Friday, August 17, 2012

OFFERING "RIDES" IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED:  There are two things we can all agree on--first is that cancer sucks, and second is that Ron Swanson is awesome.  So why not contribute to fighting cancer by bidding on your own personal Ron Swanson-stache?
WHAT A PITY YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND:  Toni Basil has cleared the air and confirmed, sadly, that her hit song "Mickey" is not about The Monkees' Micky Dolenz, nor are the lines "So come on and give it to me / Any way you can / Any way you want to do it / I'll take it like a man" a reference to any particular sexual position or practice.

Up next: so what is the thing Meat Loaf would not do, even for love?
AS I LAY FRYING:  Yes, the world needed a new Tumblr combining luscious, near-pornographic photos of baked goods with literary quotes.
NOT FOR USE BY LAMESTAINS OR COB NOBBLERS:  Don't flub the nub by missing Mental Floss' compilation of old-timey slang.
WHERE'S TOOTIE?  Rumors suggest that among the players of Survivor: Philippines will be former Facts of Life star turned "hot saucing" advocate Lisa Whelchel. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

IT GOES GREAT WITH TUSCAN WHOLE MILK:  Finally, someone has posted a recipe for ice cubes on, and the reviews are all over the map.

[My favorite in the genre remains Amazon's listing for uranium ore, and, specifically, this review: "I purchased this product 4.47 Billion Years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty."]
FOR AN ENCORE, TWENTY-SEVEN FISHMONGERS WILL MISS THEIR MARK AT THE PIKE PLACE MARKET: Hernandez, F. IP 9.0, H 0, R 0, ER 0, BB 0, K 12, P 113. With the Spacepeople in a secure undisclosed location, we are a little late to note Felix Hernandez's perfect game. Isaac does write in to note: "that game score was not as great as Matt Cain's (two fewer strikeouts) but his last four innings were incredible: 8 ks, 4 weak grounders."
WE DO NOT USE SLICING PROVOLONE! SLICING PROVOLONE ... IT'S JUST LUNCHMEAT:  After a nationwide tour, Man Vs. Food host Adam Richman has named the roast pork/broccoli rabe/provolone sandwich at Tommy DiNic's in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market as the best sandwich in America:
Richman's top three included the roast pork from DiNic's; the Yardbird from Slow’s in Detroit, which has smoked chicken breast drenched in mustard sauce, tossed with sauteed mushrooms and slathered with cheddar cheese, piled with bacon; and a chicken conquistador sandwich at Zunzi's in Savannah, Ga., which is basically chicken, Italian dressing, and "secret sauce" along with tomatoes and lettuce on a baguette.

Other finalists looked good, too: a shrimp po’ boy from Domilise's in New Orleans; Al’s Beef in Chicago; the CSS Virginia sandwich at the Black Sheep diner in Richmond, Va.; a roast beef sandwich piled with fries and homemade bechamel sauce from the Big-Ass Sandwiches food truck in Portland, Ore.; an El Toro BBQ sandwich from Phil’s BBQ in San Diego; the seared beef tongue sandwich from the Noble Pig in Austin, Texas; and the lobster roll at the Galley Restaurant & Pub in Naples, Maine.
I don't believe he considered the Denny's ("Now Serving Black People, Because The Courts Say We Have To") offering where they stuffed mozzarella sticks inside a grilled cheese sandwich, however.
BY THE WAY, HOMER, WHAT'S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE COUNTRY—ITALY OR FRANCE? This link combines two of Isaac's least favorite topics, Simpsons references and a slide show: The Simpsons' writers room's ten favorite single-episode characters.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

AND KICK THEM NASTY THOUGHTS:  If you haven't set seen "Baby Got Back" as sung via 295 film clips, go now. And then, listen to this six-minute demo The Roots put together on a lunch break to demonstrate to the Rock and Roll Non-Country Popular Music of the 1950s and Beyond Hall of Fame executives just what they could do if invited to help with a Beastie Boys tribute.
HEAD GAMES:  On September 21, Hoop Dreams director Steve James is releasing a documentary on the chronic brain trauma crisis in sports. Its trailer, featuring Chris Nowinski and a number of familiar faces, is here.
ALEX P. KEATON'S REVENGE: It's wonderful to hear that Michael J. Fox is feeling good enough health-wise to return to weekly TV.  That said, while his guest work in recent years has been delightful (he's nominated for guest acting this year for both his work on Curb and on Good Wife), is Fox a big enough star that he'll automatically draw folks in?  Star-driven vehicles haven't really broken out in recent years (Last Man Standing, Hank, Bleep My Dad Says, and Mr. Sunshine (Yay!) all failed to live up to expectations), while the top sitcoms are dominated by faces who weren't really generally well-known prior to their show.
STRING, YOU KNOW WHAT I SEE? I SEE A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. NOT HARD ENOUGH FOR THIS RIGHT HERE AND MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, NOT SMART ENOUGH FOR THEM OUT THERE: Our three episode catch-up on Wire Wednesday— "Homecoming," "Back Burners," and "Moral Midgetry"—is all about the possibility of reform, and its limits.
WHAT AN A[][]HOLE:  A player was ejected from the National Scrabble Championship yesterday after admitting to pocketing the two blank tiles before the round began for his own later use.
CALL YOUR OWN FOULS:  FIBA plans to propose adding 3-on-3 basketball to the Summer Olympics for 2016. Durant-James-Paul v. Rubio-Gasol-Gasol?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AMERICAN PI:  This afternoon, according on estimates, the U.S. population reached 314,159,265.
[SAD TROMBONE] FOR ALL BUT ONE:  The Price Is Right will be broadcasting a web series documenting the show's search for its first male model.  Job requirements include "qualities such as their verbal skills, posing, yodeling, and ability to properly showcase a product," and I may have made one of them up.

(Related favorite video: Drew Carey's underwhelmed reaction to the guy who got the Showcase Showdown exactly correct.)
BRING BACK MONTECORE:After a 9 year hiatus, The Joe Schmo Show will return early next year--this time, they're searching for America's next great bounty hunter, and yes, Ralph Garman is back as a new host.  Joe Schmo 2 in particular is in the pantheon of reality seasons, in large part because of how it became a reality show about the production of a reality show, and we can hope that a third season works as well.
OOH! OOH!  OH. NO.  Ron Palillo, who played Sweathog Arnold Horschack on Welcome Back, Kotter, passed away at his Florida home this morning. He was 63. His castmate, Robert Hegyes, died earlier this year.

From 1995, Palillo, Hegyes, and Hilton-Jacobs parodied a former co-star's recent film for the MTV Movie Awards.
SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT ICARUS, BUT HE WAS MAKING AN INNOVATIVE USE OF WAX AND FEATHERS:  Slate political blogger Dave Weigel today begins a multipart series defending, and telling the history of, progressive rock, in a series titled The Ever-So-Brief Rise, and the Inevitable Fall, of the World's Most Hated Pop Music.
IT'S NO OLIVE GARDEN, LET ME TELL YOU:  "So, let's go to this place where you're served food in the pitch black by blind waiters, have to sign a two page waiver and read the 'Dining Rules' before you go in, choose from one of four 'surprise' menus so you have no idea what you're eating, and have no way of getting out!"  Sounds like a great idea, right?  Wrong.

Monday, August 13, 2012

THE LADY WILL HAVE ...  “Everyone was asking me, ‘What’s going with the kids?’” recounted a 24-year-old Cameron Crowe to the LA Times in 1981 while his book was being adapted into a film, “like there was some big secret. I decided to find out. I’d just turned 21 and melancholy. I’d graduated as a junior, never having a senior year. My editor (David Obst) said, ‘You’re still young enough to go back – and report.’”

The film Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released thirty years ago today, and if there's a better line reading in the history of American cinema than Sean Penn's "You dick" to Mr. Hand, I don't think I know it. Featuring three future Academy Award winners for Best Actor, it somehow manages to be funny as hell and sexually explicit while emotionally frank (and painful) in ways that "teen movies" rarely are. Even thirty years later, how many other mainstream American films have featured a character having an abortion, other than Dirty Dancing?  (And as Isaac once noted, it reminds us that there once was a time that a major studio picture could depict a 15-year-old having sex.)

Roger Ebert wrote at the time that it was "a scuz pit of a movie" and "offensive vulgarity ... a failure of taste, tone, and nerve -- the waste of a good cast on erratic, offensive material that hasn't been thought through, or maybe even thought about." I wonder if he'd like a do-over.
YOU'RE IN THE JUNGLE NOW, BABY:After unleashing Chinese Democracy and refusing induction into the Rock Hall of Fame, Axl Rose and the band presently known as Guns 'N' Roses are going to do a sitdown engagement in Las Vegas that will feature a setlist spanning all the work and that is promised to be "unlike any show the band has ever done before or will ever do again."  I'm unsure if that's a threat, a promise, or both.
MEET THE SNOWTHS:  Eleven Muppets which made 11 or fewer appearances.
NO, MR. BOND, I EXPECT YOU TO DIE:  An enterprising soul has put together a supercut of maniacal laughter in films.  (And yes, you can probably already guess the ending.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

KEEPS ON TICKING: I watched a lot of Olympics these last two weeks, and I saw some pretty incredible and laudable things: Vinokourov taking the men's road race to finish his cycling career; the fastest 800-meter race in history (it is possible that every entrant in that race, or at least the first five, set records for their places of finish; that is, the fastest second-place of all time, the fastest third-place, etc.); Kim Yeong-koun putting the hammer down again and again even though everybody knew the ball was coming to her; McKayla Maroney's perfect vault, followed by her meme, followed by her coopting her meme; Usain Bolt continuing to look like a complete alien being once he unfurls his legs (note: I left Gabby Douglas off because I was in a hotel room and missed the all-around, but she did get the iconic photo of the Olympics).

But the most confident, oh-no-you-didn't, finger-wagging show of force at the Olympics?
THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD: When they ended the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, unsurprisingly no one from Los Angeles was there. President Carter insisted that the IOC not even raise the United States flag in Moscow; instead, the Los Angeles city flag was raised, with IOC chair Lord Killanin urging the "sportsmen of the world to unite in peace before a holocaust descends." While the Moscow closing ceremonies does have its charms, things have improved.

I can't find the handover from Los Angeles to Seoul from 1984, but a UFO flew over the stadium and Lionel Richie and the Non-Threatening Breakdancers of the World partied significantly into the night.  But we can observe how Barcelona introduced itself at the end of the Seoul Games (flamenco-rific!), Atlanta at the end of the Barcelona Games (more non-threatening breakdancing, and Izzy!), Sydney at the end of Atlanta, Athens at the end of Sydney, and London at the end of Beijing.

The Sydney 2000 Closing Ceremonies are a favorite of mine because they let Midnight Oil argue in favor of reparations to the country's aboriginal peoples, had songs of vegemite sandwiches (and pilfered flute melody), and Kylie Minogue singing ABBA. From the Idle rumors I've seen, London might just be spicy enough top it, and we'll see what Rio promises for 2016.
BELARUS, THERE. NOT SO GOOD ON THE WATER, IT SEEMS. QUESTIONABLE HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD AS WELL FOR THAT COUNTRY:  Alternate commentary for the women's laser radial sailing finals. Trust me.

added, this morning: NBC baskeball play-by-play announcer Bob Fitzgerald can't distinguish Jesse Eisenberg from a character he once played.