Saturday, August 10, 2013

WHEN YOU PICK US UP FOR SEASON TWO, WE'LL TELL YOU:  Our friend Shonda Rhimes, the Kings of The Good Wife, Carlton Cuse, and others discuss the challenges and joys of tv show-running in a social media age.

Friday, August 9, 2013

ISSSSSSSSSHHHHHH: In part by basically abandoning its original premise (seriously, the plot point that "Mike never went to law school!" hasn't been mentioned once this season, other than in vague references to "Mike's secret"), Suits has become an even more delightful good time--giving us Good Wife minus the "ripped from the headlines" partisan political stuff and plus a lot of movie and TV references--for instance, an extended riff on The Wire made possible by basic cable's relaxed decency guidelines, which Stephen Colbert and a special British guest will explain for you.
IF HE'S ACTIVELY WORKING WITH THE NE'ER-DO-WELLS...  Saul Goodman is an unethical attorney, and the National Law Journal is ON IT.
AN OCCASIONAL FRIDAY ROLL CALL:  On what level of Candy Crush Saga are you currently stuck?  And is there a name for that thing you create when you line up five in a row? (92, and "I don't know" which is why I'm asking.)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

FRIEND OF THE DEVIL IS A FRIEND OF MINE:  Friend of ALOTT5MA -- and reknowned misophone -- Paul Tabachneck still has a bit more than a day left to crowdfund his new album.

For $100 he'll sing you any song at all (save one).  Will that buy you an a cappella rendition of the drum solo from Moby Dick on "The Song Remains the Same"?  Give the man some money.  And find out.
LOVE WON'T HURT ANYMORE:  The MS Pacific (nee Pacific Princess) is heading for the scrap yard.  Now, I have never been on a boat larger than an English Channel ferry, but watching the Love Boat, it seemed so big and luxurous.  But a quick comparison of Pacific Princess, which was christened in May 1971 to the Oasis of the Seas, christening in November of 2009, shows just what forty years has done to the industry.  16,000 tons v. 225,000; 650 passengers v. 5,500.  550 feet v. 1,180.

Shout outs to the crew of the Pacific Princess are encouraged.
"THIS HODGEPODGE OF MEDICINE AND MORALITY":  Slate's Michele Humes tells the history and calls for the abolition of the children's menu:
Today, nutritionists are rightly appalled by the insipid, mostly fried fare designated for children. In response, a growing number of restaurants have tasked themselves with building a healthier children’s menu, but the approach taken by casual-dining chains like Red Lobster and Applebee’s is superficial: Instead of throwing out the chicken nuggets, they’re counting on sides of broccoli to magically counteract them. But even a more thorough revamp would be missing the point—namely, that children never needed a separate bill of fare to begin with. If there is any argument to be made for holding onto the kids' menu, it is that contemporary portion sizes are more than a child can handle. (They’re more than most adults can handle, for that matter.) Moving forward, the industry might do well to look backward, to the children’s options offered in Parisian restaurants at the turn of the 20th century. This 1900 menu, from the Restaurant Gardes, has the right idea: a child’s cut-price prix fixe (couvert d’enfant) that doesn’t offer different food—just less of it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BUT HOLD ON TO HIM! PLEASE! Whatever you may think of the new video, Eric Sundermann implore that you "don't let Mumford & Sons trick you into liking them":
The video presents a self-aware and ironic portrait of Mumford & Sons, and it shows that these guys get it. They know that Marcus Mumford looks like a clerk in the Oregon Trail games and that banjos are inherently goofy and vests are "quirky," which in this case is kind of a stand-in for "stupid" and their folk-stompy style has become so common that it's practically a cliché. They understand! Get it?! Do we get that they get it? ...
Outside of this stupid music video, the music Mumford & Sons makes is very bad. It's overtly sincere folk rock. It's more earnest than a sophomore in college who discovered Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass for the first time and quotes it regularly. It's more pretentious than tattooing "live, laugh, love" on your leg....
LET MY CAMERON GO:Ferris Bueller fan?  Have a couple of million bucks lying around?  Cameron's house from the movie is on the market!
UP ALL NIGHT TO HAVE FUN: Stephen Colbert threw a "Get Lucky" dance party last night, and the video is well worth your time (featuring special cameo by a surprisingly bearded celebrity via Skype!).
WALK/DON'T WALK:  On the psychology of placebo buttons in our daily lives.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT:  Vulture's Margaret Lyons explains why skills-based competitions are the best subgenre of reality tv, which is as good a hook as any to alert you to the fact that HBO's Hard Knocks returns this evening, once more with the Cincinnati Bengals. As I once wrote, Hard Knocks is "a documentary about an aspect of real life that happens to function like reality tv, only the same competition would have happened even had no cameras been there." And while it has only rarely achieved Full Slapdick, it has never not been great.

[Favorite skills-based competitions not mentioned in that article: Wickedly Perfect, Tough Enough (whoops: mentioned), ESPN's Dream Job, The Contender, Project Greenlight, Rock Star, and the one in the title.]
SEQUEL! SEQUEL! SEQUEL! It's not out till next March (boo!), but there's a trailer for Muppets Most Wanted, and courtesy of the joys of the Internet, you don't have to go see Planes to see it.
¿LO QUIERES?  Taco Bell is expanding its testing of a breakfast menu featuring the Waffle Taco, consisting of a folded waffle holding a sausage patty and scrambled egg, syrup on the side, as well as the Crunchwrap (scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheese, and bacon or sausage, wrapped in a tortilla).
NOM NOM NOM: Icona Pop's "I Love It" may have lost to "Blurred Lines" as Song of the Summer, but has "Blurred Lines" been covered by Cookie Monster?  I think not.
I WON'T REMEMBER THE WORDS THAT YOU SAID:  I'm not saying that Jason Sudeikis Viral Video of the Week is going to become a regular feature here, but you should see what he, Ed Helms, Will Forte, and Jason Bateman did for the new Mumford & Sons music video. (Bands still make music videos?)

Monday, August 5, 2013

THAT'S WHAT SHE READ: EW has excerpts from casting reels that will be on the final season of The Office when it comes out on Blu-Ray, indicating that the following folks were considered:
  • Seth Rogen as Dwight
  • Eric Stonestreet as Kevin
  • Kathryn Hahn as a much more world-weary Pam
  • John Cho or Adam Scott as Jim
Rogen's all wrong as Dwight (too jokey and not enough of a straight man), but there are some interesting what-if's there.  Imagine if rather than Scrantonocity, Kevin's secret love was being a clown named Fizbo.
I LIKE 'EM REAL, THICK AND JUICY. (emp. added): Sir Mix-a-Lot clearly states that "silicon parts are made for toys," yet the Washington Post wants to put some of the blame of do-it-yourself plastic surgery disasters on Mix?. "Very big buttocks have been popular in hip-hop videos for years, celebrated by songs like the 1990s hit “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot, with lyrics declaring, “I like big butts and I cannot lie.” This is a damned slander.
ROLL CALL!  We are long overdue for an omnibus Thing Thrower check-in. In recent weeks, some of you have posted wedding announcements, others baby announcements, so if there is any news you'd like to share with us, now's a great time.