Friday, August 1, 2003

ADVICE SOUGHT: So, yes, Jen and I are finally going to get TiVo. I just want to make sure we're doing this right. We have an HD-capable television at home and Comcast digital cable, which currently is broadcasting a few channels in high-def in addition to normal.

My questions:
1. Is this 80-hour unit on sale at Amazon what we should be buying? Is there an argument to be made for (a) buying it at a retail store, as opposed to online; (b) a different type of TiVo unit; or (c) a different unit (ReplayTV?) altogether?

2. Is there any reason to wait for a next-generation model at this point?

3. Should we be purchasing the lifetime plan or monthly service?

4. Is there anything else we need to know?

Thanks for your advice. The Comments section is open for business.
IS ROGER EBERT SMOKING THE CRACK? He liked both American Pie 3 ("it has a sweetness that is impossible to discount, and it is often very funny", ***) and Gigli ("Affleck and Lopez create lovely characters . . . and the supporting performances and a lot of the dialogue is wonderful", ** 1/2) today.

Incidentally, I'm not going to compile Gigli reviews today. It's too easy. I mean, even the favorable reviews have lines like these:
But, surely to the chagrin of film scholars everywhere, "Gigli" is actually a moderately entertaining romantic comedy that endeavors to discuss issues of repressed homosexuality, Freudian phallic theory and "the feminine mystique" in an intelligent and thought-provoking manner. The fact that "Gigli"'s script writers are about as knowledgeable in these areas as a first-year community college undergrad is really beside the point.

Gobble, gobble.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

STRAIGHT EYES SPOT THE QUEER GUY: Regular reader Paul Niehaus has a sighting to report:
I'm walking home from work last week, jacket slung over my shoulder, briefcase in hand, and I pass by Bumble & Bumble, a high-end skin-care shop. As it's midtown Manhattan, I don't really look twice at the TV/movie production crew loitering around outside -- you could use half these guys to build a new bridge across the East River, and no one would notice.

But, I realize that one of the guys sipping water while waiting for the next take is Carson Kressley of QESG fame. Having little better to do, I amble over and tell him that I love his show. Carson thanks me, and then conversation goes like this:

Carson: You've got an okay look going here -- nice, conservative, love the bag. But we have to do something about those pleated pants.

Me: I know. My wife insists that all my new pants be flat front.

Carson: She's absolutely right -- wouldn't want to make your butt look big.

Me: I'm working on it.

Carson: Let me guess, lawyer?

Me: Yes.

Carson: Like a cheap novel. I read you like a cheap novel.

Production Assistant: Carson, final take!

Carson: Right -- see you later!

And that was my brush with Mr. Kressley. Now if I can only run into Ted at Sherry Lehman . . .

Hey, we're not Gawker, but if you have a good sighting to report, send it in.
HOME TOWN PRIDE: On last week's Dollar Hot Dog Day at the Vet, the 37,164 Phillies fans in attendance consumed more than 43,000 hot dogs.

You do the math.

Via CNNSI's Tom Verducci.
DON'T YOU REMEMBER YOU TOLD ME YOU LOVED ME BABY? If you're looking for Ruben Studdard or Clay Aiken, don't bother turning on the radio.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

AND ALL THIS TIME, I WAS THINKING SALTINES: So, what food goes best with muktuk?

Turns out, it's donuts. Here's the pictures.

[Homer]Mmmm . . . . fermented whale meat and donuts . . . .[/Homer]

NOW THAT HE'S LOST WEIGHT WHAT IS HE GONNA DO WITHOUT IT? Rapper/actor Heavy D is now merely Husky D.
OR -- "I NEED TO LEARN TO STAY WITHIN MYSELF": Say what you will -- say what you will about Phillies slugger Pat Burrell's missteps with the bat. His missteps with the microphone are a lot more fun.

From today's family-friendly interview in the Philadelphia Weekly:
"The fans have been fucking great all year," Pat Burrell says, when he finally sits down to talk after either blowing off or ignoring several interview requests over the course of two weeks.

It's understandable that Burrell would blow off interviews, especially one for a story in a Philadelphia publication. What else can the angle possibly be but it? Talking to the press--any press -- is no fun when things are going badly, which is an understatement of epic proportions when it comes to describing what Burrell has been going through this baseball season.

"Well shit, you can definitely hear it," he says when asked about the booing that came early in the season. "It's not like I'm standing up there and I can just block 'em out. Yeah, you hear it, but when you put on this uniform you have a responsibility to 25 guys, to the organization and to the city and fans. If they feel like I'm letting them down, well, that's motivation, that's not crawl in the hole and cry about it. You think, 'Maybe these motherfuckers are right. Maybe I have to step it up a bit.'"

Ah, yes. Us motherfuckers who come out 30,000 strong night after night and cheer his slumping ass.

For Burrell, this isn't the first time he's said a bit more than he should have. In an interview with Penthouse last year, he told his fans way more than they needed to know about his relationship with terry cloth:
Q: Is it true that your off-season home of Clearwater, Florida has strip joints on every corner?

A: It does seem like there's one on every corner. I'm not a big fan of them. Something that surprised me at this one strip joint was when you walk in, they give you a towel. I asked, "What do I need this for?" The guy at the door said, "Trust me, you will." I said, "Let me get this straight: the girl is going to dance for however long the song is -- and I'm going to need this towel?" Let me tell you, I needed the towel. I don't know what happened. Nothing of mine touched anything of hers. But it just doesn't make sense.

I'm going to suggest that Pat memorize this exchange between Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins from Bull Durham:
Crash Davis: It's time to work on your interviews.

Nuke LaLoosh: My interviews? What do I gotta do?

Crash Davis: You're gonna have to learn your clichés. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play it one day at a time."

Nuke LaLoosh: Got to play... it's pretty boring.

Crash Davis: 'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down.

While we all wait for Pat Burrell Towel Day at the Vet, all kids 14 and under will receive a replica Pat Burrell bat this Sunday afternoon. I hope the they have more luck with it than he has.
'T' IS FOR TAKE IT SLOW: Who doesn't want to read an article titled 'Here's Tito, that other Jackson'?

Thought so.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

WHEN THERE'S NOTHING ELSE ON TELEVISION, I WATCH A LOT OF VH-1 CLASSIC: So I'm wondering, because it was on last night: is there a more stirring emotional crescendo in "soft rock" (an oxymoron, to be sure) music history than the ending of Air Supply's "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All"?

To remind you:
I can make the runner stumble
I can make the final clock
And I can make every tackle at the sound of the whistle
And I can make all the stadiums rock

I can make tonight forever
Or I can make it disappear by the dawn

But I’m never gonna make it without you . . .

Gives you chills, doesn't it?
HE ALSO APPEARS TO BE WEARING TED DANSON'S TOUPEE FROM 'CHEERS': Of course, officially, there's an embargo on Gigli reviews until Friday, when it's unleashed on the public.

But if Roger Friedman of is going to break the embargo, I guess I can report on his findings on Academy Award winner Ben Affleck's latest work.

"It's not so easy to make a great howler of a bad movie," Friedman writes. "In recent years, Madonna 's made more than her share: "Shanghai Surprise," "Swept Away," "Who's That Girl," among them."

How bad is it? Let's look at some not-exactly-blurb-worthy phrases in the review:
"Witless, coarse, and vulgar"; "worse than its advance buzz could have indicated"; "a total, mindless disaster"; "stupefying"; "What were they thinking?"; "ridiculous, offensive, unfortunate dialogue".

Not only that, Friedman reports on a TT favorite who has a cameo:
Al Pacino, whom Brest directed to an Oscar in the very bad "Scent of a Woman" 11 years ago, appears in one interminable scene as a New York crime boss. This one bloated moment may completely unravel Pacino's esteemed career from "The Godfather" to "Insomnia."

His expressionless, frozen face -- though included in the film's trailer as a big deal -- appears about three-fourths of the way through the film. It's not clear even if Affleck and Lopez, who Brest cuts to occasionally for stupefied reactions, were even on the set when Pacino delivers his numbing monologue. The fact that it ends in his character committing a sudden act of bloody violence doesn't help.

Click here for the whole thing. I'm still hoping it's bad in a Showgirls kind of way, but as of now, it just looks bad in an anything-Demi-Moore-did-after-Indecent-Proposal kind of way. Ugh.

And here's the really sad thing: J.Lo can act. She's great in Out of Sight, does fine in romantic comedies . . . but this was just a bad, bad decision.
"A 12-YEAR-OLD ASKED ME FOR MY PHONE NUMBER THIS YEAR": Are there ten easier jobs in Philadelphia sports than being the guy who runs out and picks up the kicking tee for the Eagles? Apparently so.

The hardest job in Philadelphia sports, as always, is being the St. Joe's Hawk mascot.

Monday, July 28, 2003

ULTIMATE DESTRUCITY: We're putting aside our too-regular feature on the Dead Wrestler of the Month to report on a bizarre sighting.

Remember former WWF champion The Ultimate Warrior, noted for his ridiculously-enhanced muscles, face paint and incoherent speech? Ever wonder what he's up to now?

Get this: speaking at the College Republican National Convention.

Yes, the Ultimate Warrior has changed his legal name to "Warrior" and apparently has devoted his life to bodyslamming liberals nationwide. Warrior will speak to any conservative group that will have him.

Here's what Warrior (and, yes, that's his kids' last name now) told the kids at the College Republican convention:
On Monday, [the College Republicans] heard former World Wrestling Federation champion Warrior tell them to trust logic over feelings and to battle "the armies of hammerheads" who espouse moral relativism.

"Those who think make the world work. Not those who feel," said Warrior, his bulk encased in a black suit, his wrist tattoos peeking out from white shirt cuffs.

His speech was called, "There's a Conservative Chip on My Shoulder - Go Ahead, Try to Knock it Off!" Needless to say, no one did.

Oh, wait, it gets worse. Or better. We've got some C-SPAN footage. Click here and skip ahead to the third clip to see Warrior speaking at the 25th Annual National Conservative Student Conference last month. I shit you not. Just click on it if only to see the C-SPAN graphic that says "WARRIOR -- Former World Wrestling Federation Champion" while he talks.

Even more on Warrior here. According to his website:
In 1998 (my gear bag retired to the closet) I began to devote my energies entirely to my already substantially developed education, enlightenment and motivation projects, all spun from a Warrior philosophy of life. At the inception of the education-based Project Warrior ideas, I went back to “hitting the books” so to speak. I found an incredible experience filled with new thrills from reading, writing and learning. My most notable self-study endeavors being the discovery of the “Great Books of the Western World,” and American History, its Founding and its Fathers (my heroes)and having the dictionary – its bounty of literalness -- become my absolute favorite go-to-in-leisure book.

I believe that the contrast between what I have done and what I am doing now, by choice, begets an inimitable curiosity and subsequently attracts attention. My professional success in Celebrity Entertainment as a vivid, physically-expressive pop culture figure when vis-à-vis my mindful, reasoned decision to not participate in that field any longer (because of the negative turn, I believe, the industry took) and my further decision to positively educate and enlighten young people intellectually gives me a greater chance of capturing their attention.

And you thought Jesse "The Mind" Ventura was bad.
"THE BEST COMEDIAN OF OUR TIME"? Tom Shales of the WaPo apparently believes that Jerry Seinfeld is funnier than Dat Phan.
PARDON US FOR CARING -- WE DIDN'T KNOW THAT WAS AGAINST THE RULES: Sheila E. has reunited Prince's bands, sans the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, for a pair of benefit concerts.

Only one problem: where's the New Power Generation? Where's Candy Dulfer? Who forgot to invite Diamond and Pearl? Where's Cat Glover these days?

(And, seriously, when did Tevin Campbell fall off the face of the earth? "Round and Round" was so damn good.)

(While I'm at it, how can that article only refer to Jerome Benton as a "percussionist"? Jerome Benton had one of the most important roles in music history: he held up Morris Day's mirror. One cannot slight his place in the culture -- as a musical valet, Benton was the forerunner for the current Easiest Job In Rock And Roll: That Guy In The Ska Band Who Can't Play An Instrument, Doesn't Sing, And Just Hops Around And Provides The "Vibe". You know, like this guy.)

If you're going to get the band back together, bring back everyone.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: Bob Hope passed away last night.

For the one time I posted something nice about him, go here, and for more information, the Library of Congress has an online exhibit via this link.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

"ROCKS CAN'T EVOLVE, WHERE DID THEY COME FROM MR. DARWIN?" I mean, I'm assuming that the Fellowship Baptist Creation Science Fair 2001 website is a joke. Others seem to think so.

But maybe it's not. The middle-school Creation Science Fair winner, for example:
1st Place: "Life Doesn't Come From Non-Life"
Patricia Lewis (grade 8) did an experiment to see if life can evolve from non-life. Patricia placed all the non-living ingredients of life - carbon (a charcoal briquet), purified water, and assorted minerals (a multi-vitamin) - into a sealed glass jar. The jar was left undisturbed, being exposed only to sunlight, for three weeks. (Patricia also prayed to God not to do anything miraculous during the course of the experiment, so as not to disqualify the findings.) No life evolved. This shows that life cannot come from non-life through natural processes.

To me, this page on the site steers me towards believe it's parody. Also, there's probably not a "National Association of Christian Game Theoreticians", as this page suggests. You?

(Via one loyal reader who thought this would be up my alley.)
HEY, YOU! YOU OVER THERE IN THE GENERATION X! You're not drinking enough Vanilla Coke.