Amazon Wants You to Cord Cut

And we at TVWriter™ think that’s a pretty good idea. (Although this TVWriter™ minion’s a little concerned about the fact that she is and a major corporate profiteer are on the same side of his particular issue and…)

Ah well, nevermind. That’s a thought for another, more paranoid day.

What we’re trying to get across to everyone reading this post is that Amazon now has an entire section devoted to cord-cutting how’s and why’s, and if you’ve been thinking about making this particular cut, you’ll be more than pleased at what you learn there.

For example:

  Cord Cutting 101

I cut the cord and I’m never going back

And much more HERE

Never Forget: Superheroes were Created to be Antifa

Now that superheroes – especially Marvel superheroes – rule the entertainment spectrum, it behooves us all to know a little something about them and how they came to be. Art Spiegleman, the man behind Maus, fills us in, and includes some very uncomfortable truths about today.

Marvel Antifa Heroes
A few people we all know and love, yeah?

by Art Spiegelman

ack in the benighted 20th century comic books were seen as subliterate trash for kiddies and intellectually challenged adults – badly written, hastily drawn and execrably printed. Martin Goodman, the founder and publisher of what is now known as Marvel Comics, once told Stan Lee that there was no point in trying to make the stories literate or worry about character development: “Just give them a lot of action and don’t use too many words.” It’s a genuine marvel that this formula led to works that were so resonant and vital.

The comic book format can be credited to a printing salesman, Maxwell Gaines, looking for a way to keep newspaper supplement presses rolling in 1933 by reprinting collections of popular newspaper comic strips in a half-tabloid format. As an experiment, he slapped a 10 cents sticker on a handful of the free pamphlets and saw them quickly sell out at a local newsstand. Soon most of the famous funnies were being gathered into comic books by a handful of publishers – and new content was needed at cheap reprint rates. This new material was mostly made up of third-rate imitations of existing newspaper strips, or genre stories echoing adventure, detective, western or jungle pulps. As Marshall McLuhan once pointed out, every medium subsumes the content of the medium that precedes it before it finds its own voice.

Enter Jerry Siegel, an aspiring teenage writer, and Joe Shuster, a young would-be artist – both nerdy alienated Jewish misfits many decades before that was remotely cool. They dreamed of the fame, riches and admiring glances from girls that a syndicated strip might bring, and developed their idea of a superhuman alien from a dying planet who would fight for truth, justice and the values of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Barely out of childhood themselves, the boys’ idea was rejected by the newspaper syndicates as naive, juvenile and unskilled, before Gaines bought their 13 pages of Superman samples for Action Comics at 10 bucks a page – a fee that included all rights to the character. Not only was Siegel and Shuster’s creation the model for the brand new genre that came to define the medium, their lives were the tragic paradigm for creators bilked of the large rewards their creations brought their publishers….

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Bruce Lee Was My Friend, and Tarantino’s Movie Disrespects Him

NOTE FROM LB: I didn’t know Bruce Lee, but many of my friends did.

Hey, what can I say? I used to hang out with martial artists. My martial artist friends were all good guys as well as world champions, and they made me feel safe. In many ways it was like being around superheroes.

Yeah, I was very young back then.

Be that as it may, I’ve been hearing from several of the champs recently, and they’re all upset about one particular thing – the completely inaccurate way Bruce is presented in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

There’s a genuine line (and not necessarily a fine one) between an artist exercising their creativity and just plain being a jerk. This article by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says it best.

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Remember that time Dr.?Martin Luther King Jr. kidney-punched a waiter for serving soggy croutons in his tomato soup? How about the time the Dalai Lama got wasted and spray-painted “Karma Is a Beach” on the Tibetan ambassador’s limo? Probably not, since they never happened. But they could happen if a filmmaker decides to write those scenes into his or her movie. And, even though we know the movie is fiction, those scenes will live on in our shared cultural conscience as impressions of those real people, thereby corrupting our memory of them built on their real-life actions.

That’s why filmmakers have a responsibility when playing with people’s perceptions of admired historic people to maintain a basic truth about the content of their character. Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does not live up to this standard. Of course, Tarantino has the artistic right to portray Bruce any way he wants. But to do so in such a sloppy and somewhat racist way is a failure both as an artist and as a human being.

This controversy has left me torn. Tarantino is one of my favorite filmmakers because he is so bold, uncompromising and unpredictable. There’s a giddy energy in his movies of someone who loves movies and wants you to love them, too. I attend each Tarantino film as if it were an event, knowing that his distillation of the ’60s and ’70s action movies will be much more entertaining than a simple homage. That’s what makes the Bruce Lee scenes so disappointing, not so much on a factual basis, but as a lapse of cultural awareness.

Bruce Lee was my friend and teacher. That doesn’t give him a free pass for how he’s portrayed in movies. But it does give me some insight into the man. I first met Bruce when I was a student at UCLA looking to continue my martial arts studies, which I started in New York City. We quickly developed a friendship as well as a student-teacher relationship. He taught me the discipline and spirituality of martial arts, which was greatly responsible for me being able to play competitively in the NBA for 20 years with very few injuries….

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What is Audio Drama Anyway?

Frequent visitors to TVWriter™ and People’s Pilot entrants over the last few years have been reading a lot about “audio drama” and the boom that has started within the “audio series” genre. (Although the boom very often is referred to as “podcasting,” broadening the traditional definition of that last word.

In order to clarify what audio drama is, we’ve turned to writer, actor, director, and producer Pete Lutz of Narada Radio Company (“radio!” another term of course for, erm, podcast).  Here’s what Pete has to say.

Let Me Tell You About Audio Drama
by Pete Lutz

When you engage with an audio drama, here’s what happens: From the opening sequence, the dialogue, music and sounds combine to form a picture that only you can see.

Does this mean you’re insane? Far from it.

It means only that you’re the director of the movie that’s now forming in your imagination. All of the women are strong, all of the men are good-looking, and all of the children are above-average. (Thank you, Mr. G. Keillor.) Or not, depending on the story, but you get to decide, see?

Nobody can make a better movie than the one you make inside your head. That’s why Audio Drama is so good. It stretches the imagination farther than TV, much moreso than cinematic productions.

To turn away from Audio Drama is to say, “No thanks, I’d much rather have someone else decide what to imagine.”

Sometimes that’s good. It’s OK. But if you want pure entertainment, if you want a full-color, let-the-budget-be-damned, unequivocal, unadulterated spectacle, go with Audio Drama. It will not let you down. You can trust me on this one.”

Know what, Pete? We do trust you. Thanks for jotting this down for us, and best of luck at that wonderful “mental picture” company you’ve got going at Narada

Is This the Ultimate Guide to Cutting the Cable Cord?

Another useful guide for those trying to cut viewing expenses by severing their connection to cable and satellite TV. Excellent tips all around and well worth the reading time.

by Joe Supan

The average American spends $107 per month on TV.

Whether it’s those high prices, the inflexible cable contracts or the gobs of channels you pay for but never watch, many viewers are now looking into cutting the cord.

Television providers shed 3.2 million subscribers in 2018 alone, a 4.2% loss — up from 3.7% in 2017 and 2% in 2016. And that’s not counting the millions of young people who’ve never had a cable bill.

The evidence says that people who’ve cut the cord don’t regret it, either. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, 76% of consumers are satisfied with their streaming services, compared with only 62% for TV providers, the lowest-rated industry in the report.

The bottom line: no matter what you want to watch, you can now get it without going through the cable companies. Here’s what you need for cutting the cord for good.

Quick tips

  • Make sure you’re getting high-speed internet. Most streaming services require at least 5 Mbps download speeds for HD streaming, and even more for live TV or 4K.
  • Choose a streaming device. Whether it’s a smart TV, gaming console or dedicated device like Roku or Fire TV, you’ll need a way to access streaming apps. 
  • Purchase a TV antenna. This old-school technology is a cord cutter’s best friend, delivering network TV live in HD for free.
  • Consider a live TV streaming service. These cable replacements let you stream live TV through the internet, without any contracts or hidden fees.
  • Sign up for on-demand streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. These typically cost around $10 per month, and let you stream movies and TV shows whenever you want. 
  • Check out some free streaming services. There are a number of services that provide thousands of movies and TV shows for free.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started

High-speed internet

If you cancel your cable or satellite TV service, your home internet connection is going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting. Streaming services and devices will depend on your home Wi-Fi to deliver your entertainment. If your network isn’t ready for that kind of activity, you’ll experience a lot of buffering and spotty performance. If it’s available in your area, we recommend switching to a fiber-optic or cable internet provider as these connection types historically offer faster speeds.

Every streaming service lists different internet speed requirements for seamless viewing, but the FCC recommends 5-8 Mbps for HD video and 25 Mbps for 4K. Keep in mind, though, that number will need to go up for every device that’s using the connection at one time. For example, if you’re streaming in 4K on two TVs simultaneously, you’ll need at least 50 Mbps.

Recommended speed for SD (Mbps) Recommended speed for HD (Mbps) Recommended speed for 4K (Mbps)
Netflix 3 5 25
Amazon Prime Video 0.9 3.5 15
Hulu 1.5 3 N/A
fubo TV 5 10 25
PlayStation Vue N/A 10 N/A
YouTube TV 3 13 N/A
Sling TV N/A 5 N/A

When evaluating the internet speed you need for cutting the cord, be sure to account for all internet-connected devices and activity in your household, including smart-home technology, mobile devices and casual browsing. The more users and devices that utilize your home Wi-Fi, the more bandwidth you’ll need to maintain a high-quality connection….

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