Friday, December 14, 2012

HE LITERALLY HAS TO GIVE UP THE FUNK: In order to satisfying a $1M+ debt to his former law firm, George Clinton has been ordered to turn over the Funkadelic master sound recordings of “Hardcore Jollies,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” Uncle Jam Wants You,” and “The Electric Spanking of War Babies.”  The district court opinion is here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

TO PROFESSOR HENRY WALTON JONES, JR:  The University of Chicago has received a mystery package.
THAT WASN'T HERB TEA ... THAT WAS HERB!  The wacky hijinks of NBC's Night Court will always remain in a dear place in my memory, so I regret to inform that its creator, Reinhold Weege, has passed away at age 62. Weege also wrote more than 100 episodes during the show's nine seasons, which balanced the madcap with the sentimental (and far too many real-life deaths) with aplomb, and made a star out of John Laroquette while giving Harry Anderson the platform for which the show was always intended. Also: Mel Tormé.
YOU HAD NO RIGHT TO FILL A MAN LIKE THAT WITH AMBITION:  Nominating The Newsroom and Smash for Best TV Drama and Best TV Comedy instead of Mad Men and (Parks & Rec or Louie) suggests just how poorly today's Golden Globe nominations will go over as an assessment of merit, even in the Yemen (see Sepinwall), but since they have some predictive power on the film side it's worth discussing, if only to hear the titters of glee from the far corners over Jack Black's nomination for Bernie.

added: First Fey-Poehler hosting promo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

HARRY DRANK DEEPLY. IT WAS THE MOST DELICIOUS THING HE'D EVER TASTED AND SEEMED TO HEAT EVERY BIT OF HIM FROM THE INSIDE: Two-and-a-half years after its opening, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando has served its five millionth butterbeer.  For those keeping score at home, that's 5,506 butterbeers daily.
'NOT YOUR FATHER'S OLDSMOBILE' JUST PISSED OFF ALL THE FATHERS WITH OLDSMOBILES: There are two (probably an infinite number, actually, but I'll round down to two) ways to look at Windows 8. One is that Microsoft, distracted by the shiny bauble that is the iPad money-printing machine, has moronically and belatedly decided that everything it makes is going to be either tablety or appy. The other is that Microsoft is internalizing the lessons of Blackberry and trying to make sure that when the generations to whom iPhones and iPads are native technology finally graduate to business tools, Windows-based computers will be both familiar and exciting to them.

Whichever you believe, Windows 8 is a pretty upsetting change for those of us who have a lifetime of accreted Windows knowledge and a firm dedication to the old separation of church and state: the iPad is mostly for fun; the laptop and desktop are mostly for business.
IT'S 12/12/12, AT 12:12:12:  Last chance we'll get to do something like this for the next eighty-eight-plus years, until the first hours of the year 2201 2101. So name a favorite "twelve" or "dozen".
BUT YOU GON' LET GO OF THAT BOY. BET THAT:  I try to write about the season four finale to The Wire, "Final Grades," and I'm just too overwhelmed to say anything. Alan, as you'd expect, has a comprehensive summary of where all the characters are at the end, but even that only begins to cover how utterly defeated one feels at the end of the season. Heroic efforts by well-meaning men (and they're all men, it seems) -- Prezbo, Bunny, Cutty, Carver, and to some extent Carcetti -- often backfire, and rarely succeed, and when they do succeed seem to do so for the kid who seemed the least deserving, non-Donut division.  [And we love Donut here.]

Crime, boy, I don't know. Locking up the Barksdale Organization didn't make a difference, because Marlo's right there to take over, and even more brutally. Lock up Parton Partlow and Snoop, and Michael's already ready to take over. Take out Marlo himself, and, well, look at how many other people were there at the latest New Day Co-Op meeting, with the Greeks always needing distributors. Hamsterdam may not have been the answer, but the status quo does not work.

Which leads to the season's true villain: statistics. Whether it's in terms of police clearance rates or students' educational achievement, what Simon and Burns want us to absorb is how much chasing the numbers can distract from, and often work against, the actual goals which the statistics are meant to measure.

Finally, Bubbs. Oh, god, it did get worse.  Damnit.
A DENIAL! A DENIAL! A DENIAL!  Among the headliners at tonight's Madison Square Garden concert for Sandy relief will allegedly be a quasi-Nirvana reunion with, of all people, Paul McCartney on vocals, with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic playing.  Unclear if they'll be playing Nirvana songs, McCartney songs, or some combination thereof, but this could be strange and wonderful.
ITCHY AND LUMPY: Honoring its "bizarre tonal shifts from wacky comedy to breathtaking earnestness to incomprehensibility," Nathan Rabin inducts The Star Wars Holiday Special into his Flops series.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

THREE SIX MAFIA AND MARTIN SCORSESE, NOW TIED: The Best Original Song Oscar has a bunch of weird rules requiring songs to be submitted in advance for clearance, to be adequately featured in the film (a closing credits song is only acceptable if it is the first thing heard once the credits roll), and to be original for the film.  The finalists list came out today, and it's actually kind of interesting:
  • Either for lack of submission or lack of eligibility, the only Hunger Games song eligible is one by the Arcade Fire.
  • Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" is the biggest mainstream hit (topped out at #2 on the Hot 100) to be eligible in a long while.  You have to go back to 2002, when "Lose Yourself" won, to find a Top 5 hit amongst the nominees.
  • Let's be honest--this category is probably almost certainly going to go to "Suddenly," the big ballad they wrote to get Les Mis into this category, right?
  • Despite rumors that "Skyfall" might be ineligible due to its prominent use of the original "James Bond Theme" vamp, it is eligible, and I can see it being a spoiler for those who aren't Les Mis fans.
At a bare minimum, performances of the last 3 should add a little jolt to the broadcast, right?
MY DUTY'S TO THE LAW:  A few nights ago at Joe's Pub in NYC, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe had a Confrontation.

Related: NPH and Jason Segel; Jason Segel and Paul Rudd; Paul Rudd and David Wain.
THAT'S GOING TO BE ONE WEIRD CONCERT:  Interestingly, our Doodle poll from earlier this year managed to almost exactly pick this year's inductees to the Rock Hall of Fame.  All five of the nominees who the ThingThrowers rewarded with 50% or more of their votes got in--Public Enemy, Rush, Donna Summer, Randy Newman, and Heart.  N.W.A. came in just under the 50% mark in our poll and likewise didn't make the cut from the Hall.  We did miss badly on one inductee, though--Albert King got under 10% of ThingThrower votes, but will go into the Hall.  We can already start looking towards next year, where we've got a mortal lock on the first ballot (Nirvana) and a bunch of interesting marginal cases (Fugazi, Phish, Morrissey), and I expect N.W.A. goes in next year, with a few voters shifting with "Public Enemy needed to go in first."  Our Keltners for Donna Summer, Heart, and Rush.
IF #SLATEPITCHES DIDN'T ALREADY EXIST... "Grapefruit is unwieldy, disgusting, and in some cases dangerous to eat. It is indisputably the worst fruit anyone has ever put on a plate."
BANJO:  Matt Zoller Seitz ranks his twenty-five favorite tv comedy episodes of 2012.

Monday, December 10, 2012

WORKED IT: Vulture's annual video necrology for the tv shows, and characters, which died this season. Contains potential character spoilers for Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Grey's Anatomy, and American Horror Story, among others.
SELL, MORTIMER, SELL!  Tennis star Novak Djokovic has bought the entire supply of the world's most expensive cheese. "Pule, a smoked donkey's milk cheese that comes in a white, crumbly form, comes with such a high price tag because one kilogram of the delicious delicacy requires 25 liters of donkey milk."
PLEASE IMAGINE A SUCCESSFUL PUN INVOLVING 'CARRIE ON' AND 'WAYWARD SON': I don't have Showtime, so my viewing of Homeland is arrested at the end of Season 1. But a long-time reader has requested that I open up a thread for discussion of last night's episode, and we do requests. Spoil away in the comments.
ALOTT5MA STYLE GUIDE:  When writing about the band which styles its name as fun., is one obligated to roll with it and let sentences go wherever they go? Vulture's review of the Z-100 Jingle Ball concert contains sentences like this:
Despite her One Direction allegiance, fun. was my new friend’s favorite set of the night, and she was not alone — even the wandering lemonade guy joined in on the “We Are Young” sing-along.... Fun.’s sound is “unique” and “classier” than most pop music, according to my neighbor, which was her endearing way of saying that she recognized something different and more accomplished in their songs.
Especially that sentence with the apostrophe -- is it better to reword to avoid a punctuation traffic jam like that?

[On another note: if Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and One Direction are the current rulers of the Teen Pop roost, this is a pretty damn good time for teen pop music, isn't it?  For evidence, I'll present the Bieber acoustic number from the AMAs, and Ms. Swift from the aforementioned Jingle Ball expressing her thoughts on a reunion with an ex.]