Saturday, September 10, 2005

THE ONLY THING MISSING IS THE AMAZING BATHMAT: For those of you looking either for a way to recreate some personal Race magic, or just looking for a way to combine high culture, low culture, and running around like a maniac, I strongly reccomend the fine folks at Watson Adventures. I participated in this evening's Met Madness Scavenger Hunt, in which 5 teams (some made up of long-time friends, others, like mine, made up of complete strangers) fought to answer questions about various obscure items in the museum in two hours. There's the excitement of figuring out the frequently brilliant clues, the panic as you realize time is running low (34 questions, spread throughout the Met, in two hours, requires a lot of hustle), and the surprise of discovering corners of the Met you didn't know existed--heck, I didn't know about the furniture section.

They run hunts for both parents and kids, and several hunts that are steadfastly "adult" in nature, covering both indoor and outdoor landmarks (their Sex and The City hunt is apparently quite popular). If you're looking for a quick, fun, and relatively inexpensive ($30, including museum admission, ordinarily $15) way to get some culture, this is it.
IT'S ALL A BIG MESS: If it's time for the fall tv season, it's time to turn to the WaPo's Tom Shales, a wise and bitter man. On Fox's "The War At Home", which debuts Sunday:
Michael Rapaport is the once-likable actor who, apparently having decided it's a waste of time waiting around for a good script or a respectable vehicle, accepted the starring role of Dave, a persistently mewling dirty-minded reactionary . . .

This isn't sick comedy, it's just sickening. Indeed, though the TV season won't start for a week, "The War at Home" stands a good chance of being the worst of all the new sitcoms. The problem is not just that it's crude and gross, but that its crudeness and grossness are so pathetically forced and contrived. Its vulgarity has no integrity.

I believe a bar has been set. Follow Shales during the season via this link.
THE PRICE IS WRONG, B****: "There were red faces at CBS yesterday - and profuse apologies - after the network broadcast a rerun of "The Price Is Right" that included a "showcase" prize package featuring a trip to New Orleans."

And yet, Fox had more class and foresight -- yes, Fox! -- pulling Sunday's "Family Guy" episode because of various hurricane references.
HE DOES NOT OWN A YACHT, OR EVEN A DINGHY: His Serene Highness Albert II of Monaco has officially replaced native Alaskan eating customs as this blogger's #1 oddball obsession, especially as long as the NYT keeps giving me good content.

Friday, September 9, 2005

YOU WANT A TOE? I CAN GET YOU A TOE, BELIEVE ME. THERE ARE WAYS, DUDE. YOU DON'T WANNA KNOW ABOUT IT, BELIEVE ME: A Nevada couple pleaded guilty Friday to all charges related to planting a human fingertip in a bowl of Wendy's chili in a scheme to extort money from the fast food restaurant chain.
NOTRE DAME MAY HAVE FOUND ITS NEXT FOOTBALL COACH: I know we like to stay away from the politics here, but wow!
INDIE JONES: The UK's Empire Magazine names the top 50 Independent Films, whatever that means (the qualification is that the films were made with an independent spirit). Reservoir Dogs, takes the top spot, followed by Donnie Darko, The Terminator, Clerks, and Life of Brian.

If I can reccomend one film from the 50 to see, it's No. 17. And if you missed it in theaters, as I did, go rent Sin City this weekend. It's brilliant.

Link via EW's newish Pop Watch blog.
DIDDY'S DANCING LIKE THE OPENING OF SEASON 19 OF THE COSBY SHOW: There's comedy, high comedy, and then there's TWoP's recap of the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. On R. Kelly's mystifying "Trapped In The Closet" pantomime, they write (in part):
Pamie: I love this. He's playing all the parts and the audience is listening!
Pamie: "Chuck!"
Djb: "Rufus!"
Stee: Is this August Wilson's tenth play in his ten-play cycle of the African-American experience in the 20th Century?
Pamie: They rehearsed this and he knows he needs a cell phone and a gun as props, and they didn't give him either. They gave him a bed he's not going to use, a wall that he will not reference, and door that will never open.

. . .

Pamie: Shhh! How does R. Kelly know all of this happened?
Djb: He's the omniscient narrator, Pam.
Stee: This is seriously like a monologue exercise in acting class.
Pamie: It is. It's like Sybil.
Stee: Eric Bogosian's sad somewhere.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

THE CAB RIDE STILL COSTS AN ARM AND A LEG: Apparently, for the remainder of the year, the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan will be free (though I expect there will still be a "suggested donation").
MAEBY LOVES CHACHI? Following the shark-jumping incident of last season, Bluth family attorney Barry Zuckerkorn has left the building. Not because of his legal incompetence, mind you -- far be it from any Bluth to fire someone for incompetence -- but rather because Henry Winkler's got a new series (with Christopher Gorham of dearly-departed Popular fame and Stockard Channing, no less!).

So if you're the Bluth family (and Ron Howard is your producer / narrator), who do you hire to provide legal representation on a going forward basis? Why, Bob Loblaw, of course!

Never before has a show been quite so chock full of inside jokes at any given moment.
NEXT UP, PETER GRIFFIN ENDORSES LINCOLN CHAFEE: There are many reasons to love New York City politics. Particularly fun has been the Manhattan D.A. race, where the candidates seem to be competiting to be the "Law & Order" candidate. And I don't mean that in the campaign slogan manner, but in the "which one is more like the TV show manner." As the Times reports, challenger Leslie Crocker Snyder has appeared in cameos on the show and served as a legal consultant, while incumbent Robert Morgenthau is acknowledged to be the basis for original "L&O" D.A. Adam Schiff and has received money from Sam "I'm not a lawyer, but I've played one on TV for a long time, so trust me" Waterston. Even stranger--if liberal saint Morgenthau loses the Democratic primary, he'll be on the ballot in November, as a Republican.

Of course, this makes marginally more sense than the Brooklyn DA campaign, where, apparently in an attempt to attract Brooklyn hipsters, one candidate asks "Should we re-elect a D.A. who's been around longer than The Simpsons?"
SADLY, WITT-LESS: Merely eighteen months after I first introduced the base concept as "all the diva-ish behavior we get from models, with the weekly thrill of seeing people fall on ice" (including Scott Hamilton), Fox has officially introduced I'm A Celebrity, But I Want To Triple Axel/Triple Loop!

If you're looking for a ringer, it's former That Other Guy On 'Full House' Slash Guy Who Inspired Alanis' "You Oughta Know" (And Maybe "Hands Clean" Too) Dave Coulier. Because he's Canadian, and they've got this stuff hard-wired.

Still, none of the athletic, back-flipping grace of Surya Bonaly? The quiet dignity of Brian Orser? And no Katerina?

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

I DO KNOW WHO THAT IS, BUT I DON'T CARE TO KNOW MORE: You rarely should include the words "Jimmy Kimmel" and "funny" in a sentence together (at least in the absence of the word "not" before "funny"), but his proposal for who Comedy Central should hire to replace Dave Chappelle is amusingly uncomfortable.
FROM THE BOOK OF RAVIOLI: Bow down before your Lord--the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Especially important, note the tenets about how piracy's fall has led to global warming.
THINGS THAT YOU WONDER DURING A LONG CAR RIDE: Is the James Ingram ballad "Just Once" actually a song about premature ejaculation? Read those lyrics and tell me if you agree.

Up next: "Yah Mo B There" as apologia for the welfare state.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

SEE, I DON'T JUST WATCH REALITY TV AND J.J. ABRAMS SHOWS! I haven't been terribly jazzed by the promos for most of the fall tv season, but people seemed sufficiently hyped up about Prison Break that I thought I'd give it a shot. My conclusion, following the two-hour season premiere: pretty darned riveting.

The central conceit of the show: a fine upstanding citizen, Michael Scofield, pleads no contest to bank robbery to get himself thrown into prison for a few years. Why? His brother -- who, for reasons thus far unexplained other than to prevent the requirement of an entirely unreasonable suspension of disbelief, has a different last name than Scofield -- is on death row in the very same prison for a crime he claims he didn't commit. Scofield, who has the blueprints of the prison in a location near and dear to his heart, is determined to break his brother out.

The good: A nice combination of 24's single story concept and single-episode plotlines. Some good CSI-ish explanatory camera stuff. Lots of great character work by the various residents of Fox River Penitentiary. A pretty nifty puzzle component that's doled out a bit at a time instead of in one big climactic bang a la Shawshank Redemption. An easy-on-the-eyes leading man who reminds Mr. Cosmopolitan of Steve McQueen.

The suboptimal: Not a lot to mention so far, but certainly the subplot involving the bitter son of the soon-to-be-executed brother.

I suspect that more than a few of you have the premiere sitting on your TiVos awaiting your decision as to whether or not to watch -- go for it.
ICH BIN EIN TINA TURNER: The sultry singer from Nutbush is among the list of five entertainers who will receive Kennedy Center Honors this December. Joining Turner as the 2005 honorees will be Tony Bennett, Robert Redford, actress Julie Harris and dancer Suzanne Farrell.

The full eclectic list of past honorees can be found here.
REMEMBER THE EPISODE WHERE THEY ALMOST GOT OFF THE ISLAND BUT GILLIGAN SCREWED UP THE PLAN: The Skipper's Little Buddy is now resting in that big hammock in the sky.

While he'll always be Gilligan or Maynard G. Krebs, this information about his first post-Gilligan sitcom, playing Rufus Butterworth in CBS's The Good Guys, is interesting. During the first season, both Alan Hale Jr. and Jim Backus were brought in to try and juice the ratings. He also starred in an ill-fated Gilligan in the Old West series called Dusty's Trail in 1973. And what Super Sugar Crisp-addled youngster in the '70s could forget the Far Out Space Nuts?

Other Denver tidbits: He was born the day after Elvis Presley; He was the one who lobbied for the Gilligan title sequence to be changed from "the movie star and the rest..." to "the movie star, the professorm and Mary Ann..."; he was married four times; and he replaced Woody Allen in the Broadway cast of Play It Again, Sam.
SCHEDULED FOR REHAB IN 2 YEARS: Frances Bean Cobain is giving interviews? Now I feel old.
I'M WAITING FOR THE "LOST IN INTERPRETIVE DANCE" SEGMENT: The Emmys are trying something new. As part of the broadcast, four TV celebrity teams will perform famous TV theme songs and viewers will have a chance to vote for their favorite as "Emmy Idol." Your competitors:
  • Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) performing "Fame" solo
  • William Shatner and opera singer Frederica Von Stade performing "Theme From Star Trek." Yes, it has lyrics!
  • Donald Trump and Megan Mullaly performing "Theme From Green Acres."
  • Gary Dourdan (CSI) and Macy Gray performing "Movin' On Up."

In actual music, the show will feature Earth Wind & Fire and the Black Eyed Peas performing "September." This should be a fascinating trainwreck.

NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE CUBA GOODING MOVIE WHERE HE HAS TO FIND A GOSPEL CHOIR BEFORE HE CAN GET HIS INHERITANCE: JMW Turner's The Fighting Temeraire has been named the greatest painting in Britain. In a poll conducted by BBC Radio 4 and the National Gallery, Turner beat out such lightweights as Van Eyck, Van Gough, and Manet.

More info on Temeraire, or TFTTTHLBTBBU1838 as us art lovers call it, can be found here.

Monday, September 5, 2005

NO, IT DOES NOT STAR ANURAG KASHYAP: And to continue a QuickTime theme for tonight, Apple has a trailer that should hit both the "classy awards film lover" demographic and "unnaturally obsessed with spelling bees" demographic--Bee Season. Well worth taking a look.
SORRY, NO DAVID BRENT VERSION AVAILABLE: To satisfy those wanting it, we proudly present the video of the "Mahna Mahna" sketch/song from The Muppet Show, including substitles for the dialogue (apparently in some Cryllic language).
I WAS ONLY IN THERE FOR A MASSAGE: After 20 years, and setting every meaningful record as a Wide Receiver, Jerry Rice has decided to hang it up. A couple of years too late, perhaps, but if I believed him about the massage parlor, I could believe him that he still had it.

Thanks, Jerry, for helping me kill two decades of Sundays.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

WELCOME TO ASK-IMAM.COM, THE ONLINE FATWA RESOURCE: We've previously discussed the dangers of cultural voyeurism here at ALOTT5MA, but praise be to Allah, let me provide you with a link to my new favorite site on the world wide web. Answering such difficult questions as:

Is L-Cysteine halal? (yes)

How about Listerine?? (sure)

Would you be so sporting then as to permit me a glass of corn? (repent, infidel!)

And there are others. So many others! Days and days and days of informative xenotropic fun. Hat tip to Mr. Earthling whose post below had a link to a site with a link to this -- erm -- resource.
MY DAD IS A TELEVISION REPAIRMAN, HE'S GOT THIS ULTIMATE SET OF TOOLS. HE CAN FIX IT: That New Orleans could have used more professional rescue folks sooner is beyond doubt. It is also beyond doubt that they need fewer celebrity ones:
EFFORTS by Hollywood actor Sean Penn to aid New Orleans victims stranded by Hurricane Katrina foundered badly overnight, when the boat he was piloting to launch a rescue attempt sprang a leak.

Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina's flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch.

The actor, known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup.

When the boat's motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.

Asked what he had hoped to achieve in the waterlogged city, the actor replied: "Whatever I can do to help.

"With the boat loaded with members of Penn's entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: "How are you going to get any people in that thing?"

Hat tip, Tim Blair.

UPDATE: Pictures, ladies and gentlemen.
THE OX IS IN WORKING ORDER AT THIS TIME: My general feelings on TAR5, now rerunning on GSN (and one of my favorite seasons, due to amazing casting, mixing the highly competent with the borderline incompetent and the incredibly likable with the utter pains in the ass) remains simple and can be summed up in three words: "Shut up, Mirna."
GET TICKETS OR DIE TRYIN': The Toledo Blade has an informative look at the twenty-five most anticipated films from now until the end of the year.