Saturday, January 20, 2007


It is time for predictions and all sorts of mumbo-jumbo. I think Big Play Rex shows up, not Interceptasaurus Rex, and it'll be 24-17 Bears; in the other matchup, I know never to pick against Belichick when playoffs are at stake, but I think Peyton's due. 30-20, irrationally, Colts.
THE CASE OF THE NETWORK EXECUTIVE'S MISSING BRAIN: So, given that the cast of Seventh Heaven managed to get the CW to shell out massive amounts of money for their services this year, how much do you think Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel will be able to command for a one-year renewal of Gilmore Girls? The same article notes that CW continues its inexplicable steps toward making their network worse by announcing that come March, Veronica Mars will depart for eight weeks to make way for Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For The Next Doll.

Friday, January 19, 2007

IF A BEAUTIFUL MIND MAKES THE FINAL CUT I MAY HAVE TO SELF-IMMOLATE MYSELF IN FRONT OF THE AFI'S OFFICES: OK, so maybe that is a bit of an overreaction to the news that the American Film Institute will revise its list of the 100 greatest movies of all-time in time for the original list's 10th anniversary. A new ballot of 400 eligible films is available at the AFI's site, but you have to register first to have the link to the ballot emailed to you.

There are 44 new films from the decade since the first list came out on the new list of eligible films:
So, your weekend project is to determine which of these films deserves to make the cut this time around and which films do you knock off the original list?
ARE YOU A HEAD OR A HAIR? Alex mentioned this today, and I totally agree -- completely by surprise, 30 Rock has become a brilliant show. I think I said in a comment last week that there are more jokes per page on this show than any other live-action show on TV right now -- probably more than any show since Arrested Development -- and so many of them hit that it can even carry a night like tonight. Show this show some love, NBC.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

WHO WANTS TO CARBON-DATE MUTOMBO? He's getting tired of your mocking him about his age.

(And it goes without saying, but few athletes have done more good in the world than Dikembe.)
I'M ART BUCHWALD, AND I JUST DIED: Well, that's a first -- the NYT has let the legendary columnist deliver his own video obituary. More traditional written obits can be found here and here.

edited to add: Buchwald wrote this column in February 2006, asking that it be distributed after his death.
"MAN LOVE" NIGHT ON NBC: On Scrubs, they sing about it; on The Office, they demonstrate it while a Muzak'd "Up Where We Belong" plays in the background. Not the greatest half-hour from Scranton we've ever seen, but the third act made it worth it as we await the next departure from Scranton back to Stamford. Also, egregious product placement. Also, where was Creed?

Meanwhile, on Scrubs, well, we like musicals here. [Haven't seen 30 Rock yet, but feel free to discuss.]
AND IN THIS COUNTRY IT IS NOT ONLY PERMISSIBLE TO QUESTION OUR LEADERS -- IT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY: I am writing on behalf of each of the bloggers on this site, standing united as we accept Aaron Sorkin's critique that we are amateurs unfit to discuss his work.

Therefore, and despite the fact that we've been hyping Studio 60 since October 2005, frequently extol Sports Night as brilliant and spent a week offering an affectionate farewell to The West Wing, we have agreed that at least until the end of the February sweeps period, we will refrain from any mention of or reference to Aaron Sorkin and his works in this space. That means no post titles making allusion to Sports Night or The American President, no praise of Studio 60, nor even any references to the fact that we're not talking about him any more.

Our silence may be lifted as soon as Sorkin says something like this:
I was wrong. I was! I was just ... I was wrong. Come on, you know that! Lots of times we don't know what right or wrong is, but lots of times we do, and come on, this is one. I may not have had sinister intent at the outset, but there were plenty of opportunities for me to make it right. No one in [television] takes responsibility for anything anymore. We foster, we obfuscate, we rationalize: 'Everybody does it.' That's what we say. So we come to occupy a moral safe house where everyone's to blame so no one's guilty. [Sigh] I'm to blame. I was wrong.

Alternately, Mr. Sorkin, just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong. And get used to it.
WHEN I NEED CLEAN UNDERWEAR, I WANT TO $&%$#* REACH OUT MY $&%$#* HAND AND GET CLEAN UNDERWEAR: One-time hirsute pop star Leo Sayer goes mental on the UK's "Celebrity Big Brother." Seriously, take the six+ minutes to watch him have a meltdown. (Leo, uses some rough language, kids, so you may want to watch in your own privacy.)
WHEN IN DENVER, GUESTS OF ALOTT5MA STAY AT THE CURTIS: C'mon, how can you not love a hotel with wakeup calls by Mr. T, VW Beetle alarm clocks and floors with individual themes like chick flicks, famous pairs, and the Shining (13th floor, of course)?
VOTE FOR ME - I WEAR LIDA BADAY! I'm by nature skeptical of government, and our new Congress provides no fodder for exception, but anything that helps to pry the District of Columbia from the shackles of horrific professional women's fashion gets a big hurrah from me. And so, Nancy Pelosi, I applaud you and your Armani.

Relatedly, today's WSJ has an interesting discussion with Miuccia Prada on the tendency of smart women to deny that they're interested in fashion.
WAIT A MINUTE -- WE'RE FISH! I love the fact that we live in a world where Laurie Berkner can be accused of selling out to The Man.
A DEAD FOOTBALL PLAYER, A FORMER PRO WRESTLER, AND FOUR PIECES OF BRAIN WALK INTO A BAR: In a story that sounds like the next House episode but is depressingly true, the NYT's Alan Schwarz tells us what happened after November's suicide by former Eagle Andre Waters.

In short: now-former WWE performer Chris "Harvard" Nowinski, himself a former college football player, has been researching and publishing on the effects of multiple concussions on football players. Upon hearing of Waters' death, and reading about the 15+ concussions Waters suffered as a player, Nowinski had a theory as to why Waters killed himself. And so he called Waters' mother with a uncomfortable request, and the rest you'll have to read for yourself.
PER THE CONTESTANT'S AGREEMENT, SECTION III, PARAGRAPH 2, ALL HAZING ON TOP CHEF MUST BE FOOD-RELATED: For hair-related hazing that has been sanctioned by Bravo, please see your favorite re-run of Queer Eye. For the subtle difference between "funny" and "assault and battery", consult the legal appendix to your Pledge Manual.

Also, you're going to Hawaii! ...and you're going to Hawaii! And you're going to Hawaii, and you're going to Hawaii!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

SON, TAKE A GOOD LOOK AROUND: Our friends at MommyTracks are trying to compile the best rock/pop songs about being a parent.
AARON SORKIN HATES YOU: Not even exaggerating. A longtime Sorkin grudge has been vented anew at the TV Critics Tour:
Sorkin ridiculed the whole idea that bloggers -- many of whom come from parts unknown, bearing grudges, perhaps, and not always a reliable sense of who they are and what they're really after -- be taken more seriously in the mainstream media than any random josephine walking down Main Street. "An enormous rise in amateurism," Sorkin said of the blogosphere. "And everyone's voice oughtn't be equal."
TALE AS OLD AS TIME, SONG AS OLD AS RHYME: 13 years, 5,464 performances, 2 theatres, and 1 Tony Award (for makeup) later, Disney's Beauty And The Beast will close on Broadway on July 29 to make way for The Little Mermaid, which previews in Denver later this year, opening on Broadway in December. (Beauty lost the major awards that year to Sondheim's critical fave and commercial flop Passion.)
BECAUSE I LOVE YOU I CAN SAY THIS. NO RICH YOUNG WHITE GUY HAS EVER GOTTEN ANYWHERE WITH ME COMPARING HIMSELF TO ROSA PARKS: As the ad-to-football ratio heaves to its climax in the next few weeks, it's time to call for a boycott. I kept meaning to do this earlier in the season, but I never got around to it. So here's my pledge, and I want you to join me:

As God is my witness, I will not buy a Chevrolet as long as the company continues to pollute my television with "This is Our Country" ads.

I am so upset by these things that I'm considering considering a Chevy just so that my boycott will have some financial repercussions. I am not aware of a single person anywhere in world who is neither financially interested in nor aesthetically outraged by that campaign. Each of us must look in his or her heart and ask, "if I don't hold Chevrolet accountable for its abusive marketing, who will?"

Come, join with me in the comments.
GOB BLUTH MAY BE NEEDED TO SNEAK HER OUT: Having made a "proactive decision to take care of [her] health," Lindsay Lohan has entered rehab. I hope Lohan manages to straighten herself out, since she's shown authentic spark and talent before becoming a skeeved-out coke whore who felt the need to demonstrate that she's none too fond of underwear. I mean, who would have thought 3 years ago that of the four teenage female leads in Mean Girls, Lohan would be the most screwed up (McAdams is being overly picky about work, Chabert has a thriving voiceover career, and Amanda Seyfried is apparently contactually obligated to appear in every single show on every single network)?
A NIGERIAN PRINCE SAID THAT IF I SOLD YOU THIS BRIDGE BILL GATES WOULD SEND YOU $250 THAT YOU COULD USE TO PREVENT PBS FROM CANCELLING SESAME STREET PROVIDED THAT YOU IMMEDIATELY PROVIDE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION TO CAYMANACCOUNT.EBAY.UNTRACEABLEFRAUD.COM/ALIBABA/CITIBANK/FUNDTRANSFER: Presumably, if you have access to email, you are smart enough to operate a computer. That begs the following question: what person, presumed smart enough to operate a computer, is yet stupid enough to purchase a penny stock based upon the hot tip of an anonymous spammer? And hasn't that person seen the first season of the Sopranos, or even Boiler Room? How can this possibly be profitable enough to continue irritating me, day after day?
WITH A SODA ON THE SIDE: We somehow missed this earlier, but Momofuku Ando, creator of instant ramen noodles (and namesake for one of NYC's trendiest restaurants), died earlier this month in Osaka, Japan. College students everywhere remain in mourning.
ALI BOMAYE!, THEN PICK UP YOUR FIRST SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK: Muhammad Ali, the Greatest of All Time, turns 65 today. Via Joyce Carol Oates:
Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1942, grandson of a slave, began boxing at the age of twelve, and, by eighteen, had fought 108 amateur bouts. How is it possible that the young man who, in his twenties, would astonish the world not just with the brilliance of his boxing but the sharpness of his wit seems to have been a dull-average student in high school who graduated 376th out of a class of 391? In 1966, his score on a mental aptitude test was an Army IQ of 78, well below military qualification. In 1975, Ali confessed to a reporter that he "can't read too good" and had not read ten pages of all the material written about him. I remember the television interview in which, asked what else he might have done with his life, Ali paused, for several seconds, clearly not knowing how to reply. All he'd ever known, he said finally, was boxing.

Mental aptitude tests cannot measure genius except in certain narrow ranges, and the genius of the body, the play of lightning-swift reflexes coupled with unwavering precision and confidence, eludes comprehension. All great boxers possess this genius, which scrupulous training hones, but can never create. "Styles make fights," as Ali's great trainer Angelo Dundee says, and "style" was young Ali's trademark. Yet even after early wins over such veterans as Archie Moore and Henry Cooper, the idiosyncrasies of Ali's style aroused skepticism in boxing experts. After winning the Olympic gold medal in 1960, Ali was described by A.J. Leibling as "skittering…like a pebble over water." Everyone could see that this brash young boxer held his hands too low; he leaned away from punches instead of properly slipping them; his jab was light and flicking; he seemed to be perpetually on the brink of disaster. As a seven-to-one underdog in his first title fight with Sonny Liston, the twenty-two-year-old challenger astounded the experts with his performance, which was like none other they had ever seen in the heavyweight division; he so out-boxed and demoralized Liston that Liston "quit on his stool" after the sixth round. A new era in boxing had begun, like a new music.
I AM THINKING IT'S A SIGN: In light of the prior dispute between The Postal Service and...well...The Postal Service, am I the only one surprised that "Such Great Heights" is featuring prominently in UPS ads?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

BUT I HAVE A DEGREE IN VOCAL PERFORMANCE! Blah blah blah way too much time inexplicably dedicated to mediocre Jewel fanatic blah blah blah delusional people blah blah blah crack baby on Holliday blah blah blah more delusional people blah blah blah Navy guy who you knew had to be good because even AI won't mock Our Boys blah blah blah more total nutjobs blah blah blah La Perla boppy kinda ethnic chiquita who'd have been cut in a heartbeat if Minneapolis's talent pool had sucked any less blah blah blah unexpected bleepy outburst from juggler who seemed much more even-keeled during his audition blah blah blah total stalkery froot loop who apparently vowed never to wash her arm again just like Marcia Brady after being smooched by either Joe Namath or Davy Jones after Ace Young finally drew on her arm to get her to go the hell away. Thank God for TiVo.

My main question for the evening: why is it that the painful sucky people are always ugly? There must be violently untalented delusional singers out there auditioning for AI who are nonetheless really cute, right?
I KNOW THIS IS ACCURATE, BECAUSE IT DOES NOT RELY ON JOSELIO HANSON: McSwys explains what Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's "exotic" blitz packages are all about.
IF ONLY SOMEONE HAD PUT THE DA VINCI CODE ON THIS LIST, I MIGHT HAVE THOSE TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE BACK: Screenhead put together a list of "The Unfilmables," the hardest novels to adapt for the screen, including Ulysses, Cat's Cradle, and A (not "The," guys) Confederacy of Dunces.
THE STORY OF A BOY, A GIRL, AND A UNIVERSE: Based on this trailer, would you have headed out to the theater to see the film?

Link via Filmoculous.
AMERICA'S NEXT GREAT WAR: Is it wrong that I'm amused by the fact that I am citing United States v. Various Slot Machines On Guam, 658 F.2d 697 (9th Cir. 1981), in a brief I'm working on?
I GUESS MARK RUSSELL MUST BE UNAVAILABLE. OR DEAD: What acerbic comic received the nod from the White House Correspondents Association to follow up on Stephen Colbert's much-beloved dinner performance last year? Whose rapier-like skills would be put to the test before a nation of C-SPAN viewers eager to see the best in cutting-edge satire?

Would you believe innocuous impersonator Rich Little?

I'm just not sure if they went far enough in not bringing the funny. I'm sure Rich Hall has plenty of new sniglets to tell us about. Why not have Gallagher (or his brother Gallagher Too) smash some fruit? Was Dat Phan that busy?
SEX BOMBS, SEX BOMBS: Woohoo! Grosse Pointe on DVD!
THE WORLD IS WAITING: Meet your Amazing Race All-Stars. Interestingly, for all the buzz of reshuffled teams, the only team with different members from a prior team is Eric and Danielle, who were on separate teams on TAR9 and are now dating. If there were a line, I'm fairly sure "TV Personalities" Romber would be your shortest odds, but seriously, any of these teams could probably win--even though only one set of winners is on the list (Uchenna/Joyce)--all of the teams are pretty solid racers.
BY POPULAR DEMAND: Variety has transcribed Sacha Baron Cohen's acceptance speech for the Golden Globe for Best Actor - Musical or Comedy. Just remember, this is in his own, polite, British voice, and not in character:
Warren? Where is he? It's 'wha-wha-we-wha.'

I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press. And I just want to say that this movie was a life-changing experience. I saw some amazing, beautiful, invigorating parts of America. But I saw some dark parts of America, an ugly side of America. A side of America that rarely sees the light of day.

I refer, of course, to the anus and testicles of my co-star, Ken Davitian. (Audience laughs as the camera finds Davitian shrugging and raising a wine glass to Cohen.) Ken, when I was in that scene and I stared down and saw your two wrinkled golden globes on my chin, I thought to myself, 'I better win a bloody award for this.'

And then when my 300-pound co-star decided to sit on my face and squeeze the oxygen from my lungs, I was faced with a choice: Death or to breathe in the air that had been trapped in a small pocket between his buttocks for 30 years.

Kenneth, if it was not for that rancid bubble, I would not be here today.

(Music starts as Cohen holds up Globe gesturing to Davitian. He starts rushing through the rest.)

Thank you to Larry Charles, thank you to Jay Roach, thank you to Isla Fisher, my fiancee. Thank you to Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines and Dan Mazer; thank you to Ari Emanuel; Matt Labov; Erran Baron Cohen, my brother who did the music; and to Jason Alper and (unintelligible due to swelling music). And thank you to every American who has not sued me so far. Thank you.

Monday, January 15, 2007

FROM THE FOLKS WHO BROUGHT YOU PIA ZADORA: The Golden Globe Awards are tonight, and unless one of my co-bloggers feels like live-blogging the thing, this is an open thread for your running commentary.
I VANT TO BITE YOUR NECK: After watching the first two hours of the Jack Bauer Power Four Hour Bloc, I found myself wondering what astonishing pyrotechnics we should expect from hours three and four. Night #1 was good, even great in parts, but there wasn't that "HOLY SHIT" moment that I've come to expect from 24's annual premiere event. I'm optimistic, though -- we've still got tonight. (Anyone besides me observe that the sun rose awfully quickly? Who knew that LA has 90 second sunrises?)

My mother, who had never seen 24 before, watched the premiere with us. It was quite amusing to hear a newcomer's reaction to the ridiculousness that is the world of Jack Bauer. A few samples:

"How in the world did he get a cell phone?"
"He's Jack Bauer. He can always find a cell phone. Just like he can hotwire any car."

Regarding Peter MacNicol's new character: "He seems like he's hiding something."
"Yes. In any given season of 24, you can pretty safely assume that there are at least two or three moles."

Regarding President Palmer, following an explanation of the Palmers' roles in prior seasons: "You mean this show has had two black presidents?" (My mom, the TV critic!)

Regarding Chloe: "Does that woman ever smile, or does she just glower all the time?"
"The latter."
UM, DO WE HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO SAY? SERIOUSLY? NOT SO MUCH, YO: It would appear that when it comes to matters of linguistic flourish, we here at ALOTT5MA are perhaps a bit more lemminglike than we realize. Looking over Gawker's list of blog-media cliches, I notice that a significant percentage of items on the list pepper our -- or at least my -- posts with perhaps undue frequency. I suppose I could choose to believe that we are the Ground Zero for many of these turns of phrase, but, reserving my flights of self-delusion for more pressing matters, I'll just note that the author of the Gawker post seems to have missed at least a few of the references spawning the now-apparently-abused terminology. (To cite just one example -- they miss the origin of "wait for it" as part of the zeitgeist du blogosphere via HIMYM's Barney, instead wondering whether it came from some sort of theatrical stage direction.)

(Edited to add: Apparently "wait for it" has zillions of sources, each one more enjoyable than the last. Check out the comments. Pffffffffhhhht to the cliche list in any event.)

That's it for me today -- enjoy your MLKjr Day. I will be spending my afternoon concocting new turns of phrase to replace those which have been stolen from me today.
I'LL SEND AN S.O.S. TO THE WORLD: So, would you be willing to shell out the big bucks for a Police reunion concert tour? I believe the Police is the only band that I own the complete original discography for (in Box Set form), but I'm not sure if I'd shell out. Will this remind you of that time long ago when Sting used to be kind of cool, or just be a cash sink?
THE UNADVERTISED SPACE IS NOT WORTH SEEING? Seriously, when they start printing ads on supermarket eggs and doctors' examining tables, you know things might have gone too far. What's your limit?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

GOSH, THEY'RE BOTH PRETTY GOOD, RIGHT? All this, four-plus months of LDT and Reborn Ravens and Ocho Cinco and Vince Young and the Janus-like Jaguars, all to wind up with Brady and Manning again? Let the hype begin.
THE JOY OF TIVO: In yet another ALOTT5MA Exclusive, it appears that (based on the very brief shot of "The Board" in Lorne's office during this week's digital short) Drew Barrymore will host SNL on February 3. Not quite as much fun as next week, with Jeremy Piven (over/under on instructions to "hug it out" is 3, and Samberg/Hader do an "Entourage" bit), but Barrymore's a consistently game hostess.
THE MOURNING AFTER: Still bitter this morning. But Rome is back tonight (Gaius Julius Caesar would not have punted -- that's a total Pompey Magnus move), as is the Jack Bauer Power Hour (x2) (x2), so at least there's that.
40,000 INTERVIEWS; NOT ONE INTERESTING QUESTION: Larry King has been broadcasting for 50 years. Apart from H. Ross Perot announcing for President in 1992, has he done a single noteworthy interview?

(Turns out he's great friends with Joe Torre. That guy can flat-out manage).