through a dull spelling bee!
     As to the behind the scenes notes in this production, Sherman Wayne’s set design consists of a rather drab looking gym backdrop, complete with basketball hoop hanging over the rafters, a dumpier looking bleacher type set for the competitors to sit through the bee, as well as a selection of cheap looking trophies off on display from past bee engagements no doubt! Brian Murphy serves as musical director and performs on the keyboards providing the music to the score that is just as diverting as the “book” itself!
     Directed by Lewis Hauser, this annual spelling stage match is a performance that everyone can enjoy. And this kind of musical is perfect for a smaller stage outing, not unlike past presentations produced by other theater companies played at other theater spaces where the floorboard backgrounds were nearly epic in size and shape! The Pierson Playhouse, home to Theater Palisades, is ideal to view this little game show. (Of yes, this is also a show that has some pre selected audience participation, so some of the contestants competing are not actors, but real spellers! And thay kan spel reel gud, twooo!
     THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until May 12th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For more information, call (310) 454-1970, or visit online at
     42 (Warner Bros.) is a bio film about one of the greatest, and perhaps the most challenged player to ever perform in Major League Baseball: Jackie Robertson, the first “colored” trouper to play outside of the Negro leagues.
     Chadwick Boseman is James “Jackie” Robertson. He was a rather unique player of the sport called “The National Passtime” in the post war 1940’s. He played professional ball and was quote good at it. However, unlike his peers, he didn’t (and couldn’t) play in the major leagues because of the fact that he was Negro, and the nation was still divided through race. In spite of his persuasion, he did catch the eye of Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He knew that if he gave this kid a tryout in first singing him up in the Dodger’s farm teams, he can play for his beloved Dodgers, nicknamed “Da Bums”! Branch was questioned by his peers within the league, and so was Jackie. Though encouragement from those within his team, from fellow players Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black), manager Leo “The Lip” Durocher (Christopher Meloni) as well as wife Rachel (Nicole Beharie), Jackie dose what he’s best in doing; playing the game of baseball in spite of the requisitions he must face in order to succeed.
      This sports story is a true (to an extent) tale of how a young man and a team owner broke the colored line, proving that even a game as baseball–the same national passtime, can become as equal in terms to race, long before the same nation would later become, again to an extent! Chadwick Boseman as Jackie performs his role within the same stance that Densel Washington would do some fifteen years earlier. Harrison Ford as Brach Rickey plays his character that is old yet tough with a “good old boy” kick. Director and screenwriter Brian Helgeland of L.A. Confidential fame, churns out a story that contains a formula that’s rather standard fair in bio features of this nature as described as an epic where the person whose story the filmmakers are telling is the “good guy”, perhaps an underdog, who faces the challenges that underdogs tend to meet. With the assistance of a selected handful of humble folks who believes in the hero (or hero to be), the same hero becomes the best of his kind, all leading toward a happy ending, or one that concludes in a tragic slant! In this flick, there is no tragic endings and nobody faces any horrible death! However, it does have its share of semi tired clichés. But if one overlook these clichés, one still has a rather entertaining picture!
     In addition to the two lead players, it also holds a rather colorful cast (no pun intended) of supporting roles. Andre Holland pays Wendel Smith, a sports writer for the Pittsburgh Currier, a “Negro” newspaper who not only writes about Jackie’s performance in pro baseball, but is hired by Brach himself to service as his guide, letting him know how he stands in the game both on the field and off. Ryan Merriman and Brad Beyer are cast as Dixie Walker and Kirby Higbe respectfully, two fellow Dodger players that attempt to drive Jackie off the team just because he’s colored. And rounding out the notable roles is John C. McGinlet as Red Barber, the radio voice of the Dodgers, giving his spin of the play-by-play of the games spoken with a “yankee” accent!
     In short(stop), 42 is an amusing film. Although it’s known to baseball fans and historians on how things will eventually work out, it does possess its own entertainment value. And with the aid of special effects, many long gone ballparks from Ebbets Field to Connie Mack Stadium are recreated, giving the current post modern audience a vague glimpse on how the game of baseball and the players within was far from being complex. Then again, movies of the 40’s were just as simple looking then as how they would be in today’s world, with bigger players, bigger budgets, and fully loaded back accounts to boot!
     This feature is rated “PG-13” for thematic elements with some minor cussing. Now playing in multiplexes nationwide.    
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——————————————————————————————————————————————– TIFFI’S TIFFI”S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Hmmm. Makes a body nervous to hear their weather forecaster saying that in all the years of forecasting he’s never seen a front like the one moving our way. Hopefully, I’ll still be here tomorrow… 😦

Enjoying the beautiful weather today. It is 80 degrees! I saw the first blossoms on trees this morning coming to school. I didn’t have the time to get a picture of them, but seeing the blossoms makes me so happy!

Got face cream in my eyes this morning. Now they’re burning and watering. I tried cleansing them before I left home, but it’s going to be a day of “Are you okay?” questions since I look like I’m weeping.

Lovely now the government is going to cap what we can save for retirement. WTF!!!

I love Bare Minerals products…just sayin

Where Have Y’all Been?

I’m a happy girl:)
As of April 15th, Tiffi has 1,738 Facebook “friends” and counting!

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All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!       


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