Sunday, March 30, 2008

This week's Ledger

  • Remember this "Should I watch it?" post? Well, I made an executive decision, and deleted Breaking Bad and decided to give Eli Stone a chance. And I was rewarded for my efforts. Eli Stone is a funny, whimsical and compelling show, filled with charismatic performances. Definitely worth adding to the TiVo.
  • Speaking of good TV, In Treatment finished its run Friday night. At the end of the day, it's hard to say whether or not Paul was a good therapist. (SPOILERS) He tried to fuck one patient, but couldn't, though that made her appear to be on the road to understanding how she uses her sexuality to her detriment. One patient killed himself. Oooops. One patient, portrayed by the breathtaking and revelatory Mia Wasikowska, seemed to be happier and healthier after her time with Dr. Weston. One couple was headed for divorce, but after the wife fucked her boss, I can't see where that would go anywhere good anyway. But Jake was more well balanced after the fact. And Paul was a mess at the end of the day, but committed to talking about it with his shrink. Regardless of whether or not Paul put up some scoreboard successes with his patients, the 30 minutes per night mini-dramas were fascinating and anchored by outstanding, Emmy-worthy performances from each and every actor.
  • Catching up with an old friend. Again.
  • The return of kinda warm weather.
  • Braves on TV tonight!
  • Did everyone watch the BSG specials on Friday like I told you to? They were great. I particularly enjoyed the "Phenomenon" show, where various celebrities espoused their total geek love for BSG. Joss, as usual, was fantastic. If you didn't TiVo it, no fear. Check it out, peeps:

  • Listening to Lost podcasts while taking a walk. Of course, I'm probably going to be caught up in figuring out the rules of time travel or contemplating Ben's master plan and walk right into traffic. Keep monitoring the news for the headline: "Man in Dharma t-shirt walks into freeway listening to iPod."
  • Ahhh yes. The t-shirts. I got a geeky wild hair last week and ordered these beauties:

Geeky? Yep. Awesome? Frak yeah.

  • The unexpected fizzling of something kinda cool.
  • The Braves not on TV every night. It figures with my Schleprock like luck that I would move JUST when TBS decides to take the Braves off national telecasts and confine them to regional Georgia broadcasts, only viewable here if I pay out my ass for the Extra Innings package. At least I'll get to watch them on Washington Nationals local broadcasts. I think.
  • No more Lost until April.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Eight O'Clock Hour

Tonight, I turned on every light in the house. I brewed coffee, turned the freezer down to 12 below, turned on every TV and made sure both Tivos were recording two programs each. I had the PC playing iTunes and streaming live video. I put one beer mug in the dishwasher and ran it on potscrubber mode, then plugged in a boombox and played it loud to drown out the noise. I put one sock in the washer and ran a hot cycle, and then dried it for over an hour. I vacuumed my bathmat over and over, and lest I break a sweat, I turned the AC down to a comfortable 65 even though it's about 40 outside. I blended up a pina colada, even though I was already drinking whiskey. I made toast and microwaved a corn dog. For half an hour. It's a little done. My laptop was about to go into sleep mode, but I flicked the touchpad so it wouldn't. Oh, and I went outside and started my SUV, and sat in the parking lot reading a book (with the overhead light on) while gunning the engine, listening to the satellite radio and randomly programming destinations into the GPS. Then I littered.

I'll take potpourri for $600, Alex

Here's Popular Mechanics list of the 10 most "prophetic" sci-fi films ever. (Soylent Green is in there, but not because of the tasty snacks).

Ever wondered where to go when you're in the Star Wars galaxy? Check out this handy map.

A really hard rock and roll lyrics quiz. You would think the songs would be easy to figure out, because every single word of the lyrics IS there. It's just not HOW you are used to seeing them. Check it out.

Speaking of songs, what would song titles look like as a graph? This is too awesome to pass up, so put on your thinking cap and brush up on your chart making skills. The first one is on my iPod, but others are a bit hipster obscure. Still, you'll recognize plenty, and giggle more than once. (hat tip, Pop Candy).

More BSG pimpin'. EW's video interviews with Katee Sackhoff.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The 50 Greatest Television Shows of All Time

Empire, the UK's preeminent entertainment magazine (and really, one of the best out there period) just published a list of the 50 Greatest Television Shows of All Time. While it has a certain British sensibility, and includes several shows many of us in The Colonies haven't seen, it is a solid list and one that deserves comment. So open up another tab in your browser, and follow along with me as I count (most of) them down.

Nice to see some love for Quantum Leap

Would not put Prison Break in the Top 50. Or Top 250.

Veronica's best episode is NOT the S2 finale. And I might put it higher on the list.

DS9's best ep would be "Far Beyond the Stars," Trials and Tribbilations" or "In the Pale Moonlight."

Nice to see Farscape love, too. I would put it higher than 45. I would have never believed I could take seriously a show that featured muppets as aliens, but damned if it didn't work, thanks to inventive scripting and downright sizzling performances by Ben Browder and Claudia Black.

Star Trek at 43? Kidding, right? Dammit, Jim, that's too low!

Band of Brothers. Cool. I hate the way I finally got around to watching this one, though.

For Star Trek: TNG, they rightly named "Best of Both Worlds (Parts I and II)" as the best ep, though I would put "Yesterday's Enterprise" just a notch below that one.

Alias that high? Above 3 Treks and Farscape? I liked Alias, but not that much.

Deadwood at 31. Ahhh, dearly departed Deadwood. I realize there was more to Deadwood's demise than the creation of the trippy, challenging and ultimately frustrating John From Cincinnati, but I would have easily forgone that for one more season with Al Swearingen. And an average of 1,000 "fucks" per 12 episode season? That's 83 "fucks" per episode. That's fucking awesome, fuckers.

Love that Dexter made the list.

Bender on Futurama is named after Judd Nelson's character in the Breakfast Club? Cool.

Nice choice with Angel at 21. Numfar does the dance of joy. And of course, I would have it higher.

Scrubs at 19? Wha? Huh? I mean, I liked Scrubs for a while, until it became all about kids, but 19?

Best. Sitcom. Ever. Arrested Development at 18. Sweet, but it should be even higher.

South Park is still as funny today as it was when it premiered.

Heroes at 15? Has anyone watched season 2? Although I will agree with them about "Five Years Gone." I still have that ep saved on the TiVo, even after all this time.

Firefly at 14! Shiny! How do you pick a "best" episode here? "Out of Gas" is a very solid and obvious choice, though I'm also partial to the more existential "Objects in Space" (Jubal Early is a fantastic creation) and "Shindig" never fails to crack me up. And that's not even mentioning "Our Mrs. Reynolds" with the duplicitous and adorable YoSaffBridge.

Frak Yeah. BSG at 13. Too Low? So Say We All. And for my take on the best episode (and hell, ALL the episodes), check out this Very Special Edition of TNRLM's "The Canon"

Hard to argue with Seinfeld at 11, but I still put Arrested Development as the best sitcom ever, a c-hair ahead of this show and Cheers.

Now we're in the Top 10, with the X-Files at 9. Despite some hits and misses (mostly the unsatisfying wrap up and faltering under its own weight mythology), this still ranks as one of the best shows of all time. Best episode? They cite "Jose Chung," which might be worthy, but there are so many to consider, like "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," "Bad Blood" and many others, including "Home" (check out the Did You Know blurb at the bottom for the surprising origin of that story).

Never watched The Wire. Dunno. Just no interest.

24 at 6? I love watching Jack Bauer whoop some terrorist (or bystander) ass with the best of 'em, but as Gob Bluth would say...."Come On!"

Lost checks in at 5. Given my obsession with the show (I just received 2 "Dharma" and one "Oceanic Air" t-shirts I ordered last weekend), I can't argue with that one. Another show that's tough to pick a best episode. What about "Walkabout?" Or last season's finale, "Through The Looking Glass?" Or this season's "The Constant?"

You woke up this morning. Got yourself a gun. Mama always said you'd be the chosen one. Or at #3. "Long Term Parking" is indeed a fine episode, but "Pine Barrens" is a fucking masterpiece.

I'm fond of The Simpsons, and it certainly has had a significant cultural impact and impressive staying power. That's their choice for number 1. However, speaking of "The Chosen One," my choice for number 1 would be Empire's choice for number 2. The answer, of course, is the television masterpiece Buffy The Vampire Slayer. If you are still scared by the silly title, you're really missing out (much like I assume some folks are by Battlestar Galactica) and owe it to yourself to go buy all seven seasons on DVD right now. Trust me, you won't regret it. Or, if you like, you can do a little sampling at And then you'll go buy all seven seasons on DVD. I'll even get you started right now:

As for the "best" episode of Buffy? You can check out this other Very Special Edition of TNRLM's "The Canon" right here.

As you can tell, I don't have that many quibbles with the list overall, despite the omission of some "classic" series (Twilight Zone, Magnum PI, Cheers, M*A*S*H, etc.). The only "new" series I would think merits inclusion is the compelling Mad Men.

What's missing? Agree or disagree? What are the best episodes? Whatcha think, TNRLM readers?

TiVo Alert!

We're one week and counting from the premiere of the final season of television's best show, Battlestar Galactica. However, tonight Skiffy is airing a couple of specials to get you warmed up:

Revealed airs tonight at 10 PM on SciFi (DirecTV 244), and brings you up to speed on what's happened the previous 3 seasons. (You can also find the amusing 8 minute 3 season review on the same site, under "What The Frak is Going On?").

Phenomenon airs tonight at 10:30 PM on Sci-Fi, and has interviews with various celebrities (including Joss Whedon, Seth Green and Brad Paisley) offering their take on what makes BSG so compelling.

One of TV's best critics, TV Guide's Matt Roush, has posted his advance preview/review of S4 here. A few choice snippets:

"As the emotional roller-coaster that is Battlestar Galactica launches its fourth and eventually final season, I find myself marveling again at its psychological depth, its relentless intensity, and its provocative mix of political, spiritual and military intrigue."

Short and Sweet: "This series has TV legend written all over it."

If you haven't caught up, or haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet, fill your Netflix queue or journey over to iTunes and stock up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Birthday songs start slow, but kick ass at the end

Here we are with the Top 10 on American Idol, and the contestants will be doing songs from the year of their birth. Hey, as long as they’re not reduced to “songs from that one side of Ringo Starr’s album” I think we’ll be okay tonight. Surely in an entire year of songs there will be some ballad that Archuleta can pussify, some tune Kristy Lee can countrify, some song Chikezie can Electric O’ Brotherify and some music Ramiele can coma-fy. And I’ll go ahead and get the bitching out of the way now, and not repeat it during each and every song choice. Holy shit! I was in college that year! Holy shit! I was in high school that year!

Okay, on with the show.

Ramiele bats lead off tonight, and she will pick a song from 1987. She says she needs to step it up because she “was lucky to make the top 10.” No shit, Sherlock. She’s been horrible for the last 2 weeks. She chooses Heart’s “Alone.” Oh boy. Doesn’t she recall a little blonde country gal blowing us away with this a couple of seasons ago? Doesn’t she realize she’ll suffer by comparison? Ye gods. She can’t keep up with the tune, which isn’t that fast to begin with, and basically shouts at us off key for a minute and a half. Horrific. It’s waaaay too big for her. The judges comment on the fact that she’s under the weather. I wish I had a head cold and missed hearing that. Please, goodbye. 1.

And what the fuck is the clapping seal wearing? Black, fingerless, pleather-looking gloves that come up over her elbows, with bracelets on the outside. Not to go all Fug Girls on you here, but…..NO.

Next we have the Psychlo Terl. And it’s his birthday. And he’ll do a sensitive Sting song, “Fragile.” I realize this dude has a teenybopper contingent that thinks his particular brand of sitting outside a third rate coffee house getting quarters in his hat kinda vibe is appealing, but I just don’t get it. This song features some Spanish, which he performs better than the French he mangled last week, but this is a whispy snoozefest. The only thing that should be ‘fragile” here is his chance of continuing another week. Simon reams him, and he handles it like a stoned surfer douchebag. 2

Here comes Syesha. Great. Three of my favorites to start the show off, before I’ve gotten to the bottom of a stadium cup full of whiskey. She will do “If I Were Your Woman.” (And whatever her performance sounds like, I’m going to dock her a full point just for doing this unbelievably annoying “baby cry” thing in the intro interview). Randy loves her, and truth be told, she wasn’t that awful despite missing a few high notes. Paula loves her, and claps like a demented seal. Probably just to keep her poor, uncovered fingers warm. Simon doesn’t think it’s quite as good as the other two short-bussers do. I give her a 5, and take away a point for the baby noise, for a 4.

Chikezie will grace us with a song now, and it’s “If Only For One Night.” He’s not bad. Like a country fair Luther Vandross. Man, this week blows. 4.

Here we go with the Brooke, who looked like a spastic marionette swathed in sunshine last week. I’m not totally crazy for Brooke, but I like her smoky speaking voice. She’s doing “Every Breath You Take.” And that song always amazes me, because so many morons think it’s an ode to true love or something, and not the psychotic ramblings of a stalker. Two improvements already: her hair is straight, and she’s sitting down, not having a seizure at the microphone. She does a pump fake on the start, and begins again. Odd. This is actually the best of the night thus far, which granted, isn’t saying that much. She’s still a little breathy and doesn’t have the greatest range. But will she shut the hell up when getting feedback from the judges? She looks on the verge of crying, takes her lumps and smiles cutely. Sigh. 5.

The Aussie from Georgia, Michael, will be doing Queen. Finally, something lively. He sounds pretty good, and hits some big notes. (but frak! The backup singers totally piss out on their part, sounding like a basket of kittens dropped into miracle kitchen appliance the Magic Bullet). He gets bigger as the song goes, and totally rocks it out. Simon, rightly so, calls it the “only memorable performance of the night so far.” Right you are, Mister Teeshirt. 8

My favorite Irish eyeliner model, Carly, is up next, performing the height of 80s kitschorama, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Either she’ll blow doors on this one, or it will be a trainwreck of epic proportions. No going safe with this Steinman penned, overdone and entertaining monstrosity. Okay, that was great, with the possible exception of an slightly disappointing end. She hit the big power notes flawlessly, handled the smaller, more delicate parts easily, and even put a bit of the raspy strain in there that sounded stylistic, not overmatched or strained. You gotta sell out with that one, and she was committed. Randy didn’t like it. Paula liked it. Simon didn’t enjoy it as much as he could have, and thinks she needs to lighten up. Am I just too in the bag for Carly? Do raccoon eyes make that big a difference for me? I’m giving her an 8.

Here we have the melodic chipmunk, grown in a Disney lab, who is too dangerous for a Nickelodeon show. David will smooth his way through “You’re The Voice,” a cheesetastic song from the late 80s. The teen girls squeal, he sounds okay, and hits a few off notes. I’m with Simon, who calls it a “ghastly song you sing when you have animated creatures with you.” It’s a small world after all, sweetie pie. 5.

Bring on the Top 12’s “special” student, Kristy Lee Shitkicker, who will butcher “god Bless The USA.” She’s no Lee Greenwood, but she’ll probably get a few patriotic votes tonight, and she’s certainly not the worst of the evening. Simon gives Greenwood some props as a singer and songwriter, and tells Kristy Lee she didn’t suck. Definitely a wise choice on her part, and she’s overjoyed not to be drawn and quartered on the stage. 6.

Flowbee haircut David closes the show, with Chris Cornell’s version of "Billie Jean." I think I’ve heard this haunting, rocking version of the song before, and really liked it. This is raw, fun, intense and the performance of the night. That’s probably one of my favorite Idol performances ever. A true showstopper. The judges all love it. And they’re right. If that’s not a 10, I don’t know what is.

TNRLM Top 3: David C, Carly, Michael

TNRLM bottom 3: Ramiele, Psychlo Terl, Chikezie

Monday, March 24, 2008

Buffy alums in the Dollhouse?

Coming out of last week's Paley Fest Buffy extravaganza, TV Guide's Mike Ausiello has some (potential) scoop on the cast of the new Whedon drama Dollhouse.

At first, Joss said he wouldn't cast any more of his "troupe" (other than show star Eliza Dushku), but he seems to have cracked that door open a bit with his recent comments.

You know, I can really see both sides of this. On one hand, I'm a huge fan of all the Joss shows and would welcome seeing any of the actors I came to know, appreciate and love over countless broadcast and DVD viewings. And several actors made successful appearances on more than one show. On the other hand, I fear that if too many of the "same faces" show up on Dollhouse, it may strike potential new fans as too "insidery" and not bring in the numbers that a genre show like this needs, especially on a quick-trigger network like FOX. Plus, Joss has always shown a keen eye for casting. If he had "repurposed" actors from Buffy and Angel to completely fill out the cast of Firefly, we would have been deprived of getting to know our Big Damn Heroes.

Nevertheless, Ausiello teases a few "maybes," in James Marsters, Juliet Landau and Charisma Carpenter. I like all them, and maybe it's time to revisit my "whedonverse" speculative casting for Dollhouse from a post last month:
  • Landau was suggested for the role of Adelle, and I agreed with that one.
  • I raised the possibility of Marsters for Boyd. Would that be a fit that would allow James to play more to his age?
  • Could Charisma be up for the role of Claire?
What say you, sure to be tuning into Dollhouse viewers?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

They only thing it needs to be more authentic is an HGH dealer moving in next door

And I thought I had fond memories of playing wiffleball. You have got to watch this video.

How did they get that cameo?

When I go house hunting later this summer, I think I'm adding this to the checklist.

This week's Ledger

  • You gotta start with the Hoop Dawgs run to the SEC tourney championship. A limited roster picks the perfect time to get hot and put on the Cinderella slippers. Fan hardships with the weather aside, how frakkin' sweet was it to win that thing on the home court of the North Avenue Trade School insects?
  • 22-10 after the first round of the brackets, with all my Final Four still intact. Not great, but I'll take it. (This, of course, is in my "real" bracket. I offered up a $10 entry fee sacrifice to Karma, picking the Dawgs to go all the way in a "bonus" bracket. Surely this gesture of goodwill will count toward something when the real sport rolls around the fall, right? Because we all believe in the supernatural, right?)
  • Littermaid customer service. I've long been a user of the Littermaid automatic litterbox. The more things can be automated and out of sight, out of mind, the better. Check the food, water and litter once a week, and that's about it. Yet another reason why I love cats -- so self-reliant and hassle-free. However, like most things mechanical, from time to time there's a malfunction. And Littermaid has the best customer service this side of Nordstrom. I went through a drill I've been through a couple of times before, and once again, the response is stellar. The litterbox "rake" gets off track and can't be fixed easily, so you call them. You send them a brief note of explanation, a couple of parts off the catshitter and a receipt, and a few days later, they send you a perfectly new unit. How awesome is that?
  • If you're not watching HBO's John Adams, you should be. A brilliant cast and an important story. All the bullshit today makes you forget that we started this goddamned country to escape excessive taxation and religious zealotry. I got chillbumps watching the founding fathers discuss the true meaning of freedom and liberty.
  • After a few cocktails last night, I pulled out Buffy's S6 classic, "Once More With Feeling" as a pick me up. Despite not having the theatre room cave with surround sound at my disposal, the quality of this ep never fails to disappoint. And if you echo those sentiments, here's a flowchart you should enjoy.

  • I didn't do a ledger for last week. So either that's a minus for me for being slack and lazy, or it's a minus because the week was so lame and nondescript that it didn't even merit a few bullet points.
  • Still can't find Once More With Feeling (the soundtrack) on iTunes.
  • I've just been frelling exhausted lately.
  • As noted above, watching John Adams, you recognize the eternal wisdom of the men who established this country. Seeing the choices today for our government leadership makes you sick to your stomach, and eager to go dump some tea in a harbor.

I'll take potpourri for $500, Alex

So after the stunning failure of Bionic Woman (yep, it's totally dead now), BSG co-producer David Eick is apparently turning his attention to a higher-minded sci-fi property to serialize. I'm torn. I always love good sci-fi on TV, Children of Men was rightly nominated for Oscars (though not Best Picture, which it also deserved), and its tale of a dystopian future where women can't become pregnant, signaling the end of the human race, was thought-provoking and brilliantly realized. Readers know that I hate kids on my TV, and what better than a show whose entire premise is based on no kids? However, I fear that week after week, there will be nothing but a focus on having kids, talking about kids, wanting to have kids and wistfully marveling at the miracle of squealing tax deductions.

Will the producers of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles utter the franchise phrase: I'll Be Back?

I finally got around to watching Hot Fuzz last weekend, and it didn't disappoint. Much like Shaun of the Dead, it was a parody that took itself seriously, and got its laughs from mostly character, with the occasional knowing "lift" from genre trappings. Definitely worth checking out. Meanwhile, star Simon Pegg will be playing Scotty in JJ Abrams new Trek film, and he's happy and honored to be part of it. Very psyched to see this.

Brilliant analysis of the core problem with the Obama / lunatic preacher situation, as people take a day off from work to celebrate the fictional death of a fictional character.

The cast of Chuck is funny. And do horrible Desmond impressions.

Carly was in the bottom 3? Are you fucking serious, people? Yeah, Amanda going home was not a bad choice, but Rameile and Kristy Lee Shitkicker should definitely have vacated the premises first. Carly? What's wrong with you, America?

Speaking of Desmond, is time travel possible like on Lost?

Friday, March 21, 2008

A bad guy before his time

You might recall me mentioning Profit before. I loved the show when it was on, briefly, before getting canceled by (who else) FOX. I picked up the DVD at the end of last year, which I blogged about here, and just ran across a new article praising the show over on Salon (note: might have to watch an ad to read it).

If you haven't watched the show, you should. Pick it up on DVD, or if you have Chiller (DirecTV 257), here's the schedule (start with the Pilot and watch them in order).

Hey, fuck me! I'm Darth Vader!

Came across this article this morning, and had to post it.

All the usual suspects are there, including the Sith Lord and Snuffaluffagus.

Evil genius winds up with poundcake. And someone hates these cans.

I haven't said this so far this season, but I have to admit: Last night's Lost, "Meet Kevin Johnson," was a disappointment. There. I typed it.

I was really on the fence about last week's installment, featuring tricky (and some might argue shamelessly hacky) time manipulations in the continuing (for some) story of Sun and Jin. But in hindsight, I wound up with more of a positive than negative experience, and was eagerly anticipating the last ep of the pre-strike production. (Lost isn't returning until later in April). Suffice to say, "Kevin Johnson" was kind of "meh" for me, and won't motivate me to blog pages and pages about the narrative and implications. Perhaps it's the fact that despite a fondness for actor Harold Perrineau and an appreciation for his talent, I've never really liked the character of Michael Dawson. Up until the time he snuffed (mercifully) Ana Lucia and (regrettably) Libby, he could basically be summed up in one phrase: "Waaaaaaaaalllllllt!!!!!" I've explained before how kid-centric plotlines bore me to tears, and Michael's is a prime example.

Still, there were a few choice quotes, questions and scenarios from last night, so here ya go:
  • “I’m here to die.”
  • My favorite quote from last night, and one of the best of the season: “Considering a week ago you had a gun to his head and tonight he’s eating poundcake, I’d say he’s a guy who gets what he wants.”
  • If Michael really wanted Walt to find the suicide note pinned to his chest, shouldn't he have wrapped it in a sandwich bag, or taken it to Kinkos to have it laminted, so the blood and viscera wouldn't smudge the ink?
  • Nice to see ya, Libby. Looking good.
  • So Michael pawned Jin's watch to get himself a handgun. Didn't Jin try to kill Mike over the same watch? Ironic.
  • In the alley, Mr. Friendly asked Mike the time. Even more ironic, since Mike couldn't tell him the time, since he didn't have a watch, since he pawned it for the handgun. For some reason, this amused me to no end.
  • And even more irony: Sayid "outs" Mike to the captain, because he works for Ben and can't be trusted. What will be Sayid be putting on his resume in the future? Yep.
  • "The island won't let you." So the island's "reach" extends off the island? Is this the same "power" that kept future Jack from jumping off the bridge?
  • So that speculation about Mr. Friendly being light in the loafers appears to be true. He seemed to be having a good time, living up in the hotel with "Arturo." Sure beats wearing a fake beard. Or using a fake beard like Kelly Preston or Katie Holmes.
  • How the hell does he get on and off the island?
  • Coen Brothers fans instantly recognized the hotel where Mr. Friendly was staying: The Hotel Earle.
  • "We kind of like, knew that, forever ago.”
  • When Mike's suicide attempt (with the gun) fails, the TV is featuring a trivia show asking a question about Kurt Vonnegut. Slaughterhouse Five, by Vonnegut, is about Billy Pilgrim, who becomes "unstuck in time." Sound familiar?
  • “Well, it wouldn’t be a sanctuary if I told everyone, would it?”
  • Next time I need to buy corpses, I’ll know to shop in Thailand. Evidently, there's a discount if you buy in bulk. 10% off if you buy more than 320!
  • “I figure flying can’t be too much fun for you.”
  • I did love the "NOT YET" note popping up. Unexpected twist, and great that Ben was using it as a test for Mikey.
  • And Karl and Rousseau bite the dust? Sad, I guess, but I was nonplussed. So much so that all I could think of was this:

"It's like turning old, white Chuck Taylors into Air Jordans"

Oddly, that quote doesn't haven't anything to do with the presidential election. Unless, of course, you consider that a former Secretary of Education is now the President. Of the Twelve Colonies.

You'll find that quote, and many others, in a clip below from a special highlighting the unbelievable appeal and unparalleled quality of a show remade from the ashes of a cheesy 70s one season wonder.

Yep, Frakheads, thank the Lords of Kobol that The. Best. Show. On. Television. is returning soon. The Peabody winning* and Emmy deserving Battlestar Galactica is coming back to our airwaves after a nearly unbearable hiatus to conclude its story with the fourth, and final season.

*"generally regarded as the most prestigious...." Yep, that distinction definitely belongs to BSG. And to the school which awards the Peabody, the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at The University of Georgia. From which a certain blog author proudly holds a degree.

There's been a passel of stories and links on the intertubes lately about the return of this monumental achievement in television drama, and here are a few for your perusal. (To keep up with almost all of them, be sure to add the indispensable Galactica Sitrep to your RSS reader).

From David Letterman, The Top 10 Reasons to Watch the New Season of Battlestar Galactica:

An awesome Season 4 Trailer can be found here.

Why BSG is the best political drama on TV.

Sci-Fi will be airing a special called "The Phenomenon," about the appeal of BSG. If you can't trust Joss, who can you trust? Here's a clip:

Sci-Fi has finally greenlit the BSG prequel, Caprica.

Frak Me! The ladies of Battlestar:

The Awesome "What the Frak is Going On" 8 Minute Summary of BSG:

If that 8 minutes wasn't enough to get you caught up, or you want to know what you've been missing, then head to your nearest big box entertainment store, internet retailer or Netflix to pick up the first 3 seasons on DVD.

So Say We All!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yoko would have sounded better

Here we are back with Idol’s top 11. We’ll be going through the Beatles catalog again tonight. Have they done that before? Repeat the same theme? Perhaps Paul needs the money again after the one legged hooker just got a check for $50 million. Four years and $50 million? Hell, I’d fuck Ringo for $50 million.

Amanda is straight out of the trailer, batting leadoff. Does Bret Michaels know she has his headband on in the intro interview? She’ll be doing “Back in the USSR,” which is appropriate politically, since two of the three presidential candidates want to move us into socialism. On the surface, it seems this song would be a good fit for her Joplin wannabee rocker chick shtick. However, she slurs the lyrics too much and misses the beats too frequently. One trick pony. However, I love her when she says “ballads are boring.” And did she just say “hey, that shit looks like fun, I wanna go see that show.” Or did she say “chick” instead of “shit?” I rewound that a few times, and it’s hard to tell. So, to sum up: good for hating ballads. Good for saying “shit.” Good for being honest. Meh for the performance. 5

Kristy, she of the Beatles Hoe Down last week, is up next, bringing her old fashioned picture books. That’s just fucking touching. And even more schmoopy? She’s doing “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.” Which she heard for the first time today. This isn’t the violent trainwreck of last week, but the locomotive is definitely coming off the rails. It’s like a community theatre production of the Scarlet Pimpernel in Mississippi. Just awful. You know it’s bad when Paula tells her she “looks good.” Simon is classic when he tells her she’s like “musical wallpaper” and that no one should notice her. Unless she’s terrible like last week. Ouch. 2 (And then she follows up the scathing reviews by telling America she can “blow them out of their socks.” Really? Unless it’s like what Elliot Spitzer would get for $5000, I don’t think she’ll rack up too many votes).

Here comes the presumed frontrunner who screwed the pooch last week, teen sweetiepie David. He hopes to remember the words to “The Long and Winding Road.” He’s got some nice tone in his voice, and controls the softer parts of the song admirably. He doesn’t hump the canine again, but it doesn’t do anything spectacular for me, even though it’s a nice performance. 7

Michael the Australian by way of Georgia (Go Dawgs! SEC tournament champs! Now back to your regularly scheduled butchering of Lennon/McCartney songs) will be doing “A Day in the Life.” He’s a bit worried about compressing the longer, complex song into a minute or so. With good reason. While the arrangement wasn’t awful, it certainly didn’t do the Beatles’ masterpiece any justice, and Michael missed a few notes and didn’t make the most of his chance. There’s a bit of a kerfuffle at the end, where Paula rambles on about him not being used to performing with an earpiece (like the previous contestants were wearing). Uh, Seal Clapper? He’s not wearing one. Ooops. Then she says, “oh, then you sucked.” Not really, but that was the translation from RX speak. And then Michael dedicates the song to his dead friend. Oh, dude, come on. I know Ryan dragged it out of you, but that can come across as a transparent sympathy plea for votes. Maybe it’s the Aussie thing, but I’d like to see this guy tear into an INXS song. 4

Commercial time: Bones is back April 14! And Sarah Chalke for Hanes undies. Anyone else thing she’s an underrated hottie? (Even if I stopped watching her show when it became all about babies).

Smoky voiced Brooke is up next with “Here Comes The Sun.” I actually like her voice more when she’s talking than when she’s singing, and she dances like Elaine Benes. Paula rambles incoherently, and notes that her dress is yellow. Like the “sun” in the song. And Brooke talks too much, and tells the judges that she’s okay with their appraisal of her awful performance. I can’t tell if it’s mildly cute or cloying. I’m going with the latter. 4

Bad hair David, who I liked last week doing “Eleanor Rigby,” returns with – no shit – a “Whitesnake” version of “Day Tripper.” I will probably like this better if Tawny Kitean writhes around the stage in front of him in a sheer white dress. Wow. David Coverdale’s hair is probably going limp now. He actually does this up pretty well, and does a bit of the Frampton vocoder/talkbox thing (which is bizarrely out of place). I really like David’s voice, and I think he’s one of the more interesting contestants. Not as good as last week, but with the dreck we’ve seen thus far, he stands out. 7

My favorite from last week, Carly will be doing “Blackbird.” Oh. Definitely not one of my top Beatles songs, and I always think of this comedian (Robin Williams, maybe?) doing Jimmy Stewart singing “Blackbird.” Which if you haven’t heard that, go find it on the youtubes or something. Okay, Carly has an amazing voice, but this didn’t do a thing for me. The way she performed the song was fairly unrecognizable, probably due to the arrangement, and I have to agree with Simon who was also disappointed. And then, another explanation of the song choice, about being “beaten down” by the industry, and how the “broken wing” lyric connected with her. It was a sincere moment, and she seems honored and humbled to be here, but maybe she and Michael could find a song about dead bird friend and just get this over with. 6.

Now we have the Pyschlo Terl, singing “Michelle,” another Beatles song of which I’m not that fond. This is weepy, whiny, smirky and full of shit. Paula compares it to a polka, and Lech Walesa weeps. 2

Syesha follows with the classic “Yesterday.” Everyone and their mother has done “Yesterday.” (It may be the most recorded song ever, in fact). A beautiful, beautiful song, but one I’ve dreaded an Idol doing since we embarked on Beatles week(s). She moves into the upper register too much, tries to “Mariah” it too much, and generally makes a mess of it. Randy and Paula like it. Simon thinks it’s her best. There must be some bourbon in the Coke cups. 4.

Here we go with Chikezie doing “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” He says he’s going to play an instrument this week, even though he doesn’t know how. I’ll be impressed if he whips out an accordion. He goes to the same well he went to last week, and starts out the song one way, and finishes it out another, this time as a gospel sounding country romp. Not a good song, but I’ll give him credit for his energy. Sheesh. As good as last week was, this week is equally ponderous and dimwitted. 3 And all we have to finish out is Rameile, who bored me to tears last week. Great. Is there a Law and Order on somewhere?

Can I stay awake through Ramiele’s “I Should Have Known Better?” I should have known better than to listen to this. She just can’t connect to a song at all. She can hit the occasional big note, but has no idea what she’s singing about. Terrible. 2.

TNRLM Top 3: Teen Kewpie Doll David, Whitesnake David, Carly

TNRLM Bottom 3: Kristy, Jason, Ramiele

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $400, Alex

I can't believe I forgot to mention the passing of D&D inventor Gary Gygax a couple of weeks ago. There were moving tributes all over the intertubes, and had I not been so busy I would have posted my own. That, and I probably didn't want to appear too geeky (ooops. That ship has sailed, I'm afraid). Let's just say that in between sports, school, girls, hot rods, comic books and normal youthful angst, I spent my fair share of time painting miniatures, collecting multisided dice and worrying about hit points. Here is a funny flowchart (be sure to click on it to see the expanded version) and article related to Gygax's passing. Additionally, a nice article from resident geek Wil Wheaton on the subject.

Solid list of great movie opening credit sequences, with video.

Speaking of movies, how about a list of awful movie titles?

Local interest: I'm discovering that fair number of folks from the pop culture world are from my new adopted home in Maryland. John Locke himself, Terry O'Quinn. Wesley Wyndham Price, Alexis Denisoff. Adorable showkiller Paula Marshall. Author Michael Chabon (which I discovered reading his wonderful essay and the usefulness of superhero costume, which is definitely worth checking out).

X-Files panel, where Scully reveals that she also loves one of my favorite of the "funny" episodes, "Bad Blood."

I don't understand the haters. Here's a cute interview with Juliet's portrayer, the bright, beautiful, modest and charming Elizabeth Mitchell. And she reads comic books, y'all!

Highlights of Sawyer's nicknames.

Speaking of Lost, here's an updated bracket for the Lost Madness Tournament. Some tough calls in round 2: Sayid over Locke? Desmond against Penny? That's not exactly fair, though I voted the same way. In the Sweet Sixteen, voting is currently underway. Here are the matchups, and my vote:
  • Jack vs. Sayid. I don't hate Jack for his pigheaded self-righteousness like a lot of folks, but I gotta go with Sayid here.
  • Kate vs. Sawyer. That's an easy one. Sawyer is the choice, though he's currently a fraction of a percent behind Kate. Get out the vote, people!
  • Charlie vs. Faraday. I loved the little hobbit, but Faraday delivers a line like no one else.
  • Libby vs. Eko. Eko was mysterious and badass, until he got too caught up in the religious mumbo-jumbo. So Libby it is.
  • Ben vs. Juliet. Wow, I haven't been shy about my huge crush on Dr. Burke, but dammit if Ben is not one of the most fascinating characters on TV. Ben.
  • Richard Alpert vs. Jacob. I don't even understand what the fuck Jacob is (which is pretty cool). But how can you vote against BatManuel?
  • Smoke Monster vs. Desmond. Easy choice, brotha.
  • Nadia vs. Rousseau. Another tough one, though I don't think we've seen the last of Nadia, so I'll go with her.
A review of R.E.M.'s new album, which sounds like a return to the form I enjoy. I'll be downloading this sucker today.

Speaking of Athens, thoughts from voters considering UGA to be a preseason #1. But that's gonna be a hard road, with the Nation's Toughest Schedule. And what's the program worth? Check out this list (I assume the #1 program there spends a lot of those profits on the coach's buffet table). Also, on a recent PTI, Wilbon called Herschel "the best college player I ever saw."
For comparison's sake, a Trade School grad kills birds intentionally.

Thoughts about "spoilers."

Remember that link between Obama and Trek's 7 of 9? More sci-fi thoughts: He's the Kwisatz Haderach.

Fucking goddamned cocksucking motherfuckers. Let's spend more on useless pork (and not the good kind, like bacon), spend more on worthless "domestic" programs, and confiscate even MORE money from the people who earn it. Fuckers. And should the donkeys get more control, I'm sure you'll see more of this bullshit. With regard to tax policy, I still don't understand why the gubment gives such a break to the breeders. Shouldn't people who make a conscious, willful and deliberate decision to have kids pay much, much more? They are the ones who "use" much of what the taxes go for? Schools, roads to drive to soccer practice, younguns who will grow old and use social security, healthcare and payments to people too stupid to have a job and/or realize they can't afford a kid? And from a treehugger perspective, don't the wackadoo lefties realize that each urchin they bring into the world will just consume more natural resources and have a "carbon footprint" of their own? Save the planet, and wear a condom! Or just whack off to a chart that shows the taxable rate over 50%.

I'm sure all these fictional characters are getting taxed too much. So who has more money - Thurston Howell III, Montgomery Burns or Jed Clampett?

Bad sci-fi movie physics.

The dude who swung his sausage in a gay strip club was the first to go on Idol. And another Idol stripper unravels. Kids, once you sell your cooze to strangers on a regular basis, it just doesn't get any better, does it? Along those lines, at least have the intellectual integrity to call a spade a spade. "Good person?" Yeah, I've heard that one before.

Wiffleball can get competitive, you know. And how many people remember this schoolyard sport? I was a motherfucking four-square pimp.

Autobiography title makes me chuckle.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Where exactly does one come across 324 dead bodies?"

I know most of the buzz around the watercooler and the interwebs is that last night's Lost, "Ji Yeon," was another spectacular outing and a return to form after last week's disappointing Juliet episode. But I'm a bit torn. First, I think I must be rather alone in my Juliet worship, as I was very entertained by last week's ep (although the whole "save at the last second from the poisonous gas" thing was a little pedestrian for Lost, even though it did feature a chickfight). Second, I still don't know what to make of "Ji Yeon." I'm just absolutely bored to death with kids, especially babies. I don't understand the purpose, and it doesn't create any drama for me, and I just want the whole thing off my screen. Yes, I understand the fatal pregnancies are one of the plot underpinnings of my beloved show, but if we can keep it to scary tales of expiring island moms and not have to actually see any scenes of tummy rubbing, goo slathered infants, non-erotically grunting women in paper gowns and teary eyed parents, I'd be much happier. And to top that off, I'm conflicted on (SPOILERS AHOY) how the Jin flashBACK was handled. On one hand, I was totally fooled by the producer's time-shiftyness, despite the clue many picked up on, Jin's clunky "old school" cell phone (the same device, featuring Jack's ultra modern phone, was used in last season's mind fucking finale, the first and to that point unexpected, flashforward). When Jin referenced only been married for two weeks, it dawned on me and I was stoked. However, the more I thought about it, the more I resented the flashback, since it seemed to add little to the drama of the storytelling and served only to screw with our minds and artificially build drama. Of course, you could also argue that it provided a nice counterpoint to the "current" island time Jin, who accepted his flaws -- and more importantly, Sun's adulterous flaw -- after a nice fishing trip with Bernard and the realization that the "old" Jin wasn't that nice of a person. I can see that argument too, so you can begin to get a sense of the reservations I have about fully endorsing or fully panning this ep.

Whew. That's a long winded opening. Other clues to the setting, which Lostophiles could have, or even should have, picked up on: 1. the comment about it being the "year of the dragon" when the toy store dude tried to sell Jin an alternative to the "layaway" last panda. The last year of the dragon was in 2000, and another won't occur again until 2012; 2. Jin was working for Mr. Paik. Unless something dramatically changed, we couldn't possibly envision "future" Jin going back to his dirty work for Sun's dad. Although, would we have thought that Sayid would be a suave superassassin for pretending-to-be-a-vet Ben?

One last thing related to the Kwons. What a pair of brass ones on Juliet to toss out Sun's confession of an affair as a last ditch attempt to keep her from defecting to Locke's Extended Island Stay Club. (Am I also alone in immeasurably enjoying Juliet's continuing fashion choice of tank tops? Yeah? Shut up and move on, horndog). The way Jin handled the revelation, and his rededication to his wife was touching, but personally I think that's just something you don't come back from, no matter how cold and murderous you may have been while working for her dad. I can see having "the talk" in the living room, where my significant other tearfully confesses her secret life as a violent henchwoman snuffing out enemies of the Yakuza. "Oh, that's weird. Let's go get a beer and some wings." But "I was fucking my English teacher?" Nope, that's a dealbreaker. "I think I'll go bitch about daddy issues with Jack or play horseshoes with Sawyer and Hurley. See ya later, whore." Maybe that's just me.

The other thing muddling my appraisal of "Ji Yeon" was the long anticipated, and long expected, revelation of Michael as Ben's "man on the boat." Of course, we don't know for 100% certainty that he is indeed Ben's boy (though the previews pretty much solidify that). Since the fact that Harold Perrineau was rejoining the cast was out there, even if like me you're not actively seeking spoilers, it didn't come as much of a shock. Plus, seeing his name in the credits every week kinda gave it away. I realize there are probably some legal and credit issues that forced the producers to telegraph that, but wouldn't it have been so much sweeter to have that just out of nowhere? That would have soiled the underoos. I think back on several episodes of Buffy and Angel that featured big shocking guest appearances -- and that were spoiled during the first 5 minutes with a guest starring credit. (The only one I can recall not being telegraphed was Lindsay's appearance in bed with Eve during S5 of Angel). Couldn't they just sign some type of contract where dude gets his money -- without a credit appearing on the screen during first run episodes? Wouldn't that surprise be better? Still, I was on the edge of my seat as "Kevin Johnson" was "introduced" to Sayid. Can't wait to see next week.

Other thoughts, observations, questions and quotes:
  • Regina, the adorable Zoe Bell who I fell in love with watching Death Proof a couple of weeks ago, certainly made a statement about her affinity for the accommodations on board the Kahana, didn't she? (I'm guessing she did her own stunt). What was it that drove her to such drastic measures? Isaac the bartender couldn't make her pina colada correctly? And why was she reading the book upside down? And check out the book she was "reading." About people freaking out and dying on a ship at sea.
  • Although I can certainly understand. If it's true, as they told Sayid and Des, that there was a "problem in the kitchen" and all that was left were canned lima beans, I would probably toss myself off the ship, too. Or set myself ablaze on the roach infested cot.
  • "The thing is, it's not really my call, Sun." Awesome. I think I should get Jeremy Davies to leave the greeting message on my cell phone. (read to yourself in twitchy Faraday voice) "You know....... the thing is.....Shan can't really come to the phone now. Er.....maybe you should leave a message?"
  • Speaking of great line readings, how about "that's shouldn't still be there, dammit." Always a bit disconcerting when your new stateroom has blood and brainmatter splattered across the wall. Reminds me of some motels we stayed in at the Redneck Riviera during college. A lot of $5 cases of Busch Light eased the anxiety, though. Lima beans? Not so much.
  • Was that Expose featuring Nikki on Sun's TV for a brief second? Razzle Dazzle!
  • “Can you imagine what kind of resources and manpower go into pulling off a feat of that magnitude? Faking the recovery of a plane crash. Putting 324 families through a grieving process based on a lie….where exactly does one come across 324 dead bodies?” Not sure, but was that Charles Widmore's doing? And did you see Des' eyes bug out when he heard that good old Charles, Penny's dad, was the one who sent the freighter? At least according to the Captain, who the island boys were told not to trust. And couldn't Sayid get that Black Box to play, with a coat hanger, duct tape and about 10 minutes?
  • Speaking of the Captain, his name is Gault. Is it reference to this Captain Gault? Or perhaps a reference to one of my favorite fictional characters?
  • Do we now know for sure the Oceanic Six? Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun and Aaron?
  • Where was Lapidus going on his late night mission?
  • Was the "RG" on Naomi's bracelet for Regina, newly invited to Davy Jones' Locker?
  • "I need the panda."

Damn. That's enough for now. Until next time, when we learn more about Kevin Johnson. And I'm guessing it's not this one.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

At least it wasn't Yoko Ono

Welcome to American Idol’s 12. They have a new set this year. More expansive, rounded and spherical, and the band is up above the stage. Nice.

Oh dear god. They’re going to do Lennon/McCartney songs. Let me get this straight – you still can’t get the Beatles on iTunes, but they’re letting American Idolers warble them? Oooookay.

First up is Syesha. She talks about hearing the Beatles on an “oldies” station. Break out the tapioca and shuffleboard, I want to kill myself. She’s doing “Got To Get You Into My Life.” Not exactly a stellar opening. Her voice is pleasant enough, but she has trouble keeping up with the beat of the song and hitting the lyrics on point. On the TNRLM 10 point scale, I give her a 5. 10 seconds into the judges, we hear “pitchy.” I go refill my drink.

Next up is Chikezie. Really? His parents must hate him. That sounds like a dish at a Mexican restaurant. “Sorry I couldn’t make it into work today, but the chikezie ripped a hole in my stomach.” Evidently, he stunk it up last week, and he thought he should go home. He works as a TSA screener, so I’m already predisposed to hate him. Every time I see him, I’ll think about unpacking my goddamned briefcase and emptying my pockets in a line with too many people that shouldn’t be taking their shoes off under any circumstances. He’s doing “She’s A Woman.” I’ll give him props for trying something different. This starts off like a b-side from O Brother Where Art Thou, then up tempos into a rock song. Sadly, Mister Put All Your Shampoo Mini Bottles Into A Sandwich Bag doesn’t have the voice to carry this. Wow. Paula steals my O Brother reference, and the whole panel likes this. Really? I liked the arrangement, but thought he was flat and not fully up to the task. 6.

Next we have Ramiele. Fuck me. Is this season really going to be so hard on the spell checker? “In My Life.” This is horrifically boring. And poorly sung. Paul says she’s pretty, so I’m not alone in thinking that it sucked. I could swallow a beer stein full of barbiturates, chase it with Nyquil, and not be more bored and uninterested. 3.

Here we have Jason, who judging by his hair, thinks he’s auditioning for a sequel to Battlefield Earth. He will be doing “If I Fell.” You know, some of these Beatles songs are brilliant in their simplicity. But having a simple melody and arrangement makes you appreciate the indelible mark the Fab Four made with them, once you hear someone turn them into coffee house drivel. Nothing interesting about this. 4.

Commercial interlude: how can a show from Amy Sherman-Pallidino, starring Lauren Ambrose and Parker Posey, look awful? But it does.

Here’s Carly. She’s the chick from Ireland. She made sure to mention that she wanted potatoes on the shopping list. A lass after my own heart, plus I’m digging the eye make up. She’ll be doing. “Come Together.” Wow, this is good. She’s energetic and in good voice. First song of the night I truly enjoyed, and she hit all the notes. The judges love her, and Simon whips out the first Kelly Clarkson reference. 9.

David is a bartender with truly unfortunate hair, and he’ll be doing one of my absolute favorite songs, “Eleanor Rigby.” I’m not sure quite what to make of this. The arrangement is all over the place, and it’s a bit like Eddie Vedder sings “Revolver.” It’s hard to tell if he can keep consistent notes, but it’s a risky choice and I’m not appalled. 7.

Brooke is a nanny from Arizona. At least she talks about buying a Beatles album, rather than hearing it on an oldies station. I’m still not used to the Idols playing instruments, so having her sit at the piano is a bit disconcerting. She doesn’t do a bad job, and has somewhat of a pleasing raspy quality to her voice, but the big notes seem to swallow her. It’s a low key performance that doesn’t miss, but doesn’t hit, either. 6.

David got fired from a pizza joint in Arizona, and says he took a college course on the Beatles. I did too, but the paper I prepared was rolled, not written. He’s doing “I Saw Her Standing There.” This is tremulous, overdone, out of breath and ready for Julie McCoy to point the way to the Lido deck. Not as boring as Ramiele, but far more incompetent. 2.

Here’s Alexandra from Josie and the Pussycats. Or is it Lily Munster? Oh wait, it’s actually Amanda, who rides Harleys and sells medical equipment. She’ll be singing “You Can’t Do That,” which she says she heard for the first time this week. Here’s another one who takes a chance to do something different with the song. At least it’s uptempo and not boring. If they decide to have Janis Joplin week for the next two months, Amanda might have a chance. Otherwise, I’m not sure she has the versatility to keep going. But dear lord, compared to the last song, she was a whiff of Febreze. 6.

Next we have Michael, who spent some time in Georgia (404 represent!) and is originally from Australia. Props to him for actually knowing the fucking Beatles, and rattling off the lyrics in his intro piece like he understood the songwriters are more than some dead dude and a guy getting taken to the cleaners by a pegleg hooker. He’s doing “Across The Universe.” Kind of a big, bold version of the song, not as contemplative and fragile as the original (of course), but not bad. Another 6.

Kristy will be singing “8 Days A Week” country style. Apparently, the Underwood and Pickler strategy is in play here, and she twangs it up. Not quite what I was expecting, and you have to give her some credit for listening to the judges to follow the country muse, but it was a borderline disaster. 3.

Closing the show is another David, who wasn’t fired from a pizza joint. Shit, he looks about 12. He’s doing “We Can Work It Out.” THIS is the dude everyone is picking to win? His voice is okay, and he hits some decent notes, but the phrasing is scattershot and nerves are obviously strangling him in places. He seems like he might be suited to jazz, but this was definitely not his week. 4.

TNRLM Top 3: Carly, Eleanor Rigby David, Michael

TNRLM Bottom 3: Kristy, Ramiele, Pizza Joint David

Idol Night: The Final 12 for 2008

A brief preamble for new TNRLM readers. As long time readers and friends know, I despise "reality" TV. I'd much rather watch bad actors read bad scripts under bad direction than see "real" people fame whore their way through manipulatively edited pablum masquerading as entertainment. (And no, I don't count documentaries, news shows or sports as "reality" TV). I've given some of the "contest" reality shows, like The Amazing Race and Survivor, a chance and was just bored out of my mind, and found they spent way too much time with the confessionals, lame interpersonal drama, backstories and bullshit. I started watching Idol during season 2, mostly because my dear friends and fellow team trivia players watched Idol religiously, and I was missing out on all the Wednesday night chatter and analysis. This show hooked me because the contestants sang songs I knew, everyone could have an opinion on whether it was good or not, Simon was delightfully bitchy, Paula was clapping like a genetically modified seal and one prescription away from being committed AND thanks to the lord god TiVo almighty, I could fast forward through all the nausea inducing filler on the show and just watch the performances and the "judging."

I don't start watching until Idol gets to the Final 12, as I don't care for the William Hungs of the world, and really have no interest in anyone's "personal journey," and there are only so many hours one can devote to this crap. (I say that, having cheerfully committed to 2.5 hours each week to watching people discuss their neuroses in a single room on HBO's In Treatment). So tonight I will tune in and see Idol 2008 with fresh eyes. Being a pop culture junkie, I have absorbed some things about this crop of contestants. There's a 17 year old dude who is modest, talented and the prohibitive favorite to win. There's an Irish chick with a great voice and tattoos who once had a record that bombed. And there's a chick with skunk hair. That's all I know.

I'll be here every week with comments and ratings on the performances, and my picks for the Top and Bottom 3s. Fire up the TiVo, get Paula some oxycontin, break out your best "yo, yo, yo Dawg" (and remember -- Randy was in Journey for a nanosecond and worked with Mariah!), brush up on your British slang, take a drink every time you hear the phrase "pitchy" and join TNRLM in the nonsense, American Idol.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This week's Ledger

  • Having a good reason to not watch Lost on Thursday.
  • Getting Sports Illustrated gifts. For some reason, I forgot to change the credit card info (my new address) on the auto-renewal for my subscription (why SI doesn't link the cc info to the mailing info is another story). My subscription "lapsed" for a week before I got to the bottom of it. However, that made me a "new" customer, and I was entitled to the gifts one gets when you sign up. So I'm the proud owner of a new fleece pullover and a t-shirt. You could choose your favorite NFL team, so I'm probably the only person in Maryland, and quite possibly the only person in the free world, who was shipped an Atlanta Falcons garment package. Much more practical than an football phone. The only issue I missed was the swimsuit issue, but I've heard rumors that you can easily find pictures of scantily clad women on the interwebs.
  • Seeing some live theatre. Last night, I went to the downtown area to see Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead. The play was very entertaining (I had read it in college) and it was sparingly and effectively staged. I had forgotten how skillfully the play engages in wordplay, and what it has to say about predestination and the state of "being."
  • I've often bitched about the lack of southern hospitality here, where most strangers act like you have oozing sores and are wearing a coat covered in Anthrax. However, last night, while parking on the street and trying to figure out the legality (and cost) of such parking, I asked a group of strangers walking by if they knew the dealio. They were helpful, friendly and nice, and even welcomed me to the state. Now, if they could just get a part time job bagging groceries.
  • I parallel parked like a fucking champ in the space mentioned above. Haven't had the chance to do that in years, and the skillz haven't eroded.

  • I'm sure there are roads in Baghdad that are smoother than some of the thoroughfares here. Trying to drink a cup of java while driving down town is like an epileptic chihuahua attempting to drink from a garden hose at 50 feet away.
  • 2 weeks ago, I took a suggestion on a local steakhouse for a dinner meeting with an old business associate. Part of the reason for visiting that establishment was to check it out for a larger business meeting the following week, when I would be bringing several clients. The first meeting went well. The food was outstanding and the service was top notch. However, when we went for the other meeting early last week, it was a debacle. Two steaks had to be sent back, the service was inattentive and slow, the "wedge" salads didn't resemble an actual "wedge" (like they had during my previous visit) and the server's explanation was that "sometime the lettuce doesn't come that way." I complained to the manager, and they took off some desserts and a round of drinks, but I was aghast at the wide delta in the quality between my two visits. To top it off, the server had the gall to bring me my check and explain the deductions, and add, with an eye roll, that she didn't put the tip on the bill yet (which she probably would have already done, given the size of my party) because "evidently, you thought the service wasn't good." Yikes.
  • I went downtown early this week for a trade show, and wound up parking at a hotel's pay lot by the convention center. Nothing wrong with that per se, except that the parking spaces (like many here in the state) are painted to accommodate a Schwinn, not an automobile. When I returned, there were cars on either side of me, and I was about one order of fries from having to climb up the hood of my vehicle and enter through the sunroof.
  • Despite the great company and intellectual stimulation at the play, there was a snafu. The little plastic cup they gave me for my shiraz evidently had a small leak in it, and now there is a stain on my pants leg. And of course, it was one of the rare occasions when I chose to wear lighter colored pants and not black. We'll see how Dual Power Spray and Wash works on the demon grape.
  • Finally, as many of you know, I've been extraordinarily happy with all the recent technological additions to my arsenal the past few months. GPS, iPod, XM Radio. However, last night I get in the car and the XM is inexplicably fucked up. No signal coming through, and all my preset "favorites" are missing. I'm trying to drive across town and figure this out. When I get on the phone with XM, I go through a voice activated messaging system. I'm using a hands free headset, but every time I start to say something to get to the right department, the GPS voice blurts out "turn left in .5 miles" or some other command, and the phone mic picks this up and transfers to me to another unwanted department. I finally stop and get the right person, who resets the signal. (During this conversation, I have a choice of actually hearing the person helping me and then hearing the feedback of my own comments, or barely hearing her instructions above a whisper level). This would have worked immediately, had the unit not turned itself off "FM modulation." I have no idea how or why this happened, with my car and the radio off, parked outside from Friday to Saturday. I'll get worried if I get in the car today, try to turn the radio on again, and it says to me "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

If I order Value Meal #3, will my bunny have a number on it?

Despite my undying love for Juliet and Elizabeth Mitchell, I think Thursday's Lost episode "The Other Woman" was a bit of a letdown from last week's Desmond-centric mindfuck, "The Constant." Nothing against the fair Juliet and her story, but almost anything would have paled in comparison to "The Constant," which was one of the top 5 Lost eppys ever.

Still, there was a lot to love with this one. To start with, there's the title. Was "The Other Woman" referring to:
  • Juliet as an adulterous harlot?
  • Juliet as one of the "Others?"
  • Juliet as someone who reminded Ben of someone else - another (or an Other) woman?
  • The other woman Doc Messiah-complex has feelings for, in addition to Kate?
  • The other woman Jack and Juliet encounter in the jungle?
Going through a few of those. I wasn't too fond of the fact that Juliet was getting in the middle of the Goodwin and Harper marriage. I'm not sure what it is. I can put up with evil, mustache twirling villainy, selfish agendas, Sayid's torturing, Locke's grenades for breakfast, Sawyer's supply hoarding, Ben's chemical purge and any other number of morally questionable acts on (and off) the island, but the adultery just rubs me the wrong way. On the mitigating side, Goodwin's wife was a shrew (more on that in a minute) and he did spring for a "real" bottle of wine, rather than the traditional Dharma wine in a box, so he's got that going for him. But what does he get for his efforts? A big stick through the chest. Lesson? Don't cheat, y'all.

Juliet as an "Other." This produced the night's biggest laugh, when Jack asked Juliet what the island folk needed with a shrink: “It’s very stressful being an Other, Jack.”

“Of course he has. You look just like her.” So who did Juliet remind Ben of? Was it Annie, his childhood sweetheart? Do we know anything about what happened to Annie since the early events of Ben's youth? Someone else?

How exactly did Harper get into the jungle in the "present" to speak with Juliet? Was she a manifestation of "smokey" like Eko's brother? Was she really there? And if so, where has she been? Are there other Others lurking out there with her? Does the fact that we heard a return of the strange "whispering" in the jungle just prior to and just after her appearance indicate anything? Did Jack really, physically see Harper? And for you Rescue Me fans, Harper was played by Andrea Roth, Tommy Gavin's harpy of a wife Dammit Janet! on that show. The character's full name is Harper Stanhope. The obvious "harpy" suggestion aside, there are a few other interesting things about that name. It's an anagram for "an Other perhaps." And "stanhopea" is a strain of the orchid family. Remember that video I posted a while back about the "Orchid" station? Coincidence? Also, how exactly is Harper in contact with Ben?

Other quotes, thoughts and questions from "The Other Woman:"

  • “We want you to feel at home.” So damned creepy. As usual.
  • “Ben is exactly where he wants to be.” As usual.
  • “They’re treating him fine.” I guess on craphole island, grenades as jawbreakers qualify as “fine.”
  • John Locke’s Rabbit Dollar Menu. “I’m running out of chickens.”
  • Speaking of which,“This didn’t have a number on it, did it?”
  • So Charles Widmore beating the shit out of someone is more important than the Red Sox? Ben must be a Yankees fan. And that's Widmore's freighter? Does he know that his daughter Penny is also looking for the island? And who was Ben's guy getting beaten by Widmore? And who was shooting that video? And how did it make it's way back to the island to get taped over the Sox?
  • Ben's man on the boat just has to be Micheal. I'm staying away from true spoilers, but virtually everyone knows that Micheal is returning at some point this season. So if and when that's revealed, I fear it won't be much of a surprise or a twist.
  • Juliet thought it was a dinner party. Ben said “it’s just you and me.” Which reminds me of one of my favorite jokes. Have you ever tried to google a joke? Not as easy as you think. I was going to provide a link to it, but since I couldn't find it, you'll just have to make do with the punch line: "hell, don't matter what you wear. Ain't gonna be nobody but you and me.
  • “Man. That was a close one.” Faraday's line readings can make an obvious and cliche statement surprisingly amusing.
  • There's your lover decomposing, with a huge stick through his torso. "You're MINE!!" (pause) “Take as much time as you need.” Ben rocks.
  • Who made the map that Faraday is using?
  • How did Charlotte know about The Purge?
  • That was an almost effective fake out at the beginning with Juliet, where we were supposed to think Juliet (with her poofy hair) was off the island in the future, and one of the Oceanic 6.
  • Scenes of Juliet running around in the jungle while it's raining, or taking a dip in the ocean? I won't argue with more of those.
  • And how fucking funny was it to have Ben walking through the compound with his laundry? "See you guys at dinner." Awesome.
Also, wonder how Desmond filmed those scenes last week in the past and the present, without his hair and beard looking like Jack's fake one in the season finale last year? Check this out.

And finally, check out this "March Madness" bracket for island lovers.