In last week’s issue (Vol. 19-No. 22) this newsletter spoke upon how binge watching–viewing three or more installments of the same TV series in one sitting–appears to be the latest rage when it comes to the art of television watching. In spite of this notion where one has to view an entire series in one big heaping, other folks would rather tune into to their chosen medium the old fashioned way by looking at their TV machines through “live” broad and/or cablecasts one program at a time.
Although in this domestic society as we all know it where one can tune on to entertainment or informational programming through any electronic device that has a video screen attached and can pick up an internet signal, television is preferred by most through a machine that sports a screen 21” or bigger that is affixed to one place. The reason for this preference is quite obvious. It’s a far better experience to see programming as big, sharp, and booming. Although laptops, smartphones, and electronic pads are wonderful for what they are, it just isn’t the same to catch up (binge watching?) on episodes of Game of Thorns on a smartphone that has a screen size of four inches playing to a tinny sounding soundtrack. It might be a lot handier–it will give you something to do while being stuck at the airport–but how often that that scenario ever occur?
Of course, there are many methods one can obtain programming through those bigger screen TV devices. There’s the classic TV aerial where one can pick up over the air signals sent directly over one’s video screen–in high def we may add! (In spite of what one may have previously heard, any TV antenna affixed to a rooftop will work quite fine, even that antenna that’s been on the house since 1948!!) Then there’s cable TV, the service that’s been around for longer than one may realize. (It did come to where it is today since the 1980’s), were one can receive as many as 200+ channels! Satellite TV, where one can get CATV-esk programming through a 36” wide metal disk affixed to a rooftop or balcony has been around since the 90’s, is an alternative if one can’t get regular cable service. And there’s the new kid on the block, streaming video where one can watch unlimited movies and related programming through a subscription service a la Netflix, a dedicated service for TV shows (Hulu, etc.) or even through other forms of media from the best known (YouTube) to the questionable. (Xhamster and many others that deals in porn!)
But cable and satellite TV is for many the general choice to get their video fix. And since these same operators offer more channels one can bear with (200+ and counting) people don’t tend to watch everything given to them. According to a report entitled Advertising & Audiences Report  conducted by Nielsen (the company that tracks how many viewers are tuning in to a program at a given hour), the average American TV home now receives some 189 TV channels. (According to the report, the average number of channels received some six or so years ago was around 129!) Despite this increase, consumers have consistently tuned in to an average of just seventeen channels. What makes this report rather interesting is the fact that since 2008, the number of channels viewed vs what is obtainable hasn’t changed at all! Even through one can can get sixty additional channels, the amount viewed is still where it’s at.
There could be a lot of reasons to these facts. For starters, although the report notes that CATV and program content carriers offer more channels, it never stated just what type of programming is offered–if anything at all! When yours truly was a CATV subscriber in the 1980’s, the local cable company–Group W Cable–advertised that is was expanding its service from its base number of channels (36) to a whopping 80 programming choices. Of course, it would cost the subscriber more money per month to get those channels, but unless one wanted to stick to an antenna, there wasn’t much of a choice. So when those finally received those 80 so so channels, many of the channels either offered obscure offerings from programming source nobody ever heard from, or those featured color bar test patterns with “reserved for future use” supered over them with the local “beautiful music” FM radio station being programmed as its soundtrack.
In today’s market, there are more channels offered that doesn’t consist of test patterns. As with any type of medium, the programming offered caters to different tastes. If one is a male sports junkie, those folks aren’t necessarily going to tune in on Lifetime, ABC Family, or WE, as those channels tend to cater to more of a female demographic. If news is one’s beat, then such channels as TLC, A&E, Bravo as well as countless others, those offerings ain’t gonna cut it! Get the message?
In today’s world where TV is everywhere and one can watch almost anything one would want, then offering more isn’t necessarily better. It’s just more confusing as well as costly. There has been talk about media companies offering programming “a la carte”. That is, cafeteria style where one can pick and choose the channels available to what they want. Carriers offer their programming in bundles as its source requires that service providers offer its better picks with the lesser offerings. Those carriers pass on that retraction to its subscribers in an “all or nothing” stand. Unless somebody makes those compromises, this is where things will stand.
As TV sets become bigger, sharper, smarter, and alas, more pricier, so will its programming choices. The question will remain; Will more offerings made through these carriers mean more viewers, or will folks still stick to its classic seventeen picks? Only time, or the lack thereof, will tell!
——————————————————————————————————————————————–NEWS NEWS AND REVIEWS
Art Shulman’s I’M NOT JUST A COMIC GENIUS, a comic drama of one man’s attempt to creating plays and the concerned daughter that helps him out, makes its world premier at North Hollywood’s Secret Rose Theatre.
Morry Schorr is David, a recent widow. It’s been a year since his spouse’s passing. He’s had a career with accounting, but upon retirement, there isn’t much for him to do. Michele Tannen plays his adult daughter Judith. Seeking the best for her father, she suggests for him to take up a passion he once had of writing plays. So, with paper and pen in hand, he creates a series of short plays that consists of a collection of curtailed scenes that focus upon different subjects and themes, from a spelling bee, a couple meeting on a blind first date, two women who visit a grave of a male friend discovering a common bond, an eight year old’s lemonade stand visited by a pair of movers, and more!
This play is actually a plot holding to a story arc that is linked to a series of skit-type comical outlooks that is reminiscent to those comedy skits that were once found on TV variety shows from another era. The skits themselves are performed by a repertory cast of players that consist of Karen Knotts, Loren Ledesma, Anthony Marquez (alternating), Lindsay Nesmith (alternating), Duane Taniguchi, and Jerry Weil.  The skits are presented as the rep cast “act out” David’s creations on paper. Those mini plays themselves have all of the wit and comedy farce, while the story arc between David and Judith is more melodramatic. There is one skit out of the bunch that is bittersweet, seaming up the pace between comedy and drama. Rich Shaw directs this show that is simple enough in concept. Chris Winfirned’s set design is just as basic showing David’s living space, while the skits themselves had some virtual and fluid scenery attached.
Plays such as this one are amusing because of its blend of melodrama and comedy that holds up quite well. Playwright Art Shulman’s knows just where and when to make ‘em laugh as well as cry on cue. That method of play wiring is a work of genius in its own artistic right.

     I’M NOT A COMIC GENIUS, performs at the Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd. (off Lankershim), North Hollywood, until July 27th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For reservations and information, call (818) 465-3213, or via online at
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (Fox) stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus “Gus” Waters respectfully. They are a pair of teens living in a sizable Midwestern town. (She’s sixteen while he’s eighteen.) Unlike other kids of their type, they each have one special trait that’s not anything good nor positive. They both have some form of Cancer. Hazel Grace tolerates her rather doting parents Frannie (Laura Dern) and Michael (Sam Trammell), that’s been taking care of their only child since she was diagnosed with her illness a few scant years before. Gus was once a promising basketball player, but lost a leg due to his illness. These two have their “meet cute” moment while attending a group therapy session for young Cancer suffers held in a local church. At first, they find their friendship somewhat aloof. Gus has his love for comics and video games, while Hazel has her affection to a novel called An Imperial Affliction written by Peter Van Houton (Willem Dafoe), a writer that supposedly living a secluded life in Amsterdam, Holland. As their illness comes and goes, these pair of kids find their friendship somewhat special, but their future together–or any future–is at stake in terms of their youth. Their appeal toward one another slowly develops, and their quest for the meaning of the book Hazel reads gives them a communication to the author, leading toward a personal meeting to the hidden Van Houton.
This feature film, based upon the “young adult” book of the same name by John Green fits perfect to the taste and fascination in terms of its targeted demographic; That is, a feature geared toward teens and/or “young adults”–mostly of the female gender. Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber’s screenplay focuses upon the two leads; a pair of teens living in a post modern domestic (and upscale) lifestyle with all of the gadgetry that anyone under the age of twenty one must have (laptops, smart phones, etc.) as well as its applications. (These two text one another, but never go beyond any other form of social media!) Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel and Gus are rather likable for who they are. They are both sweet in nature and rather good looking. (Ansel has a better screen presence that Shailene, something more fitting to the majority of its for noted demos.) Although some of the story plots are semi believable, the film overall will please those that are fans to the “YA” book that for once doesn’t involve the supernatural and/or post apocalypse antics.
Directed by Josh Boone, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is captivating to those that normally watch content airing on the ABC Family channel, or those that watch Lifetime with the notions of longing for youth. However, this writer can make a suggestion to those teen boys planning to take their gal on a date to the movies. Forget that CGI saturated tent pole pic, and take her to see this feature! By the time this movie is over, she’s been crying her eyes out, and what better time to get a little cozy–if you get the hint!  You’ll just have to sit it out for a little over two hours to gain any rewards!
This feature is rated “PG-13” for some mild cussing and a few intense medical based scenes. Now playing at leading multiplexes nationwide.
VIDEOGAMES LIVE, a concert and visual event that features music scores to name videogames as well as related content, is set on its worldwide tour this season making its Los Angeles appearance at the Nokia Theatre-downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 11th during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the annual videogame trade show taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
This season’s VIDEOGAMES LIVE event will feature the music scores from such gamers as League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor, Hearthstone, Hereos of Warcraft, Final Fantasy IV, Disney’s Fantasia: Music Evolved, Bioshock: Infinate, Portal 2, Cave Story, Banner Saga, and other titles performed by a one hundred piece stage ensemble.
In addition to the music, a selection of internet and YouTube celebrities will be performing selection of scores taken from games, including Malukah, whose acoustic rendition of Dragonborn Comes which has been “hit” via YouTube over 40 million times, vocalists Peter Hollens and Jillian Aversa (Halo, God of War), Mystery Guitar Man and Taylor Davis (Violin Tay), video game cover band Critical Hit composer Jason Hayes along with Laurence Juber, guitarist for Paul McCartney, will be premiering an arrangement of Mega Man as well as the world premier performance of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
VIDEOGAMES LIVE will be presented on Wednesday, June 11th at 8:00 PM at the Nokia Theater, located within the LA Live complex in downtown Los Angeles.
For more information and for ticket details, visit
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Both of my older daughters are out of town, due back sometime tomorrow. Natalie played a trick on me and had her roommate call me to tell me there was a medical emergency. Emily texted me “moooooooom heeeeeeelp me!!!!!” and then didn’t reply when I asked for more info. These girls  1. have too much time on their hands
2. have a different definition of funny than I do  3. are soooo grounded

Yay, my momma is in the house! Barbara Say hi to her. She’s the bestest

Had a fantastic night out tonight with Melody and Lyne. Food at Baton Rouge was great and Trooper rocked!

Can you say this three times fast? “An anemic, anamnestic, numismatic anemone was enumerating enigmatic anomalies.” A friend Peggy  and my daughter Lindsey and I just made it up! Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense that a sea creature collects stamps. It made sense to us at the time.

Hanging with Brenna
As of June 9th, Tiffi has 2,072 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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