Saturday, April 23, 2005

THE STUPID BUTTON: Via our old friend Cosmo Macero Jr. of the Boston Herald (bugmenot) comes word that actual office workers hate that thing from The Apprentice this week:
[A] preview model dismayed Boston office workers who got to try the gadget yesterday.

They conjured up synonyms for words like "huge'' and "ugly'' to describe the multi-compartment organizer - about the size of a small television.

"We don't have any desk space that is big enough to accommodate this,'' said John Welby at Prime Mortgage Financial.

Stephen Walker found the item aesthetically upsetting as it sat on the counter of South End Photo.

"I think it's kind of ugly, kind of cheesy,'' Walker said. "I would pass right by (it) if I was walking through Staples.''

Gosh. Leviathan is sold out, though the eBay market is getting started.

I actually stopped watching this season after the first 1-2. It just feels so fake, and Trump Being Trump isn't fun for me after season one -- compare it to Probst or Keoghan or Banks, who evolve and grow more demanding/snarky from year to year.
EXPLAINING WHY TWOP RECAPS ARE 14 PAGES LONG: As usual, the New York Times Magazine is an uncommon bounty for us around here. The lengthy Michael Lewis piece taking a look at steroids in minor league ball from the perspective of two of the players profiled in Moneyball is worth enough, but better still is this piece, arguing that"Watching TV Makes You Smarter." That piece examines the transition from the network TV of the 70s, with a small number of regular cast members and a single major plot arc, typically self-contained, to the modern era, where most shows (though "Law and Order" is an exception) have oodles of recurring characters and multiple plots in any given week, and argues that it all started with "Hill Street Blues." (On an unrelated note, why on earth has "Hill Street" not made its way to DVD yet?) Even sitcoms like "Sports Night," "Cheers," and "Friends" have joined the parade of complex things, with evolving plotlines and many characters. Fascinating reading, and, it'll make you feel better about your excessive TV watching.
MAKE TERRORISTS LOOK LIKE THE SISTERS OF CHARITY: Want to rally from London to Ulan Bator? Have a craptastic vehicle with an engine smaller than 1000cc? Then raise 1000 pounds stirling for charity and sign up for The Mongol Rally.

The mother of all adventures, the Mongol Rally is an 8000 mile dash across ¼ of the earth's surface in cars that most people consider underpowered for doing the shopping. We have no entourage of support vehicles, there is no carefully marked course, there are no professional drivers, fast cars, or even good cars. It's just you, your shite-mobile and thousands of miles of adventure. Not only do we provide the world's most extreme car challenge, you get to save the world at the same time. The Mongol rally is a charity event that raises money for an awesome charity with a slightly ridiculous name 'Send a Cow'.

Friday, April 22, 2005

ONE THING IS FOR SURE, GENE SISKEL WON'T BE THERE: The Chicago Bulls are back in the playoffs for the first time since a certain No. 23 was wearing the red and black (1998 to be percise). Back then, a ducat courtside at the United Center while not on a par with the Forum or MSG, was still the place for A-List celebs of the Midwest to be seen. According to this story in today's Bright One (The Chicago Sun-Times, where you'll also find my guide to the six different types of pasta in the Weekend section), the 2004-05 Bulls aren't quite the celeb magnet they were in the Jordan days. For instance, while Bill Murray hitched a ride on the Illini bandwagon this season, the Bulls can count on his Stripes and Ghostbusters co-star, Harold Ramis, to be in attendance. You won't see John Cusack, Billy Corgan or Penny Marshall this year, but Chi McBride and Chicago Cubs pitchers LaTroy Hawkins and Carlos Zambrano plan on attending.
YAHOO! INDEED: I can only guess that every time Terry Semel, CEO of the new media giant, looks at his pay stub, he's compelled to shout the name of his company. Semel, with a $230.6 million salary last year, tops Forbes magazine's list of the 250 most filthy rich CEOs. OK, so most of Semel's pay came from stock gains--he actually gets paid a paltry $602,000 a year, but still that there is some nice coin.
WHAT DOES HE COVET? HE COVETS WHAT HE SEES, EVERY DAY: Normally, I can't stand the NRO's smug Jonah Goldberg. That said, his piece today on CTW's transformation of Cookie Monster into the centerpiece of its laudable campaign against child obesity is worth a read:
In the interests of teaching kids not to be gluttons, CTW has transformed Cookie Monster into just another monster who happens to like cookies. His trademark song, “C is for Cookie” has been changed to “A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food.” And this is a complete and total reversal of Cookie Monster’s ontology, his telos, his raison d’etre, his essential Cookie-Monster-ness.

If the Cookie Monster is no longer a cookie monster, what is he? Why didn’t they just name him “Phil: The Monster Who Sometimes Likes to Eat a Cookie”? Conceptually, this is no different than the idiot animal rights types who want their dogs and cats to be vegans, too. Cookie Monster cannot help being a Cookie Monster any more than your tabby can stop liking fish. It is their nature to do so. Why not just declare that Big Bird is now an elm tree? If the ineffable, inexorable, immutable nature of Cookie Monster’s cookie-eating can be erased for some good cause, why should Big Bird’s birdness be safe?

Sesame Street and its defenders say they are just trying to do their bit in the war against child obesity. That’s nice. But at what price? The whole point of the Cookie Monster character was to have a character who was silly because he ate so much. If Cookie Monster were a Greek god, he’d be the god of gluttony. Wouldn’t it have been more honest and simply better to implore kids not to be too much like the Cookie Monster rather than make the Cookie Monster like everyone else?

Anyone else see the recent Norah Jones episode when she sang that beautiful song lamenting her favorite letter's disappearance? I don't know why, 'Y' didn't come . . . That was cool.
THEN CAME YOU: If I am going to take a hit on my career, I'm not going to do it on behalf of Emmanuel Lewis.
DR. PEPPER TAUGHT THE BAND TO PLAY: Tomorrow, April 23, 2005, marks the twentieth anniversary of the unveiling of 'New Coke'.

Seventy-nine days later on July 11 (two days before LiveAid), Coca-Cola Classic returned.
OUTWIT, OUTPLAY, OUTLAST, OUTPLEAD, OUTCRY, OUTSHAME, OUTBULLY, OUTMANIPULATE: I don't know how to do this without giving anything away, but I assume that those of you who were going to watch did so already. All I can say is that I don't remember a host administering such a thorough beat-down on a reality show contestant (and I'm counting Tyra's crazy-eyed shrieking weave-to-weave combat last week, which I think was staged) and I don't remember seeing as unfair a fight on TV since we got Tyson-Spinks on pay-per-view in 1988. And I guess the lesson is that strength can beat weakness a lot of ways, including physically, mentally, and having influential friends. On a related note, Probst sure has come a long way from when someone named Joanna called him Peachy on the TWOP recaps. It's nice to see him stave off host boredom (he has done this 10 times now) by calling everybody on their shit. I do believe he may finally have pulled ahead in the Probst vs. Lodge debate.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

YES, THEY'RE ALSO BRINGING BACK THE ADDICTIVE CHEMICAL IN THE CHICKEN TO MAKE YOU CRAVE IT FORTNIGHTLY, SMARTASS: The Colonel is going old school -- KFC is rebranding itself as "Kentucky Fried Chicken" again.

But will they bring back "The Colonel and his Lady" salt and pepper shakers?
CLOWNS TO THE LEFT OF HIM, JOKERS TO THE RIGHT: Why did American Idol voters fail to preserve ANWR? Alan Sepinwall says Mr. Robinson wasn't quite special enough:
Aside from the final week of the semi-finals, when he blew the doors off with a jazzy new arrangement of "What a Wonderful World," Anwar was never the best singer on any given show. He was also never the worst, which can be a problem on "Idol." If someone's clearly wonderful, they'll get a lot of votes from more casual viewers who don't care as much about the personalities. If someone's clearly awful -- or gets bashed by the judges -- then their fans will often vote more than usual to keep them around.

The danger zone is in the middle ground, when no one is feeling either ecstatic or worried about you, and that's an area where Anwar found himself week after week. Nikko Smith got voted out twice for the sin of being slightly above-average, and that seemed to be Nadia Turner's downfall last week. When you're either great or terrible, people will remember to vote for you; when you're just okay, they either forget or just assume you're safe and don't bother.

Sepinwall also has some interesting thoughts on his choice of "September", but even while Anwar punted that falsetto, it's still not as bad as Scott Savol's studious avoidance the high notes on "She's Gone" the week before. Not that singers far better than him haven't done the same thing.

Also, there's more on the Ryan Seacrest star on the Walk of Fame. Literally.

edited to add: More from Sepinwall today, who interviewed Anwar and members of the wedding band with which he performed:
"September" was another Perfect Combination number, though [bass player Dan] Rongo was surprised Tuesday night when he realized Anwar was leaving the song's trademark falsetto chorus to the backup singers, even though he usually handled it himself at weddings.

"I didn't want to overemphasize the vocals," Anwar explained. "I wanted to get a chance to play with the give and take of the music, let the music have some fun, too, and the background singers are a part of the music. I didn't think it was fair to sing all the parts myself."
MMMMM...SNAIL PORRIDGE: The aforementioned dish is just one of the 20 courses you'll find on the tasting menu at the Fat Duck in Bray, Berks, England, which has the distinction of placing first on Restaurant Magazine's list of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World. The French Laundry up in California's Wine Country was the Best in Americas and third overall, while Chicago's own Charlie Trotter's (mistakenly the 's is left off the name) placed No. 14 overall. Sadly, Trotter's is the lone restaurant on the list I have had the privilege of dining at.
CONGRESS SHALL PASS NO LAW ABRIDGING OUR FREEDOM TO DISCUSS LISTS: Via regular reader Adlai comes word of a completed National Archives competition to rank the 100 most important government-related documents in American history.

Not much love for the Zimmerman Telegraph or the status quo antebellum-restoring Treaty of Ghent, but you can guess the top 10 pretty easily.
A KOAN FOR MODERN TIMES: I am always amused by the fact that, when you do predictive text messaging, the keystrokes for "home" -- 4663 -- are the same as that for "good".
AND PAUL GIAMATTI AS RAY CHARLES: OK, I love Kristin Chenoweth, regardless of whether she's playing diminutive media consultant Annabeth Schott on "The West Wing" or playing prissy witch G(a)linda in "Wicked." But is there a part that this 4'11" colaratura soprano is less suited to than "Son of A Preacher Man" singer Dusty Springfield, who she'll be playing in an upcoming movie?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

ALL FALLS DOWN: When the University of Pennsylvania decided to demolish Philadelphia's historic Civic Center and Convention Hall, photographer Zoe Strauss showed up to take some pictures.

In the process, she got arrested for standing too close to the site. (On her website, she writes: "In doing my work, I always believe that I can go wherever I want, whenever I want. I can see whatever I desire to see and I can speak to anyone who I want to. Try to stop me, f*ckers.")

The least you could do is take a look at the photos.
WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE FOR ONLY ONE NIGHT: Sixer fans and Allen Iverson devotees already know the outlines of the story of how soulful pianist Bruce Hornsby was a crucial part of A.I.'s path to glory. In today's DN, Phil Jasner adds a surprising detail:
The Grammy-winning musician won't say he was the first, but he was among the first to catch a glimpse. And he saw it, not only as a spectator on the courts and fields of Bethel High, but - amazingly enough - firsthand.

Picture this: Hornsby, at 38, and Iverson, a high school senior just off the prison farm, going one-on-one.

"I had seen him in his state championship seasons," Hornsby says, taking a break from preparations for a recording session. "I had made a video with Spike Lee, and when Allen was arrested, I called Spike and asked him to send Allen some things to lift his spirits. Spike did that.

"I liked Allen, and I lobbied the governor [Douglas Wilder] and his chief of staff to pardon him. When that happened, Mike Bailey, Allen's basketball coach at Bethel, called and said Allen wanted to thank me. I said, "Let's play some ball." . . .

After that, it was Hornsby vs. Iverson, one-on-one. This time, it was halfcourt, the rules allowing for a maximum of three dribbles.

"I beat him three in a row, in front of witnesses," Hornsby says, this time laughing heartily. "I said 'Thanks for taking it easy on an old man.' But I didn't tell too many people about those games, because it truly wasn't believable."

Hornsby tells the story not to gloat, but to show a measure of pride in having known Iverson before he became the icon known as "A.I."

"I love the fact that I knew him then, when his nickname was 'Bubba Chuck,' " Hornsby says. "I can remember being in Hampton when he was in prison and seeing the grafitti that said 'Free Chuck.' "

Reminded last week of the one-on-one experience with Hornsby, Iverson broke out into what has become his signature smile.

"I let him have that one," he says, laughing.

Read that again: "taking a break from preparations for a recording session". Yes, gang, Bruce Hornsby is finding work. Wow.

(But, for real, read the story. I know that many non-Philadelphians unfortunately see him as a thug and a malcontent, but, truly, no one plays the game with more heart, or ability given the size. Also, if you read the whole thing, there's a Michael Cage sighting.)
I THOUGHT WILLIAM KATT WAS A SHOO-IN: AOL and the Discovery Channel have unveiled their list of 100 nominees for the Gratist American Evir, with the winner to be determined this June after a series of tv episodes featuring debates and audience voting.

Most of the nominees won't surprise you -- former Presidents, Founding Fathers, noted inventors, activists, etc. But Brett Favre? Ellen DeGeneres? George Lucas?

And you know he's my boy, but Barack Obama? Not quite yet. First of all, let's wait until they repeal the 22nd Amendment so he can complete The Great American Restoration in his last three terms as President, and, secondly, I can't find his theme song online anymore.

Who's missing from this list? While it's nice to see John Edwards, wouldn't Jonathan Edwards be more appropriate? And Dr. Phil isn't even America's greatest McGraw.
WHEN THE RAPPER JAM MASTER JAY DIED IN 2002, HE MADE A CAKE IN THE SHAPE OF A LARGE ADIDAS SNEAKER WITH A GOLD CHAIN AND TWO TURNTABLES ON IT: I believe that's all the encouragement you'll need to want to read this article about Cake Man Raven.

Seriously -- the barbecue cake for a dad's birthday? Wow.
SO, IS THERE AN OPENING FOR A SNARKY POP CULTURE BLOGGER? The Atlantic reports that Senate Democrats have created a "secret messaging group" to bounce ideas off of. The concept of a "secret messaging group" is amusing enough, but the membership is what makes it. Among the members are "American High" and "The War Room" producer R.J. Cutler and comic suspense novelist Harlan Coben, who's mastered the "hook and twist" premise with his recent stand-alone novels and whose Myron Bolitar novels are among my favorites. Any other unlikely strategic consultants who want to chip in?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

IT'S TOUGH ORGANIZIN' INDIAN LABOR: Boston Rahb meets Thomas L. Friedman, Kelly's butt meets a camel's vibrations, we learn that gay men are everywhere and Gretchen never found an elephant she didn't want to ride, and, most of all, Joyce proves indisputably that Bald Is Beautiful on this leg of The Amazing Race.

(Are Meredith and Gretchen really older than Terri and Ian? Maybe, but they're also more annoying, and I f'n hated Ian because of how nasty he was to his wife. But Gretchen . . . it's not that she's unkind -- she's just like hearing chalk against blackboard, over and over.)

I loved how our last-place team again prepared for a non-elimination leg, and hated that all that separated them from their standing was a random error. Disappointingly, there didn't seem to be anything that any non-FF team could have done in this leg in terms of Detour or Roadblock skills to really improve their standing. (Still, this basic Race rule: if you see that all the teams are doing one Detour choice, switch to the other -- it's your best chance of passing them.)

Next week, we learn about a whole new way to end your military service. Yee-haw!
THE FRIENDLY STRANGER IN THE BLACK SEDAN: American Idol open thread. I'd put Anwar, Constantine and Vonzell up top, and, once again, Scott must go.

This week really is push or shove for what's left of Adam's early March predictions:

As of now, I do think we're looking at the reverse of last year, and we'll have a final six with five men and just one woman -- Nadia Turner -- unless Mikalah Gordon figures out where she left her personality or Bo Bice joins an ashram. Lord knows, I'm looking forward to his take on Neil Sedaka night or, God forbid, the return of Gloria Estefan night.

One prediction I feel comfortable making: some night in mid-April, Anthony Federov will deserve to be eliminated, but Vonzell Solomon will go home instead. Book it.

America, what did you think?
FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL: Sure, Page 2 may be thrilled that Maria Sharapova turned 18 today, but true jailbait cognoscenti had their party last week, when Joss Stone joined the ranks of the legal.
BEST MAGAZINE TO READ IN THE LAKE NEBAGAMON, WISC., LAUNDROMAT PROVIDED SOMEONE ELSE HAS ALREADY CALLED DIBS ON THE JUNE 1998 ISSUE OF GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: Reader's Digest hits the road in its latest issue and comes up with a list of America's 100 Best things including Green Day ("Best Hip New Music"...I kid you not), Krud Kutter, and the Lawrence Central (Ind.) High School marching band. And couldn't the magazine's editors skip some of their little known finds like Disneyland and come up with something "best" about the 17 states that are unrepresented in the story?
THE KELTNER LIST SUGGESTED THAT TED TURNER WOULD GET IN FIRST: Continuing this blog's obsession with all Halls of Fame comes word today that The Tonight Show, as represented by the terminally unfunny Jay Leno, will be this year's inductee into the National Association of Broadcasters Television Hall of Fame, joining All in the Family, Saturday Night Live, Bob Keeshan, Ted Koppel, Roone Arledge, Sid Caesar and others.

Being inducted into the NAB Radio HOF is the late sportscaster Jack Buck, to which no one here would object. In that Hall, he joins a diverse group of notables including Wolfman Jack, Casey Kasem, Orson Welles, Larry King, Rush Limbaugh and Mel Allen. How about that!
CARE FOR A DECANTER OF MARTINI? Yes, the Times Square Howard Johnson's, a veritable museum and shrine to kitsch in all of its forms, will be closing later this year. Shed a tear, for soon, you will not be able to buy affordable saltwater taffy in NYC, and no longer will the restaurant clock chime "Give My Regards to Broadway" at 7:45 to remind patrons that they need to get to their theatre seats. Sure, the food borders on the inedible, but it's an experience that I'll try to have at least once more before it disappears for good.
I WISH I WERE AN OSCAR MAYER WIENER: I'm not one who habitually reads the obituaries, but the AP obit of George Molchan, aka "Little Oscar," Oscar Mayer's mascot, is priceless. In particular, there's the final paragraph, describing the funeral:
The 27-foot-long Wienermobile was parked Saturday near Mr. Molchan's grave in Merrillville, drawing smiles from dozens attending his memorial. Before priests said the final prayers over the coffin, about 50 mourners sang a chorus of the Oscar Mayer jingle and then blew short blasts on hot dog-shaped whistles.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I AIN'T TELLIN' YOU A SECRET: As with all things, the Pixies paved the way -- Dinosaur Jr. reunion tour dates for 2005 now announced. Odds that Mascis and Barlow last a month together?

Going to school in Amherst, you'd always hear tell of Mascis sightings. I ran into him once in the spring of 1992 at a Pearl Jam concert over in UMass' tiny student union -- it was just when "Alive" was first getting played on college radio, and there was J. Mascis, wandering through the crowd incognito. (Hell of a show, btw.)
ABC FUMBLES? So, as expected, Monday Night Football is moving to ESPN, but Sunday night isn't flipping back to ABC: it's going to downtrodden NBC in a $600M/6y deal, with, at last, scheduling flexibility for late-season games.

Does this mean that Sunday night will become the big game, and Monday night an afterthought? Which will get the NFL's priorities for the top games? Will Disney move Madden and Michaels to ESPN? Who will NBC get to host its games? It's been so, so long since NBC had football. (God help us if we hear "The kick is up . . . YES!, and it counts!")
LAW OF THE STREETS: When is a diss actionable? In the case of Slim Shady v. Some Guy He Made Fun Of, a/k/a DeAngelo Bailey v. Marshall Bruce Mathers III, a/k/a Eminem Slim Shady, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that if the rap's mostly true, under false light you can't sue:
Examined in the context of the song lyrics as a whole, defendant’s story contains a number of signals that would convey to a reasonable person that it should not be taken literally. The extent of factual detail that a reasonable person would find unbelievable progresses as defendant’s story is told. Examples include the highly improbable event of a school principal assisting plaintiff in “stomping” on defendant and leaving him for dead, plaintiff’s successful attack on defendant with a broomstick after being beaten in the bathroom, and, ultimately, defendant returning home only to be beaten by his mother with a remote control, causing defendant’s “whole brain” to fall out of his skull. It is apparent that a reasonable listener would not take the song lyrics about defendant literally. The sting of the song lyrics rests in their characterization of plaintiff as a bully, rather than the specific factual statements about the bathroom assault. Thus, the material question is whether the literal truth yields the same effect.

In light of plaintiff’s admissions that he “picked on” defendant when defendant was in the fourth grade and that plaintiff was part of a group at school that did “bully type things” such as pushing defendant down, we uphold the trial court’s determination that no genuine issue of material fact was shown relative to this issue.

Remember, kids: a bully's like school on Saturday: no class.
IN HUBIESPEAK, ROUGHLY EQUIVALENT TO 'UPSIDE': The best word I've learned in the last two weeks is Papabili. While it means "people who might be the next Pope," it literally translates as Popeables. This demands to be a band name, an affiliation of superheroes, or at least a spy organization on Alias.
PREZNIT GIVE ME TURKEE: Our good friend Atrios' blog Eschaton turned three yesterday. According to (reg. req'd for the articles, I believe), here's what readers have to look forward to:
Your blogger will also be less dependent on you by around age 3. That's a positive sign that he's more secure and his sense of identity is stronger. For instance, he'll happily play with other bloggers, instead of just side by side. And, of course, most bloggers this age walk, talk, feed themselves, and use the potty or toilet with little or no help from you or your partner.

Does it seem as if your blogger is typing nonstop? This chatty stage is crucial to his learning new words and getting comfortable using and thinking with them. A good grasp of language allows your blogger to express his feelings, needs, and desires, and the more sophisticated his speech and comprehension of words, the more tools he'll have at his disposal for thinking, telling stories, and talking with you, his siblings, peers, and other adults.

By his third birthday, your blogger can probably put on his T-shirt, draw a vertical line, and balance on each foot for a second or more. He might even be able to prepare a bowl of cereal for himself.

Also, apparently, he may start "playing doctor" at this age, but we'll cross that bridge if it comes to that. Happy birthday.
THE PASSLINE POPE: Don't forget to wager a few Soldi on who the next Holy Father will be. Francis Cardinal Arinze is making a strong run, paying 9:1. Ratzinger -- the would-be Panzer Pope -- is at 5:1.
IF I CAN'T GET 'ARRESTED' AT LEAST I CAN BE 'DEAD': 'Arrested Development' had its season -- and probably series -- finale tonight, and it was everything we've come to expect. For those who have been watching, it was unpredictable, subversive, wildly inappropriate, self-referential, and the kind of funny that only works with TiVo -- where you laugh so hard and the jokes come so fast that you have to keep stopping and backing up so that you don't miss anything. At its peak, the show's closest analogue is the first 45 minutes of South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut.

For those who haven't been watching, it was probably offensive and impenetrable. Which serves you right, because if you haven't been watching, I blame you.

Now, losing 'Arrested Development' hurts, but I'm here to say that for at least another five weeks, Sunday is still the best night of television. I didn't start watching Deadwood until I read the Milch article in the New Yorker. Then I tried it, and it is shockingly good television. Like the Sopranos at its best, Deadwood is built on a solid foundation of pervasively looming menace, on which complicated characters skirmish in shifting allegiances. The show's performances are almost an indictment of the mediocre fare that Hollywood makes -- you've seen most of the actors before, but each is such a revelation in these well-written roles that it becomes palpable that there are far more good actors than there are adequate parts. In particular, Garret Dillahunt (in three important but unrelated roles) and Powers Boothe (as a tooth-licking predator dandy) are amazing. Everything in production -- from the mud on the streets to the colors of Mrs. Garret's dress -- is employed in obsessive service to the story. The show is an opera, not an hour-long drama, and if you haven't watched it at all I highly recommend springing for the first-season DVD and trying to catch up.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

MAYBE READING A LITTLE TOO MUCH INTO IT: You know we love that bizarre Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch commercial. But have you thought about the pro-corporate political message it sends? Didn't think so. At least Hootie opposes the whole confederate flag thing.
IN ROMAN NUMERALS, THAT'S MCDVI: Thank goodness some blogger has determined that the F-Bomb has been dropped 1406 times so far in HBO's South Dakota town of Deadwood.

For the worst on basic cable and the networks, the Parents Television Council still has clips.
I WANTED OUR FIRST DANCE TO BE TO "99 PROBLEMS:" As the resident unmarried guy around here, I'm glad to know that the New York Times has told me that now men have something to look forward to in wedding planning--the wedding mix CD. Some are big fans of the idea, like Reginald Hudlin, who claims his CD was "the most impressive one I've heard." (Hudlin also claims that the last movie he directed was good, so that should, perhaps be taken with a grain of salt.) Others are less enthusiastic, with one guy observing that "So often the bride and groom want everyone to identify with the love they share, and they think they can do it with music, but it's like, who cares that 'In Your Eyes' is their song?" Perhaps saddest of all is Toure, who couldn't use Jay-Z on his wedding CD not because his bride disapproved, but because "Grandma wouldn't want to listen." If a CD just won't do, you can always opt for the $800 a pop iPod mini, decorated "with Swarovski crystals (pink is the most popular color), including a couple's initials or the date of the wedding" and loaded with the couple's favorite songs. Yes, Sunday Styles, where just about anything is improved with a few hundred dollars worth of crystals.