Saturday, January 12, 2008

CALIFORNIA HERE WE COME: Some thoughts on my arrival into lovely Southern California for what may be as long as a week for work stuff (which may explain some lack of blogging from me over the next few days):
  • Man, the Bose Noise Cancellation Headsets provided by American to its Business Class passengers really work. Watching The Bourne Ultimatum on the tiny little "Digital Entertainment Device" they gave to us was a pleasure (and, man, does that hold up--if The Fugitive was nominated for Best Picture, this oughta be, too).
  • I always forget coming into Los Angeles that it's surrounded by mountains. Never having lived anywhere where there's much change of elevation in the metro area, it's really a refreshing thing to see change of elevation.
  • Man, Santa Monica is strange. I'm in a hotel right on the beach, yet a block away are horrible craphole motels, and then another block away, what appears to be a massive tourist trap. It's a little freaky (and, yeah, got lost on the way to the hotel and got to navigate through the random streets of Santa Monica).

My Year of Flops Case File # 101 Graffiti Bridge | The A.V. Club

THEY DON'T CARE WHERE THEY KICK, JUST AS LONG AS THEY HURT U: Almost to the end of his magnificent "My Year of Flops" series, the AV Club's Nathan Rabin tackles Graffiti Bridge:
Graffiti Bridge was designed as both a sequel to Purple Rain and a vehicle for Ingrid Chavez, one of a series of talented young singer-songwriters Prince nurtured creatively. And by “talented young singer-songwriters,” I of course mean “talentless skanks” and by “nurtured creatively” I mean ...
Yeah. I've seen it, and Rabin captures the fiasco accurately. (The soundtrack, however, is pretty great - "Still Would Stand All Time" is one of Prince's better ballads, and I have a soft spot for "Elephants and Flowers.")

In other AV Club news, Patton Oswalt tries a KFC Famous Bowl, and Anthony Bourdain sits down for a long interview.

What's Alan Watching?: 30 Rock: Damn good coffee! And hot!

THE DEVIL'S TEMPERATURE: There may not be a lot to say about Thursday night's until-the-strike's-over final episode of 30 Rock, but anything still worth saying is worth mentioning here. I thought it was just-okay for a 30 Rock episode, which is still yards better than almost anything else on television, with the musical sequence being its highlight. One of Alan Sepinwall's readers noted that none of the show's writer-characters appeared in the episode, which seems like the right touch. So grab a Jewish doughnut, and let's get on that train to the floating city of New Chicago.

[FYI: the annual ALOTT5MA Award for Funniest Half-Hour of Television of 2007 was awarded to the "Source Awards" episode of 30 Rock -- yes, ahead of "Cleveland" or "Greenzo". I thought it took the biggest comedic risks and they all paid off ("They're remarkable people, the Blacks"), and Wayne Brady + LL Cool J > Emily Mortimer. "Didn't you tell me to live every week like it's Shark Week? And that nothing's impossible except dinosaurs?"]
WEEKEND FUN: This is the greatest list ever and this is just plain funny (and OK, a little mean, but more funny).

R.E.M. singer charmed by Huckabee - Yahoo! News

THOUGH HE DID REFER TO LAST NIGHT'S GOP DEBATE AS "A TOURNAMENT, A TOURNAMENT, A TOURNAMENT OF LIES": So, for whatever reason, Michael Stipe [heart] Huckabee, which opens up a question: is there any celebrity whose endorsement would matter to you? Is there any celebrity whose endorsement matters, period?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

COULDN'T WE MASH THEM UP INTO "BRIDEZILLA ATTACKS NEW YORK?" Next weekend poses a dilemma for many ThingThrowers with two ALOTT5MA faves squaring off at the box office--so, who you got--Katherine Heigl or J.J. Abrams? (And seriously, the press notes for Cloverfield, which contain some spoilers, make even more fascinated.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

WONDERMIKE: We were talking in the other thread about memorable political moments in our lives, and I have to confess that I was really moved by the sight last night on my way home of hundreds of people waiting in line outside City Hall just to shake the hand of our new mayor, Michael Nutter. Mind you, his predecessor was so unpopular that he couldn't get people to line up unless he was giving away iPhones, but still, it says something about the hope that we invest in our politicians that so many well-wishers were there.

I attended the inaugural celebration Tuesday night, enjoying some Chickie & Pete's cocktail shrimp, Sid Booker's fried shrimp (as good as Jim Leff claimed) and various and sundry non-shrimp items from purveyors around the City, but headed home before what ended up being the true highlight of the evening, thankfully captured on YouTube: our new mayor, a former club dj himself back in the day, rapping his way through "Rapper's Delight". Now, that's a memorable moment.
SNAP, CRACKLE, NO MARKED BILLS: Awhile back I harbored the dream of starting a second blog devoted to cereal news. While I still think it would make a great subject for a blog, family, work, and online Scrabble all get in the way, but I still have a Google News alert for cereal and in a casual perusal of my Inbox this morning I came upon this cereal-related item from the Orange Country Register's police blotter:
9:30 a.m.Commercial robbery; a robber, holding a large Rice Krispies box, left on foot with $2,000 from City National Bank. No weapons were seen. He is described as being a white male, about 40-50 years old, 5 feet, 5 inches, and about 150-160 pounds with a grey mustache. He was reportedly wearing a black beanie, a black and white stripped polo shirt, and blue jeans; 9 Executive Circle
I don't want to tell the good folks at the OCR how to do their jobs, but this story, to me, screams out for a little enterprise reporting. As Drudge might say...developing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

HARTSFIELD'S LANDING: I had this whole post prepared on how we were slightly loosening the no-politics edict into more of a "just analysis, no advocacy" guideline, along with discussion of whether we were headed to the real-life reenactment of the Matthew Santos-Arnold Vinick race, with Mike Huckabee as our Rev. Don Butler, but in lieu of that I'll just say this:


I believe these primaries just might last a while.
I WONDER HOW RON BURGUNDY FEELS: When the Associated Press says it, it must be true--"Now and for the foreseeable future, virtually everything involving Britney is a big deal." No word on whether other members of the Spears family are included in this edict.
A MAN'S GOT TO HAVE A CODE: I'm still one episode away from being able to watch this week's Wire debut (will knock that one off on tonight's trip from John Wayne to Oakland), but if anybody wants a space to discuss the show in general, or the episode in particular, feel free.

Potential topics of discussion: Does Season 3 belong on a list of the best TV seasons of all time (along with Deadwood 1, Arrested Development 1 and 2, Lost 1, X-Files 3, Mama's Family 2, etc.)? In the nature of the amusing montage in HBO's The Wire: Review (or whatever that show was called), who is your favorite character, and in one sentence, why (me: Omar, of course)? If you were a Wire character or inanimate object, which one would you be (me: Prez, nail gun)? Does the show glamorize violence? Does Carcetti remind you of Gabriel Byrne or Clark Gregg? Why hasn't anybody commented on the fact that Randy and Cheese have the same last name (Wagstaff) -- is Randy Cheese's son? Why isn't everybody in Baltimore dancing to oldie-sounding records? Do you ever find yourself formulating Wire-slang sentences in your head and then feeling sheepish?
GOOSE, YES. HAWK, NO: Rich Gossage is Cooperstown's newest member. Jim Rice fell 14 votes shy, while Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven saw upticks in support. Tim Raines was the only first-year player to get the requisite 5% to stay on the ballot, while Mark McGwire's support stayed just about even from a year ago. And good old Harold Baines stays on the ballot for another season, getting 5.2% of the votes.
WELCOME TO UNCLE ANDERSON'S FUNHOUSE: Over the holidays, I got sucked into a marathon of old episodes of The Mole on Fox Reality--I'd forgotten just how good it was to watch a bunch of mistrustful people gallavant around Europe and try and unmask "The Mole," the one fellow contender who had been hired by the producers to serve as a sabatour. The show was top-notch in three key areas--casting (always culturally, racially, and age-diverse and interesting, with few, if any, hatable folks), challenges ("can a competitor spend all night in a room with a disco ball with 'Tiny Bubbles' playing nonstop without going crazy?," and the great final "Three Rooms" challenge from the first season, in which players are locked into their hotel rooms, with the information needed to get out of their room in their fellow contenders' room), and host (the snarktastic Anderson Cooper). Yes, the brand was subsequently diluted with two editions of "Celebrity Mole" with lame casting (Stephen Baldwin, Ananda Lewis, Frederique van der Wahl?), lame challenges, and a horrid host (Ahmad Rashad?). But the good news? ABC's bringing it back with the original producing team, though, since Anderson is otherwise engaged, they're looking for a new host. Suggestions?

Monday, January 7, 2008

SOMEWHERE, PIA ZADORA WEEPS: According to Nikki Finke, the Golden Globe Awards have been cancelled.
I'M A VERY NEAT MONSTER: I've been watching the first season of Dexter on DVD, and am wondering just how they're going to manage to edit for length and for content to run it on CBS as strike filler programming on Sunday nights at 10 PM (keeping it out of the FCC family programming time). Of course, much (though not all) of the gore is no worse than you might see on CSI or CSI: Miami, but the nudity, language, and length are going to be harder to cut around.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

HOLY SCHNIKIES: Whether you enjoyed this antepenultimate episode of The Amazing Race depends on whether you prefer justice in the process or in the outcome. Because while the tasks were cool (robot soccer! flowers! city navigation!), there wasn't much drama to the episode -- and I believe I saw the Groanies wandering around Beijing's airport at one point.

It was what it was, and then at a late moment, it became clear that it wasn't exactly what we thought it was. We'll discuss.
SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT: I have a story again in today's Sunday Chicago Tribune "Arts & Entertainment" section, this time exploring the greatest movie barbers of all time (the hook is/was the release of Sweeney Todd).