Saturday, September 15, 2012

NICK OFFERMAN/DUKE SILVER, IRA GLASS/PHILIP GLASS, OR PRINCE/PRINCE:  Throughout the season, the producers of SNL will be soliciting host/musical guest suggestions via the Internet.  (Most likely outcome: Clint Eastwood/PSY, the latter having even gotten David Gregory rocking Gangnam Style yesterday.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

PAY FOR IT USING YOUR PICKETT'S CHARGE CARD:  There are two hours left in the GSA auction of the 28'x29', twelve ton electric light map depicting the Battle of Gettysburg, which had been a mainstay of the battlefield visitors center for decades.  You can see the map in action here.

update: SOLD! for $14,010 to a York Co. businessman who plans to put it on display in downtown Hanover, PA (still home of Snyder's Of).
ALOTT5MA FRIDAY GRAMMAR RODEO:  In which The Atlantic reports on Portland (OR) advertising director Ted McCagg's bracket-based quest to determine the best English language word ever, and from a Final Four including kerfuffle, hornswoggle, and gherkin arrives at ... diphthong.

(Best words eliminated during the Final 32, IMHO: scalawag, tchotchke, lollygag, isthmus, and nougat.)
POTENTIALLY RECONCILABLE:  Recognizing that All Things Taylor Swift is usually Matt's department, but, seriously, what's up with the Furry Band in the "Never Ever" video? Has an unnecessary line been crossed between adorable and too-self-consciously-twee-and-quirky?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

JUST BE GLAD IT WASN'T THE SAME EPISODE:  Not only have both been long-listed for Supreme Court nominations which likely will never come, but both Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm have appeared on The Dating Game, and yes, each link has video.  (Warning: Big Hair.)
THEY ARE NOT YET EQUIPPED TO SEND PEOPLE TO THE SPECIAL HELL:Some cinemas in the UK now have "Movie Ninjas" to discipline those who do not abide by a "no talking" rule.
ISO MWM, 40ISH, MUST BE FIRST IN WAR AND FIRST IN PEACE, AND INCAPABLE OF TELLING A LIE. HATING HESSIANS, FALSE TEETH BOTH PLUSSES:  They're auditioning for a new George Washington to lead the annual Christmas Day reenactment of the Delaware River crossing.

Obligatory N.B.: The Hessians?  Not drunk.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

VINNIE, ISN'T IT AMAZING HOW I MANAGED TO MAKE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SELLING TEQUILA DESPITE HAVING NO ACTUAL SKILLS WHATSOEVER?  With news that the Entourage movie script is almost ready to go, the AV Club exclusively gives us a peek.
I WAS A STAND-UP TOMATO: A JUICY, SEXY, BEEFSTEAK TOMATO. NOBODY DOES VEGETABLES LIKE ME. I DID AN EVENING OF VEGETABLES OFF-BROADWAY. I DID THE BEST TOMATO, THE BEST CUCUMBER... I DID AN ENDIVE SALAD THAT KNOCKED THE CRITICS ON THEIR ASS: The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has named its 2012 honorees, with this year's rainbow ribbons going to Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Buddy Guy, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. Hoffman's reaction?
“You want me to be honest?” Hoffman asked. “Part of you is honored, and the other part of you feels like they are eulogizing you. You’ve gotta make sure that you remind yourself that it ain’t over. They should call it a half-lifetime achievement award.”
SATURDAY WHITE LIVE:  The show has added three new cast members, and their Second City alumni status isn't the only thing they have in common. Taran Killam is excited to return, though Romney-portraying Jason Sudeikis may only stick around through January, but if you only read one season-previewing article it should be this lengthy Splitsider interview of show fulcrum Bill Hader, in which he talks about how he approaches impressions:
Dana Carvey was really good at that and we talked about that. He hosted and I got to talk to him a little bit about how he approached those things. It's got to be funny. You can be really accurate, and I've done that before, where I've gotten someone and they went, "That's really accurate, but it's low energy and not very funny." Or it's accurate but, you know, the caricature version of him is actually kind of better. Or James Carville, where it's okay, it's a fine impression, but him acting insane is what makes it funny. You know what I mean? Him saying he's raised by eels and stuff. Which is the kind of thing I'm more interested in. I'm more interested in weirder things.... [Carvey] and Jim Downey have a term, "handles." Like a certain person has certain handles. George Bush Sr. had big handles, like [as Dana Carvey, as G.H.W. Bush] "Not gonna do it." It was like, "Oh my gosh this is great. I can figure something out on this guy."
update:  Jay Pharoah is taking over as Barack Obama! (HT: Watts.)  From his pre-SNL years, here's why.
LET'S ALL HANG OUT AT THE LUNCHEONETTE:  Because of NBC's oddball scheduling proclivities, last night was the first time we saw our friends the Bravermans (Bravermen?) on Parenthood in over 6 months (last season's finale was February 28, to make way for Fashion Star).  I have to say that if the rest of the season keeps up that level of quality, the show deserves to be in the Emmy conversation for next year.  A few specific points:
  • I'm not sure I can picture another show doing a plotline like the Crosby/Jasmine/Jabbar one from last night.  Yes, The Good Wife did something kind of similar with Grace's search for religion (which kind of disappeared without explanation), but handling this plot without clearly defined "right" and "wrong" sides of the debate was really well done.
  • Similarly, I'm not sure if I can picture another network drama having the Julia/Joel adoption plotline not being entirely a happy ending for them.  I'm particularly interested to see how this plays out given that the young actor playing Victor is now a regular and has been added to the credits.
  • The adult cast of the show gets a lot of credit (and deservedly so), but one thing that struck me in last night's episode in particular was how good some of the scenes involving only the younger actors were.  In particular, the scenes between Max and Haddie and Max and Victor were very well performed.
  • I didn't watch Everybody Loves Raymond (find Patricia Heaton exceedingly shrill) or Men of a Certain Age (despite hearing from many people how good it was), and was pleasantly surprised to see that Ray Romano winds up fitting into this world really well.
Because of NBC's wonky scheduling, the show's slated for a short season this year (though depending on how badly NBC's fall goes, anything is possible), but I suspect I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.
BELIEVE?  Four games back, with twenty left to go and only two teams in between. Prospectus has inched the odds up to one percent, and I think I'm buying—even though the Cardinals still have nine games remaining with the Astros and Cubs.
FACT IS, WE WENT TO WAR, AND NOW THERE AIN'T NO GOIN' BACK. I MEAN, SHIT, THAT'S WHAT WAR IS, YOU KNOW. ONCE YOU IN IT, YOU IN IT:  HBO did not renew The Wire until three months after season three ended; as far as David Simon knew, "Mission Accomplished" might well have been the last hour of the series. It feels that way in spots—the brief callback to Frank Sobotka and McNulty's visit to Beadie's house in particular feel like a grace notes to try to tie the three seasons together in a bow, as well as that majestic shot of all the crumbled beer cans on the roof of the Western District.

And where we are, compared to the start of the series, is same as it ever was, only sadder on the systemic level, with some hope for a few people...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

REMEMBER THE NAME NORMAN MAILER:  First ads for famous novels.
REDUCING DVRMAGGEDON:  After much complaining, CBS has finally realized that they need to recognize that football always delays their Sunday schedule, so on weekends when there's a national doubleheader, the official CBS Sunday schedule on the East Coast will be:
  • 7:30--60 Minutes
  • 8:30--The Amazing Race
  • 9:30--The Good Wife
  • 10:30--The Mentalist
  • 11:30--Local news.
It's not quite a perfect solution, as this schedule is only effective for national doubleheaders, and leaves the possibility of a game running short and CBS having to fill 15 minutes with something weird (because of rights issues with NBC, I believe they can't do highlights) or a game running into overtime. 
WE REMEMBER:  For nearly ten years, Randy Scott's family believed he had been killed instantly when the second plane hit Two World Trade Center, given that he was so close to the point of impact, working on the 84th floor. They were wrong, and you'll want to read this story.

Starting in 2006, we have paused every year on the anniversary of the September 11 Attacks for your reflections. This is an open thread.

Monday, September 10, 2012

FROM THE ALOTT5MA GENDER STUDIES DESK:  For their train voyage last night to New York City, the Washington Nationals attired their rookies in the uniforms of the United States Women's Gymnastic Team. (Last year: the Nationals smurfed it up.)
FULL FREQUENCY RANGE RECORDING:  As part of its weeklong tribute to the culture of twenty years ago, the AV Club highlights 24 pop culture windows into the world of 1992.  (I'm sure #25 would have been the debut of Melrose Place.)

related: Slate has a series of articles today celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the film Sneakers, of which John Swansburg writes:
It’s a movie I can watch again and again and never get tired of; it’s the movie I happily settle on when every other DVD or download doesn’t quite suit my mood. I think I find it so trusty because it’s action-packed without being too violent, and smart without taking itself too seriously. And, perhaps most important, it’s perfectly paced: Even when you know every scene by heart, not one of them feels like it lasts a second longer than it needs to. I’ve seen Sneakers more than a dozen times; I’ve never hit fast forward.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

FROM THE ALOTT5MA F/M/K DESK: Coming to a store near you tomorrow, limited edition Candy Corn flavored Oreos.