Friday, January 28, 2011

Taco Bell beef controversy

If you eat at Taco Bell, you have no concerns for what you put in your body. Just look at the menu and try to convince yourself that what you're eating is, not only good for you, but actual food. I'm not trying to be a snob or anything. I've previously professed my love of fast food, however Taco Bell is a different story. I don't care if the talking chihuahua says otherwise.

R.I.P. 1994 - 2009

And now an attorney in Alabama is suing Taco Bell about their meat. Apparently, with all of the additions, including silicon dioxide, the filling only contains 36 percent beef. According to FDA regulations, it must contain at least 40 percent of beef to be truly be considered meat. So even with such a broad definition such as that, Taco Bell still fails to live up to real food. And this is Taco Bell, where 40 different things on the menu are made out of the same six ingredients. Now, with one of the ingredients under scrutiny, what will Taco Bell do now?

I'll still buy the Cheesy Gordita Crunch though.

I've never grown up with Taco Bell so I can't say this news has destroyed me as much as it has others. Whenever I did get it I liked how cheap it was, but I never considered the reason for that cheapness being crappy beef. I stayed away from the sour cream but never worried about the beef. When your sour cream comes out of a caulking gun, I'm not that interested.

Think like this, only in your chalupas.

Cinnamon twists have equally boggled me. I don't know anybody that actually eats them. You would think that nachos would be the designated side for tacos but somehow they pulled cinnamon twists out of their asses. One thing I did like was that Taco Bell carried Pepsi. Beings a Pepsi fan, I always found myself out of place in a Coca-Cola world. Taco Bell was nice in that regard.

Hard out there for a Pepsi drinker.

There is one bright spot for those Taco Bell fans out there. Whether this lawyer in Alabama has a case or not, Taco Bell has some face to save. In order to save face, they'll be smart to start giving out better deals or food. Even if it's only for a limited time, Taco Bell should want to earn our respect back. Then again it's Taco Bell, I doubt they had our respect to begin with.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Comic Book Issue (R.I.P. Fantastic Four)

I have a confession to make, I read comic books. Not just occasionally either. I am a semi-regular reader of comic books. My comic book collection, which is pretty decent in size, waits for me at home. Even as I type this, Green Lantern issue number 61 lays next to my computer. I'm no regular at my local comic book shop, but I visit enough to feel secure in my nerdliness.

I grew up loving Batman and watching X-Men and Spider-man cartoons, it was only a matter of time until I opened up a comic book to see where these characters came from. It's a medium that, when handled right, could be both powerful and awesome. So how many of you, dear readers, have decided to continue reading? I've asked you all to care about a lot of esoteric topics so far but comic books is a lot to ask out of you. Well, for those that have stuck with me so far, here is the news in comics.

Comic Code Authority dropped:

DC Comics is now the last of the major publishers to drop the Comic Code, in favor of an in-house rating system. The Comics Code Authority was created in 1954, when parents all over America were afraid of two things: Communist and comic books. They saw the colorful magazines as corruptors of America's youth. Part of this was thanks to Fredric Wertham and his book, Seduction of the Innocent. With Wertham's book as a rally cry, the Comics Code Authority was created to protect the innocent from horror stories and a gay Batman.

Times have changed however. The Code became antiquated and irrelevant with the arrival of independent comic books. As the Modern Age of comics pushed forward, The Code was becoming less of a public relations stunt and more of a pain in the ass. The comics still have their own code, but now they are no longer having to deal with the CCA. Even Archie Comics, which has never had to worry about the CCA, dropped it for their own rating system. To put this into context, that would be like each movie studio abandoning the MPAA and each creating their own system. We should all be thankful that we are progressive enough to not have to worry about paranoia from the 50s holding us back. Down with censorship!

Digital Comics and Wizard Magazine moving to online:

Wizard Magazine, the leading magazine in comic book coverage and all things nerdy, closed its doors. Since 1991 Wizard kept fans informed on the medium. Recently, however, the staff and writers of the magazine were fired and publication ceased. The magazine is going to reinvent itself, according to a press release, into an online only publication. While this has worked for sites like Cracked, Wizard is a different breed.

This whole blog is basically a Cracked ripoff.

Wizard covers comics. A magazine covering magazines should be in paper form. There is something special about having the physical printed pages in your hand, and by conceding into the digital realm Wizard might as well to calling for the death of comics itself. Thankfully, with technology encroaching on every aspect of life, comics books are finding a way to work with the new media. The comic book world recognizes the fact that modest comic book shops are the life-force of each company. Unlike with journalism, the digital side of comics is not looking to put the printed side out of business.

Fantastic Four member dies (SPOILERS):

Comics books are like one big soap opera with super powers. And just like soap operas, they depend heavily on melodrama. With this comes a new superhero death to mourn, that of the Human Torch. Which is a shame because the Human Torch was everyone's favorite character. The Thing is interesting but too sad to be lovable, Mister Fantastic is a dick, and Invisible Woman is a girl and girls don't count. That leaves only one likable character in the whole 50-year run of the comic series.

To be honest, I was never a big Fantastic Four kind of guy anyway. The characters never resonated with me and, as I stated before, Reed Richards was too unlikable for me. Yes he is the smartest man in the Marvel Universe but that doesn't mean he has to be so smug about it. The only thing separating him and Hank Pym is some wife-beating. And the only interesting thing to happen to the Fantastic Four in its 50 years of story telling is the Galactus Trilogy, which gets rehashed so many times it's lost meaning.

It's their only real claim to fame.

And as sad as it is seeing Human Torch die, every comic book fan can't help but roll their eyes at the idea of a superhero death. We've seen it too many times. Hell, Bruce Wayne even died but now he's back and traveling the globe. Every member of the X-men has died at least once before, and Nightcrawler, who died not too long ago, is bound to be back some time. Remember when Superman died? The issue itself sold millions of copies. But come on, it was Superman and nobody expected him to stay dead.

There's even a whole Wikipedia article on the phenomenon. Comic book characters never stay dead, they only come back later in a dramatic fashion (Captain America's resurrection was hyped incredibly). There was a saying, that nobody stays dead except for Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben. Well, Bucky is the new Captain America and Jason Todd has returned as a villain. All that leaves is Uncle Ben. Thank god he hasn't resurrected though. He might not react well to Aunt May being such a whore.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Skins, Being Human and the British Invasion

Skins and Being Human both premiered last Monday on American networks. These shows, however, are old news to our friends on the other side of the pond. That's right, we are once again meddling with remakes from our BBC brethren. Even if these shows turn out to be as successful as their original British counterparts, the fact of the matter is that these shows don't need being remade. This is the age of satellite television with 600 channels and nothing to watch.

And let's not forget ondemand programs.

Being Human itself hasn't even begun it's third season yet it has already made the transition, faster than most shows. A supernatural slant on twenty-something issues, involving a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf. In these post-Twilight times it's understandable that such a drama would gain an audience. Nowadays sticking fangs on anything makes it fried gold. Yes, the new incarnation of Being Human is technically Canadian, but the argument still stands.

A werewolf, a ghost and a vampire rent an apartment; sounds like a bad joke.

MTV's new attempt at softcore porn, after the failure of Undressed back in the early double-0's (it starred kid show stars trying to seem mature), MTV decided to adapt the show Skins to a new audience. Starring a bunch of troubled teens, Skins was a racy drama on English television, where you at least have a chance of seeing boobs. American audiences aren't quite as open to controversy as England. Already the virtuous fast food chain Taco Bell has pulled advertising for the show. The pinnacle of Italian gourmet, Dominoes Pizza, pulled a similar move when Jersey Shore first premiered. It's sufficient to say that, using Jersey Shore as an example, advertising pressure doesn't mean anything. Skins will probably be a success with its controversy and Jersey Shore lead in. It's guaranteed, even if it sucks.

They aren't scummy douchebags, they're tortured souls.

There's no reason why these shows should be being made in the first place though. First off, most televisions get BBC America anyway. Yes, some people can't get their heads around the accents, but if you interested in the story you get past that. If you wanted to watch Skins you would of watched the British version years ago, not wait for MTV to give you its version of upper-middle class drama. Also, the history of adaptations is a spotty one at best. Coupling was a successful British sitcom that lasted four years. The US version lasted only four episodes.

Another recent premiere, Shameless, was once a Channel 4 television show in the UK. This is especially interesting since another new Showtime show, Episodes, makes fun of this concept of American remakes. British television hasn't depended on us nearly as much as we depend on them. The only adaptation is recently memory by Britain is Law & Order, and that show isn't nearly as dependent on character and story as other programs.

All you really need to adapt is that sound effect.

It's the cultures that aren't the same. It's a cheap point but it's true. Eddie Izzard even says so. Just look at Doctor Who. It's one of the most successful English television shows around yet it probably wouldn't last a season here in the states. And on a personal note, Life on Mars was one of my favorite television shows. Life on Mars was a police show, only with a twist. The main character was a modern day policeman who somehow ends up in 1970's Manchester. Is it a gimmick? Yes but it was a very well crafted gimmick. I even bought the first series on DVD I loved it so much.

Loved this show.

Imagine my excitement when I found out ABC was making their own version, with Harvey Keitel even. Then I watched the first episode and any previous excitement was sapped from me. Even though the pilot was arguably a shot-for-shot remake of the original, it was just a hollow imitation. If I was a Being Human fan or a Skins fan I wouldn't want to see it butchered by American producers. Remakes such as The Office are exceptions to the rule. Also the American version of Skins is set in Baltimore. I don't know about you but when I think Baltimore I don't think about a bunch of morose teenagers. All I think about is drug dealers and stickup men.

I blame The Wire.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How to be a good award show host

Movie stars don't need validation. Validation is a beautiful thing when one receives it, but it becomes a non-issue when you make millions of dollars a year. With that being said, there is a whole market for award shows. It's perfectly fine to follow award shows and become sucked into the award spirit. At the same time award shows can be seen as masturbatory galas, where the rich and famous come together choosing winners out of arbitrarily chosen nominees. The award show concept is not for us viewers though. We only get a glimpse of that world during that prime-time window.

It's your childhood trophy ceremony, only instead of you and your teammates in cleats and uniforms it's people you will never meet wearing clothes you will never wear. The whole ceremony is as fake as the tans of the people that walk the red carpet. I never saw the reason to obsess over the red carpet and the people that walk it. Why devote hours of discussion over someone's dress? Then again I never saw the point of tabloids like Entertainment Tonight either.

God I hate these shows.

The only saving grace for these award shows is the host. Usually some popular comedian at the time or a late-night talk show host, these masters of ceremony are depended on for keeping our attention until they reveal the best actor award. After every poorly-scripted presenter reveals the winner, it's the hosts job to keep you watching and segueing into the next Bruce Vilanch joke to come out of a dim actresses mouth.

Bruce Vilanch, the man responsible for everything said on stage.

With all the counterfeit pomp and circumstance, you need somebody there that gets it. Somebody there that is self-aware of all the smugness packed on one tiny dais. That's what makes a host good or not in my book. A host that doesn't let the artists and stars sit idle. Stars make millions of dollars and are now being given awards for these achievements that they're already being awarded for by a paycheck. In this way the very best hosts must cut the icons down to size with the only thing legally allowed: quips. Just how in Roman times, a man would whisper in a victorious general's ear that he is still only mortal, the host uses his microphone to remind the glorified line readers that they too are normal people.

Ricky Gervais is up on stage hosting the awards, not for the stars benefit, but for the audience's benefit. Gervais is up there shouting memento mori to a whole theater of tuxes and gowns so that we may see that this pantheon of award-winning artist are one of us. A good award host shouldn't make the audience in front of him comfortable. His performance is for the audience at home who have no say in that insulated world. The fawning that is inherent in award shows can only be balanced by the wit of a comedian.

Pictured: a man who gets it.

As much as a I wish that comedians like Gervais are hosts for all the awards, producers decide to go the easy route most the time. They don't want an opening monologue that makes people squirm in their reserved theater seats. They want the easy Jay Leno jokes that are new only to your grandmother. Only very rarely do you have a host like Billy Crystal who appeals to everybody. Usually it's the producers choice between a real comedian or an empty suit to introduce the next presenter.

With so may award shows out there, the awards themselves are basically meaningless at this point. Yes, the Academy Awards do hold credence, however who remembers the Golden Globe winners a few years later? With so many awards and opinions out there, the host is being relied on more and more to keep the same song and dance interesting. That is why a perfect host is the whole Friars Club rolled into one. Actors inherently have thin skin and are sensitive, this is true. But when they have a whole night dedicated to themselves, the least they can do is put up with some jabs at their ego. I'm sure their ego can handle it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What the new zodiac sign means to you

(Alternative title: "'Zodiac attack,' or 'That's your horoscope for today'")

Maybe the world is ending soon. History Channel apparently thinks it is. Turn to History Channel right now and there is a 25% chance that there is a program on about some Nostradamus/Mayan Calender/UFO end of the world nonsense. This end of times will result in fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria; according to the Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters 3 being made is a sign of the apocalypse.

Why do I mention this? Because the zodiac, the process by which man has foretold his future for a long ass time has changed. The zodiac has shaped all our destinies and fates thanks to the arbitrary distinction of what kind of space-animal we are. It even shapes our own personalities, telling us if we're an air sign and how artistic we are. What season or house of the rising son we're born in matters. Just don't ask me how this all matters. I just looked on Wikipedia for all of this and all I found was phrases I can't pronounce and incomprehensible charts.

Yes but, what does it mean?

Here's what I do understand: Thanks to some Earth wobble, there is now a new house on the block, Ophiuchus. Because of the way the Earth wobbles, the horizon where we gather our zodiac signs has also wobbled. Now everything needs to be shifted to make room for Ophiuchus. The new sign thinks it's all cool now, sitting itself between Scorpio and Sagittarius like it's been there all along. Who the hell does Ophiuchus think it is? It's a dude holding snakes too, it's not even badass like a lion or a crab.


I, of course, heard about this change on the place where I get all my news: Facebook. When my newsfeed gets rocked by everybody's reactions I can't help but be informed. Here's the thing though, everybody is freaking out over nothing. I know it took you guys awhile to come up with the "sucks for tattooed people" joke but, this really doesn't effect us. Our culture uses the zodiac as defined by the seasons, not the stars. So you are still whatever you are born with. It's the western astrology people that have to change everything.

Where I go to be a properly informed citizen.

What this shift does, however, is call into question the validity of horoscopes. People who already look down on astrology are not affected by this but the true believers may be a little shaken up with this change. Even the most ardent horoscope reader can be disappointed with this news. This is something that is very personal to a lot of people. Horoscopes are generally stated guides in what to expect out of anyone's daily life, but these vague directions are important to a lot of people. What one person sees as an over-glorified fortune cookie, the other sees it as answers to life, the universe and everything.

Now I'm not trying to knock astrology at all. To be completely honest, I'm a very superstitious person. Now matter how cheap of a person I am, I only grab heads up pennies. I am also a firm believer in jinxing and not stepping on cracks in the cement. I am self-centered enough to believe that the stars in the sky are telling me how to live my life and if I read a bad horoscope I will go through the day acting like an anvil is going to drop on my head.

Thankfully, even with this shift in zodiac news I get to keep the Capricorn moniker that I've grown so attached to. "Capricorns are industrious, efficient, organized and won't make a lot of waves. They are scrupulous with details and adopt a rather conventional posture in business and in life. These folks feel best playing it safe, since this is a fail-safe way to get to the top."

Totally me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bio-Dome's 15th Anniversary

In case you were worried about forgetting, I am here to remind you about a very special anniversary. No, it's not your parents anniversary and there is no holiday, yet, that is set to be observed. Just in case you forget to look at your calenders tomorrow, Jan. 12 is officially the 15th anniversary of Bio-Dome. So please, a moment of silence in honor of such a landmark film.

Might as well start throwing the confetti now.

The year was 1996, and times were simple. Bill Clinton was reelected as president, the Olympics were held in Atlanta, and the Macarena was causing mass suicides in the Mid-West. Hooded sweatshirts were still allowed to be tied around your waist and people paid money to see Pauly Shore. While that may of been true then, now Shore's career is as dead as Tiny Tim.


Shore was originally an MTV personality, having his own show on the channel. His first big movie break came in 1992 with Encino Man (Where the Stone Age meets the Rock Age!). The next five years was the Pauly Shore Era, with a movie starring the weasel coming out every year. With his limited personality, it's astonishing that Shore managed to milk five feature films out of the same act. But again, this was a time when rollerblading was still considered cool.

Bio-dome didn't just rest on Shore's straining charm though, Stephen Baldwin also starred in the movie. It's interesting, just the year before Baldwin was in The Usual Suspects, known as one of the coolest movies ever. How he could go from Usual Suspects to Bio-Dome is anybody's guess. Maybe he just really wanted the chance to work with Shore. Then again, Kevin Pollak was in Usual Suspects also, and all he does anymore is the same Shatner impression over and over.

Maybe I'm being too harsh on the movie. To be honest, I love watching Bio-Dome. It's a dumb excuse for a movie but it makes me laugh, and that's what it's here for. The misadventures of Bud and Doyle, the two shallow examples of what movie producers think of Generation X members, are amusing in their new Eden. Shore and Baldwin legitimately seem to be having a good time on screen. Also on screen is the underrated Joey Lauren Adams, Kylie Minogue (who should not be as ashamed of this movie as she claims to be) and William Atherton, who plays a pompous ass in every movie he's in.

Deja Vu?

It's stupid nd derivative of every other Shore movie made, but it's still an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half. It's a movie you can ignore until the good parts come up. Tenacious D even stops by. How sweet is that. This movie was not only Tenacious D's break but also Jack Black's first comedy. On a side note: Jack Black has a really weird resume before the mid-90s. I knew he was in Airborne but apparently he was also in Demolition Man, Waterworld, Dead Man Walking and The NeverEnding Story III as Slip, the leader of the Nasties.


Now back to Bio-Dome. While it didn't make much money and received a 5 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was fun for what it intended to be: a dumb comedy. And in between gags, maybe it helped raise awareness of green living, long before it was a cool thing to do. The Biosphere 2 project, which the movie was based on, was a real life bio-dome in Arizona. However, Biosphere 2 became less about man living in a artificial ecosystem and more of an expensive, glass-enclosed commune.

In the 90s Biosphere 2 was mostly seen as a joke and would of been forgotten by now if it wasn't for that damn Pauly Shore movie. Bio-Dome shows that two men who spend their lives in front of 7-Eleven can live an eco-friendly life. Using this evidence, I assume the position that Bio-Dome predicted the green-living movement 15 years before the fad became mainstream. Not only did Bio-Dome help spread awareness of green living, but it also spread awareness of the Safety Dance, and it is because of this that we celebrate it's anniversary.

Pure magic. Still waiting on the special edition DVD.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Three Ages of Val Kilmer

Last year, about a week ago to be exact, was Val Kilmer's 51st birthday. Although now in semi-obscurity, he was one of the most promising actors in the 90s. Watch any films he is in and he commands the screen. Say what you will about his current career, but Kilmer is enjoyable as hell to watch and he seems to enjoy being watched just as much. Although he was never nominated for an Oscar, he was nominated for four MTV Movie Awards, and that should count for something.

I admit, I'd rather have a Moonman on my shelf.

Really that's what movies are intended to be, enjoyable. Artistic integrity was added later to help validate the new medium. I'm not saying that Kilmer is not an artist, because he really is a great actor. What I'm saying is that he's more than a great actor, he's a fun one. Looking at his career, I've broken it up into the three decades he has been active. For each age of Kilmer's career, I have also chosen my favorite movie.

1980s, the spring of Kilmer:

How can you not love that face?

Kilmer was suppose to be in the Outsiders, a Francis Ford Coppolla film, but turned it down on account of prior obligations on the stage. His debut didn't come until 1984, with a Zucker Abrahams Zucker spoof movie called Top Secret! In the 80s, Kilmer was also in the infinitely popular Top Gun! (there is no exclamation point in Top Gun's title, I just felt it deserved one) and the cult-classic Willow. I myself am more interested in talking about Real Genius.

For one, the film's success relied solely on how likable Kilmer could be on screen. Secondly, it used three months worth of popcorn in its climactic scene. Real Genius' premise was about taking the high jinks of every college themed movie and putting them in the hands of Cal-tech students. It's a fun movie. The kind of movie you have to watch every time it's on Comedy Central at 3 p.m. And Kilmer, as a modern day Einstein is awesomely wacky. It also costarred William Atherton, whose name you do not recognize at all but you would know him at a glance.

He's played the pompous-ass in every movie ever made.

The 1990s, the summer of Kilmer:

After proving himself in the 80s, Kilmer was a bonafide star in the 90s. He starred in The Doors, Heat (which I regrettably never seen), and was even a decent Batman. The movie I chose to talk about is Tombstone.

Starring Kurt Russell and a bunch of mustaches.

Tombstone starred a giant cast for a 1992 western. Kurt Russell (Snake Plissken himself), Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Charlton Heston, Terry O'Quinn, Thomas Haden Church, Billy Zane, Michael Rooker, Billy Bob Thorton, and even Sylvester Stallone's brother all acted in the gargantuan film. You can't throw a rock at the cast without hitting a notable actor, however Kilmer is the reason to watch the movie.

A lot of people said that he should of won an award for his performance, and I agree with them. He commands every scene that his Doc Holliday character is in. This turns a Wyatt Earp film into a vehicle for Kilmer's patented awesomeness. You almost feel bad for Russell, who is so awesome that his name was Walt Disney's last words. Kilmer steals the whole show.

When Kilmer is on screen in Tombstone he is either being badass or resting in bed, in preparation for further badassery. He makes the dying cowboy both incredibly likable and intimidating with a shooter. Only Kilmer can make the line "You're no daisy" sound so darn cool. A year later Kevin Costner released his own Wyatt Earp flick. It being a Costner movie, it ended up being too full of its own self importance. Because of this unfortunate Costner-effect, it was not nearly as enjoyable as Tombstone.

2000, the fall of Kilmer:

In no way am I trying to insinuate that Kilmer can't get work anymore. Even with the new decade he still has had plenty of gigs, just not as high profile as they once were (how can you top being Batman?). While he did star in turkeys such as Mission to Mars (one of two Mars films that year), Spartan and Mindhunters, he's also worked with Werner Herzog, Oliver Stone, and whoever it was that directed MacGruber.

It was better than The Ladies Man at least.

His best film of the last decade is, hands down, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Kiss Kiss is a satire of Hollywood, with Robert Downey, Jr. playing a thief who ends up being sent to Hollywood for a part in a movie. Kilmer plays a private detective who helps him prepare for the role. While on paper this sounds like a cheap buddy cop action film (Shane Black and Joel Silver, who helped make this film, also made Lethal Weapon), the end result is a self-aware comedy/action masterpiece. It's a self-conscious odyssey through all the action cliches that we've seen over the years. I am convinced that this film gave RDJ his big comeback. Both him and Kilmer are brilliant in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the best movie you haven't watched. They both play off each other wonderfully and the energy between the two is off the charts.

Seriously, watch this movie.

What will Kilmer's winter years bring us movie fans? Only time will tell if he gets the resurgence that RDJ has received lately. He is even in the middle of filming a Coppola flick right now. I'm jump happy (I meant to type just happy, but I kind of like the phrase "jump happy") he's still receiving steady work. Because he really has a talent at being on camera. He's starred in some great movies, dated Cindy Crawford, gotten the respect of Robert De Niro, raised buffalo and once got in an off-screen fistfight with Tom Cruise. If all those things don't make a man great, I don't know what does.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Discovery Health No More!

Discovery Health Channel is no longer with us. The channel, which lived to be 11 years old was closed on Jan. 1, 2011. Now, in its place, is the Oprah Winfrey Network. With Discovery Health gone from the television lineup, the question remains whether or not it matters.

Aug. 2, 1999 - Jan. 1, 2011

We all have our preset channel surfing channels. As we are bored in front of the television with our remote in hand, we have those channels we check out first, and keep cycling through those channels until we notice something interesting to watch. Discovery Health was never a channel I surfed to. To be honest, I would try my best not to ever stop on it. It was a channel I not only skipped but ignored completely. Now don't get me wrong, I like the Discover Channel family. The channels that Discovery makes aren't ones you plan on watching, they're ones that you stop on when you notice Plant Earth is on.

I want to have a television dedicated to playing Plant Earth all day.

I stayed the hell away from Discovery Health though. It was in my astute opinion that nothing good could ever come out of watching Discovery Health Channel. In my opinion, it was a station dedicated to grossing me out. Shows based on surgery? Hell no, watching Nip/Tuck was bad enough. Neither did I want to watch a documentary on a man whose face was half tumor. I feel bad for the guy, but that's not how I want to spend my 60 minutes. Discovery Health started in 1999 as a dumping ground for TLC's surgery shows, back when TLC was more about making things in junkyards and less about babies and little people.

TLC is also responsible for unleashing Ty Pennington onto the world.

Discovery Health then grew into its own, producing television shows and filling its time with health inspired programming and reality shows. Shows like The Critical Hour were like COPS, only there was a lot more blood. But again, like I said before, I stayed away from Discovery Health. It was too disturbing. Plus I'm a hypochondriac, I don't need to know all these things. Going on WebMD is bad enough, I don't need a channel to tell me new ways I can think I'm dying.

For some reason, Discovery Health feels we need to watch Chicago Hope reruns too.

Discovery Health is dead and gone and now we have OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. This isn't Oprah's first time creating a network. Back in 2000, Oprah helped create Oxygen, which is like Lifetime, only without episodes of Supermarket Sweep. She sold Oxygen to Universal though, and now has a network that she's literally hung her name on. The Oprah Empire, which had it's own magazine, radio station, and films, now has a 24/7 home.

The scheduling isn't just Oprah though. Oprah's best friend Gayle King now has a show along with Dr. Laura, Shania Twain and even Oprah's old talk show competition Rosie O'Donnell. And of course, there will be Dr. Phil reruns. Some Discovery Health shows have been saved, with Mystery Diagnosis and Deliver Me both being added to the scheduele. The rest of the shows being saved are being dumped on FitTV.

Love or hate Oprah, her following is undeniable. And really you can't get too mad at Oprah. Yes, he influence is greater than some political leaders and yes she has more money than some countries. But keep in mind that she is a walking, talking, great American success story. Also, according to my mom, the show Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes really seems to humanize her and show that she is still just a person. Whether a whole network was needed to create that PR is a different story, but with Oprah's long running talk show set to end this year, she now has an outlet to continue her success. Oprah's show, and by extension Oprah herself, is a singular phenomenon in pop culture. This is just one more outlet for her personality that people can't get enough of. There's a reason why this earnest woman from Mississippi is so beloved and revered.

I can't believe I just spent that much time talking about Oprah.