Friday, April 29, 2005
The Times is now a Tribune Company paper, but the Trekkie controversy isn't the only trouble the company's papers have been having this week.
That said, the movie's still funny, and I'm interested in seeing how the movie's received by those who weren't fans of the various Hitchhiker mythos before the movie. However, for me, I think the radio and book versions have this one beat, despite some wonderful visual moments.
But that's not where it becomes truly ludicrous. Needless to say, this strategy fails, when the other team constructs a coherent marketing strategy and Tana decides to spend the day gluing rhinestones onto t-shirts rather than doing something to create sales volume. So, Tana and Alex head to the Boardroom. In my view, this is an easy call. One thought it would be a good idea to go to Staten Island in search of a BeDazzler. The other said that they should instead try to create a marketing strategy. So who's fired? Of course, it's Alex. Trump, I know you dig the gaudy, but being obsessed with the BeDazzler? Not OK.
Interestingly, for all the criticism of Trump as sexist or racist, this season's winner will either be a woman or an African-American, who are the only people left standing.
The setting is Wrigley Field. The Cubs just lost to the Dodgers 4-3 on a Lee Smith wild pitch before a recorded crowd of 9391, placing them last in the National League's East Division at 5-14. Cubs manager Lee Elia steps to the microphone:
[ ] those [ ] fans who come out here and say they're Cub fans that are supposed to be behind you rippin' every [ ] thing you do. I'll tell you one [ ] thing, I hope we get [ ] hotter than [ ], just to stuff it up them 3,000 [ ] people that show up every [ ] day, because if they're the real Chicago [ ] fans, they can kiss my [ ] ass right downtown and PRINT IT.For the full, unexpurgated rant, complete with audio, follow the link.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Takashi Hashiyama, president of Maspro Denkoh Corporation, an electronics company based outside of Nagoya, Japan, could not decide whether Christie's or Sotheby's should sell the company's art collection, which is worth more than $20 million, at next week's auctions in New York.
He did not split the collection - which includes an important Cézanne landscape, an early Picasso street scene and a rare van Gogh view from the artist's Paris apartment - between the two houses, as sometimes happens. Nor did he decide to abandon the auction process and sell the paintings through a private dealer.
Instead, he resorted to an ancient method of decision-making that has been time-tested on playgrounds around the world: rock breaks scissors, scissors cuts paper, paper smothers rock.
In Japan, resorting to such games of chance is not unusual. "I sometimes use such methods when I cannot make a decision," Mr. Hashiyama said in a telephone interview. "As both companies were equally good and I just could not choose one, I asked them to please decide between themselves and suggested to use such methods as rock, paper, scissors."
How did the auction houses prepare? Who won? Are eleven-year-olds worth relying on? Did anyone throw Spock?
And to top that, the post-episode Hallmark ad featured the late Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole's ukelele cover of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", better known to most of us as Mark Greene's Death Music.
Now if only we could find out who beat the crap out of Mark in the bathroom, what happened to Clooney's one-mentioned son, Pratt's brother, Bob, Dr. Hicks . . .
And, then, boom. Tonight, it all started to come out, and at least 3/7 of the tribe was reasonably at risk in the vote. In the end . . .
Well, I'll just say this: in the next two weeks, there are people who'll be eliminated who could've used this person's vote. They sacrificed long-term interests for a momentary peace, and they will suffer as a result.
- "Brick," Ben Folds Five--This has been the very talented Folds' only big radio hit so far, and just listening to it for the first time, you get the piano and Folds' soulful wail. It's the second and third listening where the "huh?" factor comes into play, as you slowly realize that Folds is singing a song that's about a guy taking his girlfriend to have an abortion, and you realize that this is on the radio (and in my case, in Dallas, no less).
- "David Duchovny," Bree Sharp--The smallest radio hit on the hit, and the definition of a "novelty hit." At the peak of the "X-Files" popularity, who can resist a song that describes Duchovny as "American Heathcliff, brooding and comely," or the immortal "David Duchovny, I want you to love me, I'm gonna kill Scully!"
- "Sadeness, Part I," Enigma--Who knew that excerpts of the writing of the Marquis de Sade, chanted in Latin over a techno beat would work? Guess it does.
- "Jump Around," House of Pain--A few Irish white guys from Boston rapping over the leadoff of a bagpipe? Who knew that was a recipe for fun?
- "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)," US3--It's hard to believe that before Norah Jones, this was Blue Note's big hope for the future, it takes a sample from Herbie Hancock's "Cantalope Island" and then mixes it with rap lyrics that are of Vanilla Ice quality ("Jump to the jam/boogie woogie jam slam/bust the dialect/I'm the man in command!"). The truly frightening thing is how irresistable the song winds up being, with the spirited command of "Give me more of that funky horn!"
- "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)," Baz Luhrmann/Quindon Tarver (Amazon)--A simple drumbeat layered over a bizarre commencement speech. You can't tell if it's sincere, if it's ironic, or if it's some combination thereof.
- "Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand," Primitive Radio Gods--Chris O'Connor layers three elements that you wouldn't think go together--a pulsing drum backbeat, his own metaphorical rap/singing of lyrics like "Moonlight spills on comic books and superstars in magazines," and an echoing B.B. King sample, passionately singing "I been downhearted, babe!" Again, it works, and you don't know why.
- "The Mummer's Dance," Loreena McKennitt (Amazon)--Loreena McKennitt is known for her hyper-accurate medieval music, and is probably the last person who expected this song, featuring panpipes and Arthurian lyrics like "we've been rambling all the night and sometime of the day, now returning back again, we bring a garland gay," to become a hit. But it did.
- "Lullaby," Shawn Mullins--Mullins, a protohippie from Atlanta, narrates in spoken word the tale of a disillusioned young girl in L.A. Then, the gravelly speaking voice abruptly shifts gears into the soaring chorus--"Everything's gonna be alright, rockabye!" Just wow.
- "The Freshmen," The Verve Pipe--Another one of those "second listening" issues. At first, you think of it as just a catchy tune and then you realize that it's a song about a guy whose girlfriend has killed herself. Regret and sadness don't normally sell records, especially when coupled with rage and self-loathing, but this wound up a huge radio hit.
One of the five remaining "American Idol" finalists was once arrested for felony cocaine possession, but had the charge dismissed last year after completing a so-called "diversion program" for first-time offenders, The Smoking Gun has learned. Harold "Bo" Bice, 29, was busted in June 2001 by Huntsville, Alabama cops and hit with the drug count, a Class C felony, according to the below warrant (Bice posted $1000 bond and was released from the Madison County Jail). He was arrested again in 2003 near Birmingham and charged with marijuana possession, public intoxication, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to the latter two misdemeanors in December 2004. The pot possession charge was dismissed after Bice's successful completion of the same diversion program that covered the prior cocaine case.Conspiracy theory time -- does 19E/Fox use this as an excuse to boot Bo (the "we didn't know" response) and bring back the more malleable, marketable Constantine?
She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie . . .
The answer is Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas, whose debut solo album, "Something to Be," is this week's top seller.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
The pretty boy front man who wasted opportunity:
And he could have won the whole competition. Instead, Christmas bells are ringing . . . somewhere else.
edited to add: On the other hand, I've located the people who are voting for Scott:
This show is not about finding the next big superstar. Your favorite contestant probably won't win, and will probably get a record contract anyway if they're [sic] good enough. Besides, TV is supposed to be about the entertainment value, and what's more entertaining than a fish out of water outlasting the big fish and sharks? The producers wanted Scott in the top group so he could fail, but let's give them the monster that they've created. . . . Why bother voting for someone talented when this show can be so much more fun to watch? Scott Savol outlasting Carrie Underwood or Bo Bice? Now that's good TV!They've got a point.
Apologies to those of you who believe that alien-possession-based religion is not eccentric.
Their work is a daily sojourn to the underworld. Gillespie has a team of 10 men and six women who spend hours in front of their computers, extracting leads, writing warrants and sifting photos for clues. The payoff is the day they get to kick down a door and take the "bad guy" away. The mood is light and the humor often off-color to ease the horror.
On one wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that alludes to a dark fact of their work: All but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.
Det. Constable Warren Bulmer slips on a Klingon sash and shield they confiscated in a recent raid. "It has something to do with a fantasy world where mutants and monsters have power and where the usual rules don't apply," Bulmer reflects. "But beyond that, I can't really explain it."
May 13 can't come soon enough.
But, seriously, folks? Man, are you missing out. The boxers are all engaging characters. The human drama is real, and occasionally quite moving. And actualy boxing has never been more beautifully filmed. Mark Burnett found a way to transplant the strategy and team/individual challenges from Survivor into a new context, and it remains great television.
This show has only one drawback: the hosts. Sylvester Stallone knows nothing about boxing that didn't come from Rocky's Big Book Of Boxing Cliches. Sugar Ray Leonard's lines are overdubbed at least twice as often as Trump's ever were, and when he's not overdubbed, he's not making any sense anyway. He's the worst host of a reality competition since Alex McLeod on Joe Millionaire (or, worse: Monica Lewinsky's stint on Mr. Personality.)
Two minor reality tv notes:
- Whew! Rupert and clan will not be appearing in The Amazing Family Race.
- Just want to make sure we're all in agreement -- no matter what happens for the rest of the season, Survivor's Stephenie LaGrossa will not only win the 2005 ALOTT5MA Award for Reality TV Competitor of the Year (2004: Rob Mariano), but will enter the Pantheon of favorite reality tv people ever with Ruthie and Teck, Team Guido, Jeff Balis and Chris Moore, Miss J. Alexander and the rest.
WSJ: What about healthier products?
Mr. Brenneman: We're the only fast-food restaurant to offer a veggie burger. We sell three a day per restaurant and we sell over 300 Whoppers per day per restaurant....With the kids meals, you can substitute apple sauce for fries. You can substitute milk for Coke. [But] most people don't take that substitution.
You have to have those products, to take away the 'veto vote,' so if mom wants a salad, there's something for her. But you don't want too much of that on your menu because it's not what the customer wants....I just really want to offer what the customers will buy, and what they want to eat.
WSJ: Do you feel the need to change the menu to appease fast-food critics?
Mr. Brenneman: No pressure at all. You should be able to come to Burger King and get a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat meal. You can. Beyond that, I don't think it's my job to tell Americans what they should eat. We might as well go back to communism.
Because they really love their Mickey D's in Moscow.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Oh, the dramatic irony. Teams that think they're way ahead of the others when they're not. Others that can't find clue boxes, scales, keys, gnomes . . . while one team, God bless 'em, finish the episode at 9:36p without a Fast Forward, the earliest finish for a team since the second episode. Just an incredibly well-run leg.
And man, it's fun watching Rahb and Ambuh haul ass when they realize they've got to -- especially with a Roadblock that seemed like a Survivor challenge. At the same time, no, Gretchen, it's not as easy as it looks, but it's sure funny to watch you try. It's hard to balance between admiring their effort (especially in this episode) versus all the complaining, but, for this episode this week, okay, impressed.
By the way, and I haven't seen any spoilers, but are they just finishing the Race going back west across Europe rather than across Asia and Australia/New Zealand? That'd be cool.
Finally: I'm not one who complained much when some teams didn't win a reward for winning their legs, but, man, this [Sponsor] special prize? That's ass.
For Carrie, that meant country; for Constantine and Bo, bar-band versions of "modern rock classics". And damned if Simon didn't nail the smartest comment of the year when he noted that once Constantine shed his "rocker" persona for a crooner, he couldn't flip back without blowing his credibility.
Vonzell was solid, but, dammit, and I'm going to hate myself for saying this, I thought that Anthony Federov's take on Celine Dion's "I Surrender" (previously aced by Miss Kelly Clarkson) was actually rather lovely and sweet. My favorite performance of the night.
But Scott, whoa, that version of "Dance With My Father" isn't helping Luther's recovery at all. That was brutal. Go. Home. Now.
But they gave their owner one headache too many. Gerald Berg, who raised the bison on his cattle farm in Stevenson, started his day by jumping on an all-terrain vehicle and chasing the escaped animals. Mr. Berg has been raising bison for about eight years, he said, but no more.
By midday, as the last of the bison were being herded into the trailer, Mr. Berg had decided their fate.
"It's out of hand," he said. "They're going to the slaughterhouse, and they're going to be buffalo burgers."
The Baltimore Sun spares its readers of that sad ending, and, to boot, its pictures are cooler.
One last note: if I'm a bison, and my last days of freedom are being spent in the Baltimore suburbs, I'm going to the Towson Town Center. They've got a Nordstrom, yo.
(Link via TV Tattle.)
Monday, April 25, 2005
Back in the Middle Ages, on erev Pesach, Sir Lancelot gathered his men at the encampment.
"My knights!" he exclaimed. "It is a great honor that in two days time, King Arthur himself will be coming all the way from Camelot to visit us. We must make ready in haste! Shine your armor! Groom your horse!"
In the background, one man raised his hand. "But Lancelot," Yussel cried. "Tomorrow night begins the Passover holiday, and I will be unable to do anything to prepare for his arrival. I've got chametz to clean out, and a seder to attend."
Lancelot was unmoved. "He is coming, and you will be ready."
And so, two days later, a procession of magnificent horses led King Arthur to the encampment.
There they were, Lancelot's men -- their horses well-groomed and outfitted for a royal visit, the men clean-shaven, their armor polished so extensively that you could see your reflection off them.
All of them, that is, except one. When King Arthur reached the end of the line, there was Yussel, his horse mangy and unkempt, his armor dinged and rusty.
King Arthur turned to Lancelot, and asked: Mah nishtana halaila hazeh mikol halelot?
Via Bernie Kaplan. Possibly, just possibly apocryphal.
Three men in an 18-foot aluminum boat harpooned and killed a 32-foot bowhead whale off Little Diomede Island late Tuesday, bringing the first taste of fresh muktuk and meat to the Bering Strait community since 1999.
It was an exciting night, said resident Edward Soolook. When he heard of the catch by Thomas Menadalook Jr. and his crew about midnight, 'I just started running to houses saying, 'We need help! They got a whale!' '
By early Wednesday, most of Diomede's 140 residents had gathered under a nearly full moon on the ice shelf that surrounds the two-square-mile island, Soolook said. Then, in a tradition that goes back thousands of years, they inched the estimated 16-ton whale ashore using ropes and muscle, butchered it and began hauling the catch to homes throughout town.
But always remember, kids, to protect your muktuk: "An O'Connor Road woman told Fairbanks police that when she went to get a cold beer from her freezer about 9 a.m. Thursday, she discovered her muktuk, whale meat and fish were missing, according to Welborn. Police are investigating."
Robert Wanenchak had tossed out his spinner lure, hoping for a crappie, when he felt a strong hit.
The fish gave him a suspiciously good fight as he reeled it in. As soon as he saw the mottled body and the pointy teeth, he knew.
'I said to myself, 'My God, they're back.''
Or rather, still here.
Several of the dreaded northern snakeheads have been caught here since Wanenchak's strike on April 16. The invasive species from Asia, which has fisheries officials in at least four states in a swivet, made its local debut last July in South Philadelphia's FDR Park.
More ALOTT5MA snakehead coverage here.
The latest abomination from the King, is the Ultimate Double Whopper, which consists of two patties, four slices of cheese and eight strips of bacon. The Impulsive Buy tackles the UDW today and actually comes away impressed, giving it four stars out of five.
The really big news about the UDW is according the my math its the new winner in the fast food sweepstakes of stuffing the most calories in a bun. According to this list of fast food sandwiches sorted by calories, Hardee's 2/3 LB Bacon Cheese Thickburger comes in at a mere 1,340 calories, while a normal double Whopper at BK is 1,060 calories. However, factor in the two extra slices of cheese (180 calories) and the eight slices of bacon (320 calories) and you've got 1,560 calories and 101 grams of fat.
And while were on the subject of stuffing our bellies, the folks over at ESPN's Page 2 have come up with the list of Baseball's All-Time, All-Fat Team, which features Babe Ruth, Terry "Fat Tub of Goo" Forster, and a trio of Tigers scale-tippers, Cecil Fielder, Mickey Lolich and Gates Brown.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
A longtime friend and business partner is suing Dykstra in Ventura County, seeking to regain an interest in their lucrative Southern California car wash business. In the suit, Lindsay Jones, 42, of Irvine, alleges that Dykstra advised him to bet thousands of dollars with a bookmaker on selected Phillie games in 1993.
Jones said in a sworn statement that his baseball wagers were a form of payment to him, made 'on the basis that Lenny would cover all losses, and I would use the winnings to live on.' . . .
The suit includes a sworn declaration from a Florida bodybuilder -- a convicted drug dealer -- who said Dykstra paid him $20,000 plus 'special perks' during their eight-year association to 'bulk up' the once-slight ballplayer. In an interview, Jeff Scott said he injected Dykstra with steroids 'more times than I can count,' and that Dykstra stepped up his steroid use in spring training of 1993 because 'it was a contract year.'
Yeah, me neither.