Saturday, February 10, 2007

hollywood league

I have been watching "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited" via DVD. I don't feel that I have anything substantial to add to the reviews already on the Web--the show has incredible action, often-gorgeous animation, amusing wink-wink-nudge-nudge jokes, enthusiastic voice actors, blah, blah.

The part of the show that continually amazed me was the wealth of guest voices. Time after time I would hear a voice that was eerily familiar. Who needs six degrees of Kevin Bacon when so many people can all be connected to this show? Some of the ones that jumped out at me:
  • Carl Lumbly of "Alias" is J'onn J'onzz
  • Michael Rosenbaum of "Smallville" is the Flash
  • Robert Picardo of "Star Trek: Voyager" is Amazo
  • Rene Auberjonois of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" is Kanjar-Ro
  • Michael Dorn of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is Kalibak
  • Most of the Firefly cast
  • Amy Acker of "Angel" is Huntress
  • Oded Fehr from the Mummy movies is Dr. Fate
  • Dennis Haysbert of "24" is Kilowog
  • Powers Booth, current vice-president on "24" is Gorilla Grodd
  • Julie Bowen of "Lost" (Jack's former wife) is Aresia
  • Lisa Edelstein of "House" is Mercy Graves
  • Kurtwood Smith of "That 70's Show" is a prosecutor
  • Neil Patrick Harris of "How I Met Your Mother" is Ray Thompson
  • John Rhys-Davies of the LOTR movies is Hades
  • Ron Perlman of Hellboy is Orion
  • J.K. Simmons of the Spider-Man movies is General Wade Eiling
  • Mark Hamill of some movie series or other is Solomon Grundy and the Joker
  • Enrico Colantoni of "Veronica Mars" is Gordon Godfrey
  • Brad Garrett of "Everybody Loves Raymond" is Lobo
  • And of course, Ed Asner!
Bonus musings: No commercials, fine quality, commentaries, episodes scheduled whenever I wish...I'm starting to wonder if I should just give up watching TV shows live, wait for reviews or the Internet-stream version to determine if a show is worthy of my time, and buy it. With that strategy, I'm only paying for what I want to watch, and I can watch those shows for years to come. But this strategy also would have less variety, novelty, and surprise, not to mention no sports or TV news (as if I regularly watched TV news). Then there's the social component. Unplugging myself would make it harder to participate in snarky conversations with those who remain plugged in.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

the worst interview question

In my opinion, the worst interview question is "what is your greatest weakness?" The same goes for nigh-identical questions like "what are you bad at?" and "in what areas do you need improvement?". Interviewers can expect three responses: 1) a smooth-talking prospect manages to evade the question with as much finesse as a politician, 2) a desperate prospect offers a half-serious response guaranteed to be palatable ("I'm too willing to work weekends, darn it!"), 3) an honest/naive/confrontational prospect, who may in fact be a better employee than prospects 1 and 2, answers objectively thereby digging his own unemployment grave. In any of these cases, has the question done anyone any good?

The last person you should ask about his or her weaknesses is the person under consideration! It's like asking a person to self-incriminate. In Freakonomics or game theory terms, there is no incentive for answering honestly in such a situation. Answer honestly, and the interviewer, who is the other player in the game, may either 1) use the honest answer to stop considering the prospect altogether for a payoff of about -2000 or 2) accept the honest answer but have a diminished view of the prospect for a payoff of about -250. Lie or answer evasively, and the interviewer may either 1) accept the lie or evasion at face value ("gee, I can work him over the weekend, great!") for a payoff of about 250 or 2) reject the lie or evasion and have a diminished view of the prospect's honesty/self-reflection for a payoff of about -250. Lying or evasion is clearly the way to go!

Bad interviewers, bad!

this post may contain profanity in the future

I've noticed that the word "frack" is appearing more and more in the media I consume (what that says about what I read/watch/listen to is left as an exercise to the reader). The practice of using a fictional or unrelated word as a stand-in for usual profanity has a long, fascinating history, that naturally mirrors the history of profanity itself. The acceptability or respectablity of any given word can change over time. Taking all of this into account: what if a stand-in word, "frack", became so widely used as a replacement that it took on an equivalent stigma of impoliteness?

Better use frack while I can. I had better frackin' take my pile of frack, put that frack stuff in a case, and frack it to frack. For people who read this in the far future, please accept my humble apologies for the coarseness of the preceding sentence.

In related news: I also wonder whether frack's little companion "frick" will have similar high (low?) aspirations. If so, the rating of Merlin will need to be retroactively adjusted, as it has a character named "Frik".