Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Paula criticized this blog post last night. Before I wrote it this morning.

Is this a first? Where one of the biggest trainwrecks in television history happens on American Idol, and it was at the judges desk and NOT on stage?

Still broken in spirit by Carly's demise, I decided to just watch AI last night, take a few notes and offer a quick take this morning, rather than pulling out the laptop and live blogging the whole affair. Plus, suffering through 10 Neil Diamond songs performed by a group of which I can only only appreciate 20% seemed more like a chore. But then live television happened. And today, the blogosphere will be buzzing, and Idol will have some serious 'splainin to do.

As for the songs and performances themselves, all I can say is that David C was decent. Psychlo Terl was his usual, stoned, weak-voiced self, completely disconnected from the material and anything except for a future sitting in a subway station strumming innocuously for pocket change. Syesha regressed after her first likable performance last week. Stuffed Koala Bear hit some notes, was squinty eyed and earnest. Brooke made the Monkees look like the Beatles for their ability to infuse "I'm A Believer" with charm and talent.

But that's not the real story. No, the real story was when the Mad Seal Clapper finally suffered a complete meltdown on live television. Catastrophic systems failure. The "blue screen of death." No control-alt-delete is going to be able to reboot and save this one. Simply put: What The Fuck Was That?!

First, we had an odd format last night, with the 5 Idolettes performing back to back, and the judges commenting on all 5 after the first round.

For those of you that haven't seen what happened next, just watch this.

Yes, Paula was commenting (from her notes) on Jason's first song. Then she segued into her comments on Jason's second song. Problem is, JASON HADN'T PERFORMED A SECOND SONG YET.

For all the loopy and barely tethered to reality things that the more mentally challenged half of a duo with MC Scat Cat has said, this takes the cake.

There are only four possible explanations:

  1. Paula indicated she was reading off her notes for the next performer, David Cook. Even in Paula's candy colored, aura filled world, that doesn't make any sense. She did talk about a "second" song, and the "critique" -- even for Paula -- was different enough in tone and "content" to indicate that she wasn't talking about David C.
  2. Perhaps because of the odd format and compressed timing for this evening, Paula had jotted down (she can write?) comments on Terl's second performance based on the dress rehearsal or practice sessions. If that's the case, then doesn't that call into question the integrity of the judging, which is supposed to be based on how the Idolettes perform the song that night, on live television? We've heard many times where the judges compare the actual performance with what they've heard of the pre-show practice. But to base their comments and critique entirely on this? It screams "sham," and further devalues anything they have to say (with the possible exception of the only lucid member of the trio, Simon).
  3. The Seal Clapper is being given notes on what to say by a member of the show's production staff, and the commentary is completely orchestrated, which calls into question the very integrity of the show. Now, this isn't fully in Charles Van Doren territory, given that the "public" actually votes (and thanks for that demonstration of voting competence last week, America) on who stays or goes, but it certainly undermines the purpose of having the three amigos sit there and offer their "opinion." And if Paula can't even muster the mental horsepower to hear a song and come up with 15 - 30 seconds of "insight" what purpose does she serve? (I think we all know the answer to this existential question). Even worse, if her comments are based on notes or prompts from the producers, then A. the producers are batshit crazy, too, B. the producers of America's number one television show can't string together nouns and verbs in a coherent fashion, or C. it's unfair, manipulative and a total crock.
  4. Paula has found a secret room on the island (or in a desert in Tunisia) which she can use to travel in space and time. On her quest to find her long lost love Penelope Widmore, Paula went into the future 30 minutes, coughed up some orange goo offstage, removed her Dharma parka, took her seat at the judges table and watched Psychlo Terl's second performance before it happened in the timeline you, I and the rest of the world were following on a Tuesday night. Then, she stumbled by Benjamin Linus, thought of her "constant" Simon Cowell, and traveled 30 minutes back to the past (our present) to offer her view of Terl's second wan, coffee house warblings.

Since I didn't see any polar bears or smoke monsters on the Idol stage last night, I'm going to have to discount that last theory.

No matter which way you cut it, this was devastating to Idol and the public confidence in the show, which was already showing some fatigue this season. Short of a PR campaign not seen since the Tylenol scare, I'm not sure Idol will fully recover from this one. At the very least, they have to quietly take Paula out back after this season and put her down like Old Yeller. This should be a fun off season.

Oh, and for the record, David C was the best of the night and I think Brooke or Syesha will finally be put out of their (and our) misery.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yep, still bitter.

Not a lot of posting the past couple of days, because I've been traveling and crazy busy. Plus, I've been obsessed with a new toy because I just spent what amounts to a car payment on a vacuum cleaner. Good lord, I've joined the Dyson cult. For the money I spent, you would think it would have been created by Miles Dyson, and in addition to fabulously getting up cat hair, it would also travel in time. But hopefully not become self aware and terminate me with with of its own attachments.

Anyhoo, tonight is Idol night, and I'm really struggling to care. As you've heard me lament, my dear Irish lass Carly was unjustifiably given the boot last week. And other than David Cook, I'm not fond of any of the remaining contestants. So perhaps I'll give the show a half hearted blog tonight, or maybe I'll just watch the House episode I didn't get to last night.

In the meantime, my fellow Carly fans can enjoy these videos of her interview with EW over on Idoloatry. With extra eyeshadow and bonus black eyeliner, too! Woot!

On the same subject, here are 11 Tired Idol cliches.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Still bitter

For those (like me) still irked by the voting travesty this week on Idol, check out the always entertaining "Idolatry" video over at

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $1,000, Alex

Captain Mal is up for the lead on a new ABC show that sounds like a good fit. A "comedic procedural about a famous mystery novelist helping the NYPD solve crimes." I'll tune in.

Fantastic new Dark Knight poster
. (click on the links in the story to see two "international" posters which are also quite good). Despite a shaky third act, I loved the first "reboot" of the series, Batman Begins. I also remember seeing that flick in the theatre, which is a mixed bag. Yeah, the movie was great, but that was a bizarre night that should have sent me a message as bright as the Batsignal.

Story of the gruesome and funny production company credits at the end of BSG.

I think I know where to send the camera crews for this new reality debacle. Of course, it wouldn't be at a country club, and all the stuff has already been repossessed. Several times.

Six is making her way to another show I enjoy.

Speaking of entertaining USA shows, Maddie Hayes is Sean Spencer's mom.

One ranking of Joss's "10 finest moments." Probably not the 10 I would pick, but a fine list nonetheless. (h/t Whedonesque).

A Damn Good Dawg retires.

How to get from one side of the galaxy to the other very quickly. But complications may ensue.

An interesting opinion about the Falcons pick at #3 today. "Taking the wrong Matt." Yeah, it would make me very happy to see UGA's 7 in a Birds uni, but I want Stafford to stick around for 4 years, and not go pro after his junior year. (Of course, if by miracle of miracles, the Dawgs make it through a torturous schedule and wind up with a MNC, there'd be no reason for him to hang around the campus, and we all know he has the gun for the pro game).

Christina Ricci is a smart lass.

If not for the awful food and bad teeth, I think I'd fit in with the crowd in Britain.

While jogging around the apartment complex, I found an amusing "crime deterrent." On one of the ground level units, the resident had placed one of those "head shot" targets from the shooting range in the window, with bullet holes all in and around the bullseye. Probably much more effective than an alarm company sticker.

Great list of unanswered TV questions.

The 11 Most Awful Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks. Some of the choices are spot-on, but I actually like a couple of the tunes (like "Kiss From a Rose" - but what the fuck does that mean?). But mostly, I enjoyed it for the writing. Worth checking out.

A guide to sci-fi deus ex machinas.

It's too bad Joss got into bed with FOX for Dollhouse, where it will probably be canceled after 4 episodes (cough*Drive*cough). This is an interesting development, and I would have much preferred to see Dollhouse on Showtime (and not just because Olivia Williams, Eliza Dushku and Amy Acker would be free of the puritanical standards and practices nazis. Mainly, because they can cultivate quality shows without the weekly pressure of the unwashed masses tuning in).

In praise of Bones. I think one of the reasons why I love Bones so much is that of all the procedurals, this one is really more about character than the mystery. And it so happens that I really like each and every character on Bones, unlike other procedurals, where there may be only one or two characters worth watching (Calleigh, Gil, Hodges, Lupo, Cutter, Munch, Prentiss, Penelope, Goren, etc). The back from the strike eps have been top notch, but next week will be a test of my patience. A baby? Shit, did they not read my screed about BSG last week?

Why didn't they have this at a playground near me as a kid?

Speaking of which, here's a guide to the women of intergalactic pimp, James T. Kirk.

I still can't get over Carly getting the boot on American Idol. I understand that David C has talent, and the stuffed Koala has a legion of tweens (plus, voters are probably afraid his dad would beat him studded belt if he loses). But Brooke and Psychlo Terl voted forward? You have got to be fucking kidding me. And this is even more distressing than anti-Irish, anti-talent bias: did mouth-breathing, fairy tale-believing, flat-earth, dimwitted jesus freaks spur a backlash? Over a thirty year old song? Maybe I could grow to love warm beer and fish and chips.

And what was Carly going to perform on Neil Diamond week? "Sweet Caroline," my favorite song of his. Fuck you, America. Fuck you.

However, whenever I think of Neil Diamond, I think of this. Never fails to make me laugh out loud. "...this next song I wrote after I killed a drifter to get an erection."

Is it too hot in the Sahara for a parka?

Welcome back, Lost! After a strike-imposed hiatus, Lost returned with a vengeance Thursday night. And I do mean "vengeance." Ben has a grudge to settle. As does Charles Widmore. As does Sayid. And the intersection of all those grudges came into sharper focus with "The Shape of Things to Come."

I'm not sure if it's the abbreviated season, or the fact that the writers now know an end date for the series, but the action was upped and the revelations (and more questions, of course) came fast and furious. You all have seen the ep and read the recaps, so here's a summary of:

What we (think we) learned:
  • Linus. Benjamin Linus. Our Machiavellian manipulator is also a secret badass with multiple identities and a way with an expanding billy club.
  • Ben exerts some type of control over Smoky the monster. He went into his secret room (?), returned looking "sootier," and soon after that, Smoky opened up a can of whoop ass on the mercs.
  • Sayid married Nadia. Who was killed, presumably by agents of Charles Widmore. Ben "proved" this by virtue of a traffic cam image of the purported assassin two blocks from where Nadia was killed. Yeah, I've acted on sketchier evidence. So that's how Jarrah, Sayid Jarrah, came to work as Ben's blunt instrument of tux-wearing Iraqi death.
  • Ben has the means to manipulate time and space, apparently. When he leaves the island, he still experiences some type of sickness, but either medicine or an unknown "constant" keeps him from becoming "unstuck" in time.
  • The parka Ben was wearing when he appeared in the desert had a Dharma logo, and the name "Halliwax" on it. Halliwax is presumably another alias for Dr. Marvin Candle, of the mysterious black and white Dharma videos.
  • The house phones in Otherton don't have dials. Dharma drops supplies occasionally, but you can't order a pizza evidently.
  • Ben is out and about in the world in October of 2005, a year and a month after the crash of Oceanic 815.
  • If you're a redshirt carrying logs, you will probably get shot. (And one of the redshirts was actually wearing a red shirt. Funny).
  • A white picket fence provides ample cover for machine gun fire. Of course, don't test this at home, kids.
  • At first, I thought Ben's alias of "Moriarty" at the Tunisian hotel was a reference to Holmes' nemesis. However, the full name was "Dean Moriarty," the character from Kerouac's "On The Road."
  • In addition to wielding a mean billy club, time traveling, teleportation and speaking multiple languages, Ben can play Rachmaninoff. With a shotgun hidden under the piano bench.
  • Bernard knows Morse code. Ooops, for Faraday.
  • "Australia's the key to the whole game!" Yes, it was Hurley talking about Risk, but I think there was more going on there than meets the eye.
  • Faraday's loopy line readings never fail to amuse me. "When? When is kind of a relative term."
  • Ben is now (or will be -- my head hurts) on a mission to kill Penny Widmore. Uh Oh.
  • Ben was supremely confident that Keemy wouldn't kill his daughter, Alex. However, he (presumably Widmore) "changed the rules." Is this because there were set rules, like in the mafia, that family members were not to be harmed in the epic conflict? Or perhaps because Ben has "been there, done that" in a metaphysical sense? Does his supreme knowledge of events come from time-hopping and knowing the future in the present before it really happens?

So this question leads us into the questions from "The Shape of Things to Come:"
  • Why was Ben wearing the Dharma/Halliwax parka?
  • Why (and how) did he arrive in the desert?
  • Why was he injured?
  • Can Ben control "when" and "where" he goes? If so, then why did he ask the hotel clerk the date and year?
  • What's with all the hieroglyphics on the door of Ben's secret room?
  • Is Jack's illness naturally occurring, or is someone up to something?
  • What exactly ARE the rules of the Linus/Widmore game of real life Risk?
  • Why does Ben think Widmore's mercs won't hurt him? Is it because they "can't," or because they "won't?" And is this changed, now that the rules are broken?
  • When the Morse code message says that the Doc is fine, is that the truth -- at that time on the freighter? Or are they lying?
  • Is Charles actively hiding Penny? Does Penny know she should be hidden? And does this mean that Charles has moved or hidden her since she communicated with Des in "The Constant?"
  • How connected is Penny to the search for the island? (Remember the parka wearing dudes in the tent with the radio? Part of Penny's search for Des? Part of dad's search for the island? Both?)
  • So the island "was" Widmore's? When?
  • What are Widmore's nightmares?
  • Why hasn't Michael Emerson won an Emmy yet?
  • If it's important to Ben that Locke stay alive, then why did he shoot him and leave him for dead previously? Because he knew that Locke's experience in the pit of bodies and with Taller Ghost Walt was necessary for future developments?

Wow, that was seriously jam packed. Can't wait until next week.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Hour on Idol commentary!

Better late than never, right? It’s me, your erstwhile blogger, back in town and offering my (late) thoughts on last night’s American Idol. Many thanks to ersatz guest blogger Meg, who put her recap in the comments section of my previous post. Since many of you aren’t commentically inclined and may have missed her insight, I’ll paste her evaluation into the body of this post, and then offer my thoughts following each performer as I watch this “plausibly live!” on TiVo tonight. Next time I do this, I think I’ll just give the guest blogger the proverbial “keys to the kingdom” and let them just blog away in the main body, since that goes to all the RSS readers and email subscriptions, giving them the massive forum (among 18 people) they deserve for their contributions, wit and wisdom.

It should also be noted that just like in national Democratic politics, there is a case of “gender bias” in the reviews. From previous emails and comments, I perceive that Meg has probably given more benefit of the doubt than I would have to Archie and Terl, just because they’re “cute.” Similarly, I frequently forgive forgotten lyrics, occasional “pitchiness” and other missteps because of dark eyeliner, nice legs, ample cleavage, cute feet or short hair. (Much like I’ve started TiVoing Samantha Who just because of Christina Applegate’s hair. Granted, it’s not a bad show. And I’m usually not that fond of any type of curly hair. But damn, that’s adorable). Hey, we’re all human, ya know?

Okay, here we go…(Meg’s original comments are in normal type, and mine are in red).

You asked for it!!! (don't read until you have watched!)

I'm not nearly as fun and witty as you but here are my thoughts as we go along.

Initially I am scared... ALW songs are BIG and I am just not sure the group can handle them.

Up first is Syesha... great voice but as of yet has shown little personality and charisma. She is doing a song I don't know... but she is INCREDIBLE! Where has THIS girl been all season! Great voice... sexy and sassy and full of charisma. If she had been performing this way all season, she'd be the front runner by a mile! All 3 judges agree! Maybe this will be a fun night after all! I'll give her a 9.

I have to agree with the Megster here. I’ve been down on Syesha for much of the season, but this was fantastic, full of personality and great voice. A peppy and flavorful song, and she had fun with it, and wasn’t her usual melismatic, pretentious, dour self. She looks great, and this was indeed her best showing yet. 9.

Commercials: I hate to say this, but Wall*E looks cute. And how soon can we get House back on the air? I miss my snarky bitterness and Cutthroat Bitch.

Up next is my sweet Pretty Boy Jason... (I refuse to say those terrible things about him that you do!) He's doing Memory from Cats... I'm scared... (will those people please quit waving their arms?) He never takes the song to the powerful place that you see in the show and as a result it's nice enough but lacking for me. Randy and Simon didn't like it, Paula tried to say she did... but even Jason didn't seem like he was thrilled. Yeesh. 5

Psycho Terl has the same, vacuous gaze during the interview, and admits he hasn’t seen an ALW production. And of course he chooses “Memory.” And of course, ALW suggests that Terl will probably ignore every thing he told him. And of course, this is a butchery that would make Sam from The Brady Bunch jealous. Breathy, weak, squeaky and completely disconnected from what the fuck it’s about. The only “memory” suggested here is the memory of sitting outside a low rent Starbucks wannabee having overcaffeinated people throw the two bits leftover from a $5.75 latte into an upside down trucker hat out of pity. Randy uses the term “train wreck” and dude, dawg, aiiiight – he’s right. Paula wants his dreadlock, apparently. Yee gods, that was horrific. 2.

Brooke is next singing a song from Evita... Oh my god... She just started over after beginning the song. She has got to learn to keep going when she flubs a line! She is singing beautifully but I can only imagine her in concert on the tour telling the band to start over! Randy doesn't love it, Paula scolds her for the stopping, Simon is kinder than I expected. 4

ALW: “I don’t think that girl had a clue what she was singing about.” Just 2.5 Idolettes into tonight, and already I think he’s one of the best and most constructive and helpful guest mentors in the history of the known universe. Scrunchy-faced Nanny Brooke will be doing “You Must Love Me. That’s as spot on a choice to her personality as it would have been for Season One skank Nikki McKibbin to have sung “A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When The Stripper Is Crying.” HOLY SHIT. She stopped 15 seconds in for a “do over.” Just like in wiffle ball or other kid games (or hell, in life), there ARE NO DO OVERS. What the fuck was that? And her phrasing at the beginning made it sound like she was speaking/singing 8th grade French. Vocally, that was horrific. At least she’s not back talking the judges. And that was her SECOND “do over” attempt. Yee gods. 2.

Commercial: Doesn’t Iron Man look fucking awesome? Yeah, I thought so.

Cutie Pie David A is up next.. OK, so he really does look like a stuffed Koala I used to have! He's singing a Phantom of the Opera piece that he has completely changed from the original and I like the arrangement. His voice is well suited to these kinds of songs and I think he did a nice job. Nothing spectacular but very nice and solid. ALW did not look happy while applauding but Randy and Paula loved it. Simon was more in line with my thoughts - pleasant, nice, but forgettable. 7

Thanks to Meg for recognizing the stuffed animal doppelganger. I wonder if that Koala’s dad beat him backstage when he failed to sing an inspirational song of faith well enough to win a record contract and save the family from driving around in a 1975 station wagon and living on Swanson TV dinners? Koala boy is trying really fucking hard to keep his eyes open (suggestion from ALW) and reminds me of Alex getting deprogrammed to violence in A Clockwork Orange. I think Koala needs a little of the “old ultraviolence.” The stuffed animal does well enough with the vocal, and I agree with Meg and Simon on this one. 7.

Now we have Carly... ALW talked her into a different song (the new one is from Jesus Christ Superstar) and he was completely right. For the first time in recent memory she actually looks comfortable performing, seems to have some fun on stage and belts out the song fabulously! Judges like this including Simon who said fave of the night. She pulls out a funny shirt that says "Simon loves me (this week)" and probably scored some charisma points by doing that. Smart. 8

Once again, ALW is right on the money. GREAT advice to my girl Carly. That was so fucking good, it’s almost enough to get me to believe in the title character from the song. Almost. She looks amazing, sounds spectacular, and for the first time since “Come Together” or “Crazy On You” looks like she’s having fun. But what the frell is Randy saying? It was just good, or just okay? And the mad seal clapper? Huh? How can she not love this? And Simon still can’t give it up totally for Carly. Her “Simon Loves Me (this week)” shirt is funny and cool. If I was totally objective, I’d put it on par with Syesha, but since I’m totally in the bag for raccoon eyes, I’m giving it a 9.1.

My fave, David Cook, is up next. He says he grew up doing musical theater - cool! Music of the Night from Phantom is his choice - tough song and I don't know if he can do it. Holy cow... he really is a freaking rock star. This guy can sing anything. Beautiful power note... sexy, sweet, sensual.. just as it should be. Just wow. Fantastic. Judges agree. Best of the night for me. 9++

Maybe David Cook and Meg, and Carly and I can go on a double date. They can sing and we can do the play by play. I’m not about to slide off a vinyl couch or something, but damn, boy brought it tonight. Completely out of his grungy, emo wheelhouse and he just nailed this one. Good stuff. 9.

Meg’s Best of the night by far: Syesha, Carly, David C

Meg’s Going Home - Probably Brooke or Jason but I think Brooke.

TNRLM Top 3: Carly, David Flowbee, Syesha

TNRLM Bottom 3: David A (who was closer to the top than the bottom) and the fucktacular flops of Psychlo Terl and Brooke.

Can't wait to see what you think!

Now you do. ;-)

Thanks again to pinch-hitter extraordinaire, Meg.

What did y’all think?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Don't cry for me, Argentina

Sadly, I'm out of town and won't be able to watch American Idol tomorrow night and live-blog the festivities as our contestants tackle Andrew Lloyd Webber. So if you tune into TNRLM for that on Tuesdays, I'm sorry, but Hampton Inns don't have TiVos, dammit.

However, if any of the regular readers want to take over and offer thoughts and reviews in the comments, that would be great. Just remember the usual drill:
  • Mention coffee houses and Battlefield Earth when Jason performs.
  • No review of Syesha is complete without the word "melisma."
  • A stuffed animal analogy is typically required when Archuletta does his squnity thing and the tweens swoon.
  • And dark eyeliner is always very, very good.
Thanks, and I'll see you peeps later this week.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $900, Alex

She'll be back. TV Guide reports that The Sarah Connor Chronicles will return for a second season.

A methodology for deciding what movie to watch with your significant other.

Cool look at Micronauts, a sci-fi toy from the 70s. Yep, I had those.

I don't have much interest in seeing a GI Joe movie. However, this might tempt me to watch it on a movie channel.

A look at great title sequences. (Note: click the "next" at the bottom of the page to view more). John Adams (which I've been watching and enjoying, as long as I can fast forward through the kids and smallpox scenes) is at the top of the list. I'm ashamed to admit this, but every time I watch the wonderful opening credits, I wonder where Georgia is on the snake. I think I'll go research that.

A Green Machine with a water cannon! When I was young, you had the Big Wheel. About the time I graduated to bikes, they came up with the awesome "hand brake" thing on the Big Wheel to allow power slides, and I completely missed the Green Machine phenomenon. Wonder if I can add a water cannon to my car? And fill it acidy, alien blood? Would certainly help with panhandlers and those "wash your windshield" guys.

What? He's Dead.

Two funny video compilations:

First, the cast of Lost asking the question many of us do after viewing an episode:

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Next, Dammit Jim! I couldn't save him. I'm a blogger not a doctor:

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tweet, y'all!

Because there are times, apparently, when I feel compelled to share whatever the fuck I'm doing with the world in 140 characters or less, I've signed on to Twitter. I'll be TNRLM there, and you can find the updates in the widgets on the right of the blog.

In Praise of Airlocks

SPOILERS for last night's BSG.

Funny. The blog has "done been lit up" (as those back in the motherland might say) the past few hours. The common search terms?

"Cally + annoying"
"Cally + airlock"
"Die + Cally"
"Hate + Cally"
"Whiny + Cally"

And in reflection, I must admit that though I was never moved by Nicki Clyne's acting, except in the beginning when she had to be nothing but cute, I was on board with her performance -- for the most part -- last night. Sadly, most of the performance was marred by the shrieking, mewling infant that has scarred my psyche worse than a resurrection bath with Brother Cavil. But smaller things, like her visit to Doc Cottle where she took a drag off his smoke, were well played.

So thanks for the memories, Cally. We'll decrease the number of survivors on the Dry Erase Board of Doom by one, and have a drink in your honor. A cold drink.

This week's Ledger

  • Has anyone noticed the fucking sunshine outside? Yeah, that's good.
  • Amy Acker (Fred!) joins the cast of the increasingly interesting Dollhouse.
  • The comfort food of always having a Braves game on the tube.
  • Sea salt and black pepper potato chips. Good stuff.
  • Podcasts. I think I've mentioned this before, but podcasts are a great way to pass the time when you're working out, or vegging out. Don't get me wrong, I like to listen to music on the iPod, but I'm much more about the entertainment and the information. I've found some podcasts I like, such as Ron Moore's BSG podcasts, the official Lost podcast, the unofficial Lost podcast with Jay and Jack, Pop Candy's podcast and Bill Simmons BS Report. Anyone have any other favorites out there that might be of interest? About TV, pop culture or something newsy and political in the Libertarian vein?
  • Trusted mechanics. Someone at work knows a guy that services their (five!) cars, and he's a straight shooter. The Nazi dealership recommended a $2,100 brake job last time I went in, and I'm not that comfortable with their service or ethics. This dude looked at my car and gave the me the skinny. I had about 6,000 more miles, but I would need one. He used authentic Bimmer parts, and did the whole thing for $1,400. Still a huge chunk of money, but I've heard that "stopping" is an integral and underrated part of the driving experience.

  • Brake jobs.
  • Kids on TV. Please make it stop.
  • Asswipes at work.
  • Sunshine, the theatrical kind. I was eager to see this movie, and picked it up at Blockbuster last week. The first two thirds was fantastic. Exemplary special effects, a fairly realistic and intriguing premise and grounded performances. Then, the whole thing goes to shit in the end with a ridiculous slasher film mash up. Very disappointing.
  • Washer and dryer withdrawals. Here, I'm using the standard issue, come with the apartment units. Nice to have them, of course, but they just pale in comparison to my front loading Nautilus units in storage. Clothes just aren't as sparkly clean, wrinkle free and fluffy as they could be.
  • Sometimes, everything just sucks.

A good use for Airlocks

SPOILERS for last night's Battlestar Galactica upcoming.

Last night's BSG, "The Ties That Bind," was a typically compelling and thought-provoking hour of television. However, despite being extraordinarily well written, well directed and well acted, I just wanted it to be over as I was watching it.

Lee knows the dirty side of politics, and now he's caught fully in the middle of it, with Zarek clouded in murky motives. I like how the writers aren't afraid to sully even touchstone characters like Roslin, and you can see how the plight of the fleet, her "cover" for Adama on Starbuck's garbage scow mission, and most impactfully, her cancer treatments, are taking a severe toll. The scene with Bill reading her a pulpy mystery at her bedside was heartbreaking, and (Emmy Worthy!) Mary McDonnell conveyed so much without saying a word. The scenes of political discord and presidential suffering did indeed cause viewer discomfort, but that's not the main reason my finger hovered precipitously on the fast forward button.

Neither was the reason everyone's favorite character to hate (and not in a campy, fun way like Baltar or Cavil), the whiny and uber-annoying Cally. Look, Nicki Clyne is cute as a button and was almost convincing as a cylon hater when she Jack Ruby'ed Boomer way back when. But when she's called on to do the dramatic heavy lifting, she's just not up to it. Either that, or Cally is one of the most nails on a chalkboard* characters ever written. I believe I even wrote a post on my old blog called "Die Cally, Die!" Know what? Got my wish. Despite the actress's shortcomings, I truly believed Cally was losing it and going off the deep end. Forced to stay in the fleet and on the job? Taking uppers and downers? Not prepared for the horrors of parenthood? Questioning her marriage, which started off with a jaw-breaking beatdown? Suspecting her hubby was getting horizontal with Tory? And then, to top it all off, finding out that Galen was a frakkin' skin job? The sense of confusion, hopelessness and despair was aided greatly by the direction, which conveyed a palpable atmosphere of tension and madness. I really thought Cally was going to flush herself and her mewling infant out the airlock. In the end, Tory saved the baby (programming to protect the hybrid?) and sent Cally spiraling into the dead cold of space, where no one can hear you whine. But if tonight's audio is any indication of what we can expect from Chief's kid, then I'm filled with sadness that Tory didn't enact a mother and child reunion (TM Paul Simon).

Because that, my friends, is the thing that almost made me turn off my favorite program and the Best. Show. On. Television. I realize the producers were trying to put us firmly in Cally's world of hurt with the baby constantly squealing and crying. But godsdamn, was that horrific. If that noise isn't enough to drive anyone to a life of lonely masturbation, I don't know what is. I was hoping for ANYTHING to shut that the fuck up. Matricide. Cylon murder. Nuke to the Galactica's airlock. Playing a game of "kick the baby." Hopefully, watching a killer robot whack his mom will scare that little bundle of "joy" mute.

Despite the nonstop cacophony, there were other things to enjoy. Cavil and his group going Fort Sumter on the Sixes, with the resurrection ship bugged out. Kara dragging Gaeta, Hot Dog, Helo and Anders into her own personal hell on the garbage ship, and needing a good frakking. (I understand the dramatic and "television" purpose of having some of the other central characters on the ship with Starbuck, but in the "reality" of the fleet, it strikes me as strange to have so many known Galactica personnel out in the hinterlands waiting for Kara's mystical GPS kick in).

So once again, a fantastic episode of BSG, but one of the most painful I've sat through. Please, Lords of Kobol, no more eardrum piercing babies.

*That's the standard cliche for painful sounds. However, I have my own bizarre trigger sound: when people take a piece of paper, and fold it with their fingers running along the crease. The sound of flesh rubbing against the paper to firm up the fold makes me physically squirm and twitch and my eyes roll back in my head. Sadly, this happens in an office environment all the time, and when people do this standing at my desk, I want to jam a letter opener into their skulls. Well, there's that sound, and the sound of kids. There's never an airlock around when you need one.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Damn. No one sang "Touch My Body."

Here we are with Mariah Carey night on American Idol. That probably augers lots of ballads that sound alike, an epidemic of melisma, vain and pretentious “coaching” commentary and Randy Jackson quietly masturbating under the table. For all her histrionic divaness and preening egocentricity, Mariah is a fantastically gifted technical singer and every single Idol wannabee is gonna pale in comparison. This should be painful.

What’s with Ryan’s hair? It looks like his head has a pointed ridge across it.

Batting leadoff is the grinning stuffed animal, David A. Mariah wants him to go up into the falsetto. Of course, when she does that (or the upper end of her range, or whatever the fuck it is that makes dogs cry in pain), I want to bash my head against the corner of a granite countertop. He does okay with “Believe,” and hits most of the notes, but takes Mariah’s advice and squeals like a Chihuahua in a blender. The judges love him, and he smiles like he’s been lobotomized. 7

My girl Carly is up next. I think she’s just treading on thin ice at this point. The fans don’t seem to be responding to her, despite the fact that she has the best voice of the remaining competitors. Maybe some are turned off by her tats or her freaky looking husband. Maybe some hate her because of her previous blink and you’ll miss it recording deal. Perhaps some sense the palpable desperation. Could just be plain old bigotry against the Irish (we can drink more than you, after all). Regardless of how she performs, I think she’s going home this week or next, depending on how lame Syesha’s Mariah-aping is tonight. Still, she’s trying a bit. She has on long sleeves to cover the arm tat and is giving the girls a little uplift and exposure. And sadly, she’s turned down the volume on the eyeliner. She’s doing “Without You.” Randy and Simon hate on her some, but mostly along the lines of unrealized potential. I actually like that song, and despite my powerful Carly love, I thought she was just - to quote everyone’s favorite sycophantic bassist – Aiiiggghhht. 6.

Here we go with Syesha, doing “Vanishing.” It was okay there for a while, but then she flips the switch on the Melismatron 3000. Randy and the mad seal-clapper like her, but Simon (like most of us) doesn’t recognize the song. Syesha is a bit like the Irish with whiskey, in that she thinks anything worth doing is worth doing to excess. 5

Sunny, raspy Brooke is up next, doing “Hero.” I really wasn’t too fond of that song, but damned if Brooke didn’t do a good job with it. Simon starts a long, torturous conversation about hamburgers, meat, buns and condiments, and basically the judges hated it. Maybe I’m just not a good Mariah-evaluator. That was my favorite of the evening thus far, and I’ll give her a 7.

Kristy Lee Shitkicker sings without the aid of crippled kids, baby chicks, stars and stripes or a background montage of smiling old people. She’s doing some tune called “Forever.” Mariah said she like Kristy Lee’s version. Paula loves her, but Randy and Simon think she was just okay. I wasn’t enthralled. Started off pitchy, and though she hit a few of the big notes with a pleasant enough twang, I’ll give her a 5.

I will say this about Mariah. I was expecting a self-absorbed beeyotch, and she’s been nice, supportive, occasionally helpful and respectful. It could be pure calculation, since she’s got an album dropping tomorrow, but if she’s being totally phony and disingenuous, it doesn’t come across that way. Good for you, Mimi.

David Cook is doing “Always Be My Baby.” The backlight on him isn’t doing him any favors, since it looks like someone rubbed balloons all over his hair. He does another post-emo wail on the song, and it’s not too bad. He tends to mumble some of the lower notes, but at the very least, it’s an interesting take on a boring tune. Randy gives him a standing O, and Paula says it should be on a movie soundtrack. Kenny Loggins will be jealous. Simon is happy to escape from “karaoke hell” and sings his praises. Not much you can do with the overballady Carey songbook (couldn’t someone have done one of her few “fun” songs?), but David’s was the best of the night. And yes, I feel safe saying that, given that the dreadlocked zygote that crawled out of Jack Johnson cloning chamber is up next. 8.

Psychlo Terl gets the pimp slot, and I’m sure he’ll do some subdued coffee house smarm. It’s “I Don’t Want To Cry.” If I was sitting on a deck drinking an overpriced macchiato, then I might think it was an innocuous backdrop to the conversation. But as the closer for the show? Meh. 4.

TNRLM Top 3: David Static Hair, David Chipmunk, Sunshine Brooke

TNRLM Bottom 3: Psychlo Terl, Please Go Already Syesha, Can’t Kill Her Kristy Lee

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Things I learned from Exes. Part One.

Life lessons big and small from splashing around in the dating pool:

  1. Value of a steamer. Much easier than an iron and gets the wrinkles out quickly.
  2. SportsNight is a really good show. Band of Brothers, too.
  3. Letting go of inhibitions and neuroses can be difficult, but fulfilling.
  4. Charts, graphs and flipcharts can work in a relationship. But not too often.
  5. Never, ever mix money.
  6. And no matter how you slice it, you'll wind up taking a bath financially.
  7. It's much more efficient to drink nightly cocktails out of stadium cups than lowball glasses.
  8. People rarely change. You are what you are.
  9. A complete game of Trivial Pursuit – all the pie pieces and the win - can be completed in one turn.
  10. Mani-pedis are about the best thing ever.
  11. You should rarely trust a redhead.
  12. I have no interest in shoe stores.
  13. Great conversation is critical, but can only take you so far.
  14. Wisk is the best detergent.
  15. More than likely, kids can't overcome their genetic material.
  16. Nobody does your laundry the way you want.
  17. I like sushi (but only without vegetables).
  18. If someone doesn't think you're funny, it's probably not going to work.
  19. Road trips are a good test of the relationship. Living together is a better, but more expensive and complicated one.
  20. Your friends will typically be a good judge of character for the significant other. But they'll probably keep their mouths shut if they think you're happy.
  21. 99% of the world is messy, cluttered and disorganized.
  22. You really should watch the same television shows. For the most part.
  23. If you don't want to know, don't ask. But you know you want to know.
  24. Guns and CD players don't mix.

I'll take potpourri for $800, Alex

Carl Sagan's son looks at inventions of the future.

A video interview with James Callis about an EW photo shoot. Of course Baltar would wind up in Vegas. (poke around that site. There are other good BSG interviews there as well).

Speaking of BSG (which it seems I always am), my crackpot theory for the 5th and final cylon is Zak Adama. I'm staying away from spoilers, so it's just a wild guess. But I strongly believe it won't be PoppAdama or Lee. Or Starbuck or President Airlock. And a heretofore unknown character would be disappointing. We've had mentions of Zak in every season, though he hasn't really shown up. (He's dead, ya know). He has connections to all the central characters (save Roslin) and Leobon did say during the first season "Adama is a cylon." Of course, he didn't say which one. Just a thought.

A good education for the kids. I could have directed them to someplace closer, at only 553 miles, to get the same insight.

Ever pause the TiVo at the end of a Chuck Lorre show to read the vanity cards? They're really funny, and all collected here.

One of my favorite writers, Christopher Hitchens, on the Rev. Wright crap.

A new show coming on USA. The lead character is a federal marshal, named Mary Shannon. That would make her Marshal Shannon. Her partner is named Marshall Mann. Yep, he's Marshal Marshall. They really are asking me to watch, right?

Lost is going out with a THREE HOUR FINALE. Fuck Yeah!

Sci-Fi sound effects. With plenty of fun links to click and listen.

Monk's Dr. Kroger is dead.

Old-time sportswriting describes the Braves win over the hated Mets and Johan Santana.

Last night's Torchwood was spectacular. Full of depth, answers, backstory, drama and great performances. The flashback format has been done to death (and this ep bore a remarkable resemblance to Firefly's "Out of Gas") but when it's done right, it can really soar.

This week's Ledger

  • Podcasts for working out.
  • Wearing shorts and not having everyone look at me like I'm crazy.
  • For reasons too complicated to go into, I didn't TiVo The Office on Thursday. However, I was able to watch it in all its painful, awkward glory (I think I've thrown a dinner party like that before, too. Except I was better at the games) on hulu.
  • Flying into a warm climate, and being surprised with a convertible as a rental car.
  • Countdowns and iTunes. I always seemed to get sucked into watching one of those music channel "50 Greatest blah blah blah" countdowns, and want to get that song. Now, it's so easy.
  • BSG DVDs. Features and commentaries are awesome. Not to mention the actual eps themselves.
  • Finding a good parking spot. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

  • Getting the window seat. Twice.
  • No grills in apartment life. I wanted a steak and wine last night, so hello George Foreman. Not quite the same.
  • Losing touch.
  • One of the kids has an aversion to the broken litter box (while I wait on the shiny new replacement). I haven't fingered the culprit yet.
  • Trips down memory lane.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

He screwed her 'til she saw (only one) god. And then she cried.

I need to put my musings and/or recaps of Battlestar Galactica up quick. Because once I read Jacob's recaplet of BSG over on TWOP, I feel unworthy. There's good stuff to be had, and you can browse that here.

I was a bit concerned once I saw Michael Angeli's name as the writer (he was responsible for "The Woman King," among other offenses), but that was a brutal, stark and raw hour of mostly dialogue. And I loved every minute of it.

Note to self: don't "lobotomize" your crackberry, PC, GPS, XM radio, coffee maker, TiVo or iPod. Because they won't like it, and you'll have a world of shit on your hands.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

If that's "inspirational," I'm giving up all hope

Welcome to “Inspiration Night” on American Idol. Pour yourself a good, stiff drink, because it’s going to be a long night. You see, I’m much like the departed skunk-haired biker chick, Amanda Overmeyer, in that I think “ballads are for pussies.” (I don’t think she was quite so colorful in her description, but she seems like she would be if she wasn’t being censored by the delicate sensibilities of our prime time network audience). Yeah, I love the crooner’s classics by the Rat Pack, and “Yesterday” still stands the test of time. But I fear that most of the “inspirational” tunes selected by these kids will be belty, schmaltzy, treacly pap from the CelineMariahWhitney songbook that makes me want to jam a cordless screwdriver in my ear and push the “on” button. Will someone be adventurous, and select a tune I actually like? Could you consider “Wonderwall” inspirational? Either in the original flavor Oasis version, or even the stripped down Ryan Adams version? It’s inspirational to me. But I’m guessing that someone (cough, Syesha, cough) will choose “The Greatest Gift of All” and I may go on a killing spree. And sadly, I think most of the choices will be in that same vein. Okay, fill a glass to the brim with Haterade, and let’s see what overly sentimental shit soup Idol serves up tonight.

The Australian Georgia Boy, Michael is batting leadoff. He’ll be doing – thank the gods – “Dream On.” This inspires me that perhaps this hour won’t suck quite as much as I had envisioned. Michael is really finding his niche as the classic-rock dude, and he belts out a very serviceable version of the Aerosmith classic, complete with some nice falsetto wailing. Randy doesn’t think he’s an “Aerosmith dude,” but I completely disagree. Paula agrees with me, but it looks she was mad at her boobs and decided to punish them by putting a tourniquet, er dress, over them. Simon likes the bluesy sound Michael put out last week, and while I completely agree that that Dolly tune was indeed a showstopper, I’ll give MJ here a solid 7.

Syesha is next, doing “I Believe” by Fantasia. Not quite “Greatest Gift,” but it’s in the same ballpark, and that ballpark houses a single A team selling warm beer and stale peanuts. She’s okay, but entirely predictable and I’ve just never connected with her like I have other R&B belters like Tamyra or Melinda. Eh, 5.

The Psychlo Terl is up next, and he’s inspired by a ukulele version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” While I will admit to slightly enjoying the vapid charms of the McPhee’s version of this, I can’t believe a dude that’s gotten this far on the show is going to whip out his ukulele. What’s next, someone covering Weird Al, complete with accordion? I’m sure tween girls will slide off their vinyl couches for this, but if I heard this in a coffee shop, I’d order a decaf and kill myself. Randy calls it “blazing molten hot” and the best of the evening. I remind myself never to listen to another thing Randy says, Aww-iight. What the fuck? Simon thinks it’s fantastic. Are you fucking kidding me? Was everyone getting tanked with Don Ho before the show? 3

Judy Greer in a Mac commercial. That’s almost like porn. House is back April 28! Wheeee!

Kristy Lee Shitkicker is up next. Will she sing “Amazing Grace,” wearing nothing but stars and stripes body paint, wheeling out her dying grandmother on a gurney (who is holding a baby seal) accompanied by the United States Joint Service Color Guard while the Blue Angels fly overhead? She’s doing a Martina McBride song. Surely she will suffer by comparison, since Martina has one of the best and purest voices in music. Usually I’m so focused on her cloying song choices, audience-pandering babble and judge-baiting backtalk that I forget to notice that she’s kinda cute. I’ll be like the seal clapper, and note that she does look good tonight. The judges like her, and inexplicably, Simon tells her she looks like a star. Fuckable, maybe. A star? Sheesh. 5

Now we’re talking. Up next are my two favorites, David C and Carly. Let’s hope their choices are more “inspired,” though I’ve read that Carly has a soft spot for Celine, and that scares me.

David C will be doing a song called “Innocent” by Our Lady of Peace. Haven’t heard this, I don’t think, but it looks like he’s found a Great Clips in the last week, and I’ve enjoyed just about every one of his performances, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Holy christ on a stick. What IS this? I hear lots of “we are” chanting, lots of “innocent” being repeated, and he shrieks and screams, when he’s not talk-singing through the lyrics in an off key slur. This is not only his worst performance; this is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. And his jacket looks someone threw Sergeant Pepper’s coat in the washer with too much bleach. Wow. That’s a colossal train wreck. The “give back” written on his hand is a nice touch, but this is a momentum killing thermonuclear meltdown. Michael Douglas is in the dressing room arguing with Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda about whether this will reach China. Yoiks. 1

Carly will perform “The Show Must Go On” by Queen. GREAT choice. Hmmmm. How it pains me to say this, but I thought that was just okay. She was drowned out a couple of times by the background singers, and the song didn’t quite have enough time to build. And I didn’t hear the usual sense of power in her notes, which is absolutely required when you cover Freddy Mercury. Oddly, she toned down some of her theatrics, which you would commonly expect doing a queen song. But as usual, she looked great. It’s getting to the point where I’m thinking of heading to the Idol most pit with sharpie scribblings all over my face to be a groupie. Not one of my favorites of hers. 5.

Here we go with the goofy smiling stuffed animal, David A. He’s doing some crap about angels, and it’s cavity causing and achingly sincere and earnest. Well performed, I guess, but I don’t get him either. Randy is on the verge of masturbating in his appraisal. Whatevs. 5

Sunny, inappropriately smiling Brooke will be in the pimp slot doing “You’ve Got a Friend.” See, that’s a ballady song that’s well-crafted. I still think I like to hear Brooke talk more than sing. At least she’s not having a seizure on stage when not at her piano or hiding behind a guitar (or fucking ukulele). I like the “smoky” tone of her voice, but for such a pure as the driven snow popsicle, she sings like she actually smokes as much as I do. Her breath control is terrible and her phrasing is scattershot and off tempo. On a night full of disappointing performances, I’ll give her the de rigueur 5.

The hard to choose ratings:

TNRLM Top 3: Aussie Michael, David A and Carly (eyeliner breaks the ties)

TNRLM Bottom 3: David “what the fuck happened to you tonight” C, Psychlo Terl and his ukulele and Marlboro Brooke

Sunday, April 6, 2008

This week's Ledger

  • Musically, this week felt like a return to the salad days of college life. Two of my favorite bands with obvious connections to the motherland released new albums. I downloaded both REM's "Accelerate" and the B-52s "Funplex." I had lost touch a bit with REM over the last couple of albums, as they seemed to lose a spark and be a tad more ponderous. But "Accelerate" is a total kick-ass return to the form many of us loved about them in the first place. It's short, aggressive, uptempo and a great ride. And the B-52s? The name says it all: "Funplex." If you like the B's, you'll love this album. After just a few listens, I'd put it right up there with "Cosmic Thing." I was blogging and reading through some of the BSG boards on TWOP while it was playing in the background, and found myself "chair dancing" right along to it even though I'd never heard a single note from it until then. Also highly recommended, and not just for nostalgia.
  • The motherfrakkin' return of Battlestar Galactica. Has it really been 55 weeks? I can't believe I was in another state -- geographically and psychologically -- when I last saw a fresh ep (not including "Razor") of the best show on TV. And it didn't disappoint.
  • I was so jazzed about the return of BSG, that I went frakkin' nuts on Amazon. I purchased the original mini-series, Season 1, Season 2, Season 3 and "Razor" on DVD. As we all know, I loves myself some TV, but there are very few shows I own lock, stock and barrell on DVD. There are the occasional one season wonders (Wonderfalls, Profit, Firefly) that are easy purchases to make. But there are also other great, fantastic shows I adore that I don't necessarily feel compelled to purchase in their entirety (The Sopranos, Sports Night, Deadwood, etc.) and probably wouldn't watch over and over. BSG will now rest on the shelves (well, when I actually have some fucking shelves, and not just wine boxes stacked up beside the TV) beside the complete runs of Buffy, Angel and Farscape. At some point, I need to add Arrested Development to this mix.
  • Swiffers. I was late to the Swiffer party, but now I have the Swiffer duster and the Swiffer wet-jet. How awesome are these things? Anyone else find the Swiffer indispensible?
  • Finally catching up.

  • Odd bouts of insomnia. I don't sleep that much compared to some folks, but twice this week I found myself in bed "actively" trying to go to sleep without much success. Even the brain numbing foolishness of Horatio Caine couldn't make me let go of my tether to the world to the waking. And of course, I still wake up at 6.
  • This week has been good for watching the Braves, because they were on FOX yesterday and MLB Extra Innings has had a free preview this week (thanks for the reminder Freebird!), but because TBS needs to air more Sex and the City reruns and Frank TV, they've banished "America's Team" to the backwoods of something called "Peachtree TV." Which I don't have here as part of a local sports package. So hello purchase price for Extra Innings!
  • Seeing birthdays pop up in the Outlook calendar and not celebrating them like you did.
  • The Baltimore Sun sports section. Although the AJC Sports section got a lot of criticism from the locals while I was living there (and some deservedly so, between the ancient ramblings of Furman Bisher and the one-note racial blatherings of Terrence Moore), you don't appreciate a decent Sports section until you don't have one. Even the Sunday Sports section in the Sun takes about 5 minutes to read. Here's how it goes: Orioles suck, lacrosse, local minor college minor sports news, Orioles suck, women's lacrosse, truncated MLB and NBA box scores, men's lacrosse, TV listings, college lacrosse, professional lacrosse, will the O's ever trade Brian Roberts, high school lacrosse, tidbit about the Ravens, and oh yeah, more about lacrosse. Calling it a "fishwrapper" would be an insult to fish. Thank the gods there's news about more than lacrosse out here on the interwebs.
  • Sporadic communications.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I'll take potpourri for $700, Alex

Cute interview with the talented Jane Espenson, writer for Buffy, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. After finishing the season with BSG, is there any doubt she'll move to Dollhouse? Because of course, it will be a major hit and FOX won't cancel it.

Wanna keep track of how many are dead on BSG? Here's a handy chart. That's gonna need some updating.

The World's Greatest School doles out some more awards for the highest achievement in television. Winners include 3 of my favorites: Dexter, 30 Rock and Mad Men.

This is adorable. What if Charles Schultz created Watchmen?

I'm a big fan of Torchwood, but last week's ep about the "night travelers" was plain stupid and full of holes. I'm hoping for a rebound tonight.

New show about advertising on TNT. On the upside, it's got a great cast and is produced by the folks behind The Closer. However, will I watch this the same way doctors do Grey's Anatomy or cops do CSI: Miami, and just say (insert Gob Bluth voice here) "Aw, come ON!"

Speaking of CSI: Miami, I think I've posted several times about my reasons for watching this dreck. And I say that as a fan of CSI: Original Recipe. It's my "go to bed" show, because the plots are relatively self-contained, and I haven't seen many of them, so it's perfect to doze off to. And if you watch it as a comedy, it's just so much better. But I'm just increasingly filled with hate and disbelief with every episode. Is there a more painful actor to watch on TV than Caruso? Every self-important line is delivered head cocked, as he walks off screen holding his shades. Every single fucking one. And he's supposed to be a CSI, not a one man killing machine who has to be the greatest shot since Quigley Down Under. I've seen him take out teams of machine gun wielding assassins and entire moving trucks with a pistol. And I despise the smug, horrible acting of Delko. And the teeth and tits of Boa Vista walked in from a poorly crafted soap opera. If not for the twangy charms of the bald cop and Emily Proctor, I might die in my sleep one night after watching this.

Even when she was too young for the prom, she's just frosted cupcake perfection.

We all Know-Shon. Apparently the rest of the world is starting to take notice, too. (h/t Georgia Sports Blog).

You can put the skank in the minivan, but not much really changes. Speaking of which, Dallas is behind the times. This was happening in Columbus Georgia a couple of decades ago.

Over at, they posted some funny "alternative title sequences" to the various Trek shows. This is my favorite:

Mike Hampton goes on the DL. In other news, grass is green and water is wet.

Welcome back, Toasters!

Hello darkness my old friend. How awesome was it to have Battlestar Galactica back on your television? (Or on your PC, if you took advantage of the live episode streaming during lunch?) Rather than ramble on with my usual Faulknerian floridity, I'm going to try something different and turn on the Hemingway filter to capture my thoughts on "He That Believeth In Me." (And if you haven't yet watched it, A. c'mon, what's wrong with you?!, and B. SPOILERS).

New opening. "All will be revealed." Extended space battle. Best in history of show? Best in history of TV? I rewatched again this morning. Movie quality effects. Frak yeah. Tighe shoots the old man. Dream sequence. Kinda like when Chief beat the hell out of Callie. Except that was real. And Callie kept talking. And Chief married her. Anders is a nugget. Did he make nugget mistakes? Don't think so. Red eye knows who and what he is. Gaius is christ-like. And has a harem of worshippers. Delightfully slimy and opportunistic. Where do I sign up to be Gaius? And give Callis an Emmy. Hell, give everyone the show Emmys. Starbuck is back. Her ship is new. Viper dealership on Earth? Chilly reception. Difference between 6 hours and a few months. Unless you're in line at the DMV. Lee hugs her. Anders hugs her. Everyone else? Cylon, bitch. PhotoHut says her pics are of Earth. No flight records of anything else, though. Gaius says the gods aren't real. Feels hollow when he prays. Smart man, that Gaius. Six tells Roslin the Final Five are close. Four are for sure. That mean the fifth is someone we know? In the fleet now? (Weird theory: I think the fifth is Zak. Oddly mentioned tonight. Somewhere in the fleet? Doesn't know who or what he is?). Iron Man commercials. I'm so there. Roslin shacking with Bill. Adama tapping that? Or professional courtesy? Why did raiders recognize Anders now? And not before? Or recognize others? Like when Tighe misplaced his eyeball? Gaius gets a close shave. Horny acolyte kicks ass. Sick kid gets better. Baltar is so getting laid. Again. Lee goes into government. What job? Veep? Anders tells Kara he'd love her if she was cylon. Kara says she'd shoot Anders in the head if he was. Ooops. Kara wants to chat with Roslin. With a gun. "We're going the wrong way."

Holy frak was that good.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

You DO know what tomorrow is, right?

Friday is the premier of the 4th, and sadly, final, season of The. Best. Show. On. Television, Battlestar Galactica. Set your TiVo accordingly.

A few BSG appetizers to whet your whistle:

Everything you wanted to wanted to know but were afraid to ask about BSG. A great review for fans, and a wonderful primer for newbies (it's not too late to join in, y'all!).

A fan's list of the "43 favorite BSG moments of all time." (h/t Pop Candy). It includes this classic:

A fraktastic interview with Ronald D. Moore, courtesy of Mo Ryan.

Fun recap of the BSG press conference from TWOP.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What to do when you get dumped by a ghost

Monday night's How I Met Your Mother was an instant classic, right up there with "Slap Bet." If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. As funny as the episode was (including a funny and charming tag with an homage to NPH's previous show), I just spent the last 20 minutes listening to listening to a "song" on the website mentioned as a throwaway gag on the show, The website was created by one of "Ted Mosby's" (really, Barney pretending to be Ted) one night stands, who was left the morning after with a Dear Jane letter explaining that Ted was a ghost. Who only appeared only once a decade. The website features the letter -- funny itself -- and has a 20 minute epic song performed by the wronged gal. It's like the Waitresses meet Frank Zappa. At first, it's just droning, hypnotic, desperate, bitter and bipolar. And that's before the Battlestar Galactica references and audible vomiting. Put it on in the background while you're surfing or doing something else, but be careful of the monitor and keyboard for spit takes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More than two good reasons to watch Dolly Parton Night

It’s Dolly Parton Night here on Idol. On an unrelated but perhaps synchronous note, I just got through watching last week’s South Park episode, “Boobage.” I usually watch something for the first 50 minutes or so while Idol is airing live, so I can TiVo through the commercials and all the gooey backstory bullshit. I’m still wiping the tears from my eyes. There was the gripping addiction to cat piss (which the youths call “cheesing”), and the brilliant homage to Heavy Metal (a visit to the Heavy Metal land of Robert E. Howard boobs and swordplay was the result of cheesing on cat piss). Between last week’s shotgun blasted stalk of Britney's head and this one, South Park hasn’t missed a beat.

Oh well, on to Idol. I only hope that Carly or Flowbee David gets to sing “Jolene,” and that someone doesn’t attempt to bludgeon “I Will Always Love You” into submission. Off we go…

How do so many stars today get plastic surgery, even in their 30s and 40s, and look like their face is melted (or frozen)? Good lord, has anyone seen Priscilla Presley lately? She and Dolly are virtually the same age, and Priscilla looks like a candle left on a highway in Arizona during a drought. Dolly looks fantastic.

Brooke will be batting leadoff tonight. And shit. She’s singing “Jolene.” I wanted to hear one of my favorites, or one of the power voices, sing this tune. Brooke is too breathy and winded to carry this off, I believe. She looks good, though, and isn’t flailing across the stage (much like Lily did on last night’s How I Met Your Mother). Not a bad version, honest and subdued, but not a showstopper. The mad seal-clapper points out that the singer on the stage is indeed Brooke White. Thanks for the insight. 6 for Brooke.

Next is David Cook, who still hasn’t gotten a decent haircut (does one of the Idol minions rub a balloon on his head before he takes the stage?). Ryan uses the Q&A period to clear up the pseudo controversy about David’s arrangements of covers (Doxology, Whitesnake, Chris Cornell). I didn’t get the impression that David has ever taken credit for those covers, which were all outstanding, but the judges added fuel to the fire by stroking his “creativity” and giving the audience the idea he came up with them (even though Seacrest clearly said “Chris Cornell” last week in the intro of the tune). However, this week, he says it’s one of his own (at least until someone finds a cell phone video of some emo band doing Dolly Parton). He’ll be doing “Little Sparrow.” He’s in great voice tonight, and does a very interesting and compelling version. He even makes the falsetto work for him, and appears less smug than usual during the judges’ review. Paula compliments him in his haircut. Great. 8

Ramiele will bore us to tears next. Dolly thinks she’s little and has spunk. I’m not even sure what this song is, and Ramiele once again has trouble keeping on the beat. Not as horrific as usual, but how is she still on this show? She’s a bad haircut and cloying idiocy away from being Sanjaya. 3.

Here we have the Psychlo Terl. He’ll be doing “Traveling Through.” There’s a little bongo beat thing going on, and he sounds like he should be playing at a swim up bar in Jamaica. If I was there with him, I could tolerate this, because I’d be tanked up on pina coladas, rum shots and stoned to the bejesus. However, sitting on my couch and not influenced by the devil’s cabbage, this is weak, breathy and off beat. Harsh buzzkill, dude. 3.

Carly will be doing “Here You Come Again.” Hmmm. That sounds like an odd marriage of singer and song, but Dolly thinks it is a nice fit with her voice. As usual, Carly is in perfect voice, and does a slow, soulful version of the song. I’m not a huge fan of the song, but once again, she gives me chillbumps with her voice and control. And her eyeliner looks great. Simon complains about her look, and says someone else needs to dress her. Randy and Paula argue about whether or not she was on pitch last week. What the fuck does that have to do with this week? Although I admire Paula trying to prop her up. 8.

Tiny Kewpie Doll will perform “Smoky Mountain Memories.” I don’t get his puppy dog, squinty eyed appeal, but when he hits the big notes, he does hit them. Randy says it’s the best of the night, Paula likes his aura and Simon thinks he’s “on the money.” I say not too damned bad, junior. 7

Kristy Lee Shitkicker is up next. Did Dolly ever sing the National Anthem? After last week’s stunt, I’m thinking she’s going to come out, wearing nothing but an American flag, and sing that tune to a crippled soldier in a wheelchair who is holding a basket of kittens. She’ll grace us with “Coat of Many Colors,” Dolly’s autobiographical tune about mismatched and homemade outerwear. (or Craig Sager). Well, this pleasant little song is right in the country wheelhouse for Kristy, so she doesn’t screw the pooch. Definitely one of her better ones, and she blows a kiss to Simon. 6.

Someone has to unleash “I Will Always Love You,” and it’s going to be Syesha. Syesha says Dolly liked the way she “kept it simple.” We’ll see. I’m betting she vomits Whitney Houston up on the stage, and wipes her stained lips with Bobby Brown’s fade. I was about to type that I was impressed with her simplicity and restraint, and then she goes all diva on us and cranks out the umpteenth Whitney wannabee melisma. Dear god. If Kevin Costner was her bodyguard, he would have let her get shot. 5.

Michael bats cleanup tonight. He says he saw Dolly in concert in ’86. I’m not sure what the song is (“It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right”?), but he rocks this bluesy, folksy thing the fuck out. Definitely the strongest performance of the night. Simply heartfelt, spare, strong and powerful, with a bit of a smoky club vibe. I’d buy this. 9.

TNRLM Top 3: Michael, Carly, David Flowbee

TNRLM Bottom 3: Ramiele, Psychlo Terl, Syesha