To call it an anticlimax would be an insult not only to climaxes but to prefixes. It's a crummy secret, about one step up the ladder of narrative originality from It Was All a Dream. It's so witless, in fact, that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don't know the secret anymore.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Friday, August 12, 2005
Toronto Blue Jays - Bumblebee Man - Comic relief from the other side of the border. Inexplicably, they tend to get a lot of success out of recycled material (sight gags, Shea Hillenbrand) that wouldn't work anywhere else.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Hans Moleman - Whenever they're on TV, you can virtually guarantee that they're hopelessly overmatched and that something bad is going to happen to them. You could start feeling bad for them, but then you remember that you don't care.
Cincinnati Reds - Principal Seymour Skinner - Spent much of their existence under the hand of a domineering, insane woman who was impossible to please (Agnes Skinner, Marge Schott). Possessors of a dirty little secret that they would rather sweep under the rug (Skinner's true identity of Armand Tamzarian, Pete Rose). Their lives were given meaning in the '70s (Vietnam, the Big Red Machine) but now all they have to escape the monotony of their everyday existence is the flashbacks.
San Diego Padres - Dr. Julius Hibbert - Sported a parade of laughable fashions in the past. A little shaky at what they do, but they look stellar given the alternatives in the region (Dr. Nick, the rest of the NL West). Bizarre tendency to lose their composure at inappropriate moments.
They're all pretty brilliant, but the Cleveland Indians one may be my favorite of those not listed above.
So, via the Panopticist, this classic April 1992 Sassy cover with Kurt n' Courtney in lurrrrve. And via Something Awful, the Cliff Notes to R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet".
Dinosaur Jr's "Start Choppin'" just came on the radio, preceded by My Bloody Valentine's "Only Shallow" a few songs before. Life could be a lot worse.
Who'd you pick? Elvis? Marilyn? James Dean? John Lennon? Kurt Cobain? Kate Hepburn? Audrey Hepburn? Sinatra? Bogie? Judy Garland? How about Red Skelton?
Skelton, according to a list of the top dead stars, is the fifth-most recognizable celeb in the great beyond. Those ten names I mentioned before? Apparently their Q score ranks below that of Lucille Ball, John Wayne, Bob Hope, and Jimmy Stewart, who rank Nos. 1-4. In fact, none of those iconic figures made the top 10, edged out by the likes of Michael Landon, Johnny Carson, John Ritter, Jackie Gleason, and Charles Schultz.
Tellingly, "coming in last on the list was diet guru Dr. Robert Atkins, who died in 2003. Tupac Shakur and Johnnie Cochran also ranked towards the bottom." and "the national survey was conducted by mail questionnaire." Still, though, Red Skelton? Really?
Thursday, August 11, 2005
And that'll do it for me till at least Saturday sometime, as this portion of ALOTT5MA central is moving 4.01 miles (according to Mapquest, at least) across state lines in our continuing effort to get closer to the "action."
Wagers, 33, said he didn't realize he had picked up the fugitives until he was alerted to TV reports later that evening.
He said his suspicions weren't aroused by anything the couple said, except that they didn't try to aggressively recruit him after telling him they were Amway salespeople.
"You know, Amway people are all about Amway, and when they didn't -- when they didn't try any conversation further about it, that's when I pretty much thought, well, they're not with Amway," Wagers said.
Video here, and Retrosheet lists all 231 times it has worked in MLB history.
Fairchild is not running unopposed -- Robert Conrad and Alan Rosenberg are also campaigning. Which brings up another question: If, as I assume is true, 90% of SAG members are waiting tables to pay their bills, why do they always elect semi-famous B-listers? Wouldn't their interests be better served by electing somebody whose last IMDB credit was "upset Knicks fan" in Air Bud II or something like that?
One thing not addressed is The Hair. I expect the Fab Five from Queer Eye will have something to say about that when they work with former Apprentice competitor Danny Kastner, who you might recall as the "guitar-playing nimrod" from season 3.
But, as RealityBlurred has noted, the rumored Others are not (yet) listed.
Also, I've been watching the reruns on OLN off-and-on, and it's amazing how little the fundamentals of the show have changed over the years.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
My sinful admission? While Flo has yet to reach her ultra-high freak-out level (and I missed last night's "Flo climbs a cliff" episode), I actually kind of like her in some ways. Her French is decent, and that's proven a big advantage to her team thus far. And she's actually kinda cute.
Oh, and they're also rearranging the seating so that irate customers without timepieces can kill a little time by watching each other simmer while they wait to have their pictures taken.
But this season? Yeah, just good stuff all around. David and Keith's adoption plotline, featuring a bizarre fantasy musical sequence? Check. Claire going to work in a nightmare cubicle farm, featuring her in a production number about pantyhose titled "You Ride Up My Thighs?" Check. Ruth becoming all the more screwed up while dealing with crazy George and horny Ed Begley, Jr.? Check. Bizarre flashback sequence involving Michael C. Hall looking frighteningly like Shaggy from "Scooby Doo?" Check. Nate getting it on with his ex-stepsister? Check. (OK, the Rico/Vanessa plotline is rather interminable, but we can't have everything, now can we?)
But one word summarizes the brilliance of the season thus far. "NARM!" For those of you who gave it up in one of the endless strips of moroseness and poo that plagued the last couple of seasons, it's time to come back.
"We know that 55 percent of all U.S. employees are not engaged at work. They are basically in a holding pattern. They feel like their capabilities aren't being tapped into and utilized and therefore, they really don't have a psychological connection to the organization," said Curt W. Coffman, global practice leader at the Gallup Organization, whose large polling group measured employee engagement. . . .
Although workers may dream of days surfing the Internet with nothing to do, the busiest employees are the happiest, according to a survey by Sirota Consulting LLC. Of more than 800,000 employees at 61 organizations worldwide, those with "too little work" gave an overall job satisfaction rating of 49 out of 100, while those with "too much work" had a rating of 57.
Speaking of which, I need to go now.
I'd like to stop having sad things to talk about on ALOTT5MA. If anyone can do something about that, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
I guess this means two things: (1) Cedric shall not live to smooch Cho another day and (2) they're gonna use some nifty CGI for Ralph Fiennes' first appearance as You Know Who.
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
During breaks from college and in the first few years back home, a group of us would make weekly pilgrimages to the Earle on Lincoln Ave. back when the neighborhood still was a little fun (the bar has since become a Tapas restaurant) to drink beer from a can and be enjoy sets from Detroit Junior. The highlight of the evening always was his rendition of his minor novelty hit "If I Hadn't Been High," with its spoken word interlude about the fact that for a fella there ain't no such thing as an ugly woman when you're all doped up on the liquor and the weed. It was always kind of bittersweet when some drunken sorority girl would wander in a song or two after he had poured his soul into "High," put a few shekels in his tip jar, and ask him to play it, oblivious to the fact that the notes from it were still reverberating. Detroit never seemed to mind though, he'd play it again as if it he was debuting it anew, especially if the girl was cute and the tip was generous. I probably last saw him play a decade ago, but still checked the listings from time to time, vowing to get back down to the city for a night out. Alas...
His label, Alligator Records, has an extended obit here.
From the folks who brought you Monster Garage and Monster House. Read the original casting call for TLC's "Pulpit Masters" via this link.
I've never seen the show, and none of this site's writers have ever written about it in depth. (Just this one squib.) So, are we all missing something?
He was Mr. Spock to Brokaw's folksy Bones McCoy and Rather's impetuous Captain Kirk -- an alien intelligence from the planet Canada, offering not a hug or even a reassuring pat on the shoulder, but a poker face that was accented, on rare occasions, by a faintly raised eyebrow.
Of course, there is that Koppel guy still hanging around . . .
Monday, August 8, 2005
"You see, there's no pathos or back story to News songs. They are straightforward ("Stuck With You"), energetic ("The Power of Love"), and easy to relate to ("Hip to Be Square"). These truths are appreciated by a wide variety of music lovers, some of whom just happen to be mentally retarded."
It's well worth your time. Credit to TMFTML, who's managed to find this and beat me to the joke about the NYT's correction relating to the spelling of Moe Szyslak's name (though I would have gone with "Worst. Correction. Ever."
Spiders (Kidsmoke) makes an appearance on the first episode of Steven Bochco's aggressively advertised Over There. The way that director Chris Gerolmo uses the song is a pretty good encapsulation of the problem I have with the show. Gerolmo cuts away all of the monotonous build and gives us only the soaring bridge, making it sound like just so much noise on an already loud soundtrack. He does the same thing with the plot of the pilot -- perfunctory one-card introductions of the characters followed immediately by a lot of shouting, some look-at-us-we're-basic-cable obscenity, a long slo-mo gunfight with hyper-violent images (like the top half of a guy getting blown up while his legs stagger forward), a little bit of race-baiting, and then a main character getting his leg blown off on a beer run. It's all punchline, no setup. Over There seems to want the release without putting in the effort to get the tension.
Add to that a ridiculous 80s heavy-metal score (do they even sell guitars with a whammy bar nowadays?), the even more ridiculous Hard Rocking Erik Palladino, and the topical ridiculousness of a show about the war in Iraq that avoids taking any position on the war in Iraq, and it's a recipe for mediocrity. The second episode was a little bit better -- particularly with the addition of an Arab-American private with a Sorkinesque omniscience -- but barely worth the money I paid for it.
One other note: There should be a rule against director/producers using their own musical material on TV shows. Gerolmo's title song is just bad.
And as for summer reading, if you like macho male adventure non-fiction with a soul (Into Thin Air, Perfect Storm), read Robert Kurson's Shadow Divers. I'm only 50 pages into Middlesex, but it thus far seems very promising.
The Washington Post's Marc Fisher wrote of his 9/11 reporting: "We watched Peter Jennings' beard grow, and we were somehow reassured that he did not shave, that through morning, afternoon, evening and on into the night, he did not leave the desk, that he confided in us his uncertainties, that he shared the confusions of each hour. He grew more pale and more vulnerable, as if he knew that we needed him to be human, so that we could be together."
Sunday, August 7, 2005
Thank goodness Trebek had the good sense to stay out of this one.
edited to add, 8/17/05: In fact, Trebek did attend. See the Comments.