Saturday, March 4, 2006

JENNY MCCARTHY + CARMEN ELECTRA + KATHY GRIFFIN = QUALITY: In 1998, Brian Helgeland won a (much-deserved) Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for L.A. Confidential as well as an equally well-deserved Golden Raspberry Award for his screenplay for The Postman. This year's Razzie winners will not repeat that honor. Surprisingly, while higher profile films were nominated, this year's awards were dominated by Jenny McCarthy's Dirty Love, which managed to win awards for Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actress. Other awards were won by Will Farrell and Nicole Kidman (Worst Screen Couple), Paris Hilton (Worst Supporting Actress), Hayden Christensen (Worst Supporting Actor), Rob Schneider (Worst Actor), and Son of the Mask (Worst Remake or Sequel).

Friday, March 3, 2006

DID THE GIRL-ON-GIRL SHOWER SCENE KEEP CRUEL INTENTIONS 2 OFF THE LIST? Entertainment Weekly lists the 25 Worst Movie Sequels Ever Made and gets it mostly right, whiffing perhaps on exclusions of Grease 2 (sorry, Kim), Rocky V, Meatballs 2, 3 and 4, and Mannequin 2: On the Move, but getting kudos for the Mac Davis-Jackie Gleason-helmed Sting 2 and Weekend at Bernies 2: What's That Strange Smell?

So which sequels make your list?

And in other movie news this Oscar weekend (look for our picks some time soon). Coming out on the same day as the Ron Howard adaptation starring Tom Hanks of a book I'm pretty sure I am the only human in the Western World not to have read is be the early contender for porn title of the year: The DaVinci Load.
FIRST PRIZE IS A SHINY NEW CADILLAC: Well, at least it should be, in The Chicago Tribune and Chicago's Goodman Theatre's "Write Like Mamet" competition, which is open for another week. The contest is in honor of the Goodman's Mamet festival (and joins with the premiere of Mamet's network TV attempt, The Unit), and offers you the chance to try to one-up "Glengarry Glen Oz" (at the link above) or "Glengarry Glen Claus." In other Mamet trivia, did you know that Kristen Bell (aka Veronica Mars) had her first major movie role in Mamet's underrated spy thriller Spartan? She previously had had a tiny role in Pootie Tang, but I don't think that counts.
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, TONY SOPRANO: In keeping with the full-court media press accompanying next week's sixth season premiere of The Sopranos, here's a nice set of New York Magazine pieces in which six writers were asked to suggest a suitable ending for the series. Your alternatives are welcomed.
PRIESTS...IN....SPACE: Since I know we have some fans both of sci-fi and of this particular book out there, an interesting tidbit has made its way across the wires---Brad Pitt has acquired the rights to make Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow into a film as a starring vehicle for him. It's been a good while since I read the book, which deals with the events and aftermath of a Jesuit-led mission to another planet, but this is certainly an interesting pick for Pitt.
IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Just a little conventional wisdom check with the good oddspeople at Pinnacle Sports.

American Idol: The frontrunner is currently Chris Daughtry. In order of odds: Chris, Ace, Katharine, Lisa, Taylor, Elliott, Paris, Kellie, Mandisa, Ayla/Melissa (tied), Kinnik, Bucky/Will (tied), Gedeon/Kevin (tied). Kinnik is going to outlast Gedeon? Man, his cartoony smile must annoy many more people than just Simon (and me).

Academy Awards: The odds point to Reese Witherspoon and Philip Seymour Hoffman for the top acting kudos; Ang Lee for director, Brokeback for picture, and Rachel Weicz for supporting actress. Supporting actor is a bit more all over the place: Paul Giamatti's got the best odds, but not by much. George Clooney is running a close second. Just writing about the Academy Awards is making me snoozy -- anyone wanna lay odds that the ratings are going to suck?

Sopranos: Who's gonna be the first to get whacked when The Sopranos returns on March 12? Pinnacle's odds point to Vito Spatafore at 6/1, followed by Uncle Junior at 7/1, Christuhfuh at 8/1, and Bobby Bacala and Patsy Parisi at 9/1. The immediate Soprano family seems to be safe for now, with Tony, Carmela, Meadow, and A.J. all coming in at 90/1. The best betting idea of all? "No one dies" is running at 20/1. Hm. No one dies for an entire season of the Sopranos? I betcha I could fund the ALOTT5MA Fulltime TV Viewing Fellowship betting against that one.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

STILL NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH: For those of you who don't make a habit of visiting the iTunes music/video store regularly, today's a good day to visit, as Project Runway and Inside The Actors Sutdio have been added to the video library, and iTunes is offering free downloads of both Academy Award-nominated song "Travelin' Thru" and the pilot of NBC's Conviction (a/k/a/ Grey's Prosecutors). In addition, while you're there, pick up "Wicked Little High," the major label debut of Academy Award-nominated songstress Bird York, which is tremendous and haunting stuff--Sarah McLachlan crossed with Beth Orton. Also, if you want an edge in your Oscar pool, download and watch the 5 live-action short film nominees.
THIS WEEK ON "60 MINUTES," ARE WE REALLY "ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE?" For some reason, I found this Gawker Stalker item, detailing the appearance of Ed Bradley at a P-Funk All-Stars concert in New York City, simultaneously highly amusing and deeply disconcerting.
PRIOR ART SUBMITTED BY MYERS/EVIL INAPPLICABLE DUE TO LACK OF "FRICKIN LASERBEAMS" IN PROPOSED IMPLEMENTATION: Pentagon "scientists" are hoping to exploit the oceans' oldest predators as cyborg surveillance platforms, noting that "remote-controlled sharks do have advantages that robotic underwater surveillance vehicles just cannot match: they are silent, and they power themselves." From the BBC on-line.
HERE I AM ST. VALENTINE, MY BAGS ARE PACKED, I'M FIRST IN LINE: It's been a while since I've posted about anything theatre-related -- mostly because I haven't seen much of anything lately that's gotten me really excited. The last play and musical that were worth a little rapture were Doubt and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, respectively, and those were ages ago. So I've pretty much stopped buying tickets for anything that doesn't really make me squirm with anticipation. But I do have a couple of squirms to share -- the revival of Faith Healer and the Broadway premiere of The Drowsy Chaperone.

Faith Healer does have one big strike against it -- it's an Irish play being staged in a city that has seen far more than its fair share of Irish plays. Some have been enjoyable, some have been tolerable, some have just been alcohol-sodden and depressing. Faith Healer has a fair amount of cred, coming from Brian Friel, playwright of the multiple Tony, Drama Desk, and Pulitzer-winning Dancing at Lughnasa (you'll have to imagine the terrible Irish accent I conjure up whenever I speak the name of this particular play, which was, I believe, the first Irish play I saw in New York). But the squirminess factor comes from the cast: Ralph Fiennes and the always-miraculous Cherry Jones. Squirm.

As for The Drowsy Chaperone, I have to confess that I know very little about it except that it stars Sutton Foster (who is squirminess personified) in a musical mostly set in the 1920s. None of this "I shall portray Jo March and walk around in drab clothing" business -- we're back to Sutton doing the Charleston, which is, of course, what she's supposed to be doing. A reviewer of the LA tryout characterizes The Drowsy Chaperone as a "love letter to people who love musicals." Um, hi. Squirm squirm squirm.
IT'S MURDER, SHE WROTE MEETS MATLOCK MEETS MAYHEM: Oscar Week is always special on, and this year, they've expanded it to two weeks of features. Go. Now.

Two of my favorites? Best Picture Nominees Turned TV Series: 2009-10, and today's return of The Five Clones of Karl Malden to give their picks. ("Basically, Clooney's whole physical transformation just made him look more like Paul Giamatti. And he's in the category already.")
GOD BOWS TO MATH: Some geeks posting on Wikipedia explain why we'll almost never see a million-dollar winner on Deal or No Deal.

Try it out yourself by playing the online game.
IT'S JUST . . . I DON'T THINK MANY GIRLS DREAM TO BE A RECEPTIONIST: Now that it's back tonight (and y'all's show on Fox is gone), can we all agree that The Office -- from the leads to the exceptionally deep supporting cast -- is the funniest show on television? And getting even better every week -- the "Valentine's Day" episode, with Michael's tour of Times Square, our encounter with an even worse Dunder-Mifflin regional manager and the further adventures of Ryan-Kelly and Jim-Pam, has a Do Not Delete Unless I Really, Really Mean It tag on our TiVo.

Funniest, and, sometimes, saddest. I don't know that I've ever seen a comedy on network tv with such a core of melancholy to it before. Everyone is stuck, whether with work or romance, and no one's doing a thing about it. Just brilliant stuff.
ALL I'M ASKING FOR IS 90 SECONDS OF YOUR LIFE, JOHNNY: Virginia Heffernan points the way to still more Brokeback parody trailers, including the Swayze/Reeves Point Brokeback and DeNiro and Pacino in Brokeback Heat.
BETTY AND VERONICA TAKE ON SUBTERRANEAN RIVERDALE: All I really have to say about this episode of Lost, 42 minutes in, is (a) I'm pretty sure if you let them run long enough, all of J.J. Abrams's shows will eventually dissolve into rip-offs of Silent Hill -- we were really about one sweeps period away from Felicity eating the brain out of a townsperson; and (b) while stranded on a remote island with people complaining about mysterious fevers and hatches all over the place marked "quarantine", you generally want your country doctor/epidemiologist to realize that maybe "roseola virus" isn't exactly a likely diagnosis for a child who has lived his entire life in a community in which there is literally nobody from whom the kid could have caught the roseola virus.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

ALAS, NO TRIP TO RED LOBSTER: The first half of the Project Runway finale aired tonight, and at first, I was disappointed. Twenty minutes in, and we already had swept through five months of time and all three visits to the designers at work. And I'm thinking, we're not seeing enough craft here. Yeah, Santino redemption arc blah blah blah, but when do we get to see talented people executing fantastic work?

And then it happens. The Twist. Oh, boy. Twisty, it is, and devilish indeed. We can discuss the selections made by the designers, predictions for the final runway, and anything else that's on your mind.

edited to add: More Tim Gunn Awesomeness. People, can you hear me now?
VERDICT--MORE DAMAGE TO HER CAREER WAS DONE BY FANTASTIC FOUR: Here's an interesting legal quandry. Actress poses for publicity still for movie in swimsuit. Publicity still is made widely available on the Internet and elsewhere. Men's magazine gets license to use the publicity still, takes the publicity still, makes a small airbrushing change to the fabric, and puts it on its cover. Although the actress is on the cover, she does not appear inside the magazine. Does actress have a right of action for damages? Well, insert "Jessica Alba" for "actress" and Playboy for magazine, and you have a real dispute.
I'M IN THE WRONG LINE OF WORK: If you're really bored, the complete budgets for M. Night Shymalan's four big films have been made public, that story hits a few points, but some other tidbits:

I liked what Shymalan was trying to do with the film a lot better than many did, but still, this budget is insane.

DON'T FALL AWAY AND LEAVE ME TO MYSELF: Ok, so really, tonight's AI was more or less a one man show. I say more or less because I actually felt that there were two performances that rose above the level of "random guy on TV covering someone else's song": the obvious one was Daughtry, but there was a less obvious one as well: Gedeon. I am continually amazed at the stage presence Gedeon -- who I was initially predisposed to dislike -- brings to the party. And he's 17! Unlike that passel of other teenagers (Kevin, Will, and David), who always seem like guys headlining their church choir (Kevin), summer camp talent show (Will), or high school production of Guys and Dolls (David), he's got a comfort level about him that is extremely unusual in this season's crop of guys. But really, no matter how much I enjoyed Gedeon's "Change Is Gonna Come," tonight was all about Chris Daughtry.

As for the non-teenager non-Daughtry boys: I still don't get the Elliott love from the judges (can everybody please, please stop picking Stevie Wonder songs? Please?), Taylor was unusually blah, Sway didn't do enough to distance himself from last week's falsetto extravaganza (please, no more Stevie, please?), Ace needs to stop acting like a nervous teenager and remember that he's the hottest guy in the history of American Idol, and Bucky -- well, I feel for Bucky, but he's ultimately going to be steamrolled by the Chris Daughtry express.
WHY DID THE GAY COWBOY CROSS THE STREET? Stop whatever it is you're doing and go read Low Culture's comprehensive look back at the history of Brokeback Mountain jokes.
NO, MICHAEL IAN BLACK IS NOT INVOLVED: Barney from How I Met Your Mother answers a burning question--"what did you seriously enjoy in the '90s that, when revisited, turns out to suck donkey balls?" Among the things coming in for Barney's wrath are Furbys, the Spin Doctors, and the Toronto Blue Jays. Of course, the best entry is the last: "'Saved By the Bell' -- Just kidding. 'Saved by the Bell' is awesome."
ONE STEP CLOSER TO SLIDING THAT NETWORK CARD INTO THE BASE OF YOUR BRAIN: In case you missed it, here's CNN on the new minimal neural interface from Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems Inc.
THEY'RE NICE AND ALL, BUT CAN ANY OF THEM BOAST A WAITSTAFF FEATURING SUSAN SARANDON? Forbes lists the world's 10 Greatest Palaces with nary a mention of Ben Wallace, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, or the Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound."
AND WHEN YOUR BACK'S AGAINST THE WALL, JUST TURN AROUND AND YOU WILL SEE: So I was correct not to panic. Alias will be back with a two-hour mid-season premiere on Wednesday, April 19 at 8 pm and will continue in the Wednesday 8 pm slot until the two-hour series finale (which, if I'm counting correctly, should air on May 24).

I intentionally picked a link that doesn't include the list of actors whose return should be expected -- but really, you know who they are. And if you don't, well, this probably isn't the right time for you to start watching Alias.
BLAME IT ON THE BOSSA NOVA: The list of West Wing alums returning for the show's final episodes is lengthening. Rob Lowe, Marlee Matlin, Mary-Louise Parker, Anna Deavere Smith, Gary Cole, Tim Matheson, Timothy Busfield, Annabeth Gish, and, for my bossa nova-ing pleasure, Emily Procter will all be showing up at some point or another during the show's final five episodes.
YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE LONG ADVOCATED FOR 'BEST FIRST FILM': Writing in the LA Times, film historian David Thomson has some ideas for repairing the Oscars:
I noticed with interest that another of this year's extra Oscars, the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for "technological contributions," goes to Gary Demos. I'm sure that many people, even in this town, don't know who Demos is. . . .

Well, as far as I can see, he is a pioneering genius who did much of the theoretical work in computer-generated imagery, which now thrives on its ability to put a copy of life, light, etc. on our screens. I'm not knocking Demos, even if I generally dislike the victory of digital imagery over photography. He received his award on Feb. 18, but I would have handed it out on the real Oscar night, and I would have explained in detail what he has done because — for good or ill — that's where the mind of our movies is today.

But to reform the academy, that's just a start. I'd also throw out the awards for sound, costume and art direction, the dire songs, the shorts and the documentaries and the foreign films. OK, throw your bricks this way — but I think the night of the Oscars has to restore the last few bonds of reality between film and the public. This is hard because the movies are not exactly a mass medium anymore. They belong to a few of us.

But the academy will last only if we believe that movies can sweep us all up — movies such as "It Happened One Night," "Casablanca," "From Here to Eternity," "The Apartment." So I'd push the technical awards and the science that has already changed the movies, because I think that's what "movie" means to kids now, and I believe that's the future we're headed for. I'd treat Demos as a very important man — which he is.

I'd also give Oscars for the best deal, the best promotion campaign, the most outrageous agent of the year. I'd give a chutzpah award — while the term chutzpah is still understood. All because people are in love with the business more than the story. . . .

Your assignment: create a new Oscar category you'd like to see. Award it to someone for last year's work. (Mine: Best Musical Sequence (can involve non-original song), for "Age of Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.)
BE GOOD FELLOWS WHILE YOU MAY, FOR TOMORROW MAY BRING SORROW: University of Pennsylvania seniors would rather visit Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center than have Jodie Foster as their commencement speaker because they "would have preferred someone more political or cultural."

Earth to Quakers: get over yourselves.
HOLY SMACKERS! Okay, here's the truth -- I don't think any of the bloggers here have finished watching last night's Race finale. (In my case, a recalcitrant non-sleeping toddler was involved.)

But I know that I loved the Merry Pranksters (though others might find them a bit too self-consciously goofy), love love love Team NEEEEERRRDDDD!, think that Desiree is the second coming of Norah Jones and that watching the oldsters not-find the cluebox on the bridge was among the funniest things I've seen on tv lately that didn't involve Dwight Schrute.

So go ahead, talk about it all in the Comments, and we'll catch up to you in a bit.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

SINCE I'M WAITING TO WATCH TAR UNTIL LATER IN THE WEEK, I MAY AS WELL JUMP IN WITH THE AI POST FOR THE EVENING: After last week's estrogen-fueled AI, I was feeling pretty sure that the semifinals were just going to be a process of mowing girls down to find the right threesome to accompany Lisa, Paris, and Katharine into the finals. Not that I think that these three are at risk this week, but only one of them (Lisa) was really on tonight. Katharine sang prettily but blahly, and Paris -- well, I'm not sure what was going on with Paris, but it wasn't appealing.

The divide between the maybes and the definitely-nots is getting increasingly obvious. Ayla, Melissa, Mandisa, and Kellie are all vying mightily for the remaining three finalist slots, while Kinnik, Heather, and Brenna are fighting it out to see who gets to sing for us one more time before hitting the road. (Incidentally, although I -- and seemingly the entire studio audience -- hate Brenna as a human being, I did feel like the judges were a little excessively harsh.)

Feel free to offer your views on the ladies after you get done feeling choked up when Phil says "the world is waiting for you."
SHE'LL BE THERE FOR YOU: With Courteney Cox returning to series television this fall, that means 4 of the 6 Friends have found regular series work post-Friends. Cox, like Perry, seems to have made a smart call--she's playing a celebrity magazine editor in an FX series. So, here's a couple of questions:
  • Of the 6 Friends, who's made the best (and the worst) post-Friends career decisions?
  • What should David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston be doing with their time--should they come back to TV? In what part? Same question for the unemployed Kudrow and the soon-to-be unemployed LeBlanc.
THREE BUCK CHUCK? 17 short days till Trader Joe's arrives in Manhattan. Bizarrely, this apparently warrants more words in the New York Post than does the average front page story. In addition to the linked article, there's a piece where the wine critics proclaim "Two Buck Chuck" to be "the best $3 wine I've ever had."
A MILLION LITTLE CALORIES: If Oprah has yet to air in your market or if it runs more than once as it does here in Chicago, you may want to set your Tivos to record today's episode in which her gal pal Gayle visits a number of spots on GQ's list from a few months back of the 20 Burgers "You Must Eat Before You Die."
STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES: Twelve years later, it's still hard to believe that Forrest Gump beat out not only The Shawshank Redemption, but Pulp Fiction, as well, for the Best Picture Oscar. The Arizona Republic revisits a list of some of the other biggest Oscar crimes, but inexplicably skips 1980 when Ordinary People beat out Raging Bull. Maybe if Scorsese hadn't been snubbed in 1976 (though I heart Rocky), 1980 and 1990 (the now-unwatchable Dances With Wolves over the still-sucks-you-in-every-time Goodfellas), he'd stop making showy "important" films in hopes of finally winning a statue and get back to making great films.

Any other snubs make your list?
TOP GUN DIDN'T EVEN MAKE THE TOP 50: Brokeback Mountain has been selected the greatest gay film of all time by the viewers of the Logo network, the LGBT-oriented TV channel, which I hate to admit I didn't even realize was added to the DirecTV lineup until I happened upon an Erasure concert it was airing last week. Viewers chose Brokeback from a list of 50 films with homosexual characters or themes.
BRING HIM THE FINEST MUFFINS AND BAGELS IN THE LAND: Emmy-winner Bradley Whitford will apparently play co-lead Danny Tripp opposite Matthew Perry on Studio 60. Whitford is a tremendously talented actor, but, IMHO, he reads a little old for the part. The article also confirms casting of Sarah Paulson and Timothy Busfield, and notes that Busfield will be one of the show's producing directors as well as acting.
"IF NOT MORE AMAZING THAN EVER, AT LEAST MORE AMAZING THAN IT WAS WHEN THE MUNCHKINS WERE IN TOW:" The PDN's Ellen Gray is excited that we've got our RACE! back tonight with a two-hour premiere. It has been nine months since Uchenna and Joyce beat Rob and Ambuh to the mat in Fort Lauderdale, and it's about time we had our RACE! again.

Eleven teams, five continents, 30,000 miles in a race that indeed goes around the world. So, who ya got?

Monday, February 27, 2006

I THINK THEY MAY BE INTERESTED IN SOMEONE'S ADIDAS: The Smithsonian wants to collect artifacts charting the history of hip hop, which begs the question -- what should they seek? LL's Kangol? A Flavor Flav timepiece?
ROCK AND ROLL (HALL OF FAME) LOVE LETTER: The Sex Pistols say "thanks, but no thanks and, oh, while you're at it, go piss yourself" to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In other Hall of Fame news, Cooperstown said hello to 17 former Negro League players and contributors in a special election, but failed to elect the two guys eligible you may have heard of--Minnie Minoso and Buck O'Neil. No word on how many votes Ron Santo received.
THEY REALLY DO DIE IN THREES: Joining Don Knotts in the big '70s prime time schedule in the sky are Dennis "McCloud" Weaver and Darren "Night Stalker" McGavin. Me? I'm wearing an ascot and cowboy hat today while I fire a Daisy BB gun in salute to these three iconic screen stars.
THEY'RE REAL AND THEY'RE SPECTACULAR: Following up on her "yes, they're real" episode, in which Miss Tyra was medically examined on the set of her talk show, Tyra Banks will investigate strippers by posing as one on this Wednesday's episode. No, there's nothing tawdry here.
NEXT UP, IN RE LIBERACE: In complaints almost as silly as those obscenity complaints against "Arrested Development," Clay Aiken fans have filed a grievance with the Federal Trade Commission claiming that Aiken has been falsely advertised and promoted as a heterosexual male. Also, former AI contestant Nikki McKibbin has apparently outed herself. There was a decided sound of crickets chirping thereafter.
I BELIEVE I'LL DUST MY BROOM: Will Turin's Olympic legacy be a curling trend sweeping America?
MAYBE YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN IN? WE DO NEED A DRUID, AND YOU HAVE DEFINITELY CAST A LEVEL 5 CHARM ON ME: Put away your d20's, gang -- they're moving Dungeons and Dragons online.

Not to be confused with the Jeremy Irons/Marlon Wayans/what-ever-happened-to-Thora Birch film.
WHO WANTS TO BE MARISA TOMEI? To open our week of Oscar coverage, I offer the following game--pick an upset. As I've said before, this year's awards are looking like they'll be eminently predictable, especially in the top categories (though the supporting categories have favorites--Clooney and Weisz--they're not locked up by any means). So, taking the complete nominee list, pick some upsets and justify your answer. Mine?
  • Good Night and Good Luck over Brokeback Mountain for Best Cinematography. The black and white photography is a huge part of making the movie what it is.
  • George Clooney over Ang Lee for Best Director. This is the only really tenable "big category" win for Good Night and Good Luck, and gives a great chance to recognize Hollywood's poster boy for the year.
  • Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room over March of the Penguins for Best Documentary Feature. Anything beating the Penguins would be a shocker, but I think that Enron, with its timely subject matter and not-overbearing political message, would have the best shot.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

CHICKS WITH FLICKS: Ladies, I hope you didn't waste your time at the show in 2005 seeing guy-movie drivel like Capote, Good Night and Good Luck*, and Munich, when you should have been attending important women's films like the ones on this list.

*Everyone's allowed an Alessandra Stanley moment, aren't they?
STOP ME BEFORE I SUBREFERENCE MYSELF AGAIN: It always kind of sucks to read and love a book by a first-time author. You finish the book and think shit, now I need to wait for this person to write his or her next book, whenever the heck that might be. And, of course, you could hit the big bummer jackpot and have that author be Donna Tartt, in which case you read the brilliant A Secret History in 1992 when it is first published, adore it, buy it for everyone you know, inscribe a special message in it for the guy who will one day become your husband, and wait eagerly for ten years for the author to get around to publishing another book -- then have that second book be The Little Friend, which you find to be unreadable.

The better approach, in my opinion, is to discover an author later on, when he or she has already written a bunch of books. This obviously works particularly well with the classics -- falling in love with Jane Austen is easy and suspenseless. Ditto Naguib Mahfouz. (Start with the Cairo Trilogy, if you're interested.) Even David Eddings makes his way onto this list -- I happened upon Pawn of Prophecy during the summer of 1992 and was thrilled to discover that I had the entire Belgariad and Malloreon waiting for me in paperback, not to mention the Elenium. The Tamuli was the only one requiring hardback purchases. (Read any Eddings book outside the scope of these four series at your own risk.)

This post was actually not intended to be about books. It was originally going to have a completely different first paragraph , but then I decided that the discovering-a-new-author analogy was a good one and went off on a tangent. I like the tangent, and so I'm keeping it. But the the original first paragraph of this post was going to be: "The reason why none of you have heard from me all weekend is that I have spent nine of its hours watching all nine episodes of the Grey's Anatomy Season 1 DVDs. And I now find myself wishing that I had waited even longer to start watching the show, so that I could sit down and watch 31 episodes in a single glorious weekend instead of just nine."

I guess that's a topic for a different post.
SLOW DOWN, YOU CRAZY CHILD: I usually stay away from the music stuff because, frankly, it is nowhere near my area of expertise. But here's a question inspired by reading some of your personal top ten lists: is there a particular artist or album that sums up either your high school or college experience?

For me, high school is all about Billy Joel. College is U2's Achtung Baby. (Which is funny, because I am so not a U2 person other than that one album.)
IN MY LIFE: This article moved me.

NOTE: Probably not suitable for work. Likely to make parents and others who are fond of children more than a little emotional.
ARRIVEDERCI! Alright, folks, the last medals have been claimed, so this thread now exists to review the highlights and lowlights of these games as well as liveblog the Closing Ceremonies.

If 2002 was the year of That Wacky Pairs Judging, I think 2006 will mostly be remembered for the fact that Jacobellis Screwed Up, if only because so much of the major events were underwhelming (hockey, Bode) or went mostly according to plan (figure skating). You will longer remember that Slutskaya and Cohen didn't win ladies' figure skating than you'll remember who did -- and 2006 Worlds are in Calgary in a month.

I'm always a fan of Olympic closing ceremonies because of the segment in which the next host city (in this case Vancouver 2010) gets to introduce itself to the world and start making with the symbolism and all. If you were planning on behalf of Canada, what would you be emphasizing? (My call: Leonard Cohen, Atom Egoyan, Nelly Furtado, and as many Mounties as you can fit into the building.)
I BELIEVE THIS MAY GIVE BILL SIMMONS A BONER: Deadspin reports that Peter Vecsey is reporting that Isiah Thomas may want the Indiana University coaching job. Writes Deadspin:
I don’t even know what to say. The thought of Isiah Thomas taking over one of college basketball’s most storied programs… it kinda makes me go numb. My brain just can’t connect the two. It’s just hard to figure how his skills would translate to the college game. Does he start offering scholarships to all the transfers who were cancers to other programs? If he offers a recruit $60 million over 4 years, will the NCAA let him off the hook if he says, “Sorry, old habits die hard”? Does he try to trade his promising freshmen to other teams for seniors with torn ACLs?

I hope this happens. I’m praying that this happens. And, I would imagine, so is every fan of every team in the Big 10 that is not Indiana.