Thursday, March 20, 2014

Big Bang Theory Will Reach Decade Milestone

Photo Courtesy of: Wikimedia
Kristin Dos Santos under CC BY-SA 2.0 License

It is definitely good news when the best sitcom on television right now gets renewed for an additional three seasons.  I guess the nerds of The Big Bang Theory can rule the world.

Currently in its seventh season, The Big Bang Theory shows no signs of slowing down.
Every time I watch an episode, I find myself laughing almost uncontrollably.  The writing is among the best I've seen on a sitcom. The cast members work really well with each other.

The show would probably not be as successful as it is without the superb brilliance of Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper.  So much of the show's comedy centers around his character.    
It will be interesting to see what's in store for the next three seasons.  What will happen in Sheldon and Amy's relationship now that they've finally had their first kiss?  Will Penny and Leonard eventually get married?  Will Penny finally get her big break for her acting career? Will Raj ever find love?  What will become of Howard's astronaut career?  

There are a bunch of stories left to be told and I can't wait! Hopefully the next three years are as good as the first seven have been.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2014
All Rights Reserved    

Friday, March 14, 2014

The "Jeopardy! Villain" Finally Loses

Arthur Chu's 11-game streak has come to an end.  The Ohio resident fell just short of winning a grand total of $300.000 during the streak.  The name of new champion Diana Peloquin will surely live on in Jeopary lore.

Chu generated quite a bit of controversy for the gameplay strategy he employed, where instead of going down the columns from top to bottom in a given category, he jumped around the board looking for the Daily Doubles in each of the first two rounds.

While I did find it difficult to predict which categories Chu was going to select from, I did not have any issues with his strategy whatsoever.  There are no rules in Jeopardy! that don't allow players to jump across the board from category to category looking for the Daily Doubles as well as the other big money clues if they choose to do so.

The way I understand it, Jeopardy! is a game show.  It should stand to reason then that, as long as no violation of the written rules has occurred, the players involved should be allowed to employ whatever strategy they feel best suits them to have the most success.  This was the case with Arthur Chu.  He employed a strategy that gave him a good chance to have a very successful run as a Jeopardy! champion.

What a run it was!  I look forward to seeing you at the Tournament of Champions in a few months Mr. Chu.

One final note.  I had a hunch that Chu's run would end when I saw a promo for Arthur's story on Good Morning America while the episode was still on.  It seemed somewhat odd for that to happen at that point in time.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2014
All Rights Reserved


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Presenting the Musick Channel Family of Blogs

You may have noticed the change in banners at the top of the pages and maybe even our new Twitter feed.

Tim Musick has joined me as a partner in blogging and we've put together five blogs for your enjoyment.  This conglomeration of blogs is going under the umbrella banner of The Musick Channel.

In addition to Tinseltown, USA! becoming part of The Musick Channel, we've also got four more channels for you to check out...

Tim's Sports World - where Tim Musick muses on the world of's triumphs, controversies, and news.

The Cheapskate Urban Gardener - I take square foot gardening and penny pinching to the extreme to create an urban oasis in the shadow of Los Angeles and show you tips on how to turn your yard into a green paradise too.

The World on Wheels - The premiere travel site geared to those who use a wheelchair and their companions.

Musick's Music - How can we have a name like that and not be into music? Come here for our observations on the world of music, videos, and criticism.

You can find links to all of our blogs at our main web page,, or follow our Twitter feed (www.twitter.con/musickchannel) where you'll get notices of all of our channel's posts. Please add to your favorites so you never miss news from our sites.

As always, our content is always free (but it is copyrighted, so ask before you use it).  You'll never be charged a penny to read our reports, see our pictures, or watch our videos.  We do appreciate it if you notice our Amazon links and do your shopping through them as we make a small commission on each purchase at no extra cost to you.

Thank you for you support, as we head towards our 5th anniversary of blogging, we hope to have a whole new world of information and entertainment for you.

Darryl Musick
Publisher, Writer, Editor, and Co-Owner of The Musick Channel

Tim Musick
Writer, Editor, Social Media Manager, and Co-Owner of The Musick Channel

Friday, March 7, 2014

Survivor Cagayan's Second Week Is Reality Television Gold

Photo Courtesy of: Wikimedia
watchwithkristin under CC BY-SA 2.0 License

Two weeks into the latest installment of Survivor and the fun has already started.

Last week ended with the Brains tribe inexplicably imploding!  David Samson, a prominent member of the Miami Marlins front office played the game similar to how he helps run the front office.

Translation here is he wasn't very good.  He got the dubious honor of being the first castaway voted off to start the season.  How he became the leader of the Brains tribe defies common sense.  Garrett wasn't very effective either.  He was the second boot with a hidden immunity idol in his possession.

Oh wait!  He forgot to bring it with him to Tribal Council because he was comfortable with his position in the game I guess.

As far as the other members of the Brain tribe, J'tia is a nuclear engineer really?!  You were not very good at building a shelter during week one and dumping out most of your tribe's rice supply is a huge no no in the game of Survivor.    They can only be called the Brains tribe in name really.  The collective IQ of the tribe seems almost nonexistent.  The only member I could relate to somewhat is Kass.

The good news is they didn't have to go to a third straight Tribal Council by coming in second in the latest immunity challenge to the Brawn Tribe.  Jeff Probst telling the tribe he was going to miss them was hilarious. Believe me Jeff, the feeling's not mutual.  

Wednesday's immunity challenge was very good too.  It was a combination water/ball maze puzzle challenge.  I'm always amazed at how the Survivor creative team does a good at making recycled challenges seem fresh and new every now and again.  The Brain Tribe capped off a surprising comeback by making quick work of the maze puzzle to beat the Beauty Tribe.

At Tribal Council, there were two votes because the first vote ended in a three-way tie between Brice, Morgan and Alexis.  The revote ended with Brice getting 3 votes, thereby eliminating him.  It's unfortunate he's gone home now because he was quickly becoming one of my favorite contestants this season.  Oh well, at least we can relive a pretty great exit speech by him.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how Tony and Sarah's Cops 'R Us alliance plays out.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2014
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Free Tilly - Blackfish

Four out of Five Stars

Darryl Musick was kind enough once again to give us another review.  This time, he reviews Blackfish, the eye opening, critically acclaimed documentary about the dangers of keeping orca whales in captivity in places such as Sea World.  

For those of you who may ask why I didn't write the following review, Darryl decided to watch it last Sunday night, when something called the Academy Awards took place. So without further ado here's Darryl's reaction to Blackfish:

I remember sometime when I was a kid seeing a kind of sad looking aquarium at one of our local beaches. There was a fairly dirty seal pool out front where you could buy a bag of sardines to feed them for a quarter.

A few years later, my then future wife and I had a date at Marineland of the Pacific (now Terranea in Palos Verdes, California) and noticed that the large killer whale there had a floppy dorsal fin. We were told it’s normal.

These memories are stirred watching Gabriela Copperthwaite’s sometimes brutal documentary, Blackfish, now showing on CNN and streaming on Netflix.

We start off with watching fishermen capture orcas…killer whales…off of the coast of Washington. A few too many are killed in the process so the practice is banned. The fishermen move over to the more accommodating coasts of Iceland.

Only the small calves are saved in the capture, because they’re lighter than the adults which makes them cheaper to ship.

We’re introduced to a youngster male orca named Tilikum who is put into an aquatic park that is essentially a floating doughboy pool on a dock in British Columbia. At night, he is stored in a small cage with two female orcas who attack him constantly.

The filmmakers make the case…with former trainers and investigators…that this kind of treatment induces psychosis in the animals.

At some point, Tilikum snaps and drags a trainer to their death in the bottom of the pool. The park soon closes but the owner sells the whales, which are worth millions, to other sealife parks. Tilikum goes on to become Shamu at Sea World.

This won’t be the last time Tilikum is involved with the death of a trainer.

The movie goes on to document the treatment of these creatures at the hands of Sea World and other marine facilities. It’s not a pretty picture as very questionable training practices are highlighted.  Trainers who had almost no proper training before jumping into the pools are interviewed. PR claims of great treatment of the animals are also debunked by former employees.

While very little is presented from the other point of view (an end credit says Sea World was invited to do interviews but declined) the credibility of trainers, OSHA investigators, and Sea World employees presented on screen is hard to argue with.

It’s hard to see a healthy animal in it’s prime be captured for our amusement and being put on display but I also acknowledge that a lot of our zoos and marine facilities do great work in healing sick and injured animals. They also contribute a lot to our knowledge of other species and do great work saving endangered ones…for instance, the Los Angeles and San Diego Zoos have done outstanding work bringing the California Condor back from imminent extinction.

Our old Marineland park bequeathed the use of a marine life facility in San Pedro used to nurse injured sea lions and other marine creatures back to health for release in the wild.

It is a film with a harrowing and somewhat justified point of view. It's also hard to take your eyes off of the's a brilliantly told story. I would like to see responses to it from the other side (notably Sea World), but it would be hard to accept those rebuttals after seeing this on screen.

Directed by Gabriela Copperthwaite
83 minutes running time.

Copyright 2014 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 Oscars: The Aftermath

That was certainly a fun event on Sunday night. While I didn't have a perfect record in terms of my final predictions (I finished with 3 out of 5 correct predictions), I was still pretty satisfied with the results. Below I discuss the good and the bad of the Oscars telecast:

The Good:
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gdcgraphics under CC BY-SA 2.0 License

Twelve Years a Slave was a well deserving Best Picture winner.  While I had Dallas Buyers' Club at the top of my list, I pretty much knew that it was not going to win the top prize from the start. One thing to keep in mind is that until I saw DBC, 12 Years was at the top of my list up to that point. In the end, it didn't bother me one bit that Steve McQueen and company were the ultimate winners. As long as Gravity didn't win, I was happy.

Speaking of Gravity, it won the awards it was supposed to win.  By that I mean the categories for visual effects.  I've been saying this all Oscar season. Once you look past the breathtaking visual effects, this film has very little else to offer. It still astonishes me that Sandra Bullock was receiving so much praise on her performance from her peers when she didn't even win in her given category of Best Actress. All I heard last night was how she carried the movie. Look I like Ms. Bullock but this wasn't one of her best performances. Not even close. When you don't win the major award in your category that you receive so much praise for going in, that should be a red flag from the start.

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were the victors in the most watched categories of the night for me.  Their respective wins illustrate just how special of a movie Dallas Buyers' Club is. Their characters are what make the movie so good. While I commend the other nominated performances, both McConaughey and Leto set the bar quite high in their respective categories.

Lupita Nyong'o.  She was one of the surprising and more well deserved winners of the night for me. The other being Spike Jonze in the Best Original Screenplay category for Her. Nyongo's performance as Patsey in 12 Years was so emotional and heartbreaking and her acceptance speech seemed very heartfelt and genuine also. Count me as one who definitely overlooked her and thought Jennifer Lawrence was a shoe in to win.  

Ellen DeGeneres as Oscar Host.  The Academy could have her be the host every year and that would be fine with me.  She was very funny and entertaining. The Twitter and pizza guy segments were absolutely hilarious! She even managed to handle the filler moments of the broadcast that didn't quite hit the mark very well. See Academy. Good stuff happens when you have a celebrity with some actual hosting experience of their own hosting the industry's biggest event of the year. They aren't intimidated one bit.

The Bad:

Steve McQueen got robbed in Best Director category.  Whatever happened to the days when whoever would win for Best Director, that film was pretty much a lock in the Best Picture category as well.  I understand Alfonso Cuaron did some pretty groundbreaking things with Gravity, in the same vein as James Cameron with Avatar, but a movie has to offer more than just stunning visual effects to be good. I like Cuaron's work in general, don't get me wrong. I just think Mr. McQueen made a far superior film.   

Photo Courtesy of: Wikimedia
Photo by Alan Light under CC BY 2.0 License

Bette Midler's In Memoriam performance.  Weird, just plain weird!  I wanted to tell her "OKAY, WE GET THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS ANALOGY ALREADY! No need for the unnecessary arm gesticulations. Officially creeped out!"

Pink's performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."  Judy Garland I feel your pain! What wasn't wrong with that rendition of a movie musical classic celebrating its 75th anniversary.  The vocals were all over the place and parts of it seemed to be way off key.  Memo to Pink: Perhaps you should consider taking some lessons from Idina Menzel.

John Travolta's introduction of Ms. Menzel.  Oh John, what happened?  Did you perhaps have one too many? Were you nervous? If you have an answer or explanation, I'd certainly like to hear what it is.

Winners' long acceptance speeches.  I know this will never change but award winners please!  We don't need to hear you thanking your publicist or agent on a job well done. Just get your award and go on with your life!

So there you have it! I'm pretty sure I missed some moments here and there, but these are just a few that stuck out in my mind from Sunday.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2014
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 Oscars: And The Oscar Goes To...

Let's take a look at the major categories in preparation for tonight:

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GabboT under CC BY-SA 2.0 License

Best Picture

What Should Win: Dallas Buyers' Club-Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both deliver powerful performances as business partners with AIDS who do their best to circumvent the medical system in order to provide other AIDS patients with alternative medicinal options that provide effective treatment but are not approved by the FDA in the 1980s.

What Will Win: My fear is that Gravity will win because it just seems like the type of film that the academy gravitates toward (sorry, no pun intended).  Don't get me wrong, when I saw Gravity I really wanted to like it, but all it really has going for it is the breathtaking visual effects.  Dallas Buyers' Club and 12 Years a Slave are much more deserving in my opinion.

Best Director

Who Should Win: Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave-McQueen helps a brilliantly scripted piece about the trials and tribulations of a freed black man wrongly kidnapped and sold into slavery in Civil War era America.  No one should ever have to experience the ills of slavery in their lifetime.

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity-He's won every major award given out up to point, so it probably won't change.  I'll say it once again.  Even though the visual effects are stunning, there's not much else appealing about this film, which is disappointing.  Maybe the fact that it's only an hour and a half long. That's a positive takeaway.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Who Should Win: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers' Club-Mr. McConaughey literally transformed himself into a man living with AIDS by losing over 30 pounds for the role.  His character was also easy to root for.

Who Will Win: McConaughey.  No contest here.  My honorable mention goes to Bruce Dern for Nebraska.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyer Club-See McConaughey description above.  The only difference being Leto portrays a transsexual.

Who Will Win: Leto.  No contest here.  My honorable mention goes to Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

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Kristin Dos Santos under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Who Should Win: Amy Adams for American Hustle-I must confess.  Other than Sandra Bullock, I have not seen the other nominated performances.  Given how I feel about Gravity, you could probably understand why I went with Amy Adams.

Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: June Squibb for Nebraska-She played the frustrated older wife of Bruce Dern's Woody Grant so well.  The whole movie was pretty entertaining and very funny.  Some of the stuff her character says, I know I've never heard my mother or grandmother say out loud.

Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle-I love Jennifer Lawrence and just about anything she's in.  The Academy loves her too and she is their new darling.  I just felt there were other more deserving nominees this time around.

So there you have it.  Those are my final picks and predictions for tonight.  Now we wait and see how close I came tomorrow morning.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2014
All Rights Reserved