Saturday, March 7, 2009

"AS IT HAPPENS, THERE IS A CIVIL WAR-ERA CANNON THAT IS AIMED, WITH UNSETTLING IRONY, EXACTLY WHERE SHE STANDS": This blog has long admired the too-rarely-demonstrated journalistic talents of the Washington Post's Gene Weingarten -- he of the deservedly Pulitzer-winning Joshua Bell plays in a Metro station article, his Garry Trudeau profile and that of The Great Zucchini, troubled children's entertainer. Each of those articles, to be sure, had something to do with the world of entertainment and how we interact with it, and as such bore some relevance to the nebulous mission of this site.

I do not pretend for a minute that his new piece in this weekend's Washington Post Magazine does -- indeed, nothing seems further from our whimsy and trivial pursuits than this. "There may be no act of human failing that more fundamentally challenges our society's views about crime, punishment, justice and mercy," he writes, his subjects being thirteen parents whose children died of hyperthermia from being accidentally left in the car on warm days. He calls these cases "failures of memory, not of love," and employs all of his empathy and considerable multidisciplinary research to explain how this happened to them and how the risk can be reduced. He asks, what kind of person forgets a baby?, and answers:

The wealthy do, it turns out. And the poor, and the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It happens to the chronically absent-minded and to the fanatically organized, to the college-educated and to the marginally literate. In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.

We don't have to talk about it at all; I just feel like I know y'all well enough to say read the article and leave it at that. You'll get something out of it. [Between this and what's below, sorry to be a downer; just the way the articles are happening. We'll be back to normal tomorrow.]
WHERE THE HIGHBROW AND LOWBROW INTERSECT:Was it just me, or did the portrait of David Foster Wallace that accompanied this week's (sad and touching) New Yorker exploration of what may have driven him to kill himself remind anyone else of a bespectacled Bret Michaels?
BENNY THE BULL WILL ALSO GET LIPOSUCTION: Mattel has decided that the best thing for Dora the Explorer to next explore is the whored out universe of sexed-up tween dolls. Because, naturally, the smart, nerdy, bookish girl really would be improved in her teenage years by trading in National Geographic Kids for Seventeen.
"I SAID, 'WHAT THE HECK'S THE MATTER WITH CHRISTIAN SALT'?" Thank you, "retired barber Joe Godlewski," who got tired of hearing tv chefs recommend "kosher salt" in recipes. Up next -- Christian National hot dogs? (HT: bill.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

FAIR HARVARD HAS THE POINTS SPREAD, OLD YALE MIGHT WIN (IT'S TRUE), BUT VERSUS PENNSYLVANIA WE BET THE UNDER, TOO: The NYT speaks with the degenerates hard-working statisticians who prefer to gamble on Ivy League basketball, as it's often the only college hoops action on a Friday night.

In related Division III action, the Lord Jeffs of Amherst College open their tenth straight NCAA men's basketball tournament play tonight against the Griffins of Gwynedd-Mercy College, with the winner likely to face the host Ospreys of Richard Stockton College tomorrow night; we will, as always, follow such action here so long as the Jeffs keep winning and the nicknames remain amusing.
I'M JUST DISAPPOINTED DR. TOBIAS FUNKE DID NOT PLAY JON OSTERMAN: An open (and spoiler-allowed) thread for discussion of Watchmen.
JIMBO!/INCOMPL TE: Did we really make it to Friday afternoon without an Office/30 Rock thread? Rather than diving into plots and rehashing jokes, let me just laud two actors. Brian Baumgartner rarely gets anything to do on The Office other than get caught with porn and act like the kind of guy Holly would mistake for special. I've read that he is a deft and quick-witted actor, the person on the Office set least like his character, and we don't get to see much of that. But the writers of The Office are smart, and several of their more cartoonish characters -- Dwight, Andy, and Angela, though not Creed or Meredith -- have been given chances to paint a little depth into themselves. This was Baumgartner's second chance to play Kevin as more than just a simpleton, and for the second time, he nailed it, efficiently conveying both the depth of Kevin's loneliness and how small a ray of hope he needs to brighten up.

And then, of course, Baldwin again demonstrated what an incredible mimic he is. Without spoiling, I just wanted to appreciate how perfectly he nailed the peculiar cadences of what it was that he was recreating. Far more subtle than his Emmy turn in the Funniest Minute of Television last year, but no less impressive.
HELLO, IS IT ME YOU'RE LOOKING FOR? The Idol Final 12 13 is now set, and we will have much to discuss during the coming weeks. Join us for a special live pregame show this Monday night at (tentative) 9pm EDT, powered again by CoverItLive (why? because it's free!) when Kim Cosmopolitan, Isaac Spaceman and myself -- along with possible special guests -- will run down the field, break down the tiers, address the whole narrative v. talent question and make our predictions for who we'll be seeing on the Kodak Theater stage come May.

If you'd like to receive an email reminder, here's your tool:

Is blind > South Asian? How many children is it optimal for an Idol finalist to have? Is Megan Joy Corkrey a worse dancer than Brooke White? Who's most likely to be the next David Hernandez/Brandon Rogers and who is your next American Idol? Join us Monday night for all this and more.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

IT'S MY, IT'S MY, IT'S MY MY MY MY MY MY MY MY MY MY MY! Did I call it right? Yes and no -- I was close, and then Alan and I saw this blog post today, and about halfway through the show, he emailed me to call it exactly. Give the man his propers.

[Also, if you were wondering about Anoop's UNC/"Eve" reference, go here -- today's the one-year anniversary of a campus tragedy in Chapel Hill.]

[Also, Haloscan is being hinky again. Be patient. W[w]e will have a special announcement soon to make up for it.]
LIKE A DOG IN THE MOONLIGHT: If Saturday-morning cartoon parodies and nuked fridges are too highbrow for you, please join me for a Failblog presentation of the world's greatest sleepwalking dog. When even the dog looks embarrassed at the end, you know it was a good dream.
IF TROUBLE'S ABOUT, YOU'D BEST WATCH OUT, FOR THE WATCHMEN: It's 1989 and ABC execs desperate to compete against CBS's Muppet Babies and NBC's Smurfs in the 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning time slot, throw a hail mary and surprisingly secure the rights from a crankly Englishman to his series of comics about a group of flawed super heroes.

In the words of one commenter, I bring you the "Best thing ever in the history of things": The Saturday Morning Watchmen.

And I apologize in advance if the cartoon's theme song is playing in your head tonight throughout the midnight screening.

Plus: Slate has a look at what other directors such as Woody Allen, Tyler Perry and Sofia Coppola would have done with Watchmen (Tarantino's looks awfully similar to the above link).

Link via the AV Club.
HOW ABOUT A DRINK? YOU KNOW? A DRINK: Since the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference, I finally forced myself to watch Indiana Jones IV.

And I must say, I didn't think any of the implausibilities bothered me. Aliens. Flesh-eating ants. Even the Nuking the Fridge bit was no stupider than most action movie stunt sequences. The unforgivable crime, here, was that I couldn't be made to care: if Hitler got the Arc of the Covenant, he wouldn't have needed so many Stukas to roll over all that is good and decent in the world. Okay, there we had a story. It mattered what happened. Here, Indiana Jones was the only thing which stood between the Soviet Union and control of the Psychic Friends Network.

Great to see Karen Allen again. Otherwise, what a waste.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

GIVE ME TWO WEEKS: What a great Lost that was. We've got some really knockout performances (particularly by new cast member LaFleur!), a really well-done take on the season's big time travel riff, an actual non-dysfunctional (for now) relationship, and a hearty dollop of mythology payoff just to top everything off. Got any complaints? Take 'em to the head of security.

e.t.a. Sepinwall thinks more quickly and thoroughly than I do.
HE HAS ASKED TO BE TREATED WITH LAUGHTER, NOT MEDICINE: Robin Williams is in the hospital with heart trouble. ALOTT5MA management wishes him a speedy recovery.
YES ... OR NOOP? Let us discuss the unsurprising Idol results, and intriguing wild card selections. I have a theory.

e.t.a. Fienberg liveblogs: "I'll remind America once again, that this is at least partially a singing competition. Only partially. OK. Fine. It isn't about singing at all. Welcome to the Top 12, [ ]!"

Sepinwall: "Given that they're going to have to squeeze eight performances and alleged judges' deliberations into a one-hour show, I have to think that the judges/producers have already basically decided on the identities of the three wild cards, and the only thing that can change that is if someone is so blatantly terrible or brilliant that it would seem fishy if they did or didn't make it through."

Me: I want to emphasize one notion, which I've already raised in the Comments, and has a lot in common with the whole tier analysis which will follow early next week -- it's important not to freak out about whether they pick the "best 12" to be in the finals, because that will drive you crazy. The real question is "is everyone from the 36 who could win this competition in the final 12?", and in that light I'm okay with what went down tonight.
NO, YOU'RE SCHMOOPY: I saw this morning that Alan Sepinwall had to turn on comment moderation and needed to remind his readers of the rules for commenting, which manifestly is neither Alan's fault nor the fault of the majority of his commenters, many of whom we share. It's something that happens with relative frequency at several of the high-quality blogs I read, and I always have sympathy for people who consistently crank out great content and then have to mediate schoolyard fights among their readers. (Incidentally, I think the quality of commenting varies inversely to the size of the readership and proportionally to the degree to which the blog is about sports or politics.) That said, and not to go all soft on you or anything, but other than the occasional transgression of The Rule, we have a regular group of unmoderated commenters who not only need no policing, but who also manage to be uncommonly knowledgeable, interesting, funny, thoughtful, and pleasantly scented, and for that we here at ALOTT5MA are lucky. I know this is going to get buried pretty soon under the Idol/Lost recaps, but I thought it was worth saying.
I KINDA LIKE TO THINK OF THEM AS ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN MEET VLADIMIR AND ESTRAGON: I can't imagine I'm the only one here who'd rather see a studio film written by Kevin Smith and directed (at last!) by someone else than a studio film directed by Kevin Smith and written by someone else, even if it stars Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan as buddy cops.
VICKHAUS IS NOT FOR PASS-LINE BETTORS: One of the worst things about the thankless job of being a professional athlete (after drug-resistant staph) is all the money you have to pay to real-estate brokers when your trade or free-agent contract or plea bargain requires you to sell one luxury home and buy another in a different exurb (note: the latter part of this sentence does not apply to plea bargains).

Wide receiver/perennial #1 fantasy waiver-wire option Muhsin Muhammad's Charlotte home is for sale on eBay (just like a crafty veteran like Muhammad to try to avoid broker's fees), leading to two observations: (1) You can get a hell of a lot more house for $1.9 million in Charlotte than you can in NY/LA/SF/Chicago; and (2) professional athletes have terrible taste.

Incidentally, former Atlanta QB/second-most terrifyingly violent Atlanta Falcon Michael Vick's old house is still on sale for the newly reduced price of $4.1 million. The price is not as much a bargain (I'm not suggestion $1.9 million is a bargain, by the way), but the taste is just as bad. I'm not even talking about the giant "7" inlaid in the marble floor. Who uses wainscoting in new construction?

The author wishes to thank Deadspin for its invaluable research assistance.

Alex Balk - Okay, let’s play a game called “Google searches...

I'LL TAKE THINGS THAT MADE YOU LAUGH THIS MORNING FOR $200, ALEX: This post by Alex Balk...this Mad Men parody featuring Amy Sedaris...the Tweets of "RickReilly"...and this prank.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

CDC Newsroom Home Page

WHALE'S TALES, HOWEVER... The Centers for Disease Control wants you to know that playing beer pong will not increase your risk for herpes: "Recent news stories about an alleged CDC study showing a possible link between the drinking game, Beer Pong, and herpes simplex 1, the virus that causes cold sores, are false. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not publish the referenced article." (HT: Colbert Report.)
SWEATING TO THE OLDIES VOL. III, FEATURING "I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR LOVE": This was kind of an odd night on American Idol -- there were a number of performances that I thought were perfectly fine in the moment, but not so many singers who I care if I ever see again on the show.

First of all, the show is American Idol, not American Scallop Piano Player, and so no one should be putting Scott MacIntyre through to the finals just because they think he's awesome on the piano. Second, when it comes to Nathaniel Marshall, I'll take my convivially over-the-top performances of songs by pantheonic vocalists from Adam Lambert, thank you very much. Third, what is with all the teenage girls collapsing under the weight of their own nerves? Fourth, when in the history of American Idol have there ever been so many mommies on the show? Fifth, my favorite part of Jorge Núñez's performance was his comment that "when I get so emotional I can't think in English -- it comes in Spanish!" I thought his performance was quite good, although I don't remember much about it now except that I spent a lot of time during it thinking about how he had the most unusually shaped eyebrows I've ever seen.

Only two performances really made any lasting impact on me: Lil Rounds and Ju'Not Joyner. I haaaated Lil Rounds during Hollywood week -- Isaac totally nailed it with the Dora the Explorer crack earlier today -- but I thought she was fantastic tonight. As for Ju'Not, I don't usually go for the performances of the quiet slow songs on AI, mostly because contestants usually interpret "quiet and slow" as carrying with them a license to be boring (Anwar Robinson, I'm talking to you, buddy). But I thought his "Hey There Delilah" was incredibly moving and personal and intimate.

Somewhere in the middle for me were Von Smith and Kristen McNamara. Adam twittered earlier in the evening that McNamara's "Give Me One Reason" sounded like a Tom Jones arrangement of a Tracy Chapman song -- no disagreement from me there, but I do love the sound of her voice. And Von Smith seemed really to have taken all the prior criticism to heart, delivering a polished and professional and surprisingly not old-fashioned-sounding "You're All I Need to Get By."

But possibly my favorite 90 seconds of the evening was the time I spent giggling at Alex Wagner-Trugman's mouse-who-roared take on "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues." I literally held my breath waiting for him to growl out "rolling like thunder under the covers," and oh, he did not disappoint.

So . . . predictions are hard for me tonight. Obviously Lil. But does disability trump ESL? Do they both trump a more subtle, less bombastic performance from Ju'Not? Does cute blonde country girl wiggle in for the three-spot? And what does all of this mean for the people who keep hoping that Anoop will pick a less gludgey song in the wild card round?
NAIR FOR SHORT SHORTS: Who wears short shorts? New York Governor David Paterson wears short shorts!
IT'S JUST AN ILLUSION CAUSED BY THE WORLD SPINNING 'ROUND: Congratulations to Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips, whose 2002 "Do You Realize?" off Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots has been named the official Rock and Roll Song of the State of Oklahoma, pummeling in a popular vote Sooner-penned ditties including "Heartbreak Hotel," "After Midnight" and "Never Been To Spain."

The Oklahoma City psychedelic rockers were given a standing ovation by the full Senate after the resolution (.rtf) was formally adopted. Coyne:
It’s phenomenal, it really is. People will remark sometimes how much the Flaming Lips have done for Oklahoma, but I really think it’s the other way around. I don’t know if we would be perceived the same if we hadn’t been from Oklahoma. What would the Flaming Lips be if they didn’t come from Oklahoma? It’s like Santa Claus coming from the North Pole.

See also, from 1994 (for amusement value), "She Don't Use Jelly" performance from The Jon Stewart Show.
IT DOES NOT GO UP TO ELEVEN: Leonard Cohen not your thing? How about Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean performing music from Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind? Yeah, I kind of thought so.
HEILIGE JOHANNA DER SCHLACHTHOFE: We around here always like to see Neil Patrick Harris getting some recognition, and so I am pleased to report that NPH will be hosting the 7th Annual TV Land Awards next month. The TV Land Awards are of the spoofed up "let's reunite that iconic cast" flavor. Sounds right up NPH's alley -- maybe he'll get a chance to send up the already sent up Hugh Jackman musical numbers.

Speaking of our favorite 80s child actor / Tony snubbee -- what'd you think of last night's HIMYM?
SO IT'S A SEQUEL TO REVOLUTIONARY ROAD? This has been bugging me for a while now--is there a worse title for a movie in recent memory than The Haunting in Connecticut? I mean, are they expecting folks to say--"Gee, you know what sounds good? The Haunting in Connecticut!" This also leaves aside the unattractive poster, which, to the extent it looks like anything, seems to be a kid puking blood.
BESIDES, THAT MAY BE THE ONLY BURNING MAN PICTURE I'VE EVER SEEN THAT DIDN'T INCLUDE A GLITTER-PAINTED REPRODUCTIVE ORGAN: It has not escaped my attention that my Idol previews have been so off-base that one might just as accurately predict results by throwing darts at a poster of last season’s contestants. So this week instead of ranking singers by how likely I think it is that they’re doomed, I will rank them in reverse order of how doomed they are assuming that America votes alphabetically.

Before I do, though, I should mention the pictures of last week’s pimpsloteer, Adam Lambert, that are lukewarming up the Internets. Lambert, like every person who ever went to college, apparently makes out with people and wears silly things while partying, and like seemingly every person who went to college after 1998, he gets his picture taken doing these things. The putative controversy, if there is one (and I doubt there will be one outside the TMZ world) is that the person he makes out with is a man, and the party at which he wears silly things is Burning Man. It seems inconceivable to me that Idol would make a big deal out of this. Even if it hasn’t moved, the line between kicked off and tolerated falls between "accepted money for nude photos posted on mock-pedophile web site"/"criminal record" and "took partially nude photos for free while drunk"/"stripper," and you’d have to keep going a country mile (passing Bikini Girl and Paula’s sexual misconduct investigation on the way) before reaching "caught on camera kissing someone."

Which is not to give Idol a pass, though, since the show likes to deal with the reality of its contestants’ sexuality by punting the question to a voting public with significant chastity-fetishist blocs. It’s hard to identify contestants who have been punished for being comfortable with their homosexuality, since people like, say, Danny Noriega weren’t good enough to be test cases. But Idol does have a long history of rewarding utterly desexualized contestants, from the plasticine Carrie Underwood (a blankly beautiful woman who didn’t so much as show an upper calf until she had been a recording star for years) to Aiken, whose reps repeatedly issued indignant denials of his homosexuality right up until he in vitro fertilized his lesbian manager. The new pictures of Lambert may not show anything anybody didn’t already know (or at least wasn’t already ignoring), but they just reinforce what I and everybody else said last week. Idol likes its boys non-threatening, and if there’s anything three of Idol’s big voting blocs – grandmas, tween girls, and Mormons – finds threatening, it’s a guy who doesn’t give a shit that somebody is taking a picture of him kissing another guy. Which might be a reason for other people to vote for him, except his voice and mannerisms are incredibly annoying.

And speaking of the incredibly annoying, your Group 3 Semifinalists:

Ariana Afsar: She had a memorably good audition, she’s 16, she knows how to pick a hairstyle that frames her face, and she had the foresight to cram in a bunch of charity stuff that she can flog every time it seems like she has no personality. Her initials make a great hand in Hold’em.

Felicia Barton. We’ve had a few surprises from people who got no face time during Hollywood Week, but Barton – crybaby nepotist retread Joanna Pacitti’s pinch-hitter – barely even cracked the "sorry, your dreams are over, but check us out Tuesdays at 8:00" montage. I remember nothing about her, period, including which style of music – rhythm or blues – she sings. One gets the sense that when they decided to mess with Pacitti’s imbalanced head, they just pulled out the Idol class directory and kept dialing until somebody answered. She’s lucky her name starts with a B.

Kendall Beard. This week’s eye candy. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say we heard her cry more than we heard her sing. One of the benefits of being in Group 3 is that you get to watch and learn from the earlier contestants’ mistakes. Presumably she will not sing a Police song while trying to eyefuck America, like her closest proxy. She was smart enough to travel to Puerto Rico, where the talent pool was presumably smaller, for auditions. I think she’s a little bit country, so it will be fun to gauge her success by seeing if the judges compare her to Kristy Lee Cook, Kellie Pickler, or The Exalted Underwood.

Ju’Not Joyner-Kersee. Going to the finals? No, Ju’Not.

Nathaniel Marshall. This is what I mean by Idol not getting a pass with the Adam Lambert stuff, because if Lambert is an actual real gay man, Idol is playing Marshall like a cartoony joke, like the teen version of that actor who is always a flouncy choir director on Will & Grace or a fussy waiter on Ellen. Maybe there was no way around it, but the juxtaposition of his depressing backstory with his Hollywood Week hysterics seemed discordant. As a reality show character, I hate him. Unfortunately, I kind of liked the 15 seconds we got of him playing guitar and singing something that was neither musical theater nor R&B. My liking it, by the way, is a sure-fire way to alienate 99.9% of the voters.

Scott McIntyre. You know the guy, really thin voice, kind of lost without his piano but not that great with it, Willie Ames hair, okay with condescension, terrible with choreography? I feel like I’m forgetting something.

Kristen McNamara. She looks like a pint-sized Bess Armstrong (edit: fixed link), not just with the sad-eyed and weary face but also with all of the Hollywood Week pointed sighs and temple-rubbing while the drama addict and the gay best friend tried to sort it all out. Her singing was mediocre, blandly commercial with a surprisingly big aftertaste. Her look represents the least effort an Orange County sorority girl can possibly put into looking alternative.

Jorge Nunez. This is brilliantly shameless pandering to the Latin-music market. Didn’t Kara actually say, at some point, something like "I’m not sure I like it but we’re looking for a Latin singer this year?" If so, I agree – I didn’t like anything he sang, but that’s because I don’t like Latin music. He could be interesting, because if that is an actual bloc that watches this show, he could be on the express train to the next tier. People may try to horn in on another contestant’s country or gospel sounds, but I’m guessing that Lambert won’t be dusting off his high school Spanish. A caution re the trademark scarf, though: it’s a lot like a superhero cape.

Lil Rounds and Von Smith. I say this to Lil Rounds and Von Smith: you and Adam Lambert must stop shouting at me. This is not Dora the Explorer. You can use your inside voice.

Taylor Vaifanua. Huge voice, though I usually get bored with the people who audition with gospel songs. I realize that there is a perfectly rational nonreligious reason to sing gospel at an audition – it is music that often is designed to sound good without instruments. But it seems to me that a pop musician needs to earn his or her gospel. Anyway, I liked her despite her professionalism and she definitely got the best audition-to-Hollywood Week makeover.

Alex Wagner-Trugman: This is a kid who looks like he lives in a perpetual state of panic. He looks like an elongated gopher. He has all the trappings of the guy who wanted to be the pitch in an a capella group but wasn’t good enough so he really gives it that extra something when he does the dance moves. I have a feeling that he hangs around the Idol rehearsal studios in stocking feet.

Monday, March 2, 2009

TRUTH BE TOLD, THE ROSE CEREMONY ITSELF WASN'T THAT SHOCKING. AFTERWARDS, HOWEVER ... Once you recognize that no one actually falls in love on a "reality" dating show -- Trista/Ryan aside -- then you can appreciate the true joy which these shows do provide, which is schadenfreude at the moment of dumping -- both for the dumped (who should have known better, having signed up for the show) and for the dumper, whose "agony" and faux-sincerity over each decision is often titter-worthy. And tonight's Bachelor 13 finale, hoo boy, hoo boy.

I don't watch the dating shows regularly, unless Bret Michaels is involved in which case my wife makes me, but seeing the spoilers about tonight (and the absence of a compelling alternative) made me give these past two hours a shot. Based on Facebook/Twitter, many of you did as well. What a douchebag.

Also, based on some oft-repeated ads tonight, I shouldn't be taking Yaz for that. Good to know.
AGAIN DEMONSTRATING THAT IF YOU NEED A MONTAGE BACKUP TRACK, THERE ARE FEW BETTER CHOICES THAN COLDPLAY: It seems there's demand for a Brothers and Sisters discussion thread, which I kind of half-watched in my hotel room last night. Can we finally get on with writing out the two characters who they're obviously moving toward writing out, or are we going to continue with "I'm mad at him, so I slept with him" (OK over on Grey's, not so much here) and "Let's have an argument about shareholder responsibility that would be boring even in the Delaware Chancery Court?" Pretty please?
HANDLER WITH CARE: Yesterday's Alessandra Stanley think-piece in the NYT on the white/maleness and overall uniformity of late night talk shows raises the obvious follow-up -- who else is ready? If Chris Rock were prepared to jettison his film career for nightly tv, that'd be awesome, but who else?

Side question: with dime-store mimbo Jimmy Fallon debuting tonight -- excited? intrigued? wait-and-see? or hoping he'll fail? I will, as always, go back to the Tracy Morgan quote:
Laughing and all that dumb s--t he used to do — he wouldn't mess with me because I didn't f---ing play that s--t. That's taking all the attention off of everybody else and putting it on you, like, Oh, look at me, I'm the cute one. I told him not to do that s--t in my sketches, so he never did.
Good luck with that umbrella.
SANDRA DIAZ-TWINE, ANYONE? Occasioned by last week's Top Chef finale, TWoP (yes, they still exist) lists the ten least-deserving reality tv winners of all time. "These people just keep breeding," indeed.
GUESS CLOSEST TO THE ACTUAL AMOUNT OF SNOW WITHOUT GOING OVER, AND YOU'LL WIN: With much of the ALOTT5MA nation snowed in today (indeed, I am suffering the double indignity of being snowed in away from home, where the court is closed and trial cannot begin as scheduled), a topic for discussion--aside from the obvious "play in the snow," what are/were among your favorite activities on sick/snow days? The vast wasteland of daytime television beckons, and I know we have a number of TPIR fans, but what else?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"TOUCH, TUCK AND ROLL," OR "WHERE'S MAMMA ROSE?": Oh, for one shining moment I thought we had the return of Colin & Christie, just ridiculously large airport-based lead combined with an anticipated hours-of-operation in Romania -- really, who runs an all-night gymnastics facility? -- but for once I think we can attribute what happened to something other than producer intervention.

By this point, when [that team] made [that airport choice], you knew how the episode was going to end -- really, the worst such decision since the Groanies decided the best way from Brazil to South Africa was via NYC and London -- so the fun this week was just in seeing the first effects of Killer Race Fatigue, especially on a team that I think a lot of us wanted to see put under such stress. A pretty well-designed leg overall, other than the awkwardness about the exploitation of the nomadic life of the Romani people, but, hey, no worse or weirder than some of the tasks in India or Africa, really.

Teeny-tiny Race update: Fox Reality has been re-airing Season Nine (Fun-Loving Hippies v. Eric & Jeremy), and I am delighted to share some Googling results it prompted: beloved dating/nerds David and Lori, as of October 2008, are now married/nerds. Woot, woot.
WHAT THE FRAK IS GOING ON? I swear, I'm just confused. A few theories -- likely spoilers -- in the comments.
UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A START DIDN'T WORK HERE: It's enough of a rarity that it's worth noting that Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li has a 0 rating on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. A 0% is incredibly rare--The Love Guru scored 14%, and other 0's in recent memory include Roberto Bengini's Pinocchio, Ballistic: Ecks v. Sever, and One Missed Call.
WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT IS CALLED A JACKET: As part of its continuing quest for dominance over all Snuggie-related news, the NYT today sends a reporter to field test the Snuggie's claim that it is "great for outdoors," having him explore Times Square, the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the subway, all while clad (is that the correct word?) in a "royal blue" Snuggie. And yes, there are pictures.