Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Has everyone seen the first webisode of Up Late with Stewie and Brian? Am I late on this? I didn't see promotion for it or anything... anyway, I think it's hilarious, so if you missed it, check it out.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tibetan Muck

Last night my friend J___ and I attended the Tibet House Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall. It had quite an impressive line-up: Laurie Andrews, Ray Davies, Debbie Harry, Ben Harper, Lou Reed, Sigur Ros, and Michael Stipe, all organized by Philip Glass. Too bad it was such an utter dud. The evening started with a performance from a choir / band-type thing of monks coming from “the Harvard of Tibet.” Sorry if this is politically incorrect, but they sounded like they came from the Widney High of Tibet. Their singing was out of sync and off-key, and then they played a seemingly random assortment of tambourines and horns. It was pure nonsensical noise for 10 minutes. As for the known musicians, I realize that this is a benefit to raise money for a somber cause, but that didn’t mean their performances had to be utterly lifeless. Only Ray Davies’ set had any energy (fortunately it was the longest of the night, 4 songs). Debbie Harry reprised her acoustic CBGB gig for two adequate numbers (plus an unnecessary duet with Ray on “Lola”), Lou Reed, Sigur Ros, and Ben Harper played entirely forgettable sets, and Michael Stipe spent more time babbling about what it meant to be there and about the meaning of his new song "Chorus and the Ring" (which he’d never sung anywhere before) than he spent actually singing. Patti Smith ended the night with a bit of pep, but when she brought everyone out to perform “People Have the Power,” she lowered herself from the stage to mingle with the audience and then couldn’t climb back onto it. It summed up the evening perfectly: good intentions, terrible execution. If the money hadn’t gone to a good cause, I’d be pretty peeved right now. As it stands, I’m still not thrilled.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The baseball card industry must be pretty desperate that they're inserting Mickey Mantle and President Bush into Derek Jeter's 2007 card in order to drum up business.

Very blah Oscar ceremony last night. I don't blame Ellen... she was entertaining. But the show dragged and was completely devoid of memorable moments. So boring was it, in fact, that in E Online's coverage of it, they have a chart of winners listing which films won the most Grammys last night. Personally I cannot believe that Children of Men lost Best Cinematography and that Pan's Labyrinth lost Best Foreign Film. Also I'm surprised that Anna Nicole Smith didn't make it into the In Memoriam package. Seriously. But I'm happy that The Departed did so well... it was my favorite movie of 2006.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Since I've seen a ton of movies lately, I felt I should to revise this post to more fully reflect the movies of '06.
So here is my updated list of my 10 favorite movies of 2006 (in alphabetical order):
Casino Royale
Children of Men
The Departed
The Descent (surprising choice, I know)
An Inconvenient Truth
Jackass: Number Two
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
Thank You For Smoking
United 93

Also, here are my picks in the main categories for Sunday's Oscars:
Best Picture: want The Departed, think Little Miss Sunshine
Best Director: want and think Martin Scorsese
Best Actor: want and think Forest Whitaker (although if DiCaprio had been nominated for The Departed instead of Blood Diamond, he'd get my vote)
Best Actress: want Meryl Streep (because I haven't seen The Queen), think Helen Mirren
Best Supporting Actor: want Djimon Hounsou, think Alan Arkin
Best Supporting Actress: want Adrianna Barraza, think Jennifer Hudson

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I have been a Muppets fan for as long as I can remember. One of my first television memories is the sketch about cooperation where the Geefle and the Gonk both want a nectarine, but each has a problem plucking the fruit off the tree, so they work together to get it, and once successful try to coin the term "cooperation" as "shirley" (man I wish YouTube hadn't removed every posting of that video). As a kid I'm sure I saw every episode of Fraggle Rock. I watched The Muppet Show (and The Muppet Movie) as a child, then again as an adult, and loved it both times, but for different reasons. I had a Snuffleupagus stuffed animal, which I treasured for years. Labyrinth is one of my most-watched movies of all time, and started my obsession with Jennifer Connolly (and David Bowie). I was upset for ages when I blew any chance of working at Sesame Street.* Even at 27, I got excited when I hear news about a sequel to The Dark Crystal.
Therefore, finding this list of 5 Freaky Muppet Videos gave me great joy, as did the fact that it actually contains much more than five videos. Hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

* This happened during one of my Communications classes in college. We had a guest speaker from Children's Television Workshop to help our discussion on how children understand television as they age. During the Q&A session, I asked her what she thought of critics who claimed that Sesame Street causes short attention spans in children, which was an honest, valid question based on our readings (MTV gets the same criticism). She stared at me for a moment, then curtly said "There's no evidence to support that theory" and quickly moved on to the next question. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to give her resumes to apply for internships. When I handed mine to her, she gave me a look that said "Wow, you've got some balls thinking I'll do anything except throw this in the trash as soon as you leave." I have since applied for another job there and never heard back. I blame this woman.

All We Need Is Just a Little Patience
This morning, loyal reader Ben posted a comment linking to a leak of "Better," the first single off Chinese Democracy. By the time I got to it (I slept in this morning), the mp3 had been taken down. I know I could do a little research and find it in other places. I'm sure I can probably find most, if not all, of the album on illegal file-sharing sites. But I won't. Why? Because I have a weird thing about "going in fresh." I hate watching "next week on" Lost or 24 (or even Real World / Road Rules Challenge). I don't like movie trailers. I prefer to listen to albums uninterrupted and in their entirety, at least the first time I hear them. Which means that, even though they're everywhere, I haven't downloaded any of the songs off Arcade Fire's Neon Bible (I did hear songs from it during their concert on Saturday night, but that was unavoidable), nor will I do so for Chinese Democracy. I will wait and listen to the albums as a whole, as the bands intended me to hear them. I don't know why I'm like this, and it can be incredibly frustrating. But that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Ben, thanks anyway though.

And while we're on the subject of 24, how cute are these Minimates representing the characters from season 1? Although I'd prefer they had done season 2... that way they could have put a cougar trap on Kim's leg.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sorry to be a lazy linker today, but all I can come up with are the two best moments from the NBA's All-Star Weekend (neither of which had anything to do with basketball):
- Shaq breakdancing. For a big guy, he sure can move.
- Charles Barkley's race against ref Dick Bavetta. Again, for a big guy, he sure can move.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Leaving On a Cash Cab
Well, my time at MTV Networks is at an end. Sort of, and at least temporarily. No, I didn't get caught up in the mass layoffs this week, although many of good friends and talented former co-workers did get let go (and yes, MTV Networks does have talented employees, no matter what the commenters on Gawker and Jossip say). But I did land a writing job at Cash Cab. I start on Wednesday. Tuesday I will spend one final day at Mi TRL to crank out a first draft of next week's script, and then I'm off. This will be my first long-term (well, a month) job outside of MTV Networks in over 4 years. It will be nice to have a change of pace and to meet and network with some new people. Plus Cash Cab seems like a fun show to work for. And hopefully at my new job, people won't try to pay for their lunch using counterfeit $5 bills.*

Also, to quickly answer the first question that I'm sure popped into your mind: no, I won't tell you where the Cash Cab will be. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

* Yes, I actually saw this happen yesterday. I'm sure it was a mix-up, that he got the bill as change at a bodega or something. But the guy seemed really nervous as he was forced to wait for the manager. Which got me thinking, why would anyone bother counterfeiting $5 bills? Why not go straight for bigger denominations? Or maybe that's the genius of the plan: that people would never expect such a small bill to be fake. Whatever.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Girl You Know It's True
Universal has announced it will be making a Milli Vanilli biopic. No word yet on stars, but really, can they even think about casting anyone other than Keenen Ivory and Damon Wayans?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith sure has left one hell of a legacy. Check out the trailer for her final film, Illegal Aliens. In it, she says possibly the greatest quote in film history:
"Why is my poopie-hole sore?"
Pure genius!

Alright readers, I'm gonna save you $6.41 (the average cost of a movie ticket in the U.S., although it's laughably higher here in NYC)... here's the first 4 minutes of Music & Lyrics. It's the only part worth seeing. And without sitting through the whole movie, you'll probably only have this song stuck in your head for about 20 minutes instead of 3 days.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Free Fallin'
The footage of Michael Holmes's disastrous skydive attempt has been posted. Holy crap, I can't think of anything scarier than falling 12,000 feet at 8o m.p.h. with a broken parachute (well, maybe being buried alive... but it's a close call). How on earth did he survive? In this article he says that he'll probably jump again but feels like he had "used up his share of luck." Maybe... or maybe he's now (as Garp would say) pre-disastered. How many times can you skydive and have both your parachutes fail? Actually, it's probably better not to find out the answer to that question.
My favorite part of the video: when the other skydiver asks Michael if he's okay and Michael moans "no." No shit, Sherlock. What kind of dumbass question is that?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pricey Synchronicity
Everyone in the blogosphere seems to be talking about The Police reunion, so I guess I'll weigh in too. Dates have been announced. So have prices: they top out at $225 (at least for the Canadian and Fenway shows... I have a feeling the shows as MSG will cost more, as that is usually the case. Stupid NYC).* That's Eagles / Madonna prices, and cheaper than the Rolling Stones. Not terrible. What is terrible is their presale. To get involved, you have to sign up for the new Police fan club, which costs $100. Not only that, but you can sign up for the club as you're actually purchasing tix during the presale. Why are they even bothering to pretend that the money is for a fan club? Does anyone care about a message board or exclusive photos? They should just be honest and tell people that they can buy tickets early for a price that's $100 higher than the price would be a week later. People would still do it.
That being said, while I won't join the "fan club," I will try my hardest to buy tix during the general public on-sale. I put them at #2 on my list of bands I'd most want to see reunite. But I'll be damned if I get played by this crappy system.
As for their performance last night, I was hoping for more than one song, or at least a medley. I won't even comment on the rest of the Grammys, except to say that I'm glad I didn't waste 3+ hours of my life watching it (I instead opted for The Science of Sleep on DVD and last night's episodes of "Extras" and "Family Guy").

Update: Yup, I was right... MSG tix top out at $254.50. That's just lovely.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Okay, I know I just wrote that I would start making an effort not to be so linky here. But I can't resist posting this 24 / Aqua Teen Hunger Force parody.
I do have to say, given today's news that the head of Cartoon Network is resigning over the fiasco, that I think this is getting entirely blown out of proportion. A few clueless people think that a group of lights shaped like a cartoon character is a bomb, and suddenly it becomes national news? Come on, get a life, or a sense of humor, or at least cable TV. This is outrageous and stupid that it's gotten so much attention. But it does prove how stupid Bostonians are.

The cover story of this week's issue of New York magazine deals with the young generation's willingness to reveal things about their private life on the internet through blogs and sites like MySpace. It includes the following passage:
“When I first started out with my Livejournal, I was very honest,” she remembers. “I basically wrote as if there was no one reading it. And if people wanted to read it, then great.” But as more people linked to her, she became correspondingly self-aware. By tenth grade, she was part of a group of about 100 mostly older kids who knew one another through “this web of MySpacing or Livejournal or music shows.” They called themselves “The Family” and centered their attentions around a local band called Spoont. When a Family member commented on Xiyin’s entries, it was a compliment; when someone “Friended” her, it was a bigger compliment. “So I would try to write things that would not put them off,” she remembers. “Things that were not silly. I tried to make my posts highly stylized and short, about things I would imagine people would want to read or comment on.”
Wow, that couldn't describe this site any better. What was once well-thought-out opinions and commentary (well, at least opinions and commentary) is now mostly links and nonsense that I think will attract readers. And now I'm self-conscious about it, as my behavior is mirroring that of a 10th grader.
Anyway, I know I've made this claim before, only to see it fizzle, but I will again try to make a more concerted effort to put thought into the content here, rather than relying on links. I don't have a steady job right now, so I should be able to manage this. Also, I will start tinkering with the "new and improved" blogger and try to spice up the layout. Hopefully I won't accidentally erase everything on here. Stay tuned to see how this turns out.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's Spankin New Music Week on TRL this week, and instead of playing the top-10 requests each day, they are playing a band's video playlist. My former co-workers are mocking the fact that as soon as I leave, Journey and Guns N Roses videos are suddenly getting played. Just my luck.
On a lark, production management asked each member of the TRL team to submit their top-10 videos of all time. That got me thinking... and while I couldn't come up with just ten, here's my super-sized top-20 videos of all time (in alphabetical order):
- A-ha - "Take on Me": Everyone loves this video... how can you not? I recently asked a co-worker how often he thinks that the woman in this video, during present-day casual conversation or small talk, mentions the fact that she starred in this. He thinks fairly often. I'm not sure... it's certainly worth bragging about, but do you brag about something like that?
- Art of Noise - "Close (to the Edit)": Man would I love to know what this girl is doing these days. Teacher? Hooker? Scientist? Dead of an overdose? Karate instructor? Anything's possible, I guess.
- Blur - "Coffee & TV": My first MTV boss was obsessed with this video, so for her birthday I made her these milk-carton characters. 7+ years later, they're still in her office.
- Chemical Brothers - "Let Forever Be": How long did it take to put this video together? I can't even fathom the process.
- Phil Collins - "Billy Don't Lose My Number": Ah Phil, what a comedian you are. He was skewering music videos before anyone else. But he did it well.
- Foo Fighters - "Everlong": Hard to choose one favorite Foo video, but this one earns it thanks to Bitch-Slap Man.
- Genesis - "Land of Confusion": When I was on a family vacation to the UK the summer of 1991, I saw Spitting Image (the show from which these puppets were taken), and it showed clones of the Queen Mum farting and burping and two naked puppets having sex. My 6th-grade mind was warped. I think it's safe to say I've never fully recovered.
- Green Day - "Redundant": Not much to say about this one... just like it.
- Guns N Roses - "November Rain": Overblown? Yes. Ridiculous? Unquestionably. Awesome? You know it! I also bought a used copy of the (out of print) book of Del James short stories that has "Without You," on which this video is based. They are nothing alike. And Del James is a terrible author. Just a heads-up.
- Herbie Hancock - "Rockit": This video creeps a lot of people out, but I love it.
- Cyndi Lauper - "The Goonies R Good Enough": What's better than the combination of Cyndi, the cast of Goonies, and the most popular WWF stars of the 80s? The fact that it's a two-part cliffhanger video (clocking in at a total of 12+ minutes)! Check out Part 2 here.
- Live - "Freaks": The creepiest Got Milk commercial I've ever seen.
- Lucas - "Lucas With the Lid Off": He may have been a one-hit wonder, but this video sure left its mark. At least on me.
- Nine Inch Nails - "Closer": A VH1 Classic fan poll recently named this the greatest video of all time. Surprising result. I can't say I fully agree, but can't fully disagree either.
- Tom Petty - "Don't Come Around Here No More": Mmm, I'd love a piece of that Alice cake. Wait, what?
- Prodigy - "Smack My Bitch Up": Wow, was this controversial, for obvious reasons. But it's amazing. Betcha didn't see that ending coming!
- R.E.M. - "Imitation of Life": I wish I could find a better-quality post of this video. I've been assured that there was no camera trickery or special effects... all one take, people actually singing normally and in reverse.
- Robbie Williams - "Rock DJ": In the UK they used to only show this video after 11pm, and they'd cut off the ending. You'd think if they can handle Spitting Image, they could handle this.
- Smashing Pumpkins - "Tonight Tonight": Tough call between this and "Ava Adore," so I'll link to both of them.
- Van Halen - " Hot for Teacher": Funny on so many levels. Poor Waldo and his loose socks. Keep an eye out on Alex trying to keep up during their synchonized dance steps during the choruses.

Oops, I forgot one... we'll call this an alternate:
- Markus Nikolai - "Bushes": I saw this once on a director's reel. I don't think it's ever actually aired on TV. Nothing but a montage of women reacting to getting bikini waxes. Cringeworthy, to say the least. Watching this, I'm thankful I'm not a woman.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Some funny photos of what certain celebs might look like in 2057 (if they last that long):

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bad Boys Stick Together (deh deh deh dea deh, whoo whoo)
Why does this news of a potential Wham! reunion make me so excited? And what are the chances that, if they tour, George will let Andrew play any of his solo stuff? They did duet on "Red Dress," so maybe that's a possibility... and I'm probably one of about 7 people who knows that fact.

Bud TV is up and running. Is this the next generation of television? Or advertising? Or neither? You be the judge.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Some quick (completely unorganized) thoughts on the SuperBowl:
- As most people who know me or read this site know, I was rooting for the Bears. I posted earlier that I thought that a 7-point spread was way too big, and I even had a feeling the Bears would win. But I can admit I was wrong about that. That should’ve been obvious when Lovie Smith refused to bench Grossman.
- People also know that I don’t like Manning… I think he is always willing to take credit for positive results but never willing to take responsibility for negative results. Also he has terrible body language… when he walks on and off the field between plays and between possessions, his head sags as if his helmet weighs 60 pounds. He looks like a sulking Charlie Brown. But that’s not the reason I think it’s a crock he was named MVP. His stats were good, not great. But the Colts won the game thanks to their running backs. They kept the Bears D on the field, and if you take away the passes to the running backs, Manning was only 14-27 for 173 yards. Hardly MVP worthy. I would’ve given it to Rhodes (or split it between Rhodes and Addai).
- Also, it took 14 seconds of gametime for Manning to make his first Manning face. That’s gotta be a record.
- Prince gave a great performance during the halftime show, and while I think he did a good job with the covers (who knew he was such a Foo Fighters fan?), isn’t his catalog deep enough that he could’ve played 12 minutes of original material?
-Billy Joel, not such a great job, especially the first verse. Maybe get back on the sauce, at least before performing.
-Teams should stop running the opening kickoff back for touchdowns during title games. Ohio State did it and lost to UF, and the Bears did it and lost to the Colts. Just an observation.
- Just when I thought David Spade couldn’t get any uglier, they show a shot of him sitting in the crowd wearing a plaid shirt and a clear plastic dry-cleaning bag to protect himself from the rain. What a doofus.
- Give karma a high five for paying attention. Cedric Benson fumbled on his first touch of the game, and a few minutes later he’s out with an injury. Teach him not to protect the football during the biggest game of his life.
- The turning point of the game came with about 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, when the Bears called a pass play on 2nd and 1. Grossman trips over his own feet and falls for an 11-yard loss, knocking them out of field-goal range in the process. Why not run on 3 straight downs? You can get 1 stinking yard! That call KILLED me.
- My favorite line of the whole night came during the pre-pre-game show, when Shannon, Boomer, and Dan all picked the Colts to win. When they asked James Brown (the NFL commentator, not the dead singer) who he liked, he sat on the fence. Shannon called out, "He likes the caterer." Always nice to make fun of the fatties.
- The worst part of the night was the Cirque de Soleil number during the pre-game. It made no sense whatsoever. Basically it looked like someone’s box of Crayolas exploded onto balloons and towels, and the choreographers told them to grab the stuff and run around the field like idiots for 6 minutes. Plus, I didn’t appreciate their representation of South Florida men: there were all fat and sweaty and wore wife-beaters and ugly board shorts. That’s not accurate at all. Well, maybe a little. The routine also brought to mind a few questions: Did players have to agree to let the performers wear their jerseys during the number? (I didn't see an Urlacher out there, and I can just imagine him laughing at it being used in such a sissy way) Would Gloria Estefan get a round of applause like that anywhere outside of Miami? Does she even perform anywhere outside of Miami? Hmm…
- Did anyone else notice, when Nantz and Simms appeared for the first time, on the field behind them a bunch of people were re-enacting the Raising the Flag on Iwo-Jima? Why were they doing that? And didn’t anyone who produced the show see the movie Flags of our Fathers? The people involved in the real flag-raising HATED re-enacting that in public. So random.
- Why did they call it the "Built Ford Tough" Kickoff Show and not just the Ford Kickoff Show? This is a serious question.
- As much as people (myself included) despise K-Fed, I liked his SuperBowl commercial. Give him credit for being able to make fun of himself. As for the other commercials, most of them were disastrous. But my dad loved the GM one with the suicidal assembly-line machine.
I guess that’s it. I’m so full of KFC, ribs, and beer, I can’t even really think straight anymore. But start the clock… 7 months until football begins again (no, the ProBowl doesn't count as football one bit).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bienvenidos al Mi TRL Graveyard
Tomorrow's taping will feature a visit from Hector "El Father" (no, I'd never heard of him before either). In trying to come up with a funny cold open for the show, I pitched this:










At this point the producer and VJ cut me off, saying they could never use anything with the word "schmutz" in it. Oh well, I'm out of here after today anyway.