Saturday, May 22, 2004

MMMMMM . . . . SALTED PORK: Okay, we've only seen about half of the first episode, but Jen and I are getting hooked on PBS's new reality series (yes, you read that right) Colonial House.

Imagine the Real World, plus Survivor-level deprivation, plus -- and I know you're not used to this on reality tv -- educational content. Seventeen well-trained people sent to middle-of-nowhere Maine, where they're going to try to replicate 1600s American society, from gender roles to colonial hierarchies (the servants, they are quite indentured) to the provisions available to having to deal with local Passamaquoddy tribe.

From what I can gather, there's four 2-hour episodes, two of which debuted last week, two which debut this week, repeated frequently. Check your local listings, enjoy, and, prithee, get your learning on.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

MMMMMM...CHOCOLATE SYRUP AND CASABA MELON: Janet Leigh's death in the shower in "Psycho" (which was so viscerally created using the previously mentioned foodstuffs) has been named the best film death of all time by the British magazine Total Film. The entire list isn't available, but rounding out the top five are: 2. Slim Pickens riding the bomb in "Dr Strangelove"; 3. King Kong taking a great fall in "King Kong"; 4. Alan Rickman plunging to the pavement in "Die Hard"; and 5. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway being riddled with bullets in "Bonnie and Clyde." Also on the list are the deaths of Bambi's Mom, the Wicked Witch of the West, John Hurt having the ultimate upset stomach in "Alien," the corny death in "Witness," and scenes from "The Omen," "The Godfather," and "Reservoir Dogs."

So what is your favorite overlooked movie death scene? The first one that comes to mind for me is Wallace Shawn in "The Princess Bride." Let's hear from you in the comments.
THIS IS IT: The television reunion show we've all been waiting for has finally been announced! Coming next season to CBS, Ms. Romano, Schneider, Julie and Barbara reunite and reminisce about nine (nine?!?) wonderful seasons of taking things "One Day at a Time".

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

DISASTER AVERTED: It's Fantasia and Diana in the finals.

Just like in Survivor, up until the finals, it's not about being the best each week; it's about not being the worst. Now, assuming a fair vote, it's up to someone to win it.

Assuming an unfair vote, however, because it's Fox/19E, I'll tentatively predict a Diana win, because I think 19E sees Fantasia as being marketable with or without the crown, but that Diana's career prospects would be significantly enhanced with the AI title. You?
BETTER LATE . . . : It may have taken him until the age of 45, but Tom Arnold has finally said something funny:
Could a 30-second film role have saved Kobe Bryant from his rape trial in Colorado? Tom Arnold seems to think so after making his new movie, "Soul Plane," which also stars Snoop Dogg.

He says Bryant was originally offered a cameo that later went to fellow Laker Karl Malone.

Arnold told us, "[Kobe] was considering it, but he called back and said 'I have to be in Colorado that day to get a little bit of surgery.' I swear to God. It is the only time in history that someone could say 'Damn, if I had only been with Snoop Dogg last night, I wouldn't have gotten in trouble.'"

Arnold's next good joke is due in 2049.
YES, BUT WILL THEY BRING BACK TEAM GUIDO? If CBS only promised an Amazing Race 5 for Tuesday nights this summer, it would have been enough for us.

But today comes confirmation that The Amazing Race 6 will follow right afterwards, airing Saturday nights this fall at 9pm on CBS. Wow.

Seriously, dayenu.
LET NO ONE ELSE'S WORK EVADE YOUR EYES: From McSweeney's Internet Tendency, April 28: Create Your Own Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Column: Disorder and Dreams in [Country In The News], by Michael Ward.

From the NY Observer, May 19: Write your own Thomas Friedman column!, by Michael Kubin.

Just saying. Is all. (And Ward's is funnier.)

edited to add: Okay, time for a moment of irony: Low Culture posted this first, but I didn't see their post until after I posted mine.
IDOL CHATTER: I don't watch the show, so I can't really comment on these 10 suggestions for improving "American Idol", but I have a feeling some folks round these parts might have a thing or two to say on the subject.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

DEEP DOWN, COLONEL ANGUS IS VERY SWEET: This week's SNL? The Best of Christopher Walken.

If there's one thing that can improve the show, it's more cowbell.
LAKE HURON ROLLS, SUPERIOR SINGS: But that doesn't mean that when you and your friends step up to the mic on karaoke night that you should tackle Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Ftizgerald," or for that matter "Piano Man," "Tears in Heaven," "I Will Survive," or any of the other songs on this list of the worst karaoke songs (reg. req.).
ANNYONG, GOOD TELEVISION: The welcome news from Fox is that appointment-TV Arrested Development has been picked up.
A LIST A DAY FLASHBACK: Back on October 23, I asked:

Who will be the next actor who starred in a late ’70s ABC prime-time sitcom to join the growing list of the dearly departed? First there was Robert Urich ("Soap") in April, followed by the recent deaths of John Ritter ("Three's Company") and Fred Berry ("What's Happening"). And now comes the news that character actress Florence Stanley, who played Abe Vigoda's wife, Bernice, on both "Barney Miller" and "Fish" has been cancelled.

And we now have our answer: Tony Randall, who passed away today at the age of 84. Randall, the fastidious half of "Odd Couple," which ran on ABC from 1970-75, also was a favorite guest of David Letterman, so for those of you who like see the occasional human glimpse behind his public facade, tune in tonight.

Monday, May 17, 2004

TAKING A LONG LUNCH: Did you know that a package of ramen noodles contains more than 170 feet of noodle?

All this, and more, at the How Much Is Inside? website. Just how much filling is in one package of Oreos? You'll find out here.
HE DOES HAVE THE BEST UMBRELLA: Affirming Matt's prediction, Jimmy Fallon has left SNL. And good riddance.

Here's a question, though: name a former SNL cast member whose career would be enhanced by returning to the show, as well as our enjoyment thereof. You know, from back when the show was consistently watchable? I'm seriously thinking that Lovitz has nothing better to do, and damnit, I miss the Lying Guy.

(Okay, what I really want is Alec Baldwin to join the cast, but that's me.)
THEY MAKE RUDE REMARKS ABOUT ME: We've only paid intermittent attention to the Liz Phair Sellout Watch since rolling it out last May, but an article in today's NY Post indicates that the war between musical integrity the quest for popularity is over:
This week, she's part of Z100's Zootopia, which hits Madison Square Garden on Friday.

She'll share the stage with bubblehead popster Jessica Simpson, rockers Maroon 5, punk-pop teen Avril Lavigne, hit rap group Black Eyed Peas, J-Kwon and William "She Bangs" Hung.

The night will be hosted by the Backstreet Boys, which is the ironic icing on the teen-pop cake.

Is it really better by far to get paid?
WEAR SUNSCREEN AND PLAY WITH YOURSELF: Jon Stewart's hilarious commencement address to this year's graduating class at his alma mater, William and Mary.

An excerpt:
"Let's talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I…I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don’t really know to put this, so I’ll be blunt. We broke it.

Please don’t be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the news lately, but it just kinda got away from us. Somewhere between the gold rush of easy internet profits and an arrogant sense of endless empire, we heard kind of a pinging noise, and uh, then the damn thing just died on us. So I apologize.

But here’s the good news. You fix this thing, you’re the next greatest generation, people. You do this—and I believe you can—you win this war on terror, and Tom Brokaw’s kissing your ass from here to Tikrit, let me tell ya. And even if you don’t, you’re not gonna have much trouble surpassing my generation. If you end up getting your picture taken next to a naked guy pile of enemy prisoners and don’t give the thumbs up you’ve outdid us.

We declared war on terror. We declared war on terror—it’s not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui."

TWO GREAT TASTES THAT TASTE GREAT TOGETHER: Having recently consumed ny first McRib sandwich, I was pretty sure I had eaten perhaps the worst pork or pork-derived foodstuff on the planet. Then today I went on Amazon to look up how a friend's book was selling following a glowing review in the Orlando Sentinel and was greeted by the recommendation that I might enjoy a nice bag of Pork Chocs--Sugar Free Milk Chocolate Dipped Pork Rinds.
I'M JUST A BILL: From the Corrections in Sunday's New York Times Arts & Leisure section: "A listing last Sunday in Summer Movies for "Thunderbirds," scheduled to open on July 30, misidentified the actor who plays Jeff Tracy. He is Bill Paxton, not Bill Pullman."

Are there any two more interchangeable "name" actors on the planet? I'm talking about actors whose names you actually know, not actors who you know as "that guy." Of the 23 movies listed below, which starred Paxton and which Pullman? I'll post the answers in the comments.
1. "Twister"
2. "Independence Day"
3. "The Last Seduction"
4. "The Last Supper"
5. "Wyatt Earp"
7. "Titanic"
8. "U-571"
9. "Lake Placid"
10. "Lost Highway"
11. "A Simple Plan"
12. "Brokedown Palace"
13. "Apollo 13"
14. "Sleepless in Seattle"
15. "Mighty Joe Young"
16. "Casper"
17. "Boxing Helena"
18. "Singles"
19. "Mr. Wrong"
20. "Spaceballs"
21. "Weird Science"
22. "Brain Dead"

Sunday, May 16, 2004

YOU'RE ANNETTE BENING! Seriously, y'all, tonight's Sopranos episode was only missing a backwards-talking dwarf. Pie. Oh. My.
WHO WANTS TO SAFE-SEX DIKEMBE? Former 76er Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo joined U2's Bono in Philadelphia today for a rally to launch a campaign against global AIDS and poverty.

Here's more about what Bono's up to.
WELL, IT'S JOLLY, AND PARTS OF IT ARE "OLDE:" Greetings from an Internet cafe just south of Trafalgar Square in London. A few notes with my previous time (Internet service is nearly 4 bucks an hour):

1. Going nearly 48 hours on two hours sleep is never a good idea, but especially when those two hours have been fitiful "plane" sleep.

2. London loves pizza. Pizza Hut (and there are many locations) is ALWAYS full when I've walked by, as are many other pizza chains.

3. Am I missing the foreign currency exchange locations on every corner in New York and other major American cities, or is this just a pecularity of London?

4. £8.50 will buy you a nice lunch on a real plate. Unfortunately, with the current exchange rate, that's almost $16.

5. "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (the musical) will need serious retooling before its U.S. opening--Act 1 needs to be cut in half, and the lead villain role in Act 2 needs to be reworked. Yes, the flying car is amazing, but there's a lot more "stage magic" than theatrical magic in the show.

6. God, my feet hurt. More later.