Wednesday, November 24, 2004

PROTECTING US FROM THE REAL RISKS: Prior to my 9 hour flight between New York and Houston last night (by way of an unplanned layover for refueling in New Orleans due to weather and a delay there because of the airline "losing" our plane), I witnessed true bizarreness with the Transportation Security Administration. The person in front of me in line at the security check had (for reasons unbeknownst to me) decided to carry about 4 or 5 hard core gay pornographic magazines on the airplane with him. Apparently, these magazines in some way pinged security, as they had to be unwrapped, re-run through the x-ray machine, and then laboriously gone through, page by page, by the TSA employees in order to make sure there were no weapons or contraband contained between the photos.

As for the flight, two lessons. The Notebook stinks regardless of what time you're watching it or whether or not you're watching it on a plane. Dodgeball is perhaps funnier still on second viewing, even at midnight on the airport tarmac in New Orleans as you wait for refueling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

RULES OF THE ROAD: Another top-notch episode for the second leg of the sixth edition of The Amazing Race. We got to know the teams a little better -- liking a few some more, hating The Hateful Team even more -- as we move from Iceland to Norway in a tightly bunched hour. In particular, the older-person team revealed themselves to be among the smartest racers we've seen, and if they don't get hurt by an endurance task, they may go far.

If I ever did the Race, Lord knows I'd learn to drive a stick shift before leaving. One of tonight's teams didn't, and it was not helpful. Also, there's nothing quite as fun as a series of ass-over-teakettle falls, and this episode had them in abundance. And something many of us have been waiting for -- an actual team penalty for rules violations, but it may not be the one you expected.

Beyond that, we're getting into spoiler territory, so let's all make a left turn for the Comments, and take it from there.
BINIONS ALLEGED KILLERS DRAW TO GUT-SHOT STRAIGHT: Readers of James McManus's compelling Positively Fifth Street (an instant classic of gambling folklore, along with A. Alvarez's Biggest Game in Town and some of the older editions of Edwin Silberstang's Winner's Guide to Casino Gambling; honorable mention to the first 100 pages or so of Mario Puzo's fictional Fools Die) know the story about how Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish allegedly murdered Vegas royalty and Binions Horseshoe heir Ted Binion. You know, the story that involved a best pal, a shitload of heroin and Xanax, a backhoe digging up buried silver, all kinds of wildly conflicted lawyers, and somebody being (allegedly) suffocated by an ex-stripper's mud flaps? The story ends with a pair of acquittals. Um, I guess we'll never know what happened to Teddy Binion in the hours before his wife and buddy hustled out to the desert to dig up his buried treasure. Given the legend of patriarch Benny Binion's itchy trigger finger, I guess you could just say that one bad beat deserves another.

By the way, if any of this arouses your prurient interest, or might possibly do so for your Chrismukkah-needy loved ones, I do highly recommend Positively Fifth Street. Anybody have any suggestions for other book gifts, and descriptions of the target demographic? This one's already on the list.
FOR THE GUY WHO HAS EVERYTHING: Buy these autographed staplers signed by the Dixie Chicks, Michael Phelps, Jack Nicklaus, and Bob Newhart. And there are more here. Current highest bid? $507 for the stapler autographed by Cher. Personally, I'm waiting for the red Swingline autographed by Ron Livingston and Stephen Root. And with that, I'm outta here.
YES, BUT IS HE INTENSE? TAR host Phil Keoghan discloses in this interview that much-loathed "entrepreneur" Jonathan has "analyzed every challenge, he knows what worked and what didn't work. This is a guy who's on a mission to win The Amazing Race." However, he's also "without a doubt the loudest person we've ever had compete on the race." I'm wondering how long until he breaks his ox.

Sadly, I'll be in transit to Texas this evening for my family's annual tryptophan-fest, so will have to wait on TAR, and will probably not be blogging over the long holiday weekend. I wish all our readers a happy Thanksgiving--enjoy your turkey, your football, and parade-watching.

Monday, November 22, 2004

STRAIGHT OUT OF CAMDEN: The New Jersey city of Camden, one time home to Walt Whitman and current home of the battleship New Jersey, can now lay claim to another title, that of Most Dangerous City in America. Perennial favorite Detroit fell to second, though the rankings were determined before last Friday's Pacers-Pistons game, while Atlanta, St. Louis, and Gary, Ind., rounded out the top 5.

On the safe side, Newton, Mass., was the tops, with San Jose taking the title for cities over 500,000 and Appleton, Wisc., being the safest metro region.
"THE CONTEST" BEATS OFF GEORGE'S SHRINKING MANHOOD: AOL subscribers, a lot who know a thing or two about the hilarity that is onanism, have chosen Seinfeld's "Contest" episode as the Favorite Seinfeld Moment of All Time. George's post-swim shrinkage came in second, followed by the Soup Nazi (one of three episodes by not overly religious parents actually called our local NBC affiliate to complain about, the other two being when Jerry makes out during "Schindler's List" and actually the shrinkage episode when Kramer feeds the Kosher girl lobster), Elaine dancing, and Yada, Yada, Yada (yes, the episode, I wasn't just tired of listing the moments).
THE PATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS MAN IS BESET ON ALL SIDES BY THE OCCASIONAL FORMULAIC STINKER: If you really liked Hoosiers but wanted to see it with an all-black cast and more of an afterschool special feeling, Samuel L. Jackson has just the answer for you: check out the Coach Carter trailer.

Sadly, it probably won't be his worst movie of 2005.
I AM SHOCKED -- SHOCKED -- TO FIND OUT THERE IS COMPLAINING ABOUT A LIST GOING ON HERE: As we started last week, it's time to compile a list of (at least) 100 quotes representing serious omissions from the AFI 400 list. The criteria, as with the list of nominees, is as follows:
The jurors have been asked to consider the following criteria in making their selections:

A statement, phrase or brief exchange of dialogue spoken in an American film.* (Lyrics from songs are not eligible.)

Movie Quotes that viewers use in their own lives and situations; circulating through popular culture, they become part of the national lexicon.

Movie Quotes that viewers use to evoke the memory of a treasured film, thus ensuring and enlivening its historical legacy.

I'll just ask that you number your comments so we can keep track of how far we've gone, and feel free to copy ones over from that thread so that we've got it all in one place (and can forward it to the appropriate cultural authorities. I'll start it with these two:
1. Paul Moore: It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.

Jane Craig: No. It's awful.

Broadcast News

2. I don't wanna sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't wanna sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or ... process anything sold, bought ... or processed, or repair anything sold, bought or processed, ya know, as a career, I don't wanna do that. So uh, my father's in the army ... he wants me to join ... but I can't work for that corporation. Umm, so, what I've been doing lately is kickboxing.

Say Anything

We can either fill half this list with Lebowski quotes, or show restraint and use none of them. It's up to you.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

FROM ABBA TO THE ZOMBIES: Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs is now online and after a quick look over the whole list, my only thought is there might be 50,000 songs I would list above No. 476., Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is." WTF?? Otherwise, the list seems to be a lot of the same old, same old, broken up every now and then by some truly insipid choices ("I Believe I Can Fly," "Free Fallin'" "Brown Sugar" "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" "Buddy Holly").