Saturday, February 4, 2006

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT SHE'S NOW BEEN ADMITTED TO PRINCETON: Brittany Eldredge of West Barnstable, Ma., sometimes you don't just have to say, "What the f*$&."

Friday, February 3, 2006

I GUESS YOU GUYS AREN'T READY FOR THAT YET, BUT YOUR KIDS ARE GOING TO LOVE IT: No, I think the world's still just getting started with Brokeback parodies. New: Brokeback to the Future.
BECAUSE THE SEASON-ENDING BIG GAME IN DETROIT INVOLVING TWO FOOTBALL TEAMS IS COMING SOON: I think it's time for us to make our predictions public for Sunday night's Seattle-Pittsburgh XL showdown.

My co-bloggers and all our readers are invited to show up in the comments and make four predictions:
  1. Final score.
  2. Super Bowl Official Game MVP. (Whoops! Almost violated the copyright.)
  3. Company responsible for the commercial receiving the highest rating in Monday's USA Today Ad Meter survey.
  4. Name the three songs that the Rolling Stones will play during the halftime show.

Here's mine: Seattle 27-17; Darrell Jackson (140y, 2tds); Anheuser-Busch; and Start Me Up/Honky Tonk Woman/Jumpin' Jack Flash.

Step up. Closest on all four receives Fame and Glory Forever.

THEY GOT EVERY DOG IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD...THEY GOT SPUDS MCKENZIE, ALEX FROM STROH'S: Well, actually while Spuds is No. 48, Alex didn't make Retrocrush's list of the 100 Greatest Dogs in Pop Culture History (done so in honor of the Chinese New Year, which welcomed the Year of the Dog). It's a pretty thorough list, featuring dogs both classic (Toto, Lassie, Old Yeller), contemporary (Triumph, Gromit, and the beloved Poochie), and everything in between (McGruff, Ubu, and the JYD).
THE KINDNESS OF ALOTT5MA READERS: Two questions for you on a Friday. First, have any of you switched to Comcast for your phone service? I switched today from Trinsic and if what they say is right, besides the one month free, I should be saving over $70/month for my two lines. I'm getting unlimited local and long distance on two lines, plus all those features like call-waiting, 3-way, and literally a dozen other features for $39.95/month, plus unlimited calling for $10/month on the second line. I keep thinking there must be a catch. Please share any experiences you've had with them for phone service, good or bad, in the comments.

The other, deals with an old IMac I bought secondhand from my sister-in-law's school district for my kids to play games on. It is not booting, giving me the old folder with a question mark icon. I'm pretty sure I just need a Mac system disk to boot it from, but it came with no such disk. It's running system 9.x. Any Mac experts out there who can tell me where to find a disk or if that even sounds like the real problem?
SIX BLOCKS AWAY, HE CAN HEAR HER HEARTBEAT LOUD AND CLEAR: I suspect that many of you have encountered the following problem. I am wondering if anyone has come up with a simple way to fix this. Let's say you create a song list in iTunes and export it to your iPod. Occasionally I encounter the not so pleasant phenomenon of having one song be much louder (or softer) than the song before it. When you are wearing headphones, especially the standard "in ear" headphones that come with an iPod, the contrast can be painful.

For example, Lucinda Williams' brilliant "Six Blocks Away" must be 20 decibels louder than Jorma Kaukonen's transcendent version of "Red River Blues". If I am burning the song list to a CD, I have found a nice way of dealing with the problem -- a free software progam called "Audiograbber" which can equalize the volume so each song on the CD is approximately as loud as all the others. But I am not aware of an easy way to do this when you export the song list to an iPod, short of the semi-laborious process of using the "song info -- volume" feature to make a rough adjustment to each song's volume.

Does anyone else know of an easy way to deal with this problem?
PERHAPS VIOLET'S MOMMY COULD HAVE TAKEN A LONGER MATERNITY LEAVE: Uh oh. ABC's announcement of its midseason TV schedule does not seem to include the final episodes of a little show called Alias. Rather ominously, ABC's official Alias site states that "the next episode has yet to be scheduled."

I'm not panicking. Yet. ABC has been remarkably savvy over the last couple of years, and it seems out of character to me that the network would give JJ and the All-Spy Gang many months notice of the show's demise, thereby permitting a well-plotted (and populously cast, from what I've been hearing) sendoff, and then not give that demise its moment in the sun.

Not panicking. Not panicking.
NOT THAT "LEGS OF THE WWE" ISN'T A WORTHY CAREER HIGH-POINT OR ANYTHING, BUT: I will confess that I don't see a particular need for detailed rehash of individual episodes of Dancing With the Stars. There are two or three competitors left who can really dance (Drew Lachey, Stacy Keibler, and sometimes Lisa Rinna), and that should be that, barring weird fan base machinations of the sort that kept Master P Miller in his non-ballroom shoes for way too many weeks.

But here's what's bothering me. From what I can tell, Stacy Keibler seems to be an incredibly sweet, funny, stupidly long-limbed, genuine, and talented girl. How the heck did she end up as a professional wrestler in the WWE? I know I'm generationally mandated to not get the whole wrestling thing, but is this an equally respectable path to fame, glory, and professional fulfillment that I've been poo-pooing unnecessarily all these years?
RAISE YOUR WANDS: Casting news for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix this morning -- 2004 Academy Award nominee Imelda Staunton will be playing Prof. Dolores Umbridge; Natalia Tena, who played the teenaged Nirvana fan in About a Boy, is your Nymphadora Tonks; unknown Evanna Lynch is your Luna Lovegood; and other British actors previously unseen on these shores are your Bellatrix Lestrange, centaur Magorian and Kingsley Shacklebolt, electing not to play himself in order to focus on blogging here, is being played by the guy who twenty-five years ago was Katanga, captain of the Bantu Wind ("You have most important friends"), in Raiders of the Lost Ark. More here from the Leaky Cauldron.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

PLEASE, LET IT BE BETTER THAN THE WHOLE TEN YARDS: More casting news for the project formerly known as "Studio 7"--now apparently known as "Studio Sixty On The Sunset Strip."
  • Amanda Peet will play Jordan McDeere (formerly known as Jamie), new network president and one of two major female leads (the other character is blatantly based on Kristin Chenoweth, who may well get the part).
  • Evan Handler ("Sex And The City," "It's Like, You Know," and a "TWW" guest arc) and Carlos Jacott ("She Spies," the villain in the pilot of "Firefly") will apparently play secondary characters Ricky and Ron, a/k/a "Beavis and Hackboy," the widely disliked second-in-command of the show.
  • Nate Corddry (occaisional "Daily Show" correspondent and brother of Rob) will apparently play Tom Jeter, the second of the "Studio 60" "big three" to be cast.

I have my doubts about Corddry, but this cast is shaping up very, very nicely so far.

"I'VE DONE SPEAKING PARTS AND NOT GOTTEN A LAUGH:" Two tidbits about SNL of note in this article:
  • Maya Rudolph returns from maternity leave this weekend, guaranteeing that we will be seeing The Prince Show with Maya as Beyonce.
  • Seth Meyers has been promoted to co-head writer with Tina Fey and Andrew Steele. Let's hope his writing is better than his bland John Kerry and Anderson Cooper impressions.
MEANWHILE, OVER AT THE ESCAPIST: Mark Wallace has found a troll in his navel.
BUT I THINK I'LL ADOPT THE PART ABOUT AMERICAN IDOL-LOVE: Just to clear up an apparent misunderstanding with respect to my last post: I do not generally think that there is a correlation between (a) looking American, being a Republican, or thinking that the Steelers will win the Super Bowl; and (b) assault or litterbuggery.

For what it's worth, though, accoring to Jerry Falwell, God wants you to wager on the Seahawks.
NO, SPACEWOMAN, I'M NOT GETTING ANY IDEAS: Here's the story. Motorist (a man, if you care) pulls to a stop in a Toronto neighborhood, opens his door, and tosses out half a fast-food lunch. Local cyclist (a woman, if you care, with a particularly keen dislike for litter) opens the door back up and throws the food back in. Motorist loses his mind, gets out of car, throws coffee on cyclist, and stomps on her back wheel (causing her to fall into his car). They altercate. Somewhere in here, Cyclist also scratches Motorist's car (not clear whether this is intentional or accidental). Photographer captures the moment. Maria Bello look-alike startles kinetically.

Me, I go to sleep at night fantasizing about throwing litter back. Since I'm in the minority everywhere else (look vaguely foreigh; vote Democrat; dislike American Idol finalists; think Seattle will win Super Bowl XL), most of you probably are on the side of Crazy Assaulting Motorist, right?

By the way, an ALOTT5MA PSA for smokers: throwing your cigarette butt on the ground actually is littering.
I GOT YOU BABE: Six more weeks.
IMMUNITY, BACK UP FOR GRABS. ALREADY? Is it just me, or is tonight a little too soon for Survivor XII to be starting?

Don't get me wrong -- the last two seasons were great. But there's a reason there's only one American Idol cycle per calendar year, and I wonder if less might be more in Probstville.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

ANDRAE, YOU REALLY EMBARRASSED ME TONIGHT AT RED LOBSTER: If there were any question whether Project Runway 2 was going to enter my pantheon list of the Top Reality TV Seasons Ever (which will be formally updated as part of ALOTT5MA's next sweeps period, I promise), tonight should've settled it.

Just a wonderful blend of personalities, humor and drama, as we've come to expect . . . and more, a level of ingenuity and beauty on display in the fashion that was just breathtaking. I'm completely down with the decisions this week, but man, this is a tight competition.

The Olympus Fashion Week show for the three finalists, fyi, is Friday, February 10, at 9am.
A MIXTURE OF BAD IDEAS AND GOOD NEWS: Several tidbits of TV news of interest in this summary from The Futon Critic:
  • Anthony Stewart Head will play a character loosely based on Elton John opposite Ashley Williams in ABC pilot Him and Us.
  • Kermit Roosevelt's In The Shadow Of The Law is being TV series-ized from CSI showrunner Carol Mendelsohn, to star Joshua Jackson as Mark Clayton.
  • Studio 7 casting officially confirms additions Timothy Busfield and Michael Stuhlbarg, likely as Cal (the Director) and Jerry (a network "suit" and standards and practices guy), respectively.
  • The quite pretty America Ferrera has been cast as Ugly Betty in the English language adaptation of hit telenovela Betty La Fea.
  • The creators of Ed return to TV with Donal Logue as half of a pair of people who plan to rob a celebrity (early word had the project being titled I Want To Rob Jeff Goldblum).
  • Tina Fey's "Backstage At SNL" project adds (in addition to Fey and Tracy Morgan), Rachel Dratch, further suggesting we can look forward to a massive change in the SNL cast this spring.
DAVE COULIER, HOWEVER, WAS NOT INVOLVED: I'm not normally one to ridcule those going through rehab, but the news of Full House star Jodie Sweetin's trip to rehab for meth raises an interesting question--just how far gone do you have to be before Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, as well as Bob Saget, stage an intervention on your behalf?
BADDEST BRIT: Nope, it's not Pete Doherty. Rather, in a poll of 5,000 people, Jack the Ripper was chosen as the Worst Briton of the last 1,000 years. Second on the list was Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury back in the 1100s, while five others tied for third. Voters were given a choice of one despicable Brit from each of the last 10 centuries as picked by noted historians.
IT WAS THE BEST OF LINES: Actually, that opening line from Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is only the ninth best opening line from a book according to a list of the 100 Best First Lines From Novels as chosen by the American Book Review. Moby Dick's "Call me Ishmael" took the top spot, while one of my favorites, also by Dickens, "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show," from David Copperfield, came in at No. 20.

Link via Eric Zorn.
THAT OTHER, CONSIDERABLY LESS FOUL-MOUTHED, LITTLE MOUNTAIN TOWN IN COLORADO: In happy news, rather than fighting for audience on Thursday nights, when underappreciated family drama Everwood returns to the schedule on March 20, it'll be on Mondays at 9, a slot where, honestly, what else are you going to watch? Other schedule shifts:
  • Related is gone, but will return with "fresh" episodes later in the season.
  • Pepper Dennis (aka "Rebecca Romijn Looks Hot") gets the post-Gilmore slot on Tuesdays with a weekly repeat on Sundays.
  • The Bedford Diaries (aka "Let's Talk About Sex With Jess Mariano") is sent to its doom against Lost.
  • Supernatural gets paired with Smallville on Thursdays.
CUTS LIKE A....TEACUP? How exactly Lindsay Lohan managed to incur 10 stitches in a "teacup accident" is just one of several questions this article begs. (Also begged? Why on earth La Lohan was hanging out at Bryan Adams' house in London)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

WILL IT GUARANTEE A NEW PLAY HAPPENS EVERY NINETY SECONDS? In the middle of this USA Today piece on America's worst football announcer, Joe Theismann, is this double-tidbit of note on the future on Monday Night Football involving one of the frequent subjects of this weblog:

If Michaels goes to NBC, Mike Tirico, who will host ABC's Super Bowl pregame show Sunday and present the championship trophy, would seem an obvious choice to replace him on ESPN's play-by-play.

Then, creating a three-man booth might be considered. Tony Kornheiser, who co-hosts ESPN's Pardon The Interruption and tried out for the ABC MNF role that went to comedian Dennis Miller, says he's had discussions with ESPN "about a variety of things, including joining the booth. ... If somebody talks to you about Monday Night Football, you talk back." Kornheiser isn't sure if his chances are contingent on Michaels exiting. "That's the part I don't know," he says. "Those are the decisions I don't make."

First off, I can't see how Kornheiser stays up late enough for halftime of these games, let alone all four quarters. Secondly, he doesn't like to travel. And third? Okay, I'd be excited. (Then again, I liked the Dennis Miller experiment.)
I'M A LEAF ON THE WIND: While reading Julie Powell's hysterical and surprisingly touching Julie & Julia this evening, I came across the following passage:

Oh my god! That red-headed guy from the prematurely cancelled Joss Whedon outer space-western series was in that godawful thing we saw at the Belasco with Kristen Chenoweth that was open for about a week and a half.

I'm not sure what's sadder--the fact that I immediately noticed that Chenoweth's name was spelled incorrectly ("Kristin," folks), the fact that I immediately thought "Chenoweth's never been in any show at the Belasco," or the fact that I promptlyvisited the Internet Broadway Database, wherein I discovered that Alan ("Wash") Tudyk played Chenoweth's love interest in short-lived comedy "Epic Proportions," which played 93 performances at the Helen Hayes in 1999.

OUR APOLITICAL SOTU THREAD, AS REQUIRED BY ART. II, SEC. 3 OF THE CONSTITUTION: Just two comments -- first off, was Gov. Tim Kaine flashing The People's Eyebrow during the Democratic response, or is he just out of control?

Secondly, it looked like the tv crew -- at least on the network I was watching -- was prepping for the Oscar broadcast. President mentions Coretta Scott King? Quick, find a black person in the audience! Peace in the Middle East? Hello, Joe Lieberman! The elderly? Kindly Old Shoemaker Carl Levin!
PERHAPS EXPLAINING WHY THIS SHOW DOESN'T HAVE AN EMMY FOR WRITING: Now, I can usually keep up with 95% of the references on Gilmore Girls, but I'll admit I had to look up Lorelai's reference to Christopher Isherwood from tonight's episode. (To be fair, I got the "Opening night of Taboo" joke immediately.)
"THE MOST EXCITING AND STIRRING DOCUMENTARY ON ANY SUBJECT TO APPEAR ON TELEVISION IN A LONG TIME": So, the NYT's Virginia Heffernan says about "African American Lives", hosted by Prof. Henry Louis Gates and debuting on PBS Wednesday night.

It sounds like "Roots" for the CSI generation, and I'm looking forward to giving it a shot.
THE GREAT ZUCCHINI: This is really one of the most compelling articles I've read in months. It's about the hottest act on the DC-birthday party circuit. And it's about a whole lot more than that. Worth your time.

Hat tip: Volokh.
"ABOUT AS FACT-BASED AS NANNY MCPHEE:" Today's Times features a column (TimesSelect login required) that, in the context of asking exactly where A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard should be shelved--Fiction? Non-fiction? Memoir? "Lives and Letters?" Self-Improvement?--provides some fascinating statistics about shelf space at the Upper West Side Barnes and Noble:
  • 76 shelves are devoted to "Self-Improvement."
  • 70 additional shelves are devoted to "Psychotherapy and Psychology."
  • 23 shelves are devoted to "New Age," with 7 additional shelves on Wicca.
  • 97 shelves are devoted to "Christianity and Christian Inspiration."
  • 48 shelves are devoted to "Judaica," with 6 of them in the subcategory of "Holocaust Studies."
  • 25 shelves for "African-American," compared to only 6 for "Hispanic."
  • 17 shelves for Buddhism, compared to only 7 for Islam.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE . . . Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, Good Night & Good Luck, and Munich.

Link to come. Among the surprises I caught -- no best pic for Walk The Line, and best supporting noms for Matt Dillon (Crash) and William Hurt (A History of Violence), the latter of which was otherwise shut out from the five majors.

Edit From Matt: Here's the whole list.
THE SEASON-ENDING BIG GAME IN DETROIT IN WHICH FOOTBALL WILL BE PLAYED: The WaPo explores ways to violate the NFL's copyright over a certain game-identifier.

Monday, January 30, 2006

DO YOU MIND IF WE DANCE WITH YOUR DATES? I can tolerate a healthy level of editing-for-television, like the whole This is what happens when you [find] a stranger in the [Alps]! edit for the for-broadcast Lebowski, but why did AMC have to give Donald Sutherland pants for his critical scene in Animal House?
A DECIDEDLY LARGER GROUP THAN CRYSTAL PEPSI FANS: The New Yorker turns its focus today on those writers who can't live without drinking their Tab.
TEAMS OF TWO RACING AROUND THE WORLD: TAR9's teams have been announced -- I am pleased to confirm that we've got ourselves some old school casting for the February 28 premiere. You've got your mother/daughter, your thick Noo Yawk accents, your grandparents, your black couple, your attractive young athletic single guys, your southern dating couple, and, of course, your Phil. It's all represented, here, on the Amazing Race.
PAMELA'S LAST MUSICAL: Renowned playwright Wendy Wasserstein died today at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As we had discussed a couple of months ago, Wasserstein was fighting a particularly virulent form of lymphoma.
NO WORD ON IF THE PANDA FIXATION WILL REMAIN: To welcome its new editors, Wonkette (which now seems to lack the "-ette," given that both editors are male) has a spiffy redesign that's worth checking out.
NETWORKED INDUSTRIES: There's a lot out there to be writing one's elected representatives about just now, but most of it isn't really appropriate to this forum. Here's an exception, via Lawrence Lessig.
I THINK IT WAS THE HEADLINE 'EGGPLANT PARMESAN DEFEATS DREW' THAT PUT ME OVER THE TOP: This blog hasn't given its traditionally comprehensive coverage to Wing Bowl XIV -- The Virgin Wing Bowl for two reasons: (a) it's hard to get excited for anything Bowl-related in Philadelphia this year, given Terrell and all the unpleasantness, and (b) while I'm glad that they've cleaned the decks and allowed only previous non-competitors into the finals (hence "Virgin"), that means that I'd actually have to spend time and learn stuff to get up to speed.

But Wing Bowl XIV is this Friday, so if you'd like to see such qualifying attempts as Hungry Hungry Hebrew eats 2 lbs of gefilte fish or Doug gives McGriddles a McTry, no one's going to stop you . . .

Sunday, January 29, 2006

TV HAS ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE "NO TOUCHING!" CLUB: Sandra Oh won a SAG Award tonight (more surprisingly, not a single person affiliated with Brokeback Mountain won anything), beating Mariska Hargitay, Geena Davis, Patricia Arquette, and Kyra Sedgwick, and tonight's Grey's Anatomy certainly demonstrated why. Hell, tonight's Grey's probably takes an early contender slot for next year's "best episodes of the year" list, with it being good enough we (almost) didn't miss Bailey. An open thread for discussion of the SAG Awards (Sean Hayes over Shatner and Spader? Keifer Sutherland over Hugh Laurie, Ian McShane, and Dr. McDreamy?) and other Sunday night television.
WHO KNEW THEY WERE STILL MAKING ICOPRO? WWE Chairman Vincent K. McMahon Jr. shows off the results of the company's stringent new steroids testing policy.
"I THINK THAT IT'S A PHILOSOPHICALLY SOUND PIECE," STALLONE SAID: Indeed, Sly says a lot about Rocky VI in this lengthy piece by the Inky's Michael Klein.
COMBINING TWO OF MY AREAS OF GEEKDOM: Sunday's Times has this fascinating article in the Arts section, which asks the question--is the direction of a stage play a copyrightable work, separate and apart from the script of the play? Pantomimes and "choreographic works" have previously been deemed the subject of copyright, but it seems to me that some of the alleged "infringements" are nothing more than common sense.