Sunday, February 28, 2010

Quirky crap I enjoy buying: Sbarro, Roy Rogers and tall-boy Diet Pepsi

So, on the Connecticut and Rhode Island border in North Stonington, there is this funky little corporate truck stop known as American Auto Stop. This makes it sound like an auto shop, but no, it is just a 24-hour store with a Sbarro's, Roy Rogers, a diner and a full store of other miscellaneous crap. According to the three other user reviews of the place, it is garbage and fly-infested, but it has always been clean the half dozen times or so I've visited. This dude wrote a four-page thesis paper on the place, and the comments are also noticeable for complaints about some girl being a crack whore.

I've always been fascinated with stores like this, because they all seem to have the same stuff, yet different. For example, this one is the only place I've seen that has the 16 oz. "Tall Boy" cans of diet soda that I've posted at the top of this entry. They are indeed only $0.99, which is awesome! After normal business hours for the restaurants, they put the excess Sbarro slices and Roy Rogers chicken into the fridges and mark the price down to like $0.69 each. mmm.

Speaking of, I have an unexplainable affection for Sbarro. Whether it is their thin cheese pizza that sells for two-for-$2.22 or the pepperoni stromboli or the pizza with a whole garden salad on top essentially or the super ridiculous garlic bread or the cucumber salad... I love it all. (I have such unbelievably low taste at times.)

The Diet Pepsi picture comes from this site, which seems to just be an aggregator, so don't worry if you don't click it. The piece of Sbarro pizza comes from this site.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Inexplicable Movie Review: Must Love Dogs

I watched Must Love Dogs the other night, and I was pleasantly surprised by what a good little romantic comedy movie it was. Is it among the upper echelon of John Cusack movies? Not really, since Say Anything is still the undisputed king in my book, followed by the frustrating but good Serendipity. However, it is a really watchable movie.

Part of this is due to the 45-year-old Diane Lane, who was around 39 or 40 when she filmed this movie, and looks impossibly good. I have no idea why she is so famous - Her IMDB has a bunch of stuff I haven't heard of. After seeing her in this movie though, I can definitely see why Bill Simmons has named the team of hot older ladies the Diane Lane All-Stars though.

Must Love Dogs falls apart a bit though because it relies SO much on Cusack and Lane to provide all of the entertainment. Yeah, they're pretty great, as is Lane's dad in the movie, even though he is kind of sleazy. But there are several ridiculous characters and plot aspects of the movie:

- Lane's entire family is full of horrible people. The very first scene of the movie, we learn that she has split up with her husband, and all the members of her family are gathering at her house with pictures of potential dates for her. Ugh. Nobody actually does that! wtf, movie? Her sister Carol is the worst offender, as she posts Lane's picture (from her high school graduation) and profile on an Internet dating site without her permission.

- John Cusack's character apparently sells boats, except that he doesn't manage to actually sell any of them, which his lawyer friend makes fun of him for in the movie. If that's the case... How the heck did he afford a house??? If they mention Cusack's source of money in the movie at all, I missed it. Apparently, he lives in a nice house because a woman like Diane Lane would want him to live in a nice house so that she could fall in love with him.

- The rival of Cusack for Lane's affection is a somewhat-hunky dad, who's son goes to the preschool that Lane teaches at. (Side note: Lane as a teacher is ridiculously cute and warm, and overshadows her other scenes in the film.) However, the movie completely glosses over that he cheated on his first wife and Lane knows! Yet, she never ONCE contemplates this in the movie! A cheating guy is like the number one "hate this pig" type for women; look at the venomous reaction Tiger Woods is getting. I am to believe that Diane "Super Cougar" Lane would not have the slightest hesitation about a dude that cheated on his wife? REALLY?

- There is a farcical moment so telegraphed that I called it seconds before it happened. Like, we're talking something you would see in She's All That or Drives Me Crazy or some other horrible tween romantic comedy. That, and a scene where Lane goes nuts and signs up for like 50 Internet dating sites, are the most unrealistic scenes of the film.

With the above issues, Must Love Dogs is more in the "cheesy fun" romance movie category as opposed to legitimately good. I still enjoyed it, because Cusack and Lane are so god damn cute together, but the rest of the movie is unintentionally funny.

Grade: C+

The photo of Lane and Cusack from the movie is from this blog. The Diane Lane photo is from this site.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Have you seen this?

I've kind of forgotten what this thing looked like, since it has been so ridiculously rainy here the past couple days. So, I decided to post a picture of it on my blog, since I don't really have a lot of time to write an entry today.

Also, an existential question for the day - Do you think blonde law students really hate Reece Witherspoon? Because I imagine that they to deal with questions about her somewhat regularly now. (These are the kinds of things I think about when I don't have television or radio to distract me. I apologize.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

News - Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wow, it's been a while since I've done a regular news post! Time to break that trend with some wonderfully awesome news right... now.

- According to some site called Pop Eater, the goal of myself and many others is complete, as a pickle now has more fans than Nickelback. Woohoo! The odd thing is that like the creator of that group, I don't actually mind the band that much, except that they are way overplayed.

But more importantly, let's talk pickles, and I don't mean in a sexual way. As the top picture implies, I am quite the fan of Vlasic pickles. They have a nice snap and taste to them, and I also like the deli stackers they have. And, you totally can't beat the variety of their products, between the classic kosher dill, bread and butter, and Tabasco varieties.

- I sometimes wish I still wrote headlines for entertainment sections, like when I was in college, because there is a wealth of material this week. First example: Ole Miss students and random Internet sploozers are pushing for Admiral Ackbar to be their new mascot. Apparently, the group has gotten popular enough on Facebook for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to do an actual article on them. Hopefully, this whole movement isn't a trap for the empire to conquer the South.

- And finally... Boner is still missing :(

The picture of the Vlasic stork is from here.

TV Review: Even more answers as LOST progresses

I'm also thinking deeply about this episode, Jack.

Before I start, the usual LOST caveats apply for this post - Big time final season and Tuesday night spoilers are in the following post. Read at your own risk!

Anyway, I thought the season's fifth episode, "Lighthouse", did a great job at continuing to provide some answers, at least from the perspective of Jacob as opposed to FLocke (Fake Locke / Old Smokey / The Man In Black). Of course, my main Jack figured heavily into the episode, as he was at the crux of the Island and Bizarro LAX stories. This was also a surprisingly strong episode for Hurley, who I don't normally like, and a surprisingly weak episode for Claire and Jin, who I'm normally more into.

Hitting on the big part of the episode first - Apparently in Bizarro LAX, Jack has a kid with a similar relationship between himself and his father. By the end of the episode, they have patched things up. While it seems like some of the people in Bizarro LAX are destined for more misery, such as Charlie the Convicted Drug Addict, Locke and Jack have both carved out seemingly-happy niches for themselves. Neither one has a perfect life - Locke is still crippled, and Jack is still divorced or separated - but they both clearly have relationships with people they love.

Using this as a springboard to talk about the Island, I think this is the biggest difference between Jacob and FLocke's methods. I ultimately think they represent good and evil, and the show is not pulling a swerve on us.

Jacob's method of "pushing" the characters relies on manipulation, and it requires them to make tough decisions and deal with emotional trauma. Are the characters being manipulated? Sure, you could say that. However, there is a sort of paternalism to his actions. They have to have trust that what they're doing is correct. While I'm not into religion, I am into trusting my instincts and gut reaction, which often suggests I have to do things that will be a pain in the ass.

I think this all contrasts vividly from FLocke's game, which relies upon more heavy-handed manipulation and outright deception. FLocke essentially turned Ben Linus, the evilest character on television for close to four years, into a blubbering, whiny idiot that you could actually feel sympathy for. He's also providing tantalizing "answers" for Sawyer and (apparently) Claire that paint Jacob as the enemy.

To me, it reeks of a classic distraction technique - FLocke is so busy pinning the woes of the Island members on Jacob that Sawyer, Ben and others don't have the presence of mind to grill him on his own plans. To again parallel this to real life, I don't like people who insist on blaming others, whether it be a boss or some other force, for something that prevents their own happiness. Jacob and the Bizarro LAX scenes seem to suggest that hard work, trust and introspection can lead to happiness, regardless of the initial genetic hand or stumbles you might have along the way. FLocke is too busy assigning blame and gaining revenge to be concerned with happiness. (And, for this reason, I think Sawyer eventually comes to his senses and screws up the entire plan for FLocke, ultimately fulfilling Jacob's goal.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kirsten Dunst has lost her god damn mind, and so has Jack :(

Dear Kirsten Dunst, I'm sorry that Spider-Man 4 was canceled a couple of months ago. Maybe this has caused you to ponder some past career decisions, and to try to grab some "indy credit" like Zooey Deschanel has, for her dual-acting and singing careers, kind of.

However, that thing above... is just a bad idea. What the eff were you thinking, child? Ack! Thanks to Gawker for the original posting that I saw on it, and for my friends Tom and Kristi for bringing it to my attention.

I guess I have to call it "artistic" because it is bad, like an Asian fetish dude's wet dream. The only thing missing from that video is tentacle porn, and I suppose there is only none of that because the video is shooting for an NC-17 or R-rating as opposed to being hentai. But between all the Japanese school girls, busty anime chicks, sparkles and bad singing, I mentally threw up about 40 times.

Speaking of bad ideas, the real-life Jack Shepard has been stepping out on his lady. Matthew Fox! Knock that behavior off, please. It is being reported by sleazy outfits, like The National Enquirer and InTouch, but I guess we'll know if there is an actual divorce or not whether it was true.

Secondly, how come all of these cheaters step-down a bit with their targets? At least Tiger Woods was doing some porn stars and models in addition to gross waitresses at Waffle Houses; presumably he was picking up some new tricks. Matthew Fox allegedly slept with some gross 25-year-old stripper with a kid. barf. Hey Matt Fox, stick with your already good-looking wife with whom you have kids with! Don't go all Sawyer on us.

The picture of Fox and his wife is from this site. I'll have my thoughts on last night's episode a little bit later, when I'm done watching the episode.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Around The Dial: Leno back with some kinda, sorta good guests; Archer gets second season!

Checking in with some television news around the dial...

- The guest list for Leno's return to The Tonight Show has been released, according to TV Guide. Click here to catch a glimpse.

To be honest, I think TV Guide is stretching a bit when they say it includes "a lot" of A-Listers. The first night back, yes, Leno has Jamie Foxx and Lindsey Vonn, followed by Sarah Palin and Shaun White that Tuesday. Those are four pretty solid guests, and I imagine Vonn and White will do well on the show, coming off the Olympics and because of their solid conversational skills anyway.

However, after that, it goes downhill fast. Wednesday has Chelsea Handler, which is probably the first night Leno might get shit on by a guest, and the "big names" for that night are the cast of Jersey Shore. Thursday is Matthew McConaughey - ugh. And Friday has Morgan Freeman, a definite A-lister, but not someone known for his dynamic interviews.

I think most of the better A-list interviews - Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise - are going to wait out Leno's "new" Tonight Show to see how the ratings are. If there is a big public backlash against Leno, then I think they'll avoid the show like the plague. At that point, it would be REALLY interesting to see what NBC does. Maybe they could lure Conan back, as nuts as that sounds, with a ridiculous contract offer. Otherwise, they'd have to quickly promote Jimmy Fallon (unlikely) or hire some outside gun with little late night experience.

- In great television news, Archer has been picked up for a second season by FX! Woohoo! Just the other night, I was worried it wouldn't get picked up, but it seems like the ratings have stayed strong for the show. It's great news for Adam Reed, who came from the Adult Swim / Cartoon Network way of doing things, which was to constantly stall and wait on renewing shows.

The Archer picture comes from the news item I linked to in the story. The Leno cartoon is from this site.

Around The Dial: Betty White close to SNL gig and Glee goes Washington

I was only planning on doing one post today, but surfing the sometimes-excellent web site of Entertainment Weekly led me to do this "extra" post, even though it is technically appearing before the other one... Anyway, on to the news!

- Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Betty White and Saturday Night Live are close to reaching an agreement on her being the host for an episode! Because she is an 88-year-old lady, she would apparently be part of a "Women of Comedy" night that could feature SNL alums Molly Shannon, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Given White's obvious health limitations, I definitely wouldn't be opposed to that. I do hope that SNL tries to expand and fold in a few more alums or female performers that are off the beaten path. Obviously, Bea Arthur would be a bit of a hard get, but Cloris Leachman and Phyllis Diller are still around. If you'd like some more contemporary alums, Sarah Silverman was on the show for about five minutes in the 1990s, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus was on the show for several seasons.

- Apparently, I'm not the only dude who loves Glee, as President Obama has arranged for the cast of the show to perform at the annual White House Easter Egg Role on Monday, April 5. This is another scoop from Ausiello at Entertainment Weekly, so really, he's doing pretty well this week in my book.

Anyway, since I vaguely just mentioned Glee and a story on it, it gives me a great excuse to run a picture of the vexing Lea Michele. Enjoy!

The photo of Lea is from this blog. The awesome picture of Betty White is from this blog.

Monday, February 22, 2010

TV Review: More Aqua Teen Hunger Force MADNESS

"If the Family Guy can have a pinball game, so can I!"

Dear Master Shake, I love you so much. You are my favorite animated character by far, with your bombastic, egotistical sayings. And thankfully, you were on full display, in your element, with the latest Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Eggball" on Sunday night.

The premise: Shake somehow creates a pinball game based on himself, complete with sound drops from the Mooninites, Frylock and others. (To be honest, the game itself seemed like a great product for an actual arcade, and it wouldn't surprise me if it was based on an actual design for a table or video game proposal, excluding the fact that it had about 17 flippers.) The quote below the picture of Shake is something he said in the episode, which only adds to my love of him.

Anyway, the first five minutes or so of the episode were incredible, as Shake breaks the machine and then attempts to get it fixed. The repairman turns out to be George Lowe, his second appearance on the show in a row, although as another generic character. Lowe hasn't really done much since Space Ghost Coast to Coast ended, so if they can squeeze him in as a semi-regular character, my love for ATHF will only grow.

Predictably, Shake freaks out that he can't find a proper replacement pinball, and the episode drags a bit as they go to Death Island to find a replacement ball. However, it's still funny, and there is some Meatwad humor in the second part of the episode involving jetskis.

Touching on the previous week's episode, "Rubberman," I found it enjoyable, even though it was a return to the "gross out" humor of ATHF that I have criticized in the past. From the picture and the title and my short description, you can probably guess what the episode was about, but just in case you need some more elaboration - Frylock creates a duck made out of used condoms and syringes that he calls Rubberman, and Meatwad brings it to life by placing a magic hat on top of its head.

... You know, really wholesome, family stuff! As gross as the episode starts out, it does get better as it goes along. While it is not an instant classic like "Eggball," "Rubberman" was still entertaining enough for an 11-minute show.

Grade for Eggball: A
Grade for Rubberman: B-

Buy My Crap - Littlest Pet Shop Beach Friends

So, I occasionally review video games. I had thought I sold this one months ago, but the guy / gal who won the auction never paid me, which is a problem. To clarify things, I have never even played this game - I got sent a pair to review, but the reviews were later pulled, but we were told we could keep the games. So, whatever! If you think you might be interested, or have some little siblings that might be, feel free to do as the title says and buy my crap. Surprisingly, it has gotten really good reviews on Amazon and Google. And to clarify, this is a game for the Nintendo DS.

If you want to buy my copy, my eBay auction is here. And as usual, if someone from here does buy it, I don't mind throwing in some other cheap-o game I have.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DON'T READ THIS: Spoiling WWE's Elimination Chamber PPV

I managed to catch the final two matches of the WWE PPV Elimination Chamber tonight, so I'll give my thoughts on them, plus another segment that they showed. Typical warning for this type of post: Massive spoilers follow! If you want to watch it, then don't read this!

- Smackdown Elimination Chamber: I thought this was a great match, with some sick spots and solid booking throughout. First, CM Punk is ridiculously over with his current "straight edge" cult gimmick. He plays the character PERFECTLY, and if he isn't a world champion within the next year while this plays out, I'd be really shocked.

Off the wall idea on my part - Why not have HBK join the straight edge cult? It's clear that he is on the outs with Triple H, and given his well known born again status, it seems like he might fit in with the group's mantra of no drugs and clean living. It would be simple enough for him to cut a promo badmouthing the fans for encouraging him to sin again, or something to that effect.

Anywho, back to the actual match. Punk eliminates R-Truth in about four minutes, giving him an entire minute of mic time to rant about the other competitors. Unfortunately though, the next one out is Rey, and he eliminates Punk shortly before the fourth competitor, Chris Jericho, got into the match.

Rey and Jericho fight for a bit, and surprisingly, the WWE let Morrison stay in the match, as the Internet speculation beforehand was rampant that he would get superkicked by HBK and taken out. Luckily though, he stayed in as the fifth entrant, and definitely showed that he deserved to be in the main event picture. He managed to eliminate Rey with Starship Pain, a nice feather in his cap, and he hung in tough with Jericho and The Undertaker (the final entrant).

If I had one problem with the booking in the match, it was that Morrison got eliminated kind of easily. After absorbing a good amount of pain, he was pinned after a somewhat-benign looking chokeslam to the metal floor, after a somewhat-long delay. At least give the guy the courtesy of a proper finisher, WWE! However, this is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, the final two are Jericho and Taker, who have about five minute of solo action. They manage to trade finishers - Jericho gets him in the Walls for a minute, and hits a Codebreaker, while Taker slaps Hell's Gate on for a bit and hits the Last Ride - but neither can manage a victory.

That leads to the final spot of the match, as HBK finally materializes at the PPV; I believe he was hiding underneath the ring. He gives Taker a Superkick to cost the match, while Jericho gives him an "ohmygod" look. Good reaction on Jericho's part, since he and HBK just got off a brutal feud (Jerishow vs. DX) and had a really brutal feud last year that involved him punching HBK's wife. After the kick, Jericho wins the title win a pin and easy 1-2-3.

- The match preceding the Smackdown chamber wasn't on the card to start the night: The Miz vs. MVP for the United States championship. To be honest, I was hoping for something different, since it feels like these two have wrestled each other about 500 times in the past couple of years. However, as expected, they both had a decent match, with The Miz earning some tough-guy points for wrestling with a busted-open forehead from a headbutt. While it wasn't Ric Flair-level blood, the doctor still came out immediately after the match to patch him up.

Anyway, the match featured one sick spot, and it wasn't even in the ring between the match participants. The Big Show attempted to interfere on Miz's behalf, and he was stopped by Mark Henry, MVP's tag team partner. Henry then charged after Show, but he sidestepped and tossed Henry through one of the black pads at ringside - It was a very cool spot, and I wasn't sure after if Henry was legit hurt or simply milking the injury for the match's purpose. With Henry knocked down, Miz distracted the ref, and Show landed the knockout right on MVP, leading to a Miz pinfall.

- I didn't catch the Raw elimination chamber, but I saw the results, and it sounds like a doozy. Apparently, Cena made HHH tap to win the title... Only to have Vince McMahon come to ringside, with Batista, for an impromptu title match! Batista easily pinned Cena, and he's the new champion. (Maybe Cena should just stay home on chamber nights, given his past history with the event.) Also in the match, Orton got pinned by Ted Jr., which surely sets the stage for their angle.

Elsewhere on the card, the women's title match for the vacant Diva's belt was stupidly changed to a tag team match between Maryse and Gail Kim vs. Michelle McCool and Layla. Maryse gave Gail Kim the Sid Justice treatment, refusing to tag in and letting her get beaten by the two heels. The whole thing sounds pretty miserable, and the WWE probably should have just had the scheduled match. Likewise, Drew McIntyre beat Kane, in a match that nobody was really salivating over.

Finally, William Regal got on the mic to hype up the WWE's newest program, in which established stars mentor up-and-comers, and to also bemoan that he wasn't on it. Edge came out and speared him, much to the crowd's delight. Also, Edge announced that he would, uh, announce, his Wrestlemania opponent on Monday Night Raw. So, you have that to look forward to, which is nice.

Shows that need your support - Modern Family and Archer

I was sad when Arrested Development went off the air. This is because for years, a couple friends had been trying to get me to watch it, and yet, I refused, because I was too busy... Well, not really "busy", but resistant to the show. Then I watched it, and fell in love, which was also the case with Firefly. I have such poor timing.

Therefore, let me hype up the following shows. I've written about some of them before, but some I haven't, and pretty much all of them could be on the chopping block... without your support! Please, don't let those evil networks take these shows.

- Modern Family has surprisingly seen its ratings increase against American Idol, but I still worry about its long-term survival. It has picked up some awards from the Writers Guild too, so hopefully, that will ensure another season. The New York Post notes in its review that the show has been picked up for 24 episodes in the fall.

- Archer is the latest project from Adam Reed, the past creator of great animated shows like Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo. It has had good ratings so far in its time slot, 10 p.m. Thursday on FX, as it continues on the sort of indecent humor popularized by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League in that time slot.

However, Archer has been better than Reed's previous efforts because of the all-star voice cast he has to work with. H. Jon Benjamin, a.k.a. Coach McGuirk from Home Movies, plays the lead role of the secret ISIS agent Archer. Joining him as voices are Chris Parnell from Saturday Night Live, Jessica Walter (Lucille) and Judy Greer (Kitty) from Arrested Development, and Aisha Tyler from Talk Soup. The Seattle Times gave the show a shout-out this past week, and I can attest that the episode was awesome.

The Arrested Development photo is from this site.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Steve's Kinda Cool Music List

I have a pretty busy day today - At 1:30 (i.e. five hours before you read this), I'm having lunch with my uncle from Maine, then we're watching the Rams play at 4. I'm also the beat reporter for my newspaper for the game, so following the game I'm attending the press conference and typing my story, followed by (possibly) going out with a couple of the local reporters.

So, in light of all that, I apologize in advance for this sort of "cop out" entry. I will try to double up tomorrow with the television coverage, if I can. But, building on the cheesiness of yesterday, here is the list of kinda cool music that I listen to on iTunes when I'm typing something. The name of the list is... Steve's Kinda Cool Music List. Like duh.

The All-American Rejects - Gives You Hell
Ben Folds - Adelaide
Bowling for Soup - 1985
The Clash - Safe European Home
The Kooks - Naive
Metric - Help I'm Alive
Rise Against - Savior
Spoon - The Underdog
Taking Back Sunday - Sink Into Me
The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
Vampire Weekend - Cousins
Vampire Weekend - A-Punk
The Wombats - Let's Dance To Joy Division
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue

I also gradually fold songs in and out of this play list, depending on my mood and how much I've listened to a song. For example, Yellowcard has been in and out of this playlist, and two summers ago "Dawn of the Dead" by Does It Offend You Yeah? and "Wild International" by One Day As A Lion and "Maps" by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were on the list instead.

The picture is from CD I've never heard, but I liked the little caption. If you speak Russian (?), you can buy it from this site, I think.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Belatedly Liking Stuff: All-American Rejects

This probably earns me no cool points, like last week's post about Vampire Weekend did, but I really like The All-American Rejects. The video (above) for "Gives You Hell" isn't anything special, but every time the song comes on, I subconsciously tap my foot and hum along. Their other songs - "Swing Swing" and "Dirty Little Secret" - are also very listenable to me.

Since Blink 182 is no longer really around as much, The All-American Rejects sort of fill that "cheesy pop punk" void that has been in my heart for a while. Another "bad" band that I really like for similar reasons - Yellowcard. "Ocean Avenue" is one of my 10 most listened to songs, according to iTunes. Sigh - there goes my cool card.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Around The Dial: Quick bursts on some random TV news

Just surfing on Google for some random television news...

- I once had a subscription to Time magazine, mostly by accident. I had signed up for some card at Electronics Boutique, and as part of joining their club, I *had* to take a free magazine trial. I forgot to cancel the subscription after a month, but hey, Time was pretty decent, even if it was costing me about $50 a year.

Articles like this one, on the proliferation of reality television by James Poniewozik, are why I kept my subscription going. Also of note are the two sidebars, featuring the Top 10 reality shows and the Top 10 skankiest reality shows.

- CBS had a good fourth quarter, as their advertising revenue increased by 8 percent and they met earnings estimates set by Wall Street. The New York Times story on it is here.

- The Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for a showdown on healthcare at some sort of summit Feb. 25. This Examiner article, while slanted to the left a bit, gives a decent summary of the issues and what not faced by both sides. (So ends my short, yearly political commentary!)

The Burgundy photo is from this site.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

At The Commercials: Molly Culver will spend all of your money and devour your soul

Times must be tough for Molly Culver. The residuals from her "starring" roles in V.I.P., Pacific Blue, Warrior Angels and VH1's I Love The XX series must be drying up, because she is in a truly awful series of ads for the Chase rewards program.

Listen, if my wife ever spends all of our Chase reward points ON A SINGLE DRESS instead of a vacation, then she will shortly be my ex-wife. Hey Molly Culver, you're still hot even though you're now 42! Cool it on buying the super-expensive dresses and annoying your husband, who looks kind of like Brett Favre.

There is actually a second commercial in the series, but it is so awful that no one has felt the need to record it and put it on YouTube. In that one, Molly is with her P-whipped husband as they are riding on a ski lift, and she doubts that their reward points can be used to purchase a massage. Hey Molly, WHY WOULD YOU DOUBT THAT? Come on! Why are you constantly busting your husband's balls? Can't you just go back to shilling Secret deodorant?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

DON'T READ THIS: Blogging LOST, Week 3

In keeping with last week, here is another running diary of LOST. Of course, huge spoilers on this week's episode follows, and as always, Amanda and Tom will be providing some commentary as well.

9 p.m. - A short recap this week, and we're apparently going to be following Locke (and hopefully Fake Locke) for a bit. In Bizarro LAX, he's getting out of his van with the fancy ramp, which stalls and makes him fall down on to the lawn, with the sprinklers smacking him in the face. How farcical and morbidly funny! And hey, Peg Bundy is back as his girlfriend! That's nice that he has love again. She finds the card from Dr. Jack Shepard in his clothes, and says maybe it's destiny that they ran into each other. Nifty, huh?

The scene shifts to the Smoke Monster. It hovers outside of a building in the Others' village for a bit, and then finally forms around a machete, which Fake Locke takes. He had Richard tied up in a trap, but finally chops him down. First commercial break.

9:07 p.m. - Short break, as we're back to Locke in his office. And his evil boss Randy is harassing him about his walkabout, and then shitcans him for lying about attending the conference. Aw, poor Locke.

We move to Fake Locke on the Island. He mentions that he knew Locke's appearance would gain him access to Jacob, because Locke is a "candidate." Fake Locke tries to appeal to Richard by saying that he'll tell him everything as opposed to keeping him in the dark, but Richard refuses to join him. Fake Locke is then seemingly going to kill him, but gets distracted by something, and lets him go.

Flash to Ben on the Island. He's talking to Alana or Illana or whatever her name is - Amanda and I don't know. Amanda comes up with the name Wannabe Jackass, which seems appropriate. WJ says that Fake Locke is now "recruiting."

Fake Locke is now going through the cottage with the music from earlier; a vinyl is playing on a record. In another room, James (Sawyer) is drinking himself into a stupor - It seems like Fake Locke has his first recruitment target.

Amanda: Oh God damn it he is sexy. Even as a brooding alcoholic with a broken heart. And absolutely NO good can come from this. Well I mean, really. Locke is clearly this insane Smoke Monster with a plan. And Sawyer is VERY vulnerable and angry right now. He's got a hairline temper and is liable to fly off the handle at any second. If Locke starts devising crazy plans, Sawyer could go along with it. And shit will go down.

9:18 p.m. - Back from the second commercial break, we're sticking with Sawyer and Fake Locke. (Sawyer is in his underwear and a wife-beater, hence Amanda's great like.) Amanda says, "How'd Sawyer get so dirty? ;) I think that LOST and Intervention could have an amazing crossover episode."

Wow, Sawyer catches on right away that Fake Locke is fake. Fake Locke says he can answer the most important question in the world - Why Sawyer is on the Island. And even drunk, Sawyer gets in some good zingers, but agrees to go .

Amanda: NO. 1) Don't go with him. 2) NO PANTS!

We flash to Bizarro LAX. Hugo Reyes, the OWNER of Locke's company, has a confrontation with him outside of his (former) job. He offers him a new job with his temp agency.

Now we're on the beach. Wannabe Jackass covers up the corpse of Locke, and says they should go to the Temple, luring Sun with her by saying that Jin might be there. They postpone their plans though to bury Locke.

Flash over to Fake Locke and Sawyer, and Fake Locke sees a kid in the jungle. He chases after him, eventually falling at his feet. In an eerie similarity to Real Locke, the kid tells him that he knows the rules and can't kill, which causes Fake Locke to scream, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" Third commercial break.

Tom: Tween Jacob. Can't wait for LOST babies - It'll be better than Muppet Babies.

9:28 p.m. - Back on the Island, Richard catches up to Sawyer and warns him that Fake Locke will lie to him. Richard runs, and Fake Locke and Sawyer have an awkward exchange.

In Bizarro LAX, Locke and Rose has a short exchange. She runs the temp agency, and apparently, she still has terminal cancer. Aw. But she convinces Locke to take a more realistic job, as opposed to construction foreman.

Back on the Island, Sawyer and Fake Locke are walking through the woods. Sawyer talks about Of Mice and Men, which Fake Locke has no recollection of, and Sawyer pulls a gun on him, asking him what will happen if he pumps a slug into his brain. Fake Locke says he used to be a man, like Sawyer, and lures him into further intrigue and not shoot him.

9:38 p.m. - Apparently, according to a conversation between Wannabe Jackass and Ben, Fake Locke is stuck in his current form for some reason. They stick Locke in the ground, and Ben does a short eulogy. "John Locke was a... believer. He was a man of faith, he was a much better man than I will ever be and I'm very sorry I murdered him." The Pilot gets in a pretty nifty line right after, "Weirdest damn funeral I've ever been to." Nice.

We flip to Bizarro LAX, and Locke is calling for Jack. But he gets the secretary and doesn't talk! Eeck. Locke confesses to Helen that he got fired, and of course, right as he does, the doorbell rings. The airplane company found his baggage. Locke tells Helen that he lied about the conference, and has her open the case, which was full of his knives. He says he wasn't allowed on the walkabout. "I'm sick of imagining what my life would be out of this chair." Helen and Locke kiss passionately, after she rips up Jack's card. nooooooo!

Flash over to the Island with Fake Locke and Sawyer. They apparently have to climb down a ladder on a cliff, to God knows where. One of the steps snaps as Sawyer tries to climb down it, and then, the ladder detaches from the face of the cliff. Fake Locke grabs Sawyer as he dangles, and they manage to make it to the outcrop they were shooting for. It is a small cavern with a scale, with a black rock and a white rock balancing each other. Fake Locke throws the white rock out into the water, and then lights a torch to show him why he's there - There is some sort of mural on the wall, with his name and various others. Shocking! And we hit another commercial break.

Tom: I hope they're going to explain something in the last 10 minutes.

9:53 p.m. - In Bizarro LAX, Locke is somehow watching kids run laps, and then teaching them about... the human reproductive system. I guess he's a substitute teacher. And Ben Linus teaches European history! What a weird turn of events.

We flip over to the Island, where Fake Locke is showing Sawyer around Jacob's cave. Each main cast member corresponds to a number, and Fake Locke says that Jacob was pushing all of them toward the Island. Fake Locke says they are all "candidates" to become the protector of the Island, and then says that there is no need for a Protector. Fake Locke also crosses out Locke's name on the wall. Fake Locke asks Sawyer if he's ready to go home, and Sawyer says, "Hell yes."

Amanda: I'm not buying it, Locke. If it's that easy, why are you still there? Sorry. There's more to it than this.

TV Review: Undercover Boss is somehow entertaining

On the tip of someone else, I checked out Undercover Boss the other night. The premise of the show is somewhat simple and ingenious - They ship CEOs from their plush office to the trenches of their business. The first episode focused on Waste Management, which I didn't see, and the second was about... Hooters.

I don't exactly have the best relationship with Hooters. A couple of my friends are a fan of it, so I've been, but the outfit is so tacky and the food so-so to me. Everyone always brags about the wings, but having tasted the wings, they are nothing special as compared to other places. And hey, just about every place serves wings now anyway.

Kobi (Kobe?) Brooks, a.k.a. Scotty, Scott and the CEO of Hooters, goes through a variety of jobs - back of the house, promotions team, two management teams and a stint at the production plant. Keeping in mind that Hooters is cooperating with the whole mission, you get a sort of backstage pass into the inner workings of the business.

The most reprehensible part of the episode would be the shady dealings of the first manager Scotty visits, about 20 minutes into the episode. He is the type of chauvinistic pig that you would expect to see managing a Hooters, such as when he lines the girls up to criticize their look one-by-one, and then has them do a bean-eating contest with their hands behind their backs to see who gets to go home early.

These puerile moments are balanced by some better, harder-hitting emotional moments. Scotty has to shill Hooters coupons on the street with two of the girls, and they're (somehow) very cute and personable as opposed to trashy and trampy. Later, on his second managing stint, he is paired with a female manager, who is shockingly sweet and good to the girls she is managing. In the weird, sexist environment of Hooters, there does seem to be some areas of enlightenment, which the CEO seemed to pick up on and wanted to use as a model for other stores.

Anyway, the end of the episode has a cheesy confrontation portion, as the boss reveals that he has been spying on his employees. This is followed by another cheesy portion, in which the video of the CEO mucking it up is shown to an assembly of all of the company's workers. (The episode also started out with a bad, fake "board meeting" with the CEO explaining that he would be taking a one-week break in order to go dick around as a low-level employee.)

If Undercover Boss can trim some of these fatty extras, and just focus on the CEOs in the trenches, then I think they really have something here. As is, the Hooters episode was interesting enough that I'll probably check it out again.

Grade: B+

Undercover Boss is on CBS, Sunday nights at 9 EST. You can visit the web site for the show here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pitching Perfect Projects: Black Ghostbusers and My Best Friend Landlord

Another guy who knows a thing or two about movies.

An obsession lately... Well, not really just lately, but at all times... Anyway, an obsession lately has been pitching made-up movie and television pilots. Part of this comes from listening to Adam Carolla for years, since it is part of his reportoire. But even before I listened to Adam, I had thought about how TV shows are written and made in high school.

With that in mind, here are some random shows that friends and I have pitched on Facebook, AIM and other places...

- Going with the more general idea first, and one I first brought up in the comments of Carly Googles, the title says it all: Black Ghostbusters. Yeah, there have been the Scary Movie, uh, movies, but they would pale in comparison to Black Ghostbusters, which would either be a remake of the original franchise or just a similar movie to that.

Anyway, I really like the movie Friday, so as my leads I'm casting Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. I feel like Cube is ready for another true comedic movie after starring in so much family-movie crap, and I get the feeling that Tucker is now always available. The difference in their personalities - the smooth nature of Ice Cube vs. the frantic energy of Tucker - makes for a good mix in the main cast. There would also be a sagely, older black dude who was the senior ghostbuster - Maybe Morgan Freeman wants to do some comedy, and if he doesn't, then Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) or Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed) also work nicely. (If he hadn't passed away, Bernie Mac would be the PERFECT man for this role.)

The rest of the cast is simple enough. We need a squirrley white guy as the fourth ghostbuster, and I nominate Steve Buscemi or Christopher Walken (he's always looking for work), with Alan Tudyk (Wash from Serenity) as a fallback option. Beyonce would be a natural for the Weaver role in the original, but she might not be skilled enough. In that case, we just eliminate that role, and instead make the Hot Chick of the movie the Annie Potts role. That could be a slew of different hot African-American women, anyone but Tyra Banks.

So, at this point, the cast is almost full. I was a fan of Walter Peck's role in the original movie, and I think you can fill it with one of those abrasive "ohnoudidnt" characters from movies - Wanda Sykes or Queen Latifah. I'm also in favor of squeezing in a role for Tracy Morgan somewhere, possibly as the fifth ghostbuster, a la Rick Moranis in the original movie.

[Right] The man, the myth... Mike Smith.

- The second show idea would star my friend Mike Smith as my best friend, and in real life, we are really good friends. Anyway, he decided to buy a house in Rhode Island as a tax write-off, but after the sale is finalized, he learns that he bought a house that is technically classified as affordable housing! Therefore, he has to have a poor tenant.

And THAT is where I enter the picture. Desperate, Mike turns to his best friend Steve to share this house with him, hence the title... My Best Friend Landlord. (It's a little bumpy, but it's the best we came up with on short notice.) We would essentially be playing ourselves, and the show would be set in a fake town that resembles our actual places of origin (Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton). I'm guessing the fake town could have a name like Valley Lake.

Anyway, like most of these shows (Three's Company, The Odd Couple) the concept works because, of course, Mike and I are sooooo different! We did live together at one point, and I would do things like snore and sleep in until 3 p.m., while he would be watching The Surreal Life in the other room. At one point, we went an entire week without seeing each other, because he was doing clinicals in the morning, and I was working until late in the night.

I digress though. On the show, WACKY things would happen! Like, when Mike went to pour out his cereal, my sweaty gym shorts would come tumbling out. Then, he'd shake his first and say his catchphrase, which would be like, "Greenwell you bashtid!!!" I also picture him tripping over my basketball at least once a show. On the flip side, I would be utterly befuddled by vast collection of ties, and generally be an unsophisticated brute around the house.

And of course, there would be a large cast of supporting characters. The first would be our friend Borsay, who would live on the couch. Now by Borsay, we mean either Kevin or Nick or Bradley - they're all brothers, ranging in age from 18 to 26, and all of them are big tall white blonde kids. Think Dolph Lundgren (Ivan Drago from Rocky IV), but actually fluent in English. The Borsays are notorious for stealing food, so in every episode, they would nonchalantly wake up from the couch, swipe something from the fridge, and then leave for the day, out on their merry way. One of them would rotate on a daily basis.

Like any great sitcom, you'd never see us at work, but it would be understood that I'm a reporter, with a hand in all the city's drama, and Mike would work as a pharmacist. Every day after work, we would meet our fellow buddy, Pat, and share a brew. This would take place at The Valley Alley, a combination bowling alley and bar. You would never see Pat outside of The Valley Alley, much like Norm and Cliff on Cheers.

Every once in a while, our friend Shaun would stop by, and he would be the B-story arc for some episodes. Like Quagmire on Family Guy, Shaun would get into predicaments, like making a date with two women for the same night. Whooaaaa! Crazy times! Tagging along with would his friend Chris, who mostly just likes to watch Shaun's exploits in a very real and very gross way.

The local television reporter would be the quick-talking athletic director of the high school we all graduated from, and the entertainment reporter would be the absent-minded but sweet French teacher we all had. (Withholding their names because they're both still teachers, and Google is a powerful thing.)

Our next door neighbor would be Carl "Eric" Devin, a mutual friend of Mike and I. Each show, he would have a different interest - one week, jazz albums, and then the next, growing natural vegetables. Also, he would dispense random and interesting advice to Mike and I when we had problems. Another pair of friends, Brian and Justin, would be the gruff mail carriers, always dispensing packages and insults.

You might note that besides the French teacher, there are no woman roles, and yes that is intentional. Like the parents on The Peanuts, women would exist only as off-screen characters, or muddled voices. There is no particular reason I'm suggesting this, except that I think it could be funny.

The picture from Always Sunny comes from the upcoming shows on TV Guide. Chris Tucker and Ice Cube come from this blog. And Mike's picture is from his Facebook.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Birthday Links: A few of my favorite things

I'm home early, so I thought I'd throw in a few links to things I like. For example, the above image is from my Southern friend Kristi, who got it from this funny site.

- I've always been a big fan of Dana Carvey, since I was a kid, in fact. One of his best impressions is of Johnny Carson, another one of my favorites. Although the audio is synced oddly, you can get him at his best at this YouTube link. It's one of the clips they don't really show all that often on the SNL Best Ofs, so I heartily recommend it.

- I belatedly recommended Vampire Weekend yesterday, so I'll try for another band today: The Wombats. Their most popular song would be the literally-named "Let's Dance To Joy Division".

- However, the above I realize is just the song, and not an actual music video. I love music videos as an art form. One of my favorites that you would never, ever see on MTV now is "Elektrobank" by The Chemical Brothers. As a warning, it is kind of long at 5 minutes, 47 seconds, and it is techno. It is nifty at telling a little story in this short time frame though, and one that syncs well to the music of the song. It is one of Spike Jonze's works, if that helps sway your opinion.

Other great music videos that I like: "Star Guitar" by The Chemical Brothers. "Sabotage" (with an extra intro and outro) by The Beastie Boys. "Love in this Club" by Karys Rhea (not Usher), acoustic. "The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny" by Lemon Demon.

- A thing I really like that I always forget about: light gun games. Tonight, in honor of my birthday, I'm playing some Time Crisis 3. Like four years ago, I got that game AND the gun NEW for like $30! It was at one of those music stores in the Wakefield Mall that does not know how to properly price games at all, because right next to it, they had Bugz or some other crap for $40. Oh well, their loss! I also have Time Crisis 2 (not as good) and Vampire Night (cheesy but kind of fun). Some sort of House of the Dead game is on my GameFly list for the Wii, since I didn't realize until like two weeks ago that the Wii-mote would be PERFECT for light gun gaming.

- And to close things out, another image from that card site from my buddy Mike (not Smith):

Hey omg it's my birthday!

Yes, you read the title correctly - Valentine's Day is my birthday! As a result, I'm taking the day off. You can listen to my birthday song, performed by my future wife, here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

At The Commercials: Google just crushes it

Since I seem to be on a kick with somewhat-mushy posts, given my focus in the past couple days on romantic comedies and personal drama, it only makes sense to focus on a commercial that does emotion effectively.

Google is well-known for essentially being the crack of Internet search engines, with examples ranging from Carly Googles to how no one I know uses Bing to the fact that the site's name essentially serves as a verb now. Well, the commercial world should also watch out, as their Super Bowl spot (featured above) was so diabolically simple and effective.

I caught it a day after the fact on The TV Ad Guru, a neat site that I follow. I agree completely with him - The ad is devastatingly effective because of how simple it is. While I can question the need for the commercial, given Google's seemingly unassailable market position as the top dog search engine, a quality effort like this certainly doesn't hurt matters at all.

Belatedly Liking Stuff: Vampire Weekend

Yeah, that's right - Yet another header for a "regular" feature on this here blog. Don't worry, this will be a quick post, since I'm positive that everyone has heard of Vampire Weekend, except me, by this point.

But hey, just in case you haven't... They're a snazzy indie rock band from New York City, according to their Wikipedia page. The newest single from the band, "Cousins", is linked above, and I must say that I'm a bit smitten with the video. I love how ridiculously literal yet bombastic it is.

Apparently, they have a bit of a trend going with literal videos, since their other big hit - "A-Punk" - also features them just playing their instruments. Unless you're a 1980s hair band, I've always felt that this was a simple and easy way to get your face out there to music fans. Hey, it worked for "Buddy Holly" by Weezer, so why not others? (p.s. Weezer with the Muppets is also great.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

On attraction, romantic comedies and Valentine's Day

Nobody puts Baby in the corner.

I generally don't like to do personal posts on this blog. Because of a horrible, stupid past experience on my part, I realize how harmful it can be to get really personal on a blog read by everybody. I can't even read features like "Modern Love" at The New York Post, because they make me squirm way too much. While I consider myself a relatively open person, I definitely wouldn't want to reveal everything, like many of those letters.

That being said, I thought I'd talk a bit about romantic comedies and the new movie Valentine's Day. Basically, a couple of friends have noted that they think romantic comedies suck because they aren't reflective of real-life. I agree with them - Most feature somewhat dweeby guys getting with women way out of their league, or someone pining for their best friend. In most real-life situations, someone would have made a move at some point.

However, that being said... Some of the things in romantic comedies are correct. For example, I think (practically) everyone has 1) at least one friend that they have a crush on, that the friend is completely oblivious to and 2) are probably the object of someone's affection, and they have no idea that this is the case. For myself, #1 is true, and obviously, I don't know if #2 is also correct. If there was some way to take a poll on the matter, I could prove it, but I don't feel like doing such a thing.

Does this mean you'll ever end up together? Probably not. I mean, most people end up as friends for a reason. (The most prevalent one being that you don't ask a person out because you're pretty sure that they'll say no, so you settle for friendship.) Of my current friends, I know of one relationship that arose out of the pair being long-term friends first.

Now, to segue randomly to the movie Valentine's Day, I am a bit annoyed that they're defiling my birthday - my 26th, for the record - with what essentially seems to be a movie of romance vignettes featuring big name stars. That is the impression I got from the trailer and overloaded cast, and it is a sentiment shared by Ebert and Dana Stevens of In fact, a quote from Stevens' friend in her review - "Fine, mush your boring faces altogether already." - reminds me of something my friend and frequent blog commenter Danielle would say.

So really, if you're looking for a Steve-approved movie for Valentine's Day, don't see Valentine's Day. Just stick to my favorite romantic comedy ever: Say Anything.

Picture from this blog.

Revealing more stuff, and blog stuff.

So, I've joined another Internet fad. If you ever had the burning desire to ask me a private question, then you can do so on my Formspring account, accessible here. Thanks to Maggie and Kerri D. and others for getting accounts, which spurred me into getting my own.

Feel free to ask me just about anything - It doesn't mean that I'll answer it. I'm still getting troll comments from time to time, so while I'd like to take off the comment moderation, that moves isn't forthcoming. Sorry folks. I will say that I have accepted just about every comment that I've gotten in the past couple weeks, so if you didn't see yours posted for some reason, feel free to e-mail me about it - I'm guessing it might have gotten eaten by a spam filter, or something.

The lolcat picture comes from the awesome i can has cheeseburger?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Aqua Teen Hunger Force is back with a vengeance, and a rabbot, kind of.

One of my favorite shows is Aqua Teen Hunger Force, despite the fact that I don't smoke pot. (I've learned that this can be a rarity among viewers.) A few weeks ago, the seventh season started with "A PE Christmas," in which Master Shake stole the identity of Flavor Flav and Terminator X, so he could record a Public Enemy Christmas album. It was pretty funny, more in line with the humor of the first couple seasons, as opposed to the super sickening humor of the last couple seasons.

However, the frustrating part about ATHF lately has been the release schedule for episodes. Before the Christmas episode, season six ended on May 31 with the neat concept episode of "Last Last One Forever and Ever," the only live-action ATHF episode. (The actual quality was somewhat disappointing, though.) Between seasons five and six, there was more than a year lapse. Like South Park, ATHF also has a short season, only about eight to 10 episodes. And after the Christmas episode, this week's episode came out almost a month later.

But speaking of this week's episode, the point of this post... I thought that "Rabbot Redux" was another good step in the direction of the past early success of the show. As anyone familiar with the show will realize from the episode title, there are referencing the earlier episodes now. This seemingly doesn't make any sense, since all of the characters have died multiple times and been resurrected without any acknowledgment. But hey, if that's the case, then you might as well up the insanity by adding in references that don't really make sense.

Anyway. The start of the episode has a bit of a swerve, as Master Shake and Carl are saying goodbye, since the gang is moving away! Don't worry though - They're just moving to the house on the other side of Carl, much to his dismay. Standout scenes in the episode include the beginning portion with Carl, and Master Shake and Meatwad's discovery of what a bathroom is.

Again, the whole episode feels like a bit of a throwback, to the origins of the series. If you checked out for a bit while they were doing episodes on mucus men and nosebleeds, then the show's tone might be better for now, similar to my own experience.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Around The Dial: Top Chef thrives while Mancow dies

In great news, Top Chef: Masters will be back for a second season! TV Guide had the news last night, along with some other entertainment news web site. Interesting to me is that two of the featured chefs - Jody Adams and Ana Sortun - are from restaurants in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is kind of close to me. I could conceivably taste one of their dishes!

But beyond that, I'm most excited for all of the special guests hinted at in the article. I could careless about Mekhi Phifer or the skanks from The Real Housewives of Orange County, but some of the other guests - the cast of Modern Family, Matt Groening from The Simpsons - definitely sound interesting. Hopefully Toby Young can make an appearance or two as well.

Speaking of the usual judges, I'm happy to hear that Gail Simmons is getting her own show, Top Chef Just Desserts. I'm assuming that Tom didn't want one, so Gail is the next-best choice of the judges. (Padma would probably just standoff-ishly ask asinine questions. "Did you think you were cooking us... something good?")

- In other news, while it isn't television news, I did get this item from Roger Ebert's Twitter: Matt "Mancow" Muller has been ess-canned from the conservative talk radio show job he had.

First, I didn't realize that Mancow was a political commentator now. My memories of him are from his short time on Rhode Island radio, for the few short months he was on The Edge / The X, a local station that tries to compete with WBRU and WHJY when it came to alternative and hard rock. The station failed and was split into a couple different pieces. 99.7 was The Score at first, but it was crushed in the ratings by WEEI and is now the FM wing for WPRO.

And second, I never really thought much of Mancow, even though he was my first exposure to "shock" jock radio, outside of Don Imus. Even though I was 12 or so when I was listening to his show, I realized it was stupid then, and I can't imagine he has gotten any better now after reading up about what he's had on his show.

The picture of Gail's... talent... is from this site.

DON'T READ THIS: Blogging LOST, Week 2

In keeping with last week, here is another running diary, albeit belated, on this week's edition of LOST...

First segment: Hippie Richard tells Kung Fu that “he's alive,” referring to Sayid. This seems to get a big smile out of the Drunken Master. Then we switch to the gang, and Sawyer, that rascal, is already planning on running.

Next, we're back to the Bizzaro LAX, where Kate is holding the taxi guy hostage with a gun, and Claire is in the backseat. The taxi driver looks suspiciously like the puppet master from Heroes, but I'm not positive about that. He runs from the car, and then Kate steals Claire's purse before ordering her out of the car.

We switch again to the Temple, with the gang explaining to Sayid what is going on. I love Miles, who arguably has as many good, snappy lines as Sawyer at this point. “As you can see, Hugo here has assumed a leadership position, which is... really great.” There is a confrontation between Jack and the Kung Fu Master, who might not realize that Jack can probably speak whatever language he's using, because of his experience with the wacky Chinese lady in past seasons.

Anywho, Sawyer has magically procured a gun, because he's Sawyer. He decides to leave, and Kate offers to track him and bring him back, convincing the Tribal Others (my name for them) that she can do so.

Now we're back to Kate in LA, presumably, where she at first pulls a gun some fat, sleazy but kind of charming mechanic. (Think Bud from Kill Bill Volume 2.) She pays him $200 to break her handcuffs, and then goes into a restroom to change, at which point we get a stomach-punch scene with Kate going through Claire's bag. She has a picture of her pregnant, and a big stuffed Shamu doll. A really, really powerful scene.

We switch scenes again to Jack and Kate planning for the trip into the jungle to find Sawyer. Jack grabs Kate like he wants to kiss her, but doesn't, and she doesn't lean in for the lip-lock either.

On to the Kung Fu Master and Sayid, as the Master blows some sort of dust on to Sayid, before hooking up electrodes to him. He begins to shock him, getting a scream out of Sayid, and then he prepares a red-hot poker, scorching his skin with it. Hippie Richard tells him that he passed the test, but apparently, he did not, as Kung Fu says that Sayid didn't pass the test.

Back to the Bizarro LA, Kate somehow finds out where Claire is and gives her back her stuff. Then amazingly, she offers Claire a ride to the adopted parents house, which Claire seems to accept! (This whole turn of events strikes me as completely and utterly impossible – Kate just held her up at gunpoint, and then dumped her on a random street, and then she somehow finds Claire again, AND convinces her to not be very, very uncomfortable with this whole ride thing.)

Now we're on the Island again, and some member of the Tribal Others is leading him. And shockingly, it is Mac from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia! Wow! What an inexplicable bit of casting! Anyway, Rousseau the French Woman has apparently been dead for a couple years now, according to Mac, but then Kate manages to overpower Mac and the other guard (again) to escape.

Jack goes inside to talk with Kung Fu and Hippie Richard, and they say that Sayid is “infected” with something. They're trying to convince Jack to get Sayid to take a pill. If Sayid doesn't take the pill, Kung Fu said that he would be dead. Sayid and Jack then have a heart to heart.

We cut back to Kate and Jin in the jungle, with them breaking up a bit, and Kate trying to chase after Sawyer. Then another quick cut to Claire and Kate as they ride to Claire's baby adopted momma. It turns out that her husband dumped her, and she didn't tell Claire, and the shocking news causes Claire to start going into labor.

Another cut to the Others' village, which Kate is exploring. Sawyer is ripping up the floorboards in one of the houses, to reveal a shoebox with... Well, it's not really revealed, but I assume it is something of Juliet's that makes Kate change her mind that Sawyer could ever be her's. She tries to sneak out, but Sawyer discovers her, and they exchange awkward words.

Back to Bizarro LAX, Kate manages to take Claire to a hospital, and who is the doctor? Ethan, of course. Claire is given the option of having her baby at that time, or postponing it, and she chooses to postpone it. LOST teases that she'll have to deliver the baby anyway, and also, Kate seems to show some faint glimmers of recognition when Claire reveals that her baby is named Aaron.

On the Island, Kate and Sawyer are chatting, about how she wants to find Claire to reunite him with Aaron. Sawyer has a teary scene with Kate, and the item is revealed to be an engagement ring for Juliet, which he throws into the water.

Kung Fu is spinning a baseball, and he and Jack have another chat. You know, mostly about trust. Jack tries to swallow the pill instead, and Kung Fu has to attack him to force him to not swallow it. You see, it is full of poison.

In Bizarro LA, Claire covers for Kate as two cops come looking for Kate. (Lilly looks pretty in this scene, for some reason, and I'm not usually a fan of her.) Kate encourages Claire to keep Aaron.

Back to Kate and Sawyer at the village – they exchange looks, but that is all. Back again to Jack and Kung Fu, as they talk about why they wanted to kill Sayid. Kung Fu thinks that Sayid has been “claimed” by a darkness that is growing in him. Jack wants to know how he can be sure – And Kung Fu says it happened to Jack's sister! (For those of you not keeping close attention, I believe that would refer to Claire.)

Mac and the Black Dude stumble upon Jin, and threaten to shoot him for the ambush earlier. Jin tries to run away, and gets his leg caught in a bear trap! As Mac hovers over him, about to pull the trigger, he and the Black Dude are shot by... Claire! Dressed in plaid, and looking all woodsy and whatnot! So she IS alive!


And now, Amanda's comments on the episode. You can find her full blog on all matters pop culture and Boston, Amanda.Jean, here.

Alright, Greenwell. Here's my take on this week's episode:

I'm going to start off by saying that I don't like Kate. I wasn't thrilled that this was a "Kate" episode, but I'm starting to like dopelganger Kate.

I like how doppelganger Claire is still forced to keep Aaron. Can we please get back to the psychic? WHY does she have to be the one to raise Aaron? Are we about to find out? Probably not, they'll keep us waiting for a Claire episode. I know this because she showed up at the very end of this one.

Sayid. What's up? Who is he? John Locke is now Old Smokey, would they really have two characters technically dead with "possessed" bodies? That's not like LOST to rehash storylines like that, so I'm guessing there's more to it. As far as this "infection" maybe we'll finally figure out what happens to people on the island. But maybe this is a different infection, because Sayid is not, as far as I know, pregnant.

Jack is still an arrogant ass.

Sawyer is still charming as hell. I liked how he went back to his old house with Juliette. He really is a softy at heart! This guy makes me believe in romance (that and I'm on a bit of a sappy-love-story high thanks to the upcoming Valentine's Day weekend). I am glad he and Kate made peace. Even if she's a whore. And yeah, I went there.

Is it me or is Hurley taking more of a backseat than usual? Then again, with such a large cast, it may be too early to really tell.

Where is Ben? Where is Desmond? Where did Locke take Richard Alpert? Where is Aaron? Where is Penny? TOO MANY QUESTIONS and still no answers.

So that's about it from me. Let's do this again next week.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yet more delays! And screw snow.

I was going to post another running diary of LOST tonight, but alas, the basketball game I was at ran a bit late, and I'm still here at work doing some odds and ends. As a result, I will probably post my feelings on tonight's episode of LOST sometime late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Instead, let me say that snow effing sucks. I used to like it a lot more when I was a kid, and when snow days were a good thing - You know, basically up until I graduated college. However, now that I am an adult with a reporting job, snow is the worst thing ever.

On a practical level, if I'm scheduled to work a day, and it snows, I still have to go in and do things. But in a "worst case" scenario like tomorrow, I am the reporter "on call" for tomorrow morning. This means that any snow-related story, of which there will probably be several, will have to be done by me. I'm confident I can do it, but still, I always have a short moment of panic when it comes to things like this.

Tomorrow, Rhode Island is getting projected as being hit with 6 to 12 inches of snow. Joy. I'm just praying that I won't get buried or stuck at my newspaper building, because I quite enjoy my bed.

You can buy the hoodie from this site.


Delayed post until around 9, 10 tonight. Sorry!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dear The Office, please stop sucking.

[Right] Because I don't want to indulge the current edition of The Office with a picture, please instead take this picture of a hot Angela Kinsey and Rachael Harris with Jim. The picture is from this site.

I'm not one to really slag on The Office, as I think reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, Pam and Jim might have a sappy romance with almost no problems, but I kind of like that. Every other relationship on television is kind of dysfunctional, so it is good to have a sort of "model" couple that finally got together and stayed together after seasons of agony. It's like the polar opposite of LOST, where the status of Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Juliet changes every week.

However, the two newest episodes of the show have really left something to be desire. Two weeks ago was the clip show that I rightly slagged - Why bother coming back from a break if you're just going to show a clip show? And if you're not going to have every character in it? Just go with a new episode, NBC. This is why you stink now.

This week, the gang found out that some company had bought them out. The whole episode was so forgettable though that I have no idea what their name is. The only thing I remember clearly is that the head of the company is some Southern lady who looks and sounds suspiciously like Paula Dean, the horrible lady on Food Network who cooks everything in butter. "Y'all can't have some ice cream without butter on it!"

Yawn. I chuckled a few times during the episode, but at this point, every other show in NBC's Thursday night lineup is keeping my attention more.


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