Saturday, November 25, 2006

CLAP YOUR HANDS EVERYBODY, AND EVERYBODY CLAP YOUR HANDS: In a decision whose wisdom seems so unlike Hollywood, Fox Atomic has shut down production on its planned Revenge of the Nerds remake because it wasn't very good.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

FLINTSTONIAN EXECUTION: I don't mean to tread on Phil's turf, but in this week's Top Chef, Anthony Bourdain may have just stolen this year's ALOTT5MA Award for Reality Host/Judge of the Year from Miss Tyra, Tim Gunn and Jason Newsted. It was that good. Just vicious, but they deserved it, and in a really entertaining way.
DEFINITIVE PROOF THAT SOMETHING CHANGED ON NOVEMBER 7, 2006: John Fogerty doing the halftime show at the annual Detroit Thanksgiving game, closing the set with "Fortunate Son".

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. This is an open thread.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

OH, HONEY, YOU MAKE ME SO ASHAMED OF YOU: While picking up the gauntlet Adam recently threw down -- identify a good Billy Squier song that's not "the Stroke" (here and here, by the way; great ridiculous tight-panted sex pop rock) -- YouTube also gave me the unexpected gift of a 1950s anti-self-satisfaction film, set to Squier's masturpiece, which I share with you.
WHAT ABOUT THE EPISODE OF BARNEY MILLER WHERE WOJO AND FISH HAVE THEIR FAMOUS STUFFING COOK-OFF? The Onion takes a look at the 17-best Thanksgiving-themed TV moments, a list where the No. 17 choice finishes out in front of the field like Secretariat at the Belmont Stakes.

(Note: In my original post, I assumed the list was a countdown. No. 17, the WKRP episode, is the Citizen Kane of Thanksgiving episodes.)
YES, BUT WHAT ABOUT WATER LANDINGS?: Courtesy of my friend (and quite funny occasional McSwy's contributor) (but not blogger) Mike Ward:
The Pre-Meal Thanksgiving Safety Demonstration

Welcome to this Thanksgiving meal, with non-stop service from passive aggression to outright yelling. This afternoon's meal will last approximately two hours and 14 minutes. At this time, please direct your attention to the head of the table for the pre-meal safety demonstration.

Emergency exits are located at the door into the kitchen and through the living room into the front hall. Please take a moment to locate the exit nearest you.

When the meal begins to take off, you must fasten your lips shut. To do so, insert an alcoholic beverage into a glass, and pull it to your lips for a long swig. We suggest that you keep your beverage glass full throughout the meal, as we may experience turbulence.

In the event of a sudden pressurization of the dining room's atmosphere, various members of the family may drop insults that they don't actually mean. Remain calm. Pull the defensive psychological mask that you have constructed over your face and breathe normally. Insults will continue to flow even after the mask is in place.

In the event of water flowing from eyelids, please remember that your Walgreen's Thanksgiving print paper napkin can be used as a tear-soaking device.

This is a non-smoking meal. Tampering with, disabling, or destroying the smoke detectors located in the bathroom is an offense punishable by substantial yelling and cursing.

At this time we ask that you turn off all cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices. Please make sure that you have stowed away all painful memories and disappointments in preparation for the meal.

For complete information on meal safety procedures, please review the email provided to you by your cousin Joe detailing which family members are not talking to which other family members and which subjects are prohibited.

Thank you for choosing this side of the family for your Thanksgiving meal. At this time, you may sit back, relax, and enjoy the fight.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

TRYPTOPHAMANIA: I believe I've posted this in years past, but if anyone still wasn't sure how to prepare their turkeys on Thanksgiving, I recommend without hesitation this November 1999 recipe from Bon App├ętit for Sage-Roasted Turkey with Caramelized Onions and Sage Gravy. The onion-sage gravy is simply out of this world.

Any recipes or tips you'd like to share? Any plans to deep-fry? Let us know.
THE WORLD IS WAITING. SO IS PHIL'S EYEBROW: Well-informed TWoP sources seem to have these teams as booked in The Amazing Race: Teams We'd Like To See Again edition, currently being filmed:
  • Dustin and Kandace (Beauty Queens - this season)
  • Lori and Dave (Beloved Nerds - TAR9)
  • Rob and Amber (TAR7)
  • Uchenna and Joyce (Team Low Motility - TAR7. The only prior winners on the list.)
  • Tian and Jaree (Unmemorable Models - TAR4)
  • Kris & Jon (Relaxed/Dating - TAR6)
  • Charla and "Husband" (TAR5)
  • Colin and Christie (TAR5)
  • Jon Vito and Jill (Team 9/11 Changed Everything - TAR3)
  • Danny and Oswald (Cha! Cha! Cha! - TAR2)
  • Kevin and Drew (The Frats - TAR1)
  • Bill and Joe (Team Guido - TAR1)

An early edition of the list had DJ & Marion Paolo instead of JonVito and Jill. We shall see.

Also: the TWoP book is really fun. Sepinwall has more.

TO ME, I'VE JUST MADE ONE, LONG FILM: Legendary director Robert Altman has passed away, at the age of 81.

I had the honor of meeting Altman a few years ago at an event in New York, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to just say thank you for his films. Nashville is just a masterwork, one of my favorite films ever, with M*A*S*H, Short Cuts and The Player not far behind. Back when his honorary Oscar was announced in January, I wrote:
Altman's work combines two seemingingly disparate traits -- a deeply naturalistic, unforced shooting style which allowed for overlapping dialogue and action occurring all over the frame, but with exceptional control over the narrative itself, allowing films like Nashville and Short Cuts to have 20+ characters of equal significance, all colliding over each other's lives.

If he had only made those two films, dayenu. But M*A*S*H? The Player? Gosford Park? "Tanner '88"? A worthy honor.


From that acceptance speech:
I've always said that making a film is like making a sand castle at the beach. You invite your friends and you get them down there, and you say you build this beautiful structure, several of you. Then you sit back and watch the tide come in. Have a drink, watch the tide come in, and the ocean just takes it away. And that sand castle remains in your mind. Now I've built about 40 of them, and I never tire of it. No other filmmaker has gotten a better shake than I have. I'm very fortunate in my career. I've never had to direct a film I didn't choose or develop. I love filmmaking. It has given me an entree to the world, and the human condition and for that I'm forever grateful.
FASTER, CHEERLEADER! CHEERLEADER'S GAINING ON US! Okay, too many cheerleaders. Anyway, nice episode of Heroes, in which we learn a lot about fathers and older siblings, and what they'll do to protect their families. Also, as much as I like Officer First Officer Agent Weiss, every show missing his millstone of a plotline is better for it (though sorry to see we were missing Hiro, who probably was at his day job with ILM). My only question (in two subparts), though: at Union Wells High School, do the cheerleaders wear their uniforms every day; and if so, don't they get kind of musty?
I MIGHT HAVE TO [BLANK] OUT MY CREDIT CARDS: In addition to HIMYM, a couple of other DVD sets of note today. First, there's thte scrumtrilescence of Charles Nelson Reilly and the perpetual drunkeness of Brett Somers in The Best of Match Game--4 disks that might finally answer the question of just how dumb Dumb Dora is. More suitable for display would be the Alias superset, containing every episode and an exclusive bonus disc, all in a Rambaldi artifact box. Tempting enough that I might actually sell my old sets and buy this superswank new one.
THIS IS WHERE WE BLOW STUFF UP: In something sure to make at least one of our readers very happy, the Mythbusters get the front of this week's Times Science section with a behind the scenes look at the busting of myths, including extensive attempts to avoid one of the seven dirty words.
BETCHA ON LAND, THEY UNDERSTAND, BET THEY DON'T . . . HORRIFY THEIR DAUGHTERS: On the one hand, I like a degree of danger in figure skating. On the other hand, kids don't need to see things like this on the Disney on Ice: Princess Wishes tour. As The Wife notes, one can only imagine how many grief counselors would've had to be helicoptered in had this happened to one of the seven principals.

The tour hits Philadelphia during the holidays.

Monday, November 20, 2006

HOUSING FIRST: You will notice in the upper left hand corner of this page a new graphic, tracking the progress of progress of the Philadelphia Committee to End Homelessness during our fall fundraising drive. Phyllis Ryan Jackson, our executive director, blogged a bit today about how our SafeHome Philadelphia project is doing. Please help us if you can.

We have never sought or accepted advertising on this site, nor have we or will we ask you to support us financially. But after Thanksgiving, amid the hoopla and joy of the annual ALOTT5MA Award season, the rest of the bloggers here will be sharing with you a list of their favorite charities, and I trust you'll all be as generous with your support for these organizations as you are with bringing the fun here on a daily basis.

In addition, if any members of the community have a charity they'd like us to bring to readers' attention, email me at throwingthingsblog -at- hotmail dot com with a descriptive paragraph and link, and we'll compile them for a post in the next week or two.
GOOD THERAPY SESSION, AARON! It seems like Studio 60 has settled into a predictable rhythm. One week, it'll be a muddled mess, and then the following week, it'll be pretty darn solid. This was one of those solid weeks. Sure, we had the umpteenth schmoopy "I'm sorry Kristin Harriet, please take me back!" speech from Sorkin Matt, but we also get actual repartee, a bad Fox sitcom that I could actually see Fox airing, and Shrug getting to act, with a differentiation between Rickyandron into two characters. Sure, we had lifting from Sorkin past (Casey's proclamation that he was "President of Dana should get undressed!" echoed throughout the Harriet storyline, and the "triple overtime" subplot rang of the long Agassi match from Sports Night), exceedingly poor disguise of Amanda Peet's pregnancy (seriously, no one's called Jordan on that?), and perhaps a trifle too much meta (did we really need yet another "product placement" storyline this week?), but that was pretty good. And does Lucy/Dawn get to be a regular now?
LET'S GO TO THE MALL -- TODAY! For the love of God, people, if you're not watching HIMYM, I don't know what else you're watching. We must have watched Marshall's backhand five times. Oh, and Barney? Totally made the wrong choice.
NOW YOU'LL NEVER KNOW HOW HE DID IT WOULD HAVE DONE IT: Fox, bowing to intense pressure from an interest group composed of people possessing greater than or equal to (a) half a functioning brain; and (b) the smallest detectable nonzero amount of decency (i.e., the public, speaking through its designated representatives, advertisers and booksellers), has decided not to publish or air OJ Simpson's tale of how, hypothetically, he would have murdered his ex-wife and a waiter trying to protect her if he were the murdering type. No word on whether Fox already has paid or still will pay Simpson, Judith Regan, or any ghostwriter desperate enough to punch up what could have been a brief, dry one-liner ("I would have stabbed them each several times and then tried to sever their heads, ha ha, give me money please"), but here's hoping that all involved live the rest of their lives friendless and self-loathing.
NO, MR. SCOTT, WE WON'T BE HOLDING IT AT HOOTERS: As we pledged, discussions have been ongoing concerning the First Annual ALOTT5MA Chrismukkah Party in Manhattan. Due to the surprising outpouring of response, we have reached beyond our personal abilities to host and are seeking a location (likely a bar or restaurant). While a few ideas have been bandied about amongst your Host Committee, we invite your collective knowledge. Criteria include:
  • Place must be reasonably quiet and able to carry on a conversation. Place should also not be excessively crowded.
  • Place must have a reasonably accessible gathering area where folks who may not recognize one another by sight can gather.
  • Place must have decent selection of food and drink at reasonable price, but not require minimums or pre-purchases.
  • Place should be centrally located with decent mass transit accessibility.

Your suggestions are invited.

I WAS HOPING CARL KASSEL WOULD SAY "PSYCHOALPHADISCOBETABIOAQUADOOLOOP:" I'm all for NPR broadening its appeal and coming up to date (and I'm especially happy that shows like This American Life and Wait..Wait...Don't Tell Me! are now available as free podcasts from iTunes), but this morning's Morning Edition piece (end of the 7 AM hour) on the creative process of George Clinton and Parliament (which seemed to be summarized as "well, we were pretty wasted") struck me as a bit odd.
I BELIEVE WE'VE SKIPPED DENIAL, ANGER AND BARGAINING, AND MOVED STRAIGHT INTO DESPAIR: It is a dreary morning for Eagles fans, and it may not improve until 2008. Let us commiserate.

Updated: Because then it got worse, with former Eagle d-back Andre Waters dead at the age of 44.

And then it got a little better: Ryan Howard, National League MVP. I don't know that he deserved it over Pujols, but today, I'll take it.
THE CHO BROTHERS -- DUMBER THAN TEAM KENTUCKY? Okay, so I understand being cautious about directions in a foreign land, but seriously? That. Was. Painful. Almost as bad, of course, was the decision of the *lyns to just keep waiting and following then.

All in all, an uninspiring episode -- no airport intrigue, A Roadblock Is A Neat-Looking Task That No Team Can Perform More Quickly Than Any Other, and a needle-in-a-haystack detour with not a lot of hay. Or too many needles. I just can't help but think that we've got a well-designed race in which the more interesting teams (Duke & Lauren!) just happened to be eliminated sooner. Great race, but meh racing skills.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

MAKE GUY SMILEY: We've been talking about Hall of Fame injustices around here a lot lately, and this list of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Semifinalists reminded me of one of my biggest Hall related peeves. Isn't it about time the Hall enshrines its first punter?