Halt and Catch Fire, Season 3!

The Verge: Halt and Catch Fire’s third season will premiere on August 23rd:

Halt and Catch Fire, AMC’s consistently entertaining, detail-obsessive ’80s period drama, will return for its third season on August 23rd. The season’s first two episodes will air back-to-back beginning at 9PM ET.

Halt and Catch Fire’s third season will see the show moving from Texas to Silicon Valley for its 10-episode run. Last season, the series largely followed Cameron and Donna’s attempts to get their online games company, Mutiny, off the ground. Although the show sometimes seemed uncomfortable in the startup world, given the first season’s exploration of the slightly stodgier Cardiff Electric, it remained innovative and well-crafted.

This is great news for a great, and underrated show.

I grew up in the early 80s and can attest to how ‘detail-obsessed’ the show is. Many times in shows and movies, when they’re depicting computers, they use interfaces and sounds that don’t exist in real life. In Halt and Catch Fire they’re true to the real world (or pretty close anyway).

And as for where the title comes from:

In computer engineering, Halt and Catch Fire, known by the assembly mnemonic HCF, is an idiom referring to a computer machine code instruction that causes the computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to cease meaningful operation, typically requiring a restart of the computer. It originally referred to a fictitious instruction in IBM System/360 computers, but later computer developers who saw the joke created real versions of this instruction for some machines. In the case of real instructions the implication of this expression is that, whereas in most cases in which a CPU executes an unintended instruction (a bug in the code) the computer may still be able to recover, but in the case of an HCF instruction there is, by definition, no way for the system to recover without a restart.

The expression “catch fire” in this context is normally facetious, rather than literal, referring to a total loss of CPU functionality during the current session.

Not only is the show great, so is the intro:

Elastic is the studio behind the intro (via The Art of the Title).

Oh, and I have a crush on Kerry Bishé:

August 23rd, 9PM. I’m there.

Bottom Gear USA

History Channel gives Top Gear USA the axe:

After six seasons, Top Gear USA is getting cancelled. The news comes from Rutledge Wood’s Instagram page where the host implies the History Channel was behind the decision. While that’s bad news, Wood claims that Top Gear USA may not be completely dead. “I’m not saying Top Gear USA is done, but it’s done for the immediate future on History,” states Wood.

That’s six seasons too many of that show.

If the BBC was smart they’d cancel the new Top Gear UK with Chris Evans. Oh, and who the fuck thought it was a good idea to have Matt Leblanc on the show? I watched him introduce the Stig last week and I almost puked. The good news is, LeBlanc is threatening to quit if Chris Evans isn’t fired.

When Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond left Top Gear — the show they helped build into the empire it is today — the show was over. It would be like swapping in completely new musicians into the Beatles after John, Paul, George, and Ringo left.

You’re just never going to recapture the lightning in a bottle.


Erotic Banana-Eating

Good morning, Internet world. I thought I’d start the day off with a family-friendly post.

China bans ‘erotic’ banana-eating live streams:

Chinese live-streaming services have banned people filming themselves eating bananas in a “seductive” fashion.

New regulations mean that live-streaming sites must monitor all their output round-the-clock to ensure nothing untoward is going on, keeping an eye out for any “erotic” banana-eating, according to New Express Daily. It’s not just fruit that’s on their radar though – the paper adds that wearing stockings and suspenders while hosting a live stream is now also forbidden.

This story is from the BBC’s ‘News From Elsewhere’ section.

What a name for a category.

Went I saw this story, I couldn’t help but think about a classic George Carlin bit (YouTube) from his standup special, Doin’ It Again (1990):

As long as I’m being a complete pig up here, let me ask you guys a question.

Let me ask one question of the men. Are you ever able to watch a woman eating a banana and NOT think about a blowjob?

I can’t do it. And I know why: I’m a sick, evil fuck! I admit that!

I can’t do it! Eating a banana, eating a pickle, licking on an ice cream cone. I’m thinking to myself “LOOK AT THE TOUNGE ON HER! WOW!”

So ladies, be careful when you’re standing out in front of that Häagen-Dazs. ‘Cause God damn it, we’re watching. And God damn it, we’re thinking!

C’mon, China. Reconsider.

via Twitter

Welcome to De La Casa

That Cribs episode with Redman back in 2001?

It was real:

It’s rare, but sometimes less is more in hip-hop. That’s always been the case for Redman, who appears literally covered in dirt on his second and third album covers, and who has spun a career out of rhymes about “grimy shit” and dressing “bummy for low profile.”

All of which made him the least likely subject imaginable when Cribs premiered on MTV in 2000. Next to the shameless bourgeois excess of his rap contemporaries like Jermaine Dupri and Master P, both of whom made appearances on the show, Red’s duplex in the farthest reaches of Staten Island — “De La Casa,” as he calls it — was a momentous outlier. Though the clip first aired in 2001, it remains burned into the collective pop culture consciousness, along with its images of his gold plaques covered in soiled laundry.

Yet there’s been speculation over the years that the whole thing was faked. So we decided to settle matters once and for all, and called everyone involved. The verdict: it was real. And as the show’s creators, and Red himself, and his cousin, explain below, it took hip-hop’s proudest “stankin’ ass” to show everybody that a sense of humor trumps a platinum bidet any day, and that even in the land of gilded ballers, there’s still room for a funny dude who keeps his cash inside a shoebox to be king.

Amidst all the other episodes of douchebaggery and opulence, this episode was refreshing and now it’s a classic.

If you haven’t see the clip, shame on you.


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What Is Don Draper’s Final Move?

Lindsey Green has a theory:

Here’s the theory: In Green’s post, “Where Don Draper Ends, D.B. Cooper Begins,” she supposes that Don Draper is about to pull his most daring identity theft yet—he’s going to turn into a real, historical figure.

“D.B. Cooper” is the pseudonym of a man who permanently skipped town in November of 1971 by skyjacking a Boeing 727 in the most Don Draperian way a man could skyjack an airplane. Clad in a suit and tie, Cooper handed a note to a flight attendant. She presumed it was his phone number until he whispered over to her, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.”

Very intriguing.

All I know is there are a ton of open-ended subplots and there’s no way they’ll all be tied up in last two episodes.

Knowing what what I know about Matthew Weiner, I can only assume this is all by design.




This Is the End

Over at the New York Times, Logan Hill on last Sunday’s episode of Mad Men:

“That’s what the money is for” has got to be the “Mad Men” line I think of most often (especially on bad work days as a freelancer). And it’s the line I thought about at the end of the episode, as Don tried to rally the troops and everyone ignored his half-hearted speech about how this is “the beginning of something” and “not the end.” That beautifully shot scene, with the roar of the office drowning out the now-irrelevant executives — the five of them lined up, off-center, with Roger in a royal-blue double-breasted jacket, looking like an extra in basically any Wes Anderson movie — was a reminder that their employees’ fear and devotion didn’t derive from their genius. It came from the fact that they were signing their employees’ checks. That authority? That was what the money was for. They sold it.

This isn’t a beginning. This is the end.

We’ve known this for a while. The show is not going to end on a high note. The ‘good old days’ are over. I just wish the show would stop meandering into dozens of subplots. Add to that the fact that the action-packed episodes of Mad Men have been getting fewer and farther between. I’m tired of watching Don nap on his office couch.