Thursday, November 30, 2006

beginning to look a lot like

Best Week Ever posted a link today to a blog called ThaBombShelter. The site is featuring alternative Christmas songs this week. As a fan of cover songs, my favorite featured track so far has been the Death Cab for Cutie version of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." I sampled the Sufjan Stevens tracks too. Somehow I had thought there was an "r" in his first name and I was expecting a surf guitar sound. I don't want to say I was disappointed but I will say that I will have to try listening to the mellow tracks again when I'm not so tired.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

magic in that old silk hat

Holiday inflatables began springing up all over the place last weekend. One neighbor has their inflatable penguin up and running whenever I drive past. Another home has their two inflatables turned off in the afternoons. They probably only run them at night along with their Christmas lights. Their deflated Frosty the Snowman reminds me of the classic TV special. Frosty melts but is magically reformed when hit with a gust of cold air because he was made from Christmas snow.

When inflated, the Santa Claus balloon looks like the Rankin/Bass version of St. Nick from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." But the deflated Santa looks like he fell face first from his high flying sleigh and went splat on the lawn.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

don't he look natural?

A CD that's in the running for my favorite Christmas disc of the year is one that can't be bought in any store. It's a sampler CD sent to morning deejays by publicist Alan Rommelfanger, whose company is called Daybreak Entertainment. It has tracks from Richard Cheese, Gary Hoey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The von Trapp Children and several of his other clients. The first song on the disc is a novelty tune that I thought only I knew about. It's "Disco Santa" by Holiday Express, which I think I might have included on the mix disc I made for some friends a year ago.

Alan put a song from the Brian Setzer Orchestra on his sampler CD too. The BSO makes its annual appearance on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" tonight. I wonder if they'll be playing at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting again tomorrow night. There's no mention of it on the Setzer website but it does say that they'll be on "Fox & Friends" in the morning and that they taped an episode of the "Rachael Ray Show" to air in mid-December. By giving my email address, I was able to get a free download of a live version of "Jingle Bells." I'll have to settle for the free download because I don't think I'll be getting any free tickets to their Nashville concert.

I picked up two more Christmas CDs for my collection yesterday. One is a novelty disc called "A TV Christmas Dinner" and the other is "The Andy Williams Christmas Album," which had been on my wish list for a while. I haven't listened to the novelty disc yet but I popped the Andy CD into the player while we were still in the parking lot at McKay's. My son and I noticed that the first six songs were all secular and the next six were all religious. I guess that when the album was first released on vinyl, the secular songs were on side A and the religious songs were on side B.

Before becoming a famous radio deejay, my friend Bean worked in a record store in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC. It was around this time of year when a gentleman came into the store and asked Bean for help locating the Andy Williams Christmas albums. Bean immediately says "Andy Williams? Isn't he dead?" That's when Andy Williams said, "No. I'm not." It turns out that the musicians needed to hear some of the original arrangements for Andy's performance at the Kennedy Center.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, November 27, 2006

world's biggest blank

Being on the air has been a lifelong aspiration of mine. One of my fourth grade classmates even left a comment on my blog that proves it. As much as I love radio, I do sometimes envy the cool job that Terry Morrow has. As a television critic, he gets to watch shows in advance and then tell the rest of us what's good and what's not. On Friday's Style show and in his newspaper column over the weekend, Terry recommended "The Real Match Game Story: Behind the Blank" on GSN or as I still like to call it, Game Show Network. (Speaking of Friday's Style show, they also had on a glitter expert who must be seen to be believed.)

The Los Angeles Times had a good article about the "Match Game" special too. Unfortunately for you, it was on GSN last night. Fortunately for you, it will be repeated Tuesday night at 9. It was so good that I didn't delete it from my TiVo yet so that my wife can watch it while I'm napping tomorrow. Like me, she'll be impressed to learn that when Richard Dawson demanded his own show, the producers took the Super Match portion of the game and turned it into "Family Feud."

Terry Morrow says that "Match Game" is one of his all-time favorite shows. I completely agree. I love the music, the celebrities, the clever questions and everything else about it. While watching some footage of old episodes on the special last night, I realized I even like the themesong from the 1960s version. I had never seen the original "Match Game" but I sometimes hear the theme on the Music of Your Life station in our building.

During the program there were two commercials for the "The Best of Match Game" DVD collection. I didn't buy it yet, but I did add it to my Amazon wish list before the hour-long show ended. A writer for TV Squad couldn't see the point in watching a DVD of a game show. That may be true for most sporting events and most game shows but "Match Game" wasn't about the game. It was about the party.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, November 26, 2006

hooray for Hollywood

The movie review in my favorite magazine says that if you love "Entertainment Weekly," you will love "For Your Consideration." It's another comedy from the same people who did the very funny "Best In Show." This time they make fun of "Oscar buzz," the industry's speculation over who will get an Academy Award nomination. However this time they don't use the "mockumentary" style that I love so much. I enjoyed the movie but some of the satire rang so true that it made me a little sad, especially toward the end. I would have rather left the theater laughing than feeling bummed out. I still liked it better than Betsy Pickle did.

I promised to tell you how I have participated in some Oscar hype myself. The now split public relations team of Weissman/Angellotti once asked me to book a then little known writer/director/actor as a guest on the Mark & Brian show. Their pitch convinced us to have Billy Bob Thornton come on to promote "Sling Blade." It would be great if our listeners bought tickets to go see the movie but they were really trying to reach any Academy voters in our audience. We made Billy Bob promise to return if he won the Oscar. He showed up the morning after still wearing his tux and carrying the trophy.

During my unscheduled hiatus from radio in 2001, publicist Roger Neal would occasionally hire me for odd jobs. He had me escort celebrities down the press line at the Saturn Awards. I delivered stuff to fashion stylists like Phillip Bloch. I babysat camera crews from CNN and Entertainment Tonight. The most interesting task was working the Stuart Weitzman hospitality suite during Oscar week. Stylists would come by to get free shoes for their clients to wear to the Academy Awards and/or any Oscar party where there would be a camera and an opportunity to tell a reporter whose shoes they were wearing. A few actresses showed up to claim their shoes in person.

I wish "For Your Consideration" spent less of its time on the set of "Home For Purim," the film within the film, and more time on the all the stuff that happens after a movie wraps. As the announcement of the Oscar nominations neared, the characters were briefly interviewed by radio deejays and TV hosts. The satire seemed sharpest when skewering shows like "Access Hollywood" and "Good Day L.A." Both Jane Lynch and Fred Willard were letter perfect in their roles as the hosts of "Hollywood Now."

The filmmakers were willing to parody the moviemaking process but they went too easy on the actual awards. They missed an opportunity to spoof some of the lesser award shows like the Golden Globes and the Critics' Choice Awards. They could have ridiculed all the free stuff given to nominees and presenters. But if they did that, they may have found themselves empty-handed when award season comes around in the Spring.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, November 25, 2006

John David Booty call

Because George Mason University doesn't have a football team, I have never paid much attention to college football. As an Irish Catholic, I have sometimes felt that I was supposed to automatically root for Notre Dame. It wasn't until seeing a recent "60 Minutes" interview with coach Charlie Weis that I got somewhat interested in the Fighting Irish. Unfortunately I haven't brought them any luck by watching their game against USC tonight.

I had the Tennessee vs. Kentucky game on in the background earlier today. When UT wins it's good for business. Plus, I have enough friends who are fans that I always hope for a Vols victory. When the game ended, I flipped around the dial and caught the last few minutes of the greatest halftime show I have ever seen. It was at the Bayou Classic and the band was Southern University's "Human Jukebox." The horn section was blasting "Ain't No Other Man" while the dance team gyrated. At first I thought I had tuned in to a movie, not real life. A little research shows the band can rock to Gnarls Barkley too. I need to remember to watch the Bayou Classic halftime show from the beginning next year. In the meanwhile, I can watch SU on YouTube.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, November 24, 2006

everyone loves a parade?

What did other bloggers write about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? I checked Google's Blog Search and Technorati to see who else is as interested in the parade as I am.

One of my favorite entertainment blogs disappointed me. TV Squad's reviewer doesn't like parades and therefore didn't watch it. At least the comments from readers are worthwhile. The writer for Gawker was upset that Katie Couric was missing from the broadcast.

The pithy reviews trashing overblown spectacles are the most fun to read. A blog called Hikaruland showed the right amount of pith with paragraphs like:
Cokehead announcer says "this dramatic view of New York is from the top of Rockefeller Center." What the television audience sees: low level clouds and a faint outline of a building. Absolutely stirring, I tell you.
Putting the parade on C-SPAN is suggested by Thought You'd Never Ask. It's not a bad idea. I watched the last Inaugural Parade on C-SPAN. Daggle watched streaming video of the parade on his computer in England. I clicked on the link and watched it for a while too. Except for the water on the camera lens it's probably a lot like what C-SPAN's coverage would have been.

Gothamist linked to articles about the parade in the New York newspapers. Through their links, I found a great picture of Snoopy on the New York Times site.

Average Life Spam points out that the telecast omits most of the stuff that kids enjoy about the parade. The CBS crew got panned by Nihilist In Golf Pants.

A TV anchor named Heather Kovar photographs her dogs in front of landmarks and parade balloons. Somebody posted a photo on The Stranger's site and suggested that and uninflated Scooby-Doo looks like something Heather's dogs might have left behind.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, November 23, 2006

it's a noble gas, gas, gas

Neil Patrick Harris was more entertaining in the first two minutes of this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade coverage than Gary Valentine was in the last two years on CBS. As the telecast went on, NPH did get stuck in the "be thankful you're not out in the rain like me" rut but I can forgive him for that. In fairness to Valentine, I saw him do a short stand-up set in Knoxville earlier this year. He is much better at that than he is at ad-libbing or interviewing kids. I'm not alone in thinking that he struggled during previous parades.

Why does CBS bother? My guess is that they do it for JC Penney. Obviously NBC's coverage is all about the Macy's. There are still more advertising dollars to be had and CBS is able to give JC Penney a place to promote its after-Thanksgiving sale and its tie-in with Josh Groban. I also saw ads for other department stores that may be shut out of the three hour Macy's commercial on NBC. I used to think that CBS wanted to give some additional exposure to balloon characters from their sister network Nickelodeon.

On the whole I liked watching the unofficial CBS broadcast because they covered the parade more like a sporting event while NBC stuck to the Macy's approved script. Last year I wrote about the big difference in the way CBS and NBC respectively acknowledged and ignored the accident with the M&Ms balloon. This year Hannah Storm and Dave Price joked about how long it would take to cook Big Bird and how hard it would be to peel Healthy Mr. Potato Head. I was surprised to see the M&Ms balloon return to the parade this year especially right behind the float from rival chocolate company Hershey's.

While I like their freedom to ad-lib, my gripe with Hannah and Dave is that they don't know enough about the parade. They often referred to balloons as floats, just like last year. When the "80th Anniversary Hot Air Balloon" balloon went past, Hannah and Dave seemed genuinely surprised that there were live people riding in the gondola, much less be able to recognize them. NBC's coverage started with a closeup of parade executive producer Robin Hall in the gondola. To me, it looked like a helium filled replica of a hot-air balloon despite what Hannah and Dave said.

I have to watch both channels if I want to see who is on the floats. The marching bands generally stop and play for CBS in Times Square but the floats cruise past and save their lip-synch performances for NBC in Herald Square. The bad weather created some unintentional comedy during the musical numbers at the end of the parade route. Raindrops on the NBC camera lenses made it look as if the skimpy costumes of the Rockettes were pixelized, just like during the unnecessary censorship bit on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." By flipping between the networks, it was apparent that CBS airs the parade out of sequence. They must record whatever happens during commercial breaks and play it back later.

The wind and rain almost kept the big balloons from flying this year. They stayed pretty close to the ground but at least we got to see them. If it were up to me, there would be more balloons. In fact, I would enjoy an all-balloon parade. CBS showed a factoid that said that if put end to end, the balloons from the past 80 years would stretch the length of Manhattan island.

The Macy's balloons are rich in detail. Their faces are usually sculpted rather than painted on. Sometimes less-detailed balloons turn up in other places like the Dogwood Arts Festival Parade in Knoxville. I just learned that there are balloon parades in Springfield, Massachusetts and Stamford, Connecticut.

If I were buying or renting a parade balloon, I would want one that's horizontal, not vertical. On days like today, the vertical ones look ridiculous at low altitude. I still prefer the balloons that look like they should be flying. In the '70s, the Underdog balloon flew while the Superman balloon stood with his hands on his hips. The man of helium filled steel was eventually redesigned in the '80s.

So which was the best balloon in this year's parade? I liked Super Grover and Scooby-Doo. How about you?

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

waiting for the parade to start

The day before Thanksgiving is a big day for traveling and for grocery shopping. While watching the news coverage of people going through airport security today, I realized that hardly anyone says "Baggie" anymore. We mostly say "Ziploc bags." I remember when we called every sandwich bag a "Baggie." They were popular enough to be almost parodied by Wacky Packages back in 1973. The 2006 series of Wacky Packages includes a parody of Ziploc.

I braved the crowd at Sam's Club to buy some fresh salad and broccoli for my lunch today. The brand of broccoli I prefer comes in a bag with a "BreatheWay" panel near the top. When we would open the bag at the top, it only took a few salads before the level of florets dropped below the BreatheWay panel, rendering it useless. By opening the bag at the bottom, we found that the broccoli stays fresh longer thanks to the special membrane.

Tomorrow will be the second Thanksgiving since my wife and I began doing endorsement spots for LA Weight Loss. Because of my work schedule, we're staying home this year. We're not having any guests either so there's no need to make any stuffing with our turkey breast. At this point, I would rather eat the right way to maintain my weight than splurge on a plate full of Mrs. Cubbison's. One thing I'll miss is the rice stuffed pumpkin that our friends Anja & Charlie used to serve every Thanksgiving. On yeah, instead of pie, we'll have baked apples with some Splenda on top.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

gone tubing

It's becoming more and more common to rush to the Internet after watching our favorite shows on TV. Last night's episode of "How I Met Your Mother" revealed a secret from Robin's past. She was a teenage pop star in Canada. Most of her music video was seen on TV but the MySpace page for Robin Sparkles has the uncut version. Similarly, last Thursday's episode of "The Office" showed part of Michael Scott's "Lazy Scranton" orientation video. The NBC website has a longer version. "The Office" site has so many deleted scenes that it's almost like getting DVD extras with every episode. I often come across links to cool videos during the course of my day but I can't watch them at work. I don't always remember to look them up again when I get home. My wife has the same problem. She asked if I had seen the Office/Sexyback mashup video that we had both heard about. I finally watched it and it was well worth the four minutes of my time. Can you recommend any other funny Internet videos to watch over the long holiday weekend?

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, November 20, 2006

old buddy old pal

The snow flurried fast and furiously at lunchtime today. If the temperature had been below freezing, we might have had some actual accumulation in Knoxville.

I thought the snowflakes might make a nice backdrop for a photo of a new marshmallow candy that my wife bought for my Christmas stocking. Marshmallow Pals are made by Frankford Candy. They are decorated with icing, which gives them a lot more detail than Marshmallow Peeps. The shapes reminded me of the delicious marzipan candy that my sister's husband wants every Christmas.

There's no sign of the Christmas pals on the Frankford website but I did see some Marshmallow Pal bunnies and birds toward the bottom of their Easter page. A website called Groovy Candies sells a Halloween version of the Pals. I need to look up how much I'll have to swim to burn off the calories in each Marshmallow Pal. I recently learned that I would have to walk almost a mile per Pal.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, November 19, 2006

har har har dee har har

NBC ran a promo the other night that spoke directly to me. They chose to promote an aspect of their new Thursday night comedy lineup that sets their shows apart from most. "My Name Is Earl," "The Office," "Scrubs" and "30 Rock" all lack a laugh track. The promo showed two guys adding a ridiculous amount of laughter to a non-existent sitcom. I like my comedy dry, just like my BBQ ribs.

The TV columnist for the Associated Press wrote about a possible backlash against TV networks that choose to cater only to the 18 to 49 year old demo. As the baby boomers turn 50, they feel overlooked by the channels they used to watch. David Bauder points out that there are enough boomers still alive to warrant a re-examination by the networks and their advertisers. I think smart comedy without an insulting laugh track is a step in the right direction.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, November 18, 2006

speaking of sports

So far no good for the teams I follow. Knoxville Catholic High School's undefeated football season fell apart in the fourth quarter of last night's playoff game. George Mason University raised their Final Four banner this afternoon but lost the basketball game that followed. My sister's husband went to the game and sent the photos you see below. Maybe the Washington Redskins can break this fan's losing streak tomorrow when they start Jason Campbell at quarterback. At least the New York Mets will not lose this weekend.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, November 17, 2006

dill or no dill

Betsy Pickle knows what her readers will like and she reviews films accordingly. Before the "Dreamgirls" screening the other night, Betsy told me that she really liked "Déjà Vu" but wasn't that impressed with another film that I'm very excited about. Based on Entertainment Weekly's review, I should love "For Your Consideration" even though Betsy didn't and most of her readers probably won't. I think the satire will ring true with me because I have participated in awards show hype on a couple of different levels. I'll save my stories about fancy shoes and radio guests until I've seen the new movie.

Betsy wrote an article in today's paper about "American Scary." You may recall that I've gotten to know the film's director, John E. Hudgens. He's the guy who made it look as if the Batmobile drove past us on local TV last week and as if we were working with a cardboard cutout or driving off in a computer generated car in weeks past.

My wife, our son and I still watch "Survivor" even though it takes some fancy TiVo maneuvering to record "The Office," "My Name is Earl" and "Smallville" at the same time. This season was a bit of a drag until last week's mutiny twist. I want Yul to win. He's one of my favorite Survivor players in a while. Betsy Pickle wrote a perfect analysis of the latest episode on her blog. If you're still watching the show, you should read what she wrote about the jury too. One of the players voted off this week is a make-up artist on "The View." Remember that time I wrote one of my favorite jokes ever about her?

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, November 16, 2006

supermarket finds

Chocolate milk made a rare appearance as part of my midafternoon snack today. I'll probably have it more often now that I've bought a bottle of calorie free chocolate flavored syrup from Walden Farms. It doesn't taste exactly the same as good old Hershey's but it's been so long since I've had any of the real stuff that it didn't matter. The Walden Farms syrup did taste a lot better than lite Hershey's syrup. Today I was surprised to see the calorie free syrup floating in my milk, rather than sinking to the bottom like the regular stuff. Does that prove it's healthier? I'm looking forward to using it as a topping the next time I have some no sugar added fat free ice cream.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

one night only

The rainy weather may have kept some people home. Perhaps they wanted to watch the season finale of "Dancing With The Stars." Whatever the reason, the turnout was light for the VIP screening of "Dreamgirls" that my wife and I attended tonight. Meanwhile, the corporate bigwigs from Regal headquarters were having their own VIP cocktail party and screening of "Casino Royale" on the other side of the Pinnacle 18.

The small crowd meant we were able to sit in my favorite stadium seats, three rows up and dead center. Betsy Pickle sat two rows behind us in seats that had been reserved for her by the public relations company. There were some same sex couples scattered throughout the auditorium. About 20 minutes after the movie started, a group of women arrived and found seats in the row in front of us. They talked throughout the film, especially when the characters started singing to each other. My wife, the music major, told me that those parts of a musical are call recitative in the classical world.

I liked the movie a lot. My wife really loved it. She wants the soundtrack album and the DVD when it comes out. I enjoyed the cameo appearances by Bobby Slayton, Jaleel White and John Krasinski. My only complaint was that Jennifer Hudson looked the same age at the end of the movie as she did at the beginning. The other characters aged a little more convincingly. Other than that, the former "American Idol" contestant did a great job acting and singing. Eddie Murphy's performance will definitely generate some Oscar buzz.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

vrroom with a view

Last November the guys at Charter Media asked me to appear in a TV commercial for a local tire store. There must be something in the autumn air. It's that time of year again and the guys asked me to be in another spot. This time they wanted me to wear my pajamas, sit in a bed and make noises. Talk about perfect casting.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, November 13, 2006

while supplies last

The sign in front of the Krispy Kreme said "Hot Light Ornaments For Sale." My curiosity was piqued so I pulled into the parking lot. My wife and I have collected Christmas ornaments for the past several years. When we traveled, we would try to find a souvenir ornament no matter what time of year it was. A tight budget has kept us closer to home lately. Each Christmas, we remember the places we've been by looking at our decorated tree.

I've never been a Krispy Kreme addict but I used to eat them now and again before losing weight. I can't overlook the fact that my family and I attended the grand opening party at the Burbank location a few years ago.

The Hot Light Ornaments cost $1 if you also buy a dozen doughnuts. To maintain my current weight I could maybe eat half of a glazed chocolate cake doughnut every few days. The time when I would buy a dozen for the family is gone. Nor could I bring myself to pay $3 to get the plastic light-up ornament without the doughnuts. Maybe I would have if the design were printed on both sides instead of just one. Plus I kept thinking that the ornament was exactly the type of thing that used to be sent to me for free in press kits when I worked at radio stations in D.C. and L.A.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, November 12, 2006

don't cry

Retailers can earn a customer's loyalty through excellent products or excellent service or both. Today I had an experience that would fall under the category of "both." We buy our groceries at three or four different stores but we buy our skim milk only at Weigel's. The milk tastes better and costs less there. Plus they offer a punch card that we redeem for a free gallon after every sixteen gallons purchased. Today one of those brand new gallons fell on the kitchen floor and burst open at the seam. Milk spilled everywhere. We had to use beach towels to sop it up.

When I went back to Weigel's to buy a replacement gallon (and a small container of egg nog), I asked the clerk if they had received any complaints about defective milk containers. He didn't know of any but immediately pushed some buttons to void the transaction in the cash register. My replacement milk would be free of charge. The whole experience felt like it came right out of "In Search of Excellence." The clerk working the Sunday evening shift was entrusted to make a customer service decision on the spot. Potential employees are told that Weigel's operating standards are very high. They proved it to me tonight.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, November 11, 2006

out of the coma

A star from a top rated TV series came to town and invited News Sentinel TV columnist Terry Morrow to spend the day. It's the kind of access that proves Terry is respected as a good writer and as a fair critic. UT alumni James Denton from "Desperate Housewives" went to the UT vs. LSU football game. Terry wrote about their trip to Calhoun's and to the game in yesterday's paper. Terry's blog has a few more tidbits.

Thursday's Ear To The Ground column
in the Metro Pulse had a small blurb about a celebrity spotting. They wrote that James Denton's entourage was seen going to Calhoun's before the game:
As they passed a barbecue booth, a plump LSU fan turned and gawked. The counterman waited for her, as she seemed for a moment unable to speak. But then she said, "Swear to God that looks just like Mike Delfino!" In fact, it wasn't the mysterious secret-agent plumber on "Desperate Housewives," but actor James Denton, who plays him on TV. Whispers of recognition rippled across the crowd as his party entered the restaurant. The actor seemed content to ignore it, but one older fellow in the group seemed to be enjoying his association with the celebrity. As they entered, he turned around and said, "“Yes, that's him!"
Older fellow in the group? Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it feels like the local alternative weekly is a little jealous of the mainstream daily. They would have known that Denton was coming and that he would be hanging out with Terry Morrow.

A video interview on the New Sentinel site reveals that James was a morning deejay on the Metro Pulse's favorite radio station, WUTK. He also says that he often meets guys who act like they hate "Desperate Housewives" or guys who act like they don't recognize him while their girlfriends swoon.

I'll admit that I enjoy Denton's performance on "Desperate Housewives." But he was really good on a show called "Threat Matrix." I'm serious. It was a real show and I watched it. Mostly for Kelly Rutherford, but I watched it.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, November 10, 2006

where fashion sits

A trip to the supermarket made me think of my friend Tim. He's done a good job of establishing an aspect of his on-air character so that whenever I think of Rachael Ray, I also think of Tim. Last year I showed you the Rachael themed Christmas card he sent. He refers to Rachael as his "radio girlfriend" and got her to play along during a phone interview on his morning show.

Rachael is turning up everywhere. Her three shows on Food Network were not enough. She's also got a daily show on regular TV too. Ray interviews some celebrities and then cooks with them on the set. One of her previous shows had her traveling to the homes of celebrities to get the "Inside Dish with Rachael Ray."

Ross Crystal has accused Food Network of stealing his idea for visiting celebrities in their kitchens. I met Ross a couple of times when I worked in Los Angeles. Before that, I remember watching him on TV in Washington, DC. His lawsuit says that Food Network rejected his idea for a show called "Showbiz Chefs" but then used the same concept for "Inside Dish." Ross is asking for at least $150,000 in damages. Maybe Kevin & Bean can get in on that action too. They used to do a bit in the early '90s called "Celebrity Refrigerators," in which they took a portable audio recorder to the kitchens of the rich and famous.

I started by telling you that I was reminded of Tim because of something I saw at the supermarket. It was pictures of Rachael Ray plastered on the front of several brands of Nabisco crackers:

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, November 09, 2006

checking e-mail

Richard Cheese sent me a copy of his open letter to Britney Spears. It's posted on his MySpace page for all to see and is worth reading if only for the line, "it's time you replaced the 'Federline' with some 'Cheddarline.'" Thanks also to Russ, who sent me a copy of everyone's new favorite Britney photo.

Einstein Simplified fan Tom sent me an invitation to join his Fantasy Moguls league. It's like fantasy football except with movie stars. It sounds like fun but there are a few other things I've wanted to get done first like adding Technorati tags to all my old blog entries and writing a vanity posting on Wikipedia. And reorganizing my dresser drawers.

A blog reader named Seth sent me one of those email forwards that only Michael Scott would enjoy. I had seen it before so instead of looking at it again, I clicked around Seth's website and found a photo of somebody standing in front of a giant Mr. T statue at Bonnaroo. I need to find out what they did with it after the festival so I can get my picture made with it too.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

go shorty, sip Bacardi

Were you a license plate kid? By that I mean, did your name turn up on those little souvenir license plates that you would see in gift shops during your family vacation? My name was fairly easy to find but my sister Alicia's was not. My sister Catherine might find a different spelling of her name or the shortened form "Cathy" which she doesn't use.

When our daughter was born, my wife and I had every intention of calling her Kathleen. But when we first laid eyes on her, she didn't look like a Kathleen. She looked like a Megan or a Meagan or maybe a Meghan. We still have the piece of WAVA notepaper on which I wrote out several different spellings of the name before we settled on Meaghan. I don't really know why. It might have been because it looked more Irish. It might have been because I didn't want her name to contain the word "mega." I remembered working with a girl named Megan who was called "mega" behind her back.

I recently read "Freakonomics," an entertaining book that uses economics to explain many aspects of modern life. The last chapter looks at baby names and the impact those names have (or don't have) when the kids grow up. The authors find a pattern of names that catch on with high income, highly educated parents and then work their way down the socioeconomic ladder until they drop out of favor.

It's safe to assume that the people who make the little license plates keep track of the trends. Instead of printing Susan and Lisa plates, they moved on to Jennifer and Sarah and then to Amber and Heather. More recently it was Emily and Hannah at the top of the list.

What about the Jaydens of the world? There seem to be more and more unique baby names. While at the supermarket, I spotted a CD rack selling "Songs About Me." Each CD is customized to include lyrics with a specific child's name. Many of the CDs I saw had names that are not on the list of the most popular. The CD is a nice treat for kids
with names like Cheyenne or Callan who might never see their name on a gift shop license plate. Or it would be if the songs were good.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

random updates on recent postings

My lucky guess about Jim and Pam on "The Office" looks to be partially accurate. This week's episode is entitled "Branch Closing" and the following week's is called "The Merger." Right after the broadcast of this Thursday's episode, will offer a "producer's cut" of it with some extra scenes and footage.

Local deejay Gretchen did turn up on the Ralphie May special. I
f you TiVo-ed it, you can see a close up of her sitting in the audience at about 23 minutes into the show. The Tennessee Theatre looks great on TV. More specials should be filmed there.

After I mentioned John D. Becker and the Oregon Catholic Press, I remembered that the new anchorman at WBIR was also named John Becker and that he had moved here from Oregon. Was he any relation? I sent him an email through the station's website to find out. He replied promptly to say that he wasn't related to John D. but hoped to somehow claim a relation to Boris.

Because he retired his own blog, my friend Bean sent me an email so I could be the one to tell you about International Save Pluto Day. Mark your calendars for February 4, 2007.

I saw a commercial for a video game at the movie theatre while I waited for the early screening of "Borat" to start yesterday. The ad showed scenes from a fairly violent game called "Gears of War" while a soft, sad song played. It was "Mad World" by Gary Jules, which I wrote about when it was used on an episode of "C.S.I." Several people have found their way to my site after searching for information about that song.

There were long lines at my polling place today. I think it was partly due to voter turnout and partly due to the amount of time it takes to dial through all the choices on the eSlate machines.
Now that it's Election Day, the political telemarketing calls will finally stop. There are things I do like and don't like about each of the U.S. Senate candidates which made my decision in that race difficult. What about the company they keep? Over the past weeks, I've picked up the phone to hear famous voices from both parties urging me to vote for their man. Would I rather vote for the candidate endorsed by Phil Bredesen or the one endorsed by Laura Bush? Hmm... still undecided. How about the one endorsed by Bill Clinton or the one endorsed by Rudy Giuliani? That could be enough to sway me.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, November 06, 2006

circumstances beyond my control

It's been less than a week since Halloween but Christmas is already taking over. Walk into any retail store to see what I mean. If you're not ready for it, you might want to skip the rest of today's blog entry and read about the new balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade instead. After last year's parade accident, some balloons didn't pass the new wind test.

Three Christmas music things happened to me today. The new Christmas CD from Richard Cheese arrived in the mail. I read the fine print inside the CD cover and was delighted to find my name on the list of people he thanked. You should buy a copy and show Richard that he was right to include me. I've been looking forward to the disc for a while.

A caller told me today was the day that EZ88 switched to its annual all Christmas music format. I tuned in for a while and heard my friend Mike Blakemore introducing "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

An email from a friend suggested that I check out Billy Idol's website. Billy has recorded an album of Christmas songs but unfortunately didn't do them in Billy Idol style. Wouldn't it have been great to hear a version of "White Christmas" that sounded more like "White Wedding?" EZ88 probably wouldn't play it though.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, November 05, 2006

special teams

The ending of today's Redskins game was absolutely incredible. The score was tied with six seconds remaining. The Cowboys attempted a field goal to win but it was blocked. Sean Taylor picked up the live ball and started running it back. One of the Cowboys grabbed Taylor's facemask before he was tackled. Since the game can't end on a defensive penalty, the Redskins got one untimed down. Because of the flag, the ball was spotted 15 yards closer to the end zone. The Redskins used their one down to kick a field goal that barely made it through the uprights to win the game. My son immediately started singing the "NFL Replay" jingle.

At the beginning of the season
, I was doubtful that we would see very many Redskins games on local TV. So far we've seen more than I expected and there's a good chance we'll get next week's game against the Eagles too.

Today's game was the featured matchup on Fox which means that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were the ones to blatantly favor the Cowboys impartially call the game. In addition to the top announcers, we were treated to all the newest cameras and effects. At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, I've got to say that I hate the flyover camera during live coverage. It's supposed to look like the view during the Madden video game but I think it makes it too difficult to tell how many yards are gained or lost on a play. It's frustrating. Those angles are fine for an instant replay when you want to focus on a catch or a tackle. Just show me the normal left to right (or right to left) movement during live action.

After the game, Terry Bradshaw stumbled his way through the highlights of all the early games. To me it sounds like they add a fake crowd noise track. I noticed the same thing last weekend while watching the local version of the George Michael Sports Machine. Why is this necessary? Do they think that the added sounds make the highlights more exciting?

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, November 04, 2006

put on your saris

On Thursday, Mindy Kaling and Greg Daniels were interviewed on "Fresh Air." I rarely listen to NPR but I was punching buttons in the car looking for anything that would hold my interest when I happened across some people discussing my favorite TV show, "The Office." I had to unload some groceries from the trunk and get them into the fridge but I didn't want to turn off the radio. I ran into the house, grabbed a portable radio, tuned it down to the non-comm end of the dial and stuck it in my back pocket. As it turns out, all I really had to do was wait a few hours for the audio to be posted online. While clicking around the NPR website, I saw something about a Charles Addams biography that looks interesting.

In next week's episode of "The Office" Jan tells Michael that the Scranton branch will be shutting down. Of course, that can't happen without ending the series. Maybe they'll close the Stamford office instead and Jim will move back to Pam, uh I mean Scranton.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, November 03, 2006

why did Bambi's mother cross the road?

While driving in Virginia last weekend, we noticed a lot of dead deer along the side of I-66. We didn't see any in Tennessee. I wonder if the deer have more room to roam in Tennessee and are therefore less likely to cross the freeway. Or could it be that deer struck in Tennessee are quickly picked up and turned into venison? Yet it was in Virginia, not Tennessee where I spotted Guttin' Gloves for sale at a convenience store just off the Interstate near Front Royal.

Speaking of road kill, Catholic High steamrolled over Gibbs in the first round of the playoffs tonight.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, November 02, 2006

after life

Happy Dia de los Muertos! Today is All Souls Day, a day to remember our deceased friends and family members.

You've probably never worried about what will happen to your email after you die. CNET News ran a story a few weeks back about taking your passwords to the grave. Some email providers will give your password to your survivors upon proof of your passing. If I were to die unexpectedly, I would want my wife to post something about it here on the blog, which means I have to make sure she can find the necessary passwords.

I once wrote that I wanted our friend Mary K. to sing my favorite arrangement of the "Litany of the Saints" at my funeral. Last night I heard my wife sing it beautifully at the All Saints Day Mass. If Mary K. isn't available, my wife could do the honors although I had already asked her to sing "Ave Maria." The "Litany of the Saints" turns up in my blog search results occasionally, including a couple of times this week. The litany music that I like so much is by John D. Becker.

After the death of proprietor Robert Martin, I was worried about the future of my favorite BBQ place. His family members kept the place open and continued serving great food. Every year at this time they would put up a sign announcing the date they will close for the winter. Well here's huge news. The sign went up today but it said that M&M Catering will now remain open all year long!

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

larger than life

Ralphie May chose to film his new Comedy Central special, "Girth of a Nation," in Knoxville. My wife and I went to one of the two shows they recorded at the Tennessee Theatre in April (as did at least one other blogger). You can watch the special on Saturday night, or catch one of the two repeat showings scheduled for late Monday night / early Tuesday morning. Since the special is only an hour long, some material must have been cut. Maybe the DVD or audio CD, which will both be released Tuesday, will have some deleted jokes. On Ralphie's site, the CD costs less than the DVD. I thought it odd that on the DVD is a little cheaper than the CD. When I watch the show, I'll be looking for people I know in the audience during reaction shots. My wife and I saw a camera pointed at Gretchen from 93 Point 1 for a long time. We were sitting a couple of rows behind her. Get used to seeing Gretchen on TV. She recently went to L.A. to be in an infomercial hosted by Leeza Gibbons.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button