Friday, March 23, 2007

New and Improved?

Some things get improved all the time. Computers for example get faster components available almost monthly. Cars see new models virtually every year. I’m told that even fashions are updated seasonally. Flavors are things that don’t usually require updating.

When Frito-Lay introduced a “new and improved” Doritos Nacho Cheese flavor, I was skeptical. After trying this altered flavor I decided that it tasted exactly the same as the original, but stale. I tried another bag thinking it was a fluke, but it was not. The chips now taste stale right from the bag. I wrote a letter complaining about this and said I wouldn’t be buying stale chips in the foreseeable future. I got a form letter reply thanking me for my interest in Doritos, and I have not bought a bag since.
I tried the new Wild White Nacho and realized that it tastes exactly like the original Nacho Cheese but with less artificial coloring. I give my seal of approval to this flavor, but it will probably be discontinued soon since it’s a limited time promotion.

7-up also decided to change their flavor to become “all natural.” I’ve always preferred 7-up over the other lemon-lime pops but the preference was never very strong. It took several months before I got around to trying this new formula, and once again was disappointed. I don’t really like this new flavoring they’re using and now have a strong preference for Sprite over 7-up and even prefer most of the store brands over it.

Coke also blew it by replacing Vanilla Coke with Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. Vanilla Coke was my favorite soft-drink of all time I went out of my way to get it. When they cancelled it, I wrote to Coke several times as a customer, a fan, and a stockholder. I got responses every time but they just apologized that I didn’t like the new stuff. With the exception of bottles from vending machines I have not purchased any Coke products since I bought my last stash of Vanilla Coke (I still have quite a bit but it will be expiring soon). I don’t intend to start anytime soon either.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Movie Ratings

The MPAA ticked a bunch more people off this past week when they reviewed the movie Transformers. It seems that they did not like the heavy amount of violence in the movie, so they gave it an R rating. The director did not want an R nor did he want to re-cut the movie in order to get his desired PG-13, so he did the next best thing. He called executive producer Steven Spielberg to have him talk to the ratings board. Spielberg talked to the ratings board who then reconsidered their decision and gave the movie a PG-13 rating. So without doing anything but getting a famous guy to ask nicely, a movie that is rated to be R is now rated PG13.

I mentioned this to someone and they started throwing a fit. He’s threatening to write to Congress to have them step in and intervene. Should they? Absolutely not! The MPAA is a private organization that follows its own created standards. Movie ratings (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17) are registered trademarks of the MPAA and cannot be used without permission. In order to use one of their ratings you have to pay a huge fee, submit a copy of your movie to them; then they will give you whatever rating they your movie deserves. Unless you are really rich, powerful, and famous you are stuck with whatever rating they give you unless you alter the movie and resubmit it and pay another fee in hopes that the new cut will get your desired rating.

Realistically movie ratings are little more than marketing tools. Movies are one of the few forms of media left that do not require ratings by the Federal Government. TV shows must be rated, CDs must carry Parental Advisory stickers if they contain foul lyrics, and radio has to conform to decency standards set forth by the FCC. As movies are generally shown in privately owned theaters, or watched in private homes they do not fit under any government control. The large movie chains have signed monopolistic contracts with the MPAA stating that they will not show a movie on their screens that does not have an MPAA rating. This is one of the few reasons that movie makers get their movies rated at all, to get them into the large theater chains. If you go to a store that sells DVDs you can generally find tons of movies that aren’t rated. Most videos that were never shown in the theater are not rated because it’s expensive to get a rating. Many DVDs that were shown in the theater aren’t rated in the stores because they re-cut the movie to get the desired rating for the theaters, but are selling the original cut on disc, of which they did not accept the MPAA rating.

The MPAA can give any movie any rating for any reason if they so desire. They have guidelines for what would constitute a particular rating but it isn’t strictly followed. For the most part they are consistent in their decisions but there are exceptions to every rule. You can find swearing in a G movie, full frontal nudity in a PG movie, graphic acts of violence and/or sex in a PG-13 movie, and just about anything in an R movie. I’ve seen PG movies that I wouldn’t want my baby sisters to see; I’ve seen R movies that I would have no problem letting them see. I’ve seen too few NC-17 movies to see much of a trend there but I wouldn’t buy most of the ones I’ve seen.

Rant over. I’ve filled my quick break from homework. Now time to get back to my union essay due on Monday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yes, it is can be updates tiem now

I think it’s past due for an update. What’s happened in the world since my last post you may ask? Well, Al Gore made a proclamation that anyone reporting on global warming and addressing the issue from more than one angle is obviously biased and is not credible as they have most likely been paid off by the oil companies. People are obviously the only source of global warming and anyone who does not see this is either a liar or stupid. We must all follow the inventor of the internet's direction and conserve energy. Don't actually follow is example as his monthly electric consumption is more than double what the agerage family consumes in a year. His private jet also consumes more fuel in a single trip than my truck does in a year.

I’ve learned that my HP Laserjet II printer is now 20 years old AND it has drivers for Windows Vista. Sadly, my five year old Lexmark multi-function printer does not have drivers yet. I honestly don’t care, I’ve only got one Vista computer in my house, it’s been a Vista computer for almost a year, I see no reason to load it onto any of my other computers for at least another year. By then they’ll have a few thousand of the bugs worked out and there may even be some programs I need that will only run in Vista.

Tomorrow is my last day of classes before my 2 finals on Monday. Then I will be on spring break until the new quarter starts April 2. I’m also waiting for my application to be accepted by the University of Washington so I can attend school in the fall to earn a degree in Business Administration. I got near perfect scores on both of my writing assessment essays so that should help. That reminds me, I need to turn in degree applications to BCC tomorrow morning.

300 was a very good movie and Iran is decrying it as American propaganda against its culture and heritage. The fact that the Persian army attacked Greece roughly 2500 years ago was obviously a fabrication by the US to show today’s Iranian culture as inferior. Combine the really cool elements of Braveheart and Gladiator and you have a good idea of 300. Toss the sex and it would be a nearly perfect movie. It still gets my vote for best movie of 2007 so far, bumping out the tie between Ghost Rider and Happily N’ever After.