In Memorum: Stephen J. Cannell (1941-2010)

It’s not really news now, but I discovered the death of Stephen J. Cannell yesterday. While using the facilities, I picked up a discarded copy of Entertainment Weekly that so happened to be in there, and I saw a big picture of Cannell with the caption “1941-2010.” I was disappointed, to say the least.

Cannell has been responsible for some of the best TV shows of all time. A lot of the shows I used to watch religiously were imagined by Cannell. Although he created, wrote, and produced far more than this, these are the ones that I particularly loved:

  • The Greatest American Hero: I haven’t watched it years. The theme song is awesome. I think it was a spoof, if I’m remembering right. I was awfully young.
  • Hunter: I never used to like this show, but I enjoyed the attempt to revive it. I’d probably try to catch it if I knew of some reruns.
  • The A-Team: Only one of the best shows of all time! “I love it when a plan comes together!”
  • 21 Jumpstreet: Kid cops, undercover, in high schools and colleges… launched Johnny Depp’s career.
  • Silk Stalkings: A late-90s guilty pleasure for me. It really was more than just hot women wearing skimpy lingerie in every other scene–the murder mysteries were pretty good, too!

Turns out, Cannell also wrote several novels between producing and writing TV shows. Someone we writers can really look up to, since not all of us can make a full-time career out of putting our thoughts on paper, at least in fiction purely of our own creation.

Rest in peace, man!

Things That Annoy Me

I would have to say that there are three things that annoy me right now. The top annoying things in my life change on a regular basis, but as of right now, I have about a half hour to kill so I thought I’d write about the current three things that annoy me. The first is Facebook update feeds. The second is when people ask you stupid questions as a comment to your status update. And the third is the thing that always annoys me during football season: the Detroit Lions.

Facebook logo
Image via Wikipedia

Once when I was scanning the Cheezburger Network of sites, I came upon a

humorous graph. It depicted what a typical news feed looks like. It went something like this:

  • 1% Status Updates
  • 3% Likes
  • 96% Farmville Updates

 

Image representing FarmVille as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

I laughed out loud. It’s funny because it’s true. Facebook isn’t about keeping up with the status updates of friends and family, thoughtfully expressing their opinions and letting you know what’s going on in a short 100 or so character burst of text. Now, the entire news feed that once contained friends’ status updates is completely dominated by Farmville notices: leveling up, finding others’ lost animals, requesting help for a barn raising. It’s really irritating, actually.

 

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Conventional wisdom dictates that the only stupid question is the one not asked. To heck with conventional wisdom. I say that there is such a thing as asking a stupid question. Any definitional question, e.g. “What is X?” posted to a status by an inquizitive friend, automatically qualifies as a stupid question. Allow me to explain.

When logged onto Facebook, you are, by extension, logged on to the Internet. This means that you have access to the entire Internet, not just Facebook. Google, the greatest search engine ever invented, is a part of this Internet phenomenon. Google can find the answer, literally in seconds, to any question relating to definition of terms.

Often, I post statuses that contain terms that some people may not understand. I’ve read widely and frequently research topics of interest to me. So, every now and again, I may unintentionally use a confusing term. Being that the person reading my status is hooked into the Internet, it would be child’s play for them to highlight the unfamiliar term, right-click it, and select “Search Google for…” from the menu. Viola! Instant answer.

That process works on most browsers and takes less than 10 seconds. On the other hand, if you were to post a comment to that status asking the person who used the term to define it for you, you’re going to wait a while for the answer. The person might not get the question right away. Then, once they post the reply, you won’t see it until the next time you log on to Facebook. It could be anywhere from a few hours to a few days before you get your answer. Googling the unfamiliar term is so much easier.

 

Detroit Lions helmet
Image via Wikipedia

Of course, the Detroit Lions lost. Again. They are 0-4. Another stellar start. Week 1 should have been a win, but thanks to the referee somhow deciding that Calvin Johnson didn’t “complete the process” of the catch (what does that even mean?), their victory was taken away. And it hasn’t gotten any better.

This past week, they came out like bumbling high schoolers that would have had a better shot against a Wisconsin junior high powder puff team rather than the Green Bay Packers. But then, in the second half, the Lions made things interesting. They scored several unanswered touchdowns, their defense stepping up (finally) to score two takeaways and bring the score within two points with six minutes left to play.

The Lions got the ball back once in those last six minutes, but failed to convert a third down and were forced to punt. Then the Pack won on simple ball control. They ran the clock down with short runs and screen passes, never giving the ball back to the Lions, never giving the defense a chance to intercept or force a fumble. Sad and tragic.

But that’s what happens when you don’t play football for 60 game minutes, instead merely choosing to play a little here and a little there. Why am I still a Lions fan????????