Thursday, June 29, 2006

COMICS: They'll Do It Every Time

Thanks to Joshua Fruhlinger at The Comics Curmudgeon, I've been introduced to the horrors of the comic strip They'll Do It Every Time, or TDIET, as he calls it. The premise of TDIET is that its readers (which is already blowing my mind -- this thing has fans?) send in their (allegedly) wacky, zany, true-life anecdotes about the lamest, most petty shit imaginable, and a cartoon is built around it, expressing enormous disbelief and dismay at things to which 99.9% of the population would have this reaction: "Yeah? So?"

Every single strip is, without exception, brain-damagingly stupid. Each installment of this comic kills 5,000,000 brain cells of anyone unfortunate enough to witness it. But this particular strip, which Josh posted this week, I fear may actually be making me insane:

I can't stop looking at it. It's burrowing into my mind.

So many things in it fascinate me, in a detached, shellshocked kind of way, like those soldiers in the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan who were numbly fascinated by their own blown-off limbs. There's the giant red backpack young Zigmunt (Zigmunt?) is wearing -- is he going to school, or is he packing for two weeks of survival training in the desert? There's the forced, dated hepcat way the narrator has of phrasing things (which comes across even more strongly in other strips): "Like, we mean, listen in." And why is the narrator so baffled: "Huh? What'd he say?" You're the one drawing the comic. I think you know what he said. The cloud of question marks over young Zigmunt's (Zigmunt??) head. The bizarreness -- so far above and beyond residual problems with English as a second language -- of Pop's sentence, "So vot is German Mama und I could help you vith?" "Vot is German"?? The way Pop says "skool," as though changing the "ch" to "k" somehow changes the pronunciation of the word, or makes it more German. Mama's switch from "Ya" in panel one to "Ja" in panel two. The overriding presumption that it makes no sense for a kid who (I'm assuming, which may be a mistake) already speaks German not to want to take a German class, that there is no redundancy to be found in a fluent German speaker taking a class to learn how to speak German, absolutely boggles my mind. How could anyone or anything outside our perfect race ever interest our son??

Then there's Zigmunt's (Zigmunt???) total bafflement over the textbook he picked out: "It says 'Buenos dias, hasta la vista' -- Wha'--? What's that mean, Pop, huh?" That sentence gives me fits. First of all, why is he so flabbergasted when he's the one who chose Spanish (it says so right on the cover of the goddam book!). Why, there are words in this book that are neither English nor German!! I am at a total loss as to what language they might possibly be!! And despite the fact that I am holding the book right in my very own hands, I have no idea what resource I should consult in the translation of these alien words!! The way he demands that Pop give him the answer he's looking for, as though Pop didn't have enough trouble with English ("Vot is German"). And what kid born in America (clues that he's American-born: lack of German accent; idea sent in by "Eddie & Liz, Boston, MA") wouldn't have at least a vague idea of what "buenos dias" means? What kid in Europe wouldn't recognize those phrases? What person, anywhere in the world? Fill in some other phrases, to get an idea of how crushingly stupid this kid must be: "It says 'Bon jour, au revoir' -- Wha'--? What's that mean, Pop, huh?" "It says 'Konichiwa, sayonara' -- Wha'--? What's that mean, Pop, huh?" "It says 'Guten Tag, auf Wiedersehen'-- Wha'--? What's that mean, Pop, huh?" (At this point, I have to assume even his parents' native tongue leaves him clueless.) HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT THOSE WORDS MEAN? Was Zigmunt (Zigmunt????) raised in a sensory deprivation chamber? Was he cloned from a scab and some hair found in the shower drain just the day before? Was he literally born yesterday??

Just the unnecessarily extended word "So-o" had me staring slack-jawed for five minutes. Why? Why? Why does there need to be that extra "o"? Why? I don't understand. I can not comprehend the thought process that would lead to that particular choice, in this particular situation. "So-o." Why? I just, I don't -- "So-o." Just look at it. "So-o." "So-o." "So-o." What is going on? Why is the room spinning? NOTHING MAKES SENSE TO ME ANYMORE.

This comic has broken my brain. I need to go take a nap.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

BOOKS: Another Monster at the End of This Book

Did you know there was a sequel to the greatest book in the history of the world?

And equally lovable, furry little Elmo

Well, you do now. Click the picture to read it!

It isn't quite as great as the original (because how could it possibly be as great as the greatest book in the history of the world?), but it's still better than Angela's Ashes. Or Beloved.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Post #666

I'm here to serve you, Master...

Sir Simon Milligan and Manservant Hecubus

...aaaaand Satan!!

Monday, June 26, 2006

META: Happy blogiversary to me

Say, did you know today marks the second anniversary of my blogging at Tom the Dog's You Know What I Like? It's true. Check the date.

Two years. Holy crow. That's longer than 45% of all marriages in America (an absolutely true statistic that I just made up).

Some things have changed since the beginning. I no longer devote certain days of the week to certain topics; now, I just kind of write about whatever I'm thinking about at the time. Which seems to be working okay. Also, no matter how hard I try, or how strong my resolve is, I've never been able to stick to a post-a-day schedule. Not counting this one, in two years I've made 664 posts (which makes the next one Satan's post!) out of 730 days. Not great, but not too shabby, either. As I say in the title bar above, I would make daily posts in a perfect world. And, as we can tell from Whoopi Goldberg's continuing ability to roam free, this is not a perfect world.

I've been particularly proud of some of my efforts here, especially running features like Minute-By-Minute At... or My Unfair Previews, which are permanently linked on the sidebar. Those are a great deal of fun, and seem to generate a significant amount of traffic and comments, so it's a win-win. Also on the sidebar, there's my Herculean coverage of the Fall 2005 TV season, which, as much as I swore I would never again do, will probably be followed by my Herculean coverage of the Fall 2006 TV season. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the television. And there's my Weekly (kind of) Sidebar Updates -- especially the Object of My Affection feature (archived here) -- which tend to generate a lot of discussion. Which is partly why I wanted to start doing something like that: for your feedback. And partly, I just enjoy the brevity of noting what I'm currently into, without having to write a full review of each little thing.

Also, anytime I mention music, I seem to get a flood of comments. I should do that more often.

So what is my goal for the coming year? The big time, baby. I've been a slave to pop culture for most of my life, and I've been blogging about it regularly for over three years now (counting my LiveJournal before starting this blog). And I need to accept: I'm pretty good at it. Especially the television stuff. That's right, haters! I like me, I really like me! I need to market my writing, is the bottom line. As crass as that sounds, I need to get paid for this. And I think I could. If I weren't so damn lazy about it. I think I could refine my writing enough to make, if not a living, at least a decent supplement to my income. Whether it's some no-circulation local paper, or whether it's an online gig, or whether it's Entertainment Frickin' Weekly, I need to convince somebody that I've got a humorous, and often brutally honest (maybe vicious?), take on pop culture that could find an audience. And should be compensated. Lavishly.

So: who wants to be the first to offer me a job? Don't be shy!

It's been a fun two years here, people. I love that there are a lot of faithful readers of this nonsense. I love that there is almost never a post with zero comments (zero comments make baby Jesus cry). Just to know one person read an entry and had something to say about it is extremely heartening. So thank you for that. Please, keep reading, and keep commenting, and in turn, I promise to keep praising and/or ripping on the things you love, the things you should love, the things you love to hate, and the things you should just plain hate (hint: Whoopi Goldberg).

As I said at my one year blogiversary: thanks to all of you for visiting over the past year, and here's to the year ahead. Sláinte!

BOOKS: The greatest book in the history of the world

...Or, at least, it was to me when I was about five years old.

Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover.

Click the picture if you dare to read the chilling, thrilling tale of... The Monster at the End of This Book.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

COMICS: Castle Waiting

Linda Medley's Castle Waiting

No other book this year has made me as happy to be a comics reader as the hardback collection of Linda Medley's wonderful fairy tale, Castle Waiting. (The last issue of Schizo comes close, though that is a very, very different kind of comic.) In fact, no comic has given me as much pleasure since I read Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.

Click for full size. Sorry about the center line.

This is not my first exposure to Linda Medley and the magical world of Castle Waiting. I've been a fan for many years. In fact, I already own every comic collected in this book. Which should tell you just how much I love her work. Having it all collected together in one volume was too much for me to resist -- even considering my recent determination to cut back on my comics spending. This book was an absolute necessity for me.


I love Medley's artwork. Absolutely love it. She perfectly captures facial expressions like nobody else, with great nuance, subtlety and humor. Some expressions are grandly exaggerated, and are hilarious for it; others display the most minor of distinctions from one expression to another, but still render a character's emotional shadings clear to the smallest degree. Enjoy a few of my favorites in this post.


Castle Waiting is a fairy tale, using elements from several classic tales (such as Sleeping Beauty, Simple Simon, or The Three Little Pigs) as jumping-off points, but creating a wholly original and vital world of its own.


The titular Castle houses a menagerie of charming people and creatures who have sought sanctuary within its walls, among them Lady Jain, who has fled her abusive husband to have her lover's child; her half-beast baby, Pindar; Sister Peace, former circus bearded lady, current member of the Solicitine Order; Rackham Adjutant, giant stork and the castle steward; Iron Henry, the blacksmith with a literal cage around his heart; and Sir Chess: knight-in-residence, ladies man, horse.

Rackham and Sister Peace.How embarrassing.

The first part of the book publishes the origin story of Castle Waiting (first published as The Curse of Brambly Hedge), if a castle can have an origin story; basically, it's Sleeping Beauty, with a number of original additions and comic flourishes. What I especially love about this story, and all that follow, are the details Medley puts into her art and her characters. Sure, there's a wicked witch who puts an enchantment on a princess and her castle -- but the witch has feelings, too; she's slighted by the king, jealous of her sister witches, and she's a little sad and lonely:

Horses don't like me.I like you.

After this, we move on to Jain's story, as she enters the Castle and meets her fellow residents. Each is special and mysterious in his or her own way, and each is funny, interesting, and real (in fairy tale fashion). It's these opening chapters, following the origin, that I love the most. There's not a tremendous concern with advancing a plot, or establishing conflict, although certainly those things are evident; the primary joy comes from spending time with these people, learning about their personalities and their backstories, laughing with them.


The latter part of the book spends a long time in flashback, telling the story of Sister Peace. I feel this is the less successful part of the story. It's too much time with one character, mostly excluding all these other people we've come to like, and it's not quite as playful and enjoyable as the earlier chapters. That said, compared to most other comics, it's still very good, and the artwork is every bit as lovely as in the rest of the book.

Kinda bitter.

All in all, it's the telling of the story that entertains more than the story itself. I love these characters, I love their look, I love their dialogue, I love their interactions. I like spending time in the company of this cast, with no particular need to get anywhere. Sometimes this gives the individual chapters a bit of a meandering feel. And I like that about Castle Waiting. When the stories have more purpose, as in the Sister Peace narrative, some of the tangential charm is lost.


There's something on nearly every page that at least makes me smile, and, as often as not, laugh right out loud. It's a beautiful story in a beautiful package (though smaller than full comic page size -- in fact, close to the size of the Bone: One Volume Edition paperback). There are very few comics I would recommend as highly as Castle Waiting. This is one of my all-time favorites.

Friday, June 23, 2006

"Enjoy your meal." "You tube!"

So, I'm trying this You Tube thing. Let's see if I can get it to work.

And what better selection for my first attempt at this than "Weird Al" Yankovic's classic love song, "One More Minute." Enjoy!

EDIT: Apparently it doesn't work on feeds, such as on LiveJournal. Oh well!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

MOVIES: Let's all hate some classics

This week the AV Club published a very fun and interesting article: The Eject Button: Classic Movies It's Okay To Hate. The various critics at the Club each picked a couple of films generally regarded as classics, then briefly examined the reputation of the films and why it was okay to hate them. Then another critic would offer up a rebuttal defense of each film. (My favorite bit, in response to Tasha Robinson's take down of The Big Lebowski: "Dissent from everyone else: No. This is just very, very wrong.")

I think the only one of these I really agree on is Nathan Rabin's criticism of Star Wars. I still don't think I'd say I hate it, but really: it's not a good film. It's just not. You know it isn't. Don't even try to front.

Anyhoo. The point of this is, I've got a couple films I'd like to add to this list. In fact, I blogged about one fairly recently: His Girl Friday, which a lot of people love to pieces (it's currently #232 on IMDb's top 250), and which I pretty much hated.

Another classic I am not a fan of: High Noon (#101 on IMDb's top 250). I thought it was boring as hell. Probably, this is partly because I was overly familiar with the plot, which has been done to death since then -- lone man standing up against a gang of villains coming to kill him -- but partly because it's simply boring as hell. And I say this despite the presence of Grace Kelly, the most beautiful woman ever to have lived.

I shouldn't even have to mention this one, because its wretchedness should be obvious to anyone with at least the brains of a chimp: My Big Fat Boring Stupid Unfunny Greek Wedding. Why did everyone love this movie? Why?? It's AWFUL. It is GODAWFUL. I've ranted against this movie before (most notably in my list of things I don't get), but it bears saying as long as a single person still lives who thought this was a good movie: you are wrong, and you must be punished.

Ditto to Titanic. It's been nearly ten years since the law was passed requiring every person on earth to see this film or be executed. Can we now speak freely: it sucked so hard. Probably, if you weren't a thirteen-year-old girl when it was released, you agree, so maybe this isn't the most controversial statement I've ever made. But come on: highest-grossing movie ever, and it had dialogue one of those infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters would be embarrassed to have written. And the acting -- holy CRAP. There was a time I liked Billy Zane, and that time was before his horrible, hammy performance in Titanic. And Leonardo DiCaprio -- wow. Just wow. Really, thirteen-year-old girls? That's what set your hearts and panties aflutter? Mr. "I'm the king of the world"? Well, good for you, I guess. But ten years later, I have to ask: do any of you still feel that way? And why?

Another fairly recent one: Fight Club. It's #32 on the top 250. Thirty-fucking-two! By comparison: Rashomon is #61. Raging Bull is #71. The Searchers is way down at #235!! The Goddam Searchers!! Look: Fight Club was okay. It was just okay. But some people -- especially some of you freaky internet people -- worship this film. Worship it. Like, you think if you can quote enough lines, you'll actually get to join Brad Pitt's anarchy gang or something. Well, I'm here to tell you: you can't. Get over it.

And one final, inexplicably popular thing which really, really sucks: Carlos Mencia. I know, he's not technically a movie. But he is the lamest, shittiest, most unfunny hack ever to disgrace the world of comedy, and that fact bears repeating at any time, for any reason, until he goes away forever. Seriously, he makes Larry the Cable Guy look like Bill Hicks. CARLOS MENCIA SUCKS ASS. DO NOT EVER WATCH CARLOS MENCIA EVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN. You have been warned.

Any suggestions for other classics it's okay to hate?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

TV: Deadwood

"Either'a you cocksuckers wanna talk funny at me?"

As you can probably tell, at long, long last I have watched the opening episodes of the third season of the best show on TV, Deadwood. And oh, how very glorious they were. Rather than get into much detail, I thought I'd just share with you a few of the choicer lines from these two hours, such as those of Dan Dority, above, spoken to a couple of killers in Swearengen's saloon. I can tell already, my vocabulary is going to get a lot more colorful in the coming weeks. Welcome back to fuckin' Deadwood.

Ellsworth, to Bullock: "At last you're meetin' with Hearst. If the chance comes up natural -- stomp on the cocksucker's foot."

Mose: "Go get your load on, Jane."
Jane: "Do not instruct me how to spend my day! Or to itemize for you my crowded itinerary!"

Adams: "I keep my ruddy color not asking Al his reasons."

Trixie: "Who the fuck was I just talkin' to?"
Sol: "I don't know. You said you'd just gone to piss."

Swearengen, to Bullock: "Best leave the camp entirely, as penance for havin' a prick."

Swearengen: "Don't I yearn for the days, a draw across the throat made fuckin' resolution."

Nuttall, to Harry: "I got an idea. Instead of runnin' for office and tendin' bar, why don't you just tend bar, and let everybody punch you in the face?"

Swearengen: "I will profane your fuckin' remains, E.B."
E.B.: "Not my remains, Al!"
Swearengen: "Gabriel's trumpet will produce you from the ass of a pig."

Shaunessy: "The room -- how much disarray?"
Joanie: "No fucking disarray. But you nearly had brain on your walls."

Swearengen: "You ain't the center of the universe, in other words?"
Hearst: "Exactly."
Swearengen: "Don't that lead you to despair?"

Jane's story about working as a scout for General Custer: "Custer was a cunt. The end."

Jane: "Every day takes figurin' out all over again how to fuckin' live."

Bullock: "The speeches, the elections, are hostage to the business of the camp. Which is bloody. Murderous. And you know -- I don't like this tea."

Swearengen: "Change ain't lookin' for friends. Change calls the tune we dance to."

E.B.: "Could you have been born, Richardson, and not egg-hatched, as I've always assumed?"

Tolliver: "Don't fuck with the fuckin' Deity, Leon!"

Swearengen: "Not throwin' my hands up or my skirt over my head don't mean I ain't awestruck."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Weekend Sidebar Update: only two days late!

This week's Object of My Affection is the amazingly lovely Amanda Peet. I've been meaning to put her on the sidebar for a while now, but other women kept stepping forward, due to some current event or movie tie-in or whatnot. Well, this week it's all about Amanda. She'll be starring in Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, one of the main reasons that's my most anticipated of the Fall shows. Hey, I just realized, that means she's re-teaming with her The Whole Nine Yards co-star, Matthew Perry. Best Amanda moment ever: shooting a guy while she's stark naked in that movie. Hell, that may be the best moment in motion picture history.

I knocked off a super quick read this week, John Moore's Bad Prince Charlie. Back in the '80s, there were scads of humorous fantasy series going; what happened to them? Nowadays, it's pretty much Terry Pratchett and... who? Just John Moore, it seems. Very, very funny (though also very light, in comparison with Pratchett) reading.

After that, and last week's Wodehouse, I decided to tackle something heavier. I've had a hardback copy of Thomas Pynchon's Vineland (which I picked up for a buck at a library sale) sitting on my shelves for over a year now. I've always meant to read some Pynchon, but I've always been a bit intimidated; from his reputation, I thought his work would be dense and impenetrable. Imagine my surprise at finding how accessible and downright funny this book is. Maybe Gravity's Rainbow is the mind-bender. Vineland, however, is a lot of fun, with a unique but engaging prose style and a lot of wicked humor skewering the Reagan years. Loving it.

Just picked up the season four DVD box set of Newsradio today. Seems like I just got season three; I still haven't gotten around to the last disc. Season four, as you may know, was Phil Hartman's last; he was murdered shortly after it wrapped. I look forward to enjoying this final testament to his comedic genius, as well as the rest of what was the craziest, funniest season of this wonderful sitcom.

Listening to John Mellencamp's Whenever We Wanted, an overlooked gem in his discography. Next to Scarecrow, this may very well be his best album from top to bottom, but it got precious little attention and radio play; I think only the great closer to the album, "Again Tonight," even made a ripple.

Hating the FCC. They just raised the "indecency fines" that can be levied against TV or radio stations by ten times the previous amount, from $32,500 per incident to $325,000. I hate these goddam people with a passion. They're well aware that 99.9 percent of the complaints filed with them come from attention-seeking religious wackjobs and their mailing lists, who fill out complaint forms without even being exposed to the content they're complaining about, yet the censorship crackdown continues unabated. Why is it that right now in America, the only thing that scares the government more than gay marriage is a naked boobie?

And randomly, Lyric of the Week comes from the spoken intro to Tenacious D's "Tribute." Remember, this is not the greatest song in the world: this is just a tribute.

Monday, June 19, 2006

MOVIES: Dellamorte Dellamore if you're nasty

So, this is out on DVD:

Aw, HELLS yes. I've been waiting for Cemetery Man to hit DVD for, like, ever. I've seen this movie exactly once, about eight years ago on cable, and it blew my little mind out the back of my head. There's still a stain on the wall. And here it is, out on DVD just in time for my turn to choose the flick at the Weekly Horror Movie Club (also known as the Weekly Excuse To Get Hammered On Thursday Night Club).

It's an awesomely gory zombie movie, but what makes it really horrific is the relationship between Rupert Everett and the super-hot Anna Falchi. The cold, casual cruelty she inflicts, the things she drives him to do... now that is some sick and twisted shit. Seriously, between Michele Soavi (the director of Cemetery Man), Lucio Fulci, and Dario Argento -- there is something wrong with Italians. God bless 'em.

EDIT: Apparently, Amazon lied to me; they say the release date was June 13, but I went to two video stores today and couldn't find this DVD. Damn you, Amazon! Looks like I'm going with my emergency back-up for Horror Movie Night: Evil Dead.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

TV: Summer Viewing

Now that the TV season is over, that means I bid the idiot box farewell for the hot months, and skip and cavort and frolic in the great outdoors until the new season starts in September. Right?

Seriously, who here thinks that little of my TV devotion? I'm ashamed of you. Of course I've got more TV to watch during the summer! I'm no casual, untrained, amateur TV watcher. I'm a professional, baby, I'm an athlete in a year-round sport. Also, I hate the great outdoors. It burns my tender Irish skin and makes me sneeze.

So! Here are a few of my choicest picks for summer television.

Do I even have to mention all the brilliant stuff on HBO? Okay, well, two brilliant things, at the very least: Deadwood and Entourage, both of which premiered last Sunday. Would you believe, after all the fuss I've made over Deadwood, I still haven't watched the first episode yet? I'm waiting for a friend -- who's an even bigger fan, but doesn't have HBO -- to come over and watch it with me. You know what? Screw that. I'm watching it tonight, along with the new episode. I can't wait any longer.

I did watch the first episode of Entourage, and if anything it's only getting better. Mercedes Ruehl as Vincent's mother was inspired casting. James Woods was hilarious as a probably not-too-exaggerated version of himself, hyper and angry and borderline psychotic. Awesome. And the usual cast was great as always -- Jeremy Piven is the high point of every episode, but Kevin Dillon is establishing himself as the #2 funny man on the show.

Other new stuff on HBO includes Louis C.K.'s Lucky Louie and Dane Cook's Tourgasm. I've got them both recorded, but am not highly anticipating either; Lucky Louie has gotten some truly hate-filled reviews, and Dane Cook is, well, Dane Cook. He can be entertaining in small doses, but even a small dose of Dane Cook feels like a really big dose.

On TNT, we have The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick. I heard a lot of good buzz about this show's first season, but managed to completely miss it. TNT ran a marathon of most of season one recently, which I TiVoed. I've watched four episodes so far, and I like it. For a crime procedural, a genre of which I am not a huge fan, it's very entertaining, owing mainly to the winning personality of Sedgwick, and of course the eternal awesomeness of J.K. Simmons, who plays her boss. The new season started last Monday; I've got the first episode recorded, but haven't watched it yet.

Same with TNT's other new show, Saved, which has the same title as a Mandy Moore movie and looks like a ripoff of both Rounders and Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead. That's, like, three strikes before I even watch the show. But actually, I have high hopes for it, because it stars Tom Everett Scott, whom I've liked ever since That Thing You Do! I'll let you know once I actually check the damn thing out.

Starting July 7 on USA is the new season of Monk, which used to be a very good show. For the past couple of years, though, it's really, really sucked. I might watch the first episode to see if it's made a recovery or not. Immediately after Monk will be a brand new series, Psych. It's about a detective who pretends to be a psychic to get cases. Looks like it has some humor potential; anything that makes psychics look like the fools and cons they are, I'm in favor of. It features Dule Hill, formerly of The West Wing, as the detective's best friend/sidekick, so it's got that going for it, at least.

Celebrity Poker Showdown has already begun its latest season on Bravo. This season, it's set in New Orleans instead of Vegas, with all charities relating to Katrina relief. The first three games have been fairly entertaining, with a lot of contestants I really like (Greg Behrendt, Michael Ian Black, and Jorge Garcia in game 2 alone), and nobody I really hate. (So far -- game 4 will have Mario Cantone, who is a shrill, shrieking caricature, and Rocco DiSpirito, who is some idiot who has something to do with a bunch of reality shows, apparently -- I may not know who he is, but that doesn't mean I can't hate him in advance.) Game 3 has been the highlight so far, with World Series of Poker bracelet-winner Jennifer Tilly, among others, losing out to Ida Siconolfi, an amateur who won her place at the table via a tournament. Cool.

And then there's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, returning to FX on June 29. I didn't like this show on first viewing, but I gave it a chance and it quickly became one of my favorite shows of last year. Outrageously offensive, and riotously hilarious, in its takes on such touchy topics as abortion, cancer, racism, and even Nazis. The addition of Danny DeVito to the cast this year gives me pause -- new characters are always an iffy proposition in TV -- but from the previews I've seen, it looks like he's fitting in perfectly with this very funny ensemble cast. Fans of The Office, and anyone still missing Arrested Development, owe it to themselves to check out this very smart (even when it's being stupid), very different, very funny comedy.

Also on FX: Rescue Me. I haven't watched the show since halfway through its first season, and I'm not watching it now. I've been led to believe I'm missing out on some very good TV with this show. I say, I deserve to give at least one program a miss. My summer viewing schedule is overloaded as is, even for a pro like me.

What do you think? Too much? Or am I still missing out on something I need to see?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

COMICS: Wed. 6/14/06

It's been a while since I've mentioned comics. Probably because I'm trying to break the habit.

Well, not entirely. I've been trying to cut down on my weekly intake, both as a money-saving measure, and because I simply read way, way too many comics. I'm making progress; basically, I've decided that I'm going to stop buying any comics that will eventually be released in trade paperback form. When the paperback is released, if I'm still interested (and likely, in many cases, I won't be), I'll buy it then. Series which are in the middle of a storyline, I'll continue buying until the storyline is finished. And comics which probably will never be collected (which is hardly any, these days), I'll keep buying as well.

Oh, also, I'm going to stop reading shitty comics. But I've pretty much already done that. And so should you, other comics readers! No more crossover events! No more sampling, for example, Moon Knight #1 "just in case" it might not suck! (Which, by the way, it did. Big time.) No more John Byrne! At all! Ever!!

So, what did I buy this week, going by these guidelines? I narrowed it down to only three comics, all of which were very good.

Ex Machina Special: Part 2 of 2, about Mayor Hundred's battle with a man whose powers over animals match his powers over machines. Honestly, the defeat of the bad guy was incredibly stupid: the bad guy commands a pack of ferocious dogs to attack Hundred, but Hundred records the bad guy's words and plays the tape backward, which makes the dogs attack the bad guy instead. He plays the tape backward. Which logically would make the dogs do the exact opposite of what they'd been told to do. Except for no it wouldn't, because that's idiotic.

Also, the radio interview at the end was played pretty badly. Hundred engages in debate until he's confronted with a question he doesn't like, then says "Motherfucker" and walks out? Maybe there are no easy answers to that question, but shouldn't Hundred be smart enough to handle and at the very least deflect the question without pouting and going home? Hmm, the more I think about it, the less I like this comic. Maybe it wasn't very good after all. But hey: awesome art, as always.

Fables: Double-size issue #50, in which Bigby confronts the Adversary with brutal retaliation for the attack on Fabletown and, as Bigby says at the end, either stops a war or starts one. Good stuff, all of Bigby's mission to the Cloud Kingdom and to the Adversary's headquarters. Then we get to Bigby's reunion with Snow White. There was some good stuff in here, too, very satisfying, but it felt like there was just mounds of padding leading up to the wedding. Also, a lot of the artwork had a rushed look, especially at the end (some of it due to the use of an inker other than Leialoha); we didn't even get Buckingham's traditional border art framing the pages. All in all, a good package, and a good read, and, since this is the close of a storyline, that means this is the last issue I'll be buying of the monthly comic. It's still one of my favorite books, but that's just how it's gotta be.

Superf*ckers: issue #3, or #277, if you're going by the joke numbering on the cover. If I'm looking to save money, this is definitely a comic I need to stop buying. Five bucks for 24 pages is brutal, no matter the content. As for the content: funny stuff, as usual. The stupid, vulgar, venal, bickering, bitching, non-heroic superhero team provides some decent laughs as well as some genuinely cringeworthy moments. Five bucks worth of laughs? Maybe not.

Finally, a SPOILER for Marvel's Civil War:

Peter Parker is Spider-Man. You probably knew that already. But the Marvel Universe did not. Keeping his secret identity a, well, secret, has always been of vital importance to Peter Parker, because he knew the danger he'd be putting his friends and family into if his enemies knew who he was. Yet, at the end of this comic, Peter calls a televised press conference and unmasks himself to the world. All because he's on the side of the superhero "civil war" that believes that government regulation and registration of the secret identities of superheroes is a good idea. First of all, just the premise that Spider-Man would fall on that side of the split to begin with sounds extraordinarily out of character to me. And to believe that he would reveal his identity like that -- uh-uh. Nope. Not buying it, not for a second. I mean that in two ways: I'm not buying the reveal, and I'm not buying this comic (no shitty comics, remember?) -- all I know is what I skimmed while at the store, and what I've seen online. If there's a plausible -- I said plausible -- reason in the story why Peter would go against 40 years of character development and suddenly both bend over for the government and jeopardize his family's safety, please let me know.

Not that it matters; as Mike says, the most likely result of all this hoo-hah is that it will all be swept away by magic or some such at the end of the series, and everything will go back pretty much the way it was. Earth-shattering changes to the status quo -- for a month or two. That's the Marvel way!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

TV: Season Wrap-Up

At last, the follow-up to my look back at this past TV season (begun with my top ten list).

This was the TV season that will go down in history as the one that finally overloaded Tom on television. Hard to believe, but true.

Since about the beginning of this year, I've been finding it harder and harder to keep up with all the shows I want to watch, which has resulted in a strain on my TiVo's capacity, as more and more episodes get backlogged. Also, I've been finding it harder and harder to motivate myself to watch those shows, so they sit around taking up space on the TiVo even longer than they normally would've.

One of those shows, Alias, I only got caught up on a week ago. I mentioned briefly my mini-marathon of the five episodes I had stored, and, while I was pleased with them overall (despite, as Tom Galloway pointed out in the comments, the underwhelming resolution to the whole Prophet Five storyline), and satisfied by the final fates of all the characters (and happy to see old faces turn up again, like Francie and Weiss -- Grunberg rules!), I'm also kind of relieved this show won't be coming back next year. One less program to keep track of!

Two of these shows, I have yet to catch up on: 24 and Prison Break. I've still got several episodes of each recorded on TiVo, and I'm still waiting for the lazy afternoon when I'll say to myself, "You know what would hit the spot? Four hours of Prison Break." I enjoyed both of those shows this year, as frustratingly logic-defying as both could be at times, but when confronted with a chunk of episodes, it feels more like a homework assignment than entertainment. Aw, do I really have to watch six episodes of 24? I wanna solve math problems instead! So, I wind up with two shows that I haven't given up on, and whose season finales I'm curious to see, but that I also don't feel like making time for.

It's a fine line: if I'm not watching these shows, why don't I just admit I don't care about them that much, and delete them? 24 and Prison Break reside just to this side of that fine line; this year, Gilmore Girls and Smallville crossed over it.

With both of them, it was more an accident than anything else. When the TiVo memory gets overloaded, it starts threatening to delete some old programs to make room for the new ones scheduled to be recorded. You can go in manually and prevent certain recordings from being deleted too soon, which is what I did with 24 and Prison Break. But when push came to shove, I couldn't justify wasting the space with Gilmore Girls and Smallville. I didn't make the effort to save them, so TiVo deleted them. Bye bye, Stars Hollow. So long, Metropolis. Too bad, so sad, glad I ain't your dad.

It happened probably about midway through the season for both of them. There was Christmas vacation, and New Year's, and I had so much else to do that TV became the least of my priorities (shocking!). Suddenly, I found myself missing episodes of shows I'd never missed before. It was just one or two episodes each, but I was still upset. Until I realized that the world didn't actually end, that life remained worth living, that the spring remained in my step, and that really, I didn't miss either show. At all.

Gilmore Girls, I've said here before, has been on a downswing for a while now. The Luke and Lorelai romance fizzled due to a terminal lack of chemistry, the rift between Rory and Lorelai went on forever, Logan continued to be an insufferable ass, and that dog -- damn that stupid dog!! Plus, the obstacles thrown in the way of Luke and Lorelai were absurd. All of a sudden, Luke's got a daughter? Give me a break. What is this, Ally McBeal? And even that could've worked if handled well, but while I was still watching, the plotline just limped along, with the characters doing the dumbest things possible, even if it went completely against their nature, until I ceased to care. About Luke's daughter, about anything. I'm unsure whether or not I'll check back in with the show next season; now that it'll be paired with one of my favorites, Veronica Mars, when The CW network debuts, I might get lured back in.

Same thing with Smallville. Even with the introduction of Brainiac, I found very little reason to care about the show this year. All the stupid, stupid, stupid things the characters traditionally have done -- or have had done to them (who gets a concussion this week?) -- to avoid Clark's secret being discovered seemed especially grating and clumsy to me. Even more so in the "special episode" in which Clark finally revealed his secret to Lana, and she promptly went out and got herself run over by a school bus. Oh, come on! I guess this was supposed to be the grand design of Clark's Kryptonian father, who warned from beyond the grave that Clark revealing his secret would lead to tragedy, but for me it was just pushing things too far into the absurd.

And that was one of the better episodes this year. That one with the female superhero -- the Angel of Vengeance, or whatever -- has to have been the worst episode of the entire series. No, wait, maybe it was the one where Lois becomes a stripper. No, wait! It was the one with the sorority house of vampire lesbians! No, wait! ...Et cetera. It was a horrible year. I did watch the season finale, to see if the show might have redeemed itself after I stopped watching. And... eh. It was mediocre. Will I watch again next year? Possibly, just out of habit. We'll see.

A quick word on two long-running sitcoms that signed off this May. Will & Grace I gave up on a long time ago. For the past few years, I would tune in every once in a long while, and though it wasn't awful, it wasn't funny enough to keep me coming back. This final season, I don't think I saw a single episode, including the grand finale. I understand they did a whole bunch of goofy crap in it, including fast-forwarding through time. Gimmick finales like that tend to leave me cold; I preferred, for example, the way Everybody Loves Raymond simply faded out a year ago on the family having dinner together, leaving us with the comforting suggestion that things would go on as they always have in the Barrone household. It was long past time for Will & Grace to go, and I won't be missing it.

That '70s Show has long been an underrated TV gem. No, I'm not kidding. The young cast was hilarious, with Ashton Kutcher's wildly over-the-top Kelso and Topher Grace's smartly underplayed Eric being the vital bookends to an ensemble that gelled perfectly together pretty much from day one. This show also went past its expiration date, but unlike Will & Grace, it was only by one year. Grace and Kutcher were both gone for most or all of this season, which was the primary indicator that this would be a worthless season. And overall, it was. The actors meant to fill the holes left by Kutcher and Grace's absences were wretched in the extreme. When the funniest part of each episode was the opening credits (Kurtwood Smith staring humorlessly into the camera, refusing to sing along with the theme song like everyone else, cracked me up every single time), you knew you were looking at a sinking ship. Ending the show was a mercy. At least they did it right, by bringing Kutcher back for the full final half hour, and by holding back surprise guest Grace until the very last minutes, reuniting Eric with long-time love Donna, as was only appropriate. The only question remaining is: if the show's first episode was set in 1976, and the show ran for 8 years, how did it end on New Year's Eve, 1979? Man, those kids were more stoned than I thought! They lost four whole years in there somewhere!

That should about cover it, I think. That should more than cover it, probably. Coming soon, a look at my summer viewing. Which will be mostly HBO. Plus the first sitcom ever to make it to a second season on FX!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I believe I may have said this here before, but I'll say it again:

I wish I had a river so long, I would teach my feet to fly

Quite possibly, the most beautiful sound I have ever heard in my life is Joni Mitchell's voice on the song, "River." Especially that second long, high note she hits. Every single time, it gives me chills.

Monday, June 12, 2006

In lieu of content


"I blame society."

"Be afraid. Be very afraid."

"State-of-the-art bang-bang!"

"We're in a tight spot!"

"If money is all that you love, then that's what you'll receive."

"Impressive. Most impressive. But you are not a Jedi yet."*

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

"Buon giorno, Principessa."

"I wouldn't go in there for a bottle of whiskey and a red-headed woman to pour it!"**

"Listen! Do you smell something?"

"Hi. That was Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman. He was damn glad to meet you."

"As far as you know."

"So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

"Jefe, would you say that I have a plethora of pinatas?"

"How about a nice, greasy pork sandwich, served in a dirty ashtray?"

"I want to party with you, cowboy."

"I immediately regret this decision!"

"Fuck you! That's my name."

"It's got a death curse!"

"Hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got, and all he's ever gonna have."
"Yeah, well, I guess he had it comin'."
"We all got it comin', kid."

*I realize this is a mish-mash of two lines ("Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well," and "The Force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet"), but it just sounds better this way.

**IMDb says "redhead," not "red-headed woman," but I swear that's wrong.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

TV: Deadwood

If you have HBO, and you do not watch the premiere of season three of Deadwood tonight (or at least TiVo it because you will be away from your TV, as I will be), then I don't even know you.

Also of note: season three of the incredibly funny Entourage also drops tonight. As does the premiere of Lucky Louie, starring Louis C.K., which I want to like, but which looks like it will be an abomination.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday Sidebar Update

There's still more to come on my TV season round-up -- the negative stuff, primarily -- but for today, we have the Sidebar Update. Enjoy!

This Week's Object of My Affection is Laura Linney. Man, she's great. From sweet, naive Mary Ann Singleton in the various Tales of the City mini-series, to Primal Fear to The Truman Show to You Can Count On Me to Mystic River to Love Actually to Kinsey to The Squid and the Whale... she's had a few clunkers (The Mothman Prophecies, anyone? The Life of David Gale?), but she's been in so many more fantastic movies, and been so incredible in them, that it amazes me she's not consistently recognized by everyone in America as one of our best actresses. Plus: smokin' hot. And a smart hot, too, which makes her even hotter.

I interrupted my reading of the latest Lemony Snicket book to dive into a P.G. Wodehouse classic (they're all classics), Pigs Have Wings. I was just sitting there thinking, you know what would hit the spot? Some Wodehouse. And I was right. Pigs is one of his Blandings Castle stories, and while I will always have the strongest affection for his Jeeves & Wooster tales, I love reading about Lord Emsworth, Galahad Threepwood, and of course the Empress of Blandings nearly as much. P.G. Wodehouse is the funniest writer in the history of the English language, and I will not suffer dissension on this matter.

I am not a huge fan of soccer. Or "football," as you crazy foreigners call it. But come on -- it's the World Cup! Germany 2006, baby. And the American team is supposed to be a real threat this year. Unfortunately, they're in a tough first round bracket, but they've got a decent shot at advancing, and I'll definitely be watching and rooting for them. U!S!A! U!S!A!

Last week I bought George Thorogood's Greatest Hits: 30 Years of Rock. I've never been a big follower of his, but the songs by him that I like, I really like. "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," "Move It On Over," "Who Do You Love," "I Drink Alone," and of course, "Bad To The Bone" -- all great. I think Thorogood is the perfect example of an artist I really don't need to know anything about other than his Greatest Hits.

I'm Hating Mother Nature right now, and everything in it that makes me sneeze. As Spring turns to Summer, my allergies gently turn from a hellish plague to damnable persecution. I say pave paradise and put up a parking lot! Or at least make Alavert cheaper. That shit's pricier than heroin!

And Lyric of the Week is from an alt-country fave of mine, Kathleen Edwards, from the song "What Are You Waiting For?" I'm not sure what exactly the song is about -- a man ashamed of an old relationship, maybe, a woman seeking forgiveness for a past wrong, perhaps. But this particular line is so jarring -- I think it's the only cuss word she uses on the entire album, which gives it a unique power, makes it a far more surprising word than from most any other artist. It gives the lyric a sense of real anger, but an amused, resigned kind of anger that really sticks with me. Or maybe I just like to giggle at dirty words.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

TV: Top Ten of 2005-2006

The traditional September-through-May TV season is over, and it's time to take a look back at the outstanding programs of the year, at what succeeded and what didn't. In other words, I like making lists, so here we go.

I will say this: it's a much different list than I thought I'd be making at the beginning of 2006, when we were mid-season and certain shows had yet to suffer a downturn, while certain others still had their best ahead of them. Also: I didn't watch The Sopranos, so don't look for it here. I'm a couple seasons behind, and I keep meaning to catch up on DVD, but I never do. Maybe, by the time this last season concludes in six months, I'll have gotten around to it. Anyway, judging from lackluster reviews like this one, I didn't really miss much in the first half of the season.

1. Battlestar Galactica

That's right. I'm putting the show with the robots right at the top. There was no other show I looked forward to as much this year, and no other show that had such a powerful beginning and mind-blowing ending to its season. (Some of the middle bits -- a little draggy, I confess.) And I'm referring to the second half of the season here, which ran from January to March -- like The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica's season was split in half, with the first half ending way back in September (and thus mostly outside the parameters of this look back). Fantastic action, shocking twists, a powerful cast headed by Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, and my future wife, Katee Sackhoff, wonderful guest stars (Dana Delany, Dean Stockwell, Lucy Lawless), and a cliffhanger more thrilling and surprising to me than any TV finale since "I am Locutus of Borg" (bonus nerd points for me!) -- I dig this show, is what I'm saying.

2. The Office

It's quite possible that, even if Arrested Development hadn't had an early cancellation, The Office still would have become my favorite sitcom of the season. But Arrested was cancelled, leaving no contest in this category. The Office is the funniest and best sitcom on the air, bar none. And it has become so in a way Arrested never entirely succeeded at, by making us care about the characters -- more specifically, by making us care about the goings-on between office drone Jim (John Krasinski) and receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer). The chemistry between the two of them is more relatable and believable than any other couple on the air, making their relationship -- culminating in the terrifically romantic season-ending kiss -- as integral to the success of the show as the hilarious ineptitude of Steve Carell's Michael Scott and Rainn Wilson's Dwight Schrute.

3. The Shield

Watching a show this good get even better is a rare thrill for a TV viewer. But The Shield's fifth season blew away everything that came before, due primarily to a mesmerizingly powerful performance from Forest Whitaker as Internal Affairs Lt. Kavanaugh, and his clashes with Michael Chiklis' bad cop Vic Mackey. The final episode left me feeling like I'd been punched in the gut -- in a good way, churning up raw emotions the way only the best of dramas can. Rumor has it that the second half of the season (yes, another show with a season cut in half) is going to be the show's last. Which means that as insane as things got this year, hell has only just begun to break loose. I can't wait.

This just in: another season has been confirmed. Although, for some reason, that story refers to the new season as the seventh, when the show still hasn't finished its fifth season. Weird. Well, whatever -- more episodes of The Shield!

4. Rome

The first episode aired in August, before the September-May window I'm using for the rest of the countdown, but I'll let that slide because, dammit, this show was just that good. With a brilliant cast from top to bottom, Rome was sexy, smart, funny, shocking, thrilling, and often heartbreaking. The first season seems almost like an impossible act to follow -- how do you top Julius Caesar's death? But hey, it's HBO. I'm sure they'll manage.

5. Arrested Development

One of the funniest sitcoms ever ended on a bit of a down note: prematurely cancelled midway through the season, with its last four episodes (which were dumped opposite the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics) sometimes feeling rushed and clumsy in their efforts to wrap the show up neatly in the short time they had left. That, and the fact that out of sight = out of mind, is why I'm ranking it this low. But! Its third season was still funny as hell, with a wonderful extended guest appearance from Charlize Theron, and a surprisingly naughty, but hysterical, turn from star Jason Bateman's real-life sister Justine, being among the highlights. We were lucky to get three seasons out of a show so unlike, and so much better than, most any other comedy on TV.

6. Veronica Mars

Sometimes it felt like there was a little too much plot getting in the way of the action in the second season of Veronica Mars, but the show succeeded in keeping itself grounded in sharp, witty writing and great characters -- those you loved, like Veronica and father Keith, and those you loved to hate, like Charisma Carpenter's sexy, devious Kendall Casablancas. I'm tremendously pleased the show has survived to a third season on The CW. Veronica in college. Hey, maybe she'll solve that head-shaving mystery left unsolved last year!

7. Lost

I'm still hopelessly hooked, but this show has dropped a few notches in my regard from last year. There were some amazing episodes scattered throughout, but in between, it felt like there was an awful lot of filler. Quite an ass-kicker of a finale, though, wasn't it? A statue of a giant, four-toed foot? Desmond crashed the plane by neglecting his button-pushing duties? Desmond's girlfriend has found him?? A heap of incredible moments, none better than Locke ruefully confessing to Eko, as the both of them are about to be ripped apart, "I was wrong." By the way, I heartily recommend Heather Havrilesky's sharp and thoughtful examination of the finale at Salon. It'll make you look at the characters, and the show, in a whole new light.

8. The Colbert Report

The one-two punch of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report is a mighty powerful combo. I've talked so much about The Daily Show that I retired it to the Hall of Fame last year, vowing not to rank it in a top ten list again. I mention it here only to say that the Report has matured into a more-than-worthy -- in fact, essential -- companion piece. Where Jon Stewart is all loosey-goosey and self-aware, constantly breaking out of his faux-anchorman persona, Stephen Colbert is constantly, rigidly in character, and the performance is remarkable. I feared the show would over-rely on this one joke -- Colbert as staunchly right-wing pundit -- and grow stale. Well, they're sticking fast to the one joke, and it's brilliant, always fresh and funny, with as much to say (and skewer) about Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Fox News, and the rest of their ilk as The Daily Show says about mainstream network news. I still find Colbert's interviews hard to watch, partly for the frequently uninteresting guests, partly because so many of them seem unaware of the joke, and partly because Colbert really hammers the more unaware ones with the joke, interrupting and confounding them until the interview is a shapeless mess. That said, his interview with former FEMA head Michael Brown was hilariously, deliciously brutal, and a high point of the TV season.

9. Justice League Unlimited

I recently looked at the series finale of this show, and I'm still finding it hard to believe that next year, for the first time since 1992, I won't be hearing Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman on TV. I said most all I need to say about the show in that post. JLU, and its cartoon predecessors, formed a vital universe of smart, funny, thrilling animated entertainment, and TV is worse off for the loss.

10. How I Met Your Mother

I honestly wasn't sure if I'd include this show or not. Neil Patrick Harris' Barney instantly sold me on the show, and the rest of the cast quickly won me over too, including the two who were new to me, Josh Radnor as Ted, and the improbably named, and impossibly lovely, Cobie Smulders as the object of his (and my) affection, Robin. I loved this show in 2005. But in 2006, it had the biggest drop-off in quality of any show this season. The episodes began to meander humorlessly; Barney was too often underused, or misused; then the show began to take itself too seriously, with the Ted-Robin drama played up too aggressively, and an out-of-nowhere wedge driven between happy couple Marshall and Lily. It recovered enough toward the end of the season, and I still had enough of an abiding affection for the characters, that it just snuck in the last spot. In fact, it was a bit of a toss-up between this, My Name Is Earl, and Scrubs, with Scrubs just barely getting edged out. Call it #11. In fact:

11. Scrubs


I'll probably have more on my season wrap-up tomorrow. I mean, I haven't even begun to discuss the shows that fell apart for me this year. I'm mostly looking at the WB when I say that, by which I mean you, Gilmore Girls and Smallville.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Also unworthy of your praise

In my last post, believing I was reiterating a previous statement, I said:


My mistake. What I actually said previously was:


As of this moment, though, both statements are 100% true. Please adjust your life accordingly.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Why the current MTV generation has a new Vietnam to thin out their ranks

The MTV Movie Awards winners were announced today.

Wedding Crashers won Best Movie.


Best Villain went to Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. As Mark said on the Mark & Brian radio show this morning: "That's retarded." I honestly don't know how I could sum that up better.

Also, Sexiest Performance went to Jessica Alba in Sin City. Jessica Alba didn't give even close to the sexiest performance in that movie, let alone of the year (in Sin City it would go Carla Gugino, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Brittany Murphy, Devon Aoki, and then Alba). I believe I've said it before, but I'll say it again, with authority:


I understand the MTV Movie Awards are of, for, and by idiots. But still. Shit like this makes my brain hurt.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

All Sidebar Updates, all the time!

Wow, I've gone from neglecting the Sidebar Update for weeks on end to seemingly doing nothing but Sidebar Updates, while neglecting everything else. My laziness goes in cycles.

This week's Object of My Affection is the lovely Famke Janssen. Oh my goodness gracious she is a vision. I've been a fan -- as have most men, I'll wager -- since her turn as the best ever (yes, I said BEST EVER, debate that, my friends) Bond Girl, Xenia Onatopp ("Onatopp?" "Onatopp."), in one of my favorite Bond films, GoldenEye. And of course I just saw her onscreen this week in X-Men: The Last Stand, where she manages to look hot even while she's got a spider-web of veins covering her face because she's eeeeeeee-vill.

I finished Terry Pratchett's Thud! and am now on to the penultimate book in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, the aptly titled The Penultimate Peril. It's good fun so far, as have been all the books in this dark, funny, smart series. I think after two goofy fun books in a row, I need to tackle something heavy next. Could it finally be time for me to finish Quicksilver?

I've been going through all the saved-up programs on my TiVo, now that the regular TV season has ended and I have time to catch up. I just finished the five episodes of Alias I had stored, and that was quite a roller coaster ride. Mostly satisfactory, although it was a shame Vaughn was written out for most of the year, while those two new agents filled in, to lackluster results. The final hour, though -- very nice. What a wickedly appropriate end to Arvin Sloane, at the hands of Jack: "You beat death, Arvin, but you couldn't beat me." SWEET. Now I've got several episodes of 24 lined up and ready to go. Maybe I'll get to them some time later this week; today, it's so damn hot in my apartment that as soon as I finish this post I'm bailing out of here to seek out air conditioning. I'll go see The Da Vinci Code if I have to. I'm not bluffing!! It's that hot!

Listening to Fountains of Wayne's Utopia Parkway, which I bought yesterday. It didn't win me over as quickly as their most recent album, Welcome Interstate Managers, but it's catchy and hooky and funny and I imagine it will grow on me in days to come.

Hating MTV's My Super Sweet 16. The AV Club's Kyle Ryan recently made the case for this being the most offensive show on television, and I'm inclined to agree. Have you seen this abomination? Each episode documents the 16th birthday parties -- which are about as elaborate as the Super Bowl halftime show -- of these rich, entitled, vile, spoiled, worthless teenage brats, who make outrageous, unreasonable, ultra-expensive demands and literally call their mothers "bitch" at the slightest wrinkle in their plans, yet still wind up with both an SUV and a sports car as presents. Seriously, parents, let's see a little discipline for once. Your kid calls you a bitch, the party is fucking off. Not even Chuck E. Cheese for you, you little monster.

Lyric of the Week is from my man Hoyt Axton's ode to the rewards of hard work: "Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get? Boney fingers." I'm with you, Hoyt!

And I am out of here. Damn, it's hot!

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